During 2002, two leading Young Earth groups, Answers in Genesis (AIG) 1 and Creation Ministries International (CMI) 2 co-published an article titled "Arguments we think creationists should NOT use."
Ralph M Barnes and Rebecca A. Church wrote an article in Skeptic Magazine in 2011 that lists the 41 "proofs" that AIG and CMI recommend never be used. 3 A few of of the "proofs" appear on only one of those sites.
Additional "proofs" included in the Skeptic Magazine article (Continued):
Information (in brackets) are explanations added by the author of this essay:
7. The Paluxy River tracks prove that humans and dinosaurs existed together on Earth. (Paleontologists generally believe that the last dinosaur died more than 60 million years before the first modern human lived. These tracts consist of two adjacent sets of fossilized footprints found in the Paluxy River valley of TX. One set looks human, the other appears to have been made by a dinosaur. Studies have shown that the "human" set of footprints were not actually made by humans and may have been doctored).
8. Darwin's considered it absurd to believe that the eye was the result of evolution, (Some creationists quote the following statement that Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species:
"To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.
However, the rest of the quoted paragraph, which starts "Yet reason tells me...," destroys that conclusion.) 4
"The ancient Hebrews imagined the world as flat and round [disk], covered by the great solid dome of the firmament which was held up by mountain pillars, (Job 26:11; 37:18). The blue color of the sky was attributed to the chaotic waters that the firmament separated from the earth (Gen. 1:7). The earth was thus surrounded by waters above and below (Gen. 1:6,7; cf. Psalms 24:2; 148:4, Deut. 5:8). The firmament was thought to be substantial; it had pillars (Job 26:11) and foundations (2 Sam. 22:8). When the windows of it were opened, rain fell (Gen. 7:11-12; 8:2). The sun, moon, and stars moved across or were fixed in the firmament (Gen. 1:14-19; Ps. 19:4,6). It was also the abode of the birds (Gen. 1:20; Deut. 4:17). Within the earth lay Sheol, the realm of the dead (Num. 16:30-33; Isa. 14:9,15).") 5
10. Archaeopteryx is fraudulent: (This is a very important fossil find because Archaeopteryx lithographica is such a superb example of a transitional fossil. Thus it is to be expected that creationIsts would try to deny its legitimacy That is because the ultimate proof of evolution is the existence of transitional fossils. This fossil's skeleton is very similar to theropod dinosaurs; it has teeth, a long bony tail, abdominal ribs and three digits on each hand. None of these are found in birds. It also has features found in birds: a wishbone, retroverted pubis, an opposable big toe for perching, and feathers.
Its authenticity was challenged during 1985. by a group consisting of an astronomer, mathematician, physicist, MD, and photographer in the British Journal of Photography. Their claims were convincingly refuted by a team from the British Museum of Natural History.) 6
11. Entropy began at the time that Adam and Eve sinned: (Entropy is a concept arising implied by the Second Law of Thermodynamics that everything in nature tends to move towards greater disorder. The available energy in a system always degrades over time. Or to put it more simply, "stuff runs down." Many creationists believe that death did not exist before Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Some creationists extend this concept and believe that before this "sin," entropy (disorder) did not increase. However The Big Bang Theory -- the scientific theory not the TV sitcom -- implies that the universe sprang into existence some 14.7 billion years ago, and that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has been in effect from that time.) 7
12. Skulls of modern humans have been found in Pliocene rock strata: (Professor of geology, Giuseppe Ragazzoni from the Brescia Technical Institute in Italy, found a human skeleton that included a modern human skull in a rock formation dating from the Middle Pliocene era, about three or four million years ago. Apparently, Ragazzoni had stumbled across a medieval cemetery. Modern radiocarbon measurement on the skeleton's ribs show that the human was alive sometime between the mid 9th century to the late 13th century. A second skeleton was later found nearby that had clearly been buried in a grave.)8
