Labor Day — Free Fire Zone

This has been a difficult few days for your Curmudgeon. Our old adversary, AT &T, somehow shut down one of our phone lines Friday afternoon. It’s the line that also accesses the internet (no, it’s not a dial-up connection), so we were off-line for about 24 hours.

We were back on Saturday afternoon, but that phone line somehow didn’t function as a traditional voice telephone line, which it had always previously done. That got fixed this morning, and we thought the problem was solved. But suddenly — although we still have internet access — it once again stopped functioning as a telephone line.

We’ll survive. That’s not our only telephone line. It’ll get fixed, eventually, after we call AT&T and once more struggle through their ghastly automated service menus.

But that’s not all. Because this is a three-day holiday weekend, there’s virtually no news about The Controversy between evolution and creationism. Once again, it’s up to you to keep things going. Therefore, we declare another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone.

We’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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37 responses to “Labor Day — Free Fire Zone

  1. This is very far from an original thought (and I doubt I have ever suffered such in any event), but it continues to rile me that the Discoveroids–following Paley–continue to insist that “wherever we detect complexity, we detect design–and thereby, the presence of a designer.”

    But this is such a blatant petitio principii based on Paley’s bloody watch; it seems so blindingly obvious (at least to me) that all that that pathetic analogy really says is, “Wherever we detect manufacture, we detect design–and thereby a manufacturer.”

    The IDiots’ complete inability to produce any evidence of a process of manufacture performed by their holy Intelligent Designer (blessed be Him/Her/It/Them!) ought to indicate to everyone just how threadbare Paley’s analogy is.

  2. Magick the black kitty has some serious medical issues and I have some serious vet bills that will keep me on starvation rations for months to pay because of my extremely low income. I can and will do that, but if anyone wants to help links to her GoFundMe page are on the website and Facebook pages of The Bicycling Guitarist. She is only 7 1/2 years old. If she wasn’t so young, and so sweet, I wouldn’t be trying so hard. If this is out of line, please delete the post and don’t ban me! thanks

  3. My guess is that in Paley’s time, there was still the idea of the artisan who designed – and produced, sold, and bought the raw materials – for something like a gentleman’s watch. And the gentleman didn’t much care about the details (that being beneath his station).

    The industrial revolution made the various functions distinct.

  4. You don’t suppose your phone troubles were caused by creationist moles at the phone company?

    Naah, it couldn’t be. They’re such gentle, forbearing Christians, they’d never do such a thing.

  5. Its sub $50 oil boys and girls and the oil “bidness” is retrenching.
    That said, there still has never been a single drop of oil discovered by a creationist, other than by accident. It is the sciences which give us the petrol to fuel our automobiles, the electrical power to run our computer networks and the medicine to care for the sick.
    Put that in your watch design and your law of retroactive astonishment Behe.
    And its a special tip of the hat to ol’ Westie the inscrutable oriental of the creationism business, uh , I mean the creation science organization, the Discotute.
    Happy Labor Day America!

  6. I think I’ve made this appeal before. Has anyone any idea of what arguments would actually make creationists change their minds? Or even change a young Earth creationist into an old Earth creationist, which may be a useful halfway stage? All the creationist arguments were in play by the time of the Scopes trial 19 years ago, down to the denial of intermediate forms, the claim that evolution had never been observed, and misrepresentation by quote mining. So were all the rebuttals, including even the use of tissue typing (now, of course, we use DNA evidence) to show that whales are related to pigs. So why, as far as the American public are concerned, are we no further forward?

  7. Paul Braterman asks: “Has anyone any idea of what arguments would actually make creationists change their minds? Or even change a young Earth creationist into an old Earth creationist, which may be a useful halfway stage?”

    If such arguments existed, they would have been discovered by now and they would be routinely deployed. That means creationism — at least the young-Earth version — would cease to exist, except as a freakishly rare aberration like believing oneself to be Napoleon.

