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Question Evolution – new video



A caricature of Charles Darwin, that illustrates much of what is wrong with evolution, and why it is important to question evolution.

The Question Evolution campaign gained a new 13-year-old ally in the last twenty-four hours, just in time for Christmas. His new one-minute spot makes compelling viewing.

The Question Evolution campaign

Creation Ministries International started its Question Evolution campaign last summer. The Australia-based ministry has fifteen questions that evolutionists cannot answer. (So they often dodge some questions by trying to say that they are off-topic, like the origin of life; or else they go off on wild tangents.) The questions are:

  1. How did life begin?
  2. Where did the DNA code come from?
  3. How can mutations, which are copying mistakes, actually create new information?
  4. Why do evolutionists teach natural selection as the engine of evolution? Natural selection selects; it does not create.
  5. Where did new biochemical pathways come from, with all their intermediate steps?
  6. Why do scientists reject, a priori, any notion of a non-“natural” or non-wild cause for anything, often breaking the Law of Averages?
  7. Where did multi-celled life come from?
  8. Why sex?
  9. Where are the “Missing Links”?
  10. Why should any form of life never change for millions of years, if evolution is so powerful?
  11. How could blind chemistry create intelligence, and even high concepts of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics?
  12. How do evolutionists expect people to believe some of their “just-so” stories?
  13. What scientific breakthroughs are due entirely to evolution?
  14. How can evolutionists claim that their “science,” which is really a kind of history, is in the same class as the operational or experimental sciences?
  15. How do evolutionists get away with teaching a proposition based on faith (or perhaps anti-faith) as if it were hard science?

The new video

A caricature of Charles Darwin, that illustrates much of what is wrong with evolution, and why it is important to question evolution.

This caricature of Charles Darwin illustrates much of what is wrong (and ironic) with the concept of evolution.

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A new YouTube user calling himself MisterExpertise has produced a new video to call attention to the Question Evolution campaign. Sources close to him say that he is thirteen years old. Remarkably, his video shows production values that easily rival those of any professional advertising agency.  The music alone is worth the viewer’s time. The slides cannot show the content of the questions (one minute and nine seconds is not long enough for that). But they do excite the viewer’s interest, and the author has thoughtfully listed links in the video description for the viewer to find out what those questions are, and how he can take part. The “Question Evolution” phrase appears in the first slide (always a good hook), over a priceless photograph of Charles Darwin holding his right forefinger over his lips.

Sh-h-h-h! Quiet! We mustn’t say certain things out loud!

That’s the attitude of many evolutionists today. It is the reason for the Question Evolution campaign.

The new video came out in time for Christmas, so it ends with a Christmas message. No doubt he will produce more videos next year. CNAV looks forward to reviewing them.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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Tony Sidaway

Merry Christmas, Terry. These lists turn up every now and then. The exact composition of questions changes because the answers to the existing questions become too easy to find and so a new “unanswerable question” enjoys its day in the sun every now and then.

Science is about asking questions and seeking answers to them, so keep it up. Teaching young people that it’s good to ask questions is a great idea. They’re more likely to learn science if they are encouraged to think for themselves.

R E Konrad

Dudes, How about question #16??? #16. Are not ALL things possible with GOD? AS such, both possibilities are viable.

Tony Sidaway

“Maybe. But one possibility has the support of all available records. And by the way, there are records, and a Record.

“The other possibility forces people, time and again, to fudge the records to make them agree with it.”

That’s one statement I can be sure will be avidly questioned by anybody bright enough to question why scientists know what they know.

Happy Christmas, Terry.

Tony Sidaway

“Back to your statement: the purpose of the Question Evolution campaign is to encourage more people to question why those who call themselves scientists, say what they say in the name of science.”

Absolutely! That’s the way to go. Science can be separated from plausible nonsense only by careful examination. Science can only benefit from careful scrutiny.

The kind of careful scrutiny that may not be applied to holy books, sacred myths, and other sacred cows. Bad news for religion, good news for science.

Tony Sidaway

“Except, it seems, when careful observation vindicates the Oldest Record extant.”

Well you’re assuming that a written human record is the oldest record, and that the record you have seen is in fact the oldest written human record.

The great thing about free inquiry is that we’re not limited to such assumptions. Look up at the sky, at any twinkling point of light. Some of those points of light–particularly distance galaxies–give evidence of a very old universe. On earth, all measurements we know how to do converge on a very old earth. Those are very ancient records indeed. And they tend to corroborate one another, not some work spoken and then eventually written down by us humans long before we had a decent hold on how the world works.

Tony Sidaway

Really, you’re opposing the current working model while at the same time you express the utterly bizarre belief that modern scientists think space has not vastly expanded. Surely even you cannot be so out of touch.

Please read some articles about cosmology. By mainstream cosmologists. You know, the chaps who think space has expanded vastly.

Tony Sidaway

Well you just changed your tune. You falsely claimed that I made an assumption that I do not make and that you really ought to know is absolutely not part of modern cosmology.

You have some notion that the vast expansion of space-time is consistent with a reading of Genesis that would place the origin of the universe in the very recent past, perhaps a few thousand years ago. The details are not important, but you espouse a hypothesis that does not obviously follow from observation.

So yes, perhaps I’ve “fallen into a trap”. But only in the sense that I might learn something.

What evidence do you have to support the idea that time has kept pace with space? We can look at events on Earth and see that it’s far older (just looking at seasonal changes in ice core samples, for instance) than Genesis, and to be sure very few geologists would deny that. What it’s your alternative explanation?

Fergus Mason

“you assume that space has always been as vast as it is today”

No we don’t. Quite the opposite really.

Fergus Mason

“You say that space has contracted?”

