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E-mail Conversation with a Creationist

Alan Hale

[Editor's note: This e-mail has been reformatted for publication in the Secular Web Kiosk. In addition, various spelling errors were corrected.]

Hi everyone--a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by an individual who wanted to know if I could answer a few questions on astronomy. Although the way the questions were worded made me suspect I was dealing with a creationist, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and tried to answer his questions as honestly as I could.

Wouldn't you know, it turns out I was right; my "friend" is indeed a diehard creationist, and has written at least one article that appears on the ICR web page. Ever since I sent him the answers to his questions he has pelted me with various types of creationist propaganda. Even though I've told him several times that I consider the whole discussion pointless and that I'm not interested in keeping it going, he has continued to throw various things at me. Glutton for punishment that I am, I've kept responding to him (and to be honest, I'm almost taking a perverse enjoyment in this).

In some respects, though, this isn't the "real me," as my personal practice is not to criticize others' beliefs. But since my "friend" is the one who initiated this discussion, and since he continued to throw creationist stuff at me despite my requests to leave me alone, I felt at least a bit justified in throwing the occasional jab at creationism and fundamentalism.

Anyway, I thought you all might be interested in seeing how the conversation has gone. For your information (and entertainment) I am sending you the transcripts of our various emails (with his name deleted to give him some privacy). Read on, and enjoy ...

Alan


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1. From creationist "friend" to me
***************************************

January 14, 1997
To: Alan Hale, Director, Southwest Institute for Space Research

Dear Sir:

In the current issue of "The Universe in the Classroom" (no. 36, Fall '96), I read your interesting article concerning your discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp back in July, 1995.

I was wondering if you any time to answer the following questions:

1) How old do you estimate Comet Hale-Bopp to be? Do you classify it as a short- period or a long-period comet?

2) What's the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet?

3) Has any portion of the postulated Oort Cloud ever been directly observed?

4) Are new stars forming today, as often reported? Are new planets which circle faraway stars beyond the solar system actually being discovered?

5) If the universe is billions of years old, orbital mechanics require that spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters should have blurred or spun apart long ago. How do Big Bang advocates explain their present shape? Is there any direct evidence for the "missing mass" of the universe (Cold Dark Matter)?

Thank-you in advance for your help.

<name excised> (elementary school teacher)
Kelowna B.C., Canada


********************************************
2. From me to creationist "friend"
********************************************

I was wondering if you any time to answer the following questions:

1) How old do you estimate Comet Hale-Bopp to be? Do you classify it as a short-period or a long-period comet?

Hale-Bopp is, presumably, the same age as the rest of the observed objects in the solar system, i.e., 4 1/2 billion years. As for how long it has been going around the sun in an orbit similar to its present one, no one really knows, other than the fact that it has been around at least once before.

By definition, a short-period comet has an orbital period of 200 years or less. Since Hale-Bopp has an orbital period of approximately 3000 years, it qualifies as a long-period comet.

2) What's the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet?

There's no real set "lifetime" for such an object; much would depend upon the object's size, composition, how close it gets to the sun, how close it passes by various planets (especially Jupiter), and so on. Several short-period comets have been observed to "die" within the past century, and of course there are the spectacular cases like that of Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Most short-period comets could probably survive several hundred passages around the sun before dissipating. Halley has been observed at least 30 times already, and Encke's Comet has already been observed on 57 returns.

3) Has any portion of the postulated Oort Cloud ever been directly observed?

A comet orbiting the sun at the distance of the Oort Cloud (a few thousand Astronomical Units) is not visible with any kind of telescope equipment we have today. The Oort Cloud's existence has been inferred from statistical studies of long-period comet orbits and their respective aphelion points.

On the other hand, there is now direct observational evidence for the Kuiper Belt, the "inner Oort Cloud," as it were, that orbits the sun beyond Neptune's orbit. Over three dozen large objects at this distance have now been detected with the world's largest telescopes, and Hubble Space Telescope data suggests that the population of smaller objects like Halley's Comet may number in the hundreds of millions.

4) Are new stars forming today, as often reported? Are new planets which circle faraway stars beyond the solar system actually being discovered?

Yes and yes. We have numerous observations of very young stars and stars in the process of forming within interstellar gas and dust clouds, both within our galaxy and within other galaxies. Hubble has taken several images of very young stars surrounded by solar-system sized, apparent planet-formation disks of dusty and gaseous material. Keep in mind that star formation is a process that takes tens to hundreds of millions of years.

Within the past couple of years there have been several reports of planet-sized objects orbiting nearby stars at distances more or less representative of those of the planets in our solar system from our sun. The planets are not viewed directly, rather their existence is inferred from their effects upon their parent stars. In some instances the same results have been obtained from different teams of astronomers, and there is very good reason to believe that the results are valid.

5) If the universe is billions of years old, orbital mechanics require that spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters should have blurred or spun apart long ago. How do Big Bang advocates explain their present shape? Is there any direct evidence for the "missing mass" of the universe (Cold Dark Matter)?

I don't want to venture too far in here, since I'm not an expert in this field. I'd be careful about making categorical statements like "orbital mechanics require that spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters should have blurred or spun apart long ago," since there is plenty we don't know about the rotational dynamics and evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters. When we plot the rotational velocities of stars as a function of their distance from the center of their respective galaxies, thereby indirectly determining a galaxy's mass, we derive mass values significantly greater than what we would expect just from looking at the galaxy alone. Similarly, when we measure the velocities (and, therefore, the kinetic energies) of individual galaxies within clusters of galaxies, the amount of mass required to hold the cluster together is significantly greater than that that can be accounted for just from the matter (i.e., galaxies) that we do see. "Missing mass" is simply a term to describe the material that we know must be there but, for whatever reason, we are presently unable to detect. There are various theories circulating now as to the exact nature of this "missing mass," ranging from exotic types of sub-atomic particles to more mundane objects like brown dwarfs and rogue planets (in large numbers).

As far as "direct evidence" for this, that depends on how you define "direct evidence." The observations I describe above tell us that some sort of unseen mass must exist in and/or around galaxies and galaxy clusters. Some of the more striking forms of evidence are observations of large clouds of very hot ionized gas which permeate some galaxy clusters; the amount of mass required to hold these clouds together is far more than can be accounted for with the galaxies we see in the clusters.

Again, I'm not an expert in this field; your best bet would be to contact an astronomer at a nearby university who specializes in this type of study. He/she can certainly give you a much more accurate and detailed explanation of this than I can.

Alan Hale
Southwest Institute for Space Research


*******************************************
3. From creationist "friend" to me
******************************************

To: Alan Hale, Southwest Institute for Space Research

On 15 Jan 1997 you wrote:

>2) What's the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet? There's no real set "lifetime" for such an object; much would depend upon the object's size, composition, how close it gets to the sun, how close it passes by various planets (especially Jupiter), and so on. Several short-period comets have been observed to "die" within the past century, and of course there are the spectacular cases like that of Shoemaker-Levy 9.

According to English astronomer Raymond A. Lyttleton and others, the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet is 10,000 years.

>3) Has any portion of the postulated Oort Cloud ever been directly observed?

>A comet orbiting the sun at the distance of the Oort Cloud (a few thousand Astronomical Units) is not visible with any kind of telescope equipment we have today. The Oort Cloud's existence has been inferred from statistical studies of long-period comet orbits and their respective aphelion points.

Inferred, rather than directly observed. Then the short answer is "no."

>On the other hand, there is now direct observational evidence for the Kuiper Belt, the "inner Oort Cloud," as it were, that orbits the sun beyond Neptune's orbit. Over three dozen large objects at this distance have now been detected with the world's largest telescopes, and Hubble Space Telescope data suggests that the population of smaller objects like Halley's Comet may number in the hundreds of millions.

Yes, I've read of the detection of these objects, whatever they are.

>4) Are new stars forming today, as often reported? Are new planets which circle faraway stars beyond the solar system actually being discovered?

Don DeYoung has some interesting comments on this subject. Check out http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-274.htm

>5) If the universe is billions of years old, orbital mechanics require that spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters should have blurred or spun apart long ago. How do Big Bang advocates explain their present shape? Is there any direct evidence for the "missing mass" of the universe (Cold Dark Matter)?

>I don't want to venture too far in here, since I'm not an expert in this field. I'd be careful about making categorical statements like "orbital mechanics require that spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters should have blurred or spun apart long ago," since there is plenty we don't know about the rotational dynamics and evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters. When we plot the rotational velocities of stars as a function of their distance from the center of their respective galaxies, thereby indirectly determining a galaxy's mass, we derive mass values significantly greater than what we would expect just from looking at the galaxy alone. Similarly, when we measure the velocities (and, therefore, the kinetic energies) of individual galaxies within clusters of galaxies, the amount of mass required to hold the cluster together is significantly greater than that that can be accounted for just from the matter (i.e., galaxies) that we do see. "Missing mass" is simply a term to describe the material that we know must be there but, for whatever reason, we are presently unable to detect. There are various theories circulating now as to the exact nature of this "missing mass," ranging from exotic types of sub-atomic particles to more mundane objects like brown dwarfs and rogue planets (in large numbers).

Check out http://www.gti.net/cmmiller/drkmttr.html

One question I forgot to ask you last time was: Are you convinced that the speed of light has remained contant over time?

Check out http://www.best.com/~dolphin/constc.shtml

Finally, have you heard of William G. Tifft? For the last 20 years he's been claiming that his measurements of red-shifts, "tend to fall on evenly spaced values, like rungs on a ladder," NOT in a smooth manner as would be predicted if the universe was expanding.

