THE BASIC PREMISE Polonium halos are small spherical +quot;shells+quot; of radiation damag

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

THE BASIC PREMISE Polonium halos are small spherical "shells" of radiation damage that surround radioactive inclusions within certain minerals in rocks, which Gentry has described in his book "Creation's Tiny Mystery." [1] The halos are formed by alpha particles released during the decay of an isotope. As an alpha particle nears the end of its path and slows, it causes disruption of the crystal structure leaving a small damage track. Over time, repeated decays from the parent isotope will leave a spherical halo of discoloration. The distance that an alpha particle travels depends upon the energy of the decay and that, in turn, is a function of the particular nuclide that decays. Theoretically, then, the radii of a series of halos that surround a radioactive inclusion permit identification of the specific decaying nuclides. Gentry has claimed that certain of these halos indicate that the granite "basement rocks" of the earth are "the primordial Genesis rocks" and were created instantaneously about six thousand years ago. Essentially, Gentry has found that in certain samples of Precambrian biotite (a mica) the inner ring halos for uranium and other nuclides in the decay chain which should be producing Polonium 210, Po214 and Po218 are missing; only the polonium rings for these three isotopes are present. In addition, Gentry observed little or no uranium in the radioactive inclusion. His conclusion is that the polonium must have been primordial and, because of the short half-lves of the polonium isotopes (138.4 days , 0.000164 sec. and 3.04 minutes, respectively), the granite, therefore, must have been created in the solid state in "only a brief period between 'nucleosynthesis' and crystallization of the host rock." [1, p. 270] The fact that Gentry has published in Nature, Science and Medical Opinion and Review leads one to believe that there is a fair amount of support for his work, but Gentry avoids making direct creationist statements in these works -- it seems he is only cautiously trying to link the rocks of the Precambrian to the rocks that existed right after the Earth's formation - or creation. His book, however, leaves no doubt on his position: "Were tiny polonium halos God's fingerprints in Earth's primordial rocks? Could it be that the Precambrian granites were the Genesis rocks of our planet?" [1, p. 32]1 THE GEOLOGY The first curiosity that Wakefield uncovered was that the sites from which Gentry obtained his samples were not in the older Archean era of the Precambrian, as one would expect, but in fact were in the considerably younger (as dated radiometrically and structurally) Proterozoic era; specifically, the Proterozoic Grenville Supergroup of the Grenville Province, here in Ontario. This misunderstanding came about because Gentry is annoyingly vague on exact sites in his book. One mine, the Silver Crater Mine, is mentioned specifically, while the remaining sites are described only as being in Madagascar, New Hampshire and Norway. This tendency towards vagueness also occurs in his Medical Opinion and Review article, in which he refers to "the Wolsendorf (Bavaria) fluorite." [2] After some research, Wakefield tracked down the three sites, all near Bancroft in southern Ontario. Regarding the first site, the Fission Mine, it appeared to Wakefield that this was where Gentry obtained his fluorite samples and some of his biotite. Gentry denied this, saying they had come from Germany, but Louis Moyd of the Mational Museum in Ottawa indicated that samples from the Fission Mine were in fact sent to Gentry. I will break tradition briefly and quote Wakefield exactly, "it is clear we are dealing with intrusive calcite vein dikes (rocks containing mostly the mineral calcite and other minerals, such as mica) that are small in length and width and cut metasedimentary rocks which still retain bedding planes. Radioactive minerals abound in this locality. Percolating water from the hill the deposit occupies is strongly radioactive and was sold in the 1920s for therapeutic purposes." The second site, the Silver Crater mine, is related to the Fission mine and is a calcite intrusive of the same origin. Neither of these mines are in fact granites, a fact Gentry gets wrong. In addition, while Gentry claims that "halos occur in many mica samples which have not undergone metamorphism of any kind," the