A Directory of Randomness

I sometimes regret tethering this blog so tightly to the activities of the ICR – it means it’s harder for me to talk about what I want (not that I’m very good at that). After all, moments of hilarity and craziness are by no means limited to this one organisation. And science itself is cool too, I suppose. Anyway, here are some vaguely-relevant things I have read recently: Continue reading

Just How Long Does DNA Last?

Those were the days...The moa can be considered New Zealand’s equivalent of the Mammoth. Both were large animals hunted to extinction by humans in relatively recent history. Sightings of both are occasionally claimed, deep in the forests. And both invoke optimistic hopes that they could be someday cloned, and returned to their ancient grasslands. The moa is also the animal in the picture to the right, and the icon for this blog is a moa footprint – as you might have gathered I’m rather fond of them. They last properly came up on this blog eleven months ago, in The Extinction of the Megafauna, but in today’s post – Bone DNA Decays Too Fast for Evolution – Brian Thomas brings them up in quite a different context. For those readers unfamiliar with the soft-tissue family of young Earth creationist claims, think radiometric dating – and be prepared to have your expectations completely reversed.

DNA is a biochemical that contains genetic information. And like all other cellular ingredients, it decays if cellular systems don’t maintain it. Now, scientists are more confident about how fast it falls apart after a cell dies.

A team of researchers recently completed a thorough investigation of 158 ancient leg bones that belonged to giant extinct birds called moa, which once lived on New Zealand’s South Island. Using radiocarbon ages and measures of DNA integrity, the researchers generated a DNA decay rate with unprecedented rigor. But their results do not fit with claims from secular scientists who have found plenty of examples of intact DNA from supposedly million-year-old samples.

They used radiocarbon dating and produced a result with “unprecedented rigor”? How… odd for Mr Thomas to say such a thing. Continue reading

Lisle vs Nye on CNN

In breaking news Your Origins Matter informs us that Jason Lisle, the ICR’s Director of Research, was recently (though briefly) on CNN as part of a story on U.S. congressman Paul “lies straight from the pit of hell” Broun. You can see the clip, which also features Bill Nye, here (Lisle starts at 1:57). Lisle says:

The idea that the universe is sort of- is a big cosmic accident, well if that’s the case then why would it obey laws? Like E=mc2. That’s kinda convenient, isn’t it? I mean, if it’s just a big accident why would it obey nice neat mathematical laws that the human mind can understand. It doesn’t make sense for it to just be a big explosion. It make sense that it was created by the mind of God.

But before you jump to the conclusion that Lisle only has at his disposal the kind of arguments that a ten year old would come up with, he said on the YOM facebook page: Continue reading

Unreliable Isotopic Clocks?

In More Fluctuations Found in Isotopic Clocks Brian Thomas thinks he has reasons why four different radiometric dating techniques are inaccurate. Well, three really – one of them isn’t even a clock, so far as I can tell, and is just thrown in there to cast a general doubt on the reliability and predictability of radioactive decay. This is standard fair for young Earth creationists – though taking a look at my archives it has been just over a year since I’ve reported on at DpSU of this exact type – and the narrative being put forth is that there are more inconsistencies and problems with specific techniques being found every day, and that the whole idea is suspect. This could not be further from the truth. Continue reading