God’s bow tie

This is one of the images following on a repair of the Hubble.  More here

What, one wonders, would a child who has been home-schooled on a curriculum of fundamentalist christian ideas, make of such photos? Just take the concept of ‘light years’. If the world and creation are merely about 6,000 years old, then any number of sciences have to be deemed erroneous to make way for that single belief.

I had a conversation a couple of years ago with someone who had been convinced that carbon dating was bad science, that it was undependable. Carbon dating, of course, is a method of establishing the age of a thing which is carbon-based, such as wood. I explained to her that there’s a very simple and elegant way in which to test whether this science is accurate (and in fact, it was this cross-checking which showed us that the carbon dating readings had a predictable error which grew over time, and knowing this error, we can account for it). The test involves using samples of wood taken from tree rings.

She decided, this information not withstanding, that carbon dating still couldn’t be trusted.


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