Archive for the ‘An Alternative Theory’ Category

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There Be Dragons

August 5, 2007

I watched a history channel documentary called “The Quest for Dragons”. In it, the documentary covered a fraction of the plethora of dragon stories from cultures scattered across the whole planet. They then went on to try and explain the widespread belief that dragons existed in many early cultures as simple superstition. Primitive people made up magical explanations for things they did not understand. Heard that one before? I’d like to encourage everyone to take a fresh look at the evidence and seriously consider an important question: How can we know when something is fictitious mythology and when it is based on fact? The truth is once again, so blindingly obvious, that I never even saw it.

Dragons in History
Dragons are recognized by almost every culture on the face of the planet. Cultures that have never had any known contact come up with very similar images of Dragons. Older natural history books list dragons alongside other “actual” creatures still living today. Consider the Chinese Zodiac where every one of the twelve animals are known to be real-life, ordinary animals except for the dragon. Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Boar, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit: all real, most downright ordinary. But the Dragon?

‘The woods around Penllin Castle, Glamorgan, had the reputation of being frequented by winged serpents, and these were the terror of old and young alike. An aged inhabitant of Penllyne, who died a few years ago, said that in his boyhood the winged serpents were described as very beautiful. They were coiled when in repose, and “looked as if they were covered with jewels of all sorts. Some of them had crests sparkling with all the colours of the rainbow”. When disturbed they glided swiftly, “sparkling all over,” to their hiding places. When angry, they “flew over people’s heads, with outspread wings, bright, and sometimes with eyes too, like the feathers in a peacock’s tail”. He said it was “no old story invented to frighten children”, but a real fact. His father and uncle had killed some of them, for they were as bad as foxes for poultry. The old man attributed the extinction of the winged serpents to the fact that they were “terrors in the farmyards and coverts”. — Marie Trevelyan of Penllin

We have personal accounts throughout history of seeing various terrible lizards who would terrorize the countryside. Hopi have passed down stories of hiding behind rocks as giant lizards walked by. Every step they took would bounce them a foot off the ground. We have multiple historical figures throughout history who have reportedly interacted with dragons.

Here’s the story of Saint George according to this site:

“The story begins approximately between the years 250 AD and 300 AD. It seems there was living in a great lake a terrible dragon with breath so bad it poisoned the countryside around the lake. The local people were forced to feed this beast two sheep a day to keep it content. Pretty soon they ran out of sheep and, so the story goes, began feeding it their sons and daughters. Well, they ran out of those, too. In desperation, they took the king’s daughter and tied her to a stake in the field to wait for the dragon to come and eat her.It was her lucky day because St. George just happened to be passing by. He saw the king’s daughter tied up and crying, so he went to investigate. She warned him to run for his life since there was no point in both of them being eaten. Well, St. George, being a brave man, met the dragon head on and drove his lance through the dragon’s evil heart.”


Every depiction of Saint George I’ve ever seen shows the dragon as being a little bigger than a large dog. Not exactly the stuff of legends, it seems more likely it’s a historical account.

Evidence of Dragons
The list of evidence is pretty staggering actually. I’ve tried to compose a list of stories of dragons, it’s worth the read. I’d recommend the book After the Flood by Bill Cooper. Most of the book is talking about the history of Anglo-Saxons but he also dedicates 30 pages to discussion of dragon stories in Europe and the account of Beowulf. The thing that should really tip people off that this is more than a mythical creature is that “dragons” (they use different names) show up in every culture on the planet.

So do we see any evidence of these “dragons” today? We dig up giant bones of huge lizards on a pretty much daily basis. We call them “Dinosaurs” and say that they lived millions of years ago. We further go on to label first-hand accounts of encounters with giant lizards as “myth” and “overactive imagination”. So eye-witness accounts are purely imaginary but when someone with a bachelors degree in Science digs up bone fragments and tries to interpolate muscle and skin structure, behavior, mating habits, and vocal characteristics; that’s Science! If you think I’m exaggerating watch the Discovery channel for a while and see how many certain statements they make about dinosaurs. One artist on the History channel actually admitted that the fossils only go so far, after that it becomes artistic license.

Evolutionist Theory
So what is the explanation that the history channel and most scientists give for this unanimous belief in dragons in ancient cultures? Since we know that it is a fact that dragons were not kicking around in the 1200’s then all accounts of dragons are mythology, even when they are presented as facts by people of that time. The primitive people’s that came before Science would run across these fossilized dinosaur bones that were sitting around because of erosion and try to extrapolate these massive creatures. This would get their imaginations going and they would make up stories of encounters with terrible monsters. Once this happened dinosaurs became the catch-all explanation for things that they couldn’t explain. So when swamp gases built up and were released into the air, and somehow ignited, causing a burst of flame with no visible source they attributed that to the fire breathing property of dragons. When there were earthquakes the Hopi people attributed the mighty trembles to the footsteps of some huge beast (ignoring the fact that earthquakes don’t bounce). It is also sheer coincidence that they all happened to come up with basically the same body form give or take a pair of front legs.

An Alternative Theory
I would like to pose a more parsimonious (simple) theory. Dragons(English), Dinosaurs(Science), Tannoth(Hebrew), дракон(Russian), Drache(German) etc… are all words that point to the same thing. There were scary, huge reptiles wandering around and humans didn’t like to live with them. Let’s take our ancestors at their word and say they did actually see dragons. They were feared and every time someone managed to kill one of them they were honored in most cultures as heroes, “Dragon Slayers”.

Over time, they went extinct one species at a time, starting with the least adaptable, biggest, scariest dinosaurs in ancient times until the species were dwindled down to Saint George picking on a poor Baryonyx and the peasant Baptista beating a bewildered Tanystropheus to death… That was probably the low point in dinosaur history. Today, the only species still around are Komodo Dragons (who are too isolated to be too threatening) and alligators (who are too lazy to hold a village captive). Though humans probably helped, dinosaurs probably died out for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest being loss of habitat. Giant herbivores like Brachiosaur require massive amounts of plants to stay alive. We know that the earth used to be covered in massive trees and plants of all types. Losing this habitat would have led to the extinction of the large herbivores and possibly many of the large carnivores that preyed on them (picture a T-Rex trying to chase down an antelope through the forest).

Fossil Evidence
graveyard1.jpg The fossil record is usually used to back up the current story of what happened to dinosaurs. It’s a good example of looking at something in so much detail you can’t see your nose in front of your face. Things today do not form fossils very often. A living thing does not simply die and then fossilize. Fossilization requires very specific conditions. Directly after the animal dies, before any carrion eaters can get it and before the bones can be scattered by natural processes the corpse must be buried (mud flows work well) and kept that way for a long time. The body must be kept in a low oxygen environment so that bacteria cannot cause decay. Then the body can dissolve slowly and the calcium in the bones is replaced with other minerals in the rocks over time. The fossils that we see today did not die of old age, they were buried. We see dinosaurs at every stage of life, mothers still sitting on nests with eggs, fish in the process of eating etc. Anywhere you see a fossil it is evidence that there was a flood, mudflow, landslide or some other catastrophic event there to bury the animal before it could be eaten by something else. Scientists typically invoke local floods to create fossils any time they see obvious evidence of this rapid deposition. In the fossil record we see a mass graveyard pattern where bodies are literally stacked on top of each other. What process would most likely create that kind of pattern? The Darwin Papers have a good discussion of fossilization conditions as well as a modern test for fossilization.

Lost World

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If we relied entirely on the fossil record we would be led to believe that the stories from Native Americans of massive herds of buffalo that could wipe the grasslands clear and shake the ground like thunder are entirely mythological. There is little to no fossil evidence of these massive herds. They lived in grasslands, any time one of them died they’d be picked up by humans or scavengers and an entire herd never died off simultaneously so we never see a massive fossil bed filled with buffalo.

In this case, the white man, was around to see the ground shaking buffalo herds first-hand. Our ancestors also took the liberty to wipe out the buffalo. This we accept as history, no matter how it makes us look, because we were there. Today, the buffalo can still be seen in a five acre pen outside some podunk town that supplies Fat Albert’s with 1lb. buffalo burger. So I would ask you, is it a fair assumption to think that the world has been basically the same as what we see today considering that I know as fact that 200 years ago my backyard hosted swaths of huge beasts traveling as a group miles long?

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Other Mythological Creatures
So how do we know when something is a fairy tale and when something had a basis in reality? How much of it is true? How much of it is exaggeration? How much of it is oral distortion and how much of it is a fable trying to explain a moral? Can real world events from our lives have a moral to the story?

Perhaps we should approach these questions with both skepticism and humility. Skepticism because there certainly are fictions simply because we write fiction for entertainment today. Skepticism does not mean being sure something is fiction, only being aware that we don’t have all the pieces. Humility is also appropriate in admitting the limits of our knowledge. Can we really know? I think we can test and find evidence to support or contradict. I obviously can’t cover every mythology on the planet but I picked out one because it was pointed out to me as a chief example of physical proof of fabrication of mythology. I was honestly surprised when I dug deeper.

Cyclops
Cyclops are real. I don’t mean this in an allegorical sense. I mean that there is a genetic disease or birth defect called Cyclopia. Straight off Wikipedia: Cyclops exist. The site linked here is a medical site with pictures of a human cyclops (follow the links at your own risk). They’re also at MessyBeast which has a whole slew of pictures on birth disorders. Cyclops like Cy the kitten, born in 2006, are near the bottom. We have a paper from 1665 of scientists examining a Cylops “Observables upon a Monstrous Head“. So these things were known, and should still be known in the information age. According to LiveScience “Not a Hoax, One-Eyed Kitten Had Bizarre Condition“.

So, in light of that real physical evidence, I have to wonder what is really a more plausible scenario? Is the story of a cyclops inspired by the ignorant Greeks stumbling across an elephant skull and failing to look at it from the side? Or was the story of a Cyclops inspired by… a cyclops? Maybe before people decide they should also know that (according to wikipedia) Hippocrates (400 BC) describes the herb “White Hellebore“. Now under causes of Cyclopia we find a plant called Veratrum californicum or “False Hellebore” which will cause Cyclopia. Veratrum album (Hellebore) is an herbal remedy for vommitting and cramps in pregnant women, Veratrum californicum(False Hellebore) will cause the child to become a Cyclops. The confusion is really easy to make, in fact, it took me a couple minutes to write that sentence because the distinction isn’t clear. They’re in the same family of plants. So if someone gets their plants swapped instead of getting a cure for cramps, they get a cyclops. And they still have cramps.

I can imagine some people wondering if I’m now going to claim that Zeus was really running around throwing lightning bolts like a spear. My main point is that ancient people were not as brain-dead or superstitious as they are portrayed. They’re people just like us. How far the myths go I don’t know. Most Cyclops die shortly after birth. Cy lived a day. They have a high mortality rate because their nose is squashed and they can’t breath. Their insides are all messed up. If there was evidence that humans were more genetically and physically robust in the past then perhaps one could survive to adulthood. If they did, they would be mentally retarded because of the failure of the forebrain to divide and the excess space taken up by the giant eye.

So we have a monstrous retarded Cyclops shunned from society and angry about it. Throw in a gene for gigantism and that’s basically the story. The idea that Cyclops were master black-smiths is a strike against that particular theory and in favor of the eye-patch explanation. The truth is probably some conglomeration. I do know that truth is stranger than fiction and things should not be discredited simply because they seem outlandish or silly.

Just think, this morning you thought Cyclops didn’t exist.

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On the Preservation of Species

June 11, 2007

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One of the biggest objections that people have to the unreality of the Bible is that there is no way that Noah could have fit two of every species on the Ark, especially considering the massive dinosaurs, and all the extinct species. I have long imagined a sign staked outside of the Ark that read “No Dinosaurs Allowed!” because I could not imagine how Noah could have possibly fit even a couple dinosaurs on the little boat portrayed in Sunday schools. Like Eve, I am often tempted to think that God didn’t actually know what he was talking about in the absence of evidence. Isn’t it interesting that the first sin was the selective editing of what God said and yet that is exactly what is encouraged in churches today. Even though dinosaurs grew to extreme sizes they all started off being similar in size to an ostrich egg, so a juvenile dinosaur pair could easily be smaller than sheep. That almost seems feasible, but what about the space?

If one is to really take an honest look at the apparent infeasibility of Noah’s Ark the first logical step is to actually read the portion of the Bible that describes the Ark. This is not something that occurred to me, so I was very surprised to find out that, based on an 18 inch cubit the dimension of the Ark were: 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, with 3 stories. That gives you an area of 101,250 square feet with 15 foot ceilings. This turns out to have a striking similarity to modern ships. So given the amazing amount of floor space, combined with the reduced number of necessary “species”, and the small size of even the great dinosaurs. Perhaps we should be asking the opposite question, one proposed in the Answers Book: “What did Noah do with all that extra floor space? Perhaps a couple games of shuffleboard.” Further Reading: Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study.

Further Comments: The Discovery Channel has taken a liking to pointing out that, while the Ark “just happens to be” good dimensions for something like a freight hauler, it couldn’t possibly have enough structural integrity because it was made out of wood, not metal. I’d just like to point out the Ark was made out of “gopher wood“, whatever that is. NIV translates it as cypress and then footnotes it as “meaning uncertain”. The species of tree this came from could be totally extinct or unknown, so we have no way of knowing the tensile strength of the material. Similarly, ‘pitch’ doesn’t necessarily refer to a petroleum product.  At some point you just have to say “I don’t know, I wasn’t there, neither were you”.  It’s another good example of people trying to claim a non-existence or an impossibility. There’s a certain amount of intellectual hypocrisy that goes on to selectively criticize the Bible down the the point of needing structural integrity tests while calling the Epic of Gilgamesh the “older, more pure account”, and failing to note that the Epic of Gilgamesh describes a cube. Boats aren’t shaped like cubes for a reason.

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The Genetics of Species

June 9, 2007

As part of the Biochemistry degree that I was working on when I first came to college I took a class simply entitled Evolution. The class was actually more about population genetics than specific evolutionary lineages of species. There are a surprising number of equations based on population genetics and most of what I know about mutation and population genetics I owe to that class.

The reason I mention this is because it was in this class that I came to the full realization that what we call “species” is an entirely human construction that we have forced upon nature. Species do not really exist in nature in the strictest sense in which we portray them.

Definitions of Species
Allow me to explain. The popular definition of species currently used is what is called the “Biological definition of species” which defines a species as a group of organisms which can interbreed with each other and produce fertile offspring. The fact that we have to specify ‘fertile’ is the first clue. Most every *cough* knows that you can breed a horse and a donkey to get a mule. Mules are almost always sterile so donkeys and horses are considered different species.

The boundaries we have set up break down even more when you consider “ring species“. These are a very interesting phenomena where a group of similar animals are spread out in a ring because of a physical feature (like a mountain). The animals can breed with each other in adjacent areas and genes can be passed clockwise around a mountain showing gradual change the whole time until the circle is complete and the group that results can no long breed with the starting population. So is it one species, two, or maybe seven?

