Debate with a Creationist

JAustinTX
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Debate with a Creationist

I am currently having a debate with a Creationist and she sent me the following response.  Any point by point assistance here?

 

"Fossils:
What do you think about the arguement that fossils indicates rather unusual climate conditions? What I mean by that is that under normal conditions organic material is very efficiently broken down by other living organisms in the community, such as carnivores, scavengers, fungi, and bacteria. For example, in a short period of time the millions of buffalo were killed in the US, yet to our knowledge not a single fossil buffalo has been recovered. What about similar observations of lemming suicide runs and other mass death events. For a fossil to be preserved at all the organism usually must be buried rather quickly after death, or while alive? Why is there little to no evidence of these?

The rather abundant fossils in the fossil record seem to suggest that rapid depositional events characterized most of the creation of the earth's sediments. Many of the fossil bivalve shells are found in life position, with both shells connected and closed. Yet, the bivalve's muscle holding the shells together tends to decay soon after death, resulting in the separation of shells. Many fossil echinoderms are found in partial or complete form. Among animals, the echinoderms (being composed of hndreds of tiny plates) may be some of the most sensitive to breaking apart as they decay. Their general integrity would seem to argue strongly for rather rapid burial. Even dinosaurs show evidence of rapid burial. Very often dinosaur bones are found together in the same sort of arrangement they had while the organism was alive. Yet, in the case of dinosaurs, they are often buried in boneyards where the entire animal is rarely found. This appears to indicate that although not enough decomposition had occurred to permit the scattering of all the bones, there was enough activity to rip the dinosaur bodies apart in large pieces.

What about the timeframe in which fossils are formed? It was once thought that fossilization required very long periods of time. Now we know through repeated laboratory experiments (that are even patented - opalization process) that fossils can be formed rather rapidly from a few days (coal, oil) to a few months (organic material in volcanic ash). It would appear then through repeatable experiments that the nature of fossils themselves indicate a very rapid and recent formation.

I think we would agree on the above?

I believe your response would be the astroid strike theory. I would disagree with that theory as I stated previously. So could we agree that some sort of geologic catastrophe would be a reasonable explanation? I'm sure you are knowledgeable of the evidences of fine lamination, topography changes of up to 100 ft., erosion of hundreds of feet through solid basalt, formation of deltas, swamp and hot-water spring ecosystems have formed in the immediate wake of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens' in 1980. All these things were long thought to require hundreds to thousands of years to form occured in no less than 9 years. The similarities between the "buried forests" that occured immediately after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens' and Yellowstone National Park's buried forests suggests that perhaps the latter forests were formed in decades, not millennia. In fact, study of geologic catastrophe has repeatedly taught us that virtually every geologic feature about us can be formed quickly. Labratory experiments confirm field observations that very fine lamination can occur under conditions of very rapiddeposition. Floods,both ancient (like the Bonneville Flood) and modern (Indian Ocean Tsunami), have taught us that dozens to hundreds of feet of sediment and even solid rock can be eroded and then redeposited in hours to days. Observations of canyons over time suggest that canyons only erode deeper during floods. If this is true, then it would mean that every canyon is evidence of geologic catastrophe.

Well...thoughts? You are surely familiar with Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT). We all are since the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and all the devastation we've seen in Haiti, Chili, etc. I would argue that CPT would support the Biblical account of the foundation laid in Genesis 1:9 and 7:11,19. Can we go there?"

I would appreciate any and all comments from you guys!

Thanks!


nigelTheBold
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Quote:What about similar

Quote:
What about similar observations of lemming suicide runs...

Lemmings don't do that. While some lemmings die while migrating (drowning while crossing streams and so forth), there's no suicide run. In the famous 1950s Disney documentary, scenes of lemmings jumping to their death were accomplished by slinging the lemmings from a turntable at the top of a cliff.

As for the rest -- who can deny that many fossils exist because of catastrophism? Many fossils formed because creatures were buried under mountains of volcanic ash, or buried in a mudslide (either on land or undersea slides). That's why there isn't a fossil of every single population that has ever lived. The buffalo that were slaughtered on the plains of the American midwest were not subject to instant burial. However, bison fossils tens of thousands of years old have been recovered in Colorado, for instance.

