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Creation/Evolution, science

The science of creationism

 

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One of the main criticisms leveled at creationism is that it is all based off of religion and unscientific.  This is demonstrably far from the truth.  Although creationists are willing to admit that their view of origins can never be ‘proven’ scientifically (just as they believe any view of origins cannot), there are several scientific articles that do confirm some of our positions.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not saying that all these authors are affirming Biblical creation, just that their findings conflict with traditional beliefs about origin issues.

 

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Radioactive decay is not always constant. 

Creationists have been claiming for years that during several events in Genesis, the right conditions may have been present for accelerated radioactive decay, thus explaining why radiometric dating gives ages of millions of years.  The following four secular sources all give scientific arguments and/or evidence that confirms that under certain circumstances radioactive decay can and/or has changed in the past:

 

EXCESS HAFNIUM-176 IN METEORITES AND THE EARLY EARTH ZIRCON RECORD

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2011GC004003.shtml#content

 

STANDARD MODEL OF HOW UNIVERSE WORKS MAY BE FLAWED, SAY SCIENTISTS

http://thebunsenburner.com/news/standard-model-of-how-universe-works-may-be-flawed-say-scientists/

 

EXTREMELY LARGE VARIATION OF ATMOSPHERIC C14 CONCENTRATION DURING THE LAST GLACIAL PERIOD

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/292/5526/2453.short

 

RADIOACTIVE DECAY RATES MAY NOT BE CONSTANT AFTER ALL
http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2011/05/03/radioactive-decay-rates-may-not-be-constant-after-all/

 

 

Micro vs. Macro-evolution

Oftentimes critics will maintain that there is no scientific distinction between micro and macro evolution.  This is simply not true.

 

“There is a striking lack of correspondence between genetic and evolutionary change. Neo-Darwinian theory predicts a steady, slow continuous, accumulation of mutations (microevolution) that produces a progressive change in morphology leading to new species, genera, and so on (macroevolution). But macroevolution now appears to be full of discontinuities (punctuated evolution), so we have a mismatch of some importance. That is, the fossil record shows mostly stasis, or lack of change, in a species for many millions of years; there is no evidence there for gradual change even though, in theory, there must be a gradual accumulation of mutations at the micro level.”
The coming Kuhnian revolution in biology, Nature Biotechnology, 1997
In arguing for an erasure between the lines of micro and macro, Sean B. Carol states: “A long-standing issue in evolutionary biology is whether the processes observable in extant populations and species (microevolution) are sufficient to account for the larger-scale changes evident over longer periods of life’s history (macroevolution). Outsiders to this rich literature may be surprised that there is no consensus on this issue, and that strong viewpoints are held at both ends of the spectrum, with many undecided”
The big picture, Nature, 2001

 

“the symposium ended with a panel discussion about questions of microevolution (evolution within the species) and macroevolution (evolution after speciation).”
Meeting report – Evolution in a nutshell. European Molecular Biology Organization reports, 2001

 

Conflicting “trees of life”

Creation theory has long stated that the “tree of life” should be displayed more as a bush or shrub with many starting kinds that they diversified out to the species we see today.  Secular proponents of common decent are scrambling lately to make sense of much conflicting data that seems to confirm the creation bush.

 

PHYLOGENY:  REWRITING EVOLUTION

http://www.nature.com/news/phylogeny-rewriting-evolution-1.10885

 

HOW ANCIENT LIFE MAY HAVE COME ABOUT

http://www.livescience.com/28302-astrobiology-why-life-exists.html

 

WHY DARWIN WAS WRONG ABOUT THE TREE OF LIFE

http://ge.tt/5JAxwhM/v/0?c

 

 

Junk DNA

Creation theory would predict that all DNA would have a use, and there would be no junk DNA or leftover vestiges.  Secular science just caught up with that prediction lately.

 

BITS OF MYSTERY DNA, FAR FROM ‘JUNK’, PLAY CRUICIAL ROLE

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/science/far-from-junk-dna-dark-matter-proves-crucial-to-health.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

 

Rapid evolution

Creation theory would predict that since the world is only about 6000 years old, adaptation within kinds of animals must have the ability to adapt rapidly versus the slow changes we normally hear about in Darwinism.  The following article cites a group of birds adapting shorter wingspans in just a few short decades.

 

SHORTER-WINGED SWALLOWS EVOLVE AROUND HIGHWAYS

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/shorter-winged-swallows-evolve-around-highways

 

 

Non-fossilized material found in dinosaur remains

Creation theory would predict that dinosaurs died off not that long ago.  Mary Sweitzer’s intriguing work with discovering soft tissue persevered from what they claim to be 65 million year old samples seems to be better explained by a young-earth.

