Blogalogue

Blogalogue


Are you certain about certainty?

posted by kgiberson

Dear Karl,
Thank you for your kind comments.
First, you have enabled me to better understand where “you are coming from” and see more clearly how you view the creation/evolution issue. That background is so important for the both of us so we don’t (even unwittingly) talk past each other.
As I see it from your most recent posting, there are four major topics I need to address:
1. Philosophical issues
2. Ultimate authority
3. Biblical interpretation
4. Evidences
As best as I can in the short space we have agreed to for these postings, I will attempt to deal with all four.


1. Philosophical issues: I believe this is really at the heart of the debate, which is outlined so well by you in the last two major paragraphs of your posting. In regard to this, I would like to pose a question (and please understand I am honestly not trying to come across as sarcastic–it is a sincere question which I believe gets to the heart of the matter) about your comment: “I don’t believe we have absolute certainty anywhere …”. My question, with respect, is: How can you be absolutely certain about this? To me–that is the point. The only way we can be absolutely certain about anything is if we have a basis in an absolute authority–which is what the Bible claims for itself and as I openly state is my starting point!
The philosophical issues tie in very strongly with what we take as our ultimate authority – the standard by which we evaluate evidence. You have indicated that we cannot understand the Bible unless we first understand God’s revelation in nature. But I would suggest that the opposite is true: we cannot consistently understand God’s general revelation in nature apart from God’s special revelation in the Bible. The reason is that evidence (e.g., in regard to the origins issue) doesn’t “speak for itself.” Physical evidence (by which I mean things like fossils, DNA, rock layers, galaxies, and so on) is not propositional truth. It’s not something that can be read like a book.
But the Bible is propositional truth – it is clear and can be understood right away. The clear propositional teachings of Scripture provide us with the correct framework to understand the evidence in relation to the past. Even the idea that the biblical God has revealed Himself in nature is something we could only know for sure from the Bible (Romans 1:18-20, Psalm 19:1-6)! Now obviously those who deny the Bible are able to understand many aspects of the universe – but they are being inconsistent. Allow me to clarify:
Many secular scientists do not realize that they are actually borrowing from the Christian worldview when they do science. The underlying order and uniformity in nature required by the methods of science only make sense ultimately in a biblical worldview. It is only because God upholds the universe in a consistent and logical fashion that scientists are able to make successful predictions about the future – such as the positions of planets or the outcome of various experiments.
If we read the Bible in a natural way, we learn that Christ upholds all things by His power (Hebrews 1:3), and that we can therefore count on certain things in the future to be true (Genesis 8:22), which makes possible the principle of induction upon which all science depends. It is therefore irrational to use science to undermine a natural reading of the Bible, when science depends upon a natural reading of the Bible. Many people simply take the tools of science for granted, as an arbitrary starting point, without realizing the foundation of such tools. One of our staff scientists, astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle, has written on this topic here.
2. Authority: My position regarding the authority of the church fathers is best summed up in a statement by the great reformer, Martin Luther. Dr. Luther stated:

“…Whenever we observe that the opinions of the fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from authority of Scripture for their sake.”

I certainly respect the church fathers, as well as theological and scientific experts. But as I indicated in my first post, I do believe God’s Word is the absolute authority, which, if I am correctly understanding it (and that’s one of the other issues we will address), will not be in error, and is the foundational starting point for my worldview philosophy.
If we take the majority opinion of secular scientists as our ultimate authority, we could not really consistently believe, for example, that Christ was resurrected–or that there was a virgin birth over 2000 years ago. After all, scientists have never been able to verify such events. As far as secular science is concerned, dead things stay dead. I believe that Christ rose from the dead (and that we will, too) on the basis of what the Bible teaches – even though it goes against the majority opinion of scientists.
Karl, it seems to me that you have an inconsistency in your worldview. Please clarify something for me. On the one hand, you embrace what secular scientists teach about the history of the universe (the big bang, evolution, and so on) while rejecting the natural reading of the Bible. On the other hand, you reject what secular scientists teach (that dead people do not come back to life) in favor of what the Bible teaches. What is the ultimate standard by which you decide when the word of secular scientists is to be taken in place of the Bible, and when to do the reverse?
Although we agree on some things, our ultimate standards are mutually exclusive. My position is that the Bible is the ultimate authority providing the general framework by which all claims and evidences should be evaluated–and yours is apparently that the Bible is not the ultimate authority. Obviously these are non-overlapping positions. So, I think the answer I asked previously still needs to be answered; to paraphrase: “Which worldview can rationally account for the things necessary for knowledge in general, and Christian doctrines specifically?” I suggest that apart from the foundation of the Bible, we couldn’t really know anything for certain.
3. Biblical interpretation: It is true that many people over the centuries (including during the Crusades, and those people in the U.S. church who supported racism, etc.,) have used Scripture (incorrectly, I would assert) to justify all sorts of wrongdoings. But just because others have done that, doesn’t mean it’s the Scriptures’ fault–I would insist it is a human fault, as after all, we are sinful fallible creatures (Genesis 3) subject to error in our understanding of things. In that case, how can we be sure whose interpretation of Scripture is correct? That really gets to the bottom line.
I want to suggest to you that the basic reason for the problems of interpretation lies with us taking beliefs/interpretations/ideas to the Bible instead of taking God’s Word first in a natural way (as you are reading this posting, I trust!)–according to the type of literature and the context (grammatical/historical interpretive method), letting it speak to us as a revelation from God. In doing this, we need to ensure that to the best of our ability (and I know we all can fail in this) we let God’s Word speak to us, without us forcing our ideas upon it.
As I said previously, it is quite natural to take historical sections of the Bible as literal history, and poetic sections as poetic. So, it was never appropriate to take Psalm 93:1 as anything other than a psalm of praise, which indicates the stability of the world as God upholds it. After all, the Psalmist also states “I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8, Psalm 62:6), using the same Hebrew word for “moved,” which does not imply that he intended to convey that the Psalmist could be physically stationary. The Psalmist indicates that he will not deviate from the path the Lord created for him, and neither with the Earth.
Similarly, Romans 10:18 is poetic, since the author is quoting Psalm 19:4 which exhibits the synonymous parallelism which is typical of Hebrew poetic prose. When we read this verse in context, the meaning is clear – that the glory of God as seen in the heavens reaches to the entire Earth. And of course we should always check claims against what the Bible actually states – such as the supposed “curse of Ham” – a teaching that is not in the Bible at all. Please understand that my position is not based on what people claim the Bible says, but rather what the Bible actually teaches.
But Genesis is neither written in poetic style nor an example of hyperbole. Indeed, Christ and the Old and New Testament authors all refer to it as literal history. This in fact is the basis for Christian doctrines. Take, for example, Matthew 19 (quoted in my previous posting). Here Christ cites Genesis 1 and 2 as the historical basis for marriage. If Genesis were just a myth, then Christ’s argument here (and in Mark 10:6) would make no sense.
4. Evidence: You’ve challenged my assertion that “there is no rational reason to think that in all cases similarity implies common ancestry.” But it is easy to demonstrate. As I look out my window across the parking lot, I see vehicles that all have certain characteristics in common. They are similar, yet I do not conclude that they are biologically descended from a common ancestor. Nor would I conclude that the ones that have more similarities are more closely related. I would argue they all share certain features because they have a common purpose, and in some case, a common creator.
I understand that in some cases similarity can be the result of common ancestors – brothers looking alike, for example. But clearly it does not in all cases. Only if we already knew that all organisms are biologically related (which of course is the very point at issue) would it make sense to use similarities in traits or DNA sequences as a measure of their relatedness. So, to use similarity as an argument for evolution is to beg the question.
To use any scientific evidence when attempting to reconstruct the past, we must make some assumptions. And yes, sometimes those assumptions are quite reasonable. Your illustration of tree rings is one example where biblical creationist and evolutionists agree (for the most part) on the starting assumptions and therefore many of the conclusions. Of course, tree rings only indicate thousands of years anyway – they don’t support millions or billions of years.
However, as I said previously, a straightforward reading of Genesis is contrary to the assumptions of (1) naturalism, and (2) uniformitarianism. Genesis indicates that the universe was created by a unique act of God. God’s method of creating the universe is different from his method of sustaining it because Genesis 2:2 tells us that God ended His work of creation by the seventh day. Uniformitarianism, the idea that present rates and conditions can (in general) be used to extrapolate the past is contrary to, among other things, the global Flood described in Genesis 6-8.
So, evolution arguments that are based on the assumptions of uniformitarianism or naturalism are circular, because to assume naturalism and uniformitarianism is to dismiss the natural reading of Genesis in advance. I would suggest to you that there isn’t a non-circular argument for evolution. My argument for biblical creation is that it is the (1) the clear teaching of the Bible and (2) the Bible must be true because it is the only authority that can account for science and reasoning, morality, and human experience.
I appreciate the opportunity (which I don’t often get) to explain more fully why we as biblical creationists hold the positions we do. I trust those reading this post will understand that our position is not one of blind faith, but a thought-out, rational one.
I look forward to our final postings for this debate.
Kindest Regards
Ken



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Eric Kemp

posted October 23, 2008 at 3:15 pm


Ken
I just want to say what an encouragement and a blessing it is to hear you clearly and rationally articulate why a natural reading of Genesis is the only clear choice if we let Scripture interpret Scripture. I pray that Dr. Giberson realizes his uniformitarian assumption that is taking precedence over the authority of God’s Word. You are running the race well, brother.
Eric



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Ryan

posted October 23, 2008 at 4:16 pm


I too greatlyu enjoyed reading this post. It was very easy to understand and professionally done, and sems that it would be difficult to refute without misconstruing or bringing up that which as already been dealt with (though I’m sure many will anyway). I absolutely love all te work that you do at AiG and can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when I saw you would be partaking in this. The only debate I’ve enjoyed better than this one was the one Mr. Ham and Dr. Lisle did against Dr. Ross and Mr. Kaiser (and John Ankerburg) in the Great Debate. You guys did a great job then, and you’re doing a great job now, Mr. Ham.
Oh, and my apologies to Dr. Giberson for having called him Mr. for all this time. I don’t know why I messed that up, but never again (I hope).



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John

posted October 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm


Ken,
Well put, and in the right spirit. If we don’t consider Genesis as true history, but call ourselves ‘christians’, where do we start believing the Bible?
This debate is even being seen ‘down under’, you have our support from Australia.



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Larry

posted October 23, 2008 at 5:41 pm


I certainly hope I am not convinced in this debate that Dr. Giberson is correct. If the Bible is not more trustworthy than he believes then why read it. If I were to be convinced (I freely admit there is not a chance) I fear I would go the way of Charles Templeton.



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 5:43 pm


I too would like to thank Ken and the other creationist posters for making their position exceedingly clear.
“The Bible says X, therefore X is true and it is impossible for anything to contradict X.”
This is precisely why creationism does not warrant inclusion in science curricula. It is the exact opposite of science.



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MC

posted October 23, 2008 at 5:53 pm


Well articulated reasoning, as usual, Ken. Thank you for the continuously-expanding ministry of AIG. It’s certainly strengthened my faith, and I had an opportunity to bring two friends to the Creation Museum last month (my second visit), and they were surprised that there was so much more to it than they imagined (and more than the last time I was there).



