Why I don’t believe in states or nations (just streets and neighborhoods)

Streets and neighborhoods can be proven scientifically. But science can't prove states and nations exist.

Editor’s note: Micro/macroevolution is the creationist’s favorite smokescreen. You walk them through sticklebacks, the hawthorn fly, the ever-changing flu virus and pesticide resistance, and begin to think — at last! — you are getting through to them. That is, until they unleash the ultimate facepalm: “Not so fast. That’s microevolution, not macroevolution. They’re two different things.”

It happens all the time. As such, it’s a topic that comes up around here pretty frequently. To be honest, we’re getting a little tired of it. So, one of our guest contributors, Race Hochdorf, has graciously agreed to spark a new debate: microgeography vs. macrogeography. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Imagine the following scenario.

You sit a friend down in front of your computer and take him to Google Maps, zooming in on your location until he can see your street and your neighborhood.

“Do you believe that is real?” you ask.

“Of course that’s real!” he would respond — likely with laughter.

Now, imagine that you zoom out of your street and neighborhood, until the image before you is that of the shape of the United States.

“Oh I don’t believe in that,” he says.

I’m guessing your response would go something like this:

“What?!”

“I don’t believe in countries and states,” he says. “Just streets and neighborhoods.”

“But…streets and neighborhoods over time and distance comprise states and nations,” you sputter out.

But he quickly dismisses you.

“That’s only your opinion,” he says. “You see, I believe in microgeography, but not macrogeography.”

With this illustration, we realize the absurdity of Christians who say they believe in microevolution but not macroevolution. It’s absurd, because microevolution is simply macroevolution “zoomed in.”

By observing microevolution (small changes within species), in conjunction with discovering numerous transitional fossils (small changes occurring within one species so much that it morphs into another) we can know that macroevolution is virtually undeniable. (Not that that which is undeniable has ever stopped fundamentalists from denial before.)

Viewing time like Google Maps is logical. “Zoomed in,” many individual Germans in the 20s and 30s were antisemitic. “Zoomed out,” these many antisemitic Germans combined to make a collective national sentiment that resulted, ultimately, in Nazism. “Zoomed in,” we see the planting and birth of trees. “Zoomed out,” we see a thick forest. “Zoomed in,” we see an old man dabbing paint on a canvas. “Zoomed out,” we see the Mona Lisa.

This is because none of these details stand alone. They combine to make a greater picture. Time is no exception to this. To accept the details of evolution (micro), without accepting the sum total of what these details, over time, combine to produce (macro), simply doesn’t make any sense.

Race Hochdorf

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  • Julian

    Hi Dietrich,
    Microevolution is not simply macroevolution “zoomed in.” There clearly are limits on how much “change” can take place.

    Luther Burbank the famed American plant breeder said: “I know from my experiences that I can develop a plum half an inch long or one 2 1/2 inches long, with every possible length in between, but I am willing to admit that it is hopeless to try to get a plum the size of a small pea, or as big as a grapefruit….I have roses that bloom pretty steady for six months in the year, but I have none that will bloom twelve, and I will not have. In short, there are limits to the development possible, and those limits follow a law….plants and animals all tend to revert, in successive generations, toward a given mean or average”.

    In 1835, Edward Blyth wrote in his historic and influential paper that he did not see natural selection as being an adequate mechanism for biological innovation. He thought of natural selection as being primarily a means of preserving species, not creating large scale biological innovations. Why do I bring up Blyth’s work? Because these are the same problems evolutionist face today.

    About those “numerous transitional fossils” you link to, let’s look at the first one, shall we?

    Donald Prothero: “All the hominid fossils found to date form a complex nexus of specimens, Prothero says, but Sahelanthropus tchadensis, found in 2001 and 2002, threw everyone for a loop because it walked upright 7 million years ago on two feet but is quite chimp-like in its skull size, teeth, brow ridges and face”.

    Sahelanthropus tchadensis: The seven-million-year-old fragments of bone on which this taxon is based was found in 2001. They were initially described as belonging to the oldest known hominid (Brunet, 2002), but are now deemed to represent the remains of a Miocene ape. There is no way to known whether Sahelanthropus tchadensis was bipedal because no postcranial remains (bones below the skull) are known to have been discovered. I agree that it is “quite chimp-like”. That’s because it was a chimp. No relation to humans. Do you see any others problems on that list? I do!

    Donald Prothero is not a credible source. Please don’t use him for future references. He is the Dr. Dino of evolution.

    • Hey Julian! No one is disputing that there are limits on how much variation is possible within a few generations of a population. But to say incremental changes, over time, can not add up to large-scale changes is the logical equivalent of saying that individual bricks and stones, laid over time, could never add up to the Great Wall of China.

      I don’t know the full context, but I seriously doubt Luther Burbank was making any kind of argument against macroevolution in the quote you provided here. Burbank was an agnostic who fiercely opposed the efforts in his time to ban or limit the teaching of evolution.

      A transitional fossil does not necessarily mean a direct ancestor, but rather, a species that shows traits of two separate, but related species and by which we can theorize the path evolution took. The transitional form itself may not actually be an ancestor of the extant species, but probably would have been closely related to the extant species’ real common ancestor.

      I think the article the author linked to made this distinction clear, explaining that the human evolutionary tree “looks more like a bush than the line represented in cartoons.” The article was also ambiguous as to whether Sahelanthropus tchadensis can be called an ancestor of humans or chimps until more evidence is available.

      As far as the animal’s bipedalism, Scientists believe Sahelanthropus tchadensis may have walked upright because its spinal cord opening was underneath its cranium, rather than toward the back as it is in the skulls of all modern apes except humans. But you are right, we can’t know for sure until we find more fossils.

      • Julian

        Hi Tyler.
        Is this your post? It looks like your writing.

        The Luther Burbank quote is not out of context. As you correctly point out he was an agnostic. He believed in evolution not based on empirical data but because of his “blind faith” that it happened. No God, ergo, it had to happen that way.

        “Fiercely opposed the efforts in his time to ban or limit the teaching of evolution.”
        I do too! I think they should teach more evolution. The pros AND cons of the theory. Not just the one sided view they give today. “There are no problems with evolution. It is a fact just like gravity”. Yeah, right.

        “A transitional fossil does not necessarily mean a direct ancestor”

        There you go changing definitions so it fits the data.

        “The article was also ambiguous as to whether Sahelanthropus tchadensis can be called an ancestor of humans or chimps until more evidence is available.”

        Wow, you sure are being generous to Donald Prothero! Would you be this generous to Ken Ham? Let’s look at Prothero’s own words: “All the hominid fossils found to date form a complex nexus of specimens, Prothero says, but Sahelanthropus tchadensis…”. He clearly is saying it is a hominid fossil.

        “As far as the animal’s bipedalism, Scientists believe Sahelanthropus tchadensis may have walked upright”.

        “threw everyone for a loop because it walked upright 7 million years ago on two feet”. Prothero is stating it did walk on two feet, not that it might have. This is totally dishonest on his part.

        “It could be a common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees, but many paleoanthropologists will remain unsure until more fossils are found. Previously, the earliest ancestor of our Homo genus found in the fossil record dated back 6 million years.” He’s not sure whether it’s an ancestor to chimpanzees, but he is sure it’s ancestor of us. “Homo genus”. If he was so “ambiguous”, why did he put it on a list revealing the TRUTH of Darwins theory by proven transitional fossils?

        Donald Prothero is known for creating imaginary creatures to prove evolution. Check out his fantasy dragonfly that never existed. Why not just use the fossil record to prove a point, not resort to making things up?

        One more thing, please tell me what other “transitional fossil” problems are on that list.

        • Is this your post?

          No.

          There you go changing definitions so it fits the data.

          Do you think scientific definitions — or anything else in science — should not change based on new data? That is one of the greatest powers of the scientific method: its ability to adapt when new information comes to light, or when experimental evidence disproves hypotheses. That being said, I don’t know if the definition of transitional fossil has really “changed” as much as it has been poorly understood.

          Wikipedia explains it well: “A transitional fossil is any fossilized remains of a life form that exhibits traits common to both an ancestral group and its derived descendant group. This is especially important where the descendant group is sharply differentiated by gross anatomy and mode of living from the ancestral group. These fossils serve as a reminder that taxonomic divisions are human constructs that have been imposed in hindsight on a continuum of variation. Because of the incompleteness of the fossil record, there is usually no way to know exactly how close a transitional fossil is to the point of divergence. Therefore, transitional fossils cannot be assumed to be direct ancestors of more recent groups, though they are frequently used as models for such ancestors.”

          Wow, you sure are being generous to Donald Prothero!

          If you read what I actually wrote, you’ll see I was responding to your questions, not defending Donald Prothero. Sahelanthropus tchadensis is hypothesized to be a possible representation of a transitional form because it dates to around the time scientists believe our branch of the evolutionary tree diverged from the common ancestor we share with chimpanzees. That, coupled with the decidedly unchimplike placement of the spinal cord opening, is evidence that it should be considered a transitional fossil.

