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The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Woodmorappe Replies

to Steven Schimmrich's "Geochronology kata John Woodmorappe"

by John Woodmorappe [pseudonym]
Copyright © 1997
[Last Update: March 20, 1997]

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Geochronology kata John Woodmorappe
Read the essay by Steven Schimmrich that this response is directed at.
Schimmrich responds
Schimmrich responds to this reply by Woodmorappe.


A Reply to Steven Schimmrich and his discussion group.

The criticism of my work was originally at [link now defunct].

The following response, initially presented in three parts, is not as detailed as I would like to make it. This stems from the fact that I am currently enmeshed in research and also because I want to get this on Schimmrich's net before it closes down. Before responding to Schimmrich's latest attack against my work, I would like to clarify some general matters that have commonly been verbalized in connection with this discussion.

Let us first consider those who bemoan the division that exists among Christians. The sad fact is that there should be no division at all. ALL Christians (and non-Christian theists, for that matter) should be 110% supportive of the truths of the young earth, six-day Creation, and global Flood. And theists with a scientific background should all be thinking and working scientifically within the framework of Creation Science and its God-affirming fulness, not the conventional God-rejecting rationalistic science (which Schimmrich imagines to be objective and value-free).

It is a pitiful sight to behold my sisters and brothers in Christ, such as Schimmrich, blindly believe and defend humanistic ideas and premises with such intensity and abject servility. It reminds me of SOME of the Christian pacificists of WWII, who were absolutely blind to all of Hitler's crimes while constantly hurling venom against the Allies for their "unChristian" attitudes and conduct.

I find it amusing to see members of Schimmrich's group complain about the intensity of my responses in view of the scurrility of their own remarks (see below). Then again, perhaps some of these people are bullies/crybabies combined: they love to punch others but run home to mama in tears if someone punches them back. And everyone should know by now that I don't put up with any crap from anti-Creationists.

Typical of anti-Creationists, Schimmrich name-calls those who disagree with him (e. g., "anti-intellectual" and "pseudo-scientists"). In doing so, he is parroting the humanist line on science--plain and simple. In actuality, the true intellectuals are the Scientific Creationists, who value science without making an idol out of it, and recognize and discard the rationalistic presuppositions that govern science.

What about the issues? For those who do not want to wade through a lot of technical detail (below), I will now provide a summary: As in the previous discussion around Christmas, Schimmrich imagines that he can rescue isotopic dating from its fatal flaws by nickel-and-diming my work to death with various technicalities, most of which are trivial, irrelevant, or just plain WRONG. And, as shown below, Schimmrich once again does a masterful job of obscuring the issues with geologic sophistry. Or, as Creationist (and former oil-exploration geologist) Jill Whitlock put it even better, Schimmrich is a very skillful dancer in getting around the real issues.

For all of Schimmrich's professions of loving scientific accuracy, and of his constant accusations of me misrepresenting cited authors, he egregiously misrepresents my own work in many places. For instance, and as discussed below, he accuses me of ignoring such things as local geology, the trend of glauconite dates in Evernden's work, advances in technology, etc. The fact of the matter is that ALL of these issues have been discussed in my work, and why I find them utterly unconvincing as support for the validity of isotopic dating. Yet Schimmrich deftly ignores all this in order to create and then bravely destroy a straw-man of my work.

As far as scientific methodology is concerned, it should be obvious that any system (in this case, isotopic dating) that requires constant subsidiary hypotheses to escape its problems is seriously flawed, and should be rejected. This is all the more true when one considers the subjective nature of all geologic interpretation. The more I study geology and do field work, the more obvious to me becomes the fact of how uniformitarians read interpretations into the rocks more often than they read information out of the rocks. Schimmrich simply repeats the geologists' rationalizations as facts, and imagines that the fatal flaws of isotopic dating go away because of them. The truth of the matter is that the selective manipulation of isotopic dating results, given by cited authors, are convincing only the those who already buy into the uniformitarian system of geology and all of the mental boxes that it entails.

A useful idea for Schimmrich: Send me to any place on earth and give me a little time to study its geology. Then throw some darts at a chart with numbers which depict the age indicated by the results of isotopic-dating results. I will soon come up with a geologically-plausible and intellectual-sounding interpretation of them that would do Schimmrich proud.

One type of ad hominem remark that I have faced is the charge that I reject isotopic dating on the basis of my belief in the young earth. That is patently false. In none of my works do I advocate the rejection of these dating methods on the basis of my convictions. I advocate their rejection on the basis of their own fatal flaws, and layer upon layer of special pleading involved in their use by conventional uniformitarian geologists.

