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Creation's Tiny Mystery
Chapter 5: Reverberations from Scientists

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Soon after Kazmann's summary appeared in EOS (Kazmann 1979), I received a copy of a letter from the eminent geochronologist, Professor Paul Damon, University of Arizona, Tucson, to Dr. A. F. Spilhaus, Editor of EOS. Even though Damon's letter was critical, I was elated because his comments focused squarely on the implications of my work. He intended for his criticisms to be published in EOS. If this was done, I hoped to have the privilege of responding to his assertions by presenting a further explanation of my position. This would be an opportunity to clarify the issues. The problem was that, as the following letter shows, initially Dr. Spilhaus only asked my opinion of Damon's criticism without offering me the opportunity to respond:

(February 8, 1979)

Dear Mr. Gentry:

I would appreciate your comments on whether the remarks of Paul Damon in his letter of January 23, a copy of which was sent to you, are scientifically sound. If they are, it will be my inclination to publish them as soon as possible in EOS. Please let me know your opinion by return mail if possible. I will also consider further commentary on this article as it becomes available.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ A. F. Spilhaus

A. F. Spilhaus, Jr.
Executive Director, American Geophysical Union

I called and then wrote to Dr. Spilhaus, requesting that he allow me to respond to Damon's letter. A few weeks later the following letter was received:

[p. 64](April 3, 1979)

Dear Professor Gentry:

As you well know and expressed in your letter, the conclusions you reached from the interpretation of your halo data are considered untenable except by a very tiny minority of the earth sciences community. Nevertheless, my reviewers feel that you are due an opportunity to respond to Damon's comments, but you must make that response short.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Fred Spilhaus

I was quite pleased to receive this letter, for there were some important matters at stake. Damon's letter left no doubt he understood that, if polonium halos in granites were primordial, this meant the earth had indeed formed very rapidly, thus calling into question the entire science of geochronology (radiometric age-dating). The first sentence in his letter, later published in EOS, is quoted below:

I was dismayed by Raphael G. Kazmann's conclusion in his review of a symposium on "Cosmochronology, geochronology, and the neutrino crisis" (Time: In Full Measure, Eos Trans. AGU, 60 (2), pp. 21-22, January 9, 1979) that essentially casts in doubt the entire science of geochronology, on the basis of an absurd interpretation of the origin of "polonium" halos in minerals observed by Robert Gentry. . . . (Damon 1979, 474)

The "absurd interpretation" referred to here is my claim that primordial polonium halos exist in granites. Primordial polonium halos invalidate the assumption of uniform decay over endless time. Without this premise there is no factual basis for a radiometrically derived 4.5-billion-year age of the earth. The last paragraph of his letter concludes:

The history of science includes many examples of valid observations that have been given unacceptable interpretations. One need not doubt the validity of Gentry's observations of the existence of halos with certain characteristics in order to reject his interpretation as reported by Kazmann. However, I certainly hope that Kazmann and his fellow engineers do not design structures such as nuclear reactor sites based upon the short time scale suggested by a misinterpretation of Gentry's apparently valid observations! (Damon 1979, 474)

Damon agrees that my observations on polonium halos are "apparently valid," but he rejects the possibility that they are of primordial origin without offering an alternative explanation. It was becoming increasingly apparent that an experimental test was needed to settle the question of their origin.

[p. 65]

A Falsification Test Proposed

Damon's strongest objections to my results centered around two points—the association of polonium halos in granites with primordial polonium and the identification of the Precambrian granites as the primordial Genesis rocks of our planet. It occurred to me there was a laboratory experiment which, if successful, in theory would allow scientists to confirm a major prediction of the evolutionary scenario and at the same time falsify my model of creation.

To understand this test readers must remember that in the evolutionary model the proto-earth began some 4.5 billion years ago in a semi-molten condition. A slowly cooling earth supposedly led to the formation of various types of rocks at many different times and places. Geologists think that the Precambrian granites, the crystalline basement rocks of the continents, were among those rocks that formed at different intervals over that long cooling period. According to the uniformitarian principle the physical processes which governed the crystallization of the granites in the past are the same as those operable on earth today. The inevitable conclusion is that it should be possible to duplicate the process of granite formation in a modern scientific laboratory. That is, it should be possible—provided the uniformitarian principle is really valid.

This was the basis of the laboratory-based test presented to the scientific community in my response to Damon's letter in the May 29, 1979, issue of EOS. Two excerpts from my response show how this test was stated:

. . . Therefore I regard the failure to resolve the long-standing controversy in geology which concerns the origin of the Precambrian granites to be because such rocks are primordial and hence not necessarily explainable on the basis of conventional principles. Even though I think they further qualify for that role in their association as basement rocks of the continents, nevertheless I would consider my thesis essentially falsified if and when geologists synthesize a hand-sized specimen of a typical biotite-bearing granite and/or a similar size crystal of biotite.

I will likewise relinquish any claim for primordial 218Po halos when coercive evidence (not just plausibility arguments) is provided for a conventional origin. . . . and in this respect I will consider my thesis to be doubly falsified by the synthesis of a biotite which contains just one 218Po halo (some of my natural specimens contain more than 104 Po halos/cm3). . . . (Gentry 1979, 474)

Much was and still is at stake in issuing this challenge to synthesize, or produce a duplicate of, a single hand- sized specimen of a piece of granite [p. 66] in the laboratory. The experiment being proposed is quite straightforward. The basic chemical elements of a granite, which are well-known, are to be melted, and then allowed to cool to form a synthetic rock. If my colleagues could do this experiment so that the synthetic rock reproduces the mineral composition and crystal structure of a granite, then they will have duplicated or synthesized a piece of granite. By doing this they would have confirmed a major prediction of the evolutionary scenario—they would have demonstrated that granites can form from a liquid melt in accord with known physical laws. I would accept such results as falsifying my view that the Precambrian granites are the primordial Genesis rocks of our planet. Furthermore, if they were successful in producing just a single 218Po halo in that piece of synthesized granite, I would accept that as falsifying my view that the polonium halos in granites are God's fingerprints.

This test of the creation and evolution models was published in the open scientific literature for all my colleagues to study. In the spirit of free scientific inquiry I hoped they would closely examine my published evidences for creation and be led to respond with contrary evidence, if I was wrong, or else admit there was valid scientific evidence for creation. Neither of these happened.

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Part:  A  B  C

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Earth Science Associates