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The Bible and Science:
How Old is the Universe?
The universe is not "billions" of years old according to Kent Hovind, but let's look at all the evidence.
Evidence from Space
The Shrinking Sun
Hovind States: "The shrinking sun limits the earth-sun relationship to less than "billions of years." The sun is losing both mass and diameter. Changing the mass would upset the fine gravitational balance that keeps the earth at just the right distance for life to survive." (1, p. 169; 2, p. 30; 4, pp. 56-63; 5, p. 26; 6, p. 43)
Meyer's Reply: The fact is that the sun is shrinking and expanding in a 87 year cycle. Hovind is just taking part of the data and ignoring the other. The sun will last for another 5 billion years before it becomes a red giant.
Hovind States: "The 0.5 inch layer of cosmic dust on the moon indicates the moon has not been accumulating dust for billions of years." (2, p. 26; 3, p. 22; 4, p. 15; 6, p. 35; 7; 9, p. 25) *Insufficient evidence to be positive (almost all estimates before the lunar landing anticipated great quantities of dust.)
Meyer's Reply: Before satellites were sent into orbit to measure the amount of cosmic dust, scientists estimated that there would be a lot of dust. Satellite measurements showed there was far less cosmic dust.
Hovind States: "The existence of short-period comets indicates the universe is less than billions of years old." (2, p. 31; 3, p. 27; 4, p. 35; 6, p. 37; 7)
Meyer's Reply: There are both long-period and short period comets. The short-period comets are from the Kupier Belt which lies between Neptune and Pluto. Long-period comets are from the Oort Cloud that lies out past Pluto.
Hovind States: "Fossil meteorites are very rare in layers other than the top layers of the earth. This indicates that the layers were not exposed for millions of years as is currently being taught in school textbooks." (4, p. 26)
Meyer's Reply: There is key thin layer of iridium that indicate an asteroid hit the earth about 65 million years ago.
Hovind States: "The moon is receding a few inches each year. Billions of years ago the moon would have been so close that the tides would have been much higher, eroding away the continents." (3, p. 25; 6, p. 43; 7)
Meyer's Reply: This is not true. The moon is receding less than two inches a year. There are many variables that are not factored in.
Hovind States: "The moon contains considerable quantities of U-236 and Th-230, both short-lived isotopes that would have been long gone if the moon were billions of years old." (8, p. 177; see also 4, p. 51, for information on rock "flow")
Meyer's Reply: Uranium continues to decay into a stable lead isotope.
Hovind States: "The existence of great quantities of space dust, which by the Pointing-Robertson effect would have been vacuumed out of our solar system in a few thousand years, indicates the solar system is young." (3, p. 29; 6, p.44)
Meyer's Reply: In a closed system this would be true, but the solar system is not a closed system. Comets bring in new dust.
Hovind States: "At the rate many star clusters are expanding, they could not have been traveling for billions of years." (3, p. 29; 4, pp. 30 and 59; 6, p. 44)
Meyer's Reply: There is a repeating cycle of stars forming and collapsing. With the Hubble Space Telescope we can see stars forming. See the picture at the top of this page.
Hovind States: "Saturns rings are still unstable, indicating they are not billions of years old." (4, p. 45)
Meyer's Reply: The rings of Saturn may not be that old. When a moon is pulled in too close it is fractured into pieces that form new rings.
Hovind States: "Jupiter and Saturn are cooling off rather rapidly. They are losing heat twice as fast as they gain it from the sun. They cannot be billions of years old." (5, p. 26; 4, p. 43) "Jupiters moon, Io, is losing matter to Jupiter. It cannot be billions of years old." (4, p. 3)
Meyer's Reply: Jupiter and Saturn create their own internal heat. Io was probably out in a farther orbit but is slowly being pulled closer taking billions of years.
Hovind States: "Among other factors to consider is that all the ancient astronomers from 2000 years ago recorded that Sirius was a red startoday it is a white dwarf star. Since todays textbooks in astronomy state that one hundred thousand years are required for a star to "evolve" from a red giant to a white dwarf, obviously this view needs to be restudied."
Meyer's Reply: A star will look red when it is near the horizon just as the moon looks red close to the horizon. The Egyptians would observe when Sirius would first arise to signal the flooding of the Nile.
