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The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?

A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims

by Dave E. Matson
Copyright © 1994-2002


I will round out this work with some miscellaneous arguments which, with one exception, are from Dr. Hovind's notebook.

Dr. Hovind (A): If the universe is not billions of years old, then we need not bother with the other arguments supporting evolution.

A. The presently accepted history of evolution on Earth would be in trouble if the universe were not billions of years old. Significant evolution, however, can occur in as little as 10 million years. Thus, even if complex life were created on Earth a mere 10 million years ago that would not, in itself, rule out significant biological evolution!

Just the other day Jeffrey Bada and Stanley Miller, both highly respected scientists, presented a new theory of the origin of life to the scientific community. It answers many of the problems plaguing earlier models. Regarding how long it might take for life to evolve, Stanley Miller had this to say:

"We have been adding up the time it might take for life to develop," Miller said. "The whole process could take place in 10 million years or less."

(Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1994, A1,A16)

Forget about evolution requiring billions and billions of years to evolve life! It is now believed that life may have evolved a number of times on the early Earth, only to be wiped out by gigantic asteroid impacts. (Of course, the evolution of complex creatures, such as monkeys or dinosaurs, would require more time.)

Dr. Hovind (B): Modern textbooks on evolution, in effect, tell us that FROGS + TIME = PRINCE.

B. Wrong! FROGS + TIME does not equal people! Historically speaking, certain early amphibians gave rise to all of the higher life forms today, including man. Frogs are a modern day branch tip on the evolutionary tree, even as humans are, not a section of a limb through which life evolved.

Secondly, if the clock were rewound, humanity would not likely evolve again. Primitive life forms + time MAY equal something complex if the environment is right and if chance factors work for the best.

Dr. Hovind (C): How could many of the marvelous structures evolve by chance?

C. Things don't evolve by chance alone! Natural selection, the key to evolution, is not a random chance process. The environment applies very specific pressures. In that way, Mother Nature selects for certain characteristics. In a desert, for example, certain strategies for plant survival are favored while others are selected against. Since major environments often last a long time, their effect on evolving life is not random. In the desert, the edge goes to plants with better and better adaptations for reproducing despite the heat and lack of water.

Mutations may be thought of as random, but mutations are not the same thing as evolution. They merely enrich the gene pool whose diversity natural selection acts upon.

Did you know that if the principles behind natural selection are fed into a powerful computer we can create complex engineering designs?

With the availability of fast, powerful computers and computer simulation techniques, even engineers (the prototypical intelligent designers!) are using the creative powers of natural selection to aid them in their design efforts. The technique of "genetic algorithms", pioneered by computer scientist John H. Holland at the University of Michigan, simulates the mechanism of Darwinian evolution, involving mating, genetic recombination, reproduction, selection and mutation to design jet engines, integrated circuit chips, scheduling work in a busy machine shop, operating gas-pipeline pumping stations and recognizing patterns [Peterson, 1989].

(Sonleitner, 1991a, p.31)

Thus, we have engineers using some of the key principles behind EVOLUTION to help them work out complex engineering solutions. That can be anything from designing better bridges to working out efficient routines for complex scheduling problems. Clearly, this would be impossible if natural selection, the key to Darwinian evolution, involved nothing more than random chance. Natural selection serves as a powerful creative element in evolution, and that power is now being harnessed by computers for our benefit. Who says evolution doesn't work!!

General (D): Evolution is merely a theory.
Other Links:
Evolution as Fact and Theory
The Talk.Origins Archive FAQ for this subject.
Evolution as Fact and Theory
Stephen Jay Gould's classic essay on the nature of facts and theories.
Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution
An influential 1974 essay by Theodosius Dobzhansky who was one of the greatest geneticists of the twentieth century.
29+ Evidences for Macroevolution
A detailed examination of the evidence for common descent.

D. Evolution (descent of life with modification) is a fact of life! That is to say, it may be deduced from the facts with near certainty. The fact of evolution is debated in the scientific community about as often as the roundness of the Earth! Both issues have been settled scientifically long ago. If you don't believe me, scan the world's leading scientific journals, such as Nature or Science, and tell me how many articles in the last 24 issues challenge the fact of evolution. After you have answered that question, then note how many articles are based on the fact of evolution. Thus, you will get some feeling as to what's going on in the real world of science. Legitimate scientific disagreement is not over descent with modification, but rather over how best to explain descent with modification. The better explanations constitute the theories of evolution. It is there we find the legitimate scientific debate which creationists are so fond of quoting, often out of context.

In the scientific world theory does not mean guesswork or speculation but rather a well tested concept which gives order and scientific meaning to a great many facts. (Reread the second paragraph of Topic "0" if you will.) Saying that evolution is only a theory is like saying that a car is only a Cadillac! It is a scientific compliment.

In the United States the chief opposition to the fact of evolution comes from a noisy, minority religious crusade cloaked in scientific jargon, whose ultimate goal is to enforce the teaching of fundamentalist doctrine in our schools.

Dr. Hovind (E): Evolution is a religion, not part of science.

E. Evolution does not postulate a creator or involve itself in supernatural concepts. Though it may help explain the existence of moral behavior, it offers no guide to moral living. It has neither a temple of worship nor a priesthood. It contains no sacred dogma which may not be challenged by new evidence. It is open to all who have the intellectual qualifications. Dr. Hovind, how in the world do you turn it into a religion?

Other Links:
McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education
The text of the decision by Judge Overton striking down the Arkansas "Balanced Treatment" law.
Edwards v. Aguillard
The text of the U.S. Supreme court striking down the Louisiana "Balanced Treatment" law.
Amicus Curiae Brief
The text of the "friend of the court" in the above case endorsed by 72 Nobel Prize winners and many scientific organizations.

"Scientific creationism," on the other hand, has been proven in a court of law to be nothing more than a thinly veiled religion. U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton in 1982 ruled unconstitutional an Arkansas law which tried to sneak Genesis into the schools under the guise of science. Let me quote Ronald Ecker to sum up a few of Judge Overton's points.

In finding for the plaintiffs, Overton, drawing heavily from the experts' courtroom testimony, gave no quarter to the creationist defense. "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology," he wrote, and any student deprived of instruction "as to the prevailing scientific thought" on such topics as the age of the earth, geology, and relationships among living things "will be deprived of a significant part of science education." Science, Overton said, is defined as that which is "accepted by the scientific community"; science is "what scientists do," and "creation science" as defined in Act 590 "is simply not science." ... The creationists' two-model approach is "a contrived dualism which has no scientific factual basis or legitimate educational purpose."

(Ecker, 1990, pp.137-138)

Evolution meets all the criteria of a good science; scientific creationism fails as science. In the U. S. Supreme Court case of Edwards v. Aguillard a remarkable friend-of-court brief was submitted by 72 Nobel laureates, seventeen state academies of science, and seven other scientific organizations which exposed "scientific creationism" as a fraud. I know of no other document of belief supported by so many Nobel prizewinners!

Let's compare real science to "scientific" creationism.

  1. Real scientists, as did Darwin, usually spend some time pointing out the possible weaknesses they see in their theories. This is done not only to highlight areas which need further study but in order to strike a balanced presentation that will not mislead the reader. Truth is the overriding goal. Creationists usually minimize or ignore the weaknesses in their theories unless the cat is out of the bag. Inserting their views into the public educational system is usually their goal.

  2. Real scientists publish scientific literature, which can be very unorthodox, in refereed journals. This serves as a clearing house for ideas as well as a common testing ground.

    Creationists, who apparently have nothing worth saying to the scientific community, invariably write for the layman. They have found it necessary to publish their ideas in special "creationist journals" because none of the hundreds of legitimate scientific journals find their work acceptable. Creationist journals mostly serve as a rallying point for the faithful, rarely as a means for criticizing their fellow believers.

  3. Real scientists are quick to criticize their colleagues if they suspect an error. (Remember the cold fusion flap?) Catching errors improves their status in the scientific community even as it improves the level of science.

    Creationists have a fortress mentality, and they are quick to circle their wagons. To admit error is considered bad form among creationists, and most of them must literally be smoked out before admitting any errors whatsoever. With no effective mechanism for weeding out error, errors are passed down like the family jewels. Today, one can buy many creationist books containing errors that should have been eliminated 20-30 years ago!

