Reaping the Whirlwind: protein function without stable structure

(Randy) #463

Mr Isbell, there is way better evidence for an old earth (from multiple areas; astronomy, geology, radiometry, etc) than flat earth. I don’t think you mean that. :smile: You are doing well at reading. It will take a looong time. No urgency. Thanks for talking.

(Christy Hemphill) #464

It’s not all of them. But tellingly, it is their most prominent biologist and geneticist, fields where evidence for common descent is hard to avoid. Here from the horse’s mouth:

(James McKay) #465

I haven’t seen Rupe’s book but I’ve seen other attempts by YECs to debunk radiometric dating. In a nutshell, they simply do not respect the basic rules and principles of how measurement works. They greatly exaggerate the extent and significance of discrepancies and discordances, they claim that the methods involved make assumptions that they do not, they ignore the numerous cross-checks that geochronologists carry out between different methods (or, when confronted with them, hand-wave them away), and they appeal to nonsense laws of fantasy physics about accelerated nuclear decay on a scale that, by their own admission, would have vaporised the earth if it had any basis in reality. As “evidence” for these science fiction hypotheses that they propose, the samples that they cite are far too small, with error bars far too large, to draw any meaningful conclusions.

(Raymond Isbell) #466

Looks like you’ve already made up your mind, and everything you read is filtered thru that grid. You should consider that that is not a good scientific approach. I’ve learned the hard way in life that sometimes when I feel sure about something, I find that I left something out or my analysis was wrong. Not always, but often enough that I’ve learned it’s wise to try to give due consideration to opposing views. You’re condemnation of the YEC position may be premature. Certainly, they have to dip into the “magic drawer” every now and then to explain certain things that don’t fit their model, but how often do you do it? Big Bang? Formation of stars and other objects after the big bang? Gravity is too weak to make that happen. Abiogenesis? All of our theories have magic dripping from the seams. I’m trying to find the model with the fewest problems and the most sound explationations.

Geology is an area that I look forward to digging into. Old earthers feel they are on solid ground scientifically, but I’ve seen enough scientific problems to say wait a minute, there’s more to the story. I once climbed to the top of Mt Princeton in Colorado. It’s just over 14K ft. I noticed the last 2k feet were mostly small rocks. A friend explained that it was the result of seasonal freezing and thawing cycles where moisture gets into the rock, freezes, cracks the rock into smaller pieces that fall down the mountain. That image stuck into my mind until one day I started thinking about what a mountain would look like after 1000 yrs, 100,000 yrs, 1,000,000 yrs, and 100,000,000 yrs of this seasonal freezing and thawing. My guess is that a mountain like Mt Princeton would look like a gently sloping pile of small rocks after 1,000,000 yrs or more. Yet we see large mountain ranges with very sharp slopes that suggest they are relatively young. (too few freezing/thawing cycles to have worn in it down.)

Some think the Grand Canyon was the result of millions of years of erosion caused by the Colorado River. When I look at it, I see the work of a catastrophic flood to be a better explanation. I see sharp cliffs that look young, not old. If the earth is so old, why doesn’t it look old, e.g., gently rolling hills with mostly small rocks? The submarine canyons now revealed from bathymetric imaging suggest catastrophic global flooding. Marine fossils on Mt Everest together with its sharp edges suggesting it hasn’t been there very long, and that it was recently at the bottom of a sea. The YEC model says that after Noah’s flood, God caused the “waters to recede.” How could that happen without miraculous raising of sea floors, and dropping of other areas to form new sea basins? Could the current layout of tectonic plates be the scars left from Noah’s flood and it moving/raising/lowering of the plates in a matter of days? Was magic involved? Of course it was. I suspect that God rearranged the earth at the end of Noah’s flood just like you and I make up our bed in the morning. Can He do that? I believe He can. Did He? That’s why I’m looking at the evidence.

I know you guys officially trash the “Is Genesis History” group, but I have looked at their materials and found them worthy of a closer look. They held a conference in 2017 where many lectures were videotaped and are available on line. You can get full access to them for $10. I’ve watched a few, and find them compelling and worthy of a closer look. How many of you have given them a close look? Or have you heard second hand that they are a bunch of crazed YECs trying to push religion so you feel justified in ignoring them?

When I finally make a decision for Evolution/ID/YEC, it will be an informed decision, not an uninformed where I’ve followed the “group think” of most scientists. I’m not the smartest guy in the crowd by a long shot, but I am broadly educated in many disciplines, and deeply so in in the physical sciences and theology so I can read the scholar’s literature. And I’m motivated to get to the bottom of it. So far, each side has arguments worth reading, and the jury is still out. I intend to give all sides a fair hearing, and not jump to conclusions to fit in with a pre-selected crowd. I do, however, reject the flat earth view. I was deeply involved in the engineering design of the NASA/JPL/NGA Space Shuttle Mission (SRTM) that used an interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) to measure the terrain height of the earth in an 11 day mission. You can see the instrument we built in the Smithsonian at Dulles Museum on display above the Shuttle. The math modeling we used to plan the mission assumed a round earth (not flat). The flight of the mission proved our assumptions were correct.

Regarding the book, Contested Bones, you should get a copy and read it. You’ll see that there’s another side to the story that should give you pause. I’m attaching an image of the Personal Prologue by John Sanford. It has definitely found a place in my library. Shouldn’t it be on your shelves as well?

(James McKay) #467

Raymond, I am talking about measurement. Measurement does not give different results when filtered through different “grids.” And measurement is the bedrock on which all of science is built.

I’m sorry Raymond, but guesses and imagination are not measurement.

That may be so Raymond, but old-earth explanations do not involve “magic” that leaves evidence for a history of events that never happened. Young-earth “magic” does it all over the place.

And as for gravity being too weak to make star formation happen, what mathematical calculations do you have to show this to be the case?

(Jay Johnson) #468

Some folks have been looking into these things for a lot longer than you have. Making a decision after spending years looking at the evidence is a virtue, not a fault.

Once more, I suggest you spend some time reading @Joel_Duff’s blog, Naturalis Historia

Post a copy of their bibliography. That would be more revealing.

(Raymond Isbell) #469

You’re going to need to be specific if I’m to return you a meaningful comment. Are you referring to the # of isotopes in a rock sample? What are creationists measuring that you believe is inaccurate? Are you saying they don’t measure them accurately. It’s my understanding they send samples of rocks/bones to be dated to reputable labs, the same ones that evolutionists send them to.

I’m very interested in what you base your claim that “In a nutshell, they simply do not respect the basic rules and principles of how measurement works.” You need to be specific so I can follow your thinking.

Can you provides some examples? While providing the example, please provide your reasoning that supports your conclusion they didn’t happen.

It’s simple math and physics. At the moment of the Big Bang, each particle departs from the origin point with a mass and velocity. What forces (electrical/magnetic/gravity) are acting on it as it speeds away? Simply add up those forces to see where the particle goes. Do that for all the particles that originate at the Big Bang and see if any will clump together. Start with a few, then apply some math induction. You’ll be surprised at the result.


Yes old mountains are rounded and new mountains are not. But remember that mountains are still growing due to plate tectonics. And thanks to modern measurements that growth rate can be measured so it is not imaginary.

You need to take a look at the results of a known catastrophic (but not global) flood. It looks nothing like the Grand Canyon. The Channeled Scablands is a good example.

Did you know the Nile River actually runs on top of a canyon that is deeper than the Grand Canyon, over 6000 feet deep at the mouth of the river?

Simple physics shows if the plates moved that fast the frictional heating would actually melt the rocks.

Two books you really should check out if you want to see both sides.

The Grand Canyon Monument to an ancient earth


The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth

This one contains some evidence for the age of the earth not dependent on radiometric dating that shows the earth has to be considerably older than 6,000 years. It also has a couple of chapters on radiometric dating that might cause you to change your mind.


So the astrophysicists who do this for a living never thought of this? Are you sure?

(Christy Hemphill) #472

More like they don’t like the measurements. And they measure stuff that isn’t valid for geochronology. You really should take a look at the RATE project results.

This was a project funded by a million dollars worth of creationist donations plus a $250,000 grant from the ICR.

As has been mentioned, science involves extrapolation, but there are valid and invalid ways of doing it.

On isochron discordances…

(James McKay) #473

You can start by looking at my analysis of Answers in Genesis’s “ten best evidences for a young earth” for starters. Basically, I expect them to meet the same standards of honesty, factual accuracy, technical rigour, and quality control as everybody else. Or, if you want me to put it another way – the same standards of honesty, factual accuracy, technical rigour and quality control that I myself had to meet for my physics degree.

The conclusions I came to were as follows:

  1. Very little sediment on the sea floor
    They divided the amount of sediment on the deep ocean floor by the influx that ends up on the continental shelf and then on top of that they ignored factors such as uplift from plate tectonics. This resulted in a calculation that was basically meaningless.
  2. Bent rock layers that are not fractured
    This one flat-out lies: the rock layers that they cite can clearly be seen to be fractured from other photographs of the same formation elsewhere on their own website.
  3. Soft tissue in dinosaur fossils
    This one does not cite any measurements at all but just appeals to “common sense” to argue that “soft tissue can not last for millions of years” – disregarding actual research that shows that it can. It also exaggerates the state of preservation of the soft tissue remnants into the bargain.
  4. The faint young sun paradox
    Although it does suggest fine tuning, this one says nothing about the age of the earth.
  5. Earth’s magnetic field is rapidly decaying
    This is based on an invalid extrapolation that is contradicted not only by the data, but also by both young-earth and old-earth models of how the Earth’s magnetic field works.
  6. Too much helium in radioactive rocks
    This is a very complex (and therefore error-prone) claim that is compromised by numerous serious errors including sloppy experimental technique, invalid assumptions, fudged data, misidentified rock samples, and a refusal to submit to meaningful peer review.
  7. Carbon-14 in fossils, coals and diamonds
    The measured carbon-14 levels are consistent with known, measured, and well-studied contamination mechanisms. Yet contamination is hand-waved away as a “rescuing device.” If you dismissed contamination as a “rescuing device” in any other area of science, you would kill people.
  8. Short-lived comets
    This denies that the Oort Cloud exists, based on an unrealistic assumption that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It also disregards calculations of the historic orbits of known comets showing them to have been slingshotted closer to the sun by planets such as Jupiter.
  9. Very little salt in the sea
    This is based on outdated and cherry-picked data, poorly known quantities with huge error bars, and a naive extrapolation of rates that can not realistically be expected to have been the same in the past as they are today. The most up to date research indicates that the amount of salt in the sea is approximately in a state of equilibrium, and that it therefore tells us nothing about the age of the earth.
  10. DNA in ancient bacteria
    This is based on a single disputed study. It has not been satisfactorily demonstrated that the salt deposits and the bacteria themselves were the same age, nor that the salt crystals were undisturbed since their original formation.

Raymond, I’m not talking about “evolutionary presuppositions” here. I’m talking about quality control. You will no doubt be well aware that every area of science, technology or engineering has to meet strict standards of quality control and quality assurance. Yet the levels of quality control that I see here in these young-earth claims are so low that if you applied the same standards to any other area of science or technology, you would kill people.

For what it’s worth, I outline some of the standards involved in the first post in the series:

  1. Does it get its facts straight?
  2. Does it actually place a specific numerical limit on the age of the earth at all?
  3. Is it measuring the right things?
  4. How well defined are the limits it places on the age of the earth?
  5. Are its assumptions realistic?
  6. How rigorously have the “rescuing devices” been falsified?
  7. What are the sources of its data?
  8. What is the extent of its data?
  9. Have they received a level of scrutiny appropriate to their complexity?
  10. How have they responded to critique?

One other thing here, Raymond. Can you please get your terminology right? “Evolutionists” do not study the age of the earth; geochronologists study the age of the earth. Evolutionists study biological evolution.

(Raymond Isbell) #474

Responses like this demonstrate only that you are pushing one side of the story. It doesn’t say much else, and is not useful in a debate where we’re trying identify and assess evidence. Remember dates are calculated, not measured. Dates calculated depend on assumptions, isotope levels, etc. When YECs send their rocks to labs, the lab does the measuring.

Your response is a red herring. This wasn’t intended to be a measurement. It’s an observation that anyone can make looking at mountains, ceteris paribus. You’re getting off track on this discussion, and you’re sounding like a partisan rather than one who interested in getting to relevant facts and observations.

Again, you’re sounding like a partisan rather than one offering carefully reasoned argument. Are you telling me(us) that the old earth explanation has no non-natural requirements to explain it? How many millenia did plants live (created “day” 3) without sunlight (created “day” 4)? Which land plants lived without light from the sun?

(James McKay) #475

I really don’t think there’s anything that I can say in response to someone who thinks that talking about measurement is “partisan” and “taking sides.” I might as well go and play chess with a pigeon.

(Raymond Isbell) #476

I read your material, and all I can conclude is that you don’t agree with them. You offer unproven counter arguments to support your position, and what really comes across is that you’re super partisan.

I think a better approach would be lay out the issue clearly, show the YEC evidence and support, and then do the same for your view, i.e., show the OEC evidence and support. Be sure to identify the weaknesses on both sides and suggest a constructive way forward to resolve. Instead, you condemn them for being dishonest, etc. They’re not dishonest just because they have a different view than you do. If there’s a disagreement over an issue, analyze their thinking and present an argument why you think their wrong. Don’t impugn their motives. When I see someone attacking the motives of others, I see it as a sign that they are short on evidence and must resort to ad hominem strategies. Am I wrong?

Don’t evolutionist use geochronology to support their view of an old earth? If I’m a gardner who uses a hoe to dig around my flower beds, am I no longer a gardener, but a hoe’er?

(Raymond Isbell) #477

Thanks Christi. Your discussion is constructive and useful. I have the RATE books (2 Vols), but haven’t read them carefully yet. I’ve heard both sides, but not completely so I’ll have to reserve judgment. You make some good points that will be useful to keep in mind as I go thru the material. Thanks again.

By the way, I’m drowning in stuff to read.

(Raymond Isbell) #478

You claim to have studied physics. How to you calculate the forces on a particle? You have Newton’s law of gravitation and Einstein’s work, and you also have Maxwell’s equations, can you put together some models that would show the forces acting the hydrogen atoms as they expand out into space? Of course you can. But can’t we just infer what will happen if we open a can of compressed hydrogen in a vacuum? Will the hydrogen atoms disperse rapidly in all directions or will they clump together and form new more complex atoms? Tell me again how we got the first stars? Do your astrophysicists have answer or do they have to make some wild assumptions that can’t be tested or duplicated?

(Christy Hemphill) #479

LOL. When people say they took ten years to figure this stuff out, they aren’t joking. :wink:

(Raymond Isbell) #480

We sure have a lot of new looking mountains around. Can God move plates and continents around as in after Noah’s flood to make the waters recede? If so, we’d probably have a lot of young looking mountains similar to what we see today. Is God required to move plates at today’s rates or can he move them at high speed and deal with the heat problems in such a way that it doesn’t become a problem?

You should try to read some of Michael Oard’s materials. He offers a different view that gives me something to really chew on. I have “The Grand Canyon Monument to an ancient earth” and have ordered the other one, “The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth.” I also have Steve Austin’s book, “Grand Canyon, Monument to Catastrophe.” It offers the other side of the argument.

As you can see, I have a lot of reading to do, and I appreciate your input.

(Raymond Isbell) #481

And some people get bored in retirement. I feel like a kid in a candy store!

(Randy) #482

That is awesome! I’m so glad to hear the way you approach that.
I really think that the sheer amount of great information out there is really requires years to get a good grasp on it (not that I have a great one; just better than in college, 23 years ago. I am learning a lot from you and the others here; you are far ahead of me in many ways).