The Miller/Morris Debate (1981)
On April 10, 1981, at Brown University, Kenneth R. Miller of Brown University and Henry M. Morris of the Institute for Creation Research debated whether “the theory of evolution is superior to the theory of special creation as an explanation for all the scientific evidence related to origins.”
The following transcript of their debate is based ultimately on two sixty-minute audio cassette tapes in the NCSE archives; their content, converted to digital format, processed to improve the sound, and embellished by graphics selected by NCSE’s Steven Newton, is available in four parts on NCSE’s YouTube channel.
NCSE is grateful to Kenneth R. Miller and the Institute for Creation Research for their permission to post the debate and the transcript, and to Robert L. Camp, Richard B. Hoppe III, Jason Rosenhouse, and Christopher Nedin for helping to transcribe the debate. NCSE’s Glenn Branch compiled and proofread the transcript.
Annotations are indicated by square brackets. Timestamps, inserted in square brackets for every ten minutes, are relative to the start of the tape (not to the start of the debate). Please report any mistakes in the transcription or typographical errors by e-mail to the NCSE office.
[Recording (tape 1, side 1) begins.]
[ANNOUNCER:] ... college, the Dean of Student Life, the Association of Fraternity Presidents, the Brown Christian Fellowship, Campus ... Cranston Christian Fellowship Campus Outreach, Brown Young Republicans, the Lecture Board, and the committee for the debate, would like to thank you for coming out to tonight’s program, “Origins: Evolution versus Special Creation.” Now, I’d like to introduce the moderator for the debate, Brown University Professor of History, Dr. Donald Rohr. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] Thank you and good evening. I’ve been asked to remind you that there is to be no smoking in the auditorium. The subject of our discussion ... [applause] ... the subject of our discussion tonight has been under debate for more than a century. And while the issues may remain unresolved and controversial, after generations of talking, the terms have been somewhat better defined, and the level of debate has been raised. To give you a brief example of what I mean, of the low level of debate when the debate began, let me refer to a discussion held at Oxford University in 1860 within a few months after Darwin published The Origin of Species. The antagonists were the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, also known as “Soapy Sam,” and Thomas Henry Huxley, later known as “Darwin’s Bulldog.”
Wilberforce spoke to an admiring audience with such wit and sarcasm, such gusto and ingenuity, that he was carrying even some of the sober scientists with him. Dizzy with success, he turned at one point and asked Huxley with mock courtesy, whether it was from his grandfather or grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey. Huxley, until that point was near despair, but when Wilberforce asked that question, Huxley turned to a grave scientist sitting next to him and said, “The Lord hath delivered him into my hands.” [Laughter.]
When Huxley spoke, he briefly outlined Darwin’s arguments, clearly outlined Darwin’s arguments, alluded to the bishop’s ignorance of the scientist – sciences involved, and then concluded with his own argumentum ad hominem, by saying that he would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected to a man who used great gifts to obscure the truth. The hostile audience applauded him as vigorously as they had the bishop, and a woman swooned. [Laughter.]
The debate ... the debate tonight is not about monkeys, nor is it about Genesis, it is about scientific evidence and scientific explanation. I have been asked by the Debate Committee to stress this point, that neither the Debate Committee nor the sponsors view either faith more religious or theistic than the other. The resolution of the debate is this: the theory of evolution is superior to the theory of special creation as an explanation for all the scientific evidence related to origins. The format of the debate, as you can see from the program, will vary from that usually observed in intercollegiate debating. The negative will speak first, for fifty minutes, and will be followed by the affirmative with another fifty-minute presentation. There will then be a fifteen-minute intermission before the rebuttals begin. During the opening statements, the fifty-minute statements, you are asked, in the interest of brevity, to withhold applause, or any other expression of approval or disapproval, until the speaker has finished.
Speaking now for the affirmative ... or speaking later for the affirmative will be Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology in Brown [garbled] Division of Biology and Medicine. Speaking for the negative position, and therefore in our format the first to speak, will be Dr. Henry Morris, President of the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego. Dr. Morris. [Applause.]
[MORRIS:] Thank you very much, Dr. Rohr. It’s a privilege to be here at Brown University. It’s my first visit to this great school, although I feel that I know quite a bit about it; my friend and colleague Dr. Tom Barnes who’s the new Dean of our Graduate School at ICR, Professor of Physics, University of Texas in El Paso, did his graduate work here and has spoken very highly of this school and particularly his professor Dr. R. B. Lindsay, one of the great physicists of our generation. So it’s a privilege to be here. I also have enjoyed meeting my opponent in this dialogue, Dr. Miller. I appreciate very much both his attitude and his ability. I trust that even though we may be on opposite sides of the debate tonight that we will become and remain good friends because I certainly would love to do that and highly respect him.
We are going to be speaking tonight on the issue of creation versus evolution, but strictly on a scientific basis; we recognize that both of these have religious implications and sociological implications and so on, and these topics might be the subject of other debates, but tonight we want to discuss the relative scientific merits of these two models of origins and development of the universe and of life.
Of course I believe that creationism is a better scientific model and I think that the sort of meeting that we have tonight is a good thing to do, because we’re not so much interested in winning debates as we are of winning a hearing for creationism. For some reason the creation model has been excluded from public education for a long time and we believe that needs to be changed and we think that this is encouraging that we have this kind of a meeting tonight. Hope it will be indicative of many more in the future. Regardless of which is right, these are two models that are of great concern and represent world views for many people, and so they need thorough discussion. Matter of fact, there are now thousands of scientists who have become creationists, and these are in fairly recent years. As a matter of fact most of us, including myself, once were evolutionists, but have become convinced that creationism is a better scientific explanation. And so even though we represent a minority in science, it is a significant and a growing minority. And furthermore, as far as the population as a whole is concerned, polls indicate that the majority of the general population believes in creation, and a great majority believes that both should be taught in our public schools, no matter which one they personally prefer. And I think that as long as we deal only with the scientific aspects of this issue, why, it’s perfectly appropriate to do that in the public institution.
Now we recognize – I recognize certainly right at the beginning that it is not possible to prove creation scientifically. Nor can it be disproved scientifically. And I’d say the same thing about evolution. Neither is provable or falsifiable in the ultimate scientific sense of being observable and testable, in the laboratory by the scientific method. These represent world views, they are far more than simply biological theories. They represent world views in every field of science, and so all of us are concerned and interested in it. As far as the non-testable nature of evolution is concerned, some might question that, so let me quote from Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Stanford, one of our leading evolutionary ecologists and biologists, and he says this, “our theory of evolution has become one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations; every conceivable observation can be fitted into it.” And at first one might think, well, that makes it a very good theory. If everything fits in it, it must be a good theory. But no, that’s exactly what’s wrong with it, it’s so broad and so flexible that no matter what we see, we can explain it in terms of evolution. It cannot be tested. And therefore it’s not really a scientific theory or a scientific hypothesis. But it is a very powerful model or paradigm if you wish or system, framework. Dr. Ehrlich goes on to say, “it is outside of empirical science, no one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems have obtained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training.” Well now, “dogma” is not a scientific term, a dogma is something you believe or don’t believe. And although Dr. Ehrlich certainly believes in evolution, nevertheless he does recognize that it cannot really be proved or falsified.
Probably the greatest philosopher of science of our day, Karl Popper, has said essentially the same thing. He says, “I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but it’s a metaphysical research program, a possible framework for testable scientific theories.”
As far as Popper is concerned, he is certainly one of the world’s great philosophers of science. Dr. Peter Medawar, one of the leading evolutionary biologists of Great Britain, says that he thinks Popper is incomparably the greatest philosopher of science that has ever been. So his opinion certainly should carry weight. And in the foreword to the 1971 edition of Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, we find this statement. Of course I know and you know that Dr. – Charles Darwin doesn’t revise his book any more, but every once in a while a new edition comes out with a new foreword written by a current leader in the field of evolutionary studies, and this one by L. Harrison Matthews, a fellow of the Royal Society of Britain, and in his foreword he says this, “belief in the theory of [10:00] evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation. Both are concepts which believers know to be true though neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof.”
So we think the proper approach is to define two scientific models of origins and development of the universe, of the earth, of life, of man, of all things, then use these models as vehicles for correlating and explaining and predicting scientific data, and the model that does the best job of that, with the smaller number of secondary modifications to make it fit the data, is the one most likely perhaps to be true even though we can’t prove it to be true in the ultimate scientific sense. One can always make any observable data fit either of these models. They cannot be repeated, they are historical events or sequences of events, we can’t repeat history or get in a time machine and go back and see what happened, and so therefore we can’t ultimately prove or disprove either one, so all we can do is to use the models as vehicles for correlating the data that we do see, and then decide which one does the best job. And always you can get either model fit any set of data, by expanding the model, modifying the model, and we would just suggest that the model which fits the data more directly with the smaller number of secondary modification to make it fit, as Dr. Ehrlich pointed out, every conceivable observation can be made to fit. But the smaller number of modifications necessary to do that would indicate that probably the model is the better model, although we finally have to decide whether we want to believe it or not, in either case.
Now of course it is very important to define our terms. Be sure we understand what we’re speaking about when we speak of evolution or creation. If you want to use the term “special creation” or “supernatural creation,” that’s all right. Let me just understand in terms of our terminology tonight, evolution and creation are the two models of origins. They’re not the same; it does not at all suggest that one has to be, for example, an atheist to believe in evolution, I myself was a theistic evolutionist for a long time, all through college. It’s simply to say that in terms of the scientific discussion, we’re dealing with two different concepts, evolution and creation. And now with that I’d like to have the first slide if I may, please. And have the lights dimmed.
And I would like to define the evolution model in the terms Sir Julian Huxley used. He said more than that. Huxley of course was probably the world’s leading evolutionist of our generation until he died a few years ago, and so his definition ought to be fairly comprehensive and accepted. He says, “evolution in the extended sense can be defined as a directional and essentially irreversible process occurring in time which in its course gives rise to an increase in variety and an increasingly high level of organization in its products. Our present knowledge,” he says, “indeed forces us to the view that the whole of reality is evolution. A single process of self-transformation.” You note the key words there. (Is this on?) The key words are “directional process”; it’s not simply back and forth or up and down, but it’s directional. And it’s irreversible. And furthermore it leads to higher levels of organization. That is – [Shout from audience: “can’t hear!”] Back to the key words of the definition. Directional, irreversible, higher levels of organization. And of course in the construct that usually is presented, at least today, the universe is essentially infinitely old in terms of space and time and matter, and perhaps the universe in its present form may date from eighteen to twenty to thirty billion years, the solar system perhaps four and a half to five billion years, and then this planet and the complex chemicals on this planet acquired the ability to replicate themselves and life again maybe three and a half billion or four billion years ago. Life in a complex form, multicellular form, perhaps a billion years ago, and so on. Invertebrates gave rise to vertebrates, fishes to amphibians then reptiles, mammals, birds, finally man several million years ago. So a tremendous increase in organization and complexity or information with ages ... with the ages. Now, one other key point there: according to Huxley and to most evolutionists, the whole of reality is evolution, a single process of self-transformation. So the concept is not of an external supernatural agent directing this, although perhaps he’s back there somehow behind it. But the universe is operating itself, transforming itself by its own properties and processes into higher levels of organization, a process of self-transformation, as he says.
Now from that we would glean the key concepts, as I would do it anyway, of the evolution model. In the first place it would postulate that this universe, this world and life, has a continuing origin, that is, the processes were brought into existence and into the present level, are still going on, and they’re natural processes, not supernatural, and there’s been a net increase in complexity. Not all things have increased in complexity, but there has been a net increase from amoeba to man, or from particles, if you will, to people. Molecules to man, as one book puts it. Tremendous increase in organization, and earth history is dominated by uniformitarianism, that is the philosophy that earth’s structures and systems can be explained in terms of present-day processes operating in the same ways, roughly the same rates that they do now. Dominated by uniformitarianism. Now we would contrast that with the creation model, define that just exactly as the opposite. Instead of a continuing natural origin we postulate a completed supernatural origin. Not everything of course, but the basic laws of nature, the basic universe, the basic systems, the basic kinds of plants and animals, especially mankind, were brought into existence complete, functioning, highly organized right from the beginning by processes which are not going on now. And since they are not natural processes which we observe now – you can use whatever term you wish, “supernatural,” “preternatural,” whatever – at any rate they’re not natural, just call them supernatural. Creative processes, and this is where the term “special creation” might come from. And there’s been a net decease in complexity, that is, we would postulate maybe horizontal changes, conservation in the universe, but if there is any vertical change, since one cannot improve perfection and the creator by definition would make things the way they ought to be, which would be perfect for their purposes, any vertical change as it were forced by some extraneous agent would cause a downward drift, not upward, and so there would be a net decrease in complexity, and then we would suggest that earth history is dominated by catastrophism, that is, processes operating intensely rather than uniformly over the ages.
Now, obviously these are opposite to each other, and so therefore it isn’t appropriate when we define the terms this way to speak of believing of both creation and evolution. One can certainly believe in a form of evolution that is operated by God, we call that theistic evolution. One can be an atheistic evolutionist or a theistic evolutionist or a pantheistic evolutionist, but the choice between these concepts is not a scientific choice, it’s the same scientific data, the same geological age system, and so on, in any case; that’s a theological question which we’re not discussing this evening. But the choice between creation as defined and evolution as defined can be discussed scientifically, and the two models can be compared on a scientific basis. That’s what I’m trying to do. Now what I would like to do then, and was – is to look at the creation model in particular and use this model as a means of predicting data, if you want to put it that way, that is, imagining what we would expect to see if creation were true and we didn’t know what was there. Correlating data, explaining data.
For example, let’s take the array of plants and animals in the living world. Now if we didn’t know what they were, if we were coming say, fromouter space somewhere and we didn’t know what we were going to find on the earth and ... a creationist would look at the creation model and say, well, since the creator made all things, and he made them perfect with their own structures for their own purposes, what we would expect to find would be an array of organisms, different kinds of organisms, each with its own structure for its own purpose. And we would suppose that these different organisms would not be rigidly fixed because they would have to adapt to different environments. So we would expect that there would be a principle of conservation imposed on the created kinds of organisms to enable them to adapt to different environments without becoming extinct. So we would expect to find a great deal of horizontal change, or variation. Some would call it microevolution, within the created kind. At the same level of information and complexity, adapting to different environments, changing in coloration or something like that, to do that, otherwise it would become extinct if the environment changed the least little bit, and that would be contrary to the purpose of the creator, so we would expect to find a conservation principle and a wide range of horizontal [garbled] kinds [garbled] vertical changes in the kinds, they would go down toward disorder not upwards toward higher order. That’s what we would expect to find. And of course I don’t think we need to argue the point that that’s exactly what we do find in the actual world of plants and animals. We have, for example, many varieties of dogs – one could call this microevolution if you wish – but all the dogs have come from the same ancestor, probably the wolf about four thousand years ago (it doesn’t take millions of years to do that), but they’re still dogs. And we have many varieties of cats but nothing in between the cat and the dog. And the same will all the other kinds of organisms – horizontal changes within the kinds, gaps between the kinds, exactly as predicted by the creation model. It fits the facts as we see them in the living world, and we don’t have to explain anything or modify anything. It’s just exactly the way it should be.
Now, if we didn’t find that, for example if we found a continuum of [20:00] cats and dogs and all kinds of animals – an evolutionary sort of a flux in nature with one kind becoming a different kind, and instead of having cats and dogs we’d have cats and then ninety percent cats, ten percent dogs and eighty percent, twenty percent and so on, an evolutionary continuum in nature – if we did find something like that of course that would be tremendously hard to explain in terms of any concept except evolution. That would be perhaps the most obvious prediction of evolutionism if we didn’t know anything different. But of course the fact that we don’t find that doesn’t mean that evolution isn’t true, it just means that we have to find a way of modifying the basic evolutionary model to explain how organisms with, that did have common ancestors, and that evolved in the same world, in the same environment, say like cats and dogs, somehow got to be different. Well, maybe we can do that, but you do have to modify the model to do it, and the creation model predicts the facts directly.
Now, that seems, maybe, to be an exception and I wanted you to see that because maybe somebody might think that I was wrong about the cats and dogs. This was published on the front page of the San Diego paper several years ago, maybe you saw it too. This is a “dat,” which is a fifty percent dog and fifty percent cat, halfway between, hybrid, dog and cat. And of course when that was published, a lot of my evolutionary friends sent that to me because I’d been saying that doesn’t happen and they said, “See, you were wrong, this proves they had a common ancestor.” But what most people didn’t see was about three days later way back in the inside of the paper a little one-inch column in which the publisher of that photograph admitted it was a hoax. In other words, there’s no such thing as a dat, or cog, cats are cats and dogs are dogs ... [laughter] always been, as far as all the evidence goes.
Now, I’ve mentioned the possibility then of the, of there being a conservation principle keeping the kinds as they are, and if there are any changes they would go downward, for example, a mutation or, for example, extinction, and we do see this in the actual world. But now, as a matter of fact, the creation model is much broader than simply biology and the organisms. It really is a world view and so we would expect to find this kind of a principle operating throughout the whole world of nature. That is, a basic principle of conservation of the original creation. And if there are any vertical changes, they would be downward, a principle of disintegration, a principle of conservation and disintegration. Evolution, on the other hand, should be able to predict a principle of innovation bringing things into existence, and then integration building them up into higher levels of existence. And since evolution presumably is still going on, that is, it assumes natural processes, continuing as they have in the past – they’re still doing the same as they have in the past – we would expect, at least at first, to be able to see vertical evolution taking place: from one kind to a higher kind. There’s nothing in the basic model that says it has to be so slow you can’t see it. And of course if we could see it, if we could see cats turning into dogs or something like that, obviously creationists would have to believe in evolution because we can see it and science is what you see. And so at, at least as a first assumption we would, we would be justified in looking for real vertical changes in terms of the evolution model, not in terms of the creation model. The creation model says no, you won’t see that.
Well, in terms of what kind of change can take place in nature, what are the laws of change, the laws of science that govern all fields of science? Well, no doubt most of you know that there are two basic laws that govern all systems of matter and energy, including both non-living and living systems; all systems are governed by what are known as the first and second laws of thermodynamics. These are, in a very real way, nothing but what we would expect: predictions from the creation model, a principle of conservation enabling things to take place, changes to take place on a horizontal level, one kind of energy to be converted to another kind, for example, matter to change its state. Or even matter and energy to be converted. But the totality of the creation, the totality of matter and energy (which is really everything in the, in the universe), would be constant – the principle of conservation.
We would also expect to find a principle of disintegration: even though the quantity may stay the same, the quality would go down. Well, as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what we do find. In other words, the prediction of the creation model fits exactly what we do find in terms of the laws of change in science. The evolution model would predict that things go up with time, in terms of information, organization, complexity, order. The creation model predicts they go down with time, and the fact is, we have encountered a universal principle of change in nature that says in every system there is a tendency to go down toward disorganization, toward disinformation, toward simplicity, toward chaos finally, and toward death.
Now, these two laws of thermodynamics – they are called that simply because they were first discovered in the study of thermodynamics but they’re much broader, of course, than the study of heat engines. They relate to every field of science, they’re universal laws of science, the two best approximations to universal laws of science that we have. The first law is the law of energy conservation, and here this is defined, or at least discussed, by Isaac Asimov, who is the most prolific science writer, I guess, of our day. He speaks of the first law. He says this law is the most universal, secure generalization, from science, that scientists have ever been able to make. If there is such a thing as a law of science, this is it, and he says no one knows why this is true. Why is energy conserved? Nobody knows why whenever you have, whenever you begin a question with, with the word “Why” you know that you’re outside the scope of science. Science can deal with the “What,” the “How,” but not with the “Why.” And so nobody knows why this is true, all we know is that it always works. Whenever it’s been tested, energy is always conserved, energy including matter.
