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Friday, July 07, 2006

A visit to drdino.com

I commented recently on a blog post by a fellow believer. She claimed that the Bible teaches unequivocally that the earth is only a few thousand years old. I suggested that the Bible isn't that definitive on the matter. In response, she suggested three web sites that advocate young-earth creationism.
I don't question God's creation. I'm not sure that it was only a few thousand years ago.

I visited the sites.

One of the sites she recommended was the Creation Evidence Museum. (The site uses frames, so I can't link to individual exhibits.) Some of the exhibits do, indeed, appear to cast doubt on geology as it is usually taught, such as the apparent discovery of a metal cup in a lump of coal. I am not a geologist, nor a paleontologist, so can't say more than that. One exhibit, supposedly of a sandal footprint on top of a trilobite fossil, was less convincing. I'm not sure that this was a sandal footprint. It could have been just shaped like a sandal.

Another site was "Proof Evolution is Wrong." The first item on the page is this:
Ok.. let me get this straight. The Word of God says we were created with Human bodies that are designed to live forever. Science has recently proven that if we were to learn something new every second, we would take well over 3 millions [sic] years to exhaust the memory capacity of our "post flood" brains. (Pre-flood brains were 3 times larger) On the other hand... Evolutionists say things evolve after there is a need for change.
In the first place, where in the Bible does it say that our human bodies are designed to live forever? Maybe Adam's and Eve's bodies were, maybe not. If they had lived as they should, perhaps God would have translated them, as He did Enoch, rather than having them live forever on earth. But my body is presumably altered as the result of the fall. Glorified bodies, as described in 1 Corinthians 15, are designed to live forever, I believe, but I'm not at all sure that, say, President Bush's is.

Secondly, when and where has science proven that it would take well over 3 million years to exhaust our memory capacity? I'd never heard of such a thing, and it would be difficult or impossible to prove, even if true. Most of us have trouble with forgetfulness without living nearly that long. There was a reference for this, but it was to a Moody Science film, not to any scientific source.

Thirdly, how do we know that pre-flood brains were three times larger?
I wasn't impressed with the quality of the site, nor the evidence for a young earth which was presented.


I also went to Creation Science Evangelism (drdino.com), as suggested. I clicked on the Articles tab. [Note, added April 16, 2015: I re-checked the links in this section of this post, and found that none of them worked, which is hardly surprising, after nearly a decade. Please take this portion of the post as my assessment of some materials from that site, in July, 2006. I have not attempted to find out whether the articles referred to are still available.] Then I clicked on the Biology link, as I am a biologist by training (There are several categories of articles). Since this is Dr. Kent Hovind's site, I chose an article by Dr. Hovind, "Opossums, Redwood Trees, and Kidney Beans." His first sentence was not a good start: "The theory of evolution teaches that living things are becoming more complex as time progresses." Oh? It is true that many people think that that is what the theory of evolution teaches, including some so-called experts who are atheists. But they are wrong. For example, I went to the Amazon page offering the late Stephen Jay Gould's Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin for sale. Here's part of what this page says that the Library Journal had to say about the book: . . . Harvard paleontologist Gould examines trends in natural variation throughout organic evolution, thereby discrediting the abstract ideas of eternal forms, fixed essences, and intrinsic progress. . . . In light of fossil evidence and overwhelming biodiversity, he concludes that there is no linear pattern or ultimate design to evolution. Instead, life is a spreading web or a branching bush; variation, rather than progression, is nature's expression of excellence.
This summary is accurate, as I recall from reading the book myself, a number of years ago. Gould was one of the most prominent spokesmen for evolutionary biology in the previous century, perhaps the most prominent one. (He did not believe that evolutionary theory disproves the existence of God, by the way.) For an example of non-progression, a parasite, which is so simple that it lacks a digestive system, and has little or no nervous system, may have evolved from an organism that had such systems.

