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Sticks
2006-Aug-01, 08:00 AM
For reasons lost somewhere in the mists of history my e-mail address got put on the mailing list of ICR

This month they came up with this one about Titan. (http://www.icr.org/article/2837)

Any obvious errors? :eh:

(Apart from being stuck on the ICR mailing list) :wall:

PS was not sure if this was the right area, but as ICR is at variance with the evolutionary community, I thought it had to be ATM

granolaeater
2006-Aug-01, 11:24 AM
For reasons lost somewhere in the mists of history my e-mail address got put on the mailing list of ICR

This month they came up with this one about Titan. (http://www.icr.org/article/2837)

Any obvious errors? :eh:ATM

Yes there are.

The main pair of errors is this:


Of particular interest is ethane, a stable molecule with two carbons and six hydrogens. Ethane falls to the surface as a liquid and cannot return to the atmosphere.

As a liquid ethane can easyly evaporate on titans surface, just as methane. This is why there was (though little) ethane found in the atmosphere. (if ethane could not evaporate, photochemically produced ethane would condense instantly and could not have been detected.)
So first correction: Ethane can return to the atmosphere!

High the atmosphere this ethane just like methane is subjected to UV radiation from the sun (this is the main agent destroying the methane, not solar wind or cosmic rays like stated in the article(third error).)
But under UV radiation ethane is even less stable then methane, since it forms bigger and thus more stable radicals. These radicals then react to bigger molecules al the way up to the cunstituents of the solid photochemical smog particles.
So second correction: Ethane (under the conditions on Titan) is not a stable molecule!

On Titan Ethane was never considered to be anything other then an intermediate in the production of much larger molecules. So the sentence,
By the late 1990s, oceans of ethane several kilometers deep were anticipated, is wrong also (fourth error).

Actually anticipated were oceans of mostly methane with an unknown amount of additional ethane. This amount might be less then expected, but this would be in now way sensational or even challenging the idea of a 4.5 billion year old Titan.

granolaeater
2006-Aug-01, 12:27 PM
A real problem with Titan is the absence of methane oceans. Since Methane in the atmosphere is destroyed by UV radiation the actual atmospheric supply of Methane would be exhausted in a few million years.
So the question arrives, why after 4.5 thousand million years there is still Methane in Titans atmosphere? (This is not the same question as the ICRs since the endproduct of the methane degradation should not be detectable liquid ethan, but solid and thus undetectable hydrocarbons.)
Liquid oceans of methane would have been a sufficient supply to sustain atmospheric methane over such a long time.

But there are much more plausible possible anwers to that question, then a "young" Titan.

1) Titan might have had methane oceans in the past. But just as an odd coincidence this supply has run dry only very recently and Titan will indeed lose the last of its methane over the next few dozen millions of years.

2) Titans has still a large supply of methane, but it is invisible under the surface. A possible scenario would be this: The solid smog particles raining down from the atmosphere are not soluble in methane, but like starch or proteins in water, they do soak up and swell in methane, thus transforming the oceans into a more pudding-like substance. This "pudding" is thick enough to prevent sandlike ice grains from sinking, and so forms a swamp that on its partialy dried surface can get even stable enough to support small ice pebbles.
So the apparent "lowlands" on titan still could be swamp oceans several kilometers deep, containing enough methane to support the atmosphere over several billion years.

3) There might even a partial geologic recycling of methane possible: If parts of the solid hydrocarbons reach the hot interior of titan by tectonic processes, they can react with water, forming carbon dioxide and methane. with volcanic eruptions both would come back to the surface, were the carbon dioxide would freeze and methane would be released into the atmosphere.
With oxidable minerals (like FeII or reduced sulfur compounds) present even all the carbon could be recycled to methane.

4) Even Microbes in the in a subsurface water ocean (water as cryovulcanic "magma") could do the same trick as done without them in point 3.

