:: Sunday, December 04, 2005 ::
::This post is part of the Evolution/Young Earth Creationism Correspondence Series::
And it's a monster of an email. I haven't even read it all yet. Maybe I will tomorrow. Anyhow, here it is, unabridged. If you don't want to read it, you'll have to scroll a long way down to hit the next post.
NOTE: For those who don't want to go crawling through my archives, the email of mine to which he was responding is here, which is itself part of a longer series.
Hi [TheSquire],Congratulations if you've read this far, because I haven't yet. I'll post a response... sometime. Bloody finals.
Happy Thanksgiving to you too. There's no need to apologize about your late response. I'm glad you enjoyed your week off. I did myself, but have spent the past several days hitting the books, so I apologize for my late response.
I did get a chance to ask Dr. Menton your question. He had two answers. First, he gave an analogy to cars. Ford has one way of making a car, Toyota another. By looking at different cars by the same manufacturer, you will see design similarities which point to the common designer. Carry this to biology where we have the common Creator of all life designing life in similar ways, and the similar design showing the evidence of the common Creator. He then went on to say something about how the common design of the aortic arches reflect the underlying support of embryonic development. I may not have gotten that completely accurate but it seemed he was saying that this was important to proper embryonic development. You and he both see the same evidence, but we intrepret it differently based on our worldview.
I also noticed that the Vatican has taken an official stance that Darwin was right and that we did evolve. So now I'm up against the scientific establishment and the Pope. No problem. I find it interesting how history repeats itself. Galileo was in a position of trying to convince the scientific establishment of his model of the solar system and when push came to shove, the academic elite dragged the Pope into it, who excommunicated Galileo under pressure from the elite. Most people don't realize what really happened then, so I'm a little sympathetic to the Vatican for that disaster. But what it proves is that the academic elite and the Pope have erred in matters of science. What I see today is no different.
Tying this to Scripture, realize that it wasn't until the Reformation when Christians began reading the Scriptures literally that modern science and the scientific method (which are based in Scripture: "Prove all things; hold fast to
that which is good." 1 thess. 5:21) began taking us out of the Dark Ages. Howeasily science forgets it's history! You still haven't proven to me that the Bible was not written by Yahweh and not solely by humans, and in particular that there are two accounts of creation.
"All Scripture (referring specifically to the Old Covenant Scriptures) is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Tim. 3:16
"For the word of Yahweh is right; and all His works are done in truth." Ps. 33:4
Anyway, I've read Humprey's stuff, and the physics he used was over my head, and I have taught a lot of calculus. The ideas of relativity sound absurd, but Einstein proved that they aren't. His work was included in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and has been debated in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Peer-reviewed is peer-reviewed whether you want to believe it or not. The main reason why most scientific research supporting the Scriptures is not published in "mainstream" journals is because the scientific elites do not want to have their worldview challenged. I have heard of one case in which a scientist with the RATE Project began publishing in mainstream literature. Once editors realized his conclusions showed a young (6000 years old) age of the earth, his submissions were rejected. Anyway, what I wanted to say with all this is that we can drop Humpreys' theory for now since neither of us are able to understand his theory, so we'll call that a draw.
As for Craig Winn, yeah, he's got a lot of good things to say, but I disagree with a lot of what he says, including his creation theory and the 2033 rapture. I don't think we can know for sure when Jesus' return will be until it's 7 years away, except that it will be on Rosh Hashana some year, and in my opinion, before 2033. I included Winn as an example of someone supporting a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and an old earth. He's probably the only example. I've listened to a couple interviews of him, and he is a unique individual to say the least. As for Catholicism being Satanic, I don't know about today, but it definately took an apostate turn early on by incorporating pagan practices and threw out many of the Jewish customs which God Himself put into place, like the Sabbath and the seven feasts. Constantine, who was a sun-god worshipper, furthered the apostacy by persecuting Jews and Jewish believers, thus outlawing the Biblical practice of Christianity, contrary to what many believe. I know that Pope John Paul II apologized to the Jews for the errors of the past, so maybe they've changed. There's much in non-Catholic Christianity today that I find apostate as well, so I'm not singling out Catholicism. In fact, I have met Roman Catholics who are born-again Christians and there are some things that Catholicism can teach to Protestant denominations, so Catholicism has its merits. There's a lot more that could be said about that, but I'll get to defending science.
I've done some digging about the Talk Origina claim that fossil dating is not circular. True, fossil dates are based on the strata they are found in. So we must trust the dates on the strata. We cannot date sedimentary layers since sediment is composed of particles over potentially hundreds of square miles, and so a wide range of dates is possible. So we cannot trust a date from a sedimentary layer. How about a layer of igneous rock? That too has been proven to be unreliable. Lava from Mt. St. Helens was dated at being as old as 23 million years. Secondly, lava rock on the sides of the Grand Canyon was dated at 1.34 billion years old. Lava pipes and silts near the river bed, well below the fresher lava rock, were dated at 1.07 billion years old. So there is obvioulsy something wrong. Thirdly, in 1994, "45 million year old" basalt in Australia covered stumps from old trees. Just for kicks, they carbon dated the stumps at 44-45 thousand years old. There is a second contradiction. So we cannot reliably use radiometric dating. I will quote mine once more, but these quotes need no other context.
"The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately. Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind of reasoning . . because circularity is inherent in the derivation of time scales." — J.E. O'Rourke, "Pragmatism vs. Materialism in Stratigraphy," American Journal of science, January 1976.
"The charge that the construction of the geologic scale involves circularity has a certain amount of validity." David M. Raup, "Geology and Creationism," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, March 1983, p. 21.
The verdict is that an old age of fossils cannot be logically supported, and the use of flawed dating, I will maintain, is bad science. I challenge you to provide proof that radiometric dating is reliable or if not, to prove that the earth is old. I haven't found any yet.
It has also been shown in a laboratory, that under certain conditions, which may have existed in the past, some radioactive isotopes were shown to have a shorter half life. In particular, the half life of rhenium-osmium (187Re-187Os) was increased from 42 billion years to only 33 years in the lab. The result is here:
Bosch, F. et al., Observation of bound-state b– decay of fully ionized 187Re, Physical Review Letters 77(26)5190–5193, 1996. For further discussion of this experiment, see: Kienle, P., Beta-decay experiments and astrophysical implications, in: Prantzos, N. and Harissopulus, S., Proceedings, Nuclei in the Cosmos, pp. 181–186, 1999.
You say that Yahweh did initially create the universe, but that is a personal, not scientific, decision. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork." Ps. 19:1. God left evidence in creation that points to Him as the Creator. This is scientific. Many people have become Christians through science and observing the cosmos. Your belief can be scientific!
Now for Miller's experiment, what you said is totally false. Stanley Miller did not create any early-Earth enviroment. We find oxidized rocks in the lowest strata. The earth was never without oxygen. Without oxygen, UV light would destroy proteins before they formed. With oxygen, no protein could form. Stanley Miller did not even create any useable amino acid, as all he got was 98% poisonous mixture and 2% of unusable amino acids. No scientist has ever been able to create a functional protein from inorganic chemicals. They have to start out with pre-existing proteins. Evolutionists don't tell you that if any amino acids are formed by chance, they are always in equal amounts of both left-handed and right handed types. Life requires left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars. I challenge you to provide proof of the synthesis of usable left-handed amino acids from inorganic chemicals.
As for the glycine, this is only specuation, but even if true, could not enable life to occur by chance on earth. No matter what elements meteorites, etc. brought to earth, spontaneous generation of life is impossible.
Now Pasteur's experiments proving spontaneous generation of life impossible has not been refuted, only ignored. There is not the slightest evidence of any kind that would indicate that even one step of abiogenesis could be possible. Time cannot make the impossible possible. If something is impossible, it is impossible, time will not help. To believe in the impossible is a belief in magic, not science. No life form could live and reproduce unless it was fully complete. For a bacterium, the minimum would be 1,000 proteins (including any enzymes), 1,000,000 base pairs, a complex cell wall, a reproductive system, a metabolizing system, countless enzymes, and a genetic code for all these parts in the DNA. Nothing less could enable life to exist, and all this would have to appear in a moment, before it started to disintegrate.
If there was evidence that this Flying Spaghetti Monster with his Noodly Appendage existed and created everything, and wasn't the result of the cooks at a particular college cafeteria, then I might be swayed to believe in it.
As for souls, maybe they are supernatural, but it could be that we don't have the proper instruments to detect them. I think Slashdot had an article about a company in Japan that claimed to have invented a ghost-detector. Whether or not it worked is beyond me, but if so, then ghosts, presumably human souls, would be natural, and not supernatural, objects. Could it be that we could develop instrumentation to detect God? Who knows. At any rate Zech. 12:1 tells us that Yahweh "formeth the spirit of man within him."
As for the earth being billions of years old, after more digging, I realized that this again is totally false, as not a shred of evidence can prove the earth is over roughly 6,000 years old, and many hundreds of observable scientific facts show its impossible to be billions of years old. So the model developed by Woese et al. cannot hold as it requires a timescale that cannot be proven to exist. At best the dates they claim are a result of poor dating techniques and are likely assumption, which, again, is circular at its core.
As for philosophy and implications of evolution, I think we'd agree that if evolutionism favored immorality, then that does not imply its failure as a scientific hypothesis. However, what I will maintain is that it will show that evolution is in fact a religion opposed to Yahweh. So I'll give one example. Ifound it interesting that Talk Origins failed to mention that it was Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, who began the study of eugenics. Galton himself said that it was founded on the ideas of evolution. I would think that Darwin would've tried to put a stop to that if he could. Sure, many evolutionists have attacked the idea, and I applaud them. But the idea of eugenics is to weed out the bad genes and "purify" the human race in order to bring humanity to a more evolved state. This idea is rooted in ancient mystic gnosticism, a cult that believed you could become gods or attain salvation through knowledge. Sound familiar? It's how Satan tempted Adam and Eve: "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Evolution is thus this idea of apotheosis and is simply this mystic gnosticism clothed in the language of science. This sheds light on the whole creation/evolution debate. It's not simply about two scientific models, but about the battle between two worldviews and is thus also a spiritual debate.
As for speaking with the priests at the Newman center, that does sound like fun. I may stop in sometime when I'm not quite so busy. But much of Catholic tradition (and Protestant too, I admit. I'm working to change that in my church.) is based on pagan ideas which contradict Scripture, so I wouldn't trust tradition unless it matched Scripture. If tradition teaches that the Scriptures are not to be taken literally or that some historical passages are to be taken allegorically, while the Scriptures say it's God's Word, what you are saying is that you value the errant opinions of humans above the inerrant Word of God. [TheSquire], I pray for you daily. Seriously, I do. Think about what your beliefs are founded upon.
Would you like me to ask Dr. Menton that follow-up question? My guess is that any answer he gives would not diminish the evidence for evolution but rather be an interpretation within the creationist world view, much like the answer he gave for your follow-up. Likewise, your explanation of the observation doesn't diminish the evidence for intelligent design, but follows from an evolutionary world view.
As for the quibble with the behemoth in Job, the link I provided does in fact point you to the Hebrew. I checked all possible meanings of the word translated "tail," and none of these could be translated "penis," so this is not a euphesim as they falsely claim. The KJV, though not a perfect translation, does correctly render the Hebrew here. Footnotes in modern translations saying that it's a crocodile, elephant, or hippo reflect the evolutionary bias of the translators.
Now for homology, homology does not favor evolution, because no phylogeny can be lined up. When lining up creatures for one trait, it puts other traits in the wrong order. It is very dishonest to use any similarity as an argument for evolution, as all similarities that exist are design constraints. Good design would be impossible without the similarities we observe. It would be impossible to build a good car without being over 90% similar to other cars, to use Dr. Menton's analogy.
As for eyes, there may be over 60 different types of eyes, but each type is unique and each requires their own unique DNA program to be fully complete in order to be able to see. Nine-nine percent of a DNA program for any type of eye would result in 100% blindness. If a million steps would be required over time to change the DNA of one type into the DNA of another type, all millions of steps would require the creatures to be totally blind. To believe otherwise, would require a belief in magic.
Anyway, to back up the quotes with at least some evidence, the supposed transition from whales to land mammals has flaws. For example, Talk Origins mentions Pakicetus inachus. Pakicetus, as Gingerich showed, is known only from some cheek teeth and fragments of the skull and lower jaw, so we have no way of knowing whether its locomotion was transitional.
Next, they mention Ambulocetus natans. However, critical skeletal elements necessary to establish the transition from non-swimming land mammal to whale are (conveniently) missing. Therefore, grand claims about the significance of the fossils cannot be critically evaluated. The evolutionary biologist Annalisa Berta commented on the Ambulocetus fossil:
Since the pelvic girdle is not preserved, there is no direct evidence in Ambulocetus for a connection between the hind limbs and the axial skeleton. This hinders interpretations of locomotion in this animal, since many of the muscles that support and move the hindlimb originate on the pelvis.
Finally, it is dated more recently (by evolutionary dating methods) than undisputed whales, so is unlikely to be a walking ancestor of whales.
Skipping to Basilosaurus, it was actually a serpent-like sea mammal about 70 feet (21 m) long, with a 5-foot (1.5 m) long skull. It was 10 times as long s Ambulocetus, so it doesn't fit well as a transitional species. Further, Talk Origins is misleading in saying that it had structurally complete legs. That may be true, but they were much too small to be functional for anything other than an aid in copulation. Basilosaurus was fully aquatic, so hardly transitional between land mammals and whales. Also, Barbara Stahl, a vertebrate paleontologist and evolutionist, points out:
The serpentine form of the body and the peculiar shape of the cheek teeth make it plain that these archaeocetes [like Basilosaurus] could not possibly have been the ancestor of modern whales.
This is just one example to show what the quotes I mentioned were implying. The fossil record to support evolution is simply not there. These fossils are nothing more than remains of species that are most likely now extinct.
Anyway, there's my novel. I hope and pray that one way or another that you will realize that you've been believing a lie. I hope your end of the semester blitz isn't stressful. I look forward to your next reply. I understand, given the time of year, if it is a while.
UPDATE: Because a novel requires a novel in response, that's what I sent him.
:: The Squire 11:52 PM :: email this post :: ::