The omphalos hypothesis is one attempt to reconcile the scientific evidence that the universe is billions of years old with the Genesis creation narrative, which implies that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. It is based on the religious belief that the universe was created by a divine being, within the past ten thousand years (in keeping with flood geology), and that the presence of objective, verifiable evidence that the universe is older than approximately ten millennia is entirely due to the creator introducing false evidence that makes the universe appear much, much older. The idea was named after the title of an 1857 book, Omphalos by Philip Henry Gosse, in which Gosse argued that in order for the world to be "functional", God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with hair, fingernails, and navels (ὀμφαλός omphalos is Greek for "navel"), and that therefore no empirical evidence about the age of the Earth or universe can be taken as reliable. Various supporters of Young Earth creationism have given different explanations for their belief that the universe is filled with false evidence of the universe's age, including a belief that some things needed to be created at a certain age for the ecosystems to function, or their belief that the creator was deliberately planting deceptive evidence. The idea was widely rejected in the 19th century, when Gosse published his book. It saw some revival in the 20th century by some Young Earth creationists, who extended the argument to include visible light that appears to originate in far-off stars and galaxies.
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