Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
On 24 May 2006 Answers in Genesis posted a letter by guest columnist Dr. Frank DeRemer, which dealt primarily with ocean salt.1 Other issues were thrown out in the letter by DeRemer, in rather quick fashion, with no explanations. Readers were just left to accept these arguments at face value.
In this rebuttal, I'll give you links to the "rest of the story." None of the issues that DeRemer raises are valid arguments for a young earth.
The main argument is about ocean salt. This argument says that based on salt input and output from the oceans, they could not be older than 62 million years. This is an old argument, and was rebutted many years ago. The rebuttal claims that the young earth authors left off some important salt removal methods. The main problem I have with it is that it assumes that salt accumulation in the past was the same that it is today. There is scientific basis for assuming this, as manmade pollution contributes much additional sodium to the ocean.
When you scroll down into his letter to his friend, he lists many other issues. He claims that the Grand Canyon gives evidence of recent massive water flow and too little erosion. There is no such evidence unless you misinterpret the Canyon. He says there is no debris downstream from the canyon...but there is. Young earth creationists have to be blind not to see it! He mentions massive layers which have shifted 30 feet, without cracking. Rocks are actually fluid, and can flow, in a process known as plastic deformation. It is quite easy to model a layer shifting without cracking. He refers to an ancient, huge lake, which caused the flood. While there is evidence of small lakes, there is no evidence of a lake the size of the one required by young earth creation science.
Next, he claims that the moon, receding away from the earth , would have been touching the earth a billion years ago. This faulty argument is based on a lack of understanding of the physics involved. In another solar system claim, he says that large planets are losing heat too fast to be billions of years old. However, there are answers for this claim too.
He then tells about two stars that are far apart, yet they are exchanging material, and he concludes that the analysis is wrong. This is a new one to me. Earlier in the article, he said that if you wanted to learn more, just type in a few words into the Answers in Genesis search feature, and you could read about the full claims. I tried that, and it yielded no results for this one. Thus, I'm surprised this one got by the editors at Answers in Genesis.
Next, he goes into an attack upon radiometric dating. Fortunately, the RATE, or Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth group completed their 8-year long study recently, and published their "proofs" of a young earth. In a review of this work, in the book Thousands...not Billions, I've shown that they have in fact presented no credible evidence for a young earth.
With this, he returns to the salt argument, and concludes his letter. Although we have the same scientific data, he says that where old earthers see age, he sees youth. He says "The difference is in worldview and underlying assumptions, not in the scientific data."
Not really. The difference is that old earthers accept the scientific data, and young earthers do not. The young earth creation scientist first assumes that the world is young, and then he looks for ways to make the scientific data fit the young earth model. Rather than accepting the data as it is, it must be twisted first to fit a young earth. This is not science. Science makes observations, then reaches conclusions. The young earth scientist has reached the conclusion first, that the earth is young, and then he looks at the data to see how to make it fit his conclusion.
DeRemer says that he takes Genesis as literal, narrative history, and his friend, who he wrote this letter to, apparently does not. DeRemer says he takes Genesis seriously (while his friend does not). While this may be true, it is not true of most old earth creationists. (If his friend is a progressive creationist, it most certainly is not true.)
As an old earth creationist, I fully agree with DeRemer that Genesis is narrative history. DeRemer obviously misunderstands old earth creationism, as most young earth creationists do. You can accept an inerrant, infallible Word of God, a literal Genesis, and an old earth.
DeRemer, and others, are smart individuals, and must realize that people like myself, and Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, are just as conservative, and believe in an inerrant Word, just as they do. Why then do they deny this, and fail to recognize us as conservative Christians who are on equal footing spiritually. They have no justification, from the Word, to talk down to Christians who believe in an old earth.
Why doesn't Answers in Genesis want you to know this? If the word were to get out that you can be a Christian and believe in an old earth, then their support base would shrivel up. They don't want their followers to hear the truth, because young earth creationist organizations would have a tough time surviving without the support they enjoy from their followers. At the root of this denial is a need for dollars to support their ministries. If this is not so, prove it by issuing statements in full acceptance of conservative old earth creationism as a valid form of creationism, as exhibited by millions of progressive creationists.
Sources / For More Reading
1 "When I hear...", published at answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0524saltiness.asp
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