Creationists need better evidence than that


I found this claim by Mark Armitage that had determined that a triceratops fossil was only a few thousand years old to be ridiculous. He has a defender, Jay Wile, who disagrees with me. He has two main points.

First, I said that carbon dating a dinosaur fossil is absurd — the 14C levels will be too low to get a reliable ratio. Wile thinks that you can, and that being able to cite a number makes it true.

Well, had Dr. Myers bothered to click on the link given in my post, he would have seen that an age was reported: 41,010 ± 220 years. As I state in that link, this is well within the accepted range of carbon-14 dating, and it is younger than many other carbon-14 dates published in the literature. In addition, the process used to make the sample ready for dating has been spelled out in the peer-reviewed literature, and it is designed to free the sample of all contamination except for carbon that comes from the original fossil. Now as I said in my original post, it’s possible that the reading comes from contamination. However, I find that unlikely, given the process used on the sample, the cellular evidence that Armitage found, and the fact that such carbon-14 dates are common in all manner of fossils that are supposedly millions of years old or older.

There are two sources of 14C we have to be concerned with. The bulk of it is cosmogenic, formed in the upper atmosphere from cosmic ray bombardments of ordinary, stable 14N. This 14C decays at a geologically rapid rate, with a half-life of 5730 years. Living things respire and tend to equilibrate their 14C levels with the environment. Another source, though, is the radioactive decay of other elements that generate high energy particles that can also bang into atoms to generate unstable radioactive isotopes. This is a much rarer event, though, so objects that are dead and buried and isolated from the atmosphere tend to equilibrate to a much lower concentration of 14C.

In carbon dating, the 14C to 12C ratio is measured. If it’s close to that of the atmosphere, it was recently exchanging carbon with the atmosphere. If it’s somewhere above the level of dead carbon buried deep in rocks (which has a non-zero level of 14C), it’s older, and we can estimate how much older from the ratio. You can always calculate a ratio. You can always measure a date. However, it will hit a ceiling of about 50,000 years, because of the limits of precision and because the ratio can converge to a value indistinguishable from the background level of 14C. Date a carbon sample that’s a hundred thousand years old; it will return an age of 50,000 years. Carbon date a chunk of coal from the Carboniferous, 300 million years ago, and it will return an age of 50,000 years.

That an “age” was reported is meaningless. An age of 40,000 years means that about 7 14C half-lives had passed, or that less than 1% of the atmospheric levels of 14C were present in the sample. Wile doesn’t understand this at all. He doesn’t seem to comprehend that there could be another source of 14C than from equilibration with the atmosphere. He thinks it is significant that ancient carbon can have non-zero amounts of 14C.

However, creation scientists have carbon-dated fossils, diamonds, and coal that are all supposed to be millions of years old. Nevertheless, they all have detectable amounts of carbon-14 in them. For example, this study shows detectable levels of carbon-14 in a range of carbon-containing materials that are supposedly 1-500 million years old. Surprisingly, the study includes diamonds from several different locations! Another study showed that fossil ammonites and wood from a lower Cretaceous formation, which is supposed to be 112-120 million years old, also have detectable levels of carbon-14 in them. If these studies are accurate, they show that there is something wrong with the old-earth view: Either carbon dating is not the reliable tool it is thought to be for “recent” dating, or the fossils and materials that are supposed to be millions of years old are not really that old. Of course, both options could also be true.

Or that there are underground sources of radioactive decay that can generate low levels of 14C, and that Jay Wile doesn’t understand basic principles of radiometric dating.

Wile also dismisses the possibility of an inclusion of recent biological material in the sample that might skew the date earlier, which is unjustifiable. Armitage himself writes about Soft, moist, muddy material can be seen surrounding pores of bone vessels on inner horn surfaces and rootlets penetrating lower, interior surface of samples where he claims to spot intact Triceratops cells.

But contamination can’t possibly be a confounding problem, oh no.

The second main point Wile makes is that gosh, those cells sure look like osteocytes, which have a distinctive shape with many branching processes. How would osteocytes have gotten in there?

Armitage did not compromise his own results. He simply wrote truthfully about his fossil. In addition, anyone with a basic understanding of histology would know why plant roots, fungal hyphae, and insect remains do not compromise his results in any way. Based on all the visual evidence, the cells he found are osteocytes. They are not only the shape and size one expects from osteocytes, they have the filipodial extensions that are characteristic of osteocytes. They also have the cell-to-cell junctions one expects in groups of osteocytes. Thus, they cannot be the result of contamination, since plants, fungi, and insects do not have osteocytes.

My answer to that is…I don’t know. It’s weird. And Armitage doesn’t know either, and everything he says about the sample is incompatible with these being intact, preserved osteocytes.

The fact that any soft tissues were present in this heavily fossilized horn specimen would suggest a selective fossilization process, or a sequestration of certain deep tissues as a result of the deep mineralization of the outer dinosaur bone as described by Schweitzer et al. (2007b). As described previously, however, the horn was not desiccated when recovered and actually had a muddy matrix deeply embedded within it, which became evident when the horn fractured. Additionally, in the selected pieces of this horn that were processed, soft tissues seemed to be restricted to narrow slivers or voids within the highly vascular bone, but further work is needed to fully characterize those portions of the horn that contained soft material. It is unclear why these narrow areas resisted permineralization and retained a soft and pliable nature. Nevertheless it is apparent that certain areas of the horn were only lightly impacted by the degradation that accompanied infiltration by matrix and microbial activity. If these elastic sheets of reddish brown soft tissues are biofilm remains, there is still no good explanation of how microorganisms could have replicated the fine structure of osteocyte filipodia and their internal microstructures resembling cellular organelles. Filipodial processes show no evidence of crystallization as do the fractured vessels and some filipodial processes taper elegantly to 500 nm widths.

So…

  • The tissue is not isolated or protected in any way. It’s wet, unmineralized, and filled with a “muddy matrix”. Some of the soft tissues, the “vessels”, are crystallized.

  • The “osteocytes”, though, are perfectly preserved down to the level of organelles, ultrastructural junctions, and delicate processes.

Doesn’t anyone else have a problem with this? I’ve had to struggle with fixative cocktails to get good preservation of single-cell levels of detail; I’ve had animal tissue bathed in a soothing, perfectly balanced medium under my microscope, and seen bacterial infections turn them into disintegrating, collapsing blobs of blebbed out fragments of decaying cells within minutes.

Yet somehow Armitage finds picture-perfect “osteocytes” in tissues that have been soaking in mud, perforated by plant roots, and presumably have been lying there rotting since, by his measure, some time around the Great Flood, a few thousand years ago.

I’m just curious. As an experiment, if we killed a cow and then left it to rot in a damp field for just a month, would that be a good way to make useful histological samples of bone tissue?

How about if we left it there for a year? Or 40,000 years?

The Schweitzer papers on preserved cells in dinosaur bone at least demonstrate careful technique to minimize contamination and artifacts. They also don’t include comments that reveal the author doesn’t understand the basic principles of radiometric dating. The Armitage papers, on the other hand, are sloppy, get improbable results, and reveal a lot of biased reasoning.

I don’t know how cells that look like osteocytes got there, but I’m very suspicious.

Comments

  1. Rich Woods says

    However, creation scientists

    I think we can safely stop reading him at that point.

  2. weylguy says

    Myers laments that “I don’t know how cells that look like osteocytes got there.”

    Since Myers can’t provide any scientific proof refuting this single anomalous sample, then it represents proof to Armitage and Wile that the Earth is definitely only 6,000 years old, confirming the Book of Genesis and the existence of God, the virgin birth and the forgiving grace of our savior Lord Jesus. Gosh, that sure sounds plausible to me. Let’s rewrite all the paleontology books and get the truth out there.

    Meanwhile, astronomers still can’t prove that Russell’s teapot isn’t orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars. Therefore it must exist. And it’s steaming hot Earl Grey tea, to boot.

  3. Snarki, child of Loki says

    It’s N-14 in the atmosphere that cosmic rays convert to C-14. Other than that, spot on.

  4. slatham says

    Do they say they find in tact cells in dinosaur bone frequently? Can DNA be extracted and studied? If clustering with birds, maybe we owe YECs some sort of apology (the material really is from dinos), and if not they have to accept contamination. Is my understanding correct? [I’m sure YECs would come up with a different reasoning to justify the results, but I’m actually interested in the science part — what would DNA tell us?]

  5. says

    Surprisingly, the study includes diamonds from several different locations!

    The Creationist exclamation mark is always a klaxon warning for nearby logical fallacy. This sentence does not deviate from that pattern, and is host to several wince-worthy examples.

    I’m always amazed at the motivated reasoning of Creationists, and their blinkered approach overall to the disciplines of geology and geophysics. They thimblerig shamelessly to bend isotope dating to their narrative, but what of the time spans necessarily indicated by rates or erosion and sedimentation? What of ice sheet formation? Continental drift? The evolutionary clocks embedded in DNA changes, from the macroscopically imperceptible sequence changes through to the obvious phenotypic progression of speciation? Yeah, yeah, that last is always frought with the argument of the missing links which, like the cloven brooms of the sorcerer’s apprentice, spawns the ‘need’ for two new ones every time a fossil link is discovered…

    Always that dancing to the next fallacy.

    It’s enough to drive one to wonder about the correlations between credulity, religosity, political conservatism, and scientific objectivity (or otherwise)…

  6. says

    It would be interesting to see if this can be replicated. If actual organic tissue can indeed be found with this level of preservation in dinosaur bones, should it not be the norm? Why not test more fossils?

    Also, couldn’t genetic material be extracted and sequenced to see if it matches any known living organisms?

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 1:

    creation scientists [contradiction found] have carbon-dated fossils, diamonds, and coal that are all supposed to be millions of years old. Nevertheless, [because they fucked up] they all have detectable amounts of carbon-14 in them

    full stop

  8. blf says

    [Russell’s teapot is] steaming hot Earl Grey tea

    One of them might. Others contain Jasmin, or Goût Russe, or Lapsang Souchong, or are empty, with still others not yet known. The annoying problem is whilst there are plenty of orbiting teapots, there are very few cups. However, there are numerous flying saucers.

  9. emergence says

    I’m wondering if it’s possible that the structures are dead protozoans. The cells lack the enlarged nuclei usually seen in osteocytes, and several taxa of eukaryotic microorganisms possess filopodia. Organisms like this are also known to live in soil.

    Really though, you can’t point to one piece of evidence that supposedly points to a young earth and ignore everything else that points to an old earth. You still have to deal with ice core records of seasonal cycles, the amount of time it would take for light from stars millions of light-years away to reach Earth, the fact that cramming all of the volcanic eruptions in Earth’s history into 6000 years would vaporize the Earth’s crust, and that if radiometric dating didn’t work it would violate our understanding of nuclear physics. Any alleged scrap of evidence against the Earth being old is inconsequential when you consider that the Earth being only 6000 years old would violate the laws of physics.

