Creation research projects

2002, Oct 1st | Emner: Creationism

by Bob Riggins

An Appeal
If you can think of any other research projects that would indisputably prove the recent creation of the Earth, or the simultaneous creation of all living and extinct species, or the validity of any other major creationist contention (such as the Flood), please email them to me! Remember, my creationist friends, you can’t prove a negative, so don’t dream up something to “prove” evolution isn’t real. Believe me, they’ve all been tried–to no avail except to make evolutionary theory all the stronger! Besides, proof that evolution is false would NOT be proof of Genesis-type creation. I’m looking for projects that, with positive results, would prove a major creationist belief that is in direct opposition to the “evolutionary” view of the world.

I have compiled a list of “Things Creationists Hate” which might also be of interest.

Define “Kinds”
OK, most of you folks have given up insisting that there were pairs or sevens of every single living and extinct species aboard the Ark. (Some of you are smart enough to give up on dinosaurs–they went extinct before the Flood and didn’t have to be aboard–but others aren’t. Hash that out among yourselves, but be warned–dinosaurs are only the tip of the ancient-extinct-animal iceberg!) So there were just representatives of each “kind” aboard. Then after the Flood, each “kind” rapidly evolved… oops, microevolved, or adapted, or whatever you want to call it, into all of today’s present species, races, varieties, etc.

Here’s the catch: the more “kinds” that were aboard the Ark, the more impossibly large it had to be (and the size is specified in the Bible), and the more impossible the task of separating, housing, feeding, and cleaning up after them. The fewer “kinds,” the more impossibly fast evolution was necessary after the waters receded to restock the Earth with all present-day species. As Yossarian might say, that’s some catch. (And here’s a clinker: there’s plenty of skeletal evidence around–not even fossilized–that virtually all present day species have been around at least 5,000 years. Talk about fast evolution!)

So what you need to do is come up with a list of all the created “kinds” that were aboard the Ark. That means deciding whether “kind” is synonymous with species, and if it isn’t, then how far up the phylogenetic ladder we must go to include all the descendants of a rescued “kind.” Once your research team has completed this project, we can’t take the list seriously as the “creation science” delineation of “kinds” until you get, at the very least, the major “creation science” organizations, and the governing bodies of the major fundamentalist denominations to sign off on it as the official list of created “kinds” (in other words, we need to be assured it represents at least a majority of creationist opinion) .

Please note: this project is of the utmost importance, as its results are necessary before creation science research can proceed with several of the other vital studies suggested below.

Here’s just a slight hint of the conundrums in store for you: Mice!

  • Was the created “kind” the species known as Mus musculus (common house mouse)? Did it diverge after the Flood into the up to seven distinct species (or subspecies) usually classified under Mus musculus? If Mus was the original kind, then make room for over 2000 other original rodent “kinds”!
  • Or perhaps the original mouse “kind” was the ancestor of the whole subfamily Murinae, which now includes at least 122 genera with 529 major species, ranging from Middle-Eastern golden spiny mice ( Acomys russatus) to Xeromys myoides (false water rat).
  • Then again, maybe the created “kind” diversified into all members of the family Muridae. That would mean the original pair has offspring currently recognized in 17 subfamilies, 529 genera, and 1325 living species (and don’t forget, the basic definition of species is a group that is so genetically distinct that members can’t normally mate with members of even a closely related species–see what kind of expedited evolution is necessary if there were only a pair of the murid “kind”?) .
  • But why couldn’t it have been the ancestors of all the suborder Sciurognathi? Start multiplying those species numbers.
  • Or did God start with just the rodent (order Rodentia ) “kind”? If so, within a very few years of debarkation it split up into around 30 families and over 2000 living species (And how many extinct? Increase the order of magnitude by at least 1 [that means multiply by 10.]) . They range from 5-gram pygmy mice to 70-kilogram capybaras, and comprise well over 40% of all mammal species.

If even 2000 “kinds” of rodents don’t seem to be any problem to house, start working on order Artiodactyla. They’re a bit larger, and their range of extinct relatives will give you nightmares. (Just a hint)

The DNA Corollary
After you arrive at your criterion for distinguishing created “kinds” from species-within-a-kind, it would help your case a great deal if you could perform enough DNA analysis to identify the physical molecular barriers that species can’t cross to evolve into a different “kind.” It should be reasonably easy for modern molecular genetics to spot the barriers, since all species, or variation or microevolution within a “kind,” could never cross its barriers, while even similar species of another “kind” would only show DNA variation within its limits. As a matter of fact, once you have identified the nature of these DNA barriers, that should automatically allow you to definitively pinpoint created “kinds” by doing some simple DNA assays!

Resolve the “Rib Question”

  1. Decide as an authoritative group if men do have fewer ribs than women (talk about easy research!). If you find they don’t (no presuppositions here)…
  2. TELL all your believers. Tell them vociferously and often, until they get it. It’s for their (and your) own good–so they’ll quit sounding like complete IDIOTS.
  3. With that out of the way, do your biblical exegesis, or whatever it is you do, to determine if men, as a group, ever had fewer ribs than women.
  4. If you decide they didn’t, repeat (B.) (above).
  5. If you decide they did, here comes the fieldwork: Examine whatever skeletons you determine to be from the Pre-Rib-Replacement Era. Look through the hundreds of thousands that are filed away in museum back rooms. Dig up as many more as you please.
  6. If you reach a positive result, I’m sure you’ll let the world know (and the heresy of human evolution, at least, will be dead in its tracks!). If you reach a negative result, repeat (B.) (above).

Find the Post-Flood Dispersal Trails
Since all the land animals, birds, insects, and myriads of other creepy-crawlies were aboard the Ark, and dispersed from there after the Flood, there is surely some fossil evidence. Find us a few distinctly South American or Australian species remains in southern Asia. Any zoologist could suggest a few bones that would be mighty hard to explain in Nepal, for instance, unless they were trekking home after the Flood. There are many possibilities, and the more you find, the more convincing the evidence will be. You might start off your list with koalas , platypuses, penguins, and sloths .

Live in Pre-Deluge Conditions
Determine with your colleagues (as above) if there was, in fact, some sort of “vapor canopy” over the Earth that contained enough water to produce the Flood. If you determine that there was not, then follow (B.) under “Rib Question” above. If you are biblically certain there was such a “canopy,” that never dropped rain for the first 600 years or so of Earth’s history, then work with planetary climatologists, computer climate modelers, etc. to determine the actual temperatures, pressures, light levels, etc. that would prevail under those circumstances. (Remember, if you “rescue” your results with a lot of “but God kept it cool” sort of cop-outs, you’re not going to convince anyone who’s not already a True Believer.) Once you’ve determined the pre-Deluge conditions on Earth, then demonstrate that human beings can live under those parameters. As a minimum, you could experiment with a hyperbaric chamber, but I would suggest going all-out and building a Biosphere-type environmental complex. Creationist volunteers will line up by the thousands for the privilege of living under those conditions, since it has been asserted by creation scientists that such conditions were responsible for the incredible longevity of pre-Deluge patriarchs.

Find the Ark!
Seriously, once and for all, indisputably, find it; excavate it; bring serious, competent archaeologists to examine and authenticate the material; and make the material available in museum or university settings to all credentialed investigators. DON’T make the mistakes of so many previous Ark “finders.” Don’t make a cheesy film about it and sell videos on a lecture tour of fundamentalist churches. Don’t publish your “results” in a mass-market paperback. Don’t reveal you findings to the public via supermarket tabloids. You’re supposed to be creation scientists , not sideshow hawkers.

Live Like Noah’s Family
This is a simple “prove it can be done” one (and I’ll even leave you lots of leeway for “fudges”). According to my creationist reference, Noah’s family (8 adults) were cooped up in the Ark for a full year. Construct a building with internal dimensions reasonably like the Ark’s. Use whatever modern materials you need to build it and fit it out with pens, cages, coops or whatever for all of the “kinds” Noah had aboard (see above). Then stock it with the appropriate number of animals and all the provender they’ll need for the full year. Make it easy: use easily-obtainable domestic and wild breeds to represent rare or hard-to-obtain species–the important thing is to have approximately the right number of animals, with the right distribution of body sizes (for instance, you might use 1325 pairs of gerbils [clean or unclean?] to represent all the species of the family Muridae). If the “kind” committee has determined that extinct “kinds” were also aboard, then allow (HUGE!) room for them, and again, represent them with modern animals (it’ll take a medium-sized herd of elephants to make up for your pair of brachiosaurs [any chance sauropods were "clean"?]) . One more big slide: water may be sent in from the outside (on the ridiculous assumption that the Flood waters were drinkable) .

Enough outrageous fudges–now for some hard and fast rules:

Eight and only eight adults (4 of each gender) must live and remain in the building for the full year. All of the animals, and all of their feed and supplies (bedding, etc.–whatever it takes to keep them alive and healthy) must be in the building from the start. All food and supplies for the humans must also be present, but they may have no foods prepared by canning or other modern methods of preservation. All animal feed must be “natural,” i.e. no processed pellets, frozen meats, bags of Gravy Train, etc. (Think bins of grain, hay, meat on the hoof, etc. I’m sure you won’t forget the many animals, such as koalas, that can only eat fresh leaves of a very specific variety.)

