Earth Science Comparative Essay


Comparative Essay Instructions

Selection of Topic

Choose 1 of the following topics for your Comparative Essay:

1. Age of the earth (radioisotope dating vs. alternative methods)

2. Origin of coal (swamp forests vs. marine deposition)

3. Dating the rock layers seen in the Grand Canyon (old earth vs. young earth)

4. The fossil record (evidence of: long periods of time vs. short periods of time)

5. Mass extinctions in the fossil record (old-earth vs. young-earth)

Content and Outline

Use the following outline when writing your paper. Each point on the outline below must be a separate section (with the section heading, as indicated) within your paper. 

I. Introduction

· Indicate which topic you chose from the list above.

· Indicate the purpose of your paper (i.e., to compare old-earth and young-earth viewpoints on your chosen topic).

II. Old-Earth Secular View

· What is the old-earth secular viewpoint and the evidence supporting that viewpoint on your chosen topic? Are there assumptions that are part of this viewpoint?

o Do not discuss the old-earth creationist viewpoint on your chosen topic. For a description of old-earth creationism, go to 

III. Young-Earth View

· What is the young-earth viewpoint and the evidence for that viewpoint on your chosen topic? Are there assumptions that are part of this viewpoint?

IV. Comparison of the Viewpoints

· Comparison is articulating similarities between the 2 viewpoints. What are the similarities (if any) in time, sequence, and processes involved? 

· Be sure to provide at least 2 similarities (comparisons) between the viewpoints. 

V. Contrast of the Viewpoints

· Contrast is articulating differences between the 2 viewpoints. What are the differences (if any) in time, sequence, and processes involved?

· Be sure to provide at least 2 differences (contrasts) between the viewpoints. 

VI. Conclusion

· Provide a summary statement for your paper.

· Be sure to restate your purpose.

· Do not introduce new material in your conclusion. 

Avoid using first person throughout the paper. Use of “I” or “we” should be avoided. 


This paper must be 1,000–1,500 words. Do not exceed this word limit. The title page and reference page do not count toward this word total.


You must use current APA formatting. Papers must be double-spaced with 1-inch margins. Font is to be 12-point Times New Roman. Include a cover or title page with:

Ø paper title 

Ø your name

Ø instructor’s name

Ø course number, section number and course name (i.e., PHSC 210 B21, Elements of Earth Science)

Ø date

There is no need to include an abstract in your paper. 


Your Comparative Essay must include at least 4 scholarly sources in addition the course textbook and the Bible. Of these required sources, 2 must be from an old-earth perspective and 2 from a young-earth perspective. Acceptable sources include journal articles, manuscripts, scholarly textbooks, and/or internet sites from .edu or .gov sources. Avoid internet sites from .com, .net, .org, etc. as the information contained therein is not often peer reviewed. There are exceptions to this rule (e.g., the Institute for Creation Research site is a .org site, but it has been judged a reputable site by those in the young-earth community. Answers in Genesis is also acceptable.). In particular, avoid Wikipedia. Study Bibles are also not appropriate for this assignment.


Be sure to cite your sources in the body of your paper using current APA formatting. Examples of current APA formatting rules can be found here. Also, a presentation about current APA formatting is provided in Module/Week 6.


Plagiarism is an academic infringement and a violation of Liberty’s Honor Code. To learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it, visit this website. All submitted essays are subject to a SafeAssign review. This will compare your paper against thousands of other submissions.  Cases of plagiarism will be dealt with according to current policies established by Liberty University Online.


Submit your work to Blackboard as a Microsoft Word document. Do not paste your paper in the submission box in Blackboard, only upload the Word document. Do not submit as .pdf file. 

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