June 26, 2017
There is a question mark in this movie's title, but don't be fooled. It is an unapologetic advocacy of the "young Earth" reading of the Bible's story of creation. The Earth and the Universe were made in six days sometime around 4004 B.C. No question about it.
However ... here are 10 beliefs that you will have to renounce if you want to join or remain a part of the Young Earth Congregation:
1. Fossils show there were primitive forms of human beings. This crucial topic is only briefly touched upon in the movie. In it a creationist-scientist displays a Homo neanderthalensis skull alongside a much smaller and ape-like Australopithicus africanus skull. The first is "one of us," he declares, while the latter is just another animal. The Neanderthal is a variation of a human being, like a wolf and a poodle are variations of a dog. The creationist won't get much of argument from traditional anthropologists. They also believe that Australopithicus is not a human, but they note that it does share some characteristics of man that do not show up in apes. The movie's audience can be excused if they conclude that there is a clear demarcation line between human and animal fossils. But they might not be so convinced if told about other fossils such as Homo heidelbergensis and Homo erectus. These fossils stretch the "just a variation" explanation to the breaking point, and their human characteristics are so pronounced that the just-another-animal explanation is also problematic.
2. Stars were created millions and billions of years ago. This is a logical assumption because most stars are millions and billions of light years away. The movie suggests that the act of creation had a "rapid maturing" element to it with processes, such as the growing of a plant, happening seemingly instantaneously. The astronomer in the movie says "I think that God rapidly made the stars and other astronomical bodies, and then, in order for them to fulfill their function -- to be seen -- He had to rapidly bring forth that light..." The problem with this argument is that it legitimizes the very concept of "deep time" that it tries to destroy because if light can "rapidly mature" to be millions and billions of light years from its source, so can life on Earth "rapidly mature" from their source. In the end, "rapid maturity" is just another name for "deep time." I also found it strange to hear an astronomer say that the function of stars are "to be seen." Most stars are too distant to be seen, as are black holes, distant planets, dark matter, and black holes.
3. Continental drift (plate tectonics) is a process that occurs slowly over millions of years. In this movie, though, we're told this all happened during the flood. "We have continents moving, smashing together, creating mountains. Mountains are rising to tens of thousands of feet," the scientist in the movie says.
4. Fossil fuels are formed over millions of years. The movie visits a coal mine but winds up talking about rocks, probably because young coal is so hard to find. You can't just visit a place where trees and ferns have been growing for a thousand years or so and expect to dig down and find coal. Oil is the same story. In nature it requires accumulations of dead organisms to be trapped under a layer of mud and gradually sink to depths where heat and pressure turn them into oil.
5.The creation of the Grand Canyon was a lengthy process. Instead you'll have to believe that the layers that form the canyon's walls were laid down quickly, one right after another, about four thousand years ago in Noah's flood, then a little later a giant lake broke through a dam and carved out the canyon.
6. Preponderance of evidence should be the guiding principle when drawing conclustions from scientific research. The movie interviews a scientist who was involved in the analysis of a Triceratop's horn that yielded, after disolving the bone material, what appeared to be soft tissue that should not be present in a sample tens of millions of years old. The tissue was pliable, stretchable and contained what looked like cells. It was similar to a discovery made a few years earlier when analyzing a T-Rex bone. The movie's scientist disparaged the usual explanation of contamination. Common sense, they argue, leads to the conclusion that dinosaurs were alive thousands -- not millions -- of years ago. But this argument is unwittingly undercut when the movie visits an actual dig site in Wyoming where dinosaur bones are found. "This is an upper cretaceous sedimentary deposit..." the scientist says. "This is just full of bones...It's not like we have to go looking for where the bones are. We just have to sit down and start digging." The problem for the movie's argument is that all the bones found in upper cretaceous sedimentary deposits are prehistoric animal bones. There's an absence of bones of more modern animals. The implications of this seem not to register in the minds of the film's scientists.
7. Radiometric dating can determine the approximate age of rocks and artifacts. This is not to say all dating methods give completely accurate results every time. Geological and environmental processes are too messy for that. But the cumulative raw data form a mosaic that give us a fairly clear picture of the relative age of things. The movie acknowledges that present radioactive decay rates show that volcanic rocks are millions of years old, but then uses a jaw-dropping argument to dismiss it. The scientist compares the Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption with the Yellowstone supervolcano and lava flows in India which resulted in "an accumulation of up to a thousand feet over an area a third of the subcontinent. What we see in the present is only miniscule by comparison with what we see in the past." Therefore "the present [decay rates] are not really the key to the past [because these events] are not going on today." The problem with this argument is that it uses the six-thousand year framework to define the "past" to prove that the framework is valid. Actual evidence, derived from scientific data, lead to the conclusion that one of the 50 worldwide supervolcanoes erupt every 740,000 years on average. The last one that erupted was Mt. Toba in Sumatra 74,000 years ago.
8. Five extinction events preceded the current one. The movie, though, acknowledges only one, and it happened very recently: 4,300 years ago. That is when Noah's flood wiped out the dinosaurs (as well as 76% of all species). That leaves less than 2,000 years for the other four, including the Permian-Triassic extinction when 96% of life forms on Earth disappeared.
9. Written history began sometime around 3500 B.C. when humans first inscribed markings into clay tablets. But that was only about 500 years after humans, the Earth and the universe were created. Adam lived for 930 years, so he would have still been middle-aged when writing appeared, as would his son and grandson. Adam could have written his autobiography and spared us our present controversy. Something is clearly wrong. The Creation date couldn't be wrong, according to the movie, so that means that the origin of writing and the birth os civilization must have happened much more recently. But if you move these forward to 3,000 B.C. all subsequent historic accounts, such as lists of kings, no longer fit into the time frame allotted to them.
10. The number of meteorite craters on the Earth and Moon, tree rings, ice layers in the Antarctic, geomagnetic reversals captured in rocks, the rate of coral growth, and the time requirements for ice ages to form and retreat, combined with the other processes already mentioned, all argue for an Earth vastly older than 6,000 years. The movie's only attempt to explain all these types of evidence (that "rapid maturity" took place during the six days of creation) is an admission that normal time is insufficient to allow for them, and that each day contains the equivalent of much longer time periods. Noah's flood is, broadly speaking, the only thing that distinguishes the movie's version of history from scientists' consensus view.