Re: [asa] Denver RATE Conference (Thousands...Not Billions)_Part 2

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Thu Oct 18 2007 - 16:43:54 EDT

The trouble is that you cannot tell that God is confusing us. That is very elegant. It is almost the perfect crime.

Navel-gazing or omphalos is the only solution

Michael
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: mlucid@aol.com
  To: smsmith@usgs.gov
  Cc: asa@calvin.edu
  Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 9:21 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Denver RATE Conference (Thousands...Not Billions)_Part 2

  Seems to me folks are trying to hang a lot on carbon dating. Just continental drift combined with some magnetic alignment data in ocean floor rock puts us way over 6,000 years down the pike. I mean it's not like we're arguing about a few hundred percentile here. We're looking at a temporal factor of nearly a million. I cannot believe that God is immanent in all things in a way that would drastically confuse us so elegantly.

  -Mike

  "Michael Roberts" wrote on 10/18/2007 04:35:38 AM:
> You have not actually said it, but are you saying that B either
> doesn't know what he is talking about or his whole approach is full
> of what Winston Churchill called terminological inexactitudes.

  'Terminological inexactitudes'! I hadn't heard that one before. Churchill was great with words. I'll have to use that comment on some of the articles that I peer review!

  Although it was not his primary field of research, Baumgardner probably knows more about radiocarbon than I do. What I find when I hear him talk or read his articles is that he is an advocate for his point of view (POV). Thus he emphasizes those facts that support his POV and minimizes, disregards, or even ignores those facts that do not. This differs from a good -- or perhaps the ideal -- scientific journal article that dispassionately lays out a fair summary of previous work and evidence, adds details of the new study and findings, and then discusses the conclusions in light of all of the evidence. Since none of us are experts in every sub-topic for each sub-discipline within the specialty for our chosen field of science, we depend on the authors (and subsequent peer-reviewers) to ensure that these articles are inclusive and balanced. The problem that I have with Baumgardner's approach is that when I apply the same techniques to his articles that I use when peer-reviewing science articles submitted for publication, I do not find balance and fair consideration of opposing evidence and views -- I find one-sided advocacy.

  I like the way Kirk responded to Michael's statement (http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200710/0194.html). I don't see willful deception but simply an invincible hold to a preconceived POV. That which supports the POV is accepted; that which does not is irrelevant.

  I include a bit of doggerel that serves as a warning to all of us.

    We are most easily deceived,
       When answers received,
   Meet with notions preconceived,
     Or doctrine long believed.

  Steve
    (Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are my own and are not to be attributed to my employer ... or anyone else.)
    _____________
    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
    Email: smsmith@usgs.gov
    -USGS Nat'l Geochem. Database NURE HSSR Web Site-
     http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1997/ofr-97-0492/

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Received on Thu Oct 18 17:21:44 2007

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