YEC Part 2

[Thanks to Alan Fox for asking questions about YEC and Elizabeth Liddle for her generosity in hosting this discussion]

YEC part 1 gave some theological and philosophical context to the case for YEC, and part 2 will hopefully focus solely on empirical and scientific considerations. Part 2 challenges the mainstream view that the fossil record is hundreds of millions of years old.

If empirical considerations alone suggest the fossil record is not more than a several million years old, does it matter on balance that the data don’t exactly arrive at 6,000 years old? I think not. As far as I’m concerned, if the fossil record is not anywhere near as old as the mainstream claims, the creationists will have won the essentials of their case independent of whether the universe and Earth are billions of years old. Creationists can afford to lose the issue of the age of the Earth and universe, but Darwinists cannot survive the fossils record being only a few million years old. But as I demonstrated in YEC part 1, time isn’t the friend of evolution anyway, it is an enemy since nature tends to erode complexity, not construct it.

If the age of a skyscraper built with 1 billion year old rocks does not imply the skyscraper was built 1 billion years ago, the age of the fossil record can be formally separated from the age of the universe and age of the Earth and age of rocks. The time of death of someone can be determined forensically and the process doesn’t rely on the age of the Earth or universe or rocks around deceased to make a reasonable inference. The age fossil record is about establishing the time of death of the fossil not the rocks the fossil is buried in. The age of when a strata was formed is independent of the age of the rocks that form the strata.

When I ask geologists how do permineralized or well-preserved fossils form. As a matter of principle, does the entombment happen quickly or slowly? “Quickly” is the usual reply. Why? Rapid burial with minerals and water are the necessary ingredients to effect preservation. If the creature dies and is left out in the open to scavangers and decay processes, it will not fossilize. So as a matter of principle, such fossil bearing formations didn’t take millions of years to form. Thus one can’t argue the fossil record is old because it took millions of years to bury them! In the case of wooly mammoths with undigested tropical vegetation in their stomachs, they’d have to be instantly buried in snow to effect the necessary freezing to preserve the vegetables in their stomachs — not millions of years. That’s the other thing, why are the mammoths in a tropical environment one moment and then buried in a cataclysmic blizzard the next, and then never unfrozen till discovered in Siberia? Hmm…..

So like a detective, we’ve established certain fossils are buried rapidly, not over millions of years. The question remains when it happened, or maybe when it couldn’t have happened.

The mean sea level of the US is here is around 760 meters. Erosion of a mere 10 microns per year would wipe 760 meters into the sea in 76 million years. A sheet of paper, by the way is 100 microns thick. The slowest mean erosion rate I’ve found in literature is 2.5 microns per year, and even that would wipe out the Phanerozoic in many areas.

I point to this empirical study by Princeton geologists Judson and Ritter: Judson and Ritter

Taking the average height of the United States above sea level as 2300 feet and assuming that the rates of erosion reported here are representative, we find that it would take 11 to 12 million years to move to the oceans a volume equivalent to that of the United States lying above sea level. At this rate there has been enough time since the Cretaceous to destroy such a land mass six times. Accepting this figure creates the problem of maintaining a continental mass above high elevations. A problem beyond the intent of this report

Granted, that may only be a mean value for now, but one can’t fight gravity, sediments will tend to move toward the oceans, erasing the fossil record in the process. Even if Judson and Ritter are off by a factor of 50, that would still wipe out the fossil record all the way to the beginning of the Cambrian.

But even more to the point, we have forensic clocks that may put an upper limit to the time of death of the fossil in question. There is the very embarrassing fact that the supposed carboniferous era of 300 million years ago has ubiquitious traces of C14, and this is acknowledged in peer-reviewed literature. 0.1% present day concentration of C14 will yield a presumed age of 57,000 years. That is 1 part in 1000. We have frequent detections of comparable levels, so much so many won’t even try to date with C14 beyond that presumed age because there seems to be a persistent amount in fossils!

Some claim contamination, but this explanation is not as credible as one might suppose.

First consider in-site contamination. To maintain a background persistent concentration of C14, one needs to keep adding more carbon from atmospheric sources into the fossil to maintain 0.1% concentraion. The problem with this scenario however is that the added C14 will decay away, and one needs to add even more carbon contaminants the next iteration to maintain a background C14 level of 0.1%. One ends up with something analogous to the compounding interest rate problem. Say I added a mere 0.1% contaminant every 50,000 years, over 300,000,000 years, the fossil will either gain 402 times in mass or be diluted from the original material by that factor. Maybe in-site contamination might work as an explanation for isolated cases, but not for repeated discoveries in diverse geographical locations, otherwise one would have to argue nature conspired to fool us by contaminating the entire world recently for no good reason.

Consider contamination during processing of the fossil. 1 part in 1000 might seem like very little, but consider contaminating a hard piece of fossil marble or shell or bone. Just to illustrate, take a 1 gallon (not quite 4 liters) sample of something hard. A little less than a small teaspoon (4 milliliters) of contaminant to 1 gallon would be 1 part in 1000. Do you think you can force that much contaminant into something relatively hard? 🙂 Even 1 teaspoon into 10 gallons wouldn’t exactly be easy (1 part in 10,000). So this is not as credible an explanation as would be supposed either. Are experiments and analysis actually done to determine the source of contamination? No, because the fossils C14 is primarily due to contamination, it is due to the fact the fossils are young. And few are willing to stick there neck out to point out they can’t demonstrate the source of supposed contamination.

Radioactive decay chains have be also ruled out unless of course one assumes 99% Uranium and less than 1% of fossil!

See:
Problems using Coal as a C14 free source

Lowe points out:

Many (super 14) C dating laboratories have established that coal samples exhibit a finite (super 14) C age, apparently caused by contamination of the specimens before any laboratory preparation is undertaken.

