Opals, What is it With Opals?

For some reason, creationists seem to like Opals. I’m not entirely sure why. One possible explanation is the Ken Ham is Australian, and so are opals. This is pretty weak, though. I don’t see many Creationists commenting on Kangaroo’s…
Opal DoubletAnyway, the latest Daily (pseudo)Science Update from the Institute for Creation Research’s Brian Thomas is on Opals. It’s called Opals can form in weeks and is uses as it’s source for that statement a report from the Geological Survey of New South Wales, Fossil microbes in opal from Lightning Ridge – implications for the formation of opal. It is worth noting that the DpSU page’s link is broken – they probably mean to go here.

As I said, Creationists like opals. Today they seem to have evidence that opals only take weeks to months to form. The article they have is rather complex, and seems compelling, though if true I wouldn’t be surprised if the price of opals drops significantly soon – this means that opals could be grown like spuds and be more authentic looking than results of the current systems of making synthesised versions.

As usual, the creationists are making their usual fallacy of assuming that if something could be made very quickly it must also be very young. This is the cause of all the times that creationists talk about things suddenly happening ‘catastrophically,’ and a small number of such things are listed in the opening paragraph of the article.

To put it in perspective, the method of opal formation that this challenges would have it take “hundreds of thousands of years.” Nevertheless, as the opal is said to have been formed in the Lower Cretaceous, a minimum of a hundred million years ago, you can see that even then it would have taken a relative blink of an eye to make them, but nobody was suggesting that the discrepancy between age and creation time was a problem then, and there is no reason to now.

Brain Thomas is trying to imply that since they have found one thing that can be made quickly, what can’t?

For one, repeated attacks on varves by Creationists generally come to nothing – they are still going strong, as far as I can tell. And I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of other formations that slip my tired mind…

Brian Thomas will not be drawn in his article about how and when opals form in the opinion of creationists, but his source for a quote is prepared to do so:

The opals in Australia formed as the waters of Noah’s Flood were rising on the earth, not long before they reached their peak.

The trouble here is that the idea that the opals were formed in the flood is not consistent with the mechanism described in the report. It has the opals forming in shallow soil – not easy to get soil during the flood, I should think – on a low lying coastal plain with no evidence of marine transgressions – that is, sea level rise – and at atmospheric pressure – difficult to do when you’re at the bottom of a massive flood. Other conditions to note are the maximum temperature of 35 degrees (some flood models have exceedingly warm temperatures for various reasons – this places an upper limit), the aerobic environment and the “near-neutral pH” (often, to challenge carbon dating results it is proposed that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was significantly different before/during the flood, with the difference being added/subtracted from the amount in the oceans. Adding CO2 to the oceans makes them more acidic).

In short, this doesn’t exactly contradict the old earth, and the small print does not really help creationists.

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2 thoughts on “Opals, What is it With Opals?

  1. Opals are pretty

    and I have to wonder why creationists are so desperate to seem science-capable

    when every time they open their mouths or publish a paper

    they demonstrate how illiterate scientifically that they are

    they would do better to draw a line around their religion and insist on separation of religion and science

  2. Pingback: Watch Who You’re Calling “Anti-Science” « Eye on the ICR

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