Testimony of Dr. G. Brent Dalrymple - Page 2
THE WITNESS: (Continuing) gravitational constant and so forth. May I elaborate just a little bit more? We are not talking about small changes in decay. If the creation scientists are correct and the earth is only ten thousand years old, we are talking about many orders of magnitude, thousands of times difference. The difference between the age of the earth that scientists calculate and the age that the creationists calculate are different by a factor of four hundred and fifty thousand.
So you don't have to perturb the constancy of decay laws a little bit; you have to perturb them a lot.
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
Q: Where in Act 590 is the age of the earth listed as ten thousand years?
A: It is not listed as ten thousand years in 590.
Q: To you, as a geologist, would not an age of several hundred million years still be relatively recent?
A: That would be considered on the young side of middle age, yes.
THE COURT: Mr. Williams, while we are on that point, I have really been curious. What does the State contend a teacher is supposed to interpret that to mean- "relatively recent"? What is going to be your contention, if you are a biology teacher and the biology teacher tells the students about "relatively recent"?
THE COURT: (Continuing) What does that mean?
MR. WILLIAMS: I think it means a couple of things. First of all, that there may be some doubt as to the reliability of some of the dating methods which are currently being used. Therefore, the generally accepted, as described by Doctor Dalrymple, age of four point five billion years may not be that certain.
I think, secondly, our testimony will show that because of this factor the age of the earth may, in fact, be somewhat younger. The State, I don't think, is tied to the age of ten thousand years as the plaintiff has tried to pin on Act 590.
Indeed, the age of the earth is probably, in terms of the overall creation science model, is probably, I would say, the least important of those. I am not sure how much the subject would come up in a biology class myself. I have some questions about it myself.
THE COURT: Apparently the Act directs that it come up. I'm curious about that.
MR. WILLIAMS: Well, your Honor, the Act directs that there be balanced treatment when there is scientific evidence on either side. And doesn't it require that all-
THE COURT: I assume that any biology course will address the age of the earth in some fashion, and they will, I think, talk about radioactive decay and that
THE COURT: (Continuing) method of aging the world or judging the age of the world. And I gather the Act also directs the biology teacher to say something about a relatively recent formation of the earth, and I'm puzzled as to what the teacher is supposed to say.
Are they supposed to approach it in a negative fashion and say, "No, it's not four and a half billion years old"? And what if some student says, "Well, how old is it, then, under this model?" What would they say?
MR. WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, let me say that I'm not engaged in curriculum design or materials design, but as I understand it, I think that they could say that there are besides this, other sciences, first of all, who have some doubts as to this dating method. There are other competent scientists who believe that the earth might be, relatively speaking, to the four point five billion years, relatively speaking, younger than that. I don't think there is any one age which anyone would have to be taught as an alternative age. I think it would be a range of ages.
THE COURT: Well, again, what is that range, then?
MR. WILLIAMS: Well, your Honor, I would prefer, if we could, to defer that to the presentation of our testimony when we will get into that.
THE COURT: Maybe that would be best. It's just
THE COURT: (Continuing) something that keeps occurring to me as we listen to the testimony here.
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
Q: Mr. Dalrymple, is it correct that you think that geochronology establishes an age of the earth, not only that the earth is several million years old, but also establishes the age of the fossils which are enclosed in the rocks?
A: Yes. That's correct.
Q: Is there any reliable method for gauging fossils themselves that you are aware of?
A: You mean dating the fossil specifically?
A: There is one method, but it does not go back very far, and that's Carbon-14. The rest of the fossils on the record are done by dating primarily igneous rocks that are in known relationship to fossils. By an igneous rock, I mean a rock that's cooled from a melt, like a lava flow or granite.
Q: How old would you say that geochronology establishes the ages of the oldest fossils?
A: Well, the oldest fossils that I know of - And I'm not a paleontologist; I'm going to have to give you a semi-layman's answer - that I know of are bacteria that are found in certain shales in, I believe, Africa or South
A: (Continuing) Africa. And if I remember correctly, those are close to three billion years old.
Q: You say you're not a paleontologist and you give a lay answer, but the method of dating fossils actually relies upon the dating of certain rocks around the fossil, does it not?
A: Well, not necessarily the rocks that actually enclose the fossil, because most of the dating technicians work on igneous rock or metamorphic rocks, that is, crystalline rocks in which fossils don't occur.
But again, to take a simple case, if we had a sedimentary bed that includes fossils and we have a lava flow beneath that bed and another lava flow on top of that bed. And if we date those two lava flows, then we have sensibly dated the age of that fossil, or at least we have bracketed the age of that fossil.
