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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  4. Since Matthew Tiscareno stated that he isn't doing any edits ("NOTE: This website has not been updated since early in this [2000] decade.") to the page that you linked (http://chem.tufts.edu/science/Geology/OEC-refutes-YEC.htm#moonrock), I will comment here.

    1: Lunar material viz granite

    a) Lunar crust composition:
    45-50% SiO2 14-28% Al2O3 - "Chronology, geochemistry, and petrology of a ferroan noritic anorthosite clast from Descartes breccia 67215: Clues to the age, origin, structure, and impact history of the lunar crust", Marc D. Norman, Lars E. Borg, Lawrence E. Nyquist, and Donald D. Bogard, Meteoritics & Planetary Science 38, Nr 4, 645–661 (2003) (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1945-5100.2003.tb00031.x)

    b) Granite composition:
    72% SiO2 14% Al2O3 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granite#Chemical_composition

  5. 2: The amount of SiO2 in rock correlates positively with experimental viscosities (see figures 4, 5, and 6 in Ling Zhang, Sharif Jahanshahi, February 1998, "Review and Modeling of Viscosity of Silicate Melts: Part I. Viscosity of Binary and Ternary Silicates Containing CaO, MgO, and MnO", Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 177–186). Granite should have a higher viscosity than lunar crust.

    3: Measured (at ~room temperature (18C, 292K) and low stress) granite shows a viscosity of 3-6*10^20 poise. - "Long-term Creep of Rocks: Results with Large Specimens Obtained in about 20 Years and Those with Small Specimens in about 3 Years", Kumagai, Naoichi, Sadao Sasajima, Hidebumi Ito, 1978, Journal of the Society of Materials Science (Japan). 27 (293): pp 157–161.

  6. a) Objections:
    i) Glenn Morton repudiated his part in the analysis. - "Summary: Suggested that viscous flow in the basalts would wipe out craters in a brief time. This view is erroneous in that it ignores the extreme temperature dependence of viscosity on temperature. At lunar temperatures, the viscosity would be such that a lunar crater could stand for billions of years. Furthermore, if the concepts utilized in this article were true (i.e. that glass could flow) astronomers would have to re-grind their lenses and mirrors every few years. This doesn't happen." (G. Morton) - I contacted Glenn Morton to ask him why he did not stand behind this work any more. He wrote: "I have changed my view because of the evidence. If rocks had the viscosity spoken of, ancient stone tools would not still be sharp!" I replied to him with a calculation of the gravitationally induced flow of a stone core (the rock from which sharp flakes are taken) The cores (at 2.5 million years age - oldest age proposed) if 5 X 5 X 5 cm at 5g/cm^3 would have a pressure on the bottom surface of 24,500 gm/(cm-sec^2). Given 10^20 poise, that would only allow a maximum of 2% strain. And that assumes that the cores and flakes have not been buried at any time in their history. The stone flakes would have much lower forces acting on them due to their small volume. His given test case does not repudiate the measurements. Concerning telescopes: From the works of others, "The viscosity of most glasses at room temperature is about 10^19-10^22 poises" (from http://www.cmog.org/page.cfm?page=299 ). Lets take the lower limit, 10^19 Poise (dyne sec/cm^2) and look at a 1-M diameter mirror with a radius of curvature of 10 M. (Probably too small a radius of curvature for a mirror, but it will likely be an upper limit on height difference). The edge of the mirror is 2.866 degrees away from the centerline (along the arc of the 10 M radius) which works out to 1.25 cm height above the center. For a vertical optical axis alignment, at 3 g/cm^3 glass density, the gravitational pressure of the glass above the center point at the edge (due to gravity and its 1.25 cm height) is 3675 g cm/(sec^2 cm^2) or [g/(cm sec^2)]. Since we are looking at a telescope mirror, we will use 100 years (I don't know of any working 1000 year old telescopes) or 3.156E9 seconds. Pressure*time/viscosity should equal strain, so we get 3675*3.156E9/1E19 or 0.00000116 strain over the 1.5 cm length. That equates to 0.0000017 cm (probably lateral displacement of the vertical side of the mirror), or 17 nm. As you can see, we need 400 years to get to the 1/8 wave flow at the lower limit of room-temperature glass viscosity in this orientation. A horizontally oriented optical axis would produce larger forces on the mirror, but I'll leave that as an exercise for others.

