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Young Earth Creationism

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Young Earth Creationism (YEC) is a form of creationism that accepts a literal, historical, interpretation of the creation story in Genesis. Young Earth Creationists (YECs) usually believe the age of the Earth to be ~6,000 to ~10,000 years old and the Earth and the life on it were created during 6 consecutive 24-hour days. They believe all "kinds" of plants and animals, essentially in their modern forms, were created during this 6-day period. The belief in a young Earth is what distinguishes YEC from Old Earth Creationism (OEC), which accepts an old Earth and modern geology. Both YECs and OECs reject evolutionary theory, usually accepting "microevolution," while rejecting "macroevolution." However, the common ground between the two creationist camps does not lead the YECs to join forces with their brethren; rather, they frequently attack OECs with as much bitterness as they attack evolutionary biologists, calling them "compromising," "treasonous," or otherwise accusing them of betraying their faith. YEC is typically the more vocal form of creationism also Young Earth Creationism is the most common form of creationism in the world .

Additionally, most YECs accept the story of Noah's Flood as written in the Bible as literally true. They believe that the flood was a world-wide event and that all animals on Earth today have descended from one pair (or seven pairs) of every animals taken aboard Noah's Ark, which landed on "the mountains of Ararat" about 4,000 years ago[1]. Many YEC's have interpreted this passage to refer to Mt. Ararat in modern-day Turkey, and numerous expeditions have been launched to scale the mountain and find the Ark's remains. They argue that what modern science recognizes as a fossil record with an extensive history was really laid down within one year during the Flood.

YEC, as a theory, depends on the a priori belief that the Bible is literally true. If that prior belief is not held, then there is no theoretical reason to consider its tenets as part of a coherent whole. YECs argue, however, that regardless of one's prior beliefs, the empirical evidence supports a young Earth, a one week creation, Noah's Flood, and the rest. Each of these claims can be considered as separate hypotheses and weighed accordingly since the factual basis of one is typically independent of the others. However, these hypotheses are starkly at odds with modern science.


YEC can be, at least in principle, falsified from any number of angles. In particular, trying to cram Earth history into such a short time-frame is fraught with difficulty, as most of geology and astronomy show clear evidence that the Earth and the Universe have been around for orders of magnitude longer. Additionally, the Noah's Flood story is impossible to defend. Nearly every aspect of the story, from trying to fit myriad kinds of animals onto a wooden ship, to the improbability of such a ship being built the technology of the day, to having only two (or fourteen, depending on which verse you take literally) specimens of each animal kind generate all of today's genetic diversity within 4,000 years, to the question of how Noah and his family were supposed to have cared for all those animals, is simply untenable. Once the Flood story is dismissed, the fossil record clearly rules out a 6-day creation. Taken together, these problems make Noah's Flood and YEC in general appealing only to True Believers. While attempting to reconcile a given piece of disconfirming evidence, YECs will readily invent ad hoc explanations, no matter how strange, and insist on their veracity in the absence of any independent evidence. In doing so, they usually create additional conflicts with modern science and dig themselves an even deeper hole.

The result is that YECs, in order to maintain consistency, are generally forced to declare almost every aspect of contemporary science at fault, including biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and physics. They explain away the universal rejection of their claims by resorting to bizarre conspiracy theories in which the whole of the scientific community is engaged in a willful and pernicious attempt to cover-up the truth. Aside from being inflammatory, such absurdities make it hard for most scientifically informed people to take them seriously. And to make matters worse, most prominent YECs have earned a reputation for extreme dishonesty, thanks to a penchant for peddling bogus claims long after they have been discredited. It is important to note that while prominent YECs in general have earned this reputation, there are notable exceptions that are well-regarded for their honesty and civility, if not their beliefs.

See also

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