Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jay Seegert Weighs in on Ham/Nye Debate and Offers Scientific Insight

Full article HERE
Ice Cores & Tree Rings
The age of the Earth was front and center throughout much of the debate. Much could be said about this, but the most significant thing in my mind is that this particular issue is one of the easiest things to use to poke fun of the biblical creation account. Not because there isn’t a vast amount of evidence for a relatively young Earth, but because when dealing the general public, the vast majority of them have grown up being taught that the Earth and universe are billions of years old and that it has been “proven” by the best science we have. That is, it’s not something that’s up for discussion. Anyone who rejects this “fact” is obviously not living in the “real” world. To reject an old Earth and universe requires, in most minds, a blind commitment to religion and an abject rejection of science altogether. With that backdrop, it is very difficult to convince people otherwise, in just a few minutes. I am personally convinced that given enough time, the vast majority of people would agree that young Earth creationists have a very strong case for their view, even if they wouldn’t immediately change their own mind. It’s a topic that takes much more time to address properly, therefore, making it very easy to throw out challenges that cannot properly be addressed in the confines of the current debate. I have included three entire chapters in my book Let There be Light regarding this issue. The first of which deals with the relevance of this issue (i.e. why are we even talking about it), the second covers what Scripture actually says and the third deals with what we know from science.
One of the evidences highlighted by Nye was ice core dating. It seems pretty straight-forward… you drill through the ice, count how many layers you see and instantly know how many years passed from bottom to top. The obvious assumption here being that one layer formed per year. Here’s the rub… there are examples where multiple layers have formed in a single season. These are instances in which there are other factors that allow us to know the age in advance. If we know from instances where we can check the layers per year against known dates and see that there are multiple layers per year, why would we assume, when the age is not known to begin with, that only one layer would appear per year?
The most famous example is that of a World War II P–38 Lightning fighter plane. It crash-landed in Greenland in 1942 and was buried by the subsequent snowfalls. A recovery effort was made, but instead of finding the plane under a small amount of ice, it was found under 250 feet of ice, much to everyone’s amazement! In just 50 years (1942-1992) 250 feet of ice had accumulated… much more than had been expected.
It is a similar situation with tree-ring dating. In many circumstances, we see one ring per year, but there are others where we see multiple rings per year. The Bristlecone Pines are typically referenced in defense of the trees being almost 9,000 years old. However, the environment in which these trees grow (White Mountains of eastern California) have been known to produce multiple rings per year. While there is still much research to be done, it is clear that assuming one ring per year is one that can easily lead to misleading age estimates.
Swimming Between Layers
While stating that there was no evidence for the flood, Nye said that if there really was a flood, we should expect to see fossils of creatures “swimming between the layers”. This is a very uneducated statement, because it shows a lack of understanding as to what exactly would have happened during the flood and was just another attempt to mock and ridicule the biblical text. The fact is that there are many examples of things that stretch through many layers. One example is that of polystrate fossils. These are usually fossils of trees that cut through many layers, providing compelling evidence for rapid catastrophic deposition of sediment, as opposed to slow, gradual accumulation. If the typical “millions of years” view that Nye holds to is true, it would require these trees to begin growing in one layer and then stand there (without rotting away) for hundreds of thousands or millions of years while waiting to be buried by subsequent layers. This is quite preposterous and goes against known science and common sense.
Another key point here is that just because a certain creature was around during the time of the flood, doesn’t mean it would get fossilized in each layer. This is another one of Nye’s misunderstandings. For example, we have fossils of the coelacanth fish that are believed by secular geologists to have become extinct 70 million years ago. However, these creatures have been found still alive today, and not only are they still alive… they haven’t changed in 70 million years! The point is that even though these creatures have been alive the whole time (from their first appearance in the fossil record supposedly about 360 million years ago until today), they apparently didn’t leave any fossil evidence for the past 70 million years! It makes much more sense that those layers were not laid down over millions and millions of years, but rather rapidly in a worldwide flood as described in Genesis 6-8.
The Ark
Commenting on the building of the ark, Nye stated that Noah and his family were “unskilled” and could never have built such a large vessel. How does he know they were unskilled? He doesn’t. In fact, people of that era (specifically just after the flood) built huge pyramids which we cannot reproduce today with the best equipment known to man! Unskilled? I don’t think so. As far as only 8 people building the ark, God gave them the design and there’s no reason that Noah could not have contracted other’s to help in its construction. We have no indication one way or the other, but I think it is very likely that there were those among the scoffers who said, “I think you are crazy and delusional, but if you are willing to pay me, I’ll help you build this silly thing!”