Evidence from Earth
Hovind States: "The decaying magnetic field limits earths age to less than billions." (1, p. 157; 2, p. 27; 3, p. 20; 5, p. 23; 6, p. 42; 9, p. 25; 10, p. 38)
Meyer's Reply: There is a repeating cycle of decay and growing stronger. From the study of rocks there has been many reversals of the earth's magnetic field.
Hovind States: "The volume of lava on earth divided by its rate of efflux gives a number of only a few million years, not billions. I believe that during the Flood, while "the fountains of the deep were broken up," most of the earths lava was deposited rapidly." (1, p. 156)
Meyer's Reply: Hovind is making to many unfounded assumptions. There have been many lava flows in the earth's long history.
Hovind States: "Dividing the amount of various minerals in the ocean by their influx rate indicates only a few thousand years of accumulation." (1, p. 153; 5, p. 24; 6, p. 42)
Meyer's Reply: If one takes the mineral aluminum, its influx rate would indicate the earth is only 100 years old.
Hovind States: "The amount of Helium 4 in the atmosphere, divided by the formation rate on earth, gives only 175,000 years. (God may have created the earth with some helium which would reduce the age more.)" (1, p. 151; 6, p. 42; 9, p. 25)
Meyer's Reply: This is assuming that the atmosphere is a closed system which it is not. Helium is escaping from the atmosphere.
Hovind States: "The erosion rate of the continents is such that they would erode to sea level in less than 14,000,000 years, destroying all old fossils." (2, p. 31; 6, p 38; American Science Vol 56 p 356-374)
Meyer's Reply: What Hovind does not consider is plate tectonics. New continents are forming while old ones erode away. Pressure from the plates push mountains higher. India is pushing the Himalayan mountains higher and higher.
Hovind States: "Topsoil formation rates indicate only a few thousand years of formation." (6, p. 38)
Meyer's Reply: There have been many cycles of topsoil erosion and more soil forming.
Hovind States: "Niagara Falls erosion rate (four to five feet per year) indicates an age of less than 10,000 years. Dont forget Noahs Flood could have eroded half of the seven-mile-long Niagara River gorge in a few hours as the flood waters raced through the soft sediments.)" (6, p. 39; 7)
Meyer's Reply: Geologists do recognize that the formation of Niagara Falls is young geologically speaking, but the layers of rock that the Niagara cuts through takes millions of years to form. These layers could not have formed in one flood. The layers indicate different depositional environments.
Hovind States: "The rock encasing oil deposits could not withstand the pressure for more than a few thousand years." (2, p. 32; 3, p. 24; 5, p. 24; 6, p. 37; 7)
Meyer's Reply: It takes a long time just for oil to form under pressure.
Hovind States: "The size of the Mississippi River delta, divided by the rate mud is being deposited, gives an age of less than 30,000 years. (The Flood in Noahs day could have washed out 80% of the mud there in a few hours or days, so 4400 years is a reasonable age for the delta.)" (3, p. 23; 6, p. 38; 7)
Meyer's Reply: Geologically speaking the Mississippi is relatively young. Herodotus estimated the Nile as being 30,000 years old.
Hovind States: "The slowing spin of the earth limits its age to less than the "billions of years" called for by the theory of evolution." (3, p. 25; 7)
Meyer's Reply: The earth was spinning around on its axis in only 7 hours. It took several billion years for it to slow down to the present rate of 24 hours. Ancient varies bear this out.
Hovind States: "A relatively small amount of sediment is now on the ocean floor, indicating only a few thousand years of accumulation. This embarrassing fact is one of the reasons why the continental drift theory is vehemently defended by those who worship evolution." (1, p. 155; 6, p. 28; 7)
Meyer's Reply: The Atlantic ocean is young and there is overwhelming evidence for plate tectonics. At one time North and South America were connected to Africa.
Hovind States: "The largest stalactites and flowstone formations in the world could have easily formed in about 4400 years." (5, p. 27; 6, p. 39; 7)
Meyer's Reply: Some stalactites can form fast. It is dependent on a number of conditions. The formation of the cave itself would take millions of years.
Hovind States: "The Sahara desert is expanding. It easily could have been formed in a few thousand years. See any earth science textbook."
Meyer's Reply: At one time the Sahara was a lush tropical area. Satellite photos can show us where ancient villages were.
Hovind States: "The oceans are getting saltier. If they were billions of years old, they would be much saltier than they are now." (7; 9, p. 26; 10, p. 37)
Meyer's Reply: This implies a closed system, but the ocean is an open system.
