Saturday, December 29, 2007

Smooth Change in the Fossil Record

When I was first learning about evolution, one of the things that I really wanted to see was smooth, gradual transitions in the fossil record. I didn't want to see fossils based on part of a jaw bone, or a series of creatures very different from each other being displayed as relatives.

It's taken a lot of looking into the subject before I finally found these examples. I'm going to list examples, and then follow it with an article that explains the transition:

Hominid (Human) Evolution

Reptile to Mammal Evolution

Horse Evolution

Keith Miller discusses several transitional sequences (including the two above)

Whale Evolution Chart

Whale Evolution Article*

Ceratopsian Evolution

The Dilemma of the Horned Dinosaurs (Discuss the Ceratops)

Early Vertebrate Evolution

Several Misc. Examples of Smooth Transition

Early Amphibians

* Since the article on whale evolution was written, a more complete Pakicetid fossil was discovered:

Friday, December 28, 2007

Student of Dembski Leaves the Fold

I broke free from Christian fundamentalism in April 2006. I was a third year student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. This seminary is considered by many to be the intellectual hub of evangelical seminaries. The president of the seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler, has been called "the leading intellectual voice for evangelicals in America." He has been a frequent guest on Larry King Live, debating controversial topics such as gay marriage, abortion, religious tolerance, etc. Dr. William Dembski also teaches at the seminary, who is widely considered the world's leading proponent of Intelligent Design. Dr. Dembski was my professor in the fall semester of 2005.

But with one year left to complete a Masters of Divinity in Theology, I could no longer ignore the questions that were piling up in my mind. My questions and doubts troubled me to the point that I simply could no longer preach and teach something that I wasn't sure if believed any longer. I had become a member of a Southern Baptist church almost a year earlier. I absolutely loved this church, and all three pastors were also students at the seminary. The pastor was a Ph.D student, so I really enjoyed his sermons because they were really "deep" theologically. So when I informed them of my decision to leave the faith, you can imagine their reaction! Shortly after hearing of my decision, they held a Wednesday night service to excommunicate me from the church and "deliver my soul over to satan for the destruction of my flesh and the eternal flames of hell." Here is the email correspondence that took place after I informed them of my decision to leave the faith.

Click Here to Read More.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On Snake Evolution

The following is from:

"No observed mutation can do anything like produce the special equipment in a snake, even if you started with a ‘soundly functional lizard’. Snakes have not evolved either slowly or rapidly from any other creatures we call reptiles. Not only is there no trace of transitional forms in the fossil record, but no one has ever seen a mutated lizard or snake which would give a clue as to how it could have evolved to become so legless, and yet so perfectly adapted to being a snake."

The second comment is just begging for photos of legless lizards and the long, snake-like lizards.
Now, as far as snake fossils go, there aren't many. But I managed to dig up a few anyhow:

A 95-million-year-old fossil snake from the Middle East documents the most extreme hindlimb development of any known member of that group, as it preserves the tibia, fibula, tarsals, metatarsals, and phalanges. It is more complete than Pachyrhachis, a second fossil snake with hindlimbs that was recently portrayed to be basal to all other snakes. Phylogenetic analysis of the relationships of the new taxon, as well as reanalysis of Pachyrhachis, shows both to be related to macrostomatans, a group that includes relatively advanced snakes such as pythons, boas, and colubroids to the exclusion of more primitive snakes such as blindsnakes and pipesnakes.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Evolution for Creationists: Predictions Update

Pharyngula Author P.Z. Meyers wrote a wonderful article about the evolution of the vertebrate eye, and the verified predictions which the theory made concerning it. I added this to Part Four of my "Evolution for Creationists" series.

Update on Apologetics Press

I sent the following to Apologetics Press:

Our conversation was posted on my blog:

I think you are wrong for being unwilling to admit
you were mistaken,
and for decieving people.
This is going online for all to see.


He sent this back:
Hey Ryan,
Thanks for writing. I have it
on my schedule to respond to
your email.
As for your blog, it is always exciting
for me to see the truth

I replied:

Hi Kyle,

I didn't expect a response, but I am willing to wait.
I do, however, think that you are wrong about
vestigial organs. Take a look at what Darwin wrote in
his famous book
about the origin of the species:

"An organ serving for two purposes, may become
rudimentary or utterly aborted for one, even the more
important purpose; and remain perfectly efficient for
the other."


Friday, December 21, 2007

Apologetics Press and Vestigial Organs

This is a few emails sent back and forth between myself and Kyle Butt (Yeah, that's his real name) at Apologetics Press. My words are in italics, his are in bold. At the time of writing, I haven't received any further contact from him. As a side, he is totally wrong about evolutionists saying vestigial organs had absolutely no function. Talk Origins has some definitions from the early 1900's which state vestigial organs can have function.


I came across your website and stumbled on to the
following article:

It says:

"These “useless” vestiges of evolution, however,
turned out to be nothing of the sort. Dr. Houts noted
that these organs were “useless” only in the sense
that scientists and medical doctors were ignorant of
their functions."

Vestigial does not mean totally useless. It means that
has lost most or all of its original function. The
appendix is homologous to the primate caecum, used for
digesting cellulose. While ours may have some
immunological function, it is still vestigial.

It also says:

"So, we are told that the appendix is a useless
leftover, and that “fact” proves evolution to be true.
Then we are told that the appendix has a very
important function and that fact “makes evolutionary

Actually, if the appendix was totally useless, it
should have completely disappeared by now. But the
caecum did not, a small part of it stayed behind as
the appendix. It would make sense that this small
remnant stayed behind for some reason.

I believe this should be evaluated and corrected.


Dear Ryan,
Thanks for writing. As you might imagine, I would
disagree with your conclusion that the appendix
is vestigial. In truth, those at talk origins are
forced to admit the multiple uses of alleged vestigial
organs. This is not, however, how alleged vestigial
organs are approached by all evolutionary thinkers,
and certainly not how they were approached
in the past
(please see, and notice the listing as useless 
The reason talk origins folks were forced to change
is because so many uses and functions have been found
for the supposed vestigial organs. In order to prove
that something is an inadequate left-over of evolution,
the evolutionists would first be forced to prove
that humans actually evolved from a lower life form
(which they cannot do), then they would be forced to
prove that the organ was not specifically designed
for a special purpose as it currently is positioned
in the human body (which they cannot do).
The truth of the matter is, the more science studies
alleged vestigials, the weaker the argument
for evolution gets. Thanks for writing.
Kyle Butt

Dear Kyle,

I'm not sure how vestigial organs were approached in
the past, they may have indeed been called useless.
But the fact is, there are many examples of
rudimentary structures that have lost most or all of
their original (key word: original) function, like the
hind limbs of the whale.

Now, as for being "forced to prove that the organ was
not specifically designed for a special purpose as it
currently is positioned in the human body". Are you
joking? No offense, but their is no way to prove a
negative like that. That would be like me asking you
to prove that it hadn't evolved. Besides, appendixes
and such are taken out every year and with seemingly
little effect on the individual. Live Science states
that this causes over 300 deaths a year. Doesn't sound
like something "designed" to me. Now, as for proving
that man evolved from "lower" life forms, that's easy.
I have written a whole blog series dedicated to doing
just that. I have references linked to just about
everything I say, so you can check it out if you want.
Particularly interesting is the ERV's:

And By the way, if you read the Live Science Article
on Vestigial Organs, you will notice they report
whales being found with "feet and complete digits".
Just how does a creationist explain that?

I hope I haven't sounded hostile, hope to hear from
you soon, Sincerely,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Ultimate Answer to the Information Argument

I have just come up with the ultimate argument against the "Information" argument creationists use ("evolution cannot produce new information").

Here goes: Creationists believe that absolutely everything was created in just six days. Variation and micro-evolution could occur, but no macro-evolution and no "increases in information" would happen. They also believe that everything was created perfect, no thorns, thistles, and so on. So how did those things come about? Evolution is the only answer. God couldn't have created them, the bible says nothing of neither God nor Satan creating these things. It must have evolved and the only way to do that is through an increase in information.

Let's take an even greater case into mind: How did snake venom come about? Would it have possibly had a pre-Fall use? Let's look at their words about this problem:

The idea that the snake’s fangs may have been used to inject a fruit-softening substance pre-Fall has the same problem. That is, why, how, and when (if not by direct creation) did snakes change not only their diet but their behavior, which appears to be programmed in their genetic code and not a matter of conscious choice?

In any case, snake venom contains complex chemicals that appear to be designed for purposes far removed from fruit-eating. One of these chemicals is highly specific in its attack on the central nervous system to arrest breathing; another specifically blocks the clotting mechanism so that the prey bleeds to death internally.

They took the words right out of my mouth.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Intentional Deception by Evolutionists"

I found the following article over at "God And Science":

The following example of speciation appears on the Talk Origins website:

"Three species of wildflowers called goatsbeards were introduced to the United States from Europe shortly after the turn of the century. Within a few decades their populations expanded and began to encounter one another in the American West. Whenever mixed populations occurred, the specied interbred (hybridizing) producing sterile hybrid offspring. Suddenly, in the late forties two new species of goatsbeard appeared near Pullman, Washington. Although the new species were similar in appearance to the hybrids, they produced fertile offspring. The evolutionary process had created a separate species that could reproduce but not mate with the goatsbeard plants from which it had evolved."1

From the description, one would think that this was a very convincing example of macroevolution in action. Obviously, there must have been quite a number of massive mutations to produce an entirely new species that could not interbreed with the original. Right? Actually, every statement above is absolutely true. However, some of the important details have been intentionally left out, in order to make this example sound much better than it really is. Here is what actually happened.

The example above is not macroevolution, but is simply due to a single genetic event known as polyploidy. The original goatsbeards from Europe were standard diploid (two copies of each chromosome) plants. However, plants often do not undergo complete monoploidy during meiosis (during the formation of the sex cells, or gametes). This means that the gametes may remain diploid. When diploid gametes fuse, a new polyploid "species" is formed. No new information is created (Do you have twice as much information if you copy one book to produce an identical copy? No!), but the chromosomes are duplicated. The new "species" cannot produce viable offspring with the original species simply because of the difference in number of chromosomes. With goatsbeards, the process has happened more than once. Of course, the two "new" species have the same number of chromosomes and can produce viable offspring, since they are virtually identical.

This entire article is a lot of ranting and raving over nothing. The goatsbeard is a new species since it can no longer reproduce with its parent species. Reproductive Isolation is a key factor in defining a species. So, I'm not quite sure what Mr. Deem's problem is there. Deem also goes into why simple doubling of genetic information is not "new information". Of course, duplicated material is often used for a secondary purpose, leading to new functions. But, as I have stated before, every time I have to debunk a creationist for this 'information' nonsense, I am going to present a new example of information increase. Here goes:

In his book, The Edge of Evolution, Michael Behe discusses a hemoglobin variant known as C-Harlem. C-Harlem protects against Malaria just like Sickle Cell Hemoglobin does, but it does not cause Sickle Cell Disease. You get all the benefit of Sickle Cell with none of the suffering. This is therefore an increase in information (If everyone had C-Harlem hemoglobin, and someone was born with normal hemoglobin, this would be a decrease in information, since that person would be more susceptible to disease).

In closing, Mr. Deem would be well advised to take a look at the dozens of cases of observed speciation, not involving polyploidy, such as this one.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Updates on Intelligent Design

Those who read about Evolution and Intelligent Design will have probably read these before, nevertheless I wanted to post them:

"The Vise Strategy Undone" by Barbara Forrest - Mrs. Forrest does an excellent job of unraveling intelligent design (for the billionth time). One thing that I found revealing is that apparently Bill Dembski and Michael Behe were tutoring Ann Coulter about evolution (for her then upcoming book). This makes it very clear that I.D. is a right wing, religiously-motivated political agenda. I mean, why would you tutor the most violently right wing woman in America so that she could author a book dealing with evolution, if you had no agenda?

Nick Matzke's Review of the Edge of Evolution
- The most devastating review of the Edge that I have read so far. Nick took his time reading and researching, and delivers a crushing blow to Behe.

Nick Matzke's Response to Behe - Highlights Behe's failure to respond to Matzke's objections.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Brief Discussion of Homology

A blogger named "Efrique" left a rather critical comment about my "D.I. Youtube Propaganda 2" entry. Here is some of what he said:

DNA evidence does show that thylacines are closely related to other marsupials, but that just supports the evidence that was already there. There's plenty of evidence that thylacines are also quite different from wolves (the pouch is a dead giveaway, for starters, but there are plenty of features that are like other marsupials and unlike wolves).

Efrique, most folks who use Evolutionary Theory would suggest that the Australian "Wolf" (D.I.'s lingo, not mine) would be more closely related to its fellow marsupials than to Actual Placental Wolves. Discovery Institute's point was that homology could not always be used as evidence of common ancestry. My point is that this is caused by convergent evolution, and convergent evolution can be easily uncovered with genetic analysis. I stated this in my first paragraph and gave a reference to Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker. Sure enough, when we analyze mitochondrial DNA of the Australian "Wolf" it turns out to be more closely related to its fellow marsupials.

I want to address another reader's comment as well:

"Homology is defined by common ancestry. If structures really are homologous, that means they are derived from an common ancestral structure."

Much of the time you could define homology by common ancestry. For instance, have you ever seen the diagram comparing the bone structures of various creatures? A lot of these examples could be backed up with fossil evidence showing that they are descended from a single ancestral structure.

However, homology is often used to mean similarity. Kenneth Miller has written an article about the bacterial flagellum, and he names the Type Three Secretory System as homologous to it. This clearly means that the two structures are merely similar to one another, since their isn't (as far as I know) any fossil evidence that the two are related!

Similarity can be useful when trying to pinpoint common ancestry. Now, the reason that homology at a biochemical or genetic level is useful is because, basically, two populations are not likely to evolve the same structure the same way. At the biochemical/genetic level, there are many ways to build the same thing. For instance, over half of the genes in a banana do the same thing as the genes in a human being, but the genes are not the same. For another example, their is genetic drift. Letters in our genetic code can be substituted and they still work just fine. Clearly, there is more than one way to build a structure at the genetic and/or biochemical level. This tells us that two populations will most likely be distinct genetically and biochemically when undergoing convergent evolution. Sure enough, this prediction holds true with Placental and Marsupial Mammals, with the Banana and the Human, with the whale and the fish, and so on.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

AiG Writer Irrational, Hypocritcal, and Hysterical

The following article was so hilarious and irrational I couldn't resist posting some of it:

When members of the First Church of Charles Darwin maintain that only their creedal formulation of evolutionary origins should be taught in public schools, one wonders which denominational variety should it be? Should it be Darwin’s textus receptus version before it underwent its numerous revisions and reformulations? How about the ‘hopeful monster’ version developed in the 1930s by Otto Schindewolf and promoted in 1940 by Richard Goldschmidt?12 Ms Lucey doesn’t say.

