Volume 13, Number 1
Volume 13, Number 1
Bristlecone Pines And Tree-Ring Dating: A Critique
While the notion of telling the age of trees by counting rings is an old one, the method has recently come into much prominence through application to the old bristlecone pines in the south-west. Some have claimed, for instance, that the results would serve to settle problems in chronology, and to provide an independent calibration for attempts to find ages from carbon 14. While the method certainly has much promise, the author shows that, at the present, there are very pertinent questions which have not been answered. Thus it would be premature, at the least, to say that results supposed to be obtained from tree rings have to be accepted, particularly if they should conflict with Biblical evidence.
A Critique And Modification
Of Velikovsky's Catastrophic Theory Of The Solar System
Velikovsky's catastrophic theory of the Solar System is briefly reviewed. One of the most serious physical problems of his theory (i.e., that of determining a mechanism for disposing of tremendous orbital energies) is discussed. Specifically, gravitational interaction, electrical interaction and magnetic interaction are each considered, and found to be inadequate to dispose of the required amount of orbital energy.
A modification to Velikovsky's theory is then proposed, which would permit gravitational interaction (electrical and magnetic interactions are still far too weak) to dispose of a far less amount of orbital energy, and still fulfill the appearance of what Velikovsky's theory proposes.
Some theological aspects of Velikovsky's theory are discussed and it is pointed out that whenever the theory and Scripture truly disagree, the theory obviously must be modified. Analysis of such a theory are worthwhile means for developing analytical tools for handling other catastrophic theories.
Amino Acid Racemization In
The spontaneous diagenesis which occurs after death of an organism results in hydrolysis of the peptide bonds in proteins and racemization of the amino acid residues. The extent of racemization of amino acids has therefore been suggested as a potential dating method for samples containing proteins, such as marine sediments. In order for the method to be useful, however, three general requirements must be met: (1) the environmental conditions since deposition must be known; (2) the experimental method must provide accurate quantitative data concerning the extent of racemization which has occurred; (3) the mechanism of diagenesis must be known under the environmental conditions. The problems associated with each of these topics are discussed in detail. The existing data are then reinterpreted in a teleological framework and shown to be in agreement with the Genesis account of a worldwide flood.
A Most Urgent Job For Creationists
The author argues that creationists have accomplished much in the scientific aspects of their work; now it is necessary to consider vary seriously the political implications, if the job is not to be left half done. Some of those political implications are considered in some detail.
Problems In The Glacial Theory
The drift phenomenon around the world have been interpreted by modern geologists in terms of the Glacial Theory. A great many problems of a fundamental nature are involved in this interpretation. The cause for the ice ages has not been determined. The distribution of the drift has given rise to numerous complicated and unlikely theories of events in the earth's past. Movement of great ice-sheets, necessary for a distribution of the drift by ice-sheets and for the formation of streamlined landforms in a glacial environment, is postulated through some unknown mechanism. Mysteries abound in the glacial explanations for drumlins, kames and eskers, the formation of stratified drift, and ice-disintegration features. Fossils of the Quaternary include mammals not usually associated with cold climate. All of these factors suggest that the reality of the ice ages has not been proved.
A Creation Model For Natural
The author here proposes a creationist model for natural processes. In summary: natural processes act to conserve or to degenerate. Improvement by spontaneous natural processes acting without intelligent direction is impossible. Nature could be viewed as a battleground for the struggle between processes of conservation and of degeneration. It is necessary to be careful in studying these; for processes of conservation are often mistaken for improvement.
What About The Zonation Theory
Some creationists, taking it for granted that the existence of a geological column in the fossil record is well established, have proposed the theory of zonation as a way in which such a column could have been established in a relatively short time. The author proposes, however, that it is not necessary to account for the universal existence of a geological column, for it does not exist universally. Thus Creationist Geology may be relieved of the job of trying to account for a phenomenon which in fact does not exist in any world-wide or universal way.
The Precision Of Nuclear
It is commonly supposed that radioactive isotopes decay in a strictly exponential way, so that the process can be characterized by a half-life; and that the half-life depends only on the isotope, not being influenced at all by surroundings. Now both of these assumptions are challenged: it is questionable whether the decay is always strictly exponential, and there is evidence to show that in some cases at least the decay may be influenced by the surroundings, or by something else external to the nuclei. The importance of this possibility in trying to establish ages with the use of carbon 14 is obvious; and the question is of first-rate importance to physics generally.
The Principle Of Anarchy
The principle of anarchy is the principle that the times, places,and amounts of energy transformations in the world do not in general, take place according to laws of any kind, as "law" is understood in physics. In other words, the notion, maintained by Laplace and others, that everything is locked in a rigid determinism, is false. Reasons are given for believing that the generalization of experience proposed here is the correct one.
The Reign Of Law
In the study of nature, it is easy to concentrate on the laws discovered, to the extent of forgetting that there is anything else. The author points out that two kinds of law, statutory and natural, are quite different. A for natural laws, they are just observed regularities. Thus it is not reasonable to invoke natural law, as some have done, in an attempt to eliminate the need of a Ruler of nature. Neither does the existence of natural laws, that is of regularities which happen usually, make the occurrence of miracles impossible.
On Methods Of Teaching Origins:
A Progress Report
If creation science becomes an integral part of curriculum in both public and parochial schools, then teachers must learn "how to do it". The author recounts aspects of his course at the university level, and indicates how he is aiding others to do similarly, even at the secondary level of learning.
Some Mathematical Considerations
On Radiocarbon Dating
Radiocarbon dating according to uniformitarian presuppositions is discredited from a number of points. These points are, (1) numerical sensitivity of the computed age on the decay measurement, (2) improper constitutive equations, (3) prejudicial calibration of the relation of historical and radiocarbon ages, (4) and the failure to set the initial conditions in the light of the present specific productivity and specific activity. For uniformitarian radiocarbon ages, a', say less than 30,000 yr, a straight line relation between a' and the historic age a is derived heuristically by considering the decay of the magnetic field of the earth. This solution seems to fit the data and shows that large a' are grossly overestimated, possibly by a factor of five. A creationist comprehensive model for radiocarbon is discussed.
And Geological Facts
The sweeping claims made by many evolutionists stand in stark contrast with their specific admissions. They claim, in general terms, that evolution is well established. But when the question is that of the origin of some particular creature, doubts and vague speculation abound. Moreover, while they claim that there is abundant evidence for evolution, when pressed for details they have to admit that the fossils show gaps, not continuous variation. As for the other alleged evidence, it is evidence only to someone already determined to believe in evolution.
Mt. Ararat is an extinct volcano, and there are some signs that it erupted and built up under water. It seems possible that this happened at the time of the Flood, when the continents were below the sea level. At the present time the crust of the earth is depressed in areas occupied by the northern and southern ice caps, as is learned by tracking artificial satellites. The weight of the two ice caps, it is suggested, would cause excessive internal pressure in the earth; and the ocean floors being thinner than the continents, would rupture and then be uplifted. Displaced ocean water, added to the loads of ice, would cause the continents to sink, further uplifting the ocean floors. Magma from the rifts would heat the oceans, gradually melting the ice caps. Then, when the load of ice was mostly gone, equilibrium was restored.
Descriptions Of Past Populations
Several creationist writers have discussed the growth of populations. Usually they have taken the growth to be geometric or exponential. Then, from known facts about present populations, they have tried to calculate back to the time of the Flood, or of creation.
Here I shall comment mostly on Rodabaugh's work, since it appeared recently in the Quarterly, and had some refinements which were not found in other treatments.
If the constraints in the treatment are arranged to make the formula fit the present populations, and some for ancient times, say in Jacob's day, the formulae give populations in intermediate times, say David's time or the beginning of the Christian era, which are too low by as much as five orders of magnitude. A more elaborate formula can fit the known figures for the Jewish population, for instance. But the result is of little use in proving the youth of the earth, or in finding the time of the Flood.
It is recommended, then, that because of the discrepancies which may be introduced, that these arguments about populations not be used in popular public lectures.