Monday, June 27, 2011

Oard's Moonbeam

I wrote this a few years ago, and published it on John Stear's Australian website, No Answers in Genesis. John created the site specifically to refute the gross falsehoods published by "Answers in Genesis." John is very ill, and we don't know what might happen to his famous website. I'll be moving my early papers from his site to Stones and Bones over the next few days (weeks?).

An Answers in Genesis article by Michael J. Oard, "Problems for 'giant impact' origin of moon (2000), is sadly typical of their standard fare: there is never absolute certainty in science, and not every question is resolved in complete detail therefore science is bunk and God created everything just a few thousands of years ago. If that were not enough, AiG contributors rarely bother, or perhaps lack the ability to even get the scientific questions properly framed and presented.

Oard, a retired meteorologist, seems to have largely based his article on two scientific sources, one published in Nature, Lissauer (1997), and one from Science, Halliday & Drake (1999). As we shall see in a moment, he really took his paper from fellow creationist Jonathan Sarfati (1998). Oard gets it wrong in his first sentence, "Evolutionary astronomers have great trouble accounting for the origin of the moon." Evolution, or "evilution" in creationese, and astronomy are obviously quite separate sciences, although there are obvious interdisciplinary studies. Secondly, Oard has greatly exaggerated the magnitude of the conceptual and theoretical problems associated with the "accounting" he demands. Two errors of fact and reasoning per opening sentence are about par for AiG. For example see my "Dino Blood Redux" or "Boiled Creationist with a Side of Hexaglycine: Sarfati on Imai et al. (1999)".

Oard didn't do much better in his second sentence either, "There have generally been three competing hypotheses, but they all have serious physical problems: ..."

The critical error there is his use of the word "generally". Writing in 2000 CE no one informed on the then current astronomical understanding could have suggested that the hypotheses listed; the fission hypothesis (eg. proposed in 1879), the coaccretion hypothesis (called the Condensation, or co-creation theory by Oard), and the capture hypothesis, were anything other than historically rejected ideas. They had indeed been rejected in the early 1970s because, like all rejected scientific hypotheses, they had not succeeded in matching with independently observed phenomena, in particular the chemical compositions of the Earth and Moon (O.Neil, 1991), and the improved computational results for the physical dynamics of the Earth/Moon system. It was based on these observations that the Giant Impact Hypothesis was first proposed in the mid 1970s. This is of course Oard's next error of fact, because he claimed in his paper that the impactor hypothesis was only developed in the 1990s. These factual errors are not trivial, because they are all the result of Oard misrepresenting referenced scientific sources he supposedly used. This degree of error could not be by accident.

To explore how Oard abused science generally and Lissauer specifically, consider the following quotes:

"He even cited an only half-joking statement in a university astronomy class about 20 years ago by Irwin Shapiro: since there were no good (naturalistic) explanations, the best explanation is that the moon is an illusion! This counts as strong evidence for the moon's special creation".

"All in all, developing a theory of lunar origins that could make sense of data obtained from the Apollo lunar landing programme proved very difficult. So much so, in fact, that when I took a class on our planetary system from Irwin Shapiro two decades ago, he joked that the best explanation was observational error — the Moon does not exist".

The differences in intent and meaning (and humor) between Lissauer's own words and Oard's gross misrepresentation should be clear to the most naive observer. Plus, without explanation or any justification, Oard claims a remembered joke from the 1970s as, "... strong evidence for the moon's special creation". Could anyone other than a creationist make such a bizarre claim? (Well, yes there are crystal gazers, palm readers and astrologists, but other than people of that ilk)?

Oard also commits a form of academic slight-of-hand by mentioning that Lissauer is commenting on Shigeru Ida et al., which gives him another scientific reference, but one he never actually addressed. What did Ida et al. have to say about the origin of the Moon? From their abstract, "Theoretical simulations show that a single large moon can be produced from such a disk [circumterrestrial disk of debris generated by a giant impact on the Earth] in less than a year, and establish a direct relationship between the size of the accreted moon and the initial configuration of the debris disk".

Next Oard cites a paper by the universally acclaimed expert about everything, Herr Doktor Professor Anonymous. Written for Discover magazine in 1997, the anonymous article referred to some computational models which resulted in impact scenarios that failed, or as Oard wrote, "...the results have strained the hypothesis to the breaking point". The fundamental error Oard makes here is common to creationists - the testing of scientific hypotheses is always to the breaking point. In scientific work the goal is never to selectively pick bits and pieces of reality that can shore-up failed superstition, but to rigorously test every notion with every bit of available information. The history of science is littered with "beautiful theory destroyed by ugly fact".

Oard moves on to a paper by Halliday & Drake (1998) that appeared in Science magazine. This was a review of some papers presented to the "Origin of the Earth and Moon Conference", Monterey, December 1998. Halliday & Drake early in their paper said of the Giant Impact Hypothesis, "A recent conference in Monterey, California, showed that, although a general picture may be emerging, many issues remain hotly debated". Most of those issues raised have, in the intervening seven years, been resolved. See the review by Herbert Palme (2004), and atmospheric models by Genda & Abe (2003). In their review Halliday & Drake noted that, "In spite of a growing consensus, some workers still dislike the entire Giant Impact Theory, on both dynamical and geochemical grounds". None the less, they correctly concluded, "We have recently come a long way in obtaining hard constraints on the origin of Earth and the moon. The issues have changed from discussion of whether or not there was a giant moon-forming impact to debates about the accretion rates of the Earth and the chemical, isotopic, and physical effects of such catastrophic accretionary scenarios".

As an example of that conclusion, one paper presented at that important conference was, "Is There An Alternative For The Huge Impact-Generated Atmosphere?" Gerasimov et al. (1998). Their short answer = No, except ...! They also pointed out that significant contributions were apparently made to the Earth's composition from later, smaller impacts (for example see Chyba et al. 1990, Bada et al. 1994, Blank et al. 2001). Equally obvious are the later contributions of weathering and most importantly life itself, (Canfield et al. 2000, Catling et al. 2001, and for a strong background paper see Holland 1999).

Oard next mentioned briefly a paper by Ruzicka et al. (1998) and quoted from their conclusion that, "... there is no strong geochemical support for either the Giant Impact or Impact-triggered Fission hypotheses". Oard has presented this in a misleading manner leaving an average reader the impression that Ruzicka et al. reject both hypotheses. We need to read this with some care. First, Ruzicka et al. (1998) are arguing that the data available over seven years ago could not select between the "Giant Impact" and the "Impact-triggered Fission" hypotheses. The Impact-triggered Fission Hypothesis was a hybrid of the impact and 1879 fission hypotheses. As described by O'Neill in 1991, it proposed that a giant impact resulted in a Moon largely comprised of crustal Earth - a hypothesis that was later highly modified (see Wänke, 1999). Ruzicka et al. (1998) further argued that the amount of lunar material that derived from the protoEarth was extremely low (O'Neill had proposed up to 80%). A later paper by Ruzicka et al. (2001) goes even further and argues that a giant impact could have produced the Moon with negligible material derived from the protoEarth, overturning both O'Neill and Wänke as well as others. The geochemical questions regarding the origin of the Earth/Moon system are indeed complex. But this is how science works best - by more sensitive and accurate studies acquiring new data. The critical insights of the last decade are reviewed by Palme (2004) which will be discussed below.

Sarfati gets Plagiarized

The capping irony is that Michael Oard's "paper" is merely a trivial reworking of AiG creationist Jonathan Sarfati's 1998 bloviation, "The moon: the light that rules the night". I was a college professor for many years and I regretfully flunked more than one student for plagiarism less blatant than that of Oard. For example, both of these AiG hacks take issue with the "... the unsolved problem of losing the excess angular momentum". (Yes, Oard used that identical phrase and many more directly from Sarfati, he even took the distorted reference to Irwin Shapiro's humorous remark from Sarfati). Sarfati presented this "excess angular momentum" as a "proof" that the radiometric dating of the Moon's formation could not be correct, and that this for some reason disproved the theory of evolution. Oard seems happy just that it is a "problem" for them "evilusionists". But like all creation science, their "proofs" and "problems" are more apparent then real. As pointed out by Palme (2004):

An off-center collision of a Mars-sized projectile with Earth would produce the present high angular momentum of the Earth-Moon system and would eject enough material into Earth orbit so that the dust could accumulate to form the Moon.

Sarfati has his own problems with reality beyond those parroted by Oard. For example, Sarfati claims that there are special purposes behind the Divine creation of the Moon. The first of these is "... for the moon is to show the seasons which will allow the invention of calendars by man... so people could plant their crops at the best time of the year". The event of seasons is of course the combined result of the elliptic orbit of the Earth around the Sun, and the Earth's canted spin axis. The physical reality is that the Moon does not show the seasons, and as a simple point of archaeological and historical fact, agriculturalists employ solar calendrics. The contrasting use of Lunar and Solar calendars between nomads who can't employ solar observation, and sedentary agriculturists who do is even thought to be reflected in the biblical story of Samson and Delilah.

Current State of the Art

In his review "The Giant Impact Formation of the Moon", Science, Herbert Palme (2004) examined computational simulations of the proto-Earth/giant impactor collisions demonstrating that both bodies were differentiated into core/crust systems and that the bulk of the lunar mass is from the crust of the impactor.

It is important to read the opening paragraph of his paper which previews the main results of decades of scientific progress in lunar studies which he later discusses:

During the past 30 years, a scenario in which a giant object collided with Earth has emerged as the leading theory for Moon formation. An off-center collision of a Mars-sized projectile with Earth would produce the present high angular momentum of the Earth-Moon system and would eject enough material into Earth orbit so that the dust could accumulate to form the Moon. The first numerical simulations of this hypothesis nearly 20 years ago used about 3000 particles whose trajectories were followed through the entire collision. In a new set of simulations published in Icarus, Canup used up to 120,000 particles and a new equation of state that describes the behavior of material at extreme pressures and temperatures. Although the results are not very different from the earlier calculations of similar impacts, they include the most detailed predictions to date of the provenance of the material that makes up the Moon. This is crucial for geochemical arguments relating Earth mantle and Moon. [Original references deleted]

Several of Sarfati and Oard's key arguments are found to be rejected; 1) the Giant Impact Hypothesis is not a sudden phenomena of the 1990s, 2) the "angular momentum problem" is not a problem, 3) the "equations of state" that Oard claimed rendered the simulations unrealistic were vindicated (..."the results are not very different from the earlier calculations of similar impacts, ..."), 4) the impactor need not be larger than Mars (as opposed to 2X- Sarfati, or 3X- Oard), and as we see in the following material, 5) geochemical questions, largely about trace element isotope ratios, are resolved:

"The material that ends up in orbit around Earth and from which the Moon is made comes predominantly from the leading, outer regions of the projectile. These regions do not collide directly with Earth, and after the initial impact they expand to distances of several Earth radii where they are placed into stable Earth orbits by gravitational torque. The impactor core loses energy by its more direct collision with Earth, is thus more strongly decelerated, and (after distortion by gravitational forces) largely collides again with Earth." Palme (2004).

Origin of Moon material. Mapping of results of a giant impact simulation onto the original configuration of Earth and impactor; x and y axes are in units of 1000 km. (A) The red particles escape the system, the yellow-green particles end up in the orbiting disk from which the Moon is made, and the blue particles accrete to Earth. (B) The highest temperatures are reached for material at the location of the first collision. CREDIT: R. CANUP/SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE. GIF image called from Science 2004.


What is the short form of the current hypothesis regarding the lunar origin? Simply, around 4.5 billion years ago, the proto-Earth was struck an off-center blow by a planetesimal about the size of Mars. Both objects had differentiated structures separated into cores and weathered complex mantels (for example, see Zolensky et al. (1999), and Whitby et al. (2000) for weathering products observed in meteorite). The majority of the lunar mass is formed from the mantel of the impactor, the core and the majority of the impactor's atmosphere became entrained as part of the Earth. Actually, the scientific argument is over - all that is left is the mopping up of the details.

Oard copied his "ideas" and much of his text from fellow AiG creationist Jonathan Sarfati. There is so much overlap that any debunking of Oard is also applicable to Sarfati. Sarfati acknowledged that much of his paper derived from a book by John C. Whitcomb and Donald B. DeYoung, The Moon: Its Creation, Form and Significance published in 1978. Today we find some of their arguments still recycled in the new creationism, Intelligent Design, as in the book The Privileged Planet (2004). This is notable because the ID creationists claim to be totally distinguished from the discredited "scientific creationism".

Oard's biggest, and most revolting lie was that the Giant Impact Hypothesis was proposed after the historical hypotheses of the Moon's origin were rejected because "They (we evilutionists) must have a naturalistic hypothesis for all origins, including the moon's, so will believe almost any hypothesis to fill the void". If scientists were at all inclined to "believe almost any hypothesis" there would never have been any disputes or the scientific rejection of the ideas that failed to fit with observed phenomena. This is the same striving for truth, and questioning of even minor details by scientists that feeds Oard with papers to distort. The willing rejection of reality exhibited by Oard is the hallmark of young Earth creationists and other fantasists.


