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World's Oldest Rocks Found

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the and-jagger-wants-'em-back dept.

Earth 254

Smivs writes "The BBC reports that Earth's most ancient rocks, with an age of 4.28 billion years, have been found on the shore of Hudson Bay, Canada. Writing in Science journal, a team reports finding that a sample of Nuvvuagittuq greenstone is 250 million years older than any rocks known. It may even hold evidence of activity by ancient life forms. If so, it would be the earliest evidence of life on Earth — but co-author Don Francis cautioned that this had not been established. 'The rocks contain a very special chemical signature — one that can only be found in rocks which are very, very old,' he said."

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254 comments

penis? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190309)

now that's what i'm talking 'bout...

Look at the picture closely... (3, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190315)

And you can see McCain's shadow stacking the layers...

Re:Look at the picture closely... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190377)

I apologize for this dumb excuse of joke. I repent. And I hereby renounce my lawn.

Re:Look at the picture closely... (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191091)

What are you trying to say? Cause if I look at the pic closely, the only joke that comes to mind is....

X Marks the spot? [bbc.co.uk] (Link to image in article)

Worlds oldest found rocks found! (5, Insightful)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190341)

Isn't it inaccurate to say "World's oldest rocks found" ? I'm a fan of Schroedinger and all that, but just because their the oldest we've observed doesn't mean they are the oldest.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190395)

The 'oldest' (or largest, smallest etc...) is always based on known measurable things. It isn't the the oldest person is the absolute oldest person in the world, just the oldest known. There could have been one person who lived long before we recorded it who lived longer than anyone today, albiet unlikely. It is likely there are older rocks, in fact it is almost inevitable there are older ones, especially if they find traces of life in them. These are just the oldest verified and recorded that we know of.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (1, Interesting)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190479)

Considering that we don't understand how heavy metals are formed, how is the decay of neodymium any way indicative of earths age?

(Please educate me, I just don't get it.)

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190609)

Why do you think we don't know how heavy metals formed??

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova#Source_of_heavy_elements [wikipedia.org]

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (0, Troll)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190765)

I'm saying it because we don't. If the neodymium formed by an exploding star, than this means a star exploded 4.28 billion years ago.

How do these tests conclude anything about the age of the earth?

(I would really like to know)

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190983)

Radiometric methods give the date of a *rock*, not the date of the formation of its constituent atoms (which you can't measure because of the "memoryless" property of exponential decay). The idea is that if samarium desintegrates on its way from space to the Earth, it stops being samarium. So by definition, all the samarium found in a rock is "fresh" when the rock is formed. When it desintegrates its products (such as neodymium-142) are trapped in the rock.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25191033)

It's because the cluster of neodymium was formed 4.28 billion years ago. The ground in that location promoted the formation of a whatever mineral, and then we can date how old that specific mineral is. So yeah, we can date rocks. We can't date elements, but we can date rocks.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (3, Informative)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190677)

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (2, Interesting)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190785)

Ok, so the method is based on a stable decay.

But when/how was neodymium formed? These tests assume the formation was when the earth formed. The earth wasn't born with the birth of the elements that made it up. We should find materials *older* than the earth.

If this test is to be conclusive of the age of the earth, than the formation of heavy elements must occur geologically. What is the geological process?

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190903)

But when/how was neodymium formed? These tests assume the formation was when the earth formed.

Did you actually read the wikipedia article? Allow me to quote: "[V]arious reservoirs within the solid earth will have different values of initial 143Nd/144Nd ratios, especially with reference to the mantle. ... The mantle is assumed to have undergone chondritic evolution, and thus deviations in initial 143Nd/144Nd ratios can provide information as to when a particular rock or reservoir was separated from the mantle within the Earth's past."

Sorted?

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190905)

I must admit that the article in Wikipedia was as clear as mud to anybody who doesn't already understand the subject, including me. However, I think I have an idea what's going on here. AIUI, there are two elements involved: samarium and neodymium, with samarium decaying to form neodymium. The ratio of the two depends on two things: what type of mineral is involved (which determines the original ratio) and the time since the sample was last melted, because the longer the rock has remained solid, the less samarium there is and the more neodymium because of the decay mentioned above. I'm sure that if I've gotten it wrong, somebody (or, most likely several somebodies) will be eager to correct me.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (3, Informative)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191037)

My understanding of the dating process of zircons (dunno how related this is; too late to RTFA) is that it isn't based on the material itself, but it's position within a crystal. Essentially, there is the (decent) assumption that when a crystal is formed the structure is (mostly) ideal. However, when radioactive decay occurs the element changes, but its position in the lattice does not. Ergo, decay products will be at warped points in the lattice, while identical elements (which would have been themselves at formation) will not. That allows one to count the relative quantity of decay vs. parent and, from the half life, deduce the age.

Again, that's zircon crystals, which are usually the things dated this old, but I'm not sure that's what it is in this case.

What really screws up this business is the fact that we seem to have observed several ways in which the fine structure constant is not, in fact, constant. (Well, that or something else that affects half-life.) Just recently (as posted here on ./) scientists have observed a change that seemed to be related to the distance from the sun. Further, we have known for a while now about natural fission reactors in Africa that, while showing evidence of functioning at one time, could not have possibly ever worked given our current value of the FSC.
In short: looks like radioactive decay isn't so constant.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (4, Informative)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191233)

Further, we have known for a while now about natural fission reactors in Africa that, while showing evidence of functioning at one time, could not have possibly ever worked given our current value of the FSC. In short: looks like radioactive decay isn't so constant.

Actually, quite the opposite [wikipedia.org]. The Oklo find indicates that alpha has not changed, though it could be that other properties have also changed and exactly offset the change in alpha. It couldn't have happened today because there is to small a proportion of U-235 realtive to U-238, because the former have a shorter halflife.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (4, Informative)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191075)

It doesn't matter when the elements formed, we just have to know what their relative abundances were then and compare that to the current state.

The neodymium system is complicated, as are all real world measurements to some extent, so consider an idealized system. