Archive for the 'Evolution' Category

Rare marine fossil find but no Noah

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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Platypterygius (image courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

There has been a rare fossil find in outback Queensland, Australia.[1]

In July 2014, the Wilson family from the state of Victoria went as tourists ‘to search the local free fossil hunting sites’ around Richmond, Queensland. It’s a long way to go for a holiday. Seven-year-old, Amber Wilson, found a fossil of ichthyosaur Platypterygius australis. Found what? It’s an extinct dolphin-like marine reptile and the fossil has a one metre long skull with teeth that are six metres long.

The fossil has been dug up and taken to Kronosaurus Korner, a palaeontological centre at Richmond. The interpretation manager and curator of the Korner, Dr Timothy Holland, considered that this is a ‘landmark’ find for the region. His comments were:

blue-satin-arrow-small ‘I have never seen tourists uncover such a beautifully preserved fossil before’.[2]

blue-satin-arrow-small  ‘It is easily the most complete ichthyosaur skull in our collection and one of the best from Australia’.[3]

blue-satin-arrow-small  ‘I was completely stunned. A professional palaeontologist might search their entire career to find a fossil of this quality. It only took the Wilson family a few hours’.[4]

The fossil has been temporarily called ‘Wilson’ after the people who found it.

Reason for ocean fossils in outback

How could a dolphin-like marine animal fossil be found 500 kilometres inland from the ocean (that’s the distance from Townsville – on the ocean – to Richmond). The Flinders Highway starts at Townsville on the Pacific Ocean coast. Here are the distances from Townsville.

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(image courtesy Wikipedia)

The reasons given in this article for the location of this fossil in the outback were:[5]

  • ‘100-million-year-old fossilised bones’;
  • ‘An extinct dolphin-like marine reptile that once swam through Australia’s ancient inland sea’;
  • ‘Platypterygius lived 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period; at a time when dinosaurs still ruled on land’.
  • ‘Kronosaurus Korner is Australia’s premier marine fossil museum, showcasing more than 1000 fossils of creatures that once inhabited Australia’s ancient inland sea’.

These kinds of statements tell us something about the reasons behind some of the following statements. There is a worldview that is being displayed and promoted. The explanation from a scientific palaeontological perspective is that these fossils were from a time when Australia had an inland sea in ancient times.

The Australian government also supports such a view with this kind of statement:

Why do scientists think this big sea animal existed?

Layers of rock from the Cretaceous Period in the Great Artesian Basin contain many fossils of marine (sea) dwelling animals, proving the area was once covered by the sea. These animals included some very large reptiles such as the plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and crocodiles. You may like to investigate these animal groups (Accessed 20 November 2014).

 

Kronosaurus queenslandicus (image courtesyWikipedia)

A piece of the puzzle is ignored

What piece is that?

The explanation for this extraordinary fossil find of an extinct, dolphin-like marine reptile 500 km from the ocean is that it once swam through Australia’s ancient inland sea. That may have been the case but how are we to know that piece of information? From some evolutionary text book that feeds us with that kind of worldview?

But there is a missing factor that palaeontologists don’t like or don’t want to discuss.

This is what happens when one’s worldview ignores other evidence. This explanation has been disregarded:

‘The waters completely inundated the earth so that even all the high mountains under the entire sky were covered’ (Genesis 7:19 NET).

A global flood is what happened to the earth in the time of Noah. Read about it in Genesis chapters 6-9 (NET Bible). This world-wide flood would have left lots of fossil evidence all over the world, in the outback and on mountains. To me, that reads like a more reasonable explanation of the origin of this dolphin-like animal fossil in the western Qld fossil find. This flood would have left a humungous amount of dead animals and people who would turn into fossils over time.

It is expected that evolutionary scientists who have been educated in and have imbibed a secular worldview will not want to understand or consider the impact of a global flood on the palaeontological remains of a marine creature in Australia’s outback.

Nevertheless, they need to be called to account in at least giving this explanation equal air-play. They don’t do that. For other examples of the impact of the universal Noahic flood, see:

Landscape with Noah’s thank offering (painting ca. 1803 by Joseph Anton Koch) [image courtesy Wikipedia]

It gets us talking

One great advantage of this kind of fossil find is that it gets interested people talking about the ‘how’ of fossil formation and the origins of the earth. This in turn may, but not necessarily, lead to discussion of Jesus’ view of the flood. You’ll find references to Jesus’ view on Noah’s flood in,

‘ For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 38 For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39 And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man’ (NET Bible).

Here is where the information from Lita Cosner’s article (link above) is especially helpful. Jesus believed in Noah and the flood. Why don’t you take a read of her insightful article?

For some penetrating analyses of divergent world views, see James W. Sire 2010, The universe next door (IVP). This is James Sire’s definition of a world view: ‘A world view is a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic make-up of our world’ (Sire 1988:17).

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(image courtesy Inter-Varsity Press)

Works consulted

Sire, J W 1988. The universe next door: A basic world view catalog, updated & expanded ed. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Sire, J W 2010. The universe next door: A basic worldview catalog, 5th ed. Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

Notes


[1] These details have been obtained from the Brisbane Times article, ‘Seven-year-old girl’s rare fossil find in outback Queensland’, available at: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/sevenyearold-girls-rare-fossil-find-in-outback-queensland-20141119-11pgpm.html#comments (accessed 20 November 2014).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] From ibid.

 

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 November 2015.

Camel capers at the time of Abraham – baloney!

Friday, February 21st, 2014

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/55/Camels_at_Giza.JPG/330px-Camels_at_Giza.JPG

Camels at Pyramids, Egypt (courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

In February 2014, some of you may have been exposed to what seems like a tirade of derogatory comments in the mass media about camels recorded in the Book of Genesis; Genesis can’t be trusted, and the Bible is unreliable.

6pointblue Genesis 24:64 records this: ‘And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel’ (ESV).

6pointblue Leviticus 11:4 makes is clear: ‘Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you’.

Was it a camel or not? Verses like these have come under criticism by the archaeologists who are saying that

camels were first introduced to Israel around the 9th century BCE, centuries after they were depicted in the Bible as Patriarch-era pack animals, new carbon dating of the earliest known domesticated camel bones found in Israel shows.

The research, conducted by Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel-Aviv University, challenges ”the Bible’s historicity.” The discrepancy “is direct proof that the [Biblical] text was compiled well after the events it describes,” according to a statement released by the university on Monday.

The researchers examined ancient copper smelting sites in the Arava Valley, in southern Israel, and discovered that “camel bones were unearthed almost exclusively in archaeological layers dating from the last third of the 10th century BCE or later,” and that “all the sites active in the 9th century in the Arava Valley had camel bones, but none of the sites that were active earlier contained them.”

(The Times of Israel, 5 February 2014)

This is a sample of the negative comments I’ve read in the mass media online:

  1. Camels had no business in Genesis‘ (New York Times, 10 February 2014).
  2. Camel bones suggest error in Bible, archaeologists say‘, Fox News (6 February 2014).
  3. Earliest Camel Bones Contradict Bible, Archaeologists Say‘, (Nature World News, 5 February 2014).
  4. Camel bones discovery suggests biblical inaccuracies‘ (Statesman, 6 February 2014).
  5. Camel archaeology contradicts the Bible‘ (The Times of Israel, 5 February 2014).
  6. Will camel discovery break the Bible’s back?(CNN, 11 February 2014)

Abram’s Journey from Ur to Canaan (József Molnár, 1850) (courtesy Wikipedia)

 

We could go on and on with examples trying to disprove the accuracy of the Bible, especially the camels at the time of Abraham. But, what’s the truth? Should we chuck out the Book of Genesis as an unreliable piece of literature that should be treated as containing myths? Or should we treat it as Jesus did? You’ll find some of Jesus’ evidence in the articles,

cubed-iron-smJesus, the New Testament and Genesis‘;

cubed-iron-smThe use of Genesis in the New Testament‘; and

cubed-iron-smGenesis: Real, reliable, historical‘.

I recommend equipping yourself for a rebuttal of these mass media anti-Genesis views by becoming acquainted with the issues in these articles:

Here’s some more evidence in support of camels at the time of Abraham:

I pray that you will be equipping the people in your church to provide a defence of the Christian faith when this kind of opposition comes. There are enough links here to get you started with a few opportunities for equipping in your church over the next few weeks. We are blessed that there are equipping ministries who have researchers and writers to deal with these issues – and provide us with ready information to pass on to our church people.

Let’s not miss the opportunity.

 

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 18 November 2015.

A skeptic of Noah’s flood replies

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

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Tyrannosaurus rex, Palais de la Découverte, Paris (image courtesy Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

A fossil find in a northern Brisbane suburb made the news with this heading, ‘Construction work in Brisbane suburb Geebung unearths fossils of 50-million year-old crocodiles, fish and plants’.[1]

Part of the story, according to the Courier-Mail, was that ‘bones of ancient crocodiles’ were found during construction work on a new level crossing overpass at Geebung. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, said that ‘the fossils were found amongst spoil which a piling rig had brought up to the surface’. In addition to crocodiles, this ancient material included fish, freshwater shells and plant impressions. The article said the fossils were dated as 50 million years’ old. The article stated that ‘Queensland Museum Network CEO Professor Suzanne Miller said the find was a significant one for Brisbane and the state’.

I thought this find was so significant that I sent a letter off to my local freebie newspaper The Messenger, that was published under the heading,

‘Phenomenal fossils and northern Brisbane’[2]

Near our region of northern Brisbane there was a rare find in June 2013 and given news coverage in July, thanks to excavations near Geebung railway station last month. We have been told of the finding of crocodile, frog, ­fish and plant fossils. Some horrific event must have killed all these things to be buried under northern Brisbane and about 15 metres underground.

There is evidence that has been around for a long time of a worldwide flood. The most prominent report is that at the time of Noah (recorded in Genesis 6-9) that should have affected the Brisbane region. But I read not a word about that in the reports I read or hear of this fossil find.

Perhaps that’s too Christian or Jewish (in the Hebrew Bible) to be politically correct to mention.

However, there is evidence from the Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks of a flood in ancient times, but not as specific, as say, giving Noah’s age as ‘in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month’ (Genesis 7:11) that the flood came. However, we do know from history that one Sumerian king provided a list from about 2100 BC that divided kings into two categories – those who were before the flood and those after it.

Jesus Christ confirmed the existence of Noah and the flood (see Matthew 24:36-39).

When will this type of information make it to our news stories about a new fossil discovery in Brisbane? ‘Fossil find and phenomenal flood’ could be an appropriate headline, but that would not be too popular with a secular media.

SG

It was predictable that an evolutionary anti-Noahic flood view would come. And it did.

   

Saltwater crocodile (Wikipedia); Sarcosuchus (extinct relative of crocodile) [photographs courtesy Wikipedia]

A skeptic replies[3]

Dear Editor,

I (sic) amazed that in this day and age anyone can truly believe that story of Noah’s ark actually happened. But I ­find it appalling that someone who does would take such a marvellous discovery like the 50 million year old fossils at Geebung and then twist the facts to suit their own particularly limited world view when the evidence clearly contradicts it.

To suggest that a wooden boat that would have been roughly half the size of an average cruise ship could fi­t 60,000 animals on it is absurd. It would be standing room only and that doesn’t factor in room for food. Which bring me to the fact that some species have quite restrictive dietary needs, koalas for example will only eat from a limited number of eucalypts and then they must be fresh. Others can only live in certain habitats that we even fi­nd difficult to replicate in our modern day zoos and would have been impossible for someone living in the Bronze Age to construct. These are only two of the many logical fallacies that make the story of Noah’s ark just that – a story.

M

I did send a reply to this letter but it was not published. Here is what I wrote:

Mockers will come[4]

Red Tear Clip Art  Water Drop Clip Art  Img Clip Art  Green Tear Clip Art

A skeptic of Noah’s flood, M (Messenger 10 Aug 2013) puts me into the class of being ‘amazed’ that ‘anyone can truly believe that story’. I am in excellent company with the Lord Jesus Christ who believed in a literal flood and used it as an antitype of what will happen at Christ’s second coming (see Matthew 24:38-39). I agree with Jesus rather than M.

I’m accused of twisting the facts re the Geebung fossils of my ‘limited world view’, but M seems to forget that his/her short-sighted world view rejects this evidence when ‘all flesh died’ except Noah’s family. M also operates from a world view.

As for Noah’s boat not being large enough to fit 60,000 animals, that’s M’s contemporary number inserted into the biblical data, which makes no mention of 60,000.

However, M raises a good point. How could ‘two of every sort’ of animals and birds fit onto the gopher wood ark, sealed with pitch inside and out, whose dimensions were 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high with lower, second and third decks (Gen 6:14-16 ESV)? A cubit is about 45 centimetres. The New Living Translation puts the measurements into the Imperial system:

Build a large boat[5] from cypress wood[6] and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.[7] 16 Leave an 18-inch opening[8] below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper (Gen 6:14-16 NLT).

It seems obvious that M as a skeptic does not want this to be a historically feasible ark/boat to fit two of every kind of animal and bird along with food.

A detailed technical study of this issue, along with other issues, is in John Woodmorappe’s book, Noah’s Ark: a Feasibility Study.[9] It provides detailed data on how 8 people could have cared for approx. 16,000 animals using pre-scientific technology and provides answers for getting rid of the approx. 12 metric tons of excreta (muck) produced daily. It’s not an impossible feat to be done by Noah’s family.

