Resources to further investigate the claims made in this article?

In a discussion with a friend, he shared that this article sums up why he believes the science illustrating an ancient universe isn’t trustworthy.

Where would a fella start in investigating these claims in this article?

This won’t cover all of them, but a nice place to start might be @jammycakes blog post responding to AIG’s “ten best evidences” for a young earth: https://howoldistheearth.wordpress.com/category/young-earth-claims/

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Ol’ @jammycakes is quite the fella!

Thanks!

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Take a look at this for some examples of how wrong the YEC arguments can be.

Reason can only ever engage the reasonable.

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Another good starter would be to check the refences cited, and note the rather high number about whose results this article is entirely dishonest.

More just responding directly to them from what I know (note: I am a paleontologist and do not claim to be an expert on other topics)

1: Density waves are quite a simple explanation: if you have a collection of elliptical orbits with lots of bodies on them which are very slowly precessing (which they always do because of gravitational effects), then you will get spiral arms of star formation, due to the denser gas clouds in that region. M51 has been known to have detailed spiral structures for over a century, and it has a large satellite galaxy, which seems to correlate strongly with having the elliptical orbits needed for pretty spirals.

2: More like one every 100 years. They get very hard to see after a few tens of thousands of years, also “potentially visible within 200 ly of us” is not the same as “actually visible within 15,000 ly of us, with lots of dust and gas in the way”, also there haven’t been any visible supernovae in our galaxy in the last 350 years, suggesting that many of those which happen aren’t visible to us. A counter-point to this is the fact that there are a few thousand known pulsars, which have been directly observed forming from supernovae, and given the output angle, there are probably more like 50,000 pulsars in our galaxy.

3: We can’t directly observe the Oort cloud, but we can tell that there are a number of comets far outside the visible range of our telescopes: many go past the sun once every 10-100,000 years (Hyakutake, e.g.). Interactions with giant planets are all but guaranteed. Whether those interactions make a significant different to a body’s orbit varies. Also, the Kuiper Belt is just supplying the shorter-period comets (<1000 year orbits).

4: Quote from the abstract of one of the articles cited: “Prior to widespread farming and deforestation (beginning 2000-2500 yr ago), however, sediment discharge probably was less than half the present level.” The article from which they get the subduction rate is only looking at deep ocean, not continental shelves or slope. A realistic estimate for building up the sediment in the deep ocean is more like 200,000,000, which is about the lifespan of oceanic crust.

5: Summary table of mean ocean concentrations and residence times | MBARI
Applying this same method to the concentration of Tin, the oceans must be only 5 years old. Applying this to Bromine, the oceans are 130,000,000 years old. Neither of those is remotely consistent with 6,000 years, or with each other.

6: The decay rate ignores current data, which gives a much more complicated picture. This is also a self-defeating argument, in that the ability to have the magnetic field flip every few hours makes any extrapolation impossible.

7: The layers did crack. Also those bends are dozens of feet across. If the layers were still “wet and unsolidified”, then they wouldn’t be discreet layers.

8: DNA cannot survive in good condition in typical conditions more that a few 10s of thousands of years. The permafrost that the Neanderthals were found in is near-ideal conditions: very cold and dry. The insects in amber and dinosaurs have tiny pieces of “we can tell this used to be a bit of DNA”. The soft tissue in question is collagen, which is about as sturdy as you can get without being ossified. Clam ligaments have been known for well over a century from the Carboniferous. That bacterium was in a brine inclusion within a salt crystal, which is a near-optimal environment for preserving DNA.

9: Those deposits are hydrothermically altered, hence dates on them are not reliable. Being able to tell what source atom was present is quite tricky. Also, for any of these to be valid, radiometric decay rates cannot change, as that would make all extrapolations useless (not to mention it would destroy every atom larger than hydrogen) If the author is saying that the lack of 218Po is a problem (ambiguous which isotope), then that is either a typo, or the writer is seriously confused, given that the half-life of 218Po is 3.1 minutes and the longest half-life in its decay chain (by a factor of 40) is 22.2 years (for 210Pb) (FYI, 218Po is in the 238U decay chain).

10: Pressure makes a significant difference to rate of leaking. Also, the rate is based on two data points specifically selected to give the “right” age.

