Joel kontinen: 2007

Friday, 28 December 2007

Christmas – a hard time for atheists

Joel Kontinen

Christmas is obviously a hard time for atheists. In his Agnosticism / Atheism newsletter (December 20)[1] ., Austin Cline writes, “We can certainly dismiss the historical reality of Jesus' miracles and supernatural powers; we can also be justifiably skeptical that a mundane, natural Jesus existed.”

I would strongly disagree both with the premises and conclusions Mr. Cline presents. Many if not most biblical scholars regard the gospels as eyewitness accounts that were written within a few decades after Jesus’ death.

The external evidence of the Gospels for a historical Jesus is much stronger than Mr. Cline thinks. For instance, it would not be fair to a prioiri rule out the witness of Josephus by claiming Christians have “doctored” his writings. There is no convincing proof of this. Moreover, pagan Roman writers such as Tacitus, Suestonius, Plinius the Younger and Lucianos, either mentioned Christ or his followers, sometimes quite sarcastically. They would have had no reason write sarcastically about a non-existent person. The writings of the early church fathers, some of whom wrote in the first century A.D. , also speak of the historicity of Jesus.

The internal evidence of the Gospels is even more compelling. The honesty of the narrative is often strong evidence for its historicity. Why would an ancient book otherwise present its heroes as cowards? After Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied even knowing him. The rest of the disciples cowered behind closed doors after Jesus’ crucifixion. They often lacked faith, so that Jesus had to rebuke them. Time and again he told them, “O men of little faith”.

Many other details would also clearly seem to be eyewitness accounts; for instance it would be absurd to include the story of a young man fleeing naked in the Gospel of Mark if this were not true. A specially interesting detail is letting women be the first witnesses of the resurrected Christ. In the male-centered 1st century culture the views of women did not amount to much. If the gospels were not historically reliable, the early believers would surely have presented their heroes Peter and John as the first witnesses, but they didn’t.

There is another interesting detail in John’s Gospel. When John mentions Judas Iscariot, he almost without fail always adds that he was the traitor. It seems that the writer of John’s Gospel knew something about Judas that latter-day skeptics are unaware of.

The obvious conclusion of these evidences is that the Gospels are reliable eyewitness accounts of historical events.


[1] Cline, Austin. 2007.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The Flintstones – they’re living in Gran Canaria

As Featured On Ezine Articles

Joel Kontinen

The world of Fred Flintstone is not as far removed from reality as we might think. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera created the popular animation series and cartoon The Flintstones, in which Fred gets some relief from the ardours of stone age world by playing a round of golf. He also drives an automobile. And when Fred drops cooking oil on his tie, he can always get it cleaned in a washing machine.

We would not expect cavemen to drive an automobile. However, that is exactly what present-day cavemen do. Their most frequent expression is not Yabba-Dabba-Doo! But Buenos dias, since these cavepeople are Spaniards living in Gran Canaria, a popular tourist island to which millions of Europeans fly each year to escape the rigours of winter.

Some of the cavepeople live in a village called Guayadeque. These 21st century Flintstones drive automobiles and keep them in cave garages. They have electric lights and modern appliances in their homes they have made for themselves in caves.

These cavepeople are descendants of the Guanches, an ethnic group of tall, blond, blue-eyed people who have lived in the Canary isles since around 500 B.C. With the coming of the Spaniards in the 15th century A.D., many Guanches were killed by the invaders but some remained and most of them intermarried with the Spaniards.

The Guanches were by no means primitive. While their islands lacked metals and they had to make stone tools, their pottery and even clothing resemble those of the Graeco-Roman cultures. They mummified their dead like the Egyptians and performed surgical operations, for instance trepanation, or the drilling of a hole in the skull as a proposed remedy for some illnesses.

It seems that we have been conditioned to think that cavepeople are primitive. We would expect them to have become extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago. We would definitely not expect cavemen to use their leisure time on a golf course. The popularity of the Flintstones is probably due to it breaking this thinking that is obviously based on the evolution model.

However, the true history of our planet shows that the world of Fred Flintstone is closer to reality than the popular explanation of caveman culture. Even today, cavemen and urban dwellers live side by side and probably even play golf together.

It is good to remember that the Bible also talks about people who lived in caves. For instance, Abraham’s grandson Lot lived temporarily in a cave with his daughters after their escape from Sodom about four thousand years ago (Genesis 19:30).


dos Santos, Arysio Nunes. 1997. The Mysterious Origin of The Guanches.

Walker, Amelie A. 1999. Beyond the Beaches of Gran Canaria. Archaeology, Oct. 29, 1999.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

The meaning of Christmas – it can be seen in Genesis

Joel Kontinen

Why do we celebrate Christmas? The answer can be seen in the early chapters of Genesis. The Good News of the New Testament cannot be understood without the tragedy of Genesis chapter three.

God created a perfect world but the first humans wanted to have their own way. By trespassing against God’s clear commandment Adam and Eve brought about chaos into a perfect creation.

However, God did not leave man to his own devices but promised a Redeemer who whould suffer the penalty of sin. Thus, 2000 years ago Luke recorded these consoling words, ” Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Thus the Son of God began His earthly journey that would take Him from Bethelem to Calvary – for our sins.

Have a blessed birthday of our great Creator and Redeemer!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Scientific American discovers the secret of complex life: Poop!

Joel Kontinen

Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It has a 60-second science blog that explains scientific features for laypeople. Recently, Ted Alvarez reported biogeochemist Graham Logan’s hypothesis of the reason for complex life. Logan speculates that in the beginning bacteria gobbled up all the oxygen.

According to Alvarez, “Plankton produced oxygen slowly, but bacteria would consume most of it in order to digest dead plankton. The dearth of oxygen didn't allow for much multicellular development.” [1]

Then poop came to the rescue. Creatures that produced feces consumed plankton instead of bacteria. Thus, bacteria populations dwindled as they had less plankton. This turned out to be a blessing since there was more oxygen for all other creatures.

Alvarez points out that Logan’s hypothesis is not based on wild guesses. Logan studied the carbon 12 –carbon 13 isotope ratio in Cambrian rocks, suspecting that animals that ate other animals had more C-13 in them.
Logan thinks that C -13 levels were very high before the Cambrian period because “bacteria were eating large amounts of dead plankton. Once crapping animals arrived, however, C 13 levels dropped since there was less food for bacteria to eat.”

Logan’s idea is reminiscent of the explanations that have been given for the extinction of dinosaurs. The Natural History Museum in London, for instance, gives some more or less tongue-in-cheek hypotheses, all the way from mass suicide to slipped disks. But does science cease being science when scientists have to rely on storytelling?

