Stupidity on Stilts

Number 6 of a continuing series

The above meme showed up on my Facebook feed, and I grabbed it up.

I call this series “Stupidity on Stilts,” because first there is stupidity, but when you want to elevate it even more you need to put it on stilts. There are people who do just this, some even get paid to do it. One Ben Shapiro, “an American conservative political commentator, writer, and lawyer.” His Wikipedia entry continues:

He has written seven books, the first being 2004’s Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth; Shapiro began writing this book at age 17. Also at age 17, he became the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the United States. He writes columns for Creators Syndicate and Newsweek, serves as editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire, which he founded, and hosts The Ben Shapiro Show, a daily political podcast and radio show. He was an editor-at-large of Breitbart News between 2012 and 2016.

That should explain a bunch. “conservative political commentator,” “Creators Syndicate,” and “Breitbart News” provide a clear heads up about what is coming next:

From there, he winds up to deliver the made-for-virality part of his outline: Even if global warming happens, Shapiro asks dramatically, and even if its effects as as disastrous as predicted, aren’t rational, free-market actors already equipped with the tools to deal with it?

Let’s say for the sake of argument that all of the water levels around the world rise by, let’s say, five feet over the next 100 years. Say 10 feet over the next 100 years. And it puts all of the low-lying areas on the coast underwater. Let’s say all of that happens.

Now get ready for the TRUTH BOMB…

You think people aren’t just going to sell their homes and move?

I will give readers about a second and a half to digest that.

Finished? Good! In the interest of pandering to the obvious, let me spell it out.

  • Sea levels are rising. Shapiro acknowledges that.
  • The cause is global warming. Shapiro acknowledges that.
  • Human activity is contributing enormously to global warming. Shapiro acknowledges that (I think).
  • Homes near the coast are going to be under water. Shapiro acknowledges that.
  • No big deal. What!!!!
  • Shapiro says it’s no problem because people whose houses are going to be under water will just sell them and move to higher ground. Really?

Ben. Ben! Who’s going to buy a home that’s going to be under water in a few years? People living in a soon-to-be-flooded area are screwed. Nobody is going to buy their houses. Let me dig deeper.

Suppose your house is going to be flooded, but not for about 50 years. You’re going to be dead by then, even if you may have already relocated for other reasons. But you sell your home anyhow. Somebody purchases your home, and this person knows that in 50 years it’s going to be flooded. He figures like you, that he will be out of there before it’s under water. He’s going to die or sell first.

Sooner or later somebody is going to have to buy a home that’s already threatened by high water. Yeah, this train of events will eventually break down.

Ben, forget about what you learned from studying economics in school. Here is what is going to happen. Property that’s going to be unusable in 50 years will decrease in value over time and reach zero about the time waves start to breach the property line.

Hopefully we are done with that line of reasoning, so we can now take a look at the bigger picture. With rising sea levels the land area of the North American continent will decrease perceptibly. Places where we have, in ignorance or in defiance of climate predictions, built infrastructure and personal and commercial development are going to be under water. They will either be under water, or they are going to be protected by dikes to stave off the sea level rise.

More specifically, roads will need to be elevated, power stations will need to be protected by dikes, electric, water, and sewer facilities are going to have to be drastically restructured. A pile of money will need to be poured into regions near the waterline. This expense will be borne by those directly affected, citizens and businesses in the region, or else the entire country will be called upon to pitch in through their tax dollars.

So, that’s the bad news. And now for the bad news. There is nothing we can do today to stave off catastrophic sea level rise. We waited about a century too long to get started. It is too late to turn the world’s economy around and shed its dependency on fossil fuels. Existing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are sufficient to cause catastrophic sea level rise, and CO2 levels will continue to rise for the next 50 years, despite the best measures we can take now.

In the meantime you might plan ahead and start shopping for some of that prime Orlando beach front property. Ben, are you listening?

This is your president speaking.

Number 197 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

We’re up against people that want to allow criminals into our society.

[ABC World News Tonight with David Muir – 11 February 2019]

A quick fact check: Jesus! President Trump is right. We are up against people who want to allow criminals into our society. Not only did these people allow criminals into our society, they elected one of them president.

 

 

Abusing Science

Number 11 of a series

This series is inspired by Philip Kitcher’s book of the same name. The creationist Center for Science and Culture, a compartment of the Discovery Institute, is a major supplier of material for this series. Their blog site, Evolution News, posts items promoting contrary views on modern science, and this one is typical:

First Review of Darwin Devolves Relies Heavily on Circular Reasoning

Full disclosure: I subscribe to Science magazine, and I have a copy of the 8 February issue with the review of Behe’s book. The authors are Nathan H. Lents, S. Joshua Swamidass, and Richard E. Lenski. The review is on page 590 of the issue, but you can follow the link posted by Brian miller and read it on the Science magazine blog.

The core of Miller’s argument seems to be this section, titled “Unlimited Creative Power.”

The authors argue that many of the traits found in life give evidence that they are the product of evolutionary processes having dramatically altered ancestral precursors. How do the authors come to this conclusion? First, they assume that all biological features are the result of undirected processes transforming features in ancestral organisms. Second, they identify some remarkable trait in life, such as the auditory ossicles in mammals. Then, they explain its origin through evolution without providing any substantive details. Finally, they use the “fact” that evolution formed the new trait as evidence for its unlimited creative power. 

This line of argumentation only appears compelling to those who assume from that start that the core assumptions of the standard evolutionary model are true.

Miller continues his argument against natural processes by again recapitulating Behe’s principle of irreducible complexity. Features, such as the use of echolocation by dolphins would require multiple, beneficial mutations simultaneously, which occurrence is considered by legitimate scientists to be unlikely. Mainstream scientists continue to point to paths of evolutionary development that reach observed features without encountering irreducible complexity. However, critics of natural origins, such as Miller, ignore or disparage these explanations.  Lents, Swamidass, and Lenski include the following in their review of the book:

Behe also ignores the fact that some of his prior arguments have been dismantled (2). He includes a lengthy appendix that argues that the blood-clotting cascade is irreducibly complex, for example, but fails to mention Kenneth Miller’s simple, elegant scheme for its stepwise evolution (3) or the fact that a progenitor fibrinogen gene has been discovered in echinoderms (4).

Behe doubles down on his claim that the evolution of chloroquine resistance in malaria by random mutations is exceedingly unlikely because at least two mutations are required, neither of which is beneficial without the other. His calculations have already been refuted (5), and it has long been known that neutral and even deleterious mutations can provide stepping stones to future adaptations. Indeed, a 2014 study, unmentioned by Behe, reported discovery of two genetic paths through which malaria has evolved chloroquine resistance through multiple steps (6).

The references cited are:

3. K. R. Miller, in Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology, A. Rosenberg, R. Arp, Eds. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004), pp. 439–449.

4. X. Xu, R. F. Doolittle, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 87, 2097 (1990).

5. R. Durrett, D. Schmidt, Genetics 181, 821 (2009).

6. R. L. Summers et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111, E1759 (2014).

Darwin Devolves will be issued on the 26th of this month, and I will obtain a copy for review, but not anytime soon. These creationist books tend to hit the market at full price, eventually becoming available at a discount. I have previously reviewed The Edge of Evolution and Darwin’s Black Box.

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 24 of a continuing series

This is about right wing religious fanatic Mike Huckabee, but that’s not Mike Huckabee in the photo above. That’s Sarah Sanders, daughter of the former Arkansas governor and further proof that the nut does not fall far from the tree.

We have met Governor Huckabee before, unadulterated:

One Nation Underpaid

Anyhow, here is what Governor Huckabee informed us recently:

Mike Huckabee to “Fox & Friends”: Trump juggles responsibilities like chef at five-star restaurant

Mike Huckabee insists that it only looks like the White House is chaotic, and argued instead that President Donald Trump was juggling responsibilities like the chef at a five-star restaurant.

The former Arkansas governor and father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends” to deliver a folksy rebuke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said “chaos and incompetence” prevented the administration from carrying out its duties.

This is breaking news. This is critical. This is telling us what what we are seeing with our eyes is not what we are seeing with our eyes. Which leads me to consider, “Maybe what you are reading right now is not what you are reading right now.” Anyhow, that’s question for the existentialists. For now we might want to review what it is we are not seeing with our eyes:

North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!

Brings a whole new meaning to the term “five-star.” Would anybody like to take a look at one-star? Anyhow, here is more:

Strictly five-star:

Five-star:

Governor, let’s not dine there.

This is your president speaking.

Number 196 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!

People, you need to listen to this man. He means what he says.

