Sean&#032Pitman: For instance, xenoliths of many different types are quite …

Comment on Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution? by Bob Pickle.

Sean&#032Pitman: 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 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&#039s 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&#039s 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% (

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 ( 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&#039s where I come up short. I couldn&#039t come up with a naturally occurring maximum Rn concentration in hydrothermal fluids subjected to subsurface temperatures and pressures. But 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 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.

Bob Pickle Also Commented

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: I have already cited DA 465 and Ed 14 where “stars” is limited to objects within our solar system. Therefore, I do not understand why you would base an argument on the “stars” of Day 4 without making some sort of effort to prove that “stars” on Day 4 cannot be limited to the “stars of our solar system.”

Showing that God formed woman from Adam’s rib does not address the point that Ellen White made: God formed our world and created the earth out of nothing. After He did that, then certainly He could have formed man and the animals from something. But thus far you have not given any reason for concluding that Ellen White was not referring to creation week when she said what she did in MH and 8T.

The available texts do not leave open the question of whether the sun and moon existed before Day 4. That is an idea that comes from outside the Bible. It isn’t in the text.

You assert that Gen. 1:1 can be interpreted to mean that the sun, moon, and Jupiter existed before creation week. How so? It uses the Hebrew word for heavens, but says nothing about the sun or moon or Jupiter. It is Day 4 that explicitly says that God created the sun and moon on that day. It is Gen. 2:1 that says that the heavens were finished after creation week. Gen. 1:1 says nothing about the heavens already being finished before creation week; the verse does not use the word “finished” at all.

Did the scholars you cite arrive at their views of Gen. 1:16 solely from reading the text? Or are they trying to get the text to accommodate the conclusions of scientists that believe differently than what the text states? Two sources tell me that “made” in vs. 16 is an imperfect, not a perfect. Why then does Grudem say that an imperfect should be taken as a perfect? Is his basis for thus amending the text solely the Bible, or is it something else?

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: The post’s date isn’t important to me. I was just trying to understand what happened.

I don’t think you answered my question: “Do you think it possible that Ellen White’s 1897 statements were a rebuttal of Wilcox’s sentiments as he expressed them the following year?” She obviously was addressing some sort of ideas that had come into Adventism. If these ideas weren’t what Wilcox expressed, what were they?

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: Please read MH 414 and 8T 258 again, and see if you think those particular quotes leave the question open.

We could come up with a long list of points that Ellen White, perhaps (since there might be an unpublished letter), never personally corrected this one or that one on, so we can only take that so far. For example, some held that an atonement was made at the cross, some held that no atonement was made until Christ ascended to heaven, and some held that no atonement was made until 1844. I do not recall Ellen White rebuking proponents of two of these three contradictory positions, even though she did support one of these positions in her writings.

Do MH 414 and 8T 258 really leave the question open?

Recent Comments by Bob Pickle

The End of “Junk DNA”?
Thanks, Sean, for this informative article!

Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’

While in Roosevelt, New York, August 3, 1861, different churches and families were presented before me. The different influences that have been exerted, and their discouraging results, were shown me. Satan has used as agents individuals professing to believe a part of present truth, while they were warring against a part. Such he can use more successfully than those who are at war with all our faith. His artful manner of bringing in error through partial believers in the truth, has deceived many, and distracted and scattered their faith. This is the cause of the divisions in northern Wisconsin. Some receive a part of the message, and reject another portion. Some accept the Sabbath and reject the third angel’s message; yet because they have received the Sabbath they claim the fellowship of those who believe all the present truth. Then they labor to bring others into the same dark position with themselves. They are not responsible to anyone. They have an independent faith of their own. Such are allowed to have influence, when no place should be given to them, notwithstanding their pretensions to honesty.

Erv has had decades to come into line. According to the above counsel from the Lord, “no place” should have been given him regardless of his pretensions. And it is far past time that place cease to be given him.

WASC Team Recommends Formal Notice of Concern Regarding LSU

Either I’m misunderstanding what is allegedly going on, or you are missing the point.

If a church educational institution, such as LSU, begins to promote evolution as the true story of origins (not just teaching about evolution with an emphasis on the evidence for Biblical creation), and if the church tries therefore to rein it in, and if the WASC says the church can’t do that, then the WASC is meddling with the church’s educational mission, and what the church’s educational institutions can and cannot teach.

“They do require that the institution makes education its primary function ….”

True education or false education? If true education, then the WASC should have no problem with the church requiring LSU to stick with true education principles, and to abandon false education principles. It’s fine to require a school to teach about evolution, but requiring a school to promote evolution over creation or intelligent design is a whole different matter.

By the way, a union president should have the institution’s conformity to true education principles as his primary objective, or else he shouldn’t be chairman of the board. But I think the WASC may be opposed to this, not in favor of it, based on what is being reported.

WASC Team Recommends Formal Notice of Concern Regarding LSU
If what you have reported is accurate, then WASC isn’t doing its job, since it isn’t holding LSU accountable to principles of true education.

If these non-Adventist accrediting bodies refuse to do their job, then we may just have to go some other route. They aren’t God, after all.

Of course, one might argue that WASC’s job is to hold institutions accountable to principles of false education, not principles of true education. But who would or did give it that kind of job? And there have been non-Adventist entities and individuals that have promoted true education.

Is La Sierra University Legally Distancing Itself from the Church?
@Chris Chan:

Note that on p. 1 under Article 4 “Pacific Union” is defined as “Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.” So every time you read “Pacific Union” thereafter, it means “Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.”

That’s the legalese way of simplifying a legal document when the same person or organization is referred to multiple times throughout the document. If the other conferences are only mentioned once, it wouldn’t make sense to define a shorter term for them too.