7 Es of Evidence - Creation Museum Myth Buster  

Monday, May 21, 2007

The 7 E's of Evidence is derived from a reference to the 7 C's of History on Ken Ham's Creation Museum website. Their seemingly unrelated (except through a loose religion reference) C's are Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation.

I'm making my own list, but instead of using "C" for creation, I'll use "E" for evolution. My E's are related by all being evidence of evolution and they're simple enough that this could have been written by a middle school student. (That's more of a comment on my writing than on the intelligence of a sixth grader.)

The 7 E's are Earth Science, Evolutionary Biology, Evolution of the Eye, Evolution of the Horse, Evidence from Geographical Distribution, Evidence from Speciation, and Evidence from Antibiotic Resistance.

Earth Science is divided into many different topics, one of which includes Geochronology, the science of determining the age of rocks, fossils, and sediments. Using dating methods such as the radiometric age dating of zircons, scientists have approximated the age of the earth to be around 4.567 billion years. This is much older than the 6,000 years that the Creation Museum claims.

Many years after the earth formed life on earth began. Evolutionary biology is the study of the origin and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication, and diversity over time. Scientists have found evidence that all organisms on earth descended from a common ancestor. This evidence is found in the common biochemical organization in all creatures and the nearly identical genetic code shared by all living things.1 The Creation Museum claims that humans were created by God within one day.

Many creationists point to complex systems as evidence that evolution isn't possible. One of the most popular creationist arguments is the evolution of the eye. But evolutionary biologists have shown how evolution of the eye occurred through a step-by-step process.2

Based on fossil records zoologists have been able to trace the evolution of the horse from a fox-like creature that lived in the forest to the modern horse.3 Of course, creationists will tell you that the horse was on Noah's Ark and hasn't changed significantly since it was created 6,000 years ago.

In fact, creationists claim all surviving non-marine creatures were on the Noah's Ark. They also claim that species cannot evolve into new species. Yet, today we have over a million species that have been named and described and scientists are still discovering new species. If animals from the ark repopulated the planet, why then do we have different species of animals in the same ecological niche? The evidence from geographical distribution points to the evolution of species over a much longer time than Creationists can account for4.

There is also evidence that species are diverging in the case of the Hawthorn fly. After apples were introduced in North America, a distinct population of the Hawthorn fly has emerged that feeds only on apples. Other populations feed on native fruits. Scientists have observed differences in the amino acid sequence of these apple-eating flies and a shorter time to mature than their non-apple eating brethren. This evidence of diverging species is an example of evolution in progress5.

Bacteria develop a resistances to antibiotics through gene transfer and mutation. Creationists like to point out the gene transfer part of the equation, but not the mutation. Or, if they point to mutation, they state that the mutation will lead to the extinction of the species, therefore "proving" that mutation cannot lead to evolution. Yet bacteria that have adapted to antibiotics can flourish and become something different than their original form6. Evidence from antibiotic resistance clearly points to evolution within a species.

Creationists blindly ignore the evidence of the world around us in order to make it fit into a paradigm. They spend an inordinate amount of time and money on trying to prove hypothesis that do not stand up to scientific tests. They are in the process of raising $25 million dollars* in order to open the museum debt free. $25 million dollars on a farce of a museum that claims that the dinosaurs lived in the time of humans.

My opinion is that the museum is an ego piece to the Creationists. The money could be much better spent on just about any charitable venture.

1 Evidence for Common Descent

2 Evolution of the Eye

3 Evolution of the Horse

4 The Distribution of Species

5 Evidence from Speciation

6 Antibiotics, Creationism, and Evolution

*The actual amount raised was $27 million. Appalling!

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8 comments: to “ 7 Es of Evidence - Creation Museum Myth Buster

  • mamacita chilena
    Tuesday, May 22, 2007 at 2:13:00 PM CDT  

    $25 mil?!? You have got to be kidding me.

    If Creationists are supposedly Bible believers following the WWJD creed, wouldn't they know that $25 million dollars would be better spent on feeding the hungry, finding a cure for AIDS, etc?

    Just my .02


  • Vistaluna
    Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 10:44:00 AM CDT  

    Excellent article! I like it a lot! Very cool. :)

    But beware that you are preaching to the choir, and that such reasoned arguments will not work on the faithful. :) :)

    I grew up in Kentucky. This is the same state that is hosting this crazy Creationist museum. I spent the better part of my teenage years debating evolution and trying to bring the local hillbillies into a 20th century understanding of science.