Now, that’s the principle of conservation of quantity, but there’s a second law, which is the principle of the decay of quality, and here this is defined by Harold Blum. He says that the second law of thermodynamics has as one of its consequences that all real processes go irreversibly. Any given process in this universe is accompanied by a change in magnitude of a quantity called the entropy. The entropy measures the randomness, or the lack of orderliness of the system; the greater the randomness the greater the entropy. And I want you to contrast that with the definition of evolution by Sir Julian Huxley. Both of them say that their principles are universal principles. All real processes, Blum says, the whole of reality Huxley says, both of them say that their processes are irreversible. The only difference is one goes up and the other goes down, one towards higher levels of organization the other towards lower levels of organization. And we believe that this is a problem for evolution because here we have two universal principles of change each of which is defined as the converse of the other. And if words mean anything, how can they both be true as universals? Maybe we can find situations where they can be accommodated locally. But in terms of a universal principle it looks like we have a conflict.
Now, this illustrates the two laws, the horizontal scale is time and the vertical scale is information or energy, or order, various ways you can define the concept of energy and entropy – energy, basically, is the capacity to do work, and work is moving forces through distances. Entropy can be defined various ways, either in terms of the, it’s in relation to the disorder of a structured system or the non-availability of the energy of a thermodynamic system or the garbled information in a communications system. There are various ways and all of them are equivalent to each other. Mathematically they’re described with the same equations. The various ways you can describe any kind of a system, either in terms of an information system, an energy system, or a structured system, but always the entropy principle says that the order goes down, the information goes down, the available energy goes down. In other words, that time’s arrow, as it’s called, points down.
Now, this is a universal law of science, and it does seem to conflict with the universal principle of evolution. And so how do you make a choice? Well, I would suggest that you go with science. Remember that evolution cannot be tested scientifically; it’s a model, a system. The second law of thermodynamics has been tested by science, and on all kinds of systems from the very smallest to the very largest, and no exception has ever been found to either one of these principles of thermodynamics. So it does seem as though, at least as far as the universe is concerned, why, we have a problem.
Now, some would say this only applies, thermodynamics only applies to a closed system. All right, but the universe is a closed system. Remember what Huxley said, the whole of reality, a process of self-transformation, the universe is a closed system transforming itself. And if you begin back, with something like, say, the Big Bang ... primeval explosion, explosions don’t produce order, they produce disorder. And so you start out with chaos, and with high disorder, and so how, in terms of a closed system that begins with disorder, are we ever going to evolve the highly complex systems of the present universe? It does look like there’s a problem with evolution ... may be some way it can be resolved. But you see the creation model doesn’t have a problem here, it doesn’t have to resolve itself in any way because the creation model doesn’t have to explain the second law of thermodynamics, creation law predicts the second law of thermodynamics, fits the facts directly.
Well, what about the evolutionist, what does he say to this? Well, we don’t have time, really, to get into that. But he will say well, if you just realize that evolution goes very slowly, and what we see now in terms of what we call microevolution, if we let that go on long enough over millions of years it would become macroevolution, and these small horizontal changes would somehow become big vertical changes and we’d have the tremendous array of [30:00] organisms that constitute the history of the evolution of life on the planet. But you have to have a long time for that, so you have to be patient and realize it takes time. Well, so where do we go to see that? Remember, evolution is presented to us as a proved fact of science in many places. So science ought to be capable of being observed, and where do we go to see the proof, then, of evolution?
And so they suggested the fossil record. Now there we have, in the rocks of the earth’s crust, the remains of millions, and billions as a matter of fact, of animals and plants that once lived and died and been buried in the rocks. And so we have preserved for us in the lithologic records of ancient times the record of the evolution of life from simple organisms way back in the Cambrian Period six hundred million years ago on up to complex human beings in the Pleistocene Epoch over the last maybe million or so years. Tremendous increase in complexity, we have it actually documented for us in the rocks of the earth’s crust. And at first this sounds rather convincing until we ask again the question “What would the creation model predict you would find in the fossil record?” We recognize that there’s been a history of life on the earth, and we recognize that we can find some clues to that history in the fossil record in the rocks of the earth’s crust. What would we expect to find in terms of the creation model? What would the creation model permit us to predict in terms of the fossil record if we didn’t know what was there, what would we expect to find? Well, what we would expect to find in terms of the creation model in the fossil record is exactly the same sort of thing we find in the present world. That is, horizontal changes within kinds, gaps between kinds, no transitions from one kind to another kind. We wouldn’t expect to find any of these intermediate forms between different forms of life because according to the creation model they never existed so we wouldn’t find them. And so we would not expect to find intermediate forms between basic kinds of organisms in the fossil record. We might find some extinct kinds. Lots of extinct kinds might be predicted because, after all, there is a principle of disintegration operating in the framework of the creation model. So we’re not surprised when we find such things as dinosaurs becoming extinct, but that doesn’t tell us how the dinosaurs came to be in the first place. Extinction is the opposite of evolution.
Well now, the fossil record should give us the real history of life if there, if it’s possible to find it at all, because this does preserve, preserve for us the actual record of whatever life span, of whatever earth history we have, and so, whether evolution or creation we ought to be able to test the two models in terms of the fossil record if we can test it anywhere. The evolutionist, it seems like, would expect to find some intermediate forms, in fact tremendous numbers of inter-, intermediate forms in the fossil record. After all, all organisms did come from a common ancestor in the same world. Take the cats and dogs, for example. They must have come from some common ancestor not too long ago, and they live in about the same kind of environment and evolve by the same process, so there ought to be some intermediates and some connecting links between the primeval ancestor of the cats and dogs. The modern cats on the one hand and the dogs on the other, even though we can’t find intermediates in the present array of organisms, we ought to find some in the fossils. After all billions and billions of fossils have been [garbled: probably “documented”] and some of these ought to be those intermediates which must have existed.
Back in Darwin’s day, Darwin knew that there was, that all these links were missing, but he says it’s just because we don’t have enough fossils collected yet. But then over a hundred years have passed and lots and lots of fossils have been collected, but again the same gaps that existed in Darwin’s day existed in our day. And again I’ll need to document that. Let me just quote – I’m going into detail from Dr. David Raup, who is certainly one of our top young paleontologists today, curator of geology at the Field Museum of Natural History, certainly knows the fossil record, and here’s what he says about it: he says, “Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life what geologists [garbled: probably “of”] Darwin’s time and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven and jerky record. That is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. And it isn’t always clear, in fact it’s rarely clear, that the [garbled: probably “descendants”] were actually any better adapted than their predecessors. In other words biological improvement is hard to find.”
Now, the – can you check why the slide doesn’t work? – okay that’s the, that’s the standard fossil record. That’s the geological column as is presumably preserved in the rocks of the earth’s crust. And most of you are familiar with this, [the] vertical scale is time and it’s as though there’s a, a cross-section cut down through the earth’s crust from the surface down to the crystalline rocks on the basement showing the succession of different forms of life over the ages. And that looks impressive at first until you look more closely and you see that all those forms of life that you find there, except a few that are extinct such as the trilobites and the dinosaurs, really look like modern. Matter of fact, as Dr. Raup says, when, when a species appears in the fossil record, it appears suddenly and abruptly and [garbled], stays that way for a while and then goes out of the record. You don’t find any evidence of intermediate forms, or improved forms, beginning forms, or anything like that.
Somebody might say, well, what about the horse, isn’t that an example of an intermediate series? Well, Dr. Raup goes on to say about that, he says, “The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky, and ironically we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information.” So the horse series, which is supposedly the best, really isn’t a family tree at all, it’s a bush, as some people have called it, with all kinds of contradictions and no clear example that one kind has evolved into another kind at all. And if that isn’t a good example and that’s the best, so where, where are any? And Dr. Raup says they don’t seem to exist.
Now, Dr. Raup is an evolutionist, don’t misunderstand, but he’s one of a, of a younger group of evolutionists who are saying, well, we’ve got to recognize the fact that these gaps are real and the old idea of slow and gradual change by mutation and natural selection just doesn’t seem to work. We have to have a new concept of evolution, which allows for sudden changes in small populations. Well, maybe so, they call it punctuated equilibrium, that is, populations stay the same for a long time – what they call stasis – and then there’s a punctuation in a small population, rapid change (and this may be over considerable time in terms of human life but rapid in terms of so-called geologic time). At any rate, there’s no evidence of what took place because all of a sudden there’s a different group of organisms and no evidence of any intermediates in between. And so now people are saying, well, the idea of microevolution and macroevolution are really two different things.
For example, Stephen Jay Gould, one of the leading evolutionists today, in Paleobiology in 1980, says this about that: he says, “Our model of punctuated equilibrium holds that evolution is concentrated in events of speciation, and that successful speciation is an infrequent event punctuating the stasis of large populations that do not alter in fundamental ways during the millions of years that they endure.” And then he says this, referring now to Dr. Stephen Stanley, who’s recently published a book called Macroevolution, and Stanley argues at great length and with great force that two kinds of evolution, what we call variation or horizontal change, and macroevolution, or vertical change, are not the same thing at all. He says, “Macroevolution is, as Stanley argues, decoupled from microevolution,” and so on.
Just last fall there was a conference in Chicago at the Field Museum in which, according to the reports, most of the leading evolutionists of our day were present discussing this very problem, and let me just read what Science magazine said reporting the conference. They say, “A wide spectrum of researchers gathered at Chicago’s Field Nat-, Museum of Natural History under the simple conference title Macroevolution. The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomenon of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.” The majority of the leading evolutionists today, apparently, particularly among the younger evolutionists, say that microevolution and macroevolution are two different things. Dr. Gould even uses the term “hopeful monster,” returning to the terminology of Richard Goldschmidt forty years ago. Something like this, that a reptile ate an egg, as Goldschmidt said, and then a bird hatched out of the egg. Just rapid change, sudden change, because there are no intermediate forms that one can point to as evidence of gradual change.
Well, maybe so. One cannot be sure about this because once again we can’t get in a time machine and go back and see whether that happened. This is a modification of the model, once again, to make it explain why we find no intermediate forms. The fact is there are no intermediate forms that have been found, and this is, of course, a precise prediction of the creation model. Maybe the evolution model can explain why there are no intermediate forms, but it’d be a lot better proof of evolution if we could find an intermediate series – if we could find, for example, a whole series of organisms showing how the invertebrate gradually evolved into the vertebrate, or the fish into the amphibian. If we could find a series of forms showing how they gradually changed, the feet and legs of the amphibian, or the fins of the fish gradually changed into the feet and legs of the amphibian, and the scales of the reptile gradually became, becoming the feathers of the bird. If we could find these intermediate structures somewhere, or a series of them, then of course creationists would have a hard time accepting anything but evolution as the explanation for that.
Well, we don’t find those, and maybe that proves that evolution took place rapidly like this. It does seem to us like what the evolutionist is saying is something like this: the reason you don’t see any evolution in the present world is because it goes too slow for you to see, and then the reason why you don’t see it in the fossil world is because it went too fast for you to see. [40:00] But the fact is you don’t see it anywhere, and science is supposed to be what you can see. In other words evolutionists have to walk by faith, not by sight. And that’s okay, it’s a faith, something you can believe. You have to believe creation too, but they’re on the same level. Belief in special creation is parallel to belief in evolution, as Dr. Matthews says.
Well now, we would suggest that the gaps in the fossil record are not a problem at all for the creation model. We don’t have to explain why the gaps are there, the creation model predicts the gaps, and sure enough, once again, the creation model fits the facts exactly as they’re found. Whether in the present world, or the past world, or the possible world as expressed in terms of the laws of science, the laws of thermodynamics. The creation model predicts the facts exactly as they are. The evolution model has to continually be modified to explain the facts and to correlate the facts to make it fit. Once again, we haven’t proved one or the other, but the creation model does do a good job of correlating and predicting the facts.
Well now, the next question would be, well, if this geological column does not really teach evolution, exactly what does it teach? What is the meaning of this array of organisms in the rocks in the earth’s crust? Now we come to the third aspect of the creation model, and that is that earth history is dominated by catastrophism rather than uniformitarianism.
Now, let’s just ask again, what would the creation model predict with respect to the actual structures, the physical structures, of the rocks of the earth’s crust? We would predict that they would give evidence of catastrophe rather than slow, uniform processes. And when we go and look at those structures, that’s what we find. Now, when I was going to graduate school, and that’s been way back I know in the Dark Ages a long time ago, when I was at the University of Minnesota and I was in geology, and in those days uniformitarianism was the watchword in geology: the present was the key to the past. That was the watchword of geology, uniformitarianism. And catastrophism was a bad word. You just didn’t use that word, in those days, at all, if you expected to get through the course.
But now, it’s different. Now there are many articles in the geological literature that speak of catastrophism. I know of two societies that are for the study of catastrophic geology. And these are not creationist societies, just geological societies. So now catastrophism is beginning to come back into the picture again. Dr. Gould himself is advocating that, along with the idea of rapid evolution. Also rapid destruction too, in terms of catastrophic geology, and so are many others.
Now, I’ve been saying this for a long time. I’ve been sort of sticking my neck out and saying that you really couldn’t explain the rocks of the earth’s crust, the sedimentary rocks particularly which were formed by hydraulic processes, which happens to be my own field, hydraulics, see, you just can’t explain these rocks by natural, slow processes of erosion and sedimentation such as occur today. But most people wouldn’t listen, but now it’s interesting that more and more geologists are saying the same thing.
For example, the book The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record, by Dr. Derek Ager, who when he wrote this was President of the British Geological Association, and is head of the geological department at the University of Swansea in England, in this book has done exactly what I said a moment ago, showing that all of the geological systems and structures and formations require some kind of catastrophe for their explanation. And he goes, one by one, over all different kinds. He’s not a creationist, don’t misunderstand, he’s a uniformitarian geologist, but he does say that in order to explain the geological systems, you have to have catastrophes. Here, for example, on page 49, he says, “The hurricane, the flood, the tsunami may do more in an hour or a day than the ordinary processes of nature can achieve in a thousand years.” That sounds something like another book, one day, as with a catastrophe, is a thousand years, he’s saying.
In other words, you don’t have to have millions of years to explain the rocks of the earth’s crust, they can be formed rapidly. And the evidence, hydraulically, is that they are. And as a matter of fact, paleontologically too, because after all these rocks contain fossils, great graveyards of fossils all over the world. You have great beds of dinosaurs in Wyoming and New Mexico and Alberta and Spitzberg and in South Africa and Belgium and Central Asia and all – great beds of dinosaurs everywhere and great beds of elephants up in the permafrost in Siberia and Alaska and beds of hippopotamus in Sicily and so on – great fish beds in California and New York and Wyoming and Scotland and – how, for example, do you explain a billion fossil herring in the Miocene shales near Monterey in California? How do you get a billion fossil fish? Remember, fossils are formed by sedimentary processes, water moving sediments, deposited under water, and yet here we have a billion fossil fish. Fish don’t drown, and yet there they are a billion fossil fish. How did they get there? [Applause.] How do you even get one fossil fish? When fish die, they don’t go down to the bottom of the ocean or the lake and wait for a hundred years for silt to settle on top and make a fossil out of it. You have to have a catastrophe to form fossil beds of any size.
And then of course you have great beds of marine invertebrates all over the world. So the rocks just seem to cry out catastrophism, that’s what Dr. Ager says. In fact, in the very last sentence of his book, he says this, “In other words, the history of any one part of the earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror.” What you see in the rocks is catastrophe. Now don’t misunderstand, he doesn’t think they were all the same catastrophe. He doesn’t think this was the Flood of the Bible or anything like that. He thinks these were all local floods, local earthquakes, local tsunamis, local landslides, or whatnot. Local catastrophes. But what he does say is that everything you see in the rocks is a catastrophe. Now, he thinks that each one of these was a regional catastrophe separated from the next one maybe by a million years when nothing much was happening, boredom, periods of erosion rather than deposition. But now, we would ask this: well, if everything you see is catastrophism, just how do you know there were millions of years in between since you can’t see any evidence of it? After all, science is what you see and all you see in the rocks is catastrophism. And there are many other geologists now who are saying the same kind of thing.
Well, as a matter of fact, the creation model doesn’t necessarily have to pin it all on one catastrophe, but the more you look at these phenomena the more it looks like they were the same catastrophe. For example – let me move the slide again – consider the concept of unconformity. Now, as long as the rock strata are parallel to each other, they conform to each other and they’re all laid down by sedimentary processes, you can assume that the deposition process is continuous. Particularly if at the interface between the successive layers or strata you find irregularities representing the rippled interface, on the sediment as it’s being transported, and you find this nearly always. They’re conformable because they’re all continuous and parallel, and so as long as you find that then you know that you’ve got a continuous deposition process. But if you have an unconformity, where the strata above do not conform to those below, as shown here, then the supposition is that there’s been a gap of time, a lapse of time. And this is a period of erosion rather than deposition. And of course it might be a long time.
May I have the next slide? Now the important point, however, on that is that there is no such thing as a worldwide unconformity and therefore no worldwide lapse in deposition. Dr. Ki Hong Chang, in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, an article entitled, “Unconformity-Bounded Stratigraphic Units,” November 1975, says this: “In the early history of stratigraphy, unconformities were overestimated in that they were believed to represent coeval diastrophism over areas of infinitely wide extent.” In other words, he’s saying that back there a hundred years ago during the days of Cuvier, before Lyell and Darwin, there were believed to be at the end of each of the great ages – the end of the Cambrian period, the Ordovician period and so on – a worldwide mountain-building revolution, and therefore a worldwide unconformity. A gap in time representing the end of one age and the beginning of another age. Dr. Chang points out that this was overestimated. Now, of course, it’s known that there is no worldwide unconformity like that. Unconformities are all local, and furthermore even local unconformities do not necessarily tell the time when one age stopped, or even one deposition stopped and another began, except on a very local scale. Dr. Chang says this, “Many unconformity-bounded units are considered to be chronostratigraphic units in spite of the fact that unconformity surfaces inevitably cut across isochronous horizons and hence cannot be true chronostratigraphic boundaries.”
Now, if you sift through the jargon there, he’s – an isochronous horizon is one on which the time is the same; isochronous, equal time. So below that is earlier and above that is later. So isochronous does mean a given point in time. But the unconformity surfaces do not because he says they inevitably cut across isochronous horizons. So you cannot use unconformities to measure geological time.
Now, he also points out, of course, that there is no worldwide unconformity. Now do you see the significance of that? If there is no worldwide unconformity, there is no worldwide gap in the deposition process. The deposition process is going on continuously somewhere in the world throughout geological time. And combine that with the evidence of universal catastrophe everywhere, Dr. Ager says every individual formation was formed by a local catastrophe, and all that you see is catastrophe, and then the whole series is continuous, because there’s no worldwide gap in deposition. In other words, you can stop – start at the bottom of the geological column anywhere and work your way to the top, and you may have to zigzag around a bit, but as this sketch indicates, even though there may be an unconformity in one section where there was an uplift and therefore a tilting of the strata, and a gap in eros – deposition, [50:00] and a period of erosion at the one section, at the other section there was not. And so all you have to is to go around, if you encounter an unconformity, and move along to the side somewhere until you get to the place where the strata straighten out and you can pass up into the next formation without going through an unconformity. And then into the next one.
