backtop


Print 62 comment(s) - last by MrHanson.. on Apr 28 at 3:32 PM


Gentry's polonium halos are a classic creationist argument. The claim that they somehow prove a young Earth was made by an untrained geologist and disproved 20 years ago, yet creationists still cite it as fact to this very day.  (Source: Talk Origins)
Desperate minds seek desperate arguments

In case you missed it, paleontologists, digging in South Africa have discovered the remains of a new species of hominid, Australopithecus sediba, buried in a cave.  This little discovery is of tremendous importance as anatomical evidence points to the species being a close evolutionary relative to man, perhaps even a direct ancestor.

I wrote a little story on the topic, analyzing the find, while briefly touching on the pertinent creationism vs. modern evolutionary theory debate that continues to rage to this day in America.  I expected the story to get a few comments.  I never expected, though that it would get over 575 comments, making it perhaps the most commented on story in 
DailyTech's history.

I think it's great that so many people are chiming in and sharing their thoughts, and I think its a real sign of our site's diversity and popularity.  However, amidst those comments I saw some that really bothered me as a person who has worked in the fields of engineering and biochemistry in addition to my time here at 
DailyTech.  

Take one reader, who writes:

Absolute Scientific Proof the Evolutionary Theory is Dead.
A story about two friends from day one.

http://www.biblelife.org/creation.htm" rel="nofollow

This comment was rated up to a 3, so obviously some people agreed with it.  However, the site and "proof" it cites, from a scientific perspective, are utterly worthless.

The site is full of inaccurate and egregious jewels.  Among them is the claim that granite is called a "creation rock" by geologists and can not be created on Earth today.  This is patently false.  If such a term were ever used, it has no place in the field of modern geology.  Further, granite is to this very day being produced in small quantities by metamorphism in amphibolite and granulite terrains.  There's nothing magical about it.

The other "friend" that the site refers to is polonium, a radioactive heavy element.  Polonium makes halos in granite, which a researcher named Robert V. Gentry claimed, starting in the 1980s, were proof that the Earth was only 6,000 years old, as the literal reading of The Bible claims.  Gentry was by all reports a decent researcher who was blinded by his obsession in proving creationism, which led to him reaching far outside his field of expertise (physics) into foreign fields like geology.

In this case, as with most of his arguments for a "young Earth" his "evidence" was shown to be completely wrong.  There was indeed uranium in the exact deposits Gentry sampled from, he just failed to follow basic principles of geological sampling.  Of course this is understandable -- Gentry was no geologist.  So his "proof" was just another red herring.

Here is a very informative read on the topic: "The Geology of Gentry's 'Tiny Mystery'".

The site also implies that there's something "magical" about polonium making its way into granite.  Consider that silicon dioxide, the primary component of granite melts at 1925 K, while 527 K.  Thus polonium would be molten and could easily make its way into cracks and crevices in granite that had cooled to a solid.  Again, the claims are patently false and there's nothing magical or unknown here.

Basic science invalidates many of the supposed "proof" of creationism and a young Earth.  Yet, while it's easy to disprove a bad argument, its hard to kill one.  As I mentioned, here was an argument that was literally disproved over two decades ago, but there's a site out there still using it as evidence and one of our readers are referencing it as fact.  And worse yet, apparently some in our readership were misled enough that they rated up the comment.

I don't have the time or energy to rebuke every falsehood set forth by a handful of the commenters in that thread, so I hope this was an informative example.

It's fine to believe whatever you want when it comes to evolution.  An all powerful deity such as Xenu or the Christian God, could in theory create a reality with evidence to the contrary of the creation itself.  Every single atom could have been set into motion perfectly to deliver an elaborate, yet misleading picture.  Yet to scientists, we must interpret the picture that we see, and that picture clearly points that evolution created the species we see today and that the earth is billions of years old, not 6,000 years old.  Believe what you want, but try not to reference false "facts" to justify your beliefs -- that's called spreading misinformation, and it's disingenuous.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Is this really necessary?
By CPLGDR on 4/13/2010 4:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
People who believe in God will believe in anything. You can't argue with a zealot, the best you can ever hope for is a compromise. Whether or not a few people that granite is a magical element is something upon which very little hinges.

As someone firmly (but not militantly) grounded in the science camp, I share in your frustrations. But then you realise - as I'm sure you have - that all religion versus science debate will ultimately end with God moves in mysterious ways.

As long as these people aren't running (or ruining) the world, I'm not going to let myself get angry over a rock




RE: Is this really necessary?
By Descenteer on 4/13/2010 9:31:33 PM , Rating: 4
I am science camp, but I also believe in God. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

It's my experience that the opinions one brings to the table are the same opinions one leaves with, regardless of the logic or evidence presented at said table. At least, at the internet tables.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By Flunk on 4/13/2010 10:13:17 PM , Rating: 1
I think you're missing the point. Belief in god is not creationism. Creationism states that the creation myth as laid out by the bible is literally true. It's not possible to believe in both creationism and science, the two are indeed mutually exclusive.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By freeagle on 4/18/2010 9:46:48 AM , Rating: 2
They are not mutually exclusive, because the interpretation of the bible was constantly changing to adapt to new discoveries. In the beginning, I'm sure people took everything in the bible literally. Today when you ask non-creationist how to interpret genesis, he tells you you need to take it metaphorically, as the days are not real days but rathers eras/ages. My question is, where is the line between literal and metaphorical? Because it seems that every time science comes up with a new discovery, this lines moves towards the metaphorical end. From my point of view, it seems to converge in a point, where god is a metaphore as well


RE: Is this really necessary?
By adiposity on 4/19/2010 1:17:49 PM , Rating: 1
Those that choose to move towards the metaphorical to make religion compatible with science basically support the idea that the book is widely open to interpretation. When something is that open to interpretation, it's use as a guide decreases drastically.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By freeagle on 4/19/2010 5:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
While the others that chose to take it literally need to rely solely on their faith and ignore any scientific discoveries that disprove almost everything related to the creation of universe and things within it. It can hardly be seen as not mutually exclusive.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By Mclendo06 on 4/14/2010 2:11:14 PM , Rating: 4
You should really re-examine your first statement. I find it rather offensive, personally.

I believe in the observations of science, but I also believe in God. There are certainly zealots on both sides of the science/God debate, and I think that they all miss the point. One does not exclude the other. First, the Bible is not a science book, and I feel it shouldn't be interpreted as such. It has more to do with describing God and how He relates to humanity, and how humanity has related to Him throughout history. Secondly, I do not see a means by which science could hope to disprove the existence of God.

For me, the beautiful simplicity that governs most of the observable world, and the growing, possibly infinite complexity that surrounds fundamental questions like "what is matter" and "what is consciousness", points to the existence of something behind the reality which we observe. I actively try to avoid the fallacy of using God as a catch-all for things that we don't currently understand (a great deal of damage was done to early scientific progress because of this). I just find it more reasonable to believe that there is a God behind the reality that I observe than to to think that scientific truths will ever be able to fully explain and justify their own existence.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By ThePooBurner on 4/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is this really necessary?
By William Gaatjes on 4/16/2010 6:50:10 PM , Rating: 2
As soon as the true science starts to conflict with religion, the science will be abandoned or a pseudoscience will start where based on the evidence only conclusion are allowed in favour of the creation myth as described by the religion. And there is where you will always fail. Religion and science can only exist together when the religion is not interfering with science. And that means a whole different form of religion that is totally different then what is popular now which happens all to be based on ancient stories out of Sumer. It is either that or finding your own personal truth to your god trough science. YOu want to come close to your god ? Seek your god...


RE: Is this really necessary?
By ThePooBurner on 4/19/2010 11:14:48 AM , Rating: 1
You missed my point. I said True Science and True Religion. As in absolute truth. The 2 mix harmoniously and perfectly in agreement with each other. There are Zero conflicts. The problem that we face is that few have either, and only 1 of them is currently possible.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By morphologia on 4/19/2010 4:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
"While i am a staunch creationist, i also believe in good science."

I'm finding it very hard indeed to process this sentence without drowning in irony. Creationism by definition eschews "good science." It's based on a dedication to propagating spurious criticism of "good science"(witness, all the efforts to use false or exaggerated "proof" to disprove evolution). It's all well and good to carry out such mental exercises in a philosophical frame of reference, but the problem is that for creationism to be considered valid science, it would require at least some scientific validation for its foundations...including the existence of a creator.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By ThePooBurner on 4/20/2010 2:20:30 PM , Rating: 1
Did you not read what i wrote? The evidence i am putting for for our Creator is the fact that we are creators. If we can do it, why can't someone else who is smarter and knows more than us? You guys are making assumptions about Creationism and totally disregarding the points i put forth.

quote:
Creationism by definition eschews "good science."
No It doesn't. It simply states that we were created by someone else. Someone who knows everything. Scientific progress itself says that this is possible. With sufficiently advanced technology and knowledge anything can be done, and it can be done in such a way that technology doesn't even seem to exist. Is it so hard to accept that there could be someone smarter out there than us? The Universe is a huge place.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By freeagle on 4/21/2010 4:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, it is hard to accept that the whole universe was created by an omnipotent very intelligent being. Not because it sounds strange, but because the more we know about our universe, the more I'm convinced it's made up of a very very simple rules, that created all the complexities. Like fractals, or the game of life. Therefor, there is no need for an intelligent creator.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By FITCamaro on 4/22/2010 10:02:47 PM , Rating: 1
And where did that universe come from? The Big Bang? What caused that? Some theorize that black holes lead to other universes or maybe create other universes. Where did those come from?

In the end we'll never know. But belief in a god isn't so far fetched when considering these questions.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By freeagle on 4/23/2010 4:30:26 AM , Rating: 2
Stating that "we'll never know" is even more far fetched than the idea of god. People do have some, maybe vague, ideas, where did our universe come from. Or any other universe. Truth is, that those are more or less wild theories with no facts at all, exactly the same like saying there is a god behind it. However, there were a lot of things in the nature we could not explain and we always put either god behind them or came up with wild theories. Homework for you, find at least one, where the theory of god prevailed ( not just christian god, any god, even pagan one. They are the same, just with different context )


RE: Is this really necessary?
By FITCamaro on 4/23/2010 10:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
Having a crazy theory or believing in god does not take away from the fact that we'll never know. There is absolutely no way we will ever be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt where the universe came from or how it was created. Unless of course god is real and he "speaks from the heavens" to the entire human race. Even if we invented time travel, you can't go back past the big bang.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By freeagle on 4/24/2010 4:16:21 AM , Rating: 2
Or unless we create another universe. For me the idea that there really is only one UNIverse seems crazy, equally egocentric to the belief that the earth was the center of everything. I know we have no proof so far, or even clue, that there are other, but from what we already know, the idea seems plausible. If god really exists, for me it would be the only thing that does not make sense at all.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By ThePooBurner on 4/26/2010 6:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
I would say that's because you don't actually know or understand who He really is or have any idea of His actual attributes.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By 9ballrun on 4/15/2010 10:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
Hold on, science shows that the earth and it's contents are old and also shows how things form without "and poof there it was". The Bible, which is the "true word of God" states that the earth went "poof" and there it was. You can't believe in God and not belive in what he/she/it is told to have done. Seeing how the "proof" of his existence is tied to the same book that explains what he did.

Another thing I find odd, if God really did create the Earth and all life, why did he make it so complex? If I was capable of making stuff out of nothing and making it move on it's own, I'm making something that looks like a tofu block, not something that's made out of billions of small things that in turn form millions of other small things and so on. Oh wait, there is the "God works in mysterious ways" argument which immediately nullifies any logic one tries to use. A rock should be made out of ONE Rock Thingie, not tons of smaller particles that form it, now that would be something that's just created out of nothing.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By Mclendo06 on 4/15/2010 7:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Another thing I find odd, if God really did create the Earth and all life, why did he make it so complex?

Why was Leonardo da Vinci not content to merely draw stick figures?

I see the deep complexities in the fundamental foundations of nature as evidence of an omniscient creator. The very existence of that complexity is a testament to something behind it. In fact, it seems more plausible to suggest that if the universe just happened apart from any creator, that the natural order of things would have assumed a much simpler form that what we now observe. Complex systems don't generally stand up well on their own.

