Testing Young-Earth Creationism

Cdbren, a young-earth creationist commenter who was caught engaging in dishonest practices on this blog a while back, has made a reappearance, this time to (among other things) complain about my focusing on chalk deposits like the famous White Cliffs of Dover as counter-evidence to young-earth creationism.

But as commenter Ian pointed out, it is a case that gives young-earth creationism a wonderful opportunity to show whether or not it can use science to demonstrate the validity of its claims. As Ian wrote,

Oh look a testable prediction – one that can be done simply with raw materials from a regular biological stockist, and a domestic pressure cooker and stove. You can buy E huxleyi in bulk pretty cheaply, and it is easy to make nutrient and sediment rich brine in your kitchen.

So go ahead and generate a 320 foot column of chalk in one year, either as a whole, or find a combination of conditions that can generate 10 inches of chalk stone per day. You’re often telling scientists they need to replicate their claims. So you’re going to replicate yours?

It would cause quite a stir. Since there is no known mechanism that could do that, you’d have a bona fide scientific breakthrough on your hands, and rewrite the science of chalk deposits at the same time.

Go on cdbren, you can do it. Show us how science is supposed to be done!

The continuing conversation indicates that this young-earth creationist charlatan is happy to refer to sources about coccoliths as though they support his claims, but neither to do the research that could prove he is right, nor accept that all previous studies show he is wrong.

A recent reference to “two centuries of research” by young-earth creationists suggests that the relatively short-term investigation proposed here ought not to be too daunting – if young-earth creationists really did something that deserved to be called research.

The blog God of Evolution provides another example of the stark choice a Christian has to make – between young-earth creationists being liars, or God being a liar. Here’s one of the points made there – click through to read the rest!

The Bible says, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.” And yet, at the heart of young-earth creationism lies a deceptive God, a deity who appears to have far more in common with the trickster Loki than the savior I’ve come to know.

The Vredefort crater in South Africa is the largest confirmed impact crater ever discovered on earth; it’s nearly 200 miles across — about the width of the state of Massachusetts. Scientists believe the asteroid that caused it was as much as 6.2 miles in diameter (i.e., about 6.0 more miles than the amount of miles I can run).

Under the young-earth model, this asteroid never could have struck. We know that, because if it did plow into the earth some time in the last 10,000 years, history most definitely would have recorded it, and we would still see the effects of its impact today. In fact, most likely, it would have caused mass extinctions and life would not have yet come close to recovering.

And so, if we must accept the young-earth position that either this planet is absurdly young or the Bible is not true, then we’re left with one option: God created the world with Vredefort and dozens of other large craters already in it, for no other reason than to make us think the earth had been hit by massive asteroids when in fact, it never was.

And it’s not just craters. There’s radiometric dating, ice layering, continental drift, human Y-chromosomal ancestry, the fact that we can see starlight that took billions of years to reach earth, and much more — all of which points to a very, very old earth…

Speaking as a Christian, I think these facts are pretty overwhelming. And I decided it made a lot more sense to believe in a God who first revealed himself in a document meant to convey theological — not scientific or historical — truth, rather than a God who told the literal truth in Genesis but lied in creation.

  • TomS

    Isn’t this just the old problem of omphalism?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      It is related, but much more serious, inasmuch as it involves not merely making a human being with a belly button to match what subsequent humans would have, but making things appear as though they formed in ways they did not, when it is allegedly (according to young-earth creationists) important to believe that they formed differently and at a different time.

      • TomS

        Omphalism is not restricted to the question of Adam’s navel. The Wikipedia article references St. Ephrem the Syrian (4th century) in reference to the fruit on trees, and he also remarks on the apparent age of the Moon:
        “If the moon had been created a day old or even two, it would have given no light; because of its proximity to the sun, it would not even have been visible. If it had been created about four days old, although it might have been visible, it would still not have given any light.”

        Kathleen McVey, ed. (1994). “Commentary on Genesis. Section I.25(2)”. St. Ephrem the Syrian: Selected Prose Works. The Fathers of the Church 91. Catholic University of America. p. 91.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Yes, I know. My point is that creating a light source with light already underway for the benefit of people on Earth is different than creating fake damage, or evidence that all points to a particular age of the Earth or universe which is in fact false.

        • jwalker_cht

          there seems to be an arithmetic error here, or perhaps a misunderstanding of the geometry of the solar system. sunlight requires roughly 8 minutes to travel from source to earth. moonlight is merely reflected sunlight so even if the moon were full at the hypothetical moment of creation (at the point of apparent opposition to the sun in the sky) it would have taken somewhat less than 9 minutes for denizens of the Garden of Eden to be bathed in moonlight on the first night after sun and moon were created.

          ETA: of course, St. Ephrem would not have been aware of the speed of light and writing in the 4th century would have been unaware of the heliocentric model. just trying to point out that to modern understanding, his argument doesn’t work.

          • TomS

            As I read this passage, what St. Ephrem is talking about is the “age of the Moon” as the number of days after the New Moon. He is saying that the Moon was not created as a New Moon (age 0 days), but (in text that I didn’t quote here) 15 days old (first quarter). I was arguing that omphalism extends to the appearance of age of many features of the natural world, not just living things.

            • jwalker_cht

              Ah! ok. interesting. I hadn’t thought about the age of the moon indicating it’s phase. thanks for that insight!

  • jwalker_cht

    has anyone made any rough estimates of how many organisms would have to have been alive in the seas at once in order to produce the chalk cliff formation in such short order and how utterly impossible it would be for such a number of creatures to survive and thrive under such over-crowded conditions?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Click through and see Ian’s comments, as they begin to go into the details, and I expect he would happily elaborate further if asked.