It should be of interest that the Bible never uses the word ‘species’ as it is clearly a human definition. In Genesis chapter 1 the Bible instead refers to animal “kinds” 10 times in 13 verses. Looking at it now, it almost seems as if the author is over emphasizing the point, being emphatically repetitively redundant. “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.” Genesis 1:25. God apparently created the original, whole and perfect kinds as a more variable, adaptable category of animals than what we have today. Kinds is certainly broader than species and wherever we see two species able to interbreed and create a hybrid, that is evidence they are, in fact, the same kind. The modern founder of taxonomy, Carolus Linnaeous, was actually a devout Christian and it appears in many cases that genus is the closest thing to the Biblical kind. Thus we say genus first, then species (specialization) second. This practice goes back to ancient times.

Baraminology
Baraminology is an alternative method of classification based on the study of Biblical “kinds” called baramins. The field is based upon the Bible’s statement that God created animals according to their kind and that they would reproduce according to their kind. The study of baramins is laid out in Todd Wood’s “Undertanding the Pattern of Life”, which is a fairly straight forward overview designed as a textbook on the subject. Baraminology is still a fairly new area of study. It incorporates both evidence of continuity as well as evidence of discontinuity. It is like no other system before it; Linnaeous believed in species fixity most of his life, and evolutionist believe any evidence of discontinuity is only a lack of data.

Answers in Genesis has a good explanation of the contrast between species models. The ability of two organisms to breed with each other and produce offspring is used as evidence of continuity; they are part of the same kind. Evidence of holistic differences between groups of organisms, like turtles as compared with all other reptiles, is used as evidence of discontinuity. So turtles and geckos never shared a common ancestor, but Asian and African elephants, along with woolly mammoth probably did share an ancestor. Didn’t know we had mammoth DNA? Baraminology is useful as a diverse classification system and in understanding the pattern of life in a creationist worldview.

Flood Stories
Almost every ancient culture on the planet has a story of a worldwide flood. The Gilgamesh Epic is often quoted as an example but it is only one of 200 documented flood stories. The fact that this story is so widespread across cultures with no contact lends credence to the idea that it actually happened. The Biblical account is (to my knowledge) the most detailed account so I will use that account here. The story goes that in order to preserve all the animals as well as mankind against a worldwide flood, a chosen person (Noah, Manu, etc.) built a giant life raft, called an Ark. Noah crammed all the animals onto the Ark, and these sole survivors were responsible for repopulating the entire planet afterwards. Let’s take a look at the feasibility of the species scenario laid out in the Bible from a genetics point of view.

Dispersion
So in the Biblical scenario the Ark comes to a rest at Mount Ararat, at the intersection of three major continents. The plants and plant seeds that have survived the Flood (along with insects and fish) are already dispersed throughout the planet while all the animals are concentrated in one place. The natural thing to do as an animal at this point is spread and reproduce like crazy. Our normal ecological models are based around an assumption of competition for limited resources of food and land. Each one of these animal kinds (baramins) is originally genetically diverse but each new population of animals is started from only a few individuals. This means that that genetic diversity will be subdivided, then subdivided, and subdivided again. This would create a lot of genetic drift and loss of genetic diversity inside each sub-group. Keep in mind that there is no new genetic information being added to the population but instead a loss of genetic information creates increasingly distinct biological groups over a very short period of time. This comes at a cost to fitness so that this process cannot go on forever.

Some would call this rapid speciation even evolution, in which case, not only do creationists believe in evolution, they believe in a far faster form of evolution than even Richard Dawkins could stomach. However, it is probably more accurate to call this adaptation or even genetic degradation. The nature of ‘new genetic information being added to the genome’ versus ‘genetic information being lost’ is fundamentally different. New information entering the genome is a process that would take millions of years, (if not an infinite amount of time), and so cannot really be observed inside a human time frame. Since it cannot be observed it is hard to call it science. Loss of genetic information, on the other hand, can happen in a single generation, and is scientifically testable and provable.

Hybrids
Hybrids are an important piece of evidence for baraminology. There are actually far more hybrids than I ever imagined. Generally, hybridization is seen as an unnatural thing, perhaps a worldview consequence. I recently asked a zoo keeper if they had any crossbreedings between any of their animals. She said “Well, we don’t allow it on purpose. But it does happen sometimes. People don’t exactly broadcast it when they get a hybrid. It’s generally looked down upon and avoided, so we don’t know.” In the course of researching for this article I found another surprise. Hybrid Vigor is apparently a commonly observed consequence of crossing two species. Hybrids are in many ways, more physically fit, and often have longer lifespans than either of their parents. In an evolutionary model, the breaking off of two groups of organisms is necessary so that fixation can take place and the two groups can evolve independently of each other. What is good for one group would not necessarily be a good trait for another group. So I naturally expected that a hybrid would be a degenerate form of an earlier ancestor, (especially given sterility). I am still very much an evolutionist at heart.

On the contrary, mules, ligers, bengals, and mutts all have great physical characteristics which would be more in line with loss of genetic information during separation. When the disparate groups are rejoined again we get a little closer to the original creature that fathered them both. Unfortunately, this only goes so far as there have been numerous mutations entering into the genome since the first divergence. “Plant hybrids, especially, are often stronger than either parent variety, a phenomenon which when present is known as hybrid vigor (heterosis) or heterozygote advantage.” (Hybrids)

Degradation and Dispersion
One more key point: The answer to all fragile-animal-specific-environment questions is actually quite simple. As animals moved across the landscape they lost genetic information until they became very narrow. Once they reached a point of stasis they could continue to grow within their environment. Taking into account the effects of genetic entropy the animals that we observe today have accumulated 4,000 years of deleterious mutations after undergoing a major amount of genetic drift/fixation. Natural selection works best on lethal mutations, and if the selection cost for eliminating lethal mutations is high enough then it will tolerate a fairly high level of “inconvenient” dependencies that match the environment, dependencies that would be lethal in a different environment. An ideal example of this is the Koala, which is almost entirely nutritionally dependent on the eucalyptus tree in order to survive. In an area where there are no eucalyptus this dependency is lethal so it will only survive where the plant survives, Australia. Notice that the farther from the Eurasian continent we get, (dispersion) and the smaller the functional population is, (degradation) the more specialized/fragile species there are. If you doubt the feasibility of animals populating a new area we need only look to the recent recorded history of Hawaii which was little more than a barren volcanic rock before the settlers arrived. Also, the baramin model can explain why we find strange isolated species all over the world with tiny populations, like the Echidna. If the populations had been there for very long the inbreeding would have killed them off, as we are observing with the mass extinction of biodiversity that is still going on.

Transitional Fossil
Transitional fossils are another piece of evidence that baraminology uses to establish continuity or discontinuity. The best example of this is horses in which we have a fairly diverse sampling of different types of the horse baramin, many of which are now extinct. The ability of our modern horse specimens to breed with each other is an affirmation of the fact they share a common ancestor so it is no surprise to find fossilized variations within the horse baramin. These can be called transitional forms between horse, donkey, zebra, etc. Perhaps a better word is intermediate form, because given genetic compatability the offspring is dependent on its parents DNA (that’s genetics), not based on the time at which it was conceived. Natural Selection then is not really progress but simply the extinction of species that can’t survive. Woolly mammoth couldn’t take the climate change, but most of its DNA is still preserved in elephants, so the baramin continues although depleted.

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The Things!:
Insects
The Number of Species
The Slow Rate of Evolution
Elephants
Deep Sea Fish
Australia
Koalas
Sloths
Define Kinds
Find the Post-Flood Dispersal Trails

Beetles
Blind Cave Fish

Further Comments: I see that all my picture hyperlinks are now broken.  They pointed to a great listing of known hybrids, with a whole bunch of pictures.  The site is gone now, that’s sad.  I wonder why the site was taken down?

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Catastrophic Plate Tectonics

June 9, 2007

(Sorry for the long wait on new articles. I have hesitated in writing this because it’s very important and I don’t want to screw anything up. Here goes.)
Today, I’m going to give a quick summary of a theory called Catastrophic Plate Tectonics, which was primarily developed by Dr. Baumgardner during his time at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Baumgardner’s primary work was in developing a program called TERRA which is used by many scientists to model plate tectonics and physics in the core tracking temperature, viscosity, movement and other elements important to understanding the interior of our planet. The people who produced the movie “The Core” could have learned a lot from talking to Dr. Baumgardner. One of the reasons that he was interested in creating TERRA was to test a theory that the Genesis Flood was primarily a catastrophic geophysical event. The result of his intensive research has been the development of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT), which is probably the most comprehensive scientific theory of the Genesis Flood today.

Starting Evidence
mapcc-cropped.jpgIf we look at a map of the Earth today you will notice that one either side of the Atlantic Ocean the continents look as though they would fit together quite neatly. If you are fortunate enough to have a map that shows the texture of the sea floor it also become obvious that the mid-Atlantic ridge or Marianas trench conforms to the same shape. This has led many people to the fairly reasonable conclusion that the continents were at one point joined together in one place, forming a super-continent.

At today’s rates this divergence would take millions of years, assuming the rates have never changed. The assumption that today’s rates are exactly the same as they have always been is a philosophical standpoint called Uniformitarianism. This naturally leads to extremely slow processes and long lengths of time, because today’s rates are slow. In contrast, Young-Earth Creationists tend to side with Catastrophism, stating that the “history of any one part of the earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror” (Ager 1973). This is seen clearly every time a long dormant volcano suddenly erupts, transforming the landscape, as did Mt. Saint Helens in 1980. Is it possible that tectonic plates have not always moved at the rate your fingernails grow? Take a look.

Deformation Physics
Laboratory tests have shown that materials like silicate minerals (the stuff the mantle is made out of) can have hugely varying degrees of viscosity depending on the temperature and amount of force that is applied to them. For these type of materials pressure can reach a threshold where the change in viscosity makes movement easier, and the friction from movement generates heat, which in turn lowers the viscosity even more in a thermal runaway pattern. This is not just a little bit of slipping, but a massive change in the way a solid material behaves. “A point many people fail to grasp is that these weakening mechanisms can reduce the silicate strength by ten or more orders of magnitude without the material ever reaching its melting temperature” (Baumgardner). If you really want to look at all the advanced math involved in material physics they’re covered in plenty of detail in the technical paper “Runaway Subduction as the Driving Mechanism for the Genesis Flood”. I’m not a geophysicist so I’ll be doing the summary for the average Joe (who has graduated college with a degree in Natural Sciences). With this information in mind, here’s the scenario of the Genesis Flood according to Catastrophic Plate Tectonic Theory.

Catastrophic Plate Tectonics
An overview of CPT can be found in a joint effort technical paper on the ICR website. The overview itself is easily 10 pages, so here are the highlights: The starting condition for this scenario is that the Pre-Flood ocean floor was a thick layer of cold crustal rock. The Earth is extremely hot on the interior and the cold ocean floor was denser than the mantle it was sitting on because of the temperature difference. This is a classic case of potential energy for anyone that’s had Physics 101. Personally, this scenario reminds me of the same temperature instability that drives our weather, we have heating at ground level and cold air aloft, but heat rises and cold air sinks. Thus we have weather, most of the time it’s a calm circulation, but if the conditions are right you get a thunderstorm (this is just a personal analogy).

Cold material accumulating at the phase change boundary between the upper and lower mantle finally reached critical mass and the entire plate began diving towards the core. “Subducting slabs locally heated the mantle by deformation, lowering the viscosity of the mantle in the vicinity of the slabs. The lowered viscosity then allowed an increase in subduction rate, which in turn heated up the surrounding mantle even more. We believe that this led to a thermal runaway instability which allowed for meters-per-second subduction, as postulated and modeled by Baumgardner”(ICR Article). As the front end of the ocean plate was falling towards the core it pulled the attached tectonic plate carrying the continents with it.

This would have torn the Pangaea super-continent in two, opening up the mid-Atlantic ridge which was freshly exposed molten rock. Water would begin rushing in to fill this massive trench below sea-level and consequently be vaporized by the molten rock, producing super-sonic steam jets reaching miles into the air. The vaporized ocean water would cool in the atmosphere and fall back to the planet as rainfall. As the cold material was dropping into the mantle, hot material would rise up along the trailing edges, causing seafloor expansion, and creating the distinctive streaking pattern we see on the ocean floor. The continents could have been moving at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, all the while torrential sheets of rain are covering the land in water.

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This interaction as well as other possible mechanisms would create mega-tsunamis that could carve up huge amounts of sediments and deposit massive sediment layers in successive waves on the continents. An easy way to picture what is must have looked like to be under water during all of this is being trapped in a continent scale washing machine. Currents would pull back and forth, scraping off layers and redepositing them. Evidence of massive water catastrophe including cross-bedding, varied sediment sizes, and large scale erosion (Grand Canyon) is all over the planet. I unfortunately, do not have time to explain all of flood geology, nor am I qualified.

magnetic_reversal_animation.gifThis model also incorporates magnetic pole reversals as a natural consequence of plate CPT. Remember that the seafloor was also spreading at this time, and so recorded the reversals as they were happening. I’m not really able to summarize this point so here’s the block quote:

“One important consequence of mantle-wide flow would have been the transportation of cooler mantle material to the core/mantle boundary. This would have had the effect of cooling the outer core, which in turn led to strong core convection. This convection provided the conditions necessary for Humphreys’ [40,42] model of rapid geomagnetic reversals in the core. As the low electrical conductivity oceanic plates subducted, they would be expected to have split up the lower mantle’s high conductivity. This in turn would have lessened the mantle’s attenuation of core reversals and allowed the rapid magnetic field reversals to have been expressed on the surface. Humphreys’ [40,42] model not only explains magnetic reversal evidence (as reviewed in [41]) in a young-age creation time scale, but uniquely explains the low intensity of paleomagnetic and archaeomagnetic data, the erratic frequency of paleomagnetic reversals through the Phanerozoic, and, most impressively, the locally patchy distribution of sea- floor paleomagnetic anomalies [41]. It also predicted and uniquely explains the rapid reversals found imprinted in lava flows of the Northwest [21, 22, 2, 15].”

This major geologic catastrophe would draw to a close as the original ocean floor was completely subducted, and settled to the bottom of the mantle, next to the core. The potential energy driving this whole interaction would be spent and things would begin to equalize. The mountains like the Rocky Mountain Range were formed as the crust was lifted up isostatically, from debris that collected underneath the crust during subduction. In layman’s terms there’s basically less dense stuff that gets stuck underneath the crust, then bobs up like a cork. The equalization after this event took a long time and was the driving force behind other processes like the Ice Age that I’ll talk about in later articles.

Supporting Evidence
The predictions of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics have turned out to be it’s strongest point. The mantle was originally thought to be a homogeneous blob. Years after Dr. Baumgardner developed his theory, high resolution seismic data revealed that there are actually cold lumps sitting at the bottom of the mantle next to the core where it should be the hottest. This information can be found in numerous secular scientific articles and scientists are now looking at incorporating runaway subduction into their models. Large cold anomalies in the deep mantle and mantle instability in the Cretaceous, The fate of slabs inferred from seismic tomography and 130 million years of subduction.

Dr. Humphrey’s model of magnetic field reversals predicted that these reversals happened very rapidly, in the midst of lots of volcanic activity. This would mean that we should find lava flows that exhibit opposite polarity in very thin layers. This predictions has now been confirmed by several secular scientists looking at evidence in Steens Mountain Oregon, U.S.A. This would indicate that magnetic pole reversals happen very rapidly. Dr. Coe reports numbers like 6 degrees per day based on how fast these lava flows should have cooled. (Coe, R S. and M. Prevot. 1989. Evidence suggesting extremely rapid field variation during a geomagnetic reversal. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 92:292-298)

There is other corroborating evidence that I can’t get into but it merits future research. The composition of the seafloor is very different from the continents and almost all fossils occur on land (even marine fossils). The ocean plates look more recent than the fossil layer. There is also evidence that Venus has undergone a similar catastrophe. If anyone would like to do further research on these topics I’d be happy to add it to the page.

Heat Issues
thermometer.jpgThere is one major problem with CPT that Dr. Baumgardner openly admits in his interview in New Scientist (Lone voices special: God said, let the dry land appear, New Scientist, Dec 2006). If that much magma had been exposed it would have released enough heat to vaporize the ocean’s on the planet. The planet would not have had enough time to cool down by now. Originally, he thought that the steam jets had enough energy to reach into space and thus release the heat out into space (which would also explain a reduced atmospheric pressure). But the calculated velocities of the steam jets aren’t high enough. Dr. Baumgardner believes that the heat was removed miraculously, since the Bible indicates that God directly intervened during the Flood and it appears that the geological processes can be explained. The issue of heat goes farther when you account for RATE’s results that suggest that a massive amount of nuclear decay took place during the Flood. Nuclear decay releases heat and whatever process caused the nuclear decay appears to be universal, indicating it would affect the entire planet (including interior) as well as other planets like Venus and Mars. This totals to a gargantuan amount of heat, (I believe it’s far more than CPT) that is essentially unaccounted for. It’s interesting to note that in the creationist model the Ice Age takes place directly after the Flood, so there’s apparently something going on with temperature stabilization.

So what happens if you find evidence that something truly absurd has happened? I’m inclined to label it an unknown physical process that requires further scientific inquiry. I am told that scientists love to find data that contradict their theory, because it encourages further work. I am further told that science is constantly changing and that’s what makes it so great, both would apply in this case. But to satisfy anyone’s curiosity, Dr. Humphreys and Dr. Chaffin proposed that the accelerated nuclear decay was caused by spatial expansion, which would also result in massive loss of heat, enough to ice over the planet if energy isn’t added to the system. Researchers almost certainly don’t have the full picture yet, but heat does not constitute a show-stopper when taken in the larger context.

Wrap-Up
There have been several models of the Flood, but Catastrophic Plate Tectonic Theory stands out in that it is the only theory that has been mathematically modeled thoroughly, with a fair amount of supporting evidence. It is widely accepted among many creation scientists and has a fair amount of respect in secular circles as well. The summary’s summary goes as follows: runaway plate subduction triggered a global flood. The rain waters were vaporized ocean waters that came in contact with exposed molten rock. Seafloor spreading and continental movement created massive tsunamis and deposited tons of sediment. Magnetic reversals occurred during seafloor spreading because of turbulence in the core. The violent portion of the flood ended when the cold seafloor material reached the core/mantle boundary, at which point he mountains rose up and ocean floor deepened isostatically. Waters receded naturally and formed our current day oceans.

I hope that was a useful summary to all that have not heard of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics. I apologize if there are any errors. For further reading you can look at the original papers I have listed for your perusal. I’d be happy to answer any questions that I can since anyone can leave a comment.

Further Comments: It looks like on this article I did a good enough job that no one wanted to pick on it.  There should be enough information for anyone if you take the time to read it all.  Please keep in mind that collecting and linking all those articles and supporting evidence takes a lot of time for me.  I’ve spent a day or more on some of these.  Just because I don’t link tons of supporting evidence in some article doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  You just have to do your own homework.  Ideally, this article should be coupled with an overview of the RATE project (radiometric dating).  While they were developed separately, when taken together they present a complete picture of the mantle movement, heat generation, heat dissipation, and effects on radiometric dating.  Though the researchers in RATE were not aware of it at the time, their conclusion that there was a lot of radioactivity during the Flood meshed perfectly with Dr. Sanford’s observation on Genetic Entropy and the amount of mutations present in the human population.  I know most people will take each article at a time, mentally criticize it, then move on to the next.  But taken as a whole there really is a very large degree of interconnectivity that I don’t see elsewhere.  When you stick to a short time scale there is more than one thing happening at a time.  Billions of years give you the elbow room to ensure that no theory has to impinge on another.

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Early Earth

June 9, 2007

What did early Earth look like?

That is a hard question to answer because none of us were there. Most people today agree that the Earth has not always been the way it is today. Change is the only constant on Earth, and yet we still have a hard time imagining our planet being anything other than the globe that we are all shown in kindergarten.

Our world today has a certain number of species on it, a count that we know is steadily decreasing as more species go extinct. Our world has seven continents, two polar ice caps, and a huge diversity of climates. We have major deserts around 30 degrees lattitude because of our atmospheric circulation, great deserts like the Gobi desert, Death Valley, and the Sahara (which is expanding). The world that we live in has 100 lightning strikes per second, distributed over 2000 thunderstorms at any given time. The ground we are standing on today is piled up on top of layers of bones. Bones that tell a story of a very different planet.

Some people may be surprised to find out that Creation Scientists use the fossil record to find out more about what the Earth looked like in the past. Even though the fossil record is often used as the stronghold of evolutionary theory, like everything else, it depends upon philosophical assumptions in order to interpret the data. In a creationist model, most of the fossil record was laid down in the flood and the geologic column is more of an indicator of habitat and intelligence than age. But I don’t want to get sidetracked on that today. First, what did Earth look like in the past?

According to Andrew Revkin’s The North Pole was Here (not a creationist) at one point even the north pole had a very temperate climate. There is fossil evidence of giant Redwood-like trees rimming the arctic ocean, and the ocean itself was apparently coated in a mat of dark fern vegetation similar to that found in warm ponds today. The fossils would indicate that at one point early in Earth history the north pole was near 68 degrees Fahrenheit, room temperature.

In what is normally referred to as the Cambrian Period, there is immense amounts of evidence that the oceans used to be teeming with every form of life imaginable. Nearly all fossils are marine or plant fossils, with only .01% of fossils found being land dwelling animals. Yesterday I had the opportunity to buy a large slice of rock for a mere $140 that contained sea shells piled on top of each other, as close as they could get. We have literally tons of rock containing huge amounts of marine fossils. Most scientists believe that the ocean was saturated with life at some point in the past. I can only picture videos I have seen of people swimming through colonies of jellyfish.

On land we know that there were thousands of species that are now extinct. Dragonflies with 2 1/2 foot wingspans have been found along with beetles bigger than baseballs. The Redwood forests that are so rare today at one point covered huge tracks of land and the vegetation that fed the dinosaurs must have been far more abundant and fast-growing than anything today. Massive dinosaurs, massive trees, even massive bugs have occupied this planet before our time.

Putting it all together
In a creationist worldview, all these fossil evidences point to the same time period. The fossil record is the second age of mankind (Antediluvian Period) that existed after the Curse until it was wiped out and buried in the Flood. In many ways the pre-flood world was still very much like the garden of Eden. Most of the Earth’s land mass was held at near room temperature, the atmosphere was more favorable to abundant plant growth and large creatures. It is possible that there were no Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) which would prevent extreme weather conditions like hurricanes and tornadoes (as well as rainbows). The atmosphere was probably denser than it is today and contained 35% oxygen and up to 5% carbon dioxide which would encourage both plant and animal growth. There was also a huge diversity of species with massive amounts of variation within each species.

All kinds of animals on the Earth existed together at one point in time. Humans would have lived alongside dinosaurs, as well as giant bugs, and every kind of fruit bearing plant that ever existed. It is difficult to fully grasp all the interactions that may have entailed. Many creatures probably had useful ecological functions that are not understood when we look at the creature in isolation. For example, I find it possible that trilobites served a role as bottom dwellers who could recycle excrement off the sea floor. (Whatever the interactions it is clear from the fossil record that we retain only a small fraction of the kinds of animals that once existed and that this depletion of our biosphere is still continuing today. We may speak of the theoretical rise of species over long periods of time, but the only thing that is observable today is the rapid loss of species.)

As for humanity, if we take the trends of Genetic Entropy and reverse them to look at the past, then our ancestors were genetically superior to us and probably enjoyed better immune systems, healthier and stronger joints and muscles, excellent nutrition on a wide variety of edible plant species, and many other factors that would contribute to life spans as long as 970 years. These long lived people were also very fertile and very intelligent so they had abundant time to found cities and see their generations of children prosper. It would be nice to believe that under these ideal conditions mankind could accomplish many wonderful things but according to the Bible this first, long lived generation of humanity turned totally evil and had to be wiped out in the Flood.

Application
Current technological progress is starting to once-again offer the prospect of living indefinitely. I wonder if we could make better use of a second chance at near immortality. From an evolutionary perspective, humans living past 120 would be a first. From a creationist perspective, it has already happened before and the results were far worse than the atrocities that we live with today.

Further Reading
For the best discussion on the Early Earth I suggest checking out Genesis Park’s Early Earth Display. They have some incredible evidence that is a must see. Including the Hyperbaric Biosphere suggested in the rather sarcastic Things Creationists Hate “Live in Pre-Deluge Conditions“. That one surprised me.

Further Comments: This is probably my worst put together article.  There’s a lot of emotional impressions in it.  That comes with being human.  Several people mistakenly assumed that I supported the Canopy Theory because I mentioned some stuff about CCNs and a different atmosphere.  This is not the case, I think the Canopy Theory is rubbish and I actually spent time trying to get ICR to remove any mention of the Canopy Theory from their museum.  That theory was originally proposed in the 17-1800’s.  People make mistakes, they just have to admit them.  No, I was talking about whoever you’re picturing I’m talking about you and I’m talking about me.  So, just because there was no Vapor Canopy doesn’t mean the atmosphere was EXACTLY the way it is today.  Have a little respect for granularity here.  The atmosphere could have been cleaner with less dust, sulphur, etc. and have a higher oxygen and CO2 content.  That’s all.  The point is, we don’t know.  We weren’t there.

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Gravitational Time Dilation

May 23, 2007

galaxy.jpgIf the universe is only ~6,000 years old then how can we see starlight from galaxies that are billions of years away?

That’s a good question. Asking the right questions is half the battle. In 1994 Dr. Russell Humphreys published a book called Starlight and Time: Solving the Mystery of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe. In his book, Dr. Humphreys proposes an alternative model to the Big Bang that neatly explains a number of phenomena. He also helps to clarify many points about the Big Bang and actually gave me a healthy respect for the theory.

A Universe with no Center?
The central difference between the Big Bang and Dr. Humphreys’ “White-Hole Cosmology” is the issue of general relativity and the question of whether or not the universe has a center. When talking about something as massive as the known universe you are dealing with a lot of mass. Mass produces gravity, and Einstein discovered that gravity distorts time. So if the universe has a center of gravity we would see some interesting effects on a cosmic scale.

ball1.pngWhen we look at the galaxies all around us we see a basically uniform distribution. There are not more galaxies in the northern hemisphere than in the southern, or any spots where we don’t see any galaxies. This could mean three possible things: either we are near the center of the universe, the universe is really big and the center is not within sight, or the universe has no center. The most popularly accepted theory of the Big Bang takes the third option, and employs the Copernican Principle (ironically named after a creationist) which says that the earth is not in a special place in the solar system, a special place in the galaxy, or in a special place in the universe. Basically, earth’s location is not special or remarkable in any way. This leads to the assumption of an “unbounded cosmology” simply put, the universe has no center and no edge. This means that from any place the observer would always look like they were in the middle of the cosmos. The Big Bang theory places the universe on the surface of a 4-dimensional hypersphere that has expanded from a single point to the size/density of our universe today. If this is true then the effects of gravity are evenly distributed over the whole universe and relativity due to gravitational forces can be relegated to little hotspots that don’t have any lasting effect.

The important thing to learn here is that simply by observing the evidence we cannot come to a single theory without first accepting some philosophical assumptions. To quote Gerald Schroeder, author of The Science of God “The difference in theistic and atheistic cosmologies is not whether or not the physical universe has a metaphysical beginning, that is a given. The question is whether or not that first cause still takes an interest in the universe it created”.

Time Dilation
So, instead of starting with the philosophical assumption that everything is random, Dr. Humphreys starts with the assumption that the universe is bounded and thus, has a center to it. This matters because if there is a center of the universe then there is a center of mass. Mass produces gravity, and gravity distorts time, according to Einstein’s general relativity. There is an atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado and also one in Greenwich, England. Boulder is one mile above sea level while Greenwich is at sea level. The clock in Boulder registers one extra millisecond every year in comparison to the one in Greenwich. That is because Greenwich is closer to earth’s center of gravity, which causes time to move slower. The time difference between earth’s surface and orbit is much more than a millisecond. Imagine the difference between the core of the sun and Pluto. As the mass involved increases, so does the time dilation effects. If we are near the center of the universe and the center of gravity, a day in earth time could be a very long time at the edge of the universe.

A Possible Scenario
light.jpgLet’s look at the scenario Dr. Humphreys proposes in his book. Before matter exists there is no time. Time is the framework that we perceive the world, so it’s hard to picture a reality that exists without time. On day one of creation week, the beginning of time as we understand it, God calls into existence a massive sphere of matter (water in this case) containing the total mass of the universe, at least 250,000,000 light years across. At this point in time, all the matter in the universe is in a fairly tight area. The combined gravity of the universe would create a black hole with an event horizon surrounding the universe. The water sphere would begin collapsing under its own weight and nuclear fusion begins in the center. At the start, the entire universe would be illuminated by this massive fusion process. As the event-horizon passed through matter of the universe it would separate the light and dark, creating the universes first shadows as well as time dilation effects.

black_hole.jpgThe event horizon is the gravitational boundary of a black hole where light can no longer escape. It is called the event-horizon because you cannot observe events on either side because not even light is fast enough to escape the pull. The event-horizon is also a point of near infinite time dilation. If you were to watch a person fall towards a black hole they would appear to slow down as they approached the event horizon because the intense gravity slows down time. From the perspective of the person falling towards the event horizon, the rest of the universe would speed up while they remained moving at the same speed.

From observation, we can see that the universe has expanded. This is a commonly accepted scientific fact. If we had an event horizon created by a large conglomeration of matter and space was stretched then the density would start to decrease and the event-horizon would begin collapsing. Once this process starts, our black hole turns into a white hole. Black holes continuously suck matter in, gain mass, and expand their event-horizon. A white hole would be a massive gravitational body that was losing matter out through the event-horizon, which would in turn shrink, losing more matter. White holes are naturally self-destructing. Any matter passing through this event horizon would undergo rapid time dilation wherein they would appear to super accelerate from the time frame of something inside the event-horizon.

The event-horizon would continue to collapse inward toward the center, hyper accelerating protostars as they pass through the event horizon, until eventually all the mass inside the event-horizon is no longer enough to fuel the white hole and the event-horizon disappears entirely. From the perspective of something close to the center, as little as four days could have passed by, while farther out billions of years have gone by. Fact is often stranger than fiction, this is real general relativity. If you’ve got a good math background, you can look at the equations provided in Dr. Humphrey’s book.

gravity_lens.jpg

More Possibilities
This is only one possible scenario of a huge number of possibilities. The important lesson is that the way scientists construct their theories incorporates by necessity a number of philosophical assumptions. When you change these starting assumptions, just like changing axioms, the view can change radically. The Big Bang is not the inescapable logical conclusion of observational data. It requires a person accepts the expanded Copernican Principle, a four dimensional hypersphere even though we only see three dimensions, and the arbitrary fine-tuning of all physical laws to bring about galaxies, solar systems, and an improbable planet like Earth that can bear life. The Big Bang is not a bad theory, it is simply not the only option. The beginning of the universe is not intuitively obvious, class is not dismissed. There are many alternative theories that employ gravitational time dilation instead of trying to avoid it.

galaxy_bar.jpg

Recently, Dr. Russell Humphreys introduced another possible cosmology that employs recent discoveries in space-time and relativity. He developed it when a friend pointed out that biblically speaking, God did not create the matter for the stars on day one, but on day four. He recently wrote a second paper, entitled “New Vistas of Space-Time Rebut the Critics” expanding on his theory and responding to criticism from Old Earth Creationists. I decided not to cover the more recent theory because it employs new scientific research the average person isn’t familiar with, so it’s a bit more complicated. There are other Creationist cosmologies I did not cover, that are still worth looking into.

Alternative Takes on the Big Bang
So far I’ve only discussed the hypersphere version of the Big Bang, that is not because I am ignorant of other theories, only because I’m trying to keep my articles from approaching infinite length. If the universe were infinite in all directions and so long as you kept traveling you would see new and unique galaxies forever then there would also be no center of the universe and no net-gravitational effect. There are some theories that use a bounded universe and accept the time dilation effects that that would entail, and simply put our galaxy at the edge of the universe instead of the center. If you flip the positions around, then we are the hyper-accelerated ones and only six days have passed from the center of the Big Bang. Pastor Peter Hiett uses this cosmology in The Deepest Story to explain how the Bible could say God created the world in six days, which is true from the perspective of the center of the Big Bang, which is billions of light years from Earth. This theory is promoted by Gerald Schroeder in The Science of God mentioned earlier. Here’s a great slideshow comparing the possibilities and mentions the theological issues with theistic evolution and an ancient Earth. The RATE project answers the author’s questions about radioisotope dating referring to “as yet not understood reasons?”.

So it appears we have some elbow room, we have a number of choices in cosmology based on the outcomes of different philosophical assumptions. The question of starlight does not eliminate the possibility of a young earth, in fact, it opens up all number of possibilities and exposes the underlying framework of scientific thinking: philosophy. When it comes to making starting assumptions a Christian should probably take whatever is most Biblical for internal consistency if nothing else. An atheist should take a naturalistic set of assumptions for the same reason. In the absence of any personal experience or scientific evidence both approaches are equally valid and understandable.

Scientific Evidence
Phew, this article is long. It is hard to observe physical processes when we are working with something the size of the entire universe. We can only observe from Earth and our solar system, so it requires a certain amount of faith that the laws of physics are the same everywhere as they are in our infinitesimally small fragment of existence. Still, we have a fair amount of observed evidence to judge off of. We see Red Shift of galaxies in any direction that we look, this is generally interpreted as a Doppler Effect of light. Interestingly, the farther away from us a galaxy is, the more red shift we see, indicating a higher velocity. Red shift can also be explained through spatial expansion. The farther light has had to travel to us the more time it has been under expansion to cause redshift. The white-hole cosmology would be consistent with all red shift patterns without needing to invoke 4 spatial dimensions, in fact, a spherical universe is far more intuitive.

If the galaxies were actually separated from a larger whole instead of flying together in an amazingly structured way then we eliminate the need for a lot of what I would call “theory bandaids” like dark matter, dark energy, density wave theory, the cosmological constant, etc. To my understanding, the spiral twisting of galaxies is caused by the differential forces passing through the event-horizon (or timeless zone in his newer model). I’ll double check that.

Probably the most astounding piece of evidence that the universe truly does have a center is the recent “problem” with Pioneer 10 called the Pioneer anomaly. Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972 and is now far outside our solar system. After accounting for every possible gravitational pull of planets, the sun, even Kuiper belt, it is still experiencing an inexplicable slow-down, as if some force were pulling it back towards our solar system. “The effect is so persistent that it could indicate some physical principle not yet considered in previous explanations of the motions of the planets” (technovelgy.com). This effect is not a mystery in a Creationist cosmology, in fact, it is expected. The effect that is not accounted for is the gravitational pull of the universe, the same force that caused our current time dilation. Our solar system is in a gravity well and Pioneer 10 is trying to get out of that gravity well. How is that for parsimony?

Check out “13 things that do not make sense” and see how this lines up. Most of the astronomy stuff is only a problem in the Big Bang model. I may revise this article later, but I have things to attend to. For now, go stare at the heavens for a while.

Further Comments: Ok, maybe this was a bad idea. First off, I ordered things chronologically meaning that I start with the early days of Creation. This is by necessity the most crazy whacked miraculous period and farthest away from normal human experience. Actually even the Big Bang is pretty insane right at the beginning but then the later stuff is pretty mundane. I’m pretty sure that this has given people that bad first impression that says “this is total pseudoscience and people just making crazy stories up”. If you’ve had a bit more astrophysics then you get used to this sort of thing.

Secondly, not even Russell Humphreys believes this model anymore, so that was a bad choice. The reason I chose it is because there’s a book that you can go and read on it. His new theory is a bit more of a mind bender and also there’s no book on it. Basically, it employs an equation “proof” that someone said that there’s a sort of critical mass to gravitational force. On our 2 dimensional space time plot (picture above) an event horizon is basically the steepness of a gravitational curve. What has been proposed recently is that there is ANOTHER horizon that the maximum amount of total gravitational force. Think of it like sea level. Once you go below this level time actually stops entirely. Not slowed down, there simply is no time. Obviously this would have to be a moving barrier otherwise you couldn’t pass it or recover. Basically the new model proposes that God created the universe with enough mass to put it near this timeless boundary and that the whole universe actually passed through it as it was being created.  It has the same overall effect, with the age of any stellar body being directly proportional to its distance from our Solar System and also predicts a phantom gravitational effect centered somewhere in the vicinity (our solar system?) caused by the collective pull of the entire universe.  The overall predictions have stayed the same and match data like the Pioneer Anomaly.

I’ll be the first to admit: It’s pretty abstract, like most of astrophysics and quantum physics, relativity, etc. If anything I think you could use it as a proof that astrophysicists are just too far out there to make much sense. When you’re working with stuff that removed in time, space, and magnitude you can basically make up anything. Then again, considering how alien and huge space truly is, isn’t it absurd to think that everything that happens there should be within our realm of experience here on earth?

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A History of Brief Time

May 17, 2007

This article is a simple overview of the theoretical time line that most young-earth creationists work with. It will be useful to put each of the following articles into the structure of a larger whole. They fit together in ways that I can’t always make apparent when focusing in the smaller context. Without evidence this time line is nothing more than a story, a useful way of bringing together a number of disparate events. However, there is physical evidence for each of the events, even if I don’t get around to covering them in detail.

Creation Week
galaxy.jpgA literal interpretation of Genesis means that God created the world in six days based on an Earth time reference. Since Creation Week is largely a unique, supernatural event only parts of it will be testable through the scientific method. Still, the language of Genesis 1 is one of processes, indicating that God did not simply bring all atoms into position instantaneously. In both Genesis 1 and 2 Peter 3 the Bible indicates that the Earth was formed out of water. There may have been nuclear decay during creation week. We don’t know, but the transformation from water to heavier elements requires nuclear fusion.

  • Day 1: Light and Darkness
  • Day 2: Separating the Waters
  • Day 3: Dry ground and Sea, Vegetation
  • Day 4: Sun, Moon, and Stars
  • Day 5: Sea Dwelling, and Flying Animals
  • Day 6: Land Dwelling Animals, Man

Fall
After Creation was the fall, which could be looked at as its own small creation event. New structures like thorns were formed. There is a lot of questions over how much new structure was formed and how many actively harmful structures are simply adapted or degenerate forms of useful structures. Ken Miller actually presents some very interesting evidence for Biblical creation when he points out that the Type III secretory system, a nasty structure used for injecting poisons from bacteria like Bubonic Plague, is actually a degenerate bacterial flagellum. This would constitute evidence that in fact, the secretory system was not a new structure created specifically for causing pain, but is simply a useful system with parts ripped out. Like a microwave which has been jammed on with all the shielding removed. The Fall probably represents the biggest difference between Intelligent Design and creation, in addition to the age of the Earth (Ken seems to get them confused). The truth of reality is that the world is very well designed, yes, but there is also a lot of death and violence that needs to be accounted for.

Flood
not_hurricane_isabel.jpg This is the mother of all events in the young-earth framework. The Flood is largely responsible for our current world as it constitutes a global scale reworking of the planet. A couple things that happened during the Flood:

  • Destruction of all land-dwelling life in water
  • Mega-tsunamis – possibly the start of the flood. Sediment laden waves cause rapid burial
  • Spatial expansion – causes cooling
  • Accelerated Nuclear Decay – creates heat
  • Formation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Consequent breaking apart of Pangaea
  • Rapid Plate Tectonic Movement
  • Entire Earth flooded with Water
  • Water pulsing back and forth liking a washing machine generated stratification and cross-bedding
  • Large scale erosion and transportation of sediments and bodies
  • Fossil Graveyard formation where bodies are deposited
  • Global Volcanic Activity
  • Removal of large amounts of carbon along with the (Carbon-based) biosphere
  • Hyper-canes – Giant Meso-scale Hurricanes caused by high ocean temperatures
  • Extinction of many water-dwelling species due to water chemistry and upheaval

hurricane.jpgAs you can see, the Flood is a major event in Earth history. One that, if not included will give you a very different view of the world. The Flood is extremely well-supported from anthropological evidence alone as it would be the most memorable event in human history and it would be passed down from Noah’s family to the whole of mankind. To this end, we find that a global flood story occurs in almost every culture on the planet. Cultures that are highly isolated like the Australian Aborigines. Even cultures that live in the ice covered wilderness like Inuit, or the sun-scorched deserts of Arabia tell a story of a global flood. People that live in high tectonic areas, where the story should be about earthquakes, instead they have a story of a global flood (paraphrased from Dr. Bruce Malone).

Though the details understandable vary from each other based on over 4,000 years of oral tradition and cultural adaptation the consensus lies fairly close to the Genesis account. Plus, I’ve found it interesting in reading that many of the accounts contain corroborating details, like volcanic activity, inbreeding, and birth problems, that the Bible does not. For example, Ami from Eastern Taiwan and Babylonian legends. Other legends not only have flood information but also chronological details on the Tower of Babel and their own migration.

Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel is the last event shared by the entire human race. The basic summary is that all the descendants of Noah were all gathered together in one city (sometimes called Babylon) and they had a massive construction project called the Tower of Babel. All humankind refused to spread out across the planet which was in direct violation of God’s command. Together, humans were capable of basically anything they set their mind to, so God confused their languages so that they could no longer communicate. People broke off into family groups and tribes based on language and spread out across the earth. (Babel has a lot of interesting things to say about it, but I won’t in summary.)

The Ice Age and Catastrophism
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As would be expected, there was some pretty serious environmental fallout from the Flood. During and after the spread of mankind Earth’s climate and crust were readjusting back towards equilibrium. For temperatures, the oceans had been artificially heated as much of it was processed through magma (CPT) and even with spatial expansion causing volume cooling they would be hotter relative to the land. Warm oceans causes increased evaporation which migrates over cold land and falls as snow and rain. Glaciers formed and carved many features in the land. Frozen land bridges and reduced sea level both made human migration easier. Glaciers during their migration is documented in the Hopi Legend and underwater cities lay testimony to reduced water levels in the midst of human civilization, not before it. The polar ice caps would form during this time, and this is also the time of the book of Job at the end of the ice age, possibly contemporary to Abraham. Job mentions ice, snow, frost, and cold more than the entire rest of the Bible.

In addition to temperature changes the earth’s crust was out of equilibrium. Catastrophic Plate Tectonics would cause a geologic principle called isostasy to be upset. Isostasy can be thought of like buoyancy on a geologic scale. The earth naturally seeks isostatic equilibrium where given a column of the earth, from surface to core it should weigh the same as any other column. So if some materials are less dense than others they will rise higher in the air, whereas extremely dense materials get depressed under their own weight. After the Flood isostasy would have caused the rise and fall of mountains and valleys based on their densities over hundreds of years. This would mean greater earthquake activity, high likelihood of landslides, mudslides and other catastrophic events. All of these could cause fossilization events after the Flood and because of this we have a fairly good map of the diversification that occurred after the Flood (Genetics of Species). Even today scientists have discovered gravitational anomalies that would indicate the Earth is not yet fully balanced.

Ancient Human History
Ancient human history is where creationists and evolutionists slowly begin to agree on things. The difference is the context. In a Biblical framework disparate civilizations had only recently migrated from the same area with some technology already developed. This explains the worldwide unity of flood stories as well as why early civilizations were such advanced builders. This also explains the reason why American Natives (Mayan, Incan, Aztec) had pyramids similar to those in the East like the pyramids of Egypt and China and the Babylonian Ziggurats. Didn’t know there were pyramids in China? Babylonian Ziggurats may be the closest resemblance to the Tower of Babel, in which case it would make sense that these disparate people would try to rebuild their civilization after they reached their new homes. No aliens necessary.

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A Note on Dating methods
chaindexud5.jpg The Biblical account of history is fraught with catastrophism unlike the assumed history of a placid earth espoused by Uniformitarians. This has the effect of frustrating many dating methods because they require either an assumption of constants or calibration based on known historical. The assumption of constancy would be a nice simplifying assumption but it simply doesn’t match reality. For example, radiocarbon in our atmosphere is still not in equilibrium. Based on results from pre-flood fossils that give standard carbon-14 dates around 55,000 years we can get a calibration curve with an exponential error approaching the ecological recovery after the Flood. This may be where the discrepancy between Biblical and Egyptian chronology is found.

methuselah.jpgOther dating methods like Tree Rings are based off the assumption of constancy in seasonal cycles, which would be thrown off by the Ice Age, but probably far less. To that end, we may actually have at least one living tree, named Methuselah, that sprouted right after the flood. Poor thing looks like it has seen a lot… Also we know very little about conditions before the flood (seasonal, radioisotope concentrations (RATE p. 80-86), stellar). Despite these difficulties, creationist scientists do have a couple dating techniques like Helium Diffusion. In fact, according to Dr. Humphreys (a nuclear physicist from Sandia National Laboratories) “For every dating method indicating billions of years of Earth history there are 10 methods indicating the Earth is far too young for evolution to have happened”.

Conclusion
I hope that served as a useful overview. Each of these sections has a lot more information as well as many opportunities for future research. I may not cover all of these in this website but material can be found elsewhere on sites like ICR and AIG. Also I’d encourage people to search around on their own. Welcome to the Information Age. You will find that there is a point for point refutation of almost anything that a creationist might say. As well as some thoroughly devastating arguments against imaginary creationist straw-men. Just because someone claims a theory debunked does not make it true without real data interpreted with a proper understanding of the theory in question. I have spent months if not years of my life reading criticisms of creationists and basically all of them stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory or a philosophical difference, not actually from data. That is just the world we live in. To that end, I would encourage people to first develop a strong understanding of a theory and its context before they try and stress test it. I hope your studies are fruitful.

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