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TASC Sat, 03/16/2019 - 22:11

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2001

2001 TASC Sat, 03/16/2019 - 22:26

The Myth of Science vs. Creation

The Myth of Science vs. Creation
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 15:33

By author

Joe Spears MS

Do we have to ignore scientific evidence in order to accept creation? Some may have felt a conflict between accepting the truth, as discovered by science, and accepting truth, as declared in the Bible. Does accepting one require the rejection of the other?

In this article we look for answers to these questions. A major problem for some has been the feeling that science has proven the theory of evolution. The resulting question then seems to be, "Do we deny truth to accept our faith, or deny our faith to accept the truth (of evolution)?" Fortunately, as it turns out, we can maintain our faith in God without throwing our brains out the window.

In order to proceed, we need to look more closely at what we mean by science, evolution, and truth. We will assume we know what truth is. For example, we probably all understand that the statement, "Pigs can fly" is not true.

For our purposes, "evolution" is the theory that species developed from other species. It is not the thing we see occurring in breeding of animals, for here, there is no change from one species to another. We do see selection of traits, but they are pre-existing and already within the gene pool for that species. Evolution claims that one species evolved from another, including the proposition that man evolved from non-human animals.

The word "science" is loaded; it can have more than a single meaning. What is science? As Humpty Dumpty implied in his comment to Alice, there are as many meanings to a word as one wants to give it. Humpty said a word means what he intends it to mean. Well, for the purpose here we need consider only two of the many possible intended meanings of "science".

SCIENCE: Definition 1. A search for the truth; also, the truth found as a result of such a search.

SCIENCE: Definition 2. The pronouncements, teachings, beliefs, opinions, statements, position statements, etc., of a group of people or institutions (such as journals, textbooks, scientific organizations) which either call themselves "scientists" or are so referred to as "scientists" by others; also, the activities (not necessarily objective, or even honest!) of "scientists". (These activities have run the gamut, from objective "scientific method" to subjective interpretation of experimental results to actual faking of data.)

One definition refers to seeking truth; the other to dogma and the opinions of man. Science (definition 2) has been proven wrong by Einstein, Galileo, and others. Science once told us that causing sick people to bleed helped them. Later science changed its mind to the position that such bleeding instead made them worse. Obviously, "science" has come to wrong conclusions in the past, and it will not surprise me if it is wrong in the future. Here we are using definition 2, of course—dogmatic assertions.

On the other hand, a search for truth is not out of harmony with God's word. Jesus himself said He was the truth. God's word is truth. The truth is what can set us free. Thus, we can look at evidence of the truth. God himself tells us he has given us evidence (as in Romans 1: 20). If the science is honest with the evidence, not dogmatic, but instead being truly a search for truth, then science can be useful. The Bible speaks of "oppositions of science, falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6: 20). True science is not in opposition to God or the Bible. This, of course, is science by definition 1, not 2! Sadly, much of the history of "science" (definition 2) has been a history of departure from the ideals of definition 1.

As the recent book Icons of Evolution indicates, much that has been accepted as "science" is questionable at best and false at worst. In the case of evolution, there have been assertions which have been stated as facts and the claim that evolution naturally follows based on the evidence of those "facts". Armed with our understanding of the distinction between truly objective science as a search for truth and "science" as the accepted (but not necessarily true) dogma of man's biases, we can now proceed to look at the evidence for evolution.

What has been claimed as fact is sometimes mistakenly assumed. For example, Phillip Johnson spoke with a cell biologist who admitted that evolution could not explain a cell but still insisted evolution explained other phenomena. Johnson pointed out that cells were what this biologist knew most about and were what the biologist recognized as inexplicable by evolutionary theory. However, this scientist accepted evolution concerning other things, about which he knew less, thus, about which he had to trust in the pronouncements of others more.

In short, in the area where this biologist was forced to depend more on the true objective-search-for-truth type of science, he admitted that evolution failed as a theory to explain life. On the other hand, in the area where this scientist was forced to lean more on the pronouncements of other scientists, he was of the opinion that evolution worked. This hints that dogma asserts the truth of evolution, while objective science fails to substantiate this claim.

It is alright to question the theory of evolution. This is what true science is all about. Many have questioned evolution and found that it is wanting as a theory. Facts fail to support it in many ways. Here are a few of the failures:

  • Evolutionists admit (to themselves) their failure to name a single species that has been proven to have evolved from another species.
  • Natural selection occurs from existing genes and can not yield new species.
  • Mutations have been shown to be invariably detrimental, not improvements, to the function of the proteins affected.
  • Evolution is mathematically extremely improbable (less probable than choosing a specific atom at random from the entire universe).
  • Transitional forms are missing.

So, although "dogma" might claim the truth of evolution, objective science has not proven it. In fact, the evidence is strongly against its probability. So, we can relax; although there may be a conflict between one's belief in a creation and the dogmatic assertion that evolution occurred, there is not such a conflict between creation by an intelligent designer and a truly scientific look at the evidence!

RATE Group Finds Strong Evidence for A Young Earth and Accelerated Nuclear Decay!

RATE Group Finds Strong Evidence for A Young Earth and Accelerated Nuclear Decay!
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 16:04

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

Helium Diffusion in Biotite

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR; www.icr.org) reported in its October 2001 Acts and Facts newsletter (Vol. 30, No. 10, October 2001; http://www.icr.org/pubs/af/pdf/af0110.pdf and http://www.icr.org/headlines/ratereport.html) that the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) group has found strong experimental evidence for a young earth and episodes of rapid nuclear decay in the past. RATE has put forth several research proposals in their book Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (ICR and CRS, 2000; http://www.icr.org/rate.html), edited by Drs. Larry Vardiman, Andrew A. Snelling, and Eugene F.Chaffin, to examine radiometric dating.

Image

RATE: L to R: Bill Hoesch, Stephen Boyd, Donald DeYoung, Steve Austin, John Baumgardner, D. Russell Humphreys, Andrew Snelling, Eugene Chaffin, John Morris. Front: Larry Vardiman, Chairman

One of RATE's proposals was to examine the rate of diffusion of the gas helium through the mineral biotite. Helium is formed in the earth's crust as the result of radioactive decay of elements such as uranium. The uranium related elements are often found in minerals called zircons which themselves are embedded in the mineral biotite. When these elements decay, they emit into the host rock an alpha particle, a bare helium nucleus consisting of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. The alpha particle picks up electrons in the rock and becomes helium. The rate of helium production currently appears to be constant and essentially invariant over a wide range of temperature and pressure. The helium then diffuses through the rock at some rate until it reaches the atmosphere. The amazing fact is that there are large amounts of helium found in zircons today. We know the rate of diffusion of helium through zircons is rapid; what was unknown was the rate at which helium diffused through biotite. This is what RATE set out to measure.

Two other facts need to be considered: the amounts of radiogenic lead and the maturity of radiohalos. Radioactive elements like uranium are often concentrated in rocks as a small point source. When uranium decays, it becomes another element which is itself radioactive. This element then decays into yet another radioactive element. This "decay chain" continues until the non-radioactive and stable isotopes of the element lead (206Pb, 207Pb) are formed. The alpha decay of the various radioactive elements in the decay chain causes the host rock to be damaged and discolored where the alpha particle comes to rest, resulting in concentric rings (the diameter of each ring relates to the energy of the alpha particle which formed it—an energy unique to each element) called radiohalos. For radiohalos to be visible, enough radioactive decay has to occur to discolor the rock. Being able to see a fully developed (mature) radiohalo indicates a large amount of radioactive decay has taken place. This interpretation is also supported by the large amounts of lead found in the centers of the radiohalos. The amount of decay implicated is consistent with billions of years, assuming that decay rates have always been what we measure them to be now. What was potentially inconsistent with this interpretation was the large amounts of helium found in these samples.

There are, of course, two models for radioactive decay and the age of the earth. The evolutionary model says that the rate of decay of radioisotopes has always been the same as it is now (uniformitarianism) and that the earth is billions of years old. The creation model, on the other hand, leaves open the possibility for variable rates of radioactive decay and holds that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Given the large amounts of helium found in zircons, the evolutionary model predicts that the diffusion rate of helium through biotite must be slow while the creation model would predict a rapid diffusion rate. Careful measurements by RATE on two rocks demonstrated that the helium diffusion rate through biotite was indeed rapid as the creation model predicted. The implications are that the helium was formed rapidly in the past, a few thousand years ago, possibly before day 3 of creation week and during the Flood and has not had time to diffuse into the atmosphere. This interpretation also helps explain why there is less than 0.1% of the expected helium in today's atmosphere based on evolutionary assumptions. The predictions of each model are shown in the table below.

Model

Assumptions

Predictions

Facts

Creation

 

1. Earth is <10,000 years old.

2. Radioisotope decay rates may have been greater in the past.

Rate of helium diffusion through biotite is rapid, but not enough time has elapsed for the helium to diffuse into the atmosphere.

 

1. Amount of nuclear decay, based on lead content and radiohalo maturity, is consistent with an old earth if the decay rate is constant and is the same as today.

2. Helium in biotite samples is too large for the earth to be 4.6 billion years old because of the large measured rate of diffusion in biotite.

3. There is less than 0.1% of the predicted by the evolutionary model helium in the atmosphere.

Evolution

 

1. Earth is 4.6 billion years old.

2. Radioisotope decay rates are the same in the past as today.

Rate of helium diffusion through biotite is slow. Otherwise the amount of helium in rocks would be small, contrary to the evidence.

 

CONCLUSION: Creation Model most consistent with all the facts

Radiohalo Distribution

In another RATE initiative, the distribution of radiohalos in rocks from all over the world is being examined. One of the potentially best yet controversial (even among creationists) evidences for a young earth has been the observance of apparently parentless polonium (Po) radiohalos in granites (Creation's Tiny Mystery, Third Edition, by Dr. Robert V. Gentry; Earth Science Associates, 1992; www.halos.org). Halos of three polonium isotopes have been studied in detail by Dr. Robert Gentry. These three isotopes are found in the decay chain of 238U (238 is the atom mass of the element equal to the sum of the protons and neutrons in the nucleus). The part of the decay chain involving polonium is 222Rn (half life = 3.8 days), which alpha decays to form 218Po (3.1 minutes), which in three steps is converted into 214Po (0.0002 seconds), which in three more steps is converted into 210Po (138 days). Dr. Gentry has reported radiohalos of 214Po which show no evidence of the presence of any of the expected precursors and are hence deemed "parentless" or "orphans." When radioactive elements which undergo alpha decay move through rock in aqueous solutions under pressure, they leave "alpha recoil tracks" which can be detected-even if only one alpha decay has occurred during the transport. As the elements pass through the rock, they tend to concentrate and stay in point like positions called inclusions. The radioactive elements in the inclusion then decay, giving rise to the radiohalos, the diameters of which depend on which elements were there initially and then formed in the decay chain.

Larry Vardiman, ed., et al., Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth 
(ICR, 2000), p.408

Hence, inclusions are often found connected by alpha recoil tracks showing the pattern of transport which occurred in the rock. What is amazing is that Dr. Gentry found 214Po halos which have no alpha recoil tracks associated with them, have only halos associated with 214Po and its decay products, and have only the decay products expected from 214Po found in the inclusions. Since the half-life of 214Po is only a fraction of a second, the implication is that the 214Po was created in place (was primordial) and was not derived from the 238U decay chain. Moreover, since radiohalos are known to disappear at high temperatures, the presence of the halos implies that the host rock was cold when the halos formed. Dr. Gentry has interpreted these results to mean that nucleosynthesis (the formation of the elements, thought by evolutionists to have occurred in stars by nuclear fusion over billions of years before the earth was formed) and the formation of the basement granite rocks in the earth's crust occurred simultaneously.

Skeptics have suggested that 222Rn (a radioactive gas which would presumably move rapidly through rock without leaving alpha recoil tracks and which gives a radiohalo with a diameter very close to that obtained from 210Po), is the real source of the 214Po halos. But there are 214Po halos which have no trace of 218Po, the polonium isotope which would be derived directly from radon. Others have said that polonium halos are always in rock formations also associated with uranium and must therefore somehow be derived from it. Still others have pointed out that parentless polonium halos are observed in igneous rock which apparently intrudes into other rock, the implication being that these intrusive rocks must have come into existence after the creation week. This scenario would suggest that the polonium halos were not primordial. More research is needed to determine which polonium halos are in these rocks and if the rocks are truly intrusive.

The RATE group has examined the distribution of radiohalos to address some of these concerns. Preliminary results of their investigations were reported in the October Acts and Facts:

A total of 1,144 halos were counted and distributed as follows: 210Po=428, 214Po=292, 218Po=0, 238U=402, and 232Th=22. One important finding from this distribution of halos is that the isotope of polonium with the shortest half life of only a fraction of a second, 214Po, has produced a great number of halos while no halos were found from the polonium isotope preceding it, 218Po, with a longer half life. [emphasis added].

Although uranium halos were found in these samples, the complete absence of the 218Po radiohalos would seem to rule out 238U and 222Rn as the source of the 214Po halos. This supports the parentless and primordial status of the 214Po halos. Hence, so far, Dr. Gentry's assertion that parentless polonium radiohalos are evidence for the simultaneous occurrence of nucleosynthesis, and creation of the earth's crust is still supported by the evidence.

2002

2002 TASC Sat, 03/16/2019 - 22:27

Consciousness: Marvel of the Mind

Consciousness: Marvel of the Mind
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 19:15

By author

Joe Spears MS

The bodies of living things are what evolution tries to explain. But what about behavior? Within the evolutionary model, the only possibility is that behavior results from the chemicals, cells, and components of the organism's body. And what about soul? Spirit? Mind? Likewise, these things are viewed in evolution, if they are dealt with at all and not simply ignored, as simply results of chemical or other natural processes in a body.

Is there any evidence for anything beyond the body? Something involved in the operation of our minds? Something that transcends the simple mechanics and natural forces involved in the matter composing our bodies? If so, then this would be something unaccounted for by evolution. If evolution is true, then evolution must have given rise to consciousness. But, first, what is consciousness?

One view that we could take concerning consciousness is that consciousness, or mind, is nothing more than chemical reactions occurring among brain cells. The brain would be analogous to a computer. However, there is a theory that human consciousness is qualitatively different from what computers do. According to this view, something is happening in consciousness that is beyond the ability of science to explain. In particular, this view holds that it is beyond the ability of physics to explain consciousness.

Who holds this view that human consciousness is qualitatively different from what computers do, and that physics - even quantum mechanics - as presently understood, is insufficient to explain consciousness? None other than Roger Penrose, one of the greatest mathematical physicists of our time. (You may have heard of one of his students, Stephen Hawking.) Penrose is famous for Penrose tilings and work dealing with black holes. Others also hold to this view concerning consciousness, including Stuart Hameroff. 

In fact, Penrose argues in his book, Shadows of the Mind 1 , that it is impossible for man to build a computer that can do what humans do. Now, he does not claim that there is a spirit or a soul, but he certainly questions the assumption that human mental activity/understanding/consciousness is basically the same as what computers do. And the difference is not a matter of degree, or quantity - it is a basic, qualitative difference.

He suspects that there is a deeper level than what we normally think of as being involved in mental activities. We normally think of the components of mental activities as consisting of neurons and their dendrites, axons (long, thin projections from neurons involved in conducting nerve signals), and synapses (the connections between nerve cells). The signal travels along the nerve cells' neurites and "jumps" across the synapse to the next cell. Of course, this oversimplifies. Some signals are inhibitory and decrease the likelihood of the next neuron being stimulated to carry the signal farther. And some signals do stimulate the next neuron. We may think of this as roughly an electrical circuit, with nodes and wires connecting the nodes. But Penrose suspects that there is a deeper level of complexity involved, with more basic components - more complexity by orders of magnitude. Note: We already have billions of neurons.

He thinks that the tiny structures in cells known as microtubules may be involved. These serve several important functions. They are involved in maintaining cell structure, transporting molecules within cells, and supporting cell division; and they are major components of cilia, tiny hair-like projections from cells. They also seem to be able to influence neural signals.

What else can they do? Some researchers believe they are involved in human consciousness. They may serve as places in which certain as yet not-understood phenomena take place, related to human consciousness.

This may explain why certain organisms seem to be able to learn without a brain 2 . For example, paramecia move about toward food, away from danger, and around obstacles. There is even evidence that paramecia can learn 3 . Now, how can it learn, when it doesn't have a human brain - it doesn't even have a brain at all, nor even a single brain cell! In fact, its whole body consists of just one single cell - it is a single-celled organism! So, even single celled organisms, obviously not having even a single neuron in their "body", seem to be able to learn. How is this possible?

Well, though they may lack a brain, lack an extensive network of thousands of nerve cells, and lack even a single brain cell, single-celled organisms do contain microtubules. There are hundreds of microtubules per neuron. Penrose suspects that some quantum-coherent state, similar to those existing in Bose-Einstein condensates, may be involved and exist in or associated with the microtubule. Yet, he claims something is happening that is beyond known science.

In Shadows of the Mind, he says, "The unity of a single mind can arise, in such a description, only if there is some form of quantum coherence extending across at least an appreciable part of the entire brain. Such a feat would be a remarkable one - almost an incredible one - for nature to achieve by biological means. Yet I believe that the indications must be that she has done so, the main evidence coming from the fact of our own mentality...."

"However, the arguments I have been presenting require more than just quantum coherence on a large scale. They require that the biological systems that are our brains have somehow contrived to harness the details of a physics that is yet unknown to human physicists!" (emphasis mine) pp. 372-373.

Penrose also says, "...there is yet no physical, biological, or computational theory that comes very close to explaining our consciousness and consequent intelligence..." on p. 8. To be fair, he does think that eventually, though not now, science will be able to explain the "missing ingredient" from our understanding of mentality. He also writes that quantum-coherent states may be involved. But he still says our present level of understanding of science cannot explain what is involved in human awareness, understanding and consciousness.

But the question remains, how could all this have evolved? Scientists don't even know how it works, much less how it evolved. But one thing is certain - our minds do function.

Research indicates there is something qualitatively and fundamentally different about consciousness that seems to defy explanation. Why and how could such a complex mechanism, utilizing cell components that already serve multiple functions, give rise to consciousness?

Many of those who believe that God is creator of all believe also that God made life somehow different from inanimate material. For example, the Bible mentions that after God formed man from the dust, he then did something extra: he breathed life into man, and man became a living soul. There seems to be something about man that transcends the purely material, that transcends the mere body formed from dust. The Bible says that man has not only a body, but also a soul and a spirit. (Even animals in the Bible are mentioned as having a spirit or soul. Remember the paramecium.)

We see that science - at least some scientists - are pushing the frontiers of knowledge and exploring areas where they find evidence that our understanding of computation and biology is insufficient to describe what actually happens. This hints that there is more to man than meets the eye.

Irreducible Complexity

One concept that has arisen in the examination of biological forms is the notion that some complex systems are simply too complicated to have evolved. Typically, these systems require multiple component parts, each of which has no survival value in and of itself, or any survival value during required intermediate evolutionary stages. Yet, they do exist - there they are. How do we account for them? Evolution is often inadequate to account for these systems. It has often been stated that there is no more complex object than the human brain. Whether true or not, the increased complexity of the brain that we have seen described above and the invocation of physics that has not yet been discovered to explain it, hints at probably more complexity than evolution can explain.

Indeed, man is fearfully and wonderfully made, and as we learn more, as the blueprint of this design unfolds, the design we see suggests not only design, but intelligence on the part of the designer.

In conclusion, as increasing discoveries unfold, we see even more complexity in the design of man and other life. We also see evolution is now forced to account for ever more than before. And note, evolution has not done a good job at all in accounting for even the body of man. Lastly, we see evidence of something beyond the physical - possibly a hint of the spirit or soul, which as yet has no scientific explanation. All of this points, if ever so subtly, to a creator.

  • 1Penrose, Roger. Shadows of the MindA Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness, Oxford University Press, New York, 1994.
  • 2French, J.W., "Trial and error learning in paramecium," 1940. Journal of Experimental Psychology 26, 609-13.
  • 3French, J.W., "Trial and error learning in paramecium," 1940. Journal of Experimental Psychology 26, 609-13.

Evidence for Creation from Astronomy and Physics

Evidence for Creation from Astronomy and Physics
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 19:22

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:20 (KJV)

The data of modern astronomy and physics provide compelling evidence for design and creation in nature. By all appearances, the universe had a beginning and has been finely tuned for life as we know it. The finite history of the universe is established by the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics and strongly suggested by the cosmic expansion and red shift of galaxies. The fine-tuning is manifest in the four fundamental forces of nature, the low entropy of the universe, the quantized red shift of galaxies, the lack of antimatter, several features of the earth and solar system, the chemical properties of the elements, and the properties of water.

The First Law of Thermodynamics (FLOT) states that matter-energy cannot be created or destroyed but only converted from one form into another. Take a given amount of matter-energy and perform some process with it and you will still end up with the same amount of matter-energy. There are no known exceptions in nature to this principle. Taken alone, FLOT requires that the universe has always existed or was created by some process outside of nature at some time in the past. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLOT), sometimes called the Law of Entropy, holds that every spontaneous process always1 leads to a decrease in the amount of useful energy in the universe. The implication is that the universe is dying a "heat death;" after infinite time there would not be any useful energy remaining to do work. Since the universe still contains much useful energy, it must be of finite age—it had a beginning. Thus FLOT and SLOT, taken together, require the universe must have been brought into existence by something outside of nature at some point in the past.

General relativity, currently our best theory of gravity, predicts the universe will either expand or contract but will not be static. The expansion of the universe has been confirmed by the observation of the red-shifting of the frequencies of star light in distant galaxies. The farther away galaxies are, the more red-shifted is their light. If the expansion is run in reverse, all matter eventually ends up at the same starting place in an entity called a black hole singularity, which has infinite mass and no volume. Space-time stops in this singularity, or in others words, time and the universe had a beginning. Now I am not necessarily saying God started the universe as a singularity (although this is possible within a cosmology consistent with a young earth)2, but only that physics' best theories predict a beginning of the universe, even when God is not taken into account! By the way, some have tried to side step the implications of relativity by claiming that time does not end in a singularity but merely changes direction (for example, becomes "imaginary time"3). In real time, however, even if the universe had begun as a singularity, expanded (big bang) until gravity forced a contraction, ended in a singularity (big crunch) and the process repeated itself, the universe could still not be of infinite age because SLOT would still be in effect.4, 5 So, the best theories we have, confirmed by experiment, require the universe had a beginning.

There are four fundamental forces6 in nature we know about: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. The strong nuclear force holds the protons in atomic nuclei together. If it were slightly weaker, only low atomic weight elements would exist. If it were slightly stronger, nuclear fusion reactions converting hydrogen into helium would be faster and heat from the sun would increase7, making earth uninhabitable. Similarly, change the weak nuclear force, which controls the stability of radioactive elements, and the fusion rate in stars would change8. The electromagnetic force is dominant on the scale of protons and electrons. The electromagnetic force can be attractive or repulsive (opposites attract, like repel), varies in strength with the inverse square of the distance between charges, and is proportional to charge. If the electromagnetic force were larger, no elements larger than hydrogen could exist;9 the repulsive force between protons would make nuclei with more than one proton unstable. If the electromagnetic force were smaller, nuclear fusion would accelerate and stars would explode; the repulsive force between protons would decrease, allowing the formation of heavy nuclei to proceed too rapidly. Gravity is the weakest of forces but dominant for objects the size of earth and larger. Gravity is always attractive, obeys an inverse square law, and is proportional to mass. Gravity is what holds stars together and provides the collision frequency between hydrogen molecules necessary for nuclear fusion. If gravity were changed by as little as one part in 1040, stars like our sun would not exist. 10 If gravity increased, only hot blue dwarfs would exist. If gravity decreased, only cool red giants would result. The fundamental forces are very fine tuned for our existence. Clearly, this is the result of an intelligent Creator and not the result of chance.

The low entropy of the universe11 required very specific and unlikely initial conditions. There is a 101030 chance the current configuration of matter in the universe could have arisen from chance natural processes; it is more likely to be a black hole than to be spread out in galaxies, stars, gas clouds and solar systems. Only an intelligent designer could have specified the initial conditions against such odds.

Another piece of evidence for design in the universe is the apparent quantized red shifts12 of galaxies as seen from the earth. These red-shifts occur in specific discrete intervals and are not a continuum. Hence there is a group of galaxies which all have all been red-shifted by x amount and another group by y amount but very few which have been red-shifted by an amount between x and y. The emerging picture is one in which the earth is surrounded by concentric shells of galaxies. This implies that the earth lies very near the center of the universe. The chance of the earth being in the center of the universe is one in a trillion. The implications are clear: we have a special place in the cosmos and not by accident.

Another interesting feature of the universe is its apparent lack of antimatter. Antimatter is like matter except the charges of subatomic particles are reversed; protons are negatively charged and electrons are positively charged (called positrons). Antimatter has been created in the laboratory but has a fleetingly short lifetime because it is annihilated upon contact with matter and forms pure energy. Theory says that the conversion of energy in matter has an equal probability of forming antimatter; hence there should be equal amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe (assuming the formation of both could somehow proceed without recombination and annihilation). However, experiments designed to detect antimatter in the cosmos have so far been unsuccessful.13 Known natural processes cannot explain the excess of matter in the universe. However, an intelligent designer wanting to create a sustainable universe free of matter-antimatter annihilation is a good explanation for what we observe.

Another piece of evidence for design is the distance between stars.14 If the distance were much smaller, the gravity of nearby stars could affect the stability of solar system, and nearby supernovas would bathe the earth with harmful doses of radiation.

Many evidences for design are found when considering the earth. The earth's gravity and distance from the sun provide a temperature and pressure in which liquid water can exist. The earth's magnetic field protects life from charged particles (ionizing radiation) in the solar wind. The amount of oxygen is just right for our existence; 15 more oxygen and fires would be a problem; less oxygen and we would suffocate.

The solar system also shows evidence of design. The size and placement of Jupiter allows the redirection of comets and other bodies which could otherwise collide with the earth with catastrophic consequences.16 The near circular shapes of planetary orbits helps maintain their stability by keeping changes in gravity minimized. Our sun has just the right mass to allow it to burn hydrogen at a rate which will provide the earth with the amount and frequencies of light energy needed to maintain a biologically friendly temperature.

The properties of the element carbon are essential to life. Only carbon can form the large macromolecules necessary for the storage of heredity information for complex creatures such as ourselves. Any changes in carbon's chemical properties would spell disaster for life.

Life as we know it would be impossible without liquid water. Water's properties are also finely tuned: its melting and boiling points and high heat capacity help regulate the temperature of the earth keeping it in the range in which we can live. Water's chemical properties allow proteins to adopt the shapes required for enzymatic action whereas other solvents do not. There are many other evidences for design but space does not allow discussion of them.

In summary, there is essentially no chance that the laws of nature and many fundamental properties of matter just happen to be what is required for intelligent life to exist. The only hope evolutionists have is if there are an infinite number of universes so that at least one had to look like ours. But there is no observational evidence for even a second universe let alone an infinite number. Hence, invoking an intelligent designer as Creator of our universe is the only plausible explanation.

2003

2003 TASC Sat, 03/16/2019 - 22:27

"Junk" DNA as Evidence for Evolution?

"Junk" DNA as Evidence for Evolution?
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 19:37

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."-Sherlock Holmes in a Study of Scarlet

Back in the 1960s, scientists discovered sections of DNA that did not code for proteins. These non-coding DNA strands were assumed to be non-functional and were referred to as "junk" DNA, the presumed evolutionary remnants of ancestral organisms. 1 Almost 99% of human DNA is known to be non-coding.

A little background will facilitate discussion of non-coding DNA. Information in coding DNA sequences is transcribed into mRNA (Figure 1). mRNA exits the nucleus and attaches to ribosomes, the molecular machines that generate proteins. In the ribosome, the information in the mRNA is translated into an amino acid sequence to form a protein.

Image
Figure 1 - Protein Formation from Coding DNA

The transcription of information from DNA to mRNA is where non-coding DNA is encountered (Figure 2).

Image
Figure 2 - mRNA Formation by Removal of Introns

A gene is a length of both coding and non-coding DNA comprised of specific regions termed exons, introns, and control regions. Exons contain coding DNA strands that will ultimately be translated into portions of the protein. Introns consist of non-coding DNA interspersed among the exons. The control regions facilitate gene transcription regulation and identification. Genes are initially transcribed into an RNA transcript containing the introns and exons transcribed from the DNA introns and exons. The RNA transcript is then processed to remove the introns and to combine the exons to form the mature mRNA molecule. The mRNA then leaves the nucleus and finds the ribosomes (Figure 1).

There were two lines of evidence that non-coding DNA was non-functional. First, the sequences in exons, but not introns, were "conserved" (i.e., the same or very similar) among members of the same species, implying exon sequence was crucial to survival and intron sequence was unimportant. Second, large variation in intron sequence had little impact on the organism as a whole. Evolutionists, assured of the non-functional status of non-coding DNA, claimed "junk" DNA was evidence for evolution and against intelligent design. A designer would never create a DNA sequence 99% of which was meaningless junk, they reasoned. Further, they claimed that "junk" DNA is what would be expected from a random and imperfect process of mutation and selection. Allegedly, coding DNA sequences would evolve because of their potential impact on survival while non-coding DNA, presumed to be genetic remnants of evolutionary ancestors, would remain essentially unchanged (during evolution) because they were immune from selection pressures. Hence non-coding DNA was regarded as a record of an organism's phylogenetic history.

But the evolutionists were premature in their judgment about what evolutionary theory predicted and about the non-functional status of non-coding proteins. DNA is a fairly fragile molecule, often incurring damage and needing repair. The maintenance of DNA is a resource-demanding enterprise requiring many enzymes for copying sequences and correcting mistakes—an enterprise requiring much energy. Why would natural selection maintain useless DNA at such a high cost? It probably would not.

There is evidence that protein sequences are optimized to reduce the energy requirements for their production. It has also been experimentally demonstrated that non-coding DNA can be easily lost in just a few generations in a fly species. Because there is evidence for selection of resource-efficient processes and there exist readily available mechanisms for eliminating non-coding DNA, the persistence of non-coding DNA sequences strongly suggests this "junk" DNA may actually be functional. Also, if useless DNA were ever accidentally "switched on" by some mutation, the resulting RNA and protein would at best waste resources and at worst even be harmful; surely selection would have eliminated this potential difficulty. Cave dwelling fish that have lost their vision and birds on isolated islands that have become flightless serve as good examples of what selection does when a function is no longer needed; the useless function is eliminated.

Several functions of non-coding DNA are now known. Untranslated portions of mRNA serve as sites of attachment to ribosomes (Figures 1 and 2). Organisms with an increased genome size usually develop more slowly. Some species of salamanders with a larger than usual genome (contain more non-coding DNA) are better able to survive in cold environments due to a reduced metabolic rate. Introns apparently facilitate gene regulation and organization. Introns may guide the folding of DNA in the nucleus thereby ordering gene expression (creates an index) and hence development of an organism. Some introns catalyze their own removal during the RNA transcription process revealing a level of complexity previously unappreciated. Some introns are now thought to code for RNA that plays a role in ribosome production and regulation. Non-coding DNA may signal the expression of some genes and the repression of others. The length of the untranslated portion of mRNA (Figure 2) can determine the RNA cytoplasmic half-life (how well it binds to the ribosome) and thus its rate of expression into proteins. Non-coding DNA on the ends of chromosomes help maintain integrity of the chromosomes and thereby perpetuate cell lines. Some non-coding DNA repairs breaks in broken DNA. There is evidence that some non-coding DNA sequences may help bacteria to adapt to otherwise lethal changes in their environment. Non-coding DNA may also be the genetic material used for microevolutionary changes. This would help explain how some organisms can have significant changes to their phenotype in a few generations, much faster than a mutation/selection mechanism could operate, even if beneficial mutations were highly probable.

And so the theory of "junk" DNA seems to be going the way of vestigial organs. At one time, there were over 100 human organs alleged to be vestiges of ancestral evolutionary forms.2 Today there are only a few dubious examples remaining. As medical science discovered the functions of these organs, vestigial organs lost their status as evidence of evolution. The same is true of non-coding DNA. Few scientists now consider non-coding DNA to be non-functional. Nevertheless, evolutionists now have other ways to claim that non-coding DNA is evidence for evolution! It seems that whether non-coding DNA is functional or non-functional, evolutionary theory predicts it!

As Christians we should have known that non-coding DNA would someday be shown to have function because God made it.

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Psalms 139:14 (KJV)

"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches." Psalms 104:24 (KJV)

  • 1Standish, Timothy G. Rushing to Judgment: Functionality in Noncoding or "JUNK" DNA, Origins, 2002, 53, 7-30. Available online at http://www.grisda.org/
    origins/53007.pdf; Sarfati, Jonathan Refuting Evolution 2 (Answers in Genesis, 2002), 122-125.
  • 2Taylor, Ian T. In the Minds of Men, 4th Edition (TFE Publishing, 1999), 266-269.

Speciation: Any Examples Documented?

Speciation: Any Examples Documented?
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 19:54

By author

Joe Spears MS

  It was interesting to find, while perusing a book on evolution, the rather candid admission of an evolutionist that there is no documented evidence of even a single species which arose from another species! Here is the quote:

"...I once asked the eloquent and personable Niles Eldredge whether he knew of any case in which the formation of a new species had been documented. I told him I'd be satisfied if his example were drawn from the laboratory, from the field, or from observations from the fossil record. He could muster only one good example: Theodosius Dobzhansky's experiments with Drosophila, the fruit fly. In this fascinating experiment, populations of fruit flies, bred at progressively hotter temperatures, became genetically separated. After two years or so the hot-bred ones could no longer produce fertile offspring with their cold-breeding brethren. "But," Eldredge quickly added, "That turned out to have something to do with a parasite!" Indeed, it was later discovered that the hot-breeding flies lacked an intracellular symbiotic bacterium found in the cold breeders. Eldredge dismissed this case as an observation of speciation because it entailed a microbial symbiosis! He had been taught, as we all have, that microbes are germs, and when you have germs, you have a disease, not a new species. And he had been taught that evolution through natural selection occurs by the gradual accumulation, over eons, of single gene mutations."

"...Among the only other organisms besides fruit flies in which species have been seen to originate in the laboratory are members of the genus Amoeba, and symbiosis was involved."

[Source: Lynn Margulis, Symbiotic Planet (NY, NY: Basic Books, 1998) pp. 7-8.]

   The amazing thing about the above pronouncements is—well, there are several amazing things. First, they are made by an evolutionist. The author, who is quoting another evolutionist, has worked on Gaia theory and the bacterial origins of cell organelles. Secondly, her reference to statements made by Niles Eldredge is interesting in that Eldredge is also an evolutionist—the co-author, along with Stephen Jay Gould, of the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Thirdly, there is an admission, apparently accepted as a matter-of-fact thing, that examples of species' appearing through evolutionary means which can be documented, are few and far between—so few, in fact, that Eldredge's only example was a new species, which was different from the old species in having a bacterium residing in it that the other species did not. Fourthly, infestation by a bacterium is taken to be a different species than the same species without the bacterium. This is somewhat like saying your spouse, who has an infection, is a different species than you who do not have the infection! And that was the best example he could think of.

 Where are the documented examples of species which arise from other species, which are different physically more than merely differing in the type of symbiotic organisms they carry? Apparently, they do not exist. What are the implications of this rather candid in-passing admission? One is that none of the facts, the data, the evidence, the fossil record, the laboratory experiments involving induced mutations supports the evolution of species as has been claimed.

 How many of us have heard that the "evidence" proves evolution beyond the shadow of a doubt? Yet when we actually look at the evidence, or perhaps, more accurately, look for the evidence (since it seems to be hiding quite well!), we find that the data do not support the conclusion as well as seems to be implied in the claims! It can be argued that the data do not support the conclusion of evolution at all.

Cavemen—Missing Link?

Cavemen—Missing Link?
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 19:47

By author

Joe Spears MS

Have scientists discovered evidence that humans are descended from ape-like ancestors? Are there real "missing link" fossils to prove this? Well, one of the reasons the term "missing link" is what it is, and includes the word missing, is that the evidence has long been—missing. Some have argued that this or that fossil is the "missing link", so we will examine a few of them.

There has been Piltdown Man, which was admittedly a hoax. The teeth were filed, and the bones chemically stained to alter the appearance. Then there was Nebraska Man, which was built out of a pig's tooth. This tooth was presented as evidence for evolution at the famous Scopes trial.

It is suspected that Neanderthal Man was simply a normal human with some medical problems—possibly arthritis, rickets, or acromegaly. Scientists now classify him as human.

But what about the drawings? We see pictures showing the "missing links" with their hairy bodies, their crouching gait, and so forth. Since this is what they looked like, weren't they obviously ancestors of humans? These pictures do show something between a man and an ape; however, the question is not whether the pictures show something between man and ape, but whether the actual creatures looked at all like the pictures. So, did they?

Image

Boyce Rensberger, quoted by Charles Scott Kimball on his Web page http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/
genesis/gen05c.html , said in Science Digest in 1981:

"Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist's conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there... Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it... Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture. The guesswork approach often leads to errors." 1

We cannot trust that the pictures give an accurate portrayal of what the creatures actually looked like. In the case of Ramapithecus, based on nothing more than jaw bones and teeth, a model was created and displayed. Nebraska Man was pictured as a family group of ape-men. Remember now that this was based on nothing more than one tooth, and that of a pig (erroneously labeled as an ape-like pre-human tooth). So artwork may look ape-like, human, or something between, but that does not prove what the creatures really looked like.

Quoting again from the above web page:

 "In 1992 Dr. Ian Tattersall stated in Evolutionary Anthropology that ‘it is increasingly clear that Homo Habilis [sic]has become a wastebasket taxon, little more than a convenient recipient for a motley assortment of hominid fossils from the latest Pliocene and earliest Pleistocene...' In other words, any primate bones they can't label as ape or human may become Homo Habilis [sic] specimens." 1

Pithecanthropus erectus was discovered by Eugene Dubois. He admitted late in his life that this was not a man, but a giant gibbon (a type of ape).

Now, consider Australopithecus. One problem mentioned by some researchers is that there are not any bones of chimpanzees near the locations where bones of Australopithecus have been found. Although bones of other animals are found nearby, the bones of modern apes are not. Why?

What if the missing ape bones are the bones of Australopithecus? This would explain their absence—the "missing" ape bones would then actually be present.

Could such an error be made? Consider the case of Ramapithecus. This "missing link" was described as walking upright by its discoverer. However, there were no leg or hip bones found—only jaw bones. Yet these jaw bones were enough to describe the creature as walking upright. Later, the discoverer admitted that he had said that it walked upright simply because he had wanted it to walk upright (not because of any evidence to that effect). Later, after discovery of more bones, it seems that this creature is actually an orangutan.

One of the top forensic anthropologists in the country has stated that often medical men (pathologists) mistake pig bones for human bones. Sometimes, people find what they are looking for, even if it's not there.

A book by an evolutionist described this phenomenon—of allowing what one wants to find to distort one's conclusions in spite of, and even contrary to, the evidence. The book is The Mismeasure of Man, by Stephen Jay Gould. In it he describes how one man let his preconceived opinion determine his description of what his experiments proved, even though the data he published with his conclusion showed his conclusion wrong. (The experiments were measurements of the size of human skulls.) In this case the desired conclusion was claimed, even though the evidence did not support it. 2

Thus, when no bones of modern apes are found in the same location where Australopithecus bones are found (even though bones from other animal species are found nearby), we find a possible explanation. We can explain this if we assume that the missing bones are there—they are simply mislabeled as being bones of Australopithecus, instead of bones of an ape.

Well, this accounts for a few of the so-called "missing links" or cavemen—but what about others? Well, there are not that many others. An evolutionist has said that all such fossils would fit into an ordinary coffin.

In short, it seems that many of the "cave man" fossils can be accounted for as being one of the following:

  1. apes
  2. humans with medical problems affecting their bones
  3. mixtures of bones from apes and humans
  4. mis-identifications of other animals
  5. hoaxes

Does the evidence support evolution of man from so-called "cave-men"?  We see from the above that much that has been claimed as evidence for the evolution of man does not actually prove, nor does it support, the evolution of man from "missing links".

In conclusion, let's look at a statement by an evolutionist. An evolutionist once asked another evolutionist, who was the co-founder of punctuated equilibrium theory (a theory attempting to explain aspects of evolution), if he could name even a single example of a species, whether in the lab or in the fossil record, that he could document that had arisen from another species. He could not name any human, hominid, or ape-like species! 3 ,4

We can therefore put to rest the arguments that the so-called "missing links" have scientifically proven that man has evolved. When closely examined, the evidence does not prove evolution of man from "cave-men".

  • 1 a b http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/genesis/gen05c.html
  • 2The Mismeasure of Man, by Stephen Jay Gould
  • 3Symbiotic Planet: A New Look At Evolution, Lynn Margulis, Basic Books, 1988
  • 4In fact, he could not name any species at all. He mentioned a species with a parasitic symbiotic relationship (as supposedly arising from the same species without the parasite) as the closest thing to this that he could come up with.

Baby Picture

Baby Picture
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 20:00

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

On February 11, 2003, a NASA press release announced "the best ‘baby picture' of the Universe ever taken." The "baby picture" shown here has subsequently been featured in prominent science journals and newspapers across the globe. 1 ,2 ,3 ,4  It was taken about 1.5 million kilometers above Earth by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a satellite that measures the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB).

Image

The oval map represents the whole sky, like the spherical Earth is represented as an oval on a flat sheet of paper. Different parts of the map relate to different parts of the sky. Different colors represent variations in the CMB with "warmer" as red and "cooler" as blue. Science News writer Ron Cowen2 likened the astronauts that unveiled this snapshot to "beaming parents showing off pictures of their newborn." Indeed, the WMAP photo, which is alleged to depict our infant universe, shares several other characteristics of a newborn child, characteristics that its worldly parents are not likely to focus on.

Like a baby, the WMAP photo can do no wrong in the eyes of its parents. Overall, the information provided by WMAP is not new but is alleged to be more precise than early measurements. The parents of this portrait claim that it "pegs the universe's age to an unprecedented accuracy of 1 percent." A pretty picture indeed! However, as in all things, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. For several years now NASA has touted CMB as confirming the Big Bang, as well as the universe's age, composition, geometry, ultimate fate, etc. However, behind these claims are an enormous number of philosophical assumptions. Dr. John Hartnett, a creationist physicist writes, "In short, the big bang is first assumed to be true and they adjust their parameters to get the theory to fit the data. Because of this circular reasoning, it would be a miracle if it did not ‘confirm' the big bang." 5

Like a baby, the WMAP photo is protected against public criticism by unwritten rules of secular social etiquette. Have you ever known anyone to begin an argument with the statement, "Everyone knows that [insert idea]?" If everyone really knew, then why bring the subject up? Such statements are usually meant to convey that "you won't be very popular if you don't agree that [insert idea]." Alan MacRobert declares in the article Mapping the Big Bang in Sky and Telescope (www.skyandtelescope.com) that the NASA report "has powerfully confirmed the conclusions that many teams of astronomers had already reached." Dr. Charles L. Bennett, of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland and the WMAP Principal Investigator, is quoted in NASA's press release, "The data are solid, a real gold mine." How can a gold mine come from confirming what people already know? MacRobert states that "the big news is actually no news." This is something that both secular and creationist scientists can agree on, but for different reasons.

Like a baby, the WMAP photo is bound to cause problems. As mentioned earlier, the WMAP results are not new, but are more precise than similar maps produced from instruments measuring CMB from the ground, and from balloons, and from its predecessor, the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite. The big picture has not changed. As Dr. Hartnett describes in his relatively recent report, CMB actually poses problems for the big bang and supports creationist cosmologies. Contrary to the basic assumption behind the big bang, CMB seems to indicate a preferred frame of reference. Several other problems are pointed out by Dr. Hartnett in his article, and this latest NASA report itself said that the stars formed earlier (by their own dating methods) than previously predicted.

Like babies, the WMAP photo is ultimately a reflection of its true Father, our Creator God. Creationist cosmology models do not have the problems mentioned above and discussed by Dr. Hartnett. 6 ,7  In fact, Dr. Hartnett contends that recent findings pertaining to CMB are consistent with creationist cosmologies. Don't misunderstand. Creationists' models are not and never will be perfect. They, like secular models are designed by fallible scientists, whose theories change on a weekly basis. Yet, by faith we understand that the heavens were prepared by our Creator God. And through this same faith we can rest assured that, despite limited funding and resources, if any model of our universe should eventually succeed in describing all phenomena, it will be a creationist model.

  • 1NASA. 2003. New image of infant universe reveals era of first stars, age of cosmos, and more. Feb. 11 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center press release. www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/0206mapresults.html
  • 2Science News. 2003. 163: (7, Feb. 15), p. 99
  • 3MacRobert, Alan. 2003. Mapping the Big Bang. Sky and Telescope.
  • 4Answers in Genesis. 2003. Surprise? NASA ‘confirms' the big bang. Available at http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2003/0214nasa_bigbang.asp
  • 5Hartnett, John. 2001.  Recent Cosmic Microwave Background data supports creationist cosmologies.  Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, TJ 15(1).
  • 6Humphreys, D.R.  1994. Starlight and Time. Master Books, Colorado Springs.
  • 7Gentry, R.V. 1997. A new redshift interpretation.  Modern Physics Letters. 12: 2919-2925.

Rapid Geological Processes (Part 1)

Rapid Geological Processes (Part 1)
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 20:14

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

There are many natural phenomena which evolutionary geologists say require many thousands or even millions of years to bring about. However, creationists have long held that most geologic processes can take place quickly if the conditions are right. Some of these phenomena include formation of the Precambrian granite "basement" rocks of the earth's crust, radioactive decay, canyon formation, petrified forest formation, coal formation, the rapid laying down of several successive sedimentary layers, formation of clastic dikes, formation of vast fossil graveyards, and stalagmite and stalactite formation.

Evidence for the rapid formation of the granite basement rocks of the continents has come from the study of polonium radiohalos. 1  Polonium is one of several elements in the uranium radioactive decay chain which ends in lead. Polonium decays by emitting alpha particles (helium nuclei) with kinetic energies characteristic of polonium. The alpha particles penetrate the surrounding rock, eventually coming to rest and converting into helium gas by picking up two electrons from the environment. The rock is discolored at the location the alpha particle comes to rest. After enough alpha particles have been emitted, a sphere of discoloration results. Cross sections of the sphere appear as a ring that is called a radiohalo. Eventually the decay products of polonium will be converted into lead. The lead formed can be analyzed for its isotopic composition. Different elements give different halo patterns and different lead isotope products.

Most elements which form radiohalos are thought to have been derived from uranium and moved through the granite by hydrothermal action. Indeed, the pathways or alpha recoil tracks connecting parent and daughter elements in granite can be detected, even if there is only one recoil event. Studies have shown that there are millions of polonium radiohalos in granites which have rings and lead that are derived only from polonium and that have no alpha recoil tracks connecting them with precursor elements. Another interesting fact about radiohalos is that they fade when heated to temperatures well below the melting point of granite. Since some polonium isotopes have short half-lives (one isotope has a half-life of less than 1 second), the only conclusion left to explain the parentless status of these radiohalos is fiat creation. In other words, the polonium must have been created at the same time as the granite and when the granite was relatively cool. This suggests that the basement granite rocks of the earth formed almost instantaneously, as if someone had spoken them into existence!

Image
Figure 1

There is now rock solid evidence for rapid radioactive decay having occurred sometime in earth's history. 2  The helium formed from radioactive decay is often formed within granitic minerals called zircons within another mineral called biotite. Laboratory investigations have shown that the rates of diffusion of helium through zircons and biotite are rapid processes. The uranium radiohalos in biotite are often fully developed, having rings from many of uranium's daughter products and the lead isotope composition expected from several parents; much helium must have formed from all this decay. Interestingly, the amounts of helium found in biotites today is much larger than expected based upon the known rate of helium diffusion and the assumption that the rates of radioactive decay of uranium and its daughter products have always been what they are now. The hypothesis that explains all the data is one or more episodes of rapid and extensive radioactive decay in the recent (last 6000 years) past; the helium has simply not had enough time to diffuse from the rocks. This idea also fits nicely with the lower than expected (assuming constant decay rates) amounts of helium found in the atmosphere. The episodes of rapid radioactive decay may have occurred during the first three days of creation week and the early stages of the Flood.

Unconformity
Figure 2 - Unconformity

The volcanic eruptions at Mt. Saint Helens in the early 1980s were a gold mine for creation geologists. 3 On May 18th, 1980 a volcanic eruption equivalent to 30,000 atomic bombs (Hiroshima) caused a loss of 1,300 feet in elevation; flattened 150 square miles of forest in six minutes, and resulted in a 0.5 cubic mile landslide. The landslide resulted in an 860-foot wave in nearby Spirit Lake, which washed a forest into the lake.  Afterwards the lake was covered with 1 million logs without bark, branches, or roots.

The landslide also left a crater and lava dome. Mud slides from three eruptions over a two year period formed over 600 feet of finely layered strata.  A canyon 1/40 scale of the Grand Canyon was cut through solid rock in one day! The canyon now has a stream running through it giving the appearance that the stream cut the canyon over a long time span, but in fact the canyon was formed first. The potential for catastrophic events to do serious geological work was forever demonstrated.

The 600 feet of strata revealed extensive sorting and layering as if laid down by a slow uniform process over a long time span. Rapid successive sedimentary layer formation is also suggested in many places by the lack of bioturbation, the lack of soil layers, the presence of polystrate fossils, soft sediment deformation, and the limited extent of unconformities. 4

Bioturbation refers to the evidence of biological activity which would be expected in a sedimentary layer if it had persisted uncovered long enough for a biological community to fluorish. Lack of bioturbation in a layer suggests the layer did not remain uncovered for much time. Soils would also be expected to form on a layer, which remained uncovered; lack of soils between layers suggests little time between deposition of the layers.

The existence of polystrate fossils such as trees which extend dozens of feet through many layers clearly demonstrates rapid successive layer formation. Once layers are laid down they tend to dry out and become brittle over time. Then if an uplift event occurs in some locality, the brittle layers will crack and break where the layers were uplifted next to layers that remain in place. The uplift of layers without cracking suggests that the sediments were still soft when the uplift event occurred. The layers would have been soft during the uplift event only if they had been freshly laid down together. There are sedimentary layers in the Kaibab monocline at Grand Canyon that make 90° turns due to uplift events yet without any evidence of cracking. 5  Unconformities occur where the usual flat and parallel layering of sedimentary strata is disturbed by layers, which lie at an angle relative to the horizontal layers.

This structure suggests there was a significant period of time between the deposition of the horizontal and tilted layers. However, if the layers are followed out laterally far enough (hundreds of miles), one often finds that the tilted and horizontal layers become parallel with no evidence of an event between them. Thus the limited extent of unconformities shows that there may not have been the vast time spans between layer deposition initially suggested by the unconformity.

Clastic dikes are another evidence for rapid successive layer formation. Clastic dikes are vertical shafts of material cutting across several sedimentary layers. Some clastic dikes contain sand grains and are believed to have formed from the top down by the erosion and transportation of material down through openings in the layers. However, there are cases where the sand grains in the dike have the same particle size and distribution as deep laying sandstone layers. Evidently, the material originated in sandstone layers below and was raised and injected under pressure into the vertical openings in the layers above. The key fact is that the sandstone layers must have been soft for this process to work. This implies that the sandstone layer and all layers above it were relatively fresh when the dike was formed or, in other words, that the layers must have been deposited in the same timeframe.

  • 1Gentry, Robert V. Creation's Tiny Mystery, 3rd Edition (ESA, 1992); on the web at www.halos.com
  • 2Vardiman, Larry. "RATE Group Confirms Fast Diffusion of Helium in Rocks". Acts and Facts 2001, 30(10); Vardiman, Larry; Snelling, Andew A.; Chaffin, Eugene F. (eds.) Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE) (Institute of Creation Research and the Creation Research Society, 2000).
  • 3Video: Mount Saint Helens: Explosive Evidence for Catastrophe (ICR)
  • 4Morris, John D. The Young Earth (Master Books, 1994)
  • 5Austin, Steven A. Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe ( ICR, 1994) (book and video).

The Flood

The Flood
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 20:33

By author

Joe Spears MS

Evolutionists have made much of fossils. They supposedly illustrate the progression of evolution. Yet, there are serious problems with this fossil record.

Dr. Duane Gish has written a book about these problems. One big problem is the missing transitional forms—the "missing links". Evolutionists have claimed that more primitive fossils are found in geologic layers lower than where more advanced life forms are found, and assuming the higher layers were laid down much later than the lower layers, the more primitive forms thus lived earlier, and the more advanced forms evolved from the more primitive.

However, let us not be hasty and jump to such conclusions. One possibility is that more intelligent, advanced life forms would be more likely to attempt to escape rising waters of a flood by moving to higher ground. Thus, they might become fossilized in higher layers than less intelligent, more primitive life forms. Also, concerning fossils and the layers in which they are found, the findings have not always been "in the proper order."

But, how were fossils created? One explanation is that they were created as the result of a flood. A flood would bury some material quickly, allowing it to be preserved long enough to become fossilized. This would protect it from scavengers. Fossils could have been formed in this manner, rather than as organic material that lay about in open air, undisturbed, long enough to fossilize. It is unlikely that dead organisms would lie undisturbed long enough for fossils to form. In forests, scavengers typically dispose of dead carcasses rather quickly.

What evidence is there of a world-wide flood?

There are flood legends around the world. I have read that there are 180 flood legends on record, and also I have read there are as many as 500. Suffice it to say, there are quite a few. A co-worker from India told me that there was a Hindu flood story. There is the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh. The ancient Incas have a story of a time when the earth was flooded and all men were destroyed in the flood.

"They say that in it perished all races of men and created things insomuch that the waters rose above the highest mountain peaks in the world. No living thing survived except a man and a woman who remained in a box, ..." 1

"Other flood traditions, examined more fully later, describe the Deluge as a veritable water mountain, as a stupendous wall of water, or as an irresistible foaming watery avalanche. Few, if any, liken it to an ordinary steadily rising, riverine flood." 2

Image
Figure 1

The Samoan islanders tell us:

"The sea ...arose, and in a stupendous catastrophe of nature the land sank into the sea..." 3

A Tahitian tradition states:

"In ancient times Taaroa, the principal god, according to their mythology, the creator of the world, being angry with men on account of their disobedience to his will, overturned the world into the sea, ..." 3  

And on and on we could go with flood legends.

From an unpublished manuscript: 4

The tradition of a universal deluge is told by all ancient civilizations, and also by races that never reached the ability to express themselves in the written symbols of a language. It is found all over the world, on all continents, on the islands of the Pacific and Atlantic, everywhere. Usually it is explained as a local experience carried from race to race by word of mouth. The work of collating such material has repeatedly been done, and it would only fatigue the reader were I to repeat these stories as told in all parts of the world, even in places never visited by missionaries. 5

The rest of the collected traditions are also not identical in detail, and are sometimes very different in their setting from the Noah story, but all agree that the earth was covered to the mountain tops by the water of the deluge coming from above, and that only a few human beings escaped death in the flood. The stories are often accompanied by details about a simultaneous cleavage of the earth. 6

In pre-Columbian America the story of a universal flood was very persistent; the first world-age was called Atonatiuh, or the age that was brought to its end by a universal deluge. This is written and illustrated in the ancient codices of the Mexicans and was narrated to the Spaniards who came to the New Continent. 7  The natives of Australia, Polynesia, and Tasmania, discovered in the seventeenth century, related almost identical traditions. 8

Clay tablets with inscriptions concerning the early ages and the deluge were found in Mesopotamia. Their similarity to the biblical account, and to the story of the Chaldean priest Berosus 9  who lived in the Hellenistic age, caused a great sensation at the end of the last century and the beginning of the current one.

Geologists see vestiges of diluvial rains all over the world; folklorists hear the story of a universal flood wherever folklore is collected; historians read of a universal flood in American manuscripts, in Babylonian clay tablets and in the annals of practically all cultured peoples.

What is the point of all this? What do these common legends of flood—world-wide flood—indicate? First of all, some might say they were copied from each other. This might be true in some cases, but these legends are from all over the planet and are ancient. Remember, in ancient times their were no telephones, TVs, e-mail nor internet. Nor were there trans-continental jet flights. Also, I point you to the quote above concerning the unlikelihood of the "borrowing theory."

But what if there were a flood and all alive today are descendants of the few who rode out the storm in the boat? It then seems reasonable that the descendants of those who surivived might have knowledge, handed down from generation to generation, of things—awesome things—that happened to their ancestors.

Mysteries explained by Noah's flood

Of course, Noah's flood explains all those flood legends mentioned above. I recall my father telling of finding marine fossils on a mountain where he lived as a boy. Those fossils indicate that the mountain was once under water, which is in agreement with the flood of Noah. And the flood may also explain more.

What does Egypt have in common with Central America? In ancient Egypt, it was believed that Pharaohs after death were reborn as stars. A similar belief was found in ancient America.

There are pyramids in the Americas, and we all know of the pyramids of Egypt. The tomb of a ruler of the Mayan city of Tikal contains a representation of a canoe upon which the ruler makes his final (after death) journey. The depiction includes animals or deities in the shape of animals—a bird, a dog, and an ape. Across the world, in Egypt, in the Valley of the Kings, the tomb of Thutmosis III, a similar depiction exists, where the king takes his journey in a barque containing the same three animals (or animal-shaped deities).

Why are all these similarities between ancient civilizations which are as far apart as Egypt is from Central America? How can the similarity of the civilizations of Egypt and Central America be explained by the Biblical flood? Obviously, if all these civilizations were originated by descendants of Noah, we might expect some similarity in their practices, beliefs, religion and culture. These descendants, coming from the same family, obviously could easily share the same values, culture, etc.

And how do we explain the existence of these civilizations at all? The oldest known civilization in Central America is that of the Olmecs. The mystery is that it appears full-blown—it did not develop over time. All of a sudden, it was just there. The same can be said of Egypt. From the beginning, both of these civilizations were amazingly advanced.

How can this be explained? If we take the hypothesis that the flood actually occurred as described in the Bible, then it all makes sense. Noah's family would be starting fresh, from scratch, and there would be no cities, because there were no people (other than a single family of eight). But these eight could easily have brought with them the knowledge and developments of a civilization over a thousand years old and the work of millions of individuals. The accumulated knowledge would be impressive and probably more than sufficient to account for the knowledge of the early civilizations of Central America and Egypt. Noah's descendants could have simply built the cities and used the knowledge brought with them through the flood.

Animals were brought on the ark, we know. Why not books and knowledge? There is a story that ancient Chinese herbal medicine derives from a book that Noah brought with him on the ark. Why not?

It certainly makes sense that something as useful as the accumulated knowledge of many years and the work of many people would be taken on the ark, in light of its usefulness in starting out afresh and beginning a new civilization. It is reasonable to assume that Noah's family or at least Noah had the understanding that he would be repopulating the world and rebuilding a civilization (or several).

Ignoring the story of the Biblical Noah and the flood leaves us with mysteries begging to be explained. We have to explain gaps in the fossil record, similarities between ancient civilizations, world-wide stories of a flood, and more that would not fit into this article.

The flood explains much that is difficult to explain otherwise. We have heard of amazing theories, ranging from ancient astronauts to time travelers, which attempt to make sense of our ancient history. The Bible stories make at least as much sense as some of these.

  • 1Father Molinam, Relacion de las fabulas y ritos de los Yngas, in Fingerprints of the Gods, Graham Hancock, Crown Publishers, New York, 1995, p. 55.
  • 2Allan & Delair, Cataclysm!, Bear & Co., Santa Fe, 1997, p. 153.
  • 3 a b Ibid, pp. 155-157.
  • 4Velikovsky I, Deluge, in Part II of In the Beginning, found at http://www.varchive.org/itb/deluge.htm
  • 5Andree R., Die Flutsagen (1891); Sir J.G. Frazer, Folk-lore in the Old Testament (London, 1918); M. Winternitz, Die Flutsagen des Alterthums und des Natuervoelker
  • 6E.g., the Malaya story in Andree, Die Flutsagen, p. 29.
  • 7Cf. the Vatican Codex, first published by Humboldt and the accounts of Ixtlilxochitl and Veytia among others.
  • 8Cf. Caillot, A. C., Mythes, legendes, et traditions des Polynesiens (Paris, 1914); H. H. Howorth, The Mammoth and the Flood (London, 1887), pp. 455ff.
  • 9Berosus' story of the Deluge is quoted in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica Bk. IX, ch. 12, and in Cyril's Contra Julianum, Bk. I.

Methuselah - Over 4600 Years Old and Still Having Babies

Methuselah - Over 4600 Years Old and Still Having Babies
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 20:47

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

In the lead article of our March, 2003 issue, "Baby Picture," we focused on satellite pictures of cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) that NASA scientists claimed were "the best "baby picture" of the Universe ever taken." In this issue we focus on another "baby," one of a dozen baby bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) trees that are the subject of a recent, June 16, 2003, New York Times article. 1 This baby is about nine inches long with a green, bushy top and is the offspring of the oldest known living thing, a bristlecone pine tree named Methuselah."

Because of the remote location of Bristlecone forests (White Mountains of eastern California), you are not likely to have heard of or seen these trees, unless you are a creation scientist. For like the beauty of a flower, the incredible complexity of a living cell, the wonder of harmonious sound, and the perfect fit of the moon over the sun during a solar eclipse, these trees represent another "fingerprint" of God's wondrous creation.

Image
Figure 1

The Bristlecone pine became famous in scientific circles through the work of Dr. Edmund Schulman (1908-1958) of the University of Arizona. Through his study of their annual growth rings, a fairly precise method of dating has been obtained. During the summer of 1957, his last season of research, he discovered "Methuselah," a tree dating back 4600 years. 2 Though scientists continue to search the globe, 1 no older tree (or any other older living thing) has been discovered.

Animals and plants generally lose their ability to reproduce as they age. However, Bristlecone pines seem to be one exception, leading Le Roy Johnson, Forest Service manager of their preserve and former director of the Institute of Tree Genetics in Placerville, California, to state that they seem "capable of growing forever." 1 According to Mr. Johnson, the last time Methuselah is known to have reproduced itself (in the 1970's) "it had a 100 percent germination rate."  "That's more than we get on most trees, let alone the oldest tree in the world." All this begs the question, why are there no Bristlecone pines that are older than roughly 4,600 years?

Irish Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) used Genesis chapters 5 and 11 to compile genealogical chronologies that were widely accepted in his day. 3 Ussher placed the date of Noah's flood at 2350 B.C. and creation at 4004 B.C. 4  Other Biblical scholars have researched dates for the flood ranging from 3398 B.C. to 2348 B.C. and creation between 3760 B.C. and 5555 B.C. 2 Of course, these dates are scoffed at by "modern" evolutionists, but the Bristlecone pine research may actually verify them.

Image
Figure 2

With "Methuselah" dating back to around 2600 B.C, it seems quite possible that this oldest of Bristlecone pines has been growing since right after the flood. The actual date may be adjusted for extremely wet years which occurred in the past, as shown by the numerous dry lakes in the desert regions of eastern California and Nevada. Experiments have shown that trees can grow an extra ring every one to four years during unusually wet seasons. 5  These varied conditions could allow a slightly more recent date, which may even closely match Ussher's date of 2350 B.C.

Some have suggested much older dates for the flood, and ultimately creation based on the record of rings found in dead Bristlecone wood. Flood dates in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 years before present have been suggested. 6 However, it could be possible that the preserved dead wood grew in the period before the flood. These pre-flood trees could have remained in the same vicinity probably anchored as stumps, for the period of around a year until the flood waters receded. If the dead wood was still viable for sprigs and seeds, this would explain the continued existence of the Bristlecone pine forest in the same location.

The fact that dead wood from both on the trees and on the ground, provide a tree-ring record going back to proposed dates of around 6800 B.C. or earlier 7 may or may not cause a problem for the Ussher dating. The same argument for multiple ring growth in wet years could hold for the dead wood. In addition, creation had to involve some superficial appearance of earth history. Trees were likely created with tree-rings already in place. Rocks would likely have yielded old dates by the faulty radioisotope methods in use today. Even man and animals did not appear as infants. Nevertheless, even with only minor adjustments in the growth-ring-to-year correlation, most creation scientists would have no problem with a date of creation in the 6000-7000 B.C. range.

Image
Figure 3

This month, a ceremony is being planned to recognize the new Bristlecone offspring, and one will be presented to the United States Botanic Garden on the grounds of the Capitol.1   While the world admires them for their great age, we should recognize these marvelous and now famous trees as a record of God's relatively recent creation. Dendrochronology is certainly a science that provides facts which should make evolutionists uneasy and bear witness to the truth of Romans 1:20, that we have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing and trusting God and His word.

  • 1 a b c d Kinkead, Gwen. 2003. "At Age 4,600-Plus, Methuselah Pine Tree Begets New Offspring." New York Times, June 16, 2003.
  • 2 a b Miller, Brian. 1977. "Bristlecone Discovery Trail." Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Bishop, CA.
  • 3Morris, Dr. Henry M., 1976. The Genesis Record. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI., pp. 42-45, 280-285, 308-310, 675.
  • 4Morris Dr. Henry M. The Biblical Basis for Modern Science. Baker Book House Grand Rapids MI., 1984, pp. 449-454.
  • 5Lammerts, Walter E. 1983. "Are the Bristlecone Pine Trees Really So Old?" Creation Research Society Quarterly, 20, September, pp. 108-115.
  • 6Aardsma, Gerald E. 1993. "Tree-Rings Dating and Multiple Growth Ring Per Year." Creation Research Society Quarterly, 29, March, pp. 184-189.
  • 7Beasley, Greg J. 1993. "Long-Lived Trees: Their Possible Testimony to a Global Flood and Recent Creation." Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 7 (1), pp. 43-67.

Did dinosaurs evolve from birds?

Did dinosaurs evolve from birds?
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 21:01

By author

Joe Spears MS

You may have heard that dinosaurs evolved from birds. What evidence is there to support this?

According to http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/november/new1115d.htm a bird-like creature lived 75 million years before the dinosaurs.

Now, that makes it hard for dinosaurs to be the ancestors of birds; the descendants would have lived 75 million years before their ancestors.

Some evolutionists claim that birds evolved from running dinosaurs, while others claim that birds evolved from crocodilomorphs, reptiles that glided from trees.1

Each side of this issue has supported its claim by attempts to show why the other must be false. Before going into some of the details, one should note this salient point: if both sides show why the other could not possibly be true, then perhaps BOTH are untrue! Possibly, birds did not evolve from dinosaurs or reptiles at all.

In fact, there is now a position that holds that the opposite occurred—rather than birds evolving from dinosaurs, dinosaurs supposedly evolved from birds.2

Well, opinions may vary, and honest opinions at that. But note that these are opinions. The fossils are facts. Interpretations of them, especially varying interpretations among experts, may be considered as opinions.

Now, back to the first case: birds evolved from running dinosaurs. There have been reports of finds of "feathered dinosaurs". In 1996 there was a discovery of a so-called feathered dinosaur in China. It was named Sinosauropteryx prima.3

John Ostrom of Yale is the father of the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.4  Yet he himself found that so-called "feathers" of Sinosauropteryx prima were actually not feathers, but something else (possibly collagen fibers). Yet, this "discovery" is still described at http://www.peabody.yale.edu/exhibits/cfd/CFDsino.html as a feathered dinosaur. It was discovered in 1996, and Ostrom (and three other paleontologists) decided in 1997 that the "feathers" were not really feathers.

It is very interesting that the judgment that there were not any feathers on Sinosauropteryxcomes from the father of the dino-to-bird theory. We do not expect bias from someone like this. And we would expect any bias to be in the opposite direction.

In reading the book Refuting Evolution5  recently, I was struck by one point—how often evolutionists themselves will argue against one specific species' evolution from another, though still believing in evolution. I have heard it described like this: experts in one area know that one certain species didn't evolve from some other specific species; however, they think that some other species did—another species which they are not expert on. But experts on that other species can be found to deny its evolution, although they believe in evolution of other species, and so on.

There are some other so-called feathered dinosaurs mentioned at the web site referred to above. Two of these are dated at 120 million years old. Yet these ancestors of birds lived after, not before, true birds (140-150 million years ago). How can they be ancestors of birds and live after birds? One researcher claims it is impossible for these animals to evolve into birds. 6

I note that, when you look at the evidence closely, you see little problems like this—details that throw a monkey-wrench into the theory. There seem to be many of these.

One study indicates that the bones that make up the wings and feet of birds and the theropod dinosaurs are not derived from the same digits. This argues against birds having evolved from dinosaurs.7

Well, if dinosaurs didn't evolve into birds, maybe some other reptile did. This is known as the arboreal theory. James Carey from UC-Davis asserts,

"If the arboreal theory were accurate, birds' early ancestors would more likely have been four-legged creatures that developed membranes between their front and back legs, much like flying squirrels or bats".1  He holds that such is not the case.

Bird lungs are interesting. They don't expand and contract as do other animals' lungs. Air is taken in and flows out in one direction, while blood flows another direction. This increases the oxygen transfer from air to blood. The problem with this is that it is useful only to birds flying high, where there is little oxygen. Bats fly and do quite well without this mechanism. 8 , 9

So, what is the problem? Evolution says that the useful, survival-enhancing characteristics are selected for. However, for a gliding tree-dwelling reptile, such a lung would not be advantageous or necessary. It would be even less so for a land-dwelling dinosaur. Again, this is another little detail and problem for evolution.

In the reptile, air flows in and out of the lungs in opposite directions, but in the bird, as stated previously, air flows in one direction. Evolution from reptiles to birds would require some intermediate stage. An intermediate or transitional animal having transitional lungs would find its lungs useless. This would not be a survival-enhancing condition.

Bird feathers supposedly evolved from reptilian scales; yet it can be argued that feathers are closer to mammalian hair than to reptilian scales.10  What stands out to me is that the "feathered dinosaur" has been described as "proof" of evolution—that birds evolved from dinosaurs—and yet we see experts (who are not creationists) claiming that birds could not have evolved from dinosaurs.

Archaeoraptor, though described as a feathered dinosaur, appears to be either a fraud or a mistake—in either case, not what it was claimed to have been.11

Of course, there is also the theory that dinosaurs evolved from birds rather than birds evolving from dinosaurs.12  So we see that in spite of the attention devoted to "feathered fossils", there really is little evidence, and it has not been absolutely proven that birds evolved from dinosaurs, even according to some evolutionists themselves.

Hurricane Isabel – Offspring of a Loving God?

Hurricane Isabel – Offspring of a Loving God?
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 22:59

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

The Raleigh News and Observer dedicated four pages of prelim coverage to the catastrophic event, with headlines such as "Shelters Ready as Isabel Heads for 1 PM Landfall," "Schools Are Closed from Triangle to the Coast" and "Trains, Some Flights, Performances Canceled." On Wednesday evening, September 17, several Public Health Service (PHS) comrades and I received voice mail messages from the Secretary [for the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services] Command Center (DHHS) with orders to report to the North Carolina State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Raleigh and assist in determining the need for Federal support. On Thursday, September 18, 1:00 pm, the eye of Hurricane Isabel passed over Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Based on my previous experiences with such events [usually from the comfort of my home], I imagine that the story that unfolded in the public eye through news accounts and pictures was primarily one of destruction, confusion, frustration and disappointment. While our hearts go out to those who suffered loss, my comrades and I were at the same time deeply moved by the practiced, professional, heroic and uplifting response of many individuals from several organizations that encompassed the NC State Emergency Response Team (SERT). From this experience we gained a very different perspective of this catastrophic event.

Hurricanes, destructive and disruptive as they may seem when they strike land, are important for life-essential balances on Earth. 1 Researchers have shown that hurricanes play a vital role in sustaining the right range of temperatures for life. They counterbalance the ocean's tendency to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This leaching, if unchecked, would result in a catastrophic cooling of the planet. During the summer of 1995, three hurricanes over the Sargasso Sea increased the flow of carbon dioxide from the water to the atmosphere by more than fifty percent. 2  So, hurricanes pull carbon dioxide from the ocean, collect it in one place and redistribute it to the atmosphere for the benefit of the planet. In much the same way, my comrades and I found that a hurricane can also collect people from the ocean of humanity, collect them in one place and redistribute them back into society, changed in a way that will help them better serve their fellow man.

On Thursday, the day Isabel hit the North Carolina coast, nearly 800,000 families, and many hospitals were left without power. By Sunday, thanks to the efforts of several area power companies, the National Guard, Civil Air and others, less than 100,000 families were without power and all hospitals were operational. Many generators had to be distributed by air due to road closings. On Thursday, Red Cross shelters in 26 counties were filled with nearly 2,000 people. By Sunday, just 133 people were reported in five shelters. On Thursday, the 3,000 residents of Hatteras Island that had not evacuated were stranded due to a new 300 yard inlet that cut them off from the rest of society. Their access road (State Route 12) was completely buried by water and sand for miles. By Sunday, the State of North Carolina and the National Guard had supplied them with all their needs, including generators and food supplies, an entire trailer of which was airlifted to the site. On Thursday, most of the residents of the Northeast quadrant of North Carolina did not have clean potable water, causing the implementation of a water boil advisory/warning. By Sunday, water plants in the region were back in operation and all residents had access to clean, potable water. Throughout all this, I felt and heard people calling out to God in unified prayer. Together pledging their allegiance to Him and our flag.

Meteorologists affirm that too many or too few hurricanes would spell disaster for advanced life on Earth. We can also contest to the fact that hurricanes draw people together to work and pray in a way that unites them and ignites them for a common worldly and heavenly good. The fact that their frequency and intensity fall into precisely the right range for life support provides one more piece of evidence that God carefully designed Earth with the necessities of life in mind.

  • 1Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 2nd ed., (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1995), p. 136.
  • 2Nicholas R. Bates, Anthony H. Knap, and Anthony F. Michaels, Contribution of Hurricanes to Local and Global Estimates of Air-Sea Exchange of CO2, Nature, 395 (September 3, 1998), pp. 58-61.

The Biblical Creation Account

The Biblical Creation Account
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 23:20

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

Occasionally it's good to review what you believe and why you believe it. For those who adhere to a literal interpretation of Genesis and believe in a young earth, scripture is the first, final and unrivaled authority on the questions of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of man, and the age of the earth. Young Earth Creationists (sometimes referred to as "YECs") believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God to which the ever-changing theories of fallible man cannot hold a candle. We know that the observable facts of science are consistent with the YEC view even when the "facts" and theories of materialistic scientism are not.

There were no human eyewitnesses to the creation of the universe, the earth, and life. It is for this reason man on his own can never really know what happened. But there were eyewitnesses. The triune God was there and has communicated his observations to us via Moses in scripture. God's Word is as true as any observable fact of science. For this reason, one must take both the facts of scripture and science into account when considering origins. Scientific theories (e.g., macroevolution) which are not in agreement with the clear teachings of scripture are wrong by definition; science is always subordinate to scripture, never vice-versa, nor should they be given equal weight. When science and scripture seem at odds, scripture is given the benefit of the doubt; science usually catches up to scripture—eventually.

Image
Figure 1

There are many biblical reasons to accept the YEC position and reject alternative views such as theistic evolution, the gap theory, the day-age theory, progressive creation, the framework hypothesis, etc. First, the order of the events during the creation week are completely inimical to any cosmological, geological, and/or biological evolutionary account. Second, the original language of Genesis clearly indicates that the creation of all things was accomplished in 6 literal 24 hour days. Third, physical death does not enter the scene until after the Fall, making biological evolution impossible. Fourth, the creation account is always treated as history by Bible authors, never as allegory. Fifth, observed scientific facts and well established natural laws are completely harmonious with the biblical account. The creation account explains the origin of information in living things and the precise tuning of physical laws that support life while naturalism can only offer uncertain and improbable speculation. The existence of the universe itself is explained by creation but is beyond the reach of science to explain.

The order of some the events during creation week and in the standard evolutionary scenario are contrasted in the table on the following page.

It is clear from these few examples that God did not create in a way that even remotely resembles modern evolutionary thinking. It may be that God created in this way so there could be no mistaking Genesis for an allegory to some naturalistic scenario. Making the creation days into vast time spans will not make the sequence problem go away. For example, how does the passage of millions of years between the emergence of plants (day 3) and the sun (day 4) help reconcile scripture with evolution?

The meaning of the word "day" in Genesis 1 is clearly a normal 24 hour period. Although the Hebrew word yom translated "day" throughout Genesis 1 can denote time spans longer than a literal day, the context of its use in Genesis 1 and comparison with other scripture leave little doubt of its intended meaning. For example, each day during the creation week (e.g., Gen 1:5) is described as having an evening and a morning (except day 7). When God separates light from the darkness (Gen 1:4-5), He calls the light "day" and the darkness "night." Does it make sense to call a time span of billions of years "light"? The meaning of yom in Genesis 1 is also made clear by reading Exodus 20:9-11:

Creation

Evolution
Earth created (day 1) before sun and stars (day 4)
(Gen 1:1,14-18)
Earth formed after stars
Earth initially covered with water (Gen 1:2) No oceans for 1st 0.8 Gyrs
Light before stars (Gen 1:3, 14-18) Light after stars
Ocean before atmosphere (Gen 1:2, 6; day 2) Atmosphere before ocean
Plants created (day 3) before sun (day 4) (Gen 1:11-18) Plants evolved later and after sun
Fish, sea mammals, and birds created simultaneously on 
day 5 (Gen 1:20-23)
Fish evolved before birds; whales after land animals
Land animals and humans created simultaneously 
(Gen 1: 24-28)
Animals evolved before humans
Only two people at start (Gen 2:21-24) Humans evolved as a population of individuals
God created universe fully formed in six days (Gen 1:31) Evolution of cosmos from big bang over billions of years
Death a result of Adam's sin (Gen 3:17-19, Rom 5:13-19) Death always present—key to natural selection and engine of evolution
Animals herbivores until after the Fall (Gen 1:29-30) Carnivorous animals evolved naturally
Original sin imparted to all of Adam's descendants
(Rom 5:13-19)
Adam not the first man since men would have evolved as a population of individuals
God created all life instantaneously and fully formed Life evolved over billions of years through a cruel "survival of the fittest" process.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.(KJV)

Every occurrence of the word "day" in the above passage is yom in the original text. In the first part of the passage, God is clearly referring to six literal 24 hour days when instructing the people when to work and rest. God's rationale for this pattern is his own activity during creation week. The same comparison made between man's work week and God's creation week is echoed in Ex 31:15-17. Clearly, 24 hour days are in view in these passages. It is also significant that most commentators prior to the 19th century understood the days of Genesis 1 as 24 hour days; it was only after the rise of Darwinism and associated geological theories that people began to try to make scripture accommodate long ages.

Scripture clearly teaches (Rom 5:12-19) that the physical and spiritual death of men entered the picture after the Fall. 1 Because of Adam's sin, the ground was cursed (Gen 3:17-18) resulting in poor crop yields and useless/harmful plant species, Eve's childbirth would be more painful (Gen 3:16), Adam would have to work hard to have food (Gen 3:19), Adam and Eve would eventually die (Gen 3:19), and the entire creation was cursed (Rom 8:20-22) and, as a result, is perishing (Heb 1:10-11). Although not explicitly stated, animals were also under the curse as evidenced the following facts: (1) God originally provided plants for the food of animals (Gen 1:29-30); (2) when Christ sets up His kingdom on the earth, the animals and man will dwell together without any prey/predator relationships (Is 11:6-9), even the lion will eat straw (Is 11:7). God considered the initial creation "very good" (Gen 1: 31) and yet will make a new heavens and earth at the end of history (Rev 21:1) which is devoid of death (Rev 21:4). If physical death of man and animals was a part of God's original plan, why would God call his original creation "very good" but then plan to remake the creation without death or carnivorous activity? Clearly, man's sin resulted in physical death being passed upon himself and the animal kingdom. And not only this, but apparently some animal species were modified/degraded from their original design by the Fall to become carnivorous, parasitical, poisonous, etc. Now since the physical death of man and animals was not in the world until after the Fall, the evolution of animals and man would have been impossible. Evolution involves the "survival of the fittest" as the selection mechanism which allegedly leads to macroevolution, but there can be no evolution where all survive. Also, why would an all loving omnipotent God use a cruel drawn out process to create man and the animals when He could simply speak them into existence? On the contrary, Christ came to destroy death (1 Cor 15:26-27, 54-55; 2 Tim 1:10; Rev 20:14, 21:4); death was never a part of the original plan nor is it consistent with God's character. Therefore, all theistic evolutionary scenarios are false. Another implication is that there would not have been the possibility of a fossil record prior to the Fall, making it clear that the fossil record was formed primarily as a result of the flood.

Some believe that the first few chapters of Genesis are written as poetry or allegory and therefore should not be taken as literal history. However, when reference is made to the creation account by various Bible authors, we find that the account is taken at face value. For example, an historical/literal understanding of Genesis is seen in the writings of David (Ps 8:3; 33:6-9; 104:19; 148:3-5), Peter (2 Pet 3:5), the author of Hebrews (Heb 1:10), Paul (I Cor 15:45-47), John (Jn 1:1-3; Rev 2:7, compare Gen 2:9), Matthew (quoting Christ in Matt 19:5), and Mark (Mk 10:7) to name a few. Indeed, if Adam was not the first literal man from whom all have descended but merely a symbol of men who fall to temptation, there are serious theological implications. If men evolved, they did so as a population of individuals so that Adam would not have been the first man but merely one of a group of individuals. Therefore, sin would not have been imputed to those who were not Adam's direct descendants meaning there would have been some who would not have been under the curse or in need of Christ as a savior. But this idea clearly contradicts the clear teaching of scripture that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23, 5:12) and that Adam was the first man and the father of us all. So, we see that the creation account should be understood as history, nothing less.

The facts of science and well established natural laws are consistent with the Genesis creation account. Science has no answer for where the universe came from seeing it is of a finite age. There is simply no scientific principle which can explain the origin of something from nothing. Indeed, the First Law of Thermodynamics forbids this. However, we know from scripture that God did just that: He created (Hebrew bara) the universe by the word of his mouth from nothing (ex nihilo). There is no natural explanation for the fact that the four fundamental forces of nature (gravity, the strong force, the weak force, and electromagnetism) are exactly what they must be within narrow tolerances for life to exist on Earth. Nor is there any evidence that chance and natural processes can create the complex specified information (CSI) found in living things. Indeed the Law of Conservation of Information constrains the creation of CSI to intelligent agencies. Explanations such as the Anthropic Principle, parallel universes, quantum foam, and a multiverse are either non-explanations or highly speculative at best. The spontaneous generation of life and macroevolution have never been observed, despite them both being proclaimed as undisputed "fact." The universe smacks of design everywhere we look and naturalism's impotence to explain these phenomena is just as pervasive. Documented rapid geologic processes such as canyon formation, coal formation, stalactite and stalagmite formation, sedimentary layer formation, accelerated radioactive decay, and others are completely consistent with a recent creation and the Flood catastrophe in Genesis.

In conclusion, the weight of the biblical and scientific evidence clearly support the literal young earth creation view. God has set things up so that we must trust in Him; He has left some things mysterious and unanswered (Eccl 3:11, 8:17). Our confidence should be in God's Word through faith (Heb 11:1-3) and not in the wisdom and philosophies of the world (Rom 1:19-25; Col 2:8; Eph 4:17-20; Prov 3:5-7; 26:12; 28:26; Psalm 14:1; 1 Cor 1:19-31). Ô

  • 1The life of plants is considered different from the life of animals in scripture. This can be seen in God's rejection of Cain's sacrifice (Gen 4:3,5) and the requirement of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Matt 26:28; Heb 9:22). Plants were created to provide food for man and animals (Gen 1:29-30) so that their "death" was always a part of God's original intentions for his creation.

Evidence Concerning Creation and Evolution

Evidence Concerning Creation and Evolution
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 23:35

By author

Joe Spears MS

It seems to me that the "controversy" over creation and evolution exists at several levels. There is one level at which claims and counter-claims are made—"The facts prove evolution. Millions of fossils can't be wrong" versus "Creation is true." There is another level at which the facts reside. And there is a third  "research" level, at which research can be conducted to try to determine the facts.

Some have decided to look at the evidence, rather than deal with the issue at the level of claims and counter-claims. In looking at the evidence, several people have been struck by the paucity—some would call it absolute lack—of evidence supporting evolution. Yet on the other hand, others have claimed that evolution is supported by much evidence.

Among those struck by the lack of evidence are some noteworthy examples. Dr. Gary Parker is one. He once wrote biology textbooks which were used in many schools and which taught evolution. However, when he began to learn more about evolution, he began to believe less and less in it until he finally became a creationist! And this, remember, is after he examined the evidence of—or lack thereof—more closely.

Another scientist who has come to see that random mutation could not possibly account for evolution is Dr. Lee Spetner. Dr. Spetner has a Ph.D. in physics from MIT, has published papers on evolution, and has taught at Johns Hopkins University and Howard University. Although he has put forth a theory that evolution occurs by means of some non-random mechanism which cannot yet be totally explained, he claims that neo-Darwinian evolution by means of random mutations is impossible. He has researched and taught information processing and believes information theory shows that neo-Darwinian evolution could not have occurred. He does not claim that evolution via mutations never happened—only that it must have been non-random. Although he argues for evolution by some other mechanism, the point here is that he argues against the random mutation-based, neo-Darwinian evolution. In fact, he has titled his book Not by Chance! Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution (The Judaica Press, Inc., Brooklyn, 1998).

Concerning looking at the evidence, William Fix notes, in quoting Robert Broom (The Bone Peddlers—Selling Evolution, Macmillan, New York, 1984. p. 240):

Now it seems to me difficult to avoid the conclusion that behind the various devices for cross-fertilization in flowers, and the various arrangements for seed dispersal, there is intelligence somewhere. Fortuitous mutation or variation seems too far-fetched.

Incidentally, Broom discovered Australopithecus robustus and collaborated with Raymond Dart, who discovered Australopithecus africanus. This is an observation of an evolutionist worth paying attention to.

There are other examples of Fix's findings which I shall describe below, but the question naturally arises, Why? Why would anyone adhere to a theory in disagreement with the facts? Especially, why should a scientist?

Let us try to answer some of these questions. First, science being an exploration into new territory, one might expect some mistakes. After all, Daniel Boone's blazing a trial is different from our driving to the corner market! Certainly, early experiments and early evidence might lead one to a theory which later evidence might be able to disprove. The evidence may be rudimentary at the time of the theory's proposal. It is possible that some key facts were not ignored intentionally, but simply were not available or were not known early enough in the development of the theory. Perhaps scientists didn't have enough data to allow them to understand or determine the truth, so they guessed. Although we want to avoid jumping to erroneous conclusions, scientists like to theorize. It's their job. And theories are useful as guesses to explain the facts, but then let's be certain to call it a theory and not a fact.

This is where emotion and possibly other human factors (described below) can cause scientists to take an unwarranted dogmatic about position. Scientists, after all, are human. This may seem obvious, but it is worth repeating and reemphasizing and reiterating. They are human. As such, scientists may have an emotional attachment to an idea and adhere to it in spite of evidence to the contrary. Some scientists have been known to "fudge" their data; that is, to deliberately falsify evidence. Of course, not all scientists are actively involved in falsifying their data.

Another factor is that people—scientists included—may simply accept what they have been taught. They may not have actually checked out all the facts. They may accept the conclusions of their teachers without question.

Another factor to consider is what we might call peer pressure. If one sees all one's peers—be they scientists or teenagers—adhering to a certain idea, there might be some reluctance to espouse ideas at variance with the status quo. Yes, scientists are not supposed to do that, but recall, they are human.

Then there is the possibility of wanting to rid themselves of any personal responsibility, such as would be imposed by a supernatural creator. Without creation, without God, there are no rules from God for them to obey. They can do what they want.

For whatever reasons the scientist believes the theory is correct, that theory may simply be difficult to dislodge. Once convinced of the truth of a matter, some people become fixed with their opinion and ignore contradictory evidence, since the issue has already been decided in their minds.

Well, these reasons might sound plausible, but in reality aren't scientists more objective than this? Let's look at what some researchers have to say, some of whom are not creationists.

One such is William Fix, the author of The Bone Peddlers—Selling Evolution, already mentioned above. But Fix cannot be said to be a strict anti-evolution creationist, for he says (p. 313):

...it appears that both creationists and evolutionists are correct to some extent...

Concerning whether scientists are truly always objective, he goes on to say:

The greatest impediment to the advancement of science is not lack of evidence but lack of perspective. They can become so committed to a particular stance that they forfeit their detachment. At one time or another, respected authorities have declared that it was impossible that the earth could be a sphere, impossible that it could turn on its axis, impossible that matter could spontaneously decompose (which we know happens with radioactive elements), impossible that man could fly, impossible that man could break free of the earth's gravitational field.

I began my deeper researches into the question of evolution in a position I described as "middle of the road. ...the direct evidence from the fossil record is even weaker than I had thought, and what there is is much distorted by wishful thinking and, again, by wild extrapolation. ...

I next discovered the amazing fact, ...that almost every ancestor of man ever proposed suffers from disqualifying liabilities that are not widely publicized. I gradually came to realize that the presentation of fossil evidence for human evolution has long been and still is more of a market phenomenon than a disinterested scientific exercise. ...

I next discovered the amazing fact, ...that almost every ancestor of man ever proposed suffers from disqualifying liabilities that are not widely publicized. I gradually came to realize that the presentation of fossil evidence for human evolution has long been and still is more of a market phenomenon than a disinterested scientific exercise. ...

Again and again these proposed ancestors have been discredited by subsequent discoveries.

The withdrawal of these so-called pre-human ancestor candidates indicates that the proposal of them as human ancestor was premature. Perhaps these may have been better presented as a possible ancestors than as absolutes. Yet Fix states his observation of the extreme position taken in evolutionists' statements, such as that of the late Stephen J. Gould:

That evolution occurred is a fact. People evolved from ape ancestors ...

while Fix says of another evolutionist:

...Kurten is a respected scientist of international reputation. He is also a thoroughgoing evolutionist. But contrary to Gould's flat statement that people evolved from apes, ...according to Kurten, it would be more accurate to say that the apes descended from man! ...It is one thing to express an opinion ... It is quite another to declare that the answer has been found and that there is no uncertainty about the matter...

Perhaps you have an opinion on the reality of evolution. Perhaps you may benefit by asking yourself, "Is this opinion based on evidence? Or is it based on claims? Do I know of reason to believe what I do concerning evolution? Am I accepting someone else's authority?"

Above we read of the humanness of scientists. So, we might say, "Why not give them some slack—people make mistakes!" Yes, they do. And research may give hints and suggestions to things, some might say, that later, more complete evidence and research may show to have been wrong. Yet, it may have been the best that could be done when it was initially proposed—before all the evidence was in.

Yes, later evidence may change the conclusions based on earlier, less comprehensive evidence. Then, in such a case, why not call such a proposal a theory, rather than a fact?

Yet Fix observes that there have been claims that evolution is a fact and that the evidence has proven it.

The evidence cannot be said to be all in support of evolution, as we shall see from the glimpse below. Yet, Fix claims that the extreme support of evolution as fact and of the existence of certain pre-human ancestors as fact was espoused by a majority of researchers:

...anthropologists... were victims of their own imaginations... Defenders... will no doubt protest that no one is infallible... But we are dealing here with more than an unfortunate minority... it would seem...most of the profession... it is a matter of record that not a few, but most, of the ancestors of man endorsed by eminent students over the years have later had to be recalled.

Such an extreme statement of evolution was noticed by Fix as being put forth by several people and/or organizations. This struck Fix as unwarranted by the evidence and almost dogmatic. He looked more into the matter and wrote a book about the problems with evolution.

Here is some of what he and others have discovered and written about the matter. These are examples that once were supposedly facts but have since had to be rescinded.

Piltdown man was quite famous for years, based on a skull found in 1912. However, in 1953 it was discovered that the skull was a deliberate hoax. The teeth had been filed, the jaw stained to appear old, and the jaw came from an orangutan.

In 1922, a single tooth led to the description of Nebraska man as our ancestor. Yet when other bones were found a few years later, it was revealed that Nebraska man was a pig!

Concerning Ramapithecus, Fix says (p. 232):

 "The supposedly parabolic and thus human shape imputed to the Ramapithecus jaw was based on a reconstruction from two pieces of upper jaw. ...there was no midline the center of the palate... Thus the reconstructed shape, ...widely accepted by most anthropologists, was in fact purely conjectural. ...The speculative nature of the reconstruction...became painfully obvious when the first complete Ramapithecus lower jaw was recently found. This jaw is rather V-shaped, making it unlike either the parabolic-shaped human jaw, or most ape jaws, which have parallel sides. ...Ramapithecus was in the books as our Miocene ancestor for fifteen years....

There many more examples, both in Fix's book and in other sources, of erroneous "evidence" of evolution. For example, dating methods have been brought into question. A living animal has been dated to 600 BC, and a historically recent lava flow has been potassium-argon dated to be over 2 billion years old.

We won't look into more examples here because of space. But, suffice it to say, the evidence for evolution is not so clear-cut as some might think, based on hearing only the claims. Looking at the evidence leads one to another conclusion.

One last quote from Fix:

There is one conclusion I would emphasize. To give schoolchildren or anyone else the impression that the only scientific way to explain man is by slow evolution from the animal kingdom is totally unwarranted by the positive facts and a serious abuse of the public trust. It is also a disservice to the scientific enterprise. I hasten to add ...that I am not promoting a literal reading of the first chapters of Genesis. Indeed, I am convinced that the emergence of man is a far deeper mystery than either creationists or evolutionists contend. ...But it is safe to say that when the problem of man's origin is considered holistically, it is thoroughly possible to doubt the man-from-animal theory without being either misinformed or a rock-bottom fundamentalist. ...

If you want to look more into the evidence, you are invited to a TASC meeting. TASC has presentations on these topics at the meetings as well as books and videos you can purchase that deal with these issues.

2004

2004 TASC Sat, 03/16/2019 - 22:27

An Ounce of God-Ordained Prevention is Worth a Ton of Worldly Cure

An Ounce of God-Ordained Prevention is Worth a Ton of Worldly Cure
TASC Tue, 05/08/2018 - 23:53

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

According to the Center for Disease Control, this year's flu season is the worst this country has experienced in years. The CDC reports that flu is widespread in at least 13 states, and only Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. have reported no cases (USATODAY.com - Flu Shot Shortage is Feared, Dec., 17, 2003). Hospitals in Arizona and North Carolina report patients swamping pediatric emergency rooms. Health departments are scrambling to get vaccines. Paper masks are being handed out in waiting rooms. Doctors in places such as the Vanderbilt Medical Center are discouraging most flu patients from visiting the emergency room because of increased wait times, the danger of increased spreading of the illness and because, according to Vanderbilt spokesman John Howser, "There's no treatment that will make flu go away."  (CNN.com - Flu Sufferers Jam Emergency Rooms, Dec. 17, 2003). January 2004

An Ounce of God-Ordained Prevention is Worth a Ton of Worldly Cure

Because there is no curative treatment for the flu, methods to prevent its spread are truly critical. According to the CDC, the best ways to prevent the flu are such measures as vaccinations, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, washing your hands, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth (CDC.gov - Preventing the Flu, Dec. 18, 2003). Thus, after thousands of years of fighting the common cold and flu, man's best preventative strategies are still to bolster the immune system that God so wisely designed and to put in practice preventative measures that He so thoughtfully ordained.

Image
Figure 1

Our Immune System

The immune system is the defense mechanism in each person that helps our bodies fight disease. When you get an infection, your body reacts by producing substances called antibodies. These antibodies fight the invading antigen (virus or bacteria) and help you get over the illness. The antibodies usually stay in your system, even after the disease has gone, and protect you from getting the same disease again. This is called immunity. Vaccines are made from disease causing viruses (and bacteria) that are killed or weakened. Vaccines make the body think it is being invaded by a specific organism, and the body reacts by producing antibodies. Then, if a person is exposed to the organism in the future, he or she is protected. In this way, vaccines or "immunizations" strengthen our natural God-given immune defenses against a specific infection.

An interesting question one could ask is whether this immune system was necessary prior to the Fall? On the one hand, because God is omniscient and foreknew the Fall, He certainly would have known that the immune system would be needed. On the other hand, the immune system does not only protect against disease, it also helps the body to distinguish between self and non-self. For instance, it helps to keep the normal bacteria in our colon from spreading into the bloodstream where it would be harmful. Since such helpful bacteria would likely have existed before the Fall, it is likely that our immune system was present to shepherd them in this way (www.answersingenesis.org, Vaccines and Genesis, Nov. 4, 2002).

Preventative Measures

As was mentioned earlier, CDC advocates that the best ways to prevent the flu outside of vaccinations and medications are to avoid close contact with people who are sick, wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  CDC also advises the sick to stay home and cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. This may seem obvious to us today. However, just 128 years ago, before Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch proved that disease is passed from one individual to another through germs, physicians believed that disease-producing organisms arose spontaneously from within a patient's body. Yet, God through the Bible had a lot to say about sanitation and hygiene 3,500 years before Pasteur and Koch were born.

The instructions recorded by Moses in Leviticus, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are strikingly similar to modern disease-prevention techniques. They pertain to:

  • childbirth [Leviticus 12:2,3]
  • sexual relationships [Leviticus 18,20:10-16; Exodus 20:14]
  • hand-washing [Numbers 19:11-13,19; Leviticus 11:24-28,40]
  • wound and discharge care [see also Leviticus 15:2-11, 17:11]
  • quarantining [Leviticus 13:1-14:57; Numbers 5:2-4; Deuteronomy 23:10]
  • burial precautions [Numbers 19:11,14-16,19,22; Leviticus 11:24-28,40]
  • waste disposal [Deuteronomy 23:12-14; Leviticus 11:33, 13:47-58, 15:12]

These Mosaic rules regarding hygiene were thousands of years ahead of their time. For example, it wasn't until a little more than 100 years ago that precautions such as "no touch" surgical and dressing techniques were instituted in modern medical facilities to prevent disease from spreading (Creation 26(1), December 2003 - The First Book of Public Hygiene). According to Dr. Rex Russell in his 1996 publication titled "What the Bible says about health living,"

"Results have always been impressive when biblical standards for health and hygiene are followed. Roman Empire, Roman cities and camps planned their sewage and cisterns in the center of their compounds...leaving themselves vulnerable to seeping epidemics and plagues. In contrast, both Jewish and Muslim communities in many eras have been spared such tragedies...Did jealousy regarding this apparent 'favoritism,' as well as rapid spread of the faith around the world and the early Christian refusal to pay homage to the gods of Rome, play together to make Rome want to persecute Christians?"

According to Dr. Russell, a similar reaction was seen in the opponents of the Jews during the "black plague" that killed millions during the middle ages. Many European Jews likely suffered great persecution because others noticed they were spared the disease.

In accordance with Leviticus 13:1-14:57, if there was any doubt as to the certainty of a diagnosis, the person was to be isolated for observation (quarantined). Once a person was diagnosed with a contagious condition, he was to stay outside of the camp "all the days wherein the plague shall be in him."  Moreover, he was required to wear a covering over his mouth, and to warn others by shouting "Unclean, unclean! (Numbers 5:2-4; Leviticus 13:45-46).

Thousands of years later, in response to the current flu epidemic, modern day doctors are using techniques similar to those prescribed by God through Moses. Those sick with the flu are being asked to quarantine themselves and to stay away from emergency rooms for fear of further infections. Sick individuals who do show up at emergency rooms are given paper masks for the protection of others. Hospital professionals practice careful hand-washing and waste disposal methods. Moses may not have understood the basis for these modern medicine practices, but God certainly did. And God offered this sound advice to the people of Israel in 1500 BC that we would do well to continue to heed today:

"If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you." (Exodus 15:26)

Revolutions

Revolutions
TASC Wed, 05/09/2018 - 00:09

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

Those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s lived through a revolutionary transformation of Western culture from a Judea-Christian worldview to the prevailing secular views of today. The turbulent sixties saw the assassination of president Kennedy, the Vietnam war, the emergence of rock'n roll, the rise of radical feminism, the "sexual revolution," the emergence of the drug culture, the space race culminating with the landing of man on the moon, the Civil Rights movement, the "generation gap," Woodstock, the banning of school prayer, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the nuclear arms race, the peace movement, hippies, the rise of the "counter culture," the rise of Eastern Mysticism, the rise of the ecology movement, founding of the "Great Society," mini-skirts, and so on. In the early 1970s we had the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, which gave us mass murder via abortion. The mantras of the day were: "tune in, turn on, drop out," "if it feels good do it," "peace and love," "make love not war," etc. The prevailing ethic changed from "love thy neighbor as thyself" to "do what you want as long as you don't hurt anyone else." A generation turned its back on its parents and their culture to embrace a new and "better " way presumably free from materialism, greed, aggression, and hypocrisy.

This new worldview rejected Christianity and embraced either secular humanism, the idea that people can solve all their problems without God, or pantheism, the eastern idea that everything in the universe is God in evolution. The new values became world peace, personal peace, affluence, ecology, and hedonism. The only absolute became that there were no absolutes. Absolute truth either didn't exist or was unknowable; truth was merely relative to the individual.

Man was assumed to be basically good or a blank slate without need for redemption or forgiveness. Indeed, by assuming evolution, man came to be viewed as just another animal with no special place in the world. At the same time, animals came to be regarded as having "rights" which could even supercede the rights of people. Man as an animal looses his dignity, moral responsibility, and accountability. His loss of dignity is reflected in the broad acceptance of abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, and suicide.

Naturalism, the belief that the universe is self-subsistent and evolving via natural processes, became the bedrock upon which all secular philosophies were built. Christianity was seen as archaic, sexually repressive, unscientific, sexist, racist, divisive, and just plain dangerous.

The seeds of the sixties and seventies are now evident in rampant pornography, rampant teen pregnancy, "safe sex," high crime rate, high divorce rate, unmarried couples "living together," corruption in business and government, the rejection of Christianity by the "intellectual elite," the AIDS epidemic, the persecution of Christians in schools, homosexual "clergy," homosexual "rights," the "tolerance" movement, the rise of  "scientism," a liberal activist judiciary which legislates from the bench, the elimination of prayer at school functions, the erection of the "wall of separation between church and state," pedophilic priests, mass killings in our schools by our youth, the decline in education and test scores, the debt crisis, etc. The impact of the secularist world view can readily be seen in movies, television, music, art, and advertising. The church has been scandalized by adulterous evangelists and preachers, compromised by liberal theologians, and intimidated by the liberal media and academia. The left is trying to eliminate Christianity from public life through the media, in our schools, and through our government. Christians in the media are portrayed as ignorant, bigoted, hypocritical, greedy, deceptive, weak, control freaks, irrelevant, full of hate, prejudice, etc. Speaking out against homosexuality is thought of as "hate speech." The public schools with the help of Planned Parenthood distribute condoms to our youth, provide abortion counseling, claim all "sexual orientations" are equally good and valid, and attempt to drive a wedge between children and their parents by rendering "reproductive services" without parental consent. Students are often prohibited from expressing a Christian viewpoint in class or in projects to facilitate "inclusiveness and diversity" among students and to uphold "the wall of separation between church and state."

Naturalism is the fatal fallacy of secularism. Remove naturalism and the rest of the secular edifice crumbles leaving theism as the only foundation to build on. Presumably, science has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that life evolved by natural processes alone, and the universe is merely the inevitable outworking of quantum mechanics. However, science is baffled by the most fundamental questions of our existence. We still don't know where the original matter-energy came from and why it consisted of matter only (no antimatter). We don't know what caused the inhomogeniety in the early universe that allegedly lead to the formation of stars and galaxies. There is no explanation for the chemical origin of life, just a faithful acceptance of it. No one knows how the complex specified information found in biochemicals got there. No one has satisfactorily explained how the theory of evolution and the inverted cone of diversity found in the fossil record can be reconciled. Macroevolution has never been adequately explained in terms of information. Astronomers now say the universe consists primarily of dark matter and dark energy, entities which are poorly understood at best. Some scientists consciously deny the evidence for intelligent design in nature; evolutionist Richard Dawkins says that biologists must constantly remind themselves that what they are studying was not designed.

The truth of the matter is that naturalism is a failed enterprise; only its faithful adherents believe the missing answers will be found. It is clear that naturalism is just a philosophy that leaves much to be desired. Those who hold to it do so for emotional and religious reasons and not because of scientific evidence, their objections notwithstanding. Romans 1:19-32 explains what has happened in our culture and many before it:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
 - Romans 1:19-32 (NASB)

Prayer and godly living are our best weapons against this trend, as the scriptures explain:

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
 - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

The revolution of the sixties has lead to much ungodliness in our culture. The revolution was nothing new but simply the same deception Satan has perpetrated upon sinful man since the beginning. It's time that we Christians have a revolution as well, standing firm in what we believe such as the doctrines of creation and redemption, praying and depending on the Lord, and speaking the truth in love to our generation:

"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
 - 2 Tim 2:25-26 (KJV)

The Remarkable Story of Roger DeHart: A New Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution"

The Remarkable Story of Roger DeHart: A New Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution"
TASC Wed, 05/09/2018 - 00:12

By author

Charles Colson

BreakPoint with Charles Colson, Commentary #020522 - 05/22/2002 The Remarkable Story of Roger DeHart: A New Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution"

In the early twentieth century —during the Scopes Trial, for instance—evolution was the new theory challenging settled opinions about divine creation. Now, however, said Bill Rice on National Public Radio, it's evolution that "is being questioned." Darwinian evolution has become the established view—and those who want to consider alternatives to Darwinism have become the innovative thinkers challenging the status quo.

Nowhere is this stunning role reversal better portrayed than in the new documentary, "Icons of Evolution." "Icons" tells the story of Roger DeHart, a high school biology teacher in Washington state who wanted to tell his students about evidence that casts doubt on aspects of Darwinian evolution. The evidence that DeHart hoped to discuss wasn't fringe stuff. It was the material already published in scientific literature. For example, biology textbooks have long featured drawings of animal embryos, purporting to show similarity. This was widely taken as proof that the species in question shared a common evolutionary ancestor.

But the drawings are seriously inaccurate, omitting many details and falsely suggesting similarities among embryos. Stephen Gould, the noted Harvard paleontologist, called the drawings "scientific fraud," and he said that we should "be ashamed and astonished by the century of [their] mindless recycling" in textbooks.

It sounds like something students ought to know about, yet, when DeHart wanted to bring Gould's article about the fraudulent drawings into his classroom, the school administration forbade him from doing so. He wasn't even allowed to discuss Gould's article or say anything questioning the drawings in the school district's officially mandated textbook.

But the censorship didn't stop there. DeHart wanted to tell his students about the "Cambrian Explosion," the sudden appearance of the major groups of animals about 550 million years ago. The Cambrian Explosion has long been a puzzle for Darwinian evolution. Again DeHart was forbidden to bring in any supplementary materials offering an alternative explanation. It didn't matter that the issue is part of ongoing scientific debate. DeHart's students weren't allowed to see or hear anything challenging textbook orthodoxy.

All this, and more, is retold by the participants themselves in the documentary "Icons of Evolution." You'll hear from Chinese paleontologists who worked with the Cambrian Explosion fossils and believe that Darwinian evolution fails to explain the data. You'll hear from Roger DeHart himself about his experiences and also from his school's administrators, telling why they wouldn't let him depart from the established curriculum.

It's an amazing, even shocking, story—shocking, that is, because most people assume that science ought to be a search for the truth about the natural world. While we may be cynical about advertising, or politics, or the media, science is still supposed to be above it all, pursuing what is really true.

The "Icons" documentary will shake you up. Science teaching today has become indoctrination, but the good news is we can still do something about it. Call us here at BreakPoint (1-800-995-8777) and order your copy of "Icons of Evolution." You'll learn how and why to make the case.

Rare Earth

Rare Earth
TASC Wed, 05/09/2018 - 02:20

By author

Joe Spears MS

It is interesting to put together all the data. Isaiah 28 mentions learning, teaching, doctrine and knowledge. It mentions line on line, here a little and there a little, and precept on precept. This is how we come to truth in mathematics—in a proof of a theorem, we see line upon line and concept used to prove another concept. Math builds on itself.

For example, we generally learn to crawl before we learn to walk. And, it is often necessary to put all the relevant information together to come up with the best interpretation. We have all heard of the blind men who examined the elephant. Alone, in isolation, they came to erroneous conclusions. This is because they had only a part of the data. Missing information was the problem. One thought the elephant was like a fan, because he had examined the ear. Another, however, who had examined (by touch—remember, these were all blind men) the elephant's leg, said the elephant was like a tree. Well, the part of the elephant that each man examined was as he found it, but that was not all there was to the elephant.

It does seem that we have been jumping to conclusions a bit too quickly in some areas, and in evolution in particular. For example, some scientists have said that dinosaurs evolved from birds, and others that birds evolved from dinosaurs. One must wonder, if there is room for such difference of opinion among scientists, whether the evidence is actually all that clear-cut and conclusive, after all.

One thing that has been pretty much taken for granted is that nature naturally leads to intelligent life. Well, that is now brought into question. Some scientists are now rethinking the prevalence of intelligent life in the universe.

In a sense, it is the job of science to rethink positions, some might say. Yet perhaps that is not the problem in the changing views that have occurred in the history of science. The problem seems to have been adopting a theory, a conjecture, a possibility, as fact, as proven, as written in stone, when it actually was not. It was running with a theory, and claiming it to be a fact.

You may have hard of the Drake Equation, which is used to estimate the number of planets where there may be intelligent life.

N = R • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

where

N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions we might detect,

R is the rate of star formation,

fp is the fraction of stars that have a solar system,

ne is the average number of planets per solar system,

fl is the fraction of planets with life,

fi is the fraction of life-bearing planets that have intelligent life,

fc is the fraction of those planets with intelligent life that have developed civilizations that can communicate with us, and

L is the length of time these civilizations have been sending signals into space.

Depending on the assumptions, that is, the values input to this equation, one can get various results from this equation. Some have used this equation to argue that N, the number of civilizations in our galaxy, is much greater than one. Carl Sagan and Drake estimated perhaps a million civilizations exist in our galaxy.

But, there is a Rare Earth Hypothesis, which has been described in a book titled Rare Earth. This hypothesis is that the number of civilizations in our galaxy may be very, very small.

They argue that complex, intelligent life may be rare indeed. The presence of such life on earth, they claim, may be due to very highly unlikely events and conditions.

They deal with primarily with the question of whether more complex life forms, animal life, and therefore, intelligent life, can exist on other planets. They also deal with its existence on earth—while not denying its existence on earth, they point out that perhaps certain rare occurrences and conditions were required for it to be on earth.

For example, they suggest that possibly a large moon is needed for the appearance of complex life forms. Why? One reason is that such a large moon would tend to stabilize the planet's motions, preventing major disturbances from occurring, disturbances which would interfere with the evolution of complex life forms.

Another possible requirement is the existence of just the right amount of water—not too much, not too little. Also, the planet must contain the right elements. They also suggest that the existence of a large planet such as Jupiter in the same stellar system might be needed for intelligent life to form. Such a large, heavy planet's gravitational attraction should remove heavenly bodies from impacting on the earth, causing major disasters and ending the evolution of life.

The star itself should not be located in the right galaxy—one that contains enough heavy elements. Also, the planet should be in the right position, not in the dense center of the galaxy, and not in the edge. In a dense region, there is greater risk of a nearby supernova, which could be devastating for life. Yet too far away from the galactic center, and they suggest that the concentration of heavy elements might be insufficient for complex life to evolve.

Also, the planet must be at the right distance from its star—too far away, and its water might freeze, while too close, and the water might boil.

Mass extinctions and plate tectonics also are important. Some mass extinctions can stimulate evolution, but not too many! Plate tectonics might be needed for complex life.

After considering conditions such as these, they conclude that intelligent life may not be as common in the universe as once was thought.

There are several points to note about this hypothesis. One, it points out that what was once assumed as fact by science, may be later brought into question. One solution for this is requiring evidence before accepting theories. Be that as it may, new data—new evidence—may shed new light on old ideas and result in the changing of those ideas. Scientific ideas are not always "written in stone". Some notable ones that have fallen by the wayside are the notion that the sun revolves around the earth, and the notion that the earth is flat.

Beliefs of geologists concerning the available supply of petroleum or coal can be seen to have changed greatly over time. Einstein blew the lid off what had been assumed to be true concerning Newtonian mechanics.

This being the case, we can see that historically, the mere fact that an idea or belief has been held by scientists has not guaranteed its veracity. And the acceptance of a theory today does not guarantee its veracity. Scientific truth is not decided by majority vote.

What does decide scientific truth? The facts. Hard evidence. And, if one looks closely at real evidence and not at conclusions or beliefs of people (even scientists) about those facts, one sees a lack of evidence to support evolutionary theory.

Another point to note concerning the Rare Earth Hypothesis is the suggestion that, perhaps, intelligent life has not evolved anywhere else than on earth. If we see now that we were perhaps a little too optimistic about the chance of evolution's success in the arena of extraterrestrial intelligence, then we might wonder whether we might not have also been a little too optimistic about the success of evolution on earth.

This argument shows that previous assumptions concerning the evolution of intelligent life are being called into question. In other words, they are suggesting that the evolution of life even here on earth was more unlikely than previously believed, even though it did occur.

Beyond what they have suggested, there are other requirements for even the existence of atoms. The mass of the electron, the electric charge, and other constant values of physics are "just right" for the universe as we know it. If some of these values were changed, scientists tell us, we might not have stars, or atoms, and certainly not life.

This is an interesting theory, the Rare Earth Hypothesis, and points out the reasons evolution of intelligent life is less likely than previously suspected. Others have pointed out the improbability of evolution at the other end of the scale, the evolution of a single cell from non-living constituents. This required the formation of proteins. In water, however, proteins tend to split apart into constituent amino acids. Life uses DNA/RNA to put these acids together to form proteins. Yet, proteins are needed to form the nucleic acids that are needed to form proteins. How did this get started? This is a problem to explain, without a creator.

There are many difficulties that must be explained for evolution to have occurred and for the theory to be justified. Blindly accepting it is just that. Evolution seems not to have been proven yet—merely described as proven by some. Yet, as Shakespeare noted, a rose called by any other name is still a rose. And an unproven theory, regardless of how it is described, remains unproven.

If we say that 2 plus 2 is 500, does that make it so? If you give a man 2 dollars, and someone else gives him 2 dollars, does he have 500 dollars? Or 4 dollars? Once, a state legislature considered changing the value of Pi—3.14159... This actually passed one house of the legislature and was on its way to successfully passing the other and becoming law, when a mathematician heard of it and explained to the legislators that you cannot change pi. It is just like changing the value of 2 plus 2. It is still 4, regardless of what people say about it.As scientists, people do the best they can. Sometimes we have just a few pieces of the puzzle, and more pieces come to light as time goes on. Theories therefore change and evolve. It is good to update our ideas based on facts. But let us remember that theories are just that, theories and not facts. We should let the facts determine the theories, and not vice versa.

The Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin
TASC Sat, 05/19/2018 - 19:18

By author

Joe Spears MS

Is this the face of Jesus?


Figure 1 - Is this the face of Jesus?

In 1898 a photo was made for the first time of a piece of cloth. This specific cloth was thought by some to have the image of Jesus on it.

The photo was developed, and on the negative there appeared a much clearer image! In fact, the negative looked more like a normal photo would, and the photo (as well as the cloth itself) looked more like a negative!

What you see in the first photo above is a negative of a photo, not the photo itself.

Below are the positive and negative, side-by-side, for comparison:


Figure 2 - Face on the Shroud

The image on the left is the actual image - what the cloth looks like. The image on the right is actually the negative of the photo on the left! True, the actual photo looks much more like a negative than the actual negative - which looks more like a photo!

Below is the original 1898 photo, and its negative: the first photo ever taken of the Shroud:


Figure 3 - First photo taken of the Shroud

The cloth contains more than a face - the cloth is approximately 14 feet long and 3 and a half feet wide, and contains 2 full length complete body images.

Below is a painting, Descent from the Cross with the Shroud of Turin, painted about 1625 by Giovanni Battista della Rovere ("Il Fiammenghino"), 1 in which you can see a piece of cloth that looks like the faint images in the 1898 photo. The lower part of the painting also illustrates how the cloth may have been wrapped around the body.


Figure 4 - painting, Descent from the Cross with the Shroud of Turin

The coroner and forensic medical pathologist for LA county, Dr. Robert Bucklin, examined and described the image. Dr. John H. Heller, a biophysicist who has served on the faculty of Yale University's medical school, recorded Bucklin's findings. Bucklin said the blood flow along the arms was in the 2 directions that were the only possible directions for blood to flow on a crucified individual. He also pointed out that the heart had been pierced by something like a lance or sword, and blood and clear serum had flowed out, with the serum even puddled underneath the body, under the back. He said the image on the shroud contained medical knowledge that was unknown 150 years previously. He made this statement during the 1970's. 2 The importance of this statement is, that if the shroud IS a forgery, as claimed based on C-14 dating (which will be dealt with later), then the Shroud still has to be MUCH older than the 150 years prior to the 1970's - hundreds of years older. The question then is, How did the forgers incorporate the medical knowledge into the image, hundreds of years before the knowledge existed?

But, the main puzzle is the image itself - how did it get on the cloth?

Was it pigment? One researcher said it was painted, on the basis of pigment found in a small sample of the cloth. Others have pointed out that over the centuries, paint, dust and other contaminants have made their way onto and into the shroud fibers. The real issue is whether the pigment makes up the image, not whether there are a few flakes of pigment here and there on the cloth.

And pigment does not make up the image. The STURP researchers found that the image was not made up of pigment. What is STURP?

A group of scientists examined the Shroud in 1978. They had a rare opportunity, and took over a million dollars worth of equipment to Turin. They decided, after some thought, to call themselves the Shroud of Turin Research Project - STURP.

This was the first time such a detailed examination of the shroud had occurred, in all of its hundreds of years of existence (even those claiming it was a forgery, based on C-14, admit to its being centuries old). Only rarely was the shroud even displayed for public viewing, much less for  experimentation. In 400 years, it was on display only 11 times.

So, some scientists jumped at the opportunity to examine this object. They came from JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), the Air Force Academy, etc. and were experts in various fields - physics, optics, etc. After examining the shroud, they and other scientists spent more time analyzing the resulting data.

History

This cloth has been known for centuries. It's known history goes back to Geoffrey de Charnay.

Before Geoffrey de Charnay, there are question marks about its history.

But there is evidence of its existence as early as the 6th and 7th centuries.

Why does that matter?

Carbon 14 dating tests were done on the shroud, and the claim was made that the dating showed the shroud originated around 1300. This, if true, would imply the shroud might not be the burial shroud of Jesus.

But if the shroud can be shown to have existed earlier, then the carbon 14 dating would be invalidated and the possibility of the shroud's being the actual burial shroud of Jesus would remain.

6th and 7th century pictures, including images on coins, bear remarkable resemblance to the shroud image. Even the line crossing the neck area near the bottom of the chin, on the shroud image, appears on some early pictures of Jesus.

Dr. Alan Whanger has pointed out the existence of many similarities between these early images and the shroud image. The implication is that these pictures were based on the shroud image - copied from the shroud image.

Carbon Dating Invalidated

Well, what about the carbon dating? Experts now are tending more towards the conclusion that the carbon 14 dating was invalid. Why?

The carbon 14 dating involved removing a small sample of cloth from the shroud to be tested. This sample was from an area of the shroud that had indications of being rewoven. In fact, it has now been reported that this sample contained only 40% original shroud material, and 60% extraneous material. 3

In light of the compelling evidence that we are about to present, we believe that the theory that the Shroud has literally been patched with medieval material from the 16th century, in the C-14 sample itself, explains the medieval carbon dating results.

Furthermore, several other sindonologists have identified various anomalies that also seem to point to undocumented repairs (Gervasio, 1986: 264, 268), which adds credence to the hypothesis that the C-14 sample area may have been similarly enhanced.

This would distort the dating. It's like the attempt to find the average age of 20 people who work for a company, but before the averaging is done, a group of nursery school children is added to the group. Obviiously, this will cause the average age to be younger.

This is precisely what happened with the carbon dating. The extraneous material, like the nursery school children, mixed in with the older shroud material, caused the average age of the sample to be much younger than the original shroud material alone.

We read in an article by Ray Rogers 4 that not only the sample was invalid, but that the date is older in reality than the 1988 botched C-14 dating.

To clarify some of the problems with the sample, see the following quote from www.shroud2000.com:

Further investigation by Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan and Ray Rogers, using ultraviolet photography and spectral analysis, show that the area from which the samples were taken was chemically unlike the rest of the cloth. Analysis reveals the presence of Madder root dye and an aluminum oxide mordant (a reagent that fixes dyes to textiles) and is not found elsewhere on the Shroud. The presence of Madder root and mordant suggests that the Shroud was mended in the carbon 14 sample area. Flax fibers from a probable repair made in the 1500's were lighter in color than the threads from the original Shroud. The root dye was used to blend in the color to make it match with the darker Shroud.

One of the samples taken from that area of the Shroud also shows cotton twisted in with the flax. This also is atypical versus the rest of the cloth. Microchemical tests also reveal vanillin (C8H8O3 or 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde) in this same sample area. The rest of the cloth does not test positive for it. Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a complex polymer, a non-carbohydrate component of plant material including flax. Vanillin is found in medieval materials but not in much older cloths, it diminishes and disappears over time. For instance, the wrappings of the Dead Sea scrolls do not test positive for vanillin. 5

So, vanillin should be present in cloth as old as medieval times - and was in the questionable area tested. Material older than medieval times would not contain vanillin - and vanillin was not found in the rest of the Shroud. This indicates the rest of the Shroud is older than the area that was carbon-dated.

A sewing expert, Flury-Lemberg 6 , has examined the stitching on the shroud, and claimed the only time she knows of when such stitching was in use, was about 2000 years ago - in the region near Israel.

Is there blood on the cloth?

Some have claimed that there is no blood on the shroud. Dr. Heller, a biophysicist, who was on the faculty of Yale University's medical school, says there was blood on the Shroud. It even has been typed - type AB.

Dr. Heller said that he thought that if every piece of wood from the true cross were gathered together, you would have a lumberyard. 7 He was skeptical about the authenticity of so-called relics. And there have been hoaxes and fakes. But this particular scientist, Dr. Robert Heller, became convinced of the authenticity of the shroud.

Why - what convinced him - as well as many others?

Could it Have Been Forged?

There are several reasons that the image could not have been made by man. The difficulties of creating such an image included the following:

  • drawing the image as a reversed negative; i.e., drawing the inverse of what the photos show. How difficult would YOU find it to draw a negative image of a person, so that when a photo of your drawing is made, and the negative produced, the negative would look like the person you were trying to draw?
  • the lack of directionality or brush strokes in the image. Computer analysis, using a mathematical technique called a 2-dimensional spatial Fourier transform of the image, revealed no evidence of brush strokes. If an artist had painted an image, there would be evidence of brush strokes that would show up in this kind of analysis. 8
  • the lack of pigment. 9 The image itself, the scientists found, did not consist of pigment applied to the cloth fibers.
  • the chemical alteration of the fibers. The fibers themselves had been changed, in their chemical structure, which altered their color. This would have been difficult - virtually impossible - for an artist to do. Even the scientists were puzzled, and had difficulty explaining what could have caused such a chemical change in the fibers. Their best hypothesis was some kind of radiation. Radiation was not easily produced in the 1300's, the claimed carbon dating time of the shroud's forgery!
  • the coloring of only the top part of the fibers. It is again, virtually impossible to apply a pigment or otherwise color to, not the entire fiber, but only the top part (also, remember, there was no pigment forming the image).
  • inclusion of X-ray-type information in the image. There are faint outlines of bones - if you look carefully at the hands, the fingers seem extraordinarily long. The fingers are not what is long - the bones of the hand which extend beyond the fingers into the hand, are what make the fingers look so long.
  • the 3-dimensional information in the image. Not only is the image a negative instead of a positive image, but the image contains 3-dimensional information that is simply not contained in other photos - of faces. The scientists, Heller, for one, expressed amazement at the inclusion of 3-d information in the image. Yet, the existence of this was confirmed by a VP-8 Image Analyzer, which was used with NASA images from space. The inventor of the NASA VP-8 Image Analyzer said this:

    Jackson placed an image of the Shroud of Turin onto the light table of the system. He focused the video camera of the system on the image. When the pseudo-three-dimensional image display ("isometric display") was activated, a "true-three-dimensional image" appeared on the monitor. At least, there were main traits of real three-dimensional structuring in the image displayed. The nose ramped in relief. The facial features were contoured properly. Body shapes of the arms, legs, and chest, had the basic human form. The result from the VP-8 had never occurred with any of the images I had studied, nor had I heard of it happening during any image studies done by others.

    I had never heard of the Shroud of Turin before that moment. I had no idea what I was looking at. However, the results were unlike anything I have processed through the VP-8 Analyzer, before or since. Only the Shroud of Turin has produced these results from a VP-8 Image Analyzer isometric projection study. 10

  • Artists have attempted to recreate this type of 3-d information in a negative image, quite unsuccessfully.
  • Leonardo da Vinci was too young or not yet born, so could not have created it. Some theories have emerged, claiming that da Vinci created the image on the shroud. But there is a problem with the time frames - he was too young or not even born.

Summary

Science has not been able to prove the Shroud a fake. On the other hand, while admittedly there have been fakes, hoaxes and forgeries, there are mysteries about its formation which leave one with seemingly no rational explanation, other than the miraculous. Attempts still being made to explain the formation of the image by natural processes notwithstanding, the evidence seems to indicate that science has no explanation.

Dr. Heller reports, at a press conference with over 300 media representatives in attendance, STURP was asked: "... do you think it is authentic?" The scientists said they could not say; one said it could have been made miraculously by elves, for all they knew.

The scientists only stated what they could prove.

One person asked, "All who believe this is the authentic Shroud of Christ, raise your hands." 40 scientists just looked at him. Then he asked, "... all those who don't believe it's authentic, raise your hands." Again, forty scientists sat still; none moved. Quoting Heller:

At that point, one of the real people asked, "Have you found anything that would preclude the Shroud's being authentic?"

"No."

...

We told the audience what the image was made of - dehydrative oxidation of the linen with the formation of a yellow carbonyl chromophore.

Then, of course, came the other question that we had been wrestling with for nine months: "How did the image get on the cloth?"

We answered ... all the possibilities we had been able to dream up ... we had had to reject all of them, one by one.

"Where," we were asked, "does that leave you?"

"We just do not know."

And that is the nub of it. ... at least four hundred scientists had added their input. In addition, all of us had given lectures ... Sigma Xi, ... the American Chemical Society, at universities across the country and their alumni groups, such as MIT's, at meetings of other scientific societies - from physical engineering to the medical sciences. From all of these we had received contributions of knowledge and suggestions. But on the subject of how the body images got on the Shroud, every suggestion had been invalidated by the data.

The Shroud remains, as it has over the centuries, a mystery." 11

Racism: Human "Races" or "One Blood"?

Racism: Human "Races" or "One Blood"?
TASC Wed, 05/09/2018 - 23:39

By author

Mark Stephens MCS

"There is no way to understand the cultural cancer of racism until we seriously read the Bible. For this breathtaking collection of 66 books is completely silent on our modern concept of "races". Tragically, blacks, Orientals, whites—all of us—have been pushed into "boxes" (the metaphor for which is the stinking, grisly railroad car...of the Holocaust) and we have forgotten that God has "made of one blood all nations of men." (Acts 17:26). 1

Why have many of us forgotten that God has made us humans, and of one race, the human race? I propose additionally to the above statement that we have been indoctrinated under the cloak of science by the Darwinian, naturalistic evolutionary theory, taught largely as fact to us and our children, which would have us believe that we humans evolved from an "ape-like" creature over several million years and that we are not created specially by God in the image of God as revealed in the Bible. (Genesis 1-26). (Note: As believers in God and as creation scientists, we can be encouraged by the recent news that the Ohio State School Board voted on Tuesday, March 9, 2004, to allow a lesson plan in its public schools that includes intelligent design theory along with scientific analysis of the evolutionary theory. The vote was applauded by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which supports scientists studying intelligent design theory, and says states should teach both evolution and scientific criticism of evolutionary theory. Yahoo! News. U. S. National - AP. Th., Mar. 11, 2004.) 

Charles Darwin's book, The Origin of Species, in 1859 helped to establish the theory of evolution. If we examine the subtitle of this book, ...The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, we can see the implication of racism and "survival of the fittest". Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., founder of the Institute for Creation Research, points out in his booklet, The Bible, Science, and Creation, 2  that "...evolution is the alleged rationale for many of the evil and harmful practices that have become rampant in the 20th century. Racism is an obvious example..." In Darwin's later book, The Descent of Man, Darwin argued that natural selection would eventually eliminate what he called "the savage races" in favor of "the civilized races of men." Not only Darwin but also Thomas Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and practically all evolutionary scientists and sociologists of the post-Darwin century were racists. This situation prevailed until World War II, when Adolf Hitler and his genocidal policies finally gave racism a bad name among intellectuals. Hitler himself was an ardent evolutionary pantheist, deeply involved in both occultism and imperialistic social Darwinism. 3

Image
 Figure 1

Hitler's evolutionary thinking and racist views undoubtedly influenced him to try to eradicate the Jews and to set up a human breeding farm to develop a superior human race. After World War II, tracking of descendants of that breeding experiment showed that offspring did not come out superior but fell into a usual assortment of human characteristics that included regular struggles with disease and eventual death, as we creation scientists understand came from the penalty of the original sin of disobedience and the fall of man as recorded in Genesis, chapter 3.

Image
Figure 2

For a better understanding of how the "races", or more appropriately stated, "people groups", or "varieties of humans" came about, let's examine this issue further from the Biblical account and scientific evidences that support the Biblical account. We find from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, that God created man on the sixth day of creation with dominion over the other animals and in His own image; male and female created he them (Genesis 1: 26-27). The primeval mandate of dominion by man is most appropriately called the Dominion Mandate. It clearly specifies that man (Adam and his descendants) is to have full dominion (under God, of course) of the entire earth and its creatures. No details are given as to how this dominion was to be exercised, but it certainly was intended as a stewardship, not a despotism. 4 In Genesis 1: 28, God blesses them and further mandates to them to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. In Genesis, chapter 2, we find that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, are the ancestors of mankind, and therefore would contain the foundation of information in their genetic make-up to provide the variety for all future generations of humans. (And regarding skin color, which will be discussed later, Adam and Eve would hold in their genetic make-up genes for varying degrees of production of melanin, which determines skin color; and most likely they were a brown color, not the white color so often depicted in books and films that have promoted racist attitudes towards people of darker skin or whiter skin.)

As we read and study further from Genesis, chapter 3, we find that Adam and Eve had sons and daughters and their descendants had sons and daughters until the time of the worldwide Noahic flood in Genesis, chapter 7. After the flood, we note in chapter 10 that Noah and his three sons (Japheth, Ham, and Shem) and their wives would then carry on the mandates outlined above and provide the genetic variety in humans inherited from Adam and Eve. Genesis 10: 32 tells us, "These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood." Please grasp the point that we are all of "one blood" and come from the same line from first Adam and Eve and their preserved foundation of genetic information carried forward into all the world by Noah's family and the continuing mandate to replenish the earth.

Genesis, chapter 11, records mankind's dispersal after Babel and the confusion of the languages due to further rebellion and wickedness by man with their intention not to follow the "replenish and subdue the earth" mandate. Now, mankind would scatter according to God's mandate. Briefly, genealogists and historians that have studied the dispersal from Babel link Japheth with Europe and India, Ham with Phoenicia, Sumeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Southern Arabia, China, and Shem with Israel and the Arabic countries. 5 You may wish to read the book, God and the Nations by Dr. Henry M. Morris, noted theologian and scientist, to learn more about the dispersal of mankind from Babel. You may call the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) at 800-628-7640 to order or come out to our TASC meetings and purchase a copy.

Image
Figure 3

Let us look at some of the genetic and scientific relationships that we can understand from the background of Genesis, chapter 11. Scientifically, from breeding knowledge of humans, all peoples, preferably called "people groups" instead of "races", can freely interbreed and produce fertile offspring. 6 Distance, language, and cultural difference have sometimes prevented this, but we only have to look at rapid transportation means and the melting pot of America today to see this happening to blend our genetic information back to a more similar variety of that of Adam and Eve and Noah's family before the dispersal. We find, scientifically, that the biological differences between people groups are not very great at all. In fact, we are biologically the same species and while people groups' genetic make-up provides for genotypic and phenotypic variety, the total DNA foundation differences are trivial. 7 The most noticeable difference is in skin color, but the fact is, we are all of the same color; some people just have more of that color than others based on the amount of melanin produced by their genetic variety. The predominant shade for a well-mixed group would be brown, 8 probably more similar to our original parents, Adam and Eve and then Noah's family. The fact is, most of the world's population is still mid-brown. 9 For an understanding of development of other traits among people groups you may wish to read some of the references provided in this article, and to acquire, refer to the above purchasing number for ICR.  

In summary, the dispersion at Babel broke up a large interbreeding group into small, inbreeding groups. This ensured that the resultant groups would have different mixes of genes for various physical features. By itself, this dispersion would ensure, in a short time, that there would be certain fixed differences in some of these groups, commonly called "races", now preferably called "people groups". In addition, the selection pressure of the environment would modify the existing combinations of genes so that the physical characteristics of each group would tend to suit their environment. 10

There has been no simple-to-complex evolution of any genes, for the genes were present already. The dominant features of the various people groups result from different combinations of previously existing created genes, plus some minor degenerative changes, resulting from mutation (accidental changes which can be inherited). The originally created (genetic) information has been either reshuffled or has degenerated, but has not been added to. 10

Remember, the whole concept of race is evolutionary, not Biblical. 11  I end with some thoughts of Zig Ziglar in his foreword to the book, One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism. "Racism is morally, socially, scientifically, and Biblically wrong. It is an ugly blot on our society. When we look at the ugliness of racism and the impact of evolution, we realize there is a solution to the problem of racism—and that is Biblical principles and scientific facts. In God's eyes, all of us are equally loved and equally important. Christ shed His blood to cover the sins of all of us." 12

Regarding racism, which will you choose, "races" or "one blood"?

  • 1Stated by Jim Fletcher, Editor in-chief, Master Books, in Preface to: Ham, K., Wieland, C. and Batten, D. One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books. 2003, p. 13.
  • 2Morris, Henry M. The Bible, Science & Creation. Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1991, p. 16.
  • 3Morris. 1991, p. 16
  • 4Morris, Henry M. God and the Nations. Green Forrest, AR: Master Books. 2002, p. 27.
  • 5Morris. 2002, p. 50-56.
  • 6Ham, K., Wieland C. and Batten, D. One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books. 2003, p. 57.
  • 7Ham. 2003, p. 53.
  • 8Morris, J. and Phillips, D. Straight Answers to Tough Questions. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 2002, p. 37.
  • 9Ham, K., Sarfati, J. and Weiland, C. The Revised & Expanded Answers Book. Green Forest, AR: Master Books. 2002, p. 228.
  • 10 a b Ham. 2002, p. 231.
  • 11Morris and Phillips. 2002, p. 36.
  • 12Stated by Zig Ziglar in Foreword to: Ham, K., Wieland, C. and Batten, D. One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books. 2003, p. 7, 9.

Refuting Compromise

Refuting Compromise
TASC Wed, 05/09/2018 - 23:45

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

Master Books has just released a new book entitled Refuting Compromise by Answers in Genesis staff member Jonathan Sarfati. While the main thrust of Refuting Compromise is a theological and scientific refutation of progressive creationism as advanced by Christian astronomer Hugh Ross, it is also an up-to-date review and defense of young earth creation (YEC) science in general. Refuting Compromise is thoroughly documented with references, websites, drawings, illustrations, and photographs. This article is a review of the main topics discussed in the book.

The book starts with a comparison between progressive creationism and YEC. Progressive creationism teaches that the days of creation week are vast and overlapping ages; that the sun, moon, and stars were created on the first ‘day' and merely appeared on the 4th ‘day'; that physical death existed during the billions of years before the Fall and that the majority of the fossil record was therefore formed at that time; that the standard model of Big Bang theory is true; that Noah's Flood was local and not global; that soulless hominids lived before Adam; that the Fall only involved spiritual death of humans; that radiometric dating is valid; that God created every species individually rather than by kinds; and that we are still in the seventh day of creation ‘week' in which God is no longer creating. While the position of YEC towards Biblical interpretation is sola scriptura (scripture only), Ross' philosophy is apparently scriptura sub scientia (scripture under science). Ross has said that nature is the 67th book of the Bible. In practice this has meant accepting as true most of secular geological and astronomical interpretations of the data as fact. Since these ‘facts' require that the earth and universe be billions of years old, Ross attempts to make scripture fit within these frameworks. Sarfati reminds us that that "if we marry our theology to today's science, we'll be widowed tomorrow" and that "the biblical framework is non-negotiable, scientific models proposed to elucidate this framework should be held loosely." The main areas of agreement between the progressive creationism and YEC positions are the inerrancy of scripture and the rejection of molecules-to-man evolution.

Sarfati shows that the word for day (Hebrew: yom) used in Genesis 1 refers to a normal 24 hour day. This interpretation is consistent with the fact that yom always refers to a 24 hour period or the daylight portion of a day outside of Genesis 1 whenever it is used together with morning, evening, or a number. Many other passages are mentioned which show that various biblical writers and characters, including Jesus (Mk 10:6), understood the days of creation week as a brief period.

God warns Adam of the deadly consequences of disobedience in Genesis 2:17:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Ross claims that since Adam did not physically die at the moment of his disobedience, the curse must have involved spiritual death only. But the Hebrew translated literally is "dying you shall die." When Adam disobeyed and the Fall took place, the process of physical death began. Sarfati likens the situation to a branch cut off from a tree; the branch continues to live for a short while - cells divide, leaves grow - but its death apart from the tree is certain. So the inclusion of physical death in the curse is more consistent.

Ross claims that the sun must have been created on the first day of creation week since otherwise there would not have been any light for the plants created on day 3. Sarfati suggests that the light source during the first three days of creation was God himself. This is what will be the situation in the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:5).

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Indeed, early church writers used the fact that the sun, moon, and stars were created on the 4th day as a polemic against paganism.

Ross claims there would have been too little time on day 6 for Adam to have accomplished all his tasks in a 24 hour day. But Sarfati points out that Adam was only charged with naming the land vertebrates, about 2500 basic kinds, and could have easily finished the job in the afternoon with time to spare. Sarfati also counters Ross's claims that Gen 2:19 seems to contradict Genesis 1.

Sarfati shows that the majority of Christians and even some non-Christian historians who lived before the 19th century believed either the creation days were 24 hours long or less or that the earth was only a few thousand years old. Notable on the list are Josephus, Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, James Ussher, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and John Wesley. Sarfati lists many more.

Sarfati also discusses how there is no good way to reconcile the sequence of events in Genesis 1 with any evolutionary scenarios.

A chapter is devoted to the Big Bang and Astronomy. Ross believes in the Big Bang and standard evolutionary theories concerning the formation of stars, galaxies, solar systems, and planets. Sarfati discusses relativity, the Cosmological Principle, galactic redshifts, the cosmic microwave background radiation, inflation theory, and the elemental composition of the universe. He then discusses problems such as quantized redshifts, the horizon problem, the apparent rotation of the universe, the ad hoc nature of inflation theory, the missing antimatter, the discovery of fully formed spiral galaxies shortly after the Big Bang, the apparent lack of any population 3 stars, and the faint sun paradox. He also discusses problems with evolutionary theories concerning the formation of the moon and the planets Neptune and Uranus. The first and second laws of thermodynamics demonstrate the universe had a beginning. Quantum fluctuations can't create virtual particles without starting with vacuum energy. Ross believes in string theory and claims its extra dimensions that allow God to have an infinite amount of time at any given moment in our timeframe. However, Sarfati points out that God does not have to work within time but is most probably beyond or outside of time. The branes theory and multiverse theory are discussed as unprovable and with no observational support. Sarfati discusses how the fundamental forces of nature and many particular quantities are fine tuned for human life. Sarfati then goes on to explain Russell Humphreys' white hole cosmology and how it not only solves most of the aforementioned problems but also the starlight time problem for YEC.

A chapter is devoted to death and suffering. Ross believes that physical death was always a part of God's plan and not a result of the Fall. Sarfati points out that God called His creation "very good" making the initial operation of physical death unlikely. Also, the fact that the "last enemy" God will destroy is death (1 Cor 15:26) does not make sense if God made his "very good" creation with death built in from the start. Man and the animals were originally made to be vegetarian (Gen 1:29). Prey/predator relationships will cease when God returns to set up His kingdom (Is 11:6-7). In Gen 3:19, God explains that part of Adam's punishment will be that he would return to the ground (die); there would have been no point in explaining this if physical death was already a part of the plan. Sarfati discusses the changes brought about by the Fall including death (physical and spiritual) and suffering in work and childbirth, Ross claims that the death of plants proves his case, but God does not regard the life of plants the same as animals. Apoptosis, a programmed orderly cell death during the fetal development of vertebrates, is a design feature built in by God and not a result of the Fall in contrast to necrosis, an unprogrammed disorderly cell death which causes an inflammatory response.

Sarfati explains the Second Law of Thermodynamics was not a result of the Fall because it deals with necessary processes such as heat flow, friction, and digestion. He says that God removed some of His sustaining protection after the Fall allowing physical death to enter. If the fossil record was truly formed before the Fall, why did God create so many animals which eventually became extinct before Adam was on the scene?

The next chapter dealt with created kinds. Ross believes that God made all the diverse species individually whereas YEC believe God made a few basic kinds that had the genetic potential to microevolve into the various species we see today. Microevolution takes place not by creating new information but by removing information and the activation/deactivation of genes. Two animals are of the same kind if the can hybridize to produce fertile offspring. Many examples of hybridization now exist such as wolphins (cross between false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin), the cross between wolves and poodles, and the cross between a husky and a jackal (jascky). Ross says there would not have been enough time since the Ark for all the diversity of life to have formed. But Sarfati points out that rapid speciation has been observed for guppies, lizards, daisies, mice, mosquitoes, fruit flies, and cichlid fish; all that is needed to trigger rapid speciation is the genetic information (built in by God so animals could adapt to changing environments) and isolation. There is not much speciation today because most of the ecological niches have been filled.

The next chapter deals with the Flood and Noah's Ark. Sarfati explains from the scriptures and science why the Flood had to be global instead of local. He discusses the geographical distribution of humans and the adequacy of the Ark's size to accommodate the animals. He explains how 8 people could have cared for the animals, how many church fathers accepted a global Flood, and the evidences for rapid deposition of the fossil record (cross bedding caused by strong underwater currents, the lack of erosion between layers, fossil ripple marks and footprints, polystrate fossils, etc). He then explains the theory of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT) and how it can explain the Flood, the breakup of Pangea (the original supercontinent), the formation of mountain ranges and ocean basins, the rapid reversals of the earth's magnetic field seen in the magnetic striping on the ocean floor, and the formation of the majority of sedimentary rock layers. He cites incompletely assimilated subducted oceanic crust in the mantle as evidence of recent subduction.

In the next chapter, Sarfati discusses the history of mankind. Ross believes Adam was created up to 70,000 years ago and that there were soulless pre-Adamic hominids. Sarfati argues that the fossil, biochemical, and archeological evidence shows that the hominids were essentially the same as modern men. He discusses the genealogies of the Bible and shows how they are most likely complete and therefore disallow a date for Adam much beyond six to seven thousand years ago. Also, standard dating techniques and fossil interpretations (which Ross trusts) have shown that humans were widely distributed throughout the world so that a local Flood would have failed to destroy all human life.

The next chapter dealt with Biblical old age arguments. Sarfati systematically shows how several of Ross's theological claims don't ring true.

The next chapter dealt with science and a young earth. Sarfati cites several evidences for a young earth including the rate of decay of the earth's magnetic field, excess helium in zircons, the amount of salt in the sea, the lack of old super nova remnants, the rapid disappearance of comets, lunar recession, the discovery of intact dinosaur blood cells and hemoglobin presumably 65 million years old, various radiohalos in metamorphic rock suggesting rapid rock formation and accelerated radioactive decay, "double" polonium radiohalos in partially coalified trees from three layers presumably spanning 200 million years that demonstrate the layers were formed at the same time, and the lack of erosion of the continents assuming they are billions of years old.

The last chapter of the book dealt with refuting old earth arguments. Topics discussed included varves, rate of sedimentary layer formation, Mt. St. Helens, coal formation, fossil forests, and radiometric dating. The basics of radiometric dating are explained including the isochron method. The various ways isochrons can be misleading are discussed. The findings of the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) group are discussed including evidence for accelerated nuclear decay and the residual radiocarbon found in carbonaceous materials spanning the entire geologic column suggesting simultaneous and recent burial of these materials consistent with Noah's Flood.

In conclusion, Refuting Compromise is a comprehensive refutation of progressive creation and also an excellent apologetic for young earth creation. It is highly recommended reading for all interested in creation. It is available from Answers in Genesis (www.answersingenesis.org).

Hummingbirds Get "Older" and a Little Wider

Hummingbirds Get "Older" and a Little Wider
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 13:29

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

According to secular scientists, two German fossils recently identified as "amazingly modern-looking" hummingbirds are 30-million years old. This find pushes the fossil record for hummingbirds back an alleged 29 million years. The discovery was made by Dr. Gerald Mayr of the natural history museum Forschungsinstitut Senkenberg in Frankfurt and reported in the journal Science. 1 Mayr found the fossils in storage in a Stuttgart museum. They had been donated by a private collector who uncovered them in a clay pit near Frauenweiler in southern Germany. Mayr said he recognized particular features of the birds' anatomy in the fossils, which are less than five centimetres long. "I'm convinced they're hummingbirds," he said. "They're very, very distinctive in the wing bone, which is adapted to hovering and nectar feeding." The bone and shoulder joint allow the wings to beat in a figure-eight pattern. One of the fossils also has a long beak, like modern hummingbirds. The only other fossils of modern hummingbirds are about 1 million years old. Assistant Professor Margaret Rubega of the University of Connecticut told Science she was "amazed" by the find. "The amazing thing about this fossil is that it's essentially a modern hummingbird," she said. "My mind is a little blown."

A Bug's Life

There are other creatures alive today which are "mind blowing" in the way they are virtually identical to fossil forms believed to have lived 'millions of years ago.' The insect fossil record is particularly remarkable for its evidence of stasis (no change). Evolutionists had long said that no insect fossil exists that can be matched with a living representative. It has now been conclusively documented by many, including Dr. Joachim Scheven 2 that the reason they were not found is because they were not looked for. Dr. Scheven alone has found many examples of insects fossilized in amber that are identical to their living counterparts.

Evolutionists also acknowledge this fact about the fossil record. Dr. Betty Faber, entomologist, American Museum of Natural History says:

"Several cockroach fossils...from the Carboniferous Period of Earth's history make one thing clear. Even back then, about 350 million years ago, the cockroach looked disgusting. It hasn't changed much since." 3

Gladiators for God

Recently, swarms of insects thought to have been extinct for millions of years have been found on a stony mountain top in Namibia, near South Africa. 4 These insects have been nicknamed 'Gladiators' because of their 'fearsome' appearance and the armor that covers them as young nymphs. The insects were first noted from specimens fossilized in amber 'dated' at 45 million years. 5

News reports described the find as 'totally unexpected,' likening it to the discoveries of the Coelacanth, a 'prehistoric' fish thought to have died out with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and the Wollemi Pine, 'the dinosaur tree,' previously known only from fossils dated at 150 million years. 6

Why have these life-forms stayed the same for all that time? Are "chance" and "luck" the answer?  Some believe the cockroach (reputed to have remained virtually unchanged in the fossil record for 250 million years) demonstrates that the key to success is to "be abundant and live everywhere." 7 However, many "living fossils" are in fact highly specialized, such as the Coelacanth, superbly suited to living in deep-sea caves. Scientists suggest that the Coelacanth remains unchanged because its habitat has not changed. But this applies also to many other species, living and extinct.

To Christians, there should be no mystery about these so-called "living fossils." We have an eyewitness account of how these creatures were created to be fruitful and multiply after their kind. So the fact that modern creatures have "stayed the same" as their fossilized ancestors is no surprise at all. The next time you hear a news report like the hummingbird or the 'Gladiator' story, remember that these "living fossils" are much more consistent with the Bible than with the secular belief in evolution and millions of years. No matter how long the time that has passed, no evolution has taken place. Rather, in accordance with the Bible (Genesis 1), these so-called "living fossils" have been happily reproducing "after their kind," just as they were designed to do.

  • 1Mayr, G. Old world fossil record of modern-type hummingbirds. Science 304 (May 7):861-864, 2004. Abstract available at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/304/5672/861.
  • 2Wieland, C. Creation Ex Nihilo, March-May, Volume 15(2); 1993.  Scheven, J Creation 21(3):26-27, June 1999. (See articles by Dr. Scheven online at answersingenesis.org.)
  • 3Kusinitz, M. Science World,  4 Feb. pp. 12-19, 1983.
  • 4"Extinct" insect found on peak, Sydney Daily Telegraph, p. 34, 22 March 2002.
  • 5A new insect order?, Science 297(5582):731,2002.
  • 6The Wollemi Pine of the insect world, ABC News in Science, 17 Oct. 2002.
  • 7Dicks, L., The creatures time forgot, New Scientist, 164(2209):36-39, 1999.

Can We Prove the Bible?

Can We Prove the Bible?
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 13:48

By author

Joe Spears MS

Is there any real evidence of Biblical events? For example, some might mention the Shroud of Turin and the evidence for it. But others would counter this by pointing to the carbon dating results, which were supposed to show that the Shroud was too young to have been the burial shroud of Christ. Nevertheless, there are those who question those dating results. One is Professor Garza-Valdes, who created a brand new science after the carbon dating of the Shroud. (It's called archaeomicrobiology.)

Garza-Valdes found that the dating of a jade object, by carbon-dating blood on it, was skewed by the presence of a coating formed on the jade by bacteria. Of course, this bacterial coating contained organic material, which, of course, contains carbon, and being of a younger age than the original object, threw the date off. Garza-Valdes believes this same type of bacterial coating could account for an erroneously young dating of the Shroud. A coating of this type could cause an old piece of linen to be dated much younger than it really is. He has written a book about this, entitled The DNA of God.

Image
Figure 1 - Possible location of Mt. Sinai

Another example of a Biblical reference which men have tried to prove is the so-called Mountain of God. This mountain, referred to as Horeb or as Mt. Sinai in the Bible—Mt. Sinai is in the Horeb mountain range—is the place where God spoke with Moses in the burning bush and Moses received his commission to deliver the children of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt. This is the mountain on which God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Briefly, the story is that at God's command Moses went up onto the mountain, leaving Israel below, and while Moses was gone, the Israelites built a golden calf to worship.

Smoke and lightning and fire are associated with this mountain:

Exodus 19:17-18. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

Yet the Mt. Sinai of the Bible may not be the mountain on modern maps. Another mountain, Jebel el Lawz in Saudi Arabia, has been explored by Ron Wyatt in 1984, and Larry Williams and Bob Cornuke also explored the same area several years later. All seem convinced that Jebel el Lawz is the Mt. Sinai of Exodus.

Near Jebel el Lawz has been found an ancient altar with pictures of cows on it. This seemed strange, according to Wyatt, Williams, and Cornuke, for cows are not common to this region. Some have suggested that this might be the altar to the Golden Calf mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 32).

Jebel el Lawz has a row of stones surrounding it which fit the description of the marker stones placed around Mt. Sinai in the Bible (Exodus 19:23). (Incidentally, the locals call this mountain Moses' Mountain.)

And on the mountain itself is a most amazing thing. The top of Jebel el Lawz is not the same color as its base. The top of the mountain looks scorched. Cornuke described a rock from the mountain as having a melted, dark exterior, and a light interior.

You can see pictures of this mountain on the Web. One place is http://www.wyattarchaeology.com/sinai.htm

But there are others. Just do a Web search on Sinai and include the names of researchers/explorers Ron Wyatt, Larry Williams, or Bob Cornuke.

Other evidence in support of Jebel el Lawz as the Mt. Sinai of Exodus is that Mt. Sinai is stated to be in Arabia according to Galatians 4. Scholars say that at the time Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians Arabia would not have included what we refer to today as the Sinai Peninsula. Another point they make is that the children of Israel are described as having left Egypt, but at the time they left, the region of today's Sinai Peninsula was controlled by Egypt.

The Bible describes Mt. Sinai as being at the back of a desert (Exodus 3:1). Wyatt, Williams, and Cornuke point out that Jebel el Lawz is at the edge of a desert.

Leaving the vicinity of the Red Sea and trying to follow the route of the children of Israel, Williams and Cornuke came to some springs where the water was bitter. This they compare with the Biblical description of the bitter water in Exodus 15:22-23.

Exodus 15:27 tells of Israel passing through an area where there were springs and palm trees; Williams and Cornuke say they passed through a group of springs and a grove of palm trees. The Bible says Israel camped there; the explorers say they found caves at the site, where a worker told them that cave writings said that Moses and the Hebrews had come through the area.

Image
Figure 2 - Egyptian-style petroglyph of cow or bull on the altar at Jebel el Lawz, not found anywhere else in Saudi Arabia. From the Wyatt Museum.

What do we see here? If we can believe these men, we see corroboration of the Bible, we are seeing more evidence for the accounts of Exodus.

The interesting thing is that Williams and Cornuke departed from conventional wisdom to search for the mountain of God by exploring a different region than the area of modern Mt. Sinai. They based their directions on the account given in the Bible. They appear to have succeeded.

(You can read more about the expedition of Williams and Cornuke in the book The Gold of Exodus by Howard Blum.)

Could the Ice Age have been caused by the Genesis Flood (Part 1)

Could the Ice Age have been caused by the Genesis Flood (Part 1)
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 14:03

By author

Mark Stephens MCS

This is part one of a two part article concerning the Ice Age caused by the Genesis Flood: August issue, "The Build-up"; September issue, "The Melt-down".

Michael J. Oard
Figure 1

As I recall, the conversation went something like this. "That glacier up there is 30,000 years old," said our boat captain and guide as I, along with some other tourists, observed the sites in our chartered boat in Prince William Sound close to Valdez, Alaska, in early September 1998. Enthralling us more, our guide told us, "Interestingly, scientific observers have noted that the glacier has experienced unusual melt-down that has caused it to recede seven miles in the last 10 years." I did some quick math: 30,000 years/10 years=3,000 and 3000 x 7miles=21,000 miles that the glacier would have moved at that rate in 30,000 years and said to our captain and guide, "At the rate you have stated that the glacier moved, it could have just about traveled around the world (25,000 miles) in 30,000 years. I am a creation scientist and I believe that the glacier is more like 4,000 to 5,000 years old and is subject to fast, catastrophic events rather than uniformitarian assumptions made by naturalistic evolutionary scientists by whom you possibly inform us." It was not long that another man along with us piped up and stated to our guide, "You know, I support what this man has stated. It's just as plausible and scientific as what you have stated." Thus, there followed a conversation amongst some of us tourists about the different so-called "facts" of science based on naturalistic evolutionary thinking that the public is provided typically by guides in our national parks compared to other valid scientific observations based on a creation science view.

With some of my live experience and narrative from the above as a stimulus, let us examine some of the scientific observations that support the Ice Age as caused by the Genesis Flood. I will reference much of the scientific data used in this article from a book by Michael J. Oard titled, An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood1 For more in depth scientific data and study than can be provided in this short article, you may wish to acquire a copy of this book by calling the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) at 800-628-7640 or come out and purchase a copy at our monthly meeting of TASC.

In his forward to the above book, R. H. Brown, a creation scientist, points out that up to the 1990s, the creationist literature has been critically deficient with respect to interpretation of the evidence for continental glaciation. Michael J. Oard has made a major contribution, in opening up vistas for a sound understanding of the evidence of continental glaciation from the perspective of Biblical testimony. Oard has been equipped for this contribution by his competence as a professional meteorologist, exhaustive study of the scientific evidence related to glaciation, and confidence that Moses recorded only accurate historical data. Brown states that, "On the basis of the principle that the Creator is a model of truthfulness and consistency, it should be possible to find sound interpretations of His works that are fully consistent with the testimony given in His Word...the seventh and eighth chapters of the book of Genesis specify a catastrophe (the Genesis or Noahic Flood) that completely transformed the surface of planet Earth. Data in the eleventh chapter of Genesis, together with data in I Kings 6:1; Exodus 12:40,41; Genesis 47:9, 25:26, 21:5, and 12:4, place this catastrophe somewhere between about 4,300 years ago (2300 B.C.) and 5,400 years ago (3400 B.C.)..." 2

In his book, Michael Oard contrasts the scientific data supporting the causes of the Ice Age by comparing the catastrophic events (rapid changes over a few hundred to thousands of years) of the worldwide Genesis Flood to the uniformitarian events (slow, gradual changes over tens to hundreds of thousands to millions of years) theorized by naturalistic evolutionists. Brown concludes his forward to Oard's book by pointing out that Biblical creationists will be gratified by the detailed extent to which data in the Bible produce a (weather) climate model with which Oard gives a scientifically sound explanation for continental glaciation as a result of events from the worldwide flood. As background to this article and to vividly implant on our minds the magnitude of the beginning of the events of the great catastrophe of the worldwide flood, let's refer to those events as recorded in Genesis 7:11-12. "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."

Another book that I reference in this article is Life in the Great Ice Age 3 by Michael Oard and his wife, Beverly Oard. This book is much less technical than the former and weaves an ice age story for children and adults with only moderate science background while examining which scientific data and observations are more valid, the naturalistic evolutionary view or the creation science view that supports the Genesis Flood account and our Creator, God.

Let us take a look briefly at some of the conclusions that Michael Oard reports 4 based upon his scientific data and meteorological observations with his subsequent understanding that the Ice Age could be caused by the Genesis Flood. According to Oard, the requirements for glaciation for an ice age are a combination of much colder summers and higher snowfall in winters. Over 60 theories of the Ice Age have been offered in the past, and all have serious deficiencies, including the currently popular astronomical theory. Oard proposes that the mechanism for the Ice Age is catastrophic and is not based on the uniformitarian principle. Specifically, the Ice Age is treated as a consequence of the Genesis Flood, which disrupted the climate to such a degree that an ice age developed immediately afterwards for a build-up of glaciation for about 500 years and a melt-down of about 200 years for a total post-Flood ice age of about 700 years. 5 The Genesis Flood has never been proved to be a fable. It has only been assumed so by some men of science over the past 200 years or more. There is ample evidence that a gigantic flood once inundated the earth. For example, many sedimentary layers were laid down quickly by huge, powerful currents, with little or no sign of erosion between layers. Well over 100 flood traditions, in cultures from all over the world add support. The Bible clearly specifies that the Flood was global, not regional or local. 6

As stated above there have been many ideas and theories on the cause and number of ice ages. A good theory is one that best fits the physical evidence. Noah's Flood and the changes in the climate due to volcanic ash and warmer oceans best explain the cause and development of the Ice Age. 7

The Ice Age affected all the world, especially the middle and high latitudes. In Europe, glaciers developed on the mountains of Norway and Sweden. Because the nearby ocean water was warm, it took many years before these mountain glaciers spread downward into the lowlands of those countries. Eventually, as the oceans gradually cooled, the snow and ice covered all of what is now northern and central England, Denmark, northern Germany, northern Poland, and northwest Russia. Ice covered nearly all of Canada and much of the northern United States, as well. The snow and ice extended all the way into northern Missouri. A gigantic ice sheet eventually covered Greenland and the continent of Antarctica. Smaller ice caps covered the Swiss Alps and other mid- and high-latitude mountain ranges of the world. Volcanic dust in the stratosphere due to multitudes of volcanic eruptions during the catastrophe of the Biblical Flood—after all, the events of this Flood were intended to destroy the earth—also cooled the tropics. Thus, many tropical mountains had ice caps at the summits. Some may think that an ice age needs colder winters. However, winters now are cold enough. In present-day Siberia, winters are bitter cold, but there is no ice sheet there. What is really required is much cooler summers so the snow would not melt. Also, winters would need to be much wetter—so wet that snow would pile high. Because of much cooler summers and more snow, the winter snow would grow deeper each year. After several years, the weight of the snow would cause it to compress and turn into ice. 8

Considering the above, the Genesis Flood provides the initial conditions for the Ice Age. Since the Flood was associated with extensive volcanic eruptions, a vast shroud of volcanic dust and aerosols would have remained in the atmosphere for several years afterwards. Water for the Flood erupted from below the ground, in the "fountains of the great deep." The hot water from the deep would mix with the pre-Flood ocean, which itself probably was relatively warm compared to today. The tremendous earth upheavals associated with the fountains of the deep and the draining of the Flood waters would have mixed the ocean water. Consequently, the ocean would likely have been universally warm from pole to pole, and from top to bottom, at the end of the Flood. 9

Cooling mechanisms caused by the Flood, in combination with a universally warm ocean, would result in a snowblitz, or a rapid ice age. Volcanic dust and aerosols would provide the main summer cooling over the mid- and high-latitude continents, by reflecting a relatively large percentage of the summer sunshine back to space. Once a permanent snow cover becomes established, even more solar radiation is reflected back, reinforcing summer cooling caused by volcanism. Snow-cover cooling is especially effective over barren ground, which would have been characteristic immediately after the Flood. More cloudiness, caused by higher mid- and high-latitude moisture, would most likely reinforce the cooler summers. Carbon dioxide, due to volcanism and the decay of vegetation, would have been very high right after the Flood, countering the cooling mechanisms somewhat, but it would have decreased rapidly as the Ice Age progressed, providing a supplementary cooling mechanism later on as the other cooling mechanisms waned.

For the ice age to progress, sustained cooling of the mid- and high-latitude continents is required. The volcanic dust and aerosols from the Flood would have settled out in a few years, but abundant volcanism, at a much higher rate than we have observed in the recent 200 years, would continue the volcanic cooling. A large array of geological evidence attests to these large ice-age eruptions. The other cooling mechanisms would have continued in operation.

The ocean adjacent to the developing ice sheets, and in the path of storms, would continue to be warm, due to a vigorous horizontal and vertical ocean circulation. As the water was cooled by evaporation and by contact with cold continental air, it would become more dense and sink, being replaced by warmer water from deeper in the ocean. Ocean currents set up along the east coasts of Asia and North America would continually transport warmer water northward. As the deeper ocean cooled, the ocean surface and atmosphere at mid and high latitude would slowly cool, as the Ice Age progressed and the ice sheets expanded. Mountain icecaps in many areas would coalesce and spread to lower elevations.

One uniformitarian ice-age puzzle that has lasted for 200 years is the observation that cold tolerant animals, like the reindeer, lived with warm tolerant animals, like the hippopotamus. The latter even migrated into northern England, France, and Germany during the Ice Age. A post-Flood ice age can account for this unique distribution of animals, since winters would be mild and summers cool. And, also, northwest Europe would have been relatively warm at first because of the surrounding warm ocean and the generally westerly onshore flow of air. Land bridges, for instance, across the Bering strait and the English Channel, would have aided rapid animal dispersion after the Flood 10  with human dispersion to follow.

The climate of Siberia and Alaska would have been mild during the Ice Age. The Arctic Ocean not only was not covered by sea ice, but it also was relatively warm during the ice age. Temperatures over the surrounding continents would have been significantly warmer than at present as a result. 11  The warm North Atlantic and North Pacific also would have contributed to the warmth in these regions, and precipitation would have been higher. Consequently, the woolly mammoth and many other types of animals would have found a suitable home, with adequate food, in Siberia and Alaska. 12  We propose this happened by the remains of millions of their bones and even preserved carcasses in the ice as a result of rapidly colder temperatures at the end of the Ice Age. 13

Due to the unique post-Flood climate, glacial maximum is reached very rapidly—in about 500 years. This figure is based on the length of time the controlling conditions likely operated. The main variable determining this time span is the ocean warmth, which made very abundant moisture available. Once the ocean cooled to some threshold temperatures, the supply of moisture would critically decline, and deglaciation would begin. According to Michael Oard, the time needed to cool the ocean can be determined from the oceanic and atmospheric heat-balance equations applied to the post-Flood climate. Speculation is inherent in such an estimate. As a result, maximum and minimum estimates of the most important variables were used. The initial average ocean temperature following the Flood was assumed to be 30° C, and the threshold temperature, at maximum glaciation, was estimated to be 10° C. The time to reach maximum glaciation ranged from 174 to 1,765 years—a very short time, compared to uniformitarian estimates. Both these figures are extremes. The best estimate is probably about 500 years. 12

In summary, Michael Oard points out that the Genesis Flood is the basis for the post-Flood ice-age model. Since this model can explain the development of ice sheets and offer viable solutions to many outstanding ice age mysteries, the Flood should offer a firmer foundation for pre-glacial, earth history. If the principle of uniformitarianism of naturalistic evolution cannot explain the most recent geological period, it should not be the basis for all other geological periods.

Since uniformitarianism is unable to solve many mysteries of the past, it should be discarded, along with its accompanying theories—the theory of evolution and an old earth. A revolution or paradigm change in historical science would result. Many research conclusions would be rethought. The contribution to science and to life would be overwhelmingly positive. The situation remains, however, that new scientific data relating to earth history is published each year. Most of these data are incorporated within the uniformitarian paradigm, whether the data fit or not. Care must be exercised in using these data, since data collection and/or presentation is often biased by theory. Much new, as well as old scientific data, need reinterpreting within a Creation-Flood paradigm. This cannot be accomplished quickly. Thousands of uniformitarian scientists have spent over 150 years and billions of dollars on the uniformitarian model of earth history. Patience is needed to decipher the information on a particular subject. Creationists, as well as others, must be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly. Not every mystery of the past will be solved. But with time and effort, many aspects of the Creation-Flood paradigm can be filled in and will result in a far superior model of the prehistoric past. 14

Michael Oard concludes by declaring, "A post-Flood, rapid ice age supports the Genesis Flood, which further supports the historicity of the Bible. It also adds credence to the God of the Bible and to the spiritual message in the Bible. A God who has control of the earth, can cause a global Flood, and [can] allow an ice age is very powerful. He is even more powerful and intelligent for having created the entire universe. He is a master mathematician, engineer, and artist. Only the God of power and love described in the Bible is up to the task." 15  Ô

  • 1Oard, Michael J. (1990) An Ice Age Caused By the Genesis Flood, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA
  • 2Brown, R. H. (1990) in Foreword to: Oard, Michael J., An Ice Age Caused By the Genesis Flood, Institute for Creation Research. El Cajon, CA, xi-xii
  • 3Oard, M. and Oard, B. (1993) Life in the Great Ice Age, Master Books, Green Forest, AK, p. 72
  • 4Oard, M. J. (1990) pp. 187-197
  • 5Oard, M. J. (1990) pp. 190-191
  • 6Oard, M. J. (1990) pp. 187-188
  • 7Oard, M. and Oard, B. (1993) p. 62
  • 8Oard, M. and Oard, B. (1993) pp. 62-63
  • 9Oard, M. J. (1990) p. 188
  • 10Oard, M. J. (1990) pp. 188-189
  • 11Newson, R. L. (1973) Response of a General Circulation Model of the Atmosphere to Removal of the Arctic Ice-Cap, Nature 241: 39-40
  • 12 a b Oard, M. J. (1990) p. 190
  • 13Oard, M. and Oard, B. (1993) p. 67
  • 14Oard, M. J. (1990) pp. 196-197
  • 15Oard, M. J. (1990) p. 197

Could the Ice Age have been caused by the Genesis Flood? (Part 2)

Could the Ice Age have been caused by the Genesis Flood? (Part 2)
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 14:06

By author

Mark Stephens MCS

This is part two of a two part article concerning the Ice Age caused by the Genesis Flood: August issue, "The Buildup"; September issue, "The Meltdown".

In the August, 2004, TASC newsletter, I shared with you some of the scientific research and meteorological observations from Michael J. Oard, who concluded that the Ice Age could have been caused by the Genesis or Noahic Flood recorded in the Bible. 1 That article addressed primarily the build-up of snow and ice and the resulting glaciation of the Ice Age that Oard calculates took place over a span of 500 years after the worldwide Genesis Flood, which is also calculated by his scientific methods to have occurred about 4,200 years ago. 2 This article will address the deglaciation or "meltdown" of the Ice Age that took about 200 years according to calculations based on Oard's research. 3 ,4  Consequently, the total time for a post-Flood ice age is only about 700 years. 5 This contrasts to the uniformitarian theory of naturalistic evolution from as few as four to more than twenty ice ages covering tens to hundreds of thousands to millions of years. 6 For more in-depth study and understanding you may wish to order a copy of Oard's book titled, An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, by calling the Institute for Creation Research at 800-628-7640 or coming out to our monthly TASC meetings and purchase a copy. A less technical book for children and adults by Michael Oard and his wife, Beverly Oard, titled Life in the Great Ice Age can be obtained by the same methods.

To understand both the buildup and meltdown of the Ice Age in this same article—you may read all of part one of this two part article for more details by visiting the TASC web site listed above—I will first provide a brief review of the buildup or glaciation period followed by a more thorough assessment of the meltdown or deglaciation. Oard proposes that the catastrophic events of the Genesis Flood included hot water from the break-up of the "fountains of the great deep", as recorded in Genesis 7:11 of the Bible, that mixed with the ocean water from pole to pole, warmed the oceans, and caused a large abundance of moisture through evaporation for much higher snowfall in the winters. The abundance of moisture from evaporation in the resulting warmer oceans, coupled with very high numbers of volcanic eruptions with high amounts of volcanic ash particles thrown into the atmosphere for many years after the flood, caused much cloudiness and cooler summers. According to Oard, these post-Flood conditions provided the requirements for rapid glaciation for an ice age, i.e., much cooler summers and moderately cold winters (and with much higher snowfall due to the warmer ocean currents flowing into the mid- to high-latitude continents—an interesting weather condition then compared to colder winters in modern day) compared to the colder winters we have today. This unique combination of weather conditions would result in incomplete summer melting of snow with continued buildup of snow in the winters causing glaciation that would move farther downward from the high- to mid- latitude continents. In contrast to the creation science observations, these unique requirements are very difficult to meet with the uniformitarian theories of naturalistic evolution. 7

Now, let us examine the meltdown or deglaciation proposed by Oard's research to have occurred over a period of about 200 years. According to Oard's model, outlined in his book, when the average ocean temperature cooled to 10° C, less oceanic evaporation occurred, fewer clouds were present at higher latitudes, more radiation penetrated to the earth's surface, and most ice sheets began to melt. The mid- and high-latitude winter climate would continue to cool, until it became colder than it is today. Summers would become warmer, but still cooler than at present. Storms would become drier and windier, while rivers would be gorged with meltwater and sediment. Drastic ecological changes would stress plants and animals. Some animals would become extinct, while others would be forced toward the equator. At this time, the woolly mammoth most likely became trapped in Siberia and Alaska, where it was unable to survive. 8

Let us now examine the "big chill", or winters turning much colder, during the deglaciation of the Ice Age. What would cause the winters to cool and become much colder during deglaciation? At glacial maximum, the relatively warm ocean (10° C) would still produce a somewhat mild climate. Although volcanism by now was probably very low, and sunshine more intense than during ice buildup, the presence of the ice sheets would continue generating cold continental air. This air spreading out over the higher latitude ocean would cause further cooling of the deep ocean. Eventually, the deep-ocean temperature would reach the current average of 4° C. At the same time, the mid- and high-latitude atmosphere during winter would gradually cool because of the presence of the ice sheets and because of diminishing amounts of heat and moisture in the air contributed by the cooling ocean. The ocean and atmosphere would likely cool below today's average, as long as a substantial proportion of the ice sheets remained. 9

The next question is, would the ice sheets melt during the big chill? The answer is a resounding yes, with the time required being surprisingly short. The most scientific approach to determine the time required for melting of the ice sheets is by use of the energy balance equation to estimate ablation rates. 10  This approach has been attempted only within the past decade or two. 11  Lack of acquaintance with the energy balance equation and its use to estimate ablation rates is probably the principal reason why long-age estimates for deglaciation continue to be proposed.

The big chill would produce much colder temperatures in winter, but summers would be warmer than during the buildup of the ice sheets, although cooler than in the modern climate. Winter snowfall would be light, so that most of the summer sunshine and heat would be available to melt the ice sheets. 12

As the post-Flood climate cooled, the Arctic Ocean would eventually freeze over. Sea ice would spread over the northern North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, becoming more extensive than in modern winters. These changes would occur hand in hand with the atmospheric cooling, reinforcing each other. This strong cooling may explain why the Arctic Ocean is frozen today. Some investigators believe that if the Arctic Ocean suddenly became ice free, it would not refreeze. 13  Evidently, a significantly colder climate than we experience at present must have caused the Arctic Ocean to freeze over for the first time. 14

Although the tropics would cool slightly during the Ice Age, once ice-age volcanism diminished, the lower latitudes would recover more rapidly than mid- and high- latitudes. This would make the hemispheric north-south temperature difference during deglaciation greater than it is today, with the greatest gradient near the periphery of the ice sheets. Consequently, the jet stream would be more intense, and the storm tracks would average further south. 15

Let us now take a look at massive extinction of megafauna at the end of the Ice Age. If the association of animals from diverse climates during the Ice Age is mysterious, the extinction of many of the large animals, as well as birds, at the end is just as mysterious. At this time, the climate was supposedly warming according to most uniformitarian theories (as opposed to cooling according to the post-Flood model). A related, unsolved mystery of the uniformitarian theory is the massive extermination of the woolly mammoth in Siberia and Alaska. 16  According to the uniformitarian model, which initially proposed four major ice ages and now more than 20 ice ages, 17  the megafauna species and/or genera survived each previous glacial and interglacial period. But at the end of only the last ice age, many large mammals became extinct or disappeared from entire continents. These mammals include mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, and ground sloths. 18  North America was especially hard-hit, with about 34 genera of large mammals becoming extinct, compared to only 7 to 15 (depending on the investigator) in all the previous Pleistocene "ice ages". 19  Moreover, the largest species were preferentially decimated, and in contrast to other extinctions in the geological record, the mammals were not replaced in their habitats by other animals. 20  To compound the mystery, these mammals ranged over North America, Europe, and Asia, and had broad climatic tolerances. In other words, uniformitarian scientists are no closer to agreement on the extinction of these mammals after 200 years of gathering data, which should have brought greater understanding. The problem, likely, is in their uniformitarian assumption. The reason for very few extinctions after other proposed uniformitarian ice ages is that there were not any other ice ages. 21

Can a post-Flood ice age account for the extinction of many large mammals? The answer is yes. First, the animals thrived during the Ice Age because the climate was wetter, with milder winters, in contrast to uniformitarian expectations. Although large animals can survive the cold better than small animals, they can do so only if enough food is available. A wetter climate would provide adequate food. During the development of the ice sheets, the climate was not cold enough to cause animal extinction. As the ice sheets melted, winters became colder and drier, not warmer as some authorities believe. Consequently, the largest animals would be the most stressed due to lack of food. Many could have migrated, but if the change was relatively sudden over a large area, they would have starved to death by the time they found a suitable habitat.

Here is where man, the hunter, enters the picture to finish the job. Man, who by this time had spread over most of the world (after having been dispersed after the Babel experience recorded in Genesis chapter 11—see my April 2004 TASC article) would also have been stressed by the harsher climate. Fruits, vegetables, and grains would have been scarce. He would have found these large mammals to be good hunting prey and possibly the only food available. The fact that man did hunt the large animals, especially mammoths, is shown by Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon cave paintings of these animals. 22  (Note: Keep in mind that Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man are considered fully human by creation scientists and lived a few thousand years ago as opposed to them being pre-human ancestors to modern man and living tens of thousands of years ago according to uniformitarian naturalistic evolutionary scientists.) In North America, four mammoths, with spear or arrow points embedded into the bone, have been found. 23  Arrow points have also been found in mastodons in North America and in a toxodon in South America. 24  Burned bones of several other animals have been found with presumed human cultural remains.

We may conclude that man probably took part in the extinction of many large mammals, but man was not completely responsible for the extinctions, as the survival of other large animals attests. Climate change is the other culprit. And again, the reason for very few extinctions after other proposed uniformitarian ice ages is that there were not any other ice ages. 25

What is the summary of what happened to the many wooly mammoths in Alaska and Siberia? This is an important aspect of the understanding of what happened at the end of the meltdown of the Ice Age. Oard, after examining much of the evidence by other investigators and his own research, proposes the following. First, a million or more well-fed mammoths, along with many other types of mammals, lived in a climate much warmer than at present, and with no permafrost (partially frozen, boggy top layer of soil a few feet thick and frozen underneath). Second, the climate became much colder, resulting in the death of the mammoths and the preserving of their remains in permafrost which developed at the same time. The cooling was relatively rapid (otherwise, the mammoths would have been able to migrate out of Siberia), but not so rapid as to prevent most of the other animals from escaping. Third, since there are so few frozen carcasses, the catastrophe was not a regional quick freeze, as some popular accounts suggest. Most mammoth carcasses decomposed before burial, allowing enough time for normal decay. Fourth, after burial, the soil remained frozen to this day. The climate change to colder conditions was permanent. Taken together, the evidence indicates that the climate change was a relatively rapid and permanent shift from mild weather to a very cold climate. The climate at the end of a post-Flood, rapid ice age answers most of the questions surrounding the death of the woolly mammoth in Siberia and Alaska. 26

Michael Oard and his wife, Beverly Oard, in their entertaining and less technical book titled, Life in the Great Ice Age, make a few straight-forward conclusions:

  1. There is little evidence of many ice ages on land. Practically all of the Ice Age debris is from only one ice age.

  2. Summers need to cool 20-40° F to cause an ice age. It is easier to understand this much cooling with the unique climatic conditions that followed the Flood. But how could these same conditions occur 15 times or more in a row?

  3. Wisconsin was never glaciated. It seems much easier to explain this unglaciated area using one ice age, than many. Surely, if 15 or more ice ages occurred, one of them would have glaciated southern Wisconsin.

  4. The Ice Age ended not too long ago. This is based on the appearance of the glacial debris. Most of the debris looks very fresh, as if it were deposited a short time ago as the glistening polished rocks around Hudson Bay after a rain attest. This shows the ice disappeared a short time ago, and not about 10,000 to 15,000 or more years ago as naturalistic evolutionists believe. 

  5. Many evolutionary scientists believe there will be another ice age. They believe we have had many ice ages in the past, so there will be more in the future. In fact, some believe the next ice age is due soon! 

  6. The reason evolutionary scientists believe another ice age is coming is that many do not believe the Bible, and they try to guess about the future.

The Oards conclude by stating, "The Bible says the Flood in Noah's day was a one-time event. It was the Flood that disrupted the climate so much that it provided the conditions for the Ice Age. God gave us the rainbow as a promise that He will never again send a worldwide flood. Therefore, there can never be another ice age." 27

I, too, having been trained to teach the sciences, believe it is highly unlikely for these "just-right" conditions to occur again outside of the unique conditions caused by the catastrophic events of the worldwide Flood of the Bible. The scientific observations and evidences presented in this article on the Ice Age, taking into account the historical documentation of the worldwide Flood as recorded in Genesis chapters 7 and 8 of the Bible, help me to understand the truth of the Bible and show me that truly objective, unbiased scientific pursuit and observations do not conflict with the creation account of the Bible. We can be scientists and believe and see that the scientific evidences do support the creation account of the Bible and that God's special creation, mankind, was created very special, not evolved over millions of years as naturalistic evolutionists would have us to believe, even dismissing that there is a Creator, God. In Dr. Henry Morris's book, Men of Science, Men of God—Great Scientist Who Believed the Bible, he gives a brief biography of over 100 Christian scientists (among them Johann Kepler, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, George Washington Carver, Warner von Braun) who believed the Bible. Johann Kepler, founder of physical astronomy, established the motto, "thinking God's thoughts after Him", which he and many believing scientists adopted in their efforts to unlock the scientific principles of nature. 28  These scientific principles can truly can truly enhance all of our lives through that recognition of our all powerful Creator, God, and can allow us to receive His blessings. I, as I hope you too, have received a blessing from the scientists,  Michael and Beverly Oard, as I believe they have used this motto in helping us to understand the great Ice Age as a result of the Genesis Flood.

  • 1Oard, Michael J. (1990) An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, Institute for Creation Research, El Cahon, CA
  • 2Oard, Michael J. (1990) 192
  • 3Oard, Michael J. (1990)
  • 4Oard, Michael J. and Oard, Beverly (1993) Life in the Great Ice Age, Master Books, Green Forest, AK
  • 5Oard, Michael J. (1990) 191
  • 6The World Book Encyclopedia (1998) World Book, Inc., Chicago, IL, 10: 6-8.
  • 7Oard, Michael J. (1990) 33-91
  • 8Oard, Michael J. (1990) 109
  • 9Oard, M. J. (1990) 109-110
  • 10Hay, J. E. and Fitzharris, B. B. (1988) A Comparison of the Energy-Balance and Bulk-Aerodynamic Approaches for Estimating Glacier Melt. Journal of Glaciology, 34 (117): 145
  • 11Pollard, J. (1980) A Simple Parameterization for Ice Sheet Ablation Rate. Tellus 32: 384
  • 12Oard, Michael J. (1990) 114
  • 13Fletcher, J. O. (1968) The Influence of the Arctic Pack Ice on Climate. Causes of Climatic Change also Meteorological Monographs 8(30), American Meteorological Society, Boston, 93-99
  • 14Oard, Michael J. (1990) 110
  • 15Oard, Michael J. (1990) 111
  • 16Oard, Michael J. (1990) 124-125
  • 17The World Book Encyclopedia (1998) World Book, Inc., Chicago, IL, 10: 6-8.
  • 18Oard, Michael J. (1990) 25
  • 19Mcdonald, J. N. (1984) The Reordered North American Selection Regime and Late Quaternary Megafaunal Extinctions. Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ, 415
  • 20Lewin, R. (1987) Domino Effect Invoked in Ice Age Extinctions. Science 238: 1909
  • 21Oard, Michael J. (1990) 125, 128
  • 22Sutcliffe, A. J. (1985) On the Track of Ice Age Mammals.  Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 82-104
  • 23Marshall, L. G. (1984) Who Killed Cock Robin? Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ, 790
  • 24Nilsson, T. (1983) The Pleistocene. Geology and Life in the Quaternary Ice Age, D. Reidel Publishing Co., Boston, MA, 415, 428
  • 25Oard, Michael J. (1990) 127, 128
  • 26Oard, Michael J. (1990) 128-133
  • 27Oard, Michael J. and Oard, Beverly (1993) 70-71
  • 28Morris, Henry M. (1982) Men of Science, Men of God—Great Scientists Who Believed the Bible, Master Books, Green Forest, AK, 12-13.

Report from the Intelligent Design Conference

Report from the Intelligent Design Conference
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 15:41

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

REPORT FROM THE Intelligent Design Conference 

 Highlands, North Carolina, June 24-26, 2004


Setting and Overview


The conference was held at the Community Bible Church in Highlands North Carolina situated in the beautiful Smokey Mountain area surrounded by clouds, forest, and waterfalls (website: http://www.idconference.org/). My daughter, Holly, and I attended. I took a digital camera and made a few pictures some of which are included below.


Image

Figure 1


Folks at the church did an excellent job planning and orchestrating the conference of 550 attendees from around the US and several foreign countries.


Image

Figure 2 - Community Bible Church


Their work was truly a labor of love which was two years in the making. The beautiful main sanctuary of the church was used for the presentations.


Image

Figure 3 - Main sanctuary of church


Attendees enjoyed two meals a day catered by a local family who on Friday night served smoked beef and chicken. The Annie Moses Band provided entertainment /lead worship on three occasions; they simply must be seen and heard to be believed. If you ever have a chance to see them, don't pass it up! If you can imagine a fusion of jazz, rock, hillbilly, and classical music, with beautiful vocal harmonies, you have an idea what they are like. There was also a youth conference held in parallel to the main conference; my daughter, Holly, 14, attended. Over 18 hours of presentations and Q&A sessions were recorded by the technical staff at the church and will be available in CD and DVD formats. I ordered a complete set. There was also a well stocked bookstore.


There was a painting made in honor of the conference by Hayes Meyer, a local, who was commissioned by the church for her work. The painting, entitled "Seven Days," was hung in the foyer of the church just before the main sanctuary. Unfortunately, I was unable to get permission to post an image of the painting as its creator is currently negotiating with a potential buyer. The painting faithfully depicts the seven days of creation as described in Genesis 1. Of particular note were the inclusion of sea mammals on day five and dinosaurs on day six. Hayes Meyers is a mural painter and has painted in homes, businesses and museums. She can be contacted at 828-743-7339 or hayesart [at] dnet.net.


Thomas Woodward, author of Doubts about Darwin, introduced most of the speakers and moderated the half-hour question and answer sessions held at the end of each day. All the speakers presented in PowerPoint or an equivalent. The speakers included D. Russell Humphreys, Larry Vardiman, Hugh Ross, Michael Behe, Charles Thaxton, Chuck Colson, Finn Laursen, Thomas Woodward, and Mark Eckel. Each talk was about an hour long. Some speakers presented twice. Most of the speakers were available for questions after their talks, at meals, and during free time.


Presentations


The following reviews are based on notes, handouts, recollection, and an occasional book reference. I accidentally missed most of one of Michael Behe's talks while talking to other presenters. I did not take notes during Mark Eckel's talk, but I do have his nice handout. If anyone wants it, I will seek his permission to make e-copies and will distribute accordingly. This review is not comprehensive or exhaustively detailed and I take responsibility for any errors in reporting I may have made. At some point, I may be able to revise this report when I have had a chance to review the DVDs.


Physicist Russell Humphreys of ICR and author of Starlight and Time gave two talks. The first was entitled "The Intelligent Designer is the God Who Created Recently."


Russell Humphreys

Figure 4 - Russell Humphreys


The evidences cited for a recent creation included the scriptures, rate of winding of spiral galaxies, number and lifetimes of comets, seafloor mud accumulation, rate of salt deposition in the oceans, decay of the earth's magnetic field, length of written history, lack of stone age graves, rapid rate of decay of DNA coupled with recent finds of intact T. Rex DNA, ubiquity of residual radiocarbon throughout the fossil record, and evidences for accelerated nuclear decay in the past. God used relativity to allow us to see the cosmos even though the earth is young. Dr. Humphreys' second talk was entitled "Carbon 14 is Now the Friend of Young-Earth Creationists." Dr. Humphreys described recent findings by the RATE group (www.icr.org/research) with regards to the presence of residual radiocarbon throughout the fossil records and in diamond samples. The presence of residual radiocarbon in coals allegedly hundreds of millions of years old coupled with radiocarbon's short 6000 year half -life indicate the fossils must have formed in the recent past, consistent with the Genesis account. In a separate conversation, Dr. Humphreys said he has shown by calculation that the residual C14 in diamonds could not have been derived from the reaction of neutrons (from U fission) with C12, C13, or N14. The retention of excess helium in zircons "dated" at 1.5 billion years old coupled with the now firmly established rapid diffusion of helium through zircons (RATE) was presented as evidence for rapid nuclear decay in the past. The most recent results extending the helium diffusion rates through zircon down to about 100° C (June 2004 CRSQ, http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/41/41_1/Helium.htm) were discussed. Dr. Humphreys found a piece of granite containing mica while at the conference and passed it around during one of his talks.


Larry Vardiman

Figure 5 - Larry Vardiman


Larry Vardiman of ICR also discussed the RATE project and the Ice Age. He first gave evidences for an Ice Age such as striations, kettle lakes, glaciers, drumlins, moraines, and erratics. Dr. Vardiman explained that the oceans warmed up during the Flood due to the release of magma from the breaking up of the earth's crust.  The warmer oceans coupled with the cooler temperature at the ground due to volcanic dust in the atmosphere in the aftermath of the Flood lead to a higher evaporation rate and hence precipitation rates. The greater snowfall at the higher latitudes lead to greater land coverage by snow. This lead to greater cooling of the earth due to more sunlight being reflected by the snow. The process was self perpetuating and eventually lead to the Ice Age. The higher evaporation rates may have also lead to the formation of hypercanes, super hurricanes which would have dropped more precipitation and left the land barren. The barren land would have reflected light causing additional cooling. Evidence for rapid snowfall was presented: WW2 fighters have been found buried under hundreds of feet of snow.


On a completely different subject, Dr. Vardiman said that there was now evidence that the "polar wind" may be able to remove helium from the atmosphere fast enough to explain the low levels of helium in the earth's atmosphere. Hence, even if the earth were billions of years old, the helium content of the atmosphere would be small. Although disappointing, the helium retention in and diffusion through zircon results and their implications for accelerated nuclear decay and a young earth stand on their own.


Michael Behe

Figure 6 - Michael Behe


Michael Behe spoke on irreducible complexity and responded to some of his critics. He discussed Darwin's theory of natural selection operating on variations to facilitate "survival of the fittest." Darwin speculated that a light sensitive spot may have evolved into human eye by his mechanism. However, Darwin conceded that his theory would breakdown if it could ever be shown that there was a complex organ that could not be explained by numerous, slight, successive changes. Behe introduced his concept of irreducible complexity, the idea that all of the parts of system are necessary for its function; if any part is removed or modified, the system ceases to work. He then illustrated this concept by describing the required parts of a mouse trap and how removal of any part would cause the trap to stop working. He then discussed the bacterial flagellum as an example of irreducible complexity in biology. The flagellum is made of some 40 proteins, some of which are used in other parts of the cell. Some critics have said that these preexisting pieces could have been co-opted for use in the flagellum without the need for making them from scratch. Behe responded that only a few of the proteins are preexisting and that the machinery and instructions for assembly would still be required (must have evolved); the formation of the flagellum is tightly orchestrated. Indeed, the machinery required to assemble the flagellum is itself irreducibly complex. Critics say that intelligent design (ID) is just religious. Behe argued that it is an empirical deduction based on physical evidence. Behe said that Franklin Harold, author of "The Way of the Cell'" rejects ID but admits current Darwinian explanations for complex biochemical structures are "just-so" stories. Behe said science should follow the evidence wherever is leads. Behe mentioned that some believe they have met the challenge of irreducible complexity in the mouse trap example. Some have cleverly devised mouse traps which have fewer parts and claim this proves the 5 part mouse trap is not irreducibly complex after all. Behe said what they must demonstrate is how their mouse traps with fewer parts could have become the 5 part trap through small, successive, numerous changes with each intermediate trap being fully functional. Behe said some of his responses to his critics could be found at www.crsc.org. An interesting personal note about Dr. Behe—he has nine children.


Astronomer and progressive creationist Hugh Ross, president of Reasons to Believe (www.reasons.org), said we must identify the intelligent designer. Ross said that only biblically based biblical faith is consistent with the well established theory of General Relativity. God did not have a beginning or need to be created because He is beyond time. The universe is fine tuned for life; this is evidence for ID. Ross said that if several predictions he has made at the end of his recent book, A Matter of Days, are not fulfilled, he will change his position concerning the age of the earth. Some of these predictions are listed below:


  1. More theologians will embrace the old earth (OE) view.
  2. More theologians will consider the OE position as best supporting inerrancy.
  3. Research will confirm that there were various hominid species living prior to Adam and Eve. The species will prove to be morphologically and genetically distinct from modern humans.
  4. Evidence for the Big Bang will increase.
  5. Astronomers' measurement of the age of the universe will become more precise and confirm billions of years.
  6. The number of scientists who conclude that the age of the earth and universe is thousands of years based on physical evidence alone will remain essentially zero.
  7. The reliability of radiometric dating will increase.
  8. Distant galaxies will prove closer together and at earlier developmental stages than galaxies in our neighborhood.
  9. Evidence that globular clusters are old will increase.
  10. Evidence for comet clouds, the Oort Cloud, and Kuiper Belt will increase.
  11. Evidence for old supernova remnants will increase.
  12. Evidence for the fixity of the laws and constants of physics over the last several billion years will increase.


Ross also spoke on the origin of life. He said it would take a miracle for life to have formed on earth through natural processes alone. (Comment: It seems that Dr. Ross has stacked the deck in his favor in his predictions. He is basically saying that scientists who for the most part do not take scripture seriously will continue to see the world as they always have and will integrate new data into the existing paradigm. In my humble opinion, the prediction which has the greatest potential help for his cause is number 12, but the RATE group's recent findings and the apparent change in the fine structure constant seem to be refuting it. The rest of the predictions seem explicable by sociology, philosophical bias, and Dr. Humphreys White Hole Cosmology.)


Charles Thaxton, chemist and coauthor of The Mystery of Life's Origin, gave a talk on the origin of life.


Charles Thaxton

Figure 7 - Charles Thaxton


Thaxton distinguished between order and complexity: order is redundant and periodic whereas complexity is aperiodic and random. Information is complex and specified—it contains a message. Life's molecules exhibit specified complexity. He said origin of life experiments have generated 19 of the 20 essential amino acids, all five nucleic acid bases, sugars, glucose, ribose, deoxyribose, and fatty acids. Nevertheless, there are still major problems:


  1. If the early earth had a reducing atmosphere and contained methane, ultraviolet light would have polymerized methane to form high molecular weight hydrocarbons, but no petroleum layer has been found in the fossil record.
  2. There is no evidence the early earth's atmosphere contained ammonia.
  3. Oxygen forms from the ultraviolet photolysis of water. This process generates oxygen at the same rate as photosynthesis. Oxygen stops reactions needed to make life's building blocks in origin of life experiments.
  4. Oxygen converts to ozone and ozone blocks ultraviolet light. Prebiotic chemistry required ultraviolet light to drive reactions.
  5. There is no geochemical evidence of a prebiotic soup.
  6. There is no explanation for the homochirality of amino acids and sugars.
  7. Interfering cross reactions would have made many molecules which are not relevant to abiogenesis.
  8. Fatty acids and phosphates precipitate from water in the presence of magnesium and calcium.
  9. Sugars cross react with other compounds to give complex mixtures.
  10. Prebiotic soup would have been too dilute for polymerization to occur.
  11. The processes which make the required chemicals also destroy them.


Many have concluded that abiogenesis on the earth was not possible and say that the required organic chemicals must have been brought to earth by comets. The timeframe in which life must have evolved has shrunk to 100-150 million years. Unchannelled energy flow cannot do the configurational entropy work required to make biopolymers with the correct sequences. Where do the instructions to make the correct chemicals come from? An explanation for life requires natural and intelligent causes. Dr. Thaxton lost his leg to cancer a few years ago and has just recovered from a long illness. His wife's love for him was obvious.


Charles Colson

Figure 8 - Chuck Colson


Chuck Colson, author of several books and founder of Prison Fellowship and the Wilberforce Forum (they sponsored the conference), spoke on how Christians should engage our culture. He said origins is a critical issue and our message must get into the schools. We live in the age of post modernism which holds that truth is unknowable. We must defend the truth and engage our culture at every turn. Societies are changed from the bottom up, one individual at a time. He cited 1 Chronicles 12:32, Acts 17:11, and Romans 12:1,2. We must understand our times and learn what to do, must use the scriptures as our guide, and must commit to obey God. Truth is relative in our culture; our culture has embraced pragmatism and subjectivism. As a consequence, we have lost our sense of meaning in life. The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects; if there is no real truth, then there is no real meaning. Should we worship the god we want or the God that is? The secularization of culture neutralizes religious ideas in all spheres of life: media, entertainment, education. Today's heroes are celebrities. Not many people are thinking today. Today's culture says the private life is where freedom should be. Pluralism provides a smorgasbord mentality which encourages the individual to design his own religion. We live in a credulous age; people will believe anything. Christians should be elitist on ideas and egalitarian about people. Our age has embraced naturalism and secular humanism. Theists believe that reality is personal. There must be an I/thou relationship, a plurality of persons (trinity), for there to be love; the implication of naturalism is despair. Monism is the god of "the force" (Star Wars), an impersonal entity in which all things are moving towards unity. Reality is ultimately personal. Colson recommended a few websites:



Finn Laursen (finn [at] ceai.org) of Christian Educators Association International presented a talk on legal rights in the classroom. According to the Supreme Court, Creation Science cannot be taught in public schools because it violates the Establishment Clause. However, ID may not have this problem since it does not specify the designer. Several court cases were presented.


Thomas Woodward

Figure 9 - Thomas Woodward


Thomas Woodward, author of Doubts about Darwin, A History of Intelligent Design, gave talks entitled "‘Power Stories' in the Evolution Controversy" and "The Radical Edge of Intelligent Design." He said ID is radical like the counter culture of the 1960s; the prevailing "establishment" needs to be uprooted and overturned, a true revolution is called for. Michael Denton's book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis awakened Michael Behe and Phil Johnson to the inadequacies of Darwinism. Johnson has concluded that the evidence for Darwinism is somewhere between weak and non-existent. Evolutionist David Raup has said that Johnson understands 99% of evolutionary biology. There are four dimensions to the radicalism of ID; they are like an engine, a tree, a foundation and a filter. There is no engine for evolution: random mutations acted upon by natural selection is an insufficient mechanism for macroevolution, there is no evidence for self-organization, symbiotic evolution does not create new information, and punctuated equilibrium is too improbable. There is no tree of common ancestry. The fossil record is a record of sudden appearance, stasis, and extinction. The Eocene bat (allegedly lived 50 million years ago) is a living fossil discovered in 1965. The Cambrian Explosion and the inverted cone of diversity seen in the fossil record contradict Darwinism. No gradualism has been observed in the fossil record as expected if decent with modification is true. The fossil evidence fits well with the idea of separate created kinds. The foundation of Darwinism is naturalistic philosophy and not empirical evidence. Intelligent causes can be detected by use of William Dembski's Explanatory Filter. Objects which exhibit complex specified information (CSI) were created by intelligent causes. Irreducibly complex biochemical machines such as the bacterial flagellum exhibit CSI and were therefore designed. The root of the problem is the deification of nature (Romans 1). Darwinism is a true modern superstition which Christians should expose. We need to insist that the data be allowed to speak for itself. Modern science has betrayed its core value of truth telling.


Mark Eckel of the Moody Bible Institute gave a talk entitled "Originality." He said God is transcendent and immanent. God's transcendence means He is separate and apart from his creation; we will never be God. God's immanence means He is close to and cares for His creation. Origin ideas derived from naturalism are futile for living: materialism, determinism, perfectionism, utopianism, and skepticism. Materialism says that the physical universe is all there is. Determinism says we are merely complex chemical reactions which can be explained by environmental and genetic factors alone. Perfectionism says man can be perfected by science. Utopianism says we can create a perfect world through the proper governmental structures. Skepticism says we can never really know the truth. Correctly understanding our origins gives a basis for law, freedom, rights, responsibility, respect, community, dignity, proper relationships, hope, and redemption. We must confess creation and communicate with our culture.


Sneak Preview of the Video Privileged Planet


Conference attendees were treated to a viewing of a new video by Illustra Media entitled The Privileged Planet which is now available. The video is similar in format to the video Unlocking the Mysteries of Life, also available from Illustra. Several astronomers (not Hugh Ross) discuss the fine tuning of the laws of nature and various aspects of the earth and our solar system that just happen to be what they must be for us to be here.


Question and Answer Sessions


My recollection and notes on these sessions are fragmentary and mostly consist of responses from Russell Humphreys and Hugh Ross. Both men behaved in a professional and respectful way. Thomas Woodward was a good moderator and only let discussions go so far before addressing a new topic. Woodward was respectful to all. Charles Thaxton commented that he thought the ID camp should be a "big tent" with room for both YEC and OE creationists. Ross was asked if he thought the salt deposition in the sea was a convincing argument for a young earth. He said no and that there was probably some mechanism which removed salt from the sea. He also said that old supernova remnants have been seen in other galaxies but not in our own because there is too much dust locally and the remnants are faint. He claimed that accelerated nuclear decay can be disproved by observing the elemental composition of stars which are millions of light years away; no matter what age of star you observe, the elemental composition is what is expected if decay rates have always been the same. Ross also said that helium diffusion should not be used as a chronometer because helium is small and slippery and may have come from sources other that radioactive decay. Dr. Humphreys responded that the amount of helium found in the zircons was greater than in the surrounding rock, proving its source was the zircons and not some external source. Moreover, the sum of the helium found in the zircons and the surrounding biotite was close to the theoretical amount based on the amount of radioactive decay indicated by the uranium/lead content of the zircons. The rapid helium diffusion rates plus high helium retention in zircons leave no other option than to infer a past episode of accelerated nuclear decay. The way the sessions were handled did not permit every comment made by one speaker to be addressed by another who might have held a different position. At one point Woodward thanked Humphreys and Ross calling them scholars and lead in a round of applause.

Where do viruses come from?

Where do viruses come from?
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 15:58

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

"For sheer numbers, no other ocean beings can match viruses. Thousands, sometimes even millions of these molecular parasites inhabit every drop of surface seawater, outnumbering even bacteria by 10 to 1... evidence that suggests that viruses are a powerful force in the sea, and one that determines how many plankton and ultimately how many fish, and even humans, an ocean ecosystem can support... viruses must have a profound influence on the WHY DID GOD CREATE VIRUSES?

A major line of reasoning used to argue against the creationist worldview is ‘why a benevolent God would create pathogenic organisms whose sole function seems to be to cause disease and suffering?

Given the current state of the United State's vaccine supply and the US Public Health Service's ominous forecasts for this flu season, this question is likely to be on the minds of more than just anti-creationists this year. Chiron, a major manufacturer of flu vaccine, will not be distributing any influenza vaccine this flu season, and on October 19, 2004, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced to a worried public that, in order to ensure an ample supply of influenza vaccine for the most vulnerable Americans, people not in the priority categories should forgo getting the flu vaccine because it takes a shot away from someone who needs it more (http://hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20041019a.html).

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The Work of a Benevolent God?

The account of Noah and the flood is often criticized by the claim that God must have wanted pathogenic viruses in the world: because they exist today, God must have brought them on the ark. 1 However, the common public perception that the only function of viruses is to cause disease is incorrect. It is true that viruses cause many common diseases such as cold sores, hepatitis B, herpes, yellow fever, viral meningitis, chicken pox, colds, mononucleosis, mumps, rabies, polio, shingles, smallpox, warts, viral pneumonia, AIDS and some cancers. However, research has now found a substantial amount of evidence that they serve several major roles in ecology and are actually essential for life. They serve numerous beneficial functions that we are just beginning to research and understand. 2

How they Work? 3

The relation between viruses and their hosts is complex, and usually begins when a virus makes contact with a potential host cell. All known life forms can be “infected” by viruses, but some life forms appear to be less prone than others; for example, some species such as arthropods and gymnosperms can carry viruses without experiencing adverse effects. 4

Virus multiplication

Attachment: Viruses and all animal cells contain projections, typically glycoproteins, that allow a virus and animal cell to make contact and to chemically and mechanically bond. To infect a cell, the antigens on the virus surface must fit into the cell's receptor sites. The fit is usually species-specific; thus a specific virus type will infect only a specific animal or plant type. However, some virus types such as rabies and influenza have a wide range of hosts.

Penetration: Subsequent to attachment, most viruses are drawn into the cell by a process called endocytosis, the same process the cell uses to take in nutrients. Some virus types can pass directly through the pores in the host's cell membrane and others, such as bacteriophages, remain outside the cell but inject their DNA into the cells (Figure 1).

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Figure 1 - The bacteriophage injection mechanism is an example of a complex accessory structure that enables viruses to bind to the host cell. a) virus attaches to host cell with sheath extended. b) sheath contracts injecting bacteriophage DNA into host cell. 5

Transfection: The viral DNA is spliced into a specific site on the host DNA by integrase. The enzyme does this by cutting the circular plasmid DNA, then splicing in the new DNA and repairing the two splice sites.

Replication and Synthesis: The viral DNA or RNA directs the host cell to produce copies of viral nucleic acids and proteins, including enzymes.

Assembly: Once inside the cell, the virus can set up what might be likened to the biological equivalent of an assembly line (Figure 2). In one type of phage the tail is assembled by first constructing the protein scaffolding. Protein building blocks are then added one at a time. This process of addition stops when another protein acting as "measuring tape" determines that the tail is the proper length. A signal is then produced indicating that the structure is complete and the scaffolding protein detaches to be used again in making other virus tails.

Release: The new viruses are released from the cell to infect other cells, spreading even more genes to other cells.

Where Do They Come From?

Image
Figure 2 - Replication cycle of a bacteriophage 6

Some evolutionists hypothesize that viruses "evolved" from bacteria by natural selection. In this process, as they become parasites, they lost all the complex protein structures that bacteria require. Others hypothesize that viruses were the first form of life, and that bacteria evolved from them (as did all other life). The fatal problem with this theory is that viruses are not living, and in order to reproduce and to make ATP, they require all of the complex cellular machinery present in bacterial cells. Other scientists speculate that a reverse symbiosis occurred, and that viruses arose out of cell parts such as bacterial plasmids and other organelles, and eventually evolved into separate forms of life. 7

So far evidence is lacking for each of these theories. Both bacterial plasmids and viruses contain the nucleotide sequences required to initiate replication. While these structures are necessary for the function of each, this does not prove either's phylogeny. Further, all "ancient" viruses so far discovered in "ancient" amber and other places are fully developed, functional viruses.

What Good Are They?

According to Jerry Bergman, the importance of viruses is closely related to the importance of bacteria, which supply our fertile soil and atmospheric gases. 8  Bacteria cleanse our water supply, play a role in stabilizing the atmospheric nitrogen concentration, and regulate the acidity or alkalinity of the soil environment.

Scientists now believe that viruses have a relationship with bacteria that is akin to bees carrying pollen from flower to flower, thus causing cross-fertilization. Viruses carry not only their own genes, but also those of other creatures, especially those of bacteria. 9  Walter ReMine believes that God intentionally created and released life forms into the environment in a particular time sequence, much like a computer goes through a sequence of distinct stages during its "system bootup" process. 10  The bootup of an entire planetary biosphere would have many problems. Perhaps our designer God had to solve these problems by releasing organisms, like viruses, in a particular timed sequence, each stage building on the previous one.

If viruses are a part of God's amazing plan that allows life on earth marvelous adaptive abilities, it would make sense that He would provide us with instructions for dealing with the more troubling aspects of their existence. In a previous article (January 2004, An Ounce of God Ordained Prevention is Worth a Ton of Worldly Cure) we discussed the amazingly effective Mosaic rules regarding hygiene that God ordained well before the concept of viruses and germs was discovered. 

However, thousands of virus types exist in host cells without problems. Problems that do cause disease are a result of reshuffling of virus genes, genetic mutation of the host, or a breakdown in the general health of the host organism. Research is showing that viruses are a critical part of life. Holmes has noted:

"For sheer numbers, no other ocean beings can match viruses. Thousands, sometimes even millions of these molecular parasites inhabit every drop of surface seawater, outnumbering even bacteria by 10 to 1... evidence that suggests that viruses are a powerful force in the sea, and one that determines how many plankton and ultimately how many fish, and even humans, an ocean ecosystem can support... viruses must have a profound influence on the entire oceanic ecosystem. When protozoans eat bacteria, energy passes along the food chain leading from protozoa to other zooplankton to larger predators, including fish. But when virus-infected bacterial cells burst, their energy-rich cell contents spill into the water for other bacteria to scavenge. ‘Viruses tend to keep nutrients away from the big stuff and keep them going around in the little stuff,' says Fuhrman. If so, viruses have shaped the entire structure of the ecosystem." 11


The instructions recorded by Moses in Leviticus, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are strikingly similar to the Center for Disease Control's recent flu-prevention advice (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/0405shortage.htm).

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too [Leviticus 13:1-14, 57; Numbers 5:2-4; Deuteronomy 23:10]  
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue afterward. [Numbers 5:2-4; Leviticus 13:45-46] 
  3. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve. [Lev. 13:45-46]
  4. Wash your hands after you cough or sneeze with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner. [Numbers 19:11-13,19; Leviticus 11:24-28,40] 
  5. If you get the flu, stay home from work or school to help prevent others from catching your illness. [Leviticus 13:1-14, 57; Numbers 5:2-4; Deuteronomy 23:10]
  • 1Woodmorappe, J. (1996) Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study. ICR, Santee, CA
  • 2Bergman, J. (1999) Did God Make Pathogenic Viruses? Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 13(1)
  • 3Bergman, J. (1999) Did God Make Pathogenic Viruses? Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 13(1)
  • 4Evans, A.S. (1989) Viral Infections of Humans, Third Edition, Plenum Publishing Corp, New York, NY
  • 5Lurier, S.E., Darnell Jr., J. E., Baltimore, D. and Campbell, A. (1978) General Virology, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY,159
  • 6Stent, G.S., and Calendar, R. (1978) Molecular Genetics: an Introductory Narrative, W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, CA, 319
  • 7Hapgood, G. (1987) Viruses Emerge as a New Key for Unlocking Life's Mysteries. Smithsonian 18(8):126
  • 8Bergman, J. (1999) Did God Make Pathogenic Viruses? Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 13(1)
  • 9Karam, J.D. (editor) (1994) Molecular Biology of Bacteriophage T-4, ASM Press, Washington, DC
  • 10Remine, W.J. (1993) The Biotic Message - Evolution versus Message Theory, St. Paul Science, St. Paul, MN, 424
  • 11Holmes, B. (1996) Who Rules the Waves? New Scientist 152(2054):8-9, supp

What History and the Bible Tell Us About Our Early Ancestors

What History and the Bible Tell Us About Our Early Ancestors
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 16:04

By author

Joe Spears MS

Many people have become interested in genealogy and in tracing their roots. Have any of you ever wondered, "Just how far back can we trace our ancestors?" The answer may be, "Farther than you think!"

Also, many have wondered about the origins of nations, shrouded in the mists of antiquity and in mystery. Where did the Egyptians come from? The Mayas? It seems that many ancient civilizations sprang up, if not from nowhere, at least more rapidly than one would expect.

Have you ever wondered if the history given in the Bible is actually true? Are all people descended from Noah and Adam? According to the Bible, there was a flood, and only eight souls survived—Noah, his wife, and their three sons and their sons' wives. From these people the earth was repopulated after the flood. Perhaps you have believed this story on faith, but maybe wondered if there was any evidence to support it.

Bill Cooper was one person who had heard that the Bible account was actually true, but he had also heard that it was not true—that it was myths and fables. So Cooper decided to investigate this himself and has published his findings in the book After the Flood. (All quotes herein are from his book, which can be found online at www.ldolphin.org/cooper.)

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Figure 1 - Front cover

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Figure 2 - Back cover

Cooper began investigating the part of Genesis which names names—the part that tells of the ancestors of nations. He reasoned that if the record of Noah and his descendants given in Genesis were true, then there should be some mention of the names of these individuals in the records and documents of other Middle Eastern nations, in addition to the Bible. Allowing for the vast time periods involved and possibly the loss of documents due to decay, etc., he decided that if only 40% of these names could be found, he would be satisfied. To his amazement, he found not only 40% but over 99% of the names to be verified.

He then went beyond this test. He went outside the bounds of the Middle East to carry his search into Europe, specifically requiring that the documents and records had to date from a time before any European nation was converted to Christianity. Therefore, there would be no possibility of copying the names from Christian documents. Cooper wrote concerning the Biblical account in Genesis, chapters 10 and 11:

"The Table of Nations had listed all the families and tribes of mankind in their correct groupings, whether those groupings were ethnological, linguistic or geographical. All the names, without exception, were accurate, and in more than twenty-five years of searching and analyzing, I uncovered not one mistake or false statement of fact in the Table of Nations.

"It has to be said here that such a result could simply not be expected or obtained from any comparable historical document, especially one as ancient as this."

There we find record of the three sons of Noah—Shem, Ham, and Japheth. In the mythology of the old world, Japheth was regarded as the father of many peoples. The Greeks called him Iapetos, the son of heaven and earth and the father of many nations. He is called Pra-Japati in the Sanskrit Vedas of India, Father Japheth, the sun and lord of creation, the source of life for his descendants. Romans called him Ju-Pater, Father Jove, and later Jupiter. Saxons traced their royal house from him, whom they called Sceaf. Cooper reminds us that all these peoples were pagans who had no knowledge of Genesis.

Gomer, the first son of Japheth, fathered the Cimmerians who lived near the Caspian Sea. Riphath was a son of Gomer. His descendants were named Riphaei by Pliny and Riphaces by Melo. The similarity in names is apparent: Riphath (Genesis) - Riphael (Pliny) - Riphaces (Melo).

Documents from the 14th century BC tell of Tegarama, a region where descendants of Togarmah settled. Togarmah was another son of Gomer. Again, note the similarity in the names: Tegerama and Togarmah.

Yet much of the history tracing man's origins and the origin of nations back to the flood has not been included in our history books. Why?

The history of the early Britons was practically "erased" because of the massacre of British Christians by Rome near the end of the sixth century AD. This included many scholars and monks. Then, for about 500 years, only Roman, Saxon, and later Norman versions of history were taught.

But in the 1130s archdeacon Walter of Oxford gave a book to the British monk Geoffrey of Monmouth. The book was a very ancient copy of the history of the early Britons, whose language was even then so ancient that it sorely needed translating into Latin before the language became forgotten. However, this book has been criticized. Some criticisms, along with answers, are listed below:

  1. It contains errors
    • the author notes that if we rejected all historical sources  that contained errors, we would have no history at all
  2. The original no longer exists
    • it is extremely rare to have the original of an ancient  document
  3. there is nothing else like it in Medieval Welsh literature
    • actually, there are 58 surviving manuscript copies of the same historical material

Why then the criticism of the book? Cooper tells us, "... it is an account that flies entirely in the face of everything that we are taught nowadays about where we come from, ..."

Cooper gives much evidence that the book of Geoffrey of Monmouth is not a forgery. He gives an account of the descent of six Anglo-Saxon royal houses from Woden, who is traced back to Japheth and Noah. There Cooper gives six lists from four nations, which trace the ancestry of Woden. A comparison of these lists indicates that Woden is descended from Noah.

Another very ancient source is Nennius' Historia Brittonum. Nennius names Madai, Gomer, Tubal, and Magog—all brothers, grandsons of Noah and sons of Japheth—as fathers of various nations and peoples.

Cooper points out that after the fifth generation following the flood, the lines of the British and Irish Celts diversify. Before that, the four names of their ancestors are common to both. And it is in the fifth generation after the flood that, according to the Bible, the dispersal of the nations from Babel took place! This would of course explain the separation of these two lines of descent.

Cooper writes, "...we note in these ancient genealogies that after the fifth generation the Irish and continental pedigrees diverge in a most pointed way in exact accordance with the Genesis account."

Now, let's look back to something mentioned earlier—the appearance and development of some civilizations faster than one would expect. This has been said of Egypt and others.

Consider this: after the Flood, there was no civilization left; but, just as Noah had prepared for a world after the flood by bringing animals on the Ark with him, perhaps he had also prepared by bringing with him source texts of technical knowledge. Certainly, knowledge of agriculture, architecture, mathematics, and other types of knowledge would prove useful if one were basically starting all over again to rebuild a whole world. It makes sense to bring such knowledge along.

And, if such knowledge was available to the early builders and founders of the most ancient civilizations, then we would expect them to develop somewhat more rapidly than if they were starting out from scratch, with no accumulated knowledge.

There is much more in Cooper's book. For example, the descent of a Chinese people, the Miautso, from Adam, with similar names to those found in Genesis, based on their own oral history and without having the Bible to copy it from.

A very interesting area of research is dealt with in Cooper's book, showing amazing corroboration of the Biblical account of the descent of nations from Noah. To quote one reviewer, "This book is bold in its thesis, well argued in its analysis, fascinating in its detail and will no doubt be particularly controversial to those scholars whose assumptions and paradigms it seeks to refashion."

2005

2005 TASC Sat, 03/16/2019 - 22:28

Jesus and Genesis

Jesus and Genesis
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 16:07

By author

Fred L. Johnson PhD

Because most of those associated with TASC would call themselves Christians, I suspect that most of you reading this article would readily affirm that Jesus is God in the flesh, God incarnate, the so-called "Son of God," equal with God the Father.

Yet I know that many Christians struggle with the what the secular world has said about the creation account in the Bible.

Today, I would like to provide you with reason to believe.

All around me, wherever I look, whether it be into the unfathomable expanse of the galaxies or into the tiny machinery of a liver cell that produces a myriad of lipids and proteins, I find the handiwork of a brilliant and powerful craftsman. TASC is comprised of lots of folks like me who are in awe of these natural marvels. Accordingly, this space in the newsletter is usually dedicated to an article on some fascinating phenomenon in one of the natural sciences. But today I want to speak to another important aspect of TASC. I will not be summarizing the regulation of gene transcription in human placental cells and how the marvelous mechanism speaks of a creator. I will not be describing the decades of careful observations made by a famous astrophysicist and how his findings bring us to the conclusion that the universe must be the product of a designer. I will not be presenting the discoveries of a paleontologist who has come across fossilized skeleton of an extinct animal and how his findings argue of a recent world-wide flood. I love those subjects, and I hope to learn about these from other TASC authors, but today I want to deal with another aspect of TASC's mission—with the matter of what Jesus, himself, has said about the origin of this universe and everything in it.

Because most of those associated with TASC would call themselves Christians, I suspect that most of you reading this article would readily affirm that Jesus is God in the flesh, God incarnate, the so-called "Son of God," equal with God the Father. Yet I know that many Christians struggle with the what the secular world has said about the creation account in the Bible. Today, I would like to provide you with reason to believe.

Among the first words in the Bible we see evidence that the Son of God was present with the Father before the world began and is co-creator of the universe with the Father. As recorded in Genesis, after God had created light, the earth, plant-life, the stars, the sun, the moon, the birds, the fish, the animals, with only his Word, God speaks to someone (or to more than one) and says,

"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..." NASB Genesis 1:26

And from the gospel of John (and elsewhere) it is clear that at least one of the persons to whom God was speaking was the person of his son—the son who would later be sent into this world in the same physical form as the creature to whom he was being sent.

The gospelof John begins with these words,

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."  NASB John 1:1-3

Or from the Authorized King James Version,

"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

I like the way Paul has expressed this same concept in his letter to the Colossians:

"And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, ...all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."  NASB Colossians 1:16, 17 It is quite apparent that Jesus is this "image" of the otherwise invisible God referred to by Paul and that Jesus is that "Word" which was "from the beginning" referred to in the gospel of John.

I am grieved that there are many within Jesus' church who, although they will affirm that Jesus existed from the beginning, that Jesus is God, and that he made all that we see out of nothing, they question the veracity of the historical events recorded in the Bible. I suspect they have been intimidated into this position by those who claim that science has proven that the accounts in the Bible are "only stories" and who contend that anything that is beyond the ability of science to demonstrate is merely a myth.

For you, brother or sister in Christ, who know in your spirit that God can be trusted, and for you who have never trusted God, I want to share with you what Jesus has said about these ancient writings. For you who know Jesus, listen carefully to how Jesus handled these texts. And for you who have difficulty with any notion that there is anything beyond that which can beexplained in a naturalistic way, I pray that you might hear the profound truth of what has been written.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have recorded thewords of Jesus. These men were with Jesus and heard him say the things they have recorded. Jesus spoke of many people and events that had been recorded in the books of Moses, in the books of the prophets, and in the Psalms, often quoting the actual text of those scriptures—scriptures that were written thousands of years earlier. Jesus' references to these ancient events provide credibility to the actual occurrence of the events, to the existence of the people involved in the events, and to the things these people said.

(In the references below, I have kept with the tradition of placing Old Testament quotations in SMALL CAPS. All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.)

Jesus generally affirms the ancient books of Moses (the "Law") and the Prophets.

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter (literally, one jot) or stroke (literally, one tittle) shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished." Matthew 5:17-19

More specifically Jesus refers to the prophecy of Daniel quoting Daniel 11:31 and 12:11:

"Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place..." Matthew 24:15

And just a little later, quoting Isaiah 13:11, Ezekiel 32:7, Joel 2:10, and Daniel 7:13:

"But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory." Matthew 24: 29, 30

Jesus also affirms Jonah spending three days in the belly of a sea creature among the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees:

But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12: 39-40

Jesus instructs the twelve on their mission of preaching the "kingdom of heaven" and ministering to the sick, to those with demons, to the lepers, even to the dead, referring to the familiar supernatural events that occurred in ancient Sodom and Gomorrah.

"And whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city." Matthew 10:14-15

And again Jesus rebukes the cities in which He was performing miracles, referring to ancient Sodom:

"And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." Matthew 11:23-24

And in a similar account in the book of Luke (Luke 17:28-35), Jesus refers to Lot's wife as the example of anyone who would desire to hold on to his life, holding on to that which was about to be destroyed, and losing his life for doing so.

Jesus affirms the annihilation of everyone in the flood of Noah, referring to Genesis 6-9:

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:36-39

And Jesus takes us even farther back in time with his reference to Abel, the son of Adam, from Genesis 4:

"For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, in order that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house of God; yes I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.'" Luke 11:49-52

The expression "foundation of the world" refers to the inception of the earth, the laying down of its substance. Notice that Jesus affirms that the blood of men has been shed "since the foundation of the world." Jesus didn't say "from the beginning of man," which he could have said and would been just as meaningful. But in this way, Jesus establishes that since the very beginnings of the world, men have rejected God and his prophets.

If the beginning of the world preceded the existence of man by billions of years, the blood of prophets could not have been shed at the time Jesus said. Furthermore, Jesus restates this in a parallel fashion by mentioning prophets from the beginning until more recently: "from the blood of Able to the blood of Zechariah." Jesus affirms a specific person, Abel, as being the one he was referring to whose blood was shed since the foundation of the world. Clearly, if Abel had not lived near the time of the "foundation of the world," Jesus statement would have made no sense.

Isaiah, too, associated the beginning of man with the beginning of the earth:

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?" Isaiah 40:21

The apostle Paul captured this same sense that man has rejected God from the very beginning of the earth's existence:

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20

Man's ability to "see" and to have an intellectual understanding of God began "since the creation of the world." If man didn't come along until billions of years after the earth was formed, Paul's statement makes no sense.

At a time when he was being pressed by the Pharisees trying to trip him up, Jesus affirms that Adam and Eve existed as two individuals, quoting Genesis 1:27 and referring to Genesis 2:24.

And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?" And He answered and said,

"Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE (or man) AND FEMALE (or woman), and said, ‘FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH?' Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Matthew 19:3-6

Notice here again is the reference that God "created them from the beginning," although admittedly Jesus does not explicitly state that this is from the beginning of the world. Nevertheless, this is a quotation of the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve. These were two individuals, a man and a woman, and their union is one that God has established for as long as men and women walk this earth. Also notice that the first reference Jesus makes is to the first chapter of Genesis. The second reference is to the second chapter of Genesis. Many have asserted that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are contradictory accounts of the creation of man. Space limitations prevent me from going into that issue now, but Jesus apparently has no problem with using both of these texts in making his point to the Pharisees. Here Jesus is asserting that they are both to be held as the truth!

Bert Thompson, Ph.D., Apologetics Press, Inc., Executive Director states,

"Unquestionably, then, Jesus placed the first humans at the very dawn of creation. To reject this clear truth, one must either contend that:

  • (a) Christ knew the Universe was in existence billions of years before man, but, accommodating Himself to the ignorances of that age, deliberately misrepresented the situation; or
  • (b) The Lord Himself, living in prescientific times, was uninformed about the matter.

"Either of these allegations, of course, is blasphemous."

So what will you do with this? I believe your answer to that question can affect your eternity. After I was well into the preparation of this article, I noticed something in the scriptures that I had selected that I had not noticed before and certainly didn't expect during my study. Look back at these scriptures yourself and notice that many of these scriptures were of Jesus bringing a very strong word of judgment on those who have rejected the God of this creation. In a large number of these scriptures, Jesus was speaking to those who were to be judged for their unbelief.

"O fools and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" Luke 24:25

In a way that judgment Jesus spoke of has already begun, ever since Adam and Eve first defied God. Physical death and suffering came into this world as a natural consequence of that sin, and it prevails today.

We see the consequences of our sinful nature all around. We see death and suffering, killing and fear, every day. The entire earth groans, awaiting deliverance from this terrible condition.

But take heart! Out of his love for his creatures, God himself has come to us, Emmanuel, in the form of a man, born of a woman, with our same substance of flesh and blood that we might see God, to redeem us from our pitiful plight by his substitutionary death, and to raise us to life from the dead with him!

And when he returns, he will not only redeem us, he will also redeem the earth. It will be an earth that is free from the curse described in Genesis, free from sin, free from death, free from corruption. This is the land that God promised to Abraham and to his seed for an everlasting covenant.

Isaiah describes that earth. Listen to how different that earth will be from what we see around us today—an earth like the earth that existed before sin entered the world.

"Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze; their young will lie down together; and the lion will eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:1-9

May the truth of God's everlasting word become rooted in your heart this Christmas season.

Sharing With You Our Focus For 2005

Sharing With You Our Focus For 2005
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 16:15

By author

Mark Stephens MCS

As we move into 2005, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you where we are at the Triangle Association for the Science of Creation (TASC) and where we want to go in 2005.

Our TASC Board of Directors met on August 22, 2004, to assess where we are as an organization and to prepare for our efforts going forward in 2005. In addition to our regular activities, we plan to add two to three new board members in 2005. If you know of someone with a degree in the natural sciences with a strong Christian background and who is willing to be an active participant in getting the creation science message out, please get in touch with us at tascinfo [at] earthlink.net or call me personally at 919-469-5104. We do consider persons with other degrees who have equipped themselves with a strong knowledge of creation science. For example, we have a board member with a Master of Business Administration degree.

In TASC's January meeting, we gave attendees opportunity to help us review our mission and provide ideas and input for activities for 2005. We were blessed with several new volunteers to help out in activities for this year. We can use more. One new volunteer with computer programming skills is already helping us to refurbish our TASC website. We hope others of you will continue to read this monthly newsletter to help increase your creation science knowledge and be informed about activities, but better yet, become active by coming to our meetings and joining us to use your talents to get the creation science message out.

Regarding the above, to equip yourself in creation science and to use your talents, we would encourage you to teach the creation message in your church to adults and youth. If you are a public school teacher, be willing to work to balance the doctrines regarding origins in the schools. As parents, support a teacher's right to do this. Two years ago, the Cobb County Board of Education in Georgia, at the request of parents and teachers, passed a measure to allow teachers to balance the evolution message with teaching on intelligent design. This occurred even in the face of the usual American Civil Liberties Union efforts to block it. In the spring of 2004, the Ohio State School Board was able to pass a similar measure. TASC can help you to develop the knowledge and courage to act in the face of such groups that try to suppress your freedom of speech.

Our youth are especially in need of reinforcement of the Biblical creation message. TASC can help them learn scientific evidences that support God as our Creator. Studying creation science materials can reinforce their faith and fend against the naturalistic evolutionary theory taught largely as fact in our public schools. The December, 2004, issue of Answers Update from the Answers in Genesis organization pointed out that statistics in the U.S. reveal that among young people who go to church, somewhere between 70% and 90% abandon the church after they graduate from high school. Will we continue to be a nation under God if this continues? Now is the time for people of faith to become active in proclaiming their faith in God as our Creator, rather than being unequally yoked and indoctrinated to the impossible, infinitesimal random chance espoused by the naturalistic evolutionary theory.

Our country was founded by people of faith in God. Why should our citizens give up this heritage? Would it be from the mass confusion about expressing our rights (especially freedom of speech) with resulting timidity, from political correctness, from our own loss of faith as a nation, or from refusal to actively stand up for our faith? Please think on these things in 2005 and come out and participate in the work of TASC.

In our board meeting and our first monthly meeting of 2005, the words of Galatians 6:9 set the stage for our annual planning. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." At TASC, we believe that continuing to inform fellow Christians and citizens in general of the scientific evidences that support God as our Creator will help to keep our nation under God and continue His blessings of freedom on us.

Basically, our goal for 2005 is to increase support and volunteers for our mission and activities. (See TASC's stated mission in the header of our newsletter.) We want to increase attendance at our meetings by providing informative and interesting presentations on creation science that will equip attendees to stand up for their faith in the Genesis account of creation and to help others to establish their faith in God as Creator. We need to do this because, increasingly, we live in a secular world whose influences attempt to cause us to dismiss faith in God and the Biblical account of creation.

We will endeavor to do the same as stated above with the monthly newsletter. We view the newsletter as an evangelistic vehicle to inform people of creation science and to establish and also to strengthen their faith in God. We have received feedback from readers that we are achieving this with the newsletter, as some are too far away to attend our meetings. Let us hear from you about our newsletter. If you have conversations with people about origins and use our newsletter articles, and people show an interest, offer to sign them up to receive the newsletter. Send their mailing or email address to Fred Johnson, our editor, at FLJohnson [at] portbridge.com. The newsletter is free although contributions to cover the cost of printing and distributing the newsletter are encouraged.

Regarding where we are or have been at TASC, let us take a look at our origin. TASC was established around 1980 by a group of Christian scientists and lay people who saw the need to stand up for the literal Genesis account of creation in an increasingly secular world that would dismiss God as our Creator. In its twenty-five years, TASC has done an abundance of good by reinforcing the truths of the Bible through informing citizens of the   scientific evidences that support God as Creator and exposing the lack of objective, scientific evidences for naturalistic evolution. We are blessed to still have two board members that were a part of the original formation of TASC around 1980. One is Isaac Manly, MD, former chief of surgery at Rex Hospital in Raleigh. The other is Gerald Van Dyke, PhD, professor of botany at North Carolina State University. They have meant a lot to TASC. We extend a tremendous amount of gratitude to them for their many years of service and their impact on achieving TASC's mission.

Regarding where we want to go in 2005, we endeavor to increase participation in activities that we already sponsor. Increased participation helps us to achieve and improve on those ongoing efforts as well as to expand to new efforts. In all our efforts it is important to stay focused on the foundations of creation science. Since our talks and newsletter articles will continue to concentrate on these foundations, a listing of some of them deserves emphasis here and include: 

  1. Belief in the truth of the Genesis account of creation with support from creation science. Genesis is not just an allegory or story line to give us an idea about creation; it is inspired from God and is God's divine revelation to mankind. It not only tells us of the creation and origin of life but is the foundation of moral law, marriage, and the family.
  2. Creation week of seven literal ordinary days. This includes the creation of kinds with programmed variety that was not randomly evolved by naturalistic evolution.  It includes the special creation of mankind in the image of God, not evolved from ape-like ancestors over millions of years.
  3. The Fall. The disobedience and sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the corruption of a very good creation and the beginning of struggle and death. Theistic evolution conflicts with God speaking creation into existence and implies that struggle and death have been used by God over millions of years before any sin and penalty of sin existed. Theistic evolution invalidates the doctrine of sin, the need for redemption, and the reconciliation of mankind to God.
  4. The world-wide flood and the catastrophic destruction of the earth. (Note the power of water destruction evidenced in recent Asian Tsunami and California flood- imagine effects of worldwide flood.)
  5. Fossils. The fossil record supports created kinds and still says "no" to naturalistic evolution.
  6. Geological column. Much of geology can be explained by the layering effects of a world-wide flood described in Genesis.
  7. Noah's Ark. Feasibility studies by scientists support it.
  8. One true race of people all related to Adam and Eve and Noah's family after the flood. The biblical record and more scientific evidence from genetics, DNA, human genome support this.
  9. Dinosaurs. Created on the sixth day of creation along with other land animals and man, dinosaurs lived thousands of years ago, not millions of years ago—a powerful deceit to children.
  10. Intelligent design. Irreducible complexity defies random chance and gradual evolvement that dismisses interdependency of functional parts
  11. Young earth. Radioisotopic dating is based on big assumptions with a large margin of error. We have new understanding through the RATE study that supports a young earth. An abundance of other scientific data support a young earth.

The above foundations/topics are some of the more notable ones that creation science and TASC will continue to address in 2005 to help people to come to a better, more accurate, scientific interpretation and understanding. Why? In the secular world, these foundations/topics are addressed differently with questionable evidences and much conjecture and are approached in the name of science as "so-called" factual naturalistic evolution, not theory, and end up deceiving many of our children and adults into dismissing God, our Creator.

To gain continuing insight into the teaching of evolution, I have recently reviewed the general biology textbooks used by our state schools. They continue to teach evolution as fact and still include information that has been proven false. An example is Ernst Haechel's drawings of embryos of various animals from fish to birds to mammals to man to say that we humans undergo (recapitulate) these evolutionary stages as a developing fetus in the womb. (This false theory implied as fact is known as "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.")  This information was in my college textbook years ago as I was majoring in biology and almost caused me to lose my faith in God as Creator because it was taught and implied as fact. It was not until I started to attend TASC meetings eight years ago that this and some of the foundations above were cleared up in my mind. You can imagine what Haechel's misrepresentations (still in our children's biology textbooks because it is such powerful support for evolution) and this type of teaching has on one's opinions of abortion. If you are taught to believe that you go through evolution in the womb, then maybe you can come to believe you are not fully human until late in the embryonic development. Come out to our February, March, and April TASC meetings for presentations to help you clear up the misinformation on this and other icons (foundations) of evolution and theistic evolution.

Another blockade to the balance of origins information that continues to be used in our public schools is misrepresentation of our constitution regarding separation of church and state. TASC has provided some balance to this. Two years ago TASC supported an effort by Cobb County Board of Education in Georgia to allow a balance of teaching of origins in their schools. The ACLU was there opposing the teachings of origins but lost that battle. Georgia now can place stickers in their biology texts stating that evolution is a theory. I also heard recently that efforts are underway to stop this. We must realize that we cannot give up in this fight. These efforts to destroy our will to stand up for our rights will continue. We must continue to stand firm for our freedoms or they will be taken away.

Our January meeting concluded by listing what we in TASC can do individually or as a group to stand up for our faith and to inform our citizens of the scientific evidences that support God as our Creator and refute naturalistic evolution. Some of these were the following.

  • Tell adults and children about TASC.
  • Be active in TASC.
  • Equip yourself in creation science.
  • Stand up for creation at every opportunity at home, school, and church.
  • Teach youth in your church.
  • Place a bulletin board available through TASC in your church.
  • Tell others of the creation seminar at Providence Baptist Church, September 16, 17.
  • Tell others about the Creation Mega Conference in Lynchburg,Virginia, July 17-22. (www.CreationMegaConference.com)
  • Build your own creation science library.
  • Sign up to receive the TASC newsletter and use it evangelistically by signing up others interested.
  • Seek guest TASC newsletter article contributors.
  • Announce TASC meetings in your church bulletins.
  • Tell others about the TASC web site.
  • Support more creation seminars.
  • Conduct fossil hunting expeditions.
  • Provide information booths at public events.
  • Sponsor the Mobile Creation Museum.
  • Respond to evolution programming on public radio and TV.

To be successful in the above, we need volunteers. For example, you could give an hour or two to man a our book table at a special event. Please sign up as a volunteer by contacting me personally at 919-469-5104 or MarkVStephens [at] yahoo.com. If you would like for us to speak at your church or civic group, please call Phil Johnson at 919-553-3273 to schedule one of our speakers. Let us hear from you in general by contacting us at TASCinfo [at] earthlink.net or by contacting me personally.

I conclude by thanking all of you for your moral support, and a special "thanks" goes to those of you who provided the needed financial support in 2004. In 2005, TASC is committed to continue strong efforts to reach out to our local community and to our nation and world as opportunity permits. In 2005, please help us by coming out to our meetings, reading and sharing our newsletter with others, and providing financial support as you are able.

We hope you are better informed about TASC by reading this article to learn of its mission, its outreach, and our focus on foundations of creation science. We hope you will personally benefit by your participation in our organization. Please pray for TASC to be able to continue to serve effectively. May God bless you in 2005 through your strong faith in Him.

Everlasting Life: Mission Impossible or the Great Commission?

Everlasting Life: Mission Impossible or the Great Commission?
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 16:27

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

Many of you will remember with me the epic TV series Mission Impossible which chronicled the adventures of the Impossible Mission Taskforce, a team of government spies and specialists who were assigned "impossible missions" by the unseen "Secretary". If not, you may have seen the more recent movie of the same title. If not, well, bear with me. I think you'll get the point. In the original series, the Team Leader (Dan Briggs the first season, then Jim Phelps the other six) was always given a mission, usually involving the impossible (hence the title) task of disarming an alarming situation within a time limit (inevitably by the end of the show). If you've read any recent news regarding the science of aging you may know that the government and other organizations have amassed similar teams of specialists today and tasked them with a similarly serious and seemingly impossible mission, to seek out and find scientific answers to the secret of everlasting life. 1  The primary premise of most of these teams of specialists is that our bodies are of faulty design and contain many individual "time bombs" (e.g., faulty organ systems) that are doomed to eventual failure. Some very intelligent people are claiming that, because of an exponential increase in human knowledge related to the science of aging, we will soon be able to take control of and even halt the aging process by defusing these internal time bombs. Given the intriguing prospects of this mission, many Americans and people all over the world are taking stock, both literally and figuratively, in the work of these scientists. Can death be conquered by a taskforce of specialists armed with incredible intelligence, strong determination and ample funding? Are these the ingredients for everlasting life? Let's take a look at some scientific and Biblical reasons why it may or may not be a good idea to put faith, hope and funding in the hands of these individuals.

Mission Possible?

Is there any merit to the claims that the fountain of youth can be obtained through science? The fields of these specialists are seeded with many grains of truth. After all, single-celled creatures like bacteria don't die of old age, but continue to divide into two new copies, each of which divides into two more, and so on. Humans have organs such as the liver and kidneys that are made of many individual cells. Why don't these cells keep on dividing, repairing and renewing our organs forever? True, the Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates that all fixed structures will eventually wear out. However, biological organisms are not fixed structures, but contain built-in repair mechanisms. Even from a Biblical perspective, it is reasonable to conclude that these repair mechanisms were once sufficient to allow humans to live nearly 1,000 years (see Genesis 5). Why not longer, if God should ordain it so? Indeed, though an average "upper limit" seems to be programmed into each species alive today, breeding experiments have shown that this limit can be altered, even dramatically. Experiments with fruit flies and worms have shown that extra longevity can be bred into and out of populations. A genetic switch involved in longevity has been identified in a species of worms and it is likely that such switches exist in humans as well. 2

Currently, and for the past 3-4,000 years, our organs wear out within a period of 100 years. 3  It is well known today that ordinary human cells will only divide some 80-90 times, then stop. However, there is scientific and Biblical basis to believe that this was not always so. On the tips of each of our DNA chromosomes is a structure called a telomere. It is apparently a counting device, with a number of beads on the end. Every time the cell divides, it is as if a bead is "snipped off," shortening the telomere. 4  Once all of the beads are gone, cell division can no longer take place. From then on, as each cell wears out, it is not replaced by any new ones and the organ system will eventually die. Thus, the answer to the question of whether the mission of these scientists is solvable appears to be yes, at least for God.

What's the Harm in Trying?

In a recent interview 5  and in his publication Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever 6 56 year-old inventor and computer scientist Dr. Ray Kurzweil urges people to take care of themselves and live long enough to benefit from a coming explosion in technology that he predicts will make infinite life spans possible. He believes that we will one day be able to inject ourselves with millions of blood cell-sized robots called "nanobots" that will swarm throughout the body, repairing bones, muscles, arteries and brain cells. He believes that we will also be able to download improvements to our genetic code via the internet. Dr. Kurzweil has credibility. He did, after all, win the prestigious $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize and the 1999 National Medal of Technology Award. The Christian Science Monitor even called him a "modern Edison" and he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002. He says that his predictions are based on carefully constructed scientific models that he has used in the past to predict the development of the internet and computers that can beat a chess champion. 7  Dr. Kurzweil's current passion, or "mission" if you will, is to cross the three bridges that he says will lead to immortality. The first bridge is a healthy lifestyle. As part of a daily routine, he himself takes 250 vitamins and supplements, 8-10 glasses of alkaline water and 10 cups of green tea. The second bridge is gene control that will, as has been demonstrated for fruit flies and worms, remove disease causing genes and introduce genes that slow the aging process. The final bridge is nanotechnology and the introduction of nanobot "janitors" into our bloodstream.

Even if this mission of Dr. Kurzweil's and others turns out to indeed be impossible, some may ask "where's the foul?" What harm is there in allowing this perhaps a bit narcissistic but potentially useful intellectual pursuit among a select group of brilliant men? In the process of seeking their own immortality the technology they develop might do a lot of people good. However, the danger is that their mission would impede the greatest and most important mission of all time, the great commission, by making many less receptive to the most important message they will ever receive, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The very idea that human technology can overcome death takes away the whole reason for the Gospel message and the need for a savior and lessens (for some) the need for a loving God. According to the Bible, death is a penalty for our sin and there is only one way to remove that penalty, through belief in Jesus, who died on the cross as a substitute for our sin. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Jesus is the one and only reliable answer to defusing the ticking time bomb that is death, for he has promised to trample this last enemy under His feet when he returns. "For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:25-26). Further, Jesus is the one and only bridge that must be crossed to obtain not only eternal life, but eternal life in the presence of our loving God and creator. Despite what scientists may tell us about the benefits of healthy living, gene control and even nanobots, impossible missions require sensational miracles. And sensational miracles are only reliably administered by an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God, not an Impossible Mission Taskforce nor any other form of human intelligence. 

  • 1Several hundred scientists recently met for a conference called "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence: Reasons Why Genuine Control of Aging May be Foreseeable." A detailed report from this meeting (110 articles, 597 pages) was published in the June 2004 issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (www.annalsnyas.org/content/vol1019/issue1)
  • 2Wieland, 1998. Living for 900 Years. Creation 20(4):10-13. Available online at www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v20/i4/years.asp
  • 3In Psalm 90:10 we read "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." This declares man's average lifespan to be seventy to eighty years. Today, over 3,000 years later, our average lifespan is essentially the same.
  • 4Wieland, 1998. One exception is that in our brain cells, the telomere does not seem to shorten.
  • 5Wellesley, 2005. Inventor preserves self to witness immortality. Associated Press article available online at www.cnn.com/2005/health/diet.fitness/02/15/one.mans.immortality.ap/index.html
  • 6Kurzweil, R. 2004. Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. Holtzbrinck Publishers. ISBN 1-57954-954-3.
  • 7Kurzweil, R. 1990. The Age of Intelligent Machines. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-61079-5.

Creation Resources and Evidences

Creation Resources and Evidences
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 16:31

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

Recently I was asked to give a talk on resources available on creation. I expanded the topic to include best evidences for creation. This article is based on that talk. For resources, I will discuss some of the major websites and organizations. Many of these will probably be familiar to you if you have been interested in creation science for a while. For best evidences, I will discuss scripture, the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of species, empirical detection of intelligent causes, and the age of the earth.

One of the best creation organizations is the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). ICR s website is at www.icr.org. Some of their ministries include seminars, debates, books and videos (in English and other languages), original research, field trips (Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens, Galapagos Islands, and others), a graduate school (accredited, MS degree programs), a museum, and a weekly radio program (WPJL-AM 1240 at 11:45AM Saturday or download anytime from ICR s website). ICR has on staff several Ph.D. scientists including Henry and John Morris, Russ Humphreys, John Baumgardner, Duane Gish, Steve Austin, Gary Parker, Larry Vardiman and many others. Their most recent research initiative has dealt with Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth (RATE). A final report on the eight year project will be published this fall. RATE has found evidence for the episodes of accelerated nuclear decay in the past among other things. RATE's main findings are available for free on the web at www.icr.org/research. ICR also offers free publications such as Act and Facts, a monthly newsletter discussing what s going on at ICR, and Impact, which usually deals with a science or scripture based topic. Both publications can be found on the web or you can request they be sent to you via e-mail or regular mail.

Another well known creation organization is Answers in Genesis (AIG). AIG's website is www.answersingensis. org. AIG has a huge FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) site dealing with most aspects of the creation/evolution issue. Other ministries include seminars, books and videos (in English and other languages), a world class creation museum (under construction), a radio program (on WDNZ AM 570), free PowerPoint downloads, field trips, cruises, and periodicals (see below). Their staff include: Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, Jason Lisle, Carl Wieland, Mike Riddle, and many others. AIG has offices throughout the English speaking world. There are two quarterly magazines available by paid subscription: Creation with articles written for laymen and families and Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal. Many of the articles from both publications are available for free from the website.

The Creation Research Society (CRS, website: www.creationresearch.org) is a federation of hundreds of scientists with advanced degrees from all disciplines who believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis and a young earth. CRS ministries include original books, videos, CRSNet (creation list serve, only for members), an exhaustive directory of creation organizations worldwide, and a research center. CRSNet has about 120 active members which include noted creation scientists such as Russell Humphreys. CRS publishes the Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ) and Creation Matters (monthly), both included with membership. Selected articles are available on the web for free.

Creation-Evolution Headlines is a website (http://creationsafaris.com/crev200502.htm) which posts a new article on creation almost daily. The authors write articles covering essentially all aspects of the creation/evolution issue. For example, a recent article was entitled Dating Disaster: Is Neanderthal the New Piltdown? .

The Triangle Association for the Science of Creation (TASC) is, of course, a local creation group with several scientists on the board. TASC holds a monthly meeting on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30PM at Providence Baptist Church (currently in room 617) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Meetings typically feature a speaker or video with a creation topic. TASC also has a free monthly newsletter (you are reading it now), a new website (www.tasc-creationscience.org), and has a significant selection of books and videos. TASC issues a monthly newsletter, and back issues are available online. TASC is available to speak on a variety of topics at R2 churches and schools; please see the website for more information.

The Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture (www.discovery.org/csc/) is home for the Intelligent Design movement. Articles written by William Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Stephen Meyer, Philip Johnson, William Lane Craig, JP Moreland, Paul Nelson, Charles Thaxton, and many others are available from the website. Books, DVDs, speaking schedules, and a FAQ are also available.

This summer (July 17-22) AIG, CRS, and other groups are holding a Creation Mega Conference (www. Answersingenesis.orgeventsmegaconference index.html) at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Twenty-five of the world's best creation scientists will present during the week. Speakers include Russell Humphreys, Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, John Baumgardner, and many others. Two tracks, lay and advanced, will be offered. This is a rare opportunity to see and hear these people at a single conference at a location easily accessible to the Triangle. An Intelligent Design Conference with speakers such as Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells has been scheduled for August 4-6 in Greenville, South Carolina at the Palmetto ExpoCenter. Call 800-261-7063 and ask for Lewis Young or visit www.piedmonttravel.com for more details. AIG will be coming to Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh this fall; watch this newsletter or go the church's website (www.pray.org) for more details.

We'll now turn to creation evidences. From scripture let s consider the order of events in Genesis 1 as seen from young earth and day-age perspectives as well as the evolutionary point of view. The table below contrasts several events from the three perspectives.

From the table it is clear that progressive creation and evolution have more in common than either perspective have with the young earth position. This suggests that the true scriptural position is very different from the evolutionary view and that progressive creation is a compromise position.

 

EVOLUTION

PROGRESSIVE CREATION

YOUNG EARTH CREATION

AGE OF THE EARTH AND UNIVERSE

Billions of years

Billions of years

~6,000 years

DAYS OF CREATION

Vast periods

Vast periods

Literal ~24-hour days

SUN, MOON AND STARS

Stars formed before the earth

Created on day 1; appeared on day 4

Created on day 4 after the earth

SEVENTH DAY

-

Continuing

Ended after ~24 hours

PHYSICAL DEATH

Always in the creation

Always in the creation

Entered after the fall

SPECIES

Abiogenesis, macroevolution, microevolution

Each created individually

Created kinds which then microevolved

ANIMALS

Fish evolved before birds, whales after land animals, birds after land animals

Animals created in the order found in the fossil record

Fish, sea mammals and birds created on same day and before land animals

LAND PLANTS

Evolved after the sun formed

Created after the sun

Created before the sun on day 3.

ADAM AND EVE

Never existed as such; humans evolved after land mammals

Created 10-60K years ago, created after land mammals and soulless hominids

Created ~6000 years ago at the same time as land animals; hominids descended from Adam and Eve

HOMO SAPIENS

Descended from other hominids

Preceded by but not descended from soulless hominids

Descended from Adam and Eve

ATMOSPHERE

Formed before the ocean

Formed before the ocean

Formed after the ocean on day 2

OCEANS

Formed 0.8 billion years after the earth

Formed 0.8 billion years after the earth

Made the same day as the earth

FOSSILS

Record Laid down over millions of years

Laid down over millions of years

Laid down during the Flood

NOAH'S FLOOD

Local

Local

Global

RACES

Evolved from a common ancestor

Created at Babel

Microevolved from Adam

The Hebrew word translated day in Gen 1:14-19 is yom as shown below:

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day <3117> from the night and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days <3117> , and years.

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day <3117> , and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day <3117> and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day <3117> (day or span of millions of years?).

Gen 1:14-19 (KJV w/ Strong's Numbers from Englishman's Greek and Hebrew Concordances) <3117> = yom

The contexts in verses 14-18 unambiguously indicate that yom means an ordinary 24 hour day in those verses.

Progressive creationists would say that the meaning of yom in verse 19 must be a long period of time, but it is clear from the passage that the meaning remains in accord with the previous uses: an ordinary 24 hour day; to say otherwise is simply poor exegesis. Progressive creationists also claim that Noah's Flood was a local rather than global event, but scripture teaches otherwise:

And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. Gen 7:19-22 (KJV)

A local flood also invites many questions: Why did Noah build the Ark? Why did God send every kind of animal to the Ark? Why was the Ark large enough to hold all the land vertebrates that have ever existed? Why were birds sent on board? How could the waters rise eight meters above the mountains if the Flood were local? If the Flood had been local, some people would have survived. Jesus said his second coming would be like the days of Noah (Matt 23:37, 2 Pet 3:3-7). Will God's judgment at the end of history be only partial? God would have broken his promise never to destroy the earth again by a flood (Gen 9:11-16) if the Flood had only been local.

The first and second laws of thermodynamics tell us that the amount of matter-energy in the universe is a constant and that the amount of useful energy is irreversibly decreasing. The expansion of the universe suggests that it began as a singularity. These facts, taken together, require that the universe had a beginning and therefore a cause which existed before time and the universe itself. The God of the Bible is a logical possibility.

Since the universe had a beginning, questions naturally arise: What was the origin of matter/energy? Why was there an excess of matter over antimatter? Why are the four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, the weak and strong nuclear forces) finely tuned so that human life can exist? If these forces were only varied slightly, stars would burn differently (too hot or too cold), the chemical properties of the elements would be different; indeed, the periodic table of the elements would be different. Organic chemistry and therefore life as we know it would be impossible. There are no easy naturalistic explanations for these questions. A finely tuned universe that had a beginning suggests an intelligent cause.

More fine tuning is evident in the earth's distance from the sun (we live in a narrow habitable zone of solar heat), the type of star the sun is (burns with the needed heat and light), the earth's magnetic field (which protects us from the solar wind), the size of the moon (stabilizes the earth s climate by maintaining the tilt of the earth s axis; allows for perfect solar eclipses which facilitated confirmation of Einstein's theory of relativity and study of the sun's atmosphere), earth s position in the Milky Way (which is relatively safe from supernovae and radiation compared to the galactic core and facilitates study of extragalactic phenomena), the presence of Jupiter (which protects the inner solar system from comets), the composition of the earth's atmosphere (protects us from UV light, is transparent), and the properties of water (its high heat capacity helps maintain the earth's climate; its solvent properties ideal for biochemistry). All these facts taken together strongly suggest design with a purpose rather than mere coincidence and chance.

There are other observations which suggest design: quantized galactic redshifts and the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Quantized galactic redshifts suggest the Milky Way galaxy is near the center of a series of concentric shells of galaxies. The redshifts would not appear quantized from any other location except the center. The polarization of the 4 CMB can be interpreted as the result of the universe rotating about an axis. A universe with a center and an axis of rotation is very different from that envisioned by the big bang theory and the cosmological principle. The cosmological principle says there are no special places in the universe no center, edge, or axis of rotation. If this unproved assumption turns out to be wrong, the big bang cosmology collapses. The probability we would be near the center of the universe by chance is extremely low. Once again design makes sense; evolution does not.

An expanding universe with a center and an edge would have unfolded very differently than in a big bang scenario. Russell Humphreys, starting with the assumptions of a center and edge, has developed a white hole cosmology which explains how we can see starlight from billions of light years away on a 6,000 year old earth. Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts that the rates at which clocks tick (as well as all other physical processes) are governed by the amount of gravity they experience: the more gravity, the slower the clock. This effect, known as gravity-time dilation, has been experimentally verified and must be taken into account for the proper functioning of the GPS system. Dr. Humphreys shows how different places in the universe would have experienced very different gravity fields during creation week. The earth, being near the center of gravity, would have experienced the greatest gravity field, and would have the slowest ticking clocks. The majority of the expanding universe, would have been in a relatively low gravity field where clocks would have ticked more rapidly. Thus while only days transpired on the earth, billions of years worth of physical processes took place in the expanding universe, providing plenty of time for the starlight to travel billions of light years.

Next we discuss the origin of life. It is well known that probability calculations give essentially no chance that proteins or nucleic acids of modest molecular weight could have formed by chance and natural processes, even over billions of years. Worse still, by standard geological dating there was at most only a few hundred million years. We now know from geochemistry and experiment that the early earth did not have the correct environment to facilitate the production of amino acids, one of the basic building blocks of all life. But even if conditions had been right, there would have still been many problems: the concentration problem (the primordial soup would have been too dilute to produce polymers), the chirality problem (only one of two possible three dimensional structures of amino acids are found in life, but both are formed in equal amounts in all known chemical processes outside of biology), the problem of side reactions (the same reactions that make amino acids and proteins also make unwanted amino acids and proteins), the oxygen problem (with oxygen, ozone forms and the UV light required to promote the reactions for formation of amino acids is blocked; without oxygen, the UV light which helps make the building blocks also destroys them), and the hydrolysis problem (proteins are cleaved by water to there constituent amino acids). To be sure, evolutionists continue to hold out hope they will find a naturalistic mechanism for the origin of life, but there is little cause for optimism given our current knowledge. No life has been found on Mars, on Titan, or by SETI. No earth-like planets have been found. Belief in abiogenesis is definitely faith based, as there is no scientific evidence to support it. At present, all the evidence suggests that the missing piece of the puzzle is intelligence, the one ingredient naturalism cannot admit.

Now lets turn to the origin of species. Direct observation has confirmed microevolution, but not macroevolution. The adaptations observed in microevolution are reversible and often associated with information loss, but never information gain. Most genetic mutations are harmful. Even the few positive mutations usually have a harmful component (for example, the same mutation which gives resistance to malaria also causes sickle cell anemia). There are several examples of adaptations emerging in just a few generations (faster than any known evolutionary process could operate) which were apparently builtin and triggered by the environment. Similar morphologies and chemical structures found when comparing organisms are evidence for a common creator, not necessarily a common ancestor. We now know that there are countless irreducibly complex biochemical systems (such as the bacterial flagellum) which defy evolutionary explanation. These systems require all their parts, properly fabricated, in order to function, and here is the dilemma: how could an evolutionary precursor have been selected if it lacked an essential part or a properly fabricated part?

The fossil evidence is the opposite of what Darwinism predicts. The Cambrian Explosion refers to the fact that essentially all known phyla appear at the base of the geologic column in a relatively thin band of sedimentary strata. There are almost no fossil precursors leading up to the abrupt appearance of these fossils. Since the Cambrian, no new phyla appear, but some vanish. This pattern of phyla in the fossil record has been referred to as the inverted cone of diversity because it is upside down from Darwinian expectations. The fossil record is characterized by stasis and extinction with very few (if any) intermediate forms. Attempts to explain the lack of intermediates such as the theory of punctuated equilibrium require several positive chance mutations occurring over brief intervals, very unlikely events.

For some time, evolutionists claimed that non-protein coding segments of DNA, known as introns, were remnants of ancestors left over from a wasteful and inefficient evolutionary process. This belief lead to the term junk DNA. Introns were thought to be functionless. Based on these assumptions, evolutionists predicted that in a given evolutionary line, the number of introns would increase in each succeeding generation. Recent studies, however, have shown that alleged ancestors often had as much or more introns than descendants. Moreover, evidence is mounting that junk DNA is able to regulate cell activity and repair genes. Just as evolutionists once incorrectly claimed that vestigial organs proved evolution, so the claims that introns are molecular proof for evolution seem to be falling by the wayside.

Many claim that the inference to design is not science. However, William Dembski has developed an explanatory filter for empirically detecting design. This filter allows empirical detection of intelligent causes. Biomolecules contain quantifiable complex specified information (CSI). Dembski has shown that chance processes can't create complex information and that physical laws can only transmit information but not create it. Chance/law processes (mutation/selection) can't produce CSI either. Dembski has shown that the universe over all its alleged history (from the big bang) until its heat death could not produce more that 500 bits of information (this corresponds to a chance occurrence with a probability of 1 out of 10150). He uses this amount of information as a limit to what nature can do; only intelligent causes can create CSI above this amount. As it turns out, there are thousands of molecules in living things which contain information in excess of this limit, clearly indicating an intelligent origin. Dembski has formulated the Law of Conservation of Information which states that natural processes can transmit or degrade complex specified information, but cannot create it. Despite Dembski's rigor, critics still claim that intelligent design is merely creationism in a cheap tuxedo. Yet SETI, which has the mission of detecting radio signals (read design) from alien civilizations, forensics, cryptology, and archeology enjoy scientific status. Dembski has also shown that evolutionary algorithms, which allegedly show how evolution chance/law processes work, actually contain the very information they allegedly create.

We now turn to the final topic: evidence for a young Earth. Creationists have made much progress in the last decade in addressing radiometric dating, primarily through the RATE initiative. RATE has found solid evidence for episodes of rapid radiometric decay in the past (helium retention in zircons and biotite), probably before day 3 and possibly during the Flood. Isochrons of different elements from the same rock gave different ages, suggesting the amount of acceleration depends on the half-life and type of decay (alpha or beta) an element undergoes. The ubiquity of trace levels of radiocarbon (C14) throughout the fossil record, even from coal allegedly hundreds of millions of years old, has provided strong evidence of a recent and global flood which laid down the bulk of the fossil record. The instant formation of granites (a process which allegedly would have taken millions of years of cooling) has been established by the existence of parentless polonium radiohalos in the rocks. The Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption in 1980 has provided strong evidence for rapid geologic processes such as rapid canyon formation, rapid formation of petrified forests, rapid sorted sedimentary layer formation, and rapid peat bed formation, precursor to coal. Double polonium radiohalos found in coal from three geologic periods allegedly spanning in excess of 100 million years demonstrated the precursor trees were laid down by the same event over a brief period, most likely during the Flood. Also now well documented are examples of rapid stalagmite and stalactite formation, rapid fossilization, and rapid deep ice formation. The rate of decay of the earth's magnetic field indicates a young earth. Even if the field periodically reverses, the demonstrated energy decrease of the field through heat loss also disallows an old age for the field. The theory of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics has provided a successful model for how the Flood formed the continents rapidly and recently from an ancient supercontinent (Pangea) as well as an explanation for rapid and erratic reversals in the earth's magnetic field. As mentioned earlier, starlight from billions of light years away is scientifically consistent with a young earth as the white hole cosmology suggests.

A free download with additional information on creation websites, organizations, books, and videos is available at http://www.creationistrue.org/resources/pbc.htm.&nbsp;

The Universe: Accident or Design

The Universe: Accident or Design
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 16:44

By author

Joe Spears MS

The universe is vast. The Earth seems large, yet when examined on a cosmic scale, it is like a spec of dust, even less than a grain of dust. The sun itself is large enough to hold about one million Earths. And the sun is only an average star in a galaxy containing many, many stars in a universe of many, many galaxies.

If we stop to think about it, the vastness of the universe is amazing. While we go about our day-to-day business, we may think of the Earth as being the entire realm of reality. Yet this whole planet is like a spec of dust in the solar system. And the solar system is like a spec of dust when compared with the galaxy. And the galaxy—there are clusters of galaxies, and even superclusters.

The universe is undoubtedly large, almost beyond imagining. Yet, all this majestic expanse of galaxies, stars, and other celestial bodies, could not exist if certain values were not precisely what they are. There are many constants, such as the gravitational constant, that could be any value, yet they are the correct value for the universe to exist, and in some cases for life to exist.

Laws, such as Newton's Law of Gravitation, involve a constant. But the value of the constant is not determined by the Law—it could be any of a range of values. Experimental measurement is needed to show the value of these constants. (Here we are referring to constants which cannot be derived from other constants.) These constants in many cases have no reason to be what they are. Theories may involve canceling out of infinities, resulting in some finite value, but the precise value may not be specifically determined by the theory. However, that value happens to be precisely what it would have to be in order for life to exist.

The point is that theory does not determine precise values of all these constants. What does? And why is that determined value just precisely what is needed for life?

There are many constants: the gravitational constant, the fine-structure constant, the masses of the proton, electron and neutron, the charge of the electron, the speed of light, Planck's constant, and so forth. And certain constants have to be certain values for the universe and for life to exist.

Scientists tell us that if some of these constants were off, even a little bit, that atoms would not exist, or stars would not exist, or water could not exist.

This is an amazing coincidence—that the values of certain constants are exactly what would be needed for the universe and for life to exist. The probabilities of this happening by chance are small—so small, in fact, that scientists have argued about how to explain the fact that these constants do have the values needed for life and matter to exist.

Here are just a few examples of the just-right values of these constants of nature. 1

  • electron charge: if slightly different, stars would not be able to fuse hydrogen into helium

  • nuclear strong force: if it was only 2% greater in strength, the universe would be without atoms - only 5% weaker, and there would be no stars

  • gravity is millions of millions of times weaker than electromagnetism: if gravity was stronger, stars would burn out much faster

  • nuclear weak force: if it had been slightly weaker, all the hydrogen in the universe would be helium now - and water would be impossible

  • proton/neutron mass difference: if the were not exactly what it is, about 1/2000 the mass of a proton, we would not have chemistry or life

  • density of ice: if ice didn't float on water, the oceans would freeze from the bottom up. The density of ice is related to the properties of the hydrogen atom.

How unlikely is it that the universe could exist? Roger Penrose (a mathematical physicist, one of whose students is the famous Stephen Hawking) has calculated the chances of the appearance of our universe to be one chance in a very large number. 2  This large number is greater than the estimated number of atoms in the universe! In fact, this number is several billion times greater than the estimated number of atoms in the universe. This number is 101,030, while the estimated number of atoms in the universe is a 10 with an exponent somewhere between 70 and 100.

One explanation has been offered for the extremely unlikely occurrence of the universe and life, along with all the appropriate values of the physical constants. It is called the Anthropic Principle and states that the reason all these values of important constants of physics are what they are, is simply that they would have to be what they are in order for us to exist and be able to debate their meaning.

This seems obvious. Of course, we are here, and therefore the universe and life have to exist, and also the constants had to have been such as to allow life and the universe to exist. But this merely says that it happened—that the constants did have and do have the appropriate values. It does not explain why the constants are what they are, against the odds.

This, in a sense, merely states the obvious without explaining why the obvious exists. Yes, we are here and yes, life does exist. And obviously, any and all conditions needful for us to be here had to have been met, since we are here. But still this leaves us asking, "Why? Why did it happen?" In a real sense, this merely states that it absolutely did happen, not why it happened. Why? One answer is that it all happens by chance. Another is that it is by design.

The values for some of these constants that have to be just so are based on assumptions of a Big Bang and/or on other assumptions. But even if the assumption is contrary to creation, even if the assumption is of an evolutionary process, it still argues for design. In such a case, consider the following. If the specific values of constants are based on assumptions of evolutionary processes, the evolutionary process must be highly unlikely, and this argues against the evolutionary process.

If one argues for creation on the basis of the unlikely chance occurrence of the precise values of certain physical constants, with these evolutionary process assumptions involved in the calculation of the likelihood of their values, someone might say, "Your argument is not valid! You are arguing for creation but your argument assumes evolutionary processes."

This may be true, but consider this: If we assume those evolutionary processes, then this means we must have certain values of constants for those processes to occur—values which are highly unlikely to have occurred. It is not just one value of one constant—don't misunderstand—but several different constants that all have to be certain values, as required by accepted evolutionary theories.

Consider what William Bradley, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Baylor University, says:

"There are so many different requirements that are interrelated, it seems difficult to imagine how all of these ‘accidentally' happened to be exactly what they need to be. Because of the many cross constraints, it appears unlikely that there is an alternative set of values for these constants which would ‘work'. Furthermore, the necessary values range over thirty orders of magnitude (1030), making their accidentally correct ‘selection' all the more remarkable. It is quite easy to understand why so many scientists have changed their minds in the past 30 years, agreeing that it takes a great deal of faith to believe the universe can be explained as nothing more than a fortuitous cosmic accident. Evidence for an intelligent designer becomes more compelling the more we understand about our carefully crafted habitat." 3

Since the need for certain values of certain constants assumes evolutionary processes, what can be made of it? This: that the evolutionary processes require certain things to occur (or certain values of certain constants to exist) which are highly unlikely, based on current knowledge. Thus, we see the implication, the unlikelihood of those evolutionary processes.

There are two possibilities concerning these constants (that are needed for life to exist):

  1. evolutionary processes require certain values of the constants.

  2. the existence of life (and/or the universe) requires certain values of the constants.

Of course, many will see some overlap in these two categories.

In the first case, the clear implication is that the evolutionary processes are unlikely to have occurred by chance, since the fine-tuning is so unlikely. In the second case, the existence of life (or the universe itself) is unlikely to have occurred by chance. In either case, we have the unlikelihood of the existence of life (or the universe) by chance or the unlikelihood of the occurrence of evolutionary processes to bring about the occurrence of the life and the universe. In both cases, the chance occurrence of the universe and of life seems unlikely.

Then, what about the non-chance, by-design, existence of the universe? Hear what some scientists have to say: "Cosmic constants provide the strong appearance that the universe was designed with life in mind. The prominent astronomer and former atheist, Fred Hoyle, concludes that, ‘a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.' Similarly, Paul Davies, a prominent physicist moved from promoting atheism in 1983 to conceding in 1984 that ‘the laws [of physics]...seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design.' One year after this statement, Davies said that there ‘is, for me, powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. The impression of design is overwhelming.' Robert Jastrow, Founder-Director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies refers to cosmic constants as ‘the most theistic result ever to come out of science.'" 4

The Genographic Project: What is it? What does it Mean?

The Genographic Project: What is it? What does it Mean?
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 17:07

By author

Mark Stephens MCS

The new Genographic Project came to my attention as I read the USA TODAY, Life section, April 13, 2005. 1 After reading the article describing it, I realized that this new project, analyzing DNA of humans to tell us where we came from, could be of significant interest to creation scientists as well as naturalistic evolution scientists. It could help to provide scientific evidences supporting the Genesis account of the origin of humans and their subsequent migration around the earth or simply provide another version of naturalistic evolution supposedly adding new scientific evidences for that view. As usual, it will be a matter of how new genetic information gained will be interpreted and communicated to the world.

It is important, I believe, that I attempt to provide some comment and assessments of this new project based on the creation science view, as the naturalistic evolutionary view will most likely continue to be espoused using this new project data. To keep up with findings of this project and since the public is invited to participate in the project, I actually signed up for the project by ordering a kit whereby I will provide anonymously my own DNA sample to purportedly trace my ancestors and their migration around the earth. (If you are interested in participating, you may wish to visit www.nationalgeographic.com and search for the Genographic Project whereby you may register.)

The Genographic Project will involve research that will attempt to map out migration patterns by genetic markers that people share with other people in other parts of the world an indication of how their family tree has evolved, 1 as would be explained by naturalistic evolutionists. As a creation scientist, I would say these markers could reveal how the programmed variety provided by God our Creator in created humans was expressed as they spread around the world after the Genesis flood and their dispersal after Babel (see Genesis, chapters 1-11). To help to give you a creation science perspective on this new project, you may wish to review my April, 2004, TASC newsletter article titled, Racism: Human Races or One Blood? The article can be easily accessed on our new TASC web site, www.tasc-creationscience.org. Also, at the same web site, the August and September, 2004, TASC newsletter articles titled, Could the Ice Age Have Been Caused by the Genesis Flood?, may help you understand from the creation science perspective some of the migration patterns of humans and animals that took place around the world after the worldwide flood recorded in Genesis.

Let us review further what the Genographic Project is and what it might mean. This new project, an offshoot of a book, Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, and a National Geographic documentary by the same title I have seen the documentary is funded by the Waitt Family Foundation and supported by the National Geographic Society and the IBM Corporation. The relevance of the work is we are all, in effect, cousins, separated by a few generations, says population geneticist Spencer Wells, the project's director, alluding to modern man's origins in ancient Africa. 1 I might note that this allusion is the beginning of the evolutionary spin that this project begins to reflect and why it is necessary that we creation scientists balance the spin. We are aware of the conjecture and unsupported scientific evidences that have been presented to us heretofore by evolutionists about fossils and bones of our socalled human ancestors. 2 (I will outline this later on in this article.)

We creation scientists concur with Spencer Wells' statement above that we humans are indeed cousins in that we came from created, not evolved in the naturalistic evolution way, humans, Adam and Eve. By stating a more recent origin of humans and an origin from a single man, Wells' research thus far, as opposed to other paleontologists', anthropologists' and archeologists' accounts 3 ,4 ,5 ,6  does align a little closer to creation scientists discovery and assessments of human origin which are predicated on belief in a divine Creator and His inspired, truthful account provided to us in the book of Genesis of the Bible. However, creation scientists must assess the new information that comes to us from present day discoveries in population genetics and molecular biology, such as the information from the Genographic Project, to separate scientific fact from evolutionary conjecture.

Keep in mind that the mapping of the human genome completed in 2003 shows us from actual scientific observation and discovery that the DNA in the human genome contains three billion base pairs of information 2 ,7 . Evolutionists have pointed out that monkeys or apes share up to 97% of this genetic information with humans as evidence that we humans evolved from apelike creatures. We creation scientists point out that 3% of three billion is 90 million pieces of genetic information that make us humans quite different from apes and quite special as created humans in the image of God our Creator (Genesis 1: 26). It is not surprising to creation scientists that humans have some likenesses morphologically to other created kinds of mammals or apes and also share some common genetic information provided by a common intelligent designer used in our separate, individual designs. 2

I believe that the fact remains, based on valid scientific assessments as stated in the last paragraph and the divinely inspired word of the Genesis account of the Bible, that animals are still separated into different kinds by the uniquely different genetic information provided by our Designer. The programmed variety provided within our human DNA accounts for our overall small human differences and ability to adapt to new environments, and does not indicate that we have evolved from some other creature. We remain humans because of our overall common human DNA, even though we have migrated all over the world as humans in a few thousand years, not because we evolved from ancestral apemen over 50 or more thousand years.

Some common mutations or genetic markers charted from this new Genographic Project that we may now be able to recognize in other humans around the world may help to trace our migration as humans but will not prove that our ancestry was an ape-man out of Africa. (God did command mankind to be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it and did cause mankind to scatter around all the earth. Genesis 1:28 and 11:8,9) Nor will this new Genographic Project prove conclusively that humans originated from Northeast Africa some 50 thousand years ago. However, the evolutionary conjecture placed on the findings from this project will most likely continue to attempt to do so. I expect that the results of the Genographic Project, if analyzed in a truly objective, scientific way, can just as well provide evidence that we humans have been humans since our beginning around six thousand years ago in the Middle East, rather than providing more conjecture under the cloak of science that humans evolved over tens of thousands to over a million years ago out of Northeast Africa. Remember, Neandert(h)al Man was once proposed by evolutionary theory to be an ape-man and our ancestor but now has been shown to be fully human by objective scientific assessment. 2 Joao Zilhao, director general of the Portuguese Institute of Archaeology, wrote a paper in 2000 about a fossil find in which he observed, Neandertals were just people perhaps a little funny-looking, but people nonetheless. 8 In the article, conjectural statements are also made about Neandertals possibly not having been human.

Let us assess further the Genographic Project. It will be a five-year endeavor involving the collection and analyzing of more than 100,000 DNA samples. Spencer Wells team hopes to uncover origins, migration routes and better explanations for diversity in humans. We creation scientists are interested in genetic science and discovery and will be interested in sorting out this information in an objective, scientific method as well. In addition to field research among hundreds of indigenous groups, the project will sell $99 cheek-swabbing kits for anyone curious about their genes. Funds from the kits will finance further project work on human genetic history. The people who purchase these kits will be assigned an anonymous identification number to access their information on the Genographic Project internet web site. For example, an American might share genetic variants with people in a region of Spain, indicating an ancestral connection. By stringing together a map of these connections, the team expects to show how humanity has expanded since having descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago and then leaving Africa more than 50,000 years ago. 1 ,9 Some would say that Wells is only about 45,000 years off from the young earth view that humans came out of the Garden of Eden somewhere in the Middle East some 6,000 years ago. In response to the older dates of human origin and human ancestral migration from other archeologists and paleontologists, Wells alludes that the Middle East may have been an extension of Northeast Africa (where a number of the so-called human ancestral fossils were found) 100-150 thousand years ago. 5 Could Northeast Africa and the Middle East have been part of the same land mass at one time? According to a creation science assessment of the one-land-mass supercontinent of Pangea before the break-up of this large supercontinent into the current continents during the Genesis worldwide flood, the Middle East could have been part of what we now know as Northeast Africa 10 . This could provide some correlation between Wells assessments and creation science assessments, although one should keep in mind that this potential correlation is still quite different and speculative.

There are two basic theories about the origin and migration of humans by researchers who essentially slant their findings and conjecture toward the naturalistic evolutionary theory. The one that has been around the longest is the multi-regional model. It proposes that an archaic form of humans left Africa between one and two million years ago and that modern humans evolved from them independently and simultaneously in pockets of Africa, Europe, and Asia. 5 [Note how loosely dating is thrown around here with a million years difference with 100% variance. Most so-called ancestral human fossils were ascribed ages of 100,000 to two million years before we even had modern dating techniques, and the fact remains that our modern dating techniques are full of many assumptions with wide age ranges producing large percentages of inaccuracies as used in this theory. 11 Recent research called Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth (RATE) by the Institute for Creation Research scientists shows that rocks dated old by other radioisotope dating techniques are shown to be young by the RATE method. The RATE group of researchers has found strong experimental evidence for a young earth and episodes of rapid nuclear decay in the past.] 12  Many times the use of old-age dates by evolutionists boils down to them wishing an old age to fossils and bones to go along with the old-age theory to allow for the vast periods of time required to give any chance for the evolutionary theory.

The second theory about the origin and migration of humans involves Wells work and that of others which confirm the more recent and more widely accepted Out of Africa model. This model says that all modern humans evolved in Africa and then left in several waves of migration, ultimately replacing any earlier species. According to Wells, modern humans did not start their spread across the globe until around 60,000 years ago. Most archaeologists would say the exodus began 100,000 years ago a 40,000-year discrepancy. 5 (It is worth noting again here how ages are thrown around very freeflowingly with a large percent difference between these two theories. This is another reason creation scientists caution observers about the validity of the old age theories of fossils and earth history. Should not an observer rather give credence to young-age fossils, young earth, and a few-thousand-year-age of humans by creation scientists who are showing valid scientific research to support these assessments.) Wells take on the origins of modern humans and how they came to populate the rest of the planet is bound to be controversial. His work adds to an already crowded field of opposing hypotheses proposed by those who seek answers in stones and bones archaeologists and paleoanthropologists and by those who seek them in our blood population geneticists and molecular biologists. 5 Keeping in mind past accounts of human origin by naturalistic evolutionists, caution is still in order in assessing the conclusions of the Genographic Project as we know much conjecture and false conclusions can be made by evolutionary bias under the cloak of science. The following evolutionary bias, conjecture, and false conclusions concerning so-called human ancestors (links) were outlined in a 2002 video from the Institute for Creation Research titled The Origin of Humans, The Riddle of Origins Series 2 .

Fossil / bone What it turned out to be
Ramipithecus Ape
Australopithocine (Lucy) Extinct Ape/chimpanzee
Homo Erectus Fully human (simply dated old to fit schema of evolution)
Java Man Gibbon
Piltdown Man Hoax
Nebraska Man Pig's tooth
Neandert(h)al Man Fully human

What we have truly found with scientific integrity tracing human ancestry thus far is that apes were apes and humans were humans and still are. 2 We creation scientists believe God created apes as apes and humans as humans and the scientific evidences support this. Secularists still allow many of the false representations as outlined above to be presented to our children and to adults in the biology textbooks without balance of other scientific evidences on the origin of humans. There are ongoing efforts by creation scientists and others who espouse our democratic ideals and free speech to provide balance of the scientific evidences on human origin.

I believe efforts should continue to provide balance on human origin based on factual scientific observation and discovery, not just conjectural evolutionary biases espoused as science. Spencer Wells in some concluding remarks about the Genographic Project said, We want this to be a very open project. We want to tell the public what it is we re doing, the goals, the methods, and we want to explain the results. We re not doing anything medically relevant, not patenting anything. We see this as information that's part of the [common heritage] of our species. It's going to be released into the public domain, and people can go back and reanalyze it and query it and learn about it. We re hoping to create a virtual museum of human history. 6

Based on Wells'statement above indicating that the Genographic Project will provide objective scientific endeavor with high integrity, we creation scientists will be observing to see if the Genographic Project provides credible scientific information, not just more fuel for spinning naturalistic evolutionary theory as fact. Hopefully, true scientific knowledge will be gained from the Genographic Project that will be reported in an accurate, balanced way regarding the origin and migration of humans. Ô

Guinea Pigs & Humans - We Have A Lot More In Common Than Evolutionists Would Think

Guinea Pigs & Humans - We Have A Lot More In Common Than Evolutionists Would Think
TASC Thu, 05/10/2018 - 17:30

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

Toxicologists like myself make a living out of evaluating the impact of chemical exposures and other insults on the health of laboratory animals (we can't test humans after all). Rats and mice, members of the evolutionary order Rodentia, make up a large majority of these experimental animals. Ken Boschert, a veterinarian with Washington University's division of comparative medicine and the operator of a Web site called Net Vet (netvet.wustl.edu/) estimates that 99 percent of experimental animals nowadays are rats and mice, which are small, cheap to feed, and reproduce quickly. Rats and mice are also believed to share a closer evolutionary lineage to humans than other non-primate mammals. Yet, another familiar mammal, guinea pigs, are in many ways toxicologically and genetically more like humans than rats, mice and even our closest evolutionary cousins, the chimpanzee. 1  This article will relate evidence from personal experiences and readings that suggest that guinea pigs are more likely to have shared a common designer than a common ancestor with humans.

Guinea Pigs and Humans are Resistant to the Toxic Effects of EGBE

Ethylene glycol butyl ether (EGBE; also called 2-Butoxyethanol) is a clear solvent used in formulating cleaning products (e.g., window cleaners) and protective coatings (e.g., the inside of soda and beer cans). If EGBE were as toxic to humans as it is to most other mammalian species it would likely be banned from use in these cleaning products and in can manufacturing. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 2  EGBE causes life threatening hemolysis, the destruction of red blood cells, and other secondary effects in rats, mice, rabbits and, to a lesser extent, monkeys at exposure concentrations not much higher than that which a worker might experience while cleaning the kitchen floor with an EGBE-based cleaning solvent. Yet, humans and guinea pigs appear to be completely resistant to the hemolytic effects of EGBE. A surprising aspect of human and guinea pig resistance to EGBE is that it is not shared by closer evolutionary relatives such as the rhesus monkey, indicating that human red blood cells are in this sense more like that of guinea pigs than monkeys and other rodents.

Humans share other unique traits with guinea pigs. Among other things guinea pigs have an immune system that is very similar to ours (see netvet.wustl.edu/species/guinea/gpmodel.txt for a fuller discussion of guinea pigs and their laboratory uses). These similarities suggest similarity between human and guinea pig genes that belie the supposed distance between them on the evolutionary tree. Another strong indication of this surprising similarity comes from studies in the field of genetics of pseudogenes.

What are Pseudogenes?

Pseudogenes are usually regarded as the disabled copies of protein-coding genes. For nearly twenty years, the evolutionist Edward Max 3  has been highlighting pseudogenes as an insurmountably powerful argument for organic evolution and against special creation. According to John Woodmorappe, 4  this argument rests on the truth of the following three premises: 1) pseudogenes lack function, 2) while an Intelligent Designer may plausibly re-use the same designs for functional structures, it is unreasonable to suggest that an Intelligent Designer would create non-functional genes, let alone ones that share the same lesions from organism to organism, 3) owing to such 'shared mistakes,' pseudogenes containing them could not have originated from independent inactivation events that occurred subsequent to the creation, but can only be explained through the common evolutionary ancestry of the organisms that bear them.

Woodmorappe describes the growing evidence that undermines these premises, particularly the first and third premises. For example, the non-functionality of pseudogenes is not an established fact. 5  There is a growing body of evidence to the contrary. In addition, even if pseudogenes are in fact largely non-functional, lesions within them can originate independently. In his December, 2004 report Woodmorappe focuses on primates' olfactory receptor pseudogenes, the urate oxidase pseudogenes and the gulonolactone (L-) oxidase (Gulo) pseudogenes. (Functional Gulo genes are important for the synthesis of vitamin C.) We will focus on this latter set of pseudogenes because of the discovery that the independently-derived guinea pig and human Gulo pseudogenes have an astounding 36% identical 'disablement' and because Woodmorappe claims that this is "as close as one can get to a resounding disproof of the entire evolutionistic 'shared mistakes' argument."

The Gulo pseudogenes of Humans and Guinea Pigs: numerous 'shared mistakes' without common ancestry

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is an essential micronutrient that performs a variety of functions in the body. Humans, simian primates (apes and monkeys), and guinea pigs are incapable of synthesizing their own vitamin C and so require dietary sources of this vitamin. The human intake of vitamin C recommended by the Food and Drug Administration is an order of magnitude below the amount synthesized by the vase majority of those mammals capable of producing it. 6

Many of those mammals found unable to synthesize ascorbic acid have regions of their genome that are believed to correspond to parts of the functional Gulo gene that is found in those mammals found capable to synthesizing Gulo and thus vitamin C. Evolutionists have cited these apparently vestigial remnants of Gulo to make arguments against an Intelligent Designer. However, previous studies of the Gulo gene and pseudogene have focused on those parts of a few exons that appear to correspond between humans and rats. A recent and more comprehensive study 7 discovered an unexpected high degree of identicalness between the 'lesions' of the guinea pig Gulo pseudogene and those of its counterpart in the higher primates (including humans). Guinea pig and human Gulo pseudogenes show an astonishing 36% identical nucleotide substitutions (relative to the intact rat Gulo gene), despite the fact that the two pseudogenes could not possibly have arisen from a common ancestral pseudogene (see the figure below from Dr. Woodmorappe's report). Furthermore, not only are the inactivations of Gulo in the guinea pig and primates clearly independent events based on the phylogenetic analysis shown in the figure, but also on inferred evolutionistically believed times of inactivation. Other authors 8 have estimated that the guinea pig lost Gulo function less than 20 million years ago. In contrast, the separate inactivation of the Gulo gene in primates allegedly occurred between the time of simian-prosimian divergence (50-65 million years ago) but before the Old/New world monkey divergence (35-45 million years ago).

Dr. Woodmorappe goes on to describe other recent studies that document the astounding similarities between the 'lesions' of the guinea pig Gulo pseudogene and humans. In fact, the similarities he describes suggest that humans are more closely related to guinea pigs than to prosimian primates or to other rodents. (Many scientists argue that guinea pigs are not rodents like rats, shrews and mice.) There is no apparent reason to question the validity of this new information, which certainly seems to falsify the pseudogene 'shared mistakes' argument. 3 Logic now dictates that 'shared mistakes' be approached in terms of parallel mutations rather than common evolutionary ancestry.

Conclusions

Here we have seen examples in the fields of toxicology and genetics that contradict the major evolutionary premise that common features and functionality are due to common evolutionary ancestry. Some toxicologists are beginning to reconsider the broad relevance of rats and mice to humans. For many complex systems such as the hematologic and immunologic systems, there may indeed be a call for use of the more evolutionarily "distant" guinea pig as human "guinea pigs" in laboratory testing. The striking degree of identicalness between the 'lesions' of presumably non-functional pseudogenes, unrelated by evolutionary ancestry, clearly dispenses with organic evolution as a necessary explanation for this overall phenomenon. Moreover, it reopens the consideration of such pseudogenes being one-time functional genes that became independently disabled sometime after the Fall. As Dr. Woodmorappe points out, however, much more must be learned about the thousands of pseudogenes in various genomes before detailed generalizations about them can be made in a scientific creationist context. Evolutionary scientists believe that all of science can be understood by examining present processes and this is a worthy quest, but as Christian scholars, we also need to be prepared to accept the possibility that the world and all that is in it has changed for reasons and via processes that may no longer exist and are only known to our omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient creator God (Job 38:4; II Peter 3:3-6).

  • 1Primates are believed to have made the evolutionary split from rodents about 80 million years ago; humans are believed to have split from monkeys 20 million to 25 million years ago. (Gianaro, C, University of Chicago researchers discovered that humans are a 'privileged' evolutionary lineage, www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-12/uocm-uoc122304.php, 28 Dec, 2004.)
  • 2US Environmental Protection Agency. (1999) Toxicological Review of Ethylene Glycol Butyl Ether (EGBE), www.epa.gov/iris/toxreviews/0500-tr.pdf
  • 3 a b Max, E.E. (2003) Plagiarized errors and molecular genetics, www.talkorigins.org/faqs/molgen/
  • 4Woodmorappe, J. Potentially decisive evidence against pseudogene 'shared mistakes,' www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v18/i3/mistakes.asp, first published (2004) Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 18(3): 63-69
  • 5Woodmorappe, J., (2000) Are pseudogenes 'shared mistakes' between primate genomes? Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 14(3): 55-71
  • 6This has prompted controversial suggestions (e.g., Linus Pauling) that humans should take vitamin C at daily gram-level doses.
  • 7Inai, Y., Ohta, Y. Nishikimi, M. (2003) The whole structure of the human non-functional L-gulono-lactone oxidase gene 'the gene responsible for scurvy' and the evolution of repetitive sequences thereon. J Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 49(5): 315-319
  • 8Nishikimi, M., Yagi, K. (1996) Biochemistry and molecular biology of ascorbic acid biosynthesis. Subcellular Biochemistry 25:17-39

Starlight and Time: Scripture and Science Support a Young Earth Cosmology

Starlight and Time: Scripture and Science Support a Young Earth Cosmology
TASC Fri, 05/11/2018 - 17:50

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

One scientific challenge young earth creationists have had to address is the starlight-time question.

galaxy
From NASA: Binary spiral galaxies NGC 2207 (left) and IC 2163 (right) are estimated to be 114 million light years away from Earth

That is, if the creation is only 6-10 thousand years old as the scriptures imply, how is it possible for us to see stars and galaxies which are billions of light years away? There have been several solutions advanced to solve this problem including decay of the speed of light, light created in transit, mature creation theory, and physicist Russ Humphreys' white hole cosmology (WHC) 1  theory, among others. This article will discuss Russ Humphreys' white hole cosmology and reply to some recent criticisms of it made by astronomer Hugh Ross. 2

Humphreys' WHC theory is both biblically and scientifically sound. The creation account (Genesis 1) is taken in a straight forward manner as history with the sequence of events and durations accepted as stated. From scripture, Humphreys finds support for a finite extent of matter in the universe (Ps 147:4), the expansion of space 3  (Ps 104:2), and the young age of the earth (creation week and genealogies) among other things. 4  He uses these clues combined with relativity to formulate his WHC. Scientifically, the theory incorporates the relativistic effect known as gravity-time dilation. Einstein's theory of relativity predicts, and experiment has verified, that all physical processes in different gravity fields proceed at different rates; the greater the gravity, the slower the processes. Dr. Humphreys has shown that in a finite and expanding universe with the Milky Way galaxy near its center, 5  the gravity field at the earth may have been greater than that of the distant cosmos on day 4 of creation week. Hence clocks on earth would have ticked much more slowly than clocks in the distant cosmos; while only hours passed on the earth, billions of years worth of physical processes took place in the distant cosmos allowing starlight from these regions to reach the earth by the evening of day 4.

Whether or not the universe unfolded as described in the WHC theory depends on the history of the distribution of matter in the cosmos. The Big Bang theory assumes that the density of matter in the universe (taken at large enough scale) has been essentially the same in all places at any given time. This means that there has never been a center of mass or any place where the gravity has been significantly different than any other place (again, taken on a large enough scale). This assumption, referred to as the Copernican Principle, says that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic (that the universe looks the same regardless of where you go in it or in what direction you look) and therefore has no special places. If this is true, no gravity-time dilation effects would have been operative during the unfolding of the universe and the WHC would be invalid. In contrast, the WHC theory holds that there is an edge to the matter in the universe beyond which the density drops dramatically. The WHC pictures the matter of the universe distributed evenly within a defined volume beyond which is empty space. Astronomers refer to this type of cosmic geometry as bounded, because it says the matter in the universe has a boundary or edge. Further, our galaxy, the Milky Way, is thought to be close to the center of the volume, a very special place indeed. The gravity in this configuration of matter would vary from place to place being stronger near the center. If this picture of the cosmos is correct, then the gravity-time dilation effects mentioned above would have been operative during creation week as the WHC theory claims.

The question naturally arises: is there any evidence that can help determine which view of the distribution of matter in the universe is correct? Dr. Humphreys advances two possibilities: quantized galactic redshifts 6 ,7 ,8  and polarized radiation from galaxies 9 ,10 ,11 ,12 and from the cosmic microwave background (CMB). 13 ,14 ,1

The frequencies of light emitted by a star contain information about the elements from which the star is made. Each element has a spectral fingerprint. Most stars consist primarily of hydrogen. Edwin Hubble in the 1920s discovered that light from some "nebulae" had the fingerprints of the expected elements from stars, but that usually all the frequencies were shifted to longer wavelengths, that is, redshifted. Hubble went on to demonstrate that the redshift of the frequencies of light correlated with the distance to and the recession velocity of an object; the greater the redshift, the greater the distance and recession speed. The nebulae were found to lie beyond the boundary of the Milky Way, a revolutionary discovery. Hubble soon realized that the nebulae were other galaxies which were moving away from us, and the farther away, the faster the recession. Hubble's results confirmed a prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity, that the universe is either expanding or contracting. Nowadays, astronomers routinely use redshifts as a distance measure. Recently, secular astronomers have discovered that the redshifts of galaxies in our cosmic neighborhood are bunched together at various regular intervals out to about a billion light years, 15 that is, they are quantized. The effect is seen beyond a billion light years for some intervals, but to a lesser extent for others, and appears to eventually fade. The implication of these observations is that relatively nearby galaxies are distributed in concentric spheres with the Milky Way near the center. Computer simulations have shown that the galactic redshifts viewed from a location just a few million light years away from the Milky Way would not show quantization but merely a random distribution; only observers in just the right place will see the effect. These findings are contrary to the Copernican Principle, the foundation of the Big Bang theory, because they suggest that there may be unique and special places such as a center to the mass of the universe.

For example, consider the conclusions drawn by noncreationist authors who recently analyzed the data from "pencil beam" galactic redshift surveys:

But probably the most puzzling discovery concerns the recent observations which show an apparent periodicity [regular interval] in the distribution of redshifts in pencil-beam surveys of the north and south galactic polar regions These surveys extend to a redshift of around z = 0.5 [4.8 billion light years] 16 in both directions, and there is a strong evidence for a periodicity of 128h-1 Mpc [410 million light years] which extends for over 13 periods. Although this result was considered initially a statistical anomaly, later and more detailed studies provided new evidence for the alluded periodicity on the same scales.

If this periodicity would be established in most directions, a naive interpretation would imply that galaxies and [galaxy] clusters are distributed on concentric shells centered around our galaxy, clearly a blow to our cosmological conceptions. Another more plausible explanation is based upon the idea that the observed periodicity is just a visual effect induced by a periodic oscillation of the gravitational constant, and that the mass density of the Universe on intermediate scales remains homogeneous and isotropic as on the largest scales. 17 ,18

Notice that the bunching of galactic redshifts at regular intervals is not questioned. Interestingly, the most straight forward interpretation of the data, that the Milky Way is located at the center of a series of concentric shells of galaxies, is rejected as "naive" in favor of a purely speculative explanation which lacks any precedent or empirical foundation.

Progressive creationist Hugh Ross recently cited 2  a paper 19  that he claimed refuted the whole notion of quantized galactic redshifts, but he was mistaken. The authors of the paper argued only that there was no special periodic pattern to the redshifts of quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) which appear to be physically connected to some galaxies; the subject of galactic redshifts per se was not addressed. Some scientists have suggested that QSOs were ejected from "active" galaxies and that the apparent quantized redshifts of these QSOs are evidence of this alleged causal history. The paper cited by Ross disputed the quantized QSO claim, nothing else. Furthermore, a paper more recent 20  [quoted above] than the one cited by Ross not only cited the same paper but concluded the quantization of galactic redshifts on large scales is well established while those on small scales deserve more research. The point here is that no study has been reported that rules out quantized galactic redshifts, contrary to Ross.

What physical process could account for a periodic distribution of galaxies? Dr Humphreys explains:

If God used processes as part of His making the stars and galaxies on the fourth day of Creation, then redshift quantizations are evidence that some of the processes were spherically symmetric around our galaxy. For example, we could imagine spherical shock waves bouncing back and forth between the centre and edge of an expanding ball of gas or plasma, such as in the tentative cosmogony I outline in Starlight and Time.

The reverberating waves would interfere with each other at some radii and enhance each other at other radii, setting up a pattern of 'standing waves,' concentric shells of denser gas. God would then gather the gas into stars and galaxies. The resulting concentric patterns of galaxies would be complex, having many spacings corresponding to the many different modes of reverberation...

Standing waves imply the matter had an outer edge for the shock waves to rebound from. That would make the geometric centre be a centre of mass also. If we put those boundary conditions (an edge and centre) into Einstein's equations of general relativity, we get the cosmology I presented in Starlight and Time. The centre of mass is a centre for gravitational forces, low in intensity but cosmic in extent. Then gravity causes large time dilation effects at the centre during one particular stage of the expansion. 6

Hence, quantized galactic redshifts on various scales are supported by much evidence and are completely consistent with Dr. Humphreys' finite model of the universe with the Milky Way near the center.


Figure 1

The second phenomenon which supports the bounded model of the universe with special places and directions is the polarization of radiowaves from galaxies and the CMB. Light (and all electromagnetic radiation) moves through space as waves in planes (Figure 1, A). Usually, light from a given source is propagating in all possible planes (Figure 1, B). However, sometimes light is polarized, that is, most if the light coming from a source propagates in a single plane (Figure 1, C). Such light is known as plane polarized light. Now it is well known that the plane of polarized light can be rotated by magnetic fields (Figure 1, D). In other words, if you could look at a light wave coming towards you edge on, you would see a straight line representing the amplitude of the wave. Now if some external magnetic field were applied between the light source and you, the orientation of the line would rotate as it traveled through space. The angular difference between the line before and after application of the external magnetic field would be the angle of rotation of the plane of the light wave.

Now, the light waves from galaxies tends to propagate in the plane of the galaxy (Figure 2).


Figure 2

What has been observed is that the angle of rotation of the plane of polarization of radiowaves from galaxies increases more in some parts of the sky than others and as a function of distance.

The rotation angle increases from zero to a maximum when looking in the direction of the constellations Virgo and then back to zero as one observes through an arc of 180 degrees. This pattern is again repeated in the opposite direction (but the rotation angle is now negative). The angle of rotation also increases the greater the distance of the galaxy. The microwave radiation of the CMB is also polarized in a fashion and direction similar to that of the radiowaves from galaxies.

These results imply the cosmos has an axis. Dr. Humphreys believes this is an axis of rotation, and he discusses this possibility in Starlight and Time. The movement of matter through space in a rotating cosmos could generate a weak magnetic field 21 which could account for the rotation of the plane of polarized light from galaxies and the CMB.

Dr. Ross claims 2  that a recent paper 22  has discounted the evidence for a cosmic rotation axis, but again he is mistaken. The paper does not even mention or address the phenomena of the polarization of light from galaxies or the CMB or its implications concerning a cosmic axis. The subject of the paper was the small change in the frequency of radiowaves from distant galaxies caused by the motion of our galaxy through space; the light from galaxies in the direction of our motion should be slightly blueshifted whereas the light from galaxies in the opposite direction should be slightly redshifted. The authors were able to detect the effect by taking into account (subtracting) the effects of nearby galaxies on the measurements. That the rotation of the plane of polarized light from galaxies and the CMB cannot be explained by the motion of our galaxy through space is demonstrated by the fact that the angle of rotation depends upon the distance to a galaxy and is hence not a local effect; something is causing the plane of the light to rotate on its way to us through space independent of our motion.

In conclusion, a finite and bounded universe with an edge and center of mass could unfold with the gravity time dilation effects described in Dr. Humphreys' WHC. The unrefuted observations of quantized galactic redshifts and polarization of radiowaves from distant galaxies and the CMB support a finite and bounded model of the universe, but are less compatible with the Copernican principle, the basis of big bang cosmologies. Hugh Ross' criticisms of these phenomena miss the mark. The picture that emerges is a slowly rotating cosmos of finite extent defined by an edge and with the Milky Way located near the center surrounded by concentric spheres of galaxies spaced at various regular intervals deep into the cosmic radius. This picture is consistent with the Bible and science, as Dr Humphreys has shown.

  • 1 a b Humphreys, D. Russell. (1994) Starlight and Time, Master Books, Green Forest, Arkansas; DVD: (2005) Starlight and Time - Updated and Expanded featuring physicist Russell Humphreys, Answers in Genesis, Petersburg, Kentucky.
  • 2 a b c Ross, Hugh. (2004) A Matter of Days, NavPress, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • 3Note that the scriptures spoke of the expansion of space thousands of years before Edwin Hubble discovered galactic redshifts, the scientific evidence for the expansion of the universe, in the early 20th century.
  • 4Only the highpoints of Dr. Humphreys' theory will be covered here. For a detailed discussion, see reference 1.
  • 5Scripture does not explicitly state that the Milky Way and earth are near the center of the universe, but the concept is in keeping with the order of creation (earth first) and the purpose of all celestial objects (Gen 1:14-19) to provide light and time markers for earth's inhabitants.
  • 6 a b Humphreys, Russell D. (2002) Creation Ex Nihilo Technical J, 16(2): 1-10
  • 7Napier, W.M., Guthrie, B.N.G. (1997) J. Astrophys. Astr. 18: 455-463.
  • 8Cohen, J.G., et al. (1996) The Astrophysical Journal, 471: L5-L9
  • 9Nodland, Borge., Ralston, J.P. (1997) Physical Review Letters, 78: 3043
  • 10Rainer, W. Kuhnear (1997) Xiv:astro-ph/9708109 v1 12 Aug
  • 11Yuri N. Obukhov et al. (1997) arXiv:astro-ph/9705243 v1 30 May
  • 12Jain, P., Ralston, J.P. (1999) Particles and Fields; Gravitation; Cosmology and Nuclear Physics, Modern Physics Letters A,14 (6): 417-432
  • 13Humphreys, Russell D. (2003) Act and Facts, May 4
  • 14Tegmark, M., de Olivera-Costa, A. (2003) Phys. Rev. D, 68:123523
  • 15The diameter of the universe is thought to be 20-30 billion light years. If the Milky Way is near the center, one billion light years would be about one-tenth to one-fifteenth of the cosmic radius.
  • 16Hubble's Law: z =Δλ/λ = v/c; v = Hr; z=Hr/c or r = zc/H; H = 100 km/s/Mpc; c = 300,000 km/s; Mpc = 3,200,000 light years; therefore R(distance) = 0.5 (300,000 km/s)/100 km/s/Mpc) = 1,500 Mpc = 4.8 billion light years
  • 17Jose A. Gonzalez et al. (2000) Astron.Astrophys. 362:835- 839. Also see ref. 17.
  • 18Dr. Humphreys has not mentioned this particular large scale quantization in his writings.
  • 19Hawkins, E., Maddox, S. J., Merrifield, M. R. (2002) Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 336: L13-L16
  • 20Bajan, Katarzyna. (2003) Spacetime & Substance, 4 No. 5 (20): 225-228
  • 21This is called the gravitomagnetic effect and comes from the theory of general relativity. Dr. Humphreys mentions this effect in his more recent video cited in reference 1.
  • 22Blake, C, Wall, J (2002) Nature, 416: 150-152 Last Updated ( Oct 08, 2005 at 11:44 AM )

Evolution and Evidence

Evolution and Evidence
TASC Fri, 05/11/2018 - 18:10

By author

Joe Spears MS

I once heard a radio show host ask a caller, if it could be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Bible wasn't true and that Jesus wasn't who he claimed he was, if the caller would be willing to accept that information. I remember thinking that I would like to ask the host the same question, turned around, if it could be proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Jesus really was who he claimed to be, would you accept that? Are we willing to believe the evidence? Or do we resist truth or new ideas because of preconceived notions, traditions, or dogma? I see no problem with evidence and the truth. It certainly beats lies.

One area in which claims and counterclaims concerning evidence have been made is the area of origins. Origins deals with evolution and the creation of the universe. Let's look into this area.

One problem with the fossil record is that the many required forms between reptiles and birds predicted by the theory of evolution are missing from the fossil record.

Irreducible Complexity

Let us think about what is necessary for birds to fly. Feathers and wings and hollow bones all work together to help birds fly. Often many parts or systems work together in such a way that the total effect is one that could not exist if any of the pieces or parts was missing. This is known as "Irreducible Complexity".

Often, each separate part of the entire system is useless, or even worse than useless - detrimental - by itself. Alone, these parts of the system would not have any survival value, and thus no reason for Natural Selection (evolution) to select them. They have value only in conjunction with all the other pieces of the system.

A classic example of this type of system is a mouse trap. Biochemist Michael Behe used this example to illustrate irreducible complexity. The trap simply does not work at all unless all parts are present and functioning properly.

Image
Figure 1 - Mouse trap

The gradual change implied by evolution would mean the pieces of the system would at first be incompletely, or partially present, and not perfectly or fully functioning. Remember, evolution is not revolution. It is gradual change. Instead of all the parts appearing full-blown overnight, they gradually develop. The problem is that partially developed pieces of such a system would have no survival value, and thus would not be selected by evolution. It is only after they have fully developed and after they are all present that they have value. Then they would be selectable. But the problem is that they would have to be selected before this happened, so evolution could bring the system up to this point of development. But this development needs to happen before there would be reason for selection to occur! We have to have the development before the selection and the selection before the development - a logical difficulty, to say the least.

Missing Links

Concerning evolution, Pierre Grasse has said, "Evolution is revealed only through fossil forms." In other words, Grasse says the fossil evidence is the crux of the argument on which evolution depends. The fossil record is known for not supporting evolution. This is where we hear claims and counterclaims. Some say that the fossils demonstrate evolution. Examples pointed to in support of evolution have included the Archaeopteryx and other birds. Archaeopteryx has been claimed to be transitional between birds and reptiles because, among other things, it has been shown to possess claws, but so do other birds, namely ostriches. To make a long story short, the case concerning Archaeopteryx is not conclusive in support of evolution. It is apparently a fully-fledged bird - it has feathers.

One of the problems with Archaeopteryx is that the many required "missing links" or transitional animals between reptiles and birds are missing from the fossil record. The case of the missing transitional forms (the "missing links") is ubiquitous. It is most often heard of as applying to missing links between humans and our supposed evolutionary ancestors, but there are missing links galore. They abound in the cases of many other types of creatures.

I mentioned the lack of fossils between bird and reptile. In many cases, what we find in the fossil record is lots of one kind of fossil, and lots of another kind, but no fossils of any animals between the two kinds. If evolution occurred, then there should have been many "in-between" fossils.

In fact, one evolutionist pointed out that the best case for documented evidence of one species evolving into another was a species that became infected with a parasite (the species with the infection was the "new" species, different from the same species without the parasite). If we had lots of transitional fossils, he would have mentioned that instead.

The case of the missing "in-between" fossils is a big problem. The so-called "Cambrian explosion" is the "sudden appearance" of many different kinds of fossils. The problem is that the fossils of the kinds leading up to and gradually changing into the Cambrian species are missing. Dr. Ariel Roth, former chairman of the department of Biology at Loma Linda University states, "The Cambrian explosion is not just a case of all the major animal phyla appearing at about the same place in the geologic column. It is also a situation of no ancestors to suggest how they might have evolved." 1

Although it has been argued that birds evolved from dinosaurs, it has also been argued that things went the opposite direction, that dinosaurs might have evolved  from birds. If both can be argued, it would seem that the evidence in support of both is not very conclusive or decisive. Again, we see that apparently the fossil record is not supportive of evolution.

In case after case, with the whale and the horse, for example, we find that the fossil evidence does not really support evolution.

Probability

If we look at the theoretical methods by which evolution may be accomplished, we see problems there also. Irreducible complexity has already been mentioned. The  changes in genes necessary for new species have been attributed to mutations. But according to Nicholas Comninellis, president of the Institute for International Medicine, "...almost all mutations are harmful to animals." 2  And from Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetski, Professor of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering at Brown University, "Mutations are rare phenomena, and a simultaneous change of even two amino acid residues in one protein is totally unlikely. ...One could think, for instance, that by constantly changing amino acids one by one, it will eventually be possible to change the entire sequence substantially.... These minor changes, however, are bound to eventually result in a situation in which the enzyme has ceased to perform its previous function but has not yet begun its 'new duties'. It is at this point it will be destroyed, along with the organism carrying it." 3

One way to avoid the problem is for all the necessary mutations to occur together at the same time. However, the probability of this happening is extremely small. Estimates of the probability of the formation of even some small parts of what is necessary for even a single cell to develop have been made. The numbers calculated have included such estimates as 1 chance in 10 to the thousandth power. The significance of this is that 10 to the hundredth power - a much smaller number than 10 to the thousandth power - is still far greater than the estimated number of atoms in the universe. Think of it - there is a higher chance of picking a single atom out of the entire known universe than the chance that even some of the things that evolution requires would have actually happened.

Why would we believe that these things happened, along with many others necessary for evolution to have occurred? We may give various reasons for believing in evolution, but in this case, we apparently cannot honestly say, "Because of the evidence."

  • 1Roth, Ariel (1998) Origins, Review & Herald Publishing, Hagerstown, MD, p. 184.
  • 2Comninellis, Nicholas (2001) Creative Defense: Evidence Against Evolution, Masterbooks, p. 172.
  • 3Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetski, (1997) Unraveling DNA, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, p. 72.

Evidences for a Recent Creation: Part 1

Evidences for a Recent Creation: Part 1
TASC Fri, 05/11/2018 - 18:18

By author

David Plaisted PhD

Image
Figure 1

If you add millions of years to the Bible, this is what you get.                        

-- From Answers In Genesis

The age of the earth is a central issue in creation-evolution discussions, because a young earth would not permit enough time for evolution to occur, and an old earth would contradict a literal reading of the Bible account of creation. The belief in an old earth is based on conventional dates for geological periods, which are in the hundreds of millions of years range, and are obtained by isotopic dating methods. Standard isotopic (radiometric) dating techniques typically yield such dates on fossil-bearing strata. There are, however, numerous disagreements between dates produced by different isotopic dating methods, and there are many cases where the dates obtained are very different from the expected ones. Furthermore, geologists are aware of a number of factors that can cause radiometric dating methods to give bad dates, and these factors are sometimes difficult to recognize. This already casts some doubt on isotopic dating methods. Creationists have given evidence that the geological column is much younger than hundreds of millions of years, but until now they have not had a quantitative method of measuring the age of the fossils or the geologic column. Nor have they had a uniform explanation for why isotopic dating methods give such old dates. This has put creationists at a disadvantage in discussions of dating issues, and also has been an obstacle in the widespread acceptance of a young earth.

Now there are evidences that explain why isotopic dating methods yield such old dates on fossil-bearing strata. These evidences also provide a quantitative measure of how old the fossils really are. These evidences show that the geological column on earth, at least from the Cambrian period onwards, was laid down in a few thousand years rather than the hundreds of millions of years assumed by conventional geology. This gives strong support to the creationary viewpoint, and provides methods of dating that are more in harmony with the Biblical creation account. These evidences also explain the old ages given by conventional methods as the result of accelerated decay. It now appears that radioactive decay was much faster in the past. This explains why isotopic dating methods typically give dates in the hundreds of millions or even billions of years on samples that are really only a few thousand years old on a young earth. Faster decay could also be the cause of the Flood, because accelerated decay would have caused the generation of a huge amount of heat, wreaking havoc with the earth's crust. These evidences do not directly establish the age of the earth or the universe, but suggest that the earth is young.

In fact, a number of evidences are fitting together so well that one has to ask how much evidence is needed for a paradigm shift. How much evidence suffices for the scientific establishment to accept the fact that the geological column was laid down very rapidly, in thousands rather than millions of years? Or is it the case that no amount of evidence will convince them? I think that the new evidences are so convincing that the scientific establishment would have a hard time refuting them in a debate. But whatever the reaction of the scientists, the evidence is now compelling enough to convince many educated people of the error of the current assumption of hundreds of millions of years for the geological column.

In the past, many creationists have attempted to explain old isotopic (radiometric) dates by assuming that the system was disturbed. Isotopic dates are often computed by measuring the amount of a parent substance X and the amount of a daughter substance Y into which X decays. If one assumes that at some time, T, in the past, no  Y was present, and no X or Y entered or left the system in the meantime, then, by measuring the amount of X and Y present and knowing the speed at which X decays into Y, one can compute the age of the system, that is, the time elapsed since time T. The more Y and the less X there is, the older the sample. This method typically gives ages in the hundreds of millions of years. Creationists often argue that the computed age is too old because Y may have been present initially, or X or Y may have entered or left the system since it was formed. However, geologists have developed sophisticated methods to account for such possibilities. Furthermore, it seems unusual that so many different isotopic methods would give old dates if these dates resulted only from disturbances in the system. Disturbances could just as well make the dates too young as too old. Now creationists are beginning to think that a large amount of radioactive decay occurred in a short time, because the rate of decay was much faster in the past.

There are two main processes by which radioactive decay occurs, alpha decay and beta decay. In alpha decay, an alpha particle is emitted from a nucleus. An alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons. This is the nucleus of a helium atom, and when an alpha particle is emitted, it soon acquires electrons and becomes a helium atom. Thus helium is produced by alpha decay. The other main method of decay is beta decay, in which an electron or a positron is emitted from the nucleus and a neutron becomes a proton, or vice versa. Another way that this can happen is if an electron is captured by the nucleus. If rates of decay were faster in the past, then it is reasonable to assume that alpha decay and beta decay would be sped up by different amounts, because they are such different processes.

The first evidence for accelerated decay in the past has to do with the dating of zircons. Zircons have the element zirconium in them, together with other elements. They are often used for jewelry. Zircons are used for isotopic dating because their crystal structure incorporates uranium and thorium but not lead, making them suitable for uranium-lead and thorium-lead dating. Uranium and thorium decay into lead, so one can assume that the lead in the zircon results from decay, and thus compute the age of the zircon. Although this assumption has its limitations, the idea is basically sound. Zircons on earth give dates up to about four billion years.

Uranium and thorium decay into lead by a complex series of steps, of which a number involve alpha decay. Thus helium is produced. This helium should diffuse out of the zircon rapidly. Therefore if the zircons were really hundreds of millions or even billions of years old, there should be no helium left in them that resulted from such decay. However, a significant amount of helium has been found in some zircons that give isotopic dates of 1.5 billion years. Until recently, no one had measured the rate of diffusion of helium in zircons. In 2000 the RATE project 1  began experiments to measure the diffusion rates of helium in zircon and biotite. Using this data, the ages of these zircons were computed. 2  In other words, an age was computed consistent with the amount of helium remaining in the zircon. The ages computed in this way are between 4,000 and 14,000 years! These results support the hypothesis of accelerated nuclear decay and represent strong scientific evidence for the young world of Scripture. This shows that alleged isotopic dates of 1.5 billion years for these particular zircons correspond to true dates of between 4,000 and 14,000 years. This suggests that all these old isotopic dates correspond to very young true dates. However, these results do not yet show that even older dates are in this time range. It would be interesting to test zircons having even older isotopic dates to see how much helium they contain, and to test more zircons to see if this helium retention is a universal phenomenon.

The next evidence for a recent creation is provided by carbon-14 dates. Carbon-14 (14C) is produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic rays and then slowly decays. The older an organic sample is, the less carbon-14 it will contain because the sample will not be absorbing new carbon-14 after it dies. An astonishing discovery made over the past twenty years is that, almost without exception, when tested by highly sensitive accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) methods, organic samples from every portion of the fossil record show detectable amounts of 14C! Giem reviewed the literature and tabulated about seventy reported AMS measurements of 14C in organic materials from the geologic record that, according to the conventional geologic time-scale, should be 14C 'dead.' 3  The surprising result is that organic samples from every portion of the fossil record show detectable amounts of 14C. "For the measurements considered most reliable, the 14C/C ratios appear to fall in the range 0.1-0.5 percent of the modern 14C/C ratio (percent modern carbon, or pmc)." 0.1 percent modern carbon corresponds to a computed age of 57,000 years, and higher values correspond to even younger ages. This implies that the entire geologic column from the Cambrian period onward is less than 57,000 years old.  Some of the researchers tried to explain this carbon-14 as contamination, but none of their attempts to clean it were successful, and other evidence indicated that this carbon-14 was not contamination.

Organic matter consistently has a higher 14C ratio than Precambrian inorganic matter. This shows that this carbon-14 is not noise and not contamination. If the carbon-14 arose from noise in the measurement process or from contamination, then one would not expect to find such systematic differences. The amount of carbon-14 must therefore indicate that these samples are very young.

Here we have additional evidence that samples alleged to be hundreds of millions of years old are in fact 60,000 years old or less. If decay were accelerated in the past, the true age would be even less than 60,000 years. There is also reason to believe that the biomass before the flood may have been 100 times larger than it is today, which would dilute carbon-14 by a factor of 100 or more. This corresponds to six or seven half-lives of carbon, or to an age of about 40,000 years. Thus the ages of these samples would be brought down to the 10,000 to 20,000 year range, and with accelerated decay the ages would be even less, consistent with the Biblical account. Another factor to consider is that there may have been less carbon-14 before the flood; the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere appears to be increasing even today. This would make the ages even younger.

There is even measurable carbon-14 in diamonds! Dr. Baumgardner 4  sent a diamond for 14C dating. "It was the first time this had been attempted, and the answer came back positive - i.e. the diamond, formed deep inside the earth in a 'Precambrian' layer, nevertheless contained radioactive carbon, even though it 'shouldn't have'. This is exceptionally striking evidence, because a diamond has remarkably powerful lattice bonds, so there is no way that subsequent biological contamination can be expected to find its way into the interior." The diamond's carbon-dated 'age' of less than 58,000 years is thus an upper limit for the age of geological column from the Cambrian period onwards. "And this age is brought down still further now that the helium diffusion results have so strongly affirmed dramatic past acceleration of radioactive decay."

The fact that isotopic dates are generally too old by hundreds of millions of years, but carbon-14 dates are only too old by thousands of years, is also evidence for accelerated decay, because carbon-14 decays much faster. In general, one would expect that if decay were accelerated, all radioactive decay systems would have about the same amount of extra decay. This is especially true if the cause of the accelerated decay was a large amount of radiation hitting the earth, because a nucleus that was hit by radiation would receive a large amount of energy and would be likely to decay, regardless of its half-life. Carbon-14 has a short half-life, meaning that it is relatively unstable and decays rapidly, so the number of atoms per unit time that decay is large. Uranium, thorium, and other substances used for isotopic dating have much larger half lives, almost all of them in the billions of years range. This means that these substances are comparatively stable and decay events are very rare, so the number of atoms per unit time that decay is very small. Therefore, if there are N extra decay events in a unit of time, these extra decay events would proportionally affect the number of carbon-14 decays by a much smaller amount than the number of uranium and thorium decays. This means that the age computed from carbon-14 would be increased by a much smaller proportion than the ages computed from uranium-lead and thorium-lead decay. In fact, this is what is observed, with carbon-14 ages typically in the 60,000 year range or less, but uranium and thorium ages typically in the hundreds of millions of years.

Here is a table of some common half-lives, showing how much longer many half-lives are than the half-life of carbon- 14:

Radioactive Parent Stable Daughter Half-life
Potassium 40 Argon 40 1.25 billion yrs
Rubidium 87 Strontium 87 48.8 billion yrs
Thorium 232 Lead 208 14 billion years
Uranium 235 Lead 207 704 million years
Uranium 238 Lead 206 4.47 billion years
Carbon 14 Nitrogen 14 5730 years

Editor: Parts 2 and 3 of this article will be featured in the next two consecutive TASC newsletters.

  • 1Vardiman, L., Snelling, A.A. and Chaffin, E.F. (Eds.) (2000) Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: A Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, Institute for Creation Research, California, and Creation Research Society, St. Joseph, Mississippi.
  • 2Humphreys, D.R., Austin, S.A., Baumgardner, J.R., and Snelling, A.A. (2003) Helium Diffusion Rates Support Accelerated Nuclear Decay. Fifth International Conference on Creationism, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA, August 4-9.
  • 3Giem, P. (2001) Carbon-14 content of fossil carbon. Origins 51:6-30
  • 4Wieland, C. (2003) RATE group reveals exciting breakthroughs!, http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2003/0821rate.asp

Evidences for a Recent Creation: Part 2

Evidences for a Recent Creation: Part 2
TASC Fri, 05/11/2018 - 18:20

By author

David Plaisted PhD

Part I mentioned helium retention in zircons and young carbon 14 dates as evidences for a recent creation and for an acceleration of decay rates in the past. Such an increase in decay rates should have more of an effect on ages computed from isotopes with long half-lives than elements with short half-lives.

Also, alpha decay and beta decay use different processes. Therefore they may not be affected the same amount by an increase in the decay rate. So discordances between alpha and beta decay ages are an evidence of disturbed decay. To sum up, the following are the evidences one would expect from accelerated decay in the past: Carbon 14 ages should be much younger than other isotopic ages like K-Ar, U-Pb, et cetera. Alpha and beta ages should differ. And ages computed from elements with long half-lives should be more affected than ages computed from elements with short half-lives.

In fact, these evidences are reported by Austin et al. 1  This paper considers ages computed from "isochrons." An isochron is a method for computing the amount of daughter product Y that was initially present in a system. This is computed by taking several samples from the same area and measuring the amount of parent and daughter substance in each sample. Another isotope of Y, not produced by radioactive decay, is also measured. It is reasonable to assume that initially, all isotopes of Y were distributed in a similar manner in the samples. Thus one can estimate how much Y was present initially in each sample, at least up to a constant factor. Knowing the amount of daughter product that was initially present, one can compute the age of the samples. It is also possible using isochrons to detect whether the system has been disturbed since its origin. This means that isochrons are self-checking. There are two kinds of isochrons, whole rock isochrons and mineral isochrons. Whole rock isochrons use samples that are obtained by combining many different minerals in each sample.

Mineral isochrons use a different mineral for each sample. Whole rock isochrons can give wrong ages due to mixings. However, this is not a problem for mineral isochrons. Therefore mineral isochrons, though they are somewhat more expensive, are more reliable. Especially the agreement of a whole rock isochron and a mineral isochron gives excellent evidence that the date obtained is good and that the system has not been disturbed since it formed. Most isotopic dates are model ages computed simply by measuring the amount of parent and daughter substance in a sample, and only a small fraction of isotopic dates are obtained using isochrons. Even when isochrons are performed, only a small portion of them are mineral isochrons. Therefore, only a small fraction of isotopic dates have such reliability factors built in; the remainder are subject to various errors.

However, even when extra reliability factors are built into dating methods, the dates generally still do not agree with one another. Austin et al. 1  give an example where two different systems (that is, ages measured by two different decay processes) both have internal evidence for consistency in that whole rock and mineral isochrons agree for each system, but the dates obtained for the two systems disagree. This means that one computes two ages, A1 and A2 for the formation. Both A1 and A2 have excellent evidence for their correctness, based on the agreement of a whole rock isochron and a mineral isochron for A1, and likewise for A2. But the ages A1 and A2 disagree! The only reasonable explanation is that there was a change in the decay rate, and the decay measured for age A1 was increased by a different amount than the decay measured for the age A2. Furthermore, these data are consistent with alpha decay having been accelerated more than beta decay, and with the longer the present half-life the greater being the acceleration factor. Thus there is excellent evidence that decay rates were increased in the past. In fact, according to Austin, 2  such disagreements between "good" dates (dates computed using whole rock or mineral isochrons) are very common in the literature. Thus there is abundant evidence for a change in the decay rates.

Isotopic dates on earth obtained by different methods are typically discordant (in disagreement), but this is not true of the meteorites. There are certain meteorites that consistently give dates of about 4.5 billion years by many different methods. Therefore a different process must have been at work in these meteorites than on earth. Perhaps the 4.5 billion year age of these meteorites is a result of an old universe, or perhaps it is a result of changes in the physical constants very early in the creation, causing all decay processes to run faster by the same amount. Another factor is that the same processes leading to discordant dates on earth should have led to discordant dates on the meteorites, but this did not occur. One possible explanation for this is that radiation hitting the earth largely missed the meteorites, or else they were shielded from it in some way. Another possibility is that the radiation had its source in the sun. Objects farther from the sun would have received less radiation; an object ten times farther away than the earth would only have received one percent of the radiation. This would have resulted in a much smaller speedup in the decay rate and much smaller discordances in the ages obtained by different methods. A variation of isochrons called isochrones are used to measure the ages of stars. The ages obtained are typically in the billions of years. Perhaps these ages are also the result of an old universe or a change in the decay rates very early in the creation.

There is also evidence for a speedup in mutation rates in the past, based on genetic diversity. The genetic diversity of a species measures the probability that two randomly chosen individuals will disagree in a given base pair of their DNA. If a species is large, the genetic diversity will continue to increase over time, as mutations occur and different individuals in the species become more and more different in their DNA. Thus, assuming a large species, one can give an upper bound on the age of the species knowing the genetic diversity and the mutation rate. This either gives an upper bound on the time since the species originated, or else measures the time since the species population was very small. This method was applied to the human race, using mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondria are the "energy factories" of the cell and convert ADP to ATP, which is used by the cell to generate energy. Mitochondria have their own DNA and divide independently of the cell; each cell typically has many mitochondria. Also, mitochondria typically pass exclusively from mothers to their children, although there may be exceptions. By measuring the rate of mutation of mitochondrial DNA and computing the genetic diversity of the human race, one obtains an age of somewhat over 6000 years since the common maternal ancestor of the human race (mitochondrial Eve). 3  Biologists attempt to explain this young age by assuming that the rate of mutation of mitochondrial DNA was much slower in the past for some unexplained reason.

It is not only the human race whose age, measured this way, is young, but many other species as well, including wolves, coyotes, dogs, ducks, birds, E. coli, and Drosophila (fruit flies). Most of these ages are based on the assumption that mitochondria in other organisms mutate at about the same rate as they do in humans. Biologists are puzzled by this low genetic diversity in many organisms. This is spectacular evidence for a recent creation, but it has largely been ignored by creationists.

It is also possible to compute ages based on nuclear DNA diversity. Most of the DNA of an organism is in the nucleus, and this nuclear DNA mutates slower than mitochondrial DNA. The nuclear DNA diversity due to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) is given by Sachidanandam et al. 4  and is about 7.51 x 10-4; for the Y chromosome the diversity is about 1.5 x 10-4. Ages computed from the Y chromosome diversity (which would have been zero at the creation) tend to be somewhat larger than those computed from mitochondrial DNA diversity, and based on a Y chromosome mutation rate of 6 x 10-8 per generation of 20 years, are about 25,000 years. (There is reason to believe that the Y chromosome mutates about twice as fast as the other chromosomes. 5  The overall human mutation rate is estimated at about 3 x 10-8 per base pair per generation and may be higher.) Even this 25,000 year estimate is not too far from the Biblical time frame and supports the creationary view. However, this calculation is based on a mutation rate that is itself partially derived from evolutionary assumptions. As with radioactive decay, this longer age for nuclear DNA is evidence for a speedup in the mutation rate in the past. Because nuclear DNA mutates much slower, any increase in the mutation rate would have a much larger effect on ages computed from nuclear DNA diversity than on ages computed from mitochondrial DNA diversity.

Furthermore, if decay was faster in the past, it could have increased the mutation rate, because the level of radiation would have been higher, and radiation causes mutations. There is evidence that small doses of radiation can lead to unexpectedly high mutation rates in humans quoting Stone: "researchers led by geneticist Yuri Dubrova of the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, describe a compelling connection between radioactive fallout and elevated mutation rates in families living downwind of the Semipalatinsk nuclear facility... The findings bolster a controversial 1996 report by Dubrova and a different group of colleagues that linked germ line mutations to fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl explosion. That study, published in Nature, described double the usual mutation rate in the children of men living in a region of Belarus heavily contaminated with cesium 137. In each subject they examined eight minisatellite DNA regions that are prone to mutations.... Compared to control families in a nonirradiated part of Kazakhstan, individuals exposed to fallout had a roughly 80% increase in mutation rate, and their children showed an average rise of 50%." 6

So it all fits together: increased decay leads to higher levels of radiation and also increases mutation rates in humans! And there is some evidence that the rate of decay may vary. Slusher reports: "Anderson and Spangler maintain that their several observations of statistically significant deviations from the (random) expectation strongly suggests that an unreliability factor must be incorporated into age-dating calculations." 7  Such irregularities were observed for carbon 14, cobalt 60, and cesium 137. The source for this information is Anderson and Spangler. 8  Even Dalrymple recognizes such irregularities: "Under certain environmental conditions, the decay characteristics of 14C, 60Co, and 137Ce, all of which decay by beta emission, do deviate slightly from the ideal random distribution predicted by current theory... , but changes in the decay constants have not been detected." 9  Dalrymple cites the references Anderson 10  and Anderson and Spangler. 11  Though he claims no changes in the decay constants have been detected, he admits to puzzling irregularities in decay.

Editor's note: Part 3 of Dr. Plaisted's three-part article will be featured in the December issue of the TASC newsletter.

  • 1 a b Austin, S.A., Snelling, A.A., Hoesch, W.A. (2003) Radioisotopes in the Diabase Sill (Upper Precambrian) at Bass Rapids, Grand Canyon, Arizona: An Application and Test of the Isochron Dating Method. International Conference on Creationism, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA, August 4-9.
  • 2Austin, S.A. (2000) Mineral Isochron Method Applied as a Test of the Assumptions of Radiometric Dating. Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: A Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, Institute for Creation Research and Creation Research Society, Santee, CA, 95-121
  • 3Gibbons, Ann (1998) Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock. Science 279 (5347): 28-29
  • 4Sachidanandam, R., Weissman, D., Schmidt, S.C., Kakol, J.M., Stein, L.D., Marth, G., Sherry, S., Mullikin, J.C., et al. (2001) International SNP Map Working Group. A map of human genome sequence variation containing 1.42 million single nucleotide polymorphisms. Nature 409: 928-933
  • 5Crow, J. (1997) The high spontaneous mutation rate: Is it a health risk? PNAS 94: 8380-8386
  • 6Stone, R. (2002) DNA Mutations Linked to Soviet Bomb Tests. Science 295: 946
  • 7Slusher, H.S. (1981) Critique of Radiometric Dating. Technical Monograph 2 (2nd ed.), Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, 46
  • 8Anderson, J.L., Spangler, G.W. (1974) Radiometric Dating: Is the 'Decay Constant' Constant? Pensee, 31
  • 9Dalrymple, G. Brent. (1984) How Old is the Earth?: A Reply to 'Scientific' Creationism. Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Pacific Division, AAAS 1 (Part 3), American Association for the Advancement of Science 66-131.
  • 10Anderson, J. L. (1972) Non-Poisson distributions observed during counting of certain carbon-14-labeled organic (sub) monolayers. Phys Chem J 76: 3603-3612
  • 11Anderson, J.L., Spangler, G.W., (1973) Serial statistics: Is radioactive decay random? Phys Chem J 77: 3114-3121

Evidences for a Recent Creation: Part 3

Evidences for a Recent Creation: Part 3
TASC Tue, 05/15/2018 - 22:38

By author

David Plaisted PhD

Parts I and II mentioned young carbon 14 dates as evidence that very old isotopic dates correspond to true ages in the thousands of years. Also, helium retention in zircons and the pattern of discordances in isotopic dates suggest an increase of decay rates in the past. There is also evidence that human mutation rates were faster in the past, which is consistent with a higher level of radiation. Furthermore, the genetic diversity of humans and other organisms suggests an origin a few thousand years ago. Several references by Anderson and Spangler suggest that decay rates can vary.

What could have sped up decay rates? Some creationists including Chaffin, 1 Setterfield 2 and Norman 2  postulate a change in the basic physical constants at the time of the creation and during the flood, resulting in an accelerated burst of decay very early in the creation and also during the flood. Early in the creation the constants including the speed of light may indeed have been different, and even secular scientists have suggested this. However, a change in the constants at the time of the flood would have had many consequences, and may have made the basic biology of life impossible. But there is another possible mechanism.

The following comment by Wanser, 3 a creationist physicist, is significant:

"Actually, it turns out that when you get the nucleus "excited", decay is going to be much quicker, making things look vastly "older". People have been talking recently about magnetic stars giving off big bursts of gamma rays; there are all sorts of ways that radiometric "clocks" could have been reset catastrophically, during the Flood, for example."

In fact, when the nucleus gets excited, it takes time for it to settle down. This means that rates of decay may have been faster for some time after the Flood. Another mechanism for an increase in the decay rate is presented in Science by Stone. 4  This article shows how interactions with elementary particles can cause decay rates to increase. One such particle is the neutrino. A recent result implies that neutrinos interact with matter much more readily than previously thought: "The results also show that another property of neutrinos, related to how they interact with matter, known as the mixing angle, must be large, rather than small, contrary to what physicists believed until quite recently." 5  So radiation, possibly gamma radiation or possibly neutrinos, could have sped up decay rates.

But where would this radiation have come from? One possibility is a supernova. Many supernovae are known. The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion that was seen on Earth in 1054 AD. It is 6000 light years from Earth. At the center of the bright nebula is a rapidly spinning neutron star, or pulsar that emits pulses of radiation 30 times a second. In X-ray pictures taken of the Crab Nebula, one can see a ring structure and beams of radiation coming out from the poles. Another supernova, SN 1987A, appeared on February 23, 1987. Supernovae typically leave behind rapidly spinning neutron stars, or pulsars. And there is evidence that supernovae occurred near the earth in the past.

An article in the September 2003 issue of New Scientist states,

"A devastating burst of gamma rays may have caused one of Earth's worst mass extinctions, 443 million years ago. A team of astrophysicists and palaeontologists says the pattern of trilobite extinctions at that time resembles the expected effects of a nearby gamma-ray burst (GRB). GRBs are the most powerful explosions known. As giant stars collapse into black holes at the end of their lives, they fire incredibly intense pulses of gamma rays from their poles that can be detected even from across the universe for 10 seconds or so....Now Melott believes he has palaeontological evidence that this actually happened at the end of the Ordovician period 443 million years ago, causing one of the five largest extinctions of the past 500 million years. The researchers found that species of trilobite that spent some of their lives in the plankton layer near the ocean surface were much harder hit than deep-water dwellers, which tended to stay put within quite restricted areas. Melott says this unusual pattern could be explained by a GRB, which would probably devastate creatures living on land and near the ocean surface, but leave deep-sea creatures relatively unharmed." 6

Another article in the January 2002 New Scientist gives additional evidence for a recent supernova near the earth. 7  The researchers found atoms of a very rare isotope of iron, 60Fe, in cores taken from the ocean floor. 60Fe is rare in the solar system because it has a half-life of 1.5 million years. The group suggested that the iron arrived on Earth as fallout from a nearby supernova about two million years ago. This is about the time that fossil records indicate that many marine molluscs went extinct. Donald Clayton, an astronomer at Clemson University, says the story appears consistent: "The amount of 60Fe found in deposits is about what you might expect from a supernova going off about 100 light-years away." Clayton says 60Fe would be blasted towards Earth when high energy neutrons from the supernova core smack into iron atoms in its outer shell.

An additional evidence is given in the May 2002 New Scientist8  

"A student at Harvard University has stumbled across the terrifying spectacle of a star in our galactic backyard that is on the brink of exploding in a supernova. It is so close that if it were to blow up before moving away from us, it could wipe out life on Earth. We are only 150 light years away from HR 8210 at present - well short of the 160 to 200 light years thought to be the minimum safe distance from a supernova. If it did let fly, the high-energy electromagnetic radiation and cosmic rays it released would destroy Earth's ozone layer within minutes, giving life little chance of survival. "The fact that there's such a system so close to us suggests maybe these objects are not so rare," says Latham."

The fact that supernovae are common near the earth makes it more likely that one occurred in the past. Of course, the evidence for supernovae in the past is valid even if the assumption that they occurred hundreds of million years ago is in error.

So there is reason to believe that a supernova occurred near the earth, and we have reason to believe that radiation from a supernova would increase decay rates. But which supernova might have been responsible for the increase in decay rates?

The Gum Nebula is a huge constellation in the Southern hemisphere, about 1000 light years away, and extends over at least 40 degrees of the sky. The Gum Nebula is thought to be the remnant of one or more ancient supernovae. One pulsar in this region, perhaps not associated with the Gum Nebula, is the Vela Pulsar, which is about 800 light years away and estimated to be about 11,000 years old. However, if the dating of pulsars is wrong, as has recently been suggested, 9 then the Vela Pulsar could be much younger, and may have arisen only 4,500 years ago, or about the time of the Flood. The Vela supernova remnant is now about 230 light years across and covers over 100 times the sky area of the full moon. The Vela pulsar is the brightest gamma-ray source in the sky above 100 MeV. It's a "smoking gun" and a logical choice for the supernova that increased decay rates in the past. Jueneman was the first to suggest a link between this pulsar and an acceleration of decay. 10  A recent X-ray picture of the Vela pulsar shows the typical ring structure with a beam of radiation exiting from a pole.

Another evidence of a recent creation is comets. Comets are essentially frozen mud. That is, they are believed to be composed of dust combined with water, ammonia, methane, or other frozen liquids. When a comet is heated by the sun some of the ice vaporizes and dust escapes. This is what makes comets visible to us. Each time a comet orbits close to the sun, it loses 5 to 10% of its material. Astronomers have even seen them break up into pieces as they go around the sun. At this rate they couldn't last more than 100,000 years. Some of the shortorbit comets couldn't last more than 10,000 years old. If so, how could there be any comets left after 5 billion years? The Kuiper belt is the supposed origin of the short period comets. The Oort cloud is also believed to originate comets. But the Kuiper belt was recently found to have only 4 percent of the necessary objects! 11  Comets must have been recently produced, then, by some kind of a catastrophe. Perhaps a planet between Mars and Jupiter exploded when the decay rate increased, thereby generating comets, producing the asteroid belt, and also explaining many asteroid impacts on the earth at the time of the flood.

Yet another evidence for an increase in the decay rate in the past is the correlation between surface heat flow and the radioactivity of surface rocks. 12  Geologists have found a puzzling correlation between heat flow out of the ground, and the presence of radioactive elements near the surface. This should not be so if decay has proceeded slowly for millions of years, because the heat would have long since dissipated. A better explanation is that the pulse of heat from an interval of accelerated decay in the past has not entirely dissipated. It is also possible that in the "wild," decay is taking place faster than we realize, generating extra heat.

Finally, Robert Gentry claims to have found "squashed" polonium haloes as well as embryonic uranium radiohaloes in coal deposits from many geological layers claimed to be hundreds of millions of years old. The ages given for several adjacent geological periods using squashed Polonium haloes are nearly identical. 13  

Many evidences have already been presented by creationists that indicate something is wrong with the long ages of radiometric dating on earth. These include a rate of erosion that is too high for the assumed age of the continents, too much salt entering the ocean, too little sediment on the ocean floor, many evidences of catastrophe in the geological column, too little erosion in many places in the geological column, evidence of sudden burial of fossils in large numbers, turbidities in the geological column, missing periods in places in the geological column, the lack of uniform unconformities, polystrate fossils, overthrusts, and others. Another evidence that appeared in a recent issue of Science is the survival of remnants of meteoritic fragments for (supposedly) 251 million years. 14  These remnants would long since have been destroyed by chemical reactions in such a long time period, scientists say. "Meteoriticists and impact geologists are stunned that tiny, fresh-looking, unaltered fragments of a meteorite should have survived burial for 251 million years." Though there is disagreement about the date of origin of these fragments, one possibility is that accepted dates of 251 million years correspond to actual dates of a few thousand years.

In addition to these evidences, there are now many new evidences of increased decay rates in the past that indicate that isotopic dates of hundreds of millions of years were produced in thousands or tens of thousands of years, namely, helium retention in zircons, young Carbon 14 dates, and disagreements between well justified isotopic dates. In addition, there is evidence of an acceleration of the mutation rate in the past, which would have been the result of increased decay. There is also evidence of a nearby supernova in the past, and evidence that the radiation from such a supernova would have increased the decay rate. Finally, there is the lack of expected objects in the Kuiper belt, and the correlation between surface heat flow and the radioactivity of surface rocks. And of course there is the mitochondrial DNA mutation evidence indicating that man and many other species had a very recent origin. Not only do all these evidences fit together, but several of them seem impossible to explain in the long ages geological framework. This justifies a repetition of the question posed at the beginning of this article [Part1]: How much evidence is necessary before a paradigm shift occurs? How much evidence is needed before geologists will seriously consider the possibility that the geological column was laid down in thousands, rather than millions of years? When will those who hold this view be regarded with respect by the scientific establishment rather than being considered as religious fanatics? Only time will tell.

  • 1Chaffin, E.F. (2000) Theoretical Mechanisms of Accelerated Radioactive Decay. Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: A Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, ICR and CRS, Santee, CA 305-331
  • 2 a b Setterfield, B. Norman, T. (1987) The Atomic Constants, Light, and Time. SRI International. Menlo Park, California
  • 3Wanser, K. (1999) Creation Ex Nihilo 21(4): 40
  • 4Seife, C. (2000) Furtive Glances Trigger Radioactive Decay. Science 288:1564
  • 5Zimmer, C. (2002) Darwin's Avian Muses Continue to Evolve. Science 296: 633
  • 6Hecht, J. (2003) Gamma rays may have devastated life on Earth, New Scientist
  • 7Samuel, E. (2002) Supernova "smoking gun" linked to mass extinctions. New Scientist
  • 8Samuel, E. (2002) Supernova poised to go off near Earth. New Scientist
  • 9(2001) Redating a Star. Science 291( 5503): 429
  • 10Jueneman, F.B. (1972) Industrial Research Sept: 15
  • 11Schilling, Govert (2003) Comet 'Factory' Found to Have Too Little Inventory. Science 301:1304
  • 12(2000) Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: A Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, ICR and CRS, Santee, CA, 80
  • 13Gentry, R. V. et al. (1976) Radiohalos in coalified wood: new evidence relating to time of uranium introduction and coalification. Science 194: 315-318
  • 14Kerr, R. (2003 ) Has an impact done it again? Science 302:1314-1316

2006

2006 TASC Sat, 03/16/2019 - 22:28

Polonium Radiohalos: Competing Interpretations of the Data Among Creationists

Polonium Radiohalos: Competing Interpretations of the Data Among Creationists
TASC Tue, 05/15/2018 - 22:46

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

Young earth creation scientists who agree on what the bible teaches about creation may still disagree on the interpretation of natural phenomena. Such is the case with creation scientists Robert Gentry 1  and Andrew Snelling 2  concerning polonium radiohalos. 3

Radiohalos are areas of discoloration found in rocks containing radioactive elements that undergo alpha decay. Alpha decay occurs when a radioactive element emits an energetic alpha particle. An alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons; it's the nucleus of a helium atom. Alpha particles are ejected with an energy characteristic of the parent radioactive element. An ejected alpha particle travels away from the parent atom until its kinetic energy is gone. Once at rest, the alpha particle extracts electrons from the surrounding rock thereby discoloring the rock and becoming a helium atom. The alpha particles are emitted randomly in all directions but stop at the same distance from the parent (Figure 1). After enough alpha decays have occurred, a spherical shell of discoloration results. Cross sectional specimens of these discolored areas can be studied with an optical microscope.

Alpha Decay
Figure 1

The uranium 238 isotope decays ultimately into lead through 14 intermediate elements, 8 of which involve alpha decay (Figure 2). Each of the intermediate alpha emitting elements can form radiohalos, each with its own unique size.


Figure 2

In theory, hydrothermal fluids (hot water) at high temperature transport uranium and its various daughter products through rock along mineral cleavage planes and conduits. Occasionally during transport, an element may react with material in the rock and become immobilized. As the transport continues, additional atoms of the same element accumulate at the same location. Eventually enough atoms of a given element (about 108 alpha decays are required to see a halo 4 ) are present at the location to facilitate the eventual formation of a radiohalo. Radiohalos will not persist above 150° C 5  and hydrothermal transport ceases below 50° C. Hence radiohalos can only form when the rock is between 50-150° C. The rock is in this temperature range for only a few weeks since moving water can carry away heat efficiently. As the accumulated element decays, the radiohalo forms and the decay products accumulate. All alpha emitting decay products will also eventually form radiohalos, each with the same center. The result is a series of concentric shells of discoloration.

Several techniques have been developed to examine radiohalos. Alpha decay during transport results in alpha recoil tracks which can be seen under a microscope after treatment of a cross sectional rock specimen with acid. Even one recoil track can be detected. Uranium undergoes nuclear fission as well as alpha decay. Fission tracks can be detected by the same techniques as alpha recoil tracks. If uranium moves through rock, fossil fission tacks would reveal the path of movement. Mass spectrometric techniques allow for analysis of centers of radiohalos. Hence the decay products of the radioactive elements responsible for the halo can be determined. Photographic emulsions and neutron bombardment have been used to determine if the center of radiohalos still contain any radioactivity.

There are three isotopes of polonium (Po) in the decay chain of uranium238. These are Po218, Po214, and Po210, with half lives of 3 minutes, 164 microseconds, and 138 days, respectively. The amazing fact is that there are radiohalos in Precambrian granite ("basement" rocks of the earth's crust) that are attributable exclusively to these polonium isotopes without evidence of radiohalos from precursor elements, that is, the polonium appeared to be parentless or orphan. Many of the polonium radiohalos are isolated from any nearby uranium radiohalos which could theoretically be sources of the polonium or its precursors. In addition, no evidence of alpha recoil tracks, uranium fission tracks, or conduits leading up to these polonium radiohalos are observed. The precursor of polonium 218 is the alpha emitter radon 222, a gas with a half-life of 3.8 days. If radon had been the precursor of the polonium, there should have been evidence of its alpha recoil tracks, but none was found. The type of lead expected from polonium alone was detected ruling out the presence of uranium at the radiocenters. No evidence of extant radioactivity was found; the radioactivity responsible for the radiohalos was now extinct, thereby adding additional evidence that the halos were not derived from uranium. The challenge is how to explain how these radiohalos, by all evidence formed exclusively from polonium, came to be. Saying that they came from transport of uranium decay products has the difficulty of explaining why there are no alpha recoil or fissions tracks in the vicinity of the halos. How could such short lived elements have been transported through rock without leaving evidence of the transport? Temperatures which would facilitate transport yet allow the halos to persist are short lived due to rapid cooling. Moreover, parentless polonium radiohalos were found in fluorite, a mineral lacking cleavage plains and conduits making the transport hypothesis extremely unlikely. The possibility that the polonium might have come from an as yet unknown decay chain (not uranium) was also excluded experimentally and theoretically. The data suggested rapid (in minutes) cooling and crystallization of the granites containing the polonium radiohalos. If they had cooled slowly, the heat would have erased the halos. Hence Gentry concluded that the only explanation for the parentless polonium radiohalos was sudden creation of the rocks ad polonium by God. By this reasoning, since the polonium was not ultimately derived from uranium but from God's creative power in an instant, the time from nucleosynthesis6  to the formation of the earth's crust collapsed from billions of years to at most a few minutes. The polonium radiohalos were seen as fingerprints of God's creative work.

Snelling, familiar with Gentry's work and conclusions, nevertheless conducted field research to determine if there was any evidence for a natural mechanism for the formation of parentless polonium radiohalos. Several metamorphic rock formations containing parentless polonium radiohalos were found. Snelling concluded that the radiohalos in these formations had been derived from uranium and not fiat creation, reasoning metamorphic rock was formed during the Flood and not during creation week. Gentry has long held that polonium halos found in metamorphic rock formations would probably be from rock created during creation week which was relocated but otherwise unaltered. In light of the evidence discovered by RATE (Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth) project for episodes of accelerated radioactive decay in the past (e.g. retention of helium in zircons), Snelling speculates that polonium radiohalos found in metamorphic rock formed during the Flood and an episode of accelerated decay. The accelerated nuclear decay is suggested by the maturity of associated uranium radiohalos (evidence for halos from several decay products in the decay chain) and the number of uranium fission tracks, both consistent with large amounts of radioactive decay. Presumably, accelerated nuclear decay would have produced a rich source of polonium and its precursors. Geochemical changes in the rock often releases water as a by-product. This hot water would then act as a hydrothermal fluid transporting polonium and its precursors through cleavage planes and conduits to sites where polonium could accumulate and eventually form parentless radiohalos. While Snelling says most polonium radiohalos are usually associated with nearby uranium, Gentry has observed polonium halos well removed from nearby uranium and apparently isolated from any obvious cleavage planes, crystal defects, or conduits. In addition, Snelling did not look for alpha recoil tracks, evidence that would have strongly supported his case. Gentry has long said if anyone would ever synthesize a hand sized piece of granite containing just one polonium 218 radiohalo, he would consider his explanation of an instantaneous formation of the earth's crust as falsified. Interestingly, when granite is melted and allowed to cool, it forms rhyolite, a rock with a very different texture and mineral composition.

It may be possible that there are two mechanisms for formation of parentless polonium radiohalos, one involving God's direct intervention at creation of the earth's crust, and the other involving some transport mechanism. Whatever subsequent research reveals, these fine Christian men and scientists have shown their dedication to God and His Word while doing excellent scientific research. They show how Christians can differ over scientific theories while remaining true to God's Word.

  • 1Robert Gentry is a recognized expert on radiohalos. He wrote a book on the subject entitled Creation's Tiny Mystery (Earth Science Associates, 1992). The figures in the article are from his book and are used by permission. The entire book is available online at http://www.halos.com/book/index.htm.
  • 2Andrew Snelling is a geologist who studied polonium radiohalos as part of the recent RATE (Radioisotopes and The Age of the Earth) initiative. Results of his work may be found in
    (a) https://www.icr.org/pdf/research/ICCRADIOHALOS-AASandMA.pdf;
    (b) DeYoung, Don Thousands Not Billions (Master Books, 2005), Chapter 5;
    (c) Snelling, Andrew Impact 386 (August 2005) – on the web at https://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=2467.
  • 3For an excellent review of radiohalos in general, see Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (ICR, CRS, 2000), Chapter 8 by Snelling.
  • 4Reference 1, Appendix, Gentry 1968.
  • 5Reference 2b, p. 86.
  • 6Nucleosynthesis is the process of element formation by nuclear fusion taking place in stars. Conventional geology and astronomy say that all the elements of the earth were made this way over billions of years of stellar evolution through multiple generations of stars.

Extra-terrestrials and Unidentified Flying Objects: What Relation to Origins?

Extra-terrestrials and Unidentified Flying Objects: What Relation to Origins?
TASC Tue, 05/15/2018 - 22:54

By author

Phil Johnson MCE

Evolutionary thinking has changed the way people have viewed not just the world and human origins but also the way they view the cosmos and everything that possibly exists within its confines.

Evolution being the "scientific" foundation accepted in today's world has logically led to the acceptance of life on other planets simply because if it happened here by chance, then it could happen many other places in the universe. Millions of dollars are spent every year in the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project to prove their existence, yet no hard evidence exists of life on other planets or that any planets actually exist outside of our solar system.

Evolution along with the acceptance of life on other planets based on eastern mysticism has created a New Age religion to fill the spiritual void God created in man. This New Age religious theme suggests, "god is in you and everything else, also." This god is not compassionate, loving, caring or anything like the God of the Bible. He is just some form of higher energy or existence. The increasing popularity of science fiction and increased sightings of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) and alleged visitations seem to go together in a kind of symbiotic relationship. Many people think studying UFOs will reveal explanations for the origin of life and that mankind will benefit from the technological abilities of supposedly superior alien races. The UFO phenomenon seems to reflect the underlying desire in man for knowing the meaning of life and for bettering his existence. This observation testifies to the universal belief that there is more to life than our meager, pleasure seeking, and short-term existence on this planet. There is a spiritual hunger within every human being and every religion has tried to explain the mystery of, and meaning of, man's existence. Maybe the UFO New Age religion is set to become the world's fastest growing and most unifying religion.

In 1960, NASA commissioned a report to determine the effect on society if they would discover and release information proving the existence of extraterrestrials, which drew a terrifying conclusion. This report indicated, "it could send sweeping changes or even the downfall of civilization." Does this mean that the government really is hiding the truth?

There is a great conspiracy that all the little conspiracies are just symptoms and sometimes smokescreens of. The greatest conspiracy in the universe is the conspiracy of Satan to attempt to overthrow and usurp the God of Creation. "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of  God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:13- 14 KJV) This conflict or conspiracy affects every aspect our lives.

Knowing that there is a much greater conspiracy than a possible cover-up of aliens by the governments of the world, let us consider the energy requirements for aliens to travel to Earth. The formula would be:

                                    Kinetic Energy = 0.5 mv2

where m=mass and v=velocity.

To propel an object that weighs one pound to a velocity 50% the speed of light would require an energy source equal to the energy of 98 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. Similar calculations for greater masses just show how improbable visitations from other star systems would be. 1

The ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis) is the belief that extraterrestrials have been regularly visiting our planet. Millions of people claim to have seen UFOs or been contacted by aliens. Some even claim to have been taken aboard alien spacecraft and have detailed descriptions of machinery. Yet we have never recovered a flying saucer or any undisputed fragments of one. Lack of evidence does not prove or disprove UFOs exist or what they really are.

To look at the evidence fairly and objectively, it is essential to first understand the difference between claims that are scientifically testable and those that are not (whether true or otherwise) and fall into the realm of beliefs held by faith. Pre-existing beliefs are always involved when people consider evidence because the "facts" are always interpreted within an existing worldview or framework of belief. At the very core of someone's belief about extraterrestrials is the issue of origins, since a person will frequently base his ideas about the origin of alien life on his beliefs about how life arose on Earth.

Before we continue our investigation into UFOs, we need to know and understand the limits of science. We can divide science procedure into two types: operational or process science and historical or origins science. Operational or process science is science based on the scientific procedure that is verified by observation - measurement over and over again. Historical or origin science is severely limited because we cannot experiment on, or test directly, past events. The scientist is forced to make interpretations of "data" based on assumptions. Only by understanding the limits of operational science and being open to the truth can we properly investigate the evidence for life on other planets.

In August of 1996 the headlines screamed that there was "Life on Mars." Technically known as ALH84001, this potato-sized rock supposedly made its way to earth after being ejected from the surface of Mars by an asteroid or comet impact, or even by a volcanic eruption possibly. It actually was discovered in 1984 and was reported to have arrived on earth 11,000-13,000 years ago, and many scientists maintained that it contained fossilized microbial life, or bacteria, from Mars. Jonathan Sarfati, a physical chemist, has commented, "The rock contains a mineral called magnetite, also called lodestone (which was used in the first compasses), as well as another mineral similar to 'fool's gold'. These minerals can be formed by living organisms or by processes having nothing to do with life." 2  The truth is other rocks have the same minerals that scientists claim support the idea that this rock shows life's existence from Mars and they have a known earthly origin. ALH84001 also contained soot or diesel exhaust, which definitely has an earthly biological origin. An interesting question arises about the timing of such revelation about a rock discovered in 1984 - was the fact that congress was about to cut NASA's funding part of the reason for such fanfare?

Reports of UFO sightings early in the 20th century yielded to alleged contacts and then abductions and messages from "space brothers", with one claiming his mission was "to help mankind return to the Lord." Many religious UFO believers interpret heaven to be another planet, galaxy, or extraterrestrial home where technology may have overcome death and sickness.

Project Blue Book, a report by the US Air Force listed 12,618 UFO reports, of which 701 have remained unidentified and unexplained. That is about five percent of all sightings in the report. It is also claimed that on some sightings there has been some collateral physical evidence such as scorch marks, depressions on the ground, and burnt or damaged plants that take longer to recover than expected. 3

The first modern sightings documented are the "airship waves" of 1886 and 1887 in the United States. Although traveling slowly by the standards of modern reports, these UFOs were perceived as being able to travel quite fast, ascend, and change directions very rapidly.

In the second half of the 1990s, a well-witnessed wave of sightings occurred over Israel, comprising the full gamut of UFO experiences, including electrical outages, cattle mutilations, crop circles, and even abductions. Some regard Israel as a UFO hotspot.

For all the attempts of skeptics to debunk sightings, and despite the lack of "hard" scientific evidence, all over the earth the UFO phenomenon continues to escalate. This is a bigger problem than the average person knows. It is true that the majority of sightings are the result of mistaken identity, and some are proven to be conscious lies or imaginary events. Despite the many explanations, too many ordinary people with far more to lose than to gain by telling fanciful stories go to their graves never recanting from their accounts of the events. There is no question that something quite real, mysterious, and very serious is going on.

Claims of alien intervention in human affairs have escalated to a new level in recent years. Today more and more people claim to have been abducted by aliens, and research polls suggest that as many as four million Americans from all walks of life claim to have been kidnapped against their will, subjected to medical and examination procedures aboard alien spacecraft, and exposed to bizarre sexual encounters. This phenomenon is occurring all over the world, and if true, it is contrary to the benign and friendly contacts claimed in previous years. Despite the horrible treatment given to those abducted, the overall message is still the same. The aliens claim they are here to help us, prophesying about the future events of the earth and mankind's fate in general.

Abductions are becoming so commonplace that UFO researchers have devised the Classic Abduction Syndrome list. First there is capture, usually at night. Second there is examination, normally aboard the space ship. Third there is a conference where the aliens teach (or propagandize) and tell the person abducted that he has a mission to carry out. Fourth on the list is that on rare occasions the aliens give their victim a tour of the ship. Fifth, and even more rarely, the aliens take them to another environment or sometimes to another planet. Sixth on the list is the person abducted may have a religious experience or claim to meet a divine being. Seventh on the list is that the person abducted is returned and told to forget the experiences. The eighth and final part is the aftermath. Even though a victim may have no recollection of what happened, the victim may suffer from significant psychological and physical effects for weeks up to years. The most telling effect is to change a person's outlook or worldview and to generate a religious transformation. It has been suggested that instigating a belief change could be the reason for the abduction in the first place. It has been overwhelmingly shown that the majority of people after being abducted subsequently develop an interest, and openly participate, in New Age/occult or Eastern-type mystical religions.

Impartial research has shown that those claiming to being abducted by aliens have, in the past, dabbled in what is commonly known as the occult, even if it was on a relatively minor basis. People do not seem to be aware of the potential of unlocking this doorway to the supernatural when they dabble in New Age practices. Nonetheless, their involvement in the occult subsequently increases, and they become more prone to New Age beliefs and practices. Even those who were New Age before their abduction escalate even deeper into the occult. One reason could be the "Damascus Road" experience that comes upon them by the aliens saying "follow me" and claiming they have a mission for the person abducted. This is a counterfeit experience imitating what Paul had on the Damascus road where he came into contact with a supernatural being, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Compare the spiritual nature of UFO sightings with the character of alien abductions, and surely we have to begin to realize that these entities are not real physical creatures from other planets, but from another dimension. Unfortunately most people have embraced a humanist-based view of the world because of their belief in evolution, which they claim created both them and the aliens. This opens them up to spiritual deception, allowing them to be blinded to the claims of the Bible, which declares God to be the Creator. The facts seem to indicate that UFOs are in reality intent on discrediting the only one that can really save this planet, the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what some created creature from another planet or dimension may say, Jesus is Lord, and any spirit or being who does not reinforce this truth is not of God.

Galapagos Islands: Did Darwin Really See Evolution in Action There?

Galapagos Islands: Did Darwin Really See Evolution in Action There?
TASC Tue, 05/15/2018 - 23:03

By author

Mark Stephens MCS

The Galapagos archipelago (a chain of many islands) is made up of thirteen major islands located on the Equator about 600 miles west into the Pacific Ocean from the coast of Ecuador, South America. The Galapagos Islands are made up of thirteen major islands, six smaller islets, and fifty still smaller islets and rocky formations. 1

In 1835, Charles Darwin stepped off his voyage ship the HMS Beagle onto the Galapagos Islands and after observing a variety of birds known today as finches and collecting specimens of them declared, "...Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends." 2

This "fancying" led 24 years later in 1859 to his very influential book on origins, The Origin of Species, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. 3

Today, naturalistic evolutionists follow Darwin's inspiration in their observation and interpretation of plants and animals of the Galapagos Islands with such statements as, "The Galapagos archipelago has been called the 'showcase of evolution' and truly, for the biologist, the islands are a living laboratory for the study of evolution...Let us put it this way: the Galapagos have a strong magnetic aura. Somehow, the islands always find a way to be in the limelight. The media love it, every happening, every scandal, every disaster is a good excuse to analyze, criticize, condemn; in short, to write and talk about the islands. Everybody complains and the result: tourism is booming. Imagine: 71,567 visitors discovered the archipelago in the year 2000, an all time record!" 4

In 2003, Mark Stephens stepped off an airplane unto the Galapagos Islands and declared, "I am going to see first hand if I can see what Darwin saw or confirm that all this is just naturalistic evolutionary theory, not 'evolution in action'!" Could it be that all this evolutionary thinking is still "fancying, speculating, conjecturing" theory about origin of living things? Would it make sense that what I, as a creation scientist, saw there was that God created in the beginning the earth, and created on it His plants and animals, and programmed tremendous potential into his founder kinds for tremendous variety to be expressed from the individual genome of plant and animal kinds so marvelously invented by Him, our Creator? Remember that Darwin was not yet aware of Gregor Mendel's work on genetics that was being conducted about that time and that could explain the variety Darwin saw expressed in the finches' beaks as well as the variety and ability for adaptation of the other plant and animal kinds of the Galapagos Islands as they spread onto the islands from other areas of the world. Nor was Darwin aware of the millions of base pairs in a genome of a living kind that we are aware of that helps us understand the tremendous variety that can be elicited from the genetic content of a genome but yet hold to the basic features that keep that group of living individuals unique.

In visiting the Galapagos Islands, I could use my scientific training as a science teacher in biology, chemistry, and geology to observe and draw some conclusions too. That's really what all of us scientists do, regardless of whether we are persons of faith in God as our Creator or persons of faith in infinitesimal chance espoused by naturalistic evolution that we all came from a common cell that came to life by accident hundreds of millions of years ago. By the way, the age theory of millions and billions of years of age of the earth has to have been developed by the evolutionists for any probability for these improbable events to occur mathematically by chance. Darwin's observations and interpretations of the Galapagos Islands were influenced by the continuing development of the naturalistic evolutionary philosophy of his day as they continue today about these islands. We all use our scientific training but come up with different interpretations espousing scientific evidences to support our claims about what we observe in nature. We are influenced by what philosophy or belief system we have. I contend that naturalistic evolution is a philosophical belief or faith, just as belief in a creator of this world is a faith. Will it be omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God our Creator, or fallible, imperfect man that we follow? Romans 1:20 of the Bible (KJV) gives us insight into our faith in our Creator, God, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:21 tells us of the rejection by some men of God our Creator, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

Let us entertain some observations about the Galapagos Islands based on my and my wife's trip to those islands in May of 2003 with some 20 other visitors and three creation scientists from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) from Santee, California. These three tour leaders were: 1) Kenneth B. Cumming, Ph.D., Harvard University, Dean of ICR Graduate School, and Chairman of the Department of Biology, ICR, Santee, California; 2) Jan Mercer, Ph.D., Cambridge Graduate School, Brisbane, Australia, Emeritas Associate Professor of Biology, Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, Texas; and 3) Roger W. Sanders, Ph.D., University of Texas, Research Botanist, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Forth Worth, Texas. First, as we toured several of the islands that looked like what you would see in some of the dinosaur movies and likely have been used for such, there were many pleasurable observations we saw of tremendous variety and beauty from the thousands of exotic animals (some of which were land and marine iguanas, snakes, lava lizards, giant turtles, sea lions, whales; birds, including blue-footed boobies, flightless comorants, penguins, albatrosses, pelicans, herons, the great frigate birds, mocking birds, hawks and of course thousands of finches; many varieties of fishes and crabs while we were snorkeling, and sharks, later while we were out of the water; abundant and beautiful plant life including sea corals and algae, mangroves, cacti, banana trees, coffee trees, and many other trees and grasses. Note that although some exoticness is due to variety capable of being expressed by their genomes, the animal and plant life on these islands is similar to the world in general. If some of these had evolved into other radically different kinds of life with the so-called 'evolution in action' that is supposed to have been going on more pronounced there, then why do we have the basic kinds that they represent still there as we do in other parts of the world?

We observed the landscape as we toured around the islands on our cruise ship and noted semi-arid volcanic islands with much lava rock and sandy, rocky, and desert-like soils with sparse to abundant vegetation as you got onto islands with more topsoil. Now I bet you want to go see for yourselves these beautiful Galapagos Islands that I believe were part of the earth that God created. Yes, the earth, including the Galapagos Island area, was changed and affected by catastrophic events after the Fall of Genesis 3 and, after, and as a result of the worldwide Flood of Genesis 6 some 4.5 thousand years ago whereby much volcanic activity occurred and continues to occur to build up and change the landscape of these islands in years to hundreds to thousands of years not millions of years that evolutionists build into their equation. (You may wish to access our TASC web site: www.tasc-creationscience.org to refer to the two-part article I wrote for the August and September, 2004, TASC newsletters titled, "Could the Ice Age Have Been Caused by the Genesis Flood?" to help you get a better understanding of landscape and meteorological effects of this very catastrophic event recorded in the Bible.) Actually, there have been 13 volcanic eruptions in the Galapagos Islands in the last 100 years, having significant impact on the islands in short periods of time of years not millions of years 5  (e.g., just as the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 had significant impact on Washington state in days). The young guides provided to us on our cruise ship and trained in naturalistic evolution would say quite comically sounding to me as they commented on the geological evolution of volcanic activity "so many millions of years ago, more or less." Our tour guides from the Institute of Creation Research listed above would discuss with us along the tours or at night sessions the creation science that supports the Genesis account of creation and a young earth to balance the naturalistic evolutionary view that the cruise guides were giving. They provided us a Galapagos Islands Tour Manual (see reference 1) from which I have been and will reference in this article. We actually had some friendly, educational conversations with the cruise guides about this topic of creation or evolution during our tour.

Now let us use the finches sometimes referred to as "Darwin's finches" because of their association with evolution in action of the animal life on the Galapagos to assess their naturalistic evolutionary origin or how they represent a created kind with simply programmed-in variety for adaptation and change as they were and still are the "finch" kind.

The theory of evolution brought fame to Darwin's finches. The dark-colored birds are about the size of a sparrow and are distributed on all the Galapagos Islands. They are often very noisy birds and have no fear of man. The naturalistic evolutionist and author of the popular book, The Galapagos Islands, comments in his book, "In the Galapagos, 13 species of finches (in fact 14, counting the one on Cocos Island) have evolved from one original species, which migrated from Costa Rica. Melonospiza richardsoni, on St. Lucia Island in the West Indies, is the nearest species." 6  I might note that this does not prove the naturalistic evolution of finches but rather is best explained by the creation science view which points to the variety that would be expressed from the genome of the finch kind as it spread out from St. Lucia Island into the Galapagos Islands. This same kind of explanation can be applied to humans as they got off the ark and actually were made to spread by God all over the world, expressing their large variety from their human genome. But note thousands of years later, although humans may have different skin color or hair color or cultures, they are still humans today capable of reproducing with each other from other nations. Modern day USA is a good example of the melting pot of peoples coming back together, having not come from an ape-like creature but from other humans (You may also like to refer to my TASC newsletter article titled "Racism: Human 'Races' or 'One Blood'?" of April, 2004 on our web site www.tasc-creationscience.org, to better understand this). I observed first hand some 168 years after Darwin that the finches were still finches on the Galapagos Islands in 2003 with a lot of phenotypic variety still being expressed from their programmed genotype, but they still are finches all around the world, not even appearing to evolve into some other bird or other creature. I did not have to do any fancying or conjecturing to conclude that either. I understand as a biologist and creation scientist that their relatively small differences represent a lot of phenotypic variety expressed from programmed genotypes from the genome of the finches, not naturalistic evolution in action that Darwin fancied/conjectured and evolutionists choose to continue to espouse. In his Galapagos book, Pierre Constant continues to reference evolutionist Ernst Haeckel's deceptive drawings on embryos to allude to evolution taking place on the Galapagos Islands by stating, "To conclude, let us quote Haeckel: 'Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny', which means that the development of the individual within the egg sums up the development of the animal group to which it belongs." 7  The doctored drawings of embryos in 1874 by Haeckel, who was Darwin's advocate in Germany and whose evolutionary ideas were instrumental in the later rise of Nazism, were exposed as fraudulent in the late 1800s. In the 1990s, they also have been exposed by embryologists as fraudulent; yet because they are so useful to convince students of naturalistic evolution, they still appear in biology textbooks in the public schools and other evolution based writings today. 8  Likewise, the Galapagos Islands are still used to push the idea that they represent 'evolution in action', but I believe the evidence I am presenting should help to disprove this assertion. The life in the islands show simple change due to variety expressed phenotypically from its genes and ability to adapt from variety programmed within the genes, not change from one major kind to another major kind through atheistic, naturalistic evolution.

Regarding the Darwin finches on Galapagos Islands, one of our tour guides from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), Dr. Ken Cumming, referenced above, pointed out that Darwin collected, preserved, and sent the finch specimens back to his ornithologist friend, Gould, in England. Gould did not observe the finches live in their habitat or their breeding habits but merely postulated to Darwin that these different varieties of finches may have evolved from one another. Gould categorized them into 13 different species. Some twenty-five years later, Darwin assembled the data and observations, and with a blend of his observations, recollections, and conjecture, came up with his theory of evolution, which was not established scientific fact. Later, the Galapagos finches were researched by a husband and wife team, the Grants, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They were able to come up with only three proposed species of finches in a new schema of reticulate evolution. 9  It has been noted by the staff at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz that "only God and Peter Grant can recognize "Darwin's finches". 10  Dr. Cumming further declared that if we put the biological species test to the proposed Grants' reticulate evolution, we believe it establishes that the hybrid finches and their parents can be nothing more than varieties of a single polymorphic species. 11  Again, it boils down to who to you believe, God or man?

Dr. Roger Sanders, another of the ICR tour guides, concluded that the variety of animals and plants on Galapagos and elsewhere, "...has everything to do with the expression of information that was there from the creation." God put it there (in the animal and plant kinds) and provided for the rapid subdivision of that information and for the flexibility He knew that organisms would need to survive and flourish in a fallen, patchy, and often inhospitable world. This does not represent chance development of new genetic information to produce new organisms as the naturalistic evolutionary theory would propose, but simply new varieties of organisms from the expressed genetic information programmed by God into His original created kinds. Dr. Sanders pointed out, "With the plants, we find only variation within a kind, i.e., variation that originated at creation and lay dormant until conditions on the islands allowed the genetic reorganization necessary to express that variation. The Galapagos provide a living laboratory to study, not evolution, but God's design and unfolding plan for His Creation." 12

A part of TASC's mission is to provide under our free democratic system a balance of information to include factual scientific evidences that support God as our creator. I believe that my Institute for Creation Research tour of the Galapagos Islands in 2003 has helped me to provide needed balance on origins and belief in God, our Creator. Hopefully, by sharing this information with our TASC friends and supporters, it will help you to do so as well.

  • 1Cumming, K., Rogers, R., Mercer, J., Vardeman, L (2003) Reticulate Evolution. Galapagos Creation Tour Manual, Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, 1
  • 2Darwin, C. (1988) The Voyage of the Beagle, Penguin Books USA, Inc., New York, NY, 326
  • 3Consant, P. (2000) The Galapagos Islands, Odyssey Publications, Ltd., Hong Kong, 289
  • 4Ibid., 7, 44
  • 5Ibid., 27
  • 6Ibid., 47, 43
  • 7Ibid., 45
  • 8Sarfati, J. (1999) Refuting Evolution, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 85-87
  • 9Cumming, K., et al., 1-4
  • 10Weiner, J. (1994) The Beak of the Finch, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, NY, 19
  • 11Cumming, K., et al., 4
  • 12Cumming, K., et al., (2003) Plants of the Galapagos. Galapagos Creation Tour Manual, Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, 1-26

The Origin of Birds - Recent Evidence Complicates Evolutionary Theories

The Origin of Birds - Recent Evidence Complicates Evolutionary Theories
TASC Wed, 05/16/2018 - 02:06

By author

Jeff Gift PhD

"Scientists: Fossils prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs" was the headline of a 1998 article in CNN News (June 24, 1998). Referring to two dinosaur fossil finds, one of which is depicted below, paleontologist Philip Currie pronounced that "[t]his shows that dinosaurs are not extinct, but are well-represented by 10,000 species of birds."

Image
Figure 1 - Artist drawing of Juravenator, a 2 1/2 feet long juvenile carnivorous dinosaur

Two recent secular publications, one by Dr. Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and Dr. Ursula B. Gohlich of the University of Munich, and another by University of North Carolina scientist Dr. Feduccia and coauthors Drs. Lingham-Soliar and Hinchliffe, suggest that, in the words of Dr. Alan Feduccia, "the origins of birds is a much more complicated question than has been previously thought." 1 ,2  Let's take a look at what these reports contain that complicate the prevailing evolutionary theory of bird origins.

Image
Figure 2 - Researchers believe this fossil of Caudipteryx zoui represents dinosaurs that are the immediate ancestors of the first birds.

The article by Drs. Chiappe and Gohlich titled "A new carnivorous dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen archipelago" describes the discovery of the fossil of a juvenile carnivorous dinosaur about 2 1/2 feet long that paleontologists have named Juravenator for the Jura mountains in southern Germany where it was found. According to the authors, a small patch of skin on Juravenator's tail shows no sign of feathers, and the skin doesn't have the follicles that are typical of "feathered" dinosaurs. According to Dr. Chiappe, "it has a typical scaly dinosaurian skin." To Chiappe and others who believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs this is a problem because Juravenator's closest known relative is thought to be a fully feathered dinosaur from China, Sinosauropterix. Solutions to this dilemma mentioned in the article are (1) feathers were lost on the evolutionary line leading to Juravenator after arising in an ancestor to both it and its feathered relatives or (2) feathers evolved more than once in dinosaurs, appearing in separate species at different times and places. Another possibility, not entertained by the authors, is that feathers on dinosaurs exist only in the imaginative and perhaps minds of paleontologists anxious to solve or get credit for solving another of the many evasive evolutionary mysteries. Evidence for this latter explanation was presented by Dr. Feduccia and fellow scientists in their detailed publication. 3

Dr. Feduccia and his colleagues, Drs. Theagarten Lingham-Soliar of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Richard Hinchliffe of the University College of Wales, suggest that no good evidence exists that fossilized structures found in China and which some paleontologists claim are the earliest known rudimentary feathers were really feathers at all. Instead, the fossilized patterns appear to these scientists to be bits of decomposed skin and supporting tissues that just happen to resemble feathers to a modest degree. They say that as a result of their new research and other studies, continuing, exaggerated controversies over feathered dinosaurs make no sense. "We all agree that birds and dinosaurs had some reptilian ancestors in common," said Feduccia, professor of biology in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences. "But to say dinosaurs were the ancestors of the modern birds we see flying around outside today because we would like them to be is a big mistake."

According to a recent UNC news release, 4 the team used high-powered microscopes to examine the skin of modern reptiles, the effects of decomposition on skin and the fossil evidence relating to alleged "protofeathers." They found that fossilized patterns that resemble feathers somewhat also occur in fossils known not to be closely related to birds and hence are far more likely to be skin-related tissues. Much of the confusion arose from the fact that in China in the same area, two sets of fossils were found. Some of these had true feathers and were indeed birds known as microraptors, while others did not and should not be considered birds at all.

"With the advent of 'feathered dinosaurs,' we are truly witnessing the beginnings of the meltdown of the field of paleontology."

Alan Feduccia, PhD

Although a few artists depicted feathered dinosaurs as far back as the 1970s, Feduccia said the strongest case for feathered dinosaurs arose in 1996 with a small black and white photo of the early Cretaceous period small dinosaur Sinosauropteryx, which sported a coat of filamentous structures some called "dino-fuzz". "The photo subsequently appeared in various prominent publications as the long-sought 'definitive' evidence of dinosaur 'feathers' and that birds were descended from dinosaurs," Feduccia said. "Yet no one ever bothered to provide evidence, either structural or biological, that these structures had anything to do with feathers. In our new work, we show that these and other filamentous structures were not protofeathers, but rather the remains of collagenous fiber meshworks that reinforced the skin." According to Feduccia, "collagen is a scleroprotein, the chief structural protein of the connective tissue layer of skin. Naturally, because of its low solubility in water and its organization as tough, inelastic fiber networks, we would expect it to be preserved occasionally from flayed skin during the fossilization process."

"The researchers also examined evidence from five independent, agreeing studies involving structural and genetic analyses related to the 'tridactyl' or three-fingered hand, which is composed of digits 1, 2, and 3 in dinosaurs," Feduccia said. That is the most critical characteristic linking birds to dinosaurs. They found that embryos of developing birds differed significantly in that bird wings arose from digits 2, 3, and 4, the equivalent of index, middle, and ring fingers of humans. To change so radically during evolution would be highly unlikely. "If birds descended from dinosaurs, we would expect the same 1, 2, and 3 pattern," Feduccia said.

"Current dinosaurian dogma requires that all the intricate adaptations of birds' wings and feathers for flight evolved in a flightless dinosaur and then somehow became useful for flight only much later," Feduccia said. That is "close to being non-Darwinian."

Also, the current feathered dinosaurs theory makes little sense time-wise either because it holds that all stages of feather evolution and bird ancestry occurred some 125 million years ago in the early Cretaceous fossils unearthed in China. "That's some 25 million years after the time of Archaeopteryx, which already was a bird in the modern sense," Feduccia said. "Superficially bird-like dinosaurs occurred some 25 million to 80 million years after the earliest known bird, which is 150 million years old." One explanation for this that has been provided by evolutionists is that, given the "improbability of fossilisation," pre-Archaeopteryx dinobirds were simply not preserved. 5

Feduccia said the publication and promotion of feathered dinosaurs by the popular press and by prestigious journals and magazines, including National Geographic, Nature, and Science, have made it difficult for opposing views to get a proper hearing. "With the advent of 'feathered dinosaurs,' we are truly witnessing the beginnings of the meltdown of the field of paleontology," he said. "Just as the discovery of a four-chambered heart in a dinosaur described in 2000 in an article in Science turned out to be an artifact, feathered dinosaurs too have become part of the fantasia of this field. Much of this is part of the delusional fantasy of the world of dinosaurs, the wishful hope that one can finally study dinosaurs at the backyard bird feeder." 6

Dr. Feduccia is the author of more than 150 papers and six major books, including The Age of Birds, which Harvard University Press published in 1980 and The Origin and Evolution of Birds , published by Yale University Press in 1996. Among other discoveries, Dr. Feduccia found that Archaeopteryx, the earliest known bird and one of the world's most famous fossils, could fly by observing that the fossil's feathers had leading edges significantly shorter than their trailing edges, which is characteristic of all modern flying birds. The edges of feather of birds incapable of flight, such as ostriches, are symmetrical. 7

Though Dr. Feduccia does not believe that dinosaurs evolved into birds, he does agree with most evolutionists that sometime in the past, fast-running, birdlike animals developed wings that enabled them to lift away from the ground and eventually fly. One simpler, less complicated creationist view is that birds were created before land reptiles on Day 5 of God's creation week (Genesis 1:20-23) and that dinosaurs were created after birds on Day 6 of the creation week (Genesis 1:24-31). To those who do not believe in a creator God (or take a liberal view of scripture), the latter is foolishness and the former is a puzzle worthy only of the educated and intelligent. Yet, God's word in 1 Corinthians (Chapter 1) reminds us of the pitfalls of becoming too comfortable in the embrace of our own human intelligence.

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

  • 1Gohlich, U.B. and Chiappe, L.M. (2006) A new carnivorous dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Solnhofen archipelago. Nature 440:329-332
  • 2Feduccia, A., Lingham-Soliar, T., and Hinchliffe, J.R. (2005) Do feathered dinosaurs exist? Testing the hypothesis on neontological and paleontological evidence. J. Morphol 266:125-166
  • 3Feduccia, A., Lingham-Soliar, T., and Hinchliffe, J.R. (2005) Do feathered dinosaurs exist? Testing the hypothesis on neontological and paleontological evidence. J. Morphol 266:125-166
  • 4Williamson, D. (2005) Latest Study: Scientists say that no evidence exists that therapod dinosaurs evolved into birds. UNC News Services 477
  • 5Willis, P. (1998) Dinosaurs and Birds - The Story. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (www.abc.net.au/science/slab/dinobird/story.htm)
  • 6Williamson, D. (2005) Latest Study: Scientists say that no evidence exists that therapod dinosaurs evolved into birds. UNC News Services 477
  • 7Williamson, D. (2005) Latest Study: Scientists say that no evidence exists that therapod dinosaurs evolved into birds. UNC News Services 477

Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design
TASC Wed, 05/16/2018 - 10:54

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

The phrase "intelligent design" is heard a great deal lately in the media, usually in the context of secondary school science education.

William Dembski
William Dembski

A mathematician and a philosopher, William A. Dembski is the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Science and Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville where he heads its Center for Theology and Science. He is also a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle and the executive director of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (www.iscid.org).

Recent efforts to have intelligent design even mentioned in high school biology classes have been met with defeat in the courts. A 2005 Harris Poll 1 showed 64% of Americans believe human beings were created directly by God. Concerning what to teach, the same poll showed that 12% favored evolution only (the current practice), 23% favored creation only, 4% favored intelligent design only, and 55% favored the teaching of all three; a total of 82% thought creation or intelligent design should be taught. Despite this, school boards that would challenge Darwinism in the classroom seem powerless to influence the content of science curriculum. Sadly, the scientific establishment, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, has resorted to enforcing the teaching of its naturalistic view of origins on schools districts by legal decree instead of open dialog, honest scientific debate, and persuasion. But these tactics, while successful in the courts, have not won Darwinism many new subscribers. The Harris poll showed that public opinion moved toward the creation viewpoint between 1994 and 2005.

A phone survey conducted by Zogby International in February of 2006 found that 69% of respondents thought the evidence for and against evolution should be taught, and 77% agreed that "students should also be able to learn about scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design of life." 2 Many scientists lament this state of affairs and believe the "problem" stems from a lack of educating the public about science. Many in the scientific community feel there is no conflict between faith and evolution, that evolution is neutral about God. Many Catholics (including the Pope) adopt this view. Nevertheless, the scientific community is much less likely to believe in a personal God than the general population, as a 1998 poll of members of the National Academy of Sciences has shown:

The follow-up study [of scientists] reported in Nature [a scientific journal] reveals that the rate of belief [in God] is lower than eight decades ago. The latest survey involved 517 members of the National Academy of Sciences; half replied. When queried about belief in "personal god," only 7% responded in the affirmative, while 72.2% expressed "personal disbelief," and 20.8% expressed "doubt or agnosticism." 3

Interestingly, those heavily indoctrinated in naturalistic evolutionary theory are also very likely to disbelieve in a personal God, bringing into question evolution's alleged theological neutrality.

Some scientists fear that intelligent design, if given full respectability, would stifle technological progress and bring economic decline. Ironically, these scientists overlook the fact that most of modern science emerged from the Judea/Christian worldview. But for many ordinary citizens and scientists, Darwinian evolution itself has strong religious and metaphysical implications: it implies that if God exists, He has not played an active role in the universe. Some feel that the philosophical materialism implied by Darwinian evolution has lead to the moral decline in the West. Many feel that evolution is not supported by the evidence nearly as well as claimed, that biology textbooks misrepresent data, that there is much evidence in the mainstream scientific literature that contradicts evolution, and this evidence should be taught openly in science class.

What is Intelligent Design Theory?

What exactly is intelligent design theory? How does it differ from creation science? What are the goals and history of the Intelligent Design (ID) movement? What are the scientific arguments made by ID? What does ID have to say about science in general and evolution in particular? How do ID proponents respond to their critics? What are the legal arguments made by supporters and detractors of ID? Should it be taught in high school? What are the philosophical and moral issues concerning evolution? These and related questions will be explored in this essay.

Intelligent Design is a scientific theory that claims intelligent causes are the best explanation for some phenomena in nature, especially in biology and cosmology. However, ID is not merely a god-of-the-gaps theory that focuses on the current lack of naturalistic explanations for phenomena, but has developed ways to empirically detect design. ID starts with observation, applies inductive and deductive reasoning, and then makes inferences to the best explanation. Creation Science 4  or creationism, in contrast, starts with revelation found in the Bible and then looks for evidence and formulates hypotheses that are consistent with scripture and science. ID has religious implications but is not based on religious premises. ID does not identify the intelligent designer or even necessarily say that the designer is supernatural. ID does not focus on the age of the earth, Noah's Flood, the origin of death, or other creation issues, nor is it exclusively a Christian movement. Most of the leaders in the ID movement accept the Big Bang theory, the standard geological history of the earth, descent with modification, and common ancestry. Many believe (or do not object to the idea that) God guided an evolutionary process to create life. What they don't accept is that there are adequate naturalistic explanations for the fine tuning of the physical constants in nature, the origin of life, the Cambrian explosion in the fossil record, Darwinian molecules-to-man evolution (macroevolution), the information found in DNA and proteins, and the formation of complex molecular machines found in the cell. These phenomena, they assert, are best explained by intelligent causes.

ID proponents think that the evidence for and against the theory of evolution should be taught in public schools and that science needs to be expanded to allow intelligent causes. It is believed that this approach to science education could enhance the development of critical thinking skills in students better than the present indoctrination into naturalistic dogma. ID proponents assert that we should "teach the controversy" (of course, many in the scientific community deny that there even is a controversy). Many in the ID movement believe that science is due for a revolution in its basic assumptions. For the past few centuries, science has conceived the physical universe in terms of matter and energy. With the discoveries in molecular biology over the last half century, it has become apparent that information is also present in nature, and that the properties of matter and energy alone may be inadequate to account for the origin of this information. ID contends that the best explanation for the information found in biology is intelligence. ID believes that science should go wherever the evidence leads, seeking the truth, and not be artificially limited to natural causes where these are found inadequate. ID proponent, philosopher, and mathematician William Dembski has written:

The basic concepts with which science has operated these last several hundred years are no longer adequate, certainly not in an information age, certainly not in an age where design is empirically detectable. Science faces a crisis of basic concepts. The way out of this crisis is to expand science to include design. To reinstate design within science is to liberate science, freeing it from restrictions that were always arbitrary and now have become intolerable. 5

ID asserts that intelligently designed objects possess a measurable and quantifiable property called specified complexity. Specified complexity puts the detection of design within science. Expanding science to include intelligent causes will enhance science by inspiring inquiry into function where none was previously suspected. For example, many human organs, once considered the left over and useless remnants of evolutionary ancestors, have been found to have significant function; the assumption of intelligent design would have lead to the discovery of these functions sooner. If humans were designed by an intelligence, there may be some built-in psychosocial constraints that if violated would cause us harm and suffering. For example, if we were designed for sexual fidelity but practice promiscuity, there may be some natural negative consequences because we are operating outside of our design specifications. The assumption of design in nature leads to a reverse engineering approach to understanding the operation, purpose, and function of the components of biological systems. With a "what problems has this design solved?" approach, scientists may find technological applications for society.

A Brief History of Intelligent Design

Thomas Woodward, a professor at Trinity College in Florida, has written about the history of the modern ID movement in his recent book Doubts About Darwin. 6 He traces the major events, ideas, writings, and people in the history of ID while focusing on the rhetorical strategies of ID proponents and Darwinists. The book is an extension of Woodward's Ph.D. thesis. Some of the book's highlights are listed below:

  • The ID movement is examined in light of Thomas Kuhn's scientific revolution-paradigm shift hypothesis. 7

  • Kuhn's theory on the progression of scientific revolutions follows a temporal sequence: science as usual (accepted paradigm), accumulation of anomalies (facts that don't fit the accepted paradigm), paradigm crisis, paradigm shift, revolution, science as usual (reign of new paradigm). Woodward believes ID has the potential to be one of the greatest revolutions in the history of science. Design has already gained acceptance from the media and the public (polls). Woodward maintains that "if any group, religious or scientific, gains the authority to present its own story as uniquely true and to label other stories as mythological, this group functions as the high priesthood of our time." 8

  • The infallibility of the priesthood is maintained until revolution. At present, the leaders of the materialistic scientific establishment are the "high priesthood." ID leaders are angry about the misrepresentation of what science really knows about origins (omits discussion of anomalies). Kuhn's ideas allow Darwinism to be seen as a passing phase rather than the final paradigm.

  • Michael Denton, author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 9

  • is credited for starting the modern Design movement.

  • Denton's writings awakened Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe (prominent ID leaders today) from "dogmatic slumber." Denton also influenced William Dembski and others.

  • ID critiques evolutionary biology and also lays the groundwork for a new paradigm in science, which includes intelligent causes.

  • ID is founded primarily on intellectual, not religious, grounds.

  • ID is unhappy about poor science in textbooks, unfair teaching practices, and forced indoctrination of students into materialist philosophy.

A few of the major figures in the modern ID movement will be discussed here including Michael Denton, Philip Johnson, Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Charles Thaxton.

Several leaders in the ID movement credit their inspiration to Michael Denton, an agnostic Australian naturalist and author of the book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. 10 Denton showed how many of the facts of biochemistry differ from Darwinian predictions. He concluded science has embraced evolution, not because the evidence demands it, but because it's the only naturalistic explanation available. Thus it is the philosophical commitment to naturalism, not evidence, that gives priority to the evolutionary paradigm. That this is the case is exemplified by the words of Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin:

"We [the scientific establishment] take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.... To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, then miracles may happen." 11

This candid admission from one of the world's most renowned evolutionary biologists is striking. Lewontin is saying that philosophical bias, not evidence, is the basis for insisting on materialistic explanations. Ironically, the evolutionary establishment has long claimed that the ID movement is merely pseudo-science unsupported by a shred of evidence, "creationism in a cheap tuxedo", religion masquerading as science, "creationism lite," etc.

Denton's book started the modern ID movement. He showed how macroevolution is not supported by the evidence. The extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution is unwarranted. Macroevolution is not supported by fossils or the molecular evidence. There is no natural explanation for the origin of life. There is no evidence for transitional form in the fossil record. Evolution is believed because of the "priority of the paradigm."

Denton retold the history of science - he said the rise of Darwinism was like a type of Dark Ages. Darwin was honest about the lack of evidence in the fossil record. However, his theory hardened into axiom even though the evidentiary problems remained. Natural history was assumed to be caused exclusively by chemistry and physics. The facts have not changed since Darwin, only what is considered intellectually fashionable. Denton focused on gaps in the fossil record. He asked if there is evidence the gaps have ever been crossed. He questioned if intermediates could even be conceived in thought experiments. Darwin predicted continuity in the fossil record, discontinuity is reality. Denton cited several transitions which defy evolutionary explanation: reptilian scales to bird feathers, reptilian lung to bird lung, etc. Denton's book has been very influential but misunderstood by some as arguing for God - he rejects both creation and Darwinian evolution but offers no alternative. Denton says empiricism leads to rejection of Darwinism. Denton set the stage for the types of arguments others would later use against Darwinism.

Denton's ideas were readily absorbed by Phillip Johnson. Johnson, a Christian law professor (University of California, Berkley), read Denton's book and the book The Blind Watchmaker 12 by atheist, biologist Richard Dawkins during a sabbatical in London in 1987-88. Johnson became convinced by Denton that Darwinism is a myth. Johnson, "awakened from his dogmatic slumber", was inspired to write Darwin on Trial. 13  The main thesis of the book was that Darwinism is not empirically driven but based on metaphysical naturalism, a philosophy which holds that the universe is reducible to natural causes. Johnson has been long considered the leader of the ID movement. He has successfully debated several leading evolutionists including the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould. Johnson's goal was to expose Darwinism as pseudoscience. Johnson had four theses in Darwin on Trial: (1) Biology and the fossil record tend to falsify macroevolution and the chemical origin of life. (2) Macroevolution is based on metaphysical naturalism, not empirical evidence. Macroevolution must be true by default since there is no other naturalistic explanation and science has been defined to exclude any nonnaturalistic causes. The evidence is then built upon this pre-existing theoretical certainty based on the supposition of naturalism. (3) When questioned, Darwinism is protected by empty labels, semantic manipulation, faulty logic, and well-crafted definitions, but not by evidence. Evolutionists play a semantic shell game, they prove a modest claim of evolutionary theory then use that proof as evidence for the entire metaphysical scheme: microevolution (variation within a species) is true, therefore so is macroevolution (molecules to man evolution). In this way the "fact" of evolution can go unquestioned. (4) Darwinism is the central cosmological myth of modern science and culture. Johnson believes Darwinism is a quasi-religious system that is known a priori to be true without being subject to rigorous scientific testing. Johnson wanted to incite a paradigm crisis and shift back to theism. He wanted to legitimize criticizing Darwin so like minded scientists could step in and finish the job.

Johnson devised a Wedge Strategy for reinstating theism: Johnson is the thin edge, exposing Darwinism as metaphysical naturalism masquerading as fact, and the ID scientists then widen the cracks in Darwinism's foundation. Johnson wants to open up universities to the possibility that naturalism might not be true. Design just wants a seat at the table, not to destroy or hurt science. Johnson wants theism to be a respectable intellectual starting point at the university.

Michael Behe, a catholic and Lehigh University professor of biochemistry, read Denton and Johnson. He became angry at the deception in biology texts, that evolution was overwhelmingly supported by evidence and an established fact. He has become a strong advocate for ID. Behe is an insider in the scientific establishment; he is a tenured professor at a respected university and has much credibility. Behe has participated in debates in person and on-line. His now famous book Darwin's Black Box, 14  in which he introduced the concept of irreducible complexity (discussed later), has been very successful and influential since its publication in 1996. His book has received much attention both pro and con. The book has been mentioned in Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, Nature, and others; has had over 100 reviews; has been translated into over 15 languages; and sold 40,000 copies the first year and 20,000 per year thereafter. Behe says he is not a creationist. He accepts standard geology and descent from a common ancestor. He (and chemist Charles Thaxton) argued positively that design was a legitimate alternative explanation for anomalies that could not be explained by Darwinism. He reasoned that since cosmology and astronomy were open to design, it was time for biology to join in. He believes the evidence can only detect design, not the identity of a designer. The inference to design does not require a candidate for the designer. Behe pointed out that as of 1996, the scientific literature contained essentially no detailed biochemical explanations for how complex molecular machines could have evolved by a Darwinian mechanism. Behe has emerged as a powerful spokesman for design.

William Dembski, who holds PhDs in mathematics and philosophy, 15 is currently Professor of Science and Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville where he heads its Center for Theology and Science. 16 Dembski is the inventor of the explanatory filter for detecting design (more later). He is the author of The Design Inference 17 and No Free Lunch 18 among several other books. He has been called the Isaac Newton of information theory. Dembski says design is already a part of science in forensics, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), archeology, cryptology, patent review, and data falsification analysis. The explanatory filter (EF) formalizes what science has already been doing. It facilitates the detection of design through measurement of information content. This EF is perhaps the most important contribution to science from the design camp.

Physical chemist Charles Thaxton, coauthor of the book Mystery of Life's Origin, 19 showed that despite an abundance of energy, there is no natural mechanism to do the "configurational entropy work" needed to build complex biological molecules. He said DNA was evidence for a creator because it contained too much "specified complexity". He said that detection of design was scientific and empirical, even if the designer could not be identified. Thaxton, like Denton, is credited with being an early pioneer of the ID movement.

The Seattle based Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture 20 has been the flagship organization and home of the ID movement since 1996. The center has over 40 fellows and supports the development of intelligent design theory and the critique of materialistic science. The center also studies the impact of material science on culture and favors the teaching of the weaknesses and strengths of Darwinism in public schools. The fellows of the center have written numerous books and articles on ID. Many of the articles are available for free online.

Scientific Arguments of ID

As already discussed, science today has been limited by definition to a search for natural explanations. From a practical perspective, testing for material causes in the physical universe might seem the only empirical approach available; how does one test for non-material causes? This approach to the practice of science is called methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism stands in contrast to the philosophical position known as metaphysical naturalism, which starts with the a priori assumption that natural causes are all that exist, that all phenomena reduce to chemistry and physics. Methodological naturalism necessarily follows from metaphysical naturalism, but the reverse is not true. Methodological naturalism admits there may be non-physical causes beyond its scope to observe. Metaphysical naturalism does not admit this possibility. The former is a practical approach to doing science, the latter is an all encompassing worldview. The ID movement seeks to enlarge the scope of science to include non-material yet empirically detectable intelligent causes. Science should be a search for the truth, not just material explanations, going wherever the evidence leads. Science should make inferences to the best explanations. What the ID movement offers science is reliable ways to empirically detect design and intelligent causes.

With the advent of the Information Age, scientists have learned how to measure information quantitatively in units called bits. In principle, the quantitative information content of any object or event, be it artificial or natural in origin, can be determined. Objects that contain information in the form of languages or codes (such as DNA) are most amenable to information measurement. Recently, intelligent design theorist William Dembski has proposed a method for detecting a type of information called complex specified information or CSI. 21 Where CSI is detected, intelligence is implicated. CSI makes design detectable and thus a part of empirical science.

Information must meet three criteria to be classified as CSI and therefore implicate intelligent design (see Figure 1).

Image
Figure 1

First, the object or event must be contingent. An object or event is contingent if it does not have to happen. Throwing a normal die may result with the number 3 being on top, but it does not have to turn out that way; obtaining a result of 3 is therefore a contingent event. If the die had only 3s on its six sides, obtaining a result of 3 would not be contingent. Non-contingent events are dete rmined by necessity or law instead of chance or design. Next, the object or event must be assessed for its complexity or likelihood of occurrence. The complexity of an event or object increases as its chance likelihood decreases. Events that are likely and simple can be attributed to chance alone without invoking law or design. If an object or event is highly unlikely and thus sufficiently complex (i.e., if it contains ≥ 500 bits of information, see below), then one must determine if the information in the object is specified. An object or event is specified if its information is intelligible or recognizable as an independent pattern. For example, the phrase "ME THINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL" is specified because the string of letters and spaces is intelligible and recognized as a sentence in the English language. An equally long but random string of letters such as "EZC WJISMO QUNEE NHYXA IHSMLW" is as complex as the previous phrase but is not specified and hence is attributable to chance. Dembski calls his contingency, complexity, specification criteria for detecting design the Explanatory Filter. The filter does four things, it: (1) provides a strict procedure for the detection of design, (2) places design in context of currently accepted science, (3) uses statistical analysis, and (4) only detects intelligence, not the identity of the designer.

The minimum amount of information required to indicate design is called the Universal Complexity Bound (UCB) and is equivalent to 500 bits of information. This number comes from a determination of the maximum number of arrangements of matter that could ever exist during the (alleged) history of the universe by chance processes. Dembski calculated the UCB by multiplying the number of particles in the universe (1080) times the estimated lifespan of the universe (1025 seconds) 22 times the speed of the fastest possible process (1045 events/second). This product, 10150, is equivalent to 500 bits of information. Hence a contingent event can be (1) simple and unspecified, or (2) complex and unspecified, or (3) specified but not complex, or (4) complex and specified. Only complex specified information exceeding the UCB indicates design. 23 As it turns out, the world of biochemistry is replete with molecules that exhibit CSI.

But naturalistic evolutionists claim that CSI can be generated by natural processes. Natural processes can be categorized as probabilistic (chance), deterministic (law), or a combination of law and chance (stochastic). In biology, the stochastic process of mutation acted upon by natural selection presumably accounts for macroevolution (bacteria to humans). Dembski argues that chance is too "dumb" to generate complexity (in a universe of finite age). He shows that law can only transmit information or shuffle it around but cannot generate new information. 24 Stochastic processes may generate simple specified information but not CSI. Hence, the NeoDarwinian mechanism of mutation-selection is powerless to generate new CSI.

Some evolutionists believe evolutionary algorithms modeled in silico have demonstrated stochastic processes that that are capable of generating CSI. One such algorithm started with a random string of letters such as "EZC WJISMO QUNEE NHYXA IHSMLW" and converted it into the target phrase "ME THINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL" in a just few dozen steps. 25 At each step, all the characters that were like those in the target phrase were retained, but all others were randomly changed. The new string of characters was again compared to the target phrase and all correct characters were retained. The process was repeated until the target phrase emerged. The reason that this evolutionary algorithm fails to generate new information is that the information it allegedly generates is actually built into the algorithm itself. 26 The target phrase was already a part of the algorithm. Instead of creating new information, this algorithm merely shifted the information it already contained into the target phrase; nothing new was generated at all. Hence, for an evolutionary algorithm to be able to "generate information," it must be supplied the information from an outside source. The No Free Lunch Theorems 27 state that evolutionary algorithms can only "generate" as much information as they already possess. In nature, natural selection can retain mutations that add survival/reproductive success value but is incapable of "guiding" the formation of new CSI in the DNA. Also note, from an evolutionary perspective, that each "generation" of phases would have to have "meaning" in order to survive into the next generation. Meaningless phrases would have no survival value and would not be selected. Yet smoothly interconverting meaningful sequences would be highly unlikely:

Since the 1960s, some biologists have thought functional proteins to be rare among the set of possible amino acid sequences. Some have used an analogy with human language to illustrate why this should be the case. Denton 28 , for example, has shown that meaningful words and sentences are extremely rare among the set of possible combinations of English letters, especially as sequence length grows. (The ratio of meaningful 12-letter words to 12-letter sequences is 1/1014, the ratio of 100-letter sentences to possible 100-letter strings is 1/10100.) Further, Denton shows that most meaningful sentences are highly isolated from one another in the space of possible combinations, so that random substitutions of letters will, after a very few changes, inevitably degrade meaning. Apart from a few closely clustered sentences accessible by random substitution, the overwhelming majority of meaningful sentences lie, probabilistically speaking, beyond the reach of random search (emphasis added). 29

Information generation is constrained by The Law of Conservation of Information (LCI) which states information can be transmitted or degraded but not created by chance and natural processes (law). 30  Consequently, the information content of a closed system remains the same or decreases with time. The CSI of a closed system of natural causes (e.g. the universe) was either there eternally or added from an external source (i.e. the system was not always closed). Any closed system of natural causes of a finite duration received whatever CSI it contains before it became a closed system. Since the universe is a closed system of natural causes and of finite duration, the information seen in the biological world must have been present from the beginning and/or added at various times during its existence. Due to the LCI, evolutionists must explain how the information in DNA was present at the time of the Big Bang, was retained for billions of years in the matter and energy of the cosmos, and was finally translated into the genetic code. Clearly, the origin and mechanism of translation of information in such a naturalistic scenario are enigmatic. One evolutionist who has acknowledged this dilemma is information theory expert and evolutionist Hubert P. Yockey. According to Yockey,

The reason that a scientific explanation for the origin of life has not been found may be that the problem is intractable or indeterminate and beyond human reasoning powers. ...life is consistent with the laws of physics and chemistry but not derivable from them. We must...take life as an axiom...the time of the molecular biologist is better spent on understanding life as it is...having accepted the inexplicable axioms of these subjects. 31

More evidence for design in nature comes from irreducibly complex biological systems. 32  A definition of irreducible complexity has been given by Dembski:

A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well matched, mutually interacting, nonarbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system's basic, and therefore original, function. 33

An irreducibly complex system must have all its parts and each of its parts must be tailored to its function, or the system will not work. One biological system that is irreducibly complex is the bacterial flagellum, a rotating whip-like structure that propels bacteria through water. Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that the flagellum stops working upon removal of any of its parts. 34 The problem this poses for evolution is that a modified or incomplete version of the flagellum would be nonfunctional, would not add survival/reproductive success value, and therefore would not be retained by natural selection. In other words, if the flagellum will only work when fabricated correctly and with all its parts, what could have been its evolutionary precursor?

Any changes would render the flagellum inoperative and of no value to the organism. Evolutionists claim that parts of the flagellum are similar to other molecular machines in the cell and could have been co-opted from those sources to form the flagellum, thereby negating the need for non-functional precursors of the flagellum. However, just having the parts of the flagellum is not sufficient because the parts must be assembled in a particular order and at the right time by other molecular machines which themselves are manufactured as needed. Hence, the system that assembles the flagellum is itself irreducibly complex and necessary for the construction of the flagellum. For this reason, the theory of co-optation does not work. 35

For example, there is a cellular subsystem called the type three secretory system (TTSS) that is simpler than the flagellum but has many of the same protein parts. Miller has claimed that the TTSS is an evolutionary intermediate of the flagellum. However, the evidence indicates otherwise, as University of Idaho microbiologist Scott Minnich explains:

To counter this argument (irreducible complexity), particularly as it applies to the flagellum, others have used the TTSS. Since the secretory system that forms part of the flagellar mechanism can also function separately. Miller has argued that natural selection could have 'co-opted' the functional parts from the TTSS and other earlier simple systems to produce the flagellar motor. And, indeed, the TTSS contains eighteen proteins that are also found in the forty-protein bacterial flagellar motor. Miller thus regards the virulence secretory pump of the Yersinia Yop system as a Darwinian intermediate, case closed. This argument seems only superficially plausible in light of some of the findings presented in this paper. First, if anything, TTSSs generate more complications than solutions to this question. As shown here, possessing multiple TTSSs causes interference. If not segregated, one or both systems are lost.

Additionally, the other thirty proteins in the flagellar motor (that are not present in the TTSS) are unique to the motor and are not found in any other living system. From whence, then, were these protein parts co-opted? Also, even if all the protein parts were somehow available to make a flagellar motor during the evolution of life, the parts would need to be assembled in the correct temporal sequence similar to the way an automobile is assembled in a factory. Yet, to choreograph the assembly of the parts of the flagellar motor, present-day bacteria need an elaborate system of genetic instructions as well as many other protein machines to time the expression of those assembly instructions. Arguably, this system is itself irreducibly complex. In any case, the co-option argument tacitly presupposes the need for the very thing it seeks to explain - a functionally interdependent system of proteins. Finally, phylogenetic analyses of the gene sequences suggest that flagellar motor proteins arose first and those of the pump came later. In other words, if anything the pump evolved from the motor, not the motor from the pump. 36

Simply put, the co-option argument, at least in the case of the bacterial flagellum, if anything strengthens the irreducible complexity argument for design by exposing additional levels of irreducible complexity.

Another example of irreducible complexity is the cellular system that synthesizes proteins. 37

ImageFigure 2

DNA and RNA contain molecular languages (codes) using four-letter alphabets. In the case of DNA, the letters are A, G, C, and T (Figure 2). The letters are the same for RNA except T is now U. These letters represent different chemical groups. The sequence of the letters determines the biochemical meaning of the code. The information in the DNA is read by an enzyme (RNA polymerase) that synthesizes a strand of messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA is then moved out of the cell nucleus to a molecular factory called a ribosome. The ribosome is an assembly of enzymes (proteins) that translates the code in mRNA into a sequence of amino acids to form a protein (there are 20 amino acids). 38  The enzyme RNA polymerase is itself made in this same way. DNA is also replicated and repaired by proteins that are enzymes. Notice that all of the parts of the system are required for the system's function. The DNA holds the information required to make the correct proteins, and the proteins are required to read the information in the DNA and replicate the DNA. This situation speaks to the origin of life problem. All living things from the simplest bacteria to human beings possess this information-processing/protein synthesis system including the DNA code and how it is translated into meaningful sequences of amino acids in proteins. Evolutionists have to explain how a simpler system, one which could have arisen by chance and the laws of chemistry, could have evolved into the DNA/protein system we observe now. A self-replicating molecule that both stores information and acts as a chemical catalyst could begin to help fill this chasm. Some have suggested an "RNA world" may have been an intermediate between the first self-replicating molecules and life as we know it now. Indeed, RNA is able to carry information as well as catalyze some reactions. Still, RNA is relatively unstable and the likelihood of its formation is negligible. Quoting from Rana and Ross: 39

The origin of life community widely acknowledges the prebiotic production of ribose, cytosine, and polyphosphates [necessary components of RNA] as painfully problematic. In fact, at the opening plenary lecture or ISSOL 2002, after summarizing these and other problems, distinguished origin of life researcher Leslie Orgel stated, "It would be a miracle if a strand of RNA ever appeared on the primitive earth." As a preface to this conclusion, Orgel remarked that he "hoped no creationists [were] in the audience." Laughter erupted throughout the room.

So far, no one has identified a biochemically relevant self-replicating molecule let alone how it might have evolved into the complex DNA/protein system of the present world. Some evolutionists have called the DNA code a "frozen accident" since it is universal and does not seem to have evolved since its inception.

Behe has identified several irreducibly complex biological systems including the bacterial flagellum, cilia, blood clotting, intracellular transport, the immune system, and others. Irreducible complexity is an indicator of intelligent design. Darwin himself proposed a test for his theory:

"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."

Charles Darwin

ID proponents believe that irreducible complexity has met Darwin's test over and over, that Darwinism has been falsified.

Evolutionists maintain that the observable process of microevolutionary change (variation within kinds) can be extrapolated to the inferred process of macroevolutionary change (molecules to man evolution). They point to observable examples of the action of random variation and natural selection to produce adaptations in organisms such as Darwin's finches, antibiotic resistant bacteria, industrial melanism in peppered moths, and fruit flies. 40  In each case, however, there is no evidence of an increase in the information of the genome. 41 Indeed, in the case of bacterial resistance, there is evidence that the information content of the genome can decrease. 42

For example, single nucleotide mutations (changing one "letter" in the DNA code) in some bacteria are known to impart resistance to the antibiotic streptomycin. This resistance involves the bacterial ribosomes. As described above, ribosomes are primarily an assemblage of proteins, some of which act as chemical catalysts. Enzymes (catalytic proteins) usually only perform one type of reaction at a specific reactive site with one specific molecule. A molecule is bound to the reactive site, chemically transformed, and released. This specificity is caused by the shape of the protein at the reactive site that, in turn, ultimately comes from the protein's amino acid sequence. Hence, there is a "lock and key" mechanism where only one molecule can act as the key that fits into the protein's reactive site (lock). There are other sites in enzymes (not the reactive site) where specific molecules can bind (without reacting) that can change the overall shape of the protein and the reactive site and, hence, the enzyme's reactivity. Nature uses these other sites to regulate enzymatic activity; some molecules that fit these sites slow down or turn off the enzyme while others accelerate its reactions. An abnormal change in the shape of the reactive site can lead to a loss of enzymatic specificity; the lock may now allow more than one key. Some mutations in the DNA that codes for the proteins of the ribosome can lead to changes in the amino acid sequences which change the shape and hence specificity of the reactive sites and the other binding sites. Streptomycin attaches itself to bacterial ribosomes at a specific protein site causing a change in shape of the reactive site, thereby interfering with protein production and causing the wrong proteins to be made; the ability of the ribosome to accurately translate the information coded in the mRNA to specific amino acids has been impaired. These bacteria die because their ribosomes can't correctly make the necessary proteins. Ribosomes in mammals don't have this site of attachment and so no interference with protein production occurs. Mutations in the bacterial genetic code for the ribosome can change the site of attachment on the bacterial ribosomes so that streptomycin no longer binds to the ribosome, thereby imparting antibiotic resistance to such a bacterium. Several possible mutations can lead to antibiotic resistance. However, this adaptation is associated with an information loss because the specificity of the ribosome is decreased; the speed and accuracy of protein production is reduced in the mutants. It is more correct to say the bacteria loose sensitivity to the drug than to say it gains resistance. Hence, antibiotic resistance in some bacteria to streptomycin is an example of an adaptive mutation purchased with a loss in information. Macroevolution needs adaptive mutations that add information to the genome.

A recent review 43  of evolution experiments with microorganisms made several generalizations: (1) initially, populations adapt rapidly via beneficial mutations to new environments but the rate drops off quickly; (2) genetically identical organisms placed in separate but identical environments exhibit parallel molecular evolution, although the phenotypes [outward appearance and attributes] may diverge; (3) most genes do not change even over thousands of generations; (4) adaptation to one environment may be associated with loss of fitness in another environment; and (5) in small populations, the rate of formation of adaptive mutations is outstripped by the formation of deleterious ones resulting in a decline in fitness of the population. These conclusions are completely consistent with the creationary position that microevolution involves no net gain in CSI. Indeed, observation (2) suggests that the new adaptive mutants either were initially present or resulted from genetic programming in the initial population; chance is not a good explanation here. Notice that even after thousands of generations, as noted in observation (3), the microorganisms were still the same microorganisms; no macroevolutionary changes were observed.

There is evidence that organisms can rapidly change in phenotype to increase adaptation to a particular environment. Some changes have been observed that were so rapid that chance mutations cannot account for the adaptations-mutation (mutation rate was slower than changes in phenotype). Rapid adaptation can happen, however, if the organism is preprogrammed to turn on and off regulatory genes in response to environmental stimuli. For example, evidence that adaptive changes can be preprogrammed into the genome comes from experiments with guppies. 44  Two strains of guppies had different gestational patterns and predators. One strain of guppy matured late and had relatively few offspring. Its predator sought young guppies. The second strain matured early and had relatively many offspring. Its predator preferred mature guppies. The second strain was moved to an environment lacking the first strain and where the predator preferring young guppies resided. After just two years, only the first strain of guppies could be found. This rate of change suggests the adaptation was built in and not a result of the random mutation - natural selection mechanism. Hence, no new information was generated with the adaptation.

Evolutionist Richard Dawkins claims that the observable processes of gene duplication (where a daughter cell ends up with two copies of the DNA) and polyploidy (where chromosomes replicate without cell division) create new genetic information. 45  However, having two copies of DNA, like having two copies of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, does not amount to having twice as much information. Information must be novel and complex to qualify as "new." But what if one of the duplicate genes continues to function as always (expressed in the phenotype) while the other is free to mutate without being sifted by natural selection? Will the freely mutating gene eventually acquire novel complex specified information and then become active? Not likely. Recent experimental research has shown that the likelihood of randomly mutating DNA sequences finding a meaningful arrangement is exceedingly small. For example, the probability of randomly generating the correct DNA code is 1 in 1065 for a protein with 100 amino acids and 1 in 1077 for a protein with 150 amino acids. 46

Evolutionists had long held that non-protein coding DNA was the remnant of a random, unguided evolutionary process. Indeed, why would a creator make so much useless, nonsense DNA, they reasoned. Evidence is now mounting, however, that suggests "junk DNA" does have function after all. 47 ,48 ,49 ,50  Several functions of non-coding DNA are now known. Untranslated portions of mRNA serve as sites of attachment to ribosomes. Organisms with an increased genome size usually develop more slowly. Some species of salamanders with a larger than usual genome (containing more non-coding DNA) are better able to survive in cold environments due to a reduced metabolic rate. Introns (non protein coding DNA) apparently facilitate gene regulation and organization. Introns may guide the folding of DNA in the nucleus, thereby ordering gene expression (creating an index) and hence development of an organism. Some introns catalyze their own removal during the RNA transcription process, revealing a level of complexity previously unappreciated. Some introns are now thought to code for RNA that plays a role in ribosome production and regulation. Non-coding DNA may signal the expression of some genes and the repression of others. The length of the untranslated portion of mRNA can determine the RNA cytoplasmic half-life (how well it binds to the ribosome) and thus its rate of expression into proteins. Non-coding DNA on the ends of chromosomes help maintain integrity of the chromosomes and thereby perpetuate cell lines. Some non-coding DNA repairs breaks in broken DNA. There is evidence that some non-coding DNA sequences may help bacteria to adapt to otherwise lethal changes in their environment. Non-coding DNA may also be the genetic material used for microevolutionary changes. This would help explain how some organisms can have significant changes to their phenotype in a few generations, much faster than a mutation/selection mechanism could operate even if beneficial mutations were highly probable. The more we learn, the more DNA appears to be the product of design and not random processes.

Examples of Intelligent Design in Biology

Origin of Life

Next we discuss the origin of life or abiogenesis. It is well known that probability calculations give essentially no chance that specific proteins or nucleic acids of modest molecular weight could have formed by chance and natural processes, even over billions of years. Worse still, by standard geological dating there was at most only a few hundred million years available for the first life to evolve. We now know from geochemistry and experiment that the early earth did not have the correct environment to facilitate the production of amino acids, one of the basic building blocks of all life. But even if conditions had been right or if tons of amino acids had been delivered to the earth via comet bombardment, there would have still been many problems: the concentration problem - the (the primordial soup would have been too dilute to produce polymers), the chirality problem (only one of two possible three dimensional structures of amino acids are found in life, but both are formed in equal amounts in all known chemical processes outside of biology), the problem of side reactions (the same reactions that make amino acids and proteins also make unwanted amino acids and proteins), the oxygen problem (with oxygen, ozone forms and the UV light required to promote the reactions for formation of amino acids is blocked; without oxygen, the UV light which helps make the building blocks also destroys them), the hydrolysis problem (proteins are cleaved by water to their constituent amino acids), and the information problem, that is, what was the mechanism for arranging amino acids together to form biochemically meaningful proteins. To be sure, evolutionists continue to hold out hope they will find a naturalistic mechanism for the origin of life, but there is little cause for optimism given our current knowledge. In addition, no life has been found on Mars, on Saturn's moon Titan, or by SETI. Most of the planets found around other stars have been gas giants. Belief in abiogenesis is definitely faith based, as there is no scientific evidence to support it. At present, all the evidence suggests that the missing piece of the puzzle is intelligence, the one ingredient naturalism cannot admit.

Abiogenesis may be defined as the natural and spontaneous formation of self-replicating chemical systems (life) from organic (carbon containing) compounds. Clearly, the first step of abiogenesis must be the generation of the organic compounds, the monomers (amino acids) which could combine into polymers (proteins) or macromolecules. How could these compounds have formed on the primitive earth? In the 1950s, Stanley Miller, assuming that the early earth had a reducing (oxygen-free/hydrogen-rich) atmosphere (similar in composition to the current atmospheres of the gas giants of our solar system which contain ammonia, hydrogen, methane, and water vapor), found that amino acids, the building blocks of proteins and enzymes, and other organic chemicals were generated when an electric current ("lightning") was passed through the alleged primordial gas mixture. The results of Miller's work were heralded as proof that the building blocks of life could have occurred naturally and that a critical piece of the puzzle of abiogenesis had been solved. The assumption that the early atmosphere was reducing was critical, however, since the presence of oxygen would inhibit the synthesis. Most geochemists now believe that the early earth's atmosphere was either neutral (containing carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen derived from volcanoes) or even oxidizing. 51  Subsequent experiments have shown that electricity passed through a neutral gas mixture does not generate amino acids. Moreover, it is now recognized that any traces of hydrogen present in the early atmosphere would have been quickly lost to space. 52  In addition, water vapor would have quickly formed oxygen and hydrogen in the upper atmosphere as a result of photochemical processes; the hydrogen would have been lost and the oxygen would have inhibited any synthesis. Carbon dioxide is not reduced to methane without hydrogen, and methane is essential to the synthesis of amino acids. If methane had been present in the early atmosphere, the most ancient rocks would contain a variety of organic compounds, but they do not. Evolutionary geologists have shown that rocks "dated" at 3.7 billion years of age contain evidence of free oxygen in the early atmosphere. According to evolutionist Iris Fry, evidence now exists that life was present on the earth as far back as 3.85 billion years ago at about the time the last meteor bombardments of the earth, capable of vaporizing oceans and destroying delicate organic molecules, allegedly took place. 53  Hence, the best available evidence says that the atmosphere of the early earth was probably oxidizing and that only a mere few hundred million years at most were available for abiogenesis. These facts are problematic for abiogenesis, which would require a reducing atmosphere and enormous amounts of time. 54

There is also the chirality problem. Amino acids have specific three dimensional structures necessary for their use in organisms. Most amino acids possess a property called chirality or handedness (Figure 3).

Image
Figure 3

The solid black wedge indicates the bond is coming out of the page towards you, while the dashed wedge means the bond is beneath the page. The "G" stands for any of a number of possible chemical groups.

Consider your hands. Hold your hands out, palms up. Notice that your hands are identical in almost every way except one: they are non-superimposable mirror images. 55  Most amino acids also possess this property. It turns out that in biology, only "left-handed" amino acids are found in proteins. Amino acids synthesized in the laboratory always come in equal amounts of the left- and right-handed versions. The problem this situation poses for theories of the origin of life is to find a natural process outside of biochemistry that produces exclusively left-handed amino acids. So far, no satisfactory answer has been found.

Life probably would not have evolved from non-living chemicals even if the early earth had had a reducing atmosphere and billions of years were involved. There are 20 amino acids found in proteins. In proteins, these amino acids are bound together in sequences much like words in a sentence. As in human language, only specific sequences are useful; all others are gibberish. Charles Thaxton and Walter Bradley carefully calculated the probability of forming a specific protein containing 101 amino acids in 5 billion years assuming the earth was covered by a layer of protein molecules (containing only left-handed amino acids) one meter thick and that each protein could rearrange its amino acid sequence 1014 times per second. 56  The probability is 10-45 or, in other words, impossible, and that's granting generous initial conditions! And that is just the likelihood of forming one protein. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life. 57  The simplest cells known have hundreds of proteins. Recent estimates for the minimum cell are 1,500 gene products and 250 proteins, and that's for a parasitic organism. 58

Fry and other evolutionists admit that the emergence of life by chance is unlikely and instead believe that natural laws plus the right conditions are capable of generating the complex information in biomolecules. 59  However, William Dembski, as previously discussed, has demonstrated that neither natural laws, chance, nor a combination of both (stochastic processes) can create new information but can at best translate information from one form into another. 60  Any complex specified information resulting from a natural process must have been present to begin with, either in the original information containing item or the natural process itself. This situation, of course, still raises the question of how the information was introduced in the first place.

Abiogenesis on earth did not have much going for it. The early atmosphere was not reducing as required, the time available was only a few hundred million years according to conventional dating, the probability against making even one complex biomolecule is staggering even under the most favorable conditions over billions of years, and natural law and chance can't create new information. As evolutionist Iris Fry explains:

"Contrary to the outdated image of the scientific enterprise as a search for and collection of facts, the realization that many non-empirical factors are involved in determining scientific positions and in the adoption of scientific theories leads to the notion of theoretical and philosophical decision, or commitment. Research into the origin of life and the search for extraterrestrial life are a clear case in point, because here the weight of the philosophical commitment is much greater than in more conventional scientific fields. As long as no empirical evidence of life beyond Earth has been found, and as long as no scientific theory has succeeded in providing a fully convincing account of the emergence of life on Earth, the adoption of an evolutionary point of view toward the question of life's origin and the rejection of the idea of purposeful design involve a very strong philosophical commitment." 59

This situation has lead some evolutionists to believe in panspermia, the theory that life on earth came from an extraterrestrial origin. Indeed, Francis Crick, Nobel Prize winner and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, has suggested this possibility. 61  This solution, of course, does not explain from where the first life originated.

Mutations are the grist for natural selection's mill. However, mutations are rare, most are harmful, the few beneficial mutations usually come at a cost, and none are known to generate new information. For macroevolution, genetic mutations expressed early in embryological development are needed for the generation of new body plans. However, these mutations are usually lethal. Mutations that are expressed late in ontogeny have little effect on body plans and hence would not drive macroevolution. Mutation rates are slow. The cell is equipped with molecular machinery that corrects errors (mutations). Large populations take longer to fix mutations than small populations, but mutations in small populations can be very harmful. A lone mutant has a better chance of survival in a small population, but small populations have greater chance of being wiped out. Also, there is less chance that a mutant will show up in a small population. Overall, there is a greater chance that a positive mutant will appear and survive in a large population. Some adaptive mutants are already in a population and are selected when the need arises. Single mutations can only add one bit of information. Large adaptive changes arising quickly (from one mutation) would be the result of activation of dormant genes, not addition of new information. For macroevolution to work, each mutation must add a little information to the genome, and there must be many positive mutations for one to survive. There are no known adaptive point mutations that add information. Some say that genetic rearrangements (recombinations) are the source of new beneficial mutations. However, recombinations, a normal cell activity, are complex and specific, not random or accidental, and can't help macroevolution. 62

Alleged Evidence for Biological Evolution

There are several examples usually given in biology textbooks and articles in support of evolution. Molecular biologist Jonathan Wells has reviewed several of these "icons" in his book Icons of Evolution. 63  The icons include the Miller-Urey experiments, Darwin's tree of life, Darwin's finches, peppered moths, homology, fruit fly experiments, Haekel's embryos, Archaeopteryx, and the horse series. Additional evidences often cited include evolutionary algorithms, the whale series, "junk" DNA, and vestigial organs.

The Miller-Urey experiments (origin of life experiments assuming a reducing atmosphere), evolutionary algorithms, and "junk" DNA have already been discussed.

Darwin's tree of life refers to the pattern of nested hierarchies expected from descent with modification from a common ancestor. Assuming life began as a single cell, evolution would gradually introduce slightly different varieties of cells as the forces of mutation and natural selection played out over billions of years. Isolated populations would evolve differently in different environments. Over time, the differences between cell lines would grow. Eventually different cells would learn how to function symbiotically, eventually leading to cell specialization and multicellular life. In time the varieties of multicellular life branched out into the plant and animal kingdoms we know today (Figure 4).

Image
Figure 4

One would therefore expect to see a tree pattern in the fossil record with the roots on the bottom and the branches on top. The bottom of the fossil record should contain few but closely related and similar life forms. Higher up in the record, the morphological (structural) and biochemical differences should increase. There should be a continuum of intermediate forms showing the gradual introduction of adaptive innovations. One would not expect that fossil organisms from millions of years ago would have descendants alive now that are essentially unchanged.

Contrast those predictions with the "Cambrian explosion" in the fossil record:

The "Cambrian explosion" refers to the geologically sudden appearance of many new animal body plans [phyla] about 530 million years ago. At this time, at least nineteen, and perhaps as many as thirty-five, phyla of forty total made their first appearance on earth within a narrow five- to ten-million-year window of geologic time. Many new subphyla, between 32 and 48 of 56 total, and classes of animals also arose at this time with representatives of these new higher taxa manifesting significant morphological innovations. The Cambrian explosion thus marked a major episode of morphogenesis in which many new and disparate organismal forms arose in a geologically brief period of time.

To say that the fauna of the Cambrian period appeared in a geologically sudden manner also implies the absence of clear transitional intermediate forms connecting Cambrian animals with simpler preCambrian forms. And, indeed, in almost all cases, the Cambrian animals have no clear morphological antecedents in earlier Vendian or Precambrian fauna. Further, several recent discoveries and analyses suggest that these morphological gaps may not be merely an artifact of incomplete sampling of the fossil record, suggesting that the fossil record is at least approximately reliable. 64

Thus the "tree of life" is actually upside down and for this reason has been referred to as the "inverted cone of diversity." Most of the body plans (phyla) of organisms appear early in the fossil record at essentially the same time and without precursors. The Precambrian has been adequately explored so any lack of fossil precursors is not attributable to sampling. Some of the greatest differences found between organisms today appeared from the start. There are fewer phyla now than in the past - some are now extinct. The generation of the vast amounts of information required for the various new body plans, cell types, proteins, and tissue/organ types in a short period of time is beyond the reach of random mutations. In addition, DNA mutation rates are too slow to generate the amount of change in the Cambrian. Some say that molecular studies suggest that many Cambrian organisms evolved much earlier in the Precambrian over long periods of time, but the fossil evidence does not support this position. Intelligent design is a reasonable explanation for the Cambrian explosion. 65

Molecular evidence for the tree of life is mixed. Scientists compare amino acid sequences of a given protein found in a variety of species. Similar amino acid sequences presumably indicate a recent common ancestor. Such comparisons of molecules can produce evolutionary trees that are the same as those based on morphology (outward body plans). However, different proteins can yield different trees that differ from each other and the morphology data. One way evolutionists rationalize these differences is horizontal gene transfer (HGT: some cells are able to exchange or transfer genetic material among themselves):

The 20-odd aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases [a class of protein enzymes that synthesize compounds] have obviously been intensely involved in HGTs [horizontal gene transfer]. Roughly, a third of them yield trees that do not exhibit the above-described canonical pattern [expected Darwinian evolutionary tree]. The other two-thirds also break with canonical pattern to one extent or another, but that pattern, albeit eroded, is still evident. Tellingly, this canonical pattern is seen for synthetases that are specifically related to one another, the valine and isoleucine synthetases, for example. Both of these enzymes demonstrate (highly eroded) canonical pattern but differ completely in how they have violated that pattern. The only reasonable explanation here is that the canonical pattern predates the evident HGT that the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases have undergone, and HGT has failed to erase it completely.

Because all have been subject to widespread HGT, and because they are all functionally of a kind, the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases as a group provide an especially convincing argument that there exists a genetic trace of our descent from some kind of common ancestral condition. Yet a new realization comes with this finding: although organisms do have a genealogy-defining core of genes whose common history dates back to the root of the universal tree, that core is very small. Our classically motivated notion had been that the genealogy of an organism is reflected in the common history of the majority of its genes. What does it mean, then, to speak of an organismal genealogy when nearly all of the genes in the cell - genes that give it its general character - do not share a common history? This question again goes beyond the classical Darwinian context. 66

In other words, most of the molecular data do not support common ancestry for these cells. Another plausible explanation is that these cells were designed independently without common ancestry. In that case, no tree pattern from comparison of the amino acid sequences of the proteins of various cell types is necessarily expected. The only reason to assume they are related is evolutionary theory, but that is what the data is supposed to demonstrate.

The fossil record has many examples of creatures that seem to be the same now as millions of years ago. These "living fossils" are a problem for evolution, which predicts that organisms should be constantly changing over geologic time.

Examples include the coelacanth fish (fossil coelacanths are believed by evolutionists to be 340 million years old), Gingko trees (125 million years), crocodiles (140 million years), horseshoe crabs (200 million years), the Lingula lamp shell (450 million years), Neopilina mollusks (500 million years), and the tuatara lizard (200 million years)." 67

Evolutionists have offered various explanations for living fossils including habitat stability, generalist adaptation to many habitats (e.g., the cockroach), long generation time making evolution slow, changes occurred but were not preserved in the fossils, and so on. A simpler and more reasonable explanation could be that little change has been observed because no new information has been added by the intelligent designer that made them in the first place.

There is a type of evolution called convergent evolution, which involves the same characters (body parts) developing in disparate organisms with presumably very different evolutionary histories. If adaptations are accidental, then convergent evolution suggests (against all probability) that the same accident can happen more than once. For example, the eyes of humans and the octopus are very similar. The genes that code for the respective eyes have many similarities, presumably due to a common (unidentified) ancestor that possessed many of the common genes. 68  Echolocation is the sonar used for navigation by bats, whales, and dolphins. The eye and echolocation are highly complex adaptations. It seems doubtful a random process could evolve these structures multiple times over evolutionary history. However, the occurrence of the same structures in otherwise very different organisms would be expected from an intelligent designer, much in the same way programmers use the same code for similar tasks in otherwise different software.

Similar structures in organisms are assumed (by definition) to indicate common evolutionary ancestry. Such similar structures are said to be homologous. (This contrasts with characters arising from convergent evolution where similar structures are said to be analogous.) However, there are reasons to question the alleged common ancestry. Homologous features often arise from dissimilar developmental pathways at the embryonic or larval stage in mode of formation, or in the position of formation, or in both. Consider the following quotes:

"The fact is that correspondence between homologous structures cannot be pressed back to similarity of position of the cells of the embryo, or of parts of the egg out of which the structures are ultimately composed, or of developmental mechanisms by which they are formed." 69

Gavin de Beer (1960s)

"Homologous structures form from distinctly dissimilar initial states." 70

Pere Alberch (1985)

"Homologous features in two related organisms should arise by similar developmental processes... . . . [but] features that we regard as homologous from morphological [structural] and phylogenetic [alleged evolutionary ancestry] criteria can arise in different ways in development." 70

Rudolf Raff (1999)

For example, for salamanders the order of digit development is head to tail, the opposite of most other vertebrates (tail to head). The development of skeletal patterns involves the formation of cartilage first that then turns into bone. There is no evidence of a common ancestral cartilage pattern; all organisms have a unique cartilage structure from the beginning.

If neo-Darwinism is true, then homologous structures in different organisms should come from similar genes. However...

"This is where the greatest shock of all is encountered...[because] characters controlled by identical genes are not necessarily homologous...[and] homologous structures need not be controlled by identical genes." "[Therefore] ...the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor...cannot be ascribed to identity of genes." 71

Gavin de Beer (1971)

Hence developmental pathways (position and mode of formation) of homologous structures (in embryos) may differ. Development of homologous structures is not always controlled by identical genes. Identical genes don't always control the development of homologous structures. Therefore similarity of structures is not a reliable indicator for descent with modification from a common ancestor.

Darwinian evolution is supposed to be a gradual process over millions of years. The fossil record, however, does not show the expected smooth transitions. There are systematic gaps between all major taxa. Stasis and extinction are the hallmark of the record, with few if any true intermediate forms. The late Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould said that the rarity of transitional forms was the "trade secret of paleontology." 72  Gould proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium to help account for this disparity. According to punctuated equilibrium, evolution occurs in rapid spurts brought on by rapid changes in the environment. The transition period between species is so short (geologically speaking) that the intermediate forms leave few fossils. So, although the intermediates did exist, we can't find them. But this theory raises other issues such as the requirement that many positive complimentary mutations would have to occur in a short time period, a highly unlikely event.

Observation of the finches of the Galapagos Islands, the place it is said Darwin found his inspiration for his book the Origin of Species, has provided strong evidence for the operation of natural selection. During times of drought, finches with long beaks dominate the finch population more than when rainfall is normal. Birds with long beaks are able to break into thick, tough and dry seeds to obtain food, while birds with short beaks are less able. Natural selection influences which finches are most likely to survive and reproduce. This is a clear example of microevolution. However, when normal rainfall returns, the population again has a large segment of birds with small beaks because the moist seeds are easier to break open. So, while an excellent example of natural selection and microevolution, Darwin's finches do nothing to substantiate molecules-to-man macroevolution. They show that microevolution is reversible. Natural selection does not account for the origin of finches with long and short beaks, just the relative amounts of these birds in the population.

During the industrial revolution in England, the bark of some trees that had been covered with a light colored lichen darkened from absorbed soot. Peppered moths lived in the trees. These moths occurred in light and dark varieties. The lighter variety dominated until the industrial revolution. As the lichen cover was lost and tree bark darkened, the darker moth began to dominate. This phenomenon was held up as an excellent example of natural selection. Pictures in textbooks showed the moths resting on tree trunks. The theory was that predators (birds) ate the most visible moth leaving the other to thrive. Both forms have always existed, just in different ratios; there is no evidence that one form evolved from the other.

In turns out that moths in the wild don't rest on tree trunks but in the upper canopy. Textbook photographs were staged. Investigators used dead moths or placed living moths on the tree trunks. Results of experiments where living moths were released directly on the tree trunks seemed to support theory, but were unrealistic. Moths are night flyers and dormant during daylight hours. Moths released on tree trunks remained in place. Darker moths did not replace the lighter variety in all polluted areas. The darker variety dominated in some unpolluted areas. In areas where pollution decreased, the lighter variety returned before the lichens. Other factors besides camouflage were involved. There was some correlation between the darker variety and sulfur dioxide levels. At present the causal factors for the lighter/darker moth population ratios are not well understood. Hence, peppered moths are no longer a clear example of natural selection.

Some biology textbooks provide drawings by Ernst Haeckel, a contemporary of Darwin, of various vertebrate embryos. 73  The embryos appear very similar at an early stage, presumably demonstrating common ancestry. However, Haeckel faked his drawings. Evolution predicts that the earliest stages of embryonic development between related organisms should be most similar, but instead an intermediate stage is where greatest similarity occurs. Embryos of different organisms can be distinguished from the start. The idea that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, that embryonic development replays the evolutionary history of the organism, is thus not supported by the evidence. Embryos develop in unique ways from the start. They don't develop through adult forms of ancestors. "Gill slits" in human embryos eventually become parts of the ear and have nothing in common with fish gills.

There have been many mutation experiments with fruit flies. One artificial mutant was a four-winged fruit fly not seen in nature. These mutants are claimed to demonstrate that genetic mutations are the engine of evolutionary change. However, no new information was generated. In the four-winged flies, a regulatory gene that controls wing growth is turned off. The second pair of wings was non-functional, actually impaired flight and mating, and had no survival value. Thus the four-winged flies were cripples. Experiments in which multiple mutants have been formed in the lab have never resulted in one case of a fly better able to survive in the wild. Mutant fruit flies don't help make the case for macroevolution. 74

Examples in Cosmology and Physics

The physical universe outside of biology also shows evidence for intelligent design. 75 ,76 ,77 ,78  There is evidence that the universe had a beginning; that the laws of physics are fine-tuned for life as we know it; that the earth, moon, our solar system, our star, and our location in the Milky Way suggest intelligent design.

The first and second laws of thermodynamics tell us that the amount of matter-energy in the universe is a constant and that the amount of useful energy is irreversibly decreasing. Taken together, these laws predict the universe will eventually die a "heat death" where there will be no useful energy. Since the universe still has plenty of useful energy, these laws require that the universe has a finite age, or in other words, a beginning. Additional evidence for the finite age of the universe comes from astronomy. Edwin Hubble measured the frequencies of light coming from other galaxies. The light from stars bears the fingerprints of the elements in the star's atmosphere. Each element gives unique spectra related to the electronic energy levels of the atom. What Hubble found was that the light from most galaxies had spectra of elements like nearby stars, but the frequencies of light were systematically changed. Hubble eventually realized that the changes in the frequencies of light from other galaxies were a measure of the galaxies' motion relative to the earth. Most galaxies' light was red-shifted (had longer wavelengths), meaning that the galaxies were moving away from us. We now know that measurements of this type allow us to determine the velocity of and distances to galaxies. This evidence and more recent observations suggest that the universe is expanding and that the expansion is accelerating. Running the expansion in reverse (backwards in time) leads one to conclude that the matter of the known universe was at the same place at some time in the past. Physicists believe that the matter was compacted into a small volume with unimaginable temperature, gravity, and density. This was the alleged seed of the Big Bang. After a certain density, our best theories break down and time seems to stop. The universe becomes a singularity, a cosmological black box, the physics of which are not understood. These results also suggest the universe had a beginning. At present, we know of no natural processes that can explain the origins of matter-energy and time. These facts, taken together, require that the universe had a beginning and therefore a cause that existed before (independent of) time and the universe itself. The God of the Bible is a logical possibility.

To be sure, scientists are doing research to try to find a natural cause of the universe, a theory that gets around the laws of thermodynamics and allows for an eternal universe without need of a creator. String Theory is one such proposal. String theory is an attempt to unify quantum mechanics (physics of the subatomic realm) and relativity (our best theory of gravity) to produce a quantum theory of gravity. It is believed that such a theory would be able to see into the black box of the singularity and give a complete description of the origin and fate of the universe. Some believe, for example, that time does not stop in a singularity but only changes direction. Stephen Hawkins refers to what he calls "imaginary time" dominating when normal time stops. It will take many years to fully develop string theory. Some scientists question whether it will be testable. At present, string theory predicts that all subatomic particles and fundamental forces are derived from tiny strings of energy. Physicists have used atom smashers to probe the atom. However, it is estimated that the atom smasher needed to detect strings would be the size of our galaxy. Another prediction is that there are an infinite number of parallel universes, each with its own unique physical laws and history. In such a scenario, the improbable becomes inevitable, just the odds evolution needs to succeed. How could we test for the existence of a parallel universe? No one knows. For now at least, string theory is closer to metaphysics than testable science. But even if string theory is eventually supported by some observations, this will not require that the whole package is true. Just because the universe may have properties consistent with string theory won't prove that history was shaped by string theory.

We live in a universe dominated by matter without evidence for antimatter. Why is there an excess of matter over antimatter? Matter is made of elements that have a positively charged nucleus (protons and neutrons) surrounded by negatively charged electrons. Antimatter has elements with a negatively charged nucleus (anti-protons and anti-neutrons) surrounded by positively charged positrons. Antimatter has been made in the laboratory. Antimatter and matter convert to energy when combined; the energy can be transformed back into matter and antimatter - both processes have been observed. Whenever energy is converted to matter, there is also an equal amount of antimatter formed. What process in the early universe could have caused matter to be preferentially formed? Again, the God of the Bible is a logical possibility.

Why are the four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, the weak and strong nuclear forces) finely tuned so that human life can exist? If these forces were only varied slightly, stars would burn differently (too hot or too cold), the chemical properties of the elements would be different; indeed, the periodic table of the elements would be different. Organic chemistry would change and therefore life as we know it would be impossible. There are no easy naturalistic explanations for these questions. A finely tuned universe that had a beginning suggests an intelligent cause.

More fine tuning is evident in the earth's distance from the sun (we live in a narrow habitable zone of solar heat), the type of star the sun is (burns with the needed heat and light), the earth's molten iron-nickel core and the resulting magnetic field (which protects us from the solar wind [lethal ionizing radiation]), the size of the moon (which stabilizes the earth's climate by maintaining the tilt of the earth's axis and allows for perfect solar eclipses which facilitated confirmation of Einstein's theory of relativity and study of the sun's atmosphere), earth's position in the Milky Way (which is relatively safe from supernovae and radiation compared to the galactic core and facilitates study of extragalactic phenomena), the presence of Jupiter (which protects the inner solar system from comets), the composition of the earth's atmosphere (ozone from oxygen protects us from UV light and it is transparent), and the properties of water (its high heat capacity helps maintain the earth's climate and its solvent properties are ideal for biochemistry). All these facts taken together strongly suggest design with a purpose rather than mere coincidence and chance.

Criticism of ID

The ID movement has many critics, both evolutionist and creationist. Evolutionists claim ID is stealth religion, is not testable, will harm science, is an argument from ignorance, does not make predictions, and so forth. They also claim that imperfection in nature proves God could not be the creator. They complain that ID proponents do not publish in mainstream peer reviewed scientific journals.

As discussed, ID is founded on scientific principles and observations and makes logical inferences to the best explanations. The explanatory filter makes detection of design empirical and hence scientific. Theism had a primary role in nurturing science's investigation of the universe. Belief in God led to the assumption that the universe must be a rational and understandable place with laws governing most of its activity. The Big Bang theory (implies the universe had a beginning) and the fine-tuning of the universe have raised the possibility of design. Cosmologists like Stephen Hawkins have often included God in their discussions. Scientists are still trying to overcome these design implications. Hence, scientists won't stop looking for natural causes to the origin of species if design is an acknowledged possibility in biology. Design won't hurt science; science owes its existence to design!

Applying reverse engineering principles (assuming design) over the last 50 years in molecular biology has been responsible for the breakthroughs in the understanding of molecular machines. 79  The claim of design for a given irreducibly complex biological system can be falsified by experimentally demonstrating the existence of functional precursor systems. ID would also be falsified by finding natural processes that can generate CSI.

ID is not an argument from ignorance but is the best inference based on what we do know. The Law of Conservation of Information, the laws of probability, and experimental results do not support the mutation/selection mechanism for generation of CSI. On the other hand, we have evidence that intelligent causes (ourselves) can generate CSI. The burden of proof should be on evolution to show that a mindless random process can generate the information equivalent of an encyclopedia. The inference to intelligent causation in biology is the best available explanation given our current state of knowledge.

The argument that there is imperfection in nature, and that this disproves God made the world, is faulty on several counts. First, this is a theological argument and has no bearing on the scientific claims of ID. Strictly speaking, ID only claims that intelligent causes are required to explain the CSI found in the biological world and does not say anything else about the designer. Second, it is presumptuous to claim we know what would be a better design when we don't have an exhaustive knowledge of the objects in question. ID theorists speak of constrained optimization of several variables to describe designed systems in biology. This means that each component of an organism is optimally designed to function in concert with all the other components. Third, creationists would say we do not know the entire impact the Fall may have had on the biological world; we do know that physical death and prey/predator relationships were introduced at that time. We don't know what damage may have been done to genomes of various organisms at the Fall or over time.

The charge that ID proponents don't publish in the scientific literature is simply false. Drs. Behe, Dembski, Wells, Meyer, and Minnich all have considerable publication records in the scientific literature. 80  However, there is ample evidence that attempts to publish anything explicitly supporting ID can face unfair, even irrational bias. 81

Creationists have complained that ID is fine as far as it goes but that it falls short of bringing people to the gospel. 82  For the Christian, ID is a tool for evangelism and not an end in itself. Christian ID proponents see their task as bringing theism back into respectable discourse, paving the way for the church at large to do evangelism.

ID, Public Schools, and the Law: The Dover Case

The ID movement fell on hard legal times recently in Dover, Pennsylvania. 83  The Dover school board wanted a brief statement to be read to ninth grade biology classes at the beginning of each semester. The statement basically said that evolution is a theory, not a fact and that intelligent design is an alternative scientific view. There were otherwise no plans to change the pro-evolution curriculum. Some parents complained, and a lawsuit was filed. Many friends and foes of ID were invited to testify at trial or to provide expert opinion. The judge, in his 139 page opinion, claimed that ID was motivated by religion, not science, and if mentioned in schools would have the effect of promoting religion in violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause. He further claimed that ID was not science but was an offshoot of fundamentalist creation science, contrary to both creationists and ID proponents. The judge bought into the idea that Darwinian evolution is religiously neutral. The Catholic church's support of evolution has nurtured this view. The Discovery Institute, flagship organization for the ID movement, has recently published a book on the trial. 84  Discovery says that while they support the teaching of the evidence for and against evolutionary theory, they have not advocated the explicit teaching of ID in public schools; hence Discovery did not fully support the actions of the Dover school board.

The long-term effects of the decision are uncertain. ID leader Philip Johnson is pessimistic about the chances of ID finding its way into public schools anytime soon. 85  He thinks that Christians should instead focus their efforts on teaching the next generation about creation at home and in the church. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times suggests this approach may hold some promise. 86  As stated at the beginning of this essay, polls show that most Americans support the teaching of intelligent design despite the best efforts of evolutionists to control the schools.

Conclusion

In summary, design in nature is now empirically detectable as complex specified information (CSI) by the contingency, complexity, specification criteria where the complexity of an object or an event equals or exceeds 500 bits of information. Neither chance, law, or stochastic processes are able to generate new CSI. Evolutionary algorithms can shuffle information around but cannot generate new CSI. The Law of Conservation of Information requires that the information content of a closed system remain the same or decrease with time. Irreducibly complex biological systems could not have evolved since any precursor would have been non-functional and hence not selected. The evolutionary theory of co-optation of pre-existing parts to build novel structures fails to account for the evolution of the systems required to assemble the parts into the new structure. There are no known examples of microevolutionary adaptations that involve an increase in CSI, but there are examples where the CSI decreased; there is therefore no empirical justification for the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution. There is evidence that the phenotypes of organisms can change rapidly and these changes are triggered by environmental cues. The rate of these changes rule out random mutations as the cause but instead suggest the activation/deactivation of genes already present. Gene duplication is not the same as generating new CSI. So-called "junk DNA" increasingly appears to have function, negating the argument that DNA could not have been designed. Mutations are rare, most are harmful, and none are known to add information to the genome. The observed fine-tuning of physics is what we would expect if the universe were designed. Many of the alleged evidences for evolution don't support macroevolution. The best available evidence supports creation and intelligent design. The best way to reach the next generation with the creation message may be through families and the church, not the public schools.

  • 1The Harris Poll ® #52, July 6, 2005: Nearly Two-thirds of U.S. Adults Believe Human Beings Were Created by God, http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=5 81. Other polls have given similar results: 204 CBS Poll: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/22/opinion/polls/main657083.shtml
  • 2This item is available on the Apologetics Press website at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2875.
  • 3New Survey: Scientists "More Likely Than Ever to Reject God Belief" at http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm; http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
  • 4I am personally a supporter of young earth creation science and ID. Discussions in this essay involving millions and billions of years are made for argument's sake only.
  • 5Dembski, William A. (1999) Intelligent Design, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 152
  • 6Woodward, Thomas (2003) Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design, Baker Books, North Dartmouth, MA
  • 7Kuhn, Thomas (1970) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second Edition, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL
  • 8Ibid., 31
  • 9Denton, Michael (1986) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler & Adler Publishers, Inc., Chevy Chase, MD
  • 10Denton, Michael (1986) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler & Adler Publishers, Inc., Chevy Chase, MD
  • 11Lewontin, Richard (1997) Billions and Billions of Demons. New York Review of Books 44(1)
  • 12Dawkins, Richard (1986) The Blind Watchmaker, Harlow Longman, Essex
  • 13Johnson, Phillip E. (1993) Darwin on Trial, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL
  • 14Behe, Michael J. (1996) Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, The Free Press, New York, NY
  • 15Dembski also has master's degrees in statistics and theology and a BA in psychology.
  • 16http://www.discovery.org/csc/fellows.php
  • 17Dembski, William A. (1998) The Design Inference, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
  • 18Dembski, William A. (2001) No Free Lunch, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, MD
  • 19Thaxton, Charles B., Bradley Walter L., Olsen Roger L. (1984) The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library, New York, NY. The three most important chapters are available online at http://www.ldolphin.org/mystery/
  • 20http://www.discovery.org/csc/
  • 21Dembski, William A. (1999) Intelligent Design, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL
  • 22Dembski accepts old earth / old universe ages. This duration is from the big bang until the heat death of the universe, estimated to be about a million trillion years.
  • 23The explanatory filter used with the UCB is unlikely to give false positives but may give false negatives.
  • 24This is true because events caused exclusively by physical law have a 100% chance of happening (probability of 1). Thus the amount of new information generated through the operation of physical law alone is I=-log2(1)=0.
  • 25Dembski, William (2002) No Free Lunch, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 180-184
  • 26Ibid., chapter 4
  • 27Ibid., 196, 203-204
  • 28Denton (1986) 309-311
  • 29Meyer, Stephen C. (2004) Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2): 213-239. Available online at http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2177. This is the best article on the information problems for evolution I have seen.
  • 30Dembski (1999) 170
  • 31Yockey, Hurbert P. (1992) Information and Molecular Biology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 290-291
  • 32Behe, Michael J. (1996) Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, The Free Press, New York, NY
  • 33Dembski (2002) 285
  • 34Behe, 69-73
  • 35Author uknown (2002) Unlocking the Mystery of Life, Illustra Media, La Habra, CA
  • 36Minnich, Scott A., Meyer, Stephen C. (2004) Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits in Pathogenic Bacteria, Design and Nature II, Comparing Design in Nature with Science and Engineering WitPress, Southampton, Boston
  • 37Dembski (2002) 254-256
  • 38The RNA is read three letters at a time. Three letters constitute a codon for one amino acid.
  • 39Rana, F., Ross, H. (2004) Origins of Life, NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO, 115
  • 40Wells, Jonathan (2000) Icons of Evolution, Regnery Publishing Inc., Washington, DC
  • 41In the case of peppered moths it is likely that we don't understand the cause of the observed variations. See Wells for details.
  • 42Spetner, Lee (1998) Not By Chance, Judaica Press, Brooklyn, NY, 138-141.
  • 43Elena, Santiago F., Lenski, Richard E. (2003) Evolution Experiments with Microorganisms: The Dynamics and Genetic Bases of Adaptation, Nature Reviews: Genetics 4:457-469
  • 44Spetner, 205-206
  • 45Rosenhouse, Jason (2001) The Design Detectives. Skeptic 8(4): 60
  • 46Meyer, Stephen C. (2004) Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2): 213-239. Available online at http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2177. This is the best article on the information problems for evolution I have seen.
  • 47Standish, Timothy G. (2002) Rushing to Judgment: Functionality in Noncoding or "JUNK" DNA, Origins, 53:7-30. Available online at http://www.grisda.org/origins/53007.pdf
  • 48Sarfati, Jonathan (2002) Refuting Evolution 2, Answers in Genesis, Petersburg, KY, 122-125
  • 49Walkup, Linda K. (2000) Junk DNA. CEN Technical Journal 14(2): 18-30
  • 50Hirotsune S, Yoshida N, Chen A, Garrett L, Sugiyama F, Takahashi S, Yagami K, Wynshaw-Boris A, Yoshiki A. (2003) An expressed pseudogene regulates the messenger-RNA stability of its homologous coding gene. Nature 423(6935):91-96
  • 51Wells, Chapter 2
  • 52Various authors on multiple articles (1990) Geophysical Research Letters (23:14), 1865-1890
  • 53Fry, Iris (2000) The Emergence of Life on Earth, Rutgers University Press, Piscataway, NJ, 125
  • 54Despite the evidence against an early reducing atmosphere and the implications for abiogenesis, several recent publications still refer to the Miller-Urey experiment as demonstrating the chemistry of the early earth's atmosphere. Examples of these publications include the 1998 college text-book, Life: The Science of Biology by William Purves, Gordon Orians, Craig Heller, and David Sadava; the 1998 edition of Evolutionary Biology by Douglas Futuyma; the 1994 edition of Molecular Biology of the Cell by Bruce Alberts; and the 1999 National Academy of Sciences' booklet Science and Creationism. This information was taken from Wells.
  • 55This means that there is no way to align every point in each hand so that the hands would be indistinguishable.
  • 56Thaxton, 146
  • 57Koonin, E. (2000) How many genes can make a cell?: the minimal genome concept. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 1:99-116
  • 58Rana, 163
  • 59 a b Fry, 283
  • 60Dembski (1999), chapter 6
  • 61Behe, Michael Expert witness paper for the Dover ID Case: http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/behe.pdf. Crick's paper is exhibit 5 at the end of the report.
  • 62Spetner. This paragraph summarizes much of his book.
  • 63Wells. There is also an excellent video by Coldwater Media (www.coldwatermedia.com) entitled Icons of Evolution.
  • 64Meyer and references therein
  • 65Watch for a new video entitled The Cambrian Explosion from Illustra Media currently in production.
  • 66Woese, Carl R. (2002) On the Evolution of Cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99(13):8742 - 8747
  • 67Catchpoole, David (2000) Creation Ex Nihilo 22(2):56
  • 68Ogura, A., Ikeo K., and Gojobori T. (2004) Comparative analysis of gene expression for convergent evolution of camera eye between octopus and human Genome Research 14:1555-1561
  • 69Wells, 71
  • 70 a b Ibid,, 72
  • 71Ibid, 73
  • 72Gould, Stephen J. (1977) Evolution's erratic pace. Natural History 86:12-16
  • 73Wells, chapter 5
  • 74Ibid., chapter 9
  • 75The Privileged Planet, Illustra Media La Habra, CA (www.illustramedia.com)
  • 76Ward, Peter, Brownlee, Donald (2000) Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, Copernicus, New York, NY
  • 77Heeren, Fred (2004) Show Me God, What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God, Second Edition, Day Star Publications, Olathe, KS
  • 78Denton, Michael (1998) Nature's Destiny, The Free Press, New York, NY
  • 79Minnich, Scott Expert report for the Dover ID Trial, available at http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/minnich.pdf
  • 80See the expert reports for the Dover ID trial for publication lists for Behe, Dembski, and Minnich (http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/index.php?path=experts/). For Meyer see http://www.discovery.org/fellows/. For Wells and others see http://www.discovery.org/csc/.
  • 81See http://www.rsternberg.net/ for the story of what happened to a fair-minded evolutionist who allowed an ID paper to be published after favorable peer review!
  • 82Morris, Henry (2006) Intelligent Design and/or Scientific Creationism (#208) Back to Genesis, Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, http://www.icr.org/pdf/btg/btg-308.pdf
  • 83The complete court record including expert witness reports can be found at http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/
  • 84Dewolf, David K., West, John G., Luskin, Casey, Witt, Jonathan (2006) Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller V. Dover Decision, Discovery Institute, Seattle, WA
  • 85This comment was made by Mr. Johnson while filming a video on intelligent design in Raleigh, NC in 2006. The video will be released by the North Carolina Family Policy Council (http://www.ncfamily.org/).
  • 86http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-evolution31mar31%2C0%2C6635588.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines

How Old Is Humanity?

How Old Is Humanity?
TASC Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:03

By author

David Plaisted PhD

There are a number of evidences that the human race is very young. For example, in an article in Science, 1 the age of the human race is is estimated to be 1,000 to 10,000 generations:

"...1000 to 10,000 generations old, which is roughly the age of the human population,..."

Image
Figure 1

We review some evidence for the youth of the human race, including recent findings concerning mitochondrial DNA mutation rates that give even a much younger age than 1,000 generations.

Age estimates are obtained by observing differences between the DNA of different individuals and are calculated using estimates of mutation rates. Mitochondrial DNA is often used for this; it is separate from the bulk of the human DNA, which is found in the cell nucleus. Mitochondrial DNA has about 16,000 base pairs and mutates, apparently, much faster than the nuclear DNA. Human mitochondrial DNA has been completely mapped, and all the coding regions are known, and the proteins or RNA for which they code. Some of the mitochondrial DNA does not code for anything and is known as a control region. This region appears to mutate faster than any other region, because the variation among humans is greatest here.

Recently, mitochondrial DNA mutation rates were measured directly. 2  The mutation rate in a segment of the control region of mitochondrial DNA was directly measured by comparing mitochondrial DNA from siblings and from parents and their offspring. Mitochondrial DNA was found to mutate about 20 times faster than previously thought, at a rate of one mutation (substitution) every 33 generations, approximately. In this section of the control region, which has about 610 base pairs, humans typically differ from one another by about 18 mutations. By simple mathematics, it follows that the human race is about 300 generations old. If one assumes a typical generation is about 20 years, this gives an age of about 6000 years.

This calculation is done in the following way. Let us consider two randomly chosen human beings, assuming all human beings initially have identical mitochondrial DNA. After 33 generations, two such random humans will probably differ by two mutations, since there will be two separate lines of inheritance and probably one mutation along each line. After 66 generations, two randomly chosen humans will differ by about four mutations. After 100 generations, they will differ by about six mutations. After 300 generations, they will differ by about 18 mutations, which is about the observed value.

We see that the mathematics is extremely simple. However, this timetable would revolutionize the history of humanity from a scientific standpoint, so biologists attempt to explain away the data. They do this in the following way: They assume that in this control region, most of the mutations are harmful. This means that individuals having more mutations are more likely to die, so that among surviving individuals, the number of mutations increases more slowly.

However, this explanation is implausible for the following reasons. First, we know that the control region does not code for any protein or RNA, so it is unlikely that mutations there would be harmful. Second, the fact that there is a lot of variation between individuals in this region suggests that mutations there do not have a harmful effect. Finally, one study noted that humans evolve (that is, accumulate mutations) 1.8 times faster in the control region than in silent sites in the mitochondrial DNA. 3  Silent sites do not affect the amino acid coded for, and so they generally do not have much of an effect. The fact that the control region evolves 1.8 times faster (that is, mutations accumulate 1.8 times faster) indicates that the control region has even less of an influence than the silent sites, also making it unlikely that mutations in the control region are harmful. A similar result was found for ducks, in which the control region evolves 4.4 times faster than the mitochondrial DNA in general. 4  This is additional evidence that the control region is not constrained much and that mutations there are not very harmful.

Despite the sensational impact of this calculation on the chronology of the human race, we see that the most reasonable interpretation of the data is to assume that the human race is in fact about 6000 years old. It is possible that the mutation rate has changed to some extent throughout history, but it is hard to imagine this making much of a difference in the end result. Since mitochondria in all organisms are quite similar today, it is reasonable to infer that they were also similar in the past and had a similar mutation rate. Furthermore, because of the high intrinsic mutation rate of mitochondrial DNA, any environmental effect would be very small by comparison. Any environmental agent that would increase the mitochondrial DNA mutation rate by 10 percent would wreak havoc with the nuclear DNA because the nuclear mutation rate is so much smaller and the nuclear DNA is so much larger.

Another piece of data indicating a young humanity is the striking uniformity among human males in the Y chromosome. 5  This has been used to give an age estimate of about 40,000 years or less for the human race. 6  It is now known that mutations accumulate much faster in males than in females. This means that the Y chromosome will tend to mutate twice as fast as other chromosomes, since it is always in the male line, which might reduce this estimate of about 40,000 years to about 20,000 years. See Gibbons 7  for more recent discussion in which the author gives older ages. These older ages could be a result of a higher nuclear DNA mutation rate in the past, due to a higher intensity of radiation during the Flood. Such an increase in radiation would not have much effect on the mutation rate of mitochondrial DNA because it mutates so much faster.

Yet another piece of evidence is the tremendous uniformity found among humans in a 50 kb segment of an ALU region of the nuclear DNA. 8  Only one difference was found between humans in this region, also implying a very young age for the human race.

It will be interesting to see the results of similar studies on other organisms. Probably the only reason that the human race seems so young compared to other species is that it has been studied more. When mutation rates are measured for other species, probably revealing significantly greater rates than in humans, similar young ages will probably be obtained.

In fact, there is already some evidence in this direction, based also on mitochondrial DNA. Since mitochondria are similar in all organisms, it is reasonable to assume that mitochondrial DNA mutates at about the same rate in all organisms. Also, all organisms that are roughly the same size as humans should have roughly the same number of cell divisions per generation in the female line. For humans, this is 24 divisions. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that all organisms whose size is in the range mouse-to-elephant probably have about the same rate of mitochondrial DNA mutation per generation as humans. One biologist informed me that these assumptions are reasonable.

Now, in a portion of the control region that has about 600 base pairs, human mitochondrial DNA mutates about once every 33 generations. This translates to about one percent divergence between two random individuals every 100 generations. In another portion of the control region, humans appear to mutate a little slower, at about one percent every 150 generations. (This follows because typical humans differ by about 8 mutations in a region of about 400 base pairs that was used to study Neanderthal DNA. This amounts to a difference of about two percent.) Therefore, it is also reasonable to suggest that other species in the mouse-to-elephant range will diverge at about one percent every 100 to 150 generations in the mitochondrial DNA control region. In this regard, it is interesting to see what the typical differences are between individuals in different species. For example, in the control region, wolves and coyotes differ by about 7.5 percent. 9  By our previous calculations, it would take about 750 to 1000 generations to achieve this divergence. With a generation time of a few years, this would imply a separation time of a few thousand years ago. Wolves differ from each other by about two percent in the control region. 10  This implies an origin about 200-300 generations ago. With a few years generation time, this would be a thousand years or so ago. This low figure might be explained because the whole control region changes somewhat more slowly than the parts considered earlier. The same reference states that dogs also differ by about two percent, leading to a similar time of origin. Most dog species differ within themselves by about one percent, implying a more recent origin.

The mitochondrial DNA of seven species of diving ducks has been studied. 11  The control region divergence was less than 17 percent. This translates to 1700-2500 generations, which, at a few years per generation, is also in the several thousands of years range. Closely related species of birds have also been studied. 12  The difference in total mitochodrial DNA was about five percent or less. This probably translates to about 20 percent in the control region, and thus about 2000 to 3000 generations. With two or three years per generation, this again translates to a separation time of a few thousand years ago.

We can also obtain similar young ages for bacteria and Drosophila based on nuclear DNA mutation rates. The generation time for E. coli is about 20 minutes, or about 50 generations per day and 15,000 generations per year. In 6,000 years there would be about 100 million generations. The mutation rate per base pair per generation is about 10-9 in bacteria. 13  Thus in 100 million generations, there would be about a 10 percent change in the nonfunctional DNA and a 20 percent difference between two random individuals. The actual difference observed for E. coli is about 5 percent. 14  This low figure might be explained by a lower mutation rate and by the fact that a considerable portion of the bacterial DNA is functional.

For Drosophila, the generation time is about two weeks. This leads to 25 generations per year, and about 150,000 generations in 6,000 years. The mutation rate for Drosophila is about 2 x 10-8 per nucleotide per generation or even twice as high or more. 15  This rate may also be computed from the fact that Drosophila has about 20,000 genes, each gene has about 1,000 base pairs, and there appears to be about one slightly harmful mutation per zygote per generation in Drosophila. 16  In 150,000 generations, there would be a change of about 3 x 10-3 in nonfunctional DNA, and about a 0.6 percent difference between two random individuals. Since the mutation rate is likely twice as high, this difference could be as high as 1.2 percent. The observed value is about 1.5 percent. The increase could be due to a slightly higher mutation rate, a slightly smaller generation time, mutational hot-spots, differences at the Creation, or an origin slightly longer than 6,000 years ago.

This is undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg, and many similar results will undoubtedly soon be reported. We hope that these results will cause biologists to give more serious consideration to the possibility that the Biblical record of a recent creation is historically accurate.

  • 1Collins, F., Guyer M., Chakravarti A. (1997) Variations on a theme: human DNA sequence variation. Science 278:1580-1581
  • 2Parsons, T.J., Muniec D.S., Sullivan K., Woodyatt N., Alliston-Greiner R., Wilson M.R., Berry D.L., Holland K.A., Weedn V.W., Gill P., Holland M.M. (1997) A high observed substitution rate in the human mitochondrial DNA control region. Nat. Gen. 15:363-367
  • 3Horai, S., Hayasaka, K., Kondo, R., Tsugane, K., Takahata, N. (1995) Recent African origin of modern humans revealed by complete sequences of hominoid mitochondrial DNAs. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 92(2):532-536
  • 4Sorenson, M.D., Fleischer R.C. (1996) Multiple independent transpositions of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences to the nucleus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 93:15239-15243
  • 5Dorit, R.L., Akashi, H., Gilbert, W. (1995) Absence of polymorphism at the ZFY locus on the human Y chromosome. Science 268:1183-1185
  • 6Whitfield L.S., Sulston, J.E., Goodfellow P.N., (1995) Sequence variation of the human Y chromosome. Nature 378:379-380
  • 7Gibbons, A. (1997) Y chromosome shows that Adam was an African. Science 278(5339):804-805
  • 8Knight, A., Batzer, M.A., Stoneking, M., Tiwari, H.K., Scheer, W.D., Herrera, R.J., Deininger, P.L. (1996) DNA sequences of Alu elements indicate a recent replacement of the human autosomal genetic complement. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 93(9):4360-4364
  • 9Morell, V. (1997) The origin of dogs: running with the wolves. Science 276(5319):1647
  • 10Vila, C., Savolainen, P., Maldonado, J.E., Amorim, I. R., Rice, J.E., Honeycutt, R.L., Crandall, K.A., Lundeberg, J., Wayne, R.K. (1997) Multiple and ancient origins of the domestic dog. Science 276(5319):1687-1689
  • 11Sorenson, M.D., Fleischer, R.C. (1996) Multiple independent transpositions of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences to the nucleus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 93(26):15239-15243
  • 12Klicka, J., Zink, R.M. (1997) The importance of recent ice ages in speciation: a failed paradigm. Science 277(5332): 1666
  • 13Spetner, L. (1997) Not by Chance, Judaica Press, Brooklyn, NY, 92
  • 14Moreel, V. (1997) Bacteria diversify through warfare. Science 278(5338):575
  • 15Kondrashev, A.S. (1988) Deleterious mutations and the origin of sexual reproduction. Nature 336:435-440
  • 16Crow, J.F. (1997) The high spontaneous mutation rate: is it a health risk? Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:8380-8386

He Made the Stars Also

He Made the Stars Also
TASC Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:07

By author

Phil Johnson MCE

What is the reason for life, the universe, and everything else? It is a loaded philosophical question that the answer of “42” just really does not seem to answer well. It is humorous when we read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, to have the answer to such mysteries given in such a simplistic manner. But putting science fiction and humor aside we can give some simple answers also; they exist for very much the same reason every created thing does exist. They exist to give glory to their creator!

Image
Figure 1 - This is the famous horsehead nebula. Actually it is a dark nebula classified as Barnard 33. From the Astrophotography Gallery of Bobby Middleton. Used by permission

First we will review when the stars were created and by whom!

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19, KJV)

Just as the evolutionist, by faith, states that the stars exist because of some kind of big bang, we who believe that God created all things, state that the stars were made by His power. Fortunately, we also have the testimony of an eyewitness who later had the events recorded for all mankind to know the truth. In the very first chapter of Genesis, God records information pertaining to why He created the stars.

Three assertions can be understood from the above passage. The heavenly bodies were created to shine on the earth as sources of light and energy, determine times and seasons, and serve as signs or messengers. Dr. Werner Gitt, Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics, is the writer of numerous scientific papers and books in the field of information science, numerical mathematics, and control engineering. Dr. Gitt states: “These three functions indicate unequivocally that all astronomical bodies were made for the purpose of serving the earth; more specifically: to serve mankind. From these purposes given at creation, the chronological order of creation (earth on the first day and all the other planets only on the fourth day), as well as the overall testimony of the Bible, we conclude: From a biblical point of view we cannot expect life to exist on other planets of our solar system, nor yet on planets in any galaxies, should such planets be proven to exist.” 1

The stars were made to shine on earth; without light, life on earth is impossible. Maybe this is why God created light on the first creation day and replaced this super- natural light with the light from the sun and stars on day four. By perfect positioning, the earth is the proper dis- tance from the sun to receive the amount of energy it needs to sustain life—a little closer and it would be too hot, any further and it would be too cold. It is easy to see why the Creator purposefully placed the earth at this distance from the sun.

The stars were made to determine times and seasons. The very first definition of a physical unit of measurement given in the Bible is a time unit. Already on the very first day of creation, before the stars or sun existed, the diurnal cycle of night and day is defined. On the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created to continue this cycle. Not only were the creation events recorded in the Bible, but also the method for measuring their duration. The rotation of the earth, one solar day, 24 hours, is defined as the time from noon to noon when the sun passes the zenith on subsequent days. The earth’s orbit around the sun is a period of approximately 365.25 days; the period required for one complete orbit is known as a sidereal year. The moon’s orbit around the earth determines the length of a month as it goes through its phases from new moon to new moon.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psalm 19:1-6 KJV)

The messages of the stars are proclaimed in silence. God does not force Himself on anybody. The messages of the stars reach all people and all nations. “There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:3 KJV) Gitt states, “The message proclaimed by the stars is universally accessible, to the illiterate as well as the Nobel laureate.” 2  God’s witnesses in the sky cannot be silenced by anybody or anything but Himself. They proclaim the gospel of the living God, continuously, without effect from the multiplicity of human opinions.

What is the message the stars proclaim? The universe testifies to the existence of God. The testimony of creation is so clear that the vast cosmos could never have come into existence by chance. A Creator is required! The universe proclaims God’s great power. The size of the universe is estimated to be at least 12 thousand million light-years. The amount of energy, by using Einstein’s energy equation, E=mc2, and using a total mass of the universe as 1054 kg, gives us the energy content of this mass as 25×1060 MWh. The amount of energy in the universe is immeasurably beyond any possibility to illustrate.

The stars proclaim the glory of God! Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 148 KJV)

The stars are signs to mankind, the same Hebrew word, oth, is used about the stars and about the mark of Cain. An essential characteristic of a sign is that it points away from itself to something else or to somebody.

The constellations are signs to mankind that have been perverted from the times of the tower of Babel. What is the story of the zodiac constellations as opposed to the astrology the zodiac now represents? Presented here are two possible meanings for the signs, with one having twelve signs in the zodiac and the other having thirteen signs. 3 ,4

The first constellation is Virgo. This sign tells us that the promised Messiah would be born of a virgin.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 KJV)

The next sign is Libra. This is a sign revealing the divine judgment on all mankind.

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31 KJV)

Scorpio, the Scorpion, reveals that the promised seed, Jesus Christ, had to die so we could be saved and through His death, He has triumphed over eternal death.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV)

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: be- cause it was not possible that he should be holden of it. (Acts 2:24 KJV)

Sagittarius, the Archer, represents the corruption of the human race by sin or some would say through demonism. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 KJV)

Capricorn, the Goat, could represent the utter wickedness of mankind as in the separating of the sheep from the goats in the judgment.

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:33-34 KJV)

Aquarius, the Water Pourer, reveals the truth of the global flood that destroyed the Earth during Noah’s life- time.

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (Matthew 24:37-42 KJV)

Pisces, the Fishes, could tell the story of the emergence of the true people of God. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19 KJV)

Jesus wanted the good news of salvation to spread throughout the world so he taught his followers how to fish for the souls of men.

Aries, the Ram, tells us about the sacrifice of an innocent Substitute for sin.

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 KJV)

Taurus, the Bull, could represent the agony, the pain and suffering that our Lord suffered at the hands of those He created. He was also afflicted by the scorn, the hate, the resentment and the rebellion of mankind.

Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (Psalm 22:12-18 KJV)

Gemini, the Twins, on one hand could signify the duality of our Savior that was both man and God. It could also represent that repentance is clearly a required event in one’s life or else one will face final judgment and condemnation. On the other side of the coin of repentance is to be born again.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3 KJV)

Cancer, the Crab, could represent the spiritual destruction to the walk of faith caused by the little sins we allow to go unchecked. Gossip and idle words are so destructive to the believer because they destroy the foundation of his live like termites the foundation of a home.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37 KJV)

Leo, the Lion, shows the destruction of the serpent by the Great King.

Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Genesis 49:9-10 KJV)

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Revelation 5:5 KJV)

Ophiucus, the Serpent-Bearer, as the thirteenth sign could represent the fact that Eve in the Garden of Eden was tempted by the serpent to eat of the fruit God had forbidden. Because of this act sin entered the world and as a consequence man was separated from God.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:14-19 KJV)

While we may not know the exact message the stars and constellations tells us, we can look up in awe as to the wonder and power of the One who created them. We are blessed to no longer depend on the message from the stars only but to have the very Word come down in the flesh to prove their silent message. Henry Morris, from the Institute of Creation Research stated, “One should remember that, whatever that primeval message may have been, it is no longer needed. We have the complete Word of God now, inscripturated, providing absolutely all the guidance we need for faith and life today.”

  • 1Gitt, W (2000) Stars and their Purpose: Signposts in Space, Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung, Bielefeld, 47-48
  • 2Ibid., 56
  • 3Ibid., 79-85
  • 4Morris, HM (2002) The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, 2nd Edition, Master Books, Green Forest, AK, 165

The Mysterious Origins of Ancient Civilizations

The Mysterious Origins of Ancient Civilizations
TASC Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:17

By author

Joe Spears MS

We may not think often of the ancient world in our modern life, but there is a bit of mystery surrounding the early ancient civilizations – the speed with which they arose. From Egypt and Sumeria to the Olmecs of Mexico, civilizations seem to have appeared full-blown, already fully-developed!

Sphinx
Figure 1 - The civilization of ancient Egypt apparently emerged all at once and fully formed.

Egypt

Graham Hancock, researcher and author of Fingerprints of the Gods, a book dealing with ancient civilizations, tells us:

The archaeological evidence suggested that rather than developing slowly and painfully, as is normal with human societies, the civilization of Ancient Egypt, like that of the Olmecs, emerged all at once and fully formed. Indeed, the period of transition from primitive to advanced society appears to have been so short that it makes no kind of historical sense. Technological skills that should have taken hundreds or even thousands of years to evolve were brought into use almost overnight—and with no apparent antecedents whatever….

What is remarkable is that there are no traces of evolution from simple to sophisticated, and the same is true of mathematics, medicine, astronomy and architecture… 1

Hancock quotes John Anthony West, an expert on the early dynastic period, as saying:

Look at a 1905 automobile and compare it to a modern one. There is no mistaking the process of “development”. But in Egypt there are no parallels. Everything is right there at the start.

…Egyptian civilization was not a “development”, it was a legacy. 2

Walter Emery, Edwards Professor of Egyptology at the University of London, says that about 5,400 years ago, Egypt changed rapidly from a New Stone Age culture to a complex one, including writing, architecture, arts, and crafts, with little to no previous development. 3

Arthur Custance 4  (a rather amazing combination of linguist, historian, anthropologist, theologian, and scientist) pointed out that Egyptian writing was fully developed as early as the First Dynasty, with no trace of prior development! 5

So, how did Egyptian civilization spring into existence so abruptly? And, what of other civilizations?

Civilization's Abrupt Rise

According to Custance, there wasn’t enough time for the rise of civilization. Near the foundations (in time) of the cultures of Sumer, Egypt, and others—among the most ancient in the world—a complex culture was built quickly in a few centuries.

“The time lapse...from initial settlement to established civilization was…a few hundred years.” 6

Oxford University Assyriologist, A. H. Sayce (student of cuneiform, Babylonian, Hittite, and old Hebrew languages), says that Egyptian and Babylonian civilization are fully developed when they appear, and that man was building cities as far back as archaeology takes us. T. J. Meek, a frequent contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the archaeology of Palestine and Egypt, said that Sumerian culture was already highly civilized when it first appeared in the fourth millennium B.C. 7

The Olmecs

We have heard of the ancient Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs. But more ancient than these are the Olmecs, Mexico’s oldest known civilization. They are so old that they had risen to power, existed, and then had disappeared 1500 years before the Aztecs got started! 8  Yet, Olmec culture appears to have been fully evolved at the time of the earliest known Olmec site. 9

According to Hancock,

…. Strangely, despite the best efforts of archaeologists, not a single, solitary sign of anything that could be described as the “developmental phase” of Olmec society had been unearthed anywhere in Mexico (or, for that matter, anywhere in the New World). These people, …appeared to have come from nowhere. 10

Was this quick development typical of mankind?

Pre-Historical Development—Slow

According to Sir W. E. LeGros Clark, Homo sapiens appeared about ½ million years ago. 11  According to a web page of Washington State University, Homo sapiens appeared about 300-400 thousand years ago. 12

Custance says:

It is important to observe the sequence of events. First, for perhaps a quarter of a million years, intelligent men, to all intents and purposes apparently much like ourselves, advanced their culture scarcely at all.… The sequence is, then, an unbelievably long time with almost no growth; a sudden spurt leading within a very few centuries to remarkably high culture… 13

Why would man make absolutely no progress during the first 99% of his history, and then suddenly develop great advances in so many areas in such a short time?

This amazingly long period of stagnation is all the more astonishing when put into the context of the abrupt rise of civilization that followed. Note that this long period of stagnation does not refer to the time of man’s (supposed) evolution into modern humankind. We are talking about the time starting after he had evolved into modern Homo sapiens.

So, what could explain the sudden emergence of civilizations all around the globe, without time to develop?

Virachoca the Teacher

Let us look into an ancient legend of the Andean region of South America. It starts with a terrifying time, of a great flood and darkness. Society was in chaos. Then there appeared Virachoca.

Graham Hancock tells us:

…there suddenly appeared…[a man]…of large stature and authoritative demeanor...he gave men instructions how they should live.…clothed in a white robe…whose air and person aroused great respect and veneration…of august appearance… 14

Though Virachoca came from another place, he spoke their own languages better than they. He called the people his sons and daughters, and spoke with love, admonishing them to love one another. He taught them how to live - medicine, writing, architecture, engineering, farming, etc. Before Virachoca, men lived in caves not houses, in disorder. 15

Yes, this was South America, but what about Egypt and other civilizations? Is there any indication that they were taught?

Oannes the Teacher

In other parts of the world there is a story of a fish-man, Dagon or Oannes, who taught humanity arts, sciences and agriculture after the flood. 16 ,17  The ancient historian Berosus gives us a history of 10 kings preceding a worldwide flood. The Bible also names 10 generations before the flood in Genesis chapter 5. Oannes' story parallels that of Noah in a very interesting way. Oannes first appears before the flood, as does Noah. Oannes, though a god and a teacher of mankind, is seen learning from a man, the third pre-flood king, during whose reign Oannes first appears. Noah also appears—is born—during the time of the third generation from Adam.

Noah the Teacher?

(For the story of Noah, see Genesis, chapters 5-9.)

Above we have seen the similarities between Oannes and Noah. Let's look now at Virachoca. Virachoca certainly sounds like Noah—an old man who appeared after a flood. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (certainly old). A man who taught love and charity and was kind. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations according to Genesis.

Virachoca called the people his sons and daughters, which they would have actually been if he were Noah! Outside the Bible, Noah has been said to have been a giant—and Virachoca was a tall man. Virachoca was also authoritative and had an air of authority about him, somehow commanding respect. Noah was a king according to Berosus and other ancient authors, so this seems reasonable.

And Virachoca was a teacher. Above all, he was a teacher. This is consistent with Noah’s teaching mankind. It is said that Noah was ordered by God to take documents and hide them in a certain city before the flood, to preserve knowledge. It seems likely that Noah and God, who made provision to preserve life on an ark, and who carefully brought along animals in pairs, male and female, would not neglect making provision of knowledge. It is also said that Chinese herbal medicine derives from a book Noah brought with him on the ark.

But the point of the above, whether Virachoca actually was Noah or not, is that there are legends of people who taught societies, and gave civilizations their knowledge. This knowledge would have been passed down from a prior civilization.

Noah is not the only one who could have passed on such knowledge. There were eight people on the ark, who came from the previous civilization. And of course, they could have taught others who in turn carried on the teaching.

So, the lost civilization which provided the legacy for ancient Egypt, the Olmecs, the Incas and others could have been none other than the pre-flood civilization, headed up by Noah, who carried its knowledge—that very legacy—with him through the flood to the beginning civilizations of Egypt and others.

Then, although starting from scratch, the world's civilizations might have had a pre-formed blueprint in terms of knowledge, to allow them to advance more rapidly than would otherwise have been possible. This, as we have seen, is what seems to have actually transpired.

Custance points out a uniformity among the early cultures, that was difficult to explain “…except as the result of the growth and spread of a single population deriving its inspiration and technology from a single source.” 18

Conclusion

There seems to be no explanation for the rapid development of civilizations from Stone Age culture, especially after an extremely long period of stagnation, other than outside help.

It has been suggested that these civilizations borrowed from a previous civilization. Noah or his family could easily have taught the legacy of pre-flood society, and in fact we have seen that Berosus and others have recorded that, after a flood, a teacher (or group of teachers—Oannes was not the only fish-man) did appear. Both the Old and New Worlds have legends of such a teacher appearing after a flood, namely Oannes and Virachoca.

It is also noteworthy that Custance mentions that an early settlement from which sprang early cultures of ancient civilizations was near the traditional landing site of the ark! This is obviously consistent with the spread of knowledge (allowing for the rapid rise of civilization) from the Ark and its passengers. Custance also mentioned a uniformity among early cultures, difficult to explain unless they borrowed from a single source.

The flood of Noah and the preservation of knowledge by Noah, and the dissemination of such knowledge after the flood by Noah, make sense of all the puzzles.

  • 1Hancock, G (1995) Fingerprints of the Gods, Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, NY, 135-136
  • 2West, JA (1979) Serpent in the Sky, Harper and Row, New York, NY
  • 3Hancock, G (1995) Fingerprints of the Gods, Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, NY, 135-136
  • 4Arthur Custance, inventor, engineer, anthropologist, linguist, and research scientist, became a Christian during his second year at the University of Toronto and obtained an honours MA in Hebrew and Greek. He also earned a PhD and was head of the Human Engineering Laboratories of the Defence Research Board in Ottawa (Canada).
  • 5Custance A The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation. http://www.custance.org/Library/Volume5/Part_I/chapter3.html Accessed 2006 July
  • 6Custance A The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation. http://www.custance.org/Library/Volume5/Part_I/chapter3.html Accessed 2006 July
  • 7Hancock, G (1995) 118
  • 8Hancock, G (1995) Fingerprints of the Gods, Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, NY, 135-136
  • 9West, JA (1979) Serpent in the Sky, Harper and Row, New York, NY
  • 10Ibid., 123
  • 11LeGros Clark, WE (1955) The Fossil Evidence for Human Evolution: An Introduction to the Study of Paleoanthropology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL
  • 12Washington State University, Home sapiens: Earliest forms of our own species. http://www.wsu.edu/gened/learn-modules/top_longfor/timeline/h-sapiens/h-sapiens-a.html Accessed 2006 July
  • 13Custance A The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation. http://www.custance.org/Library/Volume5/Part_I/chapter3.html Accessed 2006 July
  • 14Hancock, G (1995) Fingerprints of the Gods, Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, NY, 135-136
  • 15Hancock, G (1995) 46
  • 16Magnottie, B Oannes.com The origins of our civilization http://www.oannes.com/ Accessed 2006 July
  • 17Gascoigne, M (2002) Forgotten History of the Western People, Anno Mundi Books, Camberley, England
  • 18Custance A The Virgin Birth and the Incarnationhttp://www.custance.org/Library/Volume5/Part_I/chapter3.html Accessed 2006 July

Evolution - Impossible to Embarass its Believers

Evolution - Impossible to Embarass its Believers
TASC Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:24

By author

Henry Morris PhD

Written by Henry Morris, PhD

Introduction and Tribute: by Mark Stephens, MCS, former Chairman and current board member of TASC

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Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. Late Founder and President Emeritus of ICR

Dr. Henry Morris wrote this article for Acts and Facts, the monthly publication of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), shortly before he died on February 25, 2006, at the age of 87. His messages, as was this article, were always clearly stated and well referenced from the Bible and the scientific literature. I believe God gave Dr. Morris a long life to be a courageous, intelligent messenger to help us understand that truly objective scientific observations and evidences support the Genesis account of creation, that we can rely on this account as the true Word of God, and that God is our Creator. Dr. Morris spent his life to help establish and strengthen our faith in God so that we can wholeheartedly believe in Him, accept His gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and go forward joyfully in His grace unto good works as he did.

I inadvertently sat by and met Dr. Morris on a plane trip out of San Diego in the mid-1980s. I believe that this contact with him was a prayer answered, as it influenced my later examination of his writings and other materials from ICR which helped me as a Christian and a trained science teacher to clear up the bias, confusion, and deceit on origins that I had been exposed to in my public education. The creation science knowledge I have gained through the influence of Dr. Morris has helped me to live a stronger Christian life and dedicate my time to help others to understand that God is our Creator and that we did not get here by naturalistic evolution, an atheistic theory taught largely as fact.

The Triangle Association for the Science of Creation (TASC) respectfully pays tribute to the dedicated Christian life of a great creation scientist through the reprinting of the following article in this month’s newsletter. We will miss Dr. Morris but continue to be enlightened and encouraged by his dedicated efforts. We hope you enjoy his article following. 


“And He spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the
blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?” (Luke 6:39). 

EVOLUTION—IMPOSSIBLE TO
EMBARASS ITS BELIEVERS

By Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. *

Reprinted from Back to Genesis 200: Aug. 2005 with permission from the Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, California

Creationists have often pointed out that evolution is unscientific because it can never be proved by science to be true. It is not happening at present and without a time machine, they can never be sure that it happened in the past.

Regardless of how much an organism looks like it had been intelligently designed, evolutionists (without even sounding embarrassed) will insist that natural selection has the power to make it look like it was designed, even though it wasn’t. Furthermore, no matter what fossil they find out of its accepted place in the evolutionary “record,” the evolutionists can “explain” how it got there.

The recent discovery of the intact flesh of a Tyrannosaurus rex with its “blood vessels—still flexible and elastic after 68 million years—and apparently intact cells” 1  is a case in point. It would seem impossible for such soft structures to be preserved intact even for 6800 years, but evolutionists accept it on faith.

Similarly, Silurian fossil ostracodes supposedly 425 million years old have been found recently in England virtually identical to their modern-day counterparts and containing “a jaw-dropping amount of detail,” 2  but this discovery does not phase evolutionists. They still believe it was buried 425 million years ago!

On another front, one would think that geophysicists would be embarrassed by their repeated failure to find the so-called Mohorovocic Discontinuity (except by inference from seismic waves) at the boundary between the earth’s “crust” and “mantle.” Since the supposed evolutionary history of the earth is theoretically related to this “Moho,” scientists have been trying to confirm its existence, along with the assumed nature of the mantle, by drilling deep holes in the crust. This has been going on since the early sixties without success, the latest such attempt having failed earlier this year.

The Bible long ago prophesied that it was not possible that the “heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out  beneath” (Jeremiah 31:37). Nevertheless: “Undaunted, oceanographers are ready to try again.” 3

On the heavenly front, the same unembarrassed evolutionary cosmologists will evidently continue trying to “explain” the evolutionary history of the cosmos. Theories abound, and change frequently, the rising favorite being “string theory,” involving multiple dimensions of space and even multiple universes of space/time. However, as one evolutionary astrophysicist admits: “…the universe unveiled by the hellishly complex mathematics of super-string theory is not even remotely close to what string theorists anticipated.” 4

Another cosmologist insists, however, that “string theory possesses a virtue for which many physicists are willing to accept these seeming absurdities: It can reconcile quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of gravity.” 5  But then he admits that “the theory itself continues to grow more complicated and mysterious.” 6

Its main virtue is that it can explain the cosmos without God. As Gardner insists, “…the fundamental credo of science is that deep mysteries like these will someday, if only in the distant future, succumb to rational explanation.” 7

And what about human evolution? A recent statistical study of the genetics of human populations revealed,

the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for a randomly mating population would have lived in the very recent past…. In particular, the MRCA of all present-day humans lived just a few thousand years ago in these models. 8

The writer avoids mentioning the “Adam and Eve” explanation, of course. Nevertheless, he also notes that: “And a few thousand years before that, …the ancestors of everyone on the earth today were exactly the same.” 9

 One would think that analyses such as this, made by evolutionists on the real data of genetics and human populations would be embarrassing to evolutionists who commonly postulate an approximately million-year history of human existence on earth. But even if there were people living all during the past million years, how come they all kept the same genetic makeup until just a few thousand years ago? The Biblical record would seem at least relevant to the discussion!

Then there are the recent research findings by ICR scientists and others working on the RATE project that have uncovered many new evidences that the earth is young, including the ubiquitous presence of radiocarbon in coal beds and even in diamonds. For years, of course, creationists have been pointing out that no real evolution has taken place during the several thousand years of human history and also that there are no legitimate series of transitional forms in the fossil beds of the past, plus the negative effects of mutations and the testimony of the laws of thermodynamics—all of which seem to make any macroevolution extremely unlikely, if not impossible.

Yet evolutionists continue to control the scientific and education establishments, insisting that total evolution is a scientific fact and creation is religion, so only evolution can be allowed to be taught in public schools and colleges. They gloat over the alleged fact that “an unprecedented 14 percent of Americans tell pollsters that they are atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, or simply disinterested in religion.” 10  Even if this figure is assumed to be correct, it still leaves 86% of the population who believe in God.

And they express surprise that so many people have somehow come to believe in creation despite all the brainwashing in schools. The editor-in-chief of the premier magazine Science, recently moaned in a lead editorial that:

Alternatives to the teaching of biological evolution are now being debated in no fewer than 40 states. Worse, evolution is not the only science under such challenge. In several school districts, geology materials are being rewritten because their dates for Earth’s age are inconsistent with scripture (too old). 11

A few evolutionists do seem to have at least a glimpse of why we object to their insistence that evolution be considered a scientifically proven fact. The following commentary on evolutionary science was in a recent issue of Geotimes.

Evolutionists have “Physics Envy”. They tell the public that the science behind evolution is the same science that sent people to the moon and cures diseases. It’s not.

The science behind evolution is not empirical, but forensic. Because evolution took place in history, its scientific investigations are after the fact—no testing, no observations, no repeatability, no falsification, nothing at all like physics…. I think this is what the public discerns—that evolution is just a bunch of just-so stories disguised as legitimate science. 12

Another evolutionist makes an interesting admission. He says: “Contrary to their public image, scientists are normal, flawed human beings.” 13  They are as capable of prejudice, covetousness, pride, deceitfulness, etc., as anyone.

Evolutionists can’t seem to comprehend why most Americans still believe in God, creation, and the Bible, despite having the “fact” of evolution dogmatically taught to them throughout their school years. The fact is that there is an abundance of objective evidence that the Bible really is the Word of God. It is not just a book of religion as they argue, but a book of factual history. Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead and Jesus Christ really did confirm the truth of the Biblical account of origins. Creationists do not believe in the Bible just because they are ignorant of science.

Peter says that “we have not followed cunningly devised fables…. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed…” (II Peter 1:16,19). And the apostle Paul, prophesying of the humanists of “the last days” said that they would be “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:1,7) because “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:4).

A creationist scientist justifiably might think of the Psalmist’s caustic commentary on the ancient idol-making pantheistic evolutionists:

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: …They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them (Psalm 115:4,5,8). 

  • *Dr. Henry Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.
  • 1Erik Stokstad, “Tyrannosaurus rex Soft Tissue Raises Tantalizing Prospects,” Science (vol. 307, March 25, 2005), p. 1852.
  • 2Erik Stokstad, “Gutsy Fossil Sets Record for Staying the Course,” Science (vol. 302, December 5, 2003), p. 1645.
  • 3Richard A. Kerr, “Pursued for 40 Years, the Moho Evades Ocean Drillers Once Again,” Science (vol. 307, March 18, 2005), p. 1707.
  • 4James N. Gardner, “Fundamental Cosmological Understanding Eludes Us,” Skeptical Inquirer (vol. 28, July/August, 2004), p. 51.
  • 5Adrian Cho, “String Theory Gets Real—Sort of,” Science (vol. 306, November 26, 2004), p. 1461.
  • 6Ibid., p. 1462.
  • 7James N. Gardner, op. cit., p. 52.
  • 8Douglas L. T. Rohde, Steve Olson, and Joseph T. Chang, “Modelling the Recent Common Ancestry of all Living Humans,” Nature (vol. 431, September 30, 2004), p. 562.
  • 9Ibid., p. 565.
  • 10Promotional brochure published by the Council for Secular Humanism.
  • 11Donald Kennedy, “Twilight for the Enlightenment?” Science (vol. 308, April 8, 2005), p. 165.
  • 12John Chaikowsky, “Geology v. Physics,” Geotimes (vol. 50, April 2005), p. 6.
  • 13David Weatherall, “Conduct Unbecoming,” American Scientist (vol. 93, January-February 2005), p. 73.

Does the Molecular Evidence Prove Common Ancestry is a "Fact?"

Does the Molecular Evidence Prove Common Ancestry is a "Fact?"
TASC Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:26

By author

Dan Reynolds PhD

Genesis 1 describes the separate creation of various organisms “after their kind.” This means that all life on earth is primarily related through having a common creator and not through common descent. When evolutionists claim that molecules-to-man macroevolution is a “fact”, they are often referring to evidence for common ancestry irrespective of any evolutionary mechanism. This approach helps them avoid the inherent difficulties associated with explaining how point mutations, genetic recombinations, gene duplication, and natural selection could create new genetic information by chance. One way evolutionists try to support the idea of common ancestry involves comparison of homologous DNA sequences and proteins between organisms (molecular homology). Presumably, the greater the similarities between DNA or protein sequences in different organisms, the more recent has been the divergence from a common ancestor. Two lines of molecular evidence will be explored in this report: comparisons of cytochrome c and endogenous retroviral elements (RVEs).

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Figure 1

Author’s preface: This essay was inspired by Part 4 of Ashby Camp’s on-line essay entitled “A Critique of Douglas Theobald’s ‘29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent.’” Part 4 addresses alleged molecular evidence for macroevolution. See http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1a.asp.

One protein alleged to demonstrate common ancestry is cytochrome c. Cytochrome c is ubiquitous in living things. As a much as 66% of the amino acids in cytochrome c vary among various species, suggesting only a third of the amino acids are required for the protein for function. Presumably, the extent to which the remaining 66% amino acids differ among organisms is the result of time and chance mutations, or genetic drift. But there is indirect evidence that these amino acids are more than mere placeholders, that they do serve a function. For example, the human genome consists of roughly 30,000 genes that must code for 300,000 proteins. Clearly, each gene must code for more than one protein. This means that a given section of protein coding DNA may have overlapping codes for several proteins with the code sequences defined by unique starting and stopping points. This would be equivalent to writing a paragraph where a new paragraph could be obtained if one started reading from the second letter of the first word instead of the first. The implication for cytochrome c is that the apparently non-essential amino acids may reflect part of the genetic code that is essential for another gene product such as another protein. If so, the apparently nonessential amino acids would reflect essential code that was not the result of a random mutation process. Also, the amino acid sequences of the cytochrome c molecules in humans and rhesus monkeys differ by only one amino acid despite the alleged 50 million years since the last common ancestor. The lack of change in the cytochrome c molecule since divergence would imply the DNA are preserved, presumably for function. The data are at least as consistent with the idea that an intelligent designer made the DNA that codes for cytochrome c (and simultaneously other gene products) as required for each organism; similar organisms would have more similar coding and amino acids sequences than dissimilar organisms.

Most of the DNA found in the human genome does not code for proteins. Several types of DNA that do not code for proteins have been identified including transposons, SINEs, LINEs, pseudogenes, and endogenous retroviral elements (ERVs) among others. 1 ,2  This non-protein coding DNA has been often referred to as “junk” because it is assumed to be the left-overs of a random evolutionary process. Some of the DNA found in various organisms appears to have been inserted by retroviruses. Presumably, these insertions into the germ cell DNA have been rare and at random locations in the genome. Hence, if any two species, say monkeys and humans, had the same retroviral element (ERV) in the same location in their respective genomes (this is observed), this would be best explained by common ancestry, because chance insertions in the same locations in extant organisms would be very unlikely. This inference of common ancestry from the ERV data is based on several assumptions: 1) the vast majority of ERVs, being the result of viral infections, have no beneficial function, 2) the DNA code for the ERVs has remained essentially intact and in the same location over millions of generations, 3) ERVs insertions have always been non-specific with respect to location, 4) God would not have separately created organisms with the same ERVs in the same locations in their genomes, and 5) ERVs are the result of viral infection. On the other hand, design would be implicated if it could be demonstrated that the insertion of ERVs is specific, ERVs have beneficial function, or if similar ERVs were found at the same locations in the genomes of unrelated organisms (convergence). We’ll explore the data after a brief discussion of how retroviruses work.

In normal cells, segments of DNA are transcribed into strands of RNA. The RNA sequence is then translated into an amino acid sequence in the ribosomes to form a protein. Viruses consist of either DNA or RNA inside a protein sheath. A virus infects a cell by attaching itself to the cell wall and injecting its nucleic acid material. Retroviruses contain RNA, and once injected into the cell, the retroviral RNA is then transcribed into DNA (hence the term retrovirus) which is then spliced into the cell’s genome. The viral DNA strand, using the cell’s biochemical machinery, is then used to generate new viruses within the cell (protein sheaths and RNA segments for the core). Eventually this replication process destroys the cell and the new viral particles are released. However, sometimes the spliced viral DNA is not expressed (used to manufacture new viruses) allowing the survival of the cell, but with a modified genetic code. The descendants of the infected cell will inherit the viral DNA strand.

Now, are there ERVs that have a beneficial function? If ERVs have function, then it can be argued that they are not the result of some purposeless, random viral infection but were designed for the benefit of the organism.

Consider the following excerpts from an article that show ERVs have several beneficial functions:

Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) have recently been suggested as mediators of normal biological processes such as cellular differentiation and regulation of gene expression. …Elucidation of the mechanisms regulating HERV biology should provide information about fundamental cellular activities. …We propose that the evolutionary persistence of endogenous retroviruses in the genomes of eukaryotic cells reflects their indispensability in important normal functions in specialized cellular environments.

The large number of solitary LTRs and complete HERVs may benefit the host genome by contributing regulatory enhancer sequences to genes in their vicinity. At present five human genes have been shown to be transcriptionally regulated by HERV LTRs. These are the salivary amylase, ZNF80, cytochrome c1, Krüppel-like H-plk and phospholipase A2-L (PLA2L) genes. The potential for beneficial effects provided by these LTRs could represent a fine functional balance for specific gene regulation in the host genome. Moreover, accumulated changes in gene regulation are likely to be important factors in the process of speciation. 3

In placental animals, retroviruses play a role in development:

The function of ERVs, particularly ERV3, in the placenta has been linked to several ERV activities: (1) provision of immunological protection of the embryo and the fetus; (2) regulation of trophoblast 4  cell growth; (3) protection of the fetus from unwanted maternal material, and (4) protection against infection by a related exogenous retrovirus, i.e. ‘germline vaccination’. 5

Hence there is evidence that ERVs help in gene regulation, fetal development, and may even help prevent viral infections! Additional functions for ERVs may be found as research continues.

From an evolutionary point of view, the fact that so many ERVs have retained their DNA sequence and location in respective organisms is best explained by there being beneficial functions that natural selection would conserve, otherwise genetic drift might be expected to scramble the ERV coding over the generations, contrary to evidence.

There is evidence that ERVs insertions are specific with respect to location:

The completion of the human genome sequence has made possible genome-wide studies of retroviral DNA integration. Here we report an analysis of 3,127 integration site sequences from human cells. We compared retroviral vectors derived