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Are any scientists persuaded by science alone to accept a young Earth?

John Ankerberg explains what happened when he asked the two leading proponents of young Earth creationism, John Morris and Duane Gish, whether any prominent scientists had ever been convinced by science alone to accept a young Earth. (H/T TQA)


John Morris says no:

When I was arguing for the young earth view in the early years of our television ministry, I remember when my friend Dr. John Morris, the President of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and one of the world’s largest young earth organizations, was being interviewed on KKLA radio in Los Angeles. He was asked, “Had he or any of his associates ever met or heard of a scientist who became persuaded that the universe or earth is only thousands of years old, based on scientific evidence without a reference to a particular interpretation of the Bible?” Morris’ answer was no, he had not.

Duane Gish says no:

Later, Duane Gish, also of ICR, was asked the same question. I was interested in his answer as I had invited Dr. Gish to be my guest in the very first debate I held on science and the Bible. I had arranged for him to debate Dr. Vincent Sarich, who was the Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Berkeley and an evolutionist. When Dr. Gish was asked if he knew of any scientist who had ever been persuaded by the scientific evidence that the universe or the earth was 6,000 years old, he also said no.

I think that this is telling. Young Earth creationism is very much an inward-focused activity.

Take a look at the locations for upcoming events for Answers in Genesis:

  • First Baptist Church Kimberling City
  • Macedonia Baptist Church
  • Cornerstone Church
  • Antioch 1611 Baptist Church
  • First Baptist Church
  • Grace Community Church
  • Colonial Baptist Church
  • Evangelical Free Church of Bay City

And the Institute for Creation Research:

  • Glenview Baptist Church
  • Lakeside Baptist Church
  • First Baptist Church
  • Ridgeview Church

Contrast that with the recent Reasonable Faith UK tour, which features public debates and lectures at the top universities in the UK, against the top scientists and philosophers in the UK.

Here are some of those events:

Monday 17th October 2011
7.30pm “Does God Exist?
Public Debate with Stephen Law, lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, London and Editor of the magazine of the Royal Institute of Philosophy THINK. Arranged by Premier Radio.
Westminster Central Hall, Storeys Gate, London, SW1H 9NH

Tuesday 18th October 2011
12.45pm Student Lecture “The Evidence for God” 
Pippard Lecture Theatre (Sherfield Building), Imperial College London (South Kensington Campus), Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ

Wednesday 19th October 2011
7.30pm Public lecture “The Origins of the Universe – has Hawking eliminated God?” on Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design followed by a panel response
William Lane Craig will discuss the issues arising from his presentation with Revd Dr Rodney Holder, physicist with the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge.
St. Andrew the Great, Cambridge

Thursday 20th October 2011
7.30pm Debate at the Cambridge Union: “This House Believes that God is not a Delusion”
Proposing the motion: William Lane Craig and Peter S. Williams
Opposing the motion: Arif Ahmed and Andrew Copson
The Cambridge Union, Cambridge

Friday 21st October 2011
7.30pm “Does God Exist?
Debate with Professor Peter Millican, Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford University
The Great Hall, Birmingham University, Edgbaston, B15 2TT

Tuesday 25th October 2011
7.30pm Lecture “Is God a Delusion?” A Critique of Dawkins’ The God Delusion
[or a debate with Richard Dawkins if he should accept the invitation]
Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AZ

Wednesday 26th October 2011
7.30pm “Does God Exist?
Debate with Dr Peter Atkins, former Professor of Chemistry at Oxford University
University Place Lecture Theatre, Manchester University, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL

I think that Christians need to reflect on what arguments can actually be sustained in public with good science at the highest levels, and which arguments are not sustainable in public. I don’t mind if someone is a young Earth person, but they should have a realistic view of how defensible that position is scientifically.

UPDATE: J.W. Wartick evaluates common arguments for young Earth creationism here.

UPDATE: An excellent debate, with summary, on the age of the Earth, featuring Jason Lisle and Hugh Ross.