None of this supports the story of Noah. First, we find layers of fossils, indicating catasrophism happens over and over in some areas. As Noah's flood happened once, according to myth, it would've left all the animals in a jumble in one big mess.

I'm sure your friend will then counter with, "The smaller animals sank to the bottom more rapidly, and the different kinds of animals were so sorted as they sank." Which is a load of obvious rubbish: why are there no large mammals mixed in with the dinosaurs? Why were there no smaller dinosaurs mixed in with the trilobites? And so on. Excuse the pun, but that rationalization just doesn't hold water.

Secondly, the story of Noah is no different than a Sumerian legend in which a god is angry and decides to send a flood, but instructs a hero to build an ark. The myth exists in many cultures, in fact. And considering things like the tsunami recently, there's no wonder this myth exists: flooding can be devastating. That doesn't mean the myths are true. It just means the myths are based on a true event.

He is acting as if we deny catastrophism. Considering we see rivers flood every year, and tsunamis and hurricanes cause flooding quite often, and volcanoes erupt all the time, why would we deny natural catastrophes occur? If anything, that puts Noah's flood into even greater doubt. It's easy to see how something like the recent tsunami could lead to a hero myth among ignorant tribal herdsmen.

That's my take on it, anyway.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


butterbattle
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Just wiki it.

So she believes in the Biblical flood? Okay.

- Where did the water come from? Where did the water go?

- How did Noah get all the animals on the ark? How did all the animals migrate to the ark?

- How did all the animals fit on the ark? What did the animals eat? 

- What's the scientific basis for clean and unclean animals?

- What happened to the plants? What happened to the freshwater fish? What happened to microscopic organisms?

- How did all the animal species repopulate the Earth? How did the land animals migrate back to other continents? None of them became extinct because there was only a few or only one pair? 

- Young Earth Creationists typically put the global flood at less than 10,000 years old. Dinosaurs became extinct roughly 65 million years ago. How do you reconcile this? How about the fact that there weren't any humans 65 million years ago?

Also, wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catastrophic_plate_tectonics#Runaway_subduction

"The hypothesis of catastrophic plate tectonics is considered pseudoscience and is rejected by the vast majority of geologists in favor of the conventional geological theory of plate tectonics. It has been argued that the tremendous release of energy necessitated by such an event would boil off the Earth's oceans, making a global flood impossible.[52] Not only does catastrophic plate tectonics lack any plausible geophysical mechanism by which its changes might occur, it also is contradicted by considerable geological evidence (which is in turn consistent with conventional plate tectonics), including:[53]

- The fact that a number of volcanic oceanic island chains, such as the Hawaiian islands, yield evidence of the ocean floor having moved over volcanic hot spots. These islands have widely ranging ages (determined via both radiometric dating and relative erosion) that contradict the catastrophic tectonic hypothesis of rapid development and thus a similar age.

- Radiometric dating and sedimentation rates on the ocean floor likewise contradict the hypothesis that it all came into existence nearly contemporaneously.

- Catastrophic tectonics does not allow sufficient time for guyots to have their peak eroded away (leaving these seamounts' characteristic flat tops).

- Runaway subduction does not explain the kind of continental collision illustrated by that of the Indian and Eurasian Plates. (For further information see Orogeny.)

Conventional plate tectonics accounts for the geological evidence already, including innumerable details that catastrophic plate tectonics cannot, such as why there is gold in California, silver in Nevada, salt flats in Utah, and coal in Pennsylvania, without requiring any extraordinary mechanisms to do so.[53][54]"

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


nigelTheBold
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butterbattle wrote:Also,

butterbattle wrote:
Also, wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catastrophic_plate_tectonics#Runaway_subduction

"The hypothesis of catastrophic plate tectonics is considered pseudoscience and is rejected by the vast majority of geologists in favor of the conventional geological theory of plate tectonics. It has been argued that the tremendous release of energy necessitated by such an event would boil off the Earth's oceans, making a global flood impossible.[52] Not only does catastrophic plate tectonics lack any plausible geophysical mechanism by which its changes might occur, it also is contradicted by considerable geological evidence (which is in turn consistent with conventional plate tectonics), including:[53]

Ouch. I didn't even spot the reference to catastrophic plate tectonics. I didn't even know such a blatantly stupid proposition existed.

So you might not want to use "catastrophism," as I suggested. Just use "natural disasters," instead.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


butterbattle
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Genesis 1:9 - "And God

Genesis 1:9 - "And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so."

Water did not appear before land. The water is not all gathered in one place. There are lakes and rivers. There is water underground. 

Genesis 7:11 - "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened."

Genesis 7:19 - "They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered."

No human can live to six hundred years. "Floodgates of heaven" is false when literal and ambiguous as an analogy; rain comes out of clouds. "Springs of the great deep" isfalse when literal and extremely ambiguous as an analogy. What is the great deep, the ocean? What are the springs of the great deep?

There is not even close to enough water to cover all the highest mountains, but if there were, the amount of heat transfer and dramatic changes in various atmospheric conditions that would have been caused by the amount of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation necessary would have already killed most life on it. A flood would have been the least of the dinosaurs' worries.  

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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  The best explanation for

  The best explanation for why Genesis is written the way it is comes from what the semitic and arabic tribes at the time believed about the earth.  They believed the earth was flat, pancake shaped in fact. It was in the middle of a vast, cosmic ocean, supported by seven massive pillars that held it above the waters. Water also existed above the earth, but it was held aloft by the "firmament," or a dome.  That's right, the Bible says that we live in a snow globe. Every verse that talks about the earth supports this view, and no verses contradict it. It's amazing to me that so many Christians won't actually investigate what the "firmament" is.  They seem to just ignore it.  Anyway, if you were a primitive herdsman who lived several thousand years ago, then this would be a completely plausible explanation.  To someone who doesn't know better, the world seems to be flat, and the horizon does appear to be circular. The sky appears blue, just like the water, so naturally he might think there was an ocean above the earth as well as below. The sun, moon, and stars were all fixtured on this dome, which solves the problem of how light from the sun would have penetrated the miles of ocean required to flood the earth in the first place. If one has the dome view of the earth in mind when he or she reads Genesis, it makes absolute, perfect sense.  The early Hebrews didn't believe the sun or the moon were actually light sources. They believed that light was something else, and the sun and moon existed only so that one could tell time.  The flood waters came from God poking holes in the firmament and allowing the water above the earth to drain.  Here's an illustration:

When you try to graft a modern understanding of the universe onto the ancient story, it stops making sense.  We know the sun to be the source of most of our light, but Genesis has light existing before the sun, moon, and stars, namely all of the light sources in the universe. It has plants existing before the sun does.  If there was enough water floating above the earth to completely drown it up to the top of the highest mountain, then the sun couldn't have penetrated that much water.  It can't even penetrate one mile of water, let alone the five it would require to cover Mt. Everest.  Besides, even if the sun could penetrate, the pressure that even only a 1-mile column of water would put onto the earth would literally poach all life out of existence. The planet Venus is a classic example of what happens when you have a dense atmosphere.  Now there are some with the explanation that the earth was actually flatter back then, and the mountains weren't as high, so it didn't require much water. Their explanation is that the water from the flood "carved out" oceans for itself and thus the oceans today are the flood waters. The problem is that this explanation doesn't hold water, either. In order for water to erode land like a river, it must be flowing. In an ocean the pressure is applied evenly, and thus the gouging of channels to any significance isn't possible. Finally, the fact that the different compositions of the earth's crust between the oceans and the continents is further evidence against this proposition.  If the flood waters actually did carve out their own basins, the crust would consist of the same kind of rock throughout, or there would be massive overlap between the basaltic crust of the oceans and the continents. Otherwise, the idea that the basins just happened to be carved out all in the basaltic crust areas by chance is very unlikely.