He then points out the contamination cannot be due to radioactive decay of other products:

Because coal is formed over geological time scales at depths providing excellent shielding from cosmic rays, its 14C content should be insignificant in comparison to the 14C introduced by even the most careful sample preparation techniques used in 14C dating laboratories. How is it then, that a material, which should show a14C age indistinguishable from that produced by a combination of machine background and contamination during careful sample preparation, routinely produces a finite 14C age?

One suggestion is that radium, which is present in some coals at the sub pm level, as a decay product of the uranium/thorium series, may produce 4C during an extremely rare decay event (Rose & Jones, 1984). Jull,Barker and Donahue (1987) have detected 14C from this process in uranium/ thorium ores. Blendowski, Fliessbach and Walliser (1987) however, have shown that the 14( decay mode of 226Ra is only of the order of 10-11 of the preferred a decay channel to 222Rn. Thus, the amount of 14C produced by such events derived from radium in coal must be considered as insignificant.

and finally capitulation at the ubiquity of the problem

There are many other unpublished accounts by 14C laboratories in which the use of coal as a background test material has been investigated. In many cases, the samples were found to contain 14C, and further studies were discontinued. The AMS and gas counting facilities, DSIR, in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, eg, have observed apparent ages for coal specimens ranging from 25-40 kyr, and the NSF Accelerator Facility at Tucson, Arizona has determined ages of anthracite samples ranging from 30-40 kyr (AJT Jull, pers commun, 1988).

Lowe invokes bacterial contamination, but I pointed out why such in site contamination is contradicted by the “compounding interest” problem, not to mention, bacteria in deep parts of the Earth would be feasting off C14 depleted carbon, not atmospheric carbon!

Next is the fact of biological materials with half-lives that preclude their persistence in fossils. DNA has a half life 521 years give or take, homochiral amino acids have half-lives on the order of hundreds or a few thousand years. The state of these biological materials in fossils is inconsistent with the time of death hundreds of millions of years ago.

Additionally, we have ancient fossil DNA that looks like modern DNA, breaking the biological molecular clock hypothesis. See: Pardox of Ancient Bacterium. But detractors bring up the contamination complaint yet again.

The actual forensic clocks refute old age fossils in the fossils themselves (C14, DNA, homochiral amino acids, inconsistency with biological molecular clock). The well preserved variety of fossils could not have been buried in a process taking millions of years as a matter of principle, and there should be serious doubt the fossil record would still be around after hundred million years, maybe not even 11 million years.

Finally, I keep hearing assertions about all the mounds of data that prove the fossils are old. Actually it’s mounds of publication not mounds of actual facts. The amount of words dumped out does not necessarily make claims any more credible than Kairos Focus being verbose proves Kairos Focus’ FYI/FTR are correct. It’s the physical facts that count. The tons of fossilized material themselves do not indicate an age that is as old as most presume.

336 thoughts on “YEC Part 2

  1. You guys want to come after me, humiliate me, here’s your chance, but be warned.

    It’s about you, is it?

    Could you even entertain the notion that we just don’t like the spread of ignorance and opposition to empirical science?

    You guys keep demanding responses.

    They do in courts as well. Do you think that’s inappropriate?

    Are you going actually receive them or are you trying to shoe me away.

    We haven’t received much of any meaningful response yet. We’re mostly asking for answers because YECism hasn’t supplied appropriate answers to a host of questions, and we’re driving home that point.

    However, if you had good answers, rather than ad hoc tripe, that would be very interesting.

    If you want explanations and details, I might have to post here a lot and TSZ could become YEC central.

    Except that for once YECs would not be able to suppress the relevant questions.

    Glen Davidson

  2. Give it some thought yourself first, OK?

    Allan,

    I appreciate you raising and engaging the topic. This simple question of ground water contamination deserves its own focused discussion.

    If Elizabeth and TSZ want these sorts of technical discussion, they can be pursued. For example, we have to go into the concentration of C14 contaminant in the ground water, the amount of C14/C ratio of that contaminant, and the latency that it remains in the fossil before exiting or whether it remains.

    I’ve pointed out, if it remains, it becomes C14 free, end of story! If one invokes continuous movement, one has to specify the amount of modern carbon that is introduced in the process. Vague appeals to contamination without quantification just lead to fruitless arguments, whereas, hard detailed discussions will bring a better scientific and accurate understanding of the problem.

    Does TSZ want to go the way of PandasThumb and UD where its about advocacy or about actually exploring the scientific issues on scientific terms, and that is sometimes quite tedious.

    What I sense is the TSZ YEC-haters are eager to humiliate me quickly rather than meticulously go over the details one by one. I think the YECs will win in a meticulous exchange over the age of fossils, age of the Solar system, age of the Earth exchange. LlaniteDave remembers it wasn’t quite so easy to put at rest. This despite the fact I was outnumbered 20 to 1 with 15 trolls screaming and demanding I respond, and when I didn’t, they claimed I couldn’t respond because I had no case.

    Focused on-topic scientific discussion will automatically clear away the garbage.

    So, to Allan Miller, do you want to start a thread on ground water contamination or do you want me? I will participate in that discussion. What do you want, what does Elizabeth want, what does TSZ want. We can go carefully item by item. It will not be a short few days and we’re done discussion. LlaniteDave engaged the topic with me for a year, and it wasn’t quite as easy a parry as he supposed.

    So do you guys want a ground water contamination discussion or not?

  3. stcordova: So do you guys want a ground water contamination discussion or not?

    You aren’t being blocked. Just challenged.

  4. stcordova: I think the YECs will win in a meticulous exchange over the age of fossils, age of the Solar system, age of the Earth exchange.

    Don’t you get it? That’s precisely what people are asking for. That’s what I’m asking for. Slow down, pick a single issue, go into as much depth as is required to determine who is right.

  5. stcordova: Does TSZ want to go the way of PandasThumb and UD where its about advocacy or about actually exploring the scientific issues on scientific terms, and that is sometimes quite tedious.

    That’s really up to you, as what you are currently doing is advocacy.

  6. stcordova,

    So you have a million year old rock over a fossil that died 25,000 years ago. You have problems envisioning a process that moves old rocks of younger creatures?

    I have no problems with a single such event. Although one would expect to find the characteristic fracturing associated with bedding movements. What I have a problem with is the massive intercalation of such sediments (complete with apparent erosional surfaces), such as one finds in cyclothems, but also in fact one finds for the entire geological column – over the last 600 million years or so at least, for those strata with fossils. The integrity of narrow beds across many tens of kilometres is another issue, as is the existence of index fossils in a narrow global band. It is a scenario that flies only in your head.

    But even that said, we have the worse problem of 70-100 times Uranium concentration in the continents rather than sea-floor, so that is prima facie evidence of movement or something seriously anomalous, not to mention potentially some other mechanism for in situ nucleosynthesis which would lead to apparent ratios of parent and daughter products.

    I’ve pointed this out 3 times now, so make this 4. The mid-ocean reading is not for the oceanic crust, but for the mantle. Of course the mantle is the source of recent oceanic crust (in the Atlantic, though their data was for the Pacific), but what is anomalous about the process of sea-floor spreading? There is an asymmetric distribution of all manner of things among crustal types – familiar with Sial/Sima?. Why the big deal with radioisotopes? Interesting that you reject in situ nucleosynthesis for C14 incidentally, but rely on it for other isotopes. You think people haven’t investigated these things?

    And, while we’re on sea floor spreading, where did the magnetic stripes come from? How quickly did the continents move, where did the energy come from, and how come the seas didn’t boil off?

  7. Sal, it seems to me you are saying that you’ve spotted a flaw with radiometric dating that’s eluded everyone else since it’s inception?

    Is that what you are saying?

  8. stcordova,

    So, to Allan Miller, do you want to start a thread on ground water contamination or do you want me? I will participate in that discussion. What do you want, what does Elizabeth want, what does TSZ want. We can go carefully item by item. It will not be a short few days and we’re done discussion. LlaniteDave engaged the topic with me for a year, and it wasn’t quite as easy a parry as he supposed.

    To be honest, I am not qualified and neither are you. There are multiple possible sources of a nonzero C14 reading; I mention groundwater as but one. It flows, hence the massive pumps in mines. Neither of us has access to the hydrology or geology involved in any site from which a putative C14 coal was extracted; all the discussion and calculation in the world will not substitute for hard data.

    I really do think the onus is on the Creationist to challenge the mainstream by considering that which the mainstream considers, when it comes to the conclusion that a date is sound. A typical paper from the scientific mainstream will consider all confounding evidence. You do not. You don’t address the dating of overlaying strata, and seem surprised when it’s mentioned, because since it’s remotely possible that it arrived by some kind of (unevidenced) lateral shift, maybe that’s what happened. You don’t address sources of contamination unless they are mentioned, and then you fight tooth and nail to argue a general case that none of the samples were contaminated. It appears like an argument that contamination is impossible, yet when it comes to K-Ar, we find the opposite tack. All radioisotopes except C14 suffer from a contamination issue and are out by millions-to-billions of years. C14, meanwhile, is bang on, if a little incovenient for the average 6,000-year Creationist.

    I think you’re sincere but misguided. You have a conclusion and every fact must be made to fit or discarded. If it works for you, fine, but I haven’t really got the patience to go at it indefinitely. Maybe I’d need to feel it mattered for eternity.

  9. stcordova:
    I appreciate you raising and engaging the topic.This simple question of ground water contamination deserves its own focused discussion.

    Actually it deserves scientific investigation that the RATE group failed to do.

    If Elizabeth and TSZ want these sorts of technical discussion, they can be pursued.For example, we have to go into the concentration of C14 contaminant in the ground water…

    And the other relevant contaminants you can’t bring yourself to mention.

    What I sense is the TSZ YEC-haters are eager to humiliate me quickly rather than meticulously go over the details one by one.

    I don’t hate you or YEC, I reserve that for real evil. But you are irritating because of your obvious and typical ignorance of that on which you pontificate and because you and others are trying to get your peculiar Biblical interpretations taught as science. I certainly believe it would be difficult to go over them one by one with you, solely because you are so ignorant and unresponsive to criticism.

    Focused on-topic scientific discussion will automatically clear away the garbage.

    I agree. You have demonstrated in this thread and others your inability to participate in a focused on-topic scientific discussion.

    So, to Allan Miller, do you want to start a thread on ground water contamination or do you want me? I will participate in that discussion.What do you want, what does Elizabeth want, what does TSZ want.We can go carefully item by item.It will not be a short few days and we’re done discussion.LlaniteDave engaged the topic with me for a year, and it wasn’t quite as easy a parry as he supposed.

    Depends on your meaning of “participate”. What you have done so far doesn’t meet any reasonable definition of participation. I don’t hold out much hope for you participating other than to make Gish-gallop unsupported assertions and refusing to discus any of them.

    So do you guys want a ground water contamination discussion or not?

    Fine with me, providing you have and provide data and argument to support your claims, especially any claims about uranium deposited by groundwater generating 14C from 14N in situ.

    Bets are you don’t have any data and you will refuse to discuss just as you have in this thread. That would be a waste of time. As would C&Ping from YEC literature without being able to understand or defend it.

    Personally I would much rather discuss the 14C calibration curves that demonstrate strong consilience between multiple independent methods over 50,000 years or so. But no YEC ever wants to address the big picture, all they want to do is nitpick a very few anomalies and ignore the many elephants in the room.

  10. Allan Miller:

    So you have a million year old rock over a fossil that died 25,000 years ago. You have problems envisioning a process that moves old rocks of younger creatures?

    I have no problems with a single such event.

    Forget thou not that we have no evidence whatsoever for any such event.

    I’ve pointed this out 3 times now, so make this 4. The mid-ocean reading is not for the oceanic crust, but for the mantle.

    It matters not how many times you say it, Sal will ignore it. I really wish there was some way to corral a poster who is seriously abusing Lizzie’s good faith attempts to get real discussions going and not discussing in good faith.

  11. JonF,

    And it is known to “contaminate” coal with uranium, sometimes in mineable quantities, which emits neutrons and converts 14N to 14C within the coal. I have no clue how prevalent this is, how much 14C is generated, or whether Baumgardner’s samples were so contaminated… but it’s one issue YECs musts deal with before they claim coal is young.

    I read that coal ash releases more radioactivity into the environment than nuclear waste. Obviously, that’s partly because nuclear waste is shielded, but nonetheless one wonders how it got there. It’s either in the plants when they die or groundwater. Either way, it can make C14.

  12. JonF,

    Me: I have no problems with a single such event.

    Jon Forget thou not that we have no evidence whatsoever for any such event.

    Well, I was thinking of something like the Moine Thrust. They tend not to look like bedding planes, though! 🙂

  13. stcordova:
    There is a consilience in the fossils themselves for the time of death, the age of the rocks and sediments above and below does not date the time of death.That’s just plain dumb.When a detective discovers a murder victim buried in old sediments, does he date the age of the sediments?

    Come on Sal, this is just dumb. A murder victim got buried in the sediment by someone who dug a hole with a spade.

    Who buried all those billions of microfossils that are present throughout the kilometers thick piles of sedimentary rocks onshore and offshore? As evidenced by all those oil and gas wells? The Designer? How exactly did she do that?

    fG

  14. Allan,

    Thank you for your response. I’m willing to try to address your requests on specific topics as much as I am able. Apologies in advance if I miss some of your queries, because as you can see, I’m being swarmed.

  15. stcordova:
    Allan,
    Thank you for your response.I’m willing to try to address your requests on specific topics as much as I am able.Apologies in advance if I miss some of your queries, because as you can see, I’m being swarmed.

    That happens when you initiate the Gish Gallop in a forum where there are no time limits.

  16. stcordova:
    Allan,

    Thank you for your response.I’m willing to try to address your requests on specific topics as much as I am able.Apologies in advance if I miss some of your queries, because as you can see, I’m being swarmed.

    So far you’ve missed ’em all.

  17. Salvador, if you Google for ‘thin section microfossil’ and look at the images, you will see tons of examples of sedimentary rocks (sliced for the microscope and photographed) that contain abundant amounts of the remains of numerous different single-celled organisms. These examples come both from outcrops and from borehole cuttings and cores all over the world. These little fossils are everywhere, this is the norm, not the exception: understand this – virtually all marine sediments contain microfossils in abundance.

    Why is that? Because these little critters live and die in the oceans, either on the sea bed itself or floating as plankton, and their remains rain down and accumulate on the sea bed and get buried by the ongoing sedimentation. Then they fossilise. This process is going on right now, day in day out, and has been going on in the seas and oceans of the world for hundreds of millions of years. This is why there are so many areas with such thick piles of sediment full of microfossils.

    And to top it all off, these microfossils are far from randomly distributed. On the contrary, there are very clear vertical zonations in the rock column with different species showing up for the first time, persisting for a while, and disappearing again. Why is this? Because these species did not yet exist before the time that the sediment of that zone was deposited, lived through it, and went extinct afterwards.

    All this is routine Paleontology and Biostratigraphy, major fields of study with very important practical application in for instance the oil and gas industry – and you know obviously nothing whatsoever about it. Which in itself is nothing to be ashamed of, and I won’t ridicule you for that, but what makes you think that you can simply ignore all this knowledge and still have credibility in this discussion? Especially with people who do know about it, some first-hand as professionals?

    fG

  18. Allan Miller:
    JonF,

    I read that coal ash releases more radioactivity into the environment than nuclear waste. Obviously, that’s partly because nuclear waste is shielded, but nonetheless one wonders how it got there. It’s either in the plants when they die or groundwater. Either way, it can make C14.

    Or it could come from dust that blew into the swamps, or sediment that came in with water from floods, etc. There’s a lot of silica and other inorganic matter in most coals, since they didn’t come from pristine environments.

    Not very important, let alone an issue with your point, just facts about coal and its composition.

    Glen Davidson

  19. Come on Sal, this is just dumb. A murder victim got buried in the sediment by someone who dug a hole with a spade.

    Who buried all those billions of microfossils that are present throughout the kilometers thick piles of sedimentary rocks onshore and offshore? As evidenced by all those oil and gas wells? The Designer? How exactly did she do that?

    fG

    If a creature is at the bottom of some lake and there is a gigantic cataclysm, oh, I don’t know, say a flood that moves lots of sediment, wouldn’t you think lots of microfossils could be buried?

    From taphamony, would you say the microfossils were buried catastrophically, or did they just lay out there and decompose? For shells, maybe they didn’t have to be buried catastrophically, but for others maybe.

    Maybe these are a scientific mystery that can actually be solved.

    How do you date the microfossils, based on the age of sediments they are in? Don’t you see the illogic of that.

    I’m aware of index fossils and I was amazed at how many are of the marine variety. One thing that I always wanted to find out, when they date something from the time of land-based animals, do they do it using sea shells that are around them? Doesn’t that strike you as a bit incongruous — you know, marine creatures mixed up with land based creatures in the same dig site, as if some cataclysm rapidly buried both and mixed them together?

    Regarding microfossils:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micropaleontology

    In addition to providing an excellent tool for sedimentary rock dating and for paleoenvironmental reconstruction – heavily used in both petroleum geology and paleoceanography – micropaleontology has also found a number of less orthodox applications, such as its growing role in forensic police investigation or in determining the provenance of archaeological artefacts.

    Ah, so we date sedimentary layers with microfossils, and we date microfossils with sedimentary layers! Does any one actually try to do forensic dating of the fossil materials themselves? Only creationists seem willing to break the circular reasoning f old fossil paleontology.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_fossil

    Geologists use both large fossils (called macrofossils) and microscopic fossils (called microfossils) for this process, known as biostratigraphy. Macrofossils have the advantage of being easy to see in the field, but they are rarer, and microfossils are very commonly used by oil prospectors and other industries interested in mineral resources when accurate knowledge of the age of the rocks being looked at is needed.

    So if we find these fossils are young based on the consilience of various clocks on the fossils themselves, why do I think you won’t be persuaded they show the strata are young? 🙂

    Seems to me if the fossils are young, you’re going to infer the strata are young, if you swear by index fossils.

    Seems like a nice thing to explore:

    1. C14 dating of index fossils
    2. racemization dating of index fossils to establish upper limit on time of death

    We can of course try to settle the question empirically, but if places like University of Georgia and the rest of the scientific community won’t make relevant measurements, seems the issue won’t be settled. Why do I get the feeling if the measurements were actually done, if the racemization rates were carefully considered, we’d conclude the time of death of the microfossils was relatively recent, hence the index fossil will demonstrate the youth of the strata and falsify the supposed old age of the fossil record.

  20. There’s a lot of silica and other inorganic matter in most coals, since they didn’t come from pristine environments.

    How does inorganic matter contribute to the C14 in sample since inorganic usually means not involving carbon?

  21. JonF,

    What was the requisite ratio of Uranium and Coal needed to get a 1 part in 1000 pmc ratio?

    Alan Fox doesn’t accept the figures I linked to, perhaps you can state clearly what the ratio or percent Uranium is. 0.1% …..99%.

    Sorry, I missed you’re reply in all your fuming spam.

  22. stcordova: Alan Fox doesn’t accept the figures I linked to, perhaps you can state clearly what the ratio or percent Uranium is. 0.1% …..99%.

    I don’t think I got as far as looking at your figures. May I make a suggestion? Let’s try and separate the points out. We can have separate OPs to keep things clearer. I’m still unclear whether you are trying to defend a young Earth. If you are, we could start with this. A young Earth trumps all the other issues, so if you still maintain the Earth is only a few thousand years old, we could look at that first.

    I appreciate you are being beset from all sides but it is understandable when you reel off so many outlandish assertions at the same time.

  23. I know of a radiodating lab that uses a particular source of natural gas for its “radiocarbon-dead” control. Radiocarbon is not detectable in this material, even by the most sensitive modern techniques

    Yeckery cannot explain this without miracles, given the known half-life of 14C

  24. Alan,

    I’m at your service here, and I appreciate your civility.

    I can break out into separate OP’s if you wish, but I’ll try to staggar it so as not to overwhelm the TSZ website and crowd out other TSZ authors.

    I’m still unclear whether you are trying to defend a young Earth.

    I’m trying to give a balanced analysis of the components of the YEC model. Some of my personal beliefs go beyond the actual physical evidence, what I’m laying out is where I think the physical evidence is supportive of YEC.

    Here is my tally of the evidence:

    1. Young Fossil Record (most definitely not hundreds of millions of years old, but not conclusively 6000)

    2. Earth (some clocks say 6,000, others say billions, there is irresolution)

    3. Solar system (some clocks say millions but not billions, other clocks say billions, but this depends on the nucleosynthesis model)

    4. Universe (majority evidence says very old, but there are anomalies like quasar spectra that cast doubt on how old)

    That is a balanced view, imho.

    Because I now believe the fossils are young, I personally think that affirms the Biblical account, and the parts of evidence that don’t agree with the Bible, I’m now confident will find resolution in the future with more scientific study. Hence my motivation to get a little more schooling in the sciences….

    That said, what I’ve laid out as far as the fossil age in this thread was based on physical and chemical considerations. One could formally accept parts of what I said without accepting the Bible. I respect that.

    You asked what I believe and why. I’ve laid out why I don’t think the fossils died that long ago, just like detective or forensic lab would try to establish the time of death.

    I’m giving my opponents in this discussion a chance to air their differing views.

    I cannot possibly go into all the technical details of YEC in the short space of this thread, so I focused on fossil time of death. If you want to talk about specific areas, they can be raised.

    When I had my exchange with LlaniteDave in 2004, the 3 YEC threads grew to 3000 comments. Unlike ID, YEC has touches vast amounts of technical issues.

    Now, you may not like the figures I put forward. I’ve solicited my opponents specify how much Uranium is needed to be mixed in with the coal. 0.1%….99%

    I raised the issue of racemization of proteins. Not much said at all and fossils are packed with proteins! There is not much issue of contamination there! Yet the proteins are in a young state. This establishes a relatively recent time of death.

  25. Sal:

    As far as YEC part 3, depends on what you folks want.

    I’ve already indicated:

    Sal,

    Are you going to do a “YEC Part 3” in which you describe your actual (emotional, religious) reasons for being a YEC? That would be interesting.

    It’s abundantly clear that you first decided to be a YEC and then started cherry-picking the evidence in an attempt to prop up your belief. And even your cherry-picking has been unsuccessful, as this thread illustrates.

    When you confront the overwhelming evidence against YEC, what emotions does that stir in you? If you discard YEC, are you afraid that your entire Christian faith will go with it? What motivates you to trust an ancient, inconsistent and error-ridden text above the careful work of modern scientists across many disciplines?

    Sal:

    He [llanitedave] remembers the year long debate even 11 years later as you can tell by his jovial reaction to me raising the topic again. You can probably guess who prevailed in that exchange. 🙂

    Judging by the (in)accuracy of your other post-mortems, I’d guess that it was llanitedave who prevailed.