micas of the Silver Crater were indeed formed during metamorphism under the load of moderate-depthed overburden, whch has since been eroded off. Gentry's primordial biotite was in fact metamorphically derived. The third site, the Faraday mine, I will touch on only briefly. Gentry emphasizes that the oddity of the halos is that there is no uranium or thorium in the nucleus at the center of the polonium halos. Unfortunately for him, the Faraday pegmatite was mined for uranium -- a total of some four million tons of U(3)O(8) ore were mined for a total of 7.3 million pounds of uranium oxide until the mine's closure in 1984. The most common radioactive mineral was uranothorite, hence lots of uranium and thorium. Gentry's case rests heavily on a "God-of-the-gaps" approach to the halos; that is, it requires that there be no acceptable naturalistic explanation for the halos. Once such an explanation is found, Gentry's case crumbles. One paper that proposes such a naturalistic explanation is by N. K. Chaudhuri and R. H. Iyer [3]. I make no pretense about being able to understand the model they present; perhaps those with the necessary background will help out here. Gentry also has problems with accuracy in his quotation of other scientific sources. In one case, Gentry (p. 71) refers to a paper by N. Feather [4], saying that Feather discusses "clear mica (without any conduits)," but there is no reference to this in Feather's paper. In another instance, Gentry quotes Steven Talbott for scientific support and provides a copy of Talbott's article in the appendices of his book, but Talbott himself states that he has relied on two sources for HIS information: phone calls with Gentry and "the available technical literature", which turns out to be based on Gentry's own articles. What Gentry has in essence done is to reference himself and attempt to pass this off as independent corroboration. [1] Gentry, R.V., 1986. Creation's Tiny Mystery. Knoxville, Tenn. Earth Science Associates. [2] Gentry, R.V., 1967. "Cosmology and the Earth's Invisible Realm." Medical Opinion and Review. October, p. 79. [3] N.K. Chaudhuri and R.H. Iyer, "Origin of Unusual Radioactive Halos," Radiation Effects, 1980, vol. 53, pp. 1-6. [4] N. Feather, "The unsolved problem of the Po-halos in Precambrian biotite and other old minerals," Comm. to the Royal Soc. of Edinburgh, no. 11, 1978. And for a more recent: In the 6 October 1989 issue of SCIENCE magazine (Vol 246, #1 pp 107-109), there is a report on work with Radiation Induced Color Halos (RICHs) in quartz, suggesting a mechanism for the "Po halos" that removes their utility as Creation Science evidence. The abstract and first two-and-a-half and last one paragraphs of the report, giving a summary of the problem and the authors' conclusion: ABSTRACT "The radii of radiation-induced color halos (RICHs) surrounding radioactive mineral inclusions in mica generally correspond closely to the calculated range of common uranogenic and thorogenic alpha particles in mica. Many exceptions are known, however, and these variants have led investigators to some rather exotic interpretations. Three RICHs found in quartz are identified as aluminum hole-trapping centers. Whereas the inner radii of these RICHs closely match the predicted range of the most energetic common alphas (39 micrometers), the color centers observed extend to 100 micrometers. Migration of valence-band holes down a radiation-induced charge potential might account for these enigmatic RICHs. Such RICHs provide natural experiments in ultraslow charge diffusion. "In 1907 Joly pointed out that microscopic color halos commonly observed surrounding small inclusions of radioactive minerals were caused by damage produced by alpha particles emanating from the inclusions. Shortly afterwards, Rutherford noted a close correspondence between the radial size of halos and the energies of the alpha particles. A number of workers have described and measured these radiation-induced color halos (RICHs) and, from their sizes, have tried to match them with specific radionuclides in the inclusions. Although it seems possible to relate the sizes of most of the described halos to alpha emitters in the U and Th decay chains, there are many exceptions. Particularly controversial have been two (perhaps artificial) classes of RICHs referred to as Po halos and giant halos. "The Po haloes are RICHs that have a size and ring structure apparently comparable with the range in silicate minerals of alpha particles