I must, in all fairness, compliment Schimmrich for his skill as a clever spinmeister. He would do President Clinton proud. Schimmrich should have no difficulty getting a good job after May 1997. If the humanists are smart, they will recognize what a useful tool he is for them, and will hire him with good compensation. Of course, Schimmrich would be very happy in such a position, as he would be constantly surrounded by humanists who think just like him (and vice-versa).

Now let's get to the charges:

Jim Moore writes:

After reading the paper, I was impressed with the hoops that creationists like Woodmorappe go through to try to overturn geology (or any science for that matter.)

The real hoops are jumped by the uniformitarian geologists, who have invented an astonishing and unending array of excuses to cover up the transparent failures of isotopic dating as a whole. Later, I will expose the hoops which Schimmrich himself goes through to burlesque my work.

They must quote out of context, use out-dated references as if they were current best knowledge, and generally lie, yes LIE

Same age-old anti-Creationist drivel and, once again, easily shown to be false (see below). The most unvarnished mendacity comes from compromising evangelicals, who tell us they are Bible believers when they are actually no less steeped in rationalism than the card-carying atheistic humanists. At least the humanists are honest about their preconceptions. The grotesque contortions of Scripture which compromising evangelicals engage in, all to torture the Bible into agreeing with humanist-derived theories and worldviews, is so transparently absurd as to go beyond mendacity. Despite this, the capitulating evangelicals say, without batting an eyelash, that they believe in the Bible and even in Biblical inerrancy. If I were to engage in comparable mendacity, I could subject the Bible to equally ludicrous contortions so that I could later say, in good conscience, that it teaches exactly the same material as a phone book.

BTW, disagreement with isotopic dating, and with the geologic gymnastics employed by the cited authors, is NOT lying. To the best of my ability, I would never lie about such a matter.

Hmm, maybe his MS is Master of Speciousness.

And to listen to members of Schimmrich's group accuse me of name-calling. What a farce.

"Why do I support this sort of chicanery?"

THAT is the question to ask of any objective person who believes in isotopic dating and all of its pretensions. Especially evangelicals, who are supposed to think somewhat differently from atheistic humanists.

non-Christian behavior

[End of Jim Moore quotes]

The very AUDACITY of infidels, having rejected and villified the truths of Christianity, to presume to pass judgement on Christians. And for compromising evangelicals, who openly play the harlot after rationalism, to actually possess the UNMITIGATED GALL of accusing Creationists of "unChristian behavior". Reminds me of Joseph Goebbels (Nazi minister of propaganda) complaining about the Allies being ruthless masters of genocide.

Begin Schimmrich text:

The reprints from the Creation Research Society Quarterly appear unusual in this respect since mainstream scientific journals routinely print the author's professional affiliation and a contact address.

If it was not for the anti-Creationist and anti-Christian bigotry that is so common in academia, the CRSQ would not need to do what it does, and pen names of Scientific Creationists would not be necessary. BTW, if it makes Schimmrich any happier, my latest CRSQ article does contain a contact address.

He evidently does have a legitimate M.S. degree in geology from a secular university with which he's still affiliated and has published a couple of papers in mainstream geologic journals under his real name.

So Schimmrich insinuated that I was a liar for claiming these qualifications, and, evidently much to his surprise, has now found out for himself that I was not. By contrast, I could never imagine myself accusing Schimmrich of lying about his present affiliation with th University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Much as I disagree with him, I respect his word.

so I haven't been able to find any evidence that he currently teaches science or is a research fellow at any university.

So evidently Schimmrich has not learned anything, and still thinks that I am a liar. Oh well, if it brings him cheer, let him go right ahead.

While I would strongly disagree that discrediting radiometric dating would in any way support the occurrence of a geologically- recent global flood

Schimmrich is putting words in my mouth. I had NEVER claimed that simply discrediting isotopic dating would IN ITSELF support a young earth, much less a global Flood. Instead, freeing geology from the myth of the old earth, and of past geologic ages, would allow the Flood to shine through as a part of an alternative geology (Diluvialism).

Here I agree with the author, radiometric dating techniques are best understood in their geologic context. Unfortunately, I will provide evidence that Woodmorappe presents most of his examples devoid of any meaningful geologic context.

My not buying into authors' geologic rationalizations stems from the fact that I am utterly unimpressed by them, not because I am ignoring what the authors are saying or trying to misrepresent what they believe! And Schimmrich is ignoring (or lying) about the fact that I DID discuss geologic contexts (pp. 114-115) in some detail, and why they do not even provide an internally-consistent excuse for the countless failings of isotopic dating.

Secondly, throughout the paper, Woodmorappe rhetorically refers to young-earth creationists as Creationist-Diluvalists and, one assumes, anyone who disagrees as either evolutionist-uniformitarians or simply uniformitarians -- terms I believe most geologists would take issue with given the common misrepresentations by young-earth creationists of the term "uniformitarianism" first popularized by James Hutton in his 1788 Theory of the Earth (Shea, 1982).

Hogwash. I invite the reader to read any elementary geologic text and see that conventional geologists call THEMSELVES uniformitarians. While this term DOES have a variety of meanings, ALL conceptions of uniformitarianism, whether the classical Huttonian one or modern ones, share in their preconception of "the inviolability of natural law." This is a code word for the rejection of God, on a priori grounds, as a causative agent in the earth's past. Yet compromising evangelical geologists are so eager to buy into this transparently atheistic system of thought which underpins all of modern geology.

My third criticism is Woodmorappe's use of rhetoric in general. other geologists is highly inflammatory rhetoric not normally seen in the scientific literature.

Again I hear Goebbels complaining about the Allies being masters of genocide. Again, whatever strong words I have used are kid stuff compared to the vile, scurrilous, and slanderous terms used by the humanists and the evangelicals who obsequiously serve them. And while Schimmrich's wording is clever and not overtly inflammatory, it certainly is so in the falsehoods it conveys about my work.

For example, Woodmorappe claims that age data is routinely "explained away" (p. 102) or "rationalized away" (p. 113), that some age values are "arbitrarily" accepted or rejected as true (p. 113), that anomalous dates are not reported in the scientific literature (p. 114), that some geologists have "fudged" Rb- Sr isochrons (p. 118 & 120), and that geologists "cover-up the basic failure of the paradigm" (p. 123) of radiometric dating.

I substantiate all of these claims of mine with facts. And the more arrogant and dogmatic are the uniformitarians about the virtual-certainty of the old earth and of the dating methods which "prove" it, the more forceful I will be in demonstrating the contrary.

The general tone throughout the paper is that geologists who use radiometric dating are often intentionally dishonest in their handling of the data.

This misreads my work. Let us recognize that geology is highly interpretive. As for fraud in science, everyone would agree that reporting experimental data that does not exist is fraud. But most scientists would view the SELECTIVE reporting of data as a gray-area of science and not usually dishonest. Personally, I don't consider selective use of isotopic data to be dishonest in itself, but I do consider the dogmatic claim of the reliability of these methods (by humanists and capitulating evangelicals) to be close enough to dishonest.

Finally, a major general criticism of this paper is its sheer magnitude and its superficial treatment of data.

Naturally, an overview cannot be too detailed. Then again, Schimmrich evidently supposes that presenting a lot of geologic detail, (and, of course, interpretation based on uniformitarian preconceptions masquerading as fact) will somehow make the glaring and fatal flaws of isotopic dating go away.

In my opinion, Woodmorappe would have had a much stronger paper if he simply confined himself to a detailed discussion of what he believed to be the dozen or so strongest examples discrediting a specific technique of radiometric dating as it's applied to a specific rock or geologic environment.

There is value in BOTH overall reviews and detailed, individual studies. While I have done the former, other Creationist geologists (Austin, Snelling, etc.) have done the latter.

This problem was first recognized by Compston and Jeffery (1959), and overcome by the invention of the isochron diagram (Nicolaysen, 1961). So, we have Woodmorappe citing a 1958 paper as evidence against radiometric dating because an anomalous age was reported

Schimmrich is correct on this technicality. But this fact does not validate Rb-Sr dating one bit, because (needless to say) the isochron methods (which do not assume an initial ratio) have their own flaws. And these flaws cannot be wished away by focusing on the state of knowledge in 1958, because papers on fallacious isochrons appear in the literature of the mid-1990's. Again, Schimmrich has shown himself a master of confusing the issue: raising red herrings about old papers while cleverly tiptoeing around the REAL issue (the constant stream of disregarded isotopic-dating results, including Rb-Sr ones, which continue TO THIS VERY DAY).

BTW, Schimmrich's reference to me citing "20-30 year old papers" is disengenous. My paper was written nearly 20 years ago (written in 1978, published in 1979). And many of the papers first published about 1960 were still cited in summaries written in the 1970's as current knowledge). What about my 1979 paper in the light of 1990's knowledge? Most (though not all) of the material written in my 1979 paper is still valid, and an update paper I am now working on will show that the flaws of isotopic dating are just as real in the 1990's as they were in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's (if not more so). So all of Schimmrich's emphasis on 1960-publications is another of his red herrings.

Schimmrich also conveniently fails to mention that, in the late 1950's, very dogmatic claims were made about isotopic dating being an "absolute age". Uniformitarians have since been forced, by the sheet mass and variety of rationalizations used, to backpedal from this term.

Schimmrich is also insinuating that I have ignored advances in the technological aspects of isotopic dating. Had he read my work more carefully, he would have seen that I have discussed just that (p. 102, near the very beginning of my paper). I pointed out that most discrepant results CANNOT be blamed on the relatively poor technology of the late 1950's as compared to that of the late 1970's (when my paper was written). To add to the irony of Schimmrich's false accusations against my paper, I also had pointed out (p. 102) that the scatter in dates has INCREASED in spite of major advances in isotope-dating technology.

Therefore, this data point does not, in any way, support Woodmorappe's thesis that present-day techniques of radiometric dating are unreliable.

Whoopee! But what have the proponents of isotopic dating gained by it? Some of the problems of the isotopic dating of early years have been solved, but MANY MORE new ones have taken their place. Again, Schimmrich is misrepresenting my work by implying that I am purposely focusing on old papers. A cursory look at the bibliography of my 1970 work shows that most of the cited papers were from the 1970's.

Apart from this, discoveries and advances work both ways. They solve some problems of isotopic dating, only to create new ones. For instance, a few decades ago, the closure temperature for igneous minerals was thought to be well-established, and in a narrow range. More recent evidence which I will cite in my update will show that this seemingly-established fact is a gross oversimplification at best.

Example 4 - Hurley, et al. All this shows is that the mineral glauconite may be unsuitable for radiometric dating because it loses argon. It hardly shows that radiometric dating, in general, is fundamentally flawed.

Laughably misleading. Glauconite dating is not the ONLY form of isotopic dating. Isotopic-dating results from igneous minerals have THEIR OWN FLAWS, which I discuss. BTW, the controversy over glauconite dating continues to this day, and geochronologists are divided as to its suitability. Again, the flawed results do not go away as a result of improved technology, nor as a result of more recently-published papers!

Woodmorappe quoted from what is now an obsolete source.

Hogwash! The most recent studies, using the most sophisticated methodology now available, continue to show frequent anomalous results from glauconite. So it is NOT a problem ONLY from the early 1960's. BTW, Schimmrich earlier stated that glauconite may not be suitable material for dating, and now he implies that more modern techniques have overcome these problems. He cannot have it both ways. If a material does not act as a closed system, no amount of technical advances will read a putatively correct date from it. And, as shown in an upcoming update-paper, improved technologies also generate a new set of rationalizations invoked to cope with unwanted results.

Example 5 - Neumann. This paper is a compilation of earlier studies performed in the 1950s when these techniques were first being developed. According to the author, much of the data was out of date already by 1960.

"Out of date" is a relative term. If I remeasure the isotopes from a rock using 1990's technology and compare it with results from the measurements using 1950's technology, and get a "bad" result both times, then the advance in technology is completely irrelevant. Again, Schimmrich is trying to divert attention from the continuing flaws of isotopic dating (which most certainly DID NOT END in 1960!) by citing a few papers which I included from the late 1950's and early 1960's. Never mind the hundreds of papers that I cite from studies which were indisputably up-to-date as of 1979 (when the paper was written).

Example 6 - Evernden But they go on to argue that it can be used if the samples are collected carefully with regard to their geologic history

Reply. More misleading doubletalk, or lies, from Schimmrich. As noted in my 1979 work, no matter how carefully samples are collected, and screened for seeming unalteration, results that need to be rejected still routinely occur.

As a matter of fact, Dalrymple and Lanphere use the data from Evernden, et al. (1961) to create a figure, reproduced below, illustrating this very fact:

Schimmrich's beautifully-drafted figure, shown in color, again confuses the issue, AND ITS USE IS A PATENTED FALSEHOOD, as shown in the ensuing reply.

This is most emphatically not an example of errors in radiometric dating! As a matter of fact, the K-Ar method worked exactly as expected (argon is lost from glauconites with increasing depth of burial) and this data poses absolutely no problems for geologists.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. If Schimmrich had practiced what he preaches about accurately citing authors, he would have seen that I discussed this matter. Far from ignoring what Evernden believed, I had pointed out (p. 114) that, while Evernden felt that deeply-buried glauconites will give results too-young, Holmes believed the exact opposite: deeper-buried glauconites would actually be MORE RELIABLE. Why is Schimmrich lying (yes, lying) about me ignoring such things as Evernden's ideas, and the depth of glauconite burial?

Based on these contradictory opinions on glauconite reliability, I could throw darts at a chart, and explain geologically, on an after-the-fact basis, whatever "results" I got!

Another reason, besides simple burial, for argon loss in glauconites, is heating due to tectonic activity.

Yes, and the presumed effects of heating due to tectonic activity can be invoked to occur whenever they are conveniently needed to explain away any unwanted result. Why is Schimmrich telling lies about me ignoring these matters? Had he read my 1979 paper more carefully, he would have seen that I had dealt with this matter in considerable detail. I had shown that heating events are frequently invoked even when there is no evidence for such a history based on the rock sample, petrographic examination of slides, or even regional geology.

And for all of Schimmrich's mendacious protestations about me resting my arguments on out-of-date studies, I cited Morton and Long's research (1978, very much up to date in 1979) which had clearly shown that "bad" glauconite results CANNOT be unambiguously attributed to such things as former deep burial, tectonic effects, etc. So why is Schimmrich lying through his teeth about my treatment of glauconite results?

Once again, there are absolutely no problems here for geologists.

Of course not. When it comes to isotopic dating, there never are. ANY result can be explained-away on an after-the-fact basis with justification cited from some aspect of local or regional geology. In this particular instance, justification was relatively strong. Others are weak, as noted above, and in more detail in my paper.

However, even arguments for disregarding isotopic results based on obvious tectonic effects are internally inconsistent. Again, had Schimmrich spent more time studying my work instead of making a straw man of it, he would have seen that I HAD discussed tectonic effects on isotopic results in some detail (pp. 114-115). I had shown that, as if to spite the rationalizations of uniformitarians, unexpected "good" isotopic results turn up even when the rock is from a geologic environment obviously affected by heating from nearby intrusions, tectonic events, weathering, etc.

Why didn't Woodmorappe discuss the 40 glauconite dates listed in the data table of this paper that were well within 10% of the expected geologic age?

Simple. Why on earth should I believe SOME results when so many others are explained away. Again, the web of rationalizations available to geologists is so extensive and so frequently invoked that it deprives ALL of the isotopic results of credibility. And why does Schimmrich first say that the 1960 papers are obsolete, and berate me for mentioning them, and now he is USING THEM HIMSELF (by implying that the "good" results from these very "obsolete" papers should be accepted?) Is he not engaging in EXACTLY the type of special pleading which is TYPICAL of geochronology: we are too make nothing of the "bad" results because the studies were done about 1960, and are now obsolete, and yet we are to make something out of the "good" results!

At most it shows that one should be careful when dating buried glauconites with the K- Ar method which is something that geologists already know (and is

Poppycock. Again, all of the care in the world which geologists use, to this date, does not prevent the constant appearance of inconsistent and obviously not-credible results. And why is Schimmrich repeating falsehoods when he knows (or should know, at least if he wants to give an opinion on it) that careful selection of glauconite results does NOT guarantee their supposed reliability?

Example 7 - Lyons & Livingston. What reason do the authors give for omitting MK 37-73 (p. 1809)?

You can always think up of a reason after-the-fact. And if the point did not belong on the isochron for geologic reasons which Schimmrich thinks are obvious, why was it placed there in the first place? Only to be rejected AFTER the result was obtained? It was clearly a trial balloon. But then again, so are all isotopic results.

The basic question is: Is there any basis for the omission of the MK 37-73 data point from the isochron or is it just done to "fudge" the data to obtain a more favorable result?

Of course, any basis can be "found" afterwards. And anyone familiar with the construction of isochrons for dating knows that there is considerable subjectivity in deciding which of the rocks were co-magmatic (a necessary assumption to have an ostensibly-valid isochron). This subjectivity increases as one must include rocks of ever-different petrological composition in order to have a useable spread of isotopic ratios (so that an isochron can be constructed). So the opportunity for fudging constantly exists because you can always later reject points (and convincingly justify their exclusion) on an after-the-fact basis, if the desired result is not obtained.

Woodmorappe may very well disagree with this interpretation, but if he accuses the authors of "fudging" data he has a responsibility to at least discuss it and to explain why he disagrees.

If Schimmrich had bothered to read my paper more carefully, he would have seen that I have done exactly what he berates me for not doing! My reason, then and now, is the fact that all of these interpretations are on an after-the-fact basis. Again, these isochrons had been constructed as trial balloons.

If the geologic grounds for not including points on an isochron (which Schimmrich has spent so much time prattling about) had been followed, the isochron would not have been constructed in the first place, and there would have been nothing to discuss!

Example 8 - Dott & Dalziel
Fair enough, they simply decided to test, using radiometric dating, the commonly held assumption that the two sequences were correlative since similar assumptions in the past had been incorrect.

Granted that there had been errors in lithologic correlation of PreCambrian rocks. But the fact remains that the authors still felt that the age-equivalence had been COMPELLING. (to use Dott and Dalziel's very words, which cannot be obfuscated by false charges of me quoting out of context). (BTW, I have done field work on these rocks, and agree with the extreme similarity of these lithological sequences). So the isotopic results still contradicted what the best evidence appeared to show. And that is far from the only example of isotopic results contradicting common-sense geology! (see my 1979 work for many more examples.)

the limits of the method's sensitivity and would therefore be unreliable. There were clearly defined reasons for considering the age to be problematic.

Again, an isotopic date that is a trial balloon. It shows how geochronologists want to have it both ways. First they say that low-potassium results will be of questionable reliability, then they go ahead and date the rock anyway. If they like the result, they will make nothing more of the low-K and at least provisionally accept the result. But, as in this case, if they don't like the result, they can always fall back on the line that this result is untrustworthy anyway because of its low K-content. Very scientific, this popping of isotopic-dating trial balloons.

And low-K content is another of Schimmrich's red herrings. The fact is, there are plenty of "bad" results which have high K-levels.

What about the spread of K-Ar and Rb-Sr dates from 1.1 to 1.6 b.y? Yes, the dating yielded a range of values, but a range of values was expected since the rocks had been subjected to metamorphism.

Yes and no. Again, had Schimmrich bothered to read my 1979 work more carefully, he would have seen that I had discussed this issue. I had showed that, while metamorphism was known and a spread of results was expected, in some cases this spread of values has taken on an absurdly-large range.

I believe that Dott and Dalziel (1972) have made a compelling case for the Baraboo sequence being younger than the Animikie sequence

Just the opposite. Schimmrich is clearly the one who is misrepresenting the cited authors! As noted earlier, Dott and Dalziel had first believed, as appeared to be common-sense geology, that the Baraboo and Animikie Sequences had been contemporaneous. They had even used the phrase "SEEMINGLY COMPELLING," which usually is considered a strong confidence in accuracy. It was only AFTER the isotopic results came in that they came up with a geologic justification for the isotopic results having given such differing ages for the two sets of sequences.

While more work needs to be done on these rocks, Woodmorappe has little basis for simply ignoring the data and dismissing their work with a sarcastic comment.

On what planet has Schimmrich been reading my paper? My argument is based on the similarity in lithologies and sequence, not sarcastic comments.

A more fair characterization of this data would be to say that the validity of a marginal isochron was reevaluated by Higgins (1973) in light of more recent geologic fieldwork. This interpretation, however, wouldn't support Woodmorappe's insinuations that geologists arbitrarily toss out radiometric age data.

Well, OK, let's go along with Schimmrich's reasoning. Is anything changed in terms of the original arbitrary rejection of data? Does a formerly-yellow car that has now been repainted red stop having once been a yellow car? Ridiculous. The fact that these authors LATER went back and came back with some sort of ostensibly-plausible geologic explanation for it does not change IN THE SLIGHTEST the fact that they had in fact first summarily rejected it as a "meaningless" result when it suited their then-current preconception to do so.

Example 10 - Forman. First, Woodmorappe directly implies that Forman was reluctant to provide a certain date yet Forman only states that the date was "a little untidy". I fail to see how Woodmorappe can ascribe that motive to Forman given the text of the above quotation.

My point RE:Forman was to show a preconception of wanting agreement with previous results. I thought that scientists were supposed to accept all data that comes in and not label disparate data as "untidy".

Secondly, Woodmorappe draws from this example, the grand conclusion that there is a tendency among researchers not to publish discrepant results.

Horsedump! The fact that geologists don't publish discrepant results is supported by THE ENTIRE SET OF PARAGRAPHS (especially the Mauger quote), which clearly demonstrates that many if not most discrepant results go unpublished. (And, BTW, in case Schimmrich has any plans of doing so, let him spare me the Glen Morton canard about me quoting Mauger out of context).

not here providing evidence for that asssertion and totally ignored is that fact that all of Woodmorappe's data comes from the published scientific literature! If it wasn't for geologists reporting all of their data, even if it isn't tidy, Woodmorappe would have had nothing to write about.

So asinine as to be hardly worthy of a reply. I was not claiming that ALL discrepant results go unpublished, just that some or most of them do not.

Selective quotations from the scientific literature

Bunk. I had provided a variety of uniformitarian opinions in the field of isotopic dating. On the other hand, Schimmrich falsely accused me of things like ignoring Evernden's conclusions. Just who is being "selective" in a mendacious sense???

To the extent that the quotes I use actually are selective, the fact that they exist at all indicts isotopic dating. The truth of the statements I cite does not go away merely because they are "selective" or because Schimmrich does not like them. If I were to quote from Hitler's MEIN KAMPF by "selectively" citing his anti-Semitic statements while ignoring all of the many other topics which Hitler discussed, could I (following Schimmrich's logic) be accused of "selective" quotation in trying to prove that Hitler was an anti-Semite?

quoting people out of context to make your point is generally frowned upon as being dishonest.

Will I ever see the day that anti-Creationists stop repeating this mendacious crap? Or need I remind Schimmrich or his admirers just how egegriously out-of-context Schimmrich's own treatment of my paper has been!

Ignoring well-known limitations of dating methods.
It's a well-known fact that not all rocks and minerals are suitable for radiometric dating and that not all radiometric dating methods are suitable for all geologic samples. An analogy I like to use is that of a wooden yardstick

Another one of Schimmrich's transparently bogus red herrings. Where did I ever claim that all materials were suitable for isotopic dating? And it is the "suitable" materials (such as micas) that give "bad" results not much less frequently than the "unsuitable" ones (such as K-feldspars). The existence of discrepancies is a matter of degree, not kind (as Schimmrich is falsely implying).

Similarly, there are some geologic samples for which the K-Ar method doesn't work very well (because they've lost argon due to heating) yet the Rb-Sr method works perfectly well.

Ridiculously misleading, and irrelevant. As I showed in my 1979 paper, there are also many cases where BOTH the K-Ar and Rb-Sr results are disregarded. Yet how are we to evaluate Schimmrich's statement above? By supposing that the K-Ar result is wrong and the Rb-Sr result is correct. How convenient.

How did geologists discover this and quantify it? By carefully testing and comparing the various analytical techniques and coupling their observations with laboratory experiments and theoretical models of things like argon diffusion in biotites.

As noted earlier, completely misleading. Analytical techniques and diffusion models do not accredit isotopic dating.

Woodmorappe, throughout his paper, lists examples of these early tests and claims that the discordant dates reported are examples of why radiometric dating is invalid. They are nothing of the sort. They are instead examples of how geologists refine and test their

Bunk! Schimmrich has not shown one iota of evidence why the "good" results should be accepted. All he has done was repeat geologists' INTERPRETATIONS of data as fact. And, once again, discrepancies continue TO THIS DAY, and most of the papers I cite for my 1979 paper come from the 1970's. So, much as Schimmrich would like to confuse the issue and divert attention from the glaring flaws of isotopic dating, let him get off his "early papers" fiddle-faddle.

and the following data, taken from a search on GeoRef, shows the explosive growth in the number of scientific papers published on four radiometric dating techniques for each decade between 1950 and 1990 (this graph also indicates the growth in our knowledge of these radiometric dating techniques).

I suppose that Schimmrich thinks that the audience will be impressed by the beautiful graphics and the steeply-rising curve. And to think, that just a moment ago, Schimmrich had something to say about not confusing quantity over quality. As will be shown in my update work, discrepant results continue to this day, and the most modern analytical techniques have NOT reduced the proportions of "bad" results. So the explosive growth in numbers of dating results, shown in Schimmrich's pretty graphics, MEANS NOTHING. It is just another red herring.

The use of a small data set to reach sweeping conclusions At first glance, Woodmorappe's paper looks quite impressive with over 350 entries in his data table of allegedly anomalous dates and over 400 references to the primary literature. Even if all 400 or so of Woodmorappe's examples, however, came from separate studies (which they don't), and even if all of Woodmorappe's examples are problematic (which I think I've shown is false), we can compare that against more than 10,000 papers published on four popular radiometric dating techniques alone up to 1980 (and some techniques, such as 40Ar/39Ar dating, aren't even included on this graph). In other words, Woodmorappe has only referenced, as a rough approximation, less than 4% of the studies and, on this basis, concludes that all radiometric dating is invalid.

Schimmrich's statements are so transparently asinine as to border on stupidity. Who said, first of all, that my list as of 1979 even pretended to be exhaustive? And how could we draw conclusions in view of the fact that, much as Schimmrich may try to deny it, most discrepant results go unpublished? And why would Schimmrich have us believe his implication that there are no discrepant results in the "mountains of papers" he notes that came out after 1979? Finally, how would we "know" a discrepant result much of the time even if we see one? Had Schimmrich read my work carefully, he would have noticed (p. 113) that most igneous bodies have wide biostratigraphic brackets. Therefore, the vast majority of igneous bodies could have yielded a tremendous diversity and range of isotopic dates without any of them contradicting biostratigraphic evidence, and thus being labelled anomalous. Of course, by now, the geologic rationalizations are so facile that geochronologists hardly notice them anymore. They don't ask if a particular isotopic result is valid, they just ask if the result is a crystallization age, a cooling age, a rejuvenation age, etc., without questioning these sacred-cow methods themselves.

The lack of an appropriate audience.
The biggest problems I see with these claims is that organizations like the Institute for Creation Research (which published Woodmorappe's book) aim their literature at laypersons. Most non-geologists simply wouldn't be able to evaluate the claims made in this book so it's left to people like me

A pure, unvarnished lie. Schimmrich is again insinuating that I am a liar, having supposedly written a book intended to fool laymen, and to take advantage of their geologic ignorance. As shown throughout this reply, Schimmrich is the one who has made a stream of misleading and false statements that sound very intellectual at first glance but turn out to be poppycock when closely examined. And, in case it matters, quite a few professional geologists have read my work and endorse most of it.

claims don't stand up to detailed scrutiny by people who are familiar with the relevant geologic literature.

I doubt if uniformitarians would ever question the sacred cows of the old earth in general and isotopic dating in particular. Individual results, yes, but the overall methods, no.

problematic results in geochronology? No, and I'm sure Woodmorappe even listed some real problems for radiometric dating along with his non-problematic examples (although I would argue that they represent a very small minority of results).

I would love, for once, to see concrete proof for this oft-repeated claim by the apologists of isotopic dating.

are what increase our knowledge of the natural world (which is why we understand radiometric dating far better now than we did 40 years ago!).

Another misleading appeal to technical advances, which I had dealt with. And increasing "understanding" of radiometric dating implies more varied, diverse, and clever rationalizations than were invoked before.

A Personal Note. used radiometric dating in my research to date. I have no vested interest in the methodology used by my fellow geologists.

What a laugh. He is as blind to the fallacies of uniformitarianism as a deer is in headlights of a vehicle at midnight.

community. I too believe in Genesis 1:1, but there is simply no credible evidence that the earth is less than 10,000 years old (and a lot of credible evidence that it's around 4,600,000,000 years old) or that there was a geologically-recent global flood.

Judging by his servile adherence to uniformitarianism, I doubt if he would recognize either of these things if they grabbed him by the throat and hit him over the head. I too am a geologist by training, and I see PLENTY of evidences against current uniformitarian views and FOR Creationism.

of Genesis rather than the historicity of the Gospels, has harmed the cause of Christ by making Christians appear foolish and by making it very difficult for scientists and those who value reason and truth to accept Christianity.


I also value reason and science, but NOT rationalism and scientism, as the compromising evangelicals do. And compromising evangelicals are not teaching the Word of God, but a prostitution of the Word of God which is designed to fit the prevailing rationalistic worldview.

By the way, I have witnessed to hundreds of people on campus and have met NOT ONE who made Creationism an excuse for rejecting Christ. And why should anyone, when there are so many stock excuses available (e. g., the Inquisition, the real or imagined hypocrisy of churchgoers, the "exclusiveness" of Christianity, how a loving God could send anyone to hell).

On the contrary, many people have been LED TO CHRIST as a result of Creationist ministries, which is all the more impressive in view of the fact that few of the Creationist messages have been openly evangelistic in nature.

Finally, if Schimmrich is so desperate about making Christianity intellectually respectable, why does he not reject the truths of the Gospel and become a full-blown modernist? After all, by far most of the intellectual community whose admiration he so craves do not accept the miracles and Resurrection of our Lord any more than they do the miraculous Creation of the world several thousand years ago. And exactly the same rationalistic worldview that has its incarnation in standard uniformitarian geology is the same one that denies the truths about our Lord. When will compromising evangelicals come out of their mentally and spiritually schizophrenic condition?

Those who teach young-earth creationism to Christians should keep in mind the warning given in James 3:1 and remember what our Lord said about those who lead His sheep astray in Matthew 18:6.

To hear compromising evangelicals cite these verses, to me, is something that is somewhere between hypocrisy and blasphemy. First of all, how is it that these cafeteria evangelicals cite Scripture against Creationists when they themselves selectively deny Scriptures by their ludicrous contortions of it? Reminds me of the blatant hypocrisy of those who tried Paul for violating the Law, and, in violation of the Law, ordered him struck (Acts 23:3).

Secondly, in view of the fact that the Lord Himself taught the Creation and Flood, I think that misusing His warnings (concerning false teachings) as a weapon AGAINST the supporters of the truth (modern Creationists) borders on blasphemy.

Christians should have a reputation for being scrupulously honest, not a reputation for playing fast and loose with the truth. [AMEN!!!]

Amen from Woodmorappe also. When will Schimmrich stop confusing the false uniformitarian worldview as truth? And when will he admit his lies about my work? Until he does, I do not wish to hear any more of his prattling about scientific and personal integrity. He of all people has nothing to say about these matters.

arguments are well reasoned, persuasive, and thoroughly documented, I would only recommend this paper as a typical example of pseudoscience

Here we go again. Anyone who does not buy into science as defined by humanists is labeled a pseudoscientist. Well, like it or not, I am a scientist, and am no less I scientist because I refuse to fall down before the idol of anti-supernaturalism. From God's viewpoint, the rationalistic, anti-God preconceptions which govern uniformitarian geology are pseudoscience PAR EXCELLENCE. How sad that Schimmrich and other compromising-evangelical geologists are so devoutly willing to follow it--hook, line, and sinker.

CONCLUSION: Schimmrich's clever red herrings, and outright falsehoods about my work, do not whitewash isotopic dating at all. Enough time spent on Schimmrich's anti-Creationist garbage.

[View Schimmrich's response]

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