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Woodmorappe Quotes Comrades Skobelin, Sharapov
and Bugayov

Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D.   

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Young-Earth creationist (YEC) John Woodmorappe (1979, 1999) is infamous for scouring the radiometric literature in an attempt to demonstrate that 'discrepant' radiometric dates are 'common' and that radiometric dating methods are unreliable.   In the vast majority of cases, Woodmorappe (1979, 1999) misrepresents or exaggerates his references (for numerous examples, see: Woodmorappe's Fraudulent Attacks on Radiometric Dating Exposed and Geochronology kata John Woodmorappe).  In other cases, Woodmorappe uses documents that are questionable in terms of quality, objectivity and reliability, including articles in otherwise scientific documents.  For example, Woodmorappe (1999, p. 27) quotes the following statement by Skobelin, Sharapov and Bugayov (1990, p. 25): 

'... the assumption that during the whole life of the rock volume being analyzed, neither the radioactive element nor its decay products have moved into or out of this volume is practically unlikely to be realized in nature at all or, if it is, it occurs only in exceptional cases.  Therefore, differences (often essential) between data determining absolute age and geological data is [sic] a usual phenomenon that surprises nobody; it is always been solved in favour of the latter.  In the absence of geological data, determination of absolute age often leads us into great errors.'

Now, geochronologists recognize that perfectly closed systems do not exist in nature. Nevertheless, open system disturbances on rocks and minerals need not be consequential (e.g., Swisher et al. 1993, p. 1993-1994 and Peterson 1994, p. 252).   That is, the dates of most samples are very close to their actual ages (Kerr, 1995).  Considering the countless examples of reliable radiometric dates in the literature (for a few examples, see the references in Hiding the Numbers to Defame Radiometric Dating), the above opinion by Skobelin et al. (1990) is clearly a gross and inaccurate exaggeration. There are also numerous other statements in Skobelin et al. (1990) that are obviously inaccurate and 30 years out of date, such as some of their comments on the asthenosphere on p. 24, their overly stringent and unorthodox definition of  'theory' (p. 28), and their denial that plate tectonics is a theory (as examples: p. 17, 35; also note that the title of the book containing Skobelin et al.'s article refers to plate tectonics as a theory).

It is also truly strange that someone as religiously conservative as Woodmorappe (1999, p. 27) would rely on a paper such as Skobelin et al. (1990).  Many sections of the paper read more like nonsensical rhetoric from old copies of Pravda rather than an up-to-date and accurate scientific paper.  Here are a few bizarre examples: 

'We shall find the answer in Lenin's well known words: "A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and collective agitator, but it is also a collective organizer."' (p. 34)

'External factors (according to Marx) lead to an adaptation of a science to those facts that do not follow from a science itself (but from outside - from theology, policy, ethics, etc.) and internal factors are products of the logic of development of the particular science itself.' (p. 27)

'It is necessary to encourage, by all means, aspirations of industrial workers for wide generalizations and, especially, young scientists who are in an infringed state and can oppose their advisor's opinion only by heroic self-sacrifice.' (p. 35)

'It is clear that perestroika-revolution cannot be easy, as it is a matter of direct concern for our intellectual and material interests that some negative tendencies are, in the end, ineradicable. The main problem of perestroika in geology is the same as in a society - it is a moral problem. The main tool of perestroika is broad glasnost, that always and everywhere has met and will meet obstacles in different forms and motivations.' (p. 34)

'For revolutionary perestroika of geology, it is necessary to set up international "revolution headquarters" with its central (international) and national press organs.' (p. 18)

'The international headquarters of a scientific revolution and its branches must have their central (international) and national press organs.' (p. 34-35) 

By using articles that are full of unscientific political rhetoric, Woodmorappe (1999) is only showing how desperate he is to find quotations to support his agenda.  In other words, if any document somehow serves his goals, there's a good chance that Woodmorappe will quote it. Clearly, anyone that uses the literature must be selective and careful about the scientific quality and reliability of her/his references.  


Kerr, R.A., 1995, 'A Volcanic Crisis for Ancient Life?', Science, v. 270, Oct. 6, p. 27-28.

Peterson, F., 1994, 'Sand Dunes, Sabkhas, Streams, and Shallow Seas: Jurassic Paleogeography in the Southern Part of the Western Interior Basin', in Mesozoic Systems of the Rocky Mountain Region, USA, M.V. Caputo et al. (eds), Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists.

Skobelin, E.A., I.P. Sharapov, and A.F. Bugayov, 1990, 'Deliberations of State and Ways of Perestroika in Geology', in Critical Aspects of Plate Tectonics Theory: v. 1, A. Barto-Kyriakidis (ed.), Theophrastas Pub., Athens, p. 17-37.

Swisher, C.C.; L. Dingus and R.F. Butler, 1993, '40Ar/39Ar Dating and Magnetostratigraphic Correlation of the Terrestrial Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary and Puercan Mammal Age, Hell Creek - Tullock Formations, Eastern Montana', Can. J. Earth Sci., v. 30, p. 1981-1996.

Woodmorappe, J., 1979, 'Radiometric Geochronology Reappraised', Creation Research Society Quarterly, v. 16, September, p.  102f.

Woodmorappe, J., 1999, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA.

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