Another proposed mechanism of evolution is that of ‘punctuated equilibrium’ by Niles Eldredge and the late Stephen Jay Gould. ‘Punk Eek,’ as it is affectionately called by some and derisively labeled by others, is a radical departure from the confessional statement of beliefs of the First Church of Charles Darwin. Where the Church of Darwin first suggested that changes occur gradually over long periods of time (equilibrium or stasis), Punk Eek adherents conjecture that the ‘abrupt appearance of species (in the fossil record) could be explained by the transition occurring quickly, geologically speaking, in small, isolated populations such that transitional forms would be highly unlikely to be preserved’13. The change in doctrine came when transitional fossils could not be found to support the orthodox Darwinian dogma. Gould, a high priest of the movement before his death this year, had to confess:

‘The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. . . . [T]o preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.’

Allow me to counter this misquote with an in-context quote from Gould:

“Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether through design or stupidity, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

Punctuated Equilibrium basically means that species originate in small, isolated populations. They may be disconnected from the main population by a river, mountain range, or anything else. Over the course of several hundred to several thousand generations, this isolated population evolves into a new species. They are guaranteed to be a distinct species because of genetic drift. When the barrier that separates the new species from the old is no more, the two species will meet again. When they meet, they will no longer interbreed, but compete. Sometimes the new species will drive the old one into extinction.

Now, if you were to examine the fossils from the large population, it would look as though a new species had originated suddenly. The new species may not have left behind any fossils in its small area, and it would come in and replace the old species without leaving any intermediates. This explains the pattern seen in the fossil record. Keep in mind that this would not explain major transitions, like that of reptiles to birds, just small ones, like between two species of conodont (see page 124 of Gould's paper). Now, all this may seem theoretical, but everything that has just been described has been observed before (save the part about fossilization). See Gould's papers on Punctuated Equilibria, or Richard Dawkins' chapter about it in his book The Blind Watchmaker.

Punctuated Equilibrium does NOT call on anything unobserved. Many people would argue it is merely a form of gradualism, since nothing truly sudden occurs. But enough about Punk Eek.

I suspect that this article contains more misquotes, since he quotes Michael Ruse as saying 'Evolution is a religion' even though he authored the book, "Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?" (Hint: His answer was yes).

Bold Hypocrisy

Under the subtitle 'Aliens Did It' Our Fundamentalist Author goes on to write:

"Crick, a serious and well-respected scientist, thinks ‘that life on earth may have begun when aliens from another planet sent a rocket ship containing spores to seed the earth.’ Of course, Crick doesn’t explain how the aliens got there, but, hey, this is science. A theory is deemed scientific as long as it has the imprimatur of at least one member of the Darwinian priesthood."

How hypocritical that they should criticize someone for attributing something to aliens while they attribute everything to God. They never explain God's existence, where he came from, why he exists, or why he must exist. They also failed to mention that Crick's Panspermia hypothesis is not a formal Scientific theory, unlike the theory of evolution. It is also not true to imply that everyone thinks of Crick's proposal as scientific. I don't. Neither does Paul Davies, who criticizes the idea in his book "The Fifth Miracle".

Furthermore, there is no evidence that life was seeded on earth by aliens, and it is not taught in public schools (just like the 'hopeful monster' hypothesis).

Evolution is taught in our public schools because the evidence supports it strongly. For a brief overview of the evidence, simply click on my "Evolution for Creationists" series, on the right side of the page.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Correction: The Evolution of the Flagellum

I came across a blog post by Nick Matzke about the PNAS paper on the evolution of the flagellum. Unfortunately, this paper has too many problems for me to feel comfortable referencing, so I have removed it from my review of The Edge of Evolution. Of course, this really isn't much of a problem, since Matzke has already written a paper on the evolution of the flagellum (which I used instead in my review). That doesn't even address some of the real fatal flaws to irreducible complexity.

All in all, situations like this are actually good because they show the willingness of real scientists like Matzke to be truthful about things like this.

Hopefully it will also illustrate to my blog readers that I strive for perfection and openly admit when I am wrong.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Discovery Institute's Youtube Propaganda 2

This entry will once again focus on deception from the Discovery Institute.

Darwin's Homology Problem?

In this video, DI tries to make the case against evolution by stating that homology doesn't always indicate common ancestry. Of course it doesn't, Richard Dawkins discussed this in his book The Blind Watchmaker over ten years ago. His answer was that biochemical and genetic similarity must be present, not just physical similarity.

They begin by talking about the Australian wolf. It has a lot in common with North American wolves, yet no one thinks the two share a recent common ancestor. Is this a problem for evolution? No. DNA Tests have confirmed Australian Wolves to be more closely related to their fellow Marsupials rather than Placental Wolves.

They continue to illustrate their point using the Wasp and the Fruit Fly. They tell us that different genes are responsible for forming the body segments of each one. I suspect that this is not true, however. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a paper that stated that the genes responsible for development ("homeobox" genes) were very similar between the honey bee and the fruit fly. The honey bee belongs to the Order Hymenoptera as does the wasp.

They go on to discuss how the gut develops from different tissues in the Lamprey, the shark, and the frog. Talk.Origins provides the answer on this one:

"We now know that organs can be stimulated to grow in many parts of the body (such as eyes growing on a fly's wings) simply by ensuring that the proper signalling chemicals are present. Thus homologous organs arising from different areas may result simply from mutations in where signalling proteins are expressed."

In another video they drag up the ancient issue of Haeckel and his infamous embryo sketches. I do not think that these embryos are used in many textbooks nowadays. For one thing, I examined my brother's textbook and found only correct drawings of embryos. For another, Randy Olson, in his film "Flock of Dodos", showed that textbooks simply do not use these embryos any more. For a third, Kenneth Miller corrected the fake embryo drawings in his textbook nearly ten years ago.

UPDATE: I have posted an update to this clarifying some of what I stated, and responding to a comment left about this entry.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Discovery Institute's Youtube Propaganda

Youtuber Extant Dodo has the following posted on his youtube account:

"It appears that the Discovery Institute has stolen a page from Creation Science Evangelism's playbook. They have filed DMCA take-down orders against our critical analysis of Icons of Evolution videos. Later, the discovery Institute followed suit and made similar claims against our critique of Case for a Creator.

As with our response to the very same nonsense instituted by Creation Science Evangelism, we ask that you bear with us as we seek legal counsel to craft a proper response."

The video, which criticizes the Discovery Institute extensively, can be found here on google video. (Be warned it is 90 minutes long and may take some time to load).

After all the talk about hearing both sides and free speech, Discovery Institute files Copyright claims to silence one of its toughest critics. (Even though D.I. owns the copyright, this should fall under "Fair Use"). What hypocrisy.

Since they can't silence me, I'm going to criticize some of the video propaganda they uploaded to youtube. The first thing that should be addressed is their video, The Truth about the Dover Intelligent Design Trial.

Claim #1 I.D. is NOT a relabeling of creationism

Barbara Forrest read through several drafts for the I.D. textbook Of Pandas and People. In them, she found that while the originals said, "Creator, Creation, Creationists" the later drafts said, "Designer, Design, Design Proponents". The intermediate drafts contained the phrase "cdesign proponentists" indicating that the writers had done a messy job when replacing 'creationists' with 'design proponents'.

Claim #2 Intelligent Design is backed by peer reviewed articles

Which ones? Stephen Meyer publish a paper, however, it was not reviewed by anyone else, and was later retracted by the Journal. I'm going to quote from the Dover Trial Script to show why Judge Jones may have thought I.D. had no peer reviewed articles behind it:

Rothschild: And, in fact, there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred, is that correct?

Behe: That is correct, yes.

Anytime that an IDer claims that peer reviewed articles support ID, CHECK IT OUT!

Claim #3 Judge's Decision was copied verbatem from the attorneys.

Michael Behe was recently a guest on Point of Inquiry, and if you listen to the interview, you will hear him concede that a Judge copying from what the attorneys give them and pasting it in their ruling is a common practice. (Listen to Michael Behe here, at the time of writing he is the fifth person listed on the page).

More to come on the Discovery Institute.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Are Varves Annual? A quick response to some objections

A reader left the following comment on my last article:

"Just to play Devil's...or I suppose "Ken Ham's" advocate, the AiG article Green River Blues goes into detail about the existence of cross-varve fossilized fishes that are intact.

The AiC article (linked on my previous comment) goes into this a LITTLE bit (uses Bog People as an example of preservation) but doesn't show quite enough of the evidence to show why the fossils appearing don't support YEC.

Then again, they still have to deal with all of the ridiculous drying/wetting/pooping found in the Zindler article..."

I responded thus:

Good questions. Remember one thing always: Modern uniformitarianism accounts for catastrophe as well as gradual deposition. AiG often likes to caricature this methodology as relying only on long periods of time to create things, when it doesn't.

Obviously some of these varves were laid down catastrophically. But can we tell the difference between the varves laid down annually and those laid down catastrophically? Yes.

(Underneath the second picture it discusses varves)

He also has an article about fish preservation: (Scroll down to the fish picture and begin reading underneath it):

Berkeley has a page on the Green River formation:

"Approximately 60 vertebrate taxa have been found at Green River, including fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. Eleven species of reptiles have been found, including one species of snake, Boavus idelmani. Invertebrate fossils are abundant, with remnants of snails and insects being common. The plant fossils, including many reeds, leaves and wood specimens, are also very prevalent at Green River. A large majority of known fossils are fragmentary but some complete skeletons exist of fish, birds, reptiles and one mammal, Brachianodon westorum."

So in essence, most of the fossils are fragmentary while a very few are well preserved. That seems in line with the modern day interpretation. Also, on the same page is a paragraph about how the lake was dated. Pretty Good Stuff.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Rocks of Age: How Varves show the Earth Old

This is practically an end-all argument against creationism. This comes from Frank Zindler, and additional information as well as rebuttals to creationist arguments about varves can be found on Glenn Morton's page here.

From "Rock of Ages" by Frank Zindler

Most creationists try to follow the biblical scenario of creation, fall, flood, etc., as literally as possible. This means that they must do everything possible to discredit the notion that the earth is millions, nay, billions of years old. This is so because the chronologies recorded in the Bible imply that the world was zapped into existence around the year 4004 BCE - give or take a few months. [3] To save the biblical chronology, it has been necessary for creationists to attempt a reconstruction of the entire science of geology.

The facts of nature, however, are quite insistent: they tell us the earth is old. Some of the evidence is so clear and unequivocal that even persons untrained in the sciences can understand it as soon as it is presented, and they can see at once that it deals a fatal blow to the biblical chronology.

One such evidence derives from rocks which exhibit unusual structures called varves. Varves are thin, laminar structures that, when seen edge-on, resemble the growth-rings of trees. Typically, each varve is comprised of a couplet of light- and dark-colored layers of material. In true varves, each couplet of layers represents material laid down under water in a single year. Like the growth rings of trees, the laminations in varved rocks record an annual climatic rhythm. In northern lakes during the spring and summer, because of wave action, only large particles can settle to the bottom to form a layer of sediment. In winter, however, when the lakes freeze over, even very fine particles (including much of the organic material) can settle below wave-base and form a second, darker layer.

The proof that varves represent annual deposits can be quite compelling. N. J. Berrill, in his book Man's Emerging Mind, tells of a varved shale from the Miocene Epoch of Switzerland:
Certain shales of Miocene age in Switzerland bring that ancient world as vividly to life as any poster advertising the glories of a Swiss canton. For layer upon layer repeat the following sequence: compressed in the bottom of each layer are the blossoms of poplar and camphor trees, symbols of spring; immediately above is a thin region containing winged ants and the seeds of elm and poplar, all of summertime; and this in turn is overlaid by the autumn fruits of camphor, date-plum and wild grape. The whole progression of the seasons, year after year, are there in the earth like an enchantment. Time past was as real as time present. [4]
It should not be thought that Berrill's example is a unique or isolated example. Richard Foster Flint, in his famous textbook, Glacial and Pleistocene Geology, describes more modern varves ("rhythmites") that have been studied in Switzerland:
Rhythmites deposited in a lake near Interlaken in Switzerland are thin couplets, each consisting of a light-colored layer rich in calcium carbonate and a dark layer rich in organic matter. Proof that these rhythmites are annual and are therefore varves is established on organic evidence. The sediment contains pollen grains, whose number per unit volume of sediment varies cyclically, being greatest in the upper parts of the dark layers. The pollen grains of various genera are stratified systematically according to the season of blooming. Finally, diatoms are twice as abundant in the light-colored layers as in the dark. From this evidence it is concluded that the light layers represent summer seasons and the dark ones fall, winter, and spring. Counts of the layers indicate a record extending back to 9,500 yr B.P. ["years before present"]. [5]
Since the latter set of varves are at least 3500 years older than the earth itself, according to the biblical chronology, they must surely be a work of the devil, and it would behoove all profit-making prophets in the Land of Creationdumdum to do everything possible to explain them away.

One of the first to attempt this Everest of biblical apologetics was John Morris' father, Henry M. Morris. In my opinion, Morris père is the person most to be blamed for the recrudescence of creationist pseudoscience in the space-age. In 1961, along with coauthor John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Morris published the creationist "classic," The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications. That was the volume of tomfoolery that formed the basis for what is wishfully called "creation science," an attempt to make biblical myths look and sound scientific.

In that never-revised book, Morris and Whitcomb devote eight full pages to the explaining away of varves. Citing genuine scientific authorities on peripheral issues, they attempted to cast doubt on the thesis that the pairs of layers in varved sediments are annual in nature. But do Morris and Whitcomb have an explanation for Flint's pollen data? Do they even mention it? Of course not - even though it is certain that they have read Flint's book, since they cite it in their critique. The Interlaken deposits are ignored totally. And well might they ignore them, since they could not possibly explain them away. Still less could they end their general discussion of varves with the conclusion:
Thus, it is concluded that the varved clays of the Pleistocene glacial lakes offer no problem to the chronology of Biblical geology. The varves were deposited, either annually or at shorter intervals, within the post-Deluge period. [6]
This would not compute if they had to include the 9,500-year record of the Interlaken varves. According to the Hebrew chronology, Noah's flood occurred in the year 2,348 BCE. [7] Since Morris claims varves to be post-deluge, we have a serious contradiction here. The flood would have had to have been much earlier than the biblical chronology implies. Furthermore, since the Hebrew chronology dates the creation at 1656 years before the flood, if we combined the varves with the pre-flood biblical chronology we would have creation at around 11,000 BCE. - fully a thousand years earlier than the most daring of the seers at ICR would allow! [8]

In what would appear to be a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the varve evidence, Morris and Whitcomb quote from my old geomorphology professor, William D. Thornbury:
There has been criticism of this method of arriving at estimates of Pleistocene chronology. In the first place, it involves a great deal of interpolation and extrapolation, which introduce possible errors. Secondly, there is some question as to whether varves actually are annual deposits. Deane (1950) from his study of the varves in the Lake Simcoe region of Ontario was led to doubt seriously that varves represent yearly deposits and was more inclined to think that they represent deposits of shorter lengths of time. [9]
From personal experience, I know that Professor Thornbury accepted the Swiss varves mentioned earlier as being true annual deposits. In the passage quoted, he was dealing mostly with the problem of correlating varve deposits in one part of the world with those somewhere else. As for the idea that varves in general represent deposits of less-than-annual periodicity, we note again that our Christian authors have left out the conclusion of the passage quoted. Thornbury ended the above passage with the statement that
Results from radiocarbon dating of late Wisconsin deposits are not in complete agreement with ages arrived at by varve counting but are similar enough to suggest that varves are probably annual deposits.
It was necessary to leave out Thornbury's conclusion mentioning radiocarbon, because on page 423 they would make one further attack on varve chronology:
The highly doubtful significance of any varve chronology has been demonstrated plainly in recent years by its general rejection by geologists when the newer radiocarbon method was found to be contradictory to it.
Further insights into the methodology of Christian geology as practiced by Morris and Whitcomb can be gained by noting the fact that on the page preceding the above conclusion they quote from Flint's Pleistocene Geology (as we have noted, without mentioning Flint's dramatic description of the Swiss pollen sequences) appearing to cast even more doubt on the annual nature of varves and to imply that Scandinavian varve studies are in disarray. Left out of the quotation, however, is a part saying that the varve chronology is widely accepted in Europe, and that there is radiocarbon support for it!

Can it be an accident that this line was omitted?

While it is true that back in the 1950s when Flint's text was written, there were some disputes among Scandinavian varve chronologists concerning the number of years elapsed since the retreat of the Pleistocene glaciers from various locations, these problems have now been resolved, and very little uncertainty remains in the varve chronology constructed for the last 10,000-12,000 years. Indeed, varve chronologies are now so well established, they are being used to correct radiocarbon dates for the period 10,000-12,000 yr B.P., just as dendrochronology (tree ring dating) has been used to correct radiocarbon dates for the period 2000-7000 yr B.P.! [10]

All doubt as to the annual nature of at least the Swedish varves has recently been dispelled by work done by Ingemar Cato, [11] of the Swedish Geological Survey. Cato has studied varves forming at the present time in the estuary of the Ångermanälven river in northern Sweden. He has proved by direct observation that varves do indeed form as annual deposits and that their thickness is directly related to the amount of material carried in suspension by the river. Now that we know for certain that the Swedish varves are indeed yearly records of the postglacial world, creationists have to decide what to do with the fact that the varve record at Döviken in Sweden began in 7288 BCE (i.e., 4940 years before the date implied by the Bible for Noah's flood). This means that the biblical chronologies spanning the period from the flood to the supposed birth of Christ are in error by more than 310%! This is very hard to reconcile with biblical inerrancy.

Worse yet, the beginning of the varve-count does not signal the end of Noah's flood (of course!), but rather the end of the Ice Age (Pleistocene Epoch) - which epoch most creationists claim is also post-flood. Allowing sufficient time for numerous advances and retreats of continental glaciers, with deep weathering of soils and growth of long-lived forests in between, we see that the date of Noah's flood is pushed back to far before 10,000 BCE, i.e., to long before the beginning of the universe according to the opinion of creationist savants!

The Green River Shale: A Rock That Killed God

While ICR creationists probably get a headache from the contemplation of postglacial varves, the problems presented by preglacial varves ought to squeeze their brains out their hair follicles. Quite a few creationists claim that all the preglacial sedimentary rocks of the world were laid down during the single year of Noah's flood. This would seem to be preposterous enough to make anybody laugh creationism off the stage; but the absurdity grows even greater when one considers the problem creationists face when they have to account for preglacial varved deposits such as the Eocene Green River Shale, a rock deposit found in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

The Green River Shale is a deposit of soft rocks (including so-called oil-shales) averaging about 2000 feet in thickness and covering an area of 25,000 square miles. A large part of the formation consists of laminated deposits that appear to be varves - apparently over six million of them! The first detailed description of the varved deposits was published back in 1929 by Wilmot H. Bradley, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. [12]

Unlike most modern varved deposits, the Green River varves are very thin, averaging only 0.18 millimeters. In each pair of laminations, one layer is darker in color and much richer in organic material than the other, which often is made of very fine-grained carbonate minerals. Bradley concluded that the varves were annual deposits on the basis of their close resemblance to varves being formed today in certain modern lakes and on the basis of the astronomical rhythms they appear to reflect:
Three cycles of greater length than the varve cycle are suggested by fairly regular recurrent variations in the thickness of the varves and in the thickness and character of certain beds and by the fairly regular spacing of certain salt-mold layers. The first of these cycles averaged a little less than 12 years in length and appears to correspond to the cycle of sunspot numbers. The second cycle had an average length of about 21,600 years and suggests the average period of about 21,000 years which is the resultant of the cyclic changes of eccentricity of the earth's orbit and the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes. The third cycle, which was about 50 years long, agrees with no well-established rhythm. [13]
How does Henry Morris deal with this evidence? The presence of astronomical rhythms in the shale being the most impressive argument for a generally annual character of the laminations, we are not surprised to find that Morris makes no mention of the evidence and thus avoids the embarrassment of having to explain it away. Instead, he attacks Bradley's use of the principle of uniformitarianism in comparing the Green River Varves with the annual deposits being formed in certain modern lakes, and he attacks Bradley's calculations showing that the amount of material composing each varve was consistent with the amount of material that could be brought into the lake each year by rivers.

Nowhere does Morris explain how varves reflecting sun-spot and higher astronomical rhythms could have been laid down during the single year of Noah's Flood. Nowhere does he let his readers know the problem even exists. Although he cites various geological treatises that contain greatly detailed information about the Green River Formation, Most of this is ignored. He mentions
the extensive deposits of volcanic ash mingled with the shales and the almost complete absence of any graded bedding in the oil-rich shales such as would be normally encountered in any lake-bottom sediment. Also, there is evidence of brecciated conditions in many parts of the formation. [14]
Not only does Morris not explain why it is implausible to suppose that volcanic ash occasionally fell into the lake in which the varves were forming, he neglects to discuss the impossibility of such ash layers forming if the volcanoes producing them were submerged by the waters of Noah's flood! With respect to the supposed lack of graded bedding, [15] he not only neglects to discuss the limy sandstones which Bradley reported did display graded bedding, he neglects to mention that his own hypothesis of how the deposit was formed during Noah's flood absolutely requires all the layers to display graded bedding!
The only certain conclusion, from the very nature of the deposits, would seem to be that they could not have been formed as cyclic varves as claimed. A possible plausible explanation might be in terms of a vast sedimentary basin formed by the gradual uplift of the land surrounding it, in the later stages of the Deluge period. A complex of shallow turbidity currents, carrying the still soft surface sediments and organic slime from the surface of the rising lands would then enter the basin, mingle, and deposit their loads..." [16]
Turbidity currents would have the effect of suspending particles of all sizes in the water. Unless magical powers be invoked to prevent it, all the laminations resulting from turbidity flows would show graded bedding, with coarse particles at the bottom, fine ones at the top. How each turbidity flow could be spread out so thinly over thousands of square miles, Morris does not explain. Nor does he deal with the problem that oil and water do not mix, and that if the oily, organic material forming one part of each varve pair had been washed into the lake basin by a turbidity flow the organic material would form large blobs, not microscopically thin, uniform layers perfectly demarcated from the inorganic layers above and below. Still less does Morris explain how six million turbidity flows could have occurred within the space of one year. Nearly 700 basin-wide turbidity flows would have had to occur per hour! [17] Morris, as we have already seen, mentions that some of the Green River deposits are "brecciated," [18] as though that somehow rules out a generally annual nature of the varves. What he does not tell his readers - even though it is certain that he learned the truth while rummaging through the sources he cites - is that the Green River breccias resulted from mud-flats drying out, with the formation of mud-cracks and the curling up of the resulting algal slime-covered mud shingles. Understandably, Morris did not want to draw attention to evidences of drought at a time he claims the world was under water! Nevertheless, his method here can hardly be confused with honest scholarship.

One Week in Wyoming

Given the information available concerning the types of things found in the Green River Formation, it is amusing to attempt a reconstruction of what Yahweh would have had to do to form it during the single year postulated for Noah's flood.

Since there are over six million two-ply layers, it is clear that our earth-destroying deity had to lay down algae, deposit carbonate, lay down algae, etc., more than six million times! Since the Green River Formation comes rather late in the geological column, it is clear that it would have been formed during the last days of the flood year. If all 600 million years-worth of Phanerozoic rocks were actually formed in about a year, as creation "scientists" claim, formation of the six million laminations of Green River rocks should have taken about a week. Whatever Yahweh was doing that week in Wyoming, he was doing it a rate of about 600 paired layers per minute! Perhaps he had the help of Speedy Gonzalez.

Probably the greatest problem the "Rock of Ages" had in giving the false appearance of age to the Green River Shale stemmed from the fact that he had to do it in the midst of a world-destroying flood, yet many of the structures of the deposit can only be formed during drought. For example, there are many hundreds of layers of salt crystals. This means that at least once per hour, Yahweh had to stop rearranging continents, fly to Wyoming, evaporate the flood waters in just that locality to crystallize and precipitate out layers of salt - without adding heat to destroy the aquatic forms of life he would need to help him form other structures to be discussed later.

Since volcanic ash layers are common in our shale deposit, at least several time per day our rock-making divinity had to pull back the waters enough to let the peaks of the local volcanoes emerge, eject ash clouds, and let the ash settle upon the varves. Then he had to let the flood waters return (waters five miles deep, if Mt. Everest was covered!), until the next drought was needed.

Several times per hour, Jehovah had to remove the water completely from the Green River area, so he could form mud-cracks, coat the mud with a varnish-like layer of algal remains, add dead fish, dry the whole affair until mud shingles and fish alike curled up. Then, unlike his trick with Moses in the Red Sea, he had to let the flood return gently, so that the mud-curls and curled fish would not be disturbed, but would be covered by a delicate cover of varved material. At least once per day, however, Yahweh Elohim had to keep the mud-flats dry long enough for plants to grow and a weathered soil horizon to form.

Despite the fact that the purpose of Noah's flood was to destroy all life on earth, aside from the token delegations taken onto the ark, the Lord God of Sabaoth had to keep lots of living things held at the ready so he could use them to form particular deposits. For example, at least once per day he had to form algal reefs as much as six feet thick, in which live algae were caused to secrete layers of carbonate having the appearance of annual growth rings. Although he probably had less than a minute to do it, the Little Old Rock-Maker managed to form algal reefs looking for all the world as though they had taken at least 350 years to grow!

Periodically, insect larvae by the billions had to be trotted out to cast their exoskeletons in crowded layers between the varves. At other times, the deity took just the eyes and wing-scales of insects and made rock layers from them. Sometimes, for variety, he made layers out of the scales of ganoid fishes instead of the scales of insects. (Most of the organic layers, of course, are made up of the spores of algae and fungi and the amorphous remains of other vegetation.) Occasionally, he drowned a camel or sank a crocodile, and laid it out upon the varved clays. Just where these animals had been treading water during the preceding ten months of the flood is not revealed in Genesis, although the prophets at ICR could get a special revelation on the subject at any time.

Of all the marvelous portions of the Green Rive Shale, the ones that most vividly display divine design are, without question, the layers formed mostly of tiny coprolites - the fossilized excremental pellets of aquatic insects and other tiny water-dwelling animals. It is awesome to contemplate a being who repeatedly would take time off from the important job of destroying the world, in order to call out the trillions of tiny insects and crustaceans that he had been saving from destruction - just for the purpose of having them all poop on the playa en masse. Who but a god could make all those little buggers "hold it" until that one-tenth of a second when their colon contents were needed to form a particular varve?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How Long Has the Candle Been Burning? A Metaphor for Radiometric Decay

I found this article in a PDF of a booklet published by the Australian Skeptics Society. Just to be clear, it was not written by me, but by Professor Andrew Gleadow. I think it is the simplest, shortest, and best summary of Radiometric Dating so far. The only thing that he did not go into was the constancy of decay, which of course is discussed elsewhere.

How Long Has the Candle Been Burning?

By Professor Andrew Gleadow

It is quite true that in order to estimate the total time that the candle has been burning you need to know not only the rate at which the candle burns, but also that the rate has been the same ever since burning began, and exactly how much of the burnt material was there to begin with. This is indeed analogous to the basic information that is required for geological dating techniques, as is pointed out clearly in any textbook on the subject of geochronology.
What is misleading, however, about the argument presented opposite is the implicit assumption that the behaviour of candles during burning is somehow so mysterious that it cannot be understood, or that it may not follow known physical laws. It is quite obvious that the laws controlling the burning behaviour of candles can quite easily be determined by experiment and observation. If candles of this type are always observed to have started at a certain length and to bum at a constant rate, then they could indeed be used as a kind of clock. Candles have, in fact, been used in the past for this very purpose. It is simply not true, and quite illogical, to suggest that the burning of candles cannot be understood well enough to estimate how long a candle has been burning. In using natural radioactivity to determine the ages of rocks, many careful experiments are conducted to determine the physical behaviour of the particular measurement systems being used. The behaviour of different dating systems can be investigated directly by experiment and observation to determine, for example, the amount of daughter isotope (the "burnt material") that might be included at the time of formation. For radioactive decay rates to vary through time would violate the known laws of physics, meaning that all science would have to be wrong, not just a few "inconvenient" rock-dating measurements.

No guess-work is required in determining how much "burnt material" was present initially in the radioactive dating systems used in geology, which are based on the measurements of a radioactive element and its decay products, or the accumulated effects of the decay. A number of techniques are available to determine whether any of the product material was actually present when the system began. These include the isochron method, which requires no assumptions about how much daughter product was present initially, or using mineral systems which are known experimentally to incorporate no daughter product when they are formed.
Another approach is to look at the isotopic composition of the daughter product in minerals in the same rock which do not contain any of the radioactive decay element.

