Flaws in Dating?
A creationist, Matt, regularly posts on NAiG's Guestbook. Matt's style is to post a link from a creationist web site, usually Answers in Genesis, which contains the usual bunkum that has been refuted many times then to refuse to acknowledge any rebuttals. Below is a critical look at one of Matt's typical posts. In this one Matt airs the old creationist claim that the dating system is flawed.
In the book Geochronology: Radiometric Dating of Rocks and Minerals (see above) the silliness of such claims can easily be seen as the development of a science is described. The book comprises a series of papers dating from 1906 through to 1968 which were important in the development of geochronology. There you will see type 1 bias in action continually.
On March 10 2003 you posted a link under the heading "Flaws in Dating". The link ended at an AiG site with an article, Flaws in dating the earth as ancient by Mr. Alexander Williams, B.Sc., M.Sc.(Hons), Th.C., Dip.C.S., ThL. Mr Williams is a biologist, an honorary botanist at the Western Australian Herbarium, a former missionary, consultant to the U.N., etc. His credentials are impressive and his interests appear to be in science, statistics and creation issues. The specific article written by Mr Williams was brief, a web version of an article he posted in Creation Ex Nihilo18(1):14.
1. THE YOUNG EARTH CREATIONIST (YEC) THESIS
The thesis of the article follows the usual YEC complaints of conventional absolute dating systems. Mainstream scientists make claims about the age of a certain rock unit. These claims are shown to be based on misunderstanding or misrepresentation when a creationist examines the relevant article. In the case Williams deals with, he accuses the mainstream scientists of discarding relevant data and dating a crystal the data shows to be undatable. To support his claim for flaws in the dating systems Williams briefly describes another article whereby diamonds were dated to 6 Gya however the scientists knew that the dates were wrong because they contradicted the "known" age of the earth. Williams concludes his article with a small discussion on objectivity and a description of a confrontation with " the chief of the division responsible for isotope dating at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation."
2. THE YEC CLAIMS
Let us now have a look at Williams' claims and what the relevant mainstream articles really say and why.
Referring to Nature 321:766-769, 1986, Williams writes:
W. Compston and R.T. Pidgeon obtained 140 zircon crystals from a single rock unit and subjected them to uranium/uranium Concordia (U/U) and uranium/thorium Concordia (U/Th) dating methods. One crystal showed a U/U date of 4.3 billion years, and the authors therefore claimed it to be the oldest rock crystal yet to be discovered.
A serious problem here is that all 140 crystals from the same rock unit gave statistically valid information about that rock unit. No statistician could ever condone a method which selected one value and discarded all the other 139. In fact, the other 139 crystals show such a confusion of information that a statistician could only conclude that no sensible dates could be extracted from the data.
A further problem is that the 4.3 billion-year-old zircon, dated according to the U/U method, was identified by the U/Th method to be undatable. An unbiased observer would be forced to admit that this contradiction prevents any conclusion as to the age of the crystal. But these authors reached their conclusion by ignoring the contradictory data! If a scientist in any other field did this he would never be allowed to publish it. Yet here we have it condoned by the top scientific journal in the world.
3. WHAT WAS ACTUALLY WRITTEN
So often creationists rip data from their context in order to misrepresent their interpretation. Williams does no differently here. Statistics also operates on data within a context. Williams may know something of statistics but it seems he knows nothing of geology. Hence his statements in the above three paragraphs do not make sense.
Firstly Williams says nothing of what the "statistically valid information" about the rock could be; nor does he give any clue as to what statistics should be derived from the data. Perhaps there is a reason for this because the method used by Compston and Pidgeon was entirely appropriate for the type of rock being examined. The Jack Hills area is surrounded by heavily deformed strata and is itself composed of many deformed elements. The U-Pb concordia and discordia method of age determination is recognised as perhaps the most appropriate method for dating from such locations because it allows the analysis of minerals that probably have been open systems during periods of their existence. For this reason it is expected that a range of dates would be obtained, some of which would be concordant and many which would be discordant owing to loss of Pb (frequent) or gain of U (rare). Hence the determination of dates ranging from 3.1 to 4.3 Gya is not at odds with the dating method chosen or the interpretation placed on those dates.
Clearly, on reading the Nature article, no data was "discarded", nor do the data show such a "confusion of information that no sensible dates could be obtained ". Given the nature of the rock unit, some scatter (most data points on Fig 1 of the Nature paper were nearly concordant) of data was expected. Contrary to what Williams suggests, most data points were nearly concordant. There are many text books around which describe the method and why it is expected that it can derive dates successfully, given the fact that the material being dated often has a complex history of metamorphism. Geologist's understanding of rocks and physicist's understanding of radioactive decay and the nature of elements combine to give the U/Pb method a sound theoretical basis. Have a read of such books and you will see what I mean. Typical of such books are:
Dalrymple G Brent (1991), The Age of the Earth. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
Geyh, Mebus A. and Schleicher, Helmut (1990), Absolute Age Determination: Physical and Chemical Dating Methods and Their Application. Springer-Verlag Berlin.
Russell, R.D. and Farquhar, R.M. (1960). Lead Isotopes in Geology. Interscience Publishers Inc., New York.
A book filled with the ground breaking papers of Holmes, Houtermans, Wetherill, etc., is:
Harper, C.T. editor (1973). Geochronology: Radiometric Dating of Rocks and Minerals. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Inc. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
What of the claim that the U/Th method showed the "4.3 billion-year-old zircon to be undatable"? It fares no better. The U/Th (their Fig 2) plot showed a greater scatter of data than the U/U plot. This was interpreted as indicating a recent loss of lead. That no data point plotted above the concordia supported this interpretation. The 4.3 billion-year-old zircon, had in fact, 7 scans done on different areas of it. The SHRIMP ion-microprobe allows such scans to be done. Of the 7 scans, 5 were precise and 2 were rapid "reconnaissance" scans. It was only precise scan number 3 that showed an abnormal value of Pb/Th. This is hardly the stuff to make the zircon "undatable". The authors noted that other grains which showed the most discordant Pb/U also had, like the abnormal scan area, the lowest Pb/Th. They hypothesised as to why this could be so and concluded that the possible nature of the lead loss makes this 4.3 Gya date a likely to be a "minimum estimate for the original age" or time of crystallisation.
Now for the rocks which were too old. Referring to Nature 334:607-609, 1988, Williams writes that they (Podosek, Pier, Nitoh, Zashu and Ozima):
extracted diamonds from rocks in Zaire and found by the potassium-argon method that they (the diamonds) were six billion years old. But the earth is supposed to be only 4.5 billion years old. So Podosek and friend decided they must be wrong. The admitted, however, that if the date had not been contradicted by the known age of the earth, they would have accepted it as valid.
Williams then claims that the above shows that dates are discarded if they do not fit preconceived notions and that this destroys the objectivity upon which science is built. He notes that it is impossible to tell, from the isotope information alone, when correct dates have been found.
The discarding of data has been dealt with. The accusation is nonsense. What about the second charge that it is impossible to tell from isotope information alone when a correct date has been found? Also what about the claim of loss of objectivity? (I shall use the word "bias" - for reasons that will become clear.) These two issues are somewhat interrelated. Therefore I will discuss them together.
Bias comes in at least two types. I shall call them type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 bias. This is the bias that filters out information which the informed person decides is nonsense for good reasons. It is somewhat an automatic bias and it is useful in that it prevents the informed person from having to literally evaluate all information presented. Thus, if someone claims that Antarctica has totally thawed out, the claim can automatically be judged to be false. Likewise the scientists judged the 6 Gya diamond dates to be incorrect because, as they wrote, the evidence is "overwhelming" for a 4.6 Gya solar system.
Type 2 bias. This is the bias that filters out information which really ought to be incorporated into a decision. Thus to only accept evidence that proves the tenets of a sacred book and summarily reject all other counter evidence is a type 2 bias.
Type 1 and type 2 are often intermingled. For example one person's type 1 may be another's type 2.
In what sense could Podosek et al. be accused of operating under type 2? Clearly they were operating under type 1 and in the tradition of the scientific method did several things:
1) reported their results, and
2) investigated reasons for the anomaly.
The anomaly remained unresolved but the researchers were able to eliminate excess potassium as a cause and noted similarities with other minerals that are known to give false dates due to excess argon. They also noted problems in determining excess argon in diamond as well as the relative lack of inert gas observations in diamond. They inferred excess argon although clearly, from the article, this inference would need to be checked so in essence the anomaly remained unexplained.
