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Old 10-06-2012, 01:17 PM   #200 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Just some random thoughts on the evolution debate, mostly because I'm sitting here enjoying a coffee right now (mmmmmm..... coffee...) and I have the time.

Slush puppie alluded to the dendrological clock. For those who can't be bothered to look it up, basically it's reading tree rings. You cut down a large old tree and look at the tree rings and you can tell by their size what kind of a year it was. You can tell by pollutants in any particular ring whether there were (for instance) a lot of fires that year. By looking at a tree (fossilized or not) that died earlier, you can match up the ring patterns so that you could show for instance that the earlier tree died in the 50th year of the younger tree's life. Using available dead and fossilized wood they've been able to establish a continuous "tree ring" history back about 11K years.

Now, the first problem is the question of how these trees survived a universal flood. There's no indication of Noah saving seeds two by two (or five by five or seven by seven). And if the flood happened, you'd get a huge discontinuity where all the trees died 5000 years ago. No such discontinuity exists. And if the carbon-14 levels changed abruptly during/after the flood as Calvary's reference posutlates, you'd be able to detect that in the rings from before 5000 years ago. Again, no joy. The only possible response from the creationists is yet again to deny the science, based not on evidence or any actual expertise, but simply because it disagrees with their beliefs.

Now, on to DNA. If all animals were reduced to a couple of ancestors 5000 years ago, there would be a huge genetic bottleneck which would be easily detectable with modern science. In fact, cheetahs have had just this very thing happen -- except 11000 years ago, not 5000. See here: if you have the patience to wade through the verbiage. The point here is not that cheetahs have this bottleneck, but that no other animals have it. Again, the creationists respond by denying the science.

When you tot up all the different unrelated types of data that point to an old earth, you realize that creationists basically have to dismiss or deny most branches of science, including branches that give us practical results in non-religious-argument areas. How do you argue that microbiology is good enough and dependable enough to convict a person of murder and create frankencorn, but not good enough to detect (or not detect) a genetic bottleneck? How do you argue that physics is good enough to make an atomic clock that's accurate to some stupid small amount in a gazillion years but not good enough to figure out relative isotope levels over a small period of time? How do you argue that archeology is good enough to accurately reconstruct a history up to 5000 years ago (corroborated by independant means) but somehow not good enough to go beyond that? Especially when you can't describe exactly why these very convenient breakdowns happen?

And then there's the final indignity. Even if you manage to punch enough holes in conventional science to create some real doubt, you haven't proved the xian pov by default. It could be the hindu version that's right, or the muslim version, or the buddhist/shintoist/pangu version or the dream time or any of half a hundred first nation beliefs. Xianity doesn't have any priority.

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