On the one hand, the Greater History Assignment of 2012 is finished and handed in. On the other hand, that means it’s time for yet another of these catchups, I’m afraid. To begin, I’m assuming that you’ve seen the “2012 Blue Marble” image released back in late January:
If you haven’t, you’ve turned the images off and there’s no helping you. As well as the picture above – which, as you’ll note, is comprised mostly of North America – a second one showing Africa was released a week later.
Now, the DpSU for February 13 – NASA Earth Image Helps Answer Flood Question – claims the following:
This image can help answer a question that creationists often hear: If the entire earth really was covered during the Flood of Noah’s day, then where did all that water go?
According to him, the answer is obvious: into the oceans.
As support he gives as his proposed flood model the Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History one. This one involves the breakup of a Pangaea-like supercontinent, along with the resurfacing of the ocean floor which caused the rock to be less-dense enough to rise up and push the water over the continents for a while, before they cooled and became more dense and sank. The point that Mr Thomas is apparently trying to make is that the water then returned to the oceans.
Determining that the Blue Marble picture was not of the correct part of the world to best make his point, Mr Thomas also produces a screenshot from Google Maps of the Pacific Ocean:
So, what happened to all the water from Noah’s Flood? It went into the oceans. As extraordinary images of the earth from space show, water covers the majority of the blue planet. In fact, from at least one vantage point near the center of the Pacific Ocean, virtually no land is visible—just ocean!
I am, of course, somewhat amused that my entire country – which naturally is quite plainly visible in the picture, as is the east coast of Australia, a good amount of Antarctica, the very west of the Americas, and almost every Pacific Island you care to name – is classified as “virtually no land”.
Returning to the model, there are, as you would expect, problems with it. Answers in Creation provide an excellent rebuttal. One thing I would like to note is that even if the model would preform as claimed – i.e. you could get the plates moving at around 1 meter per second, they would actually manage to build mountains, problems with dating could be resolved etc – I’m doubtful that the Flood produced would manage to jump through all the hoops that creationism demands of it.
One last thing to note:
The apostle Peter wrote specifically about water’s role in restructuring the earth’s surface: “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”
Yes, this is a ‘specific’ biblical passage to a creationist.
Next we have Louisiana’s Floating Marshes Echo Pre-Flood Ecosystem, from Feb 22. This one posits that the pre-flood world contained continent-sized floating marshes, which were buried from edge to centre, the centre having more developed plants than the edge. As he quotes some other creationist as saying:
If a floating forest once existed, how did the plants get buried in the right order? I suspected that the destructive waves of the Flood ripped apart the floating forest from the outside in—first burying the weak water plants, then the small bushes, then the tall bushes, and finally the tall trees [in higher rock layers].
Again, I’m not exactly sure that’s possible, or that it would produce anything that matches what we actually see. Also of interest is the paper in Nature from March 1, Surprisingly complex community discovered in the mid-Devonian fossil forest at Gilboa, which, as you might be aware, made the front page. It seems fairly clear, whether you could get floating forests or not, that the evidence does not support ancient forests being part of them and fossilised in this manner – too many fossils are in situ, for one.
Next was Why ‘Darwin Day’ Passed without Fanfare, from Feb 23. This is a discussion of an opinion peice in a random newspaper, and largely consists of the claim ‘creation is science too’. We’ve already seen the next one.
For Feb 27 was Rediscovered ‘Extinct’ Tortoise Frustrates Darwinism. No solid explanation is given as to why – seemingly the fact that it’s a tortoise and not some other creature is the problem?
Feb 28’s ‘Primitive’ Tribe Demonstrates Modern Social Behavior consists of Mr Thomas misunderstanding why they were studying these groups in the first place: they help show how much of this ‘social behaviour’ is the creation of our modern way of life. They represent not ‘primitive’ people, but the very end of the road of evolution, so to speak. Note also that neither the paper nor the news article Mr Thomas references actually uses the word primitive.Heis calling them primitive, then expressing his wonder that they are not.
Gorilla Genome Is Bad News for Evolution, by Jeffery Tomkins, has actually been gone over by PZ Myers recently, so you can read his take here. I have nothing to add, except to point out that a) PZ might want to know that he is actually linking to the (ir)regularly updated Daily Science Updates page and not to the article itself, and that b) …well, I had better explain what Tomkins is talking about first.
We now have the sequence of the Gorilla Genome, having already had that of the Chimp and Humans. Tomkins is noting that in a few parts of said genome humans seem to be closer related to Gorillas than to Chimps – this is apparently Bad News for Evolution as he says. The problem here is that the explanation is simple: say you have a gene A, in the anscestor population of Humans, Chimps and Gorillas. In the Gorilla line this is unmutated, and stays A. It goes to the human/chimp split the same. But while in the human line it stays as A, in the Chimp it mutates to B. Suddenly, in this one gene, we appear to be more closely related to Gorillas than we are to Chimps. We know that we are more closely related to Chimps, however, because more genes are as you would expect if that were the case, not because they all are.
But this actually produces an interesting situation for the creationists: realise first that if we are more closely related to Chimps than to Gorillas, than Chimps will be more closely related to us than to Gorillas. But if there are cases where we and Gorillas are closer… Where I’m going with this is to ask why we, God’s special creation, would be as genetically related (or more) to one other animal as it is to another? The only way out is for Gorillas and Chimps to be on different Baraminological Kinds, and if so then that’s making the definition a little too narrow to be useful in cutting down the number of animals to be on the Ark, as was originally intended.
I’ll leave today’s one till later, as it wouldn’t do to summarise an entire month’s updates in the one post, would it?