No I don’t; I didn’t say anything even remotely like that, and I don’t appreciate you deleting comments to prevent me from pointing that out.

Fergus Mason

“I said that you assumed that space had always been as vast way back in the past as it is today.”

Which, of course, I didn’t.

“I never figured you for saying that space had been vaster in the past and had now contracted.”

Yes you did. Your previous reply implied that I’d said exactly that and went so far as to cite Einstein as a rebuttal.

“when space expands, time gets stretched.”

It’s not quite as simple as that and, as you may be not aware, astronomers are quite comfortable with the concept of time dilation and know how to account for it.

Fergus Mason

“The time dilation that accompanies the stretching of the entire sky is a different matter.”

*sigh* OK, a question first. When light arrives on Earth from distant objects, in which direction is that light shifted?

“And I suggest that your model assumes that space never expands or contracts, but stays at the same size”

Well, it doesn’t.

“and the expansion stretched time.”

Yes, we’ll deal with that shortly.

Fergus Mason

“Red, of course.”

Of course. That rules out the suggestion that time is passing more slowly on Earth than in the universe in general.

“That reflects the stretching of space in all directions away from our galaxy”

Oh no it doesn’t. Tell me, what’s the redshift of M31, the Andromeda galaxy, as seen from Earth?

“the placement of our galaxy at the top of a potential mountain, with the rest of the universe at a lower level.”

No, that’s utter bonk.

Fergus Mason

“the cosmology with which I am familiar, reaches conclusions that are the diametric opposites of yours.”

Does it? Please explain. And while you’re at it tell me the redshift of M31 as seen from Earth.

Fergus Mason

“Andromeda is a special case.”

Oh no it isn’t. There are at least 52 other galaxies where exactly the same case applies. You see, space isn’t expanding between M31 and us. It isn’t expanding between us or any other member of the Local Group, either.

Fergus Mason

“The Local Group is the special case.”

No, the local group is A special case. Space isn’t expanding between ANY pair of gravitationally bound objects, whether in the Local Group or not.

“When you get beyond it, z increases with distance.”

Yes, I know. That’s how we can tell how far away something was when it emitted the light we observe, how far the light APPEARS to have travelled and how far it’s REALLY travelled.

Fergus Mason

“Your model assumes that far-off objects are rushing away from our galaxy.”

No, our OBSERVATIONS conclusively PROVE that SPACE IS EXPANDING between us and objects to which we are not gravitationally bound.

“Cosmological relativity”

What’s that? The only kinds of relativity astronomy recognises are special and general.

Fergus Mason

“you accept, or so you say, the notion that space expands between the local group and large objects beyond it.”

Of course I do. How could I not? I’ve seen the redshift myself, with a 16″ telescope and a spectrographic analysis system.

“Yet you reject out-of-hand the time dilation that must inevitably result from such expansion.”

*sigh* If an object is 3bpc away from us, with the appropriate redshift, in which direction does the time dilation work? Is time passing more slowly for US or is it passing more slowly for THAT OBJECT?

“Thus you mistakenly peg the age of our little piece of spatial real estate (though not the age of the solar system itself) at 13.7 billion years, the same as the far reaches of the universe.”

No. See above.


The problem with “time dilation” cosmologies is that they cannot account for comparatively nearby objects. The opposite side of the Milky Way has no appreciable red shift and no significant relative time dialtion yet it is much more distant than we should be able to observe in a 6000 year old universe. Supernova Sn1987a (distance 167,000+ light years) is another example and it has already been pointed out that Andromeda (distance 2.4 million ly) is blue shifted.

Dr. Russell Humphreys’ “Starlight and Time” may have been the first attempt to use time dilation to explain our ability to directly observe distant objects and he had to admit his model doesn’t work for nearby ones. For example, the minimum size for an event horizon would be the radius of the Earth. In order to get an event horizon that size requires over 2000 solar masses within the space of the Earth. Getting an event horizon that reaches the orbit of the moon requires something like 200,000 solar masses.

Terry seems to acknowledge his favored model has some problems with the local group of galaxies, so it appears he has traded one set of problems for another.

Fergus Mason

“Hartnett identified Humphreys’ key error: by putting our galaxy at the bottom of a potential well, his model requires all values of z to be negative”

In other words Humphreys’ model had already been invalidated by the evidence, as all values of z are NOT negative, clearing the way for Hartnett to come along with a few key errors of his own – such as “solving” Einstein’s field equations by mangling them beyond recognition and making them meaningless. Just so you know, t=/=v.

“Andromeda and other galaxies that are satellites of our own.”

M31 is not a satellite of our galaxy.

Fergus Mason

“Two concepts that violate any concept of parsimony.”

Well no, they don’t. We know they EXIST because their effects are observable; we merely don’t know what they ARE – just like Mendel (and to some extent Darwin) knew that there was a particulate agent of heredity but didn’t know what it was. Crick and Watson discovered DNA, some day, someone will discover what dark matter and dark energy really are.

Parsimony says “Don’t add entities UNNECESSARILY.” It doesn’t say “Avoid adding entities AT ALL COSTS, even if the only alternative is to render equations meaningless by changing fundamental variables.”

Fergus Mason

“without them, you would have to admit that your Big Bang theory simply cannot account either for excessive spin rates for large objects”

The Big Bang theory doesn’t HAVE to account for excessive spin rates; that’s a gravity issue.

“or for accelerated expansion.”


“the biggest fudges since Directed Panspermia.”

I think Directed Panspermia is nonsense. It’s a solution to a problem that, it’s becoming increasingly clear, doesn’t actually exist. It’s only ever been a small minority position anyway. Sure, it’s POSSIBLE; we could probably do it on Mars right now. But is there any reason to think it happened on Earth? Not at all.

