Non sequitur takes on the “controversy”

| 47 Comments

Looks like the cartoonist Wiley Miller has started a series of strips on teaching the “controversy.” He’s got the age of the dinosaurs wrong, and carbon dating does not work that far back anyway, but, hell, the strip is called Non Sequitur. The money quote so far is, “Um, just as an F.Y.I., saying ‘facts’ would be a lot less offensive if you used air-quotes.”

47 Comments

The last panels of that cartoon are pretty funny; showing the general spinelessness of administrators.

Wiley Miller has done a lot of pro-science Non Sequitur’s over the years. He also wrote a strip supporting the Danish cartoonists in 2010; it did not contain an actual image of Mohammad, but got pulled from a bunch of newspapers anyway.

Hilarious!

I also enjoyed today’s strip (9-22) where Danae calls her version “the truth”, something grade school kids can relate to. And then puts it in simple concrete and immediate terms (the dinosaur is the teacher herself) which grade school kids can also relate to. The message is clear: put falsehoods in simple terms kids can understand. Later, they’ll find increasingly sophisticated rationalizations, but “the truth” won’t change.

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

You never figured out the trick being played on you by the AiG jokers, did you?

And you don’t want to know, do you.

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

Please provide a reference from the scientific literature that shows an estimated age from carbon dating being millions of years.

DS said: Please provide a reference from the scientific literature that shows an estimated age from carbon dating being millions of years.

Millions, thousands, 90%, 3%, it’s all the same. I’m sure like John Kyl, Henry will tell you his remark was not intended to be taken as a factual statement.

Hmmm…maybe that would make a good motto for the DI…

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

The reliability of anything is questionable when you don’t know what you are doing, fail to test for and control for biases and errors, use the method in an inappropriate or invalid manner. On the other hand, it is disingenuous to portray a method as invalid on the basis of such sloppy or inappropriate use. For example, using a can opener to slice a Turkey does not make the tool useless or the act of Turkey slicing somehow impossible. Yet this is the argument used by Creationists on a daily basis.

mplavcan said:

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

The reliability of anything is questionable when you don’t know what you are doing, fail to test for and control for biases and errors, use the method in an inappropriate or invalid manner. On the other hand, it is disingenuous to portray a method as invalid on the basis of such sloppy or inappropriate use. For example, using a can opener to slice a Turkey does not make the tool useless or the act of Turkey slicing somehow impossible. Yet this is the argument used by Creationists on a daily basis.

Good points. Carbon dating isn’t very helpful for recent materials, because there hasn’t been enough time for C14 to decay. Similarly, it’s not very good past (at most) 50,000 years because after nine half-lives, there’s not enough C14 left to measure.

Another problem is sample size. C14 dating is destructive, and the larger the sample the better.

Another issue, the samples must be organic (it’s based on plants). Not good for fossils which are petrified or are just impressions in rocks.

Moving right along, other evidence indicates that the concentrations of C14 in the atmosphere have not been constant over time. To some degree this can be accounted for. So knowing what you’re doing matters.

Which of course encourages (rather than deters) creationist geologists to mis-apply the technique to anything they can find, in an effort to discredit the it. Here’s a nice Christian site doing just that, complete with the obligatory quotemining:

http://www.chcpublications.net/radcarbn.htm

mplavcan said:

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

The reliability of anything is questionable when you don’t know what you are doing, fail to test for and control for biases and errors, use the method in an inappropriate or invalid manner. On the other hand, it is disingenuous to portray a method as invalid on the basis of such sloppy or inappropriate use. For example, using a can opener to slice a Turkey does not make the tool useless or the act of Turkey slicing somehow impossible. Yet this is the argument used by Creationists on a daily basis.

14C is also produced by the slow and fast neutrons from the nuclear decay of radioactive materials (e.g., uranium) in the Earth’s crust. It doesn’t have to be just from neutron bombardment of 14N.

This has been known for quite a while, but ID/creationists never mention it.

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

C14 has a half life of less than 6k years. It’s not good for more than 50k - 75k years at most, so it’s pretty unlikely that they would show “millions of years”.

You’re probably thinking of that Mt. St. Helens sample that some creationists deliberately sent to a lab to be dated by potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating. K-Ar dating can’t date recent samples, for the same reason a truck scale can’t reliably weigh the “payload” of an empty truck. The lab qualified their results to say that they couldn’t reliably date samples less than 2M years old. The whole thing was a political set-up for the sole purpose of giving gullible creationists an argument against radiometric dating.

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Robert Byers said:

Just like in entertainment. Cartoons is the best they got! How about bumper stickers to persuade the increasingly sceptical public on evolution.

