Exposing PseudoAstronomy

April 25, 2012

Argument from Authority Strikes Again at Creation Ministries International


Just a short post here – it always amazes me when people use such an obvious argument from authority to try to bolster their position. I mean, it’s not as if we don’t do it, either, or people don’t do it every day. Any time the local news brings on their talking-head expert to talk about something, that’s an argument from authority. If that expert is effectively reciting the consensus, then it’s not an argument from authority as much, that talking head was just a mouthpiece for the consensus (see my post on argument from authority vs. the scientific consensus).

But then we get into stuff that’s a controversy – either real or manufactured. Young-Earth creationism is definitely a controversy versus the scientific establishment, though I would consider it in the realm of the “manufactured” type because almost none who objectively examine observable evidence will come to the YEC side — by its nature, as I’ve pointed out many times on this blog before, YEC relies on ignoring evidence to make its case.

Anyway, in my nightly perusal of creationist websites, I came across the latest posting Creation Ministries International (CMI): “Archaeologist confirms creation and the Bible.”

I’m not really sure how you could get around the idea that the title of the article (and its content if you bother to read it) is 100% an argument from authority. It’s literally a, “Look, we have this archaeologist we can trot forward (or actually not anymore ’cause he died on April 4), and our expert who’s in this real science field says young-Earth creationism is real!”

Okay, I’m a Ph.D. astronomer, I say young-Earth creationism is fake, and the universe is 13.7 billion years old. Unfortunately, if he and I were to both testify in front of Congress, I have a feeling that Congress would conclude that the Universe is 6.850003 billion years old (the average of the two).

This post was brought to you by the logical fallacies Argument from Authority, False Balance, and Middle Ground.

4 Comments »

  1. “…I’m glad I was the one who dug them out, because I can say before God that there is no faking in this whatever. I personally got down in the mud—we could see the beginnings of one of the dinosaur footprints. I uncovered that, and if I stepped it out in the direction in which it pointed—I would, and did, find the others. And so we found a total of six of them.

    They were dinosaur footprints—the same pattern of dinosaurs as at other places in that region. However, these prints were supposedly in the ‘wrong’ place and so this plain, straightforward evidence is rejected—simply because it doesn’t fit the evolutionary timetable….”

    Let me see:

    1. fossil evidence that could put a huge crack in the theory of evolution (the veritable fossil rabbit in Precambrian strata);
    2. the discovery of and publication about said fossil evidence would make the discoverers famous and would attract worldwide media attention;
    3. we only hear about it on a creationist website from an “authority” who is predisposed to accept the Bible as always being proven right.

    Case closed. Evolution by natural selection is conclusively proved to be wrong. All the work done by paleontologists, archaeologists, and geologists piecing together the geologic and fossil records is for naught.

    I had a friend who believed that scientists got together and conspired to support the story of dinosaur evolution. I’m not a scientist, but from what I’ve read and heard about science and scientists, I believe that scientists who found evidence calling into question an accepted theory (whether gravity, evolution, general relativity) would leap at the opportunity to publish and publicize their findings.

    So where are the papers about this out-of-place fossil?

    Lesson for me–come to conclusions AFTER listening to the arguments and viewing the evidence instead of coming to my conclusions first and then fitting the evidence to my conclusions.

    Comment by Tim Kotora — April 25, 2012 @ 6:32 am | Reply

  2. What is radiometric decay or radioactive decay? Radioactive decay is a spontaneous disintegration of a radionuclide accompanied by the emission of ionizing radiation in the form of alpha or beta particles or gamma rays.
    Some might argue that radiometric decay could not cause any decay in the rocks or substance or etc.. If radiometric decay could not cause any influence upon the rock or substance. The parent isotope, such as, Rubidium-87, could still remain to be Rubidium-87 after 50 billion years, instead of turning up to be Strontium-87 (daughter). As the parent isotope, such as Rubidium-87, would turn up to be Strontium-87, in 50 billion years later, it implies that there would be a change of quality as a result of the influence of radioactive decay.
    Do environmental factors have any influence upon radiometric decay? Yes, there is. If environmental factors could not have any influence upon radiometric decay, there should not be any reason for scientists to assume that the half year decay rate from Parent isotopes to Daughter to be constant in the first place.
    The following are the number of websites that have indicated that environmental factors could alter radioactive decay rate despite the assumption that has been established through radiometric dating method to be constant and unchanged:
    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5076971/description.html; http://creation.com/radioactive-decay-rate-depends-on-chemical-environment; http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j14_1/j14_1_04-05.pdf; http://wavewatching.net/2012/09/01/from-the-annals-of-the-impossible-experimental-physics-edition/; http://www.dinosaurc14ages.com/decay.htm
    As the decay rate that has been assumed by scientists in the computation of the age of fossils or rocks or whatever to be in constant rate and yet the actual decay rate might not be constant as a result of the influence of environment, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth that have been computed by scientists to be in billion years would not be reliable. This is by virtue of radiometric dating method has presumed a perfection for decay rate and yet it could be accelerated in reality. As the decay rate could be accelerated, the age of the fossils or rocks or the earth could never be accurate.
    What if the parent isotopes, such as, Samarium-147, so hard that it could resist radiometric decay that it would not cause any change of quality to turn up to be the daughter isotopes, such as, Neodymium-143, the mathematic formula that has been used to compute the age of the fossils or rocks or the earth could not be applicable. This is by virtue of the objects that have been used to measure the ages of the fossils or rocks or the earth have to be established to have parent-daughter relationship. Or else, insisting the use of radioactive dating method would simply give false information about the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth.
    What if the parent isotopes, such as, Uranium-235, or whatever, could be so weak that any environmental factors, such as, sun, wind, Noah’s ark and whatever, could accelerate radioactive decay rate and yet it could restore to its original rate at the absence of the influence, the ages of the fossils or rocks or the earth would be falsified as a result of great influence from environment.
    What if the objects that have been presumed by Scientists would not have parent-daughter relationship in reality, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth would be falsified through computation.
    Let’s give you an illustration. The parent isotope, Samarium-147, has found to be the daughter of Neodymium-143 just because they both emit alpha particles instead of physical witness of the transformation of Neodymium-143 from Samarium-147. What if Samarium-147 could be so hard to resist radioactive decay so much so that it could not be transformed into Neodymium-143, the insisting to place these two items together and to establish them to be parent-daughter relationship and to compute the decay rate to be 106 billion years would certainly turn up to be unreliable. What if the parent isotope, let’s say, Samarium-147, would change in quality as a result of radioactive decay, yet it would not turn up to be Neodymium-143 but other source. The insisting to establish these two isotopes to have parent-daughter relationship would falsify the computation of the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth. Anyway, nobody could live in billion of years to witness whether the isotopes, let’s say, Samarium-147, could transform into Neodymium-143. Scientists simply establish their relationship through observing the similarity of emission instead of seeing physical transformation. Thus, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth that have been computed by scientists to be in million or billion years through radiometric dating method would not be reliable.
    From the above analysis, it is irrational to conclude the earth or fossils or rocks to be in million years or billions years as a result of the uncertainty of radiometric decay rate and the questionability whether one substance could be the daughter isotope of another.

    Comment by zuma — September 2, 2012 @ 8:36 am | Reply

  3. Science could be used to prove the existence of God and to strongly oppose Big Bang Theory or whatever, i.e. quantum theory or etc., that supports that this universe would be created to something out of nothing.
    The following is the extract from the 1st paragraph under the sub-title, Conservation of mass, from the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_mass:
    (The law of conservation of mass, also known as the principle of mass/matter conservation, states that the mass of an isolated system (closed to all matter and energy) will remain constant over time…The mass of an isolated system cannot be changed as a result of processes acting inside the system. The law implies that mass can neither be created nor destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space and changed into different types of particles;…)
    As the phrase, the mass of an isolated system (closed to all matter and energy) will remain constant over time, is mentioned above with the phrase, mass can neither be created or destroyed, it gives the implication that mass could never be increased or reduced. If mass, such as the mass of space in this universe or air or energy or etc., could never be increased or reduced, how the Big Bang theory could play a part to cause the universe to increase. If mass could never be increased or reduced, how the universe could be formed to be something out of nothing. This is by virtue of the same amount of masses of substances or energy should have existed prior to the formation of universe in order to generate the same amount of masses of planets; space in this universe; stars; and whatever that have existed in this current and sophisticated universe in accordance to the law of conservation of mass. Unless the principle of the law of conservation of mass states that the mass could never remain constant over time since it could be reduced or increased, it is then justifiable to use it to support the ever increasing of universe through Big Bang Theory by means of the generation of additional masses of space and planets in this universe. As the law of conservation of mass states that mass will remain unchanged despite it might be transformed into another form, the mass that our universe has now must have the same amount as the mass that would have appeared prior to the formation of this universe especially mass could never be created or destroyed. Thus, the ever increasing of universe through Big Bang Theory has found contradiction with the law of conservation of mass. How could this universe be created through Big Bang Theory when it supports that the mass of the space could be generated with bigger and bigger space and yet the conservation of mass supports that mass could never be created in the first place? If the conservation of mass and energy could change, all the scientific mathematical formula would be wrong since none of the formulas could be equal especially when we talk about the change of transformation of energy from one to another or the transformation of matter from one to another, i.e. Hydrogen and oxygen turn up to be water, and etc. As scientists have proven that the mass could never change over time, how could Big Bang Theory be true then? How could this universe be created to something out of nothing if the mass will remain constant over time? Or in other words, if the world prior to the formation of this universe would be nothing, there should not be anything created. The formation of this universe would only occur if the same mass would have appeared prior to the formation of the universe.
    Even if one might argue that the same amount of energy might have existed prior to the formation of this universe so as to generate matters, i.e. earth, moon and etc.,, in this modern universe, the existence of energy implies the universe would still be created from something and that is energy instead of from nothing.
    The following is the extract from the 1st paragraph under the sub-title, Conservation of energy, in the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy:
    (The law of conservation of energy, first formulated in the nineteenth century, is a law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. The total energy is said to be conserved over time. For an isolated system, this law means that energy can change its location within the system, and that it can change form within the system…but that energy can be neither created nor destroyed.)
    As the phrase, that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, is mentioned above, it certainly opposes Big Bang Theory in which something could be created out of nothing since the mass of energy that would have existed before the creation of the universe must remain constant or equal in size even after its creation. Even if one presumes that energy should have existed prior to the creation of the universe, the energy as well as its mass prior to the creation of the universe must be the same as the current universe. As the mass and energy can never be created, how could the mass of the space in this universe be created for further expansion as supported by Big Bang Theory?
    As Big Bang Theory has turned up to be unrealistic, it might turn up to be irrational to compute the age of the earth or the universe since the creation itself is questionable. If that could be so, the computation of the age of fossils could have problem since they might have existed permanently in the past and might not have even the beginning.
    As the mass, i.e. the space, matter, energy and etc., as well as the energy could never be created nor destroyed, and yet this universe could be created in the very beginning, it implies that something should have existed with supernatural power so much so that nothing would be impossible for him to do and this includes the creation of matter and energy in which there should be no way for it to create. Religious people call it to be God.

    Comment by zuma — September 12, 2012 @ 5:18 am | Reply

  4. Detailed examination about the reliability of half life value as spelt out by radioactive dating method or radiometric dating method.
    The following is the extract from the 3rd paragraph under the sub-title, Half-life, from the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-life:
    (Half-life (t½) is the time required for a quantity to fall to half its value as measured at the beginning of the time period. In physics, it is typically used to describe a property of radioactive decay, but may be used to describe any quantity which follows an exponential decay.)
    As the phrase, half life (t½) is the time required for a quantity to fall to half its value, is mentioned above, it gives the implication that radioactive decay would cause the value of substance to reduce to half of its value. Or in other words, the value of substance would turn up to be zero upon another half life period has passed.
    Let’s examine the list of isotopes that has been adopted by scientists to assess the age of rocks or fossils or the earth. The following is the list of isotopes extracted from the website address, http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/radiometric.html, and, http://anthro.palomar.edu/time/table_of_isotopes.htm:
    Parent Isotope; Stable Daughter Product; Half-Life Values
    Lutetium-176; Hafnium-176; 37.8 billion years
    Uranium-238; Lead-206; 4.5 billion years
    Uranium-235; Lead-207; 704 million years
    Thorium-232; Lead-208; 14.0 billion years
    Rubidium-87; Strontium-87; 48.8 billion years
    Potassium-40; Argon-40; 1.25 billion years
    Samarium-147; Neodymium-143; 106 billion years
    Carbon-14; Nitrogen-14; 5730 +/-40
    The above list shows that Carbon-14, Potassium-40 and Uranium-235 would turn up to be Nitrogen-14, Argon-40 and Lead-207 in 5730 years +/- 40, 1.25 billion years, 704 million years respectively in order to achieve the half life values. As we know scientists have assessed the age of the earth to be 4.5 billion years, all these Carbon-14, Potassium-40, Uranium-235 would currently be turned up to be Nitrogen-14, Argon-40, Lead-207 since the current age of the earth ever since its creation, i.e. 4.5 billion years as computed by means of radioactive dating method, should have exceeded 5730 years +/- 40, 1.25 billion years, and 704 million years respectively since their creation. As all the Carbon-14, Potassium-40 and Uranium-235, that have existed since the creation of this earth, should have been turned up to be Nitrogen, Argon-40 and Lead-207 currently, there should not be any of these isotopes be available in this modern society. The current existence of Carbon-14, Potassium-40 and Uranium-235 has placed the reliability of radioactive dating method into question. If Carbon-14, Potassium-40 and Uranium-235 could have turned up to be Nitrogen-14, Argon-40 and Lead-207 after 5730 +/-40 years, 1.25 billion years and 704 million years and that the age of the earth should be 4.5 billion years, none of the above substances, i.e. Carbon-14, Patassium-40 and Uranium-235, could be found available in this modern society since they should have been turned up to be Nitrogen-14, Argon-40 and lead-207 currently. The above have placed the reliability of the rest of the isotopes that have been established by scientists into question due to nobody could live billion years to witness the actual transformation of materials from one to another. The unreliability of radioactive dating method would simply falsify the age of fossils, rocks and the earth into billion years. As radioactive dating method is unreliable, the age that has been derived from this method could not be used to assess the age of fossils. As it is not accurate to compute the age of fossils by means of radioactive dating method, the order of fossils that has been set by radioactive dating method could not be accurate. Thus, it is irrational to use this method to comment that dinosaurs and apes should have existed earlier than the origin of human beings so as to support evolutionary theory.
    Would there be any existence of radioactive after full complete radioactive decay?
    The following extract from the 1st paragraph under the sub-title, What Is Radioactive Material And How Does It Decay?, from the website address, http://ohioline.osu.edu/rer-fact/rer_20.htm, has placed the reliability of radioactive dating method into question:
    (All materials are made of atoms. Radioactive atoms are unstable; that is, they have too much energy. When radioactive atoms release their extra energy, they are said to decay. All radioactive atoms decay. After releasing all their excess energy, the atoms become stable and are no longer radioactive.)
    The phrase, All radioactive atoms decay…the atoms become…no longer radioactive, as mentioned above implies that radioactive would lose its effectiveness upon the complete atoms decay after the entire process. Besides, the phrase, no longer radioactive, as mentioned in the later part of the extract gives the proof the substance would lose its radioactive after the entire radioactive atoms decay.
    As listed among the isotopes, Carbon-14, Potassium-40 and Uranium-235 would turn up to be Nitrogen-14, Argon-40, Lead-207 in 5730 years +/- 40, 1.25 billion years, 704 million years respectively in order to achieve the half life values by means of radioactive decay. Or in other words, after transforming into Nitrogen-14, Argon-40 and Lead-207, it would need another 5730 years +/-40, 1.25 billion years and 704 million years for Nitrogen-14, Argon-40 and Lead-207 respectively to cause another reduction of half life values so as to cause the ultimate annihilation of radioactive decay. Once a full reduction of value has been stretched over the process, there should not be any radioactive decay remains at the end.
    As mentioned above that radioactive decay would become ineffectiveness after the entire process and it would take 11460 years (i.e. 5730 * 2), 2.50 billion years (i.e. 1.25 billion years * 2) and 1.408 million years (704 million years * 2) for Carbon-14, Potassium-40 and Uranium-235 to achieve full complete lives of decay. A question has to be raised. As scientists have used radioactive dating method to assess the current age of the earth to be 4.5 billion years and these computed years should have exceeded the number of years in which Carbon-14, Argon-40 and Lead-207 would have completed their decay in radioactive atoms, the current Carbon-14, Argon-40 and Uranium-235 should have lost their radioactive after their entire atoms decay. Yet we could locate Carbon-14, Argon-40 and Uranium-235 currently that would emit radioactive decay. This has placed the unreliability of radioactive dating method into question. There is a question about the reliability on how scientists would link up one material to be the daughter isotope of another. Besides, the unreliability of the use of isotopes would place the reliability of the age of fossils, rocks and the earth that has been computed by scientists to be in question. The unreliability of the age of fossils, rocks and the earth through radioactive dating method has placed a question about the reliability of the order of fossils, i.e. dinosaurs should have existed before the origin of human beings, since we could no longer trust the figures that have been computed through this method. It seems to be that radioactive dating method should not be used to support evolution.

    Comment by milton — September 22, 2012 @ 11:13 pm | Reply


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