jeudi 17 juillet 2014

Well, how about Mark Isaak? Too lazy to do his homework?

1) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Dating History (with Some Help from AronRa), 2) Creation vs. Evolution : Well, how about Mark Isaak? Too lazy to do his homework?, 3) Challenge for Fellow Young Earth Creationists, 4) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on AronRa's very poetic An Archaeological Moment in Time (plus something on "credentialism")

He seems to be, as much as AronRa, one really campaigning on the opposite team. He wrote more than one of the so called rebuttals of Creationist claims on Talkorigins Site. Here is one about Carbon Dating:

Claim CD011.1:
Carbon dating is based on the atmospheric C-14/C-12 ratio, but that ratio varies. Thus the carbon dating method is not valid.
Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 162-166.
The variability of the C-14/C-12 ratio, and the need for calibration, has been recognized since 1969 (Dickin 1995, 364-366). Calibration is possible by analyzing the C-14 content of items dated by independent methods. Dendrochronology (age dating by counting tree rings) has been used to calibrate C-14/C-12 ratios back more than 11,000 years before the present (Becker and Kromer 1993; Becker et al. 1991). C-14 dating has been calibrated back more than 30,000 years by using uranium-thorium dating of corals (Bard et al. 1990; Edwards et al. 1993), to 45,000 yeas ago by using U-Th dates of glacial lake varve sediments (Kitagawa and van der Plicht 1998), and to 50,000 years ago using ocean cores from the Cariaco Basin which have been calibrated to the annual layers of the Greenland Ice Sheet (Hughen et al. 2004).

"The variability of the C-14/C-12 ratio, and the need for calibration, has been recognized since 1969 (Dickin 1995, 364-366)."

Ah, but has it been recognised at its due extent or minimised?

One really must come to different conclusions about this variability within time span concerned depending on choice of Old Earth or Creationism.

The C-14/C-12 ratio basically stays the same due to two opposing processes. C-14 is added all the time through cosmic radiation hitting atmosphere. C-14 is also depleted all the time due to decay. Now decay is proportional to C-14 already present, cosmic radiation is independent of it. If it is assumed to have been constant (and one school of Creation Science - including Kent Hovind - thinks more radiation started hitting us after Flood, that being part of explanation of more rapid aging of man) and C-14 is assumed to have been absent from initial atmosphere, then the two processes would initially (or according to Hovind: initially after Flood) have been in favour of a buildup. That is one assumption one could do.

It seems simpler than saying there was much more C-14 to start with and C-14 has been decaying quicker than cosmic radiation has been replacing it - unless you assume cosmic radiation has decreased.

It is definitely, as is the either theory, simpler than assuming C-14 was always the same, since there is not any unitary cause for the ratio.

Now, the possibility of such a build-up phase having happened very definitely has very diverse consequences for a Creationist and an Old Earther. To the Old Earther such a build-up phase is irrelevant to dating, it must have happened so many billions of years ago that the C-14 from then has definitely gone away, this would definitely be one doubt not to raise.

All variations of the C-14/C-12 ratio would be minor fluctuations which would need minor calibrations as readjustments. Not having read Dickin, A. P. 1995. Radiogenic Isotope Geology, Cambridge University Press, and not knowing who recognised what in 1969, I still feel confident to guess that a Creationist brought up the issue about initial build-up, and then in 1969 someone else - the one cited by Dickin - recognises the issue of minor fluctuations needing calibration.

Sorry, but these issues, though both can be described as related to variability of the C-14/C-12 ratio, since not related to same kind of variability of it, are not same issue. And saying the minor issue has been adressed does not guarantee the major one has been adressed too.

The fact is, I go through the creationist claims answered by Mark Isaak, all through CD011.1 to CD011.6, I do not find this major issue is ever at all recognised as a separate issue, let alone answered as such a one. Sloppy, Mark Isaak. I haven't specifically read Henry Morris' book from 1985. I do not know if this major issue is covered in the pages 162 - 166, or if it was only covered in the next section, omitted from Mark Isaak's citation, like if it was pages 166 (last paragraph) to 167 (not cited at all). I would seriously not be surprised if such was the honesty of Mark Isaak.

