This is a response to a blog post on http://potomac9499.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/a-few-questions-for-creationists/, asking creationists questions about exactly what they believe and why.
Before I answer your questions, I have some things to point out:
A. I can never convince anyone that I'm right or they're wrong. That's God's job. My goal is just to defend/explain my beliefs in such a way that you *might* actually be led to trust in our God. The choice is ultimately up to you.
B. You mention that all creationists will reject the evolution "into other species through means of natural selection". That's not necessarily true. I have no problem whatsoever with the idea of natural selection. It's hard to argue with the idea that unfit organisms will die in the wrong environment. And it is also quite logical to say that there may be some variations caused by environmental differences over time. I have no problem with natural selection causing new species as long as they are similar. It's when you go from a bacteria to frog that I have problems. Lion to tiger? It's still a big cat. Nothing too dramatic has changed - just some sizes, coat patterns, etc. It didn't grow wings or anything.
C. I do not want to give the impression that I speak for all creationists. The previous poster somewhat did and some could be offended. I do think that many will share my views, but I realize that there are multiple creationist branches, some of which will disagree.D. When I refer to evolution, I typically mean not just biological evolution, but also old-earth geology, big bang cosmology, etc.
OK, so now answers to your questions:
1. How old is the earth (roughly)?
Approximately 6,000 years old. This value is obtained primarily from the geneologies outright given in the Bible. Though there's a little ambiguity involved, I don't think you can add much to it. Maybe 7,000 years. (Creationist sites I look at usually say 6,000-10,000.)
And I do NOT agree with the previous poster who stated that "the creationist stance, though, is that these items were created as being aged (God created a “mature” planet and universe)." That may be his opinion, but it is not "the" creationist stance. There are multiple groups with different views. Mine is that the science is being applied wrong due to wrong presuppositions. When applied through a different worldview the results will turn out very differently.
2. And how old is the universe?
Same. Plus or minus up to four days depending on the exact definitions of "universe" and "earth" used.
3. How much have you yourself read or studied the Theory of Evolution?
Actually, I have a pretty good knowledge of the theory of evolution.Although I have not done extensive reading by choice on evolution, I have done a lot of creation reading, and most of it is at least somewhat reliable. So evolutionary ideas get picked up along the way.Additionally, I have been in the public school system for four years of high school. I am now in a secular university being further indoctrinated with evolutionary ideas. I went through a dinosaur phase a few years back. There's not that much creationist literature on the topic so you wind up memorizing Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous if nothing else.I'm quite interested in particle, relativistic, and quantum physics. Here it's more big bang/cosmology ideas, but these go hand in hand with evolution.Overall, I'd say that I actually have a better idea of what scientists believe regarding the universe, earth, and life than a good chunk of the population. It's not perfect, and is biased toward creationist literature, but I am prepared to discuss the matter with knowledge of the evolutionary model.
4. Of that reading/studying (if any), how much was reading or studying the works of evolutionary biologists or others who accept evolution as valid (such as Charles Darwin, Steven J Gould, Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott, etc) as opposed to reading anti-evolution sources (such as the Discovery Institute)?
I basically combined that into #3. As biology is not a topic of interest to me, I haven't actually read any of the famous people mentioned. But neither does that mean I am ignorant of the ideas presented.
5. What is the BEST evidence in your opinion that supports the idea of creation? I’m not asking here for “holes” that you feel exist in evolution, but for specific evidence that positively supports creationism.
Interesting question. It would fundamentally be the belief that we have an eyewitness account (given via Moses) of the creation of the universe from Someone who I'd consider a very, very reliable source.
Leaving Biblical accounts aside, it would be one of the following:
the sheer improbability of life and evolution by chance
the diversity/creativity seen in the universe
the mere existence of something rather than nothing
(and the knowledge of the issues with secular theories)
6.What would it take to convince you that evolution is the means by which all species were “created”, over the course of billions of years (this could be as simple as “god” telling you personally, or some amount of evidence you’d require)?
One of the following:
A. A theologicallly-sound demonstration of how the inspired account in Genesis works with evolutionary ideas
B. Discovering that the Bible is NOT inspired. This would rock my faith in a whole lot more than evolution vs. creation, and is unlikely.
C. God directly telling/showing how he created.
1. Why does the evidence of geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, etc all make it seems as if the earth and the universe are much older than your beliefs say they should be? Is it a “test” or “joke” of some sort from “god”?
I think science is currently looking at the evidence and coming up with a good theory to support it. However, the "nonscientific" evidence that young earth creationsts bring to the table (ie. Genesis) forces a completely different view of that evidence. Science does this sometimes. A decent comparison would be with the geo/helio-centric models of the solar system. Only a few known facts (like retrograde motion) didn't fit the geocentric model, but they did fit the heliocentric model. Another example is the orbit of Mercury. The established theory of gravity had to be modified by Einstein's relativity to give accurate predictions. In the same way, the evidence of Genesis doesn't nicely fit into evolutionary models and requires a different perspective entirely. So, no, I do not think it is a test from God. Rather, it is a failure on the part of science to examine all available evidence. Even without Bible passages, there are problems with evolutionary theory that must be addressed.
2. Why, if the earth is as young as you claim, would so many branches of science (geology, physics, astronomy, biology, cosmology, anthropology, chemistry, etc), and scientists claim otherwise? Are they intentionally lying, or deluded, or does “god” want to hide the truth from some people, or is there some other reason?
Mostly see #1. Beyond that I believe that science has blinded itself. Scientists are not conciously lying, or deluded, but in many cases they subconciously hide behind science to avoid what I believe the Bible teaches to be true - that there is a real, personal God who created the universe and is concerned about you and your actions, specifically your choices about Jesus Christ. It's a lot easier to pretend he doesn't exist than to confront the issue of needing salvation. Most of this is subconcious, and exceptions exist, but I believe that science has come up with evolution to avoid having to deal with God.
3. Other religions than yours (whatever yours may be) have different accounts of creation than your religion does, and these accounts are not based on science, or evolution, etc. Why do you think there are so many accounts of how things came to be that differ from your own view?
I believe that Satan is a real and powerful being in our universe and is out to trick and deceive. Call me intolerant if you want, but I believe all other religions are wrong and have been deceived.
4. What type of evidence would you require to accept the age of the earth and the universe as being billions of years old, as opposed to thousands of years old (as before, this could be as simple as “god” telling you personally, or some specific evidence you’d require)?
Exact same answer as for #6 above.