Author: James Meritt (jwm@sun4.jhuapl.edu) Title: James Meritt's general anti-creationism

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

====================================================================== Author: James Meritt (jwm@sun4.jhuapl.edu) Title: James Meritt's general anti-creationism FAQ ====================================================================== Topics: }Creationism deserves equal time }Evolutionists themselves admit they have no proof }evolutionists themselves have admitted to flaws in their arguement. }some scientists don't agree }Evolution isn't a science }Life is too complex to have happened by chance. }Evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. }Methods of dating the earth are inaccurate. }Radioactive dating can't be calibrated. }radioactive decay rates did not remain constant }the creation of matter or energy is not now taking place, _______________________________________________________________________ }- Creationism deserves equal time because evolution is only a theory. But a theory in the scientiftific sense of the word, meaning that it explains a wide range of phenomena and that there's lots of data to back it up. Creationism, on the other hand, isn't even a theory; it's an assertion. "Equal time" in what? In schools in general, or in science classes? Science classes are suppose to teach science. There are two criteria for this: 1. It must be falsifiable i.e. there must be some way to show that the theory is incorrect. The theory must be testable. Evolution is, in that there can be things specified which, if they can be verified, would disprove evolution. Creationism allows no such test. 2. It must be able to make predictions i.e. it must be able to tell you how something WILL occur (and then you must be able to verify the accuracy of the prediction). The theories which compose evolution are useful in this regard in that they have made predictions concerning population densities, physiologies, chemistries, fossil find forecasts,... Creationism does none of this. At best, its "predictions" are either in the past (already happened) or unverifiable. }- Evolutionists themselves admit they have no proof. That is because science doesn't "prove": it shows possibilities and disproves things and makes predictions. Science doesn't deal in proof. It deals in evidence. Evolution has LOTS of evidence. } Twenty objections admitted: evolutionists themselves have admitted } to flaws in their arguement. Isn't it nice to have a system that you can critize and test? The only system which has no flaws is one in which those flaws are either defined away or ignored. We call this "dogma". The presence of these flaws reveils the presence of active investigation into the limits. We call this "science". } Scientists condemn evolution: some scientists don't agree etc. .... Then the same argument disproves Creationism, too, since many (most?) theologians don't agree with it. What else has 100% concurrence? Gravity is not 100% concurred with, either. }- Evolution isn't a science because you can't observe things that happened } millions of years ago. Buy you can observe the RESULTS of things that happened millions of years ago. And then, by using basic scientific knowledge, extrapolate back. And by observing trends within the period you can derive general rules which may then be used for predictions into the future. Just the historical observation is not evolution. }Evolution is not so much a science as it is a philosophy or an attitude }of mind... it is manifestly impossible to prove they (evolutionary }changes of the past) actually did take place. I suppose that, if he saw a open square in the wall and pieces of glass by it and a rock sitting amongst the glass that he could draw no conclusions about the possible presence in the past of a window... }- Life is too complex to have happened by chance. Another is the "randomness argument". What is "random", anyway? We are never told. It says that self organization cannot occur because the process is "blind" and "random" that is supposed to drive it. Never mind that the system has a finite number of states it can occupy and its history can constrain its future states. This borrows from the thermodynamic argument the confusion over entropy and open system states. The theory of evolution doesn't say it did happen by chance. This argument completely ignores natural selection. Please read: Life in Darwin's Universe G. Bylinsky, Omni Sept 79 The Evolution of Ecological Systems May, Scientific American, Sept 1978 Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life Dickerson, Scientific American, Sept 1978 The Evolution of the Earliest Cells Schopf, Scientific American, Sept 1978 The Evolution of Multicellular Plants and Animals Valentine, Scientific American, Sept 1978 It is easy to get VERY complicated systems containing a tremendous amount of information starting from very simple, low information systems. Two methods: 1. fractal structures - start with a very simple rule and repeat it over and over and over. The resulting structure can be (usually is) VERY complicated, but the formation equations can be very, very simple. And the universe has had a long time to do so. Example: Look at a snowflake. 2. chaos - You can get very, very complicated systems if you use nonlinearities in the progression. That is why weather forecasting doesn't work. Complexity does not imply design. Recursion or nonlinearity work quite well. And the word is recursive and very non-linear. }- Evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Not true. The 2nd law of thermodynamics applies only to closed systems. The Earth is not a closed system. That if thermo could somehow forbid evolution, then it would also forbid babies from growing to be adults, and parents from having children. In fact, we are agents of entropy: we organize our bodies at the expense of the organization of our environment, which we digest and burn. Creationists often (ab)use the Second Law of Thermodynamics, apparently not realizing that it explicitly states, "...in a closed system...". By definition, a closed system cannot contain anything external to itself. A Creator who is entirely bounded by His own creation seems non-sensical, and I can't imagine that many creationists would accept such a limited God anyway. Thus, God and Thermodynamics are mutually exclusive; to invoke the Second Law is to claim that God left!!!!! A subsequent portion of the outline again invokes entropy, stating that "all species are degenerating, since disorder must increase". Ignoring the Theological arguments for the moment, we reiterate, "...in a CLOSED system...". Earth is hardly a closed system. To find a *LARGE* source of negative entropy, one need only look upward on a clear day. The sun delivers approximately 1 horse-power per square meter (sorry for the mixed units, I don't recall the conversion factor to joules/sec) of free energy to the biosphere. Likewise, meteors shower us with several tonnes per day of extra mass, some of it in pre-biotic form - i.e. complex carbon molecules such as formaldehyde and others. Larger objects such as comets and Icarus class asteroid strikes transfer huge amounts of mass, energy, and momentum to the earth. Orbital perturbations and decay, friction from the moon's gravity, and radioactive decay, all add to the total. Sorry, entropy as a disproof of cosmological and biological evolution simply won't wash. Spread the word. [It appears that, more recently, the creationists have been hammered enough with the inapplicability of the Second Law of Theormdynamics that they have modified it slightly -- the reference is now to a closed *universe*, not a closed Earth; the rest of the argument remains essentially unchanged.] Creationists say that systems cannot self-organize because that would violate the second law of thermodynamics, never mind that such systems are not at equillibrium and are open systems. }- Methods of dating the earth are inaccurate. Exactly what is meant by "inaccurate" leaves much to be desired. Please see the August 1989 Scientific American article on the Age of the Earth. (page 90, by Lawrence Badash, "The Age-of-the-Earth Debate") } - Radioactive dating can't be calibrated. You are in this case Dead Wrong. Dating of ancient rocks by radiometric methods (e.g., Uranium-Lead, Potassium-Argon, Rubidium- Strontium) does NOT, repeat NOT depend upon our having available a sample of known age to calibrate the method. Indeed, this is PRECISELY WHY these methods are so useful. The only calibration required is the measurement of decay rates, which can be done IN THE LABORATORY. Furthermore, these methods can be used in ways that do NOT, repeat NOT depend on any assumptions about the initial amounts of the various isotopes involved. Please read the section in Chapter 17 of Strahler's book, _Science and Earth History_. It is true that Carbon-14 dates must be calibrated for variations in the amount of 14C produced in the atmosphere; however, the corrections are small (~10%) and affect only recent ages (~50,000 years). This method is not used to date rocks. - The guy who thought that radioactive dating required knowing the initial amount of lead. He apparently had never heard of isotopes, either. He made a big thing about a science he was a master of: he wrote its name on the blackboard: "numerical analysis". He indicated how this allowed him to "proved" that radiodating was wildly inaccurate. No mention of the fact that the earth was still real old. He encouraged people to go buy a book on numerical analysis: he gave its name. He didn't bother to encourage people to buy a book on dating, perhaps because he hadn't read one himself ? } radioactive decay rates did not remain constant, so you can't }accurately date things If radioactive decay rates were to change, the structure of stars would be affected. But even very distant stars (whose light has been travelling towards us for very long times) have the structure that is predicted by theory assuming present decay rates. They do not have the structure that would be predicted for them if the decay rates were many orders of magnitude larger. There are two major kinds of radioactive decay, alpha decay and beta decay. They are due to different physical processes and are governed by different natural constants. If the decay rates were to change in time, this would produce discrepant dates in rocks that can be dated independently by several different decay series. These discrepancies are not observed. If the decay rates were large enough to produce 4.5 billion years' of apparent ageing in only 6000 years of wall-clock time, the decay rates would have had to have been millions to billions of times as large when Adam and Eve were around as now. The heat generated would have melted the earth, which would still be molten. Furthermore, the earth would have been too radioactive to support life then. Adam and Eve would have glowed for other reasons than their nearness to God. }These laws affirm the fact that the creation of matter or energy is not }know taking place, and, in fact, that the available energy of the universe }as a whole is continually running down rather than building up. Point of fact, matter IS being created currently. Also destroyed. See "virtual particles". And the "available energy of the universe as a whole" says nothing about localities within it... Topics: } - Helmholtz's contraction theory says the sun is < 20,000,000 years. } - Sun is shrinking by ~5 feet per hour. } - Lunar dust--only 1 to 3 inches, not 54 feet. } - Deterioration of earth's magnetic field } - Atmospheric helium should have built up } - Receding moon would have been touching earth } - All comets would have disintegrated after 10,000 years. } - galaxy formation. ) - biblical cosmology -------------------------------------------------------------------------- } - Helmholtz's contraction theory says the sun is < 20,000,000 years. This (suns energy comes from contraction) is decades old and discarded soon after the discovery of radioactivity. See the Scientific American article from August 1989. The German physicst Hermann von Helmholtz formulated this concept around 1869. It has been soundly rebuffed in the last 100 years. - The guy who thought that we were detecting 0 (zero) solar neutrinos, thus proving his theory that the sun was shining due to the gravitational energy released as it shrank. (they are there, and have been detected) } - Sun is shrinking by ~5 feet per hour. }i.e losing 0.01% per year. 6,000 creation = ~6% shrinkage, but 20,000,000 }years ago the sun touched the earth and 100,000 years ago the sun was twice }as large (making life impossible). I am interested in how you decide that this is a steady-state system? A "Sun" that large could not possibly have this solar system. A brief discussion of this is found in "Looking Inside the Sun", ASTRONOMY, March 1989. Analysis of historical records of eclipses and transits give varying numbers. One result gives 2.25 arcseconds per century, similar to the above figure. Another result gives an upper limit of 0.3 arcsecond per century, but is also consistent with no shrinkage. Two more historical analyses indicate that the sun was a bit larger a century ago than today. Current measurements indicate that the sun is not now shrinking. The long term stability of the size of the sun remains unknown. } - Lunar dust--only 1 to 3 inches, not 54 feet. The calculation you refer to is given by Henry Morris on pp. 151-153 of _Scientific Creationism_. It is based on a grossly erroneous figure of 14 million tons of meteoritic dust per year, quoted by Petterson in 1960. Morris misinterpreted Petterson's article. Petterson published a figure of 15 (not 14) million tons per year as an _upper limit_. In other words, Petterson said that the value is _not more than_ 15 million tons per year. He was not able to measure an actual value. Morris erroneously chose to interpret it to mean it was _equal_ to 14 million tons per year. Accurate values were measured in the late 1960's. The actual value is much lower than 15 million tons per year. Dalrymple gives the value of 22,000 tons per year, nearly 700 times smaller than your figure. That changes your 54 foot figure into about 2 cm, which is quite consistent with the amount of surface soil the astronauts found on the Moon (it was considerably more than 1-2 mm). My copy of "Everyman's Astronomy" indicates that the earth collects about 9000 kg per day from meteors of visual magnitude 5.0 or brighter. Assuming a typical rock density of 3 g/cc, this corresponds to an accumulation rate of one inch per 10 billion years. Unfortunately no data is presented for fainter meteors. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the actual rate is one or two orders of magnitude higher, but "1 inch in 8000 years" is off by six orders of magnitude. A dust accumulation rate of "one inch per 8000 years" should should create a spectacular yearround meteor shower, and cause severe pitting of the space shuttle windshields in just a single orbit. My quick estimates give values far higher than have been actually observed. } - Deterioration of earth's magnetic field, at present rates, implies an } excessive field 10,000 years ago. > Decay of Earth's Magnetic Field - Result of research by Thomas Barnes > during his tenure as Physics Professor at UTEP. Published in _Origin and > Destiny of Earth's Magnetic Field_, 1973. Barnes notes the measured > values over the last 150 years and models according to uniformitarian > principles. The decay is not a steady state. In fact, there is considerable evidence for reversals. The atlantic ocean floor as it spreads shown the weakening - reversing - strengthening recorded in its stone as the contenents spread from the mid-atlantic ridge. The field is expected to reverse sometime in the next few thousand years. A time scale on page 78 shows the reversals over the past 170 million years, as deduced from the magnetic patterns in oceanic crust. I counted about 200 reversals on the chart. Briefly, Barnes took approximately 150 years of data on the Earth's dipole magnetic field and extrapolated it backwards to about 10000 years Before Present (B.P.). He stated that the field 10,000 years ago would, on this calculation, have been as strong as that of a magnetic star, and stated (correctly) that this was absurd. However, there are four fatal flaws in his analysis. In the first place, Barnes studied only the *dipole* component of the Earth's magnetic field, In fact, the very same data that Barnes used show that the *nondipole* component of the field *increased* during the same period of time, almost exactly cancelling the decrease in the dipole field that Barnes calculated (D. Brent Dalrymple, U. S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park CA, in *Reviews of 31 Creationist Books*). This alone is sufficient to destroy the basis of his work. The second failure of Barnes' study was the idea that one can take data from a short period of time and simply extrapolate it backwards to obtain a reliable estimate at a time remotely removed from the data. Anyone competent in analyzing scientific data knows that extrapolations are good only for a relatively short period of time, if at all, and that the further away from the actual data one goes, the less reliable it becomes. Barnes extrapolated 150 years' worth of data back 10,000 years! In real life, one would be surprised if extrapolation of these data more than a few hundred years back were accurate. The third failure of Barnes' study was the mathematical model he chose. He decided to fit the data to an exponential. The data fit a straight line just as well (see Figure 1 of Stephen G. Brush's article in *Scientists Confront Creationism*), but a straight line would have given a much older age for the Earth than the 10,000 years that Barnes, because of his Biblical literalism, wishes to promote. The fourth failure of Barnes' study was his failure to consider any other evidence than the 150 years worth of data from geomagnetic observatories that he used. There exists, in paleomagnetic data, a long record of the Earth's magnetic dipole strength (extending backwards for millions of years). The data are in agreement with the observatory data Barnes used over their common intersection, but they differ drastically from Barnes' extrapolation when one goes further back in time. } - Atmospheric helium should have built up more from U decay. This statement is false. It falls precisely within predicted limits. Please read: Calculations on the Composition of the terrestrial Planets Reynolds & Summers, Journal of Geophysical Research vol 74, no 10 May 15, 1969 p 2494 The formation of the Earth from Planetesimals Wetherill, Scientific American June 1981 Cloud, Preston E., Jr., "Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Evolution on the Primitive Earth", Science 160, (17 May 1968), pp 729 - 736 Mart, Michael H, "The Effect of a Planet's Size on the Evolution of its Atmosphere", published in some conference or another; I got a copy from the author. (ave Allen ) Our Evolving Atmosphere Is Anyone There? by Isacc Asimov The Evolution of the Atmosphere of the Earth Hart, Icarus, 33, 23-39, 1978 Evolution of the Atmosphere and Oceans Holland, Lazar & McCaffery, Nature vol 320, 6 mar 1986 Heat and Helium in the Earth O'Nions & Oxburgh, Nature, vol 306, 1 Dec 1983 The Atmosphere Ingersoll, Scientific American, Sept 1983 } - Receding moon would have been touching earth 2 billion years ago. Check up on your orbital dynamics... Assumes a steady rate of recession. Assumes the moon wasn't captured less than 2 billion years ago. } - All comets would have disintegrated after 10,000 years. Jupiter and Saturn wreak havoc to the comet orbits. Some long-period comets are perturbed into short period orbits, others are permanently ejected. Comets are believed to have a short lifetime after being perturbed to short periods. Actually, the Oort cometary cloud hypothesis (published by Jan H. Oort in 1950) was originally proposed in order to explain "the rate of appearance of long-period comets" (i.e. there are a lot of them). It really didn't have anything to do with the age of short-period comets (which the note above refers to). [Long-period > 200 yrs, short-period < 200 yrs.] The problem that is referred to by the creationist here is that the short- period comets *have not occupied their present orbits* for very long (in astronomical terms). Each time a comet passes close to the sun, some of its matter is driven off into space by the sun's energy (forming its "tail"). "Short-period" comets are believed by astronomers to have a lifetime of only a few thousand years, because after that all of their "tail-producing" matter would be used up (indeed, astronomers have noted comets to "vanish"; the remaining material only makes its presence known upon entering the Earth's atmosphere; this is likely the origin of meteoroid swarms.) However, the fact that a comet cannot have occupied its present orbit for very long does not automatically imply that it is young. The Oort hypothesis does explain this problem as well, in that long-period comets -- if frequent enough -- will be moved into short-period orbits by a relatively near approach to a planet (comet loses momentum, planet gains it, comet is now in a vastly shorter orbit, planet is now in a very slightly longer orbit). In fact, of the short-period comets, roughly half orbit pretty much between the sun and jupiter, leading astronomers to belive that jupiter "captured" them into their current orbits. (Statistically, we would expect the largest planet -- the best "capturer" -- to have captured the most short-period comets). Finally, nobody really knows about the Oort cloud. Astronomers like the way it explains the frequency of long-period comets, and there is much support for it amongst them. It apparently also explains the youth of the short-period comets, quite nicely. However, until we see a comet get sucked into a short-period orbit (apparently this must happen every 100 years or so), or until we send something out to 10,000 A.U., Oort's proposal remains a hypothesis. (Conclusion: it was *not* cooked up to explain young short- period comets; this is something of a "fringe benefit". But we aren't very sure that it's true, either.) [From Strahler, "Science and Earth History", New York:Prometheus, 1987; p. 143] }An important element in the argument against the evolutionary universe }is the failure of conventional cosomology to solve the problem of }galaxy formation. With the development of GUT, we see galaxy formation is no longer a problem at all but simply one more natural phenomenon with a perfectly natural explaination. James S. Trefil _The Moment of Creation_ ) - biblical cosmology And in several places in the Bible, the sky is referred to as a vault, with the stars stuck on it. Genesis 1 refers to water above this vault (an idea no doubt borrowed from the Babylonian cosmology, which pictured the Earth as a flat disk inside a cosmic bubble in a cosmic sea). The Book of Revelation states that the stars will someday fall out of the sky like figs from a tree. The Bible says little about the shape of the Earth, referring in one place to the "circle" of the Earth (a disk shape), and in another place to the "four corners" of the Earth (a rectangular surface shape). In one of the Gospels, the Devil tempted Jesus by taking him up a mountain where he could see "all the kingdoms of the world" (no further info on this remarkable mountain). This would only be possible if the Earth was flat. The Bible does indicate more clearly, however, that the Earth is motionless. Witness Joshua's telling the Sun (and not the Earth) to stop just so he could win one of his battles, and some of the Psalms that state that the Earth is motionless. The Joshua story can be used to find a Biblical estimate of the distances of the Sun and the Moon from the Earth. Since we are told that the Sun was stopped to illuminate the Valley of Gibeon, and the Moon to illuminate the Valley of Aijalon, we conclude that either one of them would have been insufficient for both -- and that requires that the Sun be low when viewed from the Moon's valley, as it were, and vice versa. This implies that the distances to the Sun and the Moon are comparable to the distance between the Valleys of Gibeon and Aijalon, which is about 10 mi. In all fairness to the writers of the Bible, none of this cosmology is any worse than the cosmological pictures developed by surrounding peoples, with one exception. Ancient Greek proto-scientists (if that is the proper word) were, without any modern technology, able to establish that the Earth was approximately spherical, and were able to work out the approximate size of the Earth and the distance to the Moon. The distance to the Sun was more difficult, and almost all were agreed that the Sun moved around the Earth. But this knowledge was gained only after the Old Testament was written, though some of the writers of the New Testament may have learned of Aristotle's demonstration of the approximate sphericity of the Earth three centuries ago. The Greeks had data which anyone else living before modern times could collect, but they put the pieces together in the right fashion, and, for some reason, there is no hint of that in the Bible. Topics: }rift between mathematicians & biologists }exponential population growth }Various conceivable patterns fail to emerge }Complexity from Simplicity > Here's an interesting story... (I think)... In 1967, a few > mathematicians and biologists were chatting over a picnic lunch > organised by Victor Weisskopf, prof. of physics at MIT. A "weird" > discussion took place as the conversation turned to the subject of > evolution by natural selection. The mathematicians were stunned by > the optimism of the evolutionists about what could be achieved by > chance. The wide rift between the participants led them to organise a > conference on "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Theory of > Evolution"...(skip to the conference)... which opened with a paper by > Murray Eden, Prof. of Electrical Engineering at MIT, entitled "The > Inadequacy of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory". Eden > showed that if it required a mere six mutations to bring about an > adaptive change, this would occur by chance only once in a billion > years --while, if two dozen genes were involved, it would require > 10,000,000,000 years, which is much longer than the age of the earth. > (See Gordon R. Taylor's "The Great Evolution Mystery"). "Since > evolution does occur and has occured, something more than chance > mutation must be involved." > Von Neumann & complexity It's hard to see how the described "wide rift" between biologists and mathematicians could exist, since most of the population geneticists I know *are* mathematicians--like my thesis advisor, a PhD in Statistics. Population genetics is an intrinsically mathematical subject, as my students found with great dismay about 2 weeks into the course I TA'ed on the subject..... I get a little angry when people seem to be implying that evolution is casually refutable and was refuted (by a professor of electrical engineering?) decades ago. Do they really think that two decades of bright, dedicated biologists would stick to a theory that this kind of argument could refute? Adaptive change by mutation has been shown in the laboratory and is not in question. It is quite easy to demonstrate in bacteria, and advantageous forms which were generated by the co-occurance of multiple mutations are quite possible. Three points are usually being missed by people who make Prof. Eden's mistake: 1. Disadvantageous forms can persist in the population for a long time; 2. Multiple ways to the same end (multiple mutations giving the same result) are not only possible but common; 3. Intermediate steps often have an inobvious advantage in themselves, making them targets of natural selection. Seriously, there is something badly wrong with the mathematician's models if this story is true. In the first place, there isn't really a necessity for each mutation to occur from a blank slate - virtually all species have a fair amount of diversity. In the second place, there is a considerable amount of recombination - even with base pairs on the same chromosome (crossover) (or maybe the mathematician has never heard of sex :-). Thirdly, the rate of mutations can be measured and is significantly higher than what appears to be implied by the fixing of 6 mutations in 1 billion years. Fourthly, if any intermediate forms have any slight advantage (due to partial implementation of the feature), then those forms will be selected -- and selection is NOT a random process. Fifthly, many single point mutations have similar/identical effect (that is, it wouldn't be necessary for 6 specific mutations to occur but one from each of 6 different sets, a much easier problem). All I can figure is that the model assumes a population of a single homozygous individual whose progeny never exchange any genetic material and in which the mutated genes never recombine by crossover during mitosis. In other words, sort of like analyzing the aerodynamics of racehorses by assuming a spherical horse Sounds like he's talking about six simultaneous mutations, which may very well be statistically phenomenal. Not required they be simultaneous by evolution however, and once one mutation is replicating throughout a group of related organisms, the odds then go up that one of them might develop another significant mutation in addition to the one they are now carrying. } - exponential population growth And by the same exponential growth law we are up to our armpits in roaches. This does obviously not happen, therefore there are other constraints. What leads Creationists to conclude that the exponential growth constants for a 50 year sample apply to 5000 years? This is known as "extrapolating beyond region of known fit". The growth curve is exponential. The population origin can be extended back much further in time, and the recent doublings are bunched together. I love exponential growth when used by those unaware of the basics for the derivation. You can use the same system to show that we are up to our armpits in fruit flies every 3 years or so... According to U.N. figures, the world population in 1650 was 508 million, up from 200-300 million in 1 AD. This corresponds to a growth rate of 0.032 to 0.057% per year during much of recorded history, far lower than the "sickly 0.5%" used here. 5000 years of growth at 0.057% would increase the population by a factor of 17, much less than the 7*10^10 implied by a rate of 0.5%. }- Various conceivable patterns fail to emerge, despite an overwhelming } tendency to diversify. There is always luck. If the mutation does not occur, you cannot select for it. Evolution is not aimed. That's a deity's job. Evolution handles the current entity, not some future not-yet-conceived entity for some not-yet environment. } Complexity from Simplicity There was no primordial chaos before the big bang - not really. Instead, everything was neatly concentrated in one location. Then it scattered, and is still scattering, a disorderliness far exceeding the structural order of galaxies, stars, planets, and life forms which have appeared in the course of the process. Poul Anderson "Science & Creation" Analog, Sept 1983 ref the information example. It is easy to get VERY complicated systems containing a tremendous amount of information starting from very simple, low information systems. Two methods: 1. fractal structures - start with a very simple rule and repeat it over and over and over. The resulting structure can be (usually is) VERY complicated, but the formation equations can be very, very simple. And the universe has had a long time to do so. Example: Look at a snowflake. 2. chaos - You can get very, very complicated systems if you use nonlinearities in the progression. That is why weather forecasting doesn't work. Complexity does not imply design. Recursion or nonlinearity work quite well. And the world is recursive and very non-linear. I went and got "Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata" by Von Neumann. You know that it was done in 1966 before most of the chaos & fractal work? As an initial look, I see how this is NOT applicable to life as Micha tried to do in <10541@dasys1.UUCP>. Looking at section 5.3.2 "Self-Reproducing automata" we find that, under his constraints, the secondary (initially quiescent) automaton is identical to the parent, except that the constructing automaton is larger, and in a sense more complex, because the construction automaton contains the complete plan and a unit which interprets and executes this plan. This should NOT apply to biological forms as discussed here because: The plan IS the unit that executes itself. In Mary's term, the life is the language. and, what I consider more relevant The constructed automaton IS NOT A DUPLICATE of the constructing automaton. No parent unit that I am aware of (excluding fission reproduction, in which the parent unit cannot be identified afterwards) is the child a duplication of the parent. In every case that I am aware of the constructed unit is a simpler and much smaller unit, which grows OF ITSELF into a near-copy of the original. Since the complexity is added AFTER the reproduction process, the reproduction process should not be a limiting factor. Proof: watch almost ANYTHING grow up. Therefore, while the descent is INITIALLY simpler than the parent, its final state can be more complex. Therefore, the argument that information theory proves that life could not have come from non-life is invalid. BTW: New systems of cooperating parts have evolved, and they are not even biological. See "The Evolution of Cooperation", in particular the computer simulations in which the routines "decide" ON THEIR OWN that cooperation is "better". }simulations cannot produce effects >> And I am as sure of >>the statement "Selection can change the frequencies of variants", >>since I've done computer simulation to test it. That's most >>of evolutionary theory right there. > >Mary, that is very interesting. Could you describe how you modeled selection >pressure. Any thing that I have seen (i.e., non techinical info) is so >vague about what selection is that I have no idea how to model it. >Examples like the light vs dark moths seems too simplistic to me. It shows >how the number of species (or the amount of variation) can decrease but it >gives me no hint as to how the number of species can increase. Directional selection (selection "for" or "against" something) in a static environment will lose variation. To get a more interesting result, you can look at either of two things: 1. Selection which is not directional. Here are some examples: Frequency dependent selection. Forms which are rare are at an advantage. There are several decent real-world examples of this; female fruit flies prefer males who look "different", and animals which have immune system genes different from their neighbors' seem less likely to get diseases from them. Heterozygote advantage. The organism with two different forms of the gene has an advantage over others. The classical example is sickle-cell anemia in humans, where the person with one sickle and one normal allele is protected from malaria. Two kinds of selection pulling in different directions. For example, females may prefer brightly colored males, but so may predators. Some values for the parameters here will give a balance of different forms in the population. 2. Non-static environments. This is much harder to model, but interesting. You can easily get frequency-dependent selection out of an environment with two food sources, both subject to overexploitation. Environments which change over time either randomly or in a cycle can also maintain variability. *** The simplest model I know in which something like speciation can be seen to happen is one that contains two factors: There is a gene with two variants, and the heterozygote is worse than either homozygote. There is the possibility for evolving reproductive isolation based on the first gene. Reproductive isolation could be modeled in several ways. You could explicitly add a gene that controls mate recognition. You could arrange your simulated organisms on a grid and restrict most mating to near neighbors, and see if two populations seperated from an initial mixture. Don't forget that if you use random rather than strictly proportional selection (that is, if you use a random number to see who lives and who dies), population size makes a huge difference. It is almost impossible to maintain high variability in a tiny population, even with strong selection. > Von Neumann clearly chown that more complicated systems cannot come > from less complicated systems. Information gets downgraded I got the Scientific American article (September 1964, vol 211) on interlibrary loan (too early for local holdings) to read Mathematics in the Biological Sciences. The lead in is: "Biologists use mathematics, but the complex systems they study resist mathematical description. The kind of description that might someday be helpful is suggested by the abstract analysis of self-reproduction." Note that this was before most of the developments in Chaos Theory, which does what they are talking about. Most of the examples in the article are concerned with modeling specific systems (neurons primarily), cellular automaton (see newsgroup comp.theory.cell-automata) and a couple of other systems. The relevance to evolution is not brought up until the last column on the last page. The applicability of the approach at all is questioned by the author, though the specifics are said to probably be possible. The last sentence: "Nobody has yet done the engineering design work required to build such a machine, but I think it will someday be built." Not exactly the posture of one "disproving" the concept, is it? I checked out the Von Neumann book _Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata_ and am currently reading ther fth lecture "Re-evalutation of the Problems of Complicated Automata - Problems of Hierarchy and Evolution". The third lecture: "Statistical Theories of Information" brings in the thermodynamics issues as it related entrophy, enthalpy, and information. A worthwhile note is that Von Neumann points out that no local system is closed, and that local increases are easily accomodated by decreases elsewhere. A major disagreement that I have so far is the difference between the automata discussed and actual systems. 1. The cellular automata discussed are assumed to be in their final state. No further increases in complexity are apparently allowed. This is blatently false in actual systems which continuously grow. 2. The descendants are perfect copies of the parents. In fact, this is one of Von Neumann's criteria in self-reproduction. In reality, (with the exception of very few EXTREMELY simple systems) the "child" is nowhere near as complex as the parent. As a major difference, the child is not capable of reproduction. Therefore, actual biological systems do not fit within the Von Neumann's definitions for self-reproducing automata. These two differences alone can account for evolutionary change without the need for a parent to produce (directly) a more complex child. The parent simply produces a LESS complicatd child, which is NOT a replication of the parent, which then grows to a more complicated system than the parent. This can be observed happening when a tree produces seeds (which as-is are incapable of reproduction and are plainly NOT a duplicate of the tree) which in turn develop of themselves into a grove, which is more complicated (see Von Neumann's book on how he measures complexity - the editors introduction covers it in one place with examples as opposed to across numerous lectures for those in a hurry). Did you bother to read _Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata_? The fifth lecture is entitled "Re-Evaluation of the Problems of Complicated Automata - Problems of Hierarchy and Evolution". After a good bit of evaluation & discussion Von Neumann writes: "There is thus this completely decisive property of complexity, that there exists a critical size below which the process of synthesis is degenerative, but above which the phenomenon of synthesis, if properly arranged, can become explosive, in other words, where synthesis of automata can proceed in such a manner that each automaton will produce other automata which are more complex and of higher potentialities than itself." Further down this same page he discusses why a system of "less than a dozen kinds of elements are needed.". That system could come into being other than being constructed by a system designed to do so. Luck, for instance. A close comparison with Turing's machine is done on the next page. And one page further we get what appears to be an analogy to Mary's definition of life: "it might be quite complicated to construct a machine which will copy an automata that is given it, and that is preferable to proceed, not from original to copy, but from verbal description to copy." This "description" almost appears to be Mary's "language". Therefore, this entire string is fallous. First, Von Neumann was not talking about the development of systems like those we observe (he said that was the case early in the quoted chapter), and those differences make the development trivial. And it turns out that EVEN WITH THESE AUTOMATA evolution (once past the simplest stage) is possible. Topics: }No new species (alternately, "kinds") are evolving today. }Slight variation can't turn one kind into another. }Just because two animals LOOK similiar does not mean there is "common ancestor }Mendelian inheritance says that recessive characters reappear }Hybrids are infertile, so a newly evolved individual couldn't breed. }The animals couldn't have distributed themselves all over the globe. }"impossible gulfs" }The failure of some organisms to evolve at all. }No new phyla, classes, or orders have appeared. }The occurrence of parallel evolution, in which similiar structures evolve }Many species have remained absolutely fixed throughout geologic time. }A great many modern species are very evident degenerate }All the great phyla appear quite suddenly in the fossil record. }Selection cannot change the frequency of variants ---------------------------------------------------------------------- }- No new species (alternately, "kinds") are evolving today. "Three species of wildflowers called goatsbeards were introduced to the United States from Europe shortly after the turn of the century. Within a few decades their populaltions expanded and began to encounter one another in the American West. Whenever mixed populations occurred, the specied interbred (hybridizing) producing sterile hybrid offspring. Suddenly, in the late Fourties two new species of goatsbeard appeared near Pullman, Washington. Although the new species were similliar in appearance to the hybrids, they pproduced fertile offspring. The evollutionary proces had created a separate species that could reproduce but not mate with the goatsbeard plants from which it had evolved." The article is on page 22 of the February, 1989 issue of _Scientific_American_. It's called "A Breed Apart." It tells about studies conducted on a fruit fly, Rhagoletis pomonella, that is a parasite of the hawthorn tree and its fruit, which is commonly called the thorn apple. About 150 years ago, some of these flies began infesting apple trees, as well. The flies feed an breed on either apples or thorn apples, but not both. There's enough evidence to convince the scientific investigators that they're witnessing speciation in action. Note that some of the investigators set out to prove that speciation was not happening; the evidence convinced them otherwise. In 1916, a single pair of wallabies escaped from a zoo in Oahu. They survived and bred in the wild, and now there is a whole population. They are smaller and more lightly colored than the Aussie wallabies. They eat Hawaiian plants that are poisonous to the Aussie wallabies, because they evolved a new liver enzyme to detoxify them. They can no longer breed with the Australian wallabies, so they qualify as a new species. Sources: "Instant Evolution", Science Digest, July 1982 Saladin / Gish debate at Auburn University at Montgomery, 24 March 1984 How can you say that no new species have arisen when dozens of previously undiscovered species are found each year in Costa Rica alone? Also, isn't the latest evidence that maize evolved about 4000 years ago? }- Slight variation can't turn one kind into another. "One lion may be fitter } than another lion, but ... all his offspring will still be lions." What is a "kind"? }Just because two animals LOOK similiar does not mean there is "common } ancestory" The interesting point is that, when checked, there IS. Genetic comparisons reveal (objectively) a kinship where it was before predicted on evolutionary grounds. I believe the error rate is less than 1%. What is facinating about the comparisons of the numbers of genes shared between species is that when you draw a genetic tree of what species are related to what, it looks almost identical to the tree drawn by anthropologists who make their tree based on comparisons of morphology (humans look more like chimps than turtles therefore chimps are more closely related). This is the beauty of science that a hypothesis (relatedness of species) is shown by two completely differing mechanisms just as the age of artifacts can be determined by rock layers (those on top are newer) and carbon and other radioactive dating techniques. How is this done? In brief: DNA similarity is measured by mixing fragments of DNA from the two species and measuring the thermal stability of the resulting hybrid molecules, which is proportional to the degree of matching. It can be calibrated by using DNAs of known composition, for example the genomes of completely sequenced viruses. Accuracy is limited by the ability to measure the melting temperature and by the slight difference in stability between A-T base pairs and C-G ones. There has been heavy theoretical debate (ending in an amazing shouting match at a meeting last summer, alas--I was there, and it was embarrasing) about whether the method is accurate enough to resolve the chimp/ human/gorilla trichotomy. DNA similarity does measure overall composition, and two organisms could be very different morphologically while still having high DNA similarity (indeed, chimps and humans are much more dissimilar than most pairs with the same DNA distance). However, overall composition is probably a better guide to relatedness than specific genes, which are likely to be under different selection in humans and chimps. What is the noise, and what is the signal? "Junk" DNA is the most useful for determining phylogeny, because it is more likely to evolve in a gradual time-dependent fashion. Coding and controlling regions are interesting in that they tell us about the differences. }- Mendelian inheritance says that recessive characters reappear, and thus we } should expect humans with characteristics of apes. They do. Tails, for instance. And other "ape" traits that happen to also be "human traits". Like toes, body hair, simian crease (XRHAH@scfvm.gsfc.nasa.gov for instance),... This disregards the basic mechenisms of natural selection and genetics. It makes the wrong assumption that ape-like characters are recessive and that all of the traits in the ancestor population are present but usually unexpressed in the supposed descendant population. Neither idea is true. }- Hybrids are infertile, so a newly evolved individual couldn't breed. Hybrids are often not fertile or robust. They may be desirable to man if man amde, but they may not succeed in an evolutionary sense. The premise is incorrect. First, what is meant by "hybrid" is unclear in this context - is it a hybrid only if it is infertile? And even in those cases in which the offspring is usually infertile, that is not always the case. As witnessed the horse and the donkey. }- There exist "impossible gulfs" between animal/vegetable, } invertebrate/vertibrate, marine animals/amphibians, amphibians/reptiles, } reptiles/birds, reptiles/mammals, mammals/humans. } Eight impossible gulfs: Impossible to find gulfs. } 1) Between the living and non-living or dead matter; This is the abiogenesis debate. The rest is a taxinomy of man with the similarity argument turned into the gaps argument. Is the glass half empty or half full? What is this gulf? I have yet (despite looking and asking many) found it at all, let alone found it to be an impossible gulf. The spectrum between clearly living and singular elementary particles is wide, and not linear (few things really are) but it appears to be continuous. }} 2) Between the vegetable and the animal kingdoms; Animal cells have some similarity with plant cells, and indeed there are forms, euglena, with cloroplasts and flagellae, that look like intermediates. Cells from both kingdoms are eukeryots that are distinct from other cell types belonging to at least three other kingdoms. There are quite a few plant/animals in the same creature. Most microscopic because a plant doesn't collect enough energy to be mobile in large scale. But there are plenty of small ones. What is a euglena? And where do protista & viri fit in here? } 3) Between the invertebrates and the vertebrates; The vetebrates are biochemically closest to the echinodermata, and urochordates. The free swimming soft chord animals are similar to the sessile forms. See also sharks and squids. } 4) Between marine animals and amphibians; A steady change from fish to lobefined air breathing fish to amphibians with fish like larval stages can be observed in extant species and in the fossil record. See also mudpuppies and frogs. An amphibian that never leaves the water is a marine animal. This gulf is not only impossible, it is non-existant. } 5) Between amphibians and reptiles; Amphibians predate reptiles in the fossil record. The development of the amneonic egg, with shell and the difference in the skin of extant reptiles and amphibians suggests that the reptilian characters were adaptaions developed on amphibian ancestors. The time in the fossil record when the reptiles became important was one when amphibian habitats were being reduced and when reptiles could have succeeded on drier continents. What is this gulf, and what was a dinosaur? (warning: trick question! Specifically what is the impossible gulf between, for instance, a salmander and a chamelion? } 6) Between reptiles and birds; The ornithischia, with bird-like pelvises appeared before the modern birds, whch began to appear in Cretaceous time. Intermediates are known. } 7) Between reptiles and mammals; The therapsida in permean time, Mammal-like reptiles appear before the first mammals, but intermediate forms are known, and a fairly complete record of the changes in the facial bones between these reptiles and true mammals is known from Permean time. Does anyone know if mammalian dentition is documented into this time. Did the Therapsida have differentialted dentition? } 8) Between mammals and the human body; The distinguishing characteristic of living MAMMALS is lactation. Despite the invention of baby bottles, human females still lactate. }12) The failure of some organisms to evolve at all. If it passes the selection filter, no change required. These organisms are excellently adapted to their particular niche in their environment. (like