The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134693   Message #3073974
Posted By: mayomick
13-Jan-11 - 06:02 PM
Thread Name: BS: Young Earth Creationism
Subject: RE: BS: Young Earth Creationism
I don't think creationists' ideas have evolved very much since the Dark Ages. So perhaps in that narrow sense it could be said that they have a point - not much to boast about though I would have thought .
Here is an extract from Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks from 1510 .


If you were to say that the shells which are to be seen within the
confines of Italy now, in our days, far from the sea and at such
heights, had been brought there by the deluge which left them there,
I should answer that if you believe that this deluge rose 7 cubits
above the highest mountains-- as he who measured it has
written--these shells, which always live near the sea-shore, should
have been left on the mountains; and not such a little way from the
foot of the mountains; nor all at one level, nor in layers upon
layers. And if you were to say that these shells are desirous of
remaining near to the margin of the sea, and that, as it rose in
height, the shells quitted their first home, and followed the
increase of the waters up to their highest level; to this I answer,
that the cockle is an animal of not more rapid movement than the
snail is out of water, or even somewhat slower; because it does not
swim, on the contrary it makes a furrow in the sand by means of its
sides, and in this furrow it will travel each day from 3 to 4
braccia; therefore this creature, with so slow a motion, could not
have travelled from the Adriatic sea as far as Monferrato in
Lombardy [Footnote: _Monferrato di Lombardia_. The range of hills of
Monferrato is in Piedmont, and Casale di Monferrato belonged, in
Leonardo's time, to the Marchese di Mantova.], which is 250 miles
distance, in 40 days; which he has said who took account of the
time. And if you say that the waves carried them there, by their
gravity they could not move, excepting at the bottom. And if you
will not grant me this, confess at least that they would have to
stay at the summits of the highest mountains, in the lakes which are
enclosed among the mountains, like the lakes of Lario, or of Como
and il Maggiore .
And if you should say that the shells were carried by the waves,
being empty and dead, I say that where the dead went they were not
far removed from the living; for in these mountains living ones are
found, which are recognisable by the shells being in pairs; and they
are in a layer where there are no dead ones; and a little higher up
they are found, where they were thrown by the waves, all the dead
ones with their shells separated, near to where the rivers fell into
the sea, to a great depth; like the Arno which fell from the
Gonfolina near to Monte Lupo [Footnote: _Monte Lupo_, compare 970,
13; it is between Empoli and Florence.], where it left a deposit of
gravel which may still be seen, and which has agglomerated; and of
stones of various districts, natures, and colours and hardness,
making one single conglomerate. And a little beyond the sandstone
conglomerate a tufa has been formed, where it turned towards Castel
Florentino; farther on, the mud was deposited in which the shells
lived, and which rose in layers according to the levels at which the
turbid Arno flowed into that sea. And from time to time the bottom
of the sea was raised, depositing these shells in layers, as may be
seen in the cutting at Colle Gonzoli, laid open by the Arno which is
wearing away the base of it; in which cutting the said layers of
shells are very plainly to be seen in clay of a bluish colour, and
various marine objects are found there. And if the earth of our
hemisphere is indeed raised by so much higher than it used to be, it
must have become by so much lighter by the waters which it lost
through the rift between Gibraltar and Ceuta; and all the more the
higher it rose, because the weight of the waters which were thus
lost would be added to the earth in the other hemisphere. And if the
shells had been carried by the muddy deluge they would have been
mixed up, and separated from each other amidst the mud, and not in
regular steps and layers-- as we see them now in our time.

The marine shells were not produced away from the sea.

