And Other Arguments Against a Young Earth

I wrote this essay in the late nineties for publication in the newsgroup "Talk.Origins" so is certainly somewhat dated. I have done some editing for unnecessary stuff.
When referring to the Christian God by a pronoun I have, after due consideration, decided not to use the customary male "he", but the impersonal "it". My reasoning was as follows: Since God is considered to be a single spirit it can have no gender, for the existence of a male implies the existence of a female. The use of a male pronoun is therefore grammatically inappropriate and is only in common use because ours is a male-dominated culture. Did females have the upper hand then God would be a "she". I therefore have no alternative but to use "it".
Blame it on the English language.

There have, recently, been a number of requests/challenges for evolutionists to show evidence for the evolution of new species as well as higher taxons. Here then is a selection of what seem to be recently evolved new species. All seem to be the results of more or less recent adaptive radiations into new habitats.

(1) The Cichlids of Lake Nabugabo

Nabugabo is a small lake in Uganda, separated from Lake Victoria by a sand spit. Radiocarbon dating of plant material in the spit indicate that the enclosure of the small lake occurred only about 4000 years ago. This lake is home to 5 species of Cichlid fishes that are known no where else, including the parent Lake V., though each resembles a species in Lake V. It looks as if five new species have evolved here very quickly and recently.

(2) The Banana-eating moths of Hawaii

There are several species of moths of the genus Hedylepta in Hawaii which feed exclusively on Banana plants. All other species of this genus feed on other plants. Bananas were introduced to the islands by Polynesians only about 1000 years ago. Each of these species is limited to the mountain forests of only one or two islands. It would seem that this genus has produced several new species to exploit the new food source and that these species are so young that they haven't yet had time to spread far beyond their origins.

(3) The pupfishes of Death Valley

There are a number of localised bodies of water here inhabited by several species of pupfish; tiny creatures the size of minnows. The Cottonball Marsh, which geological evidence indicates only came into being a few thousand years ago, is the only home of one species, Cyprindon milleri, which is distinguished by having almost no pelvic fins. Another, the Devil's pupfish, is so-called because it lives in a thermal spring at a temperature of 92F and is also found nowhere else. The spring is very small and the number of DPs here probably never exceeded 300. This species is so different from other pupfish that it should really be reclassified into another genus.
Death Valley only started drying up and turning into a desert after the last Ice Age glaciers receded 10 to 30 thousand years ago. So it is since then that these species evolved. Otherwise they would be more widely distributed.

(4) The Cichlids of Barombi Mbo

Barombi Mbo is a small (3mi diameter) lake in a volcano in Cameroon. The volcano itself is no more than a few hundred thousand years old. The lake is home to 17 species of Cichlid fish, 12 of which are endemic, ie known nowhere else. 7 of these endemic species are members of endemic genera that are quite distinct from other cichlid genera in the surrounding area.

There are more, of course, but these examples should provide some food for thought.

The Bairdiellas of The Salton Sea

A possible model of an adaptive radiation was provided by the Salton Sea in SE California. Before 1905 this was a salt-encrusted basin, occasionally flooded by the Colorado River. Between 1905 and 1907 larger floodings filled it to a depth of about 67 feet producing a saltylake which, while it has shrunk somewhat since then, is now roughly maintained by occasional irrigation ditch overflows.
In 1950-51, 67 individual bairdiellas (small marine fish native to the Gulf of California) were transplanted into the Salton Sea. The first spawning, which occurred in 1952, produced an estimated 13-23% of the offspring with visible malformations. By 1954 however, after a second spawning in 1953, these freakish forms accounted for only about 2-3% of the survivors of the first spawning.
So think about it: 67 lucky fishies suddenly transported into a new home with lots of food, no competition and no predators. It was Bairdiella Heaven! There was no way that all but the most lethally maladapted offspring couldn't somehow survive. Until, that is, a couple more spawnings started to strain the food resources, resulting in competition and revival of the the darwinian dictum.
The large proportion of different offspring was surprising to observers, because in normal populations the unfit seldom survive long enough to be seen.
If some of these changes were genetic (and thus heritable) rather than developmental, and if some of the genetic changes were helpful, then new species could be forming right there in front of our eyes! (Were we but looking.)

All this stuff has been happily lifted wholesale from Steven Stanley's book: "The New Evolutionary Timetable" (Basic Books, New York, 1981) and inelegantly transmuted into the present unreadable mass of indigestible facts by this ill-advised writer. It is probably out of date, not to mention, to many of you, old hat. It is offered in the hope that it may be new hat to some; certainly, I've never seen anything like it in my all-too-occasional readings in T.O.

In the absence of any paleontological data (and I know of none), some might be prepared to dismiss this as more speculation by (Oh, no! Not) another evilutionist. To them, I would say: take the facts I've laid out for you and tell us a better story.

* * * * * * * * * *

Creationists have always had problems accounting for the fossil record and have had to resort to such imaginative rationalizations as 'hydrological sorting' by Noah's flood. (were there ever any actual hands-on experiments attempted on this notion? or maybe they just didn't work out the way they were supposed to, so were not reported; Oh, what a cruel thought! Fie on me! [slaps own wrist])

Real problems for creationism can be found also in current biology. Some of them are the universal homologies, one of which is the genetic code.


All life uses the same DNA (in itself a strong argument for common ancestry), which is a macromolecule assembled from four smaller nucleotides. The DNA in different species differ in the relative amounts of these nucleotides.
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are specified by sequences of three bases (triplets) in the DNA. the 20 amino acids that are used to build all the protein in all life forms are specified by 64 different triplets, so any particular amino acid can be specified by anywhere from 1 to 6 different triplets. And it seems to be arbitrary; there is no known reason why a particular triplet causes the production of a particular amino acid. It is also almost completely universal. If one particular amino acid is specified by a particular triplet in a giraffe, the same amino acid will be produced by that triplet in an ant. This follows naturally from theory of evolution, but not necessarily from creation; there are, if my math hasn't entirely abandoned me, 64!/20! different ways of sorting 64 objects into 20 groups - so why would a creator use only one or two of them?


Another problem is handedness; most biological compounds contain assymetric carbon atoms, carbons connected to four different chemical groups which means that these compounds can come in two different forms; dextro- and levo-. Normal chemical reactions produce both forms, but in life, only one form can be used; if both were used then the proteins wouldn't fit together properly. All living beings use only one form (the l-, I think), although, the other would work just as well. Again this is easily explained in evolution - for whatever reason, chance maybe, the d- form was used in the common ancestor. But, since there was no need for a creator to limit its separately created life forms to the same form, Creationism fails - again.


Climate and living conditions in the New World are very similar to areas in the Old. But natural biota are different; so why didn't your creator scatter its creations more? For instance flightless birds: emus in Australia, ostriches in Africa and two species of rhea in S. America. Evolution says single point origins of species; not so Creationism; is there any reason why your creator couldn't have created several batches of one species and scattered them into different areas?


The Biblical Book of Genesis implies a short creation period on earth a relatively short time ago. The existence of long-lived radio-isotopes together with large amounts of the daughter products in the some rocks, indicates that those rocks are much older than any reasonable Genesis interpretation. The non-existence, in nature, of all radio-isotopes with half lives of less than 4.5 million years (with the exceptions of a few that are being continually produced by natural nuclear reactions - such as carbon-14) implies that the earth is so old that they have simply ceased to exist.


The Geological record tells us, I understand, that life started about 3.8 Billion years ago, but that it remained at the molecular or single-cell stage for about 3 Billion years before developing multicellular structures. So, what took your creator so long? And why did your creator start from such small beginnings? And then, in the last 800 million years, uncountable numbers of species have come and gone; all presumably created by your creator. So why did it bother with all this? What was the point? And how does all this confirm your bible account?
Why has your creator appeared to do it's damndest to make the evolution of life on this planet appear to be a natural process arising from a common ancestor?

* * * * * * * * * *

Funny, isn't it, how their language always seem to place the Creationists deep within the 19th. century. Pagano, a TO regular, for instance, continually refers to 'uniformitarian geology', which is a relic of Lyell; he never talks about plate tectonics except maybe as a convenient miracle of his God for getting rid of all those floodwaters. Doesn't seem to realise that PT is a continuing process; that India is still snuggling into the arms of Asia and that, as a result, the Himalayas are getting Hi-er with every passing year!

Charles Darwin on Earthquakes

Again, from Steven Stanley's "the New Evolutionary Timetable" (1981):

'Charles Darwin, in his diaries on the voyage of The Beagle, relates how he was present in 1835 when Osorno, a Chilean volcano, erupted at the same time as another, Acongagua, only 480 miles away. A month later he was in Valdivia in time for a great earthquake that was accompanied by volcanic eruptions. On the nearby island of Santa Maria, he found:

"beds of putrid mussel shells still adhering to the rocks, ten feet above high-water mark;
the inhabitants had formerly dived at low-water spring-tides for these shells"

Near Concepcion, he found older beds about 1000 feet above sea level and, near Valparaiso, similar beds, higher still. He could conclude that volcanism was causally connected to the uplift.'

So it was not necessary to invoke a Universal Noachian Deluge to explain sea shells found at high altitudes; only a series of pulses, such as those CD experienced, over a long time. Very few geologists ever actually experience the sort of earth movements that CD did.
Talk about the right person being in the right place at the right time!
One can almost imagine that there was a God just egging him on.

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First Published on 11 November 2003. Yet Another Continuing Project.