Creation/Evolution Journal

If I Had a Hammer

Our topic is basically limited to footprint claims, but the subject matter requires glances beyond these limits. Carl Baugh has stepped outside his footprints to claim other anti-evolutionist evidence.

One of his principal pieces of evidence for human contemporaneity with supposedly ancient geological strata is an iron hammer with a wooden handle found near London, Texas by others in the 1930s in an "Ordovician" stone concretion "in the scenario" (but not in the Glen Rose region). "Humanists," Baugh said, claim it is an "18th century miner's hammer." Noting the appearance of the handle, Baugh said a similar-looking piece of wood from Michigan had just been radiocarbon dated 11,500 years old. (He gave no reference and did not blink at the date earlier than his view of creation.) Apparently this was meant to suggest that the hammer was earlier than the 19th (not 18th) century date other observers have suggested—and to imply that the hammer itself had been subjected to radiocarbon dating, although it had not been (Baugh, 1983b).

The stone concretion is real, and it looks impressive to someone unfamiliar with geological processes. How could a modern artifact be stuck in Ordovician rock? The answer is that the concretion itself is not Ordovician. Minerals in solution can harden around an intrusive object dropped in a crack or simply left on the ground if the source rock (in this case, reportedly Ordovician) is chemically soluble. This is analogous to stalactites incorporating recent objects in their paths as they grow. The rapidity with which concretions and similar types of stone can form is evident in soil caliche development. "Rapid formation of limestone has been shown in coral atolls in the Pacific where World War II artifacts have been found in the matrix" (McKusick and Shinn, 1980).

Lang (1983b:1) writes

. . . Dr. Baugh had a laboratory in Columbus test the hammer that was found at London, Texas. They used a microprobe to examine the elements in the hammer and the rock in which it was found. As a result of these tests they concluded that the hammer was made by an advanced process of metallurgy which used the equivalent of coke rather than coal to develop the metal. They were convinced the iron formation of the hammer could not have been formed by a meteor. They were also convinced that the rock itself could not have been formed except where there was a great deal of water and a great deal of pressure. They seemed to feel that something equivalent to volcanic pressures was involved here. [Baugh (1983b) said the presence of kaolin [clay] is evidence of vulcanism, and vulcanism speeds hardening.]

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Except for the odd note about volcanic pressures, a sort of Baugh idea fixee, this confirms what evolutionists have been saying about the 19th century miner's hammer! Why was there no attempt to date the hammer stylistically (it is of recent American historical style) or to subject the metal and/or wood to radiocarbon analysis instead of only doing this to some unrelated stick from Michigan?

Baugh (Baugh, 1983b, Lang, 1983a) further suggested that the hammer might hold the key to the nature of the antediluvian atmosphere which encouraged the growth of giants, because, he said, its chemistry suggested that there was once ten times as much ozone in the atmosphere than there is today. He did not say why this would produce giantism. The claim is absurd. An atmosphere with ten times the current amount of ozone would not produce conditions for a Garden of Eden or cause people to grow into giants living hundreds of years; rather, it would be fatal to most trees and cause a massive plague of animal and human cancer and mucous membrane searing.

Baugh (1983b) implied strongly that as a result of his tests of the hammer he was on the track of a wide range of other scientific breakthroughs concerning the early earth's atmosphere and chemical composition—exciting stuff indeed! (Or was he trying to show people a wide range of technical-sounding jargon which could intimidate a layman?) His intermittent Texas research is supposed to be on the track of all sorts of ancient mysteries without half trying—making a joke out of the hard work of doing science.

Besides his other efforts, Baugh has discovered a genuine dinosaur skeleton which he says virtually proves that his mantracks and dinosaurs were contemporary; he identifies it as a sauropod (Bailey, 1984). (According to the paleontologist Dr. Wann Langston, it is a carnivorous three-toed bipedal dinosaur!)

His dinosaur fossil bones are real, however strangely interpreted. On the other hand, his recent claims to have found fossil skulls of a child and a saber-toothed tiger are not simply misinterpreted—they are baseless. Baugh has found odd-shaped limestone chunks or concretions and called them skulls. As Schadewald (1984) notes, they are merely natural silicified limestone nodules with a few needle-like crystalline spurs which have been called teeth. Limestone consolidates and weathers unevenly, yielding odd-shaped lumps such as the "dinosaur bones" in Emmett McFalls's front lawn and at the Thayer site, lumps that are nothing but funny-shaped rocks.

"You just kinda have to use your imagination," said a creationist guide leading people to trackways in 1982 (Turner 1982:149).

By J.R. Cole
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.