Evidence: Class A Thru E
(Formerly: “Don’t Use These As Evidence”)
|Author: Doug Sharp
Date: 4/13/2003 (updated)
Some evidence is better than others. With the help of other creationists on the Internet, I have developed an evidence classification system that helps us sort out which evidence is strong, weak, obsolete, or in error. This is so that we can avoid the use of the weakest of our arguments and alert other creationists of errors that may be propagated or of arguments that have been commonly used but now are considered obsolete. Part of the process of scientific investigation involves sorting through the evidence and trying to create a picture of the truth by assembling the pieces that fit and throwing out those that don’t work. Both creationists and evolutionists work with an incomplete picture of the truth, and often the evidence is fragmentary at best. It is no shame to support a certain line of reasoning only to reject it when new evidence is presented. Part of the interest and fun of the creation-evolution debate is just that. Both models attempt to explain the world around us, and in many cases given different assumptions both models may make sense depending upon your perspective.
I have created five categories of evidence:
CLASS A EVIDENCE:
This is evidence that has endured despite efforts of evolutionists to discredit it. In order to answer this argument, an evolutionist would have to strain all sense of logic.
CLASS B EVIDENCE:
This is evidence that answers a portion of the evolution paradigm, or a creationist argument that has a corresponding evolutionist explanation. This deals with controversial issues where there is no clear-cut evidence either way, but each model accommodates the evidence and explains it to the satisfaction of those who believe either model. One could argue which model explains the evidence better.
CLASS C EVIDENCE:
This is evidence that is either out-of-date, sketchy, poorly referenced, erroneous, or needs more research. Class C Evidence may not be totally falsified, but we need to be careful to curtail our use of it until more evidence is found.
CLASS D EVIDENCE:
This is evidence or arguments that is generally considered by most creationists to be false or in error, and should not be used.
CLASS E EVIDENCE:
This is evidence for evolution that has endured despite efforts of creationists to discredit it. Creationists believe that this category is empty and it is our intention to keep it that way.
This document reveals arguments currently considered to reside in the Class C or D category. We recommend that creationists do not use or repeat them; keeping in mind that new evidence could upgrade them to higher categories upon further research.
Joshua’s Long Day – Class D
I first encountered this story about 1970, when computers were first coming into common use. The story was that NASA scientists were calculating the rotation of the earth back in time and the computer suddenly halted in two different places. One of the scientists, a Christian, suggested that the two dates where it halted corresponded to Joshua’s long day in scripture, and the 45 minutes where the sun moved backward for Hezekiah.
This story was never verified. The scientist who reported it said that he “lost his notes” on the subject. Since computers are not time machines, there is no way for such an experiment to be run. The only possible way this could be true is if the ancients had accurate eclipse data that recorded exact calendar day and minute for an observed eclipse. To my knowledge, no such data exists. This story appeared in a book by Harold Hill, How to Live Like a King’s Kid in the early 1970’s. Since he insisted that the story was true until his dying day, Mr. Hill probably was sincere in his assertions. The most likely origin of the story was an April fool’s joke at NASA. Now, of course, the truth or falsity of this story has no bearing on whether or not the Bible account is true or false.
Lucy’s Knee Joint – Class C
The claim has been made by a number of people that Dr. Johansen “let it slip” that Lucy’s knee joint was found 1 1/2 miles away and 200 feet deeper in the strata. This was during a question and answer period during a lecture. The exchange did take place, but the question was misunderstood. Dr. Johansen never believed that the knee joint was part of Lucy, it was from a previous find. However we may question the validity of using the knee joint from one fossil to prove that another walked upright. See further details in David Buckna’s article on the subject and the original article by Tom Willis of Creation-Science Association Mid-America, Lucy Goes to College.
Adam’s Rib – Class D
Some people think that men have one less rib than women because God took a rib from Adam to make Eve. This is foolish because men and women normally have the same number of ribs. If you cut off a finger, that doesn’t mean that your offspring will be born with four fingers. Likewise there is no reason God would have passed genetically one less rib to all males. On occasion the rib count does vary, but males do not consistently have one less rib than females.
Nebraska Man and the Scopes Trial – Class D
Nebraska man was never used as evidence in the Scopes trial, although the story was circulating at the time. The Scopes trial never really got around to presenting a lot of scientific evidence on either side. However, the entire story of Nebraska man and the falsity of the evidence presented should be categorized as class B.
Neanderthal Man and Rickets – Class C
Rudolph Virchow, the father of modern pathology, was the first to suggest that the reason for the unusual features of Neanderthal Man were due to rickets. Ivanhoe in a 1970 article in Nature echoed this idea, and for years creationists have touted this as a possibility. But now, Jack Cuozzo, a creationist who has written a book called “Buried Alive,” and is one of the privileged few who has had a chance to examine the fossils first-hand, believes that there is no evidence for rickets. Instead, he believes that these are unusually old individuals, hundreds of years old as it was in pre-flood and early post-flood days, and the unusual shapes of the skulls were due to slow-growth patterns.
Neanderthal and Chain Mail Armor – Class B+ (Was Class C) (see related article)
A number of creationists have referenced Ian Taylor’s book that tells about a Neanderthal skeleton found next to chain mail armor. Ian’s original work was not referenced. I called him concerning it and he sent me a copy of the original reference, from a Nature magazine published in 1908. I have reprinted the entire article in the RAE link above. I had put this in Class C because of the sketchy nature of this reference. This reference now has been found, and it solidifies the argument.