Talk:Out-of-place artifact

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A lot of this seems like just George McCready Price's "new catastrophism".... which is largely discredited. Then the rest seems like blogs and amateur historians. Trustworthy? Really?-DParker 20:56, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

First of all, if you have evidence that all or even most of the OOParts that I have catalogued in the article are not out-of-place according to uniformitarianism, then I invite you to show it, not just post Talk, Talk, Talk.
And second, uniformitarianism itself never had anything to recommend it but rhetoric. Catastrophism discredited? How?--TerryHTalk 21:01, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
I have concerns about some of this stuff. Some specifics:
  • The fossil handprint has been questioned as being a human handprint by anatomist David Menton[1].
  • Malachite man's in-situ status. (same reference)
  • The Paluxy River footprints are possibly genuine, but there is sufficient doubt to be wary of using them as evidence. [2]
Philip J. Rayment 07:52, 24 May 2008 (EDT)


I was unable to evalute this article with my usual quick glance. This bothers me. :-(

I like articles which make sense, right from the start. This article, on the other hand, gives a superficial definition, cites dozens of examples, and then drifts into a vague discussion.

How about a comparison with the argument for design in Intelligent Design? If something is found which seems "out of place" in the sense that erosion or mutation seems unlikely to have "put it there", this would seem to indicate that someone or Someone put it there by choice.

I'm confused by this article, as I can't tell what point it's making. And if it *is* making a point, why isn't it labeled as an essay? Or presented as the POV of some particular author (or school of thought)?

Argument by article is not what we are about here, are we? (Other than in article exposing liberal bias in politics and academia, of course.) --Ed Poor Talk 10:59, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

This article is in fact written along the lines of a scientific treatise. Such a treatise usually has Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. Here on CP, I have a section called "Data" to substitute for the materials-and-methods and results sections, primarily because what I have written is a meta-analysis of the out-of-place artifact phenomenon. And the point is simply this: according to uniformitarianism and evolutionism, out-of-place artifacts should not exist. And I'm not talking about out-of-place genetic changes. I'm talking about either man-made objects that are anachronistic to their sites, or human fossils found far too deep for uniformitarianism to predict such fossils, or more remarkably yet, in close association with dinosaur fossils.--TerryHTalk 15:47, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
I only had a very quick skim through the article, and I already knew about much of this stuff, but I still had a similar impression to Ed Poor. Perhaps the problem is that this is an encyclopaedia, not a scientific journal, and articles should be written accordingly, and according to our guidelines on academic level.

Very interesting article

You wouldn't call me a YEC, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm always open to, and fascinated by, these sorts of "unexplained events" in science. I think the article is very interesting, and the discussion section, which is ironically often lacking in these sorts of arguments, does a good job with explaining how these unsolved events lead to the conclusion. That being said, I had a couple minor points which, as a total layman, I feel could improve the article. Often when speaking to laymen we forget how little they know! (I know I'm certainly guilty of this).

  • To start, the nail example seems weak. I'm not sure why a nail is an example of something that is out of place. Did the native cultures build their monuments without nails? If so, I didn't know that.
  • The crystal skull: first it says that modern jewlers can't recreate the skull without crushing it, then later says that it would take 300 hours to create. This seems contradictory to me
  • Cabrera stones: a little more description of the stones would be helpful. If there were 20,000 of them they must have been small, but I can't picture how to put surgery instructions on a small stone. Also, the question which comes to mind to me here is "why don't we use them to improve our medical skills?"
  • Wonderstone spheroids: with the exception of the possible self-spinning nature, I don't understand why these are out-of-place.
  • Fossilized finger: again, I think more explanation is needed here
  • I'm afraid I don't know what malachite is. It sounds like a job for Crocoite though ;-)

Even though I said that I liked the discussion section, I think it is still lacking. For example, I see a 4th explanation, for at least some of the artifacts (not necessarily the ones found in strata, but definitely some of the others): modern man has misinterpreted their meanings because they are biased by their knowledge of modern technology. I don't think the alien argument is fully argued. (In fact, I have seen these artifacts used as an example of why possibility number 2 must be true). I find the argument very interesting about the technology Noah could have had available to build his ark. I never thought about it that way. Lastly, I think to conform to style guidelines the last paragraph should be attributed to someone, but since it follows from the paragraph before, I'm not entirely sure about this point.

Like I said, this is a very interesting article, and I hope to see more about these artifacts on CP in the future. In fact, many (if not all) of my queries would probably be answered in an article dedicated to the individual entry, so maybe it's just a matter of time. HelpJazz 11:18, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

