Thursday, August 30, 2012

They are at it again.

A few weeks ago I spent some effort debunking the creationist spewing of Mrs. Jeannie Chatman. Then, all the posts she had made to the Waynesville Daily Guide were sent into the interweb ozone. But, SHE IS BACK!. And she is just as crazy as ever. Closer to home, the OC Weekly ran an article today about creationist engineer Bill Morgan. The dilemma is worse than the obvious choice of who to debunk first. I needed to finish registering the old pick-up, the rear window of the PU camper shell needs to be replaced, there is a rust hole in the PU muffler, I have a water leak in the laundry + kitchen wall, and I am going fishing tomorrow. I compromised by registering PU, buying various supplies for additional truck repair and plumbing, opening the wall from the laundry side so it will drain out and not screw my new kitchen paint job, using a high temp silicon caulk on the muffler, drinking a beer, and getting ready to fish. Oh, and I dropped a few comments at OC Weekly.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Ross S. Olson, Collected

I have been slowly working through the utter creationist bullshit, AKA Cretocrap, written by pediatrician Ross S. Olson and published by the Minnesota Star Tribune.

I have done 3 posts so far constrained by the newspaper's 4125 character limit on critical comments. I have not gotten through half of Olson's lies and fabrications. None of the remaining creatocrap presents anything novel. It is the same bullshit we have shoveled for over a decade. I will keep posting my replies here at Stones and Bones, since it is obvious the "Minnesota Star Tribune" has refused to run them, and is a tool of creationism. I will try to link to this post from the StarTribune, and update the links if I add comments.

I really think we are screwed. Ignorance is easier than knowledge.

Updated Aug. 9, 2012

The Star Tribune has not posted any of my comments, or submitted debunking. This can only mean they are active creationism supporters. I mentioned the other day that none of the remaining creatocrap spewed by Ross Olson was at all new, or original. Topics like "polystrate" trees, and "C14 in diamonds" have been well covered by the TalkOrigin Archive for years. Just click on the links.

Olson makes reference to Carl Baugh's faked human and dinosaur footprints which I have debunked several times. Glen J. Kuban has an excellent website devoted to the dinos and humans together nonsense.

As a final note, I have debunked the creationist distortions of Prof. Mary Schweitzer's work on biomolecules, and other related dinosaur research several times over the last 10 years. These are available on-line;

"Dino-blood and the Young Earth"

"Dino Blood Redux"

"Ancient Molecules and Modern Myths"

The short form message is that creationists cannot tell the truth about these discoveries, and refuse to honestly deal with the evidence for billions of years of biological evolution.

Ross S. Olson, I

Ross S. Olson, II

Ross S. Olson, III

Creationist pediatrician Ross S. Olson, Part 3

Creationist Ross Olson continued his creationist Gish Gallop with a strange suggestion about the St. Peter sandstone. I could easily use all of the 4,125 character limit imposed on critics just on this particular foolishness. Ross claimed falsely that this well rounded fine grain sand was deposited by a "rapid current," and "attributed to river deltas." He falsely claimed it varies in depth from 100 to 300 feet. He also claimed falsely that some localities with marine fossils entirely "rules out desert sand dunes."

I'll take the last error first. The St. Peter Sandstone contains three units, the Readstown, Tonti, and Glenwood Members. Each of these has a mix of wind deposited, and marine strata, or layers. We recognize wind born sand by the sediment structure or pattern, and the very well sorted grain size. Taking the middle of the St. Peter Formation's three sub-units, it has a large scale structure of hundreds of square kilometers of cross-bedded wind dunes, with occasional marine beds with micro-bedding, burrows, and shelly species similar to shallow water habitat today. Where we find this exact pattern today is in the Namibian Desert. Sand dunes hundreds of feet high stretch for thousands of square kilometers, and the ocean periodically intrudes, creating shallow sandy coves, and bays. These can persist for years, becoming colonized by invertebrates until they buried by the returning dunes. The sand that was washed out by the waves and tides is re-deposited by the near shore currents. This also rounds, and polishes the individual sand grains.
(Photo credit Elizabeth Seibert. Used with permision).

This latter fact also destroyed Olson's assertion that the St. Peter Formation's well sorted, rounded sands were part of a high energy "rapid current" forming river deltas. In fact, river sands have a rough texture and under a microscope, individual grains have many sharp angles, and projections and they also vary considerably in size. When studied microscopically, the St. Peter Formation Sandstone is well rounded, and remarkably uniform in grain size. The geochemical analysis of the St. Peter Sandstone also reveals the interesting fact that the silicate binder, or "cement" weakly connecting individual grains was genearted by plain rain water, well after the shallow ocean had retreated from central North America.

The St. Peter Sandstone in fact varies in depth from less than a meter, to just over 120 meters. The uppermost surface of the St. Peter Formation is particularly flat. What is a strong confirmation of an ancient Earth is that the depth variation is mostly due to irregularity in the bottom of the deposits. These Ordovician Era sands rest on top of the ~570-505 million year old Cambrian deposits. The ancient Cambrian surface had been exposed to air, and eroded with deep canyons over tens of thousands of years, if not even longer. What Ross Olson has not apparently considered at all is that the St. Peter Formation is capped with additional millions of years of sediments in places over a mile thick, although mostly the regional overburden thickness has been less than half that.

Below are some freely available references to competent studies of the St. Peter Sandstone Formation;

Twin Cities Geology

Mai H. and Dott, Jr., R. H. (1985) "A subsurface study of the St. Peter Sandstone in southern and eastern Wisconsin" Wisc. Geol. Nat. Hist. Surv. Info. Circ. 47, p. 26.

Jacque L. Kelly, Bin Fu, Noriko T. Kita, John W. Valley 2007 "Optically continuous silcrete quartz cements of the St. Peter Sandstone: High precision oxygen isotope analysis by ion microprobe" Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71:3812–3832

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Creationist pediatrician Ross Olson.

I did another piece on creationist Ross Olson and submitted it to the StarTribune. They have not run the last one, and I doubt they will run this one. I have taken the advantage here of inserting some appropriate links, and graphics which are not allowed by the newspaper.

Creationist Ross Olson wrote that understanding the age of the earth "requires
more technical knowledge." He then exposed a total lack of basic geological
knowledge. The Earth's crust is built of constantly shifting plates. Proposed in
the 1940s, plate tectonics was not widely accepted professionally until the late
1960s. Scientists are actually very conservative and demand a high degree of
certainty before accepting any new theory. They are moving both across the
surface, but also some are being pushed back down into the molten magma. As
these tectonic plates press against one another some bow upward, and others at
times ride up over a neighboring plate. This causes "up lift" and is how most
mountain ranges are built. When rock masses are pushed into the air, weather and
gravity act to wear them down. This erosion produces source material from
boulders to clay particles which form sedimentary layers, or strata. Also
discovered bedded in these strata are the remains of once living animals. A tiny
fraction of one percent of ancient life have left remains as fossils. The Alps,
the Appalachians, and the Himalayan mountains are examples of ocean basin
sediments that have been pressed up between tectonic plates. Nearly all of the
Earth's sedimentary history is the succession of ocean basins filling with
sediment, being up-lifted, and then eroding away. Interspersed are episodes of
volcanic eruptions, and asteroid strikes sometimes so massive that they altered
the global climate for tens of thousands of years.

James Hutton, a Scot surveyor and geologist in the late 1700s, discovered that
the biblical flood story could not account for this up lift and erosion cycle.
We know the exact place,
Siccar Point, and year, 1788, that any possibility of a literal Genesis Flood was eliminated forever. In 1802, Professor John Playfair who was with Hutton described it as viewing "far into the abyss of time." What Hutton saw was layers of sediment that had accumulated in the bottom of an ocean. They had then been compressed, folded, lifted out of the ocean, tilted as a massive stone block, eroded over many thousands of years while exposed to air in their hardened "lithified" state, resubmerged in the ocean, where later series of erosion deposits settled over them. Not finished, the newer sediments cemented, and were again uplifted, tilted, and eroded. Each of the erosion events eliminated some sediments that had been deposited millions of years earlier, and buried the survivors under "new" sediment. This is why creationists see "gaps" between "layers." The gaps are often real. Real geologists discover them. Creationists like Olson simply ignore the reason they exist- one fully known for over 200 years.

