Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Objection 3 - Evolution Debate (Part 9)

As we progress through my major three objections against modern evolutionary theory I know that I camped on Objection 2 (no transitional forms and an abundance of fakes) for quite a while. I did this for two main reasons. Firstly, the history of fossil evidence, lack of transitional forms, the endless procession of fakes and frauds, and the bizarre "scientific speculations" on the future, is so ridiculous and runs so deep. Secondly, because of the constant crying of Kristoffer Haldrup who carries the double burden of having a brain the size of a planet and being a bishop in his evolutionary religion. The mountain heap of mock-worthy evidence is so huge that I could continue ad infinitum but let's move on to objection 3 today. As we go through the issue of dating rocks don't worry if some of the technical terms go over your head. Bear with me because I think the big picture in this is simple to grasp. I must thank the dedicated scientists at Answers In Genesis for much of the following material.

Objection 3: Scientists don't really know how old things are!

Geologists can’t use just any old rock for dating. They must find rocks that have the following parent radioisotopes to date rocks: uranium-238, uranium-235, potassium-40, rubidium-87, and samarium-147. These parent radioisotopes change into the corresponding daughter isotopes lead-206, lead-207, argon-40, strontium-87, and neodymium-143 isotopes, respectively. Thus geologists refer to uranium-lead (two versions), potassium-argon, rubidium-strontium, or samarium-neodymium dates for rocks. Note that the carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) method is not used to date rocks because most rocks do not contain carbon (more about that later).

Assumption 1: Conditions at Time Zero
No geologists were present when most rocks formed, so they cannot test whether the original rocks already contained daughter isotopes alongside their parent radioisotopes. For example, with regard to the volcanic lavas that erupted, flowed, and cooled to form rocks in the unobserved past, evolutionary geologists simply assume that none of the daughter argon-40 atoms was in the lava rocks.

For example, when a sample of the lava in the Mt. St. Helens crater (that had been observed to form and cool in 1986) was analyzed in 1996, it contained so much argon-40 that it had a calculated “age” of 350,000 years (S. A. Austin, “Excess Argon within Mineral Concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mount St. Helens Volcano,” Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 10.3 (1996): 335–343).

Basalt rocks from the Grand Canyon were tested and aged at about 1 million years based on the amounts of potassium and argon isotopes in the rocks. But when we date the rocks using the rubidium and strontium isotopes, we get an age of 1.143 billion years (A. A. Snelling, “Isochron Discordances and the Role of Inheritance and Mixing of Radioisotopes in the Mantle and Crust,” in Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: Results of a Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, eds. L. Vardiman, A. A. Snelling, and E. F. Chaffin (El Cajon, California: Institute for Creation Research; Chino Valley, Arizona: Creation Research Society, 2005), pp. 393–524; D. B. DeYoung, “Radioisotope Dating Case Studies” in Thousands . . . Not Billions (Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 2005), pp. 123–139).

Assumption 2: No Contamination
The problems with contamination, as with inheritance, are already well-documented in the textbooks on radioactive dating of rocks. Unlike the hourglass, where its two bowls are sealed, the radioactive “clock” in rocks is open to contamination by gain or loss of parent or daughter isotopes because of waters flowing in the ground from rainfall and from the molten rocks beneath volcanoes. Similarly, as molten lava rises through a conduit from deep inside the earth to be erupted through a volcano, pieces of the conduit wallrocks and their isotopes can mix into the lava and contaminate it.

Because of such contamination, the less than 50-year-old lava flows at Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, yield a rubidium-strontium “age” of 133 million years, a samarium-neodymium “age” of 197 million years, and a uranium-lead “age” of 3.908 billion years! (A. A. Snelling, “The Relevance of Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd and Pb-Pb Isotope Systematics to Elucidation of the Genesis and History of Recent Andesite Flows at Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Radioisotopic Dating,” in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, ed. R. L. Ivey, Jr. (Pittsburgh: Creation Science Fellowship, 2003), pp. 285–303; Ref. 4, 2005).

It is also interesting to note that large traces of Carbon 14 are found in diamonds that are "billions of years old". The reason they don't use carbon dating on rocks is because carbon decays so quickly compared to uranium half life. So there should be no Carbon 14 atoms in diamonds . . . unless they are only thousands of years old.

Assumption 3: Constant Decay Rate
Geologists have assumed that these radioactive decay rates have been constant for billions of years based on their stability over the 100 years that they have observed it. This uniformity is unproven, speculative, and in stark contrast to catastrophic global flood we see in the biblical account. It is also in conflict with other parts of evolutionary theory such as the "Big Bang" theory and the "cambrian explosion".

Evolution is Speculation and guess work! It is built upon naturalism which requires observation but cannot observe the big bang, the start of life, or the mutations it needs to be true. It assumes uniformity but has no explanation for it. It has no explanation for morality. It has no explanation for how a bang can happen without something to go bang!

Science cannot prove it's own assumptions:

1. The universe is real and nature is knowable.
2. All nature is subject to the same laws and therefore we can predict its behavior.
3. Measurable causes underlie all observable effects. (no explanation for first cause)
4. The simplest explanation is the accepted one.

The fact is that Theology is also based upon presuppositions and therefore there is a faith basis for both theology and science.

Christians have the foundation for science because it is only the Bible that affirms the presuppositions of science to be true. Hence, the scientific method was actually an historical outgrowth of the biblical worldview.

Go On To Part 10
Go Back To Part 8
Go Back To Part 1


Kristoffer Haldrup said...

"Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to debate creationists. Call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't."

-Marvin the Paranoid Android, slightly rephrased:D

But lets put humor aside and dive right into your post here. You start out true to form in your "assumption one" regarding "Time Zero", meaning that your start by showing off your limited understanding of the case at hand. If you cared to look deeper into the material you quote from AiG, you should know that the "isochron method" mentioned in the title of your second reference deals with exactly this objection, in particular the presence of daughter isotopes in the rock being dated. The issue of original sample compositon has of course been known in the mainstrem scientific community for many decades, but it seem like the creationist folks just picked up on it quite recently. -Like with any other analysis technique, you have to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the method, and how to deal with the associated uncertainties -- in the case of Grand Canyon dating that you quote, Steven Austin did a fine job of isochron-dating the lava flow from which he had chipped some rocks off. As any geologist would know, this dating refers to the age since homogenous mixing of that particular bunch of rocks, with his analysis giving roughly 1 billion years as that age. This is the result he presented to his geologist colleagues, but not what he presented to the creationist community -- to them, he said that the dating reflected the age of the lava which case there is a clear inconsistency with many other kinds of dating and the age of the Grand Canyon itself and everyone leaves the room convinced that the geologist don't know what they are talking about when they date stuff. A naughty bit of misrepresentation, I would say...

Regarding your second point, contamination, this is also adressed directly by the isochron method...and I believe we have dealt with the case of diamond contamination and the New Zealand volcano in a previous post, . Suffice to say that the reason for the disparate ages of the lava flows is now well understood by combining the radiometric dating with some really nice geochemistry work. With respect to the diamonds, I believe I quite clearly asked you for further information, as it seems the result you quoted was a case of sample contamination in the lab?

Your 3rd point is also something we have covered before...ahh, yes - here:

Just to sum up that point very briefly: There is every reason to believe that the laws of nature governing radioactive decay have been constant for many billions of years. This is based both on observations of distant stars as well as on geologic phenomena observed here on Earth. There is simply no scientific evidence pointing towards any change in the rate of decay of radioactive nuclei. And this is most certainly not in conflict with either The Big bang or the Cambrian explosion, two exceptionally different types of phenomena. -Exceptionally exciting and possibly unique phenomena, which we have only begun to really appreciate and understand in last few decades:)

I will leave your musings on naturalism and christianity for the time being...In don't agree with you, but philosophy really bores me silly:)

Cameron Buettel said...

Philosophy might bore you but you have a real talent for creative accounting. You seem to be affirming what I have said from the beginning. That evolution is an unproven theory. And that creationists and evolutionists alike interpret evidence based on their starting presuppositions. In one corner we have a theory that has only one constant - and that is change. In the other corner we have the God Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever and a written revelation that has never been proven wrong! And what is on offer? Well evolution offers us the hope that we are random accidents with no purpose and no eternity. Christianity says that all men are created In God's image, are here for a God ordained reason, and heaven and hell lie around the eternal corner.

