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

Feedback for February 1997

Listed below are some of the letters received from readers of the Talk.Origins Archive in the month of February 1997.

In regards to the Anti-Creationism FAQ, mention is made of chaos in the human body and the lack of specific sites for information regarding brain function and heart arythmia. William Ditto PhD, and his research group in the Georgia Tech Physics department have done papers on both of these subjects. Specifically, they have done research on modeling heart behavior during arythmia with non-linear equations and using chaos control techniques to stop the arythmia. They also published a paper on epileptic seizures in rats and how they could be stopped using anti- control techniques which returned the brains to there regular (non-linear) functioning.

p.s. The coriolis force is also mentioned as a contributing factor to left handed amino acids. At a scale of approx. 1 meter, the corriolis force is almost impossible to detect accept under the most strict laboratory conditions. As its effect is reduce on proportional to the reduction in scale, I doubt that it would have much effect on amino acid formation.

Response from , author of "Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field":

I am not sure which of several FAQ files the first paragraph is intended to address, but new information is always welcome in any case. It is the P.S. at the end to which I would like to briefly respond. I do not know what affect the Coriolis force may have on chirality in molecular systems, but I will come back to chirality momentarily. Meanwhile, on the scale of one meter, the coriolis force should be easily detectable through the precession of a Foucalt pendulum.

As for chirality, it may well be that the Coriolis force is not a determinate factor, since it must be very small compared to the typical intermolecular (and intramolecular) forces involved. However, it is possible that the orientation of the Earth's magnetic field can amplify a broken symmetry in chirality, as recently suggested in a paper by M.E. Popselov [1]. Another noteworthy possibility in the left-handed domination of amino acids is that the raw materials arrived on Earth already dominated by left handedness. While this seems inconsistent with the racemic mixture seen in meteorites, it may be feasible for comets, as suggested by W.A. Bonner [2] and Greenberg et al. [3]. (this is a noteworthy point, since comets may well be responsible for most of the water and organic material in the biosphere). Finally, there are some attempts to explain this effect through more exotic causes connected to the weak nuclear force and beta-decay [4,5]. The cause of this peculiar one-handedness in living systems remains a matter of discussion, but all of the sources I have seen stress the necessity for handedness in biological systems, suggesting that life could not proceed as it does in an even mix of left/right handed amino acids. This surprised me, but I am not so much of a biologist to assess the validity of that point of view.

[1] Chiral-Selective Radiolysis in a Magnetic Field
M.E. Popselov, Dept. of Physics, University of Quebec
Physics Letters A, 220(4-5): 194-200 (1996 Sep 9)

[2] Chirality and Life
W.A. Bonner, Dept. of Chemistry, Stanford University
Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere, 25(1-3): 175-190 (1995 Jun)

[3] Interstellar Dust, Chirality, Comets and the Origins of Life - Life from Dead Stars
Greenberg, J.M. et al., Huygens Lab, Leiden University
Journal of Biological Physics, 20(1-4): 61-70 (1994)

[4] Computational Studies of the Electroweak Origin of Biomolecular Handedness in Natural-Sugars
Tranter, G.E. et al., Wellcome Foundation Ltd., Kent, England
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A - Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 436(1898): 603-615 (1992 Mar 9)

[5] Prebiotic Sources of Biomolecular Handedness
Mason, S.F., University of London, King's College, Dept. of Chemistry
Chirality, 3(4): 223-226 (1991)

Thank you for having this resource readily available. I was a creationist myself up until I began my education in Biology At Seattle Pacific University (B.S. Biology, Environmental Studies, 1993). It was this education where I realized my unfounded belief in the literal creation was not necessary to maintaining my faith in Christ, in fact my understanding of evolution has given me a renewed sense of awe in the creator himself. It is time for Christians to let go of creationism if we are to reveal Christ to the world in a logical fashion that is acceptable to them. If we embrace beliefs that have no foundation in evidence and truth we will not be able to build bridges to those who do not believe.

The debate about how the world came into existence, especially the length of time it took God to accomplish His work, is amusing. Isn't it more important to believe on Jesus Christ and devote our time to Him, than to the endless debate over the creation? Will God REALLY hold us accountable for our creation belief? Or will we be held accountable for our love and devotion to the Triune God?

I've just been looking at the "Lucy's Knee" FAQ, and noticed something that the author forgot to mention about this claim by creationists. Look at the photo of Lucy included in the FAQ. It's the same as every other photo I've seen of that skeleton, and it's the best possible witness against the creationist lies about Johanson's honesty.

Lucy doesn't have any knees.

The left leg is only a femur. The right leg is only the tibia and a fragment of fibula. Neither side has both femur and tibia, so neither side has a knee joint. Any photograph ever published of Lucy will show this same thing. So the creationist claim about "Lucy's knee joint" is attacking a fossil and a claim that don't exist. Lucy has no knees, and Johanson has never claimed that she did. This gross error also shows that the creationists who make this claim have never actually bothered to look at Lucy in any detail.

Response from Jim Foley, author of "Fossil Hominids FAQ":

This is a very good point which demonstrates how unbelievably incompetent creationist research often is. Johanson's book "Lucy" contains photos of both Lucy and the knee joint, and they contain different bones. After a talk by creationist Kent Hovind, it took me about 30 seconds, using Hovind's own copy of "Lucy", to show that he had wrongly accused Johanson of combining these two fossils. But Hovind's audience, like most creationists who have heard this slur, never heard the retraction, so the claim continues to circulate.

This site is an excellent resource for everyone. Thanks to all the people involved with its establishment and maintenance.

I really, really like your new format. Good graphics, nice feel, easy to read.

Was wondering if there are any plans (subject to the time of an expert to write it of course) to include a paper on the evolution of whales? The Denver Museum of Natural History has a small section, in their Prehistoric Journey exibition, about whale evolution, and it includes information about the latest fossil discoveries from locations such as Pakistan. The evolutionary sequence is both fascinating and convincing. It includes several examples of intermediate evolutionary stages between an early terrestrial animal and contemporary whales. I think your readers would enjoy this information.

Response from :

In a section of my web page I have reproduced a paper by Lenny Flank on whale evolution. My web page also has a link to Lenny Flank's web page; you can consult it for additional information.

I haven't had the opportunity to comprehensively browse your archives, but I would like to thank Kathleen Hunt for her excellent Fossil FAQ. I also printed Frank Steiger's submission on the commonly misunderstood 2nd law of thermodynamics, but have not had the opportunity to read through it yet. I'll certainly be visiting this website in the future. Keep up the good work!

Mark Sando

Why is there only an eighth of an inch of dust on the moon, suggesting that it is about 5000 years old? source: Nasa As opposed to 4.5 billion years old.

Response from Chris Stassen, author of "The Age of the Earth":

Your question is directly answered in the the Moon Dust FAQ and also in the Age of the Earth FAQ.

In 1982 (or it could have been '83) I attended a lecture given by one of the bigtime creationists in your movement... Duane Gish. It was at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. I heard with my "own ears" this man say that "God" "created" the universe with the photons of light coming from distant stars at just the right position in space so that they would "appear" to make the star millions of light years away.

Regardless of what else is said, the fundamental fact remains... scientific creationism is nothing more that a religious viewpoint that is being disguised, unsuccessfully, as science. I rest my case. How can one think otherwise having heard the above words come from Gish's mouth?

You may want to be a tad careful with who you call a degree mill. Lack of regional accreditation does not mean that a school is a degree mill (denoting an illegal institution). There are some very fine unaccredited schools whose teaching and requirements compare very well with the non-traditional programs of regionally accredited schools (I have attended both kinds). The only reason I mention this is that Infoseek brings up your listing for creationist credentials along with a search for Columbia Pacific University who has a great many influential graduates with hard-earned degrees.

Kevin Nunley

If man evolved from apes or whatever why has the process of evolution stopped? There are still a lot of apes around to keep it going.

Response from , author of "Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field":

Evolution has not stopped. The old saw that 'man evolved from apes' is better stated as 'man and apes both evolved from a common ancestor'. Apes and humans of today are both very different from that common ancestor. The question asked implies that one expects all apes to turn into humans, but that is not a valid evolutionary prediction. Neither is it valid to predict that the apes of today should be evolving into humans even as we speak.

The key to natural selection is compatibility between living organisms and their ecological niche, or their environment. The apes of today are well suited for their environment, just as the humans of today are well suited for theirs. Neither would do so well if suddenly thrust into the ecological niche of the other. The theory of evolution only stresses that this suitability will remain in force as the environment changes.

I saw the following in your page Responses to Young Earth Arguments. "Several speciation events are known from direct evidence, and at least one has been even recorded under direct observation in the lab." [commenting on a new "species" of Drosophila] Well, if you define a new species as a succesfully reproducing creature that had a homeotic mutation, well, then maybe it's happened. But that is not the question. The question on origins can be summed up in this one query: "Is this statement true: 'Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, invisible gas, which if given enough time becomes people.'" The question is not whether by a narrow enough definition we can find evidence for evolution, but whether 1) that above question is true, and, 2) whether the idea of molecules to man is reasonable.

dabid en hellhnisti

Response from Chris Stassen, author of "The Age of the Earth":

Speciation may not be the question, but it is definitely a question relevant to the origins debate. We regularly see creationist arguments against speciation in the newsgroup (ask via E-mail for examples). If the topic were never mentioned, we wouldn't have wasted time writing a FAQ about it.

Really, there is no single item that can be cast as "the" question. That much should be obvious from the size and scope of this archive. There are many areas of interest, each with multiple areas of contention. There are probably as many different "angles" on the origins debate as there are people interested in it.

Dear Editor I found this article to be engaging. I myself am a Christian and I believe in evolution. The one thing that bothers me about the rigid fundamentalists is that they seem so concerned about Genesis 1 that they alienate people (agnostic scientists in particular) from even considering the diety of Jesus Christ. As a result petty arguements are created. If a fundamentalist is that insecure in their faith that they can't even consider what seems to contradict their beliefs, then by all means they should believe in creationism. On the other hand they should not attempt to rock the faith or potential faith of those who believe in evolution. Thank you, and God Bless.

Mark Cote

I must apologize since you have quote the full title of Darwin¹s work and I will repeat it just to confirm his racist ideas, "On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life." Is there any doubt as to what he meant by "favoured races?"

B. Cole

Response from the editor:

The reader is thinking of race solely in human terms, but Darwin used the word more generally to denote any potentially interbreeding group of organisms within a species. This should be obvious to anyone who has actually read the book (and not just the title). Even in a human context, there is nothing racist about the term "favored races"; every human race that exists today has been favored by natural selection.

Response from :

"On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life". Just to be pedantic, I do not think that the original title has a comma in it.

I know the editor has already made a resonse to this, but I want to add to that. There are two very important points that are being overlooked. The first is language, and an excellent example is the word 'gay'. When you find a reference in 18th or 19th century literature, to 'gay people', they did not mean to imply homosexuality, although today we would come to that conclusion at once. The meanings change with time. The word 'races' did not mean, in 1856, what it means today, so to call the use of the word 'racist' is simply wrong. It presumes that Darwin meant to use the word the way we use it today, and that is the source of the error.

The second important point is read the book. Evidently you have not read the book, or absorbed little if you did. If the book was actually racist, as implied, then we should be able to find the relevant passages in the book, where Darwin describes the differential reproductive success and survival rates for the various human races (in the modern sense).

Since we have been dared to cite the full title, and have complied, then I return the challenge. I dare Mr. Cole, or anyone else, to cite the relevant passages from the pages of Darwins book, where he shows his alleged racism. I contend that there are no such passages to cite, and the implication of racism falls away.

It is very sad to see that you think evolutionary doctrine has anything to do with science. Nothing you have presented gives any evidence for evolution. Macro-evolution is strictly philosophy, not science.

Response from , author of "Meteorite Dust and the Age of the Earth":

That evolution is not science has been contended to great lengths on the newsgroup. It is one of the reasons that this archive exists. The evolution section of the FAQ archive contains a number of files which place a heavy burden of science on evolution. They show with great clarity that the contention made here is quite false.

This is not a debate forum, but is. I invite Dr. Van Dyke to join the debate, and demonstrate why it is that evolution is not science.

You can prove Lincoln existed because people were there. You can prove many things in the past because people were there. Evolution you cannot prove because no one was there, But I have a revelation from God who was there, in starts in Gen 1:1. Evolutionists beat around the bush saying we accuse them of naturalism. They are simply avoiding the queshtion. They want to believe whatever is convienient and looks good.

Response from the editor:

In courtrooms eyewitness testimony is often given more weight than physical evidence. However, science almost never relies on the testimony of individuals; testimony is simply not a reliable means of acquiring knowledge. Human witnesses may lie and be mistaken, but physical evidence always tells the truth. This is not to say that interpretations of the evidence cannot be wrong, for they certainly can. After all, every piece of evidence has to be filtered through imperfect human conduits before it can be turned into knowledge. But the evidence itself is often impervious to contradictory rational interpretations. For instance, the physical evidence conclusively shows us that dinosaurs existed, that they went extinct, and that this happened about 65 million years ago, and yet we know this without any human having been there at the time. Similarly, the evidence from fossils, anatomy, geology and genes provides a better testimony to the truth of evolution than any human witness ever could. See The Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution FAQ for another answer to your argument.

You have frequently referred to the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence which proves that evolution has taken place, if not how. Please give me specific scientific experiments which have been conducted which I could site in refuting creation to people who ask.

I have been challenged to cite a specific experiment or experiments whose results support evolution. I know they must exhist, but I don't know how to obtain a copy of scientific papers written about these experiments, or any documents other than essays and commentaries on evolution.

Thank you so much for your help in dispelling this ignorance with cold hard facts that can't be ignored!

Response from :

I can strongly recommend the recent book Selection: The mechanism of Evolution by Graham Bell, Chapman & Hall 1997.

This book gives short summaries of the various experiments and references to the source literature, in the context of a full discussion of the various explanatory models. Any undergraduate text on evolution (eg, Mark Ridley's book by that name) will also have details.

A more popular text is Jonathon Weiner, The Beak of the Finch, c1991.

I have a comment about the "What is Evolution?" FAQ by Laurence Moran. At the end of the FAQ, Laurence suggests that in addition to scientists doing a better job of disseminating the most current information, the public also needs to take responsibility and attempt to research this topic. The suggestion is made that the public "read a textbook". However, as Stephen Gould pointed out (in an essay titled, I believe "The Creeping Fox Terrier Clone") our textbooks are the source of much of this (mis)information. I think it's ironic that Creationists charge evolution is being taught without presenting creation as an alternate theory, when what is presented in most of our schools is so full of misinformation!

Mark Sando

Response from :

You believe that evolutionary science presents misinformation in the classroom, but really don't give any specific examples to illustrate what you mean. New discoveries are constantly being made in the field of science, and old ideas have to be modified. For example, science recently re-examined the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheid variable stars, and correlated this data to the distance measurements to nearby stars. The result is that distances to galaxies appear to be 10% greater than previously believed. From this data, globular clusters appear to be about 11 billion years old. This information resolves a controversy: previous studies indicated that globular clusters were older than the universe itself.

As more knowledge is obtained, previous ideas may have to be refined, modified, or discarded.

Creationism is not an alternate theory; it is not supported by any factual evidence. It is in fact nothing more than an attack on science. I would like to refer you to my web page or numerous examples of creationist misinformation that are completely refuted by the factual evidence. For example, the contention that the universe is only 15,000 years old is totally refuted by the evidence. Please note that there is a fundamental difference in making minor adjustments to the age of universe, based on factual data, and insisting that it is only 15,000 years old, based on no data at all!

To state that misinformation is taught in the science class simply because what is known is incomplete is a gross distortion of the facts.

In your response to Susan S., you stated that "Science long ago came to terms with the fact that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are different species. " Interestingly, this in fact is not a settled question. Professor Milford Wolpoff, the leading proponent of the multiregional theory of human evolution, maintains that the species called "homo erectus" never existed, and that the fossils that have been labeled as such are homo sapiens! (Professor Wolpoff told me this himself on the Neanderthal message board). One disadvantage of Wolpoff's position is that creationists may misuse it to say this proves humans didn't evolve; all these fossils are either homo sapiens or some kind of extinct ape. Professor Wolpoff, of course, is no creationist; he simply thinks that our species has been around for quite some time, rather than having evolved less than 200ka, as proponents of the "Out of Africa" theory believe

Stuart Cobb

Response from Jim Foley, author of "Fossil Hominids FAQ":

Wolpoff does indeed think that Homo erectus should be "sunk" into H. sapiens, but this should be no comfort to creationists. He agrees with everyone else that erectus is outside the range of variation of modern humans, and that they evolved into us. He further states that his work can only support creationism if it is misquoted (Wolpoff, pers.comm.). He rejects H. erectus as a separate species because he holds that there was no speciation event in which one population of erectus evolved into sapiens.

I just read the letters to the magazine and I really am starting to think that this magazine is just for stuck up people who are too afraid of some outside being that they have to slander everything that people hope of. If evolution is true (which it isn't) then it disproves some of the oldest written records, THE BIBLE, the Bible is true and believe me it takes a lot more faith to believe in something as ridiculous as Evolution, were the people who thought up the crap on crack? Maybe they weren't but there are really some half brained people in this world. If anyone would like to start a magazine on the net devoted to Creation and it's beliefs e-mail me at I hope that the response will be amazing, if they even bother to print this comment. I have so much faith into God for creating us that if someone was to prove evolution right now, that I would still believe in God and Jesus because there is only one true way of life to me, not some drunk people trying to tell me that "evolution" is true, there is no such thing as evuoltion so then that means that noone could prove it true. HAHA! Cove visit my homepage [broken link removed]. Thanks for letting me speak my mind.

Response from Chris Stassen, author of "The Age of the Earth":

Calling names is not going to win you many converts, and you can't psychoanalyze people from only a small sample of their writing. If you really are curious about FAQ authors' motivations, just ask.

You don't need to worry about setting up a Creationist web site. There are several of them already. See the other links section of this archive for examples.

Finally, the URL which you supplied does not work (at least it hasn't worked for me at any time over the few weeks prior to this writing). Interested folks can see what I presume to be your actual home page at:

It seems to me that the questions you posed as stumper questions for creationism would do well for evolution also. What kind of evidence would it take to convince the evolution community that the theory is debunked. There is no such thing as a simple cell. Evidence of a simple cell would do wonders towards establishing a theory predicated on the myth of a simple cell. When Darwin first proposed a simple cell it was a believable possibility. No honest scientist today could call the simplest cell anything other than far more complicated than the most complex man made structure. Any theory based on a simple cell is worthless in the absence of such a thing.

You obviously haven't done your research, many creation scientists have proven through "scientific" reasoning that many aspects of evolution are wrong. They do not attack evolution, but it seems as though you are attacking them!?! Isn't the motive behind science to bring out the truth? If so then why are there so many fabrications like telling the public that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old...where did this number come from? I'll try and cut this off for now, I realise that Uranium dating was used but tell me, how you measure it?

Response from Chris Stassen, author of "The Age of the Earth":

To answer a question about the Age of the Earth, the logical place to look would be the Age of the Earth FAQ. You will find that the 4.6-billion-year age of the Earth is a value computed in a straightforward manner from the physical evidence -- not (as you claimed) a "fabrication."

You are welcome to contact me via E-mail after you have read the FAQ if you have further questions.

Three questions (1.) Is there any article concerning the cell structure and DNA of dinosaurs? (2.) On a news broadcast I heard an article that stated something like "enormous amounts of bacteria discovered deep in the earth". Is there anything on this topic? (3.) Another new release stated something like "new life forms found near volcanic vents in the ocean". Again any articles on this topic? If not covered here, have you even heard of such things and could you point me in the right direction. Thank you.

Response from , author of "Meteorite Dust and the Age of the Earth":

There are no files in the FAQ archive that deal directly with any of these 3 questions, but answers can be found in the scientific literature.

  1. Dinosaur DNA:
    Ancient DNA in Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Egg from Xixia County, Henan Province, by Y.P. Zou et al., Chinese Science Bulletin 40(10): pp856-860 (1995 May). Also see the May 26, 1995 issue of Science, pages 1191-1194, where there are several short notes discussing this find.
  2. Bacteria deep in the Earth:
    For this one, see the October, 1996 issue of Scientific American. The article, Microbes Deep Inside the Earth, by James K. Fredrickson and Tullis C. Onstott, is online in HTML format with hyperlinks to relevant information. [It is no longer online.]
  3. New life forms near volcaninc vents:
    This is a relatively new field; in the last decade or so it has become increasingly obvious that the environment around deep sea hydrothermal vents is quite conducive to life, though this was previously thought unlikely. The 'new life forms' is a slight exaggeration, new species and genus are found, but they are all DNA life forms, just like the rest of us. Relevant examples are A New Genus and Species of Monostiliferous Hoplonemertean Colonizing an Inchoate Hydrothermal Field on Juan-de-Fuca Ridge by A.D. Rogers, et al., Deep Sea Research part I, Oceanographic Research Papers 43(10), beginning on page 1581, October 1996; and A New Genus and Species of Caridean Shrimp (Crustacea, Decapoda, Alvinocarididae) from North Atlantic Hydrothermal Vents, by A.L. Vereshchaka, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 76(4): pp 951-961 (1996 November). The titles might not look like something that would draw a long line at the bookstore, but don't let that fool you. Most scientific papers do not have titles like The Most Fantastic New Discovery of All Time. But the discovery of a new species or genus of anything is a noteworthy occasion, at least.

Just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much I enjoyed your site. I am an ardent proponent of the old earth / evolution school, and it was exteremely gratifying to see arguments I have reached for presented so well. A young co-worker of mine, aware of my semi-scientific background (mechanical engineer) and interest in cosmological issues, has recently confronted a minister in his girlfriend's church who boldly stated that he would "prove" that the earth was 10,000 years old. It was nice to be able to send him this URL to supplement my own critical commentary.

As you state in your critique, "One of the requirements for an isochron to signify the age of an object, is that the data points be derived from samples of materials that came from a common pool of matter, and all separated and cooled at essentially the same time..."

Your criticism of Austin's work seems to be that he violated this requirement. Austin's 1992 article, however, gives little information about the precise locations from which he obtained his rock samples (see para. 3, p. 3).

Do you have additional information on this point of which I am unaware?

Response from Chris Stassen, author of "A Criticism of ICR's Grand Canyon Dating Project":

Austin's book (Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, table 6.5 on page 125) contains precise information on sample location, and indicates that Austin's five data points come from four different lava flows (the fifth is a "phenocryst," which is probably a mineral from the original source material that was not molten in the flow). The result is not merely that the five samples fail to be cogenetic; it is that no two of them are so.

Note that the isochron reported in Austin's book is not the same as that reported in Impact #224. Austin claimed that this was due to a lab error; he said that erroneous measurements were incorporated into the Impact isochron, but corrected in the book.

Thank goodness there is acurate information about evolution and creation available to those who want it! Keep up the good work.

I have not had enough time to read your site the way I would like. It is an excellently done site, very clear and fair. I was listening to the radio last year and there was a speaker on a religious station defending creationism and the part I found intriging was his claim that the theory of plate tectonics is contained in the Bible. He even went so far as to claim that the geologist had stolen it from the religous community. He went on to claim that the geologist had the idea all wrong because all this moving around of plates had occured in the last five thousand years. I thought that the way he had incorporated a completely foreign concept into an existing story was fascinating. I would love to hear more details and I was wondering if there were any sources on this.

Response from , author of "Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field":

It sounds like you are talking about the hydroplate theory from Walter Brown, online through his Center for Scientific Creation. The only mention of plate tectonics I can find in the FAQ archive is the Velikovskian Tectonics and Pangaea file, which is really related more to catastrophism than to creationism.

Walter Brown certainly puts a lot of detail into his pages, but that doesn't make them correct. As usual, his approach to the physics is much simpler, and more naive than it might appear. There are some good online WWW resources for learning about plate tectonics. You can try the Earth's Interior and Plate Tectonics page, part of Calvin Hamilton's Views of the Solar System collection. The VLBI Group of NASA's Space Geodesy Program measures the speed of the moving continents in real time, and you can even look at the current velocity maps. There is an online tutorial on plate tectonics and earthquakes from the University of Nevada, Reno. The U.S. Geological Survey also maintains an online tutorial called This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics. Finally, there is a lot about plate tectonics in Arthur Strahler's excellent book Science and Earth History - The Evolution/Creation Controversy; part IV, chapters 20-25 are all devoted to the general topic of structure and dynamics. I hope this is what you were looking for.

In your article, Problems with a Global Flood, you state that "Since most animals are small, they probably could have all fit..." in the Ark. Does that statement include Dinosaurs? In reading the article, I can't tell.

Response from Chris Stassen, author of "The Age of the Earth":

Dinosaurs could probably be included as well. Creationists argue that many dinosaurs were small, that only "young" dinosaurs might have been taken, that dinosaur eggs may have been taken, or that there are relatively few "kinds" of dinosaur anyway.

While these arguments may solve the issue of Ark space, they are not without other problems. A large group of very young dinosaurs (which even the eggs would become eventually) would probably be more than eight people could care for. It is difficult to explain about 600 known dinosaur genera as about "fifty kinds" (as I think John Morris did a few years ago)... creationists will embrace an astounding amount of evolution in an incredibly short span of time when trying to lighten the load on the Ark.

Science is the answer. There is no god.

Response from , author of "Evolution, Chance and Metaphysics":

In your opinion. That's not a result of science, its an interpretation of science. The theory of evolution, or, indeed of anything in science cannot rule out the existence of or specify the nature of anything that is not empirically observable and testable. By definition.

People who insist that science can function as a worldview of the same order and scope of a religion or morality are, in my opinion, confusing two distinct kinds of human cognitive activity. It does science a disservice, and confuses the real issue, at least on, which is to deny that scientific results must be in any way dependent upon ideological conformity.

I hope this helps

John Wilkins | John "Chris" Wilkins, ICAR, PhD (pending) Head of Communication Services | Associate Professor, University of Ediacara Walter and Eliza Hall Institute | Chair of Recent Runes, Evilphilosophy Dept <> | Designated Australian Rules Football Coach <> | for the University - ban broomball! No Pucks!

Jim Lippard's piece about creationism and racism is one that caught my attention. It seems to me that both sides are right. Racism can come from either direction or from other quarters as well. There is no shortage of spurious views in society and large. It is possible to justify and rationalize racism from various directions. Evolution or creationism can both be used to do so, and they have. That doesn't make the intrinsic position right or wrong. It is my opinion that these views provide a platform to be used with preconcieved views.

Response from , author of "Evolution, Chance and Metaphysics":

In general, this is true - one can use anything to justify anything if you are determined to do so and have no qualms about what damage you do to the justifying theory.

However, a nitpick on the "evolution leads to racism" claim...

In order to evaluate a race as being superior or inferior, you need a scale of perfection from zero to unity. Creationism has such a scale inbuilt - it is a necessary piece of theoretical equipment, known in the trade as the ladder of progress or perfection.

Only some forms of evolutionary theory involve a scale, and they are not Darwinian views, they are Lamarckian views. Lamarck's theory of evolution involved the inevitable improvement of a species up a scale. All species moved to perfection in his scheme (naturally, white humans were the most perfect).

Under a Darwinian model, human races are geographical variants that evolved from one common ancestral variety. Some modern theories actually insist that the evolution of races is something of an illusion (for example, the so-called 'negro race' is more genetically diverse than the entire rest of the world, including asians, europeans and amerindians).

Under a Lamarckian model, races are lineages at different levels of progress, so that 'negroes' can be considered more primitive than 'whites', etc.

In diagrammatic form, taken from Peter Bowler's Evolution: The History of an Idea, University of California Press, 1988 page 304 you get this:


In the Lamarckian view, race W is the least evolved, and Z is the most, and therefore X is the most ape-like and least sophisticated. This argument has often been put, and is the foundation for all the the racist views that are evolutionary that I know of.

Hope this is useful.

Good articles! They compliment well with my textbook. In the article about 5 major misconceptions of evolution, one of the topics is that evolution has never been obsevered. Another obsevable example is that of Peter and Rosemary Grant's work in the Galapagos island of Daphne Major. This was an example listed in my textbook, but I didn't catch it in your texts. I could have just missed it, but it proves evolution much better. The Grants documented and measured medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) for over twenty years. Over the twenty or so years, they obseved droughts and floods. During the droughts, natural selection selected the indiviuals of the species with larger beaks because the larger beaked indiviuals found an alternate food source in larger seeds. So the population evolved. Then came a rainy season. The larger seeds were no longer availiable (because they grew in lower section of the island and were flooded). The smaller beaked individuals prospered, and the population evolved again. This example is quite convincing because it shows how evolution can occur within a short period of time (under certain curcumstances, it doesn't have to be billions of years), and the Grants have recorded data! No one can deny this example!

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