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A Geological Timescale for Creationists

Last Updated: 26th Mar 2012





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Hilarious! Any mineral collector should know that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old. If they refuse to accept this fact, they are not deserving of the very things they 'study'.

Phil M. Belley
26th Mar 2012 10:13pm
Jolyon, I got a good kick out of the geological timescale :). I am a Creationist, but I still thought it was very funny. Of course, if you look at billions of years from my perspective, it seems just as preposterous ;).

Philip Simmons
26th Mar 2012 11:56pm
Thanks Jolyon,
After a tough day loaded down with a ton of mail to deliver, I found your Creationist Geological Timescale and had a rousing good laugh! Somewhere, Archbishop Ussher is not too amused! Maybe you could provide a video of all the animals fleeing the flood showing all those intellectually superior mammals scrambling to get to high ground so that they could appear last in the geological column!

Dana Slaughter
27th Mar 2012 4:25am
Ah yes, who could forget that James Clerk Maxwell famously own a pet Triceratops named Mittens.

Harris Mason
27th Mar 2012 4:47am
The Egyptian Times: By splitting the water of the Red Sea, Mozes unwillingly caused a first wave of regional mass extinction of single celled organisms and amoebae. Suspected butterfly effect suspected to occur, causing Neanderthals taking over the world on November 6th, 2008

Philip Mostmans
27th Mar 2012 9:08am
Philip Simmons, 14C in diamonds is caused by exposure of N (which is found in diamond) to radiation, especially in the non-depleted part of the mantle, where radioactive isotopes remain in important quantity. The research you are citing, which I have reviewed before, claims that based on the 14C dating, the age of the diamond would be 55,000 years old. Much older than the young-earth creationist age of the Earth.

I have also previously reviewed the Helium study you cite, and even the popularly cited Ar-Ar (K/Ar) dating. These two studies had severe design flaws (especially with sampling).

How do you think the fossil record, and more importantly, the stratigraphic record came to be? Do you know what a tempestite is? How about herringbone structures? I hope you realize how complex and intricate our strat record is. How do you reconcile tectonic movement with your faith? How do you explain current element concentrations in sea water while ignoring residence times and weathering rates? Lastly, how do you explain Archean uraninite paleoplacers such as Witwatersrand and Elliot Lake?

It is laughable, if not greatly pathetic, that young-Earth creationists have only 2 crutches: A superficial, incomplete and flawed understanding of geological processes (both small and large scales, and their relation) - and a reliance on poor 'research' consisting entirely of uninformed, misleading studies that cannot be replicated without cheating.

I am not "blindly" quoting the fact that the Earth is 4.55 Ga. I am backed geochemistry, stratigraphy, a myriad of radiogenic isotopes - millions of studies that have been proven to work. You have a handful of poor 'studies' as cherry-picked examples that can be misrepresented in order to reinforce religious ideology.

You accuse me of being naive or not having studied the material in detail. Perhaps this is a case of the Dunning-Kruger Effect on your part.

Phil M. Belley
27th Mar 2012 3:28pm
*to clarify, the diamond 'research' (which was conducted by young-Earth creationists) is indeed incorrect in its measurement that the age of the Earth is 55ka for the reason mentioned above. It is just hilarious that they refuse to acknowledge that 55ka is much older than their idea of the age of the Earth (6-10ka), and have said that this is "beside the point."

Phil M. Belley
27th Mar 2012 3:32pm
Damn! That proves I am as old as dirt!

Mike Jensen
27th Mar 2012 8:37pm
Brilliant Jolyon. All of my past arguments with creationist family and friends just melted away.



Jake Harper
28th Mar 2012 4:44am
Free climbing on Finale Ligure cliffs was born in 1967. This makes perfect sense with the Oligocenic age of the Pietra di Finale complex...
GREAT, I'm still laughing now, but how many creationists will get the point?

Roberto Bracco
28th Mar 2012 9:06am
Brilliant Jolyon, that makes some things very clear.
My grantparents where born in 1890 in the cretaceous period so they lived the first world war who started in the late cretaceous. Then the second world war when Hitler took te power in the paleocene and the war started in the eocene. I will allways remember my grantparents telling me about heards of dinosaurs running in the fields where they where born, on the countryside, off course. I allways taught it was a bedtime tale. THEY WHERE RIGHT.
The root of my family are going back to the 1411, in the ordovician, as De Bond. In 1512 a T was added to our family name, probably by an middle devonian priest. In that time they where fisherman and they probably caught trilobites. NOW I know that the T comes from the trilobites. It was no error by the priest. It was way to soon for T-rex slayers.

Now something serious.
Look at a T-rex closely. Massive back legs, short front legs and a long balance tale.
Compare this with a kangoeroe. Imagine that T-rex was jumping like a kangoeroe. If that is proven, that would be the revolution of the century. No, seriously.
I hope this helps.
Take care and best regards.
Paul De Bondt.

Paul De Bondt
28th Mar 2012 9:29am
Mr. Phil Belley,

I apologize if you feel that I was pointing my "naive or has not studied the matter in detail" remark directly at you. You obviously have studied the topic in detail, and thus do not fall under the terms which I included in my original comment. The purpose of my statement was not to call people with an educated background "naive" or "ignorant", but to address the TYPE of comment you posted, of which I have heard far too often. Basically, the gist of this type of comment is, "You're a Creationist, so you are ignorant, have no intelligence, don't deserve to enjoy the wonderful natural beauty of rocks and minerals...and let's face it, you just suck at life, period." The thing that people making these type of comments fail to realize, or even try to care about, is that there are a lot of very educated people who believe in Creation and that have put an immense amount of time and research into the science that is the foundation for what they believe. I, for one, have a Bachelor's of Mining Engineering with focus on Geology degree from a very good school, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. My father has a bachelor's and masters (chemistry and geology) from New Mexico Tech as well as a PhD (education) from the University of New Mexico. I also know quite a few Creationists who have their PhDs in physics, chemistry, nuclear energy, etc. that now work for, or have worked for, two of the most prestigious research labs in the USA (Los Alamos National Labs, Sandia National Labs). In fact, recent studies show that there are over 10,000 SCIENTISTS who believe in a young earth, and over three times as many that believe in Intelligent Design. Are you willing to call all of us ignorant, “undeserving of study” and “pathetic”? That, sir, is a very serious charge.

I also want to further address your response on the C-14 found in diamond crystals. If the radiation of N is the cause for the presence of C-14 measured, where then were the curious lack of fission tracks found within the crystals themselves? Why then was there little presence of radiation discoloration? Isn’t the fact that you cite radiation as the cause of C-14 in diamond counter-intuitive to the whole radiometric dating assumptions in the first place (contamination)?

You mention that the studies on Helium in zircons and Ar-Ar dating had severe design flaws. Would you care to elaborate? It’s hard for me to understand your viewpoint on the matter if the criticism you present is very vague.
I am not familiar with the issue with Archean uraninite paleoplacers. Maybe you could help me understand what the problem is supposed to be.

Why do you think I have to reconcile tectonic movement with what I believe? It seems to me that you have placed me in a box as to how I think, what I believe, etc.

What about the Bear tracks that were found in Permian age sandstone near Las Cruces, New Mexico (Smithsonian magazine July, 1992)? What about the UNFOSSILIZED t-rex tissue found in Montana by Mary Schweitzer? How would soft tissue last for 70 million years? What about the curious abundance of helium contained within many rocks over a very long span of geologic time? I have only pointed out a few things, but the list goes on and on.

Oh, and by the way, the “proven work” done to display the “fact” that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old is based on the assumptions that (here you go, you know the deal):
1) Lack of daughter elements to begin the process
2) Decay rate has been uniform throughout time
3) There was no contamination in the process

I don’t want to get too long winded in the comment, so if you’re willing to talk about this further on the message boards, I would be happy to start a topic there.



Philip Simmons
29th Mar 2012 1:14am
Well, seems that Mary Schweitzer, a palentologist and a christian, is happy to accept they are 68 million years old, and she probably knows a lot more about the science of this than you and I would ever know.

She's also quite upset that creationists are distorting her work to try to back their theories.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur.html

It's one thing to say that some new evidence needs to be understood to see if there are any assumptions we have made about the world that are wrong, and to try to come up with new theories to explain these.

It's entirely another thing to start with a belief and then to cherry-pick evidence (some of which is distorted and/or just plain wrong) to reinforce your view.

That is not science, it's nowhere close to science, and does not belong on this site.

I'm sure that Phil would not want to say that the 10,000 scientists who believe in a young earth are ignorant, underserving of study and pathetic. But they are wrong. And wrapping up a religious belief and trying to sell it as scientific fact is absolutely wrong.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph
29th Mar 2012 12:15pm
What Jolyon said. Some creationist scientists are surely brilliant (except the research geologists). Perhaps I should write an article on the age of the Earth this summer.

Phil M. Belley
29th Mar 2012 12:52pm
As far as the dinosaurs and their extinction, I like this theory: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=410885292274263&set=a.223098324386295.105971.205344452828349&type=1&theater

Harjo Neutkens
30th Mar 2012 11:30pm
Trouble is that creationists can argue that the apparent old age was created to keep the scientists amused, kind of like modern furniture made to look old.

Reiner Mielke
31st Mar 2012 1:05am
If there is an omnipotent god then he can alter the laws of physics at his/her whim and all the "science" issues become meaningless.

Re the 10,000 scientists believing in a young earth, are these "Creation scientists" or real scientists? -very different people! From my experience probably less than 1% of scientist would have such beliefs, at least in Australia, so there maybe a million scientifically trained scientists worlwide who believe in an old earth? Could be. A great many scientists are open minded to the idea of god, it's just that we like to work with the facts first and draw theories and conclusions from them, not the other way about. We would accept god as a factor if there were no other models that fitted the data better. But you cannot cherry pick data to suit yourself, as fundamentalists do with the bible. If they accept the biblical creation story unreservedly then they must also accept the rulings on adultery, slavery, prisoners of war, children, etc, many very unpalatable to civilized people. But the old testament was written to help organize a primitive, violent society, the new testament to help Roman society, rather more civilized, but still out of touch with present societal values. But all religions will push the bits they like and ignore other parts ( thank goodness in many cases, to much eye for an eye etc, still). Well, I guess that's my soul damned for eternity!

Re dating rocks, yes contamination etc is a problem, but the work usually involves analysing a lot of grains and different samples, and if the results don't fall on a radioactive growth curve, you know there are problems. Dates may still be out by tens of millions of years, but that's still tens of millions of years older than Ushers earth!

Ralph Bottrill
31st Mar 2012 4:28am
Ralph,

If you were familiar with Christianity, you would understand that we believe God was the creator of the laws of physics, so why would he change them at his every whim? Furthermore, as a "fundamentalist" I do not cherry-pick from the Bible what I do and do not believe, but study and research every passage, especially if the passages seem to contradict each other. I do not want to get into Christian ideologies on this website, but I will say that we believe that all the laws and rules present within the old testament have been rendered obsolete with the work of one man.

The majority of the 10,000 scientists, are what you term "real scientists" that believe in creation. Many of these people work at some of the most respected research laboratories in the the world including Los Alamos National Labs and Sandia National Labs in New Mexico. In fact, my father and I have personally known a good many of them. By the way, the results of this study only covered the United States. I would guess that there are a good many more across the world.

The purpose of my replies has not been to prove creation or disprove evolution, but to give people the idea that the so called "fact" that the Earth is 4.55 bilion years old is not based purely on fact at all, but on measureable rates that have some major assumptions built into them. There are also many instances in which these measureable rates (K-Ar, Pb-Pb, Rb-Sr, C-14, etc.) significantly conflict with each other, even within the same rock units. This discordance in the data then sheds some light on the supposed absolute "fact" that the Earth is indeed 4.55 billion years old, especially if the Earth was dated using these same methods. Just a little food for thought.

Philip

Philip Simmons
2nd Apr 2012 2:59am
Jolyon,

Sorry I’m getting long winded. I’m going to have to post my response in more than one stage.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Please read Mr. Belley's comments above. In fact he does call creationists undeserving of study and pathetic, without saying so directly. These are direct quotes from what he has posted above:

"Any mineral collector should know that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old. If they refuse to accept this fact, they are not deserving of the very things they 'study'."

"It is laughable, if not greatly pathetic, that young-Earth creationists have only 2 crutches: A superficial, incomplete and flawed understanding of geological processes (both small and large scales, and their relation) - and a reliance on poor 'research' consisting entirely of uninformed, misleading studies that cannot be replicated without cheating."

He further implies that I myself am ignorant in his reference to the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Remember, the intent of my original comment was not to attack anybody, but to dispel the idea that because I don't accept the prevailing theory that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, I am not deserving of studying some of the things I enjoy the most in life (minerals). I hold absolutely nothing against Mr. Belley for his comments, it just saddens me that people make generalized comments like this without realizing that the people they are down-grading are very intelligent as well. I also completely disagree with creationists that do the same type of thing. This sort of “name calling” has absolutely no place in science.


Philip Simmons
2nd Apr 2012 3:03am
I am also familiar with the work done by Mary Schweitzer. Apart from reading the article you posted (I read it several years ago), I have also seen a documentary on Mary and the work she has done. From what I read in the article, the problem Mary has with creationists that “misrepresent” her work is based more from a faith standpoint than a scientific standpoint. Quoting the article,

For her, science and religion represent two different ways of looking at the world; invoking the hand of God to explain natural phenomena breaks the rules of science. After all, she says, what God asks is faith, not evidence. “If you have all this evidence and proof positive that God exists, you don’t need faith. I think he kind of designed it so that we’d never be able to prove his existence. And I think that’s really cool.”

That’s her viewpoint. See, she already has a bias built in that says science cannot prove the existence of God, and that trying to explain science by “invoking the hand of God” breaks all the rules. I am not trying to denigrate her viewpoint because I also believe that science cannot prove the existence of God (I believe it can point the way), but I wanted to bring your attention to the fact that Mary has pre-conceived biases that are a basis for what she believes, as do the rest of us. You say that she probably knows more about the age of the rocks than either you or I, which is most likely true, but has she done original research in this area herself, or is she basing her work on somebody else’s dates (with their own set of biases)? I find that many times it’s more of a he said-she said scenario than a result of original research and/or critical thinking (both for creationists and evolutionists).

Concerning cherry-picking evidence, I have listed several examples of problems concerning long-age theories to show people that the methods for which these ages are determined are not without error. In fact there are hundreds, if not thousands, of books and technical papers written specifically for the purpose of addressing these issues. So no, I am not cherry-picking the few things that support my beliefs, but rather pointing out a few instances, out of a great many, that are intended to show people that these scientific facts are sometimes as fallible as the scientists who study them. On the other hand, why do many evolutionists feel the need to discard evidence that does not agree with their theories on the age of the Earth, such as the discordance of different dates of the same rock unit calculated by radiometric dating methods? If radiometric dating methods are as foolproof as most evolutionists say they are, shouldn’t the calculated ages be approximately the same? If you are interested in talking about more of these issues (both for creationism and evolution), I would be happy to oblige.

Another question is why do you believe all creationists are wrong? Forgive me for being blunt, but have you personally reviewed these scientific papers and determined them all to be false? What drives you to say that all creationists are wrong, when a large portion of them are real scientists (not just creation scientists) that work with scientific data for their whole career? These are the same scientists that work at some of the most respected research laboratories in the world. I’m not trying to be confrontational, but when you discount the work done by these experts, you are indirectly saying you know more than they do.

Best Regards,
Philip Simmons

By the way, it was nice to meet you at the Tucson show this year. Hopefully I will see you there again next year.


Philip Simmons
2nd Apr 2012 3:04am
> but has she done original research in this area herself, or is she basing her work on somebody else’s dates (with their own set of biases)?

Are you saying that unless you have done original research in the area you should not hold a view on the subject? Have you done original research in the area?

>Another question is why do you believe all creationists are wrong?

Because the generally established model (universe age around 15 billion years, earth age around 4.6 billion years, evolution of life) fits so well with the evidence that I can see with my own eyes. Science works.



Jolyon & Katya Ralph
2nd Apr 2012 3:44pm
>> but has she done original research in this area herself, or is she basing her work on somebody else’s dates (with their own set of biases)?

> Are you saying that unless you have done original research in the area you should not hold a view on the subject? Have you done original research in the area?

I'm not trying to say this. Maybe I worded the sentence incorrectly. The point I was trying to make is that in many instances people see a name on top of a paper and automatically assume, "Well, he/she said it, so it must be true", without really trying to understand or research the work and biases that are the foundation for such a paper. Actually, I would love to talk to Mary to see why she believes the things she does.

>> Another question is why do you believe all creationists are wrong?

> Because the generally established model (universe age around 15 billion years, earth age around 4.6 billion years, evolution of life) fits so well with the evidence that I can see with my own eyes. Science works.

I agree with you; science works. But as humans, we all make mistakes and include our biases, so even though the science behind our hypotheses might be sound, our hypotheses might be wrong based on error or bias. If you had not known of the work on b-rex done by Mary, would you have believed that the survival of soft tissue was probable or even possible after almost 70 million years in the ground? Remember, this is one of many examples that don't quite match up with evolutionary ages.


