Sunday, 15 April 2012

How Creationists Lie To Us - 2

If you have a few minutes to spare it's always with going to www.creationism.org to see what creationists are comforting themselves with these days or selling to their credulous customers.

For example, I just found their on-line version of a Creationist book by one Dr Paul D. Ackerman entitled It's A Young World After All. This book is cited by creationism.org as evidence that dinosaurs could not have gone extinct 65 million years ago but instead co-existed with humans until very recently.

Turning excitedly to this book to see this 'evidence' I found:


Chapter 1 - Moon Dust And The Question of Time


The most famous argument that creationists have raised for a recent creation has to do with the amount of dust on the moon's surface—the so-called moon-dust evidence.... A grasp of the moon-dust argument will not only provide the basis for a suspicion that things may not be so old after all, but will also prepare the reader to more readily understand the more technical evidences and arguments to follow.

So, the first paragraph of Chapter 1 sets the scene...

There then follows a long explanation using the simple analogy of dust accumulating on a coffee table and how this could be used as a 'clock' if we know a few simple things like when it was last dusted and how quickly the dust is accumulating. Ackerman then explains how scientists have estimated these by using rockets and high-altitude balloons and how this shows it should have been 50-180 feet deep if the moon was 4.5 billion years old.

He includes a hilarious paragraph explaining how it was the greatest fear of science that the first manned lunar lander would sink into this expected thick layer of dust and how special probes had been used to find a safe place and special precautions like 'duck feet landing pods' being attached to the legs of the lunar lander. Presumably he was unaware that we had already put unmanned machines on the moon and knew full well how thick the lunar soil was. The real mystery was why creation 'scientists' had got their sums so badly and laughably wrong.

I think my favourite section is the paragraph entitled Testimony of the Dust in which Ackerman triumphantly waxed lyrical about the great discovery:

A great witness spanned out across the heavens that day as Neil Armstrong stood on the moon and tried to plant the American flag by hammering it down into the supposed billions of years of accumulated cosmic dust. Neil Armstrong hammered, but the flag would not budge, because the anticipated dust layer was simply not there. Oh, of course, it was there, but if the calculations indicating the rate of dust accumulation were accurate, there was not a billion years' worth of dust, nor was there a million years' worth of dust. There was, in fact, only a few thousand years' worth of dust on the moon's surface.

The cosmic-dust evidence revealed an intriguing possibility. Was this issue of how old things are not settled after all? Perhaps the creation was younger than some proposed. Creationists began to take another look at the evidence relating to this age issue, and what they have discovered is simply astounding. It begins to appear that the creation is not vastly ancient, as we have been taught from earliest school days. In fact, it may be quite young.

Take that science! Science 0; Creationism 1

But hang on! Scroll down to the bottom of the chapter and what do we find?

A recent review of the latest and best evidence by creation scientists Andrew A. Snelling and David E. Rush indicates that there is much less dust in the earth-moon vicinity that earlier estimated. As a result most creationists now believe that the moon-dust argument should not be used. For more information on the latest data check the link: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/1372.asp. This author agrees with the position of Answers in Genesis and does not currently use the moon-dust argument.

So, I wonder how many readers ever read to the end of the first chapter to discover that Dr Paul D. Ackerman has withdrawn his opening argument but has chosen to leave it in the book, only mentioning that you shouldn't believe it right at the end.

Not only does the moon dust evidence not support the notion of a young earth but, by precisely the reasoning which Ackerman describes and by exactly the same method that he employs, it proves exactly the opposite. It supports the 4.5 billion years moon hypothesis. Oops!

For some reason Ackerman neglects to tell his readership this. Could this have anything to do with the oath which creation 'scientists' are required to take in which they undertake never to reach a conclusion which disagrees with the story of creation as told in the Christian Bible?

I wonder if it's worth reading the rest of the book to see what other of Dr Paul D. Ackerman's arguments are based on similar falsified evidence and an over-eager willingness to believe whatever seems to support your desired conclusion.

Considering his contribution to the 'Science Education Standards' recently passed by the Kansas Board of Education as reproduced in www.trueorigin.org where he said:

Consider a student who happens to believe that the resurrection of Jesus is a miraculous physical event, rather than a hoax or something symbolic. Further assume that because of this faith she is predisposed to be skeptical about claims that atoms and molecules can haphazardly interact and become living animals.

It is clear that Ackerman is either ignorant of the science of evolution or is wilfully misrepresenting it. Nothing about the Darwinian Theory of Evolution requires us to believe that atoms and molecules haphazardly interact and become living animals.

Talking of this same imaginary student, Ackerman also adds in this same submission:

Fascinated by all areas of science, she begins to do some research and finds a recent article in Nature by J. A. Coyne. From this article and subsequent research, she learns that the story of the peppered moth in her textbook is now known to be a misrepresentation. The moths pictured in her textbook were actually dead moths glued to the trunks of the trees for a NOVA documentary.

How gluing dead moths to tree trunks to illustrate how their colour and marking camouflaged them or not invalidates the peppered moth example, or is in any way a misrepresentation, remains a mystery. Presumably though Ackerman thinks it does and that the entire Theory of Evolution hangs on the peppered moth example.

Or maybe he assumes his readers will think that.

Dr Paul D. Ackerman is, as you've probably guessed, neither a biologist nor a cosmologist. Indeed he is not even a practising research scientist. His is an assistant professor of psychology. So far as I can tell, he has never presented a paper on cosmology or biology to an audience of scientists and has never published a paper on these subjects in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, and yet he feels fully qualified to pronounce upon the validity of them.




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1 comment :

  1. The Apollo 11 landing took place around the time of my earliest remaining strong memories. One thing I do clearly remember was the argument about the dust and how the feet of the lunar module had been fitted with thin extensions which would be snapped off if the dust was shallow enough for a safe landing. It was one of the things that most frightened me! Not that they would sink - but that the landing would be aborted! You can see these probes on some images very clearly I would say that it is true that these precautions were taken but the suggestion that this is because the dust may have been hundreds of feet thick is, of course, mischievous.

    Interesting memories!

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