I thought about doing this as a long-form explainer, breaking down a bunch of creationist claims in a sort of easy, handleable, you-can-do-it-too kind of guide. Then I thought about it, thought about the effort-to-return ratio. Then I remembered that I met Ken Ham and went: Oh. Never fucking mind.
A few short myths about Young Earth Creationism, but let’s start with the major myth. There is an ideology that holds to a belief that rather than a material existence we have that started as a point of a singularity that then expanded rapidly and through a process of gravity and cycles of stellar formation led to the creation of planets which in turn led to the lucky arrangement of chemistry and energy for the formation of life and the subsequent development of iterating self-replicating varying populations over billions of years to the end result of people who can make toasters and hummus, the entire planet was spoken into existence about six thousand years ago, by God, and the events of the Bible then literally happened in an accurate and literal order. I understand that there are Buddhist and Muslim creationists as well, but in this case the YEC grouping I am used to and which has the most cultural power in English-speaking spaces is absolutely this white, Evangelical, Christian fascist church grouping I describe.
Yes, I said fascist, that is part of it, keep up.
It is about, but not to, these people, that I address my points.
Young Earth Creationism Is A Science Proposal
Look, the framework of YEC positions is fundamentally one that dictates the requirement of an infinite entity actively intervening in natural laws. An actual YEC position is that everything that seems old is in fact, not old. YEC positions require that all historical records from East Asia to be not only false, but falsified. YEC proposals are designed to sound sciencey, because they want the veneer of science, they want the trust that is placed in science, and they want to be seen as legitimate alongside science, but they are not doing science.
I have looked at numerous proposals about it, things that are meant to excuse or exceptionalise or rationalise a host of positions that YEC speakers hold, but there’s no two ways about it, fundamental to all these attempts to cloak themselves in science or pretend to be science, there is a shallow perspective on the sciences they’re addressing. There’s no interconnected relationship between different fields, and there’s a deliberate imposition of the presenter’s own ignorance.
And I know this because I’ve been there in church meetings where these people talk about how creationism works, and how they need to just show that evolution is wrong, so people will see there’s no alternative but Christian, Evangelical, Biblically Literal Creationism.
It drapes about itself exactly enough science as its producers understand, but does not do what science does, like make provable and testable hypothesis and falsifiable claims.
Young Earth Creationist Producers Aren’t Stupid
This is one of those weird canards where advocates of real things like science treat advocates for YEC like they are perfectly sensible people who are just misinformed or hold a contrasting viewpoint. They will often say things like ‘look, I’m not saying Ray Comfort is stupid.’
I am. Or, if you want to get into my own personal language space, they are doing stupidity.
Understand that when I met Ken Ham, I asked him questions about how we authorise the Bible with the Bible, since that only works if the Bible is true, and if it’s not, then the Bible can’t prove the Bible. I was seven. And at the time, he said that it proof of why we needed to believe the Bible was true. What I’m saying is that a seven year old child was capable of pointing out to Ken Ham the basic logic failing of his entire justification for his worldview, and he didn’t even have a convincing bullshit for it worthy of a child.
These people’s entire models of these things relies, constantly on the limits of their own ability to grapple with not understanding something. Consistently, the YEC position is ‘this is too hard to understand, so it has to be fake.’ You will always find when you get to the bottom of that rabbit hole, that it comes down to personal incredulity. Overwhelmingly, they position themselves as critics of evolution, and demonstrate only the most surface idea of how evolution works at all, because the main source of their information on the topic is other YEC sources.
This is becauuuuse
Young Earth Creationists Are Trying To Convince People
They’re not. They’re trying to protect and patrol their ingroup. Their positions are almost always aimed at children, because their arguments do not typically bear up to scrutiny from people who are taught to be curious and to do their own research. And also, largely, people don’t care about this argument, so the YEC position will by default land on someone who shrugs and moves on, even if they don’t care to defend evolution. There are plenty of people whose position is ‘I don’t know, who cares?’
There is some recruitment that happens through YEC ideas, but it’s typically of people who are already interested in, or good potential marks for, the grift system around it that gets you into a church and paying money into it. And you’ll notice that all these YEC people at the top are in some way, monetising their persectuion to an audience willing to pay to support them. Whether patreon debates or running a gift shop in a big wooden box, the YEC position is always about finding a way to gather an ingroup towards you, start fights with the outgroup, then get money out of people.
It is a grift. It is always a grift. Anyone in the space who convinces themselves that they honestly believe in a literal YEC belief system is either a mark, or a grifter lying to you, and there is no room to countenance any of them as legitimate, good faith actors. Use their work to demonstrate their errors to a general audience, criticise them in public spaces, but never legitimise them. Never go to debate them. Never give them your platforms.
They are at best liars.