Line Numbered Transcripts Index - P434-466
1 A (continuing) ignores that evidence.
2 One thing we do know about geomagnetic reversals from
3 the evidence, of rocks is that during the process of the
4 field reversing, the dipole moment decays.
5 Q What do creation scientists say about the
6 possibility of the polarity reversals?
7 A Well, they claim that they can't happen, and they
8 claim that they have not happened.
9 Q Is there any basis for that claim?
10 A No, none whatsoever. The paleomagnetic evidence is
11 very sound, and, in fact, it's verified by other evidence
12 as well.
13 It's also interesting to note that the earth's field is
14 not the only field that reverses polarity. For example,
15 in 1953, the dipole field of the sun was positive polarity
16 in the North and negative polarity in the South pole.
17 Over the next few years the strength of the sun's dipole
18 field began to decrease, very much in the same way that
19 the strengths of the earth's dipole field is now
20 decreasing, until within a few years it had vanished
21 entirely. It couldn't be measured from the earth.
22 Then gradually it began to reestablish itself, and by
23 1958 the sun's dipole field was completely reversed, so
24 that the North Pole, instead of being positive, was now
25 negative, and vice versa for the South Pole.
1 A (Continuing) So geomagnetic reversals are not a
2 surprising phenomena, and in fact, they are expected.
3 Magnetic reversals have also been seen in the stars.
4 Q But creation scientists just deny that that happens?
5 A Well, they never mention that. It's simply ignored.
6 Q Do creation science arguments for a young earth
7 rely on the cooling of the earth?
8 A Yes. They commonly use that argument. And again,
9 that argument is one that has been championed by Thomas
10 Barnes and some of the patrons of the Institute of
11 Creation Research.
12 That particular theory, or idea, goes back to an idea
13 championed by Lord Kelvin (Thomson) who started in the
14 mid-eighteen hundreds. At that time you must remember
15 that there was no such thing as radioactivity. By that I
16 mean it had not been discovered yet.
17 Kelvin observed that the temperature of the earth
18 increased as it went downward from the surface. That is,
19 he observed the geothermal gradient. He had started with
20 the assumption that the earth started from a white hot
21 incandescent sphere and it cooled to its present state.
22 So he calculated how long that would take.
23 His first estimates were something between twenty and
24 four hundred million years. Later he settled on
25 twenty-four million years, which was not his figure, but
1 A (Continuing) it was a figure that was first
2 calculated by the geologist Clarence King, who quite
3 incidentally was the first director of the Geological Survey.
4 The problem with total analysis in Barnes championing of
5 this thing is that partly he took a physical way to
6 calculate the age of the earth. The problem with that is
7 that in 1903 Rutherford and Soddy demonstrated
8 conclusively that there's an enormous amount of energy
9 available in radioactive decay. In fact, all of the heat
10 now pouring outward from the earth can be accounted for
11 solely by radioactive elements in the earth's crust and
13 Kelvin never publicly recanted his views, but in the
14 history of his life it has been recorded that he privately
15 admitted that the discovery by Rutherford and Soddy that
16 said this enormous energy is from radioactive decay had
17 completely disproved his hypothesis. Even Kelvin knew it
18 was wrong.
19 It's quite amazing to me that the creationists would
20 hold such an idea for a couple of reasons. The first
21 reason being that we've known for all these centuries that
22 Kelvin's calculations were completely irrelevant. And the
23 second thing is that Kelvin thought the earth was billions
24 of years old.
25 Q Do creation scientists rely on the accumulation of meteor
dust as evidence for a young age of the earth?
1 A Yes. That's another one that they claim. And I've
2 looked into it some, and if you don't mind, I'd like to
3 refer to some notes on that so that I get the figures
5 Q Could you explain that creation science claim?
6 A Yes. Morris, in 1974, and also a book by Wysong in
7 1966, both claim that there's evidence that the influx of
8 meteoric dust to the earth is fourteen million tons per
10 And they calculate that if the earth were five billion
11 years old, this should result in a layer of meteoric dust
12 on the earth a hundred and eight-five feet thick. And
13 they say, "How absurd, we don't observe this," of course.
14 There are some problems with that, however. They are
15 relying on calculations done by a man by the name of
16 Peterson in 1960. What Peterson did was collect volumes
17 of air from the top of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, using
18 a pump originally developed for smog, I believe.
19 Then he thought about the dust. Then he analyzed this
20 dust for nickel content. He observed that nickel was a
21 fairly rare element on the earth's crust. That's not
22 exactly true, but that was the assumption that he used.
23 And he assumed that the meteoric dust had a nickel
24 content of two and half percent. So using the mass of
25 dust that he had and the nickel content of the dust and an
1 A (Continuing) assumed two and a half percent nickel
2 content for meteoric material, he was able to calculate
3 the annual volume of meteoric dust that flowed into the
5 He came up with a figure of about fifteen million tons
6 per year, but when he weighed all of the evidence, he
7 finally concluded that perhaps, about five million tons per
8 year was about right.
9 Morris, on the other hand, and Wysong, both choose the
10 higher number, I think because that makes the layer of
11 dust thicker.
12 The problem with that is that nickel is not all that
13 uncommon in the earth's crust, and probably Peterson was
14 measuring a lot of contamination.
15 There have been more recent estimates than Peterson's.
16 In 1968, for example, Barker and Anders made an estimate
17 of the meteoric influx of cosmic dust based on the uranium
18 osmium contents, which are extremely rare, of matter in
19 deep sea sediments. And they came up with an influx
20 figure that was a factor of twenty-three lower than
21 Peterson's figure, and, therefore, twenty-three times
22 lower than the figure used by Morris.
23 Probably the best completely independent estimates,
24 however, are based on satellite data, satellite
25 penetration data. That is, the number and the mass of
particles distract satellites as they orbit the earth.
1 A (Continuing) And NASA collected quite a bit of
2 these data in the 1960's.
3 There was a review of that done in 1972, and you note
4 that that information was available when Morris and Wysong
5 wrote their book, but they didn't cite it.
6 Q What does that NASA data show?
7 A Well, that showed that the influx of meteoric
8 materials was, in fact, not fourteen million tons or even
9 five million tons per year, but more like eleven thousand
10 tons per year. In other words, two orders of magnitude
12 And coming out here on the plane, I redid Morris'
13 calculations using these better figures, and I came up
14 with a rough layer of four point six centimeters in five
15 billion years. And of course, with the rainfall and
16 everything, that simply would have been washed away.
17 There's an interesting aside. NASA was quite concerned
18 about the layer of dust on the moon. NASA estimated that
19 it would produce a layer of dust on the moon in four and a
20 half billion years of about one and half to perhaps
21 fifteen centimeters maximum. And in the least disturbed
22 areas of the moon, the astronauts measured a thickness of
23 about ten centimeters, so the observations agree exactly
24 with the predictions.
25 Q Do these observations on the moon prove that the
1 (Continuing) earth or the moon are, in fact, four
2 point five to five million years old?
3 A No, they don't prove anything whatsoever except
4 that there's dust on the moon. It's another one of those
5 processes that has a non-constant rate. We have more
6 reason to suspect that the rate of influx of meteoric dust
7 has been constant with time. In fact, we have a lot of
8 reasons to suspect that it is not.
9 For example, in the early history of the earth, four and
10 a half billion years ago when the earth was first formed,
11 it was sweeping up out of space enormous amounts of
12 material. During those periods of the earth's history, we
13 would expect the influx rate to be very, very high. Now
14 it's much lower.
15 The evidence indicates it has probably been constant for
16 perhaps the last ten million years. We have no idea what
17 the rate of influx of meteoric dust has been over geologic
18 history. So it's one of these things that you simply can't
20 Q Do creation scientists rely upon the shrinking of
21 the sun?
22 A Yes. That's another one I've read, and that stems
23 from a paper, I think in the Institute of Creation
24 Research Impact, Number 82, published in April of 1980.
25 Their claim is based on a paper by Eddie Inpornasian (Aram
Boornazian) which was published in 1979. Using
1 A (Continuing) visual observations of the sun, Aram
2 Boornazian observed that they thought that the sun's
3 diameter was decreasing. And it was decreasing at such a
4 rate that in a hundred thousand years the sun would vanish
5 to a point.
6 And the creationists work this backwards and say that if
7 the earth was as old as geologists claim it was, then the
8 sun would have been very large in the past history, and
9 would have been so large that life would not have been
10 possible on the earth.