  10. says

    You also have to address the fact that Wiles proudly points to a 40,000 year radiometric age while firmly believing the Earth is only 6000 years old.

  11. bachfiend says

    One slight quibble. C14 dating doesn’t consider the C14/C12 ratio in the atmosphere as being the baseline for calculating how old biological remains are.

    Firstly, the atmospheric C14/C12 ratio can and has varied over time, particularly since the start of the Industrial age with the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels diluting C14 in the atmosphere. The atmospheric C14/C12 ratio today will be different to when the biological entity died and stopped taking up C14 from the atmosphere.

    And secondly, plants don’t treat the different isotopes of carbon in the same way. It’s easier for plants to incorporate the lighter isotope of carbon into sugars as a result of photosynthesis compared to the heavier isotopes including C13 and C14.

    The baseline for C14 dating is the level of C14 in a biological remnant of known age, such as wood known to be from 1850. The C14 in the dead wood would be a reflection of the uptake of C14 from the atmosphere, largely undiluted by the recent massive burning of fossil fuels, and the relative ease of the uptake of C14 compared to C12.

    And then the age of older remains are extrapolated backwards.

  12. ashley says

    Wile fires back again:
    http://blog.drwile.com/pz-myers-needs-better-reading-skills-than-that/#more-15987

    I note that he builds part of his argument on a paper produced by other young earth creationists – “Third, as I mention in my post, there are a lot of other dinosaur bones that have been dated via the carbon-14 system, and they give dates that are even younger. In fact, twenty dinosaur samples gave carbon-14 dates that are all under 40,000 years old. One hadrosaur fossil dates as “young” as 22,380 ± 800 years. These dates are clearly not the result of using the carbon-14 system too near its practical limit.”

    Should the YECs be right that some dinosaurs were around less than 50,000 years ago (or less than 6,000 years ago) that neither disproves evolution nor disproves geological deep time.

  13. ctech says

    Clearly, you could make some good points against the research but you don’t. Your post and the comments as a whole are riddled with flimsy and hypocritical arguments. It seems your “bread and butter” topic is that carbon dating is problematic. However, radiometric dating of all types have been a big topic for YECs and, in my opinion, they have done a good job describing the inconsistencies and problems much as you do in this article for carbon dating. YECs have much more to gain by relegating radiometric dating than do secular scientist so I question your approach to begin making a slippery slope complaint. I assume you will come back and waffle back and forth between when carbon dates can be considered reliable which makes your position much less credible as you give the impression that you use only the dates you want only when they reflect what you want. Very devious and a very “cake and eat it to” approach by the secular side but probably not all that uncommon in scientific circles even though I have to continually hear about the almighty science and quest for truth from the secular side. Simply, the truth is whatever you want it to be irrespective of science, sound familiar?

    I think you should have focused more on the cellular aspects of the tissue as this is common ground between you and the YECs because neither quite know what to think of the findings and you could have spent more time discussing why the tissue is not from a dinosaur. There is an obvious atmosphere of skepticism from both sides. However, the YECs seem to be the only ones looking at the results with an open mind and wonderment with the realization that any new discovery to come out about the tissue could possibly make their explanation wrong. To so adamantly fight against the findings you make me wonder what the real implications of the discovery are that you have such a seemingly fearful need for the results to be false. Yet, you really don’t strike any doubt except for to say carbon 14 can be unreliable which is a creationist argument, say that creationist scientist are sloppy and lack understanding which is an ad hominem attack, and that tissue does not behave that way in your lab which is just about the laziest, weakest, and most pitiful argument that could be made.

    You could say that Mr. Armitage fabricated his findings which neither side is a stranger to such as the piltdown man but currently from my understanding of status of his finding is that a claim of that magnitude at this time would be completely unfounded which is a method that does not necessarily align with the ideals of the model secular scientist. In lieu of that, we simply can’t disregard the findings which appears to be what you are willing to do or especially some other commenters who seem to have figured out and unquestionably, fully explained the tissue(which is quite amazing). I think in your haste to disregard and disprove the research you erroneously and unknowingly used the very argument that YECs use. The only difference being that when you carbon date something then it is fact and when a creationist science carbon dates something then suddenly there are all of these variables unaccounted for and contamination. So, if I am to take your information you wrote here, and I believe you being a scientist who fully understands half-life, then I can’t really be sure when to accept carbon dating. Unless, of course, you give your approval. I applaud you sir for giving strength to the argument that there are plenty of “ages” obtained from radiometric dating that are, well as you describe, “meaningless”. Also, you imply it is due to creationist scientists being inferior and lacking the understanding how things work. Again, discussing this in your article in order to take a shot at someone’s intelligence wasted time that could have been spent building your argument on a topic you could win. Logically, I surmise that creationist claims should not be as difficult as they appear for the secular scientists to refute if in fact they are as inferior as you and your site imply. Do not say that it is not difficult because this article is a perfect example of how you squander the attention of someone who took time to read your words only for what you say to come across as weak and fearful and with no real substance. If the science speaks for itself then let it do so. Don’t waste your time and my time with nothing. If you can’t explain the research, which neither side really can, then point out things that are found in the tissue that could lend it to be something else and not dinosaur tissue. The things you point out need to be founded and corroborated with other cellular findings and not simply that the research is false because you struggle in your own lab to preserve specimens. Instead, you don’t point out a single “sloppy” method from the Armitage papers. Your article would have been much better if it was just one line long and I quote “My answer to that is…I don’t know.” Let the creationists tout whatever they want to tout but the results, even admitted by the creationists, are odd. I find your tactics very simplistic and unbecoming of someone who is supposed to be on the only side that can be right and the only side that possesses the ability for abstract thought. My apologies if my expectations for the content on this site were set too high.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Clearly, you could make some good points against the research but you don’t. Your post and the comments as a whole are riddled with flimsy and hypocritical arguments. It seems your “bread and butter” topic is that carbon dating is problematic.

