A long time ago I saw the episode of Friends where Ross tried to convince Pheobe that dinosaurs walked on the earth milions of years ago and that the world was not created a few thousand years ago like it says in the Bible.
I thought nothing of it until recently where I saw videos of the US elections.. Basically, you had evangelical Republicans standing up and saying that the world is a few thousand years old. One politician was chairman of some science committee.
This is a genuine. question (I bet they all say that ) if this is what you believe then how does dinosaurs and cavemen bones fit into your beliefs?
BS - i have met someone who did honestly believe that god put fossils in the ground to test our faith (poor lady was a nun who came into our A level RE class to discuss her faith and found most the RE students in our school were militant atheists).
I had a look at some YEC sites after a similar thread on MN a while ago and was dumbstruck at the willful misrepresentation of science and especially archaeology. My overriding feeling was that the 'information' they provide is cynical and deliberate manipulation by those with an agenda, mostly on the American right.
The quote on the back of this book says "Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? ... It is difficult to discuss the beginning of the universe without mentioning the concept of God" - Stephen Hawking
I'd love to see that in context. Because I know for a fact that this book is not in any way compatible with Stephen Hawking's scientific theories. So it's deliberately twisting things.
I have a couple of books by AiG, which I bought after I was kicked off an HE email group for suggesting that the story of Adam and Eve might be allegorical rather than literal truth. it's actually very, very scary. All the writers are, apparently, qualified scientists from various disciplines and they present things in a whole load of scientific language complete with diagrams, graphs, charts, the whole kit and caboodle.
The really scary thing is that it is all so persuasive and believable and you could quite easily be swayed by it. The question of diamonds is actually addressed in one of the books. They talk about bubbles of helium (I think, but can't remember exactly) being trapped inside the crystals and being able to use that to date them as being only a few thousand years old.
I showed the book to my son, who is a materials chemist. his opinion was that it is a load of pseudo-science and psychobabble designed to draw in people who don't really understand actual science.
When we think of the US we think generally of the big cities, and finance, and the sophisticated part of it. But there are huge chunks of the US living in the dark ages - hence the problems with getting any progress on things like gun laws, I suppose.
Not that I'm saying bible-bashers carry guns, more that there are chunks of the US that we know nothing about and find very difficult to understand.
I am a Christian but don't believe the Earth is just a few thousand years old. I heard Prof Brian Cox interviewed on radio yesterday and he said that there was, in his view, no conflict between faith and science. He said that the laws of physics were so beautiful that it was not at all unreasonable to believe in a Creator being responsible for them. He did acknowledge that this is not his personal belief, though, but pointed out that a great many eminent scientists were also people of faith.
"but radiocarbon dating can not date things much older than about 50,000 years so it is not used to date dinosaur fossils"
You are right, the correct terminology is radiometric dating.
Still, the point is that there are elements whose half-lives are long enough that they can be used to determine time around the million-years range. And many dinosaur fossils and the rocks above and below them have been shown to be over a million years old. Not several thousand.
No, I don't believe the world is a few thousand years old. No reason to.
But....to put the cat among the pigeons.....is it really so bad if people do think this? What harm can be done(except if they are scientists working in relevant fields)? What is actually 'scary' about the Gallup poll? Or is it more that this is an indicator of a wider worldview, or a wider way of reading the Bible? This may strike some of you as a bizarre question, but I'm interested in why this is such a big issue. What's at stake, do you think?
If the world really is only a few thousand years old then the Sumerians must've been incredibly clever to be writing cuneiform on clay tablets before they even existed. Same for the ancient Egyptians and hieroglyphs, of course.
I find it scary because it demonstrates that large numbers of people are willing to put faith in front of fact, belief in front of knowledge, "what they feel in their heart" in front of evidence.
This mindset leads to a fundamental distrust of "science" as a whole. Science may well be an imperfect process but it's by far the best way we have so far come up with for understanding the world around us and the univese we inhabit.
Radiocarbon dating isn't something some scientist pulled out of his/her butt, there are good reasons for why it's believed to be accurate and is backed up by other evidence such as sedimentary records. Even if no-one came up with evolution as an idea in the 19th century, it would have inescapably revealed itself in the DNA analysis that became possible in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
How can you respect someone who so willingly ignores all that in favour of their own interpretation of a rag-tag collection of bronze- and iron-age documents of debateable origin and uncertain translation?
Essentially, how can you reason with someone who so willingly turns their back on reason?