A Few More Questions for Creationists

A month ago we posted A Few Questions for Creationists. Now we have a few more. None of this material is new to our regular readers, but it’s worth the effort to compile these into a couple of convenient posts.

Let’s start with scriptural literalism. Yes, we know the Discoveroids will wiggle out of our first two questions, claiming that they’re not that kind of creationist. No problem, the other questions apply to them as well as to young-earth creationists.

1. The bible is quite explicit that The Earth Is Flat! So our question is: Besides being a creationist, why aren’t you also a flat-earther?

2. Also, scripture makes it very clear that The Earth Does Not Move! Why don’t you reject the solar system?

3. Turning to the alleged evils of Darwin’s theory — it supposedly leads to Hitler and all that, despite the total absence of Hitlerian references to Darwin — why isn’t it also true that creationism leads to the depravity of outspoken creationists like Jimmy Swaggart? If creationism is based on morality (and evolution is based on a rejection of all that is good and moral), then why are there any creationist scoundrels like Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim Bakker?

4. If humans are intelligently designed, why is there any need for occupations like optometry and dentistry?

5. If humans are the crowning glory of creation and our DNA is the designer’s handiwork, why are there several species on Earth with genomes far larger than that of a human — in some cases several times bigger? The genome of the amoeba is much bigger than a human’s, and there’s a plant with a genome an astounding 50 times bigger than ours (see A Japanese Plant Has the World’s Biggest Genome).

We won’t go around asking creationists these questions (see Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism), so this post is only for rhetorical purposes. But if anyone does ask these questions, don’t expect any coherent answers. There aren’t any.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “A Few More Questions for Creationists

  1. docbill1351

    A couple of conversations stops most creationists in their tracks, that is, they run away from discussion groups. Most hard-core creationists will simply avoid answering these questions preferring to ask new questions, divert the conversation or claim, in their best Admiral Ackbar, it’s a trap.

    First and my personal favorite, Teh Flood. Here’s all the water on Earth in a ball. Pretty nifty! Actually, that ball has a diameter of nearly 900 miles so it’s a big ball but still very, very tiny compared to the planet. A simple calculation shows that to flood the Earth requires 600 MILLION CUBIC MILES more water than is available. Even to flood the planet to a depth of only 100 feet requires vastly more water than is available.

    Can’t rain it out. Can’t find it underground. Simply can’t be done.

  2. #4 is easy to answer. Sin. Once sin entered the world humans became imperfect. Which also answers any questions about genetic disease and plagues and the like.

    However, the question is why after Jaysus and his eradication sin it still exists???

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    What do you mean “It can’t be done”? Were YOU there at the not flood to see it NOT being done 4,500 years ago?

  4. Jim Thomerson

    The bible mentions the four corners of the earth. A regular solid with four corners is a tetrahedron. Why is there no tetrahedral earth society? Looks to me like a niche market waiting to be filled.

  5. retiredsciguy

    @DocBill: Thanks for the great graphic depiction of all the earth’s water! Wish I had had that while I was still teaching 7th grade science.

  6. docbill1351

    RSG, nothing like perspective! And, it’s all the water: oceans, rivers, organisms and atmosphere. Although, of course, oceans make up 99 plus of it. Still, to take that and project a global flood is, well, nuts!

    Another graphic I like, available through Google, shows the relative size of stars to our Sun. OMG, talk about some big asstronomical stars! Yikes!

  7. NeonNoodle

    “No, you are NOT the center of the universe.”

  8. retiredsciguy

    @DocBill: Agreed that the idea of a global flood is preposterous. I thought groundwater made up more than 1%, though.

    Haven’t watched the size comparison linked by Neon Noodle yet, but you’re right about some big things out there. For instance, red giant Antares — diameter is larger than the orbit of Mars.

  9. I have reservations about the first question.
    I fear that it may be distracting because there are several ways of addressing it. After all, it has been known for a long time back to something like the 6th century BC, that the Earth is round, and thus Bible-readers have had a long time to adapt to that.
    One approach is to appeal to the principle that things in the Bible which are obviously not literally true are to be given a non-literal interpretation. It does not take a lot of thought to see that the Earth is not flat: that’s why you can see (or be seen) farther from a high point, something which people have long known.
    Another approach is to point out that the word being used for “Earth” can also mean “land”, so that expressions referring to the end of the Earth can also refer to the shore of a territory.
    I think that in general it’s a fruitless task to argue about Biblical interpretations. As we all know, there are thousands of different sects, each of which claim that they have the correct interpretation of the Bible. We are getting into a quagmire to try to argue that “our” interpretation is the “correct” one when we say that the Bible says that the Earth is flat.
    BTW, I think that the situation is somewhat different for geocentrism, but I won’t get into that right now.

  10. Curmudgeon: “Yes, we know the Discoveroids will wiggle out of our first two questions, claiming that they’re not that kind of creationist.”

    But that means that they would have nothing to lose by answering them. And in fact they have quietly conceded to science on those questions. But if you highlight those questions in front of an audience of potential big-tenters, they certainly will wiggle out of them.

    Actually, if you don’t mind, I recently thought of my own “best question” for “creationists”. I’ll post it below

  11. Possible “best question” for evolution-deniers:

    “I accept evolution. If I died now will I go to hell?”

    Most anti-evolution activists (Discoveroids, AiG, < 1% of the public) will either evade the question or give a qualified “not necessarily” before spouting some “Expelled” nonsense. Most rank-and-file evolution-deniers, however, will probably say "no" or "I don't know." Hopeless evolution-deniers who are not in on the scam, will likely say “yes” without hesitation. But these are at most 1/4 of adult Americans, and 1/2 of evolution-deniers.

    If I’m right, that question will give you critical information about what “kind” of denier you are dealing with. If they are either activists or hopeless deniers there’s no point giving them evidence for evolution unless there are fence-sitters present. And even then that evidence should be balanced with questions about their “theory.” Starting with what may well be the 2nd best question:

    “Do you agree with Michael Behe that life has existed on earth for billions of years and that humans share common ancestors with dogs and dogwoods?”

    That will separate the Biblical literalists from the big-tenters. The former will say no, and the latter will evade the question or try to change the subject back to “Darwinism.” That’s also a good question for the subset of the rank-and-file that is not beyond hope, but is unaware of how much confusion and disagreement there is among evolution deniers.

  12. Jim Thomerson: “Why is there no tetrahedral earth society?”

    Actually I thought of that (as a parody) about 10 years ago. Not because of the “4 corners” but because of carbon chemistry. “We’re all sp3 hybrids now.” ;-)

  13. OK, so ID is not Bible-based. Still, I’d like to see how they distinguish between heliocentrism and evolution. Why do they not insist that the motions of the heavens are a product of “Intelligent Design” (or do they)?

  14. Jim Thomerson

    I recall a story about one of the prominent creationists addressing a friendly group, and saying something about of course, we are not flat earthers. There were a number of flat earthers in the crowd and he was booed off stage. Not sure if that is a true story, but a good one anyway.

  15. why are there any creationist scoundrels like Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim Bakker?

    Just Haggard and Swaggart? (I’m not sure Bakker was creationist.) You could give us a more complete list than that:

    For sex scandals: “Bishop” Eddie L. Long; Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho); Sen. David Vitter (R-LA); Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss);

    And for non-sex scandals, Kent “jailbird” Hovind; terrorist Chuck Colson; killer J. Frank Norris; Tom Delay, indicted; fraudster Kouznetsov, arrested for check kiting; Kevin “breaking and entering” Jackson; and Stephen “wife-and-child-beater” Green (UK); and of course many Islamic terrorists.

    I bet Eric Rudolph was creationist, though I don’t have proof.

  16. Agree with the comments – the 6000 year old flood is a non starter, but with regards the amount of extra water required to flood the earth, effectively this is just the same volume as the smaller sphere again i.e. approximately 95million cubic miles, albeit still a large volume, and not the 600 million cubic miles noted above. The smaller sphere volume equates to approximately a 6 mile deep layer of water across the entire earth surface area. At the moment the highest level of water is sea level. Add just under another 6 mile thickness of water and you will cover all the land (Mount Everest is 5.5miles high).

  17. @Shaun: It’s hard to evaluate that without seeing your math, and knowing the base radius you are using. You might track down the source of the 600 million miles^3 estimate (Talk. Origins, I’d guess) and compare methods.

  18. docbill1351

    I think Shaun’s number came from an unreliable comment made by some nitwit on the InterTube.

    Oh, hey, that was me way up at the top of the thread. Anyway, I’m going to blame it on

    1. Poor public school education.
    2. Having to retake calculus (a few times)
    3. Faulty software in my HP Scientific calculator
    4. Euclid
    5. Vegetables, in general.

    Let’s see, naught and naught carry the naught …

  19. I think Shaun has commented here before, and I’m more than willing to let him make his case, but his math seems wrong.

    >”The smaller sphere volume equates to approximately a 6 mile deep layer of water across the entire earth surface area.”

    That just isn’t right, unless someone shrunk the Earth to a ~1100 mile radius and didn’t tell me about it.

  20. There’s a fast way to get it. 4 * pi * radius of earth ^ 2 * depth of water. I leave the derivation as an exercise for the alert reader. (See if you can do it without a series expansion!) It avoids the subtraction of huge large numbers, which is FRAUGHT with error… anyway I get 1.2 billion ADDITIONAL cubic miles of water to cover the earth to a depth of 6 miles. All of our current water has gone in to making up the current sea level, has it not?

    Let’s see how much water is in the ocean. 70% of the earth’s surface (4 pi r^2 * 0.7) at an average depth of 2.4 miles gives 330 million cubic miles, about what Wikipedia says (310 million). So to cover the earth to a depth of 6miles requires about 4 times as much water as is currently in the oceans.

  21. Here’s my take on the “How much water would it take?” debate. I imagine two spheres, one inside the other. The inner sphere is the Earth itself, complete with oceans, rivers, and so on. The mean radius of the Earth is 6371 km (Source: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/earthfact.html). That gives a volume of 4/3*pi*r^3 = 1.0832e+12 cubic km = 259.88e+09 cubic miles. The outer sphere is the Earth plus all the water of “The Flood”. Since we’re talking about extra water that is 6 miles (9.6 km) high, that would be a sphere of 6371+9.6 km = 6380.6 km. The volume of the outer sphere would be 261.05 billion cubic miles. The total volume of water needed for “The Flood” will be the difference between the inner and outer spheres, which would be 261.05e9 – 259.88e9 = 1.18 billion cubic miles of water.
    This, my friends, is what we call “convergence”. Ya see, Gabe used a slightly different method (surface area of the earth times the depth of water) than I did (subtraction of the volume of spheres) yet we arrived at pretty much the same answer (roughly 1.2 billion cubic miles of ADDITIONAL water). The USGS website (http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html) says we have 332.5 million cubic miles of water in, on and above the earth. (Gabe, your initial calc was closer than Wikipedia. Don’t let it go to your head.) That means “The Flood” required roughly 3 1/2 times the amount of water than is available.

  22. Oh, almost forgot. Doc Bill, was your scientific calculator an HP11, -15, -41, or 48? And did you accidentally have it set to RDBN (reverse Doc Bill notation)?

  23. Gary says:

    That means “The Flood” required roughly 3 1/2 times the amount of water than is available.

    No problem. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights.

  24. @Gary:This, my friends, is what we call “convergence”

    Not really, we did the same calculation from the same information. My method is the same as yours, to first order in the water depth. They agree because the radius of the earth is so large compared to the depth of the ocean, you can ignore that the earth is a sphere.

  25. Gary/Gabriel: You guys are getting about what I worked out, but as Gabe notes these can be very sensitive to the radius.

    Gary writes: “… did you accidentally have it set to RDBN (reverse Doc Bill notation)?”

    snork!

    Gary writes: “The Flood” will be the difference between the inner and outer spheres, which would be 261.05e9 – 259.88e9 = 1.18 billion cubic miles of water.”

    Or about 2.114*10^22 cans of Mt. Dew.

  26. about 2.114*10^22 cans of Mt. Dew.

    Almost a mole of Mt Dew cans.

    Feynman pointed out long ago that “astronomical numbers” should really be called “economical numbers”. Zimbabwe’s inflation rate, before economists gave up trying to estimate it, and long after anyone sane bothered to use Zimbabwe’s currency as a medium of exchange, was 6.5*10^(108) percent. That’s six hundred and fifty million googol percent.

    There is nothing countable in the Universe that corresponds to this number. The observable universe is 45.7 billion light-years in radius. 4.57 * 10^13 ly = 8.46 * 10^56 Planck lengths. (1 Planck length = 1.62 * 10^(-35) m, and it is the smallest meaningful distance, a proton is 10^20 Planck lengths across.) Zimbabwe’s inflation rate is 10^56 times bigger than the distance across the Universe using the smallest possible unit of measurement.

    If you calculate the volume of the Universe in Planck lengths, you get 2.54 * 10 ^ 172 cubic Planck lengths. This is the only number I can think of, at the moment, in the physical world that is bigger than Zimbabwe’s inflation rate.

  27. I know I’m being fiddly, but I think you mean measurable not countable. A ratio isn’t countable, but the numerator and denominator should be (unless maybe you have a ratio of ratios, but I’m not going there).

  28. about 2.114*10^22 cans of Mt. Dew.

    Almost a mole of Mt Dew cans.

    So close! We nearly made a molehill out of a mountain.

  29. @Tomato Addict:I know I’m being fiddly, but I think you mean measurable not countable.

    No, I meant “countable”. There’s nothing countable, for example the number of protons is about 10^80. So I tried to see if I could find something “measureable” that was bigger. I didn’t spell out the transition from one to the other. Volume of the universe was all I could think of–I’d have done surface area but I’m not sure what that means, for the whole universe.

    But if you take those 10^80 protons, and arrange them in every possible way that they fit into the Universe, that number would be a lot more. That number would be the number of microstates for the Universe, which would be thermodynamically significant, but it’s not a number of currently existing things that you could count.

  30. docbill1351

    I think I calculated the 600 million cubic miles for a creationist who insisted that Mt. Everest was a lot smaller back in the day. It didn’t matter, really, whether the flood was 30,000 feet deep or 300 feet deep. Still needed more water than there is on the planet.

    Be that as it may, my calculator collection (all of which still work, BTW) consists of an HP-45, HP-10c, HP-22s and HP-42s. I had a Casio calculator, once, and I only bought it because it had binary, octal and hexadecimal modes which helped me calculate address offsets when I was doing binary patches to the disc drive file directory. Yes, it’s a very dangerous thing to do, but Danger is my middle name.

  31. Make that “Doctor Danger Kong.”