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

The Schöningen Spears

The lignite mine in Google mapsThere seems to be an interesting side effect of the distaste that young Earth creationists seem to have for “historical science”: they’re no good at it. Believe it or not, there are some events in history that the Bible says absolutely nothing about, and creationists seem to be unable to build a coherent picture from the available evidence. Take this latest Brian Thomas article, Eight Spears found in German Coal Mine, as an example.

First, though, there are a few things that need to be noted. The obvious conclusion that would be drawn from such a title in a young Earth creationist publication is that the story is of the “petrified hammer” variety. Not so. I can’t get explicit confirmation from anything I’ve read, but it seems that while it’s literally true to say that the Schöningen Spears were indeed ‘found in a German coal mine‘ they weren’t actually in the lignite being extracted. Instead the spears themselves are dated to ~300,000 years ago, and are believed to have been wielded by Homo heidelbergensis.

Researchers discovered eight well-manufactured throwing spears in an Ice Age coal deposit near Schöningen, Germany. They are calling these the oldest human tools. What can forensic science reveal about the people who made them?

As I said I don’t think the spears were actually found in the deposit, but it’s a fairly moot point as that aspect isn’t relevant to the rest of the article.

Who’s “calling these the oldest human tools”? I’m struggling to find anyone but Brian doing so – they’re calling the spears the oldest hunting weapons, which is quite a difference. Continue reading

Dendrochronology

Some unidentified tree ringsDendrochronology is, of course, the method of using tree rings to date things. Our records go back as far as 11,000 years in some cases, which is incredibly useful for archaeological purposes and as a side effect also demonstrates that such dates existed to boot – you can see how that might worry young Earth creationists. For his October Acts & Facts article John D. Morris wants to talk about Tree Ring Dating and its problems.

Several species of trees live almost indefinitely. The giant sequoia trees of California are known to live over 3,000 years, discerned through tree ring dating. Under normal circumstances, woody trees add one ring per year. A ring typically consists of a light-colored growth portion and a dark-colored portion produced in a stabilization season. However, some trees do not produce annual rings at all, especially those in temperate or tropical regions.

Actually, it is those that are in temperate regions that produce the best rings, as the seasonal changes in growth are the clearest. Morris needs to show us that dating via this method is unreliable. You’ll note the lack of specifics on his part. Continue reading

Stone Age Language?

The Daily Science Update for Friday was Stone Age Art Holds Hints of Language. The source article (from the Guardian) discusses the abstract symbols found next to cave art and in other places, and suggestions that they might have some kind of meaning.

One annoying feature of these symbols is that people havn't bothered to photograph them much. As such, have a picture of the entrance to the Cueva de las Monedas. Continue reading

Regardless, The Dead Sea Does

It goes without saying that the title for Wednesday’s Daily (pseudo)Science Update is a bit of an exaggeration: Dead Sea Sediment Core Confirms Genesis.

The last time that style of title was used it was for Genetics Analysis of Jews Confirms Genesis, in which we were told that a genetic study showed that Jews had interbred to some degree with sub-Saharan Africans – which of course proves that one of the sons of Jacob married an Egyptian as reported in the bible, that Moses married an Ethiopian, and that Science has Confirmed Genesis.

Panorama of the Dead sea from Mount Sodom Continue reading