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?

axure Fri 01-Feb-13 12:13:30

Of course not, but I know lots of intelligent people who honestly believe that God created earth in 6 days etc... That's up to them, no point in arguing about it, enough arguing about 'flegs' in this part of the world.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 01-Feb-13 12:18:33

No of course not.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 01-Feb-13 12:43:27

No. I have only ever met one person who believes this (and he was in his late eighties).

TotallyBS Fri 01-Feb-13 12:58:54

But how can you separate this out? I mean, I seem to recall (O level RE) that Jesus's lineage in the Bible was traced back to various people in the Old Testament. There are other references to the Old Testament in the NT.

If you don't believe in various parts of the Old Testament then doesn't that cast a shadow on other parts of the NT?

Apologies up front for comparing the Bible to a text book but if I read a book from a noted scientist then i would believe what he wrote even if I didn't understand the science behind it. But if some sections were flawed then that would lessen my unquestioning belief in that x must be true even though I don't understand it.

TotallyBS Fri 01-Feb-13 13:01:30

Dione - in that case, you should tune into what is going on in the US. In many states there is pressure for public school to teach creationism side by side with evolution.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 01-Feb-13 13:13:17

The battle between creationism and evolution in US schools has been going on for nearly 100 years. It is not new.

hiddenhome Fri 01-Feb-13 13:43:47

Genesis isn't intended to be interpreted as a literal scientific account of how the world came about. The men who wrote it weren't scientists and God didn't sit on their shoulders handing out dictation.

Yes and no.

I believe that the biblical version of the creation is generally correct as far as the bible has been translated correctly. However I don't believe that the term day is anything like the day was have now, as in 24 hours long. For a start calendars are different now than even 1000 years ago.

I think of the biblical genesis day as been a set period of time that could have lasted millions of years, when you start to take that view on and look at the order in which things were created then it looks a lot more like how evolution occurred.

So I guess I don't believe the word is only a few thousand years old but many millions but I do believe in a God who created it and we are not all some accident of nature.

TotallyBS Fri 01-Feb-13 17:12:57

Dione - Yes but since the school prayer ruling the issue has been on the back burner. It just seems to the casual observer, ie me, that it is slowly becoming front and centre in recent years

Iggly Fri 01-Feb-13 17:16:06

Genesis etc are just a collection of fables, folk stories told around a fire and gradually written down. Just a way of making sense of the world without carbon dating etc.

That's my opinion.

And in thousands of years, if humans are still around, they'll be laughing or evangelicising about what we believed to be true. Maybe AIBU will become the source of ten commandments <tongue in cheek>

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 01-Feb-13 17:20:55

No - and I am a Christian. I even work for the church. No-one I know believes this either. It's a highly barmy minority opinion.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Fri 01-Feb-13 17:31:45

I've never knowingly met anyone who believe this. I am a Christian and most of my friends are from church, my dcs faith school or my own faith school. I have seen several threads on here where people have assumed that Catholic/CofE schools teach creationism and make little jokes along the lines of 'I don't know what they will make of little Johnny when he starts, he knows all about evolution and the big bang!' which makes me think somebody must have these ideas in order for other people to pick up on it but I haven't come across it.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 01-Feb-13 18:26:49

Ithinkofhappy I too have noticed this along with a notion that scientists can't have faith. I find the Big Bang thing particularly ironic as it was originally proposed by Fr. George LeMaitre the father of Big Bang theory.

Sonatensatz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:05:21

Yes I believe that the world is only a few thousand years old. Dinosaurs would have been created along with all the other animals and became extinct sometime in the post flood era. As to the Cavemen, there is lots of evidence of people having lived in caves throughout history. I do not believe that they were any less human than we are today.

No. In the UK creationism is a minority view.

Christians in the UK are a much more mixed bunch than the ones you hear about in the US. We have everything from liberals who believe the Bible was never meant to be read that way and that we evolved (possibly with some pushing in the right direction by God, possibly not), through people who believe God created each species separately but over a long period, to some who believe in 6 day creation. Even those who believe in a 6 day creation don't automatically go along with the "Young Earth" calculations of only thousands of years.

"Believing in" the Bible doesn't mean that you have to believe everything in it is literally accurate - if you look at the creation stories in the same way as you look at Jesus' parables, then the "Did this really happen?" question becomes less important than "What fundamental ideas does this story convey?"

nightlurker Fri 01-Feb-13 22:42:16

I am American, and have always believed the earth is billions of years old. It's not terribly popular in some political spheres to support the theory of evolution.

The way I see it, there is ample evidence for evolving species, but, with God, anything is possible. I don't think creationism belongs in a science class, but I do think it would be appropriate to teach the concepts of the young earth theory elsewhere in school.

TotallyBS Sat 02-Feb-13 00:01:41

Sonatensatz - Dinosaur bones have been carbon dated by scientists as being a lot more then a few thousand years old. How.does that fit into your beliefs?

Sonatensatz Sat 02-Feb-13 11:35:23

TotallyBS- Carbon dating has also been shown to give dates of several thousand years for objects of known age that have been tested, therefore if it is unreliable for testing objects of known age how can we presume that it is reliable for objects of unknown age such as dinosaur bones?

ethelb Sat 02-Feb-13 11:42:57

I used to work for an American company that had its routs in the oil industry. I worked for a magazine they produced and we weren't allowed to talk about 'fossil fuels' as the people at the top of the company (all bezzie mates with George W) "didn't beleive in fossil fuels". Apparently there had been a hug hoohah a few years back when the [British] editor had done a presentation in which she had mentioned fossil fuels to the office in Oklahoma, to shocked gasps, shaken heads and "some really upset people". It was BIZZARE.

Like it was actually rude to point out that fossils exist. Wtf?

sieglinde Sat 02-Feb-13 11:43:14

No. Just no. The majesty of unfolding evolution is wonderful and should be loved for its scaly, bloody self.

Sonatensatz, most early hominids didn't live in caves - what do you make of the findings in Olduvai Gorge? (have to say I'm curious because I have NEVER met a creationist.)

cheddarcheeselover Sat 02-Feb-13 11:44:28

sonatensatz. carbon dating is no good for items of known age because those items are from a time when humans messed with the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. carbon dating doesn't work for items since industrialistion. It is accurate for items before that.

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 11:44:57

I have a book here, given to me by my perfectly nice next door neighbour. Who also happens to be a loon Baptist minister who believes every word in the bible.

It's all about how science can't explain the universe and life as we know it; it gives quotes from eminent scientists implying that there must be more than "accident" involved in the creation of the earth and of life.

It's quite extraordinary, because it is so convincing, and normal, and believable. Except that I know it a load of crap confused

He also signed us up to "creation" magazine at one point. Which explained how they could date the world, and rocks and all sorts of things. Apparently carbon dating is flawed because of some unnamed climate anomolies which changed the carbon numbers or something? And evolution didn't occur, "intelligent design" explains all the different sub-species of animal/plant - God created the species, and all the possible combinations and permutations, but some died out leaving the ones we have today.

I find it really scary that there are whole generations of children in middle America (and in other areas) who are being taught this as fact.

The vast, vast majority of Christians believe the bible is a sort of parable - they may believe God created the world, but they certainly don't believe he did so a few thousand years ago. They believe that the story of creation is a sort of parable - it happened in that order, but evolved over time.

TotallyBS Sat 02-Feb-13 12:10:35

Forgot about fossil fuels. Good catch. Then there are diamonds and .. and... Unless people are suggesting that God placed them in the ground basically ready made

MostlyLovingLurchers Sat 02-Feb-13 12:45:28

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.

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 12:59:46

Oh, yes "will misrepresentation" is 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 hmm

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.

stressedHEmum Sat 02-Feb-13 13:22:01

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.

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 18:47:56

That's what the book I have is like, stressed. If I didn't have a scientific background, bits of it sound scarily "scientifically proven".

Snorbs Sun 03-Feb-13 10:52:57

In a Gallup poll from 2012 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.

That's scary.

Maryz Sun 03-Feb-13 11:02:12

It's quite scary, really, isn't it.

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.

NotDavidTennant Sun 03-Feb-13 12:54:58

I'm all for educating creationsists, but radiocarbon dating can not date things much older than about 50,000 years so it is not used to date dinosaur fossils.

abbeynationall Sun 03-Feb-13 14:22:31

Yes I do, but I happen to also believe that there was an old earth mentioned in the Bible which to me explains fossils, diamonds and dinosaurs

Thingiebob Sun 03-Feb-13 14:27:38

It's amazing what people will believe in the face of such evidence. Personally I think it is bananas to think the world is only a few thousand years old.

MsHighwater Sun 03-Feb-13 14:36:49

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.

CoteDAzur Sun 03-Feb-13 22:32:09

"carbon dating doesn't work for items since industrialistion."

That is not strictly true. It still works, but measurements need to be calibrated.

seeker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:33:22

No. Because I am not stupid.

I thank you.

CoteDAzur Sun 03-Feb-13 22:38:52

"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.

CoteDAzur Sun 03-Feb-13 22:40:24

... which brings me to Sonatensatz's post:

"Yes I believe that the world is only a few thousand years old. Dinosaurs would have been created along with all the other animals and became extinct sometime in the post flood era."

And when was this post-flood era? Was it over a million years ago? Because that is how old many dinosaur bones we found are.

Can you tell us how you reconcile that with your belief that the world is only a few thousand years old?

Nope, it's an utterly bonkers notion.

And you can use uranium isotope dating for the really old stuff. It's jolly clever stuff.

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

No, I don't believe the world is a few thousand years old. No reason to. put the cat among the 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?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

No, and I'm fairly religious.

DH is a creationist but not a young earth sort.

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.

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

Snorts- you have failed The God Club Membership Test!

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

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

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

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

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


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?

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.

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.

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?

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 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?

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".

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.

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 14:47:26

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.

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 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!

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

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

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.

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

but they seem to have gone away, totallybs grin

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.

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