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Exchanges with Andrew Snelling of the ICR Regarding Granite Formation


To: Andrew Snelling and ICR RATE group members and officers, including Henry Morris, Duane Gish, and other creation science organizations.
From: Bob Gentry, July 11, 2003.
Topic: Pre-publication draft of comments on ICR's Impact article #353.
Focus: Primordial polonium halos and deep hole drilling point to granites as Earth's primordial Genesis rocks, identical with the biblical foundations of the Earth: It's a great biblical and scientific truth that shines as a lamp in a dark place, one that is growing brighter and brighter unto the perfect day (Pr. 4:18).

Preface and Introduction


ICR's November 2002 Impact article #353 (to view, click HTML or PDF), authored by my good friend Andrew Snelling, has successfully refocused attention on the origin of granite and has brought the topic to a very high level of prominence to a very wide audience by virtue of Andrew's claimed disproof of the primordial origin of granite and their enclosed polonium halos. According to #353 this disproof rests squarely on Andrew's claim of having discovered unequivocal evidence that granites are secondary rocks whose origin can be traced to the melting and cooling of fossil-bearing Flood rocks. In their public promotion of a secondary origin of granite Andrew and ICR proceed to claim this is indirect evidence that polonium halos in granites must also be secondary.

Scientific protocol requires these claims be carefully evaluated, for they deny my decades-long series of publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, containing results which show why polonium halos in granites are primordial, and hence that the host granites must themselves also be primordial. The failure of any scientist — atheist or agnostic, evolutionist or creationist, including Andrew — to respond to my widely published challenges over the last twenty-five years to refute these results and publish their findings in the same peer-reviewed journals, constitutes scientific proof that this remarkable evidence for Earth's recent fiat creation remains as immovable as the granites themselves. This is no surprise, for when God called planet Earth into existence on Day 1 of creation week, He made it impossible for man to overturn or account for His Fingerprints of Creation by any natural processes.


In November 2002 ICR used its private publication, Acts & Facts to call into question my widely published scientific evidence of Earth's young age and rapid creation. In early 2003 someone informed me that ICR's Vice President, Larry Vardiman, had sent him a report, authored by Andrew and Mark Armitage, which claimed to falsify various aspects of my results on the primordial origin of polonium halos in granites. It was marked "confidential," so as to prevent my viewing it. I was informed it was to be presented at the forthcoming Fifth International Conference on Creationism. This is a déjà vu of events leading to the Second ICC in 1990, when its organizers and their chosen editors selected two highly adversarial evolutionists to criticize my work without giving me opportunity to reply. The evidence now in hand suggests that ICR and the Fifth ICC organizers, and their present editors, are planning a repeat of 1990. This document will be enlarged to respond to that paper.

The hundred thousand or so trusting souls who received Impact #353 — and possibly another hundred thousand who also may have read it by now — may well believe they have been given new truth about granites and their enclosed polonium halos. ICR's thrust against my work is curious considering that Andrew has long been an integral part of the two Adventist Media Production videos, The Young Age of the Earth and Fingerprints of Creation, both of which strongly endorse primordial polonium halos as evidence of the primordial origin of granites, as well as an approximate 6000-year age of planet Earth. Andrew's strong affirmation of all these positions is widely known both nationally and internationally through these videos.

Internationally, the videos have been translated into Serbian, and are now airing on many of the most prominent TV stations all throughout the Balkans. I continue to get glowing reports of God's providential leading in bringing this to pass. The videos are already in China and are presently being translated into Korean. Moreover, they have recently been translated into Spanish and Portuguese and, in what I consider to be a miracle of God's intervention, they will soon begin airing in Spanish via satellite all over North and South America, and Western Europe. And negotiations are already underway for the Portuguese version to air on satellite TV that covers all of Brazil. Moreover, they have also been translated into Russian, and just a few months ago I received a letter from someone who viewed Fingerprints of Creation on Polish TV. Clearly the Lord is continuing to lead very powerfully in their distribution and airings.

