I’ve posted two previous articles on the conference “God and Science” from Solid Rock Lectures- an organization promoting an old earth creation and evolution. In this part I’ll summarize some of the remaining points presented by Gregg Davidson, Ken Wolgemuth, and Joel Duff and address them.
One point was that evolution provides an elegant and simple explanation for why we see what we see; evolutionary theory helps explain why we see different organisms all around the world and their amazing diversity. There are approximately ten to twenty million living species today, but some scientists believe as many as one to four billion species have existed. Supposedly, as many as forty to fifty distinct elephant species have lived at some point in the past, but we have only two or three today, so there are many more species that are extinct than are alive today.
For some reason it bothers me when someone claims that evolution is “elegant”. I see nothing elegant about evolution. Evolution is all about survival. If evolution is the explanation as to why we’re here, it’s a history of killing and death; the less fit don’t survive long enough to reproduce, while those better suited to their environment survive long enough to reproduce and pass along their traits on to their offspring. It may be elegant the way a cheetah chases down its prey, or how a jellyfish swims in the ocean, or how swallows dart about the air, but evolution is a bloody, cruel mess! I’d argue that God’s creation of the animal kingdom- each according to their kind- is much more elegant.
Another point was that we never find fossils of extinct whales and dolphins with modern whales and dolphins; the extinct organisms lived at the same time as the dinosaurs and were reptiles. There were no mammals living in the sea at that time, and no fossils of whales and aquatic reptiles in the same area of the fossil record.
I think this evolutionary scenario is misleading. There are plenty of examples of out-of-sequence fossils (fossils not located where they’re expected), but evolutionists selectively explain them away or assign them to different eras. What we have in the fossil record is a general order of burial, but that doesn’t mean that those organisms lived in different geologic eras. The order isn’t at all straight, but highly nonlinear, and there are many exceptions, such as polystrate fossils (organisms buried through several layers of the geologic column), living fossils (organisms living today, but thought to be extinct), and reworked fossils (a process in which fossils are eroded out of existing rock). Other factors contributing to the fossil distribution is the way moving water sorts and distributes organisms of different weight, density and buoyancy. We’ve also found that the geologic record of any particular area isn’t always consistent with what is presented in textbooks. Some layers are out of order or absent, and using certain index fossil isn’t always reliable. New fossil discoveries are expanding fossil ranges, and different names have been given to organisms found in different strata, even though they appear to be the same organism. There could be many explanations as to why we don’t find one organism fossilized alongside other organisms without resorting to evolution.
Another point was that evolution can make predictions. Supposedly we don’t find mammals in the Jurassic, nor do we find flowering plants or grass. Therefore we can go out and collect dinosaur dung and examine what they ate, and we wouldn’t be able to find these things in their diet. But this isn’t true, and I referred to an article in livescience.com indicating that scientists have indeed found grass in dino dung. And according to an article in Nature, there have been complex mammals found in the Jurassic period. In fact there are examples of mammals described as chipmunk-sized, badger-like, or beaver-like ranging from 130 million years to 200 million years old. So this “prediction” of evolution has been thoroughly refuted.
Further evidence presented for evolution was the existence of “mammal-like” reptiles. Supposedly they’re intermediate forms that aren’t really dinosaurs and aren’t really mammals. But no evidence was presented demonstrating that these mammal-like reptiles evolved into dinosaurs or mammals. Evolution is just assumed. But the existence of these animals is in no way evidence for evolution; another explanation is that these kinds of animals were created by God, just like the Bible tells us.
A Permian Pompeii was presented as evidence of evolution; volcanic ash preserved an entire forest in northern China, and scientists identified and mapped out every animal and all the vegetation. They supposedly predicted what would be found in that layer, and they found what they predicted: tree ferns, lycopods, extinct cycads, horsetails, salamanders, frogs, and insects. But not birds, dinosaurs, mammals, flowering plants or conifers.
Of course there are logical explanations as to why these organisms were found without resorting to evolution: birds and larger animals would have fled the scene, and there’s no reason to believe that conifers and flowering plants didn’t exist at that time in other locations just because they weren’t present at that particular location.
It was suggested that since we have evidence that organisms have changed over time, and that the past is different from the present, somehow that proves evolution. The animals living on the Hawaiian Islands were presented as evidence for evolution. But creationists acknowledge that animals change over time; not only that, but they explain that we’d expect certain organisms, such as crickets, to be different in different locations. We understand what speciation is and how organisms adapt to their environments, but that is not evolution.
Finally they attempted to refute creationists by explaining some of the discrepancies found in radiometric dating. Creationists have demonstrated that samples from Mt. Saint Helens give inflated ages, even though we know exactly when it erupted. Greg Davidson suggested that perhaps one of the older layers had broken off and could have given an older age, so he suggests this was indiscriminant sampling rather than an inaccurate date. But he offered no evidence to support his assertion.
These are just a few of the points made, but none of them are irrefutable evidence for evolution or an old earth, and none of the points contradict a young earth. I think the main difference I see between old earth creationists and young earth creationists is due to the interpretation of the evidence. Both sides have a different worldview that allows us to reconcile the evidence differently. But there’s no reason to accept an old earth creation over a more recent creation based on the evidence presented.
I believe it’s more reasonable to accept a young earth creation based on both the Biblical evidence and scientific evidence.