Reading — June 2009

“When my sons complain that a good book is hard to read, I say, ‘Raking is easy, but all you get is leaves; digging is hard, but you might find diamonds.'” — John Piper, Future Grace, p. 16.

Books I finished in June:

  • Thousands… Not Billions, by Donald DeYoung. This is the latest on radiometric dating from the young-Earth creationists. I’ll say something positive: they have actually come a long ways from twenty years ago. They now acknowledge that we can have a pretty good idea of initial concentrations of isotopes in minerals, that we can often tell whether or not the minerals have been closed systems, that various radiometric methods often give concordant dates, and that a considerable amount of decay has occurred in minerals. But there are still a number of problems with their reasoning, the chief of which is the idea of accelerated nuclear decay during Noah’s flood. Their evidence that this has occurred is sometimes based on circular reasoning, and this decay would have created enough heat to melt and perhaps vaporize the entire Earth.
  • Elements of Petroleum Geology, by Richard Selley. I re-read this to be better prepared for a four-hour essay test I took as part of the application process for a potential job. Plus I find sedimentary geology to be simply fascinating.

Here are some additional books I worked on in June:

  • The Reason for God, by Timothy Keller. This book is fantastic. If I had a job, I’d buy a stack and give copies to doubters and skeptics.
  • The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. We’re slowly going through this book as a family. Right now we are in the chapter on New Testament manuscripts.
  • The History of the Ancient World, by Susan Wise Bauer. This is strengthening my knowledge of the cultural and historical background of the Old Testament.
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, fiction by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn.

Grace and Peace

8 thoughts on “Reading — June 2009

  1. WebMonk

    As for the melting of the earth’s crust, I believe Humphrey posits that the accelerated decay was accompanied by a massive expansion of space itself which, if massive enough, might “soak up” some of the heat.

    MAJOR problems with that, aside from the fact that we don’t see any evidence of it. But there is an explanation given to get around the melted earth problem.

    One issue is that we would see today a band of suddenly and MASSIVELY redshifted stars and galaxies in the sky. Everything outside 4400 light years away would be insanely redshifted. It’s not.


  2. geochristian


    Thanks for your comment.

    Even not being an astronomer/astrophysicist, I can see that the proposal of rapid expansion of the universe during the flood looks rather fishy.

    From a geological perspective, it does absolutely nothing for the YECs, as the Earth itself did not expand. The problem is that the heat from the supposed rapid radioactive decay occurred within the Earth’s crust, not on its surface where it could be radiated out into space. The heat would have had to somehow been transmitted through the crust before being radiated out to the rapidly expanding universe. The only options for doing this are well-known processes such as convection, conduction, and advection, and none of these would be sufficient to move such a tremendous amount of heat to the surface in such a short amount of time.


  3. WebMonk

    Actually, the expansion they are talking about is an expansion of spacetime itself, and so space would have expanded “through” earth and carried away the energy, sort of. I have my doubts it would work in the desired fashion even if the theory worked (which it doesn’t.) The earth itself would not have expanded, and spacetime itself would have been the absorber of the energy from the accelerated decay.

    There are LOTS of major problems with this on the astronomical evidence side of things, and also quite a few on the more quantum-physics side of things.

    Humphrey bases it off the general expansion of space that is going on right now – the source of some of the redshift we see. As space expands, it stretches out the lightwaves making them of a lower frequency and longer wavelength (and thus lower energy). That energy loss is supposed to go into the expanding spacetime, according to some theories.

    One issue though (of many)- the expansion that takes place across billions of lightyears shifts things from yellow/white to red/infra – a tiny bit of energy. Imagine how much expansion it would take to absorb a major amount of energy across just a few thousand miles. And why was only the heat from the accelerated decay affected and not the heat from the Sun, volcanoes, warm water, warm bodies, etc. Accelerated decay combined with volumetric cooling through spacetime expansion tosses in 100 times as many problems as it solves as well as lots of impossibilities that would require yet more miraculous intervention to get around.


  4. Virginia Peterson

    What bothers me is that YECs get after OECs for relying too much on science over the Bible, but then come up with theories that rely on exotic scientific happenings – catastrophic plate tectonics, accelerated decay, Humphrey’s or Hartnett’s cosmology, etc. Certainly most non-scientists have no idea what they’re talking about, or any way to judge the validity of their ideas.


  5. WebMonk

    You ought to read the RATE study – they go delving further into the hypothetical possibilities of tenuous, theoretical possibilities than some sci-fi books.

    One reason for this is that so little is known about fundamental quantum physics that it’s near impossible to completely disprove a hypothesis.

    Expansion of space is relatively well established, but that’s not where the RATE study stops (because that wouldn’t provide any support for the desired conclusions). They go into extra-dimensional theories (which are JUST hypothesized theories in quantum physics) and then start treating them like established fact and start suggesting past changes to the extra-dimensions and then theorize about the effects of changes in the theoretical extra dimensions. They also suggest changes to some fundamental basics of atomic physics and hypothesize that certain changes would have certain effects (such as accelerated decay) but they don’t go into any of the other effects those hypothesized changes might have.

    The biggest thing in that study is the number of “possible”, “could be”, “theoretically”m and statements like that. Most everything about the accelerated decay stuff is phrased like that.

    I guess that in ten years they will discard the RATE study as an investigation into possibilities that didn’t work out, or something like that.


  6. geochristian


    Thanks for your comments. I’ve taken graduate-level nuclear chemistry, but some of this stuff is still outside of my area of expertise. The geological aspects of RATE that I’ve read up on have a lot of problems, so I assume the physics side is the same.


  7. Eric from Cowtown

    A four-hour essay test as part of a job application? Wow, I haven’t heard of anything that rigorous.

    It’s tough out there. I work in petroleum geology and while I’ve so-far escaped the layoffs in the oil patch, it looks like a reduced work week (and salary) are in my immediate future.


  8. geochristian

    I wrote non-stop, and had rather severe writer’s cramp at the end. The test covered petroleum geology, groundwater, and environmental regulations related to oil and gas.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s