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Pseudoscience (Creationism vs. Science)

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This page seems to be a little more thought out compared to the others, but it's still the, ironically named, pseudoscience.[1] The page is a critique of a series of arguments sent in by a reader. Mr. Wong then divides them into sections. Creationwiki will do the same to the page.

Moon Dust

This is a pure lie. No one expected such deep dust on the moon. The YECs made up this "expectation" after the landing, in a transparent attempt to discredit the field of astrophysics. They exaggerated the rates of meteorite deposition in the Earth's atmosphere by a factor of thousands in order to conclude that the moon would have to be covered in a thick layer of dust if it's 4.5 billion years old. In reality, the thickness of lunar dust and lightly compacted surface material on the moon's surface fell precisely in line with predictions derived from other dating methods.
See Not enough moon dust for an old universe (Talk.Origins)

The Poynting-Robertson effect

Mr. Wong is basically right, minus the offensive comments, and most creationist agree with him. Thus Mr. Wong is guilty of what he accuses creationists of, creating a "False dilemma" and doing a "One-dimensional analysis"

See Poynting-Robertson effect would remove space dust in an old solar system (Talk.Origins).

Short-term Comets

Somebody should thank him for reminding me of yet another piece of evidence for an ancient solar system. Some of the very shortest-period comets can degrade in as little as 500 years, yet we still observe them in the sky. Therefore, the "comet capture" theory is obviously correct, since we've definitely been around for more than 500 years so the young ones must be coming from an external source.

Please notice that the author cites no reference for this figure and this author has seen no such figure before.

By the way, on June 14, 1995, NASA announced that a team of astronomers had estimated the number of potential new comets in the Kuiper Belt (a huge belt of debris past Neptune) to be roughly 200 million. The Oort cloud is yet another potential comet source which is theorized to hold even more comets. All of these long-period comets could potentially be converted into short-period comets through gravitational perturbation from various sources, hence the constant influx of new comets into the inner solar system. But we'd better not tell that to our YEC friend; he thinks there's no conceivable way that a short-period comet might be replaced once lost. The existence of such a heavily populated comet-source debris belt so far away from the Sun would tend to put a damper on his theory, thus possibly driving him to speak in tongues.
See Oort cloud and Kuiper belt are ad-hoc fantasies of astronomers (Talk.Origins), Oort cloud, and Kuiper belt

Radiometric Dating

Mr. Wong's commented on this:

Here's the results of radiometric Moon-rock dating: Uranium/lead and thorium: from 3.36 to 28.1 billion years. Potassium/argon: 2.2 to 7 billion years. These figures are incompatible with each other and any known solar system aging model -- if radiometric dating is reliable, that is ...

Here is what he said...

How strange ... according to NASA, moon-rock dating ranges from 3.3 to 4.6 billion years, rather than varying by an order of magnitude as he claims. This guy claims to have a better source than the one mainstream scientists are using, but he doesn't bother saying what it is (who wants to bet that it's a creationist pseudoscience journal?).

This author cannot find any data concerning a Potassium/argon date ranging from 2.2 to 7 billion years, but there are many examples of this happening on earth.

See Radiometric dating problems.

Living snails have been radiometrically dated by Carbon-14 to be 2,300 years old

See Living snails were C14 dated at 2,300 and 27,000 years old (Talk.Origins).

Ocean floor Sediments

Actually, I've read that the sea floor deposition rate in the Pacific Ocean is less than 0.1 cm per millenium. Of course, I haven't personally conducted experiments in this area, but I'll bet he hasn't either. Anyway, this leads to a figure of roughly 800 million years for a half-mile deep sediment layer, not 33 million years. Of course, both figures are much lower than the age of the Earth, but they're also far longer than the creationist figure, and flood geology is hopelessly inadequate to explain the fine-grained, layered character of the sediment. Remember that continental drift causes subduction of the sea floor over time, so the thickness of the ocean floor sediment will naturally be much less than the age of the Earth. 800 million years is not a problem for geology, but it's certainly a problem for creationism.

First, 800 millions years is still a problem for old earth theories because the ocean is dated at 3 billion years and this is not a problem for creationist. For we believe in a GLOBAL FLOOD, which could produce that amount of sediments in a few days.

See Much more sediment is deposited than removed by subduction (Talk.Origins) and Not enough sediments in the ocean for an old earth (Talk.Origins).

Oil pressure

OK, here's a question for you: do you think he's actually done any research to quantify the rate of liquid and gas diffusion through many hundreds of metres of solid rock? Has he performed the calculations to show that the oil would have diffused through the rock quickly enough to eliminate all pressure in a buried deposit?

Mr. Wong makes it sound like creationist didn't bring up the argument in good faith. As if we just made up the argument. Just because he cherry picks weak arguments is no reason for creationism to be wrong.

