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Origin of the Earth

An unsuccessful attempt to correct an error
on young-earth creationist website
s Part 2

Sponsored link.

This topic is a continuation of the previous essay

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What some supporters of an old earth conclude about the leap second:

They are certain that the believers in a young earth have misunderstood the source and the significance of leap seconds. New earth creationists' estimates of the rate of deceleration of the earth's rotation are incorrect by a factor of almost 200 times.

As described above, the length of a year has lengthened by about  0.73 seconds over the 190 years since 1820. This is a lengthening of about 0.004 seconds per year, not 0.73 seconds as some young earth creationists believe. Since their calculations are in error, their conclusions about the age of the earth are not valid.

In the 2070s, the accumulated error will probably exceed one second per year. This will require at least one leap second in most years, and two leap seconds in some years. Of course, with so many factors influencing the deceleration rate, it is difficult to extrapolate far into the future.

The insertion of a leap second in most years is not directly related to the current value of deceleration. In fact, if the earth stopped decelerating and achieved a constant speed, there would still be a need to continue to insert leap seconds in most years.

Eventually, so many leap seconds will have to be inserted each year that the process will become onerous. Scientists will then probably change their base date from 1820 CE to something more recent.

If the scientists revise the base year to, say, 2000, then they would not have to insert a leap second for many years.

Recapping the results:

Some new earth creationists suggest that the length of a day 4.5 billion years ago would have been extremely short, to the point where the earth would be rotating so quickly that it would have quickly flattened into the shape of a pancake. Alternatively, if the rotation were reasonable 4.5 billion years ago, the earth would have slowed down to a crawl by now. They thus conclude that the earth is young.

Scientists have measured the length of a day and have found an increase of about 0.004 seconds a year in recent years, -- not about 0.73 seconds as some creation scientist believe. Young earth creation scientists are out by a factor of about 190 times because of their misunderstanding of the leap second insertion. Thus, their conclusions are invalid.

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An attempt to discuss the deceleration "proof" with creation science webmasters:

Proving a young earth on the basis of the leap seconds and deceleration of the earth's rotation is clearly in error. It is based on a misunderstanding, on the part of some creation scientists, of how time is calculated. This error has been picked up by numerous supporters of creation science and added to their websites.

The author of this essay is a supporter of the theory of evolution, and thus of an old earth. However, he attempts to write essays on both evolution, creation science, and the age of the earth in a balanced manner, explaining the beliefs and the bases for those beliefs of both creation scientists and supporters of evolution. He decided to attempt to discuss the error in the deceleration "proof" with some creation scientists. If they could be persuaded that their "proof" is in error, then they might remove it from their websites. This would be a win-win situation:

bulletThe cause of creation science would benefit, because the invalid "proof" of a young  earth would be withdrawn. Their credibility would increase in the minds of the public.

bulletThe cause of evolution would benefit, because the creation scientists would have one fewer "proof" of a young earth.

On 2002-JAN-3, the author E-mailed the webmasters responsible for 15 creation science essays which contained the deceleration "proof."

bullet"The Age of the Earth I," at: http://www.cryingvoice.com/

bullet"The Age of the Earth - 2: Evidence from the Globe," Proof 1 at: http://www.pathlights.com/

bullet"Continuation," at: http://www.trueauthority.com/cvse. This is from a cached copy retained by www.Google.com. It is not currently online.

bullet"Creationism vs. Evolution Debate," at: http://www.mustbemore.org/

bullet"Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 1: Chapter Six: The Age of the Earth," Proof 32, at: http://www.evolution-facts.org/
bullet"Evolutionists are wrong! The earth is young," Chick Publications, at: http://www.chick.com/

bullet"Evidence for a Young Earth," Proof #20, at: http://genesis.amen.net/

bullet"Evolution vs Creation," Proof 4, at: http://www.geocities.com/

bullet"The Final Frontier: Creation," The earth is slowing down proof, at: http://www.finalfrontier.org.uk/

bullet"Handout given to the congregation of Horizon Christian Fellowship," at: http://home.wmis.net/

bullet"How old is the Earth?," at: http://members.aol.com

bullet"Old Earth?," at: http://www.wasdarwinright.com/

bullet"The Seed Sower: Age of the earth," at:  http://www.saved.com/

bullet"What's Wrong with Evolution," at: http://worldmissions.org/ This is from a cached copy retained by www.Google.com. It is not currently online. *

bullet"Young Earth," Proof 4, at: http://www.angelfire.com/

Unfortunately, by mid-2005, many of the URLs have since been broken. Some websites have been closed down; others have been reorganized with different file names. So, many of the hyperlinks are not valid today.

