Sal Cordova's Path to Young Earth Creationism


(Timothy Horton) #22

No Sal, the human race is not decaying. All that has happened in the last few thousand years is we used our technology to change our environmental selection pressures. Genetically based things which use to kill us no longer do. Human average lifespan has almost doubled. We’re “decaying” so much the human population went from a few million to over 7.7 billion in 5000 years.

If we somehow lost our technology and had to revert back to our hunter-gatherer lifestyle the population would come crashing back down. Literally billions of people would die. Is that what you and Sanford want to restore our “decayed” genome back to some imaginary baseline “good” one?

(Herculean Skeptic) #23

@stcordova Can you restate your basic positions over the age and appearance of life? I apologize if I missed a summary earlier on, but I’m trying to reconcile what you are saying with a position. Are you saying that the universe is old (byo) and that life is recent? If so, can you fill in the blanks with some parameters? Also, do you believe your position to be evidence based or theologically based (driven)? I just want to understand what you are saying. Thanks!

(John Harshman) #24

Sal typically doesn’t answer questions like that. But let’s remember that he doesn’t believe in the Devonian; those are just Flood deposits.

Still, you raise an interesting question: what can a YEC make of the Chicxulub crater? It must have happened during the Flood or after the Flood, depending on where a YEC puts the K/T boundary. But wouldn’t that have either caused a post-Flood mass extinction or, if during the Flood, set Noah on fire? I don’t recall any YEC every addressing the matter.

(Timothy Horton) #25

The list of technical questions YECs can’t / won’t address could fill the Library of Congress. It doesn’t bother them one iota because they know Jesus is on their side. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Blogging Graduate Student) #26

Paging @Joel_Duff - I know he’s written about YECism and craters before, e.g.

(Blogging Graduate Student) #27

I’d say that’s a pretty big difference, wouldn’t you? It certainly comes nowhere close to the YEC timescale.

Just to make sure I understand you correctly, you gathered aaRS gene sequences from several members of a particular species, looked for how many substitutions had occurred in each gene (e.g. AspRS) between those members of the species, and then used a known substitution rate to see how much time was required to get that many changes? Do I have that right?

How is that problematic? You say yourself that no one believes all proteins descended from a single ancestral protein sequence.

If I’m understanding you correctly, then you’re right. How does that not look like UCA though? As lineages diverge from a common ancestor, new genes evolve along the branches and we end up with the presence of certain genes defining certain lineages. How else do you think the pattern would look?


Inflation as a paradigm itself is not falsifiable. This is because quantum mechanics causes different Universe bubbles with a possibly infinite varieties of initial conditions to pop out of inflation. However, it remains to be seen if there are other theories that can explain Planck’s results better than inflation. Unlike inflation, most of these theories cannot produce the gravitational waves from the early universe that BICEP2 is trying to measure. Unless there are other theories that can do this, perhaps it is fair to say that BICEP2 can confirm inflation but cannot falsify it.

That said, I have read some YEC cosmological model, and I think they are not good alternatives to inflation. A lot of them boils down to confusion about why inflation does not violate the speed of light bound to the speed of information propagation. Also, FLRW itself is extremely well tested - just that inflation is not, one cannot simply throw away FLRW.

(Daniel Ang) #29

Thanks for the explanation. In the more specific context of @stcordova’s comments, is it true that FLRW involves “putting negative mass in Newton’s 2nd law”?


I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but usually the problem is with dark energy/cosmological constant, which I can understand some people see to be analogous to “negative mass”. Of course, once you go into the details, dark energy in the Einstein equation is not equivalent to putting negative mass in Newton’s 2nd law.

I think he might also be confusing the general expanding FLRW metric with the accelerating FLRW metric, which is FLRW with dark energy. FLRW metric itself expands without the need of dark energy. Dark energy is only needed to accelerate the expansion of FLRW.

(Jonathan) #31

Welcome to the forum, @stcordova!

I will look forward to reading your posts and seeing what new ideas you will be sharing with us! :wink:


(Salvador Cordova) #32

Daniel Ang,

My words may have been confusing, I wasn’t saying that FLRW meant putting negative mass, my intended meaning is that one can create all sorts of nonsense solutions to accepted physics equations. Regarding negative mass, the professor onetime assigned a problem to demonstrate one particular metric was the solution to Einstein’s field equations and to describe the geodesics of that solution. The next we reviewed it, and after all our labors the professor said, “I don’ think it is real, it’s just a hypothetical solution because it requires NEGATIVE mass. It was a wormhole solution.” The whole class laughed. As if to say, “it was a nice idea, and after all the hours we suffered trying to solve the problem, it was all a fantasy.”

The issue with FLRW is that it invokes expanding SPACE. If potential energy is the integral of force over distance, what do we do with more distance? There are problems with expanding space.

I mentioned John Hartnett who invited me to be his PhD student. Hartnett is a YEC but also a successful secular scientist. He posted on arxiv a powerful opinion piece on why he thinks the red shifts do not indicate velocity.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #33

Welcome to Peaceful Science, @stcordova. I’ve been reading your posts with great interest. I’m always fascinated as I learn how various Christ-followers have reached their individual positions on origins. (Sometimes I suspect that viewpoints on origins are like snowflakes: no two are exactly alike.) I’m glad to see that @J.E.S introduced himself to you. We appreciate the Young Earth Creationists who have enriched the dialogue here.

I’m very busy working on a major geographic move but hope to converse with you as I get the opportunity.

(Jonathan) #34

@AllenWitmerMiller, I also appreciate your contributions to the dialogue (even if I tend to disagree with them)!

I hope your move goes well! :slight_smile:


(Dan Eastwood) #35

This is Sal’s introduction thread. I think we should let him introduce those opinions without too much argument. The argument will come later. :wink:

(Salvador Cordova) #36

Michael_Callen (and others),

[edits forth coming]

Apologies in advance for the terseness of some replies and if I miss some querries. I became a target on the internet ever since I appeared in the April 28, 2005 cover story on Nature regarding ID, “Who Has Designs on your Students Minds.” So I simply have a policy of having to avoid complete answers to certain questions and stating my DEFAULT ANSWER: I don’t know, I could be mistaken.

My positions (my beliefs)

  1. Universal Common Ancestry is in false. Evidence is FOR a TAXONOMIC nested hierarchy, but against the taxonomic hierarchy being the result of common descent, the main reason is Taxonomically Restricted Genes and Protein. Major transitions that are problematic are evolution of Eukaryotes, Multicellular Animals. Minor problems are evolution of mammary glands. Phylogenetic methods do not explain mechanistic gaps such as the absence for an explanation for the major taxonomic protein families. If one actually looks at CDART, the common ancestor of all proteins is non-existent in principle. If Universal Common Descent needs miracles to make it feasible, it is little different in degree from invoking special creation!

  2. Age of the fossil record is much less than hundreds of millions of years. Evidence is good that the question, at the very least should remain open. Radio metric dates fall on both sides of the claim of old or young, however clocks within the organism (C14, amino acid racemization, DNA persistence) favor youth. Dates of surrounding rocks favor long ages. Problematic for long ages is that erosion rates indicate the fossils layers should have eroded into the sea. The process of fossilization favors a cataclysm and rapid burial involving water. The sedimentary layers are better explain such as in the video “Drama in the Rocks” which cite experiments at the Colorado School of Mines.

There are lots of other problems from purely mechanistic reasons that I could never in good conscience say the fossil record looks definitely old. I personally believe it is young. From and astrophysics standpoint, I think the Faint Young Sun Paradox is a serious problem for the fossil record being old. It would require Fine-Tuned global warming to keep the Earth becoming an iceball. The fine-tuning would be miraculous. At some point if one claim is just as miraculous as another, it’s a matter of picking your miracle! Alternative nucleosynthesis and nuclear transmutation models seem to fit the YEC model better, imho. The claim we came from an exploded supernova doesn’t accord with the element and isotopic profiles of the Earth or Solar System’s chemistry.

  1. If the fossil record is young, it suggests life if young. I believe it is young. The evidence suggests it.

  2. The Solar System. I don’t believe the Solar System Evolved nor is old. I came to believe the non-evolvability of the Solar System after reading Stuart Ross Taylor’s book that was actually intended as an anti-YEC thesis. It had quite the opposite effect on me. The question is the age of the Solar System. At this point, I will invoke the fact that I believe life is young, I’m philosophically and theologically inclined to believe the Solar System is young.

  3. The age of the universe? I no longer believe the Big Bang for reasons articulated quite well by dissenting secular astronomers and astrophysicists. Reasons for me disbelieving, mechanistically, that we really understand what is going on is here:

The evidence is mostly FOR old universe because of distant starlight, but because life is young and because of the anomalies, I’m inclined to believe at a personal level the universe is young as well.

So, when I teach YEC, I suggest a TENTATIVE approximate defensible model is Old Universe/Young Life, or simply Young Life. I’m happy to say, I have personally believe in YEC because I think the fossil record is young and I totally reject universal common ancestry as a mechanistic explanation for the taxnomic nested hierarchy (which Linnaeus and other creationists saw), and that it seems a reasonable hunch the rest of creation is young, but we might need to wait on evidence to that effect.

I have worked on theory and experiments, such as Cahills interferometers, to explore alternative to Einsteinian relativity in favor of neo-Lorentzian relativity. For experimental reasons alone, I think Einstein’s General Relativity was close, but not quite accurate.

This is my view of Cahill’s work which I wrote in 2014 before I constructed one of Cahill’s experiments in 2016:

(Herculean Skeptic) #37

@stcordova Thanks very much for your thorough response! So when you talk of young life and YEC, are you thinking of a ‘biblical scale’ along the lines of 6-10k years old for the life? I assume that you are positing a very long time (maybe millions of years) between the “beginning” and “day one” in Genesis, then?

And, finally, I’m curious how you might deal with evidence like the Hawaiian Islands (along with the Hawaiian and Emperor Seamounts) whose distance age (based upon the rates of movement of the Pacific Plate over time) correlate with the radiometric dating, but also have the expected amounts of coral based upon their ages. It’s definitely a three-pronged issue against a young earth, but if you say old earth/young life, you still have to deal with 900’ of coral to get down to bedrock at Midway Island, for instance, which points to ~20 million years of life, too. .

(Salvador Cordova) #38


I could of course be wrong and the Hawaiian Islands and many other facts conflict with YEC. But the data seem conflicting, and I don’t think one side has been completely vindicated over the other. We can only go by our best guess. The YECs have pointed out also a good set of anomalies that I can’t dismiss either. I have opinions and and beliefs and I try to qualify them relative to the data we have available, and it’s never as much data as we’d want.

One project I worked on which felt forcefully about was my work with John Sanford on nylonases. John said it was the most clear cut project he worked on, the rest of the projects are not as clear cut. So the age of the Earth from an evidential standpoint is murky, but I obviously have my personal hunches.

There are some observations and experiments in principle that could be carried out to favor one hypothesis over another, but some of the clocking tests could take several lifetimes! One YEC prediction would be C14 in the Carboniferous marble and fossils will eventually become “blank” in about 50,000 years. That is in principle testable but not in practice testable, at least in one lifetime.

But I’m not insistent on specifically 6,500 years. Of interest, I had a talk with Paul Nelson’s dad, David, at the Pittsburgh International Conference on Creationism 2018. David is son of Byron Nelson who was one of the pioneer YEC theologians. To my astonishment David was disturbed with the 6,000 year view! His father Byron Nelson thought it could be 100,000 years.

I didn’t pursue the issue more. When David Nelson and I met at ICC, we talked more about the Pittsburgh Steelers than theology. :slight_smile:

Perhaps the best way to describe my belief is the recent issue regarding Brett Kavenaugh vs. Christine Blaisley Ford. Both witnesses seemed credible, but both couldn’t be right in principle. At some point we make decisions about what to believe with less facts that we’d like to have and also we may have anomalies we cannot reconcile completely with either claim, but we still might believe one account more than another.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #39

Thanks for putting so much effort into clarifying your position, Salvador. This is very helpful for understanding your “path”.

(Herculean Skeptic) #40

I am certainly no scientist and I have no credentials like yours, but I’ve been very interested in this topic for a couple decades now. To me, it seems as though there is actually an abundance of evidence that not only conflicts with YE timeframes, but is also quite reliable. For instance, this chart below shows how closely correlated the radiometric dates are with the distance/age of the islands… A third factor, not seen in the image, is the increase in thickness of the corals which I mentioned earlier. Three very convincing aspects all pointing to ages of the islands in the chains going from many thousands years near the hotspot to over 60 million years at the other end. So, with three aspects closely correlated, there’s a very low likelihood of the ages not being reliable.

(Figure 3: Hawaiian Island movements on the Pacific plate measured by radiometric dating. Figure modified from: Clague, D. A. and G. B. Dalrymple. 1987. The Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain Part I: Geologic evolution. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1350:5-54.)

On the other hand, I agree that there are some other factors that are much less conclusive. But allowing for an age that is younger is not the same as falsifying an age that is older. I’m not familiar with the nylonase project. Do you have a link to that… and could you clarify if it is a project that allows for a young earth or falsifies an old earth? Again, thanks for your time.

(John Harshman) #41

I can attest to this. Sal avoids complete answers to most questions.