So you can go all the way from the bottom up to the top, zigzagging around like that, and the trace that you follow like that is a trace along which the deposition process was continuous, no unconformities being crossed, and since every unit was formed rapidly by at least a local catastrophe, therefore the whole series is a series of continuous local catastrophes, and you can do that anywhere in the world, starting at any part at the bottom of the geological column, and finally it seems like we are compelled to come to the conclusion that the whole complex represents a series of local catastrophes all interconnected and continuous comprising finally a great worldwide hydraulic cataclysm. So that the whole geological column really represents the same catastrophe, primarily, there may be some local catastrophes afterwards in the upper strata, but basically one great catastrophe.
And that means then that the geological age system, which is supposedly represented by the geological column, really comes under serious question. If all of this was formed in the same age, then where do we get the idea that each one of these represents different ages? Where, for example, do you get the idea that there are different geological ages? How do you know what the age of a rock is, for example? If you go out onto the mountain and you find a rock and you want to know what the age is, how do you know what the age of the rock is? Well, everybody just believes that the geologists know how to do that, old rocks look old and young rocks look young, some way they can tell. But the fact is old rocks don’t necessarily look old or young rocks look young. And the determination of the geological age is really rather sophisticated.
I see that my time is about up. Whenever I get to talking about geological time, I run out of time, it looks like. So, maybe I can continue this at the second session. Just to point out at this time that there is no really completely objective scientific way for determining the geological age of a rock. There’s no real reason why they couldn’t all be the same age, and all formed, therefore, in the same great cataclysm, as the basic creation model would suggest.
Whether, therefore, we look at the present world or the past world, the creation model does serve as a powerful vehicle and a model for explaining and correlating the scientific data. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
[MILLER:] I have to say I enjoyed Dr. Morris’s presentation very much. I think that we have seen something remarkable. And that is that Dr. Morris has attempted to give a marvelous critique of evolution, but for some reason he has said very little about special creation. And I think it is reasonable to say [applause] that one – it will take me all week if you do that – it’s going to, I think it’s reasonable to say if we’re going to compare two theories, we have to look very carefully at both of them, and I propose that we should take a few minutes and see what it is that Dr. Morris says we should put in place of evolution.
Now first of all, he is not merely arguing creation. You see, I’m a creationist too, because I’m a Roman Catholic, and therefore I believe that the world was created. And I believe there is meaning and purpose to existence. Most scientists, by that definition, in one sense or another, are creationists. So what do we have to argue about? Well, the answer is that we have everything to argue about.
See, what Dr. Morris proposes is special creation, which is a theory that proposes certain very specific things about the origin of the universe. And to me, the remarkable thing about his statement was that he mentioned very few of those things. Now it is true that special creation has a religious character to it. But Dr. Morris wants to debate on science, and science alone, and that’s fine, I agree with him, I hold him to it. So let’s have a look. Now you can find all about special creation in some of the books that Dr. Morris has put together.
Could we have all the lights that can be turned off – off? And the first slide, please. If possible – yeah, very good, thank you.
Okay, this is a book called Scientific Creationism, which Dr. Morris edited, really neat cover. I would love to have the artist that illustrated that to do my next paper, I’m just delighted with that. And it’s a book which I recommend to all of you, I got a copy myself, it’s well-written, it’s very clear, it’s authoritatively documented, go ahead, go out and buy it – Dr. Morris, you owe me a beer for the plug.
Now here’s what the book will tell you. First of all, the entire universe is six to ten thousand years old. Six to ten thousand years old. All animals and plants, all living things, were created in a very short period of time, might have taken about six days, and nothing has come into existence since then. Nothing has come into existence. Variation in living things now is limited to original created kinds, and that’s within very strict boundaries. And finally, all fossils of the various geologic periods were in fact formed at one time. A great, worldwide catastrophe about which we just heard, which probably was a flood, and probably lasted about three hundred days.
Now, you know that evolution suggests something very different. So I agree with Dr. Morris, we should be able to look into the world and look at the facts around us and tell the difference. Okay, so let’s start at the beginning.
Number one, age of the universe. Okay, the universe is ten thousand years old. And that means that we should not be able to see any stars or galaxies farther away than about ten thousand light years, because that’s how long it takes light to travel, right? Okay.
Next slide. Dr. Morris is in trouble, in big trouble right away. This is the Whirlpool Galaxy. It’s one of the prettiest galaxies, that’s why I brought it, I like pictures, I’m a microscopist, I’m into images. And the Whirlpool Galaxy is several million light years from Earth. We can see it, we can take its picture, the light is here. A straightforward interpretation of that is that there have been at least a couple of million years for that light to get here.
Now the problem gets worse. And it gets a thousand times worse. Next slide. This is the most, this is the most distant object ever visualized in the universe. It’s by the arrow, the lower right-hand corner of the slide. It’s a galaxy that was reported in the press a couple of months ago, as being discovered by the orbiting Einstein X-ray observatory. It is twelve billion – twelve billion! – light years away. Now astronomers realize that when we look at this light, we are looking into the past. We are looking at events that occurred twelve billion years ago.
Now, this is an immediate contradiction for special creation. How can they deal with it? Well, Dr. Morris has thought about this, and there is a book which he wrote with someone else named The Genesis Flood. And on page 369 of The Genesis Flood he deals with that question, and he says, “It,” meaning the universe, “must have had an appearance of age from the moment of creation. The photons of light energy,” from places like this, “were created at the same instant as the stars from which they were apparently derived.” In other words, the reason that we can see these things is because the creator made all of the photons in midstream at the instant of creation, and therefore we can see it today. So in other words, they have to get around this very serious problem by saying that the creator has organized his universe in a way so as to fool us.
Now moreover, because we frequently see events like supernovae and disintegration, stars exploding and so forth, at distances greater than a hundred thousand light years, it means the creator is making up events that never occurred. Because if we see a star explode at a hundred thousand light years away, and the universe is only ten thousand light years old, it means he put the photons documenting an explosion in midstream that never actually took place in reality. What a devil – no pun intended – that creator must have been. [Laughter.] Now if Dr. Morris wants to believe that, that’s fine, but he certainly shouldn’t pretend that there’s any scientific support for the idea that the universe is ten thousand years old.
Now I want you to note something. If the universe was young, we could tell it, we really could. If the most distant star that we could see was ten thousand light years away and if every night a new star or two twinkled up in the sky one light day farther away, every astronomer in the world would be on Dr. Morris’s side. Instead we see something else. And what does special creation have to do about the evidence for the age of the universe? It has to say, as it will say again, that the evidence doesn’t matter.
Okay, number two. How old is the earth? Well, it’s six to ten thousand years old, right? Okay. How could we tell that? Well, the most convincing way that we could do that would be by radiometric dating. Now, there are many, many ways to do it. But I will try to explain one of those methods in detail. It will involve a little graphs, charts, that sort of thing, things we dig in science and people out in the real world don’t like very much, but I urge you to bear with me.
Can I have the next slide? What I’m going to talk about is a method called rubidium-strontium dating. And what it involves, it takes advantage of is the fact that one isotope of rubidium, rubidium-87, decays, by a process known as electron capture, into an isotope of strontium, called strontium-87. It decays with a half-life that has been very accurately measured and comes out at about fifty billion years, and that means in fifty billion years half the rubidium would have decayed to strontium-87, and so forth. And the really neat thing about this is that there are three other isotopes of strontium, as you can see, which are not formed by radiometric decay. The apparent – the present proportions of those in the earth’s crust is shown as percentages in brackets. As you can see, about seven percent of the strontium in the earth’s crust now is formed by this process.
Now, how do we determine the amounts of these various things? Now, that turns out to be very easy. Next slide. We take a sample of rock and we place that sample in a machine known as a mass spectrometer. The very accurate versions of these machines only exist in the last twenty-five years so only in the last twenty-five years can we determine the proportions of these accurately, and the next slide shows the sorts of measurements you get out of these things, and that is that we can develop peaks which have very accurate measurements of the apparent abundances of the different isotopes. [1:00:00]
Now the investigator in this one, if you’re close enough to see it, has made a little mark saying that a certain amount of the strontium-87 is radiogenic, and that means it was formed by radioactive decay from rubidium. Now how did he do that? I mean, is he fudging it? Is he using a presumption of evolution? I’ll show you how it’s done.
Next slide. Now if –
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... and certain amounts of the isotopes, and the other one has a small amount of rubidium and certain amounts of the isotopes. Notice that I drew the amounts of the different isotopes in constant proportion, and the reason for that is that although these molecules have different molecular weights, and therefore we give them different atomic weights, and therefore we give them different numbers, they are chemically indistinguishable. And whenever a rock is formed today, or at any time in the past, as far as we can tell, in the earth’s crust there simply is no way to separate these things out so we get these in constant proportions. In fact, we haven’t been able to separate them adequately in the lab until the last couple of decades. Okay, what would happen in a rock to one of these minerals if it was then formed and then allowed to decay?
Next slide. What happens is that rubidium begins to decay at a known rate and it forms strontium-87. Now the nice thing about the system is that it only forms 87, and what happens through time, as shown in the top part of the slide, is that we get an increase in 87 which is proportional to the age of the rock. And in the bottom part of the slide, if the same thing went on for a longer time, say three or four billion years, the increase would be much greater. And what we can do is to use this method as a chronometer to measure how long it’s been since the rock was made.
Now let me show you how this works. If we take a rock and we pick it up and we want to learn its age, the first thing we can do – next slide – is to separate the rock into its constituent minerals. Geologists are real good at doing this, it’s what they make their living at, and then we measure the amounts of the various isotopes in each of the minerals of the rock. And that’s important, we measure them in each. And what you would get is a very, very nice picture.
Here I have diagrammed three minerals, one of which is low in rubidium at the top, the other one in the bottom is low in strontium, and the one in the middle is sort of mediocre between the two. Note that we make no assumptions – I’ll say it again, no assumptions – about the amount of rubidium we start with or the amount of strontium. Now notice something really neat. In the one on the top that has low rubidium, if the system is cool, if everything is working right, we should get almost no change in the original strontium ratios. In the middle one, where there is a fair amount of rubidium, we should get a dramatic change in the strontium ratios and we should see a certain amount of strontium-87 showing up. And in the one at the bottom we should see a whole bunch of strontium-87, because there’s almost no strontium in it to start with.
Now, the system assumes nothing, because it is self-checking. If the rock is not disturbed, if none of the distortions occur which can happen all the time in geology, then you can make an accurate prediction and the prediction is that the amount of strontium you build up should be proportional, in precise proportions in every mineral in the rock, to the amount of rubidium that starts out in that rock. And if it’s not precise, if it’s not proportional, the geologist said something funny has happened, I won’t use it for a date and I’ll throw it out. It’s interesting.
Next slide. Now this is a graph, I apologize for this, but the graph shows the power of the method. On this graph, we graph a starting ratio of rubidium to strontium on the bottom, and the radiogenic isotope of strontium to the nonradiogenic on the side. Now, I got to say, this is a little heavy, but here’s what happens. When a mineral is formed, because the strontium 87 to 86 ratio is constant, and we always see that in nature because they’re chemically indistinguishable, the line is flat. A flat line means a zero age. What should happen as it ages is that every single mineral in the rock should increase in its ratio to exact proportions to how much rubidium is in the system. And that means that one point at a time those points should move up, but the rock, every mineral in the rock, has to stay consistent if the system is closed. It’s an extremely delicate system because the slightest disturbance, the adding of a little bit of strontium or the leaching out of rubidium or a chemical change, will screw up the points, it will scatter them all over the chart, and we will know right away if the system has a problem.
Next slide. Here’s some data. Here are some rocks that were taken from minerals in the Sun River, Montana, basin. And what you can see are separate determinations of a couple of different types of minerals. Now, notice something. There are lots of points on those lines. Every single point is an independent determination of a different mineral from the same rock. The slope of the line is what gives us the age. The fact that the points lie on the straight line means that every single mineral in the rock says the same age. That’s called a concordant rock. Concordant – singing together. A discordant rock, singing out of tune, is one where the points give different ages. Discordant rocks do not yield reliable dates, geologists write papers about them, saying don’t mess with this, it will give you the wrong date. Dr. Morris can probably quote those papers to show you how unreliable the method is, but the fact of the matter is that geologists use concordant ratios to date rocks.
Next slide. Here’s another one. This illustrates the range of the system. On the left-hand side are some gneiss rocks: gee en. And a gneiss is a mineral that’s very old, that in many cases can be very, very old, this particular one dates to 3.7 billion years by this method. On the right-hand side, younger rocks, because we can find younger rocks and the method tells us that they’re young, 460 million years.
Next slide. Meteorites. Meteorites can be dated too and they come out consistently – about 4.6 or 4.7 billion years. Look at that. Every single point an independent determination from a different mineral, extremely sensitive, self-checking, it shows us an error if it exists.
Next slide. Same thing. This particular one is a siltstone from Western United States, it dates to 935 million years. And the next slide is a reminder of the method, that every point on the line comes from an independent determination, and we only use rocks that are concordant to date critical things in the fossil record and critical things in geology.
Now, there is one – count ’em, one – assumption in the method and one assumption alone. And that is that the radioactive decay constant is constant with time, in other words the rate of decay, the half-life of the mineral. Now that’s an assumption, that’s true. It’s also true that the rate of radioactive decay is the most constant thing, the most constant process that has ever been measured in nature. Now Dr. Morris may get up here, he may say we now know that the rates vary. That’s true. And if he’ll give you the reference, I’m sure he has it, you can look it up in the library, and what you’ll discover is that if these minerals are vaporized by heating them to four thousand degrees Kelvin, and if they’re put under a hundred atmospheres of pressure, we get a variation in the decay rates of a little bit less than one percent. Now, it’s perfectly all right to say that if the earth was heated to four thousand degrees Kelvin, and the atmosphere was thirty to forty times as strong as it is right now, everything would be vaporized and the rocks would give ratios that were incorrect by one percent. I admit that.
The fact of the matter is that this system, and the elegant nature of it and the fact that the isochrons can be made, is big, big trouble for Dr. Morris. And the reason for that is the central premise of his theory is that the earth is young. Now there’s two ways he’ll deal with this. One is he’s going to quote a lot of articles about errors in radiometric dating methods and by implication he’ll say that this method stinks too. Friends, listen to the quotes very carefully. Because he will not be able to produce a single quote, not one, that suggests that a concordant, it’s one of these, isochron, that’s what the line is, from a rock ever gives a date, ever gives a date, that can be shown to be too old. Not one. Now, he’s really good in the library and I know if there was a quote out there he’d find it. But the fact of the matter is he can’t.
Now, incidentally, there is a possible error in these. And that is if a rock is heated up during metamorphosis, the isochron can be reset to zero. And that means you can get a date that’s too young. But there’s no way anyone has even suggested that you can get a date that’s too old.
Now that’s one strategy. The other strategy is he may retreat from science into the almighty. I’ll show you what that means. You see, when I tried to figure out how to explain to you radiometric dating, I wanted to have a nice, authoritative quote to convince you, like from Julian Huxley or from Isaac Asimov or something, and guess what the Lord delivered into my hand!
Next slide. Well, that’s the same one. This nice book, now this doesn’t have as nice a cover as the other one, but it’s just as good a book. And in Genesis Flood we can see something very interesting. Next slide. Here’s a couple of quotes from Dr. Morris. “There is even more commonly disagreement between uranium and thorium ages ...” Well, “commonly,” that’s poetic license. “As more and more evidence was gathered the lead method began to carry conviction. There could be little doubt, when pure thorium minerals associated in the same rocks with pure uranium minerals gave the same absolute age. There are now known even a few cases” – there are so many I couldn’t even fit them in a full carousel – “where there is agreement between ages obtained by the lead method, the rubidium method, and/or the potassium method.” Fine, Dr. Morris says we’ve got conviction, these things really exist.
Next slide. Now this I like. “We reply, however,” to the old ages, “that the Biblical outline of earth history with the geological framework provided thereby would lead us to postulate exactly this state of the radioactivity evidence. We would expect radiogenic minerals to indicate very large ages,” and so forth and so on. Now I like that, because it has boldness and it has style. They simply come right out and say, “Why, we expected the ages to be very old. We expected 4.5 billion even though we know the earth is ten thousand.” That’s very nice after the fact. But I really would have appreciated it if creationists in the twenties, who were saying that the earth was young, had reminded us that if we were ever able to develop methods to date rocks, the ages would be 4.5 billion even though it’s ten thousand. It’s a lot nicer to predict before than it is to predict after.
And finally – the next slide – this is interesting. “In the absence of specific revelation it seems impossible to decide the question with finality.” That means the age of the earth. “However, it is more satisfying, and therefore more reasonable, to infer that all these primeval clocks,” meaning the radiogenic clocks, “since they were ‘wound up’ at the same time were also set to read the same time. Whatever this setting was, we may call it the apparent age of the earth. But the true age of the earth can be known only by means of divine revelation.” [Call from audience member: “That’s right!”]
Dr. Morris says, so do you, that the true age of the earth may be known only by means of divine revelation. Now revelation is a fine thing for dealing with matters spiritual. Some believe it is the source of ultimate spiritual [10:00] truth and I respect that point of view. I respect it absolutely. But Dr. Morris says simply that when the facts of science, not spiritual questions, but the facts of science go against his theory, well to hell with science, divine revelation is the only way to answer a scientific question.
Now, there’s one more thing, and this is a critical point. The radiometric methods today could prove the earth was young if it really was. All those isochrons would be straight lines, Henry Morris would be the professor of geology at Harvard. But ladies and gentlemen, how does special creation deal with evidence about the age of the earth? And the answer is, it says the evidence doesn’t matter.
Okay. Now another good part. Dr. Morris has made the statement that the second law of thermodynamics makes evolution impossible. I mean, gee, how could everybody be so stupid, I mean all you’d need to do to straighten out these evolution idiots would be to sit them down with a physical chemist, have a nice talk to them, a physical chemist could tell us about the second law, this is all impossible, now go out and do something else. What’s the reason for that? What is the deal with the second law?
Friends, Dr. Morris is fibbing and I believe that Dr. Morris knows it. I will answer his question in two parts. Number one, let’s assume that life already exists and then see if the second law forbids further evolution, further increases in complexity. Okay, I’m going to do that first. Then, secondly, let’s see if the second law makes the evolution of a cell from nonliving matter impossible.
Next slide. Now, in my book, Dr. Morris has borne false witness against the second law of thermodynamics, so I thought I’d bring the second law in to speak for itself. This is the Gibbs equation. It is the most straightforward chemical demonstration of the second law we have, and I’m sorry to bring the math in, this is science, we gotta get in there, we gotta think about it.
Okay. Delta G is a quantity known as Gibbs free energy. It tells us if a reaction goes spontaneously. If delta G is negative, whatever it is we’re talking about will happen spontaneously. If it’s positive, it generally won’t happen, in fact it will run in the other direction. Okay, what determines that? Three other quantities. Delta H, which is the energy change associated with the reaction. We can make reactions go sometimes which require energy by putting energy into them. T is simply the temperature of the system. Which way a reaction goes is influenced by temperature. And delta S is entropy. Delta S is the measure of disorder. Now, I don’t want to get into the detail of the mathematics, but there is a very straightforward prediction from the equation, and the prediction is simple. You can have an increase in order, and by the convention that means a decrease in delta S, a decrease in entropy, if the reaction is such that energy is supplied in the system. If you supply energy, you can have an increase in order, that’s straightforward, it’s right out of the math, you can see it, you can work it out with your own slide rule, calculator, and pencil. It’s a simple fact.