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John

posted October 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm


“The underlying order and uniformity in nature required by the methods of science only make sense ultimately in a biblical worldview. It is only because God upholds the universe in a consistent and logical fashion that scientists are able to make successful predictions about the future – such as the positions of planets or the outcome of various experiments.”
In this statement, Mr. Ham is guilty of the classic logical fallacy, “affirming the consequent”. While I expect that both he and Dr. Gilberson would agree that the existence of God (the “antecedent”) implies an ordered universe (the “consequent”), Mr. Ham cannot then claim that the existence of an ordered universe necessarily implies God. Christian and secular scientists alike empirically observe that the universe behaves in an orderly fashion without needing to refer to a Bible for confirmation. Indeed, the Christian worldview is that there is an order ordained by God, but that He will also at times alter the existing order in the form of miracles.
It seems to me that, despite Mr. Ham’s assertion to the contrary, secular scientists and Dr. Gilberson are being completely consistent to their views. Secular scientists accept that the universe will continue to behave in an orderly fashion because it has thus far behaved so. As a Christian, Dr. Gilberson accepts (I presume) what scientists say about death is what normally happens, but that Jesus miraculously rose through intervention by God the Father.



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MC

posted October 23, 2008 at 5:58 pm


“This is precisely why creationism does not warrant inclusion in science curricula. It is the exact opposite of science.”
When you say “science” you mean philosophical naturalism, which assumes the exclusion of the supernatural from the outset.



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm


MC,
No, I mean science, which operates according to methodological naturalism.
It does not say that the supernatural does not exist, only that it cannot be tested. So until someone provides a means by which the supernatural can be empirically tested, protests about science not including the supernatural are pointless.



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MC

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:07 pm


“Mr. Ham cannot then claim that the existence of an ordered universe necessarily implies God.”
I assume you haven’t actually read the article by Dr. Lisle to which Ken linked?



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MC

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:22 pm


“So until someone provides a means by which the supernatural can be empirically tested, protests about science not including the supernatural are pointless.”
I would point back to Ken’s original question:
“Which worldview can rationally account for the things necessary for knowledge in general, and Christian doctrines specifically?”
The supernatural may not be able to be tested directly, but the results in nature can certainly by tested and observed. It comes back to the question of which does a better job of explaining the observations. Does evolutionism do a good job of explaining “new” species when genetics has revealed that it’s not possible for mutations to cause an increase in useful genetic information? Can the Big Bang explain the existence of matter (where’s all the anti-matter?) Can slow and steady processes over millions of years explain mile-deep layers of sediment that are pancake flat and have no evidence of millions of years of erosion between them?
Long-agers cling to radiocarbon dating as proof of an old earth, but that too requires untestable assumptions, and an old earth can not account for the decay of the earth’s magnetic field, the increasing distance of the moon from the earth, the influx of radiocarbon to the earth, the young origin of human civilization, the development of the total human population (doubling rate of 150 years starting with 2 people gives up the current population in just 4,000 years). I could go on, but the point is that God’s Word as a starting point makes better sense of the evidence (most of which has to be ignored to conclude long ages).



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Steven Kippel

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:25 pm


MC,
I did read the article, at least until it got comical.



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Harold McKee

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:35 pm


Steven,
At least you tried to read it. The comical part is you not understanding it and attempting to hide that fact with childish remarks. Typical evolutionist behavior.



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm


MC,
No, the supernatural cannot be tested at all. A god by definition can do anything imaginable, including creating something one way, but making it appear as if it’s come about via a completely different means.
As far as your assertion that “genetics has revealed that it’s not possible for mutations to cause an increase in useful genetic information”, you couldn’t be more wrong. The evolution of useful novel genetic sequences is as common as rain. I directly observed exactly that as an undergraduate genetics student in the 1990′s. A single clone derived strain of E. coli that was susceptible to ampicillin evolved resistance, and we directly documented the novel sequence that produced the trait. It wasn’t in the parental strain, but it was in the evolved strain. If that’s not “new genetic information”, then what is?
The rest of your arguments further demonstrate that you have not studied any of the subjects in any depth and are merely parroting what you have been told by the likes of AIG. For example, your argument that “Long-agers cling to radiocarbon dating as proof of an old earth” exposes your lack of understanding. Carbon dating is only useful in the tens of thousands of years. Other methods must be used to date older items.
So getting back to my point (that you have just demonstrated perfectly), why are you attempting to argue the YEC position from an empirical standpoint, when it is entirely based upon theology? If you view science as the product of “fallible humans”, why do you care whether or not science supports your religious views?
You engage in a rather odd dance. On one hand you attempt to discredit science as the flawed product of fallible humans, but on the other you attempt to claim it supports your position.



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John

posted October 23, 2008 at 7:39 pm


Hello Gerald,
Your comment “… why are you attempting to argue the YEC position from an empirical standpoint, when it is entirely based upon theology?” Requires a response.
Empirical science (developed by the way by Bible believing Christian scientists) actually supports young Earth models better than old earth. As a Christian, I believe the Bible first, and I can see how the evidence supports it (without ‘massaging’ to suit). I can see also that if you first take God out of the equation, things can look old, but to a human mind. They don’t look old to God.
Someone once told me that a thousand years is a long time, and it must be admitted that much can happen in a thousand years. Much can happen in a few days (Mt St Helens being one fine example) that then look old.
The arguments are valid for magnetic field decay, human population growth, moon recession etc. Scientists however have to come up with fanciful explanations ‘without God’ to explain them.
As I have stated in an earlier post, my God can do anything He wants in as much or as little time as He wants. Are you putting man-made limits on God?



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 7:46 pm


John,
You can assert, “Empirical science…actually supports young Earth models better than old earth” over the internet all you want, but such unsubstantiated assertions are insufficient to overturn centuries of established science.
Your statement, “I can see also that if you first take God out of the equation, things can look old, but to a human mind” is rather odd. Are you not using your own human mind to look at things?
Are you putting man-made limits on God?
Nope. That’s what YEC does.



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Harold McKee

posted October 23, 2008 at 7:48 pm


Gerald,
Can you please post your evidence to support your accusation that the expelled film used dishonesty? Your explanation that your post providing your proof somehow got lost while all your other posts are making it through makes your excuse all the more questionable.
Pleased post the evidence or have the decency to retract your slanderous statement.



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 8:08 pm


Harold,
My post now appears on this blog. Click the “Comments” link at the end of Ken Ham’s post to view all the comments.



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 23, 2008 at 8:11 pm


Actually, my post regarding “Expelled” is in the “Seeing God’s Revelation in Nature” entry by Mr. Giberson. So go over there and click the “Comments” link to see it.



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Pseudonym

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm


Ken Ham said:
“I want to suggest to you that the basic reason for the problems of interpretation lies with us taking beliefs/interpretations/ideas to the Bible instead of taking God’s Word first in a natural way (as you are reading this posting, I trust!)–according to the type of literature and the context (grammatical/historical interpretive method), letting it speak to us as a revelation from God. In doing this, we need to ensure that to the best of our ability (and I know we all can fail in this) we let God’s Word speak to us, without us forcing our ideas upon it.”
There’s an explicit statement here that Ken prefers the historical-grammatical method for Biblical interpretation. He must be aware that this is a choice that he has made in his approach to Biblical interpretation, and there is nothing objective about choosing that alone, and limiting your tools to whatever tickles your own personal preferences.
In particular, his approach assumes that the Bible should not be analysed using the tools developed for studying other ancient texts, usually referred to “historical-critical method” or “higher criticism”.



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John

posted October 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm


Gerald,
May I ask a question of you?
If God is all powerful, do you think that He could make the universe in 6 days?
Another question: If God did make the universe in a thousand, a million, or a billion years, wouldn’t you think that was still just as amazing as if He did it in six days?
A third question: If He did not make it in six days, then why does He say that He did, or is He lying?



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Gilbert

posted October 23, 2008 at 11:05 pm


Who is to say that 6 days was six earth days? We define God as creating the universe, and as eternal. So is it not possible that a ‘day’ for God may be different than a day for man on earth? A day for him, might be an age for us.
Who knows, as scientific knowledge expands, they may discover six stages in the creation of the universe. If God has infinite knowledge is not possible that we not understand his word completely, especially in regards to specific events like the creation of the universe or Jonah in the belly of a whale?



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Herman

posted October 23, 2008 at 11:17 pm


We must have a foundation outside of ourselves. As the Declaration of Independence says, ” The laws of
nature and of natures God.” What a great unique beginning for America- God’s will and the revelation of God. The INFINITE GOD HAS GIVEN US HIS WORD. YES! THE BIBLE what a blessing. Every person must start with the Bible . THe Bible is about God and His Kingdom. God made this world so complex ,so interestingly intricate, Let us keep wondering and rejoicing ! On Nov. 4th remember to vote for Mccain-
Palin.



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Timothy C.

posted October 23, 2008 at 11:25 pm


Mr. McGrew,
You say to MC “…why are you attempting to argue the YEC position from an empirical standpoint, when it is entirely based upon theology?” If this were a reasonable question, I could ask you “Why are you attempting to argue the evolutionary position from an empirical standpoint, when it is entirely based upon naturalistic philosophy?” Neither the naturalistic worldview nor the creationist worldview is ultimately based on empirical research, but on certain presuppositions; the creationist position is based on revelation (a more accurate term than “theology”), while the evolutionary view assumes that all existence can be explained by natural causes. Each view may try to support its conclusions with data, but neither is ultimately based on that data. The differences are first epistemological, not empirical.
In addition, the two scientific examples you cite in the same comment are not very convincing. You should realize that an organism’s acquisition of new genetic traits does not necessarily equate to an increase in the specified complexity of the creature’s genome; in fact, it often indicates the opposite. Moreover, IF information-adding mutations do occur, they are rare; and they would not be able to provide any significant evolutionary progress, as they would be swamped by the destructive effects of very common information-losing mutations.
You correctly state that “carbon dating is only useful in the tens of thousands of years,” since Carbon-14 decays to basically nothing in that time frame; but this is a problem for believers in an old earth. Perhaps you could explain why C-14 is detected in coal and diamonds believed by evolutionists to be far, far older than “tens of thousands of years”?
By the way, have you read the description of this debate on the “Main Index” page? It is supposed to be about the compatibility (or lack thereof!) between the Bible and evolution. I have yet to see you make any comments in that vein.



