Last week I found myself in a conversation with a young earth creationist that believes the universe is from 6,000 to 10,000 years old. I know that many (most...all?) of you will automatically classify this guy as a nut, but before you get too carried away I have to admit that I too, am a creationist. However, I am an old earth creationist, and while I do not believe in macro-evolution, I do believe the universe to be 13.7 billion years old and that it was brought about by the Big Bang.
The problem I find myself in time after time is trying to explain the evidence for an old universe. Much of the time young earth creationist believe that carbon dating is so flawed as to be useless. Furthermore, they believe a global flood can account for the geological appearance of age on our planet. (I know this is silly, but that's just the way it is.)
I haven't quite caught up to the latest Astronomy Cast, but after listening to the first 20 episodes I had a thought. For the sake of argument let us assume that God exists AND that He chose to create a universe that appears to be 13.7 billion years old, BUT is actually only 10,000 years old. What would a snapshot of the universe have to look like in order for this to happen? In other words if God snapped his fingers and the universe appeared 10,000 years ago what are the various stages of stellar development at which He would have been required to create in order to bring about the appearance of an old universe. For instance, if we know that there are stars that are x number of years old and other stars that are y number of years old, God would have had to create the two stars to appear as if they were different ages, AND of course he would have had to "fill in" all the light from those stars to the Earth in an instant so that we could see them without waiting millions of years.
What I would really like is a list of the different stellar ages of objects, and how we can tell that they are the age we claim or close to it. I really need to stick to the most concrete science we have because young earth creationist are typically very critical of science.
So for instance, you could say to me: "Well, we know that "x" type of stars are approximately "x" number of years old because..." and "We know that "y" type of stars (or other objects) are "y" number of years old because...
In the interest of full disclosure I feel it is only fair to state that I do believe that God could have created the universe 10,000 years ago and made it to look as if it were billions of years old, BUT I do not believe this is what He did.
It seems to me that if I can describe the complexity of issues involved for creating a universe that appears old that it would add credibility to the old earth view. It won't prove the view, but it seems to ask the question, "Why would God create a universe with x,y,z when He could have simply created it with a,b,c? To confuse us?
I know this is long, and I hope it is not too confusing. If you feel like helping me out I would appreciate it. I'm not interested in debating philosophical or religious matters on this board, I just want to have the best science available to present to my young earth friends.
Thanks in advance!