Now that's chutzpah

Over at the DI Media Complaints Division/Department of calling young-earth creation scientists ID proponents and then pretending that ID isn’t creationism relabeled, David Klinghoffer has commented on the previous PT post on Coppedge v. JPL and the various suggestions and speculations that I and others made in the discussion. As is par for the course, Klinghoffer mischaracterizes clearly labeled speculation as definitive conclusions, says we’re meanies, yadda yadda.

But that’s not what’s interesting. What’s interesting is Klinghoffer’s description of Coppedge and his lawyer, William Becker. According to Klinghoffer, they are almost in opposition to each other – both in attitude and on the witness stand, of all places. Becker seems “impatient” and “frustrated” with Coppedge on the stand. Why exactly? It’s hard to say. Klinghoffer chalks it up to Coppedge’s “sheepish hesitancy” and “tendency to digress”.

Klinghoffer also mentions that Coppedge is suffering from severe headaches, which the media indicates has been delaying testimony. And Klinghoffer recounts an event Klinghoffer personally witnessed in which Becker almost got into a fist-fight after dinging another guy’s car with his door.

Klinghoffer spins all this to illustrate the “shy” and mild-mannered nature of Coppedge – says Klinghoffer,

It made me wonder if Coppedge isn’t too bashful to offer a proper evangelical pitch for anything. Think about it. “Pushing” your ideas on anyone, as distinct from diffidently offering them a DVD and making a note in your diary if they liked it or not (as Coppedge did), requires a fearless nerve, a certain cheekiness. In Jewish terms, chutzpah.

Coppedge doesn’t have chutzpah in his DNA.

Now, an alternative interpretation of all of this is that Coppedge is turning out to be a weird dude, his case is coming apart at the seams, and Becker is mad and frustrated because he knows this, which would mean that years of work will go down the drain, and, worse, there will be no compensation of legal fees. I have no strong opinion about this possibility, it could be wrong, but it seems at least as plausible as Klinghoffer’s interpretation.

What I would like to discuss is Klinghoffer’s statement that Coppedge ain’t got no chutzpah. Klinghoffer concludes:

I bring this up only to point out that David Coppedge is the absolute polar opposite type of personality from Becker. When this is all over I hope they’ll be able to laugh about that. Imagining that Coppedge could “push” a person or an idea, whether the issue is a dinged car door or intelligent design, as JPL claims, is simply preposterous.

Well, I have no idea what Coppedge is like in person, but let’s have a look at some of the things he said over the 12+ years he’s been running the Creation-Evolution Headlines website (old site:; new site: And just to make it interesting, let’s not worry about what Coppedge says about Darwin and evolution – we know creationists don’t like those at all. How about what Coppedge says about the field of planetary science, particularly the results planetary scientists have gotten from the Cassini mission and similar studies based on telescope and space probe observations? These are the people Coppedge worked with and worked for at JPL on the Cassini mission. What would these folks discover that Coppedge was saying about them and their research, if they happened upon a link to one of Coppedge’s Creation-Evolution Headlines pages during a google search?

For an example, have a look at this: Results of googling Cassini A.S.S., on March 15, 2012:

August 8, 2006: It’s Tough to Get a Date, but Fun to Keep Trying -

If you have been led to believe that ice-core dating, Milankovitch cycles and deep sea sediments provide reliable records of Earth’s prehistory, this entry should hit you with a proverbial two by four. The records don’t match up naturally. Scientists attempt to force a match with “sophisticated” and “conceptual” models that provide the best of bad solutions (see best-in-field fallacy). Taking the A.S.S. (age of the solar system) as an unalterable boundary condition (because a younger Earth would utterly preclude Darwinian evolution), they find themselves in a bind. Their faith forces them to believe there is a solution, but the data don’t fit. No problem; the goal of life now is to keep the detective game going, not to really know the truth about reality past.

Each rigger has his role in the endless game. The Darwinist astronomy wizards prophesy the date when the earth cooled 4.5 billion years ago, the Darwinist origin-of-life wizards prophesy the date life appeared 3 billion years ago, the Darwinist geochemist wizards prophesy when life began to produce oxygen two billion years ago, and the Darwinist paleoanthropologist wizards prophesy when Homo habilis appeared and what kind of clothes he was wearing 3 million years ago. In between these posts of straw, they string their tabernacle to Charlie, hoping they can keep the whole structure from falling down with enough researchers pushing and pulling where needed.

We just thought you should know how the process works. Because the Darwinists are master riggers, everything makes sense, the wizards and priests remain employed, textbooks have nice graphics, students memorize the currently accepted dates, Charlie gets the glory, and nobody asks questions.

