REPLY #19 TO|
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).
(R) The moon is leaving the Earth at a rate of 2 in. per year. If the Earth is
6,000 years old this wouldn't be a problem. The moon would have moved about
1,000 feet. If the Earth is old then 1,200,000,000 billion years ago the moon
would have been touching the Earth and 5,000,000,000 billion years ago the moon
would have been so far in the other direction you wouldn't have been able to see
(MB) This one is actually based on guesswork calculations first performed in the
late 1800's without the benefit of more accurate modern measurements and
research. Why Creationists still uphold 100-year-old faulty equations as gospel
(pardon the pun) is beyond most thinking people.
Essentially, what's missing in those old calculations is an understanding of
the braking effects that oceanic tides have on the Earth's rotation. Because of
the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, if the Earth's rotation slows, the
lost energy can't "disappear". That energy goes into moving the Moon to a
slightly higher orbit and increasing its speed. This conserves the total energy
of the Earth-Moon system.
The efficiency of tidal braking depends strongly upon the configuration of
the Earth's oceans. Since continental land masses move, the shapes of the
oceans change over time and tidal braking effects increase and decrease
accordingly. At the present time, the rate of braking is unusually high due to
the tidal force being close to a resonance in the response function of the
A paper published in 1982 by Kirk S. Hansen, "Secular effects of oceanic
tidal dissipation on the moon's orbit and the earth's rotation" (Reviews of
Geophysics and Space Physics, 20:457-480) calculates the Moon's distance from
Earth 4.5 billion years ago was no closer than 38 Earth radii (152,000 miles).
A 1993 study published in Astronomy Today by Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan
calculated the Moon's distance at that same time to be 155,000 miles.
Thus, the Creationist objection is conclusively refuted once the actual data
is examined. This objection is yet another example of the dangers of invalid
extrapolation of a current measurement back through time without considering all
(R) If you've toured a limestone cave, or read about them in a book, you were
most likely told that the formations of dripstone developed very slowly over a
period of more than 100,000 thousand years. What is the evidence?
(MB) Since such formations are created by deposition of minerals carried by
flowing water, and since rapidly flowing water would carry the minerals away
instead of allowing them to accumulate, it will take a considerable amount of
time for large structures to form.
Also, the sediment layers in these formations contain evidence of climatic
changes (e.g., dissolved oxygen isotopes) that have taken place over the eons
and which could not have gone back and forth so rapidly in a mere 6,000 years.
In fact, such deposits are excellent direct evidence of the dates, lengths, and
effects of the Earth's Ice Ages.
(R) Under the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., stalactites had grown to 5
feet in less than 50 years. Other evidence shows that cave formations could be
easily accounted for in Tens of thousands of years at most.
(MB) To answer this, I refer to "Speleology: The Study of Caves", George W.
Moore and Nicholas G. Sullivan, 1978 (p.47)...
"Many people have found that stalactites forming on concrete or mortar
outdoors may grow several centimeters each year. Stalactite growth in these
environments, however, bears little relation to that in caves, because it does
not proceed by the same chemical reaction. Although cement and mortar are made
from limestone, the same rock in which the caves form, the carbon dioxide has
been driven off by heating. When water is added to these materials, one product
is calcium hydroxide, which is about 100 times as soluble in water as calcite
is. A calcium hydroxide solution absorbs carbon dioxide rapidly from the
atmosphere to reconstitute calcium carbonate, and produce stalactites. This is
why stalactites formed by solution from cement and mortar grow much faster than
those in caves. To illustrate, in 1925, a concrete bridge was constructed inside
Postojna Cave, Yugoslavia, and adjacent to it an artificial tunnel was opened.
By 1956, tubular stalactites 45 centimeters long were growing from the bridge,
while stalactites of the same age in the tunnel were less than 1 centimeter
(R) Why is it that the oldest tree on Earth, the bristle cone pine tree, is only
5,000 years old, roughly the same time of the global flood?
(MB) Actually, that would be about 600 years older than the Flood, but it
doesn't matter. Why should the age of any living thing (like a tree) be an
indicator of the age of any non-living thing (like the Earth)?
BTW, pine trees aren't the oldest living plants on Earth. The King Clone
creosote bush, today a patch of shrubbery 70 by 25 feet in the Mojave Desert
about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles, goes back 11,700 years! (This item
comes from The Washington Post, December 10, 1984 and was noted in the
Creation/Evolution Newsletter of November-December, 1984.) That means that this
bush, too, survived the supposed Flood intact and unaffected.
(R) Why aren't there trees at least 8,000 years, or ten or fifteen thousand
(MB) Trees *do* go back at least 8000 years without showing any evidence of
having been disturbed by any sort of Noachian flood! Dr. Charles Ferguson of
the University of Arizona has, by matching up overlapping tree rings of living
and dead bristlecone pines, carefully built a tree ring sequence going back to
6273 BC (Popular Science, November 1979, p.76).
(R) If trees like this have lived 5,000 years they could have certainly lived
(MB) Why? All living things have an upper limit for their lifespans. Just
because something lives much longer than Man is no indication that it could live
for any given length of time.
(R) In fact trees, when under much stress, produce more than one ring per year
so the bristle cone pine tree could possibly be younger!
