The Instigator
JasonMc
Con (against)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
Kleptin
Pro (for)
Winning
77 Points

The Earth / universe(s) is only several thousand years old, as opposed to being several billion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,554 times Debate No: 2604
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (20)

 

JasonMc

Con

The belief that the Earth / universe(s) is only several thousand years old, rather than being several billion years old as the scientific community suggests is an erroneous belief. Most of the opposing arguments against the position of the scientific community seem to be influenced by personal biblical interpretations that suggests the Earth / universe(s) is only a few thousand years old. I contend that:

A) The view that the bible states that the Earth / universe(s) only several thousand years old is subject to interpretation, could very easily be a misinterpretation, or is completely false.

B) There is an overwhelming amount of scientific proof / evidence that the Earth / universe(s) is several billion years old.

PLEASE leave your emotions at the door. I am simply looking for a rational debate, and do not mean to attack anyone's personal religious beliefs.
Kleptin

Pro

Many people have criticized Christianity or Religion for being false despite their longevity. Similarly, this logic can be applied to the scientific methods of dating.

Scientists take for granted that carbon-14 half lives are constant, geological evidence can quite often be flawed due to constant environmental changes and general uncertainty. Radioactivity of all sorts has been scientifically shown to throw off carbon-dating methods severely, and in the cases of small samples, this error is even more apparent.

Most if not all evidence for old earth hinges on radioactive dating, and since there is controversy in this process, it may very well be a misconception that carries through to this very day, much like geocentrism.

In that case, the earth may not be several billion years old. And it begins to throw the theory of evolution by way of natural selection into question.
Debate Round No. 1
JasonMc

Con

I do not maintain that religion / Christianity are false at all, nor do I affirm that any one interpretation is absolutely true. I believe, as I stated in round 1, that the view that the bible states that the Earth / universe(s) is only several thousand years old is subject to interpretation, could very easily be a misinterpretation, or completely false.

The opposing religious viewpoints I encounter to my claim maintain that it says in the Bible that the lord created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, and that it also states in the Bible that a thousand years to mankind is a day unto the lord, therefore the heavens and the earth were created in a timespan of six thousand years. Additionally, this viewpoint goes on to claim that the said time frame of six thousand years occurred six thousand years prior to the bible being written, thus making the earth approximately ten thousand years old.

I am in no way claiming that the heavens and the earth were not created by God, or even by gods for that matter. What I am claiming is that due to the uncertainty of the validity of the Bible and the numerous ways in which its content is interpreted, no one can claim for certain that they know exactly when the earth was created based on any scripture or scriptures within the Bible, even if God truly did create the heavens and the earth in a span of six thousand years. I therefore reiterate that the view that the bible states that the Earth / universe(s) is only several thousand years old is subject to interpretation, could very easily be a misinterpretation, or is completely false.

Even if you throw the issue of carbon dating out the window, geological evidence alone provides a wealth of proof / evidence that the earth is more than several thousand years old, despite the occasional misinterpretation of scientific evidence due to constant environmental changes.

A good example of proof the the earth is at least older than a few thousand years is the rate at which geological occurrences happen, such as the formation of new land mass from volcanic activity. It would be impossible for the earth to form to its current state at the observed rate of both past and present geological occurrences. Another good source of proof that the earth is at least older than several thousand years is the way layers of soil / rock / ice accumulate year after year, much like rings on a tree. These layers of natural media serve as a solid record / time line, in some cases going back eons.

Not only does the physical evidence serve as proof, but the multitudes of scientific theories / principles which are both individually and mutually dependent on such evidence being fact serve to reaffirm the evidence / proof. There are many scientific wonders mankind has achieved, which if such fundamental scientific theories (such as our understanding of how the earth was formed) were incorrect, these wonders would've never taken place (e.g. the development of nuclear technology.)
Kleptin

Pro

"The opposing religious viewpoints I encounter to my claim maintain that it says in the Bible that the lord created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, and that it also states in the Bible that a thousand years to mankind is a day unto the lord, therefore the heavens and the earth were created in a timespan of six thousand years. Additionally, this viewpoint goes on to claim that the said time frame of six thousand years occurred six thousand years prior to the bible being written, thus making the earth approximately ten thousand years old.

I am in no way claiming that the heavens and the earth were not created by God, or even by gods for that matter. What I am claiming is that due to the uncertainty of the validity of the Bible and the numerous ways in which its content is interpreted, no one can claim for certain that they know exactly when the earth was created based on any scripture or scriptures within the Bible, even if God truly did create the heavens and the earth in a span of six thousand years. I therefore reiterate that the view that the bible states that the Earth / universe(s) is only several thousand years old is subject to interpretation, could very easily be a misinterpretation, or is completely false."

