Following in three parts is Woodmorappe's response.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 22:51:45 -0600
From: John Woodmorappe <ujwoody@UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU>
JOHN WOODMORAPPE KATA GEOCHRONOLOGY: a Reply to Steven Schimmrich and his
The criticism of my work was originally at
The following response, initially presented in three parts, is not as
detailed as I would like to make it. This stems from the fact that I am
currently enmeshed in research and also because I want to get this on
Schimmrich's net before it closes down.
Before responding to Schimmrich's latest attack against my work,
I would like to clarify some general matters that have commonly been
verbalized in connection with this discussion.
Let us first consider those who bemoan the division that exists among
Christians. The sad fact is that there should be no division at all. ALL
Christians (and non-Christian theists, for that matter) should be 110%
supportive of the truths of the young earth,
six-day Creation, and global Flood. And theists with a scientific
background should all be thinking and working scientifically within the
framework of Creation Science and its
God-affirming fulness, not the conventional God-rejecting rationalistic
science (which Schimmrich imagines to be objective and value-free).
It is a pitiful sight to behold my sisters and brothers
in Christ, such as Schimmrich, blindly believe and defend humanistic ideas
and premises with such intensity and abject servility. It reminds me of
of the Christian pacificists of WWII, who were absolutely blind to all of
Hitler's crimes while constantly hurling venom against the Allies for
their "unChristian" attitudes and conduct.
I find it amusing to see members of Schimmrich's group complain about the
intensity of my responses in view of the scurrility of
their own remarks (see below). Then again, perhaps some of these people
are bullies/crybabies combined: they love to punch others but run home to
mama in tears if someone punches them back. And everyone should know
by now that I don't put up with any crap from anti-Creationists.
Typical of anti-Creationists, Schimmrich name-calls those who disagree
(e. g., "anti-intellectual" and "pseudo-scientists"). In doing so, he is
the humanist line on science--plain and simple.
In actuality, the true intellectuals are the
Scientific Creationists, who value science without making an idol out of
it, and recognize and discard the rationalistic presuppositions that
What about the issues? For those who do not want to wade through a lot
of technical detail (below), I will now provide a summary: As in the
discussion around Christmas,
Schimmrich imagines that he can rescue isotopic dating from its fatal
flaws by nickel-and-diming my work to death with various technicalities,
most of which are trivial, irrelevant, or just plain WRONG. And, as shown
Schimmrich once again does a masterful job of obscuring the issues with
geologic sophistry. Or, as Creationist (and former
oil-exploration geologist) Jill Whitlock put it even better, Schimmrich
is a very skillful dancer in getting around the real issues.
For all of Schimmrich's professions of loving scientific accuracy, and of
his constant accusations of me misrepresenting cited authors, he
misrepresents my own work in many places. For instance, and as discussed
below, he accuses me of ignoring such things as local geology, the trend
of glauconite dates in Evernden's work, advances in technology, etc. The
fact of the matter is that ALL of these issues have been discussed in my
work, and why I find them utterly unconvincing as support for the
validity of isotopic dating. Yet Schimmrich deftly ignores all this in
order to create and then bravely destroy a straw-man of my work.
As far as scientific methodology is concerned, it should be obvious that
(in this case, isotopic dating) that
requires constant subsidiary hypotheses to escape its problems is
seriously flawed, and should be rejected. This is all the more true when
one considers the subjective nature of all geologic interpretation. The
more I study geology and do field work, the more obvious to me becomes the
fact of how uniformitarians read interpretations into the rocks more often
than they read information out of the rocks. Schimmrich simply repeats the
geologists' rationalizations as facts, and
imagines that the fatal flaws of isotopic dating go away because of them.
The truth of the matter is that the selective manipulation of
isotopic dating results, given by cited authors, are convincing only the
who already buy into the uniformitarian system of geology and all of the
mental boxes that it entails.
A useful idea for Sshimmrich: Send me to any place on earth and give me a
little time to study its
geology. Then throw some darts at a chart with numbers which depict
the age indicated by the results of isotopic-dating results. I will soon
come up with a geologically-plausible and intellectual-sounding
interpretation of them that would do Schimmrich proud.
One type of ad hominem remark that I have faced is the charge that I
reject isotopic dating on the basis of my belief in the young earth. That
is patently false. In none of my works do I advocate the rejection of
these dating methods on the basis of my convictions. I advocate their
rejection on the basis of their own fatal flaws, and layer upon layer of
special pleading involved in their use by conventional uniformitarian
I must, in all fairness, compliment Schimmrich for his skill as a
clever spinmeister. He would do President Clinton proud. Schimmrich should
have no difficulty getting a good job after May 1997. If the humanists
are smart, they will recognize what a useful tool he is for them, and will
hire him with good compensation. Of course, Schimmrich would be very happy
in such a position, as he would be constantly surrounded by humanists who
think just like him (and vice-versa).
Now let's get to the charges:
(Jim Moore) After reading the paper, I was impressed with the hoops
creationists like Woodmorappe go through to try to overturn geology
(or _any_ science for that matter.)
(Reply) The real hoops are jumped by the uniformitarian geologists, who
have invented an
astonishing and unending array of excuses to cover up the transparent
failures of isotopic dating as a whole. Later, I will expose the hoops
which Schimmrich himself goes through to burlesque my work.
(Jim Moore). They must quote out of context,
use out-dated references as if they were current best knowledge, and
generally lie, yes LIE
(Reply) Same age-old anti-Creationist drivel and, once again, easily
shown to be false (see below).
The most unvarnished
mendacity comes from compromising evangelicals, who tell us they are Bible
believers when they are actually no less steeped in rationalism
than the card-carying atheistic humanists. At least the
humanists are honest about their preconceptions. The grotesque
contortions of Scripture which compromising evangelicals engage in, all to
torture the Bible into agreeing with humanist-derived theories and
worldviews, is so transparently absurd as to go beyond mendacity. Despite
this, the capitulating evangelicals say, without batting an eyelash,
that they believe in the Bible and even in Biblical inerrancy.
If I were to engage in comparable mendacity, I could subject the Bible to
equally ludicrous contortions so that I could later say, in good
conscience, that it teaches exactly the same material as a phone book.
BTW, disagreement with isotopic dating, and with the geologic gymnastics
employed by the cited authors, is NOT lying. To the best of my ability, I
would never lie about such a matter.
(Jim Moore) Hmm, maybe his MS is Master of
(Reply) And to listen to members of Schimmrich's group accuse me of
name-calling. What a farce.
(Jim Moore) "Why do I support this sort of chicanery?"
(Reply) THAT is the question to ask of any objective person who believes
dating and all of its pretensions. Especially evangelicals, who are
supposed to think somewhat differently from atheistic humanists.
(Jim Moore) non-Christian behavior
(Reply) The very AUDACITY of infidels, having rejected and villified the
truths of Christianity, to presume to pass judgement on Christians. And
for compromising evangelicals, who openly play the harlot
after rationalism, to actually possess the UNMITIGATED GALL of accusing
Creationists of "unChristian behavior". Reminds me of Joseph Goebbels
(Nazi minister of propaganda) complaining about the Allies being ruthless
masters of genocide.
(Begin Schimmrich text) The reprints from the Creation Research Society
Quarterly appear unusual in this respect since mainstream scientific
journals routinely print the author's professional affiliation and a
(Reply) If it was not for the anti-Creationist and anti-Christian bigotry
that is so common
in academia, the CRSQ would not need to do what it does, and pen names
of Scientific Creationists would not be necessary. BTW, if it makes
Schimmrich any happier, my latest CRSQ article does contain a contact
(Schimmrich) He evidently does
have a legitimate M.S. degree in geology from a secular university
with which he's still affiliated and has published a couple of papers
in mainstream geologic journals under his real name.
(Reply) So Schimmrich insinuated that I was a liar for claiming these
qualifications, and, evidently much to his surprise, has now found
out for himself that I was not.
By contrast, I could never imagine myself accusing Schimmrich of lying
about his present affiliation with th University of Illinois at
Champaign-Urbana. Much as I disagree with him, I respect his word.
(Schim) so I haven't been able to find any
evidence that he currently teaches science or is a research fellow at
(Reply) So evidently Schimmrich has not learned anything, and still thinks
that I am a liar. Oh well, if it brings him cheer, let him go right ahead.
(Schim) While I would strongly disagree that discrediting radiometric
dating would in any way support the occurrence of a geologically-
recent global flood
(Reply) Schimmrich is putting words in my mouth. I had NEVER claimed that
simply discrediting isotopic dating would IN ITSELF support a young earth,
much less a global Flood. Instead, freeing geology from the myth of the
old earth, and of past geologic ages, would allow the Flood to shine
through as a part of an alternative geology (Diluvialism).
