11.4.07

Darwinism on CBeebies

I was watching CBeebies (a children's digital TV channel from the BBC) with my four-year-old son yesterday. The program was "Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies", which is a great show that mixes cartoon characters with real life footage from the animal kingdom in a fun and educational way.

In this particular episode the characters find a fossilised dinosaur footprint. This was great for my son, who like most boys his age, loves dinosaurs. The show was excellent, right up to the last minute, where the wise "Mama" elephant explains how dinosaurs evolved into birds and so "the descendants of dinosaurs are still around today".

It seems that the BBC considers Darwinism a suitable topic to slip into children's programs!

I don't see any great conspiracy here, most people just assume evolution to be true without giving it much thought. But it is a shame, that evolution is presented so often as an unquestionable fact, when its foundation in proven science is so flimsy. This only serves to perpetuate the myth. If "the descendants of dinosaurs are still around today", then they didn't become extinct! Extinction kinda excludes living descendants does it not!?

Anyway, at this point I looked at my wife and we both rolled our eyes. But before we thought of what to say to Michael, he chirps up with, "That's not right!"

That's ma boy!

32 comments:

Richard Bentall said...

Chris

Then how do you explain Ice Age and Ice Age 2 the movie :-)

Anyway on a more serious note, what are your thoughts towards the age of the earth, as some say that it is so many millions of years old and then the bible says something else, just a thought if you get time

Every Blessing

Richard

Chris HH said...

Actually, the Bible does not say anything about that age of the earth, so it's not something I would be dogmatic about.

There is very good evidence to suggest that the earth is considerably older than those creationists who just add up the genealogies would assert, and considerably younger than the Darwinists would have us believe.

Genesis 1 says, "In the beginning... the earth was without form and void." So the creation of the earth predates even the creation of light.

The reason the earth appears to be so old may be because it is. It may actually be the oldest object in the Cosmos.

The Thunderer said...

Let me pick your brain if I could, maybe you could help me with something I've been wondering about. Concerning this question of age, why do the various radiometric dating techniques produce such vastly different ages for a substance (like sea water)? One would think that if the premise of half-life decay of isotopes producing measurable daughters were valid, there would be agreement between one chemical used and another. Shouldn't they at least be calibrateable with each other? A meter is a meter regardless of whether it's made of wood, aluminum or plastic. I have other questions about age, but that will do for now. Thanks.

Chris HH said...

It sounds like you know more than me on the specific case of sea water dating, but here's what I know:

Half-lives of radioactive isotopes can be calculated with extreme precision, and as such they make an excellent measure of date... however there is one huge snag. No-one knows for sure what the relative isotopic ratios were in the past. So they give an accurate measure of time from an unknown start point.

For example, you may know for certain that a car has been travelling at exactly 30mph for its whole journey. But if you don't know where it set off from you can't accurately determine the journey time.

Change your estimation of the relative abundance of different isotopes in the past and you have a totally different calculation of age.

Richard Bentall said...

Chris - nothing like getting a good post goin'. Anyway my thoughts are, as you say, there is no date to the earth, however when God created MAN he created Man. He didn't create a boy or some spotty teenager. God created man in a mature stated. God also created trees, this means that they weren't saplins or young plants they were in there full state to pick fruit from !!! (perhaps not a good idea after all :-)).
Also when Jesus turn water into wine [Christ who is part of the trinity and fully God John 1] made the wine in a mature state. The hosts said "you have save the best till now". Normally the best wine was served first at a wedding.

Anyway hope you get my point to some degree

Every blessing

Richard

Chris HH said...

Yes, Richard, it's a good point. God could have created a mature earth with an appearance of age beyond its actual age. I'm sure to an extent that's true, especially if you take the current theories on planetary formation into account!

The question is how far you take that line of reasoning. Did God hide the fossils of creatures that never existed, or add layers of ice for seasons that never took place? My own gut feeling is, no.

This is why, my own personal opinion is that the age of the earth is older than the sum of the biblical genealogies, which are quite likely telescoped ("son of" and "descendant of" are identical in Hebrew) but younger than the purely scientific view.

...but its not something I loose sleep over! ;-)

The Thunderer said...

Thanks Chris for your nice clear answer to my earlier query, now back to the brain picking. :-) I just realized that sounded cannabalistic, sorry!
Why (according to a story I think is accurate but I haven't verified) did C14 dating on a frozen Mammoth in which the tusks, hide, and toenail were tested come back with outrageously different ages for all three parts? If the premise of radiometric dating is valid, this should have been a homerun [oops, that's baseball, what's a really hit in cricket?] Perhaps there are variables, unaccounted for, in the process that make the underlying premise untenable? I do very much appreciate your willingness to share the fruit of many years of gray cell exercise! Thanks!

Chris HH said...

Thunderer, not knowing the specifics of the account you mention, its hard to comment. But it does sound a fascinating case study.

Indeed, even if the assumptions on initial isotopes were out you would expect the dates to be consistent, even if they were consistently wrong. If they were not consistent, it would indicate some other process at work. The radioactive decay and half-life is rock solid, but there may be other ways that the relative proportions of the isotopes could change, like absorption, emission, or metabolism by micro-organisms.

If there is another unquantifiable process at work, then you are right, it renders carbon-dating for these lengths of time about as accurate as a finger-in-the-air guess.

The Thunderer said...

Thanks, I appreciate it!

Richard Bentall said...

Chris I trust that this post continues its good. From a Christians point of view I will address the point of "When Did Dinosaurs Live?" [this is once again giving wait to my last comment]

For most dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. According to evolutionists, the dinosaurs ‘ruled the Earth’ for 140 million years, dying out about 65 million years ago. However, I have never seen a scientists dig up anything labeled with those ages. They only uncover dead dinosaurs (i.e., their bones), and their bones do not have labels attached telling how old they are. The idea of millions of years of evolution is just the evolutionists’ story about the past. No scientist was there to see the dinosaurs live through this supposed dinosaur age. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old. Scientists only find the bones in the here and now, and because many of them are evolutionists, they try to fit the story of the dinosaurs into their view.

In Genesis [from the Bible], it teaches us many things about how the universe and life came into existence. Genesis tells us that God created everything—the Earth, stars, sun, moon, plants, animals, and the first two people.

Although the Bible does not tell us exactly how long ago it was that God made the world and its creatures, we can make a good estimate of the date of creation by reading through the Bible and noting some interesting passages:

God made everything in six days [please note that six days are six days and not as some think a period of time greater than six days]. He did this, by the way, to set a pattern for mankind, which has become our seven day week (as described in Exodus 20:11). God worked for six days and rested for one, as a model for us. Furthermore, Bible scholars will tell you that the Hebrew word for day used in Genesis 1, can only mean an ordinary day in this context.

We are told God created the first MAN and woman—Adam and Eve—on Day Six [point here is that Adam and Eve were old enough to have children and that God created the earth in a "mature" state. Even if Adam and Eve were young they were of an age to produce children]. Many facts about when their children and their children’s children were born are given in Genesis. These genealogies are recorded throughout the Old Testament, up until the time of Christ. They certainly were not chronologies lasting millions of years.

As you add up all of the dates, and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth almost 2000 years ago, we come to the conclusion that the creation of the Earth and animals (including the dinosaurs) occurred only thousands of years ago (perhaps only 6000!), not millions of years. Thus, if the Bible is right (and it is!), dinosaurs must have lived within the past thousands of years.

Every blessing

Richard

MARCOS said...

Great posts comments to the posts. I was eating popcorn while reading them... :-))))

I believe the Earth is about 6,000 years old. I don't want to pull out my manual on the limits of carbon dating.... but I do adhere to the Genesis time line.

I also think that the Flood has caused some to think the Earth is older than it really is due to the fact that many fossils are found under rock, soil and many layers of debris. Some reasearchers count these layers much like they count the rings on a cut tree stump to determine the age of a tree.

( Which does work for estimating the tree's age but maybe not the Earth's age).

Richard Bentall said...

For most,the belief that dinosaurs lived before man is the best answer to fit with their age. However in the Bible, in Job 40:15-24, Click here to see God describes to Job (who lived around the time of early Genesis) a great beast. This great animal, called ‘behemoth,’ is described as ‘the chief of the ways of God,’ perhaps the biggest land animal God had created. Impressively, he moved his tail like a cedar tree! Although some Bible commentaries say this may have been an elephant or hippopotamus, the description actually fits that of a dinosaur like Brachiosaurus. Elephants and hippos certainly do not have tails like cedar trees!

Richard

Chris HH said...

Allow me to clarify my position:

I am not prepared to compromise with the scriptures one jot. However long ago the Universe was made, it was made in 6 literal days.

However, I feel no such loyalty to some 17th Century Archbishop's number-crunching! Nowhere does the Bible explicitly say that the Universe was created in 4004BC. Ussher's calculations are certainly not the only possible literal exegesis of the text.

I do not believe that the Universe is millions or billions of years old. There is no way the genealogies could be stretched to that. But it could quite easily be in the region of 10,000 years or even 100,000 years old, without any injustice to the text.

For example, the layers of ice in the Greenland icecap indicate an age of the earth of around 150,000 years.

This is certainly a problem for the Darwinist, but sadly it is also a problem for many creationists who hold to Ussher's calculations as if they were on a par with the Scriptures themselves!

The Thunderer said...

Chris,
Thanks for taking a look at my irreducible complexity post and for the helpful comment!
Were you aware that there was a whole wing of WWII fighter planes lost in Greenland in the early 40's. They were found no long ago in pristine shape under a lot of ice, made of multiple layers (i.e. a lot more than 50). I think it justifiably calls into question exactly what layers in ice cores mean in regard to time. [It doesn't help with age markers like varves in Swiss lakes or coral reef growth.]
You are right about Usher and the telescoping of geneologies. When geneologies are compared from instance to instance within the Bible you find that at times a generation or two are skipped over. In other words the geneology was meant to express something other than a strict chronology. I don't think it adds up to 10,000 years but it could place the age at well above 6000. Many of us like 6000, however, for theological reasons: 1 day is as 1000 yrs...

Matthew said...

Chris, I tend to agree with your ball-park ideas on the earth's age, one reason being:

"The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat." (Gen 8:2-4)

I've always thought an ice age was a neat way of makng the waters recede!

I too like the 6000 year old earth for theological reasons (though I am always sceptical of schemes which say "this proves that the end is near"!). But as numbers are most often symbolic in scripture, then perhaps the purpose of the numbers in the geneologies are also primarily to be understood symbolicly - and so although they are meant to add up to 4004 years from creation to Christ (actually 4000 years if we take 4BC as the date of Christ's birth) that is not to say they are there to allow us to date creation!

Chris HH said...

> I've always thought an ice age was a neat way of making the waters recede!

Indeed! Reading the scientific articles on the Greenland icecap recently, I have begun thinking along the same lines myself.

I found it curious that one article in particular stated, "There is no evidence within the layers of the icecap that there was ever a global flood." Yet at the same time that, "The icecap was put down between 150,000 to 160,000 years ago."

If I have understood anything about the current furore over global warming, then the absence of an icecap is the best evidence yet that there was indeed a global flood.

Chris HH said...

Here's another ball-park calculation:

Everest, the worlds tallest mountain, stands at 8850m. Conventional scientific belief places the formation of Everest at 50 million years ago.

However the collision of the Earth's tectonic plates means that Everest is still growing. 45 years before its last official height calculation it was recorded to be 2 meters shorter.

At that rate of ascent it could have risen from sea-level in a little under 200,000 years.

The Thunderer said...

Chris,
That's very interesting about Everest. I would think something like that would wipe out the last of the uniformitarians! Are you aware of anything that would give us an acceleration trend for the uplifting, i.e. is it slowing over time?

Richard Bentall said...

Chris, your post has got the grey cells going. Anyway if others are wanting to address some other related topics here are some to discuss.
1) Is there a missing links from man to apes?
2) What was the idea of the Ice Age?

Every blessing and the earth is the Lords and the fulness there of .

Richard

PS Well done for the post

The Thunderer said...

I'd love to hear what you had to say about the ice age too.

Matthew said...

I like the little squirrel guy...

Chris HH said...

What are my impressions on the ice age?...

"Brrr, it's cold!"
"Dude, where's my Mamoth?"

Richard Bentall said...

Chris. I will never confess that I know the answers but what I do know is that for too long people have accepted theories, rather than looking at the word of God [that is The Bible - the fact is there is more evidence to the Authenticity of the bible than these other points that are going]

Anyway that I'll give my point of view and that is Ice Age 3 is coming in 2008, so watch out for scrat [that’s the squirrel] (:-).

For me it is difficult to conclude one way or other whether the Ice Age had a purpose for man. The Ice Age is not mentioned in the Bible and I believe that it is a climatic deduction from the biblical event of the Flood. Perhaps you could think that if such a great event as the Ice Age had a purpose, God would have mentioned it [but there again God is a God of mysteries to which I'm discovering everyday]. The Bible was probably all written after the ice melted. The Book of Job possibly is the only book written during the Ice Age. Job does mention snow and ice, but he could have observed such features during winter. There are also events not mentioned in the Bible that have a purpose for man. Furthermore, the Ice Age occurred in the far north or in the mountains, far from contact with most people. Therefore, the Ice Age would produce little harm for mankind.

One possible purpose for the Ice Age could have been to aid the repopulating of the earth. The climate change to mild winters and cooler summers would have helped people to migrate across the Sahara Desert, and other places. But on the other hand, with this climate change would have made the Tigris-Euphrates area a much more ideal location to live than today.

Apologies for taking over your blog. Every blessing and I'll have ago at the other question soon.

Richard

Ricky Carvel said...

Evolution on Cbeebies? Doesn't surprise me in the least. Despite the best efforts of the 'intelligent design' league and other staunch creationists, the theory of evolution remains the most widely accepted scientific explanation of how we got here and stands not merely head and shoulders above the alternative theories, but probably head, shoulders, chest, waist, thighs and knees above the others.

I'm sure you wouldn't be complaining if some other widely held scientific theory sneaked into Cbeebies. Indeed, watch Nina and the Neurons (my 5 year old's current favourite) for some more Cbeebies science!

As for the scientific accuracy of the Genesis creation story... This part of the bible was written by someone who believed that the (flat) earth was basically encapsulated in a bubble in the watery 'firmament' (hence the 'waters below' and the 'waters above')

Genesis 1v7-8 (KJV):
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Given that we know that there is no heavenly, watery firmament in the sky (only a more-or-less vacuum of space), why should we claim any scientific accuracy to this story, or indeed the timeline proposed in it. If the entire second day of creation was spent in hollowing out a firmament in waters which are not there, how can you rationally defend a literal six day timeline?

Ric.

Chris HH said...

Ricky, thanks for you comment, and for bringing this thread back on topic! (Not that I didn't appreciate the diversion)

Your comment illustrates that Darwinism stands by what I like to call the "Conan-Doyle" principle:

Once you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Such methodology is fine for detective work within the realms of well defined science. But on the fringes of our scientific knowledge such assumptions are flawed, because what we consider to be impossible or possible is governed by our limited experience within the well-defined realm and not at the fringes where we try to apply them.

Both Relativity and Quantum theory would be dismissed out of hand, if we only considered what is possible within the classical or Newtonian view of the Universe.

Because evolution is the only "credible" scientific theory for our origins, does not make it right. Indeed this thinking has at its core an assumption that all valid explanations must be scientific in origin!

If God created the earth and all the animals in a miraculous act, one would not expect there to be a scientific explanation for how it took place.

Modern science is at odds with its history and the great scientists of the past, in that it dismisses any notion that there could be a divine hand at work as an axiomatic "impossibility"

Paul said...

I've scanned the comments, but I can't be certain that the point's not been made already. Even if the earth is very old, it does not automatically follow that evolution is therefore true. I've heard this assumption often made among young earth creationists who speak of the supposed multi-billion year history as an "evolutionary timeframe." But even long, finite time does not guarantee victory for evolutionists, though it may give them aid and comfort. To make such an assumption is to underestimate the complexity of life and to overestimate the power of random mutations.

Chris HH said...

Thanks, Paul. That's a good point. In fact some Darwinists now admit as much, that even the hundreds of millions of years time frame is insufficient for life to have evolved from scratch. Some now believe the first forms of life were brought to earth on a piece of meteorite!

Talk about blind faith!

The reason I dislike millions of years is not because I consider it to be an "evolutionary time-frame," but because I find it hard to see how it can be a biblical time-frame.

Paul said...

I sympathize with you, but there are many respectable theologians who are divided on this one. That, and the fact that I find curious things in the text itself (e.g., when did that 7th day end, and just how much can Adam pack into one day), lead me to feel free to hear what Natural Revelation has to say on this. Of course, one may misinterpret Natural as well as Special Revelation, and so I remain cautious. In any case, in my own apologetic efforts, I tend to stick with the battle against evolution, which I see as more clearly contrary to both Scripture and science. I also think it is a dialog that can be sustained with non-Christians; the young/old earth debate is a step beyond that and is more of an in-house debate for us.

SLW said...

Chris,
Do you understand how panspermia is any better at describing that unbelievable leap from chemicals to life? I know it's being offered as the out in some circles but I don't see it answering any questions.

Chris HH said...

It's only better in as much as it is at least honest about the problems involved with the huge leap involved from chemicals to even the most basic form of life.

You are right, it doesn't answer any questions. It just makes it someone else's question to answer.

It's a shame that scientists are willing to concede that life came from the heavens, but not that it came from Heaven.

Anonymous said...

The trouble is that different rules for the earths formation lead to completely different ways of treating the earth now: If I put a road here, will it still be there in 60 years time? And what about climate change? If you disagree with ice-core readings, then how does that change the models that predict global warming? I suppose the difficulty is that these concerns stop people going into the subject, and so the only people who do it are already sold on the otherwise contentious issues. But then that’s the kind of social bias scientific accountability is supposed to get rid of.

Josh W said...

Totally agree on the climate change issue; an incorrect historical scale means that natural trends larger than a certain period can get all skewed. This is a very good reason for us to look again at this stuff.
I have a similar reservation with carbon dating, and it's intersection with organic processes: Can an organism really pause the effects of radioactive decay in themselves? Surely the isotope proportions would shift identically with the proportions in the environment, unless organic stuff can distinguish between isotopes, which would explain the different datings for the mammoth bits, but massively complicate the theory!
But about the kids, it's just Aristotle style education; "I can understand this idea, but I don't necessarily agree with it." pretty healthy, so long as they decide what ideas they do accept, or they will become literary critics, nooooo!