Given that absolute dating systems rely on well understood physics, geology and chemistry, and that the evidence is overwhelming for an ancient Earth, then clearly the researchers were not operating under a type 2 bias. A few anomalies arising within a methodology do not render the method useless. Nature is sloppy and does not conform to the well controlled environment of the lab or the precision of the test tube. While anomalies could ultimately cause the demise of the methodology, they are far more likely to be resolved with further research and/or provide additional constraints on the dating systems which, in effect, render them more precise.
Compare this with an organisation that has a creed which requires its scientists to defend the Bible no matter what other evidence may suggest. Clearly type 2 bias has to play a major part in the deliberations of this organisation to the effect that methodologies have to be adopted that rely on misrepresentation and misunderstanding in the manner shown above. It has to. It certainly cannot be a type 1 bias because the need is to reject good evidence not bad evidence.
So does the article on the 6 Gya diamonds show that researchers "cannot tell when dates are right and when they are wrong"? Well yes. Williams is correct. But do not take notice of the conclusion Williams wishes you to draw. Firstly, scientists do not rely on a single date unless they have to. Resource limitations (cost, time) may force this but cross checking is done as much as is possible. Secondly, dates are always open to re-interpretation and often dates can be a focus of much contention between supporters of different theories. Thirdly, and this is related to the first point, dates that do not make sense become anomalous and, as is shown by Williams' griping, they are reported and discussed.
5. THE BIG CONSPIRACY
YECs often suggest that something sinister is going on; that the mainstream is out to destroy their faith. In the case of absolute dating systems, the plot (if you like) is to avoid the obvious that the earth is only 6,000 years old. Thus we get statements such as those by Williams, accusing Compston and Pidgeon of throwing away data; or of Ham in The Lie: Evolution informing his followers that evolutionists are "wilfully ignorant", or of AiG scientists maintaining that it is all done to "allow time for evolution".
(Compare this with the AiG statement of faith and you will understand why YEC science relies so much on type 2 bias.)
6. GEOLOGISTS HAVE NO PROFESSIONAL INTEREST IN ToE
This point is obvious in reading the book. Why should a geologist be interested in ToE? Geologists wish to know the ages of things such as the earth, the planets, rocks and minerals. That they have no professional interest in ToE is revealed by the lack of mention of it in the book.
7. ASSUMPTIONS: DO GEOLOGISTS REALLY KNOW THEM?
YECs love to play make believe with these. By throwing doubt on the dating systems by accusing the mainstream of paying little attention to assumptions, YEC can convince its followers that absolute dates are essentially meaningless. It works beautifully with people who have an instinct to trust the authority, no matter what, be it the Bible, the preacher of the "Bible believing" scientist.
How much attention is paid to assumptions? How aware of assumptions are mainstream scientists?
Geochronology answers this. As with all methodologies in science, awareness of assumptions is a critical part and a methodology is not accepted until assumptions can be evaluated and understood.
Witness Ernest Rutherford's paper - "The Production of Helium from Radium and the Transformation of Matter." It was published in Radioactive Transformations, 187-193 (1906), Yale University Press. Rutherford was aware that radioactivity could be used to determine the age of minerals and spelt out the assumptions necessary to realise this.
What about Claire Patterson's paper, "Age of meteorites and the earth", published in Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta, 1956, volume 10, pages 230-237. Assumptions are spelt out and Patterson shows why the meteorite data reveal that the assumptions are justified.
Whetherill, writing on "Discordant Uranium Lead Ages, I", published in the Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, volume 37, number 3, 1956 does likewise. As does Holmes in several papers, and Ahrens, and . The list goes on and it is hard to find a paper where assumptions are not mentioned or dealt with in one way or another.
