This article was previously posted on talk.origins, and elicited feedback from Steve Austin of the ICR and others. This is a revision of that article:
A VISIT TO THE INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH.
PART ONE, REVISED
On January 9, 1998, a group of about 25 skeptics visited the "Museum of Creation and Earth History" run by the Institute for Creation Research in Santee, CA. This tour was a part of a workshop entitled "Creation/Evolution" which was sponsored by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The ICR staff was made aware that our group would be visiting the museum, and they suggested an introductory lecture followed by a tour of the museum.
The lecture was given by geologist Dr. Steve Austin, who showed us a video which he said was also shown at the Mt. St. Helens visitor center. The St. Helens eruption was described in accurate detail, and there was a great emphasis on the velocities of the mudflows, and the amounts of material that were removed and deposited elsewhere.
It was Austin's intention to use the St. Helen's eruption to convince us that catastrophes can cause rapid, large-scale changes on the earth's surface. Austin said that he had once been an evolutionist, but that his observations of the Mt. St. Helens eruption had converted him to catastrophism and creationism. (More about that later). He set up a "straw man", implying that his "catastrophist" view of geology was something new and revolutionary in the geologic world, and that the "uniformitarian" (ie, mainstream) geologists totally ignore the role of volcanoes and other catastrophic events in the shaping the earth. One of our group leaders, a Ph.D. paleontologist, took Austin to task for having such a simplistic view.
Austin continued his presentation by showing us some of his slides of the Mt. St. Helens area. One slide was simply described as showing "strata 25 feet high deposited by Mt. St. Helens". He referred to this stratified volcanic ash only as "sedimentary rock", and observed that it took only a few hours to be deposited in layers. What was implied here, of course, was that large-scale sedimentary strata, such as the limestones and sandstones of Illinois, could be deposited in a similar, rapid manner. I asked Austin whether he had any evidence that any of the more typical sedimentary rock - limestone, sandstone, or shale, had ever been deposited rapidly, but he provided no such example. Our group's level of geologic expertise was above average, but I wonder how many less-skeptical people have left such presentations thinking that all sedimentary rocks show evidence of rapid deposition.
Young-earth creationists would be interested in a mechanism that allowed for the rapid formation of coal. Austin was interested in the burial of trees in a nearly vertical, root-down position at the bottom of Spirit Lake (apparently there are some trees in that position), and said that he was sure that coal was forming at Spirit Lake now. He then referred to the petrified forests found in Yellowstone Park, and described them as remnants of similar ancient catastrophes. (To be fair, he never came right out and said "Flood of Noah"). The generally-accepted view of the petrified forests of Yellowstone - that the trees represent twenty-seven forests, sequentially buried by many volcanic episodes - was not mentioned. Austin also failed to mention why, if these forests in Yellowstone were such good models for catastrophic burial and coal formation, they do not contain *any* coal deposits. Erling Dorf, in his comprehensive article on the petrified Yellowstone forests, reported the presence of conglomerates from stream deposits, breccias from mudflows or landslides, volcanic tuff, from the numerous volcanic events, and lava beds. No coal!
Though Austin described himself as "an age-dating agnostic", he was eager to share with us the fact that he alone had radiometrically dated the Mt. St. Helens lava dome. Using potassium/argon dating, he determined a lava dome age of 350,000 years. His unstated conclusion was that radiometric methods are unreliable and give all sorts of bogus dates. There are, however, several other explanations of his results.
First, Austin sent young, low-potassium (and therefore very low in radiogenic argon) rocks to Geochron Laboratories, which specifically stated that it did not want to deal with young, low-potassium samples. He did it anyway and specifically states in his paper that he did not tell them about the origin of the samples. This puts potentially large error-bars on the data and also opens his research to ethical questions.
Second, Austin may have dated some of the solid material that came up with the lava rather than the lava itself. Austin also mentioned that the lava contained xenoliths - pieces of solid rock that came up with the lava. Although Austin stated that he was careful to remove the xenoliths, we have no proof that he succeeded, and he apparently made no effort to date the xenoliths separately. Austin's date was published in a "peer- reviewed" journal (Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal) only in the sense that the journal was published by other creationists. The peer-review process of a mainstream geology journal would have demanded that he explain his unusual results more completely. Therefore, contamination by rock that is 350,000 years old or older remains possibility.
Third, some of Austin's previous forays into the radiometric dating of rocks demonstrate that he is not an expert in this field. Austin is the head of the ICR's "Grand Canyon Dating Project". As such, he is committed to casting doubt on the radiometric ages of the lavas in the Grand Canyon. In a 1992 publication, ICR Impact #224: "Excessively Old 'Ages' for Grand Canyon Lava Flows", Austin asserted that he found Cenozoic (relatively recent) lavas that gave Rb/Sr ages of 1.34 billion years. These assertions are completely debunked in Chris Stassen's "Criticism of the ICR's Grand Canyon Dating Project" at the Talk.Origins Archive: www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icr-science.html#sec2 accessed 1-13-98) Stassen points out that Austin's Grand Canyon lavas came from different flows, and the "ages" of the flows may actually represent a minimum age for the mantle that served as source material for the flows. Despite the obvious problems with Austin's methods, Impact #224 is alive, well, and available at the ICR museum!
Austin's last point about Mt. St. Helens was that the rapid erosion of volcanic ash in the Mt. St. Helens area (which he calls the "Little Grand Canyon") was a good model for catastrophic erosion over much larger areas. He proposed the existence of large pluvial lakes above the current Grand Canyon, and that the Canyon itself was cut when the lakes drained catastrophically. Again, this presumes that recently-deposited volcanic ash has properties similar to those of lithified limestone, sandstone, and shale -- something most mainstream geologists do not accept.
As a young-earth creationist, Austin presumably believes that the sedimentary strata of the Grand Canyon were laid down rapidly and catastrophically during The Great Flood. I was eager to hear Austin's response to what I would consider a general problem for catastrophists, whether we are talking about catastrophic erosion of sedimentary strata or floods depositing these strata. Many of the sedimentary strata in and around the Grand Canyon contain the tracks of animals. The red Kayenta formation, exposed nearer to Glen Canyon Dam, contains the tracks of dinosaurs. I have seen these tracks personally, and told Austin so. I asked Austin to comment on the fact that these tracks exist, and are difficult to square with a catastrophic formation of the layers of the Grand Canyon. It is inconsistent to have all life on earth obliterated by a flood, and then have animal tracks in the layers deposited by the flood. Austin stated that these certainly were animal tracks, laid down by animals walking through mud or sand, but he never satisfactorily explained how animals could happily meander through an area so soon after a global catastrophe.
