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Question for evolutionists: “If fossils are actually young, would you find ID more believable?”

The question of the fossil ages is comparable to a central problem in forensic crime investigation, namely establishing the time of death. Did the creatures in the fossil record die tens of millions of years ago or did they die recently (say less than 50,000 years ago). It is mildly unfortunate that criticism of accepted mainstream fossil ages are conflated with YEC, because strictly speaking the age of the fossils is a formally distinct question from the question of Young Earth Creation (YEC) and the age of the Earth.

One reason that criticism of the geological record has been resisted (even within ID circles) is the affiliation of such criticism with YEC. But this does not have to be the case. For example, Richard Milton, who is not a creationist and is an agnostic, believes the accepted mainstream geological ages are false.

And it’s not even all geological ages, but the relatively “small” section of geological timescales known as the Phanerozoic (back 541 million years to the present).

[To see the graphic below more clearly, you might be able to zoom into it here:
Geological Timescales]

geological timescales

Now, a question for defenders of mainstream evolutionary theory, “suppose for the sake of argument the fossils are young (say 50,000 years max). Would you still believe in naturalistic evolution or would you accept ID or (gasp) even special creation?”

I’m asking because critics of ID have demanded more evidence. The irony is that some of the most unsavory and scandalous players in the ID big tent (the YECs) might be delivering a death blow to evolutionism in the minds of those willing to deal fairly with the facts at hand.

NOTES
1. HT Mike Gene for the idea of asking this question in 2005:
A nagging question about MN

According to the Decree, MN “is the foundation of the natural sciences.” But let’s do a thought experiment.

MN is used to determine the age of the Earth. What if MN determined that the Earth was 6000 years old?

MN is used to explore the relationships between living things. What if MN determined that living things can be neatly fitted into discrete, discontinuous groups, such that it would be impossible for them to be related by common descent?

MN is used to study the surface of the Earth. What if MN determined that there once was a global flood?

If MN determined that the Earth was 6000 years old, that evolution could not occur and all living things were fitted into discrete, discontinuous groups, and a global flood once covered the Earth, does MN then mean we must explain this all “without reference to supernatural beings or events?”

2. Here are a few empirical considerations in favor of revising the ages of the fossils (revising the time of death estimates)

Cocktails! C14, DNA, Collagen in dinosaurs indicates geological timescales are false

Cocktails! ICC 2013 C14 dates conflict with Carboniferous Era dates 300 million years ago

Cocktails! Falsifying Darwinism via falsifying the geological column

Cocktails! Astrophysics vs. Darwinist Paleontology

ICC 2013 Creationist Bob Enyart attempts to bribe Darwinist Jack Horner

Expelled Microscopist Mark Armitage responds to his critics

Mark Armitage possibly the latest victim of Darwinists Inquisition

Related:
Cocktails! The relevance of YEC to ID

Distant starlight the thorn in the side of YEC — can there be a middle ground?

The price of cherry picking for addicted gamblers and believers in Darwinism

These links are pretty much all the pro-YEC stuff at UD out of the nearly 11,000 threads at UD. But given the possible payoff for ID if indeed the Phanerozoic is younger than thought, and in addition that the YEC community constitutes about 30% at least of the ID community, the discussion of these topics have to be explored, especially now that the Darwinist Inquisition is now possibly affecting YECs not just the general ID community.

3. My usage of “unsavory and scandlalous players” was a reference to Dembski’s essay referenced here:

Scoundrel Scoundrel, I like the sound of that

supporters of my work constantly pointed to my unsavory associates. I was treated like a political figure who is unwilling to renounce ties to organized crime. It was often put to me: “Dembski, you’ve done some respectable work, but look at the disreputable company you keep.” Repeatedly I’ve been asked to distance myself not only from the obstreperous likes of Phillip Johnson but especially from the even more scandalous young earth creationists.

Bill Dembski

4. photo credits

http://www.iupui.edu/~geol110/assets/02_geotime/EOG_11e_Figure_18_21.jpg

5. It might be interesting to explore the Ediacaran (635-541 million years back) where there were some life forms in evidence.

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216 Responses to Question for evolutionists: “If fossils are actually young, would you find ID more believable?”

  1. I can think of one Darwinist who might not think ID is more believable even if he decided the fossils were younger than the ages accepted by the mainstream:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ists-ssdd/

  2. No. The problems with ID are deeper than that. There cannot be evidence for ID without a ID hypothesis. As it stands ID is like offering “chance” as an explanation with no further detail.

  3. 3

    Sal,
    I’m glad you’re bringing up these age questions. There is no necessary connection between YEC and ages of physical phenomena like rocks and stars. Scientists should pursue the evidence. Instead, I find them forcing every observation into a pre-assumed consensus timeline, regardless of fit. In science, it’s always appropriate to doubt a consensus.

  4. David Coppedge

    Wow! Man it’s nice to hear from you. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you!

  5. Follow up question: If fossils are actually young, would you find Darwinism less believable?

  6. No. The problems with ID are deeper than that. There cannot be evidence for ID without a ID hypothesis. As it stands ID is like offering “chance” as an explanation with no further detail.

    Thank you for responding, and if I may venture to ask, outside of what the ID or creationist community could say or do, is there any observation or experiment or whatever that would persuade you that there is intelligent design in biology, or that mainstream evolution is false?

    I respect your view, but as I said, its something I find to difficult for me to personally identify with. I accepted ID even under the assumption of old-aged fossils, but if fossils are young, I don’t see how I could accept anything but special creation (which implies ID).

  7. Geologic Time is more important to Evolution than any kind of theory of supposed biological driving mechanisms. It is absolutely unacceptable to consider that it may be incorrect. They will give up everything before they give up the time.

    Meanwhile their primary methodology for determining geologic ages is based on processes that have been empirically demonstrated to produce wildly inaccurate results.

    Nuclear Chemistry PhD Dr. Jay Wile on the problems with radiometric dating
    http://kgov.com/jay-wile-phd-i.....ric-dating

  8. Sal:

    Now, a question for defenders of mainstream evolutionary theory, “suppose for the sake of argument the fossils are young (say 50,000 years max). Would you still believe in naturalistic evolution or would you accept ID or (gasp) even special creation?”

    This is a very odd question Sal. For a start, if a fossil were younger than previously thought, all it would tell us is that the populations had lasted for longer than previously thought.

    But it would depend on why the age was revised – because the strata it was found in had been redated? Or because it was realised to be an out-of-place fossil (a rabbit that had died in a hole in Cambrian rock, for instance). or do you mean if all the fossils were found to be young? In that case you are presumably suggesting that all the rocks in which they are found are young too? Well, that would certainly cause me to revise almost everything I know about the way the world works, including physics, chemistry, astronomy, cosmology as well as biology.

    But what if they gave the same answer as they always did? Well, I guess I’d conclude that whoever had redated the strata had got something seriously wrong.

    I think what you are missing here Sal is the consilience of the models that make up the old-earth old-universe model. They corroborate each other. They make predictions about each other that are subsequently confirmed by new data.

    Saying: what if all the fossils were young? is like saying: what if everything we knew was wrong? It’s impossible to answer. I have no idea what I’d think.

    But I don’t have to because the data all, intercorroboratively, indicate the standard timeline for the universe, the earth, and the origins of life.

    YEC is simply wrong. ID may be true, but YEC clearly is not.

  9. Mark,

    Do you mean that ID-ers rely on the unlikelihood of evolution to show design?

    Scordova,

    You seem to know something special about David Coppedge.

    lifepsy,

    I completely agree. I had a friend who had a degree in geology. When arguing evolution with me he said, “You don’t know what time can do.” I thought he should just say “with Time all things are possible” and open a new church, if you catch my drift.

  10. Phinehas

    Follow up question: If fossils are actually young, would you find Darwinism less believable?

    Depends what you mean by “Darwinism”. We can observe Darwinist processes taking place in real time, so we know they work. And Common Descent is extremely well supported. But if the earth is only 50,000 years old, virtually everything we know about physics and chemistry is wrong, so essentially the whole of science would be up for grabs.

    However, there is no evidence that the earth is only 50,000 years old, and if a fossil is found to be younger that previously thought, that is not an issue in itself at all. After all, there are living organisms that are largely unchanged, at least outwardly, from their[putative] ancient ancestors. If a plesiosaur actually turned up in Loch Ness that wouldn’t falsify Darwinian evolution at all. It would be cool though.

  11. Saying: what if all the fossils were young? is like saying: what if everything we knew was wrong? It’s impossible to answer. I have no idea what I’d think.

    But I don’t have to because the data all, intercorroboratively, indicate the standard timeline for the universe, the earth, and the origins of life.

    YEC is simply wrong. ID may be true, but YEC clearly is not.

    Thank you for responding but the question of “the time of death (or date of death)” is not strictly a YEC question. YEC can false but the fossils could be young.

    Jack Horner’s interview was symbolic of the fact, indeed everything we presumed about the age of fossils could be wrong. This is a Skeptical question after all, and it should be welcomed.

    But I don’t have to because the data all, intercorroboratively, indicate the standard timeline for the universe, the earth, and the origins of life.

    But this isn’t a time line for the universe, Earth, and OOL, it is a timeline question for the Phanerozoic. The timeline for Universe and Earth could be true but the timeline for the Phanerozoic wrong.

    I couch the argument that way so as to focus on what I believe is not incontrovertible evidence! Empirically the fossils look young by:

    1. radiometric dating
    2. biological decay dating
    3. erosion dating

    I would have suspected something was up given Jack Horner’s interview by Bob Enyart.

    The illusion of incontrovertibility can be sustained to some degree by active suppression of dissent such as that offered by Mark Armitage and others. I have to respectfully disagree and say that the interpretation of old fossils is not incontrovertible.

    Shouldn’t a skeptic be a little reluctant to say an idea about pre-history is incontrovertible?

  12. Sal

    Empirically the fossils look young by:

    1. radiometric dating
    2. biological decay dating
    3. erosion dating

    No, they don’t.

    Radiometric dating is used to data igneous rock, from which lower and higher sedimentary rock can be dated. These give unambiguous ages for sedimentary fossil-bearing layers that are millions of years old.

    And that is only one of countless corroborative pieces of evidence that indicate that living things have been around for more than 3 billion years.

    Finding the odd fossil that is younger than the youngest known population doesn’t do anything to alter the evidence for the age of the earth or the timeline of living things, whatever you think of the role of an IDer in guiding evolution.

  13. Radiometric dating is used to data igneous rock, from which lower and higher sedimentary rock can be dated

    Dates of rocks don’t imply fossils are old any more than if I buried a dog today in 65 million year old rocks would imply the dog died 65 million years ago. That is a non-sequitur.

  14. Radiometric dating is used to data igneous rock, from which lower and higher sedimentary rock can be dated

    Radiometric dating can be applied to fossil tissues in addition to rocks, particularly the use of C-14, which indicates:

    1. dino fossils are young
    2. carboniferous layer (300 million years ago) is young
    3. who knows what else, because no one is bothering to actually try to date fossils that old (Jack Horner is a good example).

  15. #5 Phineas

    Follow up question: If fossils are actually young, would you find Darwinism less believable?

    Yes. Famously Darwin himself doubted his theory because Kelvin seemed to show that the earth must be too young (later Kelvin was shown to be wrong because he did not know about radioactivity). Incidentally this demonstrates

    a) Darwinism is falsifiable
    b) Darwinism making a major prediction in the face of current science which turned out to be right

  16. #9 Collin

    Do you mean that ID-ers rely on the unlikelihood of evolution to show design?

    I do believe this – but it is not exactly what I meant in #2. I mean’t simply that “design” is far to generic to count as an explanation. Would you accept “chance” as an explanation of a phenomenon?

  17. Mark,

    I think you make a very interesting point. To answer you question, yes, I would, if I were shown something that truly appears to produce a random result. In Physical Science 101 I wash told that an electron’s position is random.

  18. “was” not “wash”

  19. Liddle,

    I think what you are missing here Sal is the consilience of the models that make up the old-earth old-universe model. They corroborate each other. They make predictions about each other that are subsequently confirmed by new data…. the data all, intercorroboratively, indicate the standard timeline for the universe, the earth, and the origins of life.

    Don’t you mean the data always supports an old earth, except when it doesn’t, and in those cases it’s error/contamination/anomaly. (or “results we could not fathom as a possibility, yet *must* occur over millions of years because we know evolution/geologic time is a fact,fact,fact.”) Such as the extent of organic preservation in dinosaur fossils.

    When have evolutionists ever stepped back and honestly asked whether or not their theory of time is correct? We all know that to even whisper such a thing would be an utter blasphemy, and we also know that your church of darwinian mysticism will never, ever, be forthcoming about the weaknesses and inconsistencies in your logic and methodology. You will keep repeating this mantra: “All the data corroborate each other. There are no problems.”, that evolutionists have always said about everything even though such a claim is blatantly false. What skeptical person can take you guys seriously any longer?

  20. lifepsy

    Don’t you mean the data always supports an old earth, except when it doesn’t, and in those cases it’s error/contamination/anomaly. (or “results we could not fathom as a possibility, yet *must* occur over millions of years because we know evolution/geologic time is a fact,fact,fact.”) Such as the extent of organic preservation in dinosaur fossils.

    No, lifespy, I meant exactly what I said. Clearly there are anomalous data points, and those need to be investigated. Contamination is a possible cause, as are calibration errors. But it is not the case that such data points are simply thrown out without investigation. Nor would it be sensible in anycase to throw out an entire consilient model because of one datapoint that doesn’t fit. What would cause us to throw out an entire consilient model would be a pattern of data points that show a consistently discrepant pattern and cannot be explained by contamination or other measurement error.

    When have evolutionists ever stepped back and honestly asked whether or not their theory of time is correct? We all know that to even whisper such a thing would be an utter blasphemy, and we also know that your church of darwinian mysticism will never, ever, be forthcoming about the weaknesses and inconsistencies in your logic and methodology. You will keep repeating this mantra: “All the data corroborate each other. There are no problems.”, that evolutionists have always said about everything even though such a claim is blatantly false. What skeptical person can take you guys seriously any longer?

    Because the data do corroborate each other. It’s as simple as that.

    For instance take lake varves. We know that they are laid down annually because we see them being laid down annually. They can be carbon dated, and the carbon dates corroborate the counts. Not only that but specific layers can be correlated with historical accounts of volcanic events, for example. And that that slight fluctuations in atmospheric CO14 levels inferred from the matching of count years to date years match the fluctuations observed in other independent annual phenomena, including ice cores, coral and tree rings.

    So we know we can rely on carbon dating, which goes back 50,000 years, and we know that it corroborates lake varves. And the varve record in some lakes (Lake Baikal for instance) goes back millions of years – millions of annual varves. And each layer contains billions of microfossils.

    So that alone is a set of consilient independent data that shows that life is millions of years old, falsifying YEC.

    Other consilient data show that it is billions of years old.

    So it is true that people who accept an old earth don’t regularly wonder whether it’s young, any more than people who accept a spherical earth regularly wonder whether it is flat.

    Life’s too short to be skeptical about things that are demonstrable far beyond reasonable doubt.

  21. Why can’t this just be simple? It is or it isn’t.

    Get everyone together go get samples test the damn things and record the level of accuracy and be done with it. This debate can be put to rest within days.

  22. So we know we can rely on carbon dating, which

    And if C14 is reliable, it shows dinosaurs are young, and much of the carboniferous layer for that matter.

    Another issue is the persistence of biotic material. The proteins are not fully racemized and the DNA’s are depurinated. The photos by Armitage only reinforce what has been published elsewhere, the fossils look young.

    Life’s too short to be skeptical about things that are demonstrable far beyond reasonable doubt.

    I do not agree it is beyond reasonable doubt that the fossils are that old (like dinos that 65 million years old).

    What would cause us to throw out an entire consilient model would be a pattern of data points that show a consistently discrepant pattern and cannot be explained by contamination or other measurement error.

    Like an entire geological layer (the carboniferous), not just isolated instances. Every dino fossil tested for C-14 by one creationist group indicates C-14. Why isn’t the secular world doing this! Talk about closing ones eyes to maintain a paradigm.

    How about the insects in amber or any other fossil for that matter. Research into the question isn’t being done because of exactly the presumption of “beyond reasonable doubt”. Reasonable doubt may become obvious truth if one is willing to follow the evidence where it leads, but we won’t have evidence if don’t even want to look.

    The old age of fossils disconfirmed by:

    1. C14 dating
    2. biological dating
    3. erosion dating
    4. faint young sun paradox
    5. genetic entropy and the rapid extinction of species observed in the present day

    What do Darwinists have in the favor for the time of death being 10s of millions of years? Igneous rock and sedimentary rock? I showed the illogic of using old rocks to date biological tissues : a live dog today buried in 65 million-year-old rock does not imply the dog died 65 million years ago. It’s illegitimate reasoning….

    The one piece of evidence you cited was Varves and you affired C14 works within the 50,000 year time frame. Saying C14 is reliable actually supports the case for recency of the time of death for fossils.

    Again, we don’t even need to assume the Earth is young to make this argument. We can assume for the sake of argument the Earth is old and so are the rocks, but that doesn’t mean the fossils are old.

    I know we’ll disagree, but its a conversation that needs to happen.

    I respect your attempts to quell doubts, but I was an Old Earth Creationist until I began to consider the data….

    Thanks for your response. The readers need to be appraised of how credible the claim of old-age fossils really is.

  23. Get everyone together go get samples test the damn things and record the level of accuracy and be done with it. This debate can be put to rest within days.

    Darwinists have incentive not to do the tests. Reported examples:

    Jack Horner even after an $20,000 “bribe” to do an honest C14 test:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ck-horner/

    With respect to the entire Carboniferous layer (oil and coal deposits throughout the world) there isn’t even question there is C14 that is there, which indicates much of the layer is 50,000 years old or less versus 300,000,000 years.

  24. I came across this piece many years ago. It turned my world, at least what I thought I knew about the world on its head.

    In the Proceedings of the Symposium on Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology held at Uppsala in 1969, T. Säve-Söderbergh and I. U. Olsson introduce their report with these words:

    “C-14 dating was being discussed at a symposium on the prehistory of the Nile Valley. A famous American colleague, Professor Brew, briefly summarized a common attitude among archaeologists towards it, as follows: If a C-14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely out of date we just drop it. Few archaeologists who have concerned themselves with absolute chronology are innocent of having sometimes applied this method. . .”

    Huh?

  25. Huh?

    Exactly. Elizabeth cited C14 confirms Varves are young, but the same test run on coal, oil, dinosaurs — if it indicates youth, it must be a contamination error.

    Double standards a plenty!

  26. So far the answers to the question:

    1. Mark Frank: No
    2. Elizabeth: don’t know since she believes the fossils are incontrovertibly old

    I’d like to thank them both for their response, other evolutionists are welcome to respond.

    Thanks again Mark and Elizabeth.

  27. Hi Mark Frank,

    Regarding your assertion (#16) that “‘design’ is far too generic to count as an explanation”, what level of detail do you think is required for something to count as a legitimate explanation? Do you have a list of criteria?

  28. Sal:

    And if C14 is reliable, it shows dinosaurs are young, and the entire carboniferous layer for that matter.

    No, read the context. What I mean is that calibration of CO14 by annual data from independent sources means that we have a reliably calibrated scale that takes account of periodic fluctuations in atmospheric CO14

    It doesn’t show the dinosaurs are young, nor that the carboniferous layer is young, because however well calibrated your scale it’s not going eliminate the kind of background noise we see in, say, coal. Wet coal will contain some modern carbon.

    That’s why you have to take a cross-checking approach to dating, and be aware of noise sources.

    Again, we don’t even need to assume the Earth is young to make this argument. We can assume for the sake of argument the Earth is old and so are the rocks, but that doesn’t mean the fossils are old.

    Sal, you are clutching at straws. The Lake Baikal varves go down for 5 million years. There are fossils in those 5 million year old layers.

    How would you start to account for that?

