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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.



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RE: Please.
By mofo3k on 4/19/2010 11:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The latest story I just read last week was a NASA computer administrator (who was managing the Cassini project and was previously lauded as an excellent employee), who was recently demoted for discussing Intelligent Design at work, even though his beliefs on this issue have nothing to do with his ability to manage the computer systems.

This dude was distributing DVD's and promoting his misguided ideals at the workplace. Of course he was punished.
quote:
Well I love a good debate also, but its a little unseemly to provoke these types of discussions at a site that is supposedly politically neutral and a source of technology information.

I actually applaud Jason for his neutrality on that particular article. Anyone who's read his material knows that he held back a lot on this one.
quote:
This fossil find wasn't evidence of evolution. It's only evidence of evolution if you already assume that evolution is true. But I guess if you keep repeating a lie often enough people will start to believe it.

I guess you could see it that way, I think the it's better say that it's evidence that "supports" the theory of evolution, and definitely evidence that debunks the "intelligent design" myth. It's funny you ended that with the line "But I guess if you keep repeating a lie often enough people will start to believe it" because isn't that all religion is anyway.


RE: Please.
By wgbutler on 4/19/2010 3:05:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

This dude was distributing DVD's and promoting his misguided ideals at the workplace. Of course he was punished.


It's interesting how one Darwinist complains about people allegedly losing their jobs because of their belief in Darwinism and another Darwinist applauds someone at NASA getting demoted because of his beliefs in Intelligent Design. Free speech for thee, but not for me, eh mofo3k?

What happened at NASA is clearly a case of an ideological witch hunt against ID advocates. From what I have read no one ever filed any kind of complaint against the guy and he only stated his beliefs and offered his materials to interested coworkers. Meanwhile others at the workforce freely talked about their beliefs in neo-Darwinism and bashed Intellgient Design with no reprisals.

Even if the guy was handing out religious tracts and inviting people to his church, the demotion was uncalled for. At worst he should have been reprimanded and told to leave his coworkers alone (assuming that he was bothering them).

quote:

I actually applaud Jason for his neutrality on that particular article. Anyone who's read his material knows that he held back a lot on this one.


I didn't see any neutrality and picked up on quite a few obvious insulting remarks towards religious people.

I think Jason Mick is an ideologue who uses a supposedly politically neutral tech blog to spout his leftist views. And then he gets annoyed that people have the audacity to disagree with him.

quote:

I guess you could see it that way, I think the it's better say that it's evidence that "supports" the theory of evolution, and definitely evidence that debunks the "intelligent design" myth.


It doesn't debunk intelligent design, nor does it provide any new evidence for macro-evolution. All it does it discover a new species of hominid that we didn't know about before. But believe whatever you want, its no skin off my nose.

wgbutler


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