Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized 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).

(R) I am absolutely, positively, not going to start a debate on this, I just want to hear you defend evolutionism after you read the following...
(MB) Reading ahead, I see you will be dredging up the old nonsense and bogus mathematics that are the centerpiece of the Creationist garbage that seeks to "prove" a young Earth by claiming to show how the entire world population descended from Noah and his family.
It is probably best that you are unwilling to debate this point, since it was conclusively debunked within about 3.14159 seconds after it was first published. Creationists can only push it when the target audience is mathematically illiterate. To "defend evolutionism" against this inconsequential attack, I will be quoting a crushing refutation that was used to defeat one of the prime Creationist pushers of this claim, Dr. Kent Hovind, in a 1994 debate.

(R) (Note: The statement, "Evolution is science and Creation is religion is false.
(MB) Oh? Really? How is this statement false in any scenario where the meanings of the words "science" and "religion" are correctly known and used?

(R) Therefore since evolution is, and always will be, a theory, you believe it by faith.
(MB) Not true. The broad subject of evolution is undeniable fact. Some of the details that are parts of the larger process are still being examined and debated, but no thinking person can possibly deny that evolution itself is a very real thing.
Also, you seem to be committing the common error of misinterpreting the word "theory" and attempting to equate it with an idea that has no evidence to support it. Quite the contrary is the case, however. A scientific "theory" is an explanation for a given phenomenon which is strongly supported by evidence and is generally accepted as being correct. Theories stand or fall on the basis of the evidence which supports them and not on the basis of how many people believe in them or how strong their beliefs might be. Consider that gravity is "only a theory", but I'll bet that you accept it on much more than mere faith.

(R) And believing it by faith in turn means that evolution is a religion!
(MB) "Religion" involves some sort of worship and/or ceremony -- normally in conjunction with a belief in the supernatural and one or more superior beings that inhabit that realm. None of this applies to evolution -- no matter how much Creationists might attempt to denigrate the word "theory".
It's interesting to consider the illogic of those Creationist claims. Evolution is to be dismissed since it has not been absolutely proven in its entirety and is, therefore, "only a theory". Yet, the idea of Creation has every flaw that Creationists ascribe to evolution multiplied by several orders of magnitude. If evolution is to be dismissed, then how, by Creationist argument, is anybody supposed to accept Creationism? Or, doesn't Creationist "logic" apply to their own ideas?

(R) Also, I think Darwinists are biased)
(MB) Naturally. Standard stuff...all evolutionists are "biased" and "locked into inflexible and unchanging dogma" while all Creationists are "open-minded" and "equally tolerant of all views and opinions". Something is definitely bass-ackwards here...

(R) Explain this:
(MB) I'm going to address this issue by first presenting your case in its entirety and without any interjected comment. I shall then continue by presenting the entirety of the aforementioned refutation. After this, I will address your final statements. Here we go...

(R) This is what population studies show. One of the most revealing "clocks" deals with the growth of Earth's population down through time. Dr. Henry Morris addresses the subject. Consider the following facts Dr. Morris has gathered.
If man has been on earth for a million years why is population explosion only recently becoming a problem?
Families average 3.6 children
Annual population grows 2%
FACT: The present population would have been developed from a single family in just 4,000 years if the growth rate were reduced to only 1/2% per year or about an average of only 2 1/2 children per family. That is 1/4 the present rate of growth. It would easily allow for long periods of no growth due to famines and wars.
What does the evolutionary framework have to offer?
With the supposed million-year history of man there would have been an incredible 25,000 generations (at 40 years each). Even more incredible, the final total of people amounts to only the present population of under 5 billion.
Does this fit the statistical facts?
How big would the population be now if it increased only 1/2% per year for a million years? In other wards I would be insisting there be only 2.5 children per family for 25,000 consecutive generations.
The resultant present population would be represented by the number 10 with 2,100 zeros after it!
Obviously that is impossible since tiny electrons numbering 10 with 130 zeros following, would fill the entire universe!
If a million years of man's history produced only the present population, how many people would have lived and died in all that time?
It would have been at least 3,000 billion! That's at least a couple of dozen graves for every acre on earth! But ancient bones are extremely rare.
It seems that the facts line up directly with the biblical model and the acknowledged evidence that human culture can be verified back to less than 5,000 years ago. And that is the point of the global flood.

(MB) Yes, and by the same reasoning 8 germs could populate every cubic inch of available living space on Earth with 1 million germs in less than a week! That is, after 158 generations, assuming a generous die-off rate such that the fourth generation has about 40 germs instead of 128, and assuming that the population divides every hour, each and every cubic inch of living space on the earth, from 100 feet below ground to a mile above, would have 1 million germs by that time. I guess, by creationist reckoning, the earth must be a week old! If it were a few thousand years old, the germ population would have gone through the roof!
Yes, given unlimited living space, a good deal of luck in the early stages, protection from mass destruction by disease or other disasters, and a high motivation of purpose throughout, eight people could probably populate the earth in a few thousand years. Eight germs could do it in less than a week. Eight bunny rabbits would fall somewhere in between. Eight cats would give us yet another figure. What do any of these figures have to do with the age of the earth? Nothing! What do these figures have to do with actual growth rates? Absolutely nothing!
The human exponential growth rate of the last few hundred years is possible only because of technology. When our ability to stay one jump ahead of starvation and disease fails, when our resources give out, then you'll see a dramatic change in that growth rate! It will no longer be exponential. It will be disasterous!
When man lived in scattered tribal groups, which is what he did for 99% of his history, the net human population growth was zero most of the time, just as it is for animals today. Animal populations may undergo cycles of boom and bust, especially small animals such as rabbits or mice, but their net growth is zero. No permanent increase in population can be sustained unless it is reflected by a permanent change in the environment. Such a change might include the loss of a predator due to the colonization of new territory, a permanent increase in the food supply due to climatic change or a change in dietary habits, or a variety of other factors. In the case of man, the development of agriculture and the use of fossil fuels have played major roles. After a favorable change in the environment, a population of animals (or people) may record a permanent jump before leveling off at a zero net growth again. Thus, the growth rate, before technology intervened in a major way, necessarily involved a series of plateaus where the population was in approximate equilibrium with the environment. Indeed, many tribal groups probably died out. There was no assurance that early man would even survive. Jumps between plateau levels would likely have been exponential. Indeed, the exponential growth rate of the last 300 years or so can be thought of as one long jump to a new plateau which has been raised artificially high by technology.
Those who imagine that eight people gave rise to all living today according to a simple exponential growth curve have demonstrated an inability to think things through. Let's look at the equation involved in these growth rate calculations.

P(n) = P(1 + r)n

P(n) is the population generated after n years. (With the proper adjustment of r, n could be months or generations, etc. For our purposes, years will do nicely and r will be adjusted accordingly.) P is the initial population which, in our case, is eight. The growth rate is r which would be close to zero for humanity per year. A negative value would indicate a population decline. Henry Morris used a value for r of 0.0033 [0.33%] in a similar calculation which started with Adam and Eve. However, since the flood supposedly reduced the population to eight people 1656 years after creation, a figure Dr. Hovind gives based on patriarchal ages, we should start our exponential curve at the latter date. If we assume, for the sake of this argument, that the earth is 6000 years old, then we start our calculation with 8 people 4344 years ago. We must wind up with the present population of 5.5 billion people, the figure given by Dr. Hovind.
It turns out that if r = 0.0047 then after 4344 years we would wind up with about 5.6 billion people, which is close enough. After substituting the values for P and r into the above equation we are at liberty to try out different values for n to obtain the population at different times. At the time the Israelites entered Canaan, we get a world population of 2024! By the time you divide that up between Egypt, Canaan, the rest of the world, and Israel, that leaves maybe 6 or 7 people for the Israeli army! If we go back to the time that the Hykos were expelled from Egypt, in 1560 BC, we get a world population of 325 people!
We can't calculate the population at the time the Great Pyramid of Cheops was built, around 2500 BC, because it was supposedly washed away by Noah's flood!! Being an antediluvian structure, many people might have been available to work on it. Odd, that the Great Pyramid of Cheops shows no water marks. Stranger still, that the Egyptians should be unaware of Noah's flood! I would think that Noah's flood, coming a mere century or thereabouts after the Great Pyramid of Cheops was built, would have found a prominent place in the Egyptian annuals.
As you can see, an exponential growth curve leads to absurdity when we assume that 8 people generated today's population. Creationists, of course, could jack the r value way up at the start, jack it way down in the middle, and jack it up again for modern times, but the ad hoc nature of such an argument becomes a little too obvious. Regarding the foolishness of this whole enterprise, Dr. Alan Hayward had this to say:

"Nobody who has ever studied the population explosion would make such an unwise extrapolation. It is well known that growth rates have increased enormously in recent centuries. 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. And in the fourteenth century the population increase must have been very small indeed, and it may even have been turned into a big decrease, because of the Black Death. Ehrlich's figures are not just guesses; they are based on historical records. These facts show how misguided it is to extrapolate present population trends into the remote past. (Hayward, 1985, p.136)"

The Times Atlas of World History (1978) estimated that the world population increased 16 times between 8000 BC and 4000 BC. That yields a growth rate (r = 0.069%) which is almost identical to the figure quoted above by Hayward for ancient times.
Try plugging in some real data! It does make a difference. If we assume a growth rate of 0.07% before 1650 (a rate already a bit high because of agriculture), a growth rate of 0.3% between 1650 and 1850, a growth rate of 0.9% between 1850 and 1930, and a growth rate of 2.0% between 1930 and 1994 you will find that Noah and his crew are the ancestors of a whopping 1740 people today!

(R) I strongly urge you to post this letter on your web site for all who visit it to see. If you don't post it, along with your response, I'll know why.
(MB) I have gladly posted your letter and the conclusive refutation for all to see. Anyone who reads this will quickly notice that all that is needed to conclusively disprove the Creationist argument is basic mathematics in conjunction with a bit of historical data. One doesn't have to be an "evolutionist" to see the fatal flaws in that argument. I guess I know why you've already decided not to debate or defend the Creationist side. It would be a hopeless task.

(R) You know what? I wouldn't be surprised if the theory of evolution is discarded within the next 20 years.
(MB) Why? The theory has only gotten stronger for more than a century despite the concerted efforts of the Creationists. There is no reason to believe that it will come crashing down at any time in the future. But, for the sake of argument, if evolution was discarded, what would replace it and why?

(R) The only reason it hasn't been discarded yet is because nobody can look into the past. That includes evolutionists.
(MB) But we *can* look into the past -- in a manner of speaking. Every time we look at the light of a star, we see it as it was in the past and not how it is at present. The same applies to the fossil and geological records. They are the past history of life and events on Earth.

(R) And just to emphisize it- there is no real evidence for evolution
(MB) "Real" evidence being anything that agrees with Creationism, of course, right? Out of curiosity, just what would you consider to be "real" evidence for evolution? Where is the "real" evidence (or any evidence at all, for that matter) for Creationism?
One final question, why do Creationists think that toppling evolution will lend any credibility to their own model? One model being "wrong" does not, in any way, shape, or form, make any other model "right". The only way that any prospective model can be "right" is if the accumulated weight of evidence supports that model. At present, the weight of evidence supporting Creationism is exactly zero while that which supports evolution is overwhelming.

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