Evolution: shouldn’t Eskimos grow fur?

Do whales really represent a step in evolution from land back to the sea?
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As a Creationist I tend to watch and read more secular material than most might expect. There is a good reason for this. Usually the secular material provides me with the best arguments against Evolution imaginable – and on many occasions, the material provides me with a good laugh as well. While watching a few minutes of the History Channel’s program entitled The Big History of Everything, a few interesting questions shot through my mind along with a few chuckles.

Evolution: sea to land and back?

The program, besides making a number of assumptions that just don’t make sense and can’t be supported by any credible data, attempted to explain how creatures that evolved in the sea made their way onto land; but then had to go back to the sea in order to reproduce; and then these creatures were able to go back onto land and live because they had figured out how to lay eggs. According to the program, figuring out how to lay eggs enabled them to take part of the sea onto land with them, which enabled them to reproduce on land. The program made a point of asserting how important a development this was. It sounds silly when you write it out this way but they present it in a manner, complete with artists’ renditions and computer-generated images that make you think they actually know what they’re talking about.

Do whales really represent a step in evolution from land back to the sea?

A humpback whale shows its tail off the California coast. Humpbacks are one of the best-known members of the baleen order, the same as the desert whales of the Atacama Desert. Photo: Mike Baird, CC BY 2.0 Generic License.

In this case their hypothesis is more than silly; it is an insult to our intelligence. Stay with me. This gets a little confusing. First of all, Evolutionists would have us believe that one phylum of animal – or whatever they were supposed to be – evolved in water; then they tried to evolve on land but couldn’t; so they went back in the water to evolve their reproductive systems; once they did this, then they came back on land and evolved again. Whew! That’s a whole lot of evolving! And the program left out one very important question: how did this animal develop a respiratory system that enabled it to live on land and not in water? Are we supposed to believe they figured out how to do that as well?

Perhaps the most silly and insulting explanation offered is that these creatures “figured out” how to produce eggs. Really? So the program would have you believe that these creatures that were significantly lower than us on the Evolutionist’s evolutionary chain were able to figure out how to change their entire reproductive system and how to produce eggs, as well as how to develop lungs. Do you know of any of us more highly evolved humans that have figured out how we can biologically produce an egg? Perhaps someone should educate these educators on how complex an egg really is. But more importantly, I would like to ask: if these primitive life forms could figure out how to lay eggs, why can’t Eskimos figure out how to grow fur?

After all, the theory of Evolution would have us believe that phyla evolve through mutation in order to adapt to their changing environment. They use the argument of survival of the fittest to support their argument. Although the fittest do survive in challenging environments, there isn’t any data to support that these “fittest” evolve into a new kind of phyla. For example, if a small cat can’t survive in the arctic but a husky can, is there any evidence that suggests that somewhere along the line the cat evolved into a husky? Of course I’m only using cats and dogs as an example. The proper question should be: if one animal phylum can’t survive in a certain environment, is there any data that supports the idea that the phyla evolved into another phyla that could survive in the harsher environment?

Evolution: reptiles to birds?

All the rage now is that reptiles/dinosaurs evolved into birds. Really? Well, here’s a few questions:

  • How did the scales on these creatures turn into feathers? If you think that seems like a reasonable task, look up the structure of a feather and you will be amazed at its complexity.
  • And since flight would not be possible with only feathers or even with feathers and wings alone but would need an entirely re-designed respiratory system and a lighter skeletal system, then how did these creatures manage to survive long enough to reproduce – especially since partial development of any of these physical attributes would turn these creatures into a new phylum, which would properly be called “Bait”?
  • And where, Mr. Darwin, are all the “innumerable species of transitional fossils” you predicted would be found if your theory were true? Remember, a criterion of the scientific method is that theories have to be predictable. Through the years we have heard of a few popping up here and there, but as time went on, all of them have been found to be hoaxes and frauds – although the discoveries that they were frauds never quite make it into the general public’s discourse. Perhaps it’s why Evolutionists fight so frantically for the known errors and hoaxes to be kept in textbooks.

There are a myriad of valid questions regarding the veracity of Evolution that people are too intimidated to ask, starting with:

  • If through mutation and adaptation one phylum evolves into another in order to survive, then would someone please tell me why observable data provides us with a record of extinction and not a record of transitions into better and more adaptable kinds?
  • And if Evolution is true, why isn’t there a record of transitional fossils for every family of animals known to man – starting with a simple cell which isn’t so simple after all – and all the way up the Evolutionary chain to man?
  • And if Evolution is true, if kinds do evolve in order to better survive in their environments, then will someone please tell me why Eskimos haven’t figured out how to grow fur?

Evolution may have convinced the general population that it is a reasonable answer to many questions regarding origins, but if it is an answer, it’s only because the right questions aren’t being asked.

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RoseAnn Salanitri is a published author and Acquisition Editor for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. She is a community activist who has founded the Sussex County Tea Party in her home state and launched a recall movement against Senator Robert Menendez. RoseAnn is also the founder of Veritas Christian Academy, as well as co-founder of Creation Science Alive, and a national creation science speaker.

207 Responses to Evolution: shouldn’t Eskimos grow fur?

  1. […] Evolution: shouldn’t Eskimos grow fur? […]

  2. Fergus Mason says:

    “Perhaps the most silly and insulting explanation offered is that these creatures “figured out” how to produce eggs.”

    Ah, a typical creationist failure to understand anything whatsoever about evolution.

    Evolution has absolutely nothing to do with organisms “figuring out” how to do things. If you don’t know that you’re completely unqualified to comment on it.

    “will someone please tell me why Eskimos haven’t figured out how to grow fur?”

    They have. They grow it on seals and polar bears.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That isn’t the question. The question is, why are the Inuit not naturally hirsute today? Why, if natural selection is nearly as powerful as you pretend, did not a naturally hirsute race, or even a new species, “evolve” as an adaptation to the harsh environment in which the ancestors of the Inuit decided, for their own reasons, to settle?

  3. Fergus Mason says:

    “is there any evidence that suggests that somewhere along the line the cat evolved into a husky?”

    Of course not; that’s just stupid. Huskies are a totally different branch of the carnivora. Questions like this are why people laugh at creationists.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      And how did the evolutionists decide that? Have the evolutionists left any objective standards to decide what branched into what?

  4. Fergus Mason says:

    “The question is, why are the Inuit not naturally hirsute today?”

    Why would they be? What pressure is pushing them in that direction? Answer: none.

  5. Fergus Mason says:

    “And how did the evolutionists decide that?”

    The fact that cats and dogs are different was known long before the theory of evolution. It’s obvious from physical characteristics. Only a fool would deny that felines and canids are distinct groups, and only a fool would think “Cats don’t evolve into huskies” is a valid argument against evolution.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      So the evolutionists set limits on the strains they care to put on credulity.

      A baraminologist would not have that problem. He would assume that felines and canids each descended, respectively, from a feline or canid ancestral pair.

  6. Fergus Mason says:

    “The cold climate in which they live, of course.”

    No, that’s not a selection pressure; they have clothes, so fur would have costs but no benefits.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      This begs the question of why only human beings have minds. What other animal appropriates the skin of other animals, or else prepares the kind of “fur” you’d never see in the wild? And if human beings have walked this earth nearly as long as you evolutionists pretend, why didn’t any of them develop fur as a part of their bodies? For that matter, why didn’t human beings develop with fur, while the great apes developed fur in abundance?

  7. Fergus Mason says:

    “He would assume that felines and canids each descended, respectively, from a feline or canid ancestral pair.”

    But what would he make of a hyena?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Yet another kind, of course, as different from felines as from canines.

  8. Fergus Mason says:

    “Yet another kind, of course, as different from felines as from canines.”

    And that’s why baraminology fails. Hyenas aren’t equally different from cats and dogs. Both DNA and morphology show that they’re much more closely related to cats.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That’s a matter of opinion, and all relative. The definitive experiment would be attempts to cross-breed hyenas with lions on the one hand, and wolves on the other.

  9. Fergus Mason says:

    “What other animal appropriates the skin of other animals”

    Oh, that’s easy. Hermit crabs.

  10. Fergus Mason says:

    “For that matter, why didn’t human beings develop with fur”

    We did. Then we lost most of it.

  11. Dmitry72 says:

    “How and why?”

    Terry, these are very elementary questions. How about instead of repeatedly asking Ferguson questions, you educate yourself on the subject? All of your questions have compelling answers, but you seem unwilling to actually do the work needed to answer them. This also suggests that you know very little about a topic you seem to rail against; many of your questions amount to asking the geologist “if the world is round, why don’t we fall off the bottom?”

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I don’t need any lecture from you or any other evolutionist on how to conduct what you may, if you wish, consider cross-examination.

      I want someone – I don’t really give an unripe fig who – to explain to my readership, clearly and logically, how these things are supposed to happen.

      I accuse what I call the “scientific hegemony” of deliberate misrepresentation of fact, and of the construction of a totally factitious and fictive narrative that merely purports to explain the fossil record. I do not take anything, repeat anything, in any student textbook at face value. If you or Mr. Mason or any other person expects me to do that, let’s you and they please disabuse yourselves/themselves of that notion right now.

      I also expect you to observe the rules of civility if you do not want me to de-register you again, and maybe report you to WangGuard for splogging so that you will not only never be allowed to register here again, but you will also have a serious issue with registering on any other WangGuard-protected site. Let that suffice for a warning.

  12. Fergus Mason says:

    “That’s a matter of opinion”

    Not really. There is overwhelming evidence that hyenas are feliforms.

    “The definitive experiment would be attempts to cross-breed hyenas with lions on the one hand, and wolves on the other.”

    That’s kind of silly. Could you cross-breed a chihuaha with a seal? No, but they’re both caniforms.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, that depends on whom you ask. That’s what I mean by “a matter of opinion.” Maybe you agree with those who say hyenas are just another genus of cat. But in fact hyenas are a family removed from cats or dogs. Because they have just enough dog-like characteristics that taxonomists do not want to classify them as pure cats.

      As to the cross-breeding, that’s how you really determine that two individuals are of the same kind: can they produce viable, even fertile, offspring, or can they not?

  13. Fergus Mason says:

    “How and why?”

    I have no idea. It’s not complicated though. Humans have managed to selectively breed reliably hairless cats in less than 200 generations. Given that 4 million years separates Australopithecus from anatomically modern humans it wouldn’t take much pressure to achieve it.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      What you ought to know is complicated, is how this could happen so precisely in the wild, with no intelligent influence. That’s a null hypothesis. And the odds against that are too great.

  14. Terry A. Hurlbut says:

    Let it be known that User Dmitry is now de-registered as a user and reported to WangGuard. I warned him. He not only refused to heed my warning; he dared me to carry out the sanction I warned him about. I acted accordingly.

    Let this action be a lesson that need not be repeated.

  15. Fergus Mason says:

    “Maybe you agree with those who say hyenas are just another genus of cat.”

    I don’t think anyone’s saying they’re a genus of cat. They’re not cats. They ARE in the cat half of the carnivore order, along with mongooses (mongeese?) and of course cats.

    “But in fact hyenas are a family removed from cats or dogs.”

    This is correct. Cats are in the family felidae. Hyenas are in the family hyenidae. Both are in different superfamilies of the suborder feliformia.

    “Because they have just enough dog-like characteristics that taxonomists do not want to classify them as pure cats.”

    Er no. Nobody wants to class them as “pure cats” (there isn’t any other kind of cats) because that’s not what they are. They are, however, in the cat branch of carnivores rather than the dog one. Hyenas are no more closely related to dogs than they are to bears or seals. They ARE more closely related to cats (and civets, and mongeese) than they are to bears, seals – or dogs.

  16. Fergus Mason says:

    “What you ought to know is complicated, is how this could happen so precisely in the wild”

    Not sure what you mean by “precisely” here. Speaking for myself my lack of hair compared to most other mammals is distinctly relative, not absolute. Large parts of my body are covered in hair. That doesn’t exactly yell “precise.”

  17. MatthewJ says:

    “Why, if natural selection is nearly as powerful as you pretend, did not a naturally hirsute race, or even a new species, “evolve” as an adaptation to the harsh environment in which the ancestors of the Inuit decided, for their own reasons, to settle?”

    First, you’re ignoring the anatomic variations that Inuit and other long-term cold dwellers actually do have (nose anatomy, limb/torso/pelvis proportions, BMR, etc) and focusing on something that they don’t have. I guess you prefer to see the glass as half-empty instead of half-full.

    Natural selection acts upon genetic variation already existing in a population. Natural selection does not cause that variation – that’s the effect of mutation and sexual reproduction reshuffling alleles. There is no reason why a particular mutation does _not_ arise in a population, any more than there is a reason why a particular atom of a radioactive element does not decay in a given time period. The mere fact that a particular mutation may be helpful in a given environment does not induce, encourage, or favor the formation of that mutation – although if it does by chance occur, the beneficial effects may allow it to be selected for. Inuit would possibly gain an advantage from gills, or a layer of subcutaneous blubber, or the ability to synthesize vitamin C, or countercurrent heat exchange blood vessel plexuses, or X-ray vision, or telekinesis, but those mutations haven’t happened either. Just bad luck so far. If they lived there in isolation for another hundred thousand or million or hundred million years, those features might arise. But then again they might not. Your odds of winning the lottery don’t go up if you really really really need the money.

