REPLY #21a TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
This is the first of a two-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
(R) You may not have insulted me directly, but you've said things about creation such as the "creationist nonsense...," "purest piffle," "no thinking person...," "is beyond most thinking people," to name a few.
(MB) OK. Nothing has yet been presented to show that any of these statements is incorrect. Therefore, they can hardly be insults.
(R) If you'd read my previous letters you'll see that I haven't said such things about evolutionists.
(MB) You would have no reason to do so and could not make such statements truthfully.
(R) I suggest you concentrate on the debate rather than stating how stupid you think creationism is.
(MB) Well, let's see...you have labeled Darwinists as being "biased" and have referred to my comments as being "absurd", so I wouldn't be too quick about complaining.
(R) Seriously, I didn't think I would start a debate. I had just finished a fairly lengthy creation vs evolution debate which turned into a philosophical debate.
(MB) Most of them end up that way since the Creationists can't win if they stick to facts. So, they often end up devolving into blanket accusations of "atheism" and parades of standard Bible verses that would be better suited to my section on Religion.
(R) Let's continue:
(R) What "proper historical data" are you using that's giving you a present population of 1,740 people? The way that today's population is calculated from 8 people a few thousand years ago may be a bit inaccurate since the rate of population growth is never constant.
(MB) I gave the data in Reply #16. Did you read it? In case you missed it, here it is again:
"Population expert Paul Ehrlich gives world average yearly growth rates of 0.9 per cent between 1850 and 1930, 0.3 per cent between 1650 and 1850, and a mere 0.07 per cent in the thousand years prior to 1650."
Using these figure, the Biblical chronology which dates the Flood as taking place 4344 years ago (as of 1998), and basic math we see that an initial population of 8 people (Noah and his family) will grow to 131 in 1650, 238 in 1850, 488 in 1930, and 1878 in 1998. (The figure of 1740 would have been the total when the quoted article was written some five years ago.)
(R) But the creationist model certainly hasn't been "conclusivly refuted."
(MB) How does the creationist model survive in the face of the facts? That model claims that the entire 5.5 billion population of the world is descended from the 8 survivors of the Flood. The facts conclusively refute this. How can you say otherwise?
(R) To make things even more confusing you said that if we accept this model we'll have to admit the total population of the
world, when Abraham entered Canaan, was 2,040! So, if we perform calculations using "proper historical data" there would be a greater human population thousands of years ago than now?
(MB) You've confused two different points here. The figure on Israelites entering Canaan was derived using Henry Morris' bloated estimate of a 0.33% population growth rate since the Flood in order to prove that the Creationists' own figures produce ridiculous results. So, if the real data refutes the Creationist model and the Creationist model itself produces nonsensical figures, how does it survive?
(R) One thing I'd like you to know is that I don't hold firmly to the age of 6,000 years for the earth. It could possibly be older (12,000?).
(MB) It makes no difference. The Flood would still have happened at the same time in history. Also, there is still no data that supports even a 12,000-year-old figure. Nor, for that matter, is there any data that supports an age for the Earth of anything less than a few billion years.
(R) From 12 to 2,000,000 people does seem to indicate a high growth rate for the Israelites in the span of 430 years. But, notice in Deuteronomy 34:7, "Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not week nor his strength gone." It seems as if he were still pretty healthy when he died, especially for that age!
(MB) Would you expect any glorifying story of Moses to say that he was sickly or invalid? Also, it is common in those sorts of stories for advanced ages to be ascribed to important individuals since age equated to wisdom and importance in those days.
(R) His brother Aaron lived to be a hundred twenty-three years old. If you look throughout the early Old Testament genealogy you'll notice that Moses and Aaron were not alone in the hundred year old category.
(MB) This only illustrates the point I just made. Since there are no historical records of anybody anywhere at the same time in history living to similar ages and since there is no medical evidence that such ages were even possible at that time in history, there is no reason to think that the Biblical story is accurate in this regard.
(R) I wouldn't think that the people who were mentioned, with their age, in the Bible were the only ones to accomplish this high age feat.
(MB) Oh? Why? There is no evidence upon which to draw such a conclusion since there are no ages given by the Bible for "common" people at that time. Even if we were to accept that a few rare individuals can reach advanced age, that is no indication that such ages were ubiquitous in the general population.
(R) High ages means more people to go around which in turn means a higher population.
