The cure for cults that want to deny others
their freedom of speech is more freedom of speech
-- Fredric Rice

---

Creationist Cults

Things creationists hate

By R. J. Riggins

Geology

Even before Darwin, it was geologists who began to establish that the Earth is much older than old Jim Ussher said it was. And modern geology stubbornly refuses to yield up proof of a universal flood, or the recent and coeval existence of all creatures, living and extinct.

Charles Darwin

Well, duhh....

Physics

...has all those embarrassing laws, like decay rates of isotopes, the non-decaying speed of light, the refraction of light to produce rainbows, etc., which have to be ignored, twisted, or denied to defend Genesis.

The Scientific Method

Creationists detest it so much that they've apparently invented their own, improved version, with the following highly logical rules:

Take as a given fact all those parts of the Bible we tell you to.

Use not the null hypothesis; make no attempt to disprove any creationist hypothesis; report not any negative findings.

Quote as authoritative anything a fellow creationist writes, regardless of his qualifications or subsequent discrediting of his methods or results.

Misquote or quote out of context famous "evolutionists" so that they appear to admit evolution isn't real.

Each Other

Old-Earth creationists think the Young-Earthers are too zealous and dogmatic even for them. Young-Earthers know the Old-Earthers and Multiple-Catastrophists have given in to "liberal" (if not to say Satanic) influences. Some years there are multiple "Ark-hunting" expeditions to Turkey, each of which thinks the others are obstructing the progress of "Bible science".

Noah's Ark

...just refuses to be found. Or it's been found too many times, in completely different locations. A dozen different people claiming to have found the Ark in a dozen different places is even more embarrassing than not finding it at all. For some reason that escapes creationists, it just won't be found and stay found.

The Holy Bible

That old Book persists in saying things that the creationists, who claim to take it as literal truth, have to admit are metaphorical (like the "doors" in the firmament that let the rain through). That means, of course, that they have to arbitrarily decide which parts are literally literal, and which are only metaphorically literal (and can't they twist the English language). I've never yet read a justification for who gets to make that determination and how, so I'll summarize it thus: Everything is literal except things that even we can't stomach. Even worse, the "scientifically accurate" Bible reveals not a single fact about nature that wasn't commonly known at the time. If only it had revealed the atomic structure of matter, or the inverse square law, or the existence of bacteria--or even the heliocentric solar system!

Still doubt that creationists hate the Bible? Ask several if they've ever read it--all the way through, cover-to-cover. 97% of the time the answer will be no. They're sure every word is literally true, and the divine message of God, but somehow they've never quite found the time to actually read the thing. Is this irony thick enough yet?

Bats

Somehow, quite perversely, they changed from "fowls" to mammals between the time Moses (according to literalists) wrote the Pentateuch and now.

The Human Mind

...just to be ornery, has moved from the heart, where it resided through New Testament times, into the brain.

Stars

...somehow have grown a lot bigger and moved much farther away, so that by now it seems foolish to expect a sizeable fraction of them to fall to Earth, as predicted in Revelation.

The Earth

...on the other hand, to test Man's faith in the literal veracity of scripture, has shrunk to become much smaller than the sun, and has taken to circling the latter, instead of vice versa, as originally established. Furthermore (confirming its sinful nature), it has floated up off its pillars or foundations, lost its four corners, and become a silly ball, on which there just is no possible mountaintop from which one could see all nations of the Earth.

Plate Tectonics

Since this is such a new development in geophysics, creationists don't seem to have much to say about it yet. (They haven't been told yet that they can't believe in it.) Though they may not have heard it excoriated from the pulpit yet, it surely makes them uneasy, since it just doesn't jibe with young-Earth or Flood geology.

Original Thought

Creationism is about believing without question a particular interpretation of scripture. Indeed, in a belief system of that nature, any questioning or original thought about the revealed knowledge is not only incorrect, it is sinful.

Pi

...has inexplicably changed its value from a nice, neat 3 (reflecting the trinity, no doubt) in Solomon's time, to a messy 3.14159... today. Despite some legal attempts in some southern states to return it to the divine purity of 3, pi has hardened its heart and refused to conform to the biblically prescribed norm.

Universal Gravitation

Although "just a theory", universal gravitation continues to be, well, universal. It holds true in all places, under all conditions, so it renders the brainless quip about evolution being "just a theory" a bit specious, at best.

Micro-organisms

Why did they have to show up? They're never mentioned in the Bible at all, so creationists have to do some creative rewriting of Genesis to account for their day of creation, and their presence or absence on the Ark.

Ice Ages

Very inconvenient! They have to have occurred since the Flood, since, according to creationists, the surface of the Earth was reworked by the Flood (to create, for instance, the Grand Canyon practically overnight), which would have messed up all those marks of glaciers on the landscape. That means mile-thick ice sheets had to advance and retreat again and again, across half the Northern Hemisphere, with the speed of freight trains.

Size of the Earth

...has obviously expanded greatly since Noah's day, when he could, in a short period, collect pairs of all animals and birds from all over the world, without the benefit of modern air transport. Then after the Flood, the critters all had to migrate, at the double-quick, to their present habitats in Tasmania, the Galapagos, the coasts of Antarctica, Patagonia, the American Southwest, or wherever. It's clear the Earth was no more than a few hundred miles across, probably flat, and with no inconvenient oceans like, say, the Pacific.

The Slow Rate of Evolution

Having some time ago abandoned the completely silly proposition that Noah could actually have accommodated pairs--let alone sevens--of every animal species on Earth aboard the Ark, creationists have fallen back upon the rationalization that he collected not species but "kinds". They never, of course, clearly define "kind", because any such definition would create more problems in biological classification than it solved (and reveal how little they know about species diversity). Be that as it may, if a pair of the bovine "kind" walked off the Ark a few thousand years ago, they have had to evolve into all 24 present species and uncounted varieties of wild and domestic cattle since then. (Creationists: you really don't want to know how many species of the bat "kind" there are. And don't even think about beetles.) Creationists, then, are in the awkward position of believing in a much faster rate of evolution than is possible in nature, while detesting the term itself, and generally refusing to call diversification-since-the-Ark evolution (Lord, how they hate that word)!

The Number of Species in the World

There are just way too many of them! There are so many that we still don't even have a solid estimate of exactly how many--but five million is at least the right order of magnitude. That's so many that creationists have given up trying to stuff them all into the Ark (see above). A vanishingly tiny percent are even mentioned in the "scientifically accurate" Bible. Whole orders and phyla are left out. Of the few mentioned, there seems to be some slight confusion over such seemingly simple things as whether a bat is a bird or mammal, how many legs a grasshopper has, and who chews cuds and who doesn't. There's even embarrassing mention of creatures unknown to science, such as unicorns. My humbly-offered solution: Since the Bible is "scientifically accurate", then when it was written there were just a few hundred species! They could all fit onto the Ark.After the Flood (take your pick):

They speed-evolved into the millions we have now. God made a whole bunch more, just to test our faith in Holy Scripture.

Satan made a whole bunch more, just to ruin our faith in Holy Scripture. (I vote for this one, since I've been told recently by several good creationists that Satan invented evolution!)

The Sky

...has evaporated. In Adam's time it was clearly a solid dome, a "firmament", which could separate waters above it from those below on the Earth. By Noah's time it was still solid enough to have windows in it that had to be opened to let the rain through. I think that creationists that try to rationalize (weasel) their way out of this one by calling it metaphor have given in to the godless materialists! The Bible really is literal, in the true sense of the word. The sky was a hard firmament with windows in it--but some time since then it evaporated. Anybody who says different is a mealy-mouthed evolution-sympathizer.

Fossils

...have always been a thorn in the side of creationism. First of all, extinct creatures shouldn't even exist in a perfect Creation, since their very extinction implies that they were not so perfect. And there are so darn many of them, of so many different kinds. Every excuse they come up with for why there even are fossils of extinct organisms makes creationists look silly. And the very fact that they've come up with so many different, mutually exclusive explanations would seem to indicate that, essentially, they're clueless. I have personally been offered all these sound, creation-scientific explanations of what fossils are and how they got there:

Dinosaurs were too big to go on the Ark, so they got buried in the mud of the Flood.(How about extinct smaller creatures--and what about the "fact" that Noah collected pairs of all animals?)

Extinct creatures were on the Ark. They died out later. (How many seismosaurs, T. rexes, mastodons, and megatheria can you fit on the head of a pin?)

Fossils never were animals. They're a hoax by Satan and/or materialistic science.

Fossils never were animals. They're a hoax by God to test your faith. (And I will go to hell for falling for a trick pulled by the Almighty Himself? Doesn't that seem just a bit petty?)

Transitional Fossils

...can't possibly exist, since nothing ever gradually evolved into anything else. Less sophisticated creationists handle the issue by merely spouting the slogan "There are no transitional fossils". They heard that from a good born-again fundamentalist, so it must be true--no further research necessary. The few who are vaguely aware of the vast range of fossils that have been found, including beautiful examples of transitional series, merely draw lines: everything on that side of the line is ape, and everything on this side is human. If another fossil turns up with features exactly between the two, no problem--just assign it to one side or the other. No matter how fine the gradation, creationists will never admit seeing transition, because they know ahead of time that it can't exist. Amusingly, however, in series such as the hominid line leading to us, different creationist "experts" draw the line between ape and human in different places!

Human Embryos

...especially very small ones, actually have tails and gill slits. So do all mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, and fish embryos. One would almost think they are related somehow. Thank goodness for modern Creation Science, which has taught us how to ignore, deny, or find some rationalization (anything at all will do) to explain away this and all other evidence of evolution.

Unusual Babies

...with such birth anomalies as being born with a tail, or covered with fur. Tails are more common than most people realize, since they are, of course, surgically removed immediately, and often the child himself is never told. For furry people, refer to the famous Mexican family, several of whom are circus performers. These would, of course, be some of the "throwbacks" which creationists assert must, of course, occur if evolution is real. But since evolution is, of course, not true, the good creationist, upon being presented the very evidence he demanded, will, of course, not be fazed in the slightest. Of course. A small footnote: back in the good old days, when everyone was a literal-creationist, and religion was science (known as the Dark Ages, with good cause), such babies were identified as the spawn of Satan, and killed instantly, along with their mothers, who were, naturally, witches.

Elephants

In the Sunday School stories, most of us imagined one pair, or at most two African and two Asian, on the Ark; and we assumed those few were Noah's biggest problem. But he could probably have wedged them in somewhere, among the handful of other large mammals always shown in the picture books. Somehow the elephants were always waving their trunks over the side, and the giraffes poking their heads up over the deck house. Then we grew up (most of us) and found out that there used to be things like mastodons and wooly mammoths. As a matter of fact, if we did just a little research, we could have found out that there are some 160 species of probiscideans, living and extinct, many of them wildly, grotesquely different from modern Jumbos. Then the problem arises of whether or not all those guys were on the Ark. All 160 species, with their months of fodder, obviously could not have been aboard, especially if we realize that other large mammal "kinds" also have myriad extinct species. As I see it, there are several explanations. Choose your favorite from the list below:

158 of God's perfectly-created elephant species had already died out before the Flood.

Only one pair of the elephant "kind" (are they "clean" or "unclean"?) were aboard, and immediately afterward evolved into 160 different species, 158 of which immediately became extinct.

158 species were simply left off the Ark, and got killed and fossilized by the Flood--and Genesis is just exaggerating about all beasts being aboard.

There never were more than two species of elephants--all those fossils of extinct ones, including whole, frozen mammoths that modern people have actually dined on--are merely a trick of Satan.

All animals were on the Ark, just like Genesis says. Shut up and don't ask.

Thanks to Oren Grossman for informing me that there are actually three species of living elephants, including the smaller African bush elephant. Thus creationists only need to account for 157 instant extinctions... but have to accommodate at least six pachyderms on the Ark!

DNA

Nasty stuff. It's really a shame that it had to turn up and confirm predictions of relationships made by evolutionary theory perfectly. And what a dirty trick to have human DNA fit right into the distribution, right next door to the chimps'! It's just not fair. It almost looks like Someone arranged the whole thing just to make evolution appear to be true. Worse yet, this ultimate blueprint for building entire human beings turns out to be just plain chemicals, with nothing magical or even particularly unusual that sets humans aside from other living things. And those geneticists can even tinker with the stuff, and build new creatures. They can replace defective genes in people, and even put human genes into pigs. Why wasn't something put into Leviticus to forbid such ungodliness?

Their Own Coccyxes

...when examined closely via X-rays or a prepared skeleton, look disturbingly like the vestigial remnants of tails. They certainly serve no purpose nowadays, and if you've ever broken yours, you've probably wondered why we were Created with such a useless source of potential agony. (Besides, coccyx sounds downright obscene.)

Their Appendixes

Same problem as the coccyx, only it's even more likely to cause the average creationist great discomfort, and occasionally death. The scientifically literate, when cursed with appendicitis, might bewail the incomplete evolution that has left him with a useless and sometimes dangerous abdominal organ. Perhaps the creationist praises his Creator for blessing him with a "cross to bear".

Honesty and Moral Behavior

...among evolutionists. It must really irk creationists that the great majority of us "evolutionists" are basically upright, moral folks. We shouldn't be, because belief in evolution "destroys our faith in the Bible", so naturally we have "no moral guide" and "no fear of eternal damnation", and since "we think we came from monkeys", we see ourselves as "animals with no eternal souls". I'll confess it right now: my basically upright, honest, cleanly-lived life is all a sham. I'm part of the One World Government Evolutionist Conspiracy (OWGEC), and my apparent morality is merely a deception to lure unsuspecting young creationists over to the Dark Side!

