How old is the Earth?
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Saturday, September 03, 2011
9/03/11 at 7:40 AM
Jonathan Sarfati is a young Earth creationist, meaning he believes God created the Earth and all life on it some 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Nearly all scientists and academics believe the Earth is much older than that, some 4.5 billion years old, an age necessary for the slow progression of developing life required by the theory of evolution.
Academics tend to view the 40 percent to 50 percent of Americans who hold a young-Earth position as ignorant or unintelligent or both.
But Sarfati, author of Refuting Evolution, a top-selling creation book, does not fit that profile.
He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, and he was the New Zealand national chess champion, who once tied world champion Boris Spassky in a tournament. For fun, Sarfati plays up to a dozen chess opponents simultaneously, alternating moves between 12 boards while blindfolded.
He will be one of the main speakers Sept. 10 at an all-day Creation Ministries International Oklahoma regional conference at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Broken Arrow.
Sarfati works in Atlanta with the U.S. office of the Creation Ministries International, based in Brisbane, Australia.
Here are edited excerpts from a recent telephone interview:
Tulsa World: How strong is the scientific evidence for classical Darwinian evolution?
Sarfati: You can't make a good argument for it. Even going back in history, most of Darwin's criticism from his contemporaries came from other scientists. A lot of his support came from the clergy, which is the reverse of what people usually think.
What do you believe are the chief flaws in the theory?
First, the origin of first life, chemical evolution, makes no sense at all.
Second, the origin of the information, the origin of new genes that would be required to go from the simplest living cell to complicated multi-cell creatures. The simplest cell we know of has about 600 kilobytes of information. Human cells have about three gigabytes of information. There must be a way to increase the information content, and this is what we're not seeing.
In Darwin's day, little was known about cells. Now we know so much more about the information content, the molecular machinery of cells. It makes his case much weaker than it was back then.
How does the discovery of DNA affect the theory of evolution?
DNA is the best storage system for information in the universe, leaving Bill Gates in the dust, which he himself has admitted.
Evolution has no explanation for the order of chemicals and the information on DNA molecules.
If belief in evolution is not scientifically defensible, why is it so widely held in the scientific community?
Evolutionists have their own bias, and their bias is a materialistic world view. We have admissions from (some of them) who said they have to accept the view, no matter how counter-intuitive because they have a commitment to materialism.
This consensus was reached by counting heads. It's a case of self-reinforcement, confirmation bias. It's not a case of a deliberate conspiracy but a case of wanting to follow the crowd. Being in the minority is hard for people, and scientists are no exception.
Why is this debate important?
It's pretty foundational. Where have we come from? What is our duty? These are fundamental questions. The creation-evolution issue strikes at the foundation.
If we were created by God, he owns us and has the right to make the rules for us. If no one made us, then there's no real basis for right and wrong. And this is what some evolutionists themselves have said, that there's no real foundation for ethics.
What about the young Earth debate? Why does it matter to a Christian to believe that?
One thing is, what's our authority? Do we believe the Bible is God's word, which is the traditional Christian belief?
Young Earth creationism is important to understanding the entire creation and redemption story. The Apostle Paul thought so, clearly.
What about the contrary evidence from scientific dating methods?
There are always assumptions behind dating methods. They're not infallible. They can be made to point to a young Earth, as well as an old Earth.
The evidence is not what people think. For example, people think that carbon 14 dating proves millions of years, but carbon 14 dating itself argues against millions of years.
What: Creation Ministries International regional conference
Who: Guest speakers Jonathan Sarfati and Gary Bates
When: 9 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Sept. 10
Where: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 400 N. Aspen Ave., Broken Arrow
For more: www.tulsaworld.com/creation
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
Photo illustration by DAVID HOUSH/Tulsa World