Anonymous, Recipe for a moon, Discover 18(11):25–26, 1997.

Bada, Jeffrey. L., C. Bigham, Stanley L. Miller 1994 "Impact melting of frozen oceans on the early Earth: Implications for the origin of life", PNAS-USA v.91: 1248-1250

Canfield, Donald E. , Kirsten S. Habicht, and Bo Thamdrup 2000 "The Archean Sulfur Cycle and the Early History of Atmospheric Oxygen Science", April 28; 288: 658-661. (in Reports)

Catling, David C., Kevin J. Zahnle, Christopher P. McKay 2001 "Biogenic Methane, Hydrogen Escape, and the Irreversible Oxidation of Early Earth", Science 293 (5531): 839

Chyba, Christopher F., Paul J. Thomas, Leigh Brookshaw, Carl Sagan 1990 "Cometary Delivery of Organic Molecules to the Early Earth", Science Vol. 249:366-373

Blank, J.G., Gregory H. Miller, Michael J. Ahrens, Randall E. Winans 2001 "Experimental shock chemistry of aqueous amino acid solutions and the cometary delivery of prebiotic compounds", Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 31(1-2):
15-51, Feb-Apr

Genda, Hidenori & Abe, Yutaka 2003 "Survival of a proto-atmosphere through the stage of giant impacts: the mechanical aspects", Icarus 164, 149-162 (2003).

Gerasimov, M. V., Yu. P. Dikov, F. Wlotzka 1998 "Is There An Alternative For The Huge Impact-Generated Atmosphere?", abstract from Origin of the Earth and Moon Conference, Monterey, Dec.

Gonzalez, Guillermo, Jay Richards 2004 The Privileged Planet : How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery, Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, D.C.

Halliday, A.N. and Drake, M.J., 1999 "Colliding theories", Science 283:1861–1863, .

Holland, Heinrich D. 1999 "When did the Earth's atmosphere become oxic? A Reply", The Geochemical News #100: 20-22

Ida, Shigeru, Robin M. Canup, & Glen R. Stewart 1997 "Lunar accretion from an impact generated disk", Nature 389(6649):353–357.

Lissauer, J.J., 1997 "It's not easy to make the moon", correct reference: Nature 389, 327 - 328 (25 September 1997); AiG's page numbers in Oard (2000) refer to Shigeru Ida et al. (1997).

Oard, Michael 2000 "Problems for 'giant impact' origin of moon", Technical Journal 14(1):6–7 April

O'Neill, H. St. C. 1991 "The origin of the moon and the early history of the earth - A chemical model. I - The moon", Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (ISSN 0016-7037), vol. 55, April 1991, p. 1135-1157.

Palme, Herbert 2004 "The Giant Impact Formation of the Moon", Science Vol. 304 977-978
Institut für Geologie und Mineralogie, Universität zu Köln, 50674 Köln, Germany. E-mail:

Pepin, R. O. 1997 "Evolution of Earth's Noble Gases: Consequences of Assuming Hydrodynamic Loss Driven by Giant Impact", Icarus 126, 148-156 (1997).

Ruzicka, A., Snyder, G.A. and Taylor, L.A., 1998 "Giant Impact and Fission Hypotheses for the origin of the moon: a critical review of some geochemical evidence", International Geology Review 40:851–864

Ruzicka, Alex, Gregory A. Snydera and Lawrence A. Taylora 2001 "Comparative geochemistry of basalts from the moon, earth, HED asteroid, and Mars: implications for the origin of the moon", Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta Volume 65, Issue 6 , 15 March , Pages 979-997

Sarfati, Jonathan 1998 "The moon: the light that rules the night", Creation 20(4):36–39 September.

H. Wänke 1999 "Geochemical Evidence For A Close Genetic Relationship Of Earth And Moon", Earth, Moon, and Planets Volume 85-86, Number 0, January

Whitby, J., R. Burgess, G. Turner, J. Gilmore, J. Bridges 2000 "Extinct I-291 in Halite from a Primitive Meteorite: Evidence for Evaporite Formation in the Early Solar System", Science 288: 1819-1821

Whitcomb, John C., Donald B. DeYoung, 1978 The Moon: Its Creation, Form and Significance, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Zolensky, M. et al 1999 "Astroidal Water Within Fluid Inclusion-bearing Halite in an H5 Chondrite, Monahaus (1998)", Science 285: 1377-1379.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Faunal Taphonomy

This is a slightly updated version of a web page I made for Valeri Craigle of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library at the University of Utah. Original funding was provided by a grant from the National Library of Medicine, Grant #1 G08 LM05684-01A1.

Valeri created a significant resource for Forensic Anthropology that was used by researchers, criminal investigators, and students around the world. Unfortunately, short-sighted administrators prevented site maintenance after expiration of the grant, and have not even supported it as a static resource on their server. I have added additional photographs, and text, but have tried to leave the page "dated."

I was personally honored to be associated with the project. I have also been involved with criminal investigations I can now identify (2013);

Faunal Taphonomy

One aspect of archaeological faunal analysis is determining the origins of recovered bone. The analysis of the processes which modify bone is called taphonomy, and is also of interest to forensic scientists as an aid to the investigation of homicides. Since 1989, Saddleback College students directed by Dr. Gary Hurd have studied the residue of deer predation by mountain lions. In the west, the major scavenger, or secondary predator, of the deer carcass is the coyote.

(The author (right) is assisting Duggin Wroe collecting DNA samples from a young male mountain lion. The animal was tagged and released).

There are several features of whole carcass changes that are worth noting. Forelimbs are generally the first anatomical unit to become disarticulated, followed by the hind limbs. the likelihood of removal is directly related to the degree of competition among scavengers at the carcass. There is a tendency towards lateralized bone consumption most easily observed in the bone loss from the ribs, and the lateral processes of the vertebrae.

Unlike the reports available for human carcasses, the deer skull is rarely relocated away from the primary kill site. The primary predator of the deer in the top photo was a mountain lion. The second animal was killed by an automobile. In that example, there was bone modification due to impact.

Trampling damage and tooth scaring on a deer scapula caused by coyote puppies. Puppies are weaned in the late spring-early summer. The adults return to their den with parts of carcasses for the puppies to teeth on, and wean. Tooth marks are limited to scoring. The foraging range for the coyotes will obviously vary depending on quality of the habitat. Note the polish on high spots from grasses. The primary predator is unknown.