    • jwalker_cht

      I’d like to point out a sentence from the article cdbren linked in one of the previous posts on this topic (which he seemed to think “proved” the global flood)

      from the article: http://www.noc.soton.ac.uk/soes/staff/tt/eh/biogeochemistry.html
      “Below a certain depth (4-5km or so) the great pressures cause a
      change in the seawater chemistry such that calcite is forced into solution.”

      this “catastrophic formation” thing for the Dover cliffs is looking a lot less plausible (and it was already implausible to the point of being ridiculous fantasy).

    • Ian

      Its hard to calculate, because the biogeochemistry isn’t trivial. And take everything I’m about to say with a big pinch of Sea-salt, because I’m neither a biologist nor a geologist, nor a chemist (my doctorate was in the math of evolution, but that was nearly 15 years ago now).

      Based purely on CaCO3 concentration it would take 75km depth of ocean water, all with the peak level of CaCO3 measured on earth and all precipitating in one event to generate the white cliffs of dover, assuming that the water that remained was rid of any CaCO3 at the end of it. But that would be the ultimate best case for YEC, even assuming that we had some fantasy mechanism to make that happen.

      But the calculations on what would be expected are slightly tangent to the point I was asking of cdbren. (S)he simply makes statements about what is possible, without understanding the basic science required to figure out if that is true, or how it could be. And after lots of encounters, (s)he refuses to actually get a basic education in the matter. Instead claiming to understand quite enough to know (s)he’s right. So, rather than try to argue theory, the ultimate reference has to be to reality. If you think this is possible, and scientists think it is impossible, prove them wrong and do it.

      To that extent, I think arguing to math or physics/chemistry is completely wasted. cdbren, as per many YEC has shown no desire to treat those subjects with any care or accuracy. I wonder if this isn’t a better strategy: take their claims at face value, and ask them to demonstrate that they are possible.

      • jwalker_cht

        one of the other things I noticed in the article cdbren so helpfully linked was that in the process of capturing carbonate from the surrounding water and combining it with Ca ions to form their shells, plankton release CO2 into the water. dissolved CO2 will have the net effect of acidifying the water, so once the planktons die the shells are somewhat more likely to dissolve rather than sink during bloom events. extrapolate this to the extreme bloom scenario necessary for this “catastrophic formation” idea and you have a massive section of ocean completely inimical to life because it has a high concentration of carbonic acid, a froth of carbon dioxide bubbles and a high atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide above it as well. that’s assuming that there was sufficient carbonate, phosphate, nitrate and other necessary nutrients concentrated in this localized area in the first place to even drive such a bloom event.

        one of the fatal flaws in the “reasoning” that “creation scientists” use is that they presume it’s impossible for any natural process to exceed the “operating limits” supposedly imposed by God. they tend to completely fail to acknowledge that life and living organisms can poison natural processes and cause massive die offs and extinction events due to overwhelming the ability of the atmosphere and ocean to disperse pollutants.

      • jwalker_cht

        also, you mention CaCO3 concentration. we haven’t even discussed solubility of CaCO3 and it’s quite relevant because a given volume of water can only contain so much. I don’t have the numbers (I tend to be a big picture, macro, guy) but from what you’ve mentioned plus what I know about environmental science, biology, chemistry and physics, it ought to be abundantly self-evident even to a non-specialist that rapid, catastrophic formation of the Dover chalk deposits is simply impossible.

        • Ian

          Thanks for adding this extra detail. Yes, it is quite baffling how you can think the site linked gives the slightest bit of succour to YEC. And I also agree that the biogeochemistry of such an event would have so many huge consequences that we’d be falling over the side-effects everywhere.

          But I do think this will fall entirely on deaf ears. Because cdbren and co. don’t really care if something is scientifically possible or not. They only care that they can co-opt stuff into “giving an account of their faith” when called upon to defend it from the atheistic enemy (particularly those atheists, like James, who claim to be Christians, but clearly can’t be because they are on the other side).

          Ultimately cdbren won’t even try to replicate the conditions and see if the results follow. (S)he will just bluster and prevaricate, and continue to claim to be right.

          • jwalker_cht

            I suppose we shouldn’t be too startled. after all, creation “scientists” tend to apply Aristotelian logic and Aristotle seems to have had a rather dim view of actual experiments.

          • Cdbren

            Oh, here again mentioning me! You have to be quite naive or in denial to think that a world wide flood with all the conditions for that flood can ever possibly be replicated.

            Of course, then again you often mistake historical science with operational science.

            As for James, he follows the words of men and not the words of God so that “could” be a reason his Christianity comes into question by some.

            • jwalker_cht

              “You have to be quite naive or in denial to think that a world wide flood with all the conditions for that flood can ever possibly be” thought of as science

              there, I fixed it.

              “Of course, then again you often mistake historical science with operational science”

              this is a bogus distinction.

              http://spot.colorado.edu/~cleland/articles/Cleland.Geology.pdf

              as for Dr. McGrath, from everything I’ve seen of his work he has no trouble at all following any word he receives from God. the only reason Dr. McGrath’s Christianity would ever come into question was if the person doing the questioning meant to distract everyone from their own lack of ability to frame a cogent argument.

              • Ian

                I don’t want to let cdbren squirm off this into being able to debate definitions and theology. That’s what (s)he loves to do, and will gladly leave behind any requirement to back up what (s)he is saying and muddy the waters in this way.

                • jwalker_cht

                  so it’s either “do the science” or “be quiet and watch (and learn) while the scientists do the science”. got it.

                  • Ian

                    Well, its not a matter of principle, just of tactics. In previous discussion getting cdbren to understand any point has been like nailing jelly to the wall. There’s always some distraction or another shiny bauble to go after. I’m really interested to see if it is possible to get even one basic scientific concept through.

            • Ian

              “to think that a world wide flood with all the conditions for that flood can ever possibly be replicated” – do you actually read anything that has been said to you.

              I explained in detail why we weren’t asking you to replicate the flood, why what we were asking you is significant, why it is not ‘historical science’, even under your own definition of that.

              But you didn’t respond, and simply repeat the same thing without acknowledging my explanation. Did you not understand? Or are you trying to ignore the question?

              The question is simple. You think it is *possible* that chalk can form this fast, against the scientific consensus. So demonstrate is it possible. That’s all. Nothing historical, no recreating a worldwide flood. Just demonstrating that chalk rock can be formed that fast.

              • cdbren

                I am following you, Ian but have not seen that response pop up anywhere. I am not aware of it.

                Since there is no way to know what the conditions were at the time of the flood or how much CO2 was being produce by the increased volcanic activity, scientific consensus can’t possibly state whether or not it is possible for chalk to form fast.

                Again, you ask just to demonstrate how chalk can form that fast but without recreating those past events. Well, that would not be science then and even so it would REQUIRE knowing the conditions during the flood.

                • Ian

                  My comment was here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/03/literal-genesis-trial-scam.html#comment-881359999

                  it would REQUIRE knowing the conditions during the flood

                  Why would it require knowing the conditions of the flood? Are you saying that the conditions of the flood are the only possible conditions that chalk could ever form that fast? That chalk cannot possibly form that fast in any other set of conditions except the exact ones present at the flood, and without knowing that recipe, we’ll never be able to make chalk at the correct speed?

                  And therefore, even though every other experiment with chalk geochemistry unambiguously points to the fact that the cliffs of Dover being millions of years old, you are saying that the evidence is that some unknown, unrepeatable, mystical chemical abnormality occurred in the flood which enables us to throw out all those experiments and conclude it all happened in a year? And this imaginary chemical reaction should be so obviously a better explanation than the actual chemistry we know, that James really should stop using chalk cliffs as evidence of an old earth!

                  Is there any level of incongruity you won’t accept in support of your beliefs?

                  Scientific consensus can’t possibly state whether or not it is possible for chalk to form fast.

                  Sure it can. It can and does. Regardless of CO2 concentration (from volcanoes or anything else), temperature, pressure, turbidity, biota, there is no conceivable way of making chalk that fast. The chemistry simply doesn’t work.

                  If you disagree, please show us.

                  [edited for brevity to remove similar responses in different words]

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  Cdbren, can you now be honest enough to acknowledge, in light of what you wrote, that we do know that chalk can form at a certain rate under conditions we can study today, which would mean that the White Cliffs of Dover are ancient? And that you do not know the conditions of the flood, and whether under them chalk could form more quickly? And that, under these circumstances, the logical thing to do is to conclude that the chalk more likely formed according to known processes than ones that for all you know may be imaginary?

                  • cdbren

                    No, because studying chalk formation rates today tells us absolutely nothing about chalk formation thousands of years ago and during the flood events. Basing your conclusions on current rates is unscientific and dishonest.

                    • arcseconds

                      no, cdbren, it’s not unscientific to assume (as a starting point) that what you know today holds true tomorrow, or yesterday, or what you know is true here is also true over there. In fact, that’s a powerful model for scientific advancement.

                      This is what led to the discovery of Neptune.

                      They didn’t say: ‘well, obviously it’s unscientific and dishonest to base conclusions on what happens at 3 million km from the Sun (approximately the orbit of Uranus, which deviated from predictions) on what happens within 1.5 million km from the Sun (the orbit of Saturn).’

                      They said, instead, let’s assume Newtonian physics holds true, which means there’s something peturbing its motions from the bodies we can see.

                      This approach was in fact codified by Newton in his ‘rules of reasoning’, in particular rules 3 and 4:

                      3) qualities of bodies, which are found to belong to all bodies within experiments, are to be esteemed universal, and

                      4) propositions collected from observation of phenomena should be viewed as accurate or very nearly true until contradicted by other phenomena.

                      Of course, it doesn’t always work out, but often the deviations from what you thought would happen give you information about what is actually going on. The orbit of Uranus is a good example of this: the deviations from what was expected given Newtonian physics, the Sun and the other five planets gave information about where the ‘new’ planet was.

                      Science is full of this sort of thing, and it’s often very successful. Astronomy uses this a lot, partly as direct observation until recently doesn’t give you very much data. Biology and geology use this to good effect, too.

                      So, you’ve got it around the wrong way. Basing the conclusions on current rates is scientific. Alternatively, we could conclude that Newton and everyone who reasons like this is ‘unscientific’, but at that point I think whatever you’re talking about isn’t science, and therefore needs its own term.

                      But anyway, let’s assume for the sake of the argument that you’re right and it’s wrong to base any assumptions on what happened thousands of years ago on physical principles we observe today.

                      What follows from that?

                      Well, why assume that the cliffs of Dover were deposited in a flood? why couldn’t they have been deposited out of the air? Or maybe someone drew a painting of some cliffs and it came to life — it would be unscientific and dishonest to conclude that just because this never happens today to assume it never happened thousands of years ago.

                      Maybe the Hindus are right, and the current cosmos is 156 trillion years old.

                      We just can’t tell!

                      I can’t see how this kind of scepticism helps your position.

                    • cdbren

                      You are demonstrating uniformity in your astrology example. That is much different than uniformitarianism. Things that happen in nature, on earth, are dependent on the laws of nature and conditions. Uniformitarianism is not a logical or scientific method.

                      Take formation of say a canyon. It could be formed by slow erosion of water. On the other hand a large flood could carve a canyon in a fraction of the time. Or take the ice age for example. Obviously conditions on Earth were drastically different than today.

                      Believing or basing scientific assumptions about present conditions in nature on earth is illogical, outmoded and invalid.

                      Baker (1998, p. 180) noted:

                      “Geology is a realistic science, not an actualistic one. A science that would limit itself to using the present as the arbitrator of what counts as natural evidence condemns itself to being actualistically unrealistic. The realism in geology derives not so much through inductive experimental contiguity as through coherence and consistency of observation with hypothesis.”