So, Hovind is arguing with a straw man. What else does his article say? Not very much. It shows, and briefly discusses, a table listing the number of chromosomes found in about 30 widely diverse organisms, in order from the greatest (fern, with 480) to least (kidney beans, with 22). His point is that there is no correlation between chromosome number and complexity of the organism. True, certainly, but so what? In the first place, as I said above, his premise is false. Secondly, even if his premise were true, chromosomes are of different sizes, with differing amounts of genetic material. It would be possible for an organism with 22 chromosomes to have more genes than one with 480. He really goes off the deep end with this sentence: "One of our ancestors must have been one of the identical triplets—opossums, redwood trees, and kidney beans—with 22 chromosomes each." Please! Identical triplets? I'm sure Hovind doesn't believe that we descended from any of these three, or that they are identical, and no one else does, either. The most rabid atheistic evolutionist would never say that we did. Hovind's table doesn't include fruit flies or penicillium, yet he refers to them in his brief discussion.
I'm sorry, but if this sample is in any way representative, I would have to dismiss Hovind.

The second article (which I chose because the author had more articles listed than anyone else) I looked at was "Widsom [sic] Teeth, Things That Make Evolutionists Look Stupid.*" (Wisdom is spelled correctly in the article, but not the title.) This one made more sense. It claimed that the presence of wisdom teeth, and the problems they give, is proof that humans have degenerated since creation. That seems possible, although I can't see that, even if it were true, it would show much of anything about the age of the earth.
Further, the article suggests that Adam and Eve were Neanderthals, which would probably be denied by many young-earth creationists. It also says that an orthodontist who studied the skulls of ancient humans, or human-like beings, concluded "that the Neanderthals were from a time when human beings had much longer life spans, developed and grew much slower, and were of superior strength, and possibly intelligence, if their larger brain capacities are an indication of this." I doubt that a dentist is very well qualified to draw such conclusions. I would be much more confident in his conclusions about their teeth. I can't see how an examination of skulls could tell much about life expectancy.

I also decided on an article by the author who appeared next most often. His thesis sentence (not his first) says "The idea of vestigial features has been used as evidence for evolution since 1859 when Darwin first proposed that such features were evidence of descent of one organism from a completely different one." This is true, except that, to my knowledge, such features are seldom, if ever, now invoked as evidence for descent of one species from another. In other words, it was true. Many of Darwin's ideas have been refined, further expanded, or dropped all together. This one is in the latter category, I believe. (The second article has the premise that wisdom teeth are proposed as evidence for change with time, and are stated to be vestigial, by evolutionists.)
Here's the last paragraph:
In summary, evolution predicts that there should be leftover features as one organism turns into another. Creation predicts that although some life forms have degenerated and lost use of an original function, every part of an organism was designed to serve some useful primary or backup purpose. As we learn more about the biology of living organisms, including ourselves, it is readily apparent which theory fits the data.
Actually, natural selection would be expected to give organisms in a particular species which had parts that were not useful a disadvantage in the struggle for existence with other members of that species that did not have such parts*, so that evolutionary theory would predict that there aren't many vestigial organs, and that some we might guess would be vestigial aren't, so there is little or no difference between the evolutionary and young-earth models, as I see it, on the question of the existence of vestigial organs. The two models have a different explanation for the data, but these explanations aren't subject to scientific experimentation, as I see it. Hebrews 11:3 suggests, to me, that acceptance of God's creative acts (or rejection of them) is by faith, not scientific evidence. [Discussion of the drdino site, with links that used to work, ends here.]

I'm sorry, but I was not impressed by my visit to the drdino site, and would suggest that, based on my meager sample, it argues with straw men, and misleads.
I don't know everything, and there may, indeed, be a giant conspiracy among mainstream scientists to deny the short history of the earth, but I'm afraid that these three sites are not strong evidence for that.
*I altered this sentence a few hours after the original post by adding the words after "existence."

