Is the earth only 6,000 years old?

  1. hey,

    Dr. Hovind, an Evangelical minister is offering $250,000 for anyone who can disprove his claim that the earth is 6,000 years old. I don't have the offer site but if you google something like "Hovnid offer 6000 years old earth" you should get a lot of results. His offer also goes for proving the theory of evolution, but anyways, I am not an expert on earth sciences but I know that the age of the earth is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years (correct me if I am wrong). What do you guys think about Dr. Hovnid's claim?
  2. jcsd
    Earth sciences news on
  3. Locrian

    Locrian 1,800
    Gold Member

    Well, assuming the earth is 6000 years old just creates hordes of problems you have to overcome - and no one has. I prefer to choose the theory that is the best predictor of variables, both past and present, and that theory is not a young earth theory. But the, unlike Hovind, I'm a scientist.

    There are plenty of people extremely knowledgable on the subject who may give his test a shot, but the primary determiner of whether they'll win is how honest he is, not whether they are right or not.
  4. graphic7

    graphic7 560
    Gold Member

    Hovind is not a credible person. In the FAQ at Talk Origins, they discuss some of the business he's been into over the years. Don't call him Dr. - he forged his degree. He also filed for bankruptcy, and there's something around about him and tax fraud. I seriously doubt that even if someone did prove it, he wouldn't have the cash for the reward.
  5. matthyaouw

    matthyaouw 1,216
    Gold Member

    Chances are if he is so convinced of the earth being 6000 years old, any evidence anyone offers to support an alternative age he will dismiss simply by saying "No, God did it."
  6. hmm...

    so there is no guaranteed way to disprove that claim?

    I thought that it can be done with carbon dating or fossil records or some kind of trusted scientific method...
  7. matthyaouw

    matthyaouw 1,216
    Gold Member

    I'm certain that if it were that easy to convince this man, he wouldn't have offered a reward in the first place, or it would have been claimed long since. Sorry if we've just crushed your aspirations for quick and easy wealth.
  8. Code (Text):
    I'm certain that if it were that easy to convince this man, he wouldn't have offered a reward in the first place, or it would have been claimed long since. Sorry if we've just crushed your aspirations for quick and easy wealth.

    lol ... actually I wasn't planning on making some easy money, but I am always amused by religious people that make such scientific statements based on what they read in their holy books (with all my respect to my religious friends out here). its kinda funny seeing them say stupid stuff and discovering how bad they messed up. But usually they believe in it so bad that they'll never consider anything else.
  9. Nereid

    Nereid 4,014
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    If this Hovind's offer is as stated ("offering $250,000 for anyone who can disprove his claim that the earth is 6,000 years old"), he's very, very likely to have set it up in such a way that it's impossible to claim.

    Consider: how does he define 'earth'? why should any reader of his claim think that '6,000 years' relates in any way at all to the 'years' the reader uses (e.g. her own age)? goodness, if he has read his BillC correctly, he may even say 'that depends on what the meaning of 'is' is!' :rolleyes:

    In any case, his 'claim' is not amenable to attack scientifically; he asks for someone to 'disprove' it, and if he's crafty (as he undoubtedly is), he would point to the voluminous writings of philosophers of science, saying that the best minds contend that you can't 'prove' anything in science (ergo, 'disproving' is also ruled out).

    Hmm, reminds me of certain homo sap. individuals who make claims about the beneficial uses of a non-water extract of certain serpents? :wink:
  10. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    No, see the problems with the idea are so vast that there is only one way a person can even hold that position: believe God created the earth 6,000 years ago in such a way as to make it look like its 4 billion years old. So fossils, carbon dating, the formation of the sun and planets, the fact that the sun is a 3rd (?) generation star, all of astronomy, all of geology, all of biology, etc., etc., etc., were all just faked by a devious creator.
  11. Chronos

    Chronos 9,758
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, no, no, Hovind's 'award' is not nearly so easy to claim as that. From his website
    Just so it is abundantly clear what he is asking:
    And here are the six meanings he refers to:
    Just so you know what he expects you to indisputably prove:
    Any takers?
  12. Janitor

    Janitor 1,189
    Science Advisor

    In my many hours of listening to Christian talk radio, there are no moments I enjoy more than when a preacher takes on science.

  13. Phobos

    Phobos 2,020
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    "Dr. Dino" (Hovind) expects you to eliminate all uncertainty in science (or, I should say, expects that you won't be able to). That is just not possible. As Nereid said, he can quibble over the smallest detail. As Russ said, you would essentially have to disprove the existance of God, which is something science cannot do. The $250,000 reward is just a political trick to boost support for his position of Young Earth Creationism (the layperson may be impressed that no scientist has been able to claim the prize).

    You are correct that things like fossils, radiodating of rocks, astronomy, biology, geology, etc. etc. etc. all provide evidence (often independent lines of evidence) that the Earth is older than 6000 years. But Hovind & his supporters will never be convinced by that because they're already convinced (an a priori axiom) of the inerrancy of a literal Bible interpretation. To help support their belief, they can always find some bit of uncertainty in any scientific result which they feel can write-off the whole result. One they will often use is that no one around today directly observed things like the Big Bang or the beginning of life or macroevolution. Of course, science does not require direct observation like that.

    Of course, he does not apply the same level of scrutiny to his own beliefs.
  14. That is not the deal, you have to instead proof that:

    1. Matter, space and time created themselves
    [ this already makes the whole proof impossible, since matter, space and time did not create themselves but where always there -- unless you believe in the singularity, now dropped by everyone, which is much similar to a creation science ]
    2. Galaxies formed and stars created all the elements.
    3. Organisms emerged from solid rocks of the early earth.

  15. There is no (direct) way to proof to Mr. Hovind that evolution (as he defines it) is true.

    You could however point out to him that his version of how the word came about is in no way scientific, since there is no known mechanism by which the "creator" works, it is just a loophole you can put anything in to proof anything.

    However, his whole "creation" myth is based on the existence of a creator, which existed outside and independend of matter, space and time, since they were created by this creator, as claimed by his creation story.

    This would however urge us to think that such a creator would be immaterial.

    There is no conceivable way in which a mind can work, without a material organ for thinking (perhaps that is why this creator needed to wait an eternity before the material world appeared as he could not make up his mind?).

    Let him for instance explain what proof there is for a mind to exist without anything material.
    Next let him clarify what he would define as consciousness in the absence of any material world. What was God thinking about, as he could not be reflecting on the material world, which did not exist.
    And lastly, let him explain how matter can be made from nothing at all.

    If he succeeds in that, he then would just have a plausability for posing a theory, how the creator could have created the world. Which is only as good as in so far it could explain the world as it is, as based on observation.

    Why for example would the creator have chosen there to be zilions of stars, and even more planets, while only one is habitable (as far as we know).

    Wouldn't make much sense, unless the creator had no choice. But then, what need or role is there for a creator that had no choice in any way? It would add up to nothing.

    Anyhow, such a theory can not be formulated, since the assumptions on which to built such a theory, do not hold water. Mind without matter is something ridiculous and provable wrong assumption, since that would assume mind is something entirely different as matter and could not interact with matter at all.

    So, I don't understand why scientists even would feel the need to proof their science is right and produces better result as a creation myth, the two are incomparable to begin with!

    If a creationist wants to do a scientific compare with other scientific theories, first thing he has to do is put his ideas within the same framework as science, otherwise there is nothing to compare.

    His whole false thesis begins with the assumption that the world would have need a begin and creation of some sort. Matter however has no begin or end, and needs no cause outside of it self, so this already elimintes the need of something entirely different then matter to explain the existence of matter.

    Moreover, let him come with even ONE example of a real creation event.
    He can not find one.

    Even the most simple case of human "creations" can be show to be developments. For example a car -- irreducable complex!!! -- was not "invented" or created in one moment, but was a slow development of thousands of years, starting with the utilization of wheels, later on carots and then the use of motors.

    Deplorable philosphical grounds of some physicists however, makes some cosmological theories (those that assume a begin of time or singularity as the start of the cosmos) rather similar with creation myths.
    Since better cosmological models evolved, those theories have now been almost all abandoned.
  16. Andrew Mason

    Andrew Mason 6,797
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Since no one has been around 6000 years, we have to infer the age of the earth from circumstantial evidence. The problem is that Hovind will never make that inference regardless of how much evidence there is.

    I am not sure how he explains dinosaurs buried in the earth under 100 m of rock or fossils found in the high outcroppings of the rocky mountains. That evidence persuades most rational people that the earth is very old. But it won't persuade someone who believes that God put them there to test our faith.

    What you have to do is turn it around on Hovind. Since he is saying that his theory (that the earth is no more than 6000 years old) is correct, someone should ask him to predict something that would be true if and only if the earth was less than 6000 years old. I bet he can't do it. If he can't do it, then it is a meaningless statement to say that the earth is only 6000 years old.

    Here is another approach. Ask Hovind if he accepts that the speed of light is 300,000 km/sec or thereabouts. If he denies it, it can be proven so he shouldn't deny it. Then ask him if he agrees that the earth's orbit is approximately 300,000,000 km in diameter. Again, if he denies it, it can be proven so he shouldn't deny it. Then ask him if he accepts the space is Euclidean: that light travels in a more or less straight line (let's ignore the effects of general relativity). Again, he should accept that. Then it is a very easy process using parallax and geometry (using the diameter of the earth's orbit as a base) to show that there are stars within our galaxy are more than 6,000 light years away from the earth. This does not prove that the earth is more than 6000 years old, but it proves (because we see the light) that the star was there more than 6000 years ago. And that proves that our galaxy is more than 6,000 years old.

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2007
  17. vanesch

    vanesch 6,236
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    That is also the resolution to the problem: turn the problem around, and ask our famous Dr. to prove that the earth is older than 10 seconds! And that he proves that a devious creator didn't put memories in our minds of things more than 10 seconds ago. He won't be able to prove that either.
  18. Haha, like an atheist on a Christian. Well, judging that he's not extremely bias to the situation (he may though... williing to risk $250G on the topic), wouldn't it just be almost as simple to not prove him wrong, but get him to prove himself wrong?

    Is there any significant evidence that the world has only exsisted for 6,000 years? Any proof by and object that could only be in existance after less than 6000 years?

    I'm aware this doesn't prove him entirely wrong, there is alot of proof, but nothing that can 100% shut the books on the argument.
  19. Gokul43201

    Gokul43201 11,141
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    Not only can he do this, but he has in fact done it repeatedly. It's easy to correctly predict several things if you do not require internal consistency in a theory, and if orders of magnitude can be swept away by a flick of the wrist.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  20. The only way to shut the book for sure is to explain what carbon dating is. The only thing other than people that can actually tell us how old something is. And he can't counter that argument!
  21. There are loads of people like "Dr" Hovind on the streets of London, with megaphones prophesising about sins and various other dubious aspects of their religious beliefs. They somehow manage to survive on the fringe, no one takes them seriously, ultimately they can believe what they want to believe; the only thing that kind of pisses me off is when they start campaigning to get evolution out of science texts in schools. They're fundamentalists, proposing that evolution is the Devil's work and then linking it to terrorism. How to people get to be so deluded? Grief!!!!
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