Part of Kuban's Paluxy Website
Diagram from W. Brown's website and book |
showing what he calls the "Rupture Phase of the Flood"
Brown presented early versions of the model during the 1980's (Brown, 1986), and subsequently revised and expanded it into a more comprehensive model of earth history, which he described in a book entitled In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, now in its 8th edition (Brown, 2008). He provides updates and excerpts of large portions of his book at his CSC website. Brown indicates that he is "Director of the Center for Scientific Creation" in Arizona, which apparently consists of one person (himself).
Brown's Flood model and associated claims are overwhelmingly rejected by conventional scientists, since they conflict with many lines of evidence that the earth and solar system have had a long and complex history, and that the earth is about 4.6 billion years old (Hazen, 2013; Strahler, 1987). Detailed critiques of Brown's specific claims (based on earlier editions of his book) have been made by Lippard (1989a, 1989b, 1990) and Jellison (2009a, 2009b), while one or more his specific claims have been refuted by others (Bahcall, 2004; Fleming, 2012; Kuban, 1997; Matson, 1995; Morton, 2003a; Sharp, 2005; Van Till, 1986). Although Brown's model has garnered a modest level of popularity among mostly lay creationists, even many YECs have strongly questioned or rejected it, and refuted many of his specific arguments (Oard, 2013; Faulkner, 2014). In the wake of such criticisms, Brown removed a few of the most glaring errors from his book and website, such as those regarding the "shrinking sun," "missing neutrinos, and a "Japanese plesiosaur"; however, he continues to promote many other dubious or unfounded claims. This review expands on past critiques, and addresses recent updates to Brown's book and web site.
For years Brown held that the granite "hydroplates" were 10 miles thick, even though no evidence supported that assumption, and despite extensive geologic evidence indicating that the earth's crust ranges from 20 to 60 miles thick. Although the current (8th edition) of Brown's book still includes the 10 mi. figure, he recently modified his website to indicate that the thickness of the pre-Flood crust ranged from 20 to 60 miles thick. Evidently he is not just suggesting that the crust was a uniform thickness somewhere within this range, but that its thickness varied widely from place to place, as indicted in his own diagrams, showing mountains and valleys before the Flood. While this allows one facet of his model better coincide with geologic data, it creates a Catch-22 for him, since it greatly exacerbates the problem discussed above -- that any irregularities in the topography of the crust prevent a tight seal on the supposed pressurized water chambers below. This alone is fatal to his model.
Further exacerbating the problem is that Brown claims the supposed "granite pillars" helping support the hydroplates formed in less than one day as earth's crust deformed and sagged all the way to the bottom of the subterranean water (miles below). Besides being physically untenable (to say the least), even if this were possible, it would have produced massive earthquakes and huge cracks in the crust, immediately releasing the pressurized water.
In his reviews of Brown's book at Amazon.com, physicist Gerard Jellison noted that he also did calculations on Brown's claims, and found serious problems. For example, he calculated that the mass of particles and water vapor expelled from earth in order to explain the comets, asteroids, and meteoroids in our solar system would be over 100 times greater than the earth's mass (Jellison, 2009a). He further calculated that if only 0.001% of the mass and energy of the eruptions wound up in the earth's atmosphere (an estimate very generous to Brown; realistically it would have been much greater), the atmosphere would have been raised by 3000 degrees F!
Moreover, based on Brown's own descriptions, after the initial "rupture phase" the subsequent "undulating," "crashing", "sinking" and "sliding" of continent-sized hydroplates would have produced even more lethal heat from friction, as continent sized plates moved thousands of miles in weeks, and entire mountains were pushed up in "hours." Still more heat, which Brown himself calls "massive" would have been produced from widespread volcanic activity and magma outpouring during these events.
The proposed hydroplate eruptions and volcanic eruptions would also have launched enormous quantities of aerosols and fine sediment into the atmosphere, leaving it heavily contaminated and largely opaque, on top of top of already catastrophic climate changes and habitat destruction. Jellison (2009a) remarks: "Brown never explains how the already stressed, genetically depleted organisms from the Ark could have dealt with the resulting climate changes and loss of photosynthesis."
Meanwhile, according to Brown, huge masses of dissolved salt and calcium would have been released from subterranean deposits. It's inconceivable how most ocean creatures could have survived these sudden and massive environmental onslaughts, especially since many are adapted to narrow ranges of salinity, acidity, turbidity, and other conditions. Of course, these problems are admittedly largely moot in view of the multiple sources of lethal heat in Brown's model (the most severe of which has yet to be mentioned).
|Near site (left) and far side (right) of the Moon. Credit: NASA.|
Attempting to bolster his claim that meteoroids, asteroids, and comets originated from earth, Brown describes them all as "earth like" in composition. However, their composition is quite variable. For example, many meteorites contain large portions of iron and nickel, which does not match the proposed composition of Brown's hydroplates (mostly granite), nor the known composition of most of the earth's crust. Brown tries to account for iron-rich meteorites by proposing that they came from the lower parts of the water chambers, where heavier metals sank before the hydroplates erupted, but overall meteorites have compositions considerably different than earth rocks (Korotev, 2015). Moreover, one of the major rock types on earth is limestone (and its metamorphosed form, marble) which are not found in comets, meteorites, or asteroids, except as small traces. Moreover, such traces are in inorganic forms, whereas most earthly limestomes (discussed below) are largely composed of organic remains.
Another line of evidence against Brown's claims about the earthly origin of asteroids is that, as Sharp (2005) notes, "We can calculate the motions of the asteroids back in time, and find no evidence at all that they originated from the earth, or the vicinity of the earth's orbit, a few thousand years ago. Indeed, their orbits correspond to them being in existence in many cases for billions of years, as determined from long term stability calculations taking account of the perturbations of the planets..." Brown's astronomical claims are also contradicted by the Baptistina asteroid family, which have similar orbits and evidently were produced by an ancient collision of two large asteroids. By tracing the orbits of the resulting asteroids back in time, augmented with data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, astrophysicists have calculated that the original collision occurred about 80 million years ago (Rationalwiki, 2012).
Brown suggests that the near side of the Moon received far more and larger impacts than the far side, implying the objects that made them originated on earth. However, photos of the far side show even more craters than the near side. Brown acknowledges that the near side is "smoother," but attributes this to volcanism (as do conventional scientists) caused by a greater number of impacts. However, any way you slice it, the far side is heavily cratered, even though his model predicts it should be largely devoid of impacts. Brown suggests they were the result of material kicked up by the impacts on the near side, and as support he suggests most craters on the far side are small. However, the craters there exhibit size ranges similar to those on the near side, and include many large craters. In fact, it contains the largest crater on the moon, and one of the largest in the Solar System: the South Pole-Aitken basin (Dutch, 2009).
Brown argues that most sedimentary rocks were derived from the eroded granite hydroplates, along with deposits of calcium and salt deposits which he says accumulated in the subterranean chambers before being released during the Flood. Thus, we should expect most of the earth's sedimentary strata would be made largely of eroded granite, along with deposits of salt and inorganic calcium. Brown states that the sedimentary strata of the Earth are "typically parallel, thin, uniform in thickness, vast in area.... " and asks, "Why are strata so uniform in hardness?" Actually, rock strata are far from uniform in hardness, thickness, composition, or geographic extent. Even in one outcrop they can vary from very soft and friable layers to incredibly hard beds. Strata also very greatly in grain size, type, and distribution, and many other features, precisely because they were deposited in many different environments and in many different ways. Extensive evidence indicates that most limestone deposits are not produced by rapid precipitation of inorganic calcium, but gradual accumulation of organic material (discussed further below). Throughout much of the geologic record we even find many "paleosols" (ancient soil beds) which are incompatible with Brown's model.
1. Publishing status. Brown has not published these new proposals in rigorous scientific papers, even in the creationist press.
2. Undemonstrated extrapolations. Brown evidently bases his new ideas largely on anecdotal accounts of unusual forms of lightning and other atmospheric observations, along with some highly specialized lab experiments involving small-scale phenomena. He has not shown with calculations or other rigorous data that these phenomena would apply in subterranean water chambers during a global Flood, or at the precise levels needed to explain the amount and patterns of nuclear decay in the geologic record.
3. Lethal radiation. Even the proposed mechanisms generated the needed accelerated decay rates, the massive radiation levels would be more than lethal to humans and most other life forms (Fleming, 2012).
4. Lethal heat. Vastly accelerated nuclear decay would also generate lethal levels of heat, greatly exacerbating the already deadly heat from other aspects of Brown's model. Meert (2002) states, "Radioactive decay at a rate fast enough to permit a young earth would have produced enough heat to melt the earth." Brown has denied this, and recently argued that certain isotopes created by the p. effect would absorb a lot of the heat. But again, he has not rigorously demonstrated that his mechanisms would even apply during a Flood, or generate the specific decay rates he needs, let alone eliminate the heat problem.
5.C14 dates unexplained. His mechanism would apparently not apply to atmospheric carbon, and thus not explain C14 dating results.
6. Deepest rock dates unexplained. His mechanisms would be expected to affect sediments involved in the Flood, but exclude deep Precambrian strata, even though they yield the oldest radiometric dates.
7. Sloping patterns. None of his mechanisms explain the overall, slopping patterns of radiometric dates from stratigraphically lowest to highest rocks, since according to his model, almost all sedimentary rocks were generated within a single year, and even the oldest and youngest rocks would be separated by at most 6,000 years. Yet the slopping patterns do exist, and are well documented for several different dating methods.
8. Conflicting dates from meteorites. Most yield radiometric ages from 4.5 to 4.6 billion years BP (Krot, 2002; Krot et al, 2002; USGS, 2009), rather than showing a much wider range similar to earth rocks, even though Brown asserts they were all ejected from earth at the time of the Flood (the early stage of the Flood), and that they are made from the same materials
. 9. Conflicting dates from the Moon and Mars. Rocks from these bodies have been radiometrically dated from 3.0 - 4.5 billion years (Farley et al, 2013). If Brown believes all of the dated rocks came from earth (which is not clear), the same problem apples as in number 8 above. If he accepts that some did not come from earth, then his mechanisms cannot account for these old dates, unless he envisions hydroplate floods on the Moon and Mars.
|White Cliffs of Dover, England|
|Microfossils in Cretaceous limestone|
|Ammonite from White Cliffs of Dover|
Sauropod and theropod dinosaur tracks, in Cretaceous
Limestone, Glen Rose, Texas. Many additional layers of
fossiliferous or track-bearing limestone occur above and
below the picture bed. © 2006, Glen J. Kuban
Theropod dinosaur tracks crossing mud cracks
Lower Jurassic, St. George, Utah
Clearly the tracks shown in the photos above |
as well as many others at these and other sites,
were not formed in the ways Brown suggests.
Brown also cannot explain how many such limestones (and other geologic formations supposedly deposited during the Flood) contain thousands of dinosaur tracks and other vertebrate trackways, and in many cases, extensive invertebrate burrows (sometimes millions on one surface), as well as numerous surfaces with mud cracks. All of these phenomena are indicators of relatively calm, low-energy, shallow water or dry environments which dramatically contradict Brown's violent Flood scenario (Kuban, 2006a; Morton, 2003b). Even more problematic are vast dinosaur nesting sites, which obviously could not form during a violent global Flood (Carpenter, 1999; Chiappe and Dingus, 2001).
Brown suggests that fossil tracks, ripples, burrows, etc. would be preserved if liquefaction stopped at the boundary of "lenses" where they might occur, without explaining why the liquefaction would conveniently stop at footprint surfaces. Even more problematic is the question of how humans, horses, or dinosaurs would be walking around during the midst of a violent global flood, let alone how the latter could be mating, making nests and laying eggs. Brown suggests that salamanders might have swum to the top of a "lens" of sediment to make tracks on its surface, while (if I understand Brown correctly) still underwater and surrounded by sediment. However, this imaginative scenario doesn't work for countless dinosaurs and other land animals that left millions of tracks in the fossil record, let alone dinosaur nesting sites. Of course, it's not plausible for salamanders either, since the conditions are far from those realistically needed for track formation and preservation (Kuban, 1994), even if the animals somehow survived the lethal conditions discussed earlier. The fact that many vertebrate trackways also cross mud cracks and even raindrops in some cases (indicating exposed sediments) further refutes Brown's claims about fossil tracks.
Brown and other YECs also have a major problem accounting for the sheer volume of coal on earth. According to Ricklefs (1993), there are 1.16 x 1013 metric tons of known coal reserves, and at least 100 times that much unrecoverable organic matter in sediments. A typical forest, even if it covered the entire earth, would supply only 1.9 x 1013 metric tons. And most coal is clearly made of particular type of plants, and most occurs in Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata, which Brown and most other YECs consider Flood deposits. In short, the amount of coal on earth is far too large to have existed at the time of the Flood, and therefore most have grown and accumulated over long periods of time.
Archaeopteryx (Berlin specimen) showing |
feathered wings, as well as claws on the
forelimbs, teeth, and a long, bony tail.
Several other Archaeopteryx specimens
also show feather impressions.
Sphecomyrma freyi in Cretaceous |
amber, showing features intermediate
between wasps and ants
Brown asks how the leap from land animals to whales could have been made, but does not discuss the many fossils that shed considerable light on this transition (Babinski, 2015; Perrin et al, 2009; Thewissen, 1998).
Brown implies no intermediates are known between fish and amphibians, ignoring a number of classic examples, including Tiktaalik, which shows a variety of features intermediate between these two groups (Daeschler et al, 2006).
Brown insists no transitional forms have been found in amber (fossilized tree resin). Ironically, however, one of the most impressive intermediate fossils was an insect found 1966 in Cretaceous amber in New Jersey. Assigned to a new genus, Sphecomyrma, it showed intermediate features between wasps and ants. Since then other specimens of Sphecomyrma have been found, two of which have been assigned to new species, and also show intermediate features (Simmons, 1997).
For many more examples of intermediate fossils, see "List of Transitional Fossils" at Wikipedia (2015), and "Transitional Fossils" at RationalWiki (2015).
|Homo habilis skull KNM-ER-1813|
Brown cites a paper suggesting that Homo habilis should never have been classified in the genus Homo, implying that it too was merely an ape, even though its remains are often associated with stone tools, and a number of other YECs argue that it was probably "human." In fact, like H. erectus and other hominids, it exhibits intermediate features, as the same author acknowledges, whatever the taxonomic and nomenclature issues. True to form, Brown implies that all Australopithecus species (including A. afarensis -"Lucy") were merely apes, citing an author who concluded that some Australopithecines could swing from trees. However, Brown did not clarify that the same author concluded (as have many others) that Lucy and most other Australopithecines could also walk bipedally, even if not as efficiently as modern humans (as would be expected for an intermediate form).
In a thorough review of Brown's hominid claims, Jim Foley (2002) showed that virtually every statement by Brown on the subject is erroneous or misleading. He also noted that some of the strongest evidence for human evolution, such as hominid specimens ER 3733 (a Homo ergaster specimen) and WT 15000 (Turkana boy) were not even addressed by Brown. Foley mentioned that despite Brown's professed eagerness to debate evolutionists, when he invited Brown to respond to his critiques, Brown declined.
Brown claims that "liquefaction" during the Flood explains "fossil layering". However, it is not even clear how liquefaction could be very applicable to his model, let alone explain fossil succession. In geologic usage, liquefaction normally refers to damp, sandy rock or soil becoming fluid-like during earthquakes. In contrast, a large portion of fossils occur in shales, limestone, dolomite, ash beds, clay, and other sediment types which were clearly not produced by liquefaction. Also, since Brown claims that most sediments were eroded at hydroplate edges, the sediments would already be under water and unconsolidated, and thus not involve liquefaction.
Brown describes an apparatus he built with two 5-gallon jugs on each end of a 10 foot long pole --one filled with water and the other with a "mixture of different sediments." He claims that his manipulations of this device demonstrated how sediments liquefy, and how fossils and particles sort together by "size, shape, and density." However, Brown doesn't say what kinds of sediments he included, or what organisms he used (obviously no large ones). Even if this simplistic exercise represented a realistic representation of conditions during a violent global Flood, or a realistic liquefaction scenario (and it seems far from either), and even if sediments and fossils sorted in the manner he describes, it would do more to undermine than help his case. That's because even though local sorting can occur, on global scale neither sediments nor fossils are sorted by size, shape, and density. If they were, we would see large heavy boulders concentrated at the bottom of the geologic column, and the particle size and densities getting smaller toward the top of the column, which is not what we find. Instead we find sediments of many different sizes, shapes, and densities occur in every geologic period. That's because, as demonstrated by many lines of evidence, they were not produced from a single global Flood, but under different conditions over extended periods of time. If Brown's apparatus results and assertions really matched the fossil record, we should find, for example, large modern mammals (rhinos, hippos, cattle, horses, etc) sorted with medium and small sized dinosaurs; whales and dolphins deposited with mososaurs and ichthyosaurs; many modern boney fish preserved with ancient placoderms and jawless fish; and many modern aquatic arthropods (crabs, lobsters, etc) sorted with ancient arthropods like trilobites and eurypterids. None of these combinations are ever found.
Brown also describes an experiment conducted by Loma Linda University (which holds to YEC views) where a dead amphibian, reptile, mammal, and bird were placed into an open water tank. Brown reports that "the natural order of settling following death was, from the bottom up, amphibian, reptile, mammal, and finally, bird", suggesting that this essentially matched the order of fossils in the geologic record. There are several problems with this experiment. First, it was not published in any scientific journal, but was simply an anecdotal account, lacking in many details. We are not told what specific animals were chosen, whether they all died at the same time (which would relate to decomposition and bloating), what if any sediment was in the tank. Brown mentions "buoyancy" and settling from bottom to top, implying they recorded the order in which the animals floated to the surface. But if so, it would be largely irrelevant to the order in which they would be buried and preserved as fossils. Second, each of these groups includes thousands of different species of many different sizes, shapes, etc., so depending on which species and individuals (young vs. old, etc) were chosen, one could get almost any results, including an order opposite the one reported. Third, even if the results consistently showed the same order, they would not be a good representation of the actual fossil record. For example, amphibians do not appear in the lowermost sediments, nor are they confined to the period in which they first appear in (Devonian). They occur in every subsequent period as well, in different forms. Granted, this would not even be possible to show in the experiment, since only one specimen for each animal group was included, which is another problem with it. The important point is that in the fossil record, different types of organisms appear in different periods, with the oldest (stratigraphically lowest) species generally the most different from modern ones. This is consistent with evolution, not the Loma Linda experiment or Brown's model, or his apparatus results. This applies not only to the four types of vertebrates used in the Loma Linda tank, but also fish and countless invertebrates, which the Loma Linda team did not include in the tank, even though they are more common as fossils than the groups they included.
This situation is a serious problem for Brown and other YECs, since according to their view, all organisms were living at the same time before the Flood, and therefore many should have been buried and preserved together, or at least at the same stratigraphic horizons. Again, any hydrologic sorting would not help, but foster the comingling of modern and ancient forms in the fossil record. Other YEC proposals for explaining fossil succession, elsewhere encouraged by Brown, such as ecological zonation and differential escape abilities, fare no better, and in some cases also make the matter worse (Strahler, 1987). For example, differential escape abilities cannot begin to explain fossil succession for plants (which of course cannot run for higher ground), and many ancient marine animals had extensive and overlapping habitats (many swimming or drifting widely throughout the ocean), yet are not found together as fossils. If YECism were true, countless thousands of "out of place" (OOP) fossils would be readily found and well documented. Brown asserts that fossils are "frequently" not found in the expected order, but all he offers are a handful of dubious cases, none of which are supported by convincing evidence, or endorsed by any major creationist groups.
lifeform from England, believed
to be an early filter-feeding marine
Dickinsonia from Ediacara Hills |
(Vendian rocks) of southern Australia.
It is thought to be a possible early
relative of corals.
|These Precambrian fossils are among |
those Walt Brown implies do not exist.
Brown states, The "evolutionary tree" has no trunk. In what evolutionists call the earliest part of the fossil record (generally the lowest sedimentary layers of Cambrian rock), life appears suddenly, full-blown, complex, diversified, and dispersed worldwide. Evolution predicts that minor variations should slowly accumulate, eventually becoming major categories of organisms. Instead, the opposite is found. Almost all of today's plant and animal phyla including flowering plants, vascular plants, and vertebrates appear at the base of the fossil record. In fact, many more phyla are found in the Cambrian than exist today. Complex species, such as fish, worms, corals, trilobites, jellyfish, sponges, mollusks, and brachiopods appear suddenly, with no sign anywhere on earth of gradual development from simpler forms. Insects, a class comprising four-fifths of all known animal species (living and extinct), have no known evolutionary ancestors. Insects and other arthropods found in amber, supposedly 100-230 million-years-old, look like those living today. The fossil record does not support evolution.
In this one paragraph Brown manages to make several false and misleading claims. First, contrary to Brown's suggestion, the earliest fossils are not found in the lower Cambrian, but in the Precambrian. Many indisputable Precambrian fossils are known, including stromatolites (matted algal & bacterial structures), and a large variety of soft-bodied forms and trace fossils from several locations, dated between 542 and 635 million years. The soft-bodied fossils are often referred to as Ediacaran or Vendian biota (Fortey, 1999; Hazen, 2013). Although their taxonomic status is debated, some may be forerunners of known phyla, but are not readily identified with any extant orders or classes, let alone modern species. LIkewise, Brown's comment about "Complex species, such as fish, worms, corals... " appearing in the lowest beds is similarly misleading. These entities are not "species" but much larger taxonomic groups--at the class or higher level. This is critical, because by using this linguistic sleight of hand, Brown gives the impression that many modern species occur at the lowest levels of the fossil record, when in fact none do. Even most extant genera and families are not found in either the Precambrian or Cambrian, nor even in the rest of the Paleozoic. However, as one progresses up the fossil record, more modern families and then genera begin to appear, and finally, in the upper most strata, more genera and species appear more like modern ones. This well documented pattern of "fossil succession", discussed in more detail later, which holds for all groups of plants an animals, is strong support for evolution. Brown can only state the opposite conclusion by obscuring the actual fossil evidence, and painting an entirely different picture.
Brown's remarks about flowering plants and vertebrates (animals with backbones) likewise foster the impression that many modern species of plants, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals appear at the start of the fossil record, whereas in reality, none do. Not only do no modern angiosperm or vertebrate species appear anywhere in the Precambrian or even Cambrian (although in the YEC paradigm, one would expect to find many there), we don't even find any extant classes, families or genera of these groups in either time period. The earliest flowering plants do not appear until the Mesozoic Era. The earliest amphibian-like animals occur in the Devonian; the earliest reptile-like animals in the Pennsylvanian; the first mammal-like reptiles in the Permian, and the first true mammals in the Cretaceous. Even when mammals appear, they do not include any large modern ones, even though again, by the YEC paradigm, they should. All of this supports evolution, and starkly contradicts the picture Brown paints.
Brown claims that there is no sign that any of the groups he mentions show an origin in "simpler" forms is also very misleading. Whether "simpler" or not, each of the groups he mentions shows abundant fossil evidence of originating from earlier forms, with intermediate forms known in each case, (also discussed further below).
