The Complex Case of Zircons and Helium

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

Continuing the discussion from Sal Cordova's Path to Young Earth Creationism:

@jammycakes, your explanation of it is also very good. I very much encourage everyone to read it:

This article by @jammycakes on the background info on zircons is really good.

I find really interesting that @jammycakes is not a geologist or a scientist, but just careful study was able to bring him to a well thought out explanation of this very complex problem. It goes to show that the information is out there for those with eyes to see.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #2

@jammycakes, would mind explaining the key points here? I think you do a really good job of it. Feel free to quote concisely from your main articles.

(James McKay) #4

Just put the URL on one line and you’ll get a pretty box round it:

Incidentally here are a couple of YouTube discussions with Gary Loechelt and Kevin Henke – the two scientists who have done the most work reviewing the RATE project’s helium in zircons study – going over it in detail. Part One:

And part two:

For what it’s worth, this was probably the most challenging of Answers in Genesis’s top ten claims to deal with. It’s not that they have a strong case here (they haven’t), but that the subject matter is particularly complex and maths intensive, and it covers several different areas of physics, chemistry, geology and materials science. It’s all too easy to start reading about it, get confronted with all these quantities Q/Q_O, a and b, and end up scratching your head and thinking what on earth is all this about here? But that just means we need to be all the more careful with it. After all, the more complex a claim, the greater the number of places that mistakes, falsehood, non-sequiturs and failures to follow accepted practices and protocols can creep in. In such cases, rigorous if not outright ruthless peer review is absolutely essential.