  8. I’m curious about what may be the most recent new argument against evolution. Perhaps the “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism” which (so Wikipedia tells us) goes back to a 1915 book by Arthur Balfour, Theism and Humanism. (I’ve never seen this book.)

    For example, “Irreducible Complexity” (although not by that phrase, and not against evolution, but for preformationism) was discussed in the 18th century.
    I’ve also seen a “perpetual motion” argument for divine action in the 18th century (a precursor of an “entropy” argument). And, of course, the examples of “bad guys” have been changed over the years.

    BTW, that typo – the Scopes trial was in 1925, 90 years ago.

  9. To Dr. Braterman’s challenge to frame arguments for changing the minds of Creationists, our Curmudgeon notes

    If such arguments existed, they would have been discovered by now and they would be routinely deployed.

    I’d go a tad further and say that such arguments cannot exist by definition, for discussions with Creationists are not discussions with rational beings. There aren’t one or two reasons for accepting ToE as our best account for life on earth, there are hundreds of thousands of reasons for so accepting–but they are of no consequence to folks who are in full-blown flight from reason and reality. I am not exaggerating in this: the Wedge Document of the DI is Exhibit 1 in the evidence that Creationists are consciously and avowedly making war on reason itself. Exhibit 2 would be Ham’s admission, at the conclusion of his ‘debate’ with Nye, that no amount of empirical evidence could ever, for a Creationist, counter the word of scripture. In other words, no Creationist-mind-changing argument exists, by definition.

    Creationists do not base their beliefs on reason, but on emotion–and often on rather infantile emotions at that. Long before you could ever present a compelling argument about anything to a Creationist, you would have to persuade him to embrace logic and empiricism, which is about as futile as teaching trigonometry to a toddler…

  10. no amount of empirical evidence could ever … counter the word of scripture

    How then, do so many accept the finding of modern science that the Earth is a planet of the Solar System, contrary to the universal understanding of Scripture for some 2000 years (from 500 BC to AD 1500). What other than “nothing in astronomy makes sense except in the light of heliocentrism”?

    (I compare the universal silence about evolution over evolution over that same span. And I am not going to compare how accessible the evidence.)

  11. Our Curmudgeon imagines that if there actually was a single magic-bullet argument then

    creationism — at least the young-Earth version — would cease to exist, except as a freakishly rare aberration like believing oneself to be Napoleon.

    In the developed world–outside the United States–it is already the case that Young Earth Creationism is generally regarded as a freakishly rare aberration along the lines of Napoleonic delusions…

  12. TomS wonders

    How then, do so many accept the finding of modern science that the Earth is a planet of the Solar System, contrary to the universal understanding of Scripture for some 2000 years (from 500 BC to AD 1500).

    Fundies, YEC’s, and sola scripturalists are nothing if not selective and imaginative in their practice of Biblical ‘exegesis’ and confabulation.

  13. AT&T is THE worst. Their idiocy is on par with creationists, but is distinctly different. It is a rancid mix of corporate inertia and poorly trained customer service with no accountability. They also have a very poor system to connect the status of the various service nodes and integrate it into a robust broad view of the network (In short the left hand doesn’t know that the right hand is doing.). As a service provider they have two jobs: Keep the service running and if there is a problem (and there are lots of them, typically always on their end) provide quick and competent service to resolve it. FAIL FAIL FAIL. By the time AT&T realizes that people have choices, they’ll be a mere appartion fading away to nothingness.

  14. Troy says: “AT&T is THE worst. Their idiocy is on par with creationists, but is distinctly different. It is a rancid mix of corporate inertia and poorly trained customer service with no accountability.”

    Today my problems are worse. Now both my voice lines are down. All I’ve got is my cell phone and the internet. So I used the cell phone and called them again, battling my way through their automated menus and waiting on hold. My land line account number is different from my internet account number, and the cell phone I was calling from is yet a different account number. Why is that my problem? Eventually I got to speak with a woman whose accent that sounded like she was from Bangladesh. I had to ask her to repeat everything she said, sometimes more than once. Anyway, now they’re going to send someone out tomorrow. I’ll have nothing but my cell phone today, and I imagine that my internet connection is precarious.

  15. Paul Braterman wrote:

    I think I’ve made this appeal before. Has anyone any idea of what arguments would actually make creationists change their minds?

    I’ve had so many people ask me that question lately that I dug up this very very rough and incomplete manuscript for The Amateur’s Guide to Do-It-Yourself De-YEC-ification.

    Due to its size, I’ve posted it here: https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/a-very-rough-incomplete-draft-de-yec-ification-strategies-ideas/

    Or even change a young Earth creationist into an old Earth creationist, which may be a useful halfway stage?

    As a matter of fact, I have indeed found that those who find their own path out of YECdom without any assistance tend to OEC a while. Years ago one found a lot Gap Theory people among the Old Earth Creationists but it seems to be much less common nowadays.

    All the creationist arguments were in play by the time of the Scopes trial 19 years ago…

    Keep in mind, however, that until THE GENESIS FLOOD (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.), Young Earth Creationism was not such an adamant (and angry position.) So fundamentalist Christians in America shared William Jennings Bryan (attorney and creationism advocate in the Scopes Trial) Old Earth Creationism without getting much flack. But after Morris & Whitcomb got the “creation science” movement going, “Fundamentalist Christian” came to mean “Young Earth Creationist” also, even though that hadn’t been commonly considered a fundamentalist requirement before that era.

    …, down to the denial of intermediate forms, the claim that evolution had never been observed, and misrepresentation by quote mining. So were all the rebuttals, including even the use of tissue typing (now, of course, we use DNA evidence) to show that whales are related to pigs.

    Ken Ham invited Dr. John Whitcomb Jr., the only surviving member of the “creation science triumvirate” (Henry Morris, Duane Gish, Whitcomb), to sit at the center of the line of VIPs at the Ark Park “peg and plank” ceremony that served the purpose of a ground-breaking ceremony. (I may have “peg and plank” wrong, but I just remember that it sounded like a Long John’s Silver fish & chicken take-home dinner.) Ham introduced him as one of the founders of the “creation science” movement. What Ham should have said is that he and other YEC entrepreneurs made their fortunes recycling most of pseudo-science arguments of The Genesis Flood. Truly, other than the lame genomic and “soft tissue” arguments and various popular slogans and mantras like “Were you there?”, over a half century later about 95% of the nonsense spewed by “creation scientists” comes from that book.

    Incredibly, when the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Genesis Flood. got its recycling a few years ago, nobody bothered to edit, comment, or even admit any of the obvious errors of basic science. Neither sellers nor buyers cared. In other words, it was much like every other “creation science” book on the market.

    So why, as far as the American public are concerned, are we no further forward?

    Yes. No further forward.

    Why? Because once you get down to the bottom line, it’s about feelings not facts. That’s been one of the most read essays:

    https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/evolution-denialism-its-about-feelings-not-just-facts/

  16. I think we can go back one generation further than Whitcomb and Morris. I;m blogging right now about the Scopes Trial (The Scopes “Monkey trial”, Part 1: Issues, Fact, and Fiction http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2015/08/the-scopes-monkey-trial-part-1-issues-fact-and-fiction.html) and the next episode will deal with Darrow’s humiliation of Bryan, and the aftermath.

    Bryan was an Old Earth Creationist (one of many points where Inherit the Wind differs from history), wriggled on the stand because to admit this would be to admit the principle of interpretation into biblical creationism, but was finally forced to do so, and was lampooned for this by one George McCready Price. Bryan was trying to maintain his position at the spearhead of Fundamentalism, and would have seen Price as a rival. As you may know, Price was an Adventist, a YEC, and his flood geology is the direct precursor of Whitcomb and Morris, who reference him.

  17. By the way, if you can stomach it, this YEC rebuttal to the Biologos poster showing the many types of evidence for an old earth is…. well…. shameless.

    {As a jpg, this link may display the poster instead of just provide the URL.}

    Notice how they’ve annotated the age of the earth evidence poster with silly denials.

    I lost count of the lies. Notice near the top where it says the only reliable way to know the age of anything is through eyewitnesses. Obviously, in the justice system everybody knows that eyewitnesses tend to be the most unreliable. It is quite sobering how many people spent years in prison (and death row) due to eyewitness testimony but DNA evidence freed them—or came too late.

    It is always hard to determine just how much of what we see in “creation science” organizations is pathological lying and how much is self-deception and the-end-justifies-the-means rationalization—but more than a few times I’ve spotted tell-tale body language which expresses discomfort when some of the “creation scientists” are forced to express some of the weakest and most obvious lies. That “eyewitnesses are the only reliable way to know” whopper is one of those. I know that some people are certain that they all know that they are lying—but I’ve known some of them well enough to assure you that it is quite incredible the lies that some people can convince themselves to believe despite being smart enough to know otherwise.

    For example, when Dr. John Whitcomb had gotten himself all excited about “creation science” through the writings of George Mcready Price (who based them on the “visions of creation” by Seventh Day Adventist prophetess Ellen White), he searched the evangelical world for a Christian with a science Ph.D. who would team up with him to co-author what he considered a very important, world-changing book which would reclaim science for Christian Fundamentalism in ways similar to how Christians had been responding to the “liberal” universities and seminaries in prior decades. Whitcomb was frustrated that science professors at various Christian institutions did not share his enthusiasm, to say the least. Whitcomb was hoping that Wheaton College, the so-called “Harvard of the evangelical world”, would be the solution, so he made an appeal to various of the science faculty there. One of those science professors at Wheaton didn’t just turn him down. He drove all the way from Wheaton down to Grace Theological Seminary—probably a four hour drive on a Sunday if I recall—where Whitcomb taught and lived and spent hours trying to explain to Whitcomb the many errors of science in his grandiose and triumphalistic “creation science” nonsense. He pleaded with him to take the time to learn why his ideas were terribly faulty. Whitcomb was as stubborn then as he is now.

    Sadly, John Whitcomb eventually found his science Ph.D. Henry Morris was a hydrology professor and an expert in hydraulics engineering. As they say, the rest is history.

  18. Indeed, as I suspected, you did not need me to tell you about Price. Where to start with this lot? when the dating of Vesuvius was the subject of a Nature paper celebrating the accuracy of argon-argon dating (as you know, basically potassium-argon but with refinements to avoid sampling distortions)? [One of the examples in http://ncse.com/rncse/20/3/radiometric-dating-does-work by GB Dalrymple, one of my heroes] Rebutting the ICR “rebuttal” would be easy, lengthy, and probably a waste of time. If someone needs me to tell them that it’s nonsense, they aren’t going to believe me when I tell them anyway.

    So I look forward to reading your essays. Problems with global warming denial are very similar.

  19. I think we can go back one generation further than Whitcomb and Morris.

    If you found evidence of Young Earth Creationist “creation science” a generation before Whitcomb & Morris, I will be very interested. In fact, it will amaze me. All I was ever able to find was in fringe groups with little to no influence on mainstream fundamentalists and evangelicals.

    In my research on that era, I never found much evidence of any systematic attempts at anything of that sort. Obviously, Seventh Day Adventism was considered a dangerous cult in those days—which is why Whitcomb and Morris made NO MENTION of Price in their book—and had limited wider influence except in the healthy diet trend (which brought us Kelloggs of Battle Creek, Michigan and countless other cereals, a few of which survived to make it big) and the “health retreat/spa” craze which mostly the relatively rich could afford.

    I don’t remember the year when Whitcomb openly admitted to basing his “research” almost entirely on Price—but I thought it wasn’t until some 30+ years later. (I may be wrong on that. My memory is not what it used to be. Of course, many of us knew where the ideas came from, but I don’t recall anybody in “creation science” circles ever openly talking about it until perhaps mid-1990’s or so???)

    What always amazed me about John Whitcomb relying so heavily on George McReady Price (and thereby SDA prophetess Ellen White) is that John had always been about the most conservative fundamentalist of the faculty at Grace Theological Seminary and he was known as a “strict separationist”, a position which eventually put him at odds with the school where he taught so many years (and which granted him his doctorate.) He ended up leading a split in the “denomination” (actually, a “fellowship of churches”) and a few other professors and they started their own competing seminary downstate in Indianapolis, I think it was.)

    Anyway, if you found a “creation science” leader in the evangelical or fundamentalist world a generation before Whitcomb, I will be amazed and interested.

  20. By the way, a great time-wasting but amusing time can be had reading SDA prophetess Ellen White’s “vision” of her tour of the solar system. Of course, it doesn’t stack up against what we know of the planets today—and was remarkably similar to the erroneous speculations by the scientists of her day! —-but her vision is delightfully wrong and entertaining in a bizarre sort of way.

    I’ve probably mentioned on this forum the fact that various medical experts have assessed from her “visions” and the descriptions of friends and families that she suffered lifelong after-effects of severe head trauma from being hit in the head by a rock during recess at her elementary school. Apparently her “visions” always coincided with particular patterns of symptoms which are quite common for victims of such head trauma. If one knows the culture and context in which she grew up, it is easy to imagine why she interpreted her symptoms as she did. Clearly she hallucinated and incorporated into her “visions” information she had gathered from newspapers and the Bible and the sermon styles of her day.

    However, her emphasis on various health and hygiene regulations from Torah Law (the Pentateuch of the Bible) was truly ahead of its time and was the precursor of the trend to encourage more fiber in the diet and discouraging highly processed foods, excess sugar and salt, and other health practices which have much wider favor today. In fact, on insurance company actuarial tables and most measures of health, Adventists score very high to this day.

  21. Professor Tertius, here’s some creation science by George McCready from 1925: The Predicament of Evolution. His arguments are still in play today.

  22. Good to see that the whole McCready text is online! The first time I went looking for it long ago (pre-Internet days), it was very hard to find.

    His arguments are still in play today.

    And we can thank John Whitcomb Jr. for that.

    I have often wondered would have happened if the Internet was generally available to everybody in 1962 as it is today when John Whitcomb Jr. and Henry Morris published The Genesis Flood. Surely Seventh Day Adventists would have seen the book and gone viral with accusations that Whitcomb had clearly plagiarized a lot of McReady (and SDA) ideas. Considering how “marginalized” and denigrated as a “Christian cult” were SDAs in those days, I think most Fundamentalists and many evangelicals would have reacted in horror. Yet, the many appeals to scripture might have been enough to quell the controversy. I really don’t know. If the conservative Christians saw the theology (regardless of the “science” aspects) strongly linked to Ellen White’s visions, that would have probably decided the matter in IFCA (Independent Fundamentalist Churches of America) churches, where “second-level separation” would have required rejecting the book.

    At the very least, I think the book would have taken longer to catch on. Of course, when we start crafting hypothetical pasts, one must wonder if McReady’s ideas might have reached the wider Christian public through other means and the Morris dynasty might never have become perpetual.

  23. Prof T, I once read that all those kinds of self-denial Adventists practice don’t actually make them live longer. It just seems longer.

  24. Problems with global warming denial are very similar.

    I assume somebody out there has done some amazing comparisons of conspiracy theory phenomena and correlated them with various psychological profiles etc. I’ve always wondered about similarities with first century Gnosticism in that some people seem to crave the idea that they have “special knowledge” that places them on a higher plane of understanding compared to “average people.”

    There is such a tight correlation between Young Earth Creationism (evolution-denial and old earth denial) and Climate change denial and some appear to revel in what they think is an opportunity to “prove” the evil bias of scientists. I’d love to see a 3D graph showing how various demographics correlate to various conspiracy theories and denialisms.

  25. . It just seems longer.

    It’s interesting how that punch-line has been applied to many different targets over the years. I wonder which one was first? In my case, the first time I heard it, the joke was “Married men don’t really live longer than single men. It just seems longer.” There was also a version of it in reference to people who don’t drink alcohol. I have wondered if that version got started in the days leading up to Prohibition.