sharks: the "perfect eating machine", right?) Like the brachiopod Lingula, and the cockroach, identifiable through most of the phanerazoic and still with us. If an organism is well adapted to a niche it can readily occupy, then why should it evolve? }- No new phyla, classes, or orders have appeared. Subsequently to what? Trees of descent for organisms are drawn by grouping organisms together based on common features. Twigs which are close together are organisms which differ only in few and minor respects. Main branches, down at the bottom of the tree, are groups of organisms that differ in many and major respects. One of the main premises of evolution is that this tree is (more or less) proportional to time. Asking for a phylum to appear today is asking for a major branch to be up at the tip of the tree--it makes no sense, considering the way such trees are drawn! It is perfectly possible that in several million years there will be recognizable phyla which were just differentiating today, but there is no way to recognize a "new phylum" in the bud. For example, modern plants use two different photosynthesis reactions. It is quite possible that those two groups will eventually be so different that we will call them seperate phyla, because the two reactions probably favor different evolutionary pathways. But how can we know in advance whether or not this will happen? That's what you're asking for when you want to see a new phylum arise today. This is just not true. while most of the phyla present today were present at the beginning of the Cambrian, and their origin is shrouded, there is enough of a fossil record from the so-called eo-cambrain to suggest that some of the animals found in Australia are different phyla that became extinct by the time fossils became abundant. The affinities of several Cambrian groups is by no means clear, and they might be separate phyla, such as the archeocyathids. Our phylum, Vetebrata (Chordata), appears no earlier than Ordovician, and then only the cartilagenous and jawless fish are known. All the other classes appear later than that. Vascular plants, and all more advanced plant phyla appear no earlier than Silurian time. There are now five kingdoms known, based on their biochemistry and there are enough precambrain microfossils to document their appearence. The geochemistry of sediments in Precambrain rocks is understood well enough to establish when the oxygen level of the biosphere was high enough to support modern plants and animals, that comprize two of the five kingdoms. Before this date it can be infered that the Plant and Animal kingdoms did not exist. I am not faliliar with Precambrain events to fix this date, 1.8 billion years B.P. ?, or to document the micro fossils that might bear this out. }- The occurrence of parallel evolution, in which similiar structures evolve } in quite different circumstances. If you start with the same ancestor, they can only vary so much. Also, what he thinks are "different circumstances" are not necessarily so. Physics has an interesting set of constraints... }Many species have remained absolutely fixed throughout geologic time. There are no known examples of organisms that have not evolved over a period of time and this includes cockroaches, lungfish, lampreys, sharks, bacteria, and all other organisms that some people claim are "frozen in time". Some of these species appear to be morphologically similar to ancestors that lived in the past but evolution is much more than external appearance. When the structure of their genes and proteins are examined it becomes obvious that they have evolved at the molecular level. In fact the rate of evolution of these species is similar to that of species whose external appearance has changed more drastically. It is incorrect to claim that some organisms have not evolved simply because their external morphology has not changed. The problem here is that the fossil record only preserves some parts of an organism. The fact that these parts have not changed very much doesn't mean that the species has not evolved. }A great many modern species are very evident degenerate, rather than }higher, forms of those found as fossils. There is no hierarchy to evolution. There is no reason to suppose that modern organisms should be "higher" than extinct ones. Loss of a structure is just as much evolution as gain of one. If Creationists admit that some organisms have become "degenerate" then they are admitting to evolution. }All the great phyla appear quite suddenly in the fossil record. Marvelous. As long as he gets to pick which ones he wants, they do. Collect the data to support you conclusion. Keep throwing out the outliers (97% discarded?) till it fits. }Selection cannot change the frequency of variants Since evolution is, by definition, a change in the frequency of genes in a population, then this statement is equivalent to saying that selection cannot cause evolution. There are many experiments in the literature that directly demonstrate how false and ridiculous this statement really is. Perhaps the easiest examples for the non-biologist are those that involve human selection, as in breeds of dogs or cattle. In those cases selection for distinct characteristics has led to populations with differing frequencies of alleles (variants). Thus selection has been PROVEN capable of changing the frequency of variants or alleles in a population and we have every reason to believe that it did so in the past as well. Directional selection (selection "for" or "against" something) in a static environment will lose variation. To get a more interesting result, you can look at either of two things: 1. Selection which is not directional. Here are some examples: Frequency dependent selection. Forms which are rare are at an advantage. There are several decent real-world examples of this; female fruit flies prefer males who look "different", and animals which have immune system genes different from their neighbors' seem less likely to get diseases from them. Heterozygote advantage. The organism with two different forms of the gene has an advantage over others. The classical example is sickle-cell anemia in humans, where the person with one sickle and one normal allele is protected from malaria. Two kinds of selection pulling in different directions. For example, females may prefer brightly colored males, but so may predators. Some values for the parameters here will give a balance of different forms in the population. 2. Non-static environments. This is much harder to model, but interesting. You can easily get frequency-dependent selection out of an environment with two food sources, both subject to overexploitation. Environments which change over time either randomly or in a cycle can also maintain variability. *** The simplest model I know in which something like speciation can be seen to happen is one that contains two factors: There is a gene with two variants, and the heterozygote is worse than either homozygote. There is the possibility for evolving reproductive isolation based on the first gene. Reproductive isolation could be modeled in several ways. You could explicitly add a gene that controls mate recognition. You could arrange your simulated organisms on a grid and restrict most mating to near neighbors, and see if two populations seperated from an initial mixture. Don't forget that if you use random rather than strictly proportional selection (that is, if you use a random number to see who lives and who dies), population size makes a huge difference. It is almost impossible to maintain high variability in a tiny population, even with strong selection. Topics: }Life is too complex to have happened by chance. }Mutations are almost always harmful. }Mutations rarely occur. }3000 years was time enough for all languages, religions to develop. }Complex organs couldn't have arisen from a single mutation }Evolution doesn't explain the simultaneous origin of two traits }Mendelian inheritance says that recessive characters reappear }Hybrids are infertile, so a newly evolved individual couldn't breed. }Evolution doesn't explain personality, emotion, reason, conscience, etc. }"No people of English descent are more distantly related..." }The animals couldn't have distributed themselves all over the globe. }Vestigial organs }Embryology }"impossible gulfs" }evolution doesn't make sense }Evolution doesn't explain abiogenesis or how genes are expressed. }half of the amino acids should be right-handed }Mathematical probability }changes calling for numerous coordinated innovations >The puzzle of how organs, once evolved, come to be lost (degeneration). }The failure of some organisms to evolve at all. }No new phyla, classes, or orders have appeared. }The occurrence of parallel evolution, in which similiar structures evolve }The existence of long-term trends (orthogenesis). }Pre-adaptation: Organs appear before they are needed. }"Overshoot" or evolutionary "momentum" occurs. }How do organs, once evolved, come to be lost? }Why did man lose his hair and tail? }Over-specialization with no adaptive value. }Can this all be just mutation and natural selection? }mitochondrial DNA showes that mankind arose from *one* female. }chaos theory & biology }The fundamental principle of evolution contradictory to established laws }There is no evidence of biological life anywhere else in the universe. }vestigal organs are probably the results of mutational changes }Embryology offers testimony to a great Designer }Similiarities are explained as made by the hand of a common Designer. }All the great phyla appear quite suddenly in the fossil record. }what is known to be true about evolution? }Why are men alone so murderous of their own species? }Misc biblical wonderings... }Geographic Distribuion of Quadrupeds }we have never seen any natural processes which result in a complexity increase. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- }- Life is too complex to have happened by chance. The theory of evolution doesn't say it did happen by chance. This argument completely ignores natural selection. Please read: Life in Darwin's Universe G. Bylinsky, Omni Sept 79 The Evolution of Ecological Systems May, Scientific American, Sept 1978 Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life Dickerson, Scientific American, Sept 1978 The Evolution of the Earliest Cells Schopf, Scientific American, Sept 1978 The Evolution of Multicellular Plants and Animals Valentine, Scientific American, Sept 1978 } Mutations are never benefical The textbook example of the effects of radiation upon genes is the old "carnation seeds exposed to radiocobalt". Clearly some of the flowers produced are prettier than the originals. Therefore, the "never" is disproved. }- Mutations are almost always harmful. Note: "almost". A lot happen in a large population over long times. }- Mutations rarely occur. Note: "Rarely". A lot happen in a large population over long times. } - 3000 years was time enough for all languages, religions to develop. Actually the premise is false. The Sino-Tibetan family of languages is distinct from the Indo-European family of languages, which English seems to have been derived from. Considering how long ago the 50 arguments were written (was it around 1930?), this ethnocentrism is not surprising. }- Complex organs couldn't have arisen from a single mutation, and } just part of the organ is useless. Favorite examples are eyes and } insect wings. there have fairly good descriptions, on the net, of how eyes could have evolved, and of how bird lungs could have evolved. These were nice rebuttals of the claim that "it wasn't useful until finished, so it couldn't have got started". And how many of these "numerous coordinated innovations" can be caused by one change? Check out, for instance, the effect of changing the age at which bone growth stops in human beings. There *are* semi-venemous snakes, and in fact the issue was discussed earlier how some snakes "drip" the venomous saliva while ones with more developed systems "inject" the saliva via hollow teeth. Whales have semi-legs (ok, so they're not fish). How about the cooperating jawbones that have slowly become our hearing mechanisms, seen to be incrementally represented from reptilian jawbones. The complete developmental flowchart of the nematode worm--what cells divide to form what other cells all the way from the 1-cell egg to the thousand-cell adult--has been determined. It contains numerous examples of repeated tricks that look very much like subroutines. For example (this is from memory and may not be precise) there is a patten of a cell dividing twice to form two muscle cells, one neuron and one cell which dies that occurs dozens of times in the worm's development, not always in exactly the same situation-- different kinds of nerve cells are produced--but with exactly the same pattern (that is, it is the most posterior cell which dies, and so forth). People often assume that to evolve a new structure requires new code. In this case at least, however, a new nerve with attendant muscle fibers could be made (and there are mutants which do this) just by triggering this subroutine in a cell which normally doesn't do it. } The instinct of Animals: proves wisdom of a "higher order". Again, argument by design. The complexity and specialization of characters is evidence of a designer, in this view. Proves that it something stupid is wired in you don't get descendants. }- Mendelian inheritance says that recessive characters reappear, and thus we } should expect humans with characteristics of apes. They do. Tails, for instance. And other "ape" traits that happen to also be "human traits". Like toes, body hair,... This disregards the basic mechenisms of natural selection and genetics. It makes the wrong assumption that ape-like characters are recessive and that all of the traits in the ancestor population are present but usually unexpressed in the supposed descendant population. Neither idea is true. }- Hybrids are infertile, so a newly evolved individual couldn't breed. Hybrids are often not fertile or robust. They may be desirable to man if man amde, but they may not succeed in an evolutionary sense. The premise is incorrect. First, what is meant by "hybrid" is unclear in this context - is it a hybrid only if it is infertile? And even in those cases in which the offspring is usually infertile, that is not always the case. As witnessed the horse and the donkey. It is not individuals that evolve but populations. A population evolves by gradual changes in gene frequency until it becomes a distinct species that is no longer capable of interbreeding with similar populations that shared a common ancestor. All of the individuals within the population can mate successfully with each other so there is no problem with "hybrids". There are quite a few examples of different populations of the same species which have trouble interbreeding, in other words the hybrids are not viable. These populations are evolving and may become separate species. It is a common mistake to assume that a new species begins when an individual "mutates" or "evolves" in a single step - this is simply not how evolution works. }- Evolution doesn't explain personality, emotions, abstract reason, } conscience, etc. Please read: The Evolution of Behavior Smith, Scientific American, Sept 1978 Xenopsychology R. A. Freitas, Analog Apr 81 Directly Interacting Extra-terrestrial Technological Communities Viewing, JBIS, vol 28, pp 735-755, 1975 Computer Simulation of Cultural Drift: Limits on Interstellar Colonization Bainbridge, JBIS, vol 37, pp 420-429, 1984 The Improbability of Bahavioural Convergence in Aliens - Behavioural Implications of Morphology Coffey, JBIS, vol 38, pp 515-520, 1985 The climatic background to the birth of civilization Lamb, Advancement of Science vol 25 pp 103 - 120 1968 }- "No people of English descent are more distantly related than thirtieth } cousin," which doesn't allow enough time for evolution. Incorrect argument. The island population of Great Britian might well have interbreeded more than is the case if it were mixed with the rest of the world's human population, if you are inclined to believe Davenport's claim at all. }- The animals couldn't have distributed themselves all over the globe. This is written at the time Wagener proposed Continebtal Drift for the first time. He is rejected by the geologists of the day, but now Plate Tectonics is well accpeted among geologists and is used to construct paleobiogeography that explains fossil distrubutions. The Supercontinent Cycle Nance, Worsley, & Moody, Scientific American, July 1988 Alfred Wegener and the Hypothesis of Continental Drift A. Hallam, Scientific American Feb 1975 And like horses (that man transported), camels, pandas, kangaroos, marsupials,.. In fact, this supports the evolutionary postulates in that the distribution matches transportation capabilities. What is more interesting is why are not animals everywhere? If they all got themselves originated from one place (did this twice, supposidely - everyone was originally present in Eden for the naming and everything was together again in the ark) why are not marsupials found everywhere? Ibid old world vs. new world species. } Geographic Distribuion of Quadrupeds Since the creationists (from the biblical account) would have had EVERY animal in the same place (twice, in fact. Once for the naming in Eden, once again for the rescue in the arc.) why are the quadrupeds distributed so differently? There are a number of large animals that are strictly on one continent, unless somebody moved them (in fairly recent recorded history). They could NOT have gotten there on their own RECENTLY (evolved there, yes), nor could a selective extinction removed every individual of the opposite set. Please explain: New World Only: Old World Only =============== +============ Sapajous (Monkeys) Horse, zebra sagoins (monkeys) sheep, goats, antelopes Opossum wild boar Cougar, jaguar panther, leopard Coatis hyena, civet Stinking weasels porcupine, hedgehog Agoutis apes, baboons, true monkeys Armadillos scaley lizard Ant-Eaters Sloths detached species detached species tapir elephant Cabiai rhinoceros Llama hippopotamus Peccary giraffe camel lion tiger }- Vestigial organs: "If the perfect organ were better than the rudimentary } organ, how can man be the 'survival of the fittest'?" This is the appeal to progress and perfection that biases alot of thinking about evolution, even by some biologists of the past. The changes seen are just adaptations of existing structures, not perfections or progress toward a goal. Note: "fittest" is not "optimal". } Embryology: "it is hard to see why the history of the species should } be repeated by the embryo." This is similar to the argument used by Bob Bales that it is hard to see evolution in the fossil or living evidence. The problem with this claim is that the understanding of what you would look for comes from first looking at living things, fossils, and in this case embryos. You must know how to describe these things in some detail before you can decide if the claims that similar structures indicate common ancestry, or that embryonic stages mimic ancestrial forms. "It is hard ", means you haven't looked. Present an objection based on what all agree is evidence. That is more a function of his "hard to see" than why it does. } A staggering speculation: essentially that evolution doesn't make } sense given the lake of common animals between the major groups. This doesn't make sense. The "major groups" are definied by human classifications that often are there for ancestrial reasons that support evolution (via the "family trees") or are fairly arbitrary (for instance, by location or discoverer) and make perfect sense. }- Evolution doesn't explain abiogenesis or how genes are expressed. To the creationists. And it does explain how to study the unknown, rather than bowing out. }- If life arose by chance, half of the amino acids should be right-handed; in } fact, all are left-handed. Once the preference for one enantiomer over another gets started in nature, it is relatively easy to see how this preference is perpetuated. Biological reactions work much like machines having templates, stamping out the preferred, and ONLY the preferred configuration generation after generation after generation. As to how one became initially started, there are many possibilities: 1. Luck. The first one to form just happened to be L, and then the rest followed. 2. There may be some effect during formation due to coriolis force or the (hemisphere dependent) magnetic fied (as lightening went DOWN, the effect may be polarized) 3. Quantitative calculations indicate that the fundamentally left-handed neutral-weak force with the electromagnetic force could introduce an energy preference (very slight). Aside from any steric preferences, one form could be energetically more stable than the other. William C. McHarris Professor of Chemistry and of Physics and of Astronomy at Michigan State University "Handedness in Nature" January 1986 Analog } Mathematical probability: "it is so improbable that one and only } one species out of 3,0000,000 should develop into man, that it } certainly was not the case". Whence the 3,000,000 number, and how is the "improbability" assigned? Some say inevitable... If 500 developed into man, how would you tell? Besides, given the way evolution works, one would dominate and 499 would have (while developing) be suppressed, quite likely into extinction. The "less successful" are extinct or in zoos. }4) The repeated occurrence of changes calling for numerous coordinated } innovations, both at the level of organs and of complete organisms. First, how do you determine that "numerous coordinated innovations" are required? That may merely be your evaluation. For instance, some of the common examples: poisonous snakes - fangs & poison glands. A Gila monster has poison glands with no fangs, and there are snakes with furrowed fangs with no poison glands. fish to land animal - legs and lungs. The mudpuppy is a fish without lungs that goes on the land, and the ceoclanth (sp) has almost legs with no lungs. And then there is the African Lungfish, the floridian walking catfish,... Coral snakes (southern US) don't have a very sophisticated delivery system - they also chew on their victims to deliver the poison. I'm not very familiar with the anatomy of a coral snake, but it does not have the usual "fangs" associated in the popular mind with a poisonous snake - as I recall there is just a small sac or pore at the base of what look like ordinary reptilian teeth. The last time I studied poisonous snakes (some years ago), it was thought that poison delivery had evolved several times, independently, in snakes. This was based on differences in toxins and in delivery systems, as well as its occurance in otherwise distantly related snakes, all of which have closely similar non-poisonous forms. The delivery systems cover the whole range from the simple, rather typical, teeth of the coral snake to the elaborate, retractile, tubular fangs of pit-vipers. Some have slightly elongate "fangs" with simple grooves on one side, for instance. Thus, we can see almost the entire range of intermediate anatomies in evolving fangs purely in *living* species. Gap?? What gap? We do not even need the fossils, which we also have. And how many of these "numerous coordinated innovations" can be caused by one change? Check out, for instance, the effect of changing the age at which bone growth stops in human beings. This needs to be elaborated. If a genome is being stressed to some metastable level where its states can multiply, then rapid changes to more than one structure in the organism can occur simutaneously. >11) The puzzle of how organs, once evolved, come to be lost (degeneration). Evolution operating on the amplification and dimminution of structures is well known. The appearence of vestigal structures, at all, reflects on the use of prexisting developmental pathways, rather than on the purposefulnessor efficiency of the process. }- The speed at which evolution occurred varies. Why is that a problem? You change the mutation rate and the selection rate and the change rate also alteres. }12) The failure of some organisms to evolve at all. There are no known examples of organisms that have not evolved over a period of time and this includes cockroaches, lungfish, lampreys, sharks, bacteria, and all other organisms that some people claim are "frozen in time". Some of these species appear to be morphologically similar to ancestors that lived in the past but evolution is much more than external appearance. When the structure of their genes and proteins are examined it becomes obvious that they have evolved at the molecular level. In fact the rate of evolution of these species is similar to that of species whose external appearance has changed more drastically. It is incorrect to claim that some organisms have not evolved simply because their external morphology has not changed. }- The existence of long-term trends (orthogenesis). So? Study any climatology? The environment has some VERY long-term trends. }- Pre-adaptation: Organs appear before they are needed. Now, how do you tell this??? }- "Overshoot" or evolutionary "momentum" occurs. A not uncommon problem with non-linear search routines, and with systems with very long delay times in the feebdack. }- How do organs, once evolved, come to be lost? "Use it or lose it" is a popular expression which may help the understanding. Maintaining something is a drain on materials and energy. Selection would go against a disadvantageous drain. } Why did man lose his hair and tail? Note that hair and tails ARE still present. The selection process is a statistical phenomena. There is a theory that sometime within Man's evolutionary past he