  26. stcordova,

    Fair enough, Sal.

    There’s no hurry.

    As I’ve already remarked a few times, the claim that the Earth is younger than around 4.5 billion years trumps all other assertions, in my view. It makes arguments over fossils pretty much moot. I suggest a thread concentrating on that first would be the way to proceed. I’m open to alternative suggestions. (Anyway, I’m only Lizzie’s minion 🙂 )

  27. Are you going to do a “YEC Part 3″ in which you describe your actual (emotional, religious) reasons for being a YEC? That would be interesting.

    The young fossil record and a pattern of behavior I see in my detractors. They seem especially desperate to discredit lil’ ole me of no significance.

    Gee I seem to recall a discussion about 500 fair coins 100% heads being improbable, and all the straining there was going on at TSZ to insist I finally confess: “500 fair coins 100% heads is perfectly consistent fair coins”. Who was behaving in an authoritarian bullying manner, not me. I don’t say such stupid things, but well, you tried to get me to say it, just like you insisted a certain particular ratio wasn’t dimensionless and insisted my equations were sloppy even after I showed you they were actually from places like NIST.

    I see the same behavior from my detractors on every topic, like say neutral evolution, origin of life, basic statistics. Recall, I sided with you guys on against my own on:

    1. 2nd law
    2. ID should not being promoted science
    3. the absence of the designer
    4. the problems with CSI

    You can’t say I seek to disagree on every point. I’ve actually back you guys up to my own detriment and standing at UD and the ID community.

    But some of the ways you guys try to go after me when I raise valid empirical and theoretical objections, tells me you find some unease when I say stuff, like 500 fair coins 100% heads is not perfectly consistent with a chance process. Who looked the fool after those exchanges…not me.

    I’ll back you guys up when you’re right even to my own detriment in the ID community, but on the age of fossils, the jury is still out.

  28. stcordova: If a creature is at the bottom of some lake and there is a gigantic cataclysm, oh, I don’t know, say a flood that moves lots of sediment, wouldn’t you think lots of microfossils could be buried?

    This may be the case for relatively shallow, unconsolidated (soft) sediment, and this would be known as ‘reworking’ which sometimes indeed happens, but obviously won’t be the case for deeper lithified sediments (rocks). We can also tell when such reworking has happened because the sediments will generally show signs of ‘soft’ deformation. No flood will be able to churn over thousands of meters of lithified sedimentary rock column and re-deposit it all in nice layers looking like they were deposited in all kinds of different, stable environments, and on top distribute the fossils in them in nice and distinct vertical zonations. I would think that your favourite probability calculations would rather quickly rule this out, if nothing else!

    But you touch on an interesting aside, that in some cases we find fossils that are actually older than the encasing sediment – they were eroded out of earlier rocks, transported to a new area and re-deposited. Stuff happens.

    From taphamony, would you say the microfossils were buried catastrophically, or did they just lay out there and decompose?For shells, maybe they didn’t have to be buried catastrophically, but for others maybe.

    Most microfossils will be buried fairly gradually under a film of fine clay particles that rain down gently, continuously, throughout the sea water column onto the sea bed. Keep in mind that they have hard calcareous or siliceous shells that are quite easily preserved. From time to time sudden bursts of coarser sediment influx can take place, caused by turbidity currents, storms and other high-energy events. When that happens, sedimentation will be quick. Interestingly, in such sediments there are usually far fewer microfossils than in the fine-grained background shales around them – because it happens quickly there is no time to capture much of the ‘microfossil rain’.

    Maybe these are a scientific mystery that can actually be solved.

    Don’t worry, much of it has already been solved in the last 200 years. It just has passed you by.

    How do you date the microfossils, based on the age of sediments they are in?Don’t you see the illogic of that.

    Ok, this is a very persistent YEC canard that I can try to once again explain to you.

    Originally, geological dating was done in a relative sense: it was recognised that the rock layers represent an amount of time, and that lower/deeper layers must be older than higher/shallower ones (unless significant deformation has occurred, which does happen but in certain areas but certainly not most, and generally can easily be identified because of the strong deformation structures of the rock).

    When people mapped out these layers and studied their fossil content, they soon discovered that certain fossils and groups of fossils are very typical for only some of these layers. However, many other types of fossils are not so much limited in the vertical sense (which is the time sense, because the stacking reflects time gone by).

    People than assigned names to such distinctive groups of fossils, and by extension to the time they lived in, and again by extension to the rocks they are found in. This was all done back in the 19th century by the way.

    I will give you now a very oversimplified story just to get you to understand the basic principles, ok? (bear with me, colleagues 🙂 )

    The rocks that contain trilobite fossils, and by extension the time in which trilobites lived and died, were called the Paleozoicum. Rocks containing ammonites were called Mesozoic rocks, as was by extension the time that the ammonites lived and died (Ok, this is not really true because there are Paleozoic ammonites, but please bear with me).

    By zooming in on finer and finer sets of layers, it became quickly clear that the distribution of fossils was also graded in finer and finer zonations. For instance, trilobite species A was often found together with trilobite species B and C, but never together with trilobite species X. On the other hand, trilobite species X was often found together with trilobite species Y and Z. Moreover, species X was always found in rocks higher/shallower than those containing species A. So, people started to subdivide the Paleozoic and called the lower part with trilobite A, and often B and C, the Cambrian, and the higher/upper part with trilobite X the Devonian.

    This is how fossils date the rocks. Clear?

    Now, the next step is this: the Cambrian is now defined by trilobite A, but there are many more trilobites living in that time and fossilised, such as species B and C (and D and E and F etc etc – there are over 20,000 species of trilobites!). Therefore, we now know that B and C are also Cambrian trilobites, because they are only ever found there and not in the younger, Devonian rocks. On the other hand, species Y and Z are only ever found with X, so we now can date Y and Z as Devonian trilobites. Plus, there are many other fossils species found together specifically with the Cambrian or Devonian fossils (but not with both), so now we know that these other species are Cambran and Devonian too.

