Talk:Earth

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Archive 1 (28th April, 2008)

The following (shaded) discussion was moved from talk:Main Page.

Where does Wikipedia get it's sources on the Earth's age and related date estimates

Articles like Earth basically state for a fact that the Earth is billions of years old, but from what I've read the reason that scientists get those measurements is because they purposely use unreliable dating methods that give them the results they want to get. But I'm sure they're are published sources that give more accurate (and younger ages). Where are all these sources, and why don't we work together and take back Wikipedia from the evolutionists who are trying to censor these alternate views.--Urban67 16:46, 26 April 2008 (EDT)

Wikipedia's source says this:
"The ages of Earth and Moon rocks and of meteorites are measured by the decay of long-lived radioactive isotopes of elements that occur naturally in rocks and minerals and that decay with half lives of 700 million to more than 100 billion years to stable isotopes of other elements. These dating techniques, which are firmly grounded in physics and are known collectively as radiometric dating, are used to measure the last time that the rock being dated was either melted or disturbed sufficiently to rehomogenize its radioactive elements."
—The preceding unsigned comment was added by JJones (talk)
That's circular reasoning, which many liberals fall for. Stating that something has a half life of 700 million years, which of course has never been observed, is to assume what is being "proven": that something is 700+ million years old. There is no reason to assume that decay rates have been constant over the life of the universe, and every reason to assume they have not been constant.--Aschlafly 21:22, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm not hip to this, actually... what reason is there to believe that the laws of physics have changed over the course of time? That seems like a pretty incredible thing to suggest, since any alteration in any of the constants that hold the universe together would have resulted in a total collapse of all matter, excepting the fine structure constant which appears to have been increasing gradually over six billion years (as indicated by the absorption lines of quasars of varying distances). It of course can be pointed out that our perception of the laws of physics have changed, for example when Newtonian dynamics as detailed in Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica was overturned on the quantum level. But if Planck's constant had changed over the course of time to any degree, the quantization and hence reality of electrons would have been impossible. If the permitivity of empty space was any larger, too, then every particle would explode. Maybe you could link to what you are speaking of?--TomMoore 21:35, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Urban67, the value of science is that it is always open to scrutiny and improvement as it looks to explain the workings of the universe around us. Theories for how to date the age of objects can be proposed and then tested, and if proven to be wrong later, revised and replaced with better methods. The methods used in various dating approaches, like Uranium-Lead dating, are based on scientific observations of the behavior of elements, and those properties are then used to date objects. The key to these methods is that they follow the scientific method, and their results can be tested and verified independently by anyone, and more importantly, cross-checked against other methods that date in the same range.
So, if three different radiometric dating approaches all date the same blind sample to the same period of time within an acceptable margin of error, then only two conclusions can be drawn - the methods are generally accurate and reliable, or they all suffer from the same anomaly that makes them unreliable, despite the fact that they are different methods.
ASchafly assumes that decay rates have not been constant over time without providing scientific evidence. Personally, it seems more rational to assume that the intrinsic properties of elements have not changed over time - gold always behaves as gold, and uranium always behaves as uranium.
What's also important to consider is that while completely different dating methods can correlate to each other and show old-earth dates to be valid, there has not been a set of independent scientific dating methods that consistently cross-check to each other and show the maximum age of any object to be no older than the young-earth assumptions of thousands of years. I'd suggest that instead of focusing on Wikipedia or Conservapedia, you do some research on the underlying science to reach your own conclusions - the exercise is its own reward. --DinsdaleP 22:04, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Circular reasoning can fool many people. Assume something has a half-life of 700 million years and - voila! - you've just "proven" that the universe is older than 700 millions. That is, you've proven to someone easily fooled by circular reasoning. I'll add circular reasoning to the liberal gullibility list.--Aschlafly 22:56, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Circular reasoning can fool many people. Argue that the Bible is literal truth, and when they ask for proof, point to... the Bible! Voila! I'd add that to the Conservative gullibility page, except that we don't have one here and never will.
FYI, the radioactive decay rate is calculatable from the strong and weak nuclear forces. If either of those changed even a little, the sun would either go out or go nova, which I think would be slightly noticeable. This is why I like science--it works off of the basic assumption that the universe is not trying to trick us. --Gulik5 01:59, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
Gulik5, you're chasing your own tail with circular reasoning here, assuming the validity of what you claim to "prove". Circular reasoning fools many people, but not so many here. As one goes backwards in time and approaches the origin of the universe, energies, decay rates, and physical laws inevitably were different, as even atheistic scientists themselves concede. But determined to cling to a belief in an old universe, you seem to be in denial about that.
This is logic and has nothing to do with the Bible. I haven't seen logic fail yet, and encourage you to consider it with an open mind. If you won't, I'm confident other readers here will. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 09:54, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
I don't agree that "As one goes backwards in time and approaches the origin of the universe, energies, decay rates, and physical laws inevitably were different". I see no reason to suppose that physical laws were ever different, and I think nobody proposes that they were, except for some scientists who propose that they were different in the first few microseconds after the supposed Big Bang. That is, apart from that proposal (with which I disagree), everyone believes that physical laws have remained constant, rather than changing over time. Second, although some creationary scientists have concluded that decay rates have varied in the past (i.e. the RATE team), even they don't propose that they have changed in some sort of way related to the age of the universe, as your comment seems to be saying. However, to agree with you, yes scientists do propose a change in the physical laws (as mentioned) when it suits them, but deny it otherwise. Further, as I said elsewhere in this discussion, I see no reason to suppose that a claim about variations in decay rates means a change in physical laws, as opposed to an incomplete understanding of those physical laws. Philip J. Rayment 10:42, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
Given that all agree that the laws of physics were different as one gets close in time to the origin universe, it is a logical absurdity to then pretend the laws have always been the same and draw conclusions based on that implausible assumption. Those who insist on doing that are simply assuming what they are trying to prove. They're chasing their own tail.--Aschlafly 12:47, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
But the point is that not all agree that the laws of physics were different as one get close in time to the origin of the universe. The only people who do think that, as far as I know, are Big Bang cosmologists (and anyone who accepts what those scientists say) who accept it for the first few microseconds after the Big Bang. God created the laws of physics as part of His creation, and being a consistent God, does not change them. Philip J. Rayment 04:09, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

