Thursday, November 12, 2009

Young Earth Creationism


The Rambling Taoist said...

In one of his routines on religion, comedian Lewis Black says that creationists view The Flintstones as a documentary!

Robert Madewell said...

I think I remember that TRT.

I got the idea from my previous post where the flyer for a creationist convention asks, "Did humans and dinosaurs coexist?"

My answer to that question is, "every Saturday morning!"

ethinethin said...

I had a thought this week while thinking about fossil fuels, the decomposed remains of plants from millions of years ago.

Creationists would posit that this decomposition was a faster process (we always hear "rapid fossilization" coming from those folks). If this is the case, wouldn't there be a rapid way to synthesize fossil fuels in the laboratory, if all the world's supply of fossil fuels was made in just a few thousand years? Even if it took decades, there would be a huge return on such an investment.

Leo said...

You would think so ethin. This was actually worked on here at a plant near Powhatan, OH, but the government shut it down not long after they revealed that coal could be more quickly produced, and that the coal could then be processed into a fuel that would run in an un-altered internal combustion automobile engine. The building still stands where they worked on it. It even says "federal" something or other on the sign. I don't remember what it says exactly. I'll have to look next time by.

Robert Madewell said...

I think that fossil fuels (or alternatives) can be produced in the lab, but it takes more energy to produce it than what you get out of it. That's actually the case with natural fossil fuels as well. Except that it was the sun that produced the energy millions of years ago. We are just scooping up energy that was conveniently placed there and don't have to expend energy actually making it.

That's the problem with hydrogen fuel cells. It actually takes more energy to separate the hydrogen from the water than what you'd get back by burning the hydrogen and oxygen back together.

ethinethin said...

Yeah, that was kind of my point. Synthesizing hydrocarbons takes an incredible amount of energy (which would mean more fuel burned).

But if it did only take thousands of years because of "fast fossilization", then it would be much easier to reproduce that. I think it's funny and a little sad that creationists think that all the evidence we have for an old earth can somehow be forced into their young earth beliefs, saying things like "fast fossilization", when such a thing is geologically impossible.

Why not just stick to their guns and say it's the Satan is a Dick Theory? Planting evidence to tempt us. Or god planting evidence to "test our faith"?

I had another thought today and if Leo is still here, maybe he might indulge me.

Leo, remember when I was asking you about the different genealogical lineages for Jesus and you explained them away as "women weren't counted in genealogies" (and then when it was pointed out that some women were mentioned, you said something like the first women weren't counted but then all women after her would be counted or something)?

Can't you see why I'm skeptical of your explanation here? You claim that your book is of divine origin and infallible, but it seems to me that there's a glaring error in it.

Wouldn't you be skeptical if muslims presented some Quran-based lineage of Muhammad, linking him to the same biblical figures or somesuch? (Such a thing might be in the Quran, I really have no idea). Wouldn't you be skeptical of them claiming that the book has divine origin and that any errors are in the mind of the misguided readers?

Why would you be skeptical of them and their book but not skeptical of christianity and its book? It's a double standard. What makes christianity different? -- it should be obvious that simply claiming the book has divine origin does not make it so, because nearly all religions make that claim.

Lorena said...

But of course the Flintstones are real. They're the coolest people that ever "lived."

As a kid, I wanted a shower like theirs--and a car like that, too.

Savonarola said...

Can I play, too?

Here's how these things tend to go, if cleaned up a bit:

Science literate: The existence of only long-lived isotopes and isotopes that are daughter products of long-lived isotopes is evidence that the universe is old.
Creationist: No! Some laboratory experiments have shown that radioactive decay rates aren't always the same!
Science literate: Some laboratory experiments show that there is (weak) evidence that extreme pressures (that don't exist naturally anywhere on the planet) have a very small effect on a single mode of radioactive decay, k-shell capture. As only some dating methods rely upon electron capture rates, this weak evidence of a tiny effect does not successfully counter the mainstream scientific conclusion.
Creationist: Fine, then throw out the electron capture numbers. That decreases the amount of evidence you have!
Science literate: We could. There is still sufficient evidence based on other decay modes.
Creationist: Hey, you trickster! You're trying to cherry pick data! You can't do that! You have to use that data and use an asterisk!
Science literate: But we do use those data. ("Data" is a plural word, by the way.) We can use those data because the cross-referencing -- what you might think of as similar to calibration -- shows us that there is no deviation from the expected values.
Creationist: So the suspect values are the same as the others? They ALL must be bad!
Science literate: Uh, no. Those high-confidence values match the ones that you think are suspect. Remember the part about all the other modes being unaffected by the physical and chemical environment? That makes those numbers high-confidence. The only alleged suspicion comes from experiments using conditions that aren't geologically realistic.
Creationist: But you don't "know" that those conditions don't exist somewhere!
Science literate: We have no reason to believe that they do. And we've looked.
Creationist: But they could!
Science literate: Then find them.
Creationist: That's not my job. That's the scientists' job.
Science literate: They looked. Those conditions don't exist naturally. So now it's my turn: You don't know that those conditions exist somewhere, anywhere. You don't even have paltry evidence that they do.
Creationist: So?

We have pretty much the same thing here:

Science literate: Even moderately-high molecular weight hydrocarbons take enormous amounts of time to form geologically.
Creationist: No! Some laboratory experiments have created artificial fossil fuels in very short periods of time.
Science literate: Laboratory experiments using conditions that don't exist anywhere, you mean.
Creationist: Huh?
Science literate: The combination of temperatures, pressures, and ingredients used in those experiments aren't found anywhere on the planet, both according to measurements and according to models.
Creationist: But you don't *know* that those conditions don't exist somewhere!

But here we get the bonus looney-bin claim:
Creationist: It's a gummint conspiracy, man!

FSM_Ed said...

None of this takes away from the undeniable FACT that Wilma was a HOTTIE! Scientists with all the radioactive half life dating will never be able to dispute that FACT! :-)