My understanding is that two British astronomers set out to debunk this, only to be surprised that the hypothesis held up. They said the chance of their data being a statistical fluke was 1 in 3,000! See "Quantum Dissidents," Scientific American, December 1992, pp. 19-20; cf. also Sky and Telescope, August 1992, pp. 128-129; and "Bunched red-shifts Question Cosmology," New Scientist, December 21-28 1991.

Regards,
<name excised>


*******************************************
4. From me to creationist "friend"
******************************************

I suspected at the outset that I was dealing with a creationist, but in the spirit of honest inquiry I gave you the benefit of the doubt and attempted to give you honest answers to your questions. It now becomes quite apparent that I was wasting my time, and that the questions you sent me constitute little more than an interrogation.

>>>2) What's the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet?
>>
>There's no real set "lifetime" for such an object; much would depend upon the object's size, composition, how close it gets to the sun, how close it passes by various planets (especially Jupiter), and so on. Several short-period comets have been observed to "die" within the past century, and of course there are the spectacular cases like that of Shoemaker-Levy 9.

>According to English astronomer Raymond A. Lyttleton and others, the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet is 10,000 years.

Based upon what?

The 200-year "boundary" between short-period and long-period comets is arbitrary and is used primarily for convenience. Compared to the age of the solar system, Hale-Bopp's 3000-year orbital period would certainly be "short period." Are you saying that a large object like Hale-Bopp can only survive three returns, whereas smaller comets like Encke can survive for over 50?

>>>3) Has any portion of the postulated Oort Cloud ever been directly observed?
>>
>>A comet orbiting the sun at the distance of the Oort Cloud (a few thousand Astronomical Units) is not visible with any kind of telescope equipment we have today. The Oort Cloud's existence has been inferred from statistical studies of long-period comet orbits and their respective aphelion points.

>Inferred, rather than directly observed. Then the short answer is "no."

Have electrons ever been "directly observed"? Not just inferred, but directly observed? The short answer is "no." By your line of reasoning, then, all of our advances in electrical engineering and all of our electronic devices, including the computer that you are seeing this answer on and the data lines which are carrying this answer to you, cannot exist. Perhaps this conversation is nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

>>On the other hand, there is now direct observational evidence for the Kuiper Belt, the "inner Oort Cloud," as it were, that orbits the sun beyond Neptune's orbit. Over three dozen large objects at this distance have now been detected with the world's largest telescopes, and Hubble Space Telescope data suggests that the population of smaller objects like Halley's Comet may number in the hundreds of millions.

>Yes, I've read of the detection of these objects, whatever they are.

The first-discovered of these objects, 1992 QB1, has now been observed for over four years, and valid orbits have now been computed for this and for several of the other reputed Kuiper Belt objects. They're all in near-circular to moderately elliptical orbits near and somewhat beyond the orbit of Neptune, almost precisely in the location of the Kuiper Belt as originally hypothesized by Kuiper in the early 1950s and more rigorously by Duncan et al. in the late 1980s.

>>>4) Are new stars forming today, as often reported? Are new planets which circle faraway stars beyond the solar system actually being discovered?

>Don DeYoung has some interesting comments on this subject. Check out

>http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-274.htm

It was most interesting that the wording of your original question parrots the wording in DeYoung's monograph. That, and the mere fact that this comes from the ICR homepage, is more than sufficient to tell me that I am dealing with a creationist.

I found DeYoung's monograph to be full of the intellectual dishonesty that characterizes creationist writings. I could spend from now until next year detailing all the misinformation contained within it, but I understand there's going to be a comet visible in the sky these next few months that I don't want to miss ... so you'll have to settle for a couple of token comments. And by the way, I spent several years working toward, and earning, a Ph.D. in this field, have authored a few research papers on this subject that have appeared in *peer-reviewed* journals, and have even acted as a referee for papers that have been submitted to these journals, so I believe I can accurately say I know at least a thing or two about the subject.

DeYoung concedes that current models require the star formation process to take place over hundreds of thousands of years, and then states that "the process has not been observed"; a classic straw-man argument. Could you observe a newborn infant becoming an adult if you only had five seconds to make the observation?

What *has* been observed, and what DeYoung conveniently chooses to ignore, are stars in a variety of different stages of the star-formation process at numerous sites throughout the galaxy (and other galaxies as well). We see clumps in dust clouds in the state of collapsing, we see very young protostars in a variety of states (surrounded by infalling material, surrounded by planet-forming disks, ejecting material via their poles--all elements of the star formation process as currently envisioned), young stars in the T Tauri stage, both with and without planet-forming disks, slightly older stars with active coronae and high rotation rates, more evolved stars like the sun, and stars near or at the end of their respective lifetimes. (To continue the human analogy, an any given instant we see pregnant women, newborn infants, toddlers, elementary school kids, adolescents, young adults, middle-aged adults, and senior citizens--so even though we don't see the aging process occurring during any five-second interval, we see the evidence for it all around us.)

DeYoung's statement "to make the popular assumption that the gas and dust came from preexisting stars is simply to reason in a circle" is classic mis-representation. To be sure, *some* of the interstellar gas does come from stars which have existed in the past but which have expelled it through some mechanism (supernova explosions, for example), but the majority of it are remnants of the primordial formation of the galaxy, before the first stars were formed.

DeYoung's comments concerning the reported pulsar planet are flagrantly dishonest. In 1991 (not 1992, as DeYoung states) such an object was indeed reported, and this was indeed subsequently shown to be an artifact caused by the earth's orbital motion. What DeYoung conveniently failed to note was that it was the lead scientist of the team that reported the discovery, Andrew Lyne, who *himself* discovered the error, and who *himself* took the responsibility to announce it to the world. (I was in the audience when he announced this at a meeting five years ago; Dr. Lyne received a standing ovation from his scientific colleagues for having the intellectual integrity and the courage to admit this error publicly.) DeYoung also completely ignores the fact that *at that very same meeting* another pulsar planet was announced by Alex Wolszczan, and *this* object (actually, two or three of them) has subsequently been verified by a whole series of observations.

DeYoung makes much of the fact that some of the newfound planets, like that around 51 Pegasi, could not exist where they do "according to stellar evolution." That statement is incomplete: it should read something like "according to stellar evolution *as it was understood at that time*." Unlike creationists, *real* scientists do not claim to have all the answers, and do not claim to understand everything about how the universe operates. *Real* scientists develop models to explain the observations they have available, then they go and collect additional observations to challenge those models and then, if necessary, they modify those models to accomodate the new observations, and then they go collect additional observations ...

Indeed, scientists are now coming up with planetary formation models to take into account the latest findings. For one such model that has appeared in the peer-reviewed literature, see the paper by Guillot et al. which appeared in the Astrophysical Journal, vol. 459, p. L35 (March 1, 1996). Their first sentence says it all: "As the search for planets and brown dwarfs around nearby stars accelerates, we should expect to be surprised." Does this mean, incidentally, that the model by Guillot et al. is correct? Not necessarily; but as with any other models which might come out, this one leads to predictions that will be tested with subsequent discoveries, which will lead to further modifications of the models ...

>>>5) If the universe is billions of years old, orbital mechanics require that spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters should have blurred or spun apart long ago. How do Big Bang advocates explain their present shape? Is there any direct evidence for the "missing mass" of the universe (Cold Dark Matter)?
>>
>>I don't want to venture too far in here, since I'm not an expert in this field. I'd be careful about making categorical statements like "orbital mechanics require that spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters should have blurred or spun apart long ago," since there is plenty we don't know about the rotational dynamics and evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters. When we plot the rotational velocities of stars as a function of their distance from the center of their respective galaxies, thereby indirectly determining a galaxy's mass, we derive mass values significantly greater than what we would expect just from looking at the galaxy alone. Similarly, when we measure the velocities (and, therefore, the kinetic energies) of individual galaxies within clusters of galaxies, the amount of mass required to hold the cluster together is significantly greater than that that can be accounted for just from the matter (i.e., galaxies) that we do see. "Missing mass" is simply a term to describe the material that we know must be there but, for whatever reason, we are presently unable to detect. There are various theories circulating now as to the exact nature of this "missing mass," ranging from exotic types of sub-atomic particles to more mundane objects like brown dwarfs and rogue planets (in large numbers).

>Check out http://www.gti.net/cmmiller/drkmttr.html

Like I indicated in my earlier reply, I'm not an expert in this field. I suggest you run this by someone who is and get his/her reply.

>One question I forgot to ask you last time was: Are you convinced that the >speed of light has remained contant over time?

Until such time as someone can come up with *compelling*, *irrefutable* evidence that it isn't, then yes.

>Check out http://www.best.com/~dolphin/constc.shtml

I hardly consider this compelling and irrefutable, especially coming from avowed creationists and/or those who are coming from an overtly "Christian" perspective (as Dr. Dolphin freely admits in his web page).

It is interesting that the first determination of the speed of light, made in the 17th Century with the high-tech state-of-the-art equipment that was available then, arrived at a value that's within about 4% of the "correct" value. Laboratory measurements in the mid-19th Century gave values within about 1% of the correct value, and by the early 20th Century the values obtained were well within a tiny fraction of 1% of the correct value. I consider it far, far, far more likely that the different values that were determined over time are the result of improvements in techniques and advancements in instrumentation than the result of any intrinsic change in the speed of light. Those who cannot accept the real world as it is, and those who must twist every little scatter point into "proof" that the universe somehow operates according to their peculiar ideas (and who refuse to change their ideas no matter what the evidence against them) will of course disagree with me.

There has recently been published a refutation of this business about a "changing speed of light" based upon observations of Supernova 1987A, which appeared in the Large Magellanic Cloud (150,000 light years away) ten years ago. You'll find it at:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/dave_matson/young-earth/additional_topics/supernova.html

I admit I have not gone over this in detail yet.

>Finally, have you heard of William G. Tifft? For the last 20 years he's

I *know* William Tifft (although not well, i.e., I have met him at scientific meetings).

>been claiming that his measurements of red-shifts, "tend to fall on evenly spaced values, like rungs on a ladder," NOT in a smooth manner as would be predicted if the universe was expanding.

>My understanding is that two British astronomers set out to debunk this, only to be surprised that the hypothesis held up. They said the chance of their data being a statistical fluke was 1 in 3,000! See "Quantum Dissidents," Scientific American, December 1992, pp. 19-20; cf. also Sky and Telescope, August 1992, pp. 128-129; and "Bunched red-shifts Question Cosmology," New Scientist, December 21-28 1991.

I have found Tifft's arguments unconvincing; they seem to rely upon applying quite a few "corrections" to the data, and even then there seems to be a lot of scatter in the results. On the other hand, I am not an expert in this field, either, and I'm probably not qualified to judge his work. Most of those who *are* qualified also seem to remain unconvinced, and his ideas represent a minority viewpoint at this time.

But what if Tifft is correct after all? Then, great! We'll have learned a lot more about the universe around us. This is, after all, what science is all about. It wouldn't be the first time that a revolutionary scientific theory will have replaced an older incorrect theory. But this only happens when the new theory can provide *compelling*, *irrefutable* evidence for its validity, and can adequately explain all the observations that the old theory explained. In the vast majority of cases this does not happen, but in those cases where it does, the new theory *must* be and, eventually, *is* accepted by the world's scientists.

And even if Tifft's ideas are eventually shown to be correct, this in no way means that the creationists' ideas concerning a young Earth and universe are any more valid than they were before. I can't claim to speak for Tifft myself, but I'm quite sure that if you asked him the questions about the "changing speed of light," for example, you would get the same type of uncharitable response that you got from me.

If you are going to try to keep parroting creationist nonsense to me, please do me a favor and don't contact me any more; life is too short for me to waste my time trying to reason with someone whose main premise is that reason doesn't count. If, on the other hand, you are interested in honest inquiry about the universe around us, I'll be amenable to further discussion. I strongly recommend, though, that you stay away from the creationists' writings, and instead immerse yourself in a good college-level introductory astronomy textbook. (Some good ones are: Exploration of the Universe, by Abell et al.; Horizons: Exploring the Universe, by Seeds; Astronomy: The Evolving Universe, by Zeilik; and In Quest of the Universe, by Kuhn. There are plenty of others, of course.) Learn about the *real* universe around us, and how we know what we know about it.

And one more thing: in your original message you identified yourself as an elementary school teacher. If you are going to insist on holding to a creationist viewpoint, then please stay away from my children. I want my kids to learn about *real* science, and how the *real* world operates, and not be fed the mythical goings-on in the fantasy-land of creationism.

Alan Hale
Southwest Institute for Space Research


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5. From creationist "friend" to me
****************************************************

>I suspected at the outset that I was dealing with a creationist, but in the spirit of honest inquiry I gave you the benefit of the doubt and attempted to give you honest answers to your questions. It now becomes quite apparent that I was wasting my time, and that the questions you sent me constitute little more than an interrogation.

Yes, I certainly appreciate receiving your answers to the questions I asked. However, I find it interesting that you equate a creationist asking you astronomy questions with "little more than an interrogation." Strange.

>>>>2) What's the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet?
>>>
>>>There's no real set "lifetime" for such an object; much would depend upon the object's size, composition, how close it gets to the sun, how close it passes by various planets (especially Jupiter), and so on. Several short-period comets have been observed to "die" within the past century, and of course there are the spectacular cases like that of Shoemaker-Levy 9.
>
>>According to English astronomer Raymond A. Lyttleton and others, the maximum lifetime of a short-period comet is 10,000 years. > >Based upon what?
>
>The 200-year "boundary" between short-period and long-period comets is arbitrary and is used primarily for convenience. Compared to the age of the solar system, Hale-Bopp's 3000-year orbital period would certainly be "short period."

In your "Universe in the Classroom" article you write: "A year from now, it [Hale-Bopp] will be gone, not to return again for 3,400 years." Which is it? 3000 or 3400? Or were you just rounding the figure off to the nearest thousand years?

>Are you saying that a large object like Hale-Bopp can only survive three returns,

No. But _is it possible_ that 1997 is only, say, the second or third time that Hale-Bopp has approached earth? Is it possible?

>whereas smaller comets like Encke can survive for over 50?

I don't know the calculations for the Encke comet. But again, it is possible that Comet Encke has only approached earth _once_?

>>>>3) Has any portion of the postulated Oort Cloud ever been directly observed?
>>>
>>>A comet orbiting the sun at the distance of the Oort Cloud (a few thousand Astronomical Units) is not visible with any kind of telescope equipment we have today. The Oort Cloud's existence has been inferred from statistical studies of long-period comet orbits and their respective aphelion points.
>
>>Inferred, rather than directly observed. Then the short answer is "no."
>
>Have electrons ever been "directly observed"? Not just inferred, but directly observed? The short answer is "no." By your line of reasoning, then, all of our advances in electrical engineering and all of our electronic devices, including the computer that you are seeing this answer on and the data lines which are carrying this answer to you, cannot exist. Perhaps this conversation is nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

For evolutionary astronomers, the Oort Cloud MUST exist. (ditto for CDM) What faith! For creationist astronomers, whether the Oort Cloud exists or not does not adversely affect creation cosmology.

>>>On the other hand, there is now direct observational evidence for the Kuiper Belt, the "inner Oort Cloud," as it were, that orbits the sun beyond Neptune's orbit. Over three dozen large objects at this distance have now been detected with the world's largest telescopes, and Hubble Space Telescope data suggests that the population of smaller objects like Halley's Comet may number in the hundreds of millions.
>
>>Yes, I've read of the detection of these objects, whatever they are.
>
>The first-discovered of these objects, 1992 QB1, has now been observed for over four years, and valid orbits have now been computed for this and for several of the other reputed Kuiper Belt objects. They're all in near-circular to moderately elliptical orbits near and somewhat beyond the orbit of Neptune, almost precisely in the location of the Kuiper Belt as originally hypothesized by Kuiper in the early 1950s and more rigorously by Duncan et al. in the late 1980s.

But can one extrapolate from the observational data of only three dozen or so trans-Neptunian objects than an ENTIRE Kuiper Belt exists? Is this good science? For the sake of argument, even if thousands, millions, or even hundreds of millions of trans-Neptunian objects were found, and the Kuiper Belt is proven to exist, so what? This would not be proof that the Oort Cloud exists, which supposedly exists much further out.

>>>>4) Are new stars forming today, as often reported? Are new planets which circle faraway stars beyond the solar system actually being discovered?
>
>>Don DeYoung has some interesting comments on this subject. Check out
>
>>http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-274.htm
>
>It was most interesting that the wording of your original question parrots the wording in DeYoung's monograph. That, and the mere fact that this comes from the ICR homepage, is more than sufficient to tell me that I am dealing with a creationist.

Yes, I am a creationist. So? I _intentionally_ used the same wording from DeYoung's monograph.

>I found DeYoung's monograph to be full of the intellectual dishonesty that characterizes creationist writings. I could spend from now until next year detailing all the misinformation contained within it, but I understand there's going to be a comet visible in the sky these next few months that I don't want to miss ... so you'll have to settle for a couple of token comments. And by the way, I spent several years working toward, and earning, a Ph.D. in this field, have authored a few research papers on this subject that have appeared in *peer-reviewed* journals, and have even acted as a referee for papers that have been submitted to these journals, so I believe I can accurately say I know at least a thing or two about the subject.

I am forwarding your comments to Don DeYoung for him to answer, should he choose to.

You seem to be suggesting that creationists do not appear in *peer-reviewed* journals. Check out my article, "Do creationists publish in notable refereed journals?" at
http://www.sojourn.com/~revev/web/crepub.html

>>>"Missing mass" is simply a term to describe the material that we know must be there but, for whatever reason, we are presently unable to detect.

The "missing mass" MUST be there if one believes that the universe is old.

>>One question I forgot to ask you last time was: Are you convinced that the speed of light has remained contant over time?
>
>Until such time as someone can come up with *compelling*, *irrefutable* evidence that it isn't, then yes.
>
>>Check out http://www.best.com/~dolphin/constc.shtml
>
>I hardly consider this compelling and irrefutable, especially coming from avowed creationists and/or those who are coming from an overtly "Christian" perspective (as Dr. Dolphin freely admits in his web page).

So one reason you're critical of Dr. Dolphin is because he freely admits he's both a creationist and a Christian? Needless to say, all of the evolutionistic journals have a very strong but UNWRITTEN statement of belief about the sanctity of naturalism. At least creationists are open about their biases. Oh, I forgot, evolutionists don't have any biases! They only engage in *real* science:

See:

The New Antievolutionism , Michael Ruse, professor of zoology and philosophy, University of Guelph; transcript of the speech given at the 1993 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] February 13/93 at which he assures his audience, "I'm no less an evolutionist now that I ever was," Ruse nevertheless explained that he had given fresh consideration to Phillip Johnson's thesis ["Darwin on Trial"] that Ruse himself, as "an evolutionist, is metaphysically based at some level just as much as...some creationist...And to a certain extent, I must confess, in the ten years since I performed, or I appeared, in the creationism trial in Arkansas, I must say that I've been coming to this kind of position myself.....I mean I realize that when one is dealing with people, say, at the school level, or these sorts of things, certain sorts of arguments are appropriate. But those of us who are academics, or for other reasons pulling back and trying to think about these things, I think that we should recognize, both historically and perhaps philosophically, certainly that the science side has certain metaphysical assumptions built into doing science, which---it may not be a good thing to admit in a court of law---but I think that in honesty that we should recognize, and that we should be thinking about some of these sorts of things." National Center for Science Education, P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709 Note: At the 1981 creationism trial [McLean vs. Arkansas] Federal Judge William Overton ruled that Arkansas' "Balanced Treatment Act" was unconsitutional. Ruse had testified that creation-science is not science at all. Invoking the fact/faith dichotomy, Ruse claimed that Darwinism was scientific because establishing its validity required no philosophical assumptions. All other views, he claimed, required such assumptions and were therefore unscientific. His testimony became the centrepiece of Judge Overton's ruling. Related article http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/ruse.html

BTW, both Michael Ruse and Phillip Johnson will be presenting papers later this month (Jan. 25) at the "Naturalism, Theism and the Scientific Enterprise" conference. Close to 40 papers have been submitted by philosophers and scientists, evenly balanced between defenders and critics of naturalism. To my knowledge, this is the first conference of its kind. It should prove to be quite historic. For more info, see the web page at:

http://www.dla.utexas.edu/depts/philosophy/faculty/koons/ntse/ntse.html

>And even if Tifft's ideas are eventually shown to be correct, this in no way means that the creationists' ideas concerning a young Earth and universe are any more valid than they were before. I can't claim to speak for Tifft myself, but I'm quite sure that if you asked him the questions about the "changing speed of light," for example, you would get the same type of uncharitable response that you got from me.

Do you have Tifft's e-mail address? I'd like to ask him.

>And one more thing: in your original message you identified yourself as an elementary school teacher. If you are going to insist on holding to a creationist viewpoint, then please stay away from my children. I want my kids to learn about *real* science, and how the *real* world operates, and not be fed the mythical goings-on in the fantasy-land of creationism.


ATHEIST NATURALISM. There is no God. There is no design. Nature is all there is. [eg. Carl Sagan:"The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."]

Terry Mattingly's religion column for 1/15/97:
***
Carl Sagan: TV evangelist
by Terry Mattingly

While he often played the role of scientific high priest, the late Carl Sagan didn't own a set of liturgical vestments.

Thus, he wore his academic regalia as he ascended into the pulpit of New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Oct. 3, 1993, the Feast of St. Francis. The rite for the day--the "Missa Gaia (Earth Mass)"--included taped cries of wolves and whales and a procession featuring an elephant, a camel, a vulture, a swarm of bees and a bowl of blue-green algae. Musicians sang praises to Ra, Ausar and other gods, as well as to Jehovah.

The astronomer was right at home, weaving threads of science into a mystical litany--while remaining light years from theism.

"Life fills every nook and cranny of our planet's surface," said Sagan. "There are bacteria in the upper air, jumping spiders at the tops of the highest mountains, sulfur-metabolizing worms in the deep ocean trenches and heat-loving microbes kilometers below the surface of the land. Almost all of these beings are in intimate contact. They eat and drink one another, breath each other's waste gases, inhabit one another's bodies ... They have generated a web of mutual dependence and interaction that embraces the planet."

After his death on Dec. 20, Sagan was praised for his work as director of Cornell University's Laboratory for Planetary Studies, as a Pulitzer Prize- winning author and as an apologist for science on public television. He was the rare intellectual who could trade gags with Johnny Carson.

Truth is, Sagan was a talented "TV evangelist," said Robert C. Newman, who, while he has a Cornell doctorate in astrophysics, teaches at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pa. Sagan even opened his most famous programs with an unbeliever's creed: "The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."

"Now, by Sagan's own definition of the methodology of science, this is not a scientific statement. This is a religious statement," said Newman, in a 1981 lecture at Cornell. Sagan could not have researched everything in the past and it's impossible to do lab work in the future. Thus, "the Cosmos is all that is," must be considered a "faith statement," said Newman.

After the Mass at St. John the Divine, I asked Sagan whether his religious views had evolved in recent years. Was he, perhaps, trying to create a kind of modern deism or some fusion of science and Eastern spirituality?

Sagan said that while some of his images may have changed, he continued to reject the notion of a transcendent God that existed outside the world, universe or cosmos.

"I remain inexorably opposed to any kind of revealed religion and reject any talk of a personal god," said Sagan, while posing for news crews with clergy on the cathedral steps. "But millions of people believe in a god that is not that kind of god." Using the classic image of a divine watchmaker, he added: "Some might say, for example, that there is some kind of force or power in the watch--a set of laws, perhaps. Then the watch creates itself. I'm more comfortable with that kind of language."

In his novel, "Contact," Sagan was very specific about which religions can embrace this concept, and which cannot. In a debate with a Christian, his protagonist explains why she rejects belief in the God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

"When I say I'm an agnostic, I only mean that the evidence isn't in," says astronomer Eleanor Arroway, who will be played by actress Jodie Foster in an upcoming Hollywood movie. "There isn't compelling evidence that God exists -- at least your kind of god--and there isn't compelling evidence that he doesn't." By the end of the book, Sagan's heroine accepts that the universe was "made on purpose" and contains evidence of an "artist's signature."

At that point, said Newman, Sagan may have been "dabbling with the concept of a god. ... He may even have been moving toward some form of pantheism. It's hard to tell. What we do know is that he remained totally opposed to the God of the Bible." * Terry Mattingly teaches at Milligan College in Tennessee. He writes this weekly column for the Scripps Howard News Service.


AGNOSTIC NATURALISM. There may or may not be a God. If there is a God, He doesn't do anything. There is no design, and though nature is not all there is, nature is certainly all that matters.

THEISTIC NATURALISM. God designed the natural laws, but without any particular outcome in mind. There is no design in the strict sense, and although *in principle* nature is not all that matters, *in effect* it is.

WEAK THEISTIC EVOLUTION (WEAK DESIGN). God designed the natural laws so that their ordinary operation would result in the intended outcome.

STRONG THEISTIC EVOLUTION (STRONG DESIGN).To ensure the intended outcome, God not only designed the natural laws, but also determined their initial conditions.

INTERVENTION. To ensure the intended outcome, God not only designed the natural laws and determined their initial conditions, but also intervened in subsequent conditions.

SPECIAL CREATION. To ensure the intended outcome, God not only designed the natural laws, determined their initial conditions, and intervened in subsequent conditions, but directly inserted information into the genetic code. Micro-evolution /speciation occurs, and is viewed as variation within the created "kind" (baramin) eg. the cat "kind." Macro-evolution has never occurred. *** Back to comets. Suffice to say there is no direct observational evidence of either the Oort Cloud, or prospective stars or planets to disturb it. Calculations of the orbits of existing long-period comets also present difficulties for the theory.

Finally, how the postulated Oort Cloud itself might have "evolved" is a very serious problem for evolutionary astronomers and cosmologists. If you believe the Oort Cloud exists, do you have any speculations as to how it originated?

<name excised>


******************************************************
6. From me to creationist "friend"
*****************************************************

>Yes, I certainly appreciate receiving your answers to the questions I asked. However, I find it interesting that you equate a creationist asking you astronomy questions with "little more than an interrogation." Strange.

I welcome questions from anyone, including creationists, who has an honest desire to learn more about the universe around us. In your case, however, it is quite clear you were asking questions just to see what kinds of answers I might give and then, if I gave certain types of answers, you had pat creationist material ready to parrot to me.

>In your "Universe in the Classroom" article you write: "A year from now, it [Hale-Bopp] will be gone, not to return again for 3,400 years." Which is it? 3000 or 3400? Or were you just rounding the figure off to the nearest thousand years?

Must every number I use be taken literally? I was rounding off. We don't know the exact orbital period of Hale-Bopp, although we should be able to pin it down to within a decade or so in a few years. Compared to the age of the solar system, the difference between 3000 and 3400 is less than trivial.

>>Are you saying that a large object like Hale-Bopp can only survive three returns,

>No. But _is it possible_ that 1997 is only, say, the second or third time that Hale-Bopp has approached earth? Is it possible?

"Approached Earth"? Comets go around the sun, not the earth. The earth may or may not be nearby when the respective comets make their passages around the sun.

It is indeed possible that 1997 marks only the second return of Hale-Bopp. On the other hand, it is just as possible that Hale-Bopp has been around tens, maybe hundreds, of times; we don't have enough information available to determine that. Based upon its large size, my suspicion is that the number is quite small, but that is only a suspicion.

>>whereas smaller comets like Encke can survive for over 50?

>I don't know the calculations for the Encke comet. But again, it is possible that Comet Encke has only approached earth _once_?

Encke's comet has made 57 observed returns (including this year) since its original discovery in 1786. How many passages around the sun it made before that, we don't know. (Encke usually does not become bright enough to see with the naked eye.)

>For evolutionary astronomers, the Oort Cloud MUST exist. (ditto for CDM) What faith! For creationist astronomers, whether the Oort Cloud exists or not does not adversely affect creation cosmology.

You are quite incorrect. We know that a significant fraction of observed long-period comets have original aphelion distances on the order of a few thousand AU, and considering the relatively small amount of time these observations have been made (compared to the overall age of the solar system), there clearly must exist a large population of these objects at those distances. This statement is based upon the direct evidence of cometary orbits, not because we have to have the universe a certain way. If the Oort Cloud model as currently envisioned were to develop difficulties based upon observations we don't have available at this time, and if another model were then to be developed which could explain those observations as well as those we currently have available, I would accept it and so, I'm sure, would other astronomers.