    This is how rocks date the fossils.

    So there is no circularity. Some fossils date the rocks, and then the rocks date all the other fossils. I hope you now understand that your little slogan is just a soundbite and not reflecting what is really going on.

    I’m aware of index fossils and I was amazed at how many are of the marine variety. One thing that I always wanted to find out, when they date something from the time of land-based animals, do they do it using sea shells that are around them?Doesn’t that strike you as a bit incongruous — you know, marine creatures mixed up with land based creatures in the same dig site, as if some cataclysm rapidly buried both and mixed them together?

    Sea level fluctuates constantly, even if in relatively small amounts. Sediments deposited in low lying areas near the shore line will over time become stacked layers that are sometimes more terrestrial, sometimes more marine. Those ‘marine bands’ may contain marine microfossils or larger species such as shells, which can be used for dating. The more terrestrial layers in between, where you may find no marine fossils but if you are lucky some dinosaur bones, are then dated by bracketing between marine bands. At other times the dinosaur remains are actually washed away into the offshore and buried directly in marine mud.

    In terrestrial sediment, fossil pollen are often used for relative dating. The pollen time scale can be calibrated to the marine time scale in areas where you have interlayered marine and terrestrial sediments, as per above.

    Finally, some terrestrial sedimentary formations that contain no fossils whatsoever (as may be the case in ancient desert sediments) can still be dated through their relation to volcanic rocks around them and/or within them. In this way absolute dating can inform the relative dating.

    Regarding microfossils:

    Ah,so we date sedimentary layers with microfossils, and we date microfossils with sedimentary layers!Does any one actually try to do forensic dating of the fossil materials themselves?Only creationists seem willing to break the circular reasoning f old fossil paleontology.

    See above. Only creationists seem willing to make fools of themselves by claiming that they found a major flaw in an established field of science that nobody else had ever spotted. The reason that they do this is because they are actually ignorant of the details of that field of science, unwilling to learn more about it, and blinkered to the point where nothing sinks in never mind how carefully explained. A shame, really.

    So if we find these fossils are young based on the consilience of various clocks on the fossils themselves, why do I think you won’t be persuaded they show the strata are young?

    Seems to me if the fossils are young, you’re going to infer the strata are young, if you swear by index fossils.

    If there would be a large and consilient set of data that supports young fossils, I will accept that the layers they are encased in is also young. So far the opposite is true: the large and consilient amount of data (collected and analysed over 200 years, Salvador) shows that the rocks are old, and therefore the fossils contained in them are also old.

    fG

  29. stcordova,

    Sal,

    Let’s focus. I’m still unclear whether you want to defend a young Earth. If so, you can start a new thread and I will try to ensure comments stay on topic.

  30. Sal,

    I’ll respond at greater length later, but for now I’ll note that your complaint is rather odd. In effect, you’re saying “I agreed with you guys on certain issues; therefore, you’re obligated to agree with me more.”

    It’s not a quid pro quo. Whether and when we agree with you depends on whether we think you’re correct, not on some sense of obligation to you. It’s basic intellectual honesty.

  31. fg,

    Thank you very much for your reply. I intend to read it several times. Thank you for sharing your expertise. That was the best and most well articulated viewpoint I’ve seen in this discussion.

    Thank you.

    Sal

  32. Sal,
    If the response is overwhelming then could I suggest something?

    One thread for a one on one conversation between you and a mutually agreed person, relevant to the topic. Another, distinct, thread for comments on that thread.

    That way the conversation can be focused and productive, no noise. Clarity.

    Just a suggestion. But it can work, as per the thread ‘A question for Winston Ewert’ which as you can see is pristine.

  33. I’m still unclear whether you want to defend a young Earth

    I want to defend the youth of the fossils, not necessarily 6,000 years young, but much less than hundreds of millions.

    The case for a 6,000 year Earth, I can put forward some things, but I don’t think the case is as forceful as the case for young fossils, in fact it is weak. If you want to hear what little there is, I’ll state that. I’ve already said the case is not that strong but not totally absent.

    You’ll ask why I believe despite weak evidence? A hunch. Why do you believe in mindless OOL despite the absence of a working naturalistic mechanism?

  34. OMagain: Just a suggestion. But it can work, as per the thread ‘A question for Winston Ewert’ which as you can see is pristine.

    Hmmmm.

  35. stcordova: The young fossil record and a pattern of behavior I see in my detractors. They seem especially desperate to discredit lil’ ole me of no significance.

    By contrast, I see them as laughing at your folly.

    This has been an entertaining thread. You seem to be trying hard to persuade yourself that the evidence supports YEC, but you don’t seem to be succeeding.

  36. Sal, you said earlier that DNA has a half-life of approximately 521 years. What does this mean in practice?

    How is that half-life determined? Under what conditions? What happens to the DNA?

    Only small fragments of highly degraded DNA are ever reported from fossils. Do you think this is not possible from very old fossils?

  37. Most fossils can not be dated directly (in the absolute sense – many can easily be dated directly in the relative sense). Your case hangs on the plausibility of old rocks containing young fossils.

    If there was only one fossil in the world, perhaps you could build a credible story of how it ended up in an old rock.

    There are billions of fossils in the world, and most of them are wholly integral to the rocks they are part of. What you propose is simply impossible. The fossils and the rocks have the same age. You will have to work with this as a fact.

    fG

  38. stcordova: Why do you believe in mindless OOL despite the absence of a working naturalistic mechanism?

    As a matter of fact, I don’t believe in mindless OOL. I don’t think I have ever discussed my view on OOL other than to say current hypotheses are imaginative but evidence free, as they must be. Nothing remains, evidence-wise, to explain how life on Earth got going.

