Stampede?

Dinosaur tracks at Lark Quarry The several-thousand prints at the Lark Quarry dinosaur track-ways, in Queensland, Australia, have long been interpreted as being the result of the only known dinosaur stampede. They were caused, it was believed, by a large hungry theropod spooking and scattering a group of smaller dinosaurs. A new paper – Re-evaluation of the Lark Quarry dinosaur tracksite (late Albian–Cenomanian Winton Formation, central-western Queensland, Australia): no longer a stampede? (pdf, SI) – argues that the site does not represent a stampede at all, but dinosaurs swimming with the current as part of a migration. Somehow, Brian Thomas gets from this research the title “New Dinosaur Tracks Study Suggest Cataclysm.” Continue reading

Larry Vardiman’s Weather Report

Great Blizzard of 2006Larry Vardiman retired from the ICR back in June, but has continued some of his writing work. Our final January Acts & Facts article of interest – A Mountain of Snow after the Genesis Flood – is largely cribbed from one of his (and Wesley Brewer’s) more recent Answers Research Journal papers, “Numerical Simulations of Three Nor’easters with a Warm Atlantic Ocean.” You can find a brief analysis of the paper at RationalWiki, but let’s take a look for ourselves. Continue reading

One Book, One Dogma

A medieval bulgarian bibleTwo articles in the January Acts & Facts edition argue a similar point. According to them, the young Earth creationist approach of biblical literalism is superior to world-views influenced by observation of the actual universe. The articles aim their attacks primarily at fellow Christians who don’t take the YEC position, but take slightly different angles.

The first is by Jason Lisle, and is called The Two-Book Fallacy. It begins:

The founder of the scientific method, Francis Bacon, taught that God has written two books: the Scriptures and the book of creation (or nature). Today, many professing Christians affirm this view. After all, the Scriptures teach that God’s attributes are clearly seen in nature (Romans 1:20). So we can learn about God through both Scripture and science—the systematic study of nature.

Continue reading

Sinking the Ark

As part of the December edition of the ICR’s Acts & Facts magazine I looked at an article by John Morris attempting to defend the feasibility of constructing the Ark by arguing that Noah and his sons would have had time to move the required volume of lumber. This is, however, hardly the most problematic aspect of the story, and so for the just-posted January edition Morris has written The Survival of Noah’s Ark, which is an attempt to defend the boat’s ability to float in the conditions.

Skeptics raise a serious objection to the Flood account given in Scripture: How could Noah’s Ark and its precious cargo survive the turmoil of the Flood? Wouldn’t it have sunk beneath the waves, sending its cargo to a watery grave?

Some very important questions there. Having read Morris’ defence, I would have to say that the answers are still “it couldn’t” and “it would have” respectively. Continue reading

The Black Sea Deluge

The Black Sea, from spaceAs the last surviving remnants of the ancient Tethys Ocean, the various bodies of water in the area stretching from the Mediterranean to (what’s left of the) Aral sea have had a rough time of it during the last couple of million years. The Mediterranean is of course connected to the Atlantic via the narrow Strait of Gibraltar, which has closed in the past causing the sea to largely dry up. Similarly, the Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean via the even narrower Bosporus.

There is a hypothesis, recently brought back to public attention, that around 5600 BC the Bosporus was opened, flooding what had previously been a freshwater lake and bringing its level up to the modern height. This idea has become associated with a possible origin for the Noachian flood myth. Hence Brian Thomas’ latest article, Did Underwater Archaeologist Confirm Noah’s Flood?

Underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard claimed to have found evidence beneath the Black Sea that Noah’s Flood really occurred. Christians who only read headlines may count this as confirmation of the Bible. But whatever Ballard found should not be considered direct evidence of Noah’s Flood.

