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Real science versus 'Creationist science'


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Initial post: 11 Apr 2014, 09:53:48 BST
G. Heron says:
The fundamental difference between real science and creationist science is how hypothesis and theories are tested.

In real science the test is does it match reality as we observe it, does the predictions it makes turn out to be correct when we check them by experiment. The following clip highlights that fundamental idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b240PGCMwV0

In 'creationist science' all the answers have already been decided by the creationist interpretation of the bible, reality has to take a back seat to the religious dogma. This can be illustrated by the following web page

http://creation.com/tree-ring-dating-dendrochronology

which contains the following quote

"However, when the interpretation of scientific data contradicts the true history of the world as revealed in the Bible, then it's the interpretation of the data that is at fault."

In other words when reality and the bible clash you ditch reality.

Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 11:03:11 BST
" creationist science" Lots of oxymorons today...

Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 11:25:36 BST
G. Heron says:- "The fundamental difference between real science and creationist science is how hypothesis and theories are tested. "

In the real sciences (such as Physics, Chemistry, Genetics and Medicine) you are correct, and few dispute it.

The situation within what's called the 'Earth Sciences' including Geology, Ecology, Climatology and Paleontology is still very different (as can be seen by the argument over the reality of 'Climate Change' ) because these topics are far more complex and based largely on interpretation of highly complex/convoluted evidence; which frequently results in a 'what you look for is what you find' situation. The article below fromEvolution Exposed Biology: Your Evolution Answer Book for the Classroom by Roger Patterson, makes this very clear.

Quote:-

What You Will Learn

Most scientists and many Christians believe that the radiometric dating methods prove that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. The textbooks speak of the radiometric dating techniques, and the dates themselves, as factual information. Far from being data, these dates are actually interpretations of the data. As discussed before, the assumptions influence the interpretation of the data. There are three main assumptions that must be made to accept radiometric dating methods. These must be accepted on faith in uniformitarian and naturalistic frameworks.

Recent research by a team of creation scientists known as the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) group has demonstrated the unreliability of radiometric dating techniques. Even the use of isochron dating, which is supposed to eliminate some initial condition assumptions, produces dates that are not reliable. Despite the fact that there are many scientific problems with radiometric dating, there is a more significant problem. The Bible gives a much different picture and explains that relying on man's reasoning is foolishness. A fear of God and reverence for His Word is the beginning of wisdom. Starting with the Bible and developing a model for dating events in earth history will lead us to the truth. The Bible gives us a much more reliable history of the earth as it was recorded by God.

What We Really Know about Dating Methods

When someone mentions scientific dating methods, the first thing to come to mind for most people is carbon dating. However, there are many methods that can be used to determine the age of the earth or other objects. The textbooks focus on relative dating, based on the layering of the rocks, and radiometric dating.

Relative ages are assigned to rocks based on the idea that rock layers lower in the strata were deposited before rock layers that are higher. Creationists do not necessarily disagree with this concept, but it can only be applied to layers that are found in one location and/or can be determined to have been deposited in a continuous layer over a very wide area. There is also a difference in the timescale used to explain the layers. Determining the relative age of a rock layer is based on the assumption that you know the ages of the rocks surrounding it. Uniformitarian geologists use so-called absolute dating methods to determine the ages of the surrounding rocks.

Certain types of rocks, especially those that form from magma (igneous), contain radioactive isotopes of different elements. It is possible to measure the ratio of the different radioactive parent isotopes and their daughter isotopes in a rock, but the ratios are not dates or ages. The dates must be inferred based on assumptions about the ratios. Some of the common isotope pairs used are K-Ar, Rb-Sr, Pb-Pb, and U-Pb.
Radiometric DatingUsing ratios of isotopes produced in radioactive decay to calculate an age of the specimen based on assumed rates of decay and other assumptions.
Carbon-14 dating is another common technique, but it can only be used on carbon-containing things that were once alive. The method of calculating radiometric dates is like using an hourglass. You can use the hourglass to tell time if you know several things: the amount of sand in the top of the hourglass when it started flowing, the rate that the sand flows through the hole in the middle, and that the quantity of sand in each chamber has not been tampered with. If any of these three conditions is not accurately known, the hourglass will give an inaccurate measure of time.

Radiometric dating is based on the fact that radioactive isotopes decay to form isotopes of different elements. The starting isotope is called the parent and the end-product is called the daughter. The time it takes for one half of the parent atoms to decay to the daughter atoms is called the half-life. If certain things are known, it is possible to calculate the amount of time since the parent isotope began to decay. For example, if you began with 1 gram of carbon-14, after 5,730 years you would be left with 0.50 g and only 0.25 g after 11,460 years. The reason this age may not be a true age-even though it is commonly called an absolute age-is that it is based on several crucial assumptions. Most radiometric dating techniques must make three assumptions:
1.The rate of radioactive decay is known and has been constant since the rock formed.
2.There has been no loss or gain of the parent or daughter isotopes from the rock.
3.The amounts of parent and daughter isotopes present when the rock formed are known.