People Unclear

This is number 73 of a series

Another definition for “unclear” might be “clueless.” Either the President of the United States is clueless, or else those who work for him think I am. Here is something I received from them this morning:

DonaldJTrump.com <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.comFeb 8 at 10:08 AM

We have MASSIVE drugs flooding into our country, MS-13 gang members pouring through the weak spots on our border, and terrorists threatening our national security.

Democrats in Congress refuse to acknowledge the CRISIS at our Southern Border simply because they want to Harass our great President.

The Fake News Media & Democrats want to call this a “Manufactured Crisis” but that is just a Manufactured Soundbite they worked on together to obstruct our agenda.

If we asked the families of every American Citizen who has lost a loved one due to illegal immigration if this was a “Manufactured Crisis” what do you think they’d say? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

If Democrats refuse to work with the President, he will have no choice but to declare this a National Emergency for the sake of our country.

But, before he makes this CRITICAL decision he wanted to get your input John.

Look at the last line. They want my input. They want my input? I will give them my input. You, Mr. President, are a demonstrated, congenital liar. And you want me to believe any or all of this email? Get real. First I will need to believe any part of the following:

Somebody up there in Washington needs to get a clue. I’m not holding my breath.

Lock Her Up!

Number 7 in a series

It all brings to mind the words of an old song:

Somebody going to emergency
Somebody’s going to jail

Here are a few choice words from the President of the United States.

An economic miracle is taking place in the United States.

Granted, that might take a fresh definition of “miracle,” but let’s plow on.

And the only things that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous, partisan investigations.

It is at this point we need to take a look at some of these “ridiculous, partisan investigations.”

Fortunately, Mr. Trump is in a position to make his wishes turn into reality.

If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.

So that’s it. If we are going to get the President of the United States to cooperate and help pass laws and do other matters designated by the Constitution, there is going to need to be a stop to these embarrassing investigations. Apparently the president wants to cool the rhetoric and to get the government back onto an even keel. Except, there is a fly in the ointment, and that would be Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Fortunately for President Trump, he and Congressman Schiff are on good terms.

Oops!

So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!

Hopefully, that is by now water under the bridge. This would be a good time to test those waters. Oops again!
He’s just a political hack who’s trying to build a name for himself.

The President of the United States is eager to remind us that

It’s called presidential harassment, and it’s unfortunate, and it really does hurt our country.

 

“Hurts our country” or possibly corrects some things that have gone wrong with our country.

I have a final word for this president, and it’s from an old movie: “And your little dog, too!”

People Unclear

This is number 72 of a series

The following was posted by a Facebook friend I know to be a strident conservative.

This is supposedly from the Ted Cruz Meme Page, and I cannot verify that Senator Cruz (my senator) had anything to do with it. This Facebook friend misses irony so thick you have to hack your way through it. Somebody obviously has not received the message.

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 23 of a continuing series

I previously posted an item detailing what people of faith hold dear, all credited to their favorite president, Donald J. Trump. According to President Trump’s press secretary, the deeply-religious Sarah Huckabee Sanders, people of faith are fans of all kinds of malodorous conduct. Lying seems to be conduct they are most comfortable with.

Now we right wing religious fanatic Franklin Graham telling us it is not necessary for people of faith to sanction lying in their support for President Trump, and that is because the president does no such thing. No such thing, that is, that the Reverend Graham is aware of. My guess is that Reverend Graham has just returned from the back side of the moon and has missed a boat load of what the president has been dishing out these past two years. The Friendly Atheist has the story:

Franklin Graham Refuses to Acknowledge Any of Donald Trump’s 8,158 Lies (So Far)

BY HEMANT MEHTA

 JANUARY 30, 2019

MELVIN: But you can acknowledge that the president has said things that are not true?

GRAHAMI don’t think the president is sitting there, behind the desk, trying to make up lies. I don’t believe that for a second. Has he misspoken on something? Sure. All of us do that. You do it and I do it. And sometimes we get the facts wrong and we say something that later on we realize, we could’ve said it better, or it was misrepresented. And so, uh, I think the president is trying to do the best that he can under very difficult circumstances.

There is more. Read the entire article. From other sources:

I have to stop there. That’s January of this year. The PolitiFact listing goes back years. Any sentient carbon life form cannot escape that our president is a congenital liar, and Reverend Franklin Graham cannot see that?

There is an obvious explanation for Graham’s inability to see, and that explanation is that he can see, but he denies what he sees. The obvious conclusion is that Franklin Graham is, himself, a congenital liar.

The Government You Paid For

Number 56 of a Series

Jesus Christ! Now I know for sure we are getting the government we paid for. Want evidence? Here it is, brother, here it is:

Sarah Sanders: God ‘wanted Donald Trump to become president’

(CNN) — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she believes God wanted President Donald Trump to win the 2016 election, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported on Wednesday.

“I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there,” Sanders told CBN’s David Brody and Jennifer Wishon, according to a transcript of the interview provided by CBN.

“I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about,” Sanders added.

On the surface this may appear to reveal how Donald Trump managed to become president. A deeper understanding is this shows what people of faith really care about. For that point I will provide additional clarification:

If there is one thing we have gained from the election of Donald Trump it is that we now know what people of faith care about.

Quick History Lesson

Number 7 in a series

I first posted on this topic in 2013, and it has received a load of response. Apologies all around, but I am more interested in the negative responses than the positive ones. They are telling. Here is a comment yesterday from Robert.

It’s a shame that you refuse to see the truth.
If you just look at our country and all the cities that have been under Democrat’s control for years have high crime rates and poor people waiting to see what’s next on the welfare line.
Generational welfare and the sad fact that you don’t see Rev Al or Jackson or any big money ball players giving a damn about young black men killing each other. They want to take a knee on Sunday go back to there big houses on Monday. They all show up or pop off if white cop shoots black guy but everyday black men are killing each other and they can’t be found.If you really care and really want to change things quit Bitching about how bad things are and do something to change it. The sad fact is most people have no idea what Dr king was saying or what Rosa Parks done or Malcolm X they just keep putting rich white and black dems in office and wonder why things ain’t better. The true sign of a fool is to keep doing the same thing day in and day out expecting a different outcome it’s just sad.

I am posting a reply to Robert’s comment, but I am doing it by way of a new post. That helps ensure Robert’s comment gets the notice it deserves. Here is my reply to Robert:

Robert,

Thanks much for reading, and especially thanks for taking the time to post a comment. Your wording is the kind of thing that makes my day, and I wish that more of your kind would do as you have done: speak out and express your inner thoughts for the world to see.

While I thank you for taking the time to castigate liberals and especially Democrats for their short-comings (you say so), I would like to use some of my own time to remind you of a few realities. See below. These are your people, and these are the ideals you uphold. This is you. Live with it.

Your people are Nazis, racists, and murderers.

Is this you, Robert, or does he merely stand in for you and do your dirty work?

He’s guilty. How much of that guilt are you ready to take on?

The disreputable acts of those you support begin to exceed my ability to comprehend.

Robert, if I were your friend I would advise you to hang out with a different crowd. But I’m not, so I’m going to ask you to hold the course and report back to me on a regular bases from the other side of the hard line that divides this country

People Unclear

This is number 71 of a series

This series is dedicated to those who, by deliberate effort of their own, choose to remain clueless—some would say unclear. To that end I subscribe to a number of political feeds, and the following is a recent item:

NRCC Polling, me (2) <info@nrccvictory.com>

To: jf_blanton@yahoo.comJan 19 at 3:42 PM

Funding border security is critical.

Even the Democrats USED to agree with that!

Chuck Schumer voted to fund a barrier at our southern border 8 times!

Nancy Pelosi voted to fund a barrier at our southern border just last March!

BUT — the Democrats don’t want to keep our borders safe for one simple reason: They refuse to help President Trump accomplish great things for America.

Then they wanted me to take a poll, which I did not, because I know it’s one of those phony polls put out on-line that ends in asking me for money and which results I doubt will ever be tabulated.

My inclination has been to take a high-minded approach in responding to these, but this is a bad day, and I’m going to allow my basic instincts to prevail. This is a bushel of total bull-shit.

Let’s start with “Funding border security is critical.” The presumption is that some people think it’s not. A second assumption is that the Trump administration is more concerned about border security than, say, the Democrats in government. Total bull-shit.

What Donald Trump is concerned about is raising a false specter to distract from his failing, criminal administration. Candidate Trump garnered cheering response from his crowds by asking, “Who’s going to pay for the wall?” To which the response was inevitably a resounding “MEXICO!” Mexico was going to pay for the wall. Never in a million years. And Candidate Trump all the time knew this, and now he wants the American taxpayers to pay for the wall. Such unmitigated gall should not be tolerated by responsible people in government and never by the Democratic opposition. Candidate Trump made this a rallying cry, and he needs to be forced to eat it.