    Just because some dating methods can give wildly discrepant dates is not a reason to reject the dating methods. All measurement techniques come with measurement error and confounds, especially contamination and background noise.

    I realise you are unconvinced that it is beyond reasonable doubt that the earth is old, but I think that is because you have been reading some very unreliable and highly biased sources. I’ve read some of those sources, and some of them are frankly dishonest (AiG for instance).

    The genetic entropy story is easily shown to be based on misunderstandings of sources and in any case is self-contradictory (why aren’t mice extinct? Why is the human population exploding?)

    What is “biological dating”?
    What is “erosion dating”?

    As for the “faint young sun” paradox; given the really overwhelming and consilient evidence from independent sources for the age of the earth and solar system, the first thing to look for is an alternative explanation, and there are many possible explanations.

    But perhaps the simplest single piece of evidence that the universe is old is the evidence from the supernova SN1987A. But that’s only one. There are so many, and it’s the consilience between so many independent sources that is so striking.

  29. Sal

    Exactly. Elizabeth cited C14 confirms Varves are young, but the same test run on coal, oil, dinosaurs — if it indicates youth, it must be a contamination error.

    Double standards a plenty!

    No, there are absolutely no double standards here, Sal. And you are accusing an entire profession of systematic incompetence and dishonest here.

    All measurement systems have to be calibrated. The lake varves can be aged by simple counting – a year per varve. We know they are laid down annually because we can watch them being laid down, and we can also observe evidence of volcanic eruptions, independently historically recorded, by eye witnesses, at the right layers. And we can also carbon date them. The carbon dates using a constant assumption for atmospheric C14 give slightly erroneous dates, as checked against varve counts. Why? Well, possibly because CO14 levels fluctuate slightly. How to test this? See if other annual phenomenon show the same fluctuations.

    They do. So we can calibrate C14 measures against independently aged sources (corals, tree rings etc). And then they match up perfectly. So we know it is reliable.

    But it is only ever as reliable as the methodology used to purify the sample. Obviously. So if a piece of ancient coal is wet, and the water contains carbonic acid, as much groundwater does, then modern atmospheric carbon will be found in the coal. Giving an erroneous date.

    So just as with the varve dating, scientists have to be very careful to measure properly and allow for measurement error due to contamination, just as they allowed for measurement error due to non-constant C14 levels.

    You, and I’ve seen other creationists do the same, seem to think that scientist just gaily chuck out data that doesn’t fit. It doesn’t work that way. We don’t get to ignore data we don’t like. But if a datapoint doesn’t fit a pattern (is an “outlier”) then we don’t just dismiss it – we have to find out why. The principle is: something that we have not modeled is affecting this sample – what is it? Sometimes it is simply an error in data entry. Sometimes it’s contamination. Sometimes it’s something really interesting. But you have to find out what it is.

    What you don’t do is throw out your original model. You find out why this piece doesn’t fit the model.

    And if it’s contamination, then you revise your methodology so as to avoid, or adjust accurately for, contamination.

  30. The Lake Baikal varves go down for 5 million years. There are fossils in those 5 million year old layers.

    How would you start to account for that?

    Irrelevant, assume it’s 5 million years old, it doesn’t mean the dinosaurs are 65 million years old nor the carboniferous layer is 300,000,000 years old.

    Thanks, however for the other data points and giving the argument your best shot. The readers need to have each side of the argument represented as well possible. Thanks for the effort.

    What is “biological dating”?
    What is “erosion dating”?

    As for the “faint young sun” paradox; given the really overwhelming and consilient evidence from independent sources for the age of the earth and solar system, the first thing to look for is an alternative explanation, and there are many possible explanations.

    DNA and amino acids have half-lives in certain characteristics.

    Amino acids for various proteins will racemize over time. Even if the half-life is variable, if we assume even the most favorable conditions, the racemization cannot be arrested.

    Similar consideration with depurination of DNA.

    Erosion, measured erosion rates are inconsistent with the Phanerozoic even existing, with an erosion rate of 6cm per 1000 years, the layers would have been erased even within a few million years.

    The faint young sun pardox remains, even Nature reported it. If the Earth was an iceball, no life, much less a Cambrian explosion.

    The links I provided go into a bit more detail with some details in the comment section.

    But perhaps the simplest single piece of evidence that the universe is old is the evidence from the supernova SN1987A. But that’s only one. There are so many, and it’s the consilience between so many independent sources that is so striking.

    You’re conflating fossil ages with age of the universe, this is illogical and a non-sequitur. If the universe is old, it doesn’t imply a living organism is old nor does it imply a fossil is old.

    Even I pointed out evidences supportive of an Old Universe here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....le-ground/

    Am I saying the fossils are necessarily young. Let’s for the sake of argument say they are old, the problem here is that the questions put on the table haven’t been properly addressed, they are dismissed out of hand. That is wrong. Its a matter of due process as well…

    We won’t settle the issue in the course of this thread, but I will say, I was a convinced Old Earth Creationist 10 years ago, as of now, I don’t think any idea about origins is settled science…

    And look at it from my perspective, my friends and associates have been genuinely harmed by the establishment.

    Even myself, its a matter of public record, attempts to have me expelled from grad school were being plotted at Wesley Elsberry’s website. I was invited to join Robert Marks, and then I witness the abuse he suffered.

    Doesn’t exactly make me feel the mainstream narrative is supported with unbiased, dispassionate, impartial institutions.

    Sorry, it doesn’t look incontrovertible, actually the opposite — more like active suppression of reasonable skepticism.

  31. Sal:

    Darwinists have incentive not to do the tests.

    Nobody has an “incentive” not to do an honest test.

    It would be stupid. Why kid yourself that the data is other than it is?

    And your example betrays a lack of understanding of fossilisation. Fossils are not dead organisms buried in rock. They are rock. There may be some traces of the original material of the organism, but most of the form of a fossil is the same stuff as the surrounding rock. It all has the same date. And we can date that rock. What we can’t do is date it by carbon dating, because the rock is far too old. Any C14 in that rock will be contamination. We know that because it will be at constant background levels. We can date it by radiometric dating (not carbon dating) on higher and lower igneous layers. And that dating shows the layers containing dinosaur fossils is far older than anything measurable by C14 methods.

    Your attempts to find holes in dating methods is wishful thinking, Sal. Palaeontologists are honest, as are geologists. All measurement systems have their limitations and C14 is one of them. It can only be used for samples less than 50,000 years old, and because it measures atmospheric C14, and because CO2 is a soluble gas anything wet by rainwater will have background levels of C14, even if the bulk of the carbon contains none. Plus, C14 is produced at a slow background rate from Nitrogen in the ground, just as it is in the upper atmosphere. So C14 will always be present at background rates.

    If dating methods are used inappropriately they will give erroneous answers. This doesn’t mean they aren’t reliable – it means that in order for them to give reliable answers the methodology has to be very careful.

  32. Humbled # 24: I recognize that quote; it’s from a scientist attending a conference in Uppsala, Sweden, that focused on C-14 dating.

    The relatively simple theory was based on the following assumptions:

    (1) That carbon 14, the radioactive component of natural carbon, decays with a half-life of 5,568 years.
    (2) That the ratio of carbon-14 atoms to the stable carbon-12 atoms in “live” carbon has always been the same as it is today. This depends on two other assumptions (2a and 2b).
    (2a) That the number of carbon-14 atoms has been constant; this means that the cosmic rays that form them must not have varied in the past 15,000 or 20,000 years.
    (2b) Also, that the total amount of stable carbon in the “exchange reservoir” has been constant during the same time. This includes the carbon dioxide in the air, as well as the organic carbon in living things, because they are continually taking up carbon dioxide by photosynthesis and releasing it by respiration. Also, carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, where it forms carbonic acid and carbonate, which becomes mixed with the dissolved carbonate in the ocean. This process also is reversible, although it may take fifty years. Mineral carbonate in the rocks is, of course, not considered to be part of the exchange reservoir.

    (2c) Related to number two is the assumption that the production of carbon 14 has continued steady all this time, and this implies that its decay, on a worldwide basis, is in balance with its production.
    (3) That any living thing, plant or animal, incorporates radiocarbon in its tissues while it is alive; then, after its death, the activity decreases mathematically according to the natural radioactive decay; it does not pick up radiocarbon through contact with younger materials, nor lose it by exchanging atoms with older carbon.
    (4) That for practical use of radiocarbon dates, the sample must be contemporaneous with the event that it marks, and not something that grew a long time before.

    Now let us keep in mind that, if the radiocarbon clock is to give correct dates, all of the above assumptions must be true. If even one of them is untrue, the method breaks down and will not give the correct age.

  33. So your view is that the universe, and possibly the earth, are old, but life is young?

    All life? Including the microfossils trapped five million varves down in Lake Baikal?

  34. Barb:

    (2a) That the number of carbon-14 atoms has been constant; this means that the cosmic rays that form them must not have varied in the past 15,000 or 20,000 years.

    This is not an assumption, and is not true. We know it is not true because of cross-checking against annual phenomena including varves, ice cores, tree rings and coral (all independent). All give the same answer for the degree of fluctuation from the mean.

    This means that carbon-dating can be calibrated in order to take into account these known fluctuations.

    But your other points are important, and must be taken into account when reaching an age estimate, as well of course as the issue of contamination. And machine background.

  35. So your view is that the universe, and possibly the earth, are old, but life is young?

    All life? Including the microfossils trapped five million varves down in Lake Baikal?

    I really don’t know. I’m convinced that we ought to be willing to occasionally drop our priors and think out of the box as to whether we’re right. I’m a doubting Thomas YEC. My belief level:

    1. ID, almost 100%
    2. special creation of humanity 99%
    3. recent creation of humanity 99%
    4. special creation of the first life 100%
    5. recent creation of all life 90%
    5. youth of fossils 80%
    6. youth of the Earth 50%
    7. youth of the universe 30%

    Numbers subject to change. The objections both you and I put forward regarding the YEC models are my root of doubts.

    But I hope the YECs are right. Future discoveries may change my mind.

    I don’t defend every aspect of the YEC model even though I hope privately is true, some parts look pretty challenging…

    Critical analysis of evolutionary theories? That’s fair game for sure. I feel comfortable offering such criticisms publicly, but my defense of YEC models is limited to the considerations laid out I the links in the OP.

    Thanks for answering my question in the OP, I felt it was right to answer similar questions by you.

  36. Hi everyone,

    On the faint young sun paradox, the following articles may be of interest to some:

    Claim: Faint Young Sun Paradox solved by Anthony Watts at WUWT (July 9, 2013)

    A Closer Earth and the Faint Young Sun Paradox: Modi?cation of the Laws of Gravitation, or Sun/Earth Mass Losses? by Lorenzo Iorio, in arXiv:1306.3166 [astro-ph.EP]

  37. SAl:

    I really don’t know. I’m convinced that we ought to be willing to occasionally drop our priors and think out of the box as to whether we’re right.

    Well, I agree :) But suggest that it’s importance to distinguish between clutching at straws and discerning real problems. An old earth won’t make God go away :)

    I’m a doubting Thomas YEC. My belief level:

    1. ID, almost 100%
    2. special creation of humanity 99%
    3. recent creation of humanity 99%
    4. special creation of the first life 100%
    5. recent creation of all life 90%
    5. youth of fossils 80%
    6. youth of the Earth 50%
    7. youth of the universe 30%

    Numbers subject to change. The objections both you and I put forward regarding the YEC models are my root of doubts.

    But I hope the YECs are right. Future discoveries may change my mind.

    I think that’s the problem here, Sal, if you don’t mind my saying. I understand that some possible truths are more attractive, for various reasons, than others, but that doesn’t make them true. If YEC is false, it’s false. Theology doesn’t collapse because YEC is false. You might have to think about the bible a little differently, but it is a vastly rich document and full of meaning. You might just have to discard the top layer. I suggest that the stuff at the bottom is more interesting :)

    I don’t defend every aspect of the YEC model even though I hope privately is true, some parts look pretty challenging…

    Yes, they are. They really are.

    Critical analysis of evolutionary theories? That’s fair game for sure. I feel comfortable offering such criticisms publicly, but my defense of YEC models is limited to the considerations laid out I the links in the OP.

    Thanks for answering my question in the OP, I felt it was right to answer similar questions by you.

    And I appreciate it, Sal, truly. And I wish you well in your search.

    Bless you.

    Lizzie

  38. VJTorley,

    Thank you for the informative link.

    For the benefit of the readers, there is a subtlety that is missed and especially ironic in light of all the global warming alarmism.

    The “solution” to the faint young sun paradox assumes lots of excess C02 that enhances the greenhouse effect. The CO2 levels have to magically decline by exact amounts as the sun gets brighter over time otherwise we have:

    1. the Earth going into runaway heating mode if too much CO2
    2. the Earth goes into runaway cold if not enough CO2

    So how does the CO2 adjust? There is a level of ad hoc in these explanations.

    In light of all the global warming alarmism, we “know” that the CO2 levels have to be fine tuned.

    That’s the other thing, we really don’t know if CO2 really adds to the green house effect. Yes it hinders conductive cooling, it may enhance convective cooling.

    That said, if I’m wrong about the Faint Young Sun paradox, I’m wrong.

  39. Hey Sal,
    I don’t see a “belief level” there for a global flood. I’m guessing it would have to be at least 70% for you, seeing that you have “youth of fossils” at 80%, and there has to be a reason why there would be such a massive, yet young, fossil record.

    But don’t let me put words in your mouth.

  40. I think that’s the problem here, Sal, if you don’t mind my saying.

    I don’t mind. I don’t mind admitting my biases. Besides, these are just personal opinions on my part, not some sort of professional pronouncement.

    So how have I come to peace with the uncertainties? I’ve decided I have (personally speaking) nothing to lose if I’m wrong about ID or YEC, everything to gain if my sympathies are right (despite my doubts).

    And I appreciate it, Sal, truly. And I wish you well in your search.

    Bless you.

    Lizzie

    Bless you too!

    Sal

  41. Hey Sal,
    I don’t see a “belief level” there for a global flood. I’m guessing it would have to be at least 70% for you, seeing that you have “youth of fossils” at 80%, and there has to be a reason why there would be such a massive, yet young, fossil record.

    But don’t let me put words in your mouth.

    Oh, forgot about that. 95%.

    I also think there were some very rapid geological processes that lifted mountains in a matter of weeks, and some in a matter of minutes. Maybe even continents out of the water in a matter of months or weeks.

    For example, even the mainstream admits this one of a mountain moving 100 miles an hour:

    This sheet, consisting of Ordovican through Mississippian carbonate rocks and overlying Absaroka volcanic rocks, was probably originally about 4-5 kilometers thick. Despite the slope being less than 2 degrees, the front of the landslide traveled at least 25 miles (40 km) and the slide mass ended up covering over 1,300 square miles (>3,400 km²). This is by far the largest rockslide known on land on the surface of the earth and is comparable in scale to some of the largest known submarine landslides.[2]
    ….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H....._(Wyoming)

    There are sedimentary layers that blanket entire continents.

    And we have tropical vegetation in the North pole:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-205_162-1671911.html

    How did tropical areas fossilize so quickly, there must have been some unimaginable global cataclysm.

    Here is a photo of a Sullivan mountain that YECs believe formed in a matter of weeks. Notice the bent layers of rock. How could it bend like that? :-) And why all these marine fossils on the tops of mountains?

    http://www.creationism.org/boo.....ayersM.jpg

    There could also be ancient cities now underwater. To me it suggests an ancient civilization was wiped out and had to rebuild later.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1768109.stm

    I think there could be lots more surprises in store!

  42. Elizabeth B Liddle @ 28:

    But perhaps the simplest single piece of evidence that the universe is old is the evidence from the supernova SN1987A. But that’s only one. There are so many, and it’s the consilience between so many independent sources that is so striking.

    No. Decay of c neutralizes that argument. However, the article does start out by disregarding c deay. Even though c decay is not impossible. This is why there are still non-creationist physicists that entertain c variable models. Even if i am not mistaken, Einstein did not find it as unthinkable as many forever c fans. Regardless, even if c decay were impossible (which it was not shown to be), there are other possibilities to explain light traveling vast distances. Humphrey and Hartnet for example.

  43. Bulls eye and the other eye too. Good shooting.
    If the geology is wrong its IMPOSSIBLE for the evolution model to have created anything or improved on anything!!
    There’s not enough time for the mutationism to have done its glory.
    They need time and worse.
    The evidence for evolution is not based on observation of evolution but upon fossil data points in strata presumed to be segregated by great deposition events in great expanse of time.
    Process or descent is not in evidence. Only fossils snapshots. They TRUST the snapshots were separated by great time.
    If they were not PUT a fork in evolution.
    ( I say the forks in for evolution as a biological theory because of no biology behind it).

    The Evolutionist posters here are striving to change the subject. If the geology is wrong the biology conclusions are wrong.
    I think they really are embarrassed evolution is based on geology or genetics and not on measurable biological evidence.
    What can they say?
    50,000 0r 6,000 years can’t turn a fish into a summer vacation fisherman.

    Darwin said famously PUT down his book if one rejects the geological presumptions of long ages.
    AMEN.
    If a biological theory is based on a foreign subject then its not a scientific theory of biology. Its just a huch with secondary evidences.
    Darwin didn’t understand what a scientific theory was.
    He wasn’t a scientist but a rich guy bringing a welcome relief to a Protestant Christian civilization to not be protestant anymore without a good reason.

  44. Sal,

    You simply have no idea what you’re up against. What you should do is go to your nearest university geological department library, and spend a few days going through the literature and journals. You will find literally thousands of papers on radiocarbon (mostly not C14) dating of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Papers by hundreds or thousands of independent researchers who worked all over the planet to sample rocks from every place imaginable. They have used dozens of different dating techniques in dozens of different independent labs. Out if this huge body of research comes a very consistent and very loud signal: these rocks are millions of years old. Yes, there will be a noise component to the data, but the signal is very clear and is not going to go away.

    The crucial thing is, these dated rocks are not floating in space.They are interbedded in, and closely related to, the sedimentary strata that contain the fossils. Fossil ages are bracketed by volcanic and metamorphic rocks of known, old age. There is zero, as in no, possibility that all of the fossils we find in layers below old volcanic rocks have ended up there by accident at a later date.

    Instead of gratuitous musing on the internet, do as I suggest and spend a couple of weeks in a real university to look at the actual facts and body of knowledge that has been gathered in the last couple of hundred years by thousands of independent geologists. Use the original sources and stay away from amateur and apologetic websites. read the dating reports and understand the signal to noise ratio in the data. Then, if you really think you found a fatal flaw in the academic consensus, write it down, get it reviewed and publish it. I will be among the first to read it, I promise.

    Until then, you might as well ask: if pigs could fly…?

    If they could, there would be pork in the trees tomorrow.

    fG

  45. #44 FG

    Nicely done.

  46. Faded Glory

    Ok cool the rocks and fossils are millions of years old, but how do you explain the fact that there is still soft tissue in some of these fossils? By every account its not possible and a recent finding has vindicated that its not contamination of any sort.

    Don’t get me wrong I am OEC all the way but the data on the soft tissue makes a compelling case for YEC in my opinion and no matter what it cannot be under rug swept!

  47. jguy

    No. Decay of c neutralizes that argument. However, the article does start out by disregarding c deay. Even though c decay is not impossible. This is why there are still non-creationist physicists that entertain c variable models. Even if i am not mistaken, Einstein did not find it as unthinkable as many forever c fans. Regardless, even if c decay were impossible (which it was not shown to be), there are other possibilities to explain light traveling vast distances. Humphrey and Hartnet for example.

    If by “decay of c” you mean change in the value of c over time, then no, it does not “neutralize the argument”. Interestingly, it makes no difference, which is why I cited it. From that link (and you can work this out for yourself):

    As shown above, the delayed illumination of SN1987A’s ring allows a direct trigonometric calculation of the distance to that supernova. But what if the speed of light changed over the travel time? Oddly enough, if we use the older Newtonian physics we find that a change in the speed of light does not affect our calculations of the distance to SN1987A!