 

DINOSAUR SHOCKER
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur-shocker-115306469/?no-ist

 

SOFT SHEETS OF FIBRILLAR BONE FROM A FOSSIL OF THE SUPRAORBITAL HORN OF THE DINOSAUR TRICERATOPS
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065128113000020

 

 

Genetic entropy or de-evolution

The crux of creation theory states the exact opposite of evolution is occurring: de-evolution – the concept that we are not getting better (or more fit) from generation to generation, but instead degenerating.  The first two articles posted below were published by creation scientists in secular journals.

 

A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD VIRUS: PATTERNS OF MUTATION ACCUMULATION IN THE HUMAN H1N1 INFLUENXA VIRUS SINCE 1918

http://www.tbiomed.com/content/9/1/42

 

USING COMPUTER SIMULATION TO UNDERSTAND MUTATION ACCUMULATION DYNAMICS AND GENETIC LOAD

http://ge.tt/7mN7K6O/v/0

 

OUR LOAD OF MUTATIONS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1716299/pdf/ajhg00429-0003.pdf

 

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The point of this post isn’t that these articles prove anything about creationism.  The point is that there is good science being done today that does fall in line with creationist predictions.  The accusation that creationists hate and/or do not understand science simply isn’t true.  The truth may actually be that we are the true skeptics even though they are the ones that like to throw that word around.

 

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

Discussion

20 thoughts on “The science of creationism

  1. How do the findings in ANY of these links support traditional young earth creationist claims?

    Hafnium is not used for radiometric dating. What on earth have the second and third link got to do with alleged variation over time in decay rates of radioactive isotopes? NOTHING. Trust me. And I cannot open the Forbes link so you need to EXPLAIN its alleged relevance.

    And I see you are repeating yet again – with a new twist that is aiming to confuse people – your previous lie about a ‘bushy’ tree of life being like a ‘creationist orchard’ of SEPARATE trees. Except you have now started pretending that young earth creationists have been predicting not an orchard but a ‘creation bush’ with ‘many starting kinds’ – whatever that means. YECs have insisted previously on numerous trees of ‘kinds’, NOT one single very dense bush or shrub of life – which of course REAL science currently points to. “Secular proponents of common decent are scrambling lately to make sense of much conflicting data that seems to confirm the creation bush.” I suggest that the person scrambling through the undergrowth, and getting caught, is YOU.

    I DISTINCTLY remember refuting the previous argument TWICE – though you appear to have since censored my comments (this goes onto the BCSE community forum as well).
    https://gracesalt.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/modern-science-catching-up-with-creation-museum-teaching/
    http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2970&p=42160&hilit=orchard#p42160 (my comment of 27.10.12)

    And Darwin having been ‘wrong’about something does NOT equate to young earth creationists being ‘right’ about ANY science relating to past events and processes. If Darwin was alive today he would doubtless revise some of his past conclusions – like any genuine scientist when faced with new evidence.

    ‘Genetic entropy’ (which I suspect your links do NOT propose) is a hypothetical process invented by young earth creationists like John Sanford. People with an anti-science agenda. “The accusation that creationists hate and/or do not understand science simply isn’t true.” I beg to differ.

    Your kind of wilful ignorance is what Bill Nye battles against in the US. Over here we are free of it.

    You also need to spell check your articles I suggest.

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 1, 2014, 9:56 pm
    • Yes, hafnium is not used to do radiometric dating, but it confirms that radioactive decay rates CAN change.

      From the Forbes link: “As the researchers pored through published data on specific isotopes, they found disagreement in the measured decay rates – odd for supposed physical constants. Checking data collected at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island and the Federal Physical and Technical Institute in Germany, they came across something even more surprising: long-term observation of the decay rate of silicon-32 and radium-226 seemed to show a small seasonal variation. The decay rate was ever so slightly faster in winter than in summer. Was this fluctuation real, or was it merely a glitch in the equipment used to measure the decay, induced by the change of seasons, with the accompanying changes in temperature and humidity?” Yes, they noticed a “small change” and that proves nothing for young-earth, but it does prove that atmospheric conditions can affect decay rates – something creationists claim during the creation and flood.

      There is no way to prove or refute a creationist orchard or tree of life.

      I never claimed Darwin being wrong about something proved creationism. Perhaps you should re-read my post. In fact a few places in the post I say that nothing here proves creationism, because creationism cannot be proven. I am only pointing out specific evidences that confirm creationist predictions. Creationists predicted junk DNA would be disproven, it was. That’s ALL I’m saying.