          He clearly is saying it is a hominid fossil.

          It is. Sahelanthropus tchadensis is classified under the family Hominidae, which includes us and all the rest of the great apes.

          “Previously, the earliest ancestor of our Homo genus found in the fossil record dated back 6 million years.” He’s not sure whether it’s an ancestor to chimpanzees, but he is sure it’s ancestor of us. “Homo genus”.

          I’m not sure if Prothero’s mentioning of the earliest known ancestor we’d found previously is really meant to be his endorsement of Sahelanthropus tchadensis as such. But if that was his intent, then your criticism of him is valid. Sahelanthropus has not been confirmed as an ancestor of the genus Homo.

          Donald Prothero is known for creating imaginary creatures to prove evolution. Check out his fantasy dragonfly that never existed.

          Yeah, I know about the 18-winged dragonfly. As I said before, I’m not specifically trying to defend Prothero. If he’s wrong about something, then he’s wrong. Have you read his book that has the dragonfly illustration in it? From what I can tell, it looked like the drawing was meant to illustrate a mechanism, not hypothesize that such a creature actually existed. But I haven’t read the book.

          If you’d like to share your thoughts on any of the other fossils in the LiveScience list, knock yourself out.

  • Julian

    Hi Tyler,
    I must say that you have argued in good faith and are very honest. That says a lot about your character! You have always treated me with respect and I hope I have treated you the same. If not, I apologize. If I lived in Oregon I would buy you a beer instead of a Starbucks.

    Let me answer these questions real quick.
    “Do you think scientific definitions — or anything else in science — should not change based on new data?”

    Definitions should not change; theories should if the evidence does not support them.

    “He clearly is saying it is a hominid fossil.”

    “It is. Sahelanthropus tchadensis is classified under the family Hominidae, which includes us and all the rest of the great apes.”

    I believe in this case Prothero is using the term “hominid” in a stricter sense meaning “humans and relatives of humans closer than chimpanzees”. In this definition, all hominid species other than Homo sapiens are extinct. I could be wrong.

    “Have you read his book that has the dragonfly illustration in it?”
    I started reading it, but never finished. Let me just say I not a fan of his writing style.

    Tyler, I’m not trying to change your mind on evolution, only you can do that. I just hope you can see there are problems with the evolutionary theory. The same theory some people have claimed is a fact. There are many good reasons for people not to believe it besides religious reasons.

    I was debating an evolutionist professor who teaches at a very prestigious University several weeks ago and they told me the story of recently assigning a book for the class to read “Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body” by Neil Shubin.

    After reading the book, a Christian girl came to the professor crying claiming she had been lied to and that there was no God because we came from fish and Tiktaalik proved it. As Neil Shubin has said “What evolution enables us to do is to make specific predictions about what we should find in the fossil record. The prediction in this case is clear-cut. That is, if we go to rocks of the right age, and the rocks of the right type, we should find transitions between two great forms of life, between fish and amphibian. …What we see when we look at the fossil record, at rocks of just the right age, is a creature like Tiktaalik.”

    There is a major problem with this story and it is Tiktaalik itself. Trackways said to be 18 million years older than Tiktaalik, showing digits and alternating steps, were found in Poland. One of the authors of the study (Per Ahlberg) said, “They force a radical reassessment of the timing, ecology and environmental setting of the fish to tetrapod transition, as well as the completeness of the body fossil record.”

    “It blows the whole story out of the water, so to speak.” – Jenny Clack (Harvard), in PhysOrg.

    “The fish tetrapod transition was thus seemingly quite well documented.… Now, however, Niedzwiedzki et al lob a grenade into that picture.” – Janvier and Clement, commenting on the find in Nature.

    “These results force us to reconsider our whole picture of the transition from fish to land animals” said co-discoverer Per Ahlberg in Science Daily.

    The finding “could lead to significant shifts in our knowledge of the timing and ecological setting of early tetrapod evolution.” – Ted Daeschler in National Geographic News.

    “The team says the find means that land vertebrates appeared millions of years earlier than previously supposed.… the Zachelmie Quarry tetrapods break the neat and simple timeline.” (BBC News).

    “We didn’t know they existed at this point, and we would not have expected to have found them in this environment.” – Per Ahlberg, co-discoverer, in Live Science.

    And my favorite quote is from Henry Gee, one of Nature magazine editors, who wrote in a blog: “What does it all mean? It means that the neatly gift-wrapped correlation between stratigraphy and phylogeny, in which elpistostegids represent a transitional form in the swift evolution of tetrapods in the mid-Frasnian, is a cruel illusion. If – as the Polish footprints show – tetrapods already existed in the Eifelian, then an enormous evolutionary void has opened beneath our feet.”

    The professor was knowingly using false data to “prove” evolution to a “brainwashed creationist” as they said. Felt it was their duty. I mean, how do you answer that? It is very sad that academia has come to this. Integrity and ethics use to matter. I wish more people were like you!

    All I am asking is for you to treat others with the same respect you have shown me. If you disagree with them, that’s fine, but attack their arguments and not them. Don’t belittle somebody for their beliefs no matter how ridiculous it may sound to you. Use your gift of writing for good, not as a sword to wield over the head of your opponents.

    If you would like me to recommend a few books on ID to you, I would be glad to. You might not agree with the conclusions, but you will at least have a better understanding of the arguments ID theorist are actually making and can make up your own mind.

    • Hey Julian,

      I am glad we’ve been able to come to this point. I am very passionate about my faith, and I fear public figures like Ray Comfort and Ken Ham are (perhaps unintentionally, to a certain extent) tying something that I believe is precious and irreplaceable — the good news of Jesus Christ — to something that is far less important and far easier to reject. So I challenge them on this, especially when they use falsehoods, deception and fear-mongering to further this end.

      However, I do wish to confront falsehoods and propaganda in this arena regardless of where they come from, and your story of a girl going home crying because Tiktaalik “proves” there is no God brings me no joy. I have also strongly called out atheists like Jerry Coyne on this blog, and atheist and agnostic readers have, at times, challenged me on my beliefs every bit as much as any young-earth creationist ever did.

      Tyler, I’m not trying to change your mind on evolution, only you can do that. I just hope you can see there are problems with the evolutionary theory. The same theory some people have claimed is a fact. There are many good reasons for people not to believe it besides religious reasons.

      If you want me to admit that there are still many places along the long history of life that the theory of evolution has not yet fully explained, then you win. I completely acknowledge that. I think evolution as a fact and evolution as a theory are often incorrectly conflated — by those on both sides of the issue.

      It is a fact that populations of life forms change over time. We know this by empirical evidence as simple and routine as that we have to get new flu shots every year or change pesticides when the pests develop resistance. You call this “microevolution,” but we both agree it’s a fact that it happens.

      The theory of evolution is applying these principles and mechanisms to the whole history of life, as we can best understand it from DNA evidence, phylogenetics and the fossil record. It is based on a lot of evidence, but it is very much a theory, because we don’t “know” exactly what life was like 400 million years ago any more than we “know” exactly what it’s like inside a black hole or the core of the sun.

      There is a lot of evidence for common descent, and for certain species (like humans and chimps) being more closely related than other species (like humans and crocodiles). But knowing the exact path evolution has taken will always be an educated guess, because, as you’ve already pointed out, none of us were around when the first whatever-it-was took its first slimy steps upon dry land.

      Speaking of which, Tiktaalik. The quotes you include and the Polish tracks you mentioned are both examples of a theory changing based on new evidence — something we agree should and does happen. However, a theory needing to adjust to new information does not at all necessarily mean the theory is bunk, and none of the people you quoted seemed to be saying that.

      Tiktaalik is a transitional form, bearing features that are reminiscent of both fish and the earliest tetrapods. As such, it helps us understand what the ancestors of tetrapods probably looked like. Tiktaalik or something very closely related to it MAY have been one of those ancestors, but we don’t know that for sure. The tree of life is a tree, though, not a smooth line. It branches. The theory of evolution does not require that transitional forms like Tiktaalik die out after the divergence of what would become tetrapods. Even today, we see amphibious fish like the mudskipper, which demonstrate there is survival advantage in the kind of life Tiktaalik very well may have led.

      I think Shubin is quite right in describing the predictive and explanatory power of the theory of evolution as one of its greatest strengths. But if he was implying that Tiktaalik is the definitive ancestor of tetrapods simply because it’s one of the best examples of that transition that we’ve found so far, then he was wrong, as far as I’m concerned. I’m a layperson, as you know, but my understanding of the theory of evolution is that we cannot and should not make definitive statements like that.

      The professor was knowingly using false data to “prove” evolution to a “brainwashed creationist” as they said. Felt it was their duty. I mean, how do you answer that?

      If that is what he or she was doing, I think it’s wrong and reprehensible. I won’t defend it.

      I always find this to be an interesting question, Julian. How would you define “intelligent design”?