11: ELIMINATING ALL CONTAMINATION IS IMPOSSIBLE. 5x10^-6 and 0 are identical when the margin of error is 0.001.

12: A lot of that time was spent in warm, wet climates, which promotes decay. Also, we haven’t dug holes to look for human remains everywhere, for obvious reasons.

13: There is a difference between “knowing plants grow from seeds” and “knowing how to create a field dedicated to growing one specific crop”. There is also the point that even if someone knows how to do something difficult, they probably won’t without good reason: if hunting and gathering takes less effort than farming and produces more food, which one would you do?

14: Literacy requires people to have enough free time to learn a written language. This again ignores the “why bother?” aspect: if you don’t have a need to make written records (which were usually for things like tax collection), you probably won’t.

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On a similar topic, the Debunking Evolution Taught in Public Schools video series for students thread (not sure how to link it) had discussion of some relevant data, I viewed several of the videos and responded to them on there, here is the full set.

2a: Radiometric Dating:

Time is all-important to evolution.

In some ways, yes.

Age of earth entirely dependent on radiometric dating.

Scientists have thought it had to be at least a few million years old since the late 1700s.

“It sure seems they are putting a lot of faith in something [radiometric dating] they can’t actually test through direct observation.”

Radiometric dating is easily tested by direct observation. How do you think we can determine half-lives?

Plenty of assumptions go into these measurements.

Yes, but they are well-grounded assumptions.

Age of earth is based on dating meteorites, and they are assumed to be the same age as Earth.

Yes, but we have dates on terrestrial-origin zircons back to 4.05 billion.

Rocks contain radioactive parent isotopes that decay into stable daughter isotopes.

Many isotopes have decay chains that run through many radioactive isotopes

Age is an interpretation, not an observation.

Just like any other derived measurement.

“What if the rock already had a daughter isotope from the beginning? Or what if the rock gets contaminated? Or what if the rate of decay was rattled at some point in the past? What was the original ratio of parent to daughter isotope? One must assume that no parent or daughter material was added or removed from the rock; and that the rate of decay has always been constant over millions and millions of years.”

Those are taken into account. If the decay rate isn’t constant then all atoms larger than hydrogen would have fallen apart.

Different mineral components give highly varying radiometric dates.

Yes, because the grains in sedimentary rocks are older than the rock by definition. Also, some of those grains might not contain enough of a parent isotope to be sensibly datable.

Known age igneous rocks give noticeably older dates.

That is because of contamination. They are never off by more than 10-20% of the half-life. For K-Ar dating, with a half-life of 1.25 GY, 10,000,000 years and 50 years are basically the same, given that the error bar is more like 100,000,000: 0.01 ± 0.1 and 0.00000004 ± 0.1 are identical.

Ono formation supposedly ~112 MYA. Fossils give dates of 36,000 in C-14.

That is because of contamination. 36,000 for C-14 is basically none left.

C-14 is found in diamonds.

That is because of contamination. 100,000 for C-14 is basically none left.

6a Fossils.

Claims:

Evolution predicts that we should find the simplest fossils in the lowest rock layers.

We do.

“Some of the lowest rock layers with fossils, called “Cambrian”, reveal incredibly complicated creatures right at the start.”

There are lots of layers below the Cambrian.

“If evolution were true, we would expect to see single-celled organisms down there, then basic-looking multi-celled… Instead we see incredibly complex sea creatures with no clear ancestors in the lower rocks.”

Which is exactly what we do see. Primarily what we have somewhat older are things where we just don’t know what they really are (e.g. Kimberella ). Plus, the frequency of preservation goes down the older you get.

“The Cambrian presents a dramatic explosion in animal variety, including an example from every one of today’s major groups, plus more besides.”

All the ones which have any chance to fossilize first appear somewhere in the ~200-million year stretch from where we find the first animal fossils to the end of the Cambrian.

“There are no simpler creatures leading up to them.”

Only if you ignore the ones that do.

“The expected transitional fossils are missing.”

Not any more than all the other fossils.

Quotes On the Origin of Species: “Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms.”

We have much better material now.

“If evolution were true, we should have millions that show us the evolution between all these animals.”