  7. ii) Temperature - The typical complaint is that the lunar surface is ~250 K (some say 230 K) 30 cm below the surface, and that is too cold for viscous flow (as Morton mentioned). - From Marcus Lanseth et al, "Revised lunar heat-flow values", Proc. Lunar Sci. Conf. 7th (1976). pp 3143-3171, their use of the measured temperatures from the Apollo 15 and 17 heat-flow sensors show 251-256 K at ~1 M depth, and a thermal gradient of 0.8-2.5 K/M. At the lowest derived thermal gradient, the lunar crust would reach the experimentally measured (292 K) thermal condition at {(292-251 K)/.8 K/M} 51.25 M! Craters such as Tycho, Copernicus, and Aristarchus (http://www.astronomy.com/magazine/ask-astro/2012/07/lunar-impacts) have depths of 3000 to over 4000 meters. Such craters should have most of their disturbed crust warmer than the measurement temperature.

    iii) Materials - Addressed in 1.

    iv) Gravity - The original calculations, including the one done by Z. F. Danes (1966) Geological Survey Research. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington. Chapter A, p. A 127, were done using the lunar surface gravity value.

    v) Other reported viscosities of lunar crust - J Arkani-Hamed's value of 1O^27 poise and Meissner's > 10^28 poise were calculated assuming the crater age. I believe that is called begging the question. As for linking lunar quake Q-values of oscillation decay to viscosity, the time scale of lunar quake oscillation is orders of magnitude shorter than any viscous relaxation time scale would be, and there is much documentation on the increase of viscosity with forcing frequency. (e.g. "Theory of Propagation of Elastic Waves in a Fluid-Saturated Porous Solid. II. Higher Frequency Range", M. A. BIOT, 1956, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 28, # 2, and "Elastic and viscous properties of Silly Putty", Rod Cross, 2012, American Journal of Physics, vol 80, 870 https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4732086 )

    vi) Yield Strength - Per Howard Barnes, "The yield stress - a review or [panta rei] - everything flows?", 1999, Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, 81, pp 131-178, the idea of a minimum stress, below which no creep or plastic flow is possible, is NOT supported by measured data. Since the advent of more sensitive test equipment, measurements show "the concept of a yield stress is a myth."

    Thoughts or comments?

  8. "[There is a] danger of relying on a single source for your information and accepting it uncritically if it agrees with your desired conclusion."
    Matt Tiscareno's argument against lunar crust viscous flow {"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."} was that viscous flow ONLY occurs at high temperatures. Unfortunately for him, experiments have proven that statement to be false. In Ackerman's writeup as well as Morton et al, the actual article concerning measured granite viscosity (at roughly standard temperature and pressure (STP)), i.e. N. Kumagai & H. Ito, Creep of granite observed in a laboratory for 10 years, Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Rheology, 2, 579, 1970, was not given, so I can't fault Matt much for not running down that detail. In the time since then, the paper, N. Kumagai, H. Ito, and S. Sasajima, Long-Term Creep of Rocks-Experimental Results with Large Specimens Obtained in 27 Years and Those with Small Specimens in 10 Years, Journal of the Society of Materials Science, 1978, reported viscosity values for granite and gabbro also from measurements at conditions near STP. To avoid the error of only using one group of investigators, I will also add E.N. da C. Andrade, Viscosity and Plasticity, Heffer, Cambridge, 1947, in which he describes a 1200 mm long, 5 mm diameter rod, supported at both ends, which sagged ~ 5 mm in 5 weeks.
    Concerning the temperature of the lunar crust, measured data from the Apollo 15 and 17 lunar missions {M. Langseth, S. Keihm, K. Peters, Revised lunar heat-flow values, Proc. Lunar Sci. Conf. 7th, p. 3143-3171} give ~250K as reasonable crustal temperature ~0.5 m below the surface, and only 50 m below that the crust would be at the experimental temperature of the granite and gabbro samples.

  9. I'm not sure why you're posting these screeds here. As I suggested on Facebook, if you have evidence that the moon is only a few thousand years old, write it up, submit it to peer-review and, if you're research findings are confirmed, enjoy your fame and fortune that would come with the Nobel Prize.

    Is there any reason you can't do that?

    1. I saw your post first and since Matt Tiscareno isn't monitoring his page anymore, this seemed like the place to start.


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