(Schim) Here I agree with the author, radiometric dating techniques are
best understood in their geologic context. Unfortunately, I will
provide evidence that Woodmorappe presents most of his examples
devoid of any meaningful geologic context.
(Reply) My not buying into authors' geologic rationalizations stems from
the fact that I am utterly unimpressed by them, not because I am ignoring
what the authors are saying or trying to misrepresent what they believe!
And Schimmrich is ignoring (or lying) about the fact that I DID discuss
(pp. 114-115) in some detail, and why they do not even provide an
internally-consistent excuse for the countless failings of isotopic
(Schimmrich) Secondly, throughout the paper, Woodmorappe rhetorically
to young-earth creationists as Creationist-Diluvalists and, one
assumes, anyone who disagrees as either evolutionist-uniformitarians
or simply uniformitarians -- terms I believe most geologists would
take issue with given the common misrepresentations by young-earth
creationists of the term "uniformitarianism" first popularized by
James Hutton in his 1788 Theory of the Earth (Shea, 1982).
(Reply) Hogwash. I invite the reader to read any elementary geologic text
that conventional geologists call THEMSELVES uniformitarians. While this
term DOES have a variety of meanings, ALL conceptions of
uniformitarianism, whether the classical Huttonian one or modern ones,
share in their preconception of "the inviolability of natural law." This
is a code word for the rejection of God, on a priori grounds, as a
causative agent in the earth's past. Yet compromising evangelical
geologists are so eager to buy into this transparently atheistic system of
thought which underpins all of modern geology.
(Schimmrich) My third criticism is Woodmorappe's use of rhetoric in
other geologists is highly inflammatory rhetoric not normally seen in
the scientific literature.
(Reply) Again I hear Goebbels complaining about the Allies being masters
of genocide. Again, whatever strong words I have used are kid stuff
compared to the vile, scurrilous, and slanderous terms used by the
humanists and the evangelicals who obsequiously serve them. And while
Schimmrich's wording is clever and not overtly inflammatory, it certainly
is so in the falsehoods it conveys about my work.
(Schimmrich) For example, Woodmorappe claims that age
data is routinely "explained away" (p. 102) or "rationalized away" (p.
113), that some age values are "arbitrarily" accepted or rejected as
true (p. 113), that anomalous dates are not reported in the
scientific literature (p. 114), that some geologists have "fudged" Rb-
Sr isochrons (p. 118 & 120), and that geologists "cover-up the basic
failure of the paradigm" (p. 123) of radiometric dating.
(Reply). I substantiate all of these claims of mine with facts. And the
more arrogant and dogmatic are the
uniformitarians about the virtual-certainty of
the old earth and of the dating methods which "prove" it, the more
forceful I will be in demonstrating the contrary.
(Schimmrich) The general
tone throughout the paper is that geologists who use radiometric
dating are often intentionally dishonest in their handling of the
(Reply). This misreads my work. Let us recognize that geology is highly
interpretive. As for fraud in science, everyone would
agree that reporting experimental data that does not exist is fraud. But
most scientists would view the SELECTIVE reporting of data as a gray-area
of science and not usually dishonest. Personally, I don't consider
selective use of isotopic data to
be dishonest in itself, but I do consider the dogmatic claim of the
reliability of these methods (by humanists and capitulating
evangelicals) to be close enough to dishonest.
(Schimmrich) Finally, a major general criticism of this paper is its sheer
magnitude and its superficial treatment of data.
(Reply) Naturally, an overview cannot be too detailed. Then again,
Schimmrich evidently supposes that presenting a lot of geologic detail,
(and, of course, interpretation based on uniformitarian
preconceptions masquerading as fact)
will somehow make the glaring and fatal flaws of isotopic dating go away.
(Schimmrich) In my opinion, Woodmorappe would have had a much stronger
paper if he simply confined himself to a detailed discussion of what
he believed to be the dozen or so strongest examples discrediting a
specific technique of radiometric dating as it's applied to a
specific rock or geologic environment.
(Reply) There is value in BOTH overall reviews and detailed, individual
studies. While I have done the former, other Creationist geologists
(Austin, Snelling, etc.) have done the latter.