13. The sun is powered by gravitational collapse, not fusion. (Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) was an amazing physician, physicist, and philosopher who made numerous remarkable discoveries in many different topics. One of his theories is that the Sun generates its heat by gravitational collapse. If this theory is true, the Sun would have a lifetime of only a few million years. It must have existed for a much longer interval in order for evolution to have occurred. In the early years of the 20th century, Lord Kelvin appeared to demolish the Theory of Evolution by referring to Helmholtz' theory. By that time, it had been the generally accepted belief concerning the evolution of the Sun. It was only in the 1930's that Hans Bethe proposed that thermonuclear fusion within the core of the Sun supplies its energy. This is now the accepted view. However, proving that the Sun generates its energy solely by nuclear fusion, or only by gravitational collapse, or by some combination of the two processes is proving elusive. Our opinion is that this is a legitimate argument for a creationist to make, as long as it is made as one possibility and not as absolute truth. So we feel that this argument should not be included at this time on a list of arguments not to be made by creationists.) 9
14. Mitochondrial Eve is 6,000 years old: (Mitochondrial Eve was the women who is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of every human who is alive today. That is, everyone is a descendant of this one woman. A literal interpretation of the various stories in Genesis would seem to imply that Mitochondrial Eve is the "Eve" who is said to have lived in the Garden of Eden circa 4004 BCE. This is based on some known dates of events, and the ages mentioned in the strings of "begats" found later in the Bible. However, most Young Earth creationists believe that some generations may have been ignored in the Genesis chronology. Thus, they conclude that the Eve of the Bible probably lived between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.
Mitochrondrial DNA is the smallest chromosome found in DNA. In humans and most other species, it is inherited only from one's mother. Scientific studies of variations among human mitochrondrial DNA indicates that she lived much earlier than 8,000 BCE. Mitochondrial DNA accumulates mutations at the rate of about one per 3,500 years.
According to Wikipedia:
"By looking at the number of mutations which have been accumulated in different branches of ... [the human] family tree, and looking at which geographical regions have the widest range of least related branches, the region where Eve lived can be proposed."
There were, of course, many other human females living at the time of the female MRCA. However none of them have descendents living now in an unbroken female line.
Current estimates are that Mitochondrial Eve was alive sometime between 152 to 235 millennia ago. She appears to have lived in East Africa -- a finding that must make white supremacists very angry. 10
Another individual in our species' past is Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor -- everyone's great-great-great.....great- grandfather. Recent studies conclude that he was alive about 142 millennia ago --more recently than our female MRCA. He was also an African. This is another blow to some racists.
According to Wikipedia:
"One explanation given for this discrepancy in the dates of Adam and Eve was that females have a better chance of reproducing than males due to the practice of polygyny. When a male individual has several wives, he has effectively prevented other males in the community from reproducing and passing on their y-chromosomes to subsequent generations." 11
A related argument that may be suggested by creationists is that the male MRCA was Noah whom the Book of Genesis implies was born circa 2948 BCE. There were eight people on the ark: Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. (We are assuming that Noah's sons all had a single wife). After the flood, Noah would have been the only living grandfather of all of his son's children. The other grandfathers would have drowned in the largest genocide experienced by humanity. Thus he qualifies as the male MRCA of modern-day humans. Answers in Genesis computes that the great flood happened in the year 2348 BCE when Noah was 600 years-of-age. Thus, a similar creationist argument could be made that Y-chromosomal Adam was born about 3,000 BCE, or 5,000 years ago. Presumably AIG and CMI would support this value.12)
One common claim of creationists that was not included in the AIG/CMI lists:
We have seen many creationism information sources claiming that evolution could not have happened because it violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This is the law that implies everything in nature tends to move towards greater entropy (disorder); i.e. everything degrades.
This claim demonstrates a misunderstanding of thermodynamics that any first-year university science can easily demolish, because the law only refers to closed systems. Within the solar system, the Second Law readily allows for one component -- the Earth in this case -- to be decreasing in entropy even as another component -- the Sun in this case -- is increasing in entropy.
We are surprised that this argument was not included in the list.
There are 27 additional arguments for us to cover. However, each takes a fair bit of time.
This series of essays is being written in 2012, an election year, when large number of
religiously-related high priority topics in the U.S. also need to be covered.
We will return here in the future to complete this series
when the insanity produced by the 2012 elections end.