Tuesday, February 17, 2009


To avoid confusion, let me explain a few of the conventions that I use on this BLOG.

I use the phrase “Biblical Literalist” to mean anyone who believes that the Judeo-Christian Bible is the inerrant “Word of God” and is, by definition, without flaws and therefore can be trusted in all things both theological and otherwise.

I use the term “creationist” to mean someone who believes that some Intelligent Being, who is always God despite what they say, is responsible for the universe and life on Earth. Probably all Biblical Literalists are creationists (though there are a few literalists who don’t seem to be really concerned or even particularly bothered by mainstream scientific views). But some creationists are not Biblical Literalists. There are many different types of “creationism” as I discuss in chapter 1. Where it is important to make a distinction between the different types of creationist beliefs, I will do so. For example, a YEC (Young Earth Creationist) may have some issues with some fields of science where an OEC (Old Earth Creationist) does not.

I will not spend time dwelling on very esoteric and highly technical scientific subjects. Instead I will focus on scientific topics that are more down-to-earth and which do not require a college degree (at a minimum) to understand.

Rest assured that creationists do raise some objections to mainstream scientific views that are highly technical. For example, there is something called “The RATE Project” primarily authored by Dr. D. Russell Humphries of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). Dr. Humphries and others report “surprisingly high amounts of nuclear-decay-generated helium in tiny radioactive zircons recovered from Precambrian crystalline rock” as reported in the abstract to their scientific paper. They believe that this shows that the Earth is young. This evidence has been refuted by mainstream scientists[1]. However in order to discuss both sides of that debate adequately, you need to understand all of these terms: zircons, diffusion, radioactivity, crystalline, cathodoluminescence, polyphase metamorphism, isochrones and other things. I’m not adequately trained in the subject matter to explain those things and, even if I was, the discussion would put most people to sleep. So I won’t talk about it. If such subjects are important to you, you should be able to finds lots of information on the Internet.

Instead I will discuss things like Moon Dust. It really isn’t too difficult to understand the concept of dust in space that falls on the surface of the Moon and the Earth. After all, we’ve all seen dust haven’t we?

I am compelled to add one additional comment here; “creation-scientists” are especially fond of highly technical arguments. Or they prefer to overly complicate arguments that could be simple. If you make claims that sound very scientific, especially if you use terms that your audience is pretty much guaranteed not to understand, it’s much more likely that you can convince that audience of the validity of your claims, particularly when that audience really wants to believe in your arguments. The normal human predilection when you hear someone use long words that you don’t understand is to simply assume that the person is better educated in that particular subject (or even that they are somehow “smarter”) than you are and bow to that person’s authority. I recommend that if you hear an argument from either side of this debate that you don’t understand, simply reserve judgment on that subject. That’s true of what is in this book as well. My aim is to make this a book that appeals to an individual’s common sense rather than to their technical knowledge. But if you don’t understand something herein, I recommend that you do some independent research or simply make a mental note and then move on. I don’t expect anyone to be convinced by mere long words and arm-waving arguments. My goal is only to present “low tech” ideas and arguments.

[1] Example mainstream science evidence against the RATE project can be found at: “Young-Earth Creationist Helium Diffusion ‘Dates’ - Fallacies Based on Bad Assumptions and Questionable Data” http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/helium/zircons.html

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