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Transcendental Argument for God's Existence

AARON: TAG stands for the transcendental argument for God's existence. Van Til and Bahnsen argue that science, logic, and morality all presuppose the existence of the Christian (read Calvinist) God. Amazingly enough, their attacks on science and logic seem to stem from the radical skepticism of David Hume. Hume argues that there is no rational basis for induction...in other words just because the sun comes up today doesn't mean that it necessarily will come up tomorrow. Still, science presupposes that induction works thus they presuppose the existence of God. In a nutshell, proponents of TAG argue that everybody, by their actions, demonstrate that they know that God exists. They presuppose that Christianity is true and the Bible is infallible. Thus, they maintain that all knowledge is contrary to scripture must be wrong. So, they hold that their worldview is internally consistant. At the same time, they argue that inconsistancies can be found in every other worldview.


ED: Naturalists point out the opposite, that the regularity of the universe appears to be natural and hence does not require God's existence.


And of course, the history of modern day science, though it "began" among mono-theists, is now a discipline all on it's own, practiced by people of all faiths and non-faiths. So there is no proof that science requires monotheism. (The Greeks were reasoning their way toward new inventions and conducted some of the earliest scientific experiments long before Christian mono-theism arose, and of course, Christian mono-theism also was originally so supernaturally based that it also served to thwart many scientific investigations in favor of demonic and angelic explanations of the cosmos' behavior.)


And lastly I've just read about the discovery of OMEGA numbers. Unpredictible numbers, and their discovery has thrown a further wrench in the belief that mathematics and/or logic are somehow "proven" disciplines. It's always been a matter of discovering things, like biologists discover new species. Or like discovering that the sun rises again and again in very similar fashion.


All in all, the TAG argument is neither an argument nor "proof" of anything, but an interpretive outlook. I believe, having read Rushdooney's THE ONE AND THE MANY, that Rushdooney thought even the Trinity could be "proved" if you began with the "right presuppositions." It's the presuppositions and interpretations that differ. There is no "proof" in presuppositional apologetics.


Or as Timothy Leary once put it, "I don't believe that the truth will set you free, because we all have such a tremendous ability to rationalize the truth."


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Science is no longer a search for *truth*?

Naturalism has captured science, such that science is no longer a search for *truth*, i.e. what *actually* happened, but the best explanation consistent with naturalistic philosophy, whether it is true or not.


ED: Correction, philosophy and theology are a search for *truth* Science is a search for knowledge.


Invoking miracles to explain how we get from "this to that," adds nothing to human knowledge. Science is an attempt to build on the knowledge we have, to hypothesize and discover connections between things we know. Miracles have no connection except in the supernatural mind of God. They have no explanatory value, they cannot be compared one to another, since each miracle is unique and uniquely inexplicable.


I have explained in previous emails that the genetic "leap" from the common ancestor to both human and chimpanzee is quite small, especially concerning the essential functioning genes. And the "leap" lay within known mutation frequencies of genetic change over time.


If anyone wishes to believe that God kept dipping his finger in the brew over the five-million-year-time span lying between man and chimp and their common ancestor, that is their prerogative to believe that's what God did. Neither is it up to science to prove a universal negative regarding any and all miracles.


But speaking of knowledge, scientific knowledge, what we DO know is that the evidence points to man and chimpanzee sharing a common ancestor approximately five million years ago. The genetic evidence is quite plain on that matter as he himself has pointed out concerning the shared lack of a gene to produce vitamin C and shared retroviral genes in homologous DNA locations in both human beings and chimpanzees. I would add to that the evidence of chromosomal fusion that can be seen in the human chromosome no.2 which certainly has left behind marks inside the chromosome itself of being a fusion of two chromosomes (that are still separate in the chimpanzee lineage).(ARTICLE ON THE WEB on that topic, and also on several other pertinent molecular evolutionary biology topics.


We ALSO presently know of over a hundred species of primitive ape, all of whose arms were shorter than modern day apes, and who had some other features such as the lack of a simian shelf in their jaws, that means that modern day apes DIVERGED from the primitive ape form (adding longer arms and a simian shelf in their jaws), while the extinct hominid species that lead in the general direction of man retained some of the basic characteristics of the primitive apes.


We ALSO know that all those species of primitive apes became extinct, as did all the species of hominids leading up to man, and even some varieties of human being became extinct as well, like the Neanderthal, (except of course for the one remaining human lineage which lives today).


In summation it seems to me that those who propound the "Design" must face up to the fact of retroviral and other junk in the DNA, thus the Designer does not "take out the garbage." The Designer's "plan" also includes that of ALL his "Designed" primitive ape species, including ALL of his hominid species and even a sub-species of man (Neanderthal), ALL except the one lineage leading to modern man, becoming extinct.


The facts certainly seem to imply that we are dealing with either a "Divine Tinkerer," or neo-Darwinism. And in the end, just how far apart is the "Divine Tinkerer" hypothesis from that of neo-Darwinism, and so what exactly is the "fuss" about, i.e., concerning the difference between "progressive creationism" and a "neo-Darwinistic evolutionary viewpoint?" There are fine-tuner Christians who see no "fuss" concerning the difference. In fact, fine-tuners agree that it would be more proof of "Design" not less, if life were found elsewhere in the cosmos, on other planets, in other words, if evolution was a cosmic phenomena, rather than say, limited to "progressive creation" on one tiny planet in the entire cosmos.


The view of fine-tuners is simply this, that a God who can design a cosmos that makes people out of billion year old carbon is more of a marvel maker than a God who has to keep pulling rabbits out of his hat and adjusting things. (Reminds me of the way folks, including Newton, used to invoke God as a cosmic repair man who they believed stepped in to set right any minor perturbations in the courses of planets and stars. But today nobody invokes God to do such a thing.)




[QUOTATIONS FROM RECENT ARTICLES THAT BEAR DIRECTLY ON EVERYTHING I WROTE ABOVE]


Chimps Belong on Human Branch of Family Tree, Study Says
John Pickrell in England
for National Geographic News
May 20, 2003


Derek E. Wildman, Goodman, and other co-authors at Wayne State argue in their new study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that given the evidence, it's somewhat surprising that humans and chimps are still classified into different genera. Other mammalian genera often contain groups of species that diverged much earlier than chimps and humans did, said Goodman. "To be consistent, we need to revise our definition of the human branch of the tree of life," he said.


Historically Flawed
Goodman and colleagues used computer methods to analyze the amount of similarity between 97 important human and chimp genes and as many of the same gene sequences as are currently available for less-studied gorillas, orangutans, and Old World monkeys. The results suggested that within important sequence stretches of these functionally significant genes, humans and chimps share 99.4 percent identity. (Some previous DNA work remains controversial. It concentrated on genetic sequences that are not parts of genes and are less functionally important, said Goodman.)


Using the DNA data, the researchers argue that humans and chimp lineages evolutionarily diverged from one another between five and six million years ago.




What does the mouse genome draft tell us about evolution?
by Alec MacAndrew


An astonishing 99% of mouse genes turn out to have analogues in humans. Not only that, but great tracts of code are syntenic - that means the genes appear in the same order in the two genomes.


The findings of the draft mouse genome are astonishingly powerful evidence for common ancestry, mutation and selection: in short for the Theory of Evolution. There is a list with links below for the key points within the paper which can only be explained by evolution. It is just not possible to explain what we see in the two genomes if they have only been in existence for 6500 years unless we invoke deliberate deceit on God's part.


90.2% of the human genome and 93.3% of the mouse genome lie in conserved syntenic segments


The syntenic blocks have been re-arranged by chromosomal events over time The distribution of size of the syntenic blocks is consistent with a random mechanism for chromosomal rearrangements


It is possible to recognise the difference between repeat sequences that were added to the genomes before divergence of mouse and man lineages and those added after divergence


The measured mutation rate since divergence of mouse and man is ample to explain the divergence of the species


The rate of insertions of repeat sequences as a function of time can be measured for both man and mouse


Repeat sequences are tolerated in the same regions in mouse and man and in both cases insertion of repeat sequences is not tolerated in functionally critical regions such as the homeobox clusters


Two sorts of pseudogene exist in eukaryotes - processed and unprocessed - we know how they arise and it has taken millions of years for the pseudogenes we see in mouse and man to arise


Pseudogenes can be identified by the ratio of synonymous to non-synonymous mutations occurring over millions of years and by the fact they do not generally have a homologous gene in the same syntenic position in the other genome


99% of mouse genes have homologues in humans and 96% are in the same syntenic location


The fact that mouse and human are relatively closely related allows us to study orthologous genes - genes which have arisen and diverged from a common ancestor


12,845 orthologous gene pairs were found between man and mouse (homologous genes in the same syntenic location)


The Ka/Ks ratio (ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous mutations is = 1 in neutral regions and the median value is 0.115 in genes) - this can only be explained by common descent


Within genes, regions containing known domains have a lower Ka/Ks ratio than those that do not


The percentage of cases in mouse where the mouse gene matches the most common human allele at sites which have Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms is very close to the percentage of amino acid identity across the two genomes: very strong evidence for common ancestry


Expansion into gene families has occurred in cases where the family has important functionality specific to a lineage


The Ka/Ks ratio in lineage specific gene families is higher than average suggesting that they are undergoing more rapid evolution than the rest of the functional genome as evolution theory would predict


The percentage nucleotide alignment across the whole of the mouse and human genomes (about 40%) is compatible with what is known about the rate of DNA deletion in the two lineages since divergence


The rate of substitutions in ancestral repeat sequences in non-coding DNA is the same as the rate of substitution at four fold degenerate sites in functional regions - very strong evidence for mutation and selection over a long time


The detail of which parts of the genome are more highly conserved between the two species aligns well with functionality


Introns are conserved no more than background non-functional DNA and so do not appear to have functionality in their code


Gene structures - number of exons and coding length in exons - is strongly conserved across mouse and human genomes - very strong evidence for common ancestry


The difference in mutation rate (obtained by comparing mouse and human genomes) between X-chromosomes and autosomes can be explained by what we know about differences in mutation rate in male and female meiosis and relies on common ancestry and mutation over millions of years


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Meeting God and Asking God Scientific Questions

Two folks agreed with me that philosophers and theologians seek "truth," while scientists seek knowledge. (See below)


#1 Ed Babinski recently pointed out that science is not a search for truth, it is a search for knowledge. Philosophy and theology deal with the search for "truth." I've always considered scientific knowledge the "truth," but as it is always subject to change due to further discovery, I think Ed's distinction is better.


#2 I see how much attention you pay to me! I've been saying that for years! *sniff*
Although I phrase it differently. I'd say that science is about the search for useful ideas, where "useful" is defined as meaning that the ideas allow us to say things about the world that are objectively verifiable (at least in principle) in a particularly scientific way. There are many cases where ideas are kept in science even after they are known to be false in some sense, just because they remain useful. Consider the current state of physics where relativity and QM contradict each other, but nonetheless accurately predict phenomena at different scales. Both are wrong in that both predict things that don't happen at other scales, but both are astoundingly correct at the scales they were "designed" for. One day, someone will come up with one or more better theories that don't suffer from those problems and we'll move on to them, but until then, they remain useful.


ED: Miracles are not "scientific" explanations, they are by definition "miraculous" explanations. The phrase, "It's a miracle" explains all and nothing at the same time, adding not a whit to the sum of human explanatory knowledge. Think of it this way, a scientist transported before the throne of God would want to ask God SCIENTIFIC questions and would not be satisfied with the answer, "It was a miracle." For instance, a scientist would like to know HOW God performed each miracle, like how He


1) turned dirt into living matter,


2) made the earth bring forth fruit trees,


3) separated the light from the darkness, and the waters above from the waters below


4) By what interconnected steps, either mentally or physical did such ideas come into God's head and/or arrive at completion?


5) What is the exact nature of the mental or physical connections that exist in the seeming "tree of life" that God created? And why those connections rather than others? (By "others" I mean, for instance, horses with bird's wings, which apparently sparked into the heads of human beings who created the Pegasus myth.)


6) How can you tell the difference between a "deceptively natural mutation" and a "truely supernatural mutation?"


7) Why take tens of millions of years to create a succession of species and at the same time let so many cousins of that species simply grow extinct in the process?


8) Why create the less specialized animals before the more specialized in the cases for instance of whales and birds?


9) Why could not an omnipotent being create things wholly specialized, fully realized, all at once, instead of playing round with say, unicellular forms for two billion years before creating the first simply multi-cellular forms? If the environment was not conducive to multi-cellular life and introducing it too soon would allow many species of it to die out, why not miraculously change the environment sooner? *smile*


10) Or conversely, since the geological record is host to a vast number of extinctions, maybe that means that God DID create many species "too soon?" Many species died before man or sin ever appeared on earth. Why were they created at all, only to suffer and die eons before man was born?


12) And finally, there are the questions of the meaning of what God wrote, i.e., historical-critical questions, again driven by a "scientific" kind of curiosity. Though not "scientific" questions per say, they are obvious literary questions that no one who has studied ancient creation tales can ignore. Like


13) Why did God couch his language in six-day creationist terms, even citing the six "days of creation" as the basis of the "rest on the seventh" of both God and man on the sabbath? (Sounds like literal days to make such a connection.)


14) Why did God couch his language in terms of animals being created directly from the earth if that was not so?


15) and all heavenly bodies "made and set" above the earth only AFTER the earth had been created, instead of before the earth was created, if that order was not so?


16) and all the "days" of creation revolving around things created just for the earth or on the earth, thus making the whole creation account sound quite "geocentric" (earth-centered), i.e., to being the account with "mornings/evenings" created on "day" one, allegedly earth-mornings and earth-evenings and the first day on earth, which is geocentric. Then to have the earth's land and sky created on day two, to have the earth's plants and fruit trees created on day three, the sun, moon (literal Hebrew "great lamps") created just to light the earth on day four, then earth animals, and finally man, created from the earth. Thus, the whole creation account, every single "day" and "night" is firmly centered on things created for the earth or on it, the rest of the cosmos is practically ignored except for how it shines on the earth. The acts of creation are furthermore all measured in six "earth days" i.e., by earth's "evenings and mornings," etc. How much more geocentric can you get?


Ancient church fathers like Ambrose argued based on Genesis and Job that the light of dawn was separate from the later light shed by the rising sun which merely adds to the lumination of each morning's light. Ambrose argued that way because mornings and evenings were created before the sun in Genesis, and because Job mentions "storehouses of light and darkness," therefore "morning light" was separate from the light shed by the two "great lamps" -- the sun and moon that were simply "made and set" above the earth after the earth itself and it's mornings and evening had ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED.


I have plenty of doubts. I have so many that I am neither an atheist nor a Christian. However, of one thing I feel fairly certain, if a being exists that is all-compassionate and all-wise, I cannot believe that such a being would cast me into a lake of fire for the commonsense questions I have concerning the Bible and history and science. In fact, an all-compassionate, all-wise being would know of the shortness of man's lifespan, what little time any of us has for study, and would likewise know of the pains and difficulties and desires and frustrations, physically and psychologically, and communicatively, that every member of our species faces each day, along with the uncertainties, the multitude of religions and denominations, and surely would not cap that all off with eternal hellfire. *smile*


A Jewish saying I read, goes, "Time and God are the best teachers."
If time and God are the best teachers, then I cannot but hope for all. *smile*


Ed


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Genesis, Evolution and Bernard Ramm

"In progressive creationism there may be much horizontal radiation. The amount is to be determined by the geological record and biological experimentation. But there is no vertical radiation. Vertical radiation is only by fiat creation. A root-species may give rise to several species by horizontal radiation, through the process of the unraveling of gene potentialities or recombination. Horizontal radiation could account for much which now passes as evidence for the theory of evolution. The gaps in the geological record are gaps because vertical progress takes place only by creation." (Ramm B.L., "The Christian View of Science and Scripture," [1955] Paternoster: Exeter, Devon UK, 1967, reprint, p.191)


ED: Genetically speaking the distance between man and chimp is no greater than that between sibling species of fruit flies. So by what measure do progressive creationists distinguish between "horizontal evolution" and "vertical creation" in the case of human evolution? If all 300+ species of fruit fly found only on the Hawaiian islands are "horizontal evolution," then why isn't the descent of chimp and human from a common ancestor also "vertical evolution?" The latest genetic data agree that human beings could be regarded as a third species of chimp, i.e., pan, bonobo and human.


Here's a letter from a YEC who also critiques Ramm's "horizontal/vertical" explanation. (I would like to know what Lubenow was speaking about below concerning Ramm's "further movement" away from the historicity of Genesis.)


On Bernard Ramm and Spradley...
by Marvin L. Lubenow
Apologetics/Theology
Christian Heritage College
2100 Greenfield Drive
El Cajon, CA 92019


From: Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 44 (September 1992): 218


The article by Joseph Spradley on Bernard Ramm and the ASA (March 1992) was fascinating.


There is an aspect of Ramm's progressive creationism that as far as I know has never been addressed. While not denying theistic evolution as a viable option, Ramm claimed that progressive creationism was a strictly creationist system because it did not involve vertical radiation (evolution) but only horizontal radiation (The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 1954, p. 215 & 272). The vertical events he called creation events. While Ramm was quite stingy with details of his system, he seemed to suggest that creation took place at the Phyla and/or Family level (p. 215).


