According to both Geologists and Historians, the world is old. However, the concept of “old” is merely in the eyes of the beholder because the interpretations of the history of plant Earth may vary significantly.
In the 18th century, an overwhelming majority of people believed in higher powers. With that, the estimations for the Earth’s history were overshadowed by the religious propaganda. (ref 1) Even the “Age of Enlightenment” and the “Western Revolutions” failed to cast a dent in the weak minds of the religious world. In 21st century (including 2013), Professional Geologists and Historians still battle out the timing of when exactly the Earth was formed. After the advancement of science became a vital part of our civilization, the conflicts between religious and scientific communities have escalated to new levels.
The religious (Eg. Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, ect) view on this matter can be summarized in few words. The powerful almighty God created the world in a set period of time (in few days, weeks, months or years) around 10,000 to 5000 years ago. While some religions may claim that the world was populated from a single point of origination (Adam and Eve concept), not all would agree. Even within the conventional (god-centered) religions, the Geology can be used to either support or refuse their claims. Some religious leaders have bended the Geological evidence to fit their religious theory, while others have simple refused it. Intelligent Design is The best example of bending the truth for religious and political advantage.
You may be surprised to hear that there were several powerful skeptics of creationism as far back as 625 B.C. One of the most successful anti-creationist was not born during European Age of Enlightenment, but rather born in India over 2600 years ago. He claimed to be a man (not a god) and he always maintained peace by not preaching his radical ideas of “there are no creators” to everyone he comes across. He pre-selected who will learn what he knows. Unfortunately and those few who accepted him, converted his teaching into a religion and popularized it after his death. His name is Buddha. No matter what religion you come from or what race or ethnicity you have, it is hard to hide the “facts” of history. Especially when the history of India was well documented by independent Archeologists and Historians, it is quite hard to re-write it to fit your view. It was the members of British Archaeological Association (Society) that documented about Buddha and his teaching (Buddhism). Even Indians didn’t know he was an anti-creationist, until the evidence sacked up against them by the British. But the modern world is controlled by propaganda in the dengue of “truth” or “facts”. If you pick up a book on Buddhist views on Earth history in the bias Western world, you will most likely come across “play down” version of Buddhism.
Still, Buddhism also falls short of agreeing with Earth Science since we do not accept the deep rooted Indian supernatural concepts such as rebirth. In fact, Buddhism may be the closet you could get to an ancient “religion” that at least partially support scientific discoveries of the last millennium. While some scientists may find peace by accepting Buddhism, it is difficult to mix religion with science. Whether or not Buddhism is a religion (since it is anti-god) should not be an issue if you separate science completely from philosophy and religion all together.
The Christian scientists have tried mobilizing special interest groups to promote harmony between Christianity and science. However, the history has shown that this type of activity has failed over and over again. From Albert Einstein to modern day Bill Gates, when people open their hearts for science, it seems the room for religion (or philosophy) has disappeared. The only time religion become a key player is when all the dices fall due a catastrophic event such as a flood, health issues, etc, etc.
If we put aside our social, political and religious views on this matter, one thing we all should agree is that no one can agree upon the exact events of our Earth. Even in Geoscience, it is a matter of which version of events are the closest to scientific evidence. The scientific evidence is collected by living-breathing humans, which may result in experimenter errors. Geologists are backward thinking scientists (compared to scientists who derive a theory out of hypothesis) where we collect evidence first, then make observations, research history and make hypothesis which eventually leads to conclusions and theories. Because Geologists are backward thinking group of professionals, I think they are the most qualified professionals to make the best estimates for history of the Earth. But be skeptical because the living-breathing Geologists experience the same influences of the propaganda world.