If the existence or nonexistence of the Oort Cloud "does not adversely affect creation cosmology" (an oxymoron, if you ask me), why do you insist on making such a big deal about it?

And for creationists to claim that such-and-such a phenomenon *must* exist to satisfy scientists reminds me of a certain conversation between a pot and a kettle. Our telescopes routinely record photons of light from objects which are so far away that it takes light billions of years to get here from them. The mere fact we are recording those photons tells us that they have made the journey and, consequently, the objects which emitted them--and, by extension, the universe as a whole--were around billions of years ago. This is the *only* logical conclusion. But creationists can't have that, and therefore they *must* resort to ideas like "the speed of light is slowing down" and other such nonsense.

>But can one extrapolate from the observational data of only three dozen or so trans-Neptunian objects than an ENTIRE Kuiper Belt exists? Is this good science? For the sake of argument, even if thousands, millions, or even hundreds of millions of trans-Neptunian objects were found, and the Kuiper Belt is proven to exist, so what? This would not be proof that the Oort Cloud exists, which supposedly exists much further out.

Considering the extremely small area of the sky that has been searched so far (far, far less than 1%), it is only logical to conclude that the solar system contains a large population of these objects. Or are you claiming that only three dozen of these objects exist, and that, coincidentally, they just happened to show up in the areas that were searched? Based upon the size distribution of objects in the asteroid belt and the comets we see, it is also logical to conclude that the objects we are detecting are only the largest members of the population that exists there--they are, after all, near the brightness limit of the telescope equipment we have--and that, therefore, there is a much larger population of smaller objects in this region that we just can't detect. Two years ago the Hubble Space Telescope took exposures of an extremely tiny area of the sky, and recorded over fifty very faint objects that appear to be located at the distance of the Kuiper Belt. Based upon the area of the sky that was imaged, the population of such objects is indeed in the hundreds of millions (unless, again, you're willing to claim that there are only fifty such objects, and that, coincidentally, they all happened to be located in that tiny section of sky when Hubble photographed it).

The existence of the Kuiper Belt says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of the Oort Cloud. They are separate populations (although my suspicion is that there may be some merging at the "boundaries").

>>It was most interesting that the wording of your original question parrots the wording in DeYoung's monograph. That, and the mere fact that this comes from the ICR homepage, is more than sufficient to tell me that I am dealing with a creationist.

>Yes, I am a creationist. So? I _intentionally_ used the same wording from DeYoung's monograph.

Were you unable to phrase a question on your own?

>>I found DeYoung's monograph to be full of the intellectual dishonesty that characterizes creationist writings. I could spend from now until next year detailing all the misinformation contained within it, but I understand there's going to be a comet visible in the sky these next few months that I don't want to miss ... so you'll have to settle for a couple of token comments. And by the way, I spent several years working toward, and earning, a Ph.D. in this field, have authored a few research papers on this subject that have appeared in *peer-reviewed* journals, and have even acted as a referee for papers that have been submitted to these journals, so I believe I can accurately say I know at least a thing or two about the subject.

>I am forwarding your comments to Don DeYoung for him to answer, should he choose to.

Since my comments were made within the context of a private conversation, it would have been nice if you would've asked my permission before sending them to a third party. I probably would've said "yes," but there is a principle involved.

Since I'm going to be speaking at the Fleet Theater in San Diego in two weeks, perhaps he'd like to attend?

>You seem to be suggesting that creationists do not appear in *peer-reviewed* journals. Check out my article, "Do creationists publish in notable refereed journals?" at

>http://www.sojourn.com/~revev/web/crepub.html

So, creationists occasionally have papers published in "notable" scientific journals. So what? If a piece of research constitutes good science, then it should be published, regardless of who authored it. And as for "creationist" papers not being published as often as you'd like, well about all I can say is that, if I were editor of the Astronomical Journal, I'd be very leery about accepting papers written by well-known and avowed creationists, astrologers, and proponents of "the aliens have landed and are among us." I'd like to think that I'd still give the paper a fair shake, and that I wouldn't reject it out of hand (although I have to admit I'd be tempted to).

I have occasionally seen "interesting" papers in peer-reviewed journals; unless a paper is demonstrably wrong, it can usually be published, regardless of how "far-out" it might be. On the other hand, if I were to write a paper entitled "New Evidence that the Earth is Flat" I suspect I would have a hard time getting it published in the Astronomical Journal, and if a biologist were to write a paper entitled "Affecting the Gross Physical Characteristics of Offspring Via Visual Stimulation of Breeding Parents" (see Genesis 30:37-42) I suspect he/she would have a hard time getting it published in Science or Nature or any of the biology journals.

>The "missing mass" MUST be there if one believes that the universe is old.

The universe has to be billions of years old, unless one is willing to completely ignore all the observational evidence we have. In that case, all of reality is suspect, and we can be sure of nothing.

>>I hardly consider this compelling and irrefutable, especially coming from avowed creationists and/or those who are coming from an overtly "Christian" perspective (as Dr. Dolphin freely admits in his web page).

>So one reason you're critical of Dr. Dolphin is because he freely admits he's both a creationist and a Christian? Needless to say, all of the

I know scientists who are devout Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc., and who are able to do good science without letting their personal religious beliefs affect the conclusions they come to.

>evolutionistic journals have a very strong but UNWRITTEN statement of belief about the sanctity of naturalism. At least creationists are open

If by this you mean that the journals won't allow papers that invoke mythical beings for which there's no evidence, well, I guess you're probably right.

>about their biases. Oh, I forgot, evolutionists don't have any biases! They only engage in *real* science:

Oh, I have plenty of biases, all right. I'm quite biased toward depending upon what my senses and my intellect tell me about the world around me, and I'm quite biased against invoking mysterious mythical beings that other people want to claim exist but which they can offer no evidence for. I'm quite biased toward accepting the evidence I see at face value, and I'm quite biased against throwing that evidence out simply because some people with preconceived notions try to pretend it doesn't exist. I'm quite biased toward accepting the ideas of those who understand how science works, and who understand that everything in science is open to question and testing, and I'm quite biased against accepting the ideas of those who have no idea of how science works and who will hold onto discredited ideas no matter what the evidence against them simply because they have preconceived ideas of how the universe operates. I'm also biased toward the Dallas Cowboys, almost all forms of chocolate, pizzas with anchovies, and any woman who acknowledges my existence.

[quotations deleted]

I've noticed that it's a standard creationist ploy to parrot quotes by various "evolutionary" scientists, as if this really means anything. Reality is determined not by what scientists or anyone else says or believes but by what the evidence reveals to us.

>>And even if Tifft's ideas are eventually shown to be correct, this in no way means that the creationists' ideas concerning a young Earth and universe are any more valid than they were before. I can't claim to speak for Tifft myself, but I'm quite sure that if you asked him the questions about the "changing speed of light," for example, you would get the same type of uncharitable response that you got from me.

>Do you have Tifft's e-mail address? I'd like to ask him.

I consider it inappropriate to give out anyone's email address without asking his/her permission first. I have asked Dr. Tifft for such permission and for any thoughts he might have on the subject; this is his response:

-----------------------

Dear Dr. Hale:
   Thank you for your email about your creationist contact. I have no great interest in a direct contact, but my email address is no great secret, and he should be able to get it various ways.
   I just wrote ... a popular level article which tries to explain the types of alternate cosmology I am proposing. It is quite clearly a big bang format, although it involves redshift quantization, and ideas connected to the nature of time. Perhaps, if you are interested in any of the ideas I would be happy to mail you a copy. You may or may not have seen my article in Mercury in Sept-Oct 1995. The new article tries to build a logical basis for an alternate cosmology, but violates no local physics, the big bang, or the normal age of the universe.
   Send me your ... mailing address if you are interested, but I would just as soon you let him discover my email address on his own.

[Personal stuff deleted]

Regards,
   Bill Tifft

-----------------------

Another creationist ploy I've noticed is to point out disagreements within the scientific community--healthy debate which is what science is all about--and then try to use these as "proof" that the whole shebang is wrong and that the creationists are somehow right. As you can see, Tifft's ideas--as nonstandard as they are--must still square with the evidence we have, and creationism is every bit as invalid in his model as it is in the more standard cosmologies. Better luck next time.

>>And one more thing: in your original message you identified yourself as an elementary school teacher. If you are going to insist on holding to a creationist viewpoint, then please stay away from my children. I want my kids to learn about *real* science, and how the *real* world operates, and not be fed the mythical goings-on in the fantasy-land of creationism.

>It it makes you feel any better, although science is part of the curriculum I teach (right now the class is doing a unit on animals & their environment) I do not discuss any creation-evolution issues in my classes. However, if I were a high-school science teacher or college science instructor, I'm sure you'd be annoyed if I included the creationist viewpoint as one of *several* viewpoints in a discussion of origins. As an

I'd be annoyed if you tried to teach it as valid science. Similarly, I'd be annoyed if you tried to teach other discredited ideas like astrology, a flat Earth, and UFOs with aliens, as valid science. Such ideas do have their uses when presented in the context of "why these are discredited ideas," and in fact I have done so when I have taught at the undergraduate level.

>educator for over 20 years, I've always thought that more information on a subject is always better than less. You seem to be suggesting that creationists are trying to outlaw the teaching of evolution in science classes, and replace it with the book of Genesis, which is NOT the case at all!

Really? Just what are you trying to do, then? By trying to teach the idea that the universe is only a few thousand years old as valid science, when every bit of evidence that exists points to a universe that is older by a factor of a million, is to tell students that gathering evidence and trying to draw logical conclusions from it is worthless. By telling students that the beliefs of a superstitious tribe thousands of years ago should be treated on an equal basis with the evidence collected with our most advanced equipment today is to completely undermine the entire process of scientific inquiry.

>Check out my article, "Should evolution be immune from critical analysis in the science classroom?" http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-282.htm

All valid scientific ideas should be subject to critical analysis in the classroom, including biological evolution and the billions-year-old universe. I have no problems whatsoever with presenting students with the evidence both for and against various scientific ideas. Discussions of minority scientific opinions which have some evidential support-- for example, Tifft's work on quantized redshifts--are also appropriate in the classroom, and in fact I have often included these.

What creationists seem to have a hard time figuring out is that any evidence *against* evolution or a billions-year-old universe (assuming you could find any) does *not* automatically constitute evidence *for* creationism. Has any creationist actually produced any evidence *for* creationism? Has any creationist produced theories which could make predictions that could subsequently be tested? Have any creationist ideas ever been discarded (by creationists) because they didn't fit with the observed evidence?

Some of the questions in your article are not bad, although a number of them are loaded and misleading. (Some of them also look quite familiar ...) I have indeed occasionally addressed questions like these in the classes when I've taught. I wish I could come up with as impressive an array of questions addressing creationism, but about all I can do is ask:

"Is there any evidence, anywhere, that actually *supports* creationism?"

>Which viewpoint/philosophical position do you yourself hold? Don't you

My own personal beliefs are irrelevant. What matters is the reality around me.

>think it important to let high-school/college students know that these positions exist, whenever topics such as the origins of the universe are discussed? Or should be simply indoctrinate students in the various forms of naturalism?

The creation myths in Genesis certainly have a place in philosophy classes or history of religion classes or other classes of that nature. So do the Greek, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, and the various Native American (for example) creation myths, which are every bit as valid as those in Genesis.

[stuff on Carl Sagan deleted]

Why do you feel it necessary to drag Carl Sagan into this? Reality doesn't depend upon what Carl Sagan says, and I'm sure that Sagan--whom I knew personally and whom I deeply admired and respected--would be the first to agree with that statement.

>Back to comets. Suffice to say there is no direct observational evidence of either the Oort Cloud, or prospective stars or planets to disturb it.

Perhaps you should read Oort's papers, and all the research that's been published since then, before making a statement like this.

>Calculations of the orbits of existing long-period comets also present difficulties for the theory.

And you've performed these calculations, right?

>Finally, how the postulated Oort Cloud itself might have "evolved" is a very serious problem for evolutionary astronomers and cosmologists. If you

Only in the minds of creationists who've never bothered to read the literature on the subject.

>believe the Oort Cloud exists, do you have any speculations as to how it originated?

A few, but I consider it pointless to go into them. Read some of the scientific literature (not the creationist claptrap) on the subject and come to your own conclusions. Again, you sure seem to be spending a lot of time and effort on a subject which supposedly doesn't affect your view of the universe in any significant way.

To reiterate something I said in my previous message, I really don't see the point in carrying this conversation further. You obviously have your own set of beliefs that you are going to continue to adhere to; nothing I can say is going to change your mind, and to be honest, I'm not really interested in trying to do so. Has it ever occurred to you that I might also be secure in my own opinions? If you could present compelling evidence for the validity of creationism, I would accept it, but you have done nothing of the sort. All you've done is parrot rehashments of the same old tired arguments that I have seen and heard over and over and over. (I'll let you in on a secret: at one point in my life I seriously considered the validity of creationism, but I've soundly rejected it as being completely inconsistent with the world around me.) If the first 541 times I've seen these arguments weren't enough to convince me, what makes you think the 542nd time will magically do the trick? (And no, you shouldn't take those numbers literally, but I hope you get the point.)

In summary, if you wish to continue to cling to 3000-year-old superstitions and think of them as valid science, well, that's your business. The rest of us, though, have places to go, things to do, challenges to overcome, and a universe to explore, so please stay out of our way.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a comet to go examine. I hope you enjoy the show.

Alan Hale
Southwest Institute for Space Research

********************************************
7. From creationist "friend" to me
*******************************************

>>No. But _is it possible_ that 1997 is only, say, the second or third time that Hale-Bopp has approached earth? Is it possible?
>
>"Approached Earth"? Comets go around the sun, not the earth. The earth may or may not be nearby when the respective comets make their passages around the sun.

I am quite aware that comets make their passages around the sun. By using the phrase "approached earth", I merely meant comets that can be seen from the vacinity of earth. (eg. Halley, Hyakutake, etc.)

>Since I'm going to be speaking at the Fleet Theater in San Diego in two weeks, perhaps he'd like to attend?

On what date? time? DeYoung will still be teaching at Garce College (Winona Lake) at this time, but I'm going to suggest to ICR that they send a representative to your lecture.

>By trying to teach the idea that the universe is only a few thousand years old as valid science, when every bit of evidence that exists points to a universe that is older by a factor of a million, is to tell students that gathering evidence and trying to draw logical conclusions from it is worthless.

"_Every_ bit of evidence that exists" points to a universe that is billions of years old?" Come on!

>What creationists seem to have a hard time figuring out is that any evidence *against* evolution or a billions-year-old universe (assuming you could find any) does *not* automatically constitute evidence *for* creationism.

Evidence contrary to evolution does not automatically constitute evidence for creation. I agree.

>Has any creationist actually produced any evidence *for* creationism?

See: MODERN CREATION TRILOGY by Dr. Henry M. Morris and Dr. John D. Morris. 1996 [Boxed set of three books, including CD-ROM, for $34.95 plus shipping]

Volume I Scripture and Creation

***Volume II Science and Creation*** (375 pp.) Well-documented treatments of the abundant scientific evidence supporting creation, WITHOUT reference to scripture. (1996)

Volume III Society and Creation
To order, phone 1-800-628-7640

>Has any creationist produced theories which could make predictions that could subsequently be tested?

Sure. For example, check out D. Russell Humphreys's work concerning his predictions regarding magnetic fields of planets/moons

http://www.christiananswers.net/aig/j93inter.html

Humphreys is also the author of the book "Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe", Master Books, 1994 (ISBN 0-89051-202-7) which details his white hole cosmology theory.

http://www.christiananswers.net/ac015.html

>Have any creationist ideas ever been discarded (by creationists) because they didn't fit with the observed evidence?

Sure. Many creationists used to think some Homo erectus fossils came from extinct apes. Now many creationists, upon closer examination of the evidence, think that most, if not all Homo erectus fossils are 100% human. [See article, "Evolution: its collapse in view?"]

>Some of the questions in your article are not bad, although a number of them are loaded and misleading. (Some of them also look quite familiar ...) I have indeed occasionally addressed questions like these in the classes when I've taught. I wish I could come up with as impressive an array of questions addressing creationism, but about all I can do is ask:
>
>
"Is there any evidence, anywhere, that actually *supports* creationism?"

>If you could present compelling evidence for the validity of creationism, I would accept it, but you have done nothing of the sort.

Have you ever read Dr. Robert Herrmann's U-cosmology paper? I have received permission from Herrmann to forward two of his recent posts:

Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997
From: Prof Robert A Herrmann
Subject: Order in the Cosmos

1. Washington Post Jan 13, 1997. Science writer Kathy Sawyer reports on an article in Jan. 9th edition of Nature by Jaan Einasto of Tartu University Observatory in Estonia. The article claims that data are showing that the large-scale structure of the cosmos is an orderly rectangle, a three-dimensional latticework of clusters and voids. The criss-crossing lines of clustered material appear to be spaced at more-or-less regular intervals of 391 million light-years.

2. I quote the last sentence. "If their findings hold up, the Einsto group suggests, scientists may be forced to look for some hitherto unknown physical process that has, from the beginning, imposed an order on the universe."

3. I point out that this is a geometric ordering and please notice the word "physical" in the quoted sentence. Now this Kathy Sawyer at the Post was given by me all of the MA-model stuff, and she refused to consider it for publication although I also gave her the non-CRSQ published papers as well. In the U-cosmology, I give only a slight speculation as to how ONE POSSIBLE scenario plays out relative to the additional clumping requirements for the radiation-matter soup. (Page 4 top of page.) [I point out that sudden appearance in structured form is another possibility as well as a nonexpanding universe.] I have written many times that there would be found "anomalies" with respect to the Big Bang or inflationary model etc. that might be a "signature" of God. This would be especially so for an overall pattern of construction by ultralogic processes.

4. I have a strong feeling, however, that the data will either be ignored or "explained away."

Sincerely,
Prof. Robert A. Herrmann Ph.D.

"And God said ... " Ps 33.9(NIV); 1 Cor. 2:12-14; 1 John 2:27


Math. Dept., U. S. Naval Academy, 572 Holloway Rd., Annapolis, MD 21402-5002


***

Date:Wed, 22 Jan 1997
From: Prof Robert A Herrmann
Subject:Re: Order in the Cosmos

1. This is relative to my 13 JAN 97 posting and a question by Mark Armitage relative to the type of lattice structure involved. I now have a copy of the article that presents this new information. The quotations I give are for research purposes.

2. First, this investigation is relative only to superclusters and at this point I quote from the article from Nature 385 (9 JAN 97) pp: 139-141. "Here, using a new compilation on galaxy clusters, we present evidence for a quasi-regular three-dimensional network of rich superclusters and voids, with the regions of high density separated by approximately 120 Mpc. [391 Mil. Light Years] If this reflects the distribution of all matter (luminous and dark), then there must exist some hitherto unknown process that produces regular structure on large scales." I point out that this could be a very interesting "signature of God" that I have mentioned many times since the size of the superclusters of galaxies does not follow this pattern. What follows this pattern are the "voids" between the superclusters of galaxies.

3. How was this done? It was done through redshift analysis which included clusters with estimated redshifts. The redshitfs are used to measure the distance away and, hence, to place them into a galaxy cluster itself. Further, the authors claim that the individual galaxies are within 24 h^{-1} Mpc, where h is the Hubble constant at this present epic in Mpc and other units. They used 25 superclusters of galaxies containing 319 clusters for this study. At this point, I quote again from the paper. "In Fig 1. we plot clusters located in rich superclusters with at the least eight member clusters. We see a moderate regular network of superclusters and voids with a step size of approximate 120 plus or minus 20 h^{-1} Mpc where the chains of supercluster clusters are separated by voids of almost equal size. The whole distribution resembles a three-dimensional chessboard." [Such a description might lead to confusion since it is the voids between superclusters of galaxies that are very regular in the Fig. 1.]

4. Of great interest is also information about poor superclusters with less than eight members. "The near-neighbor test, pencil-beam and void analysis, indicates that clusters in poor superclusters with less than eight members form a more uniform population, preferentially located in void walls between rich superclusters but not filling the voids." So, the voids are the most interesting part of all of this.

5. They also did a mathematical analysis to determine whether this might just come about by "blind" chance (randomness if you like). They showed that there is a strong likelihood that there are other "physical" process at work that produces this behavior. I quote that last line of the article. "We have shown that luminous matter in galaxy clusters is more regularly distributed than expected. Thus we conclude that our present understanding of structure formation on very large scales needs revision." There will be other "probes" of cosmic structure according to a critique by Kirshner on pp: 112-113, that "will show whether these recent hints of super-large organization are signs of real events in the early Universe." I mention that it may be possible to make one small additional requirement in section 9 of my U-cosmology paper, a requirement that might produce such a pattern. It would, however, probably not be consistent with the modern doctrine of the uniformity of nature.

Sincerely,
Robert A. Herrmann Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics

"And God said ... " Ps 33.9(NIV); 1 Cor. 2:12-14; 1 John 2:27


Math. Dept., U. S. Naval Academy, 572 Holloway Rd., Annapolis, MD 21402-5002


Were you aware that Dr. Herrmann has been nominated for the 1996 Templeton Prize?

From the Templeton Prize committee...

Dr. Herrmann has answered the most fundamental question associated with the relationship between theology and science. Can certain theological concepts be investigated by means of the scientific method? For hundreds of years, such philosophers as Feuerbach, Marx, Engels as well as many present day philosophers and scientists have claimed that theological concepts were scientifically irrational and thus could not be investigated by scientific means. Like most questions in science a simply stated question is often the most difficult to answer. Indeed, this question could not be answered explicitly until after Abraham Robinson, in the late 1960s, had discovered the new mathematical techniques called Nonstandard Analysis. These are the techniques, coupled with exceptional creativity and innovation, that Dr. Herrmann has used to answer this question affirmatively and, hence, he has shown that this claim is false. Moreover, as described below, his methods, at the least, have extraordinary and startling application to three major and fundamental theological concepts.

Although Dr. Herrmann's techniques can be applied to all major theological doctrine, he chose to apply them to the doctrine displayed within the Judeo-Christian Bible. Using a few Biblical paraphrases expressed by C. S. Lewis, Dr. Herrmann constructed a mathematical structure that models by means of scientific logic all of the Godhead attributes described within the Bible as they are compared with attributes of His created. This yields the Grundlegend-model (G-model) and thus answers the above question affirmatively relative to Godhead attributes as Biblically described. The existence of a Divine being exhibiting such attributes can be argued for by means of scientific logic and these attributes can be comprehended and studied in the same manner as is done within theoretical science.

The Bible contains numerously many statements that compare the Divine mind or mental attributes with those of His created. Dr. Herrmann refined that portion of the G-model that gives the general approach to modeling Divine attributes and produced the deductive-world (D-world) model. The D-world model is a scientific model for all of the Biblically described Divine mental and communication attributes as they are compared with those of His created. Again this means that the Biblically described "mind of God" can be investigated by means of scientific logic and such behavior can be comprehended and studied by using the basic methods of theoretical science.

Using a new interpretation for the D-world model and the same methods utilized for the G-model, Dr. Herrmann constructed the metamorphic-anamorphosis (MA-model). This model can be used to answer both secular and theological questions. From a secular viewpoint, it yields a solution to the General Grand Unification Problem among others. From the theological viewpoint, the MA-model gives a scientific model for the various Divine creation scenarios described within the Bible. The existence of this mathematical model shows that various Biblically based creation scenarios can be investigated by means of the theoretical aspects of the scientific method. This is exceptional significant to the work of all of those scientists who are attempting to verify that one of the many possible MA-model creation scenarios is the specific Divine creation scenario that has produced the universe in which we dwell.

This nomination is being made since many individuals believe that scientific investigations of theological concepts, investigations that are being undertaken by hundreds of philosophers and scientists, would not be justified unless the above question could be answered affirmatively and answered by means of an exceptionally strong scientific argument. This Dr. Herrmann has done with his very significant research findings that certain theological concepts can be investigated by means of scientific logic. His application of these mathematical methods to three basic theological concepts and his mathematically derived conclusions should greatly aid our comprehension of God's attributes, in general, and increase our understanding of God's created visible and invisible kingdoms.


January 1997

EVOLUTION:ITS COLLAPSE IN VIEW?

by David Buckna dabuckna@awinc.com

Remember back in November '89 when the Berlin Wall came down? After three decades, a section of the Wall was torn down by German citizens in a matter of hours. By 1992, most of it was broken up for use in roadbeds and other construction projects. The same sort of thing is beginning to happen with evolution, and it's starting to crumble a lot faster than many might think.

Two of the hottest sites on the Internet are:

"Molecular Machines" by biochemist Michael Behe
http://www.mrccos.com/arn/articles/behe924.htm and
"The Deniable Darwin" by mathematician David Berlinski
http://www.sojourn.com/~revev/dendar.html

Behe's book,_Darwin's Black Box:The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution_, already in its sixth printing since its release last August, is the first anti-Darwinian book to be published by a major New York house in several decades (The Free Press, a division of Simon & Shuster). Behe argues that biochemical systems, such as those involved in vision, the immune system, and blood clotting are so complex that "you can see they were designed by an intelligent agent and did not evolve according to Darwinian theory." ("Heretics in the Laboratory", _Newsweek_, Sept. 16, p.82). Behe refers to these biochemical systems as having "irreducible complexity"---a term that is certain to become part of the modern scientific lexicon.

Darwinists have been claiming that they solved the complexity problem long ago, not that they hope to solve it some time in the future. _Now_ what do they do?

On October 29, Behe's opinion piece, "Darwin Under the Microscope", appeared in _The New York Times_ (section A; p. 25) http://www.arn. org/arn/articles/behe1104.htm which was followed just four days later by Berlinski's review of Richard Dawkins' "Climbing Mount Improbable" http://www.sojourn.com/~revev/eyeevol.html in _The Globe & Mail_ (Nov. 2, p. D11). Berlinski writes: "The theory of evolution is the great white elephant of contemporary thought. It is large, almost entirely useless, and the object of superstitious awe." The December 2nd issue of _Forbes ASAP_ (_Forbes_ magazine's technology publication for business) includes another Berlinski article,"The End of Materialist Science" http://www.sojourn.com/~revev/matersci.html._Forbes ASAP_ refers to Berlinski as "the most controversial challenger to the dogma of modern science in our time."

Darwinists say, "We continually revise our theories and welcome critical examination and evaluation." They may revise aspects of their theories, but because evolution is so incredibly malleable, no amount of contrary evidence will convince them otherwise. But how much contrary evidence must accumulate before a theory is discarded?

Today evolution survives, not so much as a theory of science, but as a philosophical necessity. Good science is always tentative and self-correcting, but this never really happens in the case of evolution. Regardless of the scientific data, the idea of evolution as a valid concept is not open to debate. Students are allowed to ask "HOW did evolution occur?", but never "DID evolution occur?." Which is a more objective question: "What were the ape-like creatures that led to man?" or "_Did_ man evolve from ape-like creatures?"

On December 9 archeologist and paleo-anthropologist Mary Leakey died at age 83. Although Leakey was convinced that man had evolved from ape-like ancestors, she was equally convinced that scientists will never be able to prove a particular scenario of human evolution. Three months before her death, she said in an interview: "All these trees of life with their branches of our ancestors, that's a lot of nonsense." Associated Press (AP) Dec. 10, 1996.

With Leakey's words still ringing in my ears, _The New York Times_ reported three days later that scientists had re-examined two major fossil sites in Java, and found that Homo erectus may have lived there as recently as "27,000 years ago." (December 13, P.A1) This dating analysis, conducted by McMaster University geologists Henry Schwarcz and Jack Rink, will serve to cast further doubt on the so-called evidence for human evolution. Why? If it can be shown that Homo erectus lived at the same time as modern man, Homo erectus may be no more than racial variants of Homo sapiens. That is what creationists such as Duane Gish ("Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!", Master Books, 1995) have been saying for decades.

