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Dave Matson Young Earth Misc

I will round out this work with some miscellaneous arguments which, with one exception, are from Dr. Hovind’s notebook.

Dr. Hovind (A): If the universe is not billions of years old, then we need not bother with the other arguments supporting evolution.

A . The presently accepted history of evolution on Earth would be in trouble if the universe were not billions of years old. Significant evolution, however, can occur in as little as 10 million years. Thus, even if complex life were created on Earth a mere 10 million years ago that would not, in itself, rule out significant biological evolution!

Just the other day Jeffrey Bada and Stanley Miller, both highly respected scientists, presented a new theory of the origin of life to the scientific community. It answers many of the problems plaguing earlier models. Regarding how long it might take for life to evolve, Stanley Miller had this to say:

"We have been adding up the time it might take for life to develop," Miller said. "The whole process could take place in 10 million years or less."


(Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1994, A1,A16)

Forget about evolution requiring billions and billions of years to evolve life! It is now believed that life may have evolved a number of times on the early Earth, only to be wiped out by gigantic asteroid impacts. (Of course, the evolution of complex creatures, such as monkeys or dinosaurs, would require more time.)

Dr. Hovind (B): Modern textbooks on evolution, in effect, tell us that FROGS + TIME = PRINCE.

B . Wrong! FROGS + TIME does not equal people! Historically speaking, certain early amphibians gave rise to all of the higher life forms today, including man. Frogs are a modern day branch tip on the evolutionary tree, even as humans are, not a section of a limb through which life evolved.

Secondly, if the clock were rewound, humanity would not likely evolve again. Primitive life forms + time MAY equal something complex if the environment is right and if chance factors work for the best.

Dr. Hovind (C): How could many of the marvelous structures evolve by chance?

C . Things don’t evolve by chance alone! Natural selection, the key to evolution, is not a random chance process. The environment applies very specific pressures. In that way, Mother Nature selects for certain characteristics. In a desert, for example, certain strategies for plant survival are favored while others are selected against. Since major environments often last a long time, their effect on evolving life is not random. In the desert, plants with better and better adaptations for reproducing despite the heat and lack of water have the edge.

Mutations may be thought of as random, but mutations are not the same thing as evolution. They merely enrich the gene pool whose diversity natural selection acts upon.

Did you know that if the principles associated with natural selection are fed into a powerful computer we can create complex engineering designs?

With the availability of fast, powerful computers and computer simulation techniques, even engineers (the prototypical intelligent designers!) are using the creative powers of natural selection to aid them in their design efforts. The technique of "genetic algorithms", pioneered by computer scientist John H. Holland at the University of Michigan, simulates the mechanism of Darwinian evolution, involving mating, genetic recombination, reproduction, selection and mutation to design jet engines, integrated circuit chips, scheduling work in a busy machine shop, operating gas-pipeline pumping stations and recognizing patterns [Peterson, 1989].


(Sonleitner, 1991a, p.31)

Thus, we have engineers using some of the key principles behind EVOLUTION to help them work out complex engineering solutions. That can be anything from designing better bridges to working out efficient routines for complex scheduling problems. Clearly, this would be impossible if natural selection, the key to Darwinian evolution, involved nothing more than random chance. Natural selection serves as a powerful creative element in evolution, and that power is now being harnessed by computers for our benefit. Who says evolution doesn’t work!!

General (D): Evolution is merely a theory.

D. Evolution (descent of life with modification) is a fact of life! That is to say, it may be deduced from the facts with near certainty. The fact of evolution is debated in the scientific community about as often as the roundness of the Earth! Both issues have been settled scientifically long ago. If you don’t believe me, scan the world’s leading scientific journals, such as Nature or Science, and tell me how many articles in the last 24 issues challenge the fact of evolution. After you have answered that question, then note how many articles are based on the fact of evolution. Thus, you will get some feeling as to what’s going on in the real world of science. Legitimate scientific disagreement is not over descent with modification, but rather over how best to explain descent with modification. The better explanations constitute the theories of evolution. It is there we find the legitimate scientific debate which creationists are so fond of quoting, often out of context.