Hovind States: "Ice cores at the south pole and Greenland have a maximum depth of 10-14,000 feet. The aircraft that crash-landed in Greenland in 1942 and excavated in 1990 were under 263 feet of ice after only 48 years. This indicates all of the ice could have accumulated in 4400 years." (7)
Meyer's Reply: Ice cores show that they are thousands of years old. There are annual layers of snow that have been dated. If one reads the report about the plane, one would see that it sunk down into the snow. The heavy plane would easily sink in the soft snow. This is why Eskimos use snow shoes.
Evidence from Biology
Hovind States: "The current population of earth (5.5 billion souls) could easily be generated from eight people (survivors of the Flood) in less than 4000 years." (1, p. 167; 3, p. 27; 6, p. 41; 7)
Meyer's Reply: The rate of growth is not constant. It was much lower in ancient times.
Hovind States: "The oldest living coral reef is less than 4200 years old." (6, p. 39; 7)
Meyer's Reply: He does not take into account the many layers of limestone formed by corals and shells.
Hovind States: "The oldest living tree in the world is about 4300 years old." (6, p. 40; 7)
Meyer's Reply: Dendrochronology, the dating of trees goes back over 9,000 years. With lake varies tree rings can be correlated back 40,000 years.
Hovind States: "Another factor to consider: The genetic load in man is increasing. Geneticists have cataloged nearly 1300 genetic disorders in the human race. It is certainly reasonable to believe that the human race was created perfect from the hand of the Creator but has been going downhill as a result of our disobedience to the laws established by the Creator and the increased radiation from the sun. The Bible teaches that we live in a sin-cursed world as a result of Adams sin."
Meyer's Reply: Recent DNA testing shows the first common man was 53,000 years ago and the first common woman was 143,000 years ago.
Evidence from History
Hovind States: "The oldest known historical records are less than 6000 years old." (1, p. 160)
Meyer's Reply: This is true, but there are cave paintings, and tools much older.
Hovind States: "Many ancient cultures have stories of an original creation in the recent past and a worldwide Flood. Nearly 300 of these Flood legends are now known."
Meyer's Reply: There are many flood stories, but they all do not refer to the same flood. The Sumerian Flood and Akkadian Flood stories are all related to Noah's flood and indicate that the flood was local, not world wide.
Hovind States: "Biblical dates add up to about 6000 years."
Meyer's Reply: This is assuming there are no gaps. "Son of" can mean descendent.
Hovind States: "Those who believe the earth is billions of years old will typically try to discredit one or two of these evidences and then mistakenly think that they have successfully proven the entire list wrong. This is not logical, of course. Each evidence stands independently: it only takes one to prove the earth is young. The burden of proof is on the evolutionists if they expect all taxpayers to fund the teaching of their religion in the school system. Many who believe in evolution are great at '"straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.'" (Mt. 23:24).
Meyer's Reply: I have not found one credible evidence for a young earth or universe, but many evidences for an old universe.
Hovind States: "Evolutionists love to assume uniformitarian processes. Many of the preceding evidences follow the same logic evolutionists use all the time in dealing with carbon dating, strata formation, genetic drift, etc."
Meyer's Reply: Geologists recognize many catastrophes during earth's history.
- Morris, Henry M. Scientific Creationism. El Cajon, Calif.: Master Books, April 1985.
- McLean, G. S.; McLean, Larry; Oakland, Roger. The Bible Key to Understanding the Early Earth. Oklahoma City, Okla.: Southwest Radio Church, 1987.
- Huse, Scott M. The Collapse of Evolution. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1983.
- Ackerman, Paul D. Its a Young World After All. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1986.
- Blick, Edward F. A Scientific Analysis of Genesis. Oklahoma City, Okla.: Hearthstone Publ. Ltd., 1991.
- Petersen, Dennis R. Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation. South Lake Tahoe, Calif.: Christian Equippers International, 1987.
- Hovind, Kent E. Creation Seminar, Parts 1-7 (most items referenced onscreenavailable from Creation Science Evangelism, 29 Cummings Road, Pensacola, Fla. 32503).
- Wysong, R. L. The Creation-Evolution Controversy. Midland, Mich.: Inquiry Press, 1976.
- Baker, Sylvia. Bone of Contention. Creation Science Foundation Ltd., Sunnybank, Queensland 4109 Australia: 1990.
- Moore, John N. Questions and Answers on Creation-Evolution. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1977.
- Brown, Walt. In the Beginning--available from CSE ($23.50).