                      Baker, V. R. 1998. Catastrophism and uniformitarianism: logical roots and current relevance in geology. In Lyell: The past is the key to the present, eds. D. J. Blundell and A. C. Scott, special publication 143, pp. 171–182. London, United Kingdom: Geological Society.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      So astrology could have worked in the past, or might work in the future, according to your view that the present functioning of the cosmos is not a legitimate assumption when asking about the past or future?

                    • cdbren

                      Stay on topic James. We are talking natural processes on earth, not astrology.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      This is precisely what you have made the topic with your inane refusal to extrapolate from what we can study about natural processes on Earth to conclusions about the past. On your view, astrology may be a natural process in all time periods except our own. What are you, some kind of uniformitarian who thinks that just because astrology doesn’t fit our experience today, it never could have and never will?

                    • cdbren

                      I was discussing natural Earth geology and using uniformitarianism of current conditions to make conclusions about distant past conditions. Climate, ocean levels, ocean temps., species extinctions, etc.

                      If you want to make a separate blog about astrology, feel free to do so as it is an entirely different subject.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Based on your own principles, you can at most say that according to your presuppositions and in the present day, biology and astrology are unrelated. But would you not need some sort of illegitimate historical science to be able to say that they have not been related in the past?

                      I am just following through the implications of your pseudoscientific quack approach to knowledge. That you do not apply it fairly across the board only makes your stance that much harder to take seriously as anything other than an attempt to force your own beliefs but no one else’s in where they do not fit, using a method that any purveyor of nonsense can use to the same effect.

                    • arcseconds

                      What I am assuming is that the laws of physics are the same in different times and different places as they are now.

                      I’m not assuming that the Earth was exactly the same now as it is in the past. I accept the scientific consensus about ice ages and continental drifts and the changes in the constitution of the atmosphere.

                      Your examples don’t support the idea that physical laws changed over that period of time.

                      Are you maybe unclear that precipitation of calcium carbonate is a physical process that is reasonably well understood?

                      These processes are pretty well understood, and are known to be a function of pressure, temperature, and the chemical composition of the medium, and they’ve been tested at different pressures, temperatures and different chemical compositions. At much more extreme combinations than would be expected to be present on a planet covered by water, too.

                      Going beyond what is done in the laboratory is done all the time, for example when analysing the chemistry of interstellar gas clouds or atmospheres of other planets. Again, these are much more alien environments than a planet covered by water, yet our treatments work quite well. Why, if they work on gas giants and interstellar gas clouds, would they fail on Earth with a bit more water than it currently has?

                      Global floods would just result in different pressures, temperatures and chemical composition than normally observed in terrestrial oceans and lakes, but not different from what can be tested in a laboratory.

                      Now, it’s logically possible that such a flood might well have completely unprecedented properties. But that means nothing unless you have empirical evidence to back this up (it’s logically possible that red monkeys might fly out of your nostrils in the next second!), and seems extremely unlikely given the evidence that we have seen.

                      I haven’t as yet seen even a halfway plausible account of why we would think this.

                    • cdbren

                      That is precisely what has been done and proven to be more than able to produce the chalk cliffs than we see today in a short time.

                      Woodmorappe, J., 1986. The antediluvian biosphere and its capability of supplying the entire fossil record. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, R. E. Walsh, C.L. Brooks and R.S. Crowell (eds), Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vol. 2, pp. 205–218.

                      (From http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v8/n1/chalk)
                      —————————————————————–
                      It’s been proven that ocean waters were warmer before and that Co2 emissions were higher then as well. Both good conditions for large blooms of coccolithophores and foraminifera.

                      Leavitt, S.W., 1982. Annual volcanic carbon dioxide emission: an estimate from eruption chronologies. Environmental Geology, 4:15–21.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You’re contradicting yourself. Whenever others seek with great patience to explain to you how we know things about the past, you say it cannot be done and that it is illegitimate “historical science.” But when a bunch of charlatans make claims about the past that you like, you are happy to embrace them as legitimate, not only irrespective of their bogus character in general, but also in contradiction to your emphatically-adopted stance about whether we can know things about the past through science.

                      And you claim to be a follower of one who pronounced woes upon hypocrites.

                    • cdbren

                      I am merely stating that conditions in the past are not necessarily the same as in the present. (I do understand that is how geology operates and I disagree with it based on clear evidence against it.) Some things that are Historical science can’t be observed, repeated or tested. Like the world wide flood, the so called big bang, evolution, etc. Inferences can be made about it. Hypothesis can be formulated based on operational science. These are not concrete facts though.

                      You act as though it takes millions of years to form chalk cliffs and that is the end of it. Any science theories, be it from creationists, atheists, intelligent design proponents are all open to expansion and alteration as more knowledge is gained.

                      I don’t feel I have to explain all that to you but apparently you seem confused with the main issues. With what is historical and what is operational science.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you wish to, you can do the necessary work and show that under present conditions chalk can be produced more rapidly. Or you can say that, if things were different in the past, then either your claims or those of mainstream science could be right – who could tell? The choice in such a case is between those who can show that their conclusions fit the way things work now, and which might also be right about the past, versus YEC charlatans who are clearly wrong if things were the same and who might be wrong if things were different. It is not difficult to see which is the wiser choice.

                    • arcseconds

                      The quote seems to me to be quite right, and not mean what you think it means. He’s not saying it’s invalid to assume that the laws of physics are constant (until proven otherwise), he’s saying the past can be used as evidence, which would seem to support my position, and not yours.

            • jwalker_cht

              and let’s not forget you still haven’t responded to the issues raised with the article you cited “supporting” the thesis that coccolith forming planktons could be present in sufficient density to produce the chalk deposits in a short time frame. those issues are:

              1) coccoliths dissolve in water depths exceeding 4 km
              2) coccolith formation depletes the water of CaCO3 and releases CO2 into the water, thus altering the pH and making less Ca available for further coccolith formation
              3) CaCO3 is not very soluble in water at 0.0013g / 100ml at room temperature.

              all of this leads up to there not being nearly enough available calcium in the water above the Dover chalk deposit site to form such a deposit in the timeframe of the “world wide flood” unless the water were so deep that the formation could not have been produced anyway (due to #1 above).

