Re: YEC zombie argument on comets rises again From: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/TrueOrigin/message/17185 ... Hi Dan, No, it isn t. Scientific resultsMessage 1 of 4 , Feb 29, 2008View SourceRe: YEC zombie argument on comets rises again
--- In TrueOrigin, Dan <gourmetdan@...> wrote (post #17183):
> --- In TrueOrigin, Todd Greene wrote (post #17174):Hi Dan,
>> --- In TrueOrigin, Dan <gourmetdan@> wrote (post #17172):
>>> How do you know comets are made of ice? They look like they
>>> are made of rock.
>> (World Book at NASA)
> I suppose your answer is "Because NASA says they are."
No, it isn't. Scientific results are not dealt with like religious
believers treat their religious doctrine, such as young earth
creationists treat young earth creationism.
According to your rhetorical-argument-by-false-insinuation, I guess
NASA doesn't actually fund or conduct any research in astronomical
science by hundreds of millions of dollars every year, and there isn't
any of this research being published in professional science journals.
No, NASA is just making things up and expecting everyone to believe
them on their authority just because they say so.
It's because your rhetorical-argument-by-false-insinuation is utterly
false that we know that your comment ("I suppose your answer is
'Because NASA says they are'") is nothing more than a straw man
fallacy used for diversion.
I understand that that's how the religious doctrine of young earth
creationism operates, but you can't project how young earth
creationists operate onto professional scientists and others who take
science seriously, because scientific results and the scientific
process is very different from the manner in which religious faith
> The reason I said they look like they are made of rock[link is line-wrapped]
> is because we have much better pictures than what you
> I was thinking of more recent evidence like this:
Apparently you missed the end of the article, which states the following:
| The picture that emerges is that Wild 2 appears to be
| "kind of an asteroid-like comet", Ishii told New
| Scientist. Wild 2 may have formed in the outer solar
| system from material that had drifted there from the
| inner solar system, she says. Alternatively, the object
| itself could have formed closer to the Sun and then
| migrated outwards later, she says.
| Wild 2 should still be considered a comet, she adds,
| because it is throwing off gas and dust as ice on its
| surface evaporates in sunlight. But she says the new
| findings bolster the view that there is no sharp
| dividing line between comets and asteroids. "This is a
| good indication that there is a continuum between
| asteroids and comets," she says.
| Some objects in the outer asteroid belt have been
| dubbed 'outer belt comets', because they contain a lot
| of ice that sometimes produces tails when it evaporates
| in the Sun's heat. And some objects in the outer solar
| system beyond Neptune appear to be rocky in
| composition, like asteroids, says co-author John
| Bradley, also of Lawrence Livermore.
And, anyway, Dan, will you please explain what relevance this has, if
any, to the young earth creationist argument about short-period comets?
>> Comet Facts[link is line-wrapped]
>> [link is line-wrapped]
>> "Comets are small, irregularly shaped objects composed
>> of a mixture of rocks, dust, and what astronomers refer
>> to as 'ice' - frozen water, methane, and ammonia."
>> You should also know that spectroscopy is used to
>> determine the molecular makeup of what is being
> You should know that the spectroscopy is observing OH and
> O ions and is extrapolating backward as a sign of water.
> More recent work indicates that there is very much less
> water on comets than expected.
First of all, the holoscience site is a pseudoscience site, with a
pseudoscience axe to gring. It has no credibility with me.
Second, I'm glad you refer to the Deep Impact Mission. It's too bad
you're ignoring their research as well. You should read this short
Deep Impact Mission Update - January/February 2006
Water Ice Found on a Small Portion of the Comet's Nucleus
by Lucy McFadden
[link is line-wrapped]
Here is an excerpt:
| What is significant is that the extent of this ice on
| Tempel 1's surface is not sufficient to produce the
| observed abundance of water and its by-products in the
| comet's coma. The team thus concludes that there are
| sources of water from beneath the comet's surface that
| supply the cometary coma as well.
Also, Dan, will you please explain the relevance that this has, if
any, to the young earth creationist argument about short-period comets?
>>> How do you know the Kuiper Belt exists. Have you seenApparently you didn't look at the reference I gave you, so you ignored
>> Kuiper Belt
> OK, you haven't seen it but believe in it.
what is pointed out there. Not only that, but on that basis you
misrepresent my response and then use your misrepresentation as a
further basis for making false insinuations about me. A string of bad
Yes, Dan, the Kuiper Belt has been seen. In other word, what was
expected to be observed at the available levels of telescopic
resolution have in fact been observed, beginning in 1992.
This would be exactly like you asking me, "How do you know the Grand
Canyon exists. Have you seen it?" And if I had never visited the Grand
Canyon personally I would still tell you, "Yes, I've seen the pictures
of the Grand Canyon by those who have been there (and it's also been
observed by satellite from Earth orbit)." (Except in the case of the
Grand Canyon, I actually have been there personally.)
I also want to thank you for showing everyone that people with an
anti-science agenda are forced to play word games in order to
misrepresent matters, because they don't want to deal with the actual
Additionally, will you please explain what relevance, if any, this has
regarding the young earth creationist argument about short-period comets?
>>> How do you know the Oort Cloud exists? Have you seenWrong again. It isn't "assumed."
>> We know that the comets come from that region because
>> that's where the aphelion of their orbits is.
> Do you know why scientists assume that the Oort cloud
> exists at the aphelion of cometary orbits? Because they
> assume that they are made of ice
> and further assumeWrong again. It isn't "assumed."
> that this makes their lives very short in relation to the
> assumed age of the solar systems
I guess you didn't know that comets have tails.
> and therefore assumeFirst of all, you're talking about the Oort Cloud, right? (Not the
> that there must be a source at the aphelion.
Kuiper Belt.) So since some of the long-period comets have orbital
periods of over a million years, then I guess that just means the
solar system has only been around for a few hundred million years,
rather than about 4.6 billion years. So I'm really not sure what
you're getting at here.
Second, the young earth creationist argument about comets is based on
short-period comets, not long-period comets. (Indeed, it's based on
ignoring the existence of long-period comets.) It's the Kuiper Belt
that is relevant to the YEC argument, not the Oort Cloud.
Third, you seem to be assuming that there is some physical reason why
there should not be any Oort Cloud sourcing the long-period comets.
Can you give a scientific explanation of this reason, or not? If you
can, then do it. If you can't, then you have nothing. The Oort Cloud
is a good scientific explanation for long-period comets. I assume that
you, on the other hand, have no scientific explanation at all.
However, I do want to thank you for recognizing and acknowledging the
facts that (1) comets have an orbital aphelion, and (2) long-period
comets have an orbital aphelion in the Oort Cloud region. I
congratulate you because in several discussions that I've had with
young earth creationists about this issue since 1999 you are the very
first one to explicitly acknowledge these facts in such a discussion.
>>> I guess you haven't seen the Oort Cloud then...We know for a fact that long-period comets come from the Oort Cloud
>> We can't observe anything when it is *in* the Oort Cloud
>> region because telescopes can't resolve things as small
>> as comets from that far. What we know is that
>> long-period comets come from that region because that's
>> where the aphelion of their orbits is.
> Science doesn't *know* that they come from the Oort
> Cloud. Science *assumes* that's where they 'come from'
> because it believes that they are made of ice and cannot
> last through very many solar orbits and therefore must
> 'come from' some unobservable source at the aphelion.
region *because* that's where the aphelion of their orbits is. Do you
think that they really come from Mars, shooting them out into space
somehow, and then they end up with an orbital aphelion in the Oort
Cloud region? Really, Dan, your comment here doesn't make much sense.
Also, you need to explain what relevance this has to the young earth
creationist argument about short-period comets, if it has any
relevance at all.
>> We could not directly see anything in the Kuiper BeltFirst of all, whether we can barely resolve them or not is irrelevant
>> either until through advancements in the technology of
>> astronomical instrumentation we finally had telescopes
>> that could resolve the larger of the comets in the
>> Kuiper Belt. That happened in 1992. Of course, we
>> already knew the Kuiper Belt was there because we knew
>> that that's where the short-period comets were coming
>> from (it's where the aphelion of their orbits is). (Note
>> also, as another example of this kind of thing, that the
>> first moon of Pluto discovered was not discovered until
>> the late 1970s.)
> Again, science is only barely resolving what it believes
> are large objects at the aphelion of the short-period
to whether or not we can observe them and get all kinds of information
about them by analysis of the light and determinations of mass.
Second, you write "what [science] believes are large objects" in the
Kuiper Belt, denigrating the discoveries with verbal subtlety,
insinuating that maybe somehow they haven't really been discovered and
astronomers merely "believe" they have discovered them in the Kuiper
Belt. The verbal trickery is pretty transparent to me. The fact of the
matter is that a number of large object have been observed in the
Kuiper Belt region.
Here are the largest 17 Kuiper Belt objects discovered, in estimated
size order, with calculated distances (from the sun, in AU, where AU =
Astronomical Unit = sun-earth distance = approx. 93 million miles) and
estimated sizes (in kilometers):
Name/Designation Avg Dist Est Size
Eris (2003UB313) 67.69 2,400
Pluto 39.53 2,300
2003EL61 43.31 2,000
Sedna (2003VB12) 486.0 1,800
2005FY9 45.66 1,600
Quaoar (2002LM60) 43.58 1,290
Orcus (2004DW) 39.34 1,100
Ixion (2001KX) 39.65 980
2002AW197 47.30 940
2002UX25 42.53 810
2002TX300 43.11 800
Varuna (2000WR) 42.90 780
2002MS4 41.90 740
2003MW12 45.94 740
2005RN43 41.53 740
2002TC302 55.02 710
2003AZ84 39.45 710
The Dwarf Planets
by Mike Brown
I would also recommend that people read the comments made by
astronomer Mike Brown here:
Why does it take so long to announce these discoveries?
You can also read the actual research article about Eris (2003 UB313)
Discovery of a planetary-sized object in the scattered Kuiper Belt
by M. E. Brown, C. A. Trujillo, and D. L. Rabinowitz
(The Astrophysical Journal, 12/10/2005)
Third, astronomers have observed over a thousand Kuiper Belt objects
that are not so large. If you had actually taken a good look at the
site about the Kuiper Belt that I already gave you the reference for
you would already know this. Here it is again:
by David Jewitt
If you check the menu on the left you see "IAU KBO Table" (IAU = , KBO
= Kuiper Belt Objects). Click on that and it takes you to:
List Of Transneptunian Objects
There is also this:
List Of Centaurs and Scattered-Disk Objects
> It has notYes, astronomers are observing Kuiper Belt objects right now.
> observed the 'Kuiper Belt'.
> That is stillRight. It's all "assumed." This, again, shows how young earth
> an assumed structure because science assumes that comets
> are made of ice and therefore cannot survive assumed
> long-ages of solar approaches and therefore assumes that
> there must be a replenishment region and mechanism.
creationists love to play word games by using false words.
Here is a mapping of the orbits of the Kuiper Belt objects that have
So much for your incorrect use of the word "assumed."
>> Also note that we see material such as what constitutes[link is line-wrapped]
>> the Oort Cloud around other stars:
>> Comets Clash at Heart of Helix Nebula (2/12/2007)
> Here again, science *assumes* that comets are generatingDust which has the properties of cometary material.
> this dust. All that is really observed is large
> quantities of dust,
> which was unexpected.Your statement is out of context. It was unexpected for that
particular kind of star. It is not unexpected for other stars.
> Once observed, scientistsThat's right, that's part of what scientists are supposed to do, is
> were compelled to create a story to explain
come up with scientific explanations. As you demonstrate by your
wording, young earth creationists don't like scientific explanations.
This is because young earth creationism is based on religious belief,
> the dust becauseOf course, you don't even address *why* the observation of the dust
> current models do not predict the observations and
> 'dueling comets' was the best story that they could come
> up with.
unexpected around that kind of star in the first place. It's because
that star is a white dwarf, produced by a supernova, and the stellar
explosion would have blown away such a dust field. Of course, it's the
interaction of comets in the "Kuiper Belt" of that star that
regenerated the dust field. That's what the article is about.
What scientific explanation do you have? Oh, wait, that's right, you
don't even have a scientific explanation.
> There are hugeWhat "huge" differences are those?
> differences between what is observed and what is imagined
> or conjured up to explain anomalous observations.
There certainly is a huge difference between people like young earth
creationists on the one hand who make up stories based on deliberately
ignoring relevant empirical facts they don't like, at the drop of a
hat, on the basis of their religious dogma, whether we're talking
about astronomy, or geology, or other areas of science, and scientists
on the other hand who come up with scientific explanations based on
dealing with empirical observations of how things work in the real world.
Indeed, in the scientific community, other scientists will climb down
a scientist's throat for ignoring the empirical results of other
relevant research, even if he has done so inadvertently. Young earth
creationists on the other hand (and I know this, because I've seen it
myself time and time again) praise each other for "standing fast in
the faith" for deliberately ignoring scientific data they don't like.
These attitudes and approaches to scientific study are completely
contrary to each other. The former is commendable (critique failure to
deal with relevant data and uphold the standards). The latter is
reprehensible (tell people they're doing the right thing to ignore the
facts that are contrary to what they currently believe).
If in a court trial a homicide investigator was found to have
purposely buried some evidence relevant to the case, he could be held
in comtempt by the court, and reprimanded by his superiors (if not
fired outright, depending on the severity). Yet in churches nationwide
preachers not only praise people for engaging in that same kind of
behavior (in relation to adherence to religious dogma) but promote the
attitude. It's obvious that these two approaches are fundamentally
different from each other.
> We certainly don'tWe see the material of an Oort Cloud. We don't see everything because
> 'see' an Oort Cloud around a distant star any more than
> we can see our own imaginary 'Oort Cloud'.
we're not able to see everything, but we do see what parts of it we
are able to see.
Another example: We see stars, but we are actually not able to see the
star itself directly because of, again - I've mentioned this before -
telescopic resolution. We can't see the actual disks of stars like we
can see the disk of the Sun. We have to infer the properties of stars
based on whatever information we can derive from their light. (I think
there are only two or three exceptions to this now, because with the
best modern telescopes I think a couple of stars have actual had their
disks resolved IIRC.)
> Most philosophical naturalists have no idea how manyFirst of all, from scientific papers I have looked at, and from
> assumptions they accept as fact to support their
> underlying beliefs.
discussions I've read by scientists, it is my experience that
scientists have a grasp on what assumptions they are or are not making
that is far superior to anything represented by young earth creationists.
Second, it is also my experience that young earth creationists love to
misuse the word "assume" and "assumptions," and that it is YECs
themselves who are assuming that things have been assumed when in fact
they have not been assumed but have been checked and tested somewhere
in the chain of scientific reasoning.
Third, young earth creationist themselves make all kinds of
assumptions that are either (1) factually wrong, or (2) unscientific
by their very nature. (Example: The apparent age argument that an
awful lot of young earth creationists use. "What, the rocks have all
the physical features of having been around for millions of years as
if they were affected by geological processes for such a long time?
Well, no problem! God just made them look that way!")
Fourth, well, as I'm writing this I just realized the significance of
your term "philosophical naturalists." Of course, we're talking about
science, and thus about what Christian writers themselves have
distinguished as "methodological naturalism." So perhaps your comment
isn't even relevant to what we're discussing about comets.
>> Spitzer team spots stellar sauna (8/30/2007)No, it's not "without evidence." There you go misrepresenting the
>> Additionally, Dan, try not to miss the point. The point
>> is that young earth creationists have been using this
>> false argument about comets (specifically about
>> short-period comets; they seem to either be ignorant of
>> the existence of long-period comets - or they ignore
>> them deliberately) for at least 40 years, and many are
>> still using it today (which is what I quoted my
>> discussion from). We have known this is a bad argument
>> for 40 years. The errors of this argument have been
>> explained to young earth creationists for 40 years. Yet
>> young earth creationists are still using it.
> I think you have missed the point. Even if you assume
> that comets are made of ice, science merely assumes that
> the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt exist without evidence.
matter, yet again.
In regard to the Kuiper Belt, you are just totally wrong. See my
In regard to the Oort Clound, do you know what the aphelion of an
Additionally, it is the young earth creationist argument about
short-period comets that I'm addressing, and that young earth
creationist argument acknowledges that comets deteriorate when they
pass relatively close to the sun in their orbits (the ones that get
perturbed into the inner solar system). The YEC argument is *based* on
the deterioration of comets. So in fact it is you who has been
repeatedly missing the point.
I would also point out, as I have already pointed out, that their
argument is based on short-period comets - but at the same time the
argument ignores the long-period comets. But it is the short-period
comets that come from the Kuiper Belt region, not the Oort Cloud. The
long-period comets come from the Oort Cloud region, so in fact the
Oort Cloud is irrelevant to the YEC argument. It is the Kuiper Belt
that is relevant to the YEC argument, and it is the Kuiper Belt that
proves unequivocally that the YEC argument is wrong. However, even
before we had we have direct observational verification of comets in
the Kuiper Belt region, the concept of the Kuiper Belt region was
indeed a scientific explanation for short-period comets, especially
since we already knew that that is the region of the orbital aphelion
of short-period comets.
AT ITS VERY BEST, the YEC argument about short-period comets was
merely an EQUIVOCAL argument, based on pretending that they could know
that there could be no source of comets coming from the Kuiper Belt.
But it was impossible for YECs to know this, which is why their
argument was a bad argument 40 years ago just as it is a bad argument
today. However, today the argument is even worse, because beginning in
1992, due to continuing technological advances in telescopic
instrumentation, we began getting direct observational verification of
the Kuiper Belt explanation.
> Resolving a fewYou're just wrong again. See my discussion above.
> large objects at the aphelion of short-period comet
> orbits is a long way from observing the Kuiper Belt. You
> may simply be resolving a few large objects at the
> aphelion of short-period comet orbits.
> The Oort Cloud is assumed because icy comets cannotThe long ages aren't "assumed." There you go making a subtle argument
> persist through assumed long-ages of solar approaches
> under the current model.
on the basis of misrepresentation, by wrongly using the word "assumed."
> If comets areWrong again. "Comets are small, irregularly shaped objects composed of
> not made of ice, but are rocky as they appear;
a mixture of rocks, dust, and what astronomers refer to as 'ice' -
frozen water, methane, and ammonia."
Since you obviously want to dispute the professional astronomers who
actually research comets, then I look forward to your detailed
research paper published in a professional astronomy journal providing
detailed explanation, scientific explanations of course, of how all
these astronomers are wrong about the constituencies of comets. Until
that time, I understand that currently you are merely *assuming* that
all the research professional astronomers have done about comets is
somehow wrong. And, quite frankly, I put less that zero stock in the
credibility of your assumption.
> or if theThere you go wrongly using the word "assumed" again.
> universe is not as old as assumed then the rationale for
> assuming the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt also disappears.
> You have notNo, Dan, I do know that the YEC argument about short-period comets is
> 'known' that the argument is refuted, you have *assumed*
> that it is refuted. There is a huge difference.
refuted. The YEC argument relied on there being no comets orbiting in
the Kuiper Belt region (comets with orbits not perturbed into the
inner solar system), but in fact they are there, just as expected. It
is quite obvious that you are the one making all sorts of bad assumptions.
Also, assumptions - or, in the case of science, hypotheses - are not
all equal. Some assumptions are far superior to others. Obviously,
assumptions, hypotheses, that take relevant facts about what we
already know are automatically far superior to all other assumptions.
Assumptions made based on ignoring relevant scientific data are
automatically bad. This is something you seem to not recognize in your
>> This is the pseudoscience pattern that young earthUh... What you really mean is that you have made some unsubstantiated
>> creationists follow with argument after argument, issue
>> after issue. The logical fallacies and/or factual errors
>> are explained to them, and they just deliberately ignore
>> all the problems and continue to promote the bad
>> arguments regardless of the errors, regardless of the
>> actual science. This is why young earth creationists
>> have such a sorry reputation.
> Since I have now pointed out how 'science' engages
> in its own set of fallacious assumptions, bad arguments
> and pseudoscience,
assertions. And you certainly have not shown anything whatsoever
relevant to somehow justifying the YEC argument about short-period comets.
> I hope thatWhat I recognize is that people who habitually make false assertions
> you will now recognize the 'sorry reputation' that it
against science on the basis of their religious beliefs have a sorry
reputation for doing so. The young earth creationist argument about
short-period comets is simply one example of this.
>> I will never understand why young earth creationistsWhat assumptions are those, again? Oh, right, it's actually you (1)
>> seem to love to talk about science even while at the
>> same time they (1) don't seem to know very much about
>> the science they're talking about and (2) seem to hate
>> the idea of actually studying anything about the actual
>> science and (3) are very antagonistic toward those who
>> do know something about the science and try to explain
>> it to them.
> I will never understand how philosophical naturalists
> seem to love to talk about science while at the same time
> they (1) don't seem to know very much about the
> assumptions underlying their opinions,
making assumptions about what is assumed and not assumed when you
don't really know, and (2) failing to recognize a fundamental
difference between provisionally good assumptions (assumptions based
on the evidence) and bad assumptions (assumptions based on ignoring
And, again, we're talking about science, not "philosophical naturalism."
> (2) seem toWhen young earth creationists make comments like this to me, I always
> hate the idea that reality might be different from their
laugh about the hypocritical nature of the comment.
> and (3) areIndeed, this is the attitude you've been showing us. I laugh about the
> very condescending toward those do know something about
> the science and try to explain it to them.
hypocrisy of this one too, due to the broader context within which
we're having this discussion. Young earth creationists are the most
condescending and hubristic people on the planet. They believe in
their hearts that they cannot possibly be wrong because, after all,
they assume that the belief in their heads is nothing less that what
they were told to believe by an omnipotent, omniscient being who knows
everything. (Never mind that the Bible says nothing at all about
orbital mechanics and the orbital mechanics of comets, or the influx
of cosmic dust on the moon, or the decay of the rotational speed of
the earth, and so on.) And since that is so, as far as young earth
creationists are concerned it is perfectly okay to ignore the vast
bodies of professional scientific research produced by two centuries
of scientific work done in astronomy and geology. Young earth
creationists magically know better.
Dan, let's just say I don't pay any attention to young earth
creationist complaints about condescension.
Additionally, there are in fact contexts in which condescension is
*deserved*. One of these is, for example, when a person deliberately
ignores the logical and/or scientific errors that are pointed out to
him and explained to him, and then defiantly continues to promote his
errors regardless of the facts. When people "cross the line" like that
is when they engender a certain amount of irritation that many times
results in a condescending attitude. It is my factual experience that
the vast majority of the young earth creationists I have discussions
with about science know little to nothing about the actual science
that they're talking about. But worse than this (because actually
there's nothing wrong with innocent ignorance; we are all ignorant
about a great many things) is that they deliberately refuse to educate
themselves and deliberately ignore attempts to help them learn about
some of the relevant scientific information. They seem quite content
to merely regurgitate pseudoscience misinformation from young earth
creationist literature (such as the YEC argument about short-period
comets), and at the same time have less than zero interest in learning
something about some of the actual science on the subject (less than
zero meaning they actually behave in a manner showing that they are
deliberately refusing to learn about it and then correct their errors
and modify their discussion based on what they learn).
Anyway, condescension or no condescension, the point is that a person
who makes an argument or claim who is presented with the relevant
information and adequate explanation showing either that his argument
is logically flawed and/or his claim is factually wrong has the
responsibility to correct his errors. Young earth creationists have a
very strong tendency to not do this. The YEC argument about
short-period comets, still being used after 40 years, is one example
of this in the young earth creationist community. There are many,
many, many other examples like this.
Have you ever heard about those fossilized human footprints in the
Paluxy River? ;-)
>> The only conclusion I've come to about this is thatWell, we're talking about science and how young earth creationists
>> while young earth creationists in their rhetoric pretend
>> that they're so interested in the truth, in actuality
>> they're not interested in the truth at all because this
>> is what their behavior shows. It's really a shame.
> The only conclusion I've come to is that while
> philosophical naturalists in their rhetoric pretend that
> they're so interested in the truth, in actuality they're
> not interested in the truth at all because this is what
> their behavior shows. It's really a shame.
deal with science - or, actually, how they fail to deal with science.
You can't back up your assertion with facts. Indeed, the scientific
process, the body of research produced by scientists and how they
actually go about doing science, proves that your statement is wrong.
I made the statement I made in the context of pointing out a specific
example that demonstrates what I'm referring to: The YEC argument
about short-period comets.
- Todd Greene