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12 False Statements Made by Anti-evolutionary Apologists

Copyright 2001 by Glenn R. Morton. This page may be freely copied so long as no changes are made or monetary charges required. (home.entouch.net/dmd/false.htm).

These are 12 false statements of facts by various apologists. They are not a comprehensive list of such faux pas but they are the ones which struck me as easily falsified.

False Statement #1

“4. The simplest chemical step for the origin of life, the gathering of amino acids that are all left-handed and nucleotide sugars that are all right-handed (a phenomenon known as ‘homochirality’), cannot be achieved under inorganic conditions.” ~ Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998), p. 41

The Murchison meteorite was observed to fall in 1969. It was immediately placed in a bag and then in a freezer. It has been examined for several years for evidence of amino acids. The earliest reports showed that the amino acids found in the meteor were predominantly left-handed.

But what is interesting is that they are not racemic! Engel, Macko and Silfer reported that the amino acids extracted from Murchison meteorite are not racemic but actually have a higher L concentration. Much care was taken to avoid contamination. Engel and Nagy report d/l ratios as low as .105 but they seem to average around .25 (See Engel Macko and Silfer “Carbon Isotope Composition of Individual Amino Acids in the Murchison Meteorite,” Nature, Nov. 1, 1990, p. 47-48 and Michael H. Engel and Bartholomew Nagy, “Distribution and Enantiomeric Composition of Amino Acids in the Murchison Meteorite,” Nature, 296, April 29, 1982 p. 838)

Here is the table from the first report:

amino acid d/l ratio in Murchison meteorite

      GLU   ASP  PRO  LEU   ALA

H2O  .322  .202 .342 .166 .682

H2O   .30  .30  .30   nd  .60

HCl  .176 .126 .105  .029 .307

This proves non-biogenic hydrocarbons can be optically active ~Michael H. Engel and Bartholomew Nagy, “Distribution and Enantiomeric Composition of Amino Acids in the Murchison Meteorite”, Nature, 296, April 29, 1982, p. 838.

 For the proof of nonliving left handed amino acids, Cronin and Pizzarello looked for animo acids that don't occur in living systems on earth so that contamination could be ruled out. They too were left-handed predominate.

      “Now chemists have furnished intriguing evidence that certain amino acids that formed in space 4.5 billion years ago have a small, but significant, excess of the left-handed form.” John R. Cronin and Sandra Pizzarello of Arizona State University in Tempe report their findings in the Feb. 14 SCIENCE.

     “‘This is the first convincing demonstration that there may be some natural nonbiological process that results in a slight...excess of the [left-handed] amino acids,’ says Jeffrey L. Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.”
      “The observations suggest that extraterrestrial, nonbiological organic matter could have played an essential role in the origin of life on Earth by providing the initial asymmetry from which a distinctive handedness developed, Cronin and Pizzarello contend.”
     “Using sensitive analytical techniques, the researchers extracted and studied in meticulous detail four amino acids found in the carbon-rich Murchison meteorite, a type known as a carbonaceous chondrite. They examined amino acids that were relatively common in the meteorite but were not among the 20 amino acids found in terrestrial organisms.”
     “By focusing on these particular amino acids, Cronin and Pizzarello could avoid problems of contamination that would bias the results. In each case, the researchers found an excess of the left-handed form of the amino acid, ranging from 2 to 9 percent.”
     “The findings indicate that even amino acids that are never found in known life-forms, and so could not result from terrestrial biological evolution, display a lef-handed bias.” ~I. Peterson, “Left-handed Excess in Meteorite Molecules”, Science News, Feb 22, 1997, p. 118

     “The finding of enantiomeric excesses in amino acids indigenous to the Murchison meteorite constitutes the first natural evidence for the operation of an abiotic process for enantiomeric enrichment. The observations suggest that organic matter of extraterrestrial origin could have played an essential role in the origin of terrestrial life as a provider of the initial enantiomeric excesses from which homochirality developed.” ~ John R. Cronin and Sandra Pizzarello, “Enantiomeric Excesses in Meteoritic Amino Acids,” Science 275 (February 14, 1997): 951-955, p. 954

Added May 2009:   A gentleman on the internet pointed me to a blog post by Fuz Rana, of Reasons to believe. He acknowledges now (after only 13 years of pulling teeth) that there is indeed some chiral preferences in the meteoritic amino acids. (see HERE) But, of course, one can't expect a group who has spent their lifetime fighting evolution to suddenly see that they are wrong, even if it can be shown that the Bible might teach evolution (see this page on Gen1:11: home.entouch.net/dmd/Gen1-11.htm). So, Fuz closes his article by saying,

“Yet, a chiral excess of isoleucine exists in GRA 95229, indicating that some mechanism must produce it. But still it is questionable if this relatively low level of chiral excess in isoleucine can explain the origin of homochirality. A 14% surplus of one enantiomer is a far cry from the 100% required for living systems.”

“It is also questionable if the transfer of the chiral excess from amino acids to sugars can serve as a sufficient explanation for homochirality. It's not clear if this reaction, successfully conducted in a laboratory under exacting conditions, would operate on early Earth. Even if it did, the extent of chiral excess generated in sugars is limited to about 10%. Again, a long way from the 100% required for life. Lab work shows that only a 10% chiral excess is generated in sugars if the amino acid catalyst possesses a 100% surplus of one enantiomer. Once the level of enantiomeric excess falls to about 15% for the amino acid catalyst (the level observed for isoleucine in GRA 95229), the chiral excess generated in the sugars plummets to around 1%.”

“The bottom line: The detection of a slight enantiomeric excess of isoluecine in the GRA 95229 meteorite appears to be an unequivocal finding that requires an explanation. Though interesting, the discovery of the slight chiral excess of isoleucine in GRA 95229 provides little, if any, reason to believe that the scientific community is on their way to explaining the origin of homochirality.” Source

While it is encouraging that these guys are finally being dragged into the 21st century's knowledge base, it is sad to see christian apologists so far behind the cutting edge.

 

False Statement #2

“The highly specific nature of many proteins is dependent not only upon the optical activity and sequence of amino acids in the chain, but also upon the way in which the protein strand will fold and twist upon itself producing a distinctive three-dimensional globular arrangement, which effect is called the tertiary structure. This three-dimensional, tertiary configuration (deduced from x-ray diffraction studies), is crucial to many of life's proteins. Without the proper optical activity and sequence of the constituent amino acids, the three-dimensional folding of the protein chain would not be correct. If the tertiary structure is improper, the protein will be useless, inactive biologically.” ~ Randy L. Wysong, The Creation-Evolution Controversy, (Midland Mich.: Inquiry Press, 1976), p. 63

This is what Nature Magazine has to say.

      “Consideration of these ‘constructional laws’ suggests that the total number of permissible folds is bound to be restricted to a very small number—about 4,000, according to one estimate. Confirmation that this is probably so is provided by a different type of estimate, based on the discovery rate of new folds. Using this method, Cyrus Chothia of Britain's Medical Research Council estimated that the total number of folds utilized by living organisms may not be more than 1,000. Subsequent estimates have given figures of between 500 and 1,000. Whatever the final figure, the fact that the total number of folds represents a tiny stable fraction of all possible polypeptide conformations, determined by the laws of physics, reinforces the notion that the folds, like atoms, represent a finite set of built-in natural forms. ‘life.’ “Michael Denton and Craig Marshall, “Laws of Form Revisited,” Nature, 410 (2001) :417

 

False Statement #3

Speaking of the Lewis Overthrust

“But this ‘misplaced’ block of limestone is about 350 miles long, 35 milles wide, and 6 miles thick! Dr. Henry M. Morris has demonstrated conclusively that such large scale mechanical sliding would be physically impossible even if the sliding planes were lubricated.” ~ Scott M. Huse, The Collapse of Evolution, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), p. 16.

This is clearly false as can be seen at www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/othrust.htm. Basically, Morris forgot that the fault block doesn't move as one mass but inches along like a caterpillar meaning that only a small portion of the thrust is moving at any one time.

 

False Statement #4

“It is important to realize that nowhere in the world does the geologic column actually occur. It exists only in the minds of evolutionary geologists.” ~ Scott M. Huse, The Collapse of Evolution, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), p.15

Once again, this is an entirely false statement which a simple reading of www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/geo.htm would show. The geologic column consisting of every period piled up in proper order exists in about 25 places around the world. Thus Mr. Huse is flat wrong. The geologic column exists and is seen in the logs of many oil wells.

 

False Statement #5

“Careful studies of the volume and rate of accumulation of the delta of the Mississippi show that it could not be older than about 5,000 years. This age is obtained by dividing the weight of sediments deposited annually into the total weight of the delta.” ~ Robert E. Kofahl, Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter, (San Diego: Beta Books, 1977), p. 122

200 million years ago the mouth of the Mississippi river was at Cairo Illinois, not at New Orleans, Louisiana. The Mississippi and other rivers had to fill in a huge amount of sediment which is now under dry land from Cairo Illinois down to New Orleans. Here are the calculations.

  There are 1,588,604,000,000 sq. meters in the Gulf of Mexico. From seismic data and gravity data, I know that there is an average of 15,200 meters of sediment over this region. We have actually drilled through about 10,000 meters of sediment so that is indisputable. Now,

  1,588,604,000,000 x 15200 = 24,146,780,800,000,000 cubic meters.

  The Mississippi River carries about 210 x 10^6 tons per year. [see Scott M. Mclennan “Weathering and Global Denudation”, Journal of Geology, 101:2, p. 296)

  That works out to be 210 x 10^9 kg per year. There are 2400 kg per cubic meter, so dividing we have

  210 x 10^9 kg per year / 2400 kg per cm = 87,500,000 cubic meters per year. A good assumption is that the other rivers emptying into the Gulf probably are equivalent to another Mississippi River. Thus we will assume that 175,000,000 cubic meters per year are deposited.

  Dividing this into the volume of the Gulf sediments we find:

  24,146,780,800,000,000 cubic meters/175,000,000 cubic meters per year = 137,981,604 years. That is 137 million years for the river to fill up the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, lets do something NO YOUNG_EARTH CREATIONIST EVER DOES WITH THE EROSION ARGUMENT. Lets put all this sediment back on the Continent. The Mississippi River has a drainage area of 3.27 million square kilometers or 3,270,000,000,000 square meters. Assuming half of the sediment came from the eroded Mississippi drainage area we find that 12,073,390,400,000,000 cubic meters must be put back on the continent. Thus the continents were,

  12,073,390,400,000,000 cubic meters / 3,270,000,000,000 square meters = 3692 meters higher before the Gulf was filled in. That means that about two miles of sediment has been eroded off the continents. Does that mean that the continents were 3692 meters higher above sea level back then? NO. The continents sink into the mantle of the earth if you add weight to them. The ratio is about a third of the extra height of sediment is the amount the sediment sinks. Thus if you add 3692 m of sediment the continents sink about 1200 m, leaving the continent only about 2400 meters higher. Thus one can't say that this much sediment is too much.

  The Mississippi has been in its present place for about 200 million years. Why 200 rather than 137? Because some of the sediment was deposited in the Jurassic at Cairo Illinois was then re-eroded and deposited in Arkansas, where it was then re-eroded and moved to Lousiana, where it is now being re-eroded and put into the Gulf. The net sediment influx is smaller over the past 200 million years than what we see today. This is true both because of re-erosion as well as in the past the Mississippi's drainage area was much smaller so that it carried less sediment. Today the Mississippi erodes from Arkansas. 200 million years ago, Arkansas was under water and thus couldn't be eroded.

 

False Statement #6

“There is no observational evidence of any planets outside the solar system let alone planets that could support life.” ~ Henry M. Morris and Gary E. Parker, What is Creation Science?, (El Cajon: Master Books, 1987), p. 268

This is more in the nature of a failed prediction. What is the silliest thing about this quotation is that when it was written in 1987 we were obviously on the verge of actually measuring the wobble in the star's path which would be caused by planets. Indeed, this was a statement that was doomed to fail from the start. Today, merely 15 years later we have evidence of over 60 extrasolar planets (obspm.fr/encycl/catalog.html).

 

False Statement #7

“The initiation of the whole imaginary process - the contraction of hydrogen by gravity to form a protostar - seems clearly impossible in the first place.” ~ Henry M. Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science, (Grand Rapids: Baker Bookhouse, 1984), p. 167

Within merely 15 years after this was written, the Hubble telescope took photos of such stellar condensation areas. Protostars were seen to be shining from the condensed clouds of gas. Below is the picture served by oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/jpeg/M16Full.jpg

[image of Star formation]

One would think that there would be a bit of humility when making such erroneous predictions.

 

False Statement #8 and #9

Of Supernovas:

“There is no intrinsic reason why these dramatic increases in brightness have to be interpreted as taking place in the stars rather than in the streams of photons leading from the stars.” ~ Henry M. Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science, (Grand Rapids: Baker Bookhouse, 1984), p. 176

And of geometric distance measurements:

    “Many do not realize that the farthest direct age/distance measurement we can make in the universe is limited to about three hundred light years, done by triangulation using the diameter of the earth's orbit as a baseline. All age/distance measurements beyond that are indirect, and are based on assumptions which may or may not be valid).” ~Marvin L. Lubenow, Bones of Contention, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992), p. 201

In 1987 a supernova went off in the Large Magellanic Cloud which destroyed both of those silly statements. This thing was observed less than 2 hours after the explosion. (Pictures of that region taken Feb 23 9:22 GMT [I believe] showed no supernova. A picture taken Feb 23 10:39 GMT showed the supernova). About 6 months later, we began to detect a ring of gas surrounding the supernova. This ring had been there prior to the explosion but had been invisible because it was not illuminated. It is seen in the photo below as the yellowish or orangish ring.

[image of Star formation]

The geometry is as follows:

---ring of gas

/\ *
 |                   *
 |                                  *
 |                                                 *
***supernova---------------------------------------> earth
 |                                                 *
 |                                  *
 |                  *
\/ *

---ring of gas

The *'s are the travel path of the light from the ring to the earth.

From the speed of light we can determine that the ring is 1.37 light-years diameter, we can measure the angular diameter of the ring from telescopes on earth. From this, we can determine that supernova is 169,000 light-years away.

It merely shows that Morris and Lubenow have not done their research. Now, can we use the supernova to determine how long it took the light to get to earth? Yes. Theoretical models of supernovas had predicted that cobalt 56 would power the light decay curve early in its life. It would then be replaced by the longer-half-lived cobalt 57 and the Co-56 vanished. What was found?

“Observations of Supernova 1987A stunningly confirmed the prediction. Cobalt 56 has a half-life of 77 days; from 1987 through 1990, the visible light from the supernova faded at exactly that rate. The Solar Maximum Mission satellite andinstruments on National Aeronautics and Space Administration research balloons also detected gamma rays from the supernova carrying 847,000 and 1,238,000 electronvolts. These are precisely the energies associated with the decay of cobalt 56.”

     “Since 1991 the visible light from supernova 1987A has faded at a rate corresponding to a half-life of about 270 days, the exact half-life of cobalt 57. It seems that cobalt 57 is now the main radioactive isotope powering the supernova. OSSE has followed up on the previous observations by detecting the 122,000-electron-volt gamma rays characteristic of the decay of cobalt 57.” ~Neil Gehrels, Carl E. Fichtel, Gerald J. Fishman, James D. Kurfess, Volker Schonfelder, “The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory,” Scientific American, Dec. 1993, p. 75

The observation verified the theoretical prediction, but it did more than that. Fundamental physics shows that the speed of light is proportional to the rate of radioactive decay. Seeing the same half-life and energies for Co-56 and Co-57 on the star as we see here tells us that the speed of light has not changed since the light left the star. This means that the light took 169,000 years to get here.

If the universe is only a few thousand years, then everything prior to the vertical line is false.

---ring of gas

/\ *                                         |
 |            *                              |
 |                         *                 |
 |                                           |      *
***supernova---------------------------------------> earth
 |                                           |      *
 |                         *                 |
 |            *                              |
\/ *                                        6000 light years

---ring of gas

God had to manufacture the light in such a way as to form a sequence of images for a supernova event which never happened. God must make just the precise photon energies appear at the appropriate time. God must make the amplitude of the light images decay precisely with the successive half-lives of Co-56 and then Co-57. But none of these made up events ever happened. Since only God Himself is powerful enough to create such an illusion, then God can not escape the charge of deception IF the supernova didn't happen 169,000 years ago as we see it.

Thus I feel that in order to not have God deceiving us, I must believe in an old earth.

References in addition to the citations

  • N. Panagia et al., “Properties of the SN1987A Circumstellar Ring and the Distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud”, Astrophysical Journal 380, L23-L26 (1991) gives the distance as 51.2 +/- 3.1 kiloparsecs.
  • Bertram Schwarzschild, “Ring Around SN1987A Supernova Provides a New Yardstick”, Physics Today, February 1991, page 20.

A good book is Paul Murdin, End in Fire Cambridge University Press 1990.

 

False Statement #10

“Another reason for skepticism is that anthropologists are only able to compare plaster casts of fossils and measurements from printed material.” Ray Bohlin, “Human Fossils,” in Ray Bohlin, ed., Creation, Evolution, & Modern Science, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2000), p. 30

Absolutely false. Michael H. Day laments the rough handling that many hominid fossil specimens have received. He writes:

“Casts and photographs have a place but they should never be used as primary sources of data in serious work. This does not mean that every worker has the right to take measurements on any specimen when agreed sets of dimensions are available; some of the most valuable and important specimens already show signs of ‘caliper wear’ and their dimensions are changing. Published work should always specify whether or not the observations quoted have been taken on the originals or on casts so that the reader can judge for himself the weight to put on the results.” Michael H. Day, Guide to Fossil Man, 4th edition, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986) p. 4-5

How did all that caliper wear happen if anthropologists are working from casts?

 

False Statement #11

     “We have no way of knowing with certainty if Neanderthal man could talk. His brain cavity size was not only equal to but exceeded that of modern man. However, he reportedly lacked the frontal lobe, the speech center of our modern brain.” John Wiester, The Genesis Connection, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), p. 180

Gowlett comparing Neanderthal brains to those of modern humans writes:

“It is tempting to see our high forehead as representing a major intellectual advance over the Neanderthals and other hominids, but there is little evidence that the frontal lobes expanded during this time. It was rather that a different spatial relationship developed between the face and the cranial vault, so that our faces sit much more under the brain.” John A. J. Gowlett, Ascent to Civilization, (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1993), p. 104

In other words, Neanderthals had the same size frontal lobes as we did. Wiester's claim is without reference and shows the poor level of scholarship among the anti-evolutionists.

 

False Statement #12

“The first Neanderthal skeleton was found in Europe at about the turn of the century.” ~ Randy L. Wysong, The Creation-Evolution Controversy, (Midland Mich.: Inquiry Press, 1976), p. 296.

One wonders where on earth these guys get their information. In 1829 or 1830 Charles Schmerling discovered a Neanderthal child at Engihoul, Belgium. The fossil was not recognized for what it was, but it was the first recorded case of Neanderthals being found. (Erik Trinkhaus and Pat Shipman, The Neanderthals, (New York: Vintage Books, 1992), p. 38-39). The second time Neanderthal was discovered was at Gibraltar in 1848. There was a paper given at the local Gibraltar Scientific Society about this strange child. His bones then rested there until after 1856 when it was realized what the child represented. The third time was the charm and in 1856 (long before the turn of the century) Johann Karl Fuhlrott was given the skeleton of a Neanderthal by some quarrymen in the Neander valley. From Adam, Apes and Anthropology, 1997, I write:

            “Fuhlrott had taken the bones to Hermann Schaaffhausen, an anatomist at the University of Bonn. Schaaffhausen believed that the bones represented an ancient form of man who had inhabited Europe prior to the Celts. On Feb. 4, 1857, Schaaffhausen presented a preliminary report to the Lower Rhine Medical and Natural History Society at Bonn. On June 2, 1857, Fuhlrott and Schaaffhausen presented two papers to the Natural History Society of Prussian Rhineland and Westphalia.” p. 20.

Wysong's claim that Neanderthals were found about 1900 illustrates so well the lack of scholarship among the anti-evolutionists.

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