Monday, August 22, 2011

Walking with Monsters

Here's an Emmy-award winning series called Walking with Monsters, which dramatizes the theory of evolution as if it were fact. Nothing is presented as a theory -- everything is stated authoritatively by the erudite-sounding narrator (Kenneth Branagh), and accompanied by computer-generated animation of lifelike prehistoric creatures.

This portion of the series covers the supposed Silurian period, generally thought to cover the portion of earth's past from 443 million to 416 million years ago. For a discussion of these geological ages, and the reason they may not represent successive time periods but instead may have been mistakenly deduced from sediments that were laid down all at once, see this previous post.

In the above segment, we are introduced to the first vertebrates -- fish -- whom we are told are the ancestors of all later vertebrates, including mankind. "It's thanks to these primitive fish that we can think and solve problems today," the narrator declares at about 4:30 into the above clip. These fish, pictured below, were jawless bottom-feeders possessing a bony head-shield, giving rise to their name, Cephalaspis. The narrator frequently refers to them as "our ancestors" in their struggles to survive and evade the ever-present predators lurking about, noting that we would not be here today in our present form if the arthropods had succeeded in wiping them out.

As you consider this image of your alleged distant ancestor, the dependence of evolutionary theory upon vast, almost unimaginable ages of time to accomplish such transformations becomes clearly evident. There is simply no way to argue that a limbless, ocean-dwelling scavenger becomes an air-breathing, rational, upright-walking human being overnight. Time is a critical ingredient of the Darwinian formula (which consists of beneficial mutations plus natural selection, plus a whole lot of time).

This requirement for time illuminates the co-dependency of uniformitarian geological theories and Darwinian evolutionary biological theories. Uniformitarian geology proposes that the same uniform processes we see taking place on earth today would be sufficient -- given enough time -- to create all the geological features we see in the world around us.

The gradual erosion processes inherent in ordinary streams, for example, would be sufficient -- given enough time -- to carve the Grand Canyon. No extraordinary or catastrophic event would be necessary (for a discussion of the weaknesses in this explanation for the origin of the Grand Canyon, see this previous post). Similarly, the highest mountain ranges and the deepest ocean trenches can be explained by the supposed ongoing action of tectonic plates drifting about an inch a year on their beds of magma, which over enough time would be sufficient to raise the Himalayas or create the Mariana Trench. Uniformitarian geological theories provide Darwinism with the time that it needs.

The vast periods of time are like the air that Darwinian evolutionary theory breathes. Theories which challenge the gradualist assumptions of modern geology, theories which suggest that the geological features of the world were formed not by the uniform action of ongoing processes but by an extraordinary catastrophic event or events, suck the air out of Darwinian theory. They are therefore opposed vehemently by those committed to Darwinism.

We have already seen extensive evidence of geological features from around the globe which cannot be satisfactorily explained by gentle, gradual, or even tectonic processes. Several of these are listed and linked in this previous post, and since that post was published we have examined numerous other additional examples, including Lake Vostok and the deep liquid lakes on Antarctica, the enormous shield of sediments stretching from Pakistan all the way to Bhutan, and even aspects of asteroids and the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and the origins of comets.

All of this evidence points to a catastrophic event in earth's past, an event involving a catastrophic flood accompanied by violent side-effects which gave rise to most of the features we find on earth's surface today (including the portion of earth's surface that is covered by oceans). There is so much evidence, in fact, that it is quite likely that the only reason this explanation is ignored stems from an almost religious devotion to Darwinism among many in academia.

In fact, suggestions of a catastrophic flood will often result not in interested discussion about the relative merits of the evidence supporting such a theory versus the relative merits of the evidence supporting other, more widely-accepted theories, but rather a highly emotional reaction which will probably include ridicule, scorn, personal criticism, and vitriol. This sort of reaction is very revealing (as Shakespeare famously has Queen Gertrude say in Hamlet, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks").

Anti-uniformitarian theories such as the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown are so threatening to Darwinists because, while a uniformitarian explanation necessarily requires vast eons of time to allow tiny changes to build up into Grand Canyons, a catastrophic mechanism such as a violent global flood could create geological features very rapidly -- and that means that it could have done so much more recently than Darwinists want to allow. If such a flood took place only 20,000 years ago, or even more recently than that, then that doesn't give Darwinism much time to operate. Such a short period simply isn't enough time for the Cephalaspis shown above to evolve into an air-breathing, walking, warm-blooded, thinking hominid with opposable thumbs.

There is, in fact, evidence that the catastrophic events described by Dr. Brown may have taken place fairly recently. For example, we have previously discussed the fossil trees found near the Arctic Circle in Canada's Arctic Archipelago, as well as the frozen wood of trees found within the Antarctic Circle, where large trees could not grow today. We noted scientific articles stating that some of this wood is not fossilized at all, but will actually float in water and burn when it is thawed out. This argues that whatever moved Antarctica to its current location did so fairly recently, not over a period of vast ages of time by a process of inch-by-inch tectonic drifts.

Similarly, we have discussed the infamous soft-tissues that have been found in various fossils, including dinosaur fossils that are supposed to be over 68 million years old. The idea that red blood cells and other soft tissues could remain intact over such a period of time would never have been entertained by scientists before these fossils were discovered, but now that they have been discovered, academicians are trying to come up with some explanation, rather than admitting the obvious conclusion that the event that buried such fossils may have taken place only a few thousands of years ago rather than tens of millions.

A recent flood does not, of course, automatically prove Darwinian evolution to be wrong. It is quite possible to argue that Darwinian evolution took place in the ages before such a flood, and that it will take place afterwards as well, given enough time. However, such a flood poses king-sized problems, some of which are probably insurmountable. For one thing, if the Cephalaspis pictured above had somehow evolved into an air-breathing land-dweller before the flood, a global catastrophe of the magnitude described by Dr. Brown and supported by the worldwide evidence would set the evolutionary clock back quite a ways, requiring yet another slow climb out of the sea over yet another period of tens or hundreds of millions of years.

Thus, the catastrophic theories which the evidence supports will probably always be violently opposed by devotees of Darwinian evolution.