Sticks
2006-Aug-01, 02:26 PM
Thanks for that, I do dispair sometimes when people who are supposed to be in your camp make such basic errors :rolleyes:

It was the same when ID reared its ugly head

Tim Thompson
2006-Aug-01, 02:41 PM
Creationists seem to be stuck with the idea that, if we think something is ~4.5 billion years old, then we must think that it has remained unaltered & unchanged all that time. They make the same mistake when they argue that the rings of Saturn are not billions of years old, which is both true & irrelevant. Planets & satellites are dynamic & changing all the time. There are few things in the solar system (asteroids, meteorites & some comets) that are much the same as they were billions of years ago. Creationists can be such bone heads.

Sticks
2006-Aug-01, 03:32 PM
But then in the evolution camp they hold to uniformatarianism doctrines and ignore catastrophic causes, such as what carves out a valley, a gentle river over eons of time, or a spring run off over a shorter time period.

To be fair, the idea of an asteroid collision causing extinction events shows they are now considering one off events as catalysts for change

But I digress

Is there a good link to the latest discoveries on Titan?

JohnW
2006-Aug-01, 03:53 PM
But then in the evolution camp they hold to uniformatarianism doctrines and ignore catastrophic causes, such as what carves out a valley, a gentle river over eons of time, or a spring run off over a shorter time period.

To be fair, the idea of an asteroid collision causing extinction events shows they are now considering one off events as catalysts for change

But I digress

Is there a good link to the latest discoveries on Titan?
Sticks, you really should try to get your biology and geology information from biology and geology sources. It is simply not true that "the evolution camp" (whatever that is) ignores catastrophic causes. It is accepted that large-scale phenomena such as movement of continents, and formation and erosion of mountain ranges, take place over millions of years, but almost no scientist thinks that this rules out "catastrophic" events such as asteroid impacts or major volcanic events.

Here's a nice local example: the Missoula floods.

JohnW
2006-Aug-01, 03:56 PM
Is there a good link to the latest discoveries on Titan?
Here's the Cassini (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html) home page.

Sticks
2006-Aug-01, 04:26 PM
It is simply not true that "the evolution camp" (whatever that is) ignores catastrophic causes.

Sorry about that, I used that term to denote those who hold that evolution is true, as opposed to those who believe in creationism. From how I saw it there is a Creation Camp and an Evolution camp. It was purely a way of differentiating between the two groups.


It is accepted that large-scale phenomena such as movement of continents, and formation and erosion of mountain ranges, take place over millions of years, but almost no scientist thinks that this rules out "catastrophic" events such as asteroid impacts or major volcanic events.

I can not remember where I had got this, possibly a creationist source. The idea was "The present is the key to the past". You measure how something happens now and then extrapolate back, and it was seen as counter to flood geology, if that makes any sense.

I had got the idea that theory of an asteroid wiping out the Dinosaurs and other apparent evidence for ELE's had rehabilitated catastrophyism and brought it into Uniformatarianism.

When was Catastrophyism brought back? Did it go away


Here's a nice local example: the Missoula floods.

A few years back we had a good one where a large chunk of cliff at a place called Beachy Head collapsed overnight making a new causeway (or something like that). Beachy Head is a notorious suicide place and a national rag capitalised on this along the lines of "things must be really bad if Beachy Head throws itself off of Beachy Head".

captain swoop
2006-Aug-01, 05:00 PM
On the North Yorkshire moors is Newtondale, it runs from hambleton across the moors to meet the Esk valley. it was carved out in a very short time at the end of the last Ice Age by meltwaters.It was used by Stephenson for the route of the Whitby to Pickering line. No millions of years involved.

Gillianren
2006-Aug-01, 07:51 PM
I can not remember where I had got this, possibly a creationist source. The idea was "The present is the key to the past". You measure how something happens now and then extrapolate back, and it was seen as counter to flood geology, if that makes any sense.

I believe it was intended to counter Flood geology. That capital letter makes a difference. It would be remarkably foolish to deny that floods happen, given that they in fact happen all the time. However, there is no geological evidence of a Flood, which there would have to be.


I had got the idea that theory of an asteroid wiping out the Dinosaurs and other apparent evidence for ELE's had rehabilitated catastrophyism and brought it into Uniformatarianism.

When was Catastrophyism brought back? Did it go away

In the original sense, "catastrophism" was the belief that the Earth was completely shaped by, well, floods and volcanos and such. This is obviously not true. I mean, the Himalayas, certainly one of the most notable features on the planet, are shaped by the slow, inevitable process that is one plate slamming into another, not by any huge, catastrophic event.

The current stance, as I understand it--I'm an English major, not a geologist!--is that, for the most part, the Earth is shaped by slow, gradual, long-lasting processes. However, there are also things caused by sudden, dramatic events, such as volcanoes and floods. Asteroids hardly count in the latter, because most of their effect is on the biosphere, not the planet itself.

And as far as "evolution camp," try "scientists and those who trust scientists." Creationism is a denial of the massive amounts of science that show it to be wrong.

JohnW
2006-Aug-01, 08:01 PM
I can not remember where I had got this, possibly a creationist source. The idea was "The present is the key to the past". You measure how something happens now and then extrapolate back, and it was seen as counter to flood geology, if that makes any sense.

I had got the idea that theory of an asteroid wiping out the Dinosaurs and other apparent evidence for ELE's had rehabilitated catastrophyism and brought it into Uniformatarianism.

When was Catastrophyism brought back? Did it go away
Warning: I'm not a geologist - these are the opinions of an interested amateur.
I think catastrophism was downplayed for many years because uniformitarianism was so successful at explaining so many geological features, and because geologists were reluctant to hypothesise short-term dramatic causes without direct evidence. After sixty million years, it's hard to distinguish the geologically sudden from the by-human-standards sudden, and it was only as evidence began to mount (the iridium layer, the Mexican impact site) that the asteroid-impact hypothesis became popular. This in no way means geologists are rejecting uniformitarianism - many features (such as the Grand Canyon) can only be explained as the result of a very long, slow process.

Sticks
2006-Aug-01, 08:04 PM
Sorry I did mean Flood Geology, I was so much in a hurry I forgot to press the shift key for the F

As for the use of "scientists", well I used to know a food microbiologist who was a 6 day creationist, and according to ICR there are "scientists" who doubt evolution, this meant I was not sure if I could use that term to denote someone who accepts evolution.

Sticks
2006-Aug-01, 08:06 PM
many features (such as the Grand Canyon) can only be explained as the result of a very long, slow process.

Or a very violent spring meltwater run off?

Tim Thompson
2006-Aug-01, 08:18 PM
The idea of uniformitarianism coms from the works of Charles Lyell, notably his Principles of Geology, published in the early 1830's. This was the first real work of "modern geology", and Lyell emphasized the power of slow processes over long time. It was published at a time when Biblical chronologies dominated astronomy & geology (my facsimile 1st ed. of the Encyclopdia Britannica, 1777, give the age of the earth as ~6000 years, in the astronomy section). So "catastrophism" was the common order of the day, and "uniformitarianism" was an understandable backlash. In fact, it had become evident during the early 20th century that both were wrong, and the real world was a mixture of both. But scientific progress was sorely delayed by the great wars that dominated the first half of the 20th century, and it was not untill after they had passed the great leaps were made in geology & astronomy.

Creationists typically hold that "evolutionism" is dominated by "uniformitarianism", as of they still have their heads buried in teh 19th century sand. Of course, it works for them, because they simply define "evolutionism" as a word to suit their purpose, without reference to what the people who do accept evolution actually are really thinking. Today it is hopelessly anachronistic; no real scientist is a "uniformitarian" or a "catastrophist", but is what I would call a "realist". The U-word and the C-word are preconceptions of some "ideal" world, whereas the real job of a real scientist os to figure out what really happens in the real world, however much of either C or U that it takes to do the job. It has been that way, I would say, for about 50 or 60 years, but probably not much longer.

JohnW
2006-Aug-01, 08:47 PM
Or a very violent spring meltwater run off?
Very violent spring meltwater run-offs don't meander.

Sticks
2006-Aug-02, 05:17 AM
Very violent spring meltwater run-offs don't meander.

Sorry, was thinking of the example Captain Swoop gave :doh:

Gillianren
2006-Aug-02, 06:38 AM
As for the use of "scientists", well I used to know a food microbiologist who was a 6 day creationist, and according to ICR there are "scientists" who doubt evolution, this meant I was not sure if I could use that term to denote someone who accepts evolution.

I'd advise looking at the credentials of those scientists. You will note that very few of them are in any field that uses evolution, which many fields do. I assure you, you'd be better off with a doctor who accepts evolution, or a biological researcher, or anything along those lines.

captain swoop
2006-Aug-02, 10:52 AM
Most of the 'Scientists' touted by the ICR are Engineers MDs and Dentists. I dontthink they have a single Biologist.

JohnW
2006-Aug-02, 03:09 PM
Sorry, was thinking of the example Captain Swoop gave :doh:
This goes to show that not all holes in the ground are the same. Some, like Newtondale (haven't been there for a few years...), or the Eastern Washington coulees, contain evidence indicating a violent history. Others, like the Grand Canyon, have features like incised meanders which show that they must have formed very slowly.

Tim Thompson
2006-Aug-02, 05:06 PM
I'd advise looking at the credentials of those scientists. ...
People, as most of us have already learned, are strange animals. There are indeed creationist biologists, physicists, astronomers. Not many, to be sure, and a lot of engineers (this particular class of people seems unusually susceptible to creationism). But religion can do things to people's minds. Kurt Wise (http://www.bryan.edu/344.html) received his PhD in Paleontolgy from Harvard, studying under Stephen Gould. He told them going in that he was a creationist, and had every intention of using the knowledge gained in his PhD to prove that all of paleontology was wrong, and the Earth was ~10,000 years old. But he was never able to do that, and eventually retreated to the confines of Bryan College (http://www.bryan.edu/), still convinced that YEC must be true, though unable to prove it. He has also been harshly critical of many of the shoddy YEC arguments, to no avail. John Baumgardner (http://www.nmsr.org/baumgard.htm) got his PhD in Geophysics from UCLA, with the same motivation as Wise, to prove that all plate tectonic motions could be compressed into a ~10,000 year time frame. He invented a runaway version of fast tectonics, and along the way created a very spiffy system for modeling Earth's mantle, used by non-creationist geophysicists. He too was never able to prove his point, though he still works at it, and remains a convinced creationist.

There are others, but the point is that these guys have been thoroughly educated in "real science", and have proven their ability to do & understand "real science". They just don't believe it, despite this experience, and they never will. They never will. Some people just can't handle a world that is not YEC. It seems as obvious to me, that they must be just plain nuts, as it seems to them that we are all blind to the "truth".

In the end, whether or not somebody can list a bunch of scientists who do or don't support YEC is about as valuable as the list of experts who will testify in court, for the side that pays them. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. And the "pudding" in this case shows that both Wise & Baumgardner (and others), took the most effective route there is to prove that "evolutionism" is wrong, and "creationism" (in their case YEC style) is right. And they both failed, as have all the others. That failure may well be the strongest arguement against YEC, since there is no doubting their genuine credentials as real scientists, and there is no doubting their genuine failure to prove YEC.

TravisM
2006-Aug-02, 06:05 PM
As a side note, maybe engineer creationists can't come to grips with how complex designing something is and incorrectly transfer this to life and see that its design might be too complex to "just happen" without a "god."
I don't know if that helps this thread (it appears to be 'meandering' anyway :p) but, there it is.
$0.02

Donnie B.
2006-Aug-02, 06:57 PM
For an excellent discussion of the history of Catastrophism vs. Uniformitarianism (and related topics), I suggest Stephen Jay Gould's Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time.

captain swoop
2006-Aug-03, 11:44 AM
Whats important is they have objections to Evolution for religious reasons, not scientific ones.

captain swoop
2006-Aug-03, 11:49 AM
This goes to show that not all holes in the ground are the same. Some, like Newtondale (haven't been there for a few years...), or the Eastern Washington coulees, contain evidence indicating a violent history. Others, like the Grand Canyon, have features like incised meanders which show that they must have formed very slowly.


http://www.swisseduc.ch/glaciers/earth_icy_planet/icons-10/16.jpg

Newtondale, cut by overflow from ice-dammed Lake Pickering during the last glaciation.
it certainly has Meanders

JohnW
2006-Aug-03, 03:35 PM
http://www.swisseduc.ch/glaciers/earth_icy_planet/icons-10/16.jpg

Newtondale, cut by overflow from ice-dammed Lake Pickering during the last glaciation.
it certainly has Meanders
But not meanders like these (http://www.kaibab.org/maps/gcmap.htm). And they're not incised meanders, i.e. meanders in a plain which have slowly cut down into slowly-uplifting rock below. Because of uplift, the Grand Canyon cuts right through the Kaibab Plateau. It's hard to see how that could have happened overnight - a sudden flood would have just gone around it.

Tim Thompson
2006-Aug-03, 03:56 PM
On the specific matter of the Grand Canyon: A Criticism of the ICR's Grand Canyon Dating Project (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icr-science.html), by Chris Stassen, from the Talk.Origins Archive (http://www.talkorigins.org/) is worth a look. As a general rule, I think the Archive is a good place to start, in considering the scientifically correct response to most creationist arguments.


Whats important is they have objections to Evolution for religious reasons, not scientific ones.
This too is significant. The essence of science, in my view, is an honest investigation of the natural world. I use the word "honest", not so much in anticipation of deliberate fraud (which is rare but very visible), but in anticipation of the affect of our own bias. Any real scientist is going to approach any real question with some preconception about what the answer is going to be. But any real scientist should be able to abandon that preconception, if & when the data reveal it to be false. The vast majority of real scientists do that regularly. Some have a hard time with it.

Creation scientists don't operate this way at all, and in my own opinion are intrinsically, scientifically dishonest. This is because their method is to assume, as an a-priori postulate, that their preconception is true. They then ignore any data that contradict that preconception, emphasize any data that can be construed to support the preconception, and finally they devise deceptive & incomplete explanations in an effort to "look" scientific. The latter trick can deceive the unwary quite effectively.

As an example, one of my own Talk.Origins entries is The Recession of the Moon and the Age of the Earth-Moon System (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/moonrec.html). If you scroll down to "The Creationist Arguments", you find that several creation scientists have correctly solved a 1st-order approximation of the Earth-moon tide (the effect of the tidal bulge). But they stop there, and present their results as the final form of the solution for a the mathematical description of the Earth-moon tide. They then conclude (correctly again) that their solution shows that the moon should move away from Earth very fast. But they have been deceptive, because their one equation solution is incomplete. The real, and much more complicated solution, reveals the full scope of the physics of the old Earth-moon system (one weakness of the creation science solution is an implicit assumption that energy transfer from Earth to moon is 100% efficient, which never happens in the real world).

That kind of deception is the real danger, I think, of creationism in general, because it makes the creationist look like they are doing real science. Anyone who has not studied the Earth-moon system could easily be tricked into thinking there is a valid scientific support for a "young" system. It is one of the reasons for my own very low order of respect for most creationists. It's one thing to honestly believe something, even if I think it's a stupid thing to believe. But it's quite another thing to sell that belief through deception, both of one's own self, and of others.

captain swoop
2006-Aug-03, 04:04 PM
Hey cool, your THAT Tim Thompson! i should have realised lol. I have been posting on the T.O usenet group occasionaly for the last 10 years as Shooty.


Wheres the June Feedback then?? lol