From Maclean's magazine (Canada's weekly newsmagazine):

***

That would place him [Java Man] in the era of modern humans---and argue against an ancestral relationship."If these dates are right," said Philip Rightmire, an anthropologist at the State University of New York at Binghamton, "the multiregionalists will have to do some fast thinking.."..The new findings also challenge the rival Out of Africa theory. That view holds that modern humans emerged in Africa as recently as 150,000 years ago and spread around the globe, driving Homo erectus into extinction---well before the era pointed to by the new finding.(Maclean's, science section,"The origins of man", Dec. 23, p. 69)

***

Marvin Lubenow has an M.S.in anthropology and zoology from Eastern Michigan University, and is the author of "Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils", Baker Book House, 1993. According to Lubenow, from the neck down, the differences between Homo erectus and modern humans are minor.(Erectus skeletons are usually smaller than moderns, but not always.) And while Homo erectus tended to have thicker skulls and smaller brains, we now know the human brain's organization is such that small size does not affect intelligence (eg. some Australian aboriginees). In fact, the actual range in humans is said to be a remarkable 700 to 2200 cubic centimetres. Lubenow states that other characteristics of Homo erectus skulls can be accounted for by poor diet and disease (especially rickets),inbreeding, and harsh living conditions, and that most, if not all, of these skull-shape characteristics can still be found within the current human population.

Currently, a lively debate between University of California (Berkeley) law professor Phillip Johnson (_Darwin on Trial_) and Kenneth Miller of Brown University, author of a leading biology textbook, is found on NOVA Online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/nova/odyssey/debate/. Debates have an important role to play in discussions of origins, for if science is not permitted to testify against the evolutionary paradigm, then perhaps evolutionary speculation should be restricted to classes in philosophy.

On the PBS documentary "In the Beginning: The Creationist Controversy" [May 1995] Phillip Johnson commented:

"Darwinian theory is the creation myth of our culture. It's the officially sponsored, government financed creation myth that the public is supposed to believe in, and that creates the evolutionary scientists as the priesthood... So we have the priesthood of naturalism, which has great cultural authority, and of course has to protect its mystery that gives it that authority---that's why they're so vicious towards critics."

In the not-so-distant future, when someone of the stature of a Stephen Jay Gould or the late Carl Sagan holds a press conference to announce he has finally reached the conclusion that evolution is scientifically bankrupt, other scientists will quickly follow suit. It'll resemble rats deserting a sinking ship. And with the publication of Behe's book, Berlinski's articles, and last month's stunning announcement that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens may have lived at the same time, I think I'm beginning to hear the sounds of tiny feet scampering over the decks. Can you?


***********************************************
8. From me to creationist "friend"
***********************************************

You sure seem to have a hard time getting the message that I am *not interested* in carrying this discussion further. This whole discussion--which I remind you I did *not* initiate--is pointless and futile; you are obviously going to continue to cling to 3000-year-old superstitions regardless of the evidence against them and regardless of what I or anyone else might say, and as I indicated in my last message, I have no interest in trying to change your mind.

Thomas Huxley once remarked "Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once." Creationism is a dead horse, both to me personally and to the scientific community at large. The creationism you espouse is every bit as ridiculous as astrology, a flat Earth, and the idea that there's a large alien spacecraft following Hale-Bopp. At least the UFO idiots aren't trying to have their nonsense taught in the public school classrooms as valid science.

[deletions]

>>Since I'm going to be speaking at the Fleet Theater in San Diego in two weeks, perhaps he'd like to attend?

>On what date? time? DeYoung will still be teaching at Garce College (Winona Lake) at this time, but I'm going to suggest to ICR that they sent a representative to your lecture.

If they're interested, they can contact the Fleet (the talks are open to the public). Personally, I don't see why in the world anyone at ICR would be interested; after all, they already have all the answers, don't they?

>>By trying to teach the idea that the universe is only a few thousand years old as valid science, when every bit of evidence that exists points to a universe that is older by a factor of a million, is to tell students that gathering evidence and trying to draw logical conclusions from it is worthless.

>"_Every_ bit of evidence that exists" points to a universe that is billions of years old? Come on!

The statement stands. Anyone who has trouble with that statement has either never made any kind of serious attempt to examine the evidence, or else is into complete denial of reality (or both).

>Evidence contrary to evolution does not automatically constitute evidence for creation. I agree.

The first intelligent thing you've said (and in sharp contradiction of most of your cohorts at ICR.) Maybe there's hope ...

>>Has any creationist actually produced any evidence *for* creationism?

>See: MODERN CREATION TRILOGY by Dr. Henry M. Morris and Dr. John D. Morris. 1996 [Boxed set of three books, including CD-ROM, for $34.95 plus shipping]

If I want to waste my money, I'm sure I can find someone who has a bridge to sell me.

[deletion]

***Volume II Science and Creation*** (375 pp.) Well-documented treatments of the abundant scientific evidence supporting creation, WITHOUT reference to scripture. (1996)

Yeah, right. Isn't this the same Henry Morris who once wrote "it is ... quite impossible to determine anything about Creation through a study of present processes, because present processes are not creative in character. If man wishes to know anything about Creation (the time of Creation, the duration of Creation, the order of Creation, the methods of Creation, or anything else) his sole source of true information is that of divine revelation. God was there when it happened. We were not there ... Therefore, we are completely limited to what God has seen fit to tell us, and this information is in His written Word. This is our textbook on the science of Creation!" (Studies in the Bible and Science)?

Isn't this the same Henry Morris who wrote "The only Book even claiming to deal authoritatively with this supernatural creation of the space/time cosmos is the Bible, and there the Creator personally inscribed His explicit summary of creation ... " and who admonishes any of his followers who might want to "compromise" with the literal interpretation of Genesis to "stay on the straight and narrow road of the pure Word of God" (Impact No. 177)?

Isn't this the same John Morris who wrote "our passion ... is to see science return to its rightful God-glorifying position, and see creation recognized as a strength by the body of Christ; supporting Scripture, answering questions, satisfying doubts and removing road blocks to the Gospel" ("A Word From the President, ICR web page)?

Aren't these two the President and past President of an organization which requires its staff members to adhere to a series of tenets which include such items as "The Bible ... is the divinely-inspired revelation of the Creator to man. Its unique, plenary, verbal inspiration guarantees that these writings, as originally and miraculously given, are infallible and completely authoritative on all matters with which they deal, free from error of any sort, scientific and historical ... " and "All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week described in Genesis 1:1-2;3 and confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11. The creation record is factual, historical, and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development which involve evolution in any form are false."?

How much were you asking for this bridge?

[deletions]

>>Has any creationist produced theories which could make predictions that could subsequently be tested?

>Sure. For example, check out D. Russell Humphreys's work concerning his predictions regarding magnetic fields of planets/moons

>http://www.christiananswers.net/aig/j93inter.html

>Humphreys is also the author of the book "Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe", Master Books, 1994 (ISBN 0-89051-202-7) which details his white hole cosmology theory.

I was wondering how long it would take you to get around to Humphreys. I've not read Starlight and Time--I honestly don't think I could stomach it--but I have read several of his other writings. I have found most of them to be reeking of the intellectual dishonesty that pervades creationist "literature." Humphreys' writings may fool the gullible scientific illiterates who populate creationism, but they do not fool the scientists who have obtained at least some sort of understanding as to how the universe operates (regardless of how incomplete that understanding may be at this time).

I have several colleagues, including fellow employees of his at Sandia, who have had quite a few dealings with Humphreys. Here's what one of them had to tell me about Humphreys' antics: "Be wary of him--he does *not* play fair. He will do whatever it takes (stretch the truth, ignore contrary data, invoke scientific-sounding arguments, etc.) to make his point. Frankly, I can't see how he reconciles his actions with the Bible's 9th Commandment, but that's his problem, not mine."

http://www.christiananswers.net/ac015.html

Laughable. Utterly laughable. Misrepresentations, strawman arguments, unverifiable "how-it-might-have-been" scenarios, and pot-vs.-kettle hypocrisy; in other words, typical creationist nonsense.

>>Have any creationist ideas ever been discarded (by creationists) because they didn't fit with the observed evidence?

>Sure. Many creationists used to think some Homo erectus fossils came from extinct apes. Now many creationists, upon closer examination of the

Based upon what?

>evidence, think that most, if not all Homo erectus fossils are 100% human.

Based upon what?

>Have you ever read Dr. Robert Herrmann's U-cosmology paper? I have received permission from Herrmann to forward two of his recent posts:

[articles and other stuff deleted]

So you found a tenured professor at a major university who subscribes to some form of creationism. What is that supposed to prove? I know of a tenured professor at a major university who claims that there is indeed a large alien spacecraft following Hale-Bopp and that he has had visual contact with the aliens aboard it, that he has uncovered indisputable evidence that two races of Martian extraterrestrials have taken up residence aboard Earth, and that he has even been in mental contact with an alien being. Am I supposed to believe him just because he has some credentials? As far as I'm concerned, his claims are no more ridiculous than is the creationism you espouse.

>EVOLUTION:ITS COLLAPSE IN VIEW?

>by David Buckna dabuckna@awinc.com

[article, which displays an abysmal lack of knowledge about how science is conducted, deleted]

>In the not-so-distant future, when someone of the stature of a Stephen Jay Gould or the late Carl Sagan holds a press conference to announce he has finally reached the conclusion that evolution is scientifically bankrupt, other scientists will quickly follow suit. It'll resemble rats deserting a sinking ship.

Ever hear of a guy named Albert Einstein? Surely you must agree that he was "someone of the stature of a Stephen Jay Gould or the late Carl Sagan." Einstein never was able to accept certain principles of quantum mechanics, but science went on ahead without him, and now the principles that he rejected form part of the very cornerstone of modern physics (and are incorporated, among other places, in the electronic circuitry in your computer which is making this discussion possible). As you and all the other creationists I've dealt with just can't seem to figure out, what someone--anyone--*says* or *believes* means nothing; what matters is the reality revealed to us by the evidence.

And now, can we please bring this utterly pointless discussion to a close? I have too much to do to keep wasting my time trying to reason with people who can't be reasoned with. If you'll excuse me ...

*********END********




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Published:
  1997-02-01

Categories:
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