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Herman

posted October 23, 2008 at 11:32 pm


I believe that the Bible is the revelation of God. It reveals God AS the Supernatural creator of all of this universe, which is so intricately complex and wonderful that we should exploring and praising Him constantly. Isn’t it wonderful that this great country was founded on these 8 words in the Declaration of Independence ,”the laws of nature and of nature’s God. It is wonderful that on the 4th of Nov. we can vote for mcCain-Palin.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm


Established by the Doppler effect of red-shift through the spectrum of light, there is no question that the physical universe is about fourteen billion years old. By the same criterion, there is no question that the universe has expanded by a factor of one million squared. In other words, the physical universe is one million times a million bigger than it was at the “Big-Bang,” “The Creation Moment,” or whatever you want to call the instant that the universe first came into existence. The interesting mathematical fact is that the scientifically-established age of the universe, divided by the expansion factor, ie. fourteen-billion, divided by one million squared, = 0.15, a figure which when multiplied by 365.242 the number of days in the solar year, equals SIX. Given the speed of light as a constant, these figures provide scientific and mathematical evidence, that the time required for the completion of the entire physical universe could not have been anything other than SIX LITERAL 24 HOUR DAYS! (Actually, the figure is 5.47, which compared to the standard religious claim of six days, over fourteen billion years,is well within an acceptable margin of error.)Because, just as the light that presently takes eight and a half minutes to reach earth from the Sun would take ten minutes if we were a bit astronomically further away, the original six days required to propel all the elements of the Earth and the Solar system from the point of the Big-Bang, is now scientifically measurable as fourteen billion years. In summary: fourteen billion divided by one million squared = 0.15 x 365.242 = 6



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John

posted October 24, 2008 at 12:48 am


David,
You state “Established by the Doppler effect of red-shift through the spectrum of light, there is no question that the physical universe is about fourteen billion years old.”
Prove it. Were you there?
http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/v2i8f.htm



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Josh

posted October 24, 2008 at 2:11 am


Hi everyone, and warm greetings.
David M. I can appreciate the number crunching that you did, as I am an engineer and deal with them daily. However, I’m going to make the bold claim that you were making an (unprovable) assumption in your calculations.
You (as well as all evolutionists) are assuming that time operates at the same speed in all areas of the universe and that it always has at all places in the universe in the past. How can we know this is true objectively? We simply cannot; it is an assumption.
If time operated differently in the past in different areas of the universe, all of the above calculations of time could be completely wrong relative to time on earth. (e.g. If the clocks outside the solar system were sped up by a great deal relative to earth, there would be plenty of time for light to reach earth in a short “earth-time”).
Essentially, testable, observable science shows us that time operates differently for different objects depending upon 2 factors: (1) the relative speed of the two objects, and (2) how deeply an object is embedded in a gravity-well (how close it is to the center-point of a massive object).
This is why atomic clocks in satellites orbiting earth and atomic clocks on earth deviate from each other and must be synchronized ever-so often. They are essentially operating in different time “speeds.” Though the factor is too small to make a difference in clock speeds on earth relative to the rest of the universe TODAY, who is to say it always was in the past?
That being said, there are some pretty good creation cosmology theories that explain (better than the big-bang in some cases) an origin of the universe based on the biblical account of creation using time-dilation and general relativity. I placed a link here to the one that I feel is putting up the best fight to explain the cosmological evidence we observe.
-Regards



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John

posted October 24, 2008 at 4:29 am


Josh,
I agree. I am also partial to C Decay, which I believe is another possibility. Neither Christians or non-believers have all the answers, but it is great to explore.
One thing is sure, it is a scientific fact that you can’t get something from nothing (or life from non-lfe) no matter how big the universe, or how much time there is….



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Paul Smith

posted October 24, 2008 at 5:16 am


I wish to thank Ken and Karl for the way they have debated this issue…a most interesting debate. Also, thanks Ken for adding the links to relevant articles in support of your position.
May I ask a genuine question from which I sincerely hope will result in receiving a serious answer.
Firstly, let me state up-front that I am NOT a scientist or journalist and fortunately, (or maybe unfortunately, I’m not sure) I do not travel in these professional circles. Therefore, please forgive me if this question has been posed and answered many times before.
My question is:
I perceive that there is much genuine fear and concern in the media and scientific worlds over “climate change”, “global warming” etc. BUT why is this?
As I ponder over this, I conclude that either:
(1) these scientists and journalists etc don’t really believe what they teach us about life-forms evolving into increasingly more complex forms through the process of natural selection and survival of the fittest (as a result of having to adapt to changing environments etc); or
(2) they are knowingly holding back our current life-forms, as we know it, from progressing to a higher level.
Why is this allowed to occur, and who gives these people the right to make this determination on our future direction?



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Rene

posted October 24, 2008 at 6:38 am


Paul,
the answer to your question is quite simple (I take your question to mean: if journalists and scientists believe in evolution, why are they afraid of global warming).
I’m a journalist and former scientist (biology). If the effects of global warming are as predicted, most costal areas (where roughly 90 percent of the worlds population live!) will face serious flooding over the next century. This will be a enormous blow for our civilization.
Evolution won’t solve the problems that this flooding will create. We won’t evolve gills over the next century (like in the movie Waterworld).
Sudden changes in the environment will stimulate evolution – as happened when the dinosaurs went extinct. But that didn’t help the dinosaurs! If we create a real global warming, some species will go extinct, others will prosper. But as a member of the human species, I fear the effects.
Hope this clarifies the matter for you.



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CreatorsKnight

posted October 24, 2008 at 7:57 am


I am not a scientist but I love science and for the longest time I let science keep me away from God. I thought like my teachers had taught me. I was supposed to accept what smarter people said about certain things. I did and it led me to believe that evolution had to be true. Once I grew up and decided that there are a lot of people out there and they can’t know everything I started thinking differently. I started thinking that I was taught a lot of things that might be wrong. I think everyone comes to that point in their life where they see that the person they trusted can’t know everything.
So it is with evolution. I once thought that it explained everything. I once thought I had evolved from monkeys. I even thought I might have come from some primordial soup or even at times I thought maybe some alien DNA planted on this Earth.
What really keeps me searching for answers is that I still feel I am not the smartest person out there. If anyone claims they are I am sure we could ask them something that is not in their realm of study to prove that they are not. The only being to ever claim to know everything was God and we as fallible humans have been trying to be him since. Humility teaches us that we can’t and we have to accept things on faith. That faith is bound in a book called the Bible. We can’t love God truly unless he had given us free will. We can’t possibly know about him without something to show who he was. The Bible is our starting point and for those of who want eternal lives we have to believe that God would not lie. To accept evolution you would have to accept that through inspiration God lied through Moses when he said “and it was Good”. Accepting evolution means accepting millions of years of death and decay before he made Adam and Eve.
I have seen no proof of evolution. A comment earlier was that someone saw E coli become resistant to something that the parent was not. I would suggest to that person that they read Michael Behe’s book “Edge of Evolution” In it it explains to a much greater degree what is going on when something “evolves” into something that is resistant. For those of you, who don’t have the time to read it, just know that in order for most things to become resistant they have to give up something else. In other words a mutation occurs that would seem beneficial but in hindsight can actually hurt the organism. Michael Behe is way smarter than I and I trust his judgment on this particular thing because he is an expert in his field. Is he an expert in the Bible though? I wouldn’t know as I have not seen any evidence of it. I have seen that he is an expert in his field because he has went to school for it and has done countless experiments based on it. I also trust him because he has found evidence, which in my eyes, supports the Bible. He probably would not claim that but that is between him and God.
My Dad was a big proponent of having an equal amount of what they call “book smarts” and common sense. “Book smarts” tell you that this experiment showed this much amount of radioactive decay in a rock. Common sense will tell you that they can’t possibly know what the amount of the radioactive component was when it was first created. Why is it common sense? Because without a doubt you know that they were not there 10 million years ago when they say it was created.
I have gone on for too long and I have to go now and I am sorry my points are so disjointed but these issues all relate to one thing and that is our knowledge of eternal life. While many believe that evolution has no affect on eternal life I believe it does because the one thing that people can see of God is the Bible. If you change the way the Bible is interpreted you can undermine his authority because people have nothing they can see



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Paul Smith

posted October 24, 2008 at 10:00 am


Thanks Rene for your explanation.
Your summary of my question is pretty accurate, even though I think it goes beyond ‘why they are afraid’. Also, my understanding of the fear of global warming is that it is more than just about threats of coastal flooding….but I still appreciate your response. Thank-you.
Maybe I’m a bit like CreatorsKnight who appears to have learned to ‘smell a rat’ when he’s given something that sounds simple, but doesn’t make a lot of common sense.
I’m sorry, Rene, if I have misunderstood your response, but I can’t accept your reasoning whereby you appear to be stating that:
(a) on the one hand we could ‘face serious flooding over the next century’ and that ‘evolution wont solve the problems that this flooding will create’, yet
(b) on the other hand you state that ‘sudden changes in the environment WILL stimulate evolution’
I admit that it’s been awhile since I last attended a Science lesson in a School, but I’m confident that it is still taught that a century in anyone’s view is a very short period of time when compared against the age of the earth (whether a young or old earth – still a century is a very, VERY short period of time).
How then do you reconcile this shortness of time with something that isn’t then considered as a sudden change? How much more ‘sudden’ do we have to have before we see evolution at work in a ‘sudden’ change in the environment?
Now, I am not trying to be half-smart…it just doesn’t make any sense. I’m more than happy to hear where I’m going wrong with this.
Also, I am interested to receive your response please to another statement that you made:
you stated that ‘some species will go extinct, others will prosper’ – I don’t see this as evolution, but simply certain environmental conditions favoring one life-form over another.
Are you stating that some species will develop into something new (which is my argument about are the scientist holding us back etc) or are you stating that they will simply multiply due to favorable conditions?
Thank you for your time in responding, but I am truly after some answers because these are questions we should be asking people (who claim to be experts) and then have journalists etc holding these people to account.



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Frederick Lang - Rodeo, Ca

posted October 24, 2008 at 10:06 am


I would simply remind those who argue that evolution is a fact that it does NOT pass the science test with regards to the 1st and 2nd law of thermodynamics. Scientists say that in reality, all biological and physical systems, are running down, having less usable energy, from order to disorder, complexity to simplicity with nearly all mutations being essentially 99.9% destructive in a biological system. In other words, downward and less than it was before. Yet left to itself and without man’s intervention, evolution is suppose to be this wonderful upward and advancing natural process that is always increasing in complexity and order. Looks like scientifically the opposite seems to be true!
Now I ask, how can a so-called theory that goes totally against these two established universal laws, suddenly in recent years now be considered fact and the only thing taught in our schools? Creationism as a “model” essentially teaches everything in nature was created as “very good” and designed from the start to be complex, orderly, perfect and fully functional. Now because of sin(entropy), we can see this decay and death all around us, where in fact all systems are running down to a more disorderly state. It appears that as a “theory”, creation is MUCH closer to scientific reality and truth!
Curiously, with each discovery that seems to point to this orderly and designed feature in nature, evolutionists are always saying they may have to “rewrite their theory” and/or “drastically change what they have previously believed”…etc. Yet evolutionary scientists will never abandon the idea altogether. That sure sounds like a religious statement of blind faith to me!
Looks like as a scientific “theory”, creation passes the test much better than evolution. It’s a great day to be a young earth creationist!



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David Mccarthy

posted October 24, 2008 at 10:36 am


Josh and John: We’re in trouble. I’m a Creationist, trying to show that scientific figures regarding the age of the universe establish a six-day Creation as a mathematical fact. It appears that Josh and John disagree. No wonder the evolutionists think we’re dumb if we can’t even understand one another – and in Josh’s case doesn’t even recognize his own argument when he sees it presented in a different way. Try and actually READ these blogs now and again before you comment on them guys!



