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

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We pick up Dalrymple's redirect-examination at the point where ACLU Attorney Ennis begins to question him about the falsification test. Dalrymple's second answer spurs Judge Overton to interrupt the proceedings with some of his own questions about my work. Dalrymple has no choice but to respond, and he does so in an amazing way. He provides such a superb explanation of the implications of polonium halos in granites that, for the moment at least, it seems he is about to convince Judge Overton of the evidence for creation.

ACLU Witness Explains Evidence for Creation

Quoting from the transcript, Ennis continues his redirect-examination of Dalrymple as follows:

Q       During cross examination Mr. Williams asked you if Mr. Gentry's argument or hypothesis could be falsified. Has Mr. Gentry proposed a method for falsifying his hypothesis?
A Yes, he has proposed a test and that is the one I characterized as meaningless.
Q Why would it be meaningless?
A Let me first see if I can find a statement of the test, and I will explain that. I have it now. [Note: Here Dalrymple refers to the statement of the falsification test that I published in 1979 in EOS. The publication of this test (Gentry 1979, 474 and Gentry 1980) was earlier discussed in Chapter 5.]
    THE COURT: May I read what you quoted from the newsletter before you go to that?
[p. 125]
A (Continuing) Okay, sir. The experiment that Doctor Gentry proposed—
    THE COURT: Let me ask you a question. As I understand it, that's his conclusion. I still don't understand what his theory is.
    THE WITNESS: [Dalrymple]: He [Gentry] has proposed that it is either a theory or a hypothesis that he says can be falsified.
    THE COURT: What's the basis for the proposal? How does he come up with that?
    THE WITNESS: Well, basically what he has found is there is a series of radioactive haloes within minerals in the rocks. Many minerals like mica include very tiny particles of other minerals that are radioactive, little crystals of zircon and things like that, that have a lot of uranium in them.
    And as the uranium decays, the alpha particles will not decay, but travel outward through the mica. And they cause radiation damage in the mica around the radioactive particle. And the distance that those particles travel is indicated by these radioactive haloes. And that distance is related directly to the energy of the decay. And from the energy of the decay, it is thought that we can identify the isotopes.
    That's the kind of work that Gentry has been doing.
    And what he has found is that he has identified certain haloes which he claims are from Pollonium-212 [sic, polonium-218; correct form of the chemical elements used hereafter]. Now, polonium-218 is one of the isotopes intermediate in the decay chain between uranium and lead.
    Uranium doesn't decay directly from [sic, to] lead. It goes through a whole series of intermediate products, each of which is radioactive and in turn decays.
    Polonium-218 is derived in this occasion from radon-222. And what he has found is that the polonium haloes, and this is what he claims to have found, are the polonium-218 haloes, but not radon-222 haloes. And therefore, he says that the polonium could not have come from the decay of radium, therefore it could not have come from the normal decay change [sic, chains].
    And he says, how did it get there? And then he says that the only way it could have gotten there unsupported by radon-222 decay is to have been primordial polonium, that is polonium that was created at the time the solar system was created, or the universe.
    Well, the problem with that is polonium-218 has a half-life of only about three minutes, I believe it is. So that if you have a granitic body, a rock that comes from the melt, that contains this mica, and it cools down, it takes millions of years for a body like that to cool.
    [p. 126]
    So that by the time the body cooled, all the polonium would have decayed, since it has an extremely short half-life. Therefore, there would be no polonium in the body to cause the polonium haloes.
    So what he is saying, this is primordial polonium; therefore, the granite mass in which it occurs could not have cooled slowly; therefore, it must have been created by fiat, instantly.
    And the experiment he has proposed to falsify this is that he says he will accept this hypothesis as false when somebody can synthesize a piece of granite in the laboratory.
    And I'm claiming that that would be a meaningless experiment.
    Does that—I know this is a rather complicated subject.
    THE COURT: I am not sure I understand all of this process. Obviously I don't understand all of this process, but why don't you go ahead, Mr. Ennis?
    MR. ENNIS: Yes, your Honor. Obviously, your Honor, these subjects are somewhat complex, and if the Court has additional questions, I'd hope that the Court would feel free to ask the witness directly. [Smith 1982b, p. 476, l. 21 to p. 480, l. 2]

At this point I suspect Attorney Ennis was more than just a little nervous about Judge Overton's comments. Ennis had just heard my arguments for creation summarized extremely well by his own star witness. In the light of Dalrymple's lucid commentary, it seems that Judge Overton was somewhat perplexed—perhaps he didn't quite understand why my conclusions were wrong and why the falsification test was meaningless.

Remember that in his earlier cross-examination Dalrymple deftly sidestepped the challenge of creation by saying that polonium halos are a tiny mystery, which some day would be solved; and he did likewise with the falsification test, saying he suspected that a granite would be synthesized in the future. The ACLU claimed that evolution represented the true picture of the origin of the earth, but they had signally failed to defend their position in two major encounters.

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Part:  A  B  C  D

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