Creation/Evolution Journal

Brown Responds to Lippard

The following correction was subsequently made to this article in issue 26 (volume 9.2):

In regard to this dialogue, we apologize for an omission in "Brown Responds to Lippard" on page forty-one of Creation/Evolution XXV. Two lines were inadvertently dropped from Brown's discussion of two- to twenty-celled life forms. The sentence, in its entirety, should have read:

Libbie Henrietta Hyman has pointed out the many differences between colonial forms and multicellular forms of life—of all kingdoms. Multicellular forms have a much higher degree of cellular differentiation than colonial forms (Hyman, 1940, pp. 248-255).

First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to Creation/Evolution for allowing me to respond to Jim Lippard's article. For many years, I have been convinced that the best way to bring more light and less heat to the creation-evolution debate is for the protagonists to jointly publish their scientific views—point by point and side by side. This would overcome the tendency of many in both camps to speak primarily to their constituencies and to misrepresent their opponents. Aggravating this tense situation even further are the obvious religious and philosophic aspects which have deep roots in almost everyone involved on both sides of this debate. Therefore, sticking to just the scientific matters and debating them jointly in print will certainly add clarity to this overly polarized and heated issue.

- page 36 -

One general shortcoming of Lippard's critique is that he used an outdated edition (1986) of The Scientific Case for Creation. The current edition is considerably expanded. Two of Lippard's relatively minor but valid criticisms were corrected in it, independently of Lippard. I will point these out shortly. This latest edition was sent to the editor of Creation/Evolution when I was notified that he was considering publishing Lippard's article. A new edition will be published in September 1989.

Let's now look at some of Lippard's specific statements.

Lippard: "He [Brown] is perhaps best known for his frequent debate challenges—challenges, it should be noted, that are proffered under such strict conditions as to preclude almost all potential opponents. These restrictions include the requirement that the opponent must have a doctorate and must sign a contract agreeing to limit the subject to scientific content only; no religion is to be discussed (see, Parrish ['I Was Suckered into a Debate—and Survived,' Creation/Evolution XXII].) "

What's wrong with that? Actually, my simple conditions have always been less restrictive than Lippard implies. For example, even Mr. Lippard, who is a graduate student not in science but in philosophy, could participate. All he has to do is team up with a scientist, a science professor, or a person with a Ph.D. in a technical field. I recognize that many who do not have such credentials may be very knowledgeable—more so than I. However, if I debated those without the more formal qualifications, any weakness in their presentation would be blamed on their apparent lack of qualifications and not on the weakness of their position. Despite my precautions, I have been criticized by many evolutionists after debates for supposedly "setting up" evolutionists who were perceived as unqualified or incompetent even though they held scientific doctorates. Dr. Fred Parrish, to whom Lippard referred, was one such case.

What Lippard calls a "contract" is simply a one-page "Statement of Agreement" on the time, place, topic, and format of the debate. Having all of this clearly spelled out and agreed upon ahead of time prevents any honest person from claiming that he or she was "suckered into a debate." The sentence in the contract to which evolutionists have most objected is the specification that only science and not religion be discussed. The scientific community would be appalled to know how frequently evolutionists have objected to discussing just science.

Lippard: "Several of Brown's [120] categories also do not meet his description of them as 'categories of scientific evidence that support a sudden creation and oppose gradual evolution.' Some neither support creation nor oppose evolution; for example, category three argues against the Lamarckian view that acquired characteristics are inherited . . ." (no omission; sentence continues).

- page 37 -

Lamarckism is not just of historical interest. Some evolutionists advocate or entertain Lamarckian explanations. Darwin did. Even modern evolutionists, frustrated at not being able to find some mechanism for macroevolution, are considering Lamarckian concepts (see, for example, Nature, January 12, 1989, 337:101-102).