Under this reasoning, I can understand why you would see how the seemingly arbitrary timeline set by the Bible seems open to interpretation. Especially the "one day is a thousand years" argument. However, the timeline was not developed by this format.

James Ussher, an irish archbishop in the 15-1600's actually calculated, in pages upon pages, the age of the earth based on biblical accounts of historical happenings and traced back lineages (ages of death were given as well). So no, this time period is not based on a metaphor, the calculations are actually quite precise and backed up by biblical proof.

http://www.answersingenesis.org...

"Even if you throw the issue of carbon dating out the window, geological evidence alone provides a wealth of proof / evidence that the earth is more than several thousand years old, despite the occasional misinterpretation of scientific evidence due to constant environmental changes.

A good example of proof the the earth is at least older than a few thousand years is the rate at which geological occurrences happen, such as the formation of new land mass from volcanic activity. It would be impossible for the earth to form to its current state at the observed rate of both past and present geological occurrences. Another good source of proof that the earth is at least older than several thousand years is the way layers of soil / rock / ice accumulate year after year, much like rings on a tree. These layers of natural media serve as a solid record / time line, in some cases going back eons."

That is indeed a valid assumption and scientists did indeed draw that conclusion based on observed rates. However, the biblical argument is that the flood of noah's time as a global catastrophe of proportions great enough to have caused most if not all of those geological deformities. Creationists can argue that sediments settled in different layers during the flood between period of intense water movement and quiescence.

http://www.icr.org...

Now that I have made my position defending, I shall now attack old earth theories. The geologic time lines that scientists use have quite a few inconsistencies. Scientists, in developing theories, tend to perform quite a few logical skips. For example, a geologist would categorize the geological strata under the assumption that the natural settling of debris would take centuries. This is definitely the case if nature were left untouched. However, the great flood as a catastrophe would completely undermine this initial premise. In addition, a scientist may examine the layers of ice in the poles and assume that because of seasonal changes, every 2 layers would represent a year. This is also under the assumption that nature is left alone. In reality, if semi-constant rainfall were separated by periods of quiescence, layers of ice would still form that way.

"Not only does the physical evidence serve as proof, but the multitudes of scientific theories / principles which are both individually and mutually dependent on such evidence being fact serve to reaffirm the evidence / proof. There are many scientific wonders mankind has achieved, which if such fundamental scientific theories (such as our understanding of how the earth was formed) were incorrect, these wonders would've never taken place (e.g. the development of nuclear technology.)"

Much as how an illogical argument can arrive at a valid conclusion, flawed premises in science can still lead to progress in the field of science. Carbon 14 dating as a half-life reaction has little to nothing to do with the basic concepts we have of the atom. Rather, it is the reverse. Our concepts of the atom and atomic science in general helped us to form the concept of the half life reaction and use it as a dating method. The problem is, however, that our premises may be flawed. Tying this back into the general case of science, the geological evidence you provided may very well be valid scientific conclusions, but the fact remains that the creationists have logical explanations that they drew from the bible. Explanations that also happen to have some degree of scientific validity.

However, a general bias towards Creationism stifles attempts to perform further experimentation with these theories.

Thus, invalidating young earth theories is merely tradition, not so much a justified act.

We have one round of exchanges left and you have not yet succeeded in invalidating
Debate Round No. 2
JasonMc

Con

JasonMc forfeited this round.
Kleptin

Pro

I find it disrespectful for you to have even begun to respond so close to the deadline. However, I shall treat your comment as if though it were your actual argument.

"These calculations,or proof as you claim, are based on what Answers Magazine claims to be "the infallible Word of God." The bible is a compilation of scriptures written by mankind, and as I stated in round 1 are open to interpretation, therefore the burden of proof lies with you regarding "biblical proof."

It's an entire debate within itself, but the creationist's interpretation of the bible isn't regarded as being historically accurate by most historians, academics, etc. I'm not saying the bible is wrong, but I am saying that many of its interpretations could be / are, depending on the scripture in question."

Straw man fallacy. My point was to show that the theistic timeline was based on calculation and not on interpretation. Going by the dates of the deaths of important historical figures such as King Nebuchadnezzar, and tracing backwards through genealogy through the literal ages of deaths going back to adam, and treating each day of creation as a literal day. The argument I was responding to was you declaring that by the standards of the bible, the date of creation was open to interpretation. Thus, by the standards of the bible, I have shown that you were incorrect in saying so.

Now, instead of admitting that I have debunked that aprticular argument of yours, you redirect it with a clever strawman and attack the validity of the bible in general.

