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Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., responds to a reader who charges Answers in Genesis with teaching factually incorrect data.
Your organization teaches factually incorrect data. Our understanding of how old the planet is and when Dinosaurs existed has been common knowledge for nearly a century. To provide a place of “learning” that put’s forth the idea that Dinosaurs and humans lived together and that the plant is only 6000 years old is incredibly irresponsible and insulting to human intelligence. Is it moral to teach something based on faith in the face of so much evidence to the contrary? Go outside the Museum and spend 3 months dedicating all your time and attention to studying ants and all thier curious behaviors, read books, take an entimology course at an adult education center or city college. You might come to the conclusion eventually that those ants care nothing for your Christianity. This is the way all living things on the planet feel with the exception of Christians and half of them are on the fence. Least of all Dinosaurs lost any sleep worrying about salvation.
Thank you for taking the time to contact Answers in Genesis. Let’s go through each of your comments in order.
Your organization teaches factually incorrect data.
This is a serious charge, because as an organization dedicated to upholding the authority of God’s Word, we certainly do not want to mislead anyone. It is possible that we have made mistakes, so if you can specifically point out any incorrect data or factual statements (not interpretations or conclusions about those facts) that are demonstrably false, please show us, and we’ll make the correction.
Our understanding of how old the planet is and when Dinosaurs existed has been common knowledge for nearly a century.
That’s interesting. Let’s take a look at what people believed about these issues a century ago. In 1911, Arthur Holmes was the first to use radiometric dating to calculate the age of the earth.1 He said it is 1.6 billion years old, and his influential book The Age of the Earth was published in 1913. It wasn’t until 1956 that the age of 4.55 billion years was put forward. This figure was promoted by Claire Patterson after he used radiometric dating on a group of meteorites, not earth rocks, to estimate the age of the earth.
So, “common knowledge” (at least among scientists who were aware of the issues) a century ago was that the earth was at least 3 billion years younger than what many claim today. Also, what evidence does anyone have that the meteorites dated by Patterson are the same age as the earth? While this idea is consistent with their evolutionary presuppositions and the nebular hypothesis of the formation of the earth, it cannot be proven. Instead, it is another assumption added to the stack of unverifiable assumptions inherent in every old-earth dating method.
As for what was “common knowledge” a century ago about when dinosaurs lived, I thought it would be fun to find out was actually taught over the past 100 years. Consider the following chart to see just how much “common knowledge” has changed in the past century.2
|Number of Years Ago Era Began|
|Present / Holocene||50,000||-||7,800|
Dinosaurs allegedly lived in the Mesozoic Era, which consists of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. So, according to “common knowledge” a century ago, dinosaurs lived from 7 mya (millions of years ago) to 2.25 mya. Now we’re told that the Mesozoic Era lasted from roughly 252 mya to 66 mya.
An evolutionist could look at this chart and say, “See, scientists are continually studying the data and refining their answers, so we now have the age of the earth and dinosaurs narrowed down.” We agree that scientists should continually refine their views as new information becomes available, but that is precisely the problem when it comes to this topic. Evolutionary scientists have changed “common knowledge” multiple times over the past century, yet the Bible has not changed. It still clearly teaches that the universe, earth, and dinosaurs were made during a six-day period about 4,000 years before Christ.
Lest you think the problem will go away now that scientists have supposedly closed in on the actual age of the universe, earth, etc., consider the recent words of Princeton University’s Paul Steinhardt, “a pioneer of inflation,” addressing some of the problems with the inflationary model of the big bang. “We thought that inflation predicted a smooth, flat universe. Instead, it predicts every possibility an infinite number of times. We’re back to square one. … Inflation has destroyed itself. It logically self-destructed.”3 Yet for the past 30 years we have been told that Alan Guth’s ideas about inflation had removed the objections to the big bang, thus proving that it happened. Does this mean that cosmologists will give up on the big bang and their views on the age of the universe? I doubt it, but they currently must rely on conjecture and speculation to support their views.
To provide a place of “learning” that put’s forth the idea that Dinosaurs and humans lived together and that the plant is only 6000 years old is incredibly irresponsible and insulting to human intelligence.
