Friday Falsehoods #3

This time it’s actually a Friday too!

1. It’s all talk, Tiktaalik can’t walk, Warren Nunn, Creation Ministries International, 30 January

But in 2010, a discovery in Poland shook the claims about Tiktaalik’s place in the evolutionary timeframe. It was of tetrapod footprints dated (using evolutionary assumptions) at 397 million years, 18 million years older than Tiktaalik. Dr Tas Walker wrote:

“If four-legged animals existed 18 million years earlier, then Tiktaalik can’t be the transitional fossil it has been claimed to be”.

This should have been the end for the Tiktaalik story but no-one—apart from creationists—seemed to see a problem, or, at least, admit to it.

1. Legends of the Flood, (Unknown), Answers in Genesis, 30 January

Today, over 270 cultures retain distant memories of that “life-changing event.” The details have been lost, but most of the legends share common themes: Man became corrupt; the Flood was worldwide; eight people survived; representatives of all land animals were saved; a dove was released to seek dry land; the survivors came down from a mountain to re-populate the whole world, and so on.

Critics claim the Bible’s account borrows from earlier myths. But it’s the other way around. We know the Bible is the only true account, and thus the reason the Flood stories use names similar to the Bible’s is because they are borrowing from God’s Word. That’s why Noah-like names such as Nu-u, Nu-Wah, Noh, Nos, and Nuh are preserved in so many of the Flood legends.

3. Most of Venus’ History Is Missing?, Brian Thomas, Institute for Creation Research, 31 January

Jettisoning the secular concept of billions of years would reconcile these mysteries. If there is no evidence for that enormous amount of missing time on Venus, maybe it never actually happened. And its craters may well be linked to a recent, solar system-wide event.


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23 thoughts on “Friday Falsehoods #3

  1. Note also that many people are coming to doubt that those Polish footprints were really of tetrapods. There’s all other kinds of evidence that fish can make trackways that look somewhat like that. Without an actual “body” we have no good evidence that there were tetrapods significantly earlier than Tiktaalik (not, as you noted, that it matters)

  2. The Tiktalik thing reminds me a bit of the fuss of Australopithecus sediba. That because it co-existed with later species it can provide no information on evolution.

  3. On issue #3. A “recent solar-system wide event”? Seriously?? Any such event, involving even a fraction of the large impacts that occurred on the moon or other cratered bodies in our solar system, would have wiped out humans (and other macroscopic life) many times over. In short, you’d have to compress all impacts, including the one that wiped out the dinosaurs and tends of thousands of others, into a few thousand years or less. I have had an article on my Paluxy page for many years at, detailing this problem, and no YEC has offered any plausible solution. In a very recent Answers Research Journal article (Jan 2014) on the topic Danny Faulkner mentions that craters have recently become an active topic among YECs, and he devotes almost 20 pages to discussing craters on other planets and moons–suggesting that that most were made during a “day 4″ event (4th day of Creation). This alone has serious difficulties (mainly, lack of time for all of the observed features). Even more seriously, he offers no scientific explanation whatsoever for how the earth could have escaped such a solar-system wide cataclysm, or how life could have survived here if it did not. All he could do, just as ICR did on the RATE project, is appeal to unspecified, extra-Biblical “miracles.” With that approach, why bother addressing any scientific problem? Ironically, YECs keep claiming they have the better model.

    • It sounded almost like he was supposing that God made a whole bunch of spherical balls with some asteroids floating immediately above them that would suddenly crash downwards. It’s a very “just so” explanation, with no overarching principles.

  4. On issue 2… this is just another example of YEC dishonesty. Even if the Polish find were valid, and there is some question on that, suggesting that it would destroy any place Tiktaalik could have in tetrapod evolution is as illogical as claiming you can’t be your grandparents ancestor if your grandparents or uncles are still alive. YEC authors knows this, yet they evidently counts on many of their readers not knowing it. They never fully deal with the overall patterns of the fossil record which demolish their view. None ever really answer, for example, why we don’t find thousands of large modern animals fossilized at the same horizon as Tiktaalik? Why does every period of geologic time have its own suites of fossils, which are different from those before and after? Their appeals to ecological zonation, differential escape abilities, and hydro sorting fall flat when examined in any detail, and in many cases, make the matter worse. In the case of flowering plants, for example, we’d have to imagine that most outran thousands of animals to end up only in Cretaceous and later strata. In short, they have no answers to the major patterns of the fossil record, or radiometric dates, or many other lines of evidence. So they have to fall back on smoke and mirrors on minutia like this. Pathetic.