Well, to clarify on your last point, no. These dates are not subject to biblical and literary interpretation. They are hard dates and literal calculations.

"I maintain that one group's interpretation of the bible believes that the great flood of Noah's time caused all of the world's deformities because this is not how I, or many other people at all for that matter, interpret it. There's geological evidence of massive floods occurring in different places in the world at different times, but there is no evidence suggesting that the entire globe was flooded at once."

This argument has nothing to do with the point. Please do not digress. The initial point was that catastrophes could easily have caused the rock strata and other forms of evidence that scientists rely on to justify the age of earth. You are now attacking the biblical notion that a global flood occurred. Whether or not the catastrophes were global has nothing to do with whether the scientific evidence is tainted. I repeat, do not attempt to misguide readers. This response did not debunk my initial argument.

"I personally believe many biblical interpretations made by creationists cause a rift between religion and science because they can't or wont look at the issue objectively, from all sides. This is one example of how the bible the bible and science don't have to differ. If the entire world to the original author of that story was a much smaller area geographically than the entire planet actually is, then maybe that scripture is accurate to a degree."

Regardless, the evidence brought out to show a young earth must be based on objective evidence, regardless of intent. Questioning the intent does little to invalidate their argument, that would simply be an ad hominem attack.

"There is overwhelming amount of scientific proof / evidence that the Earth / universe(s) is several billion years old, but as you said, "a general bias towards Creationism stifles attempts to perform further experimentation with these theories", and therefore keeps creationists from accepting that which can be measured and viewed with the naked eye. The Creationist position wrong because its "proof" is based upon their own interpretation of the bible, which is in no way logical or proof at all."

This summation disregards everything I have said. While I agree that religious people may have motives for their experimenting with young age creationism, this does not INHERENTLY show that what they bring to the scientific community is flawed. To judge so is an ad hominem attack, logically fallacious. Examine the evidence instead of dismissing it purely because a religious person is responsible for presenting it.

To respond to your conclusion, the "overwhelming amount of scientific proof" is founded simply on a few key principles. The key one being radiometric dating. Geologic evidence, the fossil record, archaeological evidence, these make up about 90% of that scientific proof. However, I have offered an argument stating that radiometric dating has key flaws, an argument that you did NOT respond to for reasons I cannot guess at. That having been said, the fact that you state there is an overwhelming amount of scientific proof does nothing for your claim.

**************

I have rebutted each and every single one of my opponent's points although he has missed out on addressing a few of mine. As of now, my opponent has contributed no evidence as to why the earth is billions of years old, he has only unsuccessfully responded to my criticism of scientific techniques.

However, I admit I made the same mistake, and although my rebuttals were effective, I did not as of yet make an argument for the young age of the earth. I shall do so now.

First, I would like to bring up a piece of astronomical evidence. The rate at which supernovas form in our galaxy as established by the scientific community is roughly one per 25 years. However, being recently able to examine this galaxy we inhabit, we are only able to find about 7000 years' worth of supernova remnants, which are easily identifiable.

Second, a piece of geological evidence. Rock strata in mountain regions are extremely bent, and the scientific community attributes this to the pressure and geographic movements of millions of years. However, upon closer observation, the strata are formed in a very fluid and homogeneous way. This shows that the bending must have occurred while the strata was still sediment instead of rock, and that it must only be several thousand years old as opposed to several million. If it were the latter case, the strata would be ragged.

Third, a piece of chemical evidence. Helium is produced by the nuclear decay reaction between uranium and thorium. While there is a tremendous amount of material in the strata, which scientists have used as evidence for an old earth, it has been discovered that this decay and release of helium into the atmosphere has only occurred within 6000 years, give or take about 2000 years.
*************

To conclude, I wish only to emphasize these few truths:

First, my opponent has offered no evidence or argument for his point. The only argument he offered was in the conclusion of the response he technically forfeited, However, this is not technically an argument since all he stated was "There is an overwhelming amount of scientific proof".

Thus, he has absolutely NOT done his half of the debate, which is to support his claim that the earth/universe is several billion years old.

Second, my opponent did argue against many of my criticisms of the scientific evidence and my defense of young earth. I have successfully rebutted to all of his points, meaning he currently does not have a case against the position that the earth/universe is only several thousand years old.

Finally, I have not only offered arguments against the common scientific evidence (such as radiometric dating), but my opponent has not addressed that point. I have also included specific pieces of evidence supporting my point.

