The respected evangelical apologetics ministry, Probe, gives this answer as to why they are not dogmatic about interpreting Scripture to require a young universe:
I just read over your article on the Age of the Earth to get Probe’s stand on the issue. Apparently, the official stand is officially no stand.
I was wondering after I read this statement of yours: “Biblically, we find the young earth approach of six consecutive 24-hour days and a catastrophic universal flood to make the most sense. However, we find the evidence from science for a great age for the universe and the earth to be nearly overwhelming. We just do not know how to resolve the conflict yet.”
How do you (we) know for sure that the earth is millions if not billions of years old? I have been looking into this issue for a while, and I have found that ALL dating methods suffer from one major problem. They are ALL based on Fallible (un-testable) Assumptions. Now that is a major problem to probe into because it seems that the main reason why Probe is not willing to hold to and defend the clear written revelation in Genesis is because you believe those dating methods are more trustworthy than Genesis 1.
I believe Rich Milne and I qualified our statement sufficiently. To say that we think the young earth position makes the most sense Biblically does not intend to suggest we believe it is the “clear” written revelation of Genesis 1. There are many conservative evangelical Old Testament scholars who do not hold to it. Men who certainly understand the OT and Hebrew much more than this molecular biologist. If I believed it was the clear revelation of Genesis, I would accept it regardless of the scientific evidence.
What you refer to in the assumptions of dating methods is true especially of the radioactive dating methods. But we explain one of our hesitations in the problem of starlight in the body of the paper. I also find it significant that most young earth geologists and physicists (Russ Humphreys is my source from personal conversations during our ICR Grand Canyon trips together) recognize that radioactive dating methods consistently portray an older-to-younger sequence when going from the bottom to the top. So much so that they are searching for a way incorporate this into their flood model. They don’t accept the actual dates but the sequence seems real. Therefore the dating methods are not totally without merit. This is more than just suggestive.
I do understand that an international group, meeting through ICR, is working on a paper concerning dating methods which I anticipate with eagerness.
Ray Bohlin, Ph.D.