    You also assume that thicker hair or more of it would ‘obviously’ have a survival advantage among cold-dwelling peoples. That may be the case, but it’s not a tautology. Regardless of the specific cause of hypertrichosis, there may be survival disadvantages as well – increased susceptibility to skin parasites or dermatologic conditions, or more time required for personal grooming, for example. When you look at the specific forms of hypertrichosis that have arisen historically, they often come with different complications depending on specific etiology – like gum hypertrophy (a cause of dental pathology) or, if due to increased androgen production, decreased fertility in females. It seems that many of the _known_ ways of causing hypertrichosis in humans have undesirable side effects. That is not to say that some novel dominant mutation might not spring up that produces a thick, healthy pelt with no associated morbidity, but we haven’t seen it yet. Meanwhile we wait for that atom of U-238 to decay while we are looking at it. Also, it’s difficult to predict how much of a survival advantage there would be to hypertrichosis among humans who already know how to co-opt the fur of other animals by making clothing. Certainly it is true that a good hat does more to keep your head warm than your hair does, and a hat can be removed when you wish to dump heat.

    In human populations (and to some extent other animal populations), we also have to account for other forms of selection as well. Humans embedded in a particular culture may favor or disfavor traits in spite of their effects on health and fitness. The Hapsburg Jaw, for example, would likely have gone extinct except for the efforts of European royalty to keep their possessions undivided and their bloodlines ‘pure’ by intermarrying only amongst themselves. They were selecting for concentrated political power, and that conscious drive was strong enough to proceed in the face of the deterioration of their health and fertility.

    At the other end of the spectrum are groups in which any deviation from the acceptable physical norm at birth results in infanticide (see Spartans or Romans for examples), even if those might not have been genetic abnormalities or even been germane to survival, like a so-called “witches’ mark”. So a novel phenotype has to be acceptable socially as well as being physically advantageous. Here’s an exercise for the reader: the desirability of adult male facial hair seems to be a matter of social fashion: whether men are encouraged to shave or grow heavy beards varies across cultures and over time in the same culture, even among groups where the men have relatively less or more facial hair. But are there any cultural or ethnic groups in which heavy facial hair in _women_ is considered the beauty ideal? I can’t think of any, and if you want an evopsych explanation it could be because many of the conditions that cause hirsutism in women are associated with decreased fertility.

    “How and why [did humans lose most of their fur]?”

    You didn’t ask when, but I’ll throw that in: probably at least 1.2 million years ago, maybe more. That’s based on genetic analysis, since hair and skin don’t fossilize well. Genetic analysis also suggests that this was followed by the development of more skin pigmentation, which would make sense as the UV protective effects of fur were lost. Failing well-preserved human skin fossils showing hair imprints, there is likely no way to nail this date down without using genetic models.

    There are a number of theories as to _why_ humans have less terminal hair than other great apes. Note please that our hair follicle density is about the same as chimpanzees, etc., but humans produce more fine vellous hairs instead of dark terminal hairs. So we didn’t lose hair, we just changed the type. There is no ‘smoking gun’ piece of evidence that can definitively prove one theory over the others; they may all be partial contributors to a combined effect, and no single theory is without significant shortcomings. Roughly speaking, those who favor an adaptive effect for our relative hairlessness point to two or three effects, separately or in combination: thermoregulatory, parasitic, and sexual selection. While we have roughly the same amount of hair as other apes, we do have more sweat glands. ‘Hairlessness’ and increased ability to sweat suggest that being able to dump heat more efficiently was advantageous to our hominid ancestors – allowing them to move out of the trees into the open and/or travel for longer periods without overheating. Perhaps as brains increased in size, tighter thermoregulation became more critical. A second theory suggests that decreased terminal body hair allowed for decreased parasite load or increased ease of detecting and removing parasites – less time spent grooming allows more time for other activities, or allows groups to be larger. A third possibility is that sexual selection plays a role: consider again the finding in modern humans that while hairiness in men’s faces goes in and out of style, hairlessness in women’s faces is almost universally preferred. Why? Well, _if_ facial hair in protohumans became hormone-sensitive, as it is in modern humans (hair development is hormone-sensitive in the great apes as well, but in different patterns [eg silverback male gorillas]) then the females with the least hairy faces would be those with the lowest circulating androgens, and the greater resulting fertility. Males who prefer/mate with less-bearded females tend to have more babies who are less bearded, and the preference is passed on and becomes stronger until protohumans select themselves into more generalized hairlessness.

    It’s also possible that human ‘hairlessness’ is not really an adaptive trait in and of itself at all. The embryonic ectoderm goes on to form the nervous system, tooth enamel, and epidermis. Perhaps the mutations that altered the neuroectoderm of protohumans and led to increased brain size and intelligence also affected the other end products of ectoderm development, so relative hairlessness is a byproduct of adaptive changes in brain development. If ‘hairlessness’ is strongly linked to some other adaptive trait, it could be carried along even if it was neutral or even deleterious in isolation.

    Yet another possibility is that hairlessness in protohumans was a purely neutral mutation that just happened to go to penetration in the (much smaller) population by genetic drift. The smaller the breeding population, the easier this is of course. Genetic analysis also suggests that the protohuman population of 1.2 million years ago went through a bottleneck of ~14,000 individuals. Just FYI.

    There is really no definitive answer to this other than to say “well, it happened”. Whatever the reasons for it’s arising, though, it seems to be pretty well entrenched in modern humans. As you point out, there aren’t any modern human populations that have as much terminal hair as gorillas or chimps, and the conditions that do result in furry modern humans typically come with significant deleterious side effects either survival-based or socially-reproductively based.

  18. PHVogel says:

    I’m with Dmitri: Your objections reveal such a fundamental ignorance of evolution that it really is like asking “If the world is round, why don’t the people at the bottom fall off?” And, then, when someone explains why, asking “Well, then, why doesn’t all the water gather at the bottom?” A couple of hours spent with a book on evolution that wasn’t written by a creationist would, at least, put you in the position of asking meaningful questions (and writing objections that aren’t foolish).

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That was cute. But it’s also a false analogy. “A book on evolution that wasn’t written by a creationist” might give me the party line. But it will not give anyone the truth.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      And just one more thing: if you registered on this site for no higher purpose than to carry the torch for a user whom I just had to ban and blacklist, you risk the same treatment I meted out to him. Let that suffice.

  19. PHVogel says:

    And creationist books don’t carry the party line? Interesting claim: there exists creationist books that don’t support creationism? More importantly: Isn’t reading creationist books to find out about evolution sort of like reading a book written by an atheist to find out about Christianity? When I want to find out about creationism, I read books by creationists–it seems only fair.

    You are free to “punish” whoever you want, of course (interesting word choice). But I hardly think that I’m being uncivil. Would your objection be that I’m not toeing the party line? I thought that was a bad thing…

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Sometimes one party has the truth and the other party doesn’t. The creation narrative is self-consistent. The evolutionary narrative is not self-consistent. Nor is it consistent with other laws of nature that practitioners of other disciplines know, understand, and respect. The most notable of these is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Here’s another: information does not write itself. Something, or rather someone, has to write it.

  20. PHVogel says:

    The second law of thermodynamics says that heat can not of itself pass from a cooler object to a hotter object (thank you Flanders and Swan). I do realize that creationists deliberately reword this to say that a “entropy must increase in a closed system”: but that isn’t what the law says (entropy can remain constant) and it doesn’t even begin to apply to evolution which isn’t a closed system. I don’t know of what science gives you the rule “Information doesn’t write itself” law. Of course “information” is a loaded term, isn’t it: it suggests that something has meaning.

    But, of course, if you already have the “truth” no further investigation/learning is required, is it? Certainly, reading anything that disagrees with the truth would be a waste of your time. And that does make things very simple.

    By the way, I thought that MatthewJ did what you ask and provided you (and your readers) with the explanation you requested.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Entropy must increase, if not in the system then certainly in the surroundings, in any irreversible process. And only purposive action can inform a system. Only a true Architect can bring order out of chaos.

  21. James B says:

    Terry, your statement that”Evolution breaks the Second Law of Thermodynamics” is incorrect. SLT says that entropy cannot decrease *in a closed system*. Living organisms aren’t closed systems because they constantly exchange energy with the environment. If entropy is lost from organisms as they become more complex in the course of evolution, a greater amount of entropy is gained by their environment.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Don’t give me that “closed system” hogwash. Raw energy cannot inform. What matters isn’t whether the system is open or closed, but whether any part of any given process, cyclic or otherwise, is irreversible.

  22. James B says:

    Terry, in what sense does the (ir)reversibility of natural processes have anything at all to do with Darwinian evolution? Please would you explain the science behind your statement.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Irreversible processes are the drivers of entropy. They also are associated with the loss, i.e., the literal destruction, of information, and never its creation.

      It takes thought to create information, and deliberate, purposive action to impress that information on any system.

  23. PHVogel says:

    Well, if you’re going to quote the second law of thermodynamics then you have to live with it: The second law only refers to closed systems. You can’t just dismiss the stuff you don’t like about it as “hogwash” (or, if you do, you have to give up on using the second law as part of your proof). The Sun is busy pouring energy into the earth. The sun may be giving up energy but year over year the earth has more energy in it than it did before. If you tried to treat the earth as a “closed system” it wouldn’t make any sense.

    And, again, what part of science do you get “only purposive action can inform a system”? If you’re going to invoke consistency with science as the reason why evolution doesn’t make sense then you don’t get to make up your own laws. If, on the other hand, you’re just going to make up your own laws then you can’t claim that it’s some discrepancy with science that you’re objecting to.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      It is still not enough to declare that the earth is open to show it is immune to an increase in entropy. Besides: closed systems may still gain or lose energy. Open systems also gain or lose mass.

  24. PHVogel says:

    Umm: Closed systems can’t gain or lose energy. That’s what “closed” means: nothing in nothing out. In a closed system what happens over time is that the energy locked into the system becomes evenly spread throughout the system (that’s the definition of entropy: no peaks or valleys).

    A system that is having energy pumped into it (like the earth) isn’t a closed system–that’s what the words mean. It’s not a case of whether the earth is “immune to entropy” or not. It’s just not relevant. It’s like saying that a hunk of iron is “immune to measles”: the infectious model of disease does’t apply to things that can’t be infected. And none of this has anything to do with the second law of thermodynamics which merely says that energy can’t pass from a cooler object to a hotter object–especially in a system that has a hotter object (that would be the sun) pumping energy.

    And what your misunderstanding of the words “closed system” and the second law have to do with your passionate desire to never learn anything about evolution (and, yet, to write articles about it) is also a mystery.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You’re talking about an isolated system, not a closed system. The way I learned it, a system can be isolated, closed, or open.

  25. Fergus Mason says:

    “It is still not enough to declare that the earth is open to show it is immune to an increase in entropy.”

    Actually yes, it really, really is. Entropy is energy unavailable for work. If you’re constantly blasting gigajoules of energy into a system you can reduce entropy as much as you like.

  26. Fergus Mason says:

    “The way I learned it, a system can be isolated, closed, or open.”

    That’s the case when you’re dealing with the transfer of matter. Under that definition a closed system is one where energy can enter or leave, but matter can’t. In the context of the SLT all that matters is energy, so a closed system corresponds to an isolated system. And Earth isn’t one.

  27. Fergus Mason says:

    “Irreversible processes are the drivers of entropy.”

    No, they’re not. Here’s an example. Entropy is energy unavailable for work. Carbon dioxide is inert; it doesn’t do anything much. However let a plant absorb it, and ADD ENERGY (sunlight, in this case) and it can be turned into sugars, which are a store of chemical energy. Entropy has just decreased locally, even if it’s increased in the universe as a whole. I wish creationists would drop the SLT and find a new argument, because this one has become really boring.

  28. berndbausch says:

    Hey, you are featured on rationalwiki (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/RationalWiki:What_is_going_on_in_the_clogosphere). This is how I came here. Others have provided excellent comments on how evolution works, I just wanted to add that being from Europe, where your creationism is really at the fringe of society, I have a hard time understanding your obsession to want to prove a scientific theory wrong that has a huge amount of evidence and that is all but accepted by scientists. It’s like watching a very foreign culture in action, say from the highlands of New Guinea or from Mars.

    And by the way, here I chuckled: “how did this animal develop a respiratory system that enabled it to live on land and not in water?” Yes, how indeed? Perhaps scientists have an answer; meanwhile check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lungfish.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You argue from authority (actually, “clout”) and numbers, same as global warmists do. And your “evidence” consists of misinterpretation.

      And I’m not responsible for the opinions of a bunch of cybervandals and cyberstalkers. Which is all the un-worthies at (Ir)RationalWiki are.

  29. PHVogel says:

    By golly, you’re right! Closed systems do exchange energy (but not matter); isolated systems do not exchange energy, either. My insulated water bottle (with its lid on) is an isolated system; My non-insulated water bottle (with its lid on) is merely a closed system. As a closed system, the earth is still plainly having energy pumped into it, thanks to the sun.

    And this still begs the question: What does this have to do with evolutionary theory? Are you saying that children must be exact duplicates of their parents “because of the second law”? Or that if children are different from their parents that can never have an impact on how many children they have (vs. other parents’ kids) “because of the second law”? Or are you saying that any difference between parents and their children constitutes “information” and that…”second law” (I couldn’t figure out the connection)?

  30. berndbausch says:

    Thanks for replying to my concern.
    “You argue from authority”
    Of course! I need to listen to people who have been researching this for 150 years. I am not a biologist. Some of the commentators here seem to be though, or at least know much more about the matter than I do. It’s good to learn.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Let me get this straight: you justify argumentum ab auctoritate and argumentum a populo, though these are both logical fallacies?

      Repeating someone else’s argument is one thing. The argument we must judge is his argument, not yours.

      But what you do is say, “He says it, and he is a man of clout; therefore it must be so.” That is the classic argument from authority. And it is no more valid than is a circular argument.

      You also seem to say, “A majority of the people cannot be wrong.” Or, “a majority of the community of scientists cannot be wrong.” That’s not valid either. History is replete with example after example of new discoveries proving the majority wrong.

