Young Earth Creationism is probably the most bizarre of the various strands of "Intelligent" Design religious fundamentalist beliefs. Young earth Creationists believe that the earth is little more than around 6,000 years old and that ancient life forms, such as the dinosaurs, all lived within this timescale. They take a literal view of the Biblical Genesis account. Even those creationists who don't flaunt a Young Earth creationist view tend to hum and haw about their real views about the age of the Earth because fundamentalists generally have a problem squaring the biblical account with an Earth that is around 4.5 Billion years old. Scratch at the surface of any fundamentalist creationist or believer in "Intelligent Design" and there is often a Young Earth Creationist just under the surface.
Trying to read Genesis as a literal account of creation is of course problematic because it flies in the face of so much scientific evidence not least the fossil record. I was thinking about this whole issue again recently and a major problem with the Genesis account struck me. Lets call it The Creationist Starlight problem.
Young earth creationists are quite literal in their interpretation of the supposed seven days of creation in the Bible. They see them as seven actual days.
According to the Bible on the fourth day;
14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17: And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18: And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19: And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Ok so God made the sun and the moon and the stars on the fourth day. We will ignore the problem that he actually made light a few days earlier ( where did that come from then?).
Lets just think about the Stars that he made for a moment.
Lets take a fundamentalist view and assume that he did make all the stars on the fourth day.
So he makes the Sun, and the light from the sun takes say eight minutes to get from the Sun to the Earth. No problem so far.
And he also makes the nearest star to us, Proxima Centauri , which is approximately 4.3 light years from us.... so the light from the nearest star arrives ... Just a minute... hang on! There is a bit of a problem here isn't there? If Proxima Centauri is 4.3 light years from the Earth then the light from that star takes 4.3 years to reach the Earth. So there couldn't have been any stars twinkling in the sky at the end of the fourth day because the light was still on its way. Funny that there is no mention of this.
Now most stars are much much further away from the earth so there would be no way that any appreciable star light would have reached the earth for many many years after the supposed Biblical creation. So how is it that again that there is no mention of this in the Bible?
Some creationists like to try to get around this by trying to argue that the speed of light has changed in the six thousand years that they say have passed since the Earth was created. This would still leave the problem that over those six thousand years more and more stars would be appearing in the sky as their light gradually reached Earth. Again, no mention of this in the Bible. Surely someone must have noticed given that we know the ancients were obsessed with the stars.
It's a real problem for the fundamentalists this one I think.