Lippard: " . . . some [of Brown's 120 categories] are philosophical rather than scientific; for example, category thirty-six is an argument from design to the existence of a designer . . . " (no omission; sentence continues)

I doubt that most readers would consider category thirty-six to be philosophical. It reads:

Almost every complex effect that modern science has "discovered "—whether it involves electrical, acoustical, mechanical, or optical phenomena—is found in living systems. Detailed studies of various animals have also revealed certain physical equipment and capabilities that cannot even be copied by the world's best designers using the most sophisticated technologies. For example: the miniature and reliable sonar systems of dolphins, porpoises, and whales; the frequency-modulated radar and discrimination system of the bat; the aerodynamic capabilities and efficiency of the hummingbird; the control systems, internal ballistics, and combustion chamber of the bombardier beetle; the precise and redundant navigational systems of many birds and fish; and especially the self-repair capabilities of practically all forms of life. The many components of each complex system could not have evolved in stages without placing a selective disadvantage on the animal. All evidence points to a Designer.

(The references and expanding comments in this excerpt and others following are omitted due to space constraints. The references already given in Lippard's article are also omitted. I have placed in italics the statements in the 1989 edition of The Scientific Case for Creationism which differ slightly from the edition Lippard used. If the difference is significant to his conclusion, I will use the 1986 edition which Lippard used.)

I find only one philosophical category in the entire book:

If life is ultimately the result of random chance, then so is thought. Your thoughts—including what you are thinking right now—would, in the final analysis, be a consequence of a long series of accidents. Therefore, your thoughts would have no validity, including your thought that life is a result of chance or natural processes. By destroying the validity of ideas, evolution undercuts even the idea of evolution.

Lippard: " :. . . and some [of Brown's categories] simply argue for the possibility of special creation; for example, category fifteen argues that similarities between different forms of life may imply a common designer rather than a common ancestor. "

- page 38 -

Lippard's statement is out of context and inaccurate. My exact statement was:

It is illogical to maintain that similarities between different forms of life always imply a common ancestor; they may imply a common designer. In fact, in cases where experiments have demonstrated that similar structures are controlled by different genes or developed from different parts of embryos, a common designer is the more likely explanation.

In other words, I did not simply argue for the possibility of creation; I said that some similarities favor creation.

The Speed of Light

Lippard next challenged the possibility that the velocity of light has decreased. Let me first explain why this is relevant to the creation-evolution debate.

If you asked me what were the most serious difficulties that I as a creationist have, my answer would be that I have only two. First, most scientific dating techniques indicate that the earth, the solar system, and the universe are young—possibly less than ten thousand years old. (I have described twenty-four categories in The Scientific Case for Creation.) However, if the velocity of light has been constant, if most stars and galaxies are billions of light-years away (as I believe), and if we can tell in some instances that starlight reaching the earth originated at the distant stars, then that would imply the universe is billions of years old.

The second problem concerns radiometric dating. Have decay rates, which are essentially constant today, always been constant? What are the root causes of radiometric decay? I am not interested in the simplistic answers but, rather, in answers that explain the nuclear forces and what affects them. I do not believe anyone can honestly answer these questions today.

If it could be shown that the vibrational frequencies of atoms decreased enormously in the past, then both the velocity of light and the rate of radiometric decay should have decreased proportionally. We would then understand why two age-estimating techniques (starlight and radiometric decay) are inconsistent with many others. The two problems mentioned above would disappear. If the earth is younger than even several hundred million years, then most knowledgeable evolutionists would probably admit that evolution could not have occurred. For all but a few diehards, the current creation-evolution debate would end.

- page 39 -

Lippard: "The citations Brown supplied for this claim [that the speed of light had decreased], which he wisely avoided making in his book, were an article and a letter to the editor. . . .

Wrong. I devoted over two pages in the book to this subject (pp. 46-48) and included many references. Since Lippard also gives the wrong publishing date for In the Beginning (1987 instead of 1986), I wonder if he has actually read the book.

Lippard: 'Brown was not so careful, however, about the claims he made in the Australian creationist journal Ex Nihilo regarding Barry Setterfield's work. In that journal, he called Setterfield's work on speed-of-light decay 'virtually unassailable' (Ex Nihilo, 1984). "

I have never said that Setterfield's research—or anyone else's research—was "virtually unassailable." Everyone's research is assailable, mine included. That is one reason why science is so successful and dynamic. To my knowledge, I have never been quoted in Ex Nihilo. Who is the source of Lippard's "Ex Nihilo, 1984" reference? In discussing Setterfield's work, I have always tried to carefully point out that it may turn out to be wrong. Scientific conclusions are always tentative. To claim otherwise—as Carl Sagan and many other evolutionists do when they say that evolution is a "fact"—is dogma, not science.

Lippard: "Setterfield's data analysis has been recognized as being so contrived and selective that even the Institute for Creation Research has debunked it (Aardsma, 1988). . . . "

ICR's Aardsma correctly recognized that the past measurements of the velocity of light (c) should be weighted according to their accuracy. Setterfield had not done so. I pointed this out in a letter to Setterfield in 1981 and again in detailed, face-to-face discussions in 1984. Unfortunately, Aardsma used a statistical weighting procedure that is valid only for linear phenomena. The decay of c (abbreviated: cDK) appears to be highly nonlinear. After Aardsma published his results and at Setterfield's request, I did the weighting analysis I had advocated. It involved a very time-consuming computer simulation technique that assumes no particular decay pattern. Included were all 164 of the known measurements of the velocity of light and their published or estimated experimental errors. In all, sixteen different measurement techniques for the velocity of light were used, such as the toothed wheel and rotating mirrors. The results of my study supported Setterfield's hypothesis. I am aware of only one other statistical study that took all of Setterfield's historical data and still claimed that c has been constant (R. Brown, 1988). That study, however, contained a mathematical error. When corrected, those calculations also supported cDK. Statisticians in various countries have reached conclusions similar to mine.

- page 40 -

Many other surprising developments have occurred since 1986 when I last wrote about the possibility of cDK:

  1. A Soviet cosmologist has concluded, independently of Setterfield, that the velocity of light was ten billions time faster at time zero. He attributes the cosmic background radiation and most red shifts to cDK (Troitskii, 1987). If his analysis is correct, the standard Big Bang theory will fall (with a big bang!).
  2. Atomic clocks do not seem to keep the same time as dynamic clocks. For example, the angular velocities of Mercury, Venus, and Mars are increasing when measured by atomic clocks (Van Flandern, 1981, 1984). There are two obvious possibilities: either the gravitational constant is changing or atomic frequencies are decreasing. Take your pick. Van Flandern favors the former but acknowledges that the latter is possible. If atomic frequencies are decreasing, then:
    (1) atomic clocks would slow down relative to dynamic clocks (as is observed);
    (2) there would be cDK (as I believe the historical measurements of c show);
    (3) radioactive decay rates would decrease proportionally; and
    (4) the light from distant stars would arrive on planet Earth much faster—perhaps ten billion times faster in the ancient past, as Troitskii claims.
  3. Quasars are observed ejecting jets of matter at many times the current speed of light. Several years ago, this was thought to be simply a relativistic effect that occurs when the jets are aimed at the earth. So many quasars which have superluminal jets have now been discovered that the relativistic explanation is generally rejected. It is simply too improbable that so many random jets would be moving toward the earth. None of this contradicts Einstein's second postulate that the velocity of light is independent of the velocity of its source. The cDK hypothesis is that the velocity of light is dependent upon time.
  4. Experiments have been conducted in which it is claimed that radio signals were made to exceed the official velocity of light (c=299,792.458 km/sec) by factors of two and one hundred (Pappas and Obolensky, 1988). Counterexplanations are being proposed to explain these surprising results. As of now, no one has repeated Obolensky's experiments, perhaps because of the expense of certain very precise equipment (Obolensky, 1989). Only time and further experiments will sort out the truth. Similar results have been experimentally and theoretically demonstrated with electrical signals (Milnes, 1983).

As mentioned earlier, if atomic vibrations are decreasing, c should decrease proportionally. The velocity of light would be constant in atomic time but not in dynamic time. Since about 1960, atomic clocks began being used to measure c, and only since then have these very precise results shown a constant c. Obviously, precise results are not necessarily accurate results.

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All physical laws are preserved if there is cDK. However, atomic properties, such as Planck's constant, would change. Such changes seem to be observed based upon historical measurements, although I am not convinced that the statistical case for this is persuasive for certain "constants." Much more could be written on the possibility of cDK. Some of it has revolutionary implications. All one can say at this time is that a case can be made for cDK. In my opinion, it is a good case. Reasonable people may disagree. I hope competent researchers will try to falsify the cDK hypothesis. However, people who clo, se their minds to the possibility of cDK, or to any other surprising phenomena for which there is sound experimental data, fail to understand what scientific inquiry is all about.

Two- to Twenty-Celled Life Forms

Lippard: "Category seventeen of Brown's book states, 'There are many single-cell forms of life, but there are no forms of animal life with 2, 3, 4, . . . or even 20 cells.' . . . One of the sources he cites for this claim is Five Kingdoms by Lynn Margulis and Karlene V. Schwartz. . . . The pages he cites are a description of Mesozoa, described as having twenty to thirty jacket cells enclosing a long cylindrical axial cell. The description also notes that Mesozoa is possibly intermediate between protoctists and more complex metazoans.

"But this does not support the claim that there are no forms of life with two to twenty cells " (only references omitted).

In my footnote 17c, I explained why Mesozoa are not intermediate between protoctists and more complex multicellular organisms:

The form of life that has just over 20 cells is a very simple parasite called the mesozoa. It must have a complex animal as a host in order to provide it with such functions as digestion and respiration. The mesozoa could not be the evolutionary predecessors of any so-called higher animals since it requires a higher animal as its host.

The remainder of Lippard's comment alludes to colonial forms of life being an evolutionary bridge between single-celled life and life with thousands of cells. Libbie Henrietta Hyman has pointed out the many differences between colonial forms (Hyman, 1940, pp. 248-255). Consider, for example, nerve cells and the genetic machinery required for embryonic development.

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Most scientists know that the scarcity, or perhaps complete absence, of transitional forms in the fossil record is a very serious problem for evolutionism. The most frequently cited example of a possible but disputable transition is Archaeopteryx. Lippard implies that my only reaction to Archaeopteryx is to say that it, is a hoax. I have never said that Archaeopteryx is a hoax. I frankly don', t know. I did say that Sir Fred Hoyle and others are claiming that it is a hoax. As of 1986, at least, they were making a good case. I then concluded by saying:

Even if Archaeopteryx is not a forgery, it could not be ancestral to modern birds since the fossils of two modern birds have been found that are supposedly much older. For details see: Tim Beardsley, "Fossil Bird Shakes Evolutionary Hypotheses," Nature 21 August 1986, 322:677.

Lippard missed the point.

Human Evolution

I would like to compliment Lippard and his helpers, Robert P. J. Day and Stephen L. Zegura, on their study of alleged human evolution. I would consider it progress if all evolutionists admitted or knew as much as they. Our positions, at least, on what the evidence is are not too far apart. The extreme scarcity of data—that is, bones—probably accounts for most of our differences. However, since so many of Lippard's comments are irrelevant to our few differences, I must summarize my position (category twenty-four). Again, over twenty-seven references are omitted from the following passage due to space constraints:

Stories claiming that fossils of primitive, apelike men have been found are overstated.

It is now universally acknowledged that Piltdown Man was a hoax, and yet it was in textbooks for over forty years.

The only evidence for Nebraska Man turned out to be a pig's tooth.

