Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Creationist Fairy-Dust Files

I have mentioned before that when you enter "liberal" into the 360 search, you end up finding a lot of 360 sites that are very, very anti-liberal. You enter "evolution" and you can find rabid creationists! Up is down in this crazy world we live in. Some of these blogs and 360 pages I wish I was allowed to quick comment, "Whaaa?", "Huh?", or have the smiley face that makes the hand gesture of craziness. "Hmmmmm" is too non-committal and can be interpreted as a positive interest to use for some of these sites.

I was zooming around some 360 profiles and ran across McDave's site where he had a shocking article, "Fossil radioactivity shortens geologic "ages" to a few years." This would be a huge discovery if the article was backed up by more than three people. The bulk of the source material for this article is from Robert V. Gentry, who has a Masters in Physics, but only has a honorary Doctorate of Science from Columbia Union College. Columbia Union College is an Adventist College that is recognized as a fundamentalist creationist college that only gives Bachelor of Science in the Sciences. They do not even offer masters degrees in any of the sciences. Other authors McDave cites are Andrew A. Snelling and Mark H. Armitage, both creation scientists. I have run across critiques of Snelling who is actually a PhD in Geology and has a legitimate work in mainstream science. Then only thing is that his legitimate and mainstream work undermines his creationist work. He has written articles that refer to late Miocene, Early Pleistocene, and late Pliocene, time periods that do not exist in the creationist/young earth world.

Snelling explains the doubletalk by saying that he was forced to use those terms by mainstream science in his work and that he still sticks to the creation "science" way. A lot of young world defenders spend a lot of time accusing mainstream science of censoring them or blacklisting them. In their world, they are afraid to let the truth be known that will undermine evolution once and for all.

This particular article deals with the subject of radiohalos. Gentry feels that these radiohalos decay at such a rate that suggest rocks are formed more instantaneously and bolsters the claim that the earth was created as stated in Genesis.

Creationism or Young Earth Creationism states that the earth was created 6k to 10k years ago. The most hard core fundamentalist YEC's like Snelling place it at 6k-7k. years.

Why should we care? We should care because there are whole bunch of creationism colleges in this country who actually have science teaching programs. They are unleashing science teachers that can try to pass off this psuedo-science as "proof" that mainstream acceptence of evolution is not valid. They undermine science education and are more concerned with proving that the earth is 6k years old than doing solid science. They instill in their students a disdain and distrust for mainstream science that goes beyond healthy skeptism everyone should have when confronted with any claim.

McDave's post could plant a seed of doubt in those who are not paying attention. People rarely check the citations and look up the authors and who are behind their research. It looks like a scientific paper and it sounds authorative, but if you dig deeply its merely creationist fairy dust.

That evolution occurs is fact. What science is still trying to flesh out is the mechanisms of evolution. They flesh this out by scientific inquiry and disproving various theories of how evolution works. Creationists point out the natural controversies that happen in peer review and legitimate scientific inquiry as proof that evolution is in question.

Below are some interesting reading:

Gentry's Halos Refuted

Gentry's Published Papers

Radiohaloes at Wikipedia

Opposition to Mark Armitage's scientific work

Examining Radiohalos

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