Answering Grandma Mildred

How do you answer a family member who challenges your faith? Here we present our responses to a skeptical grandmother’s national radio broadcast.


Published: 1 November 2012 (GMT+10)

A blogger on the Atheist Foundation of Australia website1 has drawn attention to a recent radio program on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC:

Re: Media Watch-various relevant articles in the media

This is cool. And she is in Brisbane. A radio national program. Listen or transcript, it’s all good. And disturbing.



Mildred Studders, a grandmother from Brisbane, hoping to encourage her grandchildren to think for themselves, posed several questions to them by email. The replies she got were extremely surprising and worrying.

Clicking on the “grandmother confronts creationist beliefs” link reveals it was the Ockham’s Razor broadcast which went to air on the morning of 22 July 2012,2 a Sunday, when the vast majority of Christians in Australia would have been attending church.

This Radio National program is hosted by long-time atheopathic anti-creationist Robyn Williams, who has on several occasions used the weekly 15-minute timeslot as an opportunity to give taxpayer-funded airtime to people with an anti-creationist axe to grind.

He introduces the grandmother’s monologue with the question “What do you do when someone persistently gets the science wrong, not by mistake, but through wilful self-deception?” and concludes his intro with: “Should we worry about our credulous neighbours, or family? Well, Mildred Studders does. When I asked her how she should be described, she said simply ‘as a grandmother who lives in Brisbane’.”

We reproduce below the Mildred Studders transcript, in its entirety, in red font, with our own responses interspersed.

Mildred Studders: Do you know how old the earth is? Young Michael says it is a bit over 6,000 years. That’s what he was taught at school. He is the youngest of my eight grandchildren. None of them say he is very wrong. Three went to his Christian College, five to other schools. All are involved with modern churches.

Their three sets of parents are not bothered by such dodgy science, so I stepped in. I hoped to encourage them to think for themselves without direct attack on their teachers. However, I did upset at least one for a while. I asked them questions by email. It took a year—not everyone answered every time. Here are things I found out.

Some thought everything started as much as 10,000 years ago, to three it doesn’t matter. Most thought the length of a creation day was 24 hours as we know it. They told me the earth appeared first, then water, land and plants. After that came sun, moon and stars.

For those Christians who say that the age of the earth is only a side issue, note that it is the very first objection that Grandma Mildred has raised. Good on those of Mildred’s grandchildren who answered with six ordinary creation days, about 6,000 years ago. For Christians who think it doesn’t matter, we recommend reading Chapter 2 of The Creation Answers Book, “Six days? Really?” which actually begins with the words, “Does it really matter … ” and goes on to describe key overarching reasons why it does.

[Grandma Mildred continues] I mentioned Galileo, they agreed he was right about the solar system. In fact some wondered why there was such a basic question.

Indeed, because although the Galileo saga is often raised by skeptics as being a problem for biblical authority, it most certainly isn’t. Rather, it was an object lesson in the dogmatism of the scientific establishment of the day, and the Church’s mistake in getting married to the science of its day, so becoming widowed in the future. See Galileo quadricentennial—myth vs fact.

[Grandma Mildred] So I asked ‘how could there be day and night before there was a sun, or any other star?” Nobody thought it was impossible.

Nor should they. Here’s an extract from Chapter 2 (p. 43) of The Creation Answers Book (which along with all subsequent extracts quoted from the Creation Answers Book in this article is presented here in purple font):

The sun was not created until Day 4, so how could the first three days have been ordinary days?

The creation of light before the sun was noted by early Church Fathers and the later Reformers without any problem, but some raise it today as if creationists had never thought of it. E.g. in AD 180, Theophilus of Antioch noted that it made nonsense of sun-worship because God made the plants before the sun, and Basil said the same.3

The most basic definition of a day is the ‘time for Earth to make a complete rotation on its axis’. All we need for a day is the earth rotating. To demarcate the day with evening and morning, we then need a directional source of light so that the rotating earth causes the night and day cycle that is described for each day in Genesis 1. The Bible says that in the latter part of the first day, following the period of darkness (Genesis 1:1–2) God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light (v. 3). So we have a source of light and a rotating Earth and we have days happening: and there was evening and there was morning, one day.

[Grandma Mildred] They did know about continental drift, but most could not accept it pushed up the Himalayas.

Here are some extracts from Chapter 11 of The Creation Answers Book, “What about continental drift?”

The opening paragraph (p. 161):

Before the 1960s, most geologists were adamant that the continents were stationary. A handful promoted the notion that the continents had moved (continental drift), but they were accused by the majority of indulging in pseudo-scientific fantasy. Today, that opinion has reversed—plate tectonics, incorporating continental drift, is the ruling theory. (Interestingly, it was a creationist, Antonio Snider, who in 1859 first proposed horizontal movement of continents catastrophically during the Genesis Flood.4 The statements in Genesis 1:9,10 about the gathering together of the seas in one place, which implies there was one landmass, influenced his thinking.)

From p. 164:

A biblical view

Evidence indicates that the continents have moved apart in the past, but can today’s supposed drift rates of 2–15 cm per year be extrapolated far back into the past? Is the present really the key to the past, as uniformitarians earnestly proclaim? Such extrapolation would mean that an ocean basin or mountain range would take about 100 million years to form.

The Bible does not speak directly about continental drift and plate tectonics, but if the continents were once together, as Genesis 1:9–10 suggests, and are now apart, how does that fit into a biblical view of geology with a time line of only thousands of years?5

Dr John Baumgardner, working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA), has used supercomputers to model processes in the Earth’s mantle to show that tectonic plate movement could have occurred very rapidly, and ‘spontaneously’.6,7,8,9,10 This concept is known as catastrophic plate tectonics. At the time of writing, Baumgardner, a creationist scientist, is acknowledged as having developed the world’s best 3-D super-computer model of plate tectonics.9

From p. 166:

Baumgardner’s catastrophic plate tectonics global Flood model for Earth history11 is able to explain more geological data than the conventional plate tectonics model with its many millions of years.

And from p. 168:

The model also provides a mechanism for retreat of the Flood waters. Psalm 104:6–7 describes the abating of the waters which had stood above the mountains. Verse 8 most naturally translates as, The mountains rose up; the valleys sank down,12 implying that vertical earth movements were the dominant tectonic forces operating at the close of the Flood, in contrast to the horizontal forces dominant during the spreading phase. Plate collisions would have pushed up mountains, while cooling of the new ocean floor would have increased its density, causing it to sink and thus deepen the new ocean basins to receive the retreating Flood waters. It may be significant, therefore, that the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4), the resting place of the Ark after the 150th day of the Flood, are in a tectonically active region at what is believed to be the junction of three crustal plates.13

If a centimetre or two per year of inferred movement today is extrapolated back into the past as uniformitarians do, then their conventional plate tectonics model has limited explanatory power. For example, even at a rate of 10 cm/yr, it is questionable whether the forces of the collision between the Indian-Australian and Eurasian Plates could have been sufficient to push up the Himalayas. On the other hand, catastrophic plate tectonics in the context of the Flood can explain how the plates overcame the viscous drag of the Earth’s mantle for a short time due to the enormous catastrophic forces at work, followed by a rapid slowing down to present rates.

[Grandma Mildred] They accepted our telescopes can see stars millions of light years away. So I argued the stars must have been there millions of years ago to send out their light. The 24 year old architect agreed, one was not sure and others, including Charles my newly minted Bachelor of Science said ‘No, nothing is that old.’

Well done Charles. Actually, as outlined in Chapter 5 of The Creation Answers Book, “How can we see distant stars in a young universe?”, long-age cosmologists have their own light travel problem:

The big bang light travel problem

It’s important to note that the most widely held cosmology, the standard secular big bang theory has a problem of its own with light travel, called the horizon problem. This arises from the universe being thought to be at least ten times bigger than the distance that radiation (‘light’) could have travelled since the big bang, even with their billions of years timescale.

According to the big bang the universe began in a fireball from which all matter in the universe is ultimately derived. For galaxies to have any hope of forming at all during the expansion process, the fireball must have begun with an uneven distribution of temperatures. However, we see radiation coming from the cosmos, in all directions on the sky and it is very uniformly distributed, wherever we look. This is the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation and it has been measured to be uniform to one part in 100,000. But, how could this be so if the radiation has not had sufficient time to traverse the greatest distances in the universe so that it could even out the temperature by transmitting energy from hot regions to cold?