had an aquatic phase. This is upheld by: a. The layer of fat beneith the skin is more characteristic of marine mammals. b. The pattern described by the hair remaining on the body describes fairly closely what would be a flow pattern. Also, the pattern of denser hair (top of head, chin, pubic region) matches the marine growth areas c. Humans have a diving reflex like that of the semi-aquatic mammals that live in cold climates. When the face hits cold water, the entire metabolism slows and the interior distribution of the blood flows. This has been observed in numerous near-drownings in cold water (it doesn't seem to cut in on warm water). Thus, we have the same amount of hair (almost) as any other marine mammal. And for the exact same reasons. We just didn't have a long enough marine phase for further adaptions (lose arms & legs). }- Over-specialization with no adaptive value. How do you determine this? Besides, most nonlinear search routines I am familiar with have a tendency to overshoot... The process is not particularly efficient or purposeful. }Can this all be just mutation and natural selection? Two points: first, although Darwin invoked only variation and selection, modern evolutionary theory also gives a very important role to genetic drift, the occurance of changes due to chance fluctuations in small populations. This force can work in the opposite direction than selection, and can override selection if the population is small enough. (Brown mice do better in the wild than white, but if I start with only two of each in an area I will end up with only whites some of the time.) Second, "mutation" can cover some things which are much more powerful than single changes in genes--specifically duplication of genes and merging of two genes into a new one. These mechanisms can produce new yet highly non-random genes. }the scientific discovery (not creationtific discovery) a few years }back that mitochondrial DNA was identical in all people of various }ancestory >and thus showed that mankind arose from *one* female. First, mitochondrial DNA is NOT identical in all humans. However the differences can be used to construct a family tree of sorts, and the most reasonable interpretation of the data is that all modern humans inherited their mitochondria from one woman, dubbed Eve (possibly to bait creationists), who lived (I think) around 200 Kyears ago. (The mutation rate observed for the mitochondrial DNA was used to establish the times involved.) Second, the fact that the mitochondria of all of us can be traced to one woman does not mean we arose solely from her-- it just means that she's one of our common ancestors. The maternal inheritance of mitochondria is analogous to the inheritance of last names in our paternalistic society. The point is, there may have been many contemporaries of "Eve" who are also common ancestors of ours-- she just happens to be at the node of our common maternal line. If a consistant paternalistic society had existed throughout human history, (and nobody ever changed their names) we would probably all have the same last name; this would not mean that the first man to have this name was solely responsible for the human race, just that he would be at the node of our common paternal line. > As far as the brain obeying certain chaotic processes, the > brain is too structured and controlled to allow anything > like that to occur. Biological processes are very closely > controlled in the body and in the brain. That is necessary > for survival. Reflexes are something the brain cannot > control. Your heart beats regularly and you breathe in your > sleep. Your brain releases hormones at just the right moment > to allow you to run away from a lion, or, when cornered, > fight off an attacker with more strength than you thought you > had. When you consider the mind as it is usually defined > (the thinking, conscious part of the brain), it must also > function properly at all times, or you would not be able > to survive. Evolutionary pressures would not favor a mind > which works on a process based on chaos theory. The connection of chaos with complex real living systems is circumstancial, but suggestive. I do not have a firm demonstration that full-blown living processes are adeqately described by systems of nonlinear differential equations. Two examples I have heard about, I do not have references, are human brain waves can be modeled with a strange attractor, and a good model of cardiac electrical function and sudden failure has been built using chaos. }The fundamental principle of evolution - the concept of development, with }increasing organization and complexity - seems to be essentially }contradictory to the impregnably established laws of energy conservation }and deterioration. huh? If by "development" he means adaption to the environment I have no idea what "increasing organization and complexity" is fundamental for. And maybe by "deterioration" he means "entrophy or enthalpy"? }There is not the slightest genuine evidence of biological life as we }understand it anywhere else in the universe. There are a LOT of complex chemicals of extraterrestrial origins composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and I think even a bit of sulfur. And the Viking has found some odd reactions. And if you don't mind taking environmental conditions more alien than mars as "elsewhere", I have seen some dandy pictures of things that sure look like life in eternal blackness, no oxygen, hotter than a pot of boiling water,... }vestigal organs are probably the results of mutational changes which, as }we have seen, are usually deteriorations. Also know as "adaptions", right? Thanks. Whale legs are definitely an adaption to their current environment. Thank-you. }Embryology, instead of supporting evolution, actually }offers abundant testimony to a great Designer and does not in any way }give countenance to theories of materialistic origin and development. How odd... Same data, different conclusion. }Similiarities (embryology & comparative anatomy) are more reasonably }explained in terms of origin at the hand of a common Designer. An odd definition of "reasonable"... }what is known to be true about evolution? I am not sure what you mean by "KNOW". None of this is divine revelation. But I am as sure about the statement "There is plentiful genetic variation in natural populations", having worked first-hand with the data supporting it, as I am of just about anything else in the world. And I am as sure of the statement "Selection can change the frequencies of variants", since I've done computer simulation to test it. That's most of evolutionary theory right there. }Why are men alone so murderous of their own species? We are not alone. Most social animals seem to have some similiar sorts of behaviors. When a male baboon displaces the old dominant male, young baboons must watch their ass, as the new dominant male will often attempt to kill them. The same thing happens with lions, I believe. }we have never seen any natural processes which result in a complexity increase. This is easy. Are you familiar with a small creature called a "Volvox"? This is a small spherical animal that lives in the water and is made up of individual cells of algae. Separate algae cells have been observed organizing into a Volvox, with the advantage of being able to propel itself in a way similar to an octopus, and capture food inside the sphere. The algae cells operate in a unified manner, just as the cells in a larger organism do. Here is a clear example of increased complexity for the sake of survival. Since mutation is factual (i.e. we have observed mutation, so it is not conjecture), why do you find it so hard to believe that increasingly complex organizations of cells, combined with favorable mutations, can result in a higher form of life? I have a biological example. The cat in my house has a pair of extra toes growing inward on both of its forepaws. This is not unknown, and I have seen it before. Even more interesting, I have seen the cat use those extra toes as a human would use a thumb to grip small objects, such as a penny, in a manner that a cat with ordinary forepaws could not. A new part, adapted from an old part that all others of the species has. A new ability that others of the species doesn't have. An increase in complexity in a biological context. jap2_ss@uhura.cc.rochester.edu Topics: }There are gaps in fossil record }Methods of dating the earth are inaccurate. }K-Ar dating of Hawaiian lava is wildly inaccurate. }Erosion should've dumped at least 30 times more sediment in the sea. }Top soil }Mississippi delta would have formed in 5000 years. }Niagara Falls-the rim is wearing back }Deterioration of earth's magnetic field }Not enough dissolved minerals in oceans. }Other "geological clocks" that suggest a "young" earth }Polonium halos }The animals couldn't have distributed themselves all over the globe. }Lewis Overthrust, Northern Montana, Glacier Nat'l Monument. }Heart Mountain, north of Cody WY }Unexplained by uniformitarian model on which the evolutionary model is based }A near planetary collision }Shifting the poles rapidly over Hapgood's waveguide zone }"carcasses deposited in icy mucky dumps" }evidence of rapid removal and deposition of soil, forest in arctic. } the are no layers which require more than 6000 years to build up }no more fossils being made } folded rocks show that it was done when they were soft ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- }- There are gaps in fossil record where you'd expect intermediate forms. There are more fossils than Creationists will admit. Many intermediate forms are known--for example, the development of the mammal skull characteristics from the therapsida of Permian time. What gaps remain can be explained by erosion, lack of proper conditions for fossilization, the punctuated equilibrium model, or simply not looking in the right places yet. }- Methods of dating the earth are inaccurate. Exactly what is meant by "inaccurate" leaves much to be desired. Please see the August 1989 Scientific American article on the Age of the Earth. (page 90, by Lawrence Badash, "The Age-of-the-Earth Debate") In an abstract from _Nature_, Vol. 341, p. 518 (12 October 1987). "Direct dating of Phanerozoic sediments by the 238U-206Pb method," by Patrick E. Smith & Ronald M. Farquhar, Geophysics Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Ontario, Toronto, Canada M5S 1A7 "Direct radiometric age determination of Phanerozoic carbonates has been a long-standing problem in geochronology. Rb-Sr and K-Ar dating schemes, commonly used to constrain the chronology of Phanerozoic sediments, have so far proved to be unsuccessful in dating these rocks because of their poor enrichment in radiogenic 87Sr and 40Ar and also because of analytical difficulties. Recent studies have demonstrated that large amounts of radiogenic Pb exist in some carbonates and that they could be dated by the Pb-Pb method. However, the precision of this method is severely limited to samples having very high uranium to lead ratios because by the beginning of the Phanerozoic (~590 Myr ago) 98% of 235U originally present in the Earth had decayed to 207Pb. Here we report the first isochron age of carbonates using the 238U-206Pb method on corals. This method, which gives good accuracy even for low U concentrations, has great potential for the direct dating of sedimentary sequences and should be valuable for refining the Phanerozoic timescale." } - K-Ar dating of Hawaiian lava is wildly inaccurate. That's why geologists don't pay much attention to analyses of rock samples unless their geological context is well understood. Since Hawaii is built on oceanic crust that is about 80-100 million years old (the age is known more precisely than this; I don't have the references handy), it was immediately obvious that the observed isotopic ratios didn't represent the ages of the rocks. Our confidence in radiometric dating techniques comes from years of careful comparisons to other radiometric techniques and to relative age determinations from biostratigraphy (fossils in layered rocks). In some cases, there are multiple isotope systems that may be analyzed in the same sample. Since these different systems react differently to the processes that disturb age recording, if the systems disagree with one another the age significance of the data is suspect. Geoscientists try to use all available tools in combination to make sure that they're not fooled by a single spurious analysis. In some journals, analytical results aren't publishable unless they're backed up by field relations and/or by other analytical methods. The particular case of young Hawaiian volcanic rocks is interesting for reasons other than the absurd age interpretations. Since these rocks are very poor in the potassium from which radiogenic argon decays, their argon content is determined largely by the composition of the argon in the rocks from which the Hawaii lavas were derived. The data tell us something about the composition of the mantle down to about 150 kilometers below the surface, where earthquake data tell us the lavas originate. The example of the Hawaii rocks is a Red Herring, as I will demonstrate momentarily. However, the answer to your last question is very simple. If you can date a rock by a number of different methods, involving different decay series, and if you arrive at the SAME AGE using any of a half-dozen different and completely independent methods, then you can be quite confident that the age you have measured is reliable. If you wish to dispute these ages, you have to come up with EVIDENCE that they are unreliable. It is not sufficient to wave your hands and express your skepticism. We all know you are skeptical, but saying "how do we know," without EVIDENCE to suggest that there is a problem, is just whistling past the graveyard. And now for the Red Herring. Creationists often bring up the example of the Hawaiian pillow basalts with anomalous K-Ar ages, but they neglect to mention that geologists _already thought_ that rocks formed under THESE PARTICULAR conditions would give unreliable K-Ar ages because they would trap argon before it can escape. The studies in question were performed to confirm this under controlled conditions, and thus to confirm to the scientific community that THIS PARTICULAR type of rock is unsuitable for radiometric dating. The misuse of this work by Creationists is particularly despicable, IMHO. } - Erosion should've dumped at least 30 times more sediment in the sea. }and all the continents would be worn to sea }level in just 14,000,000 years. Ever heard of plate tectonics? Please read: On Volcanism and Thermal Tectonics on one-plate Planets Solomon, Geophysical Research Letters, vol 5, no 6 June 1978 The Supercontinent Cycle Nance, Worsley, & Moody, Scientific American, July 1988 } - Top soil--6 inches form in 5,000-20,000 years, but earth averages 7 to 8 } inches. Or erosion. Your county Soil Conservation Board will be happy to tell you why your topsoil is getting shallower, and what you can do to curb the problem. } - Mississippi delta would have formed in 5000 years. So? You have (given a steady-state system which it is NOT) identified a possible geographic feature less than 5k years old. }Niagara Falls-the rim is wearing back at a known rate and taken ~5,000 years }from its original precipice. That's neat - and the steady-state assumptions are? And how did you get the "original precipice" without deciding up front how old you wanted it? The Niagara River HAS been where it is for only a few millenia (or tens of millenia). Before that, the whole area was under glacial ice! (And it some millenia after the ice retreated for the land to reach its present level and the drainage paths to reach their present alignment. I'd love to see what happens in the year the falls erode back to Lake Erie! At the present rate of erosion, I think that's supposed to be ~100,000 AD. } - Deterioration of earth's magnetic field, at present rates, implies an } excessive field 10,000 years ago. The decay is not a steady state (you love this - Morris does, too). In fact, there is considerable evidence for reversals. The atlantic ocean floor as it spreads shown the weakening - reversing - strengthening recorded in its stone as the contenents spread from the mid-atlantic ridge. The usual creationist assumption behind this extrapolation is that the decay is exponential, which excludes the possibility of field reversals. The limited existing measurements cannot yet distinguish between exponential, linear, or other decay patterns. The source of the earth's magnetic field remains uncertain. A good summary of what is known is found in "Ancient Magnetic Reversals: Clues to the Geodynamo", SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, May 1988, p. 76-83. The field is expected to reverse sometime in the next few thousand years. A time scale on page 78 shows the reversals over the past 170 million years, as deduced from the magnetic patterns in oceanic crust. I counted about 200 reversals on the chart. The sun reverses its magnetic field every 11 years in a 22 year cycle. } - Not enough dissolved minerals in oceans. dissolved minerals - the stuff moves in cycles, and as such most of the minerals are very close to their balance levels. Remember "carbon cycle"? The same general idea holds for everything else. Remember the space shuttle? Except for the last time, it has been landing on salt. Like from the oceans, remember? }Other "geological clocks" that suggest a "young" earth- }13-16) juvenile water (from volcanoes), oil deposit pressure, Stalactite Growth }(limestone) juvenile water is covered in those same computer models, and again nothing tricky is involved at all. oil deposites themselves require a time well over 6000 years to exist, so try again. stalactite growth - of some, perhaps. You are still identifying merely temporary features The formation of the Earth from Planetesimals Wetherill, Scientific American June 1981 The Steady State of the Earth's crust, atmosphere and oceans Siever, Scientific American, May 1974 The Evolution of the Atmosphere of the Earth Hart, Icarus, 33, 23-39, 1978 Evolution of the Atmosphere and Oceans Holland, Lazar & McCaffery, Nature vol 320, 6 mar 1986 Enhanced CO2 greenhouse to compensate for reduced solar luminosity on early earth Owen & Cess, Nature, vol 227, 22Feb 1979 How climate Evolved on the Terrestrial Planets Kasting, Toon, & Pollack, Scientific American, Feb 1988 Climatic Changes of the last 18,000 years: Observations and Model Simulations COHMAP members, Science vol 241, 26 Aug 88, p 1043-1052 } - Polonium halos indicate granite-producing magma cooled suddenly, not } over millions of years. Gentry's work is of particular importance because it involves actual field and laboratory work followed up by papers appearing in refereed scientific journals, offering some credibility to the field of "creation research." There is, however, a serious weakness in Gentry's work. It has been devoted almost entirely to the physics of the polonium halos, thereby neglecting the geological setting of the samples in which the halos are found. Because of this neglect, Gentry makes unwarranted generalizations about the nature of the world's Precambrian rocks. THE BASIC PREMISE Polonium halos are small spherical "shells" of radiation damage that surround radioactive inclusions within certain minerals in rocks, which Gentry has described in his book "Creation's Tiny Mystery." [1] The halos are formed by alpha particles released during the decay of an isotope. As an alpha particle nears the end of its path and slows, it causes disruption of the crystal structure leaving a small damage track. Over time, repeated decays from the parent isotope will leave a spherical halo of discoloration. The distance that an alpha particle travels depends upon the energy of the decay and that, in turn, is a function of the particular nuclide that decays. Theoretically, then, the radii of a series of halos that surround a radioactive inclusion permit identification of the specific decaying nuclides. Gentry has claimed that certain of these halos indicate that the granite "basement rocks" of the earth are "the primordial Genesis rocks" and were created instantaneously about six thousand years ago. Essentially, Gentry has found that in certain samples of Precambrian biotite (a mica) the inner ring halos for uranium and other nuclides in the decay chain which should be producing Polonium 210, Po214 and Po218 are missing; only the polonium rings for these three isotopes are present. In addition, Gentry observed little or no uranium in the radioactive inclusion. His conclusion is that the polonium must have been primordial and, because of the short half-lves of the polonium isotopes (138.4 days , 0.000164 sec. and 3.04 minutes, respectively), the granite, therefore, must have been created in the solid state in "only a brief period between 'nucleosynthesis' and crystallization of the host rock." [1, p. 270] The fact that Gentry has published in Nature, Science and Medical Opinion and Review leads one to believe that there is a fair amount of support for his work, but Gentry avoids making direct creationist statements in these works -- it seems he is only cautiously trying to link the rocks of the Precambrian to the rocks that existed right after the Earth's formation - or creation. His book, however, leaves no doubt on his position: "Were tiny polonium halos God's fingerprints in Earth's primordial rocks? Could it be that the Precambrian granites were the Genesis rocks of our planet?" [1, p. 32]1 THE GEOLOGY The first curiosity that Wakefield uncovered was that the sites from which Gentry obtained his samples were not in the older Archean era of the Precambrian, as one would expect, but in fact were in the considerably younger (as dated radiometrically and structurally) Proterozoic era; specifically, the Proterozoic Grenville Supergroup of the Grenville Province, here in Ontario. This misunderstanding came about because Gentry is annoyingly vague on exact sites in his book. One mine, the Silver Crater Mine, is mentioned specifically, while the remaining sites are described only as being in Madagascar, New Hampshire and Norway. This tendency towards vagueness also occurs in his Medical Opinion and Review article, in which he refers to "the Wolsendorf (Bavaria) fluorite." [2] After some research, Wakefield tracked down the three sites, all near Bancroft in southern Ontario. Regarding the first site, the Fission Mine, it appeared to Wakefield that this was where Gentry obtained his fluorite samples and some of his biotite. Gentry denied this, saying they had come from Germany, but Louis Moyd of the Mational Museum in Ottawa indicated that samples from the Fission Mine were in fact sent to Gentry. I will break tradition briefly and quote Wakefield exactly, "it is clear we are dealing with intrusive calcite vein dikes (rocks containing mostly the mineral calcite and other minerals, such as mica) that are small in length and width and cut metasedimentary rocks which still retain bedding planes. Radioactive minerals abound in this locality. Percolating water from the hill the deposit occupies is strongly radioactive and was sold in the 1920s for therapeutic purposes." The second site, the Silver Crater mine, is related to the Fission mine and is a calcite intrusive of the same origin. Neither of these mines are in fact granites, a fact Gentry gets wrong. In addition, while Gentry claims that "halos occur in many mica samples which have not undergone metamorphism of any kind," the micas of the Silver Crater were indeed formed during metamorphism under the load of moderate-depthed overburden, whch has since been eroded off. Gentry's primordial biotite was in fact metamorphically derived. The third site, the Faraday mine, I will touch on only briefly. Gentry emphasizes that the oddity of the halos is that there is no uranium or thorium in the nucleus at the center of the polonium halos. Unfortunately for him, the Faraday pegmatite was mined for uranium -- a total of some four million tons of U(3)O(8) ore were mined for a total of 7.3 million pounds of uranium oxide until the mine's closure in 1984. The most common radioactive mineral was uranothorite, hence lots of uranium and thorium. Gentry's case rests heavily on a "God-of-the-gaps" approach to the halos; that is, it requires that there be no acceptable naturalistic explanation for the halos. Once such an explanation is found, Gentry's case crumbles. One paper that proposes such a naturalistic explanation is by N. K. Chaudhuri and R. H. Iyer [3]. I make no pretense about being able to understand the model they present; perhaps those with the necessary background will help out here. Gentry also has problems with accuracy in his quotation of other scientific sources. In one case, Gentry (p. 71) refers to a paper by N. Feather [4], saying that Feather discusses "clear mica (without any conduits)," but there is no reference to this in Feather's paper. In another instance, Gentry quotes Steven Talbott for scientific support and provides a copy of Talbott's article in the appendices of his book, but Talbott himself states that he has relied on two sources for HIS information: phone calls with Gentry and "the available technical literature", which turns out to be based on Gentry's own articles. What Gentry has in essence done is to reference himself and attempt to pass this off as independent corroboration. [1] Gentry, R.V., 1986. Creation's Tiny Mystery. Knoxville, Tenn. Earth Science Associates. [2] Gentry, R.V., 1967. "Cosmology and the Earth's Invisible Realm." Medical Opinion and Review. October, p. 79. [3] N.K. Chaudhuri and R.H. Iyer, "Origin of Unusual Radioactive Halos," Radiation Effects, 1980, vol. 53, pp. 