When most people hear the word "creationism," they probably think of the variety called Young Earth Creationism (YEC). Young Earth Creationists adopt a method of Biblical interpretation which requires that the earth be no more than 10,000 years old, and that the six days of creation described in Genesis each lasted for 24 hours. Young Earth Creationists believe that the origin of the earth, the universe, and various forms of life, etc., are all instances of special creation. The doctrine of special creation involves direct divine intervention, suspending the laws of nature to achieve a given result. This doctrine contrasts with a view common among theistic evolutionists that God can work through natural laws.
Young Earth Creationists are among the more organized creationist movements. Two of the largest groups, Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research produce magazines, websites, books, and videos for general audiences as well as publish journals which report on so-called "creation science". In May of 2007, Answers in Genesis opened a multi-million dollar Creation Museum in Kentucky, aimed at attracting a wide public audience. The Institute for Creation Research, was founded by Henry Morris in 1970, and operates the Museum of Creation and Earth History in Santee, California.
YEC writings tend to focus on attempting to explain why much of modern science cannot be correct. For example, Young Earth Creationists spend considerable effort trying to explain why the earth cannot be 4.5 billion years old. They also make arguments for the feasibility of Noah's ark and for the occurrence of a single worldwide flood within the last 5,000 years. A major YEC endeavor is to explain how the 15 million or more species alive today could have evolved from a much smaller number of "kinds" which they believe were created in Genesis. This project is sometimes referred to as baraminology, named after the Hebrew word min, which is traditionally translated as "after its kind," in passages like "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind." A central tenet of Young Earth Creationism is that evolution is possible only within these created kinds, a form of evolution they call microevolution, while it is not possible between kinds, which they distinguish as macroevolution. This is not the way those terms are used by the scientific community.
Attempts to force YEC teachings into public schools were rejected by the Supreme Court in 1968's Epperson v. Arkansas decision, and again in 1987's Edwards v. Aguillard.
Articles about YEC:
- NCSE's Eugenie Scott describes the place of YEC within the Creation-Evolution Continuum.
- Unmasking the False Prophet of Creationism by Barbara Forrest.
- One of several RNCSE reviews of the AiG Creation Museum
- George S. Bakken examines the ultra-fundamentalism of YEC Duane Gish.
- A report about the conflict over YEC books being sold in Grand Canyon National Park bookstores.
- NCSE's obituary for Henry Morris, one of the originators of "creation science."