The only observer of the planet’s creation was God, so we should trust what He has said about the age of the earth in His Word. By using the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 along with other pertinent information in Scripture, we can determine that the age of the earth is about 6,000 years old.
Furthermore, a great deal of evidence exists that is perfectly consistent with the notion that dinosaurs and humans lived together. First and foremost, the Bible states that man and all land animals were both created on Day Six. Since dinosaurs were primarily land animals, this means man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. Also, Job was told to consider the behemoth (Job 40:15–24), a creature whose description seems to match that of a sauropod dinosaur. In addition to the biblical testimony, we have discovered pictographs, petroglyphs, and brass carvings of dinosaurs, soft tissue and red blood cells in a tyrannosaur femur, as well as records from cultures around the globe of dinosaur-like creatures (often called dragons). There are even some reports that some dinosaurs may still be alive, though we need to be careful to verify such reports.
So the eyewitness testimony (God’s Word) tells us that earth is about 6,000 years old, and He is most certainly a reliable witness. In fact, it is impossible for Him to lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). Also, the historical data is perfectly consistent with the idea that the earth is young and that dinosaurs and man have lived together.
Is it moral to teach something based on faith in the face of so much evidence to the contrary?
As we saw above, the evidence is consistent with the young-earth position. It is immoral to teach people that the earth is billions of years old and that we have all evolved from ape-like ancestors. Why would someone teach that in the face of so much evidence to the contrary?
Actually, if you hold atheistic evolution to be true, where does your concept of morality come from? Who gets to determine what is or isn’t moral? The individual? Society? Evolution cannot provide a basis for morality because there is no moral imperative in an evolutionary worldview. Without an absolute moral standard, which only comes from the Creator (the absolutely good moral Lawgiver), morality would be relative, meaning that ultimately you cannot say something is moral or immoral. However, the very fact that you recognize something as right or wrong (moral or immoral) demonstrates your sense of morality. So you are actually borrowing from the biblical worldview to say that biblical teaching is immoral.
Go outside the Museum and spend 3 months dedicating all your time and attention to studying ants and all thier curious behaviors, read books, take an entimology course at an adult education center or city college.
We have several people on staff with advanced degrees in scientific disciplines, and I can assure you that they spent more than three months studying the world around them. This was really just an ad hominem attack. Rather than dealing with the issues, you made a personal attack by implying that all of the employees of AiG are ignorant.
You might come to the conclusion eventually that those ants care nothing for your Christianity. This is the way all living things on the planet feel with the exception of Christians and half of them are on the fence. Least of all Dinosaurs lost any sleep worrying about salvation.
I don’t need to leave the museum or take an entomology class to conclude that ants are indifferent about Christianity. Since ants are not made in the image of God and do not have the ability to reason, I do not expect them to care about Christianity; although, we can learn some lessons from them about hard work (Proverbs 6:6–8). Nor would I expect that dinosaurs worried about salvation from sin.
It really doesn’t matter if animals care about Christianity, but it certainly matters how you respond to the message of Christ.
I suspect you know this already. Why else would you take the time to write and mock the teachings of the Creator? I believe it is because you
know deep down that His Word is true, but you are suppressing “
the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
The problem isn’t a lack of evidence for God’s existence, since we all know that He does exist.
The problem isn’t a lack of evidence for God’s existence, since we all know that He does exist (Romans 1:20–21). The problem is your heart—you love your sin too much and refuse to humble yourself, turn from that sin, and ask God to save you from the penalty we all deserve for our wickedness. You can try to come up with excuse after excuse for refusing to repent, but one day you will face the Creator. Then you will be out of excuses and without opportunity to trust in Christ for salvation.
Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus, God’s Son, humbled Himself by coming to earth as a man. He was willing to die on the Cross in our place. “
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).
I pray that you will recognize your sinfulness, humble yourself, bow the knee before your Creator, and proclaim Jesus is Lord before it’s too late. If you continue to reject Him, someday you will be humbled, you will kneel, and you will proclaim Jesus is Lord, but you will not have the opportunity to repent. Instead, you will be judged and suffer eternally for your sins. Please take the time to carefully consider what Jesus has done for you and what your appropriate response should be.
Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S.