    I read more books on biology, geology, astronomy, and natural history than I can count. I thought was armed with enough facts to convince anyone that Evolution was true, and the ark was impossible, and the Earth was billions of years old, etc.

    But through all my years of debating, I never changed a single mind. Not one. Faith is immune to external sources of logic and reason.

    I would spend months getting someone up to speed on what and how science had learned about Evolution, but in the end the person would just fall back to faith.

    I would spend months proving that the Ark was scientifically, mathematically, geographically, biologically, and physically impossible. And in the end the person would just say "Well, God makes ANYTHING possible."

    Faith takes advantage of that horrible human trait of insecurity, which causes people to only strengthen their convictions in response to any external attack.

    The only way to "enlighten" people is to allow them to discover the truth for themselves. And this means much more encouragement for science education, and much more access to scientific materials.

    Creationists want Evolution out of schools because 1 semester of uncensored Biology can seriously undermine 16 years of religious indoctrination.

    I also wish astronomy was a required course in High School, because nothing makes the true age of the Earth more apparent than a basic overview of how stars and galaxies work.

    I'm not saying there is anything wrong with preaching to the choir. I know fundamentalist Christians don't ready MY blogs either.

    It is very comforting to read postings from other enlightened people and be reminded that I'm not the only one who knows what I know. (I almost said "believes what I believe", but this is not a matter of true "belief".)


  • ordinarygirl
    Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 11:16:00 AM CDT  

    The article was posted to contribute to the Creation Museum Carnival early next week. It was fun to write, but nerve-wracking too. Other than in computers, I have a very poor science background. I went to Christian schools until 10th grade and I'm not sure if I evolution was even part of our biology curriculum in public school. It's been a long time and it's hard to remember, though I think my teacher most likely was an evil Darwinist.

    That's why I stuck to easy explanations (plus the article would have been way too long if I'd gone into more detail).

    Yeah, I doubt any creationists are going to read my blog, or if they did at one time they've been scared away by now. Not that I hope I scared them away, I just expect that I did.

    Maybe your discussions when you were young paid off later. Sometimes it works like that. It took me 17 years to move from die-hard Christian to being able to admit I was an atheist.

    Besides, it was good that you tried anyway. It probably helped you define your own beliefs.

  • Anonymous
    Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 2:36:00 PM CDT  

    I CANNOT BELIEVE this creationist museum crap. They believe the universe was created 6 thousand years ago? What about the light from stars more than six thousand light years away????? THEY ARE COMPLETELY NUTS. It's so sad that children are exposed to this bs. It should be shut down immediately.

  • Jared James
    Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 1:46:00 PM CDT  

    What nonsense. You don't win an argument by telling your opponent to shut up; you win by being right in the first place, and convincing him, her, and everyone around you that relatable, verifiable, and falsifiable facts lead anyone with a valid logical process to your conclusion.

    For example: if I say that God created the world, you say "nonsense, the world was created by a cloud of substellar gas collapsing and condensing into heavier-particulate matter and eventually becoming a cohesive ball." The logical counter, then, is to ask, "How do you know that God didn't plan and direct that collapse?" Which leads us to a logical stalemate, because there is no evidence that God was in fact no present, since there is no evidence other than a priori for God's existence or lack thereof. You have to postulate God's existence or lack thereof; there can be no disproving creation, while there certainly can be disproving of stellar mechanics and geology (as is frequently the case; remember Copernicus?)

    But back to my point, which is this: freedom of speech is not for the idea I agree with, but for that speech which I hate. To silence a fool is to potentially silence Relativity, the ageocentric universe, the alternating current, and lots of other great ideas which were thoroughly derided, disregarded, and "disproven" in their turn, yet turn out on further examination to have been much more provable than their predecessor theories.

  • Webster
    Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 3:23:00 PM CDT  

    OrdinaryGirl -- You might want to make sure next time that you understand your opponent's arguments, before you waste a lot of time demolishing a straw man.

    "In fact, creationists claim all surviving non-marine creatures were on the Noah's Ark. They also claim that species cannot evolve into new species." Simply false. Exceedingly few informed creationists believe in fixity of species. And the creatures on the ark were not all non-marine animals, but only those which, "breath through nostrils", a criterion that pretty much limits the required passengers to vertebrates. (Other creatures survived as non-obligate passengers aboard the ark or even outside it, probably on floating mats of vegetation.)

