AIG: Millions of Years? No Way!

The holiday weekend is over, and now the fun begins again. Here’s a good one from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

AIG’s new essay is Seven Reasons Why We Should Not Accept Millions of Years, written by AIG staffer Dr. Terry Mortenson, who “earned an MDiv (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and a PhD in history of geology (Coventry University).” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and his links and scripture references omitted:

There is an intensifying controversy in the church all over the world regarding the age of the earth. For the first 18 centuries of church history, the almost universal belief of Christians was that God created the world in six literal days, roughly 4,000 years before Christ, and destroyed the world with a global Flood at the time of Noah.

Those were the good old days — the best of times. Now, however … well, judge for yourself:

But about 200 years ago some scientists developed new theories of earth history, which proposed that the earth and universe are millions of years old. Over the past 200 years Christian leaders have made various attempts to fit the millions of years into the Bible.

The fools! Let’s read on:

A growing number of Christians (now called young-earth creationists), including many scientists, hold to the traditional view, believing it to be the only view that is truly faithful to Scripture and that fits the scientific evidence far better than the reigning old-earth evolutionary theory.

They’re the smart ones! Mortenson continues:

In this short article (which can be purchased as a booklet to share with others), we want to introduce you to some of the reasons we think that Christians cannot accept the millions of years, without doing great damage to the church and her witness in the world.

We looked at Mortenson’s list of 7 reasons. The first four are based on scripture, so we’ll leave it to you to read those for yourself. Here are the three other reasons:

5. Belief in millions of years undermines the Bible’s teaching on death and on the character of God. [Tale of Adam & Eve comes first, then:] To accept millions of years of animal death before the creation and Fall of man contradicts and destroys the Bible’s teaching on death and the full redemptive work of Christ. It also makes God into a bumbling, cruel creator who uses (or can’t prevent) disease, natural disasters, and extinctions to mar His creative work, without any moral cause, but calls it all “very good.”

That was also a scriptural reason. Ah well, there are two more to go. Moving along:

6. The idea of millions of years did not come from the scientific facts. It was developed by deistic and atheistic geologists in the late 18th and early 19th century. These men used anti-biblical philosophical and religious assumptions to interpret the geological observations in a way that plainly contradicted the biblical account of Creation, the Flood, and the age of the earth. Most church leaders and scholars quickly compromised using the gap theory, day-age view, local flood view, and so on. to try to fit “deep time” into the Bible. But they did not understand the geological arguments, nor did they defend their views by careful Bible study. The “deep time” idea flows out of naturalistic assumptions, not scientific observations.

That too is a scriptural reason. There’s only one more left. Perhaps Mortenson will do better with that one: He says:

7. Radiometric dating methods do not prove millions of years. Radiometric dating was not developed until the early 20th century, by which time the whole world had already accepted the millions of years.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s because when the study of geological evidence revealed that the world was old, we didn’t yet know about atomic theory and isotopes. That subsequent knowledge confirmed what geologists had already learned. Then he mentions what he claims were a few erroneous dating results, and finishes by saying:

[D]ecay rates were orders of magnitude faster in the past, which shrinks the millions of years dates to thousands of years, confirming the Bible.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s creation science at its best! And now we come to his conclusion:

These are just some of the reasons why we believe that the Bible is giving us the true history of the creation. God’s Word must be the final authority on all matters about which it speaks: not just the moral and spiritual matters, but also its teachings that bear on history, archeology, and science. … If the early chapters of Genesis are not true literal history, then faith in the rest of the Bible is undermined, including its teaching about salvation and morality.

Well, dear reader, if that’s not enough to shake your faith in millions of years, then there’s no hope for you.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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40 responses to “AIG: Millions of Years? No Way!

  1. It was not nearly universally true among Christians that the days of Genesis 1 were literally 24-hour days.
    It was assumed that the age of the Earth was some few thousand years, but the days were often taken as something other than sunset to sunset.
    An example is the early (1st or 2nd century) Epistle of Barnabas, which took the days as being thousand-year periods of history. Augustine suggested that the days were not measures of time at all, but parts of God’s creation.

  2. Creationists just cannot fathom that their book could be wrong, in spite of the mountain of evidence virtually proving that it is. Haven’t seen this much blind denial of evidence since the O.J. trial.