The fact that the best YEC can do to "discredit" conventionality
is to write in the manner that Williams does, is testament to the fact that YEC is
operating under bias type 2. If YEC did not have to operate under this bias then why
misrepresent the mainstream pretending that it is reality? If YEC has a good argument, why
not use it. It is not good argument to pretend that the mainstream throws away data when
it does not; that the mainstream operates under wild assumptions when it does not; that a
technique showed a crystal undatable-datable when it did not. How is this rejecting
information that does not make sense? In reality, it is rejecting information that does
8. HELIUM DATING
The history of Helium dating should put to rest the notion that the mainstream only uses data which is convenient to maintain the notion of an old Earth. As mentioned in other essays, if the mainstream is so cavalier then there are other dating methods that produce dates in the order of trillions of years not billions of years. All that the mainstream has to do is follow the YEC example declare these methods valid, reject anything else and use hand waving, just-so-stories and appeals to the credulity of the "willingly ignorant" to maintain the farce. The point is that the mainstream does not follow the YEC example. How could it? The scientific method used by the mainstream works so well across all scientific endeavour. (Would a YEC please show me how YEC methodology can possibly work across all scientific endeavour?)
Back to the topic.
The mainstream is cavalier? It is not concerned with using viable methodologies? The history of helium dating illustrates that YEC inferences in this area are as nonsensical as any other.
I shall quote from the editor of Geochronology: Radiometric Dating of Rocks and Minerals. He has an introduction to each section of papers in which the succeeding articles are commented on. Harper writes on pages 12 -14 (apologies for any errors in quotation):
The idea of dating a radioactive mineral on the basis of its accumulated radiogenic daughter elements was Rutherford's, and the first radiometric age determination, based on the accumulation of helium, was presented by Rutherford himself to the International Congress of Arts and Science held at St. Louis in 1904 (Rutherford, 1905). He had calculated the age of a rare pegmatite mineral known as fergusonite (a complex of niobium and tantalum, containing rare earths and appreciable amounts of uranium) whose helium and uranium contents had been determined by Ramsay and Travers. Rutherfords estimate for the age of the mineral was 40 million years.
The following year Rutherford gave a more detailed account of his calculation of the age of the fergusonite, revising the figure to 500 million years, and adding a calculation of the age of a uranium mineral from Glastonbury, Connecticut.
Rutherford was well aware that all the helium generated in situ by radioactive decay might not be quantitatively retained in a mineral, and he commented on the presence of lead in radioactive minerals, referring to the work of B.B. Boltwood of Yale, who had been studying the chemistry of radioactive minerals for some years. Rutherford pointed out that uranium, with an atomic weight of 238.5, after the expulsion of a total of eight alpha-particles (32 mass units) would have and atomic weight of 206.5 very close to the atomic weight of lead. If the production of lead by radioactive decay of uranium could be proved, he said, the accumulation of lead in uranium minerals would provide a far more accurate method of age determination than the helium method, for radiogenic lead would be much less likely to escape from a mineral than helium.
The possibility of a genetic connection between uranium and lead was first suggested by Boltwood in 1905 as a result of a statement by Hillebrand, then the leading authority on the analysis of uranium minerals, who had never in the course of a long experience found uranium unaccompanied by lead In 1907, Boltwood went further, and was able to show from Hillebrand's analysis and his own that the lead-to-uranium ratio in radioactive minerals was nearly constant for minerals having the same stratigraphically assigned age, but increased as the age of the minerals increased.
Later in the introduction, Harper continues:
The same year that Boltwood was calculating U/Pb ages, R. J. Strutt (later Lord Rayleigh) began an extensive series of investigations into the helium method of age determination in England. Unlike Boltwood at Yale, Strutt believed helium to be produced by both uranium and thorium, and he regarded the presence of argon in minerals as being due to atmospheric argon trapped at the time of crystalisation. Strutt proceeded with a thorough investigation of the helium contents of a wide variety of mineral substances, including zircon and sphene, which he reported in a succession of papers appearing between 1905 and 1910 In his last report, reproduced here, Strutt described the results of an experiment designed to determine by direct volume measurement the rate of helium production in thorianite and pitchblende. These experiments confirmed the calculated rate of helium production in uranium minerals which had previously been based on the observed rate of disintegration of radium existing in equilibrium with uranium, and allowed Strutt to present his helium age calculations with some confidence. A minimum age of 710 million years was obtained for a spene from Renfrew County, Ontario.
As Rutherford had anticipated, the helium method was plagued by the problem of helium leakage, with the consequence that helium retention ages could only be considered as minimum estimates for the time of formation of the analysed samples. The problem was investigated by Strutt himself, who was astonished at the quantity of helium diffusing from powdered monazite placed under vacuum at room temperature. As a result of these studies and the investigations of others, the method fell into disrepute for nearly twenty years, and attention focused on the lead method
Several things can be noted from the extensive quote above -
1) If scientists are as cavalier as YEC suggest, then why abandon the helium
method because helium loss is a problem? Remember YEC complaints that scientists pay scant
regard to underlying assumptions?
