The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Dinosaur footprints part 3

I wrote about dinosaur footprints a few weeks ago here and here. I had recently attended a young-Earth creation seminar where the speaker used very questionable examples of “human” footprints in Permian and Cretaceous rocks as evidence that humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

Many of these “human” footprints turn out to be forgeries. A scientist can easily tell a genuine footprint from a fake one. One way I mentioned before is to examine the thin layers (laminations) in the sediment beneath the footprint. If the footprint is genuine, the weight of the animal will have depressed the layers beneath the impression:

Freshly deposited sediments contain a lot of pore space, and are easily compressed.

On the other hand, if the footprint is a forgery, the carving will cut across the layering, with no compression of the layers beneath:

This is illustrated by the following photos from the Jurassic Morrison Formation, near Red Rocks Park west of Denver:

These are believed to be sauropod (picture “brontosaurus”) footprints, seen from the side (top photo) and from below (bottom photo). The size and distribution of the bulges suggest this interpretation, and the layering is depressed beneath each of these features, as discussed above.

Using this kind of evidence, geologists (including Christian geologists, even those associated with the Institute for Creation Research) have rightfully rejected every instance that has been suggested for human footprints in very old rocks.

The very presence of these footprints speaks against the whole flood-geology model advocated by young-Earth creationists. The following footprints are also exposed west of Denver:

This one exposure, in the Cretaceous Dakota Formation, has hundreds of footprints. Other Mesozoic locations have thousands of footprints, such as the “Dinosaur Dance Floor” recently described from the Jurassic of the Utah-Arizona border.

Based on multiple criteria, geologists seek to determine the type of environment these features formed in. The Dakota Formation footprints shown above are interpreted to have formed in a coastal environment, based on the types and distribution of sediments, sedimentary structures (such as ripple marks), fossils, and trace fossils (such as worm burrows). The Morrison Formation sauropod footprints, on the other hand, were deposited in a stream channel. Again, the type and distribution of sediments, sedimentary structures, and fossils help geologists to make this type of interpretation.

Young-Earth creationists insist that all of these sediments formed in Noah’s flood. (Now the Bible doesn’t say that the sedimentary rocks were deposited in Noah’s flood, but that is a bit off topic for now). Let’s examine what it would take for these rock layers I have been discussing in Colorado to be a product of the flood. Here’s what would have had to have happened:

  1. The flood covers all the Earth, eroding the continents down to their roots. Most erosion, according to this model, would have had to have happened early in the flood.
  2. At this point, the world-wide ocean was a slurry of water, sediments, and fossils.
  3. Deposition of thousands of feet of sediments, representing Proterozoic through Triassic rocks.
  4. Deposition of some Jurassic sediments. Then some dinosaurs go walking around. Then some more deposition. Then some more dinosaurs–a bunch this time–go wandering around. Then some more deposition of sediments. Then more dinosaurs trotting along the beach. Then more sediments. Wait, how did these dinosaurs all survive the previous part of the Flood?
  5. Deposition of thousands of feet of sediments on top of all of this.
  6. Lithification of the sediments (changing from soft sediments to solid sedimentary rocks).
  7. Uplift of the Rocky Mountains, tilting up these layers to a steep angle (they aren’t horizontal anymore).
  8. Erosion to expose the rocks.

Multiply this by hundreds of sites worldwide. Add other considerations, such as the presence of complete dinosaur nests in the Cretaceous of Montana and other places. Did dinosaurs have time to make nests, lay eggs, and for those eggs to hatch, right in the middle of the flood?

In the young-Earth flood model, dinosaur footprints shouldn’t even exist in mid-flood sediments. But they do, in large numbers in some places.

The reason that I take the time to write about this is the gospel. For us to present young-Earth creationism as apologetics, and as a necessary part of Christian faith, actually works against the spread of the Kingdom among many groups, such as scientists. This is placing, as I have written before, an unnecessary and tragic stumbling block, keeping people from being open to Christianity. Let the foolishness of the message of the Cross be the stumbling block, not our bad arguments in defense of the Bible.

Grace and Peace

Photos by Kevin Nelstead

October 28, 2008 - Posted by | Geology, Young-Earth creationism

102 Comments

  1. AiG’s Creation Museum has a fossilized clutch of dinosaur eggs in the very first room you visit after walking through the “slot canyon.” I wonder how many visitors ever stop to think about how these eggs could have been laid and remain together when the sediments were just deposited and more were still to come? With the incredible sediment deposition rates the YECs require, it’s even harder to fathom a break in the flood where surviving dinosaurs would suddenly decide it’s time to lay some eggs?

    Comment by Tim Helble | December 11, 2008

  2. Tim:

    Thanks for the comment. I didn’t know the Creation Museum had dinosaur eggs. Here they are: http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/museum/pictures/DJ-0085.JPG. These absolutely do not fit into the young-Earth creationist scenario.

    Comment by geochristian | December 11, 2008

  3. It must be so very very disheartening to be a devout Christian with an inquiring mind.

    Comment by Susej | April 15, 2009

  4. Susej:

    Thanks for the comment. Overall, I am not disheartened or discouraged. Within Christian theology there is enough to keep one’s mind stimulated for all eternity, and the same is true in looking at God’s creation.

    Comment by geochristian | April 15, 2009

  5. For 15 years I was told you don’t believe young earth creation your not a Christian. I was swallowed up by YEC and laughed at people that didn’t believe it. Like many doctrines in the Bible, you believe what your told by your teachers;even if you study the material yourself your bent will be toward what they teach. Now I laugh at the fact that Christians can get so dogmatic about YEC, and even very angry if you oppose it! Six months ago I started looking at the other side of evidence, that by the way you are never told as a YEC Christian, and I have been blown away. Just like the dinosaur footprints, the evidence is overwhelming to support an older earth. Many of the YEC arguments fall away when you look at the evidence. Granted they have some good points, but why does faith have to be decided by if your a young earth creationist? Thanks for your article! My advice to anyone reading this; you don’t know when your deceived, always look at evidence on both sides, and don’t just assume you know what is right.

    Comment by Jeff | September 13, 2009

  6. Observant paleontologists have noticed that the eggs are not actually in nests, but have floated into position–as an egg will do–lodging in a cranny.

    “Supposed nests of dinosaur eggs are examined for indications that they were laid under normal subaerial conditions. It is shown that when representative clutches of eggs are examined from numerous sites worldwide, they were all laid into a watery environment in which sedimentation was often actively taking place. This leads to the conclusion that dinosaur nests, as they are presently found, cannot represent normal living environments for the dinosaurs and instead show life existed at the survival level under highly stressed conditions. These conditions are consistent with egg laying taking place during a worldwide flood.” Source: http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/41/41_2/Dinotests.htm

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | June 28, 2010

  7. Kevin – Does the dinosaur nest in this photo – (http://blog.everythingdinosaur.co.uk/dromaeosaur_nest.jpg – look like it was laid under stressed conditions during a worldwide flood? Always check around before you believe everything you read in the CRSQ.

    Comment by Tim Helble | July 1, 2010

  8. Kevin (#6):

    Thanks for visiting The GeoChristian and for your comment.

    I examined the CRSQ article on dinosaur eggs you referred to and did not find the author’s reasoning very convincing. Here is a summary of dinosaur nests according to Barnhart:

    — The erosive phase of Noah’s flood scours the surface of Earth.
    — The Earth is covered for months by a slurry of sediments—that somehow stay sorted into sand, clay, and lime—which begin to deposit.
    — Pregnant dinosaurs swim in this slurry for months until the later sediments (Cretaceous) begin to deposit.
    — By now, the dinosaurs are a bit “stressed” so they lay their eggs while treading water. None of the dinosaurs got sufficiently stressed to lay their eggs before the deposition of Cretaceous sediments.
    — The eggs stay together as they float down and deposit in nice little patterns in the sand and mud.

    I’m not convinced, and the problems I outlined above for dinosaur footprints still apply to dinosaur nests as well.

    Comment by geochristian | July 1, 2010

  9. Tim,

    I am not a paleontologist. All I can say is that they look like 19 eggs in a circle.

    To have been gathered in this pattern would require something different than the process used by sea turtles.

    My point is this was to note that some of what has been called a “nest” is just the gathering together of eggs–presumably from a dinosaur–and there is collateral evidence around the nest of water transport.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 1, 2010

  10. Kevin, while one might be able to show that “some” of what are called nests might actually just be eggs washed together, there is no way that one can say “all” nests are the result of being washed together.

    The circle of eggs is a perfect example – those are eggs that were placed in a circle by whatever dinosaur that laid them. There are similar behaviors by some modern reptiles.

    This happening in the middle of a Flood like what CRSQ describes is blatantly impossible. Those eggs were buried in a controlled manner in a formed nest and weren’t significantly disturbed afterward. That is the exact opposite of what the CRSQ article is describing. And the picture shown above is nowhere near unique.

    Here are two more, just for example:

    The first picture is of eggs laid by raptors in what YEC geologists would consider the very late stages of the Flood. Have you seen raptors? They certainly aren’t a dinosaur that was any good at swimming, and yet they must have somehow stayed alive in the Flood for almost a YEAR!

    The second picture is of eggs is also from a type of raptor (again a very bad swimmer and must have survived for almost a YEAR of the Flood) but these types of nests have also been found to have fairly advanced fetuses in them, which means they were laid and then the eggs had an extended time to mature before they were buried and petrified. Eggs that were laid in a flood water environment would have almost instantly drowned. Not only that, but these types of nests have also been found with a parent still on the nest and the nests have been well developed and still intact, showing considerable time and effort by the parent. That’s not a “stressed” sort of egg-laying.

    Comment by WebMonk | July 2, 2010

  11. Webmonk.

    The difficulty for a creationist is only if he uses the “bathtub” flood model. Both Scripture and geological evidence point to the advancing and retreating of water over the course of the flood year. We see this by trackways at different levels of strata.

    Egg-laying dinosaurs could hardly keep from laying eggs during the year of the Flood.

    Indications of stress can be seen in abnormalities in dinosaur eggs in France, India, Argentina, China, and Utah, and in the fact that so many nests failed to hatch.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 3, 2010

  12. Kevin (#11):

    I haven’t seen a flood model that would allow for features such as tracks, nests, or burrows. The hypothesis that you point to—that of an advancing and retreating flood—doesn’t help matters. The dinosaur nest sites I am familiar with are underlain by hundreds or thousands of meters of Paleozoic and Mesozoic sediments. It is extremely difficult to conceive of a way that dinosaurs could have survived the deposition of all these sediments and then laid their eggs. The same goes for creationist scenarios that advocate Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic sediments being deposited in residual catastrophic events after the flood. Here the problem is one that plagues much of flood geology: too many events, too little time.

    Remember that the Bible does not say that the sedimentary rock record was created by the flood of Genesis 6-9. It would be best if young-Earth creationists stick to what the Bible actually says in Genesis rather than extrapolating all sorts of secondary hypotheses. This would be in keeping with 1 Corinthians 4:6, which says, “Do not go beyond what is written” (NIV).

    Comment by geochristian | July 3, 2010

  13. Just to add a couple side notes to what Geo wrote, there are places where there are scores of layers of prints on top of one another. Did the dinosaurs run away, flood waters arrive, laid down some soil, then the land rise again, chase the dinosaurs back into that area for a bit, and then chase them off, and repeat dozens of times all in one area?

    And don’t forget, that those dinosaurs would have to be chased around like that for nearly a YEAR to be able to leave tracks in the upper layers of the Flood-deposited soil. Like Geo said, billions of cubic meters of soil were ripped up and deposited while all those dinosaurs would have been running around. And if you take Genesis literally, all the mountains were covered by day 150. That’s a LONG time before the later layers were laid down – the layers in which are the footprints of the animals that were apparently swimming after day 150, and somehow survived swimming for several months until it was time for them to lay down a few more layers of footprints before a few hundred more meters thick of soil was laid down.

