Abstract

An accommodationist claim about chronology runs something like this: “Even if it could be shown that the earth is young (which it is not), that would be irrelevant to the chronology of the universe, because there are independent evidences that the universe is as old as evolution says it is. Furthermore, the age issue is not really important.” Such statements are not true. The centrality of long ages to evolutionary thought has long been emphasized. Further, the supposed evidences of the vast antiquity of planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe ultimately rest on the belief in the evolutionary age of the earth. The long chronologies for the universe and its parts are therefore not independent of the alleged old age of the earth. If the earth is shown to be young, the evidence for an old universe crumbles.

Time Is the Central Requirement for Evolution

Old-universe apologist Hugh Ross writes that “age need not even be an issue” in discussing origins (Ross, 1994, p. 10), and maintains that “the age of the universe and of the earth” is a “peripheral point” (Ross, 1994, p. 8). On the other hand, decades ago astrophysicist Arthur S. Eddington acknowledged the absolute primacy of time, without which evolution would be impossible and inconceivable: “Looking back through the long past we picture the beginning of the world—a primeval chaos which time has fashioned into the universe that we know” (Eddington, 1930, p. 11). Such a statement could be taken to imply that time has supplanted the Creator. Since this remains the conventional perspective of the function of time in cosmic evolution, it follows that the age issue implicitly enters into virtually all evolutionary theorizing.

Eddington was not only an eminent scientist but a well known popularizer of science, especially astronomy. He repeatedly stated his belief in the centrality of time for naturalistic development. In the evolution—or the “becoming”—of the universe, he wrote, “Time occupies the key position” (Eddington, 1933, p. 91). As with Eddington, Carl Sagan acted not as an originator of chronological thought, but as an advocate of the primacy of time in evolution. Sagan also described the evolution of the universe with “time” replacing God as the First Cause:

For unknown ages … there were no galaxies, no planets, no life. …A first generation of stars was born. …In the dark lush clouds between the stars, smaller raindrops grew, bodies far too little to ignite the nuclear fire…Among them was a small world of stone and iron, the early Earth. …One day a molecule arose that … was able to make crude copies of itself … life had begun. Single-celled plants evolved … plants and animals discovered that the land could support life. …[Some animals] became upright … emerging into consciousness. At an ever-accelerating pace, [consciousness] invented writing, cities, art and science, and sent spaceships to the planets and the stars. These are some things that hydrogen atoms do, given 15 billion years of cosmic evolution (Sagan, 1980, pp. 337_338)….

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