More Flood Stuff – part 2, Rocks and Fossils

 

In part 1 I whittle on about Flora and Fauna (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/more-flood-stuff-part-1-flora-and-fauna/)

Geology and the Flood

Moving on from animals and plants, the mechanics and timescales of the flood as described in Genesis requires some very serious geological events. The word cataclysmic hardly seems appropriate; the activity would have been utterly incredible. Creationists will argue that it was the events of the flood that created the mountains we see today and that most of the flood water came from below the ground.

Beyond that, the layers of rocks we see today and the fossils we see in them are all formed from the flood events. Did the rocks before the flood have layers?

Rock layers deposited by a global flood could be believed if they were flat. There is still an issue over how the layers are so easily defined because layers deposited at the same time would have some mixing and the change between layers would be expected to be more blended rather than distinct. Another issue to consider is that today rock layers can be curved or even vertical. Sediment does not settle in stacks or neatly along a curve, rock layers that curve or stand up, but remain uniform, will have been bent after they formed because if the sediment was loose at the time it would have been shifted off its neat and even layers. Considering uplifted rock, this can only be done very slowly over many thousands of years because if rock bends quickly it tends to crack and break, hence earthquakes. This means that non flat rock layers could not have been formed as part of a global flood and the associated mountain upheavals, unless a miracle is invoked to keep the rock intact.

This miracle requirement rather makes a mockery of the whole idea of using geologic study to confirm creationist accounts. When the miraculous is required to complete the explanation then by definition, naturally explainable actions are done away with and cannot be used.

But look at all the fossils

Creationists also point at the flood as the cause of the fossils that we see today because all the animals that died in the flood would have been buried by the subsequent sedimentary layers. This, they say, is why fossils can be found halfway up mountains and it is a better explanation than plate tectonics pushing the sea bed up and creating mountains.

The mechanisms at play here are a problem for creationists. If the creationist explanation were true, I would expect the larger heavier animals to sink faster, along with the heavier sediment and the smaller lighter animals to settle slower, like the smaller lighter sediment. I would also expect the dead animals to drop quicker than most of the sediment and so the resulting layers would show more animals at the bottom and fewer and smaller animals at the top of the sedimentary layers. This is not at all what we see in the fossil and rock layer record. The observed evidence completely contradicts the expected result.

The timing of the flood events are also out of order. The claim is that the mountains were formed at the start of the flood as part of the “waters of the deep” bursting forth and supplementing the rainfall. This would mean that the mountains were formed before the sediment had settled and buried the animals and people. Talking of which, where are the people fossils?

Looking at the fossils in more details we can see that the vast majority of fossils show species that are not alive today and fossils that exactly match species we know and love today and conspicuously rare. The answer is typically that not all the animals which survived the ark also survived to today. For the flood account to be the single source of all (or at least most) fossils then the fossils what we see ought to be representative of the animals that were saved on the ark. Therefore besides dinosaurs, we should also see dogs and rabbits. I would also expect to see a drowned city full of bodies of modern humans fossilised, including evidence of clothes in the fossil. This is an example of a prediction based on creationism that should be possible to confirm but is lacking.

How long does it take to form a fossil?

The process of creating a fossil requires significant timescale because a chemical process is required to replace minerals in the dead body with the minerals from the surrounding material. It seems this process typically requires water and pressure. (http://www.discoveringfossils.co.uk/whatisafossil.htm) these mineralisation processes occur at rates that can be measured, which is how ages can be determined. Note the following AiG article on the subject spends precious little time talking about the actual fossilisation process (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/do-rock-record-fossils-favor-long-ages).

If fossils could be formed in just four thousand years, then scientists would be able to show that by burying an animal in the right conditions and showing that the process had started in only a few decades. This is a simple experiment that creationists can do to show the world how right they are.

Too many holes

The flood story is a very dramatic story but simply doesn’t hold water as an historical event. The bible account is vague and leaves way too much open for the readers to insert their own facts. This is what creationists do constantly and they should be honest about what they are doing and they should be even more honest about how critically they view the evidence of the world against what the bible says because none of it matches.

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Ken Ham’s Big Fat Lie

Ken Ham’s book, The Lie, is apparently 25 years old now. Somehow I’d managed to miss out this book during my creationist years and so I have not read it. A page about the book on the AiG website did make me sit up and pay attention though (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/au/what-is-the-lie).

Leaving aside the mountain of scientific evidence that soundly refutes creationism, Ken Ham does at least have one very good point to make. That is that if you accept evolution, there is some compromise to be taken when believing the Bible. Many people have made this point over the years. Some argue that compromise and the Bible do not mix and any compromise you make when reading it effectively means you are following a flawed faith.  This was certainly a view I held for a long time and reading some of what Ken Ham writes, it would seem he has a similar perspective.

I’m not that black and white about it anymore. I do find significant difficulty matching Genesis with known Evolutionary facts and historical evidence. The Biblical narrative simply does not fit and those are the reasons for my eventual leaving Christianity.

There is a certain honesty in the literal creationist belief system. That is the uncompromising acceptance of the Biblical accounts as absolute fact. Yet this position does have its issues, especially when faced with the weight of science. It is such a shame that we now know that the early Genesis chapters are not factual events and are simply amalgamated stories. This reveals literal Biblical belief to be founded on untruth (or a Lie even).

Pauls Words

At the start of his page, Ken Ham quotes 2 Thessalonians 2:11 (And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.) Reading that page I get the impression the whole of the AiG ministry hinges around this verse. The implication being that the lie being referred to is evolution.

