Rock Flows

Reverse faultWhen you compress rock – and by “you” I really mean vast tectonic forces, and not your literal thumb and forefinger – it will tend to deform in such a way as to reduce its size in the direction of force. There are two broad categories of deformation. In brittle deformation the rock breaks and moves along the resultant fault. The scale of this movement varies considerably: while not produced from compression, the Alpine Fault in the South Island displaces the rock on either side by hundreds of kilometres and presently moves at a rate of tens of millimetres a year, but these processes go as small as individual tiny fractures in a rock. While the scales might be impressive, brittle deformation is not all that alien to our experience – everyone knows that rock breaks.

FoldingAt the other end of the spectrum is ductile deformation, including the process of folding. In this case, when compression is applied the rock layer gains waves like the folds in a rug. The scale of these folds can range from mountains down to individual crystals. But this latter kind of deformation is more than a little counter-intuitive: in our experience, rock generally doesn’t bend.

John D. Morris, the ICR’s president and holder of a PhD in geology, writes a regular geological column in his organisation’s Acts & Facts magazine. Several of those articles have recently exploited this potential for incredulity to put forward an explanation of the observed folding of rock that is more consistent with his creationist beliefs. While faulting can potentially happen in an instant, folding takes time – something which young Earth creationists famously lack. Continue reading

Corralling The Millennials

Comic sans genesisIf the contents of my RSS reader are any indication, a couple of months ago the evangelical corner of the blogosphere (and perhaps elsewhere) held a lengthy debate on how to keep what they called “Millennials,” or “Generation Y,” in the church. While not acknowledging that this discussion occurred, the ICR’s Henry Morris III offers his advice in his article Reaching The Millennials: A Crucial Connection. That’s the feature article of the November issue of Acts & Facts (pdf here) – I’ll add a proper link when the article appears on the website [Edit: Done].

For context, the ICR is using these dates to delineate the boundaries of the generations:

Here’s a list of the generations living in the United States today:

  • The greatest generation: born before 1928
  • The silent generation: born between 1928 and 1945
  • The baby boomer generation: born between 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X: born between 1965 and 1980
  • The millennials or generation Y: born between 1980 and 1994
  • Generation Z: born after 1995

While I can’t claim a great deal of insight on the religion side of the equation,* topics similar to this pop up regularly in other circles. Continue reading

Arguing Over The Moon

A different giant impact, but an illustration of the conceptHow did the moon form? Nobody quite knows with absolute certainty. The creationists think they know – Goddidit – and they think that any other attempt at the answer is baloney. Hence Moday’s article from Brian Thomas, Impact Theory of Moon’s Origin Fails, which opens:

Secular scientists used to regard the planetary collision theory as a triumph in explaining several of the moon’s specific arrangements. But newfound facts severely debilitate this lunar impact origins theory.

According to this new theory, an early Earth collided at a glancing angle with a planet that was one or two times the mass of Mars. Some of the debris launched into orbit around Earth and somehow collected to form the moon. This could explain the moon’s peculiar orbit and some of its other properties. But, as Bob Jones University astronomy professor Ron Samec noted, recent studies refute even this origins scenario.

Primarily we’re talking here about the “[giant] impact hypothesis” – which is not “new,” being first proposed in 1975 – but Thomas quickly veers off into older, more obviously false theories. Continue reading

The Devil’s Work

IlluminatiAs you may have noticed the tagline for this site is presently “Part of the Grand Materialist Conspiracy.” I changed it a few months ago from something along the lines of “Just another anti-creationist blog” after I noticed that people linked here during internet debates would often take one look at it and apparently assume that it was placed there by a previous reader as a note that anything I say can be simply dismissed.* The correct explanation, as I naively believed would be obvious to all, was that it was a somewhat self-deprecating modification of the default wordpress tagline, “Just another WordPress.com site.” The new version was written in the hope that even the likes of forum creationists would realise that it is not meant to be taken seriously, but today’s Days of Praise devotional by Henry Morris III, Satan’s Strategic Plan, reminds me that this may be an unreasonable assumption. Continue reading

Hot, But Not Enough

A mid ocean ridgeHere’s something that I intended to write back in August when the Acts & Facts article it comments on was new, but haven’t until now.

For me, one of the most interesting parts of what I do here is compare the description published by the ICR of a piece of “secular” research with the research itself and the other things that have been written about it. Even when I don’t write my own post on the ICR article – whether through a lack of time, or through boredom – I often take a look at the background to see how well the reality matches that which is presented by the ICR. One example has stuck with me for the last couple of months: Tim Clarey’s August Acts & Facts article, Hot Mantle Initiated Ocean and Flood Beginnings.

Thin, dense oceanic crust is formed at mid ocean ridges and destroyed a subduction zones. Around 130 million years ago the super-continent of Pangaea rifted apart, beginning the formation of the Atlantic ocean. Elsewhere over the same period pretty much all of the ocean floor has been replaced at least the once by the same process. Young Earth creationists obviously don’t believe that 130 million years has passed, but the reality of plate tectonics and its components continental drift and sea-floor spreading is so overwhelming that even they cannot deny it (though some do still insist that it is not happening today – here’s John Baumgardner countering some of Michael Oard’s claims to that extent). Indeed, they now incorporate the concept into their models of the flood in the form of “Catastrophic Plate Tectonics,” which posits that the last 100 million years plus of tectonic movements actually happened during the single Flood year.

The problems with this massive increase in the rate of geologic processes are legion, but not the topic of this post. Instead, we’re looking at what Clarey thinks a paper published online in March in Nature Geoscience means for the beginning of the Flood: Continue reading

Not Quite Jurassic Park

Culiseta annulataWe return once more to “soft tissues” (and other organic molecules) with Brian Thomas’ new article, Bloody Mosquito Fossil Supports Recent Creation. You’ve probably heard of this already: a fossil mosquito, found in an oil shale deposit (and not amber, as you might have expected), appears to contain blood. Or something like that, anyway. Thomas opens his article:

Scientists recently found blood remnants in a mosquito fossil trapped in a supposed 46-million-year-old rock. Could blood really last that long?

Already, we have a problem. We’re not talking about “blood” here, but “remnants” thereof. This is a key difference: the soft tissue argument put most simply is the claim that various organic molecules and/or structures found in fossils would have turned to dust if they really were as old as claimed (so therefore they are much younger). You cannot very well make this argument if what you are pointing to is the selfsame dust that you claim should be there if the fossils were old. The key issue then is what is actually in this fossil, and we should avoid being distracted by how long we think liquid, cell-containing red blood could last. Continue reading

Decimal Time

In a metric world of kilograms and centimetres – a world which includes almost all countries save for the international backwaters of Myanmar and the United States – what’s up with time? Sixty seconds make a minute, sixty minutes make an hour, twenty-four hours make a day, seven days make a week, while around thirty days make a month and twelve months together make a year, after which we finally begin to work consistently in powers of ten. It’s a mess, in other words. We’ve tried to clean up more than once, and it’s hardly the only system that’s been developed over history, but we seem to be stuck with a chaotic and unintuitive system for the measurement of one of the most fundamental quantities we experience. What a strange world we live in.

According to the Institute for Creation Research’s now two months old video, Seven-day Week, the sticking power of just one of these divisions – the week, and it’s seven-day length – is evidence for young Earth creationism. Or, at least, a “testimony,” which may not be quite the same thing.

T & C:

So, a day is how long it takes for the Earth to rotate once on it’s axis, and a year is how long it takes for Earth to orbit once around the Sun.

The problems with expanding the metric system to time begin with an embarrassment of riches. Continue reading

Free Movie Screening

Dr. and Mrs. Henry M. Morris III cordially invite you to a private screening of

Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis, Episode One

at

Institute for Creation Research

1806 Royal Lane, Dallas, TX  75229

Thursday, November 7, 2013

7pm – Fossils and facilities tours with ICR scientists and staff

8:30 PM – Screening of Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis, Part One

Light Refreshments

Limited Seating – RSVP 800.337.0375 or UnlockingTheMysteriesOfGenesis.org

No children please


That’s this project, which seems to be coming to fruition (we looked at a promo video a while back). The quote above is from the Eventbrite page. Tickets are free, but are “limited” and you need to register by the sixth.

The Faint Young Sun Paradox: 3 Solutions?

The snow surface at Dome C Station, AntarcticaFor the Wednesday news article Tim Clarey writes Sun Paradox Challenges Old Earth Theory.

To recap, the faint young Sun paradox comes from an apparent contradiction between observations in the fields of astronomy and geology. On the one had we know that many stars on the “main sequence” get hotter and brighter as they age: the Sun appears to be on the main sequence, and so a couple of billion years ago in the Archean it would have only around 75%-80% if its present output. Reduce the Sun to that level now and Earth would freeze over.

On the other hand the geological record of the Archean is sketchy at best, but evidence from fossil cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and raindrop imprints show that there was at least some liquid water somewhere on the planet at this time. There were some glaciations at the end of the period, but clearly not throughout.

A paradox then, and one that creationists are predictably fond of. Continue reading

Dinosaurs on the Ark

A new That’s a Fact video, Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark, jumped today to the head of the short queue of episodes that I have yet to present to you. This is a topic we’ve seen many times before (e.g. two days ago), but it’s always fun:

Here’s your transcript and commentary: Continue reading