Ridiculous Quote for Today

Though anti-religious zealots insist religious people hate science, you’d never know it watching dozens of shows on the Shroud of Turin or on ancient archeology or almost anything else. They all have scientists, I saw Science 2.0 fave Phil Plait in one about the Book of Revelation. Those shows are all being watched by religious people who are engaging in confirmation bias, no different than organic food shoppers and political party supporters do.

image— From the “NOTES:” of an otherwise interesting article, Kepler – Young Earth Creationist by Hank Campbell published this morning in Science 2.0.

So host Neil Tyson tells us about Ussher and then we fast forward to modern geology and how much smarter we are now. Okay, fine, but was Ussher all that wrong for the time? Was anyone doing better? No.  What they leave out is that a legendary scientist was just as wrong.

Like any good scientist, Ussher interpolated from what he had, in this case the Bible and a historical date for the death of the Bablyonian King Nebuchadnezzar II in 562 B.C. Deriving from that, he back-azimuthed generations to arrive at  the exact day that the Earth must have been created in 4004 B.C. "It was a Saturday," Tyson says, with perfect comedic timing.  And completely wrong, as we now know.

Kepler was just as wrong. Mock him? No, he was a scientist. Fair enough. The criticism is of Neil Tyson who really is a great scientist. His bias does show every now and then but this may just be something he didn’t know about. Who did?

The quote, though, was ridiculous.

3 thoughts on “Ridiculous Quote for Today”

  1. The life of James Ussher 1581-1656 overlapped by some 18 years that of a founder of modern geology Nicolaus Steno 1638-1686. Ussher was no intellectual slug, was an expert on semitic languages, and remains a highly respected biblical scholar for his time. In particular he is credited with correctly distinguishing authentic and spurious epistles credited to Ignatius of Antioch of the 2nd century. By back-working the biblical genealogies he had calculated the date of Creation during the Saturday evening of October 22, 4004BC, somewhat older than that calculated by Johannes Kepler, who was famous for his laws of planetary motion.

    The Danish Nicolaus Steno, originally trained in medecine, made major break-throughs in anatomy, including discovering the parotid salivary duct, and other discoveries in anatomy which had remained unchanged since the time of Galen. Appointed as physician to Grand duke Ferdinand in Florence, he became fascinated with the layered limestone strata of Italy. He made major discoveries in crystallography, particularly quartz.

    Steno was the first to realize that the Earth’s crust contains a chronological history of geologic events and that the history may be deciphered by careful study of the strata and fossils. He rejected the idea that mountains grow like trees, proposing instead that they are formed by alterations of the Earth’s crust.

    Most scientists of his time considered that fossils such as shells either grew in the rocks, or else were the inundation remnants of Noah’s flood, and Steno found little support for his ideas, except from Gottfried Leibniz. Steno was constrained by the religious bigotry of his time to compress his geology into a period of 6000 years. Having learnt their lesson from the Galileo case, the Catholic Church was one of the first institutions to abandon the 6000 year old world history concept. Nevertheless elsewhere the idea survived well into the 18th century.

    Disillusioned with the backbiting and rivalries within science, Steno abandoned it and caught religion, converted to Catholicism (he had worked with the younger Medici family in Florence) took Holy Orders, and was commissioned as the Pope’s envoy to Germany and Scandinavia where he lived and died in extreme voluntary frugality. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1992, somewhat ironically on October 23 within a day of the same date that Archbishop Ussher had set for the creation of the world.

    Steno’s biography can be found in Alan Cutler’s “The Seashell on the Mountain Top”, Heinemann 2003. I think the best line in the book is “The summit of Mount Everest is marine limestone!”

  2. Discussing on Earth’s Crust…

    Geologic events and Steno :
    “… he became fascinated with the layered limestone strata of Italy. He made major discoveries in crystallography, particularly quartz. Steno was the first to realize that the Earth’s crust contains a chronological history of geologic events … etc. …”

    So … in our times…
    What is the new idea ?
    Have you read the article by Carpinteri, Lacidogna, Manuello and Borla on Earth’s Crust ?

    Evidence of piezonuclear reactions: From geological and tectonic transformations to neutron detection and measurements
    Experimental Mechanics on Emerging Energy Systems and Materials, Volume 5
    Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series
    2011, pp 41-48

    Link : http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4419-9798-2_6
    >Neutron emission measurements, by means of helium-3 and neutron bubble detectors, were performed on solid specimens during three different kinds of mechanical tests: compression tests under displacement control, under cyclic loading, and by ultrasonic vibration. The material used for the tests was Green Luserna granite. Since the analyzed material contains iron, our conjecture was that piezonuclear fission reactions involving fission of iron into aluminum, and of iron into magnesium and silicon, should have occurred during compression damage and failure. It is also interesting to emphasize that the present natural abundances of aluminum (~8%), and silicon (28%) and scarcity of iron (~4%) in the continental Earth’s crust should be possibly due to the piezonuclear fission reactions considered above.

    And then, see also :

    Geomechanical and Geochemical Evidence of Piezonuclear Fission Reactions in the Earth’s Crust
    A. Carpinteri, A. Manuello
    Politecnico di Torino, Department of Structural Engineering & Geotechnics, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
    Strain 11/2011; 47(s2):267 – 281.

    >Piezonuclear reactions, which occur in inert and non-radioactive
    elements, are induced by high pressure and, in particular, by
    brittle fracture phenomena in solids under compression. These
    low-energy reactions generally take place in nuclei with an
    atomic weight that is lower or equal to that of iron (Fe). The
    experimental evidence, obtained from repeatable measurements
    of neutron emissions [Strain 45, 2009, 332; Strain (in press);
    Phys. Lett. A. 373, 2009, 4158], can be also recognised
    considering the anomalous chemical balances of the major
    events that have affected the Earth’s crust, oceans and
    atmosphere, over the last 4 billion years. These anomalies
    include (i) abrupt variations in the most abundant elements
    in correspondence with the formation of tectonic plates;
    (ii) the ‘Great Oxidation Event’ (2.7–2.4 billion years ago),
    with a sharp increase in atmospheric oxygen and the
    subsequent origin of life; (iii) the current climate acceleration
    partially because of ‘carbon pollution’. Natural piezonuclear
    reactions are induced by fault sliding and plate subduction phenomena.

    Here another title :
    Reply to “Comments on ‘Geomechanical and Geochemical Evidence of Piezonuclear Fission Reactions in the Earth’s Crust’ by A. Carpinteri and A. Manuello” by U. Bardi and G. Comoretto

    It was the answer by Alberto Carpinteri and Amedeo Manuello …

    >In the paper entitled “Comments on ‘Geomechanical and Geochemical Evidence of Piezonuclear Fission Reactions in the Earth’s Crust’ by A. Carpinteri and Manuello” by U. Bardi and G. Comoretto, the authors criticise the hypothesis based on piezonuclear reactions for the interpretation of the compositional evolution of the Earth’s crust. We report a detailed reply of how the traditional theories, used by the authors of the comments, are obviously inadequate to describe this new kind of nuclear phenomena. Only very recently, independent authors proposed a theoretical model explaining the anomalous energy emissions in the form of neutrons, involved in piezonuclear reactions, during fracture of nonradioactive rocks. It is also known how the evidences that Bardi and Comoretto claim to be non-existent could be found in many independent works that appeared in most important journals about unexplained questions of the Earth’s crust and environment. The data reported in the original work and the details included in this reply show that it is incorrect to consider impossible or simply to ignore the existence of unexplained phenomena only because they cannot be described by traditional models and conventional theories.

    Link :

    Unfortunately, until now, I have not yet see the use
    of SSNTD (= solid state nuclear track detector) during
    the experiments … or the AFM images of stones before
    and after piezonuclear reactions …

    Carpinteri used only FESEM = Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope.
    Link :

    See at p. 11 of 21 (= FESEM for quantitative elemental analyses) and see also at p. 13 (of 21).

    Then, here the possible title about the inherent study :
    Atomic force microscopy study of several stone surfaces, before and after piezonuclear reactions.
    But we have to investigate two ideas
    1) that neutron emissions from an ancient earthquake that rocked Jerusalem could have created the iconic image,
    2) … and messed up the radiocarbon levels …

  3. I am aware of the Carpinteri et al paper. There was some discussion on this site about it in posting of Feb 14, 2014, to which I note we both contributed comments. There may also have been additional postings. I also note that the posting had comment from Barrie Schwortz on his shroud.com site. You will also be aware of De Liso’s work on the effects of earthquakes on testing of image formation to which I have often referred.

    The authors speculate about a devastating earthquake in Jerusalem for which I think there is scant evidence and is unnecessary. A moderate earthquake is quite capable of tossing rocks about. Earthquakes have not affected the C14 dating of any other object, and it is highly speculative and dubious to assert that it affected the Shroud dating, when other more credible explanations for skewing the date are available (e.g. cotton contamination of C14 sample).

    The late Ray Rogers gave strong arguments as to why the Shroud image was not caused by radiation of any kind. The release of radon gas during seismic activity together with other seismic effects, such as variations in geo-magnetic and electric fields may have been a necessary contributing factor but it is questionable as a primary cause. De Liso noted that she could only obtain images when all factors were present.

    The posting above is aimed at pseudo-science, and I fear that the Carpinteri paper may well qualify as such.

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