  39. stcordova: The case for a 6,000 year Earth, I can put forward some things, but I don’t think the case is as forceful as the case for young fossils, in fact it is weak. If you want to hear what little there is, I’ll state that. I’ve already said the case is not that strong but not totally absent.

    Up to you. What are the consequences for you in accepting an age for the Earth based on evidence? As I keep saying, it seems irrelevant to the teachings of Jesus.

  40. stcordova:
    As far as YEC part 3, depends on what you folks want.LlaniteDave debated me on the YEC topic in 2004 at ARN.At the time I was only 25% YEC/75% OEC in my undecided state.At the end of the debate he convinced me the old age of fossils was less credible than I ever supposed, the age of the solar system was younger than supposed, and the age of the Earth younger than supposed.The age of the universe still looked very old to me at the time.

    He remembers the year long debate even 11 years later as you can tell by his jovial reaction to me raising the topic again.You can probably guess who prevailed in that exchange.

    You guys want to come after me, humiliate me, here’s your chance, but be warned.

    You guys keep demanding responses.Are you going actually receive them or are you trying to shoe me away.If you want explanations and details, I might have to post herea lot and TSZ could become YEC central.

    It will shock no one to note that my memory of that exchange is quite different from yours. To claim now that you were 75% old Earth at the time is simply ludicrous. You were latching on to every half-baked YEC idea you could find at the time and defending it at full-throttle.

    It will also shock no one to know that your behavior back then was identical to what it is now: ignoring inconvenient contrary facts, prevaricating, goal-post moving, and presenting unfounded speculations as settled truths. Your knowledge of the field certainly does not seem to have improved since then.

    I have to give you credit for one thing, though. Among your silliest ideas was the notion that an exploding ice planet in the asteroid belt would have bombarded Earth with great chunks of ice, and been responsible for Noah’s deluge. Among the many things you pontificated on beyond your expertise level was celestial mechanics. And that, combined with my already swelling interest in Martian meteorites, triggered a project to learn more about about n-body gravitational interactions. I ended up creating a Javascript application that allowed me to build gravitationally realistic planetary systems and star clusters, and follow them graphically in real time. I had hours of enjoyment from that, and it actually proved useful in a couple of work-related projects. So for that, I thank you.

    You’re still silly, though.

  41. Sal,

    Gee I seem to recall a discussion about 500 fair coins 100% heads being improbable, and all the straining there was going on at TSZ to insist I finally confess: “500 fair coins 100% heads is perfectly consistent fair coins”.

    Eigenstate made a perfectly reasonable statement which you both criticized and quotemined. I wrote at the time:

    No one familiar with Sal’s character will be surprised to learn that he shamelessly quotemines eigenstate in his new OP:

    SSDD: a 22 sigma event is consistent with the physics of fair coins?

    Here’s the full eigenstate quote. The parts that Sal omitted are in bold:

    Maybe that’s just sloppily written, but if you have 500 flips of a fair coin that all come up heads, given your qualification (“fair coin”), that is outcome is perfectly consistent with fair coins, and as an instance of the ensemble of outcomes that make up any statistical distribution you want to review.

    That is, physics is just as plausibly the driver for “all heads” as ANY OTHER SPECIFIC OUTCOME.

    Eigenstate carefully put the key phrase in ALL CAPS so that Sal couldn’t miss it. Sal chose to omit it anyway. What eigenstate said is correct, of course, and Sal is wrong to challenge it, especially in such a dishonest way.

    When you behave that way, you gain detractors. Does that surprise you, Sal?

  42. Sal:

    …you insisted a certain particular ratio wasn’t dimensionless and insisted my equations were sloppy even after I showed you they were actually from places like NIST.

    The truth is quite different, naturally.

    Are tall tales a habit you picked up in your pre-Internet days, when people couldn’t go back to see for themselves whether your version of events was correct?

    Now they can check, Sal.

  43. stcordova:
    1. 2nd law
    2. ID should not being promoted science
    3. the absence of the designer
    4. the problems with CSI

    Don’t forget that OP of yours about how there’s no positive case for young earth creationism. It actually seems relevant now, somehow.

  44. stcordova,

    How do you date the microfossils, based on the age of sediments they are in? Don’t you see the illogic of that.

    That’s a Creationist myth, and a bit of a ready-made response that misses what I was saying. It’s often sneeringly rendered as ‘dating the dirt by the critters, and dating the critters by the dirt’. It’s untrue, but it’s beside the point I was making. Whatever the absolute age of the fossil, you have a thin section of strata worldwide that contains it. You also have thin strata worldwide above and below which contain other index fossils. There is no sensible Creationist mechanism for such fine sorting. If they all lived together, why did they not become mixed together? How can you get a global band a couple of centimeters thick in which they are common, and yet are totally absent above and below? How can one be virtually certain that, if one finds a particular index fossil, it will be completely absent from strata a certain distance above and below at the same locality, yet those strata themselves (and only those strata) are highly likely to contain certain other index fossils? How can we make such predictions, if everything lived together, died together and was mixed by turbulent flow?

  45. YEC Part 0:

    The simple fact that the earth still as a magnetic field proves that the earth is young.

    This debate was settled decades ago.

  46. Mung: The simple fact that the earth still |h]as a magnetic field proves that the earth is young.

    Good grief. On googling, I see there is a whole on-line industry invested in maintaining the myth of a young Earth. Bizarre, pointless and comparatively harmless in itself.

    I’d not worry at all if not for the not-so-well hidden agenda.

  47. I’ve moved one post to guano, but a few others are skirting the line. Remember: assume other posters are posting in good faith.

    If you think Sal has forgotten what he’s said on previous occasions, or hasn’t noticed the contradiction, or has missed the point, or is misinformed, it’s fine to say so.

    But assume he is posting in good faith. Which, frankly, I’m sure he is.

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