The Omphalos hypothesis is the philosophical idea that God created the Earth about 6,000 years ago but with an appearance of old age. For example, rivers which had carved through rock strata, trees with growth rings, and, the classic example, Adam and Eve with navels. The idea was first put forth in a 1857 book by naturalist Philip Henry Gosse entitled Omphalos, which itself means "navel."
The omphalos hypothesis cannot be considered a scientific hypothesis. Science cannot distinguish between apparent age and true age. For those who believe the omphalos hypothesis, a young Earth is a purely religious conviction.
The major criticism of omphalos by some Christians is that it makes God a deceiver, i.e. having created something with a false appearance.
Modern creationists generally reject omphalos as a means of proving a young Earth. Most beleive that the true scientific evidence points to a young Earth. The two major creationist organizations, Creation Ministries International and Answers in Genesis, along with the rest of the modern creation science movement, reject omphalos, instead relying on genuine scientific evidence. However, it is crucial to the creationist model that living things were created in a mature form, i.e. Adam and Eve created as adults, not zygotes.