I have read From Nothing to Nature by Edgar Andrews, and in it the initial build-up problem for C-14 dating is definitely a major point in the chapter about "clocks". Since my Swedish translation of it was prior to 1985, more like 1980, my twelfth birthday, or perhaps available earlier, and since English originals tend to be somewhat older than Swedish translations, of any book, except those where a Swedish original is older than an English translation (but unlike Astrid Lindgren, Edgar Andrews would not know Swedish, he's an Englishman), I am very sure the argument was well known among Creationists by 1985, and I would be disappointed if Henry Morris had omitted it.

With a man like Mark Isaak, I would not be disappointed if after reading this argument in Morris, he refused to state it clearly before refuting it, and preferred to hide it in a more general argument (also made!) which was less hard to refute in favour of the knowability of C-14 dates older than creation that Mark Isaak advocates.
"Calibration is possible by analyzing the C-14 content of items dated by independent methods."

That is indeed how and why I accept the calibration of the method for historically dated objects and then objects contemporary to those. However, I do not count the coffin of Pharao Djoser as certainly dated correctly historically, and therefore I do not count C-14 measures as proof an object is as old as standard Egyptology counts Pharao Djoser as being. I would count the destruction of Persepolis as sufficiently well dated by writings about the wars and generals involved, and therefore as giving correct calibrations, if an object is found that can be tied to time of destruction.

For non-historically datable or historically more disputably datable objects used for calibration, especially older than that, I count the calibration as untrustworthy and therefore the timelines as squeezable, as far as Biblical Chronology requires.
"Dendrochronology (age dating by counting tree rings) has been used to calibrate C-14/C-12 ratios back more than 11,000 years before the present (Becker and Kromer 1993; Becker et al. 1991)."

The funny, or sad, part is that lines of dendrochronology are not continuous 11 millennia BP, and that claims of dendro going back so far use C-14 as calibration method for key samples.
"C-14 dating has been calibrated back more than 30,000 years by using uranium-thorium dating of corals (Bard et al. 1990; Edwards et al. 1993),"

Except that Uranium-Thorium is untrustworthy. It is definitely not comparable to destruction of Persepolis.
"[...] and to 50,000 years ago using ocean cores from the Cariaco Basin which have been calibrated to the annual layers of the Greenland Ice Sheet (Hughen et al. 2004)."

The so called "annual layers" have not been proven to be annual. It is definitely not comparable to destruction of Persepolis.
"to 45,000 yeas ago by using U-Th dates of glacial lake varve sediments (Kitagawa and van der Plicht 1998), [...]"

Here it seems the "varve sediments" - a variant of "annual layers" - have been fallaciously used to calibrate both Uranium Thorium, possibly and certainly C-14. Once again NOT comparable to destruction of Persepolis for calibration of C-14.

I will select parts of his rebuttals from the following 5 as well.

2.) "The dates come from different mammoths. The reference cited by Brown and cribbed by Hovind likely refers only to a Fairbanks mammoth, which Brown also mentions (Péwé 1975, 30). The 15,380 and 21,300 BP dates come from separate mammoths, and it is noted that the 21,300 date is invalid because it comes from a hide soaked in glycerin. It is uncertain what is Brown's source for the 29,500 and 44,000 dates."

Soaking in glycerin would add organic material (glycerin being organic) and therefore add C-14. It would make for a date too young, whereas it is the older date which Mark Isaak explains like this. As to how many mammoths the different dates come from, one or two, I have word against word, and so far Kent Hovind has better credibility with me than Mark Isaak has.
3.) "The article discussed the potential errors that the presence of "dead carbon" would introduce into the dating of mollusks. For example, carbon dioxide in the water can partially come from Paleozoic limestone, which lacks carbon-14. As a result, the carbon dioxide in the water is deficient in carbon-14 relative to the atmosphere, and mollusks living in the water build shells that give apparent dates older than they really are. This is a type of "reservoir effect." [....] In cases where corrections for presence of dead carbon cannot be made, such dates are readily recognized as erroneous and can be safely disregarded."

