Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

 
By Sean Pitman

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For those who aren’t already aware, Southern Adventist University opened up its new long anticipated Origins Exhibit on April 15, 2012.   It took over four years of planning and some $300,000 in donations to produce the first two of three phases of the project:  1)  hire professors who had origins experience.  2)  find a way to provide origins education outside of the classroom. 3) expand the hallway exhibit into an institute that provides information for all who are looking to learn about the short-term creation worldview.

Before work began on the second phase of the project, the “hallway phase”, Dr. Keith Snyder, Biology Department Chair, wrote to 20 prominent scientists who support the Biblical perspective on origins and asked them what they felt was the strongest evidence supporting short-term creation?  Dr. Snyder then used this information to produce an exhibit that features 25 hallway displays which highlight three main categories of evidence:  the living cell, the geologic column, and intelligent design.

So, why does the biology department at SAU hope to achieve with their project?

We wanted the finished product to be professional, but not overpowering.  Our goal is not to tell people that their beliefs are wrong, but to provide scientific evidence that substantiates the Bible’s account of creation.

Dr. Keith Snyder, Biology Department Chair

 

Also, Ron Hight, the art director for the project, says that he felt called by God to help with this exhibit.  He spent the last 15 years working as an artist for The Institute for Creation Research, and believes his experience there was excellent preparation for this work.

“Our goal,” says Hight, “is to present the creationist viewpoint in an attractive, professional, and educational way.  It is a challenge because no one has ever done this kind of thing before.”

 

This is all reflected in the general attitude toward the Biblical view of creation at SAU among professors in all departments.  Dr. Greg King, dean of the School of Religion and Professor of Biblical Studies, explains:

“Our campus has a commitment to creation.  We are unapologetic creationists, but we do not claim to have all the answers.  Religion and science don’t need to be at odds. We as scientists and theologians have a camaraderie. Our belief in the biblical perspective on origins is what binds us together.”

 

 

SAU Origins Exhibit – From the spring issue of Columns – the magazine of SAU:

For more information, visit:  Southern.edu/FaithandScience

 

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364 thoughts on “Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

  1. My daughter attends SAU and we are very pleased with the education and the biblical philosophy. Thanks to the faculty, staff, and administration for helping to keep our child grounded, not destroying what we have worked so diligently to instill for 18 years.




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  2. As one who has carefully vetted the entire exhibit, I can say without equivocation that Dr. Snyder and his staff have done a masterful and credible job of marshalling resources and information in a way that brings credit to the Creator God we serve. Anyone who takes time to visit the exhibit will be blessed and informed by state-of-the-art presentations on issues of origin that deals fairly with the science and presents in a pleasing and informative fashion, a landscape of beauty and wide appeal that tells the story of our earths history in harmony with the biblical account. Go see it.




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  3. Our son is a graduate of Southern. It makes us so proud to read of the “Origins Exhibit.” Southern Adventist University has done an exemplary job of educating our youth in a sound Christian based academic atmosphere. How thankful we are to be reading such positive, uplifting news from Southern! How sad that other SDA Christian colleges don’t follow suite!




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  4. From the article:

    “Religion and science don’t need to be at odds.”

    This statement is false. Only and unless scientists acknowledge the biblical account by way of revelation which transcends any scientific study and conclusions [will there be harmony].

    Science does not allow for miracles. Period. As soon as you allow for the super-natural that goes beyond the natural, you are subjecting any scientific finding as being false if and when it implies a conclusion contrary to the biblical revelation.

    Unless we accept this reality, we are setting ourselves up to be deceived. Origins can not be explained by natural law.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      You wrote:

      Science does not allow for miracles… Origins cannot be explained by natural law.

      It all depends upon how you define a “miracle”. Is the creation of a loaf of bread a “miracle”? – or a chocolate cake or an automobile or a spaceship?

      You see, science is in fact perfectly capable of detecting the need for very high level creativity and intelligence to explain various features of the natural world. Science is capable of aiding us in detecting even the signature of God Himself – behind both the natural world and the written Word since He is the Author of both. Those who read the Bible are not the only ones who are able to detect the hand of a very powerful Creator, even a Divine Power, behind various features of the universe in which we all live.

      After all, it was Mrs. White who wrote:

      God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works; all true education leads to obedience to His government. Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.

      No finite mind can fully comprehend the existence, the power, the wisdom, or the works of the Infinite One. Says the sacred writer: “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” Job 11:7-9. The mightiest intellects of earth cannot comprehend God. Men may be ever searching, ever learning, and still there is an infinity beyond.

      Yet the works of creation testify of God’s power and greatness. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1. Those who take the written word as their counselor will find in science an aid to understand God. “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” Romans 1:20.

      – EGW, PP, p. 115-116.

      Notice especially the phrase “The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other.” That phrase is key.

      In other words, science and empirical reasoning are not the enemies of true religion – but its base. These are gifts of God which, rightly used with sincere motives and an earnest heart, are the only rational options we have to appreciate God and worship Him in the “intelligent” and thoughtful manner that He wants us to realize – a religion that goes beyond mere emotion and empirically-blind faith.

      To further clarify that Mrs. White was actually speaking of empirical evidence as a basis of faith in God’s word, consider the following comments found a few pages before the above-listed reference in Patriarch and Prophets:

      “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood–the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.” – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

      In other words, according to Mrs. White, God actually gave the fossil record to us as a gift that was intended to help establish our faith in inspired history – i.e., the Bible. This is a very direct appeal to empirical evidence as a basis for faith. Just because many have made a wrong use of these evidences and have misinterpreted them, does not mean that such empirical evidences have nothing to do with rational faith. According to Mrs. White, empirical evidence does have a role to play in establishing a rational faith.

      If such passages are not an appeal to empirical evidence as a basis of rational faith in God’s existence and essential nature, even for those who have never read or heard of the Bible, I’m not sure what is?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Bill Sorensen: @Sean Pitman:

      “Science does not allow for miracles.”

      I think this is an attitude that closes the door for further scientific exploration.

      A lot of scientific discoveries were once considered “miracles” simply because the laws were not yet understood. So, it seems to me that science is indeed in the business of investigating miracles. Scientists do not yet have all knowledge of all the laws of the universe. Until then, “miracles” is the term used for all activity that are beyond our present knowledge of the laws by which they occur.




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  5. Fantastic! As someone who has visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky, enjoying their unbridled enthusiasm for creation, and at the same time very sad over so many evolution leaning professors in SDA institutions, I’m greatly pleased with this.
    Thank God for this step in the right direction.




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  6. Sean said…..

    “Notice especially the phrase “The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other.” That phrase is key.”

    Let me suggest, Sean, that this is the “key” phrase….

    “Those who take the written word as their counselor will find in science an aid to understand God.”

    The point is this, either one, or the other must necessarily be the final authority if and when conflicts become evident. They are not equal in authority as it seems you would imply.

    Neither is the perfect harmony and unity by way of science and natural law. There is always apparent conflict and disagreement between the two sources of information.

    Neither is it possible to resolve the conflict and disagreement by way of science. So, how then do we resolve any conflict and disagreement?

    We hold scriptural revelation over and above scientific revelation placing final authority in the scriptural revelation.

    And finally, it is utterly impossible to resolve the conflict between the two by appealing to science as the means to resolve the conflict.

    Human reason can not see the perfect harmony between the two by way of science. Only God’s word can ultimately resolve any apparent differences and these are resolved by way of a miracle that supercedes natural law.

    Final authority resides in scripture.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      The credibility of the Scriptures is itself based on empirical evidence – on a God-given form of scientific reasoning from cause to effect or from effect to its most likely cause. Even you appeal to historically-fulfilled prophecies as a basis for a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God. Useful prophetic evidence is based on the historical sciences – on empirical evidence.

      Let’s not argue against the equal role of science and faith. They walk hand-in-hand. One does not exist without or trump the other. Both are needed at the same time to establish a useful religion that goes beyond mere wishful thinking and just-so story telling…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  7. Sean asks…..

    “It all depends upon how you define a “miracle”. Is the creation of a loaf of bread a “miracle”? – or a chocolate cake or an automobile or a space ship?”

    Of course they are not, Sean. They can all be explained by way of science. You simply alter with you already have and put it into another state.

    A miracle is beyond natural law explaination. Such as “God spake, and it was done.”

    God did not alter something from one state to another. He created something from nothing. Human can work relative “miracles” by manipulation of what they already have. But this is not a divine miracle as stated and explained in the bible.

    I am not opposing you, Sean, on the fact that science can be some evidence and even powerful evidence for the biblical revelation. But it is not equal in authority and can not be trusted as an equal authority in defining origins.

    It is a relative supporting evidence that helps affirm the biblical revelation to those of us who believe the scriptures.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      “It all depends upon how you define a “miracle”. Is the creation of a loaf of bread a “miracle”? – or a chocolate cake or an automobile or a space ship?” – Sean Pitman

      Of course they are not, Sean. They can all be explained by way of science. You simply alter with you already have and put it into another state.

      I propose to you that the concept of a “miracle” is a relative concept. It is simply something that cannot be done from a given perspective. From the perspective of mindless forces of nature, a chocolate cake is indeed a miracle since intelligence is required to produce it – a requirement that is beyond all known mindless laws of nature. The same is true of the fine tuning of the fundamental laws of nature necessary for complex life to exist (as in the anthropic principle).

      In other words, I can do stuff that would seem miraculous from the perspective of an ant or a dog. Likewise, God can do stuff that would seem miraculous from my perspective… but which I would still be able to detect as requiring a very high level intelligence to achieve. I can do this via a form of scientific reasoning which allows me to recognize God’s signature when I see it.

      A miracle is beyond natural law explaination. Such as “God spake, and it was done.”

      What seems perfectly “natural” from God’s perspective would seem “miraculous” from ours. This doesn’t mean, therefore, that lower-level miracles are not really miraculous – like our human ability to produce a chocolate cake or a spaceship.

      Our ability to recognize God’s signature in nature, and in the Bible, our ability to recognize the miraculous on any level, is based on our ability to reason scientifically based on the evidence that is currently available to us.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. Hi Sean and Bill,

    I am wondering if the difference of opinion here is due to varying definitions of the word ‘science’. As we all know there is true science and there is worldly psuedo-science.

    If Bill’s understanding of ‘science’ in this case is actually worldly psuedo-science, then he is correct in not wanting any truth to be compromised with it.

    From Sean’s post, I believe he is referring to true science, which is definitely part of our beliefs on origins and is well supported by the Bible and SOP, as Sean admirably demonstrated.

    Not having seen the exhibit myself, I cannot comment on whether or not they are mixing psuedo-science into it. (Perhaps a few of you posters out there can see the exhibit and report back to us.) Knowing the general philosophy of SAU, I would be surprised if they did.

    Their goal is “to provide scientific evidence that substantiates the Bible’s account of creation.” Sounds good to me.
    They also say: “Religion and science don’t need to be at odds.” And that is true when you are referring to true science, which I believe they are.

    However, I do understand Bill’s reaction in that these days when people use the word ‘science’ without qualification it so often means evolutionary pseudoscience, that we tend to be suspicious.

    I think, Bill, that in this case we don’t need to worry. I believe SAU’s heart is in the right place and I am so glad that at least one of our institutions is willing to stand up and be counted on the side of Creation, even though they will probably draw much criticism from the ‘scientific’ community as well as from the TEs in their own church.

    God bless them for their fidelity to Him. And may God strengthen them to meet the onslaught that is most likely to follow, is my prayer for them.




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  9. It is nice to see that SAU wants to be the head and not the tail, as God would want it for our institutions. Unfortunately it seems that LSU and others who want to teach the worldly way would rather be the tail. [edit] I surely don’t want to be the tail of anything, thank you very much.

    Praise the Lord for SAU and their commitment to the truth.




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  10. “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist…”

    Men many times larger than now? Two-fold is 12 to 14 feet; many times would exceed this. Have such fossils been found? I’d like to see them.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You haven’t taken into consideration Galileo’s squared-cube law.

      In Galileo’s 1638 book Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences he explained, that when an object is scaled up its area increases by the square of the multiplier while the volume increases by the cube of the multiplier.

      In other words, if you double the height of a man the cube of the multiplier would be 2^3 = 8. So, a 12 foot man would be 8 times as massive as a 6 foot man of equivalent proportions (and have 4 times the surface area). More specifically, a doubling the height of a 200 pound man, while keeping other proportions equal, would produce a man weighing in at 1,600 pounds.

      And, when it comes to the relative size of Adam and Eve, Mrs. White is fairly specific:

      As Adam came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of noble height, and of beautiful symmetry. He was more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and was well proportioned. His features were perfect and beautiful. His complexion was neither white, nor sallow, but ruddy, glowing with the rich tint of health. Eve was not quite as tall as Adam. Her head reached a little above his shoulders. She, too, was noble—perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful.

      Ellen White, SOP, Vol. 1, p. 25

      So, if true, Adam weighed a ton – literally!

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent:

      It depends upon the type of tree (or animal) you’re talking about. Certainly the fossil record does in fact record many types of plants and animals that were once many times larger, or more massive, than they are today…

      We’re talking two ton armadillos, 500 pound beavers, 5 ton sloths, dragon flies with 30 inch wing spans, sharks 50 feet long, etc. Also, Carboniferous plants averaged 30 or more times as large as modern equivalent forms.

      It was a different age of verdant abundance of both plant and animal life. After all, where do you think all the massive coal and oil reserves we have today came from?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  11. Since the original meaning of science was the search for knowledge and truth, it has no fight with the original account of creation. 🙂 Thanks for the good Quote Sean.

    -Shining




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  12. Dear brothers in Christ,
    I have been quietly following this debate since i last left the university namely Adventist university of the Philippines. and even joined this discussion on how we can show this beloved brothers of ours who have gone astray on the other side of the fence (theistic or even atheistic evolution). to made up their mind and join and concentrate all of our resources and intellect in proclaiming the three angels message to all the corners of the world. you know what brothers, we have been wasting our time here stuck in this issues right here in the Adventist community because we couldn’t consolidate all our leaders and all our minds intellectuals in this issues. i know it is not easy, but it should be if we just humble ourselves and let God speak simply to us. if you are still confuse here is a few of what is out there that speak loudly may be better than we can communicate this topics. follow this link and check it. my only appeal is that our teacher should teach science to our students in the Adventist geography, in the way this people teach in their denomination.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haadES6pDZw&feature=relmfu

    in Christ

    Lyndon Diancin Roque

    (congratulation brother Sean Pitman) for you love to our adventist youth and even for elders.




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    • @Lyndon Diancin Roque: Anoteher place to find much material is at http://www.nwcreation.net It freely shares the talks of their annual creation conferences in Seattle. In fact that is where I “met” Spike Psarris. Other favorite speakers of mine are John Byl, Michael J. Oard, Steve Austin, Thomas Kindell, and Larry Vardiman. This web site also has pointers that take you to, among many others, A.E. Wilder-Smith (1915-1995)who was perhaps the best defender of Creationism ever. I find his talks both entertaining and solidly scientific. If I had time for no other, I would choose all of his talks. There are many many more speakers, some better than others on nwcreation. Many of them freely share their accomanying power-points. Another good source is http://www.icr.org/ For best Adventist presentation my vote is for Walter Veith’s series: the Genesis Conflict, available on You Tube.

      I found many years ago there was no sense even trying to speak of God and His word the Bible to my non-Christian friends without dealing with Genesis 1-11. My friends thot of such things like the tooth fairy, something cute you tell children that rational adults know isn’t true. I also found that it was the number one reason youth from our church left off believing in God. So I have made it my business to consume everything on the subject I can find. BTW it only makes sense to give an honest hearing to all sides: 6 day creationists, ID and other theistic evolutionists, and various shades of naturalistic, Darwinian evolutionists. This takes a lot of time but remember friends that the call to worship the Creator is at the beginning of the 3 Angels’ Messages.

      -Shining




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  13. @ Professor Kent. If there was a man that was 12 or 14 feet tall, he would indeed be many times bigger [8 times bigger] than what we are now. Unless of course he had a waist measurement of only 10 inches.




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  14. Well, we are talking about “creation science” and not simply natural law science. Sometimes, salvation is called a “science”.

    To make no distinction between creation science by way of natural law or divine acts is a very big mistake.

    And by the way, I personally spend little of my time here in discussion. In fact, on the average, I probably spend less than an hour a day on the internet reading and responding to all the blogs and forums I read and/or post on.

    Bill Sorensen




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  15. In Galileo’s 1638 book Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences he explained, that when an object is scaled up its area increases by the square of the multiplier while the volume increases by the cube of the multiplier.”

    If there was a man that was 12 or 14 feet tall, he would indeed be many times bigger [8 times bigger] than what we are now.

    Let’s get to the point. Have fossil humans anywhere averaged, or even exceeded, the height of modern day humans?

    We’re talking two ton armadillos, 500 pound beavers, 5 ton sloths, dragon flies with 30 inch wing spans, sharks 50 feet long, etc. It was a different age of verdant abundance of both plant and animal life. After all, where do you think all the massive coal and oil reserves we have today came from?

    I asked about plants.

    I’m not a paleobiologist. I’m simply asking what the fossil record provides us. Do the data bear out Ms. White’s statements regarding humans and plants, or is there a problem?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      All human fossils discovered so far are Tertiary or post-Flood fossils. There are no known antediluvian human fossils. There are claims to this effect, but none have been verified as far as I’m aware.

      It is reasonable, however, that humans were in fact much bigger before the Flood than we are today – especially given the fact that so many kinds of plants and animals were much bigger than their modern day counterparts…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • Since you asked, typical Carboniferous plants were 30 or more times as large as modern equivalent forms. Yes, they were “many times as large”.




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  16. Found an interesting article. Whether ape or human, it was big. The article also explains that in China fossils are ground up and eaten as medicine.

    “The original fossils of Peking man disappeared during the confusion of World War II after they were described and cast by anatomist Franz Weidenreich. Von Koenigswald was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Java and his unique collection of Gigantopithecus teeth spent the war years in a milk bottle buried in a friend’s backyard on the island.
    Weidenreich retreated from Beijing to the American Museum of Natural History in New York and studied plaster casts of the four teeth. Because of the unusually large size of a few of the Homo erectus specimens from Java, Weidenreich believed there had been a period of gigantism in human evolution, and that modern humans were the diminutive descendants of these giants. In “Apes, Giants, and Man”, published in 1946, he claimed that the Gigantopithecus teeth were humanlike, and that von Koenigswald had been mistaken in considering the animal an ape rather than a human species.”
    http://aenigmaunveiled.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/gigantopithecus/




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  17. This is why Southern continues to thrive. In 2010 they had 3,000 students enrolled and still managed to achieve top tier ranking in US News & World Report (https://www.southern.edu/News/DispForm.aspx?ID=620)

    In contrast, in 2010, La Sierra University only had 2,098, which broke their previous record but still falls short of the successes at Southern.

    Adventists are looking for faithful institutions and the successes at Southern are showing the way forward.




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    • @Frank:

      You should try educating yourself before making illegitimate comparisons. If you would compare the rankings of SAU and LSU, you would realize that SAU is ranked in the Regional Colleges (South) category while LSU is ranked under Regional Universities (West).

      In other words, LSU is categorized above SAU in a more competitive region.

      A better comparison of the two rankings is to wonder why U.S. News does not consider SAU to be a University.

      To add another point of comparison for you, PUC and Andrews are not ranked in a regional categories. PUC is categorized as a National Liberal Arts College (it was consistently ranked top ten as a regional college) while Andrews is categorized as a National University. Neither of them are ranked either.

      To summarize, learn about the ranking systems before making such faulty comparisons.




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  18. I agree that no extant antediluvian human remains are known. However, there are Pleistocene (early postdiluvian) human fossils that are larger than the modern norm. These fossils may be indicators that human beings were larger in the past.

    For example, there’s the Turkana Boy skeleton (KNM-WT 15000) discovered by Richard Leakey’s team in 1984 and dubbed either Homo erectus or Homo ergaster. Turkana Boy was taller than most equivalent modern boys and would have been well over 6 feet all, had he survived to adulthood.

    There are also fragmentary remains from Java of individuals who have been dubbed Homo erectus meganthropus. Even some evolutionists (e.g. Franz Weidenreich) have regarded these individuals as giants, while others reject that assertion. I don’t want to claim too much for H. erectus meganthropus because the remains are so fragmentary. But I am posting the following web sites as food for thought.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meganthropus
    http://prehistoricfantasy.blogspot.com/2007/05/meganthropus-robustus_29.html




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  19. Ellen White said, “In the days of Noah, men…many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians [presumably referring to humans] perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history…”

    Sean Pitman said, “All human fossils discovered so far are Tertiary or post-Flood fossils. There are no known antediluvian human fossils.”

    Ellen White tells us that humans and dinosaurs (presumably referred to in the statement, “a class of very large animals which perished at the flood… mammoth animals”) lived together before the flood. Evolutionary biologists tell us that dinosaurs and humans never lived together. You’re telling us, Sean, that the fossil record supports the conclusion of evolutionists rather than that of Ellen White and the SDA Church. Many of the “very large animals which perished at the flood” are found only in fossil deposits prior to or attributed to the flood, whereas hunans occur in fossil deposits only after the flood (when their numbers were most scarce).

    Should the SDA biologists, who are supposed to teach “creation science,” be fired if they teach what you have just conceded?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Why should a professor be fired for presenting the evidence that we actually have in hand? No one is suggesting such a thing. No one is suggesting that we have all the answers to every question or observation that might be considered.

      What I am suggesting, however, is that there is abundant evidence, even the weight of empirical evidence, in favor of the Biblical account of origins. This evidence should also be presented, in our own Adventist schools, by those who actually believe in the Biblical account of origins.

      Just because unsolved questions still remain does not therefore mean that the Biblical model is not supported by the weight of empirical evidence. That’s simply not true.

      Of course, if one still believes that the weight of empirical evidence really does favor the neo-Darwinist position, that’s fine. There are plenty of secular universities promoting such ideas. An Adventist school, on the other hand, is not the place for such a person to be applying for a job…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  20. @ Professor Kent – Hitler was not a bad man because he was a vegetarian. He had to be stopped for other things, no? What he ate was a whole different ball game.

    Just so, saying that we do not yet have all the evidence that Ellen White says we will have (we do, by the way, have some of it) is a whole different ball game than saying Genesis is a myth or saying that death came before sin or saying there was no designer, that all of life and indeed the universe comes by random chance and/or natural selection. That is unacceptable.

    -Shining




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  21. @Professor Kent, there is an abundance of data on giant plants and animals. Here is another on plants —

    Fossil forest
    The fossilized forest floor contained three types of enormous plants. The first, known as the Gilboa tree or Eospermatopteris, was once thought to be the only type of tree in the forest; quarry workers have been carting specimens out of the area since the fossil plants were first discovered. This tree was tall and looked like today’s palm trees, with a crown of branches at the very top.

    But an even stranger specimen lurked in this ancient forest. Amid the towering Gilboa trees were woody creeping plants with branches about 6 inches in diameter. These giant plants, known as progymnosperms, seemed to lean against the Gilboa trees for support, perhaps even climbing into them occasionally, Berry said.” (read the whole article at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46578123/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/ancient-forest-had-giant-vines-towering-trees/)




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  22. @ Professor kent – I could go on but this by Natl Geographic should do for a finale. If one looks it is easy to find a plethora of evidence. In spite of evidece not yet found, evidence kept in private collections, evidence destroyed or tamered with, or evidence about about which inaccurate conclusions have been drawn, there is volumes of it there for the looking. In the past, there were plants and animals much bigger than what we see today. -Shining

    “A team of amateur spelunkers has discovered caves filled with very well preserved fossils of giant flat-faced kangaroos, marsupial lions, wombats, Tasmanian tigers, and other megafauna that lived in Australia during the Pleistocene era, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0807_020731_TVmegafauna.html




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  23. The fact that human remains are not found in Mesozoic strata in conjunction with the remains of dinosaurs need not indicate that humans evolved millions of years after the dinosaurs went extinct. The fossil record is very imperfect, and many living organisms fail to enter the record when the die. For example, coelacanth fish are alive and well in today’s oceans, but no coelacanths appear in the fossil record after the Cretaceous. The absence of human fossils from the Mesozoic may also indicate that human beings and dinosaurs lived in different ecological zones and were usually separated by distance rather than time.

    Simply put, we need to be cautious about the conclusions we reach on the basis of what is or is not found in the fossil record.




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  24. The best evidence suggests that Gigantopithecus was an ape in every respect. But Meganthropus was clearly Homo, although it is uncertain how much larger it was than modern humans. There is a possibility that its size approached the definition of “giant.” However, the data for Meganthropus is simply not good enough at the present time to claim this with certainty.




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  25. I’m a bit surprised by the number here who have readily agreed that Ms. White’s statement on fossils of antediluvian humans being found has so far proven incorrect.

    So where did Ms. White get her notion that antediluvian humans much larger than now exist would be found as evidence to establish faith in inspired history? Did others who preceded her make such suggestions? Was she the first to make such a claim? Did she see this in a vision?

    The animal fossils had already been unearthed, so there was nothing new about this. I’m not up on the plant fossils. She has so far been wrong about human fossils.

    With regard to “inspired history” to which the giant organisms supposedly witness evidence to, where’s the actual “inspiration” that tells us larger organisms existed prior to the flood? Where are the Bible verses? Or is it just Ellen White’s statements (which to me, frankly, have not bolstered anything about inspiration thus far)?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      So where did Ms. White get her notion that antediluvian humans much larger than now exist would be found as evidence to establish faith in inspired history? Did others who preceded her make such suggestions? Was she the first to make such a claim? Did she see this in a vision?

      Mrs. White claimed to have been shown the pre-Flood world in vision and to have been shown that many kinds of plants, animals, and humans were much larger then compared to their modern counterparts. She did not claim to have been shown what would be discovered in the fossil record of the remains of this world. It is possible that she simply assumed that everything she was shown in vision would be found buried in the Flood sediments of the geologic column. After all, she knew of the finds of large plant and animal fossils and had no doubt heard of fantastic reports of large human fossils as well – possibly to include reports of post-Flood remains of 7-9 foot tall 600+ pound well-proportioned and muscular human fossils like Meganthropus (truly giant-like compared to modern humans).

      Meganthropus

      Or, there is even the 3.5 meter bronze-age Giant of Castelnau.

      In any case, the lack of validated evidence of pre-Flood human remains does not invalidate Mrs. White’s general claim that the fossil record was intended to support our faith in the Genesis account of origins. The evidence that we do have is in fact very consistent with a picture of a pre-Flood world that was vastly richer and more verdant than the world we live in today… filled with much larger plants and animals, on average.

      The animal fossils had already been unearthed, so there was nothing new about this. I’m not up on the plant fossils. She has so far been wrong about human fossils.

      Just because pre-Flood human fossils have yet to be found does not mean that she was necessarily wrong about their existence. The rest of the fossil evidence very strongly supports the recent and catastrophic origin of much of the geologic column and fossil records… right in line with the Genesis account.

      With regard to “inspired history” to which the giant organisms supposedly witness evidence to, where’s the actual “inspiration” that tells us larger organisms existed prior to the flood? Where are the Bible verses? Or is it just Ellen White’s statements (which to me, frankly, have not bolstered anything about inspiration thus far)?

      The Bible describes a massive Flood on a global scale that destroyed all pre-Flood land-animal life. It rationally follows that such a Flood would leave evidence of its activity. Fossils of plants and animals, as well as massive deposits of coal and oil, are part of that evidence – part of the support for the Biblical account of origins.

      The Bible also describes the markedly enhanced strength and vigor of pre-Flood humans. If true, this implies that plants and animals were also bigger and better than they are today. It’s a rational inference from the Biblical account alone… an inference that is in fact supported by the fossil record.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff, Ellen White’s statements about larger antediluvian life forms are well attested with regard to many different types of flora and fauna. They’re not even controversial.

      You’re pointing to the issue of human remains, but the evidence is more mixed than you know. I had researched and written an appendix to my book on dinosaurs about giant human remains, but cut if from the final book, which was already too long. If you’d like the unpublished manuscript, please email me at david@readlawoffice.com, and I will send it to you.

      There’s a lot of evidence, including scientific evidence of Turkana Boy and Franz Weidenreich’s Meganthropus, which Bob Helm and Sean Pitman have already mentioned. In the mid-20th Century, evolutionary science was open to the idea that modern humans evolved from apes via giant apes like Gigantopithicus. But most of the evidence is from other sources. The ancients commonly believed that the race had been reduced in size. The Bible itself gives evidence of this, as do ancient pagan sources like Homer. The evidence that Ellen White may have been thinking of was the constant stream of 7 and 8 foot skeletons uncovered from north American mounds in the 19th Century. The native americans also believed that a race of giants had preceded them.

      Seriously, if you or anyone else wants to see the manuscript appendix, email me. After I cut it from the dinosaur book, I was going to publish it as a small softbound volume, but I never followed through with that project. It would need considerable additional research to really be worth publishing, and maybe some day I’ll get around to it, but if anyone is really interested, it will provide some ideas for future research.




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  26. And if “inspired history” suggests we should expect to find animals, plants, and humans much larger than exist today, how would this contradict anything about evolutionary theory? There is nothing in the modern sysnthesis which states that animals can never experience a reduction in body size.

    If anything, the only evidence Ms. White spoke of that might be used to offer support for one of the two major hypotheses on origins is her claim that humans and dinosaurs coexisted together (if it’s fair, that is, to equate dinosaurs to the “class of very large animals which perished at the flood” that she wrote of, as she never mentioned dinosaurs specifically). On this score, her statement is clearly contradicted, as you all have conceded, because the empirical evidence actually supports the wrong theory.

    I don’t think it’s wise to trumpet Ellen White’s quote regarding gigantic pre-flood organisms. Doing so can only harm any perception of her as being an accurate source of scientific facts. Surely you folks can see this.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      And if “inspired history” suggests we should expect to find animals, plants, and humans much larger than exist today, how would this contradict anything about evolutionary theory? There is nothing in the modern sysnthesis which states that animals can never experience a reduction in body size.

      It isn’t the body size that conflicts with evolutionary theory. It is the very rapid catastrophic nature of the formation of much of the geologic column that is inconsistent with neo-Darwinism – and strongly favors the Biblical model of origins.

      On this score, her statement is clearly contradicted, as you all have conceded, because the empirical evidence actually supports the wrong theory.

      A lack of positive evidence isn’t the same thing as a “contradiction”. Also, the currently available empirical evidence does not support neo-Darwinism over and above Biblical creationism. The opposite is true. The fossil/geologic evidence strongly favors the Biblical model of origins.

      I don’t think it’s wise to trumpet Ellen White’s quote regarding gigantic pre-flood organisms. Doing so can only harm any perception of her as being an accurate source of scientific facts. Surely you folks can see this.

      But gigantic fossilized organisms are a fact of science – consistent with the Biblical description of a vastly better and more verdant pre-Flood world. There really is no argument here except when it comes to pre-Flood humans. And, the evidence in favor of the Biblical model has more to do with the duration of the formation of the geologic/fossil records than it has to do with the size of pre-Flood organisms.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent:

      “I don’t think it’s wise to trumpet Ellen White’s quote regarding gigantic pre-flood organisms. Doing so can only harm any perception of her as being an accurate source of scientific facts. Surely you folks can see this.”

      Jeff, it’s already been copiously demonstrated that the fossil record does have many examples of plants and animals much larger than their current counterparts. So I am puzzled as to how evidence supporting what she said harms the perception that she was accurate in what she said.

      The one issue that you’re hanging your hat on is the absence of any confirmed remains of genuinely pre-Flood humans. But there is a great deal of evidence that the race has become smaller over time, not larger. If you’re willing to read my manuscript with an open mind, you’ll find that to be true. The evidence is simply ignored and filtered out by mainstream science, because it is meaningless and insignificant in current evolutionary models, which have modern humans evolving from the 3 ft tall “Lucy” to modern 5′ 10″ humans. (But, as several have noted, even Darwinian science hasn’t always been committed to this model; hence Weidenreich’s interest in gigantopithicus and meganthropus.)




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  27. Sean Pitman: All human fossils discovered so far are Tertiary or post-Flood fossils.

    How do you know when the flood ended in the fossil record? Creationists traditionally viewed Tertiary sediments as deposited by the flood.




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    • @Eddie:

      How do you know when the flood ended in the fossil record? Creationists traditionally viewed Tertiary sediments as deposited by the flood.

      Most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins interpret Tertiary sediments as post-Flood sediments. Part of the evidence in this regard is that fossil trackways of reptiles and dinosaurs abruptly end at the end of the Cretaceous period. In other words, no more trackways means no more live animals walking around on the sediments by that point of the Flood.

      Tertiary sediments were produced by more localized post-Flood catastrophes.

      Trackways and Body Fossils

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Eddie:

      I don’t think there’s really a firm consensus about the last Flood-laid level in the geologic column, although many creation scientists would agree with Sean. (For example, I think Kurt Wise also argues that the Flood/post-Flood boundary is the K/T boundary.)

      A few creation scientists would put the boundary even lower than the K/T, and many would put it higher, perhaps at the paleogene/neogene (oligocene/miocene) boundary. A few others would put it even higher still, at the pliocene/pleistocene boundary.




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  28. Ms. White wrote, “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history…

    Do SDAs believe that all fossils resulted from the flood? Sean Pitman and Bob Helm have suggested that many fossils are AFTER the flood. Do you folks believe this? And were there also fossils preserved BEFORE the flood?

    What do you folks make of dinsosaur tooth marks on other fossils? Did dinosaurs actually survive the flood by being preserved in the ark, and then feed on the caracasses served up by the flood? Or did they feed on other dead animals and become preserved before the flood?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Do SDAs believe that all fossils resulted from the flood? Sean Pitman and Bob Helm have suggested that many fossils are AFTER the flood. Do you folks believe this? And were there also fossils preserved BEFORE the flood?

      Again, most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins believe that sediments as well as fossils were formed before and after the Flood, but that the bulk of the geologic column was produced by the Flood.

      What do you folks make of dinsosaur tooth marks on other fossils? Did dinosaurs actually survive the flood by being preserved in the ark, and then feed on the caracasses served up by the flood? Or did they feed on other dead animals and become preserved before the flood?

      Perhaps some kinds of “dinosaurs” did survive the Flood – like alligators and crocodiles, etc. However, many of the largest and/or most viscous kinds did not survive.

      As far as scavenging is concerned, the Flood took a while to kill off all animal life. Many creatures survived for quite some time during the Flood. There were tidal actions during the Flood and other means whereby dry land was exposed for various periods of time. In this manner trackways were preserved and well as dinosaur nests and clutches of eggs (sometimes deposited on multiple levels of sediment within the same nest as additional layers were laid down during the Flood). So, obviously, scavenging of animals that had already been killed would only be expected.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: I am comfortable with fossils after the flood. It makes a lot of sense. I will say that many things both creos and evos believed got changed after the succession of events on Mt. St. Hellens so that anything stated beyond the accounts of inspiration are always tentative in my mind.

      -Shining




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    • @Professor Kent: Regarding pre-Flood fossils, I think they were probably limited to single-celled organisms, with the possible exception of the Ediacaran forms. The Bible and Ellen White describe a pre-Flood water cycle that did not include rain, and would not have created the large-scale erosion and deposition, and hence fossil formation, that we see today.