I don't know, everyone here arguing about the validity of radiometric dating and nobody actually points out to Urban67 that our Earth article doesn't "state for a fact that the Earth is billions of years old"! Unlike the biased Wikipedia, our article covers both uniformitarian and creationary views.

Claiming that something has a half life of x doesn't mean that the world is at least x years old. This site says that the element with the longest half-life is an isotope of Selenium, with a half-life of 130,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. This doesn't mean that the Earth is at least that old. All this means is that, even according to uniformitarian dating, no SE-82 has decayed even part of one half life yet.

Nobody has yet explained to me why a change in the rate of decay means that the laws of physics have changed. If we find evidence of half-lives changing, surely it just means that we don't understand the physics of it properly yet, not that the laws of physics have changed. TomMoore mentioned the change in the fine-structure constant as though this was an exception to the rule, but until uniformitarian scientists found reason to believe that this had changed, if a creationist proposed that it had, they would have been given the same answer: you're claiming that the laws of physics have changed.

The problem with the claim that science is always open to scrutiny is that it is not open to scrutiny if that scrutiny supports a creationist or ID point of view (see suppression of alternatives to evolution). Further, dating methods are not testable (except as I'll mention in a moment), as nobody can go back into the past to check out the results. Dating methods are testable by comparing dates that they produce against objects of known age, but objects of known age only date back a few thousand years (i.e. within recorded history), so that rules out almost every date except some C14 dates. And many tests done with other methods on items of known dates have falsified the methods: For example, testing rocks formed during volcanic eruptions in the last century or so returning dates up to millions of years old! PDinsdale is correct that comparing three methods which give the same results means either that they work or that they suffer from the same problem, but dismisses the latter too quickly. Yes, they are different methods, but in most cases all involve radioactive decay. And it also overlooks that such testing often produces different results, such as (a) tests done by the RATE team have shown that radioactive decay dates don't match the amount of helium produced by that decay retained in the rocks, (b) scientists using different methods and arriving at different dates, such as occurred with Mungo Man, and (c) numerous anomalous results, such as C14 dating of wood in basalt from the Crinum mine in Queensland giving a very different age to the date of the basalt holding the wood.[1]

Creationists says that the dating methods are not reliable, so expecting the methods to show ages consistent with the creationary view is not reasonable as it requires one to assume that the methods are reliable. Perhaps PDinsdale would benefit from some reading of his own so that he understands just what the problems and objections are.

And Andy is correct that circular reasoning is involved, albeit not in the way he describes. C14 dating, for example, assumes that the level of C14 in the atmosphere was not altered by Noah's Flood (because Noah's Flood was presumed to not have happened), and dates derived from C14 dating are then used to argue that some artifacts are older than the Flood, and that this therefore disproves the Flood.

Philip J. Rayment 04:47, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Oh, one more. The charge that Christians employ circular reasoning to support the truth of the Bible is something that I see as a sceptic charge far more than I actually see Christians actually doing, if I've ever seen it at all. Rather, it's more of a (typical of bibliosceptics) straw-man tactic than a real phenomenon. Philip J. Rayment 04:54, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Thanks, Philip, for responding with some logic and evidence instead of the rhetoric and accusations of "liberal gullibility" in the other response. I believe in the value of Occam's Razor in cases like this - the simplest, least convoluted explanation is usually the truth, or at least a lot closer to the truth than not. It's simpler to assume decay rates are constant when there's no proof to date that they're not. It's simpler to expect carbon levels to be consistent than to expect the Biblical Flood to have affected them in exactly the way needed to make the young-earth numbers work. It's simpler to accept the correlation of moon-rock dates with old-earth dates, because moon rocks are not affected by terrestrial events, floods or otherwise. It's also simpler to tie in the correlation of astronomical observations and teh speed of light, instead of assuming the latter changed as well.

