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Re: Wheeler: THE CRUELTY OF NATURE (Origins 2:32-41)
To be sure, as Wheeler brought out, the cruelty and savagery of not only the plant and animal world, but more especially of the human world, is often used as a reason to dismiss a creator. However, questions about cruelty in the creation are peripheral questions, superfluous to the issue of whether a creator exists or not. If one can logically establish a creator’s existence, subsequent questions about his motives and purposes do not reflect back upon the issue of whether he exists. Similarly, a home may experience famine, poverty, murders, rapes, birth defects, etc., but does the fact that these events have occurred cancel the conclusion that the home was built by a contractor — that the contractor exists? As Wheeler aptly points out, or at least implies, questions about the “morality” of the creation can only be answered through revelation. Regardless of the answers we may come up with, whether they are satisfying or not, or right or wrong, if a creator exists prior to these questions, he exists after them.
R. L. Wysong
Hagadorn Veterinary Clinic
E. Lansing, Michigan
Re: Snow and Javor: OXYGEN AND EVOLUTION (Origins 2:59-63).
In order to bring the Origins article up to date, two items need to be mentioned. The present average escape flux of hydrogen from the earth and, therefore, also the oxygen production by the photodissociation of water vapor is now more reliably calculated to be 3 times greater than the estimate cited by G. R. Carruthers 1973 (Brian A. Tinsley, 1975, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, personal communication). Carruthers 1975 (personal communication) pointed out that not much new light could be shed on the origin of atmospheric oxygen based on the present escape rate of hydrogen partly because in the past this rate could have been several times greater (Carruthers 1973). The oxygen in the atmosphere of Venus observed by Mariner 10 comes partly from water vapor. Apparently most of it comes from the photodissociation of CO2 which, of course, is still a nonbiological process [Young A, Young L. 1975. Venus. Scientific American 233(3):71-78; Young A. 1975, personal communication; Carruthers 1975, personal communication].
This topic is in a very gaseous state right now and the results of the fall- out of current and continuing research in this area on future evolutionary models is not clear. It is apparent from our correspondence with some of those working in the area of terrestrial and extraterrestrial atmospheric dynamics and from research reports, that the results and implications of some work are not known or ignored by others. We would appreciate critiques and comments on this area of oxygen and evolution.
G. E. Snow and G. T. Javor
Associate Professors of Biology and Chemistry
Berrien Springs, Michigan
Re: Neufeld: DINOSAUR TRACKS AND GIANT MEN (Origins 2:64-76).
During the early part of World War II, the Natural Science Foundation of Los Angeles heard rumors of supposed human giant tracks in association with dinosaur tracks along the Paluxy River, near Glen Rose, Texas. A committee of five, including myself, was appointed to investigate the find.
While pursuing this investigation, a Mr. Berry showed us two man-like tracks, about 18 inches in length, and two three-toed Allosaurous dinosaur tracks that had been cut from the Cretaceous formation limestone near Glen Rose, Texas.
In the May 1939 issue of Natural History, Roland Bird mentions man-like tracks as being “perfect in every detail.” Other prominent paleontologists agreed that only man could have made such tracks. When Dr. Bird went to Texas and found these tracks associated with dinosaur tracks, he backed off from his former “human” identification, saying that “no man lived in the age of the dinosaurs.”
Because a Mr. Adams of Glen Rose had carved two or three tracks, which were inferior to the actual ones cut from the river bed, it was rumored that all the man-like tracks had been carved. The authenticity of the tracks which had been sold to Columbia Union College was questioned. One of these tracks was sectioned to help determine if it was genuine or carved. If the lime mud on which the tracks are to be formed contains discolored streaks of different minerals such as iron, the weight of an animal would depress the coloration. In the case of the Berry tracks, no such iron streaks were present. Since the limestone was quite homogeneous, some have assumed that the tracks were carvings. However, I maintain that negative evidence or lack of evidence should not be used to try to prove a case for carving.
Twice I have examined the sectioned man-like track at Columbia Union College, and I believe that physical evidence stamps the track as genuine and not carved. The evidence has to do with metamorphism. There are many phases of metamorphism, depending on the heat or pressure involved. After wetting the section of the track, I found that the metamorphic phenomenon stood out in stark relief. The normal limestone was discolored with enough iron to give the rock a buff color. The pressure of the foot on the lime mud would have started an incipient type of low-grade metamorphism, causing crystallization into calcite. This process leaves behind chemical impurities, forming white calcite crystals. This phenomenon was observed to be quite prominent in the depression made by the foot. Outside of the foot area the limestone shows the typical buff color.
I have a man track from a tributary canyon south of Glen Rose, and it is similar to the Berry tracks. When my track was sectioned at Loma Linda University, the same phenomena of white calcite crystals showed up, though not quite as prominently as in the case of the Berry tracks.
Dr. George Westcott, an anatomist in Ann Arbor, Michigan, showed me several criteria that in his estimation also stamped my track as being genuine: 1) the one who had cut my track from the limestone had first chiseled a smaller diameter circle, then decided to enlarge the size of the slab, presumably so not to risk breaking the track. 2) I have seen many carved tracks, and all have had flat feet. I have never seen a carving where the carver went to all the trouble to create a high instep. 3) Mud squeezed up higher than the general level between the big toe and the toe next to it. This projection would be more difficult for the carver to produce. When Dr. Mellor, a biologist at the University of Arizona, inspected my man track, he remarked that no such chisel marks were visible. 4) The surface of my track has little holes where pebbles had been removed. One such hole had been flattened by the pressure of the heel, and the mud had been rolled back. 5) Limonite or iron oxide lines, apparently caused by the pressure of the foot, showed up all around the face of the track.
Stanley Taylor of Films for Christ Association spent much time and money excavating along the banks of the river. He found more dinosaur tracks as well as man tracks, and one showed plainly the heel and instep, with the displaced mud around the foot. Taylor also excavated a series of bipedal tracks with a bulldozer. In one instance, an outline of the foot in the limestone beneath was left marked out mainly by white crystallized calcite. This could not be mistaken for anything but a human foot. In the case of freshly excavated tracks, the hue and cry of “carvings” could not apply. The string of tracks was made by a biped, and the five- to six-foot stride matches with the size of the track to indicate a man of perhaps ten feet in height.
Over the years, I have seen along the Paluxy River many man-like tracks and series of bipedal footprints, not now visible. I feel we are wasting too much time on a case so well documented, while we could be inaugurating new projects instead.
Clifford L. Burdick