Friday Falsehoods #5

Another week, another set of quotes from creationists for us to look at. We only have two from David Coppedge, one from Theology Archaeology, and one from Brian Thomas published at the website of Creation Ministries International (the weekly ad for the “Ark Encounter” was uninteresting this time, while Thomas’ ICR article for Friday is not easily quoted – I may write a proper post on it later). Let’s get right to it then:

1. Original Animal Protein in Fossils?, Brian Thomas, Creation Ministries International, 9 February

We have a fine fossil fish with original collagen fibres featured on an office wall at ICR (see photo above). It is from the Green River Formation in Wyoming. How do we know it is actually original fish collagen? First, it is a different colour, hardness, and texture from the surrounding rock. One visitor said that it looks like beef jerky. Second, the paleontologists who prepared it wrote that it was collagen. To dispel any doubt, scientists used four independent techniques to directly test fossil lizard skin from the same formation as our fish. They wrote,

“Taken together, all the analyses performed in this study strongly suggest that the fossilized reptile skin in BHI-102B [the lizard fossil] is not a simple impression, mineralized replacement or an amorphous organic carbon film, but contains a partial remnant of the living organism’s original chemistry, in this case derived from proteinaceous skin.”

2. New Cambrian Fossil Quarry Beats Burgess Shale, David Coppedge, Creation Evolution Headlines, 11 February

So these dumb animals “developed” hard parts.  Right.  They did it “to protect themselves.”  They met in war rooms to discuss plans for their “arms race.”  They “drove” evolution.  This is all the fallacy of personification.  It won’t work for a theory that champions unplanned, unguided, aimless, blind natural processes.

3. New Craters Found on Mars, David Coppedge, Creation Evolution Headlines, 13 February

Let’s do a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation of cratering on Mars from the figure given: at least 200 new impacts per year 12 ft across or more.   That should yield 900 billion craters over the lifetime of Mars – close to a trillion.  Assuming a fraction of those would be large enough to loft debris to form secondary craters, and some of those could create orbiting bodies that would fall later, that total seems unreasonably high.  The same rate would produce over a million craters in just 6,000 years – plenty, but credible.  If anyone would like to refine these estimates, they would need to consider the rate of erasure of craters by dust storms and other impacts, and factors that could vary the impact rate from a steady state.  The rate we measure today, for instance, may not reflect rates in the past.  Planetary scientists frequently propose a “Late Heavy Bombardment” of large impactors, for instance, but such hypotheses are speculative.

4. On Camels & C-14 Dating, Part 1, (Unknown), Theology Archaeology, 14 February

Second, dating a secondary site to a certain period then declaring everything in that site s [sic] from that time period is circular reasoning. The bones are from the 11th-9th centuries because the site is from the 11th to 9th centuries and vice versa. There is nothing in that site that indicates those bones were buried at that time.

Which one do you think is the most egregious? Comment below, and read my own responses on the next page.

11 thoughts on “Friday Falsehoods #5

  1. Not even close to the point being made.Why don’t you address the real issue which is that there is nothing in that site connecting those bones to that time period.

    • You, by which I mean the website, mentioned circular reasoning and Peter chose to address that remark. ‘Spot the Fallacy’ is a pointless game, as Peter notes elsewhere in this post, but it is a favourite of Creationists. It’s a particularly pointless exercise in relation to articles in the Press. Journalists seek to create controversy in order to sell copy. They are not usually adepts at the Ancient Greek game of Debating.
      In the same vein, no serious scholar is ‘accusing’ the Bible of anything. Biblical literalists and by extension Creationists present the Bible as a divinely dictated document in which is the delivery of propositional truths to be received as having non-negotiable verbal authority. Anyone, whether they profess belief or not, who has a different view of Scripture is not a true Christian. At a stroke, then, are dismissed most of the serious theologians, apologists and biblical scholars since Augustine of Hippo.
      You say that the archeologists who have come to these conclusions are biased by their unbelief, but you not only fail to see your own bias you actually consider it a virtue that you see everything through your interpretation of Scripture; an interpretation for which you have no evidence and only a rather doubtful warrant from the Christian tradition.
      In the post Peter quotes from you have chosen one rather shaky paper out of the mass of evidence from archeology, paleontology, linguistics and textual analysis that points to the Bible being a very human document.
      Follow your cult if you must but please stop trying to make out that you alone are the true Church.

