You could show them every shred of evidence that demonstrates that the earth is billions of years old. They’ll just tell you that the world is 6,000 years old and that it was “made with age”. You can’t win this one.


Woah. Made with age? Is that a real thing? What does that even mean?


That god for some weird reason decided to create the Earth with all scientific indicators that it is 4.5 billion years old.


A deceitful god


Or could it be...SATAN? (Another likely argument from the young earth creationists, that Satan just threw in all the red herrings into the geological record to confuse the believers.) Honestly, there's no use arguing with someone who has forsaken rationality. And since the young earth creationists are demonstrably religious, they're already a lost cause. Move on.


The problem is that their arguments /are/ rational. But they start with a conclusion and build a coherent argument to support it. It's called "apologetics". Rationality isn't the problem. Much of early science, I guess to Bacon, was built on that kind of thinking. Reading medieval history of logic and math, you see a process of trying to make the languages of "science" fit "what was known": observation of the natural world, Aristotle, and the Bible. And since they could only fit together rather clunkily, science didn't progress very quickly during that period. When you actually realize what they were going on, a lot of the craziness actually makes since. There were only four or five elements and the difference between gold and lead was an abundance of base elements so, figure out a way to get rid of the base elements in lead and you can make gold.




To confuse the nonbelievers. But it is entertaining the convoluted arguments the young earthers, the flat earthers, the hollow earthers come up with to support their favorite flavor of fantasy. As said, no way to talk them out of it,but why even try? Cognitive biases pretty much guarantee that we all have some islands of magical thinking...generally much more than we realize. I'm amazed how difficult it is to convince people that color (how we respond to different wavelengths of light) doesn't exist outside of our heads. My brother showed me a study a while back that indicated that people adopt "crazy" ideas in order to show inclusion in fringe groups. The crazier the idea, the more they belong. It gives me paws, since I'm a werewolf. LMAO.


Basically, the argument goes that it was intentionally created to be/appear old from the start, since a supreme being can create things like that. The argument is then extended to say it was created that way as a test of faith. And so on. As Indwrist2 said, you can't win this one. For every logical argument that you present, they will find some way to counter it with an excuse that cannot be objectively tested. The only way to "win" this game is not to play into it in the first place.


Without the hand wave of made with age you have to explain how galaxies over 10,000 light years can be seen.


"made with age"? You can answer that you just got a revelation, the earth is 6 minutes old, we were all created with memory and ongoing. No 4 minutes old, you just got a newer revelation... Maybe the answer to this [Last Thursdayism](https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism) is if God created the earth looking like it's 4.5 billions years old, maybe he wants to teach us something. We should study earth as God intend for us, as a 4.5 billion years old according to the evidences he let for us and follow his plan.


Actually, I *wish* they would just claim it was "made with age", like some kind of [Last Thursdayism](https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism). At least that way we could still study what appears to be an ancient earth, even if it was only made to look that way.


I am a Christian and hold BS and MS in geology and that's what I believe. Obviously there's a lot of nuance to that position that I can't possibly do justice in a reddit post, but yeah, I think at least "appearance of age" is something important for christians to accept.


I don’t mean to be rude but I am always bewildered by people who spend years getting a degree in something that goes fundamentally against their belief system, and then refuse to rectify that belief system when presented with the in depth knowledge they get from that degree. Frankly I don’t know many religious people who got a degree in geology. Of those that are religious, they just don’t take certain biblical stories super literally. I.e. the Earth and life did not take literally 6 Earth days to make, especially in part because human “days” did not even exist at the start of Genesis, they were one of the thing the Christian god created. Instead days could mean billions of years to a god, since a day is a relative measure of time. Maybe the latter thought process would help you. Assuming the Earth simply has the “appearance of age,” is a horrible scientific foundation to work from.


Former boss of mine, PhD in metamorphic petrology (I think, not specifically sure, but he was “the metamorphic guy”), was Christian. He was very much “what does science have to do with god? What does god have to do with science?”, and as far as I could tell he wasn’t a literalist, any quantifiable claim he’d approach scientifically. Was a weird guy, hyper competent though.


Oil job. Mining job. Get degree, get job. No critical thinking ability. No curiosity. Just "faith", which by definition is believing in something that someone else told you believe with no evidence. (Except prayer, which is like mediation (so of course it feels good!), and a great way to justify what you already think ("I could feel God's presence, so therefore it's God's will that I kill these Indians /enslave these black people/ etc/ ignore warnings about climate change" / etc) It's really too bad that they don't think of their brain as a tool given by God, to figure out complexity, and steward the earth for future generations.


I can respect religious people modifying their understanding of their belief system with additional evidence from science. I know people who consider evolution as the “tool” god used to create life and that relative to his perspective it only took a day but in reality it took billions of years. Respectable because their understanding of the world and their beliefs are being modified with evidence and science. However it is completely nonsensical to me that people go through life with foundational beliefs that they will bend all evidence to fit into it. Like believing god made the Earth to just look 4.5 billion years old just to continue to believe it is only 6000 years old? This unbendable perception of the world has *no place* in science, it is funamentally *not compatible* with the field. With this line of logic you are admitting you will believe whatever “theories” you hold regardless of any evidence to the contrary. That’s **not** a scientist, that is a theist costuming as a scientist. This said, I am in oil (gotta pay off student loans) and know people in mining. Everyone I know has curious minds and got into the field for passion. We love geology. There are far “easier” fields to get into for money, in my opinion. Geology usually requires 6 years of study to get into a good industry job, not to mention field camp. That said, I distantly know of one geologist who got into it for “money” and he is miserable and probably going to quit within a year or so. You have to like the topic to do the various geology jobs imo (or at least, do them well!).


This. I’m so glad to see someone arguing the point that after being presented with all the available data and evidence that the Earth is anything but billions of years old. If you’ve gone through college and have a B.Sc. (And a M.Sc.) in geology, you must be cherry-picking or have had not paid attention at all in school to disagree with the common consensus. I respect people in practicing their own religions but I will refute your beliefs if it involves plain ignorance, especially of a topic I know and love. Also, it’s kind of insulting when people think the oil and gas and minex jobs don’t require any cognitive thinking. Sure there are jobs like that in the sector, but somebody has to figure out where the resource is, and that takes time, knowledge, and the cooperation of a dedicated team of geologists and other members to complete. I work for a Junior exploration company and I’ve only been working in the mining and mineral exploration sector since July 2020, but I’m quickly moving up and gaining more responsibility. As a smaller company our geology team really needs to work together, bounce ideas off eachother, and we all need to understand the geologic environments and systems we’re working in. I think that’s more the case for exploration (oil or metals) and people just don’t get that it’s not just mindless sampling. Anyway, how do you enjoy oil and gas, if you don’t mind me asking?? I took a call called Quantitative Basin Analysis in grad school and it was intense, but it was really cool learning about basins, backstripping, seismic stratigraphy and the whole shebang so I got some background in it (albeit small). Just curious to hear your experience!


Take your degrees and throw them in the garbage


Yep. It would be like my having a BS in biology but not accepting evolution as the underlying principle that governs the biological world. In other words, really, mind bendingly stupid.


How do you understand the age of dinosaurs? I'm curious.


Lemme guess: you work for an oil company? Mining? Get degree, get job. You're not actually interested in science.


You have to be talented in those fields to land those jobs, I have never met someone in oil or mining that believed the Earth was 6000 years old. I doubt this person works as a Geologist.


This is a serious question: how do you deal with all the contradictions that arise from your point of view? Do you ignore them or is there some mechanism you employ to explain the differences between your beliefs and the collected evidence established by science over the preceding centuries?


I'm glad you responded -- sorry to see everyone's downvoting you! If you don't mind me asking, when do you think the world was created? I'm assuming you don't literally believe it was created last Thursday (though you might).




Ah, the classic I can't articulate my position for no reason. Try us. Or come to r/debateevolution and try.


The bible never specifies how long Adam and Eve were in the garden if Eden, just saying…


It does say Adam's age when he died though, and it wasn't in the billions.


900 something I believe




I know you're getting downvoted to hell here, but I think it's kind of unfair. You said that Christians should *at least* accept appearance of age, which is an entirely fair statement, and I'm not even religious. I'm an agnostic atheist. I mean think about it, if the world was just popped into existence 6,000 odd years ago with everything perfectly pre-aged and such there'd be 0 difference to modern scientific theory, eveything functions how we think it does, nothing is directly contradictory, both explanations work. You're not exactly saying anything incorrect, just unfalsifiable, which vexes and enrages reddit atheists. There's actually a thought experiment I think rooted in quantum mechanics which points out that if spontaneous entropy reversal is what began the universe, it is statistically more likely (due to a smaller change in entropy) that the universe was made just now, in its current arrangement complete with a fake-but-perfectly-accurate history. Except the key difference is because its not religious, people don't go apeshit on you for bringing it up. But it's functionally the exact same logic. I don't know why people are malding so hard over this, there's far worse ignorance in the world. They probably need to re-evaluate if shitting on the most harmless form creationism can take is really useful to anyone.


Thanks man, I appreciate your understanding. I do feel like it's a reasonable position to take for exactly the reasons you mentioned.




>We know nothing until we die I think you mean we know nothing when we die. You know, because our brains stop working? That's kinda a key part of being dead.


Haha good point. I almost started an argument with this dude but decided it wasn’t worth it


They don’t believe in carbon dating. And once they’ve invalidated that, you’re struggling for any kind of footing to stand on. I befriended a creationist recently (not realizing she is one, or the extent of her Christianity-based wackadoodle bullshit until I was in too deep) and now my family and I keep biting our tongues around her and her kids because they’re convinced jesus made the earth when he made people. Her twelve year old son straight up laughed in my face when I was talking about the petrified trees by my old home being about 360 million years old. That’s when I found out they’re creationists. They also dismiss every “theory” (like evolution) as being just another passing trend within the scientific community.


There have always been young earth creationists but the rising trend of nationalist-populist paranoid anti-science naysaying has become quite scary IMO. These people have a belief that science represents the long arm of some kind of elitist, technocratic, socialist shadow government that wants to track their every move with implants, eliminate their (usually caucasian) ethnicity, destroy religion and family, and force progressive social ideas and policies onto their lives. With these people, everything you say will just be twisted into more “proof” of their paranoid theories. It reminds me of Salvador Dali’s (the surrealist) “paranoaic-critical method”, which he used to deconstruct reality and enter a state of pure subjectivity.


You could tell them that if the earth really is 6000 years old, god is an extreme dick because he really would have gone to a huge effort to trick us into thinking it is older with all the evidence.


God being a dick would become "he's just testing you!" to that crowd. Remember when God made Job and his family suffer? Allowed Lot and his daughters to have incest in the name of family lineage? Sent 2 bears to murder a group of kids who were bullying someone for being bald?


You might as well argue with a turnip. Honestly they will just ignore salient facts then create a circular argument worthy of a petulant 8 year old and...frustrate you. I just sigh and walk away from people like that. They just waste your time and conversation or debate is a reward for them. I honestly believe that most of them do it just to be noticed and different...they din5 actually believe this crap but they live attention it gets them. My wish is that companies would start asking those sorts of questions during job applications...it would cut down on the drama in workplaces and I am pretty sure that this recent surge in garbage would quickly die out.


If someone truly believes the earth is young, they will not believe anything else. They will accept anything that supports their belief and think that anything else is a hoax. I had this issue with a flat -earther I used to work with.


Yeah, no point discussing radioisotope dating, they know that K - Ar / U - Pb dating are based on flawed logic created by atheist scientists desperate to disprove God. They've read many articles on this by Institution of Creation Research scientists in Ex Nihilo magazine. So they know it's all flawed.


i recommend adding a /s to this for the slow ones like me to be able to figure it out, this sounds almost exactly like actual creationist-speak


Well the Earth is young. The heatdeath is about 10^106 years away and quantum universal rebirth is about 10^10^10^56 years after that. 10^7 years is pretty damn young.


Well, when you put it like that.


>quantum universal rebirth is about 10101056 I've never heard this theory, can you tell me more?




Yeah, that's probably true. I'm hoping that the person I'm dealing with isn't too far gone yet. So far, I think they're just asking questions because they don't know any better, and they're being told what's what by young earthers around them. *If* there's anything that would still get them back to reality, where would you recommend starting?


You can delve into K - Ar / U - Pb dating, and how astronomical observations of stellar objects millions of light years away confirm that radioactive decay is constant across the universe. So, if God created a nebula 30 million light years away, 6000 years ago, that our observations of show that radioactive decay in that nebula occurs at the same rate as it does on Earth, then God also created its light 29,994,000 light years into its journey to us, and that light He created especially close, confirms radioactive decay constants observed on Earth, and He must have done so for some special reason. (The fact that we can even see objects millions of light years away in a 6000 year old universe is also something else to discuss) Lastly, point them to St Augustine of Hippo, in _De Genesis ad litteram_: "Often a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances,... and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do all that we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, lest the unbeliever see only ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn"


I'm actually kind of glad to be dealing with this problem, in a small way. Until today I had never actually looked up how the clock *starts* on radioisotope dating.


Holy crap what an Amazing quote! Saving this! Ty


Fossils is always a good place to start, but I fear they will think it is all just a “hoax”


Any particular place to start? Young earthers think fossils are...sigh...creatures that died during a worldwide flood a few thousand years ago.


I start with ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica. Geologically young but still fantastically older than their supposed age of Earth. Although as noted, they are not easily swayed by reality.


How do people tell how old ice cores are? (I'm sure they have a way of determining their age, I just know nothing about them.)


They literally just count the layers, each one represents a winter. Some of the cores can be as much as 300,000 layers long, so unless the creationist is going to argue that there were hundreds of winters per year at some stage (which some will) it’s a pretty comprehensible example.


So they’re like tree rings? More deposition in the snowy season, less in the dry season?




In many cases for glaciers with forests nearby, these chronologies are actually verified with tree ring chronologies. Glaciers accumulate different ratios of stable Oxygen isotopes (16/18) as do tree rings. Cross-dating the two can greatly decrease the uncertainty of the glaciochronology, especially if the dendrochronology can be anchored to the present.


I have always been curious, why do the layers represent years and not storms?


The good part is that we've been collecting ice cores for so long that we've been able to observe the process happening. We can observe an ice core from a glacier now, then take another core from that same glacier in ten years. If it's added another ten layers, that's a pretty good sign that layers correspond to years.


I think petrified wood is very interesting but I also think you are wasting your time. We live in a world FULL of information so anyone claiming the earth is 6000 years young is either fucking with you or willfully ignorant... you don't win in either case! I recently saw my little cousin (raised JW and I know young earth is discussed).... guess who was pretty impressed by 225+ million year old petrified wood. Yes, it's incomprehensible but fascinating.


Well, as far as human remains go, the oldest “modern” human remains are approx 300,000 years old. The “Jebel Irhoud Skulls” The oldest life on earth has been date to approx 3.4 BILLIONS YEARS OLD. these dates have been proven by science, but unfortunately for you, this doesn’t mean it isn’t all just a big “hoax”


Thanks, I hadn't heard of Jebel Irhoud. It looks like a very interesting site.


Math. If you take the number of species alive today, and apply it to what species we know of from the past, there is no way that a breeding population of each species could have coexisted together. We would be up to our neck in animals and plants. The formation of fossil fuels is also a good point of entry that has easily verifiable math. If you can't convince them on these alone, they are probably to far gone. At which point you have to start from the deprogramming angle and teach logic and philosophy and apply it to different subjects until eventually you can reapproach it once they have the fundamental skills to critically think on their own. An essential part of this process is not to attack religious beliefs as they are typically a huge part of someone's identity, and there's nothing in the Bible that actually says the earth is x years old. Find common ground like the great flood. The great flood absolutely happened, and we have a good idea of when and how scientifically. Create common ground and show that science is not the antithesis to religion.


The great flood (a worldwide flood) did not happen, at least not in the past billion years. There would have indeed been large floods in human history, in the Middle East and parts of Western US, but never have the world's continents been submerged. For one thing there's isn't enough water. For another, there is no geological layer from a worldwide flood. There is however an iridium rich layer of dust between Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks, caused by the Chixculub meteor which killed the dinosaurs 65 MYA.


Thanks for clarifying. The continents were never submerged as you said. But there is evidence pointing towards a large simultaneous flooding event. There is a theory regarding Lake Aggassiz that is quite interesting and worth a google.


I am aware of the Lake Agassiz event. While huge, it was still localized to the PNW. That leaves 95% of North America unaffected. Naturally the ice had to melt, but it took centuries. I've had to look at a lot of data to debunk some creationists about this and when presented with it, they will just bend every point of evidence to their paradigm.


I don’t know much about young earthers. Are they also very religious?


(I'm just starting to learn about them myself, so take my description of them with a grain of salt.) As far as I can tell, these are people who believe that Genesis (the first book of the Bible) is all literally true. That drags in all kinds of bizarre ideas (like Noah's Ark or the Tower of Babel) but the one I'm focusing on is simply the age of the earth. A chronology from the Bible puts the earth as just a few thousand years old, which is about as off as saying the Eiffel Tower is as tall as the thickness of a sheet of paper.


There is an entire anti-science industry built out of anti-evolution/young earth apologetics. Keep in mind that almost everything you mention - tectonics, continental drift, fossils, varves, etc likely has a canned response that they can wheel out. That canned response isn't likely to be rigorous, accurate or even logical, because they aren't interested in arguing science. They are arguing using rhetorical techniques and emotion. The other thing to keep in mind is that creationism/young earth feeds into the desire held by many people to feel that they have some secret knowledge and that they know things the 'sheeple' don't. The debate often isn't about facts, but about how a person wants to see themselves.


It's also really fun to tell them that all the canned responses can be used against their own "evidence" to which they will then fall back on faith and obviously that's your clue as to the nature of the discussion you're having and it certainly isn't scientific.


Now, that's a fun little argument, because the 'Earth can only be 6000 years old' idea is proved wrong in the first five verses of Genesis. Going by those verses, Earth was created before day/night was created. Thus, Earth existed before any time divisions. It could be any age over 6000 years. And since God's eternal and time is of no consequence to him, who are they to say how long the Earth sat "formless and empty" before God kicked off the rest of creation? So that's got the Precambrian covered. Have fun with the fossil part, I think that's one's harder.


Just make them explain why young earth is factual... then tell them you don't think the Bible is a credible source, as you would then have to consider that ALL religious texts are credible sourced. I had a religi-nut telling me the other day that the resurrection of Christ was FACT and that there was research to back it up (you know for those that like a little research backed theory)!! Lmao.......


[Bill Hicks - Dinosaurs in the Bible ](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzKV8oaI9V8)


I love a Bill Hicks sighting in the wild.


If they aren’t entrenched in it and just dabbling, I want to hop on the “use the Bible to refute what they’re hearing” train - assuming they already believe in Christianity and are just going down a side-road, that is. The way I see it is 2 Peter 3:9 says that God is patient, not wishing that any should perish (go to hell) but that all should have eternal life AND Romans 1:20 talks about how there is evidence of God’s handiwork in nature. So why would He then “test our faith” by hiding he real age of the earth with back-dated fossils? So many people walk away from the church because they can’t reconcile what their eyes tell them vs what certain schools of thought teach. And even more people that aren’t raised in the church reject it out of hand for the very same reason. So the intent of those verses doesn’t match the outcome of a “young earth made to look old” mentality. Also, God doesn’t lie… but filling the world with loads of “fake” evidence that purposefully conceals the truth… how is that not lying? I was raised in this mindset and was always told that a) scientists are all anti-religion and are trying desperately to come up with “proof” that God doesn’t exist. Like Pangea and man from monkey?! How desperate must science be to eliminate God to say these things? and b) there are certain parts of the Bible that don’t work if they aren’t taken literally, so that’s how we know you have to view the whole thing literally. And we know certain parts of the Bible are literally true - like Jesus - then we also know the more fantastical parts, like Noah’s flood and a 6 day creation week, are also literally true. I’ll recommend a few things because they are what initially started me down the road of really investigating the beliefs I’d been raised with Vs what I can see in the physical world and what the Bible says about the character of God. 1. Compassion and space for this person to ask dumb questions - don’t talk down to them. Listen. Talk through things with them. And most importantly, remember that this is not a battle to be won but a journey that they are taking, and you can take with them. But trying to force anything, especially when they are unsure and surrounded by people that will point to your negative, hostile attitude toward them as evidence that you have something you’re hiding or scared of admitting. (Not that you are reacting that way… just generalizing from my experiences) 2. Podcast: How Carbon-14 Dating Works from Stuff You Should Know. If you aren’t knowledgeable in science stuff, suggest listening to it together so you can both learn, and be open to pausing and discussing anytime any questions come up from either one of you. 3. Book: Nazarenes Exploring Evolution - this was a project from the Church of the Nazarene to help dispel the myth that evolution and creation are mutual opposed and mutually exclusive ideas. This really helped me when I started questioning things because I wanted to know the truth but I also didn’t want to give up my faith. I knew other Christians had managed to reconcile the two viewpoints and I wanted to know how, or if it was just compartmentalization. It’s a scary thing to realize your entire worldview might be completely wrong, and it’s even scarier to have to admit it to others and actually change. Remember there is probably some of this internal struggle going on in your family member right now. I literally spent the last year and a half wrestling with this question after 30 years of being raised with this worldview - I don’t know that I’ve fully reconciled everything just yet, there’s a lot of unlearning I’m doing. But I’m also now in school working towards a bachelors of science in geology and making plans to move to central Washington for graduate school once that’s done - so whoever it was that said these sorts of people will never believe anything else, they’re wrong. But it takes work, intention, and a desire to change on their part. And a heaping pile of compassion and patience if you’re willing to step into this and help.


Having lived through the same difficult process, I would like to commend you for your thoughtfulness and offer some encouragement. It takes courage to question one’s entire world view, especially when asking questions creates distance between us and our community and family. You are forging a new identity, and a new understanding of Nature and your place in it. No small thing! I am grateful that I had an opportunity to leave home and attend university, which gave me the tools and the intellectual room I needed for my journey. My family had kept me in a very small, sheltered world, and emerging from that was shocking, exciting, overwhelming, and life-changing. That was nearly forty years ago, but the excitement has never diminished. Learning about the true workings of Nature has been a stronger, more meaningful enterprise than religion could ever provide for me. No matter how ugly life gets at times, I can always open a science journal for comfort!


Thank you! It really has been very stressful and scary - especially when dealing with family - but also so wonderful. I feel like a kid again, learning things for the first time and finding reasons to be interested in the most mundane things! I finally feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. I wish I could fully share it with the people I care about, but even if I never can, it’s still definitely been worth the effort.


hey u/trampolinebears, we have a winner! This really should be pinned somehow, definitely the best approach to it, take an angle from places they obviously trust, and build from there. Never had to deal with any of this myself, or with anyone I know, but I've seen too many attempts at introducing people to it get derailed by faulty beginnings and very blunt approaches.


These are usually the same people who believe three guys on camels followed a supernova across a desert and were thus delivered to a particular livestock shed in which an infant born of a virgin lay in a manger whence he would eventually save humankind from itself, but not before raising a rotting corpse from a grave and restoring him, walking and fully conscious, to his family. Don't waste your breath, Darlin'.


I grew up Christian schools in the south, and I was fuuull of questions when i was a kid. I learned the meaning of bullshit at a very young age when I’d present facts, only to be met with the answer, “God put it there to test our faith.” Thats it. Thats what they think. Everything layered into the planet...all placed there within the last 6,000 years and made to look old, just to test our faith. You’re probably not gonna get anywhere with someone who thinks this way.


That could actually be the only opening you need. You simply say “correct!, it IS a matter of faith to you to believe what you believe, …science however, accepts evidence and reason which is why I reject the young Earth idea.” …would you please pass the cranberry sauce?


I had the same upbringing. Ironically, when my church showed that Hamm vs Nye debate years ago hoping to enforce the whole "science is fake" viewpoint, it actually just pushed me full on into the science. I was open to it though because I cared more about answers than beliefs. That has to be a factor. People have to be open to thinking outside of their preconceived beliefs and understanding, otherwise no amount of evidence will change it.


I don't accept your answer. God only put it there to test my faith in rational science. /s


You relate to things they understand, like how long will a log fuel a fire? Or how long does it take water to boil? Then you discuss Uranium 238 and the associated decay rate, and that this is well understood research; otherwise, nuclear power wouldn’t exist. You could talk about sedimentation rates and processes, if you have a coke bottle and some silt/sand. They might idiotically refer to Noah. For climate change, i always ask if people have flown. Then ask them what they see when the look down. From cities, quarries, roads, agriculture. I then proceed to ask them if they feel it’s logical that the atmosphere remains unaffected from all that activity. Then I ask them to think about how many cars they see on the road and explain it was buried fuel, like a gallery of unopened soda bottles all being opened at once (meaning 2 centuries). I usually attempt to checkmate by then asking the most important question. “Do you really think innovation and green technology is worse than current solutions.” After all, the best thing before oil was whale blubber.


Took a while of scrolling to find someone who actually answered the question. Yeah yeah, some, maybe a lot, of people are stubborn in their ways and you just can’t reason with them, but there are some who aren’t, who just haven’t been taught anything other than Sunday school. Thanks u/Macropod


You could also read up on James Hutton, the Scottish geologist who was the first to dispute (and prove wrong) the 6000 year old argument. That number came from people adding up the number of generations since Adam and Eve and reflects the religious basis for science that was prevalent until the late 1700s. Hutton realised that number was wrong. You can read about that here https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/father-modern-geology-youve-never-heard-180960203/ Whether that will cut any ice with your family is another matter..:-)


You don't. You can't reason someone out of a firmly held belief they didn't reason themselves into. Now, having said that, it can be fun to try, but be aware that many people have a natural response to dig themselves deeper into the hole in response to your efforts to educate them If you want to try and convince them without causing them to dig in then I suggest you read up (a lot) on how to persuade people away from such beliefs. You may need to rely on some very careful, emotionally nuanced, arguments. Hitting them with hard facts usually does (them) more harm than good.


Thankfully, it doesn't sound like they're holding any sort of firm belief here. From what I can tell, they're just kind of curious about the whole concept and don't know enough to argue for or against it. If it turns out they're not entrenched in their beliefs yet, what would you suggest I show them to get them started on the idea of an old earth?


Keep in mind, that if they are "dabbling" then they are probably not even capable of assessing evidence. They may well see you present something on Lake Suigetsu, and then assume that because their idiot mates claim some minor quibble with a study about varves, that those two things are equal. The place to start is probably to teach them how science works. The NCSE website may be a good place to look. They specialise in teaching this sort of thing, and have been on the pointy end of these culture wars for decades. https://ncse.ngo


What makes this really hard is that my relative *isn't* new to science. They've spent decades working in a material science field. I just don't understand what's happening to them.


That's actually a bad situation then. That means that they may well be familiar with an environment based on debate and argumentative techniques. That means that they may respond well to the emotional/rhetorical/non-scientific arguments of creationism. More importantly, they may also be able to identify arguments or situations that set off the cognitive dissonance inherent to creationism and avoid those situations.


You need to find out who is feeding them the idea. It’s often one person who sends YouTube links etc. almost every YouTube dumb idea has a “debunked” video. For example, radiocarbon dating is flawed, debunked. There are lots of informative videos on that one.


I would start with plate tectonics. You can look at a map and see the continents used to be joined. There is fossil records to prove this. Plate tectonics was proved by mapping the magnetic reversal in the Atlantic Ocean’s spreading crust. We can date rocks using radioactive decay analysis https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiometric_dating As others have said, they probably won’t be receptive to any logic. But try to start here. These are scientifically testable proof for an “old” earth.


That's actually a really good idea. The matching shapes of Africa and South America is something even kids notice on maps, which helps make it *feel* tangible. My guess is that this person is starting off with what feels right, before ever getting to any real evidence.


That's because the [earth is expanding.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HDb9Ijynfo) /s


Maybe the earth is expanding so fast that we’re not experiencing gravity, we’re just feeling an accelerating ground pushing up against our feet. (At some point /s just feels insufficient.)


**[Radiometric dating](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiometric_dating)** >Radiometric dating, radioactive dating or radioisotope dating is a technique which is used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed. The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay. ^([ )[^(F.A.Q)](https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiSummarizer/wiki/index#wiki_f.a.q)^( | )[^(Opt Out)](https://reddit.com/message/compose?to=WikiSummarizerBot&message=OptOut&subject=OptOut)^( | )[^(Opt Out Of Subreddit)](https://np.reddit.com/r/geology/about/banned)^( | )[^(GitHub)](https://github.com/Sujal-7/WikiSummarizerBot)^( ] Downvote to remove | v1.5)


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I have convinced someone that the earth is not 6,000 years old using the Hawaiian islands map and plate tectonics. Showing them the map of the current active volcano, explaining the hotspot and showing them the eroded former volcanoes, islands and seamounts getting smaller and smaller.. Calculate out based on the speed of the Pacific plate will get you in the 100s of millions of years. Once they agree that the world is in the hundreds of millions a few more billion is pretty easy. If they argue all that happened in 6000 years you can calculate how fast the plate would have be moving per year and how quickly erosion would have to be working. Haven't looked at how long the chain including the seamounts up by Russia is but should be at least a mile a year, you can then ask them why a new volcano isn't popping up every 5 years or so off the east south east coast of Hawaii. *Requires a belief in plate tectonics


For the majority of my childhood, I held onto the belief that the world might be 6,000 years old. I grew up in a very fundamentalist church and even hinting that you though the earth was old was next to heresy. I was never fully comfortable with that idea since I loved paleontology and astronomy, but nevertheless I didn’t want to be cast out, so I never openly questioned it. In college, I studied astrophysics and the church leadership constantly questioned if I had become an atheist. Even while studying astrophysics, a field I planned on going into, I had some cognitive dissonance. I tried to harmonize my religious teachings with the clear evidence of astrophysics by saying that the earth was older than 6,000 years but younger than 13 billion. I used faulty arguments on the definition of word יום, (Yom), saying that it could stand for a period of time, when it almost always means a literal 24 hour period. I used a verse from 2 Peter where it says a day is like a thousand years as another proof that the seven days were actually 7 spans of time. Even when presented with clear scientific evidence to the contrary, I either ignored it or attempted to harmonize it with my fundamentalist viewpoints. In fact, for many people, when presented with solid data to counter their fundamentalist teachings, they often internally recognized that there is something wrong with their 6,000 year old hypothesis. But dread and terror fill them at the thought of the idea because to them, they believe the Bible to be the literal handed down word of God. To question the age of the universe would be to admit that the Bible is at all wrong (or at least not a word for word dictation), and this shift in paradigm causes a visceral reaction that causes them to fight against the scientific evidence even harder. In most cases, there is no amount of evidence in the world that can make them admit that the earth isn’t 6,000 years old. Even when presented with a compelling argument, they will attempt to reject it violently because it would fundamentally change their worldview. Unfortunately, the most efficient method of change has to come from Christian leadership. They need to pull away from the fundamentalist teachings and instead present the Bible in light of textual criticism. In my 3rd year of astrophysics, I took some Gen Ed’s on biblical studies to fulfill my humanities requirements. I thought it would be an easy A, because I thought I knew the Bible better than anyone because of my fundamentalist upbringing. While I did incredibly well, the classes shook my beliefs to my core. Long story short, I ended up graduating with two degrees with my focus in textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible and knowing an array of ancient languages. It was only when I was exposed to a critical (but respectful) view of the Bible that my core beliefs shifted. I now belief the universe is 13.4 (or whatever) billions of years old and that evolution definitely happens. I still am a Christian but I’m very different than I used to be, rather than seeing the Bible as the inherent word that was dictated word by word, I realize it’s a very human text which shows humanity struggling to understand the divine rather than being a word by word play of history. Textual criticism changed a lot for me but it came about because of a very non confrontational Professor, seeing how each individual book experiences evolution through time at the hands of different editors. The book of Samuel is a nightmare when it comes to transmission. Again, it’s largely up to Christian leadership to really get the ball rolling on this, if people don’t feel as though their whole existence will be invalidated by these beliefs, they wouldn’t fight so hard against them. The problem is, many of the Christian leaders I know would much rather walk in ignorance, it fosters a loyalty that is hard to break. They crave power and control, and fundamentalism gives them a clear avenue for it. Abuse and narcissistic is rampant in church culture, it’s pathetic and sad. This is not to say don’t try to convince them yourself, I’m just trying to show how hard it truly is when someone is entrenched in those views. But, Sometimes all it takes is for someone to have a non-confrontational discussion with them and it may change their minds, though I’d argue this was a small number of people. If you do try to debate them, I wish you luck! My life goal is to combat this ignorance, and anytime someone can convince another, it is a major victory.


You don't. Just walk away. Literally anything else you spend your energy on will be more worthwhile.


You should let them know that even if they believe in creationism, there are groups of people such as Old Earth Creationists who don’t refute the scientific claims on the age of the earth. Also it’s worth noting that in Old Hebrew, the original language of the Old Testament, the word “Yom” is translated into English as “day” but also has several other meanings such as Period of light, General term for time, Point of time, Sunrise to sunset, Sunset to next sunset, A year, Time period of unspecified length, A long but finite span of time - age - epoch - season


This is the best answer. If you're really interested in changing their mind (and not arguing them further off the edge) talk to them from where they're at


I still have my faith, although it is much different from that which was forced upon me as a child. I grew up being told that the earth was 6,000 years old but when I came to the age of critical thinking, and having multiple other sources tell me otherwise I decided to ask my religious leaders where in the Bible it says that. Of course there’s no verse that says “Thy Earth which the Lord hath provided for thee is 6,000 years old.” So they explained how it was calculated with lineages to Adam. That wasn’t a good enough answer for me, so I did my own research and discovered that there were many different theories, and I realized my faith and scientific reason were not mutually exclusive. What boggles me the most is that most of these people believe in an infinite God, but one who only decided to make the earth and all the life in it 6,000 years ago, As if a couple Billion years would be too much time for an infinite God.


Pretty much every creationist claim has been refuted for decades, they still repeat the same lies over and over. Their arguments and proofs have been busted up for so long that even one of the big web lists of refutations of them is approaching 20 years old  http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/


Thanks for that. I was looking for that link, but it's been such a long time since I used it. I only remembered Pandas Thumb.


Ah the good old days of talk.origins and usenet.


Laugh and walk away


You don't.


This is the truth. Because the only other way is to get on their level. Now, I actually have something that is on their level that I heard, but you're going to have to research it, because I have no way to vouch for this. Basically, the translation could have multiple meanings. When it says god created yadda-yadda in 1 day, and on day 2 he did yoodle-doodles and so on, the translation of the word to "day" could also be interpreted as "eons" or a long time... something like that. I don't even remember what translation this is coming from (into Greek?). So it's actually fallible human translation error messing up the word of the Big Dude and no, the Earth is not 6,000 years old. Is this true? I feel like I learned it in a game of telephone or it's hearsay, so you will have to figure out if I was lied to. Either way, it is still easier to just not.


I’ve had this same thought, so I was either incepted or just considered it on my own. I think it’s a nice way to try to validate creationism at least a little, but I can’t get over the sun, moon, and stars being created on like day 4, especially since light was created in the first day? I don’t get it.


Before the sun and moon were created, it is written that light shone forth from [Telperion and Laurelin](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Trees_of_Valinor).


This is probably way off topic for a geology subreddit, but the text of Genesis makes it very clear that an actual day is intended. Regardless of the specific noun used, it also describes these days as having a light/dark cycle, like an actual day. (There are so, so many other problems with Genesis than this.)


Why do you say that?


Arguing with idiots is a guaranteed losing proposition.


That's not true. You'll win high blood pressure!


Don’t waste your breath trying to convince them, they’re too far gone


I'm really hoping they're not. So far they're just kind of vaguely asking questions, which makes me think that they might simply not know any better.


There is no one fact you can share or position you can refute that will reverse this. Especially here where belief in a young Earth is part of their identity. Questioning this questions something much, much larger for them. This person is likely the product of decades of miseducation by many people they trust. The best way to undo this is they same way it was originally applied: slow, steady, constant, and unapologetically.


I personally wouldn't even know from which side to begin with. That's why when I come in contact with such people a very small percentage of my soul dies and I just smile and say yep.


That’s how I’m feeling right now.


Don't bother, you'll both be dead soon (geologically)


Ask what all the cultures we know of that are way older than that were doing before Earth was created? Must have been quite the shock for them, to have an entire world suddenly appear, right?


They don't depend on evidence for their beliefs thus no evidence matters to them. It's called faith and it is intellectual poison.


You can’t debate with someone who doesn’t believe in science. Your only hope would be to create a conspiracy theory that is easy to understand, plays off their fear/anxiety/emotions, and gets them to the right answer.


Not geology, but you could show them some of the oldest buildings known to still exist today. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_known_surviving_buildings on the plus side it is something that definitely is shown to be worked by humans, on the downside the oldest are known by radiocarbon dating which would be considered 'unreliable' by young earthers. As others noted if they have firmly held beliefs there is little one can do to persuade them and the answer of intelligent design will always win because it cannot be argued against logically. Best you can probably do is point out the illogical consistencies where possible during casual conversation and let them lead themselves to the conclusion. Though I will admit not having much experience in dealing with this sort of thing so others might have made better suggestions.


"No it's not, here's evidence. Oh you don't believe that evidence. Ok, well you're intentionally ignorant."


Before you get into radioisotope dating, fossils, background radiation leftover from big bang… maybe have a discussion about science. Science is simply something one can measure and perform tests on for hypotheses to potentially either prove or disprove…. If proven accurate it could end up being a theory.. etc. start off with basics of science. And talk about some of the main scientists and their theories and laws and how they have yet to be proven wrong…. If someone doesnt have a grasp on what science is and how it’s essentially advanced our civilization in almost every way…. Going at em with all the complicated crap will gloss their eyes over. Find out what they know.. what they understand… build on that in a scientific way. There is a lot of context here that needs to be addressed.


It’s just so confusing to me because this person has a PhD and has worked in material science for decades. They *know* how science works, yet suddenly they’re going down this weird rabbithole of young earth theories.


The fact that you can even see most stars in the night sky is enough evidence. If the Earth was only 6k years old, most light wouldn't have had enough time to get to the Earth and we wouldn't even be able to see the Andromeda Galaxy, much less most of the Milky Way.


You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.


If you want a comprehensive list of refutations for young earth claims, check out the site: TalkOrigins. It's older, was put together by scientists in the late 90s and early 2000s, but most of the rebuttals still hold today. That and most new creationist "evidence" is just rehashes of older arguments made during it's heyday back in the 80s and 90s. TalkOrgins provides a sound, scientifically sourced base. But keep in mind the creationist mentality is ultimately metaphysical in nature. If your family member is already very entrenched in the belief (they were probably being cautious at dinner, not letting on how much they actually do believe), remember that ultimately you are trying to argue with someone on a completely different epistemological standing. As someone raised in creationism, it took me several years to fully reconcile my faith with science. Be patient if you engage in debate, remembering that from their perspective, you are making them feel very insecure even if they don't show it. Don't get mad. Even if your points don't seem to have an impact, remember that you are making their gears turn. You will ultimately be wading more into philosophy than strict scientific debate. One question I like to start with is by asking the honest question "If God said 2+2=5 would it be true?" If the answer is yes, then you know you are both coming from completely different epistemological standpoints. If they say no, or, "God wouldn't say that", then you know you have some common ground epistemologically speaking. But at the end of the day, loads of patience is what you will need if you want to change someones mind. And even then, you might not. Hope this helps. God bless.


Fuck that, their position is ludicrous; make *them* try to convince you that they are right. Be dense about it, really make them have to dig in.


They trust a sketchy dude doing a half-ass calculation based on a literal translation of the Bible more than they trust science. So any scientific evidence you present is not going to matter. What you need to address is why they view a literal translation of the Bible with such authority. Most doctrines don’t view everything in the Bible as occurring literally. But this person has given authority to a sect that does. If you have enough Biblical knowledge to challenge them on these assumptions, you might be able to make some progress. If not, you probably aren’t going to be able to change their opinions.




> Was I a good bot? No


You would be better off to consider what they use to date it that way then anything geologic because they likely are not citing geologic evidence. If they’re citing a religious lineage than your best bet is to refute from a religious standpoint (not an atheist one or one calling their religion false) but rather by freeing their mind to integrate scientific truth with their cultural religious beliefs such as showing them “within faith” support that genesis is a parable and can be read more beautifully and truthfully in that manner. -Christian who really enjoys geology and has been watching geology related documentaries since he was 10 years old, who has a wife who is in no way a legalistic Christian but was raised in schools that support the 6000 year theory and I’ve had to gradually share the science of geology with. P.s. disappointed by those in the sub that seem to have so little of a growth mindset about people with different beliefs than them, no matter how stupid, because chances are we all hold a few beliefs in other areas where we are less knowledgeable that are equally stupid and I’m some cases we would be equally stubborn about.


It's one thing to have different opinions and ideas. It's another to support a cult that actively harms people and society. I'm disappointed in all the so-called Christians who do not see the harm their religion causes.


There are alot of harmful cultural sects that slide under the radar just because they are not considered a religion. People are drawn to cultural groups and a lot of them are toxic in how they aggregate power and control information, but it’s not a uniquely religious issue.


Agreed. And I should have said "Christians that allow their religion to cause harm".


Was on a geology trip and had a chat one time with some fellas in the town we were visiting. We were all drinking and it was pretty chill. My memory was there were a few things we discussed that hit a few notes with these guys. At one time they were quizzing us about how do we know the Earth is that old. We were like 'well, first it's hard to know exactly how old it is, but a long time ago people, there were really clever people. I mean, it's not as though they were out to try and find how old the Earth was, but they were noticing things and calculating things and were realising the Earth must be super old for any of this to be true.' Then we gave our best layman's summary of a couple of things: Cooling rate of the Earth, with and without radiogenic heat. Erosion/Deposition rates if extrapolated Radiometric dating (Pb/Hf Sm/Nd etc) A lot of the logic boils down to perhaps we may not know exactly how old the Earth is (although we have pretty good constraints), but as long as physics is physics, the Earth sure as shit can't be only 6000 years old. Additionally, if heaps of different scientists are asking questions about different things, but what they see all tells you in a different way that something must be bullshit, it's probably bullshit. And when what they see all starts to point to the same answer, there's probably some truth in it.


You could explain about the various methods we have of dating the earth, for example ice cores, uranium dating, or how the Hawaii Island chain differs as you go further west (i.e. older islands are less prominent). Crucially all of these methods we have of dating the earth are concordant with each other.


> Crucially all of these methods we have of dating the earth are concordant with each other. This might be the key part. I just went and watched one of the young earth videos my relative liked. More than any specific evidence, I was surprised by the lack of agreement between their theories. Instead of building a unified theory, they seem to build a set of disconnected alternative explanations for each individual thing. It'd be like walking into a house after an earthquake, and saying that the cracks in the wall were formed by a truck crashing into the building, but the broken windows were formed by a sonic boom of an overflying aircraft, and the bookshelf was knocked over by a horse running through, and the crooked picture frames were caused by mischevious kids.


Consilience and parsimony are things science worries about. Creationists and young earthers don't. In fact they tend to intentionally avoid them.


You can try archaeological evidence such as old buildings such as Göbekli Tepe which is the oldest known religious structure that has been found which is roughly about 10,000 years old


Okay, but how to prove them its age? I don't know if they would understand c14 dating.


Well I guess he could explain how a religion evolved such as Canaanite polytheism into Judaism and you Judaism into Christianity showing how that evolved over the years effectively disproving the Adam and Eve scenario altogether


I think you don't. Faith is not built on logic but on the absence of questioning. You can only say that that is not what the scientific community knows. You can only convince someone who is willing to question his/hers paradigm.


You don't. Just accept that that's their belief and let it be. Maybe they'll come through, maybe they won't, most of the time you can't realistically convince them of anything.


You nod and wave


Everyone here very kindly offering excellent advice but am I the only one that thinks going to someone who believes in young earth with evidence is a fruitless task?


I think I agree with most here that your chances are slim. However, if you really want to try, start by offering to explain how rocks actually form: sedimentary rocks, to start with. Try to get over how long it takes for such depths of sediment to accumulate, to get buried, and become fused into a solid mass through the sheer pressure of overlying material. If you're familiar with their local geology, and can use examples that they may be familiar with, more's the better. Then move to faults and folds: how this sedimentary rock which took tens of millions of years to form can then, over the course of hundreds of millions of years more, get bent out of shape, thrust upward and dropped downward, as mountains rise and fall around it. If you get that far, that's when you should move on to angular unconformities: to the rock that isn't there any more. Imagine how long it must take for mountains to rise up and then, through the action of wind, water and gravity, get ground down to nothing, and disappear entirely from the rock strata. It's really a case of getting them to accept the most basic principles of geology. Science which has been a thing since James Hutton in the 1780s. If they can't do that, and if their answer is just "but what if God made it all to look old?", then there's no discussion to be had.


Science has been a thing since way before the 1780s though


That was a poorly worded sentence. I meant specifically the concept of deep time, discovered by James Hutton in the 1780s.


But the charlatans of religion say that. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣


+1 for ice cores. I believe they have been sufficiently deep to show 800k years of seasonal ice deposits. Pity that faith has got mixed up with science like this.


All you need is radiometric dating. It actually works. The half baked objections they come up with are the laziest bullshit imaginable (of course I knowcthere was no lead in this zircon when it first crystallised - if there was then it wouldn't be zircon!)


Also, turn it around. Ask them where the sediments deposited by the flood are. Specifically. Which named formations are and aren't from the flood?


You can't win. Every time I get into a discussion with relatives about science and the Bible I get the 'How do you know, were you there?' defense. At this point I've been reduced to trying the 'You're a bunch of fucking morons' argumentation method and while it isn't very effective, I must admit I find it quite satisfying. At this point we don't talk about religion much at family get-togethers. ((The one caveat is if the person you are talking to is under 25. Younger people are more open to new ideas.))


Something I've come to terms with as I've matured is the fact that you can't argue with stupid. It does absolutely no harm to let them have their incorrect beliefs. Trying to educate stubborn people who don't want to be educated is nothing more than a ball ache.


You don't. Anyone who still believes that is so ignorant by choice that there is no hope of anything making sense to them. That's when you just laugh and shake your head and move on. Just laughing to yourself that such people still exist.


Why would god make isotopes, and why would he start with a mix that appears to be billions of years old?


Geology 101 pretty much shuts down any arguments. No need to go further.


Speaking from the perspective of someone raised in a belief system that also taught young earth creationism, all the knowledge in the world won’t help you if this relative has been sucked in for religious reasons. I’ve maintained relationships with young earth believing family members, but most of it has to do with a mutual understanding that our knowledge bases are incredibly different and therefore how we interpret the world around us varies accordingly. Simply correcting this person with facts at a dinner table debate may further cement their young earth sentiments. This is especially true if you cite things like radiometric dating methods. When I do discuss age of the planet, I use examples I see in my own life. Eg I use Snells law all the time in my work, sedimentation rates are easy to explain on a short timescale and then I discuss the amount of time that formations like the redbeds left behind after the western interior seaway should have taken to settle out and cement etc. This almost always leads to discussions of great flood and so on. It’s a process, and if you don’t have a close relationship established already it can be tough.


Literally can’t argue with those people it’s impossible, I’ve tried many times lol. Even with things likes radioactive dating they’ll still go on to believe it’s 6,000 years old. My girlfriend grades for a lot of the geo courses at our college and there’s one girl she grades for that at the end of any question regarding age the girl responds “but other evidence evidence that suggests the earth is only 6,000 years old”


Nothing. Trust me, just smile and nod. There is almost no way to deal with a faith-based argument.


The issue I think it's that they don't understand science. They choose a hypothesis, and develop a set of tests that prove their theory true. Negative or alternate results are discounted and thus their theory is proven. You will never find a scientist who agrees to this creationist Earth. I had one in college at the beginning of geology courses, but by the end they discounted it. Occam's razor, people. A mighty diety who has never been observed doing anything after creating all life, Earth, planets, galaxies, and everything and then chillaxing. Or the slow March of time which is consistently always observed, and proven. Hmm...


Laugh & laugh.


I was raised young Earth creationist, full VHS series by Kent Hovind and all, and now I'm a geologist. It's possible if the person you're talking to is willing to listen. Coming around wasn't a fast process, it took a lot of conversations over several years and a bunch of required college science classes that pushed at my beliefs. It was ultimately whale evolution that did it for me, but I think the fundamental thing I was missing was a concept of geological time. It's hard to grasp just how much time we're talking about.


It is impossible and unnecessary to argue with religious consciousness. If people are so stupid that they read the Bible literally, they will not accept any argument. They will say "the Lord created all these layers."


You can't convince people otherwise. Explain that people beleive nonsense because they want it to be true. When one card falls the house collapses. People want to believe it all.


Fun fact: Bristlecone pine trees can live to be 5,000 years old.


Imagine the poor guy who had to carry one of those all the way to the ark, then bring it all the way back to the Rockies afterward. /s


How old do they think other plannets and stars are? Older or younger? Do they believe light travels that distance instantly? If not light speed isn't instant how would they explain something created at the same time? ..and when that inevitably fails because they won't listen to anything. Just ask when is earth's Birthday because you want to throw it a surprise party.


According to where they're getting their information, the speed of light must have been faster back in the day. Seriously.


Whelp, guess you are going to have to roll with it and have a little fun messing with them. Sounds like there is no changing their mind.


I recommend pushing them towards the principles of atomic decay and the many dating systems geologists and archaeologists use to learn about deep time: radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon series, uranium - lead series, paleo-magnetism, OSL dating, ESR ( electron spin resonance) and so on


I had a girl in college tell me that, I countered with the fact that there are marine fossils 10,000 ft above sea level in the mountains nearby (Salt Lake City, Utah) that couldn’t possibly have gotten there in 6,000 years. She maintained that they were put there by the Devil to fool people. 🤦🏻‍♂️ Definitely not a winnable argument with a committed religious fanatic.


Its not geology, but you could start with the Sumerians?! https://www.theonion.com/sumerians-look-on-in-confusion-as-god-creates-world-1819571221 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer


There is no point in arguing facts with a young earther. Anyone who has gone down that path has already abandoned facts, reason, and logic. Trying to win a battle of facts with someone who rebutts with "how do you know, you weren't there" is going to do nothing but leave you frustrated.


I'm hoping my relative hasn't quite gone down that path yet, that maybe they're just looking at the trail on the map, wondering where it leads.


There is a plutonic rock in California, slitted by the San Andreas Fault (same mineralogy and other properties). Known is that the SAF moves with a average speed of about 2 inches a year and those plutonics are splitted 100 miles away from each other. How could this fault be younger than at least 3,2 Ma? And this pluton itself?


I like this one, because the relative I'm talking about lives in California. It's easier to *feel* like plate tectonics are real when you live near an active fault line. Do you happen to know where this plutonic rock formation is located? I get the concept, but it would be nice to be able to point to it.


You got a ton of great info on this thread. I am a Christian who is also a scientist. One of the things though that I never understood about some Christians is that they believe everything was made so soon before their conception. Like bruh, God is amazing, all knowing, omnipresent, creator of all matter in the universe. You think he just blept everything into existence so quickly? So simply? Nah. God put everything into place through such complex processes that our minds can barely handle his awesomeness. Sit in your seat and recognize your insignificant place in this amazing, beautiful universe. You can most definitely accept science as undeniable fact and still give props to the big man. They don't have to be mutually exclusive. I might get downvoted into oblivion for stating my beliefs so bluntly, but oh well. I just wanted this soap box for a second lol.


God gave us legs not just to walk, but to travel. God gave us hands to hold things, but to make machines and art. God gave us voices, not just to speak but to sing and communicate with one another. And God gave us a brain, not just to control our body parts, but to understand our world and universe.


> There's a reason God gave us two ears and only one mouth. Listening is twice as important as talking. But he gave us ten fingers. He must really want us to poke things!


God doesn't exist and never has.


I agree, but when you talk to a young earther, you got to put it in their context. You have to speak their language.


Wait.... how old is the world anywho?


Upwards of 4 billion years iirc. Totally uninhabitable back then however.


Wow...:I’m sure bacteria thrived still


At 4 billion there wasn't even bacteria yet. It took more than a billion years to get to bacteria, then more than a billion to get to any thing more than bacteria. Which is why the incredulous "you expect me to believe life just formed from nothing 'overnight'" is so frustrating to hear.


You're not going to get them to denounce their faith in God, so, as a Christian scientist myself, here's my suggestion. You have to first get them to acknowledge that there are two ways of obtaining truth: God can reveal it, or we can discover it. We discover truth through empirical observations, formulating hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses. Even then, we won't find absolute truth, but we very often come so close as makes no difference. You can point out several truths they themselves have discovered without God revealing it to them, like the color of their socks, or how to tie their shoes. If they won't accept this, then stop. It's not worth continuing. If they do, then proceed to discuss that God doesn't reveal things we can discover for ourselves, unless it pertains to our salvation. You don't have to believe in God or salvation for this argument; what matters is *they* accept it. This is another potential stopping point. If they won't accept this idea, stop. Next, talk about the historical origin and purpose of Genesis. In essence, it was written by one or more Jewish religious scholars, with the intent of demonstrating to other Jews that the nation of Israel was God's chosen people. Again you don't have to believe it yourself. You're demonstrating that Genesis was not written by the literal hand of God. It was written by men who may have been inspired by God, but who were not attempting to write a scientifically accurate text on the creation of the planet, but to write a convincing argument that Israel must follow Jehovah. Now concerning the parts that seem to indicate a young Earth, this is where you connect the dots. Is knowing the method of creation necessary for salvation? No. Faith in God is, but not faith in the book of Genesis. So, if knowing how the Earth was formed isn't necessary for salvation, and Genesis was written by men whose purpose wasn't to teach about geology, then isn't it possible and even likely that the Bible doesn't actually reveal how the Earth was created? Genesis gives a story for the sake of teaching an important truth: Jehovah is God. The point of the story is not that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. That's not the truth being revealed. Rather, the method by which God created the Earth is left for us to discover on our own. If you can to this point, then they're ready for the scientific facts regarding the age of the Earth. If not, then no amount of scientific fact will convince them. Finally, if you can't get to this point, then leave it alone. It's not worth arguing about. Ultimately, whether you're religious or not, what matters most in life is how we live and how we treat each other, not who has the most accurate facts.


Sounds like they are hearing a biblical version