The Probability Bomb — 12 Comments

  1. Out of curiosity, I checked out several of the points of evidence you mention in this particular comic and found countervailing research/data for most of them. My apologies if the formatting of my comment ends up messy; this is my first time commenting in WordPress. Most of the articles I found were from the website, but I even found an article on the website you cite in the comments of the previous comic.

    Some of what I found:
    1) depth of moon dust
    – reference to (Morris, 1974) and (Slusher, 1971) claiming meteoric dust addition to the moon’s surface should have left a much deeper layer for an old-earth
    – (Snelling and Rush, 1993) have even acknowledged that this method does not support the young-earth theory after thoroughly analyzing actual data from satellites and landings, as well as a better understanding of how lunar dust layer is formed.

    2) “halos” from radio isotope decay
    – reference to (Robert Gentry, 1968, 71, 73, 74, 92) work citing alpha radiation induced halos in granite from Polonium decay. article cites some issues with Gentry’s sample collection methods. It also shows that Gentry’s theory only works for Polonium produced by naturally occurring U-238 decay, but not for comparable Polonium produced by the more common Thorium-232. An alternate theory (Collins 1997) involving Radon-222 (a different isotope in the decay chain) explains both why the halos only show near U-238 deposits and how such halos could form in ancient rock layers.

    3) salinity of the oceans, aka “salt clock”
    – basic theory proposed by Halley in 1715 and expanded on by others, most recent reference to (Austin and Humphreys, 1990) work citing known methods of Sodium removal account for only 27% of Sodium intake to the oceans explains why this dating method fails on the grounds of unknown starting condition, non-irreversible process, and non-uniform rate of accumulation. article by Glenn cites other sources such as basalt alteration, diatomaceous earth formation, and others omitted by Humphreys which collectively yield a near equilibrium between intake and removal of ocean salt.

    4) high pressure of oil and gas reservoirs
    – reference to Kent Hovind claiming pressures would have resulted in bleed off within 15,000 years makes the point that pressurized reservoirs exist from both a sufficiently impermeable trapping rock at the final location and a process of primary migration from the initial creation source. The present reservoir might also be a relatively recent formation due to geological shift. (Strahler, 1987) showed just how slow fluid migration for both water and oil can be, taking far longer than 6000 years for oil to migrate from initial creation 1-5km below the surface to final reservoir.

    5) shallowness of ocean bed sediment
    – reference to (Morris, 1974) work stating only 30 million years needed for current sediment levels makes the point that the sediments levels are variable (such as zero along the Mid-Atlantic ridge where new seafloor is being generated). That the age based on actual measured sediment thickness as one moves away from the ridge matches closely with both age of the Atlantic based on both radiometric dating of the seafloor and the age based on known rate of Atlantic expansion.

    6) growing distance between Earth and Moon
    – reference to (Barnes, 1982) work stating tidal friction and its effect on Moon receding is too fast for old-earth cites the current observed rate of Moon recession, as well as paleontological evidence from tidal sediment layers which has shown the rate was significantly lower in the past (due to differing tidal frictions in turn caused by different continental distribution due to drift).

    7) Earth’s axial spin is slowing down cites (Thwaites and Awbrey, 1982) for the current rate of decline at 0.005 sec / year^2. Study of 370 million year old coral records shows a 22 hr/day and 400 day/yr, which matches fairly closely to the current rate. Added to this the current rate is higher than in past for same tidal friction reasons as distance between Earth and Moon.

    8) Earth’s decaying magnetic field (as measured by the dipole component)
    – reference to (Barnes, 1973) and (Humphreys, 1986 and 93) citing the current magnetic field strength and rate of decay as supporting a young-earth (Thompson, 1997) and for other citations have shown both an update in the dynamo model for the Earth’s core since Barnes’ original work and measurements of magnetic direction and intensity from the radiometric dated seafloor and other rocks has shown that the dipole component of the magnetic field has decreased, stayed stable, increased, and even completely reversed itself over the Earth’s history all while the overall total magnetic field energy has not changed rapidly.

    • as stated, some of the arguments are weak, some of them are strong. (And really, no argument is going to be ‘strong enough’ for the True Believer in the One Holy Darwin.) But their ever-increasing number is persuasive all on its own… or it is, with open and inquisitive minds.

      • I don’t believe Darwin (this particular reference would apply better to the son George than the father Charles) to be some holy figure whose word is to never be questioned. I DO believe in the epitome of inquisitive thought, the scientific method – observe surroundings, question how they work, form hypothesis, test hypothesis, analyze results and revise hypothesis, repeat.

