I get email from creationists

December 19, 2022 • 8:15 am

There will be no readers’ wildlife feature this morning because I have a doctor’s appointment. In its place I’ll post an email from a creationist who wrote me today using his name. I easily found the person on the website of CREATION.com, the website of Creation Ministries International, an international organization partnered with the American Answers in Genesis, headed by Ken Ham, but there’s apparently a rift between them. The guy didn’t say no when I asked later if I could give his name, so I’ve now included it. It’s Matthew Cserhati, and you can read his creation bio here.

Wikipedia says this about the group:

Creation Ministries International (CMI) is a non-profit organisation that promotes the pseudoscience of young earth creationism. It has branches in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

And a bit about them from their own page (have a look at their Q&A page, which is a hoot, and gives evidence that the Earth, as the Bible implies, is only about 6,000 years old).

The email I woke up to this morning:


I am reading your book, Why Evolution is True.

You write about how different kinds of models show how evolution could have happened, but you skip the question, did evolution happen? That’s the thesis of your book: evolution is a fact and did indeed happen, but you never prove this. I find Voltaire’s quote about certitude being ridiculous itself ridiculous because science is knowledge. Not doubt.

Some questions:

You mention some corals which are allegedly billions of years old because they have 400 day-rings within an annual ring. Do you have corals from each epoch of evolution showing how this number decreases to our modern number of 365? This is essential because you need to demonstrate a linearly decreasing trend.

You also mentioned the number of ribs increasing for trilobites or the number of chambers increasing for bacteria. Are there any fossils that are half-trilobite, half something else? That’s what evolution needs to prove. Humans range between 2 feet and 8 feet, yet we are one species. I think your bacteria and trilobite examples prove nothing.


Thanks, Dr. Matthew Cserhati


First, I don’t mention “chambers” in bacteria, which shows how closely he read.

It’s the same old palaver: one can document a fossil sequence (as I do for many organisms, ranging from foraminiferans to whales to humans), but unless you can show fossil evidence of every step in the pathway, you haven’t “proven” anything. Yet these people regard a made-up story implying a young Earth as “proof” powerful enough to stake their lives on! Is it not sufficient that we have intermediate or transitional fossils appearing right at the time they should: intermediates between fish and amphibians, amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and mammals on one branch, reptiles and birds on another, and, of course, between early apelike hominins and modern hominins? What better evidence of human evolution can we have than fossils of H. erectus or the australopithecines? Oh, I forgot, they’re either fully “apes” or fully “human”!

Well, if this creationism bought my book, at least I made a buck or so.

I’d like to ask Cserhti this question: “What, to you, would prove that the Earth was several billion years old and that evolution actually occurred?”  Dr. Creationist of course neglects the rest of the fossil evidence I gave, as well as evidence from biogeography, development, molecular biology, vestigial organs, and so on. The fact is that nothing will convince these poor saps that evolution occurred because they’ve sworn on the blood of Jesus that every word of the Bible is true.

Feel free to respond to this person, as I have their name and email and can forward this post and the comments to Cserhati.  Here’s his bio from the Creation Ministries website (a longer bio is here):

Dr Cserhati (pronounced Chair-hat-tea) came to Christ after high school in Hungary. But after studying biology at university, he struggled with harmonizing the book of Genesis with evolutionary theory he was being taught. After a few years of this struggle, and being exposed to information on creation, he came to understand that the evolutionary worldview and the Gospel are in opposition to one another, in that evolution uses death as a natural process, but according to the Bible, death is the last enemy, and a consequence of man’s sin.

After seeing how creation supports the biblical worldview and with it, the Gospel, he felt called to help the cause of creation ministry. After buying and reading material from the creation science movement, it only reinforced his view on how ‘real science’ supports the Bible, and that the Bible can be fully trusted in all areas of our life. He was active in establishing a creation science group in Hungary called the Protestant Creation Research Group in 2001.

Matthew has a Ph.D. in biology and has been an active creationist for 18 years and takes a great interest in molecular biology. He has published a number of articles in Journal of Creation.