It seems that since evolution is not supported by facts, scientists have to resort to “just so” stories. No wonder the late creationist pioneer Henry Morris gave his last book the title Some Call it Science.[2]


[1] Alvarez, Ted. 2007. What gave rise to complex life on earth? Poop! (maybe). Scientific American. 60-second science.
[2] Morris, Henry. 2006. Some Call It Science. The Religion of Evolution. Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Christianity Today: Young earth creationism makes life difficult for everyone!

Joel Kontinen

You can never know in advance what great “truths” you might learn by reading Christian webpages. Christianity Today’s blog claims that young earth creationists are a “movement that keeps raising its head to the chagrin of Christians and evolutionists alike”.[1]

The post is a comment on New York Times’ report on the First Conference on Creation Geology and it seems to support the NYT stand on the age of the earth.

Young earth creationism has certainly not made life difficult for me. I am in good company. Jesus (Mark 10:6) and Saint Paul (Romans 5:12-14) were also YECs and I suspect that they weren’t very miserable either.

There are perfectly valid scientific reasons for believing in a “young earth” [2], such as the discovery of soft tissue in a T-rex bone, the rapid formation of canyons, the discovery of carbon 14 in diamonds and the very existence of short-term comets.

But even more valid is the Bible’s own testimony. Advocates of a 4.6 billion year earth cannot consistently believe that death is a consequence of sin or that the flood of Noah’s day was global. In effect, we are thus faced with a choice: should we trust God’s opinion (as revealed in Scripture) or man’s fallible view?


[1] Moll, Rob. 2007. Young Earth Creationism Makes Life Difficult for Everyone. Christianity Today Liveblog (4 December).
[2] ”Young earth” is really a misnomer. Why should anyone regard a 6000-year old earth as young?

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Hey Mr. Dawkins, you’ve got it wrong!

Joel Kontinen

Babies can disclose profound truths. This has happened in a new study in which children who had not yet learned to speak seemed to debunk the myth of the "meme" or the transfer of cultural units.

According to the Darwinian story, life is an ongoing struggle for existence. The strong tend to crush the weak under foot. No evolutionist has yet succeeded in coming up with a convincing explanation of why there nevertheless is so much altruism and selflessness in the world.

Richard Dawkins published The Selfish Gene="" style="mso-footnote-id: ftn1" href="" name="_ftnref1">[1]in 1976. He regarded organisms as survival machines. Dawkins also coined the term meme, by which he meant the unit of cultural transfer or imitation. Although Dawkins did not claim that genes as such could be moral, either selfish or unselfish, according to his thesis genes flourish because they basically serve their own interests. As we apply this thought on the level of memes, we might conclude that organisms are intrinsically selfish.

Fortunately, babies have not read Dawkins. A new study conducted in the University of Yale shakes our confidence in both Darwinism and Dawkinism. The idea of intrinsic selfishness turns out to be a myth. No one had taught the basics of morality to babies who were a mere six moths old. The study suggests that the selfish meme does not exist.[2]

The study conducted by graduate student Kiley Hamlin et. al. [3] indicates that even babies seem to have a natural inclination to favour those who help others. The study showed brighly coloured wooden blocks that had big round eyes. The children were shown how a block tried to climb up a steep hill. Other blocks either helped it by pushing it up or tried to stop it by pushing it downhill. When the six-month old babies later saw either the “good” or the “bad” blocks they almost without exception wanted to touch the “good” block.

Psalm 8:2 says that the truth will come from the lips of children and infants. In light of Hamlin’s study we might add that the truth will be obvious even before children are capable of putting their thoughts into words.


[1] Darwins, Richard. 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[2] Dawkinists might naturally assume that altruism is also based on selfishness but this is more of a philosphical than a scientific conclusion.
[3] Hopkin, Michael. 2007. Babies can spot nice and nasty characters. Nature News 21.11., Hamlin, J. K. , Wynn, K. & Bloom, P. et al. 2007. Social evaluation by preverbal infants. Nature 450, 557-559.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Science vs. religion: is there a conflict?

Joel Kontinen

In his agnosticism/atheism blog, Austin Cline once again brings up what he calls “the conflict between Christianity and modern science.”[1] It seems that Mr. Cline has overlooked the fact that modern science is a Christian invention. Science as we know it did not originate in India among the Hindus who believed existance is an illusion or in the Muslim world where people did not believe in free will.

Most of the pioneers of modern science, like Sir Isaac Newton, were Bible-believing Christians. They believed that a rational God had created a rational world that obeys a set of laws.

Thus, it would not be entirely correct to call this a battle between Christianity and modern science. I suspect that by “science” Mr. Cline actually means “goo to you” evolution.

I happen to know several scientists, some with earned PhD degrees, who are both creationists and real scientists and who accept most of today’s science. What they do not accept, though, is molecules to man evolution.

Would it be needless to add that even some agnostics, especially the well-known mathematician David Berlinski,[2] reject Darwinism not for religious reasons for its lack of conclusive evidence?

References and notes:

[1] Cline, Austin. 2007. Should Christians Accept Biological Evolution? Of Course Not. About. Com. Agnosticism / Atheism Blog.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Water, water everywhere .... but what about life?

They didn't need this on Mars

Joel Kontinen

In our "just add water" culture we often think that if there's water, there's life. Time and again this old evolutionist mantra finds its way into the news headlines. Whether it is the discovery of a new rocky "super Earth" such as Gliese 581 c found last spring [1] or something much nearer, the response is often more or less the same. Ten years ago, when the media spread the news that water had been found on Mars, Dr. Ross Humphreys wrote that he was delighted. He explained:

The first reason for my delight is that it helps people imagine the Genesis flood. After all, if a planet which is presently dryer than the Gobi desert could once have been covered with water, then how much more possible would such a deluge be for the Earth—whose surface is three-quarters covered with water two miles deep? [2]
He went on to say,

The second reason is that it supports the Bible’s implication of a water origin for all things [Genesis 1:2, 6-10; 2 Peter 3:5]. Water (often as ice) is everywhere in the solar system: in comets, planetary rings, on moons of the large planets, possibly on the asteroid Ceres and at the poles of the Earth’s moon, formerly on Venus [Science News, ‘Venus: The Waters of Yesteryear’, 120:372-373, Dec. 12, 1981], presently on Earth and deep in its rocky mantle, and in the polar caps of Mars. Water, as falling chunks of ice, may have pounded out many of the craters we see everywhere in the solar system. God asks, ‘…have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of distress …?’ (Job 38:22, 23, NAS). [3]

What does the hype about water on a "super-Earth" or Mars really tell us? As life cannot form spontaneously from non-life in water because of hydrolysis, have they at last found a new magic formula for abiogenesis?

