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Richard Dawkins What if you are Wrong?

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Here is an idea of what to say when questioned about Noah's Flood.

Q. You don't really believe all that Noah and his Ark stuff do you?

I imagine you watch lots of TV programmes etc showing and telling how the earth was pelted by asteroids and comets, and torn apart by earthquakes. This may have been followed by images of the extraordinary geology of the earth, with an account of how areas like Grand Canyon were carved out over millions of years by slow and gradual deposition and erosion. These programmes hardly ever mention a flood, I wonder why? Well maybe the following is the answer. They avoid it deliberately because most of the actual evidence points towards massive flows of water borne sediment causing the geology of the earth. And that sounds like a global flood of unimaginable dimensions. And that takes you straight to Noah's Ark and the Flood.

Q. The Genesis Flood: You must be Joking!

Before you laugh you might like to consider that much of the earth's terrain is made up of huge sedimentary (water borne) series of strata, one laid tight upon another, hundreds of feet or more high some covering thousands of miles. The Grand Canyon is a good example. No features, nothing even remotely like them are being formed today. Recent floods and volcanoes, both great and small have been proved to carve out very small canyons and create features similar to those seen in many places across the globe. But floods of a vast nature such as that described in Genesis: no chance! But strangely enough evolutionists can believe in floods causing colossal geological features, providing it happens somewhere else, for example on a planet like Mars, currently without a drop of water. They deny even the possibility on a planet like ours, despite the fact it is covered in oceans and seas. You could reasonably ask the question why? Could it be because it's the Bible which speaks of volcanic activity, fountains of the great deep being opened up, releasing maybe huge water deposits trapped beneath the earth's crust, something for which there is scientific evidence.

Then there is all the rest of the evidence. The testimony in those sedimentary rock layers, of death, burial and fossilisation of every kind of creature you can imagine: from Sauropods to Nautaloids to birds. Many totally different types of flora and fauna buried in mass graveyards, bones all jumbled together, animals, plants and pollen all out of sync with each other and separated from the environments they were thought to have inhabited. Creatures just ripped apart, often found in the death pose, more often than not headless. The force of whatever hit and buried them must have been unlike anything known in the modern era. A recent find showed two dinosaurs fossilised while in the act of fighting. There is also the example of a fish fossilised in the act of giving birth. It is not easy to get fossilised: look it up for yourself if you doubt it, because you rarely if ever see it happening today.

Finally there is the fact that stories about a massive flood appear to exist in the folk memories of virtually every race and people on the planet. Often with reference to an angry God, a boat, animals being saved, and other details found in the biblical account. These small details, like a bird being let out of a window, eight people, and so on often appear in these stories but nothing else of a religious nature occurs: no Moses, no Abraham or priests, no Jesus or Mary, Peter or Paul. Why not? Surely the only explanation for this worldwide “myth” must be evangelism. But If evangelism why no mention of anything related to either the Old or New Testaments, other than a flood? Taken altogether this adds up to a reasonable reply to a critic or questioner, and the likelihood is that the person questioning you is clueless about most of it, and there is more, much more and in detail if you search for it.

Blind Dating!

Q. Doesn't Radiometric dating prove long ages and make Genesis and your 6000 years since creation a total nonsense?

Most people think that radiometric dating has proved the earth is billions of years old. Just because scientists observe unstable atoms changing into stable atoms at a certain rate in the present does not necessarily mean that the rate of decay has always remained the same. Scientists, like any one of us, can run into big problems when they make assumptions about what happened in the unobserved past, in this case pre-history.

These methods may be reliable, but who can say for sure? They depend on so many factors, some of which are unknowable. Most crucially, what were the initial states governing radiometric decay when the process began? Under what conditions did it begin, and have these remained constant? Has the clock ever stopped and been restarted, has contamination or leeching ever occurred and so on? And suppose, for the sake of argument, something astonishing happened. Something on the scale of a global tectonic, volcanic upheaval, accompanied by a collapse of the then existing environment, a worldwide flood and a following Ice Age; then what? These small matters could be overlooked if the radiometric dating method, which always seems to turn up dates that make the Bible look stupid, didn't conflict with another dating method: Carbon 14 which often turns up dates which make the Bible chronology seem reasonable.

To be fair, this issue is extremely complex. There is however reason to be sceptical about any process that claims near infallibility when looking back at ages which we cannot even properly comprehend. What does it mean when a date of 103.6 million years, give or take a few million either side, is published? It is meaningless in the sense that no-one can either contradict or confirm the data. These dating methods are given over-arching authority, but given the doubts re reliability and accuracy, the questions that arise can never be fully settled. If this form of establishing a fact was comparable to say DNA profiling then evolutionists would have a point. But there is no likeness between the two. There are ways of testing whether a DNA sample proves or disproves something. There is no way this can be done with radiometric dating methods. A palaeontologist looks at a range of possible dates from a number of dating processes and either rejects the lot or accepts the one closet to the required date. The required date may have been specified by the rock layer in which a fossil has been found. Or alternatively the fossil could decide the matter of the age of the rock. Hence it is not necessarily the rock that is being been dated. If the palaeontolgist knows the fossil is a sabre toothed cat then the probable date of the rock within certain parameters is known, established by the fossil. Any date which contradicts the known date of the fossil will just be rejected. Is this good science?

