Talk:Counterexamples to an Old Earth/Archive 2

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I'd like to take out the phrase "asserted by atheists" from one of the Astronomy counterexamples, because it is not just atheists who believe in an Old Earth but also Old Earth Creationists. Any objections? --Ed Poor Talk 07:37, 20 April 2010 (EDT)

Contents

Freshwater lakes are known to be relatively young.

I'd like to have this point removed: The previous discussion has shown that it doesn't have any merit.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 15:05, 2 May 2010 (EDT)

As no one added to the previous discussion, I removed the point. FrankC aka ComedyFan 14:18, 9 May 2010 (EDT)

(see response below)--Andy Schlafly 10:03, 3 June 2011 (EDT)

continued existence of fragile natural arches

That's as bad as the example of the lakes: it reminds me of stating: he cannot be old, all his pimples are recent. And the given references don't mention any extrapolation. FrankC aka ComedyFan 14:03, 9 May 2010 (EDT)

(see response below)--Andy Schlafly 10:03, 3 June 2011 (EDT)

Great Lakes

The massive Great Lakes are receding in volume too rapidly to have existed millions of years ago

That would be only a counterexample, if there were any geologist who thought them to be millions of years old. But it seems to be scientific consensus that these lakes were created during the last great ice age ca. 10,000 years ago. FrankC aka ComedyFan 14:07, 9 May 2010 (EDT)

(see response below)--Andy Schlafly 10:03, 3 June 2011 (EDT)

Salt Water Lakes

The existence of inland saltwater lakes, such as Mono Lake and the Great Salt Lake, suggest a recent global flood

No, it doesn't. It just suggests that endorheic lakes exist - lakes without an outflow to rivers or the ocean. If such a sea has an inflow, any dissolved material (like salts) will accumulate, while the water just evaporates.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 14:12, 9 May 2010 (EDT)

(see response below)--Andy Schlafly 10:03, 3 June 2011 (EDT)

Reply to above 4 comments

The 4 comments above are not substantive. In each case, the evidence is that a basic attribute of Earth is young, and nothing above supports the denial of this fact.--Andy Schlafly 16:58, 9 May 2010 (EDT)

No. But they are all counterarguments to the concreteness of your examples. The comments above are all traditionally accepted and easily verifiable scientific theories that offer a more plausible and widely accepted version of what happened than the case you present. Take for example, your point regarding inland saltwater lakes. You make the claim that they can ONLY exist with the aid of a global flood. This is CATEGORICALLY untrue, and demonstrates a dangerous predisposition to jump to conclusions without scientific fact. As mentioned above. The existence of said lakes is attributed to a chemical tendency known as distillation. Water is volatile and salt is not, therefore water evaporates out of the lake until the concentration of salt and other solids is extremely high. You can duplicate this experiment at home by taking a large jug of tap water and allowing it to sit in a hot, bright, dry room for a few weeks. When you return, the tap water will have an extremely high salinity, no ocean water needed.
Conversely, the claim about a global flood has numerous holes in it. For one, there is no uniform layer of sediment that exists evenly in global geological strata. Such a layer would be inevitable if the world really was entirely submerged for any appreciable period of time. Secondly, and more importantly, there isn't enough water to fill the oceans AND cover the land. A global flood would require that there had once been a lot of water that is no longer present on earth, and this simply can't happen.
I'm sorry to say, Andy, but YOUR arguments are not substantive.--LoganBertram 17:02, 29 Sept 2010 (GMT+2)

What's a counterexample?

Maybe we have to start with the question above. I think it is reasonable to expect a counterexample to have some basic properties:

  1. it should not be easily - or even obviously - be reconciled or explained within the theory of an Old Earth.
  2. it should be at least as well be explained within the concurring theory of a Young Earth and finally:
  3. the negation of the counterexample should be even more obviously and more easily be reconciled or explained within the theory of an Old Earth.

What are the theories saying? Here are two working definitions...

Old Earth: Since the 18th century, scientist are convinced that the surface of the Earth is changing gradually over long periods of time. So, if there is a somewhat widespread geological feature, we expect that we can observe it in all stages of development.

Young Earth: The surface of the Earth was mainly shaped as we find it now by the Great Flood.

So, how do the examples fit in?

Frank, the style of your remarks reflect a lack of an open mind towards this issue. You state, "Since the 18th century, scientist[s] are convinced ... over long periods of time." This is an historical distortion, and unhelpful to an open-minded discussion even if were true.
I welcome open-minded discussions, but closed-minded discussions are often a waste of time. So please show some signs of an open mind about this first. Thanks.--Andy Schlafly 11:10, 11 May 2010 (EDT)
I'm all for an open-minded discussion, too, and I'm sorry if my previous comment didn't convey this. So, let's drop the historical aspect, and just say:
  • Old Earth: The surface of the Earth is changing gradually over long periods of time, and the rate of this change is roughly constant.
  • Young Earth: The surface of the Earth was mainly shaped by the Great Flood a couple of thousands years ago.
But I hope you can agree with the basic properties (points 1-3 above) a counterexample to an Old Earth should have?
FrankC aka ComedyFan 07:46, 12 May 2010 (EDT)
Frank, are you trying to refute any of the counterexamples? (In which case please provide some actual evidence) Your closed-minded insistence on causing argument seems pointless. ArnoldR 08:34, 12 May 2010 (EDT)

The continued existence of fragile natural arches without having collapsed a short time period for erosion and stresses on them

Fragile natural arches exist, as there are always formed new ones. Old natural arches collapse, but others may replace them. What if there were no natural arches? I don't think that anybody had thought of them then.

The massive Great Lakes are receding in volume too rapidly to have existed millions of years ago

No geologists thinks that these lakes are millions of years old: they were created during the last ice age. Lakes are constantly created (e.g., when rivers change there bed), and happen to perish over time (Messel pit). Some are older than others (Baikal sea). The absence of new lakes would be quite puzzling for geologists! And Earth isn't as young as the youngest lake, but much older than the oldest one... (by FrankC)

The "ice age theory" was a patch to try to explain away the counterexample. The patch fails, however, because freshwater lakes exist near the Equator, too far from any plausible ice.--Andy Schlafly 00:20, 15 May 2010 (EDT)
It quite a leap to get from Great Lakes were created during the last ice age to all lakes were created during the last ice age! There a various mechanisms to form a lake, though in the north (Canada, US, Finland) the ice age is responsible for most of them. I doubt that Young Earth Creationists claim that all lakes were created during the Great Flood, though I assume that they think that no lake is older than this.
BTW, what do you think of the three basic properties of a counterexample which I mentioned above?
FrankC aka ComedyFan 08:45, 18 May 2010 (EDT)
Well, then, the freshwater lakes that were not formed by the (implausible) "ice age" theory serve as a counterexample.
As to your suggestion of three basis properties of a counterexample, I comment on each here:
1. it should not be easily - or even obviously - be reconciled or explained within the theory of an Old Earth.
This would work if you include a requirement of plausibility.
2. it should be at least as well be explained within the concurring theory of a Young Earth and finally:
No, this is not required, but illustrates a basic flaw in Old-Earth-thinking. Do you think mathematicians accept the validity of a hypothesis as long as no competing hypothesis has been proven? Of course not.
3. the negation of the counterexample should be even more obviously and more easily be reconciled or explained within the theory of an Old Earth.
This is incoherent, but illustrates the contorted logic of Old-Earth advocates.--Andy Schlafly 10:39, 18 May 2010 (EDT)
implausible ice age theory? What's implausible about that? It just doesn't fit your YEC preconceptions.
  1. Yes, I include the requirement of plausibility. What's the point of implausible counterexamples?
  2. Is there a third theory I haven't heard of? If the Earth isn't young, it is old.
  3. This is incoherent, but illustrates the contorted logic of Old-Earth advocates. No, I'm afraid, that' just obvious common sense.
FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:55, 18 May 2010 (EDT)
Frank, if you're not going to address my substantive points, then please don't respond. I make a direct analogy to mathematical hypotheses and you ignored it. Do you really think a mathematical hypothesis must be true if there is no proof for the converse?--Andy Schlafly 11:16, 18 May 2010 (EDT)
I'm sorry, I seem to have missed the substantive points, so I try to make myself clearer by using the language of logic. So, let's C be a counterexample to the Old Earth Theory (OET). If C is true, than OET should be false, that's the first point:
1: C ⇒ ~OET. If C is a good counterexample, than this equation should be obvious for everyone.
I thought the Young Earth Theory (YET) and the Old Earth Theory to be complementary, so YET = ~OET. Therefore obviously
2: C ⇒ YET
And from 1, one gets
3: OET ⇒ ~C
I hope that this straightforward formulation is less confusing than my verbose the negation of the counterexample should be even more obviously and more easily be reconciled or explained within the theory of an Old Earth. I formulated it this way, as all this isn't as exact as one would wish for: what's an obvious relation for one, needs quite an elaborate explanation for another.
But now for The massive Great Lakes are receding in volume too rapidly to have existed millions of years ago . As I said before, OET don't claim that these lakes existed millions of years ago, but are quite recent. You then said : The patch fails, however, because freshwater lakes exist near the Equator, too far from any plausible ice. So, what's your counterexample now? Do you claim that the OET implies that all lakes are of the same age or were created in the same way? It seems to me that you are saying: As there are lakes near the Equator, the Great Lakes are millions of years old - according to OET. But that's just a strawman, and shouldn't be included in the list.
FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:31, 21 May 2010 (EDT)

The existence of inland saltwater lakes, such as Mono Lake and the Great Salt Lake, suggest a recent global flood

As said earlier, saltwater lakes are explained easily as being endorheic. If there were no saltwater seas, then the endorheic basins would have to be very unstable, preventing bodies of water to become older than a couple of hundred years. This would imply quite a geologic activity, which we don't observe. But how do these inland saltwater lakes fit within the theory of a Young Earth? Do you imply that the Earth was inundated by a salty ocean for forty days and nights? How could anything survive - and multiply - on this salty ground when the water receded? To explain these lakes with a global flood poses quite a few problems. So, this counterexample is especially unconvincing, as it fails all three basic properties...

An extrapolation of time between the collapse of weaker arches with still-standing stronger arches supports a young earth age

Has anyone done this extrapolation? Without it, the point is moot.

At the moment, the article impresses with the quantity of examples. But the obvious weakness of some examples distracts from other examples which may have some merit.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 09:00, 11 May 2010 (EDT)

Lakes again

  • It was repeatedly explained why the Great Lakes are no countexample to an Old Earth.
  • Aschlafly concluded: Well, then, the freshwater lakes that were not formed by the (implausible) "ice age" theory serve as a counterexample."
  • Aschlafly, could you reformulate the counterexample in question? Thanks.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:49, 1 June 2010 (EDT)

There are large freshwater lakes near the Equator. Do you think an "Ice Age" formed them also?--Andy Schlafly 11:10, 1 June 2010 (EDT)
To quote myself: There a various mechanisms to form a lake, though in the north (Canada, US, Finland) the ice age is responsible for most of them. I doubt that Young Earth Creationists claim that all lakes were created during the Great Flood, though I assume that they think that no lake is older than this. FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:15, 1 June 2010 (EDT)
You may quote yourself, but your answer was less than direct. You seem to admit that that the Ice Age did NOT form the large freshwater lakes near the Equator. But I'm confident that any testing done on those lakes will reveal a young age for them also. That defies explanation consistent with an Old Earth theory.--Andy Schlafly 20:29, 1 June 2010 (EDT)
Pfft, in the 70's liberals were saying that the earth was cooling. Now, its supposedly warming. I wouldn't be surprised if they change their tune about the "Ice Age" in 40 years.

But I'm confident that any testing done on those lakes will reveal a young age for them also.

I'm afraid that your confidence is misplaced - the examinations and tests of geologists lead to different results. Let's have a closer look - what lakes are we talking about? Near to the equator - say in the strip between 5° North and 5° South - the number of lakes of considerable size isn't big:

  • South America: none
  • Indonesia: Lake Toba on Sumatra, Lake Tempe and Lake Poso on Sulawesi. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world, resulting from an eruption 69,000 - 78,000 years ago. So, it's older (according to the test of geologists) than the last Ice Age, but fairly young on a geological scale. Lake Tempe is a flood plain of an average depth of 5m, so it's quite volatile in geological standards. Lake Poso is a tectonic lake and regarded as ancient (1 - 2 million years).
  • Africa: Here you find the African Great Lakes, in the area of our interest especially, the Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Turkana, Lake Albert, Lake Kivu, and Lake Edward. These are located in the Great Rift Valley, which is - according to geologists - a continental rift zone. Though you may call Lake Victoria young - as it's only 500,000 old and dried out a couple of times, the other lakes are estimated to be roughly 4 million years old.

All of these lakes are older than the American Great Lakes. So, I repeat my request: please, remove The massive Great Lakes are receding in volume too rapidly to have existed millions of years ago from the list of counterexamples:

  • it is misleading, as atheistic geologists don't claim that these lakes have existed millions of years ago
  • your alternate approach (Well, then, the freshwater lakes that were not formed by the (implausible) "ice age" theory serve as a counterexample) doesn't work neither, as there are ancient (≈ 4 million years) freshwater lakes.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:47, 2 June 2010 (EDT)

None of the freshwater lakes are older than 10,000 years, and you cite nothing to the contrary. Carbon dating, for example, repeatedly confirms that even the oldest freshwater sources are young.
What about Lake Suigetsu Lake Suigetsu? It is used to help calibrate the radiocarbon method back to ~50,000 years (Hughen et al., 2004, Science). There are others, but as you reason, one counterexample should be enough to dismiss this claim. Speaking as a geologist who studies lake sediments and other terrestrial climate records, your very approach is misleading. How would the absence of old (10 kyr+) lakes be a counterexample to an old Earth? Lakes are typically short-lived geological phenomena because they depend on a particular water balance for a region. The water balance is dependent on climate, which (not surprisingly) changes on centennial to millennial time scales. Pluvial lakes of the Mojave Desert, for example, dried out at the end of the last Ice Age (i.e. these freshwater lakes were present for thousands of years prior to 11,500 years BP, or the beginning of the Holocene). In contrast, other regions became wetter at the end of the last Ice Age and so many new lakes formed as a result. Climate controls the formation of lakes and climate has changed substantially over the past 21,000 years. The Great Salt Lake is only salty now because the formerly present freshwater lake began to shrink. Speaking of which, there are two more counterexamples to your claim. --RainyD 01:42, 2 May 2012 (EDT)
I've answered your question, now how about answering mine below, repeated here for your convenience: do you agree that arguing against your view of creationism is no basis for defending the Old Earth theory? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Aschlafly (talk)
None of the freshwater lakes are older than 10,000 years, and you cite nothing to the contrary.
On the contrary, there is little doubt under geologists that all of the lakes above are not young (with the possible exception of Lake Tempe) . Every textbook on geology will tell you that the oldes of Great African Lakes were formed ≈ 4 mya ago, with Lake Victoria being the youngest of the lot[1]. The Toba event took place ≈ 70,000 years ago.
Carbon dating, for example, repeatedly confirms that even the oldest freshwater sources are young.
This doesn't make sense. Carbon dating is only used on relatively young (holecenic) freshwater sources. (More in a separate section)
I've answered your question, now how about answering mine below, repeated here for your convenience: do you agree that arguing against your view of creationism is no basis for defending the Old Earth theory?
I thought that I've answered this question, too, but I'll elaborate:
  • no, arguing against one theory doesn't defend the other. But both theories can't be true simultaneously - though both could be false. OTOH, there aren't that many concurring theories out there. And entries like this of your fellow sysop Conservative show that on this page, Old Earth Theory and Young Earth Theory are put against each other.
FrankC aka ComedyFan 08:58, 5 June 2010 (EDT)
You still don't explain why you have repeatedly argued that an Old Earth theory must be true because you think that your view of creationism is false. I don't know why you include creationism at all in your reasoning, given that you think it is false. Would you expect a mathematician to chant as part of his proof of a difficult problem a statement that another proposed proof is false? Of course not. The Old Earth theory is disproved by the numerous counterexamples, and creationism is irrelevant to that disproof or a reasoned discussion of it.--Andy Schlafly 14:07, 6 June 2010 (EDT)

