Letter to the Editor


On Lohr's Critique of Siemens

From: PSCF 45 (March 1993): 68-69.

I welcome Andrew Lohr's response (44, p. 281, December 1992) to my article (44, pp. 169-174, September 1992) because he so clearly demonstrates what I tried to point out. I noted that flood geologists sometimes wrote carelessly, even to the point of contradicting themselves; that they presented ad hoc arguments with parameters changed without regard for connected phenomena; and that they sometimes ignore empirical evidence.

For example, Lohr suggests that carnivores may not have needed meat until some time after leaving the ark. This, he notes, is speculation. Yet he advances such pure conjecture to rebut a rational analysis based on available evidence. He does not consider that it has the consequence that lions evolved from herbivores to carnivores in less than 5000 yearsˇwithin the species, of course. Some carnivores, specifically dogs, can get many of their calories from processed grains. But they will not be adequately nourished on raw seeds, let alone on grass and leaves. Unless we are to posit miraculous caches or harvests of grain, at best only green vegetation would have been available to the creatures departing the ark. Yet the teeth of dogs, let alone cats, are not capable of masticating vegetation finely enough to secure the nutrients contained in the cells. The stomachs of carnivores are not large enough to contain enough vegetation for total nutrition, nor the guts long enough to extract what nutrients are available. Hence, on Lohr's suggestion, the broad grinding molars of a vegetarian lion became the cutting molars of a carnivorous lion in less than 5000 years, perhaps in a few centuries, decades, or even years. The massive stomach and elongated intestine of the vegetarian became the smaller stomach and shorter intestine of the carnivore, evolving with a speed that is more than amazing.

But wait! Lohr gives evidence for an even faster change: the curse of the tempter (singular, applicable to the individual, in Genesis 3:14f) and the lion eating straw when Messiah rules (Isaiah 11:7). These must be classed as miraculous events. If he is suggesting that the lions that entered the ark were miraculously transformed sometime after their exit, we must grant that God has that power. But we must also exclude flood geology from science, for "Then there is a miracle" is never a scientific claim.

There is another problem here. How did the seeds of the plants survive a year's soaking? The seeds I know, placed in water, either sprout or drown in a few days. It appears that we must call on another miracle to preserve plant life, perhaps either hydroponic culture in a quiet backwash or a celestial seed bank with aerial reseeding of the earth by teams of angels. This is not entirely frivolous, for Lohr has already introduced miracles. Having once called in miracles without explicit scriptural warrant, any additional miracles must be allowed.

He has yet another surmise, which may also have a bearing on the preservation of plant life. Maybe the flesh of the animals killed by the flood did not putrefy. This, on the normal flood-geology interpretation, runs into two problems. The first is that the waters of the flood were so tumultuous that everything, except for the divinely protected ark, was either torn apart or quickly buried. Indeed, given the "official" description, I am amazed that any fish could have survived the posited churning, sediment-laden waters. But perhaps there were pockets of water at intermediate depth which were not as violent as those at depth, where all land was torn up and then redeposited, or as those agitated by the gales near the surface. Even so, the corpses would not have been in the protected areas, but would have been torn apart or buriedˇunless miraculously preserved. Of course, they would have had to have been preserved for years, until the reproduction of herbivores of all types could provide enough prey for all the carnivores. But note the vast number of ungulates and other herbivores relative to the much smaller number of carnivores in nature, and the faster reproduction rate of most carnivores. The second difficulty is that such problems with plants as thorns, with animals as ferocity, and with bacteria and fungi as disease and putrefaction, are consistently declared to begin with the Fall and Curse. Are we now to hold that the carcasses of the animals God killed to clothe Adam and Eve remained (unless eaten) until some time after the flood? Was there a special creation of protists (mostly single-celled creatures), which the Bible does not mention, sometime after the Flood? If so, how did the ruminants digest their food during the thousands of years between the Fall and the Flood without the activity of the enteric flora? How did the soil remain fertile? More miracles? Lohr's suggestions only exacerbate the original problems with flood geology.

Lohr taxes me with not presenting explanations for some of the phenomena I note. Part of the response to this challenge is simple, because the information is readily available. The flightless moas, or their flying predecessors, could have walked from Australia to New Zealand any time between the rise of what would become New Zealand about 145 to 125 million years ago and its separation from Australia about 80 to 60 million years ago. Somewhat earlier, a creature could have walked essentially between all land areas, for all formed a single continent, Pangaea. That there were birds fossilized 150 million years ago completes the answer.

I have no experimental data to explain the expanding range of opossums. I can only note that they seem to flourish where human occupation alters the natural environment. They apparently thrive in urban southern California, where they were introduced. I saw one regularly at night on the Pierce campus. I also cannot explain coyotes doing well while the wolf population declines. While ecologists may have at least partial answers, I am a philosopher and logician. So my questions primarily involve the consistency of the flood geologists' statements, along with the philosophical comparison of their approach with normal scientific experimentation and theory construction.

Though my article contains no mention of evolution or the age of the earth, Lohr brings in evolution as if it were the basis of my critique. He apparently assumes that anyone who does not accept the flood geologists' line must be an evolutionist. While some Christian "old-earthers" hold that evolution is God's method of creating, others believe that He created plants and animals at various times over perhaps a billion yearsˇto mention but two of a range of alternatives. Belief in an old earth and acceptance of unlimited evolutionary change are not interchangeable.

Lohr writes, "'Careless' contradictions can be corrected." True. But, as he inadvertently demonstrates, they may also be multiplied.

David F. Siemens, Jr., Ph.D.

2703 E. Kenwood St.
Mesa, AZ 85213-2384