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Young Earth Creationism


Strange as it may seem, there are a large number of people out there who think the universe and everything in it popped into existence on 22nd October 4004 BC. The date was calculated by Bishop James Ussher of Ireland in 1654 after careful study of the Bible and other historical texts. YEC proponents must take the Bible literally when it tells of God creating the universe in 6 days, because to deny it would mean potentially denying other biblical stories just because they conflict with science. If Jesus rising from the dead must be true because the Bible says so, then Noah's flood, the Tower of Babel (a tower built by humans so tall God feared it would reach heaven; in anger he destroyed it and as punishment, so they could no longer understand one another made all nations speak different languages) and the Red Sea parting for Moses to cross when fleeing Egypt must be a fact of history. If the Bible is the world of God, every story or miracle in it must be true no matter how outlandish, therefore the 6000 yo universe must be true, no ifs no buts.

This creates cognitive dissonance when it comes to science which obviously points out that the Universe is around 14.5b years, the Earth is around 4.5b years and life evolved into the myriad species we see today. In order to accept the young-Earth premise, whole swathes of science must be denied or refuted. And this is what they do. One of the most famous YEC is Australian born Christian fundamentalist Ken Ham. Ham operates the infamous Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky. The latter is a 155m long supposed replica of Noah's Ark in which visitors can see a mock up of what the designers think a ship with 2 examples of 8.7m species would have looked like. The nearby Creation Museum is dedicated to the Biblical narrative and tries to demonstrate using exhibitions, dioramas (including Adam & Eve hand-feeding friendly velociraptors), displays, wallboards etc (just like a REAL museum!) that science clearly shows the Earth is actually not actually very old. e.g. did you know the layers of the Grand Canyon were actually laid down in Noah's Flood?

Most of the arguments are laughably ridiculous to anyone versed in actual science, especially in paleontology, geology, physics, human origins and much much more. However, they create a pseudoscientific veneer of respectability that can satisfy someone already believing in a literal Bible. The visitor numbers to these parks/museums and several like them around the world (there's a great one in Portsmouth in the UK) is unclear. Ham's Ark Encounter claimed it had had 800,000 visitors in the year after it opened in 2016 and the Creation Museum claimed it was around 1m visitors a year. In many cases visitors may be skeptics and freethinkers going for a laugh - there are lots of blog posts of visits by several such groups and individuals - but they do have an impact on the faithful, especially if schools or kids groups organise visits.

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