Some of the other ScienceBloggers have been writing about this amusing little blog carnival called “Darwin is Dead”. This is really elementary school-level creationist apologetics. It includes an entry from “highboy”, a minister in training whose blog features a picture of Jesus with a rifle in his hand, that goes right for perhaps the dumbest argument in the history of creationist arguments:
To the evolutionists: First, evolution claims that humans and apes have a common ancestor. But since apes are not still evolving into man that notion is debunked without performing a single experiment.
You can never hear the “if man evolved from apes, why are there still apes” argument often enough, can you? As PZ points out, if ancestral and daughter species could not coexist, there would be exactly one species on the planet. Yes, this argument is so stupid that even Answers in Genesis advises their followers not to use it.
Highboy then goes on to repeat perhaps the second dumbest argument in the creationist jokebook, the claim that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. As usual, this argument begins with a ridiculously inaccurate definition of the law of entropy, this time claiming that the 2nd law says that “things fall apart over time.” That’s always good for a chuckle or two.
Then he goes for one of my very favorite creationist canards, this time concerning how we date the age of the earth. First he quotes from a TalkOrigins FAQ about how the age of the earth is computed using radiometric dating of igneous rocks.
The oldest rocks which have been found so far (on the Earth) date to about 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago (by several radiometric dating methods). Some of these rocks are sedimentary, and include minerals which are themselves as old as 4.1 to 4.2 billion years. Rocks of this age are relatively rare, however rocks that are at least 3.5 billion years in age have been found on North America, Greenland, Australia, Africa, and Asia. While these values do not compute an age for the Earth, they do establish a lower limit (the Earth must be at least as old as any formation on it). This lower limit is at least concordant with the independently derived figure of 4.55 billion years for the Earth’s actual age. The most direct means for calculating the Earth’s age is a Pb/Pb isochron age, derived from samples of the Earth and meteorites. This involves measurement of three isotopes of lead (Pb-206, Pb-207, and either Pb-208 or Pb-204). A plot is constructed of Pb-206/Pb-204 versus Pb-207/Pb-204.
Then his very next sentence is “But carbon dating is a fallacy.” And he quotes from a creationist webpage about carbon dating:
Carbon-14 dates, although known to be inaccurate, were still too close to Bible dates to be publicly released. In the late 1940s, *Willard Libby developed his radiocarbon (carbon-14) dating method. It could be applied to any organic material, and an approximate age could be derived. However, because of atmospheric conditions immediately following the Flood, carbon-14 dating, when applied to samples which died closer to the deluge, tends to give inaccurate, lengthened-out date readings which extend too far into the past. But dates from about 600 B.C., on down to A.D. 200, are more accurate. Dates from A.D. 200, onward to our own time, are even more accurate. Another problem has been a massive cover-up which has occurred in relation to carbon-14 dating. Those C-14 test results which do not agree with modernist theories are not disclosed.
Talk about a serious lack of reading comprehension skills. Did he not even bother to read the material he was citing? What were the radiometric tests in the TalkOrigins file talking about? They were Pb/Pb tests – that’s lead, highboy. Those tests measured the decay of different isotopes of lead. Lead is not the same thing as carbon. Not even close, in fact. And your very own source on carbon dating contains a massive clue for you to recognize the difference between carbon dating and lead/lead dating when it says that carbon dating “could be applied to any organic material”. Rocks are not organic material, highboy. You can’t use carbon dating to give you the age of an igneous rock any more than you can use a sledgehammer to fix a computer. Your argument against the radiometric dating of the age of the earth is about an entirely different dating technique.
The punchline to it all is the comment left by the halfwit who runs the Darwin is Dead carnival proclaiming, “Yes! This will be a terrific post for the Carnival. Very good indeed!” Then there’s this commenter, disciple, who invents a complete fiction about Lucy:
Another particularly interesting tidbit is about the skeletal remains of “Lucy.” A fact that is commonly left out of the articles that discuss our “ancestor,” is that one week prior to the termination of funding for the project to find proof of evolution, a small piece of a human jawbone was discovered. More than two miles away the remainder of an ape skeleton was found. The “scientists” (and I use that term loosely) put the two together and claimed that they had found the missing link! Preposterous! They found part of a human’s remains, and part of a dead ape, and that’s all they found.
He then goes on to give a link to “Dr” Kent Hovind’s web page. Since he loves Hovind so much, perhaps he’s up for a Hovind style challenge. I’ll give him $1000 if he can prove this charge concerning Lucy. In a way, I’m almost sheepish about even bothering to engage nonsense like this. It really is bottom of the barrell stuff even from creationists. But it’s also quite popular with the rank and file and therefore worth debunking.