Sunday, November 18, 2012

Into the Cyber with Creationists

Mrs. Chatman gets her wind up and sails another essay into cyberspace.

Before I debunk her 10 "evidences" for a 6,000 year old creation, I want to note the emotionally loaded language Mrs. Chatman uses. She also makes statements simply unfounded historically. For example, the notion that the Earth could not possibly be anywhere near the biblical 6,000 years old preceded evolutionary biology by over a century, and was not first proposed by atheists. However, prior to the geological discoveries of Smith, and Hutton in the late 1700s, scientists were too afraid of religious persecution to publish their conclusions. The earliest non-biblical idea of the age of the Earth seems to have come from Benoit de Maillet (1656-1738). His ideas were only published posthumously in 1748. Both Newton, and von Leibniz thought that the Earth's original state was molten and both offered ideas of how the Earth's surface could have been molded in a plastic state. Neither men, in spite of their public renown dared publish any non-biblical estimate of the age of the Earth. The first scientist to publicly dispute any biblical age calculations while still living was Comte de Buffon (1707-1788). His experiments on the cooling time of iron spheres allowed him to conclude the Earth must have had at least taken 74,832 years to cool. In private papers not published until many years after his death, he expressed the thought that the actual age could be as high as 3 billion years. For additional early attempts to find extra-biblical estimates of the age of the Earth see; Dr. G. Brent Dalrymple, "The Age of the Earth" (1991 Stanford University Press).

Mrs. Chatman would probably insist she is a patriotic American, but she is fully committed to subverting the US Constitution. She objects strongly that "Christians and Jews are not allowed to teach what they believe" using the legal authority of public schools. They can if they are invited speakers to a religious history course. They cannot use the government to teach lies about science. She would oppose Sharia law while longing to impose her religious laws (which would not be very different from Sharia). The difference between us on this point is that I oppose both Jihadists, and Tea-hadists. We who oppose those who would pervert our Nation's heritage are the patriots.

Creationists try to fake controversies they claim question the scientific understanding of the Earth. In the latest fraud presented by Mrs. Chatman, she assaults our intelligence with denials of the age of the Earth. I'll take these in small groups to limit eye strain, and my mental health.

1. Distances beyond 100 light years cannot be measured accurately.

4. The farthest distance that can be measured accurately is 100 light years. Several billion light years cannot be measured, only theorized.

This is a "twofer" or "two for one." First, there is the logical failure of Mrs. Chatman. The age of the Universe is not essential to her stated goal of proving the Earth is a mere 6,000 years old. Then there is the failed creationist notion is that we can only measure astronomical distance by triangulation, known as the Trigonometric Parallax method. Since the distant star would be sighted from the extremes of the Earth's orbit every six months, there is an observational accuracy of 0.01 arcseconds. This limits this method to stars no more than 100 parsecs distant from the Earth. That is one hundred times 3.085678 X 10^18 cm, or 100 parsecs. This method directly measured distances of 326 light-years. That is over 3 time the distance cited by Mrs. Chatman. The first application of this method was in 1838 by Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel using ground based telescopes. Current space telescopes measure stellar distances using the same method to 1000 parsecs, or 3,260 light years away. A new telescope launching soon by the European Space Agency will measure distances to 8,000 parsecs, or 26,080 light years away.

This is also a falsehood because we not limited to the Trigonometric Parallax method. It has been a falsehood since the start of the last century. We have 25 other accurate methods to measure astronomical distances, up to the maximum of about 13.7 billion light years away. For a fast, and fun review of how we measure the vast distances of the Universe see Ned Wright's excellent
The ABCs of Distances.

There are folks known as "Old Earth Creationists." Former astronomer Hugh Ross, founder of "Reasons to Believe Ministries" realized long ago that you couldn't lie like Mrs. Chatman and still be taken seriously. But this is an old problem for creationists, as Wiser Christians have Said

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