      I would say that many fossils were formed after the Flood. I would say, at a minimum, that all the quaternary (Pleistocene and recent) fossils are post-Flood.

      There are no dinosaur remains above (or least significantly above) the K/T boundary, so I don’t think they survived the Flood. In my book, “Dinsoaurs – An Adventist View,” I spell out why I think they did not survive.




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  29. Sean Pitman: Most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins interpret Tertiary sediments as post-Flood sediments.

    So if Noah’s flood ended at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, which coincides with a period of high global sea levels according to geologists, does that mean Noah’s flood is represented by the second of two worldwide floods in this graph?

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Sea_Level.png

    How would you account for the geological evidence for a worldwide flood during the Paleozoic and the lack of geological evidence for high sea levels during the early Mesozoic?




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    • @Eddie:

      The basis for sea level determinations by mainstream geologists conflicts with the evidence for very extensive and very rapid watery catastrophes that deposited Mesozoic sediments over the majority of entire continents, around the entire globe, in rapid succession… leaving very little time for expected bioturbation or erosion between layers. Also massive deposits of very pure and very thick beds of coal and huge deposits of oil cannot be explained without a truly enormous world-wide watery catastrophe of Noachian proportions.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  30. Sean Pitman: Again, most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins believe that sediments as well as fossils were formed before and after the Flood, but that the bulk of the geologic column was produced by the Flood.

    What do you think of Leonard Brand’s wholistic geology hypothesis in which he postulates that “a literal one-week of creation, literal global flood, short age geology theory does not require that all or most of the geologic column be placed within the one-year of the flood.” (Brand 2007, p. 31)

    A pdf of Brand’s 2007 publication in Origins is posted here:

    http://www.grisda.org/origins/61007.pdf




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    • @Eddie:

      I think that Dr. Brand’s “wholistic hypothesis” has several interesting features that seem to me to reasonably explain certain aspects of the geologic column quite well, especially in the lower Paleozoic. However, I just wouldn’t apply these features as far up the column as Brand suggests because of the very widespread and catastrophic nature of the column at higher levels, to include mass extinctions on an enormous scale – as Brand himself points out. There is also very good evidence of closely-spaced catastrophes within the upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic, as well as universal paleocurrents, a lack of expected bioturbation and erosion between layers (beyond rapid sheet erosion).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. Is La Sierra going to counter this obviously “false” representation of historical science by starting an “Evolution Museum?”




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  32. I am aware that many creationists have proposed the KT boundary as the upper limit of flood sediments in the geologic column. However, I still favor the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary as roughly the upper limit of flood sediments. Please note that I state this somewhat tenatively, and I am willing to reconsider my position on the basis of convincing data to the contrary. However, the sheer magnitude of Tertiary sediments seems far too great to explain on the basis of regional or local catastrophes in the early postdiluvian world. If the Tertiary sediments did not result from the Genesis flood, we would probably need a second world-wide flood to account for them! Also petroleum deposits are found in the geologic column up through the Pliocene, but not after, and magnetic reversals continue into the lower and middle Pleistocene. Inasmuch as these flood induced phenomena appear throughout the Tertiary, their presence in that part of the column is difficult to explain if the Tertiary is postdiluvial. So I suggest that the Phanerozoic fossils from the Cambrian through the Pliocene are derived from the Genesis flood. Furthermore, I tentatively suggest that the Great Unconformity on the Pre-Cambrian-Cambrian boundary (that can be viewed at many sites throughout the world, including the Grand Canyon) marks the onset of the Genesis flood.




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    • @Bob Helm:

      However, I still favor the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary as roughly the upper limit of flood sediments.

      There are some significant difficulties with this hypothesis I would think. For instance, dinosaurs and reptiles lay down trackways pre-KT, but not post KT while the bodies of reptiles continue to build up post-KT. Large numbers of modern animals appear in the early Tertiary as well on a global scale. Very high mountains and plateaus were well developed by the Miocene as a result of rapid continental drift. Also, rapid ocean cooling occurred during the mid-Miocene… consistent with a dissipation of postdiluvial energy.

      It seems to me then that the Flood waters may have crested and receded enough within the early Tertiary to allow Noah and the animals to get off the ark. However, the ocean basins were probably not yet well developed to hold all the water they currently hold and much of the Earth was still in aftershock upheavals with large regional catastrophes (like massive volcanoes and flooding) going on all over the place for quite some time.

      The sheer magnitude of Tertiary sediments seems far too great to explain on the basis of regional or local catastrophes in the early postdiluvian world.

      Unless, of course, the early postdiluvian world was still in significant turmoil and experiencing major aftershocks from the massive energy release (like massive impacts from large meteors) that caused the global Flood and very rapid continental drift, early on, on a global scale …

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Bob Helm: I agree with Bob about the pre-Cambrian/Cambrian being the beginning of the Flood.

      I also lean toward a last Flood-laid level being substantially higher than the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. Bob has mentioned some good geological arguments. I would add that the fossil fauna found in the Tertiary are mighty strange; most of the familiar modern mammal types don’t even come into the fossil record until the upper Tertiary or even the Pleistocene. To me, that indicates that most of the Tertiary forms are pre-Flood forms, hence much of the Tertiary represents Flood sediment, albeit post-high-water-mark, subsiding waters sediment.




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  33. Also what do I make of dinosaur tooth marks on other fossils? I believe that five months pased before the Genesis flood crested, and during that time, carnivorous dinosaurs were still attempting to survive. Clearly, they had to make kills and eat during that time, which would account for their tooth marks on the bones of other animals, including other dinosaurs.




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  34. @ Sean Pitman

    Again, most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins believe that sediments as well as fossils were formed before and after the Flood, but that the bulk of the geologic column was produced by the Flood.”

    If it never rained prior to the flood, what catastrophes caused fossil formation prior to the big flood?

    The evidence that we do have is in fact very consistent with a picture of a pre-Flood world that was vastly richer and more verdant than the world we live in today.”

    Vastly richer? The Bible makes this claim? The fossil evidence certainly doesn’t bear this out. Biodiversity today far exceeds anything represented by the fossil record.

    But gigantic fossilized organisms are a fact of science – consistent with the Biblical description of a vastly better and more verdant pre-Flood world. There really is no argument here except when it comes to pre-Flood humans. And, the evidence in favor of the Biblical model has more to do with the duration of the formation of the geologic/fossil records than it has to do with the size of pre-Flood organisms.”

    Vastly better? More verdant? Where does scripture make these claims? And how does the fossil record testify to a “better” and “more verdant” environment than that which exists today? And how would any of this so-called evidence contradict neo-Darwinism?

    As far as scavenging is concerned, the Flood took a while to kill off all animal life. Many creatures survived for quite some time during the Flood. There were tidal actions during the Flood and other means whereby dry land was exposed for various periods of time. In this manner trackways were preserved and well as dinosaur nests and clutches of eggs (sometimes deposited on multiple levels of sediment within the same nest as additional layers were laid down during the Flood). So, obviously, scavenging of animals that had already been killed would only be expected.”

    This may be obvious to you, but there is nothing in scripture to support your views on scavenging. Reptiles generally retreat to shelter and do not feed when it is raining, nor do they need to, as they can go extended periods of time–easily 40 days and 40 nights–without food. The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd.

    You continually embellish “inspired history” to convince yourself and others that the fossil record supports your views of creationism. More astounding, your embellishments add nothing to bolster the case for creationism against evolutionism.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      If it never rained prior to the flood, what catastrophes caused fossil formation prior to the big flood?

      The fossils within the lowermost layers of the geologic column (early Cambrian and below) are largely small marine organisms. There would be no need for rain or flooding or significant erosion to preserve such fossil remains on occasion prior to a Noachian-style Flood.

      Vastly richer? The Bible makes this claim?

      The Bible makes the claim that living things are degenerating over time. Humans aren’t living nearly as long and the Earth has suffered a dramatic insult by the Noachian Flood that destroyed all land animals save those on the Ark. The Bible and Mrs. White claim that the world fresh from the hand of God was indeed superior in richness and beauty compared to the current state of things.

      The fossil evidence certainly doesn’t bear this out. Biodiversity today far exceeds anything represented by the fossil record.

      There are no new “kinds” of animals living now that did not also exist before the Flood. However, there are a great many different kinds of animals that have gone extinct. I would call this a great loss of genetic diversity – wouldn’t you? We’re not talking about producing different breeds of dogs or different “cryptic species” of giraffe here. We’re talking about uniquely different kinds of gene pools with phenotypic differences at higher levels of functional complexity.

      And how would any of this so-called evidence contradict neo-Darwinism?

      Darwinism is based on the idea that things have historically gotten better and more complex over time. The Bible says that things started out in an idealic state right from the hand of God and then proceeded to rapidly degenerate and decay over time. The Bible also claims that all life on this planet was created within six literal days in recent history and that all land animal life on this planet, save that in Noah’s ark, was destroyed by a world-wide watery catastrophe just a few thousand years ago…

      The fossil and genetic evidence supports the Biblical picture rather than the progressive evolutionary notions of neo-Darwinists.

      This may be obvious to you, but there is nothing in scripture to support your views on scavenging. Reptiles generally retreat to shelter and do not feed when it is raining, nor do they need to, as they can go extended periods of time–easily 40 days and 40 nights–without food.

      Not true. Many large dinosaurs had high energy needs and could not retreat for such long periods of time without food. In fact, many scientists are now arguing that certain dinosaurs were warm blooded.

      Prior research conducted by Pontzer’s group showed that the energy cost of walking and running is strongly associated with leg length, so the distance from the hip joint to the ground can predict the observed cost of locomotion. After calculating these measurements and studying anatomical models of 14 dinosaurs, they determined that walking and running dinosaurs would indeed have used more energy than a cold-blooded animal would’ve been capable of producing. Conclusion: many dinosaurs were probably athletic, warm-blooded animals.

      http://news.discovery.com/animals/were-dinosaurs-warm-or-cold-blooded.html

      So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.

      The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd.

      Satan feared for his life because the Flood was gradually killing off all human and land-animal life. Just because it wasn’t happening all at once at all places on the globe simultaneously doesn’t mean that Satan didn’t have reason to fear that God would just continue the job to finish him off in the process…

      You continually embellish “inspired history” to convince yourself and others that the fossil record supports your views of creationism. More astounding, your embellishments add nothing to bolster the case for creationism against evolutionism.

      Obviously, we see things quite differently here. I think the fossil record is very much in line with the Biblical account, and Mrs. White’s account, of origins and of the Flood. I really see very little in the geologic column/fossil record that substantive counters the Biblical account or the claims of Mrs. White…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent:

      “Reptiles generally retreat to shelter and do not feed when it is raining, nor do they need to, as they can go extended periods of time–easily 40 days and 40 nights–without food. The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd.”

      Jeff, for your sake, I hope you’re never in a flood and have to defend your high and dry perch from the poisonous reptiles who’ve been driven from their shelters. I’ve been told that this can be one of the worst aspects of floods.

      Actually, what we see in the fossil record is not “life as usual” but catastrophe. Mainstream origins science always argues that these catastrophes were local floods, separated from each other by thousands or millions of years. But the fact is that what is seen in the fossil record is almost invariably catastrophe.




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  35. Bob Helm: I believe that five months pased before the Genesis flood crested

    It rained for how many days and nights? If the water had not crested by this point in time, what is your source for the additional water that came afterward? And how exactly did you derive the number 5 months? I’d say you pulled it out of a hat.




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  36. Sean Pitman:

    Professor Kent: And if “inspired history” suggests we should expect to find animals, plants, and humans much larger than exist today, how would this contradict anything about evolutionary theory? There is nothing in the modern sysnthesis which states that animals can never experience a reduction in body size.

    It isn’t the body size that conflicts with evolutionary theory. It is the very rapid catastrophic nature of the formation of much of the geologic column that is inconsistent with neo-Darwinism – and strongly favors the Biblical model of origins.

    Professor Kent: On this score, her statement is clearly contradicted, as you all have conceded, because the empirical evidence actually supports the wrong theory.

    A lack of positive evidence isn’t the same thing as a “contradiction”.

    Yet Ms. White clearly wrote of body size and the burial of antediluvian humans being key features of fossils to testify of inspired history, not the rapidity of fossil formation. Moreover, if one goes solely with the evidence–a position you have enthusiastically embraced–one would have to concede that she was was wrong. And you need to be consistent: after all, “a lack of positive evidence” is precisely what you and others use to refute abiogenesis. Harold Camping’s recent prediction of the end of this world in 2011 lacked positive evidence; would you suggest he was not wrong? In the case of Ms. White’s quote, a lack of positive evidence means one glaring thing: she was wrong.

    Ms. White also included in this troubling passage:

    Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation.

    Nothing? Do you seriously believe this? I ask one simple question: does post-flood or contemporary biogeography support the view that all terrestrial life forms originated from one place on this planet–Mt. Ararat?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Yet Ms. White clearly wrote of body size and the burial of antediluvian humans being key features of fossils to testify of inspired history, not the rapidity of fossil formation.

      The claim is that the fossil record itself was intended by God to give empirical credibility to the Biblical account of origins – to include the pre-Flood existence of plants, animals, and men who were superior in vigor, health, and size to their counterparts now living. In other words, the fossil record was meant to support the claim of a recent origin of life as well as its catastrophic destruction by the Noachian Flood… and its degeneration over time. All of this is well-supported by the fossil record.

      Moreover, if one goes solely with the evidence–a position you have enthusiastically embraced–one would have to concede that she was was wrong. And you need to be consistent: after all, “a lack of positive evidence” is precisely what you and others use to refute abiogenesis.

      There is a great deal of positive evident that refutes the concept of abiogenesis – such as the statistical improbability of any known mindless mechanism producing the high level of functional complexity necessary to do the job. There is also abundant evidence that plants and animals were bigger and arguably better before the Flood. Given the post-Flood remains of very large humans, it only stands to reason that pre-Flood humans were also much larger, stronger, and vital than we are today. Such a conclusion is hardly based on a complete lack of evidence… regardless of the fact that definitive positive evidence is not yet in hand.

      Ms. White also included in this troubling passage:

      Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation.

      Nothing? Do you seriously believe this? I ask one simple question: does post-flood or contemporary biogeography support the view that all terrestrial life forms originated from one place on this planet–Mt. Ararat?

      Contemporary evidence is not at all inconsistent with the recent origin of all land-animal life from a single region on the globe.

      We have argued this before, but you still do not seem to grasp the speed at which Mendelian variation can produce marked phenotypic adaptations and diversity. Again, nearly all breeds of domestic dog (far more phenotypically and genetically distinct compared to “cryptic species”) were produced within the last 300 years or so. It doesn’t take too much time to migrate around the globe or to produce the phenotypic variations within a certain “kind” of gene pool that we see today.

      Now, this is not to say that there are no difficult or even impossible questions. While modern science may come up with many questions for which we do not yet have answers from a Biblical perspective, which might in isolation even seem to favor the neo-Darwinian position, Mrs. White is very clear that true science will never come up with anything that tips the clear “weight of evidence” (a phrase she uses several times) away from the Biblical account of origins for those honestly seeking to know the truth. All the rest is naturalistic philosophy dressed up as science “falsely so called”.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: You have asked many more than one question. And when one is answered, you ask another. No one here claims to have all knowledge about the present, let alone the past but many of the questions you ask, you could find the reasonable creationist responce on the web, if you, as you have several times stated, really want to know.

      -Shining




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  37. Dear Sean,

    I hear what you are saying, but what you describe – rapid continental drift, large meteor impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, and flooding going on all over the place sounds like the last part of the flood to me. I agree that some land surfaces were exposed when the tertiary sediments were being laid down, but the presence of these catastrophic phenomena makes me doubtful that Noah and the animals were off the ark yet. Of course, even when they did disembark, they were at a high altitude in the Ararat region, and even then, the flood may have continued for some time at lower levels. So perhaps it is not quite accurate to equate the complete end of the flood with Noah leaving the ark.

    Also, while some modern animals are represented in the lower tertiary, there are still many strange forms. There have even been a few reports of Paleocene dinosaur fossils, but this matter is still debated.

    As I see it, the upper Cretaceous represents the crest of the flood, and the water went down from there. Now having said this, I would add that we can debate these details while maintaining our commitment to the creationist/flood geology model for natural history.




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  38. No, professor Kent, I did not pull 5 months of rising water out of a hat. The mere fact that it rained for 40 days/nights does not mean that the flood had crested by the end of that period. The 5 month period is derived from Gen 7:24. There is some uncertainty about the precise meaning of the Hebrew verb “gabar”, but it can be understood to mean that the waters strengthened on the earth for 150 days. Note this from “Origin By Design” (Coffin, Brown,and Gibson, Review & Herald 2005, p. 41): “The 110 days beyond the first 40 either represent a time of continued rising water and perhaps rainfall, or was a period when the waters remained high.”
    The Hebrew verb can support either option, but the former makes more sense to me, and I am certainly not alone in that opinion.




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  39. Professor Kent, I would add that rainfall was probably a minor source of water for the Genesis flood. The main source came from the great deep, which is mentioned first in Gen 7:11. Gen 8:2 suggests that the fountains of the great deep were not closed until the end of the 150 days.




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    • @Eddie: Eddie, in estuaries, riparian fresh water tends to ride on top of salt water for miles out to sea, so there might well have been sorting of water during the Flood. There could also have been a tidal pulse where freshwater laid down sediment in one direction, and then saltwater coming from the other direction laid down sediment on top of that in alternating layers.

      I can only read the abstract, but it appears the authors describe the deposit without suggesting a mechanism as to how it got that way. In fact, their description seems to imply that they are mystified about the relevant geological history:

      “These data are interpreted as representing a lake fluctuating from fresh to hypersaline, with stages controlled by sudden freshwater expansions of the lake followed by more gradual regressions. However, initiation of dolomite precipitation was relatively sudden at the end of regressive stages. Even then, the lake remained relatively fresh along its margins as indicated by accumulated synchronous shore–phase calcimicrite.”