There is an inverse relationship between the number of creation events one has in his system and the amount of vertical evolution one must invoke to explain the variety and complexity of our present world. The fewer creation events one has, the more he must depend upon evolution to make up the difference. Hence, Ramm's system is unworkable. There is no way that one can explain the complexity of our present world by having creation at the Family level (or higher) and depend only on horizontal radiation. Ramm's progressive creationism is thus an evolutionary system, partially, even though he sincerely believed it was not.


The fact that Ramm has moved even further from an historical view of Genesis suggests that at gut level he realized that his progressive creationism emperor had no clothes. Spradley admits that "...t perhaps conceded too much to science." However, the basic suppositions that allow such concessions are the gift that keeps on giving. Ramm's newer view concedes even more of Genesis.


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Stellar Evolution, Grand Canyon, Loch Ness Monster and Humans and Dinosaurs in Bible?

Latest info on stellar evolution:
An amateur astronomer witnessed the birth of a new star. The new object had appeared alongside the well-known gas cloud known as Messier 78. The star came out of its enclosing cocoon over the past few weeks. An urgent appeal has gone out to astronomers to monitor the object which is now known as McNeil's nebula. Here is the story at BBC NEWS Last Updated, Thursday, 12 February, 2004


Speaking of evolution, I like to start with the stars. Stellar evolution is about as close to undeniable evidence as you can get. I recently wrote a young creationist named Anna, who asked me some basic creationist questions that she thought were unanswerable and told her to read ASTRONOMY and SKY AND TELESCOPE magazine. Star formation is being observed and measured right now, via satellite telescopes that are able to record radiation at different levels of the electro-magnetic spectrum, like x-ray radiation, and other types (visible light can be seen by the human eye but visible light is only a tiny portion of the entire range of radiation lying along the electro-magnetic spectrum). Such satellite measurements include measuring the speed of gasses rushing together toward a central point of gravitational collapse. Fu Orionus, a new star, was observed brightening the sky for the first time decades ago. There is a lot of data on star formation at present, and more is being gathered all the time. Stars form in cloudy nebulas (regions of high gas concentration). And the ages of the stars in those nebulas is youthful, the ages of such nebulas also fall along a particular spectrum of ages as expected by the current theories of star formation. Nothing unexpected there. In fact even creationist astronomers have remarked how good the evidence for stellar evolution is. See these quotations from CREATIONISTS:


STELLAR EVOLUTION

  • "...the theory of stellar structure appears to be founded on a good physical basis and...stellar evolution is intimately related to stellar structure...
  • "If creationists wish to scrap stellar evolution completely, then it is incumbent on us to rework stellar structure and/or physics in a convincing fashion...
  • "The standard observational tool used in studying stellar structure and evolution is the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram... It consists of a plot of stellar luminosity increasing upward and temperature increasing to the left...Most stars are found on a roughly diagonal band called the main sequence (MS)...
  • "This agreement is quite impressive and the physical assumptions that go into it are so well founded it is doubtful that many creationists would have much to argue with in main sequence (MS) stellar structure. However, what is generally called post MS evolution is not far removed from the brief outline of stellar structure given above.
  • "The most massive stars may pass through successive steps of fusing helium nuclei with increasingly more massive nuclei up to iron...Note that these transitions have not actually been observed. However, they are based on physics principles and will naturally occur...
  • "The upshot is that the most massive stars have MS lifetimes of only a few hundred thousand years (of course, still much longer than young-age creationists would allow), while the lowest mass stars have MS lifetimes approaching 100 billion years...
  • "And evolutionary assumption concludes that the stars in a star cluster should form from a single cloud so that the members represent...a homogenous group. Different clusters should have different ages, and though they technically have different compositions, even large differences in composition do not seriously affect the overall appearance of an H-R diagram...
  • "The agreement of the theory [of stellar evolution] is quite impressive...
  • "[The expected evolutionary] trend between globular and open clusters is observed...
  • "Evidence [exists] that the formation of planetary nebulae and the evolution of white dwarfs are related...These two ages have a very good correlation...
  • "A similar relationship holds for neutron stars and supernova remnants. As with planetary nebulae, the expansion velocity and observed size of the remnant can be used to estimate the time since the explosion...Where a pulsar can be identified in a supernova remnant, the ages of the remnant and the pulsar are well correlated.
  • "Very brief discussions of stellar structure and evolution have been presented. Though it would seem that creationists would not have much with which to quarrel in the former, most would largely dismiss the latter. However, the two are intimately related, and one cannot be rejected without seriously calling into question the other. We are appealing to readers to give much attention to the study of stellar evolution..."

-- DANNY R. FAULKNER & DON B. DE YOUNG [young-universe creationists], "Toward a Creationist Astronomy," Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 28, Dec. 1991, pp. 87-91


"Perhaps the most important remaining question [in astronomy] for [young- universe] creationists is the origin of the turnoff points in the H-R diagrams of different clusters. The stars are real physical objects and presumably follow physical laws; we would rather not take the easy way out by saying simply that `God made them that way.' But if creationists take the position of rejecting stellar evolution, they should provide a feasible alternative."
-- PAUL STEIDL [young-universe creationist], The Earth, the Stars, and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), p. 153 -- as quoted by Howard J. Van Till in The Fourth Day: What the Bible and the Heavens Are Telling Us about the Creation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), p. 239


ALSO google the Ph.D. astronomers "Hugh Ross" (at Reasons to Believe) and "Robert Newman" (as The Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute) on the internet because they are creationist Christians who both agree that the evidence for stellar evolution is overwhelming, and they have even debated their young-earth creationist brethren on that point.




The creationist I mentioned above, named Anna, was persistant, however, and continued asking me more questions, that I replied to...


ANNA: Ok, so every about what 20 years we have a star expolde, right?