1-6. [4] N. Feather, "The unsolved problem of the Po-halos in Precambrian biotite and other old minerals," Comm. to the Royal Soc. of Edinburgh, no. 11, 1978. And for a more recent: In the 6 October 1989 issue of SCIENCE magazine (Vol 246, #1 pp 107-109), there is a report on work with Radiation Induced Color Halos (RICHs) in quartz, suggesting a mechanism for the "Po halos" that removes their utility as Creation Science evidence. The abstract and first two-and-a-half and last one paragraphs of the report, giving a summary of the problem and the authors' conclusion: ABSTRACT "The radii of radiation-induced color halos (RICHs) surrounding radioactive mineral inclusions in mica generally correspond closely to the calculated range of common uranogenic and thorogenic alpha particles in mica. Many exceptions are known, however, and these variants have led investigators to some rather exotic interpretations. Three RICHs found in quartz are identified as aluminum hole-trapping centers. Whereas the inner radii of these RICHs closely match the predicted range of the most energetic common alphas (39 micrometers), the color centers observed extend to 100 micrometers. Migration of valence-band holes down a radiation-induced charge potential might account for these enigmatic RICHs. Such RICHs provide natural experiments in ultraslow charge diffusion. "In 1907 Joly pointed out that microscopic color halos commonly observed surrounding small inclusions of radioactive minerals were caused by damage produced by alpha particles emanating from the inclusions. Shortly afterwards, Rutherford noted a close correspondence between the radial size of halos and the energies of the alpha particles. A number of workers have described and measured these radiation-induced color halos (RICHs) and, from their sizes, have tried to match them with specific radionuclides in the inclusions. Although it seems possible to relate the sizes of most of the described halos to alpha emitters in the U and Th decay chains, there are many exceptions. Particularly controversial have been two (perhaps artificial) classes of RICHs referred to as Po halos and giant halos. "The Po haloes are RICHs that have a size and ring structure apparently comparable with the range in silicate minerals of alpha particles emmited by uranogenic Po radioisotopes of mass 210, 214, and 218, although this interpretation has been challenged. Significantly, rings that can be attributed to the other five alpha decays in the 238-U seroes seem to be lacking. That the half-life of 218-Po is 3 min has not deterred some investigators from proposing separation of Po from its radioactive progenitors before its inclusion in minerals. Indeed, Po halos have even been offered as possible evidence of an instantaneous creation. "Giant halos are anomalous RICHs that have radii extending more than approximately 47 um from the edge of the inclusion..." [Their proposal is that aluminum inclusions can create a semi-conductive area where beta particles can cause diffusion and discoloration over a very large area] "...We strongly suspect...that the sizes and structure of giant and Po RICHs in mica are also artifacts of radiation-induced conductivity and their explanation requires neither unknown radioactivity nor an abandonment of current concepts of geologic time." }- The animals couldn't have distributed themselves all over the globe. This is written at the time Wagener proposed Continebtal Drift for the first time. He is rejected by the geologists of the day, but now Plate Tectonics is well accpeted among geologists and is used to construct paleobiogeography that explains fossil distrubutions. And like horses (that man transported), camels, pandas, kangaroos, marsupials,.. In fact, this supports the evolutionary postulates in that the distribution matches transportation capabilities. What is more interesting is why are not animals everywhere? If they all got themselves originated from one place (did this twice, supposidely - everyone was originally present in Eden for the naming and everything was together again in the ark) why are not marsupials found everywhere? Ibid old world vs. new world species. The Supercontinent Cycle Nance, Worsley, & Moody, Scientific American, July 1988 Alfred Wegener and the Hypothesis of Continental Drift A. Hallam, Scientific American Feb 1975 }- In some places older fossils appear above young ones. } - Lewis Overthrust, Northern Montana, Glacier Nat'l Monument. }Lewis Overthrust, Northern Montana including Glacier Nat'l Park }Here inorder to explain the problem of much older fossils superimposed }on much younger rocks we have a massive sheet of rock 6000 ft+ thick }and 100+ miles long moving some 65 (or more) miles with no trace of friction }or distortion... EVEN THOUGH THE ROCKS THEY REST ON ARE CRETACEOUS SHALES }AND MUDSTONES WHICH WOULD SHOW DISTORTION QUITE EASILY! In "The Rocks and Fossils of Glacier National Monument", U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 294-K (1959) C. P. Ross and Richard Rezak note: Most visitors, especially those who stay on the roads, get the impression that the Belt strata are undisturbed and lie almost as flat today as they did when deposited in the sea which vanished so many million years ago. Actually, they are folded, and in certain places, they are intensely so. From points on and near the trails in the park, it is possible to observe places where the Belt series, as revealed in outcrops on ridges, cliffs and canyon walls, are folded and crumpled almost as intricately as the soft younger strata in the mountains south of the park and in the Great Plains adjoining the park to the east. Ross and Rezak repeatedly show how "crushed and crumpled" the rocks in the thrust fault are: The intricate crumpling and crushing in the immediate vicinity of the main overthrust, visible in localities like that near Marias Pass, (shown in figure 139), must have taken place when the heavy overthrust slab was forced over the soft rocks beneath... In some places only a single fault surface formed, with crushed and crumpled soft rocks beneath... Rocks between these faults were crumpled and crushed in a variety of ways. In some places the zone in which fracturing occured was as much as 2000 feet thick; generally it must have been at least several hundred feet thick. The statements made by you that there exists "no indication of friction [?] or structural distortion in either the Lewis thrust plate or overridded [sic] surface!" and "In order to explain the stratigraphic imposibility [sic] of such older rocks over younger rocks thrust model is invoked" (don't they teach grammer at the Colorado School of Mines?) is misleading at best and an outright lie at worst. I'm trying to decide if you are ignorant or just plain dishonest. If you'd like to see photographs of the actual thrust fault which we are discussing, may I suggest that you examine the December 1988 issue of the _Geological_Society_of_America Bulletin_? I'm sure your library receives it. While it is true that the thrust fault is often described as being "knife sharp" and there is little structural distortion above and below it, the fault is undoubtably present. You can walk up to it in places and place your hand on it. The thrust model, as you put it, was not just invoked without any supporting evidence. Geologists, unlike creationists, gather data and use it to support their theories. While the actual mechanics of overthrusting may still be poorly understood, geologists are making progress in understanding it (there have been hundreds of papers published on it). }Heart Mountain, north of Cody WY }If you believe that a large block of limestone could be moved uphill }for that distance without becoming pulverized I have some land in Fl. you }would be interested in... Or would you be more interested in the Brooklyn }Bridge? aka }Heart Mountain, north of Cody WY }A huge mountain of Paleozoic limestone setting on top of Eocene/Miocene }clastics... no indication of friction... no indication of pulverization... }yet in order to avoid the failure of uniformitarianism geologists predict }that this "block" of material was broken off from Sunlight Basin and moved }by the vibration of volcanic eruptions over a 3000 ft. structure (the Dead }Indian hill block fault) for a distance of over 25 miles. "in order to avoid the failure of uniformitarianism" is a biased judgement that does not address the issues, I will ignore it. William G. Pierce in his article "Heart Mountain and South Fork Detachment Thrusts of Wyoming" in American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin Vol. 41 (1957), notes that the level Cambrian strata broke off along a bedding plane, and slid downhill. The thrust block slid over younger rocks, parts of the thrust block eroded away, and a volcano finally deposited some debris over the area where a piece of the block had once stood. The volcanic debris, not being a part of the original thrust block, never slid. Pierce also notes that the thrust block strata are often grossly deformed even when the underlying strata are not. He shows how the strata from one piece of the thrust block are often sliced across at a slant, forming an angle with the horizontal strata underlying the thrust fault. If you will allow me to quote from Strahler's book _Science and Earth History_ (Note: Bill Jefferys mentions this book frequently. I advise everyone who reads this group to run not walk to the library and GET it. It would be most useful for Bob Bales and Joe Applegate to read this. Challange to Bob Bales. I will read any creationist book you wish me to, and post a critique to the net if you will read this book and post your critique of Strahler. Why do I think Bob won't take up the challenge?) >From Chapter 40 page 393: For reasons as yet undertermined, the entire layer of post-Cambrian strata simply began to glive as a unit southeastward over a bedding surface located immediately under the massive Bighorn dolomite formation of Ordovician age and above the topmost Cambrian formation. This layer detached itself along a vertical breakaway fracture shown at the left. Movement was evidently on a very low downgrade, decling some 650 meters in elevation from the breakaway fracture to the end of teh bedding slip zone, a horizontal distance of some 50 km. As the rock sheet traveled, it broke up onto blocks on a sucession of vertical tension fractures. The blocks thus became separated by open gaps, in which the bedding plane of gliding (identified as the Heart Mountain fault) was exposed at the surface. Geologists have applied the term "tectonic erosion" to the surface exposure of a fault plane by sliding away of the overlying mass. End quote. So it seems 1) it didn`t move uphill as you claim. and 2) there was pulverization of the rocks. }These just two of the unconformities which are unexplainable by the }uniformitarian model on which the evolutionary model is based... But the point is, whenever one small area is undisturbed, its fossils are found in a very definite order from top to bottom. The fossils close to the top resemble modern species far more than the fossils closer to the bottom. When fossils are occasionally found in the "wrong" order, one finds that the rocks are in disturbed areas like mountain ranges, where the sediments are being squished up and out over the surface of the earth like an ice cream bar crushed in a vice. These mountain sediments show plenty of physical evidence of overturning and overthrusting that has nothing to do with fossils. Therefore, geologists who avoid overturned rocks when they determine the fossil sequence are not commiting circular reasoning. William Smith, a canal engineer, was the father of modern stratigraphy. He was the first to notice that the higher rocks consistently had different fossils than the lower ones did. He was also a creationist, and used his discovery only to make money, yet the whole of geology today is based on his discovery. Geology is self-correcting, so of course, there is always an infinitessimal chance that it will someday contradict evolution, or perhaps render evolution a poorer explanation of the evidence than creationism. It will no doubt take something a bit more serious than the anomalies Joe mentioned here. We're still waiting. }A near planetary collision or an asteroid impact could do a lot of geomorphic }change! And geologically overnight! yeah, and it would probably kill everything, given the size it would have to be. see national geographic, june 1989, 'the march toward extinction', p. 662, especially the chart starting on p. 666. >Shifting the poles rapidly over Hapgood's waveguide zone would be just as >effective and fast! what's wrong with the possibility of shifting them slowly? } - "carcasses deposited in icy mucky dumps" } - evidence of rapid removal and deposition of soil, forest in arctic. }No, the evidence plainly points to the removal of large areas of soil and }forest along with their rapid deposition and freezing in the artic... now }what besides a tidal surge of immense proportions would do that... and if }such a surge wiped the face of Asia and Alaska, why is it unlikely to extend }it to Mesopotania, where it would have depositied it's debris in the vicinity }of Ararat! Severe temperature changes are known to be responsible for great catastrophic mortalities. Such mortalities are typically associated with unusually cold spells or severe winters. Severe storms are also responsible for catastrophic kills and quick seimentary deposition. During hurricanes and other severe stormes, bottom sediment can be stirred up to a considerable depth and easily bury animals. There is absolutely no question that modern day catastrophes are constantly occuring and that many of these can result in catastrophic kills and rapid deposition of sediment. In short, fossils and fossil graveyards are being formed today. You may be correct in assuming that the evidence of rapid deposition you cite is generally evidence for some catastrophic mode of formation, but you are incorrect in assuming that only the Genesis Flood can account for such deposits. Especially in the face of the great amount of other evidence in direct conflict with the Genesis Flood hypothesis, evidence of slow deposition, evidence in coral reef formations, evaporite deposits, fossil lake deposits, glacial deposits, and desert deposits. When we look at the sedimentary rock record we find some deposits that bear evidence of having been formed by moving water and could have been formed in flood water, but by no means are all rocks like that, in fact there are a considerable number of formations that could not have formed in surging flood waters at all. } the are no layers which require more than 6000 years to build up - the abyssal plain ? - the Greenland icecap - Green River Plus, at the statellite-measured recession rate of the NA continent, the Atlantic gets a Real Big age. This is consistent with the mag stripes alongside the mid-Aatlantic ridge. } A while back I heard a Southern Baptist preacher declare that }no more fossils were being formed because the rate of sediment deposition }today is too slow to capture and preserve anything. } This, he said, is proof that the flood happened because that }would have been the only time the rate of sediment deposition would }have been high enough to make fossils. (I didn't bother to ask him how }he explained the layering of fossils, but I'm sure he would have used }some variation of the idea that the larger fossils naturally floated }to the top and the small ones settled to the bottom.) There was a bit of wondering going on amongst the dinodiggers on why so many fossils of a particular type had a specific distribution, especially when that distribution was of a single kind, large numbers, and not uncommon. A light flashed when it was realized that herding animals today, when fording a river, sometimes panic. The stampede occurs IN the river, and many drown. The distribution of animal bodies downstream appear to be the same as those dinosaur distributions. Thats one. Tar pits work quite well today. That's two. I've seen stuff deposited in marine sediments. That's three. There are about a dozen cars mostly buried about 9 miles from here where a parking lot caved in into the drainage ditch/river feeder caved in. I have little doubt that any small animals in the parking lot went with them. That's four. Sedimentation rates look like they are going like gangbusters to me. Look at the estuaries filling in. Look at the marine channels filling in. You don't get sedimentary build up on top of hills. } folded rocks show that it was done when they were soft }He next stated that when you hit something that's hard, it breaks or }shatters. These folds are smooth, so it must be that the rock (he }showed and mentioned sandstone) was still forming from mud, and was }still soft. This means that the layers formed very rapidly, to still }be soft (down at the bottom layer) when the whole shebang got }faulted. } }His (inevitable) conclusion: it all formed during Noah's flood. Rebuttal: nothing "hit" that rock. Conventional geology understands the strength and brittleness of these things: they can and have been measured in labs. Note, I'm not saying that rocks of a given type are identical. The point is that science has dealt with all this quantitatively. The rocks got folded by compression, not by sudden impact: and in fact some rocks do shatter. I've seen examples - for instance, hard black fragments embedded in a softer gray rock. The gray rock had flowed while the black shattered. Folding can happen in a lot less than geological time. If you go to the Roman dig at the Fort at Housesteads, in Northumbria, you can see the remains of Roman barracks which now lie in definite waves, because of the movement of the earth beneath them. The mortar between the stones is still intact. Topics: } Oldest living things }Man and dinosaurs coexisted. }The suddenness with which major changes }Many extinctions lack obvious reasons. } - Oldest living things, bristlecone pines, are younger than 5000 years. Sure. In fact, if you go for grove instead of individual tree and match similiar growth rigns (similiar events in overlapping lifespans) it goes well over 11,000 years. }- Man and dinosaurs coexisted. (Creationist Institute of California). Refuted. Institute discredited and licence (to grant science degrees) recently revoked. BTW: Those "footprints" in the Paluxy river bed are NOT human. A simple observation of the tracks reveal that while an arch is present forward of the heel, there are only three toes. If a track is observed which is uneroded, webbing is visible between the toes. A special on NOVA allowed these tracks to be visible to millions. Dr. Walter Brown, now director of the Center for Scientific Creation in Phoenix, AZ. Brown, may fall back on a rather novel technique that he has employed in the past -- denying having ever supported the idea. Brown first used this tactic not long after the Paluxy River tracks were shown conclusively to be either dinosaur tracks or erosion marks. When asked for his opinion, Brown claimed that he had NEVER supported the Paluxy River tracks. However, he was forced to 'fess up when shown the transcript of a local Ontario TV program, "Speaking Out," when he stated that Paluxy River was very good evidence for creationism. }1) The suddenness with which major changes in pattern occurred and the } virtual absence of any fossil remains from the period in which they } were alleged to be evolving. This can be explained by punctuated evolution, in this regard it is important to note that not all suggested lineages in the fossil record have such abrupt changes and gaps. There are several fossil sucessions that record critical evolutionary steps and at a fine taxinomic resolution. The development of the modern horse is a fairly complete sucession, as is the development of mammal skull characteristics from the therapsida of Permean time. Other examples of pretty gradual evolution? Instantaneous changes of taxa, on a geologic time scale, between long periods of stability does not pose insurmountable problems for neo-evolution since it is genetic equillibrium that allows long stable periods and stressing the gene pool into metastable states that allows for punctuated evolution. }- Many extinctions lack obvious reasons. The "obvious reasons" are obvious to him, and do not necessarily have anything to do with reality (i.e. 'cause he don't see it don't make it gone) This may be a problem for compiling a history of life, but the existence of extinctions at all poses problems for anyone claiming life has teleology. If a divine creator is calling the shots then finding extinctions casts doubt on the perfection of his plan, or even the existance of a plan. As for finding causes for extinctions, this is going to be an area of some debate for years to come. The ideas that have been advanced find some common collapse of habitat that is consistant with evolutionary biology. The suddeness, or seeming catastrophe of proposed events do not really threaten uniformatarianism because they are changes of rate, but not of process. The "Lack of Obvious Reasons", may overstate the problem, for a series of events such as asteriod impact, continental colissions, destruction of barriers between habitats, all have been advanced and all point to the destruction of habitat and with it mass extinctions. Topics: }Creationism deserves equal time because evolution is only a theory. }The doctrine of evolution is atheistic and therefore immoral. }Competition for survival implies "strife, hatred, war, and death." }The great complexity of nature shows it was designed. }The Bible says so. }The Bible is accurate on other points, so it must be accurate on creation. }(referring to a genesis "day") }Later Biblical characters (Moses & Paul) refer to the fact of creation }Even Jesus Christ believed in the Genesis record of creation. }It is imposssible to believe the Bible and to believe in evolution. }it is almost impossible to believe in God if one believes in evolution. }many evil social doctrines it has spawned. }Fall of man: Records say civilization was man's original condition. }Place of man's origin: Evidence confirms origin in one locality. }Order of events in creation matches what an observer would have seen: }Earth is unsupported (Job 26:7) }Earth is round (Isaiah 40:22) }Water cycle is described (Eccl. 1:7) }History is accurate. }The Bible is harmonious throughout. }Numerous prophecies fulfilled. }Religion's views on creationism: }The Bible Has Two Creation Stories }bible is always right }- Creationism deserves equal time because evolution is only a theory. But a theory in the scientific sense of the word, meaning that it explains a wide range of phenomena and that there's lots of data to back it up. Creationism, on the other hand, isn't even a theory; it's an assertion. "Equal time" in what? In schools in general, or in science classes? Science classes are suppose to teach science. There are two criteria for this: 1. It must be falsifiable i.e. there must be some way to show that the theory is incorrect. The theory must be testable. Evolution is, in that there can be things specified which, if they can be verified, would disprove evolution. Creationism allows no such test. 2. It must be able to make predictions i.e. it must be able to tell you how something WILL occur (and then you must be able to verify the accuracy of the prediction). The theories which compose evolution are useful in this regard in that they have made predictions concerning population densities, physiologies, chemistries, fossil find forecasts,... Creationism does none of this. At best, its "predictions" are either in the past (already happened) or unverifiable. As a BTW: A Creationist posting was made on talk.religion.christian, (a moderated group) but no rebuttal was allowed from any evolutionist. }- The doctrine of evolution is atheistic and therefore immoral. Unlike creationism, evolution doesn't require the acceptance or rejection of any religion. In fact, many theists believe in evolution. The doctrine that atheism is immoral is bigotry, and therefore immoral. Competition doesn't imply hatred or war. } Competition for survival implies "strife, hatred, war, and death." The Soviets did have a problem along these lines. Lysenko in particular disbelieved in natural selection for these reasons. He got charge of the Soviet Union's grain production. Their agricultural industry has almost recovered... }- The great complexity of nature shows it was designed. Laws require a } lawmaker; organization requires an organizer. No, it doesn't. The patterns within a kaleidoscope are very complex, and extremely organized (in the sense of symmetrical patterning) but are not designed. }- The Bible says so. In the resolution from the 67th General Convention of the Episcopal Church acted in September 1982 to "affirm its belief in the glorious ability of God to create in any manner," rejected "the rigid dogmatism of the 'Creationists' movement," and supported "scientists, educators, and theologians in the search for truth in this Creation that God has given and entrusted to us." Addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences before its meetings on Cosomology and Cosmogony in October 1981, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the statement of Pope Pius XII that the universe was created "millions of years ago" directly contrary to creationists views. The Pope declared that "The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise..." }- The Bible is accurate on other points, so it must be accurate on creation. Leviticus 11:113,19 and Deuteronomy 14:11-18 list fowl, and both have bats in the list with heron, lapwing, and bat closing off the list. The bat is not a bird. Leviticus 11:6 has a hare chewing its cud. Rabbits do no such thing. reminder for Barry: "cud" is not "shit". BTW: 'Gerah', the term which appears in the MT means (chewed) cud, and also perhaps grain, or berry (also a 20th of a sheckel, but I think that we can agree that that is irrelevant here). It does *not* mean dung, and there is a perfectly adequate Hebrew word for that, which could have been used. Furthermore, the phrase translated 'chew the cud' in the KJV is more exactly 'bring up the cud'. Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again. The description given in Leviticus is inaccurate, and that's that. Rabbits do eat their own dung; they do not bring anything up and chew on it. thanks to Robert Low Leviticus 11:21-23 lists things with four legs. Among the list are locust, beetle (cricket in some translations), and grasshopper. Psalms 58:8 says "as a snail melts..." Snails do not melt. Gen 1:20-21 has the waters bringing forth Gen 2:19 has them coming from the ground. Maybe some one should tell them about eggs? Genesis 30:39 cattle looking at pilled rods conceive and bring forth ringspeckled, speckeled and spotted calves. changing the characteristics of a descendant by showing them a rod just doesn't work... Matthew 4:8 ..took upon a high mountain and shewed all the kingdoms of the world. 1. Geology - rock simply isn't strong enough for such a megamountain. 2. astromical bodies are spherical, and you cannot see the entire exterior surface from anyplace. Genesis 3:14 "...and dust though shalt eat all the days of thy life." Snakes, while built low, do not eat dirt. }(referring to a genesis "day") it ALWAYS (Morris's stress) refers to }a twenty-four-hour day. So much for the appologists... }Later Biblical characters (Moses & Paul) refer to the fact of creation, not }the myth. Are we to take people that we have no independent record of as authoratative references in the only document they ARE mentioned in? This is like Santa Claus in _The Night Before Christmas_ testifying as to the veracity of the "visions of sugarplums". }Even Jesus Christ believed in the Genesis record of creation. ibid, though this is clearly an attempt at pleading from authority. }It is thus absolutely impossible to believe in the Bible as the complete }and literal Word of God and to believe in the theory of evolution. But, }more than that, it is almost impossible to believe in a personal God of }any sort if one believes in evolution. The Pope doesn't agree with this statement. Nor do many other leading religious figures. They will be glad that this civil engineer pointed it out for them... }The atheistic and satanic character of the doctrine is evidenced in the }many evil social doctrines it has spawned. What?!?! Talk about irrelevant mud-slinging!!! } - Fall of man: Records say civilization was man's original condition. Which records are these? The Old testiment? And of course. Without the civilization you don't have the records. So "as far back as they go" is civilization. When there isn't civilization, the records quit going. This one is very interesting, it reveals the core prejudice of christian, and other, origins, that man is fallen from some primordial grace. The evolutionary evaluations of origins avoids the opposite prejudice as well, that evolution is always progressive. It says that the idea of progress in the condition of a lineage is misleading; change is reflected in adaptation and specialization which may be by turns sucessful or lethal. } - Place of man's origin: Evidence confirms origin in one locality. Observing population distributions takes divine inspiration? One successful group spread and killed off the less successful ones. Supports evolution, too. OK Bible scholors, where does Moses say man came from? The claim here of proof of God's inspiration is wrong, even if Moses got it right. Man came from Africa, despite years of searching for human ancestors in Europe and Asia. Evidence says Man came from Africa, despite years of searching for human ancestors in Europe and Asia. } - Order of events in creation matches what an observer would have seen: } 1: Beginning, 2: an earth in darkness, 3: light, 4: atmosphere, 5: dry } land, 6: plants, 7: discernable sun, moon, stars, 8: sea and air } creatures, 9: beasts, 10: man. The actual order should be more like 1: beginning, 2: light, 3: sun, stars, 4: atmosphere, 5: earth, 6: dry land, 7: sea creatures, 8: moon, 9: beasts (amphibians and reptiles), 10: fruiting plants (which is what Genesis specifies), 11: air creatures, more beasts, 12: man. I'm not sure the order is exact (the moon may have come earlier, for example), but it is more accurate than the Genesis version. } - Earth is unsupported (Job 26:7) Job 38:4 says Earth has a foundation. Job 26:11 says heaven is supported by pillars. } - Earth is round (Isaiah 40:22) Matthew 4:8 ..took upon a high mountain and shewed all the kingdoms of the Not on a round surface he didn't... } - Water cycle is described (Eccl. 1:7) Job 38:22 says that snow and hail are kept in storehouses. } - Good sanitation practices are given (Deut 23:13, Num. 19:11-22, etc.) People aren't stupid. They could have figured these out without divine aid. } - History is accurate. Not unsurprising. It was written while the history was current events. } - The authors admit their human failings (Deut 32:50, Acts 19:20, etc.) This is true of lots of writings, even some USENET articles. Besides, does it make sense to claim that a book is infallible because its authors admit that they are fallible? } - The Bible is harmonious throughout. Given the amount of editing it went through, you would expect it to be reasonably harmonious, but it still contains contradictions. For example, Matt. 27:5-8 vs. Acts 11:18-19 and Matt. 1:16 vs. Luke 3:23. } - Numerous prophecies fulfilled. Prophecies weren't meant to predict the future. The word originally meant "divinely inspired speech." Not until 1300 did it come to mean "predicting future events." [Oxford English Dictionary] Besides, there are lots of mundane ways to predict the future: (a) Make the wording sufficiently vague that, with proper interpretation, it could apply to practically anything. (b) Predict something which has already happened. (c) Rewrite history to say that your prediction was actually fulfilled. (d) Give no time limit for the prediction. (e) Predict something which is extremely likely to occur. (f) Make so many predictions one of them is bound to occur. Later, edit out those that failed. (g) Predict something that you yourself can cause to happen. All of the predictions below can be fit into one or more of these categories. Religion's views on creationism: ================================ In the resolution from the 67th General Convention of the Episcopal Church acted in September 1982 to "affirm its belief in the glorious ability of God to create in any manner," rejected "the rigid dogmatism of the 'Creationists' movement," and supported "scientists, educators, and theologians in the search for truth in this Creation that God has given and entrusted to us." Addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences before its meetings on Cosomology and Cosmogony in October 1981, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the statement of Pope Pius XII that the universe was created "millions of years ago" (in european millions is american billions. directly contrary to creationists views. The Pope declared that "The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise..." >From _Theology Today_, October 1982, 39(3):249-59 "Creationists have set themselves apart from other Christians by intimately interweaving their story of the "who" of creation with the "how" of creation. For them, it is the flat earth problem all over again. Creationists have taken a theory of creation which is testable and tied it to an inherently untestable story about God. In the process, they have declared a testable theory to be also inherently untestable." ... "Creationists follow a predictable pattern as they find it easier to deny physical evidence than to deny God. Physical evidence, no matter how overwhelming, can be dismissed as the work of the devil." (writer is a Presbyterian layman who has organized conferences on Genesis and Geology held at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico) "Christianity and Crisis" (April 26, 1982) 42:108-15 (referrring to the absure (widely held opinion) Arkansaw law) The authors of the rkansaw law sought to separate the Creator implied by Creation-Science from the notion of "religion". This is an approach to the "first and worst" Christian heresy - the denial of monotheism. ... Clever - if it is a religion, it is not a science and should not be treated as one. If it is a science and not a religion would be a Christian heresy. If they use the Bible to support their "science", by the words of their Bible they shall burn. By Fasther Bruce Vawter, a Roman Catholic read this paper at the Conference on Creationism inAmerican Culture and Theology held at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago on October 9, 1982. (extracts summarized - you go read the whole thing if you want) His objections are: 1. creationism seriously misconstrues the meaning and purpose of the Bible, both in part and in whole. 2. creationism introduces a false dichotomy between religion and science by assuming that belief in a Creator God is incompatable with an acceptance of the scientific hypothesis that existing life-forms came into being through an evolutionary process. 3. So called creationism or creation science is a concept both theologically and philosophically unsound, derived from bad premises. He then proceeds to preach on these points. Some relevant points: a. "Biblical inerrancy" - definitely not one of the authentic heritages of mainline Christianity b. Creationists appear to be as unqualified to talk about science as Scientists are to talk about religion (to wit, almost none) by Nahum M. Sarna. Was teacher at University of London, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and since 1967 has been Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University. extracted from his "UNDERSTANDING GENESIS" The first biblical account of creation may be found in Genesis 1:1-2:4a. Within the literary framework are described the divine activities within a seven-day period The second biblical account of creation (2:4b-24) opens with "When the Lord God made ..." and goes through how the entire surface of the earth was watered by a flow that owuld well up through subterranean springs. The main topic of this account is the formation of man and his placement in the garden of Eaden. (my note: -2- accounts.) "Biblical man, despite his undoubted intellectual and spiritual endowments, did not base his views of the universe and its laws on the critical use of empirical data (my aside - ie.e not scientific method) Rather, his thinking was imaginative, and his expressions of thought were concrete, pictorial, emotional, and poetic (my aside - get thee behind me, literalists!) Hence, it is a naive and futile exercise to attempt to reconcile the biblical accounts of creation with the findings of modern science. Any correspondence which can be discovered or ingeniously established between the two must surely be nothing more than mere coincidence." #> the Creationist young-earth agenda does great damage to #> Christianity itself, because it makes Christianity seem ridiculous to #> many intelligent and informed people. "Another possible danger is that in presenting the gospel to the lost and in defending God's truth we ourselves will seem to be false. It is time for Christian people to recognize that the defense of this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology creationism is simply not truthful. It is simply not in accord with the facts that God has given. Creationism must be abandoned by Christians before harm is done. The persistent attempt of the creationist movement to get their points of view established in educational institutions can only bring harm to the Christian cause. Can we seriously expect non-Christian educational leaders to develop a respect for Christianity if we insist on teaching the brand of science that creationism brings with it? Will not the forcing of modern creationism on the public simply lend credence to the idea already entertained by so many intellectual leaders that Christianity, at least in its modern form, is sheer anti-intellectual obscurantism? I fear that it will." [_Christianitiy and the Age of the Earth_, by Davis Young, Zondervan 1982. p. 163.] #> When I made my comment about "anybody" being able to interpret Scripture #> in his own way, I was stating a fact of life. In our society, thank God, #> we have a First Amendment that gives Joe, me, you, and everyone the #> _right_ to interpret Scripture in any way that conscience dictates, no #> matter how foolish or inconsistent it might seem to others. # #And the right to "engage in Science" no matter how foolish or inconsistent #it might seem to others? Absolutely .... but that don't make it science #does it, nor absolve Dr. Gish from being labeled a cretan here. Dr. Gish also has the RIGHT to submit his scientific ideas for publication in refereed journals. He chooses not to do so. Joe Applegate (and Snake Handlers, and you, and I) also have the RIGHT to submit our ideas on Biblical interpretation for publication in scholarly journals. These journals have the RIGHT to reject articles that do not measure up to the standards of the field. I certainly agree with you that scholars have standards that they apply in their fields. Not any interpretation of Scripture would be acceptable to a scholarly journal. But the point is, scholars do not and should not dictate people's personal beliefs about religion. #The lesson may be to clearly indicate that the basis for your position when #unsupported by sufficent evidence is one which is arrived at through certain #metaphysical and philosophical assumptions (faith). You may then specify #why you believe that your assumptions (faith) are reasonable .... you may #not preceed your statements with, "We know ..... ". When evolutionary #scientists (at least many of the ones I've read or encountered) master #this discipline perhaps then .... Science has nothing to do with "faith." Science makes no claim that the conclusions that it arrives at are "true," NO MATTER HOW STRONG THE EVIDENCE MAY BE. On the contrary, it ASSUMES that they may not be true and has invented a procedure to test these conclusions, the only possible results of which will either be to show that they are NOT true or to determine that "further research is required." If someone says that science has "proved" that such- and-such is true, then that is indeed "faith," but it has nothing to do with science. Religious aspects of the Creation/Evolution controversy are appropriately directed to this group, I believe. I've no interest in debating this issue, but only want to suggest some reading for those who are interested in pursuing the topic. Relatively few books discuss the religious (rather than the scientific) side of the controversy, and I believe that this short list includes the best of them. _Is God a Creationist?_, edited by Roland Mushat Frye (New York: Scribners, 1983), is a collection of essays by people of various religious persuasions: Conservative (Davis Young, mentioned by Rob Day), Roman Catholic (Pope John Paul II), Middle-of-the-Road (Conrad Hyers) and others. Although none of the contributors takes the young-Earth Creationist side, it is a relatively well- balanced book on the whole. The editor is Schelling Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton. _The Meaning of Creation_, by Conrad Hyers (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984). Hyers is a middle-of-the-road theologian who argues that Creationism is not only bad science, but also poor theology. I found it provocative reading. The author is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion, Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota. _Science and Earth History_, by Arthur Strahler (Buffalo: Prometheus 1987) is probably the most authoritative and complete discussion of all aspects of the C/E controversy. Although most of the book is devoted to scientific issues, the first 80 pages or so discuss philosophical and religious aspects. This book has an excellent index and exhaustive references, and is the book I recommend to those who only want to read one book on the subject. Strahler is Professor Emeritus of Geology, and former Chair of the Department of Geology, Columbia University. _Evolution and the Christian Doctrine of Creation: A Whiteheadian Interpretation_, by Richard H. Overman (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967). This you may have to look for. I found it in the university library. Liberal theology. Finally, I want to second Rob Day's recommendation that Christians who are concerned about the effects of Creationism on Christianity ponder what Davis Young says in his book, _Christianity and the Age of the Earth_. Mysteriously allowed to go out of print by its publisher (the religious house Zondervan) soon after it came out, the book is now available again from Artisan Sales, PO Box 2497, Thousand Oaks CA 91360 for only $8.50 postpaid. Young is a knowledgeable geologist who, although doubting evolution itself on religious grounds, nevertheless firmly opposes young-Earth Creationism as scientifically invalid. >New Catholic Study Bible, Saint Jerome Edition, Literary Forms of the Bible, pages 1360-61: "The first eleven chapters of Genesis are much closer to mythical forms of writing. Myth, in this case, must not be understood to mean that the events told were fictional or untrue. A myth is a profoundly true statement which speaks to universal aspects of life and reality. It is a statement whose meaning rises above time and space. Although biblical myths were influenced by other mythical statements of the ancient world, they are used by the biblical writers to express history's relationship to God. They point to history's origins at the moment of the world's creation. They speak of the beginnings where history touches eternity, and, therefore, to moments which cannot be historically described. Myth is thus essential to biblical faith. We do the Scriptures a serious injustice if we read myth as though it were history. Such a tendency must be resisted along with the opposite tendency to read biblical history as though it were mythical. By reading the early chapters of Genesis with sensitivity to poetic symbol and imagery, we can easily avoid such temptations." }The Bible Has Two Creation Stories A close reading of the first few chapters of the Bible reveals not one, but two different -- and contradictory -- stories of creation. These are from two of the (at least) four traditions that are interweaved in the first books of the Bible, the Priestly and Yahvist traditions, out of the set that includes the Elohist and Deuteronomist traditions. This conclusion is reached by consideration of stylistic elements (for example, the Priestly tradition is heavy on statistics, the Yahvist and Elohist traditions refer to the Deity as "Yahweh" and "Elohim", respectively, and the Deuteronomist tradition is found in the Book of Deuteronomy), and is generally accepted by non-literalist Biblical scholars (for a good introduction to the historical background behind the Bible, see _Asimov's Guide to the Bible_, both volumes). Here is the order in the first (Genesis 1), the Priestly tradition: Day 1: Sky, Earth, light Day 2: Water, both in ocean basins and above the sky(!) Day 3: Plants Day 4: Sun, Moon, stars (as calendrical and navigational aids) Day 5: Sea monsters (whales), fish, birds, land animals, creepy-crawlies (reptiles, insects, etc.) Day 6: Humans (apparently both sexes at the same time) Day 7: Nothing (the Gods took the first day off anyone ever did) Note that there are "days", "evenings", and "mornings" before the Sun was created. Here, the Deity is referred to as "Elohim", which is a plural, thus the literal translation, "the Gods". In this tale, the Gods seem satisfied with what they have done, saying after each step that "it was good". The second one (Genesis 2), the Yahwist tradition, goes: Earth and heavens (misty) Adam, the first man (on a desolate Earth) Plants Animals Eve, the first woman (from Adam's rib) Then, there follows the story of the serpent leading Eve, and Adam, to eat that (unspecified) fruit, and get expelled from the Garden of Eden, whereupon that serpent was ordered to crawl on its belly (no mention of how it moved about before that). The Deity is referred to as "Yahweh" here, and creates plants, animals, and finally Eve for a lonely Adam. Yahweh seems to be trying to fix his creation as he goes, with not too satisfactory results -- his prime interest commits a big no-no (why not simply create a psychological inhibition to eating forbidden fruit? It would probably be more reliable). Neither tale, it must be said, has much resemblance to the geological record, but in all fairness to the inventors of these tales, the geological record only became clear in the nineteenth century. I am not denying that one can come up with a Bible interpretation that somehow harmonizes these two tales, but such an interpretation would require rejection of the dogma of the literal truth of the Bible -- two contradictory statements cannot be true at the same time. The first of the two stories is sometimes claimed to be a good match; "Let there be light" supposedly means the Big Bang. But the Big Bang happened well before the Earth even existed. There are other discrepancies. The Sun is almost certainly slightly older than the Earth, and the Moon is as old as the Earth, or a bit younger (from current theories of planetary formation; the time differences are ~100 million years out of 4.6 billion years). The stars have no single age, but have been forming ever since the galaxies came into existence (or even before!); some are older than the Earth, some younger. The order of appearance of various is terribly mixed up. Though blue-green algae are much older than any multicelled animal, the first land plants appear ~400 m.y. ago, as opposed to the first sea animals ~600 m.y. ago. Flowering plants (the most common land plants) appeared about ~120-150 m.y. ago, well after the first land animals appeared, appox 400 m.y. ago. Also, flying animals appear after closely related land animals appear; flying insects after early wingless ones, pterodactyls after proto-dinosaurs, birds after certain small carnivorous dinosaurs, and bats after early placental mammals. Some sea animals are descendants of land animals; consider (partially aquatic) otters, seals and sea lions and walruses, penguins, alligators and crocodiles, and sea turtles and (completely aquatic) whales and dolphins, sea snakes, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs. The second of the two stated that humanity originated in the Garden of Eden or a garden in Eden (depending on which translation you read). "Eden" turns out to be some marshland near where the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers flow into the Persian Gulf. And where did humanity actually originate? Charles Darwin proposed Africa because that's where our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees and gorillas, live. This hypothesis turns out to be correct for nearly all of the hominid species, including _Homo sapiens_. All the earlier hominid species, the Australopithecines and earliest _Homo_, are found only in Africa; later species, like _Homo erectus_ and _Homo sapiens_, seem to have originated in Africa and spread to other parts of the world. And from the "Master Blaster": I have received the response to my article on the two creation stories in the Bible that one can somehow fit the Adam-and-Eve story into the Sixth Day of the first story. But I believe that this fit cannot be made. Why? Look again at the orders of creation: The Six-Day Story: Day 3: Plants Day 5: Sea animals and flying animals Day 6: Land animals, then humanity (both sexes) The Adam-and-Eve Story: The first man (Adam) Plants Animals (both land and air) The first woman (Eve) The contradiction between the orders of creation between the two stories is rather glaring. There are other contradictions. As I mentioned earlier, in the first story, God creates according to a carefully laid-out plan, one set of entities at a time. He says after each episode of creation that "it was good," indicating that he is very satisfied with what he has done. On the seventh day, he rests from his labors (though we are not told why an omnipotent being might need to rest). In the second story, he seems to be fixing up as he goes, only to see the principal objects of his attention commit a grave no-no. Here goes: I create the first man, but he's all lonely. I create some plants for him. He's still lonely. I create lots of animals for him. He's still lonely. I create a woman for him, and he seems satisfied. I tell those two not to eat any fruit from that Tree of Knowledge, but that pesky snake talks them into eating some of its fruit anyway. I kick those two out of that garden, and I order that snake to crawl on its belly. Creating a Universe seems more trouble than it's worth! Methods of creation differ; in the first story, God "says" "Let X be!" and X comes into existence; while in the second story, God uses a more physical approach, molding the first man out of dirt (yecch!) and then breathing on it. And likewise for the first woman. One doesn't have to know much chemistry to tell the difference between human flesh and typical dirt. The level of anthropomorphism differs; the second story features God "walking" in the Garden of Eden; while the first story says that the first people, at least one of each sex, were made "in his image" (nothing on which of the two sexes resembles God more). I have always suspected that it is really the other way around. I am not sure what the "traditional" answer to this conundrum is (maybe it's simply "shut up and believe, you rotten infidel!"); but whatever it is, I'm sure that this analysis will hold up despite of it. There are other curiosities. The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt is an event not mentioned in any Egyptian chronicle; they barely mention Israel. There isn't even a "prettified" version like "Our great Pharaoh went on an expedition to chase down those rotten rebellious slaves and died a noble death in a big flood." It has been suggested that some of the Exodus events are garbled memories of the explosive volcanic eruption of Thera ~1400(?) BC (see Sagan on Velikovsky). And the Joshua miracle (he told the Sun and the Moon to stand still just so he could win one of his battles) -- it is not mentioned in _any_ other contemporary chronicle. If it happened, it would have took place in ~1200 BC. But Egyptians and Mesopotamians (in what is now Iraq) had had written language for over two thousand years, and their chroniclers would have written at length on this event, had it have happened. But they say NOTHING about this alleged event. There is the question of why the Earth's rotation and the Moon's motion were so carefully restored afterwards. That is evident from the study of such pre-Joshua monuments as the Great Pyramid of Egypt (check out _Science and the Paranormal_, Abell and Singer, eds.). It was constructed according to some precise astronomical alignments. The edges of this pyramid were aligned on north-south and east-west directions, as determined by post-Joshua surveying. And one tunnel is aligned to point at the star Thuban in Draco, while another points at the constellation Orion, as determined by extrapolating post-Joshua measurements of precession. The Milankovitch climate cycles over the last couple million years have a component due to precession; its rate seems unchanged from its post-Joshua value. So, if this miracle happened, the Earth must have started rotating again with exactly the same position of spin axis, relative to itself and to the stars, and at exactly the same period as before. The Moon must have started orbiting at exactly the same distance as before. A simpler hypothesis: this alleged event never happened. Immanuel Velikovsky certainly understood these problems with these alleged Biblical events, which is why he proposed his bouncing-planets hypothesis. He claimed that these catastrophes were remembered not only in the Bible, but in a host of other ancient legends. Carl Sagan has written a truly devastating criticism of his theories (check out _Scientists Confront Velikovsky_ or _Broca's Brain_ or _Science and the Paranormal_). I wonder, where is the Velikovsky cult now? Have they been claiming that the recent flyby of Neptune (and the not-so-recent one of Uranus) provide yet more evidence for the correctness of Velikovsky's theories? That would be in line with what they have claimed for _every_ other Solar System discovery since Velikovsky published _Worlds in Collision_. }bible is always right There are further scientific difficulties in the Bible, In one of the Books of Kings, there is a reference to a "molten sea" with a diameter of ten cubits and a circumference of thirty cubits. This would imply that pi = 3. Though this is certainly a convenient approximation (5% too small), it is not exact. Thus, one part of the Bible is not "absolute truth". In the part of Leviticus which lists proscribed animals, we find that rabbits (or hares, depending on the translation) chew the cud and that grasshoppers have four legs. Since rabbits twitch their noses, that might lead to the misunderstanding that they are ruminants; but the number of legs possessed by grasshoppers should have been easy to find, since several people in the Bible reportedly ate grasshoppers, and one can always count the number of legs a grasshopper has before eating one. But this may have been an extrapolation from knowledge of larger multi-legged animals. There is also the classification of bats as birds, even though a bat looks a lot like a mouse with front legs turned into wings, and most other "birds" don't. Finally, I note that the New Testament contains the view that disease is caused by demonic possession and can be cured by exorcism. Jesus himself was something of an exorcist. He drove some demons into the Gadarene swine, and drove them into a lake, which suggests that he may have been unable to destroy these demons. He even states in his Sermon of the Mount that his followers ought not to brag about such accomplishments as how many demons they exorcised. Maybe the reason that crucifixes are supposedly so effective in driving out demons is because they duplicate the effect of Jesus the Exorcist. One wonders what effect the symbols of other religions would have -- has anyone ever tried exorcism with a Star of David or a star and crescent or a Hindu mandala or a Yin-Yang symbol or a statuette of the Buddha or a miniature Greek temple column or an Egyptian ankh or a Hammer and Sickle? Topics: }Religion's views }Science's views }Parallel myths }Subject: Noah's Ark - the construction problems }What to leave behind }Subject: the issue of marine animals being left behind }The Noah's Ark Myths }misc concerning the flood } hydraulic sorting } timing problems } folded rocks show that it was done when they were soft ------------------------------------------------------------------------ By Davis A. Young, a conservative evangelical writer who is also a geologist. Autor of two books devoted to separating evangelical theology from young-earth and creation-science theories. "What is much more likely to undermine Christian fath is the dogmatic and persistent effort of creationists to present their theory before the public, Christian and non-Christian, as in accord with Scripture and nature, especially when the evidence to the contrarty has been presented again and again by competent Christian Scientists (e.g. Davis A. Young, Creation and the Flood, D. E. Wonderly's God's Time-Records in Ancient Sediments, and numerous articles published over the years in Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation) It is sad that so much Christian energy has to be wasted in proposing and refuting the false theory of catastrophic Flood geology. But Christians need to know the truth and to be warned of error." "The faith of many Christian people could be hindered when they ultimately realize that the teachings of the creationists are simply not in accord with the facts." "Furthermore, creationism and Flood geology have put a serious roadblock in the way of unbelieving scientists. Although Christ has the power to save unbelievers in spite of our foolishness and poor presentation of the gospels, Christians should do all they can to avoid creating unnecessary stumbling blocks to the reception of the gospel." In closing: "We are all dealing with God's world and with God-created facts...We must handle the data reverently and worshipfully, yet we should not be afraid of where the facts may lead. God made those facts, and they fit into His comprehensive plan for the world." "Another possible danger is that in presenting the gospel to the lost and in defending God's truth we ourselves will seem to be false. It is time for Christian people to recognize that the defense of this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology creationism is simply not truthful. It is simply not in accord with the facts that God has given. Creationism must be abandoned by Christians before harm is done. The persistent attempt of the creationist movement to get their points of view established in educational institutions can only bring harm to the Christian cause. Can we seriously expect non-Christian educational leaders to develop a respect for Christianity if we insist on teaching the brand of science that creationism brings with it? Will not the forcing of modern creationism on the public simply lend credence to the idea already entertained by so many intellectual leaders that Christianity, at least in its modern form, is sheer anti-intellectual obscurantism? I fear that it will." [_Christianitiy and the Age of the Earth_, by Davis Young, Zondervan 1982. p. 163.] This is from G.T. Bettany, _Encyclopedia of World Religions_, a reproduction of an 1890 manuscript. My copy is (partially) copyright 1988, Dorset Press, New York. This is all direct quotes, with my comments in square brackets. Keep in mind that this predates many important discoveries, including, I think, the Dead Sea Scrolls. Book V., Egyptian and Semitic Religions Ch. 2, The Babylonian, Assyrian, and Phoenician Religions p. 493 [discussing the find, in 1872, of a set of Chaldean cosmology tablets by one George Smith. No dates attached, other than they represent comparatively late versions of a very early set of legends] But while there is great interest in finding a Chaldean legend agreeing in some features with that of Genesis, there is no warrant for saying that either of the accounts has given rise to the other; but that they have some connection is very possible. They are of special importance, however, in anthropology as examples of the ways in which the human mind has explained creation... . . . Among other early Chaldean fragments is one which appears to describe a parallel incident to the confusion of tongues at Babel... . . . p. 494 In the great Epic of Izdubar or Gishubar, also discovered by Mr. Smith in 1872, we have a Semitic translation of the exploits of an early Accadian king or primitive Hercules, arranged on a solar plan [reference to the format of the tablets? not sure], which accords with the representation of the hero as sun-god. In many ways the events recorded in the epic corespond to the twelve labours of Hercules; and it may be that the Izdubar legend is one of the early forms from which Phoenicia and then Greece derived the famous myth. The most perfect tablet is that which describes a deluge, which has been very generally identified with that of Noah. The character of Izdubar corresponds exactly to that of Nimrod in Genesis; and it is not certain that the names may not be identical, for Izdubar is but a provisional rendering. The deluge, according to the Chaldean epic, was due to the judgment of the gods Anu, Bel, and Ninip, and Ea told the "man of Surripak", Samas-Napiati (the living sun), to build a ship to preserve plants and living beings; it was to be 600 cubits long, and 60 broad and high. Numerous details of the building and construction are given; and Xisuthrus with his people, and animals, and plants, and food had entered the ship, "the waters of dawn arose at daybreak, a black cloud from the horizon of heaven. Rimmon in the midst of it thundered, and Nebo and the wind-god went in front." The earth was covered, and all living things destroyed. Even the gods were afraid at the whirlwind,and took refuge in the heaven of Anu. After six days and nights the storm abated, and the rain ceased, and the wind and deluge ended. "I watched the sea making a noise, and the whole of mankind were turned to clay, like reeds the corpses floated...In the country of Nizir (east of Assyria) rested the ship; the mountain of Nizir stopped the ship,and to pass over it it was not able...On the seventh day I sent forth a dove, and it left. The dove went, it returned, and a resting-place it did not find, and it came back." Later a raven was sent forth, and it did not return. Then the ship was opened, the animals came forth, sacrifice was offered to the gods, and Xisuthrus became the father of Izdubar, himself being later translated to live as a god. We cannot attempt a detailed comparison of the Chaldean and Noachian floods, for which reference must be made to Professor Sayce's edition of Mr. Smith's "Chaldean Account of Genesis"; but we may remark that this deluge narrative, perhaps more than anything else, shows how closely the narratives in Genesis are related to Chaldean traditions or sources of information. Book VI, The Jewish Religion Ch. 1, Early History - Moses p. 586 ...There are many indications in the Pentateuch that it was at least extensively revised long after the date of Moses; and indeed, there is nowhere in the Pentateuch any assertion that Moses wrote the books which have generally been attributed to him, and which speak of him in the third person... A most conspicuous result of modern criticism of the Pentateuch, is the discernment of at least two authors or documents, one describing the supreme God as Elohim, "the Mighty", a plural title which well understoof by the peoples surrounding the early Israelites, and among whom the briefer El was a common designation for their own chief deity; the other using the term Jehovah, or Jahveh, translated "the Lord". A third variation is found when the names are coupled together. The passage in Exodus vi.3...appears to fix all narratives in which the name Jehovah is used as later than that revelation to Moses; but this is by no means agreed upon by critics. We may, however, study the religious development of the Jews in two periods -- that in which the name of the Deity was some form of El or Elohim, and that in which it was Jehovah. . . [stuff of some interest on the Creation descriptions in Genesis, I hope to get back to this later] . . [The preface to the Pentateuch in my New Scofield Reference Edition, 1967, say in part: Certain critics have denied that Moses wrote Genesis to Deuteronomy despite the fact that they were attributed to Moses by the Lord Jesus Christ (where did he say that? I'm curious and haven't been able to find it). The arguments against Moses' authorship are chiefly based on the variation of the names of God (Elohim and Jehovah), the differences in style and vocabulray, and the presence of more than one account of the same event, e.g. the creation of man Gen. 1:26 and 2:7. These contentions have been adequately answered in that the variation in divine names is for the purpose of revealing certain aspects of God's character; the style is dependent on the subject matter; and the so-called parallel accounts, well known in ancient Near Eastern literature, are intended to add details to the first account. ] [Pretty weak arguments, to me, remembering that authorship was considered relatively unimportant until recent times. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Bettany.] p. 590 In the history of Noah we come into closer contact with the traditions of other nations, and especially with the Chaldean deluge story, already referred to (p.494). Moral evil had risen to a great height, owing, as the early Hebrews believed, to an intermixture of the daughters of Adam with a powerful race, the sons of Elohim, or the mighty ones, giving rise to "giants". [why haven't we seen fossils of these giants?]...We need not follow the details of the Flood...The conception of a plain only broken by comparatively low hills, covered by water as far as the eye could see, suffices to adequately fulfill the conditions really demanded. The "mountains of Ararat" are rendered the "mountains of Armenia" by many, and it is nowhere said that the highest mountains were meant... [Weren't the other races supposed to have been descended from Adam's other children? How did they survive the Flood?] ...The rainbow was to Noah the sign of this covenant, a fact by no means implying, what so many have imagined, that the rainbow then first appeared... The next great cosmological conception in the Book of Genesis is in the story by which the variety of languages was accounted for. It is closely paralleled by some fragments of Babylonian tablets in which are described the anger of Bel at the sin of the builders of the walls of Babylon and the mound of the towerr or palace. The builders, whose attempts were directed against the gods, were confounded on the mound, as well as their speech... [Bettany goes on to say that accurate historical accounts, in his opinion, begin with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.] Book III, Brahmanism Ch. I, The Early Vedic Religion p. 189 In the Satapatha-Brahmana, perhaps the most interesting of all these books, there is found an early tradition of a flood. Manu, a holy man, was warned by a fish that a flood would sweep away all creatures, but he would resce him. He was directed to build a ship and enter it when the flood rose; he did so, and fastened the fish to the ship, and was drawn by it beyond the northern mountains. When the flood subsided Manu was the only man left; a daughter was mysteriously born to him by virtue of religious rites, and ultimately the world was peopled with the sons of Manu. In later times it was said that the fish was an incarnation of Brahma, who assumed that form in order to preserve Manu. [I seem to also recall, from my days as a Boy Scout learning Indian history, that some American Indians (who are underrepresented in Bettany's book, IMHO, getting only about eight pages total) (Iroquois, perhaps? certainly eastern) had a legend of an Indian who survived a great flood on a simple raft. ..................................................................... } - There is evidence of a catastrophic flood. um, i think what you're describing here is not a global flood, but a global wash, and i suspect that the forces necessary to push water 5+ miles up and thousands of miles horizontally would certainly be enough to kill everything, animal and vegetable. it would certainly smash a little boat to toothpicks. btw, under either model, global flood or global wash, how was all the vegetable matter retained, i.e. how come we still have trees? } - seashells on mountains Underwater land was raised by plate tectonics. In many places you can see this process in action (though you need good measuring equipment). Subject: Noah's Ark - the construction problems Returning once again to the procedural difficulties involving Noah's Ark, based on the work of Robert Moore in "Creation/Evolution", issue XI, we have the assurance of Tim LaHaye and Henry Morris that Noah and his three sons could have easily constructed the ark in only 81 years (it being a good thing that the average lifespan at the time was several hundred years). According to Moore, the construction "... includes not merely the framing up a hull but: building docks, scaffolds, workshops; fitting together the incredible maze of cages and crates; gathering provisions for the coming voyage; harvesting the timber and producing all the various types of lumber from bird cage bars to the huge keelson beams -- not to mention wrestling the very heavy, clumsy planks for the ship into their exact location and fastening them. What's worse, by the time the job was finished, the earlier phases would be rotting away -- a difficulty often faced by builders of wooden ships, whose work took only four or five years." For waterproofing, we are told that God instructed Noah to coat the ark with pitch inside and out with the naturally-occurring hydrocarbon pitch, which causes a bit of a problem since, according to Whitcomb and Morris, all oil, tar and coal deposits were formed when organic matter was buried DURING the flood. In addition, the structural soundness of the ark was extremely questionable since, according to ship-building authorities, there was an upper limit of about 300 feet on the length of wooden ships, beyond which they were subject to 'hogging' or 'sagging'. Moore again, "The largest wooden ships ever built were the six-masted schooners, nine of which were launched between 1900 and 1909. These ships were so long that they required diagonal iron strapping for support; they "snaked" or visibly undulated, as they passed through the waves, they leaked so badly they had to be pumped constantly, and they were only used on short coastal hauls because they were unsafe in deep water." The longest six master, the U.S.S. Wyoming, was only 329 feet long, yet we are presented with the image of an ark well over 100 feet longer having to cope with the most severe conditions imaginable. What to leave behind ---- -- ----- ------ Given the limited room on the ark and the vast number of species of organisms, several creationists attempt to salvage the situation somewhat by leaving various families of animals to fend for themselves -- the birds who are left to fly until dry land reappears and the marine animals who must must survive the silt-choked, turbulent waters of the great Deluge until the Flood waters recede. Unfortunately, any attempt to save space on the ark this way flies rather drastically in the face of Scripture, since Genesis 7:4 states rather clearly, "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and *every living substance that I have made* will I destroy from off the face of the earth." To ensure that there is no misunderstanding, Genesis 7:23 repeats the same information, "And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." One would think that the exact wording of these passages leaves very little latitude for interpretation. The exact number of kinds ("baramin") that were taken aboard the ark depends upon which creationist is performing the calculations and when these calculations were done -- LaHaye and Morris in 1976 arrive at the figure of 50,000 "kinds", an upward revision from Whitcomb and Morris's 1961 figure of 35,000 but a far cry from the figure of 1,544 due to Dr. Arthur Jones. In spite of Scriptural contradiction, there remains a valiant attempt to determine just who can be left to fend for themselves in the Flood waters and still have a fair-to-middling chance of surviving. The first obvious candidates are the marine animals but, as Robert Moore points out, there are some immediate problems: "Although creationists seem to think that once you're wet, it's all the same, there are actually many aquatic regimes and many specialized inhabitants in each. Some fish live only in cold, clear mountain lakes; others in brackish swamps. Some depend on splashing, rocky, oxygen-rich creeks, while others, such as a freshwater dolphin, a manatee and a thirteen-foot catfish, live only in the sluggish Amazon ... "The salinity of the oceans would have been substantially affected by the flood; Whitcomb and Morris lamely address this concern by noting that some saltwater fish can survive in freshwater and vice versa and that "some individuals of each kind would be able to survive the gradual mixing of the waters and gradual change in salinities during and after the flood." It is left to the reader's imagination to ponder how "gradual" a worldwide, mountain-covering deluge would be. Subject: the issue of marine animals being left behind Three issues back, we discussed the rather drastic changes in salinity levels that would result as a consequence of a world-wide flood, but Robert Moore goes on to point out that, given the rest of the environmental hazards that would accompany the Noachian Deluge, the problem of the salinity level would be "a fish's least concern." In addition to making the water intolerably muddy (Moore calculates a ratio of 2.06:1 water-to-rock), the accompanying volcanic and seismic activity would be truly unimaginable, since, "... most of the world's volcanic activity, sea-floor spreading, mountain-building and continent-splitting was supposed to have occurred at this time as well, filling the seas with additional huge volumes of rock, ash, and noxious gases. Undersea volcanoes usually decimate all life in the surrounding area, and their extent had to be global during this terrible year. The earth's pre-diluvian surface would thus have been scoured clean, and forests, multi-ton boulders and the debris of civilization hurtled about like missiles. Finally, this tremendous explosion of energy would have transformed the seas into a boiling cauldron in which no life could possibly survive." Moore calculates that the temperature of the oceans would have been increased by at least 2700 C, "Yet amidst all of this, creationist icthyologists aver that life went on as usual, with a few minor adjustments to the "gradual" changes. The salmon swam to their (long-vanished) riparian breeding grounds that fall as they always had; sea anemones clung to their rocky perches, which were on the beach one month and the abyssal plain the next; blue whales continued to strain for krill even though their baleen plates were choked with mud; corals, which grow in clear, shallow water, continued to grow anyway; hapless bottom dwellers, their lives carefully adjusted to certain conditions of pressure and temperature, suddenly saw the former increase by more than 5000 pounds per square inch and the latter fluctuate in who knows what directions." Given the above, it seems fairly clear that there is no question of leaving any species to fend for themselves, which brings us to yet another creationist technique for conserving on valuable space -- bringing along only young specimens or, in extreme cases, eggs. However, Moore quotes Wildred T. Neill ("The Geography of Life"), as stating that "the mortality rate is usually very high among seedling plants and young animals; but once the critical juvenile stage is passed, the organism has a good chance of reaching old age." Moore follows this up with, "Furthermore, the young of many species cannot survive without parental care and feeding ... and even if they can, the lack of a normal social environment often results in severe behavioral disturbances... As for the dinosaur eggs, how did Noah know whether one would yield a female, the other a male -- or even that both were fertile? And since no eggs require a year's gestation, he soon would have had a hoard of fragile hatchlings on his hands." The Noah's