      If they’re not suggesting a geological history and mechanism to explain their interpretation of the deposit, why must I? Everything about origins turns on burden of proof. Whoever has it will lose, because no one can prove anything about origins.




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  40. I would mention that if we attribute the Cenozoic to post-flood catastrophes and the lower Paleozoic to pre-flood catastrophes, we are moving away from true flood geology and in the direction of Cuvierism. It is to be remembered that Cuvier proposed many world-wide catastrophes, with the Genesis flood being only one of them. I’m sure Leonard Brand means well, but I don’t think this is warranted.




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    • @Bob Helm:

      There probably weren’t significant pre-Flood catastrophes on a global scale (probably not any given the stability of the world-wide tropical pre-Flood environment without the extremes of weather, temperature, and moisture that exist today). However, there had to have been massive post-Flood catastrophes on enormous scales. After all, we are still feeling the aftershocks of the Noachian Flood today. The entire world sustained a dramatic insult with huge impacts and the release of enormous amounts of energy which broke up the crust and caused very rapid continental drift. It would only be expected, therefore, that immediately after the Flood there would still be large catastrophic events for some time…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. Sean Pitman: The Bible makes the claim that living things are degenerating over time…The Bible and Mrs. White claim that the world fresh from the hand of God was indeed superior in richness and beauty compared to the current state of things.

    Please share verses from the Bible.

    Sean Pitman: There are no new “kinds” of animals living now that did not also exist before the Flood. However, there are a great many different kinds of animals that have gone extinct. I would call this a great loss of genetic diversity – wouldn’t you?

    Diversity can be recognized at multiple levels. If you want to talk higher taxonomic levels, you still have the problem that evidence from the fossil can’t support one theory over the other. Evolutionists posit that many major clades have disappeared over time. Again, where does scripture, or even Ellen White, claim that diversity (at any level) became reduced over time? If anything, the Bible suggests that diversity was preserved during the flood.

    Sean Pitman: The Bible says that things started out in an idealic state right from the hand of God and then proceeded to rapidly degenerate and decay over time.

    Verses, please.

    Sean Pitman: In fact, many scientists are now arguing that certain dinosaurs were warm blooded.

    Decades-old news. How long can elephant go without food? How long can a human go without food? Forty days? Do some reading.

    Sean Pitman: So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.

    Scavenging animals outside the ark lived an entire year after the flood began? Seriously? What’s your source for this? How many days into the flood did the waters cover all of the highest mountains? Are you suggesting that it required more than 40 days and nights? Are you suggesting the phrase “40 days and 40 nights” was not literal?

    Sean Pitman: Satan feared for his life because the Flood was gradually killing off all human and land-animal life. Just because it wasn’t happening all at once at all places on the globe simultaneously doesn’t mean that Satan didn’t have reason to fear that God would just continue the job to finish him off in the process…

    Where did you get this interpretation of why, exactly, Satan feared for his life? And where does scripture, or even Ellen White, tell us the flood wasn’t happening all at once at all places? Where do you get these notions?

    Sean Pitman: I really see very little in the geologic column/fossil record that substantive counters the Biblical account or the claims of Mrs. White…

    Again, I think you’ve greatly embellished the details told by scripture and by Ellen White. To a disturbing extent.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      The Bible makes the claim that living things are degenerating over time…The Bible and Mrs. White claim that the world fresh from the hand of God was indeed superior in richness and beauty compared to the current state of things. – Sean Pitman

      Please share verses from the Bible.

      Read Genesis. The world starts out as perfect from the hand of God – with God calling it all, “very good”. There was no death for sentient creatures. Not until the Fall did death enter this world. Then, after the Fall, things started to degenerate. Read about how long people lived as time went on. The life spans, described in the Bible, follow an exponential decay curve that clearly supports the concept of degenerating longevity.

      Mrs. White says the same thing – that the world and life on it has experienced significant degeneration and decay over time… that it is not remotely close to the original beauty that she was shown existed, in visions from God, when the world was freshly created. Consider this passage:

      He [Christ] took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity…

      When Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.

      – Ellen White, 7ABC 452.2 and DA pp. 117

      So, you see, Mrs. White is quite plain here regarding the degeneracy of the human race over time. It only follows the natural law of informational entropy. Things wear out and get old over time. That’s just the nature of our world – of natural law.

      Diversity can be recognized at multiple levels. If you want to talk higher taxonomic levels, you still have the problem that evidence from the fossil can’t support one theory over the other. Evolutionists posit that many major clades have disappeared over time. Again, where does scripture, or even Ellen White, claim that diversity (at any level) became reduced over time? If anything, the Bible suggests that diversity was preserved during the flood.

      Of course we’re talking about diversity of major kinds of animals, not just on the species or intra-species level within the same basic “kind” of gene pool.

      And, nothing in the Bible or the writings of Mrs. White suggest that there would be no extinctions – even of major plant an animal groups. Such is only to be expected given the harsh, risky, and unpredictable nature of our planet.

      Sean Pitman: In fact, many scientists are now arguing that certain dinosaurs were warm blooded.

      Decades-old news.

      So, why then did you make the argument that they would rather not search for food if you knew of the warm-blooded nature of dinosaurs?

      How long can elephant go without food? How long can a human go without food? Forty days? Do some reading.

      It’s not how long a warm-blooded animal can survive without food when forced to do so. Rather, the question is how long a warm-blooded animal will deliberately avoid searching for and eating food when it is readily available?

      Your argument that dinosaurs would not have scavenged during the year-long Flood when there were various times and places of relative calm makes no sense.

      Scavenging animals outside the ark lived an entire year after the flood began? Seriously? What’s your source for this? How many days into the flood did the waters cover all of the highest mountains? Are you suggesting that it required more than 40 days and nights? Are you suggesting the phrase “40 days and 40 nights” was not literal?

      It only rained for 40 days and nights, but the Bible does not say that the Flood waters crested during this time. In fact, it might be read as suggesting that the waters did not crest till after this time – as noted elsewhere in this thread. Dinosaur trackways are present in the fossil record all the way up until the KT-Boundary… a point in time that was toward the end of major sedimentary deposits and fossil formation. In other words, dinosaurs evidently survived a very long time during the many months of the Flood.

      Where did you get this interpretation of why, exactly, Satan feared for his life? And where does scripture, or even Ellen White, tell us the flood wasn’t happening all at once at all places? Where do you get these notions?

      How do you know that my interpretation is necessarily wrong? Where did you get your interpretation as to why Satan feared for his life? Where does Mrs. White say that Satan was actually scared of drowning in the Flood? After all, you’re talking about someone who was, at this point in time, free to travel away from this planet to attend meetings in Heaven as a representative of this world (read Job).

      The suggestion is that Satan feared for his life, not so much because of Flood itself, but because he didn’t know whether or not God had gotten fed up enough and had decided to end it all, the entire rebellion, right then and there. After all, nothing on this scale of destruction of life had ever been seen in the entire universe before.

      Again, I think you’ve greatly embellished the details told by scripture and by Ellen White. To a disturbing extent.

      How so? Where have I contradicted anything in the Bible or the writings of Ellen White?

      Rather, it seems to me that I’ve only contradicted your own interpretations and how you’ve always read the Bible and Mrs. White as being in inescapable conflict with overwhelming empirical evidence.

      For most people who candidly read the texts, it is very clear that both the Bible and Mrs. White describe a pre-Flood world that was far more grand and glorious than what now exists and that God will one day restore this planet to that idealic state after thousands of years of suffering the degenerative effects of rebellion and sin.

      I’m actually quite surprised that you seem to be arguing against this concept? This view is consistent, not antagonistic, with the historic Christian interpretation of these texts. And, the additional details that we can glean from the geologic/fossil records are not at all inconsistent with the Biblical account of origins or the Noachian Flood.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. David Read: I had researched and written an appendix to my book on dinosaurs about giant human remains, but cut if from the final book, which was already too long. If you’d like the unpublished manuscript, please email me at david@readlawoffice.com, and I will send it to you.

    I think I’ll take you up on this, though my interest in the human fossil record barely ranks as peripheral.

    David Read: Jeff, for your sake, I hope you’re never in a flood and have to defend your high and dry perch from the poisonous reptiles who’ve been driven from their shelters. I’ve been told that this can be one of the worst aspects of floods

    Scary indeed. I find venomous animals very fascinating, but the reptile kind are a bit intimidating. I’m a big fan of venomous cone snails. My good friend Geanna is totally into snakes and would probably relish a cold-blooded tide brought on with a flood.

    David Read: Regarding pre-Flood fossils, I think they were probably limited to single-celled organisms, with the possible exception of the Ediacaran forms.

    I’m no paleo expert, but an SDA colleague has told me that many creationists, including highly faithful SDAs, now see things quite differently. They now believe a lot more fossil formation occurred prior to the flood than traditionally believed. Keep your antennae up.




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  43. Sean said……

    “So, you see, Mrs. White is quite plain here regarding the degeneracy of the human race over time. It only follows the natural law of informational entropy. Things wear out and get old over time. That’s just the nature of our world – of natural law.”

    And this is precisely, Sean, why you can not trust “natural law” to determine origins or the state of things before sin. Had there been no sin, there would have been no degeneracy and things would not get old and wear out.

    And as I have already said, nature can not be equal in authority to determine origins or even how things were before creation. And since this is true, we must acknowledge the bible as first in authority with nature being a source of evidence. As the two can not be “equal” in determining what the truth of the matter is.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      While it is true that the Bible and the writings of Mrs. White add in additional details regarding the nature of the pre-Fall world that would not otherwise be knowable from the study of nature alone, it is not true that the current world of nature, together with our God-given ability to use various forms of scientific reasoning, does not also speak of God’s creative power (Romans 1:20). It is also not true that Bible’s credibility is entirely independent of empirical evidence derived from the real world in which we live.

      Again, faith alone does not trump empirical evidence (aka – wishful thinking) and science cannot function without making leaps of faith. They must walk hand-in-hand as they are dependent upon each other when it comes to helping us to rationally understand our world and God’s written Word.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: Sean, I think you subtly altered Bill’s point. He wasn’t arguing that nature does not speak to God creative power, or contradicting Romans 1:20. His point, with which I agree, is that Scripture is the superior source of God’s revelation, and it is through the lens of scripture that we interpret the data of nature. This is true of current data, but specially true of those data bearing on origins.

        Ellen White states it like this:

        “God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in both science and art; but when professedly scientific men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. It may be innocent to speculate beyond what God’s word has revealed, if our theories do not contradict facts found in the Scriptures; but those who leave the word of God, and seek to account for His created works upon scientific principles, are drifting without chart or compass upon an unknown ocean. The greatest minds, if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation.”

        Clearly, Ellen White is saying that scientists, especially those dealing with origins, must be guide in their interpretation of the data by the Word of God.




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  44. Dear Sean,

    We are in full agreement regarding post-flood catastrophism. It was very great in comparison with what we experience today. The Channeled Scablands in eastern Washington are just one example of a regional catastrophe on a scale that we don’t experience today. There were many others as well. Even the ice age can be considered a slow-moving glacial catastrophe.

    However, there is a difference between large regional catastrophes and a world-wide catastrophe on the scale of the Genesis flood. There have been no world-wide catastrophes since the flood, although another one will be coming up at Christ’s second advent.




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  45. Sean,

    I marvel at your ability to detect subtle realities and decipher truth from inspired history. Through brilliant use of empirical evidence, you shed light on inspired history to illuminate extraordinary insights that escape less inspired minds.

    Before this conversation, I had no idea that inspiration gave us such rich details on the degeneration not just of humans, but of plants and animals as well; the astounding loss of biodiversity (of major kinds) and failure of the ark to preserve this diversity; the true nature of the flood, including extended periods of relative calm at various times and places, and how it took many months for the flood waters to crest; the scavenging behavior of animals that lived for up to a year during the flood before they perished in the water; the actual reason why Satan feared for his life during the flood; how the fossil record so clearly supports everything depicted by inspired history; and why we must believe our senses and empirical evidence rather than trust God’s word at face value.

    I thank you for opening my eyes to a new understanding of inspiration.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Before this conversation, I had no idea that inspiration gave us such rich details on the degeneration not just of humans, but of plants and animals as well;

      What amazes me is that you claim to believe in inspiration yet you do not recognize the very clear claim of the Bible that things were better when they came fresh from the Creator than they are now after thousands of years of separation from the Creator’s direct care and sustaining power. The Bible is explicit regarding the degeneration of humans and Ellen White goes into detail regarding the degeneration of plants and animals from their original state. Yet, you wish to argue that this is not evident from inspiration? How can you come to this conclusion when it has been evident to most Jews and then Christians for thousands of years?

      the astounding loss of biodiversity (of major kinds) and failure of the ark to preserve this diversity;

      Mrs. White specifically explains that God did not save certain types of animals on the Ark by design. It only stands to reason that saving something like a T. rex would probably cause more harm than good in the new fragile world…

      Also, I mention yet again that this world is degenerating. Many kinds of plants and animals go extinct every day… often without anyone realizing it. This world, and life on it, is wearing out.

      All of this is very much in line with the Inspired account of origins.

      the true nature of the flood, including extended periods of relative calm at various times and places, and how it took many months for the flood waters to crest;

      Again, where does the Bible or Mrs. White say otherwise? The geologic/fossil evidence suggest this and this evidence is not contradicted by Inspiration.

      the scavenging behavior of animals that lived for up to a year during the flood before they perished in the water;

      Certainly it seems like many types of animals lived and tried to find stuff to eat, dinosaurs even laid eggs, until the water nearly crested. Again, how is this concept at all inconsistent with the claims of Inspiration?

      the actual reason why Satan feared for his life during the flood;

      Why do you think he feared for his life? What about this statement necessitates the notion that some dinosaurs couldn’t survive several months as the waters of the Flood increased before finally cresting?

      how the fossil record so clearly supports everything depicted by inspired history; and why we must believe our senses and empirical evidence rather than trust God’s word at face value.

      We are talking about the weight of evidence here. You can believe anything at “face value” – like my LDS friends. That doesn’t make faith any more rational than wishful thinking…

      I thank you for opening my eyes to a new understanding of inspiration.

      Stop being so sarcastic for once and actually try to consider the rational basis for faith – for a solid realization of the Good News of the Gospel message of hope. There are a great many excellent reasons, even the weight of evidence, to support the claims of the miraculous Gospel stories and fantastic promises…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        A biblical account of downward progression? I think not.

        Gen 2:8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
        Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
        Gen 3:21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
        Gen 4:22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.
        Gen 6:14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
        Genesis 13:3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier.
        Exodus 26:7 Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether.
        1 Kings 5:17 At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple.
        Leviticus 25:3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops.
        Isiah 65:18 But be glad and rejoice forever
        in what I will create,
        for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
        and its people a joy.
        19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
        and take delight in my people;
        the sound of weeping and of crying
        will be heard in it no more.

        20 “Never again will there be in it
        an infant who lives but a few days,
        or an old man who does not live out his years;
        the one who dies at a hundred
        will be thought a mere child;
        the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred
        will be considered accursed.
        21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
        they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
        Revelation 21:15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits[d] thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
        Revelation 22:22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city.

        The trajectory of bible history is not at all a history of degeneration but of technical advancement from a garden to a vast cubic city that is 2,200 kilometers in each dimension. (That is 250x the height of Mt Everest. Not sure what docking that on the earth would do to tectonic plate movements, the rotation of the earth or how the residents at the highest level would cope with the vanishingly small oxygen tensions)

        To me the narrative is of growth in knowledge, understanding and technology not in degeneration but does that reflect the writers vision of the good life or has God decided that a really really big city is much better than a garden.

        And don’t try to dismiss this vision of the end as symbolic as you will then also need to dismiss the account of the beginning too.




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        • @pauluc:

          You’re talking about the New Jerusalem, created by God after the Second Coming of Jesus. This city is placed on the Earth after the Earth is recreated to be like it was intended to be before the Fall.

          Of course things are going to get better, much much better, once God steps in and fixes everything. Until then, however, the Bible describes a record of decay and death and moral decline with things getting worse as time progresses since the Fall. The deterioration in genomic quality will also continue until God puts an end to it.

          Gains in knowledge and human technology aren’t the same as preventing the deterioration of our gene pool or of the environment in general. Did you read where the Bible describes people as destroying the Earth? – Revelation 11:18

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  46. Dear Sean,

    I’m glad we agree when it comes to the scale of the Noachian Flood. I think we both agree that the Flood was the one world-wide catastrophe that affected all of life on this planet, and that the flood was followed by massive regional catastrophes before the earth reached a measure of stability. Our only significant difference is that you view these regional catastrophes as occurring throughout the Cenozoic, whereas I view them as occurring during the Pleistocene, or post-flood ice age. At present, I opt for the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary as the upper limit for the flood, whereas you opt for the KT boundary. This accounts for our difference as to where we place the post-flood regional catastrophes. And you know what Sean? You could be right! I have not closed my mind to your position, but I also see what appear to be significant problems with it. However, the important thing is that we are both creationists who believe in a literal creation week, in the actual fall of Adam and Eve, and in the Genesis flood account. Where we place the upper limit of the flood in the geologic column makes for an interesting scientific discussion, but it is not a spiritual issue, and in the eternal scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. I do thank you for your defense of creation and the flood. We are on the same wavelength. God bless you!




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  47. Sean,

    If someone was to produce miracles and signs to convince us they had a message from God, should we believe them? After all, miracles cannot be wrought by mere humans. Which should we trust–our senses, or God’s word?

