However, wouldn't you say that, for some people, what they perceive to be incontrovertible scientific evidence against the Bible is a fence that keeps them from loving Jesus, and we can help them along in their journey if we can knock a hole in that fence?It's important to remember that crooked is a young earth creationist, so the discussion is completely re-framed, we need to distinguish between three positions:
- Young earth creationism
- Theistic evolution (ID)
- Atheistic evolution
- To convince somebody to accept Jesus
- To reassure yourself that the Bible isn't inauthentic
Young earth creationism attempts both, but fails altogether, because it is deeply incongruous with astronomy, geology, paleontology, paleoanthropology, and archeology, even when just considering the contention that the earth is 6,000 years old (or so). The talk.origins FAQ is the best place to start that I've found.
As far as the science of it is considered, I think creationism is pretty dumb, but I prefer not to think ill of creationists (exception: Kent Hovind). For the most part, creationism makes sense, if you've mostly been exposed to creationist literature. I think of creationism like I think of urban legends, people believe because people they trust believe, and that's completely reasonable, most of the time.
I don't think that belief in YEC is neutral; I think that it is destructive because of how it misrepresents nature and falsely engenders distrust in the scientific process. One example of how YEC harbors misinformation is in crooked's response:
For example, we might say that much-touted radiometric dating relies on a lot of assumptions that might not be true, or the whole thing with the decay of the earth's magnetic field being seemingly incongruous with an Earth much older than 10,000 years.Again, I don't suspect any malice or evil on the part of crooked, or on the part of whoever told him that, but this is a good example of how YEC, like an urban legend or conspiracy theory, shows part of the information to produce misunderstanding of the whole.
Yes, the earth's magnetic field is currently weakening. This is normal. The contention that the earth can't be much older than 10,000 years depends on the assumption that that the magnetic field has been weakening monotonically, that is, that it has always been weakening. This is simply a very bad assumption; we know that the magnetic field, rather than decreasing steadily, fluctuates periodically, this is called geomagnetic reversal.
We know that geomagnetic reversals have taken place, many times, from several pieces of evidence, namely variation in magnetic polarity in adjacent rock layers. For example, at places where new rock forms continuously, like at the mid-Atlantic ridge, the magnetic polarity of a bit of the rock is like a snapshot of the earth's magnetic field from when that bit of rock was formed. Measurements like this actually confirm the geomagnetic reversal theory, and emphatically point to an old age for the earth.
If I had a friend who was considering becoming a Christian, but felt as if the Genesis account of creation didn't match with science, rather than teach him YEC, I'd instead tell him that Genesis 1-3 was actually written to be understood as myth. George E. Mendenhall's article, "The Shady Side of Wisdom" provides a good explanation of this. (This article is very difficult to find; if you want a copy, ask me.)
Mendenhall demonstrated from linguistic analysis that the text had a late date of authorship, based on the use of certain words that are relatively new. This, alone, doesn't take away from the understanding of the Genesis account as inspired, we just need to read it as an inspired myth that tells us much about who we are and who God is, but not so much about actual history. This isn't even a new idea, Augustine, among others, thought of Genesis 1-3 as basically mythical.
This is what I'd tell a friend considering becoming a Christian.
I hope that I walked the line between calling YEC the way I see it, but not being mean to my creationist readers. If you want to talk, well, origins, check the talk.origins FAQ first, then drop a comment.