I also find it interesting that as one who apparently doesn't believe in God, you appeal to a fundamental (albeit flawed) interpretation of scripture to refute its validity. The point I made in my previous post was that the Bible is not a science book. Nowhere does "poof" appear in Genesis. Genesis describes creation as occurring in stages, which it calls "days". Never mind that the sun and the moon weren't created until the 4th "day" (Gen 1:14-18). The point to the creation story is not the how or the when, but the Who . As to the "poof" of God's own existence in the Bible, that's another place that you miss the mark, and in a very big way. The Bible never suggests that God "wasn't". God is eternal; He exists outside of nature and has no beginning or end.

Finally, please don't try to project a position of weakness onto me. I never appealed to an argument that "God works in mysterious ways". There are things about God that I don't understand, but why He put such complex intricacy into His creation is not one of them. Scripture states that we are created in God's image. Our love of fine art, beautiful music, advanced technology, and other "complexities" is a reflection of His image, His character. It is that character that led him to create, and to me, Science is the act of working to understand more and more of that creation.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By JediJeb on 4/18/2010 1:11:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hold on, science shows that the earth and it's contents are old and also shows how things form without "and poof there it was".


So how did all the matter in the universe form? According to science there was nothing before the big bang then nanoseconds later there was all the matter in the universe. That sounds a lot like a "and poof there it was" explanation to me. Seems when taken back to the very beginning both science and religion have the same explanation.

Neither science or religion can tell you what existed before the universe existed except that religion says God existed, nothing more. One side attacks the other yet when pushed back to a complete origin of everything neither can prove the other wrong. Science is based on proof, religion is based on faith. Yet for science to exist you have to have faith in your proofs, and for religion to spread you need at least some proof of your faith. Science and religion will always argue between each other like two people who are just too much alike to ever get along.

quote:
Another thing I find odd, if God really did create the Earth and all life, why did he make it so complex? If I was capable of making stuff out of nothing and making it move on it's own, I'm making something that looks like a tofu block, not something that's made out of billions of small things that in turn form millions of other small things and so on. Oh wait, there is the "God works in mysterious ways" argument which immediately nullifies any logic one tries to use. A rock should be made out of ONE Rock Thingie, not tons of smaller particles that form it, now that would be something that's just created out of nothing.


I guess it depends on the complexity of the mind of the one doing the creating. The way I would build something versus the way Einstein would build something versus the way Rube Goldberg would build something would all be totally different in design and complexity. Maybe God knows enough to know that if it was made too simply, it would not function properly. Or maybe He just wanted to make man have to work hard to figure it all out.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By avxo on 4/22/2010 7:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
According to science there was nothing before the big bang then nanoseconds later there was all the matter in the universe. That sounds a lot like a "and poof there it was" explanation to me.


Except that's not what science says, and whoever taught you that simply had no idea what they were talking about. May I suggest you ask for your money back?

quote:
Neither science or religion can tell you what existed before the universe existed except that religion says God existed, nothing more.


So let me get this straight. Religion can't tell me what existed before the Universe, but it tells me God existed? That's a neat trick! Almost like having your cake and eating it too...

quote:
Yet for science to exist you have to have faith in your proofs


No you don't. Scientific proofs are based in logic, and logic and faith aren't just two different tools in the toolkit of understanding. Faith is blind acceptance in the absence of evidence or proof. It's the diametric opposite of logic.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By superPC on 4/21/2010 11:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you completely. that's why i believe in directed evolution. simply because it can't be proven yet that evolution is truly random. if a being is advanced enough, what that being does is impossible to detect by lesser being.

case in point: our genetically engineered animals and bacteria and before we start doing genetic engineering, we've done selective breeding since time immemorial. those animals wouldn't know that we selected them (or engineered them) for spesific desired traits. if we show darwin one of our genetically engineered animal, he might delete the "random" word that stand in front of mutation in his book.


RE: Is this really necessary?
By FITCamaro on 4/22/2010 9:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
Very good post.

I think there are arguments to be made on both sides. I tend to lean towards intelligent design though. But ultimately, will never know. It takes faith to believe the creation story as is. I was not blessed with it.

I believe in a God, but think fighting about how exactly we came to be is retarded. We won't ever know. Even if scientists discovered every supposed missing piece in the evolution theory puzzle (because it is far from being 100% fact), that does not disprove God. It merely means the Bible isn't meant to be taken literally.

Until mankind has invented time travel, we're not going to know 100% how we came to be. As I've said before, for all we know, aliens created us and put us here. Remember the satellite is in Cartman's @$$.


"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

















botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki