Logo shows magnified cross-section of a Polonium 218 halo in a granite rock. How did it get there? [halos.com]
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Chapter 15: Continued Attacks on Creation Science

[p. 197]

University of Tennessee Public Forum on Creation Science

Early in 1987, The Society for Creation Science, a student organization, invited me to speak at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. My presentation entitled "Should Creation Science Be Taught at UT?" was publicized in the student and local newspapers, The Daily Beacon and the Knoxville News-Sentinel, and on local radio and television networks. A few weeks before my program I wrote Dr. Press and other evolutionists, challenging them to come and present any evidence which invalidated my results on creation. About 600 persons representing a cross section of community, students, and faculty came to the Alumni Gym on the evening of April 13, 1987. Neither Dr. Press nor any of the other invited evolutionists came, but some did come from the UT geology department. Their presence made that evening a memorable occasion.

In my talk I used a familiar example to illustrate why polonium halos in granites are unique evidence of creation. A glass of water was placed on top of an overhead projector that was focused on a very large screen in the front of the auditorium. Then I reminded the audience that according to evolutionary theory the granites had formed as hot, molten rock slowly cooled over millions of years of geological time. To illustrate that polonium halos could never form under these conditions, I compared the effect of a tiny speck of polonium in molten rock with an Alka- Seltzer tablet which was then dropped into the glass of water. The beginning of effervescence was equated to the instant that polonium atoms began to decay and emit radioactive particles. I explained that traces of those particles would disappear as quickly in "liquid" rock as bubbles from the Alka-Seltzer disappear in water. But if the water were instantly frozen, the bubbles would be preserved. These frozen bubbles would be analogous to the exceedingly large number of polonium halos now encased in granites around the world. Just as frozen bubbles would be clear evidence of an instantaneous freezing of water, in like manner polonium halos are undeniable evidence that many rapidly "effervescing" specks of created polonium interacted with a sea of primordial matter that was almost instantly "frozen" as solid granite.

Next I discussed the falsification test and was answering a question when someone spoke out from the audience. I encouraged him to come down front to the microphone, for it was apparent he had strong feelings which he wished to express. The following exchange of comments was taken from the videotape of the evening's presentation:

[p. 198]

UT PROF: My name is _________, a professor of geology at UT. Who said you cannot form a granite in the laboratory? It's been proven for 25 years, by hundreds of publications, and just because you are ignorant of [those] publications, doesn't mean that it can't be done. I can do it in my laboratory. People all over the world can.

GENTRY: You know, I am just so happy you came forward tonight. I am absolutely gratified, because I will give you the piece of granite. How long is it going to take you to do it?

UT PROF: Under controlled cooling rates, you can form it in about a week.

GENTRY: Can we all come back in a week, and . . . see it? Just like this?

UT PROF: In that approximate grain size, not that size, obviously. It would have to be much smaller.

GENTRY: Oh, wait a minute. What was this about the grain size now?

UT PROF: That approximate grain size is controlled, is a function of the cooling rate, the kinetics of the situation, the crystallization and growth. And you can form that coarseness of granite minerals; you can form those mineral compositions with a cooling rate of about ½ degree per hour crystallizing.

GENTRY: I want to show you a piece of biotite, a piece of granite, which contains the polonium halos. Why don't you look at it? . . . How long do you think it would take you to do this? This one. [I handed him the larger piece shown in Plate 11-b of the Radiohalos Catalogue.]

UT PROF: That? The grain size, and I don't know exactly [which] mineral compositions are there, but I estimate the same approximate cooling rate. Anything slower than ½ a degree per hour over the crystallization range of approximately 200 degrees over which these minerals crystallize will be sufficient to do this.

GENTRY: And will in a week . . . ?

UT PROF: And people at UCLA, at Cal Tech, at Chicago, at MIT, at Harvard, at . . . wherever you want to go, can do this. So I don't see that it's a big problem. Frank Press is from MIT, and that's where, I mean, he would be speaking to that. But I think more properly that the reason why you are not getting a rebuttal to this is that people just don't want to rebuttal [sic] it. . . . It is so well established in the literature.

GENTRY: Now, is this the first time that you have heard of this test?

UT PROF: Yes, it is.

GENTRY: I see. So you think that in one week you can get this piece of granite back in your laboratory?

UT PROF: I can give you . . . many, many publications about . . .

[p. 199]

GENTRY: No, no. I am not talking about publications. I am saying, you have claimed tonight that you can do it, is that true?

UT PROF: I don't have my laboratory set up right for doing that particular thing. I'm working on basalts, but, yes, you can do that.

GENTRY: . . . I think that . . .

UT PROF: I will tell you the laboratory where I could go and do it, and that would be at Johnson Space Center. They do that down there now.

GENTRY: Now you changed the topic just a little bit, and I think the audience needs to be aware that you have gone from a granite to a basalt. And they need to understand the difference. . . . there is an awful lot of difference between the grain size of the basalt you are talking about and the granite crystal which I have right here. . . . [Same piece shown earlier.]

UT PROF: I beg to differ. I beg to differ tremendously, that there can be grain size within a basalt flow, within the Hawaiian flows, that is of the same grain size as you have there . . . that can cool, that can form rather rapidly. But regardless of . . . I am not talking about basalt . . . I don't know what your . . .

GENTRY: You mentioned basalt.

UT PROF: I said, I'm—what I have been working on recently is basalts.

GENTRY: Well, I have to comment . . . further on what you've just said .

UT PROF: Well, okay, . . . what I am saying is that you can make the grain size of the minerals; you can make the mineral compositions without any problem in the laboratory, . . . when you are geared up to do this particular type of thing. It takes controlled cooling rates, in closed containers. You cannot . . . you could make something grain-sized; hand-sized—but we don't make them that large; we have problems with containers; we make them smaller. So we make them on the order of just a few, you know, five millimeters, six millimeters across. We are not making a hand-sized . . . in fact, we can duplicate everything, and it has been done for many, many years.

GENTRY: . . . Well, let me ask you this question. Following now on the comments you just made in the . . .

UT PROF: . . . I'm sorry, . . . but I feel that I'll be willing to show you the literature. I'll be willing to talk to you about demonstrations, whatever you want. But I am not about to come up and, and sit here and have you change things around about basalts and granites. I mean it is well established in the literature. I . . . can give you that. (Applause)

[Earth Science Associates 1987. See ESA reference (p. 353) for ordering a copy of this videotape.]

[p. 200]

His bravado had an effect on the audience. Everyone present realized that the battle lines were very clearly drawn, and the vigorous applause given after the geology professor's remarks showed he had supporters for his position. Some of my friends later told me they were concerned my case was lost at this point. But they, along with most everyone else present, were unaware of some extraordinary events that had transpired over the preceding month. In the next several minutes they would hear me recount how those events had dovetailed to bring into focus a largely overlooked prediction in my book concerning any attempts to synthesize granite.

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