Do you believe that the world is only a few thousand years old?

(65 Posts)
TotallyBS Fri 01-Feb-13 11:59:14

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 smile ) if this is what you believe then how does dinosaurs and cavemen bones fit into your beliefs?

TotallyBS Tue 05-Feb-13 11:10:37

Here in the UK it isn't much of an issue but it does concern me that the creationists and the religious right in the US have such influence.

At least here we can inwardly smile at the thought that the person next to us, so to speak, believes that dinosaur bones were placed in order to test us. But in the US these words are coming out of the mouth of politicians that control federal money for stuff like stem cell research and the like.

sieglinde Tue 05-Feb-13 10:40:13

but they seem to have gone away, totallybs grin

MostlyLovingLurchers Tue 05-Feb-13 10:29:07

There was an interview on R4 a few weeks ago with a chap called Malcolm Bowden discussing his creationist views. You can download it from the website (it's under the One to One strand). He also believes that the earth is at the centre of the universe, and that the speed of light was very much higher in the past. He's got graphs and everything.

TotallyBS Tue 05-Feb-13 10:01:57

sieglinde - I thought that was we were trying to do here. Talk to creationists, I mean.

seeker Tue 05-Feb-13 10:00:46

I know one family. I have never raised the issue with them. But they are loons in many other ways too!

sieglinde Tue 05-Feb-13 09:58:46

seeker, agree. I don't know any creationists, though. do you? have you ever tried to discuss with them?

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 14:47:26

I'm sorry, I don't understand your point. In order to believe that the world is 6000 years old, you have to wilfully ignore the evidence- up to and including putting your fingers in your ears and singing. That is rather different to not being interested in the subject at all. Being a young earth creationist is active and deliberate ignorance, not passive uninterest.

HolofernesesHead Mon 04-Feb-13 14:43:08

You might call them stupid. You might say (if you were feeling charitable) that theor terrible childhood and lack of education has Given them a phobia of anything resembling learning. I've met quite a few people like this, and as I font believe that anyone us stupid, I'm inclined to go with the more charitable view.

Seeker: you missed my point, which was: some people believe anything in the newspapers, of which the DM is, sadly, the most influential.

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 14:35:49

Well, these mythical people will obviously believe what the Daily Mail tells them. And fortunately, in this at least, even the Daily Mail gets it right.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Feb-13 14:27:31

I haven't met anyone whose eyes glaze over at the mention of the word "evidence". Are those people the ones we would call "stupid"? wink

Seriously, I've never heard of anyone with an aversion to the word "evidence".

HolofernesesHead Mon 04-Feb-13 14:17:48

How about people whose eyes glaze over at the very word 'evidence'? People who are much more interested in Hello! magazine or the betting odds than where the world came from? People who know a tiny, tiny scrap of science barely remembered from school and use this scrap, along with skim-read articles from the Daily Mail, to argue anything just so they can hear themselves sound clever? Are they scary too? If so, more or less than religious Creationists?

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 13:02:36

"so, how about non-religious people who simply couldn't care less one way or the other, whether the world is 6000 years old or many million years old? Are they are scary as people whose thinking is formed by particular religious traditions?"

Presumably, even if they don't care either way, once shown the evidence they would accept the truth, not say "Ah, God put the fossils there as a test"

HolofernesesHead Mon 04-Feb-13 12:14:51

Thanks for answering. So, IYO, is it the belief in young earth creationism that is the problem per se, or the power of 'the church' to dictate belief (which church, btw? This is a proper question, not a swipe - is it churches in general that are a problem IYO or one particular church / type of church?), or the lack of critical thought? If so, how about non-religious people who simply couldn't care less one way or the other, whether the world is 6000 years old or many million years old? Are they are scary as people whose thinking is formed by particular religious traditions?

MostlyLovingLurchers Mon 04-Feb-13 10:47:30

Radiocarbon dating is not used to date dinosaur bones. Radiocarbon dating is one type of radiometric dating. For objects of this age carbon 14 does not have a long enough half life so other isotopes are used, usually potassium or uranium, which have a much longer half life, over a million years.

Even with c14 dating for human artifacts it is not used in isolation - it is one tool in the kit, albeit a very important one . If anyone is interested in how we first began to realise the antiquity of the human species i would highly recommend The Idea of Prehistory by Glyn Daniel and Colin Renfrew.

CoteDAzur Mon 04-Feb-13 10:22:22

"is it really so bad if people do think this (that earth is only a 1000s of years old)? What harm can be done?"

It is very bad and the harm is huge.

Possibly more so than anything else, this shows that these people are actually blinded by their religious dogma, to such an extent that they literally can't think properly.

If you know for a fact that there are fossils in the ground that are older than a million years, then you must understand that the Earth can't be just a few thousand years old. This is simple logic.

I don't really care which God people pray to and why, but this sort of thing shows that religion can be a big problem, literally preventing people from logical thought.

Snorbs Mon 04-Feb-13 09:31:38

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?

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 09:12:41

grin

CheerfulYank Mon 04-Feb-13 09:10:39

I lol every time someone autocorrects Snorbs to Snorts...

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 09:07:24

holoferneshead- it is incredibly bad for humanity in general for people to accept anything uncritically,

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 09:05:38

Snorts- you have failed The God Club Membership Test!

Snorbs Mon 04-Feb-13 08:39:18

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.

CheerfulYank Mon 04-Feb-13 07:34:10

No, and I'm fairly religious.

DH is a creationist but not a young earth sort.

Smudging Mon 04-Feb-13 07:28:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HolofernesesHead Mon 04-Feb-13 07:20:20

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?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now