Essay:Out-of-place Artifacts, ET's, and the Great Flood

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Out-of-place Artifacts, ET's, and the Great Flood

Out-of-place artifacts are either:

  1. Artifacts, i.e. objects that intelligent beings have built, that are found within archaeological digs among other objects of a culture that could not have produced the objects in question.
  2. Artifacts found buried in deep time, i.e. in geologic strata that, according to the assumptions of uniformitarianism, ought to be millions or even billions of years old.
  3. Human fossils, especially fossils buried in deep time.
  4. Physical evidence of dinosaur-human coexistence.

To conceive of anything being "out of place" requires a concept of the "proper place" of any technological artifact or fossil. For most OOParts now known, that concept depends on geological uniformitarianism and the related concept of deep time, because these artifacts were recovered from a geologic stratum allegedly millions of years old. For others, the concept of "technological place" depends on the widely-held concept of the linear development of cultures. Thus, for example, the Egyptians are not supposed to have developed any of the flight sciences, while the Saqqara Bird suggests that they, or else some other civilization that once held the land where Egypt now stands, did—centuries before Leonardo da Vinci would speculate on building a flying machine, let alone before Orville and Wilbur Wright would demonstrate their own prototype. And a fossil is out-of-place if it is buried in an unexpected stratum or in association with other organisms that are not supposed to be contemporary with it, according to current understandings of evolution.

Archaeologists normally expect a few OOParts that violate the linear-development paradigm. The history of the world is replete with examples of cultures conquering other cultures but not preserving all of the technological knowledge that the conquered had developed or amassed. The fall of the Roman Empire is an obvious example. So one might expect to find artifacts in lands that Rome once occupied that are more technologically advanced than the artifacts of the Middle Ages. Still, the artifacts thus found are not truly out-of-place if they reflect the technology that the former occupiers had. But the Inca nail suggests a culture that would not occupy the land until centuries later than the period of the Spanish Empire. Furthermore, the crystal skull of Belize bespeaks a technology that far surpasses any that mankind possesses even today.

The finding of OOParts in deep-time-associated geologic strata is even more difficult to explain. Such findings have engendered feverish speculation and present several striking dilemmas for archaeologists, geologists, and evolutionists.

OOParts can be only one of three things, and each possibility has its devoted champions:

  1. The artifacts involved either are forgeries, are subject to misinterpretation due to underestimation of the technology of any given culture, or represent modern artifacts introduced into an archaeological or paleontological dig by accident.
  2. The artifacts were placed in their respective locations by extraterrestrial scouts or soldiers in an earlier visit to, or occupation of, the Earth.
  3. The artifacts are those of antediluvian, or pre-Flood, civilization.

The best argument against the forgery/misinterpretation/accident possibility is the sheer number of such artifacts. In addition, some of the arguments advanced to discredit some of these artifacts raise more questions than they pretend to answer. For example, when Talk.Origins says that a mineworker carried an iron pot into a coal mine and then dropped it so that someone else would find it later, they cannot explain why the mineworker would have such a pot as part of his equipment.

Those who believe that extraterrestrial scouts once visited the Earth frequently try to connect the OOParts with such scouting crews. But their argument has two problems:

  1. Recent evidence suggests that the Earth and the solar system are very special places, that almost had to be designed with human life in mind. Indeed, the galaxy wherein we reside might have no other place within it that would be hospitable even to a bacterium or a blue-green alga, much less to an ET shipwright, admiral, or "swift boat skipper." To be more specific, the galaxy probably has a very thin "habitable zone" that might be no broader than the range between the perigalacticon and apogalacticon of the Sun's orbit. And even within that range, a habitable world might not be possible outside the relatively sparsely populated region in which the Sun resides.[1]
  2. Many of the artifacts found (like the crystal skull of Belize) do represent a stunningly advanced technology. Others, however, represent a technology no more advanced than that of any civilization in existence as of the early twenty-first century, or even the middle twentieth. Why, then, would an ET "swift boat crew" bring an ordinary dry-cell battery with them? Surely one would expect their equipment to represent the same sort of far-advanced culture that could support and mount an expedition from one star to another.

This leaves the third possibility, that the artifacts found in geologic strata are in fact clues to the technology of pre-Flood man. If one abandons uniformitarianism, then one can readily interpret the entire geologic column as flood silt. The artifacts then would represent clues to the highest level of technological advancement that Noah had to work with when he designed and built his Ark. That level might be far higher than Bible scholars have previously assumed, and would go far to answering many of the technological objections that some have raised to the story of how anyone could even build a wooden cargo ship more than 165 meters long, much less how such a ship could ride through the onslaught of a wall of water 1.5 to 2.0 kilometers high and then stay afloat for more than a year.

Early post-Flood cultures did not, of course, develop with more than a fraction of the technologies that OOParts represent. Some technologies, like the one responsible for the crystal skull of Belize, remain far beyond the capabilities of modern civilizations. To answer this objection, the novelist Shane Johnson, in his novel Ice, reminded his readers that most end-users of any given technology would never be able to reinvent those technologies even if asked or somehow forced by circumstance.[2] The Global Flood destroyed every civilization then extant, and in the process destroyed or buried deep all traces of antediluvian technology—and the Bible nowhere credits Noah, Shem, Ham, or Japheth with any particular technological prowess outside of their obvious signal achievement in shipbuilding.


  1. Hodges, Bodie. "The Flood: Whom Do You Trust?" Lecture delivered at the Creation Museum and Family Discovery Center, Petersburg, Kentucky, USA, March 28, 2008.
  2. Johnson, Shane. Ice: The Greatest Truths Hide in the Darkest Shadows. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Waterbrook Press, 2002. 395 pages, paperback. ISBN 1578565480. The plot-theme of this novel includes the discovery of what would, if found, be the most incredible OOPart to date.