  26. Prof Tertius, if we disagree at all it is about the weight to give Price. Whitcomb and Morris reference him on pp 184, 185, 189 (in connection with overthrusts) and 211 (for rhetorical effect) of the 1961 edition (the one I have) of The Genesis Flood. More significantly, he appears frequently in Larson’s Summer for the Gods, about the Scopes trial, rates two full columns of index entries in Numbers’ The Creationists, and Bryan cited him by name when challenged by Darrow to point to a single scientist who shared Bryan’s creationism. Later, of course, Price was to sneer at Old Earth Creationists for their accommodationism.

  27. My favorite so far is at:
    http://www.creationism.org/books/price/PredicmtEvol/Predicmt09.htm

    …..where George McCready Price illustrates the downward direction of the human race with a caption of “Midget cigarette smokers. The race is degenerating.”

    Clearly, the Discovery Institute should consider St. George McCready Price as the patron saint Science Denialism and Intelligent Design.

  28. Paul, my hunch is that our only difference in regards to Price is that I’m largely thinking of Whitcomb relying on Price for more theology than what he will admit with citations—while you are pointing out the “science” Whitcomb got from Price. So as my memories have gradually come back to me, I think we are basically in agreement.

    You see, knowing the Grace Brethren fellowship of churches (i.e., what they called their denomination, the founders of the seminary & college where Whitcomb taught), they would not be all that disapproving of a few “science” citations [quotations marks are quite intentional] of a Adventist—but if Whitcomb had admitted too much reliance on Price and White for his theology, that would have been a problem. Had he admitted too publicly that Price was his major inspiration, I think the flood would have hit the fan. (If the citations you listed were the ONLY Price references, that would not surprise me. Mutual friends had told me at the time that Whitcomb had relied on Price for a lot more than the Lewis other thrust, to say the least. But I am learning to not always trust my memories.)

    I don’t have my volume of THE GENESIS FLOOD at hand. But I think it is a 1962 edition. I don’t think there were all that many 1961 editions printed. You may have in your hand a true collector’s item! Hmmm. I wonder what it might fetch on eBay if you spun a tale to go with hit.

    Speaking of that Lewis overthrust, I have a vague memory of Dr. Kurt Wise quite thoroughly debunking Morris & Whitcomb on virtually everything they said about that geologic feature. (And if memory serves, all three of Wise’s degrees were in geology.)

    Although I make jokes about it, I have some very strong opinions (to speak euphemistically) about the founders of the “creation science” movement—although none towards Price because I never knew him and had little reason to think of him. But with the others, I have plenty of memories which give me reasons for anger. I consider every professor and scholar worthy of such titles to have a very serious, personal responsibility for honest citations and careful quotation, and a fair assessment and weighing of all available evidence. Misuse of terminology, deceptive quote-mining, and misrepresentation of the evidence do damage to eager minds which only considerable discernment and effort will reverse, in most cases many years later. I hold Gish, Morris, and Whitcomb responsible for the shameful, ignorant, evidence-denying, foolhardy movement they cultivated and blame them fully for the countless professional buffoons who came after them and found ways to multiply their willful folly in diverse and dishonorable schemes I once would have thought impossible on this side of human sanity.

  29. SC The ONLY time I spoke to someone that sounded reasonably intelligent and/or a competent English speaker was when I called to cancel my AT&T service.

  30. Prof Tertius and I now seem fully in line. My edition of The Genesis Flood describes itself as “copyright 1961, twenty fourth printing, May 1980”, so not likely to be of particular value.

    The Intelligent Design crowd use various versions of Price’s argument that because organisms are well adapted, change is degeneration, and I have heard an Adventist use the expression “genetic entropy”, thus neatly linking this idea to the usual second law nonsense. From memory, I think there was much concern about degeneration of the race in the late nineteenth century, and that it was one of Zola’s themes.

    But amusingly, Price is spot on in his rejection of Lamarckism, and in his quoting with approval those biologists who said that most evolutionary change seemed to be in non–adaptive; the view that we now associate with Kimura and the term “neutral drift”.

    As for the creationists, I see a continuum between distorted perception, deliberate simplification of arguments for a mass audience, and out and out conscious lying. Among today’s creationists, I would put Ken ham and Pat Robertson in the third category, Behe (who according to Matzke is innocent of quote mining) in the first,and most of the DI crowd, and their fellow travellers in the UK, in the second, but my friends here in the UK tell me that I am too kind.

  31. IIRC, the Adventist community in Loma LInda is outstanding for longevity, and much of this is attributed to strong mutual social support

  32. AT&T says they’re on the way to fix my problems. Yeah, right! I may be off-line soon, and I don’t know how long that will continue. I’m keeping all 12 fingers crossed.

  33. Paul, I wonder if I may be confusing the copyright year for a situation involving another book—because I had thought I had remembered a series of minor corrections which produced a “1961, 1962” copyright situation. Accordingly, I had assumed the 1961 copyright would make your’s from the early printings.

    So now I’m thoroughly perplexed as to which book’s situation I’m recalling.

    Speaking of Loma Linda, perhaps you’ve seen some Young Earth Creationists citing a “differential flotation properties of various animal corpses” research project at Loma Linda University which YECs usually say was “unpublished.” I can’t recall the name of the lady who is described as the faculty member there who allegedly placed a dead chicken [I can’t help but think of the comedy prop potential of that] and variously reported other mammalian corpses in a large “water chamber simulating Noah’s Flood” in order to explain why the carnage from that event produced such consistently ordered fossils in the various alleged “flood strata.” I’ve never gotten around to consulting various Seventh Day Adventist scholars to see if anyone could tell me how the never published research nevertheless found its way into “creation science” lore. If I had to craft a hunch, I wonder if the professor behind the project described it at one of the two Adventist academic societies. (I assume at least one of those is still held on the weekend of the ETS and AAR/SBL conferences where I’m told Adventist professors often summarize their current research interests even if they have no academic paper to read.) And like most stories which have propaganda value, one wonders if even what little about the alleged project is mentioned by “creation science” fans might be fabricated from nothing more than a professor telling of an experiment she would like to put together someday.

    Of course, I’ve found that when YECs are asked why the ordered fossil depositions are so consistently sequences in strata, they simply deny it and claim “the evolutionist scientists hide the contrary evidence to protect their precious evolution theory.” So, once again, evidence just doesn’t matter to them unless they think it can be spun for propaganda purposes.

  34. @Prof. Tertius
    Of course, William “Strata” Smith produced his maps detailing correlations of fossils with strata had no reason to promote evolution. He died in 1839.

    And I like to point out that any natural cause, such as hydrodynamic sorting, which produces any pattern to fossils, is ruled out by the creationist interpretation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  35. The correct explanation is usually the most boring, and I think that is true here; my book is The Genesis Flood, copyright 1961 by the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, twenty-fourth printing, May 1980, ISBN 0-8010-9501-8. Wikipedia gives 1961 as the publication date. I infer that your 1962 is either a misremembering, or the date of one of the earliest reprintings.

    The Loma Linda University work is, if I recall correctly, even weirder than what you describe. Young Earth creationists have to explain the sandstones of the Grand Canyon as flood deposits, but some of them, embarrassingly, contain footprints. Hence work designed to show that the land creatures scurrying through sand covered by shallow water (both the sand and the water are of course a product of the flood) would leave footprints.

    According to Wikipedia, it is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. I don’t know if it imposes any faith requirement on the faculty or students. It is extremely well funded and the Wikipedia section on this is interesting.

  36. TomS wrote:
    And I like to point out that any natural cause, such as hydrodynamic sorting, which produces any pattern to fossils, is ruled out by the creationist interpretation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Yes. Good one, TomS!

  37. Paul Braterman, your very informative posts bring back many memories and generate new ones.