A Short Take on "Last Thursdayism"
"Last Thursdaynism" is the unpopular belief that everything that's now in existence was created last Thursday. It goes against science and everything we've ever learned, but do believers have a point?
by Sindu Vipparthy
The perception that everything was created last Thursday. The belief that human intelligence doesn’t go past last Thursday. The thought that last Wednesday never existed. It’s called “Last Thursdayism”.
The idea of “Last Thursdayism” was entirely branched off of religious ideas. It’s a product of certain theologists, better dubbed “creationists”, that disobeyed the laws of science and took a different perspective of the creation of our universe.
Creationists are people that believe in God’s instantaneous creation of everything on Earth just 6,000 years ago. Modern creationists have developed their theory in many ways, from the existence of “virtual history” to the false appearance of age. They go against everything that we’ve learned in science: our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, the evolution of biodiversity on Earth, the steady development in our knowledge about the world around us.
The general public has already rejected this theory on the basis of everything practical and scientific. But taking a different approach to this seemingly bizarre theory might allow them to perceive this unpopular belief differently.
And that’s where the trilemma is presented. Is instantaneous creation something to be considered, or does it branch too far from the laws of science? Or is there a neutral perspective? Well, let’s find out.
The Creationist Perspective:
This religion-based theory dates back to the 4th century. Ephrem the Syrian was a theologian that believed in the Divine Entity’s instantaneous creations of life on Earth. He described:
“Although the grasses were only a moment old at their creation, they appeared as if they were months old. Likewise, the trees, although only a day old when they sprouted forth, were nevertheless...years old as they were fully grown and fruits were already budding on their branches.”
Later on, in the 19th century, this debate rose up again. In the midst of controversy and heated arguments between the practical thinkers and creation thinkers, the infamous Philip Henry Gosse published Omphalos in 1857. He emphasized that the religious traditions (the belief of instantaneous creation) were, in fact, correct. He said that the Earth was created with organisms with false signs of development (for example, hair that grows over time) and entire mature biological systems. Gosse also portrayed fossils as just part of the “creation work”; they were merely just there as a result of instantaneous creation and, therefore, can’t be used in science to prove the Earth’s age.
Other theologians rejected this theory due to him “misinterpreting God’s words” and on the basis of uniformitarianism (the belief that the scientific laws that apply now have applied since the beginning of the universe). Gosse’s work turned out to be unpopular, however, played a part in influencing the thoughts of modern creationist thinkers.
John D. Morris, a creationist and the president of the Institute for Creation Research in Texas, expresses his thoughts about the false appearance of age in our world. He writes:
“When Adam was created, he no doubt looked like a mature adult, fully able to walk, talk, care for the garden, etc. When God created fruit trees, they were already bearing fruit. In each case, what He created was functionally complete right from the start—able to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. Stars, created on Day Four, had to be seen to perform their purpose of usefulness in telling time; therefore, their light had to be visible on Earth right from the start.”
Another modern creation thinker, Dr. Aardsma, develops their perception of “virtual history” in a letter to another user on their website. Virtual history, as they explain it, is a phenomenon that occurs before actual creation. They use the analogy of Bilbo in the Hobbit to explain their point:
“Now step into the book with Bilbo on page one and begin to examine the world around you. Everything you see and examine around you has already, on page one, an extensive built-in virtual history. Bilbo is in his 50's as I recall. So he has a virtual history. His house has been dug back into the hill, implying someone did some digging. If you examine the tunnels you can no doubt find tool marks left by the workmen. His front door is made of wood, implying trees grown, sawn into planks, planed, and fastened together by craftsmen, all before the story begins. And on and on it goes…”
The General Public Perspective:
Of course, not all 19th-century thinkers believed in instantaneous creation: François-René de Chateaubriand was a strong believer against this theory. He wrote: "God might have created, and doubtless did create, the world with all the marks of antiquity and completeness which it now exhibits."
And it’s safe to say that the general public in our modern society denies this theory strongly. It was rejected so widely that it was mockingly dubbed “Last Thursdayism”. “The world might as well have been created last Thursday,” they said, and its entire bizarre reputation was birthed.
And they have reasons to reject this pseudoscientific theory; first of all, the entire existence of this idea denies everything we know about the laws of physics. Also, the world being created 6,000 years ago wouldn’t explain the biological evolution of life on Earth. It wouldn’t explain the vastness of our entire universe. There simply wouldn’t be enough time for these million-year processes to happen in just a few thousand years.
Centuries of scientific study and massive conclusive evidence stands the fact that the Earth is billions of years old, the fossils are legitimate remains of millions-of-years-old dinosaurs that once roamed the planet, the stars we see are actually that far. Time is the main factor in preserving these fossils, slowly creating the Earth one step at a time, and expanding the universe. It’s all science. It’s all been proven.
To bring into perspective what the average person’s thoughts would be on this theory, we singled out certain Reddit users:
“[The theory] says that none of the evidence that the earth is billions of years old is actually real, but has instead been meticulously created in excruciating detail to give you that impression. The laws of physics have been programmed specifically to coincide with what you would expect to find, had the universe not been created last Thursday. You—and everybody else—were created last Thursday pre-programmed with a lifetime of memories that never actually happened. They happen to mesh with the false memories implanted into everybody else's head. It is a painstakingly intricate tapestry of falsehoods.”
“I think the general concept is how do you know that all your feelings, memories, and ideas weren't inserted into your mind last Thursday? So your memory of being 7 and chasing fireflies or 17 and having your first kiss could all be inserted somehow into your mind very recently and are pretty much manufactured by some mechanical or meta-process.”
They believed that the theory would make their entire life’s memories unexplainable. They believe that Creationists have completely denied science and the real experiences people have every single day of their lives to prove their point. And they may be right.
This theory arose based on the religion-based Genesis theory, the fact that God created everything in 6 days. Creationists have developed the idea into the world just existing for a few thousand years, yet appearing millions—even billions—of years older. And the general public, one that falsifies the entire claim dubbing it “Last Thursdayism”.
It’s a bizarre idea. However, to Creationists, it’s what they have interpreted from holy texts. The problem with this theory is that we’ll never know if it’s true or not. This concept of the world being created six thousand years ago is unverifiable and nor can we reference any empirical data, because there is none. None that isn’t completely biased. So unless we somehow can jump back in time, we have no evidence to prove this theory wrong.
And that’s my full take on “Last Thursdayism”.