Flood Boundary Hide & Seek: Part 2ish

In part 1 of this expedition, I started to explore the first of two flood boundary hypotheses. I’m going to try and answer some questions (and give some new insight) in this post about the Pliocene/Pleistocene flood boundary before we move on to a different area.

Some Background Info

Okay, so about 60 years ago Morris/Whitcomb wrote their influential book The Genesis Flood. In their book, they questioned the reality of the geologic column. But today, there is a wide consensus from YEC geologists that the layering of rocks that we see in textbooks is correct. They just think that the dates scientists use are wrong.

So if the geologic column is accurate we should be able to find in the rocks, where the flood of Noah begins and where it ends. There are really 2 groups of people we will call the late-flood boundary people and the early flood boundary people. (There are other views shown here but they are uncommon)

Also, I want to point out that I am only using YEC journals, blogs, articles, and conference papers for my posts.

Late Flood Boundary vs Early Flood Boundary

Late Flood Boundary people believe that the flood ends at the Pliocene/Pleistocene line on the geologic column. The Pliocene/Pleistocene are the names of the different Epochs. Here is where it gets a little confusing. Sometimes people will refer to this as the Neogene/Quarternary or the Late Cenozoic, but it is all talking about the same thing. A helpful way of thinking about it is that this group of YECs just believes that the flood ended in the rocks that regular scientists think are 2.6 million years old.

The other group of people believes that the flood ended at the K-Pg boundary. K-Pg means the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. That is the famous area where people have speculated that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. So this group of YEC scientists thinks that the flood ended in the rocks that normal scientists think are 66 million years old. These are the early flood boundary people because they think that the flood happened early in the fossil record.

Why is the Flood Boundary Important again?

Two of the most studied aspects of YEC Science are baraminology and flood geology. So locating the flood boundary is super important because where we put the boundary affects how we interpret the “created kind.”

What is the usefulness of the Paleobiology Database?

The database contains the geographic locations and rock layers for 1.52 million fossils. You can search the database by Animal and by Geologic Timeframe. Since we were exploring the Pli/Plei flood boundary in the first post, I used those two geologic sections for my search.

And in case you’re worried about the data being influenced by secular science. I’ll quote from a Marcus Ross article in the Journal of Creation. “So can a creationist trust the fossil occurrence data provided in the Paleobiology Database? Absolutely. The details of a fossil’s discovery are empirical data.”

r/Creation - Flood Boundary Hide & Seek: Part 2ish

Full Screen of Paleo Database

So what exactly is the problem with a Pliocene/Pleistocene flood boundary?

The big problem is called: The Biogeographic Distribution of Post-Flood Animals. Or in normal people talk- how did all of the animals leave the ark in Turkey/Iran and get to their various homes today?

And this isn’t a new problem. In Ken Ham’s New Answers Vol. 1 (p. 144) the author says that land bridges from the Ice Age (which lasted for 500 years after the flood) were the most likely way that animals got to where they belong. But Ham is an Australian and he knows that kangaroos are a bit of a problem.

r/Creation - Flood Boundary Hide & Seek: Part 2ish

Wallace Line

The living animals and the Pliocene/Pleistocene fossil animals that we find in Bali are completely different than the animals that we find in Australia. It is known as the Wallace Line that divides Australisian animals from Indonesian.

Another famous YEC is John Woodmorappe. In a presentation from 1990, he talked about the challenges of post-flood animal dispersal. He highlighted several places with endemic animals (endemic meaning only native to a particular place). For example, the Australian marsupials, the animals of Madagascar, flightless birds in Mid-Atlantic islands, and a few different groups of South American animals. His solution is anthropogenic dispersal; this is a clever way of saying, people on boats after Babel floated the various animals to their home locations and dropped them off.

Alright, alright so it’s hard to explain koalas and sloths crawling all the way from the mountains of Turkey. But What does this have to do with the Flood Boundary?

So I wanted to lay the groundwork by first showing that post-flood dispersal of animals is an important topic in YEC science. Now I’ll try and show explicitly why baraminology disproves a Pliocene/Pleistocene flood boundary.

I’m going to be borrowing a lot of my ideas from this 2020 Peer-Reviewed Article from Answers Research Journal. Please Read Here

  1. Baraminology assumes that if two different types of animals can breed and make baby they are the same kind.
  2. From the Bible, we know that Noah took 2 of every unclean kind on the ark.
  3. If the flood boundary is at the Pliocene/Pleistocene then we have a problem.
  4. We know that Foxes, Coyotes, and Wolves are the same kind. They can interbreed so they are the Dog Kind. But we have distinct Foxes, Coyotes, and Wolves on both sides of the flood boundary. To quote from the paper directly, “Kinds are capable of extensive physiological, morphological, and behavioral adaptions. There is no reason to expect the post-Flood descendants of a single surviving pair would diversify into exactly the same variations as those found before the flood.” (p. 242)

Now the YECs I’ve quoted have focused their research on North American animals. But the images from Part I of this expedition were of Kangaroos and Sloths. I highlighted those animals because YECs have been challenged by their post-flood dispersal in the past.

A Pli/Plei flood boundary means that all of these species are taken aboard the ark (since many species, not kinds are found on both sides) and then each species ends up returning to the same exact place that they came from- even though the flood destroyed their world- and they return to the place they came from and nowhere else. And according to Marcus Ross- this would have to happen “Thousands of times on every continent!” That is why he and many other YECs find this to be implausible.

Fine Print

I hope this wasn’t too repetitive and clarified some questions from the first post. I really appreciate the challenges to my ideas and the positive feedback. I have a lot of material I’ve collected over the last year that I’m converting into posts. I may not keep producing at 1 post a day, but it’ll be regular for a while.

Also, I want to reiterate I am a happy follower of Jesus. I am not trying to promote naturalistic materialism. I take the ideas of YEC seriously and I am digging into the peer-reviewed material from a variety of YEC sources.

Are Young Earth Creation Scientists playing the game wrong?

Short answer: Often, yes.

Long answer + Backstory:

One of the advantages of disconnecting from Reddit and Social Media for a year is that I was able to spend a lot of time exploring the issues we so passionately discuss from multiple angles. When I read the post today by u/ImTheTrueFireStarter it brought back to mind a fascinating forum that I read….

r/Creation - Are Young Earth Creation Scientists playing the game wrong?

The Creation Project

The Creation Project is run by the Henry Center of Theological Inquiry in partnership with Trinity Evangelical. It has everything a Creationist could hope for- academic pedigree and a foundation of Conservative Evangelical Christianity. In a 2019 symposium, a group of scholars each represented five various stances on Creationism (the moderator was YEC).

r/Creation - Are Young Earth Creation Scientists playing the game wrong?

The Cover Art for Symposium

The YEC position was defended by the most underrated player on Team YEC: Marcus Ross.

r/Creation - Are Young Earth Creation Scientists playing the game wrong?

Dr. Marcus Ross (on left) Dr. Kurt Wise (on right)

The question that started the written debate was the following: “Is it really tenable to be a young earth creationist in the face of the overwhelming scientific evidence that counts against it?”

I was completely caught off-guard by Ross’s response and it really made me think a lot about my approach to Christianity, Creation, Science, etc. Seriously, read his essay In the conversation riffs off of Simon Sinek’s Infinite Game and discusses how creationists have been playing the wrong game for a long time. Here is a quote from Ross.

If I can rephrase, the question asks “How can young earth creationists keep playing the game of science? Don’t you know you’ve already lost?” I submit that this question misunderstands the kind of activity in which I am involved. Put simply, my goal as a young earth creationist and scientist is to discover the works of God through his created world, guided by his inspired Word.

