Creationist symposium
Creationist symposium
Bringing science to the public, Age of the Earth
Just returned from a creation symposium sponsored by Christ Lutheran Church (LCMS) here in Lincoln. The presenter was Brian Young of the Creation Instruction Association (Juniata NE). Young has broad knowledge of creationist apologetics but little knowledge of basic science. The symposium was held in the church basement. A selection of creationist publications including those of Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, the Discovery Institute as well as those of the Creation Instruction Association were available.

The symposium was classic young Earth creationism and Young was preaching to an audience seeking confirmation that the Bible is literally true. He noted that "liberal theology" is seeping into Concordia Universities and that "it needs to stop."

He began with vapor canopy "theory" and the ideal atmosphere that it created. He suggested that the canopy could have been held up by processes such as the Meissner effect (superconductivity) and that the canopy likely created an environment which allowed people to live for 900 years.

He made classic young Earth arguments including sorting of fossils during the flood, the statistical improbability of life and the second law of thermodynamics.

He emphasized isotopic dating concluding that it served only to promote evolution. He didn't mention that the old Earth concept preceded Darwin. He quoted that stratigraphy was crucial to development of isotopic dating and implied that this meant that samples can't be isotopically dated unless their stratigraphic position is known. He made no mention of how one must select specimens to get accurate dates or that specimens are blinded to minimize effects of expectations. He concluded that isotopic dating is clearly fraudulent.

He seriously misunderstood the role of DNA in evolution. He suggested that microevolution proceeded only be deletion (example was withdrawing marbles from a container.) He implied that macroevolution was "transformation", i.e, dogs arising directly from cats or humans arising directly from fish. The latter misperception is common among those who disparage evolution.

One session was dedicated to alternative Egyptian chronology. This is important to biblical literalists because they believe that the Exodus occurred in 1450 BC. This falls in the 18th dynasty at which time the Pharaohs were in Thebes. Literalists prefer to think that 1450 was in the 12th dynasty at which time Pharaohs were near the delta. Interestingly Immanuel Velikovsky was among early promoters of the alternative chronology. The Ipuwer papyrus is a favored bit of evidence. I've since discovered the definitive study Radiocarbon-Based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt, Ramsey, et al Science 328, 1554-1559 (2010.) But then, of course, creationists don't believe isotope geology.

He spent considerable time on the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs relying largely on images from a range of sources including Ica stones. He suggested that dragons did indeed breath fire by a mechanism similar to the workings of the bombardier beetle.

The audience was left to conclude that they had been indoctrinated by public school science and had now heard the "other side."