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Young-Earth Creationist Helium Diffusion "Dates"

Appendix D: Questions that Dr. Humphreys Can't or Won't Answer

Copyright © 2006
[Posted: July 25, 2006]

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acknowledged and the text is not altered, edited or sold.

Appendix C
Humphreys Feels the Pressure
Main Article


In his 2005 and 2006 replies to my March and November, 2005 Talkorigins essays, respectively, Dr. Humphreys has repeated failed to properly address the frequent problems in his work. It's obvious from his superficial statements and numerous misconceptions that Dr. Humphreys has never attempted to properly review and understand my criticisms of his work. To encourage Dr. Humphreys to finally address these issues, I have summarized some of his problems that I have previously discussed in my essays as a series of questions in this appendix. I'm hoping that Dr. Humphreys will take several months and properly perform the necessary experiments to really deal with these issues rather than just ripping off another set of rash, superficial and insulting replies. Dr. Humphreys needs to carefully and rationally deal with these questions before scientists will ever take his work seriously.

Missing a Values and Anisotropic Diffusion

  1. As admitted in Humphreys (2005) and Humphreys et al. (2004, p. 5), why did Dr. Humphreys never bother to have the zircons in the 750-meter sample sorted by size and the a values of the zircons measured when accurate values of a are critical in calculating the "dates" with equations 13-14 and 16 in Humphreys et al. (2003a)? How is Dr. Humphreys practicing good science by taking shortcuts and not carefully measuring ALL of his parameters?

  2. Equations are available that deal with the anisotropic diffusion of noble gases in solids (e.g., McDougall and Harrison, 1999, p. 141). Why did Dr. Humphreys not use these more accurate equations with his zircons rather than improperly assuming that they and his biotites were isotropic? Humphreys et al. (2004, p. 15) claims that assuming anisotropy for his zircons would only alter the results "by less than a factor of two." What evidence or calculations does Dr. Humphreys have to support this claim?

Missing b values

  1. The variable b must be precisely known to obtain "helium diffusion dates" from equations 12-14 and 17 in Humphreys et al. (2003a). Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 8) also used b as part of their efforts to justify removing sample #6 from their "creation model." Dr. Humphreys' documents only contain one approximation for b, which is an average of ~1000 microns for an unknown number of biotites from the 750-meter sample (Humphreys et al., 2003a, p. 8). Because the zircons and biotites of the Fenton Hill cores come from gneisses and many other varieties of metamorphic and igneous rocks, what justification does Dr. Humphreys have for applying only one poorly defined b value and Q0 value to all of his and R. Gentry's samples from the Fenton Hill cores? Why would Dr. Humphreys expect a b value of a metamorphic biotite to be the same as a b for an igneous biotite?

  2. How is it good science for Dr. Humphreys not to carefully measure b, a, or any of his other parameters and not provide suitable standard deviations?

  3. Humphreys (2005) replies to my criticisms of his single b value with the following nonsensical statement:

    "However, Henke has the raw data we published, so he can compute the standard deviations for himself."

    Because his papers only contain one average b value (p. 8, Humphreys et al., 2003a), how can anyone obtain a standard deviation from only one number? Using the proper non-biased equation (see Davis, 1986, p. 33) for calculating standard deviations would lead to division by zero. Where are these raw data, Dr. Humphreys? Also, why are you not concerned about carefully determining your standard deviations?

Impure and Improper Biotite Separations

  1. What calculations does Dr. Humphreys have to claim that assuming isotropy for his zircons and biotites would only lengthen the helium diffusion time by no more than 30% (Humphreys et al., 2003a, p. 9)? How would the loss of helium from grinding the biotites affect his calculations (see question #8)? Because accurate equations and models are not available for helium diffusion in Dr. Humphreys' biotites and zircons, what justification does he have for publishing anything? Considering the pronounced cleavage planes in biotite, since when is Figure 7 in Humphreys et al. (2003a) even a realistic approximation?

  2. Humphreys (2005) calls on me to do a better job in separating the biotites from his samples, but why should I do his work for him? Why shouldn't he strive to do his own work properly?

  3. Why did Dr. Humphreys' workers grind instead of cut his biotite specimens when Trull and Kurz (1993, p. 1314) and Mussett (1969, p. 298) warn that silicate minerals can lose much of their gases through grinding? Why should we accept the helium measurements on the Fenton Hill biotites (Appendix B of Humphreys et al., 2003a) when they have been ground?

  4. Dr. Farley in Appendix B of Humphreys et al. (2003a) indicates that the biotite samples from the Fenton Hill core are impure, which would affect the diffusion results of the biotites. Even if ICR laboratory personnel managed to successfully separate some biotites from the "Beartooth gneiss", why did Dr. Humphreys trust them when they so messed up the mineral separations from Dr. Austin's Mt. St. Helens' sample? (See: "Young-Earth Creationist 'Dating' of a Mt. St. Helens Dacite: The Failure of Austin and Swenson to Recognize Obviously Ancient Minerals" for specific examples of the faulty mineral separations in Dr. Austin's work.) What scientist would trust the haphazard and unreliable efforts of such a laboratory?

  5. How can Humphreys et al. (2003a) justify the use of data from these ground biotites to remove sample #6 from their "creation model"?

Unexplained "Typos" in Gentry et al. (1982a) (Humphrey, 2005 dodges these questions; No reply in Humphreys, 2006; Dr. Gentry never replied to my emails on this issue)

  1. How and when were the "typos" related to the helium measurements (Q values) in Gentry et al. (1982a) discovered? Were the original laboratory notes consulted to correct the typographical errors? If not, how were they reliably corrected? Were the values corrected independently of any of Dr. Humphreys' results or were the values "corrected" to comply with Dr. Humphreys' results?

  2. If the 30-40% alpha ejection values in Gentry et al. (1982a) are too small and "misstated" as Humphreys (2005) claims and the Q values in Gentry et al. (1982a) have typos, why should Dr. Humphreys accept the Q/Q0 values or any other data in Gentry et al. (1982a) especially when the chemical data in Gentry et al. (1982b) indicate that the Q/Q0 values are inflated? (See my calculations in Appendix B.) Why is Dr. Humphreys still willing to trust the Q/Q0 values in Gentry et al. (1982a) after he's admitted that almost every other datum in this paper is a "typo" or "misstated" number?

Inaccurate Q0 values and Inflated Q/Q0 values

  1. Because Humphreys (2005) had no problem immediately correcting his unit of measure error in Appendix C of Humphreys et al. (2003a), why is Dr. Humphreys taking so many months to provide the calculations on how he and R. Gentry obtained a Q0 value of only 15 ncc STP/µg?

  2. What justification does Dr. Humphreys have for applying only one Q0 value to all of the zircons from the diverse metamorphic and igneous rocks of the Fenton Hill cores?

  3. Uranium radiogenic haloes are clearly visible in several of the Fenton Hill zircons in the photographs in Dr. Humphreys' articles. Considering the obviously high uranium concentrations in these zircons, how can Dr. Humphreys consider a single Q0 value of only 15 ncc STP/µg to be realistic?

  4. How can Humphreys (2005) maintain that his and Dr. Gentry's Q0 value of 15 ncc STP/µg is approximately accurate when it's inconsistent with the chemical data in Gentry et al. (1982b)? (See the calculations in my Appendix B, which Dr. Humphreys repeatedly ignores.) The chemical data in Gentry et al. (1982b) indicate that the Q0 values for the different Fenton Hill zircons are highly variable and may be as high as 573 ncc STP/µg. Even the three zircons in Appendix A of Humphreys et al. (2003a) have significantly variable uranium concentrations that range from 218 to 612 ppm, which would yield very different Q0 values.

  5. Humphreys (2005) claims:

    "But after discussing the matter with him [R. Gentry], I'm inclined to think that even if he had an error in Q0, the error canceled out when he calculated the ratio Q/Q0, which is the crucial quantity in this analysis."

    What detailed calculations does Dr. Humphreys have to support this claim? Why should any scientist trust Q/Q0 values that rely on serious errors in Q and Q0 to just fortuitously cancel out?

  6. Why should anyone continue to assume that the Q/Q0 value of sample #1 is 0.58, when chemical analyses on sample #1 zircons in Gentry et al. (1982b) indicate that the value may be as low as 0.015 (see my Appendix B)?

  7. Because the chemical data in Gentry et al. (1982b) indicate that the Q/Q0 values in Dr. Humphreys' documents are often an order of magnitude too high (see my Appendix B), how can Humphreys et al. (2003a, Table 1 on p. 3, etc.) and Gentry et al. (1982a) claim that their values are accurate within ± 30%?

  8. Considering that the actual uranium and thorium analyses in Table 1 of Gentry et al. (1982b) and the calculations in my Appendix B indicate that Dr. Humphreys' Q/Q0 values are often inflated by an order of magnitude, how can Humphreys (2005) dare to claim that the data for his zircons are "perfectly consistent" with the chemical data in Gentry et al. (1982b)?

  9. Why does Humphreys (2005) and Humphreys (2006) ignore the important Q/Q0 calculations in my Appendix B and how they invalidate his "creation date" of 6,000 years?

  10. Because equations in Humphreys et al. (2003a) are based on known false assumptions and because his a, b, and Q/Q0 values are either missing, poorly measured or inadequately explained, how would I have any difficulty meeting the "burden of disproof" that Humphreys (2005) demands?

  11. Considering how Dr. Humphreys has manipulated and misused his a, b, and Q/Q0 values (see the other questions in this appendix and the text of my Talkorigins essays for details), why couldn't the alignment between the "creation model" and the defect curve in Figure 2 of Humphreys (2005) be nothing more than a fluke?

Important Thorium Data are Missing

  1. Why didn't Humphreys et al. (2003a) measure the thorium in their zircons when chemical data in Gentry et al. (1982b) indicate that the thorium concentrations in the Fenton Hill zircons are highly variable and could be significant sources of radiogenic helium?

The Wet Past of the Fenton Hill Rocks

  1. How can Dr. Humphreys in Humphreys et al. (2003a), Humphreys (2005), etc. believe that the Fenton Hill rocks have been dry over the past thousands of years when Laney et al. (1981), Laughlin and Eddy (1977, p. 28), Sasada (1989), and other references indicate that the rocks were more permeable and contained fluids in the recent past? If the Fenton Hill rocks have always been dry as proclaimed in Humphreys et al. (2003a) and Humphreys (2005), how did the extensive hydrothermal (i.e., "hot water") alterations and hydrothermal minerals identified by Laney et al. (1981) and Laughlin and Eddy (1977, p. 28) form in these rocks?

  2. How does the presence of abundant fluid-altered minerals and grains in the Fenton Hill cores support the undocumented proclamation in Humphreys (2005) that fluids could not have traveled very far in the Fenton Hill Precambrian rocks because "the interface widths between minerals would be microscopic, perhaps only an Ångström (the diameter of a hydrogen atom) or so"?

  3. Where's the evidence of the no more than Ångström wide interface widths and, even if they existed, why couldn't the fluids pass through any persistent fractures in the minerals rather than only in the interface spaces between minerals?

  4. How can Humphreys (2006) claim that I was trying to "bait and switch" my readers with argon in wet mica supposedly for helium in dry zircons, when I have been completely open about citing examples of argon in wet and dry micas and other phyllosilicates (see my Appendix C), I also repeatedly cited a reference that deals with pressurized helium in garnets (Dunai and Roselieb (1996) and I have cited several different references (Laney et al., 1981; Laughlin and Eddy, 1977, p. 28; Sasada, 1989; etc.) to show that the Fenton Hill cores had a wet past? Why does Dr. Humphreys make these misleading accusations instead of dealing with the wet past of the Fenton Hill cores and how it affects his YEC claims?

  5. Uranium deposited by past fluids has been detected in fractures in the Fenton Hill rocks (West and Laughlin, 1976, p. 618). Because uranium produces extraneous helium, why won't Dr. Humphreys look for extraneous helium in his samples? (Also see question #32)

Possibility of Extraneous Helium

  1. In my original March and November, 2005 Talkorigins essays, I carefully explained how extraneous helium may still be present in the Fenton Hill zircons, but could have escaped from the surrounding biotites thousands of years ago. As my November, 2005 Talkorigins essay states:

    "Dr. Humphreys simply fails to realize that the zircons may have been contaminated with extraneous helium many thousands of years ago. Again, Sasada (1989) argues that the Fenton Hill rocks were mineralized by fluids during a relatively COOL period in the recent past (my Figure 5). During prolonged exposure, extraneous helium could have contaminated biotites, zircons and other minerals. Also rather than always penetrating the zircons, helium pressures surrounding the minerals may have been periodically high enough IN THE PAST to temporarily prevent or extensively slow down the escape of any helium from the zircons. [original emphasis] [new paragraph] According to Sasada (1989), the cooling event in the subsurface of Fenton Hill was followed by reheating to present temperatures (my Figure 5). During this current reheating event, the cleavage planes in biotites and other micas would provide excellent pathways for their extraneous helium to largely dissipate as background helium concentrations in the regional crust declined. However, the relatively impermeable zircons could have retained any extraneous helium for a longer period of time, perhaps up to the present. Therefore, instead of observing the substantial remnants of radiogenic helium in zircons from 1.5 billion years' worth of uranium and thorium decay, Humphreys et al. (2003a,b; 2004) might be largely analyzing remaining extraneous helium that contaminated the Fenton Hill subsurface rocks during the relative cool period in the recent past."

    Rather than trying to understand this hypothesis, Humphreys (2005) just repeats same old Lyell uniformitarian mantra that because his GROUND biotites from ONE section of the Fenton Hill cores CURRENTLY have very little helium, they could NEVER have had any more helium in them thousands of years ago:

    "First, if the helium in the zircons were 'excess' and came from outside them, it would have had to come through the biotite. As I pointed out on p. 9 of CRSQ 2004, the helium concentration in the biotite is two hundred times lower than the concentration in the zircon. That means, according to the laws of diffusion, that the helium is presently leaking out of the zircons into the biotite, not the other way around. Also, as I pointed out, the total amount of helium in the biotite is roughly the same as the helium lost from the zircon."

    Dr. Humphreys, do you now understand how you're making invalid Lyell uniformitarian assumptions about the PAST helium concentrations in the Fenton Hill biotites? Why don't you test my hypothesis by looking for 3He in zircons and extraneous 4He in low uranium/thorium quartz?