A cluster of errors are deposited in Olson remarks on the Grand Canyon. First,
between the Upper Cambrian ~505 ma and the Lower Mississippian ~360 ma is the
Devonian, ~408-360 ma. The Devonian era sediments in the Grand Canyon sequence
are a widely deposited sedimentary material called the Temple Butte Formation.

This is a series of submarine dolomites, sandstone, mudstone, and limestone from
the Middle to Late Devonian - 385 million years ago. The so-called "blending"
mentioned by Olson were in truth deep canyons cut into the older Cambrian rock
while exposed to air. These were eventually filled with Devonian strata of the
Temple Butte as the region once again subsided into a then shallow ocean. The
same erosion removed Ordovician, and Silurian deposits provided they had even
formed, since the entire area remained above water for many millions of years.
Olson's empty assertions that the Cambrian deposits had to "remain soft for 200
million years," or that a magical "flood" caused daily "tidal waves sweeping
over the entire globe" can only come from an imagination not limited by reality.

Olson makes too many errors, and misrepresentations to be responded to in
the 4125 character Commentary limit, and they must wait for a third post.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Ross S. Olson, Creationist Pediatrician

Ross S. Olson wrote a creationist screed, The evolution of a Creationist. It was a through and through piece of creatocrap. I have started a reply. The first installment is as follows;

Famous creationist Duane Gish developed the debate technique of spewing so many falsehoods in just a few minutes that his opponents were left wondering where to begin. The "Gish Gallop" was used by pediatrician Ross Olson in his recent commentary "The Evolution of a Creationist." Several of the remarks following Olson's article demanded that the gross errors by Olson be individually exposed. The following is merely a start.

Wilder-Smith's book cited by Olson was published in 1970, and reissued 1981 by the Institute for Creation Research. This was when scientific origin of life research was in its earliest years- even before the discovery of ribozymes. These are the bridge between primitive nucleic acids and later peptides, and still later proteins acting as enzymes. It would be magic for proteins to spring out of nothing. Instead, we know that they too were a product of a long evolutionary history. For modern studies, see Professor David W. Deamer's book, “First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began” (2011 University of California Press). Scientists make the effort every day to inform the public. Why hasn't Olson got the news? I hope he isn't treating children with 40 year old medicine.

Olson next moved to archaeology. In the 16th, and 17th centuries arrowheads were thought to be magical. When stone age technologies were rediscovered in North and South America, it was slowly admitted that Europe, and the Near East had had an ancient prehistory not recorded in the Bible. I was a professional archaeologist and museum curator for many years. I was brought hundreds of "arrowheads" by amateurs. Nearly all were just rocks. We differentiate the real from the fake by how they were built, chip by chip. The creative physical process of manufacturing and reshaping is how objects can be determined as human artifacts. We archaeologists can even identify individuals by their personal style. In the 2005 Dover, Pa "Intelligent Design" trial, creationist Michael Behe was forced to admit under oath that ID creationism and archaeology were totally unrelated. For more details, read the Trial Transcript for Day 12, PM, or "Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism" (Matt Young, Taner Edis Editors, 2004 Rutgers University Press). What no creationist can show is how their magical origin story left any physical evidence. When pressed for real evidence, Discovery Institute creationist William Dembski insisted, "ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots." "Connecting the dots" is why scientists can develop new medicines, crops, and technologies while creationists whine about how they should get to teach nonsense in our schools.

Olson's next gross errors are about geology, and paleontology. For example, clams nearly all live bedded into mud, or fine sand. When they die inside their burrows, the surrounding sediment holds their shells closed. That will be how they fossilize. This position is their common undisturbed fossil form. Oysters, and scallops have very different lives, and leave very different fossils. Clams that live in the shallow surf zone, like species of the genus Donax, are rarely ever found fossilized closed. Only one situation can easily do this, when the mouth of a lagoon is closed by sand build up during a drought. Drought- not a flood. Olson's creationist claim that "closed clam shells" implies "rapid burial" can be refuted by anyone at a clam bed with a shovel and a working brain. Yet, this is offered as "science" by Ross Olson who thinks being wrong "proves" a recent, and magic creation.

There are too many remaining errors, and misrepresentations to be responded to in the 4125 character Commentary limit, and they must wait for a second post.