Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Yet another YEC lie is exposed - Henry Morris and case of the missing meteorite potassium

Anyone who has spent enough time in the evolution-creation debate quickly realises that with precious few exceptions, the main figures in the YEC community lie. Irrespective of whether it is Duane Gish and his 'bullfrog proteins' or David Menton and his blatantly false claims about Tiktaalik, it is safe to assume that a YEC when making any claim about evolutionary biology, geology, or astronomy is always wrong, unless theit claims can be independently verified by experts in the areas in which those claims are made.

Geologist Jonathan Baker, writing at Age of Rocks has given us yet another example of YEC mendacity. This one comes from one of the founding figures of the YEC movement, Henry Morris. Over forty years ago, he claimed that as much as 8)% of the potassium in a small iron meteorite sample could be removed in around 4.5 hours by soaking in distilled water. The implicit claim here was that one could never guarantee that samples were not contaminated, and as such, radiometric dating was worthless. Trouble is, as Baker points out, Morris was lying. Here's why.

As Baker points out, this claim is one that has existed for some time, and reflects the poor quality of YEC fact checking, given that if one had bothered to check the actual article in detail, one would quickly see that it was not arguing against the validity of radiometric dating at all:
Since the argument was apparently backed by independent research, nobody thought to question it, and few would know how in the first place. Morris wasn’t actually wrong that up to 80% of potassium was leached from a small iron meteorite fragment back in 1967, but he was spectacularly wrong in his application. Morris argued from the results of Rancitelli and Fisher that potassium was highly mobile in geological materials, implying we could never trust the results of K-Ar dating. However, this conclusion is opposite to that given by the very authors Morris cited.
Rancitelli and Fisher found that potassium was extremely rare in iron meteorites (as any mineralogist or geochemist would expect), and what little potassium could be found existed near the surface of the iron-rich portions. Potassium was leached from the sample, because it was in direct contact with the water. If it had been distributed throughout the iron phase of the meteorite, then it would have been possible to date iron meteorites by the K-Ar method. But it wasn’t. Therefore, the authors recommended against using this method, unless potassium-rich silicate minerals were also found in the meteorite.
Henry Morris, being trained as a hydrogeologist, knew well that water doesn’t move freely through silicate minerals. He also knew well that K-Ar dating is typically applied to minerals with completely different properties than iron meteorites. Finally, he knew that meteorites were almost never dated by the K-Ar method, because of their unique chemistry. Thus he should have known that it would be inappropriate to cite Rancitelli and Fisher in making his case against K-Ar dating as applied to the geologic column. Yet he led his readers to draw the broad conclusion that K-Ar is suspect in all cases—not just with iron meteorites. [Emphasis in the original]
Having to repeat this simple claim - YEC is scientific and theological nonsense, and the YEC organisations are terminally dishonest - becomes wearying given that many YECs seem determined to believe despite the lack of evidence for their views. However, given that educated young people are increasingly turning from Christianity because they perceive that it is militantly opposed to science and revels in obscurantism, it is one that sadly will need to be emphasised over and over again until YEC becomes nothing more than a forgotten footnote in our history.