emmited by uranogenic Po radioisotopes of mass 210, 214, and 218, although this interpretation has been challenged. Significantly, rings that can be attributed to the other five alpha decays in the 238-U seroes seem to be lacking. That the half-life of 218-Po is 3 min has not deterred some investigators from proposing separation of Po from its radioactive progenitors before its inclusion in minerals. Indeed, Po halos have even been offered as possible evidence of an instantaneous creation. "Giant halos are anomalous RICHs that have radii extending more than approximately 47 um from the edge of the inclusion..." [Their proposal is that aluminum inclusions can create a semi-conductive area where beta particles can cause diffusion and discoloration over a very large area] "...We strongly suspect...that the sizes and structure of giant and Po RICHs in mica are also artifacts of radiation-induced conductivity and their explanation requires neither unknown radioactivity nor an abandonment of current concepts of geologic time." Opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those opinions of this or any other organization. The facts, however, simply are and do not "belong" to anyone. jwm@sun4.jhuapl.edu or jwm@aplcen.apl.jhu.edu or meritt%aplvm.BITNET --- Squish v1.01 * Origin: Universal Electronics Inc [714 939-6401] HST/DS (1:103/208) From: Daniel A Ashlock To: All Msg #102, Mar-09-92 08:27AM Subject: Re: Update to the ICR Lawsuit Organization: Iowa State University From: danwell@IASTATE.EDU (Daniel A Ashlock) Message-ID: 1992Mar9.102742@iastate.edu Reply-To: danwell@IASTATE.EDU (Daniel A Ashlock) Newsgroups: talk.origins From Jim L.'s summary (thanks for the effort, Jim): > G. That defendants acknowledge that a private postsecondary > educational institution may teach the creation model as being > correct provided that the institution also teaches evolution. Here's the lever, guys. Lets all pull on it. (I) It will be a cold day in hell before the ICR teaches evolution. They probably mention it lots but they can't "teach" it, it would kill them. (II) This judge just told them to teach two substantially contradictory bodies of knowledge. This sounds like grounds for an appeal by someone. No other institution offering science degrees contradicts every single principle it is teaching while offering the "other" view. Sheesh! Dan Danwell@IASTATE.EDU --- Squish v1.01 * Origin: Universal Electronics Inc [714 939-6401] HST/DS (1:103/208) From: Daniel A Ashlock To: All Msg #103, Mar-09-92 08:54AM Subject: I witness befawha the Lohrd Awhlmighty Organization: Iowa State University From: danwell@IASTATE.EDU (Daniel A Ashlock) Message-ID: 1992Mar9.105417@iastate.edu Reply-To: danwell@IASTATE.EDU (Daniel A Ashlock) Newsgroups: talk.origins In article <1992Mar9.021630.5564@cbnewsm.att.com>, mls@cbnewsm.att.com (mike.siemon) writes: > Apparently, Jim Meritt cannot be satisfied UNLESS everyone on the net > kowtows to HIS preference that all mention of creationism be suppressed > OR allows Jim Meritt to go on in his ill-digested and discourteous spite > whenever someone posts something offensive to His Merittoriousness. If the issue is to be mentioned, both sides should be heard. I witness before God and any other real or hypothetical hypothetical witnesses that Jim Merrit has never, to my best knowledge, advocated the supression of creationism. The above suggestion, then, is a dirty smear and an apology is in order. > If Jim would ever deflate his ego enough to allow for courteous dialogue > with those who disagree with him, Excuse me, but if anything the problem runs the other way. I've never seen such nonsense as is posted by creationists. All of it rests on arrogant, egotistical assumptions that they have the Revealed Word of God, damn the evidence. > he might find his contributions more > acceptable to those who are not simple clones of his own position. You seem to ignore massive debate within the evolution camp. Clones? > I, for > one, wrote him off about three years ago as being not worth the irritation > of serious engagement when he makes ZERO effort to deal with any statement > that does not happen to push his particular buttons. You want him to waste bandwidth commenting on things he isn't interested in? > Jim is welcome to > his obsessions; they are not mine, however much overlap might from time > to time be observed between his and my perspectives. If he cannot be > bothered to even acknowledge a different world from his own, You have evidence