              • Cdbren

                There have been blooms at present to the order of 10 million coccoliths per liter of ocean water.

                In some areas where pollution is high it has been seen to be as much as 10 BILLION per liter.

                Surely only three massive blooms such as these, in a short period, would be plenty to form the chalk cliffs.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  No, and I am curious whether you do not understand why or simply do not care why.

                  BTW, are you suggesting that God miraculously added pollutants to the water in order to deceive modern humans about the age of the Earth?

                  • Cdbren

                    Science evidence has shown that three blooms, in a relatively short period, is enough to form the chalk cliffs we see today. I’m curious why you deny that evidence?

                    And no, I am not suggesting God added pollutants but he did allow a worldwide flood to kill many species, creating the fossil record we see today and causing the supercontinent to break up and the ocean temps to rise. This resulted in everything we see today.

                    Continents drifting apart, chalk cliffs, fossil records, shells of sea creatures on tops of mountains, and the evidence of the ice age which could only be caused be previous heating of the ocean and volcanic activity such as the break up of the super continent during Noah’s flood.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You can keep repeating false claims all you like, but thus far all the things that you have quote mined, when actually read, disprove your claims rather than supporting them.

                      How can you claim to be a Christian and yet be so dishonest?!

                    • cdbren

                      I think you are intellectually selecting conclusions to evidence that fit what you want to hear. I could be doing the same of course. So could scientists. It’s called historical science, not operational science.

                      The flood caused storm surges. That’s why the ice cores they drilled seem to show long ages. The weather was much more severe and changing than now.

                      You wrongly assume that conditions were the same in the past as now. People/scientists do it all the time.

                      I am not being dishonest at all about anything.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You may have deceived yourself to such an extent that you genuinely do not believe you are being dishonest. But that does not change the reality. If you had grasped even a hint of Christian teaching about humility, you would not be repeating phrases and claims of charlatans at the cost of claiming yourself more likely to be correct than the overwhelming consensus of geologists, bioogists, geneticists, paleontologists, and other scientists, all without your having so much as even read what they have published carefully, much less taken the time to become an expert in one of these fields yourself. And you are not even ashamed of yourself! The extent of your moral self-deception is greater than even your scientific self-deception.

                    • cdbren

                      Overwhelming consensus isn’t scientific evidence. The evidence from any of those scientific fields you mentioned does not contradict the Bible nor an idea of an intelligent designer.

                      Interpretation of said evidence that you choose to believe based on a preset world view is what we are talking about. Interpretation of evidence based on the idea of millions of years based on a presupposed starting point for isotopes.

                      I am not repeating claims of charlatans. I am stating scientific facts from accredited scientists in the fields you listed.

                      No, I am not ashamed at myself for stating truth.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      So far you have only misrepresented what mainstream scientists say. And on some level surely you must be able to see it. Can those mainstream scientists both be publishing works and making statements that supposedly support young-earth creationism, and yet carrying on fully persuaded that they have said no such thing? Surely you can see that it is more likely that you are doing with their writings what many people do with the Bible, i.e. taking some quotes out of context and assembling them into a system that is actually contrary to their meaning in context.

                    • cdbren

                      There are plenty of scientists that are at odds against Darwinian theory and that mutations and natural selection led to what we see today. As well as other scientific notions and are 100% encouraging an open look at all possibilities. Something you don’t appear to be willing to do.

                      Stephen C. Meyer, Jonathan M., Granville Sewell, Michael j. Behe, Robert Faid, John Baumgardner, Prof. Vladimir Betina, PhD, Microbiology, Biochemistry & Biology, and the list goes on. I found 500 names just from one simple Google search.

                      There are many scientists that consider the universe and earth to be young. Francis Bacon, Dr. John Baumgardner, Electrical Engineering, Space Physicist, Geophysicist, expert in supercomputer modeling of plate tectonics, Dr. Andrew Snelling, Geologist, Dr. Timothy G. Standish, Biology…..over 150 of them just on one list.

                      Your overwhelming majority is smaller than you think.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      No it isn’t, as Project Steve demonstrates. But even the small numbers of dissenters are misleading since the statement they signed is worded in such a way that it doesn’t involve disagreeing with mainstream evolutionary biology. And so your lists are just another example of the dishonesty of antievolutionists. Thank you for illustrating your lack of morals once again.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Is that really the route you want to go? To say that you cannot say that God created the universe out of nothing and evolution could have happened because maybe e laws of physics were different in the past?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.dunn.14606936 John Dunn

    Some people think it is likely that there is an incalculably intelligent, stupendously magical Being, and that this Being:

    - Existed for >9,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 x 10^infinity years before creating the angels, then X more years before creating the universe;
    - Created >250,000,000,000 galaxies, each galaxy containing >150,000,000,000 suns, each sun having on average >1 planet;
    - That this Being has seen, and remembers, each and every event on each and every one of these planets, suns, and galaxies for the last 13,800,000,000 years;
    - That this Being waited 187,000 years after our species appeared on this planet before announcing Its existence 3,000 years ago to one of the minor civilizations of the time;
    - That these appearances were only to a few members of this mostly illiterate nomadic bronze age tribe, that this Being imparted all of Its instructions to these few people, then never made a verifiable appearance on Earth again for the last 2,000 years.

    Have I got that right?

    • jwalker_cht

      in order to contain, let alone process, all that information, the being would likely need to be approximately the size and complexity of the universe itself. hence, the panentheist view of deity. ;)

    • cdbren

      Actually no. The God of the Bible is outside of time as we know it. So your listed years are not applicable.

      There was no waiting to reveal himself. Right after he created Adam, he revealed himself. Gave instructions, etc.