Basically, Ross is saying that nature, science, growing in Christ- they are all infinite games. There is no Winning them. But YECs have been playing the games like they are a Finite Game. He’s going to step on some toes but here are three quotes…

  1. Listen to the Language

If we think about it, the misapplication of finite-game strategies to “win” the infinite game of discovery abounds in creation-evolution rhetoric. I won’t speak for the other positions, but at least within young earth creation, this has certainly been the case. As evidence, consider the scores of books and articles that claim to have “defeated,” “demolished,” and “refuted” evolution, or predicted its imminent collapse.

r/Creation - Are Young Earth Creation Scientists playing the game wrong?

Point Taken…

2. Withing Fruit

But this is an infinite game and I have observed that when opponent-focused strategies are employed over the long-term, the fruits of the Spirit wither.

Ouch. I’ve seen that in my life.

3. Anti-Evolutionism is Fruitless

Anti-evolutionism is of little use to us because showing that other positions are wrong does not necessitate that our position is right.

This can be applied to all sides of the debate in many ways….

Conclusion:

I hope you take the time to read Dr. Marcus Ross’s essays and the various other responses that are linked once you get to the HTCU landing page. I don’t expect that one post like this changes the whole subreddit. I mean we do come here to debate and discuss and we enjoy it.

But just remember we are playing an Infinite Game.

Who goes where? The “Created Kind” Puzzle

Created Kind Puzzles

If you have watched any YouTube debates or presentations about created kinds you have probably heard about the most common examples: the Dog Kind, the Horse Kind, the Cat Kind, and the Triceratops kind. But when you press into the YEC material some interesting things emerge…for example, the alleged original kinds (from 4,340 years ago) are wayyyy different than what we see today, some animals are grouped in different kinds that look like they should be the same, and some kinds have way more diversity.

Let’s start with one of the favorites. Cows. Take a look below.

How many kinds do you think are represented?

r/Creation - Who goes where? The "Created Kind" Puzzle?

From Top Left: Musk Ox, Javan banteng, Gaur, American Bison

Answer: Two different Kinds. According to YEC studies a Musk Ox is actually a part of the sheep/goat kind. That’s weird right? But do you know what is weirder? Cow-Alopes.

Let’s go to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky and see what Ken Ham has to say about the “Cow-alope Kind”

r/Creation - Who goes where? The "Created Kind" Puzzle?

Sign from Ark Encounter Blog

r/Creation - Who goes where? The "Created Kind" Puzzle?

Cow Kind at Ark Encounter

Wow….that is pretty unexpected right? I mean the Ark Encounter does admit that the original cow kind looks awfully antelope-like. But that is not what I imagine when I think of a cow.

Okay let’s try another one.

How many kinds are represented below?

r/Creation - Who goes where? The "Created Kind" Puzzle?

From Top left: African Civet, Common Raccoon, Raccoon Dog, Red Panda

Answer: 4 Different Kinds. Yep, each one of these guys who we would naturally group together as the “Raccoon Kind” are actually 4 different kinds. According to AiG the African Civet is in the Viverridae Kind, the Raccoon is a Kind with Coatis, the Raccoon is in the Dog Kind, and the Red Panda is the lone guy in the Red Panda Kind. Strange…but how about this one?

r/Creation - Who goes where? The "Created Kind" Puzzle?

From Top Left: Honey Badger, Southern Sea Otter, New York Weasel, Saharan Striped Polecat

Answer: 1 Kind. That’s right. You would think that there is a badger, otter, and weasel kind. But nope all 22 genera and 59 species of these animals are in their own kind. That’s a lot of “Genetic Variability” built into the Mustelid kinds. In fact, it is surprising because I have never seen a badger give birth to an otter. But I guess it happened some 4,340 years ago according to Answers in Genesis.

3 Surprising Facts about Horse Baraminology

Intro:

I am a Christian and therefore a creationist. I am honestly exploring science and the Scriptures to understand human and animal origins. I have spent the last year investigating YEC science. As I read respected YEC scientists (Kurt Wise, Todd Wood, Marcus Ross, Matt McClain) the more the YEC position becomes less convincing.

The four names that I listed above are actual Ph.D. Paleontologists/Biologists. Each of them is a published scientist and contributes to the Genesis Is History YT Channel. Wood is a big name in YEC science. He has almost single-handedly carried the study of Baraminology forward over the past ten years with his CORE Group. Introductions aside, let’s get to the facts…

Surprise #1: Horse Evolution in the Textbooks is Sorta True

I’m going to quote directly from Todd Wood about Horse evolution.

“To be blunter than I could be in Answers (In Genesis), the evolutionists got that one right, and we creationists appear to have gotten it wrong.” Todd Wood 2009 Blog

Surpsise #2: Even Answers In Genesis / The Ark Encounter Admits Horse “Evolution” Is True Too

When the Horse Kind is shown on YEC talks the common animals featured are Donkeys, Zebras, and Horses. Something like this:

r/Creation - 3 Surprising Facts about Horse Baraminology

Normal Picture of Horse Kind

But if you visit the Ark Encounter you see this Sign:

r/Creation - 3 Surprising Facts about Horse Baraminology

Sign from Ark Encounter

r/Creation - 3 Surprising Facts about Horse Baraminology

Mesohippus

Why is this surprsing?

Well, first of all, these animals look like horses, but they have 3 toes. Secondly, NEVER in the history of YEC science has any member of the horse evolution lineage been accepted prior to the 2000’s and many YEC organizations still refuse to admit Mesohippus is a horse. See Sarfati Article

Surprise #3: Various Horse Genera are Common in the Fossil Record and the Many Horse Fossils have DNA

There are over 10,000 horse fossils stored at the American History of Natural History Annex in New York City. That’s crazy. But even crazier is the level of preservation that we see with horse fossils throughout the U.S. If you are interested watch this YouTube video here.

You will find that Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming, Rancho La Brea, and Gypsum Cave, Nevada all preserve horse fossils (that don’t quite look like modern horses) in such unique conditions that there is actual DNA in the fossilized bones. These weren’t buried by the flood (even by YEC standards) so these are actual horses that existed post-flood.

Conclusion:

Besides the data included above. Horses appear in the Bible 157 times. And every time that a horse appears it is described as a domesticated animal used for humans to ride on. It doesn’t appear that any of the Bible writers were familiar with a 3-toed sorta hybrid version of a horse.

So in summary, YECs want to suggest that a single horse kind came off of Noah’s Ark 4,340 years ago or so and diversified into all the horse kinds that have 2, 3, and 1 toes. But the more likely answer is that horses have been around for a lot longer than 6,000 years.

Flood Boundary Hide and Seek

Flood boundary Hide & Seek

What are we looking for?

Where in the rocks of the earth is the Genesis flood. According to YEC, the flood covered the whole world for a year about 4,340 years ago. YECs also believe that almost all of the fossils we find buried around the world were created during the flood. So we want to find where the flood of Noah ended.

Why is this important? (Quotes from YEC geologists)

  1. “Placement of the Flood/ post-Flood boundary is crucial to understanding Earth’s geologic history” Roy Holt Paper
  2. “Where one places the end of the Flood determines how much of the fossil record is attributed to the Flood itself and how much to geological instability.” Steven Robinson paper
  3. “The placement of the Flood/post-Flood boundary in sedimentary rocks is important within Flood geology. The placement of the boundary affects our view of the Flood, such as its catastrophic extent, the detail of events, the amount and intensity of post-Flood geological events.” Michael Oard paper

So what are the options?

YECs believe that most of the rocks and fossils we have today are a result of the flood. But there are a couple of different views. Below is a picture showing the two most popular positions.

