However, we are entering round two with the publication this morning of a new news article in the Mineral Wells Index.
Aug. 12, 2008
CT scans of empty space
David May of the Mineral Wells Index wrote in a recent article that the latest creationist hoax was authenticated by a medical CAT scan. Charles Myers, a radiologist looked at the images taken of the rock and stated that he thought the marks could have been produced by footsteps. Dr. Myers probably has little experience with the CT scanning of empty voids surrounded by hard material, unless he has scanned the heads of small town journalists. The result this produces is a bright outline along the edge of the void. This is called “beam hardening,” and described in considerable detail by an article hosted by The High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography Facility at The University of Texas at Austin (UTCT).
(Based on Ketcham, R.A. and Carlson, W.D., 2001. Acquisition, optimization and interpretation of X-ray computed tomographic imagery: Applications to the geosciences. Computers and Geosciences, 27, 381-400.)
The most commonly encountered artifact in CT scanning is beam hardening, which causes the edges of an object to appear brighter than the center, even if the material is the same throughout (Fig. 5a). The artifact derives its name from its underlying cause: the increase in mean X-ray energy, or "hardening" of the X-ray beam as it passes through the scanned object. Because lower-energy X-rays are attenuated more readily than higher-energy X-rays, a polychromatic beam passing through an object preferentially loses the lower-energy parts of its spectrum. The end result is a beam that, though diminished in overall intensity, has a higher average energy than the incident beam (Fig. 2). This also means that, as the beam passes through an object, the effective attenuation coefficient of any material diminishes, thus making short ray paths proportionally more attenuating than long ray paths. In X-ray CT images of sufficiently attenuating material, this process generally manifests itself as an artificial darkening at the center of long ray paths, and a corresponding brightening near the edges. In objects with roughly circular cross sections this process can cause the edge to appear brighter than the interior, but in irregular objects it is commonly difficult to differentiate between beam hardening artifacts and actual material variations.
Beam hardening can be a pernicious artifact because it changes the CT value of a material (or void) depending upon its location in an image. Thus, the attempt to utilize a single CT number range to identify and quantify the extent of a particular material can become problematic. One measure that is sometimes taken is to remove the outer edges of the image and analyze only the center. Although this technique removes the worst part of the problem, the artifact is continuous and thus even subsets of the image are affected. Furthermore, if the cross-sectional area of the object changes from slice to slice, the extent of the beam-hardening artifact also changes, making such a strategy prone to error.
The bright areas in the published medical CT scan of Baugh’s rock which appear around the “foot prints” and between the “toes” are obviously the result of beam hardening, and not compression. Looking at the central portion of the photo from the Mineral Wells Index July 29th article, we can plainly see that there was in fact no compression at all. In the blowup section below, I have outlined the multiple sedimentary layers that are easily visible. Had this object really shown a dinosaur’s footprint, or a human’s these layers would have been erased. Instead they obviously extend across the slab, and are even continuous from the “dinosaur” to the “human” marks. There is only one possible way that this could have happened, and that is by carving out the rock. It could not possibly ever have happened by compression.
These sediment layers are also obviously of different density which is why they appear in the photo as discrete lines. This variation in density is well known to further add to X-ray beam hardening. This has created the second misleading CT image published by the Mineral Wells Index.
Fake footprints, fake paleontologist?
David May in his Aug. 11th newspaper story quotes from a purported paleontologist, Floyd Nolen Jones. The Rev. Jones has doctoral degrees in theology and education, and unlike Carl Baugh’s multiple “doctorates” Jones attended accredited graduate schools. Dr. Jones also claims work experience in petroleum geology. It is this later work that justifies his identification as a paleontologist.
However, is it reasonable to still call Rev. Jones a paleontologist? Over 34 years ago after “resigning from his scientific vocation,” (Jones biography online at http://www.floydjones.org ) Jones devoted the rest of his life to the young earth creationism he still promotes. His 1993 dissertation was titled, “Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to the Basics.” He should have subtitled it, “A return to the 1600s.” He has also written that the King James Bible is the only translation that is the Word of God, the others are all corrupted by Satan himself. Oh dear!
For over 34 years, Jones has not published a single article on paleontology. In fact, a search of available data bases and journals fails to return a single example of Jones ever publishing anything related to paleontology. Jones probably had taken some college courses on paleo, but to claim to actually be a paleontologist demands an active participation and contribution to paleontological study. There is no evidence that Jones has ever done this. The oil industry certainly does hire people in paleontology, particularly micropaleontology. This is the study of things like pollen, and tiny microscopic critters. There is no justification for Jones to call himself a paleontologist, and an ordinary sort of journalist knows these days how to use Google.
And actually folks, it doesn’t even need an expert to look at the photos and see these “footprints” are a hoax. Go out in the yard with the water hose. Take of your shoes. Do your own footprints. Now look again at those photos of Baugh's Rock.
But wait, there is more
David May is obviously pleased with his diminishment of our Nation’s collective intelligence. He wrote on Aug. 11th, “The Mineral Wells Index to date is the only news agency that has published information pertaining to the reported discovery…”
Not too surprisingly, this too was incorrect. There was a much more revealing article written by Bud Kennedy, of the Star-Telegram. Kennedy talked with Zana Douglas, a descendent of the family that discovered the famous Glen Rose dinosaur tracks nearly a century ago. She also described how her grandfather carved fake dinosaur tracks and even added human “footprints” to make them more interesting. She told Kennedy,
"My dad [Weldon Eakin] and my grandfather decided one day — I don’t know if it was to make money, or what — to start carving man tracks alongside the dinosaur tracks," said Douglas, 67 and now living near Houston.
They poured acid to make the fossils look like aged limestone, she said. They showed one "all over town" until they heard that a researcher from the Smithsonian Institution wanted to see the track.
"That worried my grandfather because he didn’t want anybody ever passing it off as real," she said. "So he and Daddy took it out and buried it."
Personally, her mentioning using acid to fake the aged appearance, which would also hide tool marks, was the most convincing information in Zana Douglas’s testimony since I had pointed out last week that this latest hoax had been treated with an acid wash. Her Granddaddy Adams was more honest it seems than today’s crop of footprint sculptors in Glen Rose.
August 13, 2008
I thought I might add a variation on the photo which shows more clearly that there was no distortion of the rock's natural stratification when these prints were made. The blue and red lines each trace a separate layer, and the green lines are probably the same. There are aditional layers as I showed the other day in the photo above.
Someone with better photo editing skill than I have might overlay the newly released CT scan of the "toes."