Brown states that human-like and dinosaur tracks have been found in Arizona, and a supposed "shoe print" with trilobites in Utah. However, the Arizona markings are lacking in any distinct human features, and appear to be merely inorganic structures, or in some cases, severely eroded dinosaur tracks (Kuban, 2007). They are even less convincing than the supposed Paluxy "man tracks" which most YECs abandoned in the 1980's after rigorous refutations were published (Hastings, 1987, 1988; Kuban, 1986a, 1986b). The alleged "shoe print" from Utah, sometimes called the Meister print or a "sandal print," has also been well refuted, and rejected even by most creationists. Upon close inspection appears to be merely an iron concretion which happened to spall in a manner creating an oblong shape. The "heel" is part of a crack, and the alleged print was not part of a bedding plane, nor in any striding sequence (Kuban, 2011). Brown mentions that similar putative tracks have been found in the area, without clarifying that they too show no convincing evidence of being real human footprints.
Brown claims that 86 consecutive "horse" prints were found in dinosaur age rocks in Uzbekistan, citing the Moscow Pravda (hardly a reliable scientific publication), without any photographic evidence or corroborating scientific reports.
Brown asserts that a Science News article reported that dinosaur tracks and "hoofprints [sic] of some other animal" were found in Virginia. Brown seems to imply that the latter are out-of-place (OOP) mammal prints. However, the popular-level article, which discussed a large Triassic tracksite near Culpeper VA with hundreds of dinosaur and reptile tracks, used the term "hoof-shaped" only loosely to refer to some indistinct quadruped reptile prints. When better preserved tracks of the same type were later documented at the site, they were more precisely identified as likely tracks of aetosaurs - Triassic reptiles that resembled heavily armored crocodiles (Weems, 1993; Weishample and Young, 1996; Lucas and Heckert, 2011). I personally worked on the site with USGS geologist Robert Weems, and can testify that no anomalous "hoof" prints occurred at there (as can many others who worked or visited there). Gerard Jellison, who thoroughly reviewed Brown's book (8th edition) at Amazon.com, related similar points and wrote: "I confirmed all of this through correspondence with Dr. Weems, and by reading his published articles. I also informed Brown of this issue on several occasions. He has refused to respond to me, and by keeping this false information in his book he is knowingly and unethically misrepresenting the work of a reputable scientist (Jellison, 2009).
Brown suggests that "human-like footprints" have been found with dinosaur tracks in Turkmenistan, but no tracks closely resembling human tracks have been documented at the site. Even if some human-like prints occurred there, it would mean little unless they showed distinct human features, since it is known that elongate, metatarsal dinosaur tracks can sometimes resemble human tracks when their digits are infilled or poorly preserved (Kuban, 1989). The only tracks reported by scientists who worked at the site, and the thousands of tourists who also visited it, are dinosaur tracks. Some are elongate, but show indications of dinosaurian digits (Lockley, 2006; Lockley et al, 1996; Kuban, 2008a). The Geoscience Research Institute, a YEC organization at Loma Linda University in California, states "There have been unsubstantiated reports of human and dinosaur tracks in the same place, but none of them has been confirmed." (GRI, 2015).
Brown asserts that "humanlike" tracks also occur in Paleozoic rocks in Kentucky, Missouri, and "possibly Pennsylvania" without mentioning that these often show very unnatural and stylized shapes (some with four or six toes), are typically not in striding trails, and occur in areas where Indiana petroglyphs are common (Kuban, 2005). Brown suggests that only evolutionary bias would lead one to question any of these supposed human footprints, which is dispelled by the above points, as well as the fact that none are endorsed by any major creationist groups.
Brown claims that bones of "modern-looking" human remains have been found in strata formed "long before man supposedly began to evolve". As support he lists the Calaveras Skull, Castenedolo Skull, Reck's Skeleton, Swanscombe Skull, Steinheim Skull, and Vertesszollos fossils, noting that these finds are "almost always ignored by evolutionists." However, all of these cases have been addressed by a number of mainstream workers. Upon close scrutiny, none support Brown's claims (Lippard, 1989a; Foley (2004b; Jurmain et all, 1987). Three of the cases (Calaveras Skull, Castenedolo Skulls and Ricks Skeleton) have been convincingly shown to represent intrusive burials. In commenting on the first two cases, even YEC author Sarfati (2002) agreed, and noted that the Calaveras Skull was a likely hoax, "planted into a mine by miners." The other specimens are dated within the time range of human evolution, and all show at least some features intermediate between modern humans and earlier hominids, thus contradicting Brown's claims about these specimens as well as human evoution in general. Curiously, the source Brown cites for the supposed out-of-place nature of the Calaveras Skull (Holmes, 1999) actually contains a convincing debunking of it, leading Lippard to remark "It makes one wonder if Brown even reads the articles he cites."
