Around the web 2/18/2014 — Christian scientists (that is, scientists who are Christians) refute some YEC arguments

TURNING A YEC ARGUMENT ON ITS HEAD — Young-Earth creationists like to tout soft tissues preserved in the fossil record as one of their prime evidences for a young Earth. A closely related issue is the preservation of ancient complex biomolecules, such as DNA, in the fossil record. The Natural Historian blog brilliantly turns this argument around as an evidence against young-Earth creationism: Young Earth Creationism and Ancient DNA. If Noah’s flood was global and created the fossil record (something the Bible nowhere states), and if it occurred only 4300 years ago, then preserved DNA ought to be fairly easy to find throughout the geologic column, from Cambrian through Neogene. It isn’t.

TURN IT ON ITS HEAD AGAIN! — The Natural Historian does it again: Rapid Burial Allows Preservation of a Hadrosaur Fleshy Head Comb.

Rather, what struck me about this rooster-like comb on this hadrosaur is that its existence is more of curse than a blessing for YEC apologists.  How can that be? Well, where I convinced that a global flood 4 to 6 thousand years ago were responsible for all the dinosaur fossils, then I should EXPECT to find soft tissues preserved to some extent as the norm rather than the exception to the rule. Why? Because the special conditions that are required for preservation of soft tissues like those found in this hadrosaur are just the kind that should have been produced by a global flood.  Combine those conditions with its having happened only a few thousand years ago and you have to ask, why don’t we find skin impressions, remains of feathers, and other impressions of large organs (like these combs) and gobs of biomolecules throughout the dinosaur fossil record?

What I am saying is that if you asked a priori what you would expect to see in the fossil record had a flood destroyed all living flesh from the face of the earth in a short period of time and deposited all those organisms in what we call the geological record?  I would expect to find a majority or at least a significant number of dinosaurs to be represented as complete skeletons. I would not expect to find rampant evidence of scavenging and given the fast burial I would expect to find the impressions of many parts of their bodies not just their bones since they would have been covered with their flesh intact.  Since this happened not long ago I would expect to find very abundant biomolecules, possibly even intact DNA in the material around the bones, and especially in the bones, even if cells themselves were no longer present.

As I pointed out before this is not what we find in the fossil record. We find some but not much evidence of biomolecules and few cases of soft tissue preservation even if be only the impression of where soft tissues once laid.   Just look at mammoths and mastodons from the fossil record. Some of these have abundant cells, DNA, hair and sometimes cellular tissues preserved. If these biomolecules could survive for 4000 years then why shouldn’t animals killed in Noah’s flood just a few hundred years earlier not also be expected to be preserved in a similar fashion?

HOW BILL NYE WOULD HAVE RESPONDED TO HAM IF NYE WERE A GEOCHRONOLOGIST — “45 thousand-year-old fossil wood encased in 45 million-year-old basalt”: Conflict Revisited, from Questioning Answers in Genesis.

Ken Ham’s appeal to young fossil wood within old basalt may have caught Bill Nye off guard, but his claim remains unsubstantiated. The actual radiocarbon ages of this fossil wood were not reproducible by independent labs within analytical uncertainty, suggesting that contamination and/or background interference was responsible for much of the detected radiocarbon. Recent advances in AMS radiocarbon dating have focused on how to account for the fact that contamination is always introduced during sample preparation and how to correct for various kinds of background interference. Regardless, radiocarbon ages close to the practical limit of the method are always treated with some suspicion.

THE SAD STATE OF SCIENCE LITERACY — 1 in 4 Americans Apparently Unaware the Earth Orbits the Sun. I would guess that it is even worse than this, as many of those who answered correctly just flipped a  coin.

Grace and Peace

11 thoughts on “Around the web 2/18/2014 — Christian scientists (that is, scientists who are Christians) refute some YEC arguments

  1. The paleontologist, Mary Schweitzer, who discovered soft tissue in the Hell Creek T-rex as a graduate student is a Christian. She used to attend E-free Bozeman before she moved to the East coast. I even taught her daughter in high school Awana, but didn’t know the connection at the time.


  2. Kevin — from the few times I’ve spoken with Mary Schweitzer I’ve gotten the impression that she has been hurt deeply by the young earth branch of Christianity. The article you link confirms that impression. It is nothing but mean-spirited while protesting it is not being mean-spirited at all.


  3. Jacob

    I just read the article. I guess if you are a scientist and a Christian and you make some discovery but don’t put a YEC spin on it, then you are a “professing Christian” and a “compromiser” and a “useful idiot” and you just don’t love Jesus enough. The article informed me that not holding to YEC is a sin but they generously offer that it might not be the unpardonable sin. Wow, as if they hold the keys to heaven! Is it any wonder that some churches drive people away, with such a mean and insular attitude?


  4. Robert Byers

    naw. Soft tissue and dna is just unlikely in things millions of years ld. its a good point for yEC.
    One would not easily expect it otherwise because the fossilization process would destroy the tissue. YEC teaches fossilization was instant. JUst rare cases would it fail to destroy.


  5. @GeoChristian. We at Reasons to Believe (RTB) in Perth, Western Australia are organising a “gracious dialogue” between Dr Carl Wieland and Dr Hugh Ross in late April. We’ve stressed that this will not be a debate between these two men, but a pleasant discussion with both sharing the stage. They will both get opportunities to present their views and answer questions from the audience. It is too early to say how many we can expect, but suffice it to say that this “once in a lifetime” convergence of these two Creation Ministries best speakers will draw a large crowd.
    Our desire here at RTB is to follow the 1 Peter 3:15-7 principle.
    This will hopefully be a fantastic evening for all involved.


  6. geochristian

    flanders777 — I really like the idea of a “gracious dialogue” as opposed to a “debate.” Thanks for letting us know about this. Do you know if it will be recorded and place online?


  7. flanders777 – to make the dialogue more informative to the audience, Weiland and Ross need to be able to ask questions to each other also. That was one feature that was sadly lacking in the “Ham on Nye” debate.


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