  4. Real scientists are quick to test promising new ideas (however unorthodox) and those which don't pan out quickly disappear from the literature. Fame and fortune await any scientist who successfully advances a novel idea.

    Creationists are largely concerned with protecting their dogma, not advancing new ideas that might question that dogma. Rejection is the likely lot of any creationist who questions the central dogma. Creationist arguments having serious errors, including arguments based solely on obsolete data, circulate indefinitely in the creationist literature.

  5. Real scientists are often involved in meaningful laboratory and field work. They are looking for new data which might clarify, overturn, or confirm their views.

    Creationists spend most of their time combing through books and technical journals for quotes with which to snipe at evolution, geology, astronomy, and other areas of science which challenge their central dogma. When they're not doing that, they can usually be found out on the stump drumming up support among the uneducated public.

  6. Real scientists base their theories on the available evidence. They are not immune to the effects of prejudice, but they all understand that the facts dictate the conclusion. Conclusions are subservient to the data; data are not subservient to conclusions.

    Creationists take their science straight from the Bible. Many creationist leaders have publicly stated, often in print, that any evidence at variance with their literal interpretation of the Bible should be rejected out of hand. Their a priori conclusions dictate what data are acceptable. That's not science!

  7. No self-respecting scientist would ever think of signing an oath of allegiance to Darwinism as a condition for employment. Evidence is "king" in good science, and there is no room for competing loyalties.

    Many creationist societies actually require a "loyalty oath," which is tantamount to an admission that their minds are closed! Such minds are slammed shut and rusted tight!

  8. All good scientists admit that they might be wrong, that absolute certainty is not part of science. Scientists long ago recognized that our knowledge of the physical world is largely a product of inductive reasoning. In principle, inductive reasoning can yield a high degree of confidence, but it can never confer 100% certainty. The uncertainty of inductive reasoning follows from the fact that any set of observations can be explained, in principle, by an infinite number of hypotheses! One can never rule them all out no matter how much data one has. Thus, the proper scientific attitude includes a touch of humility no matter how great one's success.

    Except for trivial details, creationists cannot conceive of the possibility that they are in error as that would take down their concept of biblical inerrancy. Since "scientific" creationism is really a branch of Bible apologetics, there is no room for compromise. "Scientific" creationism is there to defend the faith, not to probe the unknown.

  9. Real scientists are often found in the great universities, where real science is done and advanced. None of those institutions take creationism seriously.

    Creationists are usually associated with creationist societies. Those few "universities" where creationism is featured have either failed to get full accreditation or have done so only through the pulling of political strings. What discoveries have they made? Name their Nobel laureates!

  10.  Scientists build upon previous knowledge accumulated over the years, and only rarely participate in great, revolutionary breakthroughs.

    Creationists fancy that they are in the process of overthrowing modern biology, geology, astronomy, anthropology, linguistics, paleontology, archaeology, oceanography, cosmology, physics, and numerous other branches of science. Some creationists (the flat-earth societies) would add the "grease-ball" theory of round-earth geography to that list. Anything that doesn't conform to their interpretation of the Bible is suspect and in need of revision.

Dr. Hovind (F): Let's imagine we are exploring an old gold mine. Suppose we find a Casio Databank watch half buried in the mud and, upon closer inspection, still keeping good time. Perhaps the watch is a 1000 years old. No, it can't be, because this particular entrance to the mine was dug 150 years ago. Maybe, then, it is 150 years old. No, it can't be, because the model was marketed only 12 years ago. Could it have been there 10 years? No, the batteries are only good for 5 years.

We might not be able to pin down the precise age of that watch, but each of the above arguments establishes a maximum age. Any estimates giving an older age than 5 years may be ignored as irrelevant. If we found a 30-year-old shoe near the watch that would not override our 5 year maximum estimate. The minimum date takes precedence.

The same logic can be applied to finding the age of the Earth. If several factors limit the age of the Earth to within the last few thousand years, the Earth cannot be older than that! Even if a few indicators seem to show a greater age for the Earth, it only takes ONE proof of a young Earth to prove the Earth is young. Below is a list of arguments that limit the age of the universe and Earth to within the last few thousand years.

F. If you were trying to date some mountain range, then the uranium-lead age of a certain layer of rock which made up part of that mountain would yield, at most, a maximum age in accordance to the above analogy. Thus, if we found another layer of rock in that mountain which, by the potassium-argon method, yielded half the previous age, then the younger age would stand. The watch analogy is wrong because creationists are trying to date the entire Earth, not some fixture on it! They are trying to date the mine, not the watch! Each of the objects, then, would give a minimum date, a lower bound. The largest reliable date would take precedence. Therefore, we need only one good argument yielding an old age for the Earth!

Dr. Hovind (G): Each of these evidences of a young Earth is described in great detail in the books referred to at the end of each line.

G. The book's authors read like a Who's Who in the creationist world! I guess it takes a creationist to explain these things, because I sure don't know any reputable scientists who would accept these young-Earth arguments! By now you should have some inkling as to why respectable scientists reject such claims.

Dr. Hovind (H): Those who believe the earth is billions of years old will typically try to discredit one of the above arguments and then mistakenly think that they have successfully proven the entire list wrong.

H. I certainly don't know of anyone who would do that!

Dr. Hovind (I): The burden of proof is on the evolutionists if they expect all taxpayers to fund the teaching of their religion in the school system.

I. The topics of evolution (descent of life with modification) and the old age of the Earth are not scientific controversies begging for proof! They are facts of life. If you look at the last 50 issues of any of the world's leading scientific journals, such as Nature or Science, you will not find any debates in progress about the fact of evolution or the old age of the Earth! You might find a debate over the explanation of those facts, or of specific dates or rates, but never over the facts themselves. If you look into our best universities, you will not find any scientific debates in progress on those subjects. Standard reference works, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, treat them as facts. They are regarded as facts by knowledgeable people who are not fettered with extreme religious prejudice.

We taxpayers owe it to our children to expose them to the best that science offers. Of course, philosophical speculation should be clearly labeled as such. On that point I would agree with Dr. Hovind. Jumping from the facts of evolution to a non-theistic universe is not a proper conclusion of science. Science does not speculate on the supernatural.

That some religious groups aren't living in the real world should not be allowed to dumb down our public schools. If you want to believe that the Earth is 6000 years old, that's your business. If it becomes your religion and you teach it to your children, that's your error and their injury. If you turn it into a crusade and try to force it into the science classrooms, that will be your Waterloo!

Try to understand. Suppose that a flat-Earth religion became very popular and books appeared defending the flat-Earth hypothesis. Flat-Earth parents, of course, would be very unhappy to find that the public schools were teaching a round Earth. Some of them would move their children into private schools that taught flat-Earth theory. Others would campaign against the "brainwashing" of their children in the public schools. They might demand equal time for their flat-Earth views. How would you handle that potato?

It would be irresponsible, of course, for you to allow the flat-Earth view into the geography curriculum. Time spent on the evidences for a flat-Earth is time robbed from serious learning. There are many excellent subjects that could (or should) be covered in a geography class, subjects that get left out for lack of time. Furthermore, it would be intellectually dishonest to leave the impressionable student with the idea that the flat-Earth view is a serious contender. It isn't. The student is there to learn, not to be confused or to defend some home-spun version of geography.

Education is much more than learning and memorizing facts. An education, a wise man once said, is what you have left after you have forgotten all those little facts. Students must learn to think by wrestling with subjects where many legitimate positions can be defended and criticized, where no easy answers exist. That some of this material may offend certain groups is to be expected. An educational system that seeks to accommodate the feelings of every group will wind up dumbing down its material to the lowest denominator. Just the reverse is needed. We must raise students to the highest levels that can be reached. They must learn by exploring the unknown, by designing and participating in scientific experiments. However, they must first have a foundation of solid facts.

Your choice to teach the round-Earth hypothesis would surely not depend on popularity polls! Nor would you allow the flat-Earth view to be injected into the geography classroom under the premises that it would be fair to present all sides of the issue. It is not a valid "side" of geography no matter how popular it might be among flat-Earth believers. Such clear thinking on your part would make those flat-Earth folks very unhappy, and they might even get you fired. But there is no other responsible choice.

Appendix I

(Another fatal problem for the vapor canopy idea)

The "vapor canopy," invented by desperate creationists who needed a large source of atmospheric water for Noah's flood, is subject to yet another fatal problem. Nor does it matter whether we are dealing with a vapor canopy supported by the atmosphere or ice crystals in orbit. In either case, carbon-14 dating proves fatal. (I am indebted to Paul Farrar and Bill Hyde for making this point in their Talk.Origins article "The Vapor Canopy Hypothesis Holds no Water.")

A large canopy, be it ice or vapor, would either block out the cosmic rays (needed for the production of carbon-14) or dilute the available nitrogen (a necessary ingredient for the production of carbon-14). C-14 atoms form high in the atmosphere when energetic cosmic rays slam into stray atoms and send out showers of particles, including energetic neutrons. Some of those neutrons collide with the nuclei of ordinary nitrogen, transforming some of them into a radioactive form of carbon. I.e., the neutron is absorbed and a proton is kicked out; one of the orbiting electrons goes with the departing proton, making it a hydrogen atom. Thus, we go from N-14 (ordinary nitrogen, which makes up about 75% of our atmosphere) to C-14 (a radioactive isotope of carbon, which occurs in trace amounts).

If we seek enough water to flood Mt. Everest, then we need to add roughly 900 times the present atmosphere in the form of water vapor! If we adopt Henry Morris' model of the flood, we can do with a more modest figure, say 100 parts of water vapor per 1 part atmosphere. (As pointed out on page 85, pressurized reservoirs, the other source of flood water used by creationists, cannot contribute diddly-squat towards flooding the high mountains.)

If the vapor canopy is attached to the atmosphere, we can see that the atmospheric nitrogen will be diluted about 100 times. It is the best scenario that the creationist can hope for. Consequently, only about 1/100 of the usual carbon-14 would be produced. Therefore, everything dated during those pre-flood times would have a built-in age added to its real age. The amount of this built-in age would be the time it takes for carbon-14 to decay to 1/100 of itself. Well, how long does that take? Given that the half-life of C-14 is 5730 years, and that it takes between 6 and 7 half-lives to get down to 1/100 of the original amount of C-14, we have at least a built-in age of 35,000 years!

In the case of ice crystals in orbit, they would provide a shielding roughly equal to their equivalent depth of water. Here, that means roughly one-half mile of water. I doubt that there are many, if any, cosmic rays that can penetrate half a mile of water! The built-in age factor would be even worse than above.

What all this means is that we have a perfectly good scientific test for Henry Morris' vapor canopy hypothesis. As we date older and older objects, at some point going from post-flood items to pre-flood items, we should see a dramatic and sudden leap of age. Do the ages obtained suddenly jump by an extra 35,000 years or so at some point? No, they do not. Thus, we have scientific proof that there never was any such thing as a vapor canopy during the last 40,000 years or so.

Appendix II

(A fatal heat and radiation problem for the young-earth idea)

An inescapable dilemma awaits anyone who would be so foolish as to compress the Earth's geologic history into 6000 years.

Look around. Unless you happen to be standing on a vast stretch of limestone or in a salt mine, almost everything in sight has probably been HOT at one time. The reason we are not roasting right now is that this heat has been dissipated over billions of years.

The most obvious case is that of solidified lava, found in great abundance throughout the geologic record. Huge deposits of lava, large enough to seriously affect the world's climate in their time, are known in India and Russia. Volcanoes have been active since the Earth began, laying down lava here and there throughout the geologic column. All of it was once red-hot and molten. Nor should we overlook the vast quantities of ash, which accompany major volcanic explosions. It is quite hot when it leaves the volcano. The geologic record is full of thick seams of volcanic ash.

The world's ocean floors, beneath all their accumulated sediment, are made of once-molten rock! At the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, we can see the process going on today as new ocean floor is created from molten intrusions. Think of all the heat released from this source alone. Do not neglect to count the past oceans as well, which no longer exist because they have been consumed by plate tectonics. There was an "Atlantic" ocean before the present one, not to mention the worldwide ocean during the time of the single super-continent, Pangaea. Indeed, we now know that there was a super-continent before Pangaea! It has been named "Rodinia." (See the January 1995 issue of Scientific American). All of these ancient ocean floors, long since compressed into mountains or consumed into the depths of the mantel, were, at various times and places, molten. The total amount of heat released from just the ocean floors, past and present, is staggering.

Shifting our attention to the continents, Every bit of granite, as well as the other forms of igneous rock, were once red-hot and molten. Consider the batholiths, which easily cover hundreds of square kilometers where exposed. Really large batholiths exist in the Sierra Nevada, Alaska, and British Columbia. They may cover thousands of square kilometers and are often composite -- showing multiple phases of emplacement. Huge plutons and immense layered complexes of igneous rock must also be accounted for. Vast amounts of heat must have been liberated as this material cooled to its present state.

Another tremendous source of heat is metamorphic rock. The roots of all the great mountain chains are a prime source of metamorphic rock. Every cubic inch of metamorphic rock, the world's supply of marble being but one example, once seethed in heat and, in the more extreme cases, was even molten. Metamorphosed rock often began as igneous rock or an earlier form of metamorphic rock, which means that a large percentage of today's metamorphic rock is responsible for several loads of heat during its lifetime!

Even the sedimentary rocks, with some exceptions, carry evidence of a once-hot past! Sandstone, which makes up a huge part of the geologic record, is composed of cemented sand grains, which, in turn, are usually made out of quartz or other igneous material. Each of those sand grains once glowed red-hot as part of newly forming igneous rock. All of the world's sandy beaches, except for sand made from shells or limestone, contain sand grains that were once extremely hot. A good deal of this sedimentary rock has also been converted into metamorphic rock, thus being the source of more than one load of heat. Even mud, minus the organic content, is often nothing more than extra-fine sand grains. Thus, much of the world's mud is made up of silicon or other igneous material, which once glowed red-hot when the parent rock was formed. (Deposits of silica mud in the ocean, however, are usually made up of tiny silica shells of certain plankton. )

Vast quantities of heat (and destruction) have been liberated by ancient asteroid impacts. Huge, fossil craters are found throughout the geologic record, and scientists now know that they are only the tip of the iceberg! (See pages 16 and 17). Based on studies of the Moon, Mars, and Mercury, all of which are much smaller targets than the Earth, statistics indicate that our planet has been struck about 5 times by asteroids large enough to boil away the world's oceans!! As far as we can tell, life began on Earth (and became successful enough to be detected) at about the time this heavy bombardment ended.

How long does it take a vaporized ocean to recondense and cool down to its present temperatures? How would a large vapor canopy affect this process?

There is yet another major source of heat! We have overlooked radioactivity. Whether or not you believe in radiometric dating (more than 40 different methods!), the fact remains that about half of the uranium-238 has decayed away since the Earth was formed. Almost all of our uranium-235 has expired. These lost elements have been used up in the radiation process! Keep in mind that nuclear reactors generate their energy by making use of the intense heat produced by radioactive decay. Elaborate systems have been devised to keep nuclear reactors from overheating. Without such controls, the nuclear fuel (and a lot more) would melt from the heat produced. Indeed, they would probably melt right through the concrete floor and into the earth!

Think of it. More than half of the world's supply of uranium-238 and almost all of its uranium-235 have already expired through radioactive decay! Now, that's a load of heat, and it's mostly released deep within the rocks where there is no quick escape. But, even that counts as little or nothing compared to the heat that was released by radioactive aluminum-26!

Ordinary aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust, and we now know that its radioactive counterpart, aluminum-26, was also extremely abundant when the Earth's elements were first synthesized in one or more supernovas. The distinguished Dr. Wasserburg identified Al-26 as the main source of radioactive heat responsible, to a large degree, for melting the interior of the Earth and other bodies down to about 15 kilometers in diameter! Studies of certain crystals showed that a tremendous amount of the Al-26 was around. All of it (having a half-life of only 720,000 years) has long since decayed into magnesium-26, which is an isotope not naturally occurring on Earth.

In certain aluminum-rich inclusions in some meteorites we find a lot of this Mg-26, and the more aluminum present the greater the abundance of Mg-26. "...the conclusion seems inescapable that the Mg 26 has been produced in this manner [from the decay of Al-26]."1 That is, the radioactive aluminum-26 is gone now, but, because of its chemical similarity with ordinary aluminum, more of it should have been present wherever more ordinary aluminum is found today. And, when we find a proportional increase of magnesium-26 as well, that being the Al-26 decay product, it clinches the matter. The magnesium-26 we see today on Earth is, indeed, the daughter element of aluminum-26. Using modern methods, astronomers can now detect vast amounts of aluminum-26 throughout our galaxy. It is a routine product of supernovas.

In conclusion, the only reason we are not immediately roasted to a crisp is because the incredible amount of heat that has been generated on this planet has had billions of years to leak away. Gradually, and by little chunks, here and there, this vast amount of heat has leaked away. Small portions of the Earth were destroyed at any given time, here and there, even as occurred around Mt. St. Helens, but time soon healed those wounds. Larger disasters, such as that which exterminated the dinosaurs, also occurred. But in the vastness of time they have missed us! They, too, have been all but swallowed up in time. There is even good evidence that the Earth was destroyed by a Mars-sized collision during the earliest phases of its life. However, time can heal that also. The total amount of heat released on Earth (and the accompanying destruction) is just incredible, but incredible stretches of time have allowed it to be sensibly dissipated.

Trying to squeeze all that generated heat into a 6000-year slot is like trying to squeeze all the heat generated in your kitchen over a lifetime into one hour. Short of burning down the entire neighborhood with a ball of fire, there is just no way to do it. Even worse, if that is possible, is the idea

of compressing a large chunk of the Earth's history into the year of Noah's flood. If 4.5 billion years of Earth's history can't be squeezed into 6000 years, then trying to squeeze the 700 million years of strata containing complex fossils into the one year of Noah's flood is even worse -- about 900 times worse!

The radiation delivered by all of those radioactive isotopes, which are now-extinct or partially depleted, is another insoluble problem for the young-earther.2 Trying to squeeze all that radiation into a 6000-year slot is like turning up the average rate of radioactivity 750,000 times! Only, it would have been far worse since the great bulk of radioactivity would have been concentrated at the time of creation. It is precisely then that all of the short-lived, radioactive isotopes would have been active, in addition to the rest. Adam and Eve would have fried! The whole Earth would have sizzled with radioactivity!

Young-earth creationists have spun a dense cocoon about themselves to keep reality out. The guardians of the faith continue to write their books, which reinterpret all of science, and exercise their oral skills in the public forums. They are fighting a war, not conducting a search for truth. They seek out ammunition, not objective facts. They ignore those data and reasoning that don't fit in with their biblical viewpoint.

A number of arguments in this book are absolutely fatal to their viewpoint, but you will never get anything like a careful, reasoned response, for these matters cannot be deeply probed without exposing the bankruptcy of their beliefs. When the superficial, canned arguments run out, they will switch the subject, declare that they have 101 other things to do, or even attack you for "wasting their time." You will get silence. After digging your way past the canned arguments, you will get silence. It's as predictable as gravity.

A leading creationist once bought several of my books for the express purpose of sending them to other noted creationists. (How unusual!) After that, silence! Not one peep did those recipients direct my way. They would rather write their books and ride the debate circuit, where plenty of smoke and canned arguments make life safe. In that respect they are very much like their flat-earth brothers, who are also fighting a war to protect their flat-earth Bible beliefs.

How strange! People, who have devoted their entire lives to fighting for the truth, never seem to have the time or inclination to see these important arguments through. If I were in their shoes, I would never rest until every serious challenge had either been eliminated or confirmed. You couldn't pry me loose from someone who was willing to devote his or her time freely in a serious exploration of such points! I would make the time, if need be, to see those matters through. But, then, creationists aren't really interested in the truth; they are fighting a war for their truth. As is true in real wars, truth is often the first casualty.

  1. Joseph Silk. 1980. The Big Bang: The Creation and Evolution of the Universe W H Freeman & Company, San Francisco, CA (p.271)
    See also:
    The New Solar System. 1981. edited by J. Kelly Beatty, Brian O'Leary and Andrew Chaikin Sky Publishing Corporation and Cambridge University Press

  2. One can always invoke God's power to "solve" the problem. However, this is just rank speculation having nothing to do with science. The skeptic's reply is, "How do you know what God has done? Is the Bible really God's book? Prove it." We can't teach theology of any kind in the science classroom, let alone personal theology based on rank speculation.

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