When someone claims that the Universe is only a few thousand years old, that person effectively leave only three possibilities to explain my claims that the Universe is billions of years old.
- My colleagues and I are incompetent at interpreting the evidence.
- Scientists are deliberately deceiving the public.
- God has created a Universe that appears older than it actually is.
The third possibility is a strictly theological one that I will not address here. However, many Christians who accept a Young-Earth Creationist interpretation of Genesis believe that the Universe does not appear to be billions of years old. For instance, Dr. John Morris, President of the Institute for Creation Research, claims that “when we look at the evidence in light of what [God] has told us, the universe doesn’t even look old. The real evidence is fully compatible with an origin only thousands of years ago.” That leaves only the first two possibilities.
Therefore, when a Christian staunchly holds a YEC view, that Christian is implicitly or explicitly calling nearly all members of the scientific community either fools (possibility 1) or liars (possibility 2). These are both very insulting accusations, and perceived insults from Christians toward scientists makes my witness more difficult, as I alluded to in Answer 1.
These insults and accusations are not always implicit. Explicit examples include accusations of “brainwashing” I mentioned in Answer 1. Matt Kaufman, a columnist for Focus on the Family, has accused scientists who believe in an old Earth or biological macro-evolution of being “narrow-minded” and soaking “up the conceit that they’re the smartest people around.” In Kenya, according to The Economist, “Creationism is deemed a fact—so much so that the National Museum of Kenya has had to hide away its precious trove of ancient human remains to protect them from Christians who want them destroyed.”
Such language and threats of vandalism, as might be expected, results in verbal retaliation from some scientists. Prof. Bob Park has called a book claiming that the Grand Canyon was formed by Noah’s flood a “silly religious tract.” In The God Delusion (p. 94), Prof. Richard Dawkins claims that “Sophisticated Christians do not need George Gershwin to convince them that ‘The things that your li’ble / To read in the Bible / It ain’t necessarily so’. But there are many unsophisticated Christians out there who think it absolutely is necessarily so.” I am sure those reading this entry could easily supply a much longer list, but I want to finish this and post it.
This feedback loop of smugness and arrogance helps no one and makes seriously degrades or eliminates the credibility of Jesus in the eyes of scientists and vice versa.