The long age model has never been proved, it has just been assumed. Any evidence by way of fossils that are discordant will be explained away. As will unconformities (missing rock layers) and mountains being moved and shunted on top of another rock formation by forces that leave no trace on the ground. No evidence seriously questions the theory, it will be made to conform; and having been interpreted according to the current orthodoxy, serve to bolster the underlying assumptions of the theory. And that, at least in part, is the dating game.

But there is more! The following is from The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

‘Briefly, a radioactive isotope is a kind of atom which decays into a different kind of atom: for example. one called uranium-238 turns into one called lead-206. Because we know how long this takes to happen, we can think of the isotope as a radioactive clock. Radioactive clocks are rather like the water clocks and candle clocks that people used in the days before pendulum clocks were invented. A tank of water with a hole in the bottom will drain at a measurable rate. If the tank was filled at dawn, you can tell how much of the day has passed by measuring the present level of water. Same with a candle clock. The candle burns at a fixed rate, so you can tell how long it has been burning by measuring how much candle is left. In the case of a uranium-238 clock, we know that it takes 4.5 billion years for half the uranium-238 to decay to lead-206. This is called the 'half-life' of uranium-238. So, by measuring how much lead-206 there is in a rock, compared with the amount of uranium-238, you can calculate how long it is since there was no lead-206 and only uranium-238: how long, in other words, since the clock was 'zeroed.'

“Radioactive clocks are rather like the water clocks and candle clocks that people used in the days before pendulum clocks were invented. A tank of water with a hole in the bottom will drain at a measurable rate. If the tank was filled at dawn, you can tell how much of the day has passed by measuring the present level of water. Same with a candle clock. The candle burns at a fixed rate, so you can tell how long it has been burning by measuring how much candle is left.”

If you were looking for reliable and accurate measurements over millions or billions of years would you seriously be looking at candle and water clocks? Candles, when used as clocks, were placed for protection inside wooden cases. Methods of measuring time like these were used in medieval churches and earlier, famously by King Alfred the Great of England, first by counting the number of candles of a specific size burnt, and later by use of a graduated candle. They were protected from outside influences, like a draught which could have slowed the rate of burning or extinguished the flame. Then there is the obvious constraint that these measurements of time had to be of comparatively of short duration. This is obviously diametrically opposite to the long ages given to radio-metric dating. Ages during which various forms of contamination and interruptions could have interfered with the accuracy of any measurements taken, and done so unseen and unnoticed. Scientists have no accurate idea at all about the initial state conditions that determine radio-metric decay rates. So to use the candle analogy. Just how big was the candle when it began burning, and was it ever blown out, and if so when was it relit. The problems are truly mountainous unless the process was not being measured and checked at regular intervals, as would have happened at the time of Alfred the Great. The same difficulties apply with water clocks. Has the hole in the tank been widened or narrowed or become clogged by debris? Has water ever been added or subtracted from the tank and so on?

Blind dating was a much better title than I had anticipated. Richard Dawkins with his characteristic desire to illustrate complex issues with easily accessible imagery has helped enormously to clarify the issues. There is no way he would have chosen the water and candle clocks as examples of how the radiometric dating process works if these were poor examples. And yet taking him at his word, and the candle and water clocks as analogies, graphically illustrates the potential fault lines inherent in this process. A process which is presented almost as a credo: a fixed, reliable, constant, certain and repeatable dating method that has come close to ruling serious error out of its equations. This can now be seen as clearly false.

Can it get worse? O yes, much worse!

This matter of how the geology of the earth was formed is entirely governed by conjecture, the timescale given rules out the possibility of human observations. The hundreds of millions of years are vital components of the evolutionary theory which needs vast periods of time. Empirical evidence is lacking because the conclusion was set in stone without either direct observation or experimentation. Below is the fourth and last of a video series that can be accessed on You Tube. If you watch it you may be amazed as everything you thought proved and certain about geological principles and how sedimentary strata are laid down and over what period and sequence, is systematically ripped up before your eyes. Real evidence, from real science and a real scientist in an actual university: Colorado State University.

If you do nothing else having got this far please watch the video, it is one of the most important pieces of evidence against evolutionary theory. It strikes it at the place of greatest need, because for evolution to flourish it must have multi-millions of years in which to develop the diversity seen in nature. The processes and experiments described and shown below destroys that hope.

The Flood

If you are an evolutionist, theistic or secular you will try to find a way around the evidence that you have seen if you watched the video. All the time you are struggling to find a good answer please consider the reasons why you are doing it, is it only to prop up an idol that has remained so long entrenched in your mind that it just cannot be dethroned?