Kent Hovind was hardly disputing it could be explained as a reservoir effect. But rather saying scientists may underestimate reservoir effects in using the method. Rather than discrediting Hovind as abusing his scientific source, this answer discredits Mark Isaak, as poopooing Kent Hovind for his being to the point.

As to limestone lacking C-14 that should go for anything from Palaeozoic, if true.

Non-carbon datable things have been carbondated. OK, dates involve dates "before Creation", but irreconcilable with the dates given for "palaeozoic periods" in standard chronology.

The point about presence of dead carbon giving dates that are easily recognised as erroneous is in fact an admission of another of Kent Hovind's points: dates obtained are not all agreeing with each other and therefore retained, they are disagreeing with each other and some are dismissed.
3 b) "Other materials, such as wood, charcoal, bone, and hide, would remain unaffected by this type of reservoir effect. If found with shells in the same layer, these materials could be dated to determine if shells are locally affected by the reservoir effect and, if so, how much their radiocarbon dates have been skewed by it."

As a fail proof method this presupposes it is always assiduously applied. No one can always be thinking of everything. Some reports are less read than others and so less probable to get corrections for blunders, even if glaring.

And replacing post-publication refutals so much with pre-publication "peer review" actual screening is a way of making the problem worse.

Now, I have actually heard no Creationist making a specific creationist claim about a specific fossil from fact that standard scientists failed to detect dead carbon.

I have however as recently as today seen a creationist state that precisely wood (which is presumably without this reservoir effect) has been found in Permian layers and dated much younger:

"However, fossilized wood was extracted from Oligocene rock formations alleged to be c. 30 million years old (myo). Yet the wood appeared fresh, and indeed would still easily burn, as demonstrated in the pages of this book. In another example, wood was extracted from a tree buried in Permian (pre-dinosaur) layers presumed to be around 290 myo. If the tree was buried in layers that surrounded it, and the layers were dated to 290 myo then the tree would logically be the same date. However, the wood was sent to the University of Georgia in the US for carbon-14 dating and came back with an age of 48,160 years. They can’t both be right, because they differ by a factor of ~6,000."

Flood Fossils
A stunning new book with family friendly, groundbreaking creationist research will excite many
[book by Vance Nelson]
review by Gary Bates
Published: 17 July 2014 (GMT+10)

The wood can hardly have had too much C-14 for the 290 millions of years because of reservoir effect. It can however have had too little for a date straight within Biblical Chronology because of initial build-up problem. The one Mark Isaak, like so many other evolutionists, fails to adress.
4.) "[Citing Wakefield:] Radiocarbon analysis of specimens obtained from mummified seals in southern Victoria Land has yielded ages ranging from 615 to 4,600 years. However, Antarctica sea water has significantly lower carbon-14 activity than that accepted as the world standard. [own words:] This is the well-known reservoir effect [...] well known by scientists, who work hard to understand the limitations of their tools. It is explained, for example, in Faure (1986) and Higham (n.d.). Contrary to creationist propaganda, limitations of a tool do not invalidate the tool."

It does insofar as there could be undetected limitations of it. In this case Antarctica sea water has significantly lower carbon-14, that is detected. But how many places or biotopes have had undetected reservoir effects?

Contrary to evolutionist propaganda, the glaring misdates, like Antarctic seal or mollusks, are, though a good way to catch attention, not the main creationist objection about carbon-14. Initial/post-Flood build-up in atmosphere, radically changing the C-14/C-12 ratio, is, and it is not adressed by Mark Isaak.
5.) is subdivided acc. to three answers given:
1° "It is doubtful that the sample was even wood. Snelling was not even sure what the sample was. Nor could the staff at Geochron tell what the sample was (Walker 2000). It may not even have retained any of its original carbon. Using carbon dating was pointless from the start since it would inevitably give meaningless results."

I am unable to check the text, since the link to Tas Walker's article is broken.