    The distance is based on triangulation. The line from Earth to the supernova is one side of the triangle and the line from Earth to the edge of the ring is another leg. The third leg of this right triangle is the relatively short distance from the supernova to the edge of its ring. Since the ring lit up about a year after the supernova exploded, that means that a beam of light coming directly from the supernova reached us a year before the beam of light which was detoured via the ring. Let us assume that the distance of the ring from the supernova is really 1 unit and that light presently travels 1 unit per year.

    If there had been no change in the speed of light since the supernova exploded, then the third leg of the triangle would be 1 unit in length, thus allowing the calculation of the distance by elementary trigonometry (three angles and one side are known). On the other hand, if the two light beams were originally traveling, say three units per year, the second beam would initially lag 1/3 of a year behind the first as that’s how long it would take to do the ring detour. However, the distance that the second beam lags behind the first beam is the same as before. As both beams were traveling the same speed, the second beam fell behind the first by the length of the detour. Thus, by measuring the distance that the second beam lags behind the first, a distance which will not change when both light beams slow down together, we get the true distance from the supernova to its ring. The lag distance between the two beams, of course, is just their present velocity multiplied by the difference in their arrival times. With the true distance of the third leg of our triangle in hand, trigonometry gives us the correct distance from Earth to the supernova.

    Consequently, supernova SN1987A is about 170,000 light-years from us (i.e. 997,800,000,000,000,000 miles) whether or not the speed of light has slowed down.

    And that is only ONE piece of independent evidence that the universe is old. Arguments that any one piece might be measurement error have to contend with all the others, including evidence that locks tightly together, like the independently corroborating answers given by varves, ice cores, coral, and tree rings, for instance over the fluctuation of C14 levels, plus their corroboration with known events. To argue that the fossils at the bottom of the varve layers in Lake Baikal are not 5 million years old you’d have to argue that the are not annual layers below 50,000 (which C14 as well as the fact that they can be observed today tells us), despite the fact that they are identical in form. In other words you have to do separate special pleading for every single piece of evidence that together point to an old earth.

    Here’s another example – the ages of the Hawaiian islands can be dated by both radiometric dating of the volcanic material and by the distance they are from the current hotspot, given the speed of tectonic movement. Two independent dating systems, and they both give the same dates.

    Why? The obvious answer is because the islands are that age, so independent dating methods will give the same answer.

    It is also independent corroboration of radiometric dating accuracy, giving us yet more reason to believe that radiometric dating of volcanic rock is accurate, and therefore confidence in the age of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock between volcanic layers.

    The only reason to believe in a young earth, and young life is commitment to the literal truth of the book of Genesis. There is no evidence that stands up for a moment outside that document, and not even any reason to think that the writers of it thought they were writing anything but a parable. The accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 don’t even match, without nifty apologetics. They are quite clearly two different creation stories, set down together because they each contain a powerful message.

    Nobody minds that Jesus’ parables don’t match nor thinks that they were literally true. Regard Genesis as two parables and the problem of trying to reconcile literalism with facts simply goes away.

    You don’t need a story about someone eating an apple to know that people are capable both of knowledge and of doing what they know to be wrong. But, like the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan, it’s a good and useful story.

  48. The only reason to believe in a young earth, and young life is commitment to the literal truth of the book of Genesis. There is no evidence that stands up for a moment outside that document, and not even any reason to think that the writers of it thought they were writing anything but a parable.

    Exactly. It seems very counter-productive to draw lines in the sand like the age of the Earth merely to comply with a “literal’ interpretation of a part of an ancient collection of manuscripts. What has the Old Testament to do with the teachings of Jesus? This is why you lose young people from a dogmatic faith. We can all be our own scientist and look at reality. If you make dogma that is obviously wrong an issue, a requirement to join the club, you will lose members when they begin to look at facts for themselves.

  49. Elizabeth @ 47

    If by “decay of c” you mean change in the value of c over time, then no, it does not “neutralize the argument”. Interestingly, it makes no difference, which is why I cited it. From that link (and you can work this out for yourself):

    Yes, I mean a change in the value of c — a decaying value to be more specific. And actually it does neutralize the argument against YEC (I had already worked it out). What you’re arguing about – but may not realize it – is that the distance to the SN is what it appears to be by trigonometric means regardless of c value. However, that get’s you nowhere in refuting YEC. Why? If c decayed, the light could arrive here in any amount of shorter time than 168,000 years, to include times consistent with YEC. Again, all you are actually proving is that the distance to the SN is about 168k light years away… where one light year is the distance c travel in one year at present speed. The key question is how long did it take. But the light could have left the SN about 5000 years ago if c was just a couple orders of magnitude higher without violating any trigonometric observations.

    You’re only option is to completely reject c decay for some other reason.

    With that and here noting that the “hotspot” hypothesis is debated even among secular scientists (http://www.mantleplumes.org/), your case is not an actual consilience of evidences.

  50. @ JGuy

    Is this what we are talking about? Barry Setterfield and his c-decay?

  51. Sal, if there was a global flood, where did the water come from and where is it now?

  52. Dr. Liddle @ 34:

    This means that carbon-dating can be calibrated in order to take into account these known fluctuations.

    Why not simply utilize another method of dating, such as potassium-argon dating? If you know that you may be in error because of the methodology, then shouldn’t your next step be switching methodologies in order to be more accurate?

  53. Alan @ 50. I’m not talking about a webpage.

    Would you suggest that it is impossible that c could have changed (even by one meter per second)?

    Alan @ 51

    Not speaking for Sal. But those answers are easy to find in creation literature. Water came [probably mostly] from within the earth and some from in and/or around the earths atmosphere. Where is the water now? It’s mostly what you see in the ocean.
    BTW: Keep in mind when considering the flood, that the pre-flood land terrain (surface profile) was not the same as what you see today (for obvious reasons).

  54. “Problems With Tree Ring Dating
    and Carbon-14 Calibration”:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/carbon14.html#Tree

    Other:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com.....alibration

  55. Elizabeth B Liddle @ 47

    There is no evidence that stands up for a moment outside that document, and not even any reason to think that the writers of it thought they were writing anything but a parable… Regard Genesis as two parables and the problem of trying to reconcile literalism with facts simply goes away.

    Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; … Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know. ~ James Barr (Regius Professor of Hebrew at Christ Church, Oxford 1978-1989)

    So far as the days of Genesis 1 are concerned, I am sure that Professor Barr was correct… I have not met any Hebrew professors who had the slightest doubt about this. ~ Hugh Williamson (Regius Professor of Hebrew at Christ Church, Oxford 1992-Present)

  56. Would you suggest that it is impossible that c could have changed (even by one meter per second)?

    Any variation in the speed of light renders GPS and the like non-funtional. But that doesn’t rule out variation in the past, I guess. But the argument is that light speed was so much higher in the past that it makes the universe older than it is. 14 billion instead of 6 thousand. Making it easier to calculate, lets say 10 billion and 10 thousand. The average speed of light to cover the actual distance in the shorter time is a million times faster. You may have heard of Einstein’s equation relating matter conversion to energy E=mc^2. So now we have energy from matter at aconversion rate a million million times greater. Energy conversion by nuclear fusion in stars would be a million million times higher in output. Yes, I think there is a problem.

  57. Oops non-functional

  58. Alan @ 51

    Not speaking for Sal. But those answers are easy to find in creation literature. Water came [probably mostly] from within the earth and some from in and/or around the earths atmosphere. Where is the water now? It’s mostly what you see in the ocean.
    BTW: Keep in mind when considering the flood, that the pre-flood land terrain (surface profile) was not the same as what you see today (for obvious reasons).

    Let’s see if I understand you. You suggest that lad topography changed so much that prior to the global flood there was dry land, then it sank enough to allow seawater to wash over everything, then the mountain ranges that we know today popped up? Why did it need to rain, then? Though of course this would only recycle the water already on Earth. Unless… There’s water deep underground? Would that be above or below the magma?

  59. Oops Land topography

  60. Why not simply utilize another method of dating, such as potassium-argon dating? If you know that you may be in error because of the methodology, then shouldn’t your next step be switching methodologies in order to be more accurate?

    Or even use both to compare their agreement. Oh wait! They do that already.

  61. Mark Frank:

    The problems with ID are deeper than that.

    Only in the minds of the anti-IDists

    There cannot be evidence for ID without a ID hypothesis.

    We have both- positive evidence and a testable hypothesis. OTOH unguided evolution doesn’t have either.

    As it stands ID is like offering “chance” as an explanation with no further detail.

    Your position is totally devoid of details.

  62. Alan Fox:

    Sal, if there was a global flood, where did the water come from and where is it now?

    It’s now in the oceans, which were NOT as deep then as they are now, and it came from subterranean deposits.

    Geez Alan, where did all of the water for a snowball earth come from?

  63. As for the age of the Earth, well the only way to determine taht is to determine HOW the Earth was formed. As far as anyone knows the Earth could be made up of old material OR material that underwent rapid rad decay when it was being put together.

  64. It’s now in the oceans, which were NOT as deep then as they are now, and it came from subterranean deposits.

    All OK with Joe’s “answer” YEC folks?

  65. My answer comes from AiG, Walter Brown and other YECs. And it is very telling that you are totally ignorant of your opponents’ position.

  66. vj #27

    Regarding your assertion (#16) that “‘design’ is far too generic to count as an explanation”, what level of detail do you think is required for something to count as a legitimate explanation? Do you have a list of criteria?

    It is hard to explain this without going through a whole load of the arguments for the 100th time. In essence it must be possible to assess an explanation in some way for it count as an explanation. I could go on about how CSI/FSCI is just short hand for current chance explanations don’t work. But as a variant consider the unintelligent chance hypothesis:

    * Life must have arisen through necessity, chance or design.

    * Design is massively implausible because all known designers are quite incapable of doing anything like this (technically I will call this complex design factor CDF and take a few logarithms to make it sound mathematical)

    * Necessity can be ruled out because there is no mechanism that inevitably leads to life.

    * Therefore the explanation is chance. We regularly see chance correlated with CDF and life has high CDF.

    We are not interested in how or when chance caused life to happen – that is a separate question.

  67. Mark Frank:

    Design is massively implausible because all known designers are quite incapable of doing anything like this (technically I will call this complex design factor CDF and take a few logarithms to make it sound mathematical)

    Then we infer it was some other designer. Chance doesn’t magically get the ability to do something just because you are stuck inside of your little box.

  68. Design is massively implausible because all known designers are quite incapable of doing anything like this

    Seriously? This is where it breaks down as you are assuming in your premise that the designer must be known, or understood.

  69. Joe at 65 links to Christiananswers.net. That really doesn’t explain where the water came from and where it went. I think the website is aimed at children, Joe. But, the question is not difficult.

    We might suggest the land was flatter before the flood and didn’t need so much extra water to inundate it. If it was very flat and low, lying maybe it could have rained hard enough to exceed the rate of run off and allow the ark (what draft?) to float. But wouldn’t it still need to be deep enough to cover Mount Ararat. And then where didi it go? I’m sorry, I’m laughing too much to keep typing

  70. *gets breath back*

    Sal, really? 95% sure the flood was global? Have you really thought this one through? And why does it matter? Throw that Old Testamant away. It’s irrelevant. No, keep the book. Read it as poetry, as allegory. Especially the Song of Songs.

  71. fg,

    Then, if you really think you found a fatal flaw in the academic consensus, write it down, get it reviewed and publish it. I will be among the first to read it, I promise.

    Thank you for your input, nice to hear from you. Yes indeed the challenges to the hypothesis of recent fossils is formidable.

    But over the last few years the data for anomalies (like the C14 in carboniferous era and in diamonds and in soft tissues of fossils) suggest we are not understanding about how the geological layers formed.

    And if I may be critical of your discipline, some of the basics of physics are ignored and reasonable considerations from engineering. Erosion rates of 6cm per 1000 years would have wiped out much of the Phanerozoic in a matter of a few million years. So why is it still there?

    I’ve seen photos of formations of rocks that are folded. Geologists have told me the folds happened by heat and time and that rocks can be modeled as viscous fluid. I pointed out to them if you model rocks as viscous fluids we would expect the rocks to obey Archimedes principle whereby the denser rocks “float” down below the less dense rocks, and folding would not take place. Yet they swear by that story. And my mathematical physics professor made derogatory comments in class about his experiences studying geology, “I pointed out to my geology teacher his statement of Hooke’s law was incorrect, I didn’t endear myself to him…they have problems understanding physics.” I thought to myself, “yeah, they do.”

    Out if this huge body of research comes a very consistent and very loud signal: these rocks are millions of years old. Yes, there will be a noise component to the data, but the signal is very clear and is not going to go away.

    The crucial thing is, these dated rocks are not floating in space.They are interbedded in, and closely related to, the sedimentary strata that contain the fossils. Fossil ages are bracketed by volcanic and metamorphic rocks of known, old age. There is zero, as in no, possibility that all of the fossils we find in layers below old volcanic rocks have ended up there by accident at a later date.

    Challenging difficulty indeed, but the anomalies I’ve mentioned, on empirical grounds alone suggest we may not have a complete handle on the physics of radioactivity. In addition to the erosion rates, C14, there are other anomalies I’ve not mentioned.

    But with respect to radioactivity, for starters I was shocked to learn than chemical and electrical processes can affect nuclear structure.

    I did not know that until I went to a university library to write a term paper on chemical and electrical effects on nuclear structure. We all had to present our term papers in physics class, and my physics professor said, mine was the topic of the night!

    I may post at UD some of my findings in the mainstream, but for starters, here is one lab that can take radioisotopes and neutralize them with electricity. When I talked to YEC physicist Eugene Chaffin, even he wasn’t aware of these developments.

    Here is a link to some of the research going on, I have to dig up my term paper and find some of the other peer-reviewed research in my paper.

    http://www.proton21.com.ua/articles/Infin.pdf

    It’s politically incorrect experimentation, but the ability to change nuclear structure via chemistry and electricity –this has bearing on radio metric dating if there had been a large scale cataclysm that would generate appropriate electrical activity somewhere not too far down in the Earth’s crust.

    Finally, I’ve met YEC geologists working at universities. They acknowledge the challenges, but they don’t necessarily share your view that the situation is impossible.

    I cited heart mountain. That’s an example of a younger layer on top of a lower layer!

    From wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H....._(Wyoming)

    The mountain is composed of limestone and dolomite of Ordovician through Mississippian age (about 500 to 350 million years old), but it rests on the Willwood Formation, rocks that are only about 55 million years old

    If an “old” layer can be on top of a young layer, then lots of things are possible.

    Things I thought impossible 10 years ago when you and I met at ARN I no longer think are. More data has come in, and the case for revisiting geological timescales seems more exciting now than ever.

    There are more anomalies than the ones I’ve mentioned. I didn’t have time at ICC 2013 to visit with all the geophysics guys because I was so busy talking with the biology guys (lie Sanford, Tomkins, Carter, and others)….

    Thanks though for your offer. Your objections are substantial, but I’m not so sure its fair to say the YEC are grasping at straws.

    Here are two YEC geologists teaching in university that I encountered:

    http://www.icr.org/timothy_clarey/

    http://www.cedarville.edu/Acad.....-John.aspx

    Thanks for you input.

  72. Alan,

    The water came from beneath the surface of the Earth, maybe about 10 miles below. The water is still there on the Earth’s surface, the continents had to rise out of the submerged state. What did I say about fast geological processes? That photo of Sullivan mountain should give a clue….

    Sal

  73. You’re only option is to completely reject c decay for some other reason.

    There are secular C-decay cosmologies but they don’t necessarily help YEC because changing C-decay may affect stellar processes and radio active decay and incinerate the Earth. If C-decay implies changes in Plank’s constant, the atomic structure disintegrates. Bad juju. There is too much we don’t know….that’s why I don’t endorse universal C-decay as Barry Setterfield proposed. I defended his ideas for a few years, corrected some of his math, and I have to withdraw support for now. Setterfield’s model is unworkable…

    That said, respected cosmologist and astrophysicist John Barrow on Variable Speed of Light:

    http://www.geosoc.org/schools/.....speed.html

    Call it heresy, but all the big cosmological problems will simply melt away, if you break one rule, says John D. Barrow–the rule that says the speed of light never varies

    EVER SINCE 1905, when Albert Einstein revealed his special theory of relativity to the world, the speed of light has had a special status in the minds of physicists. In a vacuum, light travels at 299 792 458 metres per second, regardless of the speed of its source. There is no faster way of transmitting information. It is the cosmic speed limit. Our trust in its constancy is reflected by the pivotal role it plays in our standards of measurement. We can measure the speed of light with such accuracy that the standard unit of length is no longer a sacred metre bar kept in Paris but the distance travelled by light in a vacuum during one 299 792 458th of a second.

    It took cosmologists half a century to the full cosmological importance of a finite speed of light. It divides the Universe into two parts: visible and invisible. At any time there is a spherical “horizon” around us, defined by the distance light has been able to travel since the Universe began. As time passes, this horizon expands. Today, it is about fifteen billion light years away.

    This horizon creates a host of problems for cosmologists. Because no signals can travel faster than light, it is only within the horizon that light has had time to establish some degree of uniformity from place to place in terms of density and temperature. However, the Universe seems more coordinated than it has any right to be. There are other ways, too, in which the Universe seems to have adopted special characteristics for no apparent reason. Over the years, cosmologists have proposed many different explanations for these characteristics–all with their attendant difficulties. In the past year, though, a new explanation has come to light. All you have to do is break one sacred rule–the rule that says the speed of light is invariable–and everything else may well fall into place.

    The first of the problems cosmologists need to explain is a consequence of the way the cosmological horizon stretches as the Universe expands. Think about a patch of space which today reaches right to the horizon. If you run the expansion of the Universe backwards, so that the distances between objects are squeezed smaller, you find that at some early time T after the big bang that same patch of space would lie beyond the horizon that existed then. In other words, by time T there would not have been enough time for light to have travelled from one edge of the sphere bounded by our present horizon to the opposite side.

    Because of this, there would have been no time to smooth out the temperature and density irregularities between these two patches of space at opposite extremes of our present horizon. They should have remained uncoordinated and irregular. But this is not what we see. On the largest cosmic scales the temperature and density in the Universe differ by no more than a few parts in one hundred thousand. Why? This is the horizon problem.

    Another, closely related cosmological problem arises because the distribution of mass and energy in our Universe appears to be very close to the critical divide that separates universes destined to expand for ever from those that will eventually collapse back to a “big crunch”. This is problematic because in a universe that contains only the forms of matter and radiation that we know about, any deviation from the critical divide grows larger and larger as time passes. Our Universe has apparently been expanding for nearly 15 billion years, during which time its size has increased by a factor of at least 1032. To have remained so close to the critical divide today the Universe must have been incredibly close to this distribution of mass and energy when it started expanding–an initial state for which there is no known justification. This is the flatness problem, so called because the critically expanding state requires the geometry of space to be flat rather than curved.

    The third major problem with the expansion of the Universe is that Einstein’s theory of gravitation–general relativity–allows the force of gravity to have two components. The better known one is just a refinement of Newton’s famous inverse-square force law. The other component behaves quite differently. If it exists, it increases in direct proportion to the distance between objects. Lambda was the Greek symbol used by Einstein to denote the strength of this force in his theory. Unfortunately, his theory of gravitation does not tell us how strong this long-range force should be or even whether it should push masses apart rather than pull them together. All we can do is place stronger limits on how big it is allowed to be, the longer we fail to see its effects.

    Particle physicists have for many years argued that this extra component of the gravitational force should appear naturally as a residue of quantum effects in the early Universe and its direction should be opposite to that of Newton’s law of gravity: it should make all masses repel one another. Unfortunately, they also tell us that it should be about 10^120 times larger than astronomical observations permit it to be. This is called the lambda problem.

    Expanding fast

    Since 1981, the most popular solution to the flatness and horizon problems has been a phenomenon called inflation that is said to have occurred very soon after the big bang, accelerating the Universe’s expansion dramatically for a brief interval of time. This allows the region of the Universe seen within our horizon today to have expanded from a much smaller region than if inflation had not occurred. Thus it could have been small enough for light signals to smooth it from place to place. Moreover, by the end of this bout of acceleration the expansion would be driven very close to the critical divide for flatness. This is because making a curved surface very large ensures that any local curvature becomes less noticeable, just as we have no sense of the Earth’s curved surface when we move a short distance.

    Why should the Universe have suddenly inflated like this? One possibility is that strange, unfamiliar forms of matter existed in the very high temperatures of the early Universe. These could reverse the usual attractive force of gravity into repulsion and cause the Universe to inflate briefly, before decaying into ordinary radiation and particles, while the Universe adopted its familiar state of decelerating expansion.

    Compelling as inflation appears, it cannot solve the lambda problem. It has also had to confront some new observations of the rates at which distant supernovae are receding from us. These imply that the lambda force is influencing the expansion of the Universe today (“The fifth element”, New Scientist, 3 April). Even though the density of matter might be just 10 per cent of the critical value, the influence of the lambda force means the geometry of space might still be very close to flatness. If these observations are corroborated, they make the flatness and lambda problems worse: why is the Universe quite close to the critical rate of expansion (1part in 5, say, rather than 1 part in 100 000) and why is lambda finite and having a similar influence on the expansion of the Universe as the matter in the Universe today? Since these two influences change at different rates as the Universe ages it seems a very weird coincidence that they just happen to be similar in strength today when we are here to observe them. These are called the quasi-flatness and quasi-lambda problems, respectively.

    Last year, with a view to providing some alternative to inflation, Andreas Albrecht of the University of California at Davis, and João Magueijo of Imperial College, London, investigated an idea first suggested by John Moffat, a physicist at the University of Toronto. Moffat had proposed that the speed of light might not be such a sacrosanct quantity after all. What are the cosmological consequences if the speed of light changed in the early life of the Universe? This could happen either suddenly, as Albrecht, Magueijo and Moffat first proposed, or steadily at a rate proportional to the Universe’s expansion rate, as I suggested in a subsequent paper.

    The idea is simple to state but not so easy to formulate in a rigorous theory, because the constancy of the speed of light is woven into the warp and weft of physics in so many ways. However, when this is done in the simplest possible way, so that the standard theory of cosmology with constant light speed is recovered if the variation in light speed is turned off, some remarkable consequences follow.

    If light initially moved much faster than it does today and then decelerated sufficiently rapidly early in the history of the Universe, then all three cosmological problems–the horizon, flatness and lambda problems–can be solved at once. Moreover, Magueijo and I then found that there are also a range of light-slowing rates which allow the quasi-flatness and quasi-lambda problems to be solved too.

    If there is an Aether and if properties of the Aether change spatially, then there could be changes in the speed of light over time or in various locations. It’s extremely speculative, but there have been some experiments to suggest there is an Aehter:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....he-aether/

  74. I’m sorry, I’m laughing too much to keep typing.

    Classy.

  75. Alan,

    The North Pole was tropical at one time. Do you suppose it got that way slowly or quickly? How do you have frozen tropical plants?

    Suggestion: some cataclysm of major proportions happened….

    Sal

  76. #69 #TSErik

    I am sorry I didn’t explain the point of my comment. It is mean’t to parallel the ID argument. The point is it would be an invalid argument even if the premise:

    “Design is massively implausible because all known designers are quite incapable of doing anything like this”

    is true. It is invalid because “chance” without saying anything about how or when would be a massive cop out.

  77. The North Pole was tropical at one time.

    I think you mean Antarctica. The North Pole is the northern axis of rotation. There is no land there. Antarctica of ourse was never always at the south pole. Plate tectonics explains the moving and changing pattern of the continents.

  78. Alan Fox:

    Joe at 65 links to Christiananswers.net. That really doesn’t explain where the water came from and where it went.

    Yes, it does.

    We might suggest the land was flatter before the flood and didn’t need so much extra water to inundate it.

    Alan, that is what the website said. That is what AiG says too.

    But anyway, the links I gave answered Alan’s questions. That he doesn’t think they did just further exposes his willful ignorance.

  79. Alan Fox:

    The North Pole is the northern axis of rotation. There is no land there.

    LoL!!!!! You can still have a tropical climate without land, Alan.

  80. LoL!!!!! You can still have a tropical climate without land, Alan.

    Yes, but it’s difficult for land plants to grow on water. Or are you suggesting they grew on the tropical pack-ice?

  81. How do you have frozen tropical plants?

    Put ‘em in the freezer?

    Sal, you do know about Pangaea don’t you?

  82. Alan, seeing as Sal has mentioned rapid plate tectonic movement as the reason for mountain ranges, I would assume he does know about Pangea.

  83. Ah, rapid tectonics! What speed is involved? How do we account for the friction? Water cooling by the subterranean water that popped up and went away again, perhaps?

  84. Alan Fox:

    Yes, but it’s difficult for land plants to grow on water. Or are you suggesting they grew on the tropical pack-ice?

    Umm plate tectonics Alan- perhaps there was land there at one time…

  85. Alan, rapid subduction has been written about. Again that you think your ignorance means something is hilarious.

  86. Alan Fox:

    I think the website is aimed at children, Joe.

    Yup, I tried to find something that was on your level.

  87. I have to dig up my term paper and find some of the other peer-reviewed research in my paper.

    I summarized my 40 page term paper here and then added some reference that I dared not include in the term paper because I wanted to stick only to mainstream literature for the term paper.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cal-means/

  88. Sal,

    Nice to see you again to. Although we have our disagreements I do mean this. In a way it is comforting to know that even when so many things change, some things will always remain the same :)

    I am not going to get into a debate with you on the age of the Earth or the fossils. Been there, done that and it won’t serve any purpose. I gave you a serious recommendation because you are a smart person and I am sure you would benefit from spending some time with the geological literature and get to see the issues first hand rather than from apologetics websites. Especially if you park your assumptions and go in with an open mind.

    Let me temper my earlier comment with a small disclaimer. No reports of fossil soft tissues or stuff like that will make the signal in the radiocarbon data go away. The only thing that could cause this would be a radical change in some fundamental assumptions regarding the stability of the physical constants. I have seen attempts at arguing for this, but they were laughably oversimplistic and conveniently ignored the very severe implications of what they proposed – such as that all the water on the entire planet would have been boiled off (including Noah and his family) because of the massive radioactive radiation required to get rid of the isotopes in the short times posited. And other stuff like that.

    But it is in principle possible that one day someone discovers something that will affect the time axis on all those radioactive decay plots. This would still leave numerous other problems such as how to deposit the sedimentary rocks in the time available, how to account for continental drift, how to explain orogenic belts (the less time you allow for rock deformation the harder it becomes to create folds without shattering the rock) and numerous others. However, it might open the door a crack to what you ask us to think about.

    I don’t expect this to happen anytime soon (although it would be a hugely exciting time to be a geologist!). If you don’t mind, I will come back to you with my answer to your OP at that time. Remind me :)

    fG

  89. Alan Fox:

    I think you mean Antarctica. The North Pole is the northern axis of rotation. There is no land there. Antarctica of ourse was never always at the south pole. Plate tectonics explains the moving and changing pattern of the continents.

    Nope! North Pole!

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-205_162-1671911.html

    You’re laughing based on your own misunderstanding. In that case you have plenty of reason to keep laughing.

  90. fg,

    Thank you for your comments. I think YECs need to know what they are up against and the problems are very large for the reasons you point out and for many other reasons. Thank you for offering reasoned and civil criticism of YEC, especially since I know you’re a professional in the field of geology.

    Thanks again.

    Sal

  91. Hi Mark Frank,

    Thank you for your comment (#67). You write:

    In essence it must be possible to assess an explanation in some way for it count as an explanation. I could go on about how CSI/FSCI is just short hand for current chance explanations don’t work.

    I actually agree with your first statement, and I would hold that biological Intelligent Design is eminently assessable – and falsifiable. For example, it makes the following non-trivial assertions, among others:

    (a) for the simplest functionally useful biological molecules in Nature:

    (i) the probability of their arising as a result of unguided natural processes can be expressed mathematically as: the number of trials T over the course of geological time, multiplied by the (very, very tiny) fraction F of molecules of the same length and having the same chemical constituents (i.e. amino acid chains) which are able to perform a useful biological function; and

    (ii) this probability, even on a timescale of the age of the universe, and even over a region the size of the observable universe, of a non-functional amino acid chain being transformed into a protein as a result of unguided processes is astronomically low, making the emergence of even a single protein during the lifespan of the observable universe vanishingly unlikely, and making the emergence of a minimal cell, which requires 250 proteins in order to function, even more so;

    (b) there is no unguided natural process which is capable of generating a code, such as the genetic code;

    (c) there is no unguided natural process which is capable of generating a program, such as the genetic programs we find in living things;

    (d) with regard to the genetic programs that control and regulate the development of animal body plans, the vast majority of unguided alterations to those programs occurring in Nature (i.e. mutations) are deleterious, and the probability of a series of such alterations generating an animal with a new kind of body plan is astronomically low, even over the lifetime of the cosmos, making the emergence of new kinds of animals as a result of unguided processes extremely unlikely, over geological time.

    One could say that (b) and (c) are strong, absolute claims, while (a) and (d) are weaker, probabilistic claims. In either case, though, we are dealing with probabilities that are zero, or next to zero.

    I would disagree with your statement that CSI/FCSI is just “short hand for current chance explanations don’t work.” It actually says something about probabilities of unguided processes in Nature. What it says is that for the simplest biologically functional molecules, the principle of indifference holds in Nature (think of amino acids and proteins). And what the stronger version of ID says is that there are certain kinds of biological information (codes and programs) that unguided natural processes are incapable of generating, even over eons of time.

    You fault Intelligent Design because it is “not interested in how or when.” I don’t think that’s a sufficiently strong objection, as it assumes that the Designer is an entity like ourselves. But if the Designer exists on a higher order of reality, and if our existence is derivative upon the Designer’s conserving activity, then it would be meaningless to ask how the Designer acts, as the process whereby He does so is literally “out of this world” and hence incomprehensible to us. Likewise, the question of when the Designer acts presupposes that the Designer exists within our time. This isn’t just a theologian’s reply; if the universe (and the organisms inhabiting it) turned out to be be a simulation designed by aliens, then it would be pointless for us to ask how they made the universe, or when.

    I might add that your objection has the odd entailment that whereas Intelligent Design is not science, Biblical creationism could indeed be science. The Bible, after all, specifies how the universe was made, namely, by the utterance of a Divine command: “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made” (Psalm 33:6); “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). And if you take Exodus 20:11 and the chronologies in Genesis 5 and 11 literally, as young-earth creationists do, then the Bible also answers the “when” question. On your account, then, young-earth creationism would at least have the merit of being a scientific theory – albeit a totally false one, on your reckoning. Do I read you aright?

    I don’t think your mock parallel argument for a chance-based origin of life works, but not because it is too vague. Indeed, I could imagine a very good argument for a chance-based origin of life, based on the premise that chance-based Markov processes are the only processes known to be capable of generating a nested hierarchy, such as we find in living things. If that were indeed the case, it would be powerful evidence in favor of naturalism, even if it said absolutely nothing about “how” or “when.” (I have argued elsewhere, however, that there are good reasons why an Intelligent Designer not only could generate, but would generate, a nested hierarchy of living things.)

    Finally, I think that the premise in your mock argument, that all known designers are complex in no way parallels the premise in the ID argument that all known unguided natural processes are incapable of generating (or very unlikely to generate) functional proteins. The inadequacy of unguided natural processes can be justified by an independent appeal to configurational probabilities; whereas the argument that intelligence goes hand-in-hand with complexity is based on mere induction – and I might add, limited in applicability to intelligences existing within our cosmos.

  92. Yes, but it’s difficult for land plants to grow on water. Or are you suggesting they grew on the tropical pack-ice?

    Apparently the North Pole tropical forest is still underwater. Who knows what else we’ll find up there. How does:

    1. a tropical forest suddenly freeze
    2. a tropical forest end up under freezing water

    Answer: maybe a cataclysm

    What if we find evidence of a dead and buried civilization up there? Wow. We won’t find it if we are unwilling to look…

  93. You’re laughing based on your own misunderstanding. In that case you have plenty of reason to keep laughing.

    OK you got me. Though the land plants “ringed the Arctic ocean” not quite the North Pole. How does this finding support YEC?

  94. Fascinating stuff. Apparently the Arctic ocean was frsh water around 55 million years ago and a boost in CO2 levels encouraged the growth of an aquatic fern, Azolla. This sucked so much CO2 that it is thought this caused the current “ice house” Earth of which we are still in the tail end.

  95. We won’t find it if we are unwilling to look…

    There I heartily agree with you, Sal.

  96. vj #92

    It is always a relief to see something written by you.

    If you look at your assertions (a) through (d) they all about the difficulties of unguided processes – there is nothing about the ease or difficulty of guided processes. That is what I mean by ID being to too vague. There is no way to examine to the ease or difficulty of the hypothesis. 

    I would disagree with your statement that CSI/FCSI is just “short hand for current chance explanations don’t work.” It actually says something about probabilities of unguided processes in Nature. What it says is that for the simplest biologically functional molecules, the principle of indifference holds in Nature (think of amino acids and proteins). And what the stronger version of ID says is that there are certain kinds of biological information (codes and programs) that unguided natural processes are incapable of generating, even over eons of time.

    Again your whole paragraph is about CSI measuring the difficulties of unguided processes.

    You fault Intelligent Design because it is “not interested in how or when.” I don’t think that’s a sufficiently strong objection, as it assumes that the Designer is an entity like ourselves.

    If design is so open as to include a process that is utterly incomprehensible in principle then there is no way to know if it is operating or not. All we can do is say – “well I can’t see how any other method would do it – so it must be something incomprehensible” – in which case we might as well say it is an unguided incomprehensible process as a guided one.

    I might add that your objection has the odd entailment that whereas Intelligent Design is not science, Biblical creationism could indeed be science.  ….. Do I read you aright?

    You do. YEC makes an absurd claim that is easily falsified but it counts as an attempt to do science.

    I don’t think your mock parallel argument for a chance-based origin of life works, but not because it is too vague. Indeed, I could imagine a very good argument for a chance-based origin of life, based on the premise that chance-based Markov processes are the only processes known to be capable of generating a nested hierarchy, such as we find in living things. If that were indeed the case, it would be powerful evidence in favor of naturalism, even if it said absolutely nothing about “how” or “when.” (I have argued elsewhere, however, that there are good reasons why an Intelligent Designer not only could generate, but would generate, a nested hierarchy of living things.)

    Two interesting things there. First you have started to say how the unguided process would work simply by proposing it is a Markov process which immediately opens it to evaluation. Second you then admit that an unspecified designer could produce exactly the same result (or indeed any other).

    Finally, I think that the premise in your mock argument, that all known designers are complex in no way parallels the premise in the ID argument that all known unguided natural processes are incapable of generating (or very unlikely to generate) functional proteins.

     I will leave the first premise for the moment. It was not central to the mock argument.

  97. Sal, I’ll answer your question directly: If ‘all’ the fossils, including the precambrian were shown to be less than 50,000 years old then yes, evolution couldn’t possibly have happened. Then ID and special creation ( which are pretty much the same thing) would start to look much better.
    I’m not sure what form this revelation would take; what kind of evidence could demonstrate this because whatever it would be it would also have to explain away the mountain of mutually supportive evidence that the fossils are old.

  98. RodW,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Sal

    ===============================================

    This raises an interesting discussion, I’d like UD readers to offer their opinion whether they like discussions like this at UD.

    We could of course go back to the “Darwin is wrong” postings of the last 8 years, or have a little more variety like this discussion.

    The “Darwin is wrong” discussions are just getting too repetitive. 8 years and 10,000 threads?

    I like talking about physics and chemistry. I find evolutionary biology a bit tiresome. Even if the YEC ideas are wrong, the questions raised make us think.

    For example, the question of distant starlight was interesting. It at least explores how we know things are far away and what data there is to argue for and against the constancy of the speed of light.

    I find this far more compelling than criticizing phylogenies that can’t be resolved even by evolutionary biologists.

    I really find little to learn by learning more about the fossil Lucy. If that’s your cup of tea, that’s fine, but I much rather talk about physics and chemistry and non-evolutionary biology (like molecular biology).

    So if you like these discussions, speak up. I also mention this is that there is another website that is really pure ID, namely EvolutionNews.org by the discovery institute. UD needs to differentiate itself a little from that very excellent venue…

    We could always go back to “natural selection fails” type posts for the next several thousand threads.

  99. Sal,

    I think this is an interesting discussion, but not for the same reasons you do. Although I think all of the foundational arguments for ID are deeply flawed most ID advocates are very knowledgable and have a great deal of rhetorical skill. This makes their arguments fun and challenging to refute. This is not the case with the discussion above.
    Many opponents of ID claimed that the Dover decision was the ‘death knell’ of ID. I, on the other hand, think ID is thriving. I remember in the early years of ID how cautious IDers were in what they claimed. In recent years they’ve thrown caution to the wind. Not only are we hearing sophisticated versions of standard creationist argument on the age of the earth (or fossils in this post), the second law of thermodynamics, common descent etc but many IDer are making much less effort to hide their religious motivations…and there are routine posts on this blog that with a snarky tone attack science in general or ‘know-it-all’ scientists.
    I take this as a sign that IDer have been emboldened by confidence. The culture has become somewhat receptive to ID, even if scientists continue to ignore it.

    RW

  100. Sal,

    I like this thread and I hope to see more like it. It is the controversial ideas and the “what-ifs” that are fun.

    But I also really like the occassional thread returning to the basics. For sample, I really liked this post which has a video of Michael Behe that goes over a lot of the basis for ID that I had forgotten about: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....f-toronto/

    I also really liked this sophisticated summary of ID that kairosfocus did. It got 284 posts so you know people are interested. http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ral-world/

  101. RodW:

    I found your post #100 written with a great deal of rhetorical skill.

  102. Phinehas,

    Did you just tell RodW that his post was clever-sounding bull****? If so, then I think it was done with a great deal of rhetorical skills. :)

  103. Sal,

    I think this is an interesting discussion, but not for the same reasons you do. Although I think all of the foundational arguments for ID are deeply flawed most ID advocates are very knowledgable and have a great deal of rhetorical skill. This makes their arguments fun and challenging to refute. This is not the case with the discussion above.
    Many opponents of ID claimed that the Dover decision was the ‘death knell’ of ID. I, on the other hand, think ID is thriving. I remember in the early years of ID how cautious IDers were in what they claimed. In recent years they’ve thrown caution to the wind. Not only are we hearing sophisticated versions of standard creationist argument on the age of the earth (or fossils in this post), the second law of thermodynamics, common descent etc but many IDer are making much less effort to hide their religious motivations…and there are routine posts on this blog that with a snarky tone attack science in general or ‘know-it-all’ scientists.
    I take this as a sign that IDer have been emboldened by confidence. The culture has become somewhat receptive to ID, even if scientists continue to ignore it.

    RW

    Thank you for sharing your perspective and your civil tone.

    I do not think the ID side is so much winning as much as there is polarization. The middle ground is disappearing, namely the Theistic Darwinists.

    It’s not just about theology, but the general prejudice to non-conformist ideas. I recall the atheist Boltzmann committed suicide because he championed atomic theory. What a tragedy….

    Even if creation and ID are false, it does not make existing evolutionary theories correct.

    Part of the emboldening of the ID and YEC community has been dissent in secular quarters from the Big Bang to basic physics to geology to even basic biology (like the question of Junk DNA and conflicting phylogenies) and emergence of anomalous data in the geological record.

    I don’t really see the theists winning the cultural war. Most creationists I talk to feel we live in an increasingly post-Christian culture while at the same time they feel new data are strengthening their empirical case.

  104. What would cause us to throw out an entire consilient model would be a pattern of data points that show a consistently discrepant pattern and cannot be explained by contamination or other measurement error.

    Like many things, there are nuances. Rocks dated via long term radiometric methods show conflicting dates. The same rock will show different dates.

    To be fair, when the YECs sent these rocks of to labs, and to their credit, the YECs were forthright in saying the dates still indicated long ages.

    But we can’t dismiss such anomalies of discordant dates (beyond the presumed accuracy of the each method). It may indicate some important physical process which we are not accounting for.

    There are non-consilient indicators:

    1. C14 dating
    2. biological dating
    3. erosion dating
    4. faint young sun paradox (not withstanding the link provided by VJTorleys)
    5. genetic entropy and the rapid extinction of species observed in the present day

    YECs have found C14 in diamonds. Also helium diffusion conflicts with certain dates:
    http://www.creationresearch.or.....Helium.htm

    These are real anomalies that should not be dismissed out of hand. YEC has its challenges, but so do the old-fossil theories.

    Here is another anomaly:

    Helium-3 (3He). 3He is apparently produced only by nuclear reactions, so why is so much of it inside the earth, and why does the ratio of 3He to 4He vary so widely inside the earth?

    Walter Brown

    Brown describes how mainstream theories try to account for this:

    The earth grew and evolved by meteoritic bombardment. Therefore, 3He must have been produced in outer space and brought to the earth as it evolved by meteoritic bombardment.

    [Response: Never explained is how helium, a light, inert gas, could have been trapped in meteoritic material or in a supposedly molten earth, where it would bubble to the surface. Even if helium became trapped in an evolving earth, why would the ratio of 3He to 4He vary so widely from location to location?

    One theory, which has gained little support, claims that a natural uranium reactor, 5 miles in diameter, has been operating at the center of the earth for 4.5 billion years. The lighter fission products from that reactor, such as 3He, supposedly migrated up 4,000 miles, primarily through solid rock. One problem with this idea is that any 3He produced near a neutron source would readily absorb a neutron and become 4He. The hypothetical reactor would itself provide those neutrons, as would any fissioning material (such as uranium or thorium) near the 3He’s 4,000-mile upward path. Likewise, 3He atoms that somehow fell to the earth 4,500,000,000 years ago would have to avoid free neutrons for a long time.]

    What was one reason I began to suspect special creation of planets. It was a book written by someone defending solar system evolution. Every chapter ended with: “this is major unsolved problem”. It wasn’t the sort of problem that implied future discoveries would solve the problem, but one of a problem in principle for evolutionary mechanisms.

    I thought creationists were exaggerating the problems until I read that book!

    The book was:
    Solar System Evolution

  105. ID should be a Big Tent, but OEC/YEC tensions remain. YECs are valid members and I think this is a good place to have the discussion. YEC discussions are at least as relevant as Climate Change discussions.

  106. COLLIN:

    You seem to have dropped off this thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ic-thread/

    I wanted you to know that I answered your question about Denton in comment 75 there.

  107. @Collin

    My mom taught me: If you don’t have anything nice to say, then say something with a great deal of rhetorical skill that could be taken as nice.

    ;)

  108. Mark Frank:

    If design is so open as to include a process that is utterly incomprehensible in principle then there is no way to know if it is operating or not.

    You could either A) observe it or B) observe its effects. Again a native tribe of the Amazon which has never seen our technolgy comes across a laptop some observing scientist left and although the laptop and how it came to be would be totally incoprehensible to them they could still tell that it wasn’t from nature.

    And if given a choice between our existence being an accident or by intention/ design, only one offers any hope, any real impetus for investigating- intention/ design. That tells us their is a purpose to our existence and it is time to A) figure that out and B) get with the program.

    OTOH if we are just an accident then all we are doing wrt science is fumbling around in the dark just to give ourselves a sense of self-worth. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong and nothing really matters.

    We are the optimists and you are the wrongly named skeptics. The choice seems obvious given the fact that science can only allow for so much luck and the chance position is nothing but sheer dumb luck…

  109. Sal @ 105

    To be fair, when the YECs sent these rocks of to labs, and to their credit, the YECs were forthright in saying the dates still indicated long ages.

    Also contrary to what some skeptics of YEC scientists might expect, the YEC scientists on the RATE team actually went a step further than that in the He-diffusion/zircon testing they did. Howso? They did the additional research to support the idea that the decay that appears to have occurred in the zircons, actually did occur (in this case counting fissure tracks). That is, they did not just stop the lab work and say it was a result of contamination. This is included their final papers.

  110. Elizabeth,

    Because the data do corroborate each other. It’s as simple as that.

    For instance take lake varves. We know that they are laid down annually because we see them being laid down annually.

    You don’t know that. That’s your interpretation. It sounds like you’re assuming the varving pattern could only result from annual seasonal effects.

    I have found a study on the varved oil shale of the Green River Formation, in which the authors admit that there has been much debate over whether the varves were even due to the presence of lakes at all. (Cyclicity in the Green River Formation. Fischer 1994 http://jsedres.geoscienceworld.....6.abstract *Had to purchase the article) Yet since then varving has somehow become a unquestionable process and irrefutable evidence for millions of years?

    (interestingly, I see that TalkOrigins is using the Green River Formation as positive evidence for old-earth alongside Lake Baikal. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH210.html)

    In the case of Lake Baikal, you’re dealing with more coarse silt, and the finer clay sediments. So the assumption is that the larger/coarser sediment is deposited in warmer times of the year when there is increased meltwater flow, and the finer sediment increased at colder times with less flow, thus creating the varving pattern.

    I’ll refer you to empirical experiments done on rapid deposition of particles. The lamination effect being described here is the same thing as Varves, that is, lamination of glacial lake deposits.

    Experiments on Stratification of Heterogeneous Sand Mixtures
    Julien, et al. 1994
    Bulletin of the Geological Society, France

    http://www.engr.colostate.edu/.....ance93.pdf

    Lamination essentially results from the mechanical segregation of heterogeneous particles in a moving layer. Lamination is possible without turbulence and without the migration of low amplitude bedforms. Through lateral movement of particles of constant mass density, finer particles fall within the interstices of rolling coarser particles. Coarse particles then roll on top of fines and microscale segregation of particles is then obtained. The degree of segregation depends on particle size distribution, density, and possibly angularity of heterogeneous sand mixtures (see Figure 2). Repetitive segregation is also possible in settling columns where lamination is clearly observed both in air and water. Sufficient space, or rolling distance, is required for clear lamination to develop in moving layers of heterogeneous particles. Particles of comparable size but different densities segregate similarly, with heavier particles falling between lighter particles.

    (AiG features this study as well: http://www.answersingenesis.or.....v8/n1/sand)

    So here is empirical evidence that the Varving effect could just as easily be created rapidly within minutes/hours/days/weeks. Yet you assume each varve layer must represent an annual cycle.

    I don’t know if this experiment is by the same researchers, but you can clearly see the Lamination/Stratification process in action yourself:

    Drama in the Rocks part 4/4 Sedimentology
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NrL_IOeTfU

    And there is a second line of evidence supporting this idea of rapid deposition, and that is the lack of bioturbation. Were these environments really completely free from burrowing animal life for millions of years? Or were the sediments laid down rapidly? (this apparent bioturbation mystery is acknowledged in that same Green River Formation paper by Fischer et al.)

    Lack of bioturbation in general is a powerful argument for a Young Earth. Evolutionists may have their questionable ‘anoxic conditions’ excuse, but on the other hand, lack of bioturbation is a direct prediction of rapid stratification. (global flood)

    They can be carbon dated, and the carbon dates corroborate the counts.

    So we know we can rely on carbon dating, which goes back 50,000 years, and we know that it corroborates lake varves. And the varve record in some lakes (Lake Baikal for instance) goes back millions of years – millions of annual varves.

    …The Lake Baikal varves go down for 5 million years. There are fossils in those 5 million year old layers..

    Okay, I’ve found a couple papers on C14 – Varve data. Here’s one:

    ATMOSPHERIC RADIOCARBON CALIBRATION BEYOND 11,900 CAL BP FROM LAKE SUIGETSU LAMINATED SEDIMENTS
    https://journals.uair.arizona.edu/index.php/radiocarbon/article/download/3829/3254

    For one thing, the C14 dates do not directly corroborate the assumed Varve dates. Each one is a thousand to a few thousand years off of the assumed Varve dates. What is really represented here is a pattern, and there may be more than one explanation for it.

    Instead of so many thousands of years, the C14 measurements may be correlating to the depth of sediment, or some process of carbon contamination due to the order in which they were layered, which would also reveal a depth-C14 correlation pattern.

    But anyways, Elizabeth, I don’t find your claim of irrefutable varve dating convincing.

  111. JGuy,

    I meant to extend my apologies to you and others for possibly leading you all down the wrong track of c-decay. I say possibly, because we really don’t know what the right answer is. I feel bad if I’ve taught you the wrong things…

    That said, here is an interesting development. It would elude notice for most but it cannot be minimized:

    Where Is Earth’s Radioactivity? Three types of measurements each show that earth’s radioactivity is concentrated in the relatively thin continental (granite) crust. In 1906, some scientists recognized that just the heat from the radioactivity in the granite crust should explain all the heat now coming out of the earth. If radioactivity were occurring below the crust, even more heat should be exiting. Because it is not, radioactivity should be concentrated in the top “few tens of kilometers” of the earth—and have begun recently.

    The distribution of radioactive material with depth is unknown, but amounts of the order of those observed at the surface must be confined to a relatively thin layer below the Earth’s surface of the order of a few tens of kilometers in thickness, otherwise more heat would be generated than can be accounted for by the observed loss from the surface.42

    Later, holes drilled into the ocean floor showed slightly more heat coming up through the ocean floors than through the continents. But basaltic rocks under the ocean floor contain little radioactivity.43 Apparently, radioactive decay is not the primary source of earth’s geothermal heat.

    A second type of measurement occurred in Germany’s Deep Drilling Program. The concentration of radioactivity measured down Germany’s deepest hole (5.7 miles) would account for all the heat flowing out at the earth’s surface if that concentration continued down to a depth of only 18.8 miles and if the crust were 4 billion years old.44

    Walter Brown
    http://www.creationscience.com.....vity2.html

    and here are the references in Brown’s bibliography

    As explained on pages 150–183, other heat sources are generating heat within the earth, so these thicknesses of granite would be even thinner. The granite crust is generally estimated to be at least 50 km (30 miles) thick. Therefore, steady state has not been reached. In other words, radioactivity is concentrated in the crust but has not been there long enough to reach steady state.

    u “Surface rocks show traces of radioactive materials, and while the quantities thus found are very minute, the aggregate amount is sufficient, if scattered with this density throughout the earth, to supply, many times over, the present yearly loss of heat. In fact, so much heat could be developed in this way that it has been practically necessary to make the assumption that the radioactive materials are limited in occurrence to a surface shell only a few kilometers in thickness.” Leonard R. Ingersoll et al., Heat Conduction: With Engineering, Geological and Other Applications, revised edition (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1954), p. 102.

    u “Uranium, thorium and potassium are the main elements contributing to natural terrestrial radioactivity. … All three of the radioactive elements are strongly partitioned into the continental crust.” J. A. Plant and A. D. Saunders, “The Radioactive Earth,” Radiation Protection Dosimetry, Vol. 68, 1996, p. 25.

    43. “… the molten rock oozing from midocean ridges lacks much of the uranium, thorium, and other trace elements that spew from some aboveground volcanoes.” Sid Perkins, “New Mantle Model Gets the Water Out,” Science News, Vol. 164, 13 September 2003, p. 174.

    44. “… 90% of uranium and thorium are concentrated in the continents. In general, the heat production rate must decrease with depth. Otherwise, surface values would imply zero or negative mantle heat flow.” Dan F. C. Pribnow, “Radiogenic Heat Production in the Upper Third of Continental Crust from KTB,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 24, 1 February 1997, p. 349.

    Continents contain less than 1% of the earth’s mass (actually 0.35%), so why do they have 90% of earth’s uranium and thorium?

    If the Earth evolved via accumulation of matter from space (exploded supernova) why is there this phenomenon where the radiation is a surface feature? Could it be the radiation is of recent origin? Brown speculates the radioisotopes were not created originally but created by mechanisms associated with the flood.

    The important thing is this leads to testable predictions and experiments. Relevant experiments were listed here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cal-means/

    Unfortunately, I think the speculation is still premature, but if Brown is right, that radio isotopes were of an electrical origin, then a new day has dawned!

    Irrespective of whether YEC is true, this is an anomaly that needs explanation. How can radio isotopes be concentrated only in the crust. Amazing. :wink:

    An appropriate experiment is to see if we can use electricity to synthesize the kind of “old age” rocks from relatively “new rocks”. I like testability and experiments.

    Thankfully the Proton-21 lab and their staff of 120 workers are doing the sort of work necessary for creation science and not even meaning to do so…

    That may solve the discordant date problems between the C14 and the rock dates. I don’t think that we should say that radiometric dating is unreliable, we have unreliable interpretations of the data. The data are there and they are telling a story, we just need the right rosetta stone to decode the true story…

    By the way, the presumption that matter of the solar system is the product of a supernova is being questioned. Maybe more on that later…

  112. Sal @ 120

    I meant to extend my apologies to you and others for possibly leading you all down the wrong track of c-decay. I say possibly, because we really don’t know what the right answer is. I feel bad if I’ve taught you the wrong things…

    No need to apologize at all… I’m pretty sure c decay already had an intuitive appeal to me. I think the most “damage” you did was introduce me to Setterfield’s work, which is still not a bad thing to consider, imo.

    For what it’s worth, with some ignorance on specifics when we discussed this long ago, I recall making a type of prediction in mind about cdk, as it related to Pioneer. It was vague, but enough I think to count: predicting that we should find something from Pioneer to help confirm a cdk has occurred since it’s launch. Afterwards, I learned of the Pioneer anomaly which read consistent with the notion. This doesn’t prove anything, but this is something I would have looked for… isn’t the predictive power of a risky idea the best confirmation for it? :P Just saying… so, I already had ideas in mind that egg me on. I’m not dogmatic or sold on cdk, but it has a strong intuitive appeal — why wouldn’t it? It would solve so much if it was true (even in secular theories).

    What would be interesting & helpful for YEC and cdk, is if you collated all the problems you personally see with cdk, especially in the sense of how it would impact physics of the past. e.g. You said there are bad juju’s about compensating some things using a changing Planck’s constant. However, I am not sure I understand the butterfly effect of issues you see. Are they insurmountable issues?

  113. p.s. Sal…. one note I think the RATE team made… or a part of the RATE team… was that there did seem to be an “aging up” in the appearance of radioactive decay as you went deeper into the strata. If it’s not a confirmation bias or date picking among geologists, but rather generally true, then how might the “aging up” be explained (at least in part) by soem process that was intense & electrical?

  114. JGuy,

    I don’t know the answer to your question about the increase in dates as we dig deeper. The helium/zircon dates don’t seem to change with depth however. :-)

    Speaking of electrical acceleration other scientists used lasers to focus electromagnetic energy on Uranium-232. It accelerated the decay from a half-life of 69 years to 5 microseconds! A factor of 6 trillion.

    In other words, the half-life of 232U in
    the laser field is 5 μ s instead of 69 years.

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/pap.....2.6276.pdf

    and

    Laser-induced accelerated alpha-decay of 232U nuclei under laser exposure of Au nanoparticles in aqueous solutions of uranium salt has been experimentally studied. It is demonstrated that the decrease in the alpha-activity depends strongly on the peak intensity of laser radiation in the liquid and reaches a maximum at 1012–1013Wcm?2. The decrease in the alpha-activity of the exposed solutions is accompanied by deviation of gamma-activities of daughter nuclides of 232U from their equilibrium values. Experimental data on the accelerated alpha-decay of 238U under similar experimental conditions are also presented. Possible mechanisms of laser effect on the alpha-activity are discussed in terms of the amplification of the electric field of laser wave on metallic nanoparticles.

    http://link.springer.com/conte.....010068.pdf

    Cool beans, eh! So much for incontrovertible ideas.

    And even back in 1990 there was electromagnetic energy (light) being used to accelerate nuclear decay:

    It is shown that, using laser irradiation, it is feasible to accelerate nuclear transitions in U-235m by several orders of magnitude. A novel internal resonance conversion mechanism is proposed, which involves the excitation of an electron to a discrete level. The differences in resonance between the electron and the nuclear transitions can be compensated by a suitable choice of the laser-radiation frequency.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1990ZhETF..97..401Z

    So the trick is to be able to synthesize some sort of rock and then try to make it look old. That will inch the YEC case a little forward.

    The nucleus might be a bit more pliable than we suppose! Bwahaha!

  115. #3 on the 11 unanswered question in physics:

    How were the heavy elements from iron to uranium made?
    Both dark matter and possibly dark energy originate from the earliest days of the universe, when light elements such as helium and lithium arose. Heavier elements formed later inside stars, where nuclear reactions jammed protons and neutrons together to make new atomic nuclei. For instance, four hydrogen nuclei (one proton each) fuse through a series of reactions into a helium nucleus (two protons and two neutrons). That’s what happens in our sun, and it produces the energy that warms Earth.

    But when fusion creates elements that are heavier than iron, it requires an excess of neutrons. Therefore, astronomers assume that heavier atoms are minted in supernova explosions, where there is a ready supply of neutrons, although the specifics of how this happens are unknown. More recently, some scientists have speculated that at least some of the heaviest elements, such as gold and lead, are formed in even more powerful blasts that occur when two neutron stars—tiny, burned-out stellar corpses—collide and collapse into a black hole

    http://discovermagazine.com/2002/feb/cover

    Supposedly we know that the heavy elements like Uranium came from supernova, even though we really don’t know for sure they came from supernova! And further the uranium is 4 billion years old.

    Do we really need the power of supernova? Proton-21 laboratory made Uranium from copper with a little bit of focused electricity? :-)

  116. Sal. Any novel idea’s on how to resolve the heat issue if all that material is actual decay product? That said, I’m not even sure there’s enough radioactive decay products to melt the surface of the earth (or at least boil off the oceans) if it had decayed within a YEC scale.

    If it is a problem, I like the idea of an expansion of the fabric of space to absorb it. Kinda like W.Brown describes how super-critical water would cool off fast from expansion.

  117. So have you guys dropped the “light has slowed down” nonsense?

  118. Re MF:

    . . . without a ID hypothesis

    What part of:

    “FSCO/I (etc) is empirically observed with billions of cases and is uniformly observed to result from intelligent design; where this is backed up by config space and blind search analysis, thus it is a testable hyp that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design”

    . . . is not a testable scientific assertion?

    This looks like yet another manufactured strawman caricature of ID [made up by those who at minimum should or worse do know better], being promoted in order to taint and dismiss.

    Kindly, stop it.

    KF

  119. #119 KF

    By an ID hypothesis I mean a hypothesis about the origin and development of life. Your example does not even mention life. In addition FSCO/I is a mathematical way of expressing that something is unlikely to arise from chance. The assertion that “something that is unlikely to arise from chance is empirically observed to arise from design” is not a scientific hypothesis.

    Your comment looks like yet another attempt to avoid this obvious problem despite numerous correctives and thus create a well-poisoning and divisive atmosphere leading to unmerited fear of evolutionary/materialism. You should know better. Kindly stop it.

  120. F/N: Where both intelligence and design are observed phenomena (in simple terms, intelligence often manifests in goal oriented insightful manipulation of materials and components to yield useful, functional structures, that goal directed process being design . . . ], so that reasonably close family resemblance is applicable. In the OoL case, chance processes include random distributions of energy at molecular scale studied in stat thermo-d, the effect of these on activation processes and resulting stochastically distributed outcomes. Radioactive effects would play a similar role (and not the only one) in mutations, basically by ionising water triggering odd reactions at random points. [I here compress a lot of radiation physics.] Chemicals giving rise to notorious free radicals would have similar effects, and the close connexion to cancer should tell us something. Mechanical necessity, would cover lawlike processes similar to F = m*a and the like. Blindness means, no intelligent, purposeful direction or guidance — more or less, what Dawkins advocated in his Blind Watchmaker. It is easy to show that on the gamut of the solar system to the observed cosmos, 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity is a threshold that marks a major search capability barrier for blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. Watches are in observation, not made by blind chance and necessity, backed up by the analysis of sampling config spaces where function depending on complex, specific combination and arrangement naturally leads to isolated islands of function in config spaces. And if Darwinists would do Paley the due diligence of addressing his NT Ch 2, 1804, they would — with help from von Neumann — also see why a self replicating watch actually multiplies the force of the point. And the notion that such a watch would across time spontaneously develop into a self replicating car, by chance increments and differential reproductive success, is equally problematic. (That’s why the UD pro Darwin Essay challenge now stands at eleven months without a serious answer.) It is high time to wake up and smell the smoke from the flames of an entrenched evolutionary materialist paradigm burning itself down. KF

  121. MF: You are discussing with someone you have interacted with — or dodged — for years, who has explicitly set the world of life case in the context of OOL and OO body plans. That context is literally a click away from my handle, also cf. here on in context, which I have linked hundreds of times over the past several years. Moreover, you must be aware of the similarity to Meyer 2009 and 2013. So, you are again setting up and knocking over a strawman. As it turns out, sight unseen, I put up a F/N that gives the next outline level of detail. While I have little time or energy for long blog exchanges just now, I think you need to do some very serious diligence on duties of care to fairness and accuracy — a commonplace challenge for too many objectors to design theory. KF

  122. KF

    You certainly have posted a great amount of repetitive verbiage over the years. Repeating it does not make it any more correct.

  123. F/N 2: Let’s fix yet another sneeringly dismissive caricature.

    FSCO/I is easily evident from string data structures bearing coded functional info, and in cases of structures that to work have a specific arrangement of coupled parts, where other arrangements or scattering of the parts would be possible. The second, thanks to AutoCAD etc, is readily reducible to the first, in a DWG file or equivalent.

    Analysis on strings is thus WLOG.

    We readily observe and can measure and tabulate such, intelligence giving rise to FSCO/I. Massively evident empirical fact, where observation, measurement and tabulation are notoriously used in science. But, common sense gives the same result, and no honest, fair minded person would deny, dismiss or denigrate the fact that this is routinely seen, with billions of cases, that design gives FSCO/I.

    Trying to label such a massive observation not scientific is a resort to rhetoric of denigration.

    Next, we do know and can — have– studied blind chance and mechanical processes relevant to spontaneously generating FSCO/I in test strings and in warm ponds or by cumulative mutation. Never have we seen FSCO/I arising from blind chance and mechanical necessity. FACT.

    We can analyse config spaces and sampling to see why. The same basic analysis that statistically grounds 2nd law of thermo-d. relevantly scaled samples up to solar system or observed cosmos can only be expected to reflect the vast bulk of possibilities, for needle in an astronomical haystack grounds. Note, sampling, not probability, the broad brush result is good enough and not subject to talking points on how to estimate probabilities too often used to cloud the issue.

    The well warranted inductive conclusion — and science [as opposed to scientism] is in the key parts about inductive reasoning — is that intelligence best explains FSCO/I and FSCO/I is an empirically reliable, observable sign of design.

    The problem is, this cuts across a dominant and entrenched ideology, a priori materialistic radically secularist and scientistic evolutionism.

    KF

  124. MF: resort to dismissive labelling, strawman caricatures and denigratory dismissal. It seems, par for the course. Why not simply actually seriously address the matters on the merits? KF

  125. Mark Frank,

    You cannot produce a testable hypothesis for your position. And without that it is obvious that you don’t know what a testable hypothesis is.

    So either ante up- so we can compare- ours to yours- or shut up- really.

  126. KF I forgot that your child has just had a very serious operation. In view of that I think it best not to argue and I wish you all the best.

    Mark

  127. PS: just to document, let me cite the c. 2006 exchange between Shapiro and Orgel [not that silly IDiot who spews out verbiage of MF's denigratory caricature . . . ], noting that the situation has not radically improved since then:

    ___________

    [[Shapiro:] RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides contain a sugar, a phosphate and one of four nitrogen-containing bases as sub-subunits. Thus, each RNA nucleotide contains 9 or 10 carbon atoms, numerous nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the phosphate group, all connected in a precise three-dimensional pattern . . . . [[S]ome writers have presumed that all of life’s building could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case.

    A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life . . . .

    To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions, normally carried out in water at temperatures observed on Earth . . . .

    Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA . . .

    [[Orgel:] If complex cycles analogous to metabolic cycles could have operated on the primitive Earth, before the appearance of enzymes or other informational polymers, many of the obstacles to the construction of a plausible scenario for the origin of life would disappear . . . .

    It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility . . . few would believe that any assembly of minerals on the primitive Earth is likely to have promoted these syntheses in significant yield . . . . Why should one believe that an ensemble of minerals that are capable of catalyzing each of the many steps of [[for instance] the reverse citric acid cycle was present anywhere on the primitive Earth [[8], or that the cycle mysteriously organized itself topographically on a metal sulfide surface [[6]? . . . Theories of the origin of life based on metabolic cycles cannot be justified by the inadequacy of competing theories: they must stand on their own . . . .

    The prebiotic syntheses that have been investigated experimentally almost always lead to the formation of complex mixtures. Proposed polymer replication schemes are unlikely to succeed except with reasonably pure input monomers. No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on “if pigs could fly” hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help. [[Emphases added.]
    ________

    Do I need to add that DNA and its derivative mRNA are code bearing string structures and that it is possible to code nonsense AA strings in the relevant code? Where on evidence it is about 1 in 10^74 which will relevantly fold, first tier of correct function in the cell.

    I have to go now.

  128. Alan Fox,

    You certainly have posted a great amount of repetitive ignorant spewage over the years. Repeating it does not make it any more correct. And yet that is all you ever do…

  129. I endorse Mark’s remark, KF. Please don’t waste time posting on the internet when your mind is elsewhere. It’s not fair on you, your family or people who might respond. The sky won’t fall in if you concentrate on your son’s health for a while. Seriously, best of luck with your son’s treatment for the best possible outcome.

  130. Alan & Mark should stop wasting their time posting on the internet because it is obvious that they are totally clueless and a waste of bandwidth…

  131. kairosfocus @ 119

    What part of:

    “FSCO/I (etc) is empirically observed with billions of cases and is uniformly observed to result from intelligent design; where this is backed up by config space and blind search analysis, thus it is a testable hyp that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design”

    . . . is not a testable scientific assertion?

    Well, what would falsify it? Finding an example of something with FSCO/I (etc) that was not the result of intelligent design, right?

    But this is not a scientific test. Science can’t rule out intelligent scientology thetans tinkering mentally with physical phenomena, and such like and so on, therefore the claim of an unlimited and unqualified “intelligent cause” cannot be falsified, even in principle.

    Accordingly, “FSCO/I is a reliable sign of intelligent design” is not falsifiable and thus not scientifically testable.

    QED

  132. CLAVDIVS:

    Well, what would falsify it? Finding an example of something with FSCO/I (etc) that was not the result of intelligent design, right?

    But this is not a scientific test.

    Of course it is. If ID makes the claim that blind and undirected causes cannot produce something and thety are observed producing it, then the claim is falsified.

    Not all rocks are artifacts, not all deaths are murders and not all fires are arsons.

  133. Of course it is. If ID makes the claim that blind and undirected causes cannot produce something and thety are observed producing it, then the claim is falsified.

    Not all rocks are artifacts, not all deaths are murders and not all fires are arsons.

    A 5 year-old could easily grasp this concept. I really wonder why so many adults seem to grapple with it.

  134. A 5 year-old could easily grasp this concept.

    Yes it’s amazing what Joe is capable of at his age.

    *smiles fondly*

  135. JGuy and others whom I may have led astray in the past, I apologize. I tried to make amends here.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-theories/

  136. I’d like to thank all who answered the question in the OP.

    The answers so far:

    Mark Frank

    No. The problems with ID are deeper than that. There cannot be evidence for ID without a ID hypothesis. As it stands ID is like offering “chance” as an explanation with no further detail.

    Lizzie

    Saying: what if all the fossils were young? is like saying: what if everything we knew was wrong? It’s impossible to answer. I have no idea what I’d think.

    RodW

    Sal, I’ll answer your question directly: If ‘all’ the fossils, including the precambrian were shown to be less than 50,000 years old then yes, evolution couldn’t possibly have happened. Then ID and special creation ( which are pretty much the same thing) would start to look much better.

    Any one else?

    The point of this was not to condemn or judge, but to understand how other people view the issues. What is evident is for Mark and Elzabeth it wouldn’t be immediately convincing even if the data made it obvious the fossils were of recent origin.

    Even if, hypothetically YECs or secular scientists demonstrated they could modulate the speed of light in the Aether and then make old looking rocks through electrical means, that genetic entropy were confirmed through gene sequencing and by the rapid extinctions in evidence today, etc. They would not immediately embrace ID or special creation. Would they even dispose of evolutionary theory? I respect their views, but I cannot share in those views.

    Any one else want to answer the question. We have Alan Fox who said:

    Sal: Is a man-made design an example of intelligent design?

    Alan Fox: NO!!!

    Sal: Given what you said, is the Space Shuttle an example of intelligent design? How about GMOs?

    Alan Fox: Nothing is an example of intelligent design unless you want to tell me what “intelligent design” is other than the creationist ploy we both know it to be.

    So I predict Alan will say “No” or “I don’t know”.

    In reciprocity, what would cause me to disbelieve ID? If a scientist solved the OOL problem.

  137. Alan Fox: Nothing is an example of intelligent design unless you want to tell me what “intelligent design” is other than the creationist ploy we both know it to be.

    Gotta love that childish prattle. Mark and Alan seem to specialize in it. They continually recite their sloppy memes that only fool the internet ignorant. many times hoping that this is the time it will stick.

    That isn’t to say there isn’t room for debate and discussion. Certainly, there is. However, shouting the same stuff over and over, never quite responding to counter-arguments makes them look desperate, only inducing eye rolling.

  138. #138 TSErik

    I am sorry if I repeat myself but Sal asked a question and the reply involved saying something I had said before. At age 62 I am delighted you find it childish.

  139. I am sorry if I repeat myself but Sal asked a question and the reply involved saying something I had said before. At age 62 I am delighted you find it childish.

    Then fantastic. Perhaps dodging counter-arguments keeps you young. It’s great to see no matter one’s age one can remain young of heart(or mind).

  140. So I just recommended to someone that they come debate on uncommondescent.com because it’s usually polite and mature…

    Have I made a mistake?

  141. 142

    Yup, definitely!

    But the designer doesn’t need to be a god but could very well be a space alien, or an alien running a gigantic computer simulation…

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  142. Claudius:

    You of course provided an example of FSCO/I by posting your comment. Q: How did it come about? A: By intelligent design.

    If by contrast, it had come about by lucky noise on the Internet, in our observation, that would be a direct and falsifying counter example.

    The matter is fairly obvious:

    1 –> FSCO/I is observable and quantifiable (for reasonable files for documents etc, the file size is a measure).

    2 –> Its creation can be observed.

    3 –> There are billions of cases in hand, and in every one of them, the origin of the FSCO/I was by intelligence, where we see it.

    4 –> To falsify — as is well known and as you know or should know — all that is required is to provide a case of origin (not copying) that indicates an increment of 500 – 1,000 or more bits of functionally specific info originating by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    4 –> Over the years here at UD I have seen any number of attempted counter examples and in every case on closer inspection they are designed, the mars canal sketches and the simulation of self evolving clocks coming to mind as particularly vivid attempts.

    5 –> The reason is fairly obvious once the needle in an astronomical haystack search imposed by that threshold of complexity is understood, and once it is appreciated that the constraints on arrangement and coupling naturally lead to deeply isolated islands of function.

    6 –> So we have excellent reason to see that FSCO/I is a reliable sign pointing to design as cause.

    7 –> That is not particularly difficult to figure out, or inductively justify. The real problem is that some features of the natural world are chock full of FSCO/I, e.g. the living cell.

    8 –> That challenges dominant ideological impositions on science and science education, hence the problem.

    9 –> But those impositions beg huge questions. So it should be a no-brainer.

    KF

  143. No. The problems with ID are deeper than that. There cannot be evidence for ID without a ID hypothesis. As it stands ID is like offering “chance” as an explanation with no further detail.

    If I’m understanding you correctly, your issue is the ID hypothesis as articulated by ID proponents.

    I sometimes forget there is a fine distinction between ID in formal sense (as articulated by various definitions in the blogsphere), and your own notion of some intelligence possibly creating life.

    I would presume, you also mean youth in fossils wouldn’t make you more inclined to think some intelligent agency (God or aliens or an intelligent universe) was at work.

    Obviously, for some of us, the notion that the fossils are young is not merely a hypothetical, but a real possibility, independent of the age of the Earth and other parts of the geological record. So the question wasn’t intended to be a pure exercise in hypotheticals…

    Thank you again for your always polite and civil responses to me and for your courage in visiting UD in as much as the exchanges here can be sometimes heated.

    regards,
    Sal

  144. Mark,

    ID is a narrow theory. Unlike evolution and creationism, which are worldviews, ID claims only that some features of the world exhibit objective signs of design. That is the core of it and it is a hypothesis. Now how do we test it? If you believe that FCSO is a bad test, fine, but other tests can possibly be devised.

    When Einstein came up with his theory of relativity there was no way to test it. That did not mean it was unfalsifiable. It just took some time for techology to come up to speak in order to test it.

  145. Sal,
    Back to your original OP:
    Battles are won when a commander determines an enemies weak point and brings overwhelming force to that point.
    If you really think contesting the age of fossils or the earth has merit than you should run with that. If you’re vindicated than all other ID arguments – SC, junk DNA, IC will fall by the wayside. They’ll all be completely superfluous because EVERYONE will agree that evolution couldn’t possibly occur in the timespan you’re talking about.
    Of course you already know that I don’t think this is a productive argument

  146. I hope this doesn’t qualify as a thread hijack, but reading Elizabeth Liddle’s responses prompts me to ask. I’ve never seen a direct evolutionist’s answer to the following:

    1) Fact 1: Organic material breaks down in thousands, not millions, of years
    2) Fact 2: Original organic material has been recovered from inside multiple fossils claimed to come from 80-160mya strata
    3) Logical conclusion 1: The fossils cannot be millions of years old
    4) Logical conclusion 2: The age of the strata is either not millions of years old, or is not the same as the age of the fossils contained therein

    There are only two possible rebuttals from evolutionists that make sense – either Fact 1 is false, or Fact 2 is false. Fact 1 can only be false if you assume our knowledge of chemistry, physics and the effects of energy and background radiation is wrong. Fact 2 can only be false if every single instance of claimed original biological material is wrong, due either to biological contamination, or some other cause. Simple, yes?

    Yet, like Dr. Liddle, almost no evolutionist will give one of those two straightforward answers. I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that this must be because if they do, their objections can be met head-on, and they will be left fighting a losing cause. Disputing Fact 1 or Fact 2 is a no-win situation. So they avoid the battle with obfuscation and misdirection, so as not to be proven wrong.

    So, challenge to UD’s evolutionists: which Fact do you dispute? 1 or 2? Or would you like to dispute the Logical conclusions?

  147. Joe @ 133

    Not all rocks are artifacts, not all deaths are murders and not all fires are arsons.

    But you cannot prove, scientifically, that all rocks, deaths and fires were not intelligently willed into existence by scientology thetans. And ditto for all manner of other spooks and disembodied intelligences.

    Therefore, the unqualified claim “intelligent cause” is not falsifiable, and thus it is not scientific.

    QED

  148. 149

    1) Fact 1: Organic material breaks down in thousands, not millions, of years

    I’m no expert, but I think the answer to your question (at least in part) is that “Fact 1″ is false. I believe that amber is organic, and can last for millions of years. So can remains trapped inside amber, if I’m not mistaken.

  149. kairosfocus @ 143

    You of course provided an example of FSCO/I by posting your comment. Q: How did it come about? A: By intelligent design.

    If by contrast, it had come about by lucky noise on the Internet, in our observation, that would be a direct and falsifying counter example.

    The problem I pointed out with falsifying the unqualified claim “intelligent cause” – which you have not addressed here – is that you cannot in principle rule out the possibility that what appears to be “lucky noise” was in fact intelligently caused e.g. by scientology thetans, or by fine tuning of physical parameters in the distant past.

    Because the bare claim “intelligent cause” is so open-ended, it includes under its wide umbrella many such conceivable “intelligent causes” that cannot ever be falsified. And since there is thus no way in principle to falsify the unqualified idea of an “intelligent cause”, then this is not a scientifically testable idea.

    To make the claim of “intelligent cause” scientifically testable, one would need to narrow the claim so it can be falsified e.g. “intelligently caused by humans in 1984“.

    Alternatively, one would need to demonstrate how science can rule out even the smallest possibility of disembodied spooks like scientology thetans who can intelligently manipulate physics, or superintelligent, superprescient fine tuners operating in the distant past – something science has never been able to do, and has never pretended to do.

  150. #145 Collin

    ID is a narrow theory. Unlike evolution and creationism, which are worldviews, ID claims only that some features of the world exhibit objective signs of design. That is the core of it and it is a hypothesis. Now how do we test it? If you believe that FCSO is a bad test, fine, but other tests can possibly be devised.

    I have had this debate many times. I will try to explain once more but forgive me if I get bored quite quickly.

    Modern evolutionary theory is certainly open to testing. About half of the posts on UD point out possible problems. They may the subject of dispute but there is a hypothesis to dispute. Indeed Darwin’s original ideas have been  modified in the light of observation. Scientists now accept genetic drift and horizontal gene transfer to name just a couple of things.

    YEC is also open to testing and is clearly wrong.

    How do I set about testing whether something was designed? The only method that has ever been proposed on UD is to show it was created some other way. But actually this does not preclude a designer of unknown power and motives who might had made it look as if it were not designed.  There is no observation that cannot be perfectly explained by a designer with sufficient power and motive. Of course most people prefer not to propose a designer if they can see another explanation – but it is not at all clear why if you accept design in general as an explanation it will always be the best explanation.

  151. Sal: Is a man-made design an example of intelligent design?

    Alan Fox: NO!!!

    Sal: Given what you said, is the Space Shuttle an example of intelligent design? How about GMOs?

    Alan Fox: Nothing is an example of intelligent design unless you want to tell me what “intelligent design” is other than the creationist ploy we both know it to be.

    Thanks for the reminder and the stroll down memory lane. I should have adopted Gregory’s rule and Capitalized “Intelligent Design” to distinguish it from “intelligent design”. So I can now clarify that the space shuttle was intelligently designed but not “Intelligently” designed. :)

    I encourage anyone who has time to spare to have a look at some of the threads at arn.org and experience the déjà-vu for themselves. Dr N Wells’ posts, especially, are worth reading. No new ID ideas seem to have emerged that have not already been beaten to death at ARN.

  152. Question for evolutionists: “If fossils are actually young, would you find ID more believable?”

    I see Sal asks me how I would answer his question.

    ID is, I guess, a belief system for many. That an omnipotent deity is the creator of all things. This belief doesn’t appeal to me, personally. Fine, for those to whom it makes sense, please carry on.

    ID as Science. No. There’s no theory, no hypothesis, no clear thinking, no attempt at seeing things as they are and working forward. It’s all about arguing to confirm your conclusions.

    And what if fossils are young? But they’re not. What if the moon were made of green cheese? I don’t see the need to give impossible hypothetical questions much consideration.