      Not sure what you are referring to with “illiterate Nomadic Bronze age tribe”. Adam’s descendants were extremely intelligent as were Noah’s descendants. God chose an intelligent group called Israelites to impart his continuing message and to be his people. That is the line from Adam to David to where Jesus appears. God in the flesh. As one of us.

      It does not appear that you have the qualifications to comment on this subject as all of your premises are incorrect. There is a reason God became a man and died on the cross and has not appeared since then. It’s right there in the New Testament writings.

  • theot58

    YEC has many issues and a reliance on faith – this is undeniable. But this does not justify the deceiving students in the science class by telling them that the scientific evidence supports Darwinian/Macro evolution. In the end both evolution and creationism is based on faith along with some circumstantial eviedence that can be interpreted in a manner favourable to either position.

    The evolution battle is often MISrepresented as science against religion – this is baloney!

    The real battle is between good science and Darwinism. When Darwinian/Macro evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.

    The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability. Darwinian/Macro evolution has none of these, all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation. Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great …. Great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?
    I have examined the so called “mountains of evidence” and found that it was mountains of cow dung.

    Go to the Academies of Science website and examine the evidence they put forward supporting Darwinian/Macro evolution – see how pathetic it is.

    Read Darwins book Origins… then ask yourself what observable scientific evidence does it put forward to support the core assertion that all living things had common ancestor.

    Making the ambit (but falacious) claim that there is “mountains of evidence” supporting Darwinian/macro evolution DOES NOT MAKE IT SO.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Claiming that there are mountains of evidence does not make it so, the mountains of evidence make it so.

      Claiming that evolution is not good science does not make it so. It is the mountain of scientific studies exploring the evidence for evolution that makes it so.

      Now, are you going to address the chalk? The rocks cry out that young-earth creationists are liars. If you believe that the rocks are the handiwork of the Creator, then you have a clear choice here between the testimony of the Creator’s handiwork on the one hand, and the words of mere human beings offering their interpretation of the words of earlier human beings on the other.

      • theot58

        What are where is the mountains of evidence supporting Darwinian/macro evolution?
        PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME.
        I have been asking for years and all I keep getting is that
        “there are mountains of evidence”.
        PLEASE POINT ME TO IT INSTEAD OF TELLING ME THAT IT EXISTS

        • TomS

          Did you try looking in Wikipedia? One place to start is Evidence of common descent

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Theot58, Instead of asking on the blogs of Biblical scholars what the mountains of evidence for a particular scientific conclusion are, the appropriate thing to do is read a biology textbook. Why not read a book like Finding Darwin’s God since it is by Ken Miller, a Christian, and addresses young-earth creationist lies in detail.

          But let me give you the benefit of the doubt and allow for the possibility that you have genuinely read large numbers of books on this topic and just don’t understand the case that is made in them. If so, please indicate what you do not understand, and either someone here will help you, or I will find a biologist who can.

          But dismissing the conclusions of all the experts in a field you don’t understand, or in one you have not even studied, does nothing but make you look foolish or dishonest.

          • theot58

            James, with all due respect I must disagree with your core assertion that I “don’t understand”.

            I have explored this topic with diligence, including:

            1) Reading the evolution docs fron NAS

            2) Listening to dozens of debates

            3) Going through Darwins book On the Origin..

            4) Reading countless articles and books

            It is not that I don’t understand it is that I do not AGREE that the scientific evidence supports the assertion that slow and gradual modification by natural forces can account for the complex design in the lifeforms that we see around us.

            I am singificantly annoyed by the patronizing trype that I get from evolutionists who ASSUME that they know better.

            Consider just a small number of fundamental scientific problems with Darwinian/Macro evolution

            1) Where did the information come from to build the DNA molecule?
            – it contains over 4 Gigabits of programing data; we have never observed natural forces creating programming data
            - a building is proof of a builder, a program is proof of a programmer, a design is proof of a designer

            2) How did genders “evolve” from asexual organisms?
            - Consider some of the challenges, have a look at this video http://youtu.be/Ab1VWQEnnwM

            3) How do you explain symbiotic relationships while holding to gradual “evolution”?
            - eg The bees need the flowers, the flowers need the bees – they both MUST exist togeter, how could this occur slowly or gradually
            - What came first the Chicken or the egg?

            4) Where are all the myriad of transition fossils that Darwin predicted?
            - They were missing then and they are missing now.
            - How can the Cambrian explosion of millions of fully formed organism appearing abrupty be explained by Evolution?

            5) Which “evolved” first, the vagina or the penis?
            - how did one “evolve” from the other?

            I have been sent on countless wild goose chases by evolutionists who continually keep pointing to “mountains of evidence” which turn out to be mountains of cow dung.
            Where would you assert is the authoritative defence of Darwinian/Macro evolution?
            Is it Dawkins book The greatest show on earth?
            It it Wikipedia?

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              You realize that Darwin wrote a ling time ago and that the current study of biology is not about him and more than physics is bout Newton, right? Certain individuals made famous contributions, but reading older works, however important, suggests that either you don’t know how to inform yourself about a topic or you aren’t taking this seriously.

              Try reading a recent book by a mainstream biologist on the evolutionary history of reproduction. You might manage to understand why your “Which came first?” question makes you look really stupid.

        • Ian

          http://www.nature.com/nature/newspdf/evolutiongems.pdf

          http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/B004AYCWY4

          http://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/146923307X

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

          (and the hundreds of references linked to from those)

          Though I’ve no doubt you are actually disingenuous in your request. I’ve never met anyone who actually asked for evidence genuinely, who couldn’t find it with a simple search or trip to the library. What this actually means is “I’ve found some post-hoc excuse to reject all the evidence I’ve briefly considered, so I’m going to shout about how there is none.” which is an entirely different matter.

          And to which the proper response is not to give more evidence, but to ask critical questions of your ability to understand the evidence enough to make a rational decision about it, and the honesty and thoroughness with which you approached the evidence you are aware of.

          While it may feed your ego to pretend in this manner, (“I’ve asked and asked, but nobody has ever shown me any evidence”), to me it just suggests you have a very estranged relationship with the truth.

          • theot58

            I am disgusted by your arrogance and your stupidity.
            Just because I refuse to surrender my intellegince to the Darwinian/Macro evolution myth does not make me “ignorant” or stupid.
            Have you considered the possibility that you have been deceived?
            That the evidence is INTERPRETED by evolutionists to fit their preconceived idea?
            I became an evolutinists & atheist as a teenager after being exposed to the Evolution fairytale by my teacher. I considered my self “intellectual” and progressive.
            Later when I reviewed the evidence from a critical perspective I became disgusted that I had been deceived.
            I am not disagreeing to be silly; I am disagreeing because I see the scientific evidence clearly indicating that information does NOT spontaneously generate.
            A design is proof of a designer; we do not go from chaos to order by the action of natural forces.
            Please consider.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Oh, not the misunderstood second law of thermodynamics objection again! How many times must that be addressed before it stops being repeated?

            • TomS

              How about you give an example of what you consider adequate evidence for a scientific theory. Then we can see whether there is evidence for evolutionary biology which comes up to that standard. Let me suggest the heliocentric model of the Solar System – this being something which has been accepted despite universal rejection for something like 2000 years of Scriptural interpretation.
              Why accept that the Earth is a planet of the Sun?

            • Ian

              does not make me “ignorant”

              the scientific evidence clearly indicating that information does NOT spontaneously generate

              Shannon information (the standard quantitative measure of information) is trivially created and destroyed by random processes. Transinformation is trivially created by a random mutation walk on a string. Information of all kinds is defined probabilistically, and is therefore trivially created by a random mutation. Please give a mathematical definition of information that doesn’t have this property.

              I get you think you’re not, but you are ignorant. You spew stuff that shows a basic lack of knowledge of the science and a preoccupation with creationist talking points. I’m sorry if you are offended by that, but one of us as a PhD in this, the other is a Life Coach. So yes, you are ignorant on this matter. Understanding that we are all ignorant on topics we haven’t studied in depth is a basic life skill. The Dunning-Kruger is very strong.

              Please consider actually getting an education on topics before you claim to be expert enough to tell those who’ve actually done basic science in an area that they’re wrong.

            • Ian

              That the evidence is INTERPRETED by evolutionists to fit their preconceived idea?

              So you were lying about never being shown any evidence? What a surprise. Always nice to have a discussion with someone who lies for rhetorical effect.

            • http://www.facebook.com/weisschr Christopher R Weiss

              Theo -> you continue to demonstrate your blind faith, arrogance, and continual need to justify these beliefs by wrongly arguing against the truth. You have neither the background, the education, nor the experience to justify the statements you make to claim that evolution is false. You are simply parroting frauds like Kent Hovind, Ken Ham, and Ray Comfort. Your statements and arguments are not your own. Ironically, it is primarily non-scientists, philosophers, and non-biological scientists who argue against evolution.

              This is the truly frightening aspect of zealots like you. The YEC movement is fact resistant. You throw out words like “interpretation” and “design,” without realizing that these are only valid claims if you actually show where evolution is wrong or prove words like “design.” The argument of a designer is fallacious one based on analogy. It can be summarized as:

              1. Things like watches require a designer to build them and make them because they are too complex to occur naturally without a process outside of nature.

              2. Life is complex.

              3. Therefore, life required a designer.

              The false assumption is that all things with complexity were designed by an outside force. We see things like crystals and even the incredible complexity of the atom occurring with nothing but “natural forces.” When the watchmaker makes the watch, he or she uses these existing extremely complex things that occurred naturally.

              You compound the absurdity of your arguments by making the ridiculous statements that things like the speed of light are not constant, god made the world “just so,” and we do not understand what is before our eyes. Yet, you use devices like computers based on these “interpretations” of things like physics without seeing the irony in your ignorant statements.

              You believe wrongly that unless you prove evolution false, belief in god is impossible. I feel sorry for people like you who are so threatened by the truth of reality.

              • theot58

                I disagree with your arguements completely.

                I am amazed and digusted by your arrogance, which tends to be very common amongst evolutionists.
                You seem to think that you and others like you are the keepers of “truth” and “reality” – WHAT UTTER RUBBISH.
                Darwian/Macro evolution is a scientific fraud – and you are pushing it along.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  I don’t get how this conspiracy is supposed to work.

                  The scientists of the world are allegedly conspiring to commit fraud, and manage to convince the extremely educated, but somehow people on the internet with no manners and not even the capacity to spell consistently can see through it?

                  Why does this seem plausible to anyone?

                  • cdbren

                    Nope. They are just formulating assumptions based on the idea of millions of years and evolution. If they would look at it with the idea of only thousands of years and an intelligent creator they would come to completely different conclusions.

                    They would also be denied tenure, denied peer review, threatened and discredited. That is how most of the scientific world operates and the extremely educated as well as the uneducated just follow along like sheep.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You clearly have not the slightest idea of how the scientific world operates, nor the faintest familiarity with the history of how the overwhelming evidence for an older earth came to persuade geologists in a time when the assumption was that the age of the earth was in the realm of thousands of years, not millions or more.

                      What would it take to get you to actually read a book about this?

            • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com/ Chris

              Mark my words: you will find yourself considering atheism with a matter of years when your confidence in young earth creationism suddenly disappears. When you do, remember that I warned you.

              I have nothing further to say to you since you are clearly beyond criticism.

        • http://www.facebook.com/weisschr Christopher R Weiss

          Why don’t you start by answering the issue about chalk? If your YEC position can stand up to scrutiny, it can respond to this dilemma. Otherwise, it is unsupported dogam.

          • cdbren

            Massive blooms?

