Creationists are an odd lot. They tend to, generally speaking, range from the blissfully ignorant to those you could only label as outright insane. The Creation Evidence Museum Online website (which sports a really odd URL) seems to be a mix of ignorance and willful falsehoods, all while trying to sound scientific. It brings up the same old long debunked creationist arguments (we’ll get to those later) and has fooled at last one person (a commenter on my own blog, no less).
The site, which tries to sound scientific, immediately gets off on the wrong foot by starting with … a bible verse. That is about as unscientific as you could possibly get and immediately should get alarm bells ringing in your head. It seems as bizarre as that Ray Comfort clown who said he’d debate for the existence of God without using the Bible and then, when he got up on stage, started referencing it all over the place.
The site starts off with the odd claim that the existence of coal is actually proof for creationism, stating that coal can form quickly.
The evidence actually shows that coal does not take millions of years to form, as is commonly asserted. In fact, the formation of coal has been proven to be a rapid process that can be duplicated in modern laboratories in a matter of days – or even hours.
I don’t know about you but I would think that this were possible in the quantities we find all over the planet, the coal based energy industries would be all over it like an Irishman near a pint of Guiness. One of the major problems that the energy industry faces is a rapidly decreasing supply of mineable coal but that problem would be solved if they could make it themselves, would it not?
But let us assume (just for the sake for laughs) that it can be formed in small quantities or in a process not viable for the energy industry. So what? It does not, in any way, explain the strata in which the coal is found. The rock all around said coal is millions to billions of years old so such an assumption is unable to explain how said ‘young’ coal suddenly found itself encased in incredibly old and stable rock.
Of course, such an assumption is false. We know how long it takes for plant life to grow, die, decay and so on.
The answer can be found in the Biblical account of Noah’s Flood.
And here is the site trying to use The Bible, of all things, as some sort of scientific resource. The problems with this approach are many indeed but let us stick with the science just to make things simple.
Not one person has been able to produce a model for where the water came from, water enough to cover the planet. It does not matter if it came from above or below, that much water moving in the listed amount of time would require an incredible amount of energy. You apply that much energy to water and it stops being water; it boils and becomes super heated steam. That it right, the flood story requires the entire planet being hard boiled much like an egg. It would not matter if you were in a magic boat or not, you would be killed and in a rather unpleasant way.
Of course there are plenty of other problems with the story such as the actual ark vessel itself (inadequate size, structurally impossible, no ventilation, etc), where did all the water go (and for it to vanish as quickly as listed would bring up the same problem as above) to simple genetic diversity (you start from such a small population and the species is already doomed, you need genetic diversity for any species to reproduce and survive).
The Fossil Record … The lack of transitional series cannot be explained as being due to the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled.
Another example of scientific ignorance. The number of transitional fossils found are many, as this very blog has listed time and again. The simplest search of research journal databases lists an incredible amount of transitionary fossils across a very wide range of species both related to humans and otherwise.
Decay of Earth’s Magnetic Field…
This is a very old creationist argument and one which has truly been debunked an incredible amount of times by science. Barnes’ research was shown to be faulty, relying on a grossly outdated model of the Earth’s interior. Independent measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field have in fact shown no exponential decrease at all, though it should be noted that the magnetic field is known to have shifted dramatically throughout the existence of the planet.
The Global Flood… The Biblical record clearly describes a global Flood during Noah’s day.
Once again trying to use the Bible as some form of reliable text. The same problems with the flood remain as mentioned above.
Falsely assumes an unsubstantiated steady population growth rate for the whole of human history, which is bizarre to say the least. Ancient civilisations, for example, did not have the agricultural technology to support large populations. Likewise, the increased levels of disease and lack of transport would have kept numbers well and truly down. It is only since the very recent advances in technology that the human population has exploded.
This little gem (haha!) was throught up by a fellow named Robert Gentry (who has no actual qualifications, just an honourary doctorate from a christian college) and was debunked rather quickly. As this explanation requires background knowledge in several areas and thus is beyond the scope (and resources) of this blog to host, I will link straight to a detailed and complete refutation of Gentry’s work.
6. Human Artifacts throughout the Geologic Column
Despite a good look through journal databases, independent research and other sources there is no verified instances of human artifacts being found in unexplainable places that I can find. The reference the site uses for this claim is a book by Carl Baugh (who has been shown to lie about his credentials) whose findings have already been thoroughly debunked. He is so ridiculed that even creationist sites such as AiG have labelled him as ‘outlandish’.
Helium Content in Earth’s Atmosphere…
The claim that there is not enough helium in the Earth’s atmosphere to account for the Earth being 4.5 billion years old. This of course completely ignores the establish fact that helium can achieve escape from the atmosphere due to it’s very characteristics and also become ionised and thus follows the Earth’s magnetic field which decreases helium amounts. When these factors are taken into account, the amount of helium in the atmosphere meets expectations nicely.
Expansion of Space Fabric…Astronomical estimates of the distance to various galaxies gives conflicting data. The Biblical Record refers to the expansion of space by the Creator. Astrophysicist Russell Humphries demonstrates that such space expansion would dilate time in distant space. This could explain a recent creation with great distances to the stars.
There are, when you read this, no actual scientific claims being made though it should be noted that once again they attempt to use the Bible as some sort of reference. Humphries attempted to appeal to the idea of time dilation as an explanation but the attempt was a poor one to say the least; such dilation would be observed very easily indeed to begin with. The other major problem is that Humphries assumed the Earth was in a large gravity well when all the available evidence (red shift instead of blue shift) indicates otherwise.
Design in Living Systems…
This is nothing but an argument from incredulity and is therefore worthless as an argument.
Design in the Human Brain…
Just another argument from incredulity, just as worthless as the one above.
This entire page makes the fundamental mistake of assuming that the Universe is uniquely suited for life instead of the much more logical opposite; that life adapted to suit the environment.
The page also makes the rather bizarre attempt to justify itself by continiously referencing the Bible, which is surely no more than an exercise in futile circular logic.
First of all, the distinction between micro and macro evolution is no more than a construct of creationists. For all practical purposes, the distinction (at least, how it is used by creationists) is simply not recognised by the scientific community.
OBSERVATION -steps of evolution have never been observed (Stebbins )
Two problems with this claim. First, evolutionary processes have been observed both in nature and in laboratory conditions (A recent E Coli experiment is an excellent example of this). This observation has also been seen in transitional fossils and even more so when it comes to microevolution (and there is no known mechanism stopping lots of micro changes adding up to a big one).
2. EXPERIMENTATION -The processes would exceed the lifetime of any human experimenter (Dobzhansky )
A foolish claim to say the least, since there are plenty of forms of life which have incredibly short life spans compared to our own. Once again, the recent(ish) E Coli experiments are a good example of experiments which verify evolutionary processes.
3. REPRODUCTION impossible to reproduce in the laboratory. (Dobshansky )
Again, a rather foolish claim as lots of experiments done in lab conditions have shown that environmental changes drive evolutionary change (as linked to previously).
4. FALSIFICATION -cannot be refuted thus outside empirical science. (Ehrlich )
There are plenty of ways that the Theory of Evolution can be falsified. For just some examples: Observations of complex organisms being spontaneously created, a verified/observable barrier that stops genetic change accumulating, a static fossil record. Or, as has been famously noted before, finding “a rabbit fossil in the pre-cambrian”.
RESEARCH PROBLEMS WITH MACROEVOLUTION:
1. ORIGINS -the chance of life originating from inorganic chemical elements by natural means is beyond the realm of possibility (Hoyle )
Does not even apply to the Theory of Evolution (it has nothing to do with the origin of life itself), instead it could be applied to the Theory of Abiogenesis (which does). But even this is nothing more than an argument from incredulity and is therefore just as worthless as similar arguments already listed here.
2. DEVELOPMENT -to produce a new organism from an existing life-form requires alterations in the genetic material which are lethal to the organism (Maddox )
It would seem that Maddox actually possesses no qualifications when it comes to genetic research, instead he has a B.S. in biology (He’s a urologist from Texas of all things). His statements are certainly not supported by the scientific community as they fail to take into account factors such as neutral genetic changes and the like. In short, Maddox does not know what he is talking about.
STASIS -enzymes in the cell nucleus repair errors in the DNA (Barton )
Once again, poor referencing practices made this specific claim impossible to find and thus refute. And once again, journal databases had nothing to support this specific claim that I could find. Assumption, therefore, is that the claim is a load of hogwash. At a wild guess, I am assuming the site wishes to use Barton’s findings to say genetic mutation can not occur since it would be automatically repaired – this is a ridiculous claim (if it is even being made, the site does not list the context in which they are using the work) since living organisms change all the time as has been observed countless times.
GEOLOGIC COLUMN -out-of-place artifacts have been found in earth’s sedimentary layers which disrupt the supposed evolutionary order (Corliss )
There is no verified accounts of this happening in an unexplainable way (such as strata shift due to earthquakes and the like). Any such claims have long since been debunked, such as the one where a human finger had been found.
DESIGN -irreducible complexity within the structure of the cell requires design (Denton, Behe ).
No supposed cases of irreducible complexity have stood up to even casual scrutiny. So far there are no verified examples of irreducible complexity. And let’s face it; Behe’s reputation has been utterly rubbished since the Dover trial.
The site attempts, rather badly it should be noted, to claim that Mammoths died in a great catastrophe and that their climate could not possibly have supported their dietry needs.
First of all, there is no evidence for any sort of cataclysmic event which wiped the species out. Instead it was a case of an ever increasing amount of cold which resulted in the creation of long standing permafrost (where the ground in basically frozen) which then reduced the amount of available food. The increasing moisture levels where what led to the ground freezing, which also assisted in the mummification process which resulted in the state mammoth remains were found.
Talkorigins has more comprehensive information on the available scientific data, including dates on found remains and climate conditions that the Mammoths would have experienced.
The site continues on with the usual, long debunked, arguments about carbon dating procedures and technology such as:
For example, the shells of living snails’ were carbon dated and showed that the snails had died 27,000 years ago.
This, of course, was the result of the well known ‘reservoir effect’; wherein mollusks living in certain environments can take on the characteristics of those environments. This only applies to certain mollusks that live in specific aquatic conditions and not to dated specimens in general. To state otherwise is to demonstrate a considerable ignorance of science.
The site also makes a bizarre claim on this page:
Other possible factors, such as the presence of a water canopy
There is no evidence for (and a great deal against) any sort of notable water canopy being in the atmosphere/above the planet. Most notably gravity itself would draw any such thing down to the surface at an incredible velocity; which would (as alluded to above) turn int straight into super heated steam and everything on the planet would be dead rather quickly.
That is only a taste of the sheer ignorance that the site presents, to the extent where the reader has to wonder if it is instead some form of subtle parody site rather than a genuine creationist website.