Brown also claims a number of out-of-place artifacts have been found in coal or other "deeply buried rocks", including a "gold chain," "iron pot", "thimble", screw," and "strange coin." However, like his alleged OOP fossils, none are supported with convincing evidence, or endorsed even by major YEC groups. In regards to the "gold chain", AIG authors Batten et al (2006) state "we see no evidence that the chain was actually in coal, just the claim that it was." In fact, AIG acknowledges that no convincing human remains or implements have been found in any Flood or pre-Flood sediments (Batten et al, 2005; Snelling, 1991). Typically the objects in these cases were not documented in situ, and may well have been intrusive even if the finders were sincere in their reports (Kuban, 2006b). Brown ends his list of supposedly anomalous specimens by commenting that because "evolutionists" do not accept them, "something is wrong." Indeed it is -with his tendency to promote sensational claims without convincing evidence, and neglect contrary evidence and views, even from other YECs.
|Sliced Ordovician stromatolite, Wisconsin|
|Sliced Cretaceous stromatolite, Mexico
Stromatolites are slow-growing, laminated algal mats.
In several places Brown argues that there is no evidence for "speciation" (the origin of new species), even though there is strong empirical evidence for it in both the fossil record and population studies (Darwin Was Right, 2015; Understanding Evolution, 2008). Brown's denial of speciation also seems to conflict with other statements in his own book. For example, when discussing the capacity of the ark, he suggests that every species of land animal need not be taken aboard, since the Genesis "kinds" could represent broader taxonomic categories such as genera or families. He argues that these could rapidly diversify after the Flood into the species we see today--tacitly admitting that speciation must have taken place (as if he wants it both ways). Like many creationists, Brown insists that any changes in organisms never involve "new information," but merely reshuffling of existing genes. However, this is demonstrably false, since there are far more genetic alleles (variations of a gene) for many traits among humans today than could have existed in the few individuals aboard the ark. A similar argument can be made for many plants and animals as well (Kuban, 2015). Clearly the development of new alleles (which involve gene duplication, cross-overs, etc, combined with natural selection) constitutes new genetic information by any reasonable definition.
Diagram from Brown's book (8th edition, Fig. 4)
More realistic view of bird evolution, based on fossil evidence.
Brown presents a simplistic diagram on page 6 supposedly contrasting a critical difference between horizontal "microevolution" involving minor changes, and vertical "macroevolution", but the diagram is misleading in a number of ways. It fosters the idea that the former has nothing to do with the latter, whereas evolution has been shown to involve the accumulation of small changes (microevolution) into larger changes over time (macroevolution). It also falsely suggests that scientists believe roadrunners evolved from a four-legged, iguana-like lizard, and that evolution occurs in a linear or ladder-like fashion, both of which are false. As supported by extensive fossil and DNA evidence, evolution typically occurs in branching or bush-like patterns, and most paleontologists hold that birds descended from a branch of theropods (two-legged, carnivorous dinosaurs). Brown states that if bird really evolved from reptiles, intermediates would be found but "never are." However as discussed earlier, he unfairly dismisses a classic example (Archaeopteryx) by falsely depicting it as a "fraud". Moreover, many other fossils have been found with intermediate features between theropods and modern birds, blurring the distinction between them. In fact, most paleontologists today not only regard birds as descendents of dinosaurs, but a proper group of feathered dinosaurs. Questions about which specific fossils are in the direct line to modern birds and thus strictly "transitional" takes nothing away from the fact that many show features of both modern birds and earlier theropods, and occur at expected geologic horizons, and therefore are still intermediate forms, and valid evidence for evolution.
Brown's misunderstandings about evolution are further illustrated when suggests that there was an unexplained "giant leap" from placental mammals to marsupials mammals . Biologists and paleontologists do not hold that placental mammals evolved into marsupials, nor even the other way around, but that both shared a common ancestor, as fossil evidence supports.
Speaking of marsupials, Brown does not address the serious question of how to explain the survival and current distribution of various land animals if they all debarked from the same location on or near Mt. Ararat only a few thousand years ago. For example, the vast majority of marsupial mammals are endemic to Australia and surrounding islands. How they managed to travel from the Ark to their current home, requiring a trek of thousands of miles in foreign and hostile environments without their normal food or habitat, and even cross an ocean, while virtually no marsupial mammals did, Brown does not explain. The problem is especially severe for animals such as the flightless Kiwi, the blind marsupial mole (which lives only in sand), or the sugar glider (a gliding marsupial superficially resembling flying squirrels, which lives in trees), Koalas (slow-moving, tree-dwellers which subsist mainly on Eucalyptus leaves--and only certain species at certain times of year (Adams, 2014)), or the Duckbilled Platypus (adapted to small creeks). Ironically, Brown shows a photo of a platypus and notes that it is found only in Tasmania and Australia, and it as "perfectly designed for it's environment", seemingly unaware of the problem this creates for his Flood scenario (during the ark voyage, or afterward). The mainstream explanation for the concentration of marsupials in Australia is that due to plate tectonics, Australia separated from other continents millions of years ago, allowing animals there to evolve and diversify largely independent of those on other continents. For more discussion of this problem for YEC models, see Kuban (2014b).
At times Brown seems to take unfounded liberties even with Biblical references. For example, in arguing that a passage about Behemoth in the book of Job refers to a sauropod dinosaur, Brown states: "Behemoth had a 'tail like a cedar.' Any animal with a tail as huge and strong as a cedar tree is probably a dinosaur." However, the verse in question (Job 40: 17) says nothing about the size of the animal's tail; it merely states, "He moveth his tail like a cedar." Moreover, when the entire passage (Job 40: 15-24) is studied carefully, the dinosaur interpretation appears less likely than other alternatives (Kuban, 2008).
Another problem is that Brown lists references for each section by number, and when checking a reference, one often finds additional references and quotes under it, but with only an author and date attached (no title, volume and number, etc). Since nowhere in his book are references listed by author, this often makes finding the full references in these cases unnecessarily tedious and time-consuming. Ironically, Brown boasts that his book is in the "ideal format".
In his book section entitled "Earth Sciences" Brown's first curiously placed topic is: "Noah's Ark Probably Exists" He notes that he will cover "the more credible" Ark sightings, but then states that "some are probably mistaken." Indeed, the various accounts often disagree on basic details such as which mountain, or what level or side of the mountain, the Ark rests on. One of the accounts relates that a Russian pilot in World War I (1916) saw the Ark while flying over it. This supposedly led to two expeditions by soldiers who explored the boat, but could not report to the Czar before the Russian Revolution began. Brown acknowledges that the account contains "a few fictional elements" but neglects to mention that the story was first published in a German newspaper on April 1, 1933, and it is widely regarded as an April Fool's Day joke (Moore, 1989a). Brown spends an entire page describing the "CIA's 'Ararat Anomaly'" and even shows color drawings of what the ark "could look like" at the site, only to conclude that it is "probably not the Ark." Similar problems exist with the other sightings he relates, and none include any convincing, extant photographs. In view of all this, one must wonder by what criteria Brown considers any such accounts "credible" or how they lead to the conclusion that the Ark "probably exists."
Taking all the above into consideration, and the fact that species would need to be taken for genetic reasons, Moore (1983) estimates that over 3,800,000 animals would have to be aboard the Ark. For a vessel approx. 450 x 75 x 45 feet = 1,518,750 cubic feet, that leaves less than 1/3 cubic foot per animal, not even counting food, aisles, humans and their quarters, etc., which seems quite problematic. However, even if we grant Brown the 16,000 figure, it still leaves a serious problem in terms of the care and feeding of so many different animals (many of which require fresh meat or live prey, specific types of plants, or other narrow diets, and which collectively would generate unimaginable amounts of waste every day (Isaac, 1998; Morton, 2003). Indeed, a zoo with far smaller and less diverse population would require a staff many times larger, even if all the humans and animals were healthy, which brings us to the next issue...
Brown claims that his model requires no miracles, but as noted earlier, when discussing the start of the Flood Brown implies that miracles either took place or may well have. In an early summary of his model entitled "What Initiated the Flood?" Brown began by stating, "Sometime after the Fall but before the Flood, God set in motion a chain of physical events that produced a global Flood" (Brown, 2003). On page 3 of his book he quotes a Bible verse stating that at God's rebuke the waters "fled", "the mountains rose," and "the valleys sank down," which also implies miracles. Miracles also seem to be implied in other aspects of Brown's model, and any other YEC Flood model; how else, for example, would two of every kind of land animal on earth know that they needed to migrate to the ark, and exactly where and when to go? (the poor tortoises, sloths, and land snails would have had to have a big head start). Although Brown seems not to realize it, his model would also require miracles in order for the ark passengers and other life forms to have survived the multiple sources of lethal heat, radiation, and violence inherent in it (summarized in the Table at right). As discussed by Moore (1983), as well many other aspects of the Genesis account of Noah's ark and the Flood seem highly untenable (such as the construction of the ark, care of the animals, the disease/parasite problem noted earlier, etc) unless still other miracles were involved. By disputing all natural explanations for the origin of the Moon and planets, Brown also implies that they were all supernaturally created, implying more miracles. Last, he argues that life was created supernaturally only a few thousands years ago, hence more miracles. Brown is welcome to believe in all the miracles he likes, but to suggest his model doesn't involve any just doesn't hold water.
|SOURCES OF LETHAL HEAT in BROWN's MODEL|
|Energy from the release of the pressurized water eruption|
|Friction of quickly "sliding" and "crashing" hydroplates|
|Extensive volcanic activity and release of magma|
|Mixing of oceans with sub-crustal water (over 1200 F)|
|Return of jettisoned sub-crustal water to earth as rain|
|Dramatically accelerated nuclear decay rates |
(with both lethal heat and lethal radiation levels)
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