The Talk.Origins Archive has a page entitled FABNAQ (Frequently Asked But Never Answered Questions) that purports to list numerous questions that creationists cannot answer (or at least have not answered). Many are loaded questions and others are irrelevant. The page displays a copyright date of 1992 and was presumably finalized sometime that year.
These questions have been reproduced below and editors here at CreationWiki have begun answering them one by one. The questions have been better organized by placing them in order according to the subject they concern, however this page is still intended to be a comprehensive source for the rebuttal of the article at Talk.Origins.
- 1 Beliefs
- 2 Secular Dating Methods
- 3 Creation Science and Observations
- 4 Global Flood of Noah
- 4.1 Consistent reading of the flood
- 4.2 Why does it need consistency?
- 4.3 The water for the flood
- 4.4 Fossil distribution
- 4.5 Carnivores after the flood
- 4.6 Genetic variation after the flood
- 4.7 A single pair
- 4.8 Symbiotic relationships
- 4.9 Biological distribution
- 4.10 Logistical considerations of the ark
- 4.11 Structural soundness
- 4.12 Animals on the ark
- 4.13 Loading and unloading the ark
- 4.14 Pairs of colonies?
- 5 Miracles
- 6 Related References
- 7 References
Why creation science?
1. Is there any reason to believe in your theory rather than some other version of creationism?
Answer: Our position on the origin of the universe, of earth, of life, and of the human race is the only "version" that can be accepted under a common-sense reading of the Bible, or using the historical-grammatical exegesis of scripture. Furthermore, it explains all the scientific data as well as the fact that the scientific revolution and modern science as we practice it through the scientific method was created and developed by biblical creationists for the most part.
1b. Why are many Christians evolutionists?
Answer: Many Christians are evolutionists because there are many Christians! At least in the United States, 76% of the adult population identify themselves as Christian, current as of 2008. Top denominations are Catholic (25.1%), Baptist (16.7%), Presbyterian (7.4%), and Methodist/Wesleyan (5.0%). By comparison, 15.0% do not specify a religion. However, are most Christians Evolutionists? On December 17, 2010, Gallup published an article revealing 40% of Americans believe in strict creationism, and giving demographics based on weekly church attendance. The poll revealed the following:
|Demographic||God created humans in present form within past 10,000 years||Humans evolved over millions of years, God guided process||Humans evolved over millions of years, God not involved|
|Attend church weekly||60%||31%||2%|
|Attend church almost every week/monthly||41%||47%||9%|
|Attend church seldom/never||24%||39%||31%|
As one can readily see, fully 60% of weekly church attenders (most of whom are Christian) are Young Earth Creationists, and 41% of those who attend church almost every week/monthly are. Thus, while "many" Christians may believe in Evolution, most seem to be Young Earth Creationists. And while 54% reported belief in Evolution, this included 38% which believe God was involved. These are the Theistic Evolutionists, or Progressive Creationists. Old Earth Creationists fall into this group.
Old earth creationism
1c. If you are a young-earth creationist: Why are many creationists old-earth creationists?
Answer: The above two questions are very similar, so one answer may suffice for both. Obviously both old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists will have their own reasons for their belief. But some of those reasons derive from lack of understanding of where the evidence truly leads. The job of CreationWiki is to offer a proper understanding, and to remind people that some investigators follow evidence, not agreed-upon "consensus."
Anyone who takes the Bible at face value, will not come up with an age for the earth beyond a few thousand years. This is why young-earth creationists cite 6,000 to 10,000 years. So theistic evolutionists and old earth creationists must bring information to the Bible. This is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis. Any "millions of years" answer will typically appeal to "science" to justify itself.
This is not a question about what God could have done. No young-earth creationist doubts that God could have used evolution. The issue is what God said He did. A straightforward reading of the Bible (and Christian belief, and even scientific theory, until relatively recently) leads to young earth creationism.
Old life creationism
1d. If you are a young-life creationist: Why are many creationists old-life creationists?
Answer: The above three questions are irrelevant. Who knows why people believe what they believe? Does it have any bearing on the validity or otherwise of a theory? Why are many evolutionists panspermists? Why are many evolutionists New-Age pantheists who invoke such scientifically dubious concepts like a 'conscious life force' or 'syntropy' or the 'multi-verse' concept?
They have free will and are exercising it, however these three opposing views of creationism are merely invalid extrapolations of scripture much like the evolutionists extrapolate from observed scientific data to describe evolutionistic changes.