  3. I’m more or less in the AIG camp on this one. If you can convince yourself that Genesis is true, it makes the rest of the babble easier to swallow. Once you reach that point, you’re almost obliged to send your money to Hamster.

  4. It’s amazing what some people will do to support cherished beliefs – actual evidence hasn’t a chance against an ingrained need to believe.

  5. I’m still waiting for a friend’s explanation on how decay rates could be several orders of magnitude faster without irradiating and destroying all life everywhere.

    I’ve never understood how that article even gets off the ground.

  6. Creationists cannot admit that they can be wrong. That there is an authority that they have to listen to. The Bible has to mean what they want it to say.
    There is one thing which has been the universal opinion of Christians from the beginning up to modern times, WRT what the Bible says about the natural world: Geocentrism. Not anything about species. Not about the days of Genesis 1.

  7. michaelfugate

    To paraphrase our good friend Professor Tertius – if you believe in one miracle, then anything is possible. If you believe in a global flood, then you can believe in arks that hold every species and flood waters that disappear in to thin air. If the biblical narrative as you interpret it requires variable decay rates, then that’s what happened – no matter the cost.

    Here is a list of Terry’s books – most priced attractively @$12.99:
    https://answersingenesis.org/store/ken-ham-others/terry-mortenson/

    He appears to have written a thesis on young earth acolytes in the early 19th c. as old earth ideas were coming into vogue. Most largely swept into oblivion as evidence for an old earth accumulated.

  8. Apparently reality counts for nothing if it contradicts the opening chapters of Genesis and genealogies set out in the Bible. And any Christian who disagrees is being reckless and dangerous. But it’s rather late for such warnings. And accepting science has not killed the church.

  9. “Decay rates were orders of magnitude faster in the past, which shrinks the millions of years dates to thousands of years”. Utter B******t.

  10. Dweller42, notice that he talks of “millions of years”, making it seem that the decay rate would only (!) have to be thousands of times greater in the past. In fact he has to explain radiometric dates of over 4 billion years. Like you I’ve never heard a good explanation.

  11. “…PhD in history of geology (Coventry University).”
    This “university” must have a laudable geology department/program! I wonder if his “dissertation,” if he had one, was just filled with blank pages.

  12. “A growing number of Christians (now called young-earth creationists), including many scientists, hold to the traditional view…”

    Nope. Just nope. Won’t even FIFY.

  13. Dr. Moronson denying that the earth is billions of years old is like arguing that there is no sun because it got dark last night. Yes, his science is that crazy and stupid.

  14. michaelfugate

    Isn’t it a shrinking number of Christians? How could it possibly be growing?

    It would seem to me that age is imposed on Genesis by Mortensen’s interpretations – the first chapter doesn’t say on such and such a date I, God, created the universe. It is open in its meaning – an old earth is just as compatible as a young one.

  15. michaelfugate asks: “Isn’t it a shrinking number of Christians?”

    That’s what Ken Ham wants us to think, at least he tells us that every month or so. Maybe it’s just that people are leaving his YEC ministry but still holding to YEC beliefs.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  16. michaelfugate

    So is Ham or Mortenson lying? Or is it just typical apologetics practice where “truth” is whatever works in a particular instance to keep someone in the fold?

  17. Yes, radiometric dating methods were developed in the 20th century.
    Yet Lord Kelvin was arguing for a relatively young Earth: as little as 2 million years around the turn of the century. Yes, it was on the basis of other than radioactivity that real Young Earth Creationism was discarded as being too short, by multiplier of hundreds by the most conservative scientists.
    The Scofield Reference Bible did not accept YEC, this being before radiometric dating.
    To make nuclear processes different enough to be compatible with YEC takes changes not just a few percent (which is beyond anything that has been observed, and would make life impossible ), but coordinated changes in different nuclear processes by factors of many thousands; as well as other processes, such as formations of tree rings and glaciers.
    And let’s not forget the light traveling from events that happened hundreds of thousands or millions or billions of years ago.

  18. Everyone is aware that all the scientific evidence — whether it comes from astronomy, geology, or biology — consistently points to an old Earth. Scripture, as interpreted by creationists like Hambo, reflects an earlier — pre-scientific — view of things. Most denominations aren’t troubled by that because they don’t use the bible as a science text. Hambo does, and that puts his organization in an uncomfortable position. All they can do, really, is insist that scripture is superior to the reality we actually observe.

  19. They aware willing to abandon a simplistic literal interpretation of the Bible when it fits their purposes. Or just make up stuff.

  20. michaelfugate

    As many have pointed out – even if the Bible were read as a scientific/historical text, AiG’s version is not the only possible interpretation.

  21. DavidK:

    I wonder if his “dissertation,” if he had one, was just filled with blank pages.

    He might have included some crayon drawings of dinosaurs.

  22. ” It was developed by deistic and atheistic geologists in the late 18th and early 19th century.”
    If anyone is interested in why geologists proposed an Old Earth and who those geologists are:

    http://www.oldearth.org/geology.htm
    http://gizmodo.com/evolution-aside-even-basic-geology-disproves-creationi-1700888183

    Once again I repeat MNb’s Law. Every creationist is lying until proved otherwise.

  23. E. O. Wilson wrote in “On Human Nature” that “No intellectual vice is more crippling than defiantly self-indulgent anthropocentrism.”

    Indeed, young earth creationism is something of an intellectual agoraphobia. Fear of large time-spans. Fear of a universe that wasn’t created specifically for one species. The YEC universe is essentially geocentric in everything but technical details because creationists defiantly resist the Copernican principle in every aspect.

  24. If the early chapters of Genesis are not true literal history, then faith in the rest of the Bible is undermined, including its teaching about salvation and morality.

    One can only hope.

  25. I’m sure AIG would have a fit over what my Catholic school teachers said, “We don’t know how long God’s day is.”

  26. “5. Belief in millions of years undermines the Bible’s teaching on death and on the character of God.”….Well !!! This is certainly good, sound science !!
    “6. The idea of millions of years did not come from the scientific facts. ”
    Oh dear….
    7.” Radiometric dating methods do not prove millions of years. ”
    And the easter bunny is real.

  27. David K,,,,History of geology and history of science are creationist code
    for Biblical studies. It apparently fools a lot of people however. It does sound awfully , “scientific”.

  28. Charles Deetz ;)

    [D]ecay rates were orders of magnitude faster in the past, which shrinks the millions of years dates to thousands of years, confirming the Bible.

    The doctor doesn’t just quote the gospel according to the bible, but the new chapter Hambone has on his desk, waiting for a godly editing. I have no other explanation for this malarkey (kinder than Ashley called it).

  29. [D]ecay rates were orders of magnitude faster in the past, which shrinks the millions of years dates to thousands of years, confirming the Bible.

    And Dr. Terry knows this because . . . well, there must be some way around those pesky radiometric dates.

    Evidently the good doctor doesn’t know that radioactive decay generates, well, radiation, which would have fried life on the early Earth if decay rates were “orders of magnitude” (about 5.87 of them, according to my calculator, corresponding to a factor of 750,000) greater in Adam’s day 6,000 years ago, Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had any children; they’d both have died before they could be kicked out of the Garden (or eaten the apple, for that matter).

    And that’s ignoring the heat such rapid decay would have caused, which would have boiled the oceans. That’s your “vapor canopy” for you—but even some fundamentalists recognize this idea for the [edited out] it is.

  30. [D]ecay rates were orders of magnitude faster in the past, which shrinks the millions of years dates to thousands of years, confirming the Bible.

    And Dr. Terry knows this because . . . well, there must be some way around those pesky radiometric dates.

    Evidently the good doctor doesn’t know that radioactive decay generates, well, radiation, which would have fried life on the early Earth if decay rates were “orders of magnitude” (about 5.87 of them, according to my calculator, corresponding to a factor of 750,000) greater in Adam’s day 6,000 years ago, Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had any children; they’d both have died before they could be kicked out of the Garden.

    And that’s ignoring the heat such rapid decay would have caused, which would have boiled the oceans. That’s your “vapor canopy” for you—but even some fundamentalists recognize this idea for the [edited out] it is.