Nationally, in 1996-97, the Young Age video aired nine times all across North America on the Eternal Word TV Network (EWTN), which is part of the Global Catholic Network. Many EWTN viewers called, expressing how it strengthened their faith in the Bible, and to order their copy. Additionally, both videos have been airing on Public Broadcast Television (PBS) for almost the last two years; but not without opposition. One organization, long known for their acceptance of radiometric dating and an ancient 4.5 billion year age of the Earth, made rather strong attempts to prevent the PBS airings. The reason may not be hard to find; both videos reveal why these positions are in error, both scientifically and biblically. This may explain why strenuous attempts have been made to prevent their distribution and airing.

The fact that both Andrew and ICR, and other entities, have independently published criticisms of my scientific results, without either one giving me opportunity to respond, is within their First Amendment rights, and I respect their freedom to say and print whatever they choose. They should likewise respect my freedom to publish my opinion that such actions are contrary to the 1984 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Freedom of Inquiry resolution. I discuss it at length in my book Creation's Tiny Mystery, contrasting its principles to the way that evolutionists have long suppressed the creationist implications of my published reports. The NAS passed it in 1984 to lend moral support to foreign scientists whose research and discoveries, and other human rights activities, had come into conflict with the prevailing views of certain totalitarian-dominated regimes. Consequently they were under threats of imprisonment or worse, and the Academy saw fit, through their resolution, to awaken the conscience of the worldwide scientific community to muster as much high-level scientific support for these beleaguered colleagues as possible. It's a situation that is still ongoing many years later; certain scientists in those countries are still under threat because of their research or human rights activities. Of course, in principle it's no different than individual Christians in those countries being persecuted or threatened for their own personal evangelism, or because they belong to a certain religious entity that may be on the foreign government's blacklist.

This pre-publication draft exposes the fallacies of Andrew's and ICR's recent claim of having discovered unequivocal evidence of the secondary origin of granite from fossiliferous Flood rocks; coincidentally, it also exposes the fallacies of radiometric dating and Earth's 4.5 billion-year geological evolution. It is convenient to respond to both views simultaneously because they both are critically hinged on the same common, erroneous assumption concerning the secondary origin of granite and the enclosed polonium halos. This response may also be helpful in dispelling the considerable confusion that exists in many creationist circles concerning whether an ancient age of the Earth really contradicts the Bible. It seems that many who accept an ancient Earth have not been correctly informed as to the implications of what they believe. In fact, belief in an ancient Earth is virtually identical with the conventional geological evolutionary scenario which pictures formation of granites occurring deep underground tens of thousands of times, millions of years apart, throughout a presumed 4.5 billion-year period of Earth history. Both the Young Age and Fingerprints videos explain briefly why this is the downfall of the entire system of radiometric dating that underpins belief in an ancient planet Earth. This document more fully details the scientific and biblical reasons for this conclusion, while also showing that an ancient Earth is the foundation of both geological and biological evolution.

Until now I have generally not contested the wide dissemination of faulty claims and criticisms about my work. To remain silent any longer would leave the erroneous impression that these fallacious claims have credibility, when in fact they do not.


From: Bob Gentry
To: Steve Austin, Andrew Snelling, Don DeYoung, Eugene Chaffin, John Baumgardner, Larry Vardiman, Russ Humphreys
Subject: November 2002 A&F, Impact #353, and granites, fossils, and flood rocks — a very urgent request for exact location of fossiliferous granites
Date: Sunday, November 03, 2002 9:02 PM

Dear friends,

Greetings from Tennessee. Hope that all is going well at ICR.

Last month I informed Russ how pleased I was for his Impact article on the young-earth-age implications of the helium diffusion experiments on the zircons taken from the Fenton Hill site. Congratulations to all involved in those results.

On another topic, perhaps some of you are aware that our video, Fingerprints of Creation, which has been airing on various PBS stations around the country since last November — which airings have been strenuously opposed in some quarters — identifies Po halos in granites as evidence of fiat creation on Day 1 of creation week. In particular it focuses on El Capitan as one being one of the most visible examples of God's Ex Nihilo creation on planet Earth. Of course my book relates similar conclusions.

That being the case, I am therefore much interested in the views on granite formation presented on page 3, the ICR Research page of this month's issue of A&F, and Impact #353. In them I read of unequivocal evidence that at least some granites originated from the melting of fossilferous Flood-deposited sediments, and, hence, that at least some granites such as those at Yosemite, originated during the Flood. On that basis it is then claimed that since such rocks are neither created nor primordial, then neither can the Po halo parent nuclides be primordial. If true, these are very significant findings, and I need to radically alter my view of these rocks ASAP and the implications of Po halos in them right away.