Added August 10, 2006. Since my original post, in July of 2006, I have learned that Hovind has been charged with various evasions of taxes. A blogger who thinks Hovind's work is the greatest science ever admitted, in her blog, that he was somewhat loony politically, which is related to these charges. Other things I have read suggest that he is more than somewhat loony. Here's a blogger's remembrance of some interactions with "Dr. Dino." (Apparently there are serious questions about the validity of his doctorate.) See the Wikipedia article, which has not been, as of this date, disputed, on Hovind. It certainly does not recommend him as an expert on anything. (Wikipedia articles can be edited and disputed by anyone. If there is a dispute, the article will say that there is one.)

*Note, September 15, 2007. The spelling of "Wisdom" has been corrected.

Thanks for reading.

*  *  *  *  *

Addendum, September 10, 2010.

I have gone back to the Dr. Dino web site, and found it much changed, in appearance, and, I would guess, in coherence. In the post above, I checked three articles, and found all of them wanting, for various reasons. Only one of these, the one about the chromosomes, seems to be still available. I believe that the content is unchanged, but the date is now given as August 3, 2010, and the article is subtitled "A Spoof on Evolution Theory." It didn't seem to be a spoof when I first saw it, but it makes more sense as a spoof than as serious criticism. Kent Hovind is given as the author, which, although I suppose that is true, is misleading. He is in prison for tax fraud as of this date, and would have been on August 3rd. (See Wikipedia article.)

13 comments:

MDB said...

If my knowledge were compaired with, say, that of Einstein, the contrast would be overwhelming.

If my ignorance, (or the ignorance of anyone else) that is, the knowledge that I do not know, was compared with the ignorance of Einstein, it would be too close to call.

I percieve that you correctly understand that the just shall live by faith, not knowledge, and that the Comforter shall lead us into all truth, not has led us into all truth.

Good post.

Elliot said...

Good post!

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you both. I hope you are right, MDB.

Future Geek said...

Good post. I found this from Sprittibee's blog, and I've commented over there.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Future Geek!

Anonymous said...

I've watched 6 of Dr Hovind's 7 seminar series, & now, having read this blog & several articles against him, I feel I must comment. Hovind says he doesn't know everything; he admits when things are unproven but possible; he publicly acknowledges when even his friends disagree on some points with him. Yet on the balance of evidence, discussion & Bible study, I'd say he has more gumption than all of you put together! He has the courage to 'be salt', to iritate, encourage discussion & debate & be a tall poppy. If any of you would take the care he & his staff have taken to collect the volumes of information etc that they have, spend the time & make the personal sacrifices he has to 'go out there & do something for God', then maybe your comments would hold more water. Personnally, I have no qualms about my children watching his videos & following his example to find things out for themselves instead of knocking anyone who says something the 'majority' don't agree with. Those of you who claim to be Christians, how can you say 'intelligent design' is just a popular belief??? Without God being the Intelligent Designer, you couldn't be a Christian. You wouldn't be here at all. Why not look at the positive good he does trying to shine God's light on the secular stranglehold of public education?

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for reading, Anonymous. As the post says at its beginning, I believe that I am here because of God's creative activity.

I'm sorry, but I made every effort to be fair to Hovind when I wrote this, but his web site, at least at the time I examined it, simply does not present credible evidence that would convince a scientist with biological training that either a) the earth is young, b) Hovind is even close to being a scientist.

I also fear that he is deceiving sincere Christians into thinking that he is arguing scientifically, and that he really has proved that the earth is young, when neither is the case, and even other young-earth creationists have tried to distance themselves from him.

I don't see deception, whether he intends it or not (he may well be sincere himself, but deceived) is really a "positive good." God is not threatened by honest examination of scientific facts or the interpretation of scripture. God's kingdom isn't helped by questionable evidence.

Thanks for reading.

Ebelfamily said...