Prior to 1978, the evidence for Ramapithecus consisted of a mere handful of teeth and jaw fragments. It is now known that these fragments were pieced together incorrectly by Louis Leakey in a form resembling part of the human jaw. Ramapithecus was just an ape.

The discoverer of Java Man later acknowledged that Java Man was similar to a large gibbon and that he had withheld critical evidence.

The fossils of Peking Man are considered by many experts to be the remains of apes that were systematically decapitated and exploited for food by true man. Furthermore, Skull 1470, discovered by Richard Leakey, is more humanlike and yet older than Homo erectus (Java Man and Peking Man) and the Australopithecines. Since man cannot be older than his ancestors, something is wrong.

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The first confirmed limb bones of Homo habilis have recently been discovered. They show that this animal clearly had apelike proportions and should never have been classified as manlike (Homo).

Detailed computer studies of the Australopithecines have shown conclusively that they are not intermediate between man and living apes. The Australopithecines, which were made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey, are actually quite distinct from both man and living apes. One Australopithecine fossil, referred to as Lucy, was initially presented as evidence that the Australopithecines walked upright in a human manner. However, studies of Lucy's entire anatomy, not just her knee joints, now show that this is highly improbable. She probably swung from the trees. The Australopithecines are a type of extinct ape.

For about 100 years the world was led to believe that Neanderthal Man was stooped and apelike. Recent studies show that this erroneous belief was based upon some Neanderthal men who were crippled with arthritis and rickets. Neanderthal Man, Heidelberg Man, and CroMagnon Man were completely human. Artists' depictions, especially of their fleshy portions, are often quite imaginative and are not supported by the evidence. Furthermore, the techniques used to date these fossils are highly questionable.

The above is what I have published. Now let's look at Lippard's critique. Several of Lippard's statements concerning human evolution are inaccurate.

Lippard: "Brown, like most creationists, claims that fossils of early humans are either apes or modern humans. "

No. My position is that fossils of alleged human ancestors are either apes, humans, or hoaxes.

Lippard: "These studies [of Charles Oxnard] are not conclusive and did not take into account Donald Johanson's 'Lucy' (Australopithecus afarensis) skeleton."

No scientific studies are conclusive, and I should not have used that term. Nevertheless, to the best of my knowledge, Oxnard's multivariate analysis has never been equalled in the insights, the details, and the cross-comparisons it provides. Nor do I know of any challenges to his work.

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Lippard referred to an important paper by William Jungers. I had the opportunity to discuss this matter with Jungers in 1982. He told me that Lucy was so top-heavy that her most efficient gait would be on all fours. Lucy's curved fingers indicate that she swung from the trees. It is true that the shape of Lucy's alleged knee joint implies that she could walk upright. That does not mean she did. However, Donald Johanson, Lucy's discoverer, apparently made quite an admission at the University of Missouri in Kansas City on November 20, 1986. When asked during the question-and-answer session, "How far away from Lucy did you find the knee?" Johanson's reported answer was, "Sixty to seventy meters lower in the strata and two to three kilometers away" (Willis, 1987)! Johanson needs to clarify or deny this in writing. None of his published writings do.

Lippard tries to dismiss Skull 1470 by saying that its age has been changed to 1.87 million years. Many authorities disagree with that date. But let's assume that the age is correct. William Fix devoted a chapter to this (1984, pp. 50-61). Here are some excerpts:

Even at 1.8 million years, 1470 still destroys the ancestral status of [Australopithecus] africanus. . . . the case for africanus as a missing link is revealed as the piece of imaginative speculation it always was. Again, we are reminded of Piltdown. The greatest difference between Piltdown and the africanus affair is that the africanus fossils are genuine. As in other cases, the deception the profession suffered with africanus was again self-inflicted through its over-eagerness to read into the fossils "some special place or significance in the line of direct human descent, as opposed to that of the family of apes." In fact, africanus was more likely ancestral to the chimpanzee than to man. But the American end of the profession in particular seems to be laboring under the assumptions that an animal ancestor is good for us and that the truth about this ancestor may be arrived at by majority vote within the profession

[p. 53]

The truth—and this will become even more evident as we examine the remaining ancestral candidates—is that Piltdown was not an unfortunate lapse of scientific poise in the infancy of this discipline, but was symptomatic of its standard operating procedure. Much anthropological literature written before 1973 is now as obsolete as that endorsing Piltdown man as an ancestral form. But there has been little righteous thunder over the africanus affair by those concerned with the integrity and credibility of science. The generation of Eiseley, Zuckerman, Boule, and Louis Leakey has passed, and most of those who have replaced them are not inclined to rock the boat, especially since the external threat from the fundamentalists [scientific creationists] has become more acute. Consequently, there is very little public awareness that paleoanthropology has replayed Piltdown with a vengeance.

[p. 55]

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Birdsell addressed the situation in the belief that 1470 was 2.8 million years old, but as indicated, even if it is only 1.8 million years old, its revolutionary impact is little diminished. Birdsell refers to "the problem of ER 1470"—a major problem at the very heart of evolutionary theory.

[p. 59]

As far as he [Birdsell] is concerned, the story of human evolution has been revolutionized by 1470, and no satisfactory synthesis replacing the old scheme has yet been achieved.

[p. 60]

Lippard objects several times to my referencing studies done by creationists. It would be more enlightening and show less bias if he critiqued the studies instead of attacking the people who did them. Actually, I usually reference evolutionists. But as most readers know, if a creationist references an evolutionist, he or she is frequently charged with taking the author's conclusions out of context—"because the author is, after all, an evolutionist." Catch-22.

If Lippard does not believe my statements about Peking Man because I cited works—very extensive works—by creationists, then he should study Fossil Men by Marcellin Boule and Henri Vallois (1957, pp. 110-146). These evolutionists at least acknowledge the possibility that Peking "men" were just apes that were hunted by true humans. Again, the evidence on Peking Man is thin, although I believe it favors the creationist view. But isn't that a good reason for presenting both sides?

Out-of-Order Human Fossils

Lippard: "Contrary to Brown's claim, the Swanscombe, Steinheim, and Verlesszollos fossils can typically be found in introductory physical anthropology textbooks. . . . "

Once again, Lippard misrepresents my position. I said that the remains of these and other documented human fossils, when found in rocks that are too old by evolutionist standards, are almost always ignored by evolutionists. Yes, a few textbooks do mention them. But seldom do they explain the contradictions these fossils pose. Fix sums it up well: "In conjunction with Swanscombe, Steinheim, and Fontechevade, it certainly shows that there is significant evidence that modern-type humans were in existence long before Neanderthal. Accordingly, it is difficult to see how Neanderthal could have been our ancestor" (p. 105). Contrary to what Lippard says, most textbooks that deal with our supposedly apelike ancestors ignore all this data. Shouldn't we teach all the evidence? Let's teach students how to think, not what to think.

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I must apologize for one error that Lippard caught. Actually, Ron Calais brought it to my attention first. In a footnote, I mentioned that Oreopithecus bambolii was human. That view is no longer held. William L. Straus, who pointed out its human aspects for many years, withdrew that claim when a complete skeleton of this ape was found. The error has been corrected in the current edition of The Scientific Case for Creation. In publishing the latest edition, I also withdrew the Moab skeleton from that same footnote. Over the past several years, my doubts concerning its human status have increased.

Lippard and others claim that several of the other human skeletons I mentioned were buried intrusively. Perhaps. I have been aware of these claims and counterclaims. However, in each instance I cited, I believe that the evidence tips in favor of no intrusive burial. For example, in the case of the Castenedolo skeletons, Sir Arthur Keith correctly stated the enigma that evolutionists face: "As the student of prehistoric man reads and studies the records of the 'Castenedolo' find, a feeling of incredulity rises within him. He cannot reject the discovery as false without doing injury to his sense of truth, and he cannot accept it as a fact without shattering his accepted beliefs" (1925, p. 334).

However, after examining the strata above and below the Castenedolo skeletons, and after finding no indication that they were intrusively buried, Keith surprisingly concluded that the enigma must be resolved by an intrusive burial. He justified this by citing the unfossilized condition of the bones. However, these bones were encased in a clay layer. This would prevent water from transporting large amounts of dissolved minerals into the bone cells and explain the lack of fossilization. The degree of fossilization relates to chemistry, not age.

Lippard, regarding the Calaveras skull: "It makes one wonder if Brown even reads the articles he cites."

I have read and pondered those articles several times over the past eight years. I should have explained that I was including them in the interest of completeness. For many years, stories have circulated that the Calaveras skull, buried 130 feet below ground, was a practical joke. However, that tidy explanation conveniently overlooks the many other bones and human artifacts, such as dozens of bowls made of stone, found throughout that part of California. These artifacts have been found over the years under apparently undisturbed strata and a layer of basaltic lava (Whitney, 1880, pp. 262-264, 266, 274-276).

Again, in my opinion, the evidence tips in favor of the view I presented. This issue may never be resolved scientifically. Why, then, should one side of this question be suppressed?

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Out-of-Order Human Artifacts

Lippard: "On the other hand, Wright asked Brinton to provide details in support of his clay toy claim, but I was unable to find a response."

There was no response by Brinton, much to Wright's disgust. Why do you suppose that Brinton, who made the charge that the Nampa figurine was a hoax, failed to produce his evidence?

Lippard: ". . . Baugh has consistently refused to allow the hammer to be radiocarbon dated. . . . "

No, he has not. Dr. Carl Baugh assured me four years ago and again on June 2, 1989, that he would like to have the wooden handle of his hammer radiocarbon dated. He has three understandable stipulations: (1) that he accompany the hammer at every stage of the testing; (2) that some outsider pay for all aspects of the test; and (3) that the hammer be dated by the accelerator mass spectrometer technique. The reason for the last stipulation is that the standard radiocarbon dating technique would destroy most, if not all, of the wood in the hammer.

Noah's Ark

I believe there is archaeological evidence that Noah's ark exists. Of course, we can only be sure once it is found. If a person's mind is open to the possible existence of the ark, much can be said. However, giving such information to a skeptic accomplishes nothing. I believe that some claims of the ark's existence are false. I have helped identify such fabrications and honest errors. On the other hand, the deeper we dig into other accounts, the more credible they seem.

Some writers referenced by Lippard have learned from ark-hunters which stories are probably false. These are the accounts the critics enjoy attacking. Another tactic of theirs is to show contradictions between the "false" reports and those that appear very credible. Again, to a skeptic, all I can say is wait.


Lippard has taken almost three years to search out what he feels are the weakest of the 120 categories of evidence that support creation and oppose evolution. He has addressed only parts of a very small percentage of them. Each reader can judge Lippard's accuracy, competency, and thoroughness. Readers can also see who has made the misleading statements.

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Recently, a columnist for a large state university newspaper wrote an editorial after reading the same case that Lippard examined. He had a different view:

Well, I've read [the] arguments as I'm sure many of you have—and they aren't simplistic, they aren't mystical, and they don't even require the reader to believe in the Bible. What they do require is that students of mankind's history challenge their evolutionary beliefs. And that they engage in debate, discussion and research into the big question—"Where did we come from." Where is the indoctrination if all sides are presented openly? If scientific creationism is such a paper-thin theory, professors should spend some time matching it up to evolution in class—let the best theory win. That's what the academic community is all about.

[Hostetler, 1988, p. 4]

I hope Lippard and I can agree on that.

By Walter T. Brown, Jr.
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.