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6/05 - Amanda R. writes
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Mr. Niednagel - When uranium 238 turns into lead 206, how many beta particles and alpha particles escape and in which order? For example if an alpha particle comes off first then uranium would turn into Thorium 234. So what does it turn into before it turns into lead?
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Thanks for the question. I'm not sure I fully understand exactly what you're asking, but I'll do my best.

For those unfamiliar with the subject, in alpha decay the alpha particle actually has mass and decreases the mass of uranium,changing it to the same mass of thorium-234, whereas in beta decay the mass (of say uranium) isn't significantly reduced.

In any case, thorium-234 changes into protactinium-234, which changes into uranium-234, which changes into thorium-230, and so on. Below is a graph showing the entire process so as to simplify it a bit.


"The Young Earth" by John D. Morris

A quote I find fascinating regarding radiocarbon dating is that made by Robert Lee who was the assistant editor of the Anthropological Journal of Canada. He wrote:

"The troubles of the radiocarbon dating method are undeniably deep and serious. Despite 35 years of technological refinement and better understanding, the underlying assumptions have been strongly challenged, and warnings are out that radiocarbon may soon find itself in a crisis situation. Continuing use of the method depends on a "fix-it-as-we-go" approach, allowing for contamination here, fractionation there, and calibration whenever possible. It should be no surprise, then, that fully half of the dates are rejected. The wonder is, surely, that the remaining half come to be accepted.

"No matter how 'useful' it is, though, the radiocarbon method is still not capable of yielding accurate and reliable results. There are gross discrepancies, the chronology is uneven and relative, and the accepted dates are actually selected dates."


"Radiocarbon, Ages in Error," Vol. 19, No. 3, 1981, pp. 9, 29


Revealing, in my opinion.

Thanks for writing,

Jordan Niednagel





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6/05 - Destin Michael writes ...
Mr. Long - Do you know if it is possible for mutations to benefit a species' adaptation? My Christian biology teacher claims that this is not just an evolutionist idea, and he says that though humans didn't come from apes, horses did come from fox-sized animals with toes. Could it be?
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Thank you for writing. Your teacher is correct in that beneficial mutations are real, and he is also correct in that this isn't exclusively an evolutionist concept.

In order for macroevolution to occur, however, beneficial mutations aren't all that need to happen. The mutations must be beneficial and increase the overall genetic information of the organism. And this has not yet been observed. Keep in mind that even a mutation that appears to be harmful can be beneficial under the right circumstances.

Your teacher is probably referring to Eohippus (a creature known from its fossils) that is about the size of a fox. It is believed to be the ancestor of the horse. This would make it seem like the 'evolution' of the horse started from a small creature and progressively grew larger. However, the size of the horse is actually irrelevant. Normally when people think of horses, they think of animals big enough to ride. But there are horses alive today that are only 18 inches tall. Despite their small stature, they are still a horse.

I hope this helps, and if you have any more questions, feel free to write at any time.

Thanks for writing,


Josef Long





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Cryptozoology - The study of the hidden animal world, cryptozoology is a science of speculation and surprise, involving the search for animals thought to be extinct to new creatures never before identified.


Creation vs Evolution - What was popularized in 1859 by former Christian turned agnostic, Charles Darwin, has in our day become one of the most hotly contested and sharply dividing issues to be found anywhere.


Dinosaurs - Considerable controversy surrounds dinosaurs, from their place in history to their color, habits, and overall physiology. As viewpoints collide, the search for answers continues.



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