Nothing and Something

I got nothing.

I wrote a 1300 word rant and then realized it was about work.  I’m just not going there on my blog.  It’s no secret what I do, but it’s best to keep such things separate from my personal and public life.

It made me feel better though.

I am still working on The Emergence of Life and I appreciate your patience.  This is not a difficult book to read, but it is difficult to summarize.  The prose is very dense and there’s not a lot I can skip without losing a lot of meaning and important details.

I’ll get there.

We’ve had a new chew toy on After the Bar Closes, which has taken up some time as well.  It’s been truly hilarious though.  This new guy insists that because the sun changes its output that this means that the weak nuclear force changes and therefore radioactive decay (and radiometric dating) is suspect and cannot be trusted to give accurate ages of the Earth.

This is wrong on so many levels.  It’s truly funny to talk with science deniers like this.  They actually know a lot about science, unfortunately, they cannot actually learn what is means because they are trying to interpret the data through their biases.

This means, that they cannot understand the conclusions.  They cannot synthesize the details.  They cannot deal with major themes, because they can only focus on details.

For example, the radiometric thing.  This guy thinks that a .37% variation in three radioactive isotopes will somehow affect radiometric dating.

  1. The three isotopes are not dating isotopes.
  2. There isn’t very much evidence that the radiometric isotopes do change decay rates.
  3. The investigated change rate that was found (and not confirmed) was seasonal, it increased in winter and decreased in summer.
  4. Even if 1,2 and 3 were not correct, then 0.37% change would mean that the age of the Earth (4.5 billion years) would only change by 16 million years (0.01 billion years) which BTW is less than the error of the dating methods anyway.

So, this guy has a long road to go if he think that this will get us down to the less than 1 million years he needs (actually, I think he wants the age of the Earth to be less than 10,000 years, but he won’t admit it).

Then there’s the little problem that we know that the weak nuclear force hasn’t changed in any significant way in the 13 billion years or so since the earliest stars we can see were formed.

I hope he comes back to AtBC, it seems like he has some stamina.  And he’s a classic creationist.  He’s got everything right from the playbook:

  • quotemining
  • argument from authority
  • misconceptions of science (all of them)
  • concern trolling
  • taking the ethical high road (“You’re picking on me because I’m right”)
  • global scientist conspiracy theories
  • Noah’s Flood caused the Grand Canyon
  • Changing the definitions of words, even in the same paragraph

Yep, this guy’s got it all.  It’s fun, if a bit frustrating.

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