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Rick sizes up the DBWillis mosasaur issue!

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  • Robert
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coCBanned/message/25426 From: Rick Hartzog To: coCBanned@yahoogroups.com Date: Monday, June 13, 2011 Time: 7:38 PM MT Subject:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 13, 2011

      From: Rick Hartzog
      To: coCBanned@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Monday, June 13, 2011
      Time: 7:38 PM MT

      Subject: Re: Mosasaur soft tissue...dated by C14 at 24,600 yrs BP

      -- In coCBanned@yahoogroups.com, DBWILLIS@... wrote:
      > DW here,
      > I won't do much exchanging with Rick
      > because he is nasty and unwilling to
      > address points I make. However, I will
      > comment briefly to help clarify a few
      > things.

      Reviewing the history of this thread (and its look-alike) shows
      that DB Willis has studiously avoided responding in any
      substantive way to my pointing out the evidence that falsifies
      the creationist claim that carbon 14 on a mosasaur fossil somehow
      invalidates the geological timescale.

      The reason for this is that he cannot.

      It doesn't have anything to do with nastiness.

      What DB Willis is really saying here is that he is STILL not
      going to deal with the evidence that falsifies his claim, he is
      STILL going to ignore it, and his brief comments "to clarify a
      few things" are just going to be more deliberate creationist
      obfuscation and misrepresentation intended to do anything BUT

      Here we go:

      > RH
      >> Young-earth creationists are deliberate liars.
      > THAT is a lie. I certainly did not
      > deliberately lie about ANYTHING in
      > this article.

      Read the subject header. Who wrote that?

      Mosasaur soft tissue did NOT date at 24,600 years old.

      The research paper clearly states the mosasaur is 70 million
      years old.

      The researchers clearly interpret the presence of C14 as
      contamination, indeed, the test was conducted for just such
      a purpose in the first place.

      The material interpreted (by you) as "soft tissue" was
      interpreted by the researchers as *["compelling evidence to
      suggest"]* "primary organic molecules, including collagen or
      its degradation products" and "osteoid proteins."

      But that is not the material that was carbon dated, according
      to the research report itself.

      Now, who wrote that mosasaur soft tissue had been dated at
      24,600 years old?

      Not the researchers, clearly.

      And that's just your subject line.

      Catchy title, but turns out it's FALSE.

      Surely you knew that when you made it up.


      | Big Lie
      | Main article: Big Lie
      | A lie which attempts to trick the victim into believing
      | something major which will likely be contradicted by
      | some information the victim already possesses, or by
      | their common sense. When the lie is of sufficient
      | magnitude it may succeed due to the victim's reluctance
      | to believe that an untruth on such a grand scale would
      | indeed be fabricated.

      How's that for addressing the points you make?

      I'm not going to go through everything you've said on this
      topic, picking out the falsehoods, but the one thing that
      leaps to the forefront, in my mind, is your chronic insinuation
      that C14 dates are based on an "assumption" that atmospheric
      C14 rates are constant, the same as, say, 10,000 years ago --
      a half-truth which has been wrong for decades and which I have
      every reason to believe you know is wrong:


      Wikipedia has this sort of thing classified as:


      | Lying by omission
      | One lies by omission when omitting an important fact,
      | deliberately leaving another person with a misconception.
      | Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing
      | misconceptions. Also known as a continuing misrepresentation.

      You know, like creationists like to omit the fact that C14 dating
      is *calibrated* back to 50,000 years now, and they have no
      explanation for how it happened that all these different lines of
      evidence should agree with each other -- an agreement that continues
      on far beyond the ~60,000 year range of carbon dating, by the way,
      down through a hundred thousand years of varves and 300,000 years
      of ice cores, not that it even matters by then because the fact of
      C14 calibration ALONE falsifies young-earth creationism thoroughly.

      So they just omit it -- pretend it doesn't exist. A look back
      through this very thread will be adequate; in fact, in the very
      message that DB Willis is replying to here (#25396) I pointed
      it out AGAIN -- and AGAIN, in this reply, DB Willis ignores it
      COMPLETELY, because the truth is just too nasty for him.

      I wrote:

      > Not being able to identify the source(s)
      > of contamination does NOT "rule out
      > contamination," especially in a test such
      > as this, where the presence of C14 is used
      > to RULE IN contamination.

      DB Willis:

      > While it is not explicitly stated, I think
      > it is obvious their test was to rule
      > contamination OUT (hoping to get zero C14)
      > as a source for the proteins and structures
      > they found, so they could make the claim that
      > they had ID'd endogenous mosasaur proteins
      > and NOT merely modern bacterial protein.

      That's right: zero C14 would help to "rule out" modern
      contamination in a dinosaur bone. Non-zero C14 "rules in"

      In this case the result is non-zero.

      So don't play word games.

      If they had found zero C14 their case for endogenous materials
      would be much stronger. As it is, they have to justify their
      conclusions by referring to the degree of contamination, in terms
      of both finite carbon and lagomorph DNA, as "exceedingly small".

      But you seem to be trying to avoid the point: Not being able
      to identify the source of C14 contamination does not rule out
      contamination. The age of the mosasaur is well established,
      independently, to be 70 million years old; the C14 test was a
      test for modern contamination and what they found was most
      reasonably interpreted as such by the researchers.

      If you want to attack the age of the Cretaceous period you are
      going to have to deal with those independent dating methods, which
      you are ignoring. If you *weren't* ignoring all of that evidence,
      you, too, would be most reasonably interpreting the presence of
      C14 in a Cretaceous fossil as contamination.

      Ignoring the weight of the evidence against your claims does not
      increase the weight of your claims. Making claims that are
      contradicted by evidence -- evidence that you know exists, evidence
      that you have had pointed out to you on more than one occasion,
      evidence for which you have no alternate explanation -- is lying
      by omission.