(MB) Not necessarily. Notice that the only people for whom the Bible ascribes high ages are men. It is the average lifespan of *women* that would have the largest effect upon population growth rates and childbirth was often deadly or debilitating to the women of that period of history. Finally, even if we make the unwarranted assumption that women also lived to ages of 100+, almost all women would go through menopause and become infertile before they reached half of that age.
(R) Also, as I mentioned earlier, if the Israelites could live so long they must have lived pretty healthy lives. With these examples in mind, the Israelite population and growth rate would most definitely be higher than what you think it was.
(MB) Even reading the Bible, it would be pretty hard to believe that the lifestyle of the enslaved Hebrews was "healthy".
(R) Also, if you look at Exodus chapter 1, it says that when Pharaoh oppressed the Israelites with force labor they multiplied and became more numerous, and when the oppression increased the Israelites multiplied even more.
(MB) Remember that the story is told from the perspective of the enslaved Hebrews. Why wouldn't they paint themselves as heroically perservering and growing despite all the hardships they endured?
(R) This oppression started when Pharaoh began to fear the Israelites which is evident when and he says, "Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we."
(MB) One wonders why the Hebrews remained in Egypt and submitted to slavery if they were actually "more numerous and more powerful" than their oppressors? Perhaps this was nothing more than political rhetoric meant to win support of the Egyptians for Pharaoh's plan to enslave the Hebrews? It's a moot argument in any case, since there is no record in Egyptian history of there ever being any Hebrew tribes living or enslaved in Egypt.
(R) The people in Egypt had long been there and Israelites only inhabited it very recently; it must mean that Hebrews had a high growth rate.
(MB) Or, that the story is just that -- a story.
(R) Finally, Pharaoh then tells the Hebrew midwives to kill every male that's born to the Israelites. This is his plan to keep down the Israelite population. It fails. The midwives disobeyed Pharaoh and let the Hebrew boys live. They did this because they feared God more than Pharaoh. Because of this, God blessed them with their own families and then the Hebrews multiplied and became even more numerous.
(MB) There was a grand total of two midwives involved in this incident -- Shiphrah and Puah. Are we to believe that these two women were to be solely responsible for ensuring that a large population of Hebrews didn't get any larger? If Pharaoh believed this, it would seem to indicate that the total population of Hebrews wasn't actually very large.
(R) You must also account for the fact that families, then, were much larger than today's families. Larger families would mean a larger population. All of these points could certainly help for a high growth rate.
(MB) The Biblical census figures for the tribes of Israel in the Book of Numbers would tend to cause problems for this sort of argument. If the argument is already strained trying to support a population of 2,000,000, the situation only gets worse if you wish to assert that families were large. The 2,000,000 figure assumes an average of 2-3 children per male of warrior age. If you wish to assert that the average family was larger by any significant amount, you're going to have to explain a correspondingly larger total population.
(R) No matter what the growth rate is, or was, for germs there still would be more germs today if they've been living billions of years instead of thousand of years.
(MB) Why? You're again making an invalid extrapolation of population growth rates and failing to understand that any population of any living thing must have an upper limit beyond which the environment can't support additional members. When a species "hits the wall" it can't expand its population any further.
(R) Next, the Gilgamesh epic does not, and could not, predate Noah's Flood.
(MB) Incorrect. The Gilgamesh epic is known to be at least 1200 years older than the story of Noah and is itself derived from an earlier Sumerian tale that dates back at least 1000 years further. You might wish to read "The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels" by Alexander Heidel.
(R) I don't know what date is given to the story of Gilgamesh but even if it does predate the given date to Noah's Flood I must remind you that there isn't an exact date for the Flood. You're probably using the youngest date given to the Flood.
(MB) I'm using Biblical chronology which can be cross-checked by references to known historical events.
(R) Although, this is not sure at all. The span of years that's most "in the dark" is the time between the Flood and Abraham. It could be 300 to 4,000 years apart.
(MB) The Bible itself gives the birth of Abraham as being 292 years after the Flood.
(R) If this date isn't stable, it wouldn't be possible to give the Flood an exact date.
(MB) Sounds like a pretty stable dating to me. If you don't think so, please tell me where the Bible is not to be believed and why.
(R) So, it's not "impossible" for the Gilgamesh epic, and any other Flood distortion, to be derived from the true account of the
(MB) In light of the facts, not only is it impossible for the Gilgamesh epic to have been preceded by the Flood, such a claim is conclusively disproven.
(R) The sedimentary layers you call the geologic column could be explained just as well by the Flood.
(MB) The mechanics of sedimentary deposition by floods are well-known, and the geologic column was not, and could not have been, created by a single flood event no matter how large.
(R) Creationists think the majority of these layers were laid down by theFlood.
(MB) The "majority"? Which layers do Creationists attribute to causes other than the Flood and how do they explain the fossils which are contained within those layers?
(R) Obviously you'd tend to find more "primitive" organisms at or near the bottom of the column, such as marine life, since the Flood would trap them first.
(MB) Why is this "obvious" and why are such organisms "primitive"? It seems to me that marine life would tend to float in water and should tend to rise *above* the land-dwellers who would be swept out to sea and would sink rapidly due to their much greater mass and density.
(R) Then you'd find amphibious creatures, or the like, who lived in or close to the water, and were slow, therefore they would be buried next.
(MB) I wasn't aware that "amphibious" and "slow" were synonymous. What about the lumbering species of land dwellers like sloths? How does this account for inland species of amphibians like frogs and salamanders?
(R) Next, the reptiles, who weren't as intelligent, probably had slower reaction times and slower speeds compared to mammals wouldn't be aware of the impending disaster fast enough and also probably stayed fairly close to the water to keep their temperature mild. They would likely be buried next.
(MB) How does lack of intelligence equate to slow reaction times or slow speeds? There are many species of reptiles that possess the ability to travel and react rather quickly. Also, at the rate that the rains must have fallen, it would make no difference how fast any given creature might have "realized" what was happening. They would all have been drowned or swept away before they knew any different.
(R) The mammals, who were probably the most intelligent, agile, and aware of all the animals would be buried next. And the most intelligent being of all, man, would either be buried last or not buried at all. Because they were probably able to climb high hills or mountains more effectively than most animals, they would be able to escape water last.
(MB) Again, even if we assume any of these dicey propositions, none of them would have mattered. The rains would have swept everything away and all would have been drowned. The roiling waters would have jumbled all creatures together in the mix. Therefore, they should all have eventually settled out uniformly and we should see fossils mixed together in all layers of strata instead of what we actually do find. The only other possibility allowed by the Creationist model is that fossils should be sorted in order of size -- with all of the largest fossils being found in deeper layers of strata and all smaller fossils being found in shallow layers. Again, this is not anything even remotely approaching what we actually find. Therefore, the Creationist model is conclusively refuted by the evidence that is available for all to see.
(R) If some people were able to get to high places, or weren't buried, they would drown under water as it rose and their bodies would eventually ascend to the surface of the water and float. As they floated their bodies would eventually decompose or possibly become the food of a carnivorous sea creature and the carcasses wouldn't leave a trace. This could explain why human bones are rare. This doesn't only apply to people. I'm sure this happened to most animals as well.
(MB) So, what's your point? Such a model only predicts that all fossils should be equally rare and this is certainly not the case. BTW, why didn't the "carnivorous sea creature" perish in the disaster as well?
(R) You may think that this idea of the Flood laying down most of what are now the sedimentary layers couldn't be true.
(MB) I don't think so, I know so. The evidence against such a model is conclusive.
(R) Well I must inform you that by mount St. Helens, there is a canyon that's 1/40 the size of the Grand Canyon, commonly known as the "Little Grand Canyon", which was carved in a relatively short period of time by mud flows caused by the volcano. It's in the similar
shape as the Grand Canyon, it has vertical bands, or layer marks, running horizontally along the side of this canyon, just like the Grand Canyon, and it even has a little river running through the middle of it, just like the Grand Canyon. Without knowing that the canyon was formed by recent mud flows, you would conclude that the little river running through the canyon had carved the whole thing in a long period of time and that the horizontal bands on the side of the canyon were a mark that showed its old age. For a video on this little canyon see "Mount St. Helens, by Steve Austin Ph.D., which also explains how coal and "petrified forests" can and do form in a short period of time.
(MB) Steve Austin is the Chairman of the Geology Department of the Institute for Creation Research. (I wonder why this is never mentioned when arguments which invoke his name use his Ph.D. as some sort of argument from authority?) He has another ICR video which seeks to describe how a single Flood event could have produced the fossil forests found in Yellowstone National Park. In Reply #11, I provided a link to a site which refutes another one of his pet projects, the Grand Canyon Dating Project. You'll find that he uses the same refuted techniques in his Mt. St. Helens video and in the Yellowstone video.
(R) Some geologists, when asked about Mars, believe there was a global (or near-global) flooding there, the same place where they haven't detected any water!
(MB) If you read the whole story, you'll find that these same geologists say that there hasn't been any water (outside of the small polar ice caps) on Mars for billions of years. The flooding evidence is, therefore, at least that old.
(R) Interesting enough, these are the same people who accept the possibility of huge under ground reservoirs on mars ("fountains of the deep") and at the same time generally scoff at the idea of a global Flood on Earth with a surface 3/4 covered with water.
(MB) Why should an absence of surface water on Mars prevent there being any water underground? These are hardly "fountains of the deep", however, and the amount of water present couldn't possibly cover the entire surface of the planet. In the case of the Earth, it would take approximately four times as much water as exists anywhere on the planet to cover the entire surface of the Earth to a depth sufficient to submerge all land, including mountains, and drown all living things.
(R) When you read the creation in Genesis it appears to indicate a plural in the creation of animals. What I mean is, the creation of animals doesn't seem to be by pairs, unlike humans. More than one pair of animals obviously means more of one kind of animal than people. My point is that I think that more animals means less people. Less people means more animals to be buried by the Flood. This could also explain why human remains are rare.
(MB) Except, of course, that such reasoning is rubbish unless you can demonstrate that Man is/was outnumbered by every fossilized species. This will be nearly impossible for the simple fact that few species live outside of a rather restricted range of habitats while Man lives almost everywhere. This is a major factor in determining total population possibilities.
BTW, human remains aren't all that rare, but the major reason why most other
fossil species are more numerous is that the length of their existence was millions of years longer than Man's current existence on this planet. Dinosaurs, for example, ruled the Earth for over 130 million years. Homo sapiens and our hominid ancestors have only been around for about 1-2% of that length of time.
(R) On the radiometric dating methods, the fact that the moon rock dates which came closer to your dates rather than creationist dates doesn't mean a thing if the methods used are unreliable. It does not, "destroy the creationist model."
(MB) First, the only reason why Creationists say that the dates are "unreliable" is that all methods don't produce the exact same datings. However, this isn't necessary in order to destroy the Creationist model for the simple reason that *all* methods produce ages in the billions of years and *none* produce results in the thousands of years. For the Creationist model to survive, you must show what sorts of results would be obtained by "reliable" methods, you must describe what those results would be and why they would be superior, and you must explain why no measurements by any method produce results in accordance with the Creationist model of a young Earth.
(R) The rock dates given by uranium-lead on these moon rocks very from 4.6 to 8.2 billion. Your explanation on this is that the samples were deliberately taken from different areas on the moon to give to widest range of data. Could you give me a reference to this?
(MB) You should be able to find all the information you want on about the Apollo Moon missions on the
NASA web site. BTW, you seem to have either misunderstood or distorted my earlier response. The samples were designed to provide data about a wide range of geological formations on the Moon. Therefore, samples were taken from areas that would encompass a wide range of ages from the younger maria to the older highlands. You seem to think that all Moon rocks should date to identical ages whereas there is no reason for this to be the case. All dates, however, remain in the billions of years instead of the thousands of years required by the Creationist model.
(R) You said that the one date given by UPb (8.2 million) on a moon rock, "...is so out of line that it must be considered anomalous." What about the other moon rocks and everything else that the UPb method "dated"? Why should the date that doesn't agree with your belief just happen to be "anomalous?"
(MB) If you take hundreds or thousands of samples and find one date significantly out of whack with all the others, it is reasonable to consider it to be anomalous. If, however, there are numerous such datings, then another answer must be found. BTW, you never did answer my questions about which samples you are referring to or your source of this information.
(R) Are you saying that KAr isn't suitable for dating on volcanic samples? If so, how do you know this?
(MB) Because argon is a gas, it will not be retained in molten rock as well as will non-gaseous markers.
(R) I don't see how you can know that the "dater" omitted the factor of half-lives for PB-207 and U-235? I never said that it was a Creationist who dated those samples.
(MB) You didn't have to say so -- no legitimate scientist would make those claims.
(R) I've noticed that you've used the word "proof" in quotation as if a creationist has claimed to "prove" creation.
(MB) I have used the quote-delimited version of the word "proof" as satire in statements which refute Creationist arguments which are advanced as "proof" that something about evolution is wrong. Obviously, this means that such arguments are seriously flawed and do not prove anything other than their own faults.
(R) Please tell me what creationist you're quoting, since creationist can't use the word proof when referring to creation.
(MB) Primarily, I've been quoting *you* since you are the one advancing these arguments. I assume that you are parroting most of them from some source material. Therefore, you should know from whence they came.