Hi, my name is John Tan and I’m a high school student. I recently learned about evolutionary creationism and am wondering if it’s possible for the view to include a young earth. I understand that there is overwhelming evidence for an old earth, but I do not know much and would like to learn more.
Welcome! You help make the case that several students in the same class have arrived here pretty much concurrently. There are several new converstions here that are addressing similar questions from high school students, so instead of building a new one right away, it might be a good idea to look at them first. I don’t know how familiar you are with navigating around here, but this is what I use as home base:
I don’t think so. Answers in Genesis (a militant YEC organization), in their trying to get all extant animal varieties from the relatively few species on Noah’s ark over the relatively short time they allow, have to embrace a kind of hyperevolution.
Sure… right between two of the elephants on the turtle holding up the earth.
It is a question of the objective scientific evidence. EC is all about the compatibility of Christianity with science.
The evidence for evolution is overwhelming.
But the evidence against a young earth is a thousand times more so.
It is more believable that the earth is flat and shaped like a table.
It goes against the whole point of EC to contradict all the science showing that the Earth is not young.
Hi Johnny, and welcome to the forum. You’re right that the evidence for an old earth is pretty overwhelming. Those who hold on to a young-earth view generally do so not because of science but because they believe that is the only faithful way to interpret Genesis. Most here would disagree with that, and the BioLogos website has some information about many common questions such as this one. Here is a good place to start:
Since evolution requires long periods of time for genetic changes to occur and spread through populations, 6,000-10,000 years is just not enough time to produce the diversity of life that we see using evolutionary mechanisms as we understand them. Plus, a young earth is basically incompatible with the extent of the fossil record. You can reject evolution and accept the evidence for an old earth. That is how old earth creationists see things. But I have never heard of anyone accepting the evidence for a young earth and also accepting evolution. Unless you count the idea of rapid speciation after the flood that some YECs promote. This idea fails on several scientific counts though.
Hi, thanks for replying Dale! Could you explain what this kind of hyperevolution is in more detail?
Oh, this is some very useful information, Christy! Thanks for sharing your insight and the link!
Thanks for the response, mitchellmckain. I appreciate it. Could you explain the part about the evidence against a young earth being much more overwhelming than the evidence for evolution?
Thank you for the great information, Laura!
John, while somewhat addressed in prior responses, will try to respond. Evolution is basically a framework of ideas that attempts to explain what we see In the fossil record, genetics, anatomy, and observation of the world around us. As such, it is a bit abstract, though no less real.
In contrast , the age of the earth and universe is based more on direct observation and requires less interpretation. We can directly measure the speed of light and calculate how long it takes for light from a distant star to reach us. We can measure how long it takes an element to degrade into daughter elements. We can observe the time it takes for granite to be eroded to sand and clay, for thousands of layers to accumulate and be buried and changed to rock, then that rock to be raised and eroded back down. We can measure the movement of tectonic plates and measure the time it takes for the Hawaiian islands to form by moving over a hot spot in the crust of the earth. Such things are relatively direct and straightforward requiring little in the way of interpretation or conceptual ideas. The blog Natural Historian by Joel Duff has scores of other examples, one of my favorite series of articles on his blog is the one regarding the geology of the Dead Sea. My internet is down and I am on my phone, limiting my reply, but if you have trouble finding it let me know and will eventually link it.
As a result of all this, a young earth takes on the character of the proposal that everything was created this morning with all our memories in place as they are. To be sure we cannot ultimately prove otherwise. But rendering all of our memories meaningless in such a way detracts so much from the meaning and value in life that we do better to simply dismiss such ideas as pointless.
In the same way, as Phil explains there is also a memory in the light from the sky and in the content of the earth. And to turn these all into lies is ultimately more detrimental to a belief in God than being a bit less literal in ones reading of scripture which after all varies from one culture and religion to another.
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