Seems like creationism, and specifically young-earth creationism, is poking its head up once again in the wake of Rubio’s uninformed comments regarding what we know about the age of the earth. As Ed Brayton reports, both Bryan Fischer and Joseph Farah have recently argued that no one knows how old the earth really is because none of us were there when it was first created. God is the only eyewitness, they claim, and therefore we should just take His Word for it.
Well, Bryan and Joe, I hate to disagree with you, but if you take Genesis literally, then God is not the only eyewitness. I’ll grant you there’s no human alive today who was around at the origin of the earth. But if you read Genesis 1, you’ll find that God created the heavens on the same day He created the earth. And we’re all eyewitnesses to the (non-)creation of the universe.
What young-earth creationists tend to forget is that there’s this thing called the speed of light, which means there’s a finite amount of time that passes between the thing you see and the time you see it. Every eyewitness is an eyewitness to something that happened in the past. For things that are close to the observer, that may be a practically immeasurably small amount of time, but the farther away a thing is, the farther into the past you’re seeing when you see it. That may be mere minutes within the solar system, but out in the depths of space it’s decades, centuries, and even thousands and millions of years. Add a telescope and you can make that billions or even trillions of years. [Argh, I did it again — once upon a time I got the idea in my head that the universe was 13-14 trillion years old and ever since, if I’m not watching myself, I fall into old habits. In my defense, I was a creationist at the time. ]
Creationists try to wiggle out of this by proposing imaginary changes in the speed of light (even though E=mc2 means that even small increases in the speed of light would quickly make our sun too hot to support life). But even if you could get away with that kind of escapist fantasy physics, it still wouldn’t change the fact that we can see the past just by looking up on a clear, dark night. We are literally eyewitnesses to the fact that no divine, miraculous supernatural creation was taking place 6,000 years ago. Or even 10,000 years ago. And if we can’t trust what we ourselves see with our own eyes, why should we trust ancient men who claimed to be eyewitnesses of impossible things thousands of years ago?
So thanks but no thanks, Bryan and Joe. We are eyewitnesses of what happened in the ancient past, thanks to the unchanging speed of light. We can literally see into the past, and that means we can see right through your superstitious creationist bullshit.