We have repeatedly been taught not to send tithe to …

Comment on Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference by Bob Pickle.

We have repeatedly been taught not to send tithe to offshoots, for good reason. If an entity decides to go against a GC Session vote, at what point does that entity cross a line and become an offshoot?

And if, wherever that line is, that line is crossed, why would an officer of a local church within that conference have to resign, if that local church also believes the local conference should adhere to that GC Session vote?

The situation would be different if there was a plain and clear Thus saith the Lord as justification for disregarding the GC Session vote, since the Bible is a higher authority than a GC Session.

Bob Pickle Also Commented

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, you above state: “… a lack of a specific statement in the GC’s Working Policy that explicitly forbids the ordination of women as pastors. As far as I’m aware, such a statement simply doesn’t exist.”

Try BA 60 10 which states: “The world Church supports nondiscrimination in employment practices and policies and upholds the principle that both men and women, without regard to race and color, shall be given full and equal opportunity within the Church to develop the knowledge and skills needed for the building up of the Church. Positions of service and responsibility (except those requiring ordination to the gospel ministry*) on all levels of church activity shall be open to all on the basis of the individual’s qualifications.”

The footnote makes clear that the exception regarding ordination to the gospel ministry is one of gender, not race or color.

Also, B 10 22: “All organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the authority of the General Conference Session as the highest authority of the Seventh-day Adventist Church under God.” Here we have part of the Working Policy saying that there is no higher authority under God in the Adventist Church than the sessions that voted down WO in 1990, 1995, and 2015.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, in your update you write:

Sean Pitman:
“On the other hand, it also seem clear that on the issue of ordination, in particular, that the “final authority” has been given to the Union level of governance within the church (not to the level of the General Conference) to act as a buffer against too much centralized power within the church. …

“In any case, since honest confusion remains between many honest and sincere members as well as leaders of the church, ….

There certainly is honest confusion regarding this, but I can’t see how everyone is honestly confused.

1. Local churches decide who will be members and who will not, but local churches do not have the authority to make tests of fellowship. Thus the criteria for membership is decided by the world church, while that criteria is applied to individual cases by the local church.

Similarly, though unions decide who will be ordained, they don’t unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination.

2. If unions could unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, there would have been no reason to bring the matter to the GC Sessions of 1990 and 1995. Particularly in 1995, it seems clear that church leaders understood that without GC division authorization, unions could not approve women for ordination, and that without GC Session authorization, GC divisions could not so authorize.

3. The first I remember hearing that unions could act on their own was after Dan Jackson’s open letter of, I think, Jan. 2012. Maybe we can find this idea being promulgated prior to that date in left-wing journals, but maybe not. Since there certainly has been discussion in some circles about getting rid of unions, it seems difficult to have simultaneous promotion of the idea that we need unions so that women can be ordained.

How it comes across to me is that some want their way no matter what, and are grasping at anything they can to justify their position. For those some, I don’t think the label “honest confusion” fits. Now if they can come up with some sort of historical documentation that local churches can unilaterally determine the criteria for church membership, or that unions can unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, OK. But I have yet to see any such documentation.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

Nic Samojluk: Some unions have slightly departed from the traditional manner in carrying the Gospel forward, and the church has reacted by producing a plethora of documents and wasted millions of dollars in order to forbid what is nowhere forbidden in Scripture. We would be wise, I believe, in stopping this nonsense.

Hi Nic.

Seems to me that disregarding a GC Session vote is essentially forbidden in Scripture. The issue Sean is highlighting here is not WO, but rather disregarding a GC Session vote.

Recent Comments by Bob Pickle

Young Dinosaur Fossils?

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

I came across this 2014 article by Snelling:


He is proposing accelerated decay rates and accelerated cooling in order to explain Po-halo-bearing granite within fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks. So we have two creationist explanations on the table: (a) These granites are creation rocks that got reworked and relocated during the flood, partly because granite cannot form naturally. (b) These granite rocks miraculously formed during the flood, during a suspension or modification of the operation of natural laws as we know them today.

That Snelling would opt for an explanation that aligns with a geologist’s typical interpretations of field relationships is only natural, since he is a geologist.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: First off, your suggestion that post-Phanerozoic granitic rocks don’t exist is just nonsense. They do exist – to include granite rocks with “crystals visible to the naked eye”.

We have the laws of physics and experimental evidence demonstrating that Po-218 halos in granite cannot form naturally. In opposition to these incontrovertible facts, you bring arguments based not on the laws of physics or experimental evidence, but rather on interpretations of rock formations, which interpretations are influenced on uniformitarian presuppositions. Thus, you haven’t made your case. Since the laws of physics and experimental evidence falsify the hypothetical interpretation of the rock formations in question, that hypothetical interpretation must be wrong.

Sean Pitman: Also, the existence of older xenolith inclusions within granite rocks (even within Mesozoic or Cenozoic granitic rocks) is also inconsistent with Gentry’s notion that God created all granite rocks instantaneosly during the Creation Week.

Have you personally (or anyone else that you know of) examined these xenoliths and confirmed that either (a) they have a melting point higher than that of the surrounding rock, or (b) the boundary between the xenolith and the surrounding rock is indistinct because mixing has occurred, since the surrounding magma would have melted the edges of the xenolith? If not, then you can’t properly address the points I raised.

You cite Collins’ reference to a number of sites where supposedly granite intrudes fossil-bearing rock, which may bring us full circle back to the topic that started this discussion. When do you propose that the granite intruded the fossil-bearing rock in the various examples he gives? Since he is an avid evolutionist out to refute evidence for creation and the flood, he has no problem with the fossils being deposited over millions of years, and the granite being formed millions of years later. But you do have such a problem. When do you propose that that granite formed? Are there any pictures so that we can see the large crystals of granite next to metamorphic rock next to fossil-bearing rock? And if you propose that certain granitic intrusions formed deep within the earth, what events would have caused resulting batholiths to become exposed, when, and over how long a period of time? There’s a potential conflict between hypothetical uniformitarian erosion processes and biblical chronology.

If the fossils were deposited during the flood, and the Bible’s chronology gives an approximate date of the flood as 2350 BC, the granite would have had to intrude either during the flood or after. If a magmatic intrusion cooling for less than 4350 years can result in a cold batholith with large crystals, exposed by erosion to the air after forming deep within the earth, then granite ought to be able to be rapidly synthesized in the laboratory, but all such experiments have failed.

You mention the Bathurst Batholith. How large is it? How long did it take to cool from magma, if that’s how it formed? When do you think it intruded the rock surrounding it? During the flood? Around the time of Christ? Since? At the rate it must have cooled, according to evolutionists, if their whole theory about its formation is true, shouldn’t granite be able to be synthesized in the laboratory?

Sean Pitman: As far as your reading of the SoP, I’ve gone over what Ellen White has to say about origins very very carefully and have discussed these comments with you in some detail already. Suffice it to say that your arguments remain unconvincing to me and I highly suggest that you not press the issue with others or become “dogmatic” in your position on this topic. It simply isn’t fundamental to Adventism.

Presumably you will not have a problem with my being dogmatic that truth can bear investigation, and thus I again point out that you evaded my question rather than answered it. I specifically asked you whether you had searched the SoP for where Ellen White used the words creation or formation and world or earth as a phrase in order to determine what she meant when she said that God was not indebted to pre-existing matter in the creation of the earth and the formation of our world. Rather than cite a single statement where she used these phrases or anything similar to refer to something outside of creation week, you dodged my question.

If the insistence that our planet or the sun or moon were created before creation week results in acceptance of dates for rock formations and granite batholiths that conflicts with biblical chronology, and I emphasize “if,” then in some way that insistence is undermining fundamentals of Adventism, and there needs to be open and free inquiry into the topic. The Avondale article asserts that there is a connection, and Gentry has said the same for years. But if you can propose a plausible scenario whereby granitic intrusions can form in fossil-bearing rock during the flood event or since, you will demonstrate that the perceived connection is unnecessary.

Bear in mind that Snelling (as of a number of years ago) wants granite batholiths to form during the flood, and Po halos in them to form via diffusion. But he acknowledges that the lack of fossil alpha recoil tracks is a problem. And so he proposes that almost all of the isotope transport occurred while the temperature was above the annealing point, and almost all of the decay occurred while the temperature was below the annealing point. So in his effort to have a somewhat naturalistic explanation for Po halos within a YEC framework, he really is proposing something quite miraculous. These points must be kept in mind as one thinks of how Po-Halo-containing granite might form in recent times in fossil-bearing sedimentary rock. The lack of fossil alpha-recoil tracks has to be explained in the process.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: For instance, xenoliths of many different types are quite common within granite rocks.

Why is that a problem? If the xenolith’s boundaries are distinct with no mixing with the surrounding rock, and if its melting point is the same as or lower than the surrounding rock, then we don’t have evidence here of a much older rock being engulfed by magma.

Also, granite rocks often overlay fossil-bearing sedimentary layers or intrude into them – suggesting their formation after these layers.

Or suggesting the incorporation of creation rocks within flood sediments. For one thing, if the claimed intrusion is very narrow, that would allow very rapid cooling, and then there shouldn’t be any reason why granite with crystals the same size couldn’t be formed in the laboratory. But since all granite synthesis experiments along these lines have failed, another explanation needs to be found. Also, the heat of magma would destroy the fossils in question, and so we would not expect to find fossils next to granite if granite really formed from magma.

Also, polonium halos are found within Mesozoic and even Cenozoic granite (from the Cascade Mountains of Washington State).

How was it determined that the granite was Mesozoic, and that it originated about the same time that Mesozoic strata did? How was it determined that it wasn’t Precambrian granite that was relocated due to a global catastrophe? Or did the one who initially raised these arguments forget to rule out other possibilities?

If laboratory experiments demonstrate the impossibility of Po-218 forming naturally, which they do, then it is highly unlikely that that granite is really Mesozoic, and evolutionists need to find another explanation for its existence. In other words, if Po-218 halos really have been found in really Mesozoic strata, then someone should be able to make a Po halo in the laboratory in a piece of biotite or fluorite. But if that still can’t be accomplished, then the assumptions evolutionists have made about that “Mesozoic” granite are wrong.

Since there are many post-Phanerozoic granitic rocks, which are acknowledged by all to be non-primordial (created after life was already in existence on this planet), …

Since Gentry does not acknowledge granite (he specifically is speaking of rocks with crystals visible to the naked eye, not rhyolite) to be non-primordial, all do not acknowledge the existence of post-Phanerozoic granites.

While “possible”, I don’t think it’s likely that God created the basic material of the Earth or the solar system during Creation week. Also, I don’t think this concept matters one way or another to the fundamentals of Adventism.

1. Are you suggesting the possibility that God only created “the basic material of the … solar system” before creation week, or that He created the sun and moon before creation week? There’s a huge difference between the two as far as the biblical text goes.

2. Did you look up any SoP references containing the words world or earth and creation or formation to see how Ellen White used those phrases, in order to better understand what she could have meant when she said that God did not use pre-existing matter in the creation of the earth and the formation of our world?


Sean, I think the following should be a separate post from the other I wrote this morning.

The following are calculations for the amount of U ore and the amount of Rn-222 that Collins’ hypothesis at http://ncse.com/rncse/30/5/origin-polonium-halos is calling for. His hypothesis is that “large crystals of biotite (and fluorite) crystals could, perhaps” grow “in a matter of hours or less” under certain conditions, encapsulating Po-218 as they grow, the Po-218 coming from Rn- and Po-bearing hydrothermal fluids, producing as many as 20-30 thousand Po-218 and Po-210 halos per cubic cm in a Norwegian mica.

Collins correctly recognizes the problems

1. Why is Collins suggesting emplacement of Po-218 in growing crystals? Because that would explain how the Po got there without leaving any footprints. There are no fossil alpha recoil tracks left by atoms that decayed before they could arrive at the halo centers, which there should be if the Rn or Po diffused through an already solid crystal. This is why Collins is proposing a process that doesn’t involve diffusion.

2. Collins calls for crystal re-formation at temperatures lower than the melting point, “350-“550ºC,” which is important since heat anneals (erases) halos. Despite this fact, I think the temperatures he does propose would probably still erase the halos over time. The crystals must be cool enough to allow halos both to form and also to endure for their assumed age.

What size might “large crystals” be?

The largest documented biotite crystal is reported to have leaves 7 sq. m in size. The largest fluorite crystal is reported to be a 2.12 m cube. We will skew our calculations in Collins’ favor by using the measurements of a large but comparatively small biotite crystal for sale on eBay that is described as 15 cm x 13 cm x 1.5 cm. We will assume this crystal is 100 cubic cm in volume in order to account for its irregular shape.

Hypothetical growth rate for this crystal

“In a matter of hours or less” would mean 23 hours down to < 1 hour. Let's assume that the relatively small 100 cubic cm crystal grew in 5 hours. That would be 20 cubic cm per hour, or 1 cubic cm per every 3 minutes, and 3 minutes is Po-218's half life.

Bear in mind that we have competing and conflicting parameters involved. We need higher temperatures to erase or prevent the footprints, but we need lower temperatures to allow for the formation and endurance of the halos. We need rapid crystal growth to avoid lopsided halos (where one side is lighter than the other because some Po had decayed before the crystal could grow far enough), but we need slow crystal growth in order to excuse the failure of laboratory granite synthesis experiments, and to account for the required accumulation of isotopes. We need rapid accumulation of isotopes to explain the lack of footprints, but we need slow accumulation of isotopes to avoid absurd initial quantities of U-238 and Rn-222, and violations of diffusion laws.

We require more Po-218 atoms than we might think

According to the published reports, a Po halo center is 1 to 2 microns in diameter, a dark halo requires 5 x 10^9 Po-218 atoms, and the concentration of Po needed for a dark halo is > 50% (http://www.halos.com/book/ctm-app-05-a.htm).

If we are losing 5 billion Po-218 atoms every three minutes as a growing crystal is encapsulating more and more Po-218, we need twice that much Po-218 to start with to keep from falling behind. If we will lose half of 10 billion Po-218 atoms to decay every 3 minutes, then that is also the rate that Po-218 is being replenished. Thus, if we start out with less than 10 billion atoms, we will be on losing ground, since replenishment will not equal the loss of 5 billion Po-218 atoms every 3 minutes to the growing crystal.

That skews the numbers in Collins’ favor if we stop there, which we shall, since it would be impossible for the 50% of the Po-218 that decays to be the same 50% that gets encapsulated, such such 100% efficiency is impossible to achieve in nature. In reality, if we start with 10 billion atoms of Po-218, at the end of 3 minutes, while 5 billion atoms may have been encapsulated, half of the remaining 5 billion atoms would have decayed, leaving us with but 7.5 billion atoms to begin the next 3-minute cycle (2.5 billion remaining, undecayed Po-218 atoms + 5 billion newly formed Po-218 atoms = 7.5 billion atoms).

Required volume of Rn-bearing fluids

The amount of Rn absorbed by a fluid depends on the temperature: as the temperature rises, less Rn will remain in solution. The greater the pressure, the more should dissolve. However, Collins explicitly proposes that the crystals that are re-forming and encapsulating Po-218 are located in low-pressure areas, allowing transport of isotopes from high pressure areas to low pressure areas. He’s got to get the isotopes to the proper sites somehow, and this is how he does it. But the lack of pressure limits the amount of Rn that can be contained in the fluid, and the high temperatures his hypothesis requires works against his hypothesis. (While his suggested temperatures are lower than the melting point, they are far above 20 degrees C.)

The record for Rn in well water in Connecticut was set by a well which had a Rn level of 660,000 pCi/L (http://ct-radon.info/CT_general.html). Since there are 27 pCi per Bq, we’re talking about 24,444 Bq/L. A Bq is one emission per second, so 24,444 atoms in 1 liter of water are decaying per second when the amount of radioactivity is 24,444 Bq/L. But since one study said that they measured Rn levels after equilibrium was reached in 3 hours, I think this means that those 24,444 emissions include alpha particles coming from Po-218 and Po-214 decay too. So in order to figure out how many Rn-222 atoms we really are talking about, we need to divide 24,444 by 3, and that leaves us with 8,148 Rn-222 atoms decaying per second.

If we divide that number by Rn-222’s decay constant (2.1 x 10^-6 s^-1), we should end up with the total number of Rn-222 atoms in that well water, 3.88 x 10^9/L. Let’s assume that’s enough atoms to form a nice Po-218 halo, though a dark halo requires 5 x 10^9 atoms. Then since when equilibrium conditions are reached there are 1777 Rn-222 atoms for every Po-218 atom, and we need more than 2 times the amount of Rn we might think we need, we need > 1777 x 2 liters of dangerously high Rn-bearing well water to have enough Po-218 atoms at any given moment to form a single Po-218 halo, and still have the same amount of Po-218 available for the next 3-minute half-life cycle.

Now all we have to do is decide how many Po-218 halos we want to account for in a cubic cm, since we’re working with the assumption that it grew at the rate of 1 cubic cm per 3-minute half-life. If we want only 100 halos, then we need > 100 x 1777 x 2 liters of dangerously high Rn-bearing well water, or > 355,400 liters, which would be 355.4 cubic m. So if 100% of the Po-218 formed from the decay of Rn in > 355.4 cubic m of Rn-and Po-bearing fluid with a similar concentration could get transported in time to the halo centers, we could seemingly account for 100 Po-218 halos in a single cubic cm of biotite, though our target number of halos is a bit higher.

But some Po-218 will undoubtedly go left instead of right, and so we need even more fluid, since 100% will never be at the right spot at the right time. But the more fluid we need, the less likely a high percentage of Po-218 will get to the right spot. It just doesn’t seem plausible without calling for an even greater concentration of Rn in that fluid, greater by 8 or 9 orders of magnitude (> 355.4 cubic m = > 355,400,000 cubic cm, and a change of 8 or 9 orders of magnitude would get the required volume of fluid down to < 1 cubic cm). But there would be a limit to how high the concentration would go in nature, and that's where I come up short. I couldn't come up with a naturally occurring maximum Rn concentration in hydrothermal fluids subjected to subsurface temperatures and pressures. But http://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/Kadko_1996_28285.pdf on p. 357 gives a number of Rn concentrations for seafloor hydrothermal vents, and the highest value is 1037 dpm/L (disintegrations per minute/L), which would be 17.28 Bq/L (1037 dpm/(60 Bq/dpm)), which is much, much less than the figure for the bad well we used above.

Required volume of U-bearing ore

U-238 and Po-218 have half-lives of 4,468,000,000 years and 3.098 min respectively. Thus for every atom of Po-218, there needs to be 2.35 quadrillion (4.468 x 10^9 years / 3.098 min. = 2.35 x 10^15) U-238 atoms lying around somewhere. If we needed 5 x 10^9 atoms of Po-218 per halo on average, then we need 2.35 x 10^15 x 5 x 10^9 = 1.18 x 10^25 total atoms of U-238 per Po-218 halo. Converting the numbers of atoms of U-238 and Rn-222 to grams, we get 4,680 g and 1.11 x 10^-12 g respectively. Since U has a density of 19.1 g/cubic cm, we need 245 cubic cm of pure U-238 for every Po-218 halo center. And because we still need to have > 2 times what we might think we need, we really need > 9,360 g and > 490 cubic cm of pure U-238.

(We’ll ignore the fact that naturally occurring U also contains U-235, and would have contained considerably more at the time Collins thinks these crystals formed, given that U-235 has a much shorter half life than U-238. Ignoring this will again skew the numbers in Collins’ favor.)

Collins is trying to account for the large number of Po halos in a Norwegian mica, and I couldn’t find any references to U ores in Norway. So let’s assume that the U ore available to produce Rn in Norway is low-grade ore (.1%), which is 200 to 333 times the amount of U contained in granite. I think this means that we need > 9,360 kg of .1% ore to end up with > 9,360 g of U.

Gummite, a type of U ore, has a density of 5.5 g/cubic cm. > 9.360 x 10^6 g would then have a volume of > 1.7 x 10^6 cubic cm, or > 1.7 cubic m per Po-218 halo center. If we’re trying to account for 100 Po-218 halo centers being encapsulated every 3 minutes, we then need > 170 cubic meters of .1% U ore.

Previous calculations in 2003

Working with the liberal assumption that crystal growth could not allow more than 25% difference in dosage for dark halos between two sides of a single halo (the 25% being calculated after subtracting the coloration threshold, the dosage needed before seeing any coloration), I calculated that the crystal had to grow at least 1 micron every 3 sec. in order for the crystal to reach the edge of the future Po-218 ring quickly enough. 1 micron / 3 sec = 1 cm / 30,000 sec. = 1 cm / 500 min. The first Po-218 halo at http://www.halos.com/book/ctm-rc-4.htm is so faint that the speed of crystal growth would have had to be much, much higher. And so a minimum speed of 1 cm per 3 min. is not unreasonably high, and may be unrealistically slow.

In April 2003, Collins told me by email that he had decided against his re-crystalization explanation for Po halo formation because of the above calculations, and was going back to a diffusion or transport along microfractures hypothesis. Our discussion then turned to the speed of transport via diffusion, since too slow of transport would allow too many atoms to decay enroute, resulting in fossil alpha recoil tracks and, I thought, excess Pb between the Isotope source and the halo centers. At some point I consulted with an evolutionist geologist about the plausibility of diffusion along cleavage planes and/or microfractures, and this is one thing he said: “I think the diffusion rate I cite above as a reasonable guideline suggests that diffusion rate is sufficient to get migration of Po on the scale of millimeters, and Rn on the scale of cm.” Get the picture? We’re seemingly back to square one: How could Po-218 possibly diffuse far enough in order to form the halos we now see?

This geologist also wrote: ” I think that it is unlikely that solubility of the Rn will be the limiting factor in the availability of Rn. Rather, supply of Radon by the decay of U238 will be the limiting factor. That is, the amount of Rn that is present, rather than the amount that will dissolve in water, determines how much is available in the biotite environment. ” I think he’s probably correct. Back in 2003 I found somewhere a figure of maximum solubility for Rn of .5g/L at STP, which would be around 1.36 x 10^21 Rn-222 atoms/L, or 1.36 x 10^6 atoms/cubic micron. If we need 5 x 10^9 Po-218 atoms per halo, need 1777 as much Rn-222 as Po-218, need > twice as much Rn as we might think, and need to end up with 100 halos per cubic cm, then we need 1.3 x 10^9 cubic microns of such saturated water (far less than a cubic cm) to account for all 100 Po-218 halos in a cubic cm. So if such concentrations could occur in nature, they could only do so at the localities needed if there was an adequate source of U, and there probably isn’t such, since if there were, Norway would be a major U producer.


If we take an unreasonably large amount of U ore, propose that plate tectonics or something similar pulverized that ore, propose that some sort of naturally occurring process resulted in the gathering of 100% of the Rn that U ore was producing, propose the transport of that Rn to the halo centers through some sort of means, and propose rapid crystal growth at low enough temperatures, we have come up with an explanation for the formation and continued existence of Po-218 halos in biotite and fluorite. That pulverization is necessary is suggested by Collins invoking microfracturing. Otherwise, some of that Rn simply won’t get out of that ore before it decays, and we need every possible Rn atom near the future halo centers as that crystal is growing.

Even if I’ve made a mistake somewhere, I think the conclusion will be the same. Suppose they suddenly discover a 2% U ore in Norway, reasonably close to where Po-halo bearing mica has been found. We would then be down to needing > 8.5 cubic meters of 2% ore, which still doesn’t sound plausible.

The polonium halo evidence for creation, despite Collins’ 2010 paper, remains unrefuted.

If anyone begs to differ, ask him how the isotopes got to the halo centers without leaving footprints, without leaving fossil alpha recoil tracks. That’s much of the problem in a nutshell.

But we never even touched the problem of why some samples contain more Po-218 halos than Po-210 halos, when under equilibrium conditions (what you might have if isotope accumulation at the halo centers happened over long ages) there would be far more Po-210 than Po-218 available to make halos: Po-218 half-life 3.098 min. / Po-210 half-life 138.376 days = 1 Po-218 atom / 64,319 Po-210 atoms. Or, since the beta-emitting precursor of Po-210 has a half-life of 22.2 years, 1 Po-218 atom / 3,768,983 Po-210 atoms.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: Beyond this, Odom also argues very much as I have regarding the “stars” mentioned in Genesis.

“There is the possibility that the rest of our solar system was brought into existence then [during the Creation Week of Genesis]. However, we would not speak dogmatically on that point. Other heavenly bodies were in existence before our world was created. We would not attempt to say how much older they are than the earth, because the Scriptures do not tell us specifically when they were created. Many of them may be millions of years older than the little planet we inhabit.” – Odom, 1959

This is exactly what I’ve been arguing – that here is the possibility that the rest of our solar system was brought into existence during Creation Week.

I must have misunderstood you. I apologize. I did not realize that you were arguing, like Odom, that the “stars” of Genesis 1 could be referring to our solar system. (Odom in that article never used the “stars” of Gen. 1:16 to refer to stars outside of our solar system, unless I missed something.)

Sean Pitman: How old is your E-mail, because in the Collins’ paper I referenced he argues that the crystals can grow quite rapidly:

The emails are a bit older than his paper.

Note that his paper is posted on a pro-evolution special interest group’s website, not in a standard peer-reviewed journal. At the time of our communications, Collins told me that the standard journals refused to publish his theories on granite. What does that tell you? His peers generally didn’t feel his theories held water. Now perhaps since then his peers have “seen the light,” but we also have the possibility that this special interest group can’t find anything better to attack the evidence for creation with.

Yes, he does argue for rapid re-formation of granite crystals. That’s his hypothesis in that paper. Then he should test his hypothesis and see if he can rapidly grow such crystals in the presence of relatively immense amounts of Rn to see if he can create a crystal with a Po-218 halo inside. He doesn’t get a pass on testing his hypothesis. Mere plausibility arguments don’t cut it.

Re: Collins’ theory, you may not be aware of this fact of physics: A decay chain’s radioactive isotopes when in equilibrium will be present in amounts proportional to their half-lives. Since Rn-222 has a half-life of 3.8235 days and Po-218 a half-life of 3.098 min., there needs to be 1777 times more Rn atoms than the required number of Po atoms in the presence of the growing crystal, in order to have enough Po atoms available at any given point of time (after equilibrium is reached) to become emplaced in the growing crystal. Since Collins is here calling for the growth of large crystals in hours or less, we’re talking about the near instantaneous formation of the part that would encapsulate a single Po halo. (If a small 1 cm crystal grew in 10 hours, it would grow at the rate of 500 to 1,000 halo center diameters per hour: 1 cm = 10,000 microns growth per 10 hours = 1,000 microns growth per hour. A Po halo diameter would be 1 to 2 microns. This small crystal would be growing at roughly 10 to 20 such halo centers per minute.)

Note that Collins is trying to explain the presence of 20,000-30,000 Po-218 and Po-210 halos per cubic cm, as reported in Gentry’s 1968 paper which he cites. Questions I would have are: (a) What naturalistic mechanism does Collins propose whereby the Po-214 halos would be missing from that Norwegian sample? (b) What naturalistic mechanism does Collins propose separated the Po-218 from the Po-210 such that little or no Po-218 became emplaced in Po-210-halo centers, close by Po-218 halo centers in the same nearly instantaneously formed cubic cm of granite?

The more immediate question in my mind is where did all the radiogenic lead go? If there was 1777 times more Rn-222 atoms than Po-218 atoms present per Po-218 halo, then for every Po-218 halo there should be 1777 times as much Pb-206 lurking around somewhere than what is in each Po-218 halo center. Unless there is a relative abundance of radiogenic Pb nearby that could be explained as the remains of the required Rn, Collins theory appears to be a non-starter.

It’s really worse than that. From Collins’ paper:

Uranium is commonly found in scattered zircon crystals in granite (as noted above), but some uranium may also be concentrated in late stages of granite crystallization in pegmatites in the mineral uraninite because of its very large atomic size. Biotite and fluorite crystallizing near this uraninite could plausibly contain Pohalos because the concentrated uranium atoms in this uraninite and in fluids bringing this uranium to the pegmatites would be an abundant source of radon 222Rn and polonium isotopes.

Because U-238 has a half life of 4.5 billions years, then for every Rn-222 atom required, there should be 430 billion atoms of U-238 lurking around somewhere, assuming equilibrium. If he wasn’t proposing nearly instantaneous crystal formation, the numbers would be a little better. If you need 5 billion atoms to produce a single dark Po-218 halo, and you need 1777 times that much Rn-222, you then need 430 billion x 1777 x 5 billion atoms worth of U-238 per Po-218 halo, assuming that 100% of the Rn-222 gas produced by the U-238 deposit just happens to float over to near the vicinity of the future 1-micron diameter Po-218 halo center.

I suspect that the rapid removal of Po from availability due to emplacement in the nearly instantaneous growth of the crystal might mess up the above scenario. Will the cloud of Rn decay fast enough to replenish the Po lost, such that the crystal can continue its rapid growth, encapsulating more and more Po, to the tune of thousands of Po halo centers per cubic centimeter? Sounds like a miracle to me, the very thing that Collins, reportedly a devout Methodist, is trying to disprove ever happened.

Sean Pitman: As I’ve mentioned several times already, I just don’t see that your ideas are required of the Biblical accounts nor are they fundamental to one’s reading or understanding of the key claims of the Bible or the Gospel message. That is why I don’t consider your ideas fundamental to Adventism ….

MH 414 and 8T 258 use the phrases “formation of our world” and “creation of the earth” when speaking of how God did not use pre-existing matter. I therefore looked up every reference this morning to creation or formation of the world or earth, and could not find one single statement that suggested a passive gap theory. To the contrary, Ellen White associated these phrases with the 6-days of creation, and the gift of the Sabbath, which does suggest that we are indeed talking about something that potentially affects the fundamentals of Adventism. One interesting example:

The creation of man in the beginning, the formation of the heavens and the earth, the beauty and glory with which the Creator had clothed all nature, had called forth the wonder and admiration of the universe of heaven, their reverence and love. (RH 7-15-09)

So the unfallen worlds and the angels watched as God formed the heavens and the earth. And that indicates that the formation of the heavens and the earth out of nothing occurred well after the unfallen worlds were created. We therefore can’t really use the fact that there already were unfallen worlds to argue that the formation of the world out of nothing could have happened a billion years before creation week.

By observing the memorial of the creation of the world in six days and the rest of the Creator on the seventh day, …. (3SM 256) (dated 1901)

The Sabbath was to stand representing God’s power in his creation of the world in six days, and his resting upon the seventh day. (GCB 3-4-1895)

Human Philosophy declares that an indefinite period of time was taken in the creation of the world. Does God state the matter thus? No; He says, “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days [not six indefinite periods of time; for then there would be no possible way for man to observe the day specified in the fourth commandment] the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” (TM 135; PH086 33) (dated Jan. 12, 1898)

Consistently, she refers to the creation of the earth, which she elsewhere said was not out of pre-existing matter, as occurring during the 6 days, and of which the Sabbath is a memorial. The Sabbath is certainly not a memorial that God formed the earth billions of years ago.

The topic of intelligent design is a powerful tool to use to present the truth. I’m all for it. But in a meeting conducted by a representative from a major ID organization, it was surprising to hear him espouse an old earth/life view, and put down a young earth/life view, indicating that none of the scientists they had working with them held a young earth or young life view. The radiometric dating of dinosaur bones could help at a time like that, but I used the halo and retention rates evidence that evening and in correspondence to suggest to him that there was indeed an evidentiary basis for a young earth/life view, and he was open to the material and suggestions.