        I applaud young-Earth supporters for coming up with the wide range of hypotheses you have illustrated in this panel, and would whole-heartedly support their models if the data supported them. Unfortunately the ongoing process of collecting and analyzing data has continued to support a much older Earth. Some of the data has only been able to collected within the last few decades due to either limited access (ocean seafloor or moon’s surface) or newly developed equipment (satellites to analyze the Moon’s surface or Earth’s magnetic field).

        Abiogenesis (the core topic of this off-shoot comic) is still mostly conjecture at this point, but I believe the data so far collected has pretty well established the general age of an old Earth.

  2. Completely separate from my disagreement with the scientific evidence you cite, I greatly enjoy your story telling and your characters’ sense of humor.

  3. It can be hard to tell on the internet but I am serious about the above, should make for an interesting set of comics.

    Was there ever any consensus on portraying sarcasm in text? I’ve never sure, which is one of the reasons I try avoid using it.

    • I would also be interested in seeing the opposing view.

      As a side note, the bad guys in this seem a bit…nuts, changing the reality/experiment so that it will fit the theory isn’t how this stuff works (you change the theory or throw it out), these seem like mad scientists (scientists who are literally crazy, not ones who make wacky inventions). I can definitely see sane-minded abiogenesis theorists wanting to stop these guys and would be eager to see and hear from them! 🙂

      (I’m sorry, but I still can’t admit that disproving abiogenesis somehow disproves evolution, nor would this prove creationism for that matter, so maybe it’s just me)

    • It is possible the comment section can only show a limited space worth of text, and my original lengthy comment pushed out the others. Alternatively, Ralph as the moderator might have changed which comments are visible.

  4. There was a man in the mid 20th century who set out to scientifically prove the Bible was actually history, not myth, by the name of Immanuel Velikovsky. He basically managed to royally piss off every branch of science except sociologists and psychologists, but no one has ever actually managed to solidly refute any of his claims.

    Oh, they declared his theories ‘debunked’ but saying so doesn’t make it so, and many of them actually proved him right in their own independent research, despite claiming he was so wrong they didn’t even need to read his findings. Seriously.

    His theory about the depth of moon dust was especially interesting. It basically came down to the fact that every ancient civilization with an astronomical tradition had this one goddess in common, whose symbol was identical to their symbol for a comet, just drawn larger. That goddess was always their equivalent of Aphrodite, who sprang fully formed from Zeus’s brow, then flirted with the entire pantheon before settling down with the god of smiths. Zeus is Jupiter, which is known to spin off globs of superheated gas from time to time — Velokivsky’s theory was what if one of those globs was unusually large, and fell into an unstable solar orbit, passing close to various other planets, before smacking into one of the planets? If it passed between the Earth and the Moon on that unstable orbit, it could have heated the surface of the moon into a molten state.

    The Bible gives (as signs of the end of the world) the moon looking like blood and the sky dark as sackcloth. If you mix Venus’s atmosphere with Earth’s and superheat them, you can get carbohydrates raining out of the sky. Something with the atmospheric mass of Venus passing close enough to the Earth to mix atmospheres would cause massive tidal and tectonic disruptions, and volcanoes would blacken the sky. Based on this, Velikovsky accurately predicted the average depth of moon dust long before anyone landed a probe to actually test it.


    The problem with using this…is that most of it is BAD SCIENCE. Saying “Some arguments are weak and some are strong”…isn’t the issue. The issue is that many of them are FALSE, based on bad science, etc.

    Now, many of these arguments are persuasive…but only because they’re hideous oversimplificatoins that don’t handle other issues.

    Now, there’s a phrase “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof”. What this means, is that, the more assumptions and such a claim has, the more it has serious issues. In the case of the YEC theory…it requires throwing out just about ALL KNOWN SCIENCE.

    To use evidence by people who have barely studied it. (Also, the Bible, save for tthe New Testament, is not “Eyewitness” accounts. They are oral traditions passed odwn for a LONG time, only written down much, much later.)

    Ironically? I myself am a Christian. I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and Earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord…

    I just don’t throw out all Science to do so.

    And, there’s a difference between ‘worshiping Darwin’, and “worshiping God”…Scientists firmly believe Darwin was wrong about numerous things, have expanded his theories, and have TESTED them, experimentally. The same has not happened with the Bible.

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