*snifff* I love the smell of in-fighting in the morning.
(via Joe.My. God.)
Briefly, Pat Robertson said something relatively sane about creationism. He pointed out that whatever you say about the Bible’s authority, it does not necessarily apply to Archbishop James Ussher. Which is perfectly sensible even within the most conservative, literalist framework.
Ussher was only one of many people attempting to determine the age of the earth using the Bible as their primary source. Many of the texts are tricky and apparently contradictory, and so there is a great deal of subjectivity in the process. As a result, estimates of biblical chronology ranged from 5,000 – 10,000 years.
And of course there’s always the question of how you interpret the numbers involved. Even within the tradition it is acknowledged that some numbers are symbolic, like the “forty days and forty nights” of Noah’s flood. But if numbers are symbolic, can they be plugged directly into the equation? Obviously not.
The hosts of Creation Today speak as if Ussher checked the Bible’s index for “Creation, date of:” and just reported what he found. This allows them to skip over the question of how you derive the dates from the book. They also speak as if Ussher were the only person to ever produce an estimate, making it seem like he had some authority he never claimed. Foolishness all around.