This may seem like a rather weird post but I'm working on a non-fiction book about the conflict between evolutionists and creationists, and I've been doing a lot of reading lately on the creationist positions. (There are more than one.) Last night I was working on a section on Young-Earth creationists and I thought I'd post it here.
Why you ask? Two reasons. 1) I think it's pretty interesting that folks can hold the Young-Earth view despite the evidence against it. 2) I do not want to give a false or misleadingly negative description of anyone's views. So, if you happen to know anything about this issue, please let me know if you feel I've misrepresented anything in my description of the Young-Earth viewpoint. I want to get it right.
The term “Creationist” is often used to designate people who believe that God created the universe, the Earth, and human beings in pretty much the form that these things exist in now. Creationists are often depicted as accepting the Bible literally, not only as a guide to how humans should live, but as an actual history of the universe and its life forms. These commonly held beliefs about creationists are incredible oversimplifications. I want to talk here about some of the different viewpoints within the creationist camp.
Adherents of the young-earth view most closely resemble the stereotype that people at large have of creationists in general. Although there is variability even here, most young-earth creationists accept a literal interpretation of the Bible’s Book of Genesis for the creation of earth. They believe that God took six literal days to do the work, and that the earth is only about 6,000 years old. This date is arrived at by counting the generations listed in the Bible. They also tend to support the Biblical report of an earth-wide flood, which is thought to have happened about 4,000years ago.
One of the most outspoken proponents of young-earth creationism is Duane Gish, an American who is trained as a biochemist, although his work for the past few decades has been outside the laboratory and in the creationist arena. Gish, who is also considered to be a fundamentalist Baptist, denies that evolution meets the criteria for a scientific theory, and urges the teaching of “Creation Science” in the classroom. This would include teaching the “young” age of the earth, and that most “fossils” are the remnants of animals killed in Noah’s flood. He is currently affiliated with the Institute for Creation Research.