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Creationist Comedy (NAiG)

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This article on the No Answers in Genesis website details the contempt that some evolutionists have for creationists, naming the webpage title, "cretin comedy" [1]. The NAiG article is in response to an article originally published in the Creation magazine in June 1997, written by Carl Wieland [2].

In the Creation ex nihilo Magazine (Vol 19 #3:10–14, Jun–Aug 1997, an article titled The Lost Squadron by noted Australian creationist, founder and editor of that publication, Dr Carl Wieland, purports to show that, because a group of WWII airplanes were buried under several hundred feet of ice in 50 years, the technique of ice core dating is based on false premises.

F. C. has become reliant upon comedy rather than representing the other sides arguments truthfully. In fact the Creation magazine has and editorial team comprising Don Batten, David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, and Tasman Walker.

The meat of Dr. Carl Wieland's article is not to only conclusively show that ice core dating is based on false premises and nothing else, but rather to show that rapid processes such as the burial of these planes undermines often though evolutionary presuppositions. What is trying to be displayed through the real-world example of these World War II planes is that as a creationist, Mr. Wieland finds that catastrophic processes are the cause.

None of the discoverers had thought that the planes could possibly be buried under more than a light cover of snow and ice. And why would they? After all, the impression the general public has is that the buildup of glacial ice takes very long time periods — thousands of years for just a few metres.
Maybe because they didn't bother to look at the available data for snowfall and ice accumulation for that area for the past 50 years. That is – because they were amateur adventurers rather than scientists. If they had investigated more thoroughly, they would have found that the ice in that area builds at a rate averaging 7 feet per year.

Again F.C. is missing the point. Weiland sees a culture saturated within evolutionary thought that massive amounts of time are needed for natural processes to accomplish their various formations. The adventurers conclusion is that little had buried the planes in 50 years, which is logical given the line of thinking.

Taking the figure of 7 feet per year of ice build-up, and given that it takes 10 feet of snow to produce one foot of ice, there would have to of been 70 feet of snow per year in order to produce 7 feet of ice build-up per year. 50 years x 7 feet of ice build-up per year, we have 350 feet of ice in 50 years since the plane crash. That is a considerable amount considering deep time is needed for natural glaciers to form through the evolutionary framework of interpretation.

After all, the impression the general public has is that the build up of glacial ice takes very long time periods - thousands of years for just a few metres.
Since when is "the impression the general public has" considered a valid basis for science or anything but the impressions of the general public? Anyone genuinely familiar with ice core dating knows that, like the growth rings of a tree, the quantity used in counting is the number of discernible annual layers – not the thickness. Wieland at first seems to be somewhat aware of that as he continues:

Indeed un-informed individuals making conclusions based upon evolutionary assumptions is the point. However we are not talking about just snowfall but rather glacier formation, 250 feet of which are said to of covered the planes. This was formed in 50 years and not the all so often taught evolutionary assumption that, "in polar regions, where annual snowfall is generally very low because the air is too cold to hold much moisture, it may take snow about 1,000 years to turn into ice" [3] or that in most cases,"this process takes over a hundred years." [4]

In fact, ice cores in Greenland are used for dating, based on the belief that layers containing varying isotope ratios were laid down, somewhat like the rings of a tree, over many tens of thousands of years.

The seekers of the buried aircraft never extracted intact ice core samples and subjected them to the tests used in scientific dating, and ice cores from moving glaciers aren`t used for studying anything but glacial movement. Yet, a bit further on, Wieland seems to be comparing the length of genuine ice core samples from the GRIP or GISP 2 projects[1] with the ice thickness burying the aircraft:
Suddenly the thickness of 268 feet of glacial ice near the east coast that was melted through by non-scientists to recover the "Glacier Girl" P-38 fighter is being used to date "3000 metres of ice core" extracted deep in the interior of the Greenland ice sheet.[2] Has he already forgotten his "rings of a tree" analogy just a few paragraphs earlier? Has he opted for no more flim-flam about annual layers? -- let's just measure the thickness in two widely-separated locations, compare them, and be done with it. Is Wieland funny, or what? Exaggeration for comic effect, I suppose, or perhaps the sleigh-of-hand of the parlour magician is at work. The GISP 2 core samples were dated using 42 scientifically validated parameters, and Wieland wants to overrule the dating with a scientifically ridiculous comparison of thicknesses. What a knee-slapper this guy is, huh? He next shows us how it's all evidence for young earth creationism:
Allowing of course for compression of lower layers, (which is also offset by the inevitable aftermath of a global Flood, namely much greater precipitation and snowfall for a few centuries) there is ample time in the 4,000 or so years since Noah's day for the existing amounts of ice to have built up even under today`s generally non–catastrophic conditions.
If ice cores had in fact been extracted at the "Glacier Girl" site and analysis using the same 42 methods used for GISP 2 determined that the aircraft were buried thousands of years ago, Wieland might have an arguable case. As is, all he's got is proof of his own ignorance. For a topper, his information sources for the article are offered in his first footnote –

Information for this article is mostly from:The Lost Squadron, Life magazine 15(14):6068, December 1992 and Search for a Fork–Tailed Devil, Compressed Air Magazine, pp. 3036, March 1996.

And "creation scientists" like Wieland wonder why no one with the brains of a gnat takes them seriously.

Wieland continues his journey into ignorance, in Footnote 9:
Argonne National Laboratories in the US combined wood, water and acidic clay, and heated in a sealed container (with no added pressure) at 150 C for 28 days, and obtained high–grade black coal. R. Hayatsu, et al., Organic Geochemistry, 6:463471, 1984.
The cited article, however, describes testing with several materials including lignin and lignin/cellulose (the major components of wood) and heating durations ranging from 30 minutes to 8 months. None of the intervals was close to the 28 day figure given by Wieland – the closest was 60 minutes, 2nd closest 2 months. None of tests used water – most involved a mixture of 4 g activated clay and 2 g lignin, both finely powdered, in a sealed glass tube which was either evacuated or the air replaced with nitrogen.

They obtained not "high–grade black coal" (anthracite) but "an insoluble material resembling low rank coals" for the shorter intervals, and a material somewhat resembling slightly higher grade coal (vitrinites) for longer times.

Thus the distinguished Dr Wieland's assertion of rapid high–grade coal formation is at best uninformed. Either he doesn't know the difference between high grade black and low rank soft brown coal, has never actually read the original article or a genuine abstract of it, or he's deliberately lying. He seems to be either relying on inaccurate secondary sources, or else pulling his information out of his hat.

Given the demonstrated creationist practice of continuing to spout falsehoods even after they have been informed of their errors, it is reasonable to conclude that Wieland is either a deliberate liar or an ignoramus, and perhaps both.