“They refuse to help President Trump accomplish great things for America.” The gall! President Trump has bypassed every opportunity to accomplish great things for this nation, and he has, instead, collaborated with a foreign dictator against the interests of his own country, put into power people whose demonstrated intent is to disassemble responsible government policy, and used his position for personal enrichment.

Donald Trump launched his campaign for the office by declaring that Mexicans coming to this country were bringing drugs and bringing crime, and they were rapist. And some were assumed to be good people. Later, in office, he pointed to Nazis and murderers and said that some were fine people.

The difference between the Mexicans he slandered and the Nazis he praised is that the Nazis are supporters of President Trump and his goals.

Shame on Donald Trump for setting his life on a course of disreputable and criminal conduct, and shame on the people who support this malodorous piece of shit by voting for him and by sending me the piece of idiocy that came to my in-box.

May Jesus have mercy on your souls.

This is your president speaking.

Number 195 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Many people are saying that the Mainstream Media will have a very hard time restoring credibility because of the way they have treated me over the past 3 years (including the election lead-up), as highlighted by the disgraceful Buzzfeed story & the even more disgraceful coverage!

Amazing. Buzzfeed says the president instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, and the president says Buzzfeed is lying. Who are we going to believe?

Never mind. I apologize for bringing this up.

The Golden Shower

Number 35 of a Series

Some parts of the infamous Steel Dossier have not been confirmed. In particular, there is still insufficient corroboration of allegations that Donald Trump paid prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel:

However, there were other aspects to TRUMP’s engagement with the Russian authorities. One which had borne fruit for them was to exploit TRUMP’s person  obsessions and sexual perversion in order to  obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him. According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew president and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on  one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him. the hotel was known to be under FSB control  with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.

Other influence by the Russian government on the Trump campaign is on more solid ground, this despite previous denials by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The story from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir streamed yesterday on Hulu.

Former New York City Mayor Giuliani claims he never said there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Except when he did.

All right, the president’s personal lawyer aside, the president has denied there was no collusion within his campaign.

Look, people. Would the President of the United States deny his campaign worked in collusion with Russia while Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, was standing right there beside him? You need to keep this in perspective.

To emphasize, the president flatly denies there was any collusion between his campaign and Russia.

“A total hoax.” What could be more clear than that? The president has the final word.

So that’s it. No prostitutes pissing on a bed in Moscow. No collusion between the campaign and the Russian government. Would the President of the United States lie about something like that?

Enough said.

This is your President speaking.

Number 194 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

So funny to watch Schumer groveling. He called for the firing of bad cop James Comey many times – UNTIL I FIRED HIM!

Потому что я уже говорю по-русски.

Abusing Science

Number 7 of a series

This item first appeared in the newsletter of the North Texas Skeptics in May 1992. It is a continuation of last week’s installment on the topic. In February 1992 Jeff Umbarger and I attended a creationist meeting and reported back on how Creationists of the First Kind attempt to misrepresent the conclusions of real scientists. Here again is a copy of the presentation handout from the meeting and also a copy of the Science News article referenced at the bottom. In the item from Science News I have outlined the quoted text. The numbers indicate the order in which they appear in the handout. Take special note that creationist Don Patton has not only picked sections out of context, but he has rearranged the order of the quoted portions to suggest false a false narrative.

An Ageless Story

By John Blanton and Jeff Umbarger

Part II

In last month’s issue we started our discussion of MIOS chairman Don Patton’s arguments for a young Earth. In his talk at the February MIOS meeting Don cited numerous references to legitimate scientists, references that he indicated would prove that the methods of mainstream science were useless in estimating the age of the earth.

Last month we detailed the context of one of Don’s citations and showed how the meaning of the original article had been seriously misrepresented in the MIOS lecture. This month we complete our analysis by examining another of the citations used in the MIOS lecture.

The second and last of the MIOS citations we will describe here deals with dating of moon rocks. Here is the text from the handout under the heading “DATING OF MOON SAMPLES: PITFALLS AND PARADOXES.”

What complicates things for the uranium-lead method is that non-radiogenic lead 204, 206, 207 and 208 also exist naturally, and scientists are not sure what ratios of non-radiogenic to radiogenic lead were early in the moon’s history. … The problem of how much lead was around to begin with still remains. … If all of the age-dating methods (rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead and potassium-argon) had yielded the same ages, the picture would be neat. But they haven’t.