The major problem with the first assumption is that there is no way to prove that the decay rate was not different at some point in the past. The claimed "fact" that decay rates have always been constant is actually an inference based on a uniformitarian assumption. It is true that radioisotope decay rates are stable today and are not largely affected by external conditions like change in temperature and pressure, but that does not mean that the rate has always been constant.

Recent research by a creation science group known as RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) has produced evidence of accelerated rates of decay at some point (or points) in the past. Creation scientists suggest that there are two possible times that God supernaturally intervened on a global scale-during Creation Week and the Flood. It is not unreasonable to assume that God used the energy of accelerated radioactive decay to initiate and drive the major geologic changes in the earth that accompanied the Flood.

Evidence for the period of accelerated decay is found in zircon crystals. Zircon crystals in granite contain radioactive uranium-238, which decays into lead over time. As the uranium decays, helium is produced in the crystals. Helium escapes from the crystals at a known, measurable rate. If those rocks were over a billion years old, as evolutionists claim, the helium should have leaked out of the rock. The presence of lots of helium in the crystals is evidence in support of a young earth.

Other important findings of the RATE project include detecting carbon-14 in coal and diamonds. If these substances were really millions or billions of years old respectively, there should be no carbon-14 left in them. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years. With the most accurate mass spectrometers, the oldest calculated age of items containing carbon-14 is about 80,000 years. Diamonds are assumed to be many billions of years old and should contain no detectable carbon-14 as it would have all decayed to nitrogen-14 long ago. The same is true of coal which was supposedly deposited hundreds of millions of years ago, according to the evolutionary model. The presence of carbon-14 in these materials clearly supports the idea of a young earth as described by the Bible.

The assumption that there has been no loss or gain of the isotopes in the rock (assumption 2) does not take into account the impact of weathering by surface and ground waters and the diffusion of gases. It is impossible to know to what degree the parent and daughter products have been added to or removed from the rocks over the alleged millions or billions of years.

The final assumption (assumption 3) does not take into account the fact that isotopes can be inherited from the source areas of magmas and/or from surrounding rocks as the magmas pass through the mantle and crust of the earth. Uniformitarian geologists do make efforts to eliminate errors, but the fact that rocks of known recent age give dates of millions, and even billions, of years supports the claim that radiometric dating cannot provide accurate "absolute" dates. Also, samples taken a few feet apart can give ages that differ by many hundreds of millions of years.

Many people do not realize that fossils themselves are usually not directly dated. Instead, layers that contain datable igneous rocks above or below a fossil-bearing layer are used to estimate the age of the fossil. The age of the fossil can be estimated within the range of the layers above and below it. In some cases, the ages are correlated to other rock layers of supposedly known age or by using index fossils. These methods assume that the distribution of index fossils and the correlation of strata are well understood on a global scale.

Another finding of the RATE team is very intriguing. The team took samples of diabase, an igneous rock, and tested them using various radiometric dating techniques. If the dating methods are all objective and reliable, then they should give similar dates. The rocks were tested as whole-rock samples using K-Ar dating and also separated into individual minerals. The whole-rock and separated mineral samples allow a method known as isochron dating to be done. This method is supposed to eliminate the assumption that the initial concentration of the daughter element is zero.

Despite removing this assumption, the RATE team has shown that this method is not reliable. Dating the Cardenas Basalt, a layer near the bottom of Grand Canyon, and a volcanic layer from near the top of Grand Canyon produced an amazing result. Based on the law of superposition, the lower layers in the canyon should be older than the upper layers (unless there was an intrusion or other event that changed the order). Using isochron dating from a respected lab, the lower rocks were dated at 1.07 billion years and the upper, and presumably younger rocks, were dated at 1.34 billion years. There is an obvious discordance (disagreement) in the data. So the question becomes, "Can we trust the dates given in the textbooks if the techniques are not objective?" (More information on the RATE research can be found in article 4:3.)