He received a M.Sc. from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest in biology in 2003, and went on to receive a B.Sc. in software development and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Szeged in 2010 and 2011. His doctoral thesis was about the development and application of a transcription factor dyad prediction algorithm. He is currently studying for an M.A. in religion from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He also has certificates in five languages, and has done over 200 translation and interpreting jobs.

46 thoughts on “I get email from creationists

  1. This is great! There’s just too much to grab :

    “I find Voltaire’s quote about certitude being ridiculous itself ridiculous because science is knowledge. Not doubt.”

    … so that means what for whom in this case, I’m confused. You know what – don’t answer that.

    “Are there any fossils that are half-trilobite, half something else? That’s what evolution needs to prove.”

    “needs to prove”- ooo, tough customer!

    I guess they’ve exposed the emperor’s naughty bits. Get ready for hell, everyone!
    [ hook ’em horns sign ]
    [ heavy metal music ]

    PS – the coral rings is interesting, I gotta check that out.

    1. The coral ring thing is indeed interesting. The rings mark daily growth, separated by a distinct ring that marks a full year (either marking spring or winter, I forget). So in ancient corals, there were some 400 days in a year. Days are slightly longer now, so there are some 365 days in a year. The reason for that I leave to others, and Creationists absolutely hate it.

      1. It is an amazing thing to be able to detect, and is related to the increasing distance of the moon from the earth. But I don’t think there could be a special ring separating years. I imagine the years are calculated by measuring the seasonal periodicity of daily growth ring diameters.

        1. That might be more like it. A seasonal pattern, or some other marker such as an effect on growth rings during spawning season …. (?)

    2. Further to Mark S’s point, there are about 4 well recognised palaeo-date points on the “lunar recession” calibration curve – today, Carboniferous corals (as mentioned), and a couple of tidal-lagoon deposits in (IIRC) the Permian (~300Myr) and late Proterozoic (600Myr). The tidal lagoons give 2 cycles per day, and different numbers of days per spring/neap cycle.
      (More may have been found ; I’m on my phone, not searching deeply.)
      The points lay on a trend of *irregularly* but continuously increasing day-length.
      From fundamental physics, you would expect a consistent direction of change, but not a consistent *rate* of change. The torque from the Earth to the Moon depends on how far the Earth’s body (a.k.a. seabed) drags the ocean’s tidal bulge ahead of the sub-lunar point, and so torques the Moon to a higher-energy orbit. That coupling clearly depends on the ocean-to-seabed friction, which varies as shorelines change. So, one (actually, Darwin. George, son of Charles) predicts a consistent trend, but variable rate.
      Suitable circumstances to preserve a signal are rare. 4 data points. Whose consistent trend, but variable rate are what Darwin (/fils/, not /père/) predicted.

      Sorry, I just had a thought. The putative (KJV Genesis, chapters about 18~20 starring Noah/ Utnapishtim) flood, with the highest mountains submerged, would have quite dramatically changed the Earth-Moon torque. So, what signal would that produce, sedimentologically?
      I bet such an event would leave a signal. Quite what … I’d have to think further.

      1. That’s a really interesting and original thought! So much has been written about the “Flood” but I don’t think anyone has ever thought of that consequence.

        1. It may be instructive that I, a professional geologist who gets paid to find new oil and gas deposits, can come up with a (potentially) new consideration for the field of “Flood geology” (their capitalisation) which the several Creationist geologists purporting to be on staff at places like ICR, AIG and the like have not yet proposed for further investigation and research.

          Maybe I’m actually taking their claims more seriously than they themselves do.

          Or maybe their mindset precludes even considering that the rules of evidence in science can possibly be applied to religion. Which is probably something they’d wear as a badge of faith, while most of us working in the sciences see it as a badge of shame.
          (There are a number of people claiming qualification in the geosciences while adhering to various Creationist organisations. Some are capable of well-formed geological inferences and calculations – supporting their claims of substantial levels of geological education. But that choice of where to enquire, and their choices of axioms, makes them fit for employment by religious organisations, and not by geoscience organisations. I doubt they could get work on their geological abilities alone.)

    1. In my BSc class (Geology & Petroleum Geology, not Geol. & Mineralogy; but next table to me in the Honours study room), was a devout Christian Scientist (IIRC, he didn’t mention it much, unless someone had flu or a hangover) who graduated with a perfectly good BSc in Geology.
      Having “non-standard” views is not incompatible with getting a perfectly good degree.
      The last I heard, Alan was was working in water resources – which means “glacial outwash” or “flood” deposits, according to taste. His Creationism and his work didn’t conflict.

  2. The Intelligent Designer had been busy designing a totally great World Cup final! And then..busy watching his or her handiwork…

    1. … World Cup … in a country even more precise in their monotheism.

      The monotheos of later Genesis chapters, the post-Bablylonian-exile Jews, the Xtians, and the Muslims must, of necessity, be the same God.

  3. What can one charitably say about people who base their understanding of the nature of reality on millennia-old hearsay, but for whom the confluence of countless demonstrable and reproducible facts about the physical word are not adequately convincing. Willful delusion is so frustrating. “Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not.”

  4. It is a curious paradox that people still denies evolution after the pandemic of COVID-19 causes by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The new virus was the result of evolution.. Viruses evolve, as do organisms formed by cells (bacteria, animals, plants and fungi), basically meaning relatedness by descent with modification, mutation and /or recombination that generate variation, and natural selection acting on that variation These same processes also explains why new strains of the influenza virus appear every year, and the emergence of antiviral drugs resistance by strains of HIV that causes AIDS. Mainly two processes played a role in the appearing of the new coronavirus: mutation and natural selection. We can assume that, at the beginning, the viruses in the animal (bats) lacked the ability to infect humans. Over time, variants of those viruses may appear that, by changes in their genes (mutations), acquire that capacity and find the opportunity to infect a human, probably through an intermediary animal. In that environment (the human body) natural selection will benefit these viruses better adapted to infect and survive in people and, therefore, will be able to leave offspring in the next generation unlike those who are only able to infect the animal. On the other hand, the adapted ones acquire (probably by another mutation) the ability to transmit between people. It cannot be completely ruled out, that a recombination (viruses swapping chunks of genetic material) of the bat virus with a virus of the intermediary animal had also led to a strain that could survive within the human body. Nevertheless, whatever the source of the new variants, natural selection ensured that the virus that emerged had a suite of traits that made a pandemic almost inevitable. Mutations (and/or recombination), leading to the opportunity to infect humans and the ability of person-to-person transmission, are random events, which could lead us to think of a very low probability that all three events could occur almost simultaneously. However, two facts increase that probability. (l) The virus demographic factor: viruses have a large population size and produce a large number of generations (with potential random changes in genes) in relatively short times. (2) The human factor: a synergy of elements catalyzed by inadequate sanitary conditions; consumption and handling of potentially dangerous foods, such as sick animals; easy access of people to contaminated food, dense populations around the first detected cases; and insufficient scientific knowledge in the early stages of infection. Natural selection operates on the products of chance, but in that operation, chance does not intervene, but rather rigorous and complex biological factors, to which the only correctable factor, the human factor, is added in the case of the new coronavirus. As would be anticipated, genomic data collected by scientists since the beginning of the outbreak, show that this virus is randomly mutating as the pandemic rages around the world. These mutations are useful markers of transmission, since closely related genomes indicate closely related infections. By reconstructing an evolutionary genealogy of these different genomes, scientists are learning about spatial spread, introduction timings and epidemic growth rate.

    1. That is too complicated for most people (non-science background) to understand without further background study.

    2. Contrary to J A, I don’t think this is terribly complicated, just long-winded. It’s fairly standard medical microbiology.
      But it did raise a question to me (briefly) :
      Bats roost around a wing-flap apart – they need space to “land” – so bat-to-bat airbourne virus spread would be inhbited because gravity takes the snot down from the colony …

      Which I thought might be a microbiologically worthwhile point …. until I remembered that, at least in our “temperate” caves, bats *land* upwards, wings-spread … but *then* furl their wings and crawl sideways to huddle with other bats at shoulder-to-shoulder spacing, not wingtip-to-wingtip.
      Compare planes in an airfield hanger, to those on “hanger deck” of an aircraft carrier.

