Re: [asa] RATE fraud (Was RATE's Radioactive Thourium Plot)

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon May 21 2007 - 16:51:20 EDT

There have been many discussions of the effects of possible changes in the various fundamental physical constants, dating back to the cosmological theories of Dirac, Milne & Jordan in the 30s & 40s. This is not unexplored territory, & most of the suggested variations run into some sort of observational problem, as Phil suggests.

  ----- Original Message -----
  To: ;
  Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 2:01 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] RATE fraud (Was RATE's Radioactive Thourium Plot)

  This is like YECers claiming that the speed of light has slowed down. If you point out that nuclear fusion in the sun is controlled by E=M c^2 and a higher c in the past would have burned up the Earth, then they claim that M was smaller in the past and has gone up at the same time that c went down. If you then point out that gravity would have been much less in the past so that the Earth's and Moon's orbits would not have remained circular by v^2 = G M /r, then they say G went down, and so on ad infinitum.

  However, I believe it is possible to show that this game cannot ever be self-consistent. There are so many observables in nature, and so few fundamental parameters, that you can't possibly change the parameters in a way to keep all the observables in starlight constant. I actually worked it out one time to prove one example of an irreconcilable "loop" in their argument, but not to a degree of rigor that I could present to anybody.


  -----Original Message-----
  Sent: Sun, 20 May 2007 6:44 PM
  Subject: [asa] RATE fraud (Was RATE's Radioactive Thourium Plot)

  I was going to make a brief comment on what Steve said below, though my area of physics expertise isn't nuclear. It's true that most of the damage would be done by the radiation (alpha, beta, gamma) emitted in the supposedly accelerated decays. But that radiation would also create some unstable nuclei in surrounding material & thus some lingering induced radioactivity. The ranges of alphas & betas in solid matter are relatively small so a lot would depend on the minerals in which the original radioactive materials would find. But since the initial radiaion would be intense, there might be significant after effects.

  But then I realized that the whole exercise is pointless. If you're going to change the basic physical interactions to produce such accelerated decay then everything is up for grabs. The RATE people can say that the accelerated decay rates were accompanied by some phenomena X which keeps the induced radioactivity from being a problem.

  In other words, we're getting suckered into a endless maze of pseudoscience if we take their claims seriously as science and try to deal with them as we would real scientific theories. That has to be done to a certain extent to show how flimsy their arguments are, but the main thing that has to be done is to point out with absolutely brutal and unsparing honesty is that they're not talking about science at all but magic. I don't think we should even dignify it with the word "miracle."


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Steven M Smith
    To: George Murphy ; Iain Strachan ; Michael Roberts ;
    Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2007 11:22 AM
    Subject: Re: [asa] RATE's Radioactive Thorium Plot (was Ancient Universe)

    We should put this question to some of our physics experts on the list, but as I understand it -- No. Radiation damage to living tissue is primarily caused by the escaping particles and gamma rays generated by the decaying radioisotope nucleus. These effects only travel a 'short' distance before they are attenuated. Think of it like a gun spraying bullets in all directions. The bullets can cause a tremendous amount of damage but once they are stopped, the carnage is over. (I will gladly take correction here from more knowledgeable sources if I am mistaken.) I believe that the lingering radioactive contamination resulting from atomic bombs or nuclear power plant melt downs is due primarily to radioactive dust that can be ingested or inhaled. Once in our bodies, the individual radioisotopes occasionally decay (at today's accepted half-life rates) shooting individual 'bullets' into surrounding tissue.

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Received on Mon May 21 16:52:04 2007

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