Friday, October 21, 2011

Bad Creationist Arguments: "There's Such a Thing As"

On a blog inappropriately titled Truth Matters, I read a complaint against Glenn Morton, one of my favorite writers on the evolution vs. creation debate. That complaint is an excellent illustration of one of the most common bad arguments by creationists: the appeal to "There's such a thing as ..."

Caveat on "Creationist"

I hate referring to anti-evolutionists as creationists. I'm a creationist, too. I believe that God created everything. I just happen to believe the evidence that says he did so by evolving life on earth.

The only reason I refer to "creationist" arguments rather than "anti-evolutionist" arguments is because there's very few of us using "anti-evolutionist" as a term. As a result, if I use "anti-evolutionist," then those who search for "creationist arguments" won't find my blog. If I'm going to write arguments, I'd like for them to be read!

Let me explain what I mean by "There's such a things as ... "

In this case, Truth Matters complained about Glenn Morton's claim that creationists had never answered the things he's written about burrows in relation to the global flood. An excellent example of this is covered on my Haymond Formation page, which is largely based on Glenn Morton's much more complex page on the Haymond Formation.

The Haymond Formation is 15,000 alternating layers of shale and sand. Many of the shale layers have burrows in them, which were then filled with sand. Another shale layer was laid, then more sand, etc., for 15,000 layers.

Of course this argues for many thousands of years of deposits. The problem is that since these layers are below the tertiary they are older than the tertiary period, which means they are older than 65 million years. To creationists, those layers are part of the flood. Explaining how 15,000 alternating layers of shale and sand with burrows in the shale was deposited during the flood is simply impossible.

Glenn Morton claims that no one has answered the Haymond Formation data.

Truth Matters believes Glenn's claim is false.

Truth Matters appeal to John Woodmorappe, a man who needs to be commended for bravely defending his creationist views even when they are easily torn apart by more honest scientists. Woodmorappe is obviously a very brave man.

This, however, is the sort of evidence Truth Matters appeals to based on Woodmorappe and some of their own material:

  1. Shrimp can make burrows, and they can do it even deep under the ocean bottom when they are buried by mud.
  2. Morton claims that the organisms that make the burrow were killed by the sand coming in. Truth Matters argues that there are other ways they could have died.
  3. The escape of trapped gases could cause burrows, as could plant roots that later decayed.
  4. Morton makes up the numbers for his math, and so his math shouldn't be trusted. The math to which Truth Matters is referring is that Morton allowed the ridiculously short period of one day for each set of layers to be laid, burrows to be dug, and sand to fill them, destroying the burrowers. At 15,000 layers, this would have taken about 4 years, not the one year of the flood.

So let me ask. Do your own thinking. Do any of these arguments provide even address the real problem, that these layers could not have been laid during the one year of the flood?

If you said, yes, number three does, then take a prize. Number three does indeed at least address the problem. Numbers one, two, and four however don't resolve the problem even if they're true.

So what about number three? Could these layers have been laid by the flood due to some sort of sorting process, trapping gas underneath, which then pushed out through the shale and sand? In the muddy shale, could gas have left burrows, but the sand have quickly collapsed on itself, destroying the sand burrows and filling the shale burrows?

Maybe. If I leave it at that, it seems extremely unlikely, but let's say it's wildly possible. Somehow, the flood dropped 15,000 layers of shale and sand through some mysterious sorting process, and it only did it in one place! This didn't happen all over the world. It happened in just one place in what is now the southern United States. It looks to be the sort of thing that would happen due to flooding, probably in a marine environment. And it would be limited to one place because only that one place was a repeatedly flooding marine environment pushing sand up into shale, probably on same annual cycle. That makes much more sense, but let's assume it's possible that the flood dropped 15,000 alternating layers of shale and sand.

This is what I mean by "There's such a thing as ... "

Yes, there's such a things as gas bubbling up through mud and leaving burrows. The question is, did gas bubble up through the mud and create these burrows?

Morton takes the time to post pictures of the fossil layers. He quotes researchers who examined the burrows. He also explains how we know those burrows were made by organisms, not gas.

We know that the burrowers who were buried did not survive. If they had, they would have had to dig up through the sand to escape their entombment. There are no burrows going up through the sand. And if there had been these burrows, there should be little circular piles of sand with a central crater pocking the entire upper surface of the sand. (ref)

Whether or not there is such a things as gas bubbling up to create burrows, there is conclusive evidence that gas didn't bubble up and create these burrows.

Honest scientists do not quit at "There's such a things as" gas bubbling to create burrows. They go a very easy step further and try to determine whether gas bubbled up to create the Haymond Formation burrows. It is not any burrows that matter, but these burrows that matter.

It is any surprise that Glenn Morton continues to claim that no creationist has answered his data on burrows? Creationists have thrown out several "There's such a things as ... " arguments ("There's such a thing as shrimp that burrow"), but these arguments do not constitute a direct answer to the data concerning the Haymond Formation without a lot of imagination and wishful thinking. Imagination, wishful thinking, and "Hey, there's such a thing as ... " do not make good science.

1 comment:

  1. I have an article showing that in the 'day for a 15,000th of Marathon's sequences' leads to 52.610 years or so. This covers the converted dating.' The relevant conversions are -3050.04 and -3102.65 or -3050.04 B. C. etc. See Barry Setterfield for the conversion formula - p.89?, formula (14). Dates are 280 Ma and 380 Ma. Allowing 14,600 for convenience cf. 15,000 we get a day for a year. Contact for article.


Feel free to comment, and I'll even let links be posted, particularly on the subject of evolution from either side. No spam, and no pointless links. The comments are moderated.