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 11:27:44 BST
Last edited by the author on 11 Apr 2014, 11:31:20 BST
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In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 11:40:13 BST
Bearman says:
A very common claim of young earth creationists in trying to reject the evidence for an old earth is to loudly proclaim that radiometric dating methods "makes assumptions" and that these "assumptions" are somehow fatally flawed or not supported by evidence. These claims generally land in three different categories: (1) radiometric dating assumes that initial conditions (concentrations of mother and daughter nuclei) are known, (2) radiometric dating assumes that rocks are closed systems and (3) radiometric dating assumes that decay rates are constant. Most young earth creationists reject all of these points. As a scientific skeptics, we ask ourselves: is this really the case? Let us critically examine each of these claims and see if they hold up against the science. While doing so, we will have to learn about how radiometric dating actually works.

There are many different kinds of radiometric dating and not all conclusions we will reach can be extrapolated to all methods used. Also, different radiometric dating techniques independently converges with each other and with other dating techniques such as dendrochronology, layers in sediment, growth rings on corals, rhythmic layering of ice in glaciers, magnetostratigraphy, fission tracks and many other methods. This serves as strong evidence for the reliability of radiometric dating methods.

1. How does radiometric dating work?

A lot of atoms are stable. Some are not. There exists different versions, or isotopes of many elements. These isotopes differ in the number of neutrons they have in their nuclei. Those isotopes that are not stable decay into daughter nuclei. Those that did the decaying are called parent nuclei. If you have a rock that contains radioactive isotopes, these will decay over time. As time goes on, the ratio of the parent to daughter nuclei will change and decrease (as more parent nuclei decay into daughter nuclei, the former decreases and the latter increases). Measuring this ratio gives us an idea of how long ago the rock formed.

But wait a second! Doesn't this assume that the rocks are closed systems? Surely, if some daughter nuclei left the rock or parent nuclei entered the rock, the dates would come out all wrong! While this is technically true, there are several mini-industries dedicated developing methods and techniques to make sure that there is no contamination and check to see if the rocks where disturbed between forming and being tested by scientists. How is this done? Let's find out!

2. Radiometric dating and testing for contamination and disturbances

On of the great things about many forms of radiometric dating is that they are self-checking. That is, you can see if the sample comes from rocks that have been disturbed (or contaminated) or not just by looking at the results. Now, creationists will claim that scientists are just somehow assuming that if samples show an age that does not fit their preconceptions, the sample must be contaminated or leaky. This is false. To see why, we need to look deeper into radiometric dating methods. A very important tool in radiometric dating is the so called isochron diagram and it holds the key to refuting the central creationist claims about radiometric dating.

One of the most beneficial things about it is that it can check itself for accuracy; the method tells you how well the rocks have been closed systems. An isochron diagram is obtained by looking at many minerals from the same rock or from rocks forming from the same parent mineral. Data is plotted on a simple two dimensional graph; the parent isotope on the x-axis and the daughter isotope on the y-axis. Both of these are divided or normalized by a stable isotope of the same elements as the daughter element. So on the x-axis, we have parent/(another stable isotope of the same element as the daughter) and on the y-axis we have daughter/(another stable isotope of the same element as the daughter).

If the samples have been undisturbed closed systems since formation, the data will fall on the same line (the isochron from which the diagram is named). The slope of this line is a function of the age of the rock. If the rock is older, the slope is higher. The reason scientists normalize with another stable isotope of the same element as the daughter is because most chemical or physical processes that occurs normally in nature does not differentiate between different isotopes of the same element when the difference in mass is as small as it is between isotopes of the same element that is used in radiometric dating. This means that the while different rocks contain different absolute amounts of the two isotopes, the ratio is same. At the time of formation for a rock, the isotopes for an element are homogenized and so the composition of a certain isotope is the same in all the minerals in the rock. But what happens when the rocks have been disturbed?

If a rock is heated during its lifetime, the system gets disturbed and some of the parent and/or daughter isotopes may move in or out of the rock. If so, the data will not fall on an isochron line, but will be all over the place. This tells scientists that the sample has been disturbed and cannot be dated with this particular method. So far from rejecting samples because they do not fit a preconceived notion of what the age should be, scientists reject samples because there is ample evidence that it has been disturbed: the data points do not lie on the isochron lines.

Scientists do not assume that rocks have been closed systems; it is a well-supported conclusion from experiments. But what about assuming that initial amounts are known?

3. Radiometric dating and initial conditions

A second property of isochron diagrams is that it actually gives the initial amount of daughter isotope as a result of the method. It is just the y-intercept of the isochron line. At this intersect, the ratio of parent/(another stable isotope of the same element as the daughter) is by definition 0 and so no amount of the daughter here is produced by decay of the parent in the rock. The initial conditions are just read off the graph; it is not just assumed.