Secular Dating Methods
Consistency among dating methods
4. Why is there the remarkable coherence among many different dating methods -- for example: radioactivity, tree rings, ice cores, corals, supernovas -- from astronomy, biology, physics, geology, chemistry and archeology? (This is not answered by saying that there is no proof of uniformity of radioactive decay. The question is why all these different methods give the same answers.)
Answer: This is a loaded question. The asking of that question bespeaks either:
- A. Ignorance on the part of the questioner, or
- B. An attempt by the questioner to take advantage of the ignorance of others.
In point of fact, creationists have never conceded any such "coherence," or correlation either, among secular dating methods. A true scientist never takes anything for granted. The findings of incoherence and lack of correlation among answers derived from different dating methods, and even inconsistency of answers produced by any given method, constitute one of the most exciting avenues of research in creation science--and one that has produced some of the most damaging and damning evidence against the evolutionistic time line and hence against any process requiring a time line measured in Ma or Ga.
For a full discussion of the lack-of-correlation problem, see Non-correlating and inconsistent dates.
Evidence of old earth
12. Why has God given us all the evidence for an earth more than 100,000 years old and for evolution and the intelligence to infer that? ...
Answer: This is a loaded question. The young earth creationist does not accept the premise of the question and must dispute that premise rather than answer the question as asked. In contrast to the implicit claim of the questioner, there is much scientific young earth evidence to cite in support of the Biblical age of the Earth.
12. ... Why has God given us a Bible with all of the evidence that it is not to be read according to the norms of modern western historical and scientific writing?
Answer: This is a red herring. The Bible was written in ancient times, and proper exegesis is to read it according to the norms of those times. It is not a part of the corpus of "modern western historical and scientific writing" (and should not be interpreted as such) -- it is the foundation of modern western thought. The lack of adherence to the forms and preferences of modern academics (as developed nearly 2,000 years after the Bible was completed and about 3,500 years after Moses wrote) is not a weakness, but a strength; it can be read and understood by anyone, not just those trained in a particular jargon.
Creation Science and Observations
Observations that are for creationism
2. Is there any observation which supports any feature of your theory? (An adequate answer to this question will not be something which is a problem for evolution, but is rather evidence for your theory. Remember that it is logically possible for both evolution and your theory to be false. Something which appears to support Lamarckian evolution rather than Darwinian, or punctuated equilibrium rather than gradualism is not enough. Also, the observation must be something which can be checked by an independent observer.)
Answer: Yes, there are many observations that support creation. However, the problem with most such observations is not the facts, but the interpretation of the facts. Creationists have the same evidence as evolutionists, but interpret it differently.
For example, the observation of a large gash in the ground with the Colorado River flowing through it can be interpreted as the result of a little bit of water, (the Colorado River), eroding the ground away over a long period of time, or it can be interpreted as the result of a lot of water, (possibly flood run-off), eroding the ground away over a short period of time.
Through natural selection, mutations and the like all fall under creationism being observed. Science cannot observe millions of years of past history (evolution). However, we can observe phenotypic changes resulting within thousands of years. For example, after thousands of years of specialized breeding, dogs are still dogs, albeit with significant variation within the dog kind. That is testable and repeatable; those experiments can be carried out by science. What can also be seen in nature today are birds producing more birds, frogs producing frogs, and primates producing more primates. What is observed is merely the shuffling and loss of information, while the theory evolution needs to extrapolate from that to massive increases of information: new structures, new processes, new genes, and new interactions among them. Creationism relies upon the Bible, but is supported by observations of natural phenomena.
Statistical analysis also shows evolution to be impossible. Keep in mind that any significant change to a creature requires many related mutations, not isolated mutations, within a genome.
See also "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution" (Wistar Institute Press) or "Not by Chance!", by Dr. Lee Spetner.
Scientific rules of evidence
3a. Is there any statement of the scientific (or other) rules of evidence which you accept? (If your answer is that some document is your guide, explain the rules for interpreting the document, and your rules for determining which document is your guide.)
Answer: As stated above, creationists have the same evidence, the same world, the same scientific instruments -- but have a different paradigm for interpreting the meaning of those data. Each viewpoint has its own preconceived set of notions (axioms) that it fits the evidence into.
Observations that change creationism
5a. Is there any observation which has changed your theory?
Answer: In this case, you need to define "theory". Observations of the Bible's content changed the view of all creationists from a childish, "The world exists," to a more mature, "God made the world." That is a non-negotiable. Models of how that was accomplished, the physical mechanisms involved in Creation, the global flood and sustainment of organisms are subject to change.
Possible change in creationism
5b. Is your theory open to change, and if so, what criteria are there for accepting change?
Answer: Creation scientists originally believed that no new species could arise. Experiments showed, however, that a parent species is capable of splitting into two new species of animal. This has been incorporated into the theory that is held today, that the kind carried aboard Noah's Ark should be equated with an animal above the species line. This fits the evidence and also provided greater plausibility for the Ark being able to carry all of the animals. Creationists now theorize rapid speciation after the flood. This is in line with the concept of deterioration after the Fall of Man, since observed speciation involves isolating portions of the overall gene pool and a loss of genetic variability inherent in each individual. It is also in line with the concept that one kind cannot change into another, but that the daughter species will always be a subset of the original kind.
5. Is there any feature of your theory which is subject to scientific test? This is often stated: is creationism scientific in the sense that it could be falsified? (After Karl Popper's criterion.) Another way of phrasing it is: is there any kind of observation which, if it were seen, would change your theory?
Answer: If life can be demonstrably shown to spontaneously form from non-life (abiogenesis), if new genetic information for new organs and functions can be shown to be generated through mutation and natural selection, and if the fossil record - rather than showing distinct living and extinct forms that seem to have appeared suddenly - merely consisted of a random jumble of near-unclassifiable transitional forms constantly evolving from one major taxa to another, most forms of Biblical creationism would be falsified.
Comprehensive definition of creationism
3. Is there any comprehensive and consistent statement of your theory? (The suggestion that major points are still under investigation will only be accepted for theories that are relatively recent. Any exposition which cannot be distinguished from solipsism or nihilism will not be accepted.)
Answer: God created the heavens and the earth (a merism for "everything") approximately four thousand years before the birth of Christ, conducting His creative work ex nihilo over a period of six days, as described in Genesis 1. Genesis 2 does not reflect a competing account of creation, but an elaboration of events on Day 6. Genesis 3 describes the entry of sin, imperfection, and death into the world, through the rebellion of man, as the federal head of creation. The wife of Cain, mentioned after his murder of his brother Abel in Genesis 4, was not some unrelated creature of another race of humans that he found in Nod, but a close relative, probably a sister or niece, a descendant of Adam and Eve. Genesis 5 is a chronogenealogy, giving accurate dates for the births of the patriarchs from Seth to Noah, and deaths for the patriarchs from Adam to Lamech, (except Enoch), yielding a straightforward schedule of those events from the Creation until the Flood, about 1650 years later. The Flood, described in Genesis 6-9, lasted just over a year, was global in extent, and killed all land-based nostril-breathing life that was not on the Ark. The "division of the earth" mentioned in the chronogenealogy of Genesis 11, which connects the Flood to the death of Abraham's father, referred to the Tower of Babel event described in Genesis 10.
Ridicule of Christianity
1e. Some people say that scientific creationism does a disservice to Christianity by holding Christianity up to ridicule. How would you answer that charge?
Answer: The Bible says that Jesus' followers will be ridiculed and even hated because of Christ. We Christians are interested in what the truth is, not what will make the most people like us. Young Earth Creationism is the most biblically sound science being practiced today. When unscientific tactics are used to make a theory look stronger than what opposes it, it's a sign that there are problems with the theory. Theories should only require logic and evidence as proof. Anything else shows its weakness.
Global Flood of Noah
Consistent reading of the flood
7. Is there a consistent reading of the Flood story of Genesis? How many of each kind of clean animal went on the Ark? Present a calendar of the events of the Flood from the birth of Noah through the birth of Arpachshad (sometimes called Arphaxad, grandson of Noah), paying special attention as to the day when Noah entered the Ark and how long the Flood lasted. If you change the text of Genesis, give a reason for the change other than the need to fit your beliefs.
