Monday, July 06, 2009

Arizona state senator Sylvia Allen thinks the earth is 6000 years old

Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake), arguing in favor of a bill to allow uranium mining north of the Grand Canyon, casually says that the earth is 6,000 years old, and therefore a little uranium mining isn't going to hurt anything.

Snowflake, the home of the logging team that included claimed UFO abductee Travis Walton, also has a large Mormon population, and Mormons have power in the Arizona legislature far beyond their numbers.

The ignorant Senator Allen should step on over to the Talk.Origins Archive and read the Age of the Earth FAQ. (UPDATE: For a more readable introduction, how about Chris Turney's Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened, or G. Brent Dalrymple's The Age of the Earth.)



(Via the Bad Astronomy blog.)

30 comments:

cowmix said...

Good grief.

Phishy said...

What a twat, it's scary to think those people are charged with LEADING YOUR COUNTRY

Hell, we can find ruins that date older than 6000 years, what kind of half assed education did this nitwit get?

Jim Lippard said...

And there's lots of well-known old stuff in Arizona--Barringer Meteor Crater is from an impact about 50,000 years ago, and of course the Grand Canyon, the area where she wants to open up uranium mining, exposes rock layers from 250 million to 2 billion years old.

Phishy said...

Jim Lippard you are so wrong. God put those there to test our faith, just like fossilized dinosaur remains.

pffft..

(sarcasm!)

martiendejong said...

I believe you cannot know if the earth is 6000 years old, since you were not there went it was created

Jim Lippard said...

Martiendejong: So it's impossible to have knowledge of any events unless you were physically present when they occurred?

I think you have a rather impoverished and incorrect understanding of human knowledge. By your reasoning, you don't know of the existence of other people or nations when you're not physically present.

There are multiple ways of measuring the age of the earth, and they all converge on the same answer, 4.5 billion years. You don't find them converging on an age of 6,000 years or anywhere close to that--on the contrary, there is a vast wealth of evidence--including tree ring data--that shows that the earth can't possibly be 6,000 years old.

(BTW, it was the tree ring data that convinced Gerald Aardsma of the Institute for Creation Research that the earth is not young.)

Jim Lippard said...

Phishy: I do have the t-shirt.

Schtacky said...

Jim - I have to doubt your existence. I wasn't there to witness your birth, and though I have met you on several occasions, the evidence, no matter how compelling, will not convince me otherwise.

I am hoping the Martien just made a poor attempt at sarcasm.

Tom said...

Actually, the honorable senator is off by a factor of 1,000. The earth is actually SIX years old. I should know, I'm 60 and for many years had to live on the moon waiting for the construction crews to finish the Earth. They never did finish the job, and each summer you can see them on the highways doing God's work. Amen, brethern!

Jim Lippard said...

Tom: Say hello to Slartibartfast for me.

Василий said...

god help us...

Fredric said...

It's always a Republican moron, huh? The uneducated cult Party.

Kimo C said...

She just mad Worst Person on Keith Olbermann tonight

Wakefield Tolbert said...

Word, Mr. Lippard.

But that was kinda corny.

Keith Olbermann's take on this, that is.

Now, granted K.O.'s take on things is not YOUR fault.

He's an idiot. You're obviously not.

But his mirth level meter at this is about the same, I'd guess, and perhaps you can use your apparently abundant time at the helm of the glowing screen to send the word here.

Not sure about the old earth or its age, but my patience with Keith Olbermann's urine stained pants and his shtick is about 6000 years old by now.

He needs a good bitch slap.

Sounds mean?

Perhaps an explanation is in order:

When not competing with David Letterman's metrosexual writers when it comes to cornball jokes, Keith and the lovely Rachel Maddow to follow just can't seem to get the jive of humor.

Everybody likes to laugh. But I have a message for Mr. Pissy Pants over on MSNBC, since his Vaudeville act is all about anal-retention in those handy "facts of the matter" slot, and terminology. He makes much mirth and a living off of inconsequential jibber. These small-time opportunities to show off by correcting someone else's teeny-tiny, spiderleg sized mistakes are the lifeblood of little people. But two can play that game, including some of us adults:

You have to get ALL the facts straight, Keith, not just the ones you heard someone else repeat and you think are funny. Let your writers in the boardroom know that.

K.O. was in his usual form tonight on MSNBC, which I had the distinct misfortune of watching out of a sense of deliberately creating indigestion and enduring his Schadenfreude. Mocking a small town councilwoman pitching for uranium mining and talking about how the earth is about 6000 years old, there is a little mirth here regarding the irony that the poor benighted woman had no idea that uranium itself is used via what K.O. calles "radiocarbon" dating to determine the age of the earth.

And so it was--and is.

Well. Sort of.....

Only problem is, Keith then extolled the wonders of "Carbon Dating", and then in more cornball form pondered if Republicans have confused this kind of "dating" with gay marriage. And, of course, he mocks Christianity for supposedly claiming the earth is "6000" years old. No such claim is made or implied in Scripture, and the Bible is NOT a book on scientific exegesis or explanation....

Sorry Keith. This is a little hollow. First of all, get some new writers regarding the gay stuff.

Second, Keith, consult the Periodic Table of Elements.

Yes, Keith, radioACTIVE dating is used with Uranium's constant rate of decay. It is NOT, however, radioCARBON dating. The concept is the same, yes, but mind your elements here, smartypants.

You see, Mr. Tinkle, radioCARBON dating has to do with CARBON--not Uranium.

Wakefield Tolbert said...

K.O. is looking for the word "RadioMETRIC", for the all-encompassing term here.
_________________

Come to think of it, I might have slapped him upside the head even for saying little-to-nothing at all....

We have a nuclear N. Korea run by a guy who dresses like Bea Arthur and swills gin, we have a "health care" plan that will no doubt do exactly what the CBO says and push 23 million people out of their current plans and cost about one-tril-five to an already expanding vapor trail of IOU notes at the Treasury, we have a bog-down war in Afghanistan where the Talibs defy our most expensive efforts at quelling, and we have the Great Apologia Tour 09' where the US is guilty of every woe and misfortune the world has known, and NOW of course this is a lovely apropros time to mention Cap-n-tax levies at the very moment the economy is souring as we speak. Oh yeah--and spending bill ("stimulus") 2.0 is about to be downloaded. Not that the first one went for more than glop and social service flush rather than the "shovel ready" crap Obama mentioned in the sales pitch.

So....WHO is Number One BAD GUY for K.O.'s countdown last night?

Some woman from Arizona in a just-above-dog-catcher type office, and her commentary on uranium mining needs.

Which, back to Mr. Lippard here, while it's not as safe as cooking eggs, since we're not exactly in good from on US energy needs here, we have to weigh some more options beyond chicken manure and windmills and just taxing the hell out rich people and Robin Hoodin' that money over to the po folks.

Redistribution of either money or talent would be one thing (mostly its the former), but PRODUCTION of new energy is a site finer. Regardless of the age of Gaia and her precious thoughts on the matter.

Dig? Yeah--time to DIG.

Ktisophilos said...

Василий, что это означает? Почему Бог?

Brad said...

Wakefield: "These small-time opportunities to show off by correcting someone else's teeny-tiny, spiderleg sized mistakes are the lifeblood of little people. But two can play that game, including some of us adults:"

So what makes you a righteous adult for doing the same thing that makes Olbermann a pants-peeing child?

Jim Lippard said...

Wakefield:

If Keith Olbermann said that radiocarbon dating is used to date the age of the earth, he's wrong.

But it does provide evidence that the earth is older than 6,000 years. It can be used to date things back to a limit of 50,000 years.

Ktisophilos: Do you speak Russian, or did you use Google Translate for that? (I used Google Translate to read it.)

zelgoodman said...

Sylvia Allen makes me proud of Arizona's educational system. It is so good, we managed to teach this severely mentally retarded woman to speak and walk. Some might complain that she should have some amount of critical thinking skills, but really, how much can you expect from an educational system that gets its funding cut and teachers fired every time we have an imbalanced budget? With the rates of maternal drug use and child abuse in this fine state, I'm amazed that she can utter vaguely coherent sentences.
This post has inspired me to keep a list of all the morons in Arizona and their crimes against logic and common sense so that I can vote against them.

martiendejong said...

Jim Lippard,
Since I am not a geologist I am no expert on the subject.
However, one thing I know is that there are many different points of view on the age of the earth.
Every party claims to have their own proof.
Most of these claims have to do with the aging of material which we only have been able to study yet for about a hundred.
It means that for the other 454 billion years, we just have to guess.
I am not saying that the earth is 6000 years old and that it is created by God.
But the theories about the opposite (454 billion yrs) are not that solid either.
I can imagine that a statement like the one made by this lady is a bit ignorant and politicians should avoid making it.
If you can prove there is no god, you are my hero.
Best regards,
Martien

Brad said...

“Since I am not a geologist I am no expert on the subject.
“However, one thing I know is that there are many different points of view on the age of the earth.
“Every party claims to have their own proof. “

Keep in mind you are admittedly not an expert, so your evaluation of points of view is on a social level, not an informed level.


“Most of these claims have to do with the aging of material which we only have been able to study yet for about a hundred. “

The claims that the earth is young, 6000 years (or anything less than 4.5 billion [not 454 billion]) are not based on material evidence, they are based on a literal interpretation of the bible.


“It means that for the other 454 billion years, we just have to guess.”

No it doesn’t mean that at all. Those who wrote the bible may have been guessing as well as fabricating, but the scientific view is… scientific. If the age of the earth was suddenly falsified, the professional scientists would be delighted to be able to go back over the data and find the proper age.


“I am not saying that the earth is 6000 years old and that it is created by God.
“But the theories about the opposite (454 billion yrs) are not that solid either.

Well, if you heard a theory about the earth being 454 billion years, that’s definitely not solid. However, the theories (read “facts”) have been tested and retested to the point there isn’t a reasonable doubt. Imagine putting someone on trial thousands of times for the same crime, they’re found innocent with vast evidence supporting their alibi every time- now imagine the public who wants continually claims the person is guilty as those who believe the bible is literally true and the earth is 6000 years old.


“If you can prove there is no god, you are my hero.”

If you can prove that you didn’t begin to exist a split second ago, and all reality and your memories were fabrications by your god, you are my hero.

Jim Lippard said...

Martien: There is a very firmly established scientific consensus about the age of the earth, on the one hand, and a few crackpots with thoroughly bogus and refuted arguments on the other. Your claim that the old age of the earth is not that solid is just wrong.

That's irrespective of the existence of God, about which the arguments are more tenuous. It is, however, much easier to disprove particular conceptions of God than it is to disprove all conceptions of gods. If you're really interested in disproofs of gods, I recommend reading Michael Martin's _Atheism: A Philosophical Justification_ or J.L. Mackie's _The Miracle of Theism_, or the arguments for atheism section of the Secular Web, which is complementary to its arguments for the existence of God section. The former is positive logical and evidential arguments for atheism, the latter is refutations of/rebuttals to arguments for theism.

Wakefield Tolbert said...

Brad:

"So what makes you a righteous adult for doing the same thing that makes Olbermann a pants-peeing child?"

Just a word up, and some levity here, to make sure there is at least a snowflake chance in hell that K.O. will get the hint that more than one person can play the pageantry of pedantics.

Wakefield Tolbert said...

Jim is correct about radiocarbon dating.

Though I thought the upper limit on accuracy is far lower than 50,000 years. But it does not matter in any case.

It does show a regular decay rate that can often go beyond 6000 years.

True enough.

Jim you remain so cool about all this.

Jim, you've defied all my attempts at pissing you off!

(lol)

Congrats are in order on your aid to animals. You are to be praised for that.

Brad said...

Wakefield: "Just a word up, and some levity here, to make sure there is at least a snowflake chance in hell that K.O. will get the hint that more than one person can play the pageantry of pedantics."

That just begs the question: what makes your rant levity, and his rant odious pedantics?

I personally find outright absurdity or blatant juxtaposition to be the pinnacle of humor. I guess I could describe your style of humor as "Poe" humor, ie professing an ideological point while feigning ignorance of the main issues?

martiendejong said...

I admit that I am no expert on the subject. This does not mean I am not informed. Just not as well as an expert would be.

However, I did some internet research:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/debate-age-of-earth.html
http://www.asa3.org/asa/education/ORIGINS/agescience2.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9-lyZEgqlI

As you can see, all of those sites/video use the word 'assumption' and 'estimate' a lot.
There also seems to be a lot of disagreement on the topic.
Therefore I conclude that we cannot know (yet).

If any of you knows of a place that obliterates all doubt, please point me to it, and I will believe.. :)

Regards,
Martien

Jim Lippard said...

Martien:

You didn't read the age of the earth FAQ very carefully. The appearance of the word "assumption" is in this sentence:

"A young-Earther would object to all of the 'assumptions' listed above. However, the test for these assumptions is the plot of the data itself. The actual underlying assumption is that, if those requirements have not been met, there is no reason for the data points to fall on a line."

They aren't just *assumptions*, they are *tested* and found to be correct.

I suggest you read Turney's book, referenced in the original post. If at that point you think there are still any unfounded or unsupported assumptions, or you think there is any ground whatsoever for thinking that the earth is only 6,000-10,000 years old, come back and we can discuss them.

Brad said...

Jim mentioned tree ring data. Dendrochronology is the science of examining tree rings and the width of each individual tree ring which indicates the seasonal environment for the entire area.

Since all the trees in one area are the same sort of trees and receive the same weather, we can identify discernible patterns between a very old tree that has died, and a tree that began growing a significant handful of years before the old one died!

Using this method, we can form an unbroken chain of about 10,000 years.

While trees can't take us back 4.5 billion years, it certainly nullifies "Archie" Usher's assertion that the earth is 6000 years old.

http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/oldearth.html

Jim Lippard said...

Wakefield: Looks like I'm actually out-of-date on radiocarbon dating, as accelerator techniques have extended it to 100,000 years now.

Brad: I'm glad you brought up dendrochronology, which can also be used to validate radiocarbon dating back to about 11,800 years. There's a really good dendrochronology lab at the University of Arizona (and a really good radiocarbon lab there, too--they tested the Shroud of Turin and I interviewed the physicists involved in that project, Paul Damon and Douglas Donohue, for an article I wrote for The Arizona Skeptic that I should really put online).

Martien: I previously mentioned Gerald Aardsma, formerly a young-earth creationist of the Institute for Creation Research, who has a Ph.D. in nuclear physics. You might also want to check out his website, www.biblicalchronologist.org, in particular his page about assumptions behind radiocarbon dating and how they're validated, not mere assumptions.

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