Next slide. This is a popularized version of the second law to show you a little diagram of what can happen in a localized system. Now, it’s absolutely true that the energy of the universe, sorry, the entropy of the universe, must always decrease. The universe as a whole always becomes more disorderly. No evolutionist has a quarrel with that. It’s absolutely true. The next slide shows this a little closer in. When we look at that individual system, what can a system do? It can increase in entropy, meaning it can get more orderly, it can stay the same, or it can get more disorderly. The fact of the matter is that increases in order are not only possible, they’re predicted by the second law, as long as we have a sufficient supply of energy. This slide is from the standard textbook on bioenergetics by Albert K. Lehninger [sic: Lehninger’s middle initial was L.] of MIT. The fact is that all one needs to support an increase in complexity, which evolution demands, is energy.
Next slide. And the method of trapping the sun’s energy is, in fact, the basis of every single living thing on this planet. This is a chloroplast. This is the thing that makes green plant cells green. Now, I work on these things. This is my bag. And in the next slide we see one of these in the electron microscope. There is a very, very marvelously complex system, I know Dr. Morris will like me saying that, which is capable of trapping the energy of sunlight, converting it to chemical energy and making it usable for everything on earth. This is the engine of life and the engine of evolution as well. With this, the enormous efficiency of the system, the fact is that there are no thermodynamic barriers to increases in complexity. The smokescreen about the second law is a farce. Now Dr. Morris can gesture, he can talk about universal laws and so forth, but the fact is that evolution is not forbidden by the second law, it’s consistent with it.
Now I know that Dr. Morris, once he is caught in this particular deal about the second law, he has a predictable avenue of retreat. So I want to fire a missile down there before he gets down the corridor. He’ll say, well, the chloroplast harvests energy from the sun, that’s right, it gets energy, but where did the pattern for the chloroplast come from? Where did that come from? That didn’t just come about by itself, did it? Well, if he says that, that’s fine, because he proves my point. He admits that the second law says nothing about evolution, once living systems are here, and instead he has to fall back on saying where did the first cells come from. So I’m going to score one point for evolution, and now we’re going to see where the first cells came from.
Okay, there’s nothing in evolutionary theory – nothing – that says that living cells must have come from inanimate matter. It doesn’t say that. In fact, there was once a famous creationist, his name was Charles Darwin, and at the end of a book called The Origin of Species he wrote this. This is how he ended the Origin. “There is grandeur in this view of life,” and he meant evolution, “with its several powers having been originally breathed by the creator into a few forms or one. And while this planet has gone on cycling according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Now, Darwin couldn’t conceive of any origin for that first cell except for a theological one. But we know a lot more about the chemistry of living things than we did in Darwin’s time. So what can we say? Okay, number one. There isn’t any historical evidence of whether or not first – the first cells evolved from nonliving matter. There is no argument about there, Dr. Morris and I agree. But is there any evidence that any step in chemical evolution is truly forbidden? And here’s the key, it doesn’t look like it. Every single step on the way of generating the complex molecules of life seems to happen spontaneously. Let me show you.
Next slide. Now, the most famous experiment was done by somebody named Stanley Miller. He did it when he was in graduate school. Every graduate student would love to have thought of what Stanley Miller thought of, except they’d have liked to have thought of it first. Now what he did was to place – is that Stanley, okay –some very simple molecules in a flask: carbon dioxide, water, methane, and ammonia. He sealed them, he heated and cooled them, and away he went. What happens? Well, a series of complex molecules necessary to life is formed and it’s formed very quickly. Next slide. In fact, so many things are formed that the main problem that Miller had was that the flask gummed up with organic molecules so quickly that the spark generator turned off. It was unbelievable! Just about everything was formed, all sorts of amino acids and everything else. Now, Dr. Morris might tell you we got a minute amount of product out of this experiment. Not so!
Next slide. The kinetics of the formation were absolutely unbelievable. An enormous amount of amino acid was formed, the starting materials were used up rapidly, and, again, the main problem was that the molecules which were formed, besides the ones on the last slide, were so complicated that it was difficult to analyze them. We can analyze them better today, but Stanley had a rough time in 1950 because he didn’t have the biochemical tools we do.
Now, this experiment has been repeated in every conceivable way. And every single molecule, every one important to living things, can be formed in this way. And one of the most remarkable examples is a base called adenine. Next slide. Adenine is probably the most important nucleotide base in living things, because we have it in DNA, we’ve gotta have it. We have it in RNA. Adenine is tacked onto messenger RNA molecules and it’s the source of a molecule known as ATP, which is the basic energy currency of the cell. Now how do you form adenine? The answer is, you don’t need a Ph.D., you don’t need a pattern, you don’t need a blueprint. You take hydrogen cyanide, which forms, incidentally, immediately in the Miller apparatus. You take hydrogen cyanide and you shine ultraviolet light on it. In fact, adenine forms so quickly under this that there was a commercial process to make it before we realized how important it was biologically, and it was called hydrogen cyanide pantomer. It’s the most natural thing in the world.
Now, Dr. Morris can tell you that the second law forbids spontaneous increases in complexity even if you put energy into the system. All this needs is energy in the system, adenine is far more complex than hydrogen cyanide. It forms. Why? Because it’s consistent with the second law, which says you can have an increase in complexity if energy is available for the system. And you know what’s remarkable? Adenine is the most important base in living things and it is the first thing that forms, and it forms easily. Isn’t that remarkable?
Now, none of this proves that life evolved. But ask yourself this question? Please, all of you, regardless of your feelings, ask yourself this question. If molecules like this could never be formed spontaneously, how would Dr. Morris treat it? Are you kidding? He would begin his debates by talking about the great work of Stanley Miller that shows that the evolution of living things is impossible. But the answer comes out the other way. He’s got to find a way to get around the problem.
Now, I don’t have to go through – I don’t have time to go through – every step of the many experiments that others have done. I’ll generalize only by saying that the insurmountable barriers that Dr. Morris may suggest exist between living and nonliving matter aren’t there. Dr. Morris may have computers and calculations saying it’s impossible, it couldn’t occur, we ran it through the computer, it couldn’t work. But there is one unifying characteristic to all the calculations, and that is that they all assume that a molecule or cell must self-assemble. None of them suggest that molecular self-replication could occur. And for that – and the reason for that – besides from the fact that it would make evolution more probable and might give an answer that Dr. Morris doesn’t like, is because it makes mathematics more complicated, the mathematicians who do these don’t like that. Well, get ready for a surprise.
Next slide. When you’re certain, and Dr. Morris is certain, that life could never have occurred spontaneously, you don’t bother to do experiments because you already know how they’re going to come out. Well, progress never comes from certainty, it comes from doubt. Some scientists thought that maybe there might be a way that a molecule could exist in very simple conditions like that on the primitive earth and turn out to be self-replicating in the absence of an enzyme. And what I direct you to is this month’s issue of Scientific American, where an experiment done in Germany by Manfred Eigen and in California by his vigorous competitor Leslie Orgel has [20:00] turned out a remarkable series of studies on non-enzymatic RNA replication. It turns out that RNA, one of the molecules important in heredity, is self-replicating. It can copy itself. It does a lousy job of it, it’s a slow self-replicator, it makes a lot of mistakes, but it can copy very short sequences of oligonucleotide. It doesn’t need a big complicated system, just itself.
Now, it turns out that if you fool around with the system, and you drop in (and they did this first by accident) a few small amounts of zinc ion, there’s lots of zinc around in the earth’s crust, the fidelity – let me have the next slide – the fidelity of non-enzymatic RNA replication shoots right through the roof. And this is the passage from the article which documents it. The fact of the matter is that there is a self-replicating molecule. The self-replicating called molecule is called RNA, and one of the main barriers on the road to believing that living things could have evolved from non-living matter is crossed, it’s a fact, it’s there, the experiments were done. There is a self-replicating molecule. It’s called RNA.
Now, does that prove that life evolved from inanimate matter? Absolutely not. There’s only one thing that could do that, and that is if something came slithering out of Stanley Miller’s flask. Now I want to point something out here (nothing comes slithering out of the flask, by the way). We don’t prove things in science, we disprove them. Almost every step of this process has been tested in some way, and at no step has it been possible to disprove the suggestion that life could have evolved from non-living matter. Now can we exclude the possibility, as Darwin suggested, that the first cell was made by the creator? No, absolutely not. But can we say, as I think Dr. Morris may, that such a thing is impossible even given the whole earth as a laboratory and 500 million years? No, absolutely not. In our labs today, we can see that every step of the process happens. Some of them happen slow, and some of them happen fast.
Now, I want to ask you a question: Do you think that the possibility of such an origin in the prebiotic dust demeans human life? I don’t think it does, and I’m reminded of a quote from the Bible that I learned as a little boy: “Remember man, thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” I don’t think even Stanley Miller could have said that better.
Now, one of the central arguments of the special creationists is about the fossil record. There are gaps in the fossil record. Dr. Morris says that gaps are real, they’re fatal to evolutionary theory, and they’re predicted by special creation ... there you go. Now let me lay it right down in front of you: the gaps are real. Evolutionists agree with Dr. Morris. You know that because he’s been quoting them. They’re saying the gaps are real. But let me show what those gaps mean.
Next slide. I tried to find a slide of the most dramatic gap that exists in the fossil record. And I think Dr. Morris would agree with me, there’s almost nothing that’s as dramatic as this. It’s the appearance of the angiosperms about a hundred and fifty million years ago in the evolution of plants. Now an angiosperm is just about any plant you see out there. Trees are angiosperms, everything you grow in the garden, your lawn, everything. The only big plants that are around today that aren’t angiosperms are evergreens and firs. Everything in the world is an angiosperm. They’re all over the place. Prior to a hundred and fifty million years ago, there wasn’t one on the earth, nothing in the fossil record. The angiosperms appear suddenly at one hundred and fifty million years, and this – all of a sudden they’re all over the place. It’s almost as if a creator looked around and said, “Boy, I am bored with ferns ... pfft, let there be angiosperms.” [Laughter.]
And they appear exactly as Dr. Morris said special creation would predict them. No question, no argument there. They appear suddenly without ancestors, without transitional forms. We have zero idea of where they came from. There’s even a quote from a botanist, and I’ve got it if he needs to borrow it, and the botanist says, “The fossil record of higher plants is in favor of special creation, exactly as if the creator come along.”
Now you might get the impression that the sudden appearance of something, of the big gap in the fossil record, is a support, supporting idea for special creation. Get ready for a surprise – it’s not supporting for special creation. Dr. Morris doesn’t say that angiosperms appear suddenly, he says they were always there. He says angiosperms were present from the beginning of life on earth because all plants and animals were created at the same time. In other words, they don’t appear up there at the top, they’re all the way down to the bottom.
Special creation, which says that all forms of life were created in one burst, says the angiosperms have always existed. Incredible! Nothing could contradict the fossil record more than to say that angiosperms have always existed. I just, I just can’t believe it.
Next slide. This is an idealized slide of the kinds of gap (doesn’t show anything, I just drew these to show you what evolutionary charts are always like), of the kinds of gaps that existed. And every dotted line there is a gap, and every question mark is a “Where did it come from?” or “Where did it go?” And there’s lots and lots of them in evolutionary theory. You want to be an evolutionary biologist? Don’t worry, there’s lot of things left to figure out. Okay, the point is this: that this is exactly what evolution looks like. There’s lots of gaps, we don’t have smooth transitions. Is this what is predicted by slow and gradual evolution? Evolution has a problem; evolution says we should have something in the dotted lines. That’s a difficulty for one kind of evolutionary theory, called neo-Darwinian. It’s attempted to be explained by the punctuated equilibrium model, but even that has some problems – that’s the hopeful monster model, in case you’re trying to grope for the words.
However, how does the foss- this fossil record compare with Dr. Morris’ prediction about living things? Next slide. He says everything was there at the beginning, everything was created side by side. We’ve got trilobites, we have extinct ferns, we have dinosaurs, we have dogs and cats, we have people. And everybody’s down there at the bottom. There’s this great catastrophe, that’s the dotted line. Lots of things get wiped out. We form all the fossils, and then everything moves unchanged up to the present. From this prediction we should find the greatest diversity in the oldest rocks. That is upside down from the fossil record. We find the greatest diversity at the top. It’s [garbled: probably “unbelievable”]. This is the problem.
Now, how does Dr. Morris deal with the problem? Now, you may have guessed it. He says that all the fossils in the world were formed in one shot, in one great catastrophic flood – it’s unreal. The fact that living forms differ at different levels in the fossil record? Well, Dr. Morris says that’s no problem. The really stupid things didn’t even know it was raining, so they got stuck down in the Precambrian rock. The relatively intelligent animals, they started to move for higher ground. But they were slow and they were overwhelmed. The moderately smart things like primitive mammals got the rest of the way up. The intelligent things like modern mammals are near the surface. And that clever but sinful creature man, he is found only at the very top of the fossil record because he got to the peaks of the mountains and climbed the trees and so forth and so on. And that accounts for the stratification that we see of the fossil record among living things.
Now, my dear friends, the geologists of the 18th century and the 19th century were just as convinced that all these things happened, just like Dr. Morris said. But when they dug down into the ground, they found the fossil record didn’t support that interpretation. They realized that these things were in fact the records of many ages. Now, I want to point out that flood geology, which is what this is called, could have been rescued when radiometric dating came along. Because you see, if Dr. Morris was right, those radiometric dates would have given the same ages for every single thing in the fossil record. It could have been the greatest support that special creation had ever seen. And what happened? Exactly the opposite. What has special creation have to do with the fossil record? It has to say the fossil record is upside down.
Next slide. Okay, here is a standard diagram of the evolution of the vertebrates, and these are the famous gaps that Dr. Morris talks about. Now, again and again a special creationist must deny that transitional forms could ever have existed, because they believe that no kinds can change. But we have several examples, not just of intermediates, but of slow and gradual changes between major groups. The most dramatic one, because it’s the most recent and therefore the most preserved, is the transition from reptiles to mammals.
Now, in fossils, scales and hairs – we got hairs, they got scales – are generally not preserved, so we can’t study these things as we change. But there are very dramatic differences between reptiles and mammals associated with the skull – next slide – and those are best seen in the bones of the lower jaw. A modern mammal, as seen in the top, has a single jawbone, it’s called the dentary. And it has three bones in the middle ear: the stapes, the incus, and the malleus, or the hammer, anvil, and stirrup, as they’re usually popularized. A reptile, and this is an extinct one called Prolacerta, has four bones in the jaw – that’s very critical – and only one bone, the stapes, in the middle ear. The quadrate, at the end of the jaw, is the equivalent of the incus, and the articular the malleus (the ones that eventually wind up in the inner ear).
Now what happened to the fossil reptile over a hundred and twenty million years? Next slide. I apologize for how finely graded the slide is, I wanted to fit a lot of things on one and I’ve got a better one that’ll come up in a second. Now there are eight steps here. I want to say right up front, because I know Dr. Morris knows the literature and he’ll catch me if I don’t, that the one on the bottom and the one third up from the bottom are imaginary. They never existed and the artist drew them in to show how continuous the series might have been. And that would have been a real problem if they were the critical steps of the transition, but they’re not. The critical steps are near the top. Now, notice as you go from the bottom, which is the oldest, to the top, which is more recent (and each of these are the inside and the outside views of the jawbone), that the dentary, that big bone, as you go up gets larger and larger and larger, slowly and gradually, until in stages eleven and twelve, those two little bones are pushed all the way to the back of the jaw. And then in stage ten those bones are detached, and they wind up in the inner ear. The transition is slow and gradual. A true – next slide – a true mammal is formed from a true reptile. There are no missing intermediate forms.
This is a higher magnification view of the same thing. The latest reptile, if you want to call it that, is the next to the top, where those two bones have gone all the way to the back and they’re really small. And the tympanic membrane, which goes in the inner ear, is stuck on the jawbone, right on them, and in the next slide they’ve become detached.
Now is there anything in this series that causes a problem for evolutionary biologists? Next slide. There certainly is, and this is exemplified in this quote by Neville George: “The problem is that the transition is so slow, so gradual, so graded, we don’t know what to call a reptile and a mammal.” As George points out, the distinction is almost arbitrary. Is that consistent? Is the statement that you [30:00] can’t tell where reptile ends and mammal leaves off consistent with the broad generalization that we never see a transition between one kind and another? Of course not.
Now [garbled: probably “today’s”] creationists have a lot of fun with this distinction because they say at the critical step where those two bones come off – next slide – and I’ll show you what the problem is, those two bones form the attachment of the upper and lower jaws. They form the joint of the jaw. So the special creationists may say, “Well, you know, when those bones come off, that animal can’t eat, because its jaw just got unhinged and the bones are still migrating up to the ear so it can’t hear either, so this thing couldn’t hear, it couldn’t eat.” Okay, that’s a perfectly valid objection. It turns out that there’s a transitional form which shows precisely how this works.
Next slide: It’s called Eozostrodon. Eozostrodon simply means the first mammal-like form, and what it has is a double-jawed joint, and you can see it very clearly in the bottom. A reptilian joy joint, oh boy, jaw joint, which is where the hinge occurs, forms alongside the mammalian one. So it has a double-jointed jaw. Now I have seen this skull. It’s up at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. I’ve touched it with my hands and I’ve moved the hinge. And the jaw joint is indeed a double one. And the answer is that when those bones become detached, the animal can both eat and hear. It’s a perfect intermediate form and so is everything else in that sequence.
Now, I want you to look very carefully at what I’ve talked about. And I want to ask you: Is all this consistent with the statement that transitional forms never existed, or is Dr. Morris merely determined not to see what’s there? Okay, next slide – now, if this was only one instance of transitional forms – just one! – this would be fatal to creationism. Is that the only one we’ve got? Uh uh, there’s a lot.
These are some of the slides in the horse series – the horse series that Dr. Morris has already mentioned. These are called Hyracotherium, that’s the little guy, and Hypohippus. Next slide. When the horse evolved, there are indeed gradual sequences, if you like, gradualism, but the special creationist can look at these things, can look at the transitions – could you get that a little bit better focused, I know it’s tough back there ... good, thank you – and can look at them and say that there are unimaginable gaps as the two outside toes get shorter and shorter and shorter until finally the foot of the modern horse is formed. You see it’s unbelievable. There’s no transitional forms, the steps are abrupt. And there’s a quote from one of the biologists who was studying this saying we’ve got no transitional forms, the decisive steps are abrupt. Okay, that’s fine, I can understand that.
Next slide. Now, we know in fact the evolution is not simple, it’s branching. Now there are three ways to explain the data. Evolution, to me, is the most direct: that one kind evolved to another and that evolution was rapid or we don’t have it or we just haven’t dug up the fossils yet. Another is progressive creation, and that is: the creator made a little horse, he got a little bored with it, made a bigger one, didn’t like that after a while – bang! – made a bigger one, didn’t like that, made a bigger one. I don’t mean to ridicule that idea because that is not Dr. Morris’ idea, he doesn’t agree with that kind of creator and neither do I. It sort of makes the creator look like a bumbling idiot. He can’t make the horse right the first time so he’s got to keep trying. Dr. Morris doesn’t agree with that, doesn’t believe it. Neither do I.