That's the general way in which fossils are dated radiometrically.
Q: Now, do you understand that biologists consider these fossils enclosed in these rocks to be the relics or the remnants of some evolutionary development?
A: Well, I think the fossils are relics of an animal.
Q: Would that be the evidence of the evolutionary development?
A: Well, as far as I know, yes.
Q: Then would it be fair to say in your mind that the ages for the various types of fossils have been most precisely determined or measured by radioactive dating or by geochronology?
A: That sounds like a fair statement.
Q: Since geochronology does play such an important role on the ages of the rocks and the fossils, would you agree that it would be important to know whether there is any evidence which exists which would bear on the fundamental premises of geochronology?
A: Of course. Let me add that that's a subject that's been discussed considerably in scientific literature. We're always searching for that sort of thing. That's a much debated question
Q: I think you said yesterday that anyone who believes. in a young age of the earth, in your opinion, to be not too bright scientifically, and are in the same category as people who believe that the earth is flat?
A: Yes. I think if we are talking about people who profess to be scientists and insist on ignoring what the actual evidence is for the age of the earth, then I find it difficult to think that their thought processes are straight.
Q: Is it true that you do not know of any scientists who would not agree with you, with your viewpoint on this
Q: (Continuing) radioactive dating and of the age of the earth and fossils?
A: Will you rephrase that? I'm not sure I understand it.
Q: Is it true that you stated, I think in your deposition, that you do not know of any scientist-
MR. ENNIS: Excuse me. If you're referring to the deposition, please identify it, what page.
MR. WILLIAMS: I'm not referring to a page at this point, I'm asking a question.
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
Q: Is it true that you do not know of any scientist who does not agree with you and your view point and opinion as to the age of the earth and the fossils?
A: It depends on who you include in the word "scientist". I think if you want to include people who categorize themselves as creation scientists, then that would not be a true statement. I know that some of those do not agree.
As far as my colleagues, geologists, geochemists, geophysicists and paleontologists, the ones that I know of, I don't know of any who disagree that the earth is very old or that radiometric dating is not a good way to date the earth.
Q: Are you aware of any creation scientist, then, who
Q: (Continuing) has published evidence in the open scientific literature who has questioned the fundamental premises of geochronology by radioactive dating?
A: I know of one.
Q: Who is that?
A: That's Robert Gentry. I should say that Robert Gentry characterizes himself as a creation scientist, if I understand what he's written.
Q: Are you familiar with Paul Damon?
A: Yes. I know him personally.
Q: Who is Mr. Damon?
A: Mr. Damon is a professor at the University of Arizona at Tucson. He specializes in geochronology.
Q: Are you aware that Mr. Damon has stated in a letter that if Mr. Gentry's work is correct, that it casts in doubt that entire science of geochronology?
A: Which letter are you referring to?
Q: Do you recall the letter which you gave to me from EOS by Mr. Damon?
A: Yes. I recall the general nature of that letter.
Q: And do you recall that Mr. Damon said that if history is correct, in his deductions it would call up to question the entire science of geochronology?
A: Well, I think that's the general sense of what Paul Damon said, but I think it's an overstatement. I'm not
A: (Continuing) sure I would agree with him on that.
Q: Mr. Damon is not a creation scientist, is he?
A: No. Doctor Damon is not a creation scientist, by any means.
Q: Would you consider him to be a competent scientist and an authority in this field?
A: Yes. He's extremely competent.
Q: Are you aware as to whether Mr. Gentry has ever offered or provided a way for his evidence to e falsified?
A: I am aware that he has proposed one, but I do not think his proposal would falsify it either one way or the other.
Q: Have you ever made any attempts, experiments that would attempt to falsify his work?
A: Well, there are a great many- I guess you're going to have to tell me specifically what you mean by "his work". If you could tell me the specific scientific evidence you're talking about, then let's discuss that.
Q: Well, first of all, do you like to think you keep current on the scientific literature as it may affect geochronology?
A: Well, I keep as current as I can. There's a mass amount of literature. In the building next to my office, there are over two hundred fifty thousand volumes, mostly on geology. It's extremely difficult to keep current.
A: (Continuing) But I am currently relatively up on the mainstream, anyway.
Q: Certainly the most important points?
A: I do my best.
Q: And if someone had issued a study which would, if true, call up to question the entire science of geochronology, would you not want to be made aware of that and look at that closely yourself, as an expert in the field?
A: Oh, yes, I would.
Q: And as a matter of fact, your familiarity with Mr. Gentry's work is limited, is it not, to an article that he wrote in 1972 and a letter that he wrote in response to Mr. Damon's letter, in terms of what you have read, is that correct?
