I’m a YEC. What does that mean?
When I began this blog I knew that there were three topics I wanted to really delve into that would be fairly controversial. It wasn’t until this post that I decided that I would actually bring them up. Those topics are giving to the poor, abortion, and YEC. I’ve done a couple of posts about giving that I’m proud of. At the same time, poverty isn’t that controversial. I think just about everyone believes we should help the poor; the only controversy is over how to do it, and whether or not we’re responsible for what happens if we don’t help. Abortion has a lot more divisiveness to it. I haven’t gotten around to doing a post about it yet. I really should, but I haven’t. You’ll probably see one someday soon.
And then there’s YEC.
YEC, if you don’t already know, stands for Young Earth Creationism. I am a Young Earth Creationist. And that’s one of the hardest things to talk about on the internet; especially for a young blogger who’d really like to expand his audience. For most of the internet’s population being a YEC is roughly equivalent to being an ignorant, anti-scientific, fundamentalist kook at best, and a lying, hateful, brainwashing, science destroying, bible thumping, braindead child abuser at worst. I’m not sure that there’s much exaggeration there. I’ve heard fellow YECs be called all those things and worse. It’s not a very popular position. Even a hint of creationism can bring attacks on some of the most well liked and well-balanced of bloggers; just look what happened to Shamus Young. And he’s not even a YEC.
But I don’t want to get into a “Look at me, I’m a martyr because people might make fun of me on the internet!” sort of pity post. I just wanted to share why I’ve waited this long to talk about it. The simple fact is that I’m scared. I talk a good game but in all honesty I’m pretty thin skinned. I don’t want anyone to call me an idiot, or laugh at my beliefs, or claim that I’m deluded or brainwashed. Like most of us, I want people to like me.
I made my choice a while back: I’m going to talk freely about everything that’s important to me, no matter what happens. If I don’t then what’s the point of writing at all?
So enough of this maudlin rambling. Let’s get to the point of this post. Namely, what exactly is a Young Earth Creationist?
Young Earth creationism is a branch off of normal creationism and holds that the Earth is significantly younger than what is commonly believed. And I mean really significantly younger. Most YECs believe that the Earth is somewhere between 12,000 and 6,000 years old. That’s quite a difference from the 4.54 billion years you were probably taught in school. We also believe that God created everything; specifically that he created the world and everything in it in the same way that a plain reading of Genesis would give you. Six days of creation and all that. YECs do believe in evolution, but we do not believe that all life is descended from a single life form or that evolution is capable of causing drastic changes in body types over time, such as a dog becoming a dolphin or a lizard becoming a horse. Instead YECs believe that God created the major animal kinds and that all the species we see today are variations of those original kinds that have evolved through natural selection. A simple way to think about it (though not strictly accurate) is by looking at dog breeds. Every dog we see today, from the tiny Teacup Poodle to the massive Great Dane, is known to be descended originally from wolves. In the same way YECs believe that many different species of animals may all share a common ancestor in an ancient, likely now extinct, kind of animal that was created by God.
One of the centerpieces of Young Earth Creationism is a belief in a catastrophic global flood; the same flood described in the book of Genesis. YECs believe that the flood can explain most of the rock formations we see today. YECs reject Uniformitarianism which is the long held geological theory that states that geological features were created by small and regular (uniform) processes that occurred over millions and millions of years. It’s fair to say that YECs are the ultimate Catastrophics. Catastrophism holds that most geological formations were formed by many short and intense “catastrophes” separated by long periods of time. The general scientific consenses has moved in favor of Catastrophism over Uniformitarianism these days. The main difference between modern Catastrophism and Young Earth Creationism is that YECs believe that one incredibly massive and global catastrophe (the flood) occurred at some point in the past.
YECs generally believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that Genesis should not be interpreted as being metaphorical or poetic but should be understood as making real claims about historical events.
That, in a very small nutshell, is Young Earth Creationism. I’d like to take a moment to list what YECs do NOT believe:
-We don’t believe that science is evil or that it doesn’t work. Most YECs believe wholeheartedly in the scientific method.
-We don’t believe that dinosaurs never existed, are a hoax, or that their fossils were planted by God to test our faith. Honestly. It’s sad that I have to say that. We also don’t believe that God created the Earth to intentionally appear old.
-We don’t believe that evolution is not real or that beneficial mutations do not exist.
-We don’t believe that there was no rain before the flood, or that there were no rainbows until after the flood.
-We don’t believe that women have more ribs than men.
With all that said before I end this post I’d like to clear up some misconceptions about myself. I wasn’t homeschooled, and I didn’t go to some private Christian school. I went to public school. I was a straight A student, and I was a ranked in the top 5% of all students nationwide by the National Merit Scholarship Program. I scored 2060 on my SATs and I’m set to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree this May with about a 3.8 GPA. I don’t say any of this to try to impress you. It’s not really anything to be impressed about. I just want to make it clear that I’m not an idiot. There is nothing wrong with my brain. I love science, I love learning, and I try my best to be objective when it comes to ideas that I don’t share. I don’t know if I always succeed at that, but I try.
So that’s a short introduction to Young Earth Creationism. On Wednesday I’ll talk about it in a little more detail.
NOTE: I’ve updated the About page recently with the standards I will hold for comments from now on. This is my blog; if you have something constructive to say then go right ahead. If you leave a comment that is insulting, vulgar, or hateful then it will probably be deleted. Don’t worry, I read every comment; if you just want to insult me then I’ll hear it. If you want to publicly ridicule me then you’ll need to get your own blog.