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Some Kenneth Miller links

Those of you who missed Ken Millers wonderful BYU address are in for a treat. A friend of mine just complied a list of things you may find useful:

The Nova Program about Intelligent Design – Judgment Day:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/beta/evolution/intelligent-design-trial.html

The link to Kenneth Miller on the Colbert Report:
http://www.millerandlevine.com/talks/colbert.html

And finally, here is his entire lecture given at Brown University (Almost identical to what was given at BYU):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBMgNOXperg

Here are some papers he referenced:

Krauthammer – Phony Theory False Conflict

and

the Dobzhansky paper “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense
Except in the Light of Evolution”

Please don’t make comments if your unwilling to look at these in detail. If you are determined to only read the Intelligent Design Creationism side, this isn’t the site for you. I’m assuming honest seekers here. Intrenched fundamentalist Mormon creationists can form their own Church and add it to that. Intelligent Design Creationism is not friendly to or a part of Mormonism despite its appealing name.

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138 comments to Some Kenneth Miller links

  • Rich

    This thread is making my head spin. I had no idea people could embrace ignorance with such… misguided devotion. This is what Nibley described as “Zeal without knowledge”. My final thought here (since it’s clear I’m trying to reason with a brick wall), a quote from Elder Sterling W. Sill:

    “To become a son of perdition, one must sin against great knowledge. That is the sin of the greatest enormity. But the sin of the greatest frequency is ignorance. That is, not to know in the first place. The religion of Jesus has always suffered more from those who did not understand and those who did not care than from those who opposed. It is largely our ignorance that stands between us and our blessings.”

  • David H. Bailey,

    I very much appreciate your most recent comment. It is unexpected but welcome and I will respond appropriately (but not immediately).

    Rich,

    I’ve enjoyed conversing with you on this thread. I understand we don’t agree on some things and ascribing zeal without knowledge to me personally is just fine. But you might want to remember this: It was a Pharisee named Gamaliel who counseled moderation when criticizing the Apostles, “lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:39). And it turns out that Boyd K. Packer and Russell M. Nelson are two living apostles whose teachings would apparently make your head spin.

  • Rich

    It does, and yet I sustain them and admire their great efforts to lead and direct (when they aren’t trying to pontificate on scientific issues in which they clearly lack understanding). Call it cherry picking if you will, but I see them also as fellow flawed men, like myself, capable of error. Unlike myself however, they have a serious responsibility of stewardship to the church at large, which is why their personal opinions on this particular subject, sometimes expressed as doctrine, I find so distressing.

    If it is a fatal, sinful flaw to need the world I live in to make sense, then I happily raise my hand and say “guilty”.

  • “As for #1, I know that evolution theory rejects the idea of the “creation” by an intelligent agent.”

    Not so. This is where Kenneth Miller will help. Also, Karl W. Giberson “Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution” shows nicely how the perception that evolution and atheism go together arose in America. The integration of evolution and faith is alive and abundant in the Academy of both science and theology (Look at the Journal Zygon or Theology Today for instance). It’s intelligent design that is rejected by both believing scientists and theologians as the body of literature promoted by the Discovery Institute. That God is ‘creator’ and ‘intelligent’ is accepted by all theistic evolutionists I know. It’s the Behe/Dempski version that is rejected.

  • David H Bailey

    Rob Osborn wrote “Modern geology theory also rejects that this flood ever occurred and this is the same institution that dates our rocks. If they are as fundamentally wrong about the flood, then who isn’t to say they would be wrong about other things also like rocks, dating, fossils, etc?”

    That’s the point — modern geology is NOT wrong about the flood and the dates of the rocks. Evidence for a simultaneous, worldwide flood is completely lacking, and would be there in huge abundance if such an event truly happened. And the dates of the rocks cannot possibly be mistaken — the evidence comes from so many directions, literally tens of thousands of careful measurements, based on the most basic laws of physics, using advanced, high-tech equipment that can’t be fooled by human bias.

    Indeed, the evidence has grown to the point that the only way in which “geologists are wrong” on these matters is if God deliberately created the earth and the rocks with an “appearance of age” — ie with isotopic ratios deliberately altered in many tricky ways, and with a hundred other lines of altered evidence, implemented worldwide (and even in light reaching earth from other stars), all with the intent, evidently, of misleading diligent seekers of truth in the latter days into thinking that the rocks and fossils are many millions of years old, when they are not.