(MB) Bristlecone pines, like most species of pine/fir trees, form double rings
extremely rarely (Dr. Ferguson found only three examples of double rings among
the total number of rings in over 1000 trees studied). In fact, they are far
more likely to exhibit *missing* rings. This would mean that such trees are
almost always older (by about 5 percent) than their rings would otherwise
(R) A news wire report of March 23, 1980 made the surprising statement: "The
sun's diameter appears to have been decreasing by about one tenth percent per
(MB) It was in 1979 that astronomers John Eddy and Aram Boornazian presented a
paper and published its abstract: "Secular Decrease in the Solar Diameter,
1836-1953." In the April 1980 issue of ICR's Impact series (Impact #82),
Russell Akridge picked up the report and naively extended the shrinkage rate of
5 feet/hour into the indefinite past. As that soon led to an impossible
situation, he concluded that the earth was much less than 20 million years old.
Soon, Walter Brown, Thomas Barnes, Henry Morris, Hilton Hinderliter, James
Hanson, and other creationists were in on the act, and the shrinking sun
argument became a part of creationist legend.
Incidentally, the full text of the study was never published, as serious
flaws in the study's methodology and errors in its data were soon uncovered and
the entire paper was quickly discredited. Creationists, of course, seem not to
care about this. As long as they can find any published data (no matter how
wrong) that they can twist into "support" for their nonsense, they'll beat it
into the ground forever. After all, their audience is certainly not
scientifically literate, nor are they likely to have read the refutations of the
Just as an exercise in scholarship, however, let's debunk this nonsense yet
(R) Scientists have been watching for over a hundred years and the evidence is
conclusive. Every hour the sun is shrinking about five feet!
(MB) This is not correct. Besides the aforementioned fact that the data which
inspired this Creationist legend has been discredited, such statements also
ignore the basic physics of stars.
Our Sun, like all other stars, has a slightly varying diameter due to the
forces produced by the effects of the nuclear fusion reactions that allow it to
shine. In short, gravity causes the Sun to shrink. This intensifies the fusion
reactions and causes the Sun to get hotter. As it gets hotter, it expands. As
it expands, it cools. As it cools, gravity takes over again and the cycle
Any measured shrinkage of the Sun is the rate at which gravity compresses it
during the cooling cycle. It is not shrinking "constantly" and inevitably
cycles back to expansion yet again. The latest data indicates that the Sun may
have an 80-day oscillation cycle.
(R) Of course five feet an hour isn't much when you consider the sun is 840,000
thousand miles in diameter. But what are the implications?
If the sun is shrinking 1/10 % per century then it totals 1 % per
Now if you believe the Earth's age is only 6,000 years there's no real
problem. In that time the sun will have shrunk only 6%. But what do you have to
contend with if you believe the billions of years idea?
(MB) You contend with the fact that there is no such constant shrinkage of the
Sun taking place.
(R) If the sun existed only 100,000 years ago it would have been double its
present diameter. And only 20 million years ago the surface of the sun would be
touching the Earth!
(MB) Out of curiosity, from what source are you quoting all this old nonsense?
As I mentioned previously, it was Akridge who started this particular fairy
tale, but many subsequent Creationist story tellers have echoed it.
(R) As far as researchers can tell this rate of shrinkage has been consistent
since the origin of the sun.
(MB) I'm not sure what "researchers" you are referring to here, but they
certainly aren't real scientists. There have been numerous studies on this
subject and none have found any evidence to support the Creationist claims. As
an example, you may wish to check the January, 1988 issue of Gemini (the
official journal of the Royal Greenwich Observatory). There are no studies
which support the Creationists.
(R) From the pure simple evidence it is clear that life would have been totally
impossible on Earth even a million years ago.
(MB) From the pure simple evidence, a million years ago, your ancestors were
roaming around in East Africa. Perhaps they didn't have much of a life, but
they were, presumably, working on it.
(R) Or perhaps the sun and Earth just aren't all that old!
(MB) Or, perhaps, it is just the Creationist nonsense that
(R) You may have heard something similar to what I'm about to say. If we drove
to Mount Rushmore and I told you that those faces, on the mountain, were eroded
over a long period of time and so happened to look like some famous presidents
-- by chance -- I'm sure you and anyone else I told this to would think I lost
my brain somewhere along the trip! Then why is it that you think that LIVING,
BREATHING, THINKING, FEELING, BEINGS were undoubtedly formed by chance.
(MB) Because living organisms are composed of self-ordering molecules while Mt.
Rushmore is not. The organic components of living organisms can only
successfully assemble in a limited number of ways - each of which will produce
some organism. The inorganic rocks of Mt. Rushmore can be eroded in any number
of ways -- only one of which would produce the faces of four particular past
Presidents. Therefore, the probability of self-ordering components producing a
living thing is essentially infinitely higher than that of erosion producing a
particular pattern on Mt. Rushmore.
(R) Another example would be if you walked into a room and found a computer on
with all kinds of information on it. You'd obviously think someone had been
there before. It would be nuts to think that the computer just happened to be
their --by chance-- through accidental natural causes over a long period of
(MB) Once again, the computer is not something that can assemble itself by any
method. It cannot be compared to a living organism.
(R) If you noticed, in both of these examples, the logic is lacking
(MB) I noticed. The lack of logic is rather glaring on the Creationist side,
(R) Think about this.
(MB) I have. That's why I know that Creationism is the purest piffle. Doesn't
Creationism have any arguments that aren't old and throughly debunked and which
might appeal to somebody with a functioning mind and a basic knowledge of
science and mathematics?
Also, doesn't Creationism have any direct evidence which supports its own
claims instead of having to claim support by lobbing rotten tomatoes at
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