  2. I fail to see what beef Coppedge has with a large number of small (<12 ft) craters on mars, even trillions over its lifetime. The irony is that he neglects the much bigger cratering problem for YECs, which is how humans and most other large organisms on Earth survived all the large large craters that it must have suffered during it's history (judging from the numbers on other planets and moons), if you try to cram them into several thousand yeas, and humans were here the whole time. He seems to be seeing a spec in the "evolutionist" eye, while having a beam in his own.
    As I mentioned, the recent (Jan 2014 Answers Research Journal) feeble attempt by Danny Faulkner to deal with the cratering problem resulted in him finding no scientific explanation whatsoever, and instead suggesting Earth escaped the bombardment because God used special creative processes for it, or that God miraculously shielded the Earth–similar to the way the RATE project authors resorted to "miracles" to explain how radioactive decay could accelerate enough to fit in a YEC timetable, or how the Earth could avoid being cooked to a crisp if it did.

  3. theologyarcaeology, what are you talking about? If the bones are buried in the same sediments as artifacts known to be from the 11-9th century, and there is no evidence of intrusion or reworking, then it is reasonable to conclude that they are the same age. If someone is in doubt C14 dating of the bones can resolve it. While YECs obsess about minutia like this, they fail to explain the major patterns of radio dates from several independent methods, that give largely consistent results, and a sloping pattern from stratigraphically younger to older rocks. The conclusions of the RATE project in fact confirmed that YECs have no plausible scientific explanation for those patterns,and the massive amount of radio decay found in the geo record, other than to propose vague, extra-Biblical miracles to cause vastly accelerated decay, then more unspecified miracles to protect the Earth and all life from the lethal heat it would generate.

  4. Correction, I should have written >12 ft, but it’s irrelevant to the main point, which is that by far the biggest cratering problem is on the YEC side. .

  5. It’s hard for me to say which misrepresentation is the worst among today’s excerpts, but Coppedge’s simplistic comments really chap me. First, the words he places in quotes are from Stephen Meyer (and ID advocate), who implies they’re what evolutionist say about these fossils, but without specific attributions. Second, even when conventional scientists use such personifications, they are _metaphors_ for natural selection, and I think Coppedge knows this. He also must know, or should, that no mainstream workers “champions” evolution as an “unplanned, unguided, aimless, blind natural processes.”; indeed, it’s major driver, natural selection, is not a random process. Ironically, it is YECs and ID advocates who assume a driving being or force behind creation or speciation. Last, even if some theistic evolutionists do as well, it does not invalidate the extensive evidence that evolution did happen. .


    “This stance rejects biblical history not because of data, but before the data are even approached…”. Yet Thomas simply IGNORES other data, and calls the study of it ‘DOGMA’, because of his faith that the Bible offers an infallibly historic and scientific account of origins. Young Earth creationists do not understand the irony of their position and the hypocrisy that is contained with their dogmatic complaints and pronouncements about ‘dogma’. Clearly.

    The YEC technical paper cited by Brian Thomas at his footnote 7 does NOT appear – in either its Abstract or its Conclusion – to claim or demonstrate that “a new data-first study of mitochondrial DNA reports that mankind only carries a few thousand years’ worth of polymorphic sites”. (However I have not tried to wade through the whole very lengthy paper – I wonder whether Thomas has done so.)

    Thomas is a ridiculous ideologue not a scientist.

    I think I may have mentioned previously that the ICR BLOCK all emails from me (as far as I can tell, short of their facebook page perhaps, email is the ONLY way anybody can contact the ICR online).

  7. Hard to choose which is the most egregious, but #2 gets my vote as the most ridiculous, a grotesque parody of things evolutionists do not think or say in the first place.

  8. Sadly, YECs who _are_ intelligent and should know better, seem to get most of their exercise doing mental gymastics, twisting evidence, jumping to conclusions,and pushing their dogmatic view, instead of frankly facing what the vast bulk of evidence shows, namely, that the earth has a long and complex history.


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