A: Those are the things I can recall having read, and the reports that I have some recollection of. I have never been terribly interested in radioactive haloes, and I have not followed that work very closely. And that is the subject upon which Mr. Gentry has done most of his research.
As I think I told you in the deposition, I'm not an expert on that particular endeavor. I'm aware that Mr. Gentry has issued a challenge, but I think that challenge is meaningless.
Q: Well, let me ask you this. You stated in the deposition, did you not- Let me ask you the question, can, to your knowledge, granite be synthesized in a laboratory?
A: I don't know of anyone who has synthesized a piece of granite in a laboratory. What relevance does that have to anything?
Q: I'm asking you the question, can it be done?
A: Well, in the future I suspect that it will be done.
Q: I understand. But you said it has not been done yet?
A: I'm not aware that it has been done. It's an extremely difficult technical problem, and that's basically what's behind it.
Q: To the extent that you are familiar with Mr. Gentry's work and that as you have reviewed it, would you consider him to be a competent scientist?
A: I think Mr. Gentry is regarded as a competent scientist within his field of expertise, yes.
Q: And you would agree with that?
A: From what I've seen, that's a fair assessment of his work, yes. He's a very, did some very careful measurements, and by and large he comes to reasonable conclusions, I think, with the possible exception of what we're hedging around the fringes here, and that is his experiment to falsify his relatively recent inception of
A: (Continuing) the earth hypothesis. We have not really discussed what his hypothesis is and what his challenge is, we've sort of beat around the edges.
Q: Well, you haven't read his articles that he wrote since 1972, have you?
A: No. That's true.
Q: So if his hypothesis were in those articles, you really wouldn't be able to talk about it, at any rate, would you?
A: His hypothesis, I believe, is pretty fairly covered In those letters between, exchange of letters between Damon and Gentry, and I can certainly discuss that part.
That's a very current exchange of letters. It is just a few years old. And it is in that letter that he throws down to challenge to geology to prove him wrong. What I'm saying is, that challenge is meaningless.
Q: Are you familiar with his studies of radio haloes?
A: No, I'm not familiar with that work at all.
Q: But to the extent that work shows that evidence that these formations are only several thousand years old, you're not familiar with that?
A: I'm not familiar with that, and I'm not sure I would accept your conclusion unless I did look into it.
Q: If you're not familiar with it, I don't want to question you about something you're not familiar with.
A: Fair enough.
Q: You have been active, of late, have you not, in trying to formulate a resolution against creation science in one of the professional societies to which you belong?
A: That's true. The American Geophysical Union.
Q: How do you go about writing that? Did you just sit down and try to write something yourself?
A: No. I requested from Bill Mayer copies of the resolutions holding the teaching of creation science as science in the classroom last March, so that I could see the general form and tone of resolutions that had already been passed by other principal scientific societies, including the National Academy of Sciences. He sent me, I believe, copies of about eight or nine.
And after reading through those, I drafted a proposal which was sent around to members of the Council of the American Geophysical Union. That proposal was discussed, the resolution was modified, and a much abbreviated resolution was adopted Sunday night.
Q: I think you stated earlier that you reviewed quite a bit of creation-science literature in preparation for your testimony in this case and also a case in California, is that correct?
A: Yes. I think I've read either in whole or in part about two dozen books and articles.
Q: But on the list of books that you made or articles that you have reviewed, you did not include any of Robert Gentry's work as having been reviewed, did you?
A: That's right. I did not.
Q: Although you consider Gentry to be a creation scientist?
A: Well, yes. But, you know, the scientific literature and even the creation science literature, which I do not consider scientific literature - It's outside the traditional literature - there is an enormously complex business. There is a lot of it. And we can't review it all.
Every time I review even a short paper, it takes me several hours to read it, I have to think about the logic involved in the data, I have to reread it several times to be sure I understand what the author has said; I have to go back through the author's references and sometimes read as many as twenty or thirty papers that the author has referenced to find out whether what has been referenced is true or makes any sense; I have to check the calculations to find out if they are correct. It's an enormous job. And given the limited amount of time that I have to put in on this, reviewing the creation science literature is not a terribly productive thing for a scientist to do.
Q: How many articles or books have you reviewed,
Q: (Continuing) approximately?
A: You mean in creation science literature?
Q: Creation science literature.
A: I think it was approximately twenty-four or twenty-five, something like that, as best I can remember. I gave you a complete list, which is as accurate as I can recall.
Q: And if there were articles in the open scientific literature - Excuse me - in referee journals which supported the creation science model, would that not be something you would want to look at in trying to review the creation science literature?
A: Yes, and I did look at a number of those. And I still found no evidence.
Q: But you didn't look at any from Mr. Gentry?
A: No, I did not. That's one I didn't get around to. There's quite a few others I haven't gotten around to. I probably never will look into all the creationists literature.
I can't even look into all the legitimate scientific literature. But I can go so far as to say that every case that I have looked into in detail has had very, very serious flaws. And I think I've looked at a representative sample.
And also in Gentry's work, he's proposed a very tiny
A: (Continuing) mystery which is balanced on the other side by an enormous amount of evidence. And I think it's important to know what the answer to that little mystery is. But I don't think you can take one little fact for which we now have no answer, and try to balance, say that equals a preponderance of evidence on the other side. That's just not quite the way the scales tip.
Q: If that tiny mystery, at least by one authority who you acknowledge his authority, has been said, if correct, call to question the entire science of geochronology.
A: Well, that's what Damon said. And I also said that I did not agree with Paul Damon in that statement. I think that's an overstatement of the case by a long way. I think that Paul in that case was engaging in rhetoric.
Q: What is your personal belief as to the existence of a God?
A: Well, I consider my religion a highly personal matter, and I've never required personally anything other than explaining the world we see around us by natural events. But I try to remain rather open minded on the subject.
So I guess at best I can tell you that I have not come to any firm conclusion that I am not willing to change in the future.
Q: Did you not tell me during your deposition that you
Q: (Continuing) would be something between an agnostic and an atheist; is that correct?
A: No. I said about halfway between an agnostic and an atheist. But the reason I said that was because you were trying to get me to label myself. And I think I also said that I do not label myself. But you were insistent that I give you some answer on that scale, and I'm afraid that's the best I can do. I'm not happy with that answer, but I simply can't do any better.
Q: But you also stated, did you not, that you had not seen any proof of a God?
A: I think I did say that. Yes.
Q: Nonetheless, you would agree that a religious person can be a competent scientist?
A: Absolutely, and I know a number of them.
MR. WILLIAMS: No further questions, Your Honor.
BY MR. ENNIS:
Q: Doctor Dalrymple, Mr. Williams asked you about a resolution of the American Geophysical Union. What is the American Geophysical Union?
A: The American Geophysical Union is the largest society of physicists- Well, let me take that back. I think it's one of the largest societies of geophysicists
A: (Continuing) in North America. The American Society for Exploration of Geophysicists may be larger. I'm not sure.
It consists of a variety of sections that include scientists working on geochemistry, seismology, petrology, hydrology, planetology, astronomy, meteorology, upper atmosphere physics, and so forth. Anything to do with the physics and chemistry of the earth is included in the American Geophysical Union.
Q: Mr. Williams brought out on his cross examination that you had worked on a proposed resolution to be considered by the American Geophysical Union on this subject, is that correct?
A: Yes, I have.
Q: And he brought out that in the course of working on that resolution, you asked to see if other scientific organizations had adopted resolutions on teaching of creation science in public schools?
A: That's correct.
Q: What other resolutions did you obtain from which other organizations?
A: Well, I'm not sure I can remember them all. They were mostly biological societies. There was the National Association of Biology Teachers, there was the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the
A: (Continuing) Advancement of Sciences has a resolution, and there were five or six others whose names I don't remember at the moment. They are all included in the material I think I gave to Mr. Williams.
Q: These are other scientific organizations that have adopted resolutions opposing the teaching of creation science in public schools?
A: Yes. They have opposed the teaching of creation science as science. I want to e very specific about that. Most organizations are not opposed to teaching it as a part of a social science curriculum.
Q: Do you have the power or authority by yourself to issue a resolution on behalf of the American Geophysical Union?
A: No, of course not. I can only submit one to the Council for approval.
Q: And you testified during cross examination that on December 6th the Council of the American Geophysical Union did, in fact, adopt a resolution, is that correct?
A: Yes. It was Sunday night, if that was December 6th.
Q: I'd like to show you a document and ask you if that document reflects the resolution adopted by the American Geophysical Union?
A: Yes, that is the resolution.
Q: Could you please read it for the record?
A: Yes, I will. It's preceded by the following statement. It says: "The final resolution was passed unanimously by the Council of the American Geophysical Union on Sunday, December 6, 1981."
Then the resolution reads as follows: "The Council of the American Geophysical Union notes with concern the the continuing efforts by creationists for administrative, legislative, and political action designed to require the teaching of creationism as a scientific theory.
"The American Geophysical Union is opposed to all efforts to require the teaching of creationism or any other religious tenets as science."
That's the end of the resolution.
MR. ENNIS: Your Honor, I would like to move that that resolution be received in evidence as a plaintiffs' exhibit.
THE COURT: It will be received.
MR. ENNIS: Do we know which number it will be assigned?
THE COURT: I don't.
MR. ENNIS: We'll take care of that detail later.
MR. ENNIS: (Continuing)
Q: Doctor Gentry, Mr. Williams asked you some questions-
A: Doctor who?
Q: Doctor Dalrymple. Mr. Williams asked you some questions about Mr. Gentry's hypothesis. Are you familiar with that hypothesis?
A: Well, I'm familiar with it if it is accurately represented in the exchange of letters published in EOS between Mr. Gentry and Doctor Damon.
Q: Does Mr. Gentry's hypothesis depend upon supernatural causes?
A: Yes, it does.
Q: Could you explain, please?
A: Well, I think it might be best explained if I could simply read his two statements from his letter, and then I won't misquote him, if that would be permissible.
Q: Do you have that with you?
A: No, I don't, but it was supplied in the material that I gave in my deposition.
MR. ENNIS: I have been informed that we can mark the resolution of the American Geophysical Union as Plaintiffs' Exhibit Number Twenty-eight.
THE COURT: It will be received.
A: Yes, I have it now.
Q: Doctor Dalrymple, would you please read from that document, after describing what it is?
A: Yes. It's just a couple of sentences. It's State's Exhibit Number Nine, is the way it's marked. It's two
A: (Continuing) letters that appeared, actually three letters that appeared in a column for that purpose in EOS. EOS is the transactions of the American Geophysical Union. It's a newsletter in which letters like this are commonly exchanged.
It's Volume 60, Number 22; May 29, 1979, page 474. In Mr. Gentry's response to Doctor Damon, he makes the following statement: "And as far as a new comprehensive theory is concerned, I would replace the once singularity of the Big Bang with two major cosmos-related singularities (in which I exclude any implications about extraterrestrial life-related phenomena) derived from the historic Judeo-Christian ethic, namely the events associated with (1) the galaxies (including the Milky Way) being Created ex nihilo by Fiat nearly 6 millennia ago and (2) a later catastrophe which resulted in a solar system-wide disturbance that was manifested on earth primarily as a worldwide flood with subsequent crustal adjustments."
And then he goes on.
Q: During cross examination Mr. Williams asked you if Mr. Gentry's argument or hypothesis could be falsified. Has Mr. Gentry proposed a method for falsifying his hypothesis?
A: Yes, he has proposed a test and that is the one I
A: (Continuing) characterized as meaningless.
Q: Why would it be meaningless?
A: Let me first see if I can find a statement of the test, and I will explain that. I have it now.
THE COURT: May I read what you quoted from the newsletter before you go to that?
A: The experiment that Doctor Gentry proposed-
THE COURT: Let me ask you a question. As I understand it, that's his conclusion. I still don't understand what his theory is.
THE WITNESS: He has proposed that it is either a theory or a hypothesis that he says can be falsified.
THE COURT: What's the basis for the proposal? How does he come up with that?
THE WITNESS: Well, basically what he has found is there is a series of radioactive haloes within minerals in the rocks. Many minerals like mica include very tiny particles of other minerals that are radioactive, little crystals of zircon and things like that, that have a lot of uranium in them.
And as the uranium decays, the alpha particles will not decay, but travel outward through the mica. And they cause radiation damage in the mica around the radioactive particle. And the distance that those particles travel is
THE WITNESS: (Continuing) indicated by these radioactive haloes. And that distance is related directly to the energy of the decay. And from the energy of the decay, it is thought that we can identify the isotopes.
That's the kind of work that Gentry has been doing.
And what he has found is that he has identified certain haloes which he claims are from Polonium-218. Now, Polonium-218 is one of the isotopes intermediate in the decay chain between uranium and lead.
Uranium doesn't decay directly from lead. It goes through a whole series of intermediate products, each of which is radioactive and in turn decays.
Polonium-218 is derived in this occasion from Radon 222. And what he has found is that the Polonium haloes, and this is what he claims to have found, are the Polonium-2l8 haloes, but not Radon-222 haloes. And therefore, he says that the Polonium could not have come from the decay of Radium, therefore it could not have come from the normal decay change.
And he says, how did it get there? And then he says that the only way it could have gotten there unsupported Radon-222 decay is to have been primordial Polonium, that is Polonium that was created at the time the solar system was created, or the universe.
Well, the problem with that is Polonium-2l8 has a
THE WITNESS: (Continuing) half-life of only about three minutes, I believe it is. So that if you have a granitic body, a rock that comes from the melt, that contains this mica, and it cools down, it takes millions of years for body like that to cool.
So that by the time the body cooled, all the Polonium would have decayed, since it has an extremely short half-life. Therefore, there would be no Polonium in the body to cause the Polonium haloes.
So what he is saying, this is primordial Polonium; therefore, the granite mass in which it occurs could not have cooled slowly; therefore, it must have been created by fiat, instantly.
And the experiment he has proposed to falsify this is that he says he will accept this hypothesis as false when somebody can synthesize a piece of granite in the laboratory.
And I'm claiming that that would be a meaningless experiment.
Does that- I know this is a rather complicated subject.
THE COURT: I am not sure I understand all of this process. Obviously I don't understand all of this process, but why don't you go ahead, Mr. Ennis?
MR. ENNIS: Yes, your Honor. Obviously, your Honor, these subjects are somewhat complex, and if the Court has
MR. ENNIS: (Continuing) additional questions, I'd hope that the Court would feel free to ask the witness directly.
MR. ENNIS: (Continuing)
Q: Why, in your opinion, would the test proposed by Mr. Gentry not falsify his hypothesis?
A: Let me read specifically first what his proposal is. He said, "I would consider my thesis essentially falsified if and when geologists synthesize a hand-sized specimen of a typical biotite barium granite and/or a similar sized crystal of biotite."
And if I understand what he's saying there, he's saying that since his proposal requires that granite form rapidly, instantly, by instantaneous creation, that he does not see any evidence that these granites, in fact, cool slowly; his evidence said they cool rapidly. And he would accept as evidence if somebody could synthesize a piece of granite in the laboratory.
There are a couple of problems with that. In the first place, we know that these granites did form slowly from a liquid from the following evidence: These rocks contain certain kinds of textures which are only found in rocks that cool from a liquid. And we can observe that in two ways, these textures. They are called igneous and crystalline textures.
We can observe these textures by crystallizing compounds
Page is missing.
A: (Continuing) a liquid. There is no other way that they could have formed.
The other problem with Gentry's proposal is that the crystallization of granite is an enormously difficult technical problem, and that's all it is. We can't crystallize granite in the laboratory, and he's proposing a hand-sized specimen. That's something like this, I presume.
In the first place, the business of crystallizing rocks at temperatures, most of them crystallize at temperatures between seven hundred and twelve hundred degrees centigrade. The temperatures are high. And in the case of granites and metamorphic rocks, sometimes the pressures are high, many kilobars. So it takes a rather elaborate, sometimes dangerous apparatus to do this.
And the apparatus is of such a size that usually what we have to crystallize is very tiny pieces. I don't know of anyone who has developed an apparatus to crystallize anything that's hand-sized.
So he's thrown down a challenge that's impossible at the moment, within the limits of the present technical knowledge.
The second thing is that the crystallization of granite, the reason we have not been able to crystallize even a tiny piece in the laboratory that I know if, unless there
A: (Continuing) has been a recent breakthrough, is essentially an experimental one. It's a kinetic problem.
Anyone who has tried to grow crystals in a laboratory knows that it's very difficult to do if you don't seed the melt. That is, you have to start with some kind of a little tiny crystal to begin with. And when the semi-conductor industry, for example, grows crystals to use in watches like this, they always have to start with a little tiny seed crystal. And once you have that tiny seed crystal, then you can get it to crystallize.
So it's basically a problem of getting the reaction to go, it's a problem of nucleation, getting it started, and it's a problem of kinetics, getting the reaction to go on these viscous melts that are very hot under high pressure.
And what I'm saying is that even if we could crystallize a piece of hand-sized granite in the laboratory, it would prove nothing. All it would represent would be a technical breakthrough. All of a sudden scientists would be able to perform experiments that we cannot now perform.
But in terms of throwing down a challenge to the age of the earth, that's a meaningless experiment. So he's thrown down a challenge that has no meaning, hand-sized crystallized granite. And he's saying, `If you don't meet it, then I won't accept your evidence.' Well, it's a meaningless challenge. It's not an experiment.
Q: Doctor Dalrymple, if I understand correctly, Polonium-218 is the product of the radioactive decay of Radon-222, is that correct?
A: Yes, that's correct.
Q: And does Polonium-218 occur through any other process?
A: Not as far as I know. I suspect you could make it in a nuclear reactor, but I don't know that. I'm not sure, but I don't think Polonium-2l8 is a product of any other decay chain.
Q: So if there were Polonium-218 in a rock which did not have any previous Radon-222 in that rock, then that existence of Polonium-218 would mean that the laws of physics as you understand them would have had to have been suspended for that Polonium to be there; is that correct?
A: Well, if that were the case, it might or it might not. But there are a couple of other possibilities. One is that perhaps Gentry is mistaken about the halo. It may not have been Polonium-218. The second one is that it's possible that he's not been able to identify the Radon-222 halo. Maybe it's been erased, and maybe for reasons we don't understand, it was never created.
This is why I say It's just a tiny mystery. We have lots of these in science, little things that we can't quite explain. But we don't throw those on the scale and
A: (continuing) claim that they outweigh everything else. That's simply not a rational way to operate.
I would be very interested to know what the ultimate solution to this problem is, and I suspect eventually there will be a natural explanation found for it.
Q: Does Mr. Gentry's data provide scientific evidence from which you conclude that the earth is relatively young?
A: Well, I certainly wouldn't reach that conclusion, because that evidence has to be balanced by everything else we know, and everything else we know tells us that it's extremely old.
The other thing that I should mention, and I forgot to make this in my previous point, if I could, and that is that Mr. Gentry seems to be saying that the crystalline rocks; the basic rocks, the old rocks of the contents were forms instantaneously. And he uses granite.
But the thing that he seems to overlook is that not all these old rocks are granites. In fact, there are lava flows included in those old rocks, there are sediments included in those old rocks. These sediments were deposited in oceans, they were deposited in lakes. They are even pre-Cambrian glacial deposits that tells that the glaciers were on the earth a long, long time ago.
So it's impossible to characterize all of the old crystalline rocks as being just granite. Granite is a
A: (Continuing) very special rock type, and it makes up a rather small percentage of the pre-Cambrian or the old crystalline rocks that formed before the continents.
MR. ENNIS: May I have one moment, your Honor?
THE COURT: Sure.
MR. ENNIS: No further questions, but I would like to state for the record, I have now been informed that Exhibit 28 was not an available number for exhibits, so if we could remark the resolution of the American Geophysical Union with the exhibit number 122 for plaintiffs. I believe that is an available number.
THE COURT: Mr. Williams, do you have any more questions?
MR. WILLIAMS: Briefly, your Honor.
May I approach the witness, your Honor?
THE COURT: Yes.
MR. WILLIAMS: Inasmuch as the witness is quoting from this letter, I would like to have it introduced into evidence so that it can be read in the context, these two pages from Forum EOS dated May 29, 1979. We could make these Defendant's Exhibit 1.
THE COURT: Okay.
MR. WILLIAMS: I'll have it marked.
BY MR. WILLIAMS:
Q: You state that the challenge which Mr. Gentry has
Q: (Continuing) issued, if I understand you, is essentially impossible?
A: It is presently impossible within our present technical capability. There have been people working on this, and I suspect someday we'll be able to do it.
Q: Is it not true that you can take a pile of sedimentary rocks and by applying heat and pressure just simply convert that to something like a granite?
A: Something like a granite, yes, that's true. But it's something like a granite, but they have quite different textures. When you do that, you now have a metamorphic rock, and it has a different fabric, and it has a different texture, which is quite distinct from a igneous texture. They are very easily identified from both a hand specimen and a microscope. Any third year geology student could tell you if you handle a piece of rock whether it's igneous or metamorphic. It's a very simple problem.
Q: But it is quite similar to a granite, but you just can't quite get it to be a granite, can you?
A: Well, granite sort of has two connotations. In the first place, in the strict sense, granite is a composition only. It's a composition of an igneous rock. Granite is a word that we use for rock classification.
It is also used in a looser sense, and that looser sense
A: (Continuing) includes all igneous rocks that cool deep within the earth. And they would include things like quartz, diorite- I won't bother to tell you what those are, but they are a range of composition.
Sometimes granite is used in that loose sense. People say that the Sierra Nevada is composed primarily of granite. Well, technically there is no granite in the Sierra Nevada. They are slightly different compositions.
It is also used to describe the compositions of certain types of metamorphic rocks. So you have to be a little careful when you use the term `granite' and be sure that we know exactly in what sense we are using that word.
Q: Now, you stated that you think, in trying to explain why Gentry's theory might not be correct or not that important, you said that perhaps he misidentified some of the haloes, and I think you also said that perhaps he had mismeasured something, is that correct?
A: Well, I think those were the same statement. I'm just offering that as an alternative hypothesis.
Q: Do you know that's what happened?
A: Oh, no, no.
Q: You have not made any of these studies and determined that yourself, have you?
A: No, no.
Q: We've already had testimony in the record, Doctor
Q: (Continuing) Dalrymple, in this case yesterday from another of plaintiffs' witnesses that science is not concerned with where a theory comes from, a model comes from, it's concerned with whether the data fit the model. Would you agree with that?
A: Well, I think that that sounds like a fair statement, yes. If you mean by that that we don't really care who proposes it. Is that- I'm not sure I understand the sense of your question. That's the way I took it anyway.
Do you mean that is anyone eligible to propose something like that and will it be considered?
Q: Not just who proposes it, but the source from which they get it or their motivation. Those aren't important. The important thing is that the data fit what has been proposed.
A: Well, the motivation might be important. For example, I think we went over this in the deposition a little bit. You don't just simply propose a theory. What you really propose is a hypothesis or something smaller in scale. A: theory only becomes accepted as a theory in the scientific theory when there is a large amount of evidence - I would characterize it as a preponderance of evidence - to support that theory.
That doesn't necessarily mean that it's right. At some time in the future it may have to be modified. But we
A: (Continuing) don't just characterize any idea as a theory. I think we start with something much less tentative. And even a hypothesis is usually proposed to explain some set of facts so that- One thing we're not allowed to do in science is to let any kind of belief or prejudice drive our hypotheses or theories. We're not supposed to become personally involved in them.
And this is why I say that motivation might be important. We are not out to prove our personal beliefs. What we're out to do is seek the truth within the limited framework within which science operates.
So that's why I say that motivation might be important. If someone is out to prove something for their own benefit, then their motivation might come into it.
Q: If someone had proposed, for example, a theory or hypothesis motivated by their own political ideology, would you be concerned about that, as long as the data fit the hypothesis or the theory?
A: I think as long as the data, if it was proposed on a reasonable basis, on the basis of existing data, then I think in a case like that, that would be perfectly acceptable. As long as the motivation was truly divorced from the hypothesis, then I would have no problem with it.
Q: By the way, you differentiated between a hypothesis and a theory. Is it true that a hypothesis is something
Q: (Continuing) more tentative, in your mind, and a theory is perhaps more established, and at some point a theory becomes a fact?
A: No, I don't put them together in quite that difference, but I'll explain to you as best I can what my notion of those terms are.
I think a fact - facts are data. That's the way I consider facts. A fact is if we measured the length of this box a number of times and determined that it's three and a half feet long, then that becomes a relatively indisputable fact.
There is a difference, in my mind, between a theory and a hypothesis, both in scale and in the degree of proof behind it. I think a hypothesis can be a relatively small thing. We might again hypothesize that this box is three and a half feet long, and we could test that hypothesis by making measurements and find out whether that is true or false. That could be a reasonable hypothesis.
Or it might be bigger. After it become rather firmly established, after there is a lot of evidence for it, then it is adopted as a theory. And I think if you look in places like Webster's Dictionary, I think you will find that there is a distinction made there in the degree of tentativeness.
Theories are fairly firmly established things. Now,
A: (Continuing) sometimes we find that they are not true and have to modify them, but there is this degree of scale between hypothesis and theory.
Q: For example, Copernicus proposed a theory, did he not-
MR. ENNIS: Your Honor, I didn't object earlier to this line of questioning, but I think it's entirely outside the scope of my redirect examination.
THE COURT: Well, I don't think it's limited by that, or it wouldn't be as far as I'm concerned, but where are you going with it?
MR. WILLIAMS: Your Honor, I think I'm going, this particular line of testimony is important to show that there is perhaps not an accord among even the Plaintiffs' scientists as to what is a fact, what's a theory, what's a hypothesis.
And I think it goes to the fact that there is no unanimity on these things, even among the plaintiffs' own scientists. I think that has some relevance at least to the argument which the plaintiffs are making as to whether this is a scientific theory in looking at creation science.
THE COURT: Well, I would take notice that there's probably not unanimity among all the scientists.
MR. WILLIAMS: Fine.
MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
Q: As part of Defendants' Exhibit 1, Mr. Gentry quotes
Q: (Continuing) from a National Academy of Science Resolution of April of 1976, which reads in part: "That the search for knowledge and understanding of the physical universe and of living things that inhabit it should be conducted under conditions of intellectual freedom, without religious, political, or ideological restrictions. That freedom of inquiry and dissemination of ideas require that those so engaged should be free to search where their inquiry leads, without political censorship and without fear of retribution and consequence of unpopularity of their conclusions. Those who challenge existing theory must be protected from retaliatory reactions."
Do you agree with that statement?
A: Yes, I would subscribe to that.
MR. WILLIAMS: No further questions.
THE COURT: May this witness be excused?
MR. ENNIS: He may, your Honor.
THE COURT: Thank you.
Why don't we take about a ten minute recess.
(Thereupon, court was in
recess from 10:10 a.m. to