Creation/Evolution Newsletter Attacks Polonium Halo Evidence
Publications of much less significance than Physics Today are also involved in the creation/evolution controversy. A notable example of this is the Creation/Evolution Newsletter, edited by Karl Fezer of Concord College, Athens, West Virginia. This newsletter is reputed to be "dedicated to defending and enhancing the integrity of science education." Its contents include newspaper clippings supportive of evolution, news of the activities of certain creation scientists, and comments putting down scientists or theologians who support biblical creation. One issue of this newsletter printed a letter about my work preceded by these editorial remarks:
Dalrymple charges in his letter (Dalrymple 1985; Appendix) that my creation model is "unscientific" and "ridiculous," that my interpretation of the polonium halo evidence for creation is "absurd" and "naive," and that my challenge to the scientific community to falsify my conclusions by the synthesis of a hand-sized piece of granite is "silly," "inconclusive," and "nonsense." Another evolutionist (Osmon 1986) used Dalrymple's comments when he published a follow-up letter in the same newsletter. My response (Gentry 1986; Appendix) to Dalrymple's criticisms, given at the end of this book, also serves as a rebuttal to Osmon's technical comments.
Elsewhere in his letter Osmon urges that my "creation hypothesis" should be given a "thorough review," to see whether it fits the canons of science as defined by an evolutionist philosopher (Kitcher 1982). Kitcher's book serves two functions for all those who are adamantly opposed to creation: (1) it attempts to establish that creation science is not true science; and (2) it constructs a philosophy of science in which evolutionists will never have to be placed in a position where they would be forced to substantiate the basic premise of their theory with experimental evidence.
Applying one of Kitcher's criteria to my work Osmon concludes that:
. . . neither [Gentry's] hypothesis or the [his] theory provides any problem-strategy at all. If a geologist asks how does rock with the properties of granite form, Gentry's answer is "Kazam." . . . (Osmon 1986)
This is somewhat ironic—I thought "Kazam" was the onomatopoetic description of the Big Bang!
In another place Osmon surmises that I might have proposed the falsification experiment because I knew "it would be very expensive to perform. . ." Here Osmon unwittingly reveals a basic contradiction in his argument. Over the last several decades countless millions of government funds have been spent on incredibly "far- out" ventures specifically designed to test a number of evolutionary predictions—one prime example being the costly unmanned space mission to Mars to look for evidence of the evolutionary beginning of life. This mission failed to find any trace of even the [p. 183] most primitive forms of life. Despite this failure, evolutionists continue to obtain funds for almost any experiment which they feel is important. We must conclude that until now evolutionists have not been inclined to launch a full-scale effort to perform the falsification test.
But why would confirmed evolutionists want to continually postpone a confrontation based on experimental evidence produced in the laboratory? After all, success in this experiment would be the desperately needed evidence to show that evolution has some basis in fact, for it would substantiate the evolutionary origin of the granites based on the uniformitarian principle. With everything at stake, why are there not scores of dedicated evolutionists seeking to vindicate the fundamental premise that holds all of the evolutionary scenario together? As a first step, why do they not show how polonium halos can be experimentally produced in granite that already exists, instead of just hypothesizing about how these halos might have formed in accord with conventional laws?
By minimizing the crucial importance of the granite synthesis experiment, Osmon has in effect deflected attention from some important truths: all models of origins—whether based on a biblical framework, an atheistic framework, or any combination of religious/atheistic beliefs—involve a faith factor. I have already discussed how the Big Bang cosmological model is dependent on this faith factor. The theory of punctuated equilibrium (quantum jumps from one species to another) also involves an immense faith factor for biologists mainly because its basic premises are little more than idealized speculation.
The important point is that all scientific models of origins rest on certain basic premises. Thus the ultimate scientific test of any model of origins hinges on whether its basic premises are true or false. If data are discovered which contradict either a model's basic premises, or an undeniable consequence of those premises, then the model is false regardless of how many pieces of data can be fitted into it. Polonium halos in Precambrian granites falsify the entire theory of evolution because they contradict its basic premise, the uniformitarian principle. The only way this statement can be refuted is by providing laboratory evidence showing that granites with polonium halos can form naturally.
