Ark Fight!

An (English) CoracleSo you remember that “round ark” story from a few weeks ago, right? Brian Thomas has finally gotten around to poo-pooing it with an article called “Cuneiform Reed-Ark Story Doesn’t Float.” He begins:

News emerged in 2010 that Irving Finkel, a cuneiform expert at the British Museum, had translated an ancient tablet describing Noah’s Ark as round and built of reeds. Now, Finkel is publishing a book on the find, and news reports again assert the tired tale that the Bible’s authors borrowed a Babylonian flood tale like the one on this tablet and modified it into their “story” of Noah. Babylonian or biblical, round or rectangular—which Ark story stays afloat?

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Freshwater Fish and the Flood

Here’s a question that everyone seems to want an answer to: how did freshwater organisms survive a salty flood? A recent article at Your Origins Matter, Flood Survivors – derived from an Acts & Facts article by John Morris from 2011 called Fish in the Flood – tries to offer some solutions. After first acknowledging that survival would have been very difficult, and that most didn’t make it, Morris produces his first idea:

In the complex of events and conditions that made up the Flood, certainly there were pockets of fresh water at any one time. Remember, it was raining in torrents, and we can expect that the rain water was fairly fresh. Many studies have shown that waters of various temperatures, chemistries, and sediment loads do not tend to mix; they tend to remain segregated in zones. It would be unlikely for any one area to retain such zones for very long during the tumult of the Flood, but on a worldwide scale, some such segregated zones would have existed at any given time.

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Rock Flows

Reverse faultWhen you compress rock – and by “you” I really mean vast tectonic forces, and not your literal thumb and forefinger – it will tend to deform in such a way as to reduce its size in the direction of force. There are two broad categories of deformation. In brittle deformation the rock breaks and moves along the resultant fault. The scale of this movement varies considerably: while not produced from compression, the Alpine Fault in the South Island displaces the rock on either side by hundreds of kilometres and presently moves at a rate of tens of millimetres a year, but these processes go as small as individual tiny fractures in a rock. While the scales might be impressive, brittle deformation is not all that alien to our experience – everyone knows that rock breaks.

FoldingAt the other end of the spectrum is ductile deformation, including the process of folding. In this case, when compression is applied the rock layer gains waves like the folds in a rug. The scale of these folds can range from mountains down to individual crystals. But this latter kind of deformation is more than a little counter-intuitive: in our experience, rock generally doesn’t bend.

John D. Morris, the ICR’s president and holder of a PhD in geology, writes a regular geological column in his organisation’s Acts & Facts magazine. Several of those articles have recently exploited this potential for incredulity to put forward an explanation of the observed folding of rock that is more consistent with his creationist beliefs. While faulting can potentially happen in an instant, folding takes time – something which young Earth creationists famously lack. Continue reading

Delayed-Action Flood

Modern Plate TectonicsLacking a DpSU for today as we seem to be it’s time to return to the Acts & Facts magazine for February. Our article is John Morris’ Geologic Changes to the Very Good Earth, which is apparently another adaptation from his recent book, The Global Flood: Unlocking Earth’s Geologic History. The topic of this excerpt is plate tectonics.

The Flood cataclysm dramatically morphed the early earth into the earth we know today. Its original “very good” state was pleasant and stable (Genesis 1:31), but today things are not so quiescent. Earth’s crustal plates move relative to one another. If they collide, they either crumple up into mountains or plunge one beneath the other, producing volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

Genesis 1:31 is of course the verse where God calls His creation “very good,” but the extrapolation that this must mean that the Earth was then – geologically speaking – “pleasant and stable” would appear to be baseless. What, exactly, is “very good” to an omnipotent and omniscient deity anyway? Consider the implications if He happened to be quite fond of volcanic mudpools (they’re actually supposed to be quite good for you, so would that make their omission an imperfection?). Continue reading

The Domesticated Red Junglefowl

A Red JunglefowlA new YOM post asks “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

This age-old question really has a simple answer. However, attempts to answer it and to get around implications of the simple answer are often quite convoluted.

Yes, there is an answer: the egg was first, because there have been animals laying eggs for longer than there have been chickens. It’s simple, at least so long as you don’t specify that it must be a chicken egg. But for reasons that have been rather poorly thought out, the ICR insists the opposite was the case: Continue reading

Thomas and Morris on Radioisotope Dating

The February edition of Acts & Facts is out, and the first article we’ll look at is the “Q&A,” Doesn’t Radioisotope Dating Prove Rocks Are Millions of Years Old?, by John Morris and Brian Thomas (M&T, as well shall call them). The answer they are aiming for is, of course, “no.”

Radioisotope decay rates are renowned for constancy under normal conditions, so this assumption appears reasonable. But two observations and two clues omitted from physics textbook discussions of radiodating show that these radioisotope “clocks” are broken.

The four examples that they give should not be unfamiliar to anyone by this point – we have seen them all many times before. But in the interests of creating a shadow Q&A they are worth looking at again. Continue reading

Acts & Facts – January 2013

The first edition of Acts & Facts for 2013 has been noticeably redesigned from last year. Aside from various cosmetic changes there is now a dedicated contents page, a new series of articles, and some of the usual sections have been rearranged. For its part the A&F page on the ICR’s website now has pictures, linking to some of the articles which are similarly highlighted in the magazine itself. Because I have been going through these articles for the last five days this recap is mostly for future archaeologists, but there are still a few things I missed. 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 Book that Deceived the World

The Institute for Creation Research has a weekly radio show called Science, Scripture, & Salvation. Or at least they had a radio show – certainly, I can’t find any evidence that they’re still making new episodes. The Book that Deceived the World is one of these episodes, and yes, they’re talking about The Origin of Species:

Words can be a powerful and persuasive tool for good or evil. In 1859 a book that challenged the truthfulness of God’s Word and denied Him as Creator was published and became widely received. What was this book that deceived the world? Tune in to find out and to learn why it is still so popular.

The radio show shares certain similarities with the That’s a Fact videos. Most importantly both shows contain a lot of spurious claims about how the evidence shows that evolution is false, but at the same time they never actually show this “evidence.” As such, both SSS and TaF constitute examples of how the ICR presents its case to the true believers. It’s not particularly nuanced. Continue reading

Acts & Facts – December 2012

The December edition of Acts & Facts was actually a little less Christmas-y than I expected. This was not a very difficult accomplishment, however: if you have already had enough of the season then I suggest you stop reading, as I have already looked at most of the non-Christmas articles and there wont be much else that’s new.

Because it’s still December as I write this, the usual page on the ICR’s website is still current. There’s also a pdf of the magazine here, and all of the relevant links are below. Continue reading