Better than lying about Carbon Dating

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

Enigmatic; irony, parody - or ignorance?

Maybe Henry would care to clarify, maybe even provide a reference pro or con using the C-14 method of dating anything older than about 50.000 years?

He knows that there are a number of different methods of radiometric dating to chose from and use according to their applicability to the actual object?

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Atheistoclast said:

Once we get either Bachmann or Perry elected, we can appoint justice to the supreme court who will rule that Evolutionism/Darwinism is a religion and naturalistic weltanschauung and therefore should not be taught in public schools. Meanwhile, academic freedom acts will ensure that teachers are permitted to draw attention to research and review articles sympathetic to and congruent with ID. You better enjoy Obama while he remains in office. It is time for regime change in America. Removing the academic tenure of Darwinist professors is the next step.

Ignorance is strength!

Atheistoclast said:

Once we get either Bachmann or Perry elected, we can appoint justice to the supreme court who will rule that Evolutionism/Darwinism is a religion and naturalistic weltanschauung and therefore should not be taught in public schools. Meanwhile, academic freedom acts will ensure that teachers are permitted to draw attention to research and review articles sympathetic to and congruent with ID. You better enjoy Obama while he remains in office. It is time for regime change in America. Removing the academic tenure of Darwinist professors is the next step.

OK, so we don’t teach “Darwinism” and we don’t teach Creationism or any other religious view. So what then DO we teach, Joe? What evidence-backed view is left? Without evolution to kick around, ID doesn’t have anything to go on. - it exists ONLY to attack evolution.

Byers and Bozo in the comments section of a story concerning comic characters. How appropriate, no?

Wolfhound said:

Byers and Bozo in the comments section of a story concerning comic characters. How appropriate, no?

Meh, Danae is both smarter and funnier.

Higher marks for Byers this time for not attempting to derail the thread like ‘clast.

I’m sure Perry will pray to get elected, so I’m not worried. Unless of course it rains in Texas some time in the next year. He’ll probably take credit for that.

3) We outlaw scientific journals and start book burnings.

4) We imprison all those who oppose us.

5) We set up concentration camps and begin a systematic extermination campaign

Atheistoclast said:

Matt G said: OK, so we don’t teach “Darwinism” and we don’t teach Creationism or any other religious view. So what then DO we teach, Joe? What evidence-backed view is left? Without evolution to kick around, ID doesn’t have anything to go on. - it exists ONLY to attack evolution.

1) We hold a moratorium on the teaching of Darwinism as a pseudo-religion.

2) We pass academic freedom laws that allow teachers to talk about the evidence for ID such as the genetic code, irreducible complexity, molecular machines etc..

I really think Bachmann or Perry can deliver on this. But we need reform of the judiciary. We need judges who are not intimidated by the ACLU and NCSE and who are sympathetic to the views of the vast majority of Americans don’t give a shit about the constitution.

FTFY

6) And we have your dossier!

Atheistoclast said:

Matt G said: OK, so we don’t teach “Darwinism” and we don’t teach Creationism or any other religious view. So what then DO we teach, Joe? What evidence-backed view is left? Without evolution to kick around, ID doesn’t have anything to go on. - it exists ONLY to attack evolution.

1) We hold a moratorium on the teaching of Darwinism as a pseudo-religion.

2) We pass academic freedom laws that allow teachers to talk about the evidence for ID such as the genetic code, irreducible complexity, molecular machines etc..

I really think Bachmann or Perry can deliver on this. But we need reform of the judiciary. We need judges who are not intimidated by the ACLU and NCSE and who are sympathetic to the views of the vast majority of Americans.

Why stop there? These folks are Dominionists, who believe that laws should adhere to biblical law over the constitution. So, 1) Appoint a small group of clerics who will interpret secular law as consistent or inconsistent with Biblical Law. 2) Outlaw ALL teachings inconsistent with the Bible, including evolutionary biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, anthropology, sociology, psychology. 3) Death penalty for adultery 4) make women cover their heads 5) Mandatory tithing to “the” church. 6) Blasphemy outlawed. 7) Death for “witchcraft” 8) Religious test for holding office. 9) No business or activity on the Sabbath 10) No more shrimp or pork industry 11) No mixing fabrics in your clothes. 12) Slavery is legal

Do feel free to elaborate on your glorious utopian model for the US, based of course on what Barton says the Founding Fathers REALLY meant.

Atheistoclast said:

Once we get either Bachmann or Perry elected, we can appoint justice to the supreme court who will rule that Evolutionism/Darwinism is a religion and naturalistic weltanschauung and therefore should not be taught in public schools. Meanwhile, academic freedom acts will ensure that teachers are permitted to draw attention to research and review articles sympathetic to and congruent with ID. You better enjoy Obama while he remains in office. It is time for regime change in America. Removing the academic tenure of Darwinist professors is the next step.