for a seperate reality? You seem to be ingnoring the possibility that one of two views can be substantially superior with reallity (tm) as an objective arbiter. > why should > anyone else talk to him? What we get is Jim shouting back at "preachers" > who do their own shouting -- there is nothing in this to engage a human > intelligence. The idiocy of Creationist posturing is well-matched by > Jim's demonizing of anything that contradicts his orthodoxy. Jim is > the fundamentalist of talk.origins. I almost feel nervous when he says > something I agree with. Excuse me, but not only is Jim right (tm) but he has avowed the doctrine of accepting new facts and alowing observation to modify conclusions. These are not the acts of a fundamentalist. Could you define your terms while avoiding further ironic self contradiction? > -- > Michael L. Siemon In so far as people think they can see the > "limits of human understanding", they think > mls@usl.com of course that they can see beyond these. > standard disclaimer -- Ludwig Wittgenstein --- Squish v1.01 * Origin: Universal Electronics Inc [714 939-6401] HST/DS (1:103/208) From: Stephen C. Miller To: All Msg #104, Mar-09-92 09:13AM Subject: Re: 7-day Week Organization: Indiana University From: stcmille@copper.ucs.indiana.edu (Stephen C. Miller) Message-ID: 1992Mar9.121356.1334@bronze.ucs.indiana.edu Newsgroups: talk.origins In article roger@zuken.co.jp (Roger Meunier) writes: >Lacking access to a good encyclopedia, I thought I'd ask the >net.origin.experts for a "clue". Have weeks always been 7 days long, >or is this a recent development? I've heard of cultures that didn't >even have weeks (like the country I currently live in in days of yore), Well, the Romans didn't have a 7 day week, as far as I can tell. Nor did the Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, or Chippewa, for that matter. Hmmm. Where do we find it first? Gen 1 ? -- -------------------- =Steve Miller stcmille@copper.ucs.indiana.edu OOOOh bigol jetairliner. Dontcarry metoo faraway. Ooooh bigol jetairliner. Causeits herethat Iwant tostay. Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah. --- Squish v1.01 * Origin: Universal Electronics Inc [714 939-6401] HST/DS (1:103/208) From: Gene Ward Smith To: All Msg #105, Mar-09-92 10:24AM Subject: Re: "Evolution, a Theory in Crisis" Organization: Centre Interuniversitaire en Calcul Mathematique Algebrique From: gsmith@concour.cs.concordia.ca (Gene Ward Smith) Message-ID: 2879@daily-planet.concordia.ca Newsgroups: talk.origins In article <2876@daily-planet.concordia.ca> gsmith@concour.cs.concordia.ca (Gene Ward Smith) writes: In case it isn't obvious, globally swap Dutton to Denton in my reply to Bruce Salem. -- Gene Ward Smith/Brahms Gang/CICMA/Concordia University gsmith@concour.cs.concordia.ca From: Matthew P Wiener To: All Msg #106, Mar-09-92 09:08AM Subject: Re: "Evolution, a Theory in Crisis" Organization: The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology From: weemba@libra.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) Message-ID: 69139@netnews.upenn.edu Reply-To: weemba@libra.wistar.upenn.edu (Matthew P Wiener) Newsgroups: talk.origins In article <9203082338.aa19997@concour.cs.concordia.ca>, gsmith@CONCOUR writes: >To revert to my example of before, at the time Kelvin made his >computations, the best available theory was that the Sun obtained its >energy by means of gravitational contraction. However, this *was not* >accepted as the received wisdom, because of the conflict with >geological evidence. At the time, geologists were trying to revise their estimates downwards to be compatible with Kelvin's calculations. -- -Matthew P Wiener (weemba@libra.wistar.upenn.edu) From: Ray Ingles To: All Msg #107, Mar-09-92 10:52AM Subject: Re: Two hands each Organization: University of Michigan Engineering, Ann Arbor From: ingles@cclittle.engin.umich.edu (Ray Ingles) Message-ID: T2V+X-+@engin.umich.edu Newsgroups: talk.origins In article <9203071817.aa17490@concour.cs.concordia.ca>, gsmith@CONCOUR.CS.CONCORDIA.CA writes: > In article <8591.29B47F3D@ofa123.fidonet.org> > David.Rice@ofa123.fidonet.org (David Rice) writes: [deletion] > >The author asks the question, "Why are we bi-latteral?" One could > >answer with "Why not?" and leave it at that (indeed, why does the > >author think by-latteral symetry (sp?) a contention of evolution?). > > This response seems to miss the point of what natural selection (I am > *not* talking about evolution, but about natural