At the end of the presentation Austin was confronted by another member of our group, who asked, "Whatever happened to Stuart Nevins? Does he publish anymore?" Those of you familiar with ICR literature may recognize the name from tracts published in the late 70's. Austin admitted that he had published under that penname. So much for his recent, Mt. St. Helen's-induced conversion to creationism!
Our group of skeptics was beginning to realize what passed for "reality" at the ICR, and we had not even set foot in the museum yet.........
1. Austin, S. Excess Argon within Mineral Concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mt. St. Helens Volcano Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 1997 http://www.icr.org/research/sa/sa-r01.htm. Accessed 3-07-98
2. Dorf, E. The Pertrified Forests of Yellowstone Park Scientific American 1964; April: 79-85.
Thanks to Chris Stassen, Andrew MacRae, and Steve Austin for their helpful critiques via email and telephone.
(Dr. Karen Bartelt teaches chemistry and earth science at Eureka College in Eureka, IL. Email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org)
A VISIT TO THE ICR, PART 2 -- "FOSSILS AND POST-FLOOD MAN"
On January 9, 1998, a group of skeptics visited the Institute for Creation Research's Museum of Creation and Earth Science in Santee, CA. After a lecture on Mt. St. Helens by Dr. Steve Austin, our group was encouraged to tour the museum. The museum brochure offers a "Journey Through Time", and promises answers to the following questions: "Do religion and science clash? Why is there pain and suffering in the world? What is the evidence for the Genesis Flood? How old is the earth? What about the origins of mankind, nations, and languages?" Their brochure states: "You've heard the stories - now confront the facts!"
I was eager to confront the facts, so I chose to explore on my own rather than join a tour. Except for our group of about 25 skeptics, the museum was nearly empty. I saw no sign prohibiting photography, so I took about 20 photos. No one told me to stop, but on two occasions, some staff people asked whether I "was okay". I assured them that I was just fine, and kept shooting pictures.
One enters the museum through the seven days of creation as described in Genesis 1, not Genesis 2. No mention is made as to why one creation sequence was chosen over the other. There are scale models of the Tower of Babel and the Ark. A painting of the Ark interior shows dinosaurs happily standing in stalls, and manure-free floors. I was most interested in the ICR's treatment of fossil humans, geology, and the Flood, however, so I concentrated my efforts in these areas.
I was drawn first to "Fossils and Post-Flood Man" exhibit. The various fossils of pre- and archaic humans are represented by bas-relief skulls only. Although the skull representations seemed accurate enough, one wonders why the complete skeletons are not shown. Could it possibly be that the addition of spinal columns, ribs, hands, and feet might make these creatures look a little more transitional? The information presented about each skull is a strange blend of reasonable accuracy mixed in with inaccurate statements and wild conjecture.
It is mentioned that over 200 Homo erectus individuals have been found. Although the orthodox evolutionary explanation is given (that H. erectus represents an evolutionary stage from a more primitive form), an "alternative" evolutionary explanation is also given -- that H. erectus is "true man", with "bi-pedal posture and cranial capacity within at least the lower range of modern man". I realize that the designation Homo is somewhat arbitrary, but I suspect that even the biggest "lumpers" in the world of paleontology would not consider Homo erectus to be "true man".
The creationist explanation is ambiguous: that H. erectus is "probably a true human being", "although some so-called Homo erectus fossils possibly represented extinct apes". No evidence supporting either the "true human" or "extinct ape" hypothesis is given. It is also stated that H. erectus fossils have been associated with stone tools, the controlled use of fire, evidence of burial and cremation, and the use of red ocher in art and burial. I have found evidence of only the first two attributes -- stone tools and fire -- associated with H. erectus. The burial and use of ocher has been, to the best of my knowledge, associated with Neanderthals, not H. erectus. Also, no mention is made that the stone tools associated with H. erectus are quite different from those associated with Neanderthals or modern humans. (Tattersall 1995, pp 26-7).
Some reasonably accurate information is given regarding Neanderthals -- that about 300 individuals have been found, and most of the locations are in Europe. It is said that the relationship of Neanderthals to modern humans represents a current problem in anthropology -- did Neanderthals evolve into, intermarry with, or get killed off by modern humans? A look at the recent literature indicates that this is, indeed, an ongoing research problem.
The creationist interpretation of Neanderthals is that they were simply cold-adapted modern humans with bodies similar to those of Eskimos. While most paleontologists would agree that Eskimos have characteristics that are adaptations to cold (short, muscular stature, for instance), there are significant differences in the thickness of bones and skull structure that separate all extant humans -- Eskimos included -- from Neanderthals. There is, of course, no mention of molecular data, such as that from Pääbo and Krings, that shows significant mitochondrial DNA differences between a Neanderthal and modern humans. (A 379 nucleotide sequence from a Neanderthal specimen, averaged 27 differences from modern humans; modern humans would average eight differences from each other). For this degree of difference, it has been estimated that Neanderthals and H. sapiens evolved separately for ca 500,000 years (Summarized in Kunzig 1998, pp 32-33, but originally published in late 1996 or early 1997). Another recent article describes 200-300,000 year old Neanderthal precursors in Atapuerca, Spain (Rightmire 1997, pp 917-918). Will the ICR adjust the display to reflect the new evidence? I doubt it!
The display also shows a skull of "Archaic Homo sapiens" -- "40 fossils" with cranial capacities larger than that of H. erectus that "do not fit into other categories". These are also passed off as examples of post-Flood genetic diversity, and no other information is given.
Finally, "Cave Men" are discussed. Perhaps these are Cro- Magnons, although all that is said about them is that they were "not subhuman transitions between apes and humans" but that they were "...weaker, probably degenerate, descendants of those migrating away from Babel. Placed in a harsh environment without time or ability to use technology, they led simple, crude lives. They were alive in Job's day (Job 30:1-8)." This may make even Biblical scholars blanch. Job 30 makes a reference to "those who are younger than I (30:1)" who make fun of Job. They seem to live at the edges of Job's society, but there is no reference in Job to them being primitive, but simply a "senseless, disreputable brood (30:8)" -- they sound more like Old Testament gang-bangers! No mention is made here of the wonderful cave paintings of Lascaux and Altamira, or the bone implements and artifacts made by "cave men" -- I guess that would make the "cave men" seem less degenerate!
The ICR display states that all of these fossils "probably represent Post-Flood ethnic and/or language groups, and demonstrate man's genetic diversity." It is further asserted that humans migrated to all parts of the globe during a post- Flood/ post-Babel ice age: "During the 'Ice Age' so much water was frozen that sea level was lowered several hundred feet. Ice shelves covered much of the oceans poleward of 45 degrees. This made the continents accessible, thus allowing migration to occur. Furthermore, no competition for the uninhabited land was necessary, and since food was scarce, migration was encouraged. Human migration was enforced by the confusion of languages at Babel. The 'Table of Nations', in Genesis 10, informs us of the basic migration patterns." Genesis 10 does not indicate place names beyond the Middle East: Egypt, Canaan, Assyria, Gaza, and Sheba are named; India, China, Australia, and other points north, south, and east are not.
Significant geologic details are left out of the display. For instance, no mention is made that H. erectus, Neanderthal, "archaic", and "cave man" fossils are uniformly found in sedimentary strata beneath humans associated with agriculture and urban centers, for instance. No mention is made as to why these "degenerate fossils" of humans -- H. erectus, Neanderthals, etc, have never been found in North or South America. Why not? It's a long way from the tower of Babel to Mexico City! Plenty of time for degeneration! And where are the pre-Flood fossils? One would think that there would be at least some idea of what humankind looked like before the Flood!
The origin of languages is attributed solely to the account in Genesis 11:1-9: "The archaeological, genetic, and linguistic evidences are all compatible with the Biblical record of dispersion from the Tower of Babel," and "Evidence suggests a link between genetics and linguistics. One linguist, Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, suggested that genes and language diverged simultaneously into populations." Since the ICR chose to mention the geneticist Dr. L.Luca Cavalli-Sforza, an expert in the field of genes, migrations, and languages, let's see what Cavalli- Sforza really has to say on the subject:
Cavalli-Sforza disagrees categorically with the ICR on the origin of humans: "Three hundred thousand and perhaps more years ago various types of archaic sapiens already peopled various parts of the world...Neanderthal appears in the Middle East about sixty thousand years ago, when there is no sign of modern humans in the area (Cavalli-Sforza 1995, p 56), and "Genes, people, and languages have thus diverged in tandem, through a series of migrations that apparently began in Africa and spread through Asia to Europe, the New World, and the Pacific (Cavalli-Sforza 1991, p 104).
The ICR asserts that "The observable data indicate that no period of prehistoric language development ever existed." It is unclear whether this is pre-Noah or pre-Babel or what. Just how would one accumulate 'observable data' in a pre-literate society? Cavalli-Sforza also addresses the issue: "Languages have very scarce 'fossil' information, usually limited to situations in which writing was developed, taking us back at most 5000 years...Whether human languages had a single or multiple origins is considered by most linguists to be insoluble" (Cavalli-Sforza 1994, p 96).
The ICR is obviously delighted with the relationship of genes and languages: "The close relation with language and genetics would be consistent with the creation model. The possibility of a single split-up time would be an added bonus for the creation theory." What they leave out is the evidence summarized by Cavalli-Sforza and consistent with evolutionary theory: "Human evolution is punctuated by the splitting of populations into parts, some of which settle elsewhere. Each fragment evolves linguistic and genetic patterns that bear the marks of shared branching points." (Cavalli-Sforza 1991 p 109). "This [archaeological] record -- bones and stone implements for the most part -- shows that Africa was indeed the original homeland of hominids. From there migrations must have proceeded from Africa to Asia via the isthmus of Suez and, later, from Asia to Europe" (Cavalli-Sforza 1991, p 107). "The most important difference in the human gene pool is that between Africans and non-Africans...This suggests that the split between Africans and non-Africans was the earliest in human evolutionary history... (Cavalli-Sforza 1994, p 93).
I have seen many museum displays that treat the origin of humans. The Museum of Creation and Earth History is guilty of the sin of omission in its treatment of human fossils. Visitors have no opportunity to make real comparisons between fossil human forms, because almost no fossil evidence is depicted. Obvious details are left out, such as the gradual increase in skull size from H. erectus to Neanderthal and H. sapiens. Other basic geological data, such as the depth and relative age of the strata in which fossils are found, is not dealt with. Some data concerning H. erectus is simply wrong. Additionally, no positive evidence is presented to support the "creation model". At the very least I expected to see what pre-Flood humans looked like, what fossil evidence there was to support the existence of this population, and why, if it is proposed that H. erectus and Neanderthal were degenerate post-Flood "true men", this degeneration does not seem to have happened in the Americas.
I was distressed, but not surprised, to see the ideas of yet another orthodox scientist used - out of context - to support the ICR's ideas of dispersion from the Tower of Babel. I hope it has been made clear that nothing in the work of Cavalli- Sforza supports any ICR premise concerning the development of human populations and languages. There is no independent confirmation of the Tower of Babel or the migration of humans as described in the museum, and a lot of evidence to the contrary. And how did these "degenerate" people, migrating away from Babel "leading simple, crude lives" manage to be intelligent enough to speak complex languages anyway?
I had confronted "the facts"! Many of "the facts" were missing, and some of the "facts" were just plain wrong. However, I was ready for more facts! On to the creationist version of geology.
1. Biblical references are from the New Revised Standard Version. New York: American Bible Society; 1989.
2. Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. Genes, People, and Languages. Scientific American, 1991; November: 104-109.
3. Cavalli-Sforza, L. L., Menozzi, P., Piazza, A. The History and Geography of Human Genes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.
4. Cavalli-Sforza, L. L., Cavalli-Sforza, F. The Great Human Diasporas. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1995
5. Kunzig, R. Not Our Mom. Discover 1998; Janaury: 32-33.
6. Rightmire, G.P. Deep Roots for the Neanderthals. Nature, 1997; 389: 917-918.
7. Tattersall, I. The Fossil Trail. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
All othe quotations are from the Museum of Science and Earth History, Santee, CA
A VISIT TO THE ICR, PART 3 -- GEOLOGY AND FOSSILS
To me, the most egregious examples of bad science are concentrated in the ICR museum's explanations of the geologic column, radiometric dating, and fossils. Is this the type of science that their graduate students learn? Here are examples of the misinformation and half-truths, along with my comments. All material attributed to the ICR comes from photographs taken at the ICR's Museum of Creation and Earth History on 1-9-98.
ICR: "The standard geologic column is found only in textbooks. Real local geologic columns vary widely from place to place. The 'ages' of the formations in any given local column may represent any sequence whatever. Many columns show various 'ages' missing, many show inverted 'ages', some show 'ages' mixed together -- all as indicated by the fossils which supposedly identify the 'ages'. In general, however, there does exist a quasi-statistical correlation between the fossils found in each local column with that in the standard column."
KB: There is nothing mentioned here that is not discussed and explained in an introductory level geology class! There *are* very few parts of the world that contain a complete geologic column, though there are at least 25. I would encourage anyone interested in the geologic column -- young earth creationists in particular -- to visit Glenn Morton's excellent and under- visited website, especially the article entitled "The Geologic Column and Its Implications to the Flood." One has to go no farther than North Dakota to find a complete geologic column -- no textbook needed!
Missing ages? Missing strata? No problem! Lehi Hintze's Geologic History of Utah describes about *100* local geologic columns for that state -- all differ at least slightly from each other. The beauty is that they correlate from location to location, and one can build a history of the larger area from a number of local columns. The geologic columns of Utah are rich in Mesozoic strata *and* dinosaur fossils, unlike the state of Illinois, which has neither Mesozoic age rocks nor dinosaur fossils in most of its local columns. An incomplete local geologic column is *typical*, and usually means *only* that no sedimentary rock was being deposited during that time period.
What the ICR refers to as "inverted ages" are nothing more than folds and thrust faults -- concepts that are covered in introductory geology.
ICR: "The fossils in the column supposedly show the evolution of life through all the 'geologic ages' from the oldest on the bottom to the youngest on top. Almost all the fossils are marine invertebrates and fish, however, and most major kinds of these animals are found from the lowest layer up through to the present. The 'ages', therefore, are referenced to so-called 'index fossils' contained in them, particularly fossils thought to exist only in one time zone."
KB: This is a gross misinterpretation of the fossil record! NO -- marine invertebrates and fish are NOT found from "the lowest layer up through to the present". There is increasing evidence of marine invertebrate fauna that predates the Cambrian (eg Holmes, 1997); fish are not seen until the Ordovician (Cowan, 125). Neither of these periods is *anywhere* near "the lowest layer" in a complete geologic column.
For a museum that supposedly informs its patrons about the fossil record, a few little details are missing -- for instance:
NO mention is made that in lower strata, NO multicellular life is found at all, although fossils of eukaryotic and then prokaryotic cells ARE found. There is NO mention that flowering plants are not found throughout the fossil record, but first appear in the Cretaceous, nor that birds first appear in the Jurassic, nor that those pesky humans/apes/whatever appear WAY at the top of the column, in the Pliocene.
Index fossils ARE "...abundant, widely dispersed, and derived from organisms that lived during a relatively short span of geologic time" (Levin, 135). The 'ages' given to the periods of the geologic column have been assembled from a *variety* of data, including index fossils, magnetic reversals, and radiometric dating of rocks. Why not at least tell the patrons how the geologic column is really assembled?
ICR: "The sequences in the column were originally arranged in accordance with the order suggested by the so-called 'great chain of being', before many actual fossil sequences were discovered. The 'index fossils' were then chosen to help identify the zones in this arbitrary column. The geologic column provides a convenient system of nomenclature for rocks and fossils, but should not be considered as proving an evolutionary series, or even as representing actual field conditions."
KB: NO -- the sequences in the column were deciphered and arranged by Christian creationist geologists of the early 19th century, way before Darwin, and without any regard to any ‘great chain of being'. For example, William Smith (1769-1839) was a land surveyor and civil engineer who participated in building projects all over England. He constructed a geological map of England in 1799, observing that England was constructed of strata which were never inverted, and that even at great distances "each stratum contained organized fossils peculiar to itself, and might, in cases otherwise doubtful, be recognized and discriminated from others like it, but in a different part of the series, by examination of them" (quoted in Geikie 1897). His results, published in 1816 in Strata Identified by Organized Fossils, demonstrated that fossils were not randomly buried, as in a flood, but always occurred in a definite order in the geologic column. Marine species were often found between strata containing terrestrial species -- a real blow to flood geology. "Neither Smith nor Townsend (Rev. Joseph - a publisher of Smith's results) grasped the idea that time was involved in laying down the successive strata, and thought they had contributed support to Mosaic cosmogony" (Haber 1959).
The ICR asserts that there is just *one way* to ascertain the age of a fossil. There are many "do nots": "Do not use the depth where it is found (many "old" formations lie on the surface, and others are known to be above "young" formations)."
KB: Again, museum patrons are not apprized of fundamental geological principles like folding and faulting.
"Do not use the type of rock in which it is found (rocks and minerals and structures of all types are found in every 'age')."
KB: Geologists don't do this anyway. There are 800 myr-old limestones, 200 myr-old limestones, and 10 myr-old limestones. They tend to not contain the same fossils!
"Do not use a radiometric date (these are practical only in non-fossil-bearing igneous rocks, and often disagree with each other)."
KB: The ICR neglects to inform its patrons that age of a sedimentary stratum can be bracketed by dating igneous rocks that lie above and below it, for instance. The ICR's attempts at radiometric dating *have* produced some pretty disagreeable dates (Austin, 1997; Austin, 1992)! Generally, radiometric dates measured using two independent methods agree very well. Check out the radiometric dates of lunar rocks or meteorite in Dalyrymple (1991), for example.
"Do not use the 'stage of evolution' of the fossil (this would be circular reasoning, for the age-sequence of fossils is the main 'proof' of evolution)".
KB: Ages of rocks are sometimes estimated on the basis of the fossils they contain, but this estimate can be and is substantiated by other methods such as radiometric dating.
The ICR says that there is *only one* way to determine a fossil's age:
"Do use the Word of God (The Bible indicates that most of the fossils must have been buried in one year - the year of the Flood)."
KB: Tough luck, all you 'old earth' creationists who accept the standard geologic column! According to the ICR, you, like those flood victims of Noah's time, have missed the boat! *All* fossils should, therefore, date to about 2500 BC. I wonder why they don't! And so much for the ICR saying that they are 'doing science'. I wonder why they bother to do *any* dating experiments at all!
1. Austin, S. Excessively Old 'Ages' for Grand Canyon Lava Flows. Impact #224 1992. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research.
2. Austin, S. Excess Argon within Mineral Concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mt. St. Helens Volcano Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 1997 http://www.icr.org/research/sa/sa-r01.htm. Accessed 3-07-98
3. Cowan, R. History of Life, 2 Ed. Boston: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1995.
4. Dalrymple, B. The Age of the Earth. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.
5. Geikie A. The Founders of Geology. London: MacMillan, 1897.
6. Haber F. Fossils and the Idea of a Process of Time in Natural History. In: Glass B, ed. Forerunners of Darwin : 1745-1859. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1959. pp 222-264.
7. Hintze, L. Geologic History of Utah. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Department of Geology, 1988.
8. Holmes, R. When We Were Worms. New Scientist 10-18-97: 30-35.
9. Levin, H. The Earth Through Time, 5 Ed. Fort Worth: Saunders College Publishing, 1996.
10. Morton, G. The Geologic Column and its Implications to the Flood, 1996.
http://www.isource.net/~grmorton/geo.htm Accessed 4-9-98.
A VISIT TO THE ICR, PART 4: THE FLOOD
There is nothing more central to the ICR message than the Flood of Noah. Unlike old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists, who accept radiometric dating, the fossil record, and immense periods of geologic time, young-earth creationists are forced to explain the geologic features of earth almost exclusively as products of a global flood. This was apparent as I visited the ICR's Museum of Creation and Earth History earlier this year. What follows is first a summary of what the ICR presents as scientific evidence for the Flood, then responses by me and other scientists to the same piece of geologic evidence. Second, some theological arguments which the ICR says support the Flood are presented. All material attributed to the ICR is from photographs taken in January of 1998.
ICR: "Water-laid formations and marine fossils exist nearly everywhere on earth including all the high continental plateaus and mountain ranges of the world."
This is an accurate statement, as far as it goes. What the ICR is NOT saying is that, interspersed with these 'water-laid formations and marine fossils' are numerous sedimentary layers that are indisputably NONMARINE in origin. Using the Grand Canyon as an example, the Kaibab Limestone and Redwall Limestone do contain marine fossils. However, in between these layers lies the Coconino Sandstone, which contains the tracks of reptiles (Lockey and Hunt, 1995) and shows strong evidence of being deposited as sand dunes in a desert (McKee, 1979). It's kind of difficult to create a desert environment during the year of the flood. Below the Coconino Sandstone lies the Hermit Shale, which contains the remains of terrestrial plants such as ferns, and insect wings, and does not contain marine fossils. Below the Hermit Shale is the Supai Formation, containing the tracks of terrestrial animals (Levin, 1996; Grand Canyon brochure). Creationists have proposed that these tracks might have been made by animals while they were in the water, but this theory falls apart rapidly when one considers first the purported violence of the Flood, and second, the year-long duration. How long were those animals treading water, and why were they able to make their tracks only in a way that supports faunal succession?
ICR: "Vast 'fossil graveyards' all over the world, and in every supposed 'geologic age', indicate rapid burial."
Returning to the undisputed marine strata such as the Redwall and Kaibab limestones, another critical question is posed by evangelical Christian geologists: "...if the flood wave swept out of the ocean, why is the Redwall totally lacking in such marine forms as whales, seals, walruses...all kinds of fish and sea snakes? Moreover, if these animals were buried rapidly, we should expect to find whole skeletons. We don't even find individual vertebrae (Van Till et al 1988)."
No one would argue that most fossils are the result of a rapid burial. However, we have, according to the ICR: a vapor canopy collapsing, "fountains of the deep" splooshing from below, and possibly runaway plate tectonics! Creationist Henry Morris asserts: "Destruction beyond imagination must have been wrought on the antediluvian earth (1966)". So why isn't everything churned up a lot more? WHY DOES THE FOSSIL RECORD APPEAR DARWINIAN IN NATURE? Leonardo Da Vinci -- one of Henry Morris' pious scientists in "Men of Science, Men of God (1982) rejected a universal flood in the 1500's, saying "And if the shells had been carried by the muddy deluge they would have been mixed up, and not in regular steps and layers, as we see them now in our time (quoted in Gohau, 1990).
ICR: "Both sedimentary and volcanic rock formations are frequently regional or even continental in areal extent. They could not have been deposited by modern local processes."
Straw man, or straw theory! No geologist asserts that sedimentary or some volcanic features (like flood basalts) were the result of local processes. Any standard geology text describes the large scale, not local, inundations of the continents, especially during the Paleozoic, and the sedimentary strata that resulted.
ICR: "Almost every geologic layer gives evidence of having been laid down catastrophically, by processes with rates, scales, and intensities beyond those operating today."
The ICR *must* have catastrophic deposition, yet their display is devoid of numbers. Just how fast must some of these events have taken place? Recently, Dr. Donald Wise dealt with such issues in the March/April American Scientist. For the 150 meter thick Kaibab Limestone to have been deposited during the Flood year, the lime secreting organisms would have had to have been forming carbonate at the rate of 80 cm/day (Wise, 1998a). Wise (1998b) also notes that the El Capitan Reef in Texas would have had to have grown at the rate of 7 cm/hour, or about 80,000x known rates of reef growth. These are certainly rates and scales beyond what is seen today. No wonder the ICR leaves out any quantitative data!
However, the ICR cannot have its cake and eat it, too! If one proposes catastrophic rates, one does NOT have a good explanation of calmly-buried fossils (see 'fossil graveyards' above) or well-sorted sediment. Furthermore, there is no good explanation for the features found in some sedimentary beds. In his description of the geologic column of North Dakota, Glenn Morton notes the presence of burrows, mudcracks, and cross- bedding, and evaporite minerals (How does one concentrate *salt* during a flood?). North Dakota strata are not completely marine either, but many layers contain abundant stratigraphic and fossil evidence of fresh-water or terrestrial deposition. Morton also notes that "Shale due to the very small particle size requires quiet, tranquil waters for deposition to take place. This is one of the unrecognized difficulties of flood geology. Every shale, which is 46% of the geologic column, is by its existence, evidence for tranquil waters." (Morton, 1996).
ICR: "Except for recent lava flows, no volcanic or basaltic formations are known to have been laid down under air. All were extruded under water."
Aargh! The Columbia River basalts, indisputably extruded under air, cover huge portions of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and are 2500 m *deep* in places. Mainstream geologists assert that they erupted over 3.5 million years during the Miocene (Wicander and Monroe, 1993). The Deccan Traps of India contain 5x the lava of the Columbia River basalts and erupted from the Cretaceous into the Cenozoic (Levin, 1996). Apparently the ICR considers these flood basalts to be 'recent'! One wonders why those immigrants from the Tower of Babel dispersion didn't burn their tootsies on this stuff as they emigrated into India and North America!
The ICR's statement is hardly confirmation of a *flood*, anyway. *Right now*, most extrusion of lava occurs under water, at oceanic ridges. This is a wonderful confirmation of plate tectonics, not a global flood! Volcanoes are puny builders of the earth's crust compared to their undersea buddies! There is a gash in the earth's crust from Iceland to the South Atlantic, chugging out more basaltic crust than any contemporary volcano, and we're NOT in the middle of a global flood.
ICR: "Similarity of minerals, rock types, tectonic features, and all other aspects of rocks characterize all the 'geologic eras'."
This is proof of a global flood? Why? This vague statement really doesn't say anything, but it's wrong, anyway. Certain features like greenstone belts ARE NOT found in all geologic eras. Greenstone belts are characteristic of the Archean and Proterozoic Eons, and Archean greenstone belts contain more ultramafic rock than do Proterozoic greenstones . Banded iron formations ARE NOT found in all geologic eras, but occur sparingly in the Archean, and 92% of them occur in the interval from 2.5 ---> 2.0 billion years ago. Geologists consider banded iron formations to be the first indications of free oxygen in the oceans. Pyrite and uranitite, minerals formed in the absence of free oxygen, are found in Archean rocks, but another iron-containing mineral, hematite, is not. Hematite becomes abundant in Proterozoic-and-later rocks, again due to the change in the amount of free oxygen (Wicander and Monroe, 1993).
ICR: "On a relative scale, mountain building 'episodes' all seem to have occurred 'recently' with few, if any, demonstrable exceptions. They probably represent late Flood topographic adjustments which ended the Flood."
With all of the qualifications and vagaries, the first sentence is totally meaningless. However, present-day mountain ranges *are* geologically young: The Himalayas are 40-50 mya. The last rise of the Rockies, from the late Cretaceous to the Eocene (90-45 mya), *is* 'recent', given a 4.6 billion-year-old earth. However, the ICR ignores the abundant evidence of mountains that eroded eons ago, leaving only the roots: the ; Wopmay orogen (2.0 ---> 1.8 bya; NW Canada); Penokean orogen (2.0 ---> 1.8 bya; Wisconsin); Grenville orogeny (1.3 ---> 1.0 bya; SE Canada, Greenland, and Scandanavia, part of present-day Appalachians); Taconic orogeny (ca 450 mya; most of present-day Appalachians); and many more. (Wicander and Monroe, 1993)
ICR: "Absence of any worldwide time-gap in the "geologic column" shows that the deposition process was continuous while the strata were being formed."
Why bother quoting some 'atheistic evolutionist' when evangelical Christian geologists have disagreed in toto with the ICR on this issue? Referring to the Grand Canyon: "In fact there is an abundance of physical evidence to indicate that layers of rock have been eroded away and are therefore now missing...Regardless of whether or not the concept of biological evolution has any validity, the geological data clearly point to the former presence of 'missing rock.'(Van Till et al 1988)."
Just in case the geologic evidence isn't good enough, the ICR offers the following Biblical evidences. Those of you who thought the Flood might have been regional or perhaps a metaphor are just not reading your Bibles correctly!
ICR: "God's purpose to destroy all corrupt men on earth required a global cataclysm (Gen 6:11-13)."
A truly omnipotent god could have zapped the evil ones where they stood. This statement hardly confirms the existence of, let alone the need for, a global flood.
ICR: "Waters of the Flood rose above the world's high mountains (Gen 7:19,20)."
Wait a minute! Didn't the ICR just say: "On a relative scale, mountain building 'episodes' all seem to have occurred 'recently' , with few, if any, demonstrable exceptions. They probably represent late Flood topographic adjustments which ended the Flood." So were there high mountains before the Flood, or not?
ICR: "The Ark was required to preserve non-marine life on earth, but would have been unnecessary for a local flood (Gen 6:19, 20)."
This opens the entire can of worms about how many animals there were on the ark, and what did they do with all that manure? This issue is comprehensively treated by Mark Isaak in "Problems with a Global Flood, 2ED" at the Talk.Origins Archive.
ICR: "The Flood reached such a high level that the occupants could not disembark for a whole year (Gen 7:11, 8:13, 14)."
Well, I'm quibbling here, but these verses speak only of the duration of the Flood, not the height. This also does not preclude a regional flood.
ICR: "The present human populations of the world have all descended from Noah (Gen 9:19)."
Well, there sure is a lot of independent confirmation of that, isn't there? What about the Egyptians, whose history stretches from at least 3100 BC -- well before the Flood -- through the pyramid builders of the Old Kingdom (2770-2200 BC) -- which includes the time of the Flood -- to the end of the New Kingdom (1087 BC) (Lerner et al, 1993). Definably Egyptian art, architecture, and documents exist continuously through these ages. How come the Egyptians seem not to have noticed a global flood?
ICR: "Jesus Christ taught that the Flood was worldwide (Luke 17: 26, 27)."
These verses describe the coming of the kingdom of God: "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them." The real point of the parable is not that "the Flood was worldwide", but that "Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it (Luke 17:33). Perhaps the ICR realizes that most of their patrons won't bother to look these verses up!
The flood geology of the ICR lacks experimental evidence, contradicts evidence presented by other scientists -- including other scientists who happen to be professing Christians, and is not even internally consistent. More on the Flood will follow in Part 5 of the "Visit to the ICR".
1. Gohau, G (translated by A and M Carozzi). A History of Geology. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1990.
2. Grand Canyon Natural History Association, The Grand Canyon -- A Slice of Time, undated.
3. Holy Bible, NRSV. NY: American Bible Society, 1989.
4. Isaak, M. Problems with a Global Flood. The Talk.Origins Archive 1998; Available from http://www.talk.origins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html Accessed 5-6-98.
5. Lerner R, Meacham, S, and Burns, E. Western Civilizations, Vol 1, 12 Ed. New York: WW Norton & Company, 1993, p 51-70.
6. Levin, H. The Earth Through Time, 5 Ed. Fort Worth TX: Saunders College Publishing, 1996, pp 106-108, 420.
7. Lockey, M and Hunt, A. Dinosaur Tracks and other Fossil Footprints of the Western United States, 1995.
8. McKee, E. A Study of Global Sand Seas: Ancient Sandstones Considered to be Eolian. USGS Professional Paper #1052. Reston, VA: US Geologic Survey, 1979.
9. Morris, H. Studies in the Bible and Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1966.
10. Morris, H. Men of Science, Men of God. San Diego: Creation Life Publishers 1982.
11. Morton, G. The Geologic Column and its Implications to the Flood, 1996. Available from: http://www.isource.net/~grmorton/geo.htm Accessed 4-9-98.
12. Van Till H, Young D, and Menninga C. Making Mysteries out of Missing Rock. Chapter 6 in Science Held Hostage. Intervarsity Press, Downer's Grove IL, 1988, p.93-124.
13. Wicander, R and Monroe J. Historical Geology, 2 Ed. Minneapolis: West Publishing Company, 1993.
14. Wise, D. Creationism's Geologic Time Scale. The American Scientist 1998; 86(2): 160-173.
15. Wise, D. Creationist Geologic Time Scale: an attack strategy for the sciences, 1998. Available from: http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/wise.htm Accessed 5-14-98.
A VISIT TO THE ICR, PART 5: AFTER THE FLOOD; THE REALITY OF THE FLOOD
When was the Flood? What evidence does the ICR supply to substantiate the reality of the Flood? Although the ICR's Museum of Creation and Earth History had a model of the Ark and a large display, I did not see a date or a range of dates for this significant event. Another museum display did allude to time: "If the geneologies of Genesis 5 and 11 are taken literally, the Creation must have been realtively recent, about 6000 to 10,000 years ago. There are no firmly documented historical accounts older than this." ICR founder Henry Morris favors a creation date of about 6000 years ago, and a Flood 1656 years later, or about 2350 BC (1993). In his recent expose of creationist geology, Donald Wise put the Flood date somewhat earlier, ca 2500 BC (1998). The book of Genesis indicates that the Flood lasted one year.
By making the *assumption* that the geneologies of Genesis are accurate, the ICR is forced to explain many geologic features as having occurred during the Flood or shortly after the Flood: "Although the main Flood effects were produced in one year, the after-effects continued for centuries. Some of these give further evidence of its actual historicity." The problems associated with a global flood have been treated elsewhere (Wise 1998, Isaak 1998, Morton, 1996). This posting will deal only with some ICR statements concerning post-Flood catastrophism, and the quality of their supporting evidence. (All quotations attributed to the ICR are from photographs taken at the museum in January, 1998).
ICR: "Gradual draining of the floodwaters into expanding oceans, leaving high beaches and terraces around lakes and rivers everywhere. In some areas drainage occurred very rapidly, causing extensive erosion."
This statement possibly refers to terraces such as those seen near Missoula, MT, which conventional geologists consider to be evidence of an enormous glacial lake which existed around 15,000 years ago. This lake, known as Glacial Lake Missoula, drained catastrophically, causing the "Spokane Floods" which sent walls of water into eastern Washington and scoured out the Channelled Scablands. So far this is evidence that seems to be in complete accord with the ICR's description above. However, the draining of Lake Missoula created many muddy, short-lived lakes, and "Geologists working in eastern Washington have found as many as 41 layers of sediment laid down one upon the other in places that held temporary lakes during the Spokane floods. They record at least 41 Spokane floods (Alt and Hyndman, 1986)" over a period of about 1000 years. When one looks at the data in greater detail, attributing these features to the aftermath of a global flood becomes problematic.
ICR: "Gradual drying out of formerly well-watered regions leaving evidence of post-Flood civilizations, vegetation and and drainage in present deserts of the world."
Various young-earth creationists have proposed that during the Flood year thousands of meters of sediment were deposited, the Mt. Ararat volcano formed and rose 7000 feet, basaltic ocean crust formed at an incredible rate, fountains of the deep gushed floodwater, and all life was destroyed (See Isaak, 1998, for an excellent summary). How, pray tell, would one would even *recognize* "formerly well-watered regions"? Even if this were somehow possible, the presence of "post-Flood civilizations, vegetation and and drainage" in desert areas is better evidence of climate change than of a flood.
ICR: "Continued local floods, earth movements, and volcanic activity, leaving extensive recent fossil sites, lava beds, river gravels, etc."
Again, immense destruction is implied here. This poses an interesting question: Genesis 2:14 specifically names two rivers that are easily located today: the Tigris and the Euphrates. Are we to presume that the fountains of the deep blew, the vapor canopy collapsed, the oceans heated up, there was runaway plate tectonics, new ocean basins formed, massive amounts of sediment were deposited, and then when everything settled down, the Tigris and Euphrates just plopped back into their original river valleys?
ICR: "Development of continental glaciers and glacial erosion"
Because the evidence for glaciation is overwhelming, the ICR is forced to cram an ice age into the 500 years or so after the Flood (Wise, 1998). Most geologists assert that there is ample evidence of 10-11 advances and retreats of glacial ice during the Pleistocene (ca 1.6 million years ago ---> ca 11,000 years ago), but the ICR dismisses all of this evidence as belonging to a single post-Flood ice age. What is problematic for the ICR is the ample evidence of numerous *other* older glaciations. The Gowganda Formation (found in Northern Michigan) is Proterozoic (considered to be between 2.1 and 2.6 billion years old by conventional geologists; most Proterozoic strata are considered to be "pre-Flood" by young-earth creationists). It consists of varved mudstones and tillites (glacial deposits), and the larger rocks contain the scratches which substantiate glacial motion. Throw out radiometric dating -- how would the ICR explain the presence of *glaciers* during the warm "pre- Flood" era? Glaciers are also evident in the late Paleozoic -- the Pennsylvanian and Permian -- with glacial striations and tillites occurring on bedrock in South America, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, and India (Levin, 1996). In the Grand Canyon, Permian and Pennsylvanian strata are considered by the ICR to have been deposited during the Flood. How could there have been moving glaciers *during* a world-wide flood?
Ice cores provide valuable evidence concerning the duration of ice ages. Wise (1998) describes ice cores in excess of 100,000 years old, and the presence, in Antarctic ice, of at least 30,000 "summer and winter bands". Brinkman (1995) details the numerous methods used to date ice cores, and describes in depth the *ten* independent methods used to date the Antarctic Vostok ice core at 160,000 + 15,000 years.
The ICR explains ice core data as follows: "Cylindrical Ice Cores contain dark/light layers. Near the surface they are 'annual', and can be calibrated by known events for a few thousand (?) years. At depth, the layers thin and disappear. Dating efforts rely on concentrations of 18O, volcanic gases and particulates, flow modeling, et cetera. If the environment has been constant throughout the past, *these data would represent over 100,000 years of history* (Emphasis mine). But if Noah's Flood is true history, more snowfall and volcanism would follow the Flood, and unusual variations in 18O, volcanic gases, and particulates would be expected. The deep layers may thus reflect intense, individual post-Flood episodes and eruptions, not annual cycles."
Note the circular reasoning here: Proceed from the literalist interpretation of Noah's Flood as "true history", and ignore the ice core data that exists. Ignore the fact that at least 30,000 of these annual cycles have been counted (and did not "thin and disappear"), and that ten independent dating methods place the base of an Antarctic ice core at around 160,000 years.
What about the Flood? Do mainstream geologists just blow it off as religious dogma? Hardly. There is abundant evidence of a major flood in the Tigris-Euphrates valley ca 2800 BC (Asimov, 1991). "At Ur there is a ten-foot deposit of sand and silt. Immediately below the flood deposit, the strata contain a characteristic form of pottery that enables comparison with that found at other sites. The pottery is dated to around 3000 BC. *Above the flood deposit there is evidence of human activity being resumed along lines similar to that of the civilization that existed before.* (Emphasis mine)(Officer and Page 1993)." The Sumerian flood story predates the Hebrew flood tale by a thousand years and is closely mirrored by the story in Genesis. I would encourage anyone interested to look at this story in translation (eg Rosenburg 1988) and compare it to the Noah story in Genesis. More recently, evidence of a monumental flood into the Black Sea ca 7000 years ago has been reported (Mestel, 1997).
While there is abundant evidence of a regional flood which may account for the story of the flood of Noah, there is no geologic support for worldwide flood 6-10,000 years ago. Ignoring geologic data, misinterpreting geologic data, or torturing geologic data to fit a literal interpretation of Genesis will not make it so.
1. Alt, D and Hyndman, D. Roadside Geology of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press, 1986.
2. Asimov, I. March of the Millenia. NY: Walker and Company, 1991.
3. Brinkman, M. The Talk.Origins Archive 1998; Available from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icecores.html Accessed 5-6-98.
4. Isaak, M. Problems with a Global Flood. The Talk.Origins Archive 1998; Available from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html Accessed 5-6-98.
5. Levin, H. The Earth Through Time, 5 Ed. Fort Worth TX: Saunders College Publishing, 1996, pp 106-108, 420.
6. Mestel, R. Noah's Flood, New Scientist 1997; 14 Oct: 24-27.
7. Morris, H. Biblical Creationism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993.
8. Morton, G. The Geologic Column and its Implications to the Flood, 1996. Available from: http://www.isource.net/~grmorton/geo.htm Accessed 4-9-98.
9. Officer, C. and Page, J. Tales of the Earth. NY: Oxford University Press, 1993.
10. Rosenburg, D. World Mythology.Lincolnwood: National Textbook, 1988.
11. Wise, D. Creationist Geologic Time Scale: an attack strategy for the sciences, 1998. Available from: http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/wise.htm Accessed 5-14-98.
Subject: To Bill Cooper, wherever you are
After two unsuccessful attempts to respond to Mr. Bill Cooper, I present my thoughts on his email here, in the hope he will see them!
BC: Were you not impressed with the observed evidence of the immense destructive capabilities of nature?
KB: Yes, I was. I summarized my impressions in "A Visit to the ICR, Part 1".
BC: ...And then post your biased findings to a NG where they will no doubt be well received. Why not stay with the group and pose your many questions to the presenter?
KB: Obviously, if *you* read my "biased findings", I am being read by a wide group of people. You may not be aware that Steve Austin of the ICR not only called me re Part 1, but posted a rebuttal, which I then reacted to. You should be able to find Part 1 and "Revisiting the ICR, Part 1" via Dejanews.com. To answer your initial question, my time at the museum was limited, and I had already spent a hour in a lecture I had not planned on. I wanted to see the museum, and it is set up to be self- guided, and that was the purpose of my visit.
KB: Nothing... |prohibiting photography, so I took about 20 photos. No one told me to stop, but on two occasions, some staff people asked |whether I "was ok". I assured them that I was just fine, and |kept shooting pictures.
BC:What is this suppossed to suggest? Sounds to me like the staff thought you were ill [at ease], which is probably true.
KB: Funny that I've done the same thing at the Field Museum in Chicago and the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, and no one thought it was unusual!
BC: I've snipped most of the drivel,
KB: and you have the nerve to call *me* biased???!!!
BC: but couldn't help but notice your having mentioned that there are no ancient writings to corroberate the ICR's explanations of the evidence.
KB: How do you explain that the "ancient writings" of the Egyptians are continuous before, during, and after the Flood? You obviously don't want to face the real problems with ICR- type interpretations of fossils, and their propensity to quote real scientists out-of-context.
BC:This is true for the evolution folks as well. What we have is old, fossilized bones and tools, pots and other human-type artifacts which are all subjected to "scientific" scrutiny resulting in someone's profound interpretation. We cannot be certain of our origins.
KB: No, so we either reconstruct scenarios which are logically consistent and square with the known facts of science, or we do what the ICR does, and create a science that fits the literal "truth" of Genesis.
BC: There are no facts, as you suggest, other than fossils, to substantiate any one position. And the fossils -- and their age -- are open to interpretation.
KB: Re the age...this is certainly what the ICR wants you to believe.
Bill, I respect that you at least read through the post. I think a good website for you would be Glenn Morton's at: http://www.isource.net~grmorton/dmd/htm He is someone who looked at young-earth creationism, and, to paraphrase Daniel 5:27, "weighed it and found it wanting". He critiques young earth arguments in a very unemotional manner.
Good luck, KB You will probably be equally impressed with Part 3!