All I need is the precise location where fossilferous granites exist which — using the language of Impact #353 — certainly means the exact location where someone has found unequivocal evidence of fossils existing within granite in the Sierras at the present time.

As I have always done when others have made such claims, I will immediately plan to visit the site, or sites, and see this remarkable evidence for myself. I say remarkable because a number of evolutionists — and others — have long sought to overthrow, discredit, or otherwise throw into doubt my scientific work supporting Po halos as evidence of fiat creation, by claiming, as is now being done, that the parent Po is secondary and/or that conventional geology's interpretation of various rock formations prove that Po-halo-containing granites cannot be primordial rocks created during Day 1 of the Genesis creation.

I have a creation seminar scheduled for this weekend and, to be truthful to the attendees, I may be obliged to comment on the published RATE members' views on Po halos, and how they must now be interpreted as being secondary in origin because they are now reported to unequivocally exist in fossil-bearing granites. Indeed, some in attendance may have already read about this new information. So it will obviously be necessary to communicate to the attendees that I have made a very urgent request for RATE members to supply exact location of such sites, desiring if at all possible to visit such sites even before the seminar.

That I will do this if at all possible is proved by the fact that, as some of you may remember, a claim about fossils in granite in New England was being circulated before the First ICC Symposium in 1986. Being informed of this presumed occurrence I journeyed to the University of New Hampshire, and there contacted the state geologist, who readily affirmed the existence of such an occurrence, and gave explicit directions as to where it could be found. I went and reported back to the state geologist that no fossils existed where he had directed me. He then gave other specific directions; again I went and again found nothing. Then there was a third time, and again no fossils were present. Never in any instance did the state geologist argue that the fossils were there after I returned to report that they weren't. So I pressed him for another site. He said he was sure they existed in still another location. The problem, he said, was that they were in an isolated location in the mountains of New Hampshire, far off the main roads, thus requiring extensive hiking to get there. I volunteered to pay him to take me there. He deferred, saying this would take him away from his job for too long. So I proposed to rent a helicopter, and I would pay for it so we could quickly go and come. He still backed out.

Since then I have visited every site in North America where reports of fossils in granite have been cited to me as proof that Po halos in granites cannot be primordial. In no instance was there any validity to the claims. They were all spurious, the result of evolutionists vainly trying to invent something to substantiate their beliefs. In saying that I am excepting the present reports in A&F and Impact. However, the latter do not give the locations of such presumed sites, thus my very urgent request for this information.

On another topic, in closing, it is unfortunate that I find a tactic used generally by evolutionists (and at times by those who aren't) to routinely censor my replies to their arguments against my results, now making its appearance in principle in the Endnotes and References of the Impact article. In particular, the Impact article cites Ref. 9 on how the occurrence of U, Th, and Po halos in what are said to be regionally metamorphosed rocks could confirm the large-scale rapid flows of hydrothermal fluids involved in regional catastrophism. Now the last part of Ref. 9 refers to a CRSQ article, an article with a title designed to attract attention to what might initially be assumed to be genuine geological concerns regarding the occurrence of various radiohalos.

What I find interesting is that some of the geological sentiments expressed in that CRSQ paper now reappear in a somewhat different form in the Impact article. In itself that is not surprising, considering that the author of the Impact article and the author of the cited CSRQ article are very good friends, and are known to have discussed these matters on many occasions.

But there is an enigma here, to me at least. Possibly it won't be such to the other members of the RATE group. In particular, the author of the Impact article — which I assume was read and approved by other members of RATE group — knows for certainty that I published a lengthy rebuttal in the very same issue of the CRSQ to the CRSQ article which he cited in the last part of Ref. 9. In my CSRQ rebuttal I noted that the supposed geological concerns about the Po halo evidence for creation were based entirely on assumptions and interpretations straight out of evolutionary textbooks, and in fact were virtually indistinguishable from conventional evolutionary geological lore.

What I do not understand is — knowing of my publication of both geological and Po halo evidence that refuted the CRSQ paper he cited — why did he omit citing my paper as well? Certainly there is enough space on the page to have done this. And there is a second item here as well.

Far more recently I published another even more detailed response to the same author's criticisms of the primordial nature of polonium halos. As the author of the Impact article well knows, this exchange was published in CENTJ Vol. 12 (No. 3) 287 (1998), and presents a summary of what I believe are rather convincing arguments for the primordial nature of Po halos in granites. I do not know why the author omitted citing either of those articles. What I do know is that both of my articles contain information that contradicts the contention that Po halos in Yosemite granites must be of secondary origin, and that such granites originated at the Flood.

I realize, however, that A&F and the RATE project's results all come under the auspices of ICR, which certainly has the right to publish anything it wants. So in the last analysis it is under no obligation to cite any papers that challenge or contradict its official position on the origin of granite, if it chooses not to do so.

Right now it is obvious that ICR has made a very strong effort to convince the readership of A&F that it has solved the problem of Po halos in granites by stating rather unequivocally that such are Flood rocks, and hence that its Po halos are secondary.

Whether those claims will stand up under scrutiny remains to be seen. I anxiously await receiving the locations of the fossil-bearing granites referred to in those articles. I can be wrong, and am still learning. I will be most happy to investigate the granite claims, and join with you in proclaiming granites as Flood rocks if the evidence is as strong as is stated in the articles. After all, some day I expect to stand before the Great White Throne, and be judged by what I have done and said. In that day I certainly do not want the Lord to say that evidence was presented to me showing that I was off track, and why did I not change my ways while I had opportunity to do so?


From: Andrew Snelling
To: Dr. Robert Gentry
CC: Dr. Larry Vardiman; Dr. Steve Austin; Dr. John Baumgardner; Dr. Eugene Chaffin; Dr. Don DeYoung; Dr. D. Russell Humphreys
Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2002 10:13 PM
Subject: Granites

Dear Bob,

Greetings in the Lord's name!

Thanks for your kind words regarding the helium in zircon diffusion experiments. We are grateful to the Lord for the way He has led and guided that project, and indeed all of the RATE research. Of course, we appreciate very much your pioneering work on the helium in zircons, and the radiohalos, which we have acknowledged and have merely built upon.

Please understand at the outset that we do not desire to generate controversy or ill-will toward you with respect to our different views on the origin and formation of granites, and the Po radiohalos in them. We cannot but go where we strongly believe the evidence, both field and laboratory, points, but always in dependence on wisdom and guidance from the Lord through His Word and by prayer.

Bob, you know as well as we do that granites do not contain fossils. Indeed, we would not expect them to contain fossils, because, as granites are igneous rocks, any organic material in the source rocks that melted would have been incinerated. Furthermore, you have carefully read the November Acts and Facts and Impact #353, so you know that I did not claim or write there that we had found and sampled granites containing fossils. Therefore, why do you insist that we provide you with the location details for "fossiliferous granites"? That's not "borrowing the language of Impact #353," but imputing to us something we did not write or claim.

Of course, we can provide you with the precise location details (even GPS coordinates in most instances) of every granite sample we have collected, and you are more than welcome to those details. However, that is not the real issue, is it? You don't agree with our claim that many granites were produced during the Flood by the melting of Flood-deposited, fossiliferous sediments to form molten magmas that then intruded into, and thus cooled surrounded by, other Flood-deposited sediments. According to your model for granite formation, and ours, we should not expect to find fossils in granites, but a real issue here is whether there are fossils in the rocks hosting granites.

There is not the space here for a long technical discussion of all the detailed evidences. Nor does it seem appropriate, given that you must surely be already aware of all the many evidences as presented in the voluminous literature on the subject of granites. However, it would seem you have rejected those impeccable evidences because they have been compiled and presented, in the main, by uniformitarian geologists, and because they conflict with your views based on the Po radiohalos. Nevertheless, you state in your letter that you are seeking to follow the truth, and that you are still learning. Bob, as your friends and your Christian brothers, we have to say, unfortunately very bluntly, that it is wrong for you to go on denying and rejecting the many impeccable observational evidences, that are not tainted with uniformitarianism, but which unequivocally show that many granites were formed from magmas derived by the melting of sediments at temperatures and pressures that destroyed contained fossils. So that you know we are genuine and not generating some smokescreen, let us summarize (all too briefly) the main lines of evidences that convince us (and most other creationist geologists):

  1. Sedimentary basins ought to be places where granite magmas were generated. Copious phase equilibria laboratory studies demonstrate that, at c. 735°C and 5 kbar in the system NaAlSi3O8-KAlSi3O8-SiO2-H2O, the minimum point on the liquidus surface upon further cooling produces crystals in the ratio of approximately quartz 30% orthoclase 35% and albite (plagioclase) 35%, which is the exact normative mineral composition of thousands of granite plutons. In many sedimentary basins the deposited sediments with fossils buried in them can be thousands of meters thick. At depths of 5-10 km, especially in tectonically active zones, the pressures and temperatures can reach 5 kbar and 735°C respectively. These phase equilibria experiments indicate that, under such conditions, the fossiliferous sediments would partially melt to form granitic magmas. Less dense than the surrounding residues, the magmas would then rise through fractures to intrude into the overlying fossiliferous sediments. Subsequent erosion has exposed at the Earth's surface the cooled granite bodies intruded into those fossiliferous sediments.

  2. Regional relationships provide evidence for an igneous origin of granites. In the field it is possible to literally walk over the outcrops from fossiliferous sedimentary rocks through zones of metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, whose mineral constituents reflect the increasing temperatures and pressures of regional metamorphism (these temperatures and pressures being verified by many phase equilibria experiments), to where the felsic minerals in the metasedimentary rocks have melted to form migmatites, and then finally to where at temperatures around 735°C and pressures of 5 kbar and above the whole rock melted to form granite (with the Qz 30% Or 35% Ab 35% composition). One classic example is the Cooma Granodiorite in the centre of the Cooma metamorphic complex in southeastern Australia. Other examples abound, in Scotland, Germany and elsewhere, including the Zoroaster Granite in the Grand Canyon, and the Harney Peak Granite in South Dakota.

  3. Local boundaries argue for an igneous origin of granites. In the field, and in three dimensions within mines (both open cast and underground), the effects on the host rocks of the intrusion of hot granitic magmas can be observed, including veining, stoping and contact metamorphism. The most spectacular examples of the latter are skarns, where granitic magmas have metamorphosed limestones to produce new minerals under high temperature and pressure conditions which have been verified by phase equilibria experiments. And the hot magmatic fluids from the granites have introduced metals into the resultant skarns, such as W at Grassy, King Island, Tasmania and Cu at Grassberg, West Papua, Indonesia. I spent weeks mapping the boundary of the Bathurst Granite west of Sydney for my B.Sc. (Honours) thesis in 1974, noting the veining, stoping and contact metamorphism of the host fossiliferous sedimentary strata in outcrops and in cuttings along the main western railroad from Sydney.

Bob, when we found Po radiohalos alongside U radiohalos in the same biotite flakes in the Cooma Granodiorite we had to rethink what the radiohalos are telling us. We fully agree with you that the Po radiohalos formed exceedingly rapidly, so this granodiorite must have formed rapidly during the Flood. This is exciting evidence that granites intrude and cool rapidly (within days). It is also thus evidence that the U radiohalos formed rapidly, so U decay had to have been accelerated during the Flood year. Your ground-breaking work on Po radiohalos is not being "trashed," but lifted to an exciting new level that still demolishes the uniformitarian timescale. We would also point out that your responses have not been brushed aside and ignored, for they were cited in the comprehensive discussions of radiohalos in chapter 8 of our book, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, published in 2000.

As your friend, Bob, please, you must rethink your position carefully before the Lord. It's time to stop willfully ignoring the evidences for the magmatic origin of granites and the implications. You are wrong to expect us, or anyone else, to show you "fossil-bearing granites." That's nonsense, and you know it! We would welcome you joining us in showing compromising Christians and unbelievers alike that these evidences in God's world powerfully support what God's Word has always plainly taught.

Regards and best wishes,

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Andrew (Snelling)

on behalf of Larry Vardiman, Steve Austin, John Baumgardner, Eugene Chaffin, Don De Young and Russ Humphreys, my co-workers in the RATE Project.



Dr. Gentry has written a detailed "open letter" to the ICR regarding this. [download PDF (430KB) to read more]


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