This problem gave rise to hypothetical fudge factors such as faster-than-light ‘inflation’ being added to the big bang, but there is no known mechanism to start or stop the process in a smooth fashion (it is effectively a naturalistic ‘miracle’). Other big bang cosmologists have even suggested that the speed of light (radiation) may have been much faster in the past.14 So no one can rightly claim this issue as a reason not to believe the Bible, because the standard secular big bang cosmology has a similar problem.15

[Grandma Mildred] I asked how fossil sea life came to be on mountains and in deserts. I was told ‘from the Great Flood’.

Indeed so. From p. 159 in The Creation Answers Book

What evidence would one expect from a global watery cataclysm that drowned the animals, birds and people not on the Ark? All around the world, in rock layer after rock layer, we find billions of dead things that have been buried in water-carried mud and sand. Their state of preservation frequently tells of rapid burial and fossilization, just like one would expect in such a flood.

… and the fossil photo caption on the same page rams the point home:

Fossil ‘graveyards’ around the world, where the bones of many animals were washed together, buried and fossilized, are evidence for a watery cataclysm like the Flood.

[Grandma Mildred] I asked what happened to the dinosaurs. Most said ‘drowned in the flood’. One considered ‘dinos may have been on the Ark and died out later’.

Good answer. Indeed, most drowned in the Flood, which is why we have fossil dinosaur graveyards. But God told Noah to rescue all the kinds of land animals alive at the time, which entails that a pair of each kind of dinosaur was on board. They were indeed on the Ark, about 4,500 years ago, which is why there’s so much evidence of people and dinosaurs having lived together since then, in recent history. Here are some extracts from The Creation Answers Book Chapter 19, “What about dinosaurs?”.

From pp. 240–241:

Lots and lots of dinosaur fossils!

As discussed in Chapter 10, the Bible speaks of a cataclysmic global Flood around 4,500 years ago—such was its impact that Noah and his family and animal/bird ‘cargo’ remained on board for over a year. Multiple layers of water-borne sediments, now hardened into rock, right around the world, are powerful evidence of the geography-rearranging forces at work during that Flood. These sedimentary rock layers contain billions of fossils (see Chapter 15), with many of them so well-preserved that those creatures must have been buried quickly under loads of sediment—neither scavengers nor the ravages of oxygen-facilitated decay have left their mark.

Among those billions of fossils, researchers have found and documented many dinosaur16 fossils. (Occasionally one hears of people claiming that dinosaurs never existed—but such claims are completely untenable, given the abundant fossil evidence.) Dinosaur fossil ‘graveyards’ have been found at many places around the world.

And from p. 244:

As man, post-Flood, spread out after the fiasco at Babel (Genesis 11), surely he would have (re-)encountered dinosaurs? Indeed, there are strong indications of exactly that. From Europe, across Asia and into China, historical references to ‘dragons’ abound, with the described features of those creatures often matching scientists’ modern reconstructions of dinosaurs from fossil evidence.

For example, from a chronicle of 1405, in England: ‘Close to the town of Bures, near Sudbury, there has lately appeared, to the great hurt of the countryside, a dragon, vast in body, with a crested head, teeth like a saw, and a tail extending to an enormous length. Having slaughtered the shepherd of a flock, it devoured many sheep.’17 Such features as ‘crested head’ and ‘tail extending to an enormous length’, are consistent with this ‘dragon’ being a dinosaur-like creature.

An Irish writer around AD 900 recorded an encounter with a large animal with thick legs and strong claws and described it as having ‘iron’ nails on its tail—could that have been a Stegosaurus?18

And brass engravings dating from the 1400s at Carlisle Cathedral in Britain depict creatures that any 21st century child would instantly recognize as dinosaurs, along with depictions of various fish, a dog, a pig, a bird and other familiar animals.19 How could the person engraving those depictions have known what dinosaurs looked like, given that he/she lived over three centuries before the fossil bones of such creatures were systematically dug up, described and named? Surely the answer is clear: people knew what such dinosaurs looked like because those creatures were alive at that time, and were as familiar to people as fish, dogs, pigs and birds.20

What’s more, it’s the Christians who can ‘use dinosaurs’ to challenge the evolutionary paradigm. For example, pp. 251–253 in The Creation Answers Book lists numerous “Dinosaurian challenges to evolutionary theory” for Christians to present to the ‘Grandma Mildreds’ they encounter. And on p. 255:

Dinosaur bones—not millions of years old!

Many dinosaur fossils are not completely mineralized—in fact, dinosaur bones with blood cells, hemoglobin and soft tissue such as blood vessels have been found. This is enormously confronting for evolutionists, because how could such bones possibly be 65 million years old? As one of the researchers involved in the discovery of dinosaur blood cells, Dr Mary Schweitzer, said: ‘If you take a blood sample, and you stick it on a shelf, you have nothing recognizable in about a week. So why would there be anything left in dinosaurs?’21

Why indeed? Unless of course they haven’t been extinct for millions of years, and their remains were preserved quickly under catastrophic conditions a few thousand years ago, or even more recently. But so entrenched is the evolutionary paradigm in the scientific community, that it soon became known that Dr Schweitzer ‘was having a hard time’ trying to get her results published in scientific journals.

‘I had one reviewer tell me that he didn’t care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn’t possible,’ says Schweitzer. ‘I wrote back and said, “Well, what data would convince you?” And he said, “None.”’

Schweitzer recounts how she noticed that a T. rex skeleton (from Hell Creek, Montana) had a distinctly cadaverous odour. When she mentioned this to long-time paleontologist Jack Horner (see p. 242, earlier in this chapter), he said ‘Oh yeah, all Hell Creek bones smell.’ But so ingrained is the notion among paleontologists that dinosaur bones must be millions of years old that the ‘smell of death’ didn’t even register with them—despite the evidence being right under their noses.22 Schweitzer herself does not seem able or willing to escape the long-age paradigm.

[Grandma Mildred] I asked if that flood covered the whole round world. Four replied ‘yes’, two couldn’t be sure.

“Yes” is right. There’s no way that the Genesis Flood of Noah’s day could only have been local in extent. Here’s an extract from Chapter 10, “Was the Flood global?” in The Creation Answers Book, p. 152:

The local flood idea is totally inconsistent with the Bible, as the following points demonstrate:

The need for the Ark

If the Flood were local, why did Noah have to build an Ark? He could have walked to the other side of the mountains and escaped. Travelling just 20 km per day, Noah and his family could have travelled over 3,000 km in six months. God could have simply warned Noah to flee, as He did for Lot in Sodom.

The size of the Ark

If the Flood were local, why was the Ark big enough to hold all the different kinds of land vertebrate animals in the world? If only Mesopotamian animals were aboard, or only domestic animals, the Ark could have been much smaller.23

The need for animals to be on the Ark

If the Flood were local, why did God send the animals to the Ark to escape death? There would have been other animals to reproduce those kinds even if they had all died in the local area. Or He could have sent them to a non-flooded region.

The need for birds to be on the Ark

If the Flood were local, why would birds have been sent on board? These could simply have winged across to far-distant higher ground. Birds can fly several hundred kilometres in one day.

The judgment was universal

If the Flood were local, people who did not happen to be living in the vicinity would not have been affected by it. They would have escaped God’s judgment on sin. It boggles the mind to believe that, after all those centuries since creation, no one had migrated to other parts—or that people living on the periphery of such a local flood would not have moved to the adjoining high ground rather than be drowned. Jesus stated that the Flood killed everyone not on the Ark (Matt. 24:37–39).

Of course those who want to believe in a local flood generally say that the world is old and that people were here for many tens of thousands of years before the Flood. If this were the case, it is inconceivable that all the people could have fitted in a localized valley in Mesopotamia, for example, or that they had not migrated further afield as the population grew.

The Flood was a type of the judgment to come

In 2 Peter 3, the coming universal judgment by fire is likened to the judgment by water of Noah’s Flood: the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (verses 6,7).

The waters were above the mountains

If the Flood were local, how could the waters rise to 15 cubits (8 metres) above the mountains (Gen. 7:20)? Water seeks its own level. It could not rise to cover the local mountains while leaving the rest of the world untouched.24

The duration of the Flood

Noah and company were on the Ark for one year and 10 days (Gen. 7:11, 8:14)—surely an excessive amount of time for any local flood? It was more than seven months before the tops of any mountains became visible. How could they drift around in a local flood for that long without seeing any mountains?

God’s promise broken?

If the Flood were local, God would have repeatedly broken His promise never to send such a Flood again. There have been huge ‘local’ floods in recent times: in Bangladesh, for example, where 80% of that country has been inundated, or Europe in 2002.

All people are descendants of Noah and his family

The genealogies of Adam (Gen. 4:17–26, 5:1–31) and Noah (Gen. 10:1–32) are exclusive—they tell us that all the pre-Flood people came from Adam and all the post-Flood people came from Noah. The descendants of Noah were all living together at Babel and refusing to ‘fill the earth’, as they had been commanded (Gen. 9:1). So God confused their one language into many and scattered them (Gen. 11:1–9).

There is striking evidence that all peoples on Earth have come from Noah, found in the Flood stories from many cultures around the world—North and South America, South Sea Islands, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, China, India, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Hundreds of such stories have been gathered.25

[Grandma Mildred] How long ago was Noah’s flood? ‘6,000 to 10,000 years ago’.

As already mentioned in The Creation Answers Book extract re dinosaurs, the Genesis Flood was about 4,500 years ago. See Real history: The timeline of the Bible.

[Grandma Mildred] How long was everything on the ark? They agreed—‘one year’.

Pretty good as a first approximation. One year and 10 days to be precise, as already mentioned above in our ‘global Flood’ answer.

[Grandma Mildred] How salty was the water? ‘Probably a bit salty’.

Good answer. Indeed, less salty than today’s ocean—which should be much saltier if the earth were billions of years old.26 And if Grandma Mildred had challenged at this point as to “How did freshwater and saltwater fish survive the Flood”—well, that’s chapter 14 of The Creation Answers Book, a ready-made answer to:

  • How did freshwater and saltwater fish survive the Flood?
  • How did saltwater fish survive dilution of the seawater with freshwater, or how did freshwater types survive in saltwater?
  • And how did plants survive?

[Grandma Mildred] Did Noah carry plants?

Certainly the food for his family and the creatures on the Ark that Noah was instructed to carry on board (Genesis 6:21) would have included plant material, grains, etc. Thus it’s no accident that the distribution of crop plants around the world today fits with the Ark landing at the ‘mountains of Ararat’ and subsequent forced dispersal of family groups from Babel.27

[Grandma Mildred] What about corals and other shallow sea life? Did he take worms and other burrowers? I wrote lists of them. Were there thousands of insects? Did he carry all kinds of birds, larks, crows, flamingos? And reptiles – crocodiles, tortoises, green tree snakes? As the flood water would not suit were there freshwater and ocean fish? The answers ranged from ‘Yes’ to ‘Don’t know’. How did Noah collect all these creatures? ‘Easily – they came to him’.

Two of every kind of land animal and bird came to Noah. Not the sea creatures, whose kinds would survive the Flood (though of course not all individuals). And as already mentioned, The Creation Answers Book has a whole chapter devoted to the issue of “How did fresh and saltwater fish survive the Flood?” Here’s an extract from chapter 13, “How did the animals fit on Noah’s Ark?” (p. 182):

How many types of animals did Noah need to take?

Relevant passages are:

And you shall bring into the ark two of every kind of every living thing of all flesh, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive; of birds after their kind, and of beasts after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind. (Gen. 6:19–20)

You shall take with you every clean animal by sevens, the male and female. And take two of the animals that are not clean, the male and female. Also take of the birds of the air by sevens, the male and the female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. (Gen. 7:2–3)

In the original Hebrew, the word variously translated as ‘beast’ or ‘cattle’ in these passages is the same: behemah, and it refers to land vertebrate animals in general. The word for ‘creeping things’ is remes, which has a number of different meanings in Scripture, but here it probably refers to reptiles.28 Noah did not need to take sea creatures29 because they would not necessarily be threatened with extinction by a flood. However, turbulent water carrying sediment would cause massive carnage, as seen in the fossil record, and many oceanic species probably did become extinct because of the Flood. If God in His wisdom decided not to preserve some ocean creatures, this was none of Noah’s business.

Noah did not need to take plants either—many could have survived as seeds, and others could have survived on floating mats of tangled vegetation, as seen today after severe storms. Many insects and other invertebrates were small enough to have survived on these mats as well. According to Genesis 7:22, the Flood wiped out all land animals that breathed through nostrils except those on the Ark. Insects do not breathe through nostrils but through tiny pores (‘tracheae’) in their exterior skeleton (‘shell’).30

[Grandma Mildred] How many humans were on board, any children or slaves? ‘There were eight as the bible states’.

And not just the Bible. Consider:

Since all peoples have descended from Noah’s family a relatively short time ago, we would expect to find some memory of the catastrophic Flood in the stories of many people groups. In fact, an overwhelming number of cultures do have accounts of a world-destroying flood. Often these have striking parallels to the true, original account, such as: eight people saved in a boat, the sending out of birds, a rainbow, and more. Careful analysis shows that Genesis must be the original, while legends such as Gilgamesh were copies.31

That Creation Answers Book extract is from chapter 18, “How did all the different ‘races’ arise?” (p. 233) The world indeed has a “wealth of deluge legends”—see Flood!.

[Grandma Mildred] How did Noah fit everything? Were there cages, could birds fly about? Did creatures fight or try to eat one another? ‘Everything fitted somehow. The ark was very big’. How big? I did the maths myself. It was huge, up to 1.2 hectares of floor space in three decks and it was roofed.

Indeed it was huge. The Creation Answers Book (p. 186) makes it clear:

Was the Ark large enough to carry all the necessary types?

The Ark measured 300x50x30 cubits (Gen. 6:15), which is about 137x23x13.7 metres or 450x75x45 feet, so its volume was 43,200 m3 (cubic metres) or 1.52 million cubic feet. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent volume of 522 standard railroad stock cars, each of which can hold 240 sheep.

If the animals were kept in cages with an average size (some would be much bigger, others smaller) of 50x50x30 centimetres (20x20x12 inches), that is 75,000 cm3 (cubic centimetres) or 4,800 cubic inches, the 16,000 animals would only occupy 1,200 m3 (42,000 cubic feet) or 14.4 stock cars. Even if a million insect species had to be on board as well, it would not be a problem, because they require little space. If each pair was kept in cages of 10 cm (four inches) per side, or 1,000 cm3, all the insect species would occupy a total volume of only 1,000 m3, or another 12 cars. This would leave room for five trains of 99 cars each for food, Noah’s family and ‘range’ for the animals, and air space. However, insects are not included in the meaning of behemah or remes, so Noah probably did not have to take them on board as passengers anyway.

Tabulating the total volume is fair enough, since this shows that there would be plenty of room on the Ark for the animals with ample left over for food, space to move, etc. It would be possible to stack cages, with food on top or nearby (to minimize the amount of food carrying the humans had to do), to fill up more of the Ark space, while still allowing plenty of gaps for air circulation. We are discussing an emergency situation, not necessarily luxury accommodation. Although there is plenty of room for exercise, sceptics have overstated animals’ needs for exercise anyway.

Even if we don’t allow stacking one cage on top of another to save floor space, there still would be no problem. Woodmorappe32 shows from standard recommended floor space requirements for animals that all the animals together would have needed less than half the available floor space of the Ark’s three decks. This arrangement allows for the maximum amount of food and water storage on top of the cages close to the animals.

[Grandma Mildred] I asked how Stone Age Noah could build it. No iron, no bronze, no horses, no wheels. They didn’t know but thought he could manage.

‘Stone Age’ Noah? There never was a ‘Stone Age’! Nor the evolutionary-defined ‘Iron Age’ or ‘Bronze Age’, for that matter. From the beginning people were forging “all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron”—Genesis 4:22. Furthermore, Dutch farmers have known for centuries about low-tech but effective means of keeping animals over the winter months, called the grupstal and potstal; this would be well within the reach of Noah and his extended family.33

[Grandma Mildred] I enquired how he could provision it for eight people and all the creatures for a year, no refrigeration, nothing in tins. Four thought it possible if they had faith, four did not reply.

From p. 187 of The Creation Answers Book:

Food requirements

The Ark would probably have carried compressed and dried foodstuffs, and a lot of concentrated food. Perhaps Noah fed the cattle mainly on grain, plus some hay for fibre. Woodmorappe calculated that the volume of foodstuffs would have been only about 15% of the Ark’s total volume. Drinking water would have taken up less than 10% of the volume. This volume would be reduced further if rainwater were collected and piped into troughs.

[Grandma Mildred] I wondered how eight people could care for such a menagerie. Think of the cleaning alone.

If Grandma Mildred is truly interested in the cleaning, she should consider this extract from p. 187 of The Creation Answers Book:

J Woodmorappe

Excretory requirements

How did Noah’s family dispose of the waste of thousands of animals every day? The amount of labour could be minimized in many ways. Possibly they had sloped floors and/or slatted cages, where the manure could fall away from the animals and be flushed away (plenty of water around!) or destroyed by vermi-composting (composting by worms) which would also have provided earthworms as a food source for animals. Very deep bedding can sometimes last for a year without needing a change. Absorbent material (e.g. sawdust, softwood shavings and especially peat moss) would have reduced the moisture content and hence the odour.

[Grandma Mildred] By now a couple of people thought the flood may not have been worldwide after all. Some didn’t know, a couple reckoned it could be done. The Bachelor of Science added ‘What’s stopping God from just making everything work?’

Here’s how the animals-in-Noah’s-Ark chapter in The Creation Answers Book ends (p. 188):


We have shown here that the Bible can be trusted on testable matters like Noah’s Ark. Many Christians believe that the Bible can only be trusted on matters of faith and morals, not scientific matters. But we should consider what Jesus Christ Himself told Nicodemus:

If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:12)

Similarly, if the Bible can be wrong on testable matters such as geography, history and science, why should it be trusted on matters like the nature of God and life after death, which are not open to empirical testing? Hence Christians should be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope in you (1 Peter 3:15), when sceptics claim that the Bible conflicts with known ‘scientific facts’.

Seeing that the Bible can be trusted on testable matters, nonbelievers disregard its warnings concerning future judgment at their own peril.

[Grandma Mildred] We’d all had enough flood by then and 22 year old Elizabeth had been offended. We moved onto the aftermath. Where did all that water go? ‘Into the ground’ or ‘the ice caps’ or ‘whatever God wanted’.

An entire chapter, Chapter 12, “Noah’s Flood—what about all that water?”, in The Creation Answers Book is devoted to answering that question. Here’s an extract (p. 177):

Where did the waters go?

The whole Earth was covered with the Flood waters (see Chapter 10, Was the Flood global?), and the world that then existed was destroyed by the very waters out of which the land had originally emerged at God’s command (Gen. 1:9, 2 Peter 3:5–6). But where did those waters go after the Flood?

There are a number of Scripture passages that identify the Flood waters with the present-day seas (Amos 9:6 and Job 38:8–11, note ‘waves’). If the waters are still here, why are the highest mountains not still covered with water, as they were in Noah’s day? Psalm 104 suggests an answer. After the waters covered the mountains (verse 6), God rebuked them and they fled (verse 7); the mountains rose, the valleys sank down (verse 8) and God set a boundary so that they will never again cover the Earth (verse 9).34,17 They are the same waters!

Isaiah gives this same statement that the waters of Noah would never again cover the Earth (Isa. 54:9). Clearly, what the Bible is telling us is that God altered the Earth’s topography. New continental land-masses bearing new mountain chains of folded rock strata were uplifted from below the globe-encircling waters that had eroded and levelled the pre-Flood topography, while large deep ocean basins were formed to receive and accommodate the Flood waters that then drained off the emerging continents.

That is why the oceans are so deep, and why there are folded mountain ranges. Indeed, if the entire Earth’s surface were levelled by smoothing out the topography of not only the land surface but also the rock surface on the ocean floor, the waters of the ocean would cover the Earth’s surface to a depth of 3 kilometres (1.8 miles). We need to remember that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is still covered by water. Quite clearly, then, the waters of Noah’s Flood are in today’s ocean basins.

[Grandma Mildred] How did plants disperse to their proper climates?

While we can’t know the pre-Flood geography of the Earth and plant distribution on it, nor be sure of the directional patterns of Flood currents around the planet, the Flood certainly did not wipe out all plant life outside the Ark. As The Creation Answers Book (p. 192) says:

Survival of plants

Many terrestrial seeds can survive long periods of soaking in various concentrations of saltwater.35 Indeed, saltwater impedes the germination of some species so that the seed lasts better in saltwater than freshwater. Other plants could have survived in floating vegetation masses, or on pumice from the volcanic activity. Pieces of many plants are capable of asexual sprouting.

Many plants could have survived as planned food stores on the Ark, or accidental inclusions in such food stores. Many seeds have devices for attaching themselves to animals, and some could have survived the Flood by this means. Others could have survived in the stomachs of the bloated, floating carcasses of dead herbivores.

The olive leaf brought back to Noah by the dove (Gen. 8:11) shows that plants were regenerating well before Noah and company left the Ark.

As the Floodwaters receded, seeds disseminated all over the world would have germinated in the still-moist soil—and the plants suited to that particular climate and soil type etc. would have survived, to reproduce themselves. Here’s a relevant extract from p. 217 of The Creation Answers Book that addresses the ‘proper climates’ challenge of Grandma Mildred:

Palm Valley in central Australia is host to a unique species of palm, Livingstonia mariae, found nowhere else in the world. Does this necessarily mean that the seeds for this species floated only to this one little spot? Not at all. Current models of post-Flood climate indicate that the world is much drier now than it was in the early post-Flood centuries. Evolutionists themselves agree that in recent times (by evolutionary standards) the Sahara was lush and green, and central Australia had a moist, tropical climate. For all we know, the Livingstonia mariae palm may have been widespread over much of Australia, perhaps even in other places that are now dry, such as parts of Africa.

The palm has survived in Palm Valley because there it happens to be protected from the drying out which affected the rest of its vast central Australian surrounds. Everywhere else, it died out.

Incidentally, this concept of changing vegetation with changing climate should be kept in mind when considering post-Flood animal migration—especially because of the objections (and caricatures) which may be presented. For instance, how could creatures that today need a rainforest environment trudge across thousands of kilometres of parched desert on the way to where they now live? The answer is that it wasn’t desert then!

Actually, the current patterns of biogeography fit the biblical model very well and confound the evolutionary one.36

[Grandma Mildred] How did creatures reach home across oceans, over mountains and through deserts? What did they eat along the way? Answers varied from ‘God provided safe passage’ to ‘not an issue with not a worldwide flood’. Maybe some were starting to think.

As Mildred herself would do well to do. Our Livingstonia palm explanation above comes from Chapter 17 of The Creation Answers Book, “How did animals get to Australia?”, which concludes (p. 220):

Coupled with all the biblical, geological, and anthropological evidence for Noah’s Flood, one is justified in regarding the Genesis account of the animals’ dispersing from a central point as perfectly reasonable.37 Not only that, but the biblical model provides an excellent framework for the scientific study of these questions.

See also Dominic Statham’s article: “Natural rafts carried animals around the globe”.

[Grandma Mildred] Question 36: How is it that no human and dinosaur remains are ever found together, the dinosaurs always in older layers? One decided ‘they were not discovered yet’ another said ‘I don’t agree with carbon dating’.

First, we have advised before:

In cases like this, sometimes it can be more strategic to answer the question by asking a question—one that highlights the flawed assumptions behind the original question, e.g., ‘Coelacanths and whales live together—but why don’t we find their fossils together?’38

That a sceptical ‘Grandma Mildred’ would ask such a question is no surprise to us, as this extract from our introduction to the answer given in The Creation Answers Book (p. 193) shows:

Evolutionists claim that the order in the fossil record (e.g. trilobites deep down and humans near the top) is due to a succession of life forms on Earth, which occurred over many hundreds of millions of years. In this view, the rock strata represent huge periods of time.

On the other hand, creationists believe that most of the fossils were formed during the year-long global Flood recorded in Genesis Chapters 6–9 (see Chapter 10, Was the Flood Global?). Thus creationists believe that the order in the fossil record is due to the order of burial during the Flood, and the local catastrophes that followed. So, sceptics ask, why are human fossils not found with dinosaur fossils, for example?

The subsequent pages in The Creation Answers Book then expand on this, including this snippet from “Evidence that dinosaurs and humans co-existed” (p. 196):

Unmineralized (‘unfossilized’) dinosaur bones.39 How could these bones, some of which even have blood cells in them, be 65 million years or more old? It stretches the imagination to believe they are even many thousands of years old.

In light of this evidence, Grandma Mildred’s jibe about disbelieving carbon dating could be turned back on her as follows:

“Grandma Mildred, if carbon ‘dating’ were to be done on the red blood cells found in dinosaur bones, of course it would give a ‘date’ less than 100,000 years. Would you be willing to believe it?” [Update: this has in fact been done now—see Radiocarbon in dino bones: International conference result censored.]

But it’s likely she would NOT be willing to believe it any more than skeptics have been willing to confront the fact that 14C has been found in supposedly millions-of-years-old coal, wood and diamonds. And the evolutionists themselves are unlikely to allow the red blood cells and other soft dinosaur tissue to be carbon-dated because their a priori assumption is that the remains are at least 65 million years old, therefore no 14C should be present. For more on ‘dating’ problems for evolutionists see Chapter 4, “What about carbon dating?” in The Creation Answers Book.

In addition, Grandma Mildred could also be challenged as to why the evolutionary paradigm leaves herbivorous dinosaurs with little to eat. As The Creation Answers Book points out (p. 196):

Rocks bearing dinosaur fossils often contain very little plant material—e.g., in the Morrison formation in North America. This is another indication that the strata do not represent eras of life on Earth. If the strata represent an age of dinosaurs, what did they eat? A large Apatosaurus would need over three tonnes of vegetation per day, yet there is no indication of significant vegetation in many of these dinosaur-bearing strata. In other words, we see buried dinosaurs, not buried ecosystems or an ‘Age of Dinosaurs’.

Incidentally, note how Grandma Mildred’s year-long bombardment of emailed questions/challenges (“Question 36”!) was a typical Skeptic’s ‘scattergun’ strategy. It’s worth reading Dr Mark Harwood’s insightful article “Anyone for tennis?” to see how that tactic can effectively be neutralized.

[Grandma Mildred] Next came the worry about later generations. From such tiny gene pools many lines would be expected to weaken and die out. Also for creatures and humans to diversify more time would be needed. So I asked them to think again about whether life developed over a very, very long time. A couple were uncertain. One said ‘no, because the Bible says the world is only young’ and then went on to ask me if I could reconsider. I said ‘yes, if there was evidence’.

What sort of evidence does Grandma Mildred want? The evidence for the biblical account of origins is everywhere, as Chapter 1, “Does God exist?”, of The Creation Answers Book explains. Far from developing over “a very, very long time” as Mildred claims, time is in fact no friend of evolution. The ‘diversification’ and adaptation of post-Flood animal populations to niche environments can happen quicklymuch to evolutionists’ surprise. And note that this in no way is evolution in the sense of microbes turning into man, which requires an increase in genetic information, as the evolution ‘train’ is going the wrong way.

As The Creation Answers Book says (p. 21):

Observed changes in living things head in the wrong direction to support evolution from protozoan to man (macro-evolution).

Selection from the genetic information already present in a population (for example, DDT resistance in mosquitoes) causes a net loss of genetic information in that population. A DDT-resistant mosquito is adapted to an environment where DDT is present, but the population has lost genes present in the mosquitoes that were not resistant to DDT because they died and so did not pass on their genes. So natural selection and adaptation involve loss of genetic information.

From information theory and a vast number of experiments and observations, we know that mutations (copying mistakes) are incapable of causing an increase in information and functional complexity.40 Instead, they cause ‘noise’ during the transmission of genetic information, in accordance with established scientific principles of the effect of random change on information flow, and so destroy the information.41 Not surprisingly, over a thousand human diseases are now linked to mutations.

This decrease in genetic information (from mutations, selection/adaptation/speciation and extinction) is consistent with the concept of original created gene pools—with a large degree of initial variety—being depleted since.

And from p. 121:

Adaptation and natural selection are biological facts; ameba-to-man evolution is not. Natural selection can only work on the genetic information present in a population of organisms—it cannot create new information. For example, since no known reptiles have genes for feathers, no amount of selection will produce a feathered reptile.

Mutations in genes can only modify or eliminate existing structures, not create new ones. If in a certain environment a lizard survives better with smaller legs, or no legs, then varieties with this trait will be selected for. This might more accurately be called devolution, not evolution.

Rapid minor changes in limb length can occur in lizards, as demonstrated on Bahamian islands by Losos et al.42 The changes occurred much faster than evolutionists thought they could. Such changes do not involve new genetic information and so give no support to microbe-to-man evolution. They do illustrate how quickly animals could have adapted to different environments after the Flood.

Thus the evidence from living things is right in line with the Bible’s timeline. And there’s plenty more evidence to give Grandma Mildred cause to question the claimed billions-of-years ‘age’ of the earth (and the universe, too),43 as the following subsection in Chapter 1 of The Creation Answers Book (p. 23—under the broader heading “Non-biblical evidence for the Creator God of the Bible”) succinctly makes clear:

The age of things

The evidence for a ‘young’ Earth/universe is, by definition, evidence for biblical creation, as naturalistic evolution, if it were at all possible, would require eons. There is much evidence that the universe is relatively young,44 such as the decay of the Earth’s magnetic field, including rapid paleomagnetic reversals,45 fragile organic molecules in fossils supposedly many millions of years old,46 not enough helium in the atmosphere,47 not enough salt in the sea,48 carbon-14 in coal and oil supposedly millions of years old (see Chapter 4), polystrate fossils that extend through strata supposedly representing many millions of years, inter-tonguing of non-sequential geological strata,49 small number of supernova remnants,50 magnetic fields on ‘cold’ planets, and much more (see pp. 80–82).

Elapsed time extending back beyond one’s own lifetime cannot be directly measured, so all arguments for either a long or a short age are necessarily indirect and must depend on acceptance of the assumptions on which they are inevitably based.

Young-Earth arguments make sense of the fact that many fossils show well-preserved soft parts. This requires rapid deposition and rapid hardening of the encasing sediment for such fossils to exist. Observations of multiple geologic strata and canyons, for example, forming rapidly under catastrophic conditions in recent times, indicate that the entrenched slow-and-gradual, vast-age thinking may well be markedly in error.51,52

[Grandma Mildred] I described geology and asked, are geologists who studied for years probably right about the rocks they deal with? One replied ‘yes’. James, a dear boy with all the experience of his 17 years declared ‘the geologists are wrong’.

Well, the evolutionary/long-age geologists are indeed wrong when they ascribe millions and billions of years to the rocks. The layers of sedimentary rock do not represent slow-and-gradual deposition. This paragraph from The Creation Answers Book (p. 194) cites the Grand Canyon’s Coconino sandstone formation as an example of that:

Do the rock strata represent eons of time?

There is a wealth of evidence that the rock strata do not represent vast periods of time. For example, the huge Coconino sandstone formation in the Grand Canyon is about 100 m thick and extends to some 250,000 km2 in area. The large-scale cross-bedding shows that it was all laid down in deep, fast-flowing water in a matter of days. Other rock layers in the Grand Canyon indicate that they were rapidly deposited also, and without substantial time-breaks between the laying down of each unit.53 Indeed, the whole Grand Canyon sequence is bent at the Kaibab Upwarp, in some spots quite radically, and without cracking. This indicates that the strata, which supposedly represent some 300 million years of evolutionary time, were all still soft when the bending occurred.54 This is consistent with the layers being deposited and bent quickly, during the Genesis Flood.

These two sentences from The Creation Answers Book (p. 200) go to the nub of the issue:

Most of the fossil record does not represent a history of life on Earth, but the order of burial during the Flood. We would expect a pattern with a global Flood, but not an entirely consistent pattern, and this is what we find in the geological strata.

(Readers, keep this in mind as you read Grandma Mildred’s next ‘challenge’ to her grandchildren.)

[Grandma Mildred] The next question described the fossil record, gave an account of evolutionary change and then brought in DNA. The fossil records and DNA results agree. The question was can you agree that fossils and DNA show big changes over long times? Only three replies from ‘possibly’ to ‘no’. They do not like the idea of long times.

Actually, a major admitted problem for evolutionists is that the ‘fossil records’ and ‘DNA results’ do NOT agree. E.g. contradictory mitochondrial DNA analysis of Neandertal remains certainly stirred up palaeoanthropologists: “We seem to be witnessing a classic struggle in palaeoanthropology between the molecules and the fossils.” DNA analysis has frequently upended assumptions about the ‘evolutionary tree of life’—see, e.g. ‘A complete shocker’.

[Grandma Mildred] The last question took the form of a history lesson mentioning Magellan, Wallace and Mendel’s garden peas. If Darwin had not published about evolution someone else would have. Knowledge had reached that stage.

Sounds like Grandma Mildred’s ‘history lesson’ misrepresented what really happened in the past. E.g. did she know that Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus actually published a treatise on evolution (Zoonomia) before his more-famously credited grandson? And that the famous presentation of Darwin/Wallace writings at the Linnean Society of London on 1 July 1858 has euphemistically been referred to as the reading of a ‘joint paper’, but it all took place without the personal participation of Alfred Russel Wallace, and even without his knowledge or permission! (Wallace was still on an island off the coast of New Guinea at the time.) Did Mildred give any credit to creationist Edward Blyth’s pre-Darwin writings on natural selection, and did she mention that Darwin ‘conveniently’ omitted to do so? (For more on all this, see Charles Darwin’s illegitimate brainchild and our documentary Darwin: the Voyage that Shook the World.)

Did Mildred mention to her grandchildren that Gregor Mendel’s work actually disproved one of Darwin’s key assumptions? (Is that why it was ignored for so long?) Genetics is certainly no friend of evolution!

[Grandma Mildred] Now more is known about so much: fossils, DNA, radiometric dating, astronomy, genetics. We live in the best time ever for access to information. I asked if they are willing to consider results of research. Four said ‘yes’ – perhaps they will.

As long as that research is eyewitness research, rather than imaginative speculations about the past paraded as ‘research’ or ‘science’. Here’s what The Creation Answers Book (p. 16) says on the topic:

Is it science?

Science has given us many wonderful things: men on the moon, cheap food, modern medicine, electricity, computers, and so on. All these achievements involve doing experiments in the present, making inferences from these results and doing more experiments to test those ideas. Here, the inferences, or conclusions, are closely related to the experiments and there is often little room for speculation. This type of science is called process, or operational, science, and has given us many valuable advances in knowledge that have benefited mankind.

However, there is another type of science that deals with the past, which can be called historical, or origins, science. When it comes to working out what happened in the past, science is limited because we cannot do experiments directly on past events, and history cannot be repeated. In origins science, observations made in the present are used to make inferences about the past. The experiments that can be done in the present that relate to the past are often quite limited, so the inferences require a deal of guesswork. The further in the past the event being studied, the longer the chain of inferences involved, the more guesswork, and the more room there is for non-scientific factors to influence the conclusions—factors such as the religious belief (or unbelief) of the scientist. So, what may be presented as ‘science’ regarding the past may be little more than the scientist’s own personal world-view. The conflicts between ‘science’ and ‘religion’ occur in this historical science, not in operational science. Unfortunately, the respect earned by the successes of operational science confounds many into thinking that the conjectural claims arising from origins science carry the same authority.

When it comes to historical science, it is not so much the evidence in the present that is debated, but the inferences about the past. Scientists who believe the record in the Bible, which claims to be the Word of God,55 will come to different conclusions from those who ignore the Bible. Wilful denial of God’s Word (2 Peter 3:3–7) lies at the root of many disagreements over ‘historical science’.

[Grandma Mildred] I wrote a letter to finish with. One part pointed out that belief in the Genesis story of beginnings is not necessary for Christians. Some of their sources tangle the two together and that is what they grew up with.

Just like Grandma Mildred, there are many skeptics who try to persuade Christians that they can believe evolution and still have their faith, as if Genesis wasn’t of crucial importance, e.g. Eugenie Scott. Director of the anticreationist NCSE in America, Scott likes to parade herself as a friend of Christians, but most certainly isn’t. Abandoning Genesis in favour of the evolutionary millions-of-years of death and suffering before man appeared utterly undermines the Gospel, as The Creation Answers Book (p. 29) makes clear:

The New Testament clearly teaches that the reason for Jesus’ death and Resurrection depends on the real historical events of Genesis 1–3, that death entered the creation through the sin of the first man:

For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22; see also Romans 5:12–21).

Jesus is called the ‘last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45) because he came to undo the work of the first Adam. He took upon himself, in His body on the Cross, the curse of death for the lost race of Adam (Galatians 3:13; Colossians 1:22).

Clearly, the teaching about the reason for Jesus’ death depends upon the events in Genesis being real: that physical death originated with Adam’s sin and that it was not already a part of the created order. Those who devalue the history of Genesis often claim that Adam’s death was only ‘spiritual’ (separation from God). But it was also physical death: ‘from dust you came and to dust you will return’ (Genesis 3:19). Thus Jesus also died a physical death on the Cross. He also rose from the dead, bodily, victorious, having dealt with the curse of death that came through Adam.

If death was always a part of ‘creation’, how can it be the last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26) and why did Jesus die?

So, Grandma Mildred’s “tangle the two together” is diabolical. Jesus and Genesis are inseparably of the same account, the Word of God.

[Grandma Mildred] The early Bible chapters have value in their own way but they are not a science textbook.

Ah, that’s a favourite line of many who would seek to dismiss Genesis as being fictional, or ‘metaphor’, or something else other than straightforward history. One of the authors of The Creation Answers Book, Dr Jonathan Sarfati, prefaces his response to that long-heard jibe as follows:

My favourite short answer is, “Thank goodness it’s not—textbooks always have mistakes and go out-of-date in a few years; the Bible has no errors and is always current!”

He then goes on to explain, under the heading History vs. Science:

Actually, Genesis is about history more than science (of course it touches upon, and is highly relevant to, aspects of anthropology, biology, geology, etc.). Normal (operational) science that puts men on the moon and cures diseases is based on repeatable observations in the present. Genesis claims to be an eyewitness account about the past, which can’t be repeated. In particular, Genesis is an account of world history from creation to the beginning of the Messianic people, Israel.

For more, see the rest of the article: ‘But Genesis is not a science textbook’.

[Grandma Mildred’s end-of-monologue] It is sad that young people are taught nonsense, have wrong ideas and worse, reject new findings. I told them I am alarmed they will pass on misinformation to other people’s children. I‘ll keep trying with Michael and the others. Perhaps in 10, 20, 50 years they will say their grandmother was on the right track after all. Let’s hope.

“Let’s hope”? Hope in evolution is no hope at all—see Darwin, Spurgeon and the ‘black dog’. But fellow anti-creationist and Ockham’s Razor host wrapped up the program by agreeing with her: “Yes, let’s hope that other grandparents are as wise and resourceful as Mildred Studders and care enough about their younger family members to help them learn.”

If Mildred Studders were a godly, Bible-believing grandmother, instead of allowing herself to be used as a skeptical mouthpiece, we would endorse that objective. Thankfully, however, her grandchildren appear to have recognized that Grandma Mildred is definitely not “on the right track”, and that her beliefs are actually rank unbelief. Perhaps it’s their other grandparents who deserve credit in this, in that they are the ones who are truly “wise and resourceful … and care enough about their younger family members to help them learn” the truth. We certainly hear of such godly grandparents elsewhere around the world—many purchase resources from CMI to give to their grandchildren as Christmas and birthday presents.

We also need to acknowledge the likely positive influence of the “three sets of parents” of Mildred’s grandchildren, who saw fit to enrol them in Christian schools, and evidently encouraging church involvement too. Presuming that’s the case, they can take credit for the way their offspring courteously held to their faith in the face of Grandma’s year-long badgering barrage of emails—at least 36 questions! (And we also can’t help noting that Mildred doesn’t seem to have been able to pass her manifest anticreationist passion on to her own children. Compare the infamous late atheopathic activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, whose son William Murray became a Christian creationist.

[Update, 17 December 2013: A recent study in the USA showed that the children of atheists are the least likely of any worldview to retain their parents’ beliefs. The ‘retention rate’ for atheism was only 30%, i.e. less than one-third of the children of atheist parents retained their atheism as adults. (Cf. 84% for Hindus, 68% for Roman Catholics, and 60% for Baptists.) As one commentator observed, “If atheism is natural and religion is only caused by brainwashing, then atheists ought to have the highest retention rate of any religion.” Yet 70% of the children of atheists abandon atheism.56])

Credit also is due to the grandchildren themselves for their willingness to “give an answer” in line with the injunction of 1 Peter 3:15—several of them (at least) gave good answers, and Charles (the science graduate) in particular deserves special commendation for his standing firm on the age-of-the-universe issue.

The Creation Answers Book should be a required textbook in all Christian schools!”

Some people have said to us “The Creation Answers Book should be made compulsory reading for all students at Christian schools!” Well, that call isn’t ours to make, but we would certainly do our best to help any school or benefactor eager to get this resource into school students’ hands, e.g. by substantially discounting bulk purchases of the book.57 We would enthusiastically point out that if the Christian schools attended by Mildred’s grandchildren had done that, they would have been exposed to virtually all of the answers that we’ve provided in this article. That would have helped to equip not just Mildred’s grandchildren but all their students with the critical thinking skills to effectively answer skeptical challenges from their own family’s ‘Grandma Mildred’—and anyone else.


  1., accessed 6 August 2012. Return to text.
  2. A grandmother confronts creationist beliefs in her family, ABC Radio National, Ockham’s Razor, broadcast Sunday 22 July 2012, 9:45am, transcript and audio at Return to text.
  3. Theophilus, To Autolycus 2:15, Basil, Hexaëmeron 6:2. Return to text.
  4. Snider–Pellegrini, A., 1858/9, Le Création et ses Mystères Devoilés, Franck and Dentu, Paris. Return to text.
  5. Some have suggested that the continents (with their loads of Flood-deposited, fossil-bearing strata) separated to their present position, for example, at the time of the Tower of Babel, because Genesis 10:25 says ‘the earth was divided’ in the days of Peleg. However, the Hebrew translated ‘the earth’ can as easily refer to the people (nations) divided because of Babel. Also, the short time involved would lead to enormous difficulties in accounting for the heat energy to be dissipated, not to mention the destruction at the Earth’s surface that would result from rapid continent-wide motion. This would be a global catastrophe as devastating as the Noachian Flood itself. [See also for further documentation of why this must refer to the division of the “whole earth [that] had one language and one speech” (Genesis 11:1)]. Return to text.
  6. Baumgardner, J.R., 1986. Numerical simulation of the large-scale tectonic changes accompanying the Flood. Proc. First ICC 2:17–30. Return to text.
  7. Baumgardner, J.R., 1990. 3-D finite element simulation of the global tectonic changes accompanying Noah’s Flood. Proc. Second ICC 2:35–45. Return to text.
  8. Baumgardner, J.R., 1994. Computer modeling of the large-scale tectonics associated with the Genesis Flood. Proc. Third ICC, pp. 49–62. Return to text.
  9. Beard, J., 1993. How a supercontinent went to pieces. New Scientist 137:19, Jan. 16. Return to text.
  10. Baumgardner, J.R., 1994. Runaway subduction as the driving mechanism for the Genesis Flood. Proc. Third ICC, Pittsburgh, pp. 63–75. Return to text.
  11. Austin, S.A., Baumgardner, J.R., Humphreys, D.R., Snelling, A.A., Vardiman, L. and Wise, K.P., 1994. Catastrophic plate tectonics: a global Flood model of earth history. Proc. Third ICC, Pittsburgh, pp. 609–621. Return to text.
  12. Many English translations, following the KJV, have ‘the waters’ in verse 6 the subject of the verbs ‘go up’ and ‘go down’ in verse 8. According to linguist Dr Charles Taylor, the more natural and literal reading is to have the ‘mountains’ in verse 8 going up and the ‘valleys’ (verse 8) going down. The Septuagint (LXX), a Greek translation done about 250 BC, Luther’s German translation, which predates the KJV, and French and Italian translations all agree. English translations that convey this meaning include the ASV, RSV and NASB. See Taylor, C.V., 1998. Did the mountains really rise according to Psalm 104:8? Journal of Creation 12(3):312–313. Return to text.
  13. Dewey, J.F., Pitman, W.C., Ryan, W.B.F. and Bonnin, J., 1973. Plate tectonics and the evolution of the Alpine System. Geological Society of America Bulletin 84:3137–3180. Return to text.
  14. Wieland, C., 2002. Speed of light slowing down after all? Journal of Creation 16(3):7–10; Return to text.
  15. Lisle, J., 2003. Light-travel time: a problem for the big bang. Creation 25(4):48–49; Return to text.
  16. In popular culture, extinct flying reptiles such as the pterosaurs and aquatic (swimming) reptiles such as plesiosaurs are often called dinosaurs. However, scientists, despite some variation in the formal definition of ‘dinosaur’, generally exclude flying and swimming reptiles. Thus ‘true dinosaurs’ are described as being ‘chiefly terrestrial’. They are reptiles with column-like legs beneath the body, rather than having splayed-out legs like a crocodile or lizard. Return to text.
  17. This and numerous other accounts of similar encounters between people and dinosaur-like creatures described as ‘dragons’ can be found in Cooper, B., 1995. After the Flood—The early post-Flood history of Europe traced back to Noah, New Wine Press, West Sussex, UK, pp. 130–161. Return to text.
  18. Taylor, P.S., 1989. The great dinosaur mystery and the Bible, Chariot Victor Publishing, Colorado Springs, USA, p. 43. Return to text.
  19. Bell, P., 2003. Bishop Bell’s brass behemoths! Creation 25(4):40–44; [See also the fascinating new book Dire Dragons (top right)]. Return to text.
  20. Australian Aboriginal descriptions of a ‘bunyip’, recorded in a newspaper in 1845, bore a strong resemblance to what today are known as duck-billed dinosaurs. Note that the 1845 newspaper report appeared 13 years before the first duck-billed dinosaurs were described on the basis of fossil reconstructions. See (1) Anon, 1993. Bunyips and dinosaurs, Creation 15(2):51, and (2) Anon, 2006. Settlers feared the bunyip, Creation 28(2):11. Return to text.
  21. Yeoman, B., 2006. Schweitzer’s Dangerous Discovery, Discover 27(4):37–41, 77. Return to text.
  22. For more on this see: Catchpoole, D. and Sarfati, J., 2006. ‘Schweitzer’s dangerous discovery’, Return to text.
  23. See Chapter 13, p. 181. Return to text.
  24. Mt Everest has marine fossils at its peak. There is enough water in the oceans so that if all the surface features of the Earth were evened out, including the ocean basins, water would cover the Earth to a depth of 2.7 km [about 2 miles]. This is not enough to cover mountains the height of Everest now, but it shows that the pre-Flood mountains could have been quite high and still been covered. See Chapter 11 for more details about how this could have occurred. Return to text.
  25. Frazer, J.G. 1918. Folk-lore in the Old Testament: studies in comparative religion, Vol. 1, Macmillan, London, pp. 105–361. Return to text.
  26. Sarfati, J., Salty seas: Evidence for a young earth, Creation 21(1):16 17, 1998; Return to text.
  27. Babel also best explains the origin of domestic cats (see Catchpoole, D.,, 16 October 2007). All living cat varieties are a descendant of a single cat pair on the Ark—see Pendragon, B. and Winkler, N., The family of cats delineation of the feline basic type, J. Creation 25(2):118–124, 2011. Return to text.
  28. Jones, A.J., 1973. How many animals on the Ark? Creation Research Society Quarterly 10(2):16–18. Return to text.
  29. It is high time that certain atheistic skeptics showed some intellectual integrity and actually read the Bible. Then they would stop making ridiculous comments about whales flopping up gangplanks, and fish-tanks on the Ark. Return to text.
  30. This was no slip of the pen—despite long-held beliefs, insects really do breathe, as shown by new X-ray technology. See Westneat, M.W. et al., , Tracheal respiration in insects visualized with synchrotron X–ray imaging, Science 299(5606):558–560, 2003; Catchpoole, D., Insect inspiration solves giant bug mystery, Creation 27(4):44–47, 2005. Return to text.
  31. Sarfati, J., Noah’s Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic, Creation 28(4):12–17, 2006; Return to text.
  32. Woodmorappe, J., 1997. Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, USA. Woodmorappe has devoted seven years to this scholarly, systematic answer to virtually all the anti-Ark arguments, alleged difficulties with the biblical account, and other relevant questions. Nothing else like this has been written before—a powerful vindication of the Genesis Ark account. Return to text.
  33. Thom, H., How could Noah care for the animals? Creation 30(1):50–51, 2007; Return to text.
  34. The most natural translation of Psalm 104:8a is ‘The mountains rose up; the valleys sank down’. See Chapter 11, footnote 27, p. 168. Return to text.
  35. Howe, G.F., 1968. Seed germination, sea water, and plant survival in the Great Flood. Creation Research Quarterly 5:105–112. Ironically, Charles Darwin similarly proved that seeds could survive months of soaking in seawater. Return to text.
  36. Statham, D., Plants and animals around the world: Why are they found where they are? Creation 32(4):45–47, 2010; Return to text.
  37. For further reading: Whitcomb, J. and Morris, H., 1961. The Genesis Flood, Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., Phillipsburg, New Jersey. Woodmorappe, J., 1990. Causes for the Biogeographic Distribution of Land Vertebrates After the Flood. Proc. Second ICC, Pittsburg, pp. 361–367. Return to text.
  38. Catchpoole, D., Correcting the headline: ‘Coelacanth’ yes; ‘Ancient’ no,, 13 July 2007. Return to text.
  39. Wieland, C., 1999. Dinosaur bones: just how old are they really? Creation 21(1):54–55), and references therein. Return to text.
  40. Spetner, L., 1997. Not by Chance! Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, The Judaica Press, Inc., Brooklyn, NY. Return to text.
  41. This is similar to the noise added in the copying of an audio cassette tape. The copy is never better than the master. See Return to text.
  42. Losos, J.B., Warheit, K.I. and Schoener, T.W., 1997. Adaptive differentiation following experimental island colonization in anolis lizards. Nature 387:70–73. See comment by Case, T.J., Nature 387:15–16, and Creation 19(4):9. Return to text.
  43. Batten, D., 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe,, 4 June 2009. Return to text.
  44. Morris, J.D., 1994. The Young Earth, Master Books, USA. Return to text.
  45. Sarfati, J., 1998. The Earth’s magnetic field: evidence that the Earth is young. Creation 20(2):15–17; Return to text.
  46. For example, Wieland, C., 1997. Sensational dinosaur blood report. Creation 19(4):42–43; Return to text.
  47. Sarfati, J., 1998. Blowing old-Earth beliefs away. Creation 20(3):19–21; Return to text.
  48. Sarfati, J. 1998. Salty seas. Creation 21(1):16–17; Return to text.
  49. That is, where there are ‘missing’ layers in between, according to the standard geologic column and the millions of years’ time-scale, suggesting that the missing layers do not represent the many millions of years claimed. See Snelling, A., 1992. The case of the missing geologic time. Creation 14(3):31–35; Return to text.
  50. Sarfati, J., 1997. Exploding stars point to a young universe. Creation 19(3):46–48; Return to text.
  51. Mount St Helens: Explosive Evidence for Catastrophe in Earth’s History, Video featuring Dr Steve Austin, Creation Videos. Return to text.
  52. See Chapter 4 [of Creation Answers Book], What about carbon dating? Return to text.
  53. Austin, S.A., 1994. Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, CA. Return to text.
  54. Morris, J., 1994. The Young Earth, Creation-Life Publishers Inc., Colorado Springs, CO, USA. Return to text.
  55. Psalm 78:5, 2 Timothy 3:14–17, 2 Peter 1:19–21. God, who inspired the Bible, has always existed, is perfect and never lies (Titus 1:2). See also Psalm 119 to understand the importance of God’s Word. Return to text.
  56. Rogers, A., Religion cannot be a ‘virus of the mind’, Kansas State Collegian, <>, 2 December 2013. Return to text.
  57. Readers in USA, South Africa, Australia, UK, New Zealand and Canada can contact the CMI office in your country for details. Return to text.

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Reader’s comments

Henry S.
This excellent article demonstrates the amount of work required to ferret out and expose the erroneous premises of unbelieving thought, and specifically, evolutionary thought. It is incredible to see this tangled web of self-deception on full display. Faithful apologetics is often alot of work. Believers reading this article should pause and thank the Lord that He delivered us from our own delusional and idolatrous reasoning.

Henry Smith
Associates for Biblical Research
Andrew B.
It’s funny when a humanist/atheist/evolutionist says “think for yourself”. What they really mean is you must not think for yourself but only believe what we tell you to believe.
Martyn M.
Thanks David for the coverage of Grandma Mildred’s questions. I think Curtis C nailed it on the head. People seldom look seriously at their own world view when ridiculing the Biblical one. For example does Grandma Mildred seriously believe her ancestors were fish?
Jeannette P.
Thank you for this very helpful article. If only all those who heard the broadcast, as well as Grandma Mildred's family, could read it!

If it wasn't so damaging to those who know no better, (thank God the majority of her family does!) one could laugh at her aim of "hoping to encourage her grandchildren to think for themselves".

It was when I, in God’s mercy, began to shake off evolutionary brainwashing and think for myself that I realised that Evolution, far from being a fact, is so without scientific foundation it hardly even rates as an unlikely hypothesis!

However, as Grandma Mildred said: “What do you do when someone persistently gets the science wrong, not by mistake, but through wilful self-deception?”

Her own depth of wilful self-deception is that profound that she doesn't realise who that comment really fits!
Mike J.
People should never allow themselves to be grilled. They should demand the right to ask 'grandma' a tough question for every one she asks them.
e.g. "Do you believe life came from non-life, in violation of the law of biogenesis? Do you believe you're a gene carrying slave robot? Do you believe you're just a bag of chemicals? Do you believe you are just your brain?" etc.
The problems with materialism are legion, and in my view unsolvable.

- No one thinks for themselves; not the Creationist nor the materialist. We all rely on others for knowledge and for guidance. To rebuke people for not thinking for themselves is just another bit of village atheism.
Errol B.
Curtis C. United States makes a good point—see CMI article 14 Aug 2012, Anyone for tennis? Any answers they give to questions like CMI’s 15 Questions for Evolutionists should be accompanied by experimental backing. For instance, How did life originate? Might provoke the usual ‘Miller’s experiment’ but such a response could easily be refuted with a little research on this site; and if not confident of the best question / answer, don’t be rushed, research is easy here + it’s referenced. With God’s help, we might expose evolution for what it is, a religious historical belief reliant on a bunch of rescue hypotheses and not a scientific fact.
Michael M.
She said, “I hoped to encourage them to think for themselves.”
I couldn’t agree more. For nearly fifty years of my life I accepted evolutionary stories without question. When I did question them, thanks to organisations like CMI, I discovered that I had been misled into believing that evolution had been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Nobody had ever told me about polystrate fossils, the complexity of the living cell, etc. So yes, let’s start thinking for ourselves instead of blindly accepting evolutionists’ fairy tales.
Paul C.
Great article guys. It’s sad to see the Australian humanist propaganda machine (otherwise known as the ABC) is at it again. I wonder if an Australian taxpaying creationist will get some airtime to answer these questions; I doubt it.

Keep up the good work. All for His glory.
Curtis C.
I pray that her family finds out about this article! And I must deeply thank you, as I've been hoping for an article just like this for a while answering such a long litany. I have a family member who has many similar questions and can now recommend this article. ^_^ I know most of this from years of paying attention to this topic but it is difficult to link people to one page if they don't feel they have the time for that.

Ultimately, her mistake is in assuming that difficult questions can only be asked about biblical questions. What about the long lists of challenges to evolutionized or long-age Christianity? Or what about the many problems with atheism? "Free thought" does include asking the questions she asked, just as I did before I was convinced, but it also includes asking such questions for all possibilities.

In the end, once you take the time to do all that and fairly consider answers, only one view passes the test, and that is biblical creation. :)

For example, how could all that life survive countless possible disasters over millions to billions of years? Surviving one global Flood on a boat should seem easy to any truly free thinker by comparison. Surely it all would have gone extinct long ago. Not to mention, how did it originate in the first place? For the compromisers, why would a Holy God who is Love use death and suffering to create, when he could just as easily just create directly? And if it did come down to the need to wipe out most life and start over, why exactly could he NOT have them build an ark and "have it all work"? He's infinitely knowledgeable, and the people of Noah's day lived long enough to be very knowledgeable themselves, and intelligent. What about prophecies? How could existence even exist without the infinite God? Etc.
Victor B.
Many Thanks for a well written answer. It highlights the need and wisdom of teaching our children biblical truths uncompromisingly to counter error and grow in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
A. R.
Hmm, it looks as though maybe Grandma Mildred should stop getting her info just from atheist websites. … Perhaps she could do with a Creation Answers Book! She talks about encouraging the children to think for themselves, and it’s good that some of them do seem to be thinking for themselves. We should be praying for children and young people who are being subjected to pressure like this, whether from family, teachers or others, and also for Christian teachers.

As parents, grandparents, youth leaders and so on, we need to remember that those who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1), and that Jesus warns us that if we cause children to stumble, it would be better if we were thrown into the sea with a millstone round our neck (Matt. 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2)! Serious warning indeed, and one that should cause us to be very careful what we teach our children.
Kathy W.
Thanks for your brilliant article. Praise the Lord for your most excellent ministry.
God bless you.
Peter B.
A lot of the kids now use ipads at school, the answers book could be put onto a pdf document and many students could then access.
David Catchpoole
Indeed. The pdf is already freely accessible online via And CMI is working flat out to have it also available as an e-book. (We currently anticipate being able to release it by early 2013.)

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