Above is a slide showing trampling damage on a deer ulna. These marks were produced by predators moving the bone against stones. They lack parallel marks on the obverse of the bone found from tooth scoring, and are often rotated from a common origin.

Tooth scaring on deer bone; puncture with a radiating fracture (left: ulna), and compression (right: humerus).

Carrying damage to a deer metapoidal (cannon bone) caused by a coyote. These marks are diagnosed by parallel sets, spacing (appropriate to coyote dentition), and corresponding tooth mark sets on the obverse of the bone. These are particularly common on long bones, and sometimes show a "stepped" feature caused by parts of the limb snagging against brush.

Long bone splinters recovered from a coyote "bone yard" following a fuel rich wildfire. Notice that there is variation in the degree of burning which ranges from charred to calcined. Bone buried beneath as little as 4 cm of silt will be unburnt.

Gary S. Hurd graduated in 1976 with a Social Science Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Irvine. Following a ten year stint as a medical researcher in Psychiatry, he returned full time to archaeology. Currently, Dr. Hurd teaches anthropology courses at Saddleback College, and is Curator of Anthropology at the Orange County Natural History Association. He has been active in taphonomic research since 1989, and has also consulted with the Orange County Sheriff / Coroner's Office on bone modification, and evidence recovery related to suspected homicides.

(I was the Instructor of the Year, and given a Commendation of Excellence by the college Board of Trustees in 2001- the same year the anthropology department chair, Christen Brewer, canceled all my classes in revenge for not adding her name as a "courtesy."

Here is a list of our papers on taphonomy with student co-authors, and presenting information;

1996 "Raptor Prey Bone Accumulations from a Nest Area." G. S. Hurd, M. S. Pyatt. Southern California Academy of Science,

1996 "Deer Bone Accumulations from Mountain Lion Kills" Rick Travis  and G. S. Hurd. Southern California Academy of Science,

1998 "Carnivore Modification of Deer Bone" Steve McCormick,  G. S. Hurd. Society for Californian Archaeology.

1998 "Bone Modification and Deposition by Raptors" Mike Pyatt, Melissa Pryor, Gary Hurd.  Society for Californian Archaeology.

1998 "Rockshelter Deposition of Insect Remains By Fox and Mouse" Matt Ritter, Gary Hurd.  Society for Californian Archaeology.

1998 "Fish Bone Deposition by Coyote" Karl Allwerdt, Gary S. Hurd. Society for Californian Archaeology.

1998 "Primary and Secondary Predation Patterns of Avian Bone," Ken Reddell, G. S. Hurd, Society for Californian Archaeology).


September 1998

Advisement to Judy Suchey, Orange County Forensic Anthropologist, taphonomy of scattered skeletal remains in a rural setting. During that on-site study, discovery of a clandestine grave and subsequent excavation of the grave site. Orange County Coroner Case # 98-0574OMU.

Since this case is so old, I think I can add a bit:
A Rancho Mission Viejo cowboy (legit - horse, hat, the whole deal) found a pelvis, a femur, and some odds and ends.

The pelvis and femur were human from an adult male. I pointed the deputies to the coyote tooth marks from adults when they ravaged the body. And then the ones from the puppies teething and weaning.

The deputies were losing interest. I could imagine them thinking "Is this NatGeo, or a murder investigation?"

Then I pointed to some other marks, and said, "That is from a 38 cal bullet." Now they were interested. And when I pointed to some other marks and said, "That mark is from a 9mm hollow point."

And they were thrilled.

Back to the puppies- they told us that the body was dumped in late June or early July.

We found the bullet fragments when we excavated the burial site.

February 1999

Advisement to Judy Suchey, Principle Forensic Anthropologist. Burial site excavation of a
suspected homicide. Recovery and documentation of osteological, and material evidence
during excavation, and laboratory analysis. Orange County Coroner Case # 99-00133EY.

April 1999

Advisement to Judy Suchey, Principle Forensic Anthropologist. Site investigation following
discovery of a human skull in a suburban domestic setting. (Anaheim Police Department)

April 2000

Expert Witness Certification by the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee. Knox
County Criminal Court Case No. 68318. Taphonomic analysis of human remains
from a homicide.

My best professional complement ever was related to this forensic taphonomy contract.

I received a phone call in April 2000 from a woman who was a Public Defender in Knoxville Tennessee. She asked if I was the Doctor Hurd who was a forensic bone expert, and if I would work on a defense team.

I replied Yes, I would work for investigators, or defense as the scientific results from me would be the same either way. But, I added, the best forensic taphonomist in the WORLD was William Bass , and he was “just down the street” from her.

She replied that Prof. Bass was already involved as the Prosecution’s expert witness.

I said, “Then you are screwed. I read Bass. He does not read me. If I disagreed with him on a technical issue, I would assume I am wrong.”

She continued, “The prosecution hired Dr. Bass only to identify the sex of the victim.”

I was confused, and mentioned that that was crazy. “A Junior High kid could do that after they had “health” class.” And her answer was that the prosecution had hired Bass to keep him from helping her client’s defense.

“Well then I on the job, and I expect we will win.”

She laughed and said, “It was Dr. Bass that gave me your name.”

December 2016

Expert analyst and physical anthropology defense consultant. Matthew Nardi, Wailuku HI
96793, defense counsel for Steven Capobianco.  Trial concluded Dec. 2016.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rev. Adrian Miller, Part 1

Rev Adrian Miller is a vicar in Norfolk serving in Norwich Diocese, ordained in 2006. He is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) and a member of the British Creationist Society for 13 years, long before he joined the priesthood. He recently published an article in the house journal of the British Creationist Society that was republished on-line as “Why Won't Creationists Just Give Up?“ originally from "Origins 54," the magazine of the Biblical Creationist Society.

Rev. Miller goes on at some length, but the opening eight reasons, his “Headline Reasons” seem enough to sink his enterprise. Miller summarized what he thinks he has said;
“All in all, there are good theological, philosophical, sociological, biological, geological, cosmological, anthropological, epistemological, missional, spiritual and scientific reasons why we creationists won't just give up.”

So, Miller presents himself as prepared for a universal defense of creationist cant against all the sciences and philosophy, theology, and “spirituality.” Miller will need to distinguish his version of spirituality from the commercial variants represented by Tarot Card readers, and Miss Dionne Warwick’s television “Psychic Friends Network.” And then he will need to justify his spirituality against that of probably more pious, and chaste, and poor Buddhist or Hindu monks and priests. In fact, I doubt that Miller can honestly boast of his superior “spirituality” contrasted with the thousands of Christian Clergy who have signed the “Clergy Letter Project.”

One of Miller’s opening reasons to believe in YEC is,

”Because we recognise the importance of revelation in our approach to knowing.”

The Rev. Miller wants us to believe that the voices in his head are God speaking to him, and that Miller is competent to transmit these voices to us perfectly and without any interpretive bias. However, in modern psychiatry we know that we can give you a pill to make the voices go away, and that there are other pills that will bring them back. This alone makes the voices of revelation highly suspect. In modern psychology we have learned that no individual is capable of totally unbiased anything, our cognition is the result of neural architecture, as that this is altered by experience, and culture.

If not the voices in his head, then voices in some dead guy’s head, which in the specific case of the Bible were “spoken” to a near savage. These ‘revelations’ were then; in cultures, and in languages only poorly known, translated and edited and re-translated and re-edited for thousands of years. That is all that a claim for the validity of “revelation” can mean. So, we must ask the Reverend if the act of translation, redacting and editing have over the millennia been also the subject of “revelation?” Is the Bible evolving? Is there a continuing revelation, or is mankind’s direct communion with God dead? Is biblical exegesis dead? How can you deny the fact of an evolving creation if you can grasp the fact of an evolving ‘revelation?”

Creationists like Rev. Miller like to hate Charles Darwin. In fact, Miller later makes the assertion that Darwin was inspired by Satan. Darwin was far kinder to men like Miller. Describing how he had only with great reluctance abandoned his orthodox Christian beliefs, Darwin wrote,

“The question then continually rose before my mind and would not be banished,—is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, would he permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament. This appeared to me utterly incredible.” (Autobiography, 1958, pg, 86-87, Original publication 1910, written 1882).

But what if…

What if the Bible is really Revelation? What if the Bible is to be believed with the fervor and literalness of someone like Rev. Miller? Then the Bible fails to support his creationism as well, because the Bible clearly and firmly teaches that the Creation is equally valid as the Revelation, and that it is not new. First consider, Psalm 19:

1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge. (New American Standard Bible)

The Creation, the physical universe is a testament. It reveals the work of God, and (if read literally) it to reveals God’s nature. This theme is extended in Psalm 85 which reads, “11 “Truth springs from the earth; and righteousness looks down from heaven” (NASB). The Hebrew word used here for "truth," emet, basically means “certainty and dependability.” So, in the Revelation of the Bible which Rev. Miller professes, the Earth itself is attested as the source of truth, of “certainty” and “dependability.”

Are we really to pay attention to the physical creation? Ask Job. Job challenges doubters of God, “Ask the animals, they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.” — Job 12:7-8. How could this be if the sciences, particularly as all these sciences evoked by Job, Rev. Miller rejects as inspired by Satan? (Miller will falsely claim that there is a special “Creation Science” without the difficult cosmology problems like billions of years since the Big Bang, or the formation of the solar system. Miller will also deny the physical evidence from geology, paleontology, biology and anthropology).

Some of the most obvious Bible verses that illustrated an understanding of the unity of man and nature are in the book of Ecclesiastes. Eccles. 9:11 “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” (KJV)

The race is not always to the swift, otherwise a fast predator would totally destroy the prey. The predator would then obviously die without prey. The race is "not always to the swift!" And then to add, "but time and chance happeneth to them all." is just too perfect a summation of evolutionary gradualism I have ever read! What brilliant biblical "evidences" for evolution. Exactly what creationists like Rev. Miller deny is the action of “time and chance.” And yet they are instructed by their Bible that these are significant factors in the evolution of life on Earth.

Another fact that creationists like Miller like to avoid is that humans are directly linked to all life on Earth. They prefer to imagine that they are “special’ in the eyes of the biblical God. After all, humans are set apart from mere animals according to some readings of Genesis. But, in Eccl 3:18-20 “I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts." For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. (NASU)” The specific reference in Eccl 3:19-20 to “breath,” and to “dust” relates back to Genesis where humanity is specially created in Genesis 2:7.

So far, Rev. Miller's Revelation is in opposition to his Creationism. We will next examine Rev. Miller's creationist dogmas about Genesis in the light of the New Testament.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How I spent my morning

An article caught my eye this morning titled, “They’re ba-ack, creationists launch new attack on public education” written by Walter Pierce for The Independent Weekly of Lafayette, Louisiana. In an excellent brief item Mr. Pierce gave a synopsis of LA House Bill 580, a backdoor for religious fundamentalism to be taught in Louisiana’s public schools. Go see the article for the details.

As usual, I found the comments made by readers even more interesting than the original article. Two creationists stood out, and demanded replies. Their original comments are below followed by my relies;

written by JAT , June 14, 2011 - 01:10 pm
What is wrong with teaching creation. Is your science that you teach proven. Each day, new archeaological digs prove the bible correct. The information that is taught to our kids is so sub par to the rest of the world. We continue to drop the standards instead of raising them to push our kids. We do not need more scholars studying the problem. Start doing something about it. That is what is wrong with America.

written by Bob D. , June 14, 2011 - 06:43 pm
Darwin’s theory of evolution is false. The operative word is theory. There are many scholarly papers that show this theory to be false or weak and unproven at best. Basically there has never been a series of fossils that show anything ever evolved into something different. Even Darwin in later lifer stated that without such evidence his theory had no basis. Why is this theory ingrained as fact throughout our education system? Very simple – it would mean the secular humanists who have taken American education hostage would have to give consideration to the concept of God. Truly sad that America's education system suppresses critical thinking.

My relies;

written by Dr. Gary Hurd , June 15, 2011 - 08:24 am
In the comments to Mr. Pierce's news item, several creationists have made the same old errors of fact, and reasoning that were popularly refuted decades ago.

Taking Bob D. as a fine example of the breed, he began with an assertion as if it were fact, and then confused the meaning of “theory” with “just a guess.” Darwin’s original contributions to evolutionary theory were 1) common descent, and 2) natural selection. He later added entire books adding the concepts of 3) co-evolution (1862 fertilization of orchids by insects), and 4) behavioral selection (1871 “The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex”). In each of these contributions Darwin has been demonstrated by over a century of experiment and observation to have been correct. Darwin’s ideas about the specific mechanics of heredity were entirely wrong which was not entirely surprising as he (like most of his contemporaries) missed the significance of Gregor Mendel’s research on plant genetics.

written by Dr. Gary Hurd , June 15, 2011 - 08:58 am
Bob D. went on to deny that there is fossils evidence for speciation, particularly what is called “gradualism.” Paleontologist Steven Gould made a career for himself making the similar claim. Gould was not rejecting evolution, but arguing that the rate of evolutionary change was not constant. Darwin had already anticipated this, and had not himself thought that the rate of would be constant. However, we do indeed have long sequences which do show gradual transitions in morphology from one species into others. But these are best preserved in the microscopic marine organisms called foramifera, and rarely excite the public. Similarly, we have long series of aquatic snails which show centuries of tiny variations which accumulated to form new species. But, fossils are a poor substitute for directly observed living species that have undergone evolutionary transitions to new species. I have collected a list of dozens of examples from the scientific literature and posted them to “Emergence of New Species” at http://stonesnbones.blogspot.c...ecies.html

written by Dr. Gary Hurd , June 15, 2011 - 09:18 am
Bob D.’s next error was, “Even Darwin in later lifer (sic) stated that without such evidence his theory had no basis.”

This is a mishmash of two creationist claims. One is based on Darwin’s statement in “The Origin of Species,” Chapter VI, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” And the second “in later life” part is the echo of the “Lady Hope” fraud. Lady Hope was a British evangelist who falsely claimed, in great detail, how she attended Darwin on his deathbed in 1882, and led him to renounce science, and reconverted him to Christianity. This was a lie, as attested by Darwin’s wife Emma at the time, and later by his daughter Henrietta in 1922.

The fact is even if Darwin had come to doubt his work, it would not alter the validity of evolutionary theory in any way. The modern science of biology which Darwin contributed so much to is independently verified by observation and experiment, and not by personalities.

written by Dr. Gary Hurd , June 15, 2011 - 10:54 am
JAT makes some slightly different errors. They began with the claim that “new archaeological (sic) digs prove the bible correct.” I doubt that JAT reads archaeological journals, but I’ll make a few suggestions. (As a personal note, I am a professional archaeologist among other things). Here is a brief, easy to read news article; Andrew Lawler, “American Schools Of Oriental Research Annual Meeting: A Change of Biblical Proportions Strikes Mideast Archaeology” (Science 10 December 2010: Vol. 330 no. 6010 pp. 1472-1473). Basically, there has been precious little science in Biblical Archaeology since the first Christian missionary excavations in the 1800s. This has changed, beginning with the first ever systematic archaeological surveys conducted in post-1967 war Israel. For two book length reviews, a “prolegomenon” of sorts, see;

Dever, William
2001 “What Did the Biblical Writers Know & When Did They Know IT?: What Archaeology can tell us about the reality of ancient Israel” Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

Finkelstein, Israel, Neil Silberman
2001 “The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts” New York: The Free Press

These men have quite different ideas of how the Hebrew Bible, the “Old” Testament, can be employed in archaeological understanding, and historical reconstruction of the Ancient Mideast.

Many of the place names from the Bible and been located archaeologically, and this is the most common “proof” of the Bible offered by creationists. The Harry Potter books mention many real places, such as London. Finding London on a map does not “prove” that Harry Potter was a real boy wizard. What is archaeologically certain is that the claims that “digs prove the bible correct,” are nonsense invented to sell to the fundamentalist public.

written by Dr. Gary Hurd , June 15, 2011 - 11:26 am
JAT shows that they have no understanding at all of the educational trends in American public schools for the last three decades (the period my wife and I have been teachers). JAT wrote, “We continue to drop the standards instead of raising them to push our kids.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth. We have in fact raised criteria, and loaded the curriculum. Second graders in California (and most other states) are learning algebra today when 30 years ago it was just long division and fractions. The “pass” criteria for the National Assessment of Educational Achievement was just arbitrarily shifted from 50/50 to 66/33 automatically dropping ~17 percent of student scores into the “failure” range. The real truth is that selling standardized tests is annually a multibillion dollar drain on public education.

written by Dr. Gary Hurd , June 15, 2011 - 11:46 am

JAT and Bob D. finally converge on what they are really after; the imposition of fundamentalist Christian religious training by the government in public schools. America’s founders knew what a religious totalitarian state was like, and they knew the power the State could use to control the population if they were allowed to claim that God ordained their rules and powers.

written by Dr. Gary Hurd , June 15, 2011 - 12:12 pm
JAT and Bob D. finally converge on what they are really after; the imposition of fundamentalist Christian religious training by the government in public schools. America’s founders knew what a religious totalitarian state was like, and they knew the power the State could use to control the population if they were allowed to claim that God ordained their rules and powers.

Sadly, the far-right seems determined to undermine, and destroy the Nation they claim to love, and so many patriots died to create. As Sinclair Lewis wrote, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” It is up to the real patriots to stop them before they can again enslave us.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Notes on Charles Darwin’s Education

Anyone wanting more detail on Darwin's education from childhood to his voyage on the HMS Beagle should read the Wikipedia article on Darwin's education. I have read it, and was excellent. It is exceptionally detailed, but very readable.

(This is more a draft than a finished piece. I'll poke bits and pieces in as they occur to me).

Darwin’s childhood education was at a classical school- much memorization of Greek and Latin, and some mathematics. He was also an avid collector of beetles, and minerals and studied the insect taxonomies of the time. (Darwin's facination with beetles returned when he was a Cambridge student). One of the significant early scientific experiences of Darwin's early life was the study of chemistry. As he wrote in his Autobiography, [page] 46 THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN 
"Towards the close of my school life, my brother worked hard at chemistry and made a fair laboratory with proper apparatus in the tool-house in the garden, and I was allowed to aid him as a servant in most of his experiments. He made all the gases and many compounds, and I read with care several books on chemistry, such as Henry and Parkes' Chemical Catechism. The subject interested me greatly, and we often used to go on working till rather late at night. This was the best part of my education at school, for it showed me practically the meaning of experimental science. The fact that we worked at chemistry somehow got known at school, and as it was an unprecedented fact, I was nick-named "Gas." I was also once publicly rebuked by the head-master, Dr. Butler, for thus wasting my time over such useless subjects; and he called me very unjustly a "poco curante,"(1) and as I did not understand what he meant it seemed to me a fearful reproach."

1) A "poco curane" is interested in small things, while being indifferent to important things.

His formal medical education was in Edinburgh. At the same time, Darwin received practical instruction in taxidermy from a “blackamoor” named John who was the former slave of Charles Edmonstone. John had also traveled extensively as a servant and companion for the famous explorer Charles Waterton. In November of 1826, Darwin took a course from Robert Jameson in “Natural History” in addition to his medical studies. Jameson’s 200 page geological illustration addendum to his translation of Curvier’s Essay on the Theory of the Earth was part of Darwin’s reading that term. Darwin later wrote that he found Jameson’s lectures, “… incredibly dull. The sole effect they produced on me was the determination never as long as I lived to read a book on Geology or in any way to study the science.” Darwin made several studies of marine life while at Edinburgh under the encouragement of Dr. Robert Edmund Grant, who shortly after became Professor of comparative anatomy and zoology at London University, (1827-1874). Grant referred in print to two of Darwin’s original discoveries made in 1826; that the so-called "ova of Flustra" were in fact larvæ, and that the little globular bodies which had been supposed to be the young state of Fucus loreus were the egg-cases of the worm-like Pontobdella muricata. Darwin had read papers on these observations to the student’s “Plinian Society” founded by Professor Jameson.

Two years later, Darwin had given-up medicine. He could not stand the sights, sounds, and smells of the surgery. Instead, his disappointed father sent him to Cambridge to prepare for the clergy. But more significantly, Darwin became closely acquainted with the Revd John Stevens Henslow, Professor of Botany, and the Revds Adam Sedgwick and William Whewell, respectively professors of geology and mineralogy. These men totally changed young Darwin’s early resolution to avoid geological science. Whewell sought to reform the practice of science into a more formal profession. In fact, he was the man who coined the word “scientist.” Sedgwick and Henslow both lead field trips that Darwin attended. Fieldwork is much superior to lectures for learning geology and what we would call ecology today. The famous voyage around the world Darwin took from 1831 to 1836 was through the recommendation of Henslow. It was Sedgwick who sent Darwin off on the HMS Beagle with a copy of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology, which Darwin said, “Allowed me to see with the eyes of Hutton.”

In the three volumes of “Principles of Geology” (1830–33) Lyell, as noted by Darwin, was the chief promoter and advocate of the Uniformitarian theory proposed by James Hutton. Uniformitarianism founded scientific geology. (Lyell also proposed that species of animals came and went throughout the geological record). An example of how Darwin applied Hutton's uniformitarianism as expounded by Lyell, was when in 1835 Darwin experienced a massive earthquake on the coast of Chile. Darwin observed that in a few momments the local coastline had shifted three to six feet higher. Reasoning that similar forces over large amounts of time would have resulted in thousands of feet of movement, Darwin realized that marine shells found on mountain tops were not evidence of a global flood.

By the time Darwin returned to England, he was considered a respected scientist- but as a geologist. Particularly well received was his theory on the formation of coral atolls and reefs. This work has been shown to be correct in every regard. While working on his “big book,” Darwin also spent years in the study of the biology of barnacles, publishing numerous papers and culminating in the still well regarded books; 1852 Living Cirripedia, A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes, Volume 1 , and 1854, Living Cirripedia, The Balanidæ, (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, Volume 2, London: The Ray Society.

All of this preceded the publication of Darwin's theory of evolution, which he had begun working on while still at sea on the HMS Beagle.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I got lured....

I recently said I’d write replies to Rev. Miller, but I have been distracted by a real job offer. (Science, education, political bombshells- just my cupa’ And real money to go with the rest of the advantages).

And I have also got entrapped in a few Letters to the Editor debates. In one of these, a list of “questions that evolutionists cannot answer” was posted. Of course they were either incoherent, or trivial. The questions themselves turned out to be a cut-n-paste job from a creationist website,"> “Question Evolution: Biology.”

The website owner emailed me to say he was "to busy" to update, or respond, so my relies are below:
Voldad4life asked, “All you smarter-than-me people please answer these questions or dodge them as usual”
There are several problems with this, first being that if I direct you the answers to these questions; you will ignore the references and claim you are “unconvinced.” It is really a waste of time. Secondly, some of your questions are incoherent and cannot be answered. Thirdly, science does not have complete answers to every possible question, and I personally do not know every corner of every science; where I cannot answer a question you will loudly claim this “proves” scientists are wrong about everything and your superstition is True™.
Not all the questions are really that hard, but I doubt your honesty because I have debated with creationists for many years.
However, I have a free hour with nothing else to do, so here are a few remarks.
“How could wings have evolved? Or an eye?”

The obvious answer is the accumulation of small changes in form and function.
The specifics of eye are also straight forward. The chemistry of photoreceptors gives the first step, our eye’s photochemistry, the rhodopsins, began with bacterial photeodopsin. The primitive “eyes” of single celled organisms are merely areas with higher concentrations of photeodopsins which collect light energy. In the eyes of more advanced critters the light sensitive patch is made of multiple cells inside a shallow cup. There are about a dozen intermediate kinds of “eyes.” We know this because there are living examples of every one still used by some life form on Earth today. The famous example is the “box jelly,” which has 6 different eyes, and no brain.

Nilsson and Pelger,
1994 "A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve" Proceedings of the Royal Society 256: 53-58.

Dan-E. Nilsson, Lars Gislén, Melissa M. Coates, Charlotta Skogh & Anders Garm
2005 “Advanced optics in a jellyfish eye” Nature 435, 201-205 (12 May), doi:10.1038/nature03484;

Voldad4life claimed, "No actual column (Geological) is in one place. The largest sample is in the Grand Canyon, which is only 1 mile. The entire column should be about 100 miles thick.

This is a popular creationist lie. The "entire geological column," in sequence, exists in many places around the world. See;
PS: Wing evolution:
I saw nothing to add to their presentation.
Voldad4life asked, “Assuming a population growth of only 1/2% (1/4 the present rate) the current population can be reached in only 4,000 years. If one assumes a growth rate slow enough to account for the current population in 1 million years, there would have been 3,000 billion human bodies.”
This is one of the “incoherent” questions because it is built totally of false assumptions. Errors are; 1) “assuming a population growth” rate because population growth has never been constant. 2) why would we project a million year time for human populations to grow? Modern humans have existed only the last 150 to 200 thousand years. Genetic studies show a “bottle neck” of only about 100,000 individuals 60 to 80 thousand years ago in Africa, while there were probably a few isolated populations in Eurasia. Real population growth coincided with the invention of agriculture about 10,000 years ago. We know historically that various plagues have reduced humans to as little 1/3 of pre-plague sizes. And finally, the key insight by Thomas Malthus was that unconstrained population growth was exponential.
Voldad4life asked, “Why can we classify animals?
Assuming that all animals evolved from a single cell, there should be no distinction between kinds. This would result in one branch rather than the tree of animals which zoologists have been able to classify.”

We can classify animals because they (we) have a shared common ancestry. Your question is so lost in confusion that I can only direct you to two resources:
“The Tree of Life Project”
“History of Life through Time”

Voldad4life asked, “What held the first cell's stuff (DNA, RNA, etc) together - a cell wall?
Without a cell wall of some kind, the delicately formed cell parts would have simply drifted apart, never to form life. A cell well speaks of fundamental building blocks far more complex than simply the parts alone.”
These are like popcorn.
The errors of thought, and fact are sooo mixed in this question that it belongs in a museum of illogic. First, DNA, was not a part of the first cells’ “Stuff.” RNA probably was, particularly very small RNA, or “micro-RNA” ribozymes.

Reader, J. S. and G. F. Joyce
2002 "A ribozyme composed of only two different nucleotides." Nature vol 420, pp 841-844.

Ekland, EH, JW Szostak, and DP Bartel
1995 "Structurally complex and highly active RNA ligases derived from random RNA sequences" Science (21 July): Vol. 269. no. 5222, pp. 364 - 370

Matthew W. Powner, Béatrice Gerland & John D. Sutherland,
2009 "Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions" Nature 459, 239-242 (14 May)

Woese, Carl
2002 “On the evolution of Cells” PNAS Vol. 99 13:8742-8747, (June 25)
Also a likely part of the organic “stuff” was small enzymatic, and transmembrane peptides. See for example;

Anthony D. Keefe, Jack W. Szostak
2001 “Functional proteins from a random-sequence library”
Nature 410, 715-718 (5 April)

Deamer, David W.
2008 "Origins of life: How leaky were primitive cells?" Nature Vol 454 No. 7200

And, other essential parts of the first cells were minerals. For an extended discussion of the role of crystals in the origin of life see;
“Why Re-invent the Crystal?”

I really need to get to my chores, but
Voldad4life asked, “ How could DNA have replicated without the enzymes which it controls?
DNA can only be reproduced with the help of certain enzymes which can only be produced by DNA which had to be produced by enzymes . . .”
This particular bit of creatocrap makes the false assumption that DNA was part of the original life on Earth. We know that it was not. Long before there were any DNA organisms there were RNA, and peptide replicators. See:

Yuttana Suwannachot and Bernd M. Rode
1999 “Mutual Amino Acid Catalysis in Salt-Induced Peptide Formation Supports this Mechanism's Role in Prebiotic Peptide Evolution” Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres Volume 29, Number 5, 463-471, DOI: 10.1023/A:1006583311808

Philipp Baaske, Franz M. Weinert, Stefan Duhr, Kono H. Lemke, Michael J. Russell, and Dieter Braun
2007 "Extreme accumulation of nucleotides in simulated hydrothermal pore systems" PNAS | May 29, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 22 | 9346-9351

U. F. Müller
2006 "Re-creating an RNA world"
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (CMLS), 2006 - Volume 63, Number 11 / June,

Dworkin JP, Lazcano A, Miller SL
2003 “The roads to and from the RNA world” J Theor Biol. 2003 May 7;222(1):127-34

Voldad4life asked, “ Why would DNA evolve when its purpose is the keep just that from happening?
The basic function of DNA is to pass on a very complex and exact code or plan for development for the next generation.

This is an extension of the question Voldad4Life copied that I last answered. DNA is useful because it is more stable than RNA, or peptide nucleic acids. This does not mean that it is immutable. The most recent direction in OOL research on the origins of DNA replicators indicates that the shift from RNA to DNA happened in viruses. A good review is available in

Patrick Forterre
2006 “Three RNA cells for ribosomal lineages and three DNA viruses to replicate their genomes: A hypothesis for the origin of cellular domain” PNAS March 7, vol. 103 no. 10 3669-3674
Also at least scan the literature on Mimivirus, and other "giant" viruses. A fairly good place to start would be;

Mickaël Boyera, et al
2009 "Giant Marseillevirus highlights the role of amoebae as a melting pot in emergence of chimeric microorganisms" PNAS December 22, vol. 106 no. 51 21848-21853

Voldad4life asked, “ Why did some animals not evolve?
Evolutionists state that some animals (like the duck billed platypus) have remained unchanged for millions of years. Why were these animals left out of the almost universal improvements that nature had "planned"?

First lie is: “Evolutionists state that some animals (like the duck billed platypus) have remained unchanged for millions of years.” Even we humans are known to have recent mutations that have spread rapidly through the genome without major external changes. And these are the sorts of evolution that occur in populations that live in highly stable environments, or are able to continually migrate to similar environments through-out time. So, while some gross features have remained the same, or at least similar, for millions of years, it is incorrect to claim they are “unchanged.” The second lie is that mutations are always “improvements” since the vast majority of mutations are “silent” that is, they do absolutely nothing. Third, there is no direction, or “improvements that nature had planned.” A successful mutation is one that improved reproductive success, what is an mutational “improvement” in one environment could be a disaster in another.

Voldad4life asked (copied), “Why are there no animals in the salt flats?
The salt flats were probably caused by evaporation of a large salty lake, yet there are no fossils of the animals that lived there.
Hostile environments have fewer, and less diverse animal life. The fewer organisms, the less likely we are to find their fossils. There are several sources for “salt flats” mineralogically called “halite deposits.” Halite forms in stages, the last being a hyper-saline pond or lagoon. And they are in fact loaded with fossils;
Kathleen C. Benison
2008 “Petrography Reveals That Acid-Precipitated Halite and Gypsum Preserve Small Fossils Well” 2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Kathleen C. Benison
2008 “Life And Death Around Acid-Saline Lakes” PALAIOS; September, v. 23; no. 9; p. 571-573; DOI: 10.2110/palo.2008.S05 © 2008 SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology

Voldad4life asked (copied), “Why are the missing links still missing?
From vertebrates to invertebrates, reptiles to birds there should be billions of animals. The transition from legs to wings alone should have included a countless number of animals, yet none can be found.

We find “missing links” by the thousands. To creationists, every new “link” is counted as two new “gaps.” There are limits to the sensitivity of fossils to detect evolutionary change. Very few individuals of any species will become fossils, certain environments are very bad at making, or preserving fossils, and we spend more per day on foreign wars than we spend on paleontology per year. The Iraq War alone has wasted more money that has ever been spent on paleontology. I have personally seen hundreds of thousands of fossils destroyed in road construction projects because there was no money to even store the material in a warehouse- let alone analyze the remains
There were more similar creatocrap questions on a par with the worst of 
Kent Hovind, or Ken Ham, but I really do have chores to do.