Ark Myths "Do you seriously suppose that we are unable to prove our point, when even to this day the remains of Noah's Ark are shown in the country of the Kurds?" [Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis (315 to 403 CE)] Scholars have known that there are two interwoven creation myths in Genesis for over 200 years [1]. Current scholarship places the number of authors for Genesis at no less than four (i.e. Moses is entirely legendary). The older creation myth is generally referred to as the "J" (for Jehovah or Yahveh) document while the younger myth is known as the "P" (for Priestly) document. The "P" document is characterized by its impersonality, heavy usage of statistics (numbers) and genealogies, and reference to their chief diety as "Yahveh Elohim". The more primative "J" document refers to their chief diety as simply "Yahveh". Note that Elohim is really the plural form (gods). This is entirely logical since the entire creation myth was actually "borrowed" (a euphemism for stolen) from the Babylonians who in turn "borrowed" their version from the Sumerians. Virtually all monotheistic religions evolved from earlier polytheistic religions. [2,3,4] In the "J" document, god shapes man out of clay, while in the "P" document god creates man with just his spoken word. In the earlier references to man, the Hebrew word "adam" is used. This is translated as "mankind" (i.e. generic man); the Hebrew name for "a man" is "ish". Adam as a proper name does not appear until Genesis 5:1 (the Jerusalem Bible). The dozens of contradictions that appear in Genesis are due to the different authors and the haphazard way that the various versions were combined into one book (c.f. animals by "twos" in one place and by "sevens" in another). The Babylonian flood story has been known to Western scholars for several centuries through Greek fragments of the records of the Babylonian historian Berosus (nineteenth century discoveries have allowed a complete recovery). Between 1848 and 1876 Austen Henry Layard (British Museum archaeologist) discovered several thousand tablets in excavations at Nineveh of the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (668 to 626 BCE). Although many of the cuneiform tablets were destroyed by flames, water, and ransacking hoodlums, laboriously painstaking effort resulted in the reconstruction of the famous Gilgamesh epic in twelve cantos. The eleventh tablet contains the Babylonian version of the universal deluge. The twelve cantos seem to represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. [5,6] On December 3, 1872 George Smith (British Museum archaeologist) presented this quite important discovery to the Society of Biblical Archaeology. In 1876, he published "The Chaldean Account of Genesis" which showed the close relationship with the opening chapter of Genesis. The Mesopotamian creation myth was in use in the New Year ritual at the shrine of Marduk in Babylon as early as the time of Hammurabi (1723 to 1686 BCE). [ Another comprehensive explanation of the origin of much of the Old Testament is "Bible Myths", by T. W. Doane, in which the author demonstrates the similarities between the OT and myths from older, surrounding cultures, particularly Chaldean, Babylonian, Etruscan and Mesopotamian. - Robert P. J. Day ] The Turkish Government excavated a tablet at Abu-Habbah (ancient city of Sippar) which contains a version of the flood story complete with the great deluge and a large ship (built by Atrakhasis) by which people are to be saved. The tablet was dated the twenty-eighth day of the eleventh Babylonian month in the eleventh year of the king Ammizaduga (about 1966 BCE). Professor H.V. Hilprecht (University of Pennsylvania) discovered a tablet fragment in the excavations at Nippur that is no more recent than 2100 BCE. In this tablet, Ea (a god) tells Atrakhasis (alias Ut-napishtim) to build a great ship to save his family and the beasts of the field and the birds of heaven since he will cause a deluge which will kill all life on earth. The Babylonian creation myth is about 1,200 years older than the Hebrew version and the Sumerian (pre 3,000 BCE) creation myth predates the Babylonian version by over one thousand years. The obvious civilization sequence, according to Biblical scholars, is from the Sumerians down to the Babylonians and then down to the Hebrews. [6] Note that according to Greek mythology King Ogyges reigned during a great flood. There is absolutely no credible scientific evidence supporting the existence of a world wide flood; there is evidence for several large local floods. [7] There have been more than forty different organized expeditions to search for Noah's Ark since World War II. Since 1970 at least eleven books and three movies have been made about the search for this ever elusive object. Despite their complete lack of success, "arkeologists" [8] continue to search for that large box anyway (ark means "box" or "chest"). Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) is the most recent of no less than nine different "final" resting places for the ark (and the least likely of all). [9,10] The arkeologists' basic idea seems to be that if Noah's Ark is found then evolution will somehow be proved totally wrong. They generally ignore a number of rather important issues (i.e. where all that water came from and where it went after the flood). In "Genesis vs. Geology", Stephen Gould examines the plausibility of the Great Flood and, in particular, the plausibility of the various proposals creationists have dreamed up to explain where the water came from and the even harder problem of where it went afterward. Gould uses this to form the basis of a general discussion of "scientific creationism" and the "scientific" creationists. [11] Some additional difficult problems include : how did Noah save all the different human diseases and parasites? How did giant earthworms and marsupials make the trip to Australia? Did Noah save any dinosaurs or plants? One of the Biblical flood myths claims that the earth was completely submerged for 365 days; long enough to kill off all of the land plant life. There are an estimated 10,000,000 to 40,000,000 plant and animal species on earth (more than 15,000 different mammals, 250,000 different beetles, and 250,000 different plants). Try calculating just how big of a box is required to hold all of the species (including their food) that survived the "flood". Imagine the few people aboard the ark dealing with several tons of animal waste each day (according to the Biblical myth the ark's only opening was a window). This is only a miniscule list of the more formidable problems that creationists must overcome. Then they get to show why virtually all of modern science is completely wrong. (Several creationists are involved in completely redefining science!) Evolution forms the very foundation of physical anthropology, cosmology, and biology, to name but a few. Evolution is also a basic component of linguistics, cultural anthropology, archaeology, and several other branches of modern science as well. [12,13] Some of the more visible arkeologists include Kelly Segraves, John D. Morris, and James Irwin. (John D. Morris is the son of Henry Morris.) Morris has written two wonderfully silly books titled "Adventure on Ararat" and "The Ark on Ararat". Although the Morris expedition claimed several "sightings" of the ark they returned with exactly zero. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) started these expeditions in 1971 and has yet to show anything in the way of scientific evidence. The ICR claims to have received "miraculous protection" (presumably from themselves) on at least one of their expeditions. A member of the ICR has rationalized the whole failure with "the Lord will reveal the Ark at a time of His own choosing". The search for the ark has become such an embarrassment that the ICR now disavows any involvement despite the evidence of several of their own books, films, and slides! [14] Former astronaut James Irwin's expedition was funded by an evangelical religious group ("High Flight") based in Colorado Springs. Like all arkeologists, Irwin is certain that the ark is up there somewhere. On one expedition he suffered a serious fall and was forced to donate three teeth to the current monument to creationist credulity (Mount Ararat). After being released from the hospital, Irwin planned to search the mountain with a helicopter to narrow down the location. Why didn't he think of that before trying to cover the entire mountain by foot? References: [2] "The Anchor Bible" untangles the different documents in Genesis. [3] Eunice Riedel, Thomas Tracy, and Barbara Moskowitz, "The Book of The Bible", Bantam Books Inc, New York, 1981, pp. 515-518. Riedel and Moskowitz are anthropologists. [4] Isaac Asimov, "Asimov's Guide to The Bible", Avenel Books, New York, 1981. This was originally published as a two volume set. [5] Alexander Heidel, "The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels", University of Chicago Press, 1946. Heidel was on the research staff of the Oriental Institute (University of Chicago) until his death in 1955. [6] James George Frazer, "Folklore in the Old Testament", Hart Publishing Company Inc, New York City, 1975. "The Great Flood", pp. 46-143. This is an extraction about the Old Testament from Sir Frazer's classic twenty volume work "The Golden Bough". Frazer is one of the greatest names in anthropological literature. [9] LLoyd R. Bailey, "Where is Noah's Ark?", Abingdon, Nashville Tennessee, 1978. Bailey is an associate professor of Old Testament Studies at Duke Divinity School. [10] "The Skeptical Inquirer" Volume 3, #4, Summer 1979. A review of LLoyd Bailey's book on Noah's Ark, pp. 61-63. [11] Stephen Jay Gould, "Genesis vs. Geology", "The Atlantic", September 1982, pp. 10-17. Professor Gould teaches biology and geology at Harvard University. Gould was awarded the 1981 American Book Award for Science with "The Panda's Thumb". He is also a frequent contributor to Natural History magazine. [12] "Creation/Evolution" Issue #9, Summer 1982, "Six `Flood' Arguments Creationists Can't Answer" by Robert J. Schadewald, pp. 12-17. [13] "Creation/Evolution" Issue #11, Winter 1983, "The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark" by Robert A. Moore, pp. 1-43. The entire issue is about the ark. Moore lists over one hundred references. [14] "Creation/Evolution" Issue #6, Fall 1981, "A Survey of Creationist Field Research" by Henry P. Zuidema (paleontologist), pp. 1-5. Also see "Arkeology : A New Science in Support of Creation?" by Robert A. Moore, pp. 6-15. [15] "Science 81", December 1981, "The Creationists", pp. 53-60. (1) "Creationism as a Social Movement" by John Skow, (2) "Creationism as Science" by Allen Hammond and Lynn Margulis, (3) "The impact on education : an update", and (4) "What do the creationists say?". [16] Isaac Asimov, "In The Beginning... Science Faces God in The Book of Genesis", Stonesong Press, Inc, 1981, pp. 151-188. Asimov presents a very even-handed comparison of the Biblical creation myths and the modern scientific view of origins. [17] Martin Gardner, "Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science", Dover Publications, Inc, New York, 1957. "Geology verses Genesis", pp. 123-139. This was originally published under the title "In the Name of Science". [18] Barbara C. Sproul, "Primal Myths Creating The World", Harper and Row, 1979, pp. 91-135. Sproul is Director of Religion at Hunter College of the City University of New York. [19] Free Inquiry "Science, the Bible, and Darwin". Summer 1982, Volume 2, #3. "Creationism: 500 Years of Controversy" by Gerald Larue, pp. 9-14. Professor Larue is emeritus professor of archaeology and Biblical history (University of Southern California, Los Angeles). And "Geology and the Bible" by Charles Cazeau, pp. 32-34. Charles Cazeau is professor of geology (State University of New York at Buffalo). [20] Howard M. Teeple, "The Noah's Ark Nonsense", Religion and Ethics Institute, Inc, Evanston, Illinois, 1978. Teeple is a member of the association of professional Biblical scholars, "the Society of Biblical Literature" and an ex-fundamentalist with a Ph.d in Bible. [21] Also see almost any contemporary encyclopedia under "Biblical Criticism", "Exegesis", "Higher Criticism", "Lower Criticism", "Flood, The", "Creation, The Story of", "Gilgamesh", and "Ut-Napishtim". References (addendum): [22] Gerald A. Larue, "Ancient Myth and Modern Man", Prentice-Hall, Inc, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1975. Larue provides an extensive bibliography. See [19] for author information. [23] Howard M. Teeple, "The Historical Approach to the Bible", Religion and Ethics Institute, Inc, Evanston, Illinois, 1982. Teeple provides a very extensive bibliography. See [20] for author information. [24] Robert Graves, Raphael Patai, "Hebrew Myths The Book of Genesis", Greenwich House, New York, New York, 1983. Graves is world renowned as a classicist and poet. Dr. Patai is an anthropologist, folklorist and Biblical scholar. Notes: [1] The less sophisticated creationists are usually unaware that there are two creation myths in Genesis while the more sophisticated usually insist that such claims are merely an unproven hypothesis. This is an actual example of the latter : "Perhaps the `faith-like' reliance upon the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis of the 19th-century (re: Genesis JEPD theory) reveals either a lack of knowledge of post-WWII theological progress or an imbalanced diet of Bible literature." The same individual also insisted that the ancient Hebrews knew that the earth was spherical despite massive evidence to the contrary! (i.e. the Bible is a flat-earth book from cover to cover.) [7] When I asked a local member of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA - a creationist organization) for the evidence supporting a global flood he stated "the fact that all early civilizations had flood stories proves the universal deluge recorded in the Bible historically accurate." This typifies creationist thinking. Firstly, not all ancient people had flood stories; only those located in regions where floods naturally occur. Secondly, several thousand fables do not somehow add up to a single fact. [8] This whimsical name was invented by skeptics. }misc concerning the flood Concerning the Flood, the Biblical tale is a copy of an old Mesopotamian tale; the Tigris and Euphrates rivers sometimes flood, and a flood can seem like one of "all the world" to someone living in nearly level terrain. In the tale of Noah's Ark, we do not learn why Noah did not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to get rid of all the "unclean" animals once and for all. In early modern times, it was commonly thought that fossils were the remains of animals and plants buried in the Flood; the Free Thinker Voltaire felt compelled to discredit this seeming evidence for Noah's Flood -- he suggested that fossils were fakes or were dropped by pilgrims. But closer examination of fossils suggested too-neat layering for an all-at-once flood, and Flood advocates retreated to some of the most recent sediments (see Stephen Jay Gould's essay "The Freezing of Noah" in _The Flamingo's Smile_). In the early nineteenth century, even that seeming evidence was shown to be the work of glaciers (floods of solid water), and only in the more northern parts of the globe. Gould even reproduces the "recantation" of one of the last reputable "Flood Geologists", concerning this subject. } hydraulic sorting Well, let's see. Let's look at the usual creationist Flood theory, i.e. that the ordering of fossils is determined by hydraulic sorting (some shapes will settle faster than others), differential mobility (some life forms could flee the Flood longer than others), and differential habitat (some animals live at higher elevations than others). Let's pick a nice case that looks at one of these mechanisms and controls for the other two. There are certain plants that often grow at sea level, near the shore. There are many mollusks that only grow in shallow water near the shore, and attach themselves to rocks. No differential mobility, no sorting since both types of organism stay put. Unfortunately, the particular class of plants involved (I'll have to check my notebook at home for the exact reference -- I think it's the angiosperms) doesn't show up in the fossil record until mammals appear and is never found in lower layers with mollusks that should have lived nearby. } timing problems let's look at the Biblical dates. I Kings 6:1 says that 480 years passed from the start of the Exodus to the start of construction on the first temple by Solomon. Gal 3:17 says that 430 years passed from the cevenant with Abraham to the delivery of the Law to Moses. The chapters of Genesis after the Flood accound give the periods in years that passed between the births of various individuals from Noah to Abraham, giving a period of 390 years from the Flood to the covenant with Abraham. Thus, according to the Bible, the Flood took place 1300 years before Solomon began construction of the first temple. a) This is a clear, direct, falsifiable claim. These are clear, unambiguous statements that a period of X years elapsed between two events. b) The event itself (a global Flood that wiped out all but 8 humans) would be pretty hard to miss or gloss over. c) Because there were any number of literate cultures in the near East, who recorded dynastic lists, raised monuments giving dates and length of reigns, and sent ambassadors to each others' courts, we can pretty reliably construct chronologies for near Easter history, particularly for Egypt, and without reference to (but supported by) dating methods such as carbon-14 with corrections from tree-ring sequences. d) The upshot of which is that the building of the first temple can be dated to 950 B.C. +- some small delta, placing the Flood around 2250 B.C. Unfortunately, the Egytians (among others) have written records dating well back before 2250 B.C. (the Great Pyramid, for example dates to the 26th century B.C., 300 years before the Biblical date for the Flood). No sign in Egyptian inscriptions of this global flood around 2250 B.C. e) Therefore, either we have to reject the historicity of the Flood account; accept the historicity of the Flood account, but explain away the clear Biblical dating of the event; or accept the Biblical account and chronology, and reject the massive amount of written and archaological evidence estab- lishing the chronology of history in the near East. } folded rocks show that it was done when they were soft }He next stated that when you hit something that's hard, it breaks or }shatters. These folds are smooth, so it must be that the rock (he }showed and mentioned sandstone) was still forming from mud, and was }still soft. This means that the layers formed very rapidly, to still }be soft (down at the bottom layer) when the whole shebang got }faulted. } }His (inevitable) conclusion: it all formed during Noah's flood. >Rebuttal: nothing "hit" that rock. Conventional geology understands >the strength and brittleness of these things: they can and have been >measured in labs. Note, I'm not saying that rocks of a given type >are identical. The point is that science has dealt with all this >quantitatively. The rocks got folded by compression, not by sudden >impact: and in fact some rocks do shatter. I've seen examples - for >instance, hard black fragments embedded in a softer gray rock. The >gray rock had flowed while the black shattered. Folding can happen in a lot less than geological time. If you go to the Roman dig at the Fort at Housesteads, in Northumbria, you can see the remains of Roman barracks which now lie in definite waves, because of the movement of the earth beneath them. The mortar between the stones is still intact. > From: lars@iclswe.uucp (Lars Tunkrans) > Subject: Fred Hoyles decapitaion of evoloution. > Summary: Evolution is impossible according to Hoyle. > > Has anybody out there read Fred Hoyles and Chandra Wickramasinghes books, > " Evolution from Space " and " Cosmic Lifeforce " ? > > The two astophysicists states rather categoricaly that " So great are > the odds against life being produced in a purely mechanistic way that > the difficulties for an earthbound, mechanistic biology are in our view > intrinsically insuperable ". Quote from page 134 of " Cosmic Lifeforce > ". > > They prove, by mathematics, that the chance of all enzymes nessesary for > supporting life in any form appearing simulaneously together in one > spot, not talking about the DNA molecule itself, is less than one to p > against, where p is equal to 10 raised to the power of 40.000 . > > If this is true, why do we still have a debate on evolution vs. > creation ? 1) Evolution is the theory that the diversity of life we see is the result of descent with modifications from one (or at most a very small number) of primitive ancestor organisms. It says nothing about how those ancestor organisms originated. It could have been abiogenesis, it could have been divine creation, it could have been extraterrestrial picnic refuse. Therefore, arguments against abiogenesis have *nothing* to do with the theory of evolution. 2) No one who believes in abiogenesis believes that "all the enzymes necessary for supporting life in any form appearing simultaneously togther in one spot" is how it occured. Current theories involve bootstrapping from much simpler forms of self-replicating chemical systems. Check out the chapter on the subject in SCIENCE AND CREATIONISM, edited by Ashley Montagu. > From: st0o+@andrew.cmu.edu (Steven Timm) > Subject: couldn't stay out > > There seems to be a logical fallacy jumping around talk.origins recently, > namely that positive evidence for creation can exist without at the same time > being negative evidence against evolution. You misunderstand the argument. You are absolutely correct that any evidence that was consistent with both evolution and creationism is worthless for deciding between the two. The point that is being made is that falsifying evolution doesn't imply the truth of creationism. Evolution is true implies that creationism is false, but evolution being false does not imply creationism is true. > Will you ever falsify creationism? No. At least, not unless you can > prove the Bible > false using only quotations from the Bible (or another personal appearance > of Jesus Christ saying that everything evolved, and even then I would doubt) > :-) 1) It is arrogant as hell (and extremely offensive to those of us who are Christians and believers in evolution) to imply that any proper reading of the Bible has to accept the creation account in Genesis 1 as literal history. 2) Well, let's see. Let's look at the usual creationist Flood theory, i.e. that the ordering of fossils is determined by hydraulic sorting (some shapes will settle faster than others), differential mobility (some life forms could flee the Flood longer than others), and differential habitat (some animals live at higher elevations than others). Let's pick a nice case that looks at one of these mechanisms and controls for the other two. There are certain plants that often grow at sea level, near the shore. There are many mollusks that only grow in shallow water near the shore, and attach themselves to rocks. No differential mobility, no sorting since both types of organism stay put. Unfortunately, the particular class of plants involved (I'll have to check my notebook at home for the exact reference -- I think it's the angiosperms) doesn't show up in the fossil record until mammals appear and is never found in lower layers with mollusks that should have lived nearby. 3) Or, let's look at the Biblical dates. I Kings 6:1 says that 480 years passed from the start of the Exodus to the start of construction on the first temple by Solomon. Gal 3:17 says that 430 years passed from the cevenant with Abraham to the delivery of the Law to Moses. The chapters of Genesis after the Flood accound give the periods in years that passed between the births of various individuals from Noah to Abraham, giving a period of 390 years from the Flood to the covenant with Abraham. Thus, according to the Bible, the Flood took place 1300 years before Solomon began construction of the first temple. a) This is a clear, direct, falsifiable claim. These are clear, unambiguous statements that a period of X years elapsed between two events. b) The event itself (a global Flood that wiped out all but 8 humans) would be pretty hard to miss or gloss over. c) Because there were any number of literate cultures in the near East, who recorded dynastic lists, raised monuments giving dates and length of reigns, and sent ambassadors to each others' courts, we can pretty reliably construct chronologies for near Easter history, particularly for Egypt, and without reference to (but supported by) dating methods such as carbon-14 with corrections from tree-ring sequences. d) The upshot of which is that the building of the first temple can be dated to 950 B.C. +- some small delta, placing the Flood around 2250 B.C. Unfortunately, the Egytians (among others) have written records dating well back before 2250 B.C. (the Great Pyramid, for example dates to the 26th century B.C., 300 years before the Biblical date for the Flood). No sign in Egyptian inscriptions of this global flood around 2250 B.C. e) Therefore, either we have to reject the historicity of the Flood account; accept the historicity of the Flood account, but explain away the clear Biblical dating of the event; or accept the Biblical account and chronology, and reject the massive amount of written and archaological evidence estab- lishing the chronology of history in the near East.

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank