A few months ago a friend of mine happened to be in Chicago while The Field Museum was hosting an exhibition of an item identified by the Archeological Institute of America as one of the Top Ten Discoveries of 2007. I’m speaking, of course, about the one-month old baby mammoth discovered in Russia by a reindeer herder, and named after his wife, Lyuba (pronounced LeeYouBah). Science has estimated Lyuba to have lived its brief life some 40,000 years ago. Let me repeat: 40,000 years.
Having read about Lyuba in National Geographic some time earlier and being captivated by its story, my friend was determined to see this exhibit in person and was not disappointed. So, when I received an email from her in which she exclaimed, “Behold Lyuba!,” I was naturally curious to understand what all the excitement was about. And, after some web surfing and reading, I, too, was saying to myself: Yes, Behold Lyuba.
Behold Lyuba! An animal that lived forty thousand years ago, and descended from African mammoths that lived some five million years ago. But, how could that be when some forty percent of the U.S. population (some 120 million of our neighbors!) believes in the literal interpretation of Genesis and Bishop Ussher’s “Begat” theory, which pinpoints the day of creation on October 23rd in the year 4004 B.C., or some six thousand years ago?
To what may we attribute this contradiction when science has at its disposal several established ways of measuring the age of organic and inorganic materials? In his book The Greatest Show on Earth – The Evidence for Evolution, pp 91-107, Richard Dawkins explains ten different radioactive clocks – each with a different time scale – that science uses to estimate the age of stuff. And, according to the most recent estimates, the age of the earth is approximately 4,540,000,000 (four billion, five hundred and forty million) years old.
So, what is the darndest thing that Lyuba is saying? I’ll tell you. She is saying, “Hey! You! Yes, YOU! You ‘Young Earth Creationists!’ Move in a little closer, I want to tell you something. Are you listening? Good. Here goes: YOU PEOPLE ARE MORONS IF YOU THINK THE EARTH IS ONLY 6000 YEARS OLD! I MEAN, LOOK AT ME! WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER? (Well I suppose that could be an honest mistake…) BUT THAT’S BESIDE THE POINT! I DIED WHEN I WAS ONE MONTH OLD, BUT I LIVED FORTY FRICKIN’ THOUSAND YEARS AGO!!! WHAT MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU NEED THAT YOUR COCKAMAMIE IDEA THAT THE AGE OF THE EARTH CAN BE DETERMINED BY ADDING UP ALL THE ‘BEGATS’ IN THE BIBLE IS UTTER NONSENSE? I was hoping that you humans would have become smarter in the tens of thousands of years since I drew my last breath. And, thankfully, many of you have. But, am I ever bummed to learn that a whole bunch of you remain stubbornly, EVEN PROUDLY, as dumb as that rock that was jabbing me in my side for the last FOUR HUNDRED CENTURIES! Whoo boy, am I depressed. That’s it. Thanks for stopping by, but I need some ‘alone’ time now.”
There, there, little Lyuba. Rest easy now.
Folks, little Lyuba died and was resurrected to redeem you from your sin of willful ignorance! Praise her! Do not blaspheme against her message by saying the Earth is only six thousand years old. Nay! Bow your heads in reverence and accept Lyuba as the One True Messenger of the age of the Earth: four million, five hundred and forty thousand, thousand years old.