    As I’ve mentioned before, such a “God the Great Deceiver” theology, in my view, is so absurd and disrespectful to the nature of God as to be tantamount to blasphemy. I’ll take a God who expects us to read the scriptures in a more intelligent manner any day.

  • David

    R. Gary,
    Now that David Bailey has answered your question, will you please give me your insights on the questions he raised earlier? I’ve copied them here in case you forgot. Thanks.

    1. How long did the physical creation take, according to our current units of time?

    2. When was the physical creation completed, and when did the Garden of Eden and the Fall take place?

    3. By what means or processes was the physical creation performed? Can we learn about this process? If not, why?

    4. How do yo account for the fact that empirical evidence strongly points to a very old earth, and a progression of organisms through eons? Did God create the world and the fossils to look very old? Why?

    5. How do you account for the fact that the vast majority of God-fearing scientists (including LDS scientists) see the earth and the universe as very old, and evolution as real? Are they not examining their data correctly?

    6. What is your view towards science in general? Does God wish us to explore the world around us and measure it with tools? If not, why?

  • Rob Osborn

    SteveP,

    So we are on the same page-

    In my statement I was referring to the evolutionary theory as found in textbooks and taught in classrooms at all levels. What is it they teach about the origins of life? They teach that the origins of life came about by an unguided random process, not a process to us LDS known as the “creation” by Jesus Christ. Evolutionary theory as is accepted and taught, when discussing the origins of life, explains how life arose independent of any intelligent person (Jesus Christ in our case), intelligent agent, intelligent purpose or intelligent design. That is general evolution. Next I have theistic evolution.

    Now, help me out here with “theistic evolution” because I can’t seem to figure it out. How is ID theory different than theistic evolution? To my mind (which lacks at times, eh eh), it seems that under theistic evolution, an intelligent creator both oversees and instigates by design the process of evolution. In regards to the origins of life, it seems that under theistic evolutionary theory that the intelligent designer is not just a bystander.

  • Rob Osborn

    David,

    I am sorry if I ruffled any feathers. I wonder why we reject the church’s teachings regarding the flood? To me it is seen as a general lack of faith not to accept it at least for me personally. I have no real problems with mixing the theological with the scientific. For me the evidence is clear that the flood occurred. I have studied the geologic principles of “uniformatarianism” for a few decades now and have traveled around and looked at various geologic formations. To me the evidence for it is mostly absent for what I see in the rocks.

    One of the biggest breakthroughs I had was in studying the layers seen in the Grand Canyon walls. There are no current uniformatarian processes that are laying down sediment layers anywhere in the world that even come close to what we see int he Grand Canyon. The amount of sediment layers piled generally parallel on top of each other over thousands of square miles would far surpass the amount of available mountains and other higher earth portions to be eroded for deposit over such long period of time.

  • David H Bailey,

    To begin with, I like your idea of limiting the discussion to the BYU Evolution Packet and its contents.

    The Chairman and Vice Chairmen of the BYU Board of Trustees are the Church President and his Counselors in the First Presidency. Typically, there are also three or more members of the Twelve on the board. It seems reasonable, therefore, to auggest that the BYU packet cover letter, titled “Evolution and the Origin of Man,” was approved by the 1992 First Presidency.

    The cover letter is actually the first item in the BYU Evolution Packet. It contains three paragraphs which explain the origin and purpose of the remaining items in the packet.

    First paragraph

    “This packet contains, as far as could be found, all statements issued by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the subject of evolution and the origin of man, and a statement on the Church’s attitude toward science. The earliest First Presidency statement,  ‘ The Origin of Man,’  was issued during the administration of President Joseph F. Smith in 1909. This was followed by a First Presidency Message in 1910 that included brief comments related to the study of these topics. The second statement,  ‘ Mormon View of Evolution,’  was issued during the administration of President Heber J. Grant in 1925. Although there has never been a formal declaration from the First Presidency addressing the general matter of organic evolution as a process for development of biological species, these documents make clear the official position of the Church regarding the origin of man.”

    The three First Presidency statements named in this paragraph are:

    1. The 1909 statement, “The Origin of Man.” David H Bailey has given us a good summary of this statement (in comment #96, above). At 2,700 words, this is the predominant item in the packet.

    2. The 1910 statement, “Words in Season.” This is a small 99 word excerpt from the 1910 First Presidency’s December Christmas Message. As David H Bailey points out, this message notes that the Church is not hostile to “real science” but doesn’t accept “human theory and mere speculations of men.”

