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

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Wed May 23 2007 - 15:15:52 EDT

Thanks for the correction, Steve. Snelling says in Rate Vol. II page 158 that Po radiohalo formation would quickly die out (due to short half-life and insufficient source of Po). Then he adds "On the other hand, the U-238 in the zircons continues to alpha-decay so that the resultant U-238 radiohalos continue to darken right through until the present time." He says the halos couldn't form until the temperature had dropped below 150C.

And another correction to one of my previous comments. Accelerated decay, Snelling claims, is not primarily dependent on nuclear weight but on the decay constant. from page 158: "Austin and Snelling have argued that the discordances between the isochron ages obtained on the same rocks by the different radioisotope systems can only be resolved if the acceleration factor was a function of the decay half-life (and perhaps the atomic weight), such that the longer the half-life of a radioisotope, the more its decay was accelerated." Therefore U-238 is highly accelerated and Po isn't. (no one seemed to ask what would happen to the stable isotopes! By logical extrapolation, isotopes with an infinite half-life would be impacted the most. A lot of stable elements would become unstable if the potential barrier is lowered or the strong force coupling constant changes.)

Finally, Snelling has this paragraph on pages 189-190:
"It would seem to be very disappointing that the fiat Creation hypothesis for the formation of the Po radiohalos and their host granitic rocks has been falsified. However, the timescale considerations for the formation of Po radiohalos still remain..."
That means, as Steve pointed out, that the RATE team disputes Gentry's original work on Po radiohalos but use the U and Po halos instead to demonstrate the need for accelerated decay rates.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Steven M Smith
  To: ; Randy Isaac
  Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:35 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] RATE fraud (Was RATE's Radioactive Thourium Plot)

  Randy Isaac wrote:
> The halos can't start to form until the granite is cool enough so that the
> damage doesn't anneal out. That means the process began toward the
> end of the flood year. Virtually all of the alpha-particle radiation causing
> the halos must have happened after the Flood until now with normal
> radioactive decay rates and energies. Whether 5,000 years is enough
> to cause the amount of damage in a halo is a good question.

  As I understand RATE's polonium (Po) radiohalo argument from reading "Thousands ... not Billions", the majority of the radiohalos form *during* the Flood and not afterwards. This is one of their primary "evidences" of accelerated nuclear decay during the Flood.

  As a review or brief intro to those who are not intimately familiar with the parentless Po radiohalo argument: Polonium-218 (half life of 3.1 minutes) is a radioisotope in the long decay chain from radioactive uranium-238 to stable lead-206. The direct parent of polonium-218 in this chain is radon-222, an inert gas atom with a half life of 3.8 days. The YEC Robert Gentry originally introduced the Po radiohalo argument and defended it in his book, "Creation's Tiny Mystery". He argued that the only way to get a Po-218 halo without additional overlapping halos from the uranium-238, uranium-234, thorium-230, radium-226, & radon-222 decay-chain parent isotopes was for God to have instantaneously created the Earth 6,000 years ago with Po-218 clusters in place. Thus Po-218 halos were a "fingerprint" of God's creative activity. In the final paragraph of his book, Gentry boasted that ...

  "Until that day [of Christ's return], which I believe is imminent, Creation's Tiny Mystery will stand as the Rock of Gibraltar against the tide of evolution."

  Critics of Gentry's work pointed out that ...
  1) All parentless Po-218 halos were found associated with uranium-rich rocks (lots of parent isotopes nearby);
  2) The immediate parent of Po-218 is gaseous radon that can diffuse through rocks or can be easily transported by hot water solutions (hydrothermal fluids); and
  3) Most parentless Po-218 halos were found along fractures or cleavage planes that would have been transport channels.

  RATE has revived the radiohalos argument as evidence for accelerated nuclear decay during the Flood. RATE actually agrees with Gentry's critics and doesn't see Po-218 halos as fingerprints of Creation:

  "How do these "parentless" or "orphan" halos originate? It is almost as if the polonium atoms suddenly appear within the solid rock and then decay. One possible interpretation is that the polonium atoms were instantly placed within granite at the moment of creation, at which time they quickly decayed and formed permanent radiohalos. In this case, the halos would be evidence for an instant supernatural creation of the original rock foundations of the earth. The RATE studies show that this interpretation of polonium radiohalos is not correct; their origin is a bit more complicated." [p. 87 in Thousands ... not Billions]

  But what does RATE propose?
  1) Pockets of molten rock (magma) formed as a result of tremendous forces (tectonic activity) generated during the Flood.
  2) The magma intruded into the sediments laid down by the Flood at different times during that same one-year Flood.
  3) By a "process or processes that we have not yet discovered or understood", the magma cooled within six to ten days to crystalize as granitic plutons.
  4) Hydrothermal fluids streaming through the cooling granitic pluton transported radioactive radon-222 away from original sites and decayed to become clusters of polonium atoms.
  5) The polonium atoms quickly decayed to create parentless Po-218 halos during the Flood in the quickly cooled granites.

  Problems that RATE doesn't address include ...
  1) Cooling a magma in 6-10 days doesn't give us those beautiful granites with the large pink, gray, & black crystals so desired for monuments, kitchen counter tops, and gravestones. Fast cooling only produces rock glass (obsidian) that was so desired for making arrowheads and MesoAmerican stone knives for human sacrifices. In order to get granite by fast cooling, we need to change some more laws of physics and chemistry.
  2) How can you quickly push a magma several kilometers into wet sediments while it is simultaneous cooling and becoming less and less fluid by the minute?
  3) During the one-year long Flood, RATE proposes that we got 500 million years worth of accelerated nuclear decay. Thus the decay rate for radon-222 (normally a half-life of 3.8 days) would be accelerated to a half life of about 0.00001 seconds and polonium-218 (normally 3.1 minutes) would become a half-life of 0.0000004 seconds.
  4) In order to move the radon-222 one centimeter through the rock (to form a parentless Po-218 halo) within one half-life, the hydrothermal fluid would have to be moving at a rate 1,000 meters/second or 2,200 miles/hour or about 3 times the speed of sound. Even if we give it 10 half-lives to move radon-222 one cm then we are still pushing water through rock at a rate of 220 miles per hour.

  So, without calling upon magic, it looks to me as if parentless Po halos actually prove that accelerated nuclear decay is impossible. And since accelerated nuclear decay is the last card in the deck of YEC radioisotopic age dating arguments, then 500 million years worth of radioisotopic decay equal 500 million years of time.

  [Disclaimer: Do not credit or blame my employer for these statements.]
  Steven M. Smith, Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey
  Box 25046, M.S. 973, DFC, Denver, CO 80225
  Office: (303)236-1192, Fax: (303)236-3200
  -USGS Nat'l Geochem. Database NURE HSSR Web Site-

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Received on Wed May 23 17:56:35 2007

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