Tony Sidaway

“You mean that people reject that hypothesis a priori because they make another unsafe assumption about initial concentrations, and decay rates, of radioactive materials.”

No. No a priori rejection is involved. A coherent and credibe alternative theory might yet win the day. But it hasn’t.

“Those ice cores? Do you know when they were laid down? Or how? By a torrential hail, from water that shot up to the stratosphere (and cooled down to near-absolute zero just from going from zero to Mach 32-plus in seconds) and fell back to earth. (It froze the mammoths of Siberia, some of them standing up, did you know that?)”

Are you aware that the process of glaciation is observable? Glaciers and ice fields form and grow quite slowly, but we can be confident that their creation does not require torrential hail. It is happening today. We can watch snow fall and, over a matter of years, settle into firm glacial ice. Now again, I ask you to present evidence to support your extraordinary alternative notions.


It’s funny how these allegedly “violent conditions of the Flood and the period after it” would produce so many (observed) shale beds, composed of fine-grained particles that stay suspended and not deposited in violently churning water. It’s even funnier that these shale beds often alternate with coarser sandstone beds, dozens of times and sometimes hundreds of times.

Brown isn’t interested in advancing scientific research. If he were, he’d submit his work through the usual channels. Such channels include geology conferences, where anybody can present their work for a fee. Brown’s pitiful sloth and sheer cowardice are the only barriers to such presentation.


Terry wrote:
apply to Dr. Brown to debate the issue.

Geno answers:
I have. It appears we have not even been able to come to agreement on a topic of the debate. Here is my proposed question for discussion:

“The Hydroplate Theory will release so much (heat) energy it will destroy all life on Earth.”

Terry wrote:
I don’t accept any of those uniformitarian paradigms at face value. Not anymore, I don’t.

Geno answers:
You certainly seem to Accept Dr. Brown’s paradigms at face value.

Tell us:
Do we get any cooling at all from jet (or rocket) exhaust?

What happens to water vapor when it cools below the dew point?

How much energy will be released from the condensation of just 1% of the water Brown says was added to the oceans by his model?

After water condenses to a liquid, does it continue to expand?

What happens to all that energy released by the condensation?

If the water freezes, what happens to the energy released as it freezes?

After water freezes, does it continue to expand (significantly)?

Can you show us you have attempted to evaluate just ONE of those questions objectively?

If I’m not qualified to take Dr. Brown on in a written exchange of these issues because I lack a PhD, I’ll be delighted to take you on, Terry.


I didn’t say that “shale bed absolutely, positively requires millions of years to deposit.” Rather, I said that it’s funny how this allegedly “violent conditions of the Flood and the period after it” would produce so many (observed) shale beds, composed of fine-grained particles that stay suspended and not deposited in violently churning water.

How do you explain the shale beds? How do you explain the sandstone beds that often alternate with shale beds? Remember, this all occurred during “violent conditions” … right?


Terry wrote:
Geno, your comments about water vapor seemingly not cooling in a jet exhaust would make sense in only one context: only if contrails did not form. We know what contrails are

Geno answers:
Yes we do. We also know how they form. They do NOT form by cooling the surrounding atmosphere as Dr. Brown implies. You know that. The fact is the formation of a contrail HEATS the surroundings.

Terry claims:
The cooling effect occurs when the kinetic energy goes from zero to several kilojoules in the fraction of a second. Water vapor in the air condenses and can even freeze.

Geno answers:
Of course it can freeze…. but not because it is cooling the surroundings. It freezes because jet exhaust is expelled at high temperature. As it expands it cools. If it cools far enough, it will condense to liquid water. It freezes because the temperature of the surrounding air is well below freezing…. not because the exhaust is cooling the environment. In fact, the exhaust is heating the local environment, not cooling it.

Terry points out:
So yes, you do get cooling in a jet exhaust (and in a rocket exhaust, too, ….

Geno agrees:
Of course you do. Expanding gases cool. The question isn’t if the exhaust cools, it’s how far it will cool and what the thermal impact of that exhaust on the local environment will be. In ALL cases, jet (or rocket) exhaust does not cool the surroundings, it HEATS them.

This is, of course, the entire issue.

Terry writes:
Remember the First Law of Thermodynamics: the total energy budget does not change

Geno answers:
Of course it doesn’t. In the combustion chamber, chemical energy is converted to heat energy. Since heat is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules, the molecules in the exhaust have really high velocities (ie: kinetic energy). This energy is then directed by the exhaust nozzle to propel the jet (or rocket). In doing so, some of the kinetic energy of the exhaust gases is transfered to the jet (or rocket) and the temperature of the exhaust gas drops. It does NOT, however, cool the surroundings.

Terry claims:
the expansion is a lot more rapid than you’re giving it credit for.

Geno answers:
The rate of expansion is irrelevant. If the temperature drops below the dew point, the steam condenses to liquid droplets releasing about 2.5 million joules per kilogram. If the temperature drops below freezing, the liquid droplets freeze releasing an additional 334,000 joules per kilogram. This may happen so quickly as to be almost simultaneous, but it will happen.

Terry claims:
The equivalent model is water vapor coming out of the nozzle of a rocket.

Geno points out:
That is exactly the model I’m thinking of. Rocket exhaust does NOT cool the surroundings, it heats them. This is true even if the exhaust freezes and forms a contrail. Brown (and you) are suggesting this expanding steam will cool the surroundings.

Terry writes:
And we are talking about exit speeds of at least Mach 32, and as high as Mach 117

Geno points out:
The velocity of the vapor is irrelevant with regard to it’s condensation or freezing. Dr. Brown knows that. You should.