4. Radiometric dating and decay rates

In a last ditch effort, young earth creationists exclaim that scientists just assume, without warrant, that decay rate are constant. However, this is not the case. Decay rates have been shown to be constant, despite very high pressure and temperature. Furthermore, by studying supernovas far away, scientist have determined that decay rates have been constant in the ancient past as well. Not only that, different radioactive isotopes decay differently and it is enormously improbable that a postulated difference in decay rates would affect all of them in the same way, yet as we have seen, different radiometric dating methods converge on the same date (within margins of error). Fourthly, decay rates can be predicted from first principles of physics. Any change would have to correspond to changes in basic physical constants. Any such change would affect different forms of decay differently, yet this has not been observed. As a final blow to the already nailed shut coffin of young earth creationism, had decay rates been high enough to be consistent with a young earth, the heat alone would have melt the earth.

5. Conclusion

Scientists do not assume that rocks have been closed systems, but they test for it. If all the data points fall on the isochron line, it has been a closed system; it it scatters, it has not and that rock is not used for dating with that method. Scientists also do not assumed that initial conditions are known; this is just read off the graph at the y-intercept. Finally, by studying supernovas, scientists know that decay rates have been constant in the past.

6. References and Further Reading

Dalrymple, G. B., (2004) Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The Age o the Earth and Its Cosmic Surroundings. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Marshak, S., (2008). Earth: Portrait of a Planet. Third Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Hedman, M. (2007). The Age of Everything. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Isaak, M. (2004). CF210: Constancy of Radioactive Decay Rates. Talk.Origins. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF210.html. Accessed 2011-08-12.

Isaak, M. (2004). CD001: Geochronometry and closed systems. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD001.html. Accessed 2011-08-12.

Isaak, M. (2004). Geochronology and initial conditions. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD002.html. Accessed 2011-08-12.

From http://debunkingdenialism.com/2011/08/12/refuting-radiometric-dating-methods-makes-untenable-assumptions/

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 11:40:46 BST
You might as well employ Harry Potter science

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 11:42:47 BST
Ian says:
Where to begin with the errors in this nonsense?

Lets start with it contradicting itself:

"Carbon-14 dating is another common technique, but it can only be used on carbon-containing things that were once alive"
"Diamonds are assumed to be many billions of years old and should contain no detectable carbon-14 as it would have all decayed to nitrogen-14 long ago."

Diamonds were alive?

Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 11:44:05 BST
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Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 11:48:03 BST
Surely, if God created the Universe in its entirity 6000 years ago then we would only be able to see stars lying within 6000 years, since the light from their creation would take up to that long to reach us. We would also be seeing new stars appearing in the sky all the time. Certainly we should not be able to see galaxies which are millions of light years away.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 11:49:22 BST
G. Heron says:
C. W. Bradbury

Isn't it interesting that according to creationists every dating system devised by humanity is not only wrong but wrong in the same direction?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 11:54:18 BST
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Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 11:58:09 BST
Bearman says:
In 1997, the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) and the Creation Research Society initiated an eight-year research program to investigate the validity of radioisotope dating of rocks. The project was named RATE for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth. Preliminary investigations carried out in the first three years were summarized in volume I of this work, published in 2000. Volume II, published in 2005, represents the final report. At $79.99, 818 pages, and 3.5 pounds, the book is a heavy investment. For most interested parties, the final five pages of text, pp. 765-9, are sufficient to grasp the essence of the book. A nontechnical version of this book, authored by Donald DeYoung, and a video documentary have also been prepared. Both are titled Thousands Not Billions: Challenging an Icon of Evolution.

The first chapter is an introduction and provides an overview of the RATE program. Funding was provided by the ICR ($250,000) and by more than one million dollars of donations. This chapter also provides guidance for carrying out creation science research. An appendix to this chapter, written by Henry Morris Jr., defines guidelines for peer review. Criteria for selecting reviewers include, whenever possible, those who are in agreement with the biblical viewpoint of the researcher. Though the RATE project has formally ended, a research council has been established to pursue a broader inter-disciplinary program in the future.

Chapters 2 through 8 present the technical work of the RATE project. Chapter 9 covers a statistical determination of genre in biblical Hebrew to substantiate the young-earth interpretation of Genesis. Chapter 10 summarizes the project with conclusions and recommendations.

The key points of the book can be summarized as follows:
1. There is overwhelming evidence of more than 500 million years worth of radioactive decay.
2. Biblical interpretation and some scientific studies indicate a young earth.
3. Therefore, radioactive decay must have been accelerated by approximately a factor of one billion during the first three days of creation and during the Flood.
4. The concept of accelerated decay leads to two unresolved scientific problems, the heat problem and the radiation problem, though there is confidence that these will be solved in the future.
5. Therefore, the RATE project provides encouragement regarding the reliability of the Bible.