I'm not claiming radiometric data to be perfect, and when you encounter anomalous findings like the ones cited above, there needs to be a better understanding of why they happened (bad test controls, contamination, a misunderstanding of the theory, which now has to be revised, etc.) When science hits results like these it just examines and corrects itself, and improves the understanding of the universe through the process.

Finally, at the risk of offending many here, Gulik5 does have a point about circular reasoning and the Bible - many articles relating to the validity of YEC rely on the Bible for proof and not science, so using the Bible to validate YEC views that come from the Bible is, in fact, a form of circular reasoning. Let's see a consistent, cross-verifiable, science-based validation of the YEC theory and I'm open to being convinced. --DinsdaleP 09:31, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
I've no problem with using Occam's Razor (as long as one remembers that it's a guide not a law), but I do question whether what you consider the "simplest" explanation really is the simplest.
You say that there's "no proof" that decay rates are not constant, but there is, in fact, considerable evidence that they are not, which I briefly touched on. See also sections 1 and 2 of Essay: Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia regarding "evidence" and "proof". Further, the problem is not just with the decay rates, but the assumptions used in dating (see Radiometric dating). Actually, my reference to "considerable evidence" in this paragraph should have been that there is considerable evidence that the methods are unreliable, but only some of that evidence relates to decay rates, whilst some relates to the assumptions involved.
Your line about "expect[ing] the Biblical Flood to have affected [C14 levels] in exactly the way needed to make the young-earth numbers work" is a loaded one. It implies an extraordinary co-incidence, where none in intended. It's a straightforward argument that if a global flood occurred as described in the Bible, then C14 levels would have been affected (in a particular way, i.e. by making C14 dates appear older than they should), and it's a fact that C14 dates don't take this into account, therefore using C14 dates to argue against the Flood is circular reasoning. So when you said that "It's simpler to expect carbon levels to be consistent than to expect the Biblical Flood to have affected them in exactly the way needed to make the young-earth numbers work", what you really should have said is that "It's simpler to expect carbon levels to be consistent than to expect the Biblical Flood to have affected them". But putting it that way makes the fallacy clearer: Why assume constancy of C14 levels with a global flood? What you are really doing assuming no global flood (in which case assuming constancy of C14 levels makes some sense), but I reject that no global flood is what one would expect from Occams Razor.
As for the moon-rock dates, if something affected decay rates, it's simpler to assume that decay rates would have been affected universally, rather than just on Earth, is it not? More to the point, whether or not decay rates on the moon were affected would depend on what effected them, and as we don't yet know that, we really can't say one way or the other.
Astronomical explanations have little to do with terrestrial dates. Yes, uniformitarian dates from both fields are inconsistent with biblical accounts, but that's about where the similarity ends. The universe is supposed to be around 14,000 million years old, and the Earth about 4,500 million, so although the two are not inconsistent, it can hardly be said that one confirms the other. Further, as starlight problem points out, the uniformitarian explanation has the same sort of problem that the YEC explanation has regarding astronomical ages, so Occam's Razor is not much use there.
Your story about how science corrects itself is all well and nice, but when it comes to YEC explanations, it doesn't work, because YEC explanations are ruled out a priori. So radiometric dates are clung to despite the problems, because to give them up would be to concede that YECs might have a point. It's easy to throw around explanations like bad test controls, contamination, etc., but (a) anomalous dates have already been checked for these, so these are not the explanation, and (b) these sorts of explanations excuses are generally only invoked when dates don't match expectations, while if the dates do match expectations, they are considered to be reliable. That's uniformitarian expectations, of course, which is a source of bias.
Like Gulik5, you are incorrect about the circular reasoning. YECs do not rely on the Bible for independent proof of their ideas. Yes, they get their ideas from the Bible, and they argue that the Bible is a valid reliable source of information, but they don't employ the circular logic of then using the Bible to prove those ideas. As I said, that is merely a bibliosceptic (or in this case, anti-creationist) straw-man argument. Further, YECs point out that we are dealing with unique events in history, which are not available for scientific observation, repeatable experimentation, etc., so are strictly outside the realm of empirical science, and that exactly the same applies to molecules-to-man evolution, so expecting YEC views to be "scientifically validated" is asking for the impossible and is therefore being unreasonable.
Philip J. Rayment 10:32, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
Those are some interesting points, Philip, and I have my reading cut out for me. That said, I'm not ruling out the possibility that the Biblical Flood occurred, or that the earth may in fact only be around 6,000 years old. I don't dismiss repeatable scientific evidence when it radically contradicts the current understandings, either. Einstein's theories were radical in that way to his contemporaries, but proven over time. Elements of quantum theory can seem almost mystical, too, but follow consistent mathematical principles that can be tested - the ones that hold up are retained,and the ones that don't modified or replaced with ones that fit the evidence better. I don't rule out the YEC explanation out of hand, but when I read the starlight problem article, I was struck with the same impression - that of people who don't want to accept the generally-accepted evidence that contradicts the YEC view, and propose one theory after another that not only seem unlikely, but in some cases are impossible to prove one way or another because they rely on assumed supernatural intervention (like God stretching spacetime after creation). When you apply Occam's Razor, it's easier to accept that light and gravity have always behaved the way they're consistently measured to do, than to assume that God changed the rules at some point, for reasons unknown to us, just so the measurements we make today can still conform to a YEC timeframe.

Finally, I have a problem with the view expressed by some here that science is unreliable when applied to historical problems, like ancient dating, because no one was there to correlate the results. That's dismissive of many elements of physics and chemistry that we accept and live by in other aspects of daily life (electronics, nuclear power, space travel and satellite communications for example). Controversies regarding the content of Arab textbooks regarding Jews, or Japanese textbooks omitting references to WWII atrocities, are contemporary examples of written history being subjective, and not conforming to reality. Conservapedia's own article on the Bible shows differences between the Jewish and Christian versions of the Old Testament, and the changing nature of the Christian Bible as it was revised and translated. We may not be able to witness events before our lifetime, but if I had to rely on a young-earth or old-earth viewpoint backed by science that I can measure and test today, or the historic writings of men I never knew, I'd choose the findings of science.

I've never understood why one can't accept an old-earth view AND the wisdom in the Bible at the same time. The science in the Bible doesn't have to be accurate for the lessons in values to be. --DinsdaleP 12:32, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

I am going to respond to PJR, since as usual he is the only one meeting an argument with reason and support, rather than rhetoric. I gotta tell you, PJR, I think you're on the wrong side of just about every issue, but I respect that you always have well-thought-out reasons for being there. I am abandoning Occam's Razor, since it is generally misunderstood as the "simplest explanation" sort of thing and never really convinced anyone of anything.

Claiming that something has a half life of x doesn't mean that the world is at least x years old... All this means is that, even according to uniformitarian dating, no SE-82 has decayed even part of one half life yet.

This is true. There are isotopes of several elements that would take more than the current life of the universe to have decayed by half. No claim can be made that the length of half-life of an element means that the universe must be that old. However, it does help us verify it in other ways. If we examine the chemical composition of the most distant protostars, for example, we will find that it consists partially of one element and partially of the element into which it decays as it breaks down, and the proportion conforms to exactly what we would expect if it had been decaying for billions of years since the star-formation process was disrupted.

Nobody has yet explained to me why a change in the rate of decay means that the laws of physics have changed. If we find evidence of half-lives changing, surely it just means that we don't understand the physics of it properly yet, not that the laws of physics have changed.

Radioactive elements decay because they are shedding electrons, basically. Their unstable structure is unable to hold itself together, and so it fires off atoms. The time this occurs is random when applied to an individual atom, but a mass of them reflects a fundamental trend of decay which accords with the complexity of the atom and strength with which it retains its structure. If the rate of decay were to change, it would mean that the fundamental forces that hold together atoms would have changed. If atoms began decaying more quickly, it would mean that the strong nuclear force was weaker. That's as best I can explain it, but I believe it expresses my point... atoms decay according to the most fundamental laws of physics, and any change in the former would have to be because of a change in the latter.

TomMoore mentioned the change in the fine-structure constant as though this was an exception to the rule, but until uniformitarian scientists found reason to believe that this had changed, if a creationist proposed that it had, they would have been given the same answer: you're claiming that the laws of physics have changed.

It does indeed seem to be the exception in the rule, if it pans out properly (as it appears it will). But more to the point, it was discovered through an empirical and repeatable test. If any creationist had done that test, no one would try to gainsay them because it would be science. But creationists do precious little to explore further, generally concentrating on attacking evolution. This is for ideologically understandable reasons, but it does mean the number of actively researching creationist physicists is tiny (if extant at all).

And many tests done with other methods on items of known dates have falsified the methods

This is generally not true, according to everything I have read. While there have been unusual exceptions, which are seized upon by critics, for the most part results tend to correlate and are consistent with each other.

C14 dating, for example, assumes that the level of C14 in the atmosphere was not altered by Noah's Flood (because Noah's Flood was presumed to not have happened), and dates derived from C14 dating are then used to argue that some artifacts are older than the Flood, and that this therefore disproves the Flood.

While this is clever, it fails a close examination. Consider:

If the amount of C14 was so hugely greater prior to the Flood, that would mean that during that brief period of time between Creation and the Flood (a thousand years? Two thousand?) that all plants would be fixing that huge amount as part of photosynthesis, and accordingly that animals would imbibe it as well. So what we would have would be a pretty interesting trend whenever we dated anything... if it was older than the Flood, it would contain a consistently huge level of C14 that varied only slightly, and if it was younger it would contain a much smaller. In other words, the graph would look like a single stair, rather than a sloping trend downwards. Any single event that changed the atmosphere is reflected in all evidence of that atmosphere. The evidence absolutely contradicts your theory.--TomMoore 13:32, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Replying to PDinsdale:
"...when I read the starlight problem article, I was struck with the same impression - that of people who don't want to accept the generally-accepted evidence that contradicts the YEC view, and propose one theory after another that not only seem unlikely, but in some cases are impossible to prove one way or another...": Why do their ideas "seem unlikely"? I'd suggest that it's only because it's not the ruling paradigm. To me, it seems extremely unlikely that nothing would become something for no reason (i.e. the Big Bang), but it probably doesn't seem unlikely to you simply because that's the idea that you are use to and have come to accept. And much of the Big Bang hypothesis is impossible to prove one way or another also. And the YEC views also "follow consistent mathematical principles". In fact, Russell Humphreys said of his idea that it was based on exactly the same science as the Big Bang, but simply had a different starting assumption. Where the Big Bang assumes an unbounded universe, Humphrey's assumed a bounded universe. His cosmology then simply "fell out" of the science following that assumption. It also seems unlikely that up to 99% (I think the figure is) of the universe cannot be seen. That is, in order for the Big Bang model to work, cosmologists have to propose that up to 99% of the universe comprises 'dark matter', and some 'dark energy': matter and energy that we are unable to detect. In other words, an enormous (universe-sized!) fudge factor! Apply Occam's Razor to that!
"...to prove one way or another because they rely on assumed supernatural intervention (like God stretching spacetime after creation).": Is that any worse that relying on unseen matter and energy? Once you allow for God being involved, then you must allow for Him "intervening". YECs are not in the habit, however, of invoking God simply to answer unanswerable conundrums. They only invoke Him where it can be justified, such as (as in this case) when the Bible explicitly says that He did something.
"When you apply Occam's Razor, it's easier to accept that light and gravity have always behaved the way they're consistently measured to do..": Yeah? Humphreys' and Hartnett's cosmologies have light and gravity behaving the way that they are consistently measured to do. The Big Bang, by contrast, has fudges to make it work, such as proposing that the laws of physics were different for the first few microseconds and that light travelled faster than is measured to solve the horizon problem.
"...than to assume that God changed the rules at some point...": Well, that's kind of the point: YEC ideas have God not changing the rules, unlike the Big Bang scenario.
"...so the measurements we make today can still conform to a YEC timeframe": That's putting things back to front. If God did create the universe the way that the Bible says and YECs propose, then God didn't change the rules so that measurements conform to a YEC timeframe. Rather, the measurements conform to a YEC timeframe because that's the way things happened! You are, in effect, assuming the YEC view is wrong then trying to rationalise why the measurements made on that basis conform to that view that you've rejected!
"Finally, I have a problem with the view expressed by some here that science is unreliable when applied to historical problems, like ancient dating, because no one was there to correlate the results. That's dismissive of many elements of physics and chemistry that we accept and live by in other aspects of daily life ...": Not at all. Dating methods involve measurements and assumptions. It is the assumptions that are being questioned, not the measurements. If you'd read and understood radiometric dating, you would know this, and not be claiming that questioning the dates means questioning the measurements.
"..if I had to rely on a young-earth or old-earth viewpoint backed by science that I can measure and test today, or the historic writings of men I never knew, I'd choose the findings of science.": If I had to rely on the untestable declarations about the past made by scientists who weren't there verses the infallible Word of the God who was there, I'd choose what God says. Your comparison with history written by fallible men is an invalid comparison.
"...the changing nature of the Christian Bible as it was revised and translated...": What changing nature?
"I've never understood why one can't accept an old-earth view AND the wisdom in the Bible at the same time. The science in the Bible doesn't have to be accurate for the lessons in values to be.": Because if it gets the factual history wrong, why trust it on the wisdom? "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?" John 5:46-47:NIV "I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?" John 3:12
Philip J. Rayment 04:09, 28 April 2008 (EDT)
Replying to TomMoore:
"...PJR, I think you're on the wrong side of just about every issue, but I respect that you always have well-thought-out reasons for being there.": Thanks. I don't want to seem ungrateful, but I continually get frustrated at anti-creationists arguing against an idea that they clearly haven't studied sufficiently, or in many cases apparently not at all (except from anti-creationist sources).
"If we examine the chemical composition of the most distant protostars, for example, we will find that it consists partially of one element and partially of the element into which it decays as it breaks down, and the proportion conforms to exactly what we would expect if it had been decaying for billions of years...": Which is entirely consistent with YEC cosmologies that propose that billions of years have passed out in space whilst six days passed on Earth.
"atoms decay according to the most fundamental laws of physics, and any change in the former would have to be because of a change in the latter.": So all other possible explanations, including presumably ones that have not yet been thought of, have been ruled out? I think what would be more accurate to say would be "...as far as we know at the moment any change in the former would have to be because of a change in the latter", which doesn't rule out other possibilities that haven't been thought of yet. Scientists have previously claimed that the rate of decay can't change, yet (minor) changes in the rates of decay have been observed.
"But more to the point, it was discovered through an empirical and repeatable test": As is the case with creationist research on radiometric dating methods.
"If any creationist had done that test, no one would try to gainsay them because it would be science.": Hah! When Barry Setterfield proposed a change in the speed of light, "the main anti-creationist (and progressive creationist) argument was the supposed constancy of fundamental laws ... [a change in the Fine Structure Constant] would supposedly solve some problems with the ‘big bang’ theory. Apparently, this is OK for the big bang—it’s only wrong to question established theories when this is done to support Biblical creation, it seems!"[2].
"But creationists do precious little to explore further, generally concentrating on attacking evolution. This is for ideologically understandable reasons, but it does mean the number of actively researching creationist physicists is tiny (if extant at all).": The only reason that "precious little" research is done and that the "number of actively researching creationist physicists is tiny" is that they don't have access to the funds that uniformitarians and evolutionists have. Yet they do what research they can manage.
"This is generally not true, according to everything I have read.": Then your reading has been one-sided, I'd suggest.
"While there have been unusual exceptions, which are seized upon by critics, for the most part results tend to correlate and are consistent with each other.": Tend to correlate with what? And are consistent with what? The point that you were replying to said, "...many tests done with other methods on items of known dates have falsified the methods". Most dating is not done on items of known ages. I've often had said to me that this is because those items are "too young" to measure. Now you're trying to tell me that many such tests have been done, successfully?
"If the amount of C14 was so hugely greater prior to the Flood...": Actually, the amount of C14 would be much less prior to the flood. C14 dating is done by measuring the C12:C14 ratio, and the less C14, the older the item is presumed to be. So more C14 prior to the flood would make the items appear younger.
"...In other words, the graph would look like a single stair, rather than a sloping trend downwards.": Not unless the C12:C14 ratio suddenly changed at the time of the flood. Rather, it would take time to change, as new C14 was being formed. See also this.
"The evidence absolutely contradicts your theory.": On the contrary, that last link mentions some anomalous dates that could be explained by allowing for the effects of the flood. Further, every test for C14 in coal and diamonds shows that they still have C14, which they should not if they were as old as supposed. Again, empirical, repeatable, tests, arranged by creationary scientists, but usually rejected solely because they support a YEC age, usually with various ad hoc explanations that are only invoked in these cases (i.e. special pleading), and ones that often don't stand scrutiny (for example, you can't get contaminant C14 into the crystal structure of a diamond).
Philip J. Rayment 05:16, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

Which is entirely consistent with YEC cosmologies that propose that billions of years have passed out in space whilst six days passed on Earth. I have heard some YEC claim that the whole universe was created at the same time, including the Earth. What exactly is the hypothesis here? Would it be fairly stated as, "The universe was created by God in its current form billions of years ago, and the Earth was created six thousand years ago"?

So all other possible explanations, including presumably ones that have not yet been thought of, have been ruled out? I think what would be more accurate to say would be "...as far as we know at the moment any change in the former would have to be because of a change in the latter", which doesn't rule out other possibilities that haven't been thought of yet. Scientists have previously claimed that the rate of decay can't change, yet (minor) changes in the rates of decay have been observed.

Of course. Let it be assumed in the future that when I speak of something as "must" or a "certainty" when talking about such things, it is according to everything we currently know in science. No science is sacrosanct, of course, so nothing is absolute. But logic and everything we currently understand indicates the above conclusion. It's possible that later we will learn something new that contradicts our current understanding. And at that time, it will be warranted to create hypotheses based upon that new data. But you don't create the hypotheses and assume that your current data must be flawed.

When Barry Setterfield proposed a change in the speed of light, "the main anti-creationist (and progressive creationist) argument was the supposed constancy of fundamental laws ... [a change in the Fine Structure Constant] would supposedly solve some problems with the ‘big bang’ theory. Apparently, this is OK for the big bang—it’s only wrong to question established theories when this is done to support Biblical creation, it seems!"[3].

From what I can find, Setterfield did just that... "proposed" it. He didn't have any evidence or reason to believe it, except that he wanted to do so and it would help justify his preconceived notions. There is a great deal of evidence and reason to believe that the speed of light is constant, and so evidence to contradict that must be proportionately large as well.

I am sure there must be some prejudice against creationist theories in science, and it is unfortunate. But it is also understandable. The creationist "theory" is always that God created everything at some unagreed-upon point... and the mechanism for arriving at that conclusion changes according to what seems like might be true. It's not very good science. Imagine a phrenologist arguing with neurologists for the legitimacy of his position: he could use most of the same arguments a creationist uses. "We don't know that the shape of the head doesn't indicate certain aspects of personality. We should be open to that possibility and the controversy should be taught to children. The fact that the hypothalamus can lead to subdural pressure if it becomes hyperactive means that the same thing that Bob Phrenologist proposed forty years ago is true... but apparently it's only okay if a neurologist says it!"

Then your reading has been one-sided, I'd suggest.

In the sense that you intend, that is accurate. I am crippled by my insistence on only reading reputable publications like Scientific American and Nature.

Tend to correlate with what? And are consistent with what? The point that you were replying to said, "...many tests done with other methods on items of known dates have falsified the methods". Most dating is not done on items of known ages. I've often had said to me that this is because those items are "too young" to measure. Now you're trying to tell me that many such tests have been done, successfully?

I was being vague, sorry. What I meant to say was that the formation of strata in the earth leads to consistent results, and the "uniformitarian" theories currently being worked on tend to mesh very well and explain each other's unusual phenomena. For example, Archeopteryx examples (or however you spell it, heh) was found in limestone deposits that would have been formed at the appropriate time to capture the fossils, the Jurassic; the biological explanation of millions of years correlates and is consistent with the geological one. This is from Gould's The Panda's Thumb, incidentally.

Actually, the amount of C14 would be much less prior to the flood. C14 dating is done by measuring the C12:C14 ratio, and the less C14, the older the item is presumed to be. So more C14 prior to the flood would make the items appear younger.

Whoops, good call. Yes, that is what I meant.

Not unless the C12:C14 ratio suddenly changed at the time of the flood. Rather, it would take time to change, as new C14 was being formed. See also this.

I read that, and it appears to agree with me (and thereby disprove itself). Its graph has a pretty sharp step there, and there is no evidence given for an increase in the carbon cycle of that degree over time.

On the contrary, that last link mentions some anomalous dates that could be explained by allowing for the effects of the flood. Further, every test for C14 in coal and diamonds shows that they still have C14, which they should not if they were as old as supposed. Again, empirical, repeatable, tests, arranged by creationary scientists, but usually rejected solely because they support a YEC age, usually with various ad hoc explanations that are only invoked in these cases (i.e. special pleading), and ones that often don't stand scrutiny (for example, you can't get contaminant C14 into the crystal structure of a diamond).

I am not familiar with this... I'm going to examine the issue a little and reply further on this point... thanks :)

Wow, didn't take long. A researcher in accelerator mass spectronomy, Dr. Harry Grove, states that "the 14C in coal is probably produced de novo by radioactive decay of the uranium-thorium isotope series that is naturally found in rocks (and which is found in varying concentrations in different rocks, hence the variation in 14C content in different coals). Research is ongoing at this very moment.

"The fungi/bacteria hypothesis that 14C in coal is produced by modern microorganisms currently living there may also be plausible, but would probably only contribute to inflation of 14C values if coal sits in warm damp conditions exposed to ambient air. There is also growing evidence that bacteria are widespread in deep rocks, but it is not clear that they could contribute to 14C levels. But they may contribute to 13C.)"[4]

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by TomMoore (talk)

"I have heard some YEC claim that the whole universe was created at the same time, including the Earth. What exactly is the hypothesis here?": See Starlight problem. No, it would not be fairly stated as you proposed.
"But you don't create the hypotheses and assume that your current data must be flawed.": Nobody is doing that. That is, it is not data that is assumed to be flawed, but assumptions. To put it another way, there is data that indicates that the current assumptions are flawed, so new hypotheses are proposed. But sceptics, not liking the new hypotheses, are charging that YECs are proposing things that they are not proposing, such as changes in the laws of physics.
"[Setterfield] didn't have any evidence or reason to believe it": Yes he did. He had historical measurements of the speed of light that appeared to be showing a decrease. In fact, the possibility that the speed of light had decreased had been discussed decades earlier, precisely because the data appeared to be showing that.
"...evidence to contradict that must be proportionately large as well.": True, and that is what Setterfield attempted, but ultimately failed to convincingly do. But whilst anti-creationists were saying "you can't change constants" and "you can't extrapolate those measurements back that far", others, including YECs, were properly investigating his claims and ultimately most rejected them.
"The creationist "theory" is always that God created everything at some unagreed-upon point...": That's a gross over-simplification.
"It's not very good science.": What is good science when it comes to proposing unrepeatable unique past events? Is "nothing exploded and became everything" good science?
"In the sense that you intend, that is accurate. I am crippled by my insistence on only reading reputable publications like Scientific American and Nature.": The problem is that those publications are not reputable publications when it comes to learning about young-Earth creationism. If you never want to argue against creationism, that may be okay, but if you want to argue against it—as you are doing—wouldn't it be better to go to the source, i.e. creationists themselves, to find out just what the arguments are?
"What I meant to say was that the formation of strata in the earth leads to consistent results...": So you weren't really replying to the point, instead sidestepping onto a point of your own. And I reject that it does lead to consistent results.
"...the biological explanation of millions of years correlates and is consistent with the geological one...": Only after frequently changing such dates over more than 100 years. I recall someone saying that the problem with the supposedly-accurate mainstream dates was that they kept changing! However, this was an older bloke, and it appears to me that by now they've largely stopped changing (i.e. apart from some fine tuning), but the point is that biologically-derived dates were grossly different to geologically-derived dates, which were grossly different to radiometrically-derived dates, until they managed to find reasons to alter them until they reached a compromise to settle on. So is the concordance real, or contrived? I suspect the former. And sometimes there is circularity involved, with rocks often being dated by the fossils in them and fossils often being dated by the rocks they are in.
"Its graph has a pretty sharp step there...": It isn't that sharp, and the graph is not to scale anyway.
"Wow, didn't take long. ... Dr. Harry Grove, states that "the 14C in coal is probably produced de novo by radioactive decay of the uranium-thorium isotope series": That's Dr. Gove, by the way. I don't even follow what it means, because C14 is not part of the uranium-thorium series. Perhaps he means that radioactive decay knocks neutrinos out of nitrogen atoms in the coal? Even so, is this new C14 from surrounding radioactivity allowed for in all other C14 measurements? Or is it, as I mentioned before, a case of special pleading?
But even assuming this is a legitimate hypothesis, what we have are two competing hypotheses: One, that C14 is being newly created. Two, that coal is less than 100,000 years old (the upper limit of C14 dates). No YEC is saying that C14 in coal in and of itself absolutely proves the YEC view. Rather, it is one more bit of scientific evidence in support of the YEC view. But the general response is that explanation 2 is ruled out because there exists an alternative possibility (explanation 1).
Philip J. Rayment 00:00, 29 April 2008 (EDT)

Young earth cosmology

To TomMoore and others: Barry Setterfield's C-decay is only one of five possibilities. Current YEC thinking does not hold with it.

Tell you what: watch for my essay on the subject.--TerryHTalk 14:56, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

"Evolutionary View"

I propose we rename this section the scientific or natural view. Evolution has nothing to do with the creation of the earth hence that would be like having the "Gravitational view on the age Egyptian pyramids". Evolution is about the diversification of life. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Glorfon (talk)

It is not the "scientific" view; different scientists have different views. And "evolution" does not just refer to biological evolution. Have you never heard reference to things like the evolution of stars? Philip J. Rayment 21:21, 14 October 2008 (EDT)
There really isn't much debate in the scientific community about how the earth formed. You're right that evolution can refer to any gradual change but I don't think we should call this section the evolutionary view because it could mislead people to associate it with the theory of evolution. Would calling it the natural or uniformitarian view be too bad?
Creationary scientists, and there's numerically lots of them, disagree with the majority about how the Earth formed. Yes, evolution can refer to any gradual change, and it can refer to biological evolution, but it can also, as in the case of the stars, refer to a gradual increase in complexity, which is something more than just a "gradual change". What does the "natural" view mean? Do you mean the "naturalistic" view? That might be okay. "Uniformitarian" primarily refers to geology, which is not really applicable to the formation of the planet. If you want to change it to "Naturalistic view", I won't object to that. Philip J. Rayment 21:27, 15 October 2008 (EDT)
I could refute alot of things you said there but I'll stay on topic. By natural I mean the view that relies on natural processes rather than supernatural. The article already goes with this. It says "Most scientists today conclude that the Earth formed by natural processes, specifically by the accumulation of debris orbiting the sun billions of years in the past." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Glorfon (talk)
You could try refuting a lot of the things I said, but whether you refutations would be correct is another matter. The view that relies on natural processes is naturalism, the belief that everything can be/must be explained by natural processes. Philip J. Rayment 19:56, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

Oh my god, this is the most ridicuolus encyclopedia I've ever seen. I can't belive people like conservants actually exist. You really belive Earth has been created in six days? Holy crap, you must be crazy. I looked at the main page and I saw the news; Obama a socialist? Ahah, this is totally funny. You've got a closed mind.--Uncyclopediauser 10:59, 12 May 2010 (EDT)

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