"Not sure why Uniformitarianism shouldn't be taught. Do we have any reason to assume that physical constants weren't the same in the past as they are today?"
First, MrHambre has confused uniformitariansm with actualism. As a matter of fact, uniformitarianism as defined by Lyell is no longer practiced by geologists and other scientists and, in reality, ***not*** what is being taught in textbooks. Uniformitarianism, as defined by Lyell, consists of four principles:
1. uniformity of law
2. uniformity of process (actualism)
3. uniformity of rate (gradualism)
4. uniformity of state (steady-statism)
Darwin's theory of evolution directly contradicts Charles Lyell's principle 4. In the Tenth edition of his "Principles" in 1866, Lyell began to waver in his support of principle number 4 and by 1872, in the 11th edition of "Principles", Lyell had completely abandoned it. Thus, by 1872, Lyell had ceased to be a strict " uniformitarianist" as he originally defined it and conceded that uniformitarianism, as originally defined by all 4 principles wasn't a workable concept.
Since then, the major fight has been over whether principle number 3, "uniformity of rate" (gradualism), as a valid principle. This discussion was and continues to be muddied by many people, including geologists, who have repeatedly confuse gradualism with uniformitarianism as originally defined by Lyell and also confuse actualism with gradualism. Episodic geologic processes, such as meteorite impacts, eruptions of flood basalts, periods of rapid sea floor spreading as during the Cretaceous, and so forth have shown principle of gradualism to be invalid. In fact, the recognition of mass extinctions within the geologic record refuted the application of principle no. 3, gradualism, to evolutionary processes, even before Lyell died. Charles Darwin didn't accept uniformitarianism, as strictly defined by Lyell, because Darwin disputed both uniformity of rate (no. 3) and uniformity of state (no. 4) as it applied to evolution. At this point in time, the vast majority of geologists only accept 1.) uniformity of law and 2.) uniformity of process (actualism) out of Lyell's four original principles of uniformitarianism. Given that conventional geologists have currently abandoned half of the principles of uniformitarianism as propose by Lyell, it is unscientific to claim that conventional geologists of being dogmatic supporters of uniformitarianism as originally defined by Lyell. (A fun book on this topic to read is "Catastrophism" by Richard Huggett.)
Thus, MrHambre's first sentence should read "Not sure why uniformity of law shouldn't be taught." Getting back to the question "Do we have any reason to assume that physical constants weren't the same in the past as they are today?"
Yes, we do. There is research, which has been done and published, to test whether various physical constants have remained the same over the last couple of billion years. One example of such research is:
Lamoreaux, S. K., and Torgerson, J. R., 2004, Neutron moderation in the Oklo natural reactor and the time variation of alpha. Physical Review D. vol 69, p. 121701)
In this paper, scientists directly tested whether or not a constant governing nuclear reactions had remained the same or not over the last two billion years. They found that that nuclear physics has ***not*** changed by more than one part in ten million over the last two billion years. In case of the speed of light, this research suggests that, at worst, it might have speeded up ever so slightly over this period of time instead of slowing down as Young Earth creationists repeatedly claim. Finally, this and other research demonstrated the claim that conventional scientists unquestionably assume and never test the validity of the concept of actualism to be completely wrong.
An article discussing various published studies by scientists investigating whether fundamental physical constants have changed with time is:
"Controversy over whether the fundamental constants of nature change with time has reignited. A new study is casting doubt on an earlier claim that a key constant varied as the Universe evolved."
A major published paper discussed in the above popular article is:
M. Fischer, N. Kolachevsky, M. Zimmermann, R. Holzwarth, Th. Udem, T. W. Hänsch, M. Abgrall, J. Grünert, I. Maksimovic, S. Bize, H. Marion, F. Pereira Dos Santos, P. Lemonde, G. Santarelli, P. Laurent, A. Clairon, C. Salomon, M. Haas, U. D. Jentschura, and C. H. Keitel, 2003, New Limits on the Drift of Fundamental Constants from Laboratory Measurements. Physical Review Letters. vol. 92, no. 23, Article 230802.
quote:First, MrHambre has confused uniformitariansm with actualism.
This is a good point, Bill. Being far from a geology expert, I understand that the "old" laws of uniformitarianism is not longer taught, but I always understood the "new" law of uni. as processes, constants, and mechanisms have stayed the same over time.