The crew may have no modern chemical preparations (such as soap!) or pharmaceuticals–pick healthy volunteers! Neither the people nor any of the animals may leave or re-enter the building until the full year is up. (Deceased animals and people may be “thrown over the side”–but not replaced. Did Noah load only pairs, or did he allow for attrition?) No supplies, materials, tools, etc. at all may be obtained from outside the building or sent in once the experiment starts. Water may be piped from the outside into no more than four reservoirs within the building, but from the reservoirs it must be transported by hand to wherever it’s needed (no modern plumbing of any sort–no faucets, no hoses, no toilets, no showers!). The water itself must be drawn directly from a lake or pond outside the building, with no chemical or other treatment for purification purposes (imagine all the dead things that would have been floating around in the Flood!).

For human consumption, purified water may be stored within the building, but may not be replenished during the year. For waste disposal there may be up to twenty sewer holes located along the outer walls of the building, but at least 5 meters above ground level (think of a big storm drain with water constantly flowing through it–to represent portholes or “over the side” on the Ark) .

All wastes, human and animal, must be moved to and disposed of through these sewers. There will be no electricity within the building–no air conditioning, no fans, no refrigeration, no anything (with the exception of TV cameras, which may be installed for proof of how the people can handle the task, and surveillance to prove they’re not cheating).

All ventilation will be from natural airflow from the outside and within the building, but there can be NO openings lower than 5 meters above ground level (the lower hull was under water!) . The “family” may have at its disposal only types of tools, and made of such materials, as would reasonably have been at Noah’s disposal (no 12-point crosscut saws or galvanized buckets from Sears).

The residents, once the experiment starts, may receive no messages, mail, email, encouragement–no news whatever from the outside world (as a matter of fact, the building should be located or fenced off in such a way that the residents can never see another human being for the duration).

At the conclusion of the year, the experiment will be deemed a success only if breeding pairs (sevens of the “clean” ones) can be removed from the building. This must be demonstrated by keeping the pairs isolated from others of their species until they actually produce at least one birth of live young on their own. Awfully persnickety rules? Hardly–this is incredibly lenient.

It’s not hard to think of many more that should reasonably apply, such as storing within the building all the food the animals would need after the Flood, until new plants could grow. (Do the math on this: how many live sheep would have to have been in the original Ark flock to keep all the carnivores alive and healthy for the whole year, plus several years afterwards, until wild prey animals could repopulate to a point where they wouldn’t be instantly extinguished by a few acts of predation? Not to mention the meat the people ate.)

Brian Clarke’s addition: Create a computer model of the food chain on the Ark that allows for animals to mate, breed, and supply food to the next up the food chain, leaving at the end at least a pair of each species, or a female of each species bearing twins. The model must allow for those at the top of the food chain not dying of starvation before breeding.

Show Us What’s Literal!
Take an old, standard translation of the Bible (let’s go with King James’s), and print up a new batch that are color-coded. Mine already uses red for Jesus’ words, so let’s go with green–for all parts that are NOT actually literal (in the true sense of the word), but are “poetic,” or “figures of speech.” For instance, were there actually doors in the “firmament” that had to be opened to let rain through, or should that be greened? Was there really an actual mountain somewhere from which “all nations of the Earth” could be seen? Was Solomon writing literal erotic poetry, as Song of Songs seems, or was it something symbolic about Jesus-to-come, or the church, or the Holy Spirit, or anything besides its surface meaning? Does the Earth actually have four corners? Did Solomon’s “sea” actually violate the geometry of our space-time continuum (where circumference equals pi times diameter), or was there an approximation in there somewhere? Did St. John the Divine mean there would be an actual beast (non-human animal), with numerous heads, horns, crowns, etc., or was all that symbolic of something else (like the Catholic church maybe, hm?). Will the actual stars actually fall to Earth? Anything that takes any explaining probably should be green.

Build an actual Ark!
You should probably wait for the outcome of the Noah’s Family experiment above, but it would demonstrate your confidence in the veracity of the Bible if you forged ahead with this (surely there’s no doubt that it can be done, is there?). Here are some reasonable rules:

  • Use only natural wood, but any type you want, unless you’re confident you know what “gopher” wood is.
  • All wood must be obtained and dressed from timber felled by hand, using only such tools as would have been available in Noah’s day (no Husqvarna chainsaws–not even iron axes).
  • All timber and other materials used in the Ark must be transported to the building site using only such means of transport as would have existed at the time (no deliveries by Home Depot) .
  • Only such materials as would have been available to Noah may be used–consult with some archaeologists with serious credentials.
  • After determining modern equivalents, build the Ark to the specifications given in Genesis.
  • Use only tools and building methods appropriate to the time period (no CAD, etc.).
  • The Ark may be built in drydock, or transported to a body of water using modern technology, since all Noah had to do was wait for the water to rise.
  • Float the Ark, fill it with animals, people, food, etc. (as above) and run the experiment for the full year.

Big project? You bet, but won’t creationists heed the trumpet call and rush to tithe their money and donate their time to quash the atheists and evolutionists once and for all? Picture the lines of volunteer workers bringing their bronze adzes and copper wedges! Think of all the animals that will be collected worldwide and donated! This will be, without question, the world’s only complete zoo.

Brian Lallatin suggests a slightly less ambitious project:

I keep reading about how much floorspace and how many cubic feet of space would be in the Ark, with the creationist conclusion: .”..so there would be plenty of room for x,xxx animals.”

Well, let’s prove it. For years people have maintained that primitive humans couldn’t have built stonehenge, so university after university has gathered big stones and volunteers and raised something just as damn big.

One number [propounded by creationists] for equal floorspace was 20 basketball courts. There have to be at least 20 private Christian [fundamentalist] schools with basketball courts. Get 20 schools to participate, by donating their floors for a month. Figure how high they can stack stuff so as not to violate the cubic space limitations. This is not so clear, as there is no word in the bible for the thickness of gopherwood timbers, but make a guess (be prepared to show math on how this was determined). Determine the x thousand animals you chose as representative for ‘all the kinds’ of life on Earth. Substitutions are allowed, but be prepared to show your logic (that using 6 kitty cats is the same as two emperor penguins, for example). Divide responsibility for collection and maintenance of the animals among the 20 schools. (Or 20 others! Make it a buddy program! “Our school will collect two baby elephants, two baby rhinos, and 14 sheep–your school just has to hold them and clean up afterwards!” Who wouldn’t jump at the chance?)

Collect and store 1 year’s worth of food for the original x-thousand animals! For example, you can use a horse instead of a baby elephant, but you need 219 tons of plant matter to match feeding the elephants for a year. Don’t forget food for 8 people, too. If you think you can make a Koala live for a year on dried Eucalyptus, rather than fresh, take all the time you need, and prove it. If you can entice any animal into hibernating for a whole year, again, take all the time you need, and prove it.

If the animals were served by 8 people, 24 hours a day, that’s 192 man-hours available [per day], if no one on the Ark ever slept all year. So each of the basketball courts can be allowed 9.6 man-hours of daily effort in maintaining the animals stored there. So, each school can allow 8 people into the gym for 1 hour and 12 minutes a day. If they get done early, they can donate some time to another gym. If you want to allow 6 hours of sleep a day, each gym gets an 8-man team for 54 minutes a day.

If an animal escapes, or a cage breaks, or some other casualty causes the team to exceed their time limit, the other schools have to lose part of their time. In fact, there should probably be a rotation: one school can’t start until the first one finishes its chores and clocks out. This can be coordinated by phone, but must be scrupulously refereed. If the East Coast Time Zone schools start at 0600, the West Coast schools can still finish by 2100. (midnight Eastern, that’s an 18 hour day). Be really careful about handling the carnivores or fowl; it can mess up your whole day chasing things down out of the rafters.

Do this for one month. Publish the results, with copious notes on how you prevented cheating and protected animal health, and poke those non-believers in the eye.

Just give me [Brian Lallatin] credit for thinking this up.

Drown a lot of animals
Brian Lallatin also suggest: “Any experiment involving large amounts of water, mud and animals where the animals drown and come to rest at different levels in the mud. Since I hate cruelty to animals, I would even accept mock-ups, or computer other simulations, in which big lizards and big mammals come to rest at different levels, but big and small mammals rest at the same level. If they can get this to happen, in their and other’s computers, they can then explain what sort of criteria they programmed into the software to make the results come out this way, and justify this hedging by producing experiments that support it.

Of course, I tend to assume you would have to cook the parameters to get such results, but maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps a few thousand multi-species crash test dummies, dumped into the Great Salt Lake, and stirred by nuclear mud-pumps would produce truly surprising results. It would be interesting to see.”

Roland Zwick’s Project
Since Genesis tells us that the sun was created a day after plants, have creationists gather all the plants they can find and put them into a freezer set at -460 degrees Fahrenheit (Absolute Zero) and see how many of them survive for twenty-four hours (or even twenty-four seconds). I assume that that would be the approximate temperature of a sunless Earth, so even palm trees and orchids would have to have endured those conditions for a full day.

Come up with a testable theory
That’s all there is to it, so, creationists, do it.

(Thanks to Andrew Arensburger)

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