----- Original Message -----
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 2:00 AM
Continued from part #1.
[Graphic: haloes in biotite mica claimed by Robert V. Gentry to be caused by polonium isotope decay, "Polonium Haloes" Refuted, The TalkOrigins Archive]
>In fact, YECS does offer positive evidence for a young earth as well.
My point on my same page, Problems of Young-Earth Creationism (YEC), is not that "YECS" do not "offer positive evidence for a young earth" but they don't "offer positive evidence for a young earth" (and a young Universe) that is ~10,000 years old.
That is, my point is that if YEC was true, then both the Earth and Universe would be the same age, ~10,000 years old, having been both created on the same literal day, and then all the age indicators would converge on a single point ~10,000 years ago, but in fact none of them do:
Biblical & Scientific evidence for/against Young-Earth Creationism (YEC)
The Universe is only about 10,000 years old
As far as I know, Young-Earth Creationists (YECs) do not offer any positive scientific evidence that the Universe is ~10,000 years old. All they offer is negative scientific evidence that there are problems with the various dating methods. Yet if the Universe was ~10,000 years old, being so recent, the `signal' in the `noise' would be deafening!
The Earth is only about 10,000 years old
As far as I know, Young-Earth Creationists (YECs) do not offer any positive scientific evidence that the Earth is ~10,000 years old. All they offer is negative scientific evidence that there are problems with the various dating methods. Yet if the Earth was ~10,000 years old, being so recent, the `signal' in the `noise' would be deafening!
And as you can see from the Yahoo group posts URLs listed on the page, I made this same argument many times in debates with YECs and not one YEC ever provided me with scientific evidence for the Earth and/or Universe being ~10,000 years old. But I don't really blame them because none of the major YEC books that I have read (and I own and have read most of them) provides any scientific evidence that the Earth and/or Universe is ~10,000 years old.
>Look at Po Halos as an example.
The polonium halos claim by Gentry is not that the Earth is ~10,000 years old, but that it is "evidence of ... an almost instantaneous creation of" some "granites," which he then extrapolates to the entire Earth:
"Did you know that scientific evidence abounds to support the biblical accounts of creation and the flood? Were you aware that reports outlining this evidence passed peer review, and were published in the open scientific literature? Have you heard that, decades later, this evidence still stands unrefuted by the scientific community? An Overview Etched within Earth's foundation rocks - the granites - are beautiful microspheres of coloration, halos, produced by the radioactive decay of primordial polonium, which is known to have only a fleeting existence. The following simple analogy will show how these polonium microspheres - or halos - contradict the evolutionary belief that granites formed as hot magma slowly cooled over millions of years. To the contrary, this analogy demonstrates how these halos provide unambiguous evidence of both an almost instantaneous creation of granites and the young age of the earth. A speck of polonium in molten rock can be compared to an Alka-Seltzer dropped into a glass of water. The beginning of effervescence is equated to the moment that polonium atoms began to emit radiactive particles. In molten rock the traces of those radioactive particles would disappear as quickly as the Alka-Seltzer bubbles in water. But if the water were instantly frozen, the bubbles would be preserved. Likewise, polonium halos could have formed only if the rapidly `ffervescing'specks of polonium had been instantly encased in solid rock. An exceedingly large number of polonium halos are embedded in granites around the world. Just as frozen Alka-Seltzer bubbles would be clear evidence of the quick-freezing of the water, so are these many polonium halos undeniable evidence that a sea of primordial matter quickly "froze" into solid granite. The occurrence of these polonium halos, then, distinctly implies that our earth was formed in a very short time, in complete harmony with the biblical record of creation." (Gentry, R.V., "Fingerprints of Creation: Polonium Halos: Unrefuted Evidence for Earth's Instant Creation!," Earth Science Associates, 2005).
But as Wikipedia points out, "Po-218 is a decay product of radon, which as a gas can be given off by a grain of uranium in one part of the rock and collected in another part of the rock to form a uraniumless halo":
"Radiohalos are microscopic, spherical shells of discoloration in rocks, such as granite, or wood caused by the inclusion of radioactive grains in the rock or by deposition of radioactive material in them. The discoloration is caused by alpha particles emitted by the nuclei; the radius of the concentric shells are proportional to the particle's energy. They have been studied in detail by geologists since the early 1970s, but wider interest was prompted by the claims of creationist Robert V. Gentry that radiohalos in biotite are evidence for a young earth. The claims are contested by the mainstream scientific community as an example of creationist pseudoscience. ... The final characteristics of the radiohalos occur depend upon the initial isotope. The U-234 and Ra-226 rings coincide, with the Th-230 ring merely thickening it, so it is hard to tell which one of those isotopes started the halo, but it is easy to tell a polonium halo from a uranium halo. A radiohalo formed from U-238 has eight concentric rings while a radiohalo formed from Po-210 only has one. ... Robert V. Gentry studied these halos and concluded that the rock must have formed within three minutes if the halo was formed by Po-218. This is taken by creationists as evidence that the earth was formed instantaneously. Critics of Gentry have pointed out that Po-218 is a decay product of radon, which as a gas can be given off by a grain of uranium in one part of the rock and collected in another part of the rock to form a uraniumless halo. Gentry's examples rely on a radon ring that is close to the Po-210 ring and it is a bit difficult to tell them apart, and it is not certain whether the rings can be positively associated with polonium." ("Radiohalo," Wikipedia).