A plausible tip: no. Magic should not be confused with science. Life only comes from life. It needs both information and an intelligent Sender, as information expert Dr. Werner Gitt explains. [4]
Nothing will not produce everything by chance over millions of years. Any number of monkeys banging a keyboard at random will not produce an intelligent message, even if one allows them a few millions of years to do so.

[1] New 'super-Earth' found in space BBC News. 25 April 2007.
[2] Humpreys, Ross. 1997. Water on Mars: A Creationist Response .
[3] Humpreys 2007
[4] Gitt, Werner. 1997. In the Beginning was Information. Bielefeld: Christhliche Literatur-Verbreitung.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Modern-day Gnosticism

How did the dinos die?

Joel Kontinen

Colossians 2:8 originally warned against Gnosticism, which was a view basically denying the incarnation of Christ. It had a somewhat evolutionary view of the origin of everything, as its very low view of the Creator God smacks of evolutionism. In their view, the creation certainly wasn’t “very good”. The gnosis or knowledge was not true knowledge but philosophical speculation of people who claimed to have special knowledge others lacked. Today’s evolutionists, with their “just so” stories also claim to know the truth. The problem is that their “truth” for instance concerning the reason why dinosaurs became extinct, has often changed. True knowledge, in contrast, does not change.

Evolutionists have a way of changing their definitions whenever it suits there purpose. They might claim evolution means “change over time” and try verbal acrobatics with the distinction between micro and macro evolution. It might be wise to drop the e word altogether and speak about devolution instead (or adaptation or speciation if we wish to be more polite), since everything is becoming less fit. Adaptation is not evolution. The changes in the size of the beak in the Galapagos finch or the ratio of dark vs. light peppered moths do not have anything to do with evolution. It’s best to call a spade a spade.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Are evolutionists sure of the “fact” of evolution?

Joel Kontinen

Evolution is often presented as fact. But what do the evolutionists have to say? Two interesting examples might throw some light on the issue. I will quote the views of two evolutionists at length to show that I am not quoting them out of context:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

(Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons, The New York Review of Books, p. 31, 9 January 1997).

The extreme difficulty of obtaining the necessary data, for any quantitative estimation of the efficiency of natural selection makes it seem probable that this theory will be re-established, if it be so, by the collapse of alternative explanations which are more easily attacked by observation and experiment. If so, it will present a parallel to the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.
(Watson D.M.S. [British palaeontologist], "Adaptation", Nature, 3119:124, August 10, 1929, pp. 231-234).

Monday, 17 September 2007

Weird Name – Evidence for Biblical History

Joel Kontinen


Helvetinkolu is an approximately 2 meters wide, 38 m high and 40 m long gorge in Southern Finland (62º 02' N 23º 51' E). The name has been mistranslated in some Internet documents as Hell’s Hole. The first part is correct but “kolu” is an old Finnish word that refers to stony ground (i.e. a ground made up of smallish stones) rather than a hole. It is the main attraction in a national park named after the gorge. While the gorge as such is not very large, the entire 49.8 km2 park area is characterised by several other deep gorges. Actually, Helvetinkolu is just one of the smaller gorges crossing a larger gorge. Some of the valleys are filled with narrow but deep lakes, with the walls of the gorges reaching down several tens of meters into the water. There are five such lakes in the area. The lake system is some 12 kilometres long.

In keeping with the odd logic of the name, the lake below the gorge is called Iso Helvetinjärvi (Great Hell’s Lake). In reality there is little hellish about the scenery, except that the gorge, shadowed by the steep walls for most of the day, itself tends to be quite dark. Some well-known 19th and early 20th century Finnish painters (Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Hugo Simberg ), poets (J. L. Runeberg) and composers (Jean Sibelius) drew inspiration from the view at a time when Finland was still part of the Russian Empire and they visited the place often.

The Evolutionary Explanation

According to the evolutionary view, the gorges were formed some 150-200 million years ago. The greyish color of the rocks suggests that they are granite, which is one of the most common rocks in Finland and is especially abundant in the Ruovesi area where Helvetinkolu is situated. Granite is a hard igneous rock formed deep within the earth’s crust. According to the University of Tampere website, the valleys were formed as a result of the rifting of the Earth’s crust. It is indeed easy to see that the gorges are the result of a catastrophe. In some respects, Helvetinkolu and the entire area resemble the Rift Valley of East Africa which, however, is much larger and is assumed by be considerably younger (15 million years before present). In any case, a slow accumulation of the formation in keeping with the original uniformitarian model, is ruled out even by evolutionists.

The Biblical View: An Application of Dr. Tas Walker’s Biblical Geologic Model

Dr. Walker’s first classification criterion is the scale of rocks. The Helvetinkolu formations seem to be too small to have been formed during the creation week in Genesis 1 and yet too large to be the result of an isolated disaster or prolonged erosion during the post-flood period, especially since there are several similar formations in the vicinity. The only possible other viable event would be the ice age, but it seems that gliding ice masses would not be able to carve very deep lake basins into hard granite. From a biblical perspective, the most logical explanation would be the Flood.

The second classification criterion is disturbance. The impact of the massive disturbances is clearly visible everywhere. Rocks that are tens of metres thick do not split apart unless there is a fierce geological event.
The next criterion is response to disturbance. While the rock is clearly broken, it shows no evidence of bending though there are some signs of faulting and fracturing.
The three last criteria – the presence of fossils, footprints and coal deposits – do not apply to the Helvetinkolu formations. From a biblical perspective, we would not expect to see much fossils or even footprints so far in the north, since people had obviously not migrated to the area before the flood (or even before the dispersal at Babel described in Genesis 11). While fossils have been found even in the Arctic region, the more temperate climate of southern Finland and the low pH value of the soil do not favour the preservation of fossils, either.
The most probable stage would be the Inundatory Stage during the first 40 days of the Flood, and more specifically stated the Eruptive Phase when (obviously) tectonic action broke the Earth’s crust as “the springs of the deep burst open” (Gen. 7:11).