Just a little side note, creationists rely on the same concepts of actualism that geologists do today. For instance, Walt Brown uses the viscosity of water to explain his hydroplates. However, how do we know the viscosity of water has remained constant throughout the ages? How do we know that the mass of rocks has been constant throughout time, or the chemical reactivity, atomic mass, etc.? Of course we can assume these characteristics of matter and energy stayed the same, but creationists aren't willing to extend the same logic to radioactive decay and marine carbonate sedimentation, or in the case of arkathon in a different thread, to grass using pollen only 5,000 years ago. At times, it reeks of hypocrisy.
"This is a good point, Bill. Being far from a geology expert, I understand that the "old" laws of uniformitarianism is not longer taught, but I always understood the "new" law of uni. as processes, constants, and mechanisms have stayed the same over time."
From what I have found in looking through the scientific literature, there isn't any officially recognzied or published "new law of uniformitarianism". The so-called "new law of uniformitarianism" is largely a "lay" version of the "old law" that has developed over time by the careless use of this term by writers of popular science articles, geologists, and paleontologists, who have carelessly confused uniformitarism with either actualism, gradualism, or some combination of both.
I might note there are limits to actualism, as if a person goes far enough back in time, i.e. Early Precambrian, uniformity of process, as in the case of plate tectonics (or lack there of) and volcanism, as evidenced by komatites, can't be guaranteed. At that point, a geologist has to rely on uniformity of law. However, in case of the Phanerozoic and Late to Middle Precambrian, actualism works quite well. In case of the very beginning of the Big Bang, even uniformity of law has its limitations. A person has to use one's judgement when applying principle of interpretations.
Again, for a good discussion of uniformitarism, actualism, gradualism, catastrophism, and so forth is found in "Catastrophism"by Richard Huggett. I don't agree with everything argued in this book, but he presents some very thoughtful discussions about these terms and the complexities of what they mean in the real world. In fact, he defines 8 possible ways to classify the "systems of history" that various geologists / biologists / and various types of creationists use in explaining the history of the Earth and Life.
Also, he argued that the true opposite of catastrophism isn't uniformitarism. Rather the true opposite of catastrophism is gradualism with:
1. gradulism = constant rate.
2. catastrophism = changing rate.
As argued by Huggett, the vast majority of, if not all, conventional geologists are actually catastrophists, because they accept changing rates for geological processes, which when fast enough at specific times and instances produce "catastrophes", although they might think they are uniformitarists.
He would also noted that a proponent of meteorite impacts as having caused mass extinctions would be an actualistic catastrophist, while a proponent of a Noah's Flood caused by divine intervention would be a nonactualistic catastrophist.
One point that comes across in his book, is that there so much sloppiness, varibility, and carelessness in how terms like catastrophism and uniformitarism are defined by various people that it might be better to abandon their use in discussing such matters as their use only confuses what is being discussed as different people have a different concept of what these terms mean.
"For instance, Walt Brown uses the viscosity of water to explain his hydroplates. However, how do we know the viscosity of water has remained constant throughout the ages?"
Actually, it would be possible to answer this question. The angle of repose of cross-bedding in water-laid sedimentary rocks is dependant, in part, on the viscosity of the fluid moving the grains and gravity. If either of these factors changed over the last two billion years, a person would be able to find well-defined changes in average angle of the cross-bedding within water-laid sedimentary rocks deposited over this period of time. Thus, if someone wanted, they can determine whether water viscosity or gravity changed during this period of time. In a graduate level sedimentology seminar, a friend of mine actually did this as his class project. By compiling data that can be found in the published literature on cross-bedded strata for a variety of periods, he was able to make a very strong case that the value of gravity hasn't changed in the last two billion years. Similarly, the lack of change that he found in the average angle of cross-bedding found in sedimentary rocks for the last two billion years, also is very strong evidence that the viscosity of water hasn't changed in the last two billion years.
Loudmouth also asked:
"How do we know that the mass of rocks has been constant throughout time,"
Again, sedimentary particles., i.e. sand and silt, are minature rocks. If the mass of rocks change, the mass of particles like sand, silt, gravel, and clay, should also change. The mass of a sedimentary particle is what determines how they are transported, the type of sedimentary structures formed, how sediments accumulate, the angle of cross-bedding, and so forth. Had the mass of rocks changed, there should have been some very dramatic changes in the types of sedimentary rocks formed, the sedimentary structures exhibited by them, the angle of cross-bedding, and so forth. Also, there would have been some dramatic changes in volcnaic processes and the types of volcanic rocks they formed. That sedimentary and volcanic rocks don't show the type and extent of changes that a change in rock mass would create, easily demonstrates significant changes in rock mass hasn't occurred. For example the lack of any detectable changes in the average angle of cross-bedding hasn't changed over the last two billion years also argues against the mass of rocks haven'y change.
Changing the value of something as significant as viscosity of water, mass of rocks, or gravity will effect how natural processes rearrange materials beneath and on the surface to the point there will be such detectable evidence of these changes having occurred in the rock record. If someone was creative enough, they very likely can devise some way of determining if many of the other properties that Loudmouth mentioned in message 62 have change with time or not.
If a reevaluation (via Croizat's sense of Uniformitarianism (with or without Glacial Creationism)) finds instead of ("The one exception to this claim is the possible presence in an ecosystem of dead-planet or biologically uncontaminated abiotic -> abiotic links, which have never previously been affected by any interactions with biota. However, after four billion years of life on earth, it is doubtful whether any dead-planet abiotic --> abiotic linnks_exist anywhere in the biosphere."(NICHE CONSTRUCTION 2003 Princeton PAGE 224.))a differnt value for the topological relation of any viscosity CHANGE and CHANGES (likwise) in ionic titration equilibria (for instance by an expolartion to discover (if discoverable and then discovered) use of fossil ancestor fossil differences in exoskeletal divisions of the rock for "nesting" as a niche positive resoource cummulative witness etcwedgeprotectionetcnoncovalnetbondetc) then the either or nature of the kinematics would not necessarily ONLY remand cellualar automata OR Maxwell's demonIZED Switch. Furthermore the seperation might be apporachable baraminically whence current cladistics AS SEPERATED from the panbiogeographic method CAN NOT FIND. But this though doable by a human individual is more than I can find the time and lesiure to approach. But to assert ON THE BASIS OF BILLIONS('years) not this would be logically less competant. There is a difference in the way of "looking" only and this has been stressed time and time again by ICR. Should this difference in perceptive approaches return for the Gibbian based INFORMATION obediant to Gladyshev's LAW COME from the creationist perspective than it doensnt matter which topography the landscape/habitat was "viewd" from.....Futhermore on the supramolecular level much discussion about the "dead-planet" remains and since Mars last year we should all be prepared to think the discussed similiarity when not the same.
Fuethermore, the Gladyshev (water)INDEX would be relevant numerically.
The major diffiuclty is straightening out any KINKS that the revolution and rotation of the Earth creates passively across generations whether this is learned semantics of simply a consequence of action WITH reaction. I take it that Croizat's method DOES apply in this CRITICISM of Seberg whom I analysized (personal result panbiog wise) where he failed to appreciate subtle difference of plant relations to any "homology" where in Australia Croizat cited "dotting of the ground" (Principia Botanica) which Grehan DID NOT rewrite here (Track homology " Seberg (1988) vaguely refers to Oreobolus as a component of an undefined 'generalized' track that is, perhaps not surprisingly, of a 'size' and 'extent' that is difficult to establish with certainty. While Seberg (1988) failed to establish the generalized significance of Oreobolus biogegraphy, track analysis using the minimum spanning tree technique provides spatial evidence supporting a Pacific homology for the distribution of this taxon (as indicated below for the orientation of tracks away from the Pacific baseline). The incorporation of phylogenetic information presented by Seberg (1988) suggests a spatial structure " Oreobolusbiogeography )
The way I see it is that Grehan had ORIENTED AND USED THE BASELINE (square in the linked pictures) where I find rotation and revolution Gladyshev wise. For some grammetological position of New Zeland Grehan does not seem to use panbiogeography around Antartica this was which is simply the biogeographic division ornithologically of Siberia. I have mentioned this in the past here and will explain more later.
This message has been edited by Admin, 08-09-2005 09:31 PM
Young-earth creationists, of which I am one, reason deductively, starting by assuming the Bible is true (and mostly literal) and working down to what we see and have discovered about the world. We will doubt any scientific principle that does not coincide with biblical belief because such principles have come about inductively, based on observations of the present world first and then reaching conclusions. If the constancy of the viscosity of water were contradictory to the teaching of the Bible, then creationists would question it. The only reason creationists don't question it is because they have no reason to do so.
According to creationists, the only absolute truth is in the Bible. Everything else can be questioned if it is in conflict with the Bible.
Young-earth creationists, of which I am one, reason deductively, starting by assuming the Bible is true (and mostly literal) and working down to what we see and have discovered about the world.
Which is absurd on its face, because you are beginning with the conclusion ("The Bible is literally accurate") and following by actively disbelieving any evidence to the contrary.
Rational thought begins with evidence and ends with a conclusion. Your entire mental process is a gigantic logical fallacy.
The closest comparison I could make woudl be for me to come up with a hypothesis, and use it as an axiom. Any evidence I find that conflicts with my hypothesis must be "interpreted wrong," or should be outright disbelieved and ignored, because I have stated a priori that my hypothesis is accurate.
Young-earth creationists, of which I am one, reason deductively, starting by assuming the Bible is true (and mostly literal) and working down to what we see and have discovered about the world.
How is that reasonable? As the poster above mentions, how is it reasonable to start with a (dogmatic) conclusion and ignore all evidence which contradicts it? That seems very unreasonable to me.
We will doubt any scientific principle that does not coincide with biblical belief because such principles have come about inductively, based on observations of the present world first and then reaching conclusions.
So you disagree with the entire scientific method? You are saying that it is better to dogmatically hold on to a belief than to be swayed by evidence? Really?
If the constancy of the viscosity of water were contradictory to the teaching of the Bible, then creationists would question it. The only reason creationists don't question it is because they have no reason to do so.
So conversely, creationists have no reason to doubt other physical constants such as radioactive decay other the problems it causes for creationism. Is that correct?
Young-earth creationists, of which I am one, reason deductively, starting by assuming the Bible is true (and mostly literal) and working down to what we see and have discovered about the world. We will doubt any scientific principle that does not coincide with biblical belief because such principles have come about inductively, based on observations of the present world first and then reaching conclusions.
I'm reasonably confident that "Young-earth creationists...reason deductively" is a position you have had to arrive at inductively...unless you have spoken with every single YEC that has ever lived?
If you think that creationists don't use inductive logic then you are simply, trivially, and obviously wrong. You do, you just did and you will do so again.
In fact - Jesus was famous for giving specific examples and encouraging his followers to draw general conclusions. This is induction. Naturally you will withdraw you naive comments and come back with something more nuanced to talk about.
Welcome to EvC jason! We have plenty of current threads to participate in - this one is like 6 years old :-D
1) It is reasonable if the Bible is true. No one has ever disproved the Bible, nor will they ever, because it's very difficult to disprove something that is true. See Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh Powell. Actually, YEC's don't ignore any evidence. Ever. We look at the exact same evidence that evolutionists look at, it's just a matter of interpretation. We have a bias that the Bible is true, instead of the bias that there is no god.
2) The scientific method is inherently inductive. It may start with a hypothesis, but that hypothesis can be refined based on the results of the experiment. That makes it inductive. Example: of course the current hypothesis of all life evolving from a single organism "works." That's because it's been refined based on what we have discovered scientifically since we dived into the investigation. And again, evidence is evidence. It's there. It's a matter of how you interpret the evidence.
3) I do doubt radiometric dating systems because they contradict a literal interpretation of the Bible's teaching. That was my whole point. And those dates cannot be proven to be correct, and in some circumstances they have been proven to be wrong, like in the "dating" of rocks that were formed in the explosion of Mt. St. Helens. The rocks known to be between 6 and 12 years old, but K-Ar dating showed their ages at between 300,000 to 3.4 million years! Why would you put your trust in that method??
Secular scientists are equally dogmatic. Science is an attempt to explain the natural universe by only natural phenomena. It rules out God a priori, and therefore is blinded to the truth. That's why there are questions not answered by secular scientists that are answered by creationists, like Ice Age theories.