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Creation/Evolution, science

Hourglass Argument: a response


On March 1, Believer vs. Non-Believers weblog (http://believervsnonbelievers.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/the-hourglass-argument/) responded to my Feb. 28th post on the hourglass metaphor regarding radiometric dating (https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/deceptive-god/).  They posted a very nicely crafted YouTube response video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Yvi2cuF_nzE).  The following will respond to their attempt to refute my position.


0:26 – You say the hourglass metaphor is a “common fallacy creationists use”.  How can a metaphor be a fallacy?  You may be able to show how the metaphor does not make sense to you, or errors in my illustration, but that is different than actual logical fallacies.  Seeing that you never named the fallacy, would you be willing to name the fallacy?  Here’s a list if you need help:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies.  Speaking of fallacies – here is a list I’ve compiled of common fallacies used during the defense of evolution:  https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/evolution-and-logical-fallacies/


1:06 – You talk about the rocks being formed as igneous rocks, being formed underground.  When I talk about “atmospheric conditions during the global flood”, I am talking about what effect the changes in the atmosphere may have had on the decay process after these rocks were formed.  The following three papers give evidence of how different global conditions have affected decay rates:




If we have found evidence of decay rates being affected by global conditions, why would it be far-fetched to believe the global flood may have affected the decay rates?


1:09 – Solipsism.  I am not advocating that we can’t really know anything.  I love science, I simply agree that there is a difference when science no longer includes observation, testability, or repeatability.  I find that to be a science-defending position.  I value science.  See my post called “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve: How speculation has changed science to religion” (https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/wouldve-couldve-shouldve-how-speculation-has-changed-science-to-religion/).


1:25 – You say “the world could have been naturally evolved to look that way too” in contrast to just popping into existence aged.  This is (somewhat) true.  I believe creation and evolution are both a part of historical science, and unprovable since it lacks observation and repeatability.  I believe creationists and evolutionists are more in the same boat than they are usually willing to admit.  Of course I believe we provide a more complete explanation of the evidence, but I can’t prove it – and neither can you.


1:37 – I don’t ever say Noah’s Ark happened because radiometric dating is flawed.  Therefore your accusation that my argument is “circular” is false because I never made that argument.  In a coming post I will present a water-tight case for the Biblical flood.  Stay tuned!  What I really said was something along the lines of “if Noah’s flood happened, then it is possible that atmospheric conditions may have affected decay rates”.  See the RATE project for more on these hypotheses (http://www.icr.org/rate/).


2:06 – “We’ve never seen a mechanism that would do otherwise” – change decay rates.  Again, please see the above three articles posted.  We actually have seen this.  Be careful using the terminology “always” or “never”.  It’s usually not true and shied away from in scientific literature.  For more, I might suggest the following:

Huh, C.-A., Dependence of the decay rate of 7Be on chemical forms, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 

Kerr, R.A., Tweaking the clock of radioactive decay, Science 286(5441):882–883.


2:22 – The laws of physics do not change.  Are you sure?  Please review the following for updated info on that outdated claim…




2:48 – “You are assuming your book is the word of God”.  You are right.  That is my presupposition.  Are you willing to admit yours yet?  See this post:  https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/the-definitive-argument-creation-catastrophism-vs-evolution-uniformitarianism/


3:04 – You say evolution comes from observation.  I disagree.  I believe natural selection comes from observation, but NS in and of itself is not enough of a mechanism to get a pool of slime to a human given any amount of time.  THAT has not been observed.  Perhaps your “science” is not as observed as you are so proudly assuming.


3:59 – Eyewitness testimony is the lowest form of evidence in science.  I see your point, but what scientific principles have YOU personally tested and approved??  If you haven’t, YOU are accepting eye-witness testimony.  Another point is that perhaps science is not the only path to truth?  That’s another discussion.  J


4:08 – “the small band of the electro-magnetic spectrum that is visible to us is minuscule”.  I find it highly ironic that someone who relies so much on observation for their position is using an argument that shoots observation in the foot.  You’re basically saying: “we can’t see all there is to see… who knows, maybe everything we know is wrong” while at the same time accusing me of solipsism.  See the irony?


4:24 – “Forego all logic and reasoning for an eyewitness testimony – then you are gullible and weak-minded.”  You are setting the rules for the debate without my consent.  According to YOU my only reason for my faith is believing the Bible.  That is central, but by far not my only reasoning.  You are of the camp that call my faith a “blind faith”.  I’ve written on that too (https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/blind-faith/).  I accept the Bible as accurate because I see no reason not to, just as you would with a History book.  The Bible is the claim (or the hypothesis), then I go into the world and make observations.  Those observations confirm what I read in the Bible over and over again.  Therefore the only logical and reasoned position is to accept it’s truth.  This section of my blog (https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/biblical-authority/) contains over 40 posts I’ve written on the subject of Biblical authority alone.  There are books upon books written about the reliability of scripture.  When you subject it to a “bronze-age book”, you show what little you know about it.  Have you taken four collegiate level classes on the history, compilation, and preservation of the books of the Bible?


4:49 – The brunt of your response seems to be on Isochron dating and how it gets you out of this idea of assuming the starting conditions.  Yet one simple Google search of “isochron dating problems” revealed very quickly several problems (http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/ce/isochron.html).  Even the atheists favorite website TalkOrigins names the problems with isochron dating (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/isochron-dating.html).  For more, here is a technical paper published by creation scientists:


Although I am personally not an expert on isochron dating, it apparently isn’t a problem for creationism, and even some secular sources list several problems with it.  I think your slam-dunk just fizzled a litte.


5:53 – “Pictures of the hourglasses in different states”.  I found this to be the funniest part!  You actually believe you have observation of these rocks during different periods.  That’s cute.  The truth is – you don’t.  If the atmospheric conditions affected the speed of decay during the flood – you wouldn’t know.  If the sample was created at a certain point in its life cycle – you wouldn’t know.  If processes we don’t even know about yet or do know about worked differently before the fall/curse – you wouldn’t know.  The point is Bible-believers have specific reasons to dispute the uniformitarian assumptions you need to prove an old-earth.  We don’t blindly reject your conclusions because we want to cling to our faith.  We reject them because we value truth – and see the lack of observation in your conclusions.  You’ve observed for about 200 years (modern science) and made conclusions about billions of years?!  That’s an amazing claim!  Now, I have my own set of assumptions and presuppositions as well, and I’m welcome to discuss those, but you need to admit that you have not observed those clocks at different states.  You BELIEVE they’ve always worked the same.  It’s a nice, logical belief – but it doesn’t rule out my belief.


6:02 – “There are no methods for anyone to change or turn over these hourglasses” – How do you know that??  You would have to have all knowledge of the whole universe to make that claim.  Seems to make science unnecessary.  You already know how it all works apparently.  You shoot your love of science in the foot.


6:18 – testing the hourglasses across the globe/universe.  Yes, creationists would expect that you would get the same results from multiple methods when using the same assumptions across the board.  This is a question over the presuppositions used to interpret the evidence, not the evidence itself.


6:46 – You make a very good point about the light getting to our eyes, and then our brains analyzing the data.  That’s the nail on the head, my friend.  How do we analyze data?  How do we interpret the evidence?


Let me give you one more metaphoric scenario since you clearly don’t like hourglasses…

If you went to study the Civil War, yet only looked at the bones, rocks, and trees left behind – you WOULD come up with logical, clear, and verifiable conclusions… but would they be the complete truth?  No way!  How could you devise how long each battle lasted from the rock, trees, and bones left behind?  There’s no way.  You’d need a historical record to do that.  I’m not saying that your radiometric dating techniques are illogical or irrational, I’m saying your conclusions are incomplete because you ignore the historical record – therefore I believe I have a more complete truth.  I cannot prove it, and neither can you… just as you can’t prove the battle of Gettysburg happened.  It will always come down to faith.

I wish you luck my friend in your search for truth.  It truly has been a pleasure comparing positions with you.  I much prefer dialoging with someone like you who will take the time to form a complete rebuttal argument rather than someone who will quickly put me down and plug their ears and yell “science” over and over to make them feel better about themselves.  I hope we can continue to dialogue.  I’d be very interested in a rebuttal video to my Civil War analogy.  As someone who has done video work in my past, I was very impressed with your work.  Have a great day!


About Tim



19 thoughts on “Hourglass Argument: a response

  1. My only reply is the argument I formed in the video:

    Why should I read any of your articles or listen to any of your evidence when you yourself believe that we can’t truly know anything that happened in the past? Keep in mind, as I pointed out, that the moment after I read what you said, the laws of physics could have drastically changed.

    Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 6, 2014, 10:51 pm
    • By the way, if your arguments are going to boil down to an argument from ignorance, don’t even put in the effort of responding. “Decay rates MAY HAVE been different” is as valid as saying “decay rates were the same in the past just as observation and experimentation would tell us”, in fact, it’s LESS valid than that, because that is science.

      Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 6, 2014, 11:53 pm
      • I am saddened that these are your only responses after I put several hours into responding to you. I was truly hoping we could engage more and that you might be more interesting that some of the others.

        Any thoughts to the articles from scientific journals about how decay rates can change under certain circumstances and on how physics may not always react the same as well? This seemed pretty damaging to your rebuttal.

        Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 2:04 am
        • So wait a second, you agree that science CAN make educated hypotheses and theories of past events using current empirical observations and experiments then?

          Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 7, 2014, 2:05 am
          • Yes, they can. I may or may not accept them as absolute truth. If I reject them as truth, I will give reasons why.

            Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 2:25 am
            • You’re a uniformitarian then, welcome to the club.

              Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 7, 2014, 11:37 am
              • Yes, everyone operates with certain uniform assumptions. The difference is I am willing to admit the limits of said uniform assumptions, and you are not.

                When I wake up and get out of bed I assume my feet will hit the floor. Now, someone COULD technically come along while I’m sleeping, drug me, put me on a spaceship, and I could wake up in zero gravity where my feet would not hit the floor now – thus disrupting my uniform assumption.

                Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 2:37 pm
                • What are you talking about? Science accepts that there are limits to uniformity, it’s called punctuated equilibrium, and it changes upon evidence, not just when somebody says “well MAGIC could change it”. Science shows how species change, the climate changes, the laws of the universe changed at very early times, the universe changes, the Earth changes, etc. etc. etc. all of which Biblical creationism would rather say is uniform because “well I haven’t seen a fish give birth to an amphibian”. How utterly insane is it that in arguing against an assumption, you should your side irrational and exemplify how science helps us understand the world through evidence. We change according to evidence, you change on an assumption that the Bible is true- YOU have the skeleton in the closet.

                  Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 7, 2014, 3:41 pm
                  • You need to separate out science and truth though. You also show your bias as in you don’t include the Bible as evidence. I understand how it is not scientific evidence, but again – perhaps truth does not always come only through science. Seeing that science only studies the natural world, how could it ever verify or deny a supernatural entity? If a supernatural entity did exist, then science couldn’t determine that. If that was the case, the “truth” we get from science would be incomplete.

                    Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 4:02 pm
                    • Do you also accept the Qu’ran, Turah, Harry Potter, and UFO books as evidence?

                      Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 7, 2014, 4:51 pm
                    • Anything can be included as evidence… but then it must be tested, right? I find the Bible as the most accurate description that matches my observations of the world.

                      Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 5:06 pm
                    • So you see pigeon blood curing leprosy, a world consistent with 6,000 years, insects have four legs, bats are birds, rabbits chew cud, etc.? And how does that being true, if it would be, lead to a god existing? If I tell you 999 facts, the 1000th isn’t therefore true.

                      Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 7, 2014, 5:23 pm
                    • I suggest you do some reading up on the other side of the argument. If you are getting all your information from anti-theist website, I suggest you research the other side of the issue. You’d tell me to do the same right? How can I accurately form an argument against your side if I don’t know what responses are already out there? For example, see my original post on the Hourglass Argument, I preemptively responded to the top 4 responses I normally hear. There has been answers to your above accusations for years and years. If you are ignorant of the answers, I am sorry. Let me suggest gotquestions.org. Here’s another source on the chewing cud accusation: http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/genesis-deuteronomy/do-badger-and-rabbit-chew-cud. That’s a start.

                      Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 5:31 pm
                    • So in other words, they WERE wrong but it LOOKED like chewing cud? And once again, bats aren’t mammals.

                      Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 7, 2014, 5:35 pm
                    • Partially correct. It looked like they were chewing cud, and in the ancient Hebrew tradition they didn’t have a difference between the two.

                      Do you really want to go one by one down the list? I don’t really have time for that, but I would suggest this site for answers to the top 143 supposed Biblical contradictions: http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/bible.htm#INDEX.

                      As for the bat…
                      “First, linean classification was not available when Leviticus and Deuteronomy were written, nor did a specific scientific definition for what a bird was exist. The classification of animals was made by function and form. This can be seen in the definition of words used to describe animals in the Old Testament. For example, the word here that we render “fowl” comes from the Hebrew word owph which means flying creatures, to include birds, winged insects, and any animal that owns a wing. It comes from a root word that means to cover or to fly. This verse could rightly be interpreted, “And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among flying creatures….”. The King James Version seems to call the bat a fowl, but when you understand the times in which it was written, and the meaning of the original Hebrew, it’s obvious there is no error here.”

                      Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 5:40 pm
                    • Thank you for telling me you’d rather believe in those whose language can be interpreted with a lot of ambiguity instead of peer-reviewed papers which clearly define what they mean.

                      Posted by The Star-Splitter | March 7, 2014, 5:50 pm
                    • Are you admitting that you must “believe” in the peer-reviewed papers? I have peer-reviewed papers too confirming creation. The Answers Research Journal (http://www.answersingenesis.org/arj) is peer-reviewed. Who are the peers of creationists? Other creationists. Does Nature let creation scientists peer-review their articles? Peer-review is a joke and very manipulable.

                      Now if you want to talk about actual experiments that can be reproduced by anyone, anywhere – that’s another story. When you have a group of peers that already believe in evolution confirming the interpretations of others who believe in evolution what you actually have is confirmation bias. See this article for more on that: https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fish-with-legs-breaking-down-an-evolutionary-breakthrough/

                      Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 5:56 pm
                  • Think about it this way too… Have you heard of the Facebook page called “Did Abe Lincoln Really Exist”? It’s a mocking of normal atheistic challenges to Christians/creationists. The premise is: there is no way to prove Abe Lincoln actually existed. Here’s a quote:

                    “Science assumes that only by observation can we learn about the world. Lincolnism (the belief that Lincoln existed) assumes that, in addition, we learn by untrustworthy, biased eyewitness testimony.”

                    Posted by Tim | March 7, 2014, 4:39 pm

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