    1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Born Robert Pershing Wadlow
      February 22, 1918
      Alton, Illinois, U.S.
      Died July 15, 1940 (aged 22)

      Known for Verified tallest human
      Height 8 ft 11.1 in (272.0 cm)
      Robert Pershing Wadlow (February 22, 1918 – July 15, 1940), also known as the Alton Giant and the Giant of Illinois, was a man who was the tallest person in recorded history for whom there is irrefutable evidence.

    1. True but part of that is attributable to biologists defining ‘species’ as separate entities rather than continua with local maxima in population.

  5. I’ll go with paleontologist Kurt Wise who said: “… if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.”

    Or paraphrased by Richard Dawkins: “This leaves me, as a scientist, speechless… We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference.”

    So, there is no point in asking the question because there is no answer.

    Source: Wikipedia “Kurt Wise”

    1. If every word spake by the Lord God in scripture supported creationism, I would still be an evolutionist, since that’s the way the evidence points.

      Call me the anti-Wise.

  6. I just looked at the FAQ page and clicked on a few links. Each link connects to a long and detailed answer. Whoever wrote this has read a fair amount of literature. He or she will not be swayed by argument. Best to move on.

    1. It is best to move on, imo. I’ve tried to debate a creationist online a couple times, and I’ve seen many others do the same with great energy. There is zero hope in flipping them.

  7. Re: the intermediate forms argument: I am reminded of a Futurama (I think) episode where evolution had its day in court, and the prosecution kept demanding an intermediate form to support the claim that evolution had occurred. Once one intermediate form was introduced as evidence, the prosecution said, “OK, but now we need another one between then and now,” and on and on, like Zeno’s paradox.

  8. The same Cserhati is on Linkedin: same biography, same person on the photo, but on Linkedin no mentions of creationism.

  9. I think maybe a dialogue about the epistemology of their beliefs is the only hope for people with false entrenched beliefs.

  10. The fact is that nothing will convince these poor saps that evolution occurred because they’ve sworn on the blood of Jesus that every word of the Bible is true.

    So we change the question a little:

    “If Jesus Christ appeared to you and declared that the Earth was several billion years old and that evolution actually occurred, would that be enough proof?”

    If they say yes, congratulate them on doubting Creationism enough to realize it might not contradict Biblical Truth.

    If they say no, attack their belief in Jesus.

    1. They would probably say that your “Jesus Christ” is an imposter, an anti-Christ; the TRUE Jesus Christ would never lie!

    2. “If they say no, attack their belief in Jesus.”
      Is that before or after I get to use the electrodes?
      I *like* the electrodes. Not for the accuracy of their results, but for how they enlighten (“illumnate”? If briefly.) the audience.

      Where is that HP-labs video of using a pickled cucumber as room-lighting, “given enough voltage”?

  11. Well he or she is not rude & is at least reading it…Wanting a graded & complete fossil record shows s/he does not really appreciate the vastspan of time involved.

  12. “Are there any fossils that are half-trilobite, half something else? That’s what evolution needs to prove”.
    Nope, on the contrary, it would prove that evolutionary theory is false: A Crocoduck? A Mercow? An Iguanakeet? A Centaur? A duckbilled Platypus? The latter actually does exist, but it’s bill only resembles a true duck’s bill very superficially, it is a unique magnetic sensory organ. Any of the other four would disprove evolutionary theory.

  13. “And a bit about them from their own page (have a look at their Q&A page, which is a hoot, and gives evidence that the Earth, as the Bible implies, is only about 6,000 years old).”
    – that should be ‘and offers claimed evidence’!

  14. It’s hilarious how creationists will point out, correctly, that science proves nothing, then turn around and try to tell us that the same science proves their impossible claims.

    Richard Dawkins has made a couple of videos demonstrating, in considerable detail, how the human eye is NOT “irreducibly complex” even as the Discovery Institute’s “Dr.” Michael Behe continues to claim that it is.

    For another entertaining look at an out-of-his-depth creationist questioning science, read the exchange of letters between evo. biologist Dr. Richard Lenski and Mr. Andrew Schlafly at https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lenski_correspondence. Note the way Schlafly starts out rudely and Lenski starts out politely but then becomes, um, highly factual.

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