Sal Cordova's Path to Young Earth Creationism


(Salvador Cordova) #42


I think the point you raise in the chart is an excellent argument against YEC. I should put that in my inventory of good arguments.

The problem with a lot of YECism is it doesn’t acknowledge when the other side has a legitimate counter argument. What you provided is one of the best I’ve seen.

To my mind, we do no service to anyone by dismissing rather than acknowledging substantive arguments such as the one you’ve put forward. Bravo to you!

(John Harshman) #43

It can’t be that good an argument, since it doesn’t convince you that there’s something wrong with YEC. In that way it resembles all the other arguments in favor of an old planet or life. Based on past experience, you will file this one away and forget it, without ever seriously considering the implications for your world view. But it would be pleasant to be proven wrong on that assertion.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #44

Great information, Michael. That type of chart serves as yet another reminder that science is about measurement and careful analysis of the hard data.

It reminds me of a presentation I heard years ago about how there are so many types of evidence found in the Hawaiian Islands chain which point to a very old earth. I recall discussion of the analysis of fossils found on the islands, the dating of the igneous rocks from volcanic action (both through radiometrics and via magnetic orientation from the earth’s polarity changes), and several other factors I just can’t remember. It was a powerful presentation. The consilience of evidence for a very old Hawaiian Islands was overwhelming.

(Herculean Skeptic) #45

Thank you for your kind words, and I agree. I was not trying to “win” though, but rather to understand how someone who understands (and really comprehends) these results concludes that the environment or the life is young. Coral would be life, so unless the life was miraculously caused to grow at continually faster rates on succeeding islands over the 3500 mile chain, it seems that even in an OE situation, the life cannot be seen as young. Surely as a non-expert, I know of only a tiny number of similar situations, but I would imagine that you encounter them much more often. This goes back to an earlier question… is it a philosophical response instead of a technical response to believe in young life, for instance?

(Salvador Cordova) #46

I think the way some of the issues to be settle is less with philosophy but rather what little experiments and observations we can continue to make to sort out and perhaps explain anomalies in the OE and YE models.

I have my philosophical biases, but arguing over what little data we have I think doesn’t settle issues, gathering more data is the best route, but unfortunately the most difficult.

I can only point to one measly example on in my own life. I accepted Ohno’s nylonase hypothesis. John Sanford contacted me a couple years ago and said, “Sal can you look at the databases, find out what’s going on, see if the sequence Ohno claimed exists in the database.” Well the sequence didn’t, and we looked at the databases HARD. The claim in 1984 by Ohno was credible,but about 34 year later in light of new data, it was refuted. An expert at the NIH also confirmed Sanford’s intuition was right.

On another note, how about the topic of junk DNA? We didn’t have the experiments we have now since Ohno’s claim most of DNA is junk. We now have a lot of data to resolve paradoxes, and it’s not so certain that most of the DNA is junk…

“is it a philosophical response instead of a technical response to believe in young life, for instance?” Most YECs reminds me of that scene from Inherit the Wind where the creationist (Matthew Brady) has a melt-down on the witness stand and just starts thumping his Bible. I found that scene disgusting, but a lot of my YEC comrades behave just that way. It doesn’t instill a lot of trust.

My approach, for which I am horrifically criticized, is that with respect to the YEC vs. Atheism, the proper philosophical approach is Pascal’s wager. It’s not so easy, perhaps inappropriate to apply Pascal’s Wager to YEC vs. OEC, or YEC vs. TE…

FWIW, I was a skilled blackjack player who go thrown out of several casinos after I won about $30,000 at the tables. My photo got circulated around the country, and I can’t play without risk of getting thrown out again. The experience affected my approach to life where big decisions are made with incomplete, confusing, information. Many decisions in life are made with less data than we’d like to have, and that’s just the way life is…how we decide without all the facts is the casino of life that we are forced into.

I have hope however, more data will come in and the matter will be clearer, and that’s all we can hope for.

But back to blackjack, I was listed in the documentary credits of this movie about Christian Blackjack players who took the casinos for 3.5 million dollars. There is an epistmology in the gambling world regarding betting on uncertain outcomes, and that is my view of YEC vs. Atheism, the wager isn’t so clear cut however in other contexts.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #47

@stcordova, regarding the age of the earth, it is not “small amounts of data” unless one is systematically ignoring data. There are just massive amounts of data here. It seems the most tenable YEC position is that God made the earth with the appearance of age.

The best one might be Young Life, where the life is a subset of what science calls life.

(John Harshman) #48

By “subset” do you mean one pair of humans who later interbred with a much larger evolved human population? Are you trying to force-fit Young Life into genealogical Adam?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #49

Haven’t settled in what I am proposing here. In the pass I have noticed that we can say that Adams world was created recently, because his world was the garden, not the physical globe…

It does seem there could be a bridge built to Young Life, but I’m not sure. I’ve only met one young life theologian. There seemed to be an opening, but it requires solid resolution of some specidic questions about theodicy.

(John Harshman) #50

How does a young life theologican handle the massive contradiction with the observed world?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #51

The honest ones acknowledge they have a problem with the evidence.


There are tens of thousands of radiometric dating measurements. More to the point, there are matching ages between several independent methods (e.g. K/Ar, Rb/Sr, U/Pb) which is extremely strong evidence for their accuracy. I would suggest reading Dalrymple’s essay “Radiometric Dating Does Work!” to get an idea of what the data looks like.

It’s still pretty certain that a large majority of the human genome is junk. This is due to the fact that only about 10% of the human genome shows evidence of sequence conservation. A person who supports ideas like Genetic Entropy may have a better understanding why this is strong evidence for junk DNA.

(Salvador Cordova) #53

I don’t think so, Contested Bones gives a good review of the problems. Also, U (Uranium) is 70 times more present on the continent than ocean floor, suggesting the origins were not stellar but through nuclear transmutation. This will affect ratios of daughter and parent products. There is simply too much we don’t know.

It’s still pretty certain that a large majority of the human genome is junk. This is due to the fact that only about 10% of the human genome shows evidence of sequence conservation

10% of 3.3 gigabases? 3.3 gigabases is 6.6 shanon bits, 10% of that is 660 million bits or about 80 megabytes. I think 80 megabytes of information capacity is an awfully low number to create something as complex as a human brain. Computer scientists could not mimmic brain function with that much space to work.

Not to mention, sequence conservation is not a good guide to functional measurement, experiment and observation are.


Then why would U/Pb dating agree with K/Ar dating for rocks in the same layer? K/Ar and Rb/Sr would not be affected by the mechanisms you claim are affecting U/Pb dating. On top of that, there are two decay chains for both radioactive U isotopes, and both produce the same dates.

Arguments from incredulity aren’t that convincing to scientists.

Added in edit:

Here is a bit from Dalrymple’s essay:

(John Harshman) #55

That’s like saying the Titanic had a problem with an iceberg. Shouldn’t the honest ones acknowledge that the evidence sinks their position?

(Timothy Horton) #56

“Contested Bones” has nothing to do with deep time radiometric dating. It’s another YEC hand-waving denial of the physical evidence for human evolution from earlier hominid species.

Why do all these Old Earth killing problems only show up in YEC website and publications, never in the primary scientific literature or working physics labs?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #57

The world is complex @John_Harshman. Wouldn’t you prefer people like this to bellicose YECs trying to insert their imagination into science text books? I certainly would. Do not kill a mockingbird.

(John Harshman) #58

Sure. But would you call that “honest”? (By “that” I mean admitting that the evidence is a problem without trying to deal with the consequences.)

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #59

Yes. They are honestly noting a real difficulty in their position and what we see in the world, without attacking secular scientists as dishonest idiots. This is honest. It is conflicted, but it certainly is honest, and deserves to be treated as such.

(John Harshman) #60

I’d say that it’s at best partial honesty. The first step may be admitting you have a problem, but if you stop there nothing’s going to happen.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #61

People are living things. This is just a statement of where they are now. We have no idea if they stopped or are in transit. Calling them dishonest, when they are not, just cuts you out being able to join the conversation with them.