Twitter open thread: Noah’s flood

No, the evidence doesn’t point to a Noachic flood.  Evidence contradicts the idea.

Welcome, @crazy_stairz @EdDarrell @paulmc107 @StrangerGirl2 @HomunculusLoikm @LogicBobomb, and anyone else who wants to join in.  Usual rules of civility apply.

Discussing this, and its many cousins:

14 Responses to Twitter open thread: Noah’s flood

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Stunning examples of Dunning Kruger effect in that Twitter thread. How bad is it? Twitter called and asked for the last three letters of their name be removed.

    One guy is arguing that evolution cannot happen without an observer because without observation, there is nothing to cause the quantum collapse that makes observations possible, therefore nothing can happen.

    No, I’m not making this up.

    It’s taken a painful dozen or so posts to get that out of him. He wanted to dance around.

    So it’s a lost cause. This thread is moribund.

    You’re familiar with evolution, but not Bell’s Theorem?

    John Stewart Bell was an Irish physicist at CERN. He worked on that nagging problem that caused the arguments between Bohr and Einstein, non-locality. Bohr’s numbers showed that two quanta, once entangled, rather remain in that form, so that after the entanglement, finding the spin of one will accurately tell the spin of the other, even if it’s on the opposite side of the universe. Famously, Einstein said he didn’t believe that to be accurate because God doesn’t shoot dice with the universe. Einstein essentially said that local things might alter the spin of one particle or the other — which gave the argument the name of “locality” or “non-locality” depending on one’s view.

    Bell took some time off in the 1960s to work through the problem with new information out of various colliders, not available to Einstein nor Bohr earlier. In the end, he concluded Bohr was right, and Einstein “wrong.” Determining the spin of one “entangled” particle either predicts or changes the spin of the other particle to match.

    These effects occur at the quantum level, and have zero practical or theoretical effect on biological or geological entities — or stellar entities, for that matter. But on Twitter, a couple of Twits argue that Bell’s Theorem works rather like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, so that no evolution can occur without someone watching, or some intelligence watching (no, there is no explanation for the astonishing and wholly ungrounded leap that an intelligence is required to observe phenomena before anything can happen). In short, no tree falls in a forest unless someone takes note of it (is a crow enough intelligence to allow trees to fall? God save us from even having to ask such questions).

    I’ll have to hunt down the profiles of those involved to make sure none of them live in Texas, to be sure to watch out for for them at the textbook follies coming this fall.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    I might be married, but you’d have to know how to figure out how to formulate questions and seek answers, to know.

    I gather you’re not much on reading, nor on reading on the subjects you claim to want to know about, yes?


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Sarah Palin wants me?

    In her dreams.


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Nathan, you may not be convinced by skulls — but how about the DNA?


  5. Jim says:


    Telephone. It’s for you. Sarah Palin wants you to stop being all facty and sciencey.

    Please make a note of it.



  6. Ed Darrell says:

    How do we know how old the Earth is?

    Radioisotope dating of oldest rocks.

    How do we know which rocks are oldest? Those on the bottom of column, or would be if undisturbed.

    See Greg Laden’s explanation ( )

    How old is the earth?
    Short answer: 4,540,000,00/H30 Earth-years, plus or minus 1%.

    Long answer: We don’t know exactly because direct dating of the earliest material on the surface of the Earth will only tell use a minimum age; Prior to that, the Earth’s surface was probably molten, and even after that, it may be that the earliest non-molten material has been recycled into the planet’s interior by tectonic processes. Also, the earth is a big round ball of stuff that condensed into this shape from part of a large disk-shaped blob of stuff known as the Solar Nebula. When exactly, given this, did the Earth become the Earth? Since the process took millions of years, we can’t pinpoint the age of the Earth more exactly than a certain range.

    What are the oldest rocks?

