Monday, August 12, 2013

Hunting for Creationism - Round 15 - A pot luck from the Creation Evidence Museum of Science

I'm on the hunt for evidence for Creationism/Intelligent Design. Here, I set the ground rules and mission. Here, I have an index of my search.

I found a website off the beaten path for a "Creation Evidence Museum" (Which is eerily similar to a "Harry Potter is Real Museum"). Today, I'll look at their evidence about human footprints with dinosaur footprints.

The evidence surrounds this:

"A.M. Coffee Track"
I. Discovery...In 1934 Mr. A.M. Coffee of Stinnett, Texas, a pumper for the Gulf Oil Company, discovered a trail of nine "human-like footprints" in series on a rock ledge about four miles out of town. He worked one of the tracks loose and took it home. After he showed the artifact to a few friends including his boss, various interested persons took the rest of the tracks from the site. The discovery created an instant controversy among archaeologists, geologists and anthropologists, because the sedimentary rock system of the entire area is geologically assigned Permian (assumed to be 225 million years old). The general consensus was that the print had to be a carving made by Indians, or the like. The difficulties involved in drawing such conclusions were enhanced by the fact that the print was accompanied by eight other prints in the series, along with an adjacent child's print. Further controversy ensued when it was pointed out that the tracks were not "stylized" as other Indian carvings are.
The article goes on like that, describing the analysis and history of this discovery.

A.M. Cofee Track - a human foot imprint in rock that's 225 million years old
"A.M. Coffee Track" Courtesy Here
It's sad to say, but my immediate reaction is "it sounds like another hoax." While science isn't without it's hoaxes, it does seem like creationists are a little too willing to "lie for Jesus", sometimes.

Digging around the interwebs, we can find analyses (link) that conclude that its authenticity is very much in question. TalkOrigins notes about the tendency for this particular type of hoax to pop up frequently.

This argument has a deeper problem than it's authenticity, though.

What does it have to do with creationism? The website doesn't even make an attempt at an argument.

This evidence is severely lacking in the "logical connection" department.

There's nothing intrinsic about creationism that requires specifically an old or young Earth... so neither the argument that the rock that we thought was 225 MYa is actually young, nor or the argument that humans existed 225 MYa, specifically advance creationism.

As part of my starting premise for this whole hunt for evidence for creationism, I'm assuming evolution is false, so at best, even if this was authentic, it'd mean our understanding of evolutionary history is in error, and that's about it, and nothing else is advanced. For all we know, humanity was plopped down by aliens, and they first visited long ago... barefoot... in a swamp or something. How would we distinguish this possibility from the others?

Getting into the meta-analysis, this just doesn't jive with the preponderance of evidence.

Why would we have dinosaur fossils within that era, but no human fossils? Why do the fossil lineages we have show a distinct lack of hominid-like fossils anywhere before a few tens of millions of years ago? Why is it that we only have specifically footprints that always just happen to be next to known dinosaur footprints, and happen to have telltale signs of being carved and not accurately representing humanoid feet?

It's just not stacking up against the plethora of evidence we have showing otherwise. That's the trick to vetting these. Is this evidence corroborated by other independent lines of evidence, or is it in contradiction by multiple independent lines of evidence?

... and to cap off the total failure of this "evidence", as I pointed out before - it doesn't actually have anything to do with creationism. It's similar to the global-flood arguments, that operate by demonstrating something that the Bible would say, which is only loosely connected via mere association to something else the Bible says - creationism - and ta-da! Creationism proved!


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