As to those who say that shells existed for a long time and were
born at a distance from the sea, from the nature of the place and of
the cycles, which can influence a place to produce such
creatures--to them it may be answered: such an influence could not
place the animals all on one line, except those of the same sort and
age; and not the old with the young, nor some with an operculum and
others without their operculum, nor some broken and others whole,
nor some filled with sea-sand and large and small fragments of other
shells inside the whole shells which remained open; nor the claws of
crabs without the rest of their bodies; nor the shells of other
species stuck on to them like animals which have moved about on
them; since the traces of their track still remain, on the outside,
after the manner of worms in the wood which they ate into. Nor would
there be found among them the bones and teeth of fish which some
call arrows and others serpents' tongues, nor would so many
[Footnote: I. Scilla argued against this hypothesis, which was still
accepted in his days; see: _La vana Speculazione, Napoli_ 1670.]
portions of various animals be found all together if they had not
been thrown on the sea shore. And the deluge cannot have carried
them there, because things that are heavier than water do not float
on the water. But these things could not be at so great a height if
they had not been carried there by the water, such a thing being
impossible from their weight. In places where the valleys have not
been filled with salt sea water shells are never to be seen; as is
plainly visible in the great valley of the Arno above Gonfolina; a
rock formerly united to Monte Albano, in the form of a very high
bank which kept the river pent up, in such a way that before it
could flow into the sea, which was afterwards at its foot, it formed
two great lakes; of which the first was where we now see the city of
Florence together with Prato and Pistoia, and Monte Albano. It
followed the rest of its bank as far as where Serravalle now stands.
>From the Val d'Arno upwards, as far as Arezzo, another lake was
formed, which discharged its waters into the former lake. It was
closed at about the spot where now we see Girone, and occupied the
whole of that valley above for a distance of 40 miles in length.
This valley received on its bottom all the soil brought down by the
turbid waters. And this is still to be seen at the foot of Prato
Magno; it there lies very high where the rivers have not worn it
away. Across this land are to be seen the deep cuts of the rivers
that have passed there, falling from the great mountain of Prato
Magno; in these cuts there are no vestiges of any shells or of
marine soil. This lake was joined with that of Perugia .

A great quantity of shells are to be seen where the rivers flow into
the sea, because on such shores the waters are not so salt owing to
the admixture of the fresh water, which is poured into it. Evidence
of this is to be seen where, of old, the Appenines poured their
rivers into the Adriatic sea; for there in most places great
quantities of shells are to be found, among the mountains, together
with bluish marine clay; and all the rocks which are torn off in
such places are full of shells. The same may be observed to have
been done by the Arno when it fell from the rock of Gonfolina into
the sea, which was not so very far below; for at that time it was
higher than the top of San Miniato al Tedesco, since at the highest
summit of this the shores may be seen full of shells and oysters
within its flanks. The shells did not extend towards Val di Nievole,
because the fresh waters of the Arno did not extend so far.

That the shells were not carried away from the sea by the deluge,
because the waters which came from the earth although they drew the
sea towards the earth, were those which struck its depths; because
the water which goes down from the earth, has a stronger current
than that of the sea, and in consequence is more powerful, and it
enters beneath the sea water and stirs the depths and carries with
it all sorts of movable objects which are to be found in the earth,
such as the above-mentioned shells and other similar things. And in
proportion as the water which comes from the land is muddier than
sea water it is stronger and heavier than this; therefore I see no
way of getting the said shells so far in land, unless they had been
born there. If you were to tell me that the river Loire [Footnote:
Leonardo has written Era instead of Loera or Loira--perhaps under
the mistaken idea that _Lo_ was an article.],which traverses France
covers when the sea rises more than eighty miles of country, because
it is a district of vast plains, and the sea rises about 20 braccia,
and shells are found in this plain at the distance of 80 miles from
the sea; here I answer that the flow and ebb in our Mediterranean
Sea does not vary so much; for at Genoa it does not rise at all, and
at Venice but little, and very little in Africa; and where it varies
little it covers but little of the country.

The course of the water of a river always rises higher in a place
where the current is impeded; it behaves as it does where it is
reduced in width to pass under the arches of a bridge.

Further researches (989-991).



I say that the deluge could not carry objects, native to the sea, up
to the mountains, unless the sea had already increased so as to
create inundations as high up as those places; and this increase
could not have occurred because it would cause a vacuum; and if you
were to say that the air would rush in there, we have already
concluded that what is heavy cannot remain above what is light,
whence of necessity we must conclude that this deluge was caused by
rain water, so that all these waters ran to the sea, and the sea did
not run up the mountains; and as they ran to the sea, they thrust
the shells from the shore of the sea and did not draw them to wards
themselves. And if you were then to say that the sea, raised by the
rain water, had carried these shells to such a height, we have
already said that things heavier than water cannot rise upon it, but
remain at the bottom of it, and do not move unless by the impact of
the waves. And if you were to say that the waves had carried them to
such high spots, we have proved that the waves in a great depth move
in a contrary direction at the bottom to the motion at the top, and
this is shown by the turbidity of the sea from the earth washed down
near its shores. Anything which is lighter than the water moves with
the waves, and is left on the highest level of the highest margin of
the waves. Anything which is heavier than the water moves, suspended
in it, between the surface and the bottom; and from these two
conclusions, which will be amply proved in their place, we infer
that the waves of the surface cannot convey shells, since they are
heavier than water.