You can still find them by Googling pancake earth rotation. On 2005-JUL we found about 2,750 hits. A bunch of them are young-earth creationist websites. On 2011-FEB we repeated the search and found about 20,400 hits. In spite of the belief being clearly in error, it seems to be becoming more widespread.

Responses:

bullet2002-JAN-4: One webmaster thanked us for our interest. However, they will not change their website because it is an archive of previously published materials. Thus, accuracy is unimportant.

bullet2002-JAN-7: A second webmaster responded, but said that there are no inaccuracies in Scott Huse's book.

bullet2002-JAN-9: A third webmaster responded, asking for information on our identity and motivation. They also asked for more information about the error.

bullet2002-JAN-14: A fourth webmaster thanked us for our E-mail.

bullet 2002-MAY-16: The remaining 11 webmasters had not replied to our E-mail.

bullet2002-JUL-12: Dr Luke Randall of WasDarwinRight.com responded to our query. However, his site leaves the original error in place. 1 He wrote that he has many quotes from scientists which suggest that many dating methods are equivocal. "It is not a crime to present a differing viewpoint."

Conclusions:

As of 2011-FEB, no further responses have been received; none are expected.

None of the 15 websites has been changed. Persuading the webmasters of these creation science websites to correct their error appears to be quite impossible. In fact, dialog seems to be as hopeless as attempting to herd cats.

One author, a supporter of an old earth, commented on the continuing use of the deceleration/pancake "proof" by creation scientists, even though their error has been pointed out to them many times. It seems applicable here:

"I really don't blame them for making this mistake initially. We are all entitled to a few mistakes. But this does not justify keeping this claim going for years and years. My question is, why is this claim still being made?" 2

Path forward:

The author honestly expected that some level of sincere dialog would occur. He hoped that this project would be successful, and that a number of webmasters would delete their earth-slowing "proof" from their web sites. If that had happened, then his intention was to attempt continue the process by trying to convince creation science webmasters to remove other false "proofs" of a young earth. Among the most popular are indicators based on:

bulletThe decay of the Earth's magnetic field.
bulletThe recession of the Moon from the Earth.
bulletThe age of trees.
bulletPopulation growth.
bulletThe temperature of the earth's core.
bulletThe second law of thermodynamics.

The experiment has convinced the author that meaningful dialog is probably impossible. Supporters of creation science -- at least the 15 contacted -- seem to be totally resistant to change. Further attempts to correct these websites are probably not worth pursuing.

Related essay:

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References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Dr Luke Randall, at: http://www.wasdarwinright.com/
  2. "The Earth's Rotation is Slowing Down Fast?," at: http://home.mmcable.com/
  3. "One Billion Years Ago: Over 500 Days Yearly, 17 Hours Daily," China Education and Research Network, 2004-DEC-21, at: http://www.edu.cn/
  4. Terence Dickson, "The expert spin on Venus," The Toronto Star, 2005-JUL-13, Page B7.
  5. "The Slowing of the Earth's Rotation Rate Means the Earth Must be Young," 2000-DEC-19, at: http://www.geocities.com/
  6. "Young-earth 'proof' #20: The earth's rotation is slowing down, meaning that the earth can't be older than a few million years," Internet Infidels, 2002-SEP-13, at: http://www.infidels.org/
  7. "Claim CE011: Earth's rotation is slowing down, so it cannot be more than a few million years old." CreationWiki, at: http://creationwiki.org/

Copyright © 2002 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-JAN-3
Latest update: 2011-JUL-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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