And if the fossil record perfectly preserved things.

Archaeopteryx: quotes Alan Feduccia “Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.”

A bird with teeth, a bony tail, and some other rather un-modern features.

Archaeopteryx was even further disqualified as an evolutionary ancestor for birds when scientists found what appears to be a crow-sized bird, and extinct four-winged birds in rock layers designated to be below those containing Archaeopteryx .”

Transitional forms usually stick around after the initial transition: I am alive, therefore my parents cannot be is very bad logic. Those birds are clearly transitional: they have teeth, then have claws on their hands, etc.

Tiktaalik is no good as a transitional organism, due to “footprints of a four-legged land creatures in rocks that are supposedly ten million years older than Tiktaalik.”

Transitional forms usually stick around after the initial transition: I am alive, therefore my parents cannot be is very bad logic. Tiktaalik had a neck and limbs, but it also has lateral lines and an extinct style of dentition.

“We see that there are many more kinds of animals than we have today.” “And many of those went extinct.” “Opposite of evolution.”

That is exactly what we would expect from an old earth, not a young one. Also, the diversity at any one time has been generally increasing (with some interruptions).

“Fossil graveyards contain animals from land, sea, and air all jumbled together; and, in many cases, the destruction was so powerful that fossilized creatures were ripped apart and buried quickly in mud. And 95 % of the entire record is marine fossils buried in land rocks, not ocean bottom sediments. Many layers that contain fossil are so large that they stretch over many states, sometimes across continents.”

What does “Marine fossils buried in land rocks” mean? Sure, most of the grains washed offshore, but that’s what shallow ocean sediment is always like.

The lack of sand in Carolinian Eocene deposits clearly indicates an offshore position, not a mixture. Why are Pteropods, or Spisula , or Raeta , or Eulimids, or anything else fragile ever preserved, if everything is getting smashed? Why are deposits not highly sorted, as they would be with any sort of fast current? The fact that they are buried in mud discredits the massive destruction being invoked, as the mud could not settle. How are there index fossils for each layer which show up in no others? If everything is getting mixed around, then Chesapecten should be ubiquitous throughout the southeast US deposits.

6c

Extinction: Noah’s Flood & Ice Ages

Five different mass extinctions

More like 10, and a bunch of smaller ones.

“Some scientists dated the dinosaur extinction 300,000 years after [Chixulub]”

Things do not die instantly after an impact, also, the margin of error is high enough to make 300,000 years insignificant.

The proposed causes for mass extinctions, other than Chixulub, are exactly the set of events that would be happening with the flood.

How does massive desertification fit with a flood? How does massive glaciation fit? And I don’t see mention of asteroid impacts and volcanic eruptions making giant tsunamis in the boiling opaque slurry/ocean in Genesis.

All dinosaur graveyards are deposited in “watery mud or sand”

That’s what preserves lots of individuals quickly.

“Many dinosaur fossils are found in a classic death pose with their necks arced back, possibly from choking.”

It’s called “rigor mortis”.

“[the flood] does better explain what we see.”

Only if you ignore and misrepresent everything you see.

“There’s a lot of volcanic material mixed into these layers. Vast amounts of volcanic material entered the oceans. That’s what makes up seafloors around the world. And that relates to the Ice Age. Storm-tracking models show that warm oceans would cause severe storms, and lead to massive snowfall.”

There is NO volcanic material found in any Carolinian marine deposits, outside of one Eocene layer. Drastically higher water temperature would NOT lower sea level.

“Hotter oceans make colder continents”

In a completely different pattern from the observations. A boiling opaque slurry for oceans, as the conditions you propose would create, would kill all life on the planet, wherever it was.

“Volcanic dust and debris would have blocked out the sun during the summer, so the falling snow would not have melted.”

Except for all the asteroid impacts melting the crust.

The “fountains of the deep” refers to massive volcanic eruptions releasing lots of water.

That’s definitely not how the ancient Hebrews would have understood it.

“Evolutionists don’t have a satisfactory explanation for one Ice age, let alone four or five. But, the flood gives enough calamity in a short amount of time to actually make an Ice Age, if there was only one, that happened only a few hundred years after the flood.”