The rainbow in the sky is a contemporary covenant sign to confirm Noah’s flood and that God will never destroy humanity with a flood again (see Gen. 9:13-15).

The Bible not only confirms the historically accurate deluge at the time of Noah, has Jesus Christ affirming its authenticity, and it predicts that ‘scoffers will come’ in the last days who ‘deliberately forget’ that ‘the world of that time was deluged and destroyed’. ‘By the same word [of God] the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly’ (2 Peter 3:3-7).

SG, North Lakes

Unfortunately, The Messenger did not want to continue this discussion and did not print my letter of reply.

Mockers, muck and worldviews

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(image courtesy Creation Ministries International)

What follows is more extensive information that I framed in preparation for the letter above, plus some additional details from research.

So a skeptic regarding Noah’s flood, M (Messenger 10 Aug 2014) puts me into the class of being ‘amazed’ that ‘anyone can truly believe that story’.

What I find even more amazing is that I am in mighty good company. It was the Lord Jesus Christ himself who believed in the literal history of that deluge (Genesis 6-10) when he affirmed in his Olivet Discourse: ‘In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes’ (Matthew 24:38-39). I would rather be agreeing with Jesus Christ than M.

As for the charge against me that I did ‘twist the facts’ about the Geebung fossil discovery because of my ‘limited world view’. This is a false allegation. I twisted nothing. I provided an alternate interpretation, based on the catastrophe caused by the worldwide flood in Noah’s time. To show further evidence of the geologic record’s compatibility with a worldwide flood, see Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s article, ‘The Yellowstone petrified forests: Evidence of catastrophe’.

Back to M’s letter: M has overlooked that he/she is supporting his/her skeptical world view about Noah’s flood with the statements in this letter. My understanding is that fossils around the world can be associated with the evidence left by the historical evidence of Noah’s flood when ‘all flesh died’ except Noah and his family.

This article by Steve Cardno, ‘The (second) greatest catastrophe of all time: The Titanic sinking? The Pompeii devastation? What rates as the greatest ‘disaster’ ever?’ provides a photograph of an ‘incredible fossil of an ichthyosaur, buried and fossilised while giving birth, [and] is clear evidence of its having been buried quickly by water-borne sediments. The fossil record is consistent with creatures having been buried suddenly, otherwise most creatures would either rot or be devoured by scavengers’.

So Noah’s boat was not large enough to fit 60,000 animals according to M. There is not a word in the biblical record of 60,000 animals at the time of Noah. That’s M’s contemporary insertion into the biblical data, thus making him/her a perpetrator of eisegesis.

However, M raises a good point. How could ‘two of every sort’ of animals and birds fit onto the gopher wood ark, sealed with pitch inside and out, whose dimensions were 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high with lower, second and third decks (Gen 6:14-16)? A cubit is about 45 centimetres. It seems obvious that M as a skeptic does not want this to be a historically feasible ark to fit two of every kind of animal and bird along with food.

A detailed technical study of this issue, along with other issues, is in John Woodmorappe’s book, Noah’s Ark: a Feasibility Study. It provides detailed data on how 8 people could have cared for approx. 16,000 animals using pre-scientific technology.

Woodmorappe’s assessment was that since most of the animals were small with the median size animal about the size of the rat. Only about 15% of the animals were sheep-sized or larger. It would have been the larger animals which accounted for most of the food intake and production of excreta. Why could not juvenile animals be the ones taken onto the Ark?

As for the excreta (muck), Woodmorappe’s assessment was that approx. 12 metric tons of excreta would have been produced daily by the Ark animals and, using agricultural literature, he was able to show how it was easily possible for 8 people to deal with that much muck on a daily basis.

See also the article by Dr Jonathan D Sarfati, ‘How did all the animals fit on Noah’s Ark?’ (Creation Ministries International) Dr Sarfati asks, ‘Was the ark large enough to hold all the required animals?’ His answer is:

The Ark measured 300x50x30 cubits (Genesis 6:15), which is about 140x23x13.5 metres or 459x75x44 feet, so its volume was 43,500 m3 (cubic metres) or 1.54 million cubic feet. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent volume of 522 standard American railroad stock cars, each of which can hold 240 sheep.

If the animals were kept in cages with an average size of 50x50x30 centimetres (20x20x12 inches), that is 75,000 cm3 (cubic centimetres) or 4800 cubic inches, the 16,000 animals would only occupy 1200 m3 (42,000 cubic feet) or 14.4 stock cars. Even if a million insect species had to be on board, it would not be a problem, because they require little space. If each pair was kept in cages of 10 cm (four inches) per side, or 1000 cm3, all the insect species would occupy a total volume of only 1000 m3, or another 12 cars. This would leave room for five trains of 99 cars each for food, Noah’s family and ‘range’ for the animals. However, insects are not included in the meaning of behemah or remes in Genesis 6:19-20, so Noah probably would not have taken them on board as passengers anyway.

Tabulating the total volume is fair enough, since this shows that there would be plenty of room on the Ark for the animals with plenty left over for food, range etc. It would be possible to stack cages, with food on top or nearby (to minimize the amount of food carrying the humans had to do), to fill up more of the Ark space, while still allowing plenty of room for gaps for air circulation. We are discussing an emergency situation, not necessarily luxury accommodation. Although there is plenty of room for exercise, skeptics have overstated animals’ needs for exercise anyway.

Even if we don’t allow stacking one cage on top of another to save floor space, there would be no problem. Woodmorappe shows from standard recommended floor space requirements for animals that all of them together would have needed less than half the available floor space of the Ark’s three decks. This arrangement allows for the maximum amount of food and water storage on top of the cages close to the animals.

With every storm or other rain event around the world that is followed by a rainbow in the sky, we have a contemporary reminder of the factuality of Noah’s flood. In the Genesis record, God declared the sign of the covenant he has made with all humanity that he would never destroy all human beings with a flood. The sign of that covenant is the rainbow in the sky (see Gen 9:13-15).

M’s kind of skepticism in denying Noah’s flood and calling it a ‘story’ without historical foundation, is predicted in Scripture: ‘In the last days scoffers will come’ and they deliberately forget that ‘the world of that time was deluged and destroyed’. ‘By the same word [of God] the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly’ (2 Peter 3:3-7).

Creation Ministries International (CMI) has published some further online articles dealing with this topic of Noah and the worldwide flood. However, CMI presents only one creationist view among evangelical Christians, i.e. young earth creationism. There are others such as Dr Norman Geisler who support an old earth:

An earth of millions or billions of years is biblically possible but not absolutely provable…. Given the basics of modern physics, it seems plausible that the universe is billions of years old…. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts this (Geisler 2003:648, 650).

See CMI information about Noah’s flood and the ark:

Conclusion

While the mockers of biblical Christianity will continue until their last breath, their ultimate exposure will be reserved for God’s Day of Judgment.

Be ready to expose the weaknesses in their arguments regarding Noah and the flood by,

(1) Knowing the Scriptures, especially Genesis and its confirmation in the New Testament;

(2) Know the creationist literature that exposes the cynics of biblical Christianity and especially the arguments of those who oppose creationism,

(3) Observe how they use logical fallacies to denigrate creationism and the Scriptures. Please become familiar with theses logical fallacies. The Nizkor Project has a helpful range of definitions for such fallacies.

(4) Be prepared to expose the holes and inconsistencies in their worldviews as they will try do with yours.

Works consulted

Geisler, N 2003. Systematic theology: God, creation, vol 2. Minneapolis, Minnesota: BethanyHouse.

Notes:


[1] Robyn Ironside, Courier-Mail [Brisbane], July 16, 2013. Available at: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/construction-work-in-brisbane-suburb-geebung-unearths-fossils-of-50million-yearold-crocodiles-fish-and-plants/story-fnihsrf2-1226680059012 (Accessed 8 February 2014).

[2] The Messenger, North Lakes, letter by Spencer Gear (SG) published in the edition of 27 July 2013 regarding the fossil find at Geebung.  See: http://www.northlakesmessenger.com.au/mags/2013/July27.pdf. It is on p. 18 under ‘Your Say’ and I’m SG.

[3] ‘Response to SG’, The Messenger, Your Say, August 10 2013, p. 22, available at: http://northlakesmessenger.com.au/mags/2013/Aug10.pdf (Accessed 22 August 2013).

[4] This is my letter sent to The Messenger, North Lakes, on 23 August 2013 at: community@northlakesmessenger.com.au. It was not published.

[5] The footnote here was, ‘Traditionally rendered an ark’.

[6] The footnote here was, ‘Or gopher wood’.

[7] The footnote here was, ‘Hebrew 300 cubits [138 meters] long, 50 cubits [23 meters] wide, and 30 cubits [13.8 meters] high’.

[8] The footnote here was, ‘Hebrew an opening of 1 cubit [46 centimeters]’.

[9] Published by Institute for Creation Research, 1996.

 

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 3 September 2016.