In the scientific world theory does not mean guesswork or speculation but rather a well tested concept which gives order and scientific meaning to a great many facts. (Reread the second paragraph of Topic "0" if you will.) Saying that evolution is only a theory is like saying that a car is only a Cadillac! It is a scientific compliment.

In the United States the chief opposition to the fact of evolution comes from a noisy, minority religious crusade cloaked in scientific jargon, whose ultimate goal is to enforce the teaching of fundamentalist doctrine in our schools.

Dr. Hovind (E): Evolution is a religion, not part of science.

E . Evolution does not postulate a creator or involve itself in supernatural concepts. Though it may help explain the existence of moral behavior, it offers no guide to moral living. It has neither a temple of worship nor a priesthood. It contains no sacred dogma which may not be challenged by new evidence. It is open to all who have the intellectual qualifications. Dr. Hovind, how in the world do you turn it into a religion?

"Scientific creationism," on the other hand, has been proven in a court of law to be nothing more than a thinly veiled religion. U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton in 1982 ruled unconstitutional an Arkansas law which tried to sneak Genesis into the schools under the guise of science. Let me quote Ronald Ecker to sum up a few of Judge Overton’s points.

In finding for the plaintiffs, Overton, drawing heavily from the experts’ courtroom testimony, gave no quarter to the creationist defense. "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology," he wrote, and any student deprived of instruction "as to the prevailing scientific thought" on such topics as the age of the earth, geology, and relationships among living things "will be deprived of a significant part of science education." Science, Overton said, is defined as that which is "accepted by the scientific community"; science is "what scientists do," and "creation science" as defined in Act 590 "is simply not science." … The creationists’ twomodel approach is "a contrived dualism which has no scientific factual basis or legitimate educational purpose."


(Ecker, 1990, pp.137138)

Evolution meets all the criteria of a good science; scientific creationism fails as science. In the U. S. Supreme Court case of Edwards v. Aguillard a remarkable friendofcourt brief was submitted by 71 Nobel laureates, seventeen state academies of science, and seven other scientific organizations which exposed "scientific creationism" as a fraud. I know of no other document of belief supported by so many Nobel prizewinners!

Let’s compare real science to "scientific" creationism.

1. Real scientists, as did Darwin, usually spend some time pointing out the possible weaknesses they see in their theories. This is done not only to highlight areas which need further study but in order to strike a balanced presentation that will not mislead the reader. Truth is the overriding goal. Creationists usually minimize or ignore the weaknesses in their theories unless the cat is out of the bag. Inserting their views into the public educational system is usually their goal.

2. Real scientists publish scientific literature, which can be very unorthodox, in refereed journals. This serves as a clearing house for ideas as well as a common testing ground.

Creationists, apparently having nothing worth saying to the scientific community, invariably write for the layman. They have found it necessary to publish their ideas in special "creationist journals" because none of the hundreds of legitimate scientific journals find their work acceptable. Creationist journals mostly serve as a rallying point for the faithful, rarely as a means for criticizing their fellow believers.

3. Real scientists are quick to criticize their colleagues if they suspect an error. (Remember the cold fusion flap?) Catching errors improves their status in the scientific community even as it improves the level of science.

Creationists have a fortress mentality, and they are quick to circle their wagons. To admit error is considered bad form among creationists, and most of them must literally be smoked out before admitting any errors whatsoever. With no effective mechanism for weeding out error, errors are passed down like the family jewels. Today, one can buy many creationist books containing errors that should have been eliminated 20 years ago!

4. Real scientists are quick to test promising new ideas (however unorthodox) and those which don’t pan out quickly disappear from the literature. Fame and fortune await any scientist who successfully advances a novel idea.

Creationists are largely concerned with protecting their dogma, not with new ideas that might question that dogma. Rejection is the likely lot of any creationist who questions the central dogma. Creationist arguments having serious errors, including arguments based solely on obsolete data, circulate indefinitely in the creationist literature.

5. Real scientists are often involved in meaningful laboratory and field work. They are looking for new data which might clarify, overturn, or confirm their views.

Creationists spend most of their time combing through books and technical journals for quotes with which to snipe at evolution, geology, astronomy, and other areas of science which challenge their central dogma. When they’re not doing that they can usually be found out on the stump drumming up support among the uneducated public.

6. Real scientists base their theories on the available evidence. They are not immune to the effects of prejudice, but they all understand that the facts dictate the conclusion. Conclusions are subservient to the data; data are not subservient to conclusions.

Creationists take their science straight from the Bible. Many creationist leaders have publicly stated, often in print, that any evidence at variance with their literal interpretation of the Bible should be rejected out of hand. Their a priori conclusions dictate what data are acceptable. That’s not science!

7. No self-respecting scientist would ever think of signing an oath of allegiance to Darwinism as a condition for employment. Evidence is "king" in good science, and their is no room for competing loyalties.

Many creationist societies actually require a "loyalty oath," which is tantamount to an admission that their minds are closed! Such minds are slammed shut and rusted tight!

8. All good scientists admit that they might be wrong, that absolute certainty is not part of science. Scientists long ago recognized that our knowledge of the physical world is largely a product of inductive reasoning. In principle, inductive reasoning can yield a high degree of confidence, but it can never confer 100% certainty. The uncertainty of inductive reasoning follows from the fact that any set of observations can be explained, in principle, by an infinite number of hypotheses! One can never rule them all out no matter how much data one has. Thus, the proper scientific attitude includes a touch of humility no matter how great one’s success.

Except for trivial details, creationists cannot conceive of the possibility that they are in error as that would take down their concept of biblical inerrancy. Since "scientific" creationism is really a branch of Bible apologetics, there is no room for compromise. "Scientific" creationism is there to defend the faith, not to probe the unknown.

9. Real scientists are often found in the great universities, where real science is done and advanced. None of those institutions take creationism seriously.

Creationists are usually associated with creationist societies. Those few "universities" where creationism is featured have either failed to get full accreditation or have done so only through the pulling of political strings. What discoveries have they made? Name their Nobel laureates!

10. Scientists build upon previous knowledge accumulated over the years, and only rarely participate in great, revolutionary breakthroughs.

Creationists fancy that they are in the process of overthrowing modern biology, geology, astronomy, anthropology, linguistics, paleontology, archaeology, oceanography, cosmology, physics, and numerous other branches of science. Some creationists (the flat-Earth societies) would add the "grease-ball" theory of round-Earth geography to that list. Anything that doesn’t conform to their interpretation of the Bible is suspect and in need of revision.

Dr. Hovind (F): Let's imagine we are exploring an old gold mine. Suppose we find a Casio Databank watch half buried in the mud and, upon closer inspection, still keeping good time. Perhaps the watch is a 1000 years old. No, this particular entrance to the mine was dug 150 years ago. Maybe, then, it is 150 years old. No, the model was marketed only 12 years ago. Could it have been there 10 years? No, the batteries are only good for 5 years.

We might not be able to pin down the precise age of that watch, but each of the above arguments establishes a maximum age. Any estimates giving an older age than 5 years may be ignored as irrelevant. If we found a 30year-old shoe near the watch that would not override our 5 year maximum estimate. The minimum date takes precedence.

The same logic can be applied to finding the age of the Earth. If several factors limit the age of the Earth to within the last few thousand years, the Earth cannot be older than that! Even if a few indicators seem to show a greater age for the Earth, it only takes ONE proof of a young Earth to prove the Earth is young. Below is a list of arguments that limit the age of the universe and Earth to within the last few thousand years.