In conclusion, I am the only person to fulfill the necessities of this debate. I know that I am arguing a position that is not very popular, but I hope you will vote in accordance with the strength of arguments instead of on pure popularity.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GaryBacon 9 years ago
GaryBacon
I agree with JasonMC. The Earth and universe are obviously older than several thousand years. However, after reading the debate I had to vote in favour of Kleptin. He was better at arguing and backing up his points.
Posted by JasonMc 9 years ago
JasonMc
I have nothing to appologize for. As I said before, I replied in the allotted time. The timer showed that I had 15 minutes left to post my last argument, but for some reason it wouldn't let me submit it. If you're looking to pin someone with fault, blame debate.org for having an inaccurate timing system.

You can state dates as clearly as you want. That doesn't make them any more accurate. The bible is not historically accurate, end of story.

Clearly, we have a difference in opinion as to who doesn't understand how this debate was headed. To continue arguing this point would be redundant. I labeled your argument as being irrational because you use the bible as a credible source.
Posted by DoctaFly 9 years ago
DoctaFly
ROFL people still believe those loony religious zealot ideals, like the earth being only a couple of K years old? Is this the dark ages? Is the earth still flat?

ROFLMAO people are mind-bogglingly idiotic.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
1. You have 3 days to respond. At least apologize for being so close to the deadline that it booted you. I wouldn't have called it disrespectful if you did so. Following debate rules, I could have simply ignored your post but I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

2. Straw man argument. What I find disrespectful is that you think it is your right to make your argument in the comment section and have me respond accordingly. It is not. I gave you that privilege.

3. Wrong. The issue of this debate is clearly stated in enormous font at the top. You also only stated overwhelming proof, but provided no evidence of it.

4. Incorrect. The dates in the bible are historically traced to other documents. You can argue that the bible is flawed, but you can't argue that the dates were open to interpretation, they were stated clearly.

5. My reference to radiometric dating were used in order to provide an explanation for why there may be an essential flaw in science. Most of the evidence scientists have are founded upon the assumption that the principles of radiometric dating are correct. It's not my fault you don't understand how this debate was headed.

If you so wish to label my arguments as illogical, please do so with evidence. It's much more likely that the debate went above your ehad and you require clarification.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
Anyone who has been following my debates knows that I'm an evolutionist and I find all creationism to be utterly absurd. Especially young earth creationism.

However, I participated in this debate to make a point. In debate, we are focusing on the strengths of the arguments and not the position.

Objectively speaking, I have beaten my opponent pretty well. Burden of proof shows that quite simply.

Yet, the votes are at a tie. Not surprising at all.
Posted by DoctaFly 9 years ago
DoctaFly
Jesus Christ was a gay black woman.

The bible says so.

AMEN.
Posted by polka-dots323 9 years ago
polka-dots323
How do we even know if the way we created to date rocks is correct? We were not there to see the Earth form or the rocks on the planet forming? According to the Bible, the Earth is only around 6,000 years old.
Posted by JasonMc 9 years ago
JasonMc
Kleptin: Disrespectful? Are you kidding me? First off, I replied in the allotted time. The timer showed that I had 15 minutes left to post my last argument, but for some reason it wouldn't let me submit it. If you're looking to pin someone with fault, blame debate.org for having an inaccurate timing system.

Secondly, debating on this website is something I do for fun in my spare time. I have a job, I'm a full-time student, and I have a family. To claim that it is disrespectful to place priority over my life in order to submit an argument earlier than at the end of the time frame allowed in this debate is laughable. How do you figure you deserve the respect that you command?

Regarding your last argument, you maintain that I have absolutely NOT done my half of the debate, which is to support my claim that the earth/universe is several billion years old. The claims I am supporting are:

A) The view that the bible states that the Earth / universe(s) only several thousand years old is subject to interpretation, could very easily be a misinterpretation, or is completely false.

B) There is an overwhelming amount of scientific proof / evidence that the Earth / universe(s) is several billion years old.

Your "hard dates" in the bible, such as the time of Adam and Eve, are just as subject to interpretation as any other biblical scripture and in no way "hard dates". It's common knowledge that many of the time lines in the bible don't jive with historical fact.

You keep reverting to the validity of radioactive carbon dating, which I never used as part of my argument in the first place because it's another debate within itself. You have in no way proved the Bible to be true, or science to be false (radioactive carbon dating, rock strata, or otherwise) because your rebuttals are in no way logical or accurate.
Posted by JackBauerPower 9 years ago
JackBauerPower
Ha ha ha ha i cant believe there are people that believe the earth is only several thousand years old. Honestly what year is it? This is why we need to reform our education system
Posted by blond_guy 9 years ago
blond_guy
Jason, I wish I took this debate. It's ridiculous. Radio-carbon dating proves that there has been living organisms on the face of the earth for longer than 20,000 years
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