Monday, November 20, 2006

A factor of 750,000

In 1650, James Ussher, Anglican archibishop of Armagh and a resident of London, calculated 4004 B.C. as the date God created the Earth, as well as Adam and Eve. That date, now 6,010 years in our rear view mirror, multiplied by 750,000 equals the 4.5 billion year age most mainstream scientists today give the the Earth as calculated by radiometric (carbon dating) techniques.

Here's what the noted paleontologist Steven Jay Gould had to say about Ussher's calculation:

I shall be defending Ussher's chronology as an honourable effort for its time and arguing that our usual ridicule only records a lamentable small-mindedness based on mistaken use of present criteria to judge a distant and different past

Ussher represented the best of scholarship in his time. He was part of a substantial research tradition, a large community of intellectuals working toward a common goal under an accepted methodology…

Young Earth Creationists subscribe to Ussher's chronology (6,000 years) or some variant thereof (10,000 years).

Old Earth Creationists, such as Dr. Hugh Ross of Reason to Believe, and David Snokes, Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Pittsburgh, subscribe to the 4.5 billion year age, as do Intelligent Designers, and Darwinian Evolutionists.

And there is the large group of people -- the majority perhaps --who have not studied the issue enough to come to a determination.

Where do you fall in on this discussion and why ?


Anonymous said...

I suppose I would fall into a different category of discussion. The category of, " I have no idea." It is certainly fascinating to read all the different viewpoints people hold regarding the beginning of creation. But, I wonder if anyone will ever be able to absolutely prove any of these theories.
In Corinthians Paul writes of how we now can only see dimly in a mirror, but that someday we will "see" completely. There are many things in my life which I see only "dimly." I accept that and simply look forward to the day when I shall see everything completely. If we knew everything, there would be no need for faith.

Michael Patrick Leahy said...


I think the majority of people probably would place themselves in that category.