And as Old-Earth creationist Hugh Ross notes: 1) "Gentry's samples came not from primordial granite, as claimed" but from "igneous rock infusions into vertical fissures ... that crosscut older igneous and sedimentary rocks" (which would provide ample opportunity for radon gas diffusion); and 2) "Far more common are uranium-238 and thorium-232 halos" which "require long time periods to form (over 100 million years) since both have radiometric half-lives in the billions of years":
"Exhibit F: The crystal halos that arise from radioactive Polonium (218Po) decay indicate that the earth is young. Polonium-218 is a radioactive isotope with a half-life 38 of only three minutes. Yet granite crystal `halos' (ring-shaped configurations in the crystals) apparently produced by polonium-218 decay show up in what seem to be `basement,' or primordial, rock deposits. If these halos arise from primordial polonium decay, how did the surrounding rocks crystallize so rapidly? Young-earth creationist Robert Gentry, among others, claims geologists are wrong in their understanding of the processes shaping Earth's crust shortly after its formation. He proposes that God imposed Earth's geological structures instantaneously. If He did this for all structures, then perhaps geological measurements do not prove Earth is old.
Reply: If the granite crystal halo evidence proves reliable, it simply indicates rapid formation of certain rocks, not the entire planet. Old-earth proponents freely acknowledge that some geological processes occur rap idly. Asteroid collisions, volcanic eruptions, and extraterrestrial radiation bursts, for example, cause sudden geologic effects, and these events occurred much more frequently in Earth's past than they do today. Gentry remains vague about where he obtained his granite crystal samples. However, phone conversations with Gentry helped geologist Jeffrey Wakefield pinpoint each of the sample sites. Wakefield then visited each location, accompanied by Gentry at one site. Wakefield discovered that Gentry's samples came not from primordial granite, as claimed, but rather from young `dikes' (igneous rock infusions into vertical fissures) that crosscut older igneous and sedimentary rocks [Wakefield, J.R., "Gentry's Tiny Mystery Unsupported by Geology, Creation/Evolution, Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter 1987-1988, pp.13-33]. These dikes would have formed much more rapidly (though probably not rapidly enough to explain polonium-218 halos) than the primordial granite. Even if Gentry's granite crystal halos do result from polonium-218 decay (a possibility most geologists question), Gentry has merely exposed a phenomenon that requires further study, a phenomenon that geologists' current understanding does not explain. He has not proven that polonium-218 decay in rocks is a `miracle,' a phenomenon outside the laws of physics. Further, Gentry focuses on only one kind of halo. As young-earth creationists admit, polonium-218 halos in rocks occur very rarely. Far more common are uranium-238 and thorium-232 halos. These halos require long time periods to form (over 100 million years) since both have radiometric half-lives in the billions of years. Some young-earth creationist leaders admit that data on uranium-238 and thorium-232 halos really does appear to establish an old earth. They suggest, however, that radiometric decay rates may have been greatly accelerated during the 13-month Genesis Flood. The problem with this hypothesis is that such an acceleration would have destroyed all life on Earth and devastated both Earth and the universe.... Squeezing several billion years' worth of radiometric decay into the 13-month duration of the Genesis Flood would have generated a pulse of energy intense enough to destroy the ark and all its passengers. Either all of Earth's water would have turned to steam and its rocks into a molten mass and/or Earth's crustal plates would have been subjected to sudden movements many hundreds of miles in extent. No life would have survived. Not even a hint of such an event appears in Genesis. Astronomers see no evidence of this event. As they look back in time at the light from stars thousands of light-years away, they see no discontinuity in radiometric isotope abundances. Further, the hypothesis cannot explain why radiometric decay measurements show Earth to be only one-third the age of the universe. If God miraculously accelerated radiometric decay during the Genesis Flood, the same number of billions of years would have been added to the apparent age of all bodies in the universe. If, then, Earth and the universe are only thousands of years old, and hyperaccelerated radiometric decay took place during the Genesis Flood, no object in the universe would measure as significantly older than Earth." (Ross, H.N., "A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy," NavPress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.194-195. Emphasis original)
Concluded in part #3.
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Genesis 11:10-26. 10 This is the account of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters. 12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters. 18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters. 22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters. 24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters. 26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
Please check out the most recent post on my blog.
I am writing a response to the atheist Sam Harris recent book, titled Letter to a Christian.
I have a chapter on Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creationism and Christian Faith. I would love to get your feed back and comments !
>Please check out the most recent post on my blog.
I just did. But I have not read Sam Harris' book, and indeed I had not even heard of him until just recently, so I cannot comment on it first-hand.
>I am writing a response to the atheist Sam Harris recent book, titled Letter to a Christian.
That is "Letter to a Christian Nation" I presume.
>I have a chapter on Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creationism and Christian Faith. I would love to get your feed back and comments
I gather this is a chapter in a proposed book of yours, "Letter to an Atheist: A Response to Sam Harris," which is at the submission to a publisher stage?
If so, I would be happy to look at it when it is written in draft form, but I am trying to write my own two books, "Problems of Evolution" and an "Evolution Quotes Book" (not the latter's actual name), so I don't have time to help you before you write it, if that is what you meant.
I am, by the way, responding to Dawkins' "The God Delusion" on my blog [the latest is at http://tinyurl.com/y2vb8j] in the form of a letter to him (I am actually cc'ing it to his Oxford email address) and it has occurred to me that it could be the basis of a book.
There probably is a market in such books, e.g. Alister McGrath's "Dawkins' God" and his forthcoming "The Dawkins' Delusion" but on the other hand, probably comparatively few Christians have ever heard of Dawkins (and even less of Sam Harris) and even fewer atheists would be bothered reading a Christian response to Dawkins and Harris.
But best wishes on your new book anyway.
Stephen E. Jones
I may have missed it in your posts but Dr Humphreys offers a solution in "Starlight and Time"- that being that the universe could be "old" and the Earth still very young. "God" Created using general relativity!
Also Dr Jason Lisle has a book out titled "Taking Back Astronomy" in which he states the Earth/ Moon system pretty much refutes the Earth being 4.5 byo- according to his calculations the Moon would have been touching the Earth 1.5 bya in the standard accepted model of the big-bang:
The Earth/ Moon system- Refuting a 4.5 billion year old Earth
I am just plain old Mr Jones.
>I may have missed it in your posts but Dr Humphreys offers a solution in "Starlight and Time"- that being that the universe could be "old" and the Earth still very young. "God" Created using general relativity!
In his message that I am responding to, AN mentioned Russell Humphrey's Old-Universe/Young Earth theory, which I will be responding to in part #3.
>Also Dr Jason Lisle has a book out titled "Taking Back Astronomy" in which he states the Earth/ Moon system pretty much refutes the Earth being 4.5 byo- according to his calculations the Moon would have been touching the Earth 1.5 bya in the standard accepted model of the big-bang:
>The Earth/ Moon system- Refuting a 4.5 billion year old Earth
Thanks. Just looking briefly at the page at the URL you cited, I can see two *obvious* errors in it: 1) straight-line extrapolation from the Moon's *current* distance and rate of recession from the Earth, to yield its *original* starting point and time, when it is obvious that as the distance increases between the Moon and the Earth, the gravitational attraction between them decreases by the square of the distance, meaning that the Moon's recession from the Earth is speeding up and so was slower in the past; and 2) the age of the Earth has *nothing* to do with the Big Bang, having been established primarily by radiometric dating of the oldest rocks on the Earth and the Moon.
However, I don't have the time to discuss every YEC theory. As I said in part #1, I do not regard arguing against YEC to be a high priority.
It is sufficient for my general argument againt YEC, that if this theory of Lisle's does not point to the Earth and/or Universe being *~10,000 years old*, then it is not itself evidence *for* YEC.
For example, it would be no help to YEC if a simplistic straight-line extrapolation from the Moon's current distance and rate of recession from the Earth meant that "the Moon would have been touching the Earth 1.5 bya." YEC would be as much refuted if the Earth was 1.5 billion years old as it is if the Earth was 4.5 billion years old.
What YEC needs is *positive scientific evidence for an Earth and/or Universe of ~10,000 years old*, not negative arguments against the Earth and/or Universe being 4.5 and 13.7 billions of years old, respectively. Especially if those negative arguments still yield an Earth and/or Universe of billions (or even millions) of years old.
Stephen E. Jones
Thanks for your response but I have a couple corrections-
The Moon is receding due to the tidal "push", not because of less gravitational pull, although that also figures in. And that "push" (increased angular momentum) would have been much greater when the Moon was closer.
Explanation can be read here
As for the age of the Earth, one needs to know "how" the Earth was formed as that directly impacts any and all subsequent calculations.
No need to respond and I am looking forward to your part 3.
BTW I am not a YEC in the sense you are talking about. However I will accept it, as will you I am sure, if it can be scientifically verified.
Side note- astronomy is one of my passions. On any given night I can have my three telescopes pointing up- two are 4.5" aperatures with a 910 mm focal length and the other is a 10" ap with a 1400 mm focal length.
>The Moon is receding due to the tidal "push", not because of less gravitational pull, although that also figures in. And that "push" (increased angular momentum) would have been much greater when the Moon was closer.
I said nothing about *why* the Moon is receeding. And I could spend time debating whether the Moon's rate of recession from the Earth was slower in the past due to the weakening of gravity proportional to the square of the distance between them.
But I don't need to. Even assuming (for the sake of argument) that straight-line extrapolating back from the current distance and rate of recession of the Moon from Earth yields a point when "the Moon would have been touching the Earth 1.5 bya" that would still refute YEC.
Again, what YEC needs is *positive* scientific evidence that the Earth and/or Universe is *~10,000 years old*.
Stephen E. Jones
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