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Creation's Tiny Mystery
Chapter 10: Creation's Test on Trial

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[p. 130]

Imitation Granite

Since the trial I have obtained some Kilauea-Iki lava lake specimens from the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia. In bulk composition and mineralogy the lava specimens are olivine-rich basalt, grossly different from any granite. Dalrymple did not testify about these major differences—he only said that the texture was the same. But in examining the lava specimens, I found that there is an essential difference in the texture which Dalrymple did not mention. In the Kilauea-Iki samples the minerals have grown together in the interlocking, intergranular manner characteristic of rocks which have crystallized from a melt. The minerals in Precambrian granites also exhibit an intergranular, interlocking arrangement, and thus are texturally similar to the Kilauea-Iki specimens in this one respect. However, another aspect of texture is the size of the minerals composing the rock. The Kilauea-Iki samples are fine-grained, meaning that the different mineral grains in them are very small, often microscopic in size. The Precambrian granites, on the other hand, are generally characterized as being coarse-grained, having mineral grains large enough to be identified visually without magnification. This means the only similarity between the granites and the lava specimens is the interlocking, intergranular arrangement of the crystals making up the rocks. This characteristic can be accounted for naturally by slow cooling of the lava in the case of the Kilauea-Iki specimens—or by rapid or instantaneous cooling from a primordial liquid in the case of the granites. Thus Dalrymple is incorrect in claiming that the Kilauea-Iki lava specimens show that the Precambrian granites formed by slow cooling. And his reference to slow cooling brings up a most important point concerning a basic assumption of evolutionary geology.

It is a fact that hot fluid rock, such as that produced at Kilauea-Iki, can cool over a period of a few years to form fine-grained volcanic rocks composed of microscopic-sized crystals. The same is true of rocks that form when granites deep in the earth are melted. The granite melt may extrude onto the surface and cool rapidly to form a glassy rock; or it may cool more slowly beneath the surface to become rhyolite, a fine-grained rock (which in certain instances contains unmelted fragments of sidewall rocks broken off in the upward passage of the magma). Both the glassy rock and the rhyolites are intrinsically different from the coarse-grained granites. The last section of the Radiohalo Catalogue illustrates the considerable difference between a biotite-rich, coarse-grained granite and a slowly cooled rhyolite specimen, extracted from a depth of 1683.3 feet at Inyo Domes, California [p. 131] (Eichelberger et al. 1985). This difference pinpoints another reason why granite synthesis remains a crucial challenge to evolutionary geology: even though the laboratory of nature has repeatedly provided a suitable environment for granites to crystallize from a granite melt, still there is no evidence of this taking place. Geologists say this is because temperature, pressure, and length of cooling must be different. It appears, however, that evidence exists, independent of polonium halos, which long ago should have led geologists to doubt their theory of granite formation.

For example, the tiny crystals of which rhyolite is composed bear no comparison in size to the very large crystals found in certain regions within granites known as pegmatites. Some pegmatites contain crystals of biotite, the mineral in which polonium halos are most easily found, that are several feet in length. Evolutionary geology assumes that these extremely large biotite crystals are evidence of a very long period of crystallization—the larger the size, the longer it took to form. The problem is that no one has yet synthesized even a penny-sized crystal of biotite in the laboratory; so the assumption that large crystals of biotite have grown from small ones is actually a leap of faith without a point of departure. In other words, there is no evidence from the laboratory of nature or of science to show that pegmatitic biotite crystals, as shown in the Radiohalo Catalogue, attained their large size by evolutionary processes. Moreover, the existence of polonium halos in these biotites provides clear evidence that these large crystals were the product of instantaneous creation. (Most of the polonium halos in mica shown in the Radiohalo Catalogue were found in specimens of biotite taken from pegmatites.)

The above analysis shows, I believe, that Dalrymple's comparison of granites with the Kilauea-Iki lava specimens did not provide a scientifically valid basis for rejecting the falsification test. I do not know whether Dalrymple realized the weaknesses in making this comparison, but I do know that about midway in his response he began to address the granite synthesis challenge directly.

He claims that granite synthesis is impossible—but only because of technical reasons. At first he emphasizes the monumental difficulties in trying to synthesize a hand-sized piece of granite. Then he says—unless there had been a recent breakthrough—no one had yet succeeded in synthesizing a tiny piece. After protesting at length that I had proposed an unreasonably large-sized piece of granite to synthesize, the truth emerges: experimenters have difficulties in even getting the granite synthesis reaction started.

[p. 132]

Polonium Halos Revisited

Attorney Ennis continued his re-examination by returning to the topic of polonium halos.

Q       Doctor Dalrymple, if I understand correctly, polonium-218 is the product of the radioactive decay of radon-222, is that correct?
A Yes, that's correct.
Q And does polonium-218 occur through any other process?
A Not as far as I know. I suspect you could make it in a nuclear reactor, but I don't know that. I'm not sure, but I don't think polonium-218 is a product of any other decay chain.
Q So if there were polonium-218 in a rock which did not have any previous radon-222 in that rock, then that existence of polonium-218 would mean that the laws of physics as you understand them would have had to have been suspended for that polonium to be there; is that correct?
A Well, if that were the case, it might or it might not. But there are a couple of other possibilities. One is that perhaps Gentry is mistaken about the halo. It may not have been polonium-218. The second one is that it's possible that he's not been able to identify the radon-222 halo. Maybe it's been erased, and maybe for reasons we don't understand, it was never created.
    This is why I say it's just a tiny mystery. We have lots of these in science, little things that we can't quite explain. But we don't throw those on the scale and claim that they outweigh everything else. That's simply not a rational way to operate.
    I would be very interested to know what the ultimate solution to this problem is, and I suspect eventually there will be a natural explanation found for it.
Q Does Mr. Gentry's data provide scientific evidence from which you conclude that the earth is relatively young?
A Well, I certainly wouldn't reach that conclusion, because that evidence has to be balanced by everything else we know, and everything else we know tells us that it's extremely old.
    The other thing that I should mention, and I forgot to make this in my previous point, if I could, and that is that Mr. Gentry seems to be saying that the crystalline rocks, the basic rocks, the old rocks of the continents were forms [sic, formed] instantaneously. And he uses granite.
    But the thing that he seems to overlook is that not all these old rocks are granites. In fact, there are lava flows included in those old rocks, there are sediments included in those old rocks. These sediments were deposited in oceans, they were deposited in lakes. They [sic, There are] [p. 133] even Pre-Cambrian glacial deposits that tells [sic] that the glaciers were on the earth a long, long time ago.
    So it's impossible to characterize all of the old crystalline rocks as being just granite. Granite is a very special rock type, and it makes up a rather small percentage of the Pre-Cambrian or the old crystalline rocks that formed before the continents. [Smith 1982b, p. 484, l. 1 to p. 486, l. 3]

In the above testimony Dalrymple suggests I might be mistaken about the identification of the polonium-218 halo. As we shall shortly see, however, the recross-examination by Attorney Williams showed these comments were only speculation. Dalrymple also misunderstands how various rock types fit into my creation model and thus arrives at incorrect conclusions about my views on the origin of the granites. A brief discussion of my creation model is necessary to clarify this misunderstanding.

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