      I asked:

      > Then where do *you think* the human,
      > lagomorph, and bacterial DNA that they
      > found came from, if not from contamination?

      DB Willis:

      > There appears to be tiny amounts of
      > contamination, however nowhere near
      > enough to cause a 4.68pmc reading.

      Then apparently, for your strict standards, the "tiny amounts" of
      DNA contamination in one sample of dinosaur bone is not a good
      predictor of the amount of "exceedingly small" C14 contamination
      in a *different* sample of the dinosaur bone.

      You may need to read that twice, since that is what you are
      trying to do.

      But obviously the contamination IS enough to cause that reading,
      because the C14 is not from the mosasaur.

      The researchers considered the amount of finite (C14) carbon
      "exceedingly small". Perhaps they were speaking relatively,
      in reference to the total mass of fossil material sampled --
      about 99.75% of which was not organic carbon of any form, a fact
      which in itself is problematic to your claim.

      Now, regarding "deliberate lies," you have no evidence, no
      basis whatsoever, for declaring that contamination is "nowhere
      near enough" to result in 4.68pmc -- and in fact the evidence
      is strongly against you.

      That makes this claim a:


      | Fabrication
      | A fabrication is a lie told when someone submits
      | a statement as truth, without knowing for certain
      | whether or not it actually is true. Although the
      | statement may be possible or plausible, it is not
      | based on fact. Rather, it is something made up, or
      | it is a misrepresentation of the truth.

      How's that for addressing the points you make? You are engaging
      in an argument by making a number of assertions that have no
      basis in fact. Isn't it only to be expected that somebody is
      going to point that out?

      You say:

      > They did DNA PCR amplification to try to
      > assess whether bacterial contamination
      > would explain the results they found.

      This looks like deliberate ambiguity to me. Let's not forget
      that "the results they found" refers to the collagenous proteins
      identified in the mosasaur bone by infrared microspectroscopy,
      and they compared the mosasaur spectra with the IRMS spectra
      of a number of bacterial sample types. So actually it was
      primarily infrared microspectroscopy that was used to rule out
      bacterial contamination:

      | "As a first step to test our findings, spectral comparisons
      | were made with two bacterial biofilms (i.e., 3-dimensional
      | aggregations of bacteria within a cohesive exopolysaccharide
      | matrix [25]) and with a bacterial collagen-like protein [13]
      | **to assess the possibility of protein contamination from
      | modern microbial sources.** The vibrational spectra for the
      | biofilms and bacterial protein are presented along with
      | spectra for type I collagen and the mosasaur and monitor
      | lizard in Figure 6A.

      **Emphasis mine.**

      The IRMS mosasaur samples were from inner bone. The PCR sample
      was from cortical bone. The PCR amplification did show
      contamination -- not just from bacteria, either -- but they
      had already ruled out bacteria in the inner bone with the IRMS
      spectra. So they were left with the possibility that they were
      looking at contaminating rabbit collagen in the mosasaur spectra,
      which seems unlikely, as they explained.

      (It would simplify matters a lot if you would actually read
      the article *for comprehension*, rather than just blurting out
      anything that comes into your head, right or wrong, and then
      leaving it up to someone else to correct your unceasing string
      of careless misrepresentations. But then, that's all part of
      the game to you, isn't it?)

      > The got VERY VERY LITTLE DNA after
      > trying very hard to amplify it.

      Very very very. Oh so very. I can almost see them sweating.

      Regardless, they still found modern DNA -- and not just from
      bacteria, either.

      And, regardless, arguing against contamination as the source
      of the C14 and insisting that the C14 shows the mosasaur is
      only thousands of years old is entirely futile. The mosasaur
      is still going to be 70 million years old, as demonstrated by a
      number of independent lines of evidence for which you have no
      alternate explanation, and you have a lot worse problems to
      overcome than C14 contamination in a mosasaur bone -- producing
      what science calls "a consilience of data" being first and
      foremost -- and we need to make sure you and everybody else
      understand that, because this whole "soft tissue and C14 in
      dinosaur bones is evidence for a young Earth" argument is
      an irrational sham, a smokescreen, a "hey, lookie over here."

      For example, you yourself know that conventonial science has
      extracted DNA from materials much, much older than 24,000 years;
      e.g. mammoths and Neanderthals are well known, but here is a
      130,000 year old polar bear, fully sequenced:
      Mammoths and Neanderthals and other ancient DNA-yielding
      specimens have also been dated using a variety of methods in
      addition to C14, with good agreement between the methods.
      Where is your mosasaur DNA from this "exceptionally preserved"
      specimen? Oh, really? Why not? Where are your correlative
      dating methods?

      Do tell.

      The research report says:

      | It was suspected that any DNA present in the bone would be
      | exceedingly degraded so only the amplification of very short
      | fragments of 20 to 60 base pairs was attempted.

      Because of the minimal pretreatment they did, it may be that
      more modern, undegraded strands of hundreds or thousands of
      base pairs were simply missed by the polymerase.

      From the polar bear study:

      | Furthermore, experiments with different amplification
      | conditions and fragment lengths strongly suggested a
      | molecular behavior expected from ancient DNA (19), but
      | also that the DNA was well-preserved. For example,
      | amplification of products up to ~300 bp was successful,
      | whereas amplification over 600 bp yielded no products.

      If you had thrown a couple more verys in there for the mosasaur
      team, maybe they could have made a few runs targeting longer
      fragments. But they didn't -- so you're stuck with what they
      got: traces of contaminating DNA and nothing else.