F . If you were trying to date some mountain range, then the uraniumlead age of a certain layer of rock which made up part of that mountain would yield, at most, a maximum age in accordance to the above analogy. Thus, if we found another layer of rock in that mountain which, by the potassiumargon method, yielded half the previous age, then the younger age would stand. The watch analogy is wrong because creationists are trying to date the entire Earth, not some fixture on it! They are trying to date the mine, not the watch! Each of the objects, then, would give a minimum date, a lower bound. The largest reliable date would take precedence. Therefore, we need only one good argument yielding an old age for the Earth!

Dr. Hovind (G): Each of these evidences of a young Earth is described in great detail in the books referred to at the end of each line.

G . The book’s authors read like a Who’s Who in the creationist world! I guess it takes a creationist to explain these things, because I sure don’t know any reputable scientists who would accept these youngEarth arguments! By now you should have some inkling as to why respectable scientists reject such claims.

Dr. Hovind (H): Those who believe the earth is billions of years old will typically try to discredit one of the above arguments and then mistakenly think that they have successfully proven the entire list wrong.

H . I certainly don’t know of anyone who would do that!

Dr. Hovind (I): The burden of proof is on the evolutionists if they expect all taxpayers to fund the teaching of their religion in the school system.

I . The topics of evolution (descent of life with modification) and the old age of the Earth are not scientific controversies! If you look at the last 50 issues of any of the world’s leading scientific journals, such as Nature or Science, you will not find any debates in progress about the fact of evolution or the old age of the Earth! You might find a debate over the explanation of those facts, or of specific dates or rates, but never over the facts themselves. If you look into our best universities, you will not find any scientific debates in progress on those subjects. Standard reference works, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, treat them as facts. They are regarded as fact by knowledgeable people who are not fettered with extreme religious prejudice.

We taxpayers owe it to our children to expose them to the best that science offers. Of course, philosophical speculation should be clearly labeled as such. On that point I would agree with Dr. Hovind. Jumping from the facts of evolution to a nontheistic universe is not a proper conclusion of science. Science does not speculate on the supernatural.

The fact that some religious groups aren’t living in the real world should not be allowed to dumb down our public schools. If you want to believe that the Earth is 6000 years old that’s your business. If you make it your religion and teach it to your children, that’s your error and their injury. If you make it your crusade and try to force it into the science classroom, that’s your Waterloo!

Try to understand. Suppose that flat-Earth creationism became very popular and books appeared defending the flat-Earth hypothesis. Such parents, of course, would be very unhappy to find that the public schools were teaching that the Earth is round. Some of those parents would move their children into private schools which teach flat-Earth theory. Others would campaign against the "brainwashing" their children were getting in the public schools. Perhaps they would demand equal time for flat-Earth views. How would you handle that potato?

It would be irresponsible, of course, to include the flat-Earth view in our geography classes. Time spent on discussing the evidence for a flat-Earth is time robbed from serious learning. As it is, there are many excellent subjects that could (or should) be covered in a geography class that get left out for lack of time. Also, it would be intellectually dishonest to leave the impressionable student with the idea that the flat-Earth hypothesis is a serious contender. The student, by definition, is ignorant, and is not there to decide for himself what is true or false in geography.

Education, of course, is more than learning facts. As someone once said, an education is what you have left after you have forgotten all those little facts. Students learn to think by wrestling with gray areas where many legitimate positions can be defended and criticized, where no clear-cut answers exist. They learn by exploring the unknown, by designing and participating in scientific experiments. However, they must first have a foundation of solid facts.

Teaching the student all the arguments for a flat Earth, a totally discredited view, is simply a waste of precious time and works against the larger, legitimate goals of education.

I think you will agree with me that the teaching of the round-Earth hypothesis should not depend on popularity polls. I think that you will also agree that the flat-Earth hypothesis should not be injected into the geography classroom under the premises that it would be fair to present all sides of the issue. The point, of course, is that the flat-Earth hypothesis is not a valid "side" of geography. Such a decision will make the flat-Earth folks very unhappy, and they might even vote you out of office, but there is no other responsible choice.

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