ED: Hello again Anna. I don' t know what the average number of stellar explosions is in the cosmos, and I sincerely doubt that astronomers know either. It would be impossible to keep track of every exploding star in the visible cosmos. First of all, do you know what a "galaxy" is? It is a conglomeration of about a billion stars. We live in a spiral-shaped galaxy called the Milky Way and our planet is found circling only one star that is found on one of the spiral arms, closer to the outward tip of the arm than toward the center of the galaxy as a whole. In the beginning of the last century, telescopes could only see the stars in our galaxy. In fact, with the visible eye, that is all you see when you look up into the sky, just the stars of the Milky Way Galaxy, and of those, you can only distinguish about 8000 stars at most with the unaided eye on a clear night. But there are about a billion stars in our galaxy alone, most of which we can't see with the unaided eye, and beyond those stars in our galaxy there lay even fainter white dots in the sky that only telescopes can see. Each of those faint white dots, upon closer examination, turns out to be other galaxies. But at the beginning of the last century, astronomers thought those faint white dots were just cloudy nebulas of hot gas. Better telescopes were invented and those blurry nebulas were found to be a multitude of spiral shaped galaxies like our own. Then even better telescopes were invented, telescopes that circle the earth, like the Hubble scope, and we found out that there were about 50 billion galaxies out there, and today, with the latest satellite telescopes we know there are over 100 billion galaxies out there. In other words, if you raise your fist to the nighttime sky, the area of the sky that your fist covers, contains about a 100 million galaxies in the depths of space and time. But you can't see them. So I doubt that astronomers are able to keep track of all the stars in a 100 billion galaxies or how often a star in each of those galaxies explodes. Or course if you were just looking at our own galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy, I'm sure they have some rough idea of how often such explosions occur just in our galaxy, and even where they occur most often. Recently, astronomers defined within our own galaxy, a "Galactic Habitable Zone" that has fewer cases of stars going nova than in other regions.




ANNA: So why is there evidence that only about three hundred of them exploded?


ED: I do not know where you got that number from, as I said, the cosmos is far too vast for astronomers to keep track of every exploding star. But there is one exploding star in particular that you should learn more about, since it provided some strong evidence in favor of an old-cosmos.




ANNA: If the earth was indeed millions of years old woulnd there be more evidence of novas / super novas?


ED: There is evidence of galaxies colliding in the present as well as in the past, there is evidence of stars still being born, and of stars exploding, and there are also some huge rings of matter that keep expanding from stellar explosions that took place in the distant past. Judging by the present measured speeds of the expansion of such huge rings of matter, their initial explosions had to have taken place long before the time when young-earth creationists say the world was created.




ANNA: what are your thoughts on the Grand Canyon?


ED: Are you asking whether I believe the Grand Canyon was formed by a single world-wide Flood? My answer would be no. And why is there only one Grand Canyon on the entire face of the earth? And why does it lay so far inland? Surely waters rushing off the continent during the months when the Flood subsided would have created canyons galore all along the ridges of the continents.




ANNA: How do you belive it was created? Not by the river that runs through the bottom, i hope. It was made during the flood and all those layes of coal were to.


ED: Steve Austin's Grand Canyon Erosion Argument: A Mathematical Sleight of Hand


A geologist reviews a creationist book on the Grand Canyon


Creation Walk Through the Grand Canyon


The Grand Canyon's geology, starting with the Cambrian, and going through several websites to a final conclusion, written by a geologist


The Entire Geological Column in North Dakota


A geologist (who is also a former young-earth creationist) reviews Answers In Genesis' attempt to defend Flood Geology


Assorted articles on FLOOD GEOLOGY, including a few on the Grand Canyon and one by me at the near end of the list.


Why Geology Shows Sedimentation to Be too Slow for a Global Flood, written by a former young-earther who is now a professional geologist




ANNA: What are your theories on the Loch Ness Monster? Do you belive that its a living dinosoar?


ED: The photograph that kicked off the craze for the supposed monster in Loch Ness, Scotland was taken in 1934. In 1994, one of the people involved in taking the original picture admitted it was a trick. The "monster" was created by attaching an artificial head to a toy submarine which was just over a foot long. Other evidence collected by scientists and skeptics over the years have exposed other photos as faked or misread. The claims that a huge monster exists in Loch Ness have also been debunked by research showing that such a creature could not survive on the food available in the loch; even less could a substantial colony of such creatures - necessary for the survival of individual creatures over the centuries - be supported. Furthermore, the lack of any credible physical evidence of a creature or a colony of creatures after six decades of intensive searching by numerous expeditions would seem to make Nessie's existence unlikely.




ANNA: There has been proof of dinosoars living with humans and the bible talks about it to.


ED: No it doesn't. The Bible in Job only speaks about Behemouth and Leviathan, two beasts of mythical proportions, perhaps modelled on some large animals, but mythically exaggerrated. People in Job's day didn't know what beasts existed in the world, all sorts of strange mythical beasts were invented, especially to live in the lands beyond the edges of the then known world. One of Job's beasts even breathes fire. Why it didn't singe its own mouth, lips or nostrils is a good question. Why it didn't risk inhaling any of the fire into its lungs is another question since it's mouth and nostrils were filled with fire and smoke, and how it lit chemicals to produce flames is another question. No animal on earth produces flames (the bombadier beetle produces only hot liquid).


If you want to learn more about ancient mythical beasts in the ancient Near East and how the Bible came to also employ such stories in the book of Job, read, Slaying the Dragon: Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition by Bernard F. Batto (Paperback - November 1992)


RELATED LINKS
Geology


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The Paluxy Mantracks Story

The creationist book that jumpstarted the young-earth movement as Henry Morris', THE GENESIS FLOOD, published in the early 1960s. In that book he featured photographs of individual slabs of limestone that contained what looked like a giant human footprint in the middle of each slab. The slabs were allegedly dug up near the Paluxy river in Texas. The Paluxy river region soon became a Mecca (or holy pilgrimage site) for young-earth creationists (though some young-earthers like those at Loma Linda University, had cross-sectioned some of the original limestone slabs and wrote a report early on that said they were just carvings, not genuine human prints). By the mid-1980s the existence of "man tracks" in Paluxy was being questioned even by the two largest and most influential young-earth institutions, The Institute for Creation Research or ICR (that Henry Morris himself had founded), and Answers in Genesis or AiG. Recently, I digitized the color slides of Glen Kuban, who played a major role in convincing ICR that the Paluxy "mantracks" were not human. Glen's slides will soon be on the web.