Implausibility of the Ice Age Theory

What's implausible about it? The article Ice Age doesn't say anything about plausibility. FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:51, 1 June 2010 (EDT)

What is implausible is that sheets of ice from the north would carve the Great Lakes in their unique shape, plus the Mississippi bluffs that sometimes face north-to-south, plus other unexpected formations. Has a computer simulation ever duplicated this result? I've never found a paper about such a simulation in my search for one. Have you?--Andy Schlafly 20:29, 1 June 2010 (EDT)
Who says the basins of the Great Lakes were carved by glacial ice sheets? The unique shape of the Great Lakes watershed is related to the intracratonic basin on which they lie. --RainyD 01:42, 2 May 2012 (EDT)
I'm not aware of any computer simulation of the formation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi which encompasses the whole of North America and is granular enough to show features like the bluffs you spoke of - neither for the last Ice Age nor for the Great Flood.
The creation of the Great Lakes however can be studied by geologists who examined the history of this area. Their surveys paint an interesting picture of the formation of the Great Lakes (here an introduction).
FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:49, 2 June 2010 (EDT)
Frank, you repeatedly reason in an "either-or" manner, as though the only two possibilities are the Old Earth and your view of creationism. That's not logical or scientific. Both could be wrong. No mathematician would claim that if one proof is defective then an alternative proof must be correct.


If the Ice Age theory provided a plausible explanation for the Great Lakes and other observed formations (such as the Mississippi bluffs), then a computer simulation would be easy to build. But it hasn't been done, which suggests that the Ice Age theory is implausible in explaining all that is observed.--Andy Schlafly 12:14, 2 June 2010 (EDT)
  • both could be false, both aren't simulated globally
  • are you confident that such a simulation could be easily build? The formation of the Great Lakes has been simulatied - that's something I'm confident of.
FrankC aka ComedyFan 12:24, 2 June 2010 (EDT)
(Could you please answer to my substantive edits in the previous section? Thanks. FrankC aka ComedyFan 12:25, 2 June 2010 (EDT))
Computer simulations would be easy to make. scientists clearly have access to computers. If they're so confident of their "theories" why not make an accurate simulation and add that as proof? I think they know there irratioinal beliefs won't help up to scruteny. FrankC, just have an open mind. --ReligiousRight 12:36, 2 June 2010 (EDT)
Actually, this PDF contains the results of just such a survey: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V72-48F04CM-26&_user=10&_coverDate=08/20/1990&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1478705466&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=4e83cc89688e873bc3fa1889ab02a7b4&searchtype=a
Andy, and ReligiousRight, I would suggest you both take your own advice on open-mindedness and try to read it.--LoganBertram 17:17 29 Sept 2010 (GMT+2)
And, just as a side note: As a programmer, I can assure you that simulating systems that involve literally millions of variables is about as easy as as it sounds.--LoganBertram 17:17 29 Sept 2010 (GMT+2)

All carbon dating of water supplies, even the most ancient and the deepest underground reservoirs, result in relatively young ages

  1. All carbon dating of water supplies, even the most ancient and the deepest underground reservoirs, result in relatively young ages,[2] and no water has been found suggesting an Old Earth.

The source doesn't corroborate the claim. The authors of the study seem to be well aware of the limits of carbon dating, and don't try to apply it to pre-Holecene water. And of course, a reservoir can be older than the water it holds (you can't judge the age of the glass by the vintage of the wine!).

Conservapedia's article on carbon dating highlights the fact that it can't be used to determine ages older than 50,000 years.

nota bene: the source shouldn't be used for lakes at all: it mentions lakes only in a passing reference to the founder of the science of dating water, Franke and Deevey.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 09:08, 5 June 2010 (EDT)

  1. John Reader, Africa, National Geographic 9/2001
  2. http://www.betalabservices.com/PDF/Geyh.pdf
"14C dating of the DIC in palaeowater is indispensable for paleohydrological and palaeoclimatologi-

cal reconstructions and for applied hydrogeological studies. Numerical mass-transport modeling profits from the improvement of hydrogeological conceptions and the revision of boundary condi- tions. In the case of non-steady-state recharge conditions, maximum and minimum recharge rates in the past may be estimated from 14C dates of DIC via numerical modeling.

14C dates measured from DIC enable the determination of regional geohydraulic parameters and

allow water balances to be checked. In most applications, complementary environmental isotope analyses of hydrogen and oxygen together with general hydrochemical measurements are recom- mended to facilitate a comprehensive and thorough interpretation of the 14C dates (Cark and Fritz 1997).

A primary task towards a significant improvement in the applied 14C dating of groundwater remains

with the development of procedures that will enable 14C activities measured from DIC to be confi- dently included in the calibration of finite-element and compartmental modeling exercises."

This is a quote from the conclusion of the paper Andy cited to make his point about C-14 testing. In short, the conclusion says that it is necessary to further develop C-14 testing for dissolved carbons so as to improve our understanding of paleohydrology. The paper never makes concrete assertions about the "age" of the water, just suggestions for a method of testing the organic mater in water to help determine the age of isolated aquifers (NOT LAKES, which would have inconsistent levels due to evaporation and run-off.
Andy, please start showing more discretion with the scope of your claims, and present better evidence. Bad arguments are a detraction from the integrity of this site, and your posts only end up hurting our argument.--LoganBertram 17:43 29 Sept 2010 (GMT+2)

Let's be fair on this one, you can't Carbon date water because water is made of Hydrogen and Oxygen, not Carbon. You can Carbon date the contents of the water that contain Carbon-14, but there's no point to that because all you get is the date of the contents and not the date of the water. I could test the water and get a 100 year old piece of plant mater and get 100 years, or I could test the water and get 5000 year old plant matter and get a date of 5000 years. It's a poor claim to say this method has any bearing on the date of the Earth, no-one who understands the process would make that claim

Furthermore, Carbon dating could never be used to date anything older than say 25,000 years because the half life of Carbon-14 is so short. Even when you do Carbon date something you can never use it to tell the age of the Earth because you would hit a brick wall at that point due to majority of Carbon-14 having decayed into Carbon-12. Other radiometric dating methods are used for telling the age of the Earth because their "clocks" extend further back. I strongly suggest that this point should be removed because it is far too weak, people knowledgeable on this topic would just not take this page seriously.--SecularConservative

I removed carbon dating of ground water argument for the rather straightforward fact that C14 does not have a sufficiently long enough half-life to measure its decay over billions of years, thus it cannot be used to test the old Earth hypotheses, merely confirm that Earth is at least several thousand years old, that is if the groundwater has sufficiently high enough concentration of carbon to measure radioactive decay products. --Mike127 23:15, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

Answer to Aschlafy

You asked: You still don't explain why you have repeatedly argued that an Old Earth theory must be true because you think that your view of creationism is false. I don't know why you include creationism at all in your reasoning, given that you think it is false. Would you expect a mathematician to chant as part of his proof of a difficult problem a statement that another proposed proof is false?

I don't think that the reason for the Old Earth theory to be true is that Young Earth creationism is false. But even if I followed the insinuated reasoning above, that shouldn't influence the topic of our discussion: counterexamples to an Old Earth. On this talkpage, I want to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these counterexamples.

Just for an analogy. Often, you hear criticism of the infallibility of the Bible phrased as questions like Whom did Cain marry? What's the value of π according to 1 Kings 7:23?. These questions can be phrased as counterexamples to Biblical inerrancy:

  • Cain dwelt in the land of Nod. There were no other people. So he couldn't get a wife.
  • The circumference and the diameter of a bronze vessel are given as 30 units and 10 units. Therefore, the Bible claims that π equals 3.

Are these valid counterexamples? Would someone using these examples in a discussion impress his dialog partners? No , of course not! The first one makes a claim (there were no other people - Adam and Eve had other children!) not made in the Bible - therefore erecting a straw-man, the second one talks about the features of a special object: maybe there was a brim? And 3' is an approximation for π.... a These so-called counterexamples are easily explained within the Biblical framework, and anyone using them shows just his ignorance in these matters. Therefore, repeating them and ignoring the given explanation is just a Mantric exercise for those who chose not to face reality: I hope that we can agree that these counterexamples are weak, and their weakness can be seen be everyone - believing in Biblical inerrancy or not.

I'm afraid that the same must be said about some of the counterexamples to an Old Earth: the most impressive about them is their number. But the individual examples tend to be quite weak. What happens to a pupil using them in a discussion with his fellow students - or his teacher? He will be faced with further questions and explanations. For instance, look at:

  • The massive Great Lakes are receding in volume too rapidly to have existed millions of years ago

This whole discussion is irrelevant because volume gain/loss in lakes is a function of climate-driven water balance, which fluctuates on centennial to millennial time scales. These trends cannot be extrapolated into history unless they are normalized to fluctuations in precipitation and other water sources (such as glacial meltwater). --RainyD 01:42, 2 May 2012 (EDT)

Here, the straw-man are the millions of years: no geologist is claiming that the Great Lakes are that old. What do you expect the pupil to answer to this? Should he chose to ignore the explanation and go on to the next point in the list? After a couple of easily refuted points, his public will get weary and start to think that there isn't a good counterexample against an Old Age of the Earth.

To prevent this, you should perhaps elaborate the examples, and give refutations for the explanations of geologists.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:39, 8 June 2010 (EDT)

What if we assume that geologists really do think that the Great Lakes were made by icebergs 10,000 years ago instead of 10,000,000? There is still no proof of this, not even a computer model (which I assure you could be easily done). Your argument is much ado about nothing. NateSmall 14:59, 8 June 2010 (EDT)
See my post responding to this topic earlier. The model is there in the link. Other proof includes any of the numerous geological surveys that can be found by googling the topic in google scholar. Also, "much ado about nothing" is taken from Shakespearian slang for sex crazed. I find the assertion that Frank is a sex addict just because you disagree with him to be insulting.--LoganBertram 17:49 29 Sept 2010 (GMT+2)

Observations on some deceitful points in this article

Hi. I'm new here after finding this site from a google search on abortion. I also came across this, um, peculiar article. I looked at some of the facts presented and it looks deliberately misleading:

  • For example, because freshwater lakes appear to be "young" (subjective term but we'll go with it) has no indication on the age of the earth.
  • The earth's magnetic field is indeed declining, but when I go to that NASA site, in the same, exact paragraph, it says:


There have been about 170 of these reversals during the last 76 million years according to geological evidence. The time between reversals seems to be growing longer, and is currently about 300,000 years or so. The last one of these happened about 770,000 years ago (0.77 on the graph). We are currently living during a period that has been called the Brunhes Magnetic Chron when the South Magnetic Pole is in the Northern Hemisphere. During the previous Matumaya Magnetic Chron, the North Magnetic Pole was in the Northern Hemisphere! Note that, from the polarity figure, at a time 0.94 million years ago (940,000 years ago) the magnetic field reverse itself by going nearly to 'zero' but then after a few thousand years it recovered and began to increase in strength. During the next 150,000 years it rose to a maximum strength and then began to decline. Notice, also, how fast the magnetic field recovers after it reaches 'zero', in some cases much less than 10,000 years.

.. but then the article has:

Presently, Earth's magnetic field is weakening in strength by 5% every 100 years. ... Not comparable to an old earth

Kind of deceptive and misleading, if not blatantly lying, no?

Thanks for your feedback, DouglasM 15:45, 8 June 2010 (EDT)

Another observation

Religulous Right undid an edit of mine, so I'll explain why I removed it. First off, it's highly speculative and opinionated to an individual:

  • Are SAT scores going down everywhere? Is this a pattern? I should think that such a remarkable conclusion should have a reference.
  • Personal letters and style of writing does not necessarily reflect intelligence. I'd see this as more of a "times change" event. Not to invoke a response here, but language evolves: compare old english to the english of the 1700s to today: all 3 are very different. Because language and social cues change throughout human history doesn't compare to overall intelligence and thus certainly not to the age of the earth. Thanks DouglasM 19:21, 8 June 2010 (EDT)
I realize you're new here. However, you can't just walk into somebody's living room and strart deleting their work because you don't approve of it. Either you make your case here or contribute to the project with material before you start deleting stuff. If all new useres starting deleting everything they didn't like we would end up with no material. Also, if you didn't notice, there were four footnotes in the section you deleted. --ReligiousRight 19:47, 8 June 2010 (EDT)
I made my case above, did you not read it? DouglasM 19:50, 8 June 2010 (EDT)


Hopefully I can address a few of your concerns here, Douglas.
  • Are SAT scores going down everywhere? Is this a pattern? I should think that such a remarkable conclusion should have a reference. The only data I could find on this statement is here, which does show a slow and steady decline within the past five years of critical reading skills, while mathematics has stayed steady the past three years. The average high school student's SAT score, given the data, has dropped, though I concede that there is perhaps not enough data to make a definitive statement on the matter.
  • Personal letters and style of writing does not necessarily reflect intelligence. I'd see this as more of a "times change" event. Not to invoke a response here, but language evolves: compare old english to the english of the 1700s to today: all 3 are very different. Because language and social cues change throughout human history doesn't compare to overall intelligence and thus certainly not to the age of the earth. Style of writing does not necessarily reflect intelligence, but linguistics and grammar do. The spoken word has become—for lack of a better word (heh)—lazy due to either lost interest in proper spoken word or lack of mental ability to comprehend and utilize it. I believe that one's speech capabilities are intertwined with how intelligent he is.
In the future, please wait for someone to address your points before making changes to a sensitive article. -- Jeff W. LauttamusDiscussion 20:05, 8 June 2010 (EDT)
Yes. However, I'm saying make your case BEFORE you start deleting points that could possibly be great insights. We don't want to be engaging in Liberal censorship. --ReligiousRight 19:59, 8 June 2010 (EDT)

Thanks for the aid, RR, but this user has been politely removed from the site. He may return in three days. Until then, RR, may I suggest you do something more productive than bicker with liberals on talk pages? I understand they are infuriating, but trust me, us admins have got it under control. Nothing gets by us. JacobBShout out! 20:03, 8 June 2010 (EDT) I didn't realize he was a liberal. I thought he just may have been a deluded conservative. Even they make me very angry! But you're right. I'll do something more productive. --ReligiousRight 20:09, 8 June 2010 (EDT)