      You said that you suspect my links are not about genetic entropy, yet 2 of the 3 are written by John Sanford in secular journals. Apparently the peer-reviewers felt his science was solid enough. If you don’t agree, I’d suggest you take it up with him.

      *willful

      Posted by Tim | May 1, 2014, 10:17 pm
    • If your “refutation” is up to your usual “standards”, it was simply saying “that’s not true” and throwing links to evolutionary propaganda sites. That is not refutation, it is self-gratifying contradiction and assertion.

      Posted by Question Evol Proj (@PiltdownSupermn) | May 1, 2014, 11:21 pm
  2. Correction – I should have said that the Lutetium 176 to Hafnium 176 isotopic decay system is rarely used for radiometric dating, normally only for some meteorites. The linked paper refers to ‘excess’ Hafnium 176 in chondrite meteorites. I gather that the half life of Lutetium 176 is around 38 billion years. I admit that I do not fully understand the significance of that paper in press. I am unclear whether you do either.

    An apparent seasonal variation in decay rates (which may or not have been due to atmospheric conditions) is NOT the same thing as a vast deceleration to today’s decay rates from some imaginary ‘extra rapid’ decay rates occurring less than 5,000 years’ ago. I hope you understand that.

    “I never claimed Darwin being wrong about something proved creationism”. Good.

    Are those Sanford papers you refer to about ‘genetic entropy’ or something else?

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 1, 2014, 11:03 pm
  3. Thanks (I was rushing and was not sure which two of the three links you were referring to).
    Well, this Christian strongly disagrees with Sanford:
    http://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/stan-4/
    (Sanford’s response: http://creation.com/genetic-entropy)
    There have been scientific claims about the decay of the Y chromosome but I understand that there is now doubt about this.
    http://wi.mit.edu/news/archive/2012/theory-rotting-y-chromosome-dealt-fatal-blow

    On seasonal changes, these are largely caused by the Earth’s tilt with respect to the Sun varying according to the time of year. Not by ‘widespread severe weather’.

    Anyhow, I am also somewhat unclear why this post is entitled ‘The Science of Creationism’ when you admit “creationists are willing to admit that their view of origins can never be ‘proven’ scientifically”. You appear to be trying to claim that young earth creationism is equally valid scientifically as theistic evolution or atheistic evolution. Based on what I have read over several years I strongly challenge any such claims.

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 2, 2014, 12:09 am
    • The point of the title is that all worldviews (atheistic evolution, biblical creation, and theistic evolution) have scientific roots. Then belief and interpretation are added onto them.

      Posted by Tim | May 2, 2014, 3:05 am
  4. Sorry I mean “varying geographically according to the time of year based on whether you are in the northern or the southern hemisphere” ie I’m not implying that the angle of tilt varies from month to month (another minor variable is distance to the Sun from Earth in its elliptical orbit; that distance is currently at its minimum in early January).

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 2, 2014, 12:13 am
  5. Why has my reply to Sorensen been censored please? He IS trying to poison the discussion, Tim.
    http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewforum.php?f=18&sid=41f33b587d1db7f62ae39e025540f3cf

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 2, 2014, 12:15 am
    • Just making an observation based on my experiences. Perhaps Tim can confirm or deny my remark about your methods of “refuting”.

      Posted by Question Evol Proj (@PiltdownSupermn) | May 2, 2014, 1:18 pm
      • I have already commented on your guys ongoing spat. I’d just rather not have it on this page. Ashley’s comments thus far on this post have been mostly civil, and thus I’ve allowed them, but I do watch them very carefully as he has tended to go off into what Bob has mentioned which doesn’t add to the conversation.

        Posted by Tim | May 2, 2014, 1:22 pm
        • He claims to have refuted what you have said. I would like to see actual refutation with substance instead of giving him a pass.

          Posted by Question Evol Proj (@PiltdownSupermn) | May 2, 2014, 4:03 pm
          • Sorensen you are lying that I did not provide an actual refutation. Read my original post and stop playing games. Kindly stop trying to poison the discussion with false accusations.

            Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 2, 2014, 4:15 pm
          • He wrote this originally about the creation orchard vs. the tree of life:

            “I know enough about evolutionary biologists to know that they NOT abandoned a (bushy) ‘tree of life’ in favour of an ‘orchard’. As I understand it, they consider that all life is descended from archaeal or bacterial or eukaryotic cells – but as the three major modern cell designs evolved, horizontal gene transfer and cross-breeding also took place. See also this attachment – it is NOT a Creation Museum creationist ‘orchard’ of lots of DISTINCT and SEPARATE kinds ever since creation week/abiogenesis/the origin of life! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Horiz … ansfer.jpg
            The answer to your question is ‘no’. Sorry.”

            I fail to see the refutation, just that he interprets the tree of life as having 3 bases and I interpret it as having many. The point is that science has moved away from one singular common ancestor. That is a step in the direction of creation theory.

            Posted by Tim | May 2, 2014, 4:20 pm
  6. The refutation is that an orchard has lots of separate tree trunks (differing kinds of trees in the YEC instance) and a very bushy tree – I believe I supplied an online image during a previous discussion – has one trunk (though it may be a bit ‘messy’ possibly with three distinct smaller trunks that may merge low down). The image I supplied – a highly knotted criss crossing of branches as well as branches reaching upwards if I recall correctly – did NOT on close and careful inspection mirror the images depicted in places like the Creation Museum. And these are not just nice drawings, they are two separate illustrations based on competing scientific versus ‘creation science’ worldviews. Science MAY have moved fractionally closer to the YEC ‘model’ than before – but it is still very different.

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 2, 2014, 4:52 pm
    • So really, you are just arguing over interpretation… and all I ever said was that it is a step in the direction that the YEC model predicted. I never said it proved anything. You see, we actually agree – therefore no “refutation” was necessary.

      Posted by Tim | May 2, 2014, 5:00 pm
      • I am not just arguing over interpretation if I understand that comment correctly. It is not the case that “secular proponents of common decent [sic] are scrambling lately to make sense of much conflicting data that seems to confirm the creation bush.” Not if by ‘creation bush’ you really mean ‘creationist orchard’ full of eight or nine totally separate trees of ‘kinds’. A refutation was needed.

        Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | May 2, 2014, 6:30 pm
    • As I thought about your last comment where you said the science model may have moved “fractionally” closer to the YEC model, I actually DO take issue with your “fractionally” interpretation. To me it is the difference between a single common ancestor and multiple (whether 3 or more). That seems like a big difference to me.

      In religion we would see the difference between pluralistic gods (many) to monotheistic (one god) as a significant difference.

      Posted by Tim | May 2, 2014, 6:18 pm
  7. Science is built around the hypo-deductive method (that is, making predictions and testing them) so it’s great that you’re looking in that direction. However, I must take issue with your claim that some of these predictions have been vindicated (at least the three I have any passing knowledge of; your others might be great proofs of creationist; I don’t really have the knowledge to evaluate them).

    First the radiocarbon dating. For starters, I don’t think this counts as a prediction as it’s something we’ve known about since the 1960s; whilst the earliest creationist “prediction” of such a thing I’ve found only goes back to the 1980s. In other words, it’s a post-diction and so can’t be used to vindicate creationism. Of course I’m only passingly familiar with creationist literature; so if you have a pre-1960s prediction I’d love to hear it. That said, even if this was an actual prediction it hasn’t been vindicated for the creationists. The varying rates of decay only muck up your results when you start looking at things older than 10,000 years BC. So it would still disprove a literalist chronology, thus doesn’t prove your case.

    Secondly, the macro v micro evolution. Generally speaking, macroevolution is used in a scientific context as a synonym for speciation. Thus it does typically involve additional factors over regular evolution (or microevolution if you want). More specifically, microevolution is “variation is introduced into a population, selected on, results in change”. Macroevolution would be “variation is introduced into a population, selected on, results in change, some parts of the population become isolated so change differently, eventually become so distinct they are different species.” The key thing to note in the context of creationism is the basic mechanism of “variation and natural selection” is the same in both circumstances. You don’t need any new source of variation to introduce the stuff needed for macroevolution. And if you look at what the papers you quote are actually saying; they aren’t disagreeing with that. The 1997 paper advocates for the inclusion of epigenetics in both macro and micro (so isn’t arguing some new thingy is needed for macro) and the 2001 paper goes on to note (after your quote) “there is no evidence that the…mechanisms…differ between evolutionary timescales”. The other one is a vague summary, so I don’t quite know what it is saying.

    Finally the junk DNA stuff; which is just a rehash of the encode findings that “80% of the junk DNA is biologically active”; which some have interpreted as 80% of the junk DNA is actually necessary for our survival. However, this is far from the consensus view of these results; so I wouldn’t count it as a vindicated prediction just yet.

    As I said, I can’t comment on the others because I don’t know enough; but these seem like fairly clear examples of failed predictions. Which I think raises an interesting question: how many and/or what creationist predictions would have to be false for you to no longer accept it?

    Posted by Adam Benton | May 12, 2014, 4:10 pm

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