What did Noah do with the manure? And other burning questions of creation science.
Remember the scene in the movie, "Inheritthe Wind,' where the Darrow character wickedly taunts the fundamentalist Bryan, asking him if he truly believes God condemned the snake to crawl forever on its belly? Yes, says the unshaken believer. Well, needles the lawyer, how did the snake get around before that? On his hind legs?
In the old days creationists cringed at being somockingly bested by the opposition. Today, instead of shrinking, they might welcome such an observation and even dispatch some researchers to investigate the matter.
Very little has changed in the peculiarAmerican clash of religion and science since 1925, when a substitute biology teacher named John Scopes collaborated with a couple of Tennessee pranksters to scare up the first national media circus. The only significant difference is that creationists now insist more evhemently than ever that they are creation scientists. It's not religion they want taught, they argue. It's a science that deserves to be taught alongside evolution.
The argument for this "balanced treatment'is now before the Supreme Court and the case should be decided sometime this spring. The case involves a Louisiana law that requires public schools to teach creation science if a course in evolution is offered.
In order to get a fiar hearing in the courts, creationistshave had to learn to speak secular science. Nowadays they don't talk publicly about the Bible's account of clay and ribs, but proclaim the scientific theory of the "sudden appearance of highly developed forms of life.'
In the face of such claims, mainstream scientistshave locked arms and become dogmatic. Evolution, they bellow, is not a theory but a fact. And creationism is nothing more than a Trojan horse brimming with Bible-thumpers. Creationists, playing to American notions of fairness and equality, respond calmly that they ask for nothing more than balance.
But is creationism really a science? It's nomystery what science is, at least in the popular conception. It is the development of theories, which are tested by experiments, result in data, are written up and published in journals. Creation science seems to have all of these. In its most prestigious journal, the Creation Research Society Quarterly, one finds even the lesser trappings so loved by big-time scientists: pompous titles, sesquipedalianisms, Latin words, scientific jargon, even the metric system.
The Quarterly certainly looks scientific, withits dignified covers and conservative format, but there is one oddity. Above the volume and year are printed the words "Haec credimus,' or "This we believe.' After that comes the Exodus quotation: "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is and rested on the seventh.' Although evolutionists have been known to be just as cocksure, it is peculiar for a scientific journal to publish its conclusions on the cover before anyone has a chance to examine the evidence. But that may annoy only purists.
Since the Supreme Court may soon allow statesto force children to learn this science, it is important to glimpse inside some recent issues of the Quarterly for a sampler of cutting edge theories and experiments the children may be tested on.
In the June 1979 issue, Raymond Bray, who isalso president of the Lord's Work, Inc. in Chicago, ponders one of the many problems associated with Noah's Flood, or the "Noachian Deluge,' as creation scientists refer to it. According to creation theory, fossils are the carnage left after the waters receded. Since the fossil record is seen as the cornerstone of evolution, the Flood debate looms large in creationist circles.
Bray is confounded by the food problem onthe ark. Genesis 6:21 explicitly says Noah carried on board all and food necessary for himself and all the animals. Bray boldly dismisses this statement by God as "an impossibility.'
Particularly bothersome, he says, are themeateaters. He acknowledges the popular theory that the women on board nursed the carnivores with the milk of cows, but pooh-poohs it as the stuff of "those who make movies and write fictitious articles about the Deluge.'
Maybe, he hypothesizes, a miniature ecosystemexisted inside the ark. This theory conquers one problem that seems to haunt him: how Noah and his companious could possibly have shoveled the tonnage of manure out of the ark every morning. Even if they could have, he says, that would have been a "major disaster' because removing the manure "would have broken the cycle of the system, and a large number of the species would have died of starvation and become extinct.' Instead, the manure was spread around to fertilize the indoor miniature ecosystem. That could explain why Noah is so often depicted with his face sticking out of the ark's lone window. But clearly, says Bray, there must have been more than one window since Noah was growing food inside. His scientific proof of that assertion? "According to comparatively recent accounts of sightings of the ark on Ararat, there was not just a single window.'
Grant R. Lambert, in his June 1983 article,"Was the Pre-Flood Animal Kingdom Vegetarian?' solves the Noachic food problem by proposing that all animals including man were vegetarians before the Flood. This solves the problem of all those meateaters. The superb health of antediluvian man, he says, may also account for those 900-year life-spans they enjoyed.
The team of Dr. E. Norbert Smith, director ofthe Grasslands Experiment Station of the Creation Research Society, and Stephen C. Hagberg, a graduate student at a Bible College, wondered how saltwater marine life survived 40 days and nights of a freshwater downpour during the Noachian Deluge. They set forth their results and methods in a paper entitled "Survival of Freshwater and Saltwater Organisms in a Heterogeneous Flood Model Experiment' in the June 1984 issue.
For their experiment, they created a saltwaterenvironment by filling a 55-gallon aquarium with fresh water and adding "Instant Ocean' from the pet store. Into the tank they placed Artemia nauplii (sometimes known as "sea monkeys,' available on the back of comic books), sea slugs, and a hermit crab. Then they poured in a layer of fresh water and put in one Carassius auratus (gold fish), a freshwater snail, and some duckweed these researchers assure us was "collected locally.'
Their findings: "At the slow rate of dilutionof 0.031 0/00 salinity/hour the fish stopped swimming at 20.3 1.1 0/00 salinity.' Another specimen "turned dark just prior to loss of locomotive ability.' These results raise "serious questions' about the Deluge, the authors conclude. Maybe, they write, small pockets of salt water remained unmixed and allowed the animals to survive. Like other scientists who keep one eye on their elembic and the other on their copy of The Foundation Directory these creationists close with the scientific conclusion most common in the 501(c)3 age: "Obviously, additional research is needed.'
Lance B. Johnson, a retired optometrist whonow directs Come & See Ministries, describes in "The "Tangled' Tongue' in the December 1982 issue how he had suspected that dyslexia was directly connected with the Tower of Babel. According to Genesis 11:4-9, the tower was erected for the purpose of reaching heaven. This incurred the wrath of God, who, as punishment, made the builders' speech mutually unintelligible. After the Tower's fall, Johnson argues, people were genetically programmed to read either left to right or right to left. Those who are programmed to read one way, but grow up in a culture that reads the other, wind up being dyslexic.
One day a patient came into Johnson's officeto be fitted for glasses and to discuss her dyslexia. It was then, he maintains, that he discovered his proof. In casual conversation she mentioned how odd it was that she had studied Hebrew and had excelled in it. "I nearly fell out of my chair!' he reports. ""Praise the Lord,' I thought.' More proof came later: "Then, to cap it off beautifully, she said her ancestry was Jewish!'
If death came with original sin, as Paul says,then the scientific corollary is that nothing in the Garden of Eden could have died until Adam took a bite out of the apple. "What did they eat until then?' wonders John W. Klotz, who is also the director of graduate studies at Concordia Seminary, in the March 1980 issue. If they ate a plant, wouldn't they have to kill it?
In his article, "Is the Destruction of PlantsDeath in the Biblical Sense?' Kotz says this problem is solved in the Scripture when God blesses man and animals and instructs them to "be fruitful and multiply.' God didn't tell the plants to "be fruitful,' so "the blessing added in the account of the creation of animals sets them apart from the plants.' Klotz also adds that since the nucleus of a plant cell hugs the cell wall, while animal nuclei kind of bob around in the middle, eating plants "may not have involved "death' in the Biblical sense of that term.'
Some creation scientists argue that the Floodresulted from the collapse of a massive amount of water suspended high in the atmosphere, sometimes called the "vapor canopy.' David W. Unfred, who is also director of external studies at Christian Heritage College, hypothesizes in a September 1984 article, "Asteroidal Impacts and the Flood Judgment,' that the postdeluvian detritus of this canopy could explain most of what is hurtling through space. "It is possible,' he writes, that the "comets, asteroids, meterorites, and outer planetary moons (and plants?), excluding the uniquely created Earth and Moon, are remnants, a reminder, of the pre-Flood "waters above.''
Gary L. Johnson sets forth a far more detailedexplanation in his September 1986 "Global Heat Balance with a Liquid Water and Ice Canopy.' According to his calculations, the canopy consisted of "large water globules at about 2 km altitude over equatorial regions and large ice fragment clouds at about 2200 km altitude over the polar regions.' This two-tiered canopy, he says, may explain the peculiar climate after the Creation.
At first the Earth was warm, with no fluctuationsin temperature. Why? "Adam and Eve apparently did not need clothes (Genesis 2:25) for comfort, indicating a rather narrow temperature range.' Moreover, it never rained until Noah, since rain is not mentioned in the Bible until then. Johnson has more proof. If "rain occurred before the Flood, the rainbow would have occurred also and would not have been useful as a sign.'
At the time of the Flood, Johnson argues, thewater globules burst, yielding the 40 days and nights of rain. The ice canopy remained. Meanwhile the world repopulated until the collapse of the ice canopy. This would have "buried the mammoths and permanently changed the climate of the polar regions,' the source of what evolution scientists call the Ice Age.
The radical decline in the earth's averagetemperature that followed, Johnson writes, "would certainly have destroyed any remaining dinosaurs.' Since creationsists believe Earth is only about 6,000 years old, they account for dinosaurs by claiming that they lived side by side with man during a kind of Flintstonian Epoch that ended after some cataclysm--possibly the collapse of the ice canopy described here-- destroyed the large beasts.
There is one problem with this two-tieredcanopy theory, the author notes: "It appears that a miracle is necessary for any canopy model, either to hold the water up or to get it down without destroying the earth.'
Everett H. Peterson, whose only mentionedcredential is his address in San Jose, also grapples with the problem of there being no rain until Noah. How did the plants and animals and the Earth get water? he asks in "How the Flood Altered the Earth' in the September 1981 issue. "An answer to this question is found in a recent article in Popular Science magazine which details a method of raising vegetables indoors,' he says.
The Popular Science article explains that if youlay out pea gravel with pine bark over it in a watertight container and keep the gravel wet, the pine bark will suck the water up toward the plants through a capillary action. Therefore, the plants' roots are watered from below instead of from above. Applying this interdisciplinary discovery, the author proposes that God had "pipes' running from the "Fountains of the Deep' (mentioned in Proverbs 8:28) up to earth to water the land.
But the Bible mentions "mists' as well, Petersonnotes. How were these made? Simply by capping a few of the pipes with "nozzles.' And why would the Earth need mists? Because, as the Popular Science article points out, despite the capillary action, the surface level of the soil in the pea-gravel bucket will dry out. Hence, the mists are to keep the topsoil damp. Also, the pipes must have had "shut-off valves,' since you wouldn't want the water to run continuously. "The construction and operation of the valves is a mystery,' he writes, "but they probably were operated by heat.'
With such a system in place, concludes Peterson,it would have been easy to inaugurate the Flood. God simply "crushed' about a "1,000-foot wide, 25,000-mile long and a three-mile thick' area, what is now the Atlantic. This burst the Fountains of the Deep. Yet, there still had to be more holes for God to ventilate enough water for "960 consecutive hours' (40 days and nights). So: "He poked, as with an oversized ice pick, millions of holes through the three-mile-think ocean floor.'
How much proof does the author offer for histheory? Well, none really. But he adds, "The deep seas give up their secrets reluctantly.'
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|Date:||Feb 1, 1987|
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