Thomas’ position is unusual: similar to what we saw with the apocalypse business yesterday, Brian is pointing out that no this is not evidence of the Flood, but at the same time insisting that the Flood did in fact happen anyway. Continue reading

Perfectly Suited for Life (as we know it)

The universe, what is known of it, is vast beyond measure.  It is estimated that there are about 100 billion galaxies in the universe with each containing about 100 billion stars each.  Among all of those stars, one medium sized star hosts eight or nine planets, one of which we call home – Earth – a tiny speck of dust in a measureless universe.

That’s the opening of the latest post to appear on the ICR’s Your Origins Matter website, What’s So Special About our Blue Planet? The planet Earth being perfect for life – and that there is none like it in the universe – is a common creationist argument. You’d think, then, that the author of this YOM article could have done some research and not just written down what sounded about right. “Eight or nine planets” indeed – we can’t have those astronomers telling us what is and isn’t a planet now can we? Continue reading

Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh tablet XI at the British MuseumIt’s always funny when this happens. A recent YOM post, Will That Boat Float?, opens:

Bible critics have long discounted the biblical narrative of Noah’s Flood as an adaptation of flood myths from the surrounding area of Mesopotamia.  One such flood myth is the Epic of Gilgamesh, which has many similarities to the biblical account of the Flood.  But just how well do the two stories compare, and which one is more feasible?

Young Earth creationists have a complicated relationship with flood stories from other cultures. On the one hand, they are used as evidence that the Flood was global etc etc. But on the other hand they also defend their claim that theirs has the correct depiction of events by rubbishing the feasibility of the other accounts. For example in November of last year John Morris said of the Gilgamesh flood story:

It is so full of fanciful and unbelievable details that probably no one ever considered it true.

Yes, we are deep into hypocrisy territory here. Continue reading

Unreliable Isotopic Clocks?

In More Fluctuations Found in Isotopic Clocks Brian Thomas thinks he has reasons why four different radiometric dating techniques are inaccurate. Well, three really – one of them isn’t even a clock, so far as I can tell, and is just thrown in there to cast a general doubt on the reliability and predictability of radioactive decay. This is standard fair for young Earth creationists – though taking a look at my archives it has been just over a year since I’ve reported on at DpSU of this exact type – and the narrative being put forth is that there are more inconsistencies and problems with specific techniques being found every day, and that the whole idea is suspect. This could not be further from the truth. Continue reading

Senseless Doggerland

Doggerland, at some point during its sinkingAt the beginning of this month a wealth of information was announced about the fauna, flora, geography, and habitation of the landmass in the North Sea known as Doggerland, which sank beneath the waves between 18000 and 5500 BC due to post-glaciation rising sea levels. As you might expect from a description like that, the news reports have been full of references to a “British Atlantis.” Several weeks later, Mr Thomas’ amusing article – Making Sense of Britain’s Atlantis – does the same.

What’s to be made sense of? According to Naturalis Historia, quite a lot if you’re a young Earth creationist. Most importantly, note that during the height of the last glaciation the land – though at its greatest extent – would have been uninhabitable as it would have been as barren as any other part of Northern Europe. Today also it is uninhabitable, but for the more immediately obvious reason that it’s underwater. So it could only be settled (as we now know beyond a shadow of doubt that it was) in the between-times, during which it would have been in the process of drowning. There’s thus not a great deal of time for that to happen in (~10000 years is still plenty, just much shorter than the full ice age etc), but naturally the young Earth creationists find themselves compressing all this time into perhaps a hundred years, tops. N.H. points out that this and other cases of underwater habitation in such a short period just after the Flood/Babel present a bit of a problem. Continue reading

Asteroids of the Flood

The Tenoumer crater in the Sahara desert is just over half the age and just under twice the diameter of Meteor Crater, Arizona

It’s already time for the July Acts & Facts and John D. Morris’ geology article – An Extraterrestrial Cause for the Flood? – once again looks like a good place to start. Morris speculates that asteroid impacts could have been the cause of the Flood, though it strikes me that the opinions he advocates are neither wise nor consistent with flood geology and creationist theology in general. Continue reading