    • http://www.facebook.com/weisschr Christopher R Weiss

      Theo is the YEC copy and paste machine. He has used these exact words many many times. He has a set of stock comments he uses and reuses. He use a false appeal to authority by citing discredited scientists like Sanford, he will quote mine Darwin, or he will bring in non-scientists like Nagel or Fodor.

      Since your position, YEC, requires that you reject physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, physics, and biology, any appeal to science by you is purely hypocritical.

      • theot58

        Christopher follows me around the net and tries to discredit my comments – but I am OK with that;
        I am happy for the readers to judge my comments based on their merrit.
        My position is clear:
        1) The scientific evidence condemns rather than supports Darwinian/macro evolution
        2) Since the evidence supporting is circumstantial at best; it is obscenely deceitful to represent Darwian/macro evolution as a “fact” in the science classroom
        Why Christopher tries demonize me as a YEC is beyond me.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Your position is clear. It is just wrong. You are not discussing actual evidence, and the few things you mentioned suggest that either you have not studied this field, or are deliberately misrepresenting it.

          • cdbren

            I sincerely do not believe you look at evidence or theories or whatever you want to call them, objectively. Like Granville Sewell or Michael J. Behe for example.

            I don’t believe you give other credible scientists a chance like maybe looking at the articles posted at evolution news. .org. I look at both objectively and try to understand them. You should try doing the same. It may give you a better understanding of the debate.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              This just shows yet again that you are happy to believe things despite evidence to the contrary. I used to be a young-earth creationist. I was not even merely objective, I was biased in favor of the viewpoint you hold. The evidence still changed my mind. And it would change yours too if you were willing to be honest about it and look into it properly.

              • cdbren

                Not evidence, James. You are choosing to believe man’s interpretations of certain observations. Based on a presupposition. You then choose to ignore the Bible as God’s word as well.

                I have been honest and looked at it properly. Things do mutate. Things do change slightly to adapt. But scientifically it can only do so in a limited way. It can only permit small-scale adaptations under special conditions,
                provided the changes do not destabilize the complex machinery.

                Conditions were drastically different than they are today. You can clearly see that from the ice age and the extinct animals.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  Yes, evidence, and you are choosing to believe charlatans’ claims that everything is relative and a matter of interpretation when the rocks the Creator made give testimony to the processes involved in creation.

                  Why do you keep coming here to make assertions that have been shown to be false time and again, and tell lies about the Creator? Have you no fear of God?

                  • cdbren

                    Last I knew, rocks did not speak. Evidence does not speak or come with tags and dates.

                    The creator does speak however. Through his people and his word. The Bible.

                    I post here time and again because I thought this was an open discussion board/blog.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you think that evidence cannot be dated, you have been misinformed. If you think that the evidence of the Creator’s handiwork cannot be trusted and does not testify clearly, you are not a Christian. You can post here but your lies will continue to be exposed. Do I need to post the links to the past evidence every time you turn up here, since you refuse to repent of your dishonesty?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          I will check from now on whether your comments are copied and pasted from elsewhere. If so, that makes you a spammer and you will be banned. I expect a certain level of human decency and honesty from all commenters on my blog, but I have particularly low levels of patience for commenters who make Christians look bad by claiming to be Christians and then lying or being inconsiderate.

        • http://www.facebook.com/weisschr Christopher R Weiss

          Theo -> you are a young earth creationist. Are you denying the position you have defended and established over and over?

          YEC does not support science. It is forced to reject science as this posting you have responded to illustrates.

    • jwalker_cht

      in this case, there are literal mountains of evidence as in mountains (of chalk) which are direct evidence for an old earth and for biological and geological evolutionary processes.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I think the thing that makes young-earth creationism particularly diabolically evil is that it dupes Christians into thinking that appearing to win arguments and be right is more important than truth – than actually being right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lance.ruffel Lance Ruffel

    I am in a bit of a hurry this morning,thus I will past comments i have made other places( Unlike Theo I let people know).First the comments about rate of sedimentation are right on point and correct,TIME(lots of it) is needed.
    Theo and others often write that the evolution is false because it can’t be tested and repeatably observed. This is a false premise.Lets look at the problem.A hypothesis ( common language- a guess) is proposed. Hypothesis-” Cryonoids change through time”. Test- Look at Ordovician, Devonian,Mississippian rocks
    and observe what has happened( observation of evidence does count as repeated testing).Look in today’s oceans and observe Cryonoids.They are still around and have changed. Hypothesis confirmed. Hypothesis -” Whales once lived on the land and changed to become aquatic creature”. Test- look at the modern Whales and observe fossil evidence of changes in the features of whales.There are observable evidence of this. Hypothesis confirmed. Hypothesis- “Humans lived during the Devonian”. Test- observe extensive collections of Devonian fossils and look for evidence of Humans.No evidence found. Hypothesis not confirmed and the preponderance of evidence indicates that it probably is false. One tries to disprove a hypothesis. If there is no evidence to support it, it probably is not true.The hypothesis is not proven false with lack of evidence,but if extensive observations are available and still no evidence exists to support the hypothesis, then it probably is false.
    Now lets look at science verses religion.Science requires repeated confirmation of results to support a hypothesis.Religion requires BELIEF. Do you want to test God? How would you test God? You can’t. That is why BELIEF is required.If you want to believe on a God, do so. No one can prove or disprove he, she , it exists. Why not believe God started life and then life evolved? This premise can not be
    proved or disproved. This may not always be true, but now it is true.
    If religion dictates science observation and conclusions, then our nation will no longer be the leader in research and science it now is.Religion can be a powerful force for good and well being. It can also be destructive if followed blindly.
    . ” The blind are not those who can not see but those who will not see”

  • http://www.facebook.com/lance.ruffel Lance Ruffel

    !!!!!! Theory does NOT mean guess. Please try saying:
    Hypothesis, as in there are many changing and at times conflicting hypothesis
    in many scientific fields, concerning many aspects of scientific THEORIES.


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