  31. James B says:

    Terry, you still haven’t explained why you say, “It takes thought to create information, and deliberate, purposive action to impress that information on any system.” This statement simply isn’t correct. Pattern formation and the evolution of organismal development (often called evo-devo) is a vigorous area of scientific research at present. There is a simple introduction on WP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_formation#Biology. Also look at the section on the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction. I realise you’re a medical doctor, so you might find this WP page quite elementary. In which case, you may enjoy reading more about pattern formation in organisms in books by Sean Carroll (about animals) or Enrico Coen (plants).

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You’re arguing from authority again. If patterns form that easily, it wouldn’t be too great a stretch to question the basis of all human thought. Which is part of the Progressive message anyway.

  32. James B says:

    No, I’m arguing from going to numerous lectures about *experiments* on pattern formation. Good scientific lectures always involve rigorous discussion of the experimental evidence. I’ve told you where you can find an elementary introduction to the subject and two popular science books where you can read about it in more depth. They explain the experiments and their results at a level where a thoughtful person who is not a specialist in evo-devo can follow them. Specifically, the books I suggest are, ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’ by Sean Carroll and ‘The Art of Genes: How Organisms Make Themselves and ‘Cells to Civilizations: The Principles of Change That Shape Life’ by Enrico Coen.

    Also, you say, “If patterns form that easily, it wouldn’t be too great a stretch to question the basis of all human thought.” You’re right: modern experiments on pattern formation do indeed indicate that intelligent thought is not required to generate even very complex patterns in nature. Just take 10 seconds of your time to look at the video of the B-Z reaction (see my previous comment).

    You could also consider how energy condensed into a limited number of types of particle very shortly after the Big Bang – another kind of pattern formation. No intelligent thought was required.

  33. Thomas says:

    Mr Terry,

    Biology 101 recap: evolution requires both mutation and selective pressure. Mutation for variation, selective pressure for direction.

    Bottom line in answering the main question: because not having excessive hair does not kill eskimos nor stops them from reproducing. Therefore, there is insufficient selective pressure for evolving excessive hair.

    Elementary.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Mutation only makes things worse, not better. “Insufficient selective pressure,” my eye.

  34. Thomas says:

    Hello again Mr Terry, I’m afraid I must object.

    Mutations are either:
    – neutral, no significant effect, common
    – negative, yielding a phenotype with a disadvantage, common
    – positive, yielding a phenotype with an advantage, rare

    Beneficial mutations are rare but by no means non-existent. Again elementary, I’m afraid. How many examples of beneficial mutation would you require?

    Also, It appears you have issues with regard to “insufficient selective pressure” in the furry eskimos case. Would you be so kind as to point out what exactly is not to your satisfaction?

    I am kindly offering you my services to clarify.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I’ll save you some time: this earth hasn’t even been around long enough for those selective pressures to work, or for any “beneficial mutations” to produce any survival value.

      • Thomas says:

        Well Mr Terry, if you still think the earth is 6000-ish years old, you are beyond salvation, so to speak. I could pile up evidence for that being untrue sky-scraper high. However, previous discussions with your likes have taught me you people have an unhealthy contempt for evidence.

        There is one thing you should have a think about though. How do you like your world view not having any _predictive capabilities_?

        Mr Terry, that is the bottom line of science. Science does have predictive capabilities, and thrives because of that. Biblical explanations for natural phenomena have succumbed over the centuries and will continue to do so until nothing is left. The pace is quickening. Can you feel the bedrock crumbling under your feet?

        Now, I have understood you are a patriot of some sort. I assume your goal is for the USA to thrive, yes? Allow me to give you some advice. You are part of what is holding your country back. Stop. Just stop. Stop inflicting your personal stupidity onto your nation. The bible speaks of sacrifice. Here is your chance: become silent, delete your blog, publicly repent of your sins. For your sin is dishonesty. Claiming to know something which you do not know and cannot know for lack of evidence.

        The universe is what it is whether you like it or not. Here’s a recap:

        You (and I as well) are insignificant beings made of stardust, on an insignificant planet, in an insignificant solar system, in an insignificant arm of an insignificant galaxy. All part of the 4% of matter that happens to be visible in the universe. There is no God that cares about you, that listens to the sound waves you produce when you pray, that gives about what you eat or who you sleep with and in what position, that judges you when you die or punishes you when you have been a bad boy. Your purpose in this universe is the same purpose of the hills you walk in, the same purpose of the air you breathe, the same purpose of the virus that makes you sick, the same purpose of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

        There is no purpose, we simply are. For a short amount of time. So yeah, I can imagine that thought makes folks feel uncomfortable. I call it coming of age.

        Now Mr Terry, it is never to late to come of age.

        Have a nice day.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Actually, it’s more like seven thousand. But I have a larger point: if you registered as a user on this site, just to leave that screed, I pity you. Of course you have summed up the nihilist position quite nicely. But yours is the position without predictive value, not mine. Your position also leads men to expect a dead end. A society goes quietly insane with that attitude. It happened to ancient Greece, and then to ancient Rome.

          Will Durant said it best: religion attends the birth of civilization. Philosophy buries it.

  35. James B says:

    “Mutation only makes things worse, not better.” Where to start…? How about the famous experiment by Richard Lenski showing that bacteria can mutate to acquire the capacity to metabolise a new carbon source. Or the CCRdelta32 mutation for resistance to HIV in humans. Or melanism in moths in newly industrialised areas. Or many mutations which give microbes the capacity to be resistant to antibiotics and pesticides. And many others.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Richard Lenski’s conclusion, as far as I’m concerned, remains more asserted than proved.

  36. MatthewJ says:

    I see that we have wandered far afield of the question of why Inuit and other cold-dwelling peoples don’t have fur since last I commented. The new topic seems to be the Second Law of Thermodynamics as applied to evolution, although it still is not clear to me why Dr. Hurlbut feels that they are in conflict.

    The Second Law does not prevent organisms from converting simple chemical compounds into complex structures. It does not keep a fertilized egg from developing into a mature organism. It does not, apparently, even prevent speciation as even Creationists concede that new species of animals have arisen since the base ‘kinds’ were unloaded from the Ark. Organisms take in energy from the environment (in various forms – e.g. chemical or electromagnetic), utilize it to perform work with with varying degrees of efficiency, and ultimately radiate their utilized portion away or leave it bound up temporarily in the form of energetic compounds or concentration gradients or gravitational potential energy, etc. None of which keeps the entropy of the Universe as a whole from increasing over time.

    As to the statement that ‘information doesn’t write itself… [someone] has to write it’ – I wonder if you are familiar with the use of stochastic genetic algorithms to ‘design’ radio antennas, or electronic circuits, or other things? A process of randomly generated designs are tested, the most functional designs are noted and combined along with a random ‘mutation’, and the process is repeated over multiple ‘generations’ until a final design is arrived at that best satisfies the selection criteria. It works well enough that NASA has used it to design satellite antennas. The designs produced are ‘novel’, both in the sense that they are manifestly not what a human engineer would design from scratch, and ‘novel’ in the sense that they arose from random, unguided, unthinking mutations/recombinations of previous designs.

    So, I don’t see why a thermodynamic law that does not prevent embryonic development or biological life functions or speciation is supposed to prevent evolution.

  37. MatthewJ says:

    “Mutation only makes things worse, not better”

    That is simply untrue, and a physician should know better.

    Qs:Is each new strain of flu weaker than the last? Are bacteria less and less resistant to antibiotics over time? Are there subgroups of humans with innate resistance to certain infectious diseases based on mutant alleles? By what process do B cells generate novel antibodies to fight infectious agents?

    As: no, no, yes, mutation

  38. MatthewJ says:

    Sorry, one last one real quick:

    ““Insufficient selective pressure,” my eye.”

    Well, you’re half right, perhaps. A better answer would have been “the absence of a mutation or mutations in the population resulting in hypertrichosis, combined with insufficient selective pressure since there is nothing to select.” That which does not exist can’t be selected either for or against – by the cold hand of nature, or the bloody hand of a superstitious shaman, or the invisible hand of the market of sexual selection.

    The selective pressures of living in the Arctic have already been sufficient to result in limb proportion changes, nasal anatomy changes, jaw/tooth changes, and others among the Inuit. So IF some benign form of hypertrichosis were to arise, it would either be selected (+/-) or drift, just like those other traits did. You assume again that it would be a slam-dunk genetic winner and would be selected _for_. Possible, of course, but unproven.

  39. Thomas says:

    I had the pleasure of visiting Vienna’s museum of natural history last weekend and lay my eyes upon the Venus of Willendorf. An ancient little statue that’s dated around 23000BC. Truly remarkable. Not to mention some exquisite trilobite fossils, an amazing species that ruled the world over a time span of about 250 million years. I digress.

    A 7000 year old universe is disproven by merely gazing upon the night sky. I beg you, we need scientific literacy, not superstitious nonsense.

    I do not consider myself a nihilist. On the contrary, I love life and I enjoy understanding the nature of things. The insignificance of our being does not prevent us from thinking big. The gravy on my short time span on this blue marble is the joy of finding things out.

    I pity you, Mr Terry, for missing out on all the wonders of nature and the universe. For the universe is far more interesting than anything religion can possible contrive. It merely takes an empty cup and the courage to go out there and investigate. True courage to dismiss previous assumptions in the light of new evidence.

    Your cup is already full I am deeply sorry to see.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I do not accept that date. As you know, I question the reliability of the dating methods used to give dates of that kind.

      The starlight-and-time “problem”: assumes without warrant that time is constant over the entire cosmos. I have treated that subject before. Why don’t you search the archives?

      What’s the point of “loving life” if it’s all going to run down in a heat death, and that’s all anyone looks forward to?

  40. James B says:

    Terry, you said, “Richard Lenski’s conclusion, as far as I’m concerned, remains more asserted than proved.” What is your alternative hypothesis?

    Lenski’s conclusions have nothing to do with his, your, my or anyone else’s personal opinion. He found a bacterium which had evolved to use citrate as a sole carbon source and which was in other respects identical to its progenitor. As you know, science works by disproving hypotheses not proving them. If you don’t think Lenski’s result means that a bacterium mutated in such a way that it acquired a new, beneficial biological function, you need to state an alternative hypothesis which can be tested experimentally.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      My alternative hypothesis is that he somehow switched on a latent gene and maybe identified a new strain of E. coli that had the new capability he identified. That’s far from creating a new species of bacterium.

  41. James B says:

    Terry, you asked, “What’s the point of “loving life” if it’s all going to run down in a heat death, and that’s all anyone looks forward to?”

    You could read Erasmus or just ask your kids. I guess it’s a giant Ponzi scheme where the love gets passed down the generations, from our little furry ancestors 300 million years ago down to whatever our descendants will be 300 million years hence, through our parents, us and our children. Few people suffer from the nihilistic idea that the end of the Earth in 10 billion years time means we shouldn’t love our kids right now.

  42. Fergus Mason says:

    “My alternative hypothesis is that he somehow switched on a latent gene”

    Except we know that’s not the case, because Lenski’s methodology is extremely rigorous and checkable. A mutation occurred which gave future generations descended from that strain, and no other, the ability to evolve the c+ trait. And Lenski has frozen samples to prove it.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      And he consistently refused to back up his assertion when asked.

  43. Fergus Mason says:

    “What’s the point of “loving life” if it’s all going to run down in a heat death, and that’s all anyone looks forward to?”

    Well, the heat death of the universe will probably occur about ten trillion years from now, whereas I don’t expect to see 2060. Therefore the bleak existential pointlessness of a cosmos uniformly filled with cool grey soup doesn’t hold a central place in my life plans.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Kick the can down the road, eh? Filmmaker Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause) knew better than to expect the young people of his day to accept that.

  44. MatthewJ says:

    “My alternative hypothesis is that he somehow switched on a latent gene and maybe identified a new strain of E. coli that had the new capability he identified. That’s far from creating a new species of bacterium.”

    That is an interesting hypothesis. What evidence do you have to support it?

    Blount, Lenski, and others have a different take on the matter, backed up by roughly four years of further investigation into the nature of the mutations that led to the development of the Cit+ phenotype in one of their E. coli cell lines. Their results were published in Nature back in 2012 ( abstract at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7417/full/nature11514.html ; full paper at http://www.blount-lab.org/uploads/2/3/0/3/23037222/blount_et_al_2012.pdf ). Their analysis showed that duplication mutations produced extra copies of the citT gene which were under the control of a different promoter region than that of the (original and still present) citT gene. It’s actually very well laid out. The novel rnk-citT module that they focused on is not present in the frozen ancestral strains, so it’s not ‘latent’. Additional duplications of the rnk-citT module in later frozen samples result in increasing ability to take up citrate in aerobic conditions.

    Or so they _claim_, of course. Skeptical institutions with the appropriate facilities could repeat the experiments to confirm or refute the results. I don’t know of any creationist research organization that has stepped up to do that, however. They seem to accept Blount and Lenski’s findings on their face but dismiss the results as trivial.

    As to whether this represents a new species, or just a novel strain of E. coli – I guess that’s a question for the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP) and the International Union of Microbiological Societies (Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology Division). I don’t know if this issue has come before them, but they are the ones who make the final call.

  45. Nathaniel Roubideaux says:

    “My alternative hypothesis ”

    Your alternative hypothesis is incorrect. A recent paper discussing further insights from the long-term experiment reflects that indeed new and novel genes arose by known mechanisms. The pervasive YEC dismissal of the Lenski experiment is disappointing. I think they’d do well to consider accepting it or coming up with some better arguments.

    Check out. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3461117/ It’s a very interesting paper that Mr. Blount discussed in response to a claim made by a YEC that Mr. Ham featured in his side of the Ham/Nye debate.

  46. Thomas says:

    The only interesting aspect of John Hartnett’s starlight hypothesis is his confirmation bias. Interesting to psychologists, that is, not to physicists. Bad science is as polite is I can put it.

    Fun fact: there’s a tree in Sweden that’s 9500 years old, it’s called Old Tjikko. Isn’t that fascinating? Whoa, he must have survived the world-wide flood then! Or perhaps the flood didn’t really happen… let’s ponder on that for a while.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Do you deny your own confirmation bias?

      About that tree: that’s a clonal organism, not a single organisms. Someone probably totted up the individual apparent ages of the members of the clone to produce that aggregate age. I haven’t seen anyone but a dedicated evolutionist who is really willing to hang his hat on any particular dating method for clonal organisms.

      The oldest single-organism bristlecone pine is about 5,000 years old. That goes along with the recent determination by Walter T. Brown and myself of the most likely date for the Global Flood. By extrapolation (you might call it “retropolation”) of cometary orbits, it is a range between 3190 and 3390 BC. By king lists, event intervals, and patriarchal ages, it is 3343 BC.

      • Thomas says:

        Carbon dating actually works pretty well up to about 20,000 years. That said, nothing about Old Tjikko reproducing by cloning is relevant to your refutation of its age. I think we can rest assured people didn’t just add up independent numbers to come to their conclusion.

        Indeed I deny suffering from confirmation bias, for the simple fact that I do not believe anything. I consider evidence and conclude what is likely and what is not. In addition to that, like any self respecting scientist, I am not afraid of revising my world views in the light of new evidence. Your global flood hypothesis appears to me to be very unlikely indeed. It’s is as leaky as the spaghetti strainer in my kitchen. Where is the evidence of a global flood?

        It doesn’t take a genius to find out where the story of a flood came from in the first place. It is based on the old Isrealite idea that the world was flat and surrounded by water, protected by half a sphere (the firmament) beyond which there was more water. Quite an imagination, yes. Not surprising considering the story was invented by iron age peasants who didn’t know the earth orbited the sun. We all know what happens when tales are passed on in a word-of-mouth fashion, then copied and translated over centuries in different languages. Hell, I sometimes cannot believe how warped our family news becomes when it has to pass via my aunt and my mother. I digress.

        Moreover, evidence contradicting a global flood is everywhere: stratification of fossils. Fossil layers do not only confirm evolution, they contradict your global flood hypothesis. A global flood would have caused turbulence and vortices in the water causing all fossil remains to end up mixed up. They are not. Old fossils at the bottom, new fossils on top. Simple as that.

        Mr Terry, I admire your tenacity, but I have difficulty imagining you resting peacefully in your bed at night when your ideas are being obliterated over and over again by science. I bet you will never show any doubts on this forum of yours, your credibility vis-a-vis your peer creationists is on the line. Yet I am pretty sure uncertainty gnaws at you unrelentlessly, for I pay you the courtesy of considering you a human being, not a madman.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Carbon dating? You’re kidding, right?

          Is this the same carbon dating that came such a cropper in 1993, when miners at the Crinum Coal Mine uncovered a fossilized tree buried in basalt? Basalt that “dated out” at over a million years while the tree “dated out” at 37,000 years? Seriously?

          For the benefit of anyone else who will read this thread: radiometric dating of any kind rests on three assumptions: that we know the initial concentrations, that nothing changes those concentrations in the sample other than radioactive decay, and that radioactive decay rates always average out the same. And none of these assumptions are safe.

          You see, I follow the Hydroplate Theory of the Global Flood. And according to that, the carbon-14 in the atmosphere wasn’t present before the Global Flood. At the very least, radiogenic carbon-14, if it were present at all, was present in only tiny amounts. Then, during the Flood, the earth’s crust turned into the biggest breeder reactor that ever existed. Magnitude-10-to-12 earthquakes produced electromotive forces (measured in volts, or as in this case, millions of volts) sufficient to strip atoms of their electrons. Matter in that state is called plasma, because it is subject to shaping and molding. Heavy elements formed superheavy elements, which split to form uranium and thorium. These in turn were subject to accelerated decay, which happens with plasma. (I cite Robert V. Gentry’s findings of pleiochroic halos surrounding nuggets of polonium and other trans-lead elements.)

          So acclerated was this decay that cluster decay set in. Cluster decay is any radioactive decay between alpha-and-beta at one extreme, and fission at the other. Carbon-14 is a common cluster-decay product.

          So we do not know the initial concentration of carbon (14) dioxide. What they think they know, is wrong.

          This is the primary reason why the longevity of man averaged 900 years before the Flood, then fell by ninety percent in eleven generations.

          If that is what anyone relied upon to date Old Tjikko, no wonder they got it wrong. The single-organism tree I spoke of, was cross-dated from ring-counting and correlation with other events that happened in the forest where it grows. I’ll take a crossdate over a radio-carbon date any day.

          The stratification of fossils stands as evidence for a global flood, not against it. The sediments were all hydrologically sorted. All were laid down at once. They are sorted in order from the least dense to the most dense as you dig. And don’t bother telling me about the radiometric dates. They do not co-ordinate, and are inconsistent.

          I sleep well at night knowing I have discovered the lies the Scientific Hegemony told me all these yeard. What you call “science” is a body of human beings – the Scientific Hegemony, or literally the Board of Governors of Knowledge of Where the Earth Came From – all dedicated to promoting one idea: that we are all a big cosmic craps shoot, and accountable to nothing and no-Body.

          • Thomas says:

            My goodness this keeps getting better and better. Hydroplate Theory, earth crust turning into a breeder reactor, magnitude 10-12 earthquakes, heavy elements created on this very earth, man living up to 900 years! LOLOLOL!!

            Pardon me while I wipe the tears out of my eyes. You should be a Hollywood script writer, my friend! Your imagination is truly astonishing.

            One thing puzzles me though, how did Noah’s wooden boat survive that mayhem? Please tell me!

            Consider my subscription to this website for life!

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Be careful what you wish for. I correspond regularly with Walter T. Brown. We agree that if Cecil B. DeMille were still with us, we could give him a script that would make his special effect for the Parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments look like child’s play.

            How did the Ark survive? Well, for one thing, it turns out that Noah had the secret of plywood. That is what “gopher wood” really means.

            For another, the Ark was trapped in an eddy, cut off from the more violent flows. For that is what “Ararat” really breaks down to, when you examine its roots.

  47. Fergus Mason says:

    “Kick the can down the road, eh?”

    Well yes, ten trillion years down the road. There is no chance whatsoever of the heat death of the universe occurring within my lifetime, or indeed while humans survive as a species, so why worry about it? That would be very silly.

  48. Fergus Mason says:

    “Basalt that “dated out” at over a million years while the tree “dated out” at 37,000 years?”

    Got a link to a paper on that, or are we supposed to take Ken Ham’s word for it?

  49. James B says:

    Terry, you said, “How did the Ark survive? Well, for one thing, it turns out that Noah had the secret of plywood.” I’m not entirely convinced that plywood would survive the supernova conditions required to produce super-heavy nuclei. This happens at temperatures in excess of 100,000,000K whereas wood burns at about 500K.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Your argument assumes supernova conditions would be required to produce super-heavy elements, or indeed any radioactive element. That assumption fails immediately. The Periodic Table has sixteen transuranic elements, each of which nuclear physicists have synthesized in the laboratory. We synthesize one, americium (Z=95), in bulk for industrial use. No one has ever said we create miniature supernovae to do this.

      The conditions such man-made transmutation actually requires, would easily obtain in a quartz-laden region undergoing a magnitude-10-to-12 earthquake. And in fact, the first two of the transuranics form all the time at the Oklo region in central Africa. That region is also the hottest spot in the world for lightning strikes. And in lightning, you get plasma along the path of the bolt.

      Of course your argument also relies on the nebula theory, and I don’t credit the nebula theory any more than I do the theory of evolution. We are not stardust. We could never have been stardust. So much dust could never have gathered in a way that would allow it to accrete as the nebula theory says it did.

  50. danielfolsom says:

    Terry here is the probably the most eloquent response to the basalt-tree claim http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.com/2014/02/45-thousand-year-old-fossil-wood.html

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      This argument assumes the apparent ages of the tree on one hand, and the basalts on the other, are correct as determined. They are not. All that Snelling sought to show, and what he most certainly did show, is that the apparent ages do not coordinate and are wildly inconsistent with one another. He did not for one moment concede that either object was as old as the laboratories said they were.

      I have already exlained these apparent dates in this thread and elsewhere in the archive of this site. Let it suffice here that your link is a perfect example of “your theory does not work under my theory, therefore your theory must be wrong.” The original author is reproving Snelling for merely saying radiometric dating fails on its own terms. That failure, together with the failure to date consistently the Mount Saint Helens lava dome (or to recognize the dome was too recent to date), were each sufficient to demand a re-examination of radiometric dating. The conventional establishment – the Scientific Hegemony – refused. So the creation-science community did. They found ample evidence to challenge every one of the three bedrock assumptions of radiometric dating.

      Walter T. Brown, of course, did them one better. He solved the mystery of the origins of radioactivity on earth. He treated it as an engineering problem. His solution is readily available.

  51. Fergus Mason says:

    “I’m surprised you never saw it before.”

    Oh, I’ve seen it. That’s why I asked for a link to a real paper.

  52. Fergus Mason says:

    “He treated it as an engineering problem.”

    Yes, but it isn’t an engineering problem. That’s why Walt’s answers are so spectacularly wrong.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Again, suit yourself. Engineering does not limit itself to the science of things that human beings build.

  53. MatthewJ says:

    The conversation continues to gallop to new topics! Exciting!

    ” And in fact, the first two of the transuranics form all the time at the Oklo region in central Africa. That region is also the hottest spot in the world for lightning strikes. ”

    The Oklo reactor site is in Gabon, at 1° 30′ South , 13° 16′ East (from http://tools.wmflabs.org/geohack/geohack.php?pagename=Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor&params=1_23_40_S_13_09_39_E_region:GA_type:mountain_source:dewiki). The world’s lightning maximum is at Kifuka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at 2° 46′ 0″ S, 27° 44′ 0″ E (from here: http://www.sos.noaa.gov/Datasets/dataset.php?id=6 and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kifuka). Those points are 1614 km apart, or almost exactly 1000 miles. You can check my work here: http://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong.html That’s like saying that lightning at Cape Canaveral causes fusion in Chicago, or that Jerusalem is the travel centroid of the world.

    What evidence do you have that transuranics are forming all the time at Oko anyway (as opposed to at some point in the remote past)? Is there evidence of short-half-life Np or Pu in current samples?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That’s interesting. Now you’re bucking a consensus when it suits you. Nobody but you, thus far, has doubted that Oklo is a “natural reactor.” It is the only spot on earth where one can mine neptunium or plutonium.

      While we’re on the subject: why are radioactive elements never found on the ocean floor? If, as you insist, radioactive elements were part of the foundation of the earth, their distribution ought to be uniform. It is not. And furthermore, if, as your side also insists, radioactive decay is the source of the heat of the earth’s core, then all volcanic eruptions ought to have the effect of radioactive dispersal, and be far more deadly than they are.

  54. Fergus Mason says:

    “Nobody but you, thus far, has doubted that Oklo is a “natural reactor.””

    Well, it isn’t. It WAS, 1.7 billion years ago, but it isn’t now. When it was active that had nothing at all to do with lightning strikes; it was because unique features in the geography let groundwater build up and trap neutrons inside uranium deposits.

  55. Fergus Mason says:

    “If, as you insist, radioactive elements were part of the foundation of the earth, their distribution ought to be uniform.”

    You do know that the ocean floors are a lot newer than most of the land, right? The Earth’s crust is not of a uniform age.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      So that’s the conventional narrative, is it? That still doesn’t say why radioactive ores are not mine-able from the ocean floor.

  56. Fergus Mason says:

    “What evidence do you have that transuranics are forming all the time at Oko anyway (as opposed to at some point in the remote past)?”

    None.

    “Is there evidence of short-half-life Np or Pu in current samples?”

    No.

  57. MatthewJ says:

    Oh, I don’t deny that Oklo was a natural reactor, powered mostly by 235U. A long, long time ago. But it isn’t one now, any more than any other bed of highgrade uranium ore is. The whole point of calling it a natural reactor is that a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction occurred there, moderated by groundwater. Oklo does not currently have high enough concentrations of the appropriate isotopes (235U) to maintain a chain reaction. The mainstream consensus seems to be that Oklo intermittently supported nuclear chain reactions over maybe 100,000 years 1.7 billion years ago. The neptunium and plutonium produced during the chain-reaction period decayed long ago. Even if you think the dates are wrong and that it all happened in the last 4000 years, the chain reaction isn’t still ongoing. That’s established by the lack of neutron flux among other things.

    Now, in _any_ bed of uranium ore there will be the occasional fission of a 238U atom, producing a neutron.This neutron has a chance of being captured by another 238U atom to produce 239U, which quickly beta-decays to 239Np, which subsequently beta-decays to 239Pu, which has its own decay products. This process does not require a ‘natural reactor’ chain reaction, and it is why there are trace amounts of Np and Pu in uranium ore worldwide today- about one atom of Np for every 10^12 atoms of U. It’s an ongoing process, but it doesn’t just take place at Oklo. While it does not require a ‘natural reactor’ state to occur, the reaction does occur much much much more often when a chain reaction is ongoing – because the neutron flux is so much greater. It’s thought that around 2.5 tons of 239Pu were produced at Oklo during its reactor phase – but that’s all decayed away by now.

    There is no mineable Np or Pu anywhere in the world that we know of. Certainly not at Oklo. The total amount of 239Pu in the upper crust is estimated to be several _kilograms_ worldwide, compared to manmade Pu production on the order of 50 tons per year by neutron irradiation of 238U. Where do you get the idea that Np and Pu are mineable at Oklo in particular – or anywhere else for that matter?

    At first I thought that you were claiming that lightning-driven pinch fusion was supposed to be producing Np and Pu “all the time” at Oklo – which isn’t the case. Now it seems that you think that Oklo is still an active natural reactor, which it isn’t, and still producing macroscopic amounts of Np and Pu in an ongoing chain reaction, which it isn’t. Whatever Np or Pu is produced at Oklo today is by the same background process that produces Np and Pu in all other uranium ores worldwide in the parts per trillion. I suppose that technically you didn’t say that this process doesn’t produce Np or Pu anywhere else, but you certainly gave that impression. Or maybe you meant something else entirely; it’s hard to keep track when you jump to a new topic with every response.

  58. Scott says:

    I’m not sure why you suggest that the dispersion of radioactive isotopes should be uniform. There are very few elements that are universal in their dispersion. If that were true than we wouldn’t have “coal country” or the fight over diamonds & gold. Radioactive isotopes, just like the rest, settle in places for reasons that geologists understand much better than I. I’d imagine it has to do with a large number of factors including continental drift and volcanic activity.

    As for them being in the ocean, they are. All it takes is a simple google search to tell you that. I don’t intend to do a lot of research on something that doesn’t particularly interest, however, short reading shows that evaporation and ocean currents are responsible for the higher concentrations on land.

    As for volcanos: I think this thread is quite educative:
    http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=5tmfgmi0b5i985lfh5l4u5u9n4&topic=4358.msg34468#msg34468

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Coal and oil are fossil fuels. On that creation advocate and evolution advocate can both agree. So that would have nothing to do with stardust, nor does anyone say it does.

      I’m talking about pitchblende and all the other rocks holding radioactive materials.

      Now about that thread you left: well, that’s interesting. It does say the three most abundant radioactive elements are uranium, thorium, and the radioactive isotope of potassium. And you find potassium-40 in igneous rock.

      All right. I can explain that. The same process that produced the abundance of uranium and thorium, and all their daughter products, also produced a tsunami of neutrons. Potasssium-40 is potassium-39 that got a little heavier by picking up a neutron. So I expect most of the radioactive potassium to be in igneous rock.

      But: nobody finds uranium or thorium in igneous rock, do they?

  59. danielfolsom says:

    Terry surely you acknowledge that you’re clinging to a variety of straws in this debate. You never fully responded to MatthewJ’s excellent first post – you’ve just slowly switched the topic to YEC – which is fine, but have you abandoned the idea that Eskmos not having fur is a viable argument in favor of YEC?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Actually, the failure of the Inuit, the Aleut, and other Arctic peoples to develop fur, for as long as conventional wisdom says they lived in those cold regions, is an argument against biological evolution, no matter how old the earth is.

      The youth of the earth stands on non-biological evidence.

  60. James B says:

    Terry, Don’t you think you’re in Ockham’s Razor territory? You can believe Walt Brown’s theory with all this crazy stuff about hydroplates and super-massive earthquakes and huge amounts of radioactive nuclei being created very quickly etc etc etc etc etc. Or you can believe that the Jews picked up the Gilgamesh story from Babylon and added it to their creation myth.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You are in Ockham’s Razor territory, not Walt Brown and I. You can believe that somehow several clouds of supernova dust came together and somehow formed a spinning accretion disk and somehow out of this disk came eight planets, several moons large and small, and a planet that failed to form between Mars and Jupiter, and that somehow a bunch of Mars-sized objects slammed into each of the planets to produce the results we know (including the Moon of Earth). You can believe that somehow life emerged out of a substance called, for lack of a better word, “ylem” and somehow managed to inform itself to the tune of ten Libraries of Congress to produce the first cell. You can believe that somehow a molten earth cooled off, and somehow deposits of gold and lead did not sink to the earth’s core while the earth was molten. And you can believe that somehow the Moon did not fling itself away from the earth a long time ago, considering the speed at which it is receding from the earth today.

      You can believe in all these somehows, the odds against which are astronomical even once, and worse than astronomical in their multiplicative aggregate.

      Or, you can read Walt Brown’s book and recognize his proposed sequence of events as the most logical, and the best explanation for a whole host of observations, from the Ring of Fire to the comets to all the limestone on earth (else you’d have to believe that somehow so much coral developed and liberated carbon dioxide that should have suffocated us, but somehow didn’t) to the radioactivity on earth.

  61. Scott says:

    Actually, Terry, as another quick google search will tell you, there are two types of common Uranium deposits. In sedimentary, and igneous rock. The igneous deposits are found in more volcanically active areas such as the Ring of Fire.

    We tend to mine the sedimentary uranium more because it is easier and, therefore, more cost-effective.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Of course they’d form on the Ring. The Ring is where the Pacific Basin caved in. It saw some violent action by whatever model you choose.

      But what you don’t see, is radiological dispersal with modern volcanic eruptions.

  62. MatthewJ says:

    “Actually, the failure of the Inuit, the Aleut, and other Arctic peoples to develop fur, for as long as conventional wisdom says they lived in those cold regions, is an argument against biological evolution, no matter how old the earth is.”

    Why, other than your bald assertion? The level of logic here is like claiming that because nobody ever dropped a gold doubloon in your backyard where you could find it (an entirely contingent event), that is an argument against the existence of money. It’s especially bewildering, since you are ignoring all the dimes and quarters and pennies in the yard. Why are you so convinced that a hypertrichosis mutation, specifically, should have arisen among the Inuit, been selected for, and gone to fixation? Show your math if you have any. Maybe the Inuit _would_ benefit from having fur. That doesn’t magically force that mutation to appear. Just like prayer doesn’t make amputated limbs grow back. Again, you focus on a trait that the Inuit don’t have (for whatever contingent reason) and ignore the ones that they DO have: nasal anatomy, BMR, limb proportions, etc.

    “And furthermore, if, as your side also insists, radioactive decay is the source of the heat of the earth’s core, then all volcanic eruptions ought to have the effect of radioactive dispersal, and be far more deadly than they are.” “But what you don’t see, is radiological dispersal with modern volcanic eruptions”

    Radioactive decay is thought to produce about 1/2 of the heat radiated from the Earth’s core; the rest is from gravitational settling, freezing of the core, cooling of the mantle, heat of formation, etc. That estimate comes from, among other things, detection of geoneutrinos from radioactive decay inside the Earth. The Earth radiates its internal heat at ~44 TW based on deep temperature measurements.

    Let’s make some gross simplifications as to how radioactive the mantle material must be and what radiation danger it represents:

    Assume 22 TW from radioactive decay, generated from a volume of (using just the mantle at ~84% of Earth’s volume) 9.07e11 km^3: that comes out to (22e12 W/9e11 km^3) or roughly 20 W per cubic kilometer of mantle material. 238U generates about 0.1W/tonne in decay heat (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-fuel-cycle/introduction/what-is-Uranium–How-Does-it-Work-/). 200 tonnes of 238U dispersed in 1 km^3 of basalt at 3 gm/cm^3 comes to…2e5kg/3e12kg = 6.7e-8, or ~0.07 ppm of 238U. And hey, look, we’re within an order of magnitude of the 0.5 ppm of U found in real-world mafic basalt with our simplistic back-of-the-envelope calculation. The point is that the mantle doesn’t have to be a radioactive hell in order to produce the amount of heat that it does: because there is such a large volume of material the amount of decay per volume is actually very low, and the material does not need to be strongly radioactive. The amount of radioactivity seen in seafloor basalt seems sufficient, and that’s even less radioactive than the silaceous rocks of the continental crust. So no, volcanic eruptions are not dangerous because of their radioactivity. That’s not to say that they don’t disperse radioactive materials; they do, but in the parts-per-million range.

    “nobody finds uranium or thorium in igneous rock, do they?”

    Of course they do.

    https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/resources/uranium/where.html
    http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~ajs/1960/ajs_258A_11.pdf/151.pdf
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/0614e/report.pdf
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granite#Natural_radiation
    http://books.google.com/books?id=WMIKAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=uranium+igneous&source=bl&ots=gS-y7EOhD-&sig=oNVN6CZUmGcyZfvmMgWslXPTB_0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xXlSU87lCNSfyATIz4Io&ved=0CCoQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=uranium%20igneous&f=false
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Uranium-Resources/Geology-of-Uranium-Deposits/

  63. Fergus Mason says:

    “That still doesn’t say why radioactive ores are not mine-able from the ocean floor.”

    Yes, it does. The oceanic crust is relatively new igneous rock, formed by upwelling magma. Heavier elements like uranium don’t well up; they sink into the core. That’s first term geology.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Ironically, I could almost agree with your assessment of the origins of the oceanic crust. That depends on which crust we’re talking about. The Pacific Basin is one thing; the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, something else again.

      Just one thing about uranium sinking to the earth’s core: the conventional model says the earth was molten. Why, then, did not all the uranium sink to the core while the earth was molten?

      This is an example of the inconsistency in the conventional model.

  64. Fergus Mason says:

    “the failure of the Inuit, the Aleut, and other Arctic peoples to develop fur, for as long as conventional wisdom says they lived in those cold regions, is an argument against biological evolution”

    Only if you have an extremely childish (and, needless to say, inaccurate) idea of what evolutionary theory actually says.

    If you have two eskimos, both bundled up in heavy fur leggings and parkas, does the one who has slightly more body hair have any reproductive advantage? No. So there is no reason why they would evolve fur. It’s a silly argument. Frankly it’s the sort of thing I’d expect Ken to come out with.

  65. James B says:

    Terry, I’d like to pick up on some of the points that you’ve let drop in the course of this argument (I’m sorry to say that I do find your habit of jumping from one subject to another rather than resolving a debate properly quite irritating).

    “Have the evolutionists left any objective standards to decide what branched into what?” Yes – a whole sub-discipline of evolutionary biology called molecular phylogenetics. Briefly, if two species are more similar to each other in their DNA or protein sequences than either is to a third species, they are likely to have had a common ancestor more recently than the common ancestor of all three species.

    “information does not write itself. Something, or rather someone, has to write it.” I’m still waiting for your explanation of this statement, given the evidence that I and other commenters have adduced that chemical systems, let alone biological ones can self-organise and form patterns.

    You haven’t responded to the comments by me, Mr Terry and Thomas explaining that positive mutations do occur.

    You didn’t defend your statement that Lenski & coworkers “somehow switched on a latent gene and maybe identified a new strain of E. coli that had the new capability” after Nathaniel explained that that hypothesis is already disproved by the existing evidence. Can we take it that you now accept that the explanation you gave of Lenski’s results is incorrect?

    You didn’t respond to the questions from at least two of us about how a wooden boat would survive the Hydroplate Mayhem.

    You’ve dodged the points made by MatthewJ and Fergus about Oklo is no longer a natural nuclear reactor and only ever was a reactor for a relatively short time.

    Several of the points you made in your response to my Ockham’s Razor posting are quite well understood (clouds of supernova dust coming together; forming accretion disks; forming planets; Mars-sized object slamming into Earth to produce the Moon; molten earth cooling off; deposits of gold and lead not sinking to the earth’s core; Moon not flinging itself away from the earth) while others are the subject of current research – which is what science is about!

    Final point: Please could you explain how a Babylonian folk myth suddenly became completely and utterly true in every detail just because the Jews decided to include it in their holy book?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Sorry, but your last statement shows positively that you are not willing to discuss anything in good faith. Babylonian folk myth, indeed. The Babylonian creation story was about the monster Tiamat who was slain bhy the god Marduk. I didn’t draw on that story, and I didn’t draw on anything else from Babylonia for the Global Flood, either.

  66. Scott says:

    “the conventional model says the earth was molten. Why, then, did not all the uranium sink to the core while the earth was molten?”

    That assumes that the core is just a stationary body of molten things. But that’s not true. Just like the sun, it rotates, there are currents, etc. There are upwellings; convection occurs.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      How does that explain why we have heavy elements near enough to the surface to take them out of the ground?

  67. MatthewJ says:

    “How does that explain why we have heavy elements near enough to the surface to take them out of the ground?”

    Because uranium, thorium, and other elements are lithophilic rather than siderophilic:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldschmidt_classification
    http://www.indiana.edu/~geol105/images/gaia_chapter_3/earth_differentiation.htm
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Uranium-Resources/The-Cosmic-Origins-of-Uranium/
    http://geology.about.com/od/mineral_resources/a/uraniumnuts.htm

    They are, to use a rough analogy, more ‘soluble’ in the rock of the mantle and crust than they are in the iron of the core. Like in the case of solvent extraction, they are concentrated in the continental crust at the expense of the mantle, and in the mantle at the expense of the core. U and Th that makes it to the crust by volcanic action is retained there because of its chemical affinity.

    Some relevant quotes from the above references:

    “Uranium is found almost exclusively in the Earth’s continental crust, because its atoms don’t fit in the crystal structure of the minerals of the mantle. Geochemists consider uranium one of the incompatible elements, more specifically a member of the large-ion lithophile element or LILE group.”

    “Not everything, however, goes simply by density. Uranium and Thorium are very heavy elements, and we should therefore expect them to be enriched in the core. Yet, contrary to expectation they are concentrated in crust and mantle. The reason for this aberration is the circumstance that ion size and chemical affinities of U and Th prevent them from being incorporated in the dense, tight crystal structures that iron assumes at the high pressures encountered in the earth’s core. Because they can fit much more easily into the more open crystalline structures of silicate and oxide minerals, they are concentrated in crust and mantle.”

    “Their strong affinity for oxygen causes lithophile elements to associate very strongly with silica, forming relatively low-density minerals that thus float to the crust. The more soluble minerals formed by the alkali metals tend to concentrate in seawater or extremely arid regions where they can crystallise. The less soluble lithophile elements are concentrated on ancient continental shields where all soluble minerals have been weathered.”

    “It is likely that the process or processes which transferred uranium from the mantle to the continental crust are complex and multi-step. However, for at least the past 2 billion years they have involved:

    formation of oceanic crust and lithosphere through melting of the mantle at mid-ocean ridges,
    migration of this oceanic lithosphere laterally to a site of plate consumption (this is marked at the surface by a deep-sea trench),
    production of fluids and magmas from the downgoing (subducted) lithospheric plate and overriding mantle ‘wedge’ in these subduction zones,
    transfer of these fluids/melts to the surface in zones of ‘island arcs’ (such as the Pacific’s Ring of Fire),
    production of continental crust from these island arc protoliths, through remelting, granite formation and intra-crustal recycling.

    It may well be the case that the very deep mantle is enriched in U and Th, etc., compared to the shallow mantle, because of density considerations. But density is not the only consideration here.

    Turning to Fergus Mason’s comment:

    “If you have two eskimos … does the one who has slightly more body hair have any reproductive advantage? No. So there is no reason why they would evolve fur.”

    Perhaps just a semantic quibble on my part, but please remember that there is never a ‘reason’ why a particular mutation arises at a particular time in a particular population. Second, please remember that natural selection for a particular trait is only one of several ways for it to increase in frequency in a population. Organisms don’t develop new traits ‘so that’ they can exploit an environment better; rather, it’s the ones that _happen_ to develop the new traits ‘that can’ exploit an environment better. The former suggests that there is intention or some elan vital at work; the latter reflects the contingency of the real world.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I have allowed these comments for one reason only: so my readers can see for themselves the arguments that uniformitarians and evolutionists make to defend their narrative, and all the twists and turns and folds those arguments make.

      If any of these two interlocutors were part of a tag team taking part in Walter T. Brown’s written debate, something like this would be part of the work product.

      Seeing is believing.

      Seeing all the twists and turns and folds (the fancy Latinate word is “convolution”), that is.

  68. Fergus Mason says:

    “Why, then, did not all the uranium sink to the core while the earth was molten?”

    That would be an insoluble question and a death knell for conventional geology, if it wasn’t for the fact that convection currents can carry heavier masses up with them. However as long as buzzards circle over rocky slopes to get a free ride up on the warm air, I’ll consider it answered.

    “The Pacific Basin is one thing; the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, something else again.”

    Not really. There’s a huge divergent boundary running along the Pacific plate from just off Baja California to a point between New Zealand and Antarctica. It’s just like the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; new seabed is being formed there by upwelling magma as the Pacific plate moves away from the Nazca and Antarctic plates. There’s even a ridge running along it, just like in the Atlantic.

  69. Thomas says:

    Terry, please…

    Evolution does NOT claim that inuits should grow fur, rather the contrary, therefore their failure to do so is NOT an argument AGAINST evolution, but FOR evolution. Does that compute, or do I have to draw you a schematic?

    If you want to disprove something, I’d advise you to first try and understand its premises correctly. You are making a fool and/or a liar out of yourself here by attacking a claim IT DOES NOT MAKE.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Then what you call “evolution” makes inconsistent claims to suit itself.

  70. James B says:

    Terry: The Babylonian *creation* story featured Tiamat and Marduk. That’s not the same as that Mesopotamian *flood* stories, of which there are several variants. At least one of the major variant is even older, going back to Sumeria. Some lines from Sumerian and Babylonian sources, which are much older and somewhat older respectively than Genesis chapters 1-11, are identical (allowing for translation) to those in the Noah story. I’m not saying that you personally went back to Babylonian stories but the Jews very clearly did, during the Exile. The simplest explanation is that they picked up an exciting folk tale and incorporated it into their holy book.

    What about my other questions?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That explanation does not fit this key fact: virtually every ancient culture has a story of a tremendous flood, and of a small crew that survived it.

      Nor does it fit the facts on the ground, and under the sea, that clearly support the details of the Flood narrative.

  71. Scott says:

    But you just stated an important fact. Not all cultures have a flood story. Many of those that do have their origins in the same area of the world. And those that don’t? What about them? Is Japan truly higher than the rest of the world? Are they so highly favored that they did not experience a flood?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      The ancestors of the Japanese must have forgotten.

      The Chinese didn’t, though. Their symbol for a ship happens to be a combination of the symbol for a mouth, and their numeral 8.

  72. James B says:

    I was about to make the same point as Scott. Flood myths are widespread in world mythology but they are always associated with peoples in areas prone to flooding, e.g. the Sumerians and Babylonians in Mesopotamia, early Chinese civilisations in the Hunag He valley, and South Asian civilisations in the Indus/ Jamana/ Ganges valleys. Most cultures either do not have a flood myth or, like the Jews, have clearly borrowed it from another culture.

    You say that these myths have in common a small group of people surviving in a boat. A couple of obvious points: if it was so devastating as to be the subject of a myth, many people would have been killed and perhaps only a few survived; and how would they survive except on a boat?

    Are you seriously saying that all cultures which lack a flood myth have forgotten some sort of giant world-wide flood? This is special pleading on a massive scale.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I don’t just suggest that; I say it.

      “History became legend. Legend became myth. And some things, that should not have been forgotten, were lost.”

  73. JT says:

    “Their symbol for a ship happens to be a combination of the symbol for a mouth, and their numeral 8.”

    And once again this is an incorrect assumption, made by people with no knowledge of how the Chinese characters actually work, and who want to see what they want to see.

    CMI (where I assume you obtained this bit of misinformation) is making a crucial mistake in disassembling the character completely. What they ignore is the fact that Chinese characters are not made up exclusively of components that provide a meaning, but also of phonetic radicals that are supposed to offer a clue as to how they’re pronounced. In both of the cases above, they simply skip this part in order to extract the meaning they want from it. The first character does not feature 八 and 口 as separate components, but rather as the combination 㕣 yǎn, with the (irrelevant) meaning of “marsh”. Likewise, the second one features 公 gōng, “public” as the additional component.

    Also, if the Flood was so important, you’d think they’d have a bit more of a mythology about it, than 1 pictogram.

  74. James B says:

    Terry, I have to say that my mind is boggling somewhat at the intellectual contortions needed to support Walt Brown’s theory. On the one hand, we have the Hydroplate Havoc involving several events which either have no precendent or even defy the laws of physics, and we have to accept that the memory of a global flood only persisted in cultures living in places prones to severe flooding but nowhere else. On the other hand, we can suppose that the Jews heard a really good folk tale during their captivity in Babylon and decided to add it to their holy book, believing that it illustrated the love of God for the human race. Given that folk tales are borrowed, translated, modified and cherished the world over, I have no doubt at all about which of these alternatives I find more credible.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Defy the laws of physics? Now “no precedent,” that I can accept. But “defy the laws of physics?”

      Anyone can sling accusations against someone who offers a testable explanation of present signs of past events.

      Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? Accept his written debate offer, find some high-powered scientists who, as you think, will be just as outraged as you are at his “defiance of physical laws,” and have at it.

      Just what physical laws has he defied? I’d say he’s done the opposite: he has shown that the uniformitarians are in defiance of physical laws.

  75. James B says:

    Terry, you’re having a lively debate right here. Presumably Walt Brown is welcome to join in? If so, please note that a scientific discussion (debate is the wrong word – personal opinions are irrelevant) attempting to disprove a theory until you have failed to do so beyond reasonable doubt. It doesn’t mean continually hopping onto new subjects in the hope of finding a question that the person you’re discussing with doesn’t have a snappy answer to.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Come on, now. You know his T’s and C’s. If you can meet them, call him. He’s waiting.

  76. Fergus Mason says:

    “Just what physical laws has he defied?”

    We can start with conservation of energy. It’s been repeatedly explained that the events Brown describes would have reduced this planet to a lifeless cinder.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Oh, sure. You keep saying that. Well, let someone who has read the book, and who has the training to answer him, say that back to him.

  77. James B says:

    Terry, This page here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/wbrown2.html summarises nicely why evolutionary scientists are not willing to meet the terms of Walt Brown’s debate (although, as I said, ‘debate’ is in any case an inappropriate concept in science). The last paragraph is particularly apposite: “if you were really so keen to debate, you’d … just do it”. You have an excellent forum right here for Walt Brown to discuss his ideas with scientists. Please encourage him to do so.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Excuses, excuses.

      S’matter? Chicken?

      Actually, it’s the evolutionary “scientists” who are “chicken” here. If they think they have a case, let them make it. But they stand on credentials, which is another variation on argumentum ab auctoritate. Call it argumentum a gradis, or argument from one’s own grades, degrees, etc.

      Dr. Brown doesn’t have time to take part in every comment forum that mentions his name. I barely have time to take the part I have. But a publication of a definitive side-by-side of all the arguments for creation on one hand, and evolution on the other, would be a goal worthy of his time. Naturally he would want to engage someone who, as his degrees (his gradi, or literally the “steps” he had taken to gain skill and knowledge) would suggest, was just as capable of reasoning these things out as Dr. Brown is. That’s why he wouldn’t expect you to take him on.

      But someone having those degrees, who then says, “My word is not to be questioned, and certainly not by some low-life engineer,” or words to that effect, combines arrogance with cowardice. That’s my answer to those who, being as close to qualified to debate the subject as anyone, refuse.

  78. James B says:

    I don’t know of anyone who has the time to write four full-length books (that’s the terms of W.B.’s “debate”). If he cares to summarise his ideas on an internet forum such as this, I am sure he will attract a response.

  79. Fergus Mason says:

    “Dr. Brown doesn’t have time to take part in every comment forum that mentions his name.”

    Why not? After all, unlike you, me or most of the other people who comment here (and certainly unlike the working scientists he claims to want to debate) he’s retired. He could easily dip a toe in the water here, which might generate interest.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Because he is awfully busy doing something else: inquiring into other features of our observable world that he might be able to explain. This included assigning a date for the Flood nearly a year ago.

  80. Fergus Mason says:

    “This included assigning a date for the Flood nearly a year ago.”

    And that’s important how?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Adding a new claim, of course. A theory grows when its proponent(s) make predictions and record their fulfillment.

      He has offered a challenge to produce a definitive work that would settle the origin question once and for all. Playing whack-a-mole on comment spaces is not the path to such a settlement.

  81. Fergus Mason says:

    “He has offered a challenge to produce a definitive work that would settle the origin question once and for all.”

    No, he hasn’t. He’s offered to have a debate, although as you’re aware there have been plenty of suggestions that he’s set up the conditions to be impossible. If he really wanted to settle it scientifically he’d write a paper. He won’t.

  82. James B says:

    So Terry, Walt Brown demands the unreasonable condition that a person who want to hold a discussion with him has to write four whole books, while he himself won’t take the vastly more reasonable step of participating in a moderated website. Who, I wonder, is – to use your own word – chicken…?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You describe the written debate offer. He also offers to debate someone over a telephonic conference circuit, with a seasoned debate coach as moderator.

  83. Fergus Mason says:

    “He also offers to debate someone over a telephonic conference circuit, with a seasoned debate coach as moderator.”

    Why won’t he write a paper and submit it to a scientific journal?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Hallo? Hallo? Jemand zu Hause? Denken, Herr Mason, denken! Did you not receive the notice on my article critical of the peer-review process? Read it. There you will learn the reason Walt Brown will not waste his time.

  84. Fergus Mason says:

    “Read it. There you will learn the reason Walt Brown will not waste his time.”

    I read it. It’s an interesting take on the subject but let’s just say I’m not convinced. Brown could submit a paper on the formation of heavy elements during seismic events. That’s pure science. Even by your interpretation it would pass or fail peer review on its merits. Naturally any paper that invokes a supernatural agent is going to fail peer review, because even if it’s 100% correct it’s NOT SCIENCE, but there are plenty of aspects of Brown’s story that he could submit without going outside the boundaries of the scientific method.

    At the end of the day, even if he finally does accept a debate challenge sometime and the whole world agrees he won it won’t mean a thing to science. Nothing will change. For his ideas to become accepted they have to be put out there in a structured form so other people can replicate his work. Why won’t he do that?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You ignore the central point: he won’t accept The Paradigm: methodological naturalism. Even though he adheres to an economy of miracles, he still dares challenge the idea that the strata took billions of years to lay down. Once the referees realize that, they would dismiss it out-of-hand as “impossible.”

  85. Fergus Mason says:

    “he won’t accept The Paradigm: methodological naturalism.”

    Then he’s not doing science. Science HAS to operate using methodological naturalism as a framework, because you can’t replicate something that contains the sentence “And then a miracle happened.”

    “Even though he adheres to an economy of miracles”

    Except he doesn’t. Geology is even more economical on miracles – it doesn’t need any at all.

    “he still dares challenge the idea that the strata took billions of years to lay down.”

    It’s not an idea, Terry. It’s the only rational conclusion that can be reached from the accumulated evidence.

    “Once the referees realize that, they would dismiss it out-of-hand as “impossible.””

    No, they would dismiss it out of hand as “not science,” because science only concerns itself with natural explanations. However that STILL doesn’t stop him submitting a paper on his mechanism for creating heavy elements with electricity. I assume he’s carried out experiments to validate this (I realise that may be an unwise assumption), so if his experimental method is sound there’s no reason why it shouldn’t pass peer review.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Can science replicate the supposed formation of the solar system and the earth according to the nebula theory? I put it to you that the nebula theory, and abiogenesis, both contain the sentence “And then the universe had an incredible run of luck.”

      Conventional geology ultimately rests on the nebula theory. And it needs a miracle. Because the accretion of clouds of nova dust would be a miracle, according to any properly applied law of statistical significance.

      Billions of years? Well, I would say the presence of polystrate fossil trees falsifies that idea right there.

      You have just illustrated the inherent prejudice of conventional referees.

      If intelligence spontaneously arose in a human-built colony of mice, I would suppose, given what I have observed of conventional prejudice, that they would naturally assume theirs was the world that had always existed, and that no creature built it. And they would be just as wrong as you are. Just as wrong as those referees would be.

  86. James B says:

    Terry, The problem with the “incredible run of luck” argument is that any group of intelligents being with high capacity for communication would think it an incredible run of luck that they evolved. The naturalistic viewpoint is that it did happen, even though possibly only once, so there must be a scientific explanation for how that unlikely series of events came together.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      And I’m still waiting for that “scientific explanation.”

      When you find it, you will be good enough to explain how any system can self-inform.

  87. Fergus Mason says:

    “Can science replicate the supposed formation of the solar system and the earth according to the nebula theory?”

    Through models based on well understood laws of physics, yes.

    “I put it to you that the nebula theory, and abiogenesis, both contain the sentence “And then the universe had an incredible run of luck.””

    Then you lose, because they don’t.

    “Conventional geology ultimately rests on the nebula theory.”

    No, it really really doesn’t.

    “And it needs a miracle. Because the accretion of clouds of nova dust would be a miracle, according to any properly applied law of statistical significance.”

    Laws of statistical significance are irrelevant. What matters is the law of gravity, which conveniently explains it all very nicely. Matter tends to accrete unless other forces prevent it from doing so. We’ve known that since Newton.

    “Billions of years? Well, I would say the presence of polystrate fossil trees falsifies that idea right there.”

    Why would you think that? So-called “polystrate” fossils are easily explained. Some of them have even developed secondary root systems, showing where they were progressively buried in stages.

    “You have just illustrated the inherent prejudice of conventional referees.”

    Not at all. Science has rules. Break those rules – such as by making supernatural claims – and you’re not doing science. That doesn’t necessarily make you wrong but it DOES make you unscientific. However Brown’s claims about heavy elements are easily tested, so why won’t he put them in a paper and submit it? It would be of immense interest for all sorts of reasons and he wouldn’t need to mention religion at all.

    If intelligence spontaneously arose in a human-built colony of mice, I would suppose, given what I have observed of conventional prejudice, that they would naturally assume theirs was the world that had always existed, and that no creature built it. And they would be just as wrong as you are. Just as wrong as those referees would be.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Then you’ve just admitted that science cannot explain all that is true. Or it can’t by the rules you describe.

      It’s only a short step to admitting something else: the science you tout, must inevitably reach at least some conclusions that turn out to be demonstrably wrong.

  88. Fergus Mason says:

    “Then you’ve just admitted that science cannot explain all that is true.”

    No, I haven’t. There may be practical limits to what science can explain, but there are no inherent limits. Supernatural explanations, on the other hand, have many limits and those that have been tested have, without exception, been found to be wrong. This includes the idea of a global flood, of course; the evidence against it was already overwhelming by the end of the 18th century. The news just seems to have been slow in reaching parts of the Islamic world and USA.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      No. The evidence for a Global Flood was suddenly ignored, very studiously ignored, under the pernicious influence of Charles Lyell.

  89. Fergus Mason says:

    “The evidence for a Global Flood was suddenly ignored, very studiously ignored, under the pernicious influence of Charles Lyell.”

    It’s hard to ignore something that isn’t there. The flood story is contradicted by far too much evidence to be taken seriously and that’s been the situation for well over 200 years.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      The evidence is all around us. Geologists, pre-Lyell, knew it. But Lyell scared them silent. (Though maybe the misinterpretation of the Dynasties of Egypt, as running consecutively rather than concurrently, let Lyell get away with it.)

      Without Lyell, there would have been no Darwin. Darwin said so.

  90. Fergus Mason says:

    “The evidence is all around us. Geologists, pre-Lyell, knew it.”

    Geologists, pre-Lyell, were handicapped by ignorance and a lack of dating tools. When you need surgery do you prefer to stick with the techniques of doctors pre-Lister? Is your shotgun a flintlock because you prefer firearms that are pre-Reverend Forsyth? No. So what’s so special about pre-Lyell geology? It’s outdated, primitive and laughably wrong. There have been far too many scientific advances since then to take 18th century geology seriously. What about plate tectonics? It’s utterly undeniable and it knocks everything that Lyell’s predecessors believe into a cocked hat.

    “But Lyell scared them silent.”

    Lyell has been dead for 139 years. There’s nothing to stop those who disagree with him from speaking up now.

    “(Though maybe the misinterpretation of the Dynasties of Egypt, as running consecutively rather than concurrently, let Lyell get away with it.)”

    The fact that Egypt had two dynasties running in parallel at a couple of points in its history doesn’t mean it always did. In fact we know it usually didn’t. The argument that we should realise the Earth is young because concurrent dynasties is just silly.

    “Without Lyell, there would have been no Darwin. Darwin said so.”

    Yes, he did. However there would still have been an Alfred Russell Wallace, and even if he’d been eaten by a tiger someone else would have worked it out before too much more time passed. All the knowledge was there and a lot of people were progressing towards the truth. Darwin was just the first to put all the pieces together.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Dating tools? Charles Lyell didn’t bring any dating methods. He assumed the earth had been around forever. Not until Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity did anyone (modern, that is) have any notion the earth had a finite age. But again, they assumed without warrant that radioactive elements have been part of the earth since its formation.

  91. James B says:

    Terry, You say the evidence for a Global Flood is all around us. Please would you describe what that evidence is. Thanks.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Happy to oblige.

      The woolly mammoths of the northern reaches of Asia: how do you suppose they got there? They have no blubber, as whales and walrus do. And they are far too large to subsist in an arctic environment.

      Unless their environment wasn’t arctic at all, but tropical.

      Funny. Know what else is buried with the mammoths? Jungle foliage.

      Now how does jungle foliage get into the Arctic?

      Unless…

      Unless the earth rolled. And what was once a tropical rainforest is now icy cold.

      And of course we had the Ice Age. Well, an Ice Age results from the sort of convection currents that come from a warm ocean.

      Like an ocean doubled in size, and the added half was supercritically hot.

      Now that’s just one example of a new way you have to look at the world. I could name many others.

  92. Fergus Mason says:

    “Charles Lyell didn’t bring any dating methods. He assumed the earth had been around forever.”

    No. He didn’t. He deduced, based on observations of geologic processes, that it was at least 300 million years old. This is wrong, of course, but it’s two orders of magnitude less wrong than Ussher was. To say that he assumed the Earth had always existed is simply wrong.

    “Not until Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity did anyone (modern, that is) have any notion the earth had a finite age.”

    Wrong again. Nobody got the age right, but many geologists made attempts at working it out. hey were all wrong, but that’s because they lacked vital information.

    “But again, they assumed without warrant that radioactive elements have been part of the earth since its formation.”

    As opposed to assuming without warrant that they were created 4,000 years ago by an earthquake and flood that various civilisations all over the world didn’t notice? I know who I’m writing off for making unfounded assumptions here.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, no doubt Lyell, or anyone, could observe the geological processes of their day – his and Darwin’s, I mean. But could he observe the Global Flood itself? Hardly.

      Even if I grant, for the sake of argument, the benefit-of-doubt that Charles Lyell was acting in good faith:

      He still was like any of a number of blind men trying to describe an elephant. Or like an ant on the top of a hill, thinking that mound is the whole world.

      You ought to give kudos to Dr. Brown for even trying to comprehend, from our puny, temporo-parochial perspective, the most violent event, the almost literally earth-shattering event, that the Flood was. Violent enough to roll the earth on its axis.

      And even to change things so thoroughly that we can’t imagine how it was like before. So we start to think it was always like this.

      That’s what Peter of Galilee and Paul of Tarsus meant when they predicted people in this era would really think the world was always the way it is today.

      Oh, and about other civilizations not noticing: I see I have to correct a misapprehension. I don’t recall ever saying any civilization survived the Flood.

      In fact, I said the opposite.

      Every civilization that existed in Noah’s day was destroyed.

      Hallo? Hallo? Jemand zu Hause? Denken Sie, Herr Mason! Denken Sie!

  93. Fergus Mason says:

    “Violent enough to roll the earth on its axis.”

    Was that before or after the ark floated? I ask because I’m interested in how, exactly, Brown thinks the ship was destroyed.

    “Every civilization that existed in Noah’s day was destroyed.”

    And Noah’s day was when, exactly?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      The rolling of the earth about its axis happened while the Ark was afloat. It happened in consequence of the collision of the European, Asian, and African plates, and the rise of the Himalayan chain and the Tibetan Plateau.

      The most likely calculated date for the Flood was 3343 BC. That falls within the range 3290 +/- 100 BC from extrapolation of the orbits of Comets Halley and Swift-Tuttle, to a range of years when those two bodies were most likely to be near perihelion. Which is to say, when they were most likely to have launched.

  94. Fergus Mason says:

    “Now how does jungle foliage get into the Arctic?”

    Dead easy. Plate tectonics.

    “The woolly mammoths of the northern reaches of Asia… They have no blubber, as whales and walrus do.”

    Well yes. That’s because they weren’t aquatic and could insulate themselves with hair. Why do you think they were WOOLLY mammoths?

    “And they are far too large to subsist in an arctic environment.”

    Exactly the opposite of the truth. Large animals have a lower surface area relative to their body mass, so lose less body heat; size is highly adaptive in a cold climate.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Surface area per unit mass is one part of the story. Metabolism is another. That, and the availability of food, set limits on an animal’s size.

  95. Thomas says:

    Look up Bergmann’s rule, Terry.

    Seriously, did you just put the occurrence of woolly mammoths in the arctic on the top of your list of proof of a global flood? They’ve got fat and they’ve got fur. That appears to me a much more acceptable explanation for the possibility of their existence in cold regions as opposed to “the earth rolled as a consequence of a global flood”.

    Thought experiment: imagine there was no bible, would anyone ever come up with a global flood theory?
    Answer: no.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      They would, because they wouldn’t be so hell-bent on rejecting it. They would have seen those big beasts, and all that lush jungle, neither of which has repopulated the region in question, and would have gotten to wondering. They would have seen the Mid-Oceanic Ridge system and gotten to wondering about that, too.

      Of course, I don’t expect to convince you anymore. Your problem is as much spiritual as logical.

  96. James B says:

    3343BC… Right now, I’m sitting in a city in Turkey which has a continuous archaeological record going back to 4,500 BC. How do you square that with a supposed totally-devastating Global Flood?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      And just how do you know that city has a continuous archaeological record reliably going back to 4500 BC? Someone probably used king lists that ran concurrently, but he ran them consecutively. Manetho, and the interpreters of the Rosetta Stone, made the same mistake. That’s why we even had a dispute over whether the FLood occurred.

      I had thought Egyptian chronology was the classic rubber chronology. I suppose I’ll have to add the Babylonian, or the Hittite, or whatever ancient civilization that was.

  97. Thomas says:

    Ok, watch these videos:
    YT ?v=PW0JLa5EmE4
    NG http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/west-mata-submarine-volcano-vin

    Now please clarify how people investigating Mid-oceanic ridge systems would observe THAT and conclude: “Yup, a global flood did it”. Seriously…..

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Your argument assumes that the earth’s core has always been molten and that volcanic activity has been a feature of the earth since its formation, or at least its cooling (however that is supposed to have happened). In fact, what you saw in that video is entirely consistent with the Hydroplate Theory. Of course, neither you nor those who captioned that video said where that eruption is supposed to have taken place.

  98. Thomas says:

    Too quick on the draw Terry, it’s in the caption:

    “Eruption of the West Mata volcano, discovered in May 2009, occurred nearly 4,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in an area bounded by Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.”

    That’s on the ridge between the Pacific plate and the Australian plate. Tectonics and volcanoes, that’s where the ridges comes from. Of course the earth’s core was always molten. The outer core that is, not the inner core, that’s solid. Both for the same reason: GRAVITY. Pressure generates heat, but iron’s melting point increases with pressure. At the inner core, the center of Earth’s gravity well, the pressure is so great that the iron is solidified again.

    PS: you still have not answered my question. Without the bible, how would anyone ever come up with a theory of a global flood? Where’s the smoking gun? And please, no woolly mammoths. That’s like bringing a toothpick to a gun fight.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, if the earth’s core was always molten, what cooled the crust? How could it possibly have cooled?

      I don’t deny what the core looks like today. I don’t question why the inner core is solid.

      But you just said it: gravity. Gravity transformed a cool core into a hot one. Gravitational settling.

      If it were radioactivity, every volcanic eruption would threaten radiation poisoning to the area around it. Like setting off a “dirty bomb.”

      The smoking gun, by the way, is a lot of dead things buried under miles of sand and rock. Dead things buried in the act of eating, fighting, mating, or in some cases trying to escape. That doesn’t happen with any gradual passage of time.

  99. Fergus Mason says:

    “its cooling (however that is supposed to have happened).”

    Oh wow, you just expressed doubts about how a ball of molten rock suspended in a thin gas with a temperature a few degrees above absolute zero would cool down?

    Radiation. That’s how it’s “supposed” to have happened. You can replicate it in your own kitchen with a boiled egg. Take it out the water and it will be hot. Come back in an hour and it won’t be. Same principle.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Yes. I pointed out that if a ball of stardust came together as the Nebula Theory said it did, it should still be molten today. The heat of gravitational settling would have melted the Earth ten times over. Absolute zero, baloney! Radiative heat transfer would never have sufficed, even in “billions of years.”

  100. Fergus Mason says:

    There are times when I wonder if you’re actually an extremely gifted parodist poking fun at creationists.

    “if the earth’s core was always molten, what cooled the crust?”

    Yes, this is one of them.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, that’s all right, I suppose. I know you for a not-too-gifted Provokateur, having another identity on Conservapedia before we deactivated it, who thinks he “gets off” trying to provoke me.

      I have the conventional narrative nailed dead-to-rights as scientifically infeasible, if not an act of malfeasance.

  101. Fergus Mason says:

    “I pointed out that if a ball of stardust came together as the Nebula Theory said it did, it should still be molten today.”

    And you were wrong. I have no idea what mechanism you think would have prevented cooling, but the fact that hot objects (such as a ball of rock) radiate heat is not in dispute. The greenhouse effect has only been operating since significant water vapour built up in the atmosphere and even then was nowhere near enough to keep the surface molten.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      They don’t radiate heat that fast. Not the kind of heat that would have come from the kind of accretion the Nebula Theory proposes. That is, if such accretion could take place as they describe.

      You have made a worse choice of a narrative than even the Benghazi narrative from the White House.

  102. Fergus Mason says:

    “having another identity on Conservapedia before we deactivated it”

    My identity on Conservapedia, as I recall, was FergusM1970. Hardly a masterpiece of disguise.

    “I have the conventional narrative nailed dead-to-rights as scientifically infeasible”

    So when you boil an egg it stays hot indefinitely, instead of cooling down to room temperature (but staying warm on the inside a while longer) like everyone else’s does?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Then you deny having a sockpuppet identifier named, I believe, Sam Connor?

  103. Fergus Mason says:

    “They don’t radiate heat that fast”

    Oh please. A ball of molten rock in an environment several hundred degrees cooler will radiate heat extremely fast indeed.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      A few calculations ought to settle this for any reader having an open mind. Those calculations are too extensive to reproduce here. So here are some links:

      Melting the inner earth

      Here’s one relevant statistic: the heat of gravitational accretion (assuming that’s possible with dust that is not falling together) is enough to melt the whole Earth 104 times over. Now even if you want to assert that 104 times the heat-of-melting of the Earth could radiate away enough to cool the crust, three questions remain:

      1. Could that happen within 700 million years (the conventional time between the formation of the earth and the appearance of the first life on it)?
      2. Why didn’t gold sink to the core, though it is seventy percent more dense than lead?
      3. How do you get granite, instead of layers of minerals sorted in order of density?

      Molten Earth?

      More on melting the inner earth

  104. Fergus Mason says:

    “Then you deny having a sockpuppet identifier named, I believe, Sam Connor?”

    Absolutely. Unlike Conservapedia’s very own international man/men of mystery, the Ken Kollective, I’m quite happy to use my real name. Admittedly I did once create a new account with a different name when the Daily Telegraph banned me, but as my new user name was FergusReturns it still doesn’t count as a cunning piece of subterfuge.

  105. Thomas says:

    Terry, you have zero grounds to base that claim upon. There are no problems with Earth’s core cooling down after its formation. Fergus is correct: heat radiation in an environment a few degrees above 0 Kelvin.

    While we’re at it, could you please clarify this: was the Flood’s water salt or fresh? Which ever “was” the case, how did salt-water fish survive in fresh water or vice versa?

    I don’t think I recall Noah having any fish tanks on his boat…

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You may think you can show a great rate of radiation. But just what is that rate? And: do you have the other half of the model, which is the initial heat to radiate away?

      You might want to follow the links in another comment I just left.

  106. Fergus Mason says:

    Oh wow. My brain is hurting. Just one example:

    “If melted granite slowly cooled, a “layer cake” of minerals, vertically sorted by density and freezing temperature, would form instead of granite.”

    This is just lunacy. It’s the geological equivalent of wondering why cake mix, when placed in the oven, doesn’t separate back into layers of flour, soda and raisins.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You know how you can challenge that statement, or facilitate its challenge. I have explained it to you ad nauseam.

  107. Thomas says:

    That’s a beautiful piece of fiction you’ve got there. Proves absolutely nothing. As long as it has not been subjected to peer review, it’s worth as much as my old socks. Yes, you may bring on the conspiracy theory. Doesn’t make one iota of difference.

    Here’s a picture of an accretion disk:
    http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1999/05/image/s/

    Booyah!

    (that’s a rap phrase)

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      And that is a beautiful piece of government-issue fiction you have got there. And for your information, the Creation Science Hall of Fame put together its first peer-review panel to look over the Hydroplate Theory and two of its leading competitors. Results are almost all in.

      And anyway, you must have seen my recent article talking about what happens when peer review isn’t done right, and how some people abuse the process.

      • Thomas says:

        My goodness, what kind of retard do you take me for? All these reviewers are CREATIONISTS. You just threw the _worst_ way of doing peer review in my face. Class act, Terry. Class act indeed.

        By the way that picture is far from fiction. And the party is only just beginning. In a couple of years our beloved Hubble telescope will have his big brother op there as well, the James Webb Space Telescope. I’ll be having beer.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Well, I could ask you what sort of intellectual challenge you think I face? All the peer-review referees on your side are evolutionists. You’re always throwing the worst way of doing peer review into my own face.

          I won’t even say “class act.” Instead I will say, “giving you a taste of your own medicine.”

          Pretty pictures still don’t necessarily come with the correct interpretation.

          • Thomas says:

            Okay, fair enough. So let’s assume for a minute the hydroplate theory doesn’t come out on top. What are you going to do then? Throw the hydroplate theory out? Start debating evolutionists with the other (winning) theory? Or keep on debating the proponents of the other theories like you are debating us?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            That’s academic. The Hydroplate Theory won out – that much I can tell you – because it was bold, comprehensive, and willing to break with uniformitarian tradition. (Or maybe I should say anti-tradition.) Now if the other theorists had come out with something better, I would have welcomed it. They didn’t. Because they would not think outside the box.

            But I can forgive that of Carl Baugh on one hand, and John R. Baumgardner and company on the other. If they did not think outside the box, what does that say of men like Lyell and his successors, who built the box they couldn’t think their way out of? The box that said radioactivity had always been a part of earth, for example.

            Those scientists responsible for the best breakthroughs, often “failed of peer review” before becoming the most-cited scientists in their fields, or even outside their fields.

  108. Thomas says:

    “Those scientists responsible for the best breakthroughs, often “failed of peer review” before becoming the most-cited scientists in their fields, or even outside their fields.”

    I’ll be damned, Terry, we finally found one thing we agree on.

    However.

    The boldness, or elegance, or non-conformist qualities of a theory do not matter. In the end a theory is accepted or rejected on grounds of its predictive power.

    Textbook example would be Copernicus, who caused outrage in the church with his work “De Revolutionibus” by proposing a heliocentric worldview. His work survived all clergy outrage because of its predictive power concerning the trajectories of the planets.

    I need not mention I strongly claim creationist hypotheses have zero predictive power, whereas predictions made and verified by evolution and our current (albeit incomplete) understanding of the universe are legion.

    To conclude, could I possibly be convinced of a divine creator? Absolutely. What would it take? One single piece of evidence.

    Until that happens, see you ringside.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I dispute you. Maybe a theory should stand on its predictive power. But in practice, the scientific community often rejects a theory for reasons having nothing more noble behind them than politics and unwillingness to discard the prevailing weltamshauung.

      I cite you as a perfect example. If you would but read Walter Brown’s online book, you will find prediction after prediction he has made over the years. Which have been vindicated. And yet you reject his theory out-of-hand. For worldview reasons only.

  109. Fergus Mason says:

    “Maybe a theory should stand on its predictive power.”

    There’s no “maybe” about it. If it doesn’t have predictive power it isn’t a theory.

  110. Thomas says:

    If you could point me to a free copy, I’d be happy too. I did watch his video though.

    I need not look far for evidence that refutes hydroplate theory. It’s the stratified fossil layers, in the Grand Canyon for example. I am aware of the fact you people see that as proof in favour of your theory, but it is not. You mentioned misinterpreting data, well let’s start interpreting.

    What would a flood like the one Walt Brown describes predict:

    – A lot of dead animals, true, but *all mixed up in the strata*. Turbulence would be so violent one would expect to find at least one trilobite buried in a higher layer than a mammal, for example.

    – At least one human fossil co-located with a dinosaur fossil. That’s what the Creation Museum would have us believe, depicting a triceratops with a saddle on its back. I don’t think it’s a far stretch to assume IF dinos and humans lived together, some dinos would be pets or put to use on the field like cattle? That IS what creationists imply, I’m only taking it into account. So we should be able to find evidence for that.

    – An extinction of either fresh water or salt water fish, the opposite of which ever kind the water in the hydroplates was.

    Yet, we see a certain *order* in the strata, every layer having exactly the fossils we would expect according to what evolution predicts. Prmitive -> Sophisticated, bottom to top. We see: blue-green algae in the bottom, then primitive sea life, then trilobites, higher up mammals and even mammal foot prints. Check one.

    Not once has a dinosaur been found in the same site a human has. Same goes for out of place fossils in general. Check two and three.

    Fresh and salt water fish still around? Yes. Check four.

    I don’t claim to have the credentials to perform a thorough peer review like any qualified geologist, paleontologist or physicist could. But there you already have some massive holes poked into your theory, imagine what the other guys would be capable of. Total obliteration comes to my mind.

    My humble *logical* conclusions interpreting the data provided by the stratified fossil layers *objectively*:
    – the hydroplate theory is inconsistent with reality.
    – baraminology is inconsistent with reality. By the way I can give you a ton more examples of why that is the case. -> Future post if necessary.

    To wrap up, because this jousting is getting tiring, I would kindly suggest to thoroughly STUDY evolution. I have the impression you and ms. Salanitri have gone over the material way to superficially, as you both have demonstrated amply in the article and following comments. You both clearly do not understand it correctly. Which is how we got into this verbal fight in the first place.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      In case you didn’t understand his site, the entire site is an online book. He does offer it for sale in hardcopy (and for that matter, in hardcover, but he also reproduces every chapter, and every section of a chapter, on-line. Anyone is welcome to read it through. I do that all the time. That is how I cited certain parts of it to settle certain points you have made from time to time.

      Now I will address the so-called four points you made, thinking they are all telling. Three of the four I can refute by counterexample. Isolated digs have turned up with multiple fossils, usually belonging in different strata, in a hopeless jumble either in one stratum or across strata. Human footprints have been found next to dinosaur tracks or fossils. Out-of-place fossils have been found.

      The fourth point is not nearly as powerful as you suppose. Adaptation to environment, and differentiation within a created kind, takes place far faster than your sources give them credit for doing. The one thing that does not occur no matter how much time elapses, is the formation of one new taxonomic family from another, or even from members of two different families of the same order, or especially the formation of new taxonomic kingdoms.

      I might not have had the major in biology, but I had a college-level course. I had some of the most learned scientists in the field present their case to me, and to a class full of students (at Yale College, no less), in all sincerity. That is how I prepared to obtain the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

      All you are suggesting is that I study the current party line, as it has shifted in the face of exposure of its logical fallacies and contradictions over the decades. I fail to see how that can contribute to my understanding of actual biology, or to the advancement of a real scientific inquiry. In short, I don’t intend to waste my time.

      You and Mr. Mason make much of predictive power. You will therefore be good enough to explain why every prediction of the next step in the evolution of humankind has proved false. Today the only ones who even try to predict that a new intelligent species will arise and then start a war with the present homo sapiens, are television executive producers having lurid imaginations. That includes Leslie Stevens, producer of the original television series titled The Outer Limits, the producers of the Star Trek franchise, and the exec-producer of a proposed television series during the Nineties, titled Prey, about a biologist who finds herself the subject of a hunt-to-the-death by so-called “new men” after her mentoress develops a theory of a new species of man and then falls victim to an act of murder by one of those “new men” seeking to ensure her silence.

      On the other hand, I will make a prediction. The incidence and prevalence of hereditary and congenital illnesses will only rise, and the disorders that appear will only worsen, with each successive generation. This worsening will not stop until a generation arises that is incapable of reproducing itself. That will happen in fifty thousand years. Or it would happen, except that the God you deny will intervene and cut human history short. I suspect this is but one of the things Jesus Christ was talking about when he told His students that no flesh should be saved, except that He would cut the process short.

      You will find after a simple engine search (I don’t care what engine you use, and do not care to prefer one search engine over others) that a practicing human biologist has already made that very prediction and published it. The end of humanity, so I infer from what this investigator says, will not come with a war of annihilation that any successor species will wage. It will come when some unfortunate woman dies in childbirth, and what she delivers from herself, doesn’t live long. And no one even falls pregnant after that.

  111. Thomas says:

    “Isolated digs have turned up with multiple fossils, usually belonging in different strata, in a hopeless jumble either in one stratum or across strata. Human footprints have been found next to dinosaur tracks or fossils. Out-of-place fossils have been found.”

    All of which have been refuted before.
    http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Some_fossils_are_out_of_place

    That aside, I have taken courses in biochemistry, molecular cell biology, genetics, -omics and sequencing technology at the Catholic University of Louvain. I do have some considerable understanding of biology, I like to believe. Quite enough to see the article by ms. Salanitri and your defence of it are complete nonsense and obviously the consequence of a lack of education.

    You wouldn’t be wasting your time studying modern biology, I’m prudently guessing you are afraid of what you might learn.

    I actually don’t give a rat’s ass about what you people want to believe, as long as you keep it between the four walls of your homes. When it is taken into science class or politics, that is where you will meet me and my proverbial battle-axe, opposing you. Ferociously.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      “To keep it within the four walls of our homes.” That won’t wash. I know where the error is, and I will go on correcting that error.

  112. Fergus Mason says:

    “You will therefore be good enough to explain why every prediction of the next step in the evolution of humankind has proved false.”

    Huh? None of them have had time to be proven false!

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      To the contrary, they all have. Humankind is not evolving at all; it is devolving. Endurance, intellectual capacity, and overall health are getting worse, not better.

  113. Thomas says:

    Nonsense. We’re seeing increases in lactase persistence in adults in European (especially Denmark and Sweden) and Africans. In order for the gene to encode a persist post-adulthood, it takes only one single nucleotide polymorphism. Selective pressure provided by better health through the ability to digest lactose.

    Always at your service.

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