However, the next slide shows what Dr. Morris does believe. And that is that when we look in the strata and we see a sequence of horses or the reptilians, a mammalian sequence or anything else, and we see this going up, we’re seeing not a gradual transition, not evolution, not progressive creation either. But what we’re seeing is where five or six different “kinds” of animals were stratified in a great flood. In other words, he thinks this results from a distinction between these animals in their ability to tread water and therefore they wind up at different levels in the stratification during the flood. There’re no variations in this, the transition is clean, it goes in one direction. But nonetheless it’s an illusion created by the flood, they’re all present at the same time, the flood lays them out that way.
Okay, next slide. Is that all we’ve got? We’ve just got horses and reptiles and mammals? No, we have a very good documented history for the evolution of the elephant. There are three kinds that you’ll recognize. Right at the top is the mastodon. It’s extinct. On the left-hand side is Loxodonta, that’s the African elephant. On the right-hand side is Elephas, that’s the Asian elephant. And we have a marvelous series of transitions that fully document how they changed from the individual ancestors. The tree branches (evolutionary trees always seem to branch), but the record is clear: there’s no gaps, there are lots of transitions.
Next slide. This is the evolution of a kind of organism called a nautiloid. We have a marvelous series of transitional forms for how the shell changed slowly and gradually, the way Dr. Morris says has never happened in living history. And the next slide shows that we even have transitional forms in extinct animals. This is Titanotherus [sic: probably “Titanotherium”], he’s an extinct animal who roamed the plains of North America fifty or a hundred million years ago. I’m sure glad he is extinct, but what we have is a nice series of graded forms in which the horns and the size of the head change slowly and gradually. There’s more, there’s more, there’s more. And to crown the case perfectly – I won’t have time to present it now – but there are even transitional forms leading to our own species.
I want to talk finally about the ultimate test of evolution, something that Darwin could never have anticipated and could have blown the lid off evolutionary theory, wiped it right out. It’s called molecular biology. Now, in recent years it has become possible to compare the amino acid sequences of similar proteins in different species. And this development could have been fatal for evolutionary theory. See, evolution would predict that organisms which evolved in a certain sequence of divergence should show amino acid differences in their proteins related to when two species diverged, or split apart, during evolution. Creation, on the other hand, would predict something different: the creator made each kind separately so these proteins might either be all the same in all species, and that would, that would disprove evolution, or they might vary in a way that had nothing to do with this imaginary evolutionary tree, and that would disprove evolution too. Now one of the best ways to test this is to look at a protein that all living things have.
Next slide. It’s called cytochrome c – oops, sorry ... skip it ... skip it ... I’ll tell you about that later if you want to ... skip that, please ... ah, okay – cytochrome c is a respiratory protein, it’s, we need it to breathe air – I hope you’re getting this down cause I’m going to have a quiz when this is done, I hope you have all this information memorized. These are the comparative sequences of cytochrome c, and it performs the same function in us as it does in yeast, and so forth. And we’ve compared the amino acid sequences, here, of a whole variety of different species, and from the differences – the next slide – you can construct a nice little road map. And this is the sort of thing that tells you how far it is from Kankakee to Dubuque and so forth and so on, except this tells us how many amino acids there are between us and, you know, ferns and us and monkeys and so forth and so on.
How distant are we, in terms of cytochrome c, from the chimpanzee? Now, I mean, Dr. Morris says we’re not related to the chimpanzee, we’re separately created kinds, we have no common ancestry. There is one, count ’em, one, amino acid substitution between us and the chimpanzee, and between us and the gorilla.
Okay, you can take this, and you can forget evolution (in fact the first guys who did this didn’t know anything about evolution), and you can then construct a tree based on when the proteins in the species might have diverged, each species might have diverged, based on the amino acid sequences, the internal molecular details of a protein.
Next slide. Lo and behold, the damn thing matches the evolutionary tree. The next slide shows the same thing in more detail. Now, there are discrepancies with the evolutionary tree. Some things are far apart here, and it seems from evolution they should be closer together. But in no case is there a contradiction to any relationship. In other words, in no case does it say that we’re actually closer to the yeast than we are to the cat, or something like that. In fact it is remarkably the same.
Now maybe I picked cytochrome c ‘cause it’s a cheap shot. It’s an isolated example and it’s the only one it happens in. Next slide. Here are three different proteins plotted as a function of amino acid differences versus what evolutionists tell us about when the species diverged. Cytochrome c shows a smooth line, which means the older we think it diverged the more different the amino acid sequences are. Now there’re some proteins that change, or evolve, slowly and some that evolve rapidly. The histones evolve extremely slowly. You know why that is? Because histones are used to fold DNA in the chromosome. If there’s a slight alteration in that, the animal’s probably going to die. So a mutation in that is very, very rare. Other proteins evolve more rapidly, but in no case, in no study protein has there ever been a contradiction to a single critical aspect of the phylogenetic tree. And the next slide shows the averaged sort of things for about ten proteins picked out of known amino acid sequences, and the result is perfect.
Now all of this is a dazzling confirmation of evolutionary theory. How does special creation, or how can special creation, salvage itself from this? Only by assuming that the creator would know how we would construct this absurd theory of evolution and then make the molecular details in his creation match it so it would fool us. It’s the only thing I can think of.
Okay, in summation, what have we got? We have a so-called scientific theory called special creation, which Dr. Morris says fits the facts perfectly. How does it fits the fact, fit the facts? Number one: it ignores the age of the universe. Number two: it ignores radiometric dates from rocks. Number three: you get right down to it, it ignores the fossil record, gaps and all, and says the fossil record is a great illusion which fools us into believing the earth has changed. It quotes extensively from critiques from, from scientists criticizing mechanisms and theories of evolution and misplaces the criticism to pretend that what they’re really saying is that evolution never happened. It maintains that there are no transitional forms – friends, there are lots of transitional forms. It says that there’s nothing intermediate between man and any other species. When I get the chance to speak again, I’ll show you that there are lots of intermediates between us and other species. It says that the remarkably consistent details of molecular evolution are just an accident, or just an act of [40:00] a creator trying to fool us. And lastly it says, as Dr. Morris did when he opened, that evolutionary theory is a historical process in the past, it exists on faith and it cannot be disproven.
Now I want to close by taking the last point. The contention that because evolution relates to origins it cannot be disproven is simple nonsense. It stems from criticisms from various scientists of evolutionary theory as being too vague. But could evolution be disproven? Of course it could be disproven. Evolution as a historical occurrence could be disproven if it – if we could see that the size of the observable universe was then thousand light years or less. Throw it right out of the park. It could be disproven if radiometric dating, when it was invented, suddenly told us the earth was only ten thousand years old. And it certainly could have told us that. It could be disproven if simple molecules could never become converted to complex ones in experiments like those of Stanley Miller. It could be irrefutably and overwhelmingly disproven if when we dug into the ground we found that life at every level was the same as it is today, if we found human skeletons and puppy dogs and maple trees all the way back to Precambrian rock. And it could be disproven if we found that the relationship of molecular biology or the relationships that molecular biology tells us were entirely at variance with each other and with evolutionary pathways.
If no process of evolution had taken place, any one of these things could have disproven the idea of evolution. But instead, at every case it’s the idea of special creation which is falsified again and again and again. Now one must look very closely at the ideas of Dr. Morris and beg us – beg him to show us the scientific evidence that supports those ideas. And failing that test, we must deal with special creation in the same way that Copernicus dealt with the notion that the sun orbits the earth. And that is by choosing instead the model of simplicity and truth. Thank you. [Applause.]
[MORRIS:] Thank you. I’ll certainly have to acknowledge that Dr. Miller is a very worthy opponent. He covered a great deal of material and did it very well. It’s going to be certainly difficult for me to answer it in the twenty minutes. I would say that there are answers, however, and I could commend to you the, some of the literature and further study if you’d like to carry it a little further.
I am sorry that somehow it didn’t come through that I was giving positive evidence for creation. It was suggested that I was only arguing against evolution. What I tried to do, and let me just reiterate, was to show the predictions from the creation model, having defined it, and then to show that the actual facts conform to the predictions. For example, the creation model predicts the two laws of thermodynamics as universal principles. And then that’s what we find. Evolution model does not predict those. In fact, it would be very difficult to explain those in the framework of the evolution model, but it certainly doesn’t predict them. Creation model does.
Creation model predicts the gaps in the fossil record, and that’s exactly what we find. Evolution model does not predict the gaps in the fossil record. It maybe can explain them, but it doesn’t predict them. And so on. The actual data conform precisely to the expectations of the creation model.
Also, if you’ll recall just at the end, although I didn’t have time really to develop it fully, tried to show that the prediction related to catastrophism was fulfilled in the actual facts of the records in the rocks. In other words, the rock systems, the fossil graveyards, the hydraulic characteristics of the rocks, all these speak of catastrophism throughout the entire record. And furthermore, they conform to the concept of one catastrophe, the entire geological column indicating continuous deposition, catastrophic deposition. And therefore, relating necessarily all to one age. The fossil record, instead of representing the slow evolution of life over many many billions of years, many ages, represents the extinction of life, the destruction of life, in one age, because the evidence indicates catastrophic deposition throughout the geological column. Furthermore, continuous deposition throughout the geological column.
As far as the order of the fossils is concerned, the prediction of the hydraulic cataclysm model, if you wish to call it that, flood geology as some call it, would be this: If, for example, a worldwide flood were to strike the world today, and then stir up things and carry them and deposit them, you would expect to find the formations the dep–, the deposits in somewhat similar fashion to what is actually found. That is, the – in any one locality, you’d expect to find the simpler organisms, so to speak, on the lower levels, the more complex organisms at the upper levels, because that’s the order of elevation of their habitat.
Now, you do not find the geological column as a whole anywhere. The geological column in its standard form represents something like a hundred miles to two hundred miles in thickness, depending on the writer that you happen to read. In any one locality, you’ll find an average of one mile thickness of the sedimentary column, some places nothing, some places maybe fifteen miles or more, but they average about a mile. Nothing like the standard geological column anywhere. You find the standard geological column with the sequences and the so-called geological ages in one place only. That’s in the textbooks. You don’t find it anywhere else in the real world.
These have – these – these different ages have to be brought together by superposition and various means, but the fact is the evidence – the phenomena, the physical phenomena of the rocks themselves indicate unit, or, or, unit deposition, that is unit at one ... essentially one time, catastrophic formation of the entire system.
Now this would further predict, of course, that is the catastrophic model would predict that there would be no way really of distinguishing between one age and another age, and we would not be surprised if we found, for example, the normal sequence from the simple on the bottom to the complex on the top, which is an order of ecological zonation essentially, occasionally changed. And we do find occasional exceptions to it. For example, there are many places where formations which supposedly are very old in terms of the geological column are found vertically above those that are younger. There are many places like that; we don’t have the time to go into detail. The great Glacier National Park area is full of this. There’s a great block out there that’s been known as the Lewis Overthrust which is about six miles thick in its original extent. As I recall the dimensions – I haven’t looked this up recently – forty miles wide and perhaps two hundred miles long. Those may not be the exact dimensions but at any rate tremendous in extent. And it’s easily possible to show that there’s no way mechanically, speaking in terms of the strength of materials and the fluid pressure required to float such a block, if that’s the way it was done, is sufficient to account for that. To have a great block of Precambrian materials, say a billion years old, which once was down below the Cretaceous materials, say a hundred million years old, just completely inverted. There are certain places at the interface where there’s evidence of disturbance, other places at the interface where there’s no evidence of disturbance. But of course you can have disturbances at interfaces without any such thing as an overthrust or an out-of-order formation. And the mechanics of the situation seem to suggest it’s impossible.
You have many other examples of that. For example, the great Appalachian Range in this country have been found within the last two, three years to be underlain by recent sediments. Now, the Appalachian rocks are supposedly Paleozoic, that is, very old. But underneath them, the coastal plains rocks, which are very young, comprise a horizontal layer extending fully under the Appalachians. And there are many other examples. The Alps are in the upside condition like that. The Scottish mountains. Many of the other great mountain ranges of the world are like that. Well, there may be the possibility that there are physical mechanisms that explain how they were once in the right order and now are out of order, but the fact is there are many such places that are out of order, and there are many of them where there’s no evidence at the interface that there is any – that there has been any great differential movement. In some cases yes, many cases no.
Furthermore, there are many places where there are fossils from different ages together. Now, you wouldn’t expect normally to find, for example, human fossils with dinosaur fossils. As was maybe suggested a while ago, we ought to find human fossils throughout the entire geological column. No, because man doesn’t live with fishes, man doesn’t live with dinosaurs. If there was a great worldwide cataclysm that buried them all, normally the burial would – would consist primarily of ecological assemblages that lived together. They’d tend to be buried together, and normally man doesn’t live with the dinosaurs. Or wouldn’t. Doesn’t live with crocodiles; you wouldn’t expect a man – to find man buried with crocodiles today or – with maybe some exceptions, of course, because in the catastrophic situation, there might be occasional exceptions where they, instead of being sorted hydrodynamically, which would be the normal situation, would be chaotically brought together from different directions and – and in some way brought together, and there are certain examples of anomalous fossils like that. One of the best examples, the best-known examples, of course, is the famous situation in Texas where you find human footprints and dinosaur footprints together in a Cretaceous limestones there.
And now may I have a slide, just to show you that this does exist. Now, I know that these have been rejected by many evolutionists. Nolan, put on the next. Yeah, there. There’s some footprints that were cut out of the limestones in the river of apparently a giant man track and dinosaurs. Now, of course it was found later that some tracks had been carved. Many of the dinosaur tracks had been carved, a few of the human tracks had been carved. Possible these were because when these were photographed they’d already been cut out of the riverbed. However, they were subjected to cross-sectioning, to close microscopic examination to see if you could find evidence of the actual depressions of the silt laminae and so forth, [50:00] and these were found and there’s good reason to think that these were genuine.
But in case these are questioned, the next slide will show some that could not be questioned. These are crossing tracks, trails of human and dinosaur tracks, that were freshly exposed by the bulldozer pushing out an overlying layer. Now, there are these trails there. They’re dinosaur tracks, nobody questions those, it’s a dinosaur state park in Texas. There are also several human trails, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. They look like human tracks. If they’re not human tracks, at least they look like it. They’re not carvings, they’re freshly excavated. They’re not solution phenomena; they’re clearly, as one geologist told me when I asked him what he thought about them, he said, “Well, they, they look like tracks of a two-legged animal of some kind,” but he says they couldn’t be man because man didn’t live with the dinosaur. I asked him what he thought they were. He said, well, he didn’t know, his best guess was they were some kind of a dinosaur with feet like human feet.
But at any rate they look like human feet. There are several in the row, there are several trails of them, some twenty or more human-like tracks have been found in the same strata, sometimes overlapping each other, with the dinosaur tracks. Now, this is an exception, but there are other exceptions like this that indicate there is evidence that the different forms of life did live together, and therefore not so out of reason to think that they could have been buried together.
Now, the question, however, of the abs – so-called absolute age, the radiometric dates, the age of the universe, the age of the earth, has been raised. Now, it’s true, of course, that stars are estimated to be billions of light years away. And it’s true that the suggestion was made, and not only by me but many other creationists, that the whole creation was created fully functioning right to begin with. From the point of view of the creation model, that’s not something to sort of sneer at. It’s very realistic because in the creation period, the processes were not the same processes that we have now. That’s the very essence of the model. Creation postulates different sorts of processes during the creation period.
But if you don’t like that, there are other explanations than direct creation of the light energy. It would be just as easy for the creator to create light energy as light generators to generate light energy, if you believe in a creator at all. It’s possible for him to do that. There’s no deception involved, because to have real creation, where – where the creator speaks something into existence, it wasn’t there before whatever it was, whether it was light energy or hydrogen gas or primeval stuff, whatever it was. If something is really created, then it was not there before but now here it is and it looked like it’s been there before. So it necessarily has an appearance of some sort of an age, and there’s no way to have real creation without that, so there’s no deception. That’s the only way you can have creation. And then if there’s other evidence as to the age, why then that ought to take care of that particular problem.
Matter of fact, we can’t even be sure that these stars are billions of light years away. There’re very sophisticated esoteric sort of assumptions involved in calculating the distances. I don’t find any fault with the distances, but you have to realize that it’s not possible to actually measure the distance of a star that’s more than at the very most three hundred light years away by triangulation methods of measurement. The others have to be some – have to be assumed by various indirect calculations, but I don’t have any particular quarrel with that. I would suggest to you that you can explore the full concept of the various creationist possible explanations for the apparent great age of the stars, if you want to read a book by my colleague, an astronomer, Dr. Harold Slusher, called Age of the Cosmos. He’s discussed that in some depth.
Same way with the evidence from radiometric dating. Dr. Slusher also has a – a little monograph that we publish called Critique of Radiometric Dating. He’s chairman of our astrogeophysics department at the Institute for Creation Research, also at the University of Texas in El Paso in the physics department there.
Now, there are a number of assumptions involved in any kind of a geochronometer. All the real history we have goes back a few thousand years, the earliest dynasties of Egypt and so on, a few thousand years. Beyond that, have to use some kind of a physical process, make certain assumptions about it. With those assumptions you can come out with an apparent age, but the true age can never be known without an observer there to check the assumptions. And of course that’s not possible. And the question is a very real question, how do you know which process to use? There’re literally scores, hundreds of processes that could be used, because all processes involve changes with time, and therefore at least in principle could be used to measure time if we just knew enough about them or could make enough assumptions about them.
So why use only the three or four that give old ages, that have long half-lives, instead of the many processes that have more rapid rates and therefore will give younger ages, because they’re based on the same assumptions? Next slide will just show kind of a general – oh, I’m sorry, that’s another slide of the dinosaur. That’s a dinosaur pictograph in the Havasupai Canyon. Next slide please. Circular reasoning in geologic dating. We don’t have time to talk about that. Next one please.
This is any kind of a system. You can consider that rubidium-strontium if you wish, or uranium-lead, or whatever, or a physical system, any kind of a system in which there are two produc – two components, very simple, only two, one parent, one daughter. Now those are changing with time. Next slide shows much of the A component at time zero, much of the B component at time T, and the equations that can be – this is over-simplified but you get the idea. Now, in order to do this, you can set up the equations for the mass change in each of the two syst – components A and B, have two simultaneous equations, solve for the time, and that’s the equation at the bottom. Next slide shows the same equation at the top, but now in order to solve that equation, look at all the assumptions you have to make. And this is oversimplified.
You have to assume that there’s been a constant rate, for example. Now, there’s no such thing in nature as a rate that cannot be changed. But that’s not as important as the next assumption, which is a closed system. In other words, none of the uranium could be leached out, none of the lead brought in, none of the rubidium or the strontium could be assimilated. Strontium-87, for example, occurs abundantly in the earth’s crust, ten times more than could be possibly derived by radioactive decay of rubidium, so you have to assume that there was – that it’s been a closed system and none from outside has been assimilated in.
And the final assumption, or the third assumption rather, most important of all, is that the initial conditions are known, how much of the so-called daughter product was there when the system was first formed.
Now, there’s no such thing in nature as a – as an unchangeable rate, or as a closed system – that’s an ideal concept, doesn’t exist in the real world – or no way we can know these initial boundary conditions because nobody was there, say a billion years ago. Therefore we can onl – we cannot be sure. Now, it may be that if you have several different calculations from different systems, different rates, give you different ages, if they all agree and are accordant ratios, then you can have a certain amount of confidence in them, but you can never be of course sure. Most of them of course are discordant.
Now, it was mentioned that the rubidium-strontium method is probably the best, because there you can develop what’s called an isochron diagram, from different samples in different locations in the region. Plot them up and if they all fall in a straight line, that will indicate that the assumptions are valid and there’s no possibility of it having been an op – an open system or something. But now, that’s not necessarily so. Let me just read a couple of statements from two authors.
One – this is in Science, 1976. “One serious consequence of a mantle isochron model is that crystallization ages determined on basic igneous rocks by the rubidium-strontium whole rock technique can be greater than the true age by many hundreds of millions of years. This is a problem of ‘inherited age,’ and is well documented in many instances of conflicts between the stratigraphic age and the rubidium-strontium age in the literature.”
And then another article in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, May 1978: “These data suggest that great caution must be used when applying the rubidium-strontium whole rock technique to metamorphic rocks. This and other studies show that metasedimentary rocks can yield linear arrays of points on isochron diagrams but that the age can have a variety of geological meanings and need not define the date of deposition or the metamorphism – date of metamorphism of the sediment.” And so on.
Now, we don’t have time really to discuss that in depth, but the idea is that if the rubidium and the strontium are together in the mantle and they flow together, they’ll stay together. And this is true of the uranium-lead and potassium-argon, too. For example, one of our Creation Research Society scientists several years ago compiled all of the data on uranium-lead measurements on rocks of known age, that is, rocks that had been formed in the historic period, of volcanic eruptions. And these were known to have been formed within the past, say, two hundred to maybe a thousand years, and there were over twenty of them, more ... most of them in Russian-language journals, some of them in English-language journals, but all of them had calculated the uranium-lead age on these basaltic rocks, or lava rocks, of recent date. And all of them were found to be up in the hundreds of millions years or billions of years of apparent age.
Now the reason for the pra – for the apparent discrepancy, of course, was that the uranium and the lead were together in the mantle, and these rocks flowed up through the earth’s crust and became an igneous rock. The uranium and the lead together, were together right from the start, so that the apparent age might have been a billion years when it was brand new.
But the important point is, you see, whatever the reason why the uranium and the lead got together in the mantle, that’s another subject altogether, that has to do with nucleogenesis and the origin of the elements, creation of the earth, has nothing to do with the age. But up here, where, where supposedly this is going to give you an age, you do have in every case the apparent age tremendously greater than the true age. And now you recognize that all uranium-lead, rubidium-strontium, potassium-argon dates are made on igneous rocks, or metamorphic rocks, and these are formed the same way by the flow of the magma from the mantle, so probably [1:00:00] all have the same problem. At any rate we cannot be sure that they don’t. So ...
[Recording (tape 1, side 2) ends.]
[Recording (tape 2, side 1) begins.]
[MORRIS:] ... and, well, maybe later. Thank you.
[MILLER:] There were a few people came up to me during the break and said I should be a little nicer ... [recording fades] ... and I want to let you know right away that I implied in statements I made and meaning no discourtesy to Dr. Morris at all. In fact I believe ... honest ... I believe very strongly that Dr. Morris does an enormous service to science. And I really mean that because he is the sort of person that always has to be around for science. He is the maverick, he is someone who is questioning established ideas and it is always good to question established ideas. I think we refresh ourselves, and our assumptions, by trying to go back and see if what we look at has any base. And therefore I’m very happy to have him around and I’m honored to be on the same stage with the foremost creation scientist in the United States, and I’m having a wonderful time.
Now, what I wanted to talk about was the statements he made about the age of the universe, that there’re certain assumptions made in distances – could you turn the slide projector back on and give me the second slide in the first carousel ... it’s a tough one now ... oh sorry, third slide, first carousel. See, you may not know, but I’m going to keep going till three in the morning, I have four carousels with me. [Laughter.]
There it is – okay there’s that light, that galaxy, that’s twelve billion light years away. Now Dr. Morris mentioned (he’s absolutely right) that we do not measure the distance to that galaxy directly. That’s true, I agree with it. There are only certain distances that we can measure by parallax. And parallax is the fact that when we look at a star, we go back and forth on a baseline and we can measure slight changes in distance. We go to one side of the orbit in the earth, we take a picture of a star, we wait six months, and we go to the other side of the orbit and we take another picture. And we can measure how much that star has moved in its position in the same way that if I wanted to estimate the position of someone in the third row, I could take a look at him, I could walk over ten feet and take another look over there, and by the angle, angular change I could estimate how far away he was.
Now, that only works out to relatively short distances, perhaps three or four hundred light-years. Within that distance there turns out to be a large number of stars. And we uncover, in that distance, a relatively simple relationship. And that is that the average brightness of the stars is related to their distance. And therefore we begin to imply distance beyond that as the stars get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer.
Now, for example, this galaxy, which is said to be twelve billion light-years away, is implied by, being at that distance by first of all identifying that it is indeed a galaxy. Not a single source of radiation, but many, in other words it contains perhaps hundreds of millions of stars. The way that we infer the distance, once it is identified as a galaxy (and that identification is easy to make) is that it is very, very faint.
Now, Dr. Morris said this was an assumption; that if it’s faint it must be far away, that’s an assumption. I agree, all astronomers will agree. But if you don’t accept the assumption, you have certain consequences. For example, it is possible (and no astronomer will argue with this) that that galaxy may not be twelve billion light-years away, that’s possible. In fact, it could be ten thousand light-years away, and the reason it seems that way is because the galaxy is very, very small and very, very dim despite its close proximity. That’s perfectly possible, it’s true with all the other galaxies. However, it’s a little bit like standing out on a street and watching the telephone poles in the distance, and say, “You see how they get real small when you get far away?” Guy says “Yeah?” “Well, that doesn’t mean they’re far away, it just means that down there there are little bitty telephone poles, so if you go down there, you can pick one of those guys up and put it in your pocket and bring it back.”
Now, the neat thing about this galaxy, because it is the most distant galaxy ever discovered, that if the space shuttle ever gets off the ground all we’ll need to bring it back in is the cargo bay of the shuttle because it ought to be so small that we can bring it home and hang it up in the middle of the auditorium and watch the little bitty stars go around. That’s the kind of assumption that’s involved, and I intend no disrespect to Dr. Morris at all, but I simply want to say what the assumption is, and if the assumption isn’tvalid then we can do everything that I just said.
Now, he said, for example, the radiometric dating, that we’re not sure which process to use and so forth, they have many assumptions and you don’t know what the proportion of the daughter elements was when you started and so forth. Well, in the rubidium-strontium method, you don’t assume any of that, you measure it. You can measure the proportion of the daughter elements. You can determine if the system has been closed, and so forth and so on. Now, what he’s talked about is a phenomenon which is very well understood by geologists called inherited age. If a mineral exists near a volcano, when the volcano goes off, when Mt. St. Helens explodes, the rocks on the mountains (probably many of which were formed a long time ago) can often get blown out with the exploding volcano and get laid down with the strata.
Now all the strata, all that ash around Mt. St. Helens was formed exactly one year ago. But the rocks which were – been lying on the surface of Mt. St. Helens at least since its last eruption a hundred years ago (and possibly longer than that), those rocks were clearly formed before last year, and in many cases they will get laid down ... [recording garbled] ... modification without being disturbed. That means if somebody comes around a billion years from now and picks out that, is unfortunate enough to pick out that particular rock, he might tend to say that this particular rock in the Mt. St. Helens deposition was in fact laid down much longer ago than it actually was. And that is an error that you can make. It’s true, it’s real. There are lots of papers about it, that’s why he can quote them, and geologists worry about it all the time.
However, does it say a single thing about the absolute age of the earth being in error? The answer to that is “No.” It means that when you’re near volcanic areas, and that’s the only place these things occur, when you’re near volcanic areas or when you’re near areas where whole rocks are being washed out by very violent floods and then re-sedimented without the rocks ever being disturbed, ever being broken up, geologists can recognize that kind of formation. You have to worry about picking up those whole rocks because they might give you ages not where they are now but where they used to be. Does this have any influence on the age of the earth? No.
Okay, now one of the things that I found very interesting about Dr. Morris is that he mentioned that there were other processes that we could date the earth by. I think the Institute for Creation Research has a pamphlet and they’ve got seventy-eight or eighty-five, a whole bunch of processes. You can make these measurements the way he showed on his colored slide, and you can tell how old something is by the processes, and for some horrible bias those nasty evolutionists they only like the processes that give us old ages, and there are lots of processes that give us young ages and they don’t accept them because they’re prejudiced against them.
Well, this is a debate and we’re going to bring the scientific facts out tonight and what I would challenge Dr. Morris to do in his remaining five minutes is to tell us what those processes are that yield a young age for the earth. If there’s real scientific evidence, if there’s another process which is equally as valid as the radiometric dating, please tell us what it is, we’ll get a chance to discuss it out in the open. And failing that, I simply have to say, if you say there’s a process and you won’t tell us what it is, there must be something the matter with it and I’ll leave that simply at that point.
Okay – could, let’s see ... this is what happens when you’re ready to go to three in the morning and you bring too damn many slides ... could you show us, on the first carousel ... this is embarrassing ... let’s see, slide forty-eight ... not that ... I hope you understand the reason I have all these slides is because I have heard tapes of Dr. Morris debate and he is really good and I simply wanted to make sure that I had things to fall back on.
Now, one of the things that Dr. Morris may point out is that there’s quote after quote (and he read a lot of them at the beginning when he opened) of scientists saying that, “Gee, we ought to re-examine evolutionary theory,” “Evolution doesn’t fit the facts,” “Evolution is untestable,” and so forth and so on. Well, all the quotes are real, he didn’t make any of them up. He’s an honorable man, he doesn’t fake quotes, but I want to show you what the quotes come from and what they mean.
Now, up here I’ve tried to show you the semantic trick that is being played in using many of these quotes. Now we use the word “evolution” in a couple of ways. On the left-hand side is what I call the evidence of evolution. The fact that the earth is old and the fact (and it is a fact) that when we dig down in the ground we find a succession of forms, we find a record of change through time. Fifty million years ago what was alive on this planet, and we know a lot about it (the museums of the world are packed with fossils, there’re fossils all over the place, there are so many fossils the guys can tell you where they are, and they can let you go ahead and dig, and you still can’t get them all out, the museums are packed with evidence of change). Fifty million years ago life was different from what it was, what it is today. Fifty million before that it was different again, and so forth and so on. There is a record of change through time and the record shows overwhelmingly and with great eloquence that the past changed (or evolved if you prefer), changed into the present.
Okay, given those facts, how do we explain the process? The process is real, how do we explain it? Well, there are two general ways which biologists have tried to explain it by. One of them was started by Charles Darwin and today we call it Darwinian theory, neo-Darwinian theory, gradualistic evolution, or the combination of mutation [10:00] and natural selection. This is the classic model. It predicts slow and gradual change and so forth and so on.
There’s another model you may have heard about. It’s championed by Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard and Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. They coined a mouthful of a term called punctuated equilibrium. I don’t think it’s ever going to be as catchy as Darwin’s theory. Punctuated equilibrium suggests that evolution is saltatory, it jumps. We see rapid changes followed by speciation, and then other rapid change and so forth and so on.
Now, there is a very great controversy here. The fact of the matter is that Dr. Morris has produced a large number of quotes from the punctuated equilibrium people saying that neo-Darwinian theory is not adequate, Darwin’s theory is not adequate, and so forth and so on. My own (and I’m not an evolutionary biologist, I’m a cell biologist, I do biochemistry and molecular biology, I don’t work in evolution as a professional), my own feeling and my own reading of the field is that I’m on the side of the punctuated people because I think their theory is closer to the facts and I think we’re on the verge of uncovering the genetic mechanisms of how it works. However, we don’t know the mechanisms and we don’t have a satisfactory theory.
Now, Dr. Morris may think that this is very important when he says that no theory of evolution formulated at the present time can explain all the facts. That’s true, I’ll say it if he doesn’t say it first. If the theory existed which explained everything in the scientific sense, there’d be nothing for evolutionary biologists to do. I mean they could sell insurance, they could be deans – no offense Dr. Rohr – or something like that. But they wouldn’t have to be evolutionary biologists. If you look closely at the nature of other sciences, you will discover that we have no atomic theory which explains all the facts, no gravitational theory which explains all the facts, no theory which accounts, for example, for the unitary nature of the charge on the electron.
Now, is this a disaster? Does this mean all these sciences are in disrepute, the way Dr. Morris would like to have us believe evolution is? Of course not. This mystery is precisely what draws men and women to science. Einstein said (an oft-quoted passage) that, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” That’s perfect, no one can say that better.
Now, Dr. Morris can produce quote after quote showing that no evolutionary theory is adequate, and if he runs out of them I’ll give him five more. But can he produce a single quote, a single quote, that says that the evidence is upside down, that the fossil record doesn’t matter? Can he produce a single quote which says we see no record of change in the past? Can he produce a single quote which says, in short, that evolution has not occurred? Of course not, and the reason he can’t do it is because that is what the evidence says: that evolution has occurred.
Okay – can I have slide fifty-eight? ... this is daring, I want you to understand that, I wouldn’t normally do this ... same carousel ... okay ... it’s daring because I’m going to talk about human evolution. There’s a rule when you debate a creationist: don’t bring human evolution up because people might not mind how a fern got here, and they might not mind how a trilobite got here, but they’re certainly going to mind how they got there. And therefore human evolution is touchy. When you get right down to it, there’s only one reason that people get emotional about evolution and that’s because we put ourselves into that biological world and we say that our species was produced also by the evolutionary process.
Now, I will not deal with all the specimens that have been unearthed because there are simply too many. I’ve tried to establish that there is an extraordinary close relationship between our species and, for example, the chimpanzee and also the gorilla and also the orangutan.
Now, the relationship is so close that if you were to uncover two species, let’s say of Drosophila, which had (as we do with the chimpanzees) ninety-nine percent of the sequence homology in non-repetitive DNA, and that’s a big mouthful which means the important genes in the genetic material match ninety-nine percent of the time between us and the chimpanzee. If you uncover two species of fruit fly in which the homology was that close, you would suggest the possibility of a fertile offspring between those two species of fly. Now I’m not going to suggest the possibility of a fertile offspring between us and chimpanzees and I’m certainly not going to suggest that we do the experiment. But the fact of the matter is that the relationship is extremely close.
Okay, what do we find out about the development of our own species? I mean did we develop from monkeys and so forth and so on? One of the things that is not understood, not appreciated (I think) by most people, is that we know that we are recent appearances on this planet. Well, surprise, so is the gorilla, so is the chimpanzee, so is the orangutan. They, if anything, are the offshoots of an evolutionary tree, and they, in effect, are offshoots of the same tree that produced us. Now, the fact of the matter is we didn’t come from them. It’s absolutely, we didn’t evolve from the apes we see today, no way, we don’t find them in the fossil record. We evolved, rather, from a common ancestor, this sort of splitting that we see consistently in the evolutionary tree.
Okay, now, for example, let’s go back (because there are enormous gaps before this, and Dr. Morris will point them out and I’ll say “Yes, they’re there”), to about three million years ago. At three million years ago there’s a series of creatures with different species names but all whom are given the genus name Australopithecus. There’s one, there’s a skull, an Australopithecus skull. Now there is enormous, or there was, enormous controversy as to whether or not Australopithecus was man-like, and I’m sure Dr. Morris, when he gets up here, is going to have a lot of quotes both ways.
But here’s where it gets interesting. You see, Australopithecus has a lot of human-like characteristics. The teeth look a lot like ours, other things. It looks sort of, you know, intermediate between a man and a monkey, you wouldn’t know how to classify it. The sort of problem you get if you have good transitional forms. Now, until very recently it was debated, and hotly debated, whether or not Australopithecus walked upright. The reason for that is all we had were skulls. It’s really hard to tell from a skull whether something walked upright. There’s a slight difference in the foramen magnum, which is the big hole at the base of the skull. And if you walk like this, you walk like this, then it’s tilted back a little bit so you can hold your head up straight. If you walk up straight, the foramen magnum’s in a slightly different position.
In very few of these skulls is it well developed, and he may have quotes from the Leakeys and from other people saying Australopithecus walked on its knuckles like a monkey and so forth and so on. Just listen carefully to the dates of the quotes.
Next slide. We now have much more recent skeletal remains of Australopithecus. This is a nearly complete skeleton, it’s given the nickname Lucy, that’s what this particular one, it’s from a young female. It dates about three million years old. And in Lucy we have part of a pelvis as you can see. Now she was part of a find that was made which included a large number of other individuals including, as shown in the next slide, a nearly complete pelvis. And that is shown, for comparison, to a human pelvis. There is, since these finds, no doubt in any anatomist who can take a look at that hip that Lucy walked upright. And that is the clearest way to see it, is by looking at the entire hipbone. She walked upright, and so did all her friends which we found in this simple Australopithecus find.
Okay, now, later than Australopithecus we find, as we move from three million years to the present, creatures who are more and more like ourselves. For example, there’s something called Homo erectus who lived about a million years ago. We give us the same genus name as ourselves but a different species name. We have many skulls of the Homo erectus type. We also have a more primitive type called Homo habilis. And these, of course, lead to another species which you’ve all heard about now, called Homo sapiens neandertalensis, and to our own species which we, in an arrogant burst of pride, call Homo sapiens sapiens which means “Man, wise, wise.” And that is a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one.
Okay, now Dr. Morris will look at the array of these creatures and he’ll say, “Well, all we have in here are either apes with big brains or people who had malnourished, they had rickets and they have little brains,” and so forth and so on. And indeed it is true that there is enormous confusion among students of human evolution to say how we should order these specimens and how we should draw the family tree.
Next slide. No two anthropologists do it the same way. Here are two proposed evolutionary trees coming from Australopithecus and leading to our own species. They branch in different places, they’re not sure where they came from, and so forth and so on. Dr. Morris has probably got a quote from one guy saying, “This one can’t be our ancestor.” He’s probably got a quote from another guy saying “The other one can’t be our ancestor,” too, so we don’t have any ancestors. The reason for that, essentially, is not because, I repeat it is not because, we lack transitional forms between ourselves and these creatures. It is, rather, because we have an embarrassing abundance of transitional forms, so many we don’t know how to connect them.
The next slide is a graphic representation of sort of how to show this. Dr. Morris will say, and a creationist would, a special creationist would believe, that there should be a clear gap in the fossil record between fossil men and fossil apes and nothing in between. This is a series showing the size and cubic centimeters of the inner casts of hominid brains leading from Australopithecus near the top to Homo erectus at the bottom. And what they show, in terms of brain capacity, is a continuous series of intermediates.
Please, look at this. Show me the gap. Show me the clear dividing line between one and another. What Dr. Morris, or any other special creationist, will be left to do is to get up and look at this beautifully clean transition and say, “That’s a monkey, that’s a monkey, that’s a monkey, whoop, that’s a man, that’s a man, that’s a man,” and so forth and so on. You just can’t do it, the evidence doesn’t lead you to do it that way. It simply doesn’t work.
This slide does not purport to show that the one on top was the great-great-great-great-grandfather, and the next one was an offspring and the next one and so forth. This slide is not arranged in supposed order of descent or anything else, it is simply designed to illustrate the fact that we have all sorts of things between ourselves and things that are recognizable in terms of being [20:00] another species, namely something that is not around today, but if it was around, we might call it an ape or something like that.
This is not what one would predict if man were separate and specially created. It rather is what, indeed, what one would predict if what we see in the universe, in the world, is, as I believe, not as a scientist but in a religious sense, part of an enormous unitary creation in which the creator has not made us separate but has welded us into the fabric of life which encompasses all the organisms on this planet.
[ROHR:] [Recording garbled.] ... gentlemen, we’ll now proceed to ask the speakers to give their concluding statements. Again, by common agreement, new information or arguments are not to be introduced. These are to be summary statements. In fairness to Dr. Morris. who lost a minute or two in his opening statement (owing to the failure of the microphones), and in fairness generally, if he wants to overrun the five-minute time allowed for the concluding statement, that will be perfectly correct.
[MORRIS:] That’s a dangerous offer to me but I’ll try to not abuse it too much.
Since Dr. Miller did challenge me to produce some of the evidence for a young earth, I guess that’s not introducing new material – so may I have the, I think about two slides beyond what we were?
This is the table that he mentioned that’s in one of our publications. Obviously there’s not going to be time enough to discuss any of them – no, beyond that ... way beyond that ... there, that one. These are some of the processes which, with the same assumptions as normal radiometric dating, that is, of a constant rate, a closed system, and assumed initial boundary conditions, you can get all sorts of different ages. The first one, the decay of the earth’s magnetic field, is probably pretty good because the assumption of a closed system, with the core of the earth being involved where the magnetic field is generated, is probably pretty good. Assumption of a constant rate: pretty good. Half-life about fourteen hundred years because nothing much is going to change it at that point.
Now, this was worked out in detail by Dr. Tom Barnes, who I mentioned earlier, who learned his physics here at Brown University, but for many years he’s been the leading researcher in the field of atmospheric physics and magnetism, has a couple of widely used textbooks in this field. He knows what he’s talking about and he’s presented this material before many scientific bodies and teachers and so on, and there’s no real answer to it except to just say that the assumptions are wrong. And they may be, but with the reasonable assumptions, even more reasonable, and in the case of radiometric dating, you’ll get that the age of the earth from that is on the order of ten thousand years. And so with the others. We don’t have time to discuss them.
The next slide shows some more – next slide ... and the next slide ... and the next two more. [Applause.] Each one of these we could discuss and show that the assumptions are reasonable, that all the possible sources of error that have been at all capable of being allowed for have been provided. The dates that they give, we would suggest, are at least as reasonable as those given by uranium or rubidium or potassium dating. But in the last analysis, you can’t know for sure, of course. We would just suggest this: that since the assumptions of uniformitarianism are more likely to be valid for a short time than for a long time, those processes that give young ages are more likely to be correct than those that give old ages, other things being equal. And besides there are many more of them.
So the weight of the scientific evidence is that the earth is young. That’s the testimony of the geological evidence too, formed by one catastrophe, primarily hydraulic in nature, as we’ve already pointed out.
Another point that was made by Dr. Miller was that man and the chimpanzee are closely related because of the biochemistry, the hemoglobin, and so on. And that does seem to be the case as far as the alignment of the tabular values. My colleague Dr. Parker who is chairman of our biology department (once an evolutionist, used to teach evolution in college) has become a creationist, and I can’t vouch for this, but let me just quote what he says on this. He says, “If you look at blood serum studies, that is the right anti-serum, sure enough, man’s closest relative is the chimpanzee. But on the basis of milk chemistry man’s nearest relative is the jackass. On the basis of cholesterol level his nearest relative is the garter snake. On foot structure it’s the glacial bear, on the tear enzyme it’s a chicken ... [applause] on the basis of blood antigen A ... on the basis of blood antigen A our nearest relative is the butterbean. [Laughter.] So it depends on which chemical you use as to what the family tree turns out to be.
Now, with respect to human evolution, I’m sorry there’s not really time. Dr. Miller has already said several times what I would say in response to what he said. [Laughter.] So to an extent he’s right, and I don’t have time to do it. But with respect particularly to the australopithecines, now these were at the bottom of both of the family trees he’s represented. They’re the ones that he spoke of that relate to Lucy, the Homo habilis, and so forth.
Now, there is a difference of opinion as to whether they walked upright or not. And the people that have made the greatest amount of study of the australopithecine fossils (and I’m speaking of Lord Zuckerman in England and his team, including Dr. Charles Oxnard who now in this country is dean of the graduate school and professor of anatomy at the University of Southern California), these men are primarily those who’ve analyzed this material in detail, measured it in the laboratory (not the people who dig it up in the field like Dr. Leakey and Dr. Johanson and others) but have devoted a great deal of time to detailed multivariate statistical analysis. And they have taken all the australopithecine dentition, the skull structure that has been found, the limb bones, the knee bones, and so forth. And they have come to the conclusion that although if you orient the structure in a certain direction it looks like it might be an erect posture, if you turn it around ninety degrees it looks like an ape, the four-legged posture.
As Dr. Leakey once said, “Australopithecus was a long-armed, short-legged knuckle-walker.” I think he’s somewhat changed his views since then, but the evidence is still very equivocal. Dr. Charles Oxnard, who certainly know this subject far better than I do, surely, and he knows it as well as anyone I think, he says, “As far as the australopithecine fossils are concerned, these new investigations suggest that the fossil fragments are usually uniquely different from any living form. When they do have similarities with living species they’re often as not reminiscent of the orangutan.” And he’s convinced that they’re a blind alley. Whatever they were, they’re some kind of extinct ape more closely aligned with the orangutan than anything else.
And Dr. Zuckerman, who surely knows this subject if anyone does, in his book Beyond The Ivory Tower says this, “In the interpretation of man’s fossil history, where to the faithful anything is possible, the ardent believer is sometimes able to believe several contradictory things at the same time.” He says, “If man evolved from some ape-like creature without – he did so without leaving any fossil traces of the steps of the transformation.”
Now, there obviously are different voices on this subject among anthropologists and others. And at any rate the evidence is still very equivocal with respect to human evolution and the intermediate forms there. And this is the so-called most recent arrival on the evolutionary time scale. And if we don’t have any clear evidence of man’s origin, then no wonder we find such a complete universality of gaps in the other layers of the fossil record.
As far as the evidence goes, each basic kind of creature was created that kind of creature. There’s variations within the kind, whatever the kind was. It could be perhaps as much as a family, say the horse family, the dog family, and so on, or the dog genus – could be genus, could be family, probably broader than the species. But at any rate, beyond a certain limit there is, for example, Dr. Simpson says, “Each of the thirty-two orders of mammals appears suddenly in the fossil record without any known antecedents,” and so on. Now, this is exactly what you’d expect in terms of creation.
Now, we have not proved (and I’ve said that from the beginning) that we cannot prove creation scientifically. We cannot disprove evolution. And you can put just exactly opposite, these are models, they’re paradigms, they’re systems, they’re beliefs. What we can do, however, is continually look at the evidence in terms of the two models. That’s what we’ve tried to do tonight. And you may have your conviction one way or the other, and that’s fine. At least we suggest that the current method of teaching only the one model needs to be changed. We need to have, not only this kind of a meeting, say, once every decade in a big auditorium, but every day in the classroom as an exercise continually having the students look at both models as they relate to all kinds of evidence, recognizing [applause] that there are two world views and both deserve consideration.
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
[MILLER:] The Lord hath delivered him into my hands – slide sixty-nine, please [laughter; applause] ... sixty-nine, carousel 1 ... I’m getting myself in trouble.
Now, Dr. Morris has committed an enormous logical contradiction with his seventy-nine methods. The first thing he said in his book is, “We can only know the age of the earth by divine revelation,” meaning there can be no scientific evidence about the age of the earth. But then he says, “By the way, I’ve got some, and it says it’s young.” Now, all that I propose we do is to look at that evidence as critically as we can – slide sixty-nine, please? There you go. [30:00]
Okay, the earth’s magnetic field decays. I assume he took his best shot, I assume he named the best method for getting a young age for the earth. The earth’s magnetic field has been measured for the last hundred forty years, that’s true. During that time, it has shown a decay, the decay is exponential. The earth’s magnetic field decays, right now, with a half-life of fourteen hundred years. And therefore that ex- ... that suggests that fourteen hundred years ago it was twice as strong, twenty-eight hundred years ago four times as strong, and so forth and so on. That’s true, that’s a fact. Therefore that’s a proof that the earth is ten thousand years old, and the reason for that, Dr. Morris might say, if he had sufficient time (I’ll make the argument for him, I’ll give him a break) is that at ten thousand years ago the field would have had to be so strong that we’d all be pointing towards the North Pole. It’s absolutely true, it would be unimaginably strong.
So why is it that he chooses to make this argument in front of a general audience instead of a bunch of geologists, to educate them? And the reason is because the geologists would laugh him out of the room. This is a slide showing the magnetic field that is captured in the mid-Atlantic ridge where the earth’s crust comes up from the core and spreads. Now, when certain kinds of minerals cool and crystallize, those minerals preserve in their molecular structure a little compass pointing towards the magnetic pole. That’s established, that’s a fact. And what one discovers when one looks at the earth’s floor is that in different ages, as the floor has spread, all of a sudden the north pole and the south pole have reversed. I think in this slide, yeah, the normally magnetized lava is shown in black, and the abnormally, the ones that are pointing to the south pole, which is actually the north pole and so forth and so on, are shown in white.
In other words, the earth’s magnetic field has gotten stronger and weaker and stronger and weaker and stronger and weaker, and reversed and gone back and reversed and gone back again and again through history.
The next slide shows that if you drill down into the ocean core, that’s exactly what you find. Now the rates of sedimentation [recording garbled] in different oceans, but the pattern of reversals is consistent. The next slide shows the number of reversals that we have documented for the recent past, and as you can see there are enormous numbers of magnetic field reversals. The reason we don’t use this uncritical characteristic to measure the age of the earth is because it’s wrong. In fact, it turns out to be a proof. [Applause.] Now, it’s not wrong, it’s not wrong because it contradicts evolution. It’s wrong because we can see that the earth’s magnetic field has reversed hundreds of times in the previous past. In fact, if you calculate the rate of reversal we see right now, and realize that it’s occurred this many times, it turns out to be a proof for the old age for the earth, it’s remarkable.
Next slide. Now there are other sorts of things that many of you may be familiar with, and Dr. Morris didn’t have time to bring up. I’m cruising along okay, so I’ll make an argument for him. There’s an old article that creationists like to quote that says that cosmic dust accumulating on the earth should have formed, in five billion years, an enormous layer of dust. It should be sixty feet thick, and it’s not here. I heard this article made, this argument made on television by a preacher in an argument with Carl Sagan. It’s a very, very interesting argument.
The article they quote (and this is indicative of the creationist philosophy, and this is one of the methods in Dr. Morris’s list), the article they quote is a Scientific American article from 1959 by Hans Pedersen, and Pedersen came out with a figure of five million tons of dust per year. He climbed up on some high mountains in Hawaii where there were no factories around spewing metal particles into the atmosphere, and tried to measure the distinctive metals that come down in meteorites. This is the figure he got, the numbers, about twenty or sixty or eighty feet thick, are absolutely true. The creationist says, “We didn’t find that much dust on the moon, therefore the universe must be recent.”
Well, it’s interesting to me that the creationists, when they do it, will quote this article ... twenty years old. Now, the reason for that is because when we go into space and put satellites up, one of the first things NASA did was to try to measure the rate of meteorite dust accumulation. The next slide. And the reason Pederson stopped doing the work is because he was a Swede and he couldn’t put an experiment on the American satellites. And what we discovered in space is that the rate of dust accumulation is, in fact, much, much less. It turns out to be 10-16 to 10-17 gram per square centimeter per second. That’s actually a lot of dust, and if you multiply that times the estimated age for the universe, you come up with a, an accumulation of dust in the range somewhere between a centimeter and a half and fifteen centimeters. That’s about six inches.
Okay, we went to the moon a few years ago. Next slide. What did we find on the moon? [Applause.] We found the right amount of dust. The surface of the moon is covered by a material known as the regolith. The regolith is a debris blanket of pulverized lunar surface. And what we discover on the surface of the moon is, in fact, that the right amount of dust is there. About one percent of the ten meter thick regolith is meteorite dust. One percent of ten meters is ten centimeters, right in the middle of the range.
When you examine any of the processes that Dr. Morris uncritically brings up and says “But I’ve got evidence for a young age,” the magnetic field reversal, the meteorite dust, or anything else, they turn out to be arguments for old age.
Rest my case, thank you. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] Ladies and gentlemen, we’re now going to begin a question period, and the speakers will be asked to speak briefly in reply to questions which some of you submitted during the intermission. It’s unfortunate that all the questions submitted could not be used, but unless this is to go on till three o’clock in the morning, a selection had to be made, and a selection has been made of four questions for Dr. Morris and four for Dr. Miller.
The first one, which I’ll read out, is addressed to Dr. Morris: “If we are to accept that the creator spoke the universe into existence with photons conveniently placed so as to make stars look billions of light-years away, could we not equally accept that the universe was created a millisecond ago with prepackaged memories of your two-and-a-half-hour debate implanted in our minds? [Applause.] If the creator can do anything, can’t we accept anything?”
[MORRIS:] Well, this device of trying to defeat an argument by ridicule rather than by serious consideration of course has been used many times in the past, and obviously when you suggest the creator could create things with the appearance of built-in memories ... yes, in principle of course as the creator he could do that, and if there is a creator then you can’t say “No.” But on the other hand, that would raise the question of purpose and deception. But when we suggest that there is creation, then the only way to say that there is no possibility of creation with an appearance of maturity, or completeness or appearance of age, or whatever, is to say that creation is impossible. And that’s to say that there is no creator, which is tantamount to atheism. You finally have to take your choice. It is reasonable that the creator, if the creator exists, would create things fully functioning right from the beginning.
Now, I did mention that there are other possibilities with respect to the matter of the light, and the apparent creation of the light energy along with the generators of the light energy. There’s the possibility of Riemannian space, which Dr. Moon and Dr. Spencer have elaborated at considerable detail. Dr. Slusher, then, has picked it up in his book The Age of the Cosmos, and has shown that it is possible, if you use a different form of space geometry than Einsteinian geometry, that even though you use Euclidean space light will travel in Riemannian space. And it works out (the mathematical equations work out), that light would reach the earth from an infinite distance in 15.7 years. Now, I don’t understand that, but these astrophysicists at MIT worked it out, and that’s what their equations give.
There’s also the possibility that the creator created the universe fully functioning. And from the point of view of a creationist – if you want to ridicule that belief, all right – I see nothing ridiculous about it. [Applause.]
[MILLER:] ... on to the suggestion of Riemannian space. I have learned a little bit about Riemannian geometry in a course, I’ve got a “D” to show for it. And essentially what it involves is that there is a theoretical way to organize space, called Riemannian geometry, in which the light from a distant star (if you set up this particular kind of theoretical geometry), could be here in fifteen light-years. The next question is, is Riemannian space used to describe the universe? The answer is, no, it’s strictly an imaginary system. There’re some very interesting papers about it. It’s not used because it doesn’t conform to the observed universe. Dr. Morris is attempting, as he often does when he’s short on the facts, to sow a little confusion, to say, “Well, maybe the light got here in fifteen years,” and so forth. Doesn’t cut it, it’s not true, theoretical description, and the scientists who wrote the papers he quotes say this is a universe we imagine, it doesn’t correspond to the real one. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] Question for Dr. Miller: “How do you explain the footprints in stone phenomenon? In Texas a single strata of rock were found to contain twenty-three footprints in line that were crossing lines with brontosaurus tracks. This contradicts the geological timetable. The tracks are thought to be separated from each other by sixty to seventy million years or so.”
[MILLER:] Carousel number 2, slide 10 [laughter; applause] ... could you cut the big lights in front, I think we can leave the overhead ones on ... maybe not, though ... is it up there, is this too bright? There we go.
Okay, I wasn’t sure Dr. Morris would bring this slide, so I brought my own. There they are. There are the – if we [40:00] turn this one light off, we’d actually be able to see it – those are the contemporaneous footprints of man and dinosaur, and that’s great.
Now what this – here’s how I explain it. In all honesty, and I’m not trying to be a wise guy, I believe, quite simply, that the people who present these as evidence have learned an ep- ... a lesson from a hoax perpetrated in the human anthropol- ... anthropological literature known as Piltdown Man. Piltdown Man was a fossil that somebody planted and some poor other sucker dug up and put in the human evolutionary sequence and named and so forth and so on. And when those nasty people with radiometric dating came along in the 1950s, they made them drag the skull and the jaw out of the museum and they dated them. And what they discovered was that the jaw dated to the present time, and the skull was fifteen or twenty thousand years old. The reason for that is ‘cause the skull was the skull of a Homo sapiens sapiens, and the jaw was the jaw of a chimpanzee, and they’d been set up as a hoax.
What the footprints show is that the special creationists have learned a lesson from Piltdown Man, and the lesson is “if you bring in a bone, they’ll date it. Give ’em a footprint.” [Applause.]
One other point I want to make. For some reason, the only footprints that show up here are humans. Now, if the special creationists are right, we ought to have a few dog tracks, a few cat tracks, a few deer tracks. For some reason only humans. And the answer is a carving of a human footprint would have the greatest psychological effect.
[Applause; shout from the audience: “Answer the question!”] I believe I did. The question was how you ... excuse me. I believe I did. The question was how do you explain them? I say they’re fakes.
[MORRIS:] The footprints were not a hoax. They’re there, I’ve seen them, you can put your foot in them. There’re some of them are giant-size tracks, some of them are baby-size tracks, some of them are normal-size tracks. They’ll fit your foot just as good as a house shoe. These were not carvings – I mentioned that before. This ... there was a trail leading under the river bank, so a bulldozer was brought in to turn out the overlying strata under the bank to see if the trails were still there, and sure enough they were. And this was thoroughly explored and documented.
Now we ... we don’t know for sure who made the tracks, because we didn’t see them made, and it might have been a two-legged dinosaur with feet like human feet, as the one man said. But they were feet like human feet and there are real tracks. Now this is documented quite a bit more in a recent book that we have just published called Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaur and the People Who Knew Them And there are about two hundred photographs in the book. It’s written from a geological point of view. My son is the author. He’s Ph.D. in geological engineering, he’s on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in this field, and he spent many many weeks down there measuring and documenting all this information.
It does look like ... there is good evidence not only in terms of the footprints but the pictographs, stories of dragons, and so forth, that man and the dinosaur did live at the same time. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] A second question for Dr. Morris. “How do you reconcile the reproduction of multicellular organisms from zygote to adult, or the development of a seed into a plant, with the second law of thermodynamics? [Applause.] Development of any living creature into an adult organism implies an increase in order and therefore a decrease in entropy.”
[MORRIS:] Okay, that’s a good question. I’m sorry I didn’t have time to get into it before and I’m not sure I really have adequate time now. No creationist that I know of has ever said that it’s impossible to have an increase in order in an open system. We insist that you can have an increase in order in an open system. We also point out that the second law of thermodynamics, which is a very broad principle, doesn’t apply strictly to heat flow equations or to chemical process rate equations. It’s a universal principle, as the references given earlier indicate.
The second law of thermodynamics says that in any system there is a tendency for that system to go from order to disorder, or from complexity to simplicity. And everybody knows that, everybody experiences that. You just let things go, they go down, they wear out, they disintegrate, they die finally. This is a universal experience. There’s a tendency in even open systems for this to happen. But in an open system, open to external energy, you can, under certain conditions, neutralize that decay effect or even reverse it, and have an increase of order. And a classic example’d be the growth of a seed into a plant or a zygote into a fully developed animal, or a pile of bricks into a building. You can have an increase of order in an open system, obviously.
Now, just to say that you can have it doesn’t mean that you usually have it. Matter of fact, every system is an open system. A closed system only exists in the ideal world of a blackboard where you can draw a circle. In every – in the real world every system is an open system, and furthermore, every system is open to the energy of the sun either directly or indirectly, as far as earth – the earth is concerned. All systems get their energy ultimately from the sun.
That means that to say that a system is open to the energy of the sun is to say nothing that isn’t true of everything. So that – that’s meaningless so far as a particular reply to this problem is concerned. Now, when we say that there’s a conflict between the second law of thermodynamics and the intra- – and, and evolution, for evolutionists to say, well, the second law of thermodynamics only applies to closed systems and the earth is an open system, open to the energy of the sun, is really not – not a meaningful statement because that statement applies to every system, and most systems decrease in order.
Now the point is, what do you have in a system like a seed growing into a plant or a pile of bricks growing into a building, what do you have in those kinds of systems that reverse that trend, that take the raw energy which comes in and converts it into the useful work of building up the complex structure? Now, in every kind of a system where we do have an increase of order that we know anything about, if you analyze these closely, you’ll find that always at least two other criteria have to satisfied. To have an open system, open to external energy, is a necessary condition, but it isn’t a sufficient condition.
Now, in addition you have to have a code, or a program, or template, or something to organize the growth, to direct the growth. Like the blueprint for the building or like the genetic code for the seed, some kind of a highly complex information program, already built into the system or accessible to it, to direct its growth. Otherwise if it grows at all, it’ll just be a heterogeneous blob. It won’t increase in order a bit.
In – in addition to that, you have to have some kind of conversion mechanism, a motor, membrane, or something else to store the raw energy from the sun which would otherwise disintegrate and break things down, and then convert it into the very specific forms of work needed to build up the complex structure.
In the case of the seed, you have the marvelous mechanism of photosynthesis which converts the sun’s energy, through a complex syst- complex series of processes into the useful work of building up the plant tissue. Case of the building, you have the machinery, the muscles of the workmen, and so forth to take the sun’s energy and convert it through all sorts of intermediate processes before it comes – becomes the useful work.
You see, if all you have is just raw heat energy pouring into a system, into an open system, you will not increase the order of that system at all. If you go back to your equations of thermodynamics, you know that if you have an influx of heat energy into an open system, not a closed system but into an open system, an influx of heat energy into an open system will increase the entropy of that system more rapidly than if it were closed system. It will break it up. It won’t increase the order at all.
In other words, you’ve gotta have a mechanism to direct the growth and a conversion system, a – a code, I should say, to direct the growth and a conversion mechanism to energize the growth, or you won’t get any growth no matter how much energy comes into the open system from the sun.
Now, the question is what does evolution have in terms of a biochemical predestinating code directing the growth of primeval chemicals into complex people over the ages. It is a continuum in a space-time frame from sim-, simple systems back in the beginning to a very complex biosphere now. Nobody knows what that is. And what is the mechanism that converts the sun’s energy into this complex work of building up the complex biosphere, converting, say, a population of worms into a population of crocodiles or something over the ages?
Now, there’s no answer to that yet. There’ve been certain people who’ve tried to pose answers. Dr. Miller quoted Dr. Eigen. Dr. Prigogine got a Nobel Prize for trying to get at a part of the answer, but nobody really has the answer yet. We’re – we’re nowhere near to explaining how evolution and entropy can really co-exist on any significant scale.
Now even if ev-, if such an answer is ever given, finally if somebody can pose a code and a mechanism to explain how evolution can take place in spite of the second law of thermodynamics, it still will not be as good as the creation model. The creation model does not have to explain the second law of thermodynamics – the creation model predicts the second law of thermodynamics. It’s exactly what you’d expect in the creation model. [Applause.]
[MILLER:] At some point or another, you have to consider what’s true. Dr. Morris said [laughter; applause] ... if all you have ... and Dr. Morris, Dr. Morris is a very good debater. He chooses his words carefully. He really does. He says, for example, if all you have is an influx of heat energy – underline heat – into a system, the system will increase in disorder. That’s true. If you take some ... some ... some molecules of water and heat ’em up, hot water is more disordered than cold water. That’s true. That’s a principle of thermodynamics. He chose his words carefully. He said “heat.” He didn’t say, for example, ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation has all sorts of bad effects on you when you’re already organized. That’s why we’d like to have the ozone layer up there, ‘cause we’re already organized, and so forth.
But if you take a system like the one in Stanley Miller’s [50:00] flask, and you shine ultraviolet light on that, what happens? One of the things that happens is that hydrogen cyanide suddenly forms adenine. Adenine is more ordered than hydrogen cyanide was. That’s not supposed to happen – you’re supposed to have a program, you need a blueprint, you need a code. It’s false. It happens.
There’s something interesting about Stanley Miller’s experiments. When they first did them, they had this spark. Everything ran. And the creationists said, “Why do you use a spark? There probably wasn’t any lightning on the primitive earth.” Well, there might have been. But the reason Stanley Miller used a spark was because first he set up his apparatus and he took an ultraviolet light and he shined it on the flask, and he put a special quartz window on it, because UV light doesn’t pass through glass well, to allow the radiation to come inside. He had to abandon the approach. The reason he had to abandon it is because these simple, disordered, unstructured molecules, when the ultraviolet light hit them, organized into complex intricate organized structures so quickly they gummed up the window in the flask.
At some point, you have to consider what’s true. You put energy of a certain kind into a system, you will get an increase in order, you’ll get it without a program. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] Second question for Dr. Miller. “How could the universe, as a closed system with no energy available but what it originated with out of the Big Bang, evolve from a disordered state to an ordered state?”
[MILLER:] Thank you. That’s an interesting question, and the question contains a self-contradiction. No serious scientist who studies the Big Bang cosmology insists for a moment that the universe was a more ordered fifteen billion years ago than it ... sorry ... that the universe was disordered and then suddenly became orderly. Our solar system did not suddenly come from a random mixture of hydrogen and helium and condense into order. That’s not true. Big Bang cosmology says precisely the opposite. The Big Bang says that the most ordered state that ever existed was that Big Bang. Now, there’s a marvelous book by a Nobel laureate at Harvard named Stanley Weinberg [sic: Steven Weinberg] called The First Three Minutes trying to postulate what could have happened.
And the fact of the matter is that nobody says what the question implies. The universe is running downhill, it’s running downhill now. And the only reason that we see an increase in order, which is life on this planet, is because the universe is going downhill at a tremendous rate, and we see that process of going downhill every morning when the sun comes up, because that loss of energy from the sun is what drives things here. The universe as a whole is going downhill. We didn’t get ordered out of disorderly, this – the universe was the most ordered at the point of the Big Bang. That’s precisely the point of Big Bang cosmology. The question doesn’t understand it.
[MORRIS:] I’m afraid there’s a great deal of misunderstanding about the – the reversal of entropy that would be necessary in the first few minutes of the Big Bang to produce this order from which it’s been running down. Let me just indicate this by one quote from Dr. Paul Davies of the Kings College in London, a prominent British astronomer. The title is “Universe in Reverse: Can Time Run Backwards?” He says, “There’s good evidence that the primeval universe was not ordered but highly chaotic, a relic of the primordial chaos that survives in the curious radiation from space believed to be the last fading remnant of the primeval heat. And the characteristics of its spectrum reveal that in the earliest moments of the universe the cosmological material was completely unstructured.” Now, he says, “To discover the cosmic winding mechanism, one has to investigate the processes that occurred between about one second and ten minutes after the Bang. Unfortunately the expansion is now too sluggish to have much invigorating effect, so the universe seems doomed to steadily unwind again until all organized activity ceases.” And so on.
Now, here’s his conclusion: “So far it has been supposed that the shuffling process is random. But how do we know that the universe which emerged from the Big Bang was truly chaotic, so that subsequent collisions between atoms and interactions between subatomic particles were overwhelmingly likely to disintegrate any order which may appear? If the miracle of the Big Bang” – and note he uses the word “miracle”; you have to go against the second law of thermodynamics to do it – “included miraculously organized subatomic arrangements too, then random shuffling would have to be replaced by organized rearrangement.”
And so you have to postulate an exception to the second law of thermodynamics to make the Big Bang function in the first few minutes. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] Two questions remain for each speaker. I’ve been asked by the arrangements chairman to use the gavel to keep the answers and rebuttals brief.
Third question, addressed to Dr. Morris: “You ask why we only see gaps between species and never see species in the process of splitting up. Scientists observe many examples of species that look as if they were in the process of spit-, splitting up. For example, species of birds look identical but cannot cross-breeds – cross-breed. Other groups of birds are able to cross-breed, but only with difficulty and a very low success rate. Similarly, a horse and a donkey can cross-breed to create a mule, but the mule is sterile and cannot cross-breed further. Aren’t these examples of species giving rise to another species?”
[MORRIS:] I’m not quite sure if I understand the point of the question, but let me repeat what I said earlier, that we do ... we creationists, I mean, do not know the precise limits of variation within the created kind. We do not know whether the created kind corresponds to a modern species, as it does perhaps in many cases, or to the genus as it does perhaps in many cases, or even to the family as it may do in some cases. I think this is room for further creationist research, and a number of creationist geneticists are working on this at the biomolecular level to try to delineate this a little better.
We would suggest that if species do produce fertile hybrids, this is probably good indication that they represent original kinds that have become separated and more or less reproductively isolated for a while. If they produce sterile hybrids, I think the question needs further study. We do not profess to have a full answer, as I said, to what exactly constitutes the created kind.
Neither, of course, does the evolutionist know exactly what a species is, because there’ve traditionally been the lumpers and the splitters, and these are taxonomic categories that have been made ever since the days of Linnaeus for man’s convenience and they’re somewhat arbitrary. They’re subject to change with further research.
[ROHR:] Dr. Miller chooses not to comment on that reply. We’ll instead take the third question, addressed to him. “Dr. Miller stated that he could possibly enter the universe, a closed system, from surroundings. Now the existence of surroundings is purely presuppositional in nature. That is, it is not based on empiricism or rationalism. The existence of surroundings is clearly beyond the scope of finite man. Presuppositions are all right as long as you don’t use them as a base for other assumptions. Dr. Miller, please support the concept of a surrounding system for the universe.”
[MILLER:] I – I’m not aware I ever said anything like that. I believe what I said is that the earth has surroundings and energy can enter the earth. There is – I have – I have no support for such a concept, I don’t believe I ever said anything and I’m not sure that anyone actually does.
Now, there is an interesting thing that I think this question is trying to bring up, and I think this person is perhaps trying to force me into saying that the thermodynamics – because the universe has been running down implies that there was something to wind it up in the first place, and therefore it implies that there was a creation. The creation – the creator had to provide the energy in the system, had to provide the high degree of order that existed at the creation of the universe. Well, I – the – the difficulties that science has with that are very great. My own personal reaction to it is very simple: I agree.
I think that is evidence for creation. I think that’s one of the reasons for believing that there is a creator. The question is not between Dr. Morris and me whether or not there is a creator. I think the universe was created. I think that’s why there’s here, why we’re here. I subscribe to the point of view, not as a scientist but as a person trying to make sense out of the world I see around me in a theological way. I subscribe to the point that Hans Küng makes in “Arguments Against the Atheist.” And one of those points is “if there is no God, why is there something instead of nothing?” So I believe I agree with the questioner. Thanks.
[ROHR:] Dr. Miller wishes to take his fourth and final question at once. Dr. Miller, you ... Dr. Morris, I’m sorry. “You mentioned that the earth’s strata were formed by a catastrophic flood, and that creatures we now see as highly evolved ran from the flood to higher levels. Highly evolved plants are found only in higher geologic strata. In lower geologic levels, you see only lower plants. Could you please explain how these highly evolved plants ran from the flood cat-, catastrophe.” [Laughter; applause.]
[MORRIS:] The question ... [inaudible] ...The question, although it’s couched in a sort of [inaudible] does have a point ... [inaudible] ... We’re going to say it’s the last question. And I think you can see, and from the responses and reactions and rebuttals [1:00:00] and so forth, that there’s much to be said on both sides. Dr. Miller probably doesn’t agree with my answers, I certainly don’t agree with his. The – the arguments and discussions could go on for a long time.
He re-, re-, sort of refuted or attempted to refute Dr. Barnes’s magnetic field decay problem. ‘Course I realized when I put those dates on the screen, that he had asked me to do that and therefore he was sort of laying for me. But that was all right. But don’t think that Dr. Barnes hasn’t anticipated this question of the reversal of the magnetic field. He has. This is discussed at great length and answered at, I think, with overwhelming cogency. And the problem still does exist, the evidence for the magnetic field decay does still stand.
Now, with respect to the origin of the strata in the flood, I did not suggest that animals ran from lower levels to higher levels. I said that the basic order that one would predict in a worldwide hydraulic cataclysm would be an order of ecological zonation. That is, those animals that live at the lower elevations would, other things being equal, tend to be buried at the lowest elevations. That is, the simple marine organisms which live at the depths of the ocean would tend to be buried at the bottom, the less mobile marine invertebrates would tend to be buried fairly low, the free-swimming marine vertebrates, fishes and so on, would tend to be buried higher, they move – they live at higher elevations and also are able to – would be able to escape burial more – for a greater length of time. Then the animals that live at the interface between the land and the water, the amphibians, then the reptiles, then the animals that live at the upper levels, the mammals, and the higher levels, birds and man.
That’s a general order of ecological zonation, or elevation of habitat, if you will. That is ...
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[MORRIS:] ... that you find in each local geological column. Within a formation, the sorting action of, of moving water is very very efficient. This can be shown both in laboratory and by mathematics, and so within a formation the order tends to be from the more simple, less differentiated on the bottom to the more complex, differentiated, more mobile, and also less streamlined, near the top of the formation. The order of mobility has a little bearing, but the major factor delineating the differences, I would say, is one of ecological zonation, and there we find exactly what we would generally expect to find in a worldwide flood. [Applause.]
[MILLER:] Could you put on the second carousel – sorry about this – slide 11? Dr. Morris makes the point that what we see in the ground could be the result of ecological zonation. That occurred to the geologists of two hundred years ago, and it was rejected two hundred years ago. There’s a very simple reason why. And – slide 11? Here are three organisms, or here will be three organisms, which clearly share common ecological zones. They swim in the ocean, they’re about the same size, they’re all vertebrates, they’re all excellent swimmers. Where they exist, the two that are around today, they certainly exist side by side. We have ichthyosaur, a kind of ichthyosaur, a reptile that had gone back into the sea. In the middle we have a shark. On the bottom we have a porpoise. Now, the shark appears first, actually, because we see this sort of animal before we see any reptiles; then the ichthyosaur; then the porpoise. They share identical ecological zones. We don’t see them in the same place in the strata. We see them hundreds of millions of years apart. The idea of ecological zonation is not true; it’s discredited; it’s wrong. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] A final question for Dr. Miller. Evolution states that life began through the formation of amino acids from a soup of chemicals. How, then, in your opinion did mere chemicals, which even man may be reduced to, acquire the property known as life? Furthermore, you spoke of a self-replicating molecular RNA. Does that mean that life exists, and if so, what is death? [Laughter.]
[MILLER:] I like the question. One of my – I used to teach at another university north of here, which will remain unnamed and is a member of our athletic conference. [Laughter.] And, and one of my colleagues there was a gentleman whose name is George Wald, who’s a very very famous biochemist and won the Nobel Prize for the physiology of vision. And I respond to the last three words in the question, “What is death?” George Wald had a famous lecture. He was a very famous man, Nobel laureate – he still is a famous man, he’s still around, I shouldn’t say it – a Nobel laureate, but he insisted on charging in and teaching the large introductory biology course every year. And the highlight of George’s lectures – and it would draw a thousand people; there were only only five hundred in the class, and a thousand would come charging in – so this was his final lecture, and the lecture was called “Sex is Death.” And my answer to the question is, sex is death. Death is sex. And the reason for that – this doesn’t have anything to do with evolutionary debate – is that if you divide into a copy of yourself, the way a bacterium does, you’re immortal, because in a sense you can’t tell which one you were if you keep splitting. So the identity of an individual becomes merged in that kind of distinction. But when an organism develops a sexual mechanism, the sexual mechanism makes the parent distinct from the offspring. And therefore the parent has a finite lifetime, the parent dies. And that is the reason that sex implies the death of the individual. So death is sex.
The next, the next part of the question was, “How did life evolve from the simple organisms,” and I believe something to the effect of, “Is self-replicating RNA alive?” Well, that’s a semantic question. In terms of what is – is a virus alive? is E. coli alive? is self-replicating RNA alive? if I take a DNA molecule which we can derive from a certain source and put it in a test tube, throw the right stuff in, it’ll make a virus, the virus can then infect the cell and it kind of lives when it’s in the cell, and so forth and so on. There are semantic problems to this, and you tell me what you mean by life and I’ll tell you whether or not it’s alive. Now, I may have my own definitions, and the fact of the matter is that a self-replicating molecule does not fit my own definitions. How did life evolve? Nobody knows how life evolved; that’s absolutely true. But the question is, Can we say with certainty that life could not have evolved from non-living chemicals, and the answer is, as far as we can tell from trying to test things in the laboratory and seeing if there’s an insurmountable barrier, is, as far as we can tell, no. Now, you should be aware of something, though, and that is that there is a very very serious subgroup in science who says they don’t believe that life evolved on earth and perhaps life originated somewhere else and got here on a meteorite or a spaceship or something like that. And many very serious scientists believe that. Now, there are ways to poke fun at that suggestion, but the fact of the matter is it would be entirely consistent with what we do observe in the fossil record, and there’s really no way to decide it. But the really – the question that really matters to science is, Can we exclude the possibility that it could have evolved? And the answer to that question, very simply, is no.
I think this may be my last opportunity to speak. I want to thank Dr. Morris immensely for this evening. It’s a great honor to have shared the stage with him. I have enjoyed it and I’ve profited by the experience. And I hope all of us have left here with a clearer understanding of what these two models mean and what they correspond to on the basis of fact. Thanks. [Applause.]
[MORRIS:] I don’t think I need to respond any further to the particular question, but I also wanted the opportunity to thank Dr. Miller. He has – I’ve, I’ve been in a number of these debates, not nearly as many as my colleague Dr. Gish, but enough of them to get a fair sampling, and I’ll have to say that Dr. Miller has been just about the best, so he has really had a tremendous array of data and information. I would just urge you to do what he has indicated also, and that is to continue to look at both models, whatever sets of data you may encounter in the classroom, continue to test everything by the two models. Get the literature in creation as well as evolution and study it out for yourself. I believe that all the questions he has raised have good answers, if we had the time to develop them; he would probably say the same thing about mine. At any rate, it’s still a question that’s unsettled and deserves full exposure and consideration, no longer the indoctrination in one system only, which has been the experience of the past. I appreciate your coming tonight, I appreciate Dr. Miller, Dr. Rohr, all those that have had a part in this. It’s been good to visit with you for this brief period. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
[ROHR:] Ladies and gentlemen, the sponsors have asked me to make the following announcements. Your donations for the further support ... [Inaudible.] ... be cheerfully received as at the ...
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