Being curious about the context I read around the verse. This chapter opens with Paul talking about an apparent false teaching to the Thessalonians to do with the Lord having already come back (vs 2). This false teaching apparently came from a misunderstanding of something Paul said and he attempts to put that right in this letter. He goes on to talk about the “man of lawlessness”, which commentators seem to indicate referrers to the anti-Christ. I wondered at first if Paul was referring to the person behind the false teaching, but the next reference (vs 9) does seem to indicate the anti-Christ, or at least someone close to him.

Whatever it is Paul is referring to, he goes on to talk about end times and then makes the statement that Ken Ham quotes.

If Paul is referring to end times, the context of this quote is clearly related to that and the delusion that God sends is directly related to the lies told in relation to falsehoods spread during end times. This makes me wonder what this has to do with evolution. Unless we’re already in end times, evolution is completely out of scope here. So now Ken Ham needs to show that the prophesy and global wickedness associated with end times and all the tribulation that follows it are happening now. He also needs to show why that verse should be referring to evolution, especially difficult because nowhere in the bible is evolution or the processes that lead to it, mentioned.

There is also the not so small and highly inconvenient issue that he is accusing his god of intentionally making people believe a lie which will result in their condemnation. Actually, that issue exists even if the verse is not talking about evolution. To be honest, I’m far more interested in how a perfect god explains that than I am about the semantics of what the lie is actually referring to.

I think tying this specific verse to evolution is a blatant deception, or at least a risky strategy. Of course, having not read The Lie, it is possible I’ve jumped the gun here and he’s referring to wider end times nastiness. If that’s the case, then he still needs to show how we are in end times and that evolution is wrong, which it isn’t.

Ken Ham’s whole ministry is based on the lie of creationism. It’s a lie that fooled me for many years and it’s a lie that continues to fool many more. I’m glad I’m out from under it.

 

Arguments Creationists Should Avoid

Anwers in Genesis has a useful page listing some of the arguments that a Creationist, faced with defending their beliefs (http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use).

The list is broken into 3 section, arguments never to use (9), arguments to avoid (12) and common misconceptions (8). The lists are not as long as I initially expected, but going through the list and ticking off those I had subscribed to was interesting.

Section 1:

1) Moon dust thickness proves a young moon

3) NASA computers found Joshua’s missing day and Hezekiah’s sundial reversal

5) Darwin’s deathbed recantation

6) Flash frozen Woolly Mammoths

Section 2:

1) Evolution is just a theory

2) Macroevolution / Microevolution

8) Human and dinosaur tracks found together

10) No rain before the flood

11) The speed of light has decreased

12) There are no transitional forms

Section 3:

6) Women have one more rib than men

7) Archaeopteryx is a fraud

In my defence, most of the items above all came from one source, that of a book I read in about 1990 by an American pastor who was a staunch Creationist and the uncle of someone I worked with. I don’t remember the name of the author or the book.

However, I should also admit that taking the majority of my information and foundation for belief from a single source was a little naive. At that time in my life, I was interested in scientific understanding but I was also in the early years of living on my own and developing my Christian faith as my own and no longer in the shadow of my parents. That one book set me on a path for most of the next 20 years and oh how different things might have been if it were not for a chance conversation.

At least I can now be honest and admit, yes I did once believe those things, and laugh at me past silly self with a minimal amount of embarrassment. I think shame in the past at this point would not be productive. I may as well embrace my past mistakes and move on. It does of course concern me that there are many who still belie the items I have listed above. This can only be explained through ignorance. That ignorance may not be entirely the fault of the believer, it could be the fault of person (or persons) who continue to peddle the myth, or it could simply be in some cases that the believer simply does not know where to go to check and test. They need help from others to discover the truth.

Sometimes that help only comes from those who are more scientifically literate and also happen to reject that form of Christianity. That can be a problem. It was for me on several occasions. When faced with being corrected on science by someone who disagrees with your Christian faith is difficult because you find yourself in a situation where the foundation of that faith itself is questioned and if that questioning comes from a non-believer then the only course of defence is to reject all they say.

I applaud what the Answers in Genesis are doing here. They are trying to ease the lot of enthusiastic Creationists by guiding them away from problem topics. However, there is one obvious sting here; this list can only grow longer, an problem argument can never revert to being a good argument. At what point does the list become so long that Creationism implodes?

‘ere There be Dragons

I’ve mentioned previously that I like to read blogs of those whom I disagree with. Included in that list are a couple of creationist blogs. Its interesting reading posts that lay out what I used to believe and balancing that with what science actually says. There is a very common theme and its basically creationist claims are weak on science and strong on apologetics. That may work for theology but it doesn’t cut it in the hard-nosed world of evidence based reality.

Every now and then a post will come along that flummoxes me and recently I had one of those over at Bible-Science Guy. Read it here, especially the embedded PDF, its not very long (http://biblescienceguy.wordpress.com/articles/2012-articles/2012-05-dragons/).

Basically its an attempt to link the myth of dragons into the biblical narrative and exit with something along the lines of Dragons were once real. Old myths, such as George slaying the dragon, are referenced along with obscure biblical references to Leviathans and the such. Other dragon traits such as fire-breathing, flying, gold hoarding and magical are quickly brushed over, if they are mentioned at all. The whole thing is a very intriguing read and the mental loops required to take it in as believable are quite fantastic.

I do especially like the cartoon image. The insinuation that they could have been in an egg really did make me chuckle. How did Noah sex the creatures that were in an egg?

In my creationist days I never once considered that dragons were anything but mythical. I don’t really see any reason why a creationist would consider otherwise to be honest. It just seems so silly. Its fine to speculate on the various reasons why the dragon myths came about, that’s a worthwhile field of study in my opinion. How myths and legends change over time and in retelling helps us learn more about what we as humans have become and shapes our understanding of language and belief.

The BSG post takes it all a step too far. What next I wonder, werewolves and vampires were real too? What about the yeti and the chupacabra?