11 The problem with this particular calculation is that the
12 original data of Aram Boornazian was completely wrong.
13 There had been another study done by Irwin Shapiro of MIT,
14 who used twenty-three transits of mercury across the face
15 of the sun that occurred between 1736 and sometime within
16 the last few years, a much more accurate way to measure
17 the diameter of the sun than the techniques used by Aram
18 and his colleagues. Shapiro, his paper was published in
19 1980. He said rather conclusively that the sun's diameter
20 is not changing at all. The sun is not shrinking or it's
21 not growing.
22 Q Are you aware of other supposed tests for the
23 earth's age proposed by creation scientists?
24 A Yes. There are a number of them in a book by
25 Morris called, I believe, The Scientific Case for Creation.
As I recall, he proposes about seventy
1 A (Continuing) different methods that he lists. They
2 ranged all the way from influx of soda aluminum into the
3 oceans, for which he gets a figure of a hundred years, I
4 believe, to influx of magma into the crust, for which he
5 gets a figure of five hundred million years.
6 MR. ENNIS: Your Honor, Plaintiffs have previously
7 marked for identification excerpts from that particular
8 book that include approximately six pages to which Doctor
9 Dalrymple might refer in his testimony. I have given
10 copies of those additional six pages to the Attorney
12 If there is no objection, I'd like for those six pages
13 to be added and included with Plaintiffs' Exhibit
14 Eighty-Six for identification.
15 THE COURT: Okay.
16 MR. ENNIS: (Continuing)
17 Q I'd like to show you Plaintiffs' Exhibit Eighty-Six
18 for identification.
19 A Okay.
20 Q Does Mr. Morris, in that book, acknowledge any
21 assumptions he used in deciding which of those tests to
22 rely upon and which not to rely upon?
23 A Yes, he does. On page 53 he makes the following
24 statement: "It is equally legitimate for creationists to
25 calculate apparent ages using assumptions which agree with
1 A (Continuing) their belief in special creation,
2 provided they acknowledge that fact. And then he goes on
3 to present seventy such calculations, most of which are
4 made by him and his colleagues, but some of which he
5 refers to the scientific literature.
6 Q What do those seventy tests supposedly show?
7 A Well, Morris approaches this in a rather strange
8 way. He says, "I'm going to make all these calculations
9 for the age of the earth using these assumptions," and
10 then gets a variety of results, ranging from too small to
11 measure, to, I don't know, five hundred million years,
12 something like that.
13 And he says, "Look how inconsistent the results are. As
14 you see, we really can't calculate the age of the earth."
15 However, he thinks that the young ages are probably more
16 reliable than the old ages, basically because there would
17 have been less time for external factors to affect the
19 The problem with these seventy ages is that most of them
20 rely on rates that are not constant. And these seventy
21 also include things like the magnetic field and meteoric
22 dust, which I have already discussed.
23 Sometimes, however, he uses very misleading and
24 erroneous data.
25 Q Could you give me an example of that?
1 A Yes, I can. There is one which is here, number
2 thirty-three. It's entitled, "Formation of Carbon 14 on
3 Meteorites." The age he lists is a hundred thousand
4 years, and the reference he gives is to a paper published
5 in 1972 by Boeckl. There is a problem with that, and that
6 is that Boeckl's: paper was not about meteorites at all;
7 Boeckl's paper was about tektites. Tektites are objects
8 which are thought to originate on the earth.
9 The second thing was that Boeckl was interested in
10 calculating the cosmic rays exposure ages for these
11 tektites. He wanted to know how long they had spent in
13 In order to make the calculations he was trying to make,
14 he had to assume an initial age for the tektites. His
15 calculations were not terribly sensitive at all to what he
16 assumed, so he just assumed ten thousand years for his
17 particular purpose.
18 I don't know where Morris got a hundred thousand years.
19 That figure he must have made up. But the fact is that
20 Boeckl's paper wasn't about the subject Morris claims it
21 was. There was no data in Boeckl's paper that could be
22 used to calculate the age of the earth or anything else.
23 The one age that Boeckl was trying to calculate was the
24 residence time of these objects in space, and that's all.
25 So this is truly misleading and very unscientific.
1 Q Doctor Dalrymple, in conclusion, in your
2 professional opinion, is there any scientific evidence
3 which indicates a relatively recent inception of the earth?
