article on an argument creationists shouldn't use: the idea that "God created things to look old" or the "appearance of age" argument. Instead, Mitchell counsels, creationists should say that things were created "mature" and ready to function. Adam, for example, did not look, say, twenty years old; in those original days in the Garden of Eden, Adam would have no idea how long it took human beings to grow up or any idea that he looked any older than the few days he could remember (one might raise the objection that as Adam grew older and raised sons and daughters, it would have occurred to him that he didn't recall ever being a boy, nor had Eve ever been a girl. Mitchell seems here to be arguing that something has not been created with the "appearance of age" unless the observer at the time it is first observed has a sense of how long it should "normally" take to achieve that appearance or level of maturity. He goes on, of course, to dispute mainstream scientific ideas about "fallible dating methods," although he does not go into details, and to suggest that we have no idea what a young universe or Earth should look like, and hence no reason to assert that this one looks old.
Now, why some creationists have argued for an "appearance of age," it should be noted that an "appearance of age" is really an "appearance of history." Even a radiometrically dated rock is dated by inferring a history: many of the initial radioactive atoms have decayed, and we have measurements telling how long that would take. An omnipotent Creator could, one would suppose, create rocks containing radioactive isotopes without creating large amounts of their decay products with them. He could create trees without multiple rings showing of alternating breadth, hinting at nonexistent dry and wet years. He could create Adam without, e.g. half-digested food already in his stomach, or healed fractures and scars from the childhood Adam never had. And really, if you accept that Adam and Eden were literal and real, and that a global flood is not only possible but can alter dozens of radioactive decay rates in perfect synchrony, then perhaps God did do so.
suggesting that time might move faster the further away from Earth one is, so that distant galaxies might indeed be billions of years old while the Earth is only thousands (this is a rather unparsimonious suggestion, as well as unbacked by any evidence beyond the need to somehow reconcile a literal-inerrantist reading of Genesis with astronomy, but it does implicitly acknowledge that the universe appears to have a history because it does have one).
The implicit history in fossils and strata is dealt with, of course, by attributing most of them to Noah's Flood (and by dealing as little as possible with angular unconformities in the strata, and faunal segregation and succession in those same strata). But there are yet other indicators of history. Was Adam created with a functional GULO gene, that somehow became identically-disabled to match the GULO pseudogenes that either "micro-evolved" or were created in other old world primate species? Was he created with 24 pairs of chromosomes, two of which fused to leave his descendants with 23 pairs? How does Mitchell propose to explain the host of apparent relics of history in our genome, from disabled copies of the cytochrome-c gene (shared, again, with other primates at the same loci), pseudogenes homologous to genes used in other species for a sense of smell rather more discriminating than our own, etc.? The pseudogenes by themselves imply either creation with an appearance of history (pseudogenes implying ancestors in which they were functional) or a truly astonishing amount of genetic history to pack into the few hundred generations that Answers in Genesis allows for our species, even without considering how much of that history is apparently shared with other species.