Category Archives: geology

Michael Roberts gets slaughtered by Oz Creationists!– rebuttal of 10 questions to ask a young earth creationist – Part 1 –



Last year Premier Christian Radio asked me to write a blog “10 questions to ask a young earth creationist”.

I attempted to focus on the essentials

I duly did that and here is what they published

I published my first draft as a blog and it is slightly longer and fuller. Even so there was much I left out and wanted to expand. Here it is

In the ensuing three months from publication I hadn’t heard much, but now I am being honoured with a two part rebuttal from the lovely people at Creation Ministries International.

Here is the first installment

Source: Answering the Premier Christianity article by Michael Roberts – 10 questions to ask a young earth creationist – Part 1 –


4009 BC and all that & Ben Franklin



On Robert MacFarlane’s twitter feed I found this. He was dealing with the word “almanac” as part of his wonderful study of words. As usual, I went off at a tangent and focussed on the ages of the earth presented there ;

1739almanac - Copy

This gives six estimates of the age of the earth  with considerable variance. The nearest to Archbishop Ussher’s iconic 4004BC is WW who gives 4009BC. That WW is William Whiston who wrote “A new theory of the earth” in 1696.

William Whiston.pngJacobus_ussher

William Whiston                                                      James Ussher

Whiston is typical of the the 17th century theories of the earth, of which there are legion. Readability and brevity is not their strong point. However as I have pointed out earlier, they did not quite follow Ussher with a 6 24 hour day creation but extended the time a little. Whiston reckoned that the days were a year long and hence 4004BC is extended to 4009BC. As Stephen Gould said this “was a big step in the right direction”.( S Gould Bully for Brontosaurus, 1991, p372) . Five years may not seem much compared to the earth’s actual FIVE billion years, but along with so many others of his day  along with Burnet, Ray and Hobbes, slowly paved the way for understanding deep time.

To many, this would simply show that in 1739 most blithely accepted a 4004BC date for creation, but this shows that something more flexible was being put in a popular publication. Yes Whiston’s extra 5 years was a tiny step but it was part of the beginning of many steps

Genesis 1 & geological time from 1600-1850

Now this is very significant for the mid-18th century attitude to the age of the earth, especially considering the author. From the frontispiece it appears Richard Saunders is the author and Benjamin Franklin only the publisher, but in fact, Richard Saunders was a pseudonym Franklin used. (see wikipedia on Franklin, if nowt else available) . Granted this is from across the pond but many there were bang up to date on science and not only Franklin. This can be seen with the Boston preacher Thomas Prince in 1755 after the Boston earthquake (probably Mag 6 – 6.5) on November 18th. Prince was criticised for saying the quake was due to lightning rods, drawing the power of thunderstorms to earth thus causing earthquakes. These were erected because of Franklins’s view expresed in 1737 “that the material cause of thunder, lightning and earthquakes are one and the same.”

However , that is one idea Franklin got wrong, but he was a great practitioner and advocate of science  – and the rebellion of the 1770s.

I suggest by giving a wide variety of dates for creation, he was gently encouraging his readers to think beyond  a strict Ussher chronology.

It would take a few more years before the great age of the earth in millions and not thousands became clear, but this is another example a some diversity of views on the earth’s age.

I am quite sure MacFarlane was not thinking about geological time when he “did” almanacs, but he gave me a little detail to follow up and find another leak in the ark.




For some details


“Poor Richard, 1739. An Almanack for the Year of Christ 1739.,” The News Media and the Making of America, 1730-1865, accessed February 19, 2019,





Christian belief in Creation in relation to Geology

Can we believe in God from a scientific perspective?

Creación de Adán (Miguel Ángel).jpg

I shall avoid answering that  as it would take volumes.

However in August 2007 INHIGEO (International Union of Geological Sciences) held a conference on Religion and geology at Eichstatt in Germany. It was close to the Solnhofen quarry where the Archaeopteryx was found in 1860.  As I couldn’t go at the last minute for family reasons I missed both the conference and the field trip to Solnhofen

However all was not lost as I contributed a chapter to the book Geology and Religion: A history of Harmony and Hostility on Adam Sedwick and his conflicts with anti-geologists;

I was also asked to write a chapter on the doctrine of creation as seen by Anglicans today. That I duly did, and focussed on issues connected with geological time rather than the nature of humans or te environment. Thus if you think they should have been included, I agree, but it was outside my remit.

The volume is  Geology and Religion: A history of Harmony and Hostility Geol Soc of London Special Publication No310

So here it  is ;

with my ending

A brief account like this can hardly do justice to
the variety of understandings of the theology of
creation today. There is a wide range of views,
but a distinction must be made between those of
academia and those of the pulpit and pew. Academics, except for the increasing number of creationists in university positions, tend to incorporate
science into their theology. However, an increasing
number of clergy, who may have studied theology
at university, are becoming sceptical of science
and more inclined to adopt a creationist perspective
on creation. Thus within the Church of England,
there is the whole range from young-Earth creationism to a virtual denial of the existence of God. The
Anglican doctrine of creation is indefinable from
such a diversity of opinion. From my stance as a
practising Anglican priest, with ecumenical contacts and considerable contact with Christians in
the USA, it is difficult to give a simple summary.
Many within the churches take creation in the
wide sense for granted and are not concerned with
scientific issues. However, an increasing number
are accepting young-Earth creationism or else intelligent design without understanding the (lack of )
science behind them; this is partly in reaction to
aggressive atheism of Dawkins and others, although
this style of atheism came after young-Earth creationism became an issue in the early 1980s. The
confusing variety of attitudes encourages me to
play the orchestral introduction to Haydn’s The


An Anglican priest’s perspective on the doctrine of creation
in the church today


To close with my hero Adam Sedgwick


Dent church where Sedgwick’s father was vicar


Book Review – Two young-Earth creationist books about Yellowstone expose why YECs cannot explain Yellowstone geology

An excellent review of Creationist attempts to explain the geology of Yellowstone NP. As usual they take an iconic area and twist the geology to suit their peculiar ideas.

Creatively stupid

Photos from our 2012 holiday

The blog follows my photos



Your Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: A Different Perspective, by John Hergenrather, Tom Vail, Mike Oard, and Dennis Bokovoy

The Geology of Yellowstone: A Biblical Guide, by Patrick Nurre

Young-Earth creationists (YECs) believe that the Bible requires that almost all features of Earth’s crust are the result of Noah’s Flood about 4300 years ago. These books are, in the words of Nurre, “an attempt to present the geology of Yellowstone from a Biblical perspective,”, as opposed to the standard geological timeframe in which the history of Yellowstone goes back a few billion years to the Archean Eon. This “biblical geology” effort is misguided, however, as the Bible does not say anything about processes such as igneous intrusion, volcanism, erosion, sedimentation, metamorphism, and glaciation. This results in a serious over-reading of the biblical text, leading to erroneous conclusions about the origin of geological features in places…

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Clair Patterson: Chapel of Scientific Thought

He, with Arthur Holmes, gave us the age of the earth.

He also got rid of leaded petrol to the beneifit of us all – including creationists !

science meets faith

On 5 December 1995, Clair Cameron Patterson (1922–1995) passed away at Sonoma County, CA. He was a geochemist known for his work using uranium-led (₂₃₈U → ₂₀₆Pb) and led-led (₂₀₆Pb → ₂₀₄Pb) radiometric dating to determine the age of the earth. Using the mass spectrometer at the Argonne National Laboratory, he studied an isolated iron-meteorite, collecting data on the abundance of its lead isotopes. This lead to his 1956 publication ‘Age of Meteorites and the Earth’, in which he hypothesized that the true age of the solar system was 4.550Gy ± 70My.

From an interview at “[M]y religious background was that my family belonged to what was called the Unitarian Universalist Church. It’s sort of a liberal-type Christian church. My grandfather founded the church in Michellville that we went to. On Sunday I’d get up real early and go on cold winter mornings to build a fire to warm…

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10 questions to ask a young earth creationist – Premier Christianity


Simply questions to answer


Geologist and priest Michael Roberts is convinced the earth is 4.6 billion years old. He shares ten questions he’d like to ask Christians who believe the earth is only 6,000-10,000 years old

Source: 10 questions to ask a young earth creationist – Premier Christianity