URCall: A Comet in the Hand is Worth a Billion in the Oort Cloud

Note: my exams should be almost over by this point, and this makes the 9th out of 30 URCall videos that we’ve looked at. What do you make of these posts, as far as filler goes?


From the ICR’s URCall series of videos, hosted by Markus Lloyd. “Are comets evidence for a young Earth?” (link)

Transcript:

Did you know that comets are evidence for a young Earth? With each orbit around the Sun comets lose mass. If the solar system is really billions of years old these comets should no-longer exist. So how do you explain that?

This is an extremely short episode from URCall – so short, in fact, that they don’t actually manage to fit their argument in.

I’ve been doing this blog for more than three years now, as I discovered/remembered back in May when I stumbled upon these videos, and accordingly I’m quite familiar with the traditional young-Earth creationist line about comets. It’s a simplistic argument, sure – one that requires the omission and dismissal of the evidence that runs contrary to the narrative – but it needs a damn slight bit more than that. I’d much prefer the ICR to start relying exclusively on solid, well researched and explained points (we’d never hear from them again, most likely) but if they’re going to make this argument they need to actually make it.

This is no trivial point. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I don’t quite understand the intended purpose of these videos. It seems most likely that they are trying to keep “millennials” raised in creationist traditions in the fold in the faith, but if so they’re doing a poor job of it. Failing to explain the logic that your audience is supposed to believe only encourages them to search for the remainder elsewhere, risking them turning up at this very site. If that’s how you found us, hello! I recommend you look for more information in my post from last year about the demise of comet ISON. The other hypothesis I have is that they want their young followers to parrot these claims to their friends and university lecturers, but if this is the most the ICR is offering them as far as evidence goes that’s not really going to work.

There are a couple of other things I want to add about the video itself. Lloyd is shown next to a bowl that contains some water and smoke-producing dry ice – or it did during the first take, anyway. He is holding above the bowl in a gloved hand an object which might be more dry ice, but might also just be a rock. Presumably it’s supposed to be evocative of a comet – hence my title – but it is never explained. I’m guessing that’s where all the budget for this video went, instead of towards fleshing out the script.

The script money certainly didn’t go to the animation at the end of the video. It shows a stereotypical classroom-type solar system, complete with the nine canonical planets we were sure existed back in primary school, the Sun, and Earth’s moon. And because this is a stereotypical depiction no part of it – neither sizes nor orbits – is even remotely to scale. But much more importantly, given the topic under discussion, it also contains no comets. Is it supposed to be a vision of our dystopian future? Don’t look at me.

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8 thoughts on “URCall: A Comet in the Hand is Worth a Billion in the Oort Cloud

  1. I think you commented once that there are more and more YECs finding their way to your blog. Is this true?

    Hopefully they will come to understand how deeply flawed ICR’s MO is.

    • To quote a letter-to-the-editor in the June edition of Acts & Facts:

      I visited the URCALL website with my daughter, and we watched the video on the mimic octopus. When it ended, the first thing she said was, “Oh, I want to know more!”

      They might think that this is a wonderful reaction, but where do they think she will sate her hunger? Not at the URCall website, that’s for sure…

    • Considering that there is no evidence for an Oort clould to account for today’s comets, I think ICR’s argument is valid. The Oort clould is a 100% ad hoc contrivance used to save the theory of an old earth, but that’s not the biggest blow to the idea that rocks & fossils are millions to billions of years old. The most recent evidence for fossils not being millions of years old is supposed 70 million year of dinosaur bones containing stretchy soft tissues & blood vesselvs that weren’t expected to last more than thousands of years, let alone 70 millions.

      Mary Schweitzer, who first discoverered dinosaur soft tissues in a T. rex femur bone sticking out the side of a sandstone cliff in Montana said this:

      “All of the chemistry and all of the molecular breakdown experiments that we’ve done don’t allow for this so if this material turns out to be actual remnants of the dinosaur then yes, I think that we will have to do some rethinking of the basics of the model of fossilization. ” – Mary Schweitzer

      After more research, she determined that the tissues were “actual remnants of the dinosaur”, so to explain away the anomally, she has done the equivalent of creating an unseen Oort cloud: iron must possess some super-duper preservation property. No one has or can see iron perform such a miraculous feat of preservation. Even what we can observe in shorter time periods doesn’t extrapolate to 70 million years. So, as it stands, creationists have the evidence and old earthers have their imaginations. Who can argue with imagination?

      “Imagination decides everything.” – Blaise Pascal

  2. ICR has failed miserably to make their case among real scientists or even most educated adults, so apparently their strategy is to brain brainwash as many young people as possible with these little cliche’ ditties, and hope they don’t do more research. But with thousands of scientific and counter-YEC websites at their fingertips (and equally available to anyone they repeat the arguments to), I agree that it’s likely to backfire. With John Morris at the helm, it’s is not surprising that ICR would drift toward this sound-bite approach. I concluded long ago (from my dealings with him on the Paluxy tracks) that he not only lacked the charisma of his father, but had a “means justifies the ends” mentality, and little desire to do real science. In fact, he once told a newspaper reporter that he didn’t like to “do detail.”

    • …he didn’t like to “do detail”.
      That’s where the devil is! And he knows it, perhaps.

  3. Deep down I suspect Morris and a number of other YEC leaders have doubts about YECism, but are too invested in it (in more ways than one) to publicly express their doubts, let alone abandon the misguided doctrine. J Morris once told me I didn’t understand all the pressure he had from the group to come up with certain conclusions on the Paluxy tracks. Actually, yes, I could imagine the pressure, but no, I don’t see how that justifies exaggerating or coloring evidence, or neglecting and minimizing contrary evidence.

    • On a related note, Fred Clark has been talking a lot lately about how in such circles the “Great Commission” (spreading the gospel as far as possible) is more important than “Greatest Commandment” (actually following the teachings of said gospel). Perhaps this is the source of the phenomenon we tend to call “lying for Jesus”?

    • Glen wrote: “J Morris once told me I didn’t understand all the pressure he had from the group to come up with certain conclusions on the Paluxy tracks.”

      The reason Morris couldn’t validate the tracks is because they have eroded much more than when they were first discovered. Fortunately, there exist excellent photos of footprints (presumably human) that have the same appearance and spacing produce by a human gait intersecting the path of dinosaur tracks. What’s more, I don’t need an expert telling me how to interpret what I can see with my own eyes. Here is the largest, highest resolution photo I could find:

      “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” – Richard Feynman

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