Excellent. Don’t appoint some liberal activist judge. Get a good, solid neutral judge in there who has reliably already made up his/her mind on what to rule, and will actively seek cases to change US law and re-write precedent to further a sectarian religious agenda. Oh, to dream of those halcyon days when God’s justice will be meted out by “fair and balanced” judges. When organizations like the ACLU are banned from representation in court, and order can be restored.

Better yet, get rid of tenured professors. Nothing has done more do destroy America and Western Europe than the right of people in academia to think what they want and argue what they want. That is a dangerous idea. The ONLY way that orthodoxy and freedom from sin can be maintained is to rigidly police the academy and purge it of dangerous and seditious ideas.

Joe, aren’t you English? Shouldn’t you be inciting an overthrow of Parliament or something?

Atheistoclast said:

Once we get either Bachmann or Perry elected, we can appoint justice to the supreme court who will rule that Evolutionism/Darwinism is a religion and naturalistic weltanschauung and therefore should not be taught in public schools. Meanwhile, academic freedom acts will ensure that teachers are permitted to draw attention to research and review articles sympathetic to and congruent with ID. You better enjoy Obama while he remains in office. It is time for regime change in America. Removing the academic tenure of Darwinist professors is the next step.

Uh huh.

Say, Theistoclast, how’s that search for evidence for the existence of your gods coming along? I notice you shut up pretty quick when you were backed into a corner about how there is no such evidence.

Removing the academic tenure of Darwinist professors is the next step.

Followed by Ben Stein in Expelled 2 - No science allowed.

Atheistoclast said: 1) We hold a moratorium on the teaching of Darwinism as a pseudo-religion.

2) We pass academic freedom laws that allow teachers to talk about the evidence for ID such as the genetic code, irreducible complexity, molecular machines etc..

You can homeschool your kids. You can send them to private school. You can send them to public school and just not take biology - its not required for graduation. You can send them to public schools and - if you can gather about 30 kids for it - demand a Design elective be taught.

I think what really torques you guys is the market pull for mainstream scientific expertise. Companies want mainstream science. Which means universities want to provide it. Which means parents want their kids to take it. All of which causes you to want to ban it (your word: moratorium).

I really think Bachmann or Perry can deliver on this.

The methods for amending the Constitution are well known and could be used to modify the first amendment to do exactly what you want to do. If your position is really that popular, what’s stopping you from changing it?

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Robert Byers said:

Just like in entertainment. Cartoons is the best they got! How about bumper stickers to persuade the increasingly sceptical public on evolution.

Far better and far more honest than the slick creationist movies that the dishonesty institute peddles to kids and churches.

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Atheistoclast said:

Once we get either Bachmann or Perry elected, we can appoint justice to the supreme court who will rule that Evolutionism/Darwinism is a religion and naturalistic weltanschauung and therefore should not be taught in public schools. Meanwhile, academic freedom acts will ensure that teachers are permitted to draw attention to research and review articles sympathetic to and congruent with ID. You better enjoy Obama while he remains in office. It is time for regime change in America. Removing the academic tenure of Darwinist professors is the next step.

Sorry, but this echoes of Nazism/Communism where the state defines what is and isn’t science. Both regimes attacked and condemned science and scientists for not conforming and supportive of the visions of the state and their wacko leaders for now towing the party line. And this is what Byers and Atheistoclast are dreaming of? Truly a state of ignorant bliss.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Atheistoclast said:

I hope that the new administration immediately cuts off funding to the NSF used to promote Darwinism by conducting “research” into it. Without taxpayer money, the Darwinist establishment can’t do anything. This is their Achilles’ heel so we should exploit it and hit them where it matters.

I sure hope you don;t get a genetic disease that could have been treated with just a little more research. That would be a real shame. Of course you don;t seem to care that this is exactly what you are condemning thousands of people to.

Matt, you should banish this fool to the bathroom wall before he ruins this thread with any more of his nonsense.

Atheistoclast said: Without taxpayer money, the Darwinist establishment can’t do anything.

Private investment in the biotech industry is double that of our government. Can you name one company that uses the ‘biblical kind’ model to do vaccine or disease research? For-profit companies looking to patent drugs and cures don’t seem to want to buy what you’re selling.

Feynman famously said that for any properly functioning technology, PR must give way to science because nature will not be fooled. Evidently, venture capitalists aren’t often fooled either.

Atheistoclast said: If they want to do their own private research, at their own expense, I have nothing against that. Just don’t use taxpayer money and state-funded facilities. But we do need a McCarthy-style clean-up of the scientific establishment and we do need to purge it of the worst excesses of Darwinism.

Does the right hand even know what the left hand is typing? When you say you don’t care what private scientists do and then in the very next breath call for a McCarthy-style purge of the scientific community, it comes across as a rant by an insane person.

Mike Elzinga said:

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

You never figured out the trick being played on you by the AiG jokers, did you?

And you don’t want to know, do you.

I actually hardly visit the AIG website–only when an article is referenced here. My scientific creation website of choice is ICR.

By the way, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Henry said:

I actually hardly visit the AIG website–only when an article is referenced here. My scientific creation website of choice is ICR.

By the way, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

So you admit that you love to eat crap. But we already knew that.

Go look at John_S’s comment about weighing the “payload” of an empty truck. Think of trying to determine what that payload is by weighing if the “payload” happens to be a single feather.

I know all of this is way too difficult for you to understand; but those charlatans over at ICR, AiG, and the DI are flat out liars. And you just love it. You don’t even know how to check any of it out.

Henry said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

You never figured out the trick being played on you by the AiG jokers, did you?

And you don’t want to know, do you.

I actually hardly visit the AIG website–only when an article is referenced here. My scientific creation website of choice is ICR.

By the way, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

If I want to measure something that has a diameter of micrometers in a microscopic field, I use an instrument designed for that scale.

If I want to measure the length of a two by four plank, I use an instrument designed for that scale.

If some jackass tells me that he tried to measure the diameter of a neutrophil on a blood smear using a carpenter’s measuring tape, it didn’t work, and therefore carpenter’s measuring tapes don’t work, I know that he is either insane, a liar, or both.

It works the same way with radioactive dating.

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

Sorry dude, but you’ve been lied to. Carbon dating is only good for about the most recent 58,000 - 62,000 years and cannot, under any circumstances show something to be ‘millions of years’ old. Ever. Period. End of debate.

So, if you’re yammer about ‘how it’s wrong’ based on what others have told you. And we all know RCD is only good for the most-recent past…

Perhaps you should wonder why the people who are lying to you are lying to you? You can read about it at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating

Pay special attention to the section on Carbon Exchange Resivoir. It’s really cool (and important). You can find more of that here: http://www.c14dating.com/corr.html

eric said:

a rant by an insane person.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Not to feed the trolls, but…

There are lots of ways that 14C dating can be wrong. Recent values can be skewed to old ages by the very old C released into the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels or by carbon released into water by the dissolution of limestones in lakes. Over the last 65 years, 14C has been formed during atomic and hydrogen bomb tests. As has been said, if not enough time for decay has occurred, ages can’t be determined. If too much time (and I think it’s a bit longer for AMS 14C dating; ~75ky? 90ky?; something like that) then the technique can’t be used, either. But the limitations are well understood, can be identified, and an education can help you avoid these problems.

Why don’t you try it some time?

GvlGeologist, FCD said:

Not to feed the trolls, but…

There are lots of ways that 14C dating can be wrong. Recent values can be skewed to old ages by the very old C released into the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels or by carbon released into water by the dissolution of limestones in lakes. Over the last 65 years, 14C has been formed during atomic and hydrogen bomb tests. As has been said, if not enough time for decay has occurred, ages can’t be determined. If too much time (and I think it’s a bit longer for AMS 14C dating; ~75ky? 90ky?; something like that) then the technique can’t be used, either. But the limitations are well understood, can be identified, and an education can help you avoid these problems.

Living organisms can not be reliably dated via C14. Those living organisms that give erroneous datings of being thousands of years old when subjected to a C14 test, i.e., the snails in a limestone well, or a seal from Greenland, do so because they do not have access to a constant supply of C14, either because they’re sequestered from the atmosphere, or they get most of their carbon from their food.

Why don’t you try it some time?

That would require Henry to learn things. And according to Henry’s spiritual handlers, learning anything that contradicts their specific interpretation of the Bible for whatever reason is automatic damnation.

Henry said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Henry said:

The reliability of carbon dating is questionable, especially when samples known to be decades or centuries old show millions of years instead.

You never figured out the trick being played on you by the AiG jokers, did you?

And you don’t want to know, do you.

I actually hardly visit the AIG website–only when an article is referenced here. My scientific creation website of choice is ICR.

By the way, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Yeah, that worked out real well for the Manhatten Indians.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on September 21, 2011 8:51 PM.

BILL #5: “What Darwin Did and Didn’t Know” by Hopi Hoekstra was the previous entry in this blog.

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