In the all the turbulent history of this planet, humans have occupied its surface for a whole 3 minutes of its 24 hours.
Outside of the woah-dude-Carl-Sagan aspect of the observation, there is also the philosophical thorns hiding underneath. That is to say, most of the stuff that has been happening on earth does not involve humans at all. When we consider the number of stars in the galaxy, and the number of galaxies in the universe, human beings look more and more like a footnote in the appendix of the universe, if that. More like a period at the end of a sentence.
We can paint a clearer picture now of the psychological and emotional atmosphere within the mind of a Young-Earth creationist. We have three plausible explanations for a grown adult who adheres so tightly to the idea that the earth is only 10s of thousands of years old.
- The person is woefully ignorant of science, and in their ignorant bliss, believes "Evolutionists" invent stories about origins but don't possess any actual evidence for them.
- The person has a commitment to biblical literalism. Six days means six days.
- Psychologically, the person requires the biblical God be responsible for creating and designing earth, because that act justifies God's authority (so they think).
We must concentrate clearly on the very real, supportable possibility that the ultimate purpose of the universe does not involve humans at all; that humans are marginal players in a realm that is too large for their own minds to comprehend. I will repeat the hook from earlier. The vast majority of what has been happening, even on planet earth, took place without humans being present. Indeed, in the universe at large, billions of years passed prior to the earth even existing at all.
To the young earth creationist, this possibility is simply too terrifying for them to consider. It is in this terror that they latch so tightly onto their adherence to a young earth. Their psyche demands that the ultimate purpose of the universe be something about themselves and their own morality; to be something about their own lives; about their own decisions. They self-censor their own minds from other possibilities. Consideration of them in a public, objective manner is terrifying to them.