October 12, 2006: Glory Be Behind Saturn -

(This was just after Cassini successfully achieved orbit around Saturn.)

Cassini’s findings confirm predictions made over several decades now that Saturn’s rings are being rapidly eroded by collisions. We now have even more evidence that impactors, from comet-size to molecule-size, are wearing away Saturn’s rings. The E-ring would be gone in mere decades or centuries if Enceladus were not constantly replenishing with new micron-size material. The color differences between the rings also show that whatever non-ice material has been added has not had time to become thoroughly mixed. And it would be surprising to think that this new D-ring impact was a one-time phenomenon we just happened to be lucky to witness.

It may be impossible to say from data alone that the rings are mere thousands of years old or less, but they certainly cannot be billions of years old. That should raise some eyebrows by several inches among scientists who accept the standard A.S.S. (age of the solar system) as being 4.5 billion years old. Upper limits at ring ages are often put at 10 or 100 million years. That may sound like a lot (it’s an upper limit, remember), but even 100 million years is 1/45 the standard age. What was Saturn doing the other 44 parts? No materialist wants to believe that humans were somehow lucky to emerge right at the time when Saturn’s rings were at the height of their glory. Yet no secular scientist dares question the A.S.S., because concluding a recent formation of Saturn and the rings would collapse the time available for evolution. There is nothing about the Saturn system that needs billions of years. A scientist should follow the evidence where it leads, whether or not it agrees with prevailing orthodoxy.

September 25, 2007: More Impacts on Crater Count Dating -

Despite their rigorous and admirable work of calculating and estimating the physical effects of impacting bodies on Mars, the authors could not think outside the box. Their own work casts severe doubt on the ability to use crater counts as a dating method. In principle, if one impact can produce ten million secondaries scattered around the whole planet (see 10/20/2005), there is no way to know how old the Martian surface is. If anything, one would think the whole planet would have been saturated with craters in short order, hinting that the surface might be young. And think about it: we’ve already seen several global dust storms in the 33 years since the first Martian orbiter. How much weathering of craters would be expected in tens of millions of years? And why is bedrock still clean-swept in large areas on Mars? (06/01/2005).

Because these scientists began their modeling with undaunted faith in the Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.), a figure (4.5 billion years) that, according to the Law of the Needs of the Darwins cannot be altered, they had to make it all work within their mythical paradigm. Their crater cluster formation model must fit within the scheme of imaginary Noachian, Hesperian and Amazonian epochs, even though their own work undermines the assumptions that went into making the scheme in the first place (for other problems with the current scheme, see Astrobiology Magazine). What’s in a name? Would calling them the Washingtonian, Lincolnian and Clintonian epochs make Mars blink an eye? Let the discerning mind understand that the fancy charts of geological time scales on Mars and Earth are human impositions on the data - not inevitable products of the observations themselves.

March 25, 2008: March Moon Madness -

Science marches on - sometimes in disciplined ranks, sometimes in scatter formation. The latter occurs when observation bombs drop in on theory playgrounds.

Remember, the consensus theories that have been blown away by new discoveries were textbook orthodoxy a few years ago. Only a devout logical positivist would think this could not happen to today’s accepted ideas. Just wait.

Evidence does not exist in isolation. To make sense, it must be incorporated into one’s web of belief by a number of auxiliary hypotheses and assumptions. Planetary scientists interpret what Ithaca Chasma, Titan’s rotation and Earth’s oxygen-16 ratios mean through the filter of assumptions and auxiliary hypotheses that are rarely considered or questioned independently.

One of their most sacred assumptions is the A.S.S. (age of the solar system). The accepted value of 4.5 billion years is written in their genes. All evidence is viewed within this major structural component of their web of belief. The web itself stretches and distorts as new evidence bombards it, but it would take a mighty big impact to break it.

Too much is at stake for secular planetologists, bent on finding life and evolution at every water hole, to allow that to happen. Like predatory spiders, they snag the evidence, wrap it in theories spun out of their own selves, and suck the juice out of it to feed themselves and their young. The dried up hulk that once contained structure, organs and connective tissue is discarded to blow away in the wind.

February 2, 2009: Titan Methane Age Still a Problem -

We’ve been bringing up this problem for years. This latest paper shows that no solution has been forthcoming for over two decades; in fact, the problem has only gotten worse. The consensus Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) is 4.6 billion years. 10 million years is 1/450th of that value, and that is the maximum that the empirical evidence permits. If planetary scientists truly followed the evidence where it leads, as scientists are supposed to do, they would have to conclude Titan is young. Evidence from Enceladus, Iapetus, Mercury, comets, Mars, the moon and many other bodies that showcase evidence of youth could be adduced for support. The ramifications of that conclusion would be so far-reaching and unpalatable to the old-age, evolution-inebriated materialistic community, they have to resort to distraction to keep people from thinking about it. CEH thinks the sidestep is the most interesting part of the dance.

The comeback argument is that scientists “know” the solar system is old from other lines of evidence, e.g., radiometric dating of meteorites and rock units on Earth, and so forth. But they don’t “know” these things without making assumptions. Planetologists used to “know” that planets required billions of years to form from a solar nebula. That was before the revolution in thinking caused by the discovery of extrasolar planets. Their properties suggest - some say require - rapid formation to prevent destruction by migration. Indeed, a whole new “heretical” disk-instability hypothesis proposes that giant planets can form much more rapidly than thought. When you find a number of bodies in the solar system today with upper-limit ages converging at the recent end of the evolutionary timescale, it becomes increasingly implausible to believe we live at a special epoch when all these phenomena are observable. It should call into question the timescale itself.

For reasons philosophical rather than empirical, many in the old paradigm don’t wish to think along those lines. Others, from years of indoctrination in the paradigm, cannot even begin to think outside the box. They just chalk up the mysteries as anomalies. Anomalies are the stuff of which scientific revolutions are made.

September 21, 2009: Mars Red-Faced Without Water-

The moyboys should be red-faced (moyboys: those recklessly spouting claims about “millions of years, billions of years”). Not only does this potentially undermine the astrobiologists’ hopes for water on Mars, it casts doubt on whether the surface is really billions of years old. Remember, even 100 million years is a tiny fraction of the assumed age of the solar system (A.S.S.). What color was Mars before? Yellow? Green? Purple? Why are we seeing the tail-end of a rapid process if Mars dried up billions of years ago and its sand grains have been tumbling around for eons? The truth is, they just don’t know. They weren’t there. The fact that a hypothesis this radical can upset everything previously believed about a planet should give one pause before accepting the next moyboy pronouncement on faith.

December 14, 2009: Iapetus Mystery Moon Solved-

For those of us who have followed this mystery since the Voyagers in 1981 failed to resolve it, there is a mix of satisfaction and wonder at the solution. Who would have thought of this answer before we had the high-resolution images that forced it? It’s an illustration of how observations - data - are vital for constraining theories, models and speculations (like those of Arthur C. Clarke in 2001: A Space Odyssey, who made Iapetus the Stargate of the advanced aliens; Wikipedia explains).

Yet there is also a strange sense of schizophrenia in the scientific papers. On the one hand, the authors cannot avoid the evidence that many of these features look young. On the other, though, they cannot and will not ever admit that they are too young to fit into the billions-of-years paradigm. The papers go strangely silent on that point. It’s bizarre. The assumed Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) is, in planetary science, a Law of the Misdeeds and Perversions that cannot be altered. The solution is to either ignore the problem, or to change the subject: i.e., H2O on Iapetus? Maybe there could be liquid water under the crust - maybe there could be life! (Examples: 03/26/2008, 07/12/2007, bullet 1, PhysOrg.)

Remember that it’s more reasonable to set an upper limit on age than a lower limit. Why? Because the observation-to-assumption ratio is lower. We only have a few centuries of observation of Iapetus - only a few decades of spacecraft observations, the best observations within the last 4 years from Cassini. Extrapolating what we know or can reasonably infer back in time by a few decades or centuries or millennia may be acceptable, but not billions of years. These papers indicate that impact gardening, sublimation and thermal segregation will darken a crater within a few thousand years. With very liberal assumptions they can stretch some of the bright craters into a few tens or hundreds of millions of years - but not billions. It’s probably far less, due to the fact that the ice is lost to space each orbit (see 05/05/2008). But even the most generous upper limit is far less than the time needed to keep Iapetus 4.5 billion years old.


Models by definition are only simulations of reality. Other plausible models with variable deposition rates and impact rates might produce the observed pattern in orders of magnitude less time. A rigorous examination of the assumptions used in these papers, constrained by observations, might rule out the billions of years evolution requires. Here’s an opportunity for creation scientists to tighten the upper-limit belt for the processes on Iapetus, and cause some impact on the evolutionary A.S.S.

(Hmm, what happened to Coppedge being an “intelligent design” guy? There’s “creation science”, right there. Kicking A.S.S. Is that a Christian thing to say/fantasize about? Hmm.)

September 17, 2010: Lunar Complexity Challenges Simple Theories -

Are planetary scientists coming closer to “the truth” about our moon’s origin? The data are certainly getting better. But infrared maps and crater size-distribution statistics do not interpret themselves. They need to be incorporated into a paradigm (interpretive framework with its ancillary assumptions). That paradigm has shifted again, according to Greenhagen.