If the deluge had to carry shells three hundred and four hundred
miles from the sea, it would have carried them mixed with various
other natural objects heaped together; and we see at such distances
oysters all together, and sea-snails, and cuttlefish, and all the
other shells which congregate together, all to be found together and
dead; and the solitary shells are found wide apart from each other,
as we may see them on sea-shores every day. And if we find oysters
of very large shells joined together and among them very many which
still have the covering attached, indicating that they were left
here by the sea, and still living when the strait of Gibraltar was
cut through; there are to be seen, in the mountains of Parma and
Piacenza, a multitude of shells and corals, full of holes, and still
sticking to the rocks there. When I was making the great horse for
Milan, a large sack full was brought to me in my workshop by certain
peasants; these were found in that place and among them were many
preserved in their first freshness.

Under ground, and under the foundations of buildings, timbers are
found of wrought beams and already black. Such were found in my time
in those diggings at Castel Fiorentino. And these had been in that
deep place before the sand carried by the Arno into the sea, then
covering the plain, had heen raised to such a height; and before the
plains of Casentino had been so much lowered, by the earth being
constantly carried down from them.

And if you were to say that these shells were created, and were
continually being created in such places by the nature of the spot,
and of the heavens which might have some influence there, such an
opinion cannot exist in a brain of much reason; because here are the
years of their growth, numbered on their shells, and there are large
and small ones to be seen which could not have grown without food,
and could not have fed without motion--and here they could not move

That in the drifts, among one and another, there are still to be
found the traces of the worms which crawled upon them when they were
not yet dry. And all marine clays still contain shells, and the
shells are petrified together with the clay. From their firmness and
unity some persons will have it that these animals were carried up
to places remote from the sea by the deluge. Another sect of
ignorant persons declare that Nature or Heaven created them in these
places by celestial influences, as if in these places we did not
also find the bones of fishes which have taken a long time to grow;
and as if, we could not count, in the shells of cockles and snails,
the years and months of their life, as we do in the horns of bulls
and oxen, and in the branches of plants that have never been cut in
any part. Besides, having proved by these signs the length of their
lives, it is evident, and it must be admitted, that these animals
could not live without moving to fetch their food; and we find in
them no instrument for penetrating the earth or the rock where we
find them enclosed. But how could we find in a large snail shell the
fragments and portions of many other sorts of shells, of various
sorts, if they had not been thrown there, when dead, by the waves of
the sea like the other light objects which it throws on the earth?
Why do we find so many fragments and whole shells between layer and
layer of stone, if this had not formerly been covered on the shore
by a layer of earth thrown up by the sea, and which was afterwards
petrified? And if the deluge before mentioned had carried them to
these parts of the sea, you might find these shells at the boundary
of one drift but not at the boundary between many drifts. We must
also account for the winters of the years during which the sea
multiplied the drifts of sand and mud brought down by the
neighbouring rivers, by washing down the shores; and if you chose to
say that there were several deluges to produce these rifts and the
shells among them, you would also have to affirm that such a deluge
took place every year. Again, among the fragments of these shells,
it must be presumed that in those places there were sea coasts,
where all the shells were thrown up, broken, and divided, and never
in pairs, since they are found alive in the sea, with two valves,
each serving as a lid to the other; and in the drifts of rivers and
on the shores of the sea they are found in fragments. And within the
limits of the separate strata of rocks they are found, few in number
and in pairs like those which were left by the sea, buried alive in
the mud, which subsequently dried up and, in time, was petrified.

And if you choose to say that it was the deluge which carried these
shells away from the sea for hundreds of miles, this cannot have
happened, since that deluge was caused by rain; because rain
naturally forces the rivers to rush towards the sea with all the
things they carry with them, and not to bear the dead things of the
sea shores to the mountains. And if you choose to say that the
deluge afterwards rose with its waters above the mountains, the
movement of the sea must have been so sluggish in its rise against
the currents of the rivers, that it could not have carried, floating
upon it, things heavier than itself; and even if it had supported
them, in its receding it would have left them strewn about, in
various spots. But how are we to account for the corals which are
found every day towards Monte Ferrato in Lombardy, with the holes of
the worms in them, sticking to rocks left uncovered by the currents
of rivers? These rocks are all covered with stocks and families of
oysters, which as we know, never move, but always remain with one of
their halves stuck to a rock, and the other they open to feed
themselves on the animalcules that swim in the water, which, hoping
to find good feeding ground, become the food of these shells. We do
not find that the sand mixed with seaweed has been petrified,
because the weed which was mingled with it has shrunk away, and this
the Po shows us every day in the debris of its banks.