Dan Ely testifies in Ohio (and Kansas)

On Evolution News Casey Luskin reports on Dan Ely. Dan Ely had testified in Kansas and was objecting to the characterization of his position on the age of the earth

When advocating that the Board repeal the Critical Analysis of Evolution Lesson Plan, Board Member Martha K. Wise repeatedly emphasized the claim that authors of the Critical Analysis of Evolution Lesson Plan were creationists. Wise alleged that during the Kansas hearings, Dan Ely testified that he was “struggling with the age of the earth” and stated “He [Ely] thinks the earth is only Five-thousand years old. That’s not just ID. That’s young earth creationism.”

Ely’s testimony fully rebutted Wise’s misrepresentation of Ely’s viewpoint. Ely said that in Kansas, many of the witnesses were asked about their views on the age of the earth. “My answer was ‘We heard today anywhere from five-thousand years to five million years or five billion years,” and everybody laughed, “And most of the evidence looks like it’s very old.” Ely called Martha Wise’s alleged explanation of Ely’s views on the age of the earth “totally erroneous.”

The internet to the rescue (what a little resource can do for a story…): on Talkorigins we find the transcript of the Kansas hearings. In particular the cross examination by Mr Irigonegaray of Dr. Dan Ely. Dr. Ely is a Professor of Biology at the University of Akron, Ohio.


Q. Welcome to Kansas. I have a few questions for the record for you. First I have a group of yes or no questions that I would like for you to answer, please. What is your opinion as to the age of the earth?

A. In light of time I would say most of the evidence that I see, I read and I understand points to an old age of the earth.

Q. And how old is that age?

A. I don’t know. I just know what I read with regards to data. It looks like it’s four billion years.

Q. And is that your personal opinion?

A. No. My personal opinion is I really don’t know. I’m struggling.

Q. You’re struggling with what the age of the earth is?

A. Yeah. Yeah. I’m not sure. There’s a lot of ways to measure the age. Meteorites is one way. There’s a lot of elements used. There’s a lot of assumptions can be used and those assumptions can be challenged so I don’t really know.

Q. What is the range that you are instructing?

A. I think the range we heard today, somewhere between 5,000 and four billion.

Q. You– you– you believe the earth may be as young as 5,000 years old. Is that correct?

A. Well, we’re learning that there’s such a thing as junc –

Q. Sir, answer –

A. – really has a function.

Q. Just please answer my question, sir.

A. We’re learning a lot about micro –

Q. Sir?

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Mr. Abrams, please instruct the witness to answer the question.


Q. (By Mr. Irigonegaray) The question was– and winking at him is not going to do you any good. Answer my question. Do you believe the earth may be as young as 5,000 years old?

A. It could be.

Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent, that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life? Yes or no?

A. No.

Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to predominant ancestors? Yes or no?

A. No.

Q. What’s your alternative explanation how the human species came into existence if it is not through common descent?

A. Design.

Q. And design would imply a designer?

A. Implies a designer, but we don’t go there.

Q. Do you have any idea as to when the designer, in your opinion, created man?

A. No.

I also looked at Ely’s powerpoint presentation. Seems that he made the same mistake Denton made about Cytochrome C. Wesley Elsberry discussed this mistake as early as 1999. Despite all this, I have seen this misunderstanding continued amongst creationists.