Radiation-damage techniques, such as fission-track dating, study the damage produced in natural materials by radioactive decay. Such materials clearly cannot incorporate radiation-damage from before they were formed. In geologically undisturbed systems, all of these approaches can be shown to give the same results indicating that many rocks, and therefore the Earth itself, are of enormous age (billions of years). The answer to the argument presented is simply that it is possible to understand natural systems and physical laws. Such understanding leads to predictions that can be tested to the point where the underlying physical laws cannot reasonably be doubted. On this basis, it is entirely possible to use a candle to estimate elapsed time, and the same is true for geological dating systems.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Answers in Creation

You may not have heard of it before, but there is a theistic evolution website out there called "Answers in Creation". They're a pretty good site, and even have their own "Index to Creationist Claims". My favorite was their refutation of Ken Ham's Dinosaurs in the Bible Claim:

Ken Ham claims that Isaiah 43:20 refers to dragons. This verse says, "
The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen." (KJV)

Source: Ken Ham, The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved!, Page 34-35


  1. The Hebrew word translated dragon is tannîym. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, it is;

    “a marine or land monster, i.e. sea-serpent or jackal; dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale.”

    The King James Version, which Ham quotes, is the only major version to translate it as “dragon.” The New American Standard (NAS), regarded by scholars as the most literal version, uses “serpent” in Psalm 91 and “jackel” in Isaiah 43. The New International Version and Amplified Version agree with the NAS. The New King James Version also corrects the KJV version, using “serpent” and “jackel.”

Monday, December 3, 2007

Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism

Hello Everyone!

In Answers in Genesis' 'News to Note' they have an article about a recent geological discovery: A landslide was responsible for dumping 225 billion metric tons in a matter of just a few days. This took place about 60,000 years ago. (See BBC Story here).

Here is an excerpt from AiG's article:

Young-earth groups such as Answers in Genesis frequently point to catastrophic geological processes like this landslide that fly—or flow, perhaps—in the face of long-age, uniformitarian geological doctrine. Secular scientists repeat the dogma of “millions of years” and generally point to slow, day-to-day erosion as the major factor in shaping the surface of the earth. Yet geologists, time and time again, stumble over large-scale, fast-occurring geological catastrophes that they identify as having shaped particular features of the earth (such as the Channel Scablands in Montana).

Given all this and acknowledging the geological upheaval a worldwide flood would have brought, where are the scientific objections to geological catastrophism? The reality is, even secular geologists accept some catastrophic explanations (as mentioned above), but by balking at a global flood, they ignore the greatest geological catastrophe there ever was!

Alright, so they are proposing that the geologic column is at least mostly a product of an enormous flood, and not the result of millions of years worth of sedimentation. This is something that we can test! Okay, I want all the evolutionists at home to think, or just be open to, the possibility of the geologic column being deposited by a Global Flood. Now, to all the Creationists, I want you to be open to the idea of the geologic column possibly being the product of slow processes and some catastrophic ones (this is what modern uniformitarianism is, it accounts for catastrophe). Okay, are we ready? Good! Let's look for clues as to whether the geologic column was produced by one flood, or many floods and slow sedimentation.

If the geologic column was deposited by a Catastrophic Flood, I would never expect to find any fragile items in the fossil record. A catastrophic flood would probably destroy fragile things, since it would have had to be violent enough to produce certain geological anomalies. But we have many examples of fragile things, such as the body prints of an amphibian, footprints of dinosaurs, and fossilized rain drop imprints. It is easy to imagine sediment gradually covering a print left in the mud by an amphibian, but hard to imagine rushing torrents doing this without destroying it. And remember, these things were found in the middle of the geologic column, and according to flood geologists, the middle of this epidemic flood. Flood Geology fails this test.

Radiometric Dating

It has been established via experiment that radiometric decay is constant, and therefore a reliable indicator of age. Creationists pose other objections to it, but I won't go into those since they are discussed in "Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective" and "Isochron Dating". (For an easier to digest summary, see this article).

The point is, since we know radiometric dating to be reliable, we should be able to use this to date the strata. If Flood Geology is correct, all strata should date to the same age. If Uniformitarianism (Slow Processes) is correct, then the strata should date to different ages. I would also add that if radiometric dating gave dates that were all over the map and not consistent, we could call this inconclusive. Of course, we know that Radiometric Dating does give consistent results, and it is frequently found that the oldest strata are lower than the youngest strata. See the links above for examples of this. Flood Geology again fails the test.

Fossil Sorting

Let's apply one more test. If the flood really happened, then we would expect to see chaos in the fossil record. Man with dinosaurs, all forms of life mixed together, side by side. Yet this outstandingly NOT SO. If the fossil record was laid down over a long period of time, we would expect to see changes in the life forms from strata to strata (since we observe changes today). This would be true even if you only accepted micro-evolution. For instance, see these seashells and how they are found in different strata. Again, Flood Geology fails and Uniformitarianism rains supreme in the scientific arena.

It is important to add as a side note that creationists have proposed ways of explaining the fossil record, although they have been proven false. For instance, see this Talk Origin page or this article written by legendary Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Counter Creationism Resources

I have taken the time to put together a robust list of web sites/pages/etc. which destroy creationism. Enjoy!

Genesis Vs. Geology by Stephen Jay Gould

Gould explains why creationism isn't science, and why the fossil record has falsified it.

The Polar Bear Disproves Creationism

Ron Rayborne explains how the Polar Bear completely falsifies the claims of creationism.

Six Flood Arguments Creationists Can't Answer

An absolutely excellent article which uses multiple lines of evidence to falsify the Global Flood Myth.

Glenn Morton's Anti-Creationism Page - Very well written articles from a former young earth creationist turned Geologist.

No Answers in Genesis - Great site with a lot of articles.

American Atheists on Evolution
- Frank Zindler writes a variety of excellent articles on evolution and creationism, in a way that is easy to understand. My favorites:

The Kiwi Question - Shows how Biogeography disproves Creationism

Rock of Ages - Why Geology reveals the Earth to be very, very old.

Half a Wing and No Prayer
- Discusses the Evolution of the Wing and Eye.


Evolution: 24 Myths and Misconceptions - Highly recommended for those still learning!

Evolution/Creation NCSE Archives

Creationism: Scientists Respond

Internet Infidels on Creationism

Talk Origins on Creationism

Ken Miller's Intelligent Design Page

Lenny Flank's "Creationism Debunked" Page

DefCon's Top 10 Reasons the Universe is NOT Six Thousand Years Old

Creationism and Intelligent Design Watch

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

Don Lindsay's Creationism Page - Goes through Many Specific Issues.

Major Problems with the Flood Story

ERV Blog - An Graduate Student With a Talent for Debunking IDers

Panda's Thumb - All the Latest News on ID and Creationism.

Youtube Mania!

These are some of my favorite youtubers who regularly create videos debunking creationism:

Extant Dodo

"Actually..." Dedicated to Making Creationists look Foolish

CDK007 - He explains the Evolution of the Flagellum, and constantly debunks IDists/Creationists.

