March 19, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Geology: Bold Steps in Self-Deception

It’s possible to collect clues that suggest your model is working, all while heading off in the wrong direction.

Here’s a way scientists can be clueless with clues. First, they accept a popular worldview we will call the Grand Myth. Then, they find a problem within the myth, a sub-myth, that requires a solution. Without ever questioning the foundational Grand Myth, they start collecting clues that “suggest” a certain solution to a problem in the sub-myth that “might” work. Notice:

“In a study published in the journal Science, our international team has moved a step closer towards resolving this problem.

Did they “resolve” the “problem”? No. They moved a step closer. How many steps more are there? How do they know their steps are headed in the right direction? It doesn’t matter to believers in the Grand Myth. Like players of Blind Man’s Bluff, their intuition tells them. They’ll know it when they feel it.

This tactic gains momentum if several independent clues seem to point in the same direction. The scientists gain confidence, continuing in the wrong direction. They publish and gain adherents to their model, stating that more work is needed. Some respondents agree with the model; others may criticize it and suggest other models. But nobody thinks to re-examine the validity of the Grand Myth itself.

Case in Point

See if this is what is going on in this article, “What causes an ice age to end?” by researchers at the University of Melbourne. It reads like a detective story. First, the problem is noted: What causes an ice age to end? This is called the problem of “termination.” The subtitle calls this a long-standing enigma:

In order to know why an ice age ends, we need to know when it ended. Now, new research is working to solve one of the enigmas in palaeoclimatology.

They believe they are getting warmer. The university’s web blog is called Pursuit. So off they go, looking for clues. The Grand Myth is that the Earth is billions of years old. The Sub-Myth within the Grand Myth is that Milankovitch cycles (Earth orbital patterns) explain ice ages and their terminations. More on why those are myths later; just note for now that Grand Myths can spawn numerous sub-myths.* Each myth can have its own supporting evidence and anomalies.

*The philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn taught that sciences are like guilds, or clubs, whose members pursue problems within overarching paradigms that they all believe in. Anomalies accumulate within paradigms, but few question the paradigm (the Grand Myth) while it is the dominant view.

The UM scientists accumulate this supporting evidence for the Milankovitch sub-myth:

  • Astronomical calculations indicated cyclical patterns that recur every 40,000 years.
  • “Using the latest techniques in radiometric dating, we determined the age of two terminations that occurred about 960,000 and 875,000 years ago”
  • Radiometric dating of foraminifera fossils (called forams) indicate fluctuating oxygen isotope ratios seemed to match these terminations.
  • Radiometric dating of stalactites from the Alps seemed to follow the same patterns found in the forams.
  • The correlation seems strong, coming from deep sea sediments, caves, and orbital cycles.

“Since the stalagmites and ocean sediments are recording the same signal, this means we can apply the stalagmite’s uranium-lead chronology to the ocean record, and date the terminations.

This is something that has never been done before over this time scale.

One has to admire the perseverance of the team, who worked for years to get the data to match the pattern. Hard work, however, is no guarantee of correctness, despite their boast. They admit that enigmas still remain. More years of work will be required to correlate the clues.

Our team now plans to explore whether the patterns over the last million years can be traced even further back in time; particularly, the crucial interval called the Middle Pleistocene Transition (MPT), when the average length of ice-age cycles changed from 40,000 years to about 100,000 years.

The MPT is one of the great enigmas in palaeoclimatology, and this future work could help unlock its secrets.

A few readers might wonder why something that acted like clockwork for millions of years suddenly shifted. This is curious; if ice ages are caused by Milankovitch cycles, did the Earth’s orbit change?

Other anomalies come to light within the paradigm (the Grand Myth) of millions of years, and the Sub-Myth of Milankovitch cycles. The clock fluctuates from time to time.

  1. Why did the pattern change from 40,000 years to about 100,000 years? That’s a 250% change.
  2. “Over the last million years, some terminations were completed within a few thousand years, whereas others dragged on for well over 10,000 years.” What happened to cause that?

In Kuhnian science, guild members rush to repair the model rather than question it. The UM team has an answer for the second anomaly:

Our research has also found that the time it takes for a termination to finish depends on the summer energy levels over the ice sheets at the time the transition begins. The higher the summer energy levels when the termination is triggered, the more rapid the collapse of the ice sheets.

But the summer energy levels depend on the Milankovitch cycles, don’t they? Why don’t those act the same way every time? It appears the model is being buttressed by auxiliary hypotheses to avoid falsification.

Kuhn also taught that scientists will persist within their paradigm until enough anomalies accumulate, then a scientific revolution may occur. Paradigms can last a long time. Younger scientists may start working on another paradigm (another sub-myth), forgetting the earlier myth as they find clues to support the new myth.

The visible doesn’t tell the whole story.