2) A method that failed was abandoned when something better came along. In this case the helium method was replaced by the uranium-lead system for which the evidence was that the daughter product was retained. (The helium method is, as far as I know, still used but only rarely. Sometimes it can be used to obtain sensible results.) Was the helium method totally useless? No. It gave geologists independent evidence for something they already knew, that the Earth was very old. Most geologists never really trusted Kelvin's mathematically precise estimates based on physics, simply because Kelvin relied on a set of assumptions that were, in effect, hand-waved assumptions. The helium method gave physicists something to start with. As with all things in science though, it did not give them precisely what they wanted. And in this case it did have severe limitations.
3) There is no reference to ToE. That the long age of the Earth is necessary for conventional thinking on the mechanisms of evolution is incidental to the determinations and theorising of geologists and physicists.
4) The helium method still produced ages in the tens of millions to hundreds of millions of years and this was with the daughter element escaping from the mineral! In other words, even allowing for YEC complaints, the helium method would generally produce ages that were too low at tens of millions of years! Whence the evidence for a 6,000 year old Earth?
5) Note the tie in with independent evidence stratigraphic assigned ages. This is type 1 bias in action. If other evidence suggests that the age is correct then accept the new evidence as well as the old. Not only did the ages match but so did the order of the ages, strengthening the idea that the physicists were onto something. Furthermore, the basic theory was sound; the idea that helium could escape was sound; the idea that lead would be better retained was sound as well. Experiment confirmed this. If scientists were operating under type 2 bias they could have found any number of excuses to accept the helium results they liked and reject those they didn't like and abandon the search for better dating systems. All they had to do was follow YEC methodology.
6) Note the effort to check out the validity of the assumptions. See how a science develops an interplay between idea and experiment. Nothing is sacred. A concept that appeared useful was eventually shown to be plagued with problems, so much so that it fell into disrepute for 20 years.
9. BACK TO BIASES
Consider the following:
The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.
The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.
The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research
The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind.
Those who do not believe in Christ are subject to everlasting conscious punishment, but believers enjoy eternal life with God.
Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole of creation.
The days of Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six  consecutive twenty-four  hour days of Creation.
The above are from the AiG "Statement of Faith". The last two are -
...held by members of the board of Answers in Genesis to be either consistent with Scripture or implied by Scripture.
Given the above, how could Williams ever sensibly consider the Nature articles he critiqued. The above statements are not open to investigation or criticism. They are essential to the faith. Failure to adhere risks eternal damnation. The Scripture is its own authority (and guess who has the authoritative interpretation of the self authorising Scripture?)
Given the science behind modern dating systems, how can Williams sensibly evaluate them. He cannot. To do so would be to risk damnation. So his only alternative is to operate from a type 2 bias to discredit them.
To further illustrate this, consider Austin and Humphreys' gem "The Sea's Missing Salt: A Dilemma For Evolutionists". (Walsh, Robert E., and Brooks, Christopher L. (editors), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, Volume II, Creation Science Fellowship, Inc., Pittsburgh). In their paper, Humphreys and Austin set a maximum age for the earth of 62 million years by developing a model for sodium accumulation in the oceans. They claim that their model incorporates current geological thinking. Clearly it does not and among the things it neglects to properly deal with perhaps sodium recycling is the worst. They then offer the creationist model which they claim better fits the data. However in a 12 page paper, 11.75 pages are a critique of conventionality. The creationist model is presented in a 16 line outline near the end. It is instructive to see this model that better fits the data. The authors write:
To get a maximum age for the ocean according to an evolutionary model. We had to assume zero initial Na+ in the sea, but there is no reason for the creationist model to make such an assumption. On the contrary, there may be good biological reasons to expect God to have created the original ocean with significant salinity. In the maximum age calculation we also assumed an evolutionary model with no catastrophic additions of Na+ to the ocean. The Genesis Flood, however, would have added highly saline subterranean waters to the oceans (the "fountains of the great deep", Genesis 7:11). Furthermore, Na+ would have been released by reactions with hot basalt spreading from the resulting mid-ocean ridges, reactions with volcanic ash and basalt, and the massive runoff of waters from the continents (Genesis 8:3-5). For thousands of years after the Flood, the climate would have been hotter and wetter than today, causing enhanced amounts of Na+ solution. Extensive post-Flood volcanoes would have deposited enormous quantities of volcanic ash which could have weathered and delivered Na+ to the oceans at a much higher rate than today. Thus the creationist model implies (1) that the initial level of Na+ in the ocean was a substantial fraction of today's level, (2) that there was a significant burst of input Na+ during the Genesis Flood, and (3) the Na+ input rate was at higher levels than today for thousands of years.
This is a model that better fits the data? There are absolutely no constraints to any aspects of it. The present salinity is to be explained so they invoke God and a set of unconstrained and unsubstantiated "could haves" and "would haves".
What are their reasons for expecting God to have done one thing and not another? What evidence is there for a wetter climate than today? (There is evidence for all sorts of climates in the past. The authors are merely handwaving here). Post Flood volcanoes? How do they know. This is just wishful thinking. Pre Flood volcanoes? Same deal. How does one tell a pre Flood from a post Flood from a created volcano? This small list of wishes constitutes mere just-so-story and it is claimed to fit the data better.
Read mainstream articles on dating the oceans using salinity and each of these points would be expected to have some evidence to support it. Consider the article by D.A. Livingstone, "The sodium cycle and the age of the ocean". It was perhaps one of the later attempts to date the ocean using the sodium cycle and was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, volume 27, 1963. Livingstone derived two possible ages; one using liberal estimates of recycling, giving an age of 2554 million years and another using more conservative estimates producing an age of 1313 million years. Each step of his argument is quantified if data can be obtained or estimated and qualified if things are more doubtful. For example, Livingstone wishes to estimate the rate of loss of sodium to the sediments during the post-Algonkian time. He has obvious problems in doing this so specifies what proxies he will use, why they will be used and the expected error they will introduce. Thus, the start of the Cambrian which was somewhat uncertain when Livingstone wrote his paper is discussed along with a mention of the likely error which will be introduced by accepting the figure he does. He discusses the chemistry of rivers through geologic time, revealing the problems in ascertaining just what this could be. He discusses the parameters that affect this such as land area and height and looks at estimates for these given by various researchers, selecting values he deems suitable for his purpose. This list goes on. The YEC authors do this too. But not for the theory they claim better fits the data. They do it for the model they claim is based on current geological thinking which is in reality a straw man. The YEC authors could have derived an age for the ocean using their creationist model and following the mainstream application of the scientific method. The problem is however, they have no data to put into the model because their model is based on unsubstantiated assertion and wishful thinking. So rather, they quantify and qualify in order to massage the data to fit their anti evolution model. Thus, having "dispensed" with an ancient earth they pop their "better" one in at the end with a short flurry of unsubstantiated statements, one of which would be very hard to gather any evidence for, since it relies on knowing something of God's intentions.
Let me play their game. Allow me to put on the Old Earth Creationist (OEC) hat since Austin and Humphreys take silly pot shots at OECs as well. OECs use the same Bible and they can just as easily appeal to Scripture being its own authority. It is just that their straight forward interpretation of this supreme authority is different to that of the YEC interpretation. OECs too can argue that there are good reasons for God to have done this or that and for the Flood to have behaved this way or that way and still maintain their more sensible belief in an ancient earth.
10. GIVE ME A SIX PACK OF BEER .
....and I would make a good YEC scientist. Anyone can do YEC science, believe me. I could do it any time even make "major discoveries". In fact, give me a six pack and get me drunk, I could still do it. YEC is certainly not the science of a sober mind. Nor is it the science for a sober mind.
In pursuing his claim for a better science, Williams fares no better than other YEC scientists. He makes claims about the mainstream that are clearly not correct.
What is lamentable is that the followers of these scientists have an uncritical attitude to their scientific pronunciations. This seems to mirror the unquestioning acceptance of these followers of their particular interpretation of their sacred book, the Bible.
While accepting the supernatural and the sacred is one thing, misrepresenting and distorting it in order to maintain a particular belief in it demonstrates a peculiar attitude towards the notions of right and wrong.