However, other samples are pretty certainly wood. Like the "30 million year old oligocene wood".
2° "The sample was porous, making it likely that it would have absorbed organic carbon from the groundwater. It was probably this contaminating carbon that produced the date. Another possibility is that some 14C was created in situ by natural radioactivity in the surrounding rocks (Hunt 2002)."

Students of the shroud of Turin will note this with interest. In that example the contamination is not a theoretic possibility, but a practical certainty. Once a fire broke out, and instead of water, oil was used to extinguish it. If the fire was small, and the cold quantity of vegetable oil big enough, the extinguishing duly took place, but there was organic contamination. Dito with accumulations of soot.

In the more general case, and the specific one here studied, if taken at face value, Mark Isaak admits a basic unreliability of all datings.

The contamination from groundwater would not a verified fact, since an alternative explanation was given. But even without being anywhere near a detectable certainty it suddenly becomes likely when one has to save the millions of years.
3° "Furthermore, 33,720 years is still significantly older than the age which many creationists, Snelling included, ascribe to the earth, and there are no plausible sources of error to make the age younger than 33,000 years. "

That is forgetting, overlooking or being totally ignorant of previously mentioned initial/post-Flood build-up problem, when it comes to what the ratio between carbon-14 and carbon-12 may have been, while the wood was alive and absorbing atmospheric carbon through the carbon dioxide.
6.) "New 14C is formed from background radiation, such as radioactivity in the surrounding rocks. In some cases, 14C from the atmosphere can contaminate a sample. A few processes that can add "modern" 14C to coal are:

  • Sulfur bacteria, which commonly grow in coal.
  • Secondary carbonates from groundwater that form on fracture surfaces.
  • Whewellite, a carbon-containing mineral, that often forms as coal weathers.

Minute amounts of contamination from these sources can cause apparent ages around 50,000 years, which is near the limit of the maximum age that carbon dating can measure. "

The one explanation very carefully NOT studied along with the impressive list is of course that oil and carbon formed during flood, 2957 BC, and that the ages considerably higher than 5000 years BP are due to carbon-14 in atmosphere still being in build-up and very far below the present one.

Can it be that Mark Isaak has some kind of bias against this explanation?

Let us see what his page leads to except TalkOrigins site. For instance:

Problems with a Global Flood
Second Edition
by Mark Isaak
Copyright © 1998
[Last Update: November 16, 1998]

I may already have come across this one. But My earlier refutataions were on other details, we shall just look at the first one:

Wood is not the best material for shipbuilding. It is not enough that a ship be built to hold together; it must also be sturdy enough that the changing stresses don't open gaps in its hull. Wood is simply not strong enough to prevent separation between the joints, especially in the heavy seas that the Ark would have encountered. The longest wooden ships in modern seas are about 300 feet, and these require reinforcing with iron straps and leak so badly they must be constantly pumped. The ark was 450 feet long [ Gen. 6:15]. Could an ark that size be made seaworthy?

Two points:

1) especially in the heavy seas that the Ark would have encountered.

As Kent Hovind is asking: "where was it going?" It was just floating and so it was not encountering any heavy seas. It was drifting with them.

2) The longest wooden ships in modern seas are about 300 feet, and these require reinforcing with iron straps and leak so badly they must be constantly pumped.

This condition is of course for ships, that are actually, unlike the Ark, not drifting with the heavy seas, but encountering them.

And yet this is fully 2/3 of the dimensions of the Ark, that did not have to stand the test of navigation and of encountering any seas.

Mark Isaak, if you are as sloppy as this, keep it up! It is a pleasure to refute one who does half ones job for one!

But seriously, his article has been refuted by Jonathan Sarfati, Mark Isaak courteously linking, and Sarfati's refutation has in its turn found, if not a refutation at least an answer by Kevin Henke (Mark Isaak also courteously links). So we will see what Sarfati and Henke have to say.

The TrueOrigin Archive : Problems with a Global Flood?
(a rebuttal of Mark Isaak’s “Problems with a Global Flood” FAQ in the Talk.Origins Archive)
© 1998 J. Sarfati & Creation Ministries International. All Rights Reserved.

After quoting verbatim same passage, Sarfati replies:

Answer: This argument is often parroted, but is just as bogus as the others. The Ark was built for stability, not movement. A flat-bottomed barge like the Ark wouldn’t have problems with sag. If the lower deck were made of logs, four layers deep, it would have been very sturdy. If they were teak logs, especially specially treated by being buried for a while, the ark would have been especially seaworthy. Woodmorappe points this out too, and much more, so Isaak is dishonest to ignore that. Korean naval architects have confirmed that a barge with the Ark’s dimensions would have optimal stability. They concluded that if the wood were only 30 cm thick, it could have navigated sea conditions with waves higher than 30 m (S.W. Hong et al., “Safety investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway”, CEN Technical Journal 8(1):26–36, 1994. All the co-authors are on the staff of the Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering, Taijon.)

Now what did Henke reply to this?

[More Nonsense on "True.Origins" / Greene's Creationism Truth Filter]
Sorry, the GeoCities web site you were trying to reach is no longer available.
GeoCities has closed, but there's a lot more to explore on Yahoo!

GeoCities, like MSNGroups, have, sadly, closed.

Now, Sarfati seems to have noted another sloppiness in Mark Isaak, he claims Mark Isaak attributes a flat earth to the Bible, and quite correctly states that the passage - Daniel 4 - is a dream vision of a Pagan king, not a Biblical map of the Earth. Even if it were, "ends of the Earth" would not necessarily mean a flat earth, it would as easily denote the end rims of the continents forming the whole called the Old World - on the globe.

As that dream is mentioned, and as it includes the verse:

The tree was great and strong: and the height thereof reached unto heaven: the sight thereof was even to the ends of all the earth.

I think it might be worth mentioning the idea that modern space craft and some related aspects can be as Tower of Babel like and Judgement worthy before God, as a certain "tree" called Nebuchadnessar. Or even more.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Alexius of Rome

Update, 13-VIII, St Hippolytus' Day:

If Mark Isaak hasn't dealt with the major C-14 difficulty, another man on TalkOrigins has.

How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?
A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims
by Dave E. Matson
Copyright © 1994-2002
Dr. Hovind (R1): The atmospheric C-14 is presently only 1/3 of the way to an equilibrium value which will be reached in 30,000 years. This nullifies the carbon-14 method as well as demonstrating that the earth is less than 10,000 years old.

Matson's resumé of the argument is this one, pretty correct:

Henry Morris argued that if we started filling up our empty barrel it would take 30,000 years to reach the equilibrium point. Thus, he concluded, if our Earth were older than 30,000 years the incoming water should just equal the water leaking out. That is, the equilibrium point should have long since been reached given the present rate of carbon-14 production and the old age of the earth. The next step in Henry Morris' argument was to show that the water level in our barrel analogy was not in equilibrium, that considerably more water was coming in than leaking out. To that end, he quoted some authorities, including Richard Lingenfelter. Having accomplished that, Morris concluded that the barrel was still in the process of being filled up and that, given the present rate of water coming in and leaking out, the filling process began only 10,000 years ago.

His answer is:

It's a great argument except for one, little thing. The water is not coming out of the hose at a steady rate as our model assumed! Sometimes it slows down to a trickle so that much more water is leaking out the barrel than is coming in; sometimes it goes full blast so that a lot more water is coming into the barrel than is leaking out. Thus, the mere fact that the present rate of water coming in exceeds that of the water leaking out cannot be extrapolated back to a starting time. And, that destroys the entire argument.

My answer: it may not be a proven fact that C-14 levels are still rising - nor is it a proven fact that the cause of rising C-14 in the atmosphere is fluctuating, so that no projection at all can be made backward.

It seems that since C-14 levels have been observed, they have been rising, but that is not for very long.

However, the argument is even without proven factuality, just as a theoretical possibility, enough to give a non-sequitur about assurance about very old (pre-Creation) carbon ages. Thus, the argument is better as a refutation of one old earth argument, than as a positive young earth argument in its own right./HGL

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