Maintaining Creationist Integrity
A response to Kent Hovind
Note added November 2009: This response dates back seven years and a lot has happened since. The website of Creation Science Evangelism (CSE) has been completely revamped and it no longer espouses a number of the “don’t use arguments” defended by Kent Hovind in 2002. We are really pleased to report these developments. We considered removing our article altogether. However, there are lots of good teaching points in the article, including the need for peer review for us all, the need for a willingness to let go of arguments that prove to be wrong, as well as clarification of some of the “don’t use arguments” themselves. Also, we continue to get queries about these matters because there are lots of “free-to-copy” DVDs of Kent Hovind’s old talks circulating widely around the world and it will be some time before they disappear from circulation. However, we would like readers to know that this article does not accurately reflect the current stance of CSE.
Originally published 11 October 2002
updated 16 December 2002 and 2 August 2006
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (Proverbs 27:17).
For anyone coming ‘fresh’ to the creation/evolution issue, it must be confusing to note the variety of arguments that are used by various creation groups and speakers. One speaker enthusiastically uses an argument which another frowns on, or plainly says is wrong. So which ones are trustworthy? How should we tell?
And then there is the fact that an argument used by a particular creation ministry some years ago has now been discarded by that organization itself. Isn’t that a black mark against that organization for using it in the first place?
Actually, we need to realize that:
a) all humans are fallen and fallible;
b) science itself is a wonderful, but fallible human tool;
c) all the hypotheses and speculations which one uses to explain things within the framework of Biblical history can only be tentative, since humanity will never have all knowledge, and new data is constantly becoming available. For the same reason, hypotheses and submodels within evolutionary theory are constantly changing. So the same thing will inevitably be true in the creationist scientific world.
We would therefore suggest that one of the greatest strengths of any creationist organization or individual would be a willingness to keep up with new information, and to discard or modify one’s favorite arguments in the interests of the highest standards of integrity and accuracy.
All this raises a legitimate question; however, namely that if everything is tentative, and all of us are fallible, should one simply accept that ‘anything goes’ in terms of theories and explanations? We think not; we think that Christians should be very much concerned about whether Biblical creation is being defended using arguments that are, for instance, factually incorrect, logically invalid, based on an incorrect understanding of the scientific evidence, etc. These sorts of things, often propagated by individuals who have very little scientific training, actually end up harming the cause of Biblical creation (and hence, by extension, the Bible itself). They can provide a potent justification/excuse for people to ‘write off’ creation.
So what mechanisms can be used to make proper judgments? How can one help the Christian public to make wise and discerning choices, without setting up some sort of ‘elitist’ mentality?
Over the years, our ministry has had a deep burden to maintain the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in the vital creation ministry the Lord has entrusted to us. Recognizing the fallibility of all individuals, we recognize that there is an obvious need for continual peer review and ‘iron sharpening iron’ interaction between people with a high level of science understanding who are also totally committed to the truth of Biblical history.
To this end, our ministry has sought to develop a network of scientists, theologians and others to provide the checks and balances needed to try to ensure that our speaking, research and writing are as accurate as possible. Some of that network is internal within the organization; in addition, we network with talented people outside CMI, who may be employed in private research, for example.
In addition to our carefully checked family magazine Creation, our refereed Journal of Creation has become, along with the Creation Research Society Quarterly, a major forum for creationists to be able to formally present/debate various positions. Creationists are encouraged to present articles/papers for peer review and possible publication so that theories, evidence, etc. can be tested by mainstream creationist experts in their field.
We also wholeheartedly endorse the regular Pittsburgh International Conference on Creationism, a forum at which creationist scientists can present and publish their concepts following peer-review, submitting them to the ‘iron-sharpening-iron’ process which is so vital in any scientific endeavour.
Despite our fallibility and fallenness, the existence of such peer-review processes has been a factor causing many who have developed their own personal creation ministries to look to our ministry for advice to ensure they not only keep up with the latest arguments, but are consistent, logical and accurate in their portrayal of scientific and Biblical material relating to the creation/evolution issue.
Over the years, our ministry has published articles about certain ideas and interpretations of evidence that had been used in creationist presentations (including our own at times) but had been found to be incorrect or in need of substantial modification. Sometimes popular arguments (as in the ‘moon dust’ example following) have had to be abandoned because new research obtained new data. In such cases, there is always the theoretical possibility that later data may reverse the situation again, but this is no excuse for continuing to use the same argument in the same way without taking note of the newly obtained facts.
Other times, it was found that a particular quote had indeed been used out of context, or proper research had not been conducted and the material should not have been used at all. As fallible human beings, we have sometimes discovered this sort of thing in our own publications. So if this could happen even with all the checks and balances in place with a large organization like CMI, how much more difficult must it be for those who do not have easy access to such a network of internal and external professional advisers. So we thought we should embark on a program to share this sort of thing publicly, so as to be a help to others.
As part of this, we published a particular article entitled Arguments we think creationists should NOT use, and followed this with a related Creation magazine article Moving forward—arguments we think creationists shouldn’t use. This was not aimed at any particular person or organization, but was produced as a result of the collective wisdom of our trained scientists and other professionals, based on years of research and experience.
When an attempted critique of this article appeared on Kent Hovind’s Web site, we were somewhat surprised (and disappointed) to note that it frequently and significantly misrepresents and/or misunderstands the statements and positions made in our carefully researched document.
In the interests of maintaining Christian/creationist integrity, we believed we had to respond to Kent Hovind’s critique (albeit with a heavy heart), particularly because of the mistakes in facts and logic which do the creationist cause no good.
Before responding to specifics, it may be worth pointing out the obvious: If these arguments don’t convince fellow creationists, why would any creationist think they are going to convince evolutionists? And it would be worth revisiting our articles hyperlinked above for our motivation in compiling these dubious arguments.
Our purpose is to encourage God’s people to avoid fallacious arguments and incorrect information that could become a stumbling block to those who have the background to understand the material. (By the way, our ministry has met with Kent Hovind in the past to discuss many of the items below, including the fraudulent claims of Ron Wyatt.)
[See also positive feedback on this article, Commended for aiming for accuracy—Ed.]
Point-by-point response to Kent Hovind’s reply to our ‘Don’t Use’ page
Bad Creation Arguments?
By Kent Hovind
[12 August 2002]
Many have asked me what I thought of the list [CMI] published about arguments that should not be used by creationists. I have avoided answering for months now. I do not wish to get into a battle over details with others who love the Lord. The Christian world is already far too fragmented on dumb topics to be the effective force needed to combat evil. While I love the work being done by [CMI], sell many of their materials on my web site and would never want to harm their outreach for the Lord in any way, I must disagree with several items on their list below. I still encourage people to visit their web site and use their fine materials even though they apparently do not do the same for many other creationists including me.
[CMI]: We certainly promote many materials produced by other creationists, but not just because they are ‘creationists’. We also promote material by some of the Intelligent Design movement for example, on merit. There are minimum criteria of quality and science understanding. We also have difficulty with the idea of promoting sites which have various overtly bizarre ideas, not just in creation issues, but also linking creation issues with other ‘fringe’ thinking (such as arguments against paying income tax, various cancer cures, etc.) which regardless of their merits or otherwise, have nothing to do with the creation issue. Our actions in this matter are not the product of aloofness, but of caution and concern for the credibility of the creation movement as a whole.
As far as Web sites are concerned, the policy has always been that our site is a destination site not a linking site. Therefore we don’t generally link to other creation organizations per se, but will sometimes link to individual articles on other sites on merit.
[KENT H]: Please remember that neither CSE nor [CMI] claim to be infallible and both ministries revise their teachings as needed when new facts come to light.
[CMI]: This is an important point. Presumably, every individual, as well as ministry, involved in Bible-science apologetics would, by definition, subscribe to such an aim. In practice, however, things are not always like that. One reason for such a list is precisely because there are many arguments still being widely used which fly in the face of ‘facts’ and reason. Sometimes this is because the people concerned are not aware of the realities involved, sometimes because they do not understand them, or because they have not bothered to really assess something for themselves. It’s often ‘easier’ to just go with the arguments which seem to ‘work’ in convincing an audience. This is why certain practices and procedures of peer-review (as discussed in this entire document) are desirable, i.e. a ‘self-critical’ process within the creation movement. It is perhaps easier for an organization composed of a substantial number of scientists and thinkers to undertake such processes than organizations which are controlled by a single individual. Nevertheless, our list was not aimed at Kent Hovind, in spite of the defensiveness in his response overall.
[KENT H]: There are many fine creationist organizations and speakers who are trying to stem the tide on humanism and evolutionism. It has been my privilege to meet many of them in the 14 years I have been involved in creation ministry. All creationists that I know are sincere and would not deliberately use false information but many differ on some issues. We all have points where we agree and points where we disagree with every one but that should not hinder our Christian fellowship with each other. Everyone needs to learn to eat the meat and spit out the bones.
[CMI]: Fair comment, which is precisely why we provide the detailed arguments and information, and the links to the various papers, etc. for people to make informed judgments. One of the things our ministry tries to do, as stated earlier, is to ensure that there is peer review of its thinking, i.e. ‘iron sharpening iron’ as the Bible puts it. That means there is no one individual in our ministry who insists that such and such sounds like a plausible notion, but instead there are a good number of highly trained scientists and thinkers within our ministry who refine and test the major arguments and positions our ministry adopts. We also attempt to network externally, i.e. interact with leading creationist scientists and thinkers outside the organization, e.g. working in research laboratories, etc.
[KENT H]: To my knowledge, no one on earth has been assigned by God to police all of His children. Each of us must stand before God to give an account.
[CMI]: This is certainly true for moral issues. It becomes a more dubious argument if it is meant to imply that ‘anything goes’ in creation apologetics. The nature of the comments suggests that the ‘Don’t Use’ article has ‘stung’ somewhat, although that was not the intent. The published list was not aimed at anyone in particular. The arguments listed are ones which many creation-supporting Christians have used, sometimes because they have been carelessly promoted by various public figures. Sometimes that was us in the past. CMI is not setting itself up as a ‘policeman’, but it is inviting people to think carefully and reason through the issues, based on the best interactive peer review processes available to the creation movement.
Since Kent Hovind has published this commentary, we choose to engage with it seriously, because it continues to perpetuate some fallacies and misunderstandings. Such can only do harm to the creation movement. In one sense, individuals have the right to use any arguments they choose; but at the same time, particularly if there is talk of creationist cooperation, there needs to be an obligation by all to the greater Christian community to ensure that rigorous testing procedures are applied to the arguments. One of the reasons (there are others) why there is such difficulty getting creation accepted in some intellectual Christian circles is that so many weak (and worse, quite non-credible) arguments are circulating which they equate with all creationist thinking. In many cases, the skeptics deliberately use these as straw men although they know perfectly well that mainstream creationist organizations reject them.
Hence it is a moral obligation, we believe, to explain openly why we, in concert with the bulk of those leading trained scientists worldwide who are fully Bible-believing, plead for certain arguments to be no longer used. We are not talking here about certain legitimate controversies in which there are preferred models, and so on, but arguments which are just plain spurious, in the main. And of course, the issue of using truthful arguments is a moral issue in itself as we pointed out. Note that we most definitely recommend/support some ministries that are not our own, but do not do so for others. We would not, for instance, be able to recommend people who do all or some of the following:
- Persistently use discredited or false arguments, with an unwillingness to correct when the weaknesses are pointed out, and more disturbingly, often fail to understand the reasoning involved.
- Persistently link (in at least some way) creationism with other matters which are of a dubious or ‘fringe’ nature, which have no direct bearing on creation issues but threaten to damage the creation movement by association. E.g.: Geocentrism, fraudulent archaeological claims of Wyatt/Gray, etc.
- Fail to have acceptable standards of accountability in terms of truly independent boards.
- Fail to submit their claims to the normal peer review processes that have arisen/been set up within creationism, i.e., peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Creation, CRSQ, etc.
Most such ministries that complain of CMI’s failure to promote their work are in effect ‘one-man bands’. We do have cordial relations with some one-man ministries, but these inevitably are individuals who do interact with the broader creation network of scientists, which is much wider than CMI.
[KENT H]: Since some of the items [CMI] had on their list are used in my seminar [and the seminars done by others] and many have asked me why I still use them, or what my reaction was, I thought a response was needed. My [Kent Hovind] comments are embedded in [CMI]'s list below.
[CMI]: It’s also important to note that ‘CMI’ in Kent Hovind’s response does NOT necessarily mean what CMI actually says, but Kent’s attempt to summarize what we say (indicated as ‘CMI’:). Sadly, this is sometimes far from accurate, as a cursory glance at our ‘Don’t Use’ page would show.
[KENT H]: I would welcome any comments.
[CMI]: Presumably, this will include ours below…
[KENT H]: With my hectic travel schedule I simply do not have time for written debates or discussions. I hope you will understand. I will probably not respond in writing to rebuttals that may come. Feel free to call me if you would like more input on finer points. In my response I will refer to the parts of my seminar where these topics are addressed in greater detail. My entire seminar may be viewed on my web site may be obtained on DVD, VHS or audio from my bookstore, web site or by phone. I can assure you that if any information I use in my seminar is proven to be inaccurate, I will remove it immediately.
According to [CMI], these arguments should definitely not be used:
Darwin recanted on his deathbed
‘CMI’: Darwin probably did not recant before dying.
KENT H: I agree—there is no proof of this and much evidence against the story. To my knowledge I have never said he recanted in my seminar.
[CMI]: As indicated, our list is not aimed at Kent Hovind. This particular one was mentioned because it is so commonly used.
Moon dust thickness proves a young moon
‘CMI’: Pre-moon landing calculations varied too widely to assume exactly what was expected with the first moon landing.
[CMI]: This is so far off of the main thrust of our argument that, at the very least, it’s most unlikely that Kent could have read the major paper we referenced, the comprehensive Snelling–Rush article Moon Dust and the Age of the Solar System in the Journal of Creation. In the final analysis, it matters not one bit what NASA did or did not expect. The issues are the actual thickness of dust, and the rate of influx.
KENT H: I mildly disagree. The verdict is not in yet on this one.
[CMI]: This seems an easy way out of having to engage with the data while sounding appropriately ‘tentative’. But we should point out something repeatedly overlooked in Kent’s response. We were pointing out arguments that should NOT be used by creationists in discussions with evolutionists. So even if Kent were right that ‘the verdict is not in’, surely this by itself is enough reason not to use it as if it were a refutation of evolution.
Our point about the ‘moon dust argument’ was, and we repeat it here, that one should not use the argument in the way it was widely and persistently used for years, as proof for a young moon. To explain, the traditional argument was: The moon dust is coming in at rate x, which extrapolated at billions of years would mean a massive thickness, whereas the actual thickness is consistent with thousands of years. This argument in this way is wrong in the present state of knowledge (see shortly).
[KENT H]: Walt Brown has done a great study on this topic on www.creationscience.com. The rate of moon dust accumulation has only been estimated a few times and all of those were in the last 50 years. Only one part out of 67 parts of moon dust is actually from space and it is logical that space would contain more dust earlier and less as it gets vacuumed in by various planets and the sun.
[CMI]: Such words cannot get around the simple fact that rate ‘x’ has been measured directly as being much less than the traditional assumption (the error was made by an evolutionist, incidentally). Until those measurements are found to be false, e.g. by further measurement which confirms something like the traditional ‘x’ rate, one cannot in honesty use the argument as it has been used. One can speculate all one likes about what might have been in the early stages of the solar system, but this is only very distantly related to the beautiful, simple, ‘moon dust argument’ that is still used by people ‘out there’ and which relates to current rates of influx of the dust.
[KENT H]: I do not use the moon dust argument in my seminar except during Q&A but I think the argument is still valid. It has certainly not been proven wrong.
[CMI]: We invite anyone to check the Journal of Creation article in question. Note that the data do not prove an old moon either by any means. But they firmly indicate by straightforward logic that the argument ‘should not be used’ in the way it has, which is quite different from saying it has ‘not been proven wrong’. To use it in a way which talks of current influx rate ‘x’ (i.e. without any numbers, implying that x is large enough that there should be a huge thickness after 4.5 billion years) is a form of bearing false witness. It verges on the painful to have to point out such simple, straightforward matters.
N.B. Walt Brown has a long-standing invitation to submit a paper refuting the Snelling–Rush conclusions to TJ if there is hard data to show that ‘x’ is different, for instance. Such a well-reasoned paper, if it appeared and ‘had the goods’, would be a powerful boost to his standing in creation science circles. It would be preferable to merely hearing from his supporters a steady stream of complaints about why CMI does not support various of his positions.
We should not have to point out that insistence on high scientific and intellectual rigor does not imply a bias against any individuals. Nor is it incumbent on creationists to be familiar with every (generally unrefereed) article on other creationist Web sites. If someone claims to have unseated a view held firmly by creationist thinkers en masse, and which view was based on a published paper, it is incumbent on the challenger to likewise submit the challenge to the same peer review process.
NASA computers, in calculating the positions of planets, found a missing day and 40 minutes, proving Joshua’s long day and Hezekiah’s sundial movement of Joshua 10 and 2 Kings 20
‘CMI’: This story is an urban myth.
KENT H: I agree. This story still circulates but has never been verified.
[CMI]: CMI’s point was much stronger. First, it is demonstrably an update to an old myth long predating NASA and modern computers. Second, it is in principle not possible to find such a ‘missing day’ from the sorts of measurements in question. A statement like his above might lead people to think that one day it just might be ‘verified’.
Woolly mammoths were snap frozen during the Flood catastrophe
‘CMI’: The mammoths were buried by wind-blown silt.
KENT H: I disagree. Mammoths died a variety of ways including wind blown silt but some definitely appear to have frozen too rapidly for normal temperatures found on earth.
[CMI]: This is a subtle (presumably inadvertent) ‘misrepresentation by abbreviation’ of CMI’s position. I.e. it makes it sound like some pile of sand in the desert, v. the ice we all know is associated with mammoths. We do not deny that huge, catastrophic drops in temperature occurred, for instance. Note that Kent Hovind’s disagreement here fails entirely to engage with the main point, a point that he even quotes, namely that we are saying that the catastrophic action associated with the mammoths occurred during the post-Flood Ice Age, not the Flood.
[KENT H]: The Mammoth was not designed to be a cold weather animal.
[CMI]: This ignores the definite adaptations to cold, such as woolly coat and small surface area of ears, trunk and tail, all of which would minimize heat loss. Of course CMI points out that this adaptation has nothing to do with goo-to-you evolution but has to do with natural selection for already-existing genes, via removing creatures lacking them.
[KENT H]: I cover the mammoth topic in The Hovind Theory
[CMI]: However, even concerning the issue of ‘snap’ freezing v. less spectacular freezing, the point is not simply to ‘disagree’. Rather, it is to ensure that one’s disagreement with evidence and arguments published in peer-reviewed (creation-based) science journals engages with the actual arguments and evidence, rather than sidestepping or ignoring them. The world’s leading creationist researcher on the Ice Age and mammoths, Michael Oard, has published powerful reasons for putting aside some of the traditional arguments about ‘snap’ freezing, based on firsthand research. For example, the undigested food in the stomach is easily explained by the fact that the elephant stomach is a holding bay, not a digestion organ. And undigested stomach contents were found in mastodon remains in unfrozen soil at a much more southern latitude. See Oard’s detailed Journal of Creation article The extinction of the woolly mammoth: was it a quick freeze? or the Creation magazine article Mammoth: Riddle of the Ice Age (also a booklet — right).
We know of no credible refutations, not even any serious attempts to answer the issues put forward by Oard. However, our Journal of Creation stands ready to accept (as we are sure does the CRSQ) quality papers refuting this position, if they are based on actual data. Our ‘list’ is a current list, subject to modification. But this is not the same as saying ‘anything goes if someone has an alternative opinion’—that opinion must be prepared to withstand critical scrutiny by the entire creation science community, not just be the subject of assertion on some personal Web site, for instance.
The Castenedolo and Calaveras human remains in old strata invalidate the geologic column
‘CMI’: These remains are not natural burials.
KENT H: Moot point. The geologic column has been invalidated many ways. The entire geologic column is a house of cards. Human remains and artifacts have been found in most layers of the earth. I cover much on this topic in Lies in the Textbooks and the Question and Answer Session.
[CMI]: This is a classic example of a ‘Clayton’s refutation’—i.e. the refutation you make when you’re not making a refutation, but still giving the impression that you have the higher ground. Let us ignore for the moment the issue of the geological column and the accuracy or otherwise of the various other ‘human remains and artifacts’ claims. (Many creationist researchers of substance say that the general notion of a column sequence is demanded by field data, without implying millions of years, and is explainable via the Flood, but we are deliberately leaving that aside here.)
Dubois renounced Java man as a missing link and claimed it was just a giant gibbon
‘CMI’: Dubois, discoverer of Java man, had an eccentric view of evolution that Java man did not fit.
[CMI]: No, we said that his ‘giant gibbon’ claim was designed to reinforce his eccentric view of evolution. Kent has turned our point around 180° !
[KENT H]: I don’t know whether he did or didn’t. I don’t mention this in my seminar. Dubois was a committed evolutionist and deliberately withheld info that would damage his finds. I cover this on The Garden of Eden.
[CMI]: Without meaning any disrespect, it is not really relevant to the purposes of our list to find out what Kent Hovind (or anyone else speaking on creation issues) does or does not happen to know, or does or does not use. What is relevant is what is truth and what is not. Nor does the issue of Dubois’ concealing the existence of the Wadjak skulls, alluded to above, have any bearing on the simple truth of our corrective comment, which had nothing to do with defending Dubois. Many creationists keep using the argument that Dubois renounced Java man. This is a myth commenced by evolutionists. It is not true. In the above paragraph by Kent, it seems not to matter to him whether this argument is untrue or not. We believe it does matter.
The Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru caught a dead plesiosaur near New Zealand
‘CMI’: Although it is impossible to make a 100% watertight evaluation of any creature based solely on a few photographs, an interpretative sketch and eye witness reports of the decomposing remains, the evidence collected so far overwhelming favours the basking shark identity for the Zuiyo-maru carcass.
KENT H: I disagree. The similarity of protein structure between the carcass and shark protein was about 96%.
No one has ever seen plesiosaur protein to know what it is supposed to look like and human and chimp DNA is 98.6% similar yet they are very different in hundreds of ways. I do not know for sure if the carcass was a plesiosaur but it has certainly not been proven that it was not.
[CMI]: Once again, even granting that he were right, why should anyone think it’s effective to use an argument merely because it hadn’t been disproven?
[KENT H]: The fishermen and the marine biologist that examined the carcass were baffled by it and did not think it was a shark. The jury is still out on this one. There was an excellent color pamphlet about this topic published in England recently that I read but cannot find now. If you know where I can obtain one please let me know.
[CMI]: Actually, we can help with that. This pamphlet was published by the Creation Science Movement in Britain and written by Malcolm Bowden. One thing Kent Hovind overlooks is that now they are claiming that it was some ‘plesiosaur-type mammal’ hitherto unknown to science (as the title says explicitly!), not a plesiosaur (which is a reptile) per se.
NB: CMI would love the evidence to permit this creature to have possibly been a plesiosaur. But those (including the authors of the unfortunate pamphlet in question who posit this novel ‘plesiosaur-type mammal’ idea) who still maintain that it was (or even that it well might have been) a plesiosaur or some other cryptozoological novelty have either not read, or simply failed to grasp, the overwhelming array of facts and evidence amassed in the Journal of Creation publications on the subject by Dr Pierre Jerlström. This array has included information gleaned from translations of the original Japanese papers, and the strength of it cannot be gleaned from Kent Hovind’s sketchy representation of CMI’s position. To say that the ‘jury is still out’ or it is ‘not proven that it was not (a plesiosaur)’ begs the question. It is hard to imagine what more evidence could possibly be needed to make people face the fact that there is not the slightest reason to believe that there is any mystery about this specimen which would make one think of a cryptozoological explanation. Suffice to say that:
We don’t need to know what plesiosaur protein was like, because we do know what their vertebrae were like, including ‘vertebral processes’. These were radically different from the cylindrical one (typical of a shark, not a reptile—or a mammal for that matter) documented in this specimen. The CSM paper totally ignores this and other bone analyses explained in detail in Dr Jerlström’s article, which relied on original reports and later finds.
The discussion about % differences in protein presented here is confused and, we submit, misleading. There are thousands of proteins in most organisms. No one tested the degree of total protein similarity between this creature and any other, as is implied here. In fact, there is no published report comparing the sequence similarity of any single type of protein in this carcass with the same protein in a basking shark. The protein whose presence was confirmed in the horny fiber of this specimen had essentially identical amino acid composition to basking shark elastoidin. The tiny differences are easily explained by the facts that it was heavily decomposed and excessively treated with sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Plesiosaurs are of course bony reptiles. There have been statements (including one put out by a former worker for CMI) of the discovery of the protein keratin, but we know of no evidence for this statement. Our list is concerned with trying to correct error, no matter what its source. It is not intended to be some sanctimonious ‘holier-than-thou’ declaration; we all need to be reminded of the need to be ready to modify our arguments the instant they are found wanting, not just give lip service to the notion.
Cryptozoologists, who would also love to find a living plesiosaur, have long known of, and published about, these ‘pseudoplesiosaurs’ (their name for them). They form regularly from basking shark carcasses, simply because of which tissues rot preferentially. The ‘plesiosaur shape’ which forms looks nothing like the original shark, so it is not surprising that initial observers unaware of this phenomenon don’t recognize it as the shark it once was. The CSM pamphlet ignores this evidence too. (As a matter of fact, many marine biologists and fishermen have never seen a living basking shark, either, or a dead one for that matter.)
Even a strong supporter of the ‘plesiosaur’ notion of the Z-M carcass has become totally convinced of the basking shark explanation because the beach where she lives (the same coast of NZ off which this specimen was caught, incidentally) has seen a number of them washed up, and she has physically observed and photographed them rotting to gradually look just like this famous ‘plesiosaur’. The CSM pamphlet author also ignores this direct observational evidence from ‘Letting Rotting Sharks Lie’. Actually he mis-cites both the title and Journal of Creation reference too, so one must wonder whether he even read it!
Mr Hovind’s statement above is self-refuting. I.e. he says that the evaluation of the creature is based ‘solely’ (his word) ‘on a few photographs, an interpretative sketch and eye witness reports of the decomposing remains’. If that were true, then his own subsequent comments re protein comparisons would be false, because there could be no such protein available. Photos, sketches, and eyewitness reports do not provide any samples of proteins.
We urge those who want to continue using such a dubious argument to read the Jerlström papers carefully, and we think you will see why our staff scientists are concerned that papers and pamphlets are still being published, clutching at straws with facile arguments about e.g. flipper positioning and so on. Not one single fact exists to cast any doubt on the rational explanation that this was one more ‘pseudoplesiosaur’, a rotting basking-shark carcass. The facts fit this explanation with no difficulty at all (discounting fanciful objections which have no basis in fact, e.g. reports of non-existent proteins or protein comparisons). This pseudoplesiosaur phenomenon has been documented historically, observed repeatedly, and even photographed. Conversely, several hard facts have to be overlooked, or concealed, in order to substantiate the belief that the Z-M carcass was a real plesiosaur. Thus we claim that to continue to defy the facts is either not honest or not informed apologetics. There is no more excuse for remaining uninformed when the existence of the Journal of Creation papers in question has been made widely known. Our intention was to highlight the issue for our supporters’ information, and to allow them to use the best, most invulnerable arguments. If some wish to keep on using it, the onus is on them to provide detailed, rational explanations, in the peer-reviewed creation literature, of why this is justified in the face of such seemingly overwhelming evidence.
Bottom line: Christians have the right to expect that the creationist community will have processes in place to give them a basis for choosing between various ‘opinions’. In particular, any attempts to refute the basking shark identification must come to terms with the massive evidence adduced by Dr Jerlström, not simply asserted. The processes of peer review are such a mechanism. As part of this process, those in the creationist community who are trained and experienced scientists have the responsibility to react to misinformation or poor understandings of the evidence.
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics began at the Fall
‘CMI’: Death began at the Fall, not the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.
[CMI]: This seems an odd way of putting what we say; at any rate it neither engages with nor clearly represents, either our comments or our reasons for making them.
[KENT H]: I do not know how this could be determined …
[CMI]: We presume that he means that it is impossible to determine whether or not the Second Law was operative before the Fall. However, our article deals with this as a logical and necessary deduction from knowing what the Second Law teaches (e.g. heat flowing from hot to cold bodies). This ‘objection’ is somewhat like saying ‘I do not know how it can be determined that Adam digested food pre-Fall’. The Bible says he ate food, therefore by deduction, he digested it. Digestive processes require the Second Law to be operative. Ergo, the Second Law was in operation, by simple deduction. To imply without qualification that there was no Second Law prior to sin may cause an unnecessary stumbling block to the thoughtful and informed unbeliever.
[KENT H]: … and I do not address this in my seminar.
[CMI]: Again, our article was concerned with common fallacies that tend to discredit creationism, not with who uses them or not.
If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes today?
‘CMI’: Evolutionists teach that humans and apes had a common ancestor, not that humans evolved from apes.
KENT H: I agree. Most evolutionists teach that humans and apes had a common ancestor, which is just as dumb a theory.
[CMI]: Here the whole point is missed. What he portrays as the ‘CMI response’ was actually an evolutionist response that we showed was weak! CMI went on to show the real problem with the argument, i.e. evolutionists believe that the variation happened in a small population isolated from the main group, and there was no obligation to believe that the main group likewise varied.
Women have one more rib than men
‘CMI’: Dishonest skeptics are usually the only ones who use this ridiculous argument to discredit creationists.
KENT H: I agree. Only Adam was missing a rib and probably only for a short time. CMI has a great article on the fact that the lower rib will grow back if taken out.
[CMI]: Good. No comment needed.
Archaeopteryx is a fraud
‘CMI’: Archaeopteryx is a genuine fossil of an unusual bird.
KENT H: Scientists split on this one. Sir Fred Hoyle said it was a fraud. I teach in Lies in the TextBooks that it does not matter. Modern birds are found in “older” rocks (based on the evolutionists imaginary geologic column) and Archaeopteryx is moot. There is no evidence that any animal is now or ever has been capable of producing anything other than its kind. Also, no fossil could ever count as evidence for evolution since it could never be proven the fossil had any offspring that lived let alone different offspring.
[CMI]: Of course we believe that birds did not evolve from reptiles, and we do not think that Archaeopteryx proves otherwise. However, simply quoting a scientist who believed that it was a fraud avoids engaging with the reasons why CMI would take such a strong stand, explained in Archaeopteryx (unlike Archaeoraptor) is NOT a hoax—it is a true bird, not a “missing link”, to which we hyperlink. It also tends to muddy the waters. Once again, if there are rational, quality papers showing why, for example, the discovery of microscopic feather impressions in the bones does not (inter alia) invalidate the argument by Hoyle and others, we would be interested in publishing them in Journal of Creation.
By way of aside, the argument in the last sentence of the response above is not one that we would recommend using. It is like saying that there is no conceivable fossil evidence that would validate evolution, and comes dangerously close to Gosse-type arguments that the mere presence of a fossil can never prove anything. For instance, one can never prove that the fossil was not created in the rocks to look like that. (For that matter, nothing, even our own existence, can be rigorously ‘proved’ empirically.) No evolutionist we know of has ever claimed (for any of the handful of alleged ‘transitional forms’) that a particular fossil specimen was necessarily the actual ancestor of a particular present-day type. E.g. that the actual individual Archaeopteryx preserved in the rock that was dug up was the actual one which had ‘different offspring’ which were the next step in the evolutionary chain leading to birds.
The very reason why it was alleged that Archaeopteryx was a fraud (until that became untenable for a number of reasons) was because it was perceived that it was being used as evidence in support of Darwinian transformism, not ‘final rigorous proof’. Again, the real point is that it does matter very much if creationists are going to have egg on their faces (as Hoyle very much did) defending a notion which seems like simply a desperation to ‘explain away’ evidence. The very fact that there is so much good reason to believe that Archaeopteryx does not qualify as a good ‘evidence for transformism’ is even more reason to eschew dubious and conspiratorial speculations about alleged frauds.
Dr Joachim Scheven, German creationist, paleontologist and ‘living fossil’ expert, personally examined the specimen, and was very amused at the notion that anyone could seriously think it were a forgery. And this was even before the microscopic feather insertion points were discovered. These are the ‘clincher’, since no forger would have been able or wanting to reproduce these. Bottom line: it is an argument which is far more likely than not to discredit creationism.
There are no beneficial mutations
‘CMI’: We have yet to find a mutation that increases genetic information, even in those rare instances where the mutation confers an advantage.
[CMI]: This again ‘fudges’ the issue by failing to point out that we are specifically saying that there are indeed, by any meaningful definition of the term, beneficial mutations, which is why it is a poor argument to use. The above sentence is the alternative argument which we suggest creationists should use.
[KENT H]: The terms would need to be defined here.
[CMI]: Indeed, which our repeated comments on the matter have done, most carefully.
[KENT H]: Most creationists that make this comment mean that there are no mutations with a proven benefit that would change anything major about the animal or plant.
[CMI]: Not so. Based on nearly a quarter of a century of ministry experience, this is overwhelmingly not the case. E.g.: A beetle is born with functionless wings on a windy island, and therefore has the undisputed benefit that it won’t fly up and be blown into the sea and drown. Can that be said to be a ‘minor’ change, from winged to wingless? And even if it were true, it would be a very strange and disingenuous use of language bordering on dishonesty. Because to say, ‘There are no beneficial mutations’ says or implies nothing about whether such changes are minor or major. The degree of change is beside the point, anyway, since Darwinism is all about the notion that even the smallest change, if inherited, could add up to large change. If one says there are no beneficial mutations, in the normal use of English this means that there are no changes which benefit the organism. And this is overwhelmingly not true, which is why such arguments discredit creation apologetics. See Beetle Bloopers: Even a defect can be an advantage sometimes. This will make it clear why we encourage people to use the powerful information argument concerning mutations.
No new species have been produced
‘CMI’: New species have been observed to form.
KENT H: I agree but the terms need to be defined here also. Who is deciding when a new species is produced and exactly what is a “species?” The Bible clearly teaches the plants and animals will bring forth after their “kind.”
[CMI]: It is hard to be sure what this comment was meant to convey. If the writer agrees that new species have formed, then such agreement must—can only—be on the basis that he has some definition acceptable to him of what constitutes a new species. If it is not so, the statement ‘I agree’ becomes meaningless. Our articles on the subject have carefully discussed and defined the terms.
Our point is that it is a bad argument to say, ‘No new species have ever been produced’. In part this is precisely because species is a somewhat fluid, man-made definition. And once again, it’s up to those who propose the argument to define the terms. Certainly one common criterion is reproductive isolation, and by this criterion the argument that no species have been produced is indisputably wrong. So if you use this, most evolutionists will be able to shoot you down.
And yes, the Bible does teach about fixity of ‘kinds’ which is exactly why the CMI statement deserved wholehearted support, not the grudging equivocation which appears evident in so many places throughout this response. Kent Hovind’s response ignores what we said in our ‘Don’t use’ article, i.e., “But this speciation is within the ‘kind’, and involves no new genetic information.”
Earth’s axis was vertical before the Flood
‘CMI’: There is no basis for this claim.
KENT H: I don’t think it is possible to know the truth of this one but it has not been proven that it was not. I address the possibility in The Hovind Theory.
[CMI]: Our comment ‘there is no basis for this claim’ means exactly that: that there is no reason to believe that it was vertical. It does not mean that it can be proven that it was not. In a similar vein, it is logically possible that the core of Pluto is made of green cheese, but there is no reason to believe that it is. Thus we stand by our statement that it is not an argument that one would recommend at this point in time — unless such a reason were forthcoming.
And once more, CMI did provide a basis for doubting a vertical axis, which Kent leaves off. That is, the existence of seasons from Creation Week (Genesis 1:14), which implies an axial tilt.
Paluxy tracks prove that humans and dinosaurs co-existed
‘CMI’: Some of the allegedly human tracks may be artifacts of erosion of dinosaur tracks obscuring the claw marks.
KENT H: I disagree. 1. We do not need to find tracks together since, A. There is ample evidence from many sources that man and dinosaurs coexisted.
[CMI]: The repeated use of this approach (defending against something that was not stated, is beside the point, and equivocates on definitions) is hopefully not deliberate. Our point was simply that this particular line of evidence should not be used in its present condition of weakness.
[KENT H]: B. The Bible says all things were made in six days.
[CMI]: We agree, of course, but how does this add anything to the argument?
[KENT H]: C. No one has ever found human and chicken footprints in the same rock.
[CMI]: Ditto here again. It is as if we were evolutionists, and we were saying that, because the Paluxy tracks evidence is shaky (which is true), one should abandon Genesis creation (which is not our position at all, as anyone with even a passing understanding of our materials would realize). This wording of his may inflame some less-than-careful readers of this piece, which is a great pity, as it is inappropriate.
[KENT H]: With that said, I have been to the Paluxy four times and have seen the evidence first hand.
[CMI]: So have several of our researchers. The evidence of genuine tracks is not in dispute. Where we urge great caution is in using this evidence as proof that they are of human origin.
[KENT H]: There is ample evidence that the tracks [except for a few known and obvious frauds] are genuine. Many intelligent and godly people have devoted hundreds of hours to this study and disagree with CMI here.
[CMI]: Sadly, the implication here is that our position somehow impugns the intelligence or, worse still, the godliness, of the people who have come to this conclusion. It is not a question of godly vs. ungodly.
[KENT H]: It appears that [CMI] may have been taken in by the computer programmer Glen Kuban who poses as a creationist. He has been thoroughly discredited on www.omniology.com. I cover this topic in The Garden of Eden and Dinosaurs and the Bible.
[CMI]: Again, false. CMI researchers, along with almost every other creationist researcher who is taken seriously in creationist science circles, have concluded in favour of extreme caution re Paluxy tracks because of reasons which have nothing to do with Glen Kuban, and none of us have ever thought that Kuban is a creationist. His Web site makes it clear that he is not, as does his alliance with the atheistic organization pretentiously calling itself ‘The National Center for Science Education’.
Those researchers who were previously enthusiastic about the Paluxy tracks and have now withdrawn their unqualified support include such creationist notables as John Morris (who even wrote a book about them, but had the courage to publicly withdraw) and Paul Taylor (head of Films for Christ, which made the famous film Footprints in Stone). It cannot be said of either of these people that they did not personally study the trails in great depth, nor that they had a motive for not wanting them to be human tracks—quite the opposite. Taylor had the courage to withdraw his popular film because he had seen enough evidence, even in the famous ‘Taylor trail’, to have to say that one should not use them anymore. I.e. he went from open enthusiasm to extreme caution, which is our view. It seems some quarters in creationism are stuck in somewhat of a time warp in this matter. We take no pleasure in the conflicts that arise from our sticking to a rigorous standard in evaluating these tracks, as was the case for a Creation Research Society team which some time back evaluated the whole matter of what they called ‘quasi-human ichnofossils’. For Kent to blame some masquerading computer programmer is, frankly, a bizarre caricature. Once again, if new evidence should turn up, the whole matter of the Paluxy tracks may take on new significance. We repeat that Journal of Creation, the Creation Research Society Quarterly, and the ICC are all available as platforms to get such new evidence (should it arise) proper peer acceptance.
Darwin’s quote about the absurdity of eye evolution from Origin of Species
‘CMI’: Citing his statement at face value is subtly out of context.
KENT H: I am not sure exactly what they mean here but as I understand their position, I disagree. Darwin did indeed say: “To suppose that the eye . . . could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” Charles Darwin The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life 1859 p. 217. He went on to explain that he believed it must have happened anyway and even made feeble attempts to invent a way it “might have” happened but he did make the statement above. I cover this in detail in Lies in the Textbooks.
[CMI]: The uncertainty in the above comment might have been dealt with by carefully reading not only our comments, but Darwin’s book. Note that we are here chastening ourselves, too, as this has been favourably cited in some of our own publications in earlier years. However, this comes from misunderstanding how Darwin wrote as a typical Victorian gentleman-scientist. I.e. he tried to give the impression that he had carefully considered opposing views as strongly put as possible, but then answered them.
So in this particular case, quoting the above paragraph out of context, it makes it sound as if Darwin agrees that it is absurd. His own words, however, make it clear that he does not think so at all; he is merely saying that at first glance, without considering the whole issue of natural selection, it seems absurd. Darwin then goes on to say the geokinetic theory likewise seems absurd on first impression but is not. Not, as Kent Hovind implies here, that he believes in eye evolution in spite of its absurdity, but that he believes it on what he thinks is a rational basis because of the arguments he has already developed which make it no longer absurd to believe it (in his view). Read how Darwin continued (Origin, 6th Ed.):
‘When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated; but I may remark that, as some of the lowest organisms in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive elements in their sarcode should become aggregated and developed into nerves, endowed with this special sensibility.’
NB we are not saying here that Darwin is right (see Eye evolution), and it pains us to have to defend someone like him from misrepresentation, but integrity demands it. The reason for including it in our list is also because it can be a stumbling block to a seeker who has read Darwin’s book, who would be readily led to the conclusion that creationists must be deliberate distorters of truth.
Earth’s division in the days of Peleg (Gen. 10:25) refers to catastrophic splitting of the continents
‘CMI’: The ‘Earth’ that was divided was the same Earth that spoke only one language, i.e. ‘Earth’ refers in this context to the people of the Earth, not Planet Earth.
KENT H: I may agree if they mean this should not be taught dogmatically. There are at least four theories about the meaning of this verse. 1. The languages and nations were divided at the tower of Babel. 2. The continents moved and split. [this is unlikely due to the devastating effect even small plate movements have, but it has not been proven wrong] 3. The water came up and divided the high spots into islands and continents. 4. The land was surveyed “divided” to avoid disputes due to population increase. I cover this in more detail in The Hovind Theory.
[CMI]: Note that CMI was not really saying that only our understanding of the verse can possibly be right, although we await someone to try to refute our reasons for accepting it. Our emphasis was concerning not using one particular argument as if it were ‘factual’ Bible teaching. But it is important to investigate whether the Biblical text comes down clearly on one side or the other by the normal rules of exegesis. We think it does, but this is not worth making a big fuss about. However, since the ‘continental breakup at Babel’ argument suffers from huge physical problems (a rerun of the Flood catastrophe, no less) we think it relevant and important to recommend against using that particular argument, which is widespread.
The Septuagint records the correct Genesis chronology
‘CMI’: The Septuagint chronologies are demonstrably inflated, and contain the (obvious) error that Methuselah lived 17 years after the Flood.
KENT H: I do not address this topic but the entire topic of which version of the Bible is reliable is covered on my seminar part 7 and on [another website]. I stick with the KJV for many reasons covered on our new Question and Answer Session.
[CMI]: Since the pro-Septuagint argument we addressed here has nothing to do with the KJV-only issue (just about all English translations, including the KJV, use the Masoretic chronology) the introduction of the KJV-only issue conflates two things, and muddies the water, even introducing an unwarranted area of potential prejudice in the reader. The KJVO debate involves the Greek New Testament.
There are gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 so the Earth may be 10,000 years old or even more
‘CMI’: The language is clear that they are strict chronologies.
KENT H: I agree. The three missing names between the various genealogies do not justify adding thousands of years and there are several reasonable explanations for the missing names given in the book The ‘Errors’ in the King James Bible available on my web site. While I disagree with the author, Peter Ruckman and several key topics I think he has done a fine job refuting many of the so called errors.
[CMI]: Once again we are unsure why the KJV issue has been raised here.
Jesus cannot have inherited genetic material from Mary, otherwise He would have inherited original sin
‘CMI’: This is not stated in Scripture and even contradicts important points.
KENT H: I do not address this topic in my seminar.
The phrase “science falsely so called” in 1 Timothy 6:20 (KJV) refers to evolution
‘CMI’: The original Greek word translated ‘science’ is gnosis, and in this context refers to the élite esoteric ‘knowledge’ that was the key to the mystery religions, which later developed into the heresy of Gnosticism.
KENT H: This phrase probable [sic] refers to evolution as well as many other false doctrines. I would never say it does not refer to evolution. I also get nervous when someone says, ‘the original Greek…’ There are two very different Greek sources. I cover this in the Question and Answer Session.
[CMI]: This is again conflation and muddying the waters; the existence of ‘two very different Greek sources’ is irrelevant to this particular point, since they both say the same thing here (as they do over 98% of the time). Whether someone gets ‘nervous’ or not is not relevant to the point at hand, which is totally evaded. Note that the word ‘science’ in the KJV cannot be legitimately appealed to, since the word ‘science’ in those days meant precisely what the original Greek gnosis did, i.e. ‘knowledge’. Words often change their meaning over time.
Another example is the English word ‘replenish’, the KJV translation of the Hebrew meaning simply ‘fill’. The KJV did not get it wrong, it is just that the English has changed so that replenish now no longer means ‘fill’ but ‘refill’. However, one old-Earth gap-theory promoting site promotes this error largely on the basis that the ‘inspired’ KJV translators chose to use ‘replenish’. I.e. they are using the same argument as Kent Hovind uses against ours.
To support this further, let’s see below how Kent himself argues (correctly) against this fallacious argument for the gap theory, but we have added in square brackets and a different color the CMI argument above (we think it will be clear that the CMI argument Hovind tries to counter is actually identical in principle to the argument which Hovind correctly uses below):
[KENT H]: Genesis 1:28 is undoubtedly the verse most quoted by gap theorists. Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Much of the validity drawn from this verse centers on the usage of the word replenish. Gap theorists believe that this is God’s command for Adam and Eve to refill, or repopulate, the earth, assuming the previous inhabitants of the earth were destroyed in the Genesis 1:2 catastrophe.
The problem that gap theorists [those who support the argument CMI addresses] encounter stems from misunderstanding the word replenish [science]. The Hebrew word used here is male [Greek word is gnosis], which means, “to fill” [“knowledge”]. In 1611, the time of the King James translation, English dictionaries defined the word replenish [science] as “to supply fully, to fill” [“knowledge”]. Nearly a century later, a second definition arose,“to fill or build up again” [“investigation of nature”]. Most dictionaries still list both meanings. If the author of Genesis 1 had been attempting to convey the idea that God wanted Adam and Eve to repopulate the earth, He would have used the Hebrew word Shana, which means “to fill again.”
English words frequently change meanings over the years. In Romans 1:13, Paul said he wanted to come but was let, a word which used to mean “hindered,” but today means “allowed.” Forty years ago, the word gay was the common English word to mean “happy.” James 2:3 “And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, …”
[CMI]: From the above, it’s clear that CMI’s argument is identical in principle to that which Kent rightly uses against the Gap Theory. This is a good lesson on the trouble that can arise from being far too defensive on arguments that should be ‘held loosely’, which can cause one to lose objectivity.
Geocentrism (in the classical sense of taking the Earth as an absolute reference frame) is taught by Scripture and Heliocentrism is anti-Scriptural
‘CMI’: CMI rejects dogmatic geocentrism, and believes that the Biblical passages about sunset etc. should be understood as taking the Earth as a reference frame, but that this is one of many physically valid reference frames; the center of mass of the solar system is also a valid reference frame.
KENT H: As surprising as it may sound, the jury is still out on this topic. I am open for discussion but so far remain convinced of the heliocentric position. I think the terms need to be carefully defined. Could the Bible be saying that the earth is in the center of the “universe” and of God’s attention but not of our little “solar system?”
[CMI]: No-one reading CMI’s articles on the subject could be mistaken as to the definition of the terms. Of course the Earth is the centre of God’s attention, which has nothing to do with the arguments advanced for physical geocentrism. That is, the claim that the Earth is an absolute stationary reference frame, so that the only acceptable description is that the sun actually goes around the Earth, and not vice versa. To say that the ‘jury is out’ gives credibility to a position which does as much harm to creation apologetics as would a creationist who taught that the Earth was flat. Interestingly, we have recently published a Journal of Creation article, ‘Our galaxy is the centre of the universe, ‘quantized’ redshifts show’, by Dr Russ Humphreys (a qualified physicist) in which he shows convincingly from recent data that the our galaxy, at least, is at or near the physical centre of the universe, but this is not the same as the geocentrism that some still proclaim today as a ‘definite teaching of the Bible’.
Ron Wyatt has found Noah’s Ark
‘CMI’: This claimed Ark shape is a natural geological formation caused by a mud flow.
KENT H: I disagree. I do not say in my seminar that he did or did not find it but it is not certain that he did not. The mud flow argument is flawed since the point is at the wrong end. Mud flows around an object produce a rounded end on the uphill side and a point on the downhill side much like an airplane wing. I knew Ron [he died a few years ago] and still keep contact with those continuing his ministry. When Creation Magazine published articles to “disprove” Ron’s claims I did what I am convinced is the Christian thing to do in matters like this; I called Ron and allowed him to defend his position. He was able to give very good answers to the objections, misrepresentations and accusations made in the article yet, to my knowledge, neither Ron nor his successors at www.wyattmuseum.com were given the opportunity for a public hearing facing their accusers. I cover some of this controversy in Dinosaurs and the Bible and would be glad to discuss more by phone or you may call Richard Rives at the Wyatt Museum.
[CMI]: We're puzzled by this claim. Wyatt had as much chance as anyone else to rebut the arguments in the refereed literature, and to demonstrate any alleged ‘misrepresentations’. He produced a ‘rebuttal’ document, in fact, to his own constituency, which was presumably the ‘rebuttal’ he gave to Hovind. But it sidestepped, ignored or failed to understand most of the geological arguments. And it completely overlooked the many evidence of false or fraudulent statements. E.g. one of us personally rang the laboratory which he was citing to sustain some of his major ‘Ark’ claims, and also we obtained this lab data ourselves. It is nothing short of outrageous to consider the way in which this lab data was deliberately misrepresented to fleece the gullible.
Incidentally, to have published this ‘upside down mudflow’ argument, were it sustainable, in say CRSQ or TJ, would have been a major coup for Wyatt or his supporters in the face of the devastating article by a Ph.D. creationist geologist which appeared in Creation magazine. (This is the article to which Hovind refers: note that he did not then go back to CMI even, to ask what we thought. We have urged Kent Hovind previously to move away from Wyatt promotion in any shape or form, for the sake of the creation movement, but felt that he did not even begin to understand the basic geological/physical issues, and, worse still, seemed uninterested in anything which might change his mind.)
But even assuming such an article were published showing that the mudflow was ‘upside down’ (something which has not been documented to our knowledge, but simply asserted), all it would have done would have been to show that the alternative explanation for the formation was unlikely. It would have done nothing to counter the blow upon blow dealt by this article (justly) to Wyatt’s own credibility as the claims were shown to be mostly ‘bogus’ (in the words of his former co-fieldworker, respected creationist geophysicist Dr John Baumgardner).
Ron Wyatt has found much archaeological proof of the Bible
‘CMI’: There is not the slightest substantiation for Wyatt’s claims, just excuses to explain away why the evidence is missing.
KENT H: I disagree. See above. While I differ with Ron and his successors on several doctrines …
[CMI]: The issue is not doctrines, it is the factual (versus fraudulent) nature of the evidence.
[KENT H]: … I remain convinced that he did much valuable research that deserves to be studied. I cover some of Ron’s discoveries in the Question and Answer Session. The main grip of his critics was that there was not enough documentation or proof for some of his claims. Obviously “not proven” does not equal “disproven.”
[CMI]: That is self-evidently true, but it evades the main point at issue here, and again why use an argument that is not proven anyway? Wyatt claimed to have found just about every conceivable artifact of importance to the Bible. The real Red Sea crossing site, with chariot wheels; the Ark of the Covenant underneath the actual site of the Crucifixion, replete with the dried blood of Christ (complete with a misunderstanding by this fraudster of the nature of human genetics—see the comments by a leading plastic surgeon and creationist in this interview)—and the chromosomes, it was alleged, were seen to be still dividing! Not surprisingly, the lab that was said to have confirmed all this is mysteriously unavailable for comment. O, yes, and the real Sodom and Gomorrah, the site of Korah’s earthquake, Noah’s grave, Noah’s wife’s grave (with millions in treasure which some rascal promptly stole)—even the fence from Noah’s farm, no less. To cap it off, he claimed to have the actual tablets of the Law (bound with golden links, no less) in his garage, as it were. And this is only the beginning of such amazing claims—nearly 100 in all!
Not surprisingly, even after his death, none of these treasures has ever been produced. Here is the bottom line: In the face of such an astonishing list of claims, there are only two logical possibilities. 1) The claims are the result of fantasy, confabulation and/or fraud or 2) Wyatt has been more greatly used of God than anyone since the Apostle Paul. This is the notion that Wyatt himself encouraged. He said that he prayed at the ‘Ark’ site once, and God caused the ground to tear apart via an earthquake so that he, Wyatt, could see the petrified ship’s timbers. Then it closed again.
To test the second hypothesis: the Bible says, in the context of prophetic utterances, to ‘prove (test) all things’) it is not necessary to test every single claim, but to test at least one thoroughly, as was done with the ‘Ark’ claim. If one discovers, as we did (and NB at the time of starting the investigation, we did not know of most of his other claims, and investigated his Ark claim with hopeful enthusiasm) that there is a trail of repeated falsehood after falsehood, public lie upon public lie, the hypothesis of a godly, spiritual, latter-day prophet is easily discredited. We have shared this information with Kent Hovind years ago, incidentally. To no avail. See Has the Ark of the Covenant been found? And Noah’s Ark? Pharaoh’s drowned army? This is one of the big reasons for not being able to recommend Hovind’s material or trust his discernment in many areas, frankly.
As it happens, the newsletter of the Associates for Biblical Research (a conservative, Bible-believing archeology ministry) has recently published a review of an extremely thorough book carefully assessing all of Wyatt’s claims, by Russell and Colin Standish, called Holy Relics or Revelation — Recent Astounding Archaeological Claims Evaluated, Hartland Publications, Rapidan VA, paper, 302 pages. The reviewer, Rev. R. Fisher (a non-Adventist), writes:
‘Ron Wyatt was a Seventh Day Adventist, so who better to investigate his claims than Adventist brothers? The Standishs began wanting to believe, and have dug into first sources by way of Wyatt’s own newsletters, videos and writings. The authors are extremely fair and objective … [as they] meticulously, painstakingly examine in detail all of Wyatt’s claims. The weakest link of all is that Wyatt had never photographed, or proven with hard archaeological evidence, any of his claimed discoveries. They were just claims—the product of his fertile imagination. There was no testable evidence put forth. Wyatt never produced an archaeological permit from the Antiquities Authority in Israel though challenged to do so, as chapter 52 shows. His account of what he saw and found at the Garden Tomb site differs greatly from all the coworkers and eyewitnesses there, as proven in chapter 51. The Standishs also have talked to eyewitnesses who have questioned Wyatt’s outbursts of temper, harsh language, and conduct unbecoming a professing Christian … Wyatt appeared to have trouble telling the truth.
‘The Standish brothers have consulted with Egyptian authorities to show that without doubt Wyatt’s boast of discovering eight-spoked chariot wheels from the 18th Dynasty has no basis in history, archaeology or fact … . Only six-spoked wheels were used in that dynasty, according to experts.
‘Wyatt’s mysticism, visions of Christ and angels, and claims of holy relics are bizarre and even occultic. They could only appeal to a medieval mindset.
‘The depth, scope, detail, research and scholarship of this book are commendable, though we strongly disagree with points of SDA theology. Any serious student of archaeology and the wild occultic claims of Ron Wyatt will see it as a must-read … [it is] the definitive word and the textbook on a man who had to face his unproven claims before God on August 4, 1999.
‘Wyatt is gone, but his assertions and confusion live on. Chapter 55 outlines all of the alibis put forth by Wyatt, rather than just producing evidence. At one point, Wyatt even declared that Jim and Tammy Bakker stole some of the evidence (page 287)! The Standish’s title of Chapter 18 is “Where Is the Evidence?” The cold fact is that there is none and never was. It is all a fairy tale.’
We unhesitatingly agree. Long before this definitive work documenting these problems was published, Kent Hovind was made aware of them. Two creation ministry representatives pleaded with Kent to distance himself (and hence Biblical creation) from Wyatt’s claims. At this meeting, Kent did not even consider for a moment doing this.
Many of Carl Baugh’s creation evidence
‘CMI’: Sorry to say, CMI thinks that he's well meaning but that he unfortunately uses a lot of material that is not sound scientifically.
[KENT H]: This needs clarification. It is obviously impossible to defend against a general accusation such as the one above. Which specific “evidence” are they talking about? I have known and loved Dr. Baugh for years. He has done much great research that deserves to be studied. Some topics regarding the original creation cannot possible be proven due to the radical changes made by the flood but Dr Baugh has some excellent theories.
[CMI]: CMI has never questioned Carl Baugh’s integrity or Christian dedication; however, we have expressed grave concern at some of his claims and statements and are currently liaising with him about these matters.
[KENT H]: According to CMI these arguments are doubtful, hence inadvisable to use?
‘CMI’: The “windows of heaven” refers to rain, and the “waters above” refers to clouds.
[CMI]: We said nothing of the sort regarding the ‘windows of heaven’ and the ‘waters above’. It’s very sloppy for Hovind to completely misrepresent us. Rather, we said, ‘This is not a direct teaching of Scripture, so there is no place for dogmatism’. We further pointed out that there are a host of other scientific and exegetical difficulties involved with this notion.
[KENT H]: I disagree and cover this in The Garden of Eden and the Question and Answer Session. The Bible says there was water above the firmament (where the birds fly—Gen. 1:20) …
[CMI]: It is not so simple — the Hebrew actually says that they fly on the face of the firmament, which is why Humphreys thinks the waters are above ‘space’. See below.
[KENT H]: … and there is no other good way to explain the existence of giant insects that are found in the fossil record. There may still be water above the stars—see Psalm 148:4, but it appears that the layer above our atmosphere fell down at the time of the flood.
[CMI]: Many other creationist researchers have also expressed doubts about the canopy theory. Walt Brown was one of the first. Physicist Russ Humphreys points out that if ‘waters above’ in Psalm 148:4 (as seems to be conceded above) cannot refer to a canopy, since the writer is living in post-Flood times, then why insist that ‘waters above’ earlier in Genesis refers to a canopy? Larry Vardiman has spent many years modeling a canopy at ICR. Though he says that there may well have been a canopy of some sort with water vapor, any attempt to put enough water up there for 40 days and nights of rain ends up with a surface temperature which will ‘cook’ all life. Note that Hovind supports this exegetical theory because of scientific, not Biblical, reasons, it seems—because he can conceive of no other way to explain giant insects. (There may in fact be a host of other ways for all one knows—e.g. genes for giantism lost in the Flood. Update: see Insect inspiration solves giant bug mystery.) So, if other scientific indications suggest huge difficulties for a canopy theory, it is a good reason to look again at the Biblical evidence, using the same sort of reasoning.
We would maintain that a canopy is not demanded from Scripture, and to say matter-of-factly that ‘it appears that the layer above our atmosphere fell down at the time of the flood’ goes way beyond the Biblical and scientific evidence. We hasten to add that we ourselves have in past years written as if it were a Biblical ‘given’ that there was such a canopy. But as long ago as 1989, we cautioned that while it might seem an excellent model, it should never be construed as a direct teaching of Scripture (see ‘Hanging Loose’: What should we defend?). This editorial used this as a classic example of why one needs to always ‘hang loose’ on man-made theories of ‘how’ and keep going back to the bedrock of Scripture, trying not to read our preferences and pet notions into it.
There was no rain before the Flood
‘CMI’: This is not a direct teaching of Scripture, so there should be no dogmatism.
KENT H: There is no way to know the truth of this one.
[CMI]: This is technically true, if it refers to whether or not there was rain before the Flood, and in that case Hovind’s statement confirms our call to avoid dogmatism. However, if he is saying that our statement ‘this is not a direct teaching of Scripture’ cannot be known to be true, his response is quite incorrect.
[KENT H]: During the creation week a mist went forth to water the face of the ground and most people assume this was the watering system until the flood but the Scripture is silent on this topic.
[CMI]: This neatly sidesteps the major thrust of our argument, which goes as follows:
The Bible refers to a time when there was a different watering system, no rain and no people yet.
The Bible does not refer to rain thereafter until the time of the Flood.
It does not logically follow from this that the Bible teaches that the ‘no rain’ condition continued till after the Flood.
It can, however, be logically deduced with a very high degree of probability, if not certainty, that this condition did not persist till the Flood, i.e. that there would have been some rain before the Flood. Assuming that there were bodies of water of any size before the Flood, and that the basic laws of physics and chemistry were already in operation, evaporation over those 1600 years sufficient to produce clouds and at least some rain would have been inevitable.
The main point in all of this is not to dispute about esoteric points, but to try to encourage self-critical thinking within the creationist community, and to recommend avoiding the use of arguments which are logically suspect when these are NOT a clear teaching of the Bible. This recommendation/suggestion does not imply a rejection or condemnation of any who do go on using it. We would have no problem with a brief tentative mention of the canopy theory as a possible concept, but it would be honest if difficulties were pointed out at the same time, and it would not be honest to imply that it is a direct teaching from the Bible.
Natural selection as tautology
‘CMI’: Maybe it is, but it’s still a fact, and creationists accept natural selection as an important part of the Creation/Fall framework.
KENT H: If they mean “survival of the fittest,” I disagree and cover this in Lies in the Textbooks. The only way to know which ones are the fittest is to see which ones survive. How else can we know?
[CMI]: With what does Kent Hovind disagree? He points out the tautologous nature of one definition, and we have already said a few lines further up that we are not necessarily disagreeing with that. However, our response would be, ‘so what’? A tautologous statement does not mean an untrue statement, and what’s the point of pointing out the tautologous nature of the statement, anyway, as if it somehow ‘damaged’ the idea of natural selection, since natural selection is an observable fact? The response here actually highlights the urgent need for careful thinking through such issues, and why we say that one should avoid the ‘natural selection is tautologous’ argument.
Evolution is just a theory
‘CMI’: It would be better to say that particles-to-people evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis or conjecture.
KENT H: It is actually a religion not even a plausible theory.
[CMI]: We’re puzzled. We don’t deny the religious nature of evolution, but this response is confusing in re-using the word ‘theory’. We suggest a careful rereading of the argument we put forward in our article, which says that Christians would be advised not to think they have successfully written off evolution by saying it is ‘just a theory’, because calling it a theory actually gives it more status than e.g. hypothesis or conjecture. We were making readers aware of what the word ‘theory’ means in scientific terminology, which is different to lay usage of the term.
The speed of light has decreased over time
‘CMI’: Although most of the evolutionary counter-arguments have been proven to be fallacious, there are still a number of problems, many of which were raised by creationists, which we believe have not been satisfactorily answered.
KENT H: I disagree and cover this in the Question and Answer Session. While it has not been proven either way I would not close the door on the idea that the speed of light has decreased and have an article on my web site FAQ about this.
[CMI]: We haven’t either, as a careful reading would show. We are saying that this particular notion (the Setterfield theory) has unanswered problems. Maybe they will be solved, or maybe light changed its speed a long time before historic times. For a recent summary comment on our position on this matter, see Speed of light slowing down after all? This vindicates our point above that many counter-arguments against Setterfield were fallacious. But we also note that it would be fallacious for Setterfield devotees to use this latest research to vindicate him. This is because the experimental evidence it’s based on contradicts a specific prediction of the Setterfield model.
[KENT H]: One main point many creationists miss is that the God who can make a full grown man and woman in a full grown garden can certainly make a full grown universe with light already showing on earth. Also many people seem to want to place human limitations on God.
[CMI]: There is something God can’t do—lie or deceive. Unfortunately, many people don’t see the logic of why the ‘fully grown’ ‘light on its way’ argument falls down badly. See Dr Humphreys’ excellent book Starlight and Time (right) for a detailed explanation, or this chapter from our Answers Book [now The Creation Answers Book]. (Clue: the light from distant stars falling on Earth is more than light — it contains information recording past events. If the ‘light on its way’ idea is true, God created misleading information ‘part way’ along a beam of light, recording events that never happened. It can take a while for the proverbial philosophical ‘penny to drop’ on this one.)
There are no transitional forms
‘CMI’: While Darwin predicted that the fossil record would show numerous transitional fossils, even 140 years later, all we have are a handful of disputable examples.
KENT H: This would need to be more clearly defined. Since no fossil could count [see above] as evidence for evolution, and no living animal could count either, I am not sure what they mean here. There are certainly no transitions between the “kinds” of animals or plants.
[CMI]: If it is not clear already from our full comment on the matter, then it is doubtful that further clarification will help here. As throughout this document, Mr Hovind’s ‘summary’ of the CMI position is not particularly helpful, and is sometimes misleading by omission. We strongly recommend that people look at the original paper listing the arguments, and if anything is not clear, especially after using the search engine on our site, feel free to contact us for clarification.
Gold chains have been found in coal
‘CMI’: The evidence is strictly anecdotal.
KENT H: I disagree and cover this in The Hovind Theory. Only one gold chain has been found in coal to my knowledge [On June 11, 1891, The Morrisonville Times reported; “A curious find was brought to light by Mrs. S.W. Culp last Tuesday morning. As she was breaking a lump of coal apart, embedded in a circular shape a small gold chain about 10 inches in length of antique and quaint workmanship …”
[CMI]: This is exactly what is meant by anecdotal evidence. The word is derived from ‘anecdote’ meaning ‘story’. There is a story, but no coal sticking to a chain.
[KENT H]: The Hidden History of the Human Race Michael A. Cremo p.113], as well as an iron pot [found in coal in 1912 at the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, OK. Now in Creation Evidence Museum, www.creationevidence.org] …
[CMI]: Again, there is an iron pot (minus coal) in a museum, but no evidence apart from anecdotal that the coal contained the pot. I.e. a pot with a story about it.
[KENT H]: … a soul of a shoe
[CMI]: Presumably ‘sole’.
[KENT H]: [Oct. 8, 1922 American Weekly section of New York Sunday American by Dr. W. H. Ballou. The stitching pattern was clearly visible including the twist of the thread. The rock was “213–248 million years old”. The Hidden History of the Human Race, Michael A. Cremo p.113–115, ph. 209-337-2200].
[CMI]: Again we ask, where is the artifact showing the association between it and the coal? We do not deny that there may have been such artifacts, but the reason we say one should avoid their use is precisely because they are to this point not available. Sadly, this becomes just ‘one more story’.
[KENT H]: A bell was found by W. V. Mr. Newton Anderson inside a lump of coal in 1944. He still has the bell. (304)-842-5556. firstname.lastname@example.org. A Carved Stone was found in Lehigh Coal Mine near Webster, Iowa, April 2, 1897 Daily News Omaha, Nebraska.
[CMI]: Same again, exactly. There is any number of spoons, pots, etc that are said (‘anecdotal’) to have come from coal, but how can one use these legitimately to the heathen in apologetics when there is no more association between the items and the coal? It would be like showing a human skull and saying ‘My grandfather swears that he extricated this from the fossilized jaws of a dinosaur’. Exciting indeed, but totally frustrating, and totally useless, unless the evidence of the dinosaur jaw and human skull still has its original associations! Ultimately, without standards of documentation, anyone could claim anything.
Plate tectonics is fallacious
‘CMI’: Dr John Baumgardner’s work on Catastrophic Plate Tectonics provides a good explanation of continental shifts and the Flood. See Q&A: Plate Tectonics. However, CMI recognizes that some reputable creationist scientists disagree with plate tectonics.
KENT H: This needs to be defined better. The plates are moving but this does not prove they have always been moving …
[CMI]: This grossly misrepresents the situation. As our journal and our materials have said over and over, catastrophic plate tectonics is the very antithesis of the idea that the plates have always been moving. Popularizers of creation arguments have a somber public responsibility to arm themselves, even if they are not scientists themselves, with the best that creation researchers of substance can provide. At the very least, they need to know what those researchers are actually saying. We are sorry to say that this comment reveals a complete failure to have either read or grasped even the basics of the CPT concept, which even the most vocal of its creationist critics are not guilty of.
[KENT H]: … or that there ever was ever a super continent called Pangea.
[CMI]: Does it matter what the name is? Some creationists who like Catastrophic Plate Tectonics call it Pangea, but that does not mean that it is the mythical Pangea of evolutionary history, hundreds of millions of years ago.
[KENT H]: Much more on this in The Hovind Theory.
Creationists believe in microevolution but not macroevolution
‘CMI’: These terms, which focus on ‘small’ v. ‘large’ changes, distract from the key issue of information.
[KENT H]: I disagree and cover this in Lies in the Textbooks. This needs to be defined better. I object to the word, “micro-evolution” and say so repeatedly in my seminar but it is a fact that there are minor changes within the same kind of plant or animal that some people refer to as “micro-evolution.” There is no reason to argue over such a small semantic detail. I understand the concern that admitting “micro-evolution” may give the evolution theory the “free rider” effect but as long as terms are defined there is no cause for alarm.
[CMI]: We are not spreading ‘alarm’, but we are saying that this argument tends to distract from a much better one. Our purpose is to try to give up-to-date advice on those arguments which are most likely to do the most good, and to avoid those which are either counterproductive (e.g. by being wrong) or divert from much more powerful points.
The Gospel is in the stars.
‘CMI’: This is an interesting idea, but quite speculative, and many Biblical creationists doubt that it is taught in Scripture, so we do not recommend using it.
KENT H: I disagree and cover this in the Question and Answer Session. I do not teach dogmatically that the Gospel story is presented in the stars but it is certainly not proven to be untrue. Dr. D. James Kennedy, www.coralridge.org has a great book on this topic. I do not know for sure but I would hate to close the door on honest research into this topic.
[CMI]: This is worded in a way which we think is misleading. It implies that we are seeking to censor ‘honest research’, which is absolutely false. Taking into account the doubt about whether it is taught in Scripture, the current state of the historical evidence in its support, and the fact that it is not directly linked to creation apologetics anyway, we currently do not recommend its use in creation apologetics. We are not, as an organization, saying it is definitely wrong, which is what this wording implies. But when it is presented, it often excites people out of proportion to the credibility of the actual evidence when it is investigated, evidence which is somewhat nebulous in the mists of antiquity. We regret that our cautious advice to ‘not use’ in creation apologetics is depicted here as opposition to the very possibility of the notion.
[KENT H]: I hope this is helpful. Regardless of your position on any of the topics above, serve God and win souls for Him!
29 Cummings Road
Pensacola, Florida 32503
[CMI]: A worthy cause, and one we should all be engaged in. Unfortunately, Kent Hovind’s document repeatedly misrepresents or misunderstands not only our article, but the issues themselves. Our article was not aimed at any individual, but we plead with all creationist ‘lone wolf’ popularizers to familiarize themselves with the immense amount of good science being done by qualified (though fallible) creationist researchers, most of them not even associated with our own ministry. These are people who have shown that they are willing to be corrected, and to interact with their critics formally in peer-reviewed fashion.
We plead for all of us to swallow pride and, without sacrificing independence of thought and originality, be prepared to submit to the rigors of peer review and to the thoroughly Biblical process of ‘iron sharpening iron’. That would be real ‘working together’, not some artificial unity in which scientifically trained creationists (i.e. Bible-believing scientists) are supposed to smile sweetly while plainly wrong and even fraudulent claims are being promoted in the name of ‘Creationism’.
Such a process, recognizing the fallibility of all of us, would also delineate more clearly such things as the burden of proof in regard to various claims, and would help separate ‘shaky, flaky’ theories from reasonable speculations—i.e., legitimate hypotheses which seek to be constrained by Scripture, fact, and the faculties of rational thought with which our Creator has endowed us.
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