Unmasking the Sub-Myth

The Milankovitch sub-myth should have been rejected, because it makes no sense. In theory, the Earth should warm at certain points in the cycles because of changes in eccentricity or obliquity of Earth’s orbit; if one hemisphere gets more sunlight, it should warm up, and the opposite hemisphere should freeze. This theory is wrong in theory and in practice. In theory, the influences of the sun are extremely slight: too slight to matter. Even Wikipedia pointed out five problems with Milankovitch theory. Even worse is the fact that an ice age needs freezing poles but warm oceans (in order to generate major precipitation). An orbital effect can’t do both at the same time.

In practice, scientists tweak the Milankovitch data to match it to the preconceived pattern. A first problem is that the Milankovitch data are noisy. We reported on 2 June 2009 that the “cycles” are extremely tenuous at best, and are really indistinguishable from randomness. Second, on 22 June 2018 we unmasked a virtual “divination” practice scientists perform on the Milankovitch data in order to make it support their pet theory. It’s like what astrologers do when the planetary line-ups don’t fit the customer’s personality; they accumulate auxiliary hypotheses to explain away the problems. Patterns in orbital data, stalactites and forams exist in the believers’ heads, not in nature.

Third, the alleged correlations are unsound because of selective evidence. They studied some stalactites in the Alps, but there are caves all over the Earth that were not investigated. They studied forams off the coast of Portugal, but not in other locations at other latitudes and longitudes. The sample size is too small to make a valid inference.

Fourth, the dating methods are circular. They assume deep time in order to prove deep time. Other dating methods that differ with the radiometric dates, and set upper limits on age that are far shorter than preferred dates, are routinely ignored or tossed.

Fifth, the believers did not consider alternative theories to explain whatever patterns and cycles they were looking at; this is the problem of “under-determination of theory by data.” Philosophers of science can prove that there are an infinite number of theories that can explain the same observations.

Unmasking the Grand Myth

Today’s secular geologists, paleontologists and atmospheric scientists, by long indoctrination throughout their education into Darwinian evolution and the geologic column on which evolution depends, have blinded themselves to alternative chronologies for the Earth. None of them have ever experienced a million years, let alone billions. The Grand Myth of the moyboys requires believing absurd things: nothingness banged and became human brains in over 13 billion years. Darwin’s principle of the gradual accumulation of small changes rules secular science. They force-fit every observation into this Grand Myth, even when there are multiple independent evidences that set upper limits on the ages of things:

  • The decay of the energy of the Earth’s magnetic field
  • DNA and soft tissue in dinosaur bones
  • Saturn’s rings and moons
  • Genetic entropy due to mutations
  • Extreme improbability for a chance origin of life any time in the history of multiple millions of universes
  • Abrupt appearance of body plans and groups
  • Systematic gaps in the fossil record that preclude evolution
  • The fact that Deep Time is unobservable and unrepeatable
  • The fact that the Stuff Happens Law is unscientific in principle
  • The fact that evolution is logically self-refuting

Saturn’s rings and moons have upper limits of 100 million years, far shorter than Darwin’s timeline requires. These upper limits are admitted by secular scientists themselves. Remember they are upper limits; they could be much shorter.

Creation scientists, many with PhDs in their specialities, publicize these and many other facts opposed to the Grand Myth of Deep Time. Some secular scientists are aware of these falsifying facts, but they typically approach them not to think about them seriously, but to explain them away as “creationist nonsense” that is “religiously motivated.” Creation accounts are treated dismissively.

Field scientists from Europe noted huge piles of sediment deposited in valleys and plains around the Alps. These sediments were unusual because they consisted of rock types outcropping tens to hundreds of kilometres away.

Originally attributed to Biblical floods, these deposits could only have reached their final destination on glaciers, which must have been many times larger than their current size.

Nothing like a straw man tactic. They never let anyone outside the guild present the real creationist view. Creation geologists attribute most of the strata and fossils to one Biblical flood, based on the documented account in Genesis 6-9 (reinforced by Jesus, Peter, and writers of the Psalms). A single ice age came later, transporting the piles of sediment long distances. The flood account also provides a cause for exceptional snowfall: hot water from the fountains of the great deep.

There are even theistic evolutionists who have so bought into the Grand Myth, they make it their life’s work to fight on the side of the Deep Time army. Biblical history must never be allowed to intrude into the secular Grand Myth, they believe, because they love the words of fallible men more than the word of God.

But as evolutionist Michael Ruse admitted, evolution itself is a religion operating in opposition to Christianity (10 March 2020). So this is not science vs science, but religion vs religion. Having power over institutions and schools, the secular religion exercises totalitarian control over “science.”

The result is a religious quest for an even Grander Myth, providing job security for storytellers (16 March 2020). When origins and destiny are involved in a paradigm, the Grand Myth imprisons its disciples with bars of iron, congratulating them on how free they are.

It’s exactly the behavior Kuhn predicted for guild members who cannot think outside the box. The guild is a self-reinforcing, self-perpetuating club that busies itself with endless work on sub-myths within the Grand Myth, convincing workers they are making progress and getting warmer, all the while making progress in the wrong direction.

 

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