Current Appearance

The gorge walls are standing upright and there is no evidence of bending. The walls are partly covered with lichen and rock plants such as Adder’s fern (Polypodium vulgare), spleenworth (Asplenium) and catchfly (Viscaria). The boulders and stones at the bottom of the gorge could possibly have been deposited later, for example during the Recessive Stage of the Flood or the ice age. It is possible to see marks of weathering, i.e. small cracks on the wall surface, which is probably due to repeated freezing and thawing during the modern period.The ground is usually covered with snow from December to March and the lakes are frozen from about December-January to April. The annual freezing-melting cycle tends to accelerate weathering and soil erosion, but could most probably not form the gorges in the first place.
Thus, it seems that the Inundatory Stage of the Flood is the most logical explanation for the initial formation of the gorge and the nearby lakes.


Geologic formations do not have age tags attached to them. However, from a biblical perspective it is possible to assess the most plausible date for Helvetinkolu Gorge and the adjacent lake valleys. Both the overall picture and the details support the view that they were formed during the year-long global flood described in Genesis chapters 6-8. Just as the name given to the formation speaks of God’s judgement, the genesis of the formation is also a testimony to an event in which God judged the whole world and preserved only those who accepted His offer of salvation.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Did Jesus and the New Testament writers believe in millions of years of earth history?

Joel Kontinen

Mark 10:6 is a verse that causes a headache for those who believe the earth is millions of years old. The Greek text of Mark 10:6 says (transliterated as)"apo de arkhes ktiseos", literally "from the beginning (of) creation". It would be interesting to compare this with another beginning, that in John 1:1: "En arkhe en ho logos" , "In the beginning was the Word". If "beginning" is not "beginning" in the New Testament, what is it? A few million years after the beginning, perhaps?

Only an utter ignorance of Greek - or English or logic - could make Mark 10:6 say "billions of years after the beginning of creation". Jesus was using plain language; He was not speaking figuratively as He taught people the truth about marriage in this context. Of course, Jesus originally probably used Aramaic but Greek was the language God chose to convey His revelation to us.

The text clearly says that Jesus believed in a relatively recent creation, not in a gradual process lasting millions of years.

Intelligent design and creationism

Joel Kontinen

"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."[1] Over 600 Ph. D scientists have signed the document beginning with these words. It was drawn up by Discovery Institute, a think tank of the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, indicating their dissatisfaction with the ruling paradigm (naturalistic evolution) in the biological sciences.

The Seattle, WA -based Discovery Institute is also known for its Wedge Strategy that professor Phillip E. Johnson, a prominent ID leader, introduced in his book Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds in 1997. According to Johnson, the purpose of ID is to split the log of scientific materialism and to replace it with a view that acknowledges the existence of the Creator. The ID movement recognises that Darwinian evolution is an ideology and not a fact-based science.[2]

Intelligent Design is thus welcome news, coming at a time when many people still regard Darwinian evolution as the dominant scientific approach in origins issues. For nearly 150 years, a naturalistic view of origins has so impregnated scientific thinking that all other views have been marginalized. The modern Creationist movement gained momentum after John C.Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris published their groundbreaking work The Genesis Flood in 1961. However, creationism has often been dismissed as a religiously motivated alternative that has not managed to make inroads into mainstream scientific thinking. Thus the Intelligent Design movement with its emphasis on scientific evidences instead of religious ones has been welcomed by many evangelical Christians as a more acceptable strategy, especially as ID regards itself as a formidable alternative to Darwinism.

The view that living things are designed did not originate with the modern ID movement. It is an old idea that for instance Aristotle and Cicero were familiar with. It came to the fore with the natural theology advocated by William Paley and other Deists in the 18th and 19th centuries. Natural theology was basically an attempt to prove the existence of God through the use of extra-biblical evidences. Paley was famous for his use of the watchmaker analogy. According to Paley, if you happened to kick a stone with your foot, you would not think much about it but if you found a watch on the ground you would suspect that there had to be an intelligent watchmaker who was responsible for producing it.[3]

New biochemical discoveries contributed to the birth of the modern ID movement. As biochemists realised that the cell was not the simple black box Darwin had supposed it to be, some of them began questioning the validity of Darwinian mechanisms.

The printed word has played a major role in the birth of the modern ID movement. Molecular biologist Michael Denton’s book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985) inspired law professor Phillip E. Johnson to view evolution critically, leading to his book Darwin on Trial (1991). Biochemist Michael E. Behe followed with Darwin’s Black Box in 1996. Behe coined the term irreducible complexity, by which he meant that certain biological systems cannot be produced piecemeal but all parts must be fully functional at the outset. He pointed out that undirected, purposeless Darwinian processes cannot form complex systems such as the blood clotting mechanism in mammals.

Thus, the Discovery Institute proposes that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”[4] For instance, Dr. Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute says that “bacterial cells are propelled by rotary engines called flagellar motors that rotate at 100,000 rpm,” [5] which is powerful evidence for design by an intelligent cause.

We should notice, however, that ID advocates do not claim that all biological systems are designed. They use an “Explanatory Filter” to decide whether something is designed or merely looks as though it is designed. William Demski states that design can be detected if the thing or system investigated passes all three stages of the filter, viz. 1) Does a law explain it? 2) Does chance explain it? and 3) Does design explain it?[6]

ID does not necessarily hold to a high view of Scripture and will accept some form of evolution. Its only battle is against naturalistic, unpredictable and purposeless evolutionary processes in which natural selection acts on random mutations.[7] The ID movement attempts to combat the naturalistic monopoly in science. As such, their task is a laudable one.

However, as Dr. Terry Mortenson of Answers in Genesis points out, naturalism in science did not begin with Darwin but preceded it by several centuries. Most people are unaware of the influence that worldview had on the advent of old-earth geology. It was naturalism in geology that made it possible for Darwin to postulate long periods of evolution for life on earth. As Dr. Mortenson states, “the unrecognized assumptions of naturalism, which were buried in the foundations of the old-earth, ‘the-age-of-the-earth-doesn’t-matter’ design arguments, actually paved the way for Darwin’s theory, which would demolish the force of those design arguments in most people’s minds.” [8] Advocates of the ID movement have failed to understand that the sway of naturalism in science has not been restricted to biology but is pronounced in fields like geology and astronomy.

Carl Wieland, currently the CEO of Creation Ministries International (Australia), has pointed out the following positive aspects of IDM: 1) It has produced materials and arguments that are useful in combating Darwinism. 2) It has drawn some of the anti-creationists’ fire away from biblical creationists and 3) it has emphasised that Darwinism is not philosophically or religiously neutral but is based on naturalistic presuppositions.

However, Dr. Wieland has also seen some negative aspects in IDM: 1) Supporters of ID seem to be unaware that there is no such thing as neutral science and do not thus have a valid alternative to naturalism. 2) Their position is not built on a coherent philosophical framework, since their main agenda is in opposing naturalism. 3) They are not concerned with the age of the earth or biblical history. 4) This failure to agree on past history may be interpreted as dishonesty by some Darwinists who already accuse ID people of being “creationists in disguise” and thus not honest about their real agenda.[9]

Intelligent Design attempts to distance itself from creationism by emphasising scientific evidences for design instead of relying on the Bible. While several ID scientists are evangelical Christians, the movement has not taken a stance on the identity of the Creator, who in the worst scenario could even be an alien or a New Age god. Thus, Dr. Georgia Purdom of Answers in Genesis says that the main problem with the ID movement is “a divorce of the Creator from creation”.[10]

Natural theology attempted to separate the Creator from creation, focusing exclusively on the latter. It failed to point people to the Creator revealed in the Bible. The acceptance of millions of years of earth history by many ID people means that God is responsible for the bad things we see happening around us. It distorts the true history of Genesis by implying that the world has always been “red in tooth and nail”although the Bible clearly teaches that death is a result of the Fall (Rom. 5:12). Like natural theology, the modern ID movement ignores the Fall that has caused the whole creation to groan (Rom. 8:22).

While it is true that nature speaks persuasively about the existence of God (Rom. 1:20; Ps. 8; Ps. 19), general revelation alone cannot bring people to salvation. In his apologetic speech in Athens, St. Paul clearly indicated the need to move on from the facts of nature to the reality of the Creator and the risen Redeemer in order to persuade people to turn to God (Acts 17:22-31). Unfortunately, in spite of much good it has brought about, the ID movement only goes half way. Darwinism-bashing, although a valuable endeavour as such, does not point to the cross, the only hope for fallen man. It was on the cross that Jesus Christ, our Creator (see Col. 1: 15-16), bore the sins of entire mankind. In order to persuade sinners to accept the good news of the Gospel, they have to realise that the bad news of Genesis (the Fall) is true history.

The ID movement has brought about much good. Its discoveries can – and should - be used by Christians to resist Darwinism. Its resources can open our minds to see the ungodly philosophical trappings of naturalistic evolution. However, Dr Mortenson suspects that ID’s wedge strategy will not be able to split the log of naturalism: “Fighting naturalism only in biology, while tolerating or even promoting naturalism in geology and astronomy, [will not ]break the stranglehold of naturalism on science.” [11]

The lost world needs more than merely biochemical proof of the existence of an anonymous Designer. Christians need to return to God’s revealed word in Genesis and believe in it as true history in order to effectively fight against atheistic philosophies such as evolution and reach out to the world.


Behe, Michael J. 1996. Darwin’s Black Box. The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. New York, NJ: The Free Press.

Dembski, William A. n.d. What is Intelligent Design?

__________.1996. The Explanatory Filter: A Three-Part Filter for Understanding How to Separate and Identify Cause from Intelligent Design.

Discovery Institute. Center for Science and Culture. N.d. Top Questions.

Johnson, Phillip E. 1997. Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Downers Grove, Il:InterVarsity Press.

Meyer, Stephen C. 2006. Intelligent Design is not Creationism. Daily Telegraph. February 9.

Mortenson, Terry. 2004. Philosophical Naturalism and the Age of the Earth: Are they related? The Masters’s Seminary Journal 15:1, 71-92.

Purdom, Georgia. 2006. The Intelligent Design Movement: Does the Identity of the Creator Really Matter? Answers 1:1,18-21.

Wieland, Carl. 2002. AiG’s Views on the Intelligent Design Movement.


[1] A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.
[2] Johnson, Phillip E. 1997. Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Downers Grove, Il:InterVarsity Press, p. 92.
[3] William Paley, Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, 12th ed. (London: J. Faulder, 1809), p. 1, quoted in Dembski: What is Intelligent Design?
[4] Discovery Institute. Center for Science and Culture. N.d Top Questions.
[5] Meyer, Stephen C. 2006. Intelligent Design is not Creationism. Daily Telegraph. February 9.
[6] Dembski, William 1996. The Explanatory Filter: A Three-Part Filter for Understanding How to Separate and Identify Cause from Intelligent Design.
[7] Discovery Institute. Center for Science and Culture. N.d. Top Questions.
[8] Mortenson, Terry. 2004. Philosophical Naturalism and the Age of the Earth: Are they related? The Masters’s Seminary Journal 15:1, 71-92.
[9] Wieland, Carl. 2002. AiG’s Views on the Intelligent Design Movement.
[10] Purdom, Georgia. 2006. The Intelligent Design Movement: Does the Identity of the Creator Really Matter? Answers 1:1,18-21.
[11] Mortenson, footnote 8.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Archaeopteryx - an Icon of Evolution that Refuses to Turn into a Feathered Dinosaur

Image: Wikipedia

Joel Kontinen

It has wings and feathers. It looks like a bird. It has a bird’s beak and a wishbone. But it also has a long bony tail, teeth and claws on its wings. The Archaeopteryx, a magpie-sized extinct bird, is often paraded as the missing link that is no longer missing. The University of Berkeley website, for instance, says, “It has long been accepted that Archaeopteryx was a transitional form between birds and reptiles.” This sounds like hype since scientists in the 1984 International Archaeopteryx Conference agreed that it was a true bird.

Evolution needs transitional forms that would give support to the hypothesis that all life forms share a common ancestor. However, there are grave problems with the dino-to-bird hypothesis. Writing in the March 2003 issue of Scientific American, Richard Prum and Alan Brush acknowledged: “Archaeopteryx offers no new insights on how feathers evolved, because its own feathers are nearly indistinguishable from those of today's birds."

The presence of teeth does not support the belief that Achaeopteryx has evolved from a reptile ancestor. Some other extinct birds also had teeth while some reptiles do not have them. The same applies to claws; even the ostrich has claws on its wings. Thus, the traits of Archaeopteryx are not so unique as evolutionists would like to believe. Of today’s birds, the ostrich looks less like a true bird than Achaeopteryx does. In fact Achaeopteryx looks like a strong flier. Angela Miller of the Natural History Museum in London says, “a CAT scan reveals that Archaeopteryx had the large brain and optic lobes of modern birds, not the brain of a dinosaur.”

The long bony tail does not mean that Archaeopteryx is partly a dinosaur. According to biologist Michael Pitman, “In the embryo some living birds have more tail vertebrae than ‘Archy’”. He adds that some present-day birds, such as cormorants, darters, gulls and parrots have similar vertebrae.

Most evolutions still cling on to their pet theory. For instance, Richard Dawkins says, “feathers are modified reptilian scales.” However, as Dr. Jonathan Sarfati explains, there is no way a bird’s feathers, which consists of an intricate network that seems to be especially designed for flying, could have evolved from scales: “But scales are folds in skin; feathers are complex structures with a barb, barbules and hooks. They also originate in a totally different way, from follicles inside the skin in a manner akin to hair. Finally, feather proteins (f-keratins) are biochemically different from skin and scale proteins (a-keratins) as well.”

Darwinian evolution desperately needs transitional forms. It needs them between birds and dinosaurs and mammals and whales, for example, but these have been few and far between. Even the few remaining ones are highly disputed, often by evolutionists themselves. Over-zealous evolutionists have time and again used extremely questionable fossil remains as proof of transitional forms. Thus, Pakicetus was judged to be a water-dwelling whale ancestor on the basis of two bones from the head. After more bones were found, it was seen that Pakicetus was a land animal resembling a pig.

For many decades, evolutionists have used the same examples to support the view that time and chance can change living beings into very different species. Archaeopteryx was one of the examples Dr. Jonathan Wells used in his book Icons of Evolution (2000), in which he documented the widespread use of erroneous and misleading proofs of evolution in biology textbooks. These included the Miller-Urey origin of life experiment, Darwin’s tree of life, homology (similar structures in different species), Haeckel’s embryos, the peppered moth, Darwin’s finches, mutant fruit flies, human origins, and evolution being taught as fact.

Archaeopteryx is one of the most well-known icons. Ten fossils of Archaeopteryx have been found. Supporters of evolution have given it a number of pet names, such as Dino bird, Reptile bird, Archy and Archie.

Dr Alan Feduccia, who is a world authority on birds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an evolutionist, has said, “Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.”

Archaeopteryx has been dated as being 150 million years old. The purported feathered dinosaurs appear in the fossil record several tens of millions of years after “Archie”. This has prompted Dr. Jonathan Wells to ask how an ancestor can be younger than its descendants, saying that this is as logical as claiming that David Ben Gurion [Israel’s first prime minister] is the uncle of Abraham.

The dino-to-bird link has other major hurdle to overcome as well. Molecular biologist Dr. Michael Denton says that biology textbooks do not even attempt to explain how small random mutations required by Darwinian evolution could gradually produce highly complex systems. “A classic example is the lung of the bird, which is unique in being a circulatory lung rather than a bellows lung. I think it doesn’t require a great deal of profound knowledge of biology to see that for an organ which is so central to the physiology of any higher organism, its drastic modification in that way by a series of small events is almost inconceivable. This is something we can’t throw under the carpet again because, basically, as Darwin said, if any organ can be shown to be incapable of being achieved gradually in little steps, his theory would be totally overthrown.”

In 2002 Dr. Alan Feduccia and Julie Nowicki published a paper in which they showed that there are even more problems with the dino-to-bird hypothesis. After studying the embryonic thumb growth in ostrich eggs, they noticed that whereas in dinosaurs the hands developed from digits 1, 2 and 3, in ostriches, which are regarded as “primitive” birds, they develop from digits 2,3 and 4. Feduccia concluded, "This creates a new problem for those who insist that dinosaurs were ancestors of modern birds. How can a bird hand, for example, with digits two, three and four evolve from a dinosaur hand that has only digits one, two and three? That would be almost impossible.”

Moreover, in January 2005 the prestigious science journal Nature reported that there was evidence of ducks co-existing with dinosaurs. Dr. Julia Clarke and colleagues say this means that “at least duck, chicken and ratite bird relatives were coextant with non-avian dinosaurs.”

Archie’s woes do not end here. While animals that have characteristic of more than one species or even genus might be rare, they are not non-existent. The best-known living “mosaic” is the duck-billed platypus. This Australian furry mammal has a beaver’s tail and a duck’s bill but it also lays eggs. It has more mosaic features than Archie. Had platypus become extinct and known only from the fossil record, it would have produced an interesting hypothesis of its origins. Dr. Duane Gish says that the duck-billed platypus is “a creature evolutionists wish never existed.”

The “living fossil” Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) is another well-known mosaic. Evolutionists suppose that it is closer to land animals than to fish, as it even gives birth to living offspring. Yet, Coelacanth, dubbed the dino fish, is undoubtably a fish and not a half mammal. Evolutionists believed it used its fins to walk on the seabed but observations have shown this to be false.

There are animals that look surprisingly similar but belong to different species. Dr. Carl Wieland, CEO of Creation Ministries International –Australia explains that the now probably extinct Tasmanian wolf (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is a marsupial but looked like the wolf that is a placential. The Flying Phalanger (Petaurus) living in Australia and New Guinea is a marsupial that looks like the flying squirrel. The Darwinian explanation for this phenomenon is convergent evolution, that is, different species are thought to have evolved the same traits independently. A more logical explanation would be common design – the use of “good engineering” in different species.

Dr. Wieland uses the analogy of similar features in different car makes to explain these similarities. The early Porches had an air-cooled rear engine. So did the Volkswagen Beetle. Both cars had the same designer - Ferdinand Porsche, who used his intelligence and utilised functional parts of one of the cars he designed in another car. Common design is a better explanation than convergent evolution. The bones, wings and feathers of Archaeopteryx support the view that it was intelligently designed to be a flying bird. Biologist Michael Pitman says of avian feathers, “behold the parts of a precision instrument of aerospace, unparalleled in design and workmanship by human technology.” He says that reptiles could not have evolved into birds. “There is no decisive genetic or fossil evidence for evolution from scale to feather, cold to warm-bloodedness, non-flight to flight. Almost every tissue, bone and organ differs dramatically in birds.”

Anatomist Dr. David Menton sums up the dino-to birds view by saying, “The theory of the evolution of flight is not about the birds, so much as it’s a theory ‘for the birds.’” Accepting this view would involve concluding, “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be - a feathered t-rex, of course!”

There is a more logical theory, though. It involves rejecting the common ancestor hypothesis in favor of Intelligent Design. It seems that the “after their kinds” view of the Book of Genesis explains biological reality much better than Darwinian evolution does.

The few “mosaic” features notwithstanding, Archaeopteryx looks like it was designed to be a flying bird, not a feathered dinosaur recycled from odd bits and pieces. There are several living animals, such as the duck-billed platypus, Coelacanth and ostrich, with mosaic traits. None of them is a missing link. Neither is Archie; it has too many traits that only true birds have, so it cannot be an icon of evolution. This elegantly designed bird points to supranatural technology that surpasses everything humans have ever been able to come up with.