Looks like a bad day for science, doesn’t it. It turns out to be a bad day for creation science. Note the ellipses (…) that appear in the MIOS text. Now this may sound naive, but to most of us this means that irrelevant or redundant text has been omitted. See how wrong we can be? Here is the text from the article by Everly Driscoll in Science News.
[Editor’s note: I have bolded the text below that appears in the quoted sections above.]

Trying to unravel lunar history by long distance, or even by sampling six or seven areas of the surface, is a precarious job and subject to much interpretation. Much controversy during the past two years has centered around the interpretation that should be given to the ages of the lunar material — ages yielded by studying its radioactive history. If all of the age-dating methods (rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead and potassium-argon) had yielded the same ages, the picture would be neat. But they haven’t. The lead ages, for example, have been consistently older.

In addition to uranium 238 converting to lead 206, uranium 235, with a half-life of 713 million years, decays to form lead 207, and thorium 232, with a half-life of 14 billion years, decays to form lead 208.

What complicates things for the uranium-lead method is that nonradiogenic lead 204, 206, 207 and 208 also exist naturally, and scientists are not sure what the ratios of nonradiogenic to radiogenic lead were early in the moon’s history. Wherever there is nonradiogenic lead 204, however, there is usually nonradiogenic lead 206, 207 and 208.

To arrive at the percentage of nonradiogenic lead present on the early moon, one can take the ratios of nonradiogenic lead 206 to 204, 207 to 204 and 208 to 204 found in meteorites (these ratios are 9.5, 10.5 and 20 respectively); but the question unanswered is, are these meteoric lead ratios the same as those that existed on the moon? Those scientists who are willing to accept the 4.6-billion-year-old age of meteorites and apply that to the moon are often not willing to apply the lead ratios found in meteorites to the moon.

Another example is with sample 14163. This sample, says Silver, has already shown that some parts of the lead could not have formed more recently than 4 billion years ago, and it probably includes some components considerably older than 4.0 billion years. Silver heated the sample. At 550 degrees C. the lead that came off had very high lead 207 to 206 ratios. One would have expected to see a ratio of 0.6 lead 207 to 206 for lead that had been forming continuously since 4.5 billion years ago. But what he saw were ratios of 1.2 or 1.3. “This isotopic composition has never been observed anywhere in the material of the solar system,” says Silver.

If these lead ratios were interpreted as other ratios, the lead would have apparent ages as high as 5.5 billion years. But, says Silver, “We are probably looking at lead 207 made very early in the solar system before it could be diluted with lead 206, and this large amount of lead 207 has had more time to move around.” Lead that is similarly bound comes off at the same temperatures. There is usually a correlation with the age of the lead, but the implications of this are not fully understood.

Tatsumoto and Doe have been working with lead at different temperatures (1,000 to 1,350 degrees C.), and they are getting similar results. The most significant has been isolating lead that consistently dates at 4.6 billion years old (SN: 12/18/71, p. 423).

The Problem of how much lead was around to begin with still remains. This could be partially solved by dating all of the soil samples from the moon, determining the over-all effects on each soil sample and getting a convergence point.

The broader implications of the history of volatile metals are apparent even if not all of the results and answers are yet. Volatile metals such as mercury, lead, zinc, cadmium, bismuth, rubidium and potassium are important to man. If scientists could unlock the history of these chemical reservoirs — what the chemical pot started from, how it evolved and what makes it work — says Silver, and if they could understand these processes on the moon, they might know how to use them today on earth and predict for tomorrow. “We don’t know the total chemistry for the earth, but our best chance of understanding it is on the moon.”

Obviously the forgoing does not make as interesting reading as the MIOS text, especially since Driscoll did not see fit to arrange the original text in an order that would later be useful to the creationists. What the complete text shows is scientists working without the master blueprint (as they often do) and trying to make something useful of the information they have at hand. What the complete text does not show is scientists expressing doubts that the moon is billions of years old, as was implied during the lecture. Also, we plead guilty of using the notorious ellipses to shorten the extracted text and to avoid completely reprinting Driscoll’s article.

Perhaps it was our mistake but on listening to the MIOS presentation, we felt the speaker was telling us that a representative of mainstream science was reporting in a reputable journal that radiometric dating in general and the uranium-lead analysis in particular is fraught with such perilous assumptions as to render it completely unreliable.

