Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How Creationists Lie To Us - 6

Number 5 in a series looking at the treasure trove of creationist fallacies and astoundingly bad 'science' called It's A Young World After All, written by assistant professor of psychology, Dr Paul D. Ackerman, PhD. (Yes I know I've called it number 6. That's because I had already written How Creationists Lie To Us about another piece of creationist deception.)

Dr Paul D. Ackerman, PhD. has never presented a paper on biology, cosmology or physics to an audience of professional scientists nor has he ever published a peer-reviewed paper on any of these subjects.

Here I look at Chapter 5. If nothing else, it shows the danger of relying on a single source for your information and accepting it uncritically if it agrees with your desired conclusion.

Chapter 5 - Pour Me A Rock.

Ackerman's 'argument' is that:

Recent-creationists also believe the impact craters were formed early in the moon's existence, but they believe that this was only a few thousand years ago. Thus we have two opposing views about the same phenomenon. Most scientists believe the craters to be at least three billion years old, while a few believe them to be only a few thousand. Is there a way to test and see which view is correct?

Geophysicist and astronomer Harold Slusher of the University of Texas at El Paso, along with Glenn Morton and Richard Mandock, have worked on this problem and discovered a simple and seemingly decisive solution. They have done so by considering the flow rates (viscosity) of the lunar rock material that forms the moon craters. If the moon were covered with water, impact craters would last only a few seconds. If it were made of honey, craters would last just a bit longer. Since the moon is covered with rock, impact craters last a much longer time, but how long depends upon the kind of rock and its viscosity or rate of flow.

The rocks brought back from the moon by our Apollo astronauts have been carefully studied and found to be virtually identical with a kind of earth rock called basalt. The discovery that the moon's surface is made up of basalt-type rock rules out the possibility that lunar craters are more than a few thousand years old! The viscosity or flow-rate value used by scientists is on the order of a hundred million times too low (the higher the value, the slower the flow rate) for the craters to have lasted three or four billion years. Even if the lunar surface were made of granite, the viscosity value of that granite would be ten million times too low to hold the crater shape for three billion years. If the lunar surface were made of the same rock material as the earth's mantle, the viscosity value would be too low by a factor of one hundred thousand.

Hmm... Well, you have to admit that would be something of a problem for scientists who think the earth is 4.5 billion years old!

If only it were true!

Unfortunately Ackerman seems unaware that the 'research' upon which his entire argument is based is fatally flawed. As you can read here:

In a paper published in a young-Earth journal (Creation Research Society Quarterly, v.20, pp.105-108 (Sept 1983)), former young-Earth advocate Glenn R. Morton attempted to calculate the time it would take for lunar craters to be erased by the slow flow of rock.

The central parameter in the calculation is the viscosity of the rock (its resistance to flow). As a rock's temperature approaches its melting point, its viscosity becomes low enough (although still a trillion trillion times higher than that of honey) for some flow to be observed over long time periods. This phenomenon allows, for example, convection in the Earth's mantle, which is crucial to Plate Tectonics, and in turn to many geophysical processes.

Viscous flow can also be observed in many other solids, from glass to Silly Putty, but always at temperatures that are rather close to the melting point of the solid. Morton attempted to apply this process to rocks on the surface of the Moon. However, by failing to understand viscosity's extreme dependence on temperature, he grossly underestimated the viscosities of lunar rocks. Morton assumed that the viscosity of the Moon's surface rocks would be comparable to the highest measured rock viscosities (those of Earth's mantle). However, since a rock's viscosity increases exponentially as its temperature falls (and the Earth's mantle is very hot while the Moon is very cold), the viscosities of moon rocks are exponentially higher than the viscosities in Earth's mantle.

In fact, moon rock viscosities are so high that they are practically infinite, meaning that no flow will occur (i.e., rocks are more likely to break or fracture than to flow). Since the flow of rock is basically impossible at the temperatures that exist on the Moon's surface, there will be no relaxation of lunar craters, and thus no problem with the age of the Moon.

So, if only these scientists had done the job properly they would have shown that the moon isn't young; it's er... old. Makes you wonder how they got it passed the peer-review process.

But what's this? Former young-Earth advocate Glenn R. Morton?

Yep! The creation scientist (did Ackerman just forget to mention that the 'science' he relied on was carried out by young-Earth creationists?) Glenn R. Morton deconverted from young-Earth creationism when he realised there was no data supporting it and all the data points to an Earth as old as real scientists accept. You can read about his change of mind in his article entitled Why I Left Young-Earth Creationism.

There was no peer-review process of course. So long as it reached the 'right' conclusion and it conformed with the Creationists' Oath to never reach a conclusion that doesn't support a literal interpretation of Genesis from the Christian Bible, it was accepted.

Ackerman has fallen into the trap of believing your own propaganda. It must be a bit disconcerting to find that the scientist whom you've just relied on for your argument doesn't believe it himself.

No, don't laugh. It's not nice.

Instead, read Dr Ackerman's confident conclusion:

Thus the physical evidence is loud and clear to the effect that the craters of the moon cannot be as old as evolutionists claim. In fact, the data indicate that the craters must be only a few thousand years old.

Hmm... as loud and clear as total silence in an unlit coal cellar, eh?

Now you can laugh.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!"

- Sir Walter Scott.


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  2. YG Mitchell.

    If you ever think of anything interesting or pertinent to say about this or any other of my blogs you're more than welcome to post it here. I'd prefer you to keep abuse to yourself or maybe other places where it passed for normal behaviour however.

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