Answer: Absolutely. Seven of each clean animal went on the Ark, and two of each unclean animal (Genesis 7:2; Genesis 6:19-20). They entered the ark two by two (Genesis 7:8). And here's your calendar (keep in mind that the Jewish year is not the same as ours, ending in March, so 2347 B.C. starts around the 10th-11th month):
- c. 2948 BC - Noah is born to Lamech (Gen 5:31)
- c. 2468 BC - God warns Noah about His coming judgment and commands him to build an Ark (Gen 6:3,13-21)
- c. 2448 BC - Japheth is born to Noah (Gen 5:32)
- c. 2446 BC - Shem is born to Noah (Gen 5:32)
- c. 2348 BC, 2nd month, 10th day - Noah commanded to enter the ark (7:10-11)
- c. 2348 BC, 2nd month, 17th day - Flood begins (7:11)
- c. 2348 BC, 3rd month, 27th day - Rain stops; floodwaters stop rising (7:12,17)
- c. 2348 BC, 7th month, 17th day - Floodwaters begin to decrease (7:24,8:1-3)
- c. 2348 BC, 7th month, 17th day - Ark rests on still-submerged Ararat (8:4)
- c. 2348 BC, 10th month, 1st day - Tops of mountains visible (8:5)
- c. 2347 BC, 11th month, 11th day - Noah sends out the dove and raven (8:6-9)
- c. 2347 BC, 11th month, 18th day - Noah sends out the dove again, who returns with an olive leaf in its beak (8:10-11)
- c. 2347 BC, 11th month, 25th day - Noah sends out the dove, and it does not return (8:12)
- c. 2347 BC, 1st month, 1st day - Waters dried up from the earth; Noah open Ark covering (8:13)
- c. 2347 BC, 2nd month, 27th day - Waters dried OUT from the earth (8:14)
- c. 2347 BC, 2nd month, 27th day - Noah and his family free to leave the Ark (Gen 8-9)
- c. 2345 BC - Shem fathers Arpachshad (11:10)
What about when Noah entered the Ark? Noah entered the Ark the day of the flood. The only thing I see that the author might be talking about is Genesis 7:5, which talks about Noah doing "all that the LORD commanded him" after God told him to enter the ark because in seven days He'd flood the earth. But it doesn't say that Noah entered the Ark that same day or that he was supposed to. So I don't see any contradiction here. The point of the verse is that Noah obeyed God.
As for the author's question about how long the flood lasted, the rain lasted for 40 days and the floodwaters began to decrease after 150 days. I don't see any contradiction here. Perhaps the author is referring to 7:17, which says that the flood was on the earth forty days--failing to note that right afterward it says "and the waters increased..." So this is obviously not meant to establish the entire time the flood was on the earth, but for how long the floodwaters increased.
Why does it need consistency?
7a. Why does the Flood story need to be consistent?
Answer: Although this question is somewhat ambiguous, (consistent with what?), it seems to be referring to internal consistency, which is a necessary requirement of truth. External consistency (being consistent with the evidence, but not necessarily every interpretation of that evidence), is required for the same reason. Consistency with specious claims is not required. This is a corollary of the Law of Non-contradiction, that something cannot be both A and non-A in the same way at the same time.
The water for the flood
8. Where did all of the water come from and go to? (This is a very old problem for the Flood story, and it may be the most frequently asked. Quantitative answers are required.)
Answer: This question appears to presume things that are not part of the creationist model, such as the water suddenly appearing from nowhere and disappearing again after it was all over.
Having said that, the water came from massive fountains of the deep, unleashing millions of gallons of more water combining with the heavy rains for 40 days and nights. During (towards the end of) the flood, the mountains rose up and the valley sank down (Psalm 104:8), so the waters found their new level in the deepened oceans.
As an exercise to visualise this, throw one (1) heaped shovel of dirt into two inches (2") of bath water. Arrange the dirt so that it is all under water (the flood). Now rearrange it so that dry land appears, without pulling out the plug (water loss = 0 litres). Make a note of where the water goes. For bonus marks, add an appropriate floating object to represent the ark.
4a. Explain the distribution of plant and animal fossils. For example, the limited distribution of fossils of flowering plants.
Flowers tend to float on top of floods and decompose. Fragile flowering plants cannot fossilize in slow processes over millions and millions of years, either.
Carnivores after the flood
9. What did all of the carnivores eat after leaving the Ark? (This is not a question about what they ate on the Ark.) In other words, explain how the food chain worked before the present ratios of a few predators to many prey.
Answer: The Bible does not give enough information to be dogmatic, but the animals that are predators today may still have been totally or partially vegetarian. Dead vegetation would have been abundant due to the Flood, and living plants were already available in the area, as the dove's olive branch showed. The climate had been hugely impacted by the lack of land features for nearly a year, and the biosphere probably never returned to the fecundity evident in Flood deposits; animals whose physiology or genetic makeup could not cope died off.
Genetic variation after the flood
9a. Explain how the degree of genetic variation in contemporary animals resulted from the few on the Ark.
Answer: The massive environmental effects as a result of the Flood introduced the need for drastic adaptations and extinction among animals that failed. Quite possibly the dinosaurs became extinct due to the need of radical adaptation in which they couldn't meet.