Ribs

...human ribs, that is, present a real problem. I've been told, on good authority (by creationists, whose scientific authority is the Bible, and what could be more authoritative?), that men have one less rib than women, because one of Adam's ribs was removed to mold into Eve. My creationist informant has generally become confused upon being asked if that means one less pair of ribs, or just one rib missing from one side. Then my instructor in human origins becomes red in the face and defensive, if not to say hostile, when asked if he has ever actually counted ribs on male and female human skeletons, living or deceased. None that I've met have ever actually tried this simplest of scientific experiments, which could go a long way toward proving a testable prediction of creationism. (For members of the Republic of Texas Militia: men have exactly the same number of ribs as women.)

NEWSFLASH: I've just been informed by a rock-solid creationist that the latest discovery of "creation science" is that men used to have fewer ribs than women, but they don't anymore! Perhaps creationists have unearthed a whole bunch of ancient skeletons, with all the males being short a rib. An appeal: PLEASE reveal this evidence to the rest of the world, so that we all can be brought into the Light of True Bible Science! LATEST NEWS from Joseph Armstrong in Australia: I don't supposed they (gasp) evolved the extra rib? Is this a classic case of cretinist "micro-evolution"?

Viruses

Viruses hardly fit into the creationist's view of the world at all. In the first place, nothing even remotely like them is even remotely alluded to in either Testament. About the only "biblical" disease that anyone can remember is leprosy (a bacterial disease), and there's no clue that any of the writers that mentioned it knew that it was caused by any sort of micro-organism, let alone a virus. Egyptian cattle suffered a "murrain"-- with no apparent cause other than a divine curse. A blight on crops is mentioned in a place or two, which, if it were naturally caused, might be a viral disease, but again only the disease is mentioned, not any organic cause. Then there are the "emerods" (hemorrhoids) with which God afflicted some folks he was miffed at. I have been told both of the following by "creation scientists":

The Devil created viruses.

Viruses are not in the Bible because they are "imperfect".

But the really disturbing thing about viruses is that they occupy the twilight zone between living and dead, a zone that would seem ought not to exist in a creation in which creatures were "given life", or have "the breath of life". Of course, the creationist may arbitrarily assign them to either the "living" or "dead" category, but either assignment is a forced fit. Can they be alive if they don't move, breathe, eat, excrete, or metabolize at all, and can even be crystallized, like other non-living chemicals? Can they be dead if they can self-replicate (reproduce) using the same basic methods as other living things, parasitize other creatures, and are made of nearly the same proteins and nucleic acids as we are? Evolutionary theory doesn't demand that there be a sharp distinction between living systems and nonliving molecules. That's the premise of abiogenesis, which creationists insist on lumping in with evolution, so what the heck... we'll take it. Evolutionary theory can also explain where viruses came from, or why they exist. The fact that there are presently several tentative explanations in no way threatens the structure of evolutionary theory; we're perfectly happy with hypotheses until the preponderance of evidence clearly favors one over all others. In evolutionary theory (with abiogenesis) there should be some hazy area between living and nonliving, and viruses are dwellers of that twilight zone.

The Cause of Cancer

And who wouldn't hate that? But I don't mean the carcinogens that set it off, like tobacco tars, asbestos, or ultraviolet light; I mean the root cause that makes it possible for things like those to start cancers growing. And that cause turns out to be evolution in action! A cancer starts when a carcinogen, or sometimes just a random accident, causes a mutation in a gene of one cell. That mutation "switches on" genes that are normally "off", and makes the cell start reproducing wildly, as though it were an embryonic cell, and not a dedicated part of an adult body. A mutation is one unit of evolution. In this case it is harmful, but the ability to mutate is so valuable to DNA--it lets it adapt to new conditions--that that mutability cannot be given up, even if it sometimes produces fatal cancer. It is perhaps significant that cancers in people are very rare until after their peak reproductive years.

The Hair on the Backs of Their Necks

...which stands up at the very thought that their children might actually be exposed to an evil-lutionist at school. When they stop to think why the hair on the backs of their necks should stand up, at that or any terrifying situation, the only explanation that makes sense is that it's a vestigial reaction inherited from our mammal ancestors. Other mammals' hair rises in response to "hair-raising experiences" as a defense. It's a warning sign of aggression, and may make the animal look bigger and fiercer. We've apparently given up that signal, maybe in favor of words or other body language. About the only trace left is that creepy feeling about nape of the neck and scalp, which is almost impossible for others to see.(suggested by Ron Tolle)

The Order of Creation

...is a bottomless can of worms for literal creationists, especially if one takes literally and in their most obvious meanings both Genesis 1 and 2, which don't match in many particulars. But consider just a couple of minor difficulties in the first chapter. For one, the light of day is created before the sun from which it comes. If we assume it was some divine form of light, requiring no material source, then what need of the sun? In the same curious order were plants created before the sun, which is needed for photosynthesis (especially confounding to the day-age folks).(suggested by Ron Tolle)

Goosebumps

(the bumps, not the books [although many creationists hate those "occult" books, too]) Goosebumps were obviously "created" to erect and "fluff up" the hair or fur on a hairy or furry mammal ancestor, thereby improving its insulation value against the cold. Since most of us nowadays have so little body hair as to render it useless for insulation purposes, goosebumps are another vestigial reaction whose tool (fur) is no longer with us.

Insects

...which have so many generations of nasty babies so often that in just a few years they can change. Those ugly boll weevils, for instance, develop resistance to pesticides; and those filthy peppered moths in England (Darwin's home--coincidence? I don't think so.) change the shade of their camouflage. Evolutionists want to call those piddlin' changes "evolution"--which just shows that they don't even know what the term means. So we creationists have to tell them that "evolution" means apes popping out human babies. You'd think them evil-utionists'd have that straight by now. (For folks who trust Rush Limbaugh to ever get any facts right: the above is sarcasm.)

Footprints

...especially human ones, which creationist "investigators" keep discovering in the same strata as dinosaur bones or footprints, and paleontologists keep demonstrating are nothing of the sort. It's been my experience that creationist authorities (oxymoron) usually end up admitting that they weren't really human prints after all. But they are somewhat lax in passing that information on to their flocks of True Believers., with the result that your average grassroots creationist is under the impression that the fossil record is replete with human footprints, clear back to the beginning (suggested by Floyd Waddle).

Craters

Creationists have to hate those pesky asteroid craters which are found all over the planet, throughout all geological strata. The Bible is strangely silent on such devastating impacts as Meteor Crater in Arizona, the Ring Lakes in Quebec, and that biggie that likely dusted off the dinosaurs and created all that beautiful beachfront property on the Yucatan penninsula (suggested and borrowed nearly verbatim from Jason Bowes).

Planets

Anybody notice that in the last few years astronomers, using improved techniques and instruments (like Hubble), have begun to discover other planets around other suns? Have we noticed that several of those solar systems are at several of the stages of planetary-system evolution hypothesized for the creation of our own system? To further increase the squirm factor for our reality-challenged fellow citizens, perhaps they would be kind enough to locate the passages in the "scientifically accurate" Bible which acknowledge that there are, in fact, other worlds.

"In our image"

That's how God made man, according to Genesis, and therefore according to creationists. But every moderately bright 8-year-old immediately comes up with two questions which are never satisfactorily answered. If any answers are offered, they are usually cobbled-up rationalizations from outside the Bible.

Generally, the kid gets the message that he's better off not asking such things. The first is whom the One and Only God meant by "our"--but that's really a theological question, not related directly to creationism. The second question, however, is right on target: If man was made "in [God's] image", then Adam must have looked just like God--right? But wait--it gets more confusing. Man is immediately referred to as "them", so maybe it's not just Adam who looks like God.

Then to further confound literal-minded youngsters, "...in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." If God is male (the assumption of 97.83% of all creationists), then how could a female be made in His image? Let's grant the general creationist assumptions (correct me if I'm wrong): God is male; men are made "in [His] image" in only a general way (maybe even Adam didn't look exactly like Him); and women were made with necessary differences to enable reproduction. Still a load of embarrassing questions arise. Much has been made of Adam's navel, and why he would have one, having never been attached to a placenta. I want to know if God has one. I want to know if He has a digestive tract. If so, why? Does He eat? If so, what, and why would he need to? Does He excrete? Where? What happens to it? Does He have lungs? Why would He need them? Does He have sweat glands? And naughty stuff: does He have genitals? Why would He need those? Does He even have two legs, and feet, and toes? Why would He need them, unless He's bound by gravity, as we are?

Childish questions? Of course, but only because they arise from a literal (i.e., childish) reading of Genesis. But the point is profound: either God has human-like organs and glands and body parts, or He doesn't. If He does, why, and what does He use them for? If He doesn't, then made "in [His] image" has no literal meaning.

Deep-sea Fish

One of the ways that creationists try to weasel out of the volume of water needed for Noah`s Flood is to say that the Earth was much flatter then--the oceans were shallow, and the mountains were more like low hills. Therefore, much less water was required to flood the entire planet. All the mountains were raised after the Flood (or towards the end of it), and the oceans became deeper, allowing the water to drain off (creating the Grand Canyon in the process). This raises two embarrasing questions :

How did Noah`s Ark land on top of Mt. Ararat (about 9000 feet high) if the water was never that deep?

Where did the deep-ocean fish come from - those hideous monstrosities that are all mouth, teeth and luminous lure and can only live at incredible depths and pressures? Super-fast evolution again?

(suggested by Adrian Barnett)...to which I would add a corollary question:

How, during a worldwide flood when seawater and freshwater would be pretty much thoroughly mixed, would ANY fish survive? I've had enough experience with aquaria to know that darn few freshwater fish species can tolerate saltwater, and vice versa. A flood of the whole Earth consequently would kill off all but a few brackish water species, capable of surviving rapid changes in salinity. Since the oceans and lakes are jam-packed with species exquisitely sensitive to even slight changes in salinity, today's fish have to have evolved since the one-world-ocean of the Flood. Sorry, I just don't believe in evolution--not the lightning variety that creationism demands!

Faith

Albert Chan points out that...Creationists hate faith. They count on evidence, words, logic, and arguments to uphold their views. All this reflects how weak (or even absent) their faith is. "See, we can prove that evolution is wrong, so that automaticlly means that the Bible is correct." This implies a notion that [Genesis] is correct... just because evolution has (in their minds) been "proven" wrong. But then it follows that the Bible can in principle be proven wrong. (Something which can be proven right can in principle be proven wrong.) If [creationists] argue that they do have faith, and that the Bible is right regardless of the validity of evolution, then why on earth would they care about whether evolution is right or wrong?

Wisdom Teeth

Steven Gay reminds us that wisdom teeth are a bit of a problem for modern humans--and any parts of our bodies that serve no purpose, are in the way, or are just more trouble than they're worth are a bit of a problem for creationists to rationalize. Why would a Master Creator give us more teeth than will fit in our jaws? I don't think I know anybody who has had all four third molars grow into place with the others and serve as useful chewing teeth. In some people they never erupt. My top two grew out, but having no bottom ones to work against, they were useless for chewing. A great many people simply have to have them removed or suffer severe dental problems--because modern jaws are just too small to accommodate third molars. Wisdom teeth make sense as evolutionary leftovers (probably in the process of evolving away entirely). What sense can creationists make of them (especially if one lives to the biblically promised threescore and ten)?

The Last Little Piggie

...the one who went, "Wee, wee, wee!" all the way home. (For those with deprived childhoods, I'm talking about little toes). They're one more body part that is in the way, all too easily injured, and, when you stop to think about it, useless. We don't use them in walking. In parts of the world where people go barefoot most of the time, little toes missing through accident or disease are quite common, and don't hinder the person's mobility at all. Think we need them for balance or something? Our cloven-hoofed fellow mammals get by with two toes on the ground. Horses manage to be mighty fast with just one! Predatory mammals generally put four down. Do we need the extra because we're bipedal? Ostriches are on their feet all day and can outrun anybody I know--how many toes do they use? Think about it: other primates have prehensile toes. Kids notice right away that monkeys really have four hands. A fifth digit is pretty useful if you're climbing through branches (and secondarily manipulating objects). Our little fingers are truly useful and probably in no danger of disappearing. But we quit climbing in trees with our rear "hands" and they became feet--which explains why they have useless fifth digits. And while we're at it...

Doggie toes

What is that thing hanging off the back of your dog's lower leg? It's his "dewclaw", and it's entirely useless. On some dogs it's so much in the way that it's surgically removed. It's not a result of selective breeding, either. Cats have 'em, wolves have 'em, tigers have 'em. What would it possibly be except a now-useless fifth toe, in the process of disappearing through evolution?

The Land Down Under

Ed Vinson asks just how far it is from Mt. Ararat to Sydney, and which of Noah's sons got stuck with herding all those numbats, wombats, platypi, and wallabies down there without mixing any rats in. G'day, Mate!

Lower Back Pain

Kate Harrop-Allin asks the perceptive question:Why should this condition afflict such a huge percentage of the adult population (I read somewhere that more working days were lost for this than for almost any other reason) when we were supposedly "created" in our present bipedal form? Other associated problems with our relatively recently-acquired bipedalism (that other animals don't seem to have trouble with):

extreme difficulty in childbirth
varicose veins
arthritis

....... all of which indicate that we evolved, and quite recently too, from an animal that was predominantly quadrupedal.

Koalas

They live only in Australia. Their diet is so restricted--to a few subspecies of eucalyptus--that they're threatened now by destruction of the only kinds of trees they will eat. It's also hard to imagine them migrating. Over many generations they might slowly spread through an area--but travellers, they ain't. And when they did migrate over 9,000 miles, in a tiny herd from Ararat to New South Wales, eating a convenient trail of long-disappeared eucalyptus (which took how many years after the Flood to grow?), they left no trail of koala fossils behind. A suggestion for creation "researchers": instead of wasting endless hours combing through the writings of real scientists to find phrases to yank out of context that make them seem to doubt evolution--instead of that, put together a real research expedition! Find us that bee-line trail from northern Turkey to Australia. Find us those fossilized eucalyptus leaves, koala footprints, and koala bones. While you're at it, it would be lovely if you turned up a few kangaroos, giant moas, marsupial lions, Tasmanian wolves, and platypuses along that superhighway to the South Pacific. Enjoy yourselves in Afghanistan.

Humility

I have determined, after extensive surveying, tabulation, and data analysis, that the average creationist in the U.S. earns $21,387.29 in family income; owns 1.2 cars, 1.8 TVs, and 2.3 kids; and has, at some point in his life, answered to the name "Bubba". He has less than one year of college. Yet he knows more about paleontology than Bakker or Horner or Currie (or he thinks that what they know is wrong--same thing). He knows more about the definition of evolution than Gould or Dawkins. He knows more about biology than Dobzhansky or Mayr. He knows more about cosmology than Hawking, Smoot, or Witten, and more about human fossils than Johanson or the Leakeys. He knows more "true" geology than geologists, more physics than physicists, more astronomy than astronomers--and more about everything than atheists like Asimov or Sagan. Humble, they're not.

Truth

This isn't about the things creationists are just wrong about, like how old the Earth is, but about things that I suspect a good many know are not true, or gross distortions of the truth. The general one is that there is a great debate among scientists about whether species have evolved. A joyous update is that only a few die-hards still believe in the Big Bang. There are plenty of other amusing examples:

human footprints alongside dinosaurs

human artifacts found among dinosaur bones

a geological column that is almost never in the "proper" order described by geologists

proof from all over the world of a worldwide Flood

the "NASA computer" that revealed the "extra day" when the sun stopped to give the Israelites more time to conquer Jericho

the deep hole geologists drilled and then had to fill in hurriedly when they heard the screams from Hell

Darwin's "deathbed recantation" (the "Lady Hope" story)

Nothing seems too silly or too obviously wrong to pass along.

Their own eyes

...defeat them doubly. First, creationists trot out that old saw about how nothing as complex as an eye could evolve in stages, since a half-eye is no good at all. Darwin himself trounced that one roundly by merely observing that there are creatures alive today with eyes in all "stages of development", from a few light-sensitive cells, to a cup-shaped receptor with no proper lens, to eagle eyes far sharper than ours. Other creatures seem to get along fine with half-eyes and even 1/100 eyes. Then for the final insult, human (the pinnacle of creation) eyes are clearly an engineering mistake! The retinas are inside out. The nerves and blood vessels come out through the light-sensitive area of the retina, producing a blind spot, then spread over the front of the light-receptor cells, so that light has to get past the fibers into the receptors. Why aren't the nerves and capillaries behind the receptors, where they would be out of the way and there would be no need for a blind spot? Squid eyes are arranged just that way. Since ours aren't, one is reminded of the maxim that evolution has to work with the materials at hand, adapting systems already in place, with results that often seem jury-rigged or needlessly complicated. Would an Ultimate Engineer make such an obvious blunder, especially having got it right in creatures created earlier?

Thermodynamics according to Isaiah

The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is the Bible, Isaiah 30:26, describing Heaven: Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days. Thus, Heaven receives from the moon as much radiation as the Earth does from the sun, and in addition seven times seven (forty-nine) times as much as the Earth does from the sun, or 50 times in all. The light we receive from the moon is 1/10,000 of the light we receive from the sun, so we can ignore that. The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much heat as the Earth by radiation. Using the Stephan-Boltzmann fourth power law for radiation, we have (H/E)4 = 50 where E is the absolute temperature of the Earth, 300 K (27 C). This gives H, the absolute temperature of Heaven, as 798 K (525 C)! (For old-fashioned Americans, that's close to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Your kitchen oven won't get nearly that hot.)

The exact temperature of Hell cannot be computed. However, Revelation 21:8 says: But the fearful and unbelieving... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. A lake of molten brimstone (or sulfur) means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6 C (above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake). We have, then, that Heaven, at 525 C, is hotter than Hell, at less than 445 C.

So who says that the Bible has no accurate and useful scientific data?

(suggested by Austin Rosenfeld)

Authentic Degrees and Credentials

Isn't education a pain? It seems that creationists are more prone to getting their science degrees from non-accredited (or just plain fake) religious institutions rather than genuine, accredited schools or universities. Sometimes that's too much of a pain, so they go to a degree mill. Fifty bucks and an SASE, and you're a PhD, ready and qualified to refute evolution! (suggested by Daniel Ball)

Their Third Cousins

One of the more idiotic quips I've heard (more than once, I'm sad to say) from creationists is, "If humans evolved from apes, then how come there are still apes around?" I can't speak for the creationists' immediate ancestry, but mine runs something like this: one of my great-great-grandfathers was named Ross. Among his offspring, one married a Thompson and produced children who were Thompsons. One of those children had children of her own who were neither Rosses nor Thompsons, but Icenogles. An Icenogle daughter produced me, who am none of the above, but a Riggins. Thus, Rosses gave rise to descendants who are no longer Rosses. Some have become Rigginses. But some Ross descendants are still Rosses! There are still Rosses around, even though some of their descendants "evolved" into Rigginses, and a lot of other "species". This isn't biological evolution, of course, but the principal is exactly the same: an ancestor can produce descendants which are very like itself (of the same species), while at the same time having other descendants which have become something else. The existence of descendants which have varied widely doesn't mean the original type has ceased to exist, or that there wasn't, in fact, a common ancestor. That's as true of anthropoids and Homo as it is of your ancestors, you, and those third cousins who retain the ancestral name that your branch of the family no longer uses.

Carnivores

One of the more bizarre creationist notions is that before the "Fall", all creatures lived in perfect harmony, and all ate plants (it seems to have something to do with death not existing until Adam bit the fruit). Thus we have an idyllic Eden, with herbivorous cheetahs, eagles, rattlesnakes, wolves, tarantulas, and presumably tyrannosauri and velociraptors. Indeed, the lion could lie down with the lamb. But then there's me and my dumb questions: Unless the carnivores evolved really rapidly after the "Fall", they came originally equipped as they are now--with claws, incisors, fangs, web-spinning apparatus, etc. What need would an herbivorous rattlesnake have for venomous fangs? Why would a cheetah need blazing speed, unless to run down impala--and why would the impala need to be fast unless to escape speedy cheetahs? Why would those infamous peppered moths have needed camouflage? Why would a skunk need its stink, or a porcupine its quills? What sort of grass did a tyrannosaurus eat with its steak-knife teeth? No matter how hard I try, I can't imagine without amusement a black widow trapping what--berries?--in her web, then envenomating them until they quit struggling! A bison is "designed" as a herbivore, and has been one for a long, long time. Your housecat is plainly "designed" as a meat-eater, and would clearly have a devil of a time trying to graze for a living.

Our Founding Fathers

...because they make creationists appear, shall we say, less than intellectually competent when they toss out a howler like, "George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were creationists!" It makes one want to knock on their heads and call out derisively, "Helllooo! Anybody home in there? In what year did Washington die? When was Origin of Species published?" Old George didn't know about germs, either.

Flat-Earthers

Oh, yes, there are still some around, and they make young-earth creationists uncomfortable, because their risible, crackpot notions are based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. In fact, they take the Bible even more literally than most creationists, assuming it means what it says about corners, foundations, and pillars of the Earth, and that mountain from which one could see the whole Earth. When we laugh at flat-earthers, and can hardly believe such nuts are still around--we're laughing at them for having the same belief system as young-earthers: take-no-prisoners biblical literalism.

Chemistry

Chemists, being somewhat familiar with how elements and molecules combine and recombine non-randomly, haven't risen up as a body to declare the chemical origin or subsequent evolution of life to be a flat-out impossibility. Now why do you suppose that is?

Dendrochronology

That means tree-ring counting. Dendrochronologists, by matching patterns in annual growth rings, can establish a sequence in living, dead, and long-dead trees in certain areas of the world. That can be a very reliable dating technique for, say, a beam used in an ancient shelter. But this archeological specialty must be completely useless and unreliable, since in some areas ring sequences extend back through the supposed date of the Flood, showing no evidence of same, and indeed way past the usual young-ear th creation date. One of the conundrums of creationism is that the Earth was apparently created complete with evidence of a past that never happened, including tree rings, other annual layering phenomena, fossils already in the ground, and light from distant stars already most of the way here--revealing cosmic events that never really happened!

Varves

Those are annual layers deposited in lake beds. In some places they are clearly distinguishable because of varying colors and compositions of materials deposited in different seasons. We can see them form, over a few years, so we know exactly what causes them and that they do, in fact, represent one year per layer. The problem, of course, (and darn near everything, it seems, is a problem for creationists) is that there are lakes in the world with many times the 6,000 annual varves that could have been laid down since the Creation.

P.S. Annual ice layers in Greenland and elsewhere are also Satanic deceptions.


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"You can lie about ICR all you want." -- Jason Daniel Henderson

"Thank you for your permission however there's never any need to. Creationist propaganda is already self-debunking." -- Fredric L. Rice

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