Although I am of the opinion that "web wars" are a ridiculous waste of time, there comes a time when one must take the time to answer when an issue has been twisted almost out of recognition. This has happened with a webpage put up by Joseph Meert here: http://gondwanaresearch.com/hp/set.htm
On a creation/evolution forum I was asked for a more complete picture of my husband's work so that it could be understood a bit more fully. What I did was lift some out of the rewrite of Creation and Catastrophe which we are working on right now, simply as a theoretical summary. It was not technical and no data was in it; its purpose was simply to give a summary.
This was picked up by Dr. Meert, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Florida in Gainsville. Meert has spent untold hours on the web in the past five or six years ridiculing and mocking those who disagree with his views of evolution, with particular nastiness aimed at young earth creationists. Meert then lifted parts of the post I had presented and put them up for a 'critique' at his website. He emailed me and asked if I would like to comment. I looked at the site and saw what he had done in the way of mocking and was going to ignore it. Instead I took a short amount of time to list twenty points of response. I specifically emailed him at 2:15 in the afternoon that he did not have permission to put it on his website but that it was a personal message to him. I received an email at 5:20 telling me it was too late. I had checked his website for two hours after I sent the email and nothing was up. On his response to me, he had changed the time that my email was sent to 5:15, an unethical and dishonorable move. His email said it all in two words: too late.
And so I looked at the website. Parts of my email were up. I had listed 20 points. He put up 17. He mocked most of them. He also changed parts of his original critique of Barry's model so that it looked better for him and worse for us. This included the title.
My name before marriage to Barry was Helen Fryman. My nickname has been Penny to family and friends since I was a toddler. There is no deception here and I have spent time explaining this to a number of people. I married Barry Setterfield on October 21, 2000, thus changing my name to Helen Setterfield, still nicknamed Penny. There is no hyphenating in my name. However I have tried to make it clear to those who have asked that I was Helen Fryman and many of my articles are still on the net that way, which is fine. Meert is very aware of my name, my marriage, and my nickname. He also knows how I sign myself. His mockery of my name is typically nasty of him and uncalled for.
I did not think to copy Meert's original webpage, but here are the original 20 points exactly as I wrote them to him:
Some of your response lies somewhere between ignorant and ludicrous. I have no idea how to answer that sort of thing. I know from previous discourses with you that you pay no attention anyway, but prefer to hold what you don't agree with up to ridicule.
Nevertheless, a few points.
1. I am Helen Setterfield. I was Helen Fryman. There is no hyphenated anything in my name.
2. Your knowledge of the Bible is horrid. Check your Hebrew on 'mists' and see if you can see why other translators use other terms. Ergo your knowledge of what is supported by Bible and what isn't is negligible.
3. Your logic is absent. If ALL the waters are gathered into ONE place, what is left? Only another place. Never mind.
4. One thing is right, anyway yes, Barry's model is different from the standard YEC model. However he does not stand alone here.
5. God's Word is definitely evidence; it is simply evidence you do not accept.
6. Why should the beginning world have been low on oxygen?
7. Stromatolites are from after the Flood a lot of what 'seems' to you is based on your ignorance of both Bible and Barry's work. This shows up repeatedly through your 'response.' (Correction: Barry reminded me that stromatolites are before and after the Flood).
8. Your resort to mockery when you lack for any other response is typical of you and not worth responding to.
9. Yes, Barry's model excludes the floating vegetation mats during the Flood as the source of the coal seams.
10. Memories of scalding water exploding from the earth in the Flood are found in a number of old legends around the world.
11. Science does not demand testability. It demands data. Barry has the data; evolution is based on pure interpretation based on wishful thinking that there is no God to be accountable to.
12. I have read enough from other geologists now to know that a lot of the views you espouse are highly suspect and often rejected. I'm sure you already know that.
13. Noah's Ark is spelled with a 'k'. "Arc" is a different word.
14. The Flood probably did not fossilize anything. Neither did the two other major catastrophes. Fossilization would have taken place in local events between the major catastrophes. Did Mt. St. Helens fossilize anything?
15. The Bible is NOT a science text or a geological text or a world history text. To fault it for not being these things is a straw man. It does, however, provide parameters within which true science may be found. There is no reason it should mention any geological event which did not have to do directly with God's relationship with man, which is what the Bible is about.
16. However, read Job for a lot of the evidence you say is missing.
17. Your presumed rates of erosion of mountains, etc., are based on gradualism, which is pure presumption without any evidence to support it and a great deal of geological evidence to the contrary.
18. Evidence for the axial tilt changes are in Dodwell's work. Professor Bernard Brandstater is in the process of readying these for publication. It has turned into a much more formidable task than anyone first imagined. However, there is a great deal of evidence for a change in axis tilt, more than once, during man's time on earth. The Temple of Karnak, Stonehenge, and a number of other structures all testify to this.
