It was in the news recently that Associates for Biblical Research claims to have made a find that indicates that the city of Ai could have been inhabited in a period when it could have been destroyed by the Israelites.
Associates for Biblical Research, if you aren’t familiar with it, is an organization which is committed in advance to the Bible being correct. And so it is interesting to note what they used to say about Ai. In a documentary I sometimes show to classes, Bryant Wood, an ABR spokesperson, tries to suggest that the city now known as Ai is not the Ai referred to in the Bible. Now they are suggesting that it could be – even though the period to which they have to date the conquest creates other discrepancies with bibical and archaeological data.
It is interesting to note that Answers in Genesis simply says that the evidence matches the Biblical account perfectly – no discussion of the difficulties or discrepancies.
I think this is what bothers me most about the claims of young-earth creationists and other Biblical inerrantists. It isn’t simply that their views are often demonstrably wrong. It is that, even on those matters where there is room for disagreement and discussion, they pretend things are clear cut and simple when they are confusing and complex. And so through their attitude as well as their claims, they work against teaching people crucial skills about how to navigate challenging historical and scientific discussions.