Comments on articles on the AiG webpage

Two Articles by Dr. Snelling:

#1 Radiometric Dating: Problems with Assumptions Link
#2 Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth Link

In both cases it is a good idea to have the articels open in another window, so comments can be compared directly with the text.

Article #1

Assumption # 1: No Argon was present in the crystals when they formed.
Geologists do not assume there were no Argon-40 atoms when the lava rocks formed. They assume that they can calculate the number of Argon-40 atoms by measuring the other isotopes, and assuming a certain ratio of total Argon was Argon-40.

Assumption # 2: No contamination ahve occored.
Contamination can be dealt with in much the same way as original content. Leaking of Ar-40 will result in lower dates.

Assumption # 3: Constant deacay rates.
Decay rates can only change if the forces or constants that result in, and control, decay change!
This is also mentioned in this article.
Two such forces and constants are the strong nuclear force and the charge of the proton. But that interferes with ‘fine-tuning’. Fine-tuning states all forces and constants of nature have to be vary precisely tuned to their present day size, otherwise life would be impossible.
You cannot have it both ways. Either we have fine-tuning and no change in decay-rates, or we have changes in decay-rates and no fine-tuning!

 

Article #2

1: This is only relevant if you accept the Biblical timescale.

2: Different methods reveal different dates. Some of this is expected. K-Ar does not measure the time form the actual volcanic eruption, but from the last heating of the material, which could in some cases be long after the eruption.

3: I don’t know what the scientific explanation is. My impression is that scientist does not pay much attention to this phenomenon (Radio-halos), but whether that is because they cannot explain it, or because it has been explain and courses no problem, I simply do not know.

4: C-14 in coal is well understood. Remains form living organisms contain Nitrogene. N-14 is converted to C-14 when hit by Beta-rays formed by radioactive decay in the surrounding rocks.

5: This is essentially the same ‘argument’ as Assumption # 3 in the above article. They admit that suggesting shanges in natural constants and forces are 'radical suggestions'. But they do not take into account that it would change all the stable elements too, some of which would probably vecome radioactice. Also enhanced radioactivity of C14 would be a probelm for life, because living organisms contain C14.

6: Reference to Genesis 1. Of no scientific impact.

Three crucial assumptions: The same as in the above article.

The last paragraph refer to ‘Much research, even reported in conventional scientific literature’ But why then are there no references?
I guess that the explanation is that these papers actually explain the apparent discrepancy between the measured and known ages. And AiG doesn’t want people to know these explanations.

 

Wyoming Cave Traps Animals from the Ice Age until the Space Age Link
By Elizabeth Mitchell

This article actually contains strong evidence that the creation story is wrong.
The cave in question contains lots of different animals. The article mentions: bison, wolf, cheetah, birds, lizards, and snakes.
Besides that this source (link) mentions: mammoth, bear, lemming, lion, and camel.
And this source (link) mentions: pikas, jackrabbits, foxes, weasels, deer, and sheep.
Now, how can this information become evidence that the creation story is wrong?
Because something is missing. Dinosaurs (and everything else older than a few tens of thousands of years)!
If the creation myth was correct, all kinds of now extinct animals, including dinosaurs, should have walked the ground above the cave. But none are found, except what can be expected if evolution is correct.
The cave is positioned in Bighorn Mountains. In the same area, lots of dinosaur fossils have been found (source). Why is there none in the cave? The answer science offers is simple: the cave didn’t exist 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs went extinct.

This is actually a statistical argument. If so and so many animals fell into the cave what is the chance that not a single dinosaur would be represented, given that  they actually waked the ground above the cave.

A simple example:
Even if the probability of a dinosaur (or other long gone species) falling into the cave vs. other species falling into it is as low as 1:1000 the probability that not a single dinosaur would be found is about 1:10 trillion, given that 30,000 specimens has been found (according to this article).
Given that so many specimens were found, it is rediculous to postulate that there were any long gone species in the area during the time the cave has existed.
(1/0.999^30000 or use a binomial distribution to do the calculation)

 

Biological EvolutionLink

Roger Patterson (2011)

There are many unsolved difficulties with the picture of creation and evolution offered in this article.

’In order to turn an amoeba into an ape, there has to be an increase in genetic information.’

Right, and several observed phenomenon explain how this can happen. Look up the comments to: the video 'You here this one a lot'.

’The fossil record is not the result of gradual change ”¦’
Then why are ALL the fossils in the oldest rocks so strange. Most Ediacaran fossils cannot even be associated with a specific phylum. Very few Cambrian fossils looks like anything living today.
Today angiosperms are everywhere. Why are there terrestrial fossil bearing layers without angiosperms, and why do these correlate with layers only having fossils from amphibians or primitive reptiles?

’There was no death in God’s “very good” creation.’ What then would have happened if this had been going on for more than a few years? Earth would have been crowded with animals, reproducing but not dying.

’Experiments like those performed by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey are used to explain how life evolved from a primordial soup.’ Miller and Urey worked in the 50’th. Hundreds of papers about the Origin of Life have been published since then. The modern theory of the origin of life is a very detailed one, and some of the processes it involves has been shown in great detail. Look here.

‘… a mechanism for adding new information, is also assumed to exist - even though it has never been observed.’ As stated above, this is simply not true.

’… individuals within a kind may have lost the ability (information) to interbreed due to the effects of the Curse.’ Is that supposed to be an explanation?

’”¦ the Cambrian Explosion. At this point in the fossil record, supposedly 540 million years ago, all of the major body plans of organisms appear quite suddenly.’
The Cambrian explosion is admitted to be a mystery by all scientist working in the field. However, the Article exaggerates. The Ediacaran fauna is older than the Cambrian, and includes possible species from both Cnidaria and Mollusca. A number of Phylae is not known from Cambrium but only from later periods.
In addition, note that most of the Cambrian fauna is extinct. Not what you would expect if it lived only a few thousand years ago. Exactly what you would expect if it lived more than 500 mill. years ago.

’Missing from the layers of rock, at any level, are the transitional forms ”¦’ No they are not.
But instead of listing transitional forms I will challenged the author (a link to this page has been send to him), and everybody that read this.
Come up with a description of what a transitional form between major groups of animals should look like from an evolutionary point of view.

’Despite the fact that the ancestors often appear higher in the rock layers than their descendants, the status of transition is claimed.’ Tiktaalik and other transitional forms are not claimed to be ancestors of anything. They show how some of the details of the actual ancestor could have looked. There is nothing contradictory in an animal, having a transitional anatomy, living later than the more ’advanced’ animals.
If a species is the ancestor of the more ’advanced’ form, it can at the same time be the ancestor of a species that maintain the more primitive character.

’Those [dinosaur] fossils that have feathers have been shown to be frauds or identified as true birds.’ This is simply not true. It wasn’t true in 2011 and it is even less true today. Creationists does not accept the feathered dinosaurs because they contradict their worldview. Not because they have any solid facts to lean on. I sincerely doubt that Patterson or any of the AiG staff have ever studied the fossil of a feathered dinosaur themselves.

’”¦ [Without Chritianity] there is no basis for what is right and wrong ”¦’ Two things:
First: The feeling that you know right from wrong can be the result of evolution. Stated simple you could ask ’Which group of people would thrive the best? One whose members help each other. Or one where no one would help another member?’ I think the answer is clear. That is the evolutionary basis for morality.
Second: the Christian ‘morality’ is homophobic, which is bad morality.

 

Danger No 8: Misinterpretation of Reality Link

Dr. Werner Gitt

A number of false statements are central in the article:

1: No natural process which resulted in information forming automatically in matter has ever been observed.
- This is simply not true. Look at this (full text here) description of production of random, functional RNAs.

2: No transition from one basic kind to another has ever been observed.
- If he is looking for transitions within a few hundred years or so, he has simply not understood evolution.

3: The “hypercycle theory” ”¦ explaining the origin of the first life, has never been verified.
- Look here for information on ’Origin of Life’ theories.

4: The frequently quoted transitional forms ”¦
- Why is an animal with feathers as a bird and a bony tail like a dinosaur not a transitional form?

 

The Principles of Science Theorylink

Dr. Werner Gitt

P1: Every theory requires basic assumptions (a priori postulates).
In science, this is basically: A scientific theory should not refer to the supernatural.
The reason is for this is simple. Allowing for miracles will be compatible with any observation.
Also: We can basically trust our senses, as long as we are aware that they are not perfect.
In evolution, we have such assumptions as:
Natural selection result in change in gene frequencies!
New genetic information can be added to a genome by natural processes!
These are NOT basic assumptions. They can be put to the test. They have, and they survived.

P2: The basic assumptions are arbitrary postulates.

P3: The initial postulates must be mutually consistent and should be free from inherent contradictions.

P4: When competing theories contradict one another (apart from errors in measurement and observations), the fault is not to be sought in the facts, but in differences in the basic postulates.

P5: The basic postulates may be objectively criticized and even rejected. The quality of the basic assumptions of two competing systems determines the practical success of the ensuing theories.

P6: If a theory is successful, it does not follow that it is correct.
In principal, most scientists agree. However, sometimes a theory have survived so many tests that no one bother to test it anymore. E.g. Earth IS a globe! And it DOES orbit the sun!

P7: An empirical scientific system must allow experimentation. Referring to falsifiability.
Evolution is falsifiable. If evolution is true, all of life should fall into a common ‘Chinese box’ system. Groups within groups. I e.g. an organism was found that resemble one group in some anatomical detail, but another in another anatomical detail, evolution would not be able to account for that, given the details in question were sufficiently complicated to rule out chance.

P8: It is necessary to distinguish between structural and exact sciences on the one hand, and historical-interpretive sciences on the other hand. Here of course they cannot cite Popper. Because it is simply not general true. Theories within ‘historical science’ can be tested, if stated sufficiently bold.

P9: In contrast to the theorems of the structural sciences (mathematics, informatics), no theorems of the experimental sciences can be proved.

P10: A theory can only be advanced if an example that can be practically duplicated (by experiment or observation), is available.
Contrary to what creationist claim, evolution does stand up to this requirement.
Lenski’s experiment is a brilliant example. Several of the parallel E. coli cultures showed similar evolutionary trends.

P11: A theory must allow predictions.
If evolution is true, every time a new organism has it genes sequenced it should show more homology to organisms that it has, unequivocally, been group with based on anatomy, than to other groups of organisms. Of course allowing, as always, for statistical uncertainty.
Several predictions in the same general line of argument could be put forward.

 

 

 

Attempts to trace Life back to Chemical Origins ... link
Water World theory of Life's Origins ... link
Secret of life ...  link

By Elizabeth Mitchell

There is actually not much to say about these and other AiG articles about the origin of life.
They all repeat the same destructive view on science: If you cannot explain everything, you cannot explain anything.
Had AiG existed in the days of Newton, Dr. Mitchell would probably have complained about the lack of explanation to how an object can influence another on distance, through empty space. What a ridiculous thought, when everybody knows that God's finger holds everything in the right place.
Also she could complain that Galileo hadn't actually seen earth orbiting the sun.

 

Caffeine: Convergently Evolved or Creatively Provided Link

By Elizabeth Mitchell

This is just a draft version. I have to look into the details to be more specific. Look again later if you are interested, and it will be much more informative.

Fortunately the paper in question is freely available here.
Look at fig. 2C.

The three groups of genes in the figure correspond to the three species involved (Coffee, Tee and Cocoa)
This means that the genes referred to as XMT, MXMT and DXMT actually has more homology within species than within gene-function.

To clarify this:
XMT from coffee are more homologous to MXMT and DXMT from coffee, that it is to XMT from Tee and Cocoa.

This pattern (evidence for evolution is almost always about pattern) is exactly what you would expect if the pathway to coffein-production evolved de novo in each of the three species.
In coffee, starting with the coffee-version of XMT, and the two others evolving from that version.
In tee, starting with the tee-version of XMT, and the two others evolving from that version.
De novo evolution of the pathway is what you should expect when you have lots af species, closely related to each of three, that do NOT produce coffein.

Everything fits very nicely to the expectations from evolution.

From a creationist point of view, the expectation (if you can talk about expectations in creation) would be that the same genes were used in all three species. Why bother to make so many different versions of genes that have the same function!

 

 

Fast evolution:
Purring Cats and Roaring Tigers(Link)
Giant Panda's Vegetarian Plight: An Evolutionary Dilemma? (Link)

On AiG, we are told that Cats and Bears can evolve at an astoundingly fast rate.
Domestic cats and Tigers have a common ancestor 4400 years ago. So have the Panda and the Polar Bear. Or so we are told.
Ironically it takes a strong believe in evolution to be a creationist!