Orange arrow – Late Flood View – Blue Arrow – Standard K-Pg View

Those don’t actually seem that far apart. But lets look at the Geologic Scale of America

The black arrow is the Pleistocene\/Pliocene line

Wow. If we accept the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary that means a LOT of rocks and fossils were laid down during the flood. Okay, let’s take a look at the Pli/Plei Boundary and see if that is the best candidate…

Here is our first clue. Let’s look at the fossil mammals that have been found on either side. To do this we’re going to use https://paleobiodb.org/navigator/ Then we are going to type in the Family name for Sloth and Kangaroo and then click on the appropriate time interval.

Now let’s take a look at two of the most commonly cited problem animals for post-flood dispersal: sloths and kangaroos.

Pre Flood Kangaroo

Post-Flood Kangaroo

Pre-Flood Sloth

Post Flood Sloth

Well, that’s awfully weird. So all the kangaroos from before the flood were in Australia and then they migrated back there? Same with the sloths?

You should try it out yourself. Plug away a bunch of different animals and you’ll find that they appear in one area before the flood and then back in the same area after the flood….puzzling.

But don’t take my word for it. Dr. Marcus Ross is a paleontologist who works with Is Genesis History? team. He is a YEC. Here are some of his papers where he explores the same problem.

https://creation.com/reliable-data-disconfirm-late-cenozoic-post-flood-boundary

https://creation.com/biostratigraphy-post-flood-boundary

https://creation.com/improving-our-understanding-of-creation-and-its-history

Alright, well we can scratch the Plio/Pleio boundary off the list. On to the next one!

How old is the earth? A New YouTube video from Dr. Tremper Longman

How old is the Earth?- New YouTube video from Dr. Tremper Longman

Who is Tremper Longman?

Tremper Longman is the Distinguished Scholar of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. He has written numerous conservative commentaries in the NIV Application series and he was one of the senior translators for the popular New Living Translation.

Longman is a conservative evangelical, not a fringe Christian. His newest book Confronting Old Testament controversies is a response to some more liberal Christian writers (like Peter Enns). Longman is such a highly regarded scholar that his OT Survey is standard material in conservative seminaries like Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Liberty University.

In this video, Longman argues that the Bible (Genesis in particular) is “not interested in talking about things like the age of the earth.” The interviewer (Preston Sprinkle) asks him one of the most insightful questions I have ever heard of an OT scholar at the 26:40 mark:

Preston: If the overwhelming scientific evidence was for a young-earth would it change the way you read Genesis?

Longman: No. The Bible is simply not interested in talking about these things.

Watch if for yourself!

Tremper Longman on the Age of the Earth

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Plantinga and Evolution

Alvin Plantinga has been a very influential person in my life and one of the most important Christian thinkers in the 20th and 21st centuries.

He is a Templeton award winner and he is credited by many as making Christian Theism an academically justifiable position in secular universities. CT article

For you budding YEC-theologians and students, I want to encourage you to read his book: Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism.

You do not need to agree with his eventual conclusions (he finds Christian theism to be compatible with evolution) to benefit from this book. In fact, in a CMI response to a reader Plantinga article CMI the YEC ministry argues that Plantinga successfully argues against “naturalism, defends miracles, and points out how science is rooted in the Christian worldview.”

You might be thinking- where does the conflict really lie?

As an analytical philosopher Plantinga is very succinct but thorough. So no matter how delicate I summarize it will fail to capture all of the nuances. Nevertheless, here is my attempt:

  1. There is alleged to be a conflict between theistic belief and evolutionary theory including the origin of life.
  2. According to theism, God made the world and people in his image.
  3. But it is perfectly reasonable to believe he did so by employing and directing genetic variation, natural selection, etc. Of course it does not mean that DID does that, just that he COULD do that.
  4. The conflict is that natural selection and evolution is unguided. But Plantinga argues that the claim that evolution is unguided is widely held- but is NOT part of current science. Instead, it is a metaphysical or theological “add-on.”
  5. Then he argues that Historical biblical criticism and evolutionary psychology appear superficially to be in conflict with Christian belief, but not defeaters. He also argues that the claim that God acts especially in the world does not conflict with science.
  6. He includes a big section on how science and religion actually work together. (Mathematics, predictability, data sets, etc.)
  7. He finishes with his primary thesis that, in fact, naturalism and science are where the conflict really lies. Plantinga’s argument concerns the reliability of cognitive faculties (perception, memory, introspection, etc.) and how there is a deep conflict between naturalism and evolutionary theory.

Plot Hole in Nathaniel Jeanson’s YEC Book

After an unfortunate fireworks incident Saturday where I broke my hand in five places (yes, I was that guy) I found myself with a LOT of time on my hands. Pun intended. I decided to binge the new face of YEC science: Nathaniel Jeanson. I watched the AiG videos linked earlier in the week featuring Jeanson. Viewed his debate with biologist Herman Mays and a follow-up video that Mays made. I read his journal articles on AiG (just search for them) and I bought the Kindle edition of his 2017 book Replacing Darwin and finished it today.

In everything that I read, there is one big, giant, plot-hole: Cenozoic mammal fossils

Cenozoic mammals are (according to “secular” science) thought to have lived within the last 66 million years. Think prehistoric mammoths, cave bears, giant sloths, etc.

All of the genetic examples that Jeanson provides for illustration (such as breeds of cows, breeds of dogs, or his favorite example the horse kind of zebras, horses, donkeys) are just above simple physical characteristics. We can get horses with red coats or stripes. We can get dogs with long fur or short curly hair. Like this picture here:

r/DebateEvolution - Giant Plot Hole in Jeanson's Theories

Page 19 of How Many Animals on the Ark by AiG

But what Jeanson doesn’t tell you is that the Ark Encounter features the cocker spaniel sized three-toed Messohippus as the ancestral Horse Kind. (see below) I haven’t seen any three-toed Zebras at the zoo lately…

r/DebateEvolution - Giant Plot Hole in Jeanson's Theories

Courtesy of Ark Encounter Blog

A big problem with the Cenozoic mammals hinges on the flood boundary. Jeanson seems to lean towards a Flood/post-flood boundary at the K-Pg, though remains undecided. The flood boundary is a MASSIVE issue. Where the flood ends should influence his entire genomic research. According to this AiG Article Jeanson admits that if we go with flood-boundary at K-Pg then all tertiary layers are post-flood. That means Pleistocene layers are Ice Age and the Ice Age happened after the flood. So “we have a tremendous amount of diversity to explain in a few hundred years.” A few hundred- NOT the 4600 years he includes as a variable in his book. We have tens of thousands of Ice Age camelid and mammoth fossils. Fossils! So how many were alive in the 300 years after the flood??

Later he writes, “This burst of diversification appears to have been followed by a burst of extinction.” He later admits that ” little overlap exists between the species found in the Tertiary and the species alive today.” Suspicious right?

In another article here he notes, “70% of the kinds of mammals that Noah brought on board the Ark died. This is not extinction by virtue of burial in the Flood. Rather, it’s extinction after the Flood.” So by the time of the ice age, most of the mammalian genera that had formed as well as a similar percentage of families that were taken on board the Ark all disappeared.

Jeanson does not attempt to hide the problem in his journal articles. He writes here that

In addition, with respect to the traditional scientific field by which the past has been interrogated— paleontology, lack of a comprehensive creationist model has hampered firm conclusions from being formed on the explosive speciation model.

He is saying the without a firm flood boundary we can’t form firm conclusions about the explosive speciation model. But that is almost the entire point of his book!

Of course, he knows that a late flood boundary makes his life easier. But the most active researching YEC paleontologist would tell him- don’t even go there. Dr. Marcus Ross disconfirms the late flood boundary here and here .

tldr; Jeanson’s work focuses largely on genetic changes of living mammals and totally ignores ALL of the fossil mammals of the Cenozoic