I do not believe that a report will ever be published describing the synthesis of a granite containing even a single 218Po halo, much less one containing all three types. (By comparison, some natural specimens of biotite contain thousands of 218Po halos in just one cubic centimeter.) My confidence is based on experimental data obtained from the laboratory of nature, the ultimate proving ground for all models of origins.
As detailed in Chapter 4, the secondary polonium halos in coalified wood provide demonstrative evidence that, even under ideal conditions of high uranium concentrations and rapid transport, only the 210Po halo type will develop secondarily from the accumulation of uranium daughter activity. In contrast, three types of polonium halos occur in granites where both the uranium concentration and the transport conditions necessary to produce secondary polonium halos are missing. Consequently, I maintain that all attempts to duplicate a granite containing the three types of polonium halos will meet with failure.
In brief, the laboratory of nature has provided both positive, unambiguous evidence for a primordial origin of polonium halos in granites as well as decisive, independent evidence against their secondary origin.
Vistas in Creation
This book has shown a number of instances where evolutionists have misunderstood my creation model. That model, based on the Genesis record of creation and the flood, is not restricted or at all governed by the uniformitarian concept of a worldwide geologic column, which is based on radiometric dating and index fossil classification. Rather it begins by connecting "In the beginning . . ." with the primordial Earth being called into existence on Day 1 of creation week about 6000 years ago. More specifically, I envision a continual series of geologically oriented creative events occurring throughout the 24-hour period of Day 1, with each of those events beginning with the appropriate matter being called into existence from nothing. As mentioned in Chapter 10, the initial state of that matter may have been a primordial liquid, which was instantly cooled to form primordial rocks.
The Precambrian granites show evidence of an instantaneous creation and hence are identified as part of the primordial rocks of the earth; further investigations are needed to determine which additional rocks should be classified as primordial. Those other primordial rocks could include sedimentary rocks (without fossils) as well as some non-Precambrian granites and metamorphic rocks, such as some which occur in New England. While Day 1 includes the preeminent geological event of earth history, the geologic occurrences of Day 3 may also have been quite significant. Specifically, the appearance of dry land out of a watery environment on Day 3 may have been accompanied by the rapid formation of certain sedimentary rocks, in particular those that geologists classify as Precambrian. (Initially, of course, [p. 185] these "creation-week" sedimentary rocks would have been free of fossils.) The events of Day 3 might have included vulcanism and the formation/creation of some intrusive rocks as well. Conceivably, there may have been limited mixing of the different created-rock types during creation week.
My creation model of the global flood envisions tremendous upheavals of the earth's crust and many opportunities for the deposition, intrusion, mixing, erosion, and reorientation of different rock types. Here are some of the possibilities: Although the flood itself lasted just a year, long-term geological effects may have lasted for hundreds of years thereafter. For example, while the sedimentary rock formations observed in the Grand Canyon are ascribed to the period of the flood itself, the erosional processes that cut through the freshly deposited sediments may well have continued for a number of years after the flood. In my model the bulk of fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks would have formed during the opening and closing stages of the flood, with lesser amounts being formed during the long period of subsidence and run-off after the flood.
Extensive vulcanism is envisioned as occurring during the same periods, which means that opportunities existed for the intrusion of volcanic magma into sedimentary formations. Vulcanism during and after the global flood provides a mechanism whereby the primordial and other rocks, created during creation week, could have mixed with flood-related volcanic and sedimentary material. To illustrate, consider that, as magma (hot fluid rock) formed deep in the earth passes upward toward the earth's surface, it may pass through and melt, or alternatively encapsulate, a variety of rocks, beginning with those created on Day 1 or Day 3, and extending through those formed by volcanic and sedimentary activity during the time of the flood. Thus, when that magma finally cools to a solid, it would be a composite of all the rocks just mentioned. If the magma temperature was not too high, then the composite rock would contain unmelted fragments of all the rocks through which the magma had passed. Moreover, during and after the flood there were many instances where heat and pressure from hot gases and molten rock deep in the earth caused the uplift and intrusion of granite rock into recently deposited sediments. The hot gases accompanying these solid granite intrusions would have turned the adjacent sediments into metamorphic rock.
This description of my creation model is by no means exhaustive; however, I trust it will provide an expanded framework for interpreting diverse geological data. To me the Genesis record of creation and the flood is the master key which unlocks all of Earth's geologic history. More details about my creation model are given in the Appendix, p. 325.
Earth Science Associates