It is scientifically observed that environmental changes coupled with natural selection as well as mutation and selection, can be a fundamental basis of survival and change in organisms. The only difference between what we observe as changes resulting from such a process now and what happened immediately after the Flood is that the typical variation was on a much larger scale within each unique male and female animal pair taken onto the Ark.
A single pair
9b. Explain how a viable population was established for all of those animal kinds from only a single pair of each.
Answer: A single pair of animals is all that is required to produce a population of descendants. (In fact, a viable population of animals can be established from a single pregnant female.) Within the population, various subsets will reflect different selections of the original variation in the parents. There's no problem here. (Note that this question confuses the term "kinds" with "species". A pair of a single kind will produce a population of that kind only, with enough variation between sub-populations to merit separate species labels.)
9c. Discuss how symbiotic animals and parasites survived immediately after the Flood.
Answer: Sure -- right after you describe how they could have arisen in the evolutionary paradigm.
6. Why is there the present distribution of animals and plants in the world? How is it that marsupials are restricted to Australia and nearby islands and the Americas, monotremes to Australia, and few placental mammals are native to Australia? Why are tomatoes and potatoes native to the Americas only? (This is not a question merely of how they could have arrived there, it is also of why only there.)
Answer: Natural selection, which creationists accept as a selective, not a creative process. The other areas, for one reason or another, had proved unsuitable for the organisms to survive.
Logistical considerations of the ark
10. Is it possible to fit the pairs (male and female) of all kinds of land animals and birds on the Ark? The answer must give a detailed calculation. Remember to include all invertebrates as well as vertebrates, food and water, and necessary environmental controls. Remember to include all kinds of cattle. Explain the meaning of the word "kind".
Answer: This is a loaded question; to begin with, invertebrates, sea creatures, and plants were not obligate passengers on the Ark. Also, it is fairly well established that all of today's forms of cattle have descended in historical times from the aurochs, so seven of those (or seven pairs) are all that would have been required on the Ark. As used in the Creation and Flood histories, the "created kind" refers to a population of creatures that are capable of interbreeding with each other, but not with other creatures, and their descendants. Just after Creation and just after the Flood, this would have been equivalent to the concept of a "biological species", but their descendants would generally have divided into many of today's species. The "kind", or baramin, probably corresponds to today's "family" or "genus", in most cases. See Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study for detailed analysis of getting the animals on the Ark and providing for the needs of people and animals during the Flood year.
10a. Calculate the structural soundness and stability of the Ark, both loaded and unloaded, on land and on the Flood waters.
Answer: Detailed calculations would depend on detailed knowledge of the construction of the Ark, and we have only the barest outline: the outside dimensions. Nevertheless, a technical study has been done to evaluate the safety of a vessel with such dimensions. For details, see their report.
Animals on the ark
1a. If you believe that some animals -- for example, dinosaurs -- were not saved on the Ark, explain why you believe the Bible is incorrect.
Answer: This is a loaded question; all mammals, reptiles, and birds (along with various other creatures) were present on the ark. Geologic evidence suggests that the flood which took place approximately four thousand years ago was of global scale and would have destroyed all unprotected life; however post-Flood fossils and contemporary reports suggest that large reptiles such as the dinosaurs survived the flood, thus suggesting that the dinosaurs were present on the ark.
Loading and unloading the ark
10b. Explain the logistics of loading and unloading the Ark. Relate this to the time available given in the answer to question (7) and to the distribution referred to in questions (6) and (9).
Answer: See Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study for detailed analysis.
Pairs of colonies?
10c. Explain how there were pairs, male and female, of social (forming colonies), parthenogenic (female only) and hermaphroditic (both sexes in one individual) animals.
Answer: This is a loaded question; invertebrates were not obligate passengers, and could have survived on floating mats of vegetation, or as stowaways.
11. Why do you feel that there must be a mechanistic, naturalistic or materialist exposition of the wondrous events described in the Bible?
Answer: This is a loaded question that stems from frequent non supernatural or semi-supernatural explanations of events in the Bible by creationists. The events described in the Bible are intended to be taken at face value. What might be seen as a materialist exposition is generally a possible elaboration on an event that is not described in detail in the Bible.
- FABNAQ Response Revolution Against Evolution
- United States Census Bureau. "Table 75. Self Described Religious Identification of Adult Population: 1990, 2001, and 2008." The 2012 Statistical Abstract.
- Newport, Frank (2010, December 17). "Four in 10 Americans Believe in Strict Creationism." Gallup.