Philip Simmons
2nd Apr 2012 11:12pm
I made a joke here earlier, but now to be serious...
This whole discussion boils down to the fundamental process by which scientific progress is made. Much of science (not all) relies heavily on assumptions based on the best measuring device or scientific records available at the time of the discovery. Much of the math underlying quantum mechanics is all based on (good) assumptions and approximations of physical behavior, but we still have cell phones and MRI machines. Also to state that in order to understand, publish, or even talk about science requires that we are all experts are carbon dating or paleontology or the Higgs Boson is absurd (this why there there can be ten authors on a paper...). The level of complexity involved with modern science prevents a detailed understanding of every subject. (see a recent column in the recent Scientific American which sums this up perfectly) Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for science to progress forward that we trust much of the work that has come before us. That is not to say that skepticism has no place, but that if all we do is try to prove others wrong science will not move forward. It is not my place to mold what other people believe, and I think that people are entitled to their own beliefs. When science and belief meet the results are often messy, but they can coexist. I really hope that we can stop pounding this issue into the ground and just come to a rational understanding that it is hard if not impossible to change a persons mind when they believe something strongly. It is, however, important to set aside personal beliefs and biases when critically analyzing scientific findings no matter what side of the issue you are on.

Harris Mason
3rd Apr 2012 5:35am
Philip Simmons, you are a living contradiction:

"I am a Creationist"
"I agree with you; science works."

And, not sorry to be blunt, a prime example of how religion makes people blind to anything that doesn't fit their belief.

Uwe Kolitsch
6th Apr 2012 8:37am
Philip I know I should not argue religion, its like beating your head against a wall, but your hypocritical poppycock deserves some response when you attack science, so for the sake of people like you who really dont understand how science works, I will say a few last words. Scientists are is not just people who have taken a course and memorised a few facts and theories, as with religious students, its a way of thinking where you learn to look gather data, and analyse and interpet it to fit into existing models or theories. If the data does not fit you firstly look for problems with the data and assumptions, if they are OK you look at refining the models or even making new ones. Its a very critical and sceptical process with a lot of checks and balances, mostly with the peer-review process, both formal and informal, which means that bad data and/or models will sooner or later be show up and replaced. There is also a lot of networking with specialists in areas you are not expert in, to minimise assumptions and mistakes. Of course there are always assumptions, we all live with assumptions like when we go to work in the morning you assume the car will work, the house wont burn down and your wife run off with the milkman, but we live with these sort of things by trying to be aware and conciencous etc. Scientific assumptions are continually being tested, refined and removed. We may get less sceptical as we age but luckily there are always younger scientists coming along and questioning the status quo. The scientific principles behind evolution and age dating are the same as that behind computers, jet planes, medicine, etc - science does work despite some assumptions and approximations, and getting very hard for others to understand. There is no way you can fit the history of the earth into the creation myth without ignoring the laws of physics (see Ian Plimers "Telling Lies for God"). Compare scientific assumptions with religious ones, where you have perhaps the worlds biggest assumptions: firstly that there is an interventionist god (who has apparently ignored us for the last 2000 yrs) secondly that we can understand the mind of god (a bit like bacteria pretending they understand us I reckon), and thirdly that the original writers of the holy books all had every word they wrote dictated exactly by god and preserved exactly. And of course these religious assumptions cannot be tested or even questioned.
I cannot believe you can say you consider the old testament obsolete then demand we believe in the creation myth - its like saying you believe in Father Christmas but you know he doesnt you presents! Huh? I had a religious education (mostly wasted), and read a lot of the bible so am well aware of the many contradictions and immoral teachings you happily ignore, but read it sceptically as we all should, as a curious mixture of history and myths. Again you should read Ian Plimers "Telling Lies for God", as that is what you are doing, why he should need that sort of help we dont know, I would have thought he/she would rather we use are brains to think with. OK I know you will have damned my soul to hell by now but hope that I made you question yourself a little rather than just parrot the thoughts of numerous writers from thousands of years ago, whos words have been highly editted, translated, expurgated, etc but you still somehow consider them to be the undeniable word of god. Most scientists dont have a problem with the concept of god, we just dont accept that anyone can provide good evidence yet, its all based just upon thoughts in a few ancient peoples heads, brainwashed into young, unsceptical children. Our present society needs more free thinking and humanity and less blind belief.

Ralph Bottrill
6th Apr 2012 2:58pm
It is sad that young earth creationists make the Bible look so stupid. It starts "In the beginning...the earth" so the Earth can be 4.55 billion years old. The 'days' are later processes. Also 2:4, a page later, says 'the time...the day of their being made.' So 'day' can mean several things. Remove dogmatic interpretations, and the Bible harmonizes well w/ true science (not necessarily theories). Mindaters would really appreciate Deu. 8:9 "...a land the stones of which are iron, and out of the mountains you will mine copper." My kind of promised land! Take care.
Mike

D Mike Reinke
7th Apr 2012 1:35am
Uwe,

I'm curious as to why you say I'm a living contradiction. Are you saying that because I believe in creation and science I'm contradicting myself? What is your basis for saying this? Do you know what I believe, what evidence I see for a young Earth? How can you judge me when you have absolutely no idea what I think, who I am, what knowledge I have?

I know a good amount of material on what we've been talking about here, but I will be the first to admit that considering the whole scope of science, I know very little, just like everybody else on Mindat. We have our areas of expertise, but there is so much more information available (and being discovered everyday) that it is impossible to come close to knowing everything, even in our own respective fields.

Philip Simmons
8th Apr 2012 11:26pm
So, 10,000 scientists believe in a young earth, according to Philip Simmons. Source please! I have learned by experience never, ever, ever to take a creationist claim at face value. It must always be checked. And what level of "scientist" are we talking about here? And how relevant are their backgrounds? I am reminded of the infamous "Oregon Petition" beloved of global warming deniers. This list of 32,000 or so "scientists" who doubt global warming turned out to be a list of graduates in fields as diverse as dentistry and electrical engineering, and it was not clear how many of them even work in the fields they trained in. Merely having a degree in a vaguely "sciencey" subject does not make one a scientist. It would also be more informative to know what the number of young earth scientists is in % terms. If there are ten million (say) scientists in the world, and just 10,000 are young earthers, then that's a derisory 0.1 %. Even allowing his claim, how many of Simmons' "scientists" are called "Steve"? Or "Stephen", "Stefan", "Stephanie" or some other variation of the name? In response to creationists boasting about the numbers of scientists they feel are on their side, the National Center for Science Education, in America, responded with a list of pro-evolution scientists. But, rather than have any Tom, Dick or Harry with a degree join, they restricted it only to PhD level scientists called "Steve" (or "Stephen", "Stefan" etc., in memory of Stephen J. Gould). Currently they have 1203 Steves. http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve As Steves make up only about 1 % of the USA population (although the list is not exclusively of USA scientists) that corresponds to around 120,000 PhD level scientists. Belief in young earth creationism declines as educational achievement rises, and is insignificant amongst scientists.
Dr Stephen Moreton PhD
NCSE Steve #660

Stephen Moreton
9th Apr 2012 3:14pm
I have lost count of the number of creationist, and especially young-earth creationist, claims I have checked over the years. I have even written a few articles debunking them (the last four entries here: http://www.mindat.org/article.php/305/My+bibliography ). I have attended creationist lectures, read creationist literature, watched creationist presentations on youtube, engaged with them in on-line forums, and in letters to the editor. I have been lied to by them, I have witnessed them lying in person to entire audiences, I have uncovered outright fibs in their published articles. I have found them using, over and over again, the same tired old arguments that have been refuted ad nauseam, misrepresenting and quoting people out of context, using misidentified and even faked "evidence" and, probably above all else, lying by omission - i.e. leaving out anything that contradicts them. Sadly, the arguments Simmons uses are the same old garbage that has been done to death endlessly, and I have not the time to do the PRATT dance with each of them (Points Refuted A Thousand Times). The answers are available through the usual anti-creationist sites (talkorgins.org, noanswersingenesis.org.au etc., and links therein).

As Mary Schweitzer's dinosaur proteins got a particular mention above I'll make a few observations on them here. I remember when she isolated T. rex protein remnants, and the creationists excitedly proclaimed that protein could not survive so many millions of years. It just couldn't! Well why not? Creationists eagerly cited theoretical studies of the kinetics of protein degradation, but these were largely studies of protein in solution. The protein in bones is not in solution. Creationists ignored work by Prof. Matthew Collins and others at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (he's now at York Uni.), here in the U.K., showing that bone protein is stabilised by binding to the calcium in bone and in that form could potentially persist for millions of years. The brute fact is that nobody actually knows just what the limits are for survival of protein protected inside bone in the right conditions, and it will not do to cherry-pick a few unrealistic studies, ignore others, and then proclaim long-term survival is not possible. Creationists should have heeded the final words of Schweitzer's paper: "the discovery of collagen in this well-preserved dinosaur supports the use of actualistic conditions to formulate molecular degradation rates and models, rather than relying on theoretical or experimental extrapolations derived from conditions that do not occur in nature."

There is one other aspect of this saga that speaks volumes about the mind-set of creationists, and it doesn't even require any technical knowledge of how osteocalcin binds to collagen and to inorganic calcium, or of the kinetics of protein decomposition. In fact nothing technical at all. It is so glaringly obvious that only someone totally blinkered by religious zeal could possibly be blind to it. If all these dinosaur bones are only about 4,500 years old (the time of Noah's flood according to creationist mythology) then, just like archaeological material that really is just a few thousand years old, they should be packed full of protein, and even DNA! Isolating protein from them, and even complete DNA sequences, should be a matter of routine. Instead, it has taken decades of effort, by various teams of scientists, to finally come up with tiny traces of highly degraded, racemized fragments of protein from just a few of the very best preserved bones. Could Philip Simmons tell us why, please?

Stephen Moreton
9th Apr 2012 4:47pm
I have made a mistake in addressing the false claims of Mr. Simmons (he has deleted his message) in which he says that diamond 14C dating proves the Earth is young. Although 14N + n -> 14C would be a possible method of formation of 14C in diamond, the diamonds still all date from many Ma. In actuality, the presence of 14C appears to be contamination: see http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007NIMPB.259..282T

Phil M. Belley
9th Apr 2012 6:05pm
Well done Philippe. Honesty, and a willingness to admit errors, are traits lacking in creationists. Neutron capture by N-14 is, however, the origin of the trace amounts of C-14 sometimes present in fossil fuels. It even correlates with U & Th content (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/c14.html & cdsweb.cern.ch/record/636433/files/0308025.pdf). Despite this having been known for a decade creationists still peddle the C-14 in fossil fuels argument. (I came across it most recently in their newly released DVD "Set in Stone"). To continue using an argument that has been fully, and satisfactorily, answered (and they must know it has) is lying. I cannot think of a polite way of saying it. It is lying. Period. Dishonesty such as this really irritates me, and is probably a large part of the reason why virtually all scientists regard creationism with contempt.

Stephen Moreton
10th Apr 2012 4:55pm
the problem is that religion has this built in "If you demonstrably contradict me it makes my faith stronger you pitiful heathen" clause, I used to argue with these people because I thought I could corrupt them and make them realise they were delusional, but then I realised it just makes them worse. it makes them feel like an oppressed minority, best thing to do is ignore them. You could tell them the truth till your dead and if it aint in that little book they worship your really wasting your time. Best thing to say is ... you think what you think and ill think what I think ... and leave em to it. in my opinion anyway

David Bruno
11th Apr 2012 9:52pm
David. You are absolutely right about the mentality of creationists. Trying to reason with them only makes them feel besieged, and they dig their heels in further and become even more obstinate in their delusion. And I know of people who will not engage with them for this very reason. However, if nobody debunked their arguments then they “win” by default. It creates the illusion that they have a point, and that they are being ignored because their opponents can’t counter their arguments. So we are in a catch 22 situation. Argue with them, and thereby harden their attitudes, or don’t, which only “confirms” to them that they are right, and that we are frightened of the “Truth”.

The reason I do debunk them is not to try and convert them. There is no chance of opening a mind that is welded shut. But to show to others that the creationists’ arguments are bullshit. Then the undecided can see that creationist claims do have answers, creationists are dishonest, and almost nothing creationists say can be taken on trust. It also provides ammunition for those in the front line. Like schoolteachers confronted with students primed by pastors (or imams) to ask “awkward” questions.

And there is another reason to counter these people. Creationism comes with a whole lot of other ideological baggage, much of it reactionary and pernicious. One only has to look at the social attitudes of some of the USA Republican candidates, who are sympathetic to creationism, to see what I mean. So, immensely time consuming and irritating though it is, we have to defend reason and science from the blinkered bigots who would turn the clock back 200 years or more if they had the chance.


Stephen Moreton
12th Apr 2012 5:24pm
Hey, guys, can we chill? Jolyon set out a witty, funny expose of a strange idea, and he acknowledges Mary Schweitzer as a christian, w/o added critique. O.K. so coelacanth discovered America, not columbus, in 1492, too cool! I've not yet seen where Jolyon has turned Mindat into a site for bashing religious ideas, much as he may not like them. No need to get upset. The book they claim to represent says a lot about deception, and reaping...
If we are all an accident, then don't get upset, because nothing matters anyway. Think your own creed through to it's logical conclusion.
I don't reject science because I've met some arrogant scientists, or science gave us the bomb. (Thanks!) Let's leave the 'we've got to stop them' mentality off of Mindat. Appreciate it.

D Mike Reinke
12th Apr 2012 9:56pm
Hi Mike,

Your comment "If we are all an accident, then don't get upset, because nothing matters anyway." is a typical point made by creationist apologists. Merely because we have evolved (and are not the pinnacle of Creation) doesn't exclude our lives from meaning or joy or fulfillment. I am often posed with the nonsensical argument that without religion there can be no morality, etc. and that the nonbeliever is left to his/her own whims to lead a purposeless and decadent life. This couldn't be farther from the truth and the argument is empty and hollow.
Those who care about science education need to "stop them" as creationists have scored countless victories against reason and science in school board decisions all across the planet. My own interest in creation/evolution dates back to my high school biology days when two students protested a one-week treatment of evolution by threatening to skip class (with parental approval) only to have our teacher skip the subject altogether so as to not ruffle any feathers (perhaps dinosaurian!). Creationism is crap and we need to stop treating the subject or its adherents with kid gloves.

Thank you Dr. Moreton for your reasoned responses and obvious disdain for creationism and creationists. I know many creationists that are good people but I won't defend their views on the subject.

Dana Slaughter
12th Apr 2012 11:21pm
Thanks Dana, you are right. Creationism is a threat and needs to be countered. Lest Mike, or others, think this is an attempt to turn mindat into a forum for bashing religion, it should be noted that many people of faith also regard creationism as an embarrassment. And I have noted some stern criticism of it from religious sources. The Catholic Church officially endorses evolution, as do most other mainstream denominations. I contribute to the forum of the British Centre for Science Education, a UK anti-creationism group. Several contributors are Christians, one a clergyman, and they have nothing good to say about creationism. I recently had a chat with a very devout Muslim girl at work. To my surprise she cheerfully agreed the earth was billions of years old, and she accepted evolution, claiming it was compatible with Islam. There is even a rather good Christian anti-young earth site: answersincreation.org with some very well written debunkings of young earth nonsense.

I doubt there is any other pseudoscience that it would be appropriate to debunk on mindat (crystal healing perhaps?). But young earthism certainly has relevance to mineralogy as one cannot possibly have a correct understanding of the geological processes that produce many of the minerals that fascinate us if one thinks it all happened in a fortnight during the recessionary phase of Noah’s flood in September 2515 BC, or some such asinine nonsense.


Stephen Moreton
13th Apr 2012 6:57pm
Sorry if I didn't make it clear in my first post of April 7, that I'm not a young earth creationist. I tried to be concise, maybe too concise. My references to scriptures indicate 'their own book' doesn't support them, let alone that geology doesn't either. I have no trouble whatsoever that the Earth is 4-plus billion years old, neither does the Bible.
Steve, like you i see religion mixing w/ politics is vile. Centuries ago it led to the dark ages, and inquisitions, and could, even would, easily do so again.
Dana, I don't see creationists scoring countless victories in schools, maybe in the rurals, or deep south, but I grew up in N 'burbs of Chicago, and some how missed all the contention. It was church on Sunday, school all week, and nobody cared. I have no militant agenda; i.e. I don't care about prayer in school, i can say my own.
My only real concern was for civility. Any students getting a cursory look at Earth science, I would think, would pick up on the Earth being billions of years old. The fear 'the other side might win, oh no!!' and swearing, did not strike me as appropriate to mindat or your level of education. Don't get as vehement as the yec's. When people do, they lose, either way.
I get on this site because of the high standards Jolyon & Co. maintain.
As an aside, I don't believe your noting the Catholic Church (or others) endorsing evolution is exactly helpful to your side, for many reasons that Mindat is not a forum for discussing.
So I hope this makes it clearer, I'm not a young Earth creationist. You mention a number of others. Can there be an old Earth creationist? LOL. You don't have to answer that. Not here anyway...
Stephen, how can your articles be accessed?



















D Mike Reinke
14th Apr 2012 1:12am
Now I understand why Pharao was deaf about Moses who wanted to leave Egypt.
Pharao probably heard the " Big Bang " from very close.

S. Moreton, I agree. In my lab I used to consider 0,1 % as a percentage uncertainty.
I am biochemist and seeing that bacteria evolved into man in less than 4000 years, is Science Fiction.
If I made 1000 analysis of the same sample and there was 1 who was completely wrong, I kept the 999 to make my calculations, not the other way around.
The chance that the 1 was good and the 999 where wrong, would have been completely unscientific.

The force be with you all.

Paul.

Paul De Bondt
14th Apr 2012 6:00pm
Mike, to access my Earth Science Ireland articles, go to www.habitas.org.uk/es2k/ click “Magazine” and select the appropriate issue. The whole issue will download as a pdf. Scroll to the relevant page. Enjoy. My article on Siccar Point ("Rocks in their heads" - the editor's choice of title, not mine) will be available on-line from the Australian Skeptics website sometime this summer (12 months after publication in the print edition).

Paul, yes, picking the exception and ignoring the rule is standard practice for creationists. It is a favourite tactic when discussing radiometric dates. Cherry pick a few that are "dodgy", but ignore the thousands that aren't.

Stephen Moreton
14th Apr 2012 8:15pm
Further to my post above, I have just posted a highly critical 4000+ word review of a recently released creationist DVD. It can be found by going to Amazon.co.uk (note it is .co.uk, NOT .com) and searching on "Set in Stone DVD". My review is the one entitled "Deceit in Stone". The URLs vanished but a follow-up comment remedies this. Feel free to vote on the review accordingly!

Stephen Moreton
15th Apr 2012 5:34pm
Ralph,

You accuse me of “religious poppycock” and then say I’m attacking science. Where have I done this? All I have said in previous postings is that there are many problem areas for the uniformitarianistic interpretation of the origin of the Earth. I’m not attacking the scientific process, I’m questioning the interpretation which is applied to all of the information that is studied about geologic processes. You yourself confirm this when you say,
“Scientists are is not just people who have taken a course and memorised a few facts and theories, as with religious students, its a way of thinking where you learn to look gather data, and analyse and interpret it to fit into existing models or theories. If the data does not fit you firstly look for problems with the data and assumptions, if they are OK you look at refining the models or even making new ones.” (my emphasis added)

The problem I have with the second part of this statement is that because it is an accepted “fact” that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, every new bit of information is forced through this filter (or you could say set of beliefs or biases). This same thing applies to your comment about the peer review process. Scientists who believe in creation can publish, and have published many peer reviewed papers, but if a paper presents any sort of conclusion that supports creation, it is rejected right away (see http://www.trueorigin.org/creatpub.asp). Where is the scientific objectivity in this process?

I’m sorry to hear that your religious education was mostly wasted, and I’m curious to know why you say this. I’m not going to debate religion with you on this forum, but I would be happy to discuss your skepticism if you want to PM me. All I will say about your comments is that the Levitical law of the Old Testament was rendered obsolete by Jesus. This does not mean that I discount everything else found within the Old Testament. By the way, I graduated from a two year seminary program and would be happy to explain what I believe if you’re so willing. Please read my comments carefully with comprehension before trying to criticize my theology.

You encourage me to read Ian Plimers “Telling Lies for God”, which I am willing to do when I can find an affordable copy that ships to the US. I do want to point out that Ian’s work has been highly criticized by many mainstream scientists around the world, and his reputation is sketchy, to say the least, within the scientific community (just google any results on Ian Plimers). He has been known to publicly harass creation scientists and ministers, and has been “forcibly ejected by police from public meetings at which Roberts spoke” (Allen Roberts is searching for Noah’s Ark). His anti-creationist arguments have even been used by the journal Creation/Evolution on "How Not to Argue with Creationists" by fellow anti-creationist Jim Lippard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Plimer). From the information that I gather about Dr Plimer, it would be a major stretch to say that he be considered a credible source, especially when many of his critics are not only creation scientists but mainstream scientists as well.



Philip Simmons
23rd Apr 2012 3:14am
A continuation of my comment above:

I don’t just blindly accept my beliefs and parrot them based on the beliefs of other people, I do much research and I am willing to read and study what beliefs other people have. I have read many articles on the Talk Origins website, which is self-proclaimed as being anti-creationist (by way of stating that emphasis is placed on mainstream scientific responses and rebuttals “of those advocating intelligent design or other creationist pseudosciences”), even before Dr. Stephen Moreton mentioned the website. At this point I would like to direct you and Dr Moreton to the creation scientist counterpart of the Talk Origins website, http://www.trueorigin.org, [Link Broken? Sep 2014] which presents the perspective of many creation scientists.

I am curious about your “OK I know you will have damned my soul to hell by now” comment. Is this really how you believe Christians think? If you do, you have a very serious misconception about what we really believe. It’s not within my realm to determine whether you are damned or not; that determination is between you and God.

Throughout your comment you challenge me to apply critical thinking to what I believe, which I think I do, and now I challenge you to do the same with the information I have presented above.

Regards,
Philip


Philip Simmons
23rd Apr 2012 3:15am
It looks like the links don't work in my comment above. If you copy/paste the links into your browser, they should work.

Philip Simmons
23rd Apr 2012 3:21am
"but if a paper presents any sort of conclusion that supports creation, it is rejected right away [...] Where is the scientific objectivity in this process? "

This is where you mistake the chicken for the egg. They are rejected simply because the studies themselves, and their conclusions are highly subjective - they cherry pick certain sites and locations to advance an agenda, while ignoring the entire domain of geology which negate their claims with heaps of evidence.

"The problem I have with the second part of this statement is that because it is an accepted “fact” that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, every new bit of information is forced through this filter (or you could say set of beliefs or biases)."
And you pass everything through your Bible filter.
The difference is that the age of the Earth has been proven by vast amounts of all kinds of evidence, most of which young-Earth creationists ignore.

Forget not that the Enlightenment came out of christian culture. 300 years ago, a young Earth was standard belief. Then geologists started collecting more and more and more and more (infinite reiterations) evidence, and society slowly realized that they were in fact correct, and had all the evidence to back their claims that the Earth is pretty damn old (a LOT older than a few ka).

So Philip, I have a challenge for you. Find me a comprehensive Young Earth geochronology. I cannot find any (they aren't detailed at all), and I suspect it is because it's too difficult for YECs to make one that supports their views and that isn't proven false with extreme ease. Will you prove me wrong? Will it stand up to the scrutiny of an actual geologist?

The saga continues...


Phil M. Belley
24th Apr 2012 2:57am
*to clarify, I want a geochronological history of the Earth from a Young Earth creationist perspective.

Phil M. Belley
24th Apr 2012 3:04am
Creationism is an example of how both science and religion can be perverted by all-too fallible Humans to suit one's viewpoint, and not based on any facts, or worse, on pseudo-facts.

Edward Mattson
28th May 2012 8:15pm
I'm a creationist. I thought I would make a list of some of the things I believe and some that I don't believe. As a matter of possible interest, I have a MS in geology from a well known university, Virginia Tech, I work in minerals exploration, and I refer to and rely upon the geologic time scale routinely in my work.

Things I believe:

God created space-time and matter 13.7-13.8 billion years ago.

Chapter 1 of Genesis was a song and was not meant to convey ideas about the depths of time involved in creation, but rather to introduce a people that knew little about God to some of the key aspects of His identity as the God that created all things, did it in an orderly manner, and did it over a period of time.

Most of the rest of the Bible talks about the age of the earth as being "ancient", not merely old. Taking Genesis 1 out of its context in the rest of the Bible and disregarding the other creation accounts in the Bible is the source of most of the controversy. Even Augustine recognized that there were difficulties reconciling the various accounts and didn't come down hard on any one interpretation of age.

The Bible states that "The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the Earth shows forth His handiwork." Therefore, studying the physical universe is worthwhile as an additional source of information about God and His creative efforts, and it was God's intention that it be so.

Radiometric dating methods are robust means of determining true ages for appropriate geologic samples when properly applied. Other dating methods are also valid within their respective parameters.

The earth is 4.5 billion years old. The error bar is small.

The additional data source of scientific measurements about the earth contributes to resolving the internal biblical problem of the earth's age in favor of an ancient age.

Taken in context with each other the various biblical accounts of creation reconcile well with observed geology and astronomy, and do so to a far greater extent than the scriptures of any other world religion.

The earth, the Earth-moon system, our solar system, our galaxy, the local group of galaxies, and the universe as a whole, including all the parts I have left out in this list, have been fine-tuned to an astonishing degree to make the earth suitable for sustained advanced life over hundreds of millions of years. The degree of fine tuning is such that it is unlikely that there is even one other planet in the universe like earth, at least based on odds alone. Last time I looked into it the odds were approaching 1 in 10^252, which it a 1 followed by 252 zeros.


Keith Wood
28th May 2013 7:44pm
Things I belive coninued:


This fine tuning was God's doing as a way of revealing several specific things about Himself through what he has made. These include but are not limited to: A) His immense intellect B) His immense power C) His existence outside the space-time continuum D) His determination to create a world rich enough in resources to permit a technological society to emerge, complete with the associated advantages in health and longevity.

The succession of animals, plants, and other life forms represented in the fossil record represents a true succession of life forms that existed over time scales widely agreed upon among geoscientists.

Evolution (which strictly speaking merely means "change over time") obviously took place.

The mechanism for evolution is an issue that is problematic in science to this day, especially in view of the fact the initial emergence of life in the Archaean was not a single event but rather probably recurred up to fifty times between extinctive bombardment episodes. Regardless of the mechanism I believe God was involved, as the degree of chance involved with the emergence of life even one time exceeds the amount of fine tuning we observe in the universe.

There was a flood. It was local to the Mesopotamian basin of the Tigris and Euphrates. The biblical account of this flood uses the language of perspective, in that the word translated "earth" in many translations is also the word translated "land" elsewhere in the early parts of Genesis, and that "land" would be the better choice in translating for reasons within the text itself.

Young earth creationism is a predictable result of poor scholarship both in science and theology.

Young earth creationism provide no testable theories.

Young earth creationists often appear desprate to maintain their viewpoint. This seems to be based on needless fears.

All truth reconciles. The truth of science (to the extent that it is truly science and remains within its purview) and the truth of the Bible (when correctly interpreted using appropriate understanding of literary devices, historical and grammatical context, etc.) also reconcile.

People that aggressively criticize creationists also frequently, though not always, seem to hate religion generally, and Christian belief specifically, and usually do not recognize that there is a diverse range of viewpoints about this issue, including viewpoints that recognize the validity of science.

The rational objections of anyone willing to look at the biblical and scientific evidence objectively can be answered satisfactorily, and God intended for this to be the case because He desires to be known, and to prove His Word is trustworthy.

Belief is intimately intertwined with desire, and this factor explains why few people endeavor to address their issues with Christianity through careful study of science and the Bible. The Bible being true and trustworthy has consequences many people do not want to face. This area of thought taps into deep feelings that should be respected and honored, whilst being discussed dispassionately.



Keith Wood
28th May 2013 7:45pm
Things I don't believe:

Dinosaurs and humans coexisted.

Snails, aardvarks, sloths, fresh water fish, platypuses, bison, and Galapagos tortoises all made their way to the ark, and then made their way back to their respective starting points without leaving any evidence of their journeys.

A global flood accounts for all sedimentary geology worldwide.

The Grand Canyon formed in a few weeks or months.

The earth is 6000, or even 60000 years old.

The speed of light has changed.

God is deceptive and created evidences of ancient age in a young earth.

There is genuine contradictory evidence about the age of the earth.

Most people think about this issue rationally.



Keith Wood
28th May 2013 7:45pm
Sorry for the double post. Browser screw up.

Oh, And I forgot to mention one more thing I don't believe: Jolyon's time scale. Clever, but I'll take the real one!

Keith Wood
28th May 2013 8:53pm

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