Desert whales mystery tied to another

Do whales really represent a step in evolution from land back to the sea?
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The desert whales of northern Chile highlight another, more-enduring mystery: seashells on mountaintops. How did they get there? Whoever can answer that riddle can explain much more.

Desert whales not the first high fossils

The desert whales of the Atacama Desert near Caldera, Chile, were not the first marine fossils on dry land. Paleontologists have known about marine life on mountain peaks for centuries. In 1569, Jan Van Gorp said this:

Nothing is so high, nothing is so far from the sea that we cannot find [shells] of those creatures that only live in sea water.

Alan Cutler (The Seashell on the Mountaintop, 2003) quotes Van Gorp in his book. (Walter T. Brown, in In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, lists this and other book references here.) He thus shows that long before anyone ever heard of uniformitarianism in geology, paleontologists had found marine fossils not only high above sea level, but very far inland. So in fact, the debate about seashells on mountaintops is not part of the creation-v.-evolution debate. Scientists have wondered how the seashells got on the mountaintops since modern science began.

Early attempts to explain

Modern Western science began with Leonardo da Vinci. He was the first and prize example of the “Renaissance Man,” a master of science and art, and of many sciences, not one only.

From 1508 to 1515, Da Vinci wrote extensively about the seashells that he found in the mountains of Italy. (Da Vinci, Notebooks, Vol. 2, ed. Jean Paul Richter; New York: Dover Publications, 1970; pp. 208–218.) He challenged the notion that these shellfish could have crawled to such great heights (either the Alps, or the Appennines, or both) even from a flood that had partially covered them. How, he asked, could slow-moving clams crawl to such a height, even in hundreds of years? Sadly, the mystery defeated Leonardo; he had no better idea of how those shellfish landed so high than did anyone else.

Others suggested something closer to the truth: that originally, flood waters did cover the mountains, until the floors of the present oceans sank to their present depths, while the mountains rose. But no one managed to explain either event.

According to Brown:

Because elevations on earth change slowly, some wondered if sea bottoms could rise miles into the air, perhaps over millions of years. However, mountaintops, which experience destructive freezing and thawing cycles, erode relatively rapidly—and so should fossils slowly lifted by them. Furthermore, mountaintops accumulate few sediments that might blanket and protect such fossils. Some early authorities, in frustration, said the animals grew inside rocks—or the rocks simply look like clams, corals, fish, and ammonites. Some denied the evidence even existed.

The striking mystery of the desert whales

The desert whales of Chile are the most striking example yet of marine fossils on dry land. (See reports of the desert whales from the Associated Press, Nature.com, and two other sources.) Once again: some 80 adult and young whales, mostly baleen whales but also a sperm whale, two kinds of extinct dolphin (one with tusks!), sharks, and a possible seal) lie buried in a strip of land, 800 feet long by 60 feet wide. (Coordinates: 27°03’13.72″S, 70°48’09.13″W; elevation about 150 feet.)

The Santiago Times yesterday revealed that the scientists are still asking themselves: How did they get there? The Smithsonian’s Nicholas Pyenson made the most honest statement to date:

I think they died more or less at the same time.

The reason: these skeletons lie mere yards apart on a narrow hill.

Brown gives more details:

What concentrated so many different and large sea creatures, and how were they fossilized at the base of the Andes Mountains? A few species (sperm whales, killer whales, and dolphins) sometimes become disoriented and beach themselves, but not baleen whales, and not the other powerful swimmers found in this mass graveyard. (SONAR causes whales to beach themselves, but of course, SONAR did not exist when these whales died.)

More than that: if SONAR did exist when the desert whales died, that would destroy the evolutionary paradigm at a single stroke. According to it, mankind itself did not exist then.

Brown goes on:

Environmental factors might kill a variety of large sea creatures, but that would not lift them up at least 50 feet above sea level, concentrate them in an area the size of two football fields, and quickly bury them in enough sediments to provide excellent fossilization. Instead, the animals would decompose or be scavenged. If this happened over millions of years, why do some fossils overlap? Even if a whale became trapped in a lagoon, why would a shark—a sleek and powerful swimmer? Besides, what would crowd so many different and large sea creatures into a lagoon?

As Brown explains, what trapped the desert whales is part of the larger event we call the Global Flood.  The Andes Mountains are part of a long chain that lines the western shores of North and South America. The Flood began with the breakout of a sub-crustal ocean that formed the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The sudden escape of the sub-crustal water caused the Ridge to build up. The Americas slid down the slopes of the Ridge until they crashed to the original sub-crustal floor. That crash compressed the land and caused the Andes (and the Rocky) Mountains to rise. When they did, they trapped some shellfish on their peaks, too. They also trapped large amounts of water on their western slopes. As this water drained away, what became the desert whales (and the other creatures that accompanied them) fell into narrow valleys. Finally, large amounts of sediment buried them, largely intact. (Twenty of the desert whale skeletons are intact.)

Why were the desert whales in the region?

Vegetation Zones in and near the Atacama Plateau. The desert whales were found in the "absolute desert" region.

Generalized, modern vegetation zones in the region of Quebrada del Chaco. Source: United States Geological Survey

This raises another question: why did some 80 whales and other creatures swim to that region to begin with? Why didn’t they stay out in the Pacific Ocean? The answer: they were escaping something else that frightened them.

Brown explains what that was:

[H]ours before the Andes Mountains rose, the earth’s crust on the Pacific side of the earth was pulled down and crumbled. The ring of fire surrounds the sunken Pacific crust; indeed, that is why the ring of fire is the most volcanically active and earthquake-prone region on earth. These large sea creatures lie on the thin coastline between the ring of fire and the Andes Mountains. Probably, all these animals were fleeing to the east, away from the deafening sounds and shock waves coming from the west. The seafloor beneath them then rose as the compression event began.

What pulled the Pacific Ocean floor down, to create the Ring of Fire? The same thing that created the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. When the sub-crustal water broke out, it created a vacuum directly beneath it on the Atlantic side. Nature abhors a vacuum, so the crust on the Pacific side caved in to fill the void. The volcanism would begin almost at once, as simple gravitational settling would produce a lot of heat. So the desert whales were swimming away from the first volcanoes. Tragically, they fled in exactly the wrong direction. From that tragedy comes further testimony to the greatest catastrophe that the earth has ever known.

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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.

251 Responses to Desert whales mystery tied to another

  1. An eyewitness in the Bay of Concepcion at the time of the 1835 earthquake (later estimated as having magnitude 8.5 on the Richter scale) writes:

    ‘The most remarkable effect of this earthquake was the permanent elevation of the land: it would probably be far more correct to speak of it as the cause. There can be no doubt that the land round the Bay of Concepcion was raised by two or three feet, but it deserves notice that, owing to the wave having obliterated the old lines of tidal action on the sloping sandy shores, I could discover no evidence for this fact, except in the united testimony of the inhabitants, that one little rocky shoal, now exposed, was formerly covered with water. At the island of S. Maria (about 30 miles distant) the elevation was greater; on one part, Captain Fitz Roy found beds of putrid mussel-shells still adhering to the rocks, ten feet above high water mark: the inhabitants had formerly dived at low-water spring tides for these shells. The elevation of this province is particularly interesting, from it having been the theatre of several other violent earthquakes, and from the vast number of sea-shells scattered over the land, up to a height of certainly 600, and I believe, of 1000 feet. At Valparaiso, as I have remarked, similar shells are found at a height of 1300 feet: it is hardly possible to doubt that this great elevation has been effected by successive small uprisings, such as that which accompanied or caused the earthquake of this year, and likewise by an insensibly slow rise, which is certainly in progress on some parts of this coast.’

    This journal entry was later published by its author on his return to England: The Voyage of The Beagle.

    This region of Chile has suffered many earthquakes, including the terrible quakes of 1960 and 2010.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chile_earthquake

    Tsunamis like that described by Charles Darwin in his journal have had a catastrophic effect both on the coastline and on the inland areas.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      The problem: Darwin described incremental rises. As Walter T. Brown states (did you read the quote in the article), any sequence like that would leave the mountains exposed to the elements, and subject to erosion and weather. The mountains show no sign of having taken such punishment. And “putrid mussel shells”? Fossilization precludes putrefaction.

    • Imagine the same thing happening but everything being covered with water containing a massive amount of sediment being deposited first with the land them rising. This is the description of the process Dr Brown proposes in his Hydroplate theory. Charles Darwin could only see what an earthquake could produce.

      The problem with science today, like many things, is people look at facts and the proposals to explain the facts and then refuse to consider proposals that use additional facts that describe things better. Dr Brown’s Hydroplate theory goes a long way to describing how events could occur without having to make assumption after assumption, depend upon extreme periods of time and chains of improbable chance occurrences.

      The book is worth reading. But one should take time to read it since it is detailed.

  2. Mr Hurlbutt, no doubt Dr Brown thinks he knows better than others and that none of his objections to modern geological processes have ever been addressed.

    It would be silly to say that the tops of mountains are not subject to weathering. Of course they are. The sun, rain, acidification, wind, frost and other processes all take their toll over millions of years and along with volcanism form the landscape we see.

    On the “putrid mussel shells”, I don’t understand your objection. Mussels must necessarily undergo putrefaction after death in an aerobic environment. This is not going to help or hinder any subsequent fossilization. The condition of the shells was taken by Darwin as suggestive of relatively recent death, despite their location far from the shoreline.

    Of course that’s just one anecdote by a young English traveller deeply immersed in the then-recent work of Charles Lyell. Nearly two centuries later Lyell’s and Darwin’s work still stands as a useful set of observations about geological processes, though they lacked the truly remarkable insights that modern plate tectonics have brought to the subject.

    Whether that can shed light on the question of the desert whales I know not. It’s not really clear to me why you should find the idea that sea beds eventually become mountains at all extraordinary. The processes of subduction and orogeny aren’t exactly cutting edge science any more.

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

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      First, do not assume that Dr. Brown is not familiar with current standing doctrine (and that’s all it is: doctrine) on subduction and orogeny. (For the uninitiated, that means “how mountains come to be.”) He actually went back to school to learn the standing doctrine in the classroom, just like everyone else who calls himself a geologist these days. So he knows the pabulum they’re spewing out in class, and he knows where the gaps are.

      Second: if you bother to read Dr. Brown’s book, you’ll see that subduction is impossible. And he will go into detail on why it is impossible.

      Third: putrefaction is a decay process. Fossils don’t decay. They get buried too fast for that. As a matter of fact, I recall the discovery of a fossil shrimp that was still fresh. If the discoverer had been really hungry, he could have eaten it. Hardly putrefied.

      Fourth: I noticed that you admitted the connection between Lyell and Darwin. I go further: without Lyell, there would have been no Darwin. Well, Lyell made a lot of assumptions that turned out to be unsafe. Such as: that geological processes in operation today, have always operated, at the same rate, from eternity past. That’s right: eternity. Lyell assumed that the earth was infinitely old.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Fossils don’t decay. They get buried too fast for that.”

        Actually the main reason that fossils don’t decay is that they’re usually bones or other hard body parts. The creationist insistence that rapid burial is necessary for fossilisation indicates either ignorance of teh process or extreme dishonesty.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          The only thing that I don’t mind claiming ignorance of, is the latest story or meme from the evolutionists.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Not a very helpful comment. So, are you aware that rapid burial is NOT essential for fossilisation? Slow burial in an anaerobic environment will preserve soft body parts, slow burial in an aerobic one will still preserve bones and other hard parts.By insisting that rapid burial is necessary for any fossils to form creationists make themselves look either mendacious or badly educated; neither option is going to help win you any arguments.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I reject your contention. The kind of slow burial you’re talking about, would leave too much time for disintegration, or scavenging.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            I don’t care if you reject my contention or not, but I do have to wonder if you bothered to read my comment properly.

            Slow burial would indeed leave time for disintegration and scavenging. Guess what? Many fossils show evidence of scavenging and many more show no traces of soft tissue; just what you’d expect from decay followed by slow burial. The fact is that by insisting fossilisation requires rapid burial you are displaying either ignorance or dishonesty; fossilisation requires no such thing.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I suspect that much of what you claim consists of misconstruction. That’s the trouble with origins science: misconstruction of the evidence is frightfully easy, and devilishly hard to prove.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “I suspect that much of what you claim consists of misconstruction.”

            What are you talking about? Do you or do you NOT accept that many – probably most – fossils are incomplete or otherwise damaged, in a way that is entirely consistent with slow burial?

            Do you know how long bones last? If you look at “whale falls” you’ll find out that whale bones survive for decades, EVEN when exposed to marine borer worms. There is plenty of time for slow burial of these bones to occur. The same goes for large land animals; unless there are hyenas around even the bones of a cow will lie on the ground for thirty years or more. Again, plenty of time for slow burial.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I do not accept that. Not without more evidence than just your word. In fact, I suspect that a lot of papers on that subject are tissues of lies.

            Let me tell you something: my transformation from full-on evolutionist to creation advocate began when I realized, with near-blinding righteous anger, that about nine-tenths of all that I had learned on the origins side of biology, astronomy, geology, geophysics, and so on, were lies. Deliberate, vindictive lies. I will not allow anyone to take me in that way again.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            I’m not asking you to accept it on my word. I suggested that you look up whale falls and see just how long bones last. Have you done this? I also suggested that you look into how long the bones of a large land mammal, such as a cow, can survive in the open. If you research either of these things you will find out that medium to large bones can easily last for decades, allowing plenty of time for slow burial.

            Alternatively you can just keep repeating the lie that fossilisation requires rapid burial.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I reserve to myself the right to assess the credibility of any source that I consult, and to select those sources that I consider worthy of consultation and reliance.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Lyell made a lot of assumptions that turned out to be unsafe.”

        So did Darwin. So what? Scientists, unlike creationists, don’t insist that an old book is the truth and can never be changed. Modern science may be BASED on the work of Lyell and Darwin, but it ISN’T the work of Lyell and Darwin. It’s the work of thousands of scientists since then who’ve conducted experiments, collected data and carried out analysis of that data. Even if you could discredit Lyell and Darwin, the impact on modern geology and biology would be precisely zero.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          What experiments? All I see is a bunch of guys deciding what to conclude, and then cherry-picking evidence to support a narrative. I saw that also when I reviewed the Climategate 1.0 archive. “Hide the decline!” Or in this case, “hide the speed.”

  3. Fergus Mason says:

    Oh, I can answer it. What experiments? Well THOUSANDS of experiments are conducted every year around fault lines; rates of movement are measured, stress on rocks is examined, magma temperatures and composition are tested. As for biology experiments, thousands are conducted every DAY. As a colleague of Schlafly no doubt you’ll remember the Lenski affair?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Yes, I am familiar with it. I stand by Mr. Schlafly’s assessments.

      And your experiments measure only the processes in operation today. They cannot measure processes that operated forty-four hundred years ago.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        Schlafly’s “assessment” of the Lenski experiment is founded on ignorance, and this was pointed out to him numerous times on his own blog. His behaviour was nothing more than harassment, demonstrated by his repeated demands that Lenski turn over data that Schlafly lacked either the intention or the ability to analyse.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          That’s fine. That’s what Lenski chose to maintain. Schlafly could and would have recruited someone else to perform the analysis. He’s an attorney, and attorneys know where they can find expert witnesses.

          It’s always easy to cry “harassment” when all that the challenger is doing is pointing out that the champion has made a never-substantiated claim, and wants to see some evidence.

          Similarly, Walter T. Brown challenges anyone to a written debate. And to make it fair, he’ll allow any challenger to recruit a team of the best and brightest. In fact, he insists that the team leader have a PhD, so that no one can accuse Brown, who does have his PhD, of being the heavyweight picking on the bantamweight.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Schlafly was asked repeatedly on his own blog who he intended to retain to analyse the data. He never answered. He was also warned repeatedly that he was going to make a fool of himself, and he ignored that advice and blocked many of the people who gave him it. The result was that Lenski hammered him, pointed out his ignorance and dishonesty and then offered to make all his data available to anyone qualified to handle it, thus demolishing Schlafly’s claims of fraud.

            The affair also handed Richard Dawkins a great big loaded gun, conveniently pointed right at Conservapedia’s head, which he immediately fired by including the debacle in his book “The Greatest Show on Earth.” That’s where I, and many others, first heard of Schlafly’s blog.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Mr. Schlafly and I must have both missed that. And Conservapedia is not a blog. It’s a lot wider than that.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Mr. Schlafly and I must have both missed that.”

            Possibly. In that case I’ll reproduce it for you here:

            “So, will we share the bacteria? Of course we will, with competent scientists.”

            Now, as soon as Schlafly informs Lenski of where he intends to store and work with the samples, and of the qualified personnel who will handle them, he can have the bacteria. Lenski is concealing nothing.

            “And Conservapedia is not a blog.”

            Oh really? With main page “articles” like “Atheism and obesity”? “Languages ranked by Conservatism”? (By the way that one’s pure parody, created and expanded by RW editors, but Schlafly doesn’t seem to have noticed.) “How the blazing atomic flamethrower of the Question Evolution! campaign will grind up atheist babies into tiny fragments and feed them to the creationist dogs of war belonging to prominent YouTuber Shockofgod”?

            It’s a blog.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            “With competent scientists,” he says. There you go. And to Lenski, “competent” means “on board with The Narrative.” Don’t try to fool me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            ““With competent scientists,” he says.”

            Yes, of course. Or is he supposed to post a vial of mutant E. coli bacteria to a homeskool teacher with no storage facilities, no laboratory and no clue about biology?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Mr. Schlafly would expect him to post (we say “mail” here in the States) his sample to an expert of Mr. Schlafly’s choosing. Bear in mind that origins science has now become something in the nature of an adversarial proceeding. Mr. Schlafly’s request was well within the bounds of pre-trial discovery.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Mr. Schlafly would expect him to post (we say “mail” here in the States) his sample to an expert of Mr. Schlafly’s choosing.”

            Actually Schlafly demanded that he make ALL his data available to teh general public, which was a totally unreasonable request. When asked repeatedly on his blog what expert he was going to get to examine the data Schlafly failed to name one.

            “Mr. Schlafly’s request was well within the bounds of pre-trial discovery.”

            That might even have been relevant if Lenski was on trial. He wasn’t. As it is, it just shows why science isn’t done by lawyers.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Why is this an unreasonable request? I go further: by what right does Lenski to withhold information of this kind, information that Members of Parliament, Members of Congress, Members of the Knesset, et alti, use to make public policy decisions?

            I say that evolution itself is on trial. It is either the biggest misconstruction since phlogiston, or a deliberate fraud.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Why is this an unreasonable request?”

            Because the data are the BACTERIA. What’s Lenski supposed to do – leave a barrel of mutant bacteria and a stack of bottles outside his lab, so that anyone who wants to can take some home?

            “by what right does Lenski to withhold information of this kind”

            He doesn’t, and you KNOW he doesn’t. What data do you claim he’s witholding?

            “I say that evolution itself is on trial.”

            So what? Science doesn’t work that way.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            “The data are the bacteria.” Is this another Yank-v.-Brit disagreement on what a word means? Mr. Schlafly and I are Yanks. To us, “data” mean “records.” The bacteria we call by the label of “sample,” not “data.” Now: are you sure that Mr. Schlafly actually called for the release of the sample?

            Again, hold your thought for the next eight hours or so. In fact, I urge you to take your time. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself with yet another misconstruction. Especially when one might take it to be deliberate and calculated.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “are you sure that Mr. Schlafly actually called for the release of the sample?”

            No, he didn’t. In fact he never specified WHAT he wanted, or what he thought Lenski was concealing. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Now I’ve got you dead-to-rights. You actually said, on this comment space, that Mr. Schlafly was recommending the release of an experimental sample “to the general public.” Rather, he wanted access to Mr. Lenski’s records. Every experiment requires recordkeeping during the experiment itself. Those records include measurements, composition of reagents, assay results, et cetera. And you know this perfectly well.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “information that Members of Parliament, Members of Congress, Members of the Knesset, et alti, use to make public policy decisions?”

            Name one single public policy decision made on the basis of citrate metabolisation in Escherichia coli.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            They make it on the basis of “evolution is a fact.” Anything that shows that evolution is not a fact ought to be directly relevant to anyone charged with making public law.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “You actually said, on this comment space, that Mr. Schlafly was recommending the release of an experimental sample “to the general public.” ”

            Actually no, I said no such thing. I said that Schlafly was demanding the release of ALL Lenski’s data to the general public. The data, of course, are the bacteria.

            “Rather, he wanted access to Mr. Lenski’s records.”

            What for? Why should PROFESSOR Lenski release his raw data to an unqualified blogger? Why did Schlafly fail to explain what he was going to do with the data if he got it?

            “Those records include measurements, composition of reagents, assay results, et cetera.”

            That was all either in Lenski’s paper, is widely available material or wasn’t involved in the experiment. The growth media that Lenski used, for example, are all standard ones. Why did Schlafly ask Lenski to send him such basic information? What was he planning to DO with it? And what do you all think Lenski is concealing?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            All of which proved that Lenski was hiding something. Evolutionists do that. They routinely discard data that doesn’t support their preconceived conclusion. And though you deny having said that Mr. Schlafly demanded the release of the sample, you went and said the very same thing again. Now you’ve said it twice.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “All of which proved that Lenski was hiding something.”

            WHAT was he hiding? He even offered to provide samples of the bacteria!

            “you went and said the very same thing again.”

            I said that Schlafly demanded the raw data be released to the general public. He apparently wasn’t aware that the BACTERIA were the raw data.

            Once again, I have to ask: what was Schlafly planning to do with the data if he’d got it?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I already said: Schlafly planned to share this with another scientist, one of his choosing, not Lenski’s.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Anything that shows that evolution is not a fact”

            But evolution IS a fact. It’s been observed many times, including in Lenski’s experiment. Allele frequencies change; new characteristics appear. It’s not possible to deny this with a straight face.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            What you describe is variation over time within a species. You have not even described change from one species to another. And you certainly have not described the kind of massive change that would have to produce a new taxonomic family from another, let alone an order, a class, a phylum, or a kingdom.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “you certainly have not described the kind of massive change that would have to produce a new taxonomic family from another”

            Before I get into this, can you clarify what you mean by producing a new taxonomic family from another? I’m not interested in wasting my time with any Hovindite rubbish about cats giving birth to dogs, but if you understand what the theory of evolution actually says we have a basis for discussion.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            All right, smart bloke. Suppose you tell me how a single-celled micro-organism could give rise to a multicellular one? Or how a prokaryote could give rise to a eukaryote? And why wouldn’t Kent Hovind wonder aloud whether the paleontologists are proposing that the Dog Kind (dogs, foxes, wolves) arose from the Cat Kind (lions, tigers, leopards, etc.), just because you find wolves on top of big cats in the fossil record?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Suppose you tell me how a single-celled micro-organism could give rise to a multicellular one?”

            Symbiosis.

            “Or how a prokaryote could give rise to a eukaryote?”

            Symbiosis.

            “why wouldn’t Kent Hovind wonder aloud whether the paleontologists are proposing that the Dog Kind (dogs, foxes, wolves) arose from the Cat Kind”

            Because palaeontologists are, in fact, proposing something completely different and have been doing so for decades.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Symbiosis = two or more organisms, at least one of which is of a different species from the rest, living together. How do you get two species out of one, through a process that requires two species to begin with?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “How do you get two species out of one”

            Genetic drift or geographical isolation will do it, but that’s irrelevant. We’re talking about getting ONE species out of TWO. Remind me again, is human mDNA the same species as human nDNA?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Irrelevant. I asked you how one common ancestor could give rise to every other life form, or even how one species could give rise to another. And the answers you have given are not satisfactory.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “I asked you how one common ancestor could give rise to every other life form”

            No you didn’t. You asked me how multicellular life could evolve from single-celled organisms, and I told you: symbiosis. Are you denying that mitochondria and chloroplasts have different DNA from the animal and plant cells they’re incorporated in? Well, they do, and that’s evidence of symbiosis leading to fusion.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            All you’re presenting is an assumption about mitochondria and chloroplasts. They could as easily have come to be in the same instant as the larger cell. They’re the equivalent of a specialized sub-processor in a desktop microcomputer. And they could no more self-assemble than the larger cell could.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “They could as easily have come to be in the same instant as the larger cell.”

            Then why do they have different DNA? In any case, has anyone OBSERVED mitochondria coming into existence at the same time as their host cell? Do you have any PHOTOS of it?

            Of course not.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            They have different DNA for the same reason that the main processor and graphics (or mathematical or other) sub-processor(s) have different routines: because their design requirements are different.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “because their design requirements are different”

            The design requirements of a liver cell and a brain cell are different. Why don’t THEY have different DNA?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Actually, with specialization comes the development of certain proteins that turn genes on and off. But a regular eukaryotic cell is much larger than a mitochondrion or a chloroplast. Those two organelles perform highly specialized functions that are neverteless common to every cell in the body of the organism of which they are a part. Thus in every cell, be it of skin, muscle, bone, nerve, or any particular organ, a mitochondrion is a mitochondrion. And in every part of a plant, a chloroplast is a chloroplast.

            None of this requires mitochondria or chloroplasts to have somehow “evolved apart” from the first eventual eukaryotes and then joined them.

            In fact, all this is academic. You can’t explain how the first cell came together. No one has, no one can, and no one will ever be able to.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Ribisomes, vacuoles, Golgi apparati, lysosoles, centrioles and vesicles are also highly specialised organelles, much smaller than a eukaryotic cell. Why don’t THEY have their own DNA?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            They don’t need them. Those functions are a lot simpler than those that mitochondria and chloroplasts perform.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Those functions are a lot simpler than those that mitochondria and chloroplasts perform.”

            I hardly think so. Golgi apparati, for example, sort and package a wide variety of proteins; mitochondria just churn out ATP. So why don’t Golgi apparati need their own DNA?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            They’re not even the cells-within-a-cell that the other two are. They don’t need to be. Actually, the mitochondria, being the “oil refinery” of the cell, are a lot more sophisticated than other organelles. And chloroplasts actually convert energy. Anyway, you never did demonstrate why either mitochondria or chloroplasts had to have led an independent existence. No one has found any microfossils of independent proto-mitochondria or proto-chloroplasts.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “They’re not even the cells-within-a-cell that the other two are.”

            That was rather my point, actually: they don’t have their own nucleus and their own DNA.

            “No one has found any microfossils of independent proto-mitochondria or proto-chloroplasts.”

            No, but as of this February they’ve found DNA evidence of common ancestry between mitochondria and rickettsiae. See the article in the June edition of Nature by Thrash et al.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Correlation does not equal causation. I am shocked, shocked, to see you try to pull such an old trick on me.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Correlation does not equal causation”

            I know. So what? I never claimed that it did.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I think you did. That’s the only reason why you would have me accept Rickettsia as anything close to a proto-mitochondrion. Having some features in common does not begin to show that one is the progenitor of the other. I realize (realise?) that that’s the party line. But I am not a member of the party, so I don’t have to accept the line, do I?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Having some features in common does not begin to show that one is the progenitor of the other.”

            Two fails for the price of one. I didn’t claim they have features in common; I said (and gave you a reference to a proper paper) that they are phylogenetically linked. And I didn’t say that one was the progenitor of the other; I said that they have a common ancestor.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Well, that wouldn’t make much more sense, anyway.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “They cannot measure processes that operated forty-four hundred years ago.”

        Of course they can. There are numerous methods that can measure the rate of historical processes.

        On the other hand there is NOTHING that can make sense of the idea of a global flood. It didn’t happen. It COULDN’T have happened. Apart froma nything else, where did all the water come from? And don’t waste my time with that hydroplate rubbish.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          All of which methods make the cardinal uniformitarian assumption: that the rate today was the rate yesteryear, and the rate the year before yesteryear, and so on ad infinitum.

          Now about the Flood:

          Where did the water come from? From underneath the crust.

          Where did it drain? Into the present beds of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. The Pacific Basin especially caved in very deep—seven miles deep at its deepest.

          Then again, I suppose you don’t want me to waste your time with the facts. But I repeat them here, for the benefit of others who browse this comment space.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “All of which methods make the cardinal uniformitarian assumption: that the rate today was the rate yesteryear, and the rate the year before yesteryear, and so on ad infinitum.”

            No they don’t, and I have explained this to you more than once already.

            “Where did the water come from? From underneath the crust.”

            Evidence please. Underwater photos of the erosion and debris fields caused by the crust breakup will suffice.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Yes, I know you have. And in so doing you totally robbed the word “uniformitarianism” of any meaning. I don’t use words with chameleon-like definitions. Maybe you do. I don’t.

            Now where did that explosion take place, you ask? How about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

            The evidence that Dr. Brown has accumulated is far too vast to repeat here. It literally fills a book. His book. I suggest you read it. Thoroughly.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “And in so doing you totally robbed the word “uniformitarianism” of any meaning.”

            No, I have simply disagreed with YOUR meaning, which (as has been demonstrated to you several times by myself and others) is not the one that geologists use.

            “How about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.”

            Sure, why not? Now please show me evidence for an eruption of superheated sub-crustal water through the mid-Atlantic ridge. As I said, photos of the erosion and debris will be fine.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Read the book. You’ll find the photographic evidence you require there.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “It literally fills a book. His book. I suggest you read it.”

            I will – as soon as he gets it published in a peer-reviewed journal. Until then, although I may buy his book, I’ll put it on the same shelf as Emmanuel Velikovsky and Erich von Däniken.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Your sarcasm is getting less subtle with every post you make. You know perfectly well that the editors of these “peer-reviewed journals” never publish anything that first appears in a medium for profit. And I suggest to you that the “peers” who “review” such journals do so in bad faith, with a view to preserving their narrative. The Climategate figures do the same. I know. I read the e-mails. And I’ve been reading the second batch. Interesting—and damning—reading.

            What does Climategate have to do with evolutionary origins? Everything. The mindset is the same. And the bad-faith practices are the same.

            “Peer review” was invented to shut-out people whose theories didn’t fit the narrative.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Your sarcasm is getting less subtle with every post you make.”

            Except I wasn’t being sarcastic. Brown’s hydroplate rubbish belongs in the same category as Velikovsky’s Venusian comet and von Däniken’s ancient astronauts. It’s utter rubbish.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            That is a matter of opinion. I’m sure that other readers of this article might think otherwise.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “That is a matter of opinion. I’m sure that other readers of this article might think otherwise”

            I don’t care what other readers of this article think. I care what GEOLOGISTS think, and they universally reject the hydroplate nonsense for the simple reason that it’s impossible. The energy released by the processes Brown describes would have boiled off the oceans and sterilised the planet.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            They reject it because it doesn’t conform to their favorite narrative, and on no other grounds.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “They reject it because it doesn’t conform to their favorite narrative, and on no other grounds.”

            No, they reject it because it’s a physical impossibility. Do you have ANY IDEA how much energy would be involved in any of the explanations given for the flood? The most conservative estimates are that it would be the same as exploding a 10 kt nuclear weapon on every acre of the Earth’s surface. How strong do you think gopher wood is?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Yes, and that energy was released as heat, to form the earth’s outer and inner cores, and the kinetic energy of the comets, asteroids, and meteoroids.

            Now understand this: I have a presentation to make, and so any further moderation will have to wait until my return, which will not be for several hours. After that, if I still think this thread worthy of continuance, I will grant it. If not, not. Frankly, you begin to bore me.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “that energy was released as heat”

            How much heat? Enough to boil off the oceans and sterilise the planet, perhaps?

            “to form the earth’s outer and inner cores, and the kinetic energy of the comets, asteroids, and meteoroids.”

            Whoah, hang on! You’re claiming that Earth’s core and a whole bunch of cosmological objects were also formed at this time? Congratulations. You just increased the energy release (already sufficient to turn Earth into Venus) by about five orders of magnitude.

            “Frankly, you begin to bore me.”

            On the other hand, I find you fascinating.

  4. Then you, Mr Mason, are like the same people who rejected the “Plate Tectonics” theory out of hand when it was first proposed and savaged the theorist. You should take some time to learn some more history about scientific bias when people proposed theories that challenged prevailing theories and dogma. As the saying goes “what goes around comes around.”. The other term is hypocrite and your comments reek of it. Real scientist are not afraid of new ideas nor are the afraid to change positions based upon real science.

    Dr Brown challenges the status quo with a solid science and math based theory based upon available information and you reject it because it does not agree with your predisposed notions. It sounds like you are afraid that if Dr Brown’s theory is correct you will have to accept the premise that someone designed the universe and it all did not happen by random chance. Not even the craziest gambler would put down a bet based upon the idea that random chance created the universe.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “Dr Brown challenges the status quo with a solid science and math based theory”

      Then why didn’t he publish it instead of writing a book? It isn’t a “theory,” by the way. A theory is well supported and explains the evidence; Brown’s lunacy requires numerous violations of the laws of physics in a tortured attempt to explain what the REAL theories deal with effortlessly.

  5. Mr Mason, haven’t you ever stood next to a flow of water, hot air or other gas and not been burnt or harmed by it? You statement

    “You just increased the energy release (already
    sufficient to turn Earth into Venus) by about
    five orders of magnitude.”

    is disingenuous. Anyone can stand next to a ruptured steam vent and not get burned. Of course if you step into the flow of the steam you get burned. Maybe you should take a trip to Niagara Falls and go on one of the walks. You can get a real life example of how one can stand next to a powerful flow of substance (in this case water) and not be harmed.

    Take the time to read the theory and examine the math and evidence presented. You may actually learn something of interest. It should only take about 20 hours of serious reading. That is if you are open to real scientific thought and reason and are not a closed minded ideologue.

    It sounds like if you can not find a way to challenge with facts you revert to the standard Alinksy technique of ridicule. I really think you are scared of the idea that there may be a creator or designer.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “Anyone can stand next to a ruptured steam vent and not get burned.”

      Yes, but so what? I’m not talking about a ruptured steam vent; I’m talking about terawatts of heat being pumped into the oceans, into the crust, into the atmosphere. Given the scale of geological activity that Brown and Terry are talking about, the oceans would have been BOILED DRY by the energy release. This nonsense isn’t a theory; it’s quackery.

  6. You obviously failed to comprehend the example of the steam vent. The forces, based upon Dr Brown’s theory, are heading into and out of the atmosphere. They are not being distributed as an explosion distributes its energy in all direction.

    How about considering the example of the thermal vents on the ocean floor. You can be next to these vents and not get burned. If you put yourself above the vent you get burned. The force of the heat and energy is direct up into the existing ocean and is not exploding in all directions.

    You should really take the time to read the theory instead of acting like one of the ideologues who trashed the Plate Tectonics theory when it was first proposed. And if you don’t like it then take the theory and disprove it using real science; not claims such as

    “Given the scale of geological activity that Brown and
    Terry are talking about, the oceans would have been
    BOILED DRY by the energy release. This nonsense isn’t
    a theory; it’s quackery.”

    I gave a clear cut example of how heat and its carrier can be directed in a specific direction and not effect things nearby. I then pointed out that Niagara Falls does a similar thing with the water. Dr. Brown shows how this amount of energy can be released in a directed fashion in his theory. You just refuse to consider his theory might be viable like the “scientific community” refused to consider Plate Tectonics might be viable.

  7. James K says:

    “Schlafly planned to share this with another scientist, one of his choosing, not Lenski’s”

    Sorry Terry, but unless that was a secret Schlafly shared with the other sysops, that’s just not true.
    http://conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:Lenski_dialog

    Nowhere in Schlafly’s correspondence does he refer to another scientist. In fact, he states the following:
    *Skepticism has been expressed on Conservapedia about your claims,
    * Specifically, we wonder about the data supporting your claim
    * Please post the data supporting your remarkable claims so that we can review it, and note where in the data you find justification for your conclusions.

    “We” in this case clearly means Conservapedia.

    In his second letter, Schlafly says:
    “If the data are voluminous, then I particularly request access to the data that was made available to the peer reviewers of your paper, and to the data relating to the period during which the bacterial colony supposedly developed Cit+. As before, I’m requesting the organized data themselves, not the graphs and summaries set forth in the paper and referenced in your first reply to me. Note that several times your paper expressly states, “data not shown.” ”

    He never said to pass it on to another scientist, Schlafly demanded that the data be sent to him.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, I can show you one part of the confusion. You use the word post the way we Yanks use the word mail. But we use the word post to mean “to upload to the Internet.” That’s what he meant by sharing things with the general public. And that could have nothing to do with the live bacterial culture. So when Mr. Mason said, “the data are the bacteria,” that’s either another Yank-Brit confusion of words, or else a disingenuous accusation. Or maybe a little bit of each.

      And when Mr. Schlafly refers to “the organized data themselves,” he’s talking about the numbers behind any graph, chart, table, or summary.

      He never asked for a private sharing of data. Mr. Mason got part of the truth: Mr. Schlafly wanted the general public to read it.

      This goes to another annoying part of origins science: one ostensibly performs a study, wirtes a paper about it, says that “the data show such-a-thing,” and refuses to share those data.

      I recall that another team of scientists refused to share their data when asked for. Those other claimants had an especially strong claim: they filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act—and by that I mean the Act that your Parliament passed. The scientists refused. Yet at the same time, someone, maybe the compliance officer at the university, started gathering correspondence, program code, and documents relating to that request. When the centre director made abundantly plain that he definitely refused to release anything, that compliance officer (or whatever he was) took the Act into his own hands, as it were. First he tried to shop his cache to a site that ostensibly dedicated to the truth about the subject at hand. The administrator of that site not only refused, but laid information with (we Yanks say “ratted him out to”) the original centre director. So our hero then placed his cache on an obscure little FTP server in a sleepy little town in Siberia, and shopped the link to a number of “blogs.” There the matter might have rested—except that a fellow loyal subject of Her Majesty informed me about the cache and suggested that I take a look at it. I did, and concluded that this was a scandal off of which (apologies to Sir Winston Churchill) I needed to blow the lid. And so I did, on another site whereon I am a contributor.

      That was two years ago. It came out in time to queer the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, DK.

      The name of that scandal is, of course, Climategate.

      Well, this is Evo-gate, and it’s a lot larger, because it’s been going on for a hundred fifty years. Your Dr. Lenski is relative small potatoes compared to Dr. Phil Jones. But he made a claim, stated his conclusion, and to this date refuses to share the evidence with anyone who is not “in on it.” And neither Mr. Schlafly nor I will let the legions of Drs. Lenski get away with it anymore.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Mr. Schlafly wanted the general public to read it.”

        That’s not Lenski’s problem. Lenski has said repeatedly that he’s willing to make the data available to anyone who wants to replicate his work, but why should he go to all the expense and bother of making thousands of lab notebooks and other records available to people who can’t even begin to understand them just because some blogger sends him a couple of rude emails? Lenski isn’t concealing ANYTHING, and none of you who are accusing him of doing so have come up with any evidence to support your allegations.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          That’s because the only evidence that could decide the issue either way, is in Lenski’s possession.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Of course it’s in Lenski’s possession. It’s Lenski’s work. Ask him for something specific and I’m sure he’ll be happy to share it. It might be best if the request doesn’t come from Conservapedia though.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “to this date refuses to share the evidence with anyone who is not “in on it.””

        No he doesn’t. Can you point me to a single example of where Lenski refused to share ANYTHING?

        As was pointed out to Schlafly dozens of times during the discussion on his blog, he should have asked Lenski for specific data and explained what he wanted to do with it; Lenski would have been happy to oblige. But to demand all the records from 20 years of work, without having any plan to work with it, is just nuisance behaviour.

        Here’s an example. I have an extensive library and study at home. If you emailed me and asked for a list of all the biology books I have and details of my microscopes, and explained that you wanted this to determine how much I know about cell structure, I would happily send you the list. But if you demanded a list of every book and piece of apparatus in the room, on the grounds that you just wanted to have it, I’d tell you to go away and cause extreme distress to a goat.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          We are talking about this right now. Lenski lied, Mr. Mason. “Competent scientists” is a code word for “my friends.”

          We’re talking about the evidence behind one paper. Not his entire library.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Lenski lied”

            What about? Can you prove this allegation?

            “not his entire library”

            I was making an analogy, and talking about MY library. Did any of you at CP ever try asking Lenski a specific question, or was it just Schlafly’s arrogant nuisance demand that he turn over 20 years of work to someone who didn’t plan to do anything with it?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Simply this: his “offer to share” was and remains a sham.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “his “offer to share” was and remains a sham.”

            Prove it. Show me a good-faith request he turned down. Just one will do.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Lenski lied”

            What did Lenski lie about? You’ve had 24 hours to find the evidence, and I’d rather like to see it.

            Oh by the way, if you REALLY insist I produce a PhD to support me in my (hopefully) upcoming debate with WALT Brown, I name Richard Lenski.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Now that would be quite an amusing event.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Now that would be quite an amusing event.”

            It would, but probably not for Brown. However I’m perfectly capable of debating him myself.

            Now, can you give me an example of Lenski refusing a good-faith request for data or not? I suspect not.

  8. “Second: if you bother to read Dr. Brown’s book, you’ll see that subduction is impossible. And he will go into detail on why it is impossible.” -Terry Hurlbutt, December 2, 2011.

    Scientific American, December 2, 2011:

    ‘Although measurements from satellites and seismic ground sensors had indicated the Okhotsk Plate moved after the 9.0 temblor on March 11, the extent of the movement was not clear. Researchers at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology compared new seafloor maps made of the region this year with maps made in 1999 and were surprised by the extent of motion. For example, data along one transect (yellow marker, below) near the quake’s epicenter (black “x” on the map) indicated that the Okhotsk plate moved 50 meters east-southeast toward the trench.

    ‘Comparison of depth data showed that the earthquake itself lifted the Okhotsk plate 10 meters where the plate dives deep toward the trench (yellow to purple color, at center, below). The plate’s lateral shift also caused it to tip up another four to six meters there. “We think that the additional uplift contributed to the generation of the pulsating pattern of tsunami waves,” Toshiya Fujiwara, one of the lead researchers, wrote in an email.’

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=japan-earthquake-moves-seafloor

    But hey, what use is observational data against the cast iron reasoning of Dr Brown?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Hey, I never said that the ocean floor hasn’t moved, or the Japan plate, either. I just said that one plate cannot dive underneath another.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “I just said that one plate cannot dive underneath another.”

        You’re aware that this exact process can be observed at many places on Earth, right?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          I reject that out-of-hand. That’s a complete misconstruction, and probably deliberate, too. The fudges that people employ to salvage uniformitarianism and the ToE never cease to amaze me.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “I reject that out-of-hand.”

            Tough. There’s plenty of evidence. Subduction has been observed repeatedly. You might as well deny gravity.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Now that’s got to be a lie. One big thick part of the earth’s crust diving below another? No submariner has ever seen that. All that’s happened is that people have been inferring that. And drawing the wrong inference from what they do observe.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “No submariner has ever seen that.”

            So what? How else do you explain two sets of geological layers, one curving under the edge of the other, and points on each layer getting MEASURABLY CLOSER every year? Because believe me, that’s been observed.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I don’t accept “one curving under the edge of another.” Has any bathyscaphe or bathysphere crewman seen anything like that?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Has any bathyscaphe or bathysphere crewman seen anything like that?”

            Who cares? There are far better ways to test it than spending a year in a submarine with a ruler.

            OK. I assume that you’re not going to deny that seafloor spreading occurs at boundaries like the mid-Atlantic ridge. If subduction isn’t happening, how come the Earth isn’t swelling up like a balloon?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I care, and since I run things here, my standard goes. And that is: I will not permit you or anyone else to conflate direct observation with mere inference. Don’t tell me that anyone has observed subduction. No one has. For such direct observation you need to do a deep dive and take pictures. Who has? Show me the pictures on the site navy.mil or the equivalent site for the Royal Navy, or any nation’s Navy, or for Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Can you? Of course not.

            I’ll tell you what’s likely going on. The earth isn’t blowing up like a balloon. It has the opposite problem: the core is shrinking. Pretty soon, you’re going to see some generalized earthquakes all over everywhere.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Don’t tell me that anyone has observed subduction.”

            That’s exactly what I’m telling you. If the subducted plates aren’t in fact being subducted, then WHERE ARE THEY GOING at a rate of 2-8cm per year, depending on what boundary we’re talking about?

            “The core is shrinking”

            No it isn’t.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            They’re crunching into one another and building up tension. But they cannot dive under one another. And I repeat: observation means seeing it with one’s own eyes, or at least having direct photographic evidence. Both are lacking.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Pretty soon, you’re going to see some generalized earthquakes all over everywhere.”

            Does this tie in with Schlafly’s rubbish about earthquakes doubling every 40 years? Even your fellow creationists at Ameriwiki reject that. They’ve even produced a graph that blows it out the water.

            Accidentally posted somewhere else by mistake.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            No, it doesn’t. It is a prediction of the Hydroplate Theory. It continues the processes that gave the earth its great internal heat. (Hint: it wasn’t accretion, or radioactive decay. It was gravitational settling.)

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “It continues the processes that gave the earth its great internal heat.”

            Oh nonsense. If your hydroplate story (it isn’t a theory) produced enough heat IN THE EARTH’S CRUST to melt the core, how come it didn’t boil off the oceans, melt the crust and sterilise the planet?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            For the same reason that the oceans do not boil today, when the heat has lasted for so long: the mantle insulates the core, except at various volcanic openings.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “the mantle insulates the core”

            Nonsense. Your hydroplate event would have OCCURRED in the crust. So how come all the heat went inwards to the core and none remained in the crust or radiated out into the oceans?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The heat came from gravitational settling. That settling would have released the heat into the mantle.

            Of course, your model for the heating of the earth has the same problem you invoke—and worse. If the earth were a molten ball, why did the water remain?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “The heat came from gravitational settling.”

            Gravitational settling in the CRUST. Please explain to me the mechanism that directed all that heat – enough to melt a 6,000 mile wide ball of iron – inwards and prevented enough heading outwards to boil off the oceans?

            “If the earth were a molten ball, why did the water remain?”

            For a long time it didn’t. There would have been a constant cycle of rain and rapid evaporation, lasting millions of years, until enough energy had been absorbed to cool the surface to below boiling point.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The book In the Beginning explains the mechanism that, as you put it, “directed the heat inward.” Let me remind you that the inner and outer core formed themselves after the flood, not before. Soon I’ll probably re-create some old articles that I wrote elsewhere, treating this and other problems.

            About that water: where did the water come from in the first place?

            And: why are gold and silver, to name two heavier-than-iron metals, not part of the core if they were part of an earth that was molten through and through to begin with?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Let me remind you that the inner and outer core formed themselves after the flood”

            Evidence please.

            “The book In the Beginning explains the mechanism that, as you put it, “directed the heat inward.””

            Well, why don’t you give me a quick summary to enlighten me?

            “where did the water come from in the first place?”

            Why are you even puzzled about this? The universe is not short of water. Comets are loaded with it. Any random collection of interstellar medium will contain a fair amount.

            “why are gold and silver, to name two heavier-than-iron metals, not part of the core”

            You’re assuming that they’ve been on Earth since it formed. Both gold and silver have been found in meteorites.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            You can find most of the answers to your questions here. Check especially “Hydroplate Theory: An Overview” and “The Origins of Trenches, Earthquakes, and the Ring of Fire.” Those chapters discuss the heating of the inner earth.

            Now: you have not shown how gravitational settling would heat the crust, rather than the core.

            Now about gold and silver in the meteorites: you assume that meteoric bombardment brought all the gold and silver to the earth. In the alternative, meteors and meteoroids came from the earth. So did the comets.

            To take just one thing that any theory of comets must explain: comets contain twice the concentration of deuterium as you find in the oceans. If the comets had brought the water to the earth, then the proportion of deuterium to protium (light hydrogen) in cometary ice and in the oceans would be the same. They’re not.

            So why are the comets so rich in heavy hydrogen? Because they came from the big water jet that broke out of the subcrustal chamber. That subcrustal ocean was rich in deuterium,

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “In the alternative, meteors and meteoroids came from the earth.”

            I’m not even going to dignify that rubbish with a response. Please try to stick within the bounds of sanity.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Read the on-line book. Dr. Brown explains how.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “you have not shown how gravitational settling would heat the crust, rather than the core”

            Because the gravitational settling (which never occurred, by the way; this whole canard is just an even more demented version of the idea that the Sun is heated by a Helmholz contraction) would have been IN THE CRUST. What ELSE would it have heated? I note that you haven’t even attempted to propose a mechanism that would have directed all the heat inwards. Why would that be?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The heat release is always in the object that something settled into—or smacked into. (Not that I’m saying that anything did smack into the earth.) I gave you the link; are you going to bother to follow it?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Out of interest, where did Brown get his geology degree?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            He took his geology courses at the University of Arizona. So he is fully cognizant of all the uniformitarian theories.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “The heat release is always in the object that something settled into”

            So you’re saying that the crust fell onto the mantle, generating enough heat to turn the mantle (a thousand miles thick) into a superheated plastic state and raise the temperature of a 6,000 mile wide ball of iron to 4,000K, but the crust itself DIDN’T pick up enough heat to boil a thin skin of water? Nonsense. Utter, utter bilge. Have you even tried to do the maths, or do you just swallow Brown’s claims without bothering to check them?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Follow the links in the book, and you will see it all laid out.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “He took his geology courses at the University of Arizona.”

            Yes, but what university awarded him his geology degree?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            He didn’t get a degree. He took some courses to get up on what uniformitarian geologists say. So? Now why don’t we stick to something a bit more relevant? Or are you one of those “I don’t listen to anyone who doesn’t have the good ol’ sheepskin” kind of guys?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Follow the links in the book, and you will see it all laid out.”

            How about you give me the quick version rather than me [censor]ing myself with stupid by reading a creationist book?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I’m not even going to ask what that means–and you watch your language in my comment space.

            I gave you the short version anyway. And what makes you think that you will make yourself any less stupid by getting a summary from me, rather than the original details from the source?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            OK, I had a glance at the online version. Now here’s what I mean by bukkake’ing myself with stupid:

            “According to the laws of orbital mechanics (described in the preceding chapter), capturing a moon in space is unbelievably difficult—unless both the asteroid and a nearby potential moon had very similar speeds and directions and unless gases surrounded the asteroid during capture.”

            WHY does an asteroid (or any other body) have to have an atmosphere to capture a satellite? Is the Moon within Earth’s atmosphere? Has it EVER been within Earth’s atmosphere? That would be no and no. Satellite capture is purely a matter of gravity. Atmospheres have nothing to do with it. Clearly Brown has as many degrees in astronomy as he does in geology.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Wrong again. How many degrees in astronomy have you? Anything diving toward a primary would shoot right back out again to complete the hyperbola, if it didn’t just smack right into it.

            The Earth and the Moon came into existence together. The asteroid Ida captured its little moon, Dactyl, after they both formed from the debris that shot out from the earth.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “why don’t we stick to something a bit more relevant?”

            More relevant than the fact that a man who doesn’t even have a BSc in geology is throwing out an entire field of science, and trying to replace it with a narrative so absurd that even Answers in Genesis call it quackery?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            If, in that particular instance, AiG are going to fall victim to the same illusion about the overrated importance of “sheepskin,” then I shan’t be responsible, nor shall I hold Walter T. Brown responsible.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “How many degrees in astronomy have you?”

            One more than Walt Brown does.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Irrelevant, anyway. Though I suppose you’re going to tell me that you have a degree in everything we’ve been talking about, eh? I wouldn’t care if you had a hundred degrees. Error is still error, and not all the sheepskin in the world will legitimatize or excuse it.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Anything diving toward a primary…”

            …is not a likely candidate to become a satellite of it. Satellite capture happens when an object is on course to fly past a larger object but gets ulled off track by its gravity and enters a stable orbit.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            So that’s what they taught you, eh? Well, explain to me how a passing body goes from a nearly straight course to a near-circular orbit without any aerobraking or anything else to slow it down. If you’re going to violate Newton’s Laws of Motion, or the First Law of Thermodynamics, I’m going to give you an answer quite similar to that which the small boy gave to the Emperor who had no clothes on.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “explain to me how a passing body goes from a nearly straight course to a near-circular orbit without any aerobraking or anything else to slow it down.”

            I did. Gravity. Aerobraking doesn’t create stable orbits; it creates constant deceleration and an impact. That’s why all the Space Shuttle flights landed rather than becoming expensive moonlets.

            “If you’re going to violate Newton’s Laws of Motion, or the First Law of Thermodynamics”

            I wasn’t planning to, so don’t worry yourself about that.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            But you just did. That explanation you offered, doesn’t make a bit of sense. If any mass approaches another, and enters its sphere of influence only on account of its own movement, why does it not go right back out again to complete the hyperbola? What can possibly stop it? It still would have a positive specific energy. You’re suggesting that an object would go from having positive specific energy to negative. And that stands in violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics, and you know it.

            I’m not suggesting that the moving object would not have a straight course. I do suggest that more than gravity would make an object go from an open orbit (parabola or hyperbola) to a closed orbit (ellipse or circle). Does any rocket probe ever go into orbit without an orbital-insertion maneuver? Did Voyager 1 or 2 get captured? In fact, both probes are sailing out of the solar system completely, after making hyperbolic passes at Jupiter and Saturn (and in Voyager 2’s case, Uranus and Neptune). Did Apollo VIII, X, XI, XII, XIV, XV, XVI, or XVII simply fall into lunar orbit with no engine burn to slow them down? No: they had to perform Trans-Lunar Injection and then Orbital Insertion.

            And you accuse me of absurdity? The idea of satellite capture from gravity alone is simply too absurd for words. The experience of the space programs of NASA, ESA, and JAXA belies the very idea that any object could just fall into a closed orbit without any braking whatsoever.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Though I suppose you’re going to tell me that you have a degree in everything we’ve been talking about, eh?”

            Nope, just astronomy and biology.

            “sheepskin”

            Sheep don’t interest me, unless they’ve been turned into döner kebabs. That’s twice you’ve mentioned sheepskin. Why?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Because, by tradition, sheepskin is the material out of which one makes folders for university diplomas. It therefore is an expression that stands for the requirement that some impose that someone have a degree to be worthy of someone taking him seriously.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “the requirement that some impose that someone have a degree to be worthy of someone taking him seriously.”

            Well, a degree isn’t infallible and there are lots of self-taught people out there, but let’s be realistic here. Walt Brown says that the asteroids and comets are material that was expelled from Earth during the flood. Without getting distracted by little details like escape velocity and the attendant heat release through atmospheric friction, just how big does he thing Earth used to be?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Escape speed? Well, put it this way: the initial breakout that created the flood, opened up a water jet that punched a hole in the atmosphere and shot up at supersonic, or even hypersonic, speed.

            And what is the total mass of the asteroids, anyway? As I hear it, about 1/2300 of the total mass of the earth. In fact, one percent would just about account for the mass of all comets, asteroids, and meteoroids combined.

            And say: if you think that demolishing Walt Brown’s arguments would be so easy, then put your money where your mouth is. I can call him any time you say the word, and the Walt Brown Written Debate can be underway. Those are PhD degrees you have, I presume?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “You’re suggesting that an object would go from having positive specific energy to negative.”

            Of course I’m not, and you know it. An object that goes from a straight path through space into a stable orbit has exactly the same specific energy. All that’s changed is its velocity. Note: VELOCITY, not SPEED.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            That’s not good enough. Positive specific energy = open (hyperbolic) orbit, or a straight course. Negative specific energy = closed orbit. Zero specific energy: parabola.

            So tell me again how you go from a straight path to an ellipse or circle without braking. It does not have the same specific energy. It cannot. I researched this while trying to work out possible transits for a crewed mission to Mars. I learned the concept of specific energy well enough in my research.

            The things that you hoity-toity academics tell each other…!

            And by the way: escape speed is still scalar.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Did Voyager 1 or 2 get captured?”

            No. Were they supposed to? No.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            But by your model, they could have gotten captured. If they had aerobraked by brushing through the atmosphere of any of the gas giants, they could have gotten captured. But since they steered clear, they were either going to crash into the gas giant, or else dive in and shoot right out to complete the hyperbola. They did the latter.

            And if you had an orbital-insertion solution for a spacecraft going into orbit around the Moon, one that did not involve using a reaction-control system, I’m sure that the commanders of the Project Apollo missions would have loved to have heard it. (And I’m sure that Astronaut Jim Lovell, commander of Apollo XIII, and his mates were glad that all they had to worry about was either a straight-in crash or a free-return trajectory, and didn’t have to worry about getting trapped in orbit about the Moon.)

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Those are PhD degrees you have, I presume?”

            Nope, BSc. However as the subject isn’t mechanical engineering I don’t see myself as being at an educational disadvantage, so yes, I’m happy to debate Walt Brown. Any format is acceptable; written, audio or video. If he’s willing to be in San Francisco in mid-January I’ll even debate him live.

            Unlike Ken DeMyer I don’t demand a 20 grand donation from anyone who wants to debate me, but I do recommend that Brown buys a drink for the next soldier he meets.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Well, Walt Brown does have his PhD. And his mechanical-engineering background told him how absurd the propositions of gradualistic plate tectonics really were.

            Now as to the debate, he’d ask you to call as many of your PhD friends as you wanted, form a team, pick one of the PhD boys to lead that team, and he’ll take you all on, one by one or all at once.

            S’matter? Chicken?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Walt Brown does have his PhD.”

            Yes, in mechanical engineering. Next time I want to design an industrial MIG welder I’ll happily defer to his expertise.

            In the meantime, I’m happy to debate him on anything to do with astronomy, geology or biology.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            He’ll still ask that you have another of your friends, who does have a PhD, so that no one—not you, not Richard Dawkins, not Stephen Hawking, no one—can claim afterward that the lopsided difference in academic credentials gave him an unfair advantage. This would be a “controlled experiment.”

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “he’d ask you to call as many of your PhD friends as you wanted”

            No, that’s OK, I’m happy to debate him Mann gegen Mann. I don’t need any help against that quality of argument.

            “S’matter? Chicken?”

            Not at all. You have my email address, I assume, so give it to Brown and we’ll arrange a debate.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            He’s likely watching.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “He’ll still ask that you have another of your friends, who does have a PhD”

            His problem, not mine. I don’t think I need the help of a PhD to debate Brown. My qualifications in the relevant subjects – astronomy and biology – easily outmatch his, so I’ll allow him to call on the support of any of his friends who have a degree in those subjects.

            Of course Brown does have a history of avoiding debates, which I can understand given his lack of qualifications, but I can assure you that after our debate I won’t complain that I was outclassed just because he has a PhD in an unrelated subject. I’m willing to put that in writing before the debate.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            You should do better research than that. He didn’t avoid the debates; the other guys did. He sets forth his terms and conditions for all to see. Follow that link I gave you, and you’ll see exactly what they are.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “If they had aerobraked by brushing through the atmosphere of any of the gas giants, they could have gotten captured.”

            No. If they’d aerobraked they’d have crashed into the planet. Do you REALLY not understand this? An object that’s aerobraking in an atmosphere is DECELERATING. There is no way it’s going to end up in a stable orbit, or do anything else apart from impact. Get close enough to a planet that you’re in its atmosphere and the only way is down.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “He sets forth his terms and conditions for all to see.”

            And very interesting they are too. He’s emailed me them. AT the moment I’m leaning towards a phone debate on the hydroplate nonsense, because the more I read his work the more obvious it becomes that Brown has no idea what he’s talking about and can be very publicly crucified.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Positive specific energy = open (hyperbolic) orbit, or a straight course. Negative specific energy = closed orbit. Zero specific energy: parabola.”

            Do you have any idea what specific energy IS? I have to ask this, because from the above quote it appears that you don’t.

            Now, you seem to be suggesting that all the comets, asteroids etc were blasted out through Earth’s atmosphere at greater than escape velocity. How much heat would this have released into the atmosphere as a result of friction? How many comets and asteroids show evidence of having been subjected to this heating?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Yes, I know what specific energy is. It’s energy per unit mass, with this baseline: anything moving at escape speed, has a specific energy of zero. If it’s slower, the specific energy is negative and the object is bound in a closed orbit. If specific energy is positive, the object is in an open orbit, and at worst, something can pull it off course.

            You suggest that an object’s specific energy can go from positive to negative in a trice. Now maybe as the object passes several other objects in orbit around a certain point, so that suddenly the traveling object is subject to higher gravity because more mass is inside it. But how could an object the size of the moon fall into a nearly circular orbit around the earth? How do you go from eccentricity greater than one (a hyperbola) to near-zero (an ellipse that is more circle than ellipse) from gravity alone?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “But how could an object the size of the moon fall into a nearly circular orbit around the earth?”

            It didn’t. Surely you know how the Moon formed?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            God formed the Moon on Day Four of Creation. You knew I was going to say that, without asking.

            But of course I know what your professors told you: that some other object, as big as Mars, smacked into the earth and splattered away enough mass to make the Moon. Only…I keep seeing those giant-impact theories cropping up. When are you guys going to admit that you violate Occam’s Razor when you keep invoking processes that left no other sign? Why did the giant impactor leave Earth in a near-circular orbit around the Sun? Why didn’t the splatted-off fragments simply orbit the Earth in a ring? And if they did clump together, what’s with the “mass concentrations” beneath the great “maria” on the near side of the Moon?

            I can explain those, by the way. Some of that one percent of the earth’s mass, that escaped into space, slammed into the Moon. The maria are the immediate result. They’re made of basalt, you know—remains of a lava flow. And those big rocks that made those impacts, threw the Moon off-balance and turned the “man face” toward the Earth for good. The impactors also slowed the Moon down in its orbit, so that it has a shorter period. That’s one reason why a month isn’t quite thirty days.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “And those big rocks that made those impacts, threw the Moon off-balance and turned the “man face” toward the Earth for good.”

            Utter nonsense. The Moon is tidally locked to Earth; that’s why one side more or less always points towards Earth. There IS some remaining oscillation, but eventually that will go too.

            “Why didn’t the splatted-off fragments simply orbit the Earth in a ring?”

            Yawn. Gravity.

            “what’s with the “mass concentrations” beneath the great “maria” on the near side of the Moon?”

            Who cares? Why do you think they’re a problem for anything?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Yes, the moon is tidally locked. But why? What locked it?

            Gravitational accretion does not work on a collection of objects that scatter in all directions from an explosion. Accretion can only work on a group of objects that are moving very slowly, if at all, in relation to one another. Comets, asteroids, and meteoroids formed from water, rock and mud that the first break-out of the Flood waters threw into space. The kind of accretion you’re talking about would have to overcome a lot of energy.

            And that you even have mass concentrations, shows that the composition of the moon is uneven. A lot more uneven than that of any other astronomical body of planet or dwarf-planet size. Every model I’ve seen would predict that the composition of an accreted body would be uniform, in density at least.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Yes, the moon is tidally locked. But why? What locked it?”

            Duh. TIDES!

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            And beyond that, the “billions of years” again. But consider this: the masscons are all just beneath the surface on one side. That side happens to be the near side. I maintain that the moon went into tidal lock because the masscons dragged it there, like a detent on the hand-twist volume control on an old-fashioned television set. And it did not take a million years.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “I maintain that the moon went into tidal lock because the masscons dragged it there”

            And I maintain that you have no idea what you’re talking about. Tidal locking occurs because of tidal bulges. That’s why Earth is also slowly becoming tidally locked to the Moon.

  9. ‘Fossilization precludes putrefaction.’ -Terry Hurlbutt, December 2, 2011.

    “Rotting fish yield fossil clues” –BBC News, January 31, 2010

    ‘By watching fish as they rot, scientists have discovered “patterns” that could help interpret some of the oldest and most important fossils.

    ‘The “very smelly” study revealed how primitive marine creatures changed as they decayed.

    ‘The researchers identified particular patterns of deterioration that should help scientists more accurately identify very early marine fossils.

    ‘They published their findings in the journal Nature.
    Dr Rob Sansom from the University of Leicester, UK, who led the study, said that examining fossils was very similar to forensic analysis – putting together a scientific reconstruction of something that happened in the past.
    “Unlike forensics, however, we are dealing with life from millions of years ago,” he said.

    ‘”What we want to get at is what an animal was like before it died and, as with forensic analysis, knowing how the decomposition that took place after death altered the body provides important clues to its original anatomy.”
    This applies particularly to animals preserved as soft tissue remains, which is all that is left of some of the earliest creatures in the fossil record – marine creatures that lived up to 500 million years ago.

    ‘These earliest known chordates had no skeleton, but, in some exceptional conditions, their soft bodies were fossilised and preserved.

    ‘What the researchers wanted to find out was exactly how these animals’ forms might have changed after they died and before they were fossilised.’

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8488179.stm

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Guesswork. Sheer guesswork. Has anyone actually made anything similar to a real fossil?

      And how do you get a fossil of two fish, one plainly in the act of eating the other? That’s just one example.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “how do you get a fossil of two fish, one plainly in the act of eating the other?”

        Not even hard. One fish could have been buried by a mudslide in the act of eating another. It could have choked to death on its meal and sunk to the bottom.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          A mudslide. That’s my whole point. The Global Flood wound up as the Biggest Mudslide of All Time. That’s all that sedimentary rock is: dried mud. The subcrustal ocean made that mud by eroding 800 miles’ worth of a ten-mile crust away at each edge of the breakout point. And in between, the eventual Atlantic Ocean floor heaped up as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “the eventual Atlantic Ocean floor heaped up as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.”

            You’re aware that the mid-Atlantic ridge is actually an active fault that’s spreading at a measurable rate, right?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Wouldn’t surprise me. That’s the break-out point. Didn’t I make that clear earlier?

  10. Fergus Mason says:

    “That’s the break-out point.”

    Yes – for magma.

  11. This entire discussion is pure gold.

  12. “Hey, I never said that the ocean floor hasn’t moved, or the Japan plate, either. I just said that one plate cannot dive underneath another.” -Terry Hurlbutt, December 3, 2011.

    So you accept that tectonic plates exist, you accept that they move, but you don’t accept that when one meets another there is a tendency for them to meet in a kind of join–known as subduction–where one of the plates gets driven lower and the other gets driven higher.

    Here’s a video I’d like you to look at. It’s nothing special, just a middle school level introduction to plate tectonics.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-nIb8JkFrg&feature=related

    Note that one of the plates discussed–the Juan de Fuca plate, is actually right now subducting underneath the North American Plate.

    You may not want to believe it, but that’s what seismology tells us. We also have a record of the last megathrust (subduction-related) earthquake in the region, and of its effects in Japan where a tsunami was recorded, in the year 1700.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, that’s what your interpretation tells you, anyway. I don’t accept that. Walt Brown gives fifteen different reasons why subduction simply cannot occur.

      Show me a video taken by a bathyscaphe observing this kind of thing directly, and I’ll make sure that Brown gets a look at it.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Walt Brown gives fifteen different reasons why subduction simply cannot occur.”

        And Jenny McCarthy gives 15 reasons why vaccinations are a bad idea. Tailgunner Jenny isn’t a doctor. Walt Brown isn’t a geologist. Who cares what they think?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          I care. Especially, in Jenny McCarthy’s case, after having read about postvaccinial encephalitis, Landry-Guillain-Barré Syndrome, et cetera ad nauseam. And also after having gotten the ‘flu anyway, some years, even after getting that bloody ‘flu shot. No, thank you. I’ll wing it from now on.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “And also after having gotten the ‘flu anyway, some years, even after getting that bloody ‘flu shot.”

            Why do you think a flu shot doesn’t give lasting protection? What happens to the virus that allows it to sometimes beat the vaccination?

            Here’s a hint: it starts with E and rhymes with “revolution.”

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Well, at least I should have expected the protection to last the whole bloody season! Instead, the protection didn’t last more than three weeks.

            Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

          • Terry, Mr Mason responses remind me of the descriptions of Galileo’s and other scientist’s trial’s by the Catholic Church back in the Middle-Ages. He can not accept the possibility that the Hydro Plate theory is plausible and can explain things that the accepted, but unproven, theories can’t. That would destroy his world view. So like the ideologues of the Catholic Church of the Middle-Ages he refuses to consider the views and positions he believes in might be incorrect. Thus he refuses to consider what the Hydro Plate Theory states or how it explains things scientist can not explain without making assumption after assumption.

            For instance he can not even see that the theory of evolution flies in the face of common sense and the Law of Thermodynamics. Nor does he consider that over the last 60 years the so-called tree of life has been sliced and diced so that it is no longer a tree but a set of unconnected sections. Cells are complex machines – much more complex than anything man has ever created. And that complexity implies a designer. So he deflects and resorts to insults and name calling. A true scientist always is willing to reconsider he might be incorrect and that his theory or theories may need to be altered when new information becomes available.

            Mr Mason is an ideologue and Dr Brown’s Hydro Plate theory challenges the status quo.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “He can not accept the possibility that the Hydro Plate theory is plausible”

            That’s because it isn’t.

  13. Fergus Mason says:

    “Instead, the protection didn’t last more than three weeks”

    Evolution’s fast, isn’t it?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      If it were that fast, a vaccine would never serve. Now in this case, the USCDC goofed, big-time. They developed their vaccine with the wrong strain. A lot of vacationers to Florida, like me that year (1993), paid for that error. I have since found a much better solution: high doses of Vitamin D.

      Of course, a virus will always remain a virus. It will never make a bacterium. Or do you even consider viruses living? Some biologists don’t.

  14. JamesT says:

    Please post a certificate from an independent doctor that you were aflicted with the same flu strain that you were vaccinated for.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That’s not the issue. I learned later that the CDC goofed. They got the wrong strain (1993). But the problem is the same: I got the ‘flu when I wasn’t supposed to. You cannot expect me to trust the government on a thing like this anymore.

      • DinsdaleP says:

        “I got the ‘flu when I wasn’t supposed to”.

        “They got the wrong strain”

        Those two quotes point out the fallacy in your premise, Terry. There are many strains of the flu, and unfortunately you got one that wasn’t covered by the specific vaccine formulation.

        That doesn’t make flu vaccinations pointless or dangerous – they provide a degree of protection rather than a fail-safe certainty, and for many people, especially the elderly, that protection is far better than rolling the dice each year and hoping not to get gravely sick.

        No one’s being forced to get flu shots, and if you prefer other approaches to staying healthy, that’s great. It’s the general anti-vaccination rhetoric that’s troubling – as someone with a medical background I’d have hoped you’d see the issue as one whether the statistical benefits of certain vaccinations are worth the extremely rare complication.

  15. Adaptation not evolution. The two are not the same.

    We see adaptation all the time in the biological world. The species does not change. Classic survival of the fittest.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “Adaptation not evolution. The two are not the same.”

      Yes they are. No creationist has EVER proposed a credible mechanism that would restrict change to within modern species boundaries, and somehow I doubt you’re going to be the first.

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        The boundaries go a bit beyond the classic species. It’s probably at the family level. Man looks like the exception, but I believe that he’s really in a family by himself.

        Now: show me a viable cross between a cat and a dog—or between a leopard and a wolf. I’m certain you won’t be able to.

        You see, life doesn’t have a tree. It has an orchard. A wonderfully vast orchard of created kinds, each of which can take many forms, and within which you can get viable and sometimes even fertile hybrids. Cats (big and small) are one kind. Foxes and wolves are another. (Our familiar dogs actually come from wolf stock.) Deer (from white-tails to elk) are yet another. And it goes on and on.

        • Fergus Mason says:

          “show me a viable cross between a cat and a dog—or between a leopard and a wolf. I’m certain you won’t be able to.”

          I’m certain, too. So what? Do you think this proves anything?

        • Fergus Mason says:

          What “kind” do hyenas belong to?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            They’re in a kind by themselves.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “They’re in a kind by themselves.”

            Are they? really? Why aren’t they part of “cat kind” like all the other Feliformia?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Because they have cat-like and dog-like characteristics.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            So do cheetahs. Are they in “cat kind”?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Yes, they are. And they blend in quite nicely with the other Big Cats, much better than hyenas do.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “And they blend in quite nicely with the other Big Cats”

            How exactly is a cheetah more similar to a leopard than it is to a hyena? Come to think of it, how is a lion – a social animal that hunts in groups on open ground – less similar to a hyena than it is to a tiger (a solitary jungle ambush predator)? You’re now making up arbitrary “kind” boundaries to try to explain away inconvenient facts, such as that hyenas are feliforms and no more closely related to dogs than a jaguar is.

  16. Fergus Mason says:

    “There are no magnetic reversals on the ocean floor, and no compass would reverse direction if brought near an alleged reversed band.” – Walt Brown

    I’m going to enjoy debating this guy. He doesn’t understand ANYTHING.

  17. My basic reply to you would be show me some evidence of one species becoming another. Every attempt to show it happens has failed. And to say adaptation is the same as evolution is ridiculous. The premise of evolution is one species becomes another species. Adaptation is one species adapting to its environment, not becoming a new species. Just like the moths in old smoky London. Black moths became prevalent in London due to natural selection. They were able to hide better from predators. The were always able to have black as a color. But the species stayed the same.

    In the southwestern US the native Americans have problems with diabetes. The reason is natural selection due to their prior food supply. Now with the foods richer in sugars, the native Americans due to the adaptation their bodies did over the years, make this group of people prone to diabetes. They are not a different species.

    DNA is adaptable. Otherwise we would not see the variations we see in just a single species. Just look at the variations we see in humans. All a single species.

    DNA in related species are adaptable. Consider the result of mating with a donkey and a horse – the result is a sterile animal – a mule. The DNA is only partially compatible even though the animals have a common form. Or look at dogs – breeding of dogs produces not a new species but different breeds. The smallest dog can still be mated with the biggest dog and produce viable offspring. Adaptation not evolution. The definition of adaptation is

    Biology .
    a. any alteration in the structure or function of an organism or any of its parts that results from natural selection and by which the organism becomes better fitted to survive and multiply in its environment.
    b.a form or structure modified to fit a changed environment.
    c.the ability of a species to survive in a particular ecological niche, especially because of alterations of form or behavior brought about through natural selection.

    The restrictions are built into the DNA itself – it does not lend itself to the type of change evolution requires. The DNA of a cat is not compatible with the DNA of a dog. The vary nature of DNA, which is a complex machine beyond our construction, restricts itself. Otherwise we would see examples all over the place and we don’t.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “show me some evidence of one species becoming another.”

      There are dozens of examples. Just Google “observed instances of speciation.”

      “The DNA of a cat is not compatible with the DNA of a dog.”

      Of course it isn’t. Why would you expect it to be?

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “DNA, which is a complex machine beyond our construction”

      Actually DNA has a findamentally simple structure and people have been making it for years. Google “Craig Venter” for one example.

  18. I suppose I should be happy that you’re not so far down the rabbit hole that you reject all common descent out of hand. You recognise that some “kinds” as you call them go back millions of years and form quite a descent shrub of modern animals with common ancestors. You balk at the clear evidence that humans are apes and you might have problems agreeing with the basics of cetacean lineage from land animals, but you’re not completely ignoring the facts.

    I can see, though, why you really are determined to ignore practically all of modern geology. If you accepted the geologic column and the succession of fossils it shows, you’d be forced to do some reasoning about the world that might just convince you of common descent.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I didn’t say that those kinds went back millions of years. I don’t accept the millions of years. What I said instead was that God made several kinds of living creatures. Those kinds have branched out somewhat in the last forty-four hundred years—though actually it goes back six hundred years, because Noah took specimens of every land-dwelling creature aboard the most remarkable life-ship ever built.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Noah took specimens of every land-dwelling creature aboard”

        Let’s have some clarity here. Are you claiming that Noah took specimens of each “kind” on his barge, or each SPECIES? For example did he take a pair of “cat kind” or did he take a pair of tigers, a pair of leopards, a pair of pumas, a pair of lions, a pair of lynx, a pair of margays, a pair of fishing cats, a pair of European wildcats, a pair of sand cats, a pair of ocelots…

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “Noah took specimens of every land-dwelling creature aboard”

        I’m still waiting for some clarification here…

  19. Genghis says:

    “Now: show me a viable cross between a cat and a dog” – what on Earth is that supposed to mean? The question only shows either that you completely misunderstand the processes of evolution, or you are deliberately dissembling for the benefit of those creationists who have no working knowledge of science.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Just this: you have completely different kinds of animals. How can they all descend from one ancestor?

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “How can they all descend from one ancestor?”

        Any textbook on evolution will explain that to you. Geographical isolation is just one way that it can happen. In any case, do you REALLY think that just because two species can’t interbreed now that rules out common descent? If so, why?

  20. Geno says:

    Wow ! ! ! So much going on.

    Terry wrote…. “God formed the Moon on Day Four of Creation”

    I have to wonder… is that Dr. Brown’s scientific explanation for the formation of the moon?

    #####
    Terry wrote:
    In fact, he insists that the team leader have a PhD, so that no one can accuse Brown, who does have his PhD, of being the heavyweight picking on the bantamweight.

    Geno answers:
    Brown has no such requirement for his verbal debate. Is there something about the verbal format that means he wouldn’t be “the heavyweight picking on the bantamweight?”

    #####
    Donald Laster wrote:
    Dr Brown challenges the status quo with a solid science and math based theory based upon available information and you reject it because it does not agree with your predisposed notions.

    Geno answers:
    I reject it because it would cook every living thing on Earth. Just one example is Dr. Brown says his model would release the energy of 1800 TRILLION hydrogen bombs. Dividing that number by the surface area of the Earth gives us over 40 hydrogen bombs in the space of a bedroom (3X4 meters). Apparently, Brown, Hurlbut, and Laster don’t see that as a bit of a problem. I do.

    ######
    Donald Laster wrote:
    Mr Mason, haven’t you ever stood next to a flow of water, hot air or other gas and not been burnt or harmed by it?

    Geno answers:
    We’re not talking just about a flow of water or hot gas. Dr. Brown claims all the meteors, asteroids, and comets were ejected from Earth as the steam erupted from underground. If less than 10% of the material expelled fails to reach escape velocity and returns to Earth, the re-entry heat is enough to boil every drop of water on the planet. My detailed calculations were first posted at:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coCBanned/message/11609

    That’s just one lethal aspect of Brown’s model. This isn’t just a little jet of steam, it’s half the water in today’s oceans being released from an underground chamber where it was stored at temperatures over 700F. That’s a LOT more heat than can be gotten rid of in any reasonable amount of time.

    ######
    Fergus Mason says:
    No, that’s OK, I’m happy to debate him Mann gegen Mann. I don’t need any help against that quality of argument.

    Geno comments:
    Like you, I’d be happy to debate Dr. Brown (in writing) mano a mano. I’ve been trying to engage Dr. Brown in a written debate for over a year. Brown will not engage in a written debate without a PhD being involved. His reasoning for that restriction on a written debate was given by Terry (above). It escapes me why the same concern wouldn’t apply to a verbal debate.

    Further, Brown is not interested in merely defending his model. He wants the written debate to cover the entire creation-evolution disagreement.

    In my discussions, with him, he has reserved the right to bring up issues “related” to my objections concerning his model but has never disclosed what those “related” issues are. Of course, he also reserves the right to have me “disqualified” if I haven’t done my “homework” on those undisclosed but “related” issues. I’m not stupid enough to take up that kind of offer.

    I have no problem with discussing issues that are actually related to my claim his model would release so much energy it would sterilize the planet. But I do not see how, for example, the formation of the Grand Canyon, would be relevant to my claims. While Terry cannot speak for Brown, Terry has indicated such matters would be part of those “related” issues. Hopefully, one can see why I would be suspicious that Brown would use these undisclosed matters to blindside me with material that is not relevant to my claims and have me disqualified.

    Terry wrote (to Fergus):
    “S’matter? Chicken?”

    Geno answers:
    Speaking for myself only…. no. Just not so stupid as to engage in a debate where undisclosed issues can be raised and I can be “disqualified” for not having done my “homework” on them.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      It’s clear that Brown has developed the terms for a written debate to make sure that it never happens; for example he’s looking at four 100,000 word submissions from each side and he insists that the editor of a large publisher is involved.

      I intend to have a verbal debate with him on the hydroplate theory, because that’s where he’s left himself open.

      • Geno says:

        I have declined the verbal debate offer because the arguments I would present involve a lot of calculations and (likely) research (for things like mass of the atmosphere, mass of water on the surface of the earth, etc.) that do not lend themselves well to a timed verbal debate.

        After I pointed this out to Dr. Brown, he did modify his verbal debate offer to include “on-line” exchanges between verbal sessions. I have declined that offer for two reasons (a) few, if any, listeners to the verbal debate would bother to look up the written exchanges and (b) if we can do the written exchanges between verbal sessions, we can do them without the verbal sessions.

        Further, verbal debates are often won with a slick presentation or a sound-bite (example: Reagan’s “there you go again” comment to Carter) rather than substance.

        Finally, there is Dr. Brown’s failure to disclose the “related issues” he thinks are relevant to my claim his model would release so much heat it would sterilize the planet. If he were to do that, I might possibly consider the verbal debate…. but I have no interest in debating matters that are unrelated to my issues.

        • Fergus Mason says:

          I was thinking of just giving the basic parameters and outcomes of the calculations during the debate and referring listeners to the detailed workings, which I’ll make available online. No debate will take place online, just references. I think the maths is a pretty overwhelming case against Brown’s nonsense, because he has nothing even approaching an answer.

          I see your point about soundbites, but given the quality of Brown’s work I’d say that he’s got a lot more to worry about in that department than I do. A lot of the claims he makes in his book are just plain wrong, and an obvious way to discredit his “theory” is simply a series of short, snappy statements that expose just how shoddy the claims it’s based on are. For example his claims about magnetic reversals at the mid Atlantic ridge reveal either deliberate dishonesty or an utter lack of knowledge.

  21. Just because the individual components of DNA are simple does not mean that DNA is simple. Complex systems are built from simple systems.

    • Fergus Mason says:

      But DNA IS simple. To claim that it’s too complex for us to produce is just wrong. Scientists make DNA all the time.

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        Not with all the information that wild-type DNA contains. Not unless that information already exists.

        • Fergus Mason says:

          “Not with all the information that wild-type DNA contains.”

          Yes, with EXACTLY the same information: C,G,A and T. Craig Venter has produced a genome manufactured from scratch.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            No, he didn’t. He started with pre-existing genes. It’s the old joke about God challenging Satan to create as God does. Satan takes a handful of dirt—and God says, “No, no. Get your own dirt.”

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “He started with pre-existing genes.”

            No, he started with the code of a pre-existing genome. Then he altered the code to insert markers and he MADE THE GENOME IN A MACHINE.

  22. Fergus Mason says:

    “Other jetting water rose above the atmosphere, where it froze and then fell on various regions of the earth as huge masses of extremely cold, muddy “hail.”” – Walt Brown

  23. Fergus Mason says:

    “Other jetting water rose above the atmosphere, where it froze and then fell on various regions of the earth as huge masses of extremely cold, muddy “hail.”” – Walt Brown

    This stuff is priceless. Doesn’t he even realise that if you throw something up out of the atmosphere and it falls back, all its potential and kinetic energy GETS TURNED BACK TO HEAT on the way down? This debate is going to be fun. I’m going to incinerate his arguments the way his idiotic “hydroplates” would have incinerated the planet.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Go right ahead. But remember the rules. The rules say to read the whole book, cover-to-cover. I mean, you wouldn’t want to fall into a trap just because you failed to anticipate a counter-argument, would you?

      • Fergus Mason says:

        There are no counter-arguments. Brown himself admits that his “theory” involves blasting 310 million cubic miles of superheated 750°C water into the atmosphere and having it rapidly dump all its heat. I’m going to destroy him with his own numbers.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Is that a fact? Well, just you try it, mate!

          All kidding aside, are you sure you’re not overlooking something?

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “are you sure you’re not overlooking something?”

            Positive. On the other hand I’ve already found at least nine things that Brown has overlooked.

            Brown claims that enough rock and water to form all the comets, asteroids etc was blown out of the atmosphere. What percentage of that material fell back to Earth, do you think? Are you aware that 1% would have been enough to boil off the oceans, even WITHOUT the other sources of heat demanded by Brown’s book? I mean really, Terry, the man thinks hailstones can fall from space (through an atmosphere full of superheated steam, no less) without melting!

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Go ahead and brag. I look forward to reading the transcript.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            But are you going to read it with an open mind? If I demonstrate conclusively that the hydroplate story is not credible and would have sterilised the planet, will you abandon it and look for a better explanation?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            That’s a tall order. Give your best shot, and I’ll answer.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            I don’t see why you can’t answer it now. Will you read the transcript with an open mind or not?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Sure, I will. But I still have confidence in Dr. Brown. And I still say you’re missing something.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            Trust me, I’m not missing anything. I may not be considering something in Brown’s book – in fact I will be disregarding MANY things in Brown’s book – but I’m not missing any relevant facts. The events he imagines would have burned Earth down to a sterilised Venus clone and I can prove that easily.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Come on, now. You know the rules. Read the book, so that at least you have every chance to predict what he’ll say back to you.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            I’ve already read most of the book, but Brown says he wants a SCIENTIFIC debate on his hydroplate idea and that’s what he’s going to get. I am not going to let falsehoods and ignorant errors into the debate; it’s going to be conducted on hard science, specifically thermodynamics, and I don’t need to give any credence to rubbish like his uninformed statements on how elements form. For example Brown thinks that elements heavier than iron can’t form in stellar cores; that’s just nonsense and in the context of a one-hour debate I refuse to let him waste time with it. He can easily read up on how copper forms in stars through beta decay of nickel, so there’s no excuse for him to try to use it on me as part of a Gish Gallop.

            In fact if he DOES try that tactic I’m simply going to say “Gish Gallop” and put down the phone. Points will be raised and answered one at a time.

      • Geno says:

        Terry wrote:
        Go right ahead. But remember the rules. The rules say to read the whole book, cover-to-cover. I mean, you wouldn’t want to fall into a trap just because you failed to anticipate a counter-argument, would you?

        Geno answers:
        I submit the entire offer is a trap. I’ve listened to the recorded conversation between Dr. Brown and David Willis. It was at the urging of David I initially contacted Brown. In that conversation, it was clear Brown has total command of his book. Of course, since this is his life work of some 25 years, that is to be expected. It would take months and multiple readings of his book to get to the point at which I would even be competent to take him on in all aspects of his work.

        Even then, the vast majority of his book is completely irrelevant to my claims. I still maintain if his model sterilizes the planet any other claims he makes are irrelevant.

  24. Billy John says:

    Wow, a lot of different discussions going on here! All interesting in their own but I think I’d like to get back to the ‘original’ topic and article above.

    First of all, regarding the comment that geologic subduction is impossible. This statement is totally FALSE. Subduction of denser oceanic crust under less-dense continental rock is not only possible but it can be “seen” by several geophysical techniques such as electromagnetic (EM), seismic tomography, gravity, and others. Subduction is also evidenced via the mineralogy of pre-subducted oceanic crust and the mineralogy of island-arc magmas and/or lavas.

    As for the “mystery” of fossilized whales found in a high altitude desert, well, mystery solved! Just as oceanic fossils can be found at the peak of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, oceanic fossils can be found at any altitude simply due to organism burial in oceanic environment, followed by fossilization, followed by plate tectonics “in action” causing said fossils to be uplifted during orogenic processes, followed by weathering-erosion exposing said oceanic fossils….. and your “mystery” is solved!

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That you put the passive participle of the verb to see in quotation marks is just as well. I define to see very strictly: to record a visual impression with one’s own eyes, or to record on film or tape or disk or other medium able to store a recording of a motion picture. You’re making an inference, and you base said inference on false premises. And if it wasn’t the same-old, same-old, I could accuse you of the same type of thing that Mr. Mason seems convinced that he will encounter in his upcoming debate: an argumentum verbosum.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “the same type of thing that Mr. Mason seems convinced that he will encounter in his upcoming debate”

        I know exactly what I’m going to encounter: Walt Brown’s utter inability to deal with the heat problems contained in his “theory.”

    • Fergus Mason says:

      “Just as oceanic fossils can be found at the peak of Mount Everest”

      Actually, despite numerous creationist lies, no marine fossils HAVE been found at the summit of Everest. The reason is simple: the summit is buried under ten feet of compacted snow, and nobody who’s made it all the way up there has ever spared the energy to dig for fossilised whelks.

      It’s quite possible that marine fossils do exist there, but they certainly haven’t been found, and in any case real science has a perfectly good explanation if they are. Brown’s hydroplate story, on the other hand, is not compatible with the existence of life on Earth.

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        As you believe you can demonstrate to Dr. Brown in the verbal debate.

        • Fergus Mason says:

          Yes, I believe I can demonstrate that. I don’t even think it’s going to be very difficult.

  25. Geno says:

    Fergus wrote:
    I don’t see why you can’t answer it now. Will you read the transcript with an open mind or not?

    Terry answered:
    Sure, I will. But I still have confidence in Dr. Brown. And I still say you’re missing something.

    Geno points out:
    I have reason to doubt that. I posted my “Fire and Brimstone” claims on one of Terry’s lists months ago. Despite Terry’s possession of an engineering degree and many requests from me he do a few simple “back of the envelope” calculations testing my claims, he has never done so.

  26. Geno says:

    Fergus wrote:
    Brown claims that enough rock and water to form all the comets, asteroids etc was blown out of the atmosphere. What percentage of that material fell back to Earth, do you think? Are you aware that 1% would have been enough to boil off the oceans, even WITHOUT the other sources of heat demanded by Brown’s book? I mean really, Terry, the man thinks hailstones can fall from space (through an atmosphere full of superheated steam, no less) without melting!

    Geno answers:
    You will find a fairly comprehensive analysis of the consequences of returning material in my “Fire and Brimstone” post I linked before. It’s at:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coCBanned/message/11609

    As Brown’s work is still a work in progress and this post was made over two years ago, the links refer to the wrong pages, but the correct information in Brown’s model is within a page or two from the link address.

    My analysis was deliberately written in three levels…. first my claims and a simple explanation of the reasoning; then a FAQ section that is a little more technical; finally the detailed calculations supporting my assertions.

  27. Genghis says:

    Here you go Terry, subduction in action, but I know you’ll just handwave it away.

  28. Thanks, Genghis. Actually I came to post a link to that exact same piece, but you beat me to it. There is an extraordinary gulf between some of the statements made by Terry on this website and easily verifiable facts. But there is no reason why he should remain ignorant forever. Thanks for giving him and those who rely on his opinions the opportunity to inform themselves of the facts.

  29. […] Fergus Mason, address unknown, offered his challenge to Brown on December 3, 2011, in this comment thread. First he said that he had degrees (of […]

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