Young Enceladus Creationism

Thomas has conceded the point – “Thanks for catching my errors!” – and this article has vanished, to be replaced by one on Mercury. A screenshot of the original is available here.
The famous "tiger stripes" - hot fault lines on the surface, home to geysersToday’s DpSU – Saturn Moon’s Space Geyser Should Not Exist – is an example, among other things, of Brian Thomas taking a minor detail from a science news article (here, Enceladus Plume is a New Kind of Plasma Laboratory) and running off on a creationism-related tangent. His entire argument consists of these two paragraphs:

Enceladus loses “about 200 pounds of water vapor per second,” which roughly equates to three tons per year. Enceladus weighs over 100 quadrillion tons and supposedly formed billions of years ago. The plume provides an opportunity to cross-check its old-age assignment.

Assuming that the small Saturnian satellite has always issued the same amount of material at the same rate as it does today, then it would have completely unspooled itself in about 35 million years. Why is it still so active?

The full quote includes a metric value:

About 200 pounds (about 100 kilograms) of water vapor per second – about as much as an active comet – spray out from long cracks in the south polar region known as “tiger stripes.”

Now, I have three important problems with Thomas’ claim: Continue reading

The Descent of Odonata

Odonata is the taxonomical order that is made up of Dragonflies and Damselflies. Complicating matters somewhat, all of Odonata is sometimes referred to as ‘Dragonflies,’ which is why I, at least, am going to differentiate in this post between Odonata, Damselflies, T. (for True) Dragonflies, and the ambiguous, plain Dragonflies, which includes (as you will see) organisms that aren’t classified as Odonata.

What am I talking about? The DpSU from the ICR for October 20 is called Did Dragonflies Really Predate Dinosaurs?, and is as bad as anything else we’ve seen from Mr Thomas all week. While it is possible that, during the recent lengthy drought of articles from him, I became a little less prepared for the… stupidity that B.T. puts out, I still say that this week has been particularly bad.

The T. Dragonfly Sympetrum flaveolum Continue reading

The Paths of the Seas

Launch of SAC-D/Aquarius, June 10 2011

“This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

Launched on the 10th of June this year the Argentine satellite SAC-D is better known as Aquarius after its main scientific instrument. Aquarius is built and run by NASA for studying ocean salinity, and is expected to operate for three of the satellites five years in orbit.

It may not be immediately obvious, but tracking the salinity of different parts of the ocean also allows you to get a look at ocean currents. Now, ocean currents are vital for life (as we know it, mind) on Earth. And you should know by now the creationist reaction to that kind of thing. Hence the latest DpSU title: NASA’s Ocean Currents Study Confirms Providential Care.

The Ocean Currents of the World The Ocean Currents of the World: Aquarius has given us a much more detailed and accurate map than this. Click it to enlarge this one to a more readable size. Now Read On →

I Said I Wouldn’t Do This, But…

Ok, so the ICR did put out a DpSU for today in the end. While I did say only a few hours ago that I’d leave it until Thursday due to exams, there’s nothing like beating Dr Robbins to a funny Brian Thomas post…

What’s this one called? Rare Supernova Recalls Missing Remnants Mystery. This is a classic ‘Type Io’ DpSU – in this case, supernovae are (well, were) in the news so that’s used as an excuse to talk about an old creationist ‘problem’ that relates to them. The actual news story has got nothing to do with the ‘mystery’ so I’ll ignore it today.

Brian Thomas took the first picture on the Wikipedia Supernova page, so I'll take the second. Continue reading

Wood You Like Some Cellulose With That?

I apologise for the cheesy title, but it was just crying out to be used.

Cellulose 3D balls, from wiki[m/p]edia

Brian Thomas’ latest article at the ICR is called Earliest Fossil Shows Wood Could Not Evolve despite said wood fossil showing nothing of the sort. Indeed, the majority of this article has nothing to do with the fossil, and could easily have been written without it. If you take a look at my Terminology page you will see that for a short while I called these kinds of DpSU’s “Type Io” for the reason I give there. I think I shall resurrect that classification for this post. Continue reading

Humans Were Made for Walking – Quick DpSU June 3

Brian Thomas – in an ungodly blend of Fine Tuning and Irreducible Complexity – claims that Humans are so good at walking that they must have been designed. New study that doesn’t really deal with the subject at hand: Check. Ten year old studies on the evolutionary side of things that could easily be obsolete by now in such a dynamic field: Check. Ending paragraph containing statements that could really do with a nice, juicy citation: Check. In short, a classic type Io DpSU (in contrast with type Amber/Embryo) from Mr Thomas.

As in added bonus, here’s the last paragraph:

Without all of the bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles properly integrated with one another all at the same time, it would be impossible to walk like a man—let alone to switch to a whole separate running gear. Evolutionists must put their faith in imaginary physical “transitions” that could not work because they would require long time spans of creatures with not-yet-formed leg structures that would render any such animal immobile. Those who “walk humbly with [their] God,” however, can rely on the data showing that the mechanics of walking were well-created.6

The citation at the end implies that Mr Thomas has “data showing that the mechanics of walking were well-created”. Instead, the link at the bottom is to “Micah 6:8” in the version of the bible that the ICR prefers: The New Defenders Study Bible. The NDSB remands me somewhat of the Conservapedia Bible Project (but not nearly as audacious) – they seem to be adding annotations that retrofit the whole thing so as to “resolve its alleged contradictions, point out the evidences of its divine origin, confirm its historical accuracy, note its remarkable anticipations of modern science, demonstrate its fulfilled prophecies and in general remove any doubts about its inerrancy, its authority and its ability to meet every human need”. They didn’t go so far as to actually change the text, however – it’s seems to be copied wholesale from the KJV (compare this and this). As an example of an annotation, take the annotation to the passage Thomas links to (“He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” in both the KJV and NDSB).

6:8 walk humbly with thy God. These characteristics are not enough to earn salvation (actually no one could achieve them perfectly anyway), but they should characterize all who have been saved through faith in Christ, whose perfect sacrifice for sin was anticipated in type by all the previous animal sacrifices.

This is the Old Testament, you know… Basically, they interpret the whole O.T. as a giant case of foreshadowing for the New.

As for the actual argument in the article, Thomas thinks that we could only have been created because we are so efficient at walking. To stopper the holes caused by applying fine tuning to biology (it’s usually used to explain why the universe is so “perfect for life” from a religious perspective), he invokes Irreducible Complexity as well. Look, IC is for Bacteria. This is too big. As mentioned above, Thomas fails to provide any reference for the claim that intermediary forms “could not work because they would require long time spans of creatures with not-yet-formed leg structures that would render any such animal immobile”. Is he really saying that all other similar ways that you could have a human leg and foot could not work? My feet naturally fall at ninety degrees to each other, but I can walk perfectly well…

If you then disregard the alleged IC through lack of evidence, you find no problem at all. Adaptation and efficiency is what evolution does best.