    The oldest rock formations on Earth are between about 3.8 and 3.9 billion years old., but there are older bits of more ancient rocks that were incorporated into these early rocks, and they date to something closer to 4.4 billion years old. These and other early materials are dated primarily using a variety of parent-daughter radiometric techniques, with the most effective for this time period being a lead-lead system.

    Since rock from the time of the Earth’s formation isn’t available (because it didn’t really exist or was gobbled up in the fiery beginnings of the big round ball) the preferred method of dating the Earth is to calculate the age of meteorites. The earliest meteorites essentially date the condensation of materials in the solar system into the planets, and thus, the date of these meteorites indicates the date of the early Earth. (The Earth existed prior to this condensation in the form of whatever parts of the early solar nebula would eventually condense into this particular planet, of course.)

    Meteorites from other planets?

    Some meteorites are known to be fragments of Mars, so the oldest dates among these can also verify the date of accretion of material into planets in our solar system.

    Rocks from the moon have not been remelted or otherwise messed up by tectonic processes and therefore would provide an excellent estimate of the age of the Earth as well. Also, since there is no real weathering of rocks on the moon, methods other than parent-daughter decay can be used, such as Fission Track dating (the older a rock, the more cosmic rays pass through it, blasting tiny little tracks in the otherwise homogeneous matrix).

    Zeroing in on the age of the earth

    There are hundreds of published dates of various older materials, but the following table gives a reasonable summary of some of the more important dates, culled from various sources (see list of references below):

    i-2416ee0f1d5ce9b6c98e162e41b0c09c-Age_Of_Earth_Data.jpgAge of the Earth

    If we chart this on a graph, we see one date that is much earlier than all the other dates, and a few that are younger.

    Chart on Age of Earth

    The younger dates are simply of materials that we don’t think date the Earth’s formation, but that we know would post date it by not much. These dates verify the earlier cluster of dates that would correspond to the actual formation of the planet. The single earlier date is an obvious outlier.

    Taking this series of dates, notice that the oldest (non-outlier) dates are about four and a half billion years old. As stated in the short answer.

    Further information about the age of the Earth:

    Dalrymple, G. Brent. 2001. The age of the Earth in the twentieth century: a problem (mostly) solved. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 2001, v. 190, p. 205-221. Click Here.

    Dalrymple, G. Brent. 2006. How Old is the Earth: A Response to “Scientific” Creationism. The TalkOrigins Archive. Click Here.

    Norman, M. D., Borg, L. E., Nyquist, L. E., and Bogard, D. D. (2003) Chronology, geochemistry, and petrology of a ferroan noritic anorthosite clast from Descartes breccia 67215: Clues to the age, origin, structure, and impact history of the lunar crust. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, vol 38, p. 645-661.

    Stassen, Chris. 2005. The Age of the Earth. The TalkOrigins Archive. Click here.

    Wikipedia, Teh. 2010. Age of the Earth. Click here.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Another repost from the administrator:


  8. Ed Darrell says:


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Actually, another guy in that thread did respond with that same image.

    Oddly, it’s been a quite polite conversation, but I sure would like to get them to come here, or to some other place, where the Twitter handles don’t take up 100 of the 140 characters. Can’t say much in 40 characters.


  10. Jim says:

    Once again, folks read the sacred Scriptures through their 20th or 21st century lens. I have no reason to doubt the ancient Hebrews were inspired to tell a story about a man named Noah who survived some sort of flood. Floods happen. Always have. Always will. But moderns have imposed their concept of “the world” on a people who lived five or six thousand years ago. To them, a devastating but regional or local flood could easily be remembered as the world being destroyed. Such a concept in no way threatens biblical authority for Christians…nor does it insult intellectual integrity.

    Keep on this, Ed. We need Christians who THINK.



  11. JamesK says:

    Ed, can you reply to the git and say “Do you mean this Colorado river delta?


  12. JamesK says:

    now if I knew how to use twitter…


  13. Ed Darrell says:


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