      • Julian

        Hi Tyler, beautifully written piece! I’ll just point out the few places we differ. I don’t see Ray Comfort and Ken Ham acting in bad faith. They have seen the evidence and it is not convincing to them. Put on your journalist hat and take a neutral position and try to see how they look at things. You might still disagree with them, but you will better understand the position they are coming from. Then you can attack their arguments, not them personally. I’ve seen too many personal attacks on them by others and it has to stop.

        “I think evolution as a fact and evolution as a theory are often incorrectly conflated — by those on both sides of the issue.” I agree. I just read an article by Kevin Padian where he wants to change the definition of fact so it will fit in with evolution instead of the other way around. Very strange logic he has.

        “life forms change over time” Yes they do, they just don’t turn into different creatures.

        “DNA evidence, phylogenetics and the fossil record” This evidence really doesn’t help evolutionary theory when you closely inspect the details. We can get into that later if you like.

        “There is a lot of evidence for common descent, and for certain species” Not really, it’s mostly circular logic.

        “Tiktaalik is a transitional form” It can’t be a transitional form if tetrapod tracks 18 million years earlier have been found. You cannot have an ancestor that’s younger than it’s supposed descendent.

        About the professor assigning the student to read “Your Inner Fish”, it sounds like some made up story but I assure you it is true and very troubling.

        How would you define “intelligent design”?

        This definition seems to fit best: Intelligent Design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. The thing is ID is not incompatible with evolution, just Darwinian, purposeless, undirected evolution. Nor is it incompatible with common descent. Michael Behe believes in common descent. I just don’t see the evidence for it.

        OK. Off to answer your other post.

        • Hi Tyler, beautifully written piece!

          Thanks! Nice to hear you complimenting my writing for a change.

          I don’t see Ray Comfort and Ken Ham acting in bad faith.

          I have little respect for Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. Their bread and butter is to prey on impressionable children and their devoted parents — constantly using scare tactics to attempt to divide Christians against the very world God desperately wants to use us to redeem.

          I have thought before that Ray Comfort is very brave to do what he does, and I appreciate that he, at least, accepts correction when he gets called out for advancing a foolish argument like the one with the bananas. And yet, his tactics have not always been entirely honest either.

          All in all, I’m sure K-Ham, Ray and I would ultimately agree on a lot more than we would disagree on. But I can’t and won’t support actions and words that I feel bring more harm than good to the kingdom of God. We are to speak the truth in love, not use coercion and dishonesty to compel people to “our side.”

          It can’t be a transitional form if tetrapod tracks 18 million years earlier have been found. You cannot have an ancestor that’s younger than it’s supposed descendent.

          Please refer to my earlier post. It is a transitional form, because it bears features reminiscent of both fish and the earliest tetrapods. The theory of evolution does not require that ancestral forms immediately die out after a divergence. And just because approximately 375 mya is the earliest we have yet found Tiktaalik or Tiktaalik-like creatures in the fossil record does not mean that is the earliest that they could have actually lived. I’m sure you know how rare fossilization is in nature.

  • Jpower

    This is a rather poor analogy as I think refusing to believe in countries is entirely reasonable.

    Most people don’t agree to be citizens, they are simply assimilated by this thing called a country pretty much against their will. Counties aren’t real, they are made up boundaries enforced by people with guns and we are complicit as most of us play the game, feel patriotic (whatever that means) and believe in these things called countries that really are about as real as unicorns.

    • There is a big difference between being philosophically opposed to the idea of countries and nationalism and all the things you mention here, and believing that countries don’t exist. I agree that reasonable arguments can be made for the former; the latter is reality denialism at its most insane. I can disagree with a particular law, but that doesn’t make the law stop existing, nor does it exempt me from consequences should I choose to break it. And you can disagree with nationalism, but that does not change the fact that nations exist, and that they have governments and histories and cultures and boundaries that are all quite real, I assure you.

    • Damar

      What’s the name of the mentality that doesn’t believes in countries etc

  • Damar

    What’s the name of the mentality that doesn’t believes in countries

  • Kristen Mayeaux

    Sorry, but the FACT is: Microevolution is observable and therefore empirical evidence of….Microevolution. However, macroevolution, despite your analogies, is not just microevolution plus time. To say that microevolution which is well understood with mechanisms of mutation, adaptation and natural selection equates to a bacterium flying over geologlical time always rising in complexity and becoming the most complex thing in the known universe, a human brain (along with the human being) is absurdly ridiculous. You can’t extrapolate that a helium balloon going into the clouds means that it can also make it to Mars. There is a research paper that details some of the problems, entitled “Macroevolution is more than repeated rounds of Microevolution” and here is the link below.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1525-142x.2000.00045.x/full

    • Hey Kristen, I’m sorry, but your argument from incredulity is…a logical fallacy. Just because you have not attempted to really understand something does not make that thing impossible. It just means you don’t understand it.

      A couple of notes on the paper you posted. First off, you’ll notice (I’m presuming you actually read it) that Erwin does not say that he thinks macroevolution has not occurred or does not occur, nor does he express the slightest doubt over whether all life on earth shares common ancestry. His quibble is with the processes that drive macroevolution, and whether these are fundamentally similar to those of microevolution or something different.

      Also, and you may not have been aware of this, but Erwin’s piece in Evolution & Development was one half of a formal debate between two competing views. The other piece, by Armand M. Leroi, is here (http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.120.1020&rep=rep1&type=pdf ).

      Here’s an excerpt from his introduction (emphasis mine):

      In this paper, I argue that the ultimate causes of morphological, and hence developmental, evolution are scale independent. In other words, micro- and macroevolutionary patterns show fundamental similarities and therefore are most simply explained as being caused by the same kinds of evolutionary forces.

      Scientists disagree on things. It is a very competitive field; that’s one of the reasons it works so darned well. But taking the very existence of a disagreement between two experts as a disproof of everything they stand for is like telling a patient they are cancer-free because one oncologist says they’re stage 4 and the other says stage 3.

      It’s just silly, kind of like ignoring what scientists say, unless you can find one paper that, when taken completely out of context, happens to sort of align with what you already believe.

      • Kristen Mayeaux

        I realize the paper does not reject Evolution, but I was arguing that there is a difference between Macroevolution and Microevolution. Evolutionary teaching states that major transitions come about by small, slight and gradual change over time, but the fossil record doesn’t show this gradual progression. So without documented fossil evidence, and without observable evidence, the question is why aren’t you incredulous, as I am? 🙂

        • First of all, we do see a progression in the fossil record. That’s why we have never found a modern animal like a rabbit or a human in Precambrian or Devonian rock layers.

          Unlike what one would expect from a global flood, i.e., everything all jumbled together, we find just the opposote: a gradual progression from extant forms and their obvious relatives all the way back to an age populated by only the simplest life, exactly as the theory of evolution predicts.

          Secondly, we do see small, slight and gradual changes (microevolution). We just don’t see them happening over a period of millions of years (macroevolution) because we’re not capable of observing anything on that time scale.

          The reason I’m not incredulous about evolution is simple: There is no biblical, scientific or logical reason to be.

          • Kristen Mayeaux

            Well, there are many arguments which have not been resolved concerning the dating of fossils. Since fossils are found in sedimentary rock which cannot be dated directly, then other much less accurate methods come into play. One is using “index fossils” which is highly prone to error and is based on circular reasoning to a large degree. Plus there are many fossils/artifacts that were not entered into the record because they are anomalies and don’t fit; so they’re ignored. Then there is the problem of the laws of chemistry regarding decay and decomposition teaching that soft tissue decays in thousands of years while evolutionists are teaching another thing — that soft tissue, protein, collagen, flexible and springy blood vessels, red blood cells, horn tissue, skin, eggs, stomach contents, EVEN DNA can exist millions of years. However the biochemistry textbooks said that this was not possible. So here is a big contradiction. The thing to consider is this: Could there be another interpretation? If there was a worldwide flood then the marine layers might be in one place, as is the Cambrian, or the lighter lifeforms might be deposited at the bottom if poured out since the lightest is at the top in a flood, or the heaviest could end up together, or it’s possible that mobile animals could escape whereas microbial life could not etc. There COULD be another interpretation but it has not been considered. Anyway, I just don’t think enough research has been done to rule out a massive flood or to explain young life evidenced by the soft tissue. I don’t necessarily think the earth is 6,000 years old, as the Bible is unclear on whether the earth was pre-existing for eons before life was created.. But I do believe in a literal flood and that life was created by God for a purpose. And even R Dawkins said biology was the study of complicated things that gave the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. Well, where has he as a biologist ever ruled out actual design with purpose, by using evidence? Evolution is an interpretation; not an indisputable fact. Both concepts should be able to be discussed and evaluated and ruled in or out…with evidence, not arbitrary rules.

