Soft Tissues in Fossils

You are assuming that naturally-occurring patterns are equivalent to symbolic language. This is a category error.


No wonder indeed, comparing science with ANE myth is as big a category error as it gets.

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In response to Adam, you write:

Kendall, your premise is that because there are patterns that occur in nature, they are naturally occurring . Your conclusion is that when patterns occur in nature, they are naturally occurring. In just one sentence, you have managed to create a circular argument.

When we find patterns that are consistent with natural processes we conclude that they are the product of natural processes.

For example:


Try again. You misquoted me.

This mini discussion is about the ultimate origins of the information written using chemical letters in the cell. Adam’s premise is that the origin is intelligence, not consistent with natural processes. Your premise is that the information does not come from intelligence, but since it is consistent with natural processes, it comes from natural processes. (If that is not your position, please tell me what your position is.) Then you state:

For your assertion that Adam’s argument contains a category error, it is also necessary that your statement that the information is naturally occurring is true–your conclusion. Your premise and conclusion are the same.

To remedy that, you have now posted a BioLogos argument to support your conclusion.

There are whole books and doctoral theses written on both sides of this argument, so the question cannot be adequately addressed in this side argument, which is also off topic for this particular discussion of soft tissues in fossils.

There are no doctoral theses on the side of intelligence writing information using chemical letters in the cell as there is no warrant for it. It doesn’t arise. Except as a tenet of religious belief. Of transubstantiation science. Just as there is no warrant for discussion of soft tissues in fossils.

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You will need to take that up with Adam, as I was replying to his assertion about code in soft tissue. I did review the OP to find it contained no clear focus or direction I could stray from, except perhaps to insult @T_aquaticus. However, if you prefer, I link my interest here to your penultimate OP question.

There is nothing to interpret in my comment. Adam is making an assumption that naturally-occurring patterns are equivalent to symbolic language. I am not assuming anything.

If Adam would like to show support for his conclusion that the naturally-occurring patterns found in DNA are some type of symbolic language, that would be great, but he needs to prove his assumption with evidence, not philosophy or religion.


that is not an accurate description of the problem i have raised. I am not the one making the assumption…its geneticists who have highlighted that this is a significant problem!

In terms of offtopic, that is also false. In the context of the argument, soft tissue and genetics and DNA coding are all part of this topic! (unless of course, one likes to put ones head in the sand when related information comes to light that sheds doubt on the accepted theory?)

yes there is research and scholarly reviews that discredit this idea. That is the entire problem. The only methods that are accepted into the fold are those that agree with the generally accepted quantities that form the “starting point”.

As soon as someone comes along and questions the methods and research that proves that the starting point is accurate, they are “thrown under a bus”

So again,

  1. please show me the evidence of a valid starting point and no contamination?

  2. Show me how we determined the 4.54 billion year old age of the earth from radiometric dating?

  3. i am not a scientist, however, my understanding is that the age of the earth was never determined using radiometric dating nor can it be dated that way. Is this statement in fact true? (my understanding is that it was determined by testing meteorites and lunar samples and from this and extrapolating from Darwinian assumptions relating to evolution that the earth must be 4.54 billion years old)

  4. How do we explain radiohalos? According to evolutionary timeline, they should not exist, but they clearly do.

  5. How is it possible that we find carbon 14 in diamonds? Should have any at all because its half life is only hundreds of thousands of years and not millions or billions. How do you get around the diamond hardness problem in this regard?(ie it cant be because of contamination)

  6. When looking at the dating for these diamonds, how is it that the range given is huge (86million-2.6 billion year old)? that is a huge variance.

My understanding that that is indeed true, in a sense, although radiometric dating is used, because plate tectonics and other things like erosion and remodeling due to the chaos of early formation has destroyed any original rocks from the original creation of Earth. Th oldest rock dated from Earth is Dated at 4.28 billion years old, found in Canada, and a zircon from Australia dated at 4.36 billion years. Since they are the oldest yet found, the earth must then be older. The meteorites dated are thought to have originated at the same time during the formative period of the solar system, so it is presumed the earth was formed at the same time as the rest of the solar system.


Terribly sorry about the confusion. I didn’t think your post was off topic, when I replied to it, but @cewoldt seemed to think something was going sideways. He mentioned it in post 107. I found it confusing, too. Sorry about that.

Back to our discussion of patterns and my original reply to you. I believe this quote just below is accurately quoted from posts above. Yes? I hope so. I really hate straw men:

Patterns are not necessarily symbolic language (of which codes are part).

Nature is filled with patterns of every kind involving the: visible, invisible, huge, tiny, waves, particles, molecules, radiation, size, shape, angle, and much, much more.
While scientists make use of these patterns for a great number of purposes, the patterns are not necessarily symbolic language.

To assert that the patterns of arrangement and behavior of the components of DNA are a code (symbolic language) is simply a category error.

I thought I accurately described the problem. I’m sorry, if I didn’t. Feel free to demonstrate my error.

Could you, please, also direct me to reliable scientific publications in which geneticists highlight what problem they see regarding these patterns? I am not familiar with a problem regarding the patterns.


Not the part extrapolating from Darwinian assumptions. YEC organizations, which misrepresent science habitually, promote this idea in an attempt to come up with some spiritual warfare motivation to dating methods which demonstrate the earth to be ancient. Radiometric and other dating methods have nothing to do with accommodating evolutionary timelines - they stand on their own. Do you really think nuclear physicists are so clueless? If so, how were they successful in developing the weapons that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

I would commend this article by James to you: ancient carbon-14 — intrinsic or contamination?

It’s called measurement, Adam. Measurement. The only methods that are accepted into the fold are ones that have accurate measurements and that interpret them honestly. The ones that get “thrown under a bus” are the ones that do not. As they should be.

There are radiometric dating methods, known as Isochron dating, that do not need to know the starting point and that include built in tests for contamination.

and they work by taking measurements from multiple samples from the same rock formation and plotting them on a graph. The slope of the graph gives their age, and if there had been any contamination then the points would not lie on a straight line.

There are other radiometric techniques where the starting point is a direct consequence of the physical, chemical and crystallographic properties of the minerals concerned. For example, it is physically impossible to get lead into a zircon crystal by any route other than nuclear decay from uranium. Furthermore, if the sample is disrupted (for example by heating) the lead will leak out but the uranium will not, for precisely the same reason. This means that in such cases, the measured age will be a lower limit.

Your understanding is incorrect. Radiometric dating of terrestrial rocks may not give us an exact figure but it does give us a lower limit.

Radiometric dating of meteorites gives us the age of the Solar System as a whole. These give very consistent results of about 4.4 to 4.6 billion years by multiple different methods, which confirms that the meteorites concerned have not been disrupted geologically since their formation.

And once again, this has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution or “Darwinian assumptions.” Whoever told you that the theory of evolution, or Darwinism, has anything to do with it is either lying to you or doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about.

Diffusion of radon gas along tiny fractures in the crystals concerned.

Radiohalos have also been found in intrusions into fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks and in metamorphic rocks. Such rocks cannot have been original primordial rocks, even in a young earth model.

Sorry, but it’s contamination, it’s as simple as that. And no, there’s nothing whatsoever that is “evolutionist” or “Darwinist” about me saying that, nor is it any form of “rescuing device.” Contamination is a legitimate source of error and one of the most fundamental rules and principles of measurement in every area of science is that all possible sources of error must be fully and accurately accounted for. No exceptions, no excuses. By dismissing contamination as some sort of a “rescuing device,” young earthists are effectively insisting that the basic rules and principles of accurate and honest measurement do not apply to them. In other words, they are demanding a free pass to make things up and claim whatever they like, regardless of its truthfulness. The scientific term for doing such a thing is “lying.”

Possible sources of contamination in this case include memory effects in the mass spectrometer, insufficient care and attention in sample handling and preparation, or irradiation from nearby sources of uranium.

In the words immortalised by Wikipedia, [citation needed].


Stephen Myer is a well known author on DNA code and the problems he perceives with it relationship to Old Earth evolution.

You already know this so I’m wondering why you ask that question? My thought is because he’s a YEC, you discount his interpretation of science despite his well known expertise in that area…which clearly is far greater than most others here. We are pretty much all aware of Behee, who’s motto is is irreducable complexity. You could start out refreshing with those two.

Behe and Meyers are old-earth ID advocates.

The basic premise, promoted in many ID and young-earth sources, that information can only come from intelligent sources, is simply wrong. If I close my eyes and hit the keyboard, I can get something like fdjkdfxclkfdddlkso. That’s new information: “I just typed fdjkdfxclkfdddlkso”. That does not appear to be particularly useful information, but it is information. A more practical example of information produced by non-intelligent agents is “There’s a rock there.” The information is the result of natural forces such as erosion. But it’s important information to avoid crashing into the rock, or for an insect looking for a good place to hide, etc.

In biological systems, a major part of the information is found in various large molecules. But unlike in writing English, where a large proportion of the possible text strings do not mean anything at all, a large molecule is a molecule and has certain chemical interactions with its surroundings. It conveys some sort of information. If that information is functional in its environment, then the molecule has a reasonable chance of persisting and doing more. If there is a way for the molecule to get copied, then more successful molecules will tend to get copied more. But the copying process is not perfect, so variants on functional molecules will be produced. In turn, if those variants work, they will tend to persist, do more, and get copied.

Meyer’s arguments aren’t very good. That’s the problem with accepting them. Likewise, Behe’s arguments for irreducible complexity don’t hold up well. It is the quality of the argument, not the goal of the argument, that should be our focus in assessing them. By uncritically promoting young-earth claims, you fall into the error that you accuse others of - because someone is not a YEC, you discount the interpretation.


" [quote=“T_aquaticus, post:95, topic:50581”]
There is no research to the contrary. There is no research demonstrating that the decay rate of 40K can change by orders of magnitude at pressures and temperatures conducive to the solidification of these rocks.

yes there is research and scholarly reviews that discredit this idea."