      Willis quotes:

      > Nonetheless, based on the **extremely weak**
      > PCR products obtained from the DNA analysis
      > (8â€"26 ng/μl after two rounds of PCR and
      > doubling up of the PCR reaction volume, suggesting
      > very few copies of template DNA prior to PCR), the
      > amount of lagomorph (rabbit -dw) contamination is
      > exceedingly small and cannot account for the
      > relatively large quantities of fibrous matter
      > located in between the vessel-like forms
      > (i.e., in the area of the osteoid).

      > They got that tiny amount AFTER TWO ROUNDS of a
      > DOUBLE amount of PCR amplification!

      So what!

      It proves the rabbit was there!

      And why wouldn't we expect more rabbit contamination on the outside of the bone than within the minerally-sealed interior?

      > If indeed 4.68% of the carbon in the sample
      > was from modern bacteria, who would believe
      > that they could get so little DNA after
      > doubling the PCR amplification?

      The sample they used for C14 dating obviously included material
      from the *surface area* of the bone, which is the region
      *explicitly identified by the researchers* as the likely source
      of the contamination. Presumably, having seen "colonies of
      bone-boring cyanobacteria" under the microscope, they would try
      to avoid the risk of including material from that region in their
      PCR sample.

      > "Who would believe,"

      you ask, and this is the same fallacious

      > "argument from incredulity"

      you have been using all the way through.

      And I am skeptical myself that all of the C14 is from
      "modern bacteria". And, hey, guess what? The research report
      DOESN'T SAY the source is "modern" bacteria, or solely bacteria,
      or anything of the sort. "Probably bacteria," they say. So
      maybe not "modern". Maybe a teeny bit of post-modern. Maybe a
      lot of ancient, and the proteins have been destroyed. And then
      there is the presence of those other contaminants. Possibly a
      little animal glue on top of that, they say.

      Who knows? Saying, "I don't believe that," is not evidence.



      So much for addressing the points you make...

      You said:

      > I would like to know if one purposefully put
      > modern bacteria in with some coal or graphite
      > so as to result in 4.68% of the carbon being
      > from the bacteria...and then you took that
      > sample and did double PCR amplification,
      > whether you'd get such an "extremely weak"
      > amount of PCR product, only 26ng/μl.
      > I rather DOUBT it.

      And I rather doubt the relevance of all that, since you are
      using the same sample of modern bacteria for both measurements,
      which the researchers wisely avoided by their sample selection
      process, and we wouldn't expect them to knowingly include
      material suspected of harboring "modern bacteria" in their
      PCR sample.

      And, as far as I can tell, they got more human and rabbit DNA
      than bacterial DNA, anyway -- surely you would pick up a little
      more carbon there.

      But you seem to think that if "modern" bacteria alone can't
      account for the 4.68pmc then the unnaccounted-for fraction
      goes to dating the mosasaur.

      Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. The mosasaur is 70 million
      years old. There is entirely too much independently corroborative
      evidence for that date for you to reasonably argue the C14 is from
      anything other than contamination and for you to pretend that C14
      in dinosaur bones "calls into question" the geologic timescale,
      which is an error of deliberate ignorance on not only your part
      but on the part of every creationist on the planet who asserts
      that C14 dating of dinosaur bones indicates the bones are
      thousands instead of millions of years old.

      As I indicated above, deliberate ignorance of evidence contrary
      to your case does not magically add weight to your case -- it only
      makes you guilty of lying by omission. And before you can make any
      sort of positive claim about what C14 in dinosaur bones means, you
      have to have evidence to corroborate the claim -- otherwise you are
      eschewing actual science and instead simply using some scientific
      sounding words to lie by fabrication.

      Remember that "consilience of data" requirement I mentioned above?

      We're going to get a little deeper into that further along.

      I asked:

      > Don't you understand that the very presence
      > of these things, as well as the presence of
      > C14, *proves* some degree of contamination?

      DB Willis:

      > I would admit they must have had SOME...but
      > the question is was there ENOUGH to cause
      > that 24,600aBP C14 date. No way.

      Why is that a question? Of course the contamination is enough
      to give that date, because the C14 didn't come from the mosasaur.
      The mosasaur is 70 million years old. That's what they were testing
      for, is contamination.

      You have absolutely no evidence to say otherwise, and a mountain
      of evidence against you.

      "No way," you say?

      Addressing this "point" you make, which is nothing but an assertion
      for which you cannot produce confirming evidence, I will again
      refer you to Wikipedia's description of "Fabrication," above.

      You say:

      > And if they got THAT MUCH contamination after
      > so much care was done, then they may as well
      > toss out C14 dating altogether for ANY sample.

      Then your premise is: If C14 is found in a mosasaur fossil,
      then either (A) the mosasaur lived within the range of carbon
      dating, OR (B) carbon dating doesn't work.

      Boy, it would seem you can't lose with that one!

      But this is called a "false dichotomy" or "the black & white fallacy."
      It presents a choice between two false conclusions, while ignoring
      the existence of other possibilities.

      You, Willis, seem to be very adept at maintaining ignorance of these
      "other possibilities". Your "plausible deniability" is not nearly
      as plausible as you might be telling yourself.

      I already explained to you the difference between collecting
      and handling samples from the field specifically for carbon dating
      and the way this mosasaur bone appears to have been collected
      and handled. Additionally, these researchers apparently selected
      a sample from the mosasaur bone that was most likely to reflect
      C14 contamination, while archaeologists try very hard to obtain
      samples that are *least* likely to contain extraneous C14.

      Now, I have explained this difference and it isn't that hard to
      understand. Tossing out C14 dating is not an option, because
      rightly applied, it works, and we know it works, as corroborated by
      a number of independent checks. You know this, too, and you are
      deliberately ignoring it -- and you have been deliberately
      ignoring it for years.

      I will refer you back to the Wikipedia description of "lying by
      omission," above.

      And make sure you read this, too:

      If the AMS method finds C14 in a dinosaur fossil, that doesn't
      mean the method doesn't work -- more than anything it is
      likely to be a reflection on the collecting, handling, and storage
      practices employed on a dinosaur bone that, in this instance, for
      all we know, was obtained decades before carbon dating was even
      invented. And this is exactly why the C14 method was employed
      on this specimen in the first place.

      It depends on how you interpret that C14's presence in this
      mosasaur bone, whether the C14 method is appropriate to your
      application. Interpreting C14 in a mosasaur bone as evidence
      that the mosasaur is only 20,000 years old *absolutely guarantees*
      that C14 does not work for you, and of course anything you have
      to say about "tossing out C14 dating altogether" applies only
      to the C14 "dates" that YOU obtain through your own ham-headed

      Because that is what you have falsified -- *not* C14 dating as it
      is actually done, *not* the 50-60 thousand year timeframe it covers,
      *not* the age of the Cretaceous, but *your own methodology*. You
      have conclusively shown that your approach DOES NOT WORK, because
      your conclusion is immediately falsified by the results of 200 years
      of geological research and a body of evidence which you make no
      attempt to address.

      I said:

      > They looked for bacterial *DNA*
      > and they found SOME.

      DB Willis:

      > Are you willing to admit that the amount
      > they found was TINY compared to the amount
      > they should have found if indeed the carbon
      > was 4.68% from modern bacteria?

      4.68% does seem a lot, as I have said, though I don't know
      how much they "should have" found if modern bacteria, etc.,
      and I very much doubt you do, either.

      But I am glad to see you have corrected yourself, limiting
      the 4.68% to the *carbon only* and not to the entire mineral
      matrix on which they conducted PCR and IR spectrometry, as you
      originally seemed to be trying to lead someone to believe.

      HOWEVER: keep in mind that nobody is insisting the entire 4.68pmc
      be attributed solely to bacteria, "modern" or otherwise -- a
      strawman that you keep attempting to raise up.

      Nor does it present a dilemma in regard to the time when
      dinosaurs roamed the Earth, which roaming is well-established
      to have ended 65 million years ago.

      So, what's your point?

      Oh, yeah, still with the "argument from incredulity."

      Why is it that "scientific evidences for a young Earth" always
      seem to rely on arguments from rhetorical fallacy rather than
      using the conventional inductive logic of the scientific method?

      The nasty truth is that "creation science" ain't science.

      I wrote:

      > In practice, extracted collagen *can* be
      > carbon dated. Maybe not the stuff that Mary
      > Schweitzer found, because of the extraction
      > process she used.

      DB Willis:

      > That excuse is baloney anyway.

      Let me finish my sentence please.

      I said,

      | "because of the extraction process she used --
      | *and the simple fact that if it is indeed mosasaur soft
      | tissue, it is over 65 million years old.* But fossil
      | collagen can be carbon dated, provided the C:N ratio is
      | below about 3.6 [for terrestrial creatures]. Higher ratios
      | indicate too much contamination."

      Fossil collagen can be carbon dated. But mosasaur soft
      tissue is over 65 million years old, so carbon dating won't

      As I recall it was Schweitzer herself who told you that the
      material she found could not be carbon dated because of the
      extraction process she used. If you think you know more about
      it than she does, you are of course welcome to reproduce the

      Which gets me to thinking...

      You said:

      > There are other acids which don't contribute
      > ANY carbon at all. Andrew Snelling wrote me
      > to suggest several, saying "I would have thought
      > either hydrochloric or sulfuric acid would
      > dissolve bones, although the hydrofluoric acid
      > used on silicate rocks would likely be even
      > stronger. One could easily experiment."

      Snelling... Snelling... that name seems to ring a bell...

      Oh, yeah:


      Thanks, Willis, for the name-dropping. It sent me on an ethralling
      week-long journey through creationist radiocarbon dating. And all
      that while, of course, the nagging little irritation that you and
      Terry Benton could affect to be so affronted with my conviction that
      "young-earth creationists are deliberate liars" was tagging along
      beside me. Unfortunately, in all my forays I found nothing with
      which to dispel the little imp.

      But I've given it some thought. In the article referenced
      above, Snelling acknowledges the need for further research in the
      field of creationist carbon dating and points the direction -- a
      young-earth recalibration scheme is required:

      | "Ultimately, what is needed is a method of recalibrating
      | these "radiocarbon years" with the realtime, biblical
      | framework of earth history, which takes into account the
      | effects of the Flood, the post-Flood Ice Age, and the
      | decreasing strength of the earth's magnetic field.
      | ...
      | What is now required is a recalibration of the apparent
      | radiocarbon ages for these supposedly ancient organic
      | materials that would significantly reduce their true ages
      | to make them compatible with the biblical timescale of
      | earth history."

      Well of course it is. Creationists should have thought of that
      before they *ever started* making claims about C14 in presumably
      C14 dead samples being "powerful testimony of a young Earth".
      That is the consilience of data I was talking about. Standard
      science has it; creation science does not:

      | "However, so far there doesn't appear to be a discernible
      | systematic pattern of radiocarbon levels (and apparent ages)
      | in the ancient organic materials tested.... Continuing
      | investigations are needed,"

      Says Snelling.

      No kidding, says Rick.

      Tell you what: I happen to have a few mosasaur bones lying around
      here. Got some ammonites, too, and a couple bucketsful of
      Pleistocene stuff. You and Snelling foot up the bill and let's do
      some research.

      I assume that's all you're lacking, is some bones to date...

      (...or eat up with acid, as the case may be...)

      ...and a little blind oversight.

      Maybe you and Snelling could come up with a research design, and
      I could come up with one, and we could test a hypothesis or two.

      I wrote:

      > Not necessarily. It could be the case, just
      > for an illustrative example, that *none* of
      > the carbon came from the mineralized mosasaur
      > bone and *all* of the carbon came from bacteria,
      > 24,000 years ago. I'm not saying this is the
      > case, I'm just showing you where you're mistaken
      > about basic concepts.

      DB Willis:

      > I accept that example...that they could have
      > failed to find ANY endogenous original
      > biomolecules so 100% of the carbon came from
      > bacteria...from 24,600 years ago.

      I didn't say anything about "endogenous original biomolecules" --
      I said carbon.

      But I think you get the point: Your continual reference to
      "modern bacteria" as if it were the only possible way to get a
      measurement of 4.68pmc from this specimen is misleading. And
      so is the suggestion that if they hadn't found "endogenous original
      biomolecules" that would mean all the carbon came from bacteria.

      You take a simplified example I used to show you in a simple way
      how you are mistaken about some basic concept, you say, "I accept
      that example..." and then you very deliberately insert a clause
      misrepresenting the situation, very carefully crafted to continue
      insisting that the mosasaur fossil itself was contributing to the
      C14 signal.

      Cute rhetorical gimmickry, but, as I said, it ain't science.
      What it is, according to Wikipedia, is:


      | Misleading/dissembling
      | Main article: misleading
      | A misleading statement is one where there is no outright
      | lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to
      | believe in an untruth. "Dissembling" likewise describes
      | the presentation of facts in a way that is literally true,
      | but intentionally misleading.

      Then you go on to build on your dissembling:

      > But their paper was arguing they HAD found
      > ancient tissue.... just as MS had.

      Yes, true statements. But the ancient tissue, those "endogenous
      original biomolecules," if that is what they are, aren't
      contributing "endogenous original" C14 to the signal, which is
      what you are misleading up to, because there is no question at
      all that the end of the Cretaceous is a thousand-fold beyond the
      present limits of C14 dating.

      And now you change the subject completely:

      > And yet you and Todd still seem to doubt that.
      > About 2 years ago you just couldn't wrap your
      > head around the FACTS that showed they had
      > indeed found original tissue from dinos.
      > Maybe finally you have been forced kicking and
      > screaming to admit that.

      They found protein fragments. About two years ago you were
      misrepresenting that, too. You were trying to lead us to believe
      that those images of "stretchy" stuff were unaltered original
      tissues containing intact macromolecules of collagen, when all
      they found, scattered across a half dozen samples, was less than
      10% of a single collagen sequence. You were among the creationists
      claiming that intact red blood cells had been found, but did
      you notice that this present research also found material
      that looked a lot like those "blood cells" Schweitzer found?
      Framboids, they determined. Seems like that's what Kaye found,
      too, if you will recall.

      The only thing I have to "admit" is what is currently reported
      in professional peer-reviewed scientific literature.

      How about you?

      And again we have the "argument from incredulity" tempered with
      creationist misrepresentation -- "I just don't believe soft
      and stretchy tissues and intact blood cells could last for
      65 million years. Therefore, the Earth is only a few thousand
      years old."

      There is also a category of lying, not explicitly covered by
      Wikipedia, called "lying to your self".

      I know that may sound "nasty" to you, but I *am* trying to
      address your points -- even these irrelevant side issues.

      Now let's get back to the subject.

      I wrote:

      > The total organic carbon in the bone sample
      > was 0.25% -- one fourth of one percent. I
      > wonder what percentage the total organic
      > carbon would comprise in a bone sample that
      > really was only 24,000 years old... something
      > you might look up in your spare time.

      DB Willis:

      > I don't know if any carbon in the sample is
      > lost in the preparation process. Let's assume
      > none was. After the first step they got 258mg
      > of dried material from the 2g sample...about
      > 13%. And apparently 5mg of that was elemental
      > carbon. I would guess that the % of mass which
      > is carbon in a bone is much less than the % mass
      > of dry bacterial biofilm...since bone has minerals
      > in large amounts compared to bacteria. So I would
      > also like to see what that number is. I would
      > expect that the % of carbon (as % of total original
      > mass) in pure dry bacterial protein would be
      > considerably larger than .25%. This might be another
      > test which would resolve the question.
      > Thanks for that idea!

      Let's stick to the point here, for a minute. Your original
      assertion was that the researchers should have seen lots of
      bacterial stuff in the PCR and IR spectroscopy if 4.68% of
      the sample was modern bacteria.

      But that assertion was wrong on more than one count, and that
      is where I originally said that you were badly misunderstanding
      what pmc means.

      The point was, the total organic carbon in the mosasaur sample
      was only 0.25%. Since you won't bother to look it up, I'll just
      tell you: Collagen makes up about 30% of bone, and the collagen
      of well-preserved 20,000 year old bones yields about 30% - 40%
      carbon -- or about *20 to 40 times* the amount of carbon they got
      from this "exceptionally preserved" mosasaur fossil.


      That's a pretty rough estimate, but it's more to the point than
      the gibberish you give us above.

      Now let me ask you more pointedly: Why is there so little organic
      carbon in the mosasaur, in comparison with bones that really are
      only 20,000 years old?

      > DW: (If it was 5670 year old bacteria, then it
      > would have to be 9.36%!)

      > RH:Now you're just making stuff up, my creationist
      > friend. 9.36 pmc equals about 20,000 years. You
      > could at least use the handy dandy calculator I
      > linked for you:
      > http://www.anycalculator.com/carbon14calculator.htm

      > You are wrong, perhaps because you misunderstood my
      > point. First of all, that calculator site does not
      > get 24,600 years for 4.68pmc (which is what the
      > Swedes reported). It gets 25300 yrs.

      Which may reflect a "margin of error" in the research, or
      some other correction. (The amount of organic carbon that
      was tested was 3mg. Since AMS typically uses samples as
      small as 1mg it may be that 3 runs were done and 24,600 BP
      was the calculated result.) But anyway...

      > Secondly I was saying that if you had fully modern
      > bacteria...with 100% of their C14 intact...then you'd
      > need for 4.68% of the carbon in the sample to come from
      > that source in order to get a 4.68pmc result (if the
      > mosasaur has zero). However if the bacteria got inside
      > the bone 5760 years ago, then that bacteria would have
      > half as much C14 as modern bacteria do, so you'd need
      > twice as much of that old bacteria to get the same C14
      > content as brand new bacteria. 9.36% bacterial content
      > of the sample carbon times 50% of C14 (because the
      > bacteria were 5760 years old) would get you 4.68pmc...
      > just as I said.

      Yes, you are right.

      I did misunderstand you.

      I see what you are saying, now, and you are correct. So you are also saying that you do understand it is not necessary that the bacteria be
      "modern" in order to get a measurement of 4.68pmc. That *might*
      be an important detail, if push comes to shove, in explaining
      the scarcity of bacterial protein found, since, according to what
      you wrote to Pi:

      | > It's intesting to me that Pi would have NO problem
      | > if they do all sorts of testing for DNA, but he would
      | > say they would be fools to even TRY to C14 date a dino bone!
      | > ...when DNA lasts MUCH less long than does C14.

      Actually, DNA *can* persist in fossils that are *well beyond*
      the range of C14 dating, and many of the specimens from which
      DNA has been successfully extracted were dated by other methods
      than C14. Additionally, the length of time that DNA *can* persist
      is variable, according to environment, as you well know. But
      C14 decay is not variable.

      But if you want to say that "DNA lasts MUCH less long than
      does C14," and the C14 in the specimen is old bacteria rather
      than fresh, on what basis would you expect to find bacterial
      DNA? How long does bacterial DNA last in museum storage?

      But push doesn't come to shove. There is no real need to
      explain why bacterial contamination on the surface of a bone may
      not be detected in the mineral-sealed interior of the bone, beyond
      the obvious explanation offered by the researchers, and there is
      the presence of those other contaminants, as well. I just wanted
      to point out the error in your claim.

      And the PCR didn't come up with any mosasaur DNA, but it did
      come up with contamination DNA. Testing for contamination can't
      really be considered "foolish" on the part of these researchers,
      now can it?

      I wrote:

      > Yes, 4.68 pmc seems like a lot of contamination
      > to be attributed solely to bacteria. I agree.
      > But how can we say, based on what we have to go
      > on -- that is, the research report itself? >>

      DB Willis:

      > I appreciate your admitting to this...it IS huge!

      I think you may be sensationalizing a bit. 4.68 pmc isn't
      anywhere close to the degree of contamination reported by
      Kaye. Applying your same argument to Kaye's results would have
      us concluding that Triceratops survived until at least 1960 CE.

      Why didn't you make such a claim about *that* research?


      Well, because it's clearly ridiculous, that's why. We know that
      Triceratops didn't survive into the 20th century. But 24,600 BP
      is, what? -- only about *3/100ths of 1 percent different* than 50 BP
      when you're talking about a 65 MILLION year "correction".

      Just trying to put your "HUGE" into perspective for you. It looks,
      from this scale, only infinitesimally less "clearly ridiculous"
      than 1960s Triceratops.

      And you didn't answer the question:

      On what basis do you present yourself as knowing more about
      this research project than the researchers themselves?

      > You should also weigh the fact that they
      > did MUCH to rule out bacteria as the source
      > of the proteins they ID'd. One way they did
      > that was with IR microspectroscopy. They did
      > spectral analysis of the light at various
      > mico-sites in the sample.

      I think the IRMS data does effectively rule out bacteria as the
      source of the collagen-like signal from the inner bone samples.

      But ruling out bacteria as the source of proteins in one sample
      does not rule out bacteria as the source of C14 in a different
      sample, especially when the samples came from different parts
      of the bone, and when the second sample does in fact contain
      bacterial DNA.

      You can't rule out bacteria in cortical bone based on the
      PRESENCE of bacteria in cortical bone!

      And don't forget about the rabbit!

      Willis quotes from the article:

      > The homogeneity of the mosasaur samples was
      > investigated by measuring several different
      > regions within the fibrous tissues identified
      > under OM or SEM. In total twenty arbitrary
      > regions were measured in each sample and
      > compared for homogeneity. This procedure was
      > performed in order to get good representation
      > of the sample and to minimize contributions
      > from inhomogeneities and artifacts.

      > Catch that?
      > This was done to rule out "inhomgeneities"...
      > which would include spectra from bacteria.

      And did you catch that they were looking *within* the fibrous
      tissues and comparing regions? Did you catch that they were
      explicitly minimizing contributions from "artifacts"? But still
      this is describing the samples used for IR microspectroscopy from
      the *interior* of the bone -- NOT the sample selected for carbon
      dating, which included material from the outer region of the bone.

      Willis quotes from the article:

      > Potential variations within original spectra
      > as well as variations within sets of arbitrary
      > regions were examined manually. The resulting
      > spectra for different sets were **similar to
      > each other**, thereby demonstrating the
      > homogeneity both within individual fiber bundles
      > and between fibrous tissues from different regions.

      > Had there been lots of bacteria inside, they
      > wouldn't have the homogenous results they got
      > from the random sites they examined.

      Nobody is saying there was, or even should have been, "lots of
      bacteria inside." In fact, the researchers provide a reasonable
      explanation for why there was NOT "lots of bacteria inside," an
      explanation which you yourself are about to quote, below.

      You are flailing away at shadows.

      Refer back to the Wikipedia description of "Misleading/dissembling,"
      above... never mind, it's a ways back up, I'll just paste it again
      here for your convenience:


      | Misleading/dissembling
      | Main article: misleading
      | A misleading statement is one where there is no outright
      | lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to
      | believe in an untruth. "Dissembling" likewise describes
      | the presentation of facts in a way that is literally true,
      | but intentionally misleading.

      Kind of like a strawman, you see.

      > You should also remember that they removed
      > the most likely sites where bacteria would
      > be found.

      Yeah, and no telling *how* young that danged bone would've been
      if they hadn't scraped it down...

      ...as what you call "stupid T. Kaye's" "silly" "biofilm flim-flam"
      so straightforwardly demonstrates.

      Not to be nasty about it or anything.

      But it doesn't matter.

      They still found bacteria.

      Excluding material from the "most likely" sites where bacteria would be found doesn't mean bacteria won't still be found -- and they did
      find some. The one site where bacteria would most likely be found --
      the outer region of the bone -- was evidently included in their
      sample for the C14 test, since *that is the region they specifically
      identify as the likely source of the contamination* -- where they had
      actually observed microscopic colonies of bacteria.

      > AND this was their final conclusion:

      >> Moreover, high levels of phosphate and
      >> carbonate in the Ciply Phosphatic Chalk
      >> might have minimized dissolution and
      >> re-precipitation of the bone mineral.
      >> This limited the exposure of the protein
      >> molecules to microorganisms, thus retarding
      >> the extent of microbial degradation. Also,
      >> because microorganisms can only infiltrate
      >> bones via cracks or natural cavities, early
      >> intravascular mineralizations may have blocked
      >> off internal surfaces, thereby **denying
      >> bacteria access** to organic material in the
      >> bone matrix.

      > Did you catch that Rick?
      > Their conclusion was that they had ID'd actual
      > mosasaur tissue BECAUSE that tissue was DENIED
      > ACCESS by bacteria due to its being contained in
      > the Maastrichtian Ciply Phosphatic Chalk layer.

      Which explains, right there, why there would be bacteria on
      the outside of the bone and not on the inside. And nothing
      in this quote can be used to claim that bacteria or anything
      else were denied access to the surface of the bone once it was
      removed from the chalk, the circumstances of which we have no
      information -- a fact which the researchers recognized and
      attempted to mitigate by scraping the bone and *using C14 to test
      for contamination* -- a test that is done as a matter of routine
      for all sorts of things other than paleontology research.

      Refer back to the Wikipedia definition of "Misleading/Dissembling,"

      So what you need to do is go date the Ciply chalk, just like I
      told you in the first message. You are looking at contamination
      in this fossil. Bacteria, human, rabbit, possibly some kind of
      animal glue. Why even fool with it? If you want to be taken
      seriously, you're going to have to go to the formation where the
      bone came from and date the chalk itself.

      You do want to be taken seriously, don't you?

      Geologists seem to think they've got it nailed down pretty good,
      and they can't really be responsible for what you do to the bones
      after you dig them up, so they're going to be pretty skeptical
      when you try telling them the Ciply chalk is only 20,000 years old,
      on account of this carbon date you got from a dinosaur bone that
      had been lying up in museum storage for how many years under
      conditions unknown.

      That sort of reasoning might pass creationist muster, but it isn't
      going to be accepted by the geologists.

      So quit worrying with all this bacteria stuff and go right straight
      to the source. Sedimentologists have all sorts of techniques for
      dating geologically recent depositions. If the Cretaceous period
      ended only 20,000 years ago or whatever, you ought to be able to get
      carbon dates galore from every Cretaceous formation on the planet,
      right? And younger and younger dates as you head back this way, up
      through the Mesozoic reptiles and Cenozoic mammals. Right?

      So why hasn't this been done already?

      What's a few hundred thousand dollars in scientific research for
      the evidence that overturns all of conventional geology, compared
      to 30 million for a theme park?

      (Evidence taking a back seat to rhetoric again, looks like to me.)

      And since this is so obvious, and since creationists have been
      using "C14 in dinos proves a young Earth" for oh so very long,
      why has no creationist geology emerged? Why DON'T you have a
      calibrated correction for C14 dates, like standard science does?
      How can the RATE team spend eight years on "research" and come up
      with NOTHING but more RHETORIC? Why do creationist apologists
      STILL have to resort to the false assertion that C14 dating is
      based on an "assumption" that the atmospheric C14 concentration
      is static, attempting to cast doubt on the method, and then
      inappropriately try to use *that same method* to date a Cretaceous
      fossil? Have creationists determined the level of atmospheric C14
      for the Cretaceous period? Ha! I think not! Talk about your

      See, that's what you need, Willis: a C14 calibration curve
      that reaches back to the Cretaceous, while AT THE SAME TIME
      producing a consilience of data -- corroborated evidence -- that
      establishes the end of the Cretaceous to be 20,000 (or whatever)
      years old. As it is you have nothing -- no tree rings, no varves,
      no corals, no stalagmites, no ice cores -- no Uranium/Thorium dates,
      no electron spin resonance, no paleomagnetism, no thermoluminescence --
      you have nothing whatever by which to set your clock, or by which to
      check the accuracy of your clock, or by which to determine if your
      clock is even running.

      Since you don't have a clock, you can't with any honesty claim that
      your clock shows dinosaurs existed only thousands of years ago.

      > It was the ABSENCE of bacterial access which
      > caused them to believe it possible that the
      > large biomolecules of protein of the mosasaur
      > could have survived for 70million years. It is
      > absurd to suggest that to be true but then to
      > ALSO suggest that bacteria could access the
      > inner bone cortex to cause the C14 result they
      > got.

      Well, you'll forgive me for not trusting your opinion about what
      is absurd, since you seem to favor assigning a date to the
      mosasaur in the thousands of years, based on a C14 test that was
      used to measure contamination in a presumably carbon-dead sample,
      while the whole time pigheadedly ignoring both C14 calibration and
      the well-corroborated date of the Cretaceous extinction.

      And the researchers did NOT suggest that C14 activity was
      taking place in the "inner bone cortex," they said "near the
      outer surface of the bone," having actually seen colonies of
      cyanobacteria "along the perimeter of the diaphyseal cortex,"
      which is NOT "inner bone."

      So nobody is making the "absurd" suggestion that bacteria had
      access to the "inner bone cortex" except for you.

      Another rhetorical strawman on your part, then.

      > If you and Thomas Kaye want to cling to
      > the idea it ALL is bacterial biofilm, then
      > go for it...and keep your head in the sand.

      I think this particular research took pains to exclude the
      possibility of biofilm by examining mineralized sections of
      the fossil and specifically looking for bacterial spectra in
      the IRMS. I also think that Kaye's research played a key
      role in showing why such precautions need to be taken. Note
      that this research report references Kaye, et al., as well as
      Schweitzer, et al. and a (2010) paper by other authors on the
      effects of biofilm on diagenesis and soft tissue preservation.

      And what place does your insinuation that Kaye and I are clinging
      to something -- about a different topic -- have in a discussion
      about carbon dating dinosaurs, anyway? C14 in a dinosaur fossil is
      contamination. So keep your red herring.

      As to whose head is where... maybe you should take a rational
      look at what you are trying to argue.

      > But these scientists (and Mary S.) are
      > convinced by the SCIENCE that they indeed
      > have ID'd actual dino tissue...and the date
      > they got when they C14 dated the inner part
      > of that bone was very very YOUNG.

      But the date they got is not the date of the bone, because
      dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Finding C14 in a
      dinosaur bone isn't going to change that. C14 in a dinosaur
      bone, by the very nature of the association, means contamination
      of one form or another. We know how far back C14 dating is
      reliable. The Cretaceous period didn't end in the late

      Your sentence would make it sound as if the researchers are
      "convinced by the SCIENCE" that they should interpret the
      presence of C14 as indicating something about the age of the
      bone. And what research are you talking about, anyway, where
      the "inner part" of the bone was dated?

      Surely you are not trying to dishonestly suggest that *this*
      research by Lindgren, et al. reports a date for the "inner
      part" of the bone?

      You are, aren't you, Willis?

      You just never quit, do you?

      You started off this post denying that you had lied about
      "ANYTHING" in this article, saying I was nasty and didn't
      address your points, and then point by point down through
      this post you have continued to deliberately misrepresent the
      research report, the rationale behind the experiments, the
      research of other scientists, and the reliability of carbon
      dating itself.

      It is not possible that you are misunderstanding the research
      report as badly as one would have to be to keep misrepresenting
      it like this. You aren't doing it by accident.

      > Don't you just HATE when that happens?

      When WHAT happens, Willis?

      Scientific progress?

      I don't have any reason to hate it. Research moves forward.
      Just look how far it has come since Schweitzer first found
      those structures wrongly reported as "intact red blood cells"
      by Creation Ministries International! It just "beggars belief,"
      as Wieland would put it! Ha! Notice his fallacious "argument
      from incredulity"?


      It looks just like yours!

      I ask again:

      Why is it that "scientific evidences for a young Earth" always
      seem to rely on arguments from rhetorical fallacy rather than
      using the conventional inductive logic of the scientific method?

      What I do hate is when creationists make the asinine assertion
      that C14 on a dinosaur bone means the end of the Cretaceous
      period was thousands, and not millions, of years ago, when they
      not only lack the required evidence to warrant such a conclusion
      but at the same time refuse to even recognize evidence contradictory
      to that conclusion -- the calibration of C14 dating back to 50,000
      years AND the multiple lines of evidence establishing the end of
      the Cretaceous at 65 million years ago.

      Your creationist C14 recalibration scheme is going to have to
      deal with BOTH of those things. You can't just ignore it.
      There is 65 million years worth of evidence in between that you are
      going to have to explain.

      I do hate when creationists pretend they have found some kind of
      "problem" with a dating method, a problem that "cries out for an
      explanation," but then it turns out they don't even understand the
      dating method well enough to understand the explanation of the
      "problem" once it's been given to them, or twice, or thrice, or year
      after year after year on forum after forum after forum.

      Are creationists really this stupid?

      I say, no.

      I say it's deliberate misrepresentation of science based on willful ignorance of facts which, if they allowed themselves to know, would
      necessarily lead to a conclusion that is just too "incredible"
      for them to believe:

      > "Young earth creationism is falsified by science."

      To deny that is to deny truth.

      I'll have to leave it up to you to decide whether actively evading a truth is the philosophical and moral equivalent of actively pursuing a lie.

      Rick Hartzog
      Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism


      Lindgren J, Uvdal P, Engdahl A, Lee AH, Alwmark C,
      et al. (2011) Microspectroscopic Evidence of Cretaceous
      Bone Proteins. PLoS ONE 6(4): e19445.

      Kaye et al. (2008) Dinosaurian Soft Tissues Interpreted as
      Bacterial Biofilms. PLoS ONE 3(7): e2808.
      doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002808.

      Peterson JE, Lenczewski ME, Scherer RP (2010) Influence of
      Microbial Biofilms on the Preservation of Primary Soft Tissue
      in Fossil and Extant Archosaurs. PLoS ONE 5(10): e13334.


      And a quote from my travels:

      > "BTW, I think it's a safe bet the scientific
      > community doesn't care if a willfully ignorant
      > YEC like you trusts the calibrated and
      > independently verified dating techniques or not."
      > -Tiggy

      post #297

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