JOHN MORRIS OF ICR SPEAKING IN 1986 ON THE PALUXY DATA:
"It would now be improper for creationists to continue to use the Paluxy data as evidence against evolution, in the light of these questions, there is still much that is not known about the tracks and continued research is in order." (Jan. 1986)


AiG'S RECENT COMMENTS ON THE PALUXY "MAN PRINTS":
"Some prominent creationist promoters of these tracks have long since withdrawn their support. Some of the allegedly human tracks may be artefacts of erosion of dinosaur tracks obscuring the claw marks. There is a need for properly documented research on the tracks before we would use them to argue the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs."


SNELLING OF AiG TRIED TO KEEP THE PALUXY DATA ALIVE BACK IN 1986:
"In order to discredit creationists, not long ago the evolutionists argued that many so-called human-like footprints were nothing but erosion marks, carvings, and "midnight chisel marks". Ironically, these SAME footprints will probably now be claimed to be the footprints of an unknown dinosaur because of some perplexing stains! All of which is a sober reminder -- none of us have ever seen
dinosaurs make footprints." (Creation (Ex Nihilo), Andrew Snelling, March, 1986, Vol. 8, No.2, p. 37)


E.T.B.'S COMMENT ON SNELLING'S 1986 REMARKS:
The "mantrack" discoveries were not all made at once. First, the well-defined carvings were found (being sold during the depression), one print per limestone slab, right in the middle of the slab. Thousands of loose limestone slabs of different sizes line the shores of the Paluxy. Anyone can one pick up and take it home to "work on." Carl Baugh or Henry Morris or Burdick quoted an old-timer who said they "saw the print right in the rock," but did they mean they saw such such prints in situ? A later interviewer went back to the same old-timer and asked them where they saw the rock, and the old-timer answered, "It was on the back of so-and-so's truck." There are also confessions by carvers and their kin, how they used a loose limestone slab, a hammer and chisel, and acid on rags, to smooth out the carved human prints they created. The carvings were what the earliest tales of "man tracks" at Paluxy were based on, they also featured the most well-defined "prints" (though featuring amateurish anatomical errors). Several such limestone slabs featuring alleged human prints were purchased by Loma Linda (creationist 7th Day Adventist) University and cross-sectioned and declared to be nothing but carvings by YECs at Loma Linda who wrote a report on their findings and doubts.


But the carvings initiated more YEC interest, and soon some YEC's visited Paluxy and made the film, "Footprints in Stone," but for all of their searching and filming they never found any in situ man prints that resembled the carvings, they only found trails of indistinct oblong impressions that they claimed were made by humans and/or giant humans. (They also found isolated wearings in the rocks that were not part of any trail but that they claimed could be viewed as a "print" of a "human" sort.)


Glen Kuban pointed out in ORIGINS RESEARCH (a creationist publication begun with ICR seed money), that there were nearby trackways in Paluxy that showed indistinct oblong track impressions, and in those trackways the oblong impressions were mixed with tridactyl impressions, and vice versa, as you followed the trackways along their full length. So, evolutionists have no trouble identifying the indistinct oblong trackways as dinosaurian in origin.


There are also many erosion features, shallow oblong holes, along both banks of the Paluxy river -- these miniature potholes were carved out by water streaming in one direction down the river. They are of an extremely wide variety of sizes and shapes.


In some cases like the famous "Von Daniken print" (a single "human-foot shaped" feature in Paluxy that was featured in Von Daniken's film, "Chariots of the Gods," and in creationist publications, including Weston-Smith's book, Man's Origin and Man's Destiny), both Von Daniken and later creationists left the gravel on one side of the feature, and even wetted it in, to make it look like the print's right side was as well defined as its left side, but in fact the "print's" right side does not exist at all, but is flush with the rock, and it only exists when you leave gravel there or "wet the print" to create a "right side of the foot" in your mind's imagination. (You can see how this works when you view photos taken from different angles with the print clean of gravel and not wetted.) Even John Morris noted his own doubts concerning the Von Daniken print. Morris admitted when it was first photographed it had only four "toes" (the first two being equal-sized in an anatomically abnormal fashion), but years later a fifth "toe" began appearing in photos, and even Morris suggests that the "fifth toe" was not originally in evidence, but probably resulted from later tampering.


The story of the Paluxy "manprints" debacle appeared in Creation/Evolution Journal in which Ronnie Hasting's published his daily journal of interactions with ICR researchers who came to look at what Kuban had found, and their reactions, at first, dismissal, then taking their own more careful second and third looks, and finally admitting they couldn't really see the "human-ness" of the trackways any more than Kuban could:


Tracking Those Incredible Creationists
by R.J. Hastings


Tracking Those Incredible Creationists- The Trail Continues
by Ronnie J. Hastings


Tracking Those Incredible Creationists-The Trail Goes On
by Ronnie J. Hastings


Tracking Those Incredible Creationists
by William Thwaites


Kuban's photos and detailed site diagrams were also published in black and white in ORIGINS RESEARCH, a creationist journal that originated with seed money from ICR. Copies of past issues of ORIGINS RESEARCH are still available at the ARN website, for a price:


ORIGINS RESEARCH Volume 9, Number 1 - Spring/Summer 1986
The Taylor Site "Man Tracks" Glen J Kuban
A Review of ICR Impact Article 151 Glen J Kuban
A Follow up on the Paluxy Mystery John Morris
A Footprints in Stone: The Current Situation Films for Christ Assoc.




SNELLING'S 1986 REMARKS ON THE "STRANGE RED-BROWN STAINS ON THE ROCKS"
"The unknown significance of hithertofore unexposed strange red-brown stains on the rocks in and around the footprints renders the need for caution until further research explains this occurence." (Creation (Ex Nihilo), Andrew Snelling, March, 1986, Vol. 8, No.2, p. 37)


E.T.B.'S COMMENT: The reddish "stain" revealing the tridactyl nature of the alleged "man tracks" can be seen even in the early YEC film, "Footprints in Stone," long before Kuban ever arrived on the scene. Also, the "stains" are not superficial: Drill core samples taken at the edges of the stained surface showed that the reddish sediments curved with the impression of the dinosaur's foot beneath the surface, as Kuban showed via his drill core samples that he photographed.




AiG'S LATEST CLAIM: "HUMAN AND DINO PRINTS" FOUND TOGETHER IN RUSSIA
E.T.B'S COMMENT.: AiG admits that it is best to remain skeptical of "magic bullet" stories that can allegedly overthrow an old-earth or evolution in one shot, especially if such stories are not thoroughly researched.


AiG's latest report of "human and dino prints" found together in Russia has not been researched, no photos, just a newspaper article. So by their own definition they ought to be skeptical about this new evidence, no?


Snelling at AiG has admitted that perhaps there will never be found any indisputably genuine pre-flood human fossils or pre-flood human artifacts or evidence of pre-flood dwellings (such as a series of small walls found in Cretaceous or earlier strata). Instead, Snelling has suggested that perhaps no evidence of pre-Flood human beings may ever be found: "When God pronounced judgment on the world, He said, 'I will destroy [blot out] man whom I have created from the face of the earth' (Gen. 6:7). Perhaps the lack of pre-flood human fossils is part of the fulfillment of this judgment?"




ANSWERS IN GENESIS' RECENT COMMENTS ON CARL BAUGH'S RESEARCH (Carl Baugh, Kent Hovind, and Ron Wyatt (deceased) are among the last remaining supporters of the Paluxy "manprints"):
"[We suggest creationists do not use...] many of Carl Baugh's creation 'evidences.' Sorry to say, AiG thinks that he's well meaning but that he unfortunately uses a lot of material that is not sound scientifically. So we advise against relying on any 'evidence' he provides, unless supported by creationist organisations with reputations for Biblical and scientific rigour. Unfortunately, there are talented creationist speakers with reasonably orthodox understandings of Genesis (e.g. Kent Hovind) who continue to promote some of the Wyatt and Baugh 'evidences' despite being approached on the matter (Ed. note: see our Maintaining Creationist Integrity, our response to Hovind's reply to this article)."

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Creationism and Human Evolution

CREATIONISM AND HUMAN EVOLUTION
(From the Talk Origins Archive)
The usual creationist response to hominid fossils is to claim that there are no intermediates; each one is either a human or an ape. It doesn't matter that some of the "humans" have a brain size well below the normal human range, heavy brow ridges, no chin, and teeth larger than modern ones set in a projecting jaw, or that some of the "apes" were bipedal, with very humanlike teeth, and brains larger than those of similar sized apes. There are some skulls which cannot be reliably assigned to either genus.
(Willis 1989)
This is exactly what we would expect if evolution had occurred. If, on the other hand, creationism was true and there was a large gap between humans and apes, it should be easy to separate hominid fossils into humans and apes. This is not the case. As will be shown, creationists themselves cannot agree which fossils are humans and which are apes.


It would not matter even if creationists could decide where to put the dividing line between humans and apes. No matter where it is placed, the humans just above the line and the apes just below it will be more similar to one another than they will be to other humans or other apes.
Although there are many variants of creationism, the following sections deal only with the arguments of young-earth creationists, who hold to a very rigid literal interpretation of the Bible. They typically believe that the earth was created less than 20,000 years ago, in the space of six 24-hour days. Old-earth creationists usually accept the age of the earth given by geologists (4.6 billion years), but differ considerably in their acceptance of the theory of evolution.




YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISTS ADMIT NUMEROUS HOMINID FOSSILS EXIST
"I was surprised to find that instead of enough fossils barely to fit into a coffin, as one evolutionist once stated [in 1982], there were over 4,000 hominid fossils as of 1976. Over 200 specimens have been classified as Neandertal and about one hundred as Homo erectus. More of these fossils have been found since 1976."
-- Michael J. Oard [creationist], in his review of the book, Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils, in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 30, March 1994, p. 222


"The current figures [circa 1994] are even more impressive: over 220 Homo erectus fossil individuals discovered to date, possibly as many as 80 archaic Homo sapiens fossil individuals discovered to date, and well over 300 Neandertal fossil individuals discovered to date."
-- Marvin L. Lubenow [creationist], author of Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils, in a letter to the editor of the Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 31, Sept. 1994, p. 70




THE EVIDENCE FROM APE FOSSILS PRIMITVE APES ARE NOT THE SAME AS MODERN APES IN SOME WAYS PRIMITIVE APE ANATOMY MORE CLOSELY RESEMBLES MODERN HUMAN ANATOMY THAN IT RESEMBLES MODERN APE ANATOMY
Over 100 species of primitive apes are known to have existed during the Miocene period in Europe and Africa. Those primitive ape species appeared before the first human-like apes (Australopithecines). And the primitive apes all differ from modern great ape species in that the primitive apes were all relatively nearer to modern day human skeletal anatomy than today's great apes are. For instance, the primitive apes all had small hands, and had legs and arms the same length; while MODERN great apes all have large hands with long fingers, and their arms are longer than their legs. The primitive apes also had no simian shelf in their jaws, again like modern humans; while the MODERN great apes all have a simian shelf in their jaws, unlike modern humans. [See David R. Begun, "Planet of the Apes," Scientific American, August 2003] So the general skeletal anatomy of the earliest known apes were nearer to human than is the skeletal anatomy of modern apes that have diverged and gone in a separate anatomical direction.




NON-FOSSIL EVIDENCE
Man and chimp are nearer each other genetically than either of them are to the other apes. One early estimate of the genetic distance between man and chimp was done in the 1970's using the technique of pairing up the two halves of DNA strings from different species to see what percentage of the DNA stands would join together and what percentage did not. Humans and great apes were found to be no more dissimilar than sibling species of fruit flies:
"We have obtained estimates of genetic differentiation between humans and the great apes no greater than, say, those observed between morphologically indistinguishable (sibling) species of Drosophila flies (fruit flies)."
-- Elizabeth J. Bruce & Francisco J. Ayala (Dept. of Genetics, Univ. of Calif.), "Humans and Apes Are Genetically Very Similar," Nature, Nov. 16, 1978, Vol 276, p. 265.


"New genetic evidence demonstrates that lineages of chimps (currently Pan troglodytes) and humans (Homo sapiens) diverged so recently that chimps should be [reclassified] as Homo troglodytes. The move would make chimps full members of our genus Homo, along with Neandertals, and all other human-like fossil species. 'We humans appear as only slightly remodeled chimpanzee-like apes,' says the study... Within important sequence stretches of these functionally significant genes, humans and chimps share 99.4 percent identity. (Some previous DNA work remains controversial. It concentrated on genetic sequences that are not parts of genes and are less functionally important, said Goodman.)..."
-- "Chimps Belong on Human Branch of Family Tree, Study Says" John Pickrell in England for National Geographic News May 20, 2003
news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0520_030520_chimpanzees.htm


Lastly, if you were to compare the genetic distance not between man and chimp, but between man and their common ancestor, the genetic distance must be halved once again. So the genetic distance is not [unbridgeable] by any means. Even one of the founders of I.D., Michael Denton, has recognized the [bridgeable] nature of the genetic distance between species and has [abandoned] his former "anti-common-descent" views as a result:
"One of the most surprising discoveries which has arisen from DNA sequencing has been the remarkable finding that the genomes of all organisms are clustered very close together in a tiny region of DNA sequence space forming a tree of related sequences that can all be interconverted via a series of tiny incremental natural steps. So the sharp discontinuities, referred to above, between different organs and
adaptations and different types of organisms, which have been the bedrock of antievolutionary arguments for the past century, have now greatly diminished at the DNA level. Organisms which seem very different at a morphological level can be very close together at the DNA level."
-- Michael Denton, Nature's Destiny (chapter 12, p. 276)


Some creationists try to counter the evidence of incredibly small differences between the human and chimp genomes with arguments such as this one:
"Humans have 3 billion 'letters' (base pairs) of DNA information in each cell, so a two percent difference [between human and chimp genomes] is actually 60 million 'spelling errors!' Of course, this is not 'error' but twenty 500-page books worth of new information that needs to be explained by mutation and selection."
-- Jonathan Sarfati [creationist], Refuting Evolution 2, p. 186


Response:
"Sarfati is trying to classify every difference in the genomes of humans and chimps as 'new information' that would have to be introduced either into the human or the chimp genome since the last common ancestor of humans and chimps. What he neglects is the fact that the vast majority of those differences are single nucleotide differences in genes (or, more often, in stretches of noncoding DNA) that merely change one amino acid in a protein (with no change in function), or make no change to the protein at all , or occur in DNA sequences that make no protein. Others are stretches of DNA of which one species has more than one copy -- to the other species' single copy of that same stretch of DNA (such duplications are common mutations in the genome) -- or that have simply moved from place to place among the noncoding DNA, or similar differences. So the facts are not as Sarfati presents them, but rather the vast majority of differences between human and chimp DNA have been identified, and THEY ARE THE MOST COMMON SORTS OF CHANGES THAT MUTATIONS HAVE BEEN OBSERVED TO PRODUCE. Maybe there are some variant genes of a type that mutations have not been known to produce, but Sarfati does not make any such distinction, nor provide evidence of such a discovery. What we do see in the vast majority of cases are simple duplications, deletions, translocations, and point alterations of stretches in the other genome, ALL OF WHICH HAVE BEEN OBSERVED TO OCCUR NATURALLY."
-- Steven J.




CHROMOSOMAL EVIDENCE
Normally, each chromosome is shaped like a long hot dog wearing an extra-tight slimming girdling in the middle, and that tapered region in the center of each chromosome is where the "centromere" is located. Human Chromosome #2 contains REMNANTS of a SECOND CENTROMERE that would be expected if our chromosome was once two separate chromosomes each with their own centromere. In the great apes today they have two chromosomes, #2 & #3 whose banding patterns match up with the extra-long single Human Chromosome #2. In other words, Human Chromosome #2 appears to have resulted from the fusion of two ancestral chromosomes still found in all the living species of apes, and that explains why Human Chromosome #2 contains the REMNANT of a SECOND CENTROMERE. Moreover, the chromosomal number and length and distinctive banding patterns of all the other chromosomes found in both humans and chimpanzees line up extremely well, as can be seen at the websites below that feature photos and diagrams.
See the article "Human Chromosome 2 is a fusion of two ancestral chromosomes" by Alec MacAndrew


as well as the article,
"Comparison of the Human and Great Ape Chromosomes as Evidence for Common Ancestry"


For further Human and Chimpanzee chromosome comparisons see Beth Kramer's site.


Also click to sub-page
which provides a detailed matching of human and chimp chromosomes 1-4. Note how the chromosomal banding patterns on the second chromosome in humans lines up with those in two shorter chimp chromosomes, while all the other chromosomal numbers and banding patterns of chimp and human match up quite closely. For matchings on other chromosomes


Note: humans have 22 chromosomes (called autosomes), plus the X and Y.


For a beautiful image matching all the chromosomes of four hominids -- human, chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan. Finally see the Hominoid Phylogeny (ancestral tree) based on these chromosome comparisons


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