Young Earth Arguments

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Levi
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Young Earth Arguments

Postby Levi » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:04 am UTC

I'd like to preface this by saying that I am not arguing for a young Earth; I'm just looking for help finding references.

One of my teachers believes in a young Earth and in defense of his belief he used the argument that the earth's magnetic field is decreasing too rapidly for it to be older than 10,000 years. I looked that up and in the process of finding information about it I stumbled across this website. These are all arguments for a young Earth that I had never heard of before. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find much about them, which is why I am now turning to the fora. Most of the references are to journals and other print media which would be difficult for me to obtain, and I'm having trouble finding anything either supporting or contradicting them (so far I have only been able to find these two things about the Earth's magnetic field). It seems on the surface that they are based on pretty flimsy reasoning and data, but I'd like to make sure. I'd be extremely grateful if anyone could provide any data, papers, articles, or even your own knowledge.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby krogoth » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:42 am UTC

I'd be basing the changes in pole strength due to the pols switching, this being a gradual thing more than the word switching suggests. 'How stuff works' has some details about it, the first page or two of google seems to have some other pages that seem less than reliable.
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby douglasm » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:49 am UTC

Talkorigins.org is by far the most comprehensive and well-cited resource of this kind I am aware of, and you seem to have already found it - or did you just find that one article from google without realizing that there's a whole ton more on that site?

If looking up print and journal references is not practical for you, talkorigins is almost certainly the best you're going to find.

Oh, and An Index to Creationist Claims. If your teacher has a serious argument that is not already both on that list and thoroughly refuted in detail by the list's linked article for the claim, I will be very surprised.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Levi » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:04 am UTC

Thanks for the TalkOrigins link; I didn't realize that it was a whole site about the issue. That should provide plenty of information.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Charlie! » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:14 am UTC

Geology thoroughly refutes the magnetic field idea. Though we don't fully understand why (afaik), layers of rocks show that the magnetic field of the earth goes through cycles.

Viz: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal

As for your link, let's see if I can refute them off the top of my head:
1) Argument from ignorance - creationism doesn't explain spiral galaxies any better.
2) Don't know. Looks reasonable, but given my Bayesian prior for creationists, it's probably based on faulty data.
3) Reasonable argument for a young universe. However, is not extremely strong (as is mentioned), and is overwhelmed by all the other evidence.
4) Dumb. Ignores all sorts of other things (rock formation, further erosion spreading it around, lowering of some plates and raising of others, etc.)
5) Sounds like their model is way too simple. They need to recheck assumptions.
6) Already mentioned - totally false.
7) I'm not a geologist, but you can do pretty amazing things to rock under high pressure. I'd guess they're just making it up here.
8 ) Total bullshit. Relies on biased sources to override credible ones, and doesn't understand how decay works.
9) While it can't be ruled out without assessing their source, their attempt at evidence looks totally worthless Conservation theorems and reliability of the source aside, what would happen to the heat of all those nuclei decaying?
10) I seem to recall something about dating being tricky in some igneous because of this effect. It's solved and not an argument for creationism.
11) Self-contradictory "evidence." Doesn't understand what fitting an exponential curve means.
12) Still don't understand decay (see 8 )
13) Strawman. Read Guns, Germs and Steel.
14) Total lack of understanding of history.

Additional note: The authors seem desperate for any argument they can lay their hands on. Also, the authors never mention any evidence that contradicts their claims, despite the fact that there's lots of it. Doesn't help their credibility any (not that they had much to start).
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby tuseroni » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:33 am UTC

answers in genesis is....what a nice way to say run by a bunch of fuckwits?
i really think i will let xkcd make my post for me:
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i love the creationists claims that scientists are all part of a massive global conspiracy to hide evidence that points towards creation and manufacture fictitious data pointing towards evolution and an old earth/universe in order to drive god out of the schools and corrupt our youth.


and btw, thats not a joke...
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Eternal Questionner » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:57 pm UTC

tuseroni wrote:answers in genesis is....what a nice way to say run by a bunch of fuckwits?


Run by a bunch of creationists.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Kizyr » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

Conservapedia also has a lot of support of Young-Earth Creationism, right? Creationism is obvious there, and I'm pretty sure I've read a lot of articles there that assume that YEC is correct.

There's also a particular theory that I'm having difficulty remembering the name of. Something like "catastrophic/cataclysmic creation", that posits that major cataclysmic events creating things such as the Grand Canyon and other features, rather than such things being created over the course of time.

My main refutation for YEC usually comes in the form of something like this:
Me: So, what's the explanation for carbon-dated fossils, and the observation of galaxies that are millions of light-years away?
YEC: The fossils were always there and put there to test us. And, the speed of light could have changed.
Me: ...so, the God you believe in likes to play tricks on us? KF
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Mr_Rose » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:36 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:Conservapedia also has a lot of support of Young-Earth Creationism, right? Creationism is obvious there, and I'm pretty sure I've read a lot of articles there that assume that YEC is correct.

There's also a particular theory that I'm having difficulty remembering the name of. Something like "catastrophic/cataclysmic creation", that posits that major cataclysmic events creating things such as the Grand Canyon and other features, rather than such things being created over the course of time.

My main refutation for YEC usually comes in the form of something like this:
Me: So, what's the explanation for carbon-dated fossils, and the observation of galaxies that are millions of light-years away?
YEC: The fossils were always there and put there to test us. And, the speed of light could have changed.
Me: ...so, the God you believe in likes to play tricks on us? KF

I personally like this line of "reasoning" too, because you can continue it with "well, if all the evidence was put there to test us, how do you know creation didn't happen five minutes ago?" and continue in that vein until your interlocutor is so confused they accidentally observe themselves to be in space and collapse their own wave-function. :twisted:
Microevolution is a term — when used by creationists — that is the evolutionary equivalent of the belief that the mechanism you use to walk from your bedroom to the kitchen is insufficient to get you from New York to Los Angeles.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby LucasBrown » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:26 pm UTC

I've done that a lot to some YEC-ists at my school. Their reactions can be quite entertaining.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Eternal Questionner » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:33 pm UTC

Charlie! wrote:As for your link, let's see if I can refute them off the top of my head:
2) Don't know. Looks reasonable, but given my Bayesian prior for creationists, it's probably based on faulty data.


I'll help you out.

2. Too few supernova remnants.

According to astronomical observations, galaxies like our own experience about one supernova (a violently-exploding star) every 25 years. The gas and dust remnants from such explosions (like the Crab Nebula) expand outward rapidly and should remain visible for over a million years. Yet the nearby parts of our galaxy in which we could observe such gas and dust shells contain only about 200 supernova remnants. That number is consistent with only about 7,000 years worth of supernovas.


The problem here is that they create a tautology. "Astronomical observations" include the "supernova remnants" that are clearly not scientific evidence for a supernova every 25 years. If the remnants can be used to infer supernovas, they are part of the evidence which shows that the "25 year" claim must be false. Creationists can't even begin to get their arguments straight.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Pesto » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:16 pm UTC

Also, "Yet the nearby parts of our galaxy..."

What portion of our galaxy makes up "nearby"? What about all the supernovae in distant parts of the galaxy that we're unaware of, or were simply not included in those figures?

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Interactive Civilian » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Debating with YECs seems to be a generally fruitless endeavor, because no matter what kind of evidence you produce and what kind of reasoning you use, they can always fall back on "God made it that way. You can't possibly understand the 'mind' of God."

Once you hit that, the argument is effectively over, because there is no counter to that argument. Mind you, this doesn't mean that they have won or that they are correct. It just means that the argument cannot fruitfully continue. If someone sincerely believes that view, then there is no chance of reasoning with them because they can use "God made it that way" to rationalize anything. :?
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby tuseroni » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:39 am UTC

i hit that point once in such an argument, he said "well if god is omnipotent then he could make the evidence appear that he didnt do it, to test our faith" this was before i knew of the last tuesday argument. but clearly seen that this was an intellectual dead end. of course in his mind im sure he won the argument and proved the existence of god.
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Kizyr » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:25 pm UTC

Interactive Civilian wrote:Once you hit that, the argument is effectively over, because there is no counter to that argument. Mind you, this doesn't mean that they have won or that they are correct. It just means that the argument cannot fruitfully continue. If someone sincerely believes that view, then there is no chance of reasoning with them because they can use "God made it that way" to rationalize anything. :?