See High pressures in oil fields would have bled off if earth were old (Talk.Origins)
Has he developed an explanation for what happened to the pressure due to the gravity of the overlaying rock, since gravity doesn't go away over time?

Surely this shows the pseudoscience of the article. Pressure is not solely dependent on gravity. Pressure is one of the conjugate variables, this is a basic science mistake.

What happened to gravity? Oh wait, I forgot ... he's a YEC and he thinks that the fundamental constants of physics fluctuate randomly over time.

What Mr. Wong talking about is accelerated decay, which is the main creationist explanation of radiometric dates. However, creationist have shown for some time one need not change the fundamental constant to bring it about.

Rapid fossilization

This is yet another strawman attack. No geologist ever said that anything which is fossilized must be millions of years old. The methods used for dating fossils are a lot more complicated than some yokel digging up a fossil and saying "hey, it's been fossilized! It must be millions of years old!"

Mr. Wong isn't getting the point. Fossils REQUIRE rapid burial, thus the fossil record is inherently in favor of a global event. It is now the old-earthers who must show that there is time between them.

See Large collections of fossils indicate catastrophism (Talk.Origins), Polystrate fossil, Fossil, Contorted positions of fossil animals indicate rapid burial (Talk.Origins), and Fossils can form quickly (Talk.Origins).

Black hill granites and discrepant dates

Assuming his figures are accurate (quite a generous assumption considering his deplorably poor level of scientific knowledge),the most obvious conclusion is that the samples were either taken from different periods, or they were of poor quality.

The author of this article could find no data concerning such samples, but there are examples of samples that are of the same period and not of poor quality.

See K-Ar dates of 1986 dacite from Mount St. Helens are very old (Talk.Origins), Isochron date of young Grand Canyon lava is excessively old (Talk.Origins), Glenn R. Morton's Misuse of Woodmorappe List of Discrepant Isotopic Dates, Radiometric dating problems, Non-correlating and inconsistent dates (Talk.Origins), and Concordance of dates.
As usual, he provides no details, so it's very difficult to figure out what he's really talking about. Were the tests all performed on a single rock sample, or on several? If it's several, this might only mean that old rocks and new rocks were found in one part of the world; not surprising since every part of the world contains ancient rock if you dig deep enough.

Mr. Wong is guilty of what he accuses this creationist of. Mr Wong consistently cites no references through out the whole series of articles. "it's very difficult to figure out what he's really talking about."[1]

You may also take note of the fact that the contradictory measurements all fall into the range of billions of years, so they've certainly bracketed the true figure to within an order of magnitude even if this information is not being misrepresented in some way. Suppose you had to measure the length of a five mile long lot with a household tape measure? You would have to repeatedly lay it down, mark its position, move it, and repeat. Needless to say, this wouldn't be an accurate method, especially since you have no way of ensuring that you move in a straight line along the lot. Let's say you take several measurements and they differ by many hundreds of yards. Since you know the method is inaccurate and you can't get repeatable measurements, would you conclude that the true figure is probably somewhere around 2 inches? That's the sort of thing a YEC would do, but of course, you wouldn't do that. You wouldn't have a precise figure due to an inappropriate method, but you'd know you're "in the neighbourhood", and you'd be able to rule out completely ridiculous figures that are more than an order of magnitude away from your estimate.

This made two fatal errors.

  1. False Analogy.
    The analogy is false because the comparison between radiometric dating and a measuring tape is false. In measuring with a measuring tape you are using known length to measure between two predetermined points, as a result experimental error is the only source of error. However radiometric dating uses a physical process and the results can be affected by variables other than experimental, such as starting condition, process rate and the adding and removal of measured quantities.
    As a result a better analogy would be a faucet dripping into a sink. If you measure the rate of dipping and then the volume of water, you can calculate how long it would take the dripping to add that much water to the sink. How that figure relates to how long the faucet has been dripping depends on other factors of the sinks history which can not be measurable, but only derived based on a theory about the sink's history. These factors would include the original content of the sink, whether or not water has been added or removed and the rate of dripping.
  2. Straw Man.
    This misrepresents the creationist argument about variation in radiometric dating. The argument about variation in radiometric dating isn't just about differences in results but that those variations are consistent with young earth creationist models for producing observed isotopic ratios.
That's the problem with YEC attacks on radiometric dating; they assume that any weakness in the precision of the method somehow translates to the ludicrous conclusion that all of the figures are hundreds of thousands of times too big! Think about it: we're finding anomalously high concentrations of decay products from substances that have half-lives of hundreds of millions of years. Regardless of how precisely we can estimate the ages of these rocks, the fact that we can detect these concentrations at all is proof that nonsensical YEC age estimates of less than 10,000 years are completely impossible.

This is complete nonsense. Accelerated nuclear decay and a global flood could easily produce such concentrations.

Of course, the discrepancies are large enough to conclude that if the measurements all came from a single sample, then the sample wasn't very good. But why is that an indictment of the method? An analogous problem may be the occurrence of inconsistent or outlier data in other fields of science and engineering. I've performed material analyses on aluminum samples which showed strange variations of as much as 40% in certain mechanical properties. When I ran into this problem, I simply concluded that the discrepancies indicated a problem with the samples or the experiment itself, and that I would have to get a fresh batch of samples and try again until I get consistent measurements. I did not conclude that the entire method was totally useless and I should look to the Bible to explain my aluminum samples!

This is a strawman. No one said the method was completely useless. It's still help us measure THEORETICAL MAXIMUM time not actual time. It still helps us model various event is the earth's past, for example the Flood.

Mr. Wong is assuming that every sample that produces discrepancies must be a bad sample. However, as shown previously, this simply isn't true.

Geological samples, like my aluminum test samples, have varying levels of quality and contamination. A good sample yields an accurate date, and a bad sample yields an inaccurate date, just as good and bad aluminum samples yield accurate or inaccurate estimates of the material properties of aluminum.

How does one determine a good sample from a bad sample? Most scientist don't even look at the actual sample and dismiss it solely on the results of the test. Other words it is dismissed because it disagrees with the standard. They summon on heating events and disturbance of the object, but this too assumes that the other samples are NOT the result of a event (for example a flood). This is cherry picking facts.

Consistency and repeatability are usually used to confirm or deny the quality of samples, but YECs misrepresent this sensible practice by saying that we "keep figures which are consistent with expectations and throw everything else out". This is a gross misrepresentation of the scientific method; if you take multiple readings from a batch and they don't match, then you know there's something wrong with your equipment or your sample. It happens; no one's perfect, and no sample is perfect. If you can never get consistent results, there might even be something wrong with your basic methodology. But if most of your results are consistent and repeatable, then you have a pattern which demands explanation.

We do not deny the existence of sample that give old dates and we do not throw them out, but instead show other interpretations of the same data.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is true, then I would ask you to take a good look at the chart to the right; it depicts 100 points, 97 of which seem to lie roughly along a straight line. This is precisely analogous to the situation with radiometric dating, in which roughly 97% out of more than 10,000 dates fit the pattern while the remaining 3% seem to be "out there". A YEC will obsess over the latter 3%, and he'll argue that it disproves the validity of other 97%! He might even grab an anomalous low point (such as the one at 30,8 in the chart at right) and use it to "prove" that all of the other points are far too high! Can you look at that chart and tell me that 3 strange points disprove the existence of a pattern in the remaining 97? Patterns like that don't form out of coincidence, do they? Is it reasonable to ignore them just because a handful of points don't seem to fit?

This seems to Mr. Wong's biggest piece of evidence for his case, but does it stand up to critical examination? There are several reason why this falls to stand.

  • Since Mr. Wong does not cite where this data came from, we cannot see which sites the samples came, but it's very unlikely that they all came from the same site. Samples need to come from the same site for the pattern to be credible. This is like a archaeologist going to five different sites (all in different countries) and seeing features that seem to be man made and then concluding that they all show evidence of an ancient city. They do the same thing with strata and layers.

The chances of samples coming from the same site is very low. Harland (Harland et al 1990, "A Geologic Time Scale 1989," Cambridge University Press, Cambridge) list some 800 dates to support the existence of the geological column, however only a few dozen sample even come from the same site.

A 1975 Alaska geological data shows that only 3% of the sites where tested by two different methods and of this 3%, only 2 sites gave identical results.

  • The birthday paradox is the mathematical chances of two random people sharing the same birthday. It uses a complex formula to compute that if there are 23 in the same room, there is a 50.7% chance of two people sharing the same birthday.[2]

Using this, John Woodmorappe calculated the chances of a fortunate concordance. He defined concordance coming within +/- 2.5%, so that overlapping ranges were considered concordant. The results show that the chance for concordance doesn't even drop below 50%, until about 7 samples.

# of concordant pairs on the other list. % of time concordant pairs occur.
2 90%
3 80%
4 70%
5 60%
6 52%
7 41%
  • All in all, we are only looking at a small bit of the data. Most of it doesn't even make it into journals.
See Consistency of radiometric dating comes from selective reporting (Talk.Origins).

Much of what Mr. Wong says after this point just repeat what he said before, thus CreationWiki will not reply to it.

Mr. Wong does a similar rant on Reunion Island rocks, because the above information is more then enough to refute it.

The rest

Because of the redundant nature of simply citing an article from the Index of Creationist Claims, CreationWiki will just cite a list refuting the rest.

Earth's magnetic field is decaying, indicating a young earth (Talk.Origins)

There are too few supernova remnants for an old universe (Talk.Origins)

Moon is receding at a rate too fast for an old universe (Talk.Origins)

Not enough sediments in the ocean for an old earth (Talk.Origins)

Average soil depth is consistent with young earth (Talk.Origins)

References