Anon. 1999. Blown Away by Design: Michael Denton and Birds' Lungs. Creation 21(4):14–15.

Gish, Duane T. 1995. Evolution: The fossils Still Say NO! El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research.

Menton, David and Carl Wieland. 1994. Bird Evolution Flies Out The Window: An Anatomist talks about Archaeopteyx. Creation Ex Nihilo 16(4): 16- 19.

Pitman, Michael. 1984. Adam and Evolution. London: Rider.

Prum, Richard O. and Alan H.Brush. 2003. Which Came First, the Feather or the Bird? Scientific American 288 (3):60 –69.

Sarfati, Jonathan. 1998. Book review: Climbing Mount Improbable. TJ 12(1):29–34.

________________. 2002a Refuting Evolution. 2nd ed. Acacia Ridge, Australia: Answers in Genesis.

________________. 2002b. Ostrich Eggs Break Dino-to-Bird Theory. Creation 25(1):34–35.

Wells, Jonathan. 2002. Inherit the Spin: Darwinists Answer “Ten Questions” With Evasions and Falsehoods.

Wieland, Carl. 2004. Dynamic Life: Changes in Living Things. (DVD). Answers in Genesis.

____________. 2005. Dinos Breathed like Birds? TJ 19(3): 11 –12.

Billions of Dead Nautiloids in the Grand Canyon: Evidence for a Rapid Burial

Joel Kontinen

Introduction: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the most colourful geological formations in the world. The 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and 1 mile deep canyon has been used as a showcase for slow gradual geological processes and the “fact” of millions of years of Earth history. However, two unexpected discoveries made by creation scientists are beginning to challenge the dogma of an old Earth.[1] First, the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 indicated that thick rock sediments and river canyons can be formed in just a few hours.[2] Second, billions of nautiloid fossils were found in the Grand Canyon.[3]

What are nautiloids?

Nautiloids are marine mollusks that have a long outer shell. The subclass Nautiloidea includes the chambered nautilus that still thrives in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. [4] The word “nautilus” comes from the Greek noun Ναυτίλος, ‘sailor,’[5] an apt name for a fast-moving deep-sea creature that uses jet-propulsion to move forward. Yet their speed was no match for the raging waters of the catastrophe that buried them before they had time to escape.

Evolution glasses = no discoveries

Many people suppose that scientists are highly objective, but the history of science has time and again shown that deeply ingrained dogmas can distort thinking and bias can prevent scientists from making discoveries. Answers in Genesis-USA President Ken Ham often uses the analogy of evolution glasses that prevent people from seeing evidence for biblical history. Geologists who believe that the Colorado River slowly eroded the Grand Canyon during 70 million years[6] did not expect to find myriads of extinct deep sea creatures buried in the Redwall Limestone. Although nautiloid fossils were first discovered in 1966, [7] they were thought to be very rare in the Grand Canyon.[8]

Biblical glasses = astounding discoveries

In 1995 two creationist PhD scientists, Steven Austin and Kurt Wise, found that there were at least 71 nautiloid fossils on the rock ledges of the Grand Canyon. Four years later Steven Austin examined the ledges more thoroughly and found hundreds of nautiloids in a few days. They were of all sizes, from small to very large, some over six feet long, suggesting that a large population of these sea creatures, both young and old animals, was buried simultaneously.[9] This discovery supports the biblical view that Noah’s flood “deluged and destroyed” the early Earth (Genesis 6-8; 2 Peter 3:6).

The nautiloids were trapped in a layer that is from seven to forty or fifty feet thick and at least 180 miles long. There are probably ten billion nautiloid fossils in the bed along with other sea creatures such as corals.[10] Using flow models,[11] Dr. Austin was able to deduce that an enormous and a very rapid sedimentary flow caught the nautiloids and fossilised them almost instantly. The standard explanation of a slowly moving sea could never have produced this phenomenon that Austin aptly calls a mass kill. [12]

What made this astounding discovery possible? Creation scientists were not restricted by the unnecessary straitjacket of millions of years that kept mainstream geologists from even searching for alternative solutions that would support a rapid formation of the entire canyon. In other words, most geologists thought that millions of years were fact. Putting on biblical glasses, i.e. believing in the historic reliability of the Bible, made all the difference. Genesis 6-8 describes a watery catastrophe that wreaked havoc all over the world.

ICR geologist Dr. Steven Austin and other creation scientists knew what to look for. They found millions of dead things buried in a limestone layer in the Grand Canyon. 15 per cent of the nautiloids were buried in an upright position. The evidence supports strongly a fast catastrophic burial. The Creation Science Association for Mid America website concluded, “if you were on a jury and saw billions of large nautiloids (average nearly 3 feet long) buried, 15% standing on the point of their shell, and learned that hydraulic modeling required it all be deposited in a day, would you vote that the deposition and mass kill took 30 million years?”[13]

The Grand Canyon is just one example of the numerous fossil graveyards found all over the world. Dead things speak of the wages of sin.[14] Fossils illustrate the words of 2 Peter 3 about the destruction caused by Noah’s flood. Peter’s words can also be understood as criticism of uniformitarism, the view that gradual changes over long ages have produced the geological formations we see around us. The passage suggests that by refusing to believe what God has done in the past we might fail to see what He will do in the future:

3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed…
13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.


The Grand Canyon has long been used as proof of millions of years of Earth history. However, the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 indicated that huge sediments can be formed in a few hours. There are good reasons for believing that the Grand Canyon could also have been formed rapidly.[15] The presence of billions of nautiloid fossils speaks of a catastrophic burial during the year-long Flood of Noah’s day. Nothing short of a world-wide flood could have made the canyon walls a graveyard of fast-moving deep-sea creatures. It is time for a radical reassessment of thinking about time: Little water over much time could not have buried billions of fossils in limestone but a lot of water in a little time could easily have done it.


[1] These are by no means the only evidences for a young Earth. For instance, Dr. D. Russell Humpreys listed 12 good reasons in the booklet Evidence for a Young World published by Answers in Genesis in 2000. More recently, the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth) project made the astounding discovery of carbon-14 in diamonds which were supposedly millions of years old. With a half-life of 5700 years, there should be no C-14 in diamonds if they really are as old as secular scientists suppose. Another spectacular find was the discovery of red blood cells and soft tissue in tyrannosaurux rex bones.
[2] Morris, John and Steven A. Austin. 2003. Footprints in the Ash. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 62, 70-77.
[3] ICR Geologist Presents Discovery at Geologic Society Meeting. Acts & Facts 32:1, Jan 2003.
[4] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. S.v. “nautiloid”. Accessed 9 April 2007.
[5] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. S.v. “nautilus”. Accessed 9 April 2007.
[6] Ref 2, page 77.
[7] Garner, Paul. 2004. The Grand Canyon Adventure – Part One. Origins 40:3.
[8] Nutting, Dave and Mary Jo Nutting. 2004. Nautiloids: An Amazing Discovery in the Grand Canyon. Think & Believe 21:5, Nov/Dec 2004.
[9] Ref. 7.
[10] Austin, Steven. 2003. Geologic Evidences for Very Rapid Strata Deposition in the Grand Canyon. Answers in Genesis DVD.
[11] Ref. 10.
[12] Refs 7 and 10.
[13] Creation Science Association. Local Evidence for Creation. Accessed 10 April 2007.
[14] See Genesis 3:3; Romans 6:23a.
[15] Austin, Steven A. 1990. Were Grand Canyon Limestones Deposited by Calm and Placid Seas? Acts & Facts 20:1. Impact article #210.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Comets - The Ugly Ducklings of a Young Solar System

Image: Wikipedia

As Featured On Ezine Articles

Joel Kontinen

Hans Christian Andersen (1807-1875) wrote a fascinating tale about a swan that was born on a farmyard and thought it was a duck. The other ducks despised this ugly brown bird and chased it away. One day, however, Ugly Duckling saw some big white birds swimming in a pond. It expected them to drive it out, but they did not. Then the bird looked into the water and saw the reflection of itself: it was not a duckling after all but a beautiful white bird like the others, a swan.

Most of the time comets are like Ugly Duckling. The comet’s nucleus is a small dirty rock usually 1-10 kilometers in diameter consisting of ice, gas and dust. In some comets, this nucleus is surrounded by a huge hydrogen cloud, which may be up to 3 million kilometers wide. [1]

As the comet comes near the sun, a dramatic metamorphosis seems to take place: The sun’s heat “vaporizes some of the icy nucleus or head and sunlight reflects from the vapor. Solar wind pushes the vapor in a direction away from the Sun to form the comet's tail. For this reason, comet tails generally point away from the Sun.”[2]

Comets can be roughly divided into two categories: long-term comets, which orbit the sun in more than 200 years, and short-term comets, with an orbital period of 200 years or less. Some of them are so spectacular that they were though to augur doom. For instance, in 1066 Halley’s Comet preceded the Battle of Hastings, in which William the Conqueror defeated England’s Saxon king Harold.[3]

Many comets have elliptical paths that bring them very close to the sun. A comet loses much of its material each time it approaches the sun.[4] It has been estimated that a comet will loose all its mass in under 100 000 years.[5] This is a serious problem for the secular view of a 4.6 billion year old solar system. If the solar system were that old, we should not see any comets.

But this has not caused believers in million of years to discard their theory. They have set their hopes on a hypothetical stretch of space called the Oort Cloud.[6] They believe that this spherical “cloud”, which is supposed to extend up to three light years from the sun,[7] houses millions of frozen comets that eventually find their way into an orbit that brings them closer to the sun to replace the ones that have been destroyed.[8] The Oort Cloud is thought to provide long-term comets. The biggest problem with this explanation is there is no observational evidence for the existence of this cloud.[9] Creationist astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner suggests that the whole idea of the Oort Cloud “is not bad science, but non-science masquerading as science. The existence of comets is good evidence that the solar system is only a few thousand years old.”[10].

The Kuiper Belt has been proposed as a potential reservoir for short-term comets. It extends from Neptune’s orbit (ca 30 astronomical units or AUs[11]) to about 50 AU from the sun.[12] However, most of the objects in this area which lies beyond Neptune’s orbit, are tens of times bigger than comets.[13] These so-called Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) include the recently discovered Eris (2003UB313) and Sedna (90377), which might be classified as dwarf planets. However, when compared to comets, they are giants. In order to replenish the comet supply, there should be millions of them but only 1026 TNOs have been found.[14]

There is not enough material in either the Oort Cloud or the Kuiper Belt to supply the solar system with the number of comets that old earth supporters desperately need. Genesis 1:14-19 records that the heavenly bodies we see in the night sky were created on Day Four. The genealogies of the Bible indicate that this occurred about 6000 years ago.

The Ugly Ducklings of the solar system are not portents of doom. The message they bring is altogether different. Together with other celestial objects they “declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19: 1). They are amazing evidences for a young solar system.

1] Anatomy of A Comet.
[2] Ref 1.
[3] Sarfati, Jonathan. 2003. Comets: Portents of Doom or Indicators of Youth? Creation 25:3, 36-40, June 2003.
[4] The loss can be tremendous. For instance, “More than 1000 tons of this dust escaped from the head of comet C/1973 El (Kohoutek) every second, and formed a ‘dust tail’ ". Ref. 1
[5] Lisle, Jason. 2005. What Does the Bible Say about Astronomy? Answers in Genesis booklet.
[6] Faulkner, Danny. 2001. More problems for the ‘Oort comet cloud’. TJ 15:2, 11, August 2001.
[7] Ref. 3.
[8] The gravitational impact of other stars is occassionally thought to disturb these sleeping comets and knock them into orbits closer to the sun. (Faulkner, Danny 1997. Comets and the Age of the Solar System. Technical Journal 11:364–273, December 1997).
[9] While some astronomers have suggested that the dwarf planet Sedna, discovered in 2003, is too far from the sun to be a Kuiper Belt Object, they argue that it is actually the first object to be discovered in the Oort Cloud. (Wikipedia. 90377 Sedna. But Sedna comes to within 76 Astronomical Units from the sun, so such a classification would involve stretching definitions quite a bit since Oort Cloud objects were not expected to be so “close” to the sun.
[10] Ref. 6.
[11] One Astronomical Unit (AU) is the average distance from the Earth to the sun or approximately 150 million kilometers or 93 million miles.
[12] Kenyon, Scott J and Benjamin C. Bromley. 2004. Stellar encounters as the origin of distant Solar System objects in highly eccentric orbits. Nature 432, 598-602 (2 December 2004).
[13] “The biggest surprise of the Hubble search is that so few small Kuiper Belt members were discovered. With Hubble's exquisite resolution, Bernstein and his co-workers expected to find at least 60 Kuiper Belt members as small as 10 miles (15 km) in diameter — but only three were found.” (Farthest, Faintest Solar System Objects Found Beyond Neptune News Release Number: STScI-2003-2.
[14] They include Pluto and its three moons. See

For more evidence for a young solar system, read here.