selection, please > bear in mind) is about. Natural selection means that organisms are > naturally occurring objects in the world, like salt crystals. Like > salt crystals, they were not designed, but like them they show > evidence of symmetry. This means there must be a *reason* for the > symmetry, because it is very unlikely to have "just happened". (If we > were content with very unlikely explanations, we would not *need* an > evolutionary theory at all.) > > You do not answer the question of why a salt crystal is symmetric by > saying "why not?". No more can you with organisms. Actually, you can in this case. See below. > Now the argument that this is a problem for evolutionary theory > depends very strongly on an assertion of supposed fact Denton makes, > which is that the code for the left hand is independent of that for > the right hand. My lack of knowledge of biology makes it impossible to > assess Denton's claims here. This is not in fact true, to the best of my knowledge. I am an electrical engineer, and not an embryologist, but the following is based on a small amount of reading I have done in this area. It is now believed that a major way that embryonic development is controlled is through systems of self-organizing chemical reactions. It has long been known that one can set up systems of chemical reactions that ocillate, moving from one concentration to another. They can even proceed like waves in space, where waves of different concentrations move through the solution. It has recently been noted that such systems are visible as an embryo is developing. Waves of reactions proceed over its surface, eventually settling down to fixed concentrations. One such system settles down to a high concentration of a certain chemical in four different places; this seems to trigger the cells at these locations to develop into limbs. Other systems trigger different things. The stripes on a zebra and the fingerprints on your hands are the result of systems that proceed in a chaotic, pseudorandom manner. [I'm a chaos and fractals enthusiast; hence my interest.] Note that, early on, it doesn't matter *where* the concentrations settle down, *any* cell in that location will develop into what is indicated. The system that leads to limbs being triggered is symmetrical; you get 'nodes' of concentraion on opposite sides of the embryo. You don't need to code separately for the left and the right hand; the chemicals activate the 'hand' genes, and the particular way they flow says 'put the thumb here, and the pinky on the opposite side.' The drug thailidomide suppresses a critical reaction of this type; 'hand' and 'foot' triggers form, but the 'arm' and 'leg' triggers don't. Note, by the way, that this also dispenses with an old creationist saw that "even adding an extra vertebrae would take a huge mutation; I mean, you have to code for the bone, the blood vessels, the connective tissue, the..." If an extra chemical 'vertebrae node' forms early on in development, a fully-formed vertebra(sp?) will appear there, and it will grow its own bone, blood, and connective tissue. My reference is a book called "The Triumph of the Embryo," and unfortunately I have forgotten the author's name. If there is interest, I can post it; I probably will anyway, just to avoid being accused of handwaving. I think it is now fairly obvious why bilateral symmetry might be selected for; effectively, one need only code for half of an organism (this is an oversimplification, but you get the idea). This saves a lot on DNA space and may make it 'cheaper' (in terms of food and such) to make a baby. > Gene Ward Smith Sincerely, Ray Ingles || The above opinions are probably || not those of the University of ingles@caen.engin.umich.edu || Michigan. Yet. From: Ron Dippold To: All Msg #108, Mar-09-92 11:16AM Subject: Re: soc.religion.christian at it again. Organization: Qualcomm, Inc., San Diego, CA From: rdippold@cancun.qualcomm.com (Ron Dippold) Message-ID: rdippold.700168598@cancun Newsgroups: talk.origins mls@cbnewsm.att.com (mike.siemon) writes: [Lots of bashing in no doubt best Christian tradition, although not the one I learned.] Flames against moderators are usually unfounded, but you appear quite determined to prove that he was right. -- Long computations that yield zero are probably all for naught. [108 / 108] Msg.area 23 ... talk.origins Type msg#, or press for NEXT. MESSAGE: [A N P E R B C = - + * L T M J G K U F ? O]:

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank