RE:evolution

Discussion in 'The Sanctuary' started by Coup d'état, Feb 10, 2012.

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  1. Coup d'état

    Coup d'état Don't believe the hype

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    Sure, you don't have any set rules or time lines or obligations. And I'm not trying to get a response quick, or even to force one. It's all up to you...How I tackled your thread was that I took the major evidences offered and broke them into individual topics and put them in a notepad so I could quickly reference them. So, you could just not dig at every detail in my thread, or tackle every quote of my thread but rather just take it on the major points, and if you want, select some detail within each:

    geo column
    DNA
    Comparative anatomy
    mutations/bacteria
    carbon dating
    argon dating
    fossils
    vestigial artifacts

    in any order.

    whateva...I'm just happy to have this thread done, cos I promised I would and it was a chore to do! And whatever you want to do now would only be a treat.
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  2. reggie jax

    reggie jax Well-Known Member

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    yea that's what i'm already doing but i do want to address the specific claims at least where they are the most relevant... i.e. mostly the claims dealing with the geo column and radiometric dating. i don't see a way to satisfactorily address these issues without getting into the specifics of said claims.

    i guess since you have no preference i will just try to address it all in one cohesive block.

    edit: though i might change my mind and start posting by subject, where i think it feasible. my main concern is if i start posting on for example fossil evidence prior to addressing ur claims on the geo column or radiometric dating then you might doubt the former based on the latter even if i haven't gotten to addressing the latter yet.
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  3. Coup d'état

    Coup d'état Don't believe the hype

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    Ture...take all the time you need. I needed a lot of time so I won't cut in until you are ready for me to start replying. so yeah, tear it up.
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  4. Coup d'état

    Coup d'état Don't believe the hype

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  5. reggie jax

    reggie jax Well-Known Member

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    i've decided to address your points by category rather than post. i will start with the geologic column followed by radiometric dating. this is because these areas are where most of the meat in your argument lies, and because without establishing these as valid you will not be receptive to any discussion of fossils. after that i will get into fossils, morphology, vestigial artifacts, ontogeny etc. these lines of evidence are actually highly dependent on one another, so i haven't decided whether it will even be worth dividing them into different arguments. last, i'll get to DNA.

    i'd also like to note, for clarity's sake, that when i refer to 'creationism' i am referring specifically to the movement personified by sites like answersingenesis and creationwiki, or 'creation science' organizations. i am not arguing the non-existence of god.

    geologic column:


    in regard to the early development of the geologic column, you describe it as follows:
    this is a misleading description.

    lyell and other early geologists constructed a basic chronology for the succession of strata based on a few 'principles' that they identified and tested for, using the known laws of physics, basic geometry and observed geologic processes.

    Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale

    on this basis, there are markers that geologists look for to identify the chronology of a series of strata. when i say chronology i do not mean their actual ages but rather the order or direction in which they were originally deposited. these are known as geopetal structures. just a few examples:

    [​IMG]

    ripples form wave patterns through which you can distinguish up from down, on the basis of gravity.

    [​IMG]
    cross bedding occurs as a result of erosion from wind or water in sand beds.

    Cross Bedding

    [​IMG]

    there are various kinds of sole markings (flute casts, tool marks, load casts, etc) which only appear on the bottom of certain strata and under certain conditions. the marks are actually the inverted casts of eroded imprints initially formed on the top of the muddy layer onto which these strata were deposited.

    Sole Marks

    [​IMG]
    here's a good list with pictures of many other types of geopetal structures
    Geopetal Structure, Wisconsin - Pictures of Sedimentary Structures

    using these markers as well as changes in the types of rocks and minerals from which the strata were formed, geologists were able to establish a basic geologic timeline. this is not to say they could date these layers. as you mentioned, they did not yet have any access to radiometric dating.

    they did use their observations to try and set a date for the earth, typically in the ballpark of 100 million years. they did this mostly based on the observed rates of geological processes like sedimentation or erosion, but obviously that's a fairy inexact method with which to ascribe a date. geologists did intuitively feel that a long history was needed to explain the current shape of the globe, which is why when lord kelvin ascribed an upper limit of the earth's age (at around 20 million years) based on cooling models, he became the geologist's worst nightmare (he was later proven wrong).
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  6. reggie jax

    reggie jax Well-Known Member

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    now to index fossils: rather than geologists allegedly 'assigning' each perceived stratum an index fossil to date it, presumably on the assumption of biological evolution, geologists used fossils that consistently appeared in a certain order as clues in strata where other clues might be absent, or in order to cross reference those other geological clues. but as mentioned above, the general order of the geologic column could be worked out through other clues.

    fossils helped to refine that model. there might be a change in rock type while a certain index fossil persists beyond that boundary. the two types of rocks still represent two relative time periods, while the index fossil then represents a broader relative time period which transcends them both. yet it was utterly impossible for them to decide which fossils would appear in which strata. this is a rather cartoonish depiction that you paint here.

    in addition, lyell's work preceded darwin's theory; if anything it was darwin that drew from the apparent ordering of fossils to help devise his theory. so it's impossible that the early geologists were operating under evolutionary assumptions. nor were they simply god haters. in fact, many of them were actually creationists themselves.

    james hutton, often acclaimed as the father of modern geology and 'uniformitarianism,' was himself a deist and his geological ideas were very much intertwined with his religious thinking. he saw the process as a mechanism of a beautifully complex system concocted by an grand designer.

    http://nagt.org/files/nagt/jge/abstracts/Montgomery_v51n5.pdf

    moving on.. you go on to say:

    this is a common creationist argument, and it's wrong. this idea is based on taking the thickest possible sample from each identified geological period, and adding them all up. this objection ignores the process of erosion, along with the fact that sedimentation does not occur at an equal rate at all locations and during all time periods. it's entirely possible (and likely) that while one area is accumulating strata during a specific time period, another area is accumulating none. there are strata being formed right now off the coast of the amazon that aren't being formed on the mainland, if you need direct proof of this widely known and accepted fact of geology.

    that's actually not at all true. the entire geologic column exists (in the right order) in many locations spanning the globe. this is even acknlowedged by creationist authors. the only objection that they manage to offer to this is the claim addressed above, that they 'aren't thick enough,' which is a fundamentally flawed assumption on their part.

    this is a particularly outdated creationist claim. if you look at the line which is supposed to be the heel demarcation, it extends beyond the supposed print.

    [​IMG]
    there are of course other problems as well
    The Antelope Springs

    i would advise against using this piece of evidence in future arguments.

    'some'? the 2005 find is the only one i've ever heard of. i know the same scientist made a similar find in the 90's, but it didn't have actual blood cells. there's also been a more recent find of mummified flesh in a hardrosaur. but this is the only one i've ever heard of with blood cells, which is of course what made it such a remarkable find.

    Dinosaur Shocker
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  7. reggie jax

    reggie jax Well-Known Member

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    cont'd...

    in no way does it prove a young earth, nor disprove the geologic column. if anything it challenges some assumptions about fossilization and decay. but if this were simply because the t-rex (and all other fossils) were younger than 6,000 years old, we would expect to find a lot more than just blood cells. we should have many more samples like this, along with dino DNA by now if that were the case:

    Claim CC371: Tyrannosaurus blood

    of course the ultimate irony in all this is that all of these well preserved dino finds have helped the theory of evolution immensely through comparative anatomy between the fossils and modern birds.

    as for polystrate tree fossils, this has been accounted for by standard geology since the 1800's.

    basically, the roots make it quite evident that the upright tree fossils he was discussing were not uprooted by catastrophe, but had grown in the current position. the spirit lake example does not apply to the majority of these finds for this reason.

    "Polystrate" Tree Fossils

    that's not to say it never applies. obviously yellowstone national park would be one such example, but when you have instances where delicate roots are in tact and buried in a fossil soil, there's simply no way around the fact that these trees were not redeposited but rather buried where they grew. there are marshes that are sinking today, slowly burying its upright trees in the process.

    "Polystrate" Fossils

    i would like to close this argument with a statement: it is my opinion that the nature of the evidence which creationism relies on is decidedly weak. their objective is clearly to dismantle modern science and their motives for doing so are not at all hidden: any science which contradicts scripture must fall. yet how successful can a scientific movement really be when it is based solely on dissent for the current order, with nothing plausible that can replace it? look back on the last half a millennium, the scientific revolutions within and the nature of each revolution. never once has a successful revolution been born out of nitpicking and posturing: copernicus, newton, darwin, einstein... these revolutions came by presenting superior models. this is something creationists cannot do.
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  8. reggie_jax

    reggie_jax rapper noyd

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    radiometric dating:

    i notice most of your argument here seems to be centered on 2 premises: unreliable assumptions and bad dates. i will address both to the best of my ability.

    for the sake of relevance and brevity i'm going to focus on k-ar and other methods with long half lives rather than carbon dating which isn't particularly relevant outside of archeology, as one of the quotes in your post has likewise indicated.

    so what are the assumptions exactly? according to my understanding of your post, they are the following:

    - decay rates
    - constancy of decay rates
    - initial amount of daughter isotope
    - no contamination

    lemme know if i missed any. these are actually good questions to point out. needless to say, you aren't the first to notice these issues, and scientists have developed methods to work them in to the equations. i'm going to address each assumption briefly. my responses are largely paraphrased from chapter 3 of g brent dalrymple's book "the age of the earth." chapter begins on pg 79. the preview in the link cuts off in the middle of the chapter, which is unfortunate. the book is worth checking out if you're interested in a good cohesive layman's description of the various methods, their reliability, applicability, and shortcomings. anyway i had to give a book plug here cause it's a very useful resource for this topic. back to the assumptions:


    decay rates:

    as you pointed out, the half life for k-ar is roughly 1.26 billion years. scientists discovered radioactivity in the early 1900's, so how can they measure such a long half life? the answer is in the math. the probability that any given radioactive atom will decay is called the decay constant, and varies based on the element. radioactive decay is essentially unstable atoms moving towards stability, through a few different processes. i won't get into the specifics concerning the types of decay, but they all involve a fundamental change in the atom (number of neutrons, protons, electrons).

    every atom of the same radioactive element has the same basic decay constant, since the likelihood of its decay is ultimately dependent on its chemical structure. this is a spontaneous process, so when a given atom will decay cannot be known in advance. yet spread out over a statistical average of a large group of atoms, it becomes possible to determine the decay constant with a reasonable degree of accuracy (see: law of large numbers). since even small amounts of an element means trillions of atoms, this statistical approach actually works rather well. thus the more atoms involved in observation, the better indicator they can give for the half life of a given element.

    scientists can then plot the curve of this decay based on this statistical average, factoring in the decreasing amount of parent isotope atoms as the group continues to decay. the more atoms there are, the more will decay. the half life factors this in by the very structure of its measurement, since it's based not on a specific number of atoms decaying but on the percentage of atoms that are expected to decay.


    constancy of decay rates

    so then how do we know that these statistical averages never change? as highlighted above, the rates are based on probability due to chemical structure, and thus any serious changes in the decay rate would necessarily mean the laws of physics themselves are fluctuating. scientists have a pretty good idea this isn't the case, because the distant stars we observe from millions of light years away are seemingly operating under the same universal laws that exist here on earth. since the light takes that long to reach earth, we are actually observing the state those stars were in however many millions of years ago, rather than the state they are currently in. it's a pretty safe assumption that the laws of physics are constant.

    the nature of radioactive decay makes it highly unlikely that the decay rates will fluctuate due to external influence. there's been numerous experiments to test whether this is possible, as detailed on pg 87-88 of the book i linked above.

    initial amount of daughter isotope, and possibility of contamination

    so how about the possibility that there's argon or other daughter isotopes already in the rocks, throwing the data off? or the possibility that the rocks haven't remained closed systems since formation? this is dealt with in a few different ways, based on the dating method used.

    the most basic and widely used method for checking the reliability of dating methods, as well as determining the initial content of the daughter isotope and checking for contamination, is the isochron method.

    in its most basic form, the isochron is factoring in another (non-radiogenic) isotope of the daughter element. basically, they take several samples from the same rock, or several samples that presumably developed at the same time, and test the ratio of the parent to daughter isotopes in each sample. then they test the ratio of the daughter isotope to another isotope of the same element, and the ratio of the parent isotope to that non-radiogenic isotope of the daughter element as well. if these rocks formed at the same time, these ratios should plot as a straight line on a graph, with the slope depicting the age.

    [​IMG]

    the image above is a hypothetical visualization of this process, simplified for clarity. the author uses the rb-sr method. 87Rb decays into 87Sr.

    graph (a) is a depiction of 3 samples (p, q, r) taken at the formation of the rock (time = 0).
    graph (b) is the trajectories of those same ratios after some time has passed: their movement is dependent on the initial ratios in each sample, since a decrease in the parent isotope by decay results in an increase in the daughter isotope.
    graph (c) is the ratio of each isotope to 86Sr, which is a non-radiogenic isotope of the same element as the daughter isotope(87Sr). this means they're highly similar chemically, and not likely to vary in ratio in each sample, if indeed the samples are of the same age. this is cause "the process of crystallization doesn't fractionate isotopes of the same element." if the samples were formed at the same time, we get a horizontal line as depicted here (assuming time = 0). notice this line intercepts with the y axis at 2, this is the initial amount of the daughter isotope (hypothetical example, reality involves much bigger numbers).
    graph (d) is the same measurements, only now a considerable amount of time has passed. the line has shifted diagonally; the slope depicts the age. the line still intercepts with the y axis at 2, depicting the initial amount of the daughter isotope.
    graph (e) is what the ratios will look like if the rock is melted and re-homogenized. the clock is reset. dating a rock after this happens means you can't date its initial age but only the event of reformation. the line has shifted upward on the y axis because of the previous decay from rb to sr.
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  9. reggie_jax

    reggie_jax rapper noyd

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    cont'd...