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Mark

posted October 24, 2008 at 11:24 am


David Mccarthy,
Did you come up with this “evidence” yourself? There is no logical foundation for what you have done with the numbers. Seems to me you have simply found some mathematical combinations that arrive at a number that you deem significant.
You said 0.15 x 365.242 = 6, but it doesn’t. 0.15 x 365.242 = 54.786
Even if you do your math properly and round the answer to one significant digit, you get 5 not 6.
Your analysis is flawed throughout; that pointed out above is only the beginning.
And by the way, I do believe in a literal 6 day creation ~6,000 years ago.



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John (not the Creationist)

posted October 24, 2008 at 11:34 am


“I assume you haven’t actually read the article by Dr. Lisle to which Ken linked?”
I have. Dr. Lisle’s use of the term “circular argument” is incorrect. He asserts that assuming future uniformity based on evidence of past uniformity is a circular argument. There is, however, no circle. All scientific advance, including the list of assumptions upon which science is built, is continually subject to new evidence. If evidence appears tomorrow that the universe doesn’t behave rationally, secular scientists will need to account for that. The claim that evidence-based reasoning is by its very nature circular is false simply by the very definition of “circular reasoning”.
Here is a much better example of circular reasoning:
“The Bible is inerrant because the Bible says it is.”



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 24, 2008 at 12:50 pm


John,
If God is all powerful, do you think that He could make the universe in 6 days?
Of course. As I said, “gods” by definition can do anything imaginable.
If God did make the universe in a thousand, a million, or a billion years, wouldn’t you think that was still just as amazing as if He did it in six days?
Sure.
If He did not make it in six days, then why does He say that He did, or is He lying?
I’m sorry, but when I look at the Genesis creation accounts, I don’t see it written in the first person. It does not say, “I created…”, but is instead written in the third person. IOW, it’s one of those “fallible human beings” telling us what he thinks God did.



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Michael

posted October 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm


Gilbert wrote, “Who is to say that 6 days was six earth days? We define God as creating the universe, and as eternal. So is it not possible that a ‘day’ for God may be different than a day for man on earth? A day for him, might be an age for us.
Who knows, as scientific knowledge expands, they may discover six stages in the creation of the universe. If God has infinite knowledge is not possible that we not understand his word completely, especially in regards to specific events like the creation of the universe or Jonah in the belly of a whale?”
First, we must understand that the Bible contains God’s revelation to man along with historical information and man’s response to the same creating and sustaining God. If we accept that Genesis is written by Moses (or at least during Moses time) then all of Genesis that precedes the appearance of Moses is historically revealed by God to man.
If we accept God as the creator of all things and that he wants to reveal to man the historical events of his creation and the time period for each event, why then would we propose that he use vague wording to describe the time periods. If he spent 1000 years or a million years in each time period, his creative nature would be no less amazing. But to the one to whom he was revealing and using to write the Genesis account he used the term “a day” which the writer understood to mean a common day followed by a number one, two, three, to identify the number of common days. Then to emphasize the common day terminology used he preceded it with “an evening and a morning” was a day. He is telling the Genesis writer that he earth made one revolution on its’ axis. If we then try to argue that each revolution of the earth could have taken 1000 years or a million years, then during the day everything facing the sun would burn up and everything facing away would freeze or another miracle would have to be performed to keep it from doing so. Therefore, in Genesis, since God is speaking to “man on earth” in regard to God’s actions and the events of creation, how would one propose is a better way for him to describe a literal 24-hour day seeing that they would not at that date understand the 24-hour terminology? “…and there was evening and there was morning a day, one.” Genesis 1:5
One area where evolution and scripture may never agree is the order of events. God revealed in Genesis that he created the earth before he created the sun, moon and stars. He created all vegetation on the third day, also before he created the sun, moon and stars. He said on the third day that the trees were already bearing fruit and the plants were already bearing seed all before there were any birds or insects to pollinate them. These things cannot be reconciled with “molecules to man” Darwinian evolution.
By the way, I believe God created all things, including time and the science we rely upon to understand all things. Since God created time, he is not bound by it and exists outside of it, being timeless. There is an argument put forth by the Darwinian evolutionists within this debate that where man’s understanding of science conflicts with God’s revelation to man, that man’s imperfect understanding of science must trump God’s revelation to man instead of allowing God’s revelation to man to more perfectly interpret the findings in science. This is flawed and excessively narrow reasoning on the part of Darwinian evolutionists. Creationists should never be shaken by the challenges that science seems to demonstrate. However, as long as Darwinian evolutionists are in the majority, they know they can never allow science to align with scripture or else be forced to acknowledge an all powerful and knowing God.
I also believe this God of all creation is powerful enough to protect the integrity of his revelation to man. That if he has power over the universe, he has power over a little book, the book that reveals himself to man, the Bible.



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 24, 2008 at 12:58 pm


Timothy C.
I could ask you “Why are you attempting to argue the evolutionary position from an empirical standpoint, when it is entirely based upon naturalistic philosophy?”
That would be a relevant question if it were accurate…unfortunately, it’s not. Evolutionary biology is no more “based on naturalistic philosophy” than chemisty, geology, or any other field of science.
You should realize that an organism’s acquisition of new genetic traits does not necessarily equate to an increase in the specified complexity of the creature’s genome
Ah yes, the standard internet creationist tactic of moving the goalposts. The assertion was about “new genetic information”, not “specified complexity”.
Your response and all the others on this blog regarding my having personally observed the evolution of “new genetic information” demonstrates perfectly the point I’ve been making since I arrived here. It is completely and utterly pointless to try and discuss the data and analyses of evolutionary biology with YEC’s. The only thing such data is to you is something that must be denied at all costs. You approach the evidence for evolutionary common ancestry and an ancient universe the way a defense lawyer approaches evidence against his client….”How can we deny this?”
Look, you deny common descent and an ancient universe for one reason and one reason only: your religious beliefs. Fine…why not just leave it at that? Is that not enough? Why do you have to pretend as if you arrived at your position only after carefully, thoroughly and objectively pouring over piles of published papers, attending symposia, and speaking with the relevant experts?
Is it not good enough anymore to simply say, “I’m a creationist because that’s what the Bible teaches”?



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Timothy C.

posted October 24, 2008 at 1:05 pm


John (not the Creationist):
You may have read Dr. Lisle’s article (at http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v3/n1/evolution-anti-science), but you apparently did not understand it. Assuming that the future will be like the past because, in the past, the future has always been like the past, is quite clearly circular. If scientists were to discover evidence contradicting uniformity, as you say is theoretically possible, they would still have to assume some uniformity to make that discovery (e.g., the reliability of their memories, as Dr. Lisle points out).
By the way, reasoning cannot be evidenced-based, as you state. Reasoning is based on the laws of logic, which cannot be accounted for by a materialist worldview.



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Mark Buchanan

posted October 24, 2008 at 1:11 pm


Ken’s arguments are so nice – I wish I could believe them. The problem is that they don’t make sense in the real world the world of hard facts. Here is a question for creationists “How could the fathers of modern evolutionary theory (including both Lyell and Darwin) start out as creationists then become overwhelmingly convinced of both an old earth and the mutability of species?”



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Timothy C.

posted October 24, 2008 at 1:16 pm


Mr. McGrew,
You can assert all you please that evolution is not based on the philosophy of naturalism, but you failed to deal with any of the reasons I gave for making that statement.
And how to do you define “new genetic information” if it is not new specified complexity in the genetic code?



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Gerald McGrew

posted October 24, 2008 at 2:15 pm


Timothy,
The only reason you presented for evolutionary biology being based in “the philosophy of naturalism” was:
the evolutionary view assumes that all existence can be explained by natural causes
Yet you offered absolutely no support of this assertion.
And how to do you define “new genetic information” if it is not new specified complexity in the genetic code?
Perhaps you should ask the person who claimed that “new genetic information” couldn’t evolve. Are you asserting that a novel genetic sequence that confers a novel trait that is beneficial to the population is not “new genetic information”?



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David West

posted October 24, 2008 at 2:31 pm


Dear Ken,
It is a pleasure to witness your professionalism and grace in this online debate. You have both been very respectful in your approach toward one another. My wife and many in her family knew Karl personally, as they studied at ENC in Boston. It would be great to see more of these web debates in the future.
I can appreciate the time you must spend in preparing your responses for this type of online debate. We also thank you for your commitment to spreading the truth. My wife and I met you here in Merrimack, NH not too long ago. We visited your Creation Museum this past spring. It was a very enjoyable experience. May God bless you and your organization.



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Teresa

posted October 24, 2008 at 2:40 pm


I appreciate the quote from Luther in your post. I have been studying the church fathers and what current theologians have to say. Most of our prominent protestant leaders follow and promote the teachings of Calvin and/or Luther concerning the basic doctrines of God, Man, Sin, Salvation, etc., but they ignore the fact that neither Luther nor Calvin denied a recent, 6-day creation. In fact, the absence of a defense of a recent 6-day creation in their literature would indicate that there was no controversy surrounding a historical reading of Genesis since they did spend a great deal of effort expounding on Adam’s fall, the curse, original sin, etc. as if they were literal history.
Modern theologians who really push Calvinist doctrines, such as James M. Boice, Chairman of the Committe on Biblical Inerrancy (ironically), will not stand on a historical Genesis even though Calvin’s doctrines have their basis in a historical Genesis. WHy? I think that he and many other theologians who have spent their professional lives being the smartest people in all Christendom are afraid the world will think they are fools if they adhere to a historical Genesis. Their justifications do not sound much different than those of any other theistic evolutionist or progressive creationist — they don’t want to offend the world or be thought simple-minded for trusting God in the face of the “Mountains of Evidence” that are always touted but never present.
Contrary to what Boice, the majority of theologians, or the majority of scientists think, I refuse to regard NATURE as the 67th book of the Bible. There is no 67th book. Nature is evidence that can be used to support God’s Word, but NOTHING is evidence that can supplant God’s Word. People who think this way are doing nothing less than what the Catholic Church has done in making their Traditions equal to and superior to the authority of the Word of God. Either the Bible is the authority, or It is not. Either it is inerrant, or It is not. It is not ours to pick apart and choose what to believe and what to reject.
Yes, evil men use the Bible to support evil acts like racism, but the Bible itself doesn’t support racism: racism is overruled in the historicity of Genesis because we are all one blood. Truly, a historical Genesis is foundational to all Christian doctrine.



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Jesse

posted October 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm


This is just a note on certainty, epistemology and how human beings acquire knowledge. Most people reading this will most likely view my comment as very elementary and of little or no interest, but I wanted to add to the conversation regardless.
Mr. Ham said:
“To me–that is the point. The only way we can be absolutely certain about anything is if we have a basis in an absolute authority”
Mr. Hamm is referring to a system of acquiring knowledge through an ordered, linear, sequential means that was perfected by Rene Decarte, a mathematician and philosopher who many consider to be the epitome of modern thinking. This method basically states that if you start with something that is certain and infallible as your base, then anything you build on top of this foundation will be credible and believable. I think anyone can see the problem with this theory, because just like a house of cards when you start pulling pieces out of the base, the entire thing collapses.
This being said, I appreciated Mr. Gibersons comment:
“We have the Bible, we have our traditions of interpretation, and we have science and our experience. All these things have to be balanced and weighed against each other. Each must be allowed to speak its own message. If we build our astronomy on the Bible, we will be led astray and suppose, like the critics of Galileo, that the earth does not move. If we look to biochemistry to establish eternal life, we will likewise come up dry.”
This comment speaks to a more postmodern view of how we acquire knowledge, where collection of knowledge functions more like a web as opposed to a house of cards. In this view, the things we know are interconnected, and the strength or fallibility of each thought depends on how many interconnections it has–obviously, the more connections something has the better. Taking on this view has advantages in that when you start pulling pieces out of the web, it doesn’t necessarily fall apart.
But let’s not get to caught up in all of this friends, remember Paul writes that we are to boast in nothing but Jesus!



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John

posted October 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm


Hello David McCarthy,
I think one of the most telling ‘numbers’ is the population rate.
If you work backwards using the numbers, you will find that it reduces to a handful (eight..??) at around 2500 – 3500 BC. The time of the flood. http://ldolphin.org/popul.html
If the world was indeed millions of years old, and if we ‘evolved’, there would at one time have to be one individual. But assuming there was two, way back in the distant past, then using population growth rates there would be more people than there are planets in the universe. However, for the population to be where it is now, the early population growth rate would have been extremely low, around 0.002%. One dead and that’s it. Yet we are asked (or told) to believe that ALL life in all its massive complexity is just an accident of time.



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John (not the Creationist)

posted October 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm


Timothy C:
“Assuming that the future will be like the past because, in the past, the future has always been like the past, is quite clearly circular.”
This faulty reasoning results in all empirical evidence being circular reasoning. “Assuming X because, in the past, X has always been true” is not circular. It continually adds new evidence (as the present becomes the past) and thus, once again by definition, simply cannot be circular reasoning. It may prove to be wrong, but that’s exactly the point; external feedback continuously validates the assumptions. Circular reasoning is circular specifically because external feedback is excluded. “The validity of Scripture is validated by science. Science that contradicts Scripture is invalid” is circular reasoning because contradictory evidence is explicitly excluded.
“Reasoning is based on the laws of logic, which cannot be accounted for by a materialist worldview.”
What about logic is so difficult for a materialist? Does it require Christianity or will any mysticism suffice? Was Aristotle’s understanding of logic correct by accident, or was he actually a Christian? How about the mathematics from which modern logic is derived?
We simply have no reason to think that logic doesn’t work and we have every empirical reason to believe that it does. In fact, empiricism works much more reliably than mysticism. Effects from prayer and magic appear indistinguishable from random chance. Empirically, I can see that if I pray (or anyone else prays) for a mountain to move, the mountain stays put. Every time. A Bible-believing Christian, however, must believe that occasionally the mountain will move (unless, of course, he has less faith than a mustard seed).



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Glenn

posted October 24, 2008 at 6:53 pm


Teresa,
I haven’t checked Luther’s works yet, but Calvin clearly states his belief in 6 literal days of creation in his commentary on Genesis (which I have in my library)



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Paul Smith

posted October 24, 2008 at 9:12 pm


I refer to John’s post regarding population growth rates and have looked up the link, and tried to make some sense of it all.
Now, I’m no mathematician, but for the most part, the calculations they have come up with (which appear to take into account severe periods of known population drops in times of famines, plagues etc) is looking like there is some common sense prevailing.
If anyone is bold enough to answer this simple question, I would appreciate it: Is it, or is it NOT true?
I’m not wanting posts arguing for and against 6,000 or 20,000 years, but does the mathematical calculations make 100,000 years or even more seriously, millions of years of human life on this planet, completely (NOT even somewhat) ridiculous?
Have I missed something? Please let me know.



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Paul Smith

posted October 24, 2008 at 9:25 pm


If the poulation growth rates calculations turn out to be fairly accurate, are there other inescapable calculations or “proofs” that 100,000 years or millions or billions of years of some kind of existence on this planet are impossible to be upheld as true?
If there aren’t…that’s fine…let’s just get on with it, and continue this interesting debate.
Maybe some scientific research dollars should be invested in this area.



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Josh

posted October 24, 2008 at 10:55 pm


David M.
My sincerest apologies. I made some assumptions about what you were trying to say and came to the wrong conclusion. :) On second look, what you were trying to say is closer to what I was driving at than not.
You’re warning was very gracious and duly noted.



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Mark Buchanan says:
Here is a question for creationists “How could the fathers of modern evolutionary theory (including both Lyell and Darwin) start out as creationists then become overwhelmingly convinced of both an old earth and the mutability of species?”
Here is a question for anti-creationists: why do you ask such leading questions. Darwin made it clear that he despised Christianity, his father was an unbeliever, and his grandfather Erasmus Darwin had proposed a theory of evolution. Lyell made it clear that he was trying to explain away geology without Noah’s Flood, and to expunge the biblical chronology from history.
See also “Darwin’s arguments against God: How Darwin rejected the doctrines of Christianity” (URL above)



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Rene

posted October 25, 2008 at 6:35 am


Paul,
just getting back to your post of 10.00 AM October 24 (I’m posting from The Netherlands, so I’m in a different time-zone!).
Your first question (a and b) is a matter of time. The flooding that global warming may cause will take place in a matter of decades. Evolution doesn’t work that fast, so it won’t help us (or other species) to deal with this.
A sudden event, like the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs (let’s just assume this story is correct for the sake of the discussion) would open up new niches in the environment for other species to fill. Previously, the dino’s held these niches firmly, but when the climate got colder, they had to let go. This stimulated the development of other species (like mammals). But all this took a very long time! How long? That depends on what you call ‘change’.
There’s been interesting research on Great Tits, who lay their eggs around a fixed date, which ensures that the young hatch when the number of catepillars peaks. Due to the warming trend, this peak is now 1-2 weeks earlier (over a period of perhaps 20 years – that’s all hard science, real measurements!). Most Great Tits don’t adapt, some do, to some extent. Any Great Tit who lays her eggs a few days before the fixed date will be more succesfull at breeding and pass on her genes to the next generation. As the shift in egg-laying is (at least partly) in the genes, this means a shift in genetic makeup of the Great Tits – early egglaying genes are favoured. This would be called ‘micro-evolution’ by some, and it works on short timescale. You can call this ‘sudden evolution’.
Bigger changes take longer. That’s were opinions differ. Evolutionary biologists say that big changes (macro-evolution) come from little ones. Ken Ham will say: no, big changes are impossible.
Now, your second question. Is extinction of prospering evolution, or just ‘certain environmental conditions favoring one life-form over another’. Well, what you say is actually evolution. Evolution is simply a change in the genetic makeup of a community, either be genetic drift (e.g. inbreeding) or mutations. There is (genetic) variation within populations and a change in environment might favour one particular subset in that population (like in the Great Tit example).
Every species is basically on its route to develop into something new, genes change all the time. We mix our genes every time we reproduce. When humans began to herd cattle and drink milk, the ones that could digest milk were favoured. In societies that have no history of drinking milk, there’s much more lactose-intolerance. So ‘just prospering’ isn’t just prospering – it is keeping up with changes by adapting!
Again, I hope this clarifies matters. I’m all in favour of people asking questions – to scientists or journalists.
Rene



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Joe

posted October 26, 2008 at 2:28 pm


Rene,
Here’s an area of research for you. Ken Ham claims that dinosaurs were created at the same time as all other land animals.
So, why isn’t there a single lion, tiger, bear, sheep, cow, goat, monkey, ape, armadillo, camel, cat, dog, deer, gazelle, kangeroo, sloth, racoon, squirrel, chipmunk, bat, anteater, leopard, dingo, wombat, any other modern mammal species, any modern bird species of any type, or any human fossils buried amongst all of the thousands and thousands of dinosaur fossils? Any and all dinosaur fossils are found in layers located below any layers with any fossils of any of the above species. Did the dinosaur live at the same time as the afore mentioned species. No.



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Joe

posted October 26, 2008 at 2:38 pm


Oops, I believe my post should be addressed to Paul Smith and any and all other YECers. Frankly, I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who is YEC and who is not.



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Paul Smith

posted October 26, 2008 at 9:51 pm


Joe,
Thank you for providing me with a research assignment. I will respond with what I have been able to ‘dig up’ within the next day or two. If I find nothing exciting, I will tell you honestly.
I will post my response as a comment in Ken Ham’s final debate posting.
If it is good enough for me to accept your offer to do some research, how about you accepting to research on the population growth rates question I am still seeking someone to respond to from an earlier posting (refer Oct 24 2008 9.12pm).
Finally, I do not appreciate your possible attempt at labelling me along with YECs. If it makes you feel better, that’s fine…I’ll get over it…but if it is out of a sense of trying to gain a sense of superiority for yourself…I suggest don’t go there.
Placing labels on people’s positions in a debate only serves to cloud the real quest for discovery. I hope you understand.



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Your Name

posted October 26, 2008 at 10:46 pm


Ok, no labels. But could you clarify for me what your position is on the age of the Earth? One loses track when reading many comments. Are we talking thousands or billions of years?
The population question is easy enough to answer. If you want to demonstrate that the human population has grown from eight people in 2500 BC (traditional Flood date) to 6 billion people today (or run this in reverse from today to 2500 BC), then it’s trivially easy to calculate just the right growth rate value you will need to make the calculations turn out just right. In this case, I believe that you need to declare that human populations have doubled about every 150 years for the past 4500 years or so, and bang, it all works out.
Of course, what you’ve done is totally and completely unsupportable.
First, for the vast majority of periods of time in human history, we haven’t a clue as to what the actual population growth rate was. None. And further, the population growth rate has obviously varied wildly over time and has often had a negative value. That is, there is no constant value for this rate. For example, after the arrival of Europeans in the New World, it’s estimated that the native populations were reduced by as much as 90% by infection with European diseases.
So if anyone quotes any particular value for the human population growth over the last several millennia, and if anyone further claims this value is anything remotely resembling a constant value, then I think that we can conclude that this person is clearly pulling said value straight out of his or her behind.
I say we don’t know what the population growth rate was for most of human history, but we can take a lesson from the ecologists. The population growth curves for every animal population shows the same pattern. Populations may rise at an exponential rate for short periods of time, but then the density exceeds the environment’s capacity to support a given density. At this point, populations will collapse to a density below the carrying capacity of the environment. Over time, the population density for a given species tends to fluctuate about the carrying capacity or equilibrium density; sometimes the density is above carrying capacity and sometimes it’s below it. That is, over very long periods of time, there may be little or no net change in population density, and so yes, the human population growth rate over thousands and thousands of years could have been as low as 0.002%.



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Joe

posted October 26, 2008 at 10:54 pm


Just to clarify, I’m “Your Name” in the comment above the double post note.
-Joe



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Your Name

posted October 26, 2008 at 11:56 pm


Jesse, you wrote an excellent post above, though I think the misconception that you might have is that Creation is somehow falling apart like a house of cards. The opposite seems to be taking place from my observation. That is, the solidification of the Creation account in many believers minds. In any case, it is likely true that the knowledge obtained through science would be more effective and useful being regarded as web-like, in which the structure is not terminated when a single fact becomes reinterpreted or falsified. However, the fact repudiating Evolution is that most, if not all, of the major claims are not observed in the real world. It simply does not belong in science anymore. The Biblical account of Creation has more success in interpreting the webbed model of known knowledge.



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Joe

posted October 26, 2008 at 11:59 pm


I should add that human technological invention (agriculture, metallurgy, urbanization) has steadily increased carrying capacity over the last 10,000 years or so. As a result, over the last 10,000 years, human populations have probably grown more rapidly. Of course, these same inventions have led at times to massive population collapses (famine, war, plague, mass starvation when crops failed).
The point is that these technological changes are relatively recent, given a human history measured in hundreds of thousands of years. And so these technological changes would not have affected carrying capacity until relatively recently. Thus, again, the position that there was a very low population growth rate over hundreds of the thousands of years is not that difficult to support.



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John

posted October 28, 2008 at 1:02 am


Joe,
Human history is not measured in hundreds of thousands of years. Where did you get that idea?
The only true method of any dating of history is eye witness (if you are humanist) or inspired from God (if you are a believer).
Even that font of all knowledge Wikipedia assumes writing as less than 10,000 years old. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_writing
Are you absolutely certain that the earth is as old as you think? Have you researched magnetic field decay for example? http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/760



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David Mccarthy

posted October 28, 2008 at 3:18 am


Hey Josh: I really appreciate the nod back. I’ll be watching for your posts in the future. But did you notice, in his reply to this same posting,(Creationist)John asks: “Did you come up with this “evidence” yourself? There is no logical foundation for what you have done with the numbers. Seems to me you have simply found some mathematical combinations that arrive at a number (that)you deem significant. You said 0.15 x 365.242 = 6, but it doesn’t. 0.15 x 365.242 = 54.786″ Well, guess what John, not only did I point out the infinitesimal discrepancy between 5.47 and 6, in my original blog, but if you had taken the time to read it, you would surely realize that if I could spontaneously come up with this kind of uncanny correlation between mathematical facts and Scriptural Truth represented by the statistically-insignificant difference between six months plus a few days, and fourteen billion years, I would actually have to BE God! The scientific figure for the number of days required to create the physical universe has to be six, ‘cos God originally said it was six. How boring, science finally agrees with God, so to ease the tedium, we have to argue among ourselves about the exponential number of zeros separating 5.47 from 6; arguably equivalent to the number of angels who could occupy a medieval pin-head.(Nothing personal John) Basically, it’s the same figure so round it up. If you disagree, you are not arguing with me, you are arguing with the figures God “Deems significant.” Your demand for a “logical foundation” for these figures is satisfied by the reality that there is no mathematical way to deny them. In fact if you crunch any set of numbers correctly they all lead to God. Thus, astronomical truth will agree with psychological truth for the same reason that philosophical truth must agree with mathematical truth, simply because Truth is ultimately a universally unifying singularity. The soon-retiring genius of Steve Hawkins, and all of the giant scientifically inquiring minds who REALLY want to know agree; the solution to the timeless cosmic mystery all comes down in the end to a physical, historical, and personal singularity whom these giant intellects would prefer to remain nameless, or,like “Creationist” John, replace with a string of meaningless zeros. But for our mathematical, philosophical and personally convenience, the name originally spoken forth by His Father before the foundation of the earth, and repeated by ourselves in the privilege of devout personal prayer, is, Yeshuah Hamashiach, (Joshuah the Deliverer) Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man. Cheers, Macca.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 28, 2008 at 3:28 am


My bad guys: My most recent post submitted a few moments ago is in one sense a polemic of the opinions of the guy to whom I mistakenly refer as “Creationist John.” Sorry John. The intended was really a guy called Mark. But anyway, so perish all pseudo Creationists (except you John of course :-)) Luv, Macca.



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Joe

posted October 28, 2008 at 8:05 am


John,
“The only true method of any dating of history is eye witness.”
Really?
Go take a geology course. Now.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm


I tend to agree with Joe on the subject of historical dating. The geologist dates the rocks by the fossils they contain, while the paleontologist dates the fossils by the rock strata in which they are found. Fossils cannot be carbon dated since all organic material has long since dissipated. Moreover, the alluvial rock comprising about 90% of the Earth’s surface in which the vast majority of fossils are located, cannot be radio-metrically dated. Igneous rock from known under-sea volcanic eruptions in Hawaii during the nineteenth century has yielded a vastly exaggerated impression of antiquity, in some cases several millions of years, due to the fact that the salts of isotopic parent elements, such as uranium, and potassium found in igneous and metamorphic rock are highly water soluble. For this reason radiometric dating produces bizarre discrepancies represented by millions of years when used to analyze rocks established to be of recent origin by eye-witness accounts – simply because most of the parent element in the isotopic rock has already been dissolved. In which case, if the planet has ever been immersed in water at any point in time,(a fact to which which 90% of water-laid rock comprising the surface of the planet and the marine fossils found atop Everest would attest,)there is absolutely no way in which to accurately geologically or biologically date anything!



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Joe

posted October 28, 2008 at 3:02 pm


Strata can be dated by several methods beside the ones described by David.
Radiometric dating works. Geologists are very practical people. They wouldn’t use a method if it didn’t work. Do you think that 99.9% of working geologists are idiots? But, yes, you have to have a very good understanding of what you are doing when you do radiometric dating. If you want it to not work, it’s trivially easy to do it wrong.



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John

posted October 28, 2008 at 7:48 pm


David,
I didn’t think I showed my true colours as anything but ‘creationist’!
Apology accepted!!
My point to Joe about dating is: unless there is an eyewitness, there is no absolute certainty as to how old anything is. Yes, science uses many dating methods, but unless they can be ‘calibrated’ to something of a known age, then how can they be considered 100% infallible? The points you raised re parent elements is quite correct, and evolutionists often rely on uniformitarian concepts until it doesn’t suit them. (eg moon recession rate, land erosion rates etc)
I look forward to your next posting!
Cheers,
(creationist, YEC, born again) John.



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Joe

posted October 28, 2008 at 9:13 pm


John,
Scientists can not be 100% sure about anything. Scientists do not deal in absolute truth. I’m not certain that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. But when something has been repeatedly tested, one begins to develop confidence in the conclusions. On the other hand, the YEC model has also been tested, and it was rejected 200 years ago. You put your faith in the words of men, and I put my faith the data.
One does not reject “uniformatarian concepts” because it suits one. One rejects it when the accumulation of data tells you that the concept does not fit the way the world works in a particular case. Now, I am not a geologist. But I’m sure that if you took a course in dating methods from a non-YEC geologist, they would be able to describe their methods in excruciating detail, they would be answer your questions about calibration, etc., in excruciating detail, They would be able to tell you how they take all your concerns expressed in your previous comment into consideration (none of this news to them), and they would be athey would be able to point you in the direction of mountains and mountains of papers in which these methods were successfully used.
Again, I have to ask, do you think that 99.9% of working geologists are idiots? ‘Cause it sure sounds like that’s what you think.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 28, 2008 at 10:48 pm


Joe: I’m not saying that radiometric dating doesn’t work. I’m just pointing out that the stuff it is designed to measure leaks out when saturated with water for a while. Therefore radiometric dating is only accurate when applied to material that has not been immersed. So in view of the obvious limitations imposed by nature upon the otherwise-brilliant radiometric and carbon 12/14 dating technologies, John’s point about truthful eye witness accounts as the only way to date anything, is spot on.



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Joe

posted October 28, 2008 at 11:40 pm


David,
“Therefore radiometric dating is only accurate when applied to material that has not been immersed.” Really. Have you checked with a real geologist about this? Or is this just something you read at a YEC site?
In any event, the volcanic tufts used to date hominid fossils have not been immersed. And they give dates of millions of years.



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Joe

posted October 29, 2008 at 12:08 am


Actually, strike that comment about volcanic tufts. I’d have to look it up.
How about the Moon? No evidence of water on the Moon that I know of. And those rocks are dated radiometrically at 4.5 billion years.
By the way, as far as the truthfulness of eyewitness accounts is concerned, you might want to check with an historian about that. I think that you would find that “eyewitness accounts” may be far long than 100 % accurate or reliable.
So, ya’ll need to find some geologists and some historians. That should keep you busy.



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Joe

posted October 29, 2008 at 12:10 am


Oops.
Let’s try…”may be far *less* than 100 % accurate or reliable.”



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David Mccarthy

posted October 29, 2008 at 2:23 am


Joe: If the entire earth has been immersed in water, then “volcanic tufts” have been likewise immersed in water. Since there are marine fossils to be found at the top of mount Everest, unless there are some airborne volcanic tufts flying around at over 29,000 ft, it is safe to assume that all volcanic tufts have at one time or another been similarly immersed along with the rest of the Earth, and are thus likely to yield a false impression of antiquity when radio-metrically dated. In common with any and all other fossils, “hominid,” fossils cannot be radio-metrically dated. Only the rock strata in which they were discovered can be examined by isotopic dating methods. And these strata, together with Mount Everest, and the rest of this planet, having themselves been immersed in water, are consequently likely to yield a false age when radio-metrically dated. Since I agree that the universe, including the Earth, the Moon etc, is fourteen billion years old, I don’t question the fact that if the Moon has never been immersed in water, then radio metric dating performed on moon-rock establishing the age of the Moon at 4.5 billion years, is entirely accurate. My point is that the Earth has clearly been immersed in water! Therefore,there is absolutely no way to scientifically date any of the planetary geological features using the dating methods currently available. So do us a favor Joe. Get back with all those “real geologists” you must obviously know in order to avoid any hypocrisy involved in recommending that only I must check, and verify these facts regarding the water solubility of isotopic elements for yourself. Don’t panic because someone who disagrees with you presents a few facts that you had not previously realized. If your view is valid, current scientifically established facts will either ultimately vindicate your perspective, or do you the favor of proving you to be mistaken.



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Joe

posted October 29, 2008 at 9:06 am


Has the entire Earth been immersed in water? How do you know this?
I’m confused. You think that the Universe is 14 billion years old, but you think that radiometric dating is worthless?
Or do you just think that such dating will have error bars on the dates? If so, I agree. All scientific measurements have there uncertainties and sources of error. The question is whether or not those sources of error totally invalidate the method. I’m just not sure what you are saying anymore, so clarification would be welcome. I’m genuinely confused about your position.
For example, when do you think the Mesozoic Era occurred? I not asking you if you think a given date is 100 % absolutely certain, I’m just asking for an estimate along with a level of confidence.
As far as real geologists go, you’re the one that seems to think that he has a fact that totally invalidate radiometric dating (if that’s what you’re saying – as I said, I’m totally confused at this point). If you think you have an all important fact, then clearly it’s you who should be talking to the geologists.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 29, 2008 at 11:40 am


Joe: The age of the universe has not been established by radiometric dating, but by measuring the phenomenon known as “red-shift” within the spectrum of light. This technique is based on the rate of universal expansion since the “Big-Bang” – the “Creation Moment” – or whatever anyone wants to call the instant the expansion of the universe began first began. Consequently, IF the speed of light has always remained constant, the universe is unquestionably fourteen billion years old. If not, then it’s anybody’s guess. My original submission posted a few days ago cited the figures established by (real) astrophysicists for the age and expansion rate of the universe. When the universal age is divided by the expansion rate, and the result multiplied by the length of the solar year, it turns out that given these scientifically established figures, all the basic elements comprising the physical universe were effectively combined within six literal twenty four hour days of the Big-Bang. This original six-day period has since extrapolated into fourteen billion years for the same reason that the light which currently takes about eight minutes to reach earth from the Sun, will take correspondingly longer to reach areas of the solar system located further away from the source of the original emission. Obviously, the geological composition of the Earth cannot be established in the same way but requires entirely different dating methods, the most effective of these being Isotopic Radiometry. However,(and you will have to verify this independently from a geological source) even this method is vulnerable to the fact that the parent-elements Uranium and Potassium, which are the two most accurate isotopic elements to measure as they decay into their daughter-elements,(Lead and Argon respectively,) are highly water-soluble, and if immersed for any length of time in water, would decay at a rate much faster than normal, thereby presenting a misleading half-life, making them appear much older than they actually are. Therefore IF the planet has been immersed in water at any poin, which the half-mile deep layer of water-laid (alluvial) rock covering almost the entire surface of the planet, together with the discovery of marine fossils at the summit of the Himalayas might seem to suggest, the apparent age of any radio-metrically dated rock would be wildly misleading in terms of antiquity. Moreover; this effect has actually been established by the dating of igneous rock taken from the underwater Heluai volcanic eruption occurring in Hawaii in 1853, in which the 150 year old sample was dated at over 30 million years! There’s no point arguing with me Joe. I had nothing to do with establishing these conclusions, only with obtaining the readily-available information. That’s what libraries, the internet, and “real geologists” are for! Check it out for yourself.



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Joe

posted October 29, 2008 at 12:12 pm


1) How about using paragraph breaks every now and then?
2) How about the date for the Moon? No water there.
3) Is the Canadian Shield covered with sedimentary rock? I’m not certain, but I don’t believe that it is.
4) The Hawaiian case involved volcanic material desposited directly underwater. It did not involve igneous rock deposited on dry land. I’m pretty sure that radiometric dating is done with igneous rock deposited on dry land. Big difference. In addition, if the methods used involved isotopes with billion year half-lifes, then the error bars will be tens of millions of years in width. That’s a problem with recent material, but not a problem if the igneous layers are 500 million years old.
5) The internet is fine as a place to start. But it’s no substitute for room full of PhD-level geologists. Try talking to experts for a change. (Hey, I read on the internet that they’ve discovered Atlantis! It’s readily-available information!)
6) You didn’t really answer several questions.
Do you think that radiometric dating is worthless? Or do you just think that such dating will have error bars on the dates? All scientific measurements have there uncertainties and sources of error. The question is whether or not those sources of error totally invalidate the method.
For example, when do you think the Mesozoic Era occurred? I not asking you if you think a given date is 100 % absolutely certain, I’m just asking for an estimate along with a level of confidence.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 29, 2008 at 2:25 pm


Hey Joe. 1) I’ll be glad to use paragraph breaks if concentration is a problem for you.
2)The age of the Moon is the same as the rest of the solar system, directly related to the age of the Sun, and a direct factor of this controversy. There’s no water to be found on the Moon at present; but there’s none to be found in most of the Sahara Desert either,and that has not always been the case. 3)I said that 90% of the Earth’s surface is composed of alluvial rock, and is consequently, impervious to radiometric dating. However the mere fact that the rock comprising the Canadian Shield is not sedimentary does not guarantee that it has never been covered by water. 4)Igneous rock of a known age, deposited on dry land, can be accurately established by isotopic methods. Igneous rock with a known age of 150 years which has remained underwater for that length of time gives an age of over 30 million years when analyzed by the same methods. 5)The ancient city of Troy was historically considered to be a mythical figment of Homer’s imagination, until it was discovered by archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann in the mid-nineteenth century. 6)Radiometric dating is fine under most conditions. However, when applied to samples immersed in water for any length of time radiometric dating methods have proved to be spectacularly inaccurate.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm


P.S. Joe, sorry, I forgot to answer one of your questions. If the surface of the planet was covered by water during the Mesozoic era, there is no way in which to accurately estimate a date for it.



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Mark D.

posted October 29, 2008 at 2:42 pm


Are you certain about certainty? No, but I am fairly certain about uncertainty. If “the Bible” is the basis of certainty we have some issues that should be addressed.
1. Does “the Bible” mean literally everything in the accepted cannon? This too…
1 Peter 3:5-6:
“For in this way in former times the holy women also who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
1 Timothy 2:9-10
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
1 Timothy 5:14
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
1 Corinthians 11:4-5
“Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven”
Is this an accepted axiom in your certainty?
2. What is “the Bible”? Torah, Tanakh (Old Testament), apocrypha, Septuagint… Various votes by the Catholic Church had various outcomes about what books were in “the Bible”. Synod of Laodicea (365), third council of Carthage in 397, etc. Additionally, what folks mean today by “the Bible” positively references many other books not considered part of the Bible:
The Book of the Wars of the Lord – Referenced at Numbers 21:14.
The Covenant Code -Referenced at Exodus 24:7
The Manner of the Kingdom – Referenced at 1Samuel 10:25.
The Acts of Solomon – Referenced at 1Kings 11:41.
The Annals of King David – Referenced at 1Chronicles 27:24.
The Book of Samuel the Seer – Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29.
The Book of Nathan the Prophet – Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29.
The Book of Gad the Seer – Referenced at 1Chronicles 29:29.
The History of Nathan the Prophet – Referenced at 2Chronicles 9:29.
The Prophecy of Ahijah – Referenced at 2Chronicles 9:29.
The Visions of Iddo the Seer – Referenced at 2Chronicles 9:29.
The Book of Shemaiah the Prophet – Referenced at 2Chronicles 12:15.
Iddo Genealogies – Referenced at 2Chronicles 12:15.
The Story of the Prophet Iddo – Referenced at 2Chronicles 13:22.
The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel – Referenced in 2Chronicles 16:11, 2Chronicles 27:7 and 2Chronicles 32:32.
The Book of Jehu – Referenced at 2Chronicles 20:34.
The Story of the Book of Kings – Referenced at 2Chronicles 24:27.
The Acts of Uziah – Referenced at 2Chronicles 26:22.
The Vision of Isaiah – Referenced at 2Chronicles 32:32.
The Acts of the Kings of Israel – Referenced at 2Chronicles 33:18.
The Sayings of the Seers – Referenced at 2Chronicles 33:19.
The Laments for Josiah – Referenced at 2Chronicles 35:25.
The Chronicles of King Ahasuerus – Referenced at Esther 2:23 and Esther 6:1.
The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia – Referenced at Esther 10:2.
The historical way to get around these issues is to assert “special revelation” i.e., the Holy Spirit must reveal the authority of the Bible to an individual. Thus, “the Bible is propositional truth – it is clear and can be understood right away.” If revelation is the vehicle for absolute certainty and not the books themselves then we have subtly shifted the argument into the realm of unfalsifiability. How could one intelligently argue against revelation? The only uncertainty that I would posit is that revelation can also be shown to be in lock step with historical tradition. If one is willing to stop waving the book in other folks face and put it on the table at the library and do some research one will find that all the major doctrines accepted today are part of a well documented and messy process of hundred of years of sometimes very violent histories. The doctrine of martyrdom, male authority, the trinity, “eternal” hell, etc., all easily accessible to the contemporary believer, have very rich histories (and special inserts into accepted canon). So, I would maintain that what you may call revelation I could call the tradition of men. The bottom line is, your certainty may be certain to you but there are certainly reasonable doubts that nip at the heals of your Bible in un-notated footnotes – otherwise called history. Certainty about your religion based on revelation is not uncommon to any religion but the devil is always in the details. I would further add, uncertainty may get you much further in the direction you wish to precede vis-à-vis Soren Kierkegaard.



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Joe

posted October 29, 2008 at 2:59 pm


David,
Thank you for addressing each point.
So, to summarize, you essentially reject all radiometric dating. Period. There are no radiometric dates that you accept as being anything close to accurate. Is that a fair summary? I’m honestly just trying to understand exactly what you’re saying. Are there any radiometric dates anywhere that you accept as being accurate with an error of, say, plus/minus 10%.
I really, really, really don’t think that this “covered with water” thing is a big issue in geology. I think you’re taking a few specific cases where dating couldn’t be done and generalizing far, far beyond what is justified to create a problem that really doesn’t exist.
But again, you’ll have to ask the geologists, and again, a roomful of geologists would be a much better source than the internet. Or do you think that such a roomful would be filled with idiots? Such a roomful could specifically explain why the water thing is not a problem, and such a room could point you to thousands of peer-reviewed pubs where radiometric dating worked. But hey, it’s up to you.
So, which estimate of the age of the Earth is more likely to be accurate, 6000 years or 4.5 billion years? And please don’t say “I don’t know”. These two estimates vary by a factor of roughly 500,000 X, and I would think that we could at least say that one is more likely to be correct than the other.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 29, 2008 at 7:02 pm


Joe: It is not even geologically controversial that the parent elements of isotopic elements are highly water-soluble. Consequently, I accept any radiometric measurement, provided the material is known not to have been immersed in water. The half-mile deep layer of sedimentary rock covering 90% of the planet’s surface which is impervious to radio-metric dating is conclusive evidence that most of the earth HAS been immersed; while the marine fossils found at high altitude in non-sedimentary rock strata account for the remaining 10%. Since apparently ALL of the planet has been immersed at one point or another, there are not many “isolated incidents” where geological material CAN be reliably dated by radiometric methods. And in view of the scale of the immersion I fail to see your point that the “covered with water” issue “is not a big thing.” Moreover; I don’t see how a smaller or greater numbers of geologists could influence the fact that the alleged water-solubility of isotopic elements is either true or it is not. And until you have satisfied yourself that such a property exists, We can proceed no further. Finally, in view of the age of the universe, established by the Doppler effect of spectral “red-shift” at 14.5 billion years, I have no reason to doubt the age of the earth to be 4.5 billion years. However, the earth-age has been established NOT BY RED-SHIFT, but controversially, by isotopic radiometry. Consequently, in view of the artificial antiquity consistently displayed by immersed rock samples, neither is there any valid reason to doubt the age of the present surface composition of the planet to be any older than 6,000 years!



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Joe

posted October 29, 2008 at 7:49 pm


Ok, that’s clear enough. I’m not a geologist, and since you’re not going to directly ask a geologist about this “immersed in water thing”, I guess that’s the end of it.
But if I had a piece of information that would invalidate every radiometric date ever calculated, I’d publish that information in the most prominent geology journal I could find, because then I’d be famous beyond belief. I look forward to your fame.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 29, 2008 at 10:56 pm


I’m not seeking fame or influence Joe: I just enjoy discourse with intelligent people like yourself and others using this forum. And while this is not predominantly a technical blog, we both bear equal responsibility for verifying our respective view-points for the benefit of our fellow-participants. I have researched my conclusions and I am prepared to quote qualified sources. To be fair, you must be prepared to do likewise. My task is to quote technical support from geologists who agree that water-solubility is a common property of isotopic parent-elements, such as Uranium and Potassium, which are by-far the most accurate, successful, and user friendly isotopes used in the radiometric dating process? Your task is to quote similarly qualified sources who propose that water-solubility is NOT a common property of these elements. If you do so, I will investigate these conclusions with an open mind. If you cannot do so, then you must accept the same implications as myself, and expose the scientific myth that that the age of the earth can be accurately dated. Then, after announcing this flagrant aspect of scientific fraud, which currently forms the basis of the academic, scientific and public education establishments, we will both be very famous. Or like the friend and colleague of Albert Einstein, Immanuel Velikovsky, who attempted to do the same thing – very dead!! Do you accept this challenge? Cheers, David.



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 8:37 am


David,
I’m going to try to find a real geologist to address your points. Stay tuned.



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 4:29 pm


David,
Here’s the reply of a real live research university PhD geologist.
“Not especially inspired silliness. There are lots of answers to
this. The easiest might be that thorium is also used in radioactive dating,and is almost entirely insoluble. If there are huge changes in U and K going on from effects of water…but thorium is *almost entirely insoluble* and so minimally affected…then one should invariably come up with U and K giving radically different ages than Th. That one can get good agreement amongst U, Th, and K ages invalidates your correspondent’s ideas.”
Short answer: Solubilties of U and K are of almost no signficance.
Your turn. Go find a real live research university PhD geologist.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 9:43 pm


Thorium 230 decays from traces of Uranium found only in the water into which the parent element has already dissolved, and is NOT present in the rock itself. Moreover; with a half life of a mere 245,000 years, Thorium 230 decay (such as it is,)is absolutely useless in determining the age of 4.5 billion year old rock strata. Not a particularly “inspired” response from the “real” geologist was it Joe? Do you know of any others?



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:15 pm


I believe that my geologist is referring to Th-232 (half-life = 14 billion years) to lead-208.



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:19 pm


Hard would it have been to look up thorium isotope half-lifes before you dismissed a PhD geologist?
http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Radioactive_dating
Please, please talk to a geologist.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:34 pm


THORIUM 230 IS NOT FOUND IN ROCKS!!!! ASK THE INSPIRED GUY



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:52 pm


The isotope used to independently check uranium dates is…2…**3**…2. NOT 230!
Th-232 has a half-life of 14 *billion* years and *is* found in rocks, along with the uranium isotopes used for multi-millions to billions of years dating.



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:54 pm


Sorry, emphasis should have been…2…3…**2**.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:58 pm


Sorry Joe, Hate to shout, but obviously I have to keep this REAL simple:) Thorium 230 with a half life of (sorry again, but it just gets worse) only 75,000 years, IS in fact found in rocks, but only those types of rock located in subterranean caves: rocks like speleothem or coral, which are already water-saturated. So Thorium 230 is exempt from water solubility simply because as the final point of Uranium saturation, it has absolutely nowhere else to go, and can be found only in the final washed-out traces of the parent element long after it has leeched out of the original rock strata. Please stop worshiping brain-washed Phd’s who earn perpetual refuge in a false academia only on condition of regurgitating the self-supporting myths necessary in order to have graduated in the first place. This information has been out there for the last sixty years provided by guess who…Phd’s who lost their tenure for telling the truth. For God’s sake check it out think for yourself. It may be your last chance.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:05 pm


230, 232, 236, Whatever… The element THORIUM is found only in water, or in water-immersed rock. It is the final stage of uranium dissolution and thus, useless for establishing the age of rock strata that currently constitutes the surface of the earth, if – as overwhelming evidence suggests – the earth’s surface rock has ever been water-immersed.



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:10 pm


The isotope that is used to independently confirm K and U dates is Thorium 232. That’s a TWO on the end of that the number. See the TWO? It’s a TWO.
It’s Th-232 that’s insoluble. It’s Th-232 that’s found in the rocks along the U and K used to determine billion year dates. It’s Th-232 that’s used to independently confirm U and K dates, proving that the solubility issue is not significant. It’s Th-232 that has a half-life of 14 billion years. Why do you keep talking about Thorium 230?



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:11 pm


To claim accuracy for any kind of Thorium dating, is not only the equivalent of “Locking the stable door after the horse has escaped,” but to actually building the stable in order to perpetrate the error!



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:17 pm


Ha Ha Ha, Now we’re really having fun. Let’s try again. NO WATER..NO THORIUM. Is there any-one else getting off on this desperate attempt to cling on to a defunct argument?



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:19 pm


“230, 232, 236, Whatever…”
Are you kidding me? Are you serious? Are you really this uninformed? U-232 is NOT produced by uranium “dissolution”. And your use of the term “dissolution” shows your ignorance of the subject-it’s called a “decay series”.
http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/natural-decay-series.pdf
You’re so eager to p**s on a man who’s been doing top-level geology for twenty yours that you fail to notice that you’re p**sing on your own shoes.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:30 pm


Yeah Thorium 232 is insoluble, only because it the residue of the residue of the dissolution of the parent element Uranium, distilled into its final form. Thorium only lives in water ‘cos it almost IS water. The bottom line is WITHOUT WATER THERE IS NO THORIUM…of any numerical classification. If water is present, the originally measurable parent element of which Thorium is a great-great grandchild, has already long dissolved. God, is there anyone else reading this…



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David Mccarthy

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:35 pm


And anyway the only way to take your argument seriously is to put Thorium before Uranium as the parent element in the “decay series”



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Joe

posted October 30, 2008 at 11:46 pm


Thorium-232 is created when stars explode. That’s where is comes from.
“Yeah Thorium 232 is insoluble, only because it the residue of the residue of the dissolution of the parent element Uranium, distilled into its final form.”
What in the name of atomic physics are you talking about?! Look at the decay series provided. At no point in the decay series for either isotope of uranium is there any Th-232 produced. Never, no where, at no point.
“The residue of the residue of the dissolution of the parent element uranium, distilled into its final form?”
What, are you an alchemist now? Are you transmuting one element into another? You will succeed in “distilling” uranium into thorium on the same day that you turn lead into gold.
It is impossible to turn uranium isotopes into thorium-232 by any means. You can’t do it by “dissolution”, you can’t do it by “distillation”, you can’t even do it by radioactive decay. What you have stated is so factually inaccurate that it defines words.
I know it’s a cliche, but…



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David Mccarthy

posted October 31, 2008 at 12:14 am


Thanks Joe coming from an equivocator as accomplished as yourself I consider that to be an enormous compliment. David



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David Mccarthy

posted October 31, 2008 at 12:24 am


But understand this once and for all. There is no Thorium – a daughter element of Uranium – detectable in rock until it’s AFTER it has been immersed in water. True or false Joe? “Thorium comes from the stars” Yeah, so does Uranium, Water, Rock, and B*ll S**t. Now we’re even :-))



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Joe

posted October 31, 2008 at 12:38 am


You think it’s b*llsh*t that thorium-232 comes from the stars? I would ask you to talk to the atomic- and astrophysicists, but that would be an utterly futile gesture.
Understand this once and for all. Th-232 is not a daughther element of uranium. It just isn’t. Look…at…the…decay…series. You think physicists just made this up?
You do not have to immerse uranium in water before you can detect thoriuim-232. Any statement to the contrary is simply false. You can make the statements that you have made every day until Hell freezes over, and they still won’t be true.
I’ve seen many instances of aggressive ignorance in my day, but this has to rank in the top ten. This is one for the ages.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 31, 2008 at 1:12 am


Joe in answer to your Quixotically funny statement; “UNDERSTAND THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL. Th-232 IS NOT A DAUGHTER ELEMENT OF URANIUM. IT JUST ISN’T” (Brilliant)I refer you to the last line in the first paragraph attached below, of an easily accessible source, the “Wikipedia” Encyclopedia reference entitled, “Uranium-thorium dating. I quote: “Uranium-Thorium dating also called thorium-230 dating…is a radiometric dating technique commonly using the radioactive isotope thorium-230 (Ready Joe??) AND ITS RADIOACTIVE PARENT URANIUM-234 within a sample. ((p,a,r,e,n,t. OK Joe??) Now what? are you going to come back and tell us that Thorium 232 (2 Get it??Yeah 2!!!!) IS the parent element of Uranium as you just wasted a perfectly good evening implying in an extremely offensive way. Or how about referring the Wikipedia staff to some real geologists?? Give it a rest Joe.



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Joe

posted October 31, 2008 at 8:01 am


The following information is provided for benefit of anyone following this thread who is not immune to learning, lest there be any confusion about the subject.
There are two separate and completely independent dating methods involving the element thorium. I repeat, there are two separate and completely independent dating methods using thorium.
One involves the decay of Th-232 to Pb-208; in the case, Th-232 is the parent isotope of Pb-208. There is a another completely separate dating method in which U-234 decays to a different thorium isotope, Th-230; in this case, U-234 is the parent isotope of Th-230. *This* is the method referred to in the aforementioned Wikipedia article.
Th-232 is not Th-230 and Th-230 is not Th-232. U-234 is neither U-235 nor U-238. Unfortunately, David has confused and conflated these two separate and independent dating methods. I don’t in any way disagree with the fact of geology, including the facts in Wikipedia, but I do disagree when facts are falsely presented as they have been by David.
Th-232 is not the daughter element of any uranium isotope and uranium isotopes are not the parent isotopes of Th-232. This is made clear in the decay series present in:
http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/natural-decay-series.pdf
There are various thorium isotopes created by the decay of various uranium isotopes, but no case, is Th-232 created by uranium decay. Instead, U-235, U-238 and Th-232 are all created in supernovae, and all are present at the start of the life planets. All have decay half-lifes measured in billions of years and all can be used to date rocks that are billions of years old.



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David Mccarthy

posted October 31, 2008 at 9:00 pm


Joe: You are dead right and I am dead wrong on the Thorium discussion! No excuses I inexplicably misread your extremely well-written submissions on more than one occasion. Please accept my sincere apology. So, having deservedly accepted responsibility for the unnecessary, although sometimes hilariously out-of-hand digressions; with your permission, we can at least proceed :-)) Apparently, although the element Th-232 is as common as Uranium, it is not found in quantities sufficiently concentrated to be a reliable indicator of antiquity as a parent element. Otherwise Th-232 would have long replaced the Uranium-Lead method as the most reliable, accurate, and well-referenced source. For this reason, the inconveniently water-soluble parent element, Uranium, with an isotopic half-life at least comparable to that of water-impervious Th-232, is the most representative starting point for dating purposes. Perhaps you can ask your anonymous geologist guru (seriously) to refer us to any definitive studies comparing the conclusions of Thorium 232 with the findings of the Uranium-Lead method when applied to the examination of identical, immersed, and non-immersed rock samples. If there are any such studies that conclusively eliminate water-solubility as the universal factor, which, if unchallenged, comprehensively invalidates radio-metric dating as a reliable source of information, I am anxious to see them. Not because I want to BE right, but because I want to know what IS right. However, at the moment, I suggest that in view of studies such as those already conducted on igneous rock samples from the 1853 Hawaiian eruption, the burden of proof lies entirely on Th-232. Thanks once again for your patience. David.



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Joe

posted November 1, 2008 at 12:26 am


Thank you for acknowledging your error. I’m not sure that I would have been able to do the same had the situation been reversed. But at this point, I think it would be best if you found your own PhD-level, research university geologist to answer your questions. Life is short, and I believe that I will move on to other pastures.



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David Mccarthy

posted November 1, 2008 at 8:52 am


Cheers Joe, I enjoyed it, and actually learned from the experience. God bless. David



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