Sunday, 15 April 2012

How Creationists Lie To Us - 3

Well, in an earlier blog today I wondered if it would be worth reading any more of Dr Paul D. Ackerman's on-line creationist book It's A Young World After All. I'm pleased to say it was, if for no other reason than it's given me material for another blog exposing creation 'science' and how creation 'scientists' mislead their target readership either from ignorance of the subject upon which they pretend to be expertly commenting, or by deliberation. I'll leave the readers to make up their own minds.

It might be worth recapping at this point that Dr Paul D. Ackerman is not an academic scientist at all but an assistant professor of psychology. This may shed some light on his book.

Let's look at the second chapter which is mercifully very short.

Chapter 2 - "Fossil" Meteorites

Almost laughably, given that he shot himself in the foot in his first chapter on moon dust, as I explained in my earlier blog, and ended up producing evidence for an old earth, not a young one, when he admitted the error in the data, he never-the-less starts Chapter 2 with

There is another impressive timepiece that works on exactly the same principle as the cosmic-dust clock and thus provides an important verification of a recent creation.

And, just as with his moon dust nonsense, of course, it also does nothing of the sort. The problem here though is he just doesn't know enough about the subject - geology - and so lays another egg and in so doing, draws attention to an outstanding example of the straw man fallacy and an illustration of how creation 'scientists' make liberal use of this intellectually dishonest device.

Firstly he introduces us to the idea of meteorites by explaining that they are:

...tiny cosmic-dust particles but with larger chunks of space material

and that

On a clear night these meteors are often visible as they streak across the sky. Most often such meteors are fairly small and completely burn up and disintegrate in the atmosphere before reaching the ground. However, some of them are able to survive long enough to reach the earth's surface, where they impact with tremendous force. Such bodies are then called meteorites, and they are recognizable not so much by their appearance but most importantly by their high nickel content.

Ackerman very cleverly introduced the notion of the rain gauge and how it could, if rainfall was absolutely constant, be used as a sort of clock if we know exactly the amount of rain which falls in every unit of time.

He then compares meteorites with raindrops and concludes that geological strata should act like a sort of rain gauge clock, so, by counting the number of meteorites in every unit of the geological column we should be able to tell the age of the earth. He asserts, without apparently seeing the need to justify it, that:

With the passage of vast amounts of evolutionary time, these accumulating meteorites would be incorporated into the geologic column, and there should be many of them contained in the rock layers today. Paleontologists and other scientists doing research in the geologic rock layers should frequently encounter meteorites.

One wonders if he actually knows what the land surface area of earth is, and just how many meteorites reach it in any given year.

Apart from this obvious piece of wishful thinking, if that's all it was, there are also three essential pieces of information missing:
  1. He does not tell us how many meteorites on average each year we should expect to find per unit area of the earth's surface. Does he not know? How good would his rain gauge clock be if you didn't know the rate of rainfall and whether it is constant or not?
  2. He neglects to mention that earth recycles it's surface over a very log geological time scale by subduction of the ocean floor at the edges of tectonic plates, volcanic action, mountain building and ice, water and wind erosion which moves the surface of the land masses eventually into the oceanic basins where it is eventually subducted into the underlying magma - the equivalent of his rain gauge clock having a leak.
  3. He neglects to mention that the geological column is not built up at a constant rate over the surface of the earth - the equivalent of his rain gauge clock randomly changing shape.

Whether he neglects to mention these things through ignorance of them or because he doesn't want his readers to know about them, I'll leave you to decide.

Ackerman then concludes with an outstanding example of the straw man fallacy:

The evolution model predicts a high number of meteorites, which should turn up fairly often in geological research.

Except that it doesn't of course. Ackerman has merely set up a preposterously infantile strawman 'theory' of his own creation to throw his stones at. What he calls the 'evolution model' includes the science of plate tectonics, of land-mass formation, of a variable-rate accumulation of the geological column and constant erosion and recycling of the surface. He either doesn't know it, or he wants you to ignore all of that and believe his absurd version of the science.

He then says:

Recent-creationists, by contrast, expect a very small number of meteorites in the geologic column.

So why not tell us how many exactly and give us the results of the experiments which were designed to falsify this prediction? This is the classic creationist tactic of setting up a ludicrous and easily dismantled strawman parody of the real science and presenting his preferred notion as the only reasonable alternative. And of course, no results of any experiments which he just wants you to assume have been carried out and validate his notion.

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  1. How do you stay sane reading this garbage?

  2. @Brendan - if you think that is garbage you should try listening to the podcast "ID the Future".( I listen to it to find out what nonsense they are unearthing and to attempt to hone my skills in responding. :)


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