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

Feedback for May 1996

Shown below are some of the letters received from readers of the Talk.Origins Archive in the month of May, 1996.

I just discovered your Website recently, and I want to thank you for the popularly accessible yet generally high level of discussion, especially in the posted FAQs. Keep up the good work. I do have a couple questions, however. Can someone explain to me what must be an inside joke relating to the name "Chris." Also--and perhaps this reflects some of my own negative baggage in this area--I would find it useful to know the academic pedigree (i.e., degree status; granting university) of the faculty and the authors of the site-recommended FAQs. Thanks again for the information.


Thanks for the kind remarks. Apart from being really cool, the name Chris happens to belong to a disproportionate number of participants. The University of Ediacara has therefore adopted it as a nom de prestige. As for credentials, the archive does not collect them, but you are free to ask the articles' authors for them.

Although I'm hesitant about becoming involved in a dispute about the evolution/creation of man, I am interested in the fossil finger that was presented by Dr. Carl Baugh. Do you have a graphic of it? I'm an inactive R.N. and from information that I have obtained it appears that it is the middle finger of a right hand. I would also be interested in what would have preserved the skin as well as the bone. It is my theory that a tanning agent must have been present. This could have been from acorns or another agent that was present during that time. This might give another way to detect the age of the fossil. Thank's Ni


You can take a look at Baugh's so-called "fossil finger" on the web. Apparently, this "finger" was recently presented as evidence for human antiquity on the NBC television show "The Mysterious Origins of Man" hosted by Charlton Heston. Glen Kuban's review of the television show deals with Baugh's claim. His conclusion? The rock's origin is unknown, and it only superficially resembles a finger.

Incidentally, Carl Baugh should not be calling himself a doctor. His claim to have a Ph.D. is dubious at best. Even other creationists find him an embarrassment.


Program That Dares To Challenge Accepted Beliefs About Pre-Historic Man Will Be Rebroadcast June 8 on NBC.

NBC's "The Mysterious Origins of Man" sparked heated controversy within the academic community when originally broadcast February 25, 1996, and will be rebroadcast on Saturday, June 8 (8-9 p.m. ET). Professors of science and anthropology from some of the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities voiced strong opinions about some of the theories in the special, which challenged long-accepted beliefs about man's beginnings.

The program presented startling evidence suggesting man may have made the climb from Stone age to civilization more than once; that present-day man is just the latest in this cycle, and that Darwin's Theory of Evolution has serious flaws.

"Our goal was simply to present the public with evidence which suggests an alternative view to some of our most accepted theories," says producer Bill Cote. "We questioned fundamental issues that they (some scientists) felt should not be questioned. The bottom line is, the world is bigger than scientists can explain, and some of them want us to believe they can explain everything.

"We expected some controversy when we produced this show, "Cote continues, "but no one was prepared for the enormous cry of outrage from members of the scientific community."

Hundreds of messages jammed Cote's special online website following the program, and activity continues on several sites dedicated to the program. "While many viewers, including some scientists, praised the production as 'a great accomplishment and contributing to public education," says Cote, "many scientists expressed outrage and criticism."

Michael H. Gerber (Emmy-winning special "The Mystery of the Sphinx") and Robert Watts ("Star Wars" trilogy, "Indiana Jones" trilogy, "The Mystery of the Sphinx" are the executive producers. John Cheshire, Bill Cote and Carol Cote ("The Mystery of the Sphinx") are the producers. Bill Cote directed from a script he wrote with Cheshire. Charlton Heston hosts the program from B.C. Video Inc.

Media Contacts:
Dorothy Elery Austin, Entertainment Press & Publicity, (818) 840-3647
Robert Pientrantion, Entertainment Electronic Publicity, (818) 840-3565


Well, it looks like NBC, not content to embarrass itself only once, is going to re-air this atrocious piece of tabloid television masquerading as science. See the FAQ on "The Mysterious Origins of Man" for a list of factual problems with this show.

Here is a question for creationists, and it is one I have yet to receive an answer (a reading of scripture is not an answer).

By what process does the Creator create life?

This leads to another question:

Are new species being created now, if so, why aren't we observing their creation, if not, why has the Creator stopped creating new species?

I could go on ad infinitum...

I find this service to be EXTREMELY one sided and biased against the Creationist standpoint. Even when following the link to the Creation page, one finds articles, FAQ's, ect attempting to show how Creation institutes such as the ICR are misleading the public. By doing this, not giving your readers any information on Creation, you come acrossed as insecure in your beliefs since you present none of the many problems with the theory of evolution. Such a one-sided stand is not neccessary...


Please see the Other Links page. You will find a long list of web sites devoted to defending creationism.

OK let's look at all of the facts. If you tink about it both sides of the age old arguments are pretty unbelivable. For creation there is: A god that can make anything at anytime whenever he wants to. Then on the other hand there is evolution. The part about the big bang theory does not hold water. For example let's say that there were all of the right elements for the Earth to just appear out of nowhere. Like all of those minerals and they were just sitting there in space waiting to come together and form our wonderful world that we like to call the Earth. And let's just maybe on the wild chance believe that they came together to a planet. How would all the planets just happen to find the right spot to get into an orbit around our lovely sun. It is like if you were to take all the elements that make a plane. How about a wing, some fuel, a flight chair and a pilot. If you bolted the chair to the wing and strapped the pilot in the chair and then poured fuel all over those three things and lit it would it fly? I don't think so. However radical creation sounds it might be the only way that things could be. And trust me I have tried o find the answers to these age old questions and creation is the best and most meaningful answer that I have found. But I do think that you guys have a cool page here and I would like to get an answer to my comment. Bye


How did the planets end up in orbit around the sun? Isaac Newton, himself a creationist, was pretty close to the answer: F=GMm/r2.

I'm a lurker on (as a former biologist now an administrator) and I have noted the references Ted Holden makes to something called "Bandar-Log." To what does he refer?? I can't find it in the FAQs or anywhere else.


Ted seems to have borrowed the term "Bandar-Log" from Peter Nyikos, who in turn borrowed the term from the writer Rudyard Kipling. I have been told that it means "monkey people" in Hindi.

In the past, whenever I got into debates with creationists, they would always throw some wrench into my argument, usually stating Gish's bullfrog proteins or the rate of accumulation of space dust on the earth. I had no effective responses, and was thoroughly baffled. When I came across the origins archive, I was able to get some good answers. Since I am only a junior in high school, I don't exactly have a lot of science knowledge. Thank you for having an extremely readable and enjoyable WWW page, and not for having an esoteric discussion group by scientists. I do have a question that I have not been able to find the answer to so far. Whenever my creationist friends bring up the subject of dating techniques, they point out that the rate of decay might be exponential, not linear. I certainly don't have the knowledge of a geologist, and would appreciate some insight into the rate of decay.


Your creationist friends were correct when they told you the rate of decay for radioactive elements is exponential. Radioactive isotopes have what is known as a "half-life". The half-life determines how long it takes for half of a given amount of a radioactive isotope to decay into its daughter isotope(s). Take uranium-238 for example. It has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. Thus, if you had a kilogram of uranium-238 4.5 billion years ago, you would have about a half kilogram left today. The other half would have decayed into one or more of uranium-238's daughter isotopes. After another 4.5 billion years, only a quarter of a kilogram would be left. If the rate of decay were linear, a fixed amount of your uranium-238 sample would decay every 4.5 billion years; this doesn't happen.

The very fact that radioactive decay is exponential is used by geochronologists to assign ages to rocks. They look at the amount of parent and daughter isotopes in a rock sample and calculate how long it would have taken to reach the present ratio. See the Responses to Young Earth Arguments FAQ, the Age of the Earth FAQ, and the Isochron Dating FAQ for more information.

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