We were further led to believe that we should conclude that all claims of a 4-billion plus year-old earth (that goes for the moon, too) were false, based on this line of reasoning (Don ended up stating his belief that the earth is less than 10,000 years old). It appeared to us that the MIOS audience generally reached this conclusion. Perhaps they would have reached this conclusion even if the full text been presented. Perhaps they would have been bored to tears.

Don’s lecture consisted of a slide presentation that closely paralleled the material handed out at the conclusion, and he additionally presented some slides that represented his ideas photographically. The greatest difficulty the two of us had was with the quotes extracted from texts and journals and presented as supporting the invalidity of scientific aging methods. In all, there were seventeen citations in the handouts from various journals and texts, including Science, Science NewsScientific AmericanNature and Journal of Geology.

Additionally, the handouts included citations from William D. Stansfield’s Science of Evolution. An entire page printed front and back consisted mainly of quotations from the book. There were other citations from the slide presentation that were not available in the handouts. Jeff managed to track down seven citations in the library at first pass, and in general, while they may contain phrases critical of certain aspects of various age dating techniques, the entire texts of the citations do not support the conjecture of the MIOS presentation — that claims of an earth over four billion years old are invalid. Where we have been able to crosscheck the citations against the actual text, we have noted that the classic out-of-context stunt is being pulled to make it appear that mainstream science supports the MIOS view.

In a phone interview later in the month, Don Patton claimed authorship of all the materials presented at the lecture. This dispels our idea that MIOS gets all of its literature from the Institute for Creation Research. Don says he does his own research, mostly at local libraries, and prepares the presentation materials himself. He announced that the next MIOS lecture, on the first Tuesday in March, would continue the same theme to the scientific evidence for the age of the universe.

[Deleting a section that gives outdated meeting schedules and contact information.]

Notes:

E. Driscoll, Science News 101, 12.

The Government You Paid For

Number 53 of a Series

It’s great when we are finally sure we are getting the government we paid for. It’s even greater when along with that assurance comes foot-stomping amusement. The following hilarity is brought to us by President Donald J. Trump,by way of comedian John Oliver. Oliver has his show “Last Week Tonight” weekly on HBO, and three years ago in March he unloaded on us grandly.

Check your Sunday newspaper or your favorite cable news channel, and I am sure you will see something about the same Mexico border wall that candidate Trump was all aglow with back then and which fills our in-box to this day. To see how much we have progressed in 34 months, take a look at what marveled us then.

Yes, that’s candidate Trump heralding the announcement that has come to shake our world. Even then he exhibited the modesty we have come to appreciate on a daily basis.

And I do mean modest.

This does not mean adjectives were never applied with a trowel.

I declare, a marvel of humility.

To be sure, Donald Trump is known throughout the world as a great builder, and he has a mind for detail. Even then he was prepared with the exact figures.

All right, the figures may not have been settled back then, but there was no doubt about construction details.

For a moment I will pass over that rebar is steel, but you have to give Donald Trump credit for his mastery of the facts.

But all that is beside the point, because Mexico is going to pay for the wall, so it’s likely they will manage the construction.

As John Oliver pointed out back then, when you force somebody to pay for something they don’t want, they are going to be glad to do it.

Of course there were those who objected, including past and present Mexican presidents.

Master negotiator that he is, Donald Trump had the proper response to that kind of maneuvering.

Right! You contradict me, and I am going to show you how we handled this kind of stuff back when I was in the 7th grade.

But why would Mexico pay for the wall? Because… Because they owe us.

I mean, Mexican industrialists and merchants are going to feel so guilty about getting good trade deals with the United States that they are going to dig into their corporate profits and cough up funds for the wall.

Of course, the wall was then, and always has been, popular with the American public. Well, mostly.

Actually, some people challenged the idea the wall was going to do any good. I mean, all you need for a 30-foot wall is a 31-foot ladder. Ha! Donald Trump has a great mind, and he has foreseen this ploy. What if you attempt to scale the Trump Wall with a very long ladder. You will be sorry if you do.

But Donald Trump has covered all the bases.

Readers, I swear. I have outlived a multitude of dictators and other impostors, but our president wins hands down for balls of brass. If you are having as much fun with this administration as I am, then you are welcome to join in the fun. Catch the antics of this most amusing creature on all the major cable news channels. Make a game out of it. Each time you spit up you drink costs you a point.

And the wall just got ten feet higher.