At that point, I'll point out that it's then a difference of what we believe God to be (as a note, if it wasn't already clear, I do believe in God). My belief in God is closer to, say, Galileo's, of a God who endowed us with reason and intellect to observe the natural world and understand the universe for ourselves. Their belief in God is closer to, say, Loki the Trickster, who likes to fool you into believing the wrong thing to send you into hell. And hey, if they want to believe in Loki, then so be it; let's just call it a theological difference.

Even if you don't believe in a God, you could still make the same case that you're uncomfortable believing in a God who likes to play tricks on humanity. KF
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:34 pm UTC

Mr_Rose wrote:
Kizyr wrote:Conservapedia also has a lot of support of Young-Earth Creationism, right? Creationism is obvious there, and I'm pretty sure I've read a lot of articles there that assume that YEC is correct.

There's also a particular theory that I'm having difficulty remembering the name of. Something like "catastrophic/cataclysmic creation", that posits that major cataclysmic events creating things such as the Grand Canyon and other features, rather than such things being created over the course of time.

My main refutation for YEC usually comes in the form of something like this:
Me: So, what's the explanation for carbon-dated fossils, and the observation of galaxies that are millions of light-years away?
YEC: The fossils were always there and put there to test us. And, the speed of light could have changed.
Me: ...so, the God you believe in likes to play tricks on us? KF

I personally like this line of "reasoning" too, because you can continue it with "well, if all the evidence was put there to test us, how do you know creation didn't happen five minutes ago?" and continue in that vein until your interlocutor is so confused they accidentally observe themselves to be in space and collapse their own wave-function. :twisted:

See, I thought the more obvious response was: Why would God put things there to test us? He's omniscient. He should know the results of the test without having to perform it.
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Interactive Civilian » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:12 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:Even if you don't believe in a God, you could still make the same case that you're uncomfortable believing in a God who likes to play tricks on humanity. KF

I see your points, but you will still run into a wall, because if they have complete faith in their God and they way he works, then your disagreements or discomforts will not affect them. Once you hit the wall of Faith (capital F, as in religious faith, especially in the face of evidence), there is no more reasoning to be done. Try questioning certain things, and you'll often get responses like the following.
SlyReaper wrote:See, I thought the more obvious response was: Why would God put things there to test us? He's omniscient. He should know the results of the test without having to perform it.

Because God works in mysterious ways. Who are YOU to question the acts of God? ;)

(for the record, I am an agnostic atheist, or "weak atheist" as some put it: I don't believe in any particular deity, but were there convincing evidence, I'd be open to accepting it)
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Zamfir » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:01 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
Mr_Rose wrote:
Kizyr wrote:Conservapedia also has a lot of support of Young-Earth Creationism, right? Creationism is obvious there, and I'm pretty sure I've read a lot of articles there that assume that YEC is correct.

There's also a particular theory that I'm having difficulty remembering the name of. Something like "catastrophic/cataclysmic creation", that posits that major cataclysmic events creating things such as the Grand Canyon and other features, rather than such things being created over the course of time.

My main refutation for YEC usually comes in the form of something like this:
Me: So, what's the explanation for carbon-dated fossils, and the observation of galaxies that are millions of light-years away?
YEC: The fossils were always there and put there to test us. And, the speed of light could have changed.
Me: ...so, the God you believe in likes to play tricks on us? KF

I personally like this line of "reasoning" too, because you can continue it with "well, if all the evidence was put there to test us, how do you know creation didn't happen five minutes ago?" and continue in that vein until your interlocutor is so confused they accidentally observe themselves to be in space and collapse their own wave-function. :twisted:

See, I thought the more obvious response was: Why would God put things there to test us? He's omniscient. He should know the results of the test without having to perform it.

To know whether to put you in Hell or not. Wars have been fought over this point. A major part of Calvinism was the principle that God has full power over who is saved and who not, so that when you are born it is already decided whether you will find the light during your life and be saved. The Catholic Church holds that God is capable of giving people free will, so that people make their own mistakes.

In the Catholic doctrine, God might need experiments to find out whether you are good or bad. Basically, they say is god so powerful that he can override his own omnipotence to give souls free will, or something close to that.

But it's strangely enough usually Protestants who come with "it's a test!" arguments.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:13 pm UTC

So according to Catholicism, God can make a rock so heavy even He cannot lift it, and according to Calvinism, He can't. Interesting.
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Zamfir » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:04 pm UTC

That might be a bit too strong. This is hardly clear territory, with a lot of vagueness. Catholic doctrine was and is that free will exists [i]and[/i] that god is omnipotent and omniscient, but I don't think they have a single, definite explanation of how that can be. More like different schools of thought. Luther and Calvin got a lot of credibility exactly from cutting the knot here, even if that meant abolishing free will.

I think the standard Aquinas explanation is that god knows and causes all human acts, but that he chooses them in a way that fits the person.

EDIT: here is the most relevant quote from Thomas Aquinas. I am not sure to what extent this is official, I think it is just one of the options floating around, but the standard option. Try to understand it at your own peril.
Reply to Objection 3. free will is the cause of its own movement, because by his free will man moves himself to act. But it does not of necessity belong to liberty that what is free should be the first cause of itself, as neither for one thing to be cause of another need it be the first cause. God, therefore, is the first cause, Who moves causes both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their acts being natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary: but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them; for He operates in each thing according to its own nature.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby BlackSails » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

For comparison, jewish mysticism's answer to "could god make a rock he could not lift" is that in order to create the universe, god had to retract his power to allow a space where logic and free will could exist. So he could, it would just involve unmaking the universe.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby LucasBrown » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:48 pm UTC

So if God retracted His power to make a universe containing logic and free will... does He still have the power to un-make the universe? If He does, then yes, he can make the unliftable rock; if he does not, then he cannot make the unliftable rock.

An alternative to this would be to posit something like the following:
God exists in a multiverse (M) with four sub-universes (LF, F, L, and N) that have, respectively, both logic and free will, free will but not logic, logic but not free will, and neither logic nor free will. God would still retain all His power since He exists in M--He can do whatever He wants in F and N; it's only when He messes with L or LF that His power is restricted*.

Now, what are the L/F/whatever characteristics of M? And which universe are we in?

*It could be argued that since God's power is restricted in L and LF, He is actually does not retain all His power in M.
To counter this, note that in F and N, he can do whatever He wants, so he, in fact, retains all His power in M.
It could also be noted that, in N, God can create a sub-universe of N (call it N.LF) that has logic and free will, in which He can make the unliftable rock.
Such are the tangles of theology.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby nash1429 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

I have always thought it interesting that creationists slam evolutionists for manipulating data to fit their worldview, when in fact it is the creationists who are usually trying to make data fit the bible.

On the topic of convincing creationists that they are wrong: I recently found (either with StumbleUpon or in connection with some casual research into "Dr." Richard Paley; in either case I can't find it again) an article about about an evolutionary biologist who uses the same statistical evaluation tools as creation scientists (or more accurately, creation "scientists") in order to demonstrate that they provide evidence for evolution as well as (weak) evidence for intelligent design. Of course, while some of the more open-minded and well-educated proponents of YEC and ID may be swayed, I think there will always be some subset of the population that believes such things.

Edit/addition: It is somewhat surprising to me that I have never heard a proponent of YEC argue that the necessity for dark matter and dark energy in our current model of the universe are evidence that the universe must have been created recently, as they are some of the few current discrepancies that give me doubt.

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby Shotglass » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:11 am UTC

to bring this back a little to the original point
i found this rather nice map of magnetic anomalies
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6982485.stm
particularly the mid atlantic rift shows some very nice striping resulting from remanent magnetisation in opposite direction of the rock when it first solidified

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby DreadArchon » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

I have the most fun with people who include the "6 days of creation were literally 6 Earth days" part of Young Earth arguments. I like to use loose Relativity arguments--relative velocities, gravitational fields, reference frames, etc.--to reason that this viewpoint presupposes a God who is subordinate to the physics of spacetime (as clearly he did not create time and space if the Earth's reference frame existed before he started). I don't do this often, so I haven't gotten very far; someday I hope to see if I can lead someone into accidentally agreeing with the straw man I'm building for them, at which point I can act offended that "their God" is subordinate to the universe he supposedly created. :P

nash1429 wrote:Edit/addition: It is somewhat surprising to me that I have never heard a proponent of YEC argue that the necessity for dark matter and dark energy in our current model of the universe are evidence that the universe must have been created recently, as they are some of the few current discrepancies that give me doubt.

I actually have a litmus test for kooky theories in my daily interactions: "Does the person, informed of new information which supports their theory, tend to reject this information?"

This test works best if you firmly establish yourself as opposed to the person's theory before introducing the information.

My experience is that people with crazy theories often hold them without any active logical thought; if they have an extensive, well-reasoned argument, it's more a practiced routine than a living pattern of reason. People who just don't think things through will often latch on to new ideas to justify their poorly-supported notions, but the serious crackpots will reject pretty much anything that doesn't come from the one or two people they actually listen to (which may even be only themselves, in the worst cases).

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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby tuseroni » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:31 pm UTC

well the bible was rather clear that 6 days was 6 earth days. i like it when they try and use the "we dont know how long a day is to god" bit.

the weirder thing still is the order. got made light and day/night on the first day, but made the sun,moon, and stars on the 4th day. he also made plants before this time. also the sun, moon, and stars were all made on the same day. of course genesis also has two accounts of the creation story which have different orders.
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Re: Young Earth Arguments

Postby ++$_ » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:20 am UTC

Here's the summary of responses (mostly gathered from talkorigins.org):

1. The reason the spiral arms don't get wound more and more tightly is that they are largely temporary structures. They are (we think) formed by moving density waves that trigger formation of short-lived, bright stars. Those stars last for a very brief time (a handful of millions of years) and most don't even complete one galactic rotation, so the arms never get tightly wound. If we look at a galaxy again in 100 million years, the stars we see making up the spiral arms will mostly be new. Therefore, the arm will still have the same shape, even though the old stellar remnants nearest the galactic center have indeed moved ahead of the new ones.
2. Really requires a detailed explanation, but here's the executive summary:
Let's briefly summarise how YECs such as Davies and Sarfati are correct and incorrect. First, in their favour, they are correct on:

* The frequency of supernovae occurrence in our Galaxy

However, that's actually it. This is the only point in their favour. In contrast, they are completely incorrect about the following:

* The number of actual, observable SNRs in our Galaxy.
* The typical observable lifetime of SNRs.
* The evolutionary timescales of SNRs.
* The uniformity (or lack thereof) of SNR characteristics.
* The presence of Radiative SNRs.
* The difficulty of finding SNRs.
* The distance to SNRs.

3. Again, here's a detailed explanation of the evidence for the Oort cloud.
4. The deposition and removal of sediment from the ocean floor is not uniform over time.
5. Classic pseudoscientific gambit: cite a source and misrepresent what it's saying. The one peer-reviewed paper they cite doesn't back up their 27% figure -- instead, it says that between 20 and 33 percent of the sodium influx from the Amazon is immediately absorbed by the sediment suspended in the Amazonian water upon entering the ocean. I assume this somehow turned into "27%", but they claim that the 27% figure covers ALL forms of sodium efflux. That's blatantly false -- it covers only sodium uptake by suspended river sediments. So this one is total bullshit and should really go on their list of "arguments to avoid."
6. Do I really need to answer this one? Well, OK, fine. You see, since the last ice age (20,000 years ago), the global temperature has been increasing at an average rate of, oh, say, 0.0005 degrees C per year. So in just ten million years, the Earth will be hotter than the surface of the sun. QED.
7. Rocks can be bent just fine under enough pressure, so this one is total BS too.
8. Their figure of 6500 years is based on one paper (the one that gives the lowest figure, coincidentally enough), and the issues raised by that paper have pretty much been resolved now. See this really good explanation.
9. It's not polonium. They totally made that up.
10. Kevin Henke (aka Summer Glau) takes this one to task. [WARNING: The document is 129 pages long. Skim.]
11. This is still being investigated, but the best answer is that the C14 is produced by radiation from surrounding rocks. At the very least, its abundance is correlated with the radioactivity of the surrounding rocks.
12. A concise response from talkorigins.org: basically, AIG are just dead wrong. The main problem seems to be that they don't understand the difference between fossils (fairly robust bits of stone; bones that have been calcified under unusual circumstances) and bones (which can be dissolved relatively rapidly by water).
13. Pure speculation. Why is it so hard to believe that humans could have survived without agriculture? Agriculture might have been significantly harder during the ice age, and early humans might very easily have been less intelligent than modern ones.
14. Another really concise response that points out that this is basically pure speculation too.


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