    I have always believed the following warnings were issued to advise us not to trust our senses, but to trust instead the explicit instruction from God’s word. I suspect you (and, therefore, most conservative SDAs) interpret these quite differently than I do, so please help my understanding.

    Matthew 24:24 (NIV) “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

    2 Thes 2:9-10 (NIV) “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

    Deut 18:1-4 (NIV) “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

    Rev 13:11-14 (NIV) “Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth.

    Rev 19:20 (NIV) “But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      If someone was to produce miracles and signs to convince us they had a message from God, should we believe them? After all, miracles cannot be wrought by mere humans. Which should we trust–our senses, or God’s word?

      Why do you believe that the Bible is God’s word? – and not the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon? Did God send an angel to tell you? If so, how do you know that the angel is really from God? How do you know that you haven’t already been deceived to believe that the Bible is the word of God when it really isn’t? How do you know that what you think you know is actually true?

      My LDS friends tell me that they have a deep feeling or “burning” in the middle of themselves whenever they hear or read “the truth” – which is the basis for their acceptance of the Book of Mormon as the real word of God.

      You see, a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God must be based on the weight of evidence. That is the only way that one will be able to rationally avoid the deceptions of those who would try to destroy one’s faith in the Word of God.

      Also, many of these things are not salvational ideas. No one is going to be excluded from heaven for being honestly deceived on the topic of origins, for example. Salvation is based on motive, not on correct knowledge.

      I have always believed the following warnings were issued to advise us not to trust our senses, but to trust instead the explicit instruction from God’s word. I suspect you (and, therefore, most conservative SDAs) interpret these quite differently than I do, so please help my understanding.

      The Bible advises us to “reason” together, to use our God-given brains, to determine truth from error – to determine that the Bible really is the actual Word of God. This knowledge is not innate. It has to be researched and discovered based on the “weight of evidence” before it can be rationally accepted.

      God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 255). “God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith” (ibid., vol. 4, pp. 232, 233).

      Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.

      – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

      So, what is the basis of an “intelligent trust” in God’s word? – the Bible? Evidence! Empirical evidence that appeals to the rational candid intelligent mind of the one who is sincerely looking for truth.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  48. What a dialog!

    About all I can say is “WOW”!

    From all I read, the pre-flood world was a whole different form of eco-system. The vast oceans did not exist and even the polar regions were comfortably habitable.
    I understand that fossil records found in far-north regions reveal a time when those areas supported even tropical plant life.

    Interesting facts about Earth:

    About 197 million square miles total surface.
    About 71% water, 29% land.

    Depending on one’s definition of “habitable”, only a small portion of the 29% is comfortably livable.

    So what was the pre-flood earth like? According to the Genesis account, the “waters were divided”. (Gen 1: 6 & 7)

    I have read theories of a water envelope surrounding the earth as well as an aquifer that produced water from beneath. (see Gen 2:6) Genesis 7:11 describes “the fountains of the deep” that were “broken up” and the huge volume of water that fell from the “windows of heaven”.

    I believe that much greater percentages of the Earth were both covered by land and were habitable prior to the flood. This, along with the fact that the Earth was more fertile and supported much more vigorous growth, was the cause for the vast reserves of coal and oil that are found here today. A cataclysmic flood of the proportions described in scripture would also explain the depth (miles in some cases) that vegetative matter is found beneath the surface.

    I don’t think that anyone can know what the Earth was like before the flood, except the small amount of information provided by scripture. Maybe the earth did not have a tilt and maybe God added the tilt at the flood? Or maybe the tilt was different. But that is speculation.

    What I do know is that whatever happened to put the Earth in its current state will be reversed when He makes it “New” again. Those who have a personal relationship with their Creator / Saviour can claim the promise to be there in about a millenium when He puts the Earth back to what it was before sin entered.

    And that, my brothers and sisters, is what being a Seventh-Day Adventist is all about. Just to be there!




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  49. I see that Professor Kent has been casting pearls of logic and reasonableness before certain types of individuals on the educate truth (sic) web site again. I share with him my amazement at the new insights about inspiration revealed here.




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  50. Sean Pitman: All of this is very much in line with the Inspired account of origins…Again, where does the Bible or Mrs. White say otherwise? The geologic/fossil evidence suggest this and this evidence is not contradicted by Inspiration…Again, how is this concept at all inconsistent with the claims of Inspiration?

    It’s refreshing to see your candid (albeit subtle) concession that many of your claims are based on private interpretation of the fossil record, and not on inspiration itself. I think you confuse these often.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Not at all. My interpretations of the fossil record include many concepts that are not directly described in either the Bible or the writings of Ellen White. However, none of these views are inconsistent with anything in these inspired texts… with anything that God has actually given to us via inspiration regarding origins or the Noachian Flood…

      You’re the one trying to throw out as many lame “inconsistencies” as you can possibly conjure up. However, most of your arguments have reasonable explanations or are minor in comparison to the weight of evidence that is available in favor of the Biblical model.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. Details, details, details.

    As a father to four children, I have shared enough about their origin to convince them who their parents are, and that they are loved.

    I haven’t gone into intimate detail about how they were conceived; when they were conceived; and where they were conceived. I haven’t described to them the forms of birth control that failed or were suspended when they were conceived. I haven’t lectured them on how the sperm and egg were produced that ultimnately fused together to produce them, and how as embryos they underwent dramatic changes to create the structures that persist with them today.

    My children are certainly welcome to speculate on these details, but I have shared with them all they need to know to understand that they are precious and loved unconditionally. They know enough to recognize that I want a daily relationship with them.

    God has similarly shared key details about how he created us–and they are more than enough to convince us of his unconditional love. We are certainly free to speculate as we wish on the details he did not provide, but they are unnecessary. We can be dogmatic about our interpretations, put down those who see things differently, and exclude these others from our Church. But no one can stop such disenfranchised individuals from enjoying a daily commune with God, who has shared all we need to know about who he is and what his plan is for us.




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  52. @ Sean Pitman

    Sean Pitman: So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals [outside the ark] would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.

    Out of curiosity, what did animals INSIDE the ark feed on?

    We have millions of predatory terrestrial invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals with us today that had to survive in the ark. Since we know with certainty that animals outside the ark must have been feeding voraciously, mating passionately, and laying eggs copiously during the year-long flood, which you have shown to be consistent with inspired history, what were the predators feeding on INSIDE the ark?

    Many predators subsist on only one or a very few prey species, which are often unclean animals represented by just two individuals. There are snakes and birds, for example, which subsist wholly upon snails. How many snails were consumed–and snail species rendered extinct–by the pair of snail kites on the ark? If these predators ate just one individual of an unclean species, then that species would no longer be represented by a male and a female. Consequently, the species would become extinct.

    Snail kites eat 1.7 to 3.4 apple snails per hour. By my quick calculations based on energetic needs, each snail kite requires at least 30 apple snails per day. As a pair, the kites would have required more than 20,000 snails over the course of a year. That’s a minimum of 10,000 snail species that presumably went extinct while inside the ark–if we are to use reason and our God-given brains, that is.

    Would it be consistent with inspired history to conclude that, in order for many predatory species to survive on the ark, vast numbers of unclean species met their demise and became extinct while on the ark?

    Even predators that consume clean animals must have taken an enormous toll on the clean animals that entered the ark in groups of seven. Have you ever calculated how many prey animals it would take to sustain a single lion for a year? We could multiply that by its mate and then multiply this by the other large predator species preserved on the ark. Were there enough clean prey to go around, or were more extinctions inevitable?

    Who else would be better to ask than you?




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    • Maybe they were young and not adults and didn’t need to eat a lot and maybe part of the reason the clean animals went on by 7’s is because some were to be used for food for the so called predators. But, think about this, so called predators were not always predators as God did not create killers and eaters of flesh. Think about the gorilla with its big, nasty looking teeth and yet is a vegetarian. If we’re told that the lion will eat grass like an ox in the new earth, chances are he did before. Anyway, it takes less faith in my estimation that God could figure out what these animals needed to eat for a year, than that even one living thing evolved…ever, from nothing.

      You are saying species whereas my Bible refers to kinds. It seems that some groupings man has come up with since Genesis was written are not as singular as we would be led to believe.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Why is it so difficult to imagine that the special food needs of various kinds of creatures were taken into account by God? – that these needs were met by taking on extra specialized provisions when needed?

      Also, you fail to realize that post-Flood specialization, with additional dietary limitations, were the result of a loss of the genetic diversity that existed within certain kinds of gene pools before the Flood. Dietary restrictions can evolve very very rapidly as a result of a loss of the ability to produce key enzymes, etc. For example, have you ever heard of lactase deficiency that is common to certain ethnic groups of humans?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  53. Sean Pitman: So, what is the basis of an “intelligent trust” in God’s word? – the Bible? Evidence! Empirical evidence that appeals to the rational candid intelligent mind of the one who is sincerely looking for truth.

    And this is exactly what Satan can exploit, as Jesus himself warned us…repeatedly.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Satan can try to exploit “evidence”, but he is never able to trump the evidence that God provides in His own favor. God deliberately stacks the deck so that no one who is honest about finding the actual truth need be deceived regarding the existence and essential nature of God or what God requires of us when it comes to loving our neighbors.

      A good example of this sort of exchange is recorded in Exodus where Satan produces evidence for Pharaoh that seems to call into question Moses’ claim to be a representative of God. However, God then provides additional evidence that trumps that provided by Satan. Yet, Pharaoh chooses to accept the weaker evidence… because of his own desire not to believe the superior evidence that God has provided.

      Again, God does not desire or expect anyone to believe in Him without adequate evidence… evidence which He has provided in abundance. What you are arguing for here is an irrational form of faith. The only reason you have fans like Erv Taylor is because you are trying to undermine the empirical credibility of the Bible. Otherwise, he doesn’t agree with you at all regarding the importance of empirical evidence…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  54. Dear Charles,

    I appreciate most of what you wrote. However, Gen 1 does mention the existence of the oceans in the pre-fall world. I’m not sure if the exact same ratios held – 71% water and 29% land – but clearly, the antediluvian oceans were fairly extensive. In fact, the “great deep” can refer to the ocean, and the bursting forth of the fountains of the great deep probably does refer, at least in part, to the ocean covering the land in a very violent manner.

    Another interesting thought – there was probably only one super continent before the flood that was broken up by catastrophic plate tectonics. Even Gen 2 seems to hint at this in its description of the configuration of the rivers of Eden. Although the names “Tigris” and “Euphrates” appear in the modern world, we have no modern river system anything like what is described in Gen 2:10-14. In fact, two of the rivers, the Pishon and the Gihon, are completely unknown. Note also that the second river, the Gihon, had its source in Ethiopia (KJV) or Cush (NIV). This is a clear reference to a region in northeast Africa. But if we assume that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in Mesopotamia, there is a huge geographical problem here, because we have a river running from Africa into Asia. The implication seems to be that Africa and Asia were one land mass in the antediluvian world and that the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden did not exist!




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  55. I meant 7 pairs (not individuals) of clean animals; sorry for the misstatement. But the toll on biodiversity was even more devastating, as I hadn’t realized that there were 7 pairs of each bird species. We’re now talking at least 70,000 snail species must have entered the ark and become extinct in order to feed the snail kites. Very tragic.

    And upon re-reading the account in scripture, I noticed this: “At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down.” Clearly, the floodwaters that covered the highest peaks had crested before this (contrary to Bob Helm’s suggestion), yet Sean wants us to believe that dinosaurs and other animals outside the ark continued to eat, mate, and produce offspring throughout the one-year duration of the flood:

    So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I didn’t say that dinosaurs survived the entire year that Noah was on the Ark. I said that dinosaurs evidently survived an extended period of time, maybe even the majority of time, that Noah was on the Ark.

      This position is not at all inconsistent with a literal interpretation of the Biblical account of the Noachian Flood where all land animals were eventually destroyed by this catastrophe. And, this position takes into account the fossil evidence of extended survival and predatory habits of dinosaurs within the fossil record…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  56. Sean Pitman:
    @Professor Kent:

    I said that dinosaurs evidently survived an extended period of time, probably the majority of time, that Noah was on the Ark.

    The majority of the time? Dinosaurs survived outside the ark beyond the 150-day mark, by which the waters were already receding?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Dinosaurs certainly survived until the KT- boundary, which is the majority of the geologic column – the majority of the sedimentary layers that had been layed down.

      I personally suspect that the cresting of the flood took place just before the KT-boundary… and that Noah was able to leave the ark during the early Teriary while significant regional catastrophes were still taking place. However, either way one looks at it, dinosuars clearly survived quite some time as sediments were being deposited by water all arong them. Their footprints are everywhere. They even layed eggs and hastily produced nests. They scavanged for food. They survived quite some time. But, as already noted, by the time of the KT – boundary, they were all dead…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  57. Dear Professor Kent,

    Two thoughts – although it appears in the NIV, your pluperfect – “the water had gone down” – is really unwarranted, because Hebrew does not have a pluperfect tense. Gen 8:3 in the NASB simply states: “At the end of the one hundred and fifty days, the water decreased.” There is no reason to make it any more complicated than that, and this statement accords perfectly with the idea that the flood crested on the 150th day. By the way, this is not “Bob Helm’s suggestion,” as many expositors hold this position.

    Secondly, where in the world did you get the idea that every bird species was on the ark and that those ancient birds had identical diets to modern birds? Please don’t fall for the hoary falsehood that creationists believe in a fixity of species. Modern creationists agree with Darwin that new species emerge via natural selection. We do not equate baramins or “created kinds” with species, and we believe that micro-evolution occurs within the baramins.




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  58. Sean Pitman: Satan can try to exploit “evidence”, but he is never able to trump the evidence that God provides in His own favor. God deliberately stacks the deck to that no one who is honest about finding the actual truth need be deceived regarding the existence and essential nature of God or what God requires of us when it comes to loving our neighbors.

    But if someone claims to be the Christ, performing great signs and miracles, did not God instruct us, “Do not go out,” because we could readily be deceived if we saw the evidence with our own eyes?

    At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. Matt 24:23-25

    Are you suggesting we go out and see the evidence for ourselves, and trust our own reason and God-given brains, rather than trust God’s word at face value and obey him explicitly?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. Matt 24:23-25

      Are you suggesting we go out and see the evidence for ourselves, and trust our own reason and God-given brains, rather than trust God’s word at face value and obey him explicitly?

      Why not trust the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an “at face value”? Without a rational basis, a choice to accept the Bible over other competing options is arbitrary. God doesn’t want this. God wants us to establish an intelligent faith and trust in the Bible as the true Word of God. It is this rational basis for faith that will carry the “very elect” through the trials of the last days.

      Also, no one will be decieved and lose salvation because of a lack of the clear weight of evidence in favor of the Scriptures – especially in the last days. It isn’t that Satan’s miracles will be so overwhelming that people will be tricked. It will be like it was with Pharoah when he resisted God. People will be decieved because they want to believe the lie. Satan will lie to them in a way that will cater to their own personal selfish desires. Because of their desire to believe the lie, they will accept inferior evidence as truth and reject the superior evidence in support of real truth as a lie.

      God is telling people to be ready for the deceptions that Satan will try to pawn off as genuine miracles from God so that they won’t waist their time going to see every Tom, Dick, and Harry claiming to be Jesus. Despite Satan’s best efforts to decieve with his ability to produce fabulous miracles, there will be obvious features of inferiority – as was the case when Moses stood before Pharoah. Satan will not be able to match the manner of Jesus’ comming, for example. He will also contradict key “fundamental” claims of the Bible regarding the true day of worship. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t also claim, while impersonating Christ, that he really did use evolutionary mechanisms to create life on this planet over billions of years.

      In short, salvation isn’t going to be based on anyone being honestly tricked into believing Satan’s lies about history or empirical reality. People are going to be saved or lost according to their motive – according to their honest desire to know and love the truth as far as they have been given to understand it. For such, God will provide plenty of solid empirical evidence to know the truth – the weight of evidence.

      You see, for Satan it isn’t that he doesn’t know the truth. He knows for a fact that God exists and that everything that God says is true and good. His problem is that he still hates God anyway because of his own selfish nature.

      The same will be true for all who follow Satan at the end of time. At the very end, it won’t be about knowledge. Everyone will have been given plenty of knowledge to know who is right and who is wrong in the Great Controversy. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that God is true and just and good. The evidence will be absolutely overwhelming for everyone at that point. However, as soon as the wicked get up off their knees, they will still try to destroy what they know they cannot destroy. They will still hate God despite knowing, for a fact, that God is truth and goodness personified.

      At that point there is nothing further that God can do for them since it isn’t about evidence. If the problem were really a problem of evidence, God would just provide the evidence and everyone would choose the right path. But, unfortunately, it isn’t about evidence or being honestly decieved. It’s all about motive regardless of evidence…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  59. This is an interesting article that examines extensive evidence for the eruption of lava into water in the Columbia River Basalts in southeastern Wahington and northeastern Oregon. This data suggests that eastern Washington was partially covered with water when these Miocene and early Pliocene deposits were laid down. This would accord with a model in which the Genesis flood ended in the late Cenozoic along the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary. I’m posting this, not as the final word on the subject, but as food for thought.

    http://creation.com/field-studies-in-the-columbia-river-basalt-northwest-usa




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  60. Sean Pitman: Why is it so difficult to imagine that the special food needs of various kinds of various creatures were taken into account by God? – that these needs were met by taking on extra specialized provisions when needed?

    You’ve imagined what went on outside the ark, so I assumed your imagination could explain equally well what transpired inside the ark. If you are suggesting that more than one pair of unclean animals of each kind was taken into the ark as “extra specialized provisions” for obligate predators of unclean animals, you are contradicting scripture, my friend. I’m a bit worried about the storage facility for the tens of thousands of snails required by the snail kite–and the storage space for provisions to feed all those snails before they became extinct.

