Science in Christian Perspective

 

 

VIDEO REVIEW

RAGING WATERS: Uluru Is a Testimonial to the Flood. Distributed by: American Portrait Films, Inc., P.O. Box 19266, Cleveland, OH 44119-1545. 28 minutes; $19.95.

BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF CREATION: From a Frog to a Prince. Distributed by: American Portrait Films, Inc., P.O. Box 19266, Cleveland, OH 44119-1545. 27 minutes; $19.95.

"Raging Waters" is a somewhat poorly filmed video, produced with the laity in mind. It repeats many of the standard young-earth creationist arguments in support of a global flood. The video makes the following claims: Ayers Rock was deposited recently; folded and tilted strata can only be explained by a global flood; ripple marks indicate a global flood because they need to fossilize rapidly; marine invertebrates found on land must be explained by the flood; fossilized footprints demonstrate that animals were grazing while the floodwaters were rising; because opals can be made rapidly, they were made rapidly in the flood; and fossil hash of marine shells, a whale skeleton, and an opossum in the same deposit can be explained only by a global flood.

These arguments are based on the concept that we do not see anything like this today. Strata, however, can be tilted slowly as is happening in California today. Ripple marks are found in modern sediments. Parts of California are being uplifted at a rate of 25 feet per thousand years, lifting marine animal remains above sea level. Fossil footprints which exist at multiple levels throughout the geologic column are almost conclusive proof that the waters of the supposed global flood could not have been deeper than the length of the animal's legs. As to the whale, opossum, and marine invertebrates found in the same layer, whales today regularly beach themselves and the carcasses of opossums have been observed floating down rivers to the sea. More conventional explanations are quite possible for this occurrence. There is nothing in this video which proves that a global flood occurred.

"Biological Evidence of Creation" is more focused and thus better than the video above. It concentrates its discussion to the supposed inability of mutation to generate new information. After watching the video several times, one realizes that like a mantra, the claim that information cannot be generated by random processes occurs almost continuously. On average such a statement is made every 35 seconds. Other claims made in the video include: the change from a reptile to a bird requires the addition of much information; the avian lung cannot evolve; and all mutations involve a loss of information, not an increase. They further state that the results of any selection process result in the loss of genetic information.

This video presents an obligatory attack on the evolution of the horse. The producers recite the usual claim that horses have not evolved and are merely a created "kind." But this assertion misses the very important fact that if the equids or the canids are each a single "kind," then there has been too much genomic change to fit within their time frame. Horses have 64 chromosomes; Prezwalski's horse, 66; donkeys, 62 or 63; kulans, 55 or 56; and zebras, 44. Among canines, a created "kind," the genomic diversity is equally difficult to explain via young-earth creationism. Dogs, wolves, jackals, and coyotes have 78 chromosomes; foxes, 36 to 66; and South American canids, 74 to 76. Given that these changes in chromosome numbers also involve major alterations in DNA sequences, it seems highly unlikely that this much change could occur in a young universe. This much genetic change means either that the universe is old, or God must have specially created every species, each with its unique chromosomal count and DNA sequence.

One major failing of this video is that there is no discussion of how information is to be measured. The video continually states that information cannot be increased by mutation. Yet polyploidy in plants is a type of mutation which increases the complexity and information content of the genome. Polyploidy contradicts their claim that all mutations represent a loss of information or complexity. Their claim that birds are more complex than reptiles is unsupported by any documentation.

The most controversial moment in the video shows Dawkins apparently stumped by a question concerning the ability of mutation to increase information content of the genome. The video's producer, Gillian Brown, contends that he was stumped. Dawkins says that he was considering throwing them out of his house. Whatever the case, this single moment in the video is going to become an important event for those on both sides of the creation evolution issue.

Nonscientists in the church probably will be unaware of the scientific flaws these two somewhat poorly made videos contain, but likely will be strongly influenced by their presentation.

Reviewed by Glenn R. Morton, geophysicist, 16075 Longvista Dr., Dallas, TX 75248.

1998