4 A There is none whatsoever.
5 MR. ENNIS: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
6 THE COURT: I think we probably ought to recess for
7 the night. How long do you think your cross examination
8 is going to be?
9 MR. WILLIAMS: Not very long, your Honor.
10 THE COURT: You are talking about five or ten
12 MR. WILLIAMS: It will be a little longer. Might
13 take twenty minutes, or under.
14 THE COURT: Why don't we wait until tomorrow to do
15 it if you don't mind.
16 I found out today that GSA recalculated the cost of
17 driving an automobile, and it is not twenty-two and a half
18 cents a mile like they were paying us; it is twenty cents
19 a mile. And you can find some comfort in that, but I
20 think I am going to protest by quitting early today.
21 (Thereupon, Court was in recess
22 at 5:15 p.m.)
1 VOLUME III INDEX
4 On Behalf of the Plaintiffs:
6 GARY B. DALRYMPLE
7 Cross Examination by Mr. Williams Page 449
8 Redirect Examination by Mr. Ennis Page 471
9 Recross Examination by Mr. Williams Page 486
11 HAROLD MOROWITZ
12 Direct Examination by Mr. Novik Page 494
13 Cross Examination by Mr. Childs Page 577
15 STEPHEN GOULD
16 Direct Examination by Mr. Novik Page 514
17 Cross Examination by Mr. Williams Page 611
19 DENNIS GLASGOW
20 Direct Examination by Mr. Cearley Page 641
21 Cross Examination by Mr. Childs Page 684
1 VOLUME III - EXHIBIT INDEX
3 EXHIBIT OFFERED RECEIVED
5 Plaintiffs' No. 121 474 474
6 Defendants' No. 1 486 486
7 Plaintiffs' No. 93 494 494
8 Plaintiffs' No. 96 515 515
9 Plaintiffs' No. 101 552 552
10 Plaintiffs' No. 123 556 556
11 Defendants' No. 2 616 616
12 Plaintiffs' No. 40 649 649
13 Plaintiffs' No. 41 - 50 660 660
14 Plaintiffs' No. 128 667 667
15 Defendants' No. 3 689 689
1 (December 9, 1981)
2 (9:00 a.m.)
3 THE COURT: I see you all made it back, and I
4 believe we are about to begin the cross examination of
5 Doctor Dalrymple.
7 BY MR. WILLIAMS:
8 Q Is constancy of the rate of radioactive decay a
9 requirement for radiometric dating?
10 A Yes. It is required that radiometric dating be
11 based on constant decay rates, at least within limits of
12 significant areas, and what I mean by that is that if the
13 decay rates were to change a percent or two, that would
14 probably not significantly alter any of our major
15 conclusions in geology.
16 Q To the best of your knowledge, has the rate of
17 radioactive decay always been constant?
18 A As far as we know from all the evidence we have, it
19 has always been constant. We have no, either empirical or
20 theoretical reason to believe it is not.
21 Q So as far as you know, it would have been constant
22 one billion years ago, the same as it is today.
23 A As far as we know.
24 Q Five billion years ago?
25 A As far as we know.
1 Q Ten billion years ago?
2 A As far as we know.
3 Q Fifteen billion?
4 A I don't know how far back you want to take this, but
5 I think for the purposes of geology and the age of the
6 solar system, we are only interested in using radiometric
7 dating on objects we can possess in our hand, so we only
8 need to take that back about four and a half or five
9 billion years.
10 I think whether it's been constant fifteen billion years
11 is irrelevant, we have no way of getting samples that old.
12 We can only sample things that have been in the solar
14 Q How old is the solar system, to the best of your
16 A As far as we know, it is four and a half billion
17 years old.
18 Q The solar system itself?
19 A The solar system itself. Now, when we talk about
20 the age of something like the solar system, you have to
21 understand that there was a finite period of time over
22 which that system formed, and we may be talking about a
23 period of a few hundred years, so it is not a precise
24 point in time, but some interval, but compared with the
25 age of the solar system, it is thought that that interval
1 A (Continuing) was probably rather short-a few
3 Q Are you aware of when those scientists hypothesized
4 or when the so-called Big Bang occurred, how many years
6 A No, I am not sure exactly when that was supposed--
7 Q Would the rate of radioactive decay have been
8 constant at the time of the Big Bang?
9 A I am not an astrophysicist. I don't know the
10 conditions that existed in the so-called primordial bowl
11 of soup, and so I am afraid I can't answer your question.
12 Q So you don't have any opinion as to whether it was
13 constant then?
14 A That's out of my field of expertise. I can't even
15 tell you whether there were atoms in the same sense that
16 we use that term now.
17 Q But you did state that it had always been constant
18 as far as you knew, but now you state you don't know about
19 the Big Bang, whether it was constant then; is that
21 A Well, what I said, it's been constant within the
22 limits in which we are interested. For the purposes of
23 radiometric dating it hardly matters whether it was
24 constant at the moment of the Big Bang. Let me say this-
25 Q I don't want to interrupt you.
1 A That's all right.
2 Q You say as far as you are concerned, for the
3 purposes of your concern it has been constant as far as
4 you know, and your purposes go back to the age of the
5 earth for four point five billion years; is that correct?
6 A Yes, that's correct.
7 Q But you base that age of the earth on the assumption
8 or on this requirement that it has always been constant;
9 is that correct?
10 A That is not entirely- That's correct, but it is
11 not an assumption. It is not fair to calculate it that
12 way. In a certain sense it is an assumption, but that
13 assumption has also been tested.
14 For example, if you look at the ages of the oldest,
15 least disturbed meteorites, these objects give ages at one
16 point five to four point six billion years. A variety of
17 different radioactive decay schemes, schemes it at
18 different half lives. They are based on different
19 elements. They would not give those identical ages if the
20 rate of decay had been constant.
21 Q But do those schemes that you mentioned there rely
22 upon the requirement that the rate of radioactive decay
23 has always been constant as well?
24 A Yes, they do.
25 Q So all methods you know would rely upon this, what
1 Q (Continuing) you termed a requirement and what I
2 termed an assumption; is that correct?
3 A That is correct.
4 Q The rate of decay is a statistical process, is it
5 not? I think you testified yesterday to that.
6 A Basically, it is.
7 Q Would you agree that any deviation in the rate of
8 decay would have to be accompanied by a change in physical
10 A As far as we know, any change in decay would have to
11 be accompanied by a change in physical laws, with the
12 exceptions that I mentioned yesterday. There are small
13 changes known in certain kinds of decay, specifically in
14 electron capture, a tenth of a percent.
15 Q What do you consider the strongest evidence for the
16 constant rate of radioactive decay?
17 A Well, I don't think I could give you a single piece
18 of strongest evidence, but I think the sum total of the
19 evidence, if I can simplify it, is that rates of decay
20 have been tested in the laboratory and found to be
21 essentially invariant.
22 Theory tells us those rates of decay should be
23 invariant. And when we are able to test those rates of
24 decay on undisturbed systems; that is, systems that we
25 have good reason to presume have been closed since their
1 A (Continuing) formation clear back to the oldest
2 objects known in the solar system, we find we get
3 consistent results using different decay schemes on
4 isotopes that decay at different rates.
5 So that is essentially a synopsis of the evidence for
6 constancy of decay.
7 Q Did you say- but is it not true that as long-
8 Well, if the rate of decay has varied and as long as the
9 variation would have been uniform, would you still get
10 these consistent results?
11 A It is possible to propose a set of conditions under
12 which you could get those consistent results.
13 THE COURT: Excuse me. I didn't understand that.
14 THE WITNESS: I think what he is saying is, is it
15 possible to vary the decay rate in such a way that you
16 could still get a consistent set of results by using
17 different decay schemes, and I think it is always possible
18 to propose such a set of circumstances, yes.
19 So that question is in the nature of a "what if", and
20 one can always come to the conclusion that you can
21 restructure science in such a way to make that "what if"
22 happen. But that is not the sort of thing we usually do
23 unless we have good reason to presume the physical laws
24 have changed, and we presume they have not.
25 The same is true with things like the speed of light,
1 THE WITNESS: (Continuing) gravitational constant and
2 so forth. May I elaborate just a little bit more? We are
3 not talking about small changes in decay. If the creation
4 scientists are correct and the earth is only ten thousand
5 years old, we are talking about many orders of magnitude,
6 thousands of times difference. The difference between the
7 age of the earth that scientists calculate and the age
8 that the creationists calculate are different by a factor
9 of four hundred and fifty thousand.
