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One classic tactic of Irrational Debunking is to attempt to connect a rival scientific theory with well-known discredited ideas. One blog on skepticblog first reminds readers that creationists, who think the Earth was created about 6,000 years ago, are widely discredited because  "No one with even a rudimentary education in geology considers these ideas plausible" and then attempted to establish some sort of link between expansion and those ideas.

All this is fairly standard rhetoric for irrational debunking but even I was astonished when the writer used an obvious lie to reinforce his cause. The fabrication was an absolute whopper!  He tried to misrepresent me as a “creationist” by linking to my site with these comments:

"... many of the “expanding earth” web sites are also creationist web sites, some of which use the “decreased gravity” of the earth to explain why dinosaurs could be so big!"

Now it’s a simple fact that I don’t believe the Earth was created 6,000 years ago. I’m not a creationist. Naturally, none of my writings or presentations has ever said such a thing.

Surprisingly, the blog links to a page that includes numerous references that clearly illustrate his falsification of the facts. For example, part of the text on my web page says:

"The continents are ancient and some regions have existed for more than 3,800 million years. But in geological time scales the ocean floor is relatively young and ranges from only about 200 million years old at the continents to areas at the mid-ocean ridges that are still forming today..."

These ages agree with any geological textbook. There are numerous other examples on my Expanding Earth page including an animated Expanding Earth with the age clearly shown to illustrate expansion from 100 million years ago (Ma) up to the present. These multiple references to the Earth’s age are fundamentally interwoven within the expansion theory so it is startling that anyone would try to suggest this page belongs to one of the "creationist websites". Perhaps you think I have misquoted this startling lie so I have provided screenshots of the relevant section in Further Reading.

The blog’s author clearly has no credibility at all. It is transparently obvious that his statement about my site being a "creationist website" is a lie that even a cursory examination would expose.

In the Q & A he goes even further.

"If you google “dinosaur” and “expanding earth” you’ll find the site of the crazy creationist engineer (NOT a geologist or paleontologist) who pushes this model."

It must seem obvious to everyone that I am not a creationist, so who is the crazy one here? Perhaps he believes his readers will not notice the lie by some miracle of persuasive power. Or does he think his readers are too stupid to notice? It’s difficult to tell.

He also obviously doesn't seem to believe an engineer can provide anything of value to a geologist or paleontologist, but engineering is fundamental to the problem of scale. Because I am an engineer I see structures in terms of stress and strain, bending moments, cantilevers, Euler’s crippling force, dynamic similarity and hydrostatic head. All just as necessary to design a made-made structure as it is to consider the problems of biological structures.

It could be he has simply made a mistake, yet my emails and posts pointing out this error have no effect. My comment to his blog never appeared and requests to correct this misinformation were ignored. It seems it was a very deliberate lie.

But there was worse to come. The blog’s author isn't someone who doesn't have any science background. He is a Professor of Geology and Lecturer who was on the editorial board of several leading scientific journals. His bio describes how Donald R. Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In the past he served as an associate or technical editor for Geology, Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London. Amusingly, the Occidental College in Los Angeles assures us that their professors ‘don’t pontificate; they discuss, debate, and engage’.

There is also a book by Donald R. Prothero, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, which seems to be obsessed with creationists. In the reviews on Amazon one reader described how they “grew tired of the constant references to creationism”. I’ve never meet any creationist but a later reading of his book portrays them as a strong influence in the US. Alternatively, perhaps it is just a fixation and Prof. Prothero sees creationists everywhere.  

Further research shows that he has been making these incorrect remarks about me for some time. It is clear that this example of Irrational Debunking tries to establish a negative emotional response that has no place in science. Science relies on truth based on observation. There should be no room in science for this form of distortion of the truth in order to discredit a rival theory. It’s just unfortunate that Prof. Donald R. Prothero doesn’t seem to believe that.

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Related Pages

A Brief History of the Expanding Earth theory here
The probability of the Expanding Earth here
The Reduced Gravity Earth theory here
A Expanding Earth Computer Program using spherical trigonometry here
My book details here
Reviews for my book here
Latest News, Comments and Updates here

Further Reading

Screenshots of Prof. Donald R. Prothero’s blog misrepresenting Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth as a creationist web site. Here and here.
Screenshot of Prof. Donald R. Prothero’s bio here.
Occidental College in Los Angeles here
California Institute of Technology here
Geology here
Paleobiology here
Journal of Paleontology here
Reviews on Amazon for Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald R. Prothero here
A curious diatribe (my book review of Evolution) here

Updated 09Oct14
“... I was astonished when the writer used an obvious lie to reinforce his cause. The fabrication was an absolute whopper!”
“But there was worse to come.”
“the blog’s author clearly has no credibility at all.”