(Header image)

A brief introduction

This post is more than 7 years old.

Posted at 09:00 on 01 July 2017

A couple of years ago, my sister in law asked me what she should be saying to my nephews, who were coming home from school talking about evolution and billions of years and all the rest of it. Since I'm the science graduate in the family, working in IT, I tend to get viewed as the fount of all knowledge on all things scientific. Should she correct them, she asked?

I didn't have much to say to her at the time. For many years, I paid little or no attention to the creation and evolution debate. I went through a young-earth creationist phase in my late teens, but it fizzled out when I was at university, and gradually gave way to a general view that the whole debate was a bit of a waste of time. It completely missed the point of Genesis 1-11, and as such was the kind of foolish controversy that Titus 3:9 warns us against.

I'd generally thought that although the creationist organisations such as Answers in Genesis probably had some good points, they tended to get a bit too carried away with themselves by insisting on a young earth. I didn't know what to make of evolution — I had given up on biology at the first possible opportunity when I was fourteen, and generally viewed making sense of that as Someone Else's Problem.

But I thought that since I had family members asking me about it, I needed to look into it.

In the end of the day, my position on the matter is quite simple: make sure your facts are straight. It doesn't really bother me how old you think the earth is, or who or what you think did or didn't evolve from what, as long as you're being honest about it. Sadly there are a lot of excruciatingly bad creationist arguments out there — claims that are either completely clueless or even blatantly untrue — and that doesn't honour God. You may think it bold and uncompromising to go for the most radical young-earth position, but if you are defending your position with claims that are easily falsified, you won't be upholding the Bible; on the contrary, you'll be undermining it. At best you'll just look ignorant; at worst, you'll end up portraying Christianity itself as an exercise in anti-intellectual dishonesty. Make sure you don't rush into the debate with all guns blazing only to shoot yourself in the foot.

This blog is intended to serve as a bit of a brain dump for the various fact-checking that I've done and the conclusions that I've come to over the past couple of years. I'm not intending to use it to bash any particular viewpoint, but rather as a resource to help fellow Christians to fact-check the various claims that are being bandied about and make sense of it all. I hope that it proves to be useful.

Image credit: US Geological Survey