    The December 1910 Christmas Message is not to be confused with an anonymous comment printed in the April 1910 Improvement Era which has been erroneously alleged to be the Church’s “backing away from ruling out an evolutionary process” regarding the origin of man. The April 1910 comment did not originate the First Presidency and doesn’t even represent the thinking of Church President Joseph F. Smith. (click here).

    3. The 1925 “Mormon View of Evolution” statement is a 560 word abridgement of the 1909 “Origin of Man” statement. Note that in 1909, the First Presidency spoke to the Church membership, whereas in 1925, the First Presidency spoke to the national media. It is inappropriate, therefore, to read hidden doctrinal meaning into the editing that was done by the 1925 First Presidency.

    After naming these three statements, the packet cover letter emphasizes, “these documents make clear the official position of the Church regarding the origin of man.” This clearly includes the 1909 sentences that were critical of the idea that human beings developed from lower orders of the animal creation.

    Second paragraph

    “This packet also contains the article on evolution from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in 1992. The current First Presidency authorized inclusion of the excerpt from the First Presidency minutes of 1931 in the 1992 Encyclopedia article.”

    The 1931 First Presidency minutes have never been formally issued by any First Presidency to the general membership of the Church. Therefore, neither the Encyclopedia article nor the 1931 excerpt itself could be appropriately listed in the first paragraph as equal in authority with the three statements that were so listed. It is clear that the 1931 excerpt is not a statement of the official position of the Church on anything.

    Third paragraph

    As if to emphasize the unofficial status of the Encyclopedia evolution article, the third paragraph repeats what was said in the first paragraph, namely that “statements issued by the First Presidency … make clear the official position of the Church.” Here is the third paragraph:

    “Various views have been expressed by other Church leaders on this subject over many decades; however, formal statements by the First Presidency are the definitive source of official Church positions. It is hoped that these materials will provide a firm foundation for individual study in a context of faith in the restored gospel.”

    The meaning of the 1931 excerpt

    The 1931 First Presidency memo (excerpted in the Encyclopedia evolution article) closed the Church’s official evaluation of a priesthood manual submitted in 1928 by Elder B. H. Roberts of the Seventy. Neither the author nor his manuscript were sympathetic to evolution.  Problems arose for the manual, however, because it tried to reconcile fossils with scripture by bringing the conclusions of science into its gospel lessons. The 1931 First Presidency memo says:

    “Elder Roberts quotes from the scripture and extensively from the conclusions reached by the leading scientists of the world, to show that the earth is older than the time given to its creation in Genesis indicates.”

    In the manuscript, and in his presentation before the Twelve (which was taken from Chapter 31 of the manuscript) Roberts brought in the latest conclusions of scientists in the fields of Geology, Biology, Archaeology, and Anthropology to support his theory.

    Then, after two and a half years of discussion, the 1931 First Presidency memo said basically, Let’s get back to work. Referring to the Roberts book, the First Presidency said the conclusions of Geology, Biology, Archaeology, and Anthropology don’t belong in a priesthood manual. Discussions about the manuscript are over. The Roberts book will not be published.

    To the extent that it applies to anything beyond the Roberts book, the 1931 First Presidency memo is a directive not to bring the conclusions of science into the gospel and use them to interpret scripture. I can see why President Hinckley wanted this message included in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, but I’m not sure today’s LDS evolutionists really want to hear it.

    What is official

    BYU provides its students an evolution packet that contains two official (1909 and 1925) position statements on evolution and the origin of man, plus one official (1910) and one unofficial (1931) warning not to use science to interpret scripture. The 1909 First Presidency statement is by far the largest and most significant item in the packet.

    For its general membership, the Church has reprinted the official 1909 First Presidency statement in major publications twice in this decade (click here and here).

    Conclusion

    I feel David H Bailey has misrepresented me on one point:

    “In contrast, R. Gary’s position, which I certainly respect, is that only the 1909 statement should be regarded as official, and the  ‘ BYU Packet ‘  is not really reflective of the current official view.”

    Hopefully, the above discussion will clear up that little misunderstanding.

  • SteveP,

    I hope a long response to David H Bailey’s comment (#96) is okay. My comment is actually slightly smaller than his.

  • David H Bailey

    Rob: “One of the biggest breakthroughs I had was in studying the layers seen in the Grand Canyon walls. There are no current uniformatarian processes that are laying down sediment layers anywhere in the world that even come close to what we see int he Grand Canyon.”

    Rob, do you really believe that geologists have somehow overlooked huge amounts of very accessible evidence that completely counters the entire old-earth picture of the earth? If this were really true, every self-respecting postdoc in the field would be furiously writing up the results, exposing the “cover-up”, and earning everlasting fame…

    Don’t kid yourself: scientists have combed over every bit of available evidence, in the Grand Canyon and elsewhere. All available evidence points in only one direction, namely to a formation over hundreds of millions of years. There is no way this conclusion can be wrong.

    This may be an unpleasant turn of events, and may make life more complicated for some. But it is an adjustment that we, as believing LDS, must make. Indeed, the older I get the less I understand the reluctance to accept the obvious. Why?

  • Gary a long response is fine. I will be interested to read it.

  • SteveP, I think it got stuck in moderation at 10:30 am this morning.

  • SteveP

    You were thrown to spam for some reason. It’s there now as comment #108. I discovered two of Rob’s there too which I freed up.

  • Jeff G.

    Rob,

    I know you are well read on a lot of these subjects. From all your comments, though, it would seem that all of the sources you have read have been those you can purchase in your local Christian book store.

    While, yes, one does become acquainted with the arguments the scientists put forward for evolution, etc. from these sources, they do a really, really, REALLY bad job at representing the ideas they are attacking.

    I know how patronizing it sounds for me to say it, but your comments sound VERY similar to what I used to say back when I had only read “corrections” to Darwinism rather than actual descriptions of Darwinism.

    Is it safe to assume that this is more or less the background which you are bringing to the table?

  • SteveP – re your comment #114,

    Some of the comment numbers have changed, although links to the same comments are not affected. For example, David H Bailey’s long comment to which I responded was #96 but is now #98 (perhaps due to a freed comment). Anyway, my long comment, whatever its number, is here.

  • Rob Osborn

    David,

    I just do not see the evidence for “millions of years” of uniformly laid sediment. What exactly would it look like? We haven’t been around long enough to actually document what nature really does in hundreds of millions of years. I am not being close-minded here, I am honestly seeking the truth.

    There is a way that modern geology is wrong. Just because they say it is doesn’t set it in stone as a paramount achievement of mans knowledge. Maybe it does, but that still doesn’t qualify it as the truth. Not every geologist believes the layers were laid gradually over hundreds of millions of years.

    I don’t really have to make any adjustments being LDS. The prophets say there was a global flood, I go out in the world, weigh the evidence, make the judgment myself and conclude that the prophets are exactly right in the matter. It doesn’t matter to me that there is an overwhelming majority who believe otherwise. Joseph Smith and followers have been plagued by that all along. There is a great amount who believe the Book of Mormon is a fake, and we can’t really seem to find the adequate evidence rerquired by scientific inquiry to prove it true, but we stick by it none the less having faith in the prophets. So I ask-

    Is it just a matter of picking certain things in the gospel to have faith in while discarding others?

  • Rob Osborn

    Jeff G,

    I have read all sides of the debate. I have read on evolutionists sites what they say about their theory and I have been to ID sites. Kind of off topic a bit but I do the majority of my study in religious studies (heaven and hell, etc) and I often go to anti-mormon and anti-christian sites to do research to see what the arguments are- how they view the issues. I do so objectively always. I have learned over the years that often times the supposed “antis” have a good case- that they are honest in their intentions and that quite often they bring up real issues that have not been resolved. I always try to go right to the “source” rather than go seek something that sounds good to my ears. Why run from it? Go straight to the source, find the truth and judge for myself what is and what isn’t. Years ago when I was studying creationism, I immediately saw the flaw in their movement- that being the indoctrination of a belief system into the public, especially the yound children at the peril of the rights of the students. Whereas I believe a lot of what creationism believes, I do not believe that “creationism” should be taught in a science class. I don’t have a problem with having a religious studies optional course in public schools to discuss the merits of creationism and other religious ideas.