19. If extra-biblical evidence is worthless, ALL your work is also, Joe.
20. Fossilization is not a normal process where there is fresh water and dry land (i.e. where humans prefer to live). Fossilization (not imprints) requires highly mineralized water, burial, and reasonably rapid drainage. I'm assuming you know this. Why would animals uncomfortable in these environs live there? So they could get fossilized for you?
Dr. Meert's shenanigans are dishonest and unethical in the extreme. His comments regarding my points require a few responses simply to set the record straight.
The model is not mine. It is my husband's, Barry Setterfield
Since he was trying to criticize us on Biblical grounds, his knowledge, or in his case lack of it, of the Bible is quite relevant. Trying to say there is no Biblical support for Barry's model, and then saying his knowledge of Bible is irrelevant, and then later stating he studied the Bible for years, is a ridiculous combination of things to print on one page.
In his first comment in regard to the model at the top of his page, he said there was no biblical evidence for one supercontinent. When I corrected this he tried to twist the argument saying, "The point is not whether or not supercontinents existed, but how many and how many times did they break apart. The waters gathering 'in one place' can also more accurately be translated as 'in the low areas' or more generally 'where land is not'. It does not necessarily imply a supercontinent."
There are a number of creationists who do not hold to the 'one flood did everything' model. Barry does not stand alone in this area. Nor are they considered 'heretical.' That is pure fantasy on Meert's part.
There are many areas of science which cannot be subject to testability, and Meert is an assistant professor in one of them. One can look for evidence in geology, one can form hypotheses and conclusions from that evidence, but there is no way to test, for instance, the way in which stromatolites were fossilized or the speed at which things happened. Anytime a subject in history or out of the bounds of maneuverability is being studied, it cannot actually be tested; it can only be examined and interpreted in light of the presuppositions of the person doing the interpreting. Meert knows this; it's just that he prefers mockery and insults.
Serious students of ancient history know better than to dismiss the ancient stories and legends as completely made-up. For the most part they carry memories of events in them entwined with their own explanations, which we often call myth. Teasing the mythological parts out of these old memories can be challenging, but that does not make the actual memory false. For instance, consider the following:
Chaldean story of the flood of Xisuthros the node of the Deluge is spoken of as a waterspout that "swelled up to heaven "and struck fear into the gods; the god Ea pleaded that any and all disaster be visited upon men, but nothing so terrible as "the waterspout of the Deluge."
... In many places, however, the waters of the deluges and floods or tides were heated. Rains came down in gobs the size of a man's head and were at times boiling hot, according to the Zend-Avesta of Persia. Josippon bin-Gorion repeats a Jewish myth: "The fountains of the deep broke up first. Then came the flood from above. Then fire fell also, and rain, boiling hot." Bellamy writes that "quite a number of peoples report not only a Great Flood, but specifically a flood of hot water." American Indians of the West claimed that the waters of the Great Flood were warm. The Voguls of Finland said a great fire raged over the world first and was followed by a deluge of hot water. Then the hot waters raged across the land. Fire mixed with the water--even their rafts caught fire, they said. Amerindians of Brazil said that the Sun was a cauldron of boiling waters that tipped over.
There was a window on the Ark, by the way, which certainly would have allowed the occupants to see some of what was happening. And yes, their protection was miraculous. God's salvation of His people always is.
In general, it is a waste of time to try to respond to people like Dr. Meert. They are not interested in facts or in discussion, let alone ethics or honesty. Therefore this reply is short. It was not the purpose of what was presented as a layman's summary in the first place to be a data-filled technical piece. His "critique" of the material ranks right in line with his "critique" of the others he lists on the bottom of his page. He appears to do it for his amusement rather than anyone's enlightenment.
What is interesting, however, is that he has spent so much time in the writing and mocking of these things that there must be something to them that worries him; something he must refuse to take seriously and is doing what he can to prevent others from looking seriously at them as well. People don't spend that much time trying to debunk something that is of no concern to them. In the meantime, as his tactics have become more and more clear, it is becoming more and more evident that some kind of anger or desire to entertain those who already agree with him is his motivating force. Barry's and my time is better spent responding to people who have honest questions and are interested in real discussion.
As one last point it should be said that I did gradually change my mind about Barry's model. When Barry and I first were getting acquainted I challenged his model from every direction I could think of. Every challenge was met and I gradually began to look at it more seriously. Judging from the emails both of us get, I was not the first to walk that path and certainly was not the last.
Lambert Dolphin has been kind enough to set up a webpage
for Barry to which we try to add as we get the time. Much of the
material is on there, but not all by any means. The work on Creation
and Catastrophe continues, along with several recent articles
which have been written lately.
If there are any questions, we always encourage emails. They are answered as promptly as possible, but we do ask your patience due to the volume received.
July 6, 2002