The paradigm has not shifted to revolution status, evidently. Scientists are at the stage of admitting more anomalies in the current paradigm. According to Thomas Kuhn, this is a routine part of normal science. Only when the anomalies accumulate to the point of unwieldiness, or younger scientists enter the field with maverick ideas, can the paradigm get replaced by a new paradigm in a “scientific revolution.”

The current paradigm includes a time framework and numerous unproveable assumptions. Entrenched assumptions currently include the Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) of 4.5 billion years (the Law of the Misdeeds and the Perversions that cannot be altered), the reliability of radiometric dating along with its copious assumptions about initial conditions, the hypothesis the moon formed when a Mars-size body impacted the Earth, the Late Heavy Bombardment, the reliability of crater count dating, and more. Interpretations made about the moon (our nearest neighbor) are often extrapolated to other bodies in the solar system.


Bro, can youse paradigm? Scientists are often oblivious to the assumptions they spend on paradigms. Within the guild, everything seems intuitively obvious. Anomalies are mere puzzles that will be solved within the consensus, they glibly presume (03/31/2005). What is needed is thinking outside the box, if for no other reason that to study the soundness of the box. Why, for instance, must scientists take a bottom-up strategy for origins? Is it somehow more blessed to explain everything up from particles to people, from hydrogen to high-tech, than from top-down design?

Top-down thinking certainly has the Second Law of Thermodynamics in its favor. For an example of outside-the-box, top-down thinking about the moon, you might want to examine the new updated edition of Our Created Moon by Whitcomb and DeYoung, available on It explores the design purposes of the moon as well as analyzing flaws in secular origin theories. Other top-down analyses of the moon include Tas Walker’s analysis of fault scarps (9/2/2010 at CMI), an analysis of transient lunar phenomena by Dr. Don DeYoung in Journal of Creation April 2003 (free access to PDF file), videos on “Our Created Moon” by Dr. DeYoung viewable on Answers in Genesis, and an article by DeYoung on ICR comparing bottom-up and and top-down views on the origin of the moon.

December 7, 2010: News from Saturn -

None of the Enceladus articles talked about how this little moon could be putting out so much energy for 4.5 billion years. That’s because they don’t have a clue. The geysers remain exciting, but not as wildly improbable, without the Law of the Misdeeds and Perversions, which cannot be altered, known as the A.S.S. (age of the solar system).

March 18, 2011: It’s Raining Methane on Titan’s Dunes -

None of the reports discussed the age issue, but it seems seasonal rains like this would have left evidence of vast deposits of sedimentation if cloudbursts have been going on for billions of years. It appears that the drainage channels are being formed by currently active dynamic weather and are not relics of past epochs. Unlike Earth, Titan does not appear to have plate tectonics or volcanoes (at least in abundance), and its surface winds are primarily confined to equatorial latitudes. That means the surface is pretty static. Methane may cycle through the atmosphere, but not liquid ethane that should have formed a global ocean miles deep after 4.5 billion years of steady precipitation (07/31/2008).

So we have raining methane on Titan, and reigning dogma on Earth. In fact, it’s reigning cats and dogmas, speaking of the reigning cats in academia who sit on their A.S.S. (age of the solar system) and never budge. Some stand-up scientist should model what the conditions on Titan would be expected to look like after billions of years of erosion and ask whether the model fits the observations. It might shed some light where the sun never shines.

We are still discovering facts about Titan, so definitive conclusions are premature; however, enough is known to falsify many assumptions and predictions made by those who refuse to budge from their A.S.S. (age of the solar system, 4.5 billion years;see 02/19/2011). They were wrong about a global ocean; they were wrong about huge lakes of liquid ethane; they were dumbfounded to find sand dunes; and now it appears they were wrong about active geology.

The upper limits on age appear to be growing stronger with time. The puzzlement on their faces, and the silence about defending the consensus age, are tell-tale signs that their fascination with discovery is tempered by panic over looming destruction of favored beliefs about the age of the solar system (02/15/2008). Titan may be the old-agers’ Titanic.

(Note 1: All bolds added by me. Other formatting original. Green text (Coppedge’s commentary is always in green on CEH) not reproduced.)

(Note 2: Just so that we don’t get any whining about not dealing with the evidence, here’s the evidence for an old solar system. It is as well-established as any fact in science. This does not necessarily mean that any particular moon, ring, or arbitrary feature/surface of these is 4.5 billion years old, of course, although Coppedge likes to pretend so.)

For more of Coppedge’s mild demeanor, politeness, winsome criticism of mainstream science, shyness, and utter lack of chutzpah, try googling: “stupid evolution” . Others may discover other good searches and post them in the comments.

My conclusion: Klinghoffer’s spin on Coppedge? Now that’s chutzpah.