    The thing with ID and evolution is that both sides make great points. Evolution makes a great point with the theory of natural selection and how it can effects populations. as to if it can generate and produce new life, its up in the air- the jury is still out. ID on the other hand makes a great point in extrapolating the idea that intelligence in nature exists and that perhaps it isn’t just “chance” that we are here. Plus, LDS doctrine in fact states that we are here for a purpose- that the whole creation is made and tailord to mankind. Physicists have been saying for years that it certainly appears that the universe was tailormade for life. ID and evolution both have great ideas. What needs to happen is for both sides to drop the politics, find out some common ground, agree upon that which is unseen and untestable, and move towards the direction of finding the truth together.

  • Rich

    “I always try to go right to the “source” rather than go seek something that sounds good to my ears. Why run from it? Go straight to the source, find the truth and judge for myself what is and what isn’t.”

    Rob, prove you aren’t a liar and list for us the actual science books you’ve read, cover to cover, as the source for your alleged understanding of evolution. I say prove it because you have utterly failed to convince anyone here that you comprehend even the most basic concept of biological evolution. My guess is that you can’t list a single one. Please prove me wrong. I dare you.

  • Rob Osborn

    “I say prove it because you have utterly failed to convince anyone here that you comprehend even the most basic concept of biological evolution.”

    Rich,

    I am beginning to think that no matter what I say you won’t believe. I have already posted that I believe in small evolutionary change- that which is demonstratable. I just do not believe in large across taxa lines evolution. I also do not believe that Darwinian evolution can explain the origin of life.

    I already understand the “basic concept of biological evolution”, if you think I am wrong please explain. It’s as if you assume I know nothing about it because if I did I would believe it. Sorry but some people are different and actually have to see real evidence to believe. The leading evolutionary scientists still say they have no idea on how the origin of life started, its a mystery to them too.

  • Rich

    Rob, despite the fact that multiple people have already explained it to you, ad nauseum, I’ll explain it yet again, since it doesn’t seem to be sinking in. Darwinian Evolution HAS NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT ORIGIN SCIENCE. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

    Origin science IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FIELD OF SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION.

    (Does it help if I use cap lock? :)

    The fact that you can see both discussed in the same textbook does not negate that fact. They are entirely independent of one another.

    Yes, scientists are actively trying to understand how life may have started here. That’s what science does — it investigates the unknown.

    The two are often DELIBERATELY thrown together by creationists and ID advocates simply to muddy the waters regarding evolution. Because yes, life springing out of random chaos is probably rather statistically improbable. Yes, we don’t (yet) have a good explanation of how chemical soup becomes a living cell. That’s all truly a great big mystery, and nobody here disputes that (not yet anyway, give science a few more years to work on that problem)…

    But evolutionary science has plenty to say about how “simple” cellular organisms can become more complex over large amounts of time; you add up all the baby steps — the very ones you claim to believe in — and over time, small changes add up to big ones. It’s really that simple. The forensic evidence for this is abundant in our DNA. Right there for the looking. All you have to do is look!

    So do us all a big fat favor and quit trying to confuse the two separate branches of science. They have nothing to do with one another.

    And, I can only assume, since you refused to answer my challenge, that you have yet to read a single evolutionary biology text. Get thee to the library before you make me any more crazy with your ignorant questions.

  • David H Bailey

    <>

    Rob: As we have mentioned several times already, geologic dating is a very well established field, with techniques that have survived at least 60 years of careful scrutiny.

    Dates of various rocks and various fossil layers have been measured using these techniques, and the dates measured from the same layer, taken at different spots around the world, by different labs, all agree. Many thousands of such measurements have been made. There is no possible way that all of them are simultaneously in error by huge factors.

    If you’re not familiar with how radiometric dating works and why it is so reliable, please read the very clear, accessible writeup in Ken Miller’s book “Finding Darwin’s God”. For your convenience, I have transcribed this material into a pdf file, which is available here:
    http://www.dhbailey.com/misc/miller-pg66-80.pdf

    Please read this.

  • Rob Osborn

    David,

    Ok, I read the pages and noted it was complete anti-creationist. Truth mixed with conjecture? Here is some more from the other side of the tracks.-

    http://www.earthage.org/EarthOldorYoung/Radiometric%20Dating,%20and%20The%20Age%20of%20the%20Earth.htm

  • Tim

    Rob,
    I noticed that the author of your article is not (surprise!–or rather entirely not surprised) a geologist. He’s not a chemist, he’s not a physicist, he’s not a biologist–he’s a computer scientist. He’s writing totally outside of his field. Not reliable. Ouch.
    LDS scientists at BYU do not agree with your stance. Nor did Henry Eyring, who wrote about the age of the earth in his book “Reflections of a Scientist.” As a world-renown chemist, he had a first-rate knowledge of how atoms decay (and thus, how the world really is as old as scientists say it is). As a faithful member of the church (father of a member of our current First Presidency and brother-in-law to a past prophet, as well as a noble defender of the church), he didn’t have a problem combining real, demonstrated science with the gospel.
    So you’ll pardon me if I take Eyring’s words about the age of the earth over those of a non-LDS computer scientist.

  • David H Bailey

    Rob: That website is complete nonsense. There is not a reputable geologist in the world who would endorse this stuff. Even the “intelligent design” writers long ago acknowledged that radiometric dating is beyond any reasonable doubt, and the earth really is very very old.

    With regards to the arguments raised on the website, there are VERY good scientific reasons to presume that radioactivity rates are constant over the eons and reliable as “clocks”. Radioactive decay rates have been measured carefully in the lab many times. Radioactivity itself is rooted in the fundamental laws of quantum physics, which have been tested over and over again in the most exacting experiments that we can devise.

    What’s more, there is very strong evidence that the laws of quantum mechanics have been in effect, exactly as we now see them, for many millions of years. When astronomers look at light from distant stars and galaxies, they are in effect looking deeply into the past, because the light they see was emitted millions or billions of years ago. And yet this light has the same characteristic spectral lines that we see on earth and which we deduce from quantum theory.

    Don’t kid yourself. There is not the slightest possibility that these radiometric dates are in error, certainly not by six orders of magnitude. The earth really is very very old.

  • David H Bailey

    Rob: P.S. If you think one can tilt against the windmill of modern quantum physics, consider the following. Scientists, using exacting means of measurement, have determined that the magnetic moment of the electron is 1.00115965219. The value computed from the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) is 1.00115965220. Coincidence?

  • Rob Osborn

    David,

    I was recently reading a page from W. D. Stansfileds book “The Science of Evolution” (college level textbook)- and came across this, here is the link-

    http://www.theistic-evolution.com/stansfield.html

    and here is the relevent passage-

    “If we assume that (1) a rock contained no Pb206 when it was formed, (2) all Pb206 now in the rock was produced by radioactive decay of u238, (3) the rate of decay has been constant, (4) there has been no differential leaching by water of either element, and (5) no U238 has been transported into the rock from another source, then we might expect our estimate of age to be fairly accurate. Each assumption is a potential variable, the magnitude of which can seldom be ascertained. In cases where the daughter product is a gas, as in the decay of potassium (K40) to the gas argon (Ar 40) it is essential that none of the gas escapes from the rock over long periods of time…It is obvious that radiometric technique may not be the absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years). There is no absolutely reliable long-term radiological clock. The uncertainties inherent in radiometric dating are disturbing to geologists and evolutionists…”. (W.D. Stansfield, Prof. Biological Science, Cal. Polyt. State U., THE SCIENCE OF EVOLUTION, 1977, p.84.)

    How am I supposed to interpret this in light of your post? Are you saying that radiometric dating methods are accurate beyond all doubt, or that they are just agreed upon? I can agree that geologist generally agree on given dates of rocks based off of many accumalitive assumptions. But does this mean the process is accurate beyond doubt? No.

  • Tim

    Rob,
    May I recommend a science textbook that’s not over 30 years old? Science has moved forward quite a bit in the last 32 years.
    You also left out the last half of the last sentence, which reads “but their overall interpretation supports the concept of a long history of geological evolution.”
    I realize that quote-mining is an oft-used creationist technique, but it is also dishonest.

  • Tim, be careful. It is my personal opinion that quote-mining has been used on this thread by David H. Bailey in connection with the 1931 First Presidency memo and he is not a creationist.

  • David H Bailey

    Rob: Professional radiometric dating procedures include numerous safeguards to ensure reliable results. For example, multiple independent “clocks” are typically analyzed in a single sample, thus eliminating the chance that argon gas, for instance, escapes and distorts the result — if it has escaped, the K-argon date will disagree with other radioisotope dates, and the data will not all lie on a straight line. This was explained in the extract from Prof. Miller’s book that I posted.