Oh yeah… keep in mind, any material that fails to reach escape velocity will return to Earth and that kinetic energy will be converted back to thermal energy as it enters the atmosphere and slows by friction. (Reference my “Fire and Brimstone” work.) This, of course, comes from the First Law of Thermodynamics. Right, Terry?

Terry adds:
Do the math. The Technical Notes are up there for all to see.

Geno responds:
I have done the math. I see no consideration in Brown’s calculations for the energy release due to condensation of the water vapor nor for the freezing of it.

Further, Brown seems to ignore the Bernoulli principle. According to Bernoulli, velocity will decrease as a function of the cross sectional area. Brown has these gases moving at up to mach 117. Even if this is valid at the “nozzle” of his chamber which is oriented in the horizontal, that velocity will drop quickly as it escapes. Since the “canyons” formed by this expanding rift will be dozens of times wider than the “nozzle,” the gases will be moving dozens of times slower almost instantly.

Fergus Mason

“Hydrological sorting. After the initial excitement, you had a lot of sediment-laden water. The sediments sorted themselves out from the heaviest to the lightest, and that’s how they settled down.”

Except that ISN’T how they settled down, is it? You were twice asked to account for layers of sandstone (coarser sediment) interspersed with layers of shale (finer sediments) and you didn’t answer.

A massive global flood would have deposited a single extremely thick graded bed. This isn’t observed anywhere. The fact that different types of rock are layered the way they are, with sorting by grain size occurring WITHIN layers but completely absent BETWEEN layers, is on its own enough to debunk the flood myth.

Fergus Mason

“A single thick graded bed? No way.”

On the contrary, and if you insist I’ll tell you how to conduct a simple experiment to verify it.

“That assumes that all the sediment would be of the same density. That’s not true, either.”

No it doesn’t. A graded bed is what happens when water dumps a mass of sediment of DIFFERENT sizes and density. It is a single graded layer with larger and heavier sediments at the bottom, smoothly transitioning to smaller and lighter ones at the top.

Fergus Mason

“you have groups of sediment, each group containing rocks or other “particles” of a similar size. So one group has big rocks, another has mid-sized rocks, a third has little rocks, and the fourth has sand.”

Excellent, we’re already half-way there. OK, get a coffee jar and put in a handful of big rocks, a handful of mid-sized rocks, a handful of small rocks and a handful of sand. Fill the jar nearly to the top with water, seal it, give it a good shake then leave it to settle. Repeat 100 times.

Let me know how often you get a layer of big rocks, a layer of sand above it then ANOTHER layer of big rocks above that. Because we see that in nature all the time and it’s exactly what Rubble twice asked you to explain.

“Your model assumes an infinite variety of sizes.”

No, just a continuum of sizes from largest to smallest. And that’s exactly what we find. A question: why do deserts form a crust of grit and larger sand grains above the mixed grain aggregate beneath?

Fergus Mason

“Maybe what you’re leaving out, is that the sortation depends, not on the volume of the rocks, but their density.”

I am indeed leaving that out, because it’s not entirely true. Tell me, what will settle out of water faster – fist-sized lumps of chalk or powdered lead, which is of course very much denser?

Fergus Mason

“Maybe the lead will settle to the bottom”

Sure it will, but that’s not what I asked. I asked what will settle out FIRST – powdered lead or fist-sized lumps of chalk?

In any case, what matters is that the flood model can’t account for the interspersed sedimentation we see in nature. It would account for a single graded bed, even one with sharp discontinuities between sediments that settled out faster and those that settled out slower. But it CAN’T account for what we see, which is beds of heavy gravel or sand ABOVE beds of fine clay, shale, mudstone etc.

Fergus Mason

“What do you think are the magnitudes of the earthquakes attendant upon the Flood? Try magnitude twelve or thirteen.”

You might as well say magnitude armadillo. The flood never happened, as is clearly shown by the geological record. It’s a Babylonian myth reworked by a Canaanite tribe.

Fergus Mason

“What you mean is that you won’t accept the Global Flood.”

Of course I won’t, because it’s conclusively ruled out by the evidence; accepting it would be on a par with accepting homeopathy or geocentrism. As I’ve already pointed out to you a simple jar of gravel and sand shows that there’s no way a flood could have produced what we see in nature; modern geology has gone WAY beyond jars of gravel and sand.

Fergus Mason

“I will take more time to explain it to you later.”

Certainly – as long as you come up with a repeatable experiment that I can use to verify that a single deposition event can deposit layers of gravel on top of layers of clay.

Fergus Mason

“What do you think are the magnitudes of the earthquakes attendant upon the Flood? Try magnitude twelve or thirteen.”

Just out of interest, what sort of tsunamis would that create? What do you think the sea state would be during Brown’s flood model? And how do you think an unpowered wooden barge could possibly have survived it?


Terry wrote:
For your information, several investigators have put scale models of the Ark through some rather rigorous tank trials. The proportions strike the best balance between stability, hull stress, and sea-kindliness. So of all the objections anyone can raise to the Hydroplate Theory, the seaworthiness of the Ark is the weakest.

Geno answers:
Was the hull thicknes of those “scale models” scaled also? The reason I ask is I was on a steel ship of about the dimensions claimed for the Ark. We were coming out of a storm at about 5 knots, took blue water over the bridge, and cracked the bow of the ship. It doesn’t take much to figure out what would have happened to a wood ship in that situation.

The survivablity of the Ark presents a whole additional set of problems for the Noah flood account.

Fergus Mason

“several investigators have put scale models of the Ark through some rather rigorous tank trials.”

No, several APOLOGISTS have put THEIR INTERPRETATION of the ark through tank trials. The fact is, however, that we’re talking about an unpowered barge at least 30% larger than the largest wooden ship ever constructed – which was built on an iron frame, and still flexed (and leaked) so much that it was quickly scrapped. Without power the ark would have quickly broached, capsized and sunk.

Fergus Mason

“The proportions strike the best balance between stability, hull stress, and sea-kindliness.”

Stability is about a lot more than proportions, by the way. Hull form is rather vital, and the bible doesn’t even begin to mention that. Was the ark flared? Slab-sided? Tumblehome? Well, large wooden ships almost all had tumblehome, because otherwise they leak like sieves in heavy seas. And tumblehome drastically reduces stability, ESPECIALLY if you have no way to keep the waves dead on the bow.


Terry wrote:
And now we do have a coherent and credible alternative theory: the Hydroplate Theory. The only reasons that it hasn’t caught on yet are political and philosophical, not scientific.

Geno answers:
Sorry, Terry…. not even close to credible. The objections I have raised have nothing to do with politics or philosophy. They are grounded ENTIRELY in the behavior of water.


Terry says:
And you have never satisfied me that your objections are valid.

Geno answers:
It’s basic stuff of the type any first year engineering physics student can do. You have an engineering degree. Dust it off and show the error…. if any.

Oh yeah…. please do go on about “basic refrigeration” or the cooling of 700+F steam to absolute zero without ever having it condense and release the energy of condensation.

Fergus Mason

“The only reasons that it hasn’t caught on yet are political and philosophical, not scientific.”

Really? Has it even been submitted for peer review? Because if not, it has no scientific pretensions whatsoever.


I was curious about your comment “his video shows production values that easily rival those of any professional advertising agency.”

Having worked in the industry for many years I was intrigued. Suffice to say I was also disappointed. For a 13-year-old with rudimentary software it might be ok (although he needs to read the section on “transitions”), but this is by no means a masterpiece, nor is it a good advertisement for the campaign.

However, your claim is downright misleading, unless you have really bad adverts where you live. I can understand you wanting to support the boy – but don’t do it by lying. What kind of example are you setting?


Terry comments:
And remember: you’re still qualified for the verbal recorded-telephone-conference debate. That does not require any academic qualifications.

Geno answers:
Dr. Brown says his reason for requiring a PhD to participate in a written debate is so he will not be accused of a “mismatch.” Leaving aside the question of why the same issue would not also apply to the verbal debate….

As Terry knows, on September 19,2010, I said this to Dr. Brown:
” my debate question is much more focused and, as I see it, a necessary requirement to the validity of your model. That question is: ‘Will the energy released by the Hydroplate Model destroy all life on Earth.'”

Brown has neither accepted that proposed topic nor has he suggested an alternative.

At this point in time, it is safe to day Dr. Brown and I do not even have an agreed on topic for the verbal debate. In that regard, the ball is in his court.

Tony Sidaway

One thing that makes Walt Brown’s hydroplate theory quite baffling is its outright rejection of plate tectonics, to the extent that quite easily observed phenomena like subduction are denied. Here’s a lovely example of where modern GPS readings have given us a detailed picture of just how the Juan de Fuca Plate slips under the North American Plate in southern B.C. and the U.S. Northwest.

You can’t just shove this kind of thing under the carpet and pretend it isn’t happening. Subduction occurs, and if Brown can’t account for it that’s a fatal flaw in his theory.

Tony Sidaway

From the USGS glossary:

“The subduction zone is the place where two lithospheric plates come together, one riding over the other.”

If you go to the website you’ll even see that it gives a helpful diagram showing the very same two plates, and with an arrow showing the direction of subduction.

Now if Walt Brown says that isn’t subduction he’s working from a different lexicon from the one used by actual working geologists. That’s what subduction is: one plate above, the other below. It’s happening right now and we can measure it with extraordinary precision through the movement and deformation of the two plates. If Walt Brown thinks it can’t happen he’s got his sums wrong.

Tony Sidaway

“That diagram, as I have said over and over, has its basis on supposition only. No one has ever observed subduction directly. That would require a deep dive by a bathyscaphe or similar deep-diving submarine.”

Not at all. Direct observation isn’t the only way to do science. If it were, Dr Brown’s notion of vast subterranean caverns existing in the history a very young earth could be ruled out on those grounds. Instead we have to make do with its absurdity, its failure to support the known facts and its reliance on propositions that are known to be false.

Just as he has tried to sweep away evolution, the vast age of the cosmos and of the earth, and the absence of any serious evidence for his notions, Brown no doubt dismisses the strong evidence of the Benioff zone. I don’t have to look at his book, I can tell you what he will have to dismiss in order to maintain his preposterous position.

Creationism and flood geology haven’t been tenable for well over a century now, but it’s amusing watching people with strong religious reasons to ignore the facts try to come up with excuses. That whooshing sound is the sound of science passing you by.

Tony Sidaway

Well, there you go. You won’t accept subduction unless somebody dives down into the magma. No assuming it’s happening because the biggest earthquakes happen only where we would expect subducted plates to be abrading.

And that’s fine with me, just as long as you’re consistent. Absolutely nothing in Brown’s ideas is directly observable. So you’ve stuffed yourself.

Tony Sidaway

For my discussion I will take as a talking point this beautiful seismometry-based visualization of the subduction zone at Tonga. For now you can assume that this is pure cream-puffery, but I’ll explain why you should accept it or find an alternative explanation for the information the seismometers produce.

When you’re in an airliner and the plane is coming in to land automatically, do you ask the pilot to turn the aerial radar and the radio-based ILS off? If so, you’re unusual. Even though the non-visual, indirect signals from radar and radio direction-finding and radio-altimetry are subject to interpretation, they are reliable enough for pilots to depend on.

Turning to subduction zones, by direct observation we already see inward movement of the terrain corresponding to different sides of the zone. Ground markers are sufficient to provide a crude measure of the general inward movement. The alternatives are either:

1. one plate moves under the other


2. some as yet unobserved and unpredicted action intervenes and causes the plate material to do something other than move below the other: infinitely compressible rock springs to mind, though it lacks plausibility.


3. make up your own fantasy. Invisible rock-eating dragons, angels, pixies, miracles whatever.

1 seems likely since 2 tends to lack plausibility and 3 is merely fancy (which I don’t expect you to entertain seriously).

But 2 also has the problem that it contravenes your rule against direct observation.

And if you permit only direct observation, as I’ve pointed out, you have more problems than merely explaining our observations at subduction zones.

As another example, Matsushita and other companies have been producing system-on-a-chip designs to 45 nanometre (nm) technology since 2007. The 45 nm distance is the half-pitch of the printed circuit, and 11 nm half-pitch circuits are projected to reach mass production by about 2015. The term “half-pitch” refers to half the separation distance between each individual memory cell.

You’re no doubt aware that the wavelength of visible light is between about 380 nm and about 750 nm, so these circuits cannot be seen even using the most powerful optical microscopes. So here we are creating objects that can only be detected by indirect observation. We probably don’t want to make up stories that conflict with indirect observations. So I don’t propose to you that the 45 nm technology in the mobile telephone with which I’ve made quite a few posts on this thread operates through the agency of invisible people who transmit my thoughts over the internet. Indirect observation confirms the perfectly acceptable explanation provided by the theoretical physicists and the specifications provided by the manufacturers.

In fact, as the YouTube video I linked to at the top shows, we do see subduction by plotting seismic waves as they arrive at different seismometers around the subduction zone. This is how we can confirm that the subducted plate is generally the colder and denser of the two; seismic waves travelling through denser rock reach the seismometer faster. We see the dense material continue underneath the lighter, not disappearing.

So here we have two forms of observation: direct observation confirmed by GPS shows plate deformation and travel on both sides of the fault, confirming relative motion; seismometers confirm continuity of travel as one plate is subducted by another.

Any theory of geology has to explain these observations. We don’t get to throw the data out just because they are not direct visual confirmation.

Tony Sidaway

Could we examine the alternatives to subduction?

1. The crust progresses towards the fault but something unknown happens which stops the subduction occurring.
2. a miracle happens.

I expect you to agree with me that number 2 is not an acceptable scientific explanation for anything, in which case we have to find another way to explain the approach and gradual disappearance of crust material at fault lines.

What happens to the plates after they are forced come together?

Incidentally I have taken the liberty of blogging on this, including my previous post, at

Fergus Mason

“They compress, that’s what happens.”

Good! That’s a testable hypothesis. So if I put two markers on the ground on THE SAME SIDE of a convergent fault, say one 1000 metres from the fault and the other 2000 metres from it, after a year the distance between the markers will have measurably decreased?

Or will the distance between them remain constant but they’re both measurably closer to the fault?

Tony Sidaway

“What happens? They compress, that’s what happens.”

That would be fine, except that Brown also claims there was a flood. We cannot see any evidence of a flood by direct observation. You’re stuffed.

Tony Sidaway

“Dr. Brown has a policy never to invoke a miracle unless the Bible directly attests to that.”

Do you know how many scientists adopt that principle?

I’ll tell you: not one.

If your “science” relies on stuff written in an old book, it isn’t science.

Tony Sidaway

“The problem is: they can’t explain the origin of life.”

Nobody can do that. It doesn’t present a problem once you accept that reading something written by other people in an old book a long time ago doesn’t help.

You’ve trimmed the post I quoted (as will be obvious by comparison with the posted version on Google+). I don’t know whether you trimmed my earlier posts, but that was enough. I don’t see the point. The full content of this post, together with a copy of your trimmed version of my earlier post, will be posted in the comments of my Google+ post. It will remain as a warning to other scientifically-minded persons who might expect you to act fairly. I don’t think you were fair.

And again, you rule out indirect observation while at the same time your extol Dr Brown’s reasoning for an event that cannot be directly observed. The latter I don’t have a problem with (indirect evidence is fine in my book) but the a priori exclusion is unacceptable. You must know you’ve disowned any pretence to science.


Two observations on this thread…

First, as Tony Sidaway states, it’s a clear double-standard to dismiss some science based on indirect observation & inference as invalid because the processes involved can’t be directly observed in action, while holding up Dr. Brown’s work as “scientific proof” of a Flood model. The evaluation of different models has to be against the same principles.

Second, I’ve been curious about a key aspect of Dr. Brown’s work. In his debate offers insists on supernatural/religious elements being excluded to explain phenomenon, and that’s what one would expect in a science-based discussion.

The question is, though, whether the scope of his theories have a boundary regarding how things were set up in the first place. I’ve been reading your posts about firmament, pillars and a layer of crust mostly floating on a layer of water, but all of this seems preconditioned on it being set up that way by supernatural means.

To use a metaphor, Dr. Brown has gone to great length to develop a model for an arrangement of dominoes that would describe what happens when they start cascading, such that the result would fit a certain narrative. Without any examination of his theory itself, the prime question is how any discussion of the theory in non-supernatural terms can take place unless there’s a non-supernatural explanation for how the dominoes were set up that way to begin with.

It seems that there’s no way for anyone to legitimately debate the pros and cons of his Hydroplate Theory using natural science alone if the scope of the debate doesn’t address how the starting scenario is set up to begin with. Starting “in the middle” doesn’t make much sense, does it?


“For until someone does explain how life could have come to be apart from any supernatural intervention, the supernatural will remain the only viable alternative hypothesis.”

Sorry, science doesn’t work by stating “anything that can’t be explained ‘yet’ makes the supernatural the only viable hypothesis”. If that was the case we’d never have made it out of the dark ages.

Science starts with the acceptance that we don’t know something, and a set of principles for figuring it out instead of saying it’s supernatural. The best of science, in fact, is when the current understanding of something is found to be inadequate, and it’s replaced by a better model that anyone can validate for themselves.

We discover, we learn, we improve, we grow. I’ve long accepted that we’ll each die with many unanswered questions, but that’s what makes life worthwhile – always challenged and having something to reach for while we draw a breath.

Fergus Mason

Best wishes for a Happy New Year to everyone. Even Terry, I suppose.


To you, and all, as well, Mr. Mason!

As for the video: it’s a slideshow with music, and the music is the only interesting thing to me. Got a good beat. It provides nothing new, and continues the lie and misleading statment that evolutionists are “stumped” and haven’t answered the 15 questions.

Moreover, the author’s single comment of “Ah, the atheist hate :)” shows they’re not trying to question evolution as the campaign slogan suggests, but rather he/she just wants to provoke, much like its creator.

The acknowledgement that any answer that contradicts scripture is rejected is a patently and blatantly dishonest attempt to automatically say all answers are wrong, so promoting this campaign really isn’t a good idea. Leave the dishonesty to the fundies, whichever side they reside on.

Fergus Mason

Just for a laugh, let’s look at Ken’s third question:

“How can mutations, which are copying mistakes, actually create new information?”

I am an “evolutionist” and I can’t answer this question.

Why can’t I answer it? Well, because I have no idea what he means by “information.” However if he’ll provide a definition I am confident that I WILL be able to provide an answer. Naturally that won’t matter because my answer won’t be “satisfactory.” If his definition of “information” has any resemblance to what actually happens within genomes then mutation DECREASES information content; it’s natural selection that increases it.

Fergus Mason

The tenth question is quite amusing too:

“Why should any form of life never change for millions of years, if evolution is so powerful?”

Now, assuming that we actually KNEW any form of life that hasn’t changed for millions of years (we don’t; don’t mention coelecanths, because you won’t like what you hear) there’s a fairly obvious reason why it might not have done so. Organisms evolve to become better adapted to their environment; if they’re ALREADY optimally adapted then any significant mutation is going to make them LESS adapted and will be selected against, so the selection pressure will tend to force the organism to stay the same.

Really, anyone who has any understanding of evolutionary theory at all – even if they don’t agree with it – should be able to work that out for themselves. It’s utterly trivial.

Fergus Mason

“I will mention the coelacanth anyway”

OK, if you insist. Are you aware that we’ve never found a fossil of a living species of coelecanth, and obviously therefore never found a living example that we have a fossil for? “Coelecanth” isn’t a species; it’s an order, just like lamniform (mackerel) sharks, and modern coelecanths are about three times the size of the ones known from fossils and also appear to have an entirely different reproductive system. We don’t even have any fossils from the same GENUS as modern coelecanths.

“And if environments always changed, then according to the paradigm you defend, no creature could remain adapted for long.”

Depends what you mean by “change.” For example wildcats are small generalist predators that live across a vast geographical range, and are highly adapted to almost any variation of what you probably think “environment” means in an evolutionary context. Changing climate doesn’t affect them much; desert and Scottish wildcats are almost identical. Changes in prey don’t affect them much either; their diet ranges from beetles to young deer – they only require something they can kill, which is basically anything less than twice their size. The only environmental factor that would force them to evolve is a new disease. Guess what? Fossils can’t tell us what an animal’s immune system was like millions of years ago.

“suppose on the other hand that only 4400 years had passed since the great disaster that produced the fossil record…!”

No, because the evidence clearly rules out that possibility. Never mind the geological evidence against it; 4,400 years ago is well within the range of recorded history and it’s not credible that a global flood at that time could have been missed.

Fergus Mason

“I don’t see that your statements, true or false, make the status of coelacanth as a “living fossil” any less valid”

Hmm, interesting. Given that Latimeria chalumnae and Latimeria menadoensis are modern species of which no fossils have ever been found, what exactly do you base their status as “living fossils” on?

Fergus Mason

“Assuming that your statements about “no fossils” are correct”

They are; feel free to do some research, and if you find a specimen of a fossil Latimeria I’ll withdraw that statement.

“the species you named are far less sophisticated (meaning: “primitive”) by several orders of magnitude than most modern fish.”

No, they’re not. They ARE modern fish.

“As such they represent clear violations of Occam’s Razor.”


Fergus Mason

“Obviously nothing I say, nor any source I cite, will convince you that coelacanth is anything other than “a modern fish.” ”

No, LATIMERIA are modern fish; COELECANTH is an order that includes both extinct and modern species, just like CARNIVORA is. Modern coelecanths are in no way more primitive than modern lamniformes (mackerel sharks) or gadiformes (cod.)

Fergus Mason

Here’s another example. I have a cat. He is in the order Carnivora. The Dire Wolf, known only from the fossil record, was also in the order Carnivora. Does that make my cat a living fossil? Because if it doesn’t then the two species of Latimeria aren’t living fossils either, and if it does then the term becomes meaningless.

Coelecanths haven’t remained unchanged for millions of years. They have in fact changed substantially. Even if they hadn’t, that could be easily explained by the fact that organisms that are optimally adapted will not tend to change much. Ken’s question, therefore, is not just easy to answer; it’s not worth asking in the first place.

Fergus Mason

“Everybody knows that Felis domestica is the product of selective breeding”

Actually it’s Felis silvestris catus, and it’s a self-domesticated subspecies of the African wildcat. That’s irrelevant to the point I was making anyway, which is that a modern cat is exactly as related to a Dire Wolf as a modern Latimeria chalumnae is to an extinct Diplocerides davisii.

And I don’t accept your declaration that the Coelacanth order is drastically changed.”

I’m getting a bit tired of you saying that, Terry, because I’m not ASKING you to accept it; it’s something that, if you’re willing to accept what you might find, you can easily verify for yourself. Just do some research, then tell me if a modern coelecanth resembles a fossil one any more closely than a modern cat resembles a sabre-toothed Smilodon.

On the other hand you can just go on “not accepting” it; in this case you’ll be happy but wrong.


Terry wrote:
Now suppose on the other hand that only 4400 years had passed since the great disaster that produced the fossil record…!

Geno points out:
Then you would need evolution at a rate thousands of times faster than anything proposed by science in order to obtain the diversity of life we observe today.


Geno had written:
Geno answers:
Was the hull thicknes of those “scale models” scaled also? The reason I ask is I was on a steel ship of about the dimensions claimed for the Ark. We were coming out of a storm at about 5 knots, took blue water over the bridge, and cracked the bow of the ship. It doesn’t take much to figure out what would have happened to a wood ship in that situation.

The survivablity of the Ark presents a whole additional set of problems for the Noah flood account.

Terry answered:
All of which, others have taken into account. May I recommend: Tim Lovett, Noah’s Ark: Thinking Outside the Box, Green Forest, AR: Master Books.

Geno replies:
As I recall, you also called that ark-on-a-barge in the Netherlands “seaworthy.”

I recommend actual sea trials with a full size replica built to creationist specifications using only Bronze Age technology. If it survives just ONE catagory 3 huricane, I’ll accept it. Until then, I’ll rely on my own experience with steel ships as the basis of my opinion with regard to the surivability of a wood ark in the open sea.

Fergus Mason

“I’m confident that such a contest would yield a winner.”

Well, I’M confident that it would yield a leaky hulk which would capsize or founder the first time it met a large wave – and in the hypothetical conditions after a global flood there would be some VERY large waves, what with the unrestricted fetch on a fully flooded planet.

There’s a reason nobody builds 450 foot boats out of wood, Terry; it’s because it’s not possible.

Fergus Mason

Is Tim Lovett qualified to rewrite the entire science of naval architecture? No? Thought not.

A wooden ship of the dimensions given in the bible (still far too small to hold 2 of every species, by the way) would leak catastrophically in any seat state above 3. I don’t need to read Lovett’s book to know this, because there is extensive empirical evidence. Also, as an unpowered vessel, it would be unable to keep its bow to the waves and would quickly broach and either capsize or founder. And I notice that you haven’t even attempted to address the point I made yesterday about hull forms.

Fergus Mason

Nothing on his site addresses any of these points. An unpowered wooden boat of that size would have had no steerage way and too much flexibility.

Fergus Mason

The methods of hull construction he proposes were abandoned when the length of wooden ships went over about 250 feet, because they flex too much and let water in. The skeg and “sail” configuration he proposes would pull the bow AWAY from the wind and leave the hull running with the waves, which is extremely dangerous.

That’s not even considering what’s going to happen if the wind and the waves are not travelling in the same direction – a situation which, of course, is very common, as the largest waves (swells) will be running in the direction the wind was blowing DAYS ago, especially in a fully developed sea state, which would have existed on a completely flooded planet. In these circumstances the fact that his two measures work in completely different systems – one hydrodynamic, the other aerodynamic – would almost instantly lead to broaching and therefore disaster.

Fergus Mason

Now, here’s an example of how shoddy Lovett’s work really is. He makes the following statement about modern bulk carriers:

“The superstructure is at the stern which helps to ‘steer’ the vessel with bow pointing towards the wind. If the superstructure was at the bow, wind and waves would tend to push the bow behind the stern – which is a broaching action.”

Now, where is he proposing that the ark would have had its wind-catching “sail”?

“The raised area the the bow (forecastle) is pushed by the wind…”


Fergus Mason

And here’s another example. Bear in mind that Lovett is proposing that the ark had a high focsle to catch the wind and pull the bow downwind, and a large skeg under the stern:

“Using a skeg rather than drag at the stern is like a feathered arrow or dart. Here, gravity at the front of the dart represents the wind catching features of the bow, and the feathers represent the skeg details at the stern.”

The key thing, of course, is that arrow fletches or dart vanes are at the end AWAY from the force they’re resisting – the passing airflow. Lovett wants the skeg at the end TOWARDS the force – the energy of the waves, which he uses the focsle to put on the stern. Now, what happens when you throw a dart backwards?

That’s right; Lovett has given BOTH ENDS OF THE HULL a mechanism which will pull them away from the oncoming wind and waves. Even worse, they’re working in different systems. As soon as the wind catching the focsle decreases, the waves (by catching the skeg) will start trying to push the stern past the bow. And that’s going to happen the first time the bow drops into the wind shadow of a wave trough.

Fergus Mason

“the ark, as he “reverse-designed” it, would align itself parallel to the wind”

No, it wouldn’t; I’ve already explained that. Both ends, call them whatever you like, of the design he proposed would be fighting to head downwind/downwave.

“a ship heading into the wind and letting wind and waves drive it aft.”

A ship in that condition is simply waiting to die.

The key to survival in heavy seas is to keep heading into the waves. If you’re running WITH the waves your only chance is to match speed with them and stay on the back of a wave. Lovett’s proposed ark would be pounded from behind by every wave; its hull would flex and strain as the waves passed under it, letting in water. Its upper works would be hammered, with probable downflooding through the ventilators. And each wave in turn would catch the stern and push it round towards a fatal broach.


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