Friday, July 02, 2010

Why do Scientists dismiss creationism as theory?

Many creationists believe the scientific community is ignoring them. While most scientists probably wish the creationism vs. evolution debate would just go away, it's not because scientists are willfully overlooking discoveries supporting a literal biblical interpretation of earths creation.

Scientists tend to dismiss creationism because Christian organizations supporting creationism behave as unscrupulous public relations firms rather than impartial members of a scientific community.

In January 2010, The Institute for Creation Research, a well known creationist organization based in Dallas, Texas, published an article written by Brian Thomas, M.S. called "It's Official: Radioactive Isotope Dating Is Fallible" on it's website. The article is filled with footnotes and references to other publications, giving the writing an appearance of scientific credibility. However, similar to other public relations special interest groups, this article is filled with untruths, lies of omission and references to discredited scientists all in effort to further the Institute for Creation Research public relations agenda.

  • “New data collected by secular researchers has confirmed what creation scientists discovered decades ago – geologists’ cornerstone assumption that the rate of radioactive decay is constant over time is not correct.” (a)
  • "In a Wired Science article on Brennecka’s findings, Gerald Wasserburg, emeritus professor of geology at Caltech, commented, “Everybody was sitting on this two-legged stool claiming it was very stable, but it turns out it’s not.” (b)
  • "John Woodmorappe catalogued scores of discordant dates “determined” by isotope decay systems, all published in secular literature." (c)

Let's go over this point by point so we can see what the Institute for Creation Research is actually doing and why this organization (and others like it) cannot be trusted.

(a) The article refers to the a scientific, peer-reviewed article by Gregory Brennecka. "Brennecka, G. A. et al. 238U/235U Variations in Meteorites: Extant 247Cm and Implications for Pb-Pb Dating. Science Express. Published online December 31, 2009".

This is the first sentence of the article. At first glance, it appears a very convincing proof against constant radioactive decay, a critical point to support creationists beliefs. Discovered no less by a secular research scientist!

Unfortunately, the very first sentence is completely and utterly untrue. The article by Gregory Brennecka says nothing about non-constant isotope decay rate. Instead, his research depends on it.

So why did Brian Thomas, M.S. write “New data collected by secular researchers has confirmed...the rate of radioactive decay is constant over time is not correct.”? Did he not read the references and footnotes he put in his own article? In fact, we know Brian Thomas, M.S. did read at least one secular reference because he quotes from it in his own article.

Therefore, instead of confirming creationists were right all along, Brian Thomas simply confirmed that he knew the truth and knowingly falsified it for his audience.

Simply put, Brian Thomas lied.

Even worse, he lied and then depended that his audience would never check his references or footnotes, which he put in the article himself. Scientists, of course, check facts every day and would have found the error immediately and 'dismissed' it outright. We can safely say the article wasn't meant for scientists. It was written for a readership who trusted them, blindly, to tell the truth.

(b) Perhaps the greater lie in this article is the lie of omission. Brian Thomas never mentions what Gregory Brennecka and his associates actually did discover.

The article referenced here (Tellingly, neither footnoted or linked in the ICR article), is Wired Science,"Age of Solar System Needs to Be Recalculated", by Lisa Grossman.

Gregory Brennecka's discovery shows the age of the solar system could be 4.567 billion years old rather than the currently accepted 4.566 billion years old. This means the commonly accepted age of the solar system could be off by 0.001 of a billion. 1/1000th, or 1 million years.

Now, this is a very, very small change indeed. So small we can still say the earth is four and a half billion years old and not be incorrect. On the other hand, it is pretty exciting stuff for scientists who thrive on precision! In fact, Gerald Wasserburg of Caltech is beside himself and exclaims “Everybody was sitting on this two-legged stool claiming it was very stable, but it turns out it’s not.”.

Notice that if the reader did not know the research of Gregory Brennecka claims to increase the precision of known radiometric techniques then we are left marveling at Gerald Wasserburg's 'stable two-legged stool' statement. Without that information, it gives the reader the impression Gerald Wasserburg had suddenly 'seen the light' and was on the verge of being a newly converted YEC advocate, solemnly repenting of his evolutionist ways. And why would we know? Brian Thomas, M.S. never told us.

This lie of omission was purposely designed to give the reader the impression secular scientists had discovered radiometric dating was completely invalid, which is not true.

c) John Woodmorappes name is referenced in many Creationist articles. However, what many people don't know about John is that his real name is Jan Peczkis and he's a high school teacher in Chicago, Illinois. Under his pseudonym,John Woodmorappes, Jan devotes himself to casting doubts on radiometric dating methods.

Geologist Dr. Kevin R. Henke from the University of Kentucky is particularly irked at Jan Peczkis and has written over forty articles thoroughly discrediting his statements on geology, radiometric methods and also demonstrates Peczkis habitually misquoting source material to support creationist arguments.

Dr. Kevin R. Henke presents a withering condemnation of John Woodmorappes work. With scientific work so shoddy it is little wonder Peczkis would assume a false name and why he is teaching at a high school rather than a university with the prestigious title of 'professor'.

However, when Jan Peczkis isn't misquoting other scientists and forwarding them to YEC-friendly outlets, he's also busy quoting himself. His behavior is consistent of a man with little moral, journalistic or scientific integrity. Despite all of these shortcomings, John Woodmorappe is heavily referenced by every creationist organization.

Last but not least, Brian Thomas, M.S. throws another curve ball at the reader by introducing John Woodmorappe's research of 'discordant dates' being "...all published in secular literature."

Looking at his own footnotes, we see Brian Thomas, M.S. once again does not tell us the truth.

"John Woodmorappe catalogued scores of discordant dates “determined” by isotope decay systems, all published in secular literature."

The footnote clearly shows John Woodmorappes is published in CRS Quarterly (CRS is the acronym for Creation Research Society), an extremely religious publication. In fact John Woodmorappes has never been published in a peer-reviewed publication. Jan Peczkis, on the other hand, has a number of peer-reviewed articles on the subject of Geology.

We have demonstrated Brian Thomas, M.S. article "It's Official: Radioactive Isotope Dating Is Fallible" contains untruths, lies of omission and references at least one discredited scientists to further the Institute for Creation Research agenda. Though they claim to have facts on their side, the facts forwarded by this special interest organization are misleading and cannot be trusted without independent and unbiased sources as verification.

Scientists are dismissing Young Earth Creationist organizations like the Institute for Creation Research because they are not telling the truth.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good Design

I love good design. Especially package design. This site has an excellent collection of goodness.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The only thing fear has to fear is Chuck Norris.

If Texas should decide to leave the Union (again), Chuck Norris is ready to serve as President of the Republic of Texas!

For those who are considering running for the same position, they should check out these little known facts about Chuck Norris.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A screen saver worth saving

Jesson Yip is a digital designer in London who created this very nice typographic clock screen saver. It's available for MacOSX as well as windows.

Monday, February 09, 2009