    • Yeah, apparently he had in mind something like that. Or perhaps he envisions what Henry Morris proposed in his 1972 book _The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth_, which was that craters might represent the scars from a cosmic war between angels and Satan or his demons. It was not clear whether he meant craters were made from the actual bodies of the angels and demons, or the objects they were heaving at each other. Of course it’s all moot, since they could have easily proposed that the craters were created by fiat, along with the planets. Most people would see that as absurd, and imply that God is a deceiver, but no more so than the idea that God created starlight from distant stars en route to earth, even with explosions and other events embedded in them that never took place.

  5. On topic #1, The core of the YEC argument is “We know the Bible is the only true account, and thus the reason the Flood stories use names similar to the Bible’s is because they are borrowing from God’s Word”. This is classic case of the fallacy of circular reasoning and assuming one’s conclusion. Any competing Flood account from any other religious tradition could similarly declare “We know our account is true,” so the Biblical one must have followed it. In fact, there are other explanations for the pervasive nature of flood legends (as one more regional Floods could account for them), as has been explored in many articles and web sites. And whatever their source, they do not validate YECism, since the fossil and geologic evidence thoroughly refute the idea of a recent global Flood. Even the Bible says that the earth was made “of old.”

  6. “In 2006, Dr Jonathan Sarfati considered the evidence and pointed out that Tiktaalik’s fin was not connected to the main skeleton, ”

    Neither is Mr Nunn’s, or Dr Sarfati’s: indeed the front limb of all tetrapods only has a direct connection to the “main skeleton”, the vertebral column, in some derived pterosaurs.

    Articles like this are great to give to my undergrads to rip apart.

    • Sarfati is quoting from David Menton, who I regret to say has a degree from my own university. In biochemistry, which he thinks makes him qualified to make pronouncements on comparative anatomy.

    • PS. A great way of making students remember that, while their legs are directly connected to the vertebral column, but their arms are not, is to tell them that “you can shrug your shoulders, but you can’t shrug your hips”.

  7. In response to Ashley’s question… when one has little substance and evidence to muster, all you have left is bluster.

  8. Debating the extent to which Tiktaalik could walk misses the main point. Here we have a creature with a number of features intermediate between typical fish and later amphibians, appearing at the appropriate horizon in the geologic column. It’s what you’d expect if evolution happened. It not what you’d expect in the YEC model. Indeed, in that view, why do we not find any modern amphibians or modern bony fish, even bottom-dwelling species, in the earliest parts of the fossil record? Why are the early fish in the Cambrian and Ordovician periods jawless forms, followed by armored forms and cartilaginous fish, and only later bony fish? Likewise, why do we not find any large modern mammals with dinosaurs, or with any of the thousands of other Mesozoic and Paleozoic animals species, even tho many had overlapping geographic ranges and ecologies? The obvious answer is that they didn’t live at the same time. YECs, wake up and smell the coffee already.

  9. Glen
    When I contacted CMI I was assuming, apparently wrongly, that the scientists strongly believed the creature could walk (like a mudskipper).
    I note that you say YECs have a ‘model’ :)
    Well NOT one for a modern scientific era – unless Ken Ham can pull a (real) rabbit out of a hat next Tuesday anyway …
    My latest comment here relates to what AiG are now saying about THAT (I do not think I am reading too much into the article in concluding that AiG are informing their website visitors that Bill Nye will ‘lose’ the forthcoming debate unless he accepts the creation ‘model’ of Ken Ham – which of course is based on ‘reliable eye-witness testimony from God’):

  10. Ashey, I agree that YECs have nothing approaching a plausible scientific model, and should probably put the term in quotation marks when referring to YEC views.

  11. I meant that _I_ should put “models” in quote marks when discussing creationist models, because they are more like fanciful stories than valid scientific models.


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