Administrators, RR, will offer instruction to other users, not other editors. Is that clear? I am disturbed by the continual similarities in your observations and those of past users we eventually found not to be of good intentions. Jacob's suggestion for you if far more polite than any I would offer at this moment, as I would have blocked you both for two days. While your contributions are appreciated the same as anyone else editing here, refrain from emulating other editors style, especially administrators, and completely refrain from bombast and unsupported statements, RR. --ṬK/Admin/Talk 04:38, 9 June 2010 (EDT)
In regards to the SAT, I think a number of points warrant sharing: Firstly, the idea that the dropping of SAT scores would be indicative of dropping human intelligence is predicated on the idea that the SAT is actually an accurate measure of human intelligence. It is not. In fact, the College Board who administers the test has admitted it: Where the SAT used to stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test, that acronym was removed when the College Board was forced by numerous studies to admit that the test is not a measure of scholastic anything. The test measures precisely how good students are at taking tests, nothing more. An increasing amount of research agrees with this fact. I can provide additional citations if you wish, but this information is readily available.
Furthermore, if the SAT were an accurate measure of intelligence and scores were dropping, a number of baseless assumptions would still be being made: Namely, that the people taking the SAT are the same in make-up and number every year. This is not the case. Unfortunately, despite the increasing information that the SAT is a useless examination, more and more students every year are taking it. What that means, however, is that if test scores are indeed going down, we cannot assume that it is indicative of dropping intelligence because every year the makeup of the students is changing. I'll put it more simply: It used to be that only the best students took the SAT, because only the best students went to college and only the best students went to colleges that required high SAT scores for applications. As the national attitude towards secondary education becomes that EVERYBODY needs to go to college, more states have begun requiring SAT testing for students. Thus, not just the best students are taking the SAT - but everyone is, including less intelligent students that otherwise would not take the test. So of course test scores are going to drop. If you were a teacher, and could select the top three students in your class to take a test, and have those test scores reflect your entire class, wouldn't you do that? Of course. Because those students would do well (hopefully), and make your class look intelligent. If, however, your entire class - including the struggling students - had to take the test, the score would not compare well with the test score of the three students. Yes? It's the same thing here.
And lastly, you should be aware that the SAT is not the same test every year. It is consistently made more or less difficult in the name of 'raising standards.' That is, when scores get too high, test-makers don't assume that people are getting more intelligent, they assume that the test was too easy, and make it harder. Thus, you see a test today that is far more difficult than it was even a decade ago. Again, for all of this citations are easily found online, but I can provide if that is desired. I would suggest removing the statement about declining human intelligence, as it is not backed up by the evidence presented, and CERTAINLY not backed up by the SAT statement. Jpope1487 13:39, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
Point 1 (your claim that the SAT measures only test-taking skills, and nothing more) is rejected by the vast majority of colleges and scholars and even the NCAA -- as well as common sense. Scores on the test clearly have some correlation with "aptitude", which was the historical purpose of the exam. Political correctness in changing the name of the test does not change the truth. Individual SAT scores may mean less than averages over many students.
Point II (bigger numbers of people are taking the SAT, which lowers its average) would only be valid if backed up by data, and I doubt there has been any increase in takers of the SAT big enough to account for the decline in scores.
Point III: The writers of the SAT are not making it more difficult. If anything, they are making it easier.
The most plausible explanation for the declining SAT scores is the also the most straightforward: people are getting dumber.--Andy Schlafly 18:12, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
Actually, Aschlafly, the majority of colleges and scholars (I don't know about the NCAA) are beginning to realize the inefficiency of standardized testing as a measure of scholastic achievement, and most colleges today are placing less and less emphasis on test scores in regards to admission. Many colleges - off of my head I can name Bates, Bowdoin, Connecticut, and Mount Holyoke - no longer require any standardized testing scores at all. And while those certainly aren't Ivy Leagues, they're not community colleges either.
Furthermore, year after year the College Board's own statistics depict a virtually linear correlation between things like SAT scores and family income or race. In fact, more than half of the difference in SAT scores can be explained purely on the basis of parents' level of education.
And consider this: Since 1984, College Board studies of the SAT have shown that only about 12 to 16 percent of the variance in freshman grades could be predicted by SAT scores, which suggests that even in regards to something as subjective as grades, the SAT is a worthless measuring tool. In the 1980s a review in the American Education Research Journal concluded that test scores from high school and college accounted for less than 3 percent of variance in job performance and income, and that such scores had absolutely no predictive power whatsoever over who eventually earned more Ph.D.s or M.D.'s.
I cannot find the article at this moment, but in a 1996 issue of the Harvard Educational Review, it was reported that participation rates accounted for an incredible 85% of variance in test scores from state to state. Eighty-five percent. That's incredibly significant. So in regards to Point II, yes, a massive amount of score variance can be accounted for by differences in the test taking body.
Finally, let's look at the idea of standardized testing in general. In a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, students were classified as "actively" engaged in learning if they asked questions of themselves while they read and tried to connect what they were doing to past learning; and they were classified as "superficially" engaged if they just copied down answers, guessed a lot, and skipped hard sections. It turns out that high test scores - including scores on the SAT - were more likely to be found by students who exhibited the superficial approach, rather than the engaged approach.
Let's face the facts: Standardized testing has never been an effective measure of intelligence. One's ability to spit back facts and answer scholastically useless questions within a time limit is not a measure of intelligence. So to claim that test scores dropping (a fact which hasn't actually been backed up by citations yet) is a measure of a dropping human intelligence is just ridiculous. That would be like saying the Earth is getting warmer by measuring the temperature on the moon. (Something I swear some scientists actually try to do, but whatever). It's not an accurate measuring system. It never has been. I suggest again the removal of the SAT point. Jpope1487 15:39, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
Some studies to back up my earlier claims: Regarding test scores and their predictive power over grades: Ford, Susan F. & Campos, Sandy. Summary of Validity Data from the Admissions Testing Program Validity Study Service. New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1977.
That study showed that, at best, the SAT showed an 8-15% accuracy in predicting freshman GPA. In other words, for an average 88% of applicants, random chance would do an equal or better job predicting their freshman grades than their SAT scores would.
•Astin, Alexander W. "Racial Considerations in Admissions." The Campus and the Racial Crisis. Eds. David C. Nichols & Olive Mills. Washington, DC: American Council on Education, 1970: 113-141.

•Astin, Alexander W. Predicting Academic Performance in College. New York: Free Press, 1971.

Those two studies found that using SAT scores to predict successful graduation resulted in a less than 5% accuracy for both men and women. The SAT cannot, therefore, determine who is going to graduate college, completing an education that would, by golly, make them generally regarded as "intelligent."
"Selecting College Material." New York Times 4 April 1976: E7
Statistics on test scores and college success, however, can never reveal what might have been. In a rare practical experiment Williams College admitted 358 students, ten percent of each year's new admissions, over a ten year period who would otherwise have been rejected by the school's normal test score and grade requirements. The identities of the "ten percenters" were kept secret from faculty and students. They were subjected to the same academic requirements as other students and received no special aid. In 1976 the results were announced — 71% of the "ten percenters" graduated, compared with the school average of 85%. In one graduating class, the class president, president of the college council, and the president of the honor society were all "ten percenters"
Just to back up my claims.Jpope1487 15:52, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
You do a good job of criticizing the SAT, I'm not claiming it to be a perfect measure of aptitude. But it is an approximation and 95% of colleges agree. The most straightforward and plausible explanation for the declining SAT scores is declining intelligence. No other explanation is as plausible ... at least not to an open mind.--Andy Schlafly 16:11, 20 June 2011 (EDT
Wait. What? An open mind is closed to all possibilities as to why SAT scores have dropped over the last few years, except for the option of people becoming less intelligent? Shouldn't we check whether the SAT's as they existed in the 1970's and as they existed in 2005 (say) to make sure the tests aren't just harder? AsherL 18:48, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
Just a thought. Could not the drop in SAT scores be explained by the dramatic drop in the amount of time students spend studying (in the public school system). Television and video games are replacing time that students use to spend studying. I can't find the link, but there was a story that said time devoted to study fell over 50% since the 70's.

Sources

The sources for some of the counterexamples highlight their weaknesses:

FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:38, 15 June 2010 (EDT)

The reinsertion of the link I took out is somewhat surprising. Could someone define what is to be understood by an authoritative work? FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:19, 15 June 2010 (EDT)

Frank, your comments are nit-picky stuff. This is a site for the open-minded, earnest search for the truth. A galaxy spinning in a direction opposite to its tail confounds old earth theories, and that problem is not to be dismissed because a reporter didn't fully address it.--Andy Schlafly 13:22, 15 June 2010 (EDT)
Where are you getting this information, Andy? You shoot down other's intuition and demand fact when people oppose you, but you refuse to offer fact, when you've been backed into a corner. That isn't fair. intuition doesn't make an argument. You need REAL sources for these assertions. It isn't nit-picky to say that the links you provide for most citations DO NOT remotely support your point. LoganBertram 17:54 29 Sept 2010 (GMT+2)

Newsweek

I couldn't find the article in newsweek - some censorship on their part? I reread the somewhat bizarre discussion in the archived talk page of this article, and googling for the quote But the chances of orbits changing with less-than-catastrophic results are greater, notes Laughlin: "the planetary orbits will indeed become chaotic," with "the time required for chaos to significantly degrade the predictability of a system [on] the order of 5 million years.", I came up with this article on Nature. But the conclusion of this article is somewhat the opposite of the statement made here, as it's abstract states:

Simulations show that orbital chaos can lead to collisions between Earth and the inner planets. But Einstein's tweaks to Newton's theory of gravity render these ruinous outcomes unlikely in the next few billion years.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:54, 15 June 2010 (EDT)

Our citations to articles are for the factual information provided, and sometimes for well-reasoned arguments, but rarely for reporters' conclusions, which of course can be mistaken or biased.--Andy Schlafly 11:27, 15 June 2010 (EDT)
The quote above wasn't from some reporter, but made by Gregory Laughlin (Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California), while your counterexample seems to be based on conclusion of the reporter of Newsweek. The factual information can be found here: Existence of collisional trajectories of Mercury, Mars and Venus with the Earth and can be summarized as: yes such collisional trajectories exist, but they are even more improbable than thought earlier. FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:34, 15 June 2010 (EDT)
The basic counterexample that planetary orbits are unstable and chaotic is not refuted by anything factual.--Andy Schlafly 13:12, 15 June 2010 (EDT)
You give excellent advice: Our citations to articles are for the factual information provided, and sometimes for well-reasoned arguments, but rarely for reporters' conclusions, which of course can be mistaken or biased. As I stated above, I couldn't find the piece in Newsweek anymore. You are aware that reporters of popular magazines tend to prefer a sensational headline over a more level-headed one, i.e. doom incoming! over scientists say incoming doom unlikely.
Fortunately, the very articles the Newsweek's journalist wrote about are still available, and I linked to them in Counterexamples to an Old Earth. Here, you find the factual information, summarized by Gregory Laughlin:
Their [i.e. J. Laskar's & M. Gastineau's] work shows that the orbits of the terrestrial planets -- Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars -- have a roughly 99% chance of maintaining their current, well-ordered clockwork for the roughly 5 billion years that remain before the Sun evolves into a red giant and engulfs the inner Solar System'
Getting from this to The planetary orbits in the solar system - including Earth's - are unstable and unsustainable over the very long time periods asserted by atheists or The basic counterexample that planetary orbits are unstable and chaotic is not refuted by anything factual is quite surprising.
FrankC aka ComedyFan 09:50, 22 June 2010 (EDT)

Receding Moon

The moon is receding from the Earth at a rate suggesting it would have been too close a billion years ago

What's too close? According to NASA, the current rate is 3.8 cm/year[1]. If we assume that this rate is constant, than it gained over the last billion years:

1,000,000,000 year × 3.8cm/year = 3,800,000,000cm = 38,000,000m = 38,000km

That roughly 10% of the current mean orbital radius of the Moon of 378,000km!

But the Roche limit of the system Earth-Moon is 18,000km - even 5 billion years ago the moon would not have been within this critical region.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:25, 23 June 2010 (EDT)

10% off the mean is a huge difference, which would have many dire effects. Note that it is bigger than 10% with respect to the closest distance. Have you looked into that? Also, Old Earth believers claim the age is far older than 1 billion years.--Andy Schlafly 12:08, 23 June 2010 (EDT)

Pattern

  • The moon is receding from the Earth at a rate suggesting it would have been too close a billion years ago : that is wrong, a billion years ago, there was no problem with the Moon's orbit, even at the current rate of receding.
  • The massive Great Lakes are receding in volume too rapidly to have existed millions of years ago : that is deceptive, as geologists don't claim that the Great Lakes existed millions of years ago.
  • The planetary orbits in the solar system - including Earth's - are unstable and unsustainable over the very long time periods asserted by atheists That is misleading, as they probability that the solar system maintains stable is 99%.

What is to be achieved by massing up a great number of flawed statements? FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:31, 23 June 2010 (EDT)

I've addressed your first point in the section above. Your second point does not rebut the truth of the statement. The Great Lakes are very young, and people misled by Old Earth teachings are not typically taught that, or even aware of it. Your third point about probabilities is purely speculative. The solar system is unstable, and that is undeniable.--Andy Schlafly 12:12, 23 June 2010 (EDT)
The Great Lakes are very young, and people misled by Old Earth teachings are not typically taught that, or even aware of it. Science isn't about the public misconceptions of a theory, but the theory itself.
FrankC aka ComedyFan 13:33, 26 June 2010 (EDT)

Links

  1. Measuring the Moon's Distance Apollo Laser Ranging Experiments Yield Results by Fred Espenak, GSFC Planetary Systems Laboratory (LPI Bulletin, No. 72, August, 1994.)

Strontium Isotopes

The concentration of strontium isotopes in seawater is fluctuating - and the concentration at various times is well known (and tabled). Long-term erosion is not the only cause of changing concentrations (e.g, have a look here), so the assumption of a monotonous process is overly simplistic.

For short: not a good example, neither.

FrankC aka ComedyFan 12:49, 26 June 2010 (EDT)

I added a fact tag, as there doesn't seem to be a source to back up the claim made in this counterexample. FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:08, 28 June 2010 (EDT)

Speculations

Dear Andy, above, you write Your third point about probabilities is purely speculative. No, it is not - as the quoted article states, the probabilities are calculated using the best current models and the best simulations. So, purely speculative doesn't fit this point at all!

OTOH, I have to read: The moon is receding from the Earth at a rate that would have placed it too close to the Earth merely a billion years ago, causing tidal catastrophes and other problems, and colliding with the Earth before that. Colliding with the Earth before that? Have you done any calculation? Made a simple simulation? I doubt it! In fact, a simple back-of-an-envelope calculation would have shown that the Moon was far from colliding - even making the assumption of a constant rate of recession!

I'm prone to erase this speculative (or better. factually incorrect) statement, but I don't want to be accused of censorship. Therefore, I just added a {{fact}}-tag, giving you the possibility to back up this sentence with facts.

I'll do the same for the for the entry An extrapolation of time between the collapse of weaker arches with still-standing stronger arches supports a young earth age., as I couldn't find such an extrapolation anywhere, especially not in the given source. FrankC aka ComedyFan 13:16, 26 June 2010 (EDT)

Frank, your comments are longwinded, but did you respond to the defect in your comparison of the distance that Moon recedes to its mean distance from the Earth? Obviously the relevant comparison is to the closest distance of the Moon to the Earth. Please respond to that relevant issue.--Andy Schlafly 18:35, 26 June 2010 (EDT)
  • Assuming a constant rate of recession, I get the following values:
Recession of the Moon over one billion years (assuming a constant rate) 38,000km
Current mean orbital radius:378,000km
Current perigee:363,000km
So, a billion years ago, the Moon would have been 10.05% (mean orbital radius) or 10.47% (closest distance) nearer to the Earth than it is now. Yes, there are consequence of such a closer distance (e.g., more and greater tidal movements), but I doubt that simple multicellular ocean-based life-forms would bother, so this isn't that relevant, is it?
  • Now, could you address the following problems:
  1. What calculation or simulation accounts for the idea that the Moon would collide with the Earth if its orbit was lowered by 38,000km - or 190,000km (five billion years) - or even 300,000km?
  2. Where is the extrapolation of the time between the collapse of weaker arches with still-standing stronger arches?
  • JacobB deleted the {{fact}} tags I added to the two statements above without any further comment (or indeed coming up with sources/calculations/simulations). As he obviously doesn't like when comments of a sysop are reversed, I refrain from doing so. But I do think that these was the perfect place to insert such tags, as
  1. The statements aren't obvious, as they involve estimations and calculations
  2. I did research, and couldn't find any source to back up the claims
  3. In fact, according to my own estimations, these statements are wrong
  4. I stated the reasons for inserting the tags above
So, please, back up the statements, or reinsert the tags (hoping that someone else comes up with an explanation), or just delete the statements.
FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:54, 28 June 2010 (EDT)

Solar Fusion

The primary reaction in the Sun is the fusing of hydrogen to make helium, but the ratio of these remains too high for the Sun to have been burning for millions of years.

Could someone add some numbers to this? For me, it sounds just wrong, and I couldn't find any source for it. It's something different from the Faint young Sun problem, I suppose. FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:02, 28 June 2010 (EDT)

http://neutrino.aquaphoenix.com/un-esa/sun/sun-chapter5.html
This article explains the life of the sun so far, with some great equations that explain the rate of H and He depletion in the solar fusion reaction. As you can see, the math supports a sun of at least 4.5 billion years old, with a life span that will extend for another 5 to 10 billion years.
No doubt, Andy will chastise me for posting this, and demand that i be more open minded (ie. believe only what he believes and disregard "liberally biased math" in favor of the more biblically friendly "no real evidence at all")
I agree that this example should come out. The ratios of H and He in the Sun are perfectly consistent with a solar age of 4.5-5 billion years. Of course they are ALSO consistent with a solar age of 6,000 years, so it proves nothing either way, but to claim that the composition of the Sun disproves an old Earth is just wrong and exposes us to attack. --SamCoulter 18:18, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

Geothermal Activity

The interior of the earth is heated by decay of radioactive isotopes, which could not possibly still be persisting in sufficient quantities after 5 billion, or even half a billion, years.

Why not? FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:12, 28 June 2010 (EDT)

Questionable Probabilities

If each of the 25 counterexamples provided here (as of June 28, 2010) has merely a 10% chance of being valid, which is certainly an underestimate, then the probability that the Earth is billions of years old is only 7%. From another perspective, these counterexamples demonstrate that the Earth must be young with 93% probability.

This seems to be modeled after Counterexamples to Evolution:

Moreover, if there is merely a 5% chance that each of these counterexamples is correct (and the odds are far higher than that), then the odds that these counterexamples are all incorrect and that evolution is true is infinitesimally small (only a 6% chance that evolution is true with 54 possible counterexamples).

There are quite a few problems with these statements:

  • Why 10% in the first case, but only 5% in the second? Is it that otherwise these counterexamples demonstrate that the Earth must be young with probability of 72% - and that value isn't convincing enough?
  • Where do these probabilities come from? Is there a source which utters statements of which one in ten (or one in twenty) is correct?
  • To assume that all these counterexamples are independent is very problematic!
  • Generally, these counterexamples don't make predictions about unknowns, so, the validity of a statement like The moon is receding from the Earth at a rate that would have placed it too close to the Earth merely a billion years ago, causing tidal catastrophes and other problems, and colliding with the Earth before that can be calculated at this very moment: The probability that this counterexample is correct is zero as the statement is wrong.

I won't delete these "calculations", but I'll add {{fact}} tags to give the authors (or others) the opportunity to state their lines of reasoning: So, why are these probabilities reasonable estimates, and why are the odds far higher than that resp. why are these underestimates?

FrankC aka ComedyFan 11:03, 29 June 2010 (EDT)

The calculation concerning the overall effect of counterexamples on the likely validity of the theory is helpful. It does not claim to be precise, and is almost certainly an underestimate of the probabilistic effect. A number of 50% could be used for the probability of each counterexample, rather than merely 10% or 5%. Regardless, the point is clear and educational.--Andy Schlafly 14:04, 29 June 2010 (EDT)
  • The calculation concerning the overall effect of counterexamples on the likely validity of the theory is helpful. Helpful for what?
  • It does not claim to be precise, and is almost certainly an underestimate of the probabilistic effect. Stating probabilities like 6% or 93% is a claim to be precise. Getting such precise numbers by putting together some very rough estimates (50% could be used for the probability of each counterexample, rather than merely 10% or 5%) isn't good statistical practice.
  • Regardless, the point is clear and educational. What's the educational purpose of this point: add percentages to your statements because that sounds scientific ?
  • Above, I answered to your question on perigee vs. mean radius. Could you please address my problems:
  1. What calculation or simulation accounts for the idea that the Moon would collide with the Earth if its orbit was lowered by 38,000km - or 190,000km (five billion years) - or even 300,000km?
  2. Where is the extrapolation of the time between the collapse of weaker arches with still-standing stronger arches?
Thanks, FrankC aka ComedyFan 10:53, 30 June 2010 (EDT)
Frank, this site isn't "wikianswers" for endless questions. The effect of multiple counterexamples on the likelihood of truth of the original proposition is important to accept with an open mind. If you have a better way of stating it, let's see it. But we're not going to censor the point itself.--Andy Schlafly 10:55, 1 July 2010 (EDT)
Frank, this site isn't "wikianswers" for endless questions. No, it's a Trustworthy Encyclopedia. That's why I'm not posing random questions, but I'm questioning dubious and unsourced statements. I'm not doing so frivolously, but only after checking into the statements myself. As you made these statements, you should either be able to give the necessary calculations/estimations/simulations to affirm them, or you should delete these questionable counterexamples. To paraphrase one of your comments: Please respond to these relevant issues - as you expect us to answer your questions...
The effect of multiple counterexamples on the likelihood of truth of the original proposition is important to accept with an open mind. I'm sorry but I'm getting the idea that this is a scatter-shot approach where most of the projectiles are expect to miss...
If you have a better way of stating it, let's see it. No, I've no better way of stating it, as I don't think it can be stated correctly. May I add that deleting a wrong point from an ecyclopedia isn't censorship, but just due editorial process?
FrankC aka ComedyFan 12:29, 1 July 2010 (EDT)
No, Frank, you're challenging a mathematical truth here. We welcome suggestions on explaining truths better. Censorship is not welcome here.--Andy Schlafly 16:36, 1 July 2010 (EDT)
  • I don't doubt the mathematical truth that 1-0.925 ~ 0.93, but I doubt that this model is applicable. That's a difference.
  • Above, you asked me a question. I answered it - obviously satisfactorily, as there was no follow-up question of you. Now, I asked you two questions. Could you please try to answer them?
  1. What calculation or simulation accounts for the idea that the Moon would collide with the Earth if its orbit was lowered by 38,000km - or 190,000km (five billion years) - or even 300,000km?
  2. Where is the extrapolation of the time between the collapse of weaker arches with still-standing stronger arches?
  • The counterexamples concerned by these questions aren't self-evident, and the first statement seems to be plainly wrong to me. If you fail to address these problems, if any query for additional information (i.e., the {{fact]]-tags) is removed, you give the impression that the only reason for these examples to be included in the list is that you just like them. Is this sufficient for an encyclopedia?
FrankC aka ComedyFan 08:59, 3 July 2010 (EDT)
  • The Earth-Moon collision is not a statemente about a future fact, but a statement about a past event. Given the current models of tidal friction, and extrapolating backwards ceteris paribus, the Earth-Moon would have collided (or, being as close as you wish) about 109 years ago. Sunda62 13:23, 29 September 2010 (EDT)
    • Or, more precisely, about 2 x 109 years ago, according to "Lunar nodal tide and distance to the Moon during the Precambrian", J.C.G. Walker, K.J. Zahnle - Nature, 1986. There may be other theories (even negating this); I found that using Google Academic with "tidal friction earth moon collision". Sunda62 13:36, 29 September 2010 (EDT)
Severe problems from the moon being in close proximity to the earth would arise well before the 2 billion years you cite.--Andy Schlafly 21:31, 29 September 2010 (EDT)

The evidence for Christianity and the Bible is extremely strong and Bible exegesis does not support an old earth and that is why traditional Judaism and most of the early Church fathers who spoke on the issue believe in a young earth. Plus, there is plenty of evidence for a young earth. The probability for an old earth is zero. conservative 17:20, 29 September 2010 (EDT)

Your link to evidence for a young earth has some interesting examples.--Andy Schlafly 21:31, 29 September 2010 (EDT)
Interesting but totally unscientific I'm afraid. And illogical. Darkmind1970 11:35, 12 February 2011 (EST)
I wonder what your score, "Darkmind", would be on an openmindedness test.--Andy Schlafly 12:11, 12 February 2011 (EST)

Dissipation of Underground Well Water

I was wondering if anyone has more information or explanation about the counterexample, "The plentiful supply of high concentrations of underground well water, which would be expected based on familiar principles of entropy to dissipate over a long period of time." This is a very intriguing counterexample, but I don't quite understand it based on my understanding of entropy (from a classical thermodynamics perspective) and I could not find any supporting sources. Also, "high concentrations of underground well water" seems either vague or imprecisely worded (does this mean high volumes, or is it high concentrations within a geographic area...). Thanks. --Toadaron 15:21, 15 February 2011 (EST)

As I understand it, all things tend to disorder over time. If the atheistic belief of a billions of years old earth were true, this water would have long since lost its order and would now be in a completely random, disordered state. This is clearly not the case and once again the evolutionists are proven wrong. PeterUker 15:37, 15 February 2011 (EST)
OK, so it seems like we could expect any matter that is billions of years old to be in a completely random, disordered state by now. Maybe this counterexample doesn't need to refer specifically to underground well water. --Toadaron 16:25, 15 February 2011 (EST)
The example of water is particularly striking. If I see a bucket full of water in a desert, then I can infer it has not been there more than a day or so.--Andy Schlafly 17:03, 15 February 2011 (EST)
That's because of evaporation. The entropy claim, however, is simply wrong. Entropy does not mean disorder and even if it did, the water cycle (as explained in THE BIBLE ITSELF) makes it clear that groundwater is constantly replenished from other sources, not least the rain that is currently pouring off my roof. I do think we're better served by sticking to a few solid counterexamples than padding the list with weak ones. --SamCoulter 14:57, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

Merging of some counterexamples?

First of all I would like to thank the authors for your counterexamples. I allway accepted the Old Earth Theory, without thinking too much about it. This article has certainly given me some new perspectives. But: I think quite a few of the counterexamples could be merged together. For instance: In Astronomy: Counterexample nr. 1 and nr. 6 say basically the same thing: the moons orbit is unstable, thus it could not have existed billions of years before, since it would have collided with the earth. The same goes for counterexamples nr. 2 and 4. The basic statement is: spiral galaxies are rather young. Similar redundancy can be seen in the Geology section. I think it would improve the article if there were fewer counterexamples, that state basically the same thing. But that's just my two cents. À Dieu --VPropp 13:54, 16 April 2011 (EDT)

I looked at 1 and 6, and also 2 and 4, and each make different, distinct points. One could also complain about my use of "different, distinct" in my prior sentence as being somewhat redundant too, I suppose! But those adjectives convey individual meaning also.--Andy Schlafly 15:16, 16 April 2011 (EDT)
Thank you for your quick response. After rereading the different examples, I agree. They are different. So "redundant" was certainly the wrong expression (since English is not my first language, such imprecisions unfortunately occur...). But the examples are still similar to each other, producing (at least for me) a feeling of déja vu. What concerns me is that said déja vus kinda downplay the great new insights this article offers. They reduce the "newness" of the presented information. That's why I would suggest that for instance examples 1 and 6 be merged to something like this:
The moon is receding from the Earth at a rate[2] that would have placed it too close to the Earth merely four billion years ago, causing instability in its orbit, tidal catastrophes on Earth, and other problems that would have prevented the Earth and the moon being as they are today. The Moon's orbit is also becoming increasingly and unexpectedly eccentric, suggesting a lack of long-term stabilit. Thus further disproving the theory of an Old Earth
It's just a minor formal change although I think it would improve the reading experience. À Dieu --VPropp 16:05, 16 April 2011 (EDT)
OK, your suggestion is a good one, although it seems to require combining two separate problems into one. But both concern the Moon, so please combine them as you think best!--Andy Schlafly 16:57, 16 April 2011 (EDT)
Done. I hope it is to your liking. If I have more time I might take a look at some other examples that could be merged. But I think I'll rather look at some history and/or literature articles fisrt. If I do find more potential mergers, I will of course discuss them here first. À Dieu--VPropp 17:17, 16 April 2011 (EDT)

Articles like this one Reflect Poorly on Conservapedia

I completely sympathize with using science to back up the idea of a young Earth, but much of what is posted here is, from any geologists standpoint, silly. I could have answered any of these problems after only my first course or two at university. I work as a research scientist at NASA and I have two degrees in geology and planetary science, and will be going back to school in the fall for my PhD. Prior to NASA I was a researcher at the SETI Institute. Although my main focus the surface of Mars (I am one of the geologists on the Mars Exploration Rover [Spirit and Opportunity] team), I have also spent years studying the Earth, so I know a little bit of what I am talking about.

I appreciate the concept of Conservapedia, as it is indeed true that the majority of Wikipedia users are indeed on the more liberal side of the fence. However, for Conservapedia to be respected as a true source of learning, it is important that it get its facts straight.

My main worry in articles such as this one (and the relativity and evolution ones) is that they really mislead students in what scientists actually know and understand. From what I can tell, many of the members on CP are students. If one of these students were to become enrolled in ANY accredited geology program, they would be in for quite a shock.

I just want to be clear, my aim here is not to disprove the idea of a young Earth as described in Genesis. My goal is to alert the reader that these “counterexamples” have mostly been solved (some were answered decades ago). Communication between scientists and the general public is often poor, and the result is people not being aware of the great discoveries that bright minds are making. I have taken the time to critique the “Counterexamples to an Old Earth” page. I am very tempted to attempt to critique the “Counterexamples to Evolution” and “Counterexamples to Relativity” pages, but as a geologist those fields are not my expertise, and I would not want to elaborate on a subject which I do not fully understand.

Virtually everything I am elaborating on here comes from dozens of courses and experience I have in this field, and as a result I used very few citations. I (along with any other geologist I know) could have answered at least 90% these counterexamples after their first year of university courses in the Earth sciences. If anyone has any questions about specific points I make I would be more than happy to look up and direct you to the relevant literature.


So here we go…

First of all, it does not take only one "counterexample" to disprove the theory of an Old Earth. “Old Earth” is not written down as doctrination as if it were a religious text (this is also true for evolution and relativity). The ideas that make up the old earth “theory” have changed drastically over time, even over the past few decades. For example, plate tectonics was not discovered until the 1970s, yet today form the main basis for how we understand how the way the Earth has evolved. The same goes with the significant role impacts have in changing global processes.

The beauty of science is that nothing is ever 100% true. Just because one portion of a theory fails doesn’t make the entire thing false. It just means that there is far more work to do in the field, meaning students still have plenty of opportunities when they finish university.


Now onto the “counterexamples”:

1. The moon is receding from the Earth at a rate[2] that would have placed it too close to the Earth merely four billion years ago, causing instability in its orbit, tidal catastrophes on Earth, and other problems, causing Earth and the moon to be as they are today.

The leading theory is that the Moon was formed from a collision with a Mars sized proto-planet (named Theia) about 4.5 billion years ago. The massive amount of debris from this collision that was blasted into orbit formed into the Moon. This theory was proposed during the early 1900s, and was evidence was provided during the Apollo missions (isotope ratios of lunar rocks are identical to terrestrial ones). This theory also explains the Earth’s degree tilt on its rotational axis. Tidal catastrophes would not have been a problem since the Earth had not yet developed an ocean (even if there was an ocean [which there wasn’t this early in Earth’s history] the impact would have vaporized it).

2. Spiral galaxies appear to be young, and only implausible proposals of the existence of dark matter can reconcile the spirals with a belief in an old universe.

Ignoring the fact that this point uses no citations, “dark matter” and “dark energy” are simply placeholders because we do not fully understand the way the universe works. We haven’t seen them, we just know that something exists in the universe that we don’t understand yet.

3. The planetary orbits in the solar system - including Earth's - are unstable and unsustainable over the long periods claimed by Old Earth believers.[3][4]

The article cited does not actually make the claim that is posted here. Planetary orbits CAN become unstable of long periods of time, but this is obviously not the case for our solar system. Numerous exo-systems have been discovered which appear to be unstable. If our solar system were unstable we wouldn’t be here.

4. At least one spiral galaxy spins in the direction opposite to the spin of its tail, suggesting an age too young to have generated the tail and contradicting the theory that the tails of spiral galaxies were formed over a long period of time.[5]

Anybody who has even the most basic knowledge of statistics understands the concept of outliers. There are BILLIONS of galaxies, so a single case (or a few) that is outside the norm does not disprove everything else of the theory. Furthermore, the article that is cited even explains why this galaxy is behaving the way it is, in a way that does not contradict the long timescale.

5. The primary reaction in the Sun is the fusing of hydrogen to make helium, but the ratio of these remains too high for the Sun to have been burning for millions of years.

The Sun has actually been burning for billions, not millions, of years. It formed at around the same time as the Earth. But what is this claim based off of? This statement does not mention what the ratio is, or what it should be if one was to claim an “old Earth”.


Geology

1. The continued existence of fragile natural arches without having collapsed a short time period for erosion and stresses on them[6].

These arches have not existed since the Earth’s creation. They have been forming over billions of years, and some collapsed while other haven’t.

2. An extrapolation of time between the collapse of weaker arches[7] with still-standing stronger arches supports a young earth age.

See above.

3. The massive Great Lakes and freshwater lakes near the equator could not exist for millions of years, and several of these lakes are rapidly receding in volume.

There are no major lakes near the equator (other than Lake Victoria, if that meets your definition of a “great lake”)(this could have to do with the fact that most major landmasses are in the Northern hemisphere). Most large lakes did not exist even tens of thousands of years ago due to the last ice age. One of the reasons these lakes are draining is due to glacial rebound (the Earth’s surface is rising since the weight from the overlying glacier has been removed. This is the same process responsible for isostacy)

4. The existence of inland saltwater lakes, such as Mono Lake and the Great Salt Lake, suggest a recent global flood.

Simply put, no. All lakes that are saline have no outflows. They are salty for the same reason the ocean is. Salt (and other minerals) can flow in, but the only way out is through evaporation. This is why Mono Lake, the Great Salt Lake, and the Dead Sea are salty, while the Great Lakes (and most other lakes) are not. It is not a coincidence that all salty lakes have no outflows.

5. The plentiful supply of high concentrations of underground well water, which would be expected based on familiar principles of entropy to dissipate over a long period of time.

Aquifers are replenished from precipitation. A good percentage (almost a third) of rainwater percolates into the ground and refills underground water sources)

6. The relative purity of underground well water, which should be a muddy slurry had millions of years of erosion taken place.

Actually, underground water is a muddy slurry prior to being cleaned. Anybody who dug a hole in their backyard would not find water that looked like it came from a faucet. Also, nobody has said that specific aquifers existed for millions of years. I suppose its theoretically possible that some may have, but many others have been around for thousands or tens of thousands of years.

7. Earthquakes alter the Earth's rotation every century; extrapolating by orders of magnitude in time would have resulted in the occurrence of much larger earthquakes that would have destabilized the rotation[8]

Where is the source for this? The rotation of the Earth does change, but what is the level that is deemed necessary for “destabilization.” Unless one knows what is required for destabilization, this point is useless.

8. The lack of erosion between rock layers[9][10].

If there were signs of erosion, it would not be a layer. Here's an experiment: In a clear glass, place a layer of salt, a layer of chocolate powder, a layer of flour, and a layer of Gatorade mix (or any 4 different color powders). Notice the layers. Now put them in the same glass while you simulate erosion by constantly mixing the top layer of the powder.

There are many places where you don’t see layers. This would have happened during chaotic times of deposition (or times without deposition).

9. Levels of contamination in water are rising, as water proceeds through the water cycle it becomes progressively more contaminated. If earth (and life) had existed for billions of years, a limit would have long been reached where water (essential to life) was too contaminated for life to continue.

No. The water that gets evaporated out of the ocean is very close to pure water (other than trace elements with which it interacts with in the atmosphere). Therefore freshwater reserves are constantly re-supplied by a fresh clean source: precipitation. Also, most “contamination” in ocean water is due to human pollution, and this has only been significant for the past several hundred years.

10. Paraconformity and unconformity such as that seen at the Grand Canyon disprove the uniformitarian view of earth history.

No geologist believes in a 100% uniformitarian view of earth history, just as no geologist believes that everything happens catastrophically. Overall, things go slow and take time, but there are catastrophic events that disrupt this (i.e.: your Grand Canyon “examples”, major impacts like the one htat killed that dinosaurs, volcanic eruptions)

11. All carbon dating of water supplies, even the most ancient and the deepest underground reservoirs, result in relatively young ages and no water has been found suggesting an Old Earth.

If one is going to acknowledge that isotope data can be used to reliably date things, then they must use it in its entirety. You cant pick and choose when isotope dating is valid and when it is not. There is plenty of isotope data that suggests that the Earth is billions of years old, so why is isotope data acceptable when it argues for a young Earth but not for an old one?

12. The ratio of strontium isotopes in seawater, which should change due to long-term erosion, has varied by only 0.35% throughout history. In fact, its value today is exactly the same as in the oldest samples, which are claimed to be from 500 million years ago!

I do not know much about strontium samples in water, but I would like to see the source for this data. See the previous response regarding isotope ages. In addition, many minerals that enter the ocean are recycled through seafloor movement and subduction. The seafloor moves away from underwater volcanic chains and into trenches, where it is recycled into the Earth’s mantle.

13. The interior of the earth is heated by decay of radioactive isotopes, which could not possibly still be persisting in sufficient quantities after 5 billion, or even half a billion, years.

No. The half-life of Uranium 238 is 4.47 billion years. Some elements take even longer to decay. In addition, much of this heat stays in the Earth due to the convection in the outer core and within the lower mantle.

Also, a good amount of the initial heat within the Earth came from the Earth’s accretion (i.e. many separate impacts that eventually formed the Earth). Even before radiation was understood, scientists such as Lord Kelvin calculated the age of the Earth to be about 100 million years with this method. He was obviously wrong, because radiation had not yet been discovered and he could not incorporate radioactive heating into his calculations.


Most of these geology counterexamples are just arguing for a short timespan of individual features (lakes, archs, etc). This is akin to an elderly man getting a pimple, and one declaring, “well the pimple is only a week old, so the man must be only a week old as well!” A tad bit ludicrous, don’t you think?



Biology

All of these are more so counter-examples to evolution rather than an old Earth. I would debate that page as well, but as a geologist I will stick to the things on which I consider myself to understand thoroughly.

1. The intelligence of humans is rapidly declining, whether measured by SAT scores,[12] music, personal letters,[13] quality of political debates,[14] the quality of news articles,[15] or any other measure.

Nobody would disagree that the average human today is far more intelligent than one living in the Dark Ages.

If this was true, it is completely irrelevant to the age of the Earth. Humans have been around for less than .05% of the age of the Earth. As fantastic as we like to think we are, humans are pretty insignificant to the overall history of the planet.

2. The age of onset of sexual maturity is rapidly changing, suggesting that life is in a short-term rather than long-term equilibrium.[16]

Once again, this is absolutely irrelevant to the overall age of the Earth.

3. The high observed rate of extinctions of species[17] and harmful genetic mutations suggest a relatively short period for the existence of life rather than a long one.

The high rate of species extinction is mostly due to humans killing them off.

4. The age of onset of graying of hair or balding is rapidly decreasing, with many teenagers now experiencing baldness or premature graying (CNN's Anderson Cooper began graying as a teenager and was fully gray long before age 40);[18] many celebrities (such as American Idol winner Taylor Hicks graying in his 20s)[18] and athletes (such as Cal Ripken, Jr. graying and balding in his mid-30s)[19] increasingly experience premature graying or balding.

This is irrelevant to the overall age of the Earth. Actually, this kind of seems irrelevant to age og the human race as well. Gray hair could be due to a number of environmental factors, or the fact that humans are much less physically active than we used to be.

5. The age of onset of cancer is markedly decreasing,[20] suggesting rapid changes inconsistent with an alleged long existence to life.

This is irrelevant to the overall age of the Earth.

6. The oldest direct evidence of life -- written documents, clothing, remnants of civilizations, tree rings, etc. -- is no older than about 3000 B.C.

There are fossils that have been dated to be hundreds of millions of years old. There are also tree rings which have been dated to be 11,000 years old.

7. The number of natural, pure-bred bred dogs declines over time as dogs naturally crossbreed; a short period of time is suggested by the fact that there are over 100 different natural, pure breeds of dog thriving today.

Dogs were tamed by humans from wolves, in a similar way we tamed cattle, sheep, and pigs. This is irrelevant to the overall age of the Earth.

8. Lack of genetic diversity among the Homo sapiens species. Were evolution and the old earth true, the human population would show a much larger genetic variance.[21]

This is irrelevant to the overall age of the Earth.

9. Frequent occurrences of massive deaths of birds and fish, which if extrapolated over millions of years would result in little or no such life today.

Many things died during mass extinction events, but life still continues.

All of this about evolution is completely irrelevant to the Earth’s age. When one talks about the Earth, they are talking about the rock we stand on and what lies beneath, not the plants and animals on the surface. Most geologists couldn’t care less about living organisms, usually they just get in the way when we are trying to get a good view of a rock outcrop.



So there you go. I apologize for using the matter-of-fact tone of voice throughout this. I am used to writing scientific papers where one writes the facts and refutes what they are attempting to disprove without concern for what the reader may be feeling.

Again, I am not trying to disprove Genesis. I just want to help the students using this website to have a better idea of what us geologists think we know about the Earth.

On another note (to all sysops), I am very aware that this very lengthy entry puts me in a major violation of the 90/10 rule. I just became active on CP, and will be adding actual entries to the encyclopedia as I have the time to contribute.AMorg 20:29, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

Rebuttal

Rebuttal is indented below:

My clarifications do your rebuttals are double indented -AMorg 21:04, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

1. The moon is receding from the Earth at a rate[2] that would have placed it too close to the Earth merely four billion years ago, causing instability in its orbit, tidal catastrophes on Earth, and other problems, causing Earth and the moon to be as they are today.

The leading theory is that the Moon was formed from a collision with a Mars sized proto-planet (named Theia) about 4.5 billion years ago. The massive amount of debris from this collision that was blasted into orbit formed into the Moon. This theory was proposed during the early 1900s, and was evidence was provided during the Apollo missions (isotope ratios of lunar rocks are identical to terrestrial ones). This theory also explains the Earth’s degree tilt on its rotational axis. Tidal catastrophes would not have been a problem since the Earth had not yet developed an ocean (even if there was an ocean [which there wasn’t this early in Earth’s history] the impact would have vaporized it).

The lunar landing disproved the theory that the Moon broke off from the Earth, or collided with it: the composition of Moon lacks the iron prevalent on the Earth. In addition, the orbit has to be explained. Extrapolate back from current observations, and the Moon was too close too quickly.
Actually, I'm glad you brought that up, I forgot to mention it. The lack of iron is a great piece of evidence for a collision-caused formation! Its believed that most of the iron on the Earth (the huge majority of it) is at our planet's core. The proposed impact would have stripped the Earth's iron-poor mantle but left the core intact. Furthermore, the massive amount of energy deposited would have left the moon as a molten sphere, wherein most of the iron would sink, as it is among the heaviest common elements.
Im not really sure where you came up with that the lunar landing disproved this theory, when in fact it actually provided a lot of evidence for it. The moon and Earth were found to have near identical isotope signatures, whereas nearly every other body in the solar system (Mars, Vesta, the Centaurs, etc) have very different compositions.
Extrapolating from current observations is easy, and it provides further evidence for an old Earth. The Moon is receding from the Earth at about 3.8cm/year. (http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/ApolloLaser.html). The Earth Moon average distance is ~385000km. Simply divide one into the other and you get a time of ~10billion years. Which is within the same order of magnitude as the time of Earth/solar system formation. -AMorg 21:04, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

2. Spiral galaxies appear to be young, and only implausible proposals of the existence of dark matter can reconcile the spirals with a belief in an old universe.

Ignoring the fact that this point uses no citations, “dark matter” and “dark energy” are simply placeholders because we do not fully understand the way the universe works. We haven’t seen them, we just know that something exists in the universe that we don’t understand yet.

In other words, it's a counterexample but maybe there is some unobserved material that might explain it. Believe what you like, but that's not empirical science.
I'll admit, I know very close to nothing about "dark matter" and "dark energy." Like i said, Im a geologist, not an astrophysicist. From what I understand, nobody really understands what either of these things are. I definitely agree with you that there is most definitely no empirical evidence (that Im aware of, at least). BUT, I don't see where the evidence is that spiral galaxies are young. It seems like quite an extraordinary claim to say that ALL spiral galaxies appear young (I dont even know what is meant by young, does that mean thousands, millions, or billions of years old?), and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. -AMorg 21:04, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

3. The planetary orbits in the solar system - including Earth's - are unstable and unsustainable over the long periods claimed by Old Earth believers.[3][4]

The article cited does not actually make the claim that is posted here. Planetary orbits CAN become unstable of long periods of time, but this is obviously not the case for our solar system. Numerous exo-systems have been discovered which appear to be unstable. If our solar system were unstable we wouldn’t be here.

"If our solar system were unstable" AND IF VERY OLD, THEN "we wouldn't be here." Precisely.
I don't understand your point. Just because something has a possibility of becoming unstable does not mean that it has to happen. Given that there are at least 10^22 stars in the universe (100 billion stars per galaxy times 150 billion galaxies, both of which are very conservative numbers), there could have been millions of solar systems just like ours but became unstable and failed. Ours just so happens to be one that turned out fine. If it hadn't then we wouldn't be here right now debating its origins. -AMorg 21:04, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

4. At least one spiral galaxy spins in the direction opposite to the spin of its tail, suggesting an age too young to have generated the tail and contradicting the theory that the tails of spiral galaxies were formed over a long period of time.[5]

Anybody who has even the most basic knowledge of statistics understands the concept of outliers. There are BILLIONS of galaxies, so a single case (or a few) that is outside the norm does not disprove everything else of the theory. Furthermore, the article that is cited even explains why this galaxy is behaving the way it is, in a way that does not contradict the long timescale.

No, the "billions and billions" type of argument doesn't help. But that fallacious argument permeates much of the old earth "logic".
Why not? You failed to provide a reason. It does permeate much of the old Earth "logic", because the Universe is a very, very, very, big place, with billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars, many of which have planets. We are one of many (see above) solar systems and locations where life may exist. I think that this is the root problem that many young-Earther-ers have with the concept of an old Earth. The number of possible locations for life in the universe is huge. We (as in organisms on Earth) just so happened to make it through near impossible odds to continue to survive today. Statistically speaking, life likely does exist somewhere else in the universe (and who knows, maybe beings there are having a debate similar to ours right now!!). Even the Vatican agrees (http://spacefellowship.com/news/art15561/vatican-holds-conference-on-extraterrestrial-life.html) -AMorg 21:04, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

5. The primary reaction in the Sun is the fusing of hydrogen to make helium, but the ratio of these remains too high for the Sun to have been burning for millions of years.[Citation Needed]

The Sun has actually been burning for billions, not millions, of years. It formed at around the same time as the Earth. But what is this claim based off of? This statement does not mention what the ratio is, or what it should be if one was to claim an “old Earth”.

Did you research this issue with an open mind, or is your mind already made up? You might try taking the quiz at Essay:Quantifying Openmindedness.
Frankly, it seems that whoever wrote this list in the first place had their mind made up. The few citations that do exist in the article link to scientific literature that does not even support the "counterexamples" raised. But yes, I just took the quiz and posted my answers on my page. -AMorg 21:04, 6 May 2011 (EDT)
I may get to your other points later, if I have time. I suggest you focus on your very best points for discussion.--Andy Schlafly 18:53, 6 May 2011 (EDT)
I am happy to discuss everything I wrote, although I am better versed in things geology rather than biology or astrophysics. -AMorg 21:04, 6 May 2011 (EDT)
If anybody has major doubts about the points I raised, I'd really suggest taking an introductory geology class at your local community college. Even if it at all related to your career field, it can be really interesting stuff and is extremely useful when deciphering the BS we hear from our politicians every day (especially on issues related to oil reserves, global warming, and so forth).
Andy, I know that I am not going to change your mind on the subject of an old Earth (perhaps you and I should both take the open mind quiz). My worry is that students may come to CP as a resource, and in viewing a page such as this would be very misled on what scientists actually know about the planet we live on. It is one thing to say that there are many unanswered questions in the geologic sciences, it is another to say that the opinions of over 99% of geologists say is wrong. Keep in mind, these are the very geologists who we trust to mine our metals, drill our oil, and find us fresh water to drink. AMorg 20:26, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

suggestions about two counterexamples

I have some suggestions to improve two of these counterexamples. First, I'm not quite sure I understand why "a stalemate of significant and valid discoveries in the last several decades" implies a young earth. Some clarification would be helpful. Secondly, I'm also not sure why an increase in premature graying implies a young earth. Additionally, the article only cites a couple of famous people who have grayed prematurely to prove this point. Is there any data to support this? DaleHoward 23:52, 15 May 2011 (EDT)

Additional evidence is welcome on the premature graying issue, but I don't think it can be seriously doubted. Observations about people graying at younger ages are typical, and the opposite is never heard.--Andy Schlafly 00:07, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
As to your other point, it's a matter of seeing a trend stop, which suggests a young rather than old earth. If a river dries up one spring, then it suggests the river was probably not flowing there for thousands of years, but was more likely the result of a rainy winter.--Andy Schlafly 00:09, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

Hello Mr. Schlafly, thank you for responding to my concerns. I still don't see how a trend stopping really implies anything about the age of the earth. The last two popes have not been Italian, and I don't see how that would say anything about the age of the earth. The decline in scientific advances could be due to any number of causes. Perhaps there has been a shift in focus towards making consumer goods within the currently available technologies. Perhaps investment in research has declined. Those are just two possible reasons. If it is true that people are graying earlier, it could be due to increased stress levels. These phenomena have plenty of possible interpretations. I don't see how trends stopping is inconsistent with an Old Earth. Could you perhaps clarify further? DaleHoward 00:54, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

You make valid points. Would you like to remove it based on your arguments? Feel free to do so.--Andy Schlafly 01:11, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

Reversion re: extinction rate

The extinction rate is far too high to be consistent with an Old Earth.--Andy Schlafly 10:54, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

My point was that the values given for current extinction rates are not 'observed' rates. They are based on a few observed extinctions and extrapolated enormously based upon estimates as to the total number of species on the planet (most estimates suggest only a minority are currently known to science). Secondly, it would only be inconsistent if the extinction rate were to have remained constant throughout history relative to the rate of speciation. All the evidence points to a highly variable rate of extinction, with several periods of mass extinctions interspersed with long periods of relatively low extinction. The whole reason so much has been written recently on extinction is that the current estimates are unusually high, with the blame being placed upon human activities, particularly in terms of habitat loss. WilliamB1 12:14, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
In fact, looking over most of these counterexamples, they tend to be built upon incorrect assumptions (many assume that processes can only have occurred at a constant rate throughout history, when evidence suggests otherwise), or they are based upon dubious and unsupported claims (the one about people getting grey hair at an earlier age is based solely upon a handful of well-known examples with no scientific study of widespread trends at all. This entire article needs to be drastically re-worked. WilliamB1 12:27, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

The flow of water in the Colorado River has been declining since the early 20th century, even after usage is considered, and the man-made Lake Mead is at risk of drying up on the next decade

How is this a Counterexampl to an Old Earth? Does standard geology imply that rivers may not dry out over time? The opposite seems to be true: The face of the Earth is constantly under reconstruction...

AugustO 11:09, 24 May 2011 (EDT)

The drying of a big river suggests a lack of very long term stability. It suggests the river has not been here for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.--Andy Schlafly 16:20, 2 June 2011 (EDT)
It does no such thing. The discharge of rivers varies across all time-scales. WilliamB1 16:42, 2 June 2011 (EDT)
Inferences about a lack of equilibrium (i.e., lack of very long term stability) can be drawn from the drying of a major river like the Colorado River.--Andy Schlafly 09:52, 3 June 2011 (EDT)
Even if it were 'unstable' in the 'long-term' (both highly ambiguous and undefined terms I might add), a lack of stability is not equal to non-existence. WilliamB1 10:14, 3 June 2011 (EDT)
Similar inferences are drawn in other contexts without objection. For example, if there are puddles of water on the ground in the morning, then it is reasonably inferred that it rained the night before, not every night for the last seven days.--Andy Schlafly 11:04, 3 June 2011 (EDT)
I agree with the analogy. Saying that the earth is young because one river dries up is a lot like saying you believe that it rained because you saw one puddle. Do you also infer that new rivers imply that the earth is young? BradB 21:29, 3 June 2011 (EDT)

When it next rains one might reasonably expect that a puddle will form in the same place and will once again dry up afterwards. How then can we possibly draw any conclusions about the age of the earth from looking at just one wet-dry cycle? We can't. Looking at one cycle doesn't tell us how many cycles there have been. The decreasing discharge of the river has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the question of the age of the earth. WilliamB1 11:16, 3 June 2011 (EDT)

It takes only one "counterexample" to disprove the theory of an Old Earth.

Out of curiosity, how many counterexamples would it take to disprove a Young Earth?

The same logic would apply. Do you know of any counterexamples that don't rely on circular logic or implausible assumptions?--Andy Schlafly 16:22, 2 June 2011 (EDT)

Fundamental misunderstanding of dog breeding

The article stated under the Biology section: "The number of natural, pure-bred bred dogs declines over time as dogs naturally crossbreed; a short period of time is suggested by the fact that there are over 100 different natural, pure breeds of dog thriving today." The statement asserts that the number of pure dog breeds is diminishing, suggesting that if we extrapolate backward in time, an old-Earth would be overrun with pure breed dogs. Dogs, however, were domesticated only a few thousand years ago by man from more docile wolves, and even then only a few pure breed dogs existed for centuries. Only in the 19th century did the number of dog breads exploded in the western world as designer dogs because a status symbol amongst the newly emerging middle class and new uses for dogs were discovered. The argument directly states that the number of pure dog breeds is diminishing due to crossbreeding - while the genetic purity of older dog breeds is slowly being diluted, new designer dog breeds are always being developed (as tradition stretching back over a century).unsigned by User:Mike127

Diminishing intelligence, etc.

The first argument under Biology reads: "The intelligence of humans is rapidly declining, whether measured by SAT scores,[24] music, personal letters,[25] quality of political debates,[26] the quality of news articles,[27] and many other measures." While this statement may work well for arguing that the world is nearing its end, it certainly doesn't support or refute old Earth or young Earth theories.unsigned by User:Mike127

Sure it does. The observed slope of the intelligence curve over time is sharply negative. Extrapolate backwards and before long the IQs are astoundingly high. But there's no evidence of astoundingly high IQs for man, so the conclusion is clear: time does not extend much backwards.--Andy Schlafly 00:52, 15 June 2011 (EDT)
But if the slope is so steep, then Earth couldn't be even 6,000 years old. If the decrease in intelligence is a recent phenomenon, then extrapolation would produce erroneous results. This website [[1]] plots SAT scores starting from the 1960s, and if one were to extrapolate backwards using these scores, then we would have to assume all people from the 18th century and before, if SATs had existed then, would have gotten perfect scores. If the website is correct that the removal of prayer from schools caused this decrease in SAT scores, and before God was removed everything was fine, then that means this meter of human intelligence is flawed: it is subject to outside sources of variability. I cannot find a graph that plots IQ scores for a population over any long length of time, but the point would be the same, extrapolation of intelligence in a dubious means of gauging the age of Earth, the extrapolation is inappropriate either because human intelligence levels fluctuate over time (i.e. the user's perceived decrease in intelligence is a recent phenomenon) or because if extrapolation was appropriate, we would expect people just a few hundred years ago to all be geniuses, and this was not the case. --Mike127 13:32, 15 June 2011 (EDT)
Adam and Eve were a lot smarter (before the fall) than IQ tests could possibly measure. --Ed Poor Talk 19:34, 15 June 2011 (EDT)
I am unaware of any part of Genesis that states that Adam and Eve were astronomically smarter than humans today. The point I was making above, to restate, is that if human intelligence could drop so quickly in the 20th century, and extrapolation backwards is justified, then humans just a few hundred years ago or less, perhaps just a hundred years ago depending on what data you look at, must have been extraordinary geniuses, and that is simply not factual by any historical standards. Thus, I fail to see your point: the bible does not corroborate your statement and even if it did, it would still suggest that human intelligence is declining by a nonlinear function, thus linear extrapolation, as the article implies, is not justified.--Mike127 21:37, 16 June 2011 (EDT)

I feel it necessary to point out that if the extrapolation of human intelligence backwards in time is not a justifiable proof of young Earth, this does not mean that this is in some way a proof of old Earth theories. The concept is simply flawed and cannot delineate one theory from another, thus it should not be included on this list.--Mike127 21:37, 16 June 2011 (EDT)

Mike, this is simple logic. Extrapolation backward more than a half-dozen or so thousands of years is simply inconsistent with the decline in intelligence observed in the last 50 years.--Andy Schlafly 21:51, 16 June 2011 (EDT)
Andy, this is simple math. My point is that extrapolation backward even 6000 years would also be inconsistent with the decline in intelligence observed in the last 50 years. We would be forced to conclude that the Earth isn't even 6000 years old but far far younger if the slope of this decline is consistent. If the slope is not consistent (meaning the acceleration of the decline of in intelligence is variable), then any extrapolation is not appropriate and will lead to erroneous results, like the earth being only 1000 years old for instance. If the argument is to be kept in the article, then an accommodating graph should be presented or linked as a reference, showing key markers of intelligence in recent decades and how the proposed extrapolation would yield an age for the Earth that is 6,000 years rather than something far younger than this.--Mike127 22:04, 16 June 2011 (EDT)
Andy, I am a great fan of this website and your counterexamples are normally very sound, but I have to disagree with you on this one. You are assuming that the rate of decline in human intelligence is constant, whereas it changes over time, according to the interplay of many complex factors.
Using the same type of logic, and keeping in mind that average height has increased by one inch since 1960, I could argue that the Earth could not possibly be more than 3000 years old, because before then, people would have had a negative height. And that is assuming that before the birth of Christ, they were less than 2 feet and a half tall on average. --Leo-from-UK 22:17, 16 June 2011 (EDT)
Neither objection above withstands scrutiny. The counterexample does not "prove too much," because 800 SAT scores in the past would not be inconsistent with the high quality works and reading abilities of common people centuries ago. Nor are increases in height analogous, because that is obviously affected by diet, sleep, medicine and other advances in society.--Andy Schlafly 22:33, 16 June 2011 (EDT)
Andy, if neither of the above arguments are enough to convince you of the central flaw of this line of reasoning, then may I ask that you or another contributor supply this article with a graph illustrating how this backward extrapolation gives an age of 6000 years using actual quantifiable means of measuring human intelligence (i.e. IQ scores). Or, if someone has posted such a graph on the internet, please provide a link to this graph in the article as a reference. I only ask that the math actually be conducted and not assumed to fit a given theory. And I again feel like I should add that removal of this argument as proof of young Earth does not in effect support an old Earth, it supports neither.--Mike127 22:41, 16 June 2011 (EDT)
Perhaps we've become so unintelligent as to ignore the lack of evidence for the underlying assumption that the rate of decline is constant? Andy, if it were the case that people were becoming more intelligent, would that be evidence for or against a young earth? BradB 23:57, 16 June 2011 (EDT)
The rate of decline need not be constant, and nothing in the counterexample implies that it would be. But it's continuous and differentiable -- surely not a step function.--Andy Schlafly 00:06, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
You have provided no evidence that the rate has always been negative. Would an increase in intelligence be evidence for or against a young earth? BradB 00:13, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
So, would I be right in saying that in 200 years mankind's intelligence will disintegrate into nothing more than walking apes or are we headed toward liberal stupidity against Essay:Best New Conservative Words. Striking. Paulhernandez 00:37, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
I think the most reasonable approach here is to remove this counter example until such time that evidence can be provided that supports it. This is my concern: if a new reader, a homeschooler, or anyone interested in the subject comes to this article and comes across this flawed argument, this would tend to discredit the other arguments on the page. For example, if you were to meet someone for the first time, and you share a conversation with them, agree with everything they have to say about a subject, but then this person makes some outlandish statement about the subject, wouldn’t that make you question their other statements and even your own beliefs since you share some many beliefs with this individual? Essentially, a rotten apple spoils the bunch, and that's what this counter example is. Let's remove this counter example, and if someone can provide an analysis of declining human intelligence, if it is in fact declining, that fits the counter example, then the subject can be reopened for debate. If we are to make headway in establishing this website as a preeminent educational resource, we must make sure our statements are well thought-out, that the arguments made by this site hold water, and that those arguments that don’t hold water are not allowed to spoil the others that are most certainly valid.--Mike127 15:18, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
Brad's comment is like suggesting that heat may flow to hotter locations. There's something called entropy that means disorder does increase over time, also known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Argue against it if you like, but I doubt you're going to persuade anyone.
Explain this: why are you so opposed to the possibility of intelligence declining, and the existence of a young earth? When you can look at your own position objectively, then you can realize great insights.--Andy Schlafly 16:52, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
Andy, your analogy is fatally flawed and fails to persuade. You're essentially arguing that your mind is closed. Is your mind open to outside influence? Then the law of entropy does not apply, as it is not closed.
Would an increase in intelligence be evidence for or against a young earth? Why can't you answer the question? Wouldn't the Flynn effect (a theory much more widely accepted than your assertion to the contrary) be stronger evidence for a young earth because if you extrapolated it backwards, society would have been so unintelligent as to not survive?
How do you reconcile your insight that society becomes less intelligent with your insight that society becomes more conservative?
I'm not opposed to the existence of a young earth. Is your mind open to that? BradB 17:46, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
You raise an interesting point there, Brad. Society IS inevitably becoming more and more conservative, as can be seen by the evolution of language, and as conservativism favours logical thinking, IQ should rise as an effect. What is the data showing that average IQs are decreasing, by the way? I'd love to see those studies myself, I am very interested by this subject. --Leo-from-UK 18:35, 17 June 2011 (EDT)

(unindent)Brad, perhaps some graphs will help. this graph shows liberalism (in red) increasing linearly, conservatism (in green) increasing quadratically. The point is that when we talk about liberalism or conservatism 'increasing', it means the strength and persuasiveness of the ideas; that's how both can be increasing at once. The scope and magnitude of the policies demanded by liberals increases, as does the strength and coherence of the conservative alternative. In the marketplace of ideas, the stronger ideas win out in the long run, so on average the number of adherents of either side will be in the same proportion as the relative strengths of the ideas. I hope that's clear... This graph shows the effect of the previous graph on numbers. Obviously these are just demonstrations of general trends, but it does show how these two effects can be reconciled. In fact, I think the graphs are rather interesting. Jcw 18:49, 17 June 2011 (EDT)

Thanks, Jcw, the graphs do make it a bit more easy to understand and to digest, although it's a complex matter and I am not sure I grasp it completely still. What do the numbers in the graphs stand for, exactly? Thanks for taking the time to try to explain this, I am feeling really dense now :) --Leo-from-UK 18:55, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
No problem Leonard. Here's how I interpret it; others may well disagree. As Andy observes, the rate at which new conservative ideas are produced and refined is increasing rapidly. Andy's original observation was of an exponential increase, but I think that's an artifact of the measurement - if you look at the top right part of the green line on the first graph, it looks exponential in that region, but taken as a whole it's a quadratic curve. Likewise, Andy's observation of words since 1600 shows exponential growth, but graphing exponential growth over several thousand years shows that it can't be that fast over the whole period. It has also been observed that liberalism is on the increase. In both cases, what we're talking about is - in my opinion - the relative strength of the two world-views. As humanity develops, ideas are tested against each other, old ideas are tested against new ideas and so on, with the better ideas surviving in the long run. The previous observations about growth of conservatism and liberalism can be reconciled on that assumption; the two sides are both developing their ideas and improving them. Thus the first graph shows how conservative ideas develop faster than liberal ones - liberals merely add more ideas linearly, while conservatives can combine new with old productively, so each year the increase is greater than the year before.
The second graph shows (again, hypothetical) numbers of conservatively or liberally inclined people, based on the previous graph - the number of adherents of each view is assumed to be proportional to the ratio of the numbers in the previous graph. Again, it's all just a demonstration rather than an assertion about the details of actual politics, but hopefully it illustrates what we're talking about here. Jcw 19:10, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
Jcw, Conservapedia's Law ensures that a free society will, over time, inevitably become more conservative. Andy's new insight asserts that society will also become less intelligent. I don't believe you've reconciled anything.
Is your mind open to the possibility that increasing intelligence could be a stronger argument for a young earth? BradB 19:12, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
The apparent decrease in intelligence is easily explained by the increase in liberal influence in teaching. Liberal ideas hold disproportionate sway in the education field in many Western countries: note that homeschoolers' performance isn't falling, so it's not that humans are getting inherently less intelligent, but that the influence of growing liberalism is leading to less-educated people who use their God-given intelligence far less than they used to. My hypothetical graphs suggest that liberals are getting more liberal and conservatives more conservative, which seems perfectly in line with the observations. Jcw 19:18, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
The influence of liberalism on eduction is decreasing because the geometric growth in conservative insights implies that the obstacles -- liberal censorship and deceit -- lose ground at a geometric rate in a free society. True or false?
Is your mind open to the possibility that increasing intelligence could be a stronger argument for a young earth? BradB 19:25, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
Brad, your tone makes it abundantly clear that you're not trying to engage in a reasonable discussion on this point. What's more, your point doesn't make sense. As I said above, liberal and conservative ideas aren't distributed evenly in all areas, so one area - education - can be increasingly liberal while another - the US population a whole - can be increasingly conservative. Please think your points through before posting them and try to be more civil; it will help the discussion immensely. Jcw 19:39, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
I'm sorry you feel that way, Jcw. I am trying to engage in a reasonable discussion by positing that an increase in intelligence (as evidenced by the Flynn effect) is a stronger argument for a young earth. BradB 19:54, 17 June 2011 (EDT)

Andy, I too disagree with the analogy you drew between Brad's comments and the Laws of Thermodynamics. And as far as your question goes: "why are you so opposed to the possibility of intelligence declining, and the existence of a young earth?" -- I don't think anyone in this conversation is suggesting that they do not support a young Eart, we just don't support this argument for young Earth. This issue is not as black and white as you seem to see it: removal of this counterpoint does not inherently advantage the arguments for an old Earth. If I said that an alien came to me and told me that the Earth is billions of years old, or that it is 6000 years old, you and no other logically minded person would agree that this was proof for one theory vs another. And you shouldn't, it's a ludicrous argument, and just because you support the theory that this so-called proof supports, it doesn't mean you have to support this "proof" as well. As an earlier contributor posted, using the same logic about declining human intelligence to extrapolate the age of the Earth, one could use increasing human height to argue that the Earth is far younger than 6000 years (the contributor suggested it would be closer to 3000 years and that means everyone during Jesus's time would be under 2 feet tall, which is not true). You have yet to provide any extrapolation based on hard numbers, only supplying us with anecdotes like civil war letters and the federalist papers as examples of declining intelligence. Even if these examples were valid (and that is doubtful), it would suggest a very steep slope for the decline of intelligence over the past 200 or so years, thus people 1000 years ago should all be genius is the slope is consistent according to your argument. And the slope does need to be consistent or abide by a known nonlinear function in order to perform the extrapolation you have suggested; this is basic mathematics and regression theory. Again, the argument is poorly thought out and does not seem to be supported by any hard evidence or even the majority of commentators here, thus it should be removed from the article until such time when an analysis is presented that supports this argument. --Mike127 23:28, 17 June 2011 (EDT)

Pick any measure you like, and it's clear that intelligence is declining. Read, for example, Civil War letters and compare them to what the average person produces today. How long could intelligence be declining at a significant rate? Not hundreds of thousands of years, or even tens of thousands of years.
The logic is simple and unmistakable. I doubt you've heard it before, but that's not a reason to reject it. Honestly, after all this discussion, I still don't see a logical objection to this counterexample.--Andy Schlafly 23:39, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
There's a few glaring problems with using the change in language between the Civil War and now to measure intelligence. Firstly, you're ignoring how the language has developed during the period, and has become more practical and less "flowery" - hardly a sign of less intelligence. Unless you're referring to text-speak of course, which hasn't exactly entered mainstream literature or business yet. In addition, you're ignoring the fact that for every Civil War letter that was written, there was at least an equal number of illiterate soldiers on either side. And the final point, which is baffling me, is that here you're using diminishing language skills to show that people are becoming less intelligent, and yet elsewhere on Conservapedia, you claim the language is becoming more conservative. Which is it, because you can't use language to prove two entirely contradictory points? TracyS 08:14, 18 June 2011 (EDT)
There's no contradiction. Technology will improve despite people getting less intelligent. The counterexample is well-supported and can hardly be doubted. Examples are numerous for the obvious decline in intelligence.--Andy Schlafly 12:28, 18 June 2011 (EDT)
There might not be a contradiction, but you are claiming that language is becoming more conservative, which implies society is becoming more conservative, whilst at the same time claiming people are becoming less intelligent. Likewise, you use Civil War letters as an example, compared to modern day writing, and yet you claim the Babylonians - who must have been very intelligent compared to us - had a language that could not express complex terms, such as "sin" (actually they could - in very definitive terms). I have no problem with you claiming humans are becoming less intelligent, but by using language as an example, you're shooting your other theories in the foot. TracyS 08:18, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
Andy, you forgot to do any math to support this counter example, and this counter example depends on a mathematical principle: regression and extrapolation. Let’s assume for the sake of any argument that human intelligence is declining, and let's also say it is declining rapidly, as you have insisted. If it is declining so rapidly in the last 200 years, then why wasn't the average person during the middle ages a genius by today's standards? If the slope is as steep as you insist, estimates the intelligence of people during Jesus's time would suggest that they were many orders of magnitude more intelligent than us, and while a few might have been, the Bible is full of examples of stupid, ignorant people, so this too seems unlikely according to the Bible and historical records. And remember, Andy, the slope of the decline does need to be consistent or abide by a known nonlinear function in order to perform the extrapolation you have suggested, this cannot be argued, this is math, math is not biased. Please, provide us with the math that your argument holds water, until then, this counter example should be removed, let’s not let this flawed counter example spoil the bunch. --Mike127 00:09, 18 June 2011 (EDT)
My revisions to the article have been once again reverted by Aschlafly. Andy, shouldn't you at least err on the side of caution, given that several members of the community have given very cogent examples as to how this line of reasoning is flawed, and allow the counter example to be removed from the article until such time that consensus amongst contributors can be reached, or at least some actual data is presented in support of this claim. And by data I mean the regression analysis and interpolation the counter example alludes to but neither you nor any other member of this community have produced yet. If the counter example must stay in the article because of one member of the community's desire to see it stay, then we should at least include that this counter example points to a VERY young Earth, far less than 6000 years.--Mike127 01:08, 18 June 2011 (EDT)
Mike, the counterexample does not require precise mathematical analysis. Intelligence is significantly declining in a way that could not have lasted for tens of thousands of years with the level of intelligence and historical evidence seen today.--Andy Schlafly 12:28, 18 June 2011 (EDT)
Andy, the reason why a mathematical analysis is needed is because you've insisted that the slope of the decline in intelligence is steep enough that intelligence could not have been declining this fast for all that long (not hundreds of thousands of years, but instead only thousands). However, if the slope is as steep as you say (e.g. comparing the federalist papers to today's news) then it would seem that the decline of intelligence would have been so rapid that it couldn't have been declining for even thousands of years, but perhaps only hundreds. The examples you give of SAT scores, civil war letters, the federalist papers, etc. as you have interpreted them would all seem to suggest that if we extrapolate backwards even a thousand years the human race would have been many fold more intelligent than it is today, but that is untrue - the middle ages were a time of great trials for humans, lack of education, lack of freedoms, etc. What I have proposed to you or anyone one else in favor of this argument is that the slope of this decline be determined (meaning quantifiable scores of intelligence be used, e.g. IQ scores - SAT would be problematic due to biases in the design of this test). This is why the math is important, to discern whether the human race is 6000 years old, older or younger. All I ask for is a graph, and I believe it would help future readers of the article understand your point better. --Mike127 12:35, 19 June 2011 (EDT)

I'm confused

Maybe I'm proof of a young earth, but please can you reconcile your two theories to me, as they don't make sense:

  • In one, you say that the decrease in language skills since the civil war, shows a decrease in human intelligence.
  • In the other, you say that the number of conservative words has increased exponentially - even more so since the civil war.

Thus it seems as if you're implying that as people become less intelligent, and language skills decrease, the number of conservative words in use increases. TracyS 10:48, 19 June 2011 (EDT)

There's no contradiction. The dumbest people imaginable would still improve technology, for example.--Andy Schlafly 11:12, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
So you're saying really dumb people would build a better Large Hadron Collider? Or the next Space Shuttle? By your argument, technological progress is inversely proportional to intelligence. The Egyptians, Babylonians and Israelites must have been more intelligent than us, yet were technologically backwards.
Plus you're also implying that dumb people are improving the language by making it conservative. TracyS 11:22, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
I've also found an excellent archive of Civil War letters. Having read through them - especially those of the less educated rank-and-file soldiers, I can't find any basis to support your assertion that language skills have decreased since the Civil War. If anything, the introduction paragraphs for each letter are in many cases far more eloquent than the letters themselves. TracyS 12:07, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
Technology -- and language -- build on what exists. Yes, dumb people improve both. I don't know why that would be so difficult to understand.--Andy Schlafly 13:33, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
Bear in mind also that there are more people around than there were in the past. Yes, technology is increasing more rapidly than it used to, but that is a result of the combined efforts of billions of people - and existing technology allows more time for advancement by increasing the efficiency of menial tasks that took up a lot of time in other eras.--CPalmer 17:42, 20 June 2011 (EDT)
Well put. Note also that the English language has a wiki-like quality that enables it to build on prior improvements. For example, once "free speech" becomes a term, it facilitates many more insightful terms.--Andy Schlafly 17:58, 20 June 2011 (EDT)

People are getting less intelligent over time.