1. Evidence for more than 500 Million Years of Radioactive Decay
That there is overwhelming evidence for massive radioactive decay in the past is substantiated by an analysis of fission tracks in zircons and by repeated measurements of the usual radioisotopic dating methods. The data presented are not controversial and represent a small fraction of the data available. The RATE researchers concede that there is evidence for "more than 500 million years worth (at today's rates) of nuclear and radioisotope decay" (p. 284). This is a key departure from previous creationist claims that radioactive decay is much less than reported.

2. Four Claims about Radiometric Dating
The claim that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old is supported from biblical interpretation and from four areas of scientific studies: helium diffusion in zircons, radiohalos in granites, isochron discordances, and the presence of trace amounts of carbon-14 (C-14) in pre-Cambrian material. An entire chapter is devoted to presenting the technical data in each of these four topics.

Helium Diffusion in Zircons
The authors argue that by extrapolating data on the rate of helium diffusion in minerals, the high concentration of helium in zircons can only be explained by a young earth. However, the data presented were taken in conditions of laboratory vacuum and actual diffusion rates in field conditions are known to be considerably lower, by as much as a factor of one thousand or more. The RATE researchers claim to have meticulously accounted for all crystallographic features. However, the diffusion rate of noble gases in minerals is so complex both theoretically and experimentally that helium concentrations are not considered by geochronologists to be reliable for any dating implications.

Radiohalos in Granites
The chapter on radiohalos presents details of halos found in granites. These darkened spherical areas in minerals are due to damage induced by alpha particles from radioactive decay products of uranium and thorium, most notably from polonium. Since polonium has a short half-life and granite is thought to be formed by a long period of cooling, such damage should have been annealed by the time the granite hardened. Therefore the authors argue that the granite must be much younger and have cooled rapidly. From the relative abundances of uranium and polonium halos, they deduce that the granites must have formed during the Flood and that there must have been highly accelerated decay rates. They acknowledge the unresolved dilemma of extraordinary heat production from such high decay rates with their assertion of a rapid cooling rate to form the granite. What they did not recognize is that the presence of uranium also seems to provide a reasonable explanation for the source of the polonium and polonium halos with normal decay rates and standard ages of granite.

Isochron Discordances
In the chapter on isochron discordances, the authors present a large amount of data that date rocks in the range of hundreds of millions of years. The isochron method relies on selecting minerals from different regions of a particular rock formation. The different minerals are all the same age since they come from the same rock but likely have different concentrations of radioactive material due to non-uniform environmental interactions. By plotting the isotope concentrations of all these minerals, geochronologists can obtain an age of the rock. The accuracy of the age can often be improved by using several different radioisotopes. Here the authors painstakingly show cases where different minerals and different radioisotopes lead to ages that differ by as much as 10-15% after allowing for maximum error bars. Without an obvious explanation for these discordances, the authors claim that standard radioisotope dating techniques are fundamentally flawed. Yet they fail to explain why there are so many cases where there is good concordance of isochrones, something which would never happen if radioisotopic dating were not valid. Discordances are not at all unusual and the source of discordance is not always understood but these fail to invalidate the vast amount of concordance. Furthermore, no argument is presented why differences of 15% would justify the claim that radioisotope dating is in error by a factor of one million or more.

Trace Amounts of C-14
Based on the detection of trace amounts of C-14 in rocks such as diamond that have been dated as hundreds of millions of years old, the authors argue for a young earth. Accelerator mass spectroscopy is a technique that can detect very low concentrations of C-14 which has a half-life of 5,730 years. The argument is that after 100,000 years there should be no C-14 left in a sample which has not been exposed to external sources of carbon. Therefore the presence of approximately one tenth of one percent of C-14 as a percentage of the total carbon indicates an age for these rocks of approximately 50,000 years.
The difficulty, however, is in assuring there is and never has been another source of C-14 for that sample since it was originally formed from organic material. It is known that there are many subtle sources of C-14 such as contamination, microbial action, and some nuclear interactions. For example, neutrons from uranium decay can produce C-14 from nitrogen impurities. The authors declare that since they used extraordinary care in handling the samples and are studying diamond, no extraneous source is possible. However, it is virtually impossible to eliminate such sources and chronologists discount the reliability of C-14 dating if the concentration is below approximately 0.5 percent.
The authors also acknowledge that if the C-14 dating on these samples were valid, there would still be a problem because the rocks are ten times older than expected from some biblical interpretations. To achieve the desired age of 5,000 years, it must be postulated that the relative concentration of C-14 to total carbon in the atmosphere was 500 times lower before the Flood than it is today. John Baumgardner rationalizes that the total amount of carbon in the biosphere must have been "300-700 times the total C relative to our present world" on the basis of the vast amount of carboniferous material in the earth. Assuming that the total amount of C-14 was approximately the same as today, the ratio of C-14 to total C would have been 1/500 of today's value, bringing the age of the rocks to the preferred value of 5,000 years. The isotopic ratio might have increased dramatically during the Flood because "accelerated nuclear decay during the Flood would have converted substantial amounts of crustal N to C-14" (p. 619). This circular reasoning and the lack of credibility of interpreting traces of C-14 for dating purposes make it evident that C-14 does not provide evidence for a young earth.

The technical evidence in support of the argument for a young earth is therefore not based on any accepted scientific methodology. All of the four radioisotopic areas discussed involve aspects which the scientific community feels are not reliable for dating. Only one of the four areas discussed, helium diffusion in zircons, is claimed to yield a measurement of the age of the earth on the order of 6,000 years. This is merely a fitting parameter in a complex system of many unknown parameters. The other three areas all lead to ages much older than 6,000 years. The authors claim that the results cast doubt on standard dating techniques, making the young-earth scenario more credible.


3. Accelerated Rates of Decay
There is no direct evidence provided for accelerated decay. It is inferred solely from combining the evidence for massive decay with the young-earth position. As noted above, the evidence given in this book for a young earth is not based on any reliable techniques and so the argument for accelerated decay crumbles. Nevertheless, the authors explore theoretically how such an increase in the decay rates might have occurred. Through an analysis of nuclear forces, they indicate that only a small change in the strength of the coupling constant that characterizes the so-called strong force between nucleons would lead to a change in decay constants of many orders of magnitude.

While this may be correct mathematically, the authors fail to explain how such a fundamental constant of particle physics could change even a tiny amount. Experimental data and theoretical considerations have shown the strong coupling constant to be indeed a constant. Furthermore, to explain their results, the authors must speculate that this coupling constant took a different value in at least two time periods in the past: the first three days of creation week and the year of the Flood. At other times, it was the same as today. A further complication is the need to postulate that some nuclei were affected but not others. They state that C-14 did not have an accelerated decay constant while heavier nuclei did. As a result, not only have the authors failed to make a case for accelerated decay, they must assert an extraordinary variation of the strong coupling constant as a function of time and of nuclear weight to force-fit the data.


(continued....)

Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 11:58:28 BST
Bearman says:
(continued)

4. Two Unsolved Problems: Heat and Radiation
The authors report that faced with this evidence, a young-earth advocate must address at least two key scientific problems resulting from a one-year period of accelerated decay rates during the Flood. The first is the heat problem. Thermal energy from radioactive processes is a major source of heat in the earth. If those processes were accelerated by many orders of magnitude, the earth would have quickly evaporated from the heat had there not been an extraordinary mechanism of cooling. The authors state:

The removal of heat was so rapid that it likely involved a process other than conduction, convection, or radiation ... We believe it may be possible to discover how [God] did it (p. 763).

Future research is suggested along the lines of Russell Humphreys' idea of volumetric cooling based on relativistic principles even though this known phenomenon, the basis for red-shifting of starlight, does not apply to bound particles such as the earth. It is acknowledged that this approach, even if it were valid, has the difficulty of being uniform rather than selective as would be needed to cool only radioactive material and not, for example, the oceans. In other words, the authors acknowledge that accelerated decay requires a most unusual heat removal mechanism that is outside the known laws of thermodynamics. The second unresolved problem cited in the book is the radiation problem. How did Noah and his passengers survive a year in which radioactivity was one million times greater than it is today? No known solution exists, they state. Nevertheless, "The RATE group is confident that these issues will be solved ..."

5. Current Optimism about Future Resolutions
The leap to the conclusion is never made clear. Confidence in a future resolution of extraordinary scientific contradiction moves smoothly to a message "to Christians in general to encourage them regarding the reliability of the Bible" (p. 768). In other words, the expectation of a future solution to a major scientific impasse is being translated into conferences, books, and videos proclaiming the good news that the RATE project has demonstrated the scientific validity of a young earth.

The conclusions of the RATE project are being billed as "groundbreaking results." This is a fairly accurate description since a group of creation scientists acknowledge that hundreds of millions of years worth of radioactivity have occurred. They attempt to explain how this massive radioactivity could have occurred in a few thousand years but admit that consistent solutions have not yet been found. The vast majority of the book is devoted to providing technical details that the authors believe prove that the earth is young and that radioisotope decay has not always been constant. All of these areas of investigation have been addressed elsewhere by the scientific community and have been shown to be without merit. The only new data provided in this book are in the category of additional details and there are no significantly new claims.

In this book, the authors admit that a young-earth position cannot be reconciled with the scientific data without assuming that exotic solutions will be discovered in the future. No known thermodynamic process could account for the required rate of heat removal nor is there any known way to protect organisms from radiation damage. The young-earth advocate is therefore left with two positions. Either God created the earth with the appearance of age (thought by many to be inconsistent with the character of God) or else there are radical scientific laws yet to be discovered that would revolutionize science in the future. The authors acknowledge that no current scientific understanding is consistent with a young earth. Yet they are so confident that these problems will be resolved that they encourage a message that the reliability of the Bible has been confirmed.

In Thousands Not Billions, the incompatibility of the young-earth position with current scientific understanding is glossed over in the final four pages of the book. The thermodynamic dilemma is dismissed with:

Possible mechanisms have been explored that could safeguard the earth from severe overheating during accelerated decay events. One of these involves cosmological or volume cooling, the result of a rapid expansion of space. Many details remain to be filled in for this and other proposed processes of heat removal (p. 180).

Unfortunately for young-earth advocates, cosmological expansion does not cool material on earth nor does it cool some materials and not others. Yet DeYoung concludes: "Young-earth creation is neither outdated nor in opposition to science" (p. 182).

The ASA does not take a position on issues when there is honest disagreement among Christians provided there is adherence to our statement of faith and to integrity in science. Accordingly, the ASA neither endorses nor opposes young-earth creationism which recognizes the possibility of a recent creation with appearance of age or which acknowledges the unresolved discrepancy between scientific data and a young-earth position. However, claims that scientific data affirm a young earth do not meet the criterion of integrity in science. Any portrayal of the RATE project as confirming scientific support for a young earth, contradicts the RATE project's own admission of unresolved problems. The ASA can and does oppose such deception.

Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 11:59:20 BST
Kleist says:
I'm not sure I understand all of this.

However if the claim that there is a creator of the known universe is a scientific hypothesis then we ought to be able to test it. By this I mean that we ought to be able so set up an experiment, or series of experiments, which if successful would show that the claim was false.

What possible experimental outcome would a theist accept as falsifying his or her hypothesis of a creator?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 12:37:38 BST
Drew Jones says:
"If the current information available is looked at genuinely impartially, I think the situation today is remarkably similar to that prevailing a few years after Charles Darwin..."
Really? Some conspiracy nut was going around publishing pamphlets containing tracts taken from other denialist pamphlets too. Presumably he was dismissing heliocentricity for being passé and in need of a new alien angle to the theory.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 12:45:49 BST
G. Heron says:
C. W. Bradbury

"The Bible gives a much different picture"
True.

"and explains that relying on man's reasoning is foolishness."
In other words don't think for yourself.

"A fear of God and reverence for His Word is the beginning of wisdom."
Just repeat what you are told and you can feel clever.

"Starting with the Bible and developing a model for dating events in earth history will lead us to the truth."
Yes the truth that the bible does not give an accurate history of the Earth.

"The Bible gives us a much more reliable history of the earth as it was recorded by God."
To quote Feynman
"If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong.
In that simple statement is the key to science.
It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is.
It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the
guess, or what his name is - if it disagrees with experiment it is
wrong."

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 12:58:27 BST
Last edited by the author on 11 Apr 2014, 13:00:22 BST
Ghostgrey51 says:
Hello CWB
The weight of information you put forward in your two posts is formidable. You have obviously looked into this in some depth (oops sorry about the pun-ref to sediments)
I would contend though that the idea of a 6,000 year epoch suggests a massive event in a short space of time. Now this is credible when considering a Big Bang scenario when, if taking a majority view, all Time, Space and Matter began their respective and allied journeys.
Viewing the history of Creation after that event suggests another perspective which is a long interaction of forces & matter (in all its states).
These laws and interactions give weight to the concept of universality in all aspects of Creation.
When addressing the age of the Earth, if one does choose to look at evidence which suggests contemporary scientific methods are at odds with other evidence, this in turn suggests God took a decision to make a Special Case of this world. Now this does have its attractions and a certain level of rationality (`God So Loved The World'). This does cause me problems when applying The Universe Physical to the Universe Theological. I will explain.
(If you are atheistic you might want to look away now, this does contain content of a strongly theistic nature)
God brought into being this wondrous Universe and all of its manifold aspects. This majestic glory is displayed in the amazing slow and complex interaction of all those aspects which is truly breath-taking when one considers the depth of that complexity and its seamless credibility, of which we still have so much to learn. I believe that God delights in the progress of his (nothing specific there in gender, just a term of convenience) children in this journey of discovery, as do all parents.
The concept of God swiftly creating a world somehow to me detracts from the Glory of Creation, bringing to mind the concept of The God of The Gaps as Supreme Being who arrives to fill in the difficult physical parts of the Creation that didn't quite fit His Original Plan. This is turn can lead to the concept of a God who was not able to plan ahead as they had to tinker, as it were and thus devalues God
Thus to my mind (and it is only my view-no quotes here), I perceive God as a Supreme Being who set Creation in its Physical state in motion as a massive work, conceived and planned in a concept way before The Big Bang on a scale currently unimaginable. This set in motion, He now is involved with and in being with his most supreme of creations the living, sentient, intelligent being, in whichever part of Time and Space they might be.
(Sorry I have to give way to one small quote : Walt Whitman `A vast similitude interlocks all').

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 13:04:49 BST
Which brings us full circle ... what do we mean by 'exist' and 'evidence'?

Posted on 11 Apr 2014, 13:09:38 BST
Last edited by the author on 11 Apr 2014, 13:32:52 BST
Stu says:
Why do posters claim god created the universe or the galaxy or life or whatever 6.000 years ago when we know that the earth is 4,45million years old approximately, so what was happening all that time in between?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 14:03:58 BST
Ian says:
Bradders, there are several reasons why you continue to be wrong every time you post anything about science or evidence:

1. You don't read critically; the source agrees with you therefore it must be accurate. The two quotes I posted from your source directly contradict each other.

Here's 2 more quotes from your sources which contradict each other:
"Yet diamonds have been tested and shown to contain radiocarbon equivalent to an age of 55,000 years."
"A straightforward reading of the Bible shows that the earth was created in six days about 6,000 years ago." (Wow! Talk about quality of evidence. What a fantastic way to age the Earth.)
So which is it now? Are you claiming diamonds are 55,000 years old which makes them 49,000 years older than the Earth? Don't tell me; your extra-terrestrials brought them from their much older planet?

2. You don't understand it (that's why you're a failed politician not a scientist). Diamonds are made of carbon. Carbon dating works for objects which were once alive. Diamonds are not living creatures and never were. Is that clear enough for you?

3. When faced with holes in your evidence you post more 'evidence' from the same sources as if this is adding something to you argument.

I'd be happy to explain the presence of C14 in both diamonds and coal to you but you wouldn't understand and wouldn't even bother to try. If you wanted to know you'd look it up (in a matter of seconds). But the explanation isn't on answersingenesis (I wonder why?) so you won't look for it - you only read sources that you know will confirm your pre-existing beliefs.

Feel free to post some more links containing contradictory statements that you haven't read properly and imagine you're proving something.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 15:16:04 BST
I have been reading some stuff about God being either temporal i.e. within time and therefore eternal and the alternative which is God as timeless outside time. Absolutely fascinating stuff. The hoops that theologians are prepared to go through to 'prove' one or the other and then tie them in with reality. One of the ideas that crops up is accelerated time. It was a hoot. Apparently God can compress several billion years into mere seconds.

Apparently one would not notice because everything was speeded up which made me wonder that, if no one notices the speedup then why bother with it in the first place and let everything happen in its own good time! I must hold my hand up and say that most of what I read by apparently seriuos people came across as total nonsense to me, at least that which I understood and seemed to make sense!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 15:55:31 BST
"Here is some more easily verifiable evidence"

Which is no doubt why science has not verified it. Do try and grasp how science works.

And I am not sure as there's no way I'm wasting my time dredging through that cut and paste creationist bs, but I could have sworn I glimpsed Ken Ham's name? You wouldn't have cited that imbecile would you?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 15:56:13 BST
http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/mt_st_helens_dacite_kh.htm

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 16:06:53 BST
Last edited by the author on 11 Apr 2014, 16:21:04 BST
Unfortunately you have also at one time or other claimed in posts on here that it's ay ok to breed uncontrollable, shackle women to their reproductive cycles, deny gay people and women basic human rights, that we're within decades of relocating a significant number of the human population to Mars, that our DNA was seeded by ancient aliens, that all man made religions are cryptic clues to these ancient aliens, that we were still colonising America, Canada, Australia in 1912, that Hitler was ok and misunderstood, that there genuinely is a Zionist conspiracy, that fascism is more appealing than a tolerant liberal democracy, that rape victims shouldn't have access to an abortion, that abortion is murder but killing an adult doctor is understandable because he worked in an abortion clinic, and the list goes on, so your opinion on here, rather understandably, is not very credible.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2014, 16:07:29 BST
No no, god made the light "en route". Think logically mun!
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