    Not even close to be possible. No where near, and there has never been an explanation of how it might have been possible. If you find one, make sure to point it out.

    But then, you also have those nests which are nicely made and laid – not something that would happen even in the advancing-retreating model. Of course there are nests that have evidence of stress – how are nests like that captured? By being buried relatively quickly, something that would stress the nests in some (or even many) of the cases. That’s not an issue, as the old earth view would expect that. It’s the nests that are showing every evidence of extensive work and effort on the part of the parents that cause issues.

    And don’t forget that sometimes the tracks and nests are sometimes separated by hundreds of feet. Water that is moving millions of cubic kilometers of soil is moving across VAST areas, and is moving at what YEC estimates place around 40-90 MPH over the oceans, and up to 200 MPH over the land masses covering thousands of square miles. That’s not even remotely possible for animals to be “chased” away from land – they would have no chance to run, and then for them to leave tracks in that newly deposited soil, they would need to wait for it to firm up (weeks) and then spend further weeks traveling from wherever they must have been before. Then they would need to be chased by the waters again (without the water ripping up the newly-laid land) and then the new waters would need to lay down more hundreds of feet of soil. And then more animals would need to come back. And, and, and.

    There are even some fun places where there are prints in the middle of formations that were supposedly laid down all at once, by rapid sedimentation. So things like raptors were walking around on the bottom of the flood waters leaving prints and buildings nests while the soil was settling out of the water.

    The advance-retreat idea is no friend of Flood geology.

    Comment by WebMonk | July 3, 2010

  14. Geochristian:
    “I haven’t seen a flood model that would allow for features such as tracks, nests, or burrows.”

    Gen. 8:3: “And the waters returned upon the earth, going and returning.”

    In Gen. 8:3, “continually” is a translation of two Hebrew verbs: shuwb, which means “to turn about, to return,” and yalak, which means “to go.” Together they present us with a graphic picture of the powerful churning action of the flood waters! A going is followed by a returning. Both verbs are set in the infinitive absolute form, indicating emphasis and duration. The flood waters did not tranquilly seep into the soil. This was a moving Flood, carrying back and forth vast amounts of water, soil, vegetation, and sediments. Gradually, layer after layer of sediments, vegetation, and other materials were laid down and covered over. The infinitive form means that it kept happening over a period of time (instead of only once if the imperfect form had been used). Terrific hydraulic forces were at work. Massive erosional and depositional actions were taking place. Gradually, layer after layer of sedimentary deposits were laid down. –G. Russell Akridge, “The Hebrew Flood Even More Devastating Than the English Translation Depicts,” Creation Research Society Quarterly, vol. 17, No. 4 (March 1981).

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 3, 2010

  15. Webmonk:

    Please note the abnormalities in the eggs themselves. Something was stressing those “dino-chickens.”

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 3, 2010

  16. Kevin:

    The CRSQ quote you give reads a whole lot of geology into one word. It is quite a stretch to go from “going and returning” to an entire model of Earth history.

    Every translation I looked up takes this “going and returning” to be idiomatic for a continuous process.

    ESV — “and the waters receded from the earth continually.”
    NIV — “The water receded steadily from the earth.”

    I looked up half a dozen other translations as well, and they all say basically the same thing.

    Rather than saying that “The Hebrew Flood [was] Even More Devastating Than the English Translation Depicts”, I believe that a legitimate translation of the entire Flood narrative in Genesis 6-9 can show that the flood was far less extensive and effective as a geological agent than the young-Earth creationists would require us to believe. Try reading the entire passage with the following in mind:
    –“earth” can just as legitimately be “land”
    –“heavens” can just as legitimately be “sky”
    –“mountains” can just as legitimately be “hills”
    –There are numerous places in the OT where “all the earth” is used figuratively (e.g. Gen 41:57)

    For example, Genesis 7:17-20 could be faithfully translated as:

    For forty days the flood kept coming on the land, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the land. The waters rose and increased greatly on the land, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the land, and all the high hills under the entire sky were covered. The waters rose more than twenty feet, and the hills were covered. [modified from NIV, including v. 20 footnote]

    This gives the flood a rather different feel from the ICR/AiG interpretation. It was a flood that affected a region—probably Mesopotamia—not the entire globe.

    One can reject young-Earth creationism and still be a faithful interpreter of the Scriptures.

    Comment by geochristian | July 3, 2010

  17. geochristian:

    What I presented was part of a flood model that allows for tracks, nests, and burrows. Now you should not say “I have not seen …”

    Although I would tend to agree with you that Gen. 8:3 is in the context of the receding of the waters, the Hebrew is what it is:

    Genesis 8:3: “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.” {from off: Heb. “upon” or “above”; continually: Heb. “in going and returning”; abated: Heb. “diminished”}

    Though following Genesis 8:2 (“The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;”), it seems reasonable to see the back and forth movement of the waters as occurring through the deluge.

    “Always there was the alternate ebb and flow–expressed by the double infinitive absolute halkh wahobh, of Genesis 8:3–which laid down successive strata contianing contrasitng fossils of land forms and water forms” (Frank Lewis Marsh, Life Man, and Time, p. 118).

    “‘going and returning,’ as it is in the Hebrew, but rendered in our translation by the word ‘continually.’ Almost all the ancient versions adhere to the literal sense, (going and returning) which seems important, for it indicates a FLUX AND REFLUX of the waters, which would effect the deposition of the matters floating upon or suspended in them” (William Kirby).

    To limit the flood to Mesopotamia leaves a gap as to why the flood epic is endemic to cultures globally. How could a local flood cover the mountains (7:20)? How does a local flood kill everything on the earth except Noah, his family, and the animals inside the ark (7:23)? Why are there fossils preserved in the throws of death the world over in sedimentary strata? If there isn’t one worldwide flood, then there are local floods worldwide at the very same time. And, if this is so, the “local” floods stretched for thousands of miles as we see from the patterns of deposition.

    I appreciate what you are attempting to do, but I don’t see your solution to the problem meeting the criteria of either the Biblical or geological data.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 4, 2010

  18. Kevin M,

    What you wrote of the “model” proposed by Akridge, that really isn’t a model — it’s an explanation. No young earth advocate has ever come up with a quantitative model showing how lateral sediment transport could form a single formation during the global Flood. This is because in the global Flood model, entire formations have to be deposited “in a matter of days” as the YECs like to put it. If you look at the lateral sediment transport rates that would be necessary to deposit a formation, say the Dakota or Morrison Formations where a large number of dinosaur fossils are found, the rates would be way to high to fit the idea of “a moving Flood, carrying back and forth vast amounts of water, soil, vegetation, and sediments.” You really can’t say “the Flood did it” unless you have a actual quantitative model to back you up.

    Comment by Tim Helble | July 6, 2010

  19. I have my own example that seems to sum up the problems of Flood geology.

    The AiG Flood explanation for the Coconino says they were formed underwater. In one part of their article they talk about how some of the tracks are deformed in a way they say is reminiscent of how tracks would be deformed by running water. They go on to describe how the dunes would be formed – by waves while underwater.

    Sounds good, right?

    Well, except when you look into the study on the footprints – it suggests a very shallow bit of water (< 3 centimeters) moving very slowly (<.2 MPH). Then look at the water they say formed the dunes IN WHICH the tracks are made – under 300 feet of water running at well over 5 MPH. Then look at their studies which estimate the speeds of the waters moving around the oceans and over land – over 20 MPH in the oceans and over 100 MPH over land.

    Completely self-contradictory. Sure, if you look at one little issue all by itself, divorced from anything else, it may sound plausible. But if you look at everything they put out, it is wildly, WILDLY divorced from reality and is extremely self-contradictory. That isn't a tiny little detail that might have some obscure something we're overlooking.

    That same sort of approach seems to be the norm, including their concepts of a "back-and-forth" sort of Flood movement. When divorced from anything else and without looking at any of its details, sure it can sound plausible, but upon even cursory examination it doesn't hold water. (pun intended)

    :-)

    Comment by WebMonk | July 6, 2010

  20. Tim Helble,

    I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that you believe the Bible. If that is correct, why should I–not being a professional geologist or even an amateur one–not be able to say “the Flood did it” even though I may not be able to describe a quantitative model?

    Though I lack the credentials and the field experience to posit a quantitative model, the evidence I see of rapid sedimentation (fast enough to trap animals alive) in a global manner with SEASHELLS as the index fossils for the burial of LAND ANIMALS all SCREAM to me that these are the results of a GLOBAL FLOOD.

    God bless.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 6, 2010

  21. Hi Kevin – Sorry, I could have been more clear on my last post. I didn’t say you had to come up with the quantitative model yourself, just find any YEC geologist out there who has — Steve Austin, Andrew Snelling, Kurt Wise, John Whitmore, anybody — if it’s there, you should be able to find it in the YEC literature. Such a model also has to show how intricate features seen all over the place in sedimentary formations such as buried channels, soil horizons, and complex cross beds got there. If such a model doesn’t exist, then maybe you should consider the option that the Bible is still true (and it’s just your interpretation that was wrong), but seashells were buried near land animals for another reason (e.g., shoreline, estuary, or delta environment, or perhaps riverine environment with freshwater mollusks).

    Comment by Tim Helble | July 7, 2010

  22. Tim,

    Fair enough. I’d like for all the pieces to be assembled into one coherent model myself. What I’ve seen thus far (and this isn’t my livelihood, so I have little time to devote to it) deals with the points you bring up piecemeal. Arthur Chadwick has presented a tentative flood model and asked for feedback. Laboratory work on sedimentation has been conducted and presented in video footage. David C. Read (a lawyer) has gathered other pieces of the puzzle and published in his book on dinosaurs. Marsh had portions of the model in his works.

    I’d love to see all these points integrated into a single account. Perhaps some young scientist will do so. Until he or she does, the pieces I’ve seen are consistent with the simple picture described in Scripture and I’m not inclined to jump the good ship of Scripture because of what I don’t know.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 7, 2010

  23. A few comments:

    1) For those interested, an interesting book dealing with a number of issues in Creation Geology is “Rock Solid Answers”. It is much more in-depth and worthwhile than the title suggests. Going from memory, I think it pointed out that the moon would have brought a cycle of flooding and retreating for the first 150 days (before the land was completely covered). Therefore, animals would migrate to remaining highgrounds when the water is higher, and go back when it is lower. Thus, there would be many, many many overlapping layers with footprints.

    2) As to whether we are adding to scripture, I think I can would be 100% accurate to say that no Creation researcher thinks that their model is on par with scripture. Our models of the flood are just like any other science – we are not adding to scripture any more than any other part of science is. The difference is that we believe that the flood was a real, global event in history.

    3) I agree that it is piecemeal and at times inconsistent. This is no different than any other large area of scientific endeavor. If it is true, then I expect that the inconsistencies will become fewer, and if it is false, then they will become greater. However, all active sciences display inconsistent features. That’s how you know where you need to study/research/experiment.

    Comment by Jonathan Bartlett | July 9, 2010

  24. Jonathan,

    Thank you for your contribution. I’ll have to look up “Rock Solid Answers” and see what they add to the discussion.

    Reconstructions are imperfect at best, but simply require that the scenario NOT contradict known natural law and–for those who believe in the Bible–not contradict the plain meaning of the text.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 9, 2010

  25. For what it’s worth, I don’t know that I would refer to the author of the CRSQ article as an “observant paleontologist”. It seems pretty obvious that he’s never even seen a fossil dinosaur egg before… none of his figures are original; they are all copied from other sources. In fact, even his interpretations stem from published figures alone, as opposed to real fossil material. To wit, he never actually tests his ideas with reference to real fossil eggs or nests. Just something to consider before you invest too much in his interpretations. The guy’s clearly no expert.

    More dinosaur nest pics…

    They don’t looked like they were deposited in duress to me. (And I AM a paleontologist.)

    Comment by Jordan | July 11, 2010

  26. Jordan,

    I didn’t make a direct link between my statement about “observant paleontologists” and the CRSQ quotation because there is none. I had read about the “nests” before but did not mark my source, so the quotation was merely a convenient reference to the topic.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 11, 2010

  27. The other problem with the creationist interpretation of Flood transgression/regression and fossil footprints is that footprints are found throughout the entire geologic column (once tetrapods show up). They’re everywhere. And given that these animals could not have been walking under a mile of water when their footprints were deposited, it implies that the Flood was never greater than ankle-deep at any one time. Hardly seems enough to wipe out 99% of all life on earth.

    Kevin, I’d be curious to know which “observant paleontologists” you were referring to so that I can read them for myself. Thanks!

    Comment by Jordan | July 12, 2010

  28. Jordan,

    I never looked at it as you have. It seems to me that the special conditions required for the footprints to be preserved are evidence of rapid deposition. According to Arthur Chadwick, the footprints are always going uphill. It only makes sense that wherever the animals were, they were trying to escape something–and it seems logical that what they were seeking to escape were shifting but rising flood waters.

    I don’t know why the water could only be “ankle deep”–unless the animals leaving the prints were all midgets.

    As I said, I did not mark the original source of the nest description. David C. Read (pp. 561-566) is one of my sources.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 12, 2010

  29. Kevin,

    I would love to know how Art Chadwick can possibly know that all dinosaur footprints lead uphill. That seems like total made-up baloney to me. In fact, it is total made-up baloney because, in many instances, footprints from the same track site lead in completely different directions (e.g., http://www.wesleyan.edu/ctgeology/DinoStPkTour/Three-sizeGrallatorTrackSlabs.jpg ). And you’re right about fossils requiring relatively rapid burial to preserve (although there can be some time between the making of the impression and the actual burial), but they also require a relatively low-energy environment, which is not something one would expect of a catastrophic flood as described in the Bible.

    I’ll try to track down that book you suggested. Was it “Dinosaurs: An Adventist View”?

    Comment by Jordan | July 12, 2010

  30. Jordan,

    Well, I can’t argue against what you’ve read. What I’ve read is that the footprints generally lead in the same direction. The little piece of a picture you’ve referenced seems to show some confusion of direction, but it would be helpful to see the fragment in the larger sense of where they were headed.

    Yes, you have the correct book. Read gathers material in one convenient source–some I haven’t seen elsewhere.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 12, 2010

  31. Kevin (#22),

    Re your statement “Laboratory work on sedimentation has been conducted and presented in video footage,” I assume you’re talking about the videos on the Berthault website. Ramped up to depths envisioned during the Flood (e.g., see http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v15/i1/flood.asp ), the amount of sediment transported is still woefully short of that needed to form entire sedimentary formations in a matter of days.

    Comment by Tim Helble | July 12, 2010

  32. Tim (#31),

    The lab would have to be life size to meet the requirements of the flood.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 12, 2010

  33. Kevin (#32),

    Correct. Now if you read the article I referenced in #31, the total volume for a well known rock formation (the Coconino Sandstone) is provided. Would you agree that this represents the total volume of sand transported to its present location by the flood? The article at http://www.answersincreation.org/coconino.htm describes where I’m headed with this.

    Comment by Tim Helble | July 14, 2010

  34. Kevin M, like I mentioned above, the AiG books have done the study on it and have come up to mutually conflicting results. There are a variety of sources which point to the tracks in the Coconino and which directions they go. Typically they do go uphill, but not always – it’s about 75% uphill. I have run across a variety of YEC articles which have exaggerated that to say “all”.

    The AiG and ICR studies are the only YEC studies which have actually gone out into the Coconino to study things directly. They also state that the tracks are not consistently uphill. They have a study which talks about how the prints might have been made. On one hand they talk about slow-moving, shallow water, but later when they describe how the dunes were formed they describe very rapid and deep water – 300 ft over 2 MPH, which may not sound fast, but in flood waters is very fast.

    The article is at: http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v15/i1/flood.asp

    You can go track down Brand’s study and see that he is talking about very shallow and slow moving water, but of course the AiG article doesn’t mention that. Brand’s study is the study upon which all the other “footprints under water” articles are based.

    Comment by WebMonk | July 14, 2010

  35. WebMonk:

    I’ve told you guys I’m not an expert on these things. I have done no field work (except for a couple of field trips in a continuing education class), so I don’t really know why you want to ask me questions.

    75% still makes the point that they are tending to run (or walk) uphill. 25% of the time they are scrambling in different directions (as seen by the stones that Jordan linked).

    I should think that you guys would want to talk with somebody who knows more about this than I do. I’ve already spent my two cents, and I don’t have the time to invest to earn any more at the moment.

    God bless.

    Comment by Kevin Morgan | July 14, 2010

  36. I’ve stayed out of this for a while, though of course I have my thoughts.

    Thanks, WebMonk, for pointing out the inconsistencies in the YEC interpretations of the Coconino Formation.

    Kevin M: Thanks for hanging in there. YEC geologist Paul Garner is doing a little field work on the Coconino this summer ( http://thenewcreationism.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/fieldwork-season/ ). I suspect he is not going to come back to say, “the old-Earthers were right after all.”

    Tim H: Thanks for pointing to the excellent article on the Coconino Formation written by old-Earth creationist Greg Neyman: http://www.answersincreation.org/coconino.htm .

    Comment by geochristian | July 14, 2010

  37. The claim that dinosaur tracks usually progress “uphill” is nonsense. I say that as someone who has studied and mapped dinosaur tracks for over 30 years on dozens of sites and various geologic horizons. I recently drafted an article summarizing the huge problems in trying to fit dinosaur tracks, nesting sites, and other trace fossils into a young-earth, global flood framework:

    http://paleo.cc/ce/tracefos.htm

    I’ve also intensively studied YEC claims about “human tracks” and dinosaur tracks occurring together, and other alleged out of place fossils, and found them not only sorely lacking, but often starkly contradicted by the actual evidence. For those unfamiliar with my work on the Paluxy tracks (including the supposed “man tracks”) please see:

    http://paleo.cc/paluxy.htm

    Ironcially, dinosaur tracks and other trace fossils are among the many lines of geologic evidence that, when thoroughly and carefully examined, strongly refute young earth creationism (YEC). In my youth, I myself tried to make YECism work, and found that the more I studied the evidence, especially in the field, the clearer it became that many YEC claims were unfounded, and that the earth had a long and complex history. Most of those claiming that fossil or track evidence fits YECism either have done little field research, or ignore much of the evidence visible there.

    As others have suggested, those advancing ideas contrary to extensive empirical evidence, which are not Biblically required, are actually undermining Christian credibility, especially among those well acquainted with the evidence.

    Thanks, Glen

    Comment by Glen | September 27, 2010

  38. I do believe, Glan, people tend to see in the evidence what they are looking for and to NOT see in the evidence what they aren’t. That doesn’t make your testimony about footprints dishonest, it just says that you have failed to observe that which others have observed. They have described the footprints as tending to go uphill.

    Here is another crucial point that has been overlooked: if the eggs are not evidence of rapid burial, why are there so many that failed to hatch?

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 27, 2010

  39. Kevin Morgan (#38):

    Glen is right in his statement, “The claim that dinosaur tracks usually progress ‘uphill’ is nonsense.” The only footprint site I have been at is Dinosaur Ridge west of Denver. Look at the photo at the top this post. The tracks are going all over the place.

    I was talking to a friend of mine this week who is a speaker for the Missouri Association for Creation (a young-Earth organization). He agreed that the “all dinosaur footprints go uphill” argument came from one source a number of years ago and has been repeated so often among YECs that it is assumed to be true.

    Comment by geochristian | September 27, 2010

  40. Morgan, quick question – on what do you base your idea that it is Glen who fails to see the evidence because of his expectations?

    Did you go look at the articles Glen wrote? His article shows plenty of basic research and evidence.

    I just did a bit of Googling, and found a quick couple dozen images of dinosaur tracks, most of which show dinosaur tracks going different directions in the same area. They weren’t trying to selectively pick just the mixed-direction tracks since none of the sites looked like they have anything to do with Flood geology, pro or con.

    I’ll stick a comment with a bunch of the links to the images in a separate post, so this one doesn’t get put into the spam folder. Geo, could you check your spam folder for that comment?

    The statement for which I’ve never seen any proof is the one Dr. Snelling makes – that the vast majority of tracks move uphill.

    I’ve hung around the interwebs on the whole Creation topic for many years now, and I’ve never had anyone point me toward a single piece of research showing most dino tracks are heading uphill. Never. I’ve seen lots and lots of images and descriptions of tracks which show tracks going all over the place. Many times they move in the same direction too (as expected), but I’ve never seen or heard of anything showing most of those are headed uphill.

    I happen to know for a fact that claim is false in the Coconino formation which Paul Garner is looking at – there was a study of the footprints done years ago that was looking at the gate of the animals that made the tracks. If I remember correctly almost 80% were moving more or less laterally across the surface, leaving tracks that are deeper along the SIDES, not the toes.

    On what do you place your opinion that most dinosaur tracks go uphill? Presumably on the statements of Dr. Snelling. Have you ever seen him produce any evidence that most dinosaur tracks in the world are going uphill?

    I can tell you that you won’t find it. I’ve looked. It’s not there. It’s an unsubstantiated claim at best. Feel free to investigate to your heart’s content and see for yourself.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 27, 2010

  41. I did as you suggested and googled three words, “uphill,” “dinosaur,” and “tracks,” and I found several references to this phenomena.

    I don’t have time to sort these out (working three and a half jobs and my doctorate), but I’ll leave the hint to you.

    God bless.

    Kevin L. Morgan

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 27, 2010

  42. This one is a drawing made in the 1800s of dino tracks.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/trazzler-images/af/24146/Dinosaur_1.JPG?1238416883

    Yes, the rock face here is tilted, but it wasn’t back when the prints were made, and even if it were, the tracks are going drastically different directions.

    There, nine images pulled off the web in even fewer minutes, all with the tracks going every which way.

    The claim that dino tracks usually go uphill is nonsense and coming uncomfortably close to out and out lying for an expert in the field to make. It’s not, but comes too close to comfort, IMO.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 28, 2010

  43. Morgan, did I ever say that dinosaur tracks never go uphill? That would be bizarre. I fully expect that there are lots of dinosaur tracks going uphill. There will also be lots of tracks going downhill, across hills, and all sorts of directions.

    Guess what, that’s exactly what your Google search shows. You didn’t actually look at what that search found, did you?

    I went to every single link on the first two pages of results, and NOT ONE SINGLE PAGE suggested that most dinosaur tracks were uphill. Not one single page had a “references to this phenomena”, as you put it. So where did you see “references to this phenomena”??

    In fact several pages happened to mention that there were dinosaur tracks going in several different directions at the site being discussed on the page.
    Two pages mentioned that the tracks appeared to go uphill now because the land had shifted and tilted.
    Yet another page specifically mentioned that some of the footprints that appear to go uphill were caused by dinosaurs running across a slope with feet tilted slightly uphill to keep their balance/position.

    Not one single page, Kevin L. Morgan.

    So where is this evidence that most tracks go uphill? Surely if it is a common thing, it should be easy to find.

    I can save you the time looking for the “evidence”.

    It’s in a study by Brand and Tang in 1991. The study talks about a single area – the Coconino – where the majority of tracks do seem to be pointing uphill, however he also specifically states in the study that there are numerous downhill and crosswise tracks as well.

    From that one, single mention of a single area’s majority of print direction (though many were going other directions too), comes the claim that the worldwide vast majority of tracks are pointing uphill.

    That is the “evidence”, which obviously is no evidence at all. If you ever find any more evidence, please mention it.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 28, 2010

  44. Keven Morgan is digging a hole for himself in trying to defend the baseless suggestion that most dinosaur trackways are going uphill. First, I assume you are suggesting that this was the case when the tracks were first made, rather than due to later tilting of rock–since the later would provide no evidence of Flood deposition. But the claim makes no sense either way, since water almost always deposits sediment as largely flat surfaces. Second, how much track study have you done? I know of no field worker, mainstream or creationists, who has spent more than a little time at real track sites, who thinks most dinosaur tracks are headed uphill. What is the extent of your research – a Googgle search, which supposedly yielded some positive results, and yet you didn’t have time to cite even one of them? Give me a break. Even if you found a case or two of tracks originally indicating an uphill progression, your claim is moot unless you can show MOST trackways show this, and I assure you they don’t. Again, I’ve studied _thousands_ of trackways at scores of sites, while you’ve evidently studied none, and you’re suggesting I am the one with flawed observations or deficient research? If you took the time even to look at most of your Google results, or the photo gallery at my Paluxy site, you’ll see that dinosaur tracks are often progress in a variety of directions, and usually show track makers walking about normally, not laboring or stumbling in an attempt to escape onrushing flood waters .This is just one of many major problems for fitting dinosaur tracks, nests, and other trace fossils into a YE framework. Please read my articles (URTLs are below) specifically addressing these topics, and actually read some of the rich scientific literature on dinosaur tracks before embarrassing yourself further with utterly baseless claims.

    http://paleo.cc/ce/tracefos.htm

    http://paleo.cc/paluxy/ovrdino.htm

    http://paleo.cc/paluxy.htm

    Thanks.

    Comment by Glen | September 28, 2010

  45. Let me add one thing in regard to Keven’s suggestion that I “see what I want to see.” As some of you may know, I first went to Glen Rose about 30 years ago hoping to find and better document evidence for human tracks with dinosaur tracks. I was leaning toward young earthism at that time. However, I found that the evidence did not support the YEC claims, either about the “giant man tracks” or the supposed Flood conditions reflected in the track layers. Indee, the evidence indicated something far different. The point is, any bias I had was toward, not against, Flood Geology and YEcism. I no longer support either but this did not occur due to some whim, but years of in-depth research in and out of the field. Feel free to challenge my findings on tracks or anything else, but please do so based on well documented scientific evidence or your own field observations, not idle speculations about my supposed biased observations or some phantom Google results. Thank you.

    Comment by Glen | September 28, 2010

  46. Another article showing the immense problems of accommodating tracks and other trace fossils in a YE framework. The Christian author, Glenn Morton, is a working geologist and former YEC.

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/termites.htm

    I suppose Keven could suggest all his observations are biased also (even though well documented with data and photos), but this allows me the opportunity to leave a URL to another of Morton’s interesting articles, which addressed this often leveled, but usually hypocritical charge of anti-YE bias:

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/mortonsdemon.htm

    Finally, let me leave Glenn’s testimony on why he left strict creationism (we had a similar journey). It speaks to the highly relevant point that the vast majority of those who work in the field and regularly see the relevant empirical evidence, overwhelmingly reject YECism–and this includes the majority of geologist and paleontologists, including most Christian ones. We can’t all be blind or stupid.

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm

    Thanks.

    Comment by Glen | September 28, 2010

  47. I remember reading Glenn Morton’s articles in the Creation Research Society Quarterly back in the mid-80s. He went through a crisis of faith shortly after this, but came through without rejecting his Christianity (read about it here).

    Unfortunately, young-Earth creationism has shipwrecked the faith of many others. They are told “If the Earth isn’t 10,000 years old, the Bible isn’t true.” When they come to see how many problems there are with YEC teachings, they reject Christianity as a whole. This is a sad and unnecessary tragedy.

    Comment by geochristian | September 28, 2010

  48. Dr. Andrew Snelling of Answers in Genesis recently wrote a short article on the AiG website entitled “Fossilized Footprints—-A Dinosaur Dilemma,” which includes a footnote to this post. I have written a response: Dinosaur Footprints part 4.

    Comment by geochristian | September 28, 2010

  49. Thanks geochristian for the heads up on Snelling’s article and for his review of it. What a coincidence (and it’s just that) that I posted my essay on the problems of trace fossils for Flood Geology around the same time Snelling’s article was posted. Besides the problems geochristian already pointed out in Snelling’s article, let me mention that Snelling seems to also make the false assumption that “evolutionists” believe most tracksites represent the trackmakers’ normal habitats. In fact, many tracksites which evidently were mud flats along rivers, lakes, or tidal areas, may have been areas where they were feeding or migrate (depending on the site), whereas areas where they may have spent more time (drier ground, vegetated areas, etc.) may have been less conducive to track preservation. In any case, even mud flats would be far more hospitable for trackmaking and even habitation than the horrendously inhospitable conditions during a violent global Flood. No amount of special pleading or selective use of data by YECs can change that, or the mountains of other evidence against YECism. Thanks.

    Comment by Glen | September 28, 2010

  50. “Evidently mud flats”–this doesn’t account for the thousands and thousands of tracks found by coal miners. I’ll go back into silence and let you guys rationalize that one.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 29, 2010

  51. Kevin Morgan, this might be the root of your problem. You read

    “many tracksites which evidently were mud flats along rivers, lakes, or tidal areas”

    and you seem to extract a meaning of something like

    “all tracksites are in mudflats”.

    Of course there are tracks in coal mines! There is no problem at all with that – they are fully expected. Were dinosaurs supposed to somehow stay away from areas that would eventually form coal? That would be nonsense.

    It does form a problem for the Flood idea, though. According to Flood Geology, coal fields are formed from massive messes of vegetation and animals which were swept along by the Flood, gathered up from thousands of square miles of surface vegetation and piled up and then buried, eventually turning into coal.

    How could footprints be left in the middle of that? In the middle of a coal seam, which according to Flood reasoning is in the middle of a massive pile of plant debris hundreds of feet thick with hundreds of feet of soil deposited over that, somehow dinosaurs are walking around, leaving tracks. And it’s not just an individual track here and there – there are big, long series of tracks showing dinosaurs clearly walking along (in multiple directions). They did this in the MIDDLE of a massive pile of trees, brush, and grass, buried under hundreds of feet of soil?

    And it gets worse – there are entire ecosystems still intact in some of the coal mines. Instead of being ripped up, there are areas INSIDE coal beds where the plants and trees are still in the same sort of formation in which they grew, showing no signs of being ripped up by waters moving over a 100 mph and ripping up hundreds of feet thick of soil too.

    So, what was your question about coal mines and dino tracks?

    And just to avoid another mis-reading, allow me to restate that there are footprints in old mudflats and coal mines and sand dunes and forest floors and marshes and beaches and and and …… None of them are problems for the regular view of geologic formation.

    Flood Geology, though … that’s a different story. Flood Geology has a LOT of problems with those footprints.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  52. Sorry about the bold up there. My closing tag didn’t get put in.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  53. Begging your pardon, but we must have a very different conception of the flood. It poses no difficulty for my understanding of its circumstances.

    The majority of tracks are in the coal deposits. Thanks for the expected rationalization.

    Do you accept the Biblical record at all? Or do you read the flood account as just human civilization’s overblown corporate memory of a local flood? Does God tell the truth or is He a liar?

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 29, 2010

  54. Kevin Morgan, once again, you put forward something that is wildly false – the majority of tracks are NOT in coal deposits. Where are you getting that nonsense? A link to some support would be nice. I’ve never even heard anyone in AiG, CMI, or ICR ever make a claim like that!

    I suspect you have misunderstood something that said a majority of coal beds have dinosaur tracks in them – that is wildly different than saying a majority of dinosaur tracks are in coal beds.

    Coal beds are a nightmare for Creationists when any sort of detailed look is taken. Footprints of dinosaurs walking around in the middle of a hundreds of feet thick bunch of vegetation under hundreds of feet of dirt under yet more hundreds of feet of water traveling over a hundred miles per hour, are just the beginning of the nonsense required by a global Flood forming coal beds. Intact environments of forests and swamps. Charcoal. Stream beds. River beds. Alluvial fans. Dozens more things are found in coal beds that are blatantly impossible during a Flood as proposed by YEC Flood Geology supporters.

    And did you bother to address anything about any of the rank impossibilities proposed by those who support a global Flood? How do you understand the Flood to have happened so that it “poses no difficulty for my understanding of its circumstances”?

    If the “rationalizations” about dinosaur tracks are so silly, surely you can point out dozens of easy holes in my oh-so-false rationalizing. Please go right ahead.

    Yes, I take the Bible seriously. It is absolutely truthful in everything it says about the Creation and the Flood. It is the mangling that is the YEC interpretation of the Bible (particularly Genesis 1-8, but also many other areas) with which I have issues.

    One can mangle the Bible to generate a 6000 year-old Earth, and then to support it, mangle everything in science from geology, biology, astronomy, quantum mechanics, and history to make science “agree” with the mangled interpretation of the Bible.

    I find it much simpler to not distort the Bible, and then not have to distort science to fit.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  55. From what you say, you believe that taking Scripture first and, with its simple statements in mind, looking at the evidence of geology, biology, etc. is to mangle the latter.

    That is your prerogative.

    Undoubtedly, you believe you are not mangling Scripture by placing conventionally interpreted science before a view that puts the Scriptural narrative first. You have to live with your conscience. I have to live with mine.

    God bless.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 29, 2010

  56. Kevin Morgan, are you bowing out of the discussion? You haven’t dealt with a single item brought up by anyone (me, Glen, or Geo) in over a dozen posts. You’ve made several blatantly false claims which even other YEC people don’t hold (majority of tracks exist in coal) and haven’t offered any explanation. You’ve called things “rationalizations”, but haven’t said in what way or what is wrong with the statements and facts you call rationalizations.

    I don’t mind continuing a conversation, but if it’s not going to be a conversation, there’s not a whole lot of point to replying.

    The “plain” reading of Genesis, as you put it, is a reading which deliberately excludes any consideration of the guidelines of interpretation which are held to be good practice when understanding the rest of the Bible.

    Look for genre. Look for history. Look at original understanding and intent. Look at context. Look at similar structures elsewhere. Look at similar interpretive practices elsewhere.

    For some reason, the YEC view tosses all that out the window when it comes to interpreting Genesis 1-8.

    Instead, it is assumed that it was written to be a scientific, I-was-there-with-a-camcorder description with all sorts of hidden meanings available only to those with modern scientific advances and technology. Nowhere else in the Bible is that sort of assumption made. (except maybe in Revelation by the horses-are-helicopters crowd of Left Behind followers)

    That’s called mangling.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  57. And you got it completely backwards in 55. I didn’t place “conventionally interpreted science before a view that puts the Scriptural narrative first.”

    I did it the other way around. I was a YEC who learned the basics of understanding the Bible from (ironically enough) a YEC teacher while studying the Gospels and Paul’s epistles.

    I then went and applied those same standards which are used in understanding Jesus and Paul to Genesis.

    AFTER that, I started reexamining the science I had been taught all the way up through college.

    We don’t go looking into Jesus and Paul’s words for hidden twists that we can only recognize with our modern understanding and technology. We look at what they were trying to convey to their audiences.

    When Jesus says the mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, we don’t try to go out and “prove scientifically” that the mustard seed is the smallest seed (it isn’t even close). Instead we look at what he was trying to say to his audience there, not to a scientists who is measuring seeds today.

    Same thing for Genesis – we look at what it was meant to convey to the audience then, not to a scientist using advanced technology.

    To suggest that Genesis should be interpreted according to the scientist with a mass spectrometer is mangling Genesis just like interpreting Jesus according to a scientists with a micrometer measuring seeds would be mangling Jesus’ words.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  58. I have contributed what I can to the discussion. I have listed my sources in general. (See earlier comments.) To reply to the specifics of your “rationalization,” as I put it, would require my making this a major point of study when I have several other areas of study that are more pressing. I understand your discomfort with my characterization of your research. If I were in your shoes, I would feel the same. My last post frames my difficulty with your view of the evidence and interpreting of Genesis to fit your conventional view. Genesis is not poetry; it is not apocalyptic; it is written straightforwardly, using the terms and descriptions of days, animals, human behavior and the environment that we find in the rest of narrative in Scripture. I cannot conscientiously bend it to try to fit long ages of time into the scenario. The most I can do is to point out that “he made the stars also” could be parenthetical and not particularly on that day and that the earth was in existence prior to the “in the beginning” description of Creation. But this does nothing for the existence of life–only the age of the bedrock.

    You avoided my question about the flood, which is critical to the topic under discussion. But, I will let this go since your answering would require re-evalution of all your research and prove costly in time and professional capital.

    God bless.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 29, 2010

  59. Your question about the Flood? Where? If you mean back in 53, I thought I answered it.

    The Bible is true, but it isn’t describing a global Flood, so I can’t say that it is “just human civilization’s overblown corporate memory of a local flood” either.

    As for the Creation account, you’re right – it’s not apocalyptic and it’s not poetry. If you are suggesting that there are only three genres in the Bible – apocalyptic, poetry, and historic narrative, then you have way too much to learn to cover here in a blog comment discussion.

    There isn’t a single category which sufficiently describes, but a an epic narrative comes close – in many ways similar to Job. If you think that Job is a historic narrative … well, look up one paragraph.

    – Genesis 1 was most likely part of a temple ceremony, and it has aspects of teaching in it specifically contra the surrounding cultures’ beliefs.

    – It was certainly passed along orally long before it was written down, and it has a lot of the rhythms and patterns and phrasing typical to that style of speech, as well as the imprecision which goes with orally-passed information.

    – It has aspects which are most certainly poetic – the groupings of the days of creation and their contents, and the meter present which rolls off the tongue with frequently repeated words and phrases.

    – It doesn’t pay much heed to physical details such as where the light came from before the sun, and how there could be morning and evening without the sun shining on the earth. (a mere separation of light and dark wouldn’t cause a morning and evening)

    – It doesn’t mesh with what immediately follows it – Genesis 2. They can be mangled to fit together, but even the staunchest of YEC defenders agree that it’s not an easy fit, requiring some very, very precise meanings and outside assumptions to put them together.

    – There is a very strong fit with a reader-response structure, again backing up the temple ceremony/instruction/etc context.

    And there is more. Heck, there are hundreds of books written by many very well respected Biblical scholars which talk about Genesis which don’t hold to a 24-7-6000 interpretation.

    You may disagree with them, but there is no even remotely honest way to say that they just believe that God is lying or that the Bible isn’t true.

    One would be saying that about extremely respected theologians like C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, Pope John Paul II, Charles Spurgeon, and many others. (I was trying for a cross-section from multiple backgrounds)

    You can get lots of church fathers in the mix too – Origin, Augustine, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, and many more.

    I’m not trying to say that all famous theologians believed Genesis to be a non-scientific description, but I am pointing out that there is no honest way to say that Christians who believe Genesis isn’t a camcorder-like description are just rejecting the Bible as truth, calling God a liar, disbelieving the Bible, or setting science above the Bible.

    That’s a ridiculous claim.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  60. “The Bible is true, but it isn’t describing a global Flood, so I can’t say that it is “just human civilization’s overblown corporate memory of a local flood’ either.”

    I’m a bit irked by the hedging of your answer, so it’s probably best that I stick with my original statement and leave you to your conscience.

    Gene 7:4 (KJV) For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

    Gene 7:20 (KJV) Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

    21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:

    Gene 8:9 (KJV) But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters [were] on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 29, 2010

  61. You don’t need my input to continue believing as you have, so I can’t imagine what you think you’d gain by keeping me in the discussion. You’ve already ruled out what I have offered, so perhaps we should both just let the matter drop.

    God bless

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 29, 2010

  62. So you think all those other people I mentioned were fighting a guilty conscience because they knew deep down that they were rejecting God and the Bible? Or do you just think it’s me who was the shamed conscience? If you think I’m rejecting the Bible, then you must think Charles Spurgeon, N.T. Wright, St. Augustine, and C.S. Lewis were all rejecting the Bible as we all believe that Genesis isn’t just a literalistic historic narrative.

    As far as “hedging”, I’m not sure how I could be more clear. You put up an either-or option: either the Bible is describing a global Flood, or the Flood in Genesis is “just human civilization’s overblown corporate memory of a local flood”.

    You gave a false set of options. The Bible is true, but it doesn’t describe a global flood, so there’s no “overblown corporate memory” either. I’m sorry that the world doesn’t fit those specific either-or options you gave.

    As for the account of the Flood you put in there …. GASP! I HAD NEVER READ THAT BEFORE!!!! OH WOW! IT SAYS THAT?!? [ending sarcasm]

    Once again, you’re putting in the modern scientist-with-satellite-imagery-of-the-whole-globe interpretation, when it was originally an orally passed down story of an individual’s experience. Was God speaking to the modern scientist? No, he was speaking to an individual of that time.

    Replace “land” in there in place of “earth”, and “hills” in place of “mountains”. Those translations are just as valid, and in fact those words ARE translated as “land” and “hills” elsewhere instead of “earth” and “mountains”. That might help you understand things better. Maybe not.

    Either way, requiring that God was sticking secret information into his words which we can only appreciate in the modern era is mangling Scripture. God spoke to Noah of what he was about to go through. What was said and experienced was passed down orally through many generations before being written down. The story of the Flood is true, but requiring a scientific, I-was-there-with-a-camcorder interpretation of what is being said there goes against everything people use to interpret the rest of the Bible.

    But for some reason, it’s OK to ignore all that when it comes to Genesis 1-8. Try doing that sort of interpretation anywhere else in the Bible, and you would obviously be getting a bizarre, out-of-whack understanding.

    See Jesus’s mustard seed for example. See pillars of heaven. See storehouses of snow in the sky. See sun going dark and stars disappearing. See the prophesies of Jesus’ coming in the OT describing an earthly king when he was actually a saving king. See Paul talking about women being required to wear head coverings and be silent in churches. See… See… See…

    Everywhere else in the Bible, all those things are understood and taken into account, but for some mysterious reason when it comes to Genesis 1-8, all that gets tossed out the window, and the only interpretation allowed is the one made by a scientist who wants to perform experiments.

    Once people realize that, it also sets them free from needing to twist science into pretzels to support the twisted interpretation of the Bible – the truth shall set you free.

    I realize I won’t convince you right now, but hopefully I can at least open your eyes to the fact that the literalistic interpretation of the YEC view is not the only valid way to understand the Bible.

    Everywhere else in the Bible all those other things are taken into account – why not Genesis 1-8?

    Hundreds and thousands of extremely highly respected Christian theologians believe(d) that Genesis 1-8 isn’t the literalistic genre the YEC movement believes – does that not show that the non-YEC view isn’t merely a rejection of the Bible and God?

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  63. Kevin Morgan:

    Thanks for hanging in there.

    I don’t think that as an old-Earther I am ignoring the Scriptures or allowing science to take a higher priority. I take the Bible very seriously, but am unwilling to read things into it that are not there. For example, there are no passages that say that animals did not die before Adam’s fall into sin, so I can accept animal death before the fall. Likewise, the flood account says nothing about the creation of the sedimentary rock record, so I am free to investigate Earth history without forcing a fit to preconceived notions of catastrophism.

    I agree with WebMonk’s point that a few valid translation changes in the flood account give it a completely different feel. I really encourage you to re-read Genesis 6-9 and make the following substitutions:

    • earth –> land
    • heavens –> sky
    • mountains –> hills

    Also take a look at the NIV footnote for 7:20, which could just as well read “The waters rose more than twenty feet, and the hills were covered.” There is much more to a Biblical case for a local flood than this.

    I’m not sure I agree with WebMonk on Genesis 1 being a liturgical temple inauguration ceremony, with the temple in this case being the entire cosmos. That is the position advocated by John Walton in The Lost World of Genesis One. The book offers many insights into the context in which Genesis 1 was written, but is not without controversy.

    I won’t accuse YECs of distorting the Scriptures, but I also strongly believe that the YEC interpretation of Scripture is just one of several valid options. I am not sure which of these interpretations of Genesis is the best, but I reject the YEC interpretation because of external evidence.

    In regards to dinosaur footprints in coal, they are found on the top of coal layers. The footprints were made on top of a layer of peat, which was then covered by sand or silt. These footprints cause the same problems for YECs as I outlined in this post.

    Comment by geochristian | September 29, 2010

  64. To WebMonk: As I said, each has to live with his own conscience. I am responsible for mine and you are responsible for yours.

    To geochristian: I’m sure you are aware of Paul’s testimony and can explain his statement in Romans to your own satisfaction.

    Romans 5:12-14 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death [ho thanatos, lit. "the sin"--i.e. speaking of death as an entity] by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    Thank you for your transparency in saying you reject the YEC interpretation because of external evidence.

    As far as I understand, the peat explanation of the coal beds is insufficient for two reasons: (1) it would take miles of peat beds to make as much coal as found in the coal seams, and (2) some of the impressions from the trees that were converted to coal are discernible in the coal.

    Your point about hills is well taken, the rugged mountains we have today are the result of plate convergence. Such high mountains did not likely exist before the Bible statement regarding the flood waters covering the mountains. Mountains before the flood would more likely be described today as “hills.”

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 29, 2010

  65. And what is there in Romans 5 which disagrees with an old earth? Is there some reason that an old earth person would say that sin didn’t enter the world through Adam? I agree that sin came through Adam. I know Geo does. So what was your point?

    On using outside evidence, if there are multiple interpretations which one can’t judge between merely based on internal evidence, then I certainly hope a person would look at outside evidence. To do otherwise would be nuts. If you have to make an important choice and you are unsure, do you just flip a coin? Of course not – you look for things outside which will help illuminate the question.

    Especially considering that God very specifically states that nature points to Him, and that the world and universe are God’s general revelation of himself with the Bible being His special revelation – looking to nature to help illuminate unclear meanings in the Bible is a very sound and Biblical thing to do. Martin Luther happened to have a few things to say about that. Hopefully you don’t toss him out as setting science above the Bible!

    As for your problem 1 with coal beds, you say it would take miles of peat beds. Guess what, we have miles of peat beds in existence today. And it’s not just peat beds – swamps are another source of coal, and we find lots of places with many miles of swamps. You mention that like it’s a problem for the old earth view. In what way to do you see it as a problem?

    Your objection 2, I don’t understand either. Why wouldn’t there be plenty of impressions of trees in coal beds with an old earth formation of coal? I must be missing something.

    One of the fun things about coal beds (though not from a YEC perspective) is that there are tracks of streams in and around the coal beds. (not something that happens during a Flood) And there are entire ecosystems represented mostly undisturbed. (again – not if a Flood formed it) And there are evidences of forest fires in the coal seams, and not just a single chunk that might be washed in with a Flood, but lots at multiple layers with signs of being burned on-site. (sort of hard to have a forest fire underwater in a Flood) And there are the tracks INSIDE the coal seams I have mentioned before. (having dinosaurs walking around under all that is just a BIT tough)

    On the purely theological side, I definitely have a more dismal view of the YEC interpretation than Geo has. I admit I have a very hard time believing that people can honestly continue to twist Scripture to generate a YEC view after even the slightest bit of study is done.

    People do, and they are honest about it, but that doesn’t keep me from being boggled by it.

    In the same way, I find it nigh-insane that thinking people can ascribe to the Left Behind-style of interpreting the Bible’s statements about the end times. Anyone who can take the visions of fantastic beasts in clearly apocalyptic literature and honestly say they believe the Bible is referring to tanks and helicopters has a twisted method of interpreting Scripture. Can they be honest in their interpretation? Sure. But I still have a very hard time wrapping my head around that sort of view.

    Comment by WebMonk | September 29, 2010

  66. Keven M: after a number of your claims about tracks have been shown to be baseless, you may want to reexamine your general approach, which often seems to involve finding an isolated statement in YE literature, misunderstanding or overgeneralizing it, and then suggesting others who question it are biased, even when we have worked extensively in the field under discussion. You say you have contributed to the discussion as you are able, but these habits don’t foster productive dialog.
    Your further comments on coal do not help. You wrote: As far as I understand, the peat explanation of the coal beds is insufficient for two reasons: (1) it would take miles of peat beds to make as much coal as found in the coal seams, and (2) some of the impressions from the trees that were converted to coal are discernible in the coal. On point 1, no, it would not take “miles”, but to the extent that massive amounts of vegetation were involved, it’s more plausible (and supported by other evidence) that the material accumulated over millions of years than in the midst of a single recent flood. On point 2, how does the preservation of plant parts in the coal support the YE position? By the way, the remains are generally those of extinct, Caroniferous plants like seed ferns and lycopods.
    Why are there no remains of the thousands of flowering plants (or even their pollen?) that should have existed in the YE framework, and which dominate the world’s biota today? Ironically, the immense mass of coal reserves the world over actually provides evidence _against_ YECism. As Glenn Morton notes in his article at http://home.entouch.net/dmd/toomanyanimals.htm,
    “There are an estimated 15 x 10^18 grams of carbon contained in the coal reserves of the world.39 An acre of tropical forest contains 525 kilograms of plant matter per square meter.40 Assuming an 18% carbon content of plant matter41 we have 94.5 kilograms of carbon per square meter. Multiplying this by the number of square meters on land, we have approximately the quantity of carbon contained in coal, 15 x 10^18 grams. One can account for all the carbon in coal only by postulating a tropical rain forest over the entire world. But this is impossible, because many of the animals in the fossil record require low productivity regions to survive. Grazing animals that live on grass can not live in tropical rain forests, because carpeting grasses do not live there. Now we have too many animals on each acre and almost too much plant matter.” In the article he shows there are similar problems for YEC in accounting for the great mass of vertebrate fossils, invertebrate fossils, and microfossils already known, not to mention those likely to be found in the future.

    Instead of making unfounded generalizations from isolated factoids in YE literature, I encourage you to do more in depth research in and out of the field to get a better appreciation for the mountains of evidence that refutes YECism. You seem unimpressed by Glenn Morton, but have you taken the time to read some of this compelling articles, which are based on extensive first hand research.

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/fld.htm

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/paleo.htm

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/yungerth.htm

    Thank you.

    Comment by Glen | September 30, 2010

  67. Keven M., are you suggesting that Romans 5:12-14 (KJV) is speaking of physical death? We know that it must at least refer to spiritual death, for reasons I trust I do not need to review. To suggest that it must also refer to physical death is neither Biblically necessarily nor biologically sensible. I specifically address this issue in the following article: http://paleo.cc/ce/nodeath.htm

    Comment by Glen | September 30, 2010

  68. WebMonk,

    This is getting more and more painful and you guys prolong the agony. Roman’s reference to the origin of “death by sin” means there was no death before Adam, and Genesis provides a very clearly delineated span of time between Adam and Noah which does not allow for an old earth in the sense of “old life.” It is just that simple for me.

    Clearly you must be reinterpreting the Bible by the external evidence you referred to in your post. I cannot conscientiously do so. Your argument isn’t with me, but with the principle I have enunciated.

    I would guess you have something better to do than claim victory over a guy who just happened to stick his head into your discussion with a few salient points. You have nothing to prove to me. In fact, there is nothing you CAN prove to me since I don’t have the scientific expertise to evaluate your evidence. All I can do is rely on that which I have read or observed that makes sense to me and is in line with the fundamental principle of Biblical interpretation I have outlined. Beyond this I am incapable of going.

    I leave the two of you to your consciences. I am left to mine.

    God bless.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 30, 2010

  69. Keven M, yes it is getting more and more painful, to see your resistance to learning some geology, or even bothering to read something before panning it. In apparent reference to my Death before the Fall article I linked to last time, you suggested it is clear that I am arguing from “external evidence.” First, if you think all evidence outside the Bible must always be wrong or cannot aid our understanding of the world, you have some a misguided epistemology, and one not even supported by the Bible itself. Second, if you had bothered to read my article, you’d see that I argued the case both Biblically and scientifically. Your emphasis on the word “death” misses the point that in many places the word Death in the Bible refers to spiritual death. For other important considerations, please read the article. Your comment that you cannot rely on anything more than you have read is nonsense, unless you are already an expert on all these things. On the contrary, it appears to me that your reading on these matters has been largely limited to YEC sources and cursory web searches. So what you _could_ do, but seem _unwilling_ to do, is more study on issues in more depth and from other viewpoints, and respect the work and conclusions of those with more scientific expertise than yourself. If you can’t get into the field to confirm the empirical evidence we have been discussing, you can at least do reading of the relevant scientific literature, perhaps starting with the articles I previously mentioned. Thank you.

    Comment by Glen | September 30, 2010

  70. Keven M wrote: “Genesis provides a very clearly delineated span of time between Adam and Noah which does not allow for an old earth in the sense of “old life. It is just that simple for me.” Keven, you may have simplified it to that in your mind, but there is more to it, since the Biblical geneologies do not agree unless we allow gaps and/or non-literal terms. See http://www.answering-islam.org/BibleCom/mt1-1.html
    You may also believe for other reasons that the Bible teaches YECism, but many who have studied the Biblical issues in depth disagree, so please at least open your mind to the possibility that YEC may be unsound, both scientifically and Biblically. See for example:

    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1990/PSCF3-90Fischer.html

    http://www.answersincreation.org/interpret.htm

    On the scientific side, the breath and depth of evidence for an old earth is as well established as the shape of the earth. When you argue otherwise in the name of God, while not taking the time to learn about this evidence beyond a superficial level, you are acting in a less than scholarly manner, and undermining Christian credibility.

    Comment by Glen | September 30, 2010

  71. Keven M, when Jesus said that those who believe in him will never “die,” do you think he meant we will never experience physical death? Of course not. If you understand the spiritual meaning there, why would you assume that “death” in Genesis must be physical?

    Comment by Glen | September 30, 2010

  72. On the question of whether Genesis describes a recent global Flood: http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gflood.htm

    Comment by Glen | September 30, 2010

  73. Earlier in this thread Johnathan Barlett praised the recent YEC book _Rock Solid Answers._ Unfortunately this is the kind of literature that can impress many but is rife with faulty arguments and highly selective use data. For a more sound and thorough treatment of the subject from two Christian professors of geology, see: The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth by Davis A. Young and Ralph F. Stearley, http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Rocks-Time-Geological-Evidence/dp/0830828761/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285902765&sr=1-1

    Comment by Glen | September 30, 2010

  74. Glen,

    “Kev[i]n M, when Jesus said that those who believe in him will never “die,” do you think he meant we will never experience physical death? Of course not. If you understand the spiritual meaning there, why would you assume that “death” in Genesis must be physical?”

    The verse in context is this:

    John 11:25 (KJV) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
    26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

    Jesus is describing two groups of people (and Paul discusses the same two groups in 1 Thes. 4): those who die and “shall … live” and those who live and believe and “shall never die.”

    He promises a resurrection for those who die trusting in Him, and a continuation of life for those found alive and believing as He returns. His statement is in the context of Martha’s statement of faith about His being able to resurrect “at the last day” (John 11:24).

    Yes, I believe He is discussing physical death. Sorry to disappoint.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | September 30, 2010

  75. Keven M, you didn’t answer the question directly. Apparently you agree that the death spoken of in this passage refers to spiritual death, as it also does in many other verses, since we all still physically die. So again, why do you assume that “death” in the Genesis passage must mean physical death, especially when it must mean at _least_ spiritual death to make theological sense? There is nothing about the context that requires it to mean also physical death, and insisting on this produces many other problems, as shown in my article. Indeed, does Genesis not say that God told Adam that the day he ate of the forbidden fruit, he would die? Yet is says that he lived many years afterward. Also, the lack of physical death (even for just humans, let alone other organisms), in combination with the command to be fruitful and multiply, would lead to horrendous levels of overpopulation (eventually exploding exponentially–unless people stopped reproducing)–which does not seem compatible with a declared “good” creation. Did you even bother to read my article? The URL again is: http://paleo.cc/ce/nodeath.htm

    Please do not suggest again that I am using “outside” or extra Biblical sources, as if biological considerations or other scientific findings were somehow evil or worthless. Let me ask you, do you think the Bible addresses every thing we could possible need to know, or that God does not want us to also learn from the world around us? If it were not for those doing and applying careful scientific research, you would not be reading this now. or own a cell phone, or have access to MRI’s or EKG’s.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Glen | October 1, 2010

  76. Keven M, to avoid any confusion… at the start of my last post I meant to say I assume you accept that the passage means _at least_ spirutial death. But to suggest that it means ONLY physical death, or even spiritual AND physical death, is not only unnecessarily, it is illogical. The phrase “never die” could not by accurate if it meant _physically_ unless we never physically died. Obviosuly we do physically die. Even if you consider a “resurrected” body to be physical, it would do nothing to counter the fact that we do physically die, even if you believe a ressurected (“glorified”) body is restored in a physical sense.

    Comment by Glen | October 1, 2010

  77. GLEN,

    You didn’t follow me, I guess, and, for starters, it’s “Kevin”–not “Keven.”

    Read my post over again a few times because my paradigm is different from yours. I stated plainly that I read it as physical death. The death described in Romans 5:12 is physical death. There is no need to spiritualize it away.

    Yes, Romans applies the physical to the spiritual realm, but Jesus was really “raised from the dead” (Rom. 6:9), not just SPIRITUALLY raised from the dead. It is because He conquered physical death that we will have eternal life (Rom. 5:17-21).

    I wasn’t the one who suggested you were using external evidence to tip the scales of your interpretation. You told me yourself. Here, let me quote you:

    “I am not sure which of these interpretations of Genesis is the best, but I reject the YEC interpretation because of external evidence.”

    You plainly and honestly revealed that it isn’t internal evidence that influenced your view of Scripture, but EXTERNAL evidence. I commended you for your transparency.

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 1, 2010

  78. Kevin M, first, sorry about the name mispelling. Second, you still seem to be missing my point. The issue I was discussing was not whether Jesus was raised from the dead, but whether the death we are saved from is spiritual or physical. Since we still physically die, it is clearly spiritual death. For your consideration:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/spiritual-death.html

    You also have still not answered my question about Genesis, or whether you have bothered to read my article. How could the death in the passage in question refer to physical death, when God told Adam he would die the day he ate of the fruit, and yet he ate it, and lived many years? Please answer that. Last, I am sorry if I mistakenly thought your comments about using external evidence (and you made your comment about “interpreting the Bible by external evidence” after Webmonk and I criticized your comments, so I took it to apply to both of us. In any case, you yourself just attributed a quote to me that was from neither him nor I, but GeoChrisitan. You wrote: “Here, let me quote you: ‘I am not sure which of these interpretations of Genesis is the best, but I reject the YEC interpretation because of external evidence.’” I did not write that; Geochristian did (near the end of one of his Sept 29 posts). I myself reject YECism for both Biblical and scientific reasons. As I pointed out before, the evidence for an old earth is as massive as that for the shape of the earth. I encourage you to do more study to understand why. If you were to go by the Bible alone, you might well believe the earth is flat and square, since verses refer to its four corners. Why do you think the vast majority of working geologists and paleontologists (including most Christian ones) accept an old earth–even tho we are the ones who see the evidence on a regular basis, and who in many cases (and I include myself) we were not only open to a young earth, but tried to make it work. The evidence just does not fit, or even come close. We can’t all be blind or stupid.

    You also wrote: “You plainly and honestly revealed that it isn’t internal evidence that influenced your view of Scripture, but EXTERNAL evidence. I commended you for your transparency.” Again, it was GeoChristian not me who wrote the comment you quoted. But I think you misunderstood him too. I believe he has expressed before that he like me does not believe the Bible teaches YECism, and that the scientific evidence strongly refutes it. Geochristian (your name is Kevin too, right?–that’s why I put M after the other Kevin) please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks.

    Comment by Glen | October 1, 2010

  79. I understand that God has a spiritual dimension to life, but life that isn’t physical isn’t spiritual either.

    No, I hadn’t read the article. Time is pretty limited, so I only took time to reply directly to your comment here. The statement in Genesis is about physical death. I agree that a spiritual death took place that day, but, as my Hebrew teacher pointed out, the Hebrew expression is emphatic, you will DIE DIE. Some take this to mean that on that day, man began to die. My teacher’s understanding, based on the Hebrew, was that God meant that their eating would have brought immediate consequences (which is how they understood God’s words and why the serpent could say, it hasn’t happened). From my teacher’s point of view, rather than dying immediately–a consequence from which there would be no reversal–God immediately interposed GRACE, sacrificing animals and providing an alternate lifestyle, with the promise of a Savior.

    Pardon me for confusing you and GeoChristian in acknowledging what influenced your view of Genesis. I stand corrected; you didn’t make that admission. Can you be sufficiently transparent to tell me whether or not you decided against the simpler view of Scripture completely apart from a scientific interpretation?

    Why do “the vast majority of working geologists and paleontologists (including most Christian ones) accept an old earth”? Evidence is part of the matter. But you must be honest and acknowledge the psychosocial aspect of looking to a professor in your doctoral work and to a specific peer group in your daily work. Most of us cannot stand to be too very different, so the influence of another’s opinion shapes how we view evidence.

    I have watched this phenomenon with individuals from my branch of Christianity in their advanced degrees. They were influenced in this way by their mentors and new peer group. They ended up moving in very different directions from one another in the end, as a consequence of the ones who they allowed authority to influence them. Some of these directions are mutually contradictory, so it isn’t a matter of moving into greater truth.

    When I have talked with Christian geologists in the past, they have pointed to the peer pressure that is exhibited on them to think a certain way.

    Well, that is my answer. You may deny that influence, as is your right, but it certainly colors how one sees the evidence.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 1, 2010

  80. For the record, I believe that the death spoken of in Genesis 3 is both spiritual and physical.

    Just as Adam and Eve’s spiritual death was immediate but their physical death was delayed, so our spiritual rebirth is immediate but our physical rebirth is delayed. I believe that our resurrected state will be physical as well as spiritual, on a real New Earth rather than floating in the ether as some sort of spiritual beings.

    Having said that, I also believe that Adam and Eve would not have lived forever apart from regular sustenance from God, provided through the Tree of Life. Their bodies were “good” but not “perfect” in the sense that they didn’t need maintenance. I haven’t seen a good YEC explanation for the purpose of the Tree of Life in a pre-fall world.

    I usually cut off the comments after 100, especially on old posts and when the conversation has strayed from the original topic. So, you may want to summarize your thoughts.

    Comment by geochristian | October 1, 2010

  81. Kevin Morgan, might I suggest that the peer pressure to accept a YEC interpretation is just as strong in many areas of Christianity as any peer pressure among academia to accept a particular view of evidence.

    For example, I don’t dare let it be known that I shifted away from a YEC view to people in my church because I would be removed from a lot of places where I serve now. You think that doesn’t warp people’s acceptance of a particular interpretation of the Bible just as much as college courses? Actually I would say that, arguably, the influence by the YEC interpretation is far more influential than that from colleges because it begins so early in life.

    That said, look at what you have just done in your interpretation of the (non)death of Adam. You clearly admit that the words are VERY concrete and certain. Since you hold they apply to physical death rather than spiritual death, you look at the world around you, see by extra-Biblical evidence that Adam didn’t physically die that day, and so insert the assumption that God immediately inserted Grace to put off the physical death that would have hit.

    That is called using things external to the Bible to affect one’s interpretation of the Bible. Everyone does it all the time. If we didn’t, we would believe that the earth has four corners and that pillars held up the sky and that snow and rain are stored up in storehouses in the sky.

    That view also puts up some prickly questions of God’s truthfulness – God told Adam in extremely certain terms that he would physically die the day he ate the fruit, knowing full well that he wasn’t actually going to kill Adam.

    That can be gotten around, but everyone recognizes that it is something that definitely needs to be “gotten around” rather than accepted straight up.

    Same sort of thing for the Tree of Life – what the heck was it doing there if everything lived forever already and as soon as it might have an effect, access to it was blocked? It’s something that definitely needs to be “gotten around” by a YEC interpretation.

    The YEC view comes from the same interpretive methods as the Left Behind view of the end times. It’s not a coincidence that both YEC and Left Behind are so popular among similar demographics – they are a similar approach to interpreting the Bible.

    Comment by WebMonk | October 1, 2010

  82. Kevin M wrote: Can you be sufficiently transparent to tell me whether or not you decided against the simpler view of Scripture completely apart from a scientific interpretation?

    I already have been. In a previous post I stated that I rejected YECism for both Biblical and scientific reasons. Are you implying that it is wrong to consider anything outside the Bible? Why then go to school or read books or engage in discussions with scientists? Isn’t it a waste of time if the Bible has all answers on all subjects, and nothing outside can aid our understanding? If you do accept that we can learn things from sources outside the Bible, then what was the point of your question and apparent negative undertone?

    You asked: “Evidence is part of the matter. But you must be honest and acknowledge the psychosocial aspect of looking to a professor in your doctoral work and to a specific peer group in your daily work.”

    You’re off base here, at least in my case. I already explained that when I began my work, I tried to make YECIsm work, and at the time had more pressure from YE sources than mainstream ones. I rejected YE because the more I studied, the more I realized that it was neither Biblically nor scientifically sound. Currently I am self employed, and do most of my research without any formal afiliation with any institution or company. Even when I did, the main pressure I had was not to hold to particular views, but to hold to high standards of ethics and careful scientific inquiry. In any case, your suggestion that peer pressure could override everything we see with our eyes on a daily basis is as groundless as it is insulting. You keep talking about limited time. If that is the case, then I think it would behoove you to withhold judgment then on these issues until you do have time for more research. I agree with GeoChristian on the term death. God called the creation good, not perfect. If there were no physical death, horrendous overpopulation would be the inevitable result.

    You also wrote: “Most of us cannot stand to be too very different, so the influence of another’s opinion shapes how we view evidence.”

    Again, I for one would have been more than happy if the evidence supported an old earth, as would many of my peers. It just does not. And even if I had a lot of peer pressure, I don’t believe I’d cave to it, since I have a number of times in my career taken unpopular positions when the evidence warranted. I am sure we are all biased in some ways, but science tends to be self correcting. If the evidence favored YECism, the vast majority of geologists and paleontologists would have to be blind, stupid, or (as you seem to believe) so biased or spineless that we regularly disregard or grossly skew what most of what we see. This has not been my experience with most of the scientists I have worked with by any means, even most non-Christian ones.

    Comment by Glen | October 1, 2010

  83. Oops, I meant to say I’d have been happy if the evidence supported a young earth. I’d be fine either way. I cannot deny the mountains of evidence I have seen, which supports an old earth and thoroughly contradicts YEcism. That sums it up for me.

    Comment by Glen | October 1, 2010

  84. GeoChristian,

    “For the record, I believe” pretty much the same as you have stated. Without the tree of life, man would not have lived for ever by some magical power. What sustains life is life-sustaining nutrition, etc.

    We are in agreement that life must be both physical and spiritual. It is on that basis that I cannot relegate Paul’s statement about the life that Christ bought for us being merely of the “spiritual” category. All the promises of Scripture about life are not inherent in our soul, but are a gift of God. As Christ conquered physical death, He promises us the same. Yet, the new birth is a spiritual birth because it deals with a spiritual connection with the Giver of life. Life without Him is just as empty as being kept alive by artificial life support without hope of consciousness.

    The death that Adam brought was both spiritual and physical, yet there is no hint that anything had experienced death before his sin. There is no hope of permanent victory over sin without victory over physical death. The are bound and I cannot separate them to try to adjust Scripture to square up with assumptions of a totally different worldview–namely, that death is part of the creative process and that God’s acts in Genesis are merely metaphorical of something that non-believers consider to have looked very different from what the book describes.

    Call me simple; call me a moron (I get that a lot when I discuss ID with evolutionists); but I am at peace with what I believe. I have sampled scientific discussions of all sorts sufficiently to believe my understanding of Scripture accords with the evidence. My livelihood does not depend on spending greater amount of time studying this issue out, nor does my professional integrity. Therefore, I must use my time wisely to deal with those matters that do.

    Thank you for allowing me to cast out a few ideas into the public stream.

    May God bless you as you wrestle with the issues of science that you feel you must reconcile with Scripture.

    Kevin Morgan

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 1, 2010

  85. Keven M wrote: “The death that Adam brought was both spiritual and physical, yet there is no hint that anything had experienced death before his sin.” Keven, there are far more than hints, there are strong indications that physical death was part of the original creation plan, including many creatures that are clearly obligatory predators (what was a spider web for, subduing strawberries?) and others with obvious defenses against predators–all of which would be pointless if there were no predation or death. And what do you suppose, that God continually rescued tiny creatures from being accidentally stepped on and eaten even by large vegetarians like sauropods and elephants? So no, your beliefs are not scientifically sound, just on the point of physcal death before the Fall, and we’ve already shown how you’ve repeatedly advanced baseless claims to defend YECism, with little interest in learning more about the relevant topics. It seems odd you have time for repeated posts here, but not to read material which refutes your YE viewpoint. You may be at peace with it, but the propagation of erroneous notions in the name of God does have ramifications, including the undermining of Christian credibility to those familiar with the evidence. Nonbeleivers may well ask, why should I trust that you about things that cannot be easily seen or empirically studied, if you are so off base about things that can be?

    Comment by Glen | October 1, 2010

  86. Glen,

    “It seems odd you have time for repeated posts here, but not to read material which refutes your YE viewpoint.”

    Yours is not the only game in town. I am reading material for a book that I am editing. Sorry, getting paid has priority.

    “You may be at peace with it, but the propagation of erroneous notions in the name of God does have ramifications”

    Indeed.

    [2 minutes]

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 1, 2010

  87. Glen,

    In # 82 you chided me for answering your question of why “the vast majority of working geologists and paleontologists (including most Christian ones) accept an old earth”? And I concluded by saying, “Well, that is my answer.”

    It may be totally off, but I gave you my opinion–and I gave you my reason for believing that the process of education has an influence on the majority.

    You may disagree with me, but I was simply responding to your question with my personal observations.

    God bless.

    KevIn Morgan

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 1, 2010

  88. Keven M, on the issue of working geologists, the point you still seem to miss is that your suggestion about bias is not a very plausible. In saying “I gave you my reason for believing that the process of education has an influence on the majority,” but unless we are all “influenced” to the point of utter brain damage or outright corruption (which is insulting) it does not explain why virtually all of us reject YECism. You closed by saying “You may disagree with me, but I was simply responding to your question with my personal observations.” Actually I don’t think it was based on “observations” but speculation and rationalization, and not well founded at that. Were it based on actual observations of either the evidence or scientists as they go about their work, I am confident you’d come to other conclusions, just as most others have. How many scientists have you observed working in the field or lab? How many field observations of your own have you made? This is why I recommended respecting our views, or at least withholding judgment rather than groping for exception factoids–which are not likely overturn decades of sound work by thousands of scientists. Indeed, when you use that approch, the claims are generally poorly founded and readily refuted (as your claims about footprints). Again, the reason almost all working earth scientists reject YE is not bias, but because they have made millions of actual observations of the data, and they do not support the YE view, or even come close.

    Comment by Glen | October 2, 2010

  89. Kevin M, I forgot to ask, what is the book you are reading? I hope it’s one that helps you appreciate the many reasons most scientists reject YECism. If not, one I would recommend (which is not a long read) is Young & Stearley new book: The Bibble, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth. If you ever have time for a more comprehensive treatment, I’d recommend Art Strahler’s _Science and Earth History_. Thanks.

    Comment by Glen | October 2, 2010

  90. Glenn, In answer to the question, “what is the book you are reading” I said, “I am reading material for a book that I am editing” and noted above that I am working in a totally different field than the area of discussion. It is the area of my doctoral thesis–church history. You guys have been attempting to rope me into a discussion about a subject for which I am only a novice and do not have the time or motivation to become anything more than that.

    I have interjected into this discussion because of an amateur’s knowledge of and novice’s interest in the subject. You must live with your conscience and I with mine.

    God bless,

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 2, 2010

  91. Glen,

    (See, I can spell your name correctly.) With regard to your perspective on geology, your training gives you certain assumptions just as my professor’s training gave him certain assumptions that eventually led him to change his church affiliation. When I have talked with those who have been educationally trained in the field of geology, it is not the observation of evidence that makes such a difference in our interpretation, but the assumptions used to interpret that evidence. What assumptions one brings to the field is determined by the influences I have described. Who taught you and what was their view? Did you respect them? What are the prevailing views within the field? How much do you respect your peers in that field? These are relevant questions when determining what one’s assumptions will be.

    As an example in applying those assumptions, say, in determining whether a rock is 10,000 years old or 150 million years old, I must ask: what assumptions do I use to make a judgment? Whose judgment do I accept as trustworthy?

    As I say, I am an outsider and a layman in this field. My judgment is based first on a certain Biblical perspective which I have plainly outlined and on evidence that seems reasonable to me with my given exposure to the evidence and worldview. PERIOD.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 2, 2010

  92. Keven M, your apparent assumption that our assumptions have more to do with our conclusions than the evidence is not supported by reason, evidence, or in my cases and others I know, our personal histories. I’ve already explained that any bias I had early in my career was _toward_ YECism, not against it, and that I have little peer pressure either way now, since I do independent research. I also have often taken positions contrary to others as the evidence warranted. So unless you believe I’m lying, or that most of us are biased to the point of virtual blindness, your suggestion does not explain why virtually all of us reject YEism.
    The frustrating thing is, if you took even a fraction of the time you’ve spent on these exchanges to read some of the material supporting OE, I’m sure you’d be less quick to make suggestions about overriding bias. Again, many of us would be delighted if the earth were young. To suggest our biases are so strong that we’d readily misjudge the age of the earth or a particular rock by orders of magnitude only confirms that you have little understanding of the diverse and robust evidence pertaining to such things. I am not faulting you for not having that knowledge. I am faulting you for trying to challenge us with isolated factoids and unkind insinuations before taking the time to gain a little of it.
    If you do not have time to read entire books or articles, then why not use more of the time you are already spending on these forums to ask more questions and learn a little about that evidence, and less time trying to undermine our work, conclusions, or motives? Indeed, there seems to be an irony in your suggestions about bias. Since many of us here have studied both the Biblical and scientific evidence in considerable detail, while you’ve done less study (at least on the latter), is it not more likely that your own assumptions have had more to do with your YE position than any assumptions of ours explains our position? Thanks.

    Comment by Glen | October 3, 2010

  93. Yes, of course it is possible that I am wrong–as it is possible that you are wrong. Several times I have left you to your conscience and I to mine, and yet you have not been content to leave it at that, and have labored to keep me in the discussion. All I can conclude is that you wish to justify your position by somehow getting me to accept it. If your position stands alone, you do not need me to accept it. Yet, your insistence seems to indicate that you want me to indulge you in repositioning the Biblical anchors in order to accommodate what you view to be true of the scientific evidence. I’m afraid that is where we must part company.

    What I have stated about one’s change of view by influenced assumptions is something anyone can observe. No one weighs out every iota of evidence to decide on a framework for judgment–neither you nor I. What you fail to reckon with is that the vast majority of geologists do not accept the Bible as ANY kind of guide in judging past events on planet earth. If it is a majoritarian view that decides what is truth, then the truth is unaided naturalistic evolution as the engine for all lifeforms.

    Sorry, but I don’t buy it.

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 3, 2010

  94. Kevin, suggesting both of us could be wrong sounds fair, but in this case it’s a matter of evidence and probability. I suppose on some metaphysical level one could say we could be wrong about anything, including whether the earth is round, but when mountains of evidence point in a particular direction, it’s not really reasonable to counter it, unless you have some significant counter evidence. On the age of the earth or even the footprint evidence what started this thread, you’ve offered none that held water. No, I don’t fail to recognize that most geologists do not consider the Bible when drawing their conclusions. I know that. However, what you seem to not reckon with ate the important points that 1. Even among Christian geologists (and other scientists), the vast majority accept an old earth, and 2. Many if not most theologians (whether familiar with geology or not) do not believe the Bible teaches or requires a young earth.

    Comment by Glen | October 4, 2010

  95. Glen,

    Which is confirmation that a different worldview, with different assumptions, is responsible for the unity between evolutionist and old agers on these matters.

    What you have done in the course of this discussion is to affirm that your assumptions are not the same as a Young Earth creationist. The evidence I presented is judged by the unified assumptions of the evolutionist and old ager–not by the evidence itself.

    I have not seen where you have used Scripture as a guide to understanding nature in the least, but your citing of Scripture has only been to show how it can be harmonized with your view of nature/science.

    I hold a different view of Scripture and that view directs my assumptions. Thus, we’ll never be in agreement on who is right and who is wrong about the evidence.

    May God bless us all.

    Kevin Morgan

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 4, 2010

  96. Kevin M, after my last few posts, how could you claim my assumptions explain my OE position? Again, my initial assumptiosn favored YEcism as I’ve explained multiple times. It was further study of both the Bible and the empirical EVIDENCE that changed my mind. And that evidence is not even close to supporting YE. One reason you have not seen where I have used scripture is that you apparently have still not taken the time to read my article on Death Before the Fall, where I cite many Bible verses as well as scientific evidence. However, the Bible is not a geology textbook. As many scientists and theologians agree, does not even teach YE. So please drop the “assumptions” refrain. The evidence against YECism is so strong that suggesting it’s mostly due to bias or assumptions is as absurd as saying the evidence for a round earth is due to bias or assumptions. The arguments YEC’s use to assert the Bible teaches YE could be as easily used to claim it teaches a flat earth. Since the Bible speaks of four corners, if you don’t want to consider external evidence, why not hold to that too? You’re right about one thing, we probably will never be in agreement about the evidence–as long as you’re not willing to look further at it.

    Comment by Glen | October 4, 2010

  97. Kevin M, it also seems ironic that while you suggest I did not refer to the Bible much, you’ve offered us no compelling Biblical reasons for your YE view (I addressed the geneology issue), let alone scientific ones. In contrast, I get the impression that most people here have researched both the both Biblical issues and scientific evidence in considerable depth. So again, if anyone’s views are based mostly on _assumptions_ I don’t think it’s ours.

    Comment by Glen | October 4, 2010

  98. Glen,
    I have read the articles to see if they had any light to shed on Scripture. They were an elaborate avoidance of the simple meaning of the text, not straightforward exposition. I am not naive, as you undoubtedly believe, about the many attempts to stretch Scripture to fit one’s worldview. The papers you cited present nothing new to me. I have studied these matters on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    We could have let this go long ago, but it seems that you are not at peace with your view of Scripture and nature unless you are able to convince me that your view of both is correct.

    The evidence from Scripture that I have presented has been simple and to the point and, with your understanding of science weighing as heavily as it does for you, my simple statements are obviously unconvincing for you.

    It seems you took my silence after your and geoscience’s presentation of evidence as capitulation. That would not be the case. It was simply my my way of bowing out of the matter without further conflict, which our Savior has commanded me to do. I have attempted any number of times to leave this somewhat one-sided conversation in as gracious a manner as I can, while maintaining my convictions about the primacy and intent of Scripture.

    Just as you missed that I am “Kevin” throughout the course of our posting, so, I believe, have you missed these matters I have now overtly clarified.

    If you wish for me to address the genealogy issues, I can, but that will likely be dismissed as my other points have. At best, an extension of time because of genealogy can get you from 6,000 to 8,000 years (considering the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Greek Septuagint, and the Masoretic Hebrew). That’s still young.

    If you are going to pull out one of the skeptics’ arguments about the four corners (directions) of the earth without considering the overt statement referring to the “circle” of the earth (which would have no corners), would any discussion of this sort of thing be beneficial?

    Let me simply say, God bless you and thank you for your interest in trying to set me “straight.”

    Kevin Morgan

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 4, 2010

  99. Kevin Morgan:

    Thanks for hanging in there, and thank you for your commitment to the truthfulness of the Scriptures. I share that commitment.

    Like Glen, I too was once a young-Earth creationist. I became an old-Earther when I became convinced of two things:
    –Young-Earth creationist interpretations of geology do not work.
    –The Bible does not say there was no animal death before the fall, does not say that Noah’s flood created most of the geological record, and doesn’t set a date for the creation.

    Both of these were necessary for me to become an old-Earth creationist. I don’t think I am reading anything into the text, but taking a closer look at it than people had to do before the 1700s. Young-Earthers, on the other hand, are often guilty of reading things into the text, such as a world-wide tropical Garden of Eden, rock layers being deposited by the flood, limits on biological change beyond the “kind”, and no animal death before the fall (the list could be much longer). This is eisegesis rather than exegesis, but it is held up by YECs as the standard of Christian orthodoxy.

    Again, thank you for your contributions. I will cut off comments soon.

    Comment by geochristian | October 4, 2010

  100. “The Bible does not say there was no animal death before the fall.” This argument is what I referred to as saying, “See, the Bible doesn’t contradict the evolutionary view of life.” Really, where does the Biblical record say that any animal died before Adam’s sin? What you have presented is an accommodation based on silence–not a clear teaching of God’s Word. I just want us to be clear on this. When we ask the Scriptures to answer the question of the origin of “death” in its generic sense (ho thanatos–“the death”), Romans answers quite nicely: death resulted from sin.

    I cannot conscientiously reposition this anchor point. If you can, that is your business. I leave that between you and God.

    Take care and thanks for your allowing me to enter the discussion–novice with regard to the science that at I am.

    Kevin Morgan

    Comment by Kevin L. Morgan | October 4, 2010

  101. Kevin M:

    None of the passages YECs use to “prove” that there was no animal death before the fall actually say anything about animals. Take a look at Gen 3, Rom 5, Rom 8, and 1 Cor 15, and you will see nothing explicitly about animal death.

    I’ve written my thoughts about death before the fall here.

    Thanks again to everyone for your comments. This is the end of this thread.

    Comment by geochristian | October 4, 2010

  102. [...] Dinosaur Footprints Part 3 << The GeoChristian" () [...]

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