Milankovic cycles do a very good job of explaining the dozens of short glacial periods in the late Cenozoic, which a giant flood deposition scheme is completely incompatible with. For larger-scale glacial periods dramatic increases in oxygen level, and/or the presence of landmasses near the poles seem to correlate well, if we have any data.

“Which would explain many of the Ice-age fossils we find near the surface of the earth, not deep down in the flood layers.”

Why are there dropstones and glacial erratics embedded in meta-sedimentary rocks in the local mountains, which are clearly older than all of the coastal marine faunas?

“The book of Job was written just about that time, and mentions snow, ice, and cold more than any other book in the bible.”

Where does it say that it was written then? Also, none of the Egyptian texts from this time mention it much, or a much wetter Sahara, so that seems a bit tenuous.

“So, when scientists try to stretch five extinctions and five different Ice ages over the evolutionary view of the geologic column, they’re not sure how they happened. But, when you compress the geologic column down into a biblical timeframe, it’s all explained by a worldwide flood followed by an Ice age.”

Really inaccurately explained by a worldwide flood.

6b

Whale Evolution

“[Whales] would need to evolve a brand new respiratory system.”

They still have lungs.

“Their teeth would have to evolve into baleen.”

Current thought is that transitional forms had a combination of the two.

[Some of the other things listed that whales would have to evolve]:

Ball vertebrae, Tail flukes, Blubber, Ability to drink sea water, Forelimbs into flippers, Blowhole, Ability to see properly underwater, Reorganized skull bones and muscles, Modified ear bones, growing several hundred times bigger.

Blubber is found in practically all mammals. Changing substantially in size is not particularly difficult: Palaeoloxodon includes species ranging from 90 cm at the shoulder and 200 kg to 6 m at the shoulder and 20,000 kg. Truncatelloidea includes groups that are terrestrial, freshwater, and marine.

Quotes textbook “Mesonychids are one hypothesized link between modern whales and certain hoofed mammals.”

Currently, no. Mesonychids are considered to be a separate stem ungulate group.

“The entire evolutionary ancestry of whales is based on an imaginary creature.” [last common ancestor of the horrendously polyphyletic pairing of artiodactyls and wolves]

Said imaginary creature is one which nobody sane thinks existed. A common ancestor of artiodactyls is another matter.

Pakicetus was shown to be “nothing more than a land animal.”

An amphibious animal with cetacean dentition.

There were only two fossils ever found of [ Ambulocetus ].

That makes no difference, if they were good specimens.

“[ Ambulocetus ] appears to be nothing more than a land animal. In other words, it was defined as a walking whale; not because it had a whale’s tail or flippers, or a blowhole, but simply because they believed it to be. In fact, they didn’t even find the part of the skull that would have a blowhole; but they still add a blowhole in museum drawings.”

Ambulocetus was distinctly built for swimming.

“[ Rodhocetus ] is often depicted…with a tail fluke, however, they never found the fossil bones for their tail.”

It doesn’t have a fluke in any of the illustrations you show.

“[ Basilosaurus ] seems to be nothing more than an extinct sea creature, with what appears to be leftover legs from evolution.”

It is an “extinct sea creature” by definition; so is Carinorbis lyra , which is very distinctly not a whale.

“[ Dorudon ] appears to be nothing more than an extinct whale.”

With teeth that look quite a lot like those Basilosaurus , and not like any modern whale.

2b

Uniformitarianism

Lots of scientists believe continents move at irregular speeds.

Yes. Over very short time scales.

[John Baumgardener] showed that continents can move very quickly.

No.

“[Uniformitarianism] refuses to take into account the major catastrophic events of the past.

Only Lyell and Darwin were that obstinate.

“During the 1980’s eruptions at Mt. St. Helens, 200 layers of rock were deposited in three hours. Entire river systems were carved in a matter of months right through 700 feet of hard rock.”

Volcanic ash. Not sedimentary rocks. And those 700 feet could hardly be termed “solid”.

“If [the layers in the Grand Canyon] took millions of years to form, then the bottom rock layers would be hard and brittle by the time the ones at the top would be deposited. But, near the Grand Canyon, all the layers are bent together. If they were bent together while they were hard [they would break]. The rocks didn’t shatter like they should have, they must have been together while they were soft and pliable.”