  31. Eric Lipps, you still don’t get creationist thinking. Of course the doctor knows that. His simple reply is “God protected life on the early Earth against getting fried by radiation. We just don’t have figured out yet how. ‘Cuz Bible.”

  32. @mnbo
    According to the argument from design (in particular the argument from the anthropic principle), the major parameters of physics have been finely tuned, to within a few percent of their present values, to make life, human life, possible. That is, within s few percent, let alone a matter of being different enough to make a noticeable difference in chronology, and far from a difference of orders of magnitude.
    And as far as the Bible being an inviolable guide to nature. There are very few people, even among the YECs who will follow the geocentrism of the Bible, as was universally accepted for some 2000 years. It isn’t because of the Bible. it’s something else going on: perhaps pithecophobia, or Dunning Kruger effect, or some social-political movement, or something else.
    Whatever it is, it is something which is more powerful than cognitive dissonance.

  33. Tugs N MCowN

    Christians are authoritarians at heart. They NEED to have someone or something to tell them what to do and how to behave.

  34. mnbo, that brings me back to my primary goal in talking to creationists – I just want them to tell me, “God made the universe and all life in it through pure magic, and continues to use magic to this day in order to maintain it.”

    Just tell me that and we really don’t have an argument. I mean, hey, they might even be right. There’s no real way for science to prove or disprove that, but they might be.

  35. Dave Luckett

    @ dweller42:

    Yeah, that as always got me going about creationists. They want it to be, you know, evidential and realistic and stuff. Ham’s crowd has this condition in a particularly bad way. If they were to say that, hey, they know that the Ark couldn’t possibly have been seaworthy, 10/80 gopher wood and all, no way, but God made however many miracles it took to keep the thing afloat…

    But do they say that? No, they do not. They try to make up crazy nonsense about how it could have been totally OK at sea for a year in the worst storm that ever was, and where all the water came from and where it went to, and how Noah fitted all the animal species on the Earth in, AND all the supplies for a year, yadayadayada.

    The whole thing’s totally impossible under a dozen different heads, so then they pull out the miracles, only they really don’t want them to be there, because it makes the whole thing look like what it clearly is – a fantasy story, a legend like dozens of others. So we get vapor canopies and water out of the Earth and resculpting of the entire planet, and the liberation of enough energy to boil the oceans, liquefy the crust, and drive off most of the atmosphere, only let’s not talk about that because that involves, you know, math and physics and stuff.

    God, it’s stupid. But that’s the thing – living with humans means living with the stupid ones. The one goes with the other. Sad, but there it is.

  36. Stephen Kennedy

    My eldest son received bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Geology almost a year ago and is now in graduate school pursuing an advanced degree in Geophysics. He brought home some of his textbooks during his last visit and I read through some of them to the extent that I could.

    After reading through the AIG objections to millions of years and comparing them to what I read in my son’s textbook I was overwhelmed by a sense of how superficial, to the point of childishness, AIG’s arguments are and the simplistic way they are presented. The droolers who read this AIG nonsense and think it represents how real geoscientists think do not have even the slightest comprehension of what real scientists know and how they know it.

  37. Charles Deetz ;)

    Dave Luckett’s rant is the best ‘drive it home’ argument I’ve seen on CS in a while. Hat’s off to you, dude!

  38. I’m late to this discussion. As others have pointed out, my first thought when I read “…[D]ecay rates were orders of magnitude faster in the past, which shrinks the millions of years dates to thousands of years…” was simple maths make that about 6 orders of magnitude! I’m just a biologist but perhaps a physicist here could say whether the heat associated with that much radiation would prevent the planet from forming at all.

  39. I am not a scientist, but it seems to me that the magnitude of changes needed to make radioisotope dating compatible with less than a million years requires such a change in nuclear physics that all of physics has to be reworked. It doesn’t make sense to just take a formula and stick in a change of orders of magnitude and expect it to work. What would chemistry be like if electron orbits were different by a couple of orders of magnitude?

  40. michaelfugate

    Isn’t it funny that Ham declares there is no morality without the Bible – that it is just people making it up – yet when it comes to the history of the universe, the earth, the biosphere, etc. he has no problem just making it all up? Nothing he says about history has any basis in fact – because the Bible doesn’t have that much detail.