          • Kristen, I’m sorry but you have been misinformed. You act like dating fossils is something between guesswork and just making something up so it fits what you already believe. Actually, there are a number of different methods for dating fossils that can be used in combination to arrive at a reliable range of dates. While it does not give us an exact month, date and year, it does disprove the idea that these materials could be a few thousand years old. If they were, none of the dating methods would work, and they certainly would not agree on a particular range that is in the millions or hundreds of millions of years.

            You are also misinformed about soft tissue. None of the discoveries of “soft tissue” in fossilized bones is at odds with those same bones being very, very old. Here is a very thorough article by a devout Christian that explains as much: https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/dinosaur-soft-tissue/ . In fact, the scientist who made the discovery, Mary Schweitzer is herself a believer in Christ.

            Kristen, again, I’m sorry, but no. The global flood cannot explain the fossil record. Dating or no dating, the layering itself cannot be explained by the flood. The flood cannot explain why tiny modern animals like cats and rabbits and koala bears have never been found in lower layers than huge animals like the T-Rex or the Brachiosaurus. The flood cannot explain why very fast animals like velociraptors have never been found in higher layers than very slow animals like modern sloths or snails. The flood cannot explain why modern plants have never been found below ancient and extinct plants (plants should not show any sorting at all — plants cannot run away from floodwaters). The flood cannot explain why we find things like rain drops and footprints in the fossil layers (how might an animal have been walking around on layers of sediment that were underneath miles of water?). These are just a few of the problems.

            Both concepts have been analyzed, and young-earthism and special creationism was rejected hundreds of years ago because it simply did not match up with the evidence. It is only still around because, unfortunately, some Christians have placed their flawed interpretation of a few passages of scripture above really understanding the evidence God has left for us in his creation.

          • Kristen Mayeaux

            I beg to differ. I don’t think they have very accurate methods of dating sedimentary rock. And if something dies and is buried in old rock, the fossil is assigned the date of the rock. This is a fallacy. There is 500 million (supposedly) yr old original organic protein from a marine worm, beautifully preserved and I just don’t believe that it would still be intact after half a billion years. Here is the link: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1666/13-003

            And Mary Schweitzer has isolated dinosaur DNA and although it is not enough to do sequencing, all of the tests and experiments point to its being authentic dinosaurian DNA. And Mary Schweitzer describes the red blood cells as “apparent red blood cells” and this is the most recent data. DNA has a half life of 521 yrs and it is absolutely impossible according to the laws of chemistry for it to still exist for 65-80 million years. I have a link to peer reviewed paper on this. Mary Schweitzer herself told her supervisor upon discovering soft tissue that there were only two interpretations for the finds: either Science didn’t know what they thought they knew about fossilization OR THE SPECIMENS WERE NOT REALLY MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD. OK so in Science they are supposed to try to disprove their own hypotheses. Where is the research disproving that the soft tissue is old? NOBODY WENT THERE! (caps for emphasis) Why? Because they didn’t want to disturb the evolutionary timeline and give evidence to Creationists? There is one test that could be done on the tissue — radiocarbon analysis. If there is any C14 in the specimens then that would rule out old age. And if there is such a fear of contamination that they can’t or won’t do a C14 test, then why do they do it on everything else? And if they think the ground might be contaminated with C14 then how did the soft tissue not decompose if exposed to the ground. No it was deep inside the bones etc. But they could do multiple C14 analyses at different labs to get the mean age. Since C14 decays at a steady known rate, that would rule out for once and for all, young age. But they won’t do it because they don’t want to give Creationists any evidence. Bizarre! And there is a book and video on youtube – the Hidden HIstory of the Human Race, which notes all kinds of artifacts and fossils found in all the wrong places which are never allowed to be documented and entered into the record. Another thing is the Laetoli tracks. They were described as “indistinguishable from human footprints”. Yet they were “assigned” to an ape (Lucy) because evolutionists “knew” no humans had evolved yet. People make mistakes. Biases come into play. People have presuppositional beliefs. That’s life. But regardless of all this, I believe the Bible’s stories, and not necessarily a young earth; but a young creation of thousands of years — not billions. Maybe not 6,000 because the Bible may have missing generations but I believe that God himself created life and programmed all various lifeforms to microevolve with limits. And this interpretation may turn out to be the correct one. If God used Evolution, why would he tell a different story in the Bible? The evidence CAN be interpreted in such a way as to not contradict the Bible.

          • I beg to differ. I don’t think they have very accurate methods of dating sedimentary rock.

            I didn’t say sedimentary rock can be dated directly. I did say there are a number of different methods that can be used to determine the age of non-radioactive rocks and fossils. One is dating the volcanic layers above and below the layers in question. How could the fossil of a particular creature be hundreds of millions of years younger than metamorphic rock that was laid down above its burial site?