    Geographic distribution in a Creation-Fall-Flood model requires speciation to occur much faster than biologists once thought possible. The few thousand kinds of animals on the Ark spread out after the Flood, with innumerable "founder" populations leading to massive losses of genetic diversity within each isolated group. Throw in a few mutations, and the separated groups quickly become reproductively isolated, (i.e., new species). For example, evolutionists were astonished to find a new species of mosquito living in the London Tube, barely a hundred years after it opened -- creationists were vindicated.

    Finally, the money could have been spent on more directly charitable ventures, but let me point out two things about that. The folks who gave to the Museum already give generously to charities in their own neighborhoods; this was extra giving, not replacement giving. Secondly, if I could spend $1000 to feed the hungry, or $1000 on advertising that recruited 200 other people to each give $100, which would make more sense? On average, evangelical Christians give *far* more to charities, even secular ones, than atheists, so evangelical efforts lead to increased charitable giving in the long run.


    Now, on to the mistakes that do not involve misrepresenting the creationist position.

    Radiometric dating depends on many unprovable assumptions, and is also subject to selective reporting. Nevertheless, those zircons you mentioned are particularly useful for this purpose. In addition to lead, decaying uranium also produces helium. Helium does not interact with other minerals, and has been shown to escape zircons rather quickly, so that after millions of years, very little should be left. However, even after supposed billions of years, it's still there. So the zircons can be only thousands of years old. And diamonds have been found to have measurable Carbon-14, so must be only thousands of years old. Gee, where are your billions going?

    "Scientists have found evidence that all organisms on earth descended from a common ancestor." The evidence is similarity in the genetic code; the interpretation is common descent. An equally valid interpretation is common designer.

    The fine story-telling on Wikipedia about supposed evolution of the horse, or eye, is not evidence. One non-horse and a collection of true horses do not a family tree make! And the eye is far more complicated than made out to be on WP; even a light-sensitive spot is complex. You would need a photoreceptor, an information pathway (optic nerve, or equivalent), and a brain that knows what to do with the information. I couldn't do justice to the complexity of just one of those three, even if I had the time. Besides, how is evolution going to select for their formation if they don't work alone?

    "This evidence of diverging species is an example of evolution in progress." Here's another case of evolutionist equivocation. Sorting and loss of genetic traits through natural selection has nothing to do with the MASSIVE numbers of new genes that would be required for the "goo to zoo to you" story to be true.

    Antibiotic resistance generally comes from horizontal transfer of genes from one species to another, or from decreased functionality of a vital cell task. Extrapolation from a loss of ability to acquisition of advanced traits is breathtaking in its audacity.


    Vistaluna --

    If you think the Ark was impossible, then you must have been laboring under some massive misconceptions about its requirements. Allow me to refer you to a couple of resources on "Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study"

    And I would point out that evolutionists are just as "faithful" in their beliefs as creationists are in theirs.

    Astronomy holds no more difficulties for creationists than it does for Big Bang cosmologists. Each has a "horizon problem", and possible solutions to it. But the Big Bang does not explain the complete absence of observed "Population III" stars (despite the name, they were supposedly the first stars, composed only of the Big Bang products H, He, & Li); the failure of the nebular model of star formation (too hot, too magnetic, too much spin); or the origin of the moon, (tidal forces are slowly sending it away from Earth, but it would have taken less than 1bn years to get where it is now, under the "best" circumstances).

    I also know of at least two discredited (but still possible) and at least two promising cosmological models (needing more research to confirm or deny) that account for the visibility of distant stars. The currently-favored one in many creationist circles depends on the same General Relativity equations that drive the Big Bang, but starts with different boundary conditions, leading to startling differences.


    Jared -- Bravo! That's important for enthusiasts on both sides to remember.

  • ordinarygirl
    Thursday, June 28, 2007 at 11:06:00 AM CDT  

    Webster, it's tough to argue against opinion and of course, you're welcome to your own. If you have scientific proof for any of your arguments, please provide it. Otherwise you're just a crank.

  • ordinarygirl
    Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 8:38:00 AM CDT  

    What do a lot of people who believe in Young Earth Creationism also believe?


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