No. The rate of radiometric decay is not altered by conditions found in rocks, with the exception of electron capture decay, which obviously is affected by the availability of electrons to capture and is not used in radiometric dating, and rocks with extremely high levels of radioactive elements that reach the point of becoming a nuclear reactor. You have not provided any evidence to the contrary. Young-earth claims such as the RATE project are based on the fact that radiometric decay data does not fit the young-earth model, but there is no evidence of any of the side effects that should be seen if radiometric decay was significantly different in the past. The young-earth model is basically “God miraculously changed all the radiometric decay rates so that the earth would look just like it should if it were old”, which makes no sense theologically.

You are not listening. Several of these points have already been addressed multiple times. If you are seriously interested in finding out answers, you need to pay attention to the answers. If you are trying to make your position look stupid by simply repeating the same bad arguments over and over, that’s not a good thing to try to do.

You also need to carefully check whether you are accurately representing the young-earth argument in question and whether your arguments contradict young-earth claims. For example,

" 1. please show me the evidence of a valid starting point and no contamination?" The claims that the radiohalos and 14C in diamonds are meaningful require that it is possible to determine if something is contamination, and in fact you make the claim that contamination can be eliminated in #5. Contamination is extremely unlikely to show a regular pattern. For example, in isochron dating or argon-argon dating, the date depends on getting a clear line in a graph of the data. If there has been contamination of some sort, the numbers get scattered and you don’t have a line to trace and find the date. Several replies have addressed examples of how to identify the starting amounts of daughter isotope already.

As another reply already explained, the age of the earth is based on radiometric dating, but of meteorites rather than earth rocks. (More indirect measurements on earth rocks, such as the overall patterns of lead isotopes and the lack of isotopes with half lives below several hundred thousand years that don’t have an ongoing source on earth, support that general age but are less precise.) The claim that Darwinian assumptions were involved is baloney. Darwin himself guessed ages way older than the evidence of radiometric dating.

Radiohalos form when a radioactive atom in a crystal decays, leaving a hole of some sort. Based on the laws of radioactive decay, we can calculate what size hole should be produced by what isotope decaying. However, they have various complexities in form that are not well-understood (by anyone, including young-earth claims). The young-earth claim is that some of the halos can be identified as from the decay of polonium, which only has short-lived isotopes. In turn, it is claimed that this proves that the granitic rocks containing these halos must have formed quickly enough to trap the polonium, rather than cooling very slowly from magma, as other evidence indicates. The details of the argument have changed over time. Gentry, who first investigated and promoted the phenomenon from a young-earth viewpoint, originally claimed that this proved that all granites were formed instantaneously during the creation of the earth. As many granites show evidence of interacting with previously existing rocks, this model contradicts flood geology - it forces practically all rocks to have been created with the appearance of age, fossils etc., rather than being formed by the flood. The RATE project claimed that the granites with the polonium halos were formed rapidly during the flood instead of at the creation of the earth. But the premise that a polonium halo in certain granites proves that all granites formed fast is wrong. For one thing, polonium is constantly being formed by the decay of longer-lived isotopes like 238U, 235U, and 232Th. An occasional atom of polonium would end up in a crystal as the granite cooled, no matter how slowly it happened. But the specific granites where polonium halos have been found also show evidence of chemical alteration by uranium-rich groundwater. The polonium is most likely to have been added long after the crystal solidified. Also, notice that the argument requires that you can identify a halo as from polonium. But that is only possible if the laws governing radiometric decay have not changed. The existence of recognizable polonium halos is proof that the laws have not changed and that many young-earth arguments are untrue.

It is possible for tiny amounts of 14C to be generated in diamonds, coal, and other buried materials by the effects of radiation from decay of radioactive atoms. But there is also noticeable amounts of 14C in air, in any traces of fingerprints on the diamond, etc. If you put something that doesn’t have 14C in the mass spec (say carefully made in the lab to exclude it, or something not made of carbon), how much 14C do you measure? That is the “background”, the minimum measure. It’s like claiming that an hourglass has not run out because there are a couple of grains stuck in a corner of the top part - there is an unavoidable level of “noise”, and measurements are only meaningful if you can show that they are not a part of that noise. The reported amounts of 14C for diamond are at background levels and do not constitute a valid detection of 14C from diamonds. (If you could make a diamond out of 14C, it would be harder than standard diamond, but you’d have the problem of the noticeable decay rate.) The half-life of 14C is a little under 6000 years, not hundreds of thousands, so a young earth ought to have plenty of 14C in all geologic sources of carbon, not just trace amounts.

Different diamonds from different places are different ages. Without information as to where the dates that you cite are coming from, it’s not possible to say more.


Actually, it is very useful information if you’re trying to create a strong password or a secret key for an encryption algorithm. Longer strings of random data == harder to guess == more information == more secure.

The kind of people who get taken in by the idea that mutations can’t generate new information are the kind of people who think that the name of their pet cat is a strong password, use it for everything, and then wonder why their Facebook account gets hacked.


“password” is also a favorite password

Sorry. I must have missed that.