Answering a creationist question – 2

Source: Atheist Universe, David Mills

“A knowledge of the true age of the earth and of the fossil record makes it impossible for any balanced intellect to believe in the literal truth of every part of the Bible in the way that fundamentalists do.
And if some of the Bible is manifestly wrong, why should any of the rest of it be accepted automatically?”
—FRANCIS CRICK (1916-2004), Nobel Prize-winning British biophysicist
and co-discoverer of DNA’s structure, in What Mad Pursuit

Creationist argument: The geologic column was formed not by millions of years of sedimentary deposits, but by the sudden worldwide deluge recorded in the Book of Genesis.

Answer:

 We noted previously that if God had simultaneously created all lifeforms, then we should see a simultaneous appearance of these lifeforms in the geologic column. Instead, we find that primitive, single-celled life appears first, followed later by simple multicellular creatures. Next we observe fish, followed millions of years later by amphibians. Higher on the column, reptiles begin to appear—and, later, small mammals. Primates are found only in the uppermost layers, while fossils of Homo sapiens appear only at the very top.

The Theory of Evolution is completely consistent with the progression of life observed in the geologic column. But for the creationist, the geologic column is very difficult to explain. Why are the fossils arranged from bottom to top in an order of gradually increasing complexity? Creationists know why. It’s because Noah’s flood killed—then meticulously sorted—the fossilized lifeforms we find today in the geologic column. When God caused forty days of torrential rainfall, the most primitive organisms supposedly sank to the bottom of the ocean, where they were preserved in the geologic column.

More complicated, multicellular life sank slower and was fossilized in higher layers. Reptiles living on land tried to outrun the rising flood waters. But mammals ran faster, beating reptiles to upper layers of mountain tops. Man, being the most intelligent, knew to sit on the very peaks of mountains to escape the deluge as long as possible. And what about animals living on flat plains, where there were no mountains to climb?

How did their fossils become systematically arranged into layers of ever-increasing complexity?

Creationists again boast the answer: Different “kinds” of animals possessed differing abilities to float. The same “kinds” of animals shared similar properties of buoyancy, and therefore drowned at similar depths of flood water—reptiles with reptiles, birds with birds, mammals with mammals, etc.

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A few comments:

(1)It is lunacy to suggest that a flood can sort and organize fossils, or anything else. I would ask the creationists to cite one example of a modern flood that left behind such systematic morphology. All people who have actually experienced a flood understand that the waters leave in their wake absolute disarray, rather than absolute order.        

(2) Even more bizarre is the claim that complex lifeforms float better than primitive ones. Human beings are

among the least buoyant of all species. Using creationist “logic,” humans should be near the bottom of the geologic column instead of the top. There is, in actuality, no relationship at all between a lifeforms complexity and its buoyancy.

(3)How did Noah’s flood kill and fossilize fish, then place them on the bottom of the column beneath  reptiles and mammals? Did fish drown in the flood before reptiles and mammals?

(4) Can we realistically believe that, at the onset of the Genesis flood, not one human being on Earth was trapped in a low-lying valley? Not one human was at sea level and swept into the ocean? Not one human died beneath the level of the most elevated dinosaur on Earth? Shouldn’t we find at least a few human fossils in lower layers of the geologic column? Why are there absolutely no exceptions to this rule?

(5) If Noah’s flood rapidly created the geologic column and quickly fossilized most of Earth’s animals, then why do radiometric dating techniques return older ages for the most primitive fossils and younger ages for the most complex? Creationists sometimes respond that the Genesis flood somehow “reset Earth’s radioactive time clock.” If so, then why do the oldest lunar and Martian rocks also test at 4.5

billion years (the same age as Earth)? Did Noah’s flood “reset the radioactive time clocks” on the moon and Mars too?

(6) At the time the Old Testament was written—around 500 B.C.—primitive man did not realize that plants and vegetation were also forms of life. The Old Testament God therefore neglected to make provisions aboard the Ark for preserving plant life, which, like the Animal Kingdom, would have been totally and forever eradicated under thousands of feet of seawater.

(7) The story of Noah’s Ark was adapted by the Hebrews from an earlier Babylonian myth called the Epic of Gilgamesh. In many respects, the Babylonian flood story— which is older than the biblical tale—is virtually identical to the biblical clone, but describes different gods and ark-building characters.

Greek mythology also has a flood story. When Zeus decided to flood the Earth to punish an evil human race, Prometheus instructed Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, to build a wooden ark. After the flood waters receded, they were the only surviving creatures on Earth. As Robert Ingersoll has noted, “There is nothing new or original in Religion. Its maxims, miracles and mistakes, its doctrines, sacraments and ceremonies, were all borrowed.”

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