    This is an example of the “trees” fallacy — finding faults with the bark of one or two trees, then trying to insist the forest really isn’t there…

    Let me emphasize again that a very large percentage of practicing scientists (at least 99%), and even many intelligent design and creationist writers, acknowledge that the earth and fossils are many millions of years old. To cling to the possibility that somehow all of the thousands of carefully measured geologic dates are simultaneously in error by several orders of magnitude is to dig yourself into a very lonely hole, one populated only by a handful of bible-thumping fundamentalists. Even among active professional LDS scientists, the vote is virtually unanimous — if there are exceptions, they are in a very small minority.

    If you do not wish to seriously study the matter and become familiar with the huge number of studies analyzing the reliability of radiometric dating, or the huge number of studies using radiometric dating, that is fine. If you simply do not wish to accept the consensus scientific conclusion, that is fine. But don’t pretend that there a large sector of the scientific community that doubts the old-age conclusion. There isn’t. You will have to find some other way to find a harmony between science and religion.

  • Rob Osborn

    David,

    Perhaps this is where we can agree to disagree. I do not doubt the ability to check ratios of atoms in rocks. I doubt the ability to align up all of the presumptions correctly and have a basis of fact that needs to be in place to date it “accuratly”. Just because scientists agree on the assumptions does not make it factual. You know I find it very interesting that Tim made me aware of the fact that I left off the rest of a sentence in the previous writing I posted. But when you add the two together it pretty much sums up how modern scientist agree on that which they call to be “reliable results”. here it is again-

    “It is obvious that radiometric technique may not be the absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years). There is no absolutely reliable long-term radiological clock. The uncertainties inherent in radiometric dating are disturbing to geologists and evolutionists but their overall interpretation supports the concept of a long history of geological evolution.”

    If they can be off sometimes by “hundreds of millions of years” and then conclude that they agree the interpretation supports the long history of geological evolution, I am left to conclude that it is anything but precise. I have always been skepticle of dating methods because it requires too much conjecture. And both sides are using it- both ID and Evolution. Even old-age creationists use it. This issue isn’t about sides (evolution or ID), it’s about unreliable data plain and simple.

  • David H Bailey

    Rob: We could discuss in more detail, but…

    Suffice it to say that the vast majority of scientists (even LDS scientists) who have familiarized themselves with the mathematics, physics, experimental procedures and results of published studies agree that the earth is many millions of years old, and that this conclusion is beyond reasonable doubt from a scientific point of view.

    As I emphasized above, if you do not wish to accept this conclusion, for any reason, that is your privilege. For example, if you reject the above conclusion for religious reasons, that is your right, and I would be the first to step up to defend your right to think the way you wish.

    I wish you well in any case. Thanks for your discussion, DHB

  • Stan

    David and Tim, having had similar discussions with Rob before, I know his standard for science is set very high. He will not accept any factual assertion that has not been reproduced in the lab under controlled circumstances. His difficulty, which is understandable, is that these millions of years you speak of have yet to be reproduced in a laboratory. Produce 1 eon, period or even an epoch in the lab and you may have a convert. Oh, and a Crock-o-Duck wouldn’t hurt either. =:)

  • Rob Osborn

    David,

    It’s been good discussing this issue. I respect your position and opinion. My stance on dating procedures is somewhat religiously biased, I will admit that, it just bothers me that science is not more forthright on explaining procedure and the associated problems inherrent in such procedures. Its the “assumption” part that makes me question just how reliable it is.

  • Rob Osborn

    Stan,

    What would be cool is for them to cross an elephant and Rhino and get an “eleph-ino”

  • David H Bailey

    “It just bothers me that science is not more forthright on explaining procedure and the associated problems inherent in such procedures.”

    Rob: One last comment:

    Science is completely forthright. All of the techniques, procedures, potential limitations, and ways to overcome potential limitations, of radiometric dating (and all the many other dating schemes) have been openly published and debated at length in the scientific literature — both in numerous journals and in the many books that have been published summarizing research in the field. Most of these journals and books are available in any good university library.

    As I emphasized before, you are certainly welcome to form your own views on this topic, but …

  • Rob Osborn

    David,

    I agree that the information on dating rocks can be found out. It seems there is a discrepency though about the actual validity of reliable dating. Those adherring to a long age of evolution will agree readily that the numbers are correct and reliable and cite why in a very scientific way. But, they also often fail to be forthright about the problems encountered in the dating procedure. Many of the claims by young-earthers have valid claims but are generally rejected because of their religious stance or belief system.

  • You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very large for me. I am taking a look forward to your subsequent post, I’ll attempt to get the hold of it!

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