Thirdly, how do we know that pre-flood brains were three times larger?----------I am not sure I've heard this but we can deduct since Adam and Eve before the fall were created image of God their bodies were not suffering from the fall the way ours is. The gene pool was newer back then. Dr. Hovind does have some good things to say in his other videos. His arrest really doesn't have anything to do with his Christianity- Well in some ways yes, he forgot Christ said render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. He had different opinion on it all. I've met other people like this- no marriage license, no ss, no drivers license, no taxes. Kind of misconception.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for your comment, ebelfamily.

On the question of brains 3x as large as they are now: Hovind didn't say this, but another site, recommended to me by a young-earth creationist blogger as a credible scientific defense of young-earth creationism, did. Brains might have been larger before the fall (and, perhaps, gradually diminished in size after it) but, in the first place, most "pre-flood" brains were after the fall, and, in the second, the blogger who said that they were 3x bigger gave no evidence for this figure at all.

As to Hovind on taxes, etc., it is true that truth is truth, whoever presents it, including people who have committed crimes. But, as I tried to make clear in my post, Hovind's "science" is not believable, and he is not a real scientist. He seems to be trying to pass himself off as one, and this apparent deceit leads me to seriously question everything else he has to say.

Thanks again.

Ross said...

I only discovered this blog today, after doing a Google search on Dr. Dino. I plan to visit again. It looks like a good place to visit to inform oneself on issues concerning the interaction between scienca and Christianity. Keep up the good work.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Ross. I hope so. (I also dabble in other subjects)

Probably the most important posts are indicated at the top right of the blog.

Anonymous said...

Martin luther once said "every man has to do his own beleving and every man has to do his own dying" Perhaps you read: "God is nowhere." It also says, "God is nowhere." 96% of Americans believe in God, but to many His presence isn't what it could be. The Bible says, "In Him we live and move and have our being," but we are separated from Him by our sins: "Sin" is the breaking of God's Law - the Ten Commandments. Let's see if you've "sinned": Have you ever lied (even a "white" lie) or stolen (the value is irrelevant)? Then you are a lying thief. If you've lusted, you've committed adultery in your heart. If you've hated someone, the Bible says you are a murderer. If you have broken any of the Ten Commandments. You are in big trouble. On Judgment Day you'll be found guilty, and end up in Hell. But God sent His Son to die on the Cross for you. Jesus took your punishment, and then defeated death by rising from the dead. God is now here. So repent today and trust the Savior, and you will receive the gift of everlasting life. Read the Bible daily and obey what you read. The Argument For Creation: "Just as a building is absolute proof there was a builder (no building ever built itself). Creation is absolute proof there is a Creator. The Bible says that God made all things then caused every animal to bring forth "after its own kind" (dogs don't have kittens, fish don't turn into sheep, etc., no matter how long they are left). The Bible also says, 'Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart. And that no liar or thief will inherit the Kingdom of God, warning 'All liars will have their part in the lake of fire. However, we are told how to be forgiven: 'God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, all who repent and trust in Him receive the gift of everlasting life. Creationists maintain that the Bible proves its credibility because it is filled with scientific and medical facts written hundreds and even thousands of years before man discovered them. Showing divine inspiration, and therefore confirming its warning of Hell and offer of Heaven." www.IntelligentDesignVersusEvolution.com

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for commenting, Anonymous.

I agree with much of what you have to say, but I wonder if you read the post, as your comments don't seem to refer to it very much.

As to the existence of a Creation being absolute proof of a Creator, I don't think so. Hebrews 11:3 says that we understand creation by faith, which means that such proof won't convince a non-believer. It convinces me, but not everybody, so it isn't absolute.

Believing that God exists, and that he planned His creation, is far more important than understanding exactly how or when He did it. Some Christians believe that the universe came into existence billions of years ago, and some don't.

The link you included points to a web site on Intelligent Design. May I point out that the leaders of the Intelligent Design movement are all on record as saying that the earth may be millions or billions of years old? See here for documentation.