Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide—ABC Mythology
Published: 1 April 2012 (GMT+10)
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a government funded institution in Australia, is promoting the first of a series of videos entitled: Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide. Episode 1 is called The Early Days.
The video shows presenter Richard Smith driving a vehicle across outback Australia, which he uses as an analogy of geologic time. It’s a powerful way of teaching the secular 4.5-billion-year evolutionary story, using fun ideas and cool graphics.
Smith imagines that, at the press of a button, his four-wheel drive turns into a time machine. Presto, he is suddenly zipping into the past at a million years a minute. What an imagination.
Of course, there is no such thing as a time machine. Everyone knows that. But most people do not know that there is no scientific instrument that can measure time into the past. (See The fatal flaw with radioactive dating.)
Dr Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the USA, described evolution over millions of years as the “creation myth of the secular elites”. He calls it the “Great intellectual rival to Christianity in the Western World”.
A myth is an invented story, one without historical evidence. That is what Smith is telling—the secular myth. For those who need to be convinced of this, ask yourself questions as you watch the video. Whenever Smith makes a claim in the video, e.g. about human evolution, or dinosaurs, or how the earth formed, ask yourself: “Who saw that happen?” “What evidence do they have for that?” “Where were they standing when that occurred?”
Science is about evidence. So is history. Nobody saw the events that Smith describes. He is presenting the great Western myth of our time.
So, how do we know what happened in the past?
We rely on witnesses who were present. We depend on their writings.
That is how we know the dates and details of the Battle of Waterloo. That is how we know about Julius Caesar. We have historical evidence. We have documents. That is how we know there was a global Flood at the time of Noah. That is how we know when it happened, how long it took, how high the water went and other significant details.
Dr Smith does not believe Noah’s Flood occurred. He does not believe the testimony of these eyewitnesses so he is forced to rely on speculation. This is how he and others in the West have come up with their own imaginative story.
Interestingly, when Richard Smith speaks about what happened in the past, when he supposedly drives backward in time, he is actually driving through country that preserves the devastation caused by Noah’s Flood. When they show us the landscapes, we are looking at country fashioned by the receding waters of the Flood. When he talks about dinosaurs roaming the land, he is referring to the remains of these once-magnificent animals that were overwhelmed as the floodwaters approached their peak. When he shows the sea pens in the Ediacaran of South Australia he is referring to organisms buried much earlier in the Flood catastrophe.
So, the same evidence can be used to support different stories, but only one can be true. The biblical account is based, not on a time machine, which does not exist, but on the eyewitness testimony of people who recorded events that happened, so we would appreciate our place in this world. And that has implications for a lot of issues currently under debate in our country. The ABC, a publically funded institution, should provide balance, especially since our understanding of the past has such significance for the worldview battles in the present in our culture.
Just been watching the third show in the series, the graphics and presentation are all very glitzy and spectacular. With today's computer generated animations it's easy to make stuff from the past look very real. Moving in space and time becomes true once its shown on the TV often enough most unquestioning people just except it as fact.
I loved the sections were Richard keeps referring to living fossils that keep showing up (plants and animals)and is utterly amazed at how little they have changed over the millions of years. Tas, you must be screaming at the television while this show is on, particularly as the "experts" discussed the origins of the Sydney sandstone and Blue Mountains, I certainly do and I'm not even a geologist! In one sense these sorts of documentaries are good, I use them in general discussion to get people to think about origins and why planet earth is so special yet flawed.
By the way, ABC is Australian Broadcasting Corporation (not Commission) you must be of vintage years..old habits die hard.
God's strength and power to the CMI team.
Hi Dallas, Thanks. I'll fix the name of the ABC.
Mark B asks, "Should ABC include other myths, theories, etc. other than Biblical creation?"
I can't speak for the staff at CMI, but I personally would have no problem with this at all. If someone has a plausible theory of geological events other than naturalism or biblical creation, then I think it would be fair to present it.
Also, do you have any logical reasons for calling the Bible a myth? Only if the Bible is true do we even have a basis for why we can even use science to study the world. After all, the scientific method necessitates uniformity in nature and the ability to trust our own thoughts and senses. In a random chance universe, why is there uniformity? Also, if evolution is true, and our brains are just a collection of electro-chemical reactions that have no bearing on whether something is true, then how do we know we can trust our own thoughts or our senses as reliable?
The Bible must be true in order for science to even be possible.
I saw the documentary, Tas, and lost count of the times Richard mentioned water activities. A great river did this, a river did that, huge mountain ranges being eroded down to remnants. A huge inland sea cutting Australia almost in half. Add to this the vast alluvial FLAT plains and penneplains throughout the country and hey - it sure looks like Noah's flood to me
I feel like you are avoiding my questions.
Let me try again regarding ABC providing 'balance'. You have made a criticism of ABC, I think it is fair to ask how you would improve things. Specifically, should the young earth Biblical creation position that CMI espouses be given priority?
Your second try makes it clearer what you are asking. Yes, of course I think the young-earth biblical creation view should be aired on the public broadcaster.
First, we have a public market place where different ideas compete. That is the genius of western democracy—ideas are debated, people are informed, intelligent decisions can be made based on information.
Second, it is only fair to those who hold the biblical creation worldview. A publically funded broadcastor should not be partisan in what ideas it promotes and what ideas it censors. Third, this issue has huge implications for social questions. Debate on these questions would be informed by a proper critique of the problems with evolution and an informed exploration of alternatives.
From your article:
'The ABC, a publically funded institution, should provide balance . . .'.
Suppose the impossible happened and ABC did agree to 'provide balance', here are some questions:
Who should decide what the balance should include? If CMI how can you justify that?
Should ABC include other myths, theories, etc. other than Biblical creation?
Balance would need the board and management to be committed to it and for them to ensure diversity in the selection of programmers, journalists and other relevant staff.
Hi Tas Walker, an interesting article. Perhaps you might elabourate how much water exists on this planet available for rainfall to enable Noah's Flood?
For instance if all the ice locked up in Antarctica, Greenland, the various glaciers around the earth and icy mountain tops were melted and available for evapouration and subsequent rainfall at most it would raise sea level by about 80 metres. so for Noah to have witnessed the flood attributed to hi in the Bible means there had to be a lot more water existent on Planet Earth a few years back. My references.. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/ and http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html
So perhaps the Biblical Flood is a fable?
There are over 8,000 researched articles on this site. There is a good search facility. You simply need to ask your question, such as "Where did all the water come from" or "where did all the water go to". The biblical Flood is not a fable.
Like your article very much and your responses to the feedback. The fellow who said Noah is not a witness to the flood is quite amusing.
Is there a way that you can respond to Richard Smith video directly to him? He may not know of alternative ways of explaining what he saw? For all you know, he may be happy to get some feedback.
I think it is good to rebut these people personally. If your explanation can make him just to be more analytical, that would be great.
I don't know much about Richard Smith. So, unless he is a hard-headed old earth theorist, there is something we can do.
I think that is a good idea. I would contact the ABC (check their website) and see if you can find a contact email or the like. Ask the ABC if they have seen the article. Or, I would search for his name with Google and see if you can find a contact email and then contact him. The more people that do this the better.
Dear Tas, I notice that you deflected my question rather than answered it. First off, when were the Neranleigh-Fernvale beds redated from Pre-Cambrian to Carboniferous? I found a reference from 1983 that puts them in the Devonian/Carboniferous range. You have been referring to the fact of a mistaken geological date for this feature for quite a while (I note you mentioned it in a 1996 article by you which didn’t reference who actually proposed a Pre-Cambrian date for the Beds). So how long ago was a Pre-Cambrian date for the Neranleigh-Ferndale Beds taken seriously?
But even so, atheist geologists are bound to get things wrong, aren’t they? But you still didn’t answer which gelogical levels you thought were ones laid down by the flood. I don’t know why you would want to avoid the question.
Hello Mel, I did answer your question. Did you read the articles I pointed you to?
The Neranleigh-Fernvale Beds used to be part of what was known as the Brisbane Metamorphics. I have seen these basement rocks on early geological maps (1950s as I recall) classified as Precambrian. I don't have that at my fingertips. There should be reviews that discuss this. The geological classification changed, as I understand, when fossils were found in chert horizons.
I was responding to your backhanded "I would have thought Biblical geologists ..." The point is that geologists are dealing with fragmentary evidence that can be interpreted in multiple ways. So both uniformitarian geologists and biblical geologists have debates about many issues. That is the nature of geology.
I gave you leads where you can find articles that discuss which rocks were deposited by the Flood. There is a debate about where the Precambrian fits among biblical geologists. I personally lean toward the Precambrian being early Flood. That issue is still being discussed and thought about, and if you really want to understand the thinking then you need to read the articles and the debates, rather than asking someone on a blog.
I'm pretty confident that somewhere around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is where the Floodwaters peaked as they were rising on the earth. But that varies locally because the criteria used to classify rocks into the geologic column do not correspond to the way we need to classify rocks according to the biblical model. And as the floodwaters receded they eroded the continents.
I am happy to discuss these issues with a view to progressing mutual understanding. But I don't want to play any 'gotcha' games.
"We rely on witnesses who were present. We depend on their writings."
I have a question: How could Moses have been an eyewitness? Do you think God revealed to him personally how He created the world? Were his sources writings of his fathers before him? Or was it something passed down by word of mouth (I don't know how likely this would be, as he was raised in an Egyptian palace)?
There is a suggestion that Moses compiled Genesis under the guidance of the Lord from material passed down from earlier generations: Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah's sons, Noah, even perhaps Adam. One article that discusses this is http://creation.com/who-wrote-genesis-are-the-toledoth-colophons
If the Flood actually happened, how did those on the Ark survive? High Altitude Illness can occur at 8,200 feet (2 500 meters) and mount everest is 29, 000 feet (8 848 meters) high. To have survived fourty days above the highest mountain they would have needed oxygen, they would also have needed a source of heat because of the freezing temperatures at the top of mount everest.
If the Ark landed on dry land in Mesopotamia there are many more questions to ask. What did they eat once off the boat? Spending 40 days in lightless and heatless conditions kills plants. With no plants the herbivores would die and with no herbivores the carnivores would die. How did animals reach North and South America? There is no way to connect the land masses of Europe with North America in the past 6000 years, is there? If no, how did the animals get there?
Before I can accept the flood myth, I would need these questions adequately answered.
You mention some important questions. John Woodmorappe wrote a book called "Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study" (available at the creation.com store). It answers your questions plus hundreds more. Also, go to http://creation.com/noahs-ark-questions-and-answers for lots of articles.
Concerning some of your questions:
The Ark was always at sea level, so there was no problem with altitude.
Noah and family would have continued to feed the animals from stores on the Ark if required until vegetation reestablished. It only takes months for that to happen. It was probably very well established by the time they came off the Ark.
Lower oceans during the Ice Age would have helped migration. Vegetation rafts may have been a factor. Humans also are responsible for much movement of animals around the world.
Probably one of the most important documents for you to read is the account of the Flood in the Bible.
How can noah be considered a witness for a GLOBAL flood? At most he can testify that there was a flood where he happened to be and thats it.
Hi John, Have you personally read Noah's eyewitness account in the Bible of the Flood? It's in Genesis chapters 6, 7 & 8 (You can read the passage on http://www.biblegateway.com in a translation of your choice). When you read it you will see that Noah witnessed that the waters of the Flood covered the highest mountains (Genesis 7:20). You will also notice that he witnessed the mountains appearing out of the floodwaters after they had been receding for a time (Genesis 8:5). You can calculate how long the waters had been receding for when that happened. Also, you can go to the searchbox at the top of this page (creation.com) and search for "Was Noah's Flood global" and you will find articles with many other reasons why the Flood was global, based on the eyewitness report of Noah.
Comment on post by Chandrasekaran M. of 1st April. If I understand you correctly you are saying - we can't see any evidence of evolution because evolution is happening too slowly and this lack of evidence is the very evidence that you, as a believer in evolution, would expect to see (not see?). However,if it is true that evolution is happening (ever so slowly) then we should be able to see evidence of an essential intermediate state. Can you for example show me anywhere on the face of the globe where a thin horizontal layer of sediment stretching over hundreds of square miles (or km) has been laid down and is ready for the deposit of a subsequent layer at some time in the future? This would be credible evidence for the long ages of evolutionary geology. Conversely, the absence of such evidence would be [is] strong evidence against evolutionary geology.
Thanks for the response to the letter commenting on your thesis. I had to go through college agreeing with my anthropology teachers to get credit for my studies, even if I disagreed with the various dating techniques and changing dating systems I was taught. I wonder if I used such variable math to balance my checking account as evolution scientists use to date the earth, dinosaurs, etc., if I could escape bankruptcy court. Thank you for defending the unchanging truth. You and your fellow staff are in my prayers.
Dr Walker, as you write extensively on geology, I'm hoping you could answer a question that has been worrying me.
In your response to Mark B of Canada, you mention that Biblical geologists offer a number of scenarios when it comes to dating the various geological layers.
This confuses me somewhat, as I would have thought Biblical geology experts would have been able to determine the ages of such layers. Why do they have such confusion when atheist scientists seemingly do not?
Also, to help me in my research, could you indicate precisely which geological layers you believe were actually laid down by the Flood?
Your impression that atheist scientists have no problems determining the age of rock layers is not correct. There have been incredible discussions and controversies at various times and debate continues in various areas. The Neranleigh-Fernvale Beds in the Brisbane area where I live were once classified as Precambrian but later reclassified as Carboniferous. There was considerable controversy over how to treat the coal-bearing rocks in Australia. Initially they were classified as Carboniferous but after years of debate they have been classified as Permian. You will gain clarity as you read more on this issue. A search for articles on the "geological column" and the debate over the "Green River Formation" would be a good place to start.
To understand the thinking of biblical geologists about which geological layers were laid down by the Flood you would do well to search for articles using "post Flood boundary" and "pre flood boundary". It is not a one-for-one relationship with the geological column. All the best.
"Smith imagines that, at the press of a button, his four-wheel drive turns into a time machine. Presto, he is suddenly zipping into the past at a million years a minute. What an imagination."
How appropriate that Smith would use his imagination to travel in an imaginary machine back to an imaginary time.
That's what it takes to deny the biblical God: irrationality and a whole lot of imagination.
I came across this article about evidence for raindrops in the Precambrian:
In the YEC model, didn't all or most of the Precambrian form in 2-3 days under water? How could there be ash and rain if that were the case?
Biblical geologists interpret the Precambrian in different ways. Some assign it to Creation week, as you note. Others argue that they are early Flood deposits. Either way, one would need to look skeptically at the interpretation that the impressions are "raindrops". There are all sorts of processes that could produce such impressions.
Excellent article. I, for one, won't be watching this ABC series as I can't handle documentaries that promote such myths as fact.
Almost nothing (singularity) to nice human species evolution is the scientific dream creation story of the elite scientists and moral philosophers. This evolution has been happening so slow that there can not be any credible eye witnesses or evidences. If there is any eye witnesses or evidences for evolution, they must be wrong for evolution can not happen this fast. If there has been no credible eye witness or evidence even after methodical through scientific research by scientific community for many years, this is the perfect credible scientific evidence for this evolution. Of course with a time machine able to travel billions of years back in the past, the elusive evidence is verified beyond any shred of doubt!!
"When he talks about dinosaurs roaming the land, he is referring to the remains of these once-magnificent animals that were overwhelmed as the floodwaters approached their peak". Except that Genesis never mentions anything that sounds remotely like a big dinosaur, so we do not have an 'eye-witness account' of them being overwhelmed by Noah's Flood in what is (and WAS 4,300 years' ago) Australia.
"The ABC, a publically funded institution, should provide balance, especially since our understanding of the past has such significance for the worldview battles in the present in our culture". Tosh. There is NO scientific dispute about the age of the Earth. Australia was NOT part of a flooded supercontinent just 4,300 years' ago.
"There is NO scientific dispute about the age of the Earth. Australia was NOT part of a flooded supercontinent just 4,300 years' ago."
Perhaps if you typed it all in CAPS it might be a bit more convincing.
Don't forget, we do care about you and pray for you. Soften your heart to the Lord.
In your 1996 BSc Hons thesis you stated the Somerset gabbro was about 225my old. Did you then and do you now believe this to be true?
In my thesis I reported geological research including field exploration, isotopic measurements and calculated 'ages' based on standard assumptions. I stand by this information which I consider to be accurate and true. However I do not accept the calculated 'age' as being the real age of the gabbro intrusion because I consider the standard geochronological assumptions ignore significant geological events that impact on a valid interpretation. I would have liked to included these ideas in my theses but that would not have been welcome. I would be pleased to present this perspective to any geological department at any university in Australia interested in considering alternatives.