....but they're also, given the increase in new conservative words, getting more conservative over time. Is there a correlation between these facts? JamesES 19:56, 17 June 2011 (EDT)

The consensus seems to be that society becomes more conservative despite becoming less intelligent. BradB 20:04, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
Society builds on what is accomplished, and does not have to reinvent the wheel. So technology and conservatism grow over time, but each generation is obviously less intelligent than the one before it. The Federalist Papers, for example, ran in an ordinary newspaper 224 years ago; today an average college student has trouble understanding them.--Andy Schlafly 20:13, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
But they *can* understand Foucault and Derrida, and a much more complex level of mathematics, things that would possibly have been quite difficult 224 years ago JamesES 20:21, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
No, the average person cannot understand even mildly advanced mathematics. We've been discussing average intelligence, and its decline.--Andy Schlafly 21:03, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
Well, you were the one who brought up "average college students," who need to understand ideas that are far more complex than what their counterparts did a couple of centuries, or even decades ago. And do you have any evidence that the average college student, or man in the street, does not understand the Federalist Papers? JamesES 21:20, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
There is an article stating that man's brain has shrunk 10%. [2] Another that says obesity shrinks the brain significantly. [3] The source is less than credible with their faux conservatism and their evolutionary clap trap but I am positive it is not the only source discussing the issue described. --Jpatt 21:53, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
In response to Jpatt, minor differences in brain size between humans are poorly correlated with intelligence. Take, for example, the average size of a woman's brain vs. a man's brain, the woman's brain is smaller (by about 2% if memory serves), but women are no less intelligent than men. Before one jumps to the conclusion that I am saying that an individual person's brain can shrink without damaging cognitive function, let me assure you that I am not. Alzheimer’s Disease patients suffer from, amongst other things, the general atrophy of their brains, loosing significant volume and mass over the progress of the disease. And at the same time, one may also assume I'm saying that animals with small brains (like rats) may be just as intelligent as humans, and let me assure you that I am not saying this - a rat's brain is several orders of magnitude smaller than a human's brain and their level of intelligence is reflected by this. What I am saying is that small percentage differences in humans' brains over time (like what is detailed in the above reference form Jpatt) of minor difference between individual people cannot relay any significant different in intelligence. Here are some interesting anatomical facts about brain sizes: [[4]] --Mike127 23:04, 17 June 2011 (EDT)
ok, my great-grandfather lived to be 106 years old without ever eating dog food or cashing a Social Security check. Several members of Congress claim their elder constituents, after a lifetime of learning and experience, must eat dog food if they don't collect and cash Social Security checks. Could this be quantifiable standard to extrapolate backwards a measurement of human intelligence? After all, it not only measures whether or not the species is less intelligent than a generation ago, it could reveal if an individual person gets more stupid with longevity, too. Rob Smith 19:06, 18 June 2011 (EDT)
Rob, what you presented was a qualitative (not quantitative) anecdotal (i.e. single example) piece of evidence. Also, I don't see how eating dog food is a sign of lack of intelligence if the alternative for these elders is to starve, that is a very sad state of affairs. --Mike127 12:17, 19 June 2011 (EDT)
It could be quantitative if the phenomenea becomes widespread, as has been alleged by several members of Congress. Getting stupider as one gets older is indeed a sad state of afffairs, especially if it becomes wiespread as is apparent. Take for example the Parable of Ten Virgins (Mathew 25) or wise King Solomon's admonition, "A good man leaves an in heritance to his children", (Proverbs 13:22). How many people today choose to ignore the inherited wisedom passed down through the ages that simply says, "prepare for the future", and choose rather to squander their resources on riotous living? Rob Smith 19:17, 19 June 2011 (EDT)

Main page is now protected from editing

Andy, the reason you stated as to why you protected this article is because of edits to remove one counter example (the decreasing intelligence argument), and that you have refuted the criticisms to this counter example. However, you merely rested the counter example several times on this talk page and offered nothing new to support it, and it was other members of this community, myself included, that provided new information and new perspectives and new analyses that refute the inclusion of this counter example in the article. It is unfortunate that we can no longer add to this page because you are intent on keeping this one counter example, no matter how erroneous it is or how bad it makes the other more intelligent counter examples look. The unfortunate thing is that this isn't even a liberal vs. conservative issue, it's an issue about math. I suppose that I and others should stop talking about this issue on this page now, as to avoid the 90/10 rule, but when editing is reopened for this article, be sure that it will either be I, the other contributors here, or new contributors that will once again highlight the problems with this counter example and this cycle will begin again.--Mike127 01:38, 18 June 2011 (EDT)

Nice try on the reframing thing, but it's not just about math. It's about the intersection of faith and reason. There are a number of issues on which partisans ignore the math, and the worst violators are liberals.
If you would like to provide a perspective on this issue, please give your right name (and then you can be a source), or quote a reliable source. --Ed Poor Talk 12:23, 29 June 2011 (EDT)

I have big issues with this article

Ok seriously. Is anyone proud of this article? I'm an atheist, but before you discredit me, please hear me out. I'm going to try to do my best to explain my problems with this article. It is full of logical fallacies and it's written with very little understanding of what the issues are. First, when it talks about the probability that the earth is young at about 96%, it does so using a complete misapplication of statistics.

Also, it states that "no counterexamples have been found for young earth", even if accepted as true, it says nothing about whether the claim of a young earth is true. The fact that nothing can be found to disprove a young earth doesn't mean that our claim that the earth is young is true. It is still up to those making the young earth claim, as those making a positive claim, to provide evidence that demonstrates that the earth is young. Just because I make claim X, and you are unable to disprove that claim, doesn't prove claim X to be true.

Finally, the article talks about "atheist". To be honest, I don't see how this is true. There are many people who do believe in a god who believe that the old earth theory. "Atheism" is just one position to a single argument... whether a god exists or not. Anything that deals outside of whether a god exists is outside of what "atheism" is. There are many Christians who believe the old earth theory. If there was a person who doesn't believe in a god, who believes the young earth theory... that person will still be considered an atheist (since that person doesn't believe in a god). Thus, I feel that the discussion of atheism in this article is wrong, since atheism makes no claim either way on whether the earth is old or young.

What do you guys think? Loro1rojo 12:07, 29 July 2011 (EDT)


I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, Loro1rojo. Conservapedia is a conservative site, and makes no apologies for taking a firm stance. Part of that stance is a strongly critical eye when it comes to the claims of evolutionary theory. Now: not everyone on the site is one hundred in percent in agreement on these points. Certain editors believe in God's Creation and a young earth; others believe that God created everything, but the Earth is old. There are even a few atheist editors who contribute productively.
Note that I said "contribute productively." That means adding information, rather than arguing that long-established articles should be changed. That is an approach that is simply not likely to be successful, particularly from a very new editor. Due to the high number of vandals who routinely attack the site, any new editor is going to be viewed with suspicion.
I would suggest spending some time working on contributing to the project. As you may have heard, Conservapedia is a meritocracy; those who have worked to help the project grow tend to have more weight when arguing for a change than those who have only joined recently. Once you have established yourself as a productive member of the project, then it might be appropriate to suggest significant changes to existing articles.
Best of luck to you. --Benp 12:25, 29 July 2011 (EDT)

Spiral galaxies

I'm not happy with the claim that spiral galaxies being young disprove an old Earth, mainly because it simply isn't relevant. Astronomers say quite plainly that spiral galaxies are young (although they talk on a scale of billions of years) whereas elliptical galaxies are claimed to be old. It's perfectly accurate to say that spiral galaxies can't be as old as the universe, but astronomers and evolutionists are just going to shrug their shoulders and say "We know. So what?" I think this example should come out. --SamCoulter 15:01, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

It's implausible that spiral galaxies would be much younger than the universe itself. The fact that spiral galaxies are young implies that the universe is young.--Andy Schlafly 20:59, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
WHY is it implausible that spiral galaxies would be much younger than the universe? Astronomers don't seem to think so and they have an explanation for why spiral galaxies are younger than elliptical ones. I really don't see the point of arguing against a claim that the other side isn't making. --SamCoulter 11:51, 15 September 2011 (EDT)

The variability of the speed of light as a counterexample to relativity requires a 2-billion-year-old universe

Aschlafly, on the counterexamples to relativity page you made the argument that the speed of light was not constant based on this study, which argues that the speed of light might have been different 2 billion years ago. How does this reconcile with an young universe? BrentH 20:59, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

Straightforwardly. The scientists who studied the changing speed of light are no doubt evolutionists, so they naturally think and speak in terms of an old universe. Their specific finding relating to the variability of the speed of light can be sound despite the false framework in which they understand it. Jcw 21:07, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
So their entire conceptual framework is flawed, but their findings within a completely flawed framework are valid, only they can't see that their data--which relies on years measured in hard numbers--that gives them the correct findings is fundamentally flawed because of their conceptual framework? BrentH 21:10, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Not their entire conceptual framework, just a specific aspect of it. They interpret various things wrongly to give an implausibly old age for the universe, but otherwise their observations and deductions are fairly sound. It's not all-or-nothing - we can work out which aspects of someone's work are valid and which aren't, rather than just accepting on faith that everything evolutionist scientists say is true. Jcw 21:18, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
In addition to Jcw's insightful observation, note that the "2 billion year" figure is just a way of saying 1/6th the age of the universe. It doesn't mean anything more than that. A careful, objective scientist would express time in the distant past as a fraction of the universe's age, rather than speculating about the number of years.--Andy Schlafly 21:23, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
They're not speculating; they're working from hard data that, WITHIN THEIR MODEL, gives a reliable answer. All stars are fusing hydrogen into helium, therefore they emit light at what's called the Hydrogen-Alpha line. This has a known frequency. The deviation of the observed line from this frequency gives a redshift, therefore a distance, therefore an age. There is no speculation involved. Obviously they're leaving out a few minor but significant details that we know from Genesis, but they really are working in actual years rather than fractions of the age of the universe. --SamCoulter 21:37, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Edit conflict: JCW, I'm not sure why you keep mentioning evolution. The theory of evolution has nothing to say about the speed of light. You do understand that the theory of evolution is about biology and not astrophysics, right?--BrentH 21:26, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
The insistence by evolutionists on their theory is what caused -- and continues to require -- the belief by some in an implausibly old earth and universe.--Andy Schlafly 21:35, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Actually it was the growing belief among almost all geologists that kick-started the development of modern evolutionary theory. --SamCoulter 11:53, 15 September 2011 (EDT)
I'm intrigued by the way beliefs affect theories. Can we think of any relevant cases where someone's preconceived idea led to the making of claims to support that idea? (Think of a 2nd grader who wants candy: "It's good for me, mom, it has carbohydrates.") --Ed Poor Talk 12:47, 15 September 2011 (EDT)
Yes, but sadly most of them apply to Young Earth Creationism :-S However the classic example is the dark matter/dark energy issue; scientists believe in the theory of relativity (correctly, in my view, but the principle holds,) therefore it is necessary for dark matter and dark energy to exist in order that the observed universe is following relativistic rules, therefore dark matter and dark energy exist even though we don't know what they are and can't detect them. I believe (and I'm not a physicist, so it IS a belief and I'm not betting anything on it) that something with the required attributes of DM and DE exists, but there could also be another explanation and I'm open to that, too. --SamCoulter 12:58, 15 September 2011 (EDT)

Groundwater and entropy

How does groundwater relate to entropy? Entropy is energy unavailable for work, and it only necessarily has to stay constant or increase in a closed system. Groundwater is not a closed system.

I realise that I'm treading on thin ice at the moment because of my recent block, and it seems that there is a strong prejudice against removing counterexamples from any of these articles, but it is my strongly and sincerely held belief that by going for quantity rather than quality we are harming the credibility of CP as a source of information. The intro to this article says that the Old Earth hypothesis can't survive one counterexample - and I fully agree with that - so why do we need 35-odd counterexamples, at least half of which are completely fatuous? The Bible explains the water cycle, and by claiming that (a mistaken understanding of) entropy says that groundwater can't survive we contradict both Scripture and a pile of scientific evidence so high that you could use it to build a good-sized waterfall. --SamCoulter 21:04, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

Freshwater and Saltwater Fish

On one hand, I believe this counterexample doesn't belong on this website because it necessarily assumes that evolution is true. It basically says that the Earth must be young because there hasn't been enough time for fish to evolve to be able to survive in both freshwater and saltwater. On the other hand, I believe the premise is flawed because evolutionists will tell you that fish have evolved to have a salinity tolerance for their preferred environment, and have no need to be able to survive in both freshwater and saltwater. Please let me know if I am misunderstanding the counterexample. (And if that is the case, perhaps it should be better explained.) --AaronT 21:39, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

Personally I think it should be deleted because it's nonsense. An old Earth is conclusively disproven by looking at models of the solar system's planets and satellites; no scientist can explain the distribution of planetary types, the orbits of moons and the eccentricity of all orbits (which both classical mechanics and general relativity say should be basically circular with a few minor hiccups.) We don't need incoherent arguments about fish, which in any case are irrelevant to the age of the Earth; whether the flood happened 4,500 years ago on a 6,000 year old Earth or 4,500 years ago on a 4,600,000,000 year old Earth makes precisely no difference to the effects it would have had.
If we want this site to be credible we should avoid making statements that any materialistic scientist can effortlessly refute. --SamCoulter 21:52, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Most Old Earth believers deny the existence of the Flood also, so your argument does not apply to them.--Andy Schlafly 22:01, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
No, it doesn't. Therefore it's not worth using, is it? I do understand your point, but what's the use of using arguments that the opposition can legitimately (according to their frame of reference) simply reject? Do we want to make a real effort to persuade them or are we content to ask "Warum können einen Hund ihren eigenen Eier ablecken?" I would state that pro-creationism arguments that only make sense to creationists are worthless. It's THEM we're trying to persuade, not US! --SamCoulter 22:24, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Good point, Mr. Schlafly, but this counterexample is still based on evolution of fish (or lack thereof). Can it be restated so that it does not assume evolution is true? --AaronT 22:16, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Please improve how this counterexample is stated!--Andy Schlafly 22:18, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

Scope of the article

This article seems more like a debate - or a strategy statement - than an actual encyclopedia article. I propose moving it to the Debate topics. --Ed Poor Talk 10:56, 15 September 2011 (EDT)

I disagree. In its present form it's appalling, but it would be a valuable article if a lot of the more laughable examples were stripped out and the good ones expanded. --SamCoulter 11:40, 15 September 2011 (EDT)
Perhaps you might make it less appalling by attributing the "laughable examples" to their advocates. --Ed Poor Talk 14:53, 15 September 2011 (EDT)

Taking your logic from the opening paragraph and running with it...

I can prove that gravity doesn't exist. Just because something hasn't been explained or there are contradictions doesn't mean that the theory is incorrect. For instance, problems with gravity include: a discrepancy between the models at a macro level and quantum level, Stars in galaxies follow a distribution of velocities where stars on the outskirts are moving faster than they should according to the observed distributions of normal matter. Galaxies within galaxy clusters show a similar pattern, and of course the fact that no one has discovered a graviton. In short, according to your logic, since all of these cast doubt on gravity, it doesn't exist. Yet I'm still being held to the ground aren't I? Perhaps you should rethink your logic. JohnPaulJonesRevWar 13:02, 24 October 2011 (EDT)

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