They did break. And those bends are pretty large. Even rocks are flexible, if the distance and time are long enough.

“If the river slowly carved the canyon, then we should see all the material piled up in the river delta, but it’s completely missing. In fact, about 1000 cubic miles has been eroded to form the Grand Canyon. Where did it all go? If the canyon was slowly eroded by the Colorado River, an enormous delta should be found at the mouth of the river where it empties into the Gulf of California; but, the delta includes only about 1% of the material we would expect if the evolutionary explanation were true.” “Unless it was carved by a massive catastrophe which carried all the material away.”

The only true statement in this paragraph is the volume of the canyon. All of the material is in the gulf, but not all of it is above sea level.

“What happens to a clam when it dies? They open up, and their two shells separate. But this clam was fossilized before it had a chance to fall open, or be pulled open by a scavenger.”

Most fossil clams are not paired. And they wouldn’t open if they are already buried, WHICH THEY QUITE FREQUENTLY ARE.

The well-known fossil of the Ichthyosaur giving birth had to be buried quite quickly.

Yes. But how many small pieces of ichthyosaurs do we have compared to near-perfect ones?

“And they’ve found many dinosaur fossils with red blood cells, soft tissue and even DNA.”

Impressions of red blood cells. Collagen is not bone, but it is still quite tough. Tiny fragments of extremely degraded DNA. If they were only a few thousand years old, we should have hundreds of complete dinosaur genomes.

“But all of these could have been fossilized during the worldwide flood.”

No, they would all be smashed in tiny pieces.

“It doesn’t take millions of years to form a fossil. It can happen rapidly under the right conditions.”

Which are extraordinarily rare.

3a

Did humans evolve?

All of the old ape-men ideas were fakes.

Or misidentifications.

“In our book it says that Australopithecus afarensis evolved 3-2.8 MYA. In this book it says that Australopithecus evolved 4-5 MYA.”

How are those contradictory?

1951 Life article says that Australopithecus lived ~700 kYA.

That article was wrong.

It was claimed that Homo erectus had a human body, but a different skull. But, in 2013 there was a study showing that many of the differences used to distinguish H. sapiens from H. erectus blur together.

There are still characteristics that distinguish them.

Many specimens of H. habilis are of debated identity, and the genus assignment is uncertain.

Same is true for most pleurocerids, which says nothing about whether they exist, or belong in Elimia or Pleurocera (both, sensu latu , probably constitute about five different genera, which are highly cryptic).

The remains of Lucy are quite fragmentary.

So are most dinosaurs. So are my fossil pholadids. All three are distinctive

Lucy was actually a Bonobo-like creature, based on the skull.

Her body is rather different from a Bonobo.

Quote to the effect of “True Australopithecus is not a direct ancestor of Homo.

Cladistically, it cannot be, because if it were, then Australopithecus would be a grade, not a genus. And Australopithecus sensu latu is a grade. Some species of Australopithecus are not ancestral to Homo , but many are.

Neanderthals and Humans can interbreed, therefore they are identical by definition.

Nobody thinks that all species of Larus are identical, yet they can interbreed freely. They usually don’t, but a hybrid Larus is not an uncommon find.

“So either these fossils are completely human, or completely ape, with nothing in between.”

That is a horrendous a-priori false dichotomy.

All of the specimens of the ape-human transitional forms that have been found could fit in the back of a small pickup truck.

I could fit every specimen ever found of Ersilia stancyki into a hollowed-out US penny. That says nothing about how reliable any conclusions about it are.

4a

Does Adaptation Prove Evolution?

Darwin’s finches [which are thraupids, not estrildids or fringillids, as the name suggests] arrived on the Galapagos and underwent speciation. “But is that really evolution?”

Yes, they are tanagers which look like fringillids.

“[Speciation] isn’t evolution by natural forces if these animals were programmed to adapt like that.”

What caused them to adapt?

Not all changes are caused by random mutations.

No, no one thinks that.

Mutations are always bad.

Most mutations do not make any significant difference: changing a gene’s function level by a few percent usually doesn’t affect things dramatically. Whether that is good or bad depends on the situation.

Sinistrality is a mutation which makes zero difference to a gastropod surviving. It does make it harder to find a mate, however if one does, and sinistrality is a rare enough mutation in your species (varies between different types of gastropod), then a new population can be established (e.g. Busycon carica & contarium / perversum )

Resistance to pesticides in mosquitoes is from a loss of information in the genome.

Yes, but the majority of adaptations that are just changing information, rather than deleting it.

“People count on that loss of information from mutations to create the genetic blueprints for every living creature on earth.”

Nobody sane does. There are plenty of ways to increase the amount of DNA in an organism: polyploidy, grabbing pieces from the environment, accidental duplication, etc.

“One basic kind of animal can never change into another.”

You never define “kind”, however, given your examples, it seems to be “things that look pretty similar to me”. Under that definition, Eulimella is much more like Melanella than Bartschella , however the anatomy (and the protoconchs) show that Eulimella and Bartschella are both members of Turbonilinae, whereas Melanella is a Eulimid, which is in a different subclass from Eulimella .

Also, Darwin’s Finches are a problem there, as they are thraupids that look like fringillids or estrildids. Piranga s are cardinals that look like tanagers.

4b: Does Natural Selection Prove Evolution?

“Evolution is a blind process, intelligent choices, supposedly, have nothing to do with it.”

Atheistic Evolution, yes. EC, no.

Eyes have to have proteins that are useless until the whole package is there.

Light reception is a much simpler form of sight than human eyes.

Natural selection had no foreknowledge, therefore it can’t design anything.

A saw doesn’t need to know what the building will look like to cut a beam.

All mutants are worse off

No. A lot of them are. Most have mutations that make almost no difference. A few have beneficial mutations. The ones with beneficial mutations will do a bit better in the long run.

Gene duplication has never actually been observed.

If you blatantly ignore things with polyploidy like sphaeriids and ferns, and the many well-known cases of it: Down Syndrome being one of them.

Natural selection can’t produce anything, just remove it.

Yes; it doesn’t need to. Most animals have fairly similarly sized genomes, so all you need is a mutation with changes thing, but doesn’t erase them. Which is the most common type.

“How could chemicals from early earth spontaneously form molecules with information?”

The same way that mfkleygfgopwuibfsuub contains information. Whether it is useful information is another matter.

“Information always comes from a mind.”

A tree contains information. A mind did not directly create that tree. Whether one imperceptibly guided it is another matter.

5a: Common Ancestors and Branching

Cladograms are based off hypotheses, not facts.

Hypotheses which are fairly well grounded in facts.

“These branching points are just imaginary lines.”

Based on all the datapoints we do have.

“If a future paleontologist dug up the remains of a bulldog, a great dane and a chihuahua, they would classify them as different species.”

The less careful ones would, but close examination would show smooth transitions between all of them, hence they would be classified as the same species.

Also, what you imply by that statement is thoroughly insulting to systematists.

5b: Homological structures

Human and squid eyes both project an image onto a retina, but aren’t considered to have a close common ancestor.

They are rather different in other ways: the means of projection is rather different, hence they are not homologous.

Convergence is a “rescuing device” for evolution, to fix the problems with homologous structures.

If you pay attention to the details, those are features with similar functions, but rather different in operation.

“When similarities fit evolution they are homologous structure, but when they don’t fit they claim the structure evolved more than once.”

This ignores the fact that dozens of structures are used to determine ancestry, and you cannot cherry-pick the exceptions to get valid results.

Homologous structures prove evolution, and evolution defines homologous structures.

I agree that the textbook does a bad job of defining homologous structures. A better definition would be something like “homologous structures are similar structures that agree with the majority of the structures found in the organism, whereas structures are convergent if they are exceptions from the rest of an organism’s features.”

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Two favorites, noting that the first, extinct radioactive atoms, is not about radiometric dating:

Radioactive Atoms — Evidence about the Age of the Earth - Ken Wolgemuth
 


(You might browse some there at Dr. Strauss’ site, too.)
 

And a couple more:


Please note in that ↑ that the dating methods calibrate and validate each other!
 

New evidence always supports the antiquity of the earth and it continues to build. It is too bad that YECism is so frequently so closely identified with Christianity as to be integral to it (https://thenaturalhistorian.com/, is also an excellent place to browse.)

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Thanks for the compliment :slight_smile:

I tend to take a very focused approach when I examine young Earth claims. I always seek to address two very specific questions:

  1. What standards does this claim need to meet, and what rules does it need to follow, in order to be considered legitimate? In other words, what does honest reporting and honest interpretation of accurate information look like in this particular context?
  2. Does this claim actually meet those standards and does it actually follow those rules? If not, why not?

Most YECs who find Answers in Genesis convincing don’t realise that science (or, more to the point, basic honesty) has rules. Those who do, often don’t understand what the rules are, and think that they are some way of “stacking the deck” against them. For that reason, I tend to avoid discussions about methodological naturalism (which I personally consider to be a red herring) and focus on rules that we should all agree on, whether we accept the possibility of miracles or not.

What I’ve found is that there are a small number of themes – the term we use in the software world is “antipatterns” – that appear time and time again in young Earth claims. These include, for instance:

  • Techniques applied right at (or even beyond) the very limit of their sensitivity
  • Tiny samples with huge error bars, and rates of change that no-one expects to have been constant in the past
  • Not taking everything into account (and dismissing the things they haven’t taken into account as “rescuing devices” when confronted with them)
  • Grossly exaggerating the extent and significance of discrepancies in conventional science
  • Cherry-picking data and quote mining
  • Caricaturing perfectly acceptable measurement techniques as if they were somehow fudges or circular reasoning
  • Crying “assumptions” or “interpretations” as if “assumptions” and “interpretations” were some kind of magic shibboleth that let them dismiss anything about science that they don’t like
  • In some cases, not even bothering with basic mathematics.
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You missed one: not bothering to address data that isn’t known by the general public, like my fossil mollusks: how does one flood produce 40 distinct layers, with an obvious sequence and distinctive fossils in each?

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Note also some general problems with the entire effort:
“This would give a date of 55 million years” is treated as refuting an old earth, but it’s roughly 83 times to young for the best value for the age of the earth and 9200 times too old for a young earth. This is a double standard - problems for a young earth are ignored.
This is a piecemeal search for excuses to ignore various evidences for an ancient earth. But it totally ignores the fact that geology and astronomy both indicate a vast sequence of events. It is the overall sequence, not merely individual dates, which makes a flood geology approach impossible.
The fact that none of the arguments are honest representations of the evidence is highly problematic. Satan is the father of lies.

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More factors: #4, the claim that sedimentation rates should fill the oceans. Paraleptopecten pointed out that this ignores the fact that most of the sediment ends up in shallow water, If you’ve seen a sandy or muddy beach, that shows that the numbers are not honest. (They are probably also ignoring all the sediment in the trenches, versus what is actually subducted, but I did not check that). They are also ignoring all the sediment that ends up back on land again, whether through changes in sea level, tectonic forces, or simple wave action. Much of that sediment is getting counted multiple times in their supposed totals.
5: The time that it would take for sodium to accumulate to present concentrations in the oceans. This was a credible proposal for dating the earth made in the 1700’s, and tried in the 1800’s once data were available, but was found to be irrelevant to earth’s age long before young-earthers started misusing it. It’s a clear case of ignoring the explanation to misrepresent this as a problem. As the wide range of values suggests, these numbers reflect the chemistry of different elements in the ocean, not age. These are residence times, the average amount of time that a sodium or chloride or whatever ion or atom spends floating around in the ocean before it ends up somewhere else. One young-earth source I saw made the completely unsupported claim that the younger values of residence times are likely to be good dates for the age of the earth. Presumably they thought those would match a young-earth timeline, but in fact the smallest values for residence time make the earth well under 2000 years old, a timescale fundamentally incompatible with Christianity.

Ancient salt deposits show that the ocean salt concentrations have not changed much since the oldest salt deposits. Incidentally, salt deposits cannot be produced by a global flood (unless the water is salty enough to kill practically all aquatic life) and are found throughout the Phanerozoic.

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The Defeat of Flood Geology by Flood Geology

I am reminded of the phrase “Hoisted by his own petard.”

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And rightly so.

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