Belated birthday wishes
I forgot to wish the Earth a happy birthday yesterday. Yes indeed, October 23 is the Earth’s birthday… if you believe Archbishop James Ussher.
A little history lesson: in 1650, Ussher published the Annals of the Old Testament, Deduced from the First Origins of the World. In this weighty tome, he calculated the age of the earth by interpreting the lineages and events of the bible and working backwards to genesis. His result was that according to the bible, god had created the earth on October 23, 4004 BC. From this calculation stems the unshakable Young Earth Creationist belief that the planet is only 6000 years old.
If you think that Young Earth Creationism is like the Flat Earth Society, merely a historical fancy that science has left behind in its dust, then you’d be underestimating its appeal to fundamentalists. It enjoyed quite a revival at the beginning of the 20th century, and has been going strong ever since, in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is simply wrong. Organizations such as Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research are fairly influential today, and are not above lying to others and themselves to keep believing in their delusion.
I wonder if they threw Earth a party yesterday?