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

Feedback for October 1996

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

Let's suppose for a moment that evolution is true and verifiable (scientifically speaking). I would have to believe that we as humans have been inhibiting our progression as a species by our human efforts to eradicate disease, poverty and war. These conditions which we see as enemies of civilization are the very elements that - if one believes in evolution, are meant to improve our genetic makeup and eventually change us acordingly. Disease wipes out inferior or week life forms...war eliminates those who are intellectually stunted and poverty allows the stronger to enslave the weaker. These are things that we (if one believes in evolution) must not be resisted in the quest for a higher and more advanced society. The elderly must be euthanized, the sick be exterminated and the poor must be sexualy sterilized and then enslaved to enrich the society of the priveleged.

....right out of the sick mind of some nihilistic "scientists" and philosophers, right? His name was Hitler.

For the record, I believe that the earth was created (designed) by the master designer himself...Jesus Christ.

Neil G.

Response from the editor:

The reader has fallen victim to two common distortions of evolution. First, he equates evolution with "progress," which it most certainly is not. There is no "Great Chain of Being", no ladder of evolution, leading from inferior to superior forms. The theory of evolution by natural selection simply states that organisms better adapted to their environments will pass more of their genes on to the next generation. If evolution were truly a matter of progress, one would be at a lack to explain why seemingly complex organisms like mammals are so outnumbered (and often defeated) by relatively simple bacteria.

The second error the reader makes is to draw normative ethical conclusions from scientific theory. This was the same mistake many of the eugenicists and Social Darwinists of the early 20th century made when they abused Darwinism to bolster their prejudices. Given that evolution is not a story of progress, but rather one of change, the idea that society will improve if we blindly leave it to the whims of natural law is simply absurd. Evolution has provided humans with brains that are uniquely capable of analyzing the consequences of their actions, to establish cultures and systems of ethics, and to override the occasional antisocial instinctual urge. We should use them.

I've only just discovered your site and am itching to explore all the viewpoints expressed in your archive and current discussions.

As an individual who departed formal education at the age age of 16, I am definitely more comfortable with posing questions than expressing unvarifiable theories on the nature of life, the universe and the existance of god (oops! sorry, God). The one question that I always seem to come back to in my thoughts about the nature of existance is WHY! If god (sorry, there I go again!) God created the universe, why did he/she do it? Was God lonely? Was God bored? If God wanted company in heaven couldn't God have simply created heaven as the only existance and skipped the transitional stage. I mean why create life and a physical universe when these things can possibly never can never be more than a mere shadow of the substance of such a supreme being.

I hope you get the general thrust of my dilema because I could probably pose hundreds of similar enquiries of the creationists amongst us. I must admit though, that I do not deny the existance of God, just the nature. Lately the direction of my thoughts on the nature of life and it's relevance and place in the universe, seem to revolve around the statement made by someone that Man is the stuff of the stars.(or something like that). Could it be that what we call God is simply a universe that since it contains life and intelligence, possesses life and intelligence itself.

Life seems to exhibit an amazing array of similarities to the universe as we can observe it. For one thing there always seem to be 2 sides of the coin. For one thing to exist there always seems an opposite, liquid - solid, hot - cold, etc., etc., In man the same seems to apply, good - bad, etc., etc.,

Anyway like I stated previously, I definitely don't have any answers but I love listening to all those on all sides of the discussion with a seemingly endless array of educated and uneducated theories. I just hope that in the end we're all wrong and forced to our intellectual knees in the face of the fact that even if we did find all the answers, we wouldn't know what do with them anyway!

I will definitely check on this site regularly. Thanks!

Tony B.

My book The Seven Days of Creation was just published by Fairway Press. It's a rather unique allegorical interpretation of the seven days of creation in Genesis. This book goes beyond the debate between evolutionists and creationists. My hope is that it will bring a refreshing wind to the churches. The new material presented in this book will make for some exciting reading. It certainly took some spiritual archaelogical digging to generate the book. I'm slowly building a web page. Eventually, excerpts from the book will be available to interested web surfers. It definately will present a challenge to serious students of Genesis.

Dana Cottrell

As a former young-earth/world flood creationist converted to evolutionary creationist, it is great to see a site like Talk Origins. I have found it very detailed, balanced, rational and lacking a Ted "Christians are Losers" Turner mentality (although many agnostics do not think this way, some do and this will make an antievolutionist even less inclined to abandon his/her views).

My switch to evolution was not without some slowness and uncomfortable soal searching. Having been born and raised a literal creationist, the extremely strong theological reasons to adopt a literal Scriptures (totally regardless of the evidence) even resisted my college geology class, at least at first. It took over three years to finally totally accept evolution as fact. Perhaps my experience explains why relatively few lay- people never accept evolution or even convert to some form of nonevolutionary creationism. Honest people are afraid they see seemingly strong secular and amoral signals of evolution and then are deluded to the most comfortable explanation that satisfies their feelings of high well being offered by antievolutionism. Well, single hurricanes have killed hundreds of thousands of people and caused extreme devastation, so scaring people against believing in hurricanes will make them false. GET REAL! Yet, this is the same logic used against evolution. Reality does not bend to our whims. Yet it is easy to be deluded away from reality.

Calling antievolutionists stupid liars is basically ignorant. Even the leading antievolutions are probably sincere overall despite glaring contradictions (like Dr. Gish claiming he mistook a translation about bombardier beetles exploding spontaneously, yet incredibly saying afterward for a few years that the insects do explode without Creation!) At the very least, Gish and his counterparts are extremely delusional but not necessarly ignorant fools (laypersons may be in addition ignorant but are still less foolish than some would believe).

Most of my surviving family has converted to evolution but others and some friends seem to think the Devil caused my conversion. I have learned to live with this. This marks in my mind that scientists and educators can say all they want about science, but more theology circles have got to push harder about evolution being God's method of Creation. Although they are slowly becoming stronger against antievolutionism, they are just as lethargic as scientists until the problem is right in their face. Only then do religious circles react (like their splendid performance against antievolutionism in the 1982 Arkansas trial.) But when I look at myself and see how I have gone from gleefully asking for Institute for Creation Research material to being a National Center for Science Education member, if I can do it, then many others can too!

Finally, I have two points about your material. I believe evolution (like germ theory, E=mc2, and other science) requires at least a sliver of religion (untestable belief) because like any science it can't be totally proven, only virtually proven. Evolution in theory can absolutely be falsified like any science idea should be shown capible of, therefore religion is required in empiricism from its nature of not providing absolute facts. This is not the same comparsion to supernatural creationism as the whole core idea of testing supernaturalism scientifically is impossible so the whole core idea is religious! (but not necessarily wrong or right.) Second, the end result of a supernatural creationism is natural matter, which science can test. However, scientists (including religious ones) have so overwhelming falsified young-earth creationism (for over 130years) that its no wonder they need legislation over scientific objections to ram it down our throats (at the expense of other Christian and other non-Christian versions of creationism).

Let reason and humility finally start to end this quagmire.

George M.

I love this page with a passion. Those who maintain it should be praised. I would like to make one distinction between scientists and creationists. Scientists observe nature and attempt to explain all that they see. Creationists, however, have already made up their minds. Then, they proceed to find tidbits here and there that support their claims. They are narrow-minded, focusing on small details rather than the whole picture. In my view, the whole picture overwhelmingly supports evolution, but as new ideas arise, I am able to adjust my beliefs accordingly. It is an ongoing process of progress and correction. Creationists have no such process. They proclaim to be scientists, yet fail to follow the scientific method.

I was reading the Introduction to Evolution, and I have a question. There were constant references to "mutations" and genetic code trying to make decisions about a population but from what I read it seems to be simple ecological changes by man or nature that cause a change in population by outside factors not by true "mutations" but the rise of a recessive gene to prominence for a time. The Yeast experiment seems to show that there is no real mutation but selected change in dominance of genes. Even then the old population is never really gone but subdued in the current population. Can you be more specific in what is deemed a "mutation" and why what looks to be "concious" decisions by non-intelligent entities is used as a defining means of evolution? I would greatly appreciate a response.

David P.

Response from the editor:

Mutations are uninherited changes in the genetic makeup of an organism that are usually caused by errors in the copying of DNA. Mutations introduce variation into a population, and natural selection determines which variants are passed on to further generations. There is nothing conscious or magical about natural selection; those organisms able to produce more offspring will have their genes better represented in the population. Occasionally, a mutant gene improves its owner's ability to survive and reproduce, and this causes the new gene's frequency in the population to increase.

I don't know if anyone has ever listen to the ravings of the lunatic Charles K. Johnson before, but he is way out there! He heads up the Flat Earth Society and yes, he believes the earth is flat. He rants on and on giving the most disjointed accounts and claims that it is all provable (but he has yet to say how). So, I'm sorry Charley but the earth is a lumpy, dusty and sometimes smelly sphere. The next thing we know is that Charley will be telling us that the medication he is supposed to be taking for his condition is flat!

Patrick R.

In response to Frank Steiger's article on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Evolution, and Probability:

The mathematics is impressive, but like all things that ultimately stand the test of truth, mathematical formulas must be built upon sound logic. If one skips the first couple of paragraphs in your article he/she would undoubtedly feel compelled to accede to the systematic "logic" of "scientific proof". Unfortunately, there is a paragraph included in your paper that betrays the "logic" of your position. When you say that snowflakes and salt crystals are the spontaneous generation of random events you have once again exposed yourself and the entire scientific community as the biased and subjective people that you really are. You have this image of yourself as an unbiased, white-coated lab technician who searches diligently and objectively for the unadulterated truth when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. You begin by design from a false premise and build your spurious logic on the patented pablum of your mentors. It does not occur to you that you have misled yourself or others by beginning with a premise that you have determined to believe, you have designed the parameters so broadly that no theory can be positively excluded (except creation, evidently) and then you have described for the neophyte what he/she should believe.

When you say that eggs and flowers are the spontaneous generation of random events, don't you cringe even a little to think that someone may stop and ponder that statement for a few brief moments and see it for the dishonest manipulation of facts for the expressed purpose of "enlightening" one who is so obviously ignorant. I remember as a child reading about the scientists of about three-hundred years ago being firmly convinced that flie were the spontaneous generation of spoiled meat. Their determination to believe in spite of fact led them to bias all their experiments in favor of conclusions they had already arrived at.

I see many parallels in the scientific community today; especially with regards to so-called scientific evidence of evolution. If you are not aware of the latest mathematical models of chance that have been run on the possibility of the spontaneous generation the first amino acid (let alone the entire gamut of nutrients and events necessary for full-blown "life"), The odds worked out to be the same as the possibility of a tornado blowing through a junk yard and spontaneously generating and assembling a fully functional Boeng 747. If you care to dispute the the odds or the truth of that statement I will be most happy to respond with the names and addresses of the eminently qualified team of mathemeticians and statisticians who ran that model. Maybe you are not so open to objective truth as you pretend.

Ron S.

Response from the editor:

There doesn't seem to be much of a point to this reader's long spiel other than to rant against scientists in general. Completely lacking from his letter is a description of any flaw in the Thermodynamics FAQ. If the reader knows a reason why evolution is ruled impossible by the second law of thermodynamics, he should come right out and state it.

By the way, it won't be necessary for the reader to look up the author of the "747-from-a-Junkyard" argument. It was Sir Fred Hoyle, the famous astronomer who believed, among other things, that insects are more intelligent than human beings. The flaw in the argument is that it assumes evolution occurs solely by random chance. If evolution were nothing but chance, it would be an absurd theory. However, evolution by natural selection is not a theory of chance; it is a theory of non-random selection of reproductively fitter variants. See the Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution FAQ.

I was happy to find out there is still intelligent life on this planet. I have been dismayed by Answers in Genesis' promulgation of ignorance. I'm working on a paper showing the concurrence of the scientific evidence with the Bible in proving the existence of God. Any assistance you could give me would be appreciated.

Steve S.

October 23, 1996, is the 6,000th birthday of the Earth, according to the calculations published in 1650 by Bishop Ussher. <grin>

I read the article about observed speciation. When there is a Jehovah's Witness at my doorstep, who tries to convince me of his creationist ideas, I cannot come up with examples of Drosophila labaratory experiments, nor flagellates, nor diatoms, because he will never have noticed those species existing in the first place. It would be nicer to give an example like the elephant. Nowadays there are two isolated groups, in Africa and India, easy to see to which group a particular animal belongs. But historically there were also elephants in North Africa, which Hannibal used in his wars against the Romans. I don't know, but suppose there were in historic times also elephants in the Middle East. So then there was just one species, ranging from India via the Middle East to Africa. This is a lot of guessing and speculation of me, but if it is true, then it would be a nice example of recent speciation.

Cor S.

As a Christian who is interested in the questions of origins, I commend you on your efforts to keep us aware of intellectual dishonesty. The Christian world-view - as with all others - must be able to show a good degree of correspondence with reality if it is to be believed at all, and it must have credible spokespersons (a little unconscious PC there). Fortunately, evidence seems to be streaming in from all sides, from the most unlikely sources. I hope you will be able to take the time to peruse the latest offerings such as M. Behe's "Darwin's Black Box". I would be very much interested to read your assessment of it. And - should I be inserting returns, or just leave it to your viewer?

Also, have you reviewed W.R. Bird's "The Origin of Species Revisited"?

Cliff S.

Response from the editor:

See the review of Michael Behe's book that was just added to the archive.

First of all, I enjoyed reading your pages. I am a Bible-believing Christian that enjoys studying God's word. But I was taught physical science in school and the theory of evolution. I have one question? Is the definition of evolution and adaptation the same? If you look at both definitions you will notice they have the same meaning but are worded differently. I think many evolutionists are confused between the two. It is possible to prove that adaptation occurs, but it is impossible to prove that evolution (in the sense of spontaneous generation) occurs, because we have witnessed adaption (such as in the spotted moths) but, in the life of humans, spontaneous generation of a universe or a planet or a species has never been witnessed. That is why evolution is a theory. It cannot be proven. I believe in logical thinking, but I also have faith in the Word of God to provide wisdom and understanding to those who diligently seek Him. I wish that people would read the Bible and really want to know the answer to these questions. We all have a right to believe what we want to believe. But I sincerely hope that the scientific community will not discard the Bible just because it does not agree with their theories. God gave us a mind to discern between the things that are right and wrong. I think we should have open minds and not close them to our own beliefs. Thanks for allowing me the chance to give my comments.

Response from the editor:

Adaptation (via natural selection) is evolution, but not all evolution is adaptive. Other evolutionary mechanisms include genetic drift and gene flow. As for speciation, it has been observed. See The Observed Speciation FAQ.

On September 21, Dr. Elazar Friedman, a member of the Skeptics Society and acknowledged atheist presented a program on Creationism vs. Evolution in Coos Bay, OR. The mediator for the forum was Dr. Don Garwood, professor and inventor. The audience was full of zoologists, biologists and others of like mind ready to do battle on behalf of evolution. Unhappily, it is difficult to do battle when the opposing team fails to appear. The program bacame a discussion rather than a debate or forum.

As the President of the Atlanta Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State I want to take a moment and let you know what a indispensable resource the TO page is to me as an activist. Here in Georgia you are probably well aware of the intrusions into science classrooms the creationists have made. Your page provides us non-scientific activists with the information and data we need to refute them soundly. We are currently working to organize a group of scientists, citizens and clergy to begin to turn back the creationists tide. As we do so your pages will be a constant source of information for me.

If I may plug our efforts for just a moment, anyone interested in actively opposition the creationists in the Atlanta area and Georgia contact Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Atlanta Chapter. Keep up the great work!

Skip Evans

Being a Biology student at Samford University, I completely respect your opinion and the contents therein, but as a Christian, I strongly disagree with it. Why are evolutionists proud to know they evolved from apes, a far less civilized species than God Himself? Anyway, in all aspects, it was a very well-written article and very informative--I'm using it as a reference in an argumentative essay I'm writting. Thank you!!

Jeremy F.

There is a major misconception concerning evolution in our society. When we speak of evolution we all must agree that microevolution takes place every day before our eyes. Just take a look at those people that make up society. We go through an evolutionary process when we do things to try to survive in a harsher world than that of our fathers. We have been accomplishing this through our new inventions (ex. the computer). However, the fool believes in macroevolution. To believe that one species can jump to another is absurd!!! Any person who knows one iota of information about Biology knows that it is next to impossible to do so. The chemical combination needed to form one amino acid chain is a chance of 1 to 50,000 to the fifty-fourth power. You are going to sit there and tell me that this happened in perfect sequence multiple times to form an organism! Think again!

Response from the editor:

The formation of new species is impossible? Don't tell that to the scientists who have observed it. And no one (except the creationists) is claiming that proteins and DNA came together in one fell swoop. Like every other product of living things, they evolved.

Consider the probability of your own existence. Suppose the Earth is as young as many creationists say it is, about 5000 years old. What then is the probability that you would have been born? Let's generously assume that the average length of a generation over the last 5000 years has been 30 years. Let's also assume, very generously, that the average probability of an individual living long enough to have children and then to actually have them is 95%. The probability that all of your great-great-grandfathers and great-great-grandmothers survived and had children leading to you (or to anyone) would then be about 1 in 25 million! Somehow we all won the lottery.

This example, like the one you gave for polypeptide chains, is a good example of the posterior probability fallacy. The probability of an event occurring, after it has already occurred, is exactly 100%. Just because a given protein is configured in a certain way doesn't mean it couldn't have been just as successfully configured in a bazillion other possible ways. Natural selection, by accumulating positive changes in genes and eliminating the negative ones, ensures evolution.

From Rabbi T's comment of Creation or Evelution, he leave's an important point open. If we are to beleive evolution which has only been a theory by a learned man for several hundred years, then are we to conclude that scientificaly there is no greater destiny for mankind other than to procreate and die as an animal, thus to an evolutionists point of view we have no real meaning in the fluke chance of life, therefore no acountablility for our actions. If we are to beleive creation from a standpoint of looking at the diversity of creatures, plants, fish, insects our biosphere etc. Do we then have another angle on our existance, a more significant meaning of purpose. Are we put here to fulfill a more fundamental role as custodians of a beutiful planet? If we are, where does this leave us? We according to the Bible are on the edge of another cataclysmic event, that involves the entire planet. Are we by denying creation putting off believing that all that we hold dear today, could be wiped out, changing our lifestyles maybe our lives as we know it. There are theories that goverments beleive in the existance of armagedon (Gods day of judgement) and that the phenomenom of UFO's aliens and alike have been precuring to these events for years (you only have to read alien abduction accounts to ascertain the links between demonology and alien encounters). My point is this if looking at the larger picture of what is happening on this planet, you are left in no doubt that evelution does not come in to account, trying to disprove creations leaves us open to the fact we are denying the truth to protect from having to change our way of life in accordance with the acceptance of a higher being i.e. God.

Response from the editor:

I don't want to spend too much time responding (again) to the false assertion that evolution denies the existence of God. Instead I will simply point the reader to the God and Evolution FAQ and Loren Haarsma's Chance from a Theistic Perspective.

However, the claim that UFO abduction stories have links to demonology is perhaps more interesting and true than the reader realizes. Carl Sagan, in his recent book The Demon-Haunted World (ISBN 0-394-53512-X), argues convincingly that the present spate of alien abduction stories have much in common with tales of fairies and demons from the Middle Ages. Like the aliens today, demons were once "thought of as natural rather than supernatural beings." They were also considered responsible for the artificial insemination of women by semen from men the demons had previously "visited." Compare this with the tales of the modern alien abductee, who claims to have been poked and prodded -- even impregnated! -- by extraterrestrials. Sagan finds an explanation for the similarity in human psychology:

Perhaps when everyone knows that gods come down to Earth, we hallucinate gods; when all of us are familiar with demons, it's incubi and succubi; when faires are widely accepted, we see fairies; in an age of spiritualism, we encounter spirits; and when the old myths fade and we begin thinking of extraterrestrial beings as plausible, then that's where our hypnogogic imagery tends.

It suprises me that after all the research an hard work put into your quest for factual disproof of events of the Bible's accounts that you would some of your facts be misrepresented. First off what version of the Bible are you getting your accounts from? In my response I will refer to those occurring in the King James version or the Good News Bible. I read only a short excerpt of your collection. You say that the ark and all its inhabitants drifted for a year. The Bible's true acount is 40 days and 40 nights; not one year. The number seven is a number used throughout the Bible to represent an enormous amount. The Bible does not even argue that the ark was loaded in seven days. I see not how you can disprove the existance of something that does not even claim to exist. The peoples that the Bible refers at the time of the flood were in the Arabian penninsula. They existed in river valleys that had histories of severe and sometimes unpredictable floods. To these ancient and untechnologically advanced people their river vallies were in fact the world. Thus the creatures which would have entered the ark were from the local area and not the entire sphere of Earth. Evelotion can exist in the eyes of a Catholic. We simply believe that there is a devine Being who makes it occur. The specifics of the ark may seem extravagant. It is a well known fact that early peoples have been extreemely advanced in perticular skills. For example, the Egyptians, who you confide in for the non-existant records of the flood, built the pyramids as well as the great Sphinx did they not? I have also heard of good evidence, found through sedimentary examination, that there could have been an enormous flood during ancient times in the Aribian penninsula region. You are also not giving the Bible credit where credit is do. The Bible is a story passed on through many years via oral tradition. Stories change, especially when not written. Even when they are written they are changed intentionally to suite a moral of dilemma. Taking this all into account you are trying to literally interpret and disprove something that is not literal. The Bible must be interpreted.


Response from the editor:

The reader should be aware that the Problems with a Global Flood FAQ is directed primarily at those who interpret the book of Genesis as the inerrant, literal word of God. Since the reader apparently does not, he shouldn't take the FAQ too personally.

The reader should also get some of his facts straight. The King James Version of Genesis, which the archive keeps a copy of, claims the Great Flood lasted forty days and forty nights but that Noah did not disembark the Ark until approximately a year after the flood began (Gen 7:24, Gen 8:4-6).

I'm a bit puzzled by the editorial response to a comment on the book Creation Hypothesis (ed. J.P. Moreland):

"Isn't it interesting, though, that a book entitled The Creation Hypothesis spends time attacking evolution? It seems that creationists can only define their 'science' in the face of evolution."

When the reigning view of science excludes intelligent design a priori, how can one make a case for design without taking the reigning view to task?

Further, many proponents of the reigning view claim that evolution by natural selection virtually or really disproves design (or at least relegates it to the realm of superstition). If this is truly so, how can one make a case for design with- out showing that naturalistic evolution is inadequate to explain the data?

Before you decide that this book can only define its subject negatively ("in the face of evolution"), I suggest you read it with the possibility in mind that it might also make a positive case for design. I read that it got a reasonably respectful review in Creation/Evolution (sorry, don't have the citation handy).

Response from the editor:

The primary purpose of the creationist should be to detail the scientific evidence for creation, not to attack evolution (with what usually amounts to a set of strawman arguments). Since I have not read the Moreland book, I was relying on the previous reader's comment that it was "the strongest anti-evolution book I have ever read." I had to wonder why the book was perceived not as "pro-creation" but as "anti-evolution." Was it because the author spent most of his time attacking evolution instead of supporting creation with scientific evidence, as is typical of most creationist literature? I don't know, since I haven't yet read the book, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Creationists should devise a verifiable, falsifiable, and evidence-supported scientific theory of creation before trying to tear down evolution. In other words, they should take a cue from Darwin. When Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he didn't waste much of his time and effort attacking special creation, which at the time was the reigning view of biological origins.

Excellent discussion of the basics of evolution. I am particularly pleased with you discussion of the definition of evolution and your discussion of misconceptions of evolution. I will send interested students to this web page!

Charles G.

If anyone is considering this evidence, please note that it fits the biblical model re: the state that creation is in, which is described as out of oder and that every living thing should exemplify caos. Also with the biblical model being correct we should see things degenerate. For example if lions no longer had the ability to produce teeth or if many birds DNA could not produce proper wings to fly would not mean that these things were not origionally designed suitable for God and man, who according to the bible found them enjoyable and good.

Very thorough, well-organized, informative site; I'm passing the address on.

One thing possibly worth adding: There are a lot of creationist sites taking advantage of a lack of well-publicized response; expanding the focus of this site beyond to answer questions on these sites would be a welcome addition.

Response from the editor:

Alas, there is only so much time in the day. Responding specifically to each and every one of the multitude of creationist sites out there would take forever, and in any case most of their arguments are recycled creationist tract material, many of which are already dealt with by the FAQs in this archive.

Dear Fellow Flat Earthers,

Just a quick note to let you know of the presence of the Sydney chapter of the Flat Earth Society. Our initial homepage is to be found at The Flat Earth Society of Australia. Please visit and let me know about other like societies.

Would someone please explain to me the whole Noah's Ark thing? IF you look carefully, in Genesis 6:15 it tells you exactly how big the Ark is, but in the measurment of cubits. So what's a cubit? It then says in 7:20, that the waters rose 15 cubits, and covered the mountains. Wake up guys! If a boat were that big, although it would have enough room for two of every animal, and all the food necessary to keep them alive, when it landed on mount Ar-ar-at in Turkey, there would be no problem on finding the sucker. so, would someone out there give me a reasonable explanation on the subject?

I believe that both Dr. Girsh and Dr Ross are right in some extent. I believe in God's creation and I agree with some natural process. God is Lord of natural and supernatural. God set natural processes of developing baby in the naturam mother's womb. Only God does is, give a new spirit and soul to the new baby. God created and finished creation. It may include growing process of stars. I believe preadamic race, and that explain age of universe and perhaps our earth. Is is any problem with that?

Vladimir U.

I sent the following to Warren vonRoeschlaub in response to his article on God and Evolution. Unfortunately, it was rejected. I am, therefore, resubmitting it via this comment form. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your website.

Subject: Q5. Does evolution deny the existence of God?

Dear Mr. vonRoeschlaub:

I'm afraid that I lack the expertise to debate evolutionary theory with you. However, I am familiar with God and with the Bible and am, therefore, able take issue with your statement: "There is no reason to believe that God was not a guiding force behind evolution".

If one is to believe in God (especially the God of the Bible), then there is every reason to discount the theory of evolution for the following reasons:

1) If God used evolutionary processes to create life on earth, then it follows that God is a being who finds pain, sickness, deformity, suffering and death to be 'very good' (as stated in the Bible) or who at least prefers these methods of 'improving' the complexity of life over any other possible methods.

2) The Bible states that God created all things for His pleasure. If evolution is God's modus operandi for all of creation, then we can make certain assumptions about what it is that pleases God.

3) It follows, then, that mankind is far more compassionate, merciful and graceful than his creator and that God is certainly not worthy of our worship. (One must then wonder where the concepts of compassion, mercy and grace find their origins, for they are certainly not found in nature, and nature apparently reflects the character of it's creator).

If God is such a being, then what can we expect heaven to be like?

The God we find revealed to us in the Bible, however, is not such a God. Therefore, either the Bible is a fairy tale (certainly the longest, most complex, and most historically accurate fairy tale ever concocted), or evolution is hopeful thinking by those who would deny God's existence.

It is my choice to believe the latter.

I hope sometime to challenge more of the presumptions I find on this website. I also have a thirst for knowledge, and hope that this can be a cordial, two-way affair that I might learn some things from you.

Yours truly,
Marc A. Todd

Response by , author of the God and Evolution FAQ:

First the Bible states that God created the universe and saw that it was "good." Since you feel all the death and decay involved with the process of evolution is not good you deny God's hand in it. I would say however that you are looking at two different meanings of the word "good." Evolution is an amazing and impressive process; it allows for adaptation to new environments and change, it produces new and beautiful creatures, and it is, in my opinion one of the cleaverest and most wonderful methods for keeping the earth in balance. In that sense it is certainly good.

You argue that since evolution inevitably requires death God has condemned the world to living with death and decay. This ignores any ultimate goal God may have, for imagine the state of the world where there was birth but no death? The world is by its very nature a temporary thing. If you feel that is "bad," then it is bad whether the Earth was created in one fell swoop or created in conjunction with evolution.

I recognize that these arguments are very emotional, but the argument you have presented is an emotional one too.

First, you have a really enjoyable site, a goldmine of information. I am a geoscientist who believes in God, an old earth, and evolution. Here in Kentucky we are gearing up for a proposed creationist museum. The proponents of the museum are requesting state funding on an "equal time" basis to refute the geologic/evolutionary bias of a state park: Big Bone Lick.

Second, a quick comment on the "Flood Hypothesis." How is it that advocates of the global flood feel they are justified in looking for the remains of the Ark on Mt. Aarat? Just because the Bible says so? It seems to me that if the flood occurred, when the waters receeded, Mt. Everest and its vicinity would first be exposed.

Finally, could you assist me in locating the newsgroup so I might listen in?

Response from the editor:

To read the newsgroup, you will need (1) news-reading software and (2) access to a Usenet news server. Most web browsers these days can read Usenet news; both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 have news-reading functionality built in. As for a Usenet news server, most Internet Service Providers provide access to Usenet news; contact your site administrator for more details.

The following message was sent to Ted Holden after visiting his astonishing home page:

Oh, Ted... Ted, Ted, Ted... I found you via and what a find you are! Do you dress in robes and chant late at night or something?

You are truly a unique and interesting individual. Fundamentalist Christians are so amazing in their diversity! Some look like used car salesmen and shout from pulpits. Some look so cute as they peddle their new mountain bikes, bible in hand, all over my neighborhood every Sunday wasting all their time trying to "save" homosexuals.

But the ones on t.o are my favorites. Just to wonder how their minds cling to the myth of genesis gives me such happiness. You are the elves and leprichons of modern times. So novel, so quaint, so devoid of the excesses of the modern intellect! You charm me so.

You dance and prance and toss your short little arms in the air, smiling and tithing ideas to rainbows and clouds; you are good, dear, sweet little people. You all belong in a Broadway musical, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

I read the t.o posts and creationism literature and am amazed that you people can honestly believe what you do in the face of the evidence. Do you believe that the earth is flat? Does the sun revolve around the earth? Can you turn dust into gold? Where do babies come from? Why is the sky blue? Can God find my car keys for me? Keep being you, Ted; I adore you!

Always your friend,

Who ever is running the newsgroup should get their act together. Do you guys have anything to do with the newsgroup? Have you read some of the post that have nothing to do with origins? you know, raping, hate, selling magazines etc. Although I don't agree with evolution, I enjoy the science presented from both sides of the fence. I wish the newsgroup was kept up as professionally as this webb site.


Response from the editor:

No one "runs" the newsgroup. Anyone who wants to post there can. That's one reason that an anti-crossposting moderation policy is currently being considered.

Why do you call the newsgroup "Talk Origins"???? I think that "Talk Evolution" or "Talk Evolutionary Origins" Would be more appropriate. All of your FAQ's have a blatant bias in defense of (Evolutionism.) Lots of Assumptions are put forth as fact with no opposing views. Therefore, Talk Evoluition is a more accurate Label for the group. This bias is even obnoxiously clear in your welcome file, ie, (Many people come in to the origins debate with some very convincing-sounding arguments about "why evolution can't have happened.")

If this FAQ is seperate from the T.O. news group and maintained by only those supporting the evoutionary view, then the title is misleading. It should read, Talk Origins, Evolutionism FAQ. By the way, Your FAQ's are nice, but based on many presupositions. I am aware you wish to "convince" the reader of your points, but sooner or later, the truth to these underlying assuptions will become obvious to the diligent researcher at which time your integrity (those espousing the evolutionary world view) will be cast into a bad light and at the same time, Creationists (most of which) readily admit when assumption must be used in there model. Ahhhh, I see you have experienced this with piltdown man FAQ, hahahah, would you call that ... Damage control?

Arrgh, I'm looking for a UofE logo and motto to put on a card I'm doing up for a literature table at a Gish speech. Help! The UofE link didn't work.

Elmer B.

Response from the editor:

The University of Ediacara link was temporarily unavailable. It should be working again.


Response from the editor:

Everything is possible except, apparently, the ability of the reader to control his caps-lock key.

One of the major arguments of the creationists has been the paucity of intermediate fossils found to date. This is a facetious argument; intermediate forms are naturally rare because so few living creatures actually fossilize, and evolution probably occurs in short bursts (according to the 'punctuated equilibria' theory of evolution), so intermediate forms exist for a relatively short time during the speciation process; once a species is established, it usually remains virtually unchanged for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years. The foolishness of the creationists argument is apparent from the fact that, despite these disadvantages, many intermediate fossils have been found, and more continue to be discovered. The discovery of a feathered dinosaur in China announced today provides science with yet another example of evolution; if confirmed, it will be the first animal other than birds found to have feathers; a dinosaur evolving into a bird!

The creationists have fallen into the trap of worshipping a God of the gaps in our scientific knowledge. What science cannot yet explain, they attribute to their God performing miracles; with the result being that their God is diminished and discredited with each new scientific discovery. They further discredit their religion by the underhanded methods and sloppy "science" they engage in to try to discredit evolution. It is very unfortunate that they remain such a powerful political force in the U.S.; I can only attribute it to the dismal state of science education in this country.

Hi! Kudos on this slick and well-organized Web site. I'd also like to praise Chris Colby for the Basics of Evolutionary Biology. It was very well-written and useful for a biological illiterate like myself, all though I thought that the tone changed somewhat towards the end of the paper :)

Anyhow, I've got a question about speciation for somebody. I'm just an engineering/physics type, and I know very little about life sciences. I'm under the impression, though, that individuals of different species cannot produce offspring together. I'm talking about sexual creatures here, and I've really got mammals in mind. My understanding of the current theory of speciation is that a subpopulation of species A is reproductively isolated, individuals mutate, mutations are either selected against or propagate throughout the subpopulation, and so on, until eventually the individuals in the subpopulation are no longer able to reproduce with members of species A, and have therefore become species B.

Now, my question involves the nature of the ability to reproduce. What can make a member of B unable to have offspring with a member of A? Does the theory of speciation just described require one or more intermediate 'species' which are able to mate with both A and B, or does it assume that there are multiple occurences of the mutation that makes a B be a B within one generation? The extreme unlikelyhood of the latter makes me assume that the former is generally held. But how then can there be evolutionary jumps like a change in the structure of DNA (not just changes in gene content, but order and number),or a change in the number of chromasomes? Can one species breed with species on either side of such a divide? Or is the existence of such genetic quantum leaps merely a figment of my ill-informed imagination?

I hope that I've made my questions clear. If not, please feel free to ask me for clarification. Any answers or leads to other sources of answers would be greatly appreciated.

Brad H.

Response by , author of the Punctuated Equilibrium FAQ:


Your questions are quite cogent, and your imagination is not entirely hallucinatory. It is an unfortunate fact that biology rarely is simple, and this is one of those places where it happens to be far from simple.

For sexually reproducing organisms, by far and away the species concept applied most frequently would be Ernst Mayr's Biological Species Concept, which is stated as "... groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations which are reproductively isolated from other such groups." (See Joseph Boxhorn's excellent FAQ on speciation).

The reproductive isolation mentioned above is not only that provided by inter-population sterility, but may be due to behavior, morphology, habitat preference, or any of a variety of other mechanisms. As such, the possibility of obtaining hybrids between two recognized species does not mean that the BSC is in error. As Mayr explains it, the BSC refers to the reproductive isolation of *populations*. A rare outcrossing does not threaten the species status because it does not imply regular gene flow between the populations.

Now, none of this means that genetic post-mating isolating mechanisms are not important. You seem to be most interested in those. While good examples of far-out genetics are rare among mammals, there are some cases in vertebrates. A change in karyotype (number of chromosomes) is usually sufficient to produce either reduced fertility or complete sterility in crosses between the original population and the population with the new karyotype. There are many different ways that the karyotype can change. The most drastic is polyploidy, where the entire genomic complement gets duplicated two or more times. Within that, there is allopolyploidy, which happens in crosses between organisms of different karyotype, and autopolyploidy, which happens in crosses within the species. Wait a minute, you might say, didn't I just get through saying that different karyotypes were usually a bar to reproduction? Yes, the "usually" does not include allopolyploidy. Other means of changing karyotype include fusion (the merging of two or more chromosomes into one), fission, where one chromosome is divided to from two chromosomes, and replication of particular chromosomes (Trisomy-21 is the name for the retention of an extra copy of the 21st human chromosome, which causes "Down's Syndrome).

OK, what about the cases I mentioned? Certain lizard species display a rather odd arrangement. In a normally diploid (2n) species, there exists a population of female lizards that are all triploid (3n). Both the diploid and triploid females mate with diploid males. Also, the tree-frog Hyla versicolor appears to be a polyphyletic lineage (the species contains members derived from *different* ancestors) of tetraploid (4n) animals, where the tetraploidy appears to have arisen separately four times in the parent species. Strickberger mentions that Israeli mole rats contain within the population karyotypes of between 52 and 60 chromosomes.

Unfortunately, there is a lot more. Reproductive incompatibility can arise due to small changes in genetics. Certain pseudo-scorpions seem to have speciated on the basis of about eleven alleles difference from the parent species. Reproductive incompatiblity may not be established even given large-scale changes in the genetics (as in the polyploid examples above). Remember the Harvard Law: Under the most carefully controlled conditions of temperature, pressure, light, diet, water, and habitat, the organism will do as it damn well pleases.

For vertebrate animals, you are correct that speciation is normally assumed to be due to changes that accumulate within a population, and not due to multiple individuals having fortuituously undergone the same drastic mutation conferring reproductive incompatibility. However, we do have examples to the contrary (Hyla versicolor mentioned earlier). Biology doesn't lend itself to hard-and-fast rules. The flexibility of the genetic system underlying life precludes being able to neatly pigeonhole or predict (yet!) the consequences of certain crosses of species.

I have heard the creationist argument that evolution is not allowed by genetics. Evolution uses the variation in alleles, which would not produce new traits. Alleles for a hair color trait for example might make people's hair different colors. Evolution could result in a new hair color, but the hair trait itself would be constant.

I know this argument is wrong because the fossil record does show lineages undergoing dramatic change through time. Could you throw a little light on the matter of what can be changed by new alleles?

Walter K.

Response from the editor:

Genes control the development of every one of an organism's biological traits, so virtually any trait could be changed through the introduction of new alleles, assuming that they don't have a negative impact on the organism's ability to survive and reproduce.

I am confused by the complexity of the definition of evolution in the article "What is Evolution" by Larry Moran. I think that it is intuitively obvious to anyone who is a parent that individuals change from generation to generation. I think that this change is explained by sexuality. My son is not a clone of either myself or my wife, but a mixture of our alleles. As indivduals change because of the sexual nature of reproduction, the "species" as a whole may exhibit a change. This may be caused by a particular stressor in the environment of a particular area that people inhabit. Is this change what scientists consider "evolution"?

Finally, my real question is: Does the scientific definition of evolution include the concept that one species somehow evolved into another species? For instance, fish crawling up on land to become amphibians? Apes changing into people? Clearly the concept of the changing of one type of animial into another is the thing that causes the smoke and heat in the debate. I'm not sure whether the narrowing (if that is what it is) of the definition of evolution is a capitulation on behalf on the scientific community that this type of "evolution" never happened, or if the definition is simply a more obscure way of saying that this species change did in fact happen.

This is not an argument, simply an attempt to clearly define terms on a macro, rather than micro, level. Thanks for the forum, and I appreciately await your answer.

Darryl C.

Response by , author of the "What is Evolution?" FAQ and the Random Genetic Drift FAQ:

It is difficult to come up with a convenient way of explaining evolution to those who are not scientists. Within the scientific community we are quite comfortable with a definition of evolution that talks of changes in the frequencies of alleles in a population over time. Scientists understand implicitly that evolution deals with populations and that the changes that are referred to are significant changes in the freqeuncies in the entire population. We also assume that the definition refers to significnat amounts of time - usually several generations. I suppose that I could make this clearer in the FAQ but then the definition would become unwieldy.

So, to answer your first question, we do not think that changes in a single individual in a single generation count as evolution. In order to count as evolution there would have to be significant long term changes in the entire population. Note that "population" is not the same as "species". A species can consist of many genetically isolated populations. Note also that sexual reproduction is not necessary for the kind of changes that we refer to as evolution.

Your second question seems to be asking for the mechanism(s) of evolution. There are two main mechanisms. The first is natural selection. I assume that that was what you were referring to when you mentioned "stressor" If a new mutation arises in a population, or the population is subjected to a new environmental pressure then the frequency of alleles will change as the population adjusts to the new change. This is evolution.

The second mechanism is called genetic drift. In this case the frequency of alleles will change at random simply because some indivduals might be killed (ie. by an earthquake) or some individuals might by chance have more offspring. This doesn't happen very often in huge populations but it is much more common in small populations. Some of us believe that genetic drift is the most common mechanism of evolution.

Finally, my real question is: Does the scientific definition of evolution include the concept that one species somehow evolved into another species? For instance, fish crawling up on land to become amphibians? Apes changing into people? Clearly the concept of the changing of one type of animial into another is the thing that causes the smoke and heat in the debate. I'm not sure whether the narrowing (if that is what it is) of the definition of evolution is a capitulation on behalf on the scientific community that this type of "evolution" never happened, or if the definition is simply a more obscure way of saying that this species change did in fact happen.

Firstly, let me make it clear that the scientific definition of evolution is intended to clarify the minimum criteria for evolution. We are interested in distinguishing evolution from other events that may look like evolution and that's why we use such a precise definition. For example, it is said that the average height of Europeans has increased in the past few hundred years. Is this evolution or is the height increase due only to better nutrition? You can see that in order to even ask this question we must have a definition of evolution at the "micro" level.

I think that most scientists would think that the current definition is a broadening of the definition that was used several decades ago. We can now address issues that concern evolution that happens in small populations over tens of generations whereas the evolutionists of the last century were restricted to dealing with larger morphological changes that could only be adequately documented in the fossil record (or by artificial breeding).

Secondly, scientists do not doubt that modern species have arisen from more ancient species that are now extinct. This doesn't need to be explicitly stated since it follows as an obvious consequence of the definition. If the frequency of alleles in a population changes over time then over a long period of time there will be lots of changes and the individuals in the modern population will look very different from the those in the ancient population. Furthermore, if a species is subdivided into two genetically isolated populations then those two populations will evolve independently (by drift or selection) until eventually there will have been enough changes in the frequences of alleles that the populations will look different and be incapable of interbreeding. They will have formed two new species.

Now, whether or not "macroevolution" has occurred has nothing to do with the definition of evolution. Similarly, it is possible to define evolution as we have done but then discover that it never happens even at the "micoevolution" level. The evidence for populations evolving or for speciation events comes from real data and not from the definition. We know that populations evolve and we know for a fact that the numbers and different kinds of species change over time scales of millions of years.

There is no attempt on the part of scientists to obfuscate or capitulate. The evidence is there for everyone to see; populations evolve, speciation happened. Evolution is occurring now as it did in the past.

Congratulations on an informative and entertaining site. In addition to your FAQs it's a great resource for keeping tabs on the latest crazy arguments from the CSC. I came across "polystratate fossils" recently while teaching in an Evolution course here in Sweden. One of the students raised the question after hearing it at a recent creation/evolution discussion. I enjoyed your FAQs on this subject.

I was recently asked by a student to comment on a critique of evolution written from an Islamic perspective. This was my first encounter with an Islamic argument and I was looking forward to reading something different. In brief, the author of this short essay (a chemist) agreed with the scientific explanation for the origin of the solar system and the age of the Earth but objected to biological evolution. The essay contained many of the standard objections that we hear from fundamentalist Christians (i.e., probability of life, second law of thermodynamics, mutations all bad etc.), but no alternative theory based on Islamic beliefs.

Question: I am interested in understanding the Islamic objections to evolution in more detail. Can anyone point me to a publication or web site that explains Islamic views on the evolution/creation argument?

Paul K.

Response from the editor:

In a recent issue of Creation/Evolution (No. 34, Summer 1994), Dr. Taner Edis discusses Islamic creationism, specifically the brand being promoted in Turkey. According to Edis:

Islamic creationists are more likely to be day-age, Old Earth creationists; accepting Genesis only as a corrupted version of the original message of God to the Hebrews. The Qur'an account is relatively vague, even as to the number of days of creation: while most have the conventional six, one ambiguous passage adds up to eight. ... So forcing the text into a day-age interpretation is somewhat easier for the Islamic case. They also don't have to worry as much about the stated order of creation in the Genesis story, as little is said about this matter in the Qur'an.

Edis also points out that Islamic creationists in Turkey rely heavily on literature from western creationist organizations like the ICR.

As I read various parts at this sight, I see that you are very concerned with your cause. This represents not quantitative questions and ponderings, but motive.

According to the Bible, motive comes from the heart. With a heart of unbelief you pursue meaningless goals which will end in death. You use your mind to serve these things and your strength carries out quantitative actions based on a heart dead to God. This is not an intellecual problem, for your intellect carries out the tasks to perform your goals based on unbelief. It can do nothing else. Yours is a spiritual problem.

As you noted in one place there is information out there on evolution. And I remind you there is quantitative information on Life, the Bible. Jesus said that He is the Way the Truth and the Life. Sin = death. You sin. You will die. But the God you fight, hopelessly, is totally good. He is holy, just and righteous. He is also merciful. Jesus Christ died for sins, because of his good- ness and mercy. He is a God of love.

Yet if you do not recieve Jesus, you will die in your sins. You will have what you strive for now, separation from God forever. You know what the Bible says this will be like. Reguardless of what you believe, or don't believe, God has revealed this.(i.e. Hell and the Lake of Fire.) Very scary and very lonely. You should fear. God says that fear of God is that beginning of wisdom and knowledge. The Bible claims that you are blind. This is true. But it is a problem with a personal sacrifice of God for a remedy. As God's word says; he is not willing that any perish. This includes you.

Information on the theory of evolution is available, it is obvious what you have done with it. Information on Life is also there for all to see. I have recieved Jesus into my life and I testify to a new nature. I know your nature is depraved, for I am human like you,and God says all have sinned and fall short of his glory. This was me. This is you.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shoul not perish, but have everlasting life. -w/in 3rd chap. in the gospel of John

In Christ,
Calvin R.
(fresman in college, studying engineering, information with which to serve the only wise God, and former pupil of many a teacher who told me their beliefs on evolution)

What a great WWW resource!! You do a great job to keep this maintained and I am very impressed that you actually bother. In my own experience no one with "faith" (ie: the belief that it is good not to question some beliefs (including the belief that "faith" itself is a good idea, presumably)) has ever changed their mind in the face of any amount of reason or evidence. I expect this frustrates you too, but at least you make an effort where I have given up long ago.

Roddy M.

Can you help me help a poet friend? She is looking for the source (presumably an evolutionist) of the quote "life is a search for advantage" that she found in a poem by George Oppen.

Guy S.

I read James' (of Australia) August feedback where he gently asked creationists not to teach what he deemed unscientific beliefs from the Bible. He can not believe that the Bible could be scientifically accurate. What people fail to realize is that while the Bible is not particularly a book of modern science, it is nevertheless a book of factually recorded observations. In Noah's case, he recorded what he observed. He also had a little help from God so that what he recorded in the Bible is accurate. Now, Noah would not have said the flood covered the whole earth unless God had revealed that to him. As far as Noah was concerned, the flood itself was verification enough that what God had revealed was also true.

Here's an example, If my child tells me that he saw ice form on the end of a metal rod he put over a boiling teakettle, do I say he is lying, or mistaken? No, I try to ascertain the conditions under which he observed the phenomena. In this case, the metal rod was supercooled, and when introduced into the steam, moisture condensed on the rod and froze before the steam had time to heat up the rod. Just because the facts don't fit our preconceived notion does not mean the observation is unscientific.

Let me ask a question. How can the geologic strata that stretches across the state of Tennessee (hundreds of miles) contain rock and gravel? How big of a flood, and under what dynamic, does it take to keep rock and gravel suspended, before settling out into the geologic column? How many local floods could have covered the entire state of Tennessee and be violent enough to suspend rock and gravel? If you think I'm stretching the truth, just drive along the Interstate and pay attention to the sides of the road which were cut out of the existing terrain. You'll see what I mean. Of course, this phenomenon can be observed almost anywhere in the United States. Look for yourself next time you drive along an interstate highway which was cut through hills and mountains.

Roland B.

Response from , author of the Archaeopteryx FAQs:

Roland writes:

Here's an example, If my child tells me that he saw ice form on the end of a metal rod he put over a boiling teakettle, do I say he is lying, or mistaken? No, I try to ascertain the conditions under which he observed the phenomena. In this case, the metal rod was supercooled, and when introduced into the steam, moisture condensed on the rod and froze before the steam had time to heat up the rod. Just because the facts don't fit our preconceived notion does not mean the observation is unscientific.

But if you look and not only was there no rod, but there was no tea kettle and no stove either? There is no evidence for a worldwide flood. This was realized by Christian geologists such as the Rev. Adam Sedgewick and the Rev. William Buckland, in the last century. Such an event would leave abundant and obvious traces. But none are found. Not only that but what is found flatly contradicts any global flood.

Roland writes:

Let me ask a question. How can the geologic strata that stretches across the state of Tennessee (hundreds of miles) contain rock and gravel? How big of a flood, and under what dynamic, does it take to keep rock and gravel suspended, before settling out into the geologic column? How many local floods could have covered the entire state of Tennessee and be violent enough to suspend rock and gravel? If you think I'm stretching the truth, just drive along the Interstate and pay attention to the sides of the road which were cut out of the existing terrain. You'll see what I mean. Of course, this phenomenon can be observed almost anywhere in the United States. Look for yourself next time you drive along an interstate highway which was cut through hills and mountains.

You seem to be suggesting that gravel can only be deposited under flood conditions. This is incorrect. Gravel can be laid down in rivers, on beaches and in aluvial fans, which are not layed down under water at all. Each of these methods of deposition leaves tell-tale characterists features which we can identify.

In order to suspend gravel, you need a current in excess of 50 km/hr. Under these conditions not only will finer material remain in suspension, but any unsolidified sediments will be eroded away. Once the currents subside, you will get the gravel settling out followed by finer sediments and finally clays. However, this is the opposite of what is seen in the rock record. Here there is no gradual decrease in sediment grain size from the largest at the bottom to the finest at the top, but there rock record is a mixture of grain sizes. Often gravel is found above finer sediments. This is impossible in a one major flood hypothesis. So you are left having to invoke a number of floods - a contradiction with the Bible. Also in order that the high current speeds do not erode away the underlying sediments, they must be consolidated - indicating significant time gaps between flood events.

Another problem is footprints and rainprints. How can they form if the rock record was laid down in one event. You might say that they were made in quiet periods, but then, in order to get overlying gravels the increased current speed needed to suspend gravel would erode the unconsolidated sediments containing the footprints.

The rock record clearly falsifies a global flood. The flood story is symbolic and much is lost when people take it literally.

I thought your page kicked. It helped me finish my hominoid project and has earned me extra credit I wanted to thank the creaters of this page for a job whell done.

Congratulations on a well written and presented site. Although a bit one-sided, I found many of the essays to be informtive and enjoyable.

I was a bit chastened, however, by your persistent bashing on young earth fundamentalists like Henry Morris. The general tenor of your site is that one must either believe in evolution as presented by Dawkins and Sagan or be a raving, Bible-thumping YEC (young earth creationist). Surely there are more facets than the debate than that. Although you do provide a few references to books by old earth creationists and the like, there seems to be precious little comment on the validity of their position.

Has anyone written a critique of Michael J. Behe's "Darwin's Black Box"? It was only published in July (Free Press), and I was wondering where I could find some comments on it besides that wretched review in the Wall Street Journal.

Andy M.

Response from the editor:

While it is true that there are many varieties of creationists, the most virulent strain seems to be the young earth type. Young earth creationists are the ones trying to litigate their religious beliefs into the scientific curricula of public school classrooms. They are also the ones primarily responsible for the watering down of the subject of evolution in most public school biology textbooks. Old earth creationists are not anywhere near as organized or as vocal. This state of affairs is just as true of the Usenet newsgroup as it is of society in general. Since this archive largely reflects the activity that takes place in, it should come as no surprise that many of the articles here deal with young earth creationist arguments; young earth creationists are the most vocal of the creationist bunch in

Also, see the review of Michael Behe's book that was just added to the archive.

A response to Harold Moore

While others may seek understanding
The Christian will always persist
In explaining the grandeur of life away
With "God did it, that's all, class dismissed."

I can't help but feel that there's more to this life
Than quoting the Bible verbatim.
The Christian however, apparently needs
Belief in some God to elate him.

"Without God I've nothing to live for,
Evolution just must be a fib.
How could humans have come from a monkey?
Any fool knows I came from a rib!"

Believe what you want, I can't change your mind
You've already made your decision.
But all your belief can't alter the facts,
So sorry to challenge your vision!

Steve Vanden-Eykel

I am a biology major working on a MA Theology. I am worried about Creationist ideas in our schools subverting science education and weakening our country. I don't find it necessary to believe Creationists to believe in God. I know you, as scientists, hesitate to discuss motives, but the only reason I can see for Creationists to exist is to profit from their absurd ideas.

Steve S.

The speciation aspect of evolution may rightfully be called a well tested hypothesis which may he considered a theory, but the supports upon which the quote "theory" as a whole rests are not falsifiable. And those on which some experimentation has been attempted such as the endosymbiotic hypothesis have had not have positive results.

There are some very large problems with the talk origins page. All the information in this page is biased and is presented from one point of view. Where is the information for evidence for creationism? To any evolutionist I challenge them with this. It is said that the early atmosphere was a reducing one. Experiments in the 50's were done by Miller who managed to produce some of the components of living organisms these being amino acids. In an organism there are only left handed amino acids. Yet in miller's experiment and many like them both left and right handed amino acids were formed. From this there are many problems. How did it come to be that organisms only have left handed amino acids The mathematical probablility of even one protein of forming in some primieval soup is impossible. In the experiments conducted left and right handed amino acids joined up with each other forming hopeless gunks of mass. The acids cannot discriminate. Another problem is that with the joining of an amino acid they must all be joined by peptide bonds otherwise they cannot fold in there 3d pattern. The problem is these bonds only join maybe 50% of the time. It is quite clear from only one area such as this that evolution is impossible. All the other areas of science testify to the fact that evolution is impossible also. Why believe a lie such as evolution.

Response from the editor:

Instead of challenging evolutionists to present the scientific evidence for creation, the reader should consider turning that challenge back on the creationists. The reader's argument can hardly be considered an argument for creationism because it consists of little more than weak arguments of personal incredulity about evolution. Where is the scientific evidence that all present life forms were specially created by god? Where is the scientific evidence for a global flood? Where is the scientific evidence that the Earth was created only a few thousand years ago?

The argument the reader makes about the chance formation of complex proteins is a red herring. Evolution is not only a story of random chance, but also of non-random selection. See The Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution FAQ.

I was impressed by your web site - this sort of thing is using the web to its real potential; I just wish there were more sites as interesting and informative as this. I am a biologist/geologist based at ORNL in Tennessee. I'm considering doing some analyses on frozen mammoth ivory oxygen isotopes to see if frozen ivory was being traded in the ancient mediterranean, and also to see what temperatures the mammoths were really living under just before they got frozen! Can you suggest anyone I might contact to obtain some samples? All I need is a few micrograms.

I just read the faq about evolution. I am a Christian who understands evolution and believes it to be fact. I have observed that those who emphasize the conflict between evolution and creation (in defending evolution) accomplish little more than to turn creationists away from science. Not good! Also, it is wrong to assume that God did (and doesn't still) work through evolution. It should be enough just to show that the ancient "human" tracks can be better explained as being produced by dinosaurs. That is all. Over and out.

I just read the list of topics. You guys are more out in left field than I thought. Why waste your time arguing evolution vs creation? Neither side will likely be swayed by logic or anything else. Just give us data on evolution, which we enjoy, and forget the anti-creationism baloney, which we don't enjoy. Otherwise, keep up the good work!

I am doing some research to teach some Teens in our Youth group what the story is about Evolution and the Case for Creation. One of the things I'm intriged about is the fact that we teach Evolution as fact in our schools (without any). We have a guy who wrote this theory (Darwin), and because the mainstream education gatekeepers reject the notion of God (By the way "a fool says in his heart, there is no God"), they publish this as fact. What is the definition of Science???

Another quick question after reading one of your FAQ's. What is the theoretical calculation of mutations and "natural selections" required to get from an Aomeba (sp?) to the millions of species (including the mutations within species) that we have present today. Do we have enough time? How about for Man? How long is a generation? How many generations does it take to get me from "Lucy" (assuming a huge biological change happens every generation). I think the natural selection bit doesn't hold water

Stephen W.

Response from the editor:

Humans are over 98% genetically identical to their closest living cousins, the chimpanzees. Given this, the shared ancestor of humans and chimps would have shared over 99% of its DNA with humans. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Australopithecus afarensis (which is what Lucy was) would have been nearly identical to us, genetically speaking. Four million years of evolution would have been more than enough to divergently evolve chimpanzees and humans. As for the shared ancestor of humans and most single-celled organisms, it must have existed between 600 and 1200 million years ago, which is a heck of a lot of time for evolution to take place.

Congratulations to all evolutionists, scientists and seekers of the truth. A development as important as the acceptance of the heliocentric theory by the Catholic church has recently occurred. An historic statement by the leader of the Catholic Church accepts the findings and conclusions of Darwin i.e. the evolution of life as being valid. Wow! Can the fundamentalists be far behind? Keep gathering the evidence!


This comment is about two issues: 1) the status of the science and society and 2) the role of philosophy. I think the larger problem here is a fundamental misunderstanding of the process of science. The public at large is unaware of what actually goes on in science. Consequently, I think the archive needs to address this issue of public ignorance. The issue of science versus pseudoscience needs to be addressed. Perhaps the archive can include a brief "What is Science FAQ" and links to sites which explore the issue of scientific ignorance in greater depth. Three recent books that address this issue (in terms of all science) are Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World, Marcia Angell's Science on Trial and the Ehrlich's Betrayal of Science and Reasons. These are not the best books, but they are well written and very recent.

The second issue is of philosophy. What many people do is attack evolution (and by extension, science) on via metaphysics and epistemology. Primarily, they may argue that revelation is equal, if not superior to science (reason) as the means of acquiring knowledge. This has always been the primary arguement of the anti-evolution (science) critics.

By no means am I an expert in this area, but this is what I see to be the problem.

When Jesus said "I am the door...", a literal interpretation would lead to a foolish understanding of His true message. As a Christian, I am also a proponant of Evolution. The debate between Evolution and Creationism must be widened to include this third (and more accurate description) of the origin of Man.

This is absolutely fascinating -- and all I was hunting for was more info on the feathery sauropod... In college I took the pro-creation side in a debate, just for the fun of having a good argument, and unfortunately I blew the guy out of the water, I found the he had prepared an anti-Bible argument, not a pro-creation argument, so it was all rather pathetic!

Sounds like you're having a lot of fun here, keep up the good work!

Julie B.

It is clearly evident that you have made your suppositions of Dr. Baugh's research without actually examining the evidence that he has accumulated. If you will review, carefully, the video tapes that he has had published, such as "Creation in Symphony- The Model" you may find that your suppositions are incorrect and without basis. He has, in my opinion, given clear scientific evidence to support his findings. If you have reviewed, personally, his studies and do not think that they are well thought out and, at very least, possible then I would have to seriously question the motives, as well as your background, by which you make these suppositions.

Roland W.

Picture this if you will. In Genesis it tells us that that we were created in Gods (plural ) when it states "our" image. It goes on to tell us in Gods image such as Adam with all those body parts and not create the opposite so they could procreate, instead he puts Adam thru the torture of taking out one of his ribs to create woman. AND THE God sends the Devil to earth to tempt these new creatures knowing full well since God is supposed to know everything, instead of sending the Devil to some other galaxy, banished forever and ever. Now if were good little boys and girls then we can spend eternity, yes thats forever which is a pretty long time. Doing what is beyond my comprehension since I get bored on this planet quite often. If I were to live forever (heaven forbid ) I NEVER expect to find a 747 suddenly appear out fo nowhere in the field behind my home. I'm saying I believe that like the bee, we were created and the "Bee" died leaving us to continue on. Seriously, we will never know the truth in this matter. What matters is that we treat everyone the way we would like to be treated which I guess is also an impossibility since we are in effect a type of animal. But we should continue trying.

Don S.

I know you guys wouldn't believe me if I based my response on Genesis 1:1, so I won't. I can't tell you why some people believe what they do, but I know what I do. (I'm responding to FABNAQ)

Some observations that support creation are: the oldest tree is dated just after the flood, the Mississippi river delta is the size it should be after 4400 BC and one big flood, Niagara Falls is just the right size after 4400 BC and on big flood, the sun is shrinking, so 20 million years ago it would have touched the earth, the moon is going farther away meaning dinosaurs would have been drown out twice a day 70 million years ago, oil at 20000 psi is still there when the maximum time oil will stay at that pressure in 10-15 thousand years, the Conservation of Angular Momentum cannot be correct, meaning that a Big Bang doesn't make since (In our solar system there are 2 planets spinning backwards, 11 moons spinning backwards, 4 moons traveling backwards, and 2 planets have moons going in both directions at the same time), the population curve looks like there were about 8 people were alive 6400 years ago, space dust could have only accumliated on the moon for about 7500 years, Saturn's rings are still moving away from it, we still have comets that were supposed to be gone after 10000 years. You can check all of these out for yourselves if you want to.

Now some questions for you. Where did the first matter come from? Where did the first life come from? Why do thing want to reproduce? What about the 11,000 people that have "seen" the Loch Ness Monster? How long did it take for the Bombarder beetle to shoot flames? How did dinosaurs get on the walls of Babylon? How did dinosaurs get on a Roman Mosaic in 200 AD? Why were dinosaur myths the same all over the world 4000 years ago? Why does man have a different number of ribs than woman? Where did feelings come from?

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