I was surprised to see the "mock celebration of the historic non-event" of the 6,000th anniversary of creation (in 4004 b.c., according to Bishop James Ussher) by the Center for Inquiry [Notebook, The Scientist, Nov. 11, 1996, page 30]. It seems they were a year premature, because there is no year zero! The speculative October 23 date should probably be attributed to John Lightfoot (1642; reprinted in J.R. Pitman, ed., The Whole Works of the Rev. John Lightfoot D.D., vol. 2, London, J.F. Dove, 1825, page 335), although Ussher mentioned it in 1650 (see R.L. Reese et al., Sky & Telescope, 62:404, 1981; S.J. Gould, Natural History, 100[11]:12,1991; and P. James, Centuries of Darkness, Rutgers University Press, 1993).

There were many other creation calculations, some not based on biblical genealogies. Astronomer Johannes Kepler assumed that at creation the solar apogee was at the...

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