Tuesday’s lineup at the International Conference on Creationism was pretty good, and I was happy with my selections: Ron Samec presented the Mars Desert Hypothesis, John Baumgardner provided an Explanation of the Continental Fossil-bearing Sediment Record, John Woodmorappe, spoke on the Longitudal Strength of Noah’s Ark, and Jerry Bergman presented the Chasm Between Human and Chimp Genomes. I hope this gives you a good idea of some of the research being done in the field and how science supports the Biblical worldview of a young earth.
I’ll start this post with my favorite session of the day, and one of my favorites for the entire week! This was on the Chasm Between Human and Chimp Genomes by Jerry Bergman, PhD.
Perhaps you’ve heard evolutionists tout a 98% similarity between humans and chimps. This has been cited time and again by evolutionists as “proof” that we evolved from ape-like ancestors. However, as Bergman and others have demonstrated, such comparisons are wrong and misleading. In fact this myth has been dumped by those who’ve done the research.
Firstly, how the genes are organized on the chimp genome isn’t completely known because the full picture hasn’t been published yet. But considering that the cost of sequencing a genome is relatively low, there’s no excuse for not publishing the entire chimp genome.
Secondly it’s hard to compare things that aren’t comparable. There’s a vast gap or chasm between man and animals, even though the claims for similarity range from 70-98% in chimps, mice, zebrafish, cows, dogs, platypus, chicken and sea anemone. The differences are quantitative (based on numbers and mathematical calculations), not qualitative (more subjective).
The genes for proteins called histones are nearly identical throughout the entire animal kingdom. Evolutionists identify the similarities in these genes and use a molecular clock to find an assumed divergence point, even though all genes have different molecular clock rates. Anyone can choose a phylogenic tree and then find genes to support a supposed evolutionary relationship- but that’s not evidence that they’re related. The relationship is assumed.
The 98% similarity between humans and chimps is based on comparisons of highly similar genome regions. Not only are evolutionists intentionally seeking these similar regions, they’re also ignoring regions that aren’t similar; labs use prescreening techniques to kick out anything not 95-98% similar. So in most cases only homologous genes and proteins are compared.
Some of the differences that aren’t considered include non-protein coding DNA (or junk DNA), repetitive sequences, gene placement, insertions and deletions, gene length, expressions, regulations, genetic buffering, phenotypic plasticity, and interactomes.
The genome is now viewed as highly interrelated, and the differences are large. For example there are many ways of regulating gene expression that aren’t taken into consideration. Not only can one cell regulate another cell, but a cell’s membrane and the environment may affect cell regulation and division. This complex interaction between genes and the cell environment is true at every stage of biological development.
Because of all this we can no longer define the genome. Darwinian theory fails to explain these key biological factors. DNA sequencing projects have revealed the gene to be a “multilevel mediator” of information lacking a physical description.
In short, evolutionists have fudged the data in order to arrive at their pre-determined goal of 98% similarity (based on reassociation kinetic technology from the 1970’s), and more and more scientists are backing off these claims as more is learned about the genomes.
The next session I’ll summarize was with Ron Samec (PhD in Physics from Clemson University, BA in Astronomy from the University of South Florida) presenting the Mars Desert Hypothesis. This topic definitely challenged some of my previous conceptions of Mars. I’ve always heard about the canals and supposed water erosion on the Red Planet, but I’ve often wondered if water really was responsible, or if such formations were the result of some other process. Since there’s no liquid water on Mars’ surface, I questioned whether liquid water was ever present in the past.
At one time scientists expected to find flowing canals and oceans on Mars, but the Mars probes and rovers we’ve sent there have demonstrated that Mars is more of a desert with a thin atmosphere. The atmosphere in fact freezes and forms dry ice on the ground. Water is buried beneath the permafrost, although some is exposed on the polar caps and insulated by dry ice. Dried up river beds, drain patterns, ancient river valleys, channels, river flows, alluvial fans, oxbows, mud flows and sedimentation have also been discovered. Based on this evidence it’s apparent that liquid water was once common on Mars’ surface. We can even conclude that craters were once filled with water because we can see where gullies flowed down the sides.
There’s no plate tectonics on Mars, so volcanoes such as Olympus Mons and Arsia Mons keep building up as a result of radioisotope decay.
The Mars Desert Hypothesis is a catastrophic and creationary scenario. The idea came from one of Samec’s trips to Arizona in which the western deserts have heavy seasonal rains and flooding. During wet seasons the riverbeds are overflowing. Mars, in comparison, is an extreme desert with no atmosphere to shield it from asteroids, and there’s little erosion.
Samec explained that the RATE group (Radioactivity and the Age of The Earth) explained that accelerated radioisotope decay occurred during certain episodes and produced vast areas of heated subsurface magmas resulting in surface volcanism. This created volcanism on Mars without plate tectonics and left the thick and complex sedimentary layering on Mars that we’ve found. The West Candor Chasm, for example, has ten major repeated periodic patterns.
The next session I attended was on explaining the continental fossil-bearing sediment record in terms of the Genesis Flood by John Baumgardner (BS in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, and a MS and PhD in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA).
This research is being done because a reasonable explanation is needed for the huge volumes of fossil-bearing sediments deposited across the continents during the Genesis Flood. There’s about 6,000 feet of sediment sequence pointing to catastrophic conditions being responsible for the sediment layers.
The level of catastrophism that could move rocks as large as the ones found in the Sloss Megasequence (6 large packages of sediment, each separated by a continent-wide erosional unconformity or surface erosion) is nearly “unfathomable”. It would take a heavy-duty, high-density turbulent water catastrophe to produce the layers and unconformity observed.
It also takes rapidly moving water to distribute and produce rock layers like the ones found in the Navaho Sandstone with crossbeds nearly 100 feet high, underwater sand dunes, and cliffs 2,300 feet high.
Baumgardner’s goal was to develop a numerical simulation tool for the large-scale erosion, transport, and sedimentation processes that operated during the Genesis Flood. One powerful mechanism assumed to be responsible is cavitation- a process which causes the formation of water cavities in liquid that implodes under pressure and can shatter rock.
Baumgardner suggests that a moon-sized body passing by the earth could create a tide high enough at two points on earth to trigger a tsunami capable of producing complex effects and heavy erosion by sweeping across an entire continent.
This is the first step in his model and still requires more detail; I thought it was good to get an early glimpse of the work he’s doing.
The third session I attended was on the Longitudal Strength of Noah’s Ark by John Woodmorappe (MA in Geology, BA in Biology).
Woomorappe suggested that there would be no bending on the ark as long as it was homogenous; that’s because bending is caused by major variations in the hull. The ark would also be safe from tsunami-like waves if it was away from shallow water.
Trusses would provide the longitudal strength the ark needs and would also reduce bending. Spike fasteners have been used in ancient ships and could have been used on the ark. The Bible mentions that the ark was made of gopher wood, but no one really knows what it is, but its identity isn’t crucial. Noah would have had a fairly wide latitude in the design of the ark, and the essential variables used in its construction of suitable trusses within don’t challenge its capabilities. The ability of the interior ark trusses to carry the bending load would allow the construction of relatively large windows and doors.
One example of a wooden ship was The Solano, which carried locomotives and was 424 feet long.