    Sean Pitman: Also, you fail to realize that post-Flood specialization, with additional diet limitations, were the result of a loss of the genetic diversity that existed within certain kinds of gene pools before the Flood. Dietary restrictions can evolve very very rapidly as a result of a loss of the ability to produce key enzymes, etc. For example, have you ever heard of lactase deficiency that is common to certain ethnic groups of humans?

    So did you get this notion from inspired history, or is it your own interpretation to make the empirical evidence match scripture? I suggest you make up your mind–were there extra provisions for obligate predators of unclean animals, or were there no dietary specialists before the flood?

    Also, you fail to realize that dietary changes happened immediately after sin; you should re-read what happened to the diet of snakes immediately after the fall:

    So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. Gen 3:14

    Are you suggesting that snail kites were actually chicken kites before the flood, and changed their diet after the flood because they lost enzymes to digest chickens?

    And yes, I’ve heard of lactose intolerance and its cause, but it never occurred to me that the antediluvians were spared this inconvenient genetic malady. Amazing.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      If you are suggesting that more than one pair of unclean animals of each kind was taken into the ark as “extra specialized provisions” for obligate predators of unclean animals, you are contradicting scripture, my friend. I’m a bit worried about the storage facility for the tens of thousands of snails required by the snail kite–and the storage space for provisions to feed all those snails before they became extinct.

      As already noted, I’m very doubtful that such dietary restrictions existed during this time, but evolved (or devolved) as time went on.

      Regardless, I have no problem with extra specialized food or meat, even extra snails, being taken on the ark if it was really necessary. I really don’t see your point here?

      So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. Gen 3:14

      Your point? Why do you refer to an obvious figure of speach here?

      Are you suggesting that snail kites were actually chicken kites before the flood, and changed their diet after the flood because they lost enzymes to digest chickens?

      I’m suggesting that ancestral kites had far less dietary restriction of any kind – they could eat a far greater variety of foods compared to the modern specialized varieties.

      And yes, I’ve heard of lactose intolerance and its cause, but it never occurred to me that the antediluvians were spared this inconvenient genetic malady. Amazing.

      Not so amazing at all when you consider the genetic degeneration that has taken place since the Fall.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  61. @ Sean Pitman,

    I take it you find Henry Morris’ description of the flood laughable:

    “Visualize, then, a great hydraulic cataclysm bursting upon the present world, with currents of waters pouring perpetually from the skies and erupting continuously from the earth’s crust, all over the world, for weeks on end, until the entire globe was submerged, accompanied by outpourings of magma from the mantle, gigantic earth movements, landslides, tsunamis, and explosions. … Soils would soon erode away and trees and plants be uprooted and carried down toward the sea in great mats on flooding streams. Eventually the hills and mountains themselves would disintegrate and flow downstream in great landslides and turbidity currents. Slabs of rock would crack and bounce and gradually be rounded into boulders and gravel and sand. Vast seas of mud and rock would flow downriver, trapping many animals and rafting great masses of plants with them. … Finally the sediments would settle out as the waters slowed down, dissolved chemicals would precipitate … and great beds of sediment, soon to be cemented into rock, would be formed all over the world.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I think this description is largely accurate. Why would you think I would call it “laughable”? – just because I think it took a number of months to achieve complete annihilation of the dinosaurs? as indicated by the upper aspect of the fossil record (i.e., the KT-boundary)? Where is the overwhelming inconsistency here with anything written in the Bible or in the writings of Ellen White?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  62. Sean Pitman makes such interesting statements:

    Sean Pitman: the Flood took a while to kill off all animal life. Many creatures survived for quite some time during the Flood. There were tidal actions during the Flood and other means whereby dry land was exposed for various periods of time. In this manner trackways were preserved and well as dinosaur nests and clutches of eggs (sometimes deposited on multiple levels of sediment within the same nest as additional layers were laid down during the Flood). So, obviously, scavenging of animals that had already been killed would only be expected.

    Sean Pitman: They even layed eggs and hastily produced nests. They scavanged for food. They survived quite some time.

    And these are, of course, consistent with inspired history:

    Sean Pitman: Where have I contradicted anything in the Bible or the writings of Ellen White?

    But what does Ellen White have to say?

    Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror, and their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. Then “the fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground…As the violence of the storm increased, trees, buildings, rocks, and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description. Above the roar of the tempest was heard the wailing of a people that had despised the authority of God…The beasts, exposed to the tempest, rushed toward man, as though expecting help from him. Some of the people bound their children and themselves upon powerful animals, knowing that these were tenacious of life, and would climb to the highest points to escape the rising waters. Some fastened themselves to lofty trees on the summit of hills or mountains; but the trees were uprooted, and with their burden of living beings were hurled into the seething billows. One spot after another that promised safety was abandoned. As the waters rose higher and higher, the people fled for refuge to the loftiest mountains. Often man and beast would struggle together for a foothold, until both were swept away. – Patriarchs and Prophets.

    Did Ellen White exaggerate how violent the flood was? While “the terror of man and beast was beyond description,” we now recognize they were feeding, mating, and laying eggs instead. We can choose to accept Ms. White’s words on blind faith, or we can use our intelligence and God-given brains to decide for ourselves what the physical evidence says.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Did Ellen White exaggerate how violent the flood was?

      Not at all. The Flood was a magnificent catastrophe of enormous proportions with massive upheavals of the Earth’s crust. Unimaginable amounts of energy were released. However, not every part of the surface of the Earth was demolished at the very same time, nor did the water’s of the Flood crest before the rain stopped falling.

      Did you not read the very next passage beyond the one you quoted in Patriarchs and Prophets where Mrs. White describes people looking down from their mountain retreats on a “shoreless ocean”? The Ark wasn’t on a hill or a mountain. It was built in a low-lying region. People and animals were evidently able to escape the rising waters for quite some time… as they looked down upon the “shoreless ocean” that was ever rising many were long able to contemplate their inevitable doom.

      While “the terror of man and beast was beyond description,” we now recognize they were feeding, mating, and laying eggs instead.

      The laying of eggs was evidently under duress. It wasn’t a peaceful environment when dinosaurs laid their eggs – as already noted for you. Also, hunger is a very strong motivator. If a dinosaur is starving hungry, and there is opportunity between episodic tidal actions, why not?

      We can choose to accept Ms. White’s words on blind faith, or we can use our intelligence and God-given brains to decide for ourselves what the physical evidence says.

      The weight of physical evidence strongly supports Mrs. White’s description of the Noachian Flood. It was an enormous world-wide catastrophe that destroyed all land animal life, save that on the Ark, broke up the surface of the Earth, resulted in rapid continental drift and the uplift of enormous mountain chains and ocean trenches, and laid down massive sedimentary layers around the entire globe.

      I know it is your goal to drive a solid wedge between empirical evidence and the Christian faith, but that simply is unnecessary not to mention a completely irrational form of blind faith… no different than wishful thinking in my book.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  63. @ Sean Pitman

    Sean Pitman: Where does Mrs. White say that Satan was actually scared of drowning in the Flood? After all, you’re talking about someone who was, at this point in time, free to travel away from this planet to attend meetings in Heaven as a representative of this world (read Job). The suggestion is that Satan feared for his life, not so much because of Flood itself, but because he didn’t know whether or not God had gotten fed up enough and had decided to end it all, the entire rebellion, right then and there.

    Where did I say that Satan feared he would drown? I simply wrote:

    Professor Kent: The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd

    Here is exactly what Ellen White wrote:

    “Satan himself, who was compelled to remain in the midst of the warring elements, feared for his own existence.” – Patriarchs and Prophets




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    • @Professor Kent:

      A worldwide catastrophe that destroyed all land animal life was hardly “life as usual”. As already explained, it would only be rational for Satan to fear for his own life as well since everyone else is being destroyed… perhaps God is planning on destroying him as well.

      Where is there any inconsistency in the suggestion that the Flood took a while, months, to kill off everything or that it waxed and waned at given locations or that it did not affect every place on the globe at the very same moment in time?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  64. Sean, it’s clear that you believe inspired history and the fossil record can accomodate each other with remarkable ease, and without contradiction. If you don’t mind, perhaps you could clarify a few things regarding what many see as incontrovertible succession in the fossil record, and which baffle me. Assuming all of the following life forms coexisted together at one time in the recent (ca. 6,000 year) past, how do you resolve the following apparent anomalies from the fossil strata?

    From the lower end:

    – No archaeocyathids (a coral-like organism) above middle Cambrian strata
    – No pentamerus brachiopods, psilopsid plants, or cystoid crinozoans above Devonian strata
    – No graptolites above Mississippian strata
    – No trilobites or rugose corals above Permian strata

    From the upper end:

    – No angiosperms (flowering plants) in strata below Cretaceous
    – No birds in strata below Jurassic
    – No mammals in strata below upper Triassic
    – No reptiles in strata below Pennsylvanian
    – No gymnosperms in strata below Mississippian
    – No amphibians in strata below Devonian

    For the reader, here are the primary layers in sequence (and typical creationist assignment relative to the flood) to compare the above distribution of life forms:

    Quaternary (post-flood)
    Tertiary (post-flood)
    Cretaceous (flood)
    Jurassic (flood)
    Triassic (flood)
    Permian (flood)
    Pennsylvanian (flood)
    Mississippian (flood)
    Devonian (flood)
    Silurian (flood)
    Ordovician (flood)
    Cambrian (flood)
    Precambrian (pre-flood)

    Many creationists concede that three favored interpretations to explain this troublesome distribution have fared poorly: (1) progressive destruction of habitats as the waters rose; migration of animals as the waters rose; and (3) hydrodynamic sorting based on size, shape, and specific gravity of organisms that preceded burial.

    What are your thoughts? Do you believe all of these organisms actual exist, albeit barely detected or even undetected, throughout the geologic column? Or do you acknowledge that the evidence for succession in the layers is genuine, and if so, what might explain it in a way that is consistent with inspired history?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I cover most if not all of these questions on my website in discussions on the fossil record and geologic column.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. Pollen from flowering plants, spores and the remains of vascular plants have been found in Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian sediments (Link). And, true bird fossils have been found in Triassic deposits in Texas – along with bird footprints in Triassic sediments in Argentina. Chatterjee claims that these Triassic fossil birds are true birds that are actually closer to modern birds than is the Jurassic Archaeopteryx.




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  65. Dear Professor Kent and Sean,

    You are having a very interesting dialogue here. However, in regard to Satan’s fear of drowning in the flood, Hebrews 1:14 defines angels as spirits, and since spirit beings do not have physical bodies, they could not possibly drown. So if Satan feared for his own existence, he must have feared that God would destroy him through some other means than the flood.




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  66. Sean Pitman: I cover most if not all of these questions on my website in discussions on the fossil record and geologic column.

    I had checked your website, and found it wanting, as you addressed none of the upper limits for primtive organisms and very little of the lower limits for advanced organisms.

    Why is that no bird, mammal, or reptile fossils are to be found among the abundant amphibian and less advanced animals in the Pennsylvanian, Mississippian, and Devonian? They all appear to together at higher (more recent) levels, so what caused them to appear differentially over time during the flood deposition? And why do none of these vertebrates appear in the vast deposits of the Silurian, Ordovician, and Cambrian?

    Talk about a mystery!




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    • @Professor Kent:

      While there are several theories that may help to explain some of the features of apparent sorting of the fossil record, none of them are individually or even collectively conclusive (as noted on my website). Questions certainly remain as to how the sorting could have been so neatly achieved via the Noachian catastrophe.

      That being said, there are certain features of sorting within the fossil record can be reasonably explained. For example, one might reasonable hypothesize that trilobites appear in the fossil record before crabs and lobsters at least party because of the relative abundance of trilobites compared to crabs and lobsters. This hypothesis is at least plausible given the conclusion of Hadly and Maurer (2001) that, “Species identities and their relative abundances are non-random properties of communities that persist over long periods of ecological time and across geographic space. This is consistent with species abundance contributing heavily to evolutionary patterns.”

      After all, “It’s very rare to find fossils of lobsters”. General mobility, ability to survive catastrophic conditions, and other ecological/habitat factors could also reasonably contribute to the differential location of trilobites vs. lobsters and crabs in the fossil record.

      As another example, consider that coelacanth fish exist in the fossil record for what are thought to have been 400 million years. Then they suddenly disappear from the fossil record some 80 million years ago in standard reckoning, only to reappear alive an well swimming around in oceans today. Clearly, some types of coelacanths lived in habitats that did not lend themselves to fossilization while others did.

      So, some habitats are clearly more susceptible to the preservation of fossils. If those specific habitats are not occupied by a particular kind of creature, it may not be preserved in the fossil record even though it is still alive and well in some other habitat.

      Consider also that the crayfish was once thought to have evolved from lobster-like ancestors around 140 Ma. This was until very modern-looking crayfish were subsequently found in sedimentary rocks dating up to 300 Ma by standard dating.

      Then, there is evidence of the sorting of footprints vs. body fossils in the fossil record. It seems like many land animals, excluding birds and mammals, do not generally have their footprints located in the same layer in which their bodies are found, but in lower layers. Did the footprints evolve before they did? The footprints of dinosaurs, for example, are generally located in lower levels than the actual fossilized bones of the dinosaurs. Why would this be? What is there to explain this apparent sorting of body from footprint fossils?

      Things that make you go hmmmmm…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  67. Sean Pitman: And, true bird fossils have been found in Triassic deposits in Texas – along with bird footprints in Triassic sediments in Argentina. Chatterjee claims that these Triassic fossil birds are true birds that are actually closer to modern birds than is the Jurassic Archaeopteryx.

    You seriously think this helps? Going one level lower? Why the absence of birds from lower levels?




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  68. Sean Pitman: Pollen from flowering plants, spores and the remains of vascular plants have been found in Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian sediments.

    This remains debatable. What remains uncontested is the fact that pollen from advanced plants is remarkably and conspicuously absent from a number of well-studied layers. I’ll give you four examples.

    (1) The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona reveals spores of more than 50 different fossil fern and lycophyte species and pollen from more than 80 species of gymnosperms, but no pollen grains of any flowering plants have been identified, nor are any of the fossilized trees, which make the site famous, the remains of flowering plants. This particular layer is part of the Chinle Formation that is found spread across Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and western Colorado, and is dated as Jurassic or older. No flowering plants have been found anywhere in this extensive formation, nor in the same part of the geological column in other well-studied regions of the world.

    (2) A study in Antarctica of somewhat older Permian rocks revealed abundant spores of more than 20 fern species, and pollen from a similar number of gymnosperms, but no evidence of any flowering plant pollen.

    (3) A study in Spain of sedimentary rocks at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary revealed more than 45 species of ferns and gymnosperms but no flowering plant fossils.

    (4) Amber (fossil resin) formed by trees can be quite abundant at higher levels in the column, but is absent below the Devonian, when the first tree-like plants capable of producing the resin magically appear. At one Devonian site in the southern Alps, more than 50,000 tiny drops of amber were found in crushed sandstone. Microscopic examination revealed predominantly conifer pollen and plant parts with smaller numbers of fern and lycophyte spores, but again, no pollen or vegetative parts of flowering plants could be identified. Yet amber at higher levels contain flowering plant material. Bizarre.

    Equally or more important, you haven’t addressed the remarkable lack of flowering plants themselves in any layers below the Cretaceous. To any intelligent mind, the plants could not possibly outrun the rising flood waters, so how does your mind propose they escaped the early flooding? Do you suppose the herbivores, since we now know they had ample opportunity to eat and make babies during the flood itself (a fact presumably unknown to Ellen White), consumed all of these plants selectively during the flood, while ignoring the more primitive plants that were left behind, before they moved on to higher ground?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      This remains debatable. What remains uncontested is the fact that pollen from advanced plants is remarkably and conspicuously absent from a number of well-studied layers.

      It really isn’t debatable that pollen and fragments of flowering and vascular plants have been found in Cambrian layers and below (Link). However, the fact that such finds are very rare is certainly interesting, but not without precedent. There are actually numerous examples of “Lazarus Taxa” where certain types of plants and/or animals seem to completely disappear from the fossil record through numerous layers, only to return in much higher layers or as living modern species…

      The fact that such mysteries are prevalent, even from a creationist perspective (also very hard to explain from an evolutionary perspective), does not remove the fact that the weight of fossil/geologic evidence strongly favors the Biblical model of recent catastrophic origin…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  69. Bob Helm: Two thoughts – although it appears in the NIV, your pluperfect – “the water had gone down” – is really unwarranted, because Hebrew does not have a pluperfect tense. Gen 8:3 in the NASB simply states: “At the end of the one hundred and fifty days, the water decreased.” There is no reason to make it any more complicated than that, and this statement accords perfectly with the idea that the flood crested on the 150th day.

    Thank you, Bob. Very interesting. The pluperfect tense makes pluperfect sense.




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  70. Sean Pitman: Pollen from flowering plants, spores and the remains of vascular plants have been found in Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian sediments.

    Do you actually believe your statement? Has anybody besides Clifford Burdick claimed to have discovered pollen from Cambrian and Precambrian rocks?

    Educate Truth supporter Art Chadwick conducted his own study and published a rebuttal to Burdick’s claims (see http://www.grisda.org/origins/08007.pdf). Does Art Chadwick believe your statement? A statement from 2009 suggests otherwise (see
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers/dinos/pollen/eng/index.html).




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    • @Eddie:

      Yes, Arthur Chadwick is aware of other far more interesting and convincing reports of pollen and fragments of vascular plants in Cambrian sediments… such as those found in the saline series of the Punjab salt range and the discovery of Lycopodiaceous shoots in the Middle Cambrian of East-Siberia (Link).




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  71. Sean Pitman: And, true bird fossils have been found in Triassic deposits in Texas – along with bird footprints in Triassic sediments in Argentina.

    I would like to believe Chatterjee’s claims that Protoavis represents a bird more modern than Archaeopteryx, but his claims are not well accepted among paleontologists, and even if Protoavis was a bird it still has several reptile-like traits. I would also like to believe the Triassic footprints were made by birds, but the authors of the study concluded they were made made by an unknown theropod dinosaur with a reversible hallux–based on the assumption that birds did not exist at the time.

    In any event, how do you explain the presence of birds with reptilian-like traits (teeth, long bony tails, clawed forelimbs, etc.) occurring earlier in the fossil record than more modern birds, just as predicted by evolutionists? I can understand why people examining the evidence objectively would interpret early bird-like fossils as support for megaevolution. Those who do so should be respected for their interpretations (and not ridiculed repeatedly by a certain individual here who erroneously thinks evolutionists believe that birds evolved from lizards). I have a hard time understanding how anybody could interpret the early fossil record of any vertebrate class as overwhelmingly supporting the Biblical account of origins.




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    • @Eddie:

      Contrary to popular belief, even modern birds have genes for producing teeth… and have done so under experimental conditions (Link). Also, there are modern birds that have claws on their winged digits as well (Link) and some modern birds, like penguins, have bony tails.

      In short, these features are not distinctive to reptiles. In fact, certain dinosaurs, like Velociraptors have so many features similar to birds (to include quill knobs on their arm bones) that a number of mainstream scientists are starting to suggest that these types of dinosaurs evolved from birds, not the other way around (Link).

      It is much easier to explain the loss of complex pre-established phenotypic features (like true features, teeth, tail bones, etc.) than it is to explain their novel evolution – especially given that true birds seem to exist lower down in the fossil record than originally thought.

      As far as Protoavis is concerned, Chatterjee is not alone in his assessment. As Lawrence Witmer recently pointed out, “such esteemed paleornithologists as Evgeny Kurochkin and D. Stephen Peters have regarded Protoavis as a bird in their published accounts of early avian evolution.” Likewise, Chatterjee reports, “Many experts on fossil birds came to our museum and confirmed my belief that the newly found material exhibited a suite of distinct avian traits.” (Chatterjee, 1997)

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: Yes, yes, yes, you are right, but toothed birds with clawed forewings and long bony tails nevertheless do appear in the fossil record before beaked birds lacking clawed forewings and long bony tails, which is predicted by evolutionary theory–not Biblical creationism.

        The fact that chickens have produced tooth-like structures, juvenile Hoatzins (and adults of a few other species) have claws on their forewings and penguins have short bony tails doesn’t mean that the fossil record of the reptile-bird transition overwhelmingly favors Biblical creationism. An evolutionist would merely shrug and say the facts you pointed out simply confirm the evolutionary connection between reptiles and birds.

        I think the occurrence of Protoavis and bird-like tracks from the Triassic, long before any avian-like theropod dinosaurs appear in the fossil record, are the strongest arguments creationists can make against the evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs.




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        • @Eddie:

          Yes, yes, yes, you are right, but toothed birds with clawed forewings and long bony tails nevertheless do appear in the fossil record before beaked birds lacking clawed forewings and long bony tails, which is predicted by evolutionary theory–not Biblical creationism.

          A loss of features, like cavefish without eyes or birds without teeth, is perfectly consistent with Biblical creationism. Such devolutionary changes (losing something that was originally there) isn’t remotely the same thing as evolving something novel that wasn’t there to begin with.

          The fact that chickens have produced tooth-like structures, juvenile Hoatzins (and adults of a few other species) have claws on their forewings and penguins have short bony tails doesn’t mean that the fossil record of the reptile-bird transition overwhelmingly favors Biblical creationism.

          Neither are these features inconsistent with Biblical creationism. There are many other features of the fossil/geologic records that do strongly favor the Biblical perspective while be inconsistent with the neo-Darwinian perspective.

          An evolutionist would merely shrug and say the facts you pointed out simply confirm the evolutionary connection between reptiles and birds.

          Similarities are very easy to explain by common descent via RM/NS. This is not true for phenotypic differences beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. Dariwnists are all hung up on the similarities between various kinds of living things when it’s the differences that are key to determining if this or that kind of organism could actually have an evolutionary relationship or if there had to have been intelligent design involve to produce various key differences.

          I think the occurrence of Protoavis and bird-like tracks from the Triassic, long before any avian-like theropod dinosaurs appear in the fossil record, are the strongest arguments creationists can make against the evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs.

          This is just one among many even stronger argument for the creationist position…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  72. The fossil record as a whole supports creationism much better than Darwinism. As I wrote in my book:

    The fossil record does not support the Darwinian version of natural history. The near-absence of complex life forms below the Cambrian, the incredible diversity of life forms that suddenly appear in the Cambrian explosion, the fact that fossil forms do not change or evolve during millions of years of geological time, and the extreme rarity of transitional or intermediate forms anywhere in the fossil record are together sufficient to falsify the larger claims of Darwinism.

    The observed configuration of fossils is, however, exactly what a biblical creationist would expect to find. First, if the fossiliferous layers were formed during the Flood, we would expect that the plants and animals then existing would have been buried and preserved as fossils, and that is exactly what we find.

    Second, a biblical creationist who believes that the Genesis Flood began in the oceans with the bursting forth of the “great fountains of the deep” would expect to find a great variety of sea creatures buried by turbidity currents during the early stages of the flood. He would not expect to find intermediate fossil forms leading up to those sea floor creatures; rather, they would all appear suddenly in the fossil record, an “explosion” of diversity and variety at the lowest fossiliferous level. This is exactly what we see in the Cambrian explosion.

    Third, instead of the “branching tree” pattern predicted by Darwin, the biblical creationist would expect to find a tremendous range and diversity of life at the very lowest fossiliferous levels. In fact, we find that the “tree” of life is upside down, with almost all the modern phyla and many extinct phyla appearing in the lower Cambrian. This aspect of the “Cambrian explosion” is well illustrated by the Burgess Shale fauna.

    Fourth, a biblical creationist would not expect to find fossil evidence of any species changing into a different species. Rather, as each ecological zone was overtaken by the floodwaters, the flora and fauna of that zone were drowned and buried in sediment. After each zone was overtaken, the flora and fauna of that zone were eradicated, and not buried again in higher strata. This is why forms come into the fossil record, they do not change during their tenure of “geological time,” and then they disappear from the fossil record, but yield no evidence of having evolved into something else. This pattern of abrupt appearance, stasis, and disappearance is puzzling to Darwinists, but it is exactly what biblical creationists would expect, and exactly what we find.

    Finally, a biblical creationist would expect to find many fossil animals in the strata that no longer exist as living animals. This is partly because the ruined post-Flood world cannot support the range, diversity, and type of life that it could support when it came perfect from the hand of its Creator. Seventh-day Adventists have another reason to expect to find fossil animals that no longer exist as living species. [Ellen White’s statement that “The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood.”] Thus, we find many fossil species that are now extinct and known only from fossils.

    Clearly, the fossil record, fairly interpreted, supports the biblical record and the prophetic statements of Ellen White. “God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood—the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.”




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  73. Dear Sean,

    Pardon my intrusion into your dialogue with Professor Kent, but you are discussing some topics that are of keen interest to me.

    I appreciate your posting what appear to be footprints of birds in Triassic strata. I also had heard of this discovery, and it seems convincing to me.

    However, I am wondering about your claim for Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian pollen. Do you have a good source to back it up? I am aware that the late Clifford Burdick once claimed to have discovered Pre-Cambrian pollen, but it was my understanding that both the mainstream uniformitarian community and the creation science community (including the Institute For Creation Research and the Geoscience Research Institute) had rejected his claim. I’m just wondering if I have missed something about Pre-Cambrian pollen.




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  74. I erroneously described the study of amber drops from a Devonian site in the Alps. That study was, instead, from the Triassic in southern Italy. The coniferous plant (gymnosperm) material found in the amber does not occur below the Mississippian, and therefore would not be present in the Devonian. My bad.




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    • thanks bob, i found that bird track article worth saving to a word document. Old saying proved again, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” This won’t help those who don’t want to consider creation viable. Each time one of their accusations is explained they just go looking for another. But the article will help those who are honestly considering all the options. Thanks again

      -Shining




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    • @Bob Helm: Bob, thanks for those links. I discuss the Melchor’s Argentinean finds in Chapter 16 of my book. Those tracks are so obviously bird tracks that the fact that some scientists want to assign them to “birdlike theropods” is itself a very useful teaching tool as to how the model creates the data.

      A creationist has no difficulty whatsoever with the idea that birds lighted on temporarily exposed sand during the Flood, but then flew off so that their bodies are not found buried until higher in the stratigraphic pile. But the Darwinist views the stratigraphic pile as the residue of long ages, so it would obviously be impossible for an animal (a bird) that did not exist until millions of years later to leave those tracks. Therefore, as a matter of simple logic, the tracks must have been left by a very bird-like theropod dinosaur. QED.

      That the model actually creates the data is one of the hardest concepts to get across, not only to lay people but even to the scientists themselves. But these bird tracks are an excellent teaching tool to illustrate this concept.




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      • @David Read: I agree with you David. And due to the fact that bodily remains are usually found higher than tracks, we may not find the bodies of birds in the Triassic. Still, it would be nice to find an actual Triassic bird, and perhaps Chatterjee’s Protoavis is one. However, I have heard that this fossil is badly mangled, so that its identification is somewhat uncertain. Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but I’d rather be extra slow to jump on someone’s bandwagon, instead of making the mistakes Darwinists have made with Piltdown Man and Archaeoraptor.




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  75. Sean,thank you for the claification on the pollen. I believe it needs more study. However, it must be remembered that Cambrian sediments are generally from the deep sea, where one would not expect pollen to be common. So if claims for Cambrian pollen are valid, it would be neat, but if they are invalid, this would certainly not invalidate flood geology.




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  76. Dear Eddie,

    Although I am aware of Chatterjee’s claims for Protoavis, I am uncertain whether they are valid. However, the Triassic footprints that closely resemble bird prints look very convincing, and yet it seems that since 2002, the scientific community has ignored them – probably because of the zeal many have to promote a bird-dino link. Take a look at the articles I posted above, and see what you think.




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    • @Bob Helm: Bob, I have the original published articles for both Chatterjee’s Protoavis from Texas and the bird-like tracks from Argentina, both dating from the Triassic. They are tantalizing if not convincingly avian. As you surmised, the only reason why they aren’t widely accepted as birds among paleontologists is because they throw a monkey wrench in evolutionary theory.

      For those less familiar with these fossils (Bob is obviously well informed), the theropod dinosaurs (thought to be the ancestors of birds) that look the most like birds first appear in the Cretaceous, well after Archaeopteryx which appears in the Jurassic, so a sequence issue already exists. If birds predated Archaeopteryx and appeared as early as the Triassic, the sequence problem for the theropod origin of birds becomes more acute for evolutionists to explain.




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      • @Eddie: Eddie, I would like to see more research on Protoavis. I remember when its discovery was first announced in the early 1990s, it created a sensation, but then it was seemingly forgotten in the rush to prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs. I was trying to google recent information on Protoavis, but everything I found that was significant dated to the early 90s. If you have anything more recent on this fossil, I’d love to read it.




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        • @Bob Helm: Bob, if you send me an e-mail at sdabioprof2@gmail.com I will send you a pdf file of a 1991 article published by Chatterjee in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 332:277-342, titled “Cranial anatomy and relationships of a new Triassic bird from Texas.”

          Curiously his description is based only on cranial anatomy. I don’t think he ever published an analysis of its postcranial anatomy.




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  77. One more thought. I would suggest that less dogmatism is needed in interpreting the absence of certain fossils in certain portions of the geologic column. For example, it wasn’t too long ago that the rather dogmatic assertion was made that grass evolved in the Miocene. But recently, clear evidence for Cretaceous grass has been discoverd (see link below). The absence of a particular living organism is not proven merely because fossils of that organism have not been discovered in a portion of the geologic column.

    http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/1117grassdinos.shtml




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  78. David Read: The fossil record as a whole supports creationism much better than Darwinism.

    David, I basically agree with all of your statements–except for this one. Don’t get me wrong: I am not a “Seventh-day Darwinian.” As you point out there are certain aspects of the fossil record that support creationism (and bolster my faith), but other aspects do not and I don’t think they should be glossed over by creationists who insist that the fossil record more strongly supports creationism. It doesn’t.

    Here are the cold, hard facts. Single-celled organisms appear before multicellular organisms; non-vascular plants appear before vascular plants; non-flowering vascular plants appear before flowering vascular plants; invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds; various primates occur before humans. Even within those groups, more primitive species often appear before more advanced species. For example, reptile-like birds with teeth and long bony tails appear before modern birds, and reptile-like mammals with double-hinged jaws appear before modern mammals.

    As creationists often point out, not all fossil sequences perfectly match the predictions of evolutionary theory, but the general trend does–and remains, in my opinion, the strongest evidence for megaevolution and against a 6-day creation 6,000 years ago. I can understand why so many people find the evidence for megaevolution so persuasive. I am personally skeptical of megaevolution, but I don’t think the evidence should be dismissed as hogwash, and I don’t think those who accept it should be banned from the church. It’s very difficult to explain the overall trend in the fossil record from a creationist’s perspective (ecological zonation helps, but doesn’t resolve all the problems, such as mangroves not showing up until the Cretaceous), and I don’t think any arguments that you or Sean or anybody else can come up with will adequately explain why the trend occurs.

    Why did God allow such a trend to occur in the fossil record? Did Satan have a role in sequencing the burial of fossils?




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    • @Eddie: Eddie, ecological zonation will yield the same basic order that you’re pointing to: invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds, etc.

      The fact that something appears before something else in the fossil record is not proof than anything evolved into anything else. It only means that, if we accept the uniformitarian timescale, such an evolutionary transition is temporally possible. But the fossil evidence of transition is typically lacking.

      And the proposed mechanism of evolution–DNA copying errors–is completely unpersuasive. It’s like postulating that we can go from “Don Quixote” to “War and Peace” by re-copying the book a billion times with small errors creeping in each time we re-copy it. Nonsense!

      You seem to be complaining that God has not made the fossil evidence compulsory, i.e., so clear that no reasonable person can possibly doubt it. And if God hasn’t made the evidence skeptic-proof, then the skeptic is God’s fault, God is responsible for the skeptic. Not true. The unbeliever is responsible for his own unbelief. God has provided plenty of evidence to confirm our faith, but He’s not going to remove the necessity of faith. There will always be hooks for skeptics to hang their doubts on, but if you cannot ultimately overcome your doubts and exercise faith, you cannot be a Christian believer. Only people of faith can be saved, that is, only people who are willing to trust God and put away doubts can be saved. And this is as it should be, because otherwise sin could reappear and the Great Controversy could start all over again.




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  79. Dear Shining,

    You are welcome. Both the evolutionist and creationist models have strengths and weaknesses, but there is considerable data that favors the creationist model (in contrast to what some people claim). We’ve got to remember that we still don’t have undisputed bird bones from the Triassic, but those footprints sure look convincing to me. They have “bird” written all over them.




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  80. David Read: Those tracks are so obviously bird tracks that the fact that some scientists want to assign them to “birdlike theropods” is itself a very useful teaching tool as to how the model creates the data.

    David Read: That the model actually creates the data is one of the hardest concepts to get across, not only to lay people but even to the scientists themselves.

    How does the model affect the data? Data don’t change and they shouldn’t change. It’s the interpretation, not the data, that is affected by the model.




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    • @Eddie: The tracks are raw data until interpreted, and then the data combined with the interpretation become higher-order data. Do you understand how this works?

      For someone who is an ichnologist (a specialty of paleontology dealing with tracks and traces) the tracks, whatever they are, are his raw data. Based upon the fact that birds did not exist in the Triassic, the ichnologist interprets them as tracks of a birdlike theropod (a dinosaur).

      Now, for someone who is not an ichnologist, but who is making generalizations about evolutionary history, the track together with the interpretation IS the data. He is not an ichnologist, and he takes the expert’s word for it; he does not go back to the lower order data and try to re-interpret it. He accepts what the expert has said, and goes on with the construction of his theories. HIS raw data includes the fact that there are no bird tracks or traces in the Triassic, only dinosaur tracks, and hence no problem with his theory that birds evolved from Jurassic-era dinosaurs. The raw data rolled up with the interpretation has become the raw data for HIS theories about evolutionary history.

      But, if the original ichnologist had been a creationist, he looks at those track and says, those are bird tracks. Now, the next guy up the line is faced with data to the effect that there are bird tracks in the Triassic, and he’d better make his theories accordingly.

      So, the model has created the data in a very real sense. I hope this has been helpful.




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  81. David Read: Eddie, ecological zonation will yield the same basic order that you’re pointing to: invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds, etc.

    It could, and it’s the best creationist explanation, but it doesn’t explain why flowering plants were absent from lowland forests. Or why so many land plants appeared before mangroves, which today occur strictly in the intertidal zone. Or why no pre-flood humans have been found. Or, if Sean is correct that the flood ended at the K-T boundary, why many modern groups of birds and mammals (including marine mammals) which first appear during the Tertiary were not buried by the flood.

    David Read: The fact that something appears before something else in the fossil record is not proof than anything evolved into anything else.

    True.

    David Read: You seem to be complaining that God has not made the fossil evidence compulsory, i.e., so clear that no reasonable person can possibly doubt it. And if God hasn’t made the evidence skeptic-proof, then the skeptic is God’s fault, God is responsible for the skeptic.

    I’m not complaining. I’m merely pointing out that the evidence can be interpreted in different ways by honest people. And I’m relieved to see that even you don’t think the evidence is crystal clear.

    David Read: Only people of faith can be saved, that is, only people who are willing to trust God and put away doubts can be saved.

    I agree.




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    • @Eddie:

      As noted elsewhere, ecologic zonation is not the “best creationist explanation” all by itself. It does seem able to explain the big picture quite well of going from “simple” to more “complex”. However, there are numerous finer features of the fossil record that EZT does not explain very well at all… as you point out.

      Other processes may help to explain additional features of the fossil record (like water sorting, mobility, relative abundance, etc), but some features clearly remain quite difficult to explain given the knowledge that is currently in hand.

      Creationists certainly do not have all the answers in hand. That’s not true at all. However, when it comes to the weight of evidence, the Biblical perspective clearly caries the day. There are far more difficulties for the neo-Darwinists that are far more fundamental than there are for Biblical creationists who believe in a recent rapidly catastrophic model for the origin of the majority of the geologic/fossil records.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Eddie: Dear Eddie.

      You have raised some good questions about the ecological zonation theory (EZT). As I said elsewhere, the EZT does a good job with the big picture, but not with the fine tuning. I agree that the apparent absence of pre-flood humans raises questions. Perhaps they were intelligent enough to survive long enough to avoid burial, or perhaps there is some other reason we don’t find them. I agree that the distribution of fossil mammals poses serious problems for ending the flood at the KT boundary, which is another reason I and others opt for an end to the flood in the upper Cenozoic, near the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary.




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    • @Eddie: The fossil record gives evidence of a pre-Flood world differing in many respects from present conditions. But we also know that from inspired history, such as the fact that there was no rain in the antediluvian world, but rather the earth was watered by a mist. There were no desert wastes, no dismal swamps, and no arctic ice fields.

      The radically different climatic conditions of the pre-Flood world might well have given rise to ecological zonation somewhat different from what we see in the modern world. Plants that have taken over in the modern world, such as angiosperms, might have had a much more restricted ecological niche in the pre-flood world.




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  82. David Read: Eddie, ecological zonation will yield the same basic order that you’re pointing to: invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds, etc.

    On what planet do you live? Low-elevation environments in most parts of the world are loaded with all of the vertebrates.

    And you’re totally ignoring the plants. WHERE on this planet do you find near sea level the exclusive presence of ferns and lycophyes, followed by the addition of gymnosperms but not angiosperms at somewhat higher elevation, then followed by the addition of angiosperms at higher elevations yet? WHERE?

    Angiosperms abound at low elevations–along rocky seashores, sandy seashores, marshes, swamps, you name it.

    Mangroves are a HUGE problem, as Eddie pointed out, because they are angiosperms (flowering plants) that grow abundantly ONLY in low-elevation saline environments. How did they (and their closely associated snails) end up growing so far out of place before the flood? I’d really like to hear how you explain this one.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Ecologic zonation does not remotely solve all problems, obviously. There are numerous other factors to consider that may contribute to an explanation (buoyancy in water, mobility, relative abundance, etc), but still may not solve all potential problems for the Biblical perspective.

      That being said, an interesting observation along these lines is that as more is learned about the fossil record, the “first appearance” of various types of organisms is consistently pushed farther and farther back in time.

      To illustrate, consider that many scientists had long argued that angiosperms first appeared during the early Cretaceous. However, it is now known that there are numerous Mesosoic examples of angiosperm pollen and leaf impressions. For example, Hochuli and Feist-Burkhardt (2004) reported on eight pollen-grain taxa with angiosperm-like morphology from marine Middle Triassic sediments of the Boreal Realm (Norwegian Arctic, Barents Sea area). Also, Kirkland et al. (2002) reported the discovery of a water-lily-like leaf in the basal Jurassic Whitmore Point Member of the Moenave Formation.

      Such discoveries are in addition to the as yet unexplained and unfalsified discovery of angiosperm pollen and fragments of vascular plants in Cambrian and pre-Cambrian sediments in the saline series of the Punjab salt range.

      It seems therefore, that while mysteries remain as to the sorted nature of the fossil record, that some of these features can be explained by a difference in the relative abundance of different types of plants before vs. after the Flood. After all, this planet was a very different place before the Flood. There were no great oceans, only rivers and shallow seas. There were no great mountains or ice caps. The entire planet was warm and lush – a subtropical type environment. This drastic difference in worldwide environment would have produced drastic differences in the relative abundance of different types of plants and animals alike. This is in addition to other contributing factors for fossil sorting – such as ecologic zonation, effects of water sorting, and the like…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: Dear Professor Kent and Sean,

        As I see it, the ecological zonation theory (EZT) explains the big picture, but runs into difficulty with the fine tuning. Clearly, it isn’t the whole answer to order in the fossil record. There is still much that we don’t know, but I think that the various factors Sean has listed likely contributed to the distribution of plant fossils in the geologic column. It is also true that the first and last appearances of fossils in the geologic column keeps expanding, and this also needs to be considered, as Sean has pointed out.

        Professor Kent, I appreciate your asking difficult questions, because they illuminate the fact that we don’t have all the answers and that more research is needed. However, the mere fact that there are unanswered questions should not lead us to throw in the towel in when it comes to creationism and flood geology. It’s important to remember that the Lyell-Darwin paradigm also faces unanswered questions.

        Professor Kent, I agree with you that the fossil plant distribution poses a challenge for the EZT. However, I must take issue with your statement that low-elevation environments in today’s world are loaded with vertebrates. That may be true of terrestial environments, but actual low elevation environments are found on the sea floor, and these environments are loaded with invertebrates, along with some rather bizarre fish – like eels. The modern sea floor is an extremely close fit with the Cambrian fossil record and comports nicely with the EZT!




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff, see my response to Eddie, above. It is clear that the modern world is not a reliable guide regarding conditions that existed before the Flood. Inspired history tells us that there were no bare, jagged mountain tops, no dismal swamps and no arctic wastes; the world was very different, and the conditions that prevailed then are not the conditions that prevail now.

      The fossil record confirms inspired history; warm-weather flora and fauna are found in abundance in arctic and antarctic zones, and this fact cannot remotely be explained by continental drift. How were the arctic climes ever able to support these life forms? The fossils tell us that conditions differed radically, but they don’t tell us why. Inspired history tells us that conditions were very different before the Flood

      These types of mysteries are at least as prevalent in the mainstream model as in the the creationist model.




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  83. Sean Pitman: There are numerous other factors to consider that may contribute to an explanation (buoyancy in water, mobility, relative abundance, etc), but still may not solve all potential problems for the Biblical perspective.

    Sounds nice, but how did those wee little tiny pollen grains just happen to end up consistently in the very same layers as the much larger plant parts that produced them? Buoyancy? Mobility? Hydrologic sorting? Or a mystery we can wait until we’re in heaven to understand?




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  84. Bob Helm:
    @Eddie: Eddie, I would like to see more research on Protoavis.I remember when its discovery was first announced in the early 1990s, it created a sensation, but then it was seemingly forgotten in the rush to prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs.I was trying to google recent information on Protoavis, but everything I found that was significant dated to the early 90s.If you have anything more recent on this fossil, I’d love to read it.

    Bob, One of the things that has always concerned me is that, according to what I’ve read, birds and reptiles have completely different forms of respiratory systems (flow-through vs. bellows) How is this explained by evolutionists?

    Does anyone know?




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    • @Holly Pham: You bring up an interesting question. Reptile and bird respiratory systems are quite different, and I’m not sure how evolutionists deal with this.

      There is a similar question that has bugged me for a long time, and I’ve never seen it addressed. Dinosaurs come in two different orders – saurischians or lizard-hipped dinosaurs and ornithiscians or bird-hipped dinosaurs. Those who propose that birds evolved from dinosaurs state specifically that theropods or meat-eating dinosaurs gave rise to birds. But theropods are lizard-hipped, while birds are, well, bird-hipped! Even the bird-like theropods are lizard-hipped. One would think that if birds evolved from dinosaurs, they would have evolved from the ornithiscians, except that in other respects, ornithiscians are very unlike birds. I’m not sure how evolutionists who believe in dino-bird evolution account for this transition from lizard-hipped theropods to bird-hipped birds. Also, was archaeopteryx lizard-hipped or bird-hipped? What about protoavis?

      I will second Holly’s question and ask if anyone knows how Darwinists explain these fundamental changes in anatomy.




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      • @Bob Helm: If I recall correctly, John Ostrom, who studied the theropod-like features of Archaeopteryx, exaggerated its reptilian features, including its lizard-like (saurischian) hips, but later studies revealed its hips to be distinctly bird-like (ornithischian). Critics of the theropod origin of birds consider the lizard-like hips of theropods to be a serious flaw.

        As for Protoavis, its bones were rather smashed so I doubt the hips bones were preseved well enough to interpret their shape.




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  85. Holly Pham: One of the things that has always concerned me is that, according to what I’ve read, birds and reptiles have completely different forms of respiratory systems (flow-through vs. bellows) How is this explained by evolutionists?

    Evidence from the vertebrae of non-avian theropod dinosaurs suggests that they, too, possessed unidirectional flow-through ventilation of the lungs. So, according to evolutionary theory, it evolved first in “primitive” non-avian theropods rather than in birds, and comprises one of many shared derived characters supposedly linking birds with more “advanced” theropods. However, I don’t think there is any evidence or even a hypothesis for a step-by-step process of HOW it evolved. Here is a reference:

    http://www.ohio.edu/people/ridgely/OconnorClaessensairsacs.pdf




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  86. Bob Helm: I agree that the apparent absence of pre-flood humans raises questions. Perhaps they were intelligent enough to survive long enough to avoid burial, or perhaps there is some other reason we don’t find them. I agree that the distribution of fossil mammals poses serious problems for ending the flood at the KT boundary, which is another reason I and others opt for an end to the flood in the upper Cenozoic, near the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary.

    Now you’ve introduced another problem. All those highly mobile dinosaurs that were know had to be eating, mating, and laying eggs during the flood had ample opportunity to climb to the same high elevations where the mammals were overcome by the flood. Yet the dinosaurs magically fell short. All of them. Now why is that?




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    • @Professor Kent: We dont know the fine details of geomorphology in the antediluvian world. Perhaps there were natural barriers that prevented dinosaurs from mixing with many of the mammals. Or perhaps there is some other explanation. Or maybe I am wrong and Sean is right about the KT boundary being the upper limit of the flood. I’m open to different ideas.




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    • @Professor Kent: Dear Professor Kent,

      I have been thinking more about your question as to why dinosaurs did not climb into the higher elevations inhabited by mammals during the early stages of the flood, and it occurred to me that this question does not merely pertain to the months when dinosaurs were alive, but seeking shelter from the oncoming flood. The same question also pertains to the extended period of time when dinosaurs and mammals lived in the antediluvian world. What kept them separate then?

      Again, I don’t know the fine details of antediluvian geomorphology, but as I think about this issue, I suspect that there were natural barriers that kept dinosaurs and most mammals separate.

      Let’s consider an example from our modern world. Modern lion populations occur in Africa and a few places in southern Asia, while modern tiger populations occur strictly in Asia. Why are there no lions in northern or central Asia? Why are there no tigers in Africa? I think the answer is that natural barriers keep the populations of these large cats separate.

      Now lion and especially tiger populations have dwindled in recent years, but let’s go back to a time when there were more of these cats in the world – say the year 1800. Suppose a progressive, year long catastrophe had occurred in 1800 and had wiped out all the world’s lions and tigers. Would we find lion fossils in Siberia today? Would we find tiger fossils in Africa today? I doubt it. If lions and tigers had lived for several months in the oncoming catastrophe before perishing, I suspect that they would have sought higher ground. But I doubt that they would have crossed the formidable natural barriers that separate Siberia and Africa.

      As I have already stated, I cannot speak with certainty in answering your question, but I suspect that a similar situation prevented the dinosaurs and mammals from mixing, both in the antediluvian world and in the early stages of the flood.




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  87. Bob Helm: However, I must take issue with your statement that low-elevation environments in today’s world are loaded with vertebrates. That may be true of terrestial environments, but actual low elevation environments are found on the sea floor, and these environments are loaded with invertebrates, along with some rather bizarre fish – like eels.

    I was speaking only of terrestrial biomes. And I know you won’t take exception with the facts there.




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    • @Professor Kent: No, Professor Kent, I won’t take issue with the fact that low elevation terrestial biomes contain many vertebrates. And I hope you agree that the ocean floor is the home of many invertebrates. Now the interesting thing is that the lower Paleozoic column contains abundant marine invertebrates and fish. And this is exactly what the ecological zonation theory would predict. Please bear in mind that I agree with you that the EZT has some problems and cannot account for all the order we find in the fossil record. But it accords nicely with the lower Paleozoic fossil record.




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  88. Sean, Bob, David, Eddie, and Holly,

    In just one sentence, please tell me whether Genesis informs your interpretation of the fossil record, or whether the fossil record informs your interpretation of Genesis.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Faith and science inform each other. Without Genesis certain features of the fossil record would be much harder to interpret. I think that’s a given. It’s always good to have an eye-witness account in hand when investigating historical evidence. Such eye-witness accounts help fill in many details that would otherwise be very very difficult to determine.

      However, even without Genesis it should be clear that the fossil record and geologic column are records of recent shortly-spaced watery catastrophes.

      It is only because of the philosophical influence of neo-Darwinism that the catastrophic nature of the fossil record, to include its recent and rapid formation, has not become the standard interpretation in mainstream science. It’s similar to what happened to J Harlen Bretz and his theory for a flood or series of floods as the origin for Washington’s Scablands. He was rebuffed by mainstream scientists until it was discovered that the floods were local floods, not the Noachian Flood…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: I agree with Bob and Sean that it works both ways, but I believe more the former than the latter. Because of the Genesis narrative, I interpret the fossil record, at least the great bulk of it, as the residue of the Flood. Were it not for the Genesis narrative, I might interpret the fossil record, or the bulk of it, according to the principle of uniformity, ala Lyell. So clearly, the primary determinant is Scripture, not unaided examination of the raw data.

      For an example of how the fossil record can add depth of meaning to the interpretation of Scripture, consider Genesis 8:3. The King James Version renders it “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: . . .” The Hebrew word translated “from off” is usually translated “upon” or “above.” Two Hebrew words are translated together as “continually.” The first is yalak, which means, “to go.” The second is shuwb, which means, “to return.” The text might better be translated, “And the waters returned upon the earth, going and returning.” The floodwaters surged in and retreated in a repeating cycle. One commentator explains it as follows:

      “In Genesis 8:3, “continually” is a translation of two Hebrew verbs: shuwb, which means “to turn about, to return,” and yalak, which means “to go.” Together they present us with a graphic picture of the powerful churning action of the flood waters! A going is followed by a returning. Both verbs are set in the infinitive absolute form, indicating emphasis and duration. The flood waters did not tranquilly seep into the soil. This was a moving Flood, carrying back and forth vast amounts of water, soil, vegetation, and sediments. Gradually, layer after layer of sediments, vegetation, and other materials were laid down and covered over. The infinitive form means that it kept happening over a period of time (instead of only once if the imperfect form had been used). Terrific hydraulic forces were at work. Massive erosional and depositional actions were taking place. Gradually, layer after layer of sedimentary deposits were laid down.”

      The fact that the sedimentary deposits testify so strongly to this back and forth deposition pattern brings to our attention a detail in Scripture that we probably would not have noticed otherwise. The implication of back and forth action was always there in the Bible, but we would not have noticed it or attached any significance to it were it not for a very prominent characteristic of the stratigraphic record. So that’s an example of the fossil record enhancing our knowledge and interpretation of the Genesis record.




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      • @David Read: Dear David,
        I agree with everything you have stated. The reason I said it works both ways is that the Biblical account, while true, is only a sketch. In fact, Genesis moves very fast through its first 11 chapters and then slows down when it arrives at Abraham. Furthermore, Genesis is not written in scientific jargon; it is written in language that even children can understand, which is as it should be, because the Holy Spirit has wanted to communicate with all people in all ages, not just modern scientists. So scientific concepts like ecological zonation, catastrophic plate tectonics, and post-flood glacial theory are not touched on in Genesis, but they give us a broader picture of how the events described in Genesis probably took place.

        I do have to agree with Sean on one thing. The Phanerozoic fossil record looks very catastrophic to me, and I would have a hard time keeping an open mind and applying the principles of uniformitarianism to it. With what we know today, it can only be interpreted that way if we are already committed to the philosophical presuppositions of Lyellism and are trying to force nature to conform to that model. An objective interpretation of the fossil data yields catastrophism of some sort, and the Genesis account of the flood helps us to be more specific in identifying the catastrophic process that was involved.




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  89. David Read: God has provided plenty of evidence to confirm our faith, but He’s not going to remove the necessity of faith. There will always be hooks for skeptics to hang their doubts on, but if you cannot ultimately overcome your doubts and exercise faith, you cannot be a Christian believer. Only people of faith can be saved, that is, only people who are willing to trust God and put away doubts can be saved.

    I say a big “Amen” to this.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I also agree. Science is dependent upon faith. God is not going to remove the need for faith because faith is more than just a knowledge of what is true. Satan has great knowledge, but no faith. Faith is a combination of knowledge of and desire or love for the truth.

      However, faith is also linked to knowledge. Did the faith of the disciples of Jesus increase or decrease after the Resurrection? Did the empirical evidence of Jesus’ deliberate fulfillment of Biblical prophecy regarding his birth, life, death, and resurrection add to the faith of those investigating His claims to be God? How about His demonstrated ability to raise the dead? Would such a demonstration tend to increase or decrease faith?

      Clearly, faith and empirical evidence are inextricably linked together – yet, faith goes beyond evidence to include the motive of love…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: New Testament faith is always based on evidence – especially prophetic evidence. It was only during the 18th century Enlightenment, when the idea arose of science and spirituality being in two “airtight” compartments, that faith was defined as being a blind leap in the dark. If we take the New Testament seriously, there is a pressing need for Christian apologetics.




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