Home > Basic Science, Skeptic > A Young Earth Creationist Called Me a “Dim Wheel”…

A Young Earth Creationist Called Me a “Dim Wheel”…

I’m not even sure what that means, but I don’t imagine it is complimentary. It’s also the first openly hostile comment I’ve gotten on my blog, so I figured I’d share my thoughts on it.

The comment appeared on my post called: “Sorry Creationists, Radiometric Dating Still Works”. The post had to do with the recent stories in the news about neutrinos possibly affecting the decay rates of isotopes used in radiometric dating. The results are in still question, and even if true, would not drastically affect the dating of geological samples which have already been performed.

One person, who chose to remain anonymous, commented on the post. They said (all grammatical errors reproduced exactly): 

Guess what Dim Wheel, diamonds have measurable amounts of C-14. You Kind of sound like a scientist, but lets face it, your not.

Now, I don’t have a problem with comments that disagree with me, but name-calling is just childish. Am I a scientist? Well I have an M.Sc. in Physics, and I work in the technology sector analyzing data, writing code and working my way into the R&D department. But I think the commenter is saying that I don’t wear a lab coat or work at a University, so I suppose I am not a “scientist” by that definition. But ad hominem fallacies aside, lets deal with the diamond argument.

I had actually never heard this argument before, so I looked it up. Diamonds are old. Very, very old. So old in fact, that Carbon-14 should not be present at all in diamonds, it should have all decayed away millions of years ago. So Young Earthers use this argument as evidence that the earth is younger than scientists thought.

Here was my response to the comment:

Diamonds do actually contain Carbon-14. This has been in known for about 30 years now, and is easily explained.

Uranium decay in geological samples can actually trigger the generation of a Carbon-14 isotope in a sample of diamond. This phenomenon has been thoroughly studied and confirmed. Here are a couple references:

Excess carbon-14 abundances in uranium ores: Possible evidence for emission from uranium-series isotopes.
D. Barker, A. J. T. Jull, and D. J. Donahue. Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 12, Issue 10, p. 737-740 (1985)

14C in uranium and thorium minerals: a signature of cluster radioactivity? R. Bonetti et. al.
European Physical Journal A, Vol. 5, No. 2, 235-238 (1999)

If you have any other questions regarding this matter please don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be happy to answer them for you.

So the argument doesn’t hold water, but what gets me more is the hostility. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, and we skeptics have a reputation of being “dicks” sometimes as well. But it is totally counter-productive from either side of the argument to act like a jerk or commit the ad hominem fallacy.

So you can read the comment yourself, and let me know if you think my response was well-handled. I love scientific discussion, but I don’t like confrontation. Discussion makes you learn and question your own beliefs, whereas confrontation just causes you to dig in your heels and become more close-minded.

Can’t we all just get along?

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