Once again, can you please give me the evolutionary explanation for why you know right from wrong but cannot stop doing things that you know are wrong?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Modern genetics, modern geology, modern astronomy and modern biological science (to name but a few) have all proven the Bible wrong, insofar as the claims of a young Earth, a global flood and the genesis acocunts are concerned. Only a limited subset of religious fanatics -- be they christian or muslim -- cling desperately to the belief that the earth is about 6000 years old and was since completely flooded. And you do so in the face of all evidence to the contrary, sorry:)

Regarding morality, this is a slightly more interesting topic than pure philosophy and with significant more impact. But only slightly, and I think that we will disagree significantly on what is right and what is wrong:)

But besides from that, there is a large body of work on "social evolution", some of which explains the origin of several moral concepts from classic evolution ideas, such as survival of the fittest. This leads to the conclusion that some moral concepts are hardwired into our brain, but it is my opinion that we can supercede and build upon these fairly primitive moral concepts (Don't kill, don't steal) by reflection on ourselves and our relationships with other people.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

What do you mean, by the way, with "In one corner we have a theory that has only one constant - and that is change"??

-What theory are you talking about...Evolution? Also, what do you mean by "change" and why would it count against a theory that change is an integral part of it, if this is what observations tell us?

And no, a scientific world view offers no hope as to an afterlife. Only oblivion, and whatever impressions you made on the still living. So better make the most of this one life, it seems like this is all we´ve got:)

Cameron Buettel said...

The constant change I was referring to was the theory, not the imaginary evolutionary process. And you have not proven the Bible is wrong. You just believe another religion based on an unproven theory - not a law! Why is your religious commitment so strong that you cannot admit that it is a theory?

And you know it's wrong to lie, to steal, to covet, to murder (even though you are in favor of murdering the unborn), to commit sexual immorality, and to dishonor your parents. You know it's wrong and yet you do many, if not all, of these things. How did a conscience evolve, and why are you so sinful? Why is the whole world so sinful?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

I disagree with you, of course. I do not think it is wrong to covet, and much of what you would call sexual immorality, I call grown-ups having good fun together, which is not at all wrong:) As to my parents, they deserve the respect they are due from their individual and shared accomplishments, no more and no less.

What is "wrong" in my opinion is, basically and over-simplified, to harm other people.

How such a morality could possibly evolve is not very hard to understand, as soon as you realize that behaviour promoting collaboration between group members can confer a survival advantage to the individuals. It is a lively research subject how the details of this work out today and in the past:)

So, I do not think the world is "sinful" as you call it. What saddens me is that the world is full of human suffering. That is what counts, not some weird concept of "sin".

Cameron Buettel said...

In other words you love your sinful behavior so much you would rather embrace a false religion where you will not be judged rather than turn away from the darkness and run to the light.

You should read the Bible sometime Kristoffer because, not only has it never been proven wrong, not only is it the most reliable document in antiquity, not only is the the resurrection of Jesus Christ the most well attested fact in history, but because it has so much to say about you Kristoffer:

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Again, you are getting it kind of backwards...I discarded religion in general and christianity in particular as just another bunch of old fairy tales before I was ten -- long before I had any idea or, indeed, appreciation of the things you call "sins" :)

And why did I discard religion like this? -Simply because the Bible stories are in such stark contrast to all kinds of modern science that even a (fairly well-read) ten-year old can see it.

I fully appreciate that it is a key part of your world view that the Bible MUST be infallible. I'm afraid it just isn't so, when it comes to verifiable claims about our shared past.

Anonymous said...

Kristoffer.... Why do you not quote primary sources in your posts? You seem to generalize a lot and then claim it is fact. Cameron puts together a well researched argument, but I can't see anything of any academic depth in your argument. Not to be rude but your posts read like something gleaned from Wikipedia.
Paul Adelaide.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Thank you, anonymous, wikipedia was about the level I aimed for as Cameron previously pointed out that I used too many big words;)

I will be more than happy to provide any and all references to the primary literature, of which I have cited a fair deal in previous posts, afair. However, my previous offers of providing copies of any such articles have gone unheeded.

Also, if you take a closer look at the references provided above by Cameron, you will notice that these references are not references to the scientific literature, but to the creationist literature. But as your comment is evidence of, quoting such publications as if they were the real thing does provide a sheen of faux credibility...

Again, let me know if there are any of my points above for which you would like to have some references to the primary, scientific literature and I'll be more than happy to provide such:)

Anonymous said...

Cameron. I knew you when you were in the raaf

How you have changed. I always thought u would come down on the atheist view point.