            Mary Schweitzer herself told her supervisor upon discovering soft tissue that there were only two interpretations for the finds: either Science didn’t know what they thought they knew about fossilization OR THE SPECIMENS WERE NOT REALLY MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD.

            I really encourage you to read the link I posted earlier: https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/dinosaur-soft-tissue/ . It discusses Schweitzer’s research quite thoroughly, along with her 20-plus years working to understand her findings and her interpretation of what they mean and why.

            If you do read it, I think you will find it’s very clear she does not in any way believe her discoveries contradict the evidence in every other field of inquiry that the universe is extremely old.

            This is the real problem with the young-earth view: You have no interest in discovery or deeper understanding. You already no what you believe to be true in science, so when you hear about something that might possibly fit with that, you turn your brains off, without any desire to find out why it is the way it is.

            Where is the research disproving that the soft tissue is old? NOBODY WENT THERE! (caps for emphasis) Why?

            As I said above, Schweitzer (and others) has spent the better part of her life researching and testing these findings.

            There is one test that could be done on the tissue — radiocarbon analysis. If there is any C14 in the specimens then that would rule out old age. And if there is such a fear of contamination that they can’t or won’t do a C14 test, then why do they do it on everything else?

            Again, if you looked at the link, you would see that Schweitzer and her colleagues have tested these specimens for carbon-14. The results showed a very recent date (as in, like, less than 100 years), which strongly indicated the specimen was infiltrated by bacteria or some other recent contaminant.

            At any rate, unless you believe the global flood occurred more recently World War II, these findings don’t support your view anymore than they support the mainstream one.

            If God used Evolution, why would he tell a different story in the Bible?

            Same reason the Bible doesn’t talk about asteroids, black holes, germs, electricity or North America. The point of the Bible is not to teach ancient peoples scientific facts they wouldn’t need for thousands of years. The point was to teach theological truth about God, mankind and the relationship between the two.

            The problem occurs when folks take questions to the Bible (like “How old is the earth?”) that it was never intended to answer.

            The evidence CAN be interpreted in such a way as to not contradict the Bible.

            What about the evidence I brought up in my previous post, Kristen? How can you interpret any of that in a way that makes sense with a global flood occurring a few thousand years ago?

          • Kristen Mayeaux

            Mary Schweitzer described the red blood cells as “apparent red blood cells” in more recent literature.

            However, the article did say this: “Test-tube studies of organic molecules indicated that proteins should not persist more than a million years or so.”

            So it seems that there is a question that should be thoroughly researched now — whether the proteins can really last up to 500 million years without degrading, or whether the specimens are really younger. Your article admits that “we just don’t know” how long soft tissue can last, so maybe it can last 500 million years old, and maybe it cannot last half a billion years. But this question has not been conclusively determined. You might point to the geological data but I can point to the experimental lab data. And the fact is, scientists are biased, and are very protective of evolutionary theory. They are not at all open to change, at least not major change which would give credibility to Creationists or ID proponents. I found where another scientist did a C14 test on the flamboids and nobody ever tested the soft tissue that has been found to be original endogenous dinosaurian tissue. Why not? Or point to me where young age has been ruled out? Just focusing on the theory of choice does not make the 500 million yr old protein go away. You inferred that the sedimentary rock dating is indisputable, but really? How would you know that? Where in the Hell’s Creek Formation is an igneous rock that sandwiched in the sedimentary layers? And why won’t Mary Schweitzer test her soft tissue with C14. Yes, Creationists HAVE tested dino tissue, and all of their specimens returned ages of under 30,000 years of age. Read about it below. And there is conclusive, empirical lab evidence that DNA cannot, even in the best conditions possible, preserve beyond 6 million years. The scientist who tested the DNA has his conclusions published in peer reviewed literature and is linked in the article below. Again, science is supposed to disprove its own hypotheses, so why haven’t they disproved young age — in light of empirical lab studies. Where has young age been conclusively ruled out?
            http://www.uncommondescent.com/news/cocktail-c14-dna-collagen-in-dinosaurs-indicates-geological-timescales-are-false/

          • Hey Kristen. Thanks for reading the article. I have addressed a lot of your questions, and you still have yet to speak to mine. I think I’ll reserve any further responses on my part until you answer some of my previous questions. For just one example, I’d love to hear how the flood managed to sort out a gradual progression from early simple plants to complex modern ones still alive today, or how it managed to preserve footprints in layers it laid down beneath miles of water.