In the 1990s, in response to the rise of young-earth creationism, I wrote a short booklet describing in very simple terms the evidence for the geological age of the Earth. The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA; www.asa3.org
), an organization of Christians in the sciences, was interested in publishing and distributing this book. However, after I finished the work, the ASA did not have the resources to fund publication and distribution. As they were building their first website, they offered to post the book on the internet. The first widely accessible search engine, Yahoo, found the site in the late 1990s, and this web booklet titled, “Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective” became the number one site for searches on “radiometric dating”. In the nearly two decades since then, with a single revision in 2002, this booklet has been accessed by more than 10,000 readers every year and has been translated into numerous languages. It has been used in introductory college courses and church classes. The booklet is “Christian-friendly”, quoting scripture and recognizing God as the creator of the universe, but is unequivocal in showing evidence for the geological age of the Earth and refuting young-earth falsehoods.
Several approaches that are helpful in educating Christians and the public about the age of the Earth include a) providing accessible information for those who are interested, such as the web booklet described above, b) educating people about the history of acceptance of other ideas that were once thought heretical, such as the heliocentric solar system, and c) discussing the validity of pre-scientific concepts in the Bible that conflict with modern understanding, such as the literal rising and setting of the sun. It may also be useful to discuss whether gaps in our knowledge should really be taken as evidence for God, or whether instead, God has allowed us to understand his creation with increasing clarity. Young-earth creationism is fueled by a misrepresentation of scientists as dogmatic rather than objective and searching for truth. When we correct this misconception, sometimes with our own transparency, Christians and the public in general are far more willing to listen to what we have to say.