  2. If YECs readily accept the existence of extraneous argon because they improperly believe that "undetected excess" argon nullifies K-Ar and Ar-Ar dating (see the rebuttal to this YEC misunderstanding at Woodmorappe's Shotgun Attack on 40Ar-39Ar Dating: Many Misses and Few Hits), why can't Dr. Humphreys simply accept the possibility that his zircons could be contaminated with extraneous helium?

  3. Why does Humphreys (2005) want me to perform a series of superfluous field studies to look for extraneous helium at Fenton Hill when the possibility of extraneous helium could be easily tested if he would simply look for 3He in his zircons and 4He in surrounding low-uranium/thorium quartz grains? If I did any field work, why wouldn't Dr. Humphreys simply invoke more miracles to dismiss any of my field results that he doesn't like just as he did with the U/Pb dates of his own zircons in Appendix A of Humphreys et al. (2003a)?

  4. Why does Humphreys (2005) believe that helium contamination of the Fenton Hill rocks would require "magmatic fluids" and in particular "basaltic magmatic fluids" when uranium deposits have already been identified in the Fenton Hill cores (West and Laughlin, 1976, p. 618), which could produce extensive extraneous helium? Furthermore, fractures produced from orogenies can allow extraneous helium to enter the Fenton Hill rocks not only from deep degassing magmas, but also from massive and solid portions of the mantle (Goff and Gardner, 1994, p. 1816).

  5. Extraneous helium currently exists in the Valles Caldera only 8 or so kilometers from Fenton Hill (Smith and Kennedy, 1985; Truesdell and Janik, 1986). Since helium has already traveled all the way from the mantle to the Valles Caldera, why couldn't the helium travel a few extra kilometers to contaminate the Fenton Hill samples? The helium could have easily traveled with the other fluids that contaminated the Fenton Hill cores as described in Sasada (1989).

  6. If extraneous helium is present in Dr. Humphreys' zircons, why can't his "uniformitarian model" have an age anywhere between thousands to 1.5 billion years?

  7. Because Gentry et al. (1982a) admits that the helium in their #5 and #6 samples may not be radiogenic but "derived from some other sources", why shouldn't Dr. Humphreys look for extraneous helium in his zircons?

  8. How can Humphreys (2005) consider the possibly that his zircons were contaminated with extraneous helium to be a "pure conjecture", "improbably coincidences" and "short of credibility" while he considers his flawed Figure 2 and groundless claims of miraculous accelerated radioactive decay rates to be "scientific"? Unlike his miraculous fantasies, is not my extraneous helium hypothesis testable as described in question #32?

Temperature Problems

  1. How can Dr. Humphreys assume that temperatures have been constant over time in the Fenton Hill cores when that assumption is refuted by Harrison et al. (1986) and Sasada (1989)? Why should any scientist accept Dr. Humphreys' false and unjustified assumptions of constant temperatures as an "act of generosity" to the "uniformitarians"? Why doesn't Dr. Humphreys realize that scientists are interested in accuracy and not any unrealistic "acts of generosity" from him?

  2. How could temperatures in the Fenton Hill cores remain constant from all of the heat that would have been released by any of these "periods of accelerated radioactive decay"? Where is there ANY evidence that the Earth's mantle and crust have suffered from massive heating events in the past few thousand years?

Pressure Problems

  1. Why is Dr. Humphreys convinced that his defect curve (see my Figure 7), which was produced from bare zircons in a laboratory vacuum (probably less than 10-4 torr or about 5 × 10-7 bar), would accurately represent the diffusion of helium at 200 to 1,200 bars in the subsurface of Fenton Hill? This represents a pressure difference of at least 9 orders of magnitude (Appendix C). How are Carroll (1991) and other references cited by Humphreys (2006), which involve high-temperature INTRINSIC curves of glasses and minerals, relevant to the DEFECT curve of Dr. Humphreys' zircons?

  2. Why wouldn't the fractures and other defects in Dr. Humphreys' zircons begin to significantly seal under subsurface pressures and slow down helium diffusion? Why doesn't Dr. Humphreys perform high-pressure experiments to measure these effects?

  3. In Humphreys et al. (2003b) and his other documents, Dr. Humphreys invokes an invalid cryogenic fallacy to attack the validity of the strawperson "uniformitarian model." He believes that slowing down helium diffusion in the zircons to support his "uniformitarian model" would require cryogenic temperatures of -140°C. Of course, everyone agrees that such temperatures are ridiculous. However, how are the vacuum conditions that Dr. Humphreys uses to support his "creation model" any more realistic?

  4. If Humphreys (2005) really believes that "it does not matter in the least to our results whether we call the low-temperature part of the curve a 'defect line' or not" and that my criticisms are a "ridiculous quibble", how does Dr. Humphreys explain the fact that a Lippolt and Weigel extension of his intrinsic curve better supports his "uniformitarian model" rather than his "creation model"? (Also see my Figure 7 .)

Dr. Humphreys Inconsistent Treatment of Samples 5 and 6

  1. How can Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 8) say: "...the disk-like (not spherical) volume of biotite the helium enters is more than 1000 (~32 SQUARED) times the VOLUME of the zircon, [my emphasis]" when volumes have three dimensions and not two? Because of the consequences of their geometry error (see my text and the following questions for details), how can Humphreys et al. (2003a) justify removing sample #6 from their "creation model" and keeping sample #5?

  2. How can Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 8) claim that their "hypothesis" of "helium equilibrium" between the zircons and biotites of sample #6 was "supported" when the Vbiotite/Vzircon only equals 0.0095 and not 1000 (~32 squared) as they believe? (See the calculations in my March and November essays.)

  3. How can Humphreys et al. (2003a) argue that the helium concentrations of the zircons and biotites in sample #6 are essentially the same on the basis of comparing the amount of helium in the sample #6 zircons (4310 meters depth) with the helium concentration of an impure and ground biotite sample from a different rock type at 750-meters depth?

  4. Because the calculation of Vbiotite/Vzircon in Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 8) is wrong and they cannot justify comparing the helium concentrations of biotites from their 750-meter sample and zircons from sample #6, how can Humphreys et al. (2003a) justify removing sample #6 from their "creation model" while keeping sample #5?

  5. Humphreys (2005) states:

    "However, we could dispense with both samples [i.e., samples #5 and #6] entirely with no damage to our case at all. This is just another quibble about an inconsequential issue."

    How can Dr. Humphreys make this claim, when removing sample #5 from his dataset only leaves three samples (#2, #3 and #4) in Table III of Humphreys et al. (2004, p. 8) and these three samples provide an outlandish average "date" of 5,100 ± 5,000 years (2-sigma using the non-biased equation, Davis, 1986, p. 33; Keppel, 1991, p. 43-44, 58)? Because two standard deviations are larger than the average, how does Dr. Humphreys have a robust data set?

Using Improper Equations to Calculate Standard Deviations

  1. Why does Dr. Humphreys use the biased equation in his documents to calculate standard deviations instead of the usual non-biased equation?

  2. Applying the proper non-biased equation and two standard deviations to the results in Table III of Humphreys et al. (2004, p. 8) yields a ridiculous "creation date" of 6,000 ± 4,600 years. Does Dr. Humphreys realize that his results indicate that "creation" may have occurred as recently as 600 AD?

  3. Considering that his "creation model" is actually no better than 60,000 ± 400,000 "years" (2 standard deviations) and is based on flawed data, inaccurate equations, and unrealistic vacuum measurements, what justification do YECs have for criticizing errors on radiometric dates of only ±1 to 7%?

Inaccurate Claims about Lead Diffusion in Zircons (Topic ignored by Humphreys, 2005 and 2006)

  1. Why does Dr. Humphreys use the lead activation energy and diffusion coefficients from Magomedov 1970) to argue in Humphreys et al. (2004, p. 10) that the Fenton Hill zircons must be much younger than 1.5 billion years old when lead activation energies and diffusion coefficients on less metamict samples in more recent references (Lee et al. (1997, p. 160, 161 and Cherniak and Watson, 2000) are consistent with the zircons being 1.4-1.5 billion years old?

Fudging the Graph from Magomedov 1970)

  1. Magomedov 1970) clearly states that the activation energy of helium in his zircons was 15 kcal/mole:

    "Estimates of activation energy of bulk diffusion are 58 kcal/mole for Pb in zircon, and only 15 kcal/mole for He."

    Yet, when Dr. Humphreys fudged the diffusion coefficients on Magomedov's graph from lne to log10 (Figure 5 of Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 6) to comply with his and Reiners et al's (2002) results, the activation energy was no longer equal to the results in the abstract of Magomedov 1970), but increased to about 40 kcal/mole (see my Figure 2). How is changing the units of measure on the Magomedov graph justified when Magomedov's value of 15 kcal/mole indicates that the diffusion coefficients on his graph are indeed lne?

  2. Since when do scientists manipulate data on graphs so that they line up with "everybody else's zircon data" as stated in Humphreys (2005)?

  3. Because Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 6) says: "Measurements of noble gas diffusion in a given type of naturally occurring mineral often show significant differences from site to site, caused by variations in composition", why should Humphreys (2005) expect Magomedov's data to line up with his and Reiners et al.'s (2002) results? Why should we expect helium diffusion in these highly metamict Soviet zircons to comply with "everybody else's" results as Humphreys (2005) claims?

  4. Because Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 6) and Humphreys (2005) admit that the Magomedov data are "ambiguous", why didn't Dr. Humphreys simply discard them instead of manipulating them in Humphreys et al. (2003a)?

  5. Humphreys (2005) accuses me of being "inconvenienced" by the Magomedov 1970) data. But, how can I be "inconvenienced" when the unmanipulated Magomedov data actually support my argument that Dr. Humphreys' approach to helium diffusion in zircons is seriously flawed? It was Dr. Humphreys that had to fudge the Magomedov data so that he would not be inconvenienced with results that do not comply with his and Reiners et al.'s (2002) data.

Misrepresenting the Arrhenius Plot in Lippolt and Weigel (1988, p. 1454) (Ignored by Humphreys, 2005 and 2006)

  1. Why did Humphreys et al. (2003a, his Figure 6b on p. 7) selectively connect certain data points on a graph from Lippolt and Weigel (1988, p. 1454), which creates the false impression that a "knee" and "defect line" are present, when Lippolt and Weigel (1988, p. 1454) never recognized the existence of these features in their graph? (Also see Figure 3 in my November essay.)

  2. Because Dr. Humphreys in Humphreys et al. (2003a) manipulated graphs from Lippolt and Weigel (1988) and Magomedov 1970) to support his agenda and sloppily handled the units of measure in Appendix C of Humphreys et al. (2003a), why should we not scrutinize his "corrections" of the "typos" in Gentry et al. (1982a) and why shouldn't we request an opportunity to review the actual comments of the critic mentioned in Humphreys et al. (2004) rather than just accepting Dr. Humphreys' summaries of the critic's claims?

The "Jemez Granodiorite" Myth: Dr. Humphreys Sampled Gneisses

  1. Laughlin (1981), detailed analytical data in Laughlin et al. (1983) and even YEC R. Gentry in Gentry et al. (1982a) recognize that gneisses and a variety of other igneous and metamorphic rocks occur in the Fenton Hill cores. To be exact, most of the cores are gneisses (Laughlin, 1981, p. 308; Laney et al., 1981, p. 2; and my Figure 1). Detailed information in Laughlin et al. (1983) and other references also clearly indicate that gneisses and not granodiorites are present in the sections of the cores that were sampled by Drs. Humphreys, Baumgardner and their colleagues (see my Figure 1). What X-ray diffraction, petrographic, or other chemical and mineralogical evidence do Drs. Humphreys and Baumgardner have to contradict these references and support their claims that they actually sampled a granodiorite from the Fenton Hill cores?

  2. In his emails to me, Dr. Baumgardner was only able to provide naked eye descriptions of the Fenton Hill samples. Since when should Dr. Humphreys or anyone else accept naked-eye observations of small core samples as conclusively distinguishing a granodiorite from a granite or even a weakly banded gneiss?

  3. When Dr. Humphreys and his friends "named" the "Jemez Granodiorite", why did they ignore the fact that most of this "granodiorite" actually consists of gneisses (metamorphic rocks) and not granodiorites (intrusive igneous rocks)? (See Laughlin et al., 1983; Laney et al., 1981; Burruss and Hollister, 1979; Sasada, 1989, Figure 2, p. 258 and Figure 1 in my November essay.)

  4. The USGS database of accepted US rock names has no record of the "Jemez Granodiorite" existing. When Dr. Humphreys and his friends "named" the "Jemez Granodiorite", why didn't they follow the required rules for naming a rock unit in the North American Stratigraphic Code? Does Dr. Humphreys realize that by "inventing" invalid rock names and not following the rules of the North American Stratigraphic Code that he and his colleagues are participating in spreading clutter and confusion in the literature?

  5. Because Dr. Humphreys once falsely believed that all of his and R. Gentry's Fenton Hill zircons came from a single rock unit (the "Jemez Granodiorite"), he made the following proclamation in Humphreys et al. (2003a, p. 6):

    "Measurements of noble gas diffusion in a given type of naturally occurring mineral often show significant differences from site to site, caused by variations in composition. For that reason it is IMPORTANT to get helium diffusion data on zircon and biotite from the SAME rock unit (the Jemez Granodiorite [sic]) which was the source of Gentry's samples." [my emphasis]

    How can Humphreys (2005) now claim that his inability to distinguish a gneiss from a granodiorite in the Fenton Hill cores is a "distinction without a difference" when he once openly admitted that any mixing of experimental results from different rock types would be inappropriate for his modeling efforts?

  6. Humphreys (2005) makes the following claim:

    "The important point is that, regardless of the name we put on the rock unit [sic, units], the zircons throughout it have been measured to contain essentially the same AMOUNTS AND RATIOS of lead isotopes (Gentry et al., 1982b), and therefore have undergone the same amount of nuclear decay." [my emphasis]

    Although the rocks in the Fenton Hill cores have similar radiogenic Pb/Pb ratios and radioactive dates, contrary to the claims in the above quotation from Humphreys (2005), the uranium and thorium data in Table 1 of the very article that Humphreys (2005) cites (that is, Gentry et al., 1982b) indicate that the AMOUNTS of radiogenic lead should greatly vary in the Fenton Hill zircons, even within different regions of the same zircon (e.g., Sample #1 in Gentry et al., 1982b). That is, two zircons can have the SAME RADIOGENIC LEAD RATIOS (that is, have the same Pb/Pb dates or have undergone the "same amount of nuclear decay" as Humphreys, 2005 says), but still have radically different sizes (a values) and uranium and thorium concentrations (as shown in Gentry et al., 1982b). If the a values and uranium and thorium concentrations are radically different in two zircons of the same age, they will probably have very different helium concentrations. So, how would Dr. Humphreys obtain a similar date for these two zircons with the equations in Humphreys et al. (2003a)? (See Table 3 in my November essay for numerous examples of the inability of the equations in Humphreys et al. (2003a) to provide consistent dates on zircons.)

  7. In Humphreys (2005) and Appendix B of Humphreys et al. (2003a), Dr. Humphreys discusses some results on biotites from the "Beartooth gneiss." Before we can believe his claims about these biotites, we need to have adequately detailed information on the "Beartooth gneiss." Unfortunately, like the "Jemez Granodiorite", the USGS database has no record of this gneiss existing and there is no record of its existence in the peer-reviewed journals listed in the Georef and Web of Science literature databases. So, what's the origin of the name of the "Beartooth gneiss" and what does this say about the ability of Dr. Humphreys' sources to properly name and catalogue a rock unit? Like the "Jemez Granodiorite," how do we even know that the "Beartooth" is actually a gneiss?

Formation of Gneisses

  1. Laboratory and field studies indicate that gneissic banding requires metamorphic conditions of about 600-750°C and minimal pressures of 4-6 kilobars to form (see further discussions in Appendix C). How did the gneisses in the Fenton Hill cores and their zircons form in only a few thousand years, especially when Dr. Humphreys claims that these rocks were dry? Even if Dr. Humphreys finally admits that the Fenton Hill rocks had a wet past, how could any amount of water promote extensive metamorphic reactions in only a few thousand years? Dr. Humphreys needs to look at the voluminous references on the geology of the Fenton Hill cores and then try to squeeze the chemistry of these igneous and metamorphic rocks and their complex structures into his YEC "model." In the process, Dr. Humphreys must remember that geology and all other sciences allow no cheating (invoking of miracles) to dismiss inconvenient problems and anti-YEC results. I think that Dr. Humphreys will quickly discover that he has the impossible task of explaining why these numerous metamorphic and igneous Fenton Hill rocks (see my Figure 1) have obviously complex structures and textures that indicate a long history (Laney et al., 1981, Laughlin and Eddy, 1977, Laughlin et al., 1983, Sasada, 1989 and their references) that refutes young-Earth creationism. Like an old scratched phonograph record or a dented old car (scroll down), the properties of a metamorphosed rock indicate an extensive and complex history. For example, the development of paragneisses in outcrops and rock cores involves erosion of precursor igneous, sedimentary and/or metamorphic rocks; sediment deposition; deep burial of sediments; at least one metamorphic heating and cooling event; various complex metamorphic reactions; possible faulting and finally uplifting where geologists can investigate them.

Dr. Humphreys Violates the Scientific Method

  1. Humphreys (2005) refers to my objections of his invoking of "God did it!" (i.e., the supposed accelerated radioactive decay event[s]) as a matter of "taste." In reality, my objections are based on using the scientific method and the Method of the Multiple Working Hypotheses. Since when are the rules of the scientific method and the Method of the Multiple Working Hypotheses based on matters of taste? Since when do the rules of the scientific method allow Dr. Humphreys to invoke miracles (i.e., accelerated radioactive decay) to eliminate scientific data (i.e., U/Pb dates) and questions that he doesn't like? Why does Dr. Humphreys repeatedly ignore the rules of the scientific method and the North American Stratigraphic Code in his "research" (see question #63)? Professions establish rules for good reasons, but Dr. Humphreys feels that he has a privilege to ignore them. Aren't individuals supposed to be ethical and play by the rules established by their professions?

  2. How is "accelerated radioactive decay" not just another example of the Omphalos and "god-of-the-gaps" fallacies?

  3. How is Dr. Humphreys justified in generating "dates" from equations based on false assumptions (constant temperatures over time, isotropic diffusion in biotites and zircons, etc.) and flawed and incomplete data, and then using his Bible and "god of the gaps" to support the invalid results?

  4. Since when has invoking "God did it!" provided a satisfactory explanation for the origin of lightning, hail storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, or any other meteorological or geological events? If psychologists don't blame demons for causing manic depression, car mechanics don't blame gremlins for engine problems, and forensics scientists don't invoke witchcraft to solve unwitnessed crimes, what makes Dr. Humphreys believe that geologists should use the supernatural to explain the origin of a rock?

  5. How does Dr. Humphreys distinguish between a miracle and a natural event?

  6. What evidence would geologists have to present to Dr. Humphreys before he would be willing to admit that the Earth is ancient and that his biblical interpretations are just plain wrong?

  7. Since when has the invoking of miracles ever been tolerated in a court room, medical school, research laboratory, or anywhere else outside of a religious forum?

  8. Because miracles by definition don't obey the laws of chemistry and physics, what keeps individuals from invoking miracles with their subjective imaginations to explain away any natural phenomenon that conflicts with their religious or political agenda? How can miracles be falsified since additional miracles can always be invoked by "psychics" or YECs to explain away failures? How is Dr. Humphreys' invoking of accelerated radioactive decay falsifiable? In contrast, my proposed experiments (such as looking for 3He in zircons) are testable.

  9. How are YECs giving up on scientific investigations and invoking miracles via god-of-the-gaps morally equivalent to scientists admitting that they don't understand a lot about the origin of the Big Bang and the origin of life but that they are too early in their research to give up on searching for answers that comply with the laws of chemistry and physics? Why should YECs invoke god-of-the-gaps when the research possibilities using natural explanations are not even close to being exhausted? Since when has just saying "God did it!" ever provided a satisfying explanation for anything in nature?

  10. Why does Dr. Humphreys scoff at my hypotheses that his "dating" results could be undermined by extraneous helium, high uranium and inflated Q/Q0 values, and pressure effects on his defect curve, when unlike his magical "accelerated radioactive decay event(s)", my hypotheses are testable and falsifiable with the scientific method?

  11. Since when is it acceptable for any scientist to allow the Bible, Koran, Humanist Manifesto, or any other religious or political document dictate their scientific results?

  12. Why did the RATE committee hire a Hebrew language scholar to make sure that their results "stay on course" (Morris, 2000, p. viii)? Since when do real research centers and committees allow their results to be screened by a religious or political commissar?

  13. In Humphreys (2005), Dr. Humphreys tries to play down his religious agenda by claiming:

    "The main subject of my articles is the experimental data, and I offered only a few paragraphs about our hypothesis simply to explain what we think really happened."

    If this is true, why did Dr. Humphreys first publish his claims in YEC forums and why has he never published a full article in a secular science journal? Since when is an author's true motives simply determined by counting paragraphs? Why are Dr. Humphreys' allies only interested in his 6,000 "year" old "date" and generally ignore or unquestionably accept his calculus and faulty and incomplete data? If the emphasis of Dr. Humphreys' work is science, why is it that his work is only cited by fundamentalists and evangelists and not positively by secular scientists? Why has Dr. Farley shunned his work? Why doesn't Dr. Humphreys realize that just a few paragraphs in a pile of worthless data and calculations expose his true agenda and motives?

Dr. Humphreys' Peer-Review Hypocrisy

  1. Why hasn't Dr. Humphreys ever published a full article of his work in an authentic peer-reviewed science journal under the scrutiny of world experts on gas diffusion in solids rather than YEC magazines and pamphlets that are willing to accept just about any groundless fantasies and speculations as long they seem to support their biblical agenda?

  2. How can Humphreys et al. (2004) count as a "peer-reviewed" article when CRSQ refuses to publish statements from Dr. Humphreys' critic (referred to in the article)? What scientific journal would allow its authors to invoke miracles to get rid of radiometric dates just because they offend the religious agenda of some fundamentalist Christians? What authentic science journal would censor detailed criticisms of its articles? What authentic science journal allows its physics editor (Dr. Eugene F. Chaffin) to edit and control the "peer review" on Humphreys et al. (2004) when he has a conflict of interest by serving with Dr. Humphreys on the RATE committee? What scientific organization requires its members to sign loyalty oaths to a religious or political dogma?

  3. What moral authority does Dr. Humphreys have to call on me to publish my criticisms as an article in a mainstream scientific journal, when he has never done it? How can a brief abstract in EOS (i.e., Humphreys et al., 2003b) and articles in YEC publications count as authentic peer review?

  4. Why should I publish my criticisms in a journal, when Talkorigins has no page limits, reviews its submissions and is probably more widely read than CRSQ and most scientific journals?

    Dr. Humphreys needs to rigorously deal with these and other questions. Until he stops his sophomoric insults and flippant statements, he will never achieve any respect among physicists, chemists and geologists. If other individuals have appropriate questions for Dr. Humphreys, they can be easily added to this list. Just email me. Nevertheless, after seeing how Dr. Humphreys' persistently throws out shallow and irrelevant responses to any serious challenges and questions, we shouldn't be surprised if he continues to avoid the real issues at the center of these questions and flippantly respond at "" with more denials and unsubstantiated nonsense.

Appendix C
Humphreys Feels the Pressure
Main Article


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Appendix C
Humphreys Feels the Pressure
Main Article

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