My Youtube Channel

Specific Videos

Neanderthals and mtDNA

The Age of Our World Made Easy

Vestigial Organs

Bacteria: The Link You've Been Waiting For

Ray Comfort's Banana Challenge

Intelligent Design Section

Scientists Defend PBS Evolution Series

Jonathan Wells Debunked

"The Vise Strategy Undone" by Barbara Forrest

Nick Matzke's Review of the Edge of Evolution

Nick Matzke's Response to Behe

NOVA: Judgement Day Part 1

The Flagellum Unspun

Design On the Defensive

How Intelligent Design Works

Ken Miller's Evolution Page

Failed Intelligent Design Prediction

One of Behe's Mistakes in 'The Edge'

The Discovery Institute's Youtube Propaganda

The Discovery Institute's Youtube Propaganda 2

Creationist Deception / Creationism Exposed - These are specific examples not listed in the "Files AiG Doesn't Want you to Read"

Creationists Cannot Agree Whether Fossils Are Ape or Human

The Lucy Fossil

David Menton Lies About Tiktaalik

Kent Hovind Vs. Molecular Geneticist

AiG Gets it All Wrong on Genetic Algorithms

CreationWiki and Lies

Patterson Misquoted: A Tale of Two Cites

Creationist Whoppers

A Creationist Exposed

Frank Zindler Debates John Morris

Frank Zindler Debates Duane Gish

Maculate Deception: The Science of Creationism

ICR Gets Owned!! Experiments that Verify Evolution

If you decide to pass this list on, please add my website to it:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Changes to "Evolution for Creationists"

Hi Everyone!

I made a few alterations to the "Evolution for Creationists" series. A few days ago, I corrected my erroneous statement that marsupials were only found in Australia. I should have checked into that more, what I meant was that Monotremes are only found in Australia and New Guinea.

The next thing I did was to go back and try to explain fossil succession in a more clear manner. Check here and see how I did.

In Part 4, under the question "Has Macro-Evolution Ever been observed?" I added the following:

"However, over the course of history some dramatic changes have been witnessed from the Artificial Selection of Plants. Artificial Selection is when human beings choose only the best of their crop to reproduce. After generations and generations, this can produce something very different from the wild product. Just take a look at how much our modern day corn differs from its wild ancestor."

And finally, under the question "Has Evolution ever been observed?" I added the these examples:

Arizona Fruit Fly Speciation
London Mosquito Speciation
Salamanders and Songbirds

It has truly amazed me how much evolution we have actually gotten to witness. There is almost too many instances of changes in plants and animals, and the emergence of new species to keep track of.

Well, if I have stated anything incorrectly or in a way that is not clear, please feel free to let me know.


Friday, November 30, 2007

There Aren't ANY Error Free AiG Articles

Hi Everyone!

You guys need to check out this thread over at the Internet Infidels Debate Forum. A challenge was issued to any and all creationists:

Present a single example of an AIG article that makes a claim contrary to mainstream science and which contains no errors of fact or logic.

The thread has been going on for 11 pages, and so far no one has done it. Maybe I should stop refuting Answers in Genesis, and simply let the creationists show me one article which contains no errors.

C'mon Creationists, let's see whatcha got!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Peppered Moths

Does anyone remember the creationist attacks on the great Peppered Moth Experiment? Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution, wrote an article on the Peppered Moth Schenanigan and how it was deeply flawed, and could not be used as evidence of evolution. To be sure, the original experiments were flawed. The mistakes of the original experiment were recognized and criticized by Evolutionists themselves. Creationists were not the original critics of this experiment. Recently, On a BBC radio show, this incident was discussed by two top biologists, Mike Majerus and Jerry Coyne. They talked about how the criticisms of this experiment were greatly blown out of proportion, and how this is NOT the only example of Natural Selection in action, just one of the easiest to understand. It gets even better: Mike Majerus has been doing his own Peppered Moth Experiments, and carefully avoiding the mistakes of the original. Of course, the predictions of Natural Selection unfolded exactly as expected. The example of Peppered Moths can still be used as a real example of evolution in action.

John Baumgardner Makes a Fool of Himself

You may not be familiar with John Baumgardner, so to give you his backround, he is a young earth creationist who invented a catastrophic model of plate tectonics. He joined Theology Web's Forum, and has been responding to one of critics on the site. Fortunately for us, Glenn Morton comes along to put John in his place:

"Ok, John, I have stayed out of it up until now. Such a statement is simply nonsense. there is no evidence of a global flood in the rocks. A 36,500 foot pile of sediment (which is not exceptional) means that 100 feet per day of sediment must have been deposited ON AVERAGE during a one year flood. That means 4 feet per hour. Most burrowers can't burrow that quickly and would quickly be burried.

Ophiomorpha, a burrower in marine sediments lines its burrows with its fecal pellets. Why do we see fecal pellets lining a burrow in Jurassic sediments of the North Sea (see picture below). Why can I regularly find burrows throughout an entire well bore? Burrows in these wellbores occupy thousands of feet of sediment.


But here are a couple of pictures for you. The jurassic ophiomorpha burrow with fecal pellets lining the burrow and one of the core photos with thousands of feet of burrowed sediment. Please explain how this happens in a global flood.

John, there is NO evidence of a global flood in the rocks."

Eventually, John gets tired of debating and resorts to ranting and raving against those who do not accept a literal interpretation of the bible:

"One thing that strikes me in this interaction is how little respect for God and His Word exists in this place. Most seem oblivious that they face a judgment before a terrible Judge who will not look upon their mockings and blasphemies lightly. One of those this Judge carefully mentored wrote "that in the last days, mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts and saying, 'Where is the promise of His [that is, the Judge's] coming?'" This spokesman for the Judge predicted the sort of mocking I have observed on this site. But observe the excuse for their mocking the idea of the Judge's return: "For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." They appeal to a uniformitarian understanding of the earth and its past in which there has been no divine intervensions in the realm of the physical. The spokesman then points out that to make such an appeal these mockers are being willfully ignorant of God's destruction of the world by water in the Flood. This passage in 2 Peter 3:3-6predicts a future time when mockers, by willful ignorance of God's horrendous judgment of the world recorded in Genesis 6-8,instead adopt a materialist interpretation of physical world that excludes divine action past or future. I therefore with trembling appeal to you to turn from this Satanic snare and be saved from the certain loss into which it leads.

The Bible does not equivocate concerning the reality that the Flood was physical judgment of the entire planet. The words mean what they say, regardless of the protests the scoffers may throw up. Christians are also playing with fire when they willfully 'sit in the seat of scoffers' and advocate a hermeneutic that in effect makes God a liar.

So despite all the scoffing and ridicule, based on the confidence I have in who the Judge is and also on my awareness of the Bible's integrity and reliablity, I stand on my conclusion that the Flood was a world-destroying cataclysm responsible for all but the topmost portion of the Phanerozoic rock record. There will be a day when the truth of this matter evident to all. Pascal frequently spoke to his friends in terms of his famous wager. This is a different wager, but you all now know where I have placed my entire lot of chips."

(Emphasis mine)

Well, you heard the man. It doesn't matter what evidence comes to light, he is sticking with his faith and interpretation of the bible. This kind of blind, violently dedicated faith should scare us. Just what kind of person will not change their minds even when their beliefs are bankrupt and all of the evidence is against them? This type of nonsense reaches millions of children, teenagers, and young adults via AiG and ICR's magazines and websites. One thing is for certain: This is not good.