  153. PHV #149

    ‘I’m no expert, but I think the answer to your question (at least in part) is that “Fact 1? is false. I believe that amber is organic, and can last for millions of years. So can remains trapped inside amber, if I’m not mistaken.’

    Whether or not we can compare ‘amber’ to ‘soft tissue’, i’m not sure that really works?

    However, what interests me more is your point about ‘remains trapped inside amber’. Although I am well aware of discoveries of ‘soft tissue’ found inside amber that is thought to be millions of years old, are you suggesting that this is to be expected, or perhaps shouldn’t be viewed as surprising? If so, how do you draw that conclusion?

  154. I am a great believer (heh) in using E-prime to clarify questions and expose (in my own writing as well as that of others) hidden lurking assumptions.

    Translating Sal’s question into E-prime is useful, I think. He asked:

    suppose for the sake of argument the fossils are young (say 50,000 years max). Would you still believe in naturalistic evolution or would you accept ID or (gasp) even special creation?

    In E-prime you can’t use the verb “to be”. So we need to replace the bolded.

    Suppose for the sake of argument that the fossils are young some scientists found strong evidence to suggest that all fossils were formed fairly recently (say 50,000 years max). Would you still believe in naturalistic evolution or would you accept ID or (gasp) even special creation?

    Put like that, it is clear that the first thing we need to know is who those scientists are and what the evidence is. We simply cannot address the question without knowing that.

    The reason that E-prime is useful (and is, incidentally the same reason why scientific journals increasingly require authors to avoid the passive voice, in contradiction to old styles of scientific writing: “the acid was added to the test tube”), is that it disallows any simple assertion, and makes it clear that all assumptions are provisional. It also forces the agents responsible for any assertion or claim to be identified, and precludes “God’s eye view” statements masquerading as knowledge.

    For example it is possible that from a God’s eye view it is true that the fossils are young. However, what we believe about the universe depends not on what is true but on what evidence supports. For instance, even if it is true that the pebble I can see on my garden path was deliberately placed there by someone for artistic effect. However, I don’t believe it was, because I have no evidence to think it wasn’t just kicked there by me accidentally the last time I went to water the basil.

    So the question Sal is asking is not really “if the fossils ARE young, what WOULD we believe?” which doesn’t make a lot of sense, but rather “if new [unspecified] evidence were to suggest that fossils were laid down recently, what would that do to the provisional conclusion most of us currently hold, based on current evidence, that they were laid down much earlier?”

    And the only possible answer is: depends precisely on what that [unspecified] evidence actually is.

  155. If so, how do you draw that conclusion?

    Dessication. Proteins will hydrolyse in an aqueous medium in thousands of years. Dry matter can survive a lot longer.

  156. CLAVDIVS:

    But you cannot prove, scientifically, that all rocks, deaths and fires were not intelligently willed into existence by scientology thetans. And ditto for all manner of other spooks and disembodied intelligences.

    Science doesn’t seek to prove. And again all you are doing is trying to show that all of science is bogus.

  157. Mark Frank:

    Modern evolutionary theory is certainly open to testing.

    And yet you cannot reference this alleged theory so we can check out if what you say is true.

    How do I set about testing whether something was designed?

    Exactly as we have been telling you.

    Why do you think that your willful ignorance means something?

  158. Alan Fox:

    ID is, I guess, a belief system for many.

    Nope, ID is a belief system just to people like you.

    That an omnipotent deity is the creator of all things.

    ID doesn’t say anything about any deity- omnipotent or not.

    ID as Science.

    Yes, especially when compared to evolutionism.

    There’s no theory, no hypothesis, no clear thinking, no attempt at seeing things as they are and working forward.

    That’s evolutionism for ya!

    And what if fossils are young? But they’re not.

    Typical Alan Fox- just spew bald assertions as if they are supported.

    No new ID ideas seem to have emerged that have not already been beaten to death at ARN.

    Beaten with what? Your limp noodle couldn’t beat anything…

  159. Of course it is. If ID makes the claim that blind and undirected causes cannot produce something and thety are observed producing it, then the claim is falsified.

    Not all rocks are artifacts, not all deaths are murders and not all fires are arsons.

    lifepsy:

    A 5 year-old could easily grasp this concept.

    That’s why Alan, Lizzie and Mark are having difficulties. They have a cumulative IQ of a moron.

  160. I am a great believer (heh) in using E-prime to clarify questions and expose (in my own writing as well as that of others) hidden lurking assumptions.

    Translating Sal’s question into E-prime is useful, I think. He asked:

    suppose for the sake of argument the fossils are young (say 50,000 years max). Would you still believe in naturalistic evolution or would you accept ID or (gasp) even special creation?

    In E-prime you can’t use the verb “to be”. So we need to replace the bolded.

    Suppose for the sake of argument that the fossils are young some scientists found strong evidence to suggest that all fossils were formed fairly recently (say 50,000 years max). Would you still believe in naturalistic evolution or would you accept ID or (gasp) even special creation?

    Thank you for the admonition, I will try to bear in mind your concerns. E-prime isn’t used in mathematical reasoning, nor very much in physics since premises are assumed for the sake of argument. Many times it is already known up front that certain idealizations used in physics are formally inaccurate (Newtons 2nd law being the foremost), but they are used any way because they make problems tractable.

    In math and physics, a conclusion must follow from a premise. The premise could be wrong.

    If the fossils are young, what does that imply? It is formally possible dinos could still have lived a millions of years ago and the fossils we have in hand had a recent time of death. One could then say, “the time of death of the fossils was recent, but that doesn’t mean the entire species had recent origin.”

    In such case I respond, “hypothetically if all life is young because of genetic entropy, would you find ID more believable.”

    At UD I have provided two lines of genetic entropy arguments:

    1. Empirical: rapid extinction today and in recorded history:
    The price of cherry picking for addicted gamblers and believers in Darwinism. This is also a testable prediction.

    2. Theoretical, particularly in the case of human evolution:
    Death of the Fittest. In fact the U-paradox (derived from the Poisson distribution) is a testable prediction of genetic deterioration hypothesis.

    There have been a few peer-reviewed papers that YEC have snuck into the mainstream which I will not mention. You’ll have to find them. :-)

    They basically demonstrate the predictions of the Poisson distribution, but to give you a hint, notice the linear accumulation curve predicted in the Cornell Paper:

    Can Purifying Natural Selection Preserve Biological Information? (Paul Gibson, John R Baumgardner, Wesley H Brewer and John C Sanford). (Sorry I don’t immediately have the link, but that conversation will come up at UD as Denyse is systematically going through the papers).

    Gibson is a geneticist, Baumgardner a graduate of Princeton, Brewer PHD from MIT, and Sanford a professor at Cornell. All PhD scientists, not exactly a shabby group!

    The formulas they used are well-known and used in the molecular clock hypothesis, but the clock hypothesis can be slightly modified to demonstrate genetic deterioration if one merely recognizes that the genomes are poly-constrained as described in the another Cornell paper (which I criticized for use of the Darwinian notion of beneficial, but praised for its fundamental conclusion). The link is here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....onclusion/

    In my view, the dismissals of these arguments by the evolutionists seem a bit too glib. Reminds me of their dismissal of those that question Darwinian evolution. Even admitting that I and other YEC are extremely biased, the problem is some of the questions have not been properly answered, and the doubts remain.

    I’m quite willing to change my mind on scientific matters. I have done so even when it was costly to my reputation and that of a dear friend:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-theories/

    My issue with Darwinian evolution is that I think it is theoretically and empirically falsified. The question of the fossils I too had dismissed once upon a time, but I can’t just turn a blind eye to it anymore, the anomalies are too great.

    The problem for YECs is that the YEC case too has equally bad challenges. The middle ground is to accept irresolution until more data come in. Is it so bad to say, “I don’t know, maybe we need to look a little further and follow the evidence where it leads.”

    I think it is premature to declare the fossils old. I can’t in good conscience dismiss the anomalous data.

    And FWIW, the electrical, chemical, mechanical, and biological effects on nuclear structure are fascinating topics in their own right independent of YEC. These are topics that are more fun to investigate than me just teeing off on evolutionary theory.

    The term paper I mentioned gave me hope that maybe the problem of radioactive decay could be resolved in the future experimentally. The fact U-232 can be decayed by a factor of 6 trillion was quite heartening. I was quite serious about the rock experiments, and I will be talking to Physicists and Geologists in the YEC community to pursue the matter…

    Even if the YECs are wrong, being able to remediate radioactive waste from our nuclear reactors will be a good thing. :-) Acceleration nuclear decay work, that’s the sort of work YECs can pursue hand-in-hand with the mainstream and actually do some serious good for society.

  161. Even if the YECs are wrong, being able to remediate radioactive waste from our nuclear reactors will be a good thing. :-) Acceleration nuclear decay work, that’s the sort of work YECs can pursue hand-in-hand with the mainstream and actually do some serious good for society.

    I started a separate discussion on the matter:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....f-society/

  162. 163

    It’s been mentioned several times in the above thread that the varves in the cores from Lake Baikal have a 5 million year history. After substantial effort, I have been able to trace this claim back to a small collection of documents and research led by Douglas F. Williams.

    The claim seems to have arisen from climate research done on cores in 1997 (the cores were extracted in 1996). Professor Williams was involved in both the extraction and analysis of these cores, and his name is prominently displayed on its (dated) website as the head of the enterprise. However, I have yet to be able to find any peer-reviewed information on the methodology used to actually date the cores.

    I do not wish to impugn Prof. Williams however I cannot help wondering whether a “Chinese whispers” type scenario is in play: everyone keeps referencing the same person as an authority on these varves and assuming that the long dating is correct (because it is in their interests for it to be correct). The nuts-and-bolts of the dating seem to be obscure, partially because the main interest is climate research, and the long dating is simply taken for granted from the outset.

  163. Welcome CalvinsBulldog to our humble blog.

  164. CalvinsBulldog,

    For a fairly recent study of the Lake Baikal varves that provides detailed methodology (and does not quote Douglas Williams), see:

    Orbit-related long-term climate cycles revealed in a 12-Myr continental record from Lake Baikal, Nature 410, 71-74 (2001)

    12 million years!

  165. Mark Frank,

    I think you are making a mistake. You are assuming that ID claims that it can show that all things that are designed are indeed designed. Michael Behe has been clear when he has said that not all designed things will exhibit irreducible complexity. In other words, with his test, there will be false negatives. But it is his contention that all things that exhibit irreducible complexity are very likely designed. This is an inference to the best explanation which scientists do all the time.

    I think you also make the mistake in thinking that ID tests for the designer rather than the presence of design. This is a subtle point and I admit that I am not sure that ID fully resolves this issue, but ID claims that there are objective tell-tale indicators of design, no matter who designed it. Not that some fairy may have designed some things. Again, there will be false negatives in any ID test, but hopefully not any false positives.

    ID is also a “first step.” It is not bad science just because it cannot answer all questions or identify the “thetans” as you put it. If it can show objective indicators of design, then we are justified in doing further exploration.

  166. Daniel King, Calvin’sBulldog,

    Thank you for your contributions. I must admit I am surprised that a lake can be laying down sediment for 5 or 12 million years. It must be a very deep lake or the varves are very thin.

  167. #166 Collin

    Well all you have to do is answer a simple question:

    How can I set about determining that something not designed?

  168. Alan Fox, why did you contradict yourself brazenly, as cited in Joe’s #180?

  169. Apologies, Joe’s #158.

  170. Mark Frank:

    How can I set about determining that something not designed?

    Exactly as scientists have been doing it for centuries, Mark, by demonstrating nature, operating freely, is sufficient to account for it.

    It’s as if not one anti-IDist has ever conducted an investigation in their lives…

  171. Rather than discuss in the information, they love to try and argue that ID is invalid, and therefor, so too must all arguments or evidence for it. That way, you never have to actually address counter-arguments.

    A lovely fallacy to which the NDEs stick.

  172. Mark,

    You can never prove a negative no matter what hypothesis you have. At least if you believe in logical positivism.

  173. Didn’t you know that IDers’ evidence is negotiable, TSErik? Although their own proof is ‘common knowledge’, and immutably established.

  174. Mark,

    Re: #168

    Well all you have to do is answer a simple question:

    How can I set about determining that something not designed?

    Writing for myself, all you have to do is demonstrate that some particular situations that obtain (such as the existence of living things in all their glory) are likely enough to have occurred via natural law and/or chance causes so that I would not be completely unwilling to “bet the farm” on it. I observe things on a regular basis that I cheerfully attribute to natural law and/or chance causes.

    There are a numerous things about the world, however, that the “consensus” scientific community has not demonstrated that natural law and/or chance causes by themselves are even remotely likely so have brought about but I know could have been accomplished with the help of an adequately intelligent agent (note the lack of a negative in the preceding clause. Until you can demonstrate that natural law and/or chance causes are reasonably likely enough to make me willing to consider “betting the farm” then I am justified in inferring that an intelligent agent is part of the mix of causes for the world which currently obtains.

    Take note. I know positively that an intelligent agent can make the very unlikely, sometimes, even the impossible, to be very simple to achieve. If you wish to make a convincing case to me, you must positively demonstrate that the very unlikely, is not really as unlikely I seem to think it is by showing me the natural mechanisms that can actually make it likely.

    All this nitpicking about professor vs. instructor, science vs. non-science, whose definition of CSI is to be the standard, I don’t see no CSI, is it shannon information, so-and-so said such-and-such yesterday but doesn’t say that today, and other such is entirely irrelevant to me. Demonstrate that natural law and/or chance causes alone are likely to have done the deeds, please!

    Stephen

  175. At UD I have provided two lines of genetic entropy arguments

    … and they both have major flaws. (Assuming modern extinction rate is indiciative of this historical background (which can be measured…) in the first case, and ignoring genetic recombination in the second).

    You continually refer to your past posts, but don’t seem to have taken a single criticism of those posts on board.

  176. (Assuming modern extinction rate is indiciative of this historical background (which can be measured…)

    Circular reasoning because you’re assuming the historical background according to old fossil ages is correct, whereas the best data we have is real time. So we really don’t know if the present is anomalous or whether it’s our interpretation of the past that is anomalous.

    in the first case, and ignoring genetic recombination in the second).

    Recombination is assumed, if the mother and father each have a mutation, recombination will not on average decrease the mutations appearing in the next generation.

    And I cited 4 authors: Nachman, Crowell, Eyre-Walker, Keightly. I’m not deriving any new observation that isn’t in the literature, I’m merely highlighting what is obscure to some.

    You continually refer to your past posts, but don’t seem to have taken a single criticism of those posts on board.

    Your rebuttals are still recorded in those discussions. Readers can decide for themselves if the case you laid out has more force than the case I laid out.

    Thanks for comments.

  177. Do you think the modern extintion rate could, just possibly, have something to do with the widespread destruction of habitat, introduction of alien predators and hunting of megafauna?

    If that’s the case then your extinction rate argument is obviously wrong, isn’t it?

  178. Do you think the modern extintion rate could, just possibly, have something to do with the widespread destruction of habitat, introduction of alien predators and hunting of megafauna?

    Yes, if you mean by modern 2013 or there about.

    If that’s the case then your extinction rate argument is obviously wrong, isn’t it?

    No, because there were worse destructions of habitats in the past and greater extinctions, a fact that both evolutionists and creationists agree on.

    The presumption is the extinction events happened and then were followed by long periods of stasis. But the long periods are the very thing in question! So the background rates are circularly reasoned, and if we admit shorter time frames (say 50,000 years) for the fossil record, the current (2013) extinction rates are not that anomalous given mother nature was far more cruel than human industrialization.

    But I’ll add to my original argument in the following:

    What we do see is the lack of evolution of new biological novelty (like orphan genes or taxon specific genes). Coyne’s notions of incipient species are a flimsy measure of true integrated novelties.

    You can’t blame the lack of evolution of new novelty on human activity.

    Further from wiki:

    The Holocene extinction includes the disappearance of large mammals known as megafauna, starting between 9,000 and 13,000 years ago, the end of the last Ice Age. Such disappearances are considered to be results of both climate change and the proliferation of modern humans. These extinctions, occurring near the Pleistocene–Holocene boundary, are sometimes referred to as the Quaternary extinction event. The Holocene extinction continues into the 21st century.

    The rate of new species emerging today is probably zero (where I define emergence of new species in terms of emergence of taxon specific genes, not Coyne’s flimsy “incipient species”).

    So prior to industrialization, 9,000-12,000 years ago (well within the C14 dating methods), species were going extinct at a rate of 140,000 per year. The point being, more species go extinct in the present and recent past than new species emerge. On what basis then can we expect this fact of high net extinction rates in the present and recent past (9,000 to 12,000 years back) to be different in the deep past (tens of millions of years ago) except through assuming there was a deep past to begin with!

  179. #173 Collin

    Mark,

    You can never prove a negative no matter what hypothesis you have. At least if you believe in logical positivism.

    You cannot prove a general negative of the form “There are no black swans”. However you can for most scientific fields disprove a specific causal statement or at least have a way of examining its plausibility. So I can examine the hypothesis that MMR vaccines causes autism – I can show there is no plausible physical link, I can do statistical tests showing no correlation etc . But how on earth do I show that a specific event or series of events was not designed – given that the designer has undefined powers and motives and could easily have decided to make it look as though the events had natural causes?

  180. The paper from which the (almost certainly inflated) rate of 140,000 measures extinction rate in extinctions per million species-years, and finds the modern rate is thousands of times greater than historical rates.

    If you crunched all of biological time into 50,000 years the relative difference wouldn’t change wouldn’t change.

  181. Mark,

    I admit that if someone said, “That thing is designed, prove me wrong” then that would be impossible to disprove. But if someone said that something is designed because it exhibits irreducible complexity and irreducible complexity cannot be achieved by natural means, then you could prove it wrong by demonstrating that nature can create irreducible complexity. Indeed, I think that some people have attempted to do so.

  182. Sal:

    Thank you for the admonition, I will try to bear in mind your concerns. E-prime isn’t used in mathematical reasoning, nor very much in physics since premises are assumed for the sake of argument. Many times it is already known up front that certain idealizations used in physics are formally inaccurate (Newtons 2nd law being the foremost), but they are used any way because they make problems tractable.

    In math and physics, a conclusion must follow from a premise. The premise could be wrong.

    It wasn’t an “admonition” :) I was simply sharing something I’ve found very useful. And yes, it is used in physics – and indeed any empirical science, when you write up your report. It forces you to make your assumptions explicit. For example, instead of writing: “A is a measure of B” you have to write “we assumed that A values approximate to B values”.

    Sometimes what you end up with is wordier, but often not, and you get much more information bang for your buck.

    Assumptions are fine, but you need to make sure you’ve spotted them :)

  183. Axel @ 169 & 170

    Be clearer. I have no idea what you are alluding to. What contradiction?

  184. It wasn’t an “admonition” :) I was simply sharing something I’ve found very useful.

    I’m glad you pointed it out, I learned something.

    By the way, I am amazed at your forbearance in this discussion since you apparently feel the matters discussed are settled, it must seem strange that to you that it is being brought up.

    I would estimate about 1/3 of the YECs I know with some education were like me, we accepted the mainstream accounts at one time.

    John Sanford’s progression was from Atheist, to Christian, to Theistic Evolutionist, to Old Earth Creationist, to Young Earth Creationist.

    Maybe the only benefit you might get reading our offerings at UD is you’ll get a better understanding of various perspectives.

    The YECs and OECs in the big tent are on moderately friendly terms. I once did get into a fierce argument with a fellow YEC when I felt he used straw man arguments against the Big Bang at a YEC astronomy conference.

    I didn’t disagree with his conclusion, I disagreed with his methods of deduction. We aren’t on speaking terms to this day. He took serious offense to what I had to say…

  185. #182 Collin

    That sounds good until you discover that it is part of the definition of irreducible complexity that it is most unlikely to be created by natural means. But this is where the debate gets repetitious and I haven’t the heart to go over it all again.

  186. Mark Frank proves that he does NOT understand science:

    But how on earth do I show that a specific event or series of events was not designed – given that the designer has undefined powers and motives and could easily have decided to make it look as though the events had natural causes?

    Exactly as scientists have been doing it since Newton posited his four rules of scientific investigation.

    That sounds good until you discover that it is part of the definition of irreducible complexity that it is most unlikely to be created by natural means.

    IC doesn’t say anything about how it was formed. And Behe addressed the arguments Mark is trying to dredge up again.

    Again all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, is up to the task and the design inference falls.

    However neither Mark, nor anyone else, can do so so they are forced to act like little whiny babies.

  187. Daniel King,

    For a fairly recent study of the Lake Baikal varves that provides detailed methodology (and does not quote Douglas Williams), see:

    Orbit-related long-term climate cycles revealed in a 12-Myr continental record from Lake Baikal, Nature 410, 71-74 (2001)

    Do you have access to the full article and can describe the methodology and results?

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....071a0.html

    Here we examine long sediment cores from Lake Baikal that cover the past 12 million years. Our record reveals a gradual cooling of the Asian continental interior, with some fluctuations. Spectral analyses reveal periods of about 400 kyr, 600 kyr and 1,000 kyr, which may correspond to Milankovitch periods (reflecting orbital cycles). Our results indicate that changes in insolation were closely related to long-term environmental variations in the deep continental interior, over the past 12 million years.

    From the abstract I can glean that the paper is beginning with the assertion that the sediment layering represents 12 million years of time.

    From this it sounds like the authors go on to document macro patterning within the lamination and speculate on the causes, attributing them to long-term cycles.

    In the article, is there empirical cross-checked dating of the varves? This topic of Varves came up when Elizabeth Liddle asserted that it authoritatively confirmed old-earth ages.

    I refer again to this important empirical evidence for rapid lamination (varves) and graded bedding (thicker layers of sediment) due to water currents.

    Here it is experimentally proven that, within water flows, sediments will naturally segregate between fine and coarse particles and settle in their own distinct layers.

    This proves that the Varving effect can be generated within minutes, not necessarily millions of years. (in the case of Lake Baikal that is coarse Silt vs. fine Clay)

    Experiments on Stratification of Heterogeneous Sand Mixtures
    Julien, et al. 1994
    Bulletin of the Geological Society, France

    http://www.engr.colostate.edu/.....ance93.pdf

    There are references to a whole body of research that investigate rapid sedimentation, and document a “like seeks like” pattern, where particles will tend to be sorted with the same type of particles under air and water flows.
    Interesting that we see this dominant pattern (rock layers segregated by sediment-type) all over the world.

  188. lifepsy,

    Do you have access to the full article and can describe the methodology and results?

    I read the paper in the local university library, and I don’t have a copy. If you care, you can answer your questions by exerting a bit of effort and visiting a library that subscribes to Nature.

    If you don’t care, that’s your problem.

  189. Lifespy,

    In that paper the authors dated their core by referring to geomagnetic reversal (N and S pole flips). I’m not sure how YECs try an accommodate pole-reversals into their chronologies, but I’m sure they do…

  190. Lifespy,

    In that paper the authors dated their core by referring to geomagnetic reversal (N and S pole flips). I’m not sure how YECs try an accommodate pole-reversals into their chronologies, but I’m sure they do…

    The geomagnetic field has been dying, and it looks like there were faster pole reversals than presumed.

    Thanks however for taking time to explain the methodology in the paper.

  191. Lifespy,

    Regarding the geomagnetic field, see:

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....4/magnetic

    I saw Dr. Humphreys at ICC 2013. I’m told he used to be an atheist.

    Sal

  192. Daniel King,

    So basically you’re just dropping literature references with no intention of discussing them?

    This was your response to CalvinsBullDog (163) who was inquiring about the original methodology for revealing Lake Baikal varve dates.

    Orbit-related long-term climate cycles revealed in a 12-Myr continental record from Lake Baikal, Nature 410, 71-74 (2001)

    12 million years!

    Again, the abstract suggests the article mainly documents macro patterning (so-called Milankovitch periods) within laminae that, from the outset, are assumed to represent 12 million years.

    How do the researchers know the Lake Baikal varves represent 12 million years?

  193. Scordova,

    Thanks for the link.
    This is the paper referenced in AiG

    Evidence suggesting extremely rapid field variation during a geomagnetic reversal
    Coe, Robert S.; Prevot, Michel

    Large, systematic variations in direction of high-temperature remanence as a function of vertical position occur in a basalt flow from the Miocene volcanic sequence … implies astonishingly high rates of change of the geomagnetic field: at least 3 deg and 300 gammas per day.

    (also, I can’t wait for the ICC 2013 videos to be released! I’m upset it looks like I’ll have to wait till November)

  194. PHV @149,

    Thanks for responding – I will take the lack of other response to indicate that regardless of what they believe, evolutionists have no easy answer to this simple logic problem. Perhaps all the data doesn’t “corroborate”, eh Dr. Liddle?

    Regarding amber – amber is not really a good answer, for a few reasons. Primarily because amber is a result of a molecular polymerization process on resin. Most resins are not resistant enough to decay to last long enough to undergo the process (which is kinda related to Fact 1). Amber has as little relevance to DNA, proteins, and amino acids as, say, diamonds do.

  195. The geomagnetic field has been dying, and it looks like there were faster pole reversals than presumed.

    From Wikipedia

    The magnetic compass was first invented as a device for divination as early as the Chinese Han Dynasty (since about 206 BC). The compass was used in Song Dynasty China by the military for navigational orienteering by 1040-1044, and was used for maritime navigation by 1111 to 1117. The use of a compass is recorded in Western Europe between 1187 and 1202, and in Persia in 1232. The dry compass was invented in Europe around 1300. This was supplanted in the early 20th century by the liquid-filled magnetic compass

    My guess is that if the magnetic fields were reversing very much these navigators would have noticed it and people would have written about it.

    From Wikipedia about the mid Atlantic ridge

    The mid-ocean ridge systems form new oceanic crust. As crystallized basalt extruded at a ridge axis cools below Curie points of appropriate iron-titanium oxides, magnetic field directions parallel to the Earth’s magnetic field are recorded in those oxides. The orientations of the field in the oceanic crust record preserve a record of directions of the Earth’s magnetic field with time. Because the field has reversed directions at irregular intervals throughout its history, the pattern of reversals in the ocean crust can be used as an indicator of age. Likewise, the pattern of reversals together with age measurements of the crust is used to help establish the history of the Earth’s magnetic field.

    Did South America separate from Africa just a few thousand years ago? My guess it was about 100-110 million years ago based on plate movement today and sediment patterns on both sides of the ridge.

    My question is how did monkeys get to South America? The Atlantic is fairly wide between the two continents. Is there any theories and has it been confirmed genetically?

  196. 197

    Thanks for responding – I will take the lack of other response to indicate that regardless of what they believe, evolutionists have no easy answer to this simple logic problem. Perhaps all the data doesn’t “corroborate”, eh Dr. Liddle?

    Given the enormous volume of demanding questions thrown at Dr. Liddle, yours might not be the most parsimonious conclusion.

    As for “Fact 1,” you say that amber is not a good example of very old organic material because it has been polymerized. Are you certain that the recovered soft materials have not undergone some analogous change? And what about organic materials trapped inside amber? Are those also polymerized?

  197. 198

    Lifepsy,

    From the abstract I can glean that the paper is beginning with the assertion that the sediment layering represents 12 million years of time.

    Are you certain, based on the abstract, that this is an assumption underlying the paper? I’m hardly an expert, but I was just reading this:

    “The abstract is that dense first paragraph at the very beginning of a paper. In fact, that’s often the only part of a paper that many non-scientists read when they’re trying to build a scientific argument. (This is a terrible practice—don’t do it.). When I’m choosing papers to read, I decide what’s relevant to my interests based on a combination of the title and abstract. But when I’ve got a collection of papers assembled for deep reading, I always read the abstract last. I do this because abstracts contain a succinct summary of the entire paper, and I’m concerned about inadvertently becoming biased by the authors’ interpretation of the results.”

    How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists

  198. Very good, PHV, you are well on your way to reading and comprehending your first work of scientific literature.

    As for me, do you notice where I am repeatedly attempting to extract more information from those who had access to the full version of the article, so I don’t have to rely only on the abstract?

  199. PHV @197

    Given the enormous volume of demanding questions thrown at Dr. Liddle, yours might not be the most parsimonious conclusion.

    My apologies if it appeared I was directly attacking Dr. Liddle – I was actually referring to the fact that, for a fairly simple question, your’s was the only response from anyone espousing an evolutionary outlook. Given the simplicity of the question, Occam’s Razor suggests the most obvious reason for the lack of response is the true one.

    As for “Fact 1,” you say that amber is not a good example of very old organic material because it has been polymerized. Are you certain that the recovered soft materials have not undergone some analogous change? And what about organic materials trapped inside amber? Are those also polymerized?

    An excellent question, to which the response is “yes, I am sure”. The tests performed on this organic material indicate that it is still in its original chemical form – “soft”, as it were. Ref the following for a fairly good list of discoveries of soft organic material recovered.

    2013 List of Dinosaur Soft Tissue Finds

  200. I believe this is the original Lake Baikal c14 dating article, but I can’t find the content online.

    Radiocarbon dating of Lake Baikal sediments A progress report 1993
    Colman S M; Kuptsov V M; Jones G A; Carter S J
    Russian Geology and Geophysics

    Here is another study done in 2004 (full .pdf available)

    EXTRACTION AND AMS RADIOCARBON DATING OF POLLEN FROM LAKE
    BAIKAL SEDIMENTS

    Piotrowska et al.

    Here they date pollen samples found in the sediments.

    A few interesting statements:

    Radiocarbon dating of Lake Baikal sediments is a difficult challenge, as previous studies have proved (Coleman 1996). The main problem is the scarcity of material suitable for dating because the sediments are very poor in organic matter and carbonates.

    The results obtained for Continent Ridge and Vydrino Shoulder show a high linear correlation and were used for estimating the average sedimentation rates.

    So the estimated sedimentation rate is based off of the C14 dates? I thought the varve layering and carbon dating were independently measured and “corroborated each other” like Elizabeth Liddle previously claimed?

    The ages of Posolskoe Bank samples are more scattered, indicating the disturbances in the sedimentation process. Two periods of sedimentation were distinguished for which the average sedimentation rates were estimated (Figure 4c). The sedimentological studies, which are still in process, will enable the recognition of possible sedimentation disturbances.

    You can see in Figure 4C of the paper, that C14-to-depth correlation for the Posolskoe region of Lake Baikal is significantly skewed. The researchers attribute this to “sedimentation disturbances”

    and a follow-up study by in 2009

    Radiocarbon dating of Lake Baikal sediments: A comparison between pollen and TOC ages.
    Piotrowska

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2009EGUGA..11.3796P

    Recently we dated with the AMS method the total organic carbon (TOC) from the same sampling levels, which previously were dated based on pollen/spores concentrates. For a majority of samples from the Vidrino Shoulder and Continent Ridge sites the radiocarbon ages of TOC are older than the pollen ages. The maximum age offset may reach as much as 1750 yrsBP but mean differences are 775 years and 500 years for Vydrino Shoulder and Continent Ridge Sites, respectively. The results evidence unambiguously that at both sites a significant amount of older carbon is admixed to TOC. At maximum as much as ca. 25% of carbon of infinite age could be contributed to the sediments.

    Now it seems we have an admission that the carbon samples are significantly contaminated?

    I remain unconvinced that Varve/C14 data is a reliable measurement of old-earth dates.

    It would be nice if Elizabeth Liddle could offer some more insight as she made the claim first (20)

    Because the data do corroborate each other. It’s as simple as that.

    For instance take lake varves. We know that they are laid down annually because we see them being laid down annually. They can be carbon dated, and the carbon dates corroborate the counts.

  201. It would be nice if Elizabeth Liddle could offer some more insight as she made the claim first (20)

    I wouldn’t hold your breath. NDEs tend to make claims, regurgitate a few scientific sounding arguments they picked up somewhere else, then disappear when asked further about their claim.

    Just to clarify, I’m no YEC. I have no problem with an old Earth. Hell, I don’t think that I’d even call myself a Creationist. Yet I am pressuring the anti-ID crowd, who often is guilty of what I stated above, to continue the discussion. To answer their counter-arguments rather than disappearing and moving on to a new topic to repeat the process.

  202. I remain unconvinced that Varve/C14 data is a reliable measurement of old-earth dates.

    Consilience and calibration. Tree ring samples, ice core samples, samples lake varves all serve to cross calibrate with each other and with carbon dating. You have the identification of strata of classial geology and radiometric dating with a range of isotopes Plus the fossil distribution. It all forms a pattern. See things as they are and don’t try to bend obvious facts to fit a particular origin myth.

  203. It would be nice if Elizabeth Liddle could offer some more insight as she made the claim first.

    I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    You people are, presumably,capable of reading up on a subject, taking a course, googling wikipedia even. I have watched many well-intentioned academics over the years make strenuous efforts to inform and penetrate the ignorance that seems to pervade this site. All of them are soon discouraged and wearied by the effort. Lizzie has more stamina and forbearance than anyone else attempting to help the benighted here but I wouldn’t count on it being limitless.

  204. TSErik #202

    I wouldn’t hold your breath. NDEs tend to make claims, regurgitate a few scientific sounding arguments they picked up somewhere else, then disappear when asked further about their claim.

    I don’t think we are any more inclined to drop out of a debate than ID proponents. After all any debate has to stop sometime and it is extremely rare for someone on either side to roll over and say “you were right all along”. However, one reason I get fed up is the unceasing abuse from some (not all – thank you Sal, VJ, Gpuccio) of the IDists. The other is that so many of these arguments have been had so many times before.

  205. Consilience and calibration. Tree ring samples, ice core samples, samples lake varves all serve to cross calibrate with each other and with carbon dating.

    Why don’t we instead calibrate C-14 with the Carboniferous era of 300 million years ago or the dino tissue. There isn’t consilience, there is conflict! The consilience is an artifact of cherry picked data. Evolutionary biology is rife with cherry picking in order to make illegitimate ideas look almost respectable:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....darwinism/

    You might say the YECs haven’t proven their case. I’d agree, on the other hand I don’t think the mainstream has proven their case that the fossils are old.

    When one is faced with conflicting data like this, the proper response is to say, “on scientific grounds, conclusions about the age of the fossils are premature, we need to look into the matter and gather more data.” Instead there is a rush to judgment by both highly biased sides.

    As distasteful as saying “we don’t know” is for the YEC, its even more distasteful to those defending Darwinian evolution because the Darwinists have more to lose in this issue than the YECs. The YECs rely heavily on their theology, but when the data start to challenge Darwinism, that’s hitting Darwinism where it hurts…

    As much as I don’t like admitting I don’t know, I’m still willing to say, “I don’t know”. I don’t think the claim of old fossils is a done deal, it could be false, and that’s especially bad for Darwinism if doubts about their age come from the data itself, not from YEC theology.

  206. lifepsy:

    So basically you’re just dropping literature references with no intention of discussing them?

    I beg your pardon for being abrupt. I thought that I had been helpful in correcting CalvinsBulldog’s misapprehension about the science behind varve dating at Lake Baikal. I am not a geologist, so after I satisfied myself that there were detailed methods in the paper I mentioned, I posted the reference and forgot the details.

    But as Alan Fox just pointed out, it would be salutary for persons like yourself, who are skeptical of the science, to examine primary sources (i.e. the scientific papers themselves), instead of relying on informal discussion on a blog. I understand that it’s not easy, but I expect that you’ll find it worth the effort.

  207. Mark,

    A follow up on the discussions here. Some of your reservations about ID I respect:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-e-prime/

    Sal

  208. Alan Fox,

    Consilience and calibration. Tree ring samples, ice core samples, samples lake varves all serve to cross calibrate with each other and with carbon dating.

    Which studies on lake varves are you referring to?

  209. You people are, presumably,capable of reading up on a subject, taking a course, googling wikipedia even.

    Certainly. My degree is in biomedical science, though since I’ve not finished post-grad work, perhaps my presence is considered superfluous.

    It is important to understand that our requests for participants to expound on their source is to judge their understanding of the sourced information as it relates to their argument as it may not be apparent, or how the sourced information directly relates to their argument. It is often that the “literature bluff” is pulled.

    But, I do agree that it is important for each person to do one’s own homework. My response was more toward the apparent apprehension to address counter-arguments, not on rehashing the literature.

  210. Daniel King

    But as Alan Fox just pointed out, it would be salutary for persons like yourself, who are skeptical of the science, to examine primary sources (i.e. the scientific papers themselves)

    I’m not sure if you’re actually reading the thread, or if you just enjoy baldly asserting that people you disagree with are ignorant, but I have investigated the literature and posted (with direct references to the literature #111,#201) my detailed objections to the vague and unreferenced claims made by old-earth proponents in the comments above concerning Varve/C14 dating, and have been waiting for days for any kind of substantive response.

  211. @ lifespy 209

    I wasn’t alluding to any particular study. Not my field but I’d be amazed if data hasn’t been cross-checked and flabbergasted if there were signicant anomolies. I’ll read up on it. Flabbergast me if you can. :)

  212. @ Sal

    Why on Earth would you attempt to date the Carboniferous with C14 which only works back to around 50,000 years ago?

  213. Mark Frank, you wrote:

    “That sounds good until you discover that it is part of the definition of irreducible complexity that it is most unlikely to be created by natural means.”

    I don’t know where you got that idea. The *definition* of irreducible complexity does not in itself make reference to evolvability. “By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.” One can see from this definition that “irreducible complexity” does not in itself have anything to do with evolution or even biology in general; the definition would apply to a grandfather clock or an automobile engine as much as to anything in the organic world. It is an engineering concept, not an evolutionary one.

    Of course, Behe believes that the existence of irreducibly complex systems in living nature poses a serious problem for neo-Darwinian evolution: “An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to [neo-] Darwinian evolution.” And he explains why, in the same passage (Darwin’s Black Box, p. 39). He is drawing a conclusion here. One can contest the conclusion — as ID critics generally do — but even if Behe’s conclusion is wrong, there is no need to change the definition of “irreducible complexity.” It would simply be the case that irreducibly complex systems *can in fact be produced by neo-Darwinian means*.

    Mark, I add that it is wrong to say “natural means” rather than “neo-Darwinian means” since Behe’s conception does not rule out all naturalistic forms of evolution. For example, it does not rule out Denton’s form of evolution, as Behe has made clear many times. His critique has from the beginning been made against the classic neo-Darwinian conception of itty-bitty steps. (Here I think that ID people sometimes trip over each other’s feet, with people like Johnson using “natural” but Behe using “neo-Darwinian,” or Behe carefully specifying “Darwinian evolution” but Cornelius Hunter saying “evolution” without qualification. I wish that ID people would standardize their terminology along the lines of Behe and Denton; it would save much confusion for both pro- and anti-ID people.)

  214. #214 Timeaus

    I admit that IC is much less obviously circular than CSI – where Dembksi’s formula includes a term for “not likely to be created by natural means”. However, when pressed with counter-examples Behe will subtly change the definition from “cannot take a part away” to “cannot be built using Darwinian evolution”. See here for example. (admittedly this is not quite the same as cannot be built via natural processes).

  215. Mark:

    Your link in 215 doesn’t work for me.

    I agree that Dembski (especially in his writings aimed at an evangelical audience) more often slips into Johnson-speak (natural versus supernatural or miraculous) than Behe does. It is lamentable when ID leaders mix up “designed” with “achieved by supernatural intervention.” The former does not necessarily imply the latter (though it is compatible with it). And the methods of design detection available to us do not provide any means of distinguishing between “natural” and “supernatural” intelligences. They can say only that object or system X was a product of intelligence. I wish ID folks would purge all references to natural vs. supernatural causes from their ID writing. (What they write as theologians is of course their own business; I’m talking about what they write as ID theorists.)

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