Evolution fails the tests of science

Charles Darwin, father of modern evolution, source of two prime secular falsehoods in America today.
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The advocates of evolution insist that it is a science. But in fact it fails most of the tests that those same advocates set for science.

The tests of science

Any argument must stand or fall on its own terms. So when an evolutionist sets out tests for science, evolution must stand those tests—or fail as a science.

The science faculty at the University of California at Berkeley have such a statement on file. It is as good a statement as any of the tests that science must meet, to be worthy of the name. They are:

  1. The conclusions of science are reliable, but still tentative. No scientist ever proves anything. The best that any scientist can do is to try to explain what he sees.
  2. Scientists do not vote on their conclusions. When they do their jobs properly, they explain all that they see in the simplest way possible. “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily,” said William of Ockham. And that does not depend on what anyone prefers.
  3. Scientists hold to no absolute “givens” or “directives.” The Berkeley professors say that “nothing in the scientific enterprise requires belief.” More accurately, nothing in the scientific enterprise requires obedience, except of the laws of logic, averages, etc.
  4. Scientists do not make moral or philosophical judgments in their work. A scientist, or an engineer, might decide that building a given device might be immoral. But to decide that a given conclusion would be immoral is not the job of a scientist.

How does evolution score on this test?

Charles Darwin, inventor of evolution

Charles Darwin at 45. Drawing: Henry Maull and John Fox.

Evolution fails miserably. Examples abound of violations of at least three of the rules that the Berkeley professors say that science must follow.

  1. Evolution advocates refuse to admit that their basic premise is tentative. Even a scientific law is tentative. But not to an evolutionist. To an evolutionist, nothing can have a cause beyond nature, and no intervention is possible in nature, apart from anything a man can do. Yet whenever any set of observations is so radically different from natural expectation that the probability of those observations is vanishingly small, they still refuse to accept intervention. The reason: to accept intervention, they must accept an Intervenor.
  2. Evolution itself is a dogma. This is almost the same as 1 above, and more. Evolutionists, to the extent that their political or other power allows, do not permit anyone to call himself a scientist who does not, liberally, believe in evolution. They say that their enterprise does not require belief. Yet they offer a premise that they have never been able to observe, or show, in action.
  3. Evolution advocates, and their allies in other disciplines, have made and continue to make philosophical judgments in their work. The prize example is Edwin Hubble (of telescope fame). He set forth what he called the Copernican Principle: that the universe has no center, and every vista in the universe would look the same to any observer, no matter what galaxy (or larger object) he was in. At first Hubble saw plainly that the galaxy in which we live is at the center of the universe. But then he made a philosophical judgment against that conclusion.

John Hartnett (Starlight, Time and the New Physics) quotes him thus:

Such a position would imply that we occupy a unique place in the universe…But the unwelcome supposition of a favored location must be avoided at all costs…Such a favored position, of course, is intolerable; moreover, it represents a discrepancy with the theory, because the theory postulates homogeneity. [Emphasis added by editor]

Unwelcome? Intolerable? A thing to avoid at all costs? Those are philosophical, even moral, judgments. What is morality, but a code of values that one accepts by choice? Obviously Edwin Hubble valued uniformity so highly that he flew in the face of the evidence. This also disproves, by counterexample, the Berkeley professors’ statement that scientists do not make moral judgments. Hubble made one, and his successors have copied that judgment without question.

The only rule that evolution seems to follow is the rule that science is not democratic—that is, scientists as a body do not vote on their conclusions. True—but in a non-flattering way. What evolution advocates do is worse than call for a vote. They draw conclusions a priori, and either force their observations to conform to them—or else ignore them.

The Yale University Student Handbook, in 1976, said this about such behavior:

The practice known as dry-labbing, constructing observations out of one’s head,…is an offense of such gravity that it merits excommunication from the community of scientists. At Yale the comparable sanction is expulsion.

But not, evidently, for an evolutionist.

Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

37 Responses to Evolution fails the tests of science

  1. bob says:

    “Evolution advocates refuse to admit that their basic premise is tentative. Even a scientific law is tentative. ”

    No. We admit it’s tentative. You just have to provide a better hypothesis with proof. The God hypothesis is not proven. Neither is ‘aliens seeded earth a billion years ago.’

    “Evolution itself is a dogma. This is almost the same as 1 above, and more. Evolutionists, to the extent that their political or other power allows, do not permit anyone to call himself a scientist who does not, liberally, believe in evolution. ”

    From Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution

    “One of the first attempts to provide evidence that there were substantial number of scientists who disagreed with evolution was a pamphlet produced by the Institute for Creation Research in 1971 entitled “21 Scientists Who Believe in Creation”[55] This pamphlet has been reprinted several times. Skeptics have claimed that this list of 21 creation supporters is misleading since it includes five people with PhDs in engineering, three in education, two in theology, two in biochemistry, one in physics, one in chemistry, one in hydrology, one in entomology, one in psycholinguistics, one in food science technology, one in ecology, one in physiology and one in geophysics; and therefore only a small minority had qualifications related to evolutionary biology.”

    Well… if you’ve got a PHD in Food Service Technology, clearly you’re just as qualified as a biologist.

    Good luck in your fight against reality.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That only goes to show the Hans Christian Andersen state that the scientific community has been in for the last 150-plus years.

      • bob says:

        Correct. Science is *clearly* wrong and hasn’t advanced at all in the past 150 years.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          That’s not what I said, and you know it. Origins science has gone off on a completely wrong tack. But operations science continues to advance–because operations science is not subject to the dogmas, the moral (or anti-moral) judgments, or the insistence-that-things-are-settled that has plagued origins science for the last 150 years.

          • Wil the hunter says:

            What is “origin science”? Hint: it’s not evolution which has certainly advanced over the last 150 years.

            Instead of trying to misrepresent what evolution is, try reading a damn book and get it right. (Not the bible btw)

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            “Origins science” is anything to do with how things came to be, and where they came from. “Operations science” is about how things work.

            Evolution is just one idea that applies to origins science. Creation is, of course, the opposite idea.

            Origins science answers the question: “Which is it?”

  2. Donald R Laster Jr says:

    The book by Walt Brown, Ph.D. “In the Beginning Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood” has a detail discussion of some of the other flaws related to evolution and other dogma pushed “nature only” believers practicing science. This book presents his “Hydroplate” theory and compares it to the various others theories and evidence used to support various claims.

    Once such claim is the age of fossils and rocks. He points out how the aging of these two items are circular – A ==> B so B ==> C and this C ==> A. It is a good book for anyone wanting to have a good review of the current scientific theories.

    • Alex says:

      Walt Brown’s book fails to offer any evidence beyond speculation. He doesn’t even provide any proper quantitative modeling. There is a reason why he has not published anything in any real scientific journal.

      As to this “origins” versus “operations” (nobody uses these terms by the way, unless you are referring to scientists versus engineers [who aren’t scientists]) science business, you do not seem to understand the way scientists do their work. For “operations” science, let us take for example a petroleum geologist. His (or her) job is to look for sources of hydrocarbons. Now the way we find oil (or anything, for that matter) is by looking at how it is that it got there in the first place. That is how things work, whether you like it or not. If you were to ban scientists from using the concepts of evolution/a Earth that has been around for billions of years you can say goodbye to most of the scientific advancements that we have had in the past several hundred years.

      Every science department (it doesn’t matter which field) at any respected university has accepted that evolution exists and that the Earth is on the order of 4 billion years old. (They all accept global warming as well, and the overwhelming majority say that it is caused by humans). I challenge you to find even one exception to this.

      The reason evolution/an old Earth are accepted as fact is because no scientific theory to support anything else has been brought forth. Take Brown’s “theory”: its entire premise is based off of a 2000+ year old book (Brown likes to argue otherwise, but he has yet to provide an energy source for the entire “hydroplate” nonsense other than saying that “God did it”). There are lots of 2000+ year old books which “explain” the beginnings of existence. What makes the origins of the Abrahamic religions any more true than those of Hinduism? Or Zoroastrianism? Or of the Gods of Olympus? None of it is provable, or disprovable, by science. Same goes for the “Flying Spaghetti Monster”, unicorns and leprechauns.

      My point is that science is based of of ideas that can be proven wrong if enough evidence is provided for an alternative theory. If something cannot be proven wrong, it isn’t science. Since you can’t prove any religion wrong, they aren’t science. What you young Earth creationists try to do is look at the gaps in prevailing scientific theories and use those gaps of knowledge as evidence that the entire theory is false. Non perfect scientific theories are a good thing, it means that there is more work to be done in the field.

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        You either haven’t read Brown’s book, or you are willfully misrepresenting it–one of the two.

        Nor do I accept your grandiose notion that evolution is the foundation for everything done in the last 100 years. That would have to include the internal combustion engine, the flight sciences, and rocket science. Those three, among others, are the products of operations science. Origins science tries to figure out something that happened in the past–something that, in many cases, remains unobservable today.

        A scientific theory that isn’t perfect is one thing. But one that flies in the face of the evidence is quite another.

        • Alex says:

          Whether I have read Brown’s book or not is irrelevant. Like I said, there is a reason why he hasn’t published anything in any real journal. You also didn’t respond to my challenge to find any scientific institution that goes against evolution as a science. If you must know, I skimmed through a copy that was at my friend’s church, and didn’t really feel like spending any more time on it. If it made it through the peer-review process I would happily delve into it.

          I didn’t mean say that evolution alone was the foundation for all science in the last 100 years, there should be an “old” in between the words ‘a’ and ‘Earth’. Typo on my part. However, evolution has been responsible for virtually everything we know today about biology, which has lead to major breakthroughs in medicine (example: immunizations. There is a reason why certain strains change year after year [hint: they evolve]), biotechnology, and bioinformatics. It is estimated that evolutionary thought was necessary for 47 of the past 50 laureates fo the nobel prize.

          Engineering (“operational science”) is useless on its own because it is based off of ideas laid in place by scientists (“origin scientists”). Scientists figure out the laws of the universe, and engineers put those laws to work for human benefit. As for those three examples you provided lets go back to our hypothetical geologist. The materials needed for all three come from understanding how they were laid down in the first place.

          What evidence is there that evolution is not true? You can’t use gaps in a theory to prove that its false. There needs to be actual evidence that the theory doesn’t work, or there must be a better scientific theory that can replace it. An idea that calls on a supernatural power for explanation isn’t a theory and isn’t scientific, since it cannot be proved or disproved.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Pardon me, but you simply cannot criticize his book without reading it. This isn’t quite the same as a court of law, where Brown would have to establish standing before you or anyone else ought to hear the merits of his case.

            Now whether “another scientific institution goes against evolution” is indeed irrelevant. If “science is non-democratic,” as the Berkeley professors say, then whether “any scientific institution” (and what is a scientific institution?) “goes against evolution” doesn’t prove anything, doesn’t relate to the price of a white-water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, and doesn’t matter.

            Evolution cannot be responsible for “everything we know about biology.” What we know about biology, we know from what we can observe today. That doesn’t say a thing about how the various life forms got that way.

            And I reject your equation of engineering with “operational science.” “Operational” means “how things work.” You’re trying to equate the science of origins with the “pure” sciences, like physics and chemistry. Besides, if scientists reject evolution tomorrow, they won’t reject the laws of physics. One has nothing to do with the other.

            The evidence against evolution would fill a book, not a mere comment on a Web article. But I’ll leave you with this: an idea that calls for an outrageous violation of the Law of Averages isn’t a theory and isn’t scientific, either. It’s a just-so story.

  3. Alex says:

    Actually, one does need to establish standing. From my understanding, Dr. Brown has zero research background (real research, not a weekend “exploring” the grand canyon). Why should I (or anyone) spend my time reading a book that goes against what 99.9% of other scientists say is true (or more than that really, does ANY scientist other than Brown accept his “theory”)? Im busy doing real science.

    However, when was the last time you read any peer-reviewed journal publication on evolution? Something in an actual journal. I understand if you do not have access to scientific journal databases. Well I do, and I want you to be able to educate yourself on the subject. So if you see an abstract in press or print that you are interested in, you email me and Ill send it over to you. Now I doubt you’d understand much of it.

    Evolution is not a just-so story, you just haven’t bothered to do any actual research into it. Which makes sense, since I take it you are not a biologist. I have an M.S. and Ph.D in planetary geology and I have no idea what it is biologists are talking about in their articles. But if virtually every single one of them takes a theory as true, and the only people arguing otherwise have no training whatsoever in the field, then I’ll take their word for it. Same goes for if a biologist was to ask me about possible mechanisms of formation for Martian fluvial valleys.

    By scientific institution I mean any science department at any university. Or any scientific organization, governmental (NOAA, USGS, NASA, etc) or otherwise (AGU, GSA, LPI, SETI). If evolution was such a bogus theory than certainly there must be a few scientists, somewhere on planet Earth, who disagree with it. And what in the world does a whitewater rafting trip have to do with anything?

    Evolution is only a violation of the Law of Averages if you stick it on a young Earth creationist timescale. We are talking about billions of years. It doesn’t matter if something is nearly impossible if it has a long time frame to work with.

    Now what I truly don’t understand s how people can be content with their “understanding” of Earth’s origins being the same as what people thought thousands of years ago. Don’t you think we’ve come a little ways since then?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That’s the trouble with science these days. You just said it: you have no idea what biologists are talking about. So how can you possibly judge whether what they’re saying makes any sense? Even if they all agree, they could all agree on total hogwash for all you know. If two clocks happen to tell the same time, that does not mean that either one is telling the correct time. The clockmaker in charge of each one could be setting his clock by the other clock. Or maybe they’re both setting their clocks by a third clock, which itself is telling the wrong time.

      Besides, if you had read Dr. Brown’s book, you’d know that his background was a lot more extensive than just a weekend trip through the Grand Canyon.

      Rules? Here are my rules: what scientists propose in their own discipline, still must not break all the laws in another. Any theory must make sense across all differences. It’s not enough to say, “I don’t know how those guys do it, but if they all agree, then it must be so.” You just invalidated the Berkeleyites’ third point. You have made science democratic. You have accepted their majority vote. I don’t care if it is unanimous. (It isn’t, actually; it’s just that they use the “peer review” system for gatekeeping and shut-out any dissenting opinion.) You are still counting votes (and only the “allowed” votes, at that) with no idea of what lies behind those votes.

      I’ll tell you what evolution really is. It is a lie, agreed-upon. All those institutions you cite, are in on it. The one time an institution of higher education (the ICR Graduate School) dared challenge the prevailing theory, the establishment forced it to shut down.

      And I don’t accept your billions of years, either. That rests on assumptions that were never safe, and that some really radical investigators disproved by counterexample fifteen years ago.

      You ask whether we’ve “come a little ways since then.” I’ll tell you what has happened: society has gone off on a totally wrong tack. “Billions of years” is another lie, and a refinement of an even more outrageous lie: that the Earth and the solar system were infinite and timeless.

      • Wil the hunter says:

        “If a scientist comes up with an idea that breaks current thought, they become famous. Every scientist wants to break the barriers and old ways of thinking. There are many scientists who have tried to disprove evolution, or an old universe/solar system/Earth, but there just isn’t evidence to support it. ”

        I was going to say the same thing in response to the old “gatekeeper” canard. This idiotic notion that peer review is some devilish means to keep out dissent and maintain the status quo. Nothing can be further from the truth. The personal goal of a scientist is the same as any other hard working member of society….acknowledgment for their work. Science is by far one of the most competitive fields to work in. IF a scientist were able to offer a compelling and reasonable theory to replace Evolution they stand the chance to be the most famous scientist of all time possibly. That’s called incentive…NOBODY is going to make a name for themselves in the field simply by maintaining the status quo…nor will they maintain a position by simply trumpeting Darwin. There simply has yet to be a solid, scientifically grounded theory to compete with Evolution and no new findings that I am aware of have surfaced to shake the foundation of Evolution science (please stop using “origin science”..it’s misleading)

        Terry: You are an educated man with a medical degree and some classes in natural science. I have a MS in Applied Sociology (mainly statistics and data analysis) with a minor in Anthropology in which I focused mainly on Evolution. I switched from pre-med early on but suffice it to say..I’ve had plenty of courses in the natural sciences as well. That does not make us experts in the field as Alex rightly states. Even an influential evolutionary biologist such as Ken Miller wouldn’t claim to know everything he needs to know about astrophysics any more than an astrophysicist would claim to know everything about evolutionary biology even though they are capable of piecing together each others works to tell a larger story partly because they trust that the work each has done has been peer reviewed properly and successfully (for the time being at least).

        By accepting evolution, we are not merely accepting one person’s take on it….most of us at least do what we can to keep up on new findings and theories with evolution, have a good grasp of scientific principles, as well as how peer review works. We accept the science and how it is developed..not necessarily any individual scientists themselves.(I admit there are plenty who couldn’t tell you the difference between a eukaryote and a prokaryote that “blindy” believe in Evolution).

        What we do not accept are any explanations which are not even capable of being falsified….in this case creationism and ID are not even theories.

        Yet, why is it that only Evolution gets this level of critique? I don’t see astrophysicists being accused of collusion in regards to the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun which used to be just as controversial as evolution is now.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          You cannot falsify evolution. Not anymore. Darwin initially said that if anyone were to discover that the cell, the basic unit of life, positively could not self-assemble from simpler assemblies, or that those assemblies could not themselves self-assemble ultimately from disassembled matter, then his theory would be false. Michael Behe showed that the cell is an irreducibly complex system that could not self-assemble. But evolutionists won’t accept that. That’s why they come in for the scrutiny you mention.

          The astrophysicists have shown, definitively, that the planet Earth:

          1. is round, and
          2. revolves around the Sun.

          Galileo showed that Venus is a satellite of the Sun, not Earth, and that Earth and Sun would have to revolve around one another in some way. The different models by Copernicus, Tycho, and Ptolemy all would make definite and testable predictions. The astrophysicsts have tested them, and found that the heliocentric model by Copernicus is the simplest model that fits all the facts.

          Have you observed macroevolution in action? Have you ever followed generations of life forms that began in the wolf-and-fox kind (Family Canidae) and whose offspring turned out to be in the lion-and-tiger kind (Family Felidae)? Have you even seen a single plenipotent cell that could give rise to life forms of all the great Kingdoms of life (animal, plant, fungus, protist, etc.)?

          Besides: evolution is not the only origins theory that comes in for this critique. Nuclear physics makes certain assumptions that everyone thinks are safe, but aren’t. One of them is that radioactive decay never changes, except for some minor seasonal variation that until recently no one was even willing to acknowledge. The other is that radioactive materials could only form in a star’s heart (and I am not satisfied with the explanation that I commonly see), and that we have them on earth because we come from stardust.

          Here’s a prediction for you: if ever we go back to the Moon, we will dig, dig, dig, dig, dig and never find radioactive elements any deeper than on the surface, or maybe five meters down at the deepest. The reason: radioactive materials that you find on the Moon, fell on the Moon. Fell, that is, from earth during the event that created them: the Global Flood. Only on this earth will you find enough uranium to use as a source of energy, or as a weapon.

          • Geno says:

            Terry wrote:
            “The reason: radioactive materials that you find on the Moon, fell on the Moon. Fell, that is, from earth during the event that created them: the Global Flood.”

            Geno answers:
            If only a tiny fraction of what Brown says was launched to space fell back to earth, the heat of re-entry would cook all life on the planet. Detailed analysis has been provided and rather than evaluate the claim and deal with the legitimate issues raised, Terry and Brown simply dismiss it out of hand.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            This commenter has been saying that repeatedly, and yet won’t accept Dr. Brown’s repeated challenges to form a debate team and see whether such a team can really show that Brown’s theory is “all wet.”

          • Geno says:

            There is no need to form a team to demonstrate the lethal consequences of Brown’s model. Brown’s model will sterilize the planet. Because of that, nothing else about his model matters since we wouldn’t be here to talk about it.

            Brown insists the written debate be a comprehensive discussion of evolution versus creation with each side having up to 4 turns of 100,000 words (around 400 pages) each. It only takes about 2500 words to show returning ejecta would cook the planet. I can probably show his addition of about half the surface water on the planet from chambers where it is stored at over 700F would cook the planet in with less than 2500 words. When the temperature of the atmosphere goes over the boiling point of water, it doesn’t really matter how the Grand Canyon formed.

            Brown refuses to engage me in the written debate because I don’t have a PhD, but he’s willing to do so between sessions of a verbal debate. Of course, he’s only willing to have that verbal debate if he has a “stacked deck.”

            How would the deck be stacked against me? Brown demands the right to bring up issues “related” to my claims about his model and that I can be disqualified if I have not done my “homework” on those matters. Of course, he has never revealed what those “related” issues are. So, I could easily be blindsided.

            I wonder…. would Terry agree to debate if his opponent could have him disqualified for not doing his “homework” on matters that haven’t even been disclosed to him. I don’t think Terry’s that stupid ….. and neither am I.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Mr. Castagnoli, as usual, is not being fair. Dr. Brown has no desire to open himself up to the criticism that he would be squashing an opponent who could never have won anyway. Now maybe Mr. Castagnoli would not cry “Foul” later on, because Dr. Brown had the PhD and Mr. Castagnoli did not. But some of Dr. Brown’s other critics would. (I can name one who would make such a canard: Richard Dawkins.) After all, Dr. Brown has a reputation to maintain.

            Dr. Brown wants to show what happens when the best-trained minds on each side of the issue go head-to-head, and he wants no disputes as to what minds are best-trained.

          • Geno says:

            Terry claims: “Dr. Brown has no desire to open himself up to the criticism that he would be squashing an opponent who could never have won anyway.”

            The fact is Brown declines the written debate because I lack a PhD… as I pointed out in my comments. However, Dr. Brown is more than willing to take me on in a timed, verbal debate. In this very forum, on September 5, Terry gave Dr. Brown an entire column dedicated to the debate issues between Dr. Brown and I. In that column, Brown said:
            “Geno should quit ducking my oral-debate offer” and “I hope they will urge Geno to quit ducking and misrepresenting my offer. He should put up or shut up.”
            Link: https://www.conservativenewsandviews.com/2011/09/05/creation/hydroplate-theory-debate-challenge/

            So,as I said…. Brown is more than willing to engage me in a timed verbal debate (where he will have the right to have me “disqualified” if I haven’t done my “homework” on undisclosed issues). Brown is also willing to engage in written exchanges between verbal debate sessions.

            If Brown can have the written debate between verbal sessions, he can have it without them. Frankly, if my claims are so easy to deal with, Dr. Brown has spent far more time and effort discussing why he will not have a written debate than he would simply showing exactly what is wrong with the issues I’ve raised.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Mr. Castagnoli knows very well what the homework would be: read his book. For Mr. Castagnoli to go into this exercise without knowing anything more about the hydroplate theory except one part that he thinks he knows is wrong, would be the equivalent of trying to install a highly complex piece of software without reading the manual.

          • Geno says:

            Dr. Brown says the issues he wants to raise are “relevant” to my claim that the Hydroplate model would release so much heat it will destroy all life on the planet.

            Perhaps Mr. Hurlbut will be so kind as to explain what relevance such aspects of Brown’s book as: the formation of the Grand Canyon; frozen mammoths; and layered fossils (among others) have to do with the heat.

            Again, if Brown’s model sterilizes the planet, nothing else about it matters.

            To use Mr. Hurlbut’s software analogy… it isn’t like installing the software, it’s like using it. It doesn’t matter if the software is the best word processor on the planet if it crashes the computer when you turn it on.

            Oh yeah… I don’t “think” Brown’s model will sterilize the planet, I KNOW it…. and have provided you with the calculations to prove it. If I’m wrong, just point to the specific error. Do you want to try that “basic refrigeration” thing again?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            In fact, once Dr. Brown disposes of the “sterilizing the planet” issue, the debate would necessarily move on to other issues. They would include without limitation the precise issues that Mr. Castagnoli raises. That’s the reason for reading the whole book: to prepare in advance.

            As to the rest: the fanciest figures in the world are no good if they start from a faulty premise.

          • Geno says:

            It is worth note Mr. Hurlbut was not able to demonstrate relevance of the issues I mentioned to my claims. Should Dr.Brown “dispose” of the sterilization of the planet issue, my claim is done. Since I am making no assertion with regard to any of those other matters, there is no need for me to defend against Brown’s claims regarding them. In other words, they simply are not relevant to my claims.

            You have not shown the premise of my calculations to be faulty.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Mr. Castagnoli says that his claim is done. Well, maybe that specific claim would be done. But Mr. Brown reserves the right to guard against the next claim, and the next, and the next, and the next.

            “I am not presently making” does not equal “I will not ever make,” much less “I pledge not to make.”

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Have you ever followed generations of life forms that began in the wolf-and-fox kind (Family Canidae) and whose offspring turned out to be in the lion-and-tiger kind (Family Felidae)?”

            Funnily enough, the theory of evolution rules that out. It would take a miracle for it to happen.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Except for one thing: the theory of evolution says that all life forms descend from one common ancestor.

  4. Alex says:

    If two clocks tell the same time, and differ than what my personal watch says, then I may believe those clocks are wrong. If HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of clocks tell the same time, and that time is different than the one on my watch, then I would begin to think that my watch might be the one that is possibly off.

    What you are basically doing is this: Lets say you went to a doctor who told you that you had some problem, lets say a tumor. You didn’t like what he told you, so you went to a different doctor for his evaluation. He also said you had a tumor, so you go to the next doctor. After visiting 50,000 doctors who all give you the same conclusion, you find one who says that you are actually A. OK. Thats exactly what you (and other YECs) are doing here.

    [if you want sources: there are 91,000 biologists in the US (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos047.htm), 2 of whom believe in creationism (http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=471), and one of those two believes God guided evolution. If you wanted to look at all scientists, polls have shown that about .01% do not agree in evolution. But many of those scientists dont really know anything about the subject since they dont personally research it)

    Your assumption appears to be to throw out any idea which you cannot personally understand. I admit that I dont understand evolutionary biology, or really any biology for that matter. Had I chosen to study biology instead of planetary geology when I entered college ten years ago things may have been different. But Ill admit that somebody who has studied something for years has a better idea than someone who has only learned about through second hand sources, without doing any actual research themselves.

    “‘Billions of years’ is a lie”. That is quite a bold statement. Saying that you disagree with an idea is one thing, but to call it flat-out a lie? No scientist says that the age is infinite, and I dont know of any recently who have. There are very well constructed models that put together the formation of the Earth and planetary bodies, and explain everything quite nicely without having to call in what is essentially magic. The billions of years rests on radionuclide dating. Now I the creationist argument is often that we dont know that know that decay rates were always same, perhaps they were different billions of years ago. Well then you need to provide evidence of that. If you claim that decay rates were different, you are saying that the laws of physics were fundamentally different during the history of the universe (Im not talking about the very early universe, but anything within that last 8 billion or so years). Radionuclide dating has been used on human timescales, and works very well. Radioactive decay is a relatively precise process.

    ICR is not a scientific institution. It is a political institution. They do not do research, they mostly do advocacy. Or correct me if Im wrong. Do they have biologists on staff doing original research into evolutionary biology? And if so, where did those scientists obtain their degrees/experience?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Did you read about the reports showing that radioactive decay varies with the seasons? Did you stop to think what might have happened when a magnitude-13-plus earthquake affected most of the earth’s crust, causing the buried quartz to generate as much electricity as in hundreds of lightning bolts? Did you know that that creates an environment quite similar to that in which we make transuranic elements, like Americium (one of the few that has found an industrial use)? Mightn’t all that energy have sufficed, literally, to transform lead into uranium and everything in-between?

      Your models are full of holes that a planet could sail through. I assume you’re talking about the nebula hypothesis–that we’re all stardust. Well, that stardust couldn’t have come together as the model inventors say it did.

      Space and time limit me here. But a lot of what you think is a fact, is not a fact at all, but factitious.

      And once again: can hundreds of thousands of clocks be wrong? Yes, if the clockmakers simply checked their clocks against one another, and no one ever thought to establish an official arbiter of time. That’s why the only people who have the right to tell you, with no argument, what time it is in the United States, are the officers and crew of the United States Naval Observatory in Arlington, Virginia. What you would have me do would be the equivalent of having no one, ever, check with the USNO. With the inevitable result that clocks would drift.

  5. Alex says:

    The actual scientists who found the data do not say that the new information means radioactive dating won’t work, unless you read the quotes on ICR that were taken completely out of context. Email me if you want the original published papers, I can likely send you copies of them.

    What is the energy source for a magnitude 13 earthquake? Geologic faults cannot sustain that much stress, at least according to any seismologist Ive ever talked to (although I guess, according to you, they are all “in on it”). You can’t just create energy out of nothing. It needs to come from somewhere. Well, I suppose you could call in the Creator to handle it, but

    Your clock analogy doesn’t work. There is no master, perfect answer to base science off of. If there was then we wouldn’t have much of a need for scientists, now would we? The doctor example is far more analogous.

    Mr. Hurlburt, what exactly is your background? I ask because you appear to claim that you are an expert on everything from evolutionary biology to astrophysics. Or at least you seem to know for a “fact” what is right and wrong, which goes to show how little you know about science and the scientific method. Nothing in science can be proven right or wrong, thats the whole point. Things can just be shown to be highly probably or highly unlikely. Thats the whole point of science.

    And with regard to the official time, there is room to argue. First off, the USNO is in Washington, D.C., not Arlington. There is also a second master atomic clock for the U.S. at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. However, the official time is not based off of either of these, but of the average of 200 atomic clocks all over the globe. That is the International Atomic Time, or the Coordinated Universal Time.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Now we come to the nub of it. The elitist nub. You think that no one, save an expert in any given field, has any right to discuss or criticize any scientific paper in that field. Don’t you know how much you conform to Hans Christian Andersen-style stereotype?

      I am a journalist. As it happens, I have a medical degree; my undergraduate degree was in engineering. I’ve had the courses in biology, chemistry, and physics prerequisite even to being considered for getting a medical education. And while at medical school, I learned how to analyze a paper, and above all, how to handle statistics. Indeed, I lived with statistics all through college. If there’s one thing that I learned how to understand, it’s the difference between a null (non-interventionist) and alternative (interventionist) hypothesis. And that when the probability of any given event falls below five percent, by convention, you reject the null hypothesis. And except for evolution, and uniformitarianism, and the insistence upon an old universe, solar system, and earth, no one ever allows an exception to that rule. Nowhere except the disciplines I just named.

      What’s the matter? Are all you evolutionists and uniformitarians afraid of the implications of your own rules? I say that you are. You violate them at every turn, and when someone like me calls you on it, you say, “You’ve got a lot of unmitigated gall calling us on any of this; you’re only a rube!” Well, first of all, I don’t even know your background, so you might be as much a rube as I am. Second, I can add, and I can read. And uniformitarianism, abiogenesis, and common descent don’t add up.

      You admit that science can show something highly probable or highly unlikely. Then you violate that rule by saying that something happened that was so unlikely that any casino would love to play such odds. And that it happened all by itself. You cling to null hypotheses that every statistical test applicable commands you to reject. And you wonder why I don’t respect you, and (gasp) dare contradict you.

  6. Alex says:

    Its not elitest, Im just stating the fact that somebody who has studied something for a long time knows more about it than somebody who hasn’t. Would you trust a hydrologist when it came to your health? Or a doctor when it came to the behavior rivers? It doesn’t even have to be science. Would you have an art historian design buildings? Or an architect examine paintings? Of course not. All of that would be silly.

    You’ve studied medicine. Thats good. Now you dont see me trying to stomp on your toes and trying to claim that I know more about you than somebodies health. I doubt you’d find many scientists who would do such a thing, since they know that it isn’t what they’ve studied. You, on the other hand, claim to know more about subjects than people who have studied them for decades. You aren’t the only person who has used statistics. Most scientists have.

    If a scientist comes up with an idea that breaks current thought, they become famous. Every scientist wants to break the barriers and old ways of thinking. There are many scientists who have tried to disprove evolution, or an old universe/solar system/Earth, but there just isn’t evidence to support it.

    What you state about replacing a null hypothesis is absolutely correct. However, creationism does not hold water when it stands to scientific inquiry. Some creationists, such as Dr. Brown, do provide “evidence” for their “theories”, but when it comes down to it they would have never come up with such ideas had they not had the Bible on which to inspire them in the first place. Therefore, the Bible must be able to hold true to scientific inquiry.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      As a matter of fact, if you were to come up with an alternative treatment for certain chronic illnesses, I would be glad to judge that treatment on the basis of whatever experience you had with it. In this I stand in opposition to my more conventional colleagues, but I have long held that the exclusivism of the medical profession is worse than unfair. It locks the profession into a bubble world and stops them from recognizing that maybe–just maybe–allopathic medicine does not have all the answers.

      Similarly, I would applaud your accepting training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, if you had an aptitude for it.

      And one more thing: if you told me that you knew more than I could possibly know about your own health, I would ask you to show me what you know, but I would not assume a priori that you couldn’t possibly know anything of value. Again, that’s not what my colleagues like to hear. So you see, when it comes to medicine, I am a bit of a libertarian. Surprised?

      Now then: you say that Dr. Brown would not have had his insights, absent the Bible to work with. Well, I say that Charles Darwin did not come up with his insights in a vacuum, either. He had an anti-Bible of his own to give him what passed for insight: Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology. That included the principle of uniformitarianism, which holds that all physical processes observable today, have occurred since time immeasurable, and at the same, invariant rate.

      As to how well the Bible can hold up: the Bible is a Record. An Historical Record. It contains a genealogical listing of a line of descent from the first-ever man to the most important and famous shipwright of all time, and the log of the cruise of the ship he built. You can “inquire” into such a Record by seeing whether it has been subject to any copy-editing mistakes, what sort of quality control goes to assure fidelity of reproduction, and–get this–whether it successfully predicts future events. On all these points, the Bible passes. Perfectly. And definitely with probabilities that more than require rejection of the null hypothesis. Which, in this case, is commonly spelled c-o-i-n-c-i-d-e-n-c-e.

  7. Alex says:

    You “would be glad to judge that treatment on the basis of whatever experience you had with it.” Exactly. What experience do most people (you and I included), have with evolutionary biology? I took one ecology course in grad school, but other than that I haven’t had training in biology since high school. Most geologists haven’t. So I dont claim to be an expert on the subject. Likewise, when was the last time you learned about or did any research in the collision dynamics of micron-sized particles (otherwise known as proto-planetary dust)?

    I would applaud your training in planetary science, if you had an aptitude for it.

    If I came to you, and told you that I knew more than you about my body, and that the basis for my knowledge was a two thousand year old Egyptian manuscript that said that the brain was a waste organ, would you take what I said seriously?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, I have had biology at college level, and human biology and biochemistry in medical school. I must tell you that not a single insight as to how living cells actually work, depends in any way, shape or form on any particular theory of their origin. Those cells certainly look to me, intuitively, as though Someone put them together. That Someone assembled them with great care, and produced a real “Wowser” of a machine that no scientists has ever been able, nor will ever be able, to emulate.

      I hold that no cell could self-assemble, any more than a wristwatch could self-assemble. This is true whether you’re talking about the old mechanical wristwatches that people used to wear or carry, or the new integrated-circuit-based (“digital”) wristwatches of today.

      And I know this, even though I myself could never build a wristwatch, or even tell you how to build one.

      Can any of your experts tell you how to build a cell? Sorry: that question was not fair. But your questions weren’t exactly fair, either. I offered what I said about “experience with treatment” in answer to your question as to whether you would appreciate a mere layman doing a doctor’s job. I sought to show you that I don’t hold with the elitist notion that only someone who has gone to a conventional medical school is qualified to prescribe dietary or other regimen for himself or others. (The “experience” I was talking about would have been your experiments, either on yourself or on your willing friends, with such diet or herbal or other remedies as you suggested as an alternative to conventional treatment. It had nothing to do with asking whether you had had any formal training in medical science.) And you suddenly changed the subject to my particular experience with evolutionary biology.

      I think I shocked you with my expressed willingness to tolerate “mere laymen” “encroaching” on doctors’ “turf.” So you tried to change the subject, and failed to grasp the full implications of what I am saying.

  8. Alex says:

    Perhaps you didn’t learn about how cells work because you were likely focused in anatomy and human biology, as opposed to evolutionary or microbial biology? Just a thought. And cells aren’t watches and watches aren’t cells. One is living, and living things can adapt to their environment. We’ve observed living things change with time (breeds of dogs, livestock, GM plants), the question comes down to speciation. Which neither you nor I are qualified to explain, since neither of us know what we are talking about on the subject. As I am quite sure you are aware, evolutionary biology and medicine are not the same field.

    Someone who has studied something for a long time is very likely to be better at it than someone who hasn’t. Are you really disagreeing with this statement? Sure, there are rare exceptions, but you were the one who was talking about probabilities. Diet and regimen are one thing, doing hard science or medicine is another. Would you allow someone with no medical training to perform surgery on you? I sure wouldn’t. The same way I wouldn’t trust a medical doctor with a geology problem, or a planetary scientist with a brain tumor.

    Anyway, Ive got far more important things to do than continue this discussion (as I imagine you do) since obviously neither of us are going to change the others minds. I would like to note though that while I have consistently admitted that I do not know everything about every field, you have affirmed your belief that you seem to be a master of all subjects, from microbial biology to astronomy. That’s hubris.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You’re wrong to assume that I didn’t learn about how cells work. I had cell biology as a basic science. I had to learn about every single part of the cell, what it does, and how it does it. Out of that science comes explanations for what can go wrong at the cellular level, in debilitating diseases, and in cancer.

      True enough, cells aren’t watches. They are orders-of-magnitude more complex. Do you really want to assume that such a complex machine assembled itself?

      Evolutionists like to pretend that evolutionary biology is a part of medicine. For example, some evolutionist, whose name escapes me at the moment, flatly said, “If you don’t accept evolution, then maybe your kids shouldn’t get antibiotics.”

      “Someone who has studied something for a long time is very likely to be better at it.” Very likely, but not guaranteed. And when his studies have been wrong, he will follow a wrong path. And if he is not willing to admit the possibility that his teachers taught him wrong, he’ll lock himself into an endless loop of repeating the same mistake.

      An editor must reserve to himself the right to the last word. This is my site, and I will not allow error to go unchallenged on it.

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