To answer your various points:
  • Ancient cultures either carved their monuments out of one piece of stone, or beat them out of one piece of metal (usually gold or something else precious), or built them of carefully interlocking stones. They did not use nails, and they especially did not use metal nails. Therefore such a nail is out-of-place in that context because it is anachronistic to that culture. (Although Tim Lovett has recently theorized that Noah might have used wooden nails to build his Ark.)
  • The crystal skull of Belize: The initial against-the-grain cuts would have been impossible. But then even if a jeweler had gotten past that obstacle, the subsequent shaping of the skull would have required 300 man-hours. One must further ask oneself what kind of culture goes to all that trouble to produce such an exquisite rendering of something so morbid as a human skull.
  • The Cabrera stones were illustrations of surgical procedures. Incredibly, some of them depicted brain transplants. The best thing to do at the moment is to follow the external link from the reference--but perhaps someone might write a main article about this and each of many other OOParts that I mentioned in this article.
  • The Wonderstone spheroids are out-of-place because they are of a metal alloy whose composition does not occur in the wild--and by "the wild" I mean outside of a laboratory, a steel mill, etc. They weren't meteoric, and they weren't ordinary rocks. So what were they doing in a geologic stratum that, according to uniformitarianism, ought to be three billion years old? And why is one of them spinning on its own power--and what is that power? I conclude from the above that they are antediluvian artifacts.
  • The fossilized finger, if it proves out (sadly, the provenance of that finger is lacking), must come from a corpse that itself is a casualty of the Great Flood. One of the most common arguments against a Great Flood is that it did not appear to have any casualties. But when you consider how rare a thing fossilization is, and then remember that we have no way of knowing that the population of the world grew all that much (perhaps they practiced birth control and abortion and cloning and such other nice things that go along with carving quartz skulls), you shouldn't be surprised that we don't have all that many human fossils. Nor should you take the lack of such fossils as a conclusive basis on which to reject the Flood account--especially if you haven't an account that is any better. But this finger might be that Flood casualty that everyone so wanted to insist did not exist.
  • Malachite is a greenish mineral. "Malachite man" refers to a group of human bones partially replaced by this mineral.
With regard to the discussion: Your "fourth explanation" is an extension of the first: "These are not what they should be." The problem is that I am more used to having uniformitarians state that OOParts are deliberate frauds than having them be as charitable as you have just been.
As to ET's: yes, I have heard people say that OOParts must be ET in origin. My counter-argument is twofold:
  1. The galaxy might not have any other place within it that would be hospitable even to a bacterium or a blue-green alga, much less an ET shipwright, admiral, and "swift-boat skipper."
  2. Why would an ET "swift-boat crew" bring an ordinary dry cell with them? Wouldn't you expect their technology of electric energy storage to be a bit more advanced than that, if they could fly between stars?
Perhaps the addressing of these points is a matter of time--time to create individual articles examining separately each OOPart claim, and linking all those articles to this one. And don't think I'm totally finished here. I just got back from the Creation Museum, and I intend to change the Noah's Ark article to reflect the insights that I gained in my visit to that institution. And one of those insights includes a point that OOParts might provide a vital, perhaps overlooked clue to the technology that Noah had available to him.--TerryHTalk 16:09, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for all the clarification. I didn't know they had this stuff at the creation museum. I haven't gotten to it yet. It's about a 40 minute drive from home (close enough that I see the ads everywhere, far enough that it costs a chunk of change in gas money) and the tickets are a bit pricey too, so none of my cheap (I mean wisely-budgeting) friends will go with me. Thanks again for the clarifactions, and I look forward to what else you have in store. HelpJazz 17:10, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
Please don't misunderstand my earlier remark about the Creation Museum. That institution doesn't say anything about OOParts per se. But it does have a display that makes a point in a debate to which OOParts would be an important contributor. That is: it presents a theory that Noah could easily have built his Ark using a technology that combines ancient Egyptian technology with early metallurgy. Metallurgy, because the Bible specifically credits Tubal-Cain, descendant of the House of Cain, with introducing metallurgy to antediluvian civilization. And ancient Egyptian because ancient Egypt was the first of the great superpowers of the known world, post-Flood and post-Babel. And the Egyptians are strongly suspected to have built ocean-going ships that carried colony expeditions to the New World--colonies whose colonists continued as the Aztecs and Incas.
Moreover, you will see models of the Ark that suggest that in addition to its proportions that the Bible cites, the Ark's bow had a protruding underwater member, similar to that found on oil tankers today, and its stern had an upraised vane-like structure specifically intended to make the Ark head into any stiff wind. The result would be a ship that might not be able to make any serious headway, but would be able to ride out even the roughest weather. And remember: the Ark did not require steering. Noah's job was to keep his ship afloat and to let the Ark settle wherever it would as the waters receded. In fact, within this week I intend to have a few images of scale models of the Ark that reflect the current thinking at the museum and within the Answers in Genesis organization.
The point about OOParts, in relation to the Ark, is that OOParts suggest that antediluvian civilization might have been more advanced than that of ancient Egypt--or ancient Babylonia, ancient Persia, ancient Greece, or even ancient Rome. We cannot know how advanced that civilization was, because the Flood wiped it out in a few heartbeats, with walls of water maybe 1.6-2.0 kilometers high. (In one exhibit, you'll see a video showing what the Flood might have looked and felt like, to any unfortunate observer on sea or land, and even to any observer in low-Earth orbit.) All this to say that antediluvian civilization might have been fairly well advanced indeed—but the Museum makes clear that such advancement was not necessary, nor did Noah need to use the highest technology at his command in order to do the job that God told him to do.--TerryHTalk 17:39, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
This was such a fascinating article. I found this from a link in the "Ice" book review on the front page - also a very interesting article. - Taj 18:03, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

To take up HelpJazz' point, you (TerryH) have answered his question here, but they should be answered in the article. Philip J. Rayment 21:55, 1 April 2008 (EDT)