10 So you don't have to perturb the constancy of decay laws
11 a little bit; you have to perturb them a lot.
12 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
13 Q Where in Act 590 is the age of the earth listed as
14 ten thousand years?
15 A It is not listed as ten thousand years in 590.
16 Q To you, as a geologist, would not an age of several
17 hundred million years still be relatively recent?
18 A That would be considered on the young side of middle
19 age, yes.
20 THE COURT: Mr. Williams, while we are on that
21 point, I have really been curious. What does the State
22 contend a teacher is supposed to interpret that to
23 mean- "relatively recent"? What is going to be your
24 contention, if you are a biology teacher and the biology
25 teacher tells the students about "relatively recent"?
1 THE COURT: (Continuing) What does that mean?
2 MR. WILLIAMS: I think it means a couple of things.
3 First of all, that there may be some doubt as to the
4 reliability of some of the dating methods which are
5 currently being used. Therefore, the generally accepted,
6 as described by Doctor Dalrymple, age of four point five
7 billion years may not be that certain.
8 I think, secondly, our testimony will show that because
9 of this factor the age of the earth may, in fact, be
10 somewhat younger. The State, I don't think, is tied to
11 the age of ten thousand years as the plaintiff has tried
12 to pin on Act 590.
13 Indeed, the age of the earth is probably, in terms of
14 the overall creation science model, is probably, I would
15 say, the least important of those. I am not sure how much
16 the subject would come up in a biology class myself. I
17 have some questions about it myself.
18 THE COURT: Apparently the Act directs that it come
19 up. I'm curious about that.
20 MR. WILLIAMS: Well, your Honor, the Act directs
21 that there be balanced treatment when there is scientific
22 evidence on either side. And doesn't it require that all-
23 THE COURT: I assume that any biology course will
24 address the age of the earth in some fashion, and they
25 will, I think, talk about radioactive decay and that
1 THE COURT: (Continuing) method of aging the world or
2 judging the age of the world. And I gather the Act also
3 directs the biology teacher to say something about a
4 relatively recent formation of the earth, and I'm puzzled
5 as to what the teacher is supposed to say.
6 Are they supposed to approach it in a negative fashion
7 and say, "No, it's not four and a half billion years
8 old"? And what if some student says, "Well, how old is
9 it, then, under this model?" What would they say?
10 MR. WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, let me say that
11 I'm not engaged in curriculum design or materials design,
12 but as I understand it, I think that they could say that
13 there are besides this, other sciences, first of all, who
14 have some doubts as to this dating method. There are
15 other competent scientists who believe that the earth
16 might be, relatively speaking, to the four point five
17 billion years, relatively speaking, younger than that. I
18 don't think there is any one age which anyone would have
19 to be taught as an alternative age. I think it would be a
20 range of ages.
21 THE COURT: Well, again, what is that range, then?
22 MR. WILLIAMS: Well, your Honor, I would prefer, if
23 we could, to defer that to the presentation of our
24 testimony when we will get into that.
25 THE COURT: Maybe that would be best. It's just
1 THE COURT: (Continuing) something that keeps occurring
2 to me as we listen to the testimony here.
3 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
4 Q Mr. Dalrymple, is it correct that you think that
5 geochronology establishes an age of the earth, not only
6 that the earth is several million years old, but also
7 establishes the age of the fossils which are enclosed in
8 the rocks?
9 A Yes. That's correct.
10 Q Is there any reliable method for gauging fossils
11 themselves that you are aware of?
12 A You mean dating the fossil specifically?
13 Q Yes.
14 A There is one method, but it does not go back very
15 far, and that's Carbon-14. The rest of the fossils on the
16 record are done by dating primarily igneous rocks that are
17 in known relationship to fossils. By an igneous rock, I
18 mean a rock that's cooled from a melt, like a lava flow or
20 Q How old would you say that geochronology establishes
21 the ages of the oldest fossils?
22 A Well, the oldest fossils that I know of - And I'm
23 not a paleontologist; I'm going to have to give you a
24 semi-layman's answer - that I know of are bacteria that
25 are found in certain shales in, I believe, Africa or South
1 A (Continuing) Africa. And if I remember correctly,
2 those are close to three billion years old.
3 Q You say you're not a paleontologist and you give a
4 lay answer, but the method of dating fossils actually
5 relies upon the dating of certain rocks around the fossil,
6 does it not?
7 A Well, not necessarily the rocks that actually
8 enclose the fossil, because most of the dating technicians
9 work on igneous rock or metamorphic rocks, that is,
10 crystalline rocks in which fossils don't occur.
11 But again, to take a simple case, if we had a
12 sedimentary bed that includes fossils and we have a lava
13 flow beneath that bed and another lava flow on top of that
14 bed. And if we date those two lava flows, then we have
15 sensibly dated the age of that fossil, or at least we have
16 bracketed the age of that fossil.
17 That's the general way in which fossils are dated
19 Q Now, do you understand that biologists consider
20 these fossils enclosed in these rocks to be the relics or
21 the remnants of some evolutionary development?
22 A Well, I think the fossils are relics of an animal.
23 Q Would that be the evidence of the evolutionary
25 A Well, as far as I know, yes.
1 Q Then would it be fair to say in your mind that the
2 ages for the various types of fossils have been most
3 precisely determined or measured by radioactive dating or
4 by geochronology?
5 A That sounds like a fair statement.
6 Q Since geochronology does play such an important role
7 on the ages of the rocks and the fossils, would you agree
8 that it would be important to know whether there is any
9 evidence which exists which would bear on the fundamental
10 premises of geochronology?
11 A Of course. Let me add that that's a subject that's
12 been discussed considerably in scientific literature.
13 We're always searching for that sort of thing. That's a
14 much debated question
15 Q I think you said yesterday that anyone who believes.
16 in a young age of the earth, in your opinion, to be not
17 too bright scientifically, and are in the same category as
18 people who believe that the earth is flat?
19 A Yes. I think if we are talking about people who
20 profess to be scientists and insist on ignoring what the
21 actual evidence is for the age of the earth, then I find
22 it difficult to think that their thought processes are
24 Q Is it true that you do not know of any scientists
25 who would not agree with you, with your viewpoint on this
1 Q (Continuing) radioactive dating and of the age of
2 the earth and fossils?
3 A Will you rephrase that? I'm not sure I understand
5 Q Is it true that you stated, I think in your
6 deposition, that you do not know of any scientist-
7 MR. ENNIS: Excuse me. If you're referring to the
8 deposition, please identify it, what page.
9 MR. WILLIAMS: I'm not referring to a page at this
10 point, I'm asking a question.
11 MR. WILLIAMS: (Continuing)
12 Q Is it true that you do not know of any scientist who
13 does not agree with you and your view point and opinion as
14 to the age of the earth and the fossils?
15 A It depends on who you include in the word
16 "scientist". I think if you want to include people who
17 categorize themselves as creation scientists, then that
18 would not be a true statement. I know that some of those
19 do not agree.
20 As far as my colleagues, geologists, geochemists,
21 geophysicists and paleontologists, the ones that I know
22 of, I don't know of any who disagree that the earth is
23 very old or that radiometric dating is not a good way to
24 date the earth.
25 Q Are you aware of any creation scientist, then, who
1 Q (Continuing) has published evidence in the open
2 scientific literature who has questioned the fundamental
3 premises of geochronology by radioactive dating?
4 A I know of one.
5 Q Who is that?
6 A That's Robert Gentry. I should say that Robert
7 Gentry characterizes himself as a creation scientist, if I
8 understand what he's written.
9 Q Are you familiar with Paul Damon?
10 A Yes. I know him personally.
11 Q Who is Mr. Damon?
12 A Mr. Damon is a professor at the University of
13 Arizona at Tucson. He specializes in geochronology.
14 Q Are you aware that Mr. Damon has stated in a letter
15 that if Mr. Gentry's work is correct, that it casts in
16 doubt that entire science of geochronology?
17 A Which letter are you referring to?
18 Q Do you recall the letter which you gave to me from
19 EOS by Mr. Damon?
20 A Yes. I recall the general nature of that letter.
21 Q And do you recall that Mr. Damon said that if
22 history is correct, in his deductions it would call up to
23 question the entire science of geochronology?
24 A Well, I think that's the general sense of what Paul
25 Damon said, but I think it's an overstatement. I'm not
1 A (Continuing) sure I would agree with him on that.
2 Q Mr. Damon is not a creation scientist, is he?
3 A No. Doctor Damon is not a creation scientist,
4 by any means.
5 Q Would you consider him to be a competent scientist
6 and an authority in this field?
7 A Yes. He's extremely competent.
8 Q Are you aware as to whether Mr. Gentry has ever
9 offered or provided a way for his evidence to e falsified?
10 A I am aware that he has proposed one, but I do not
11 think his proposal would falsify it either one way or the
13 Q Have you ever made any attempts, experiments that
14 would attempt to falsify his work?
15 A Well, there are a great many- I guess you're going
16 to have to tell me specifically what you mean by "his
17 work". If you could tell me the specific scientific
18 evidence you're talking about, then let's discuss that.
19 Q Well, first of all, do you like to think you keep
20 current on the scientific literature as it may affect
22 A Well, I keep as current as I can. There's a mass
23 amount of literature. In the building next to my office,
24 there are over two hundred fifty thousand volumes, mostly
25 on geology. It's extremely difficult to keep current.
1 A (Continuing) But I am currently relatively up on
2 the mainstream, anyway.
3 Q Certainly the most important points?
4 A I do my best.
5 Q And if someone had issued a study which would, if
6 true, call up to question the entire science of
7 geochronology, would you not want to be made aware of that
8 and look at that closely yourself, as an expert in the
10 A Oh, yes, I would.
11 Q And as a matter of fact, your familiarity with Mr.
12 Gentry's work is limited, is it not, to an article that he
13 wrote in 1972 and a letter that he wrote in response to
14 Mr. Damon's letter, in terms of what you have read, is
15 that correct?
16 A Those are the things I can recall having read, and
17 the reports that I have some recollection of. I have
18 never been terribly interested in radioactive haloes, and
19 I have not followed that work very closely. And that is
20 the subject upon which Mr. Gentry has done most of his
22 As I think I told you in the deposition, I'm not an
23 expert on that particular endeavor. I'm aware that Mr.
24 Gentry has issued a challenge, but I think that challenge
25 is meaningless.
1 Q Well, let me ask you this. You stated in the
2 deposition, did you not- Let me ask you the question,
3 can, to your knowledge, granite be synthesized in a
5 A I don't know of anyone who has synthesized a piece
6 of granite in a laboratory. What relevance does that have
7 to anything?
8 Q I'm asking you the question, can it be done?
9 A Well, in the future I suspect that it will be done.
10 Q I understand. But you said it has not been done yet?
11 A I'm not aware that it has been done. It's an
12 extremely difficult technical problem, and that's
13 basically what's behind it.
14 Q To the extent that you are familiar with Mr.
15 Gentry's work and that as you have reviewed it, would you
16 consider him to be a competent scientist?
17 A I think Mr. Gentry is regarded as a competent
18 scientist within his field of expertise, yes.
19 Q And you would agree with that?
20 A From what I've seen, that's a fair assessment of his
21 work, yes. He's a very, did some very careful
22 measurements, and by and large he comes to reasonable
23 conclusions, I think, with the possible exception of what
24 we're hedging around the fringes here, and that is his
25 experiment to falsify his relatively recent inception of
1 A (Continuing) the earth hypothesis. We have not
2 really discussed what his hypothesis is and what his
3 challenge is, we've sort of beat around the edges.
4 Q Well, you haven't read his articles that he wrote
5 since 1972, have you?
6 A No. That's true.
7 Q So if his hypothesis were in those articles, you
8 really wouldn't be able to talk about it, at any rate,
9 would you?
10 A His hypothesis, I believe, is pretty fairly covered
11 In those letters between, exchange of letters between
12 Damon and Gentry, and I can certainly discuss that part.
13 That's a very current exchange of letters. It is just a
14 few years old. And it is in that letter that he throws
15 down to challenge to geology to prove him wrong. What I'm
16 saying is, that challenge is meaningless.
17 Q Are you familiar with his studies of radio haloes?
18 A No, I'm not familiar with that work at all.
19 Q But to the extent that work shows that evidence that
20 these formations are only several thousand years old,
21 you're not familiar with that?
22 A I'm not familiar with that, and I'm not sure I would
23 accept your conclusion unless I did look into it.
24 Q If you're not familiar with it, I don't want to
25 question you about something you're not familiar with.