    graph (f) is what the partial melting or loss of only some sr might look like (i.e. contamination). it is highly unlikely that samples in such a contaminated rock would plot on a straight line. this is cause the different ratios of isotopes in each sample is a result of its chemical structure and thus they are unlikely to uniformly lose the same amount of a given isotope. what would be needed for that would essentially be the type of melting and convection that 'resets the clock' in graph (e).

    thus isochron is useful for a variety reasons, and is applicable in some form or another to each type of specific dating method.

    in the case of k-ar dating, isochron is used by comparing 40Ar and 36Ar, along with 39Ar and 36Ar. there's also a method for 'age spectrum' whereby some of the 39K is irradiated with 'fast neutrons' to produce 39Ar. the sample is heated in increments to measure the gas released at each temperature level; typically an undisturbed sample will plateau at a certain level. as the sample is heated to higher temperatures, you get tap into the gas nearer the center of the sample. this is the gas least prone to contamination, for obvious reasons.

    [​IMG]


    so does it work? in a word, yes. the ages that are given are largely consistent; though it should be noted that the specific dating methods do not apply in every scenario. it depends on the type of rock, the conditions, and perhaps most importantly, the age. i'm sure you know where i'm going with this. we'll return to this point when i get to the bad dates you posted, but first i want to show some of examples of these methods working exactly as they should. in order to argue that they are completely unreliable, you must deal with the instances in which they've proven the most useful.

    this is especially true if you want to debunk the 4.5 million years attributed as the age of the earth, since this has been derived from multiple methods using isochron methods.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The Age of the Earth

    this type of agreement across multiple samples and methods is pretty hard to account for if radiometric dating were completely unreliable. at the very least we should expect to see random results. note that the assertion that its just selective data has been addressed.

    how about radiometric dating in relation to the geologic column? most often radiometric dating does agree with the geologic order, and helps ascribe specific dates to the strata where before we only had a relative timeline. here's an example of multiple radiometric methods being used to cross reference eachother and the geologic formations at a location in canada:
    [​IMG]
    Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale
    NRC Research Press

    generally speaking, radiometric dating agrees with the 'evolutionist' (or old earth) model the vast majority of the time.

    Reliability of Geologic Dating
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  10. reggie_jax

    reggie_jax rapper noyd

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    so then, you may wonder, what about the bad dates?

    this is already getting lengthier than i had hoped so i will address them very briefly with links in case you want to confirm my answers. generally those bad dates were bad by design.

    for starters, k-ar dating is not considered reliable for young dates due to its 1.26 by half life. this is especially true when you're dating rocks that are a few decades old.

    at mt st helens, the man who submitted the potassium for dating did so knowing it would yield a bad date due to its young age, and he did so for the purposes of discrediting k-ar dating. but k-ar dating is generally not considered reliable for young dates. this is cause not enough argon has been created to be significant, and because there's usually some leftover argon in the dating equipment from previous dates (not enough to be significant if the sample is old enough).
    How Old Is the Mount St. Helens Lava Dome?

    the volcanic basalts were dated specifically for the purpose of testing k-ar against these types of rocks; it was long suspected that these types of rocks would give bad dates due to excess argon.
    Excess radiogenic argon in young subaerial basalts from the Auckland volcanic fi
    James Meritt's General Anti-Creationism FAQ: Age of the Earth

    the KBS tuff you mention was only dated because of the hominid fossil below it. it was known that it contained portions of older rock within it and thus not considered reliable for dating. the hominid fossil is what prompted the dating, rather than it having already been dated at 200 my and then reversed upon the discovery of the hominid. we see here how fundamentally deceptive some of these creationist arguments actually are. i know you didn't create these arguments so i'm not accusing you, but if you are being honest with yourself there's no way you can tell me that you don't see a pattern here.

    that's not to say there are no genuinely bad dates, but as highlighted above there are various checks and balances to weed out such dates and in instances where these checks are impossible to implement the dates are treated with less confidence. nothing is perfect, but the dates yielded are generally widely consistent, and scientists are only getting better at detecting errors. this is why the same old bad dates are used in creationist arguments again and again rather than them having the bulk of the dates supporting their side - cause they're wrong.

    oh yea, and that fossil they found beneath the tuff... that wasn't a modern human. we'll get to that in my argument concerning fossils.
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