    Nope, not problematic to those who understand the limitations of the methodology.

    I think you should have focused more on the cellular aspects of the tissue as this is common ground between you and the YECs because neither quite know what to think of the findings and you could have spent more time discussing why the tissue is not from a dinosaur. T

    Considering that both the carbon and stratographic radiometric confirm the old age of the fossils, creobots have recourse, except to prove with solid and conclusive EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE, that radiometric determination is faulty to the range of several orders of magnitude, without their presuppositions.

    Simply, the truth is whatever you want it to be irrespective of science, sound familiar?

    Either cite the peer reviewed scientific (NOT ANY WEBSITE SAYING THE Babble is INERRANT) showing your assertion is right. Or, dismissed as irrelevant.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and by the way,

    (1) ^{13}C(n,h\nu)^{14}C
    (2) ^{14}N(n,^{1}H)^{14}C
    (3) ^{15}N(n,^{2}H)^{14}C
    (4) ^{16}O(n,^{3}He)^{14}C
    (5) ^{17}O(n,^{4}He)^{14}C
    (6) Various nucleotide fission.
    How C-14 can form. #1 is most important for old fossils, as #2 is used for radiometric dating. Show me how your imaginary does the same thing….After your evidence, without any refutation, its existence!!!

  16. ctech says

    Perhaps english is not the primary language of this site. My apologies if my meanings were too subtle.

  17. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Perhaps english is not the primary language of this site. My apologies if my meanings were too subtle.

    We understand English. You either say “this is what I believe, and this (link to citatation) is the evidence to back my claim, or you should not bother to post..
    Your decision, depending on how honest and how much integrity you have.

  18. ctech says

    I only mention the language issue because I make no assertion of belief that you are asking for.

    For those that need the cliff notes of my original comment:

    1. carbon dating- this is presented as unreliable mainly insinuating the people performing the task were just not any good. see#2. That is a weak argument because I don’t know any of these people but the author assumes I should just take his good word for it.
    2. ad hominem attacks – there are instances where the author directs attacks at the original researchers and its supporters in which case i simply say that is time that could have been better spent discussing the topic at hand. That topic being histology. The author obviously feels that the tissue is something else but does not really go into any detail but did take time out of his day to basically belittle someone. He could have atleast provided what he thought was sloppy in the original paper.
    3. Argument that the author struggles in his own lab with tissue preservation. I am not going to go any further into why that is a pitiful argument if it is not already apparent.

    Again, I apologize if you thought I was making an unfounded claim that needed citation. I just don’t know what you are talking about.

  19. Michael Cover says

    The author assumes that Dr. Wile believes that the earth is only 6,000 years old. He has stated numerous times on his blog that he does not have that viewpoint. Wile, however, does believe that the earth is young. Young does not automatically mean only 6,000yr. Just not as old as the current 4.5 billion year old earth

  20. ctech says

    Perhaps. I don’t know what this author thinks, knows, or assumes. The topic is not specifically age of earth but about tissue findings on a triceratops. Read my initial comment and discussing the beliefs of dr wiles on the age of the earth would be quite off topic for this authors rebuttal in this post. However, big red nerd started replying to me like i had slapped his momma. So, you think he was asking me to provide links to back up MY nonexistent claim that the earth is 6000 years old? You can see why i just assumed he likely spoke a different language. He had a few choppy sentences and I really wasn’t sure what he was getting at. It is okay not to have english as your first language. I was simply pointing out the underdeveloped and immature arguments made by the author. I don’t have to take sides in order to state those facts.

  21. KG says

    The topic is not specifically age of earth but about tissue findings on a triceratops. – ctech@23

    Indeed. So why did you ignore the clear point that even if this bone was only a few thousand years old, or for that matter a few years old, its state, as reported:

    “Soft, moist, muddy material can be seen surrounding pores of bone vessels on inner horn surfaces” and “rootlets penetrating lower, interior surface” of samples where he claims to spot intact Triceratops cells.

    make it completely implausible that any intact osteocytes found actually belonged to the bone – whether they got there by carelessness or by fraud.

    You could say that Mr. Armitage fabricated his findings which neither side is a stranger to such as the piltdown man – ctech@16

    It’s very telling that you have to go back more than a century for your example, and even more telling that it’s the one cdesign proponentsists always go for.

  22. ctech says

    First, I mention piltdown man simply because fabricating extaordinary findings is not below many researchers. I do not mention to call out or belittle atheistic individually. In fact, it was much of his own community that helped to expose the hoax. You, misinterpreting by reasoning for making mention of that, you indicate two things. One, that you are quite defensive about piltdown man. Two, that readers of the blog again failed to read my comments as a whole and simply want to dissect liners and start an argument. I felt like it would not be a stretch that the author of this blog would attempt to make such a claim of Armitage’s findings and while it is not out of the realm of possibilities for Armitage to do I simply said that currently there is no evidence or reason to think Armitage fabricated the work.

    Indeed we are dealing with the implausible and you state that they got there by carelessness or fraud. I am simply pointing out the weaknesses of those arguments. I discuss fraud with the piltdown man example above and I indicate there is not a reason to assume fraud unless, of course, the author wants to disclose evidence that points to that. Aside from fraud, the author implicates carelessness but again that is weak because as I said previous that the author just wants me to take his good word that the other researchers are substandard without providing me any evidence from the work that he deems sloppy.

    Furthermore, I did not ignore any of his points but arguing over age is pointless because freethoughtblog is not even going to recognize the date anyway. I agree that the date is irrelevant in some regards. I am more concerned about the tissue sample being what it is said to be but the author does not have anything significant to report on that except that tissue does not do that in his lab or in a pasture, generally speaking.

  23. KG says

    ctech@25

    First, I mention piltdown man simply because fabricating extaordinary findings is not below many researchers. I do not mention to call out or belittle atheistic individually.

    Then it was pretty stupid to use an example that is more than a century old. And what has atheism to do with the matter? Are you really ignorant enough to equate acceptance of the overwhelming evidence for an earth billions of years old, and the evolution of modern species including humans from earlier ones, with atheism?

    One, that you are quite defensive about piltdown man.

    I am not in the least defensive about it. I simply find it telling that you couldn’t come up with a more recent example, and that you trotted out the cdesign proponensists’ perennial favourite.

    I simply said that currently there is no evidence or reason to think Armitage fabricated the work.

    Indeed we are dealing with the implausible and you state that they got there by carelessness or fraud. I am simply pointing out the weaknesses of those arguments.

    It is almost certain the osteocytes got there either by fraud or by carelessness, because the state of the specimen makes it completely implausible that intact osteocytes could have belonged to it. nothing you have said in any way undermines that point, and yes, you did ignore it.

    In addition, your discussion of radiometric dating was ludicrous:

    So, if I am to take your information you wrote here, and I believe you being a scientist who fully understands half-life, then I can’t really be sure when to accept carbon dating. Unless, of course, you give your approval. I applaud you sir for giving strength to the argument that there are plenty of “ages” obtained from radiometric dating that are, well as you describe, “meaningless”.

    It was clearly explained exactly what limitations carbon dating has, and why. This is a scientific consensus, so it is dishonest to pretend, as your last sentence does, that PZ is making some sort of concession to the lies cdesign proponentsists tell about dating techniques.

    You’re not fooling anyone with your pretence of being an impartial observer, ctech. All of us here can recognise the stench of cdesign proponentsist dishonesty.

  24. ctech says

    No, you guys are weak and keep trying to put words in my mouth and twist what I am saying. It was my fault to assume some linkage between your eagerness to attack my mentioning of piltdown man to that of an atheistic group. Your thinking that I equate old age earth and evolution to atheism is just your own piltdown man. I never said such. Please stay with me. It just seemed to me that there was a nerve struck and I wondered what it could be because as I thought I again made clear that piltdown man mentioning was to simply point out that fabricated science can happen on either side. However, you make more assertions that the osteocytes are most certainly from fraud or carelessness but yet provide nothing to support those claims. You definitely are not touting any investigative evidence of fraud and tampering, yet that remains on the table as a possibility to be discussed on an open forum. Either investigate the research and build a case of fraud or stfu until such time you can claim fraud. Next, would be to discuss the carelessness. All I simply did was ask for a discussion on the materials and methods of the paper and for the author to point out the sloppiness. Otherwise, it is a weak argument to just say the research was sloppy.
    Additionally, I did not ignore the fact the author was saying about the conditions of the specimen. Both sides agree that it is unlikely. Just saying that it is unlikely because “look at the conditions” is not enough. Yes, I get it the conditions are bad, the tissue is unlikely. The fact is, sir, that the osteocytes were found. So, I am simply saying to you and the author of this blog to focus on either discussing in detail that they are not osteocytes or even not from triceratops. The other side is under the belief it is tissue from a triceratops but instead of focusing the debate your crappy blog decided to try to diminish the validity of carbon dating (which as I point out is a YEC trick), then belittle the scientist involved, and then state that because the author has trouble preserving specimens then tissue can never be preserved if it does not happen in his lab. I pointed out those were weak because:
    1. carbon dating is invalid, meaningless, and prone to contamination which is a ripoff of YEC argument
    2. saying my opponent is careless or sloppy is an ad hominem attack and wasted my time listening to it. However, I was willing to listen to discussions on why, provided the author could point out a specific sloppy method used in the Armitage paper.
    3. he can’t do it so it must be impossible

    Lastly, the same thing PZ says about carbon dating can be found on any YEC website. Therefore, using it here for his own purposes is a concession. How is that no other time any one has a problem with radiometric dating, except for YECs, but when there is a date that you guys don’t like then you start sounding like a YEC website?

  25. Owlmirror says

    If someone is so confused and has such poor reading skills that they think that an explanation of the limits of carbon-14 dating — that is, how anything older than about 10 half-lives of carbon-14 will be detected as being about 10 half-lives of carbon-14 old because 10 half-lives of carbon-14 is the limit of detectability of that isotope — is the same as a creationist dismissal of carbon-14 dating, then trying to explain to them that they are confused will be read poorly and ignored.

    The same goes for trying to explain how an accusation of sloppiness is not an ad hominem, but a conclusion based on the creationist’s own description of their own work.

    If you cannot read for comprehension the first time, and read so poorly for comprehension afterwards, how can anything be clarified?

    I’ll leave this link here anyway, inasmuch as it’s a good resource, but I have grave doubts as to its usefulness in this situation.

    Radiometric Dating : A Christian Perspective

  26. ctech says

    Nonsense ramblings. The irony is that i am the one who has had to continually repeat myself from redhead loser thinking I was making a claim to the other two numnuts needing to be explained my usage of piltdown man. If you continue to defend a failure of a rebuttal then you continue to make yourself look foolish. This article is weak and if you guys could get PZs dick out your mouth then you would see that. However, you did the same thing with that link. I assume there are things in that link that you disagree with but i will never know because you did not give specifics and the writeup is too long and just skimming over it there appears to many factual snippets but obviously the author incorrectly says something but I am not going to dissect the paper looking for it. You brought it up then you should point out a few. Thats all i am saying about this blog. It is not a challenge it is just common courtesy to provide a more solid argument.

  27. Owlmirror says

    I see that it’s time for more Troll-to-English translation….

    Nonsense ramblings.

    Translation: I have never had any interest in arguing in good faith, and will therefore ramble nonsensically while committing psychological projection!

    The irony is that i am the one who has had to continually repeat myself from redhead loser thinking I was making a claim to the other two numnuts needing to be explained my usage of piltdown man.

    Translation: I cannot construct a cogent sentence, so I will ramble nonsensically about Piltdown Man!

    If you continue to defend a failure of a rebuttal then you continue to make yourself look foolish.

    Translation: I will gladly continue to defend a failure of a rebuttal, because I like looking foolish.

    This article is weak

    Translation: I am incapable of reading articles for comprehension, so I pretend that they are weak!

    and if you guys could get PZs dick out your mouth

    Translation: I am a homophobic bigot as well as being deeply confused about science!

    However, you did the same thing with that link. I assume there are things in that link that you disagree with but i will never know because you did not give specifics and the writeup is too long and just skimming over it there appears to many factual snippets but obviously the author incorrectly says something but I am not going to dissect the paper looking for it.

    Translation: I can’t read for comprehension, so I will ramble nonsensically about something I couldn’t read!

    Thats all i am saying about this blog. It is not a challenge

    Translation: Trolling is not a challenge!

    it is just common courtesy to provide a more solid argument.

    Translation: I have neither courtesy nor solid argument, but that won’t stop me from rambling nonsensically!

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Wile, however, does believe that the earth is young. Young does not automatically mean only 6,000yr. Just not as old as the current 4.5 billion year old earth

    And it is up to Wile to evidence his claims from the peer reviewed scientific literature, by publishing in the peer reviewed scientific literature. Blogs are opinion, unless rigorously backed with evidence. You could have shown some of his evidence so we could evaluate it.

    That is a weak argument because I don’t know any of these people but the author assumes I should just take his good word for it.

    The author and anybody who understands the real science and limitations behind carbon dating. I don’t take your unevidenced word that the carbon dating is week. I do see YOUR problem with your presupposition of your imaginary deity. It always seems to weaken the ability to understand why your deity isn’t, and won’t be, ever needed by science.

    First, I mention piltdown man simply because fabricating extaordinary findings is not below many researchers.

    Citation needed. Otherwise, it is a deliberate fabrication that was exposed by science, and isn’t used except to show that over zealous folks, be they scientists or creationists, will invent stuff that makes no sense for fame and fortune.

    he can’t do it so it must be impossible

    WRONG, your mind will not allow you to listen to real to science that has been explained to you from real scientists. You prefer your message filtered through your imaginary deity, and won’t accept anything that isn’t. You are the one with the comprehension problem, not the scientists who don’t understand your gibberish.

  29. ctech says

    I don’t know you. You could be female. So, me telling you to get someone’s dick out your mouth need not be homophobic. It was simply a rude, metaphorical phrase. I have had to continually explain myself to you two numb nuts and because I critiqued the article then suddenly I have the stench of a creationist. Now, I can only assume you ran out of lotion and have been raw-doggin’ it and the blisters have put you in a bad mood. However, you wouldn’t have that problem if you could find someone else to touch your wiener who is not tied up in your mom’s basement.

    The good news is that it only took you about a day to finally understand my usage of piltdown man which was show that “over zealous folks, be they scientists or creationists, will invent stuff that makes no sense for fame and fortune”. That was my exact usage. Yet, you guys want to try to act like other people lack comprehension skills.

    I also don’t know how many times I have to tell that I don’t know Wiles and I sure as hell don’t carry the responsibility for defending his work or providing evidence to backup his claims. I have made no such claims.

    Also, I like how Owlmirror broke down each piece of my comment and translated it so everyone can see the exact areas where he struggles to understand the simplest of sentences. The translations make no sense because they do not stay consistent and from whose perspective he is speaking from. For example, the translation about the challenge he simply says trolling is not a challenge. This is not even close to what I was talking about. I was asking that the author give some examples not as an open-ended challenge but only for what I felt would make his arguments more solid.

    I’ll check back after 3pm because that is when I’m sure you guys get off the short bus at home. Tighten your helmet and look both ways before crossing the street.

  30. KG says

    ctech@32

    I don’t know you. You could be female. So, me telling you to get someone’s dick out your mouth need not be homophobic.

    Since you don’t know, it’s both homophobic and misogynistic. Hardly surprising, since those two forms of bigotry are generally found together.

    I’ll check back after 3pm because that is when I’m sure you guys get off the short bus at home.

    …and often alongside ablist bigotry as well. You really are a thoroughly nasty piece of work, ctech.

    The good news is that it only took you about a day to finally understand my usage of piltdown man which was show that “over zealous folks, be they scientists or creationists, will invent stuff that makes no sense for fame and fortune”. That was my exact usage.

    And it’s extremely telling that you had to go back more than a century for your example, as I have already pointed out and as you have ignored. Scientific fraud does occur, and if you had any knowledge of science – or were not a lying cdesign proponentsist – you would have found more recent ones. Paleontological frauds and ways to detect them, indeed. are discussed in the scientific literature, and far from scientists studying evolution being “defensive” about Piltdown Man, it has been frequently discussed in the scientific literature ever since the fraud was exposed. Try using google scholar to search for “PIltdown Man” if you doubt this. On the other hand, the entireity of “creation science” is a fraud, based on misrepresentation both of itself and of genuine science and scientists. In this context, it is a reasonable assumption that a reported completely anomalous finding, such as this thread discusses, is indeed due to either fraud or carelessness.

  31. ctech says

    Ok, you have a serious medical condition. Why are you so stuck on the Piltdown man discussion? The purpose was not to create a topic of discussing all the fraudulent scientific findings, but yet you just keep on and on. The example, as any example would work, was to prelude that fraud does happen in which your little cohort finally said it exactly and I re-used his exact words. That is the end of it. I don’t need to google piltdown man or read any more about it because that was not the goal of my usage. Clearly, you would have like to see a more recent example. I get it. I also understand that if you think this article is well written then you would have probably googled and found a more recent fraudulent claim and used it.

    Also, if you read I didn’t exclude the possibility of fraud, but I would take a misogynist homophobe over someone like you with wavering values and inconsistent belief system. In this instance, a reasonable assumption is okay when it is backed by exactly zero evidence. So, you guys just get to pick and choose whatever when it suits you. This is much like the author of this blog in that he writes as if he is the end-all be-all authority on all things because he is likely an egomaniacal peckerhead much like his defenders of his crappy blog.

    You and the others could not handle my critique of his subpar work and immediately went into the bashing on stuff that I didn’t even bring up. It is all there black and white. You should have checked your attitude at the door instead of swarming around like a bunch of dickless vultures because you thought that someone who disagreed with this blog must be an ignorant YEC who can’t read for comprehension. You know it is true and so it makes it a harder pill for you to swallow even though you are pretty good at swallowing.

  32. KG says

    Ok, you have a serious medical condition.

    Since I’ve said nothing of the kind, you are just confirming what a squalid little turd you are.

    Why are you so stuck on the Piltdown man discussion?

    Because it’s indicative of who and what you are. It’s the go-to example for cdesign proponentsists, because they think that somehow, it discredits evolutionary science and scientists. It’s obvious enough from your absurdly ignorant and/or dishonest remarks about carbon dating that you share their attitude to the latter.

    The example, as any example would work, was to prelude that fraud does happen in which your little cohort finally said it exactly and I re-used his exact words.

    This is gibberish. What were you trying to say? “Prelude” is a noun, not a verb, and a “cohort” is either a Roman military formation, or a group of people of the same age, or going through the same institution at the same time. The perpetrator of the Piltdown fraud (almost certainly the amateur archeologist Charles Dawson) was neither a Roman soldier, nor a member of the same cohort as anyone now living.

    In this instance, a reasonable assumption is okay when it is backed by exactly zero evidence.

    If someone told me they had been abducted by aliens, and insisted they were serious, I would reasonably assume that they were either deluded or lying – without any need for further evidence. Here is Armitage’s own description of the bone:

    Within the Triceratops horn, however, which was highly vascular, no sequestration was likely because all of the vessels were openly exposed to air, soil, water, scavengers, dissolved salts and minerals, and the freeze-thaw cycle and heat of Montana seasonal weather; yet a high degree of preservation persists. While plant roots, fungal hyphae, and insect remains were all found traversing the horn, soft fibrillar sheets of bone and well-preserved osteocytes remain.

    You are, presumably, so ignorant that you don’t realize that this makes it obvious, without further evidence, that intact Triceratops osteocytes within such a context are about as likely as an alien abduction scenario. That degree of ignorance is characteristic of cdesign proponentsists.

    because you thought that someone who disagreed with this blog must be an ignorant YEC who can’t read for comprehension

    As indeed, you have repeatedly confirmed by your ignorant and bigoted spewings.

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    More pointless gibberish, and no links to real science from ctech. Why is ctech still trolling? Only they can answer that question.

  34. says

    carbon dating- this is presented as unreliable

    False. You are lying.

    Carbon dating is very reliable, within the bounds of the appropriate range.

    In the lab I have a scale that is accurate to a tenth of a milligram, and has a range of about 100 grams. If I put a 10 kg rock on the pan (which would be a bad thing to do), it will tell me that it weighs…about 100 grams. This does not imply that the scale is unreliable. It says that I’m misusing it.

    Any idiot should be able to understand this. It is telling that you do not.

    By the way, repeat any more of this kind of garbage — if you guys could get PZs dick out your mouth, you guys get off the short bus at home — and you will be banned. You ignorance is appalling enough, but I tend not to ban people for saying stupid things…but open bigotry will get you evicted.

  35. ctech says

    PZ, first off the only bigots are your folks here that have took a strong defensive position against an honest critique of your information. Perhaps I misunderstood some things but instead of taking the time to discuss and bring me up to speed any help from the blog went to immediately first labeling me as a cdesign proponent and then calling me stupid. Bigot would be the intolerance of those that hold different opinions. My opinion appears to be the first comment on here that is different and you see what ensued. So, I question your use of calling someone a bigot. I believe you are just misusing it.

    Of course, you do the same as your other readers and immediately go straight to name calling when someone presents a critique of your work. It is not my fault that you did not do a good job arguing strong points or providing information to make your weak points stronger.

    1. carbon dating – I understand your explanation of contamination and isotope ratios and while any idiot should be able to understand this and my ignorance is appalling surely you see how it is a little confusing. You are just not convincing that what you claim is what is going on. Overall, it comes off as just saying carbon dating is unreliable. You say the carbon date is out of range and therefore unreliable. How am I lying when that is what you are saying? You quote Wiles as saying “41,010 ± 220 years. As I state in that link, this is well within the accepted range of carbon-14 dating, and it is younger than many other carbon-14 dates published in the literature”. Is this accurate? It seems Wiles is saying that it is more like putting a 10Kg rock on your 100 gram scale and it weigh 90 grams? According to you it should max the scale out. If it does not then under what authority do we know when a date is unreliable or being misused? Seemingly when PZ says so. You state 50,000 years. Other sites offer up 60k. 41,010 years is about 50,000 but based on your explanation it should be 50,000. Does every date that just comes within the subjective “about” 50,000 become unreliable for carbon dating? How does that work?
    2. The next thing you do is criticize the other researchers. This may be fine but it is very “telling” that you only hold a very weak position to do any real rebuttal. If there is sloppy work on the researchers and this is the claim you are making then point it out. I am simply asking for what I believe would make your point stronger and I would like to hear it because I have no frame of reference for either side. Certainly, I have no reference to the skill of either scientist. This is why that is weak.
    3. Clearly, citing your own inability to do something does not prove that it is impossible or even unlikely. Maybe I believe you to be a very competent scientist and so stating that you have difficulty preserving specimens can give me a reference to the degree of difficulty. Otherwise, it is just a weak argument, and what does that really have to do with what was found? I thought the direction you were taking your argument was wrong and off base. I think coming right out and saying it was fabricated was even difficult for someone like you especially as I pointed out that to my knowledge there is not the first shred of evidence to back such a claim other than trying to say that the specimen is unlikely which perhaps to your uninitiated readers is sound reasoning but others can notice that insinuating a work to be fake and deceitful by merely citing the degree of difficulty is very unbecoming of a scientist. I mentioned the piltdown man to give an example that fabricated works do exist and another one of your viewers has yet to understand this usage. It is possible and it would be okay to do an investigation under that pretense but not to openly discuss as an arguing point on your blog with nothing to backup that claim other than “it would be difficult”. Yes, the finding is crazy, but it is a stretch to call it fraudulent at this time. Hence, it is a weak argument.

    Lastly, as I point out my comments are not bigotry. Taking a penis out of your mouth is a sexual metaphor for stop blindly loving someone so much. It has nothing to do with being intolerable of other ideas or homosexuality, or being a misogynist. Relating it as such is very telling of what you guys think which is mainly that you don’t know what a bigot is. Telling someone that they ride the shortbus is not bigotry either. It was just my way of calling them retarded which is not nice to all the actual retarded people. However, it appears you can call someone an idiot and it not be bigotry such is your case. This is unsurprising as it goes along with the theme of your writings which paint you as an authoritative source of when carbon dating is misused or under which conditions a specimen can be preserved. Obviously, you are also the authoritative source for when it is acceptable to call people names or when it is bigotry.

    In this instance, if you ban me you would basically make yourself the biggest bigot. You could lie to yourself and ban me for some other breach of terms like some courtesy clause or acceptable use but I would have a hard time believing that is justly doled out based on the behavior of others accessing the site who are not banned themselves. Thereby, solidifying the fact that you use banning only to be intolerable of ideas you disagree with and that would make you a what?

    You guys live in a bubble where you continually degrade others and everything is hunky-dory but when someone pops back and you get your little feelings hurt then you start calling that person a bigot or try to classify that person with a “hate” group. I just find the irony hilarious that you guys act like everyone is being so mean and rude to you.

  36. bigotpz says

    PZ.
    Just another zoologist with zero contribution to science. Zoology, the major that most students swap to right before they apply to liberal arts college.

  37. KG says

    Bigot would be the intolerance of those that hold different opinions. – ctech@38

    No, it would not. Bigotry is hating, despising or mistreating people for features for which they are not responsible. People are responsible for their opinions. You are not just a bigot, but an ignorant bigot – and the ignorance is something you could put right any time you choose.

    bigotpz@40
    Seriously? That’s the best you can come up with in the way of an insult?

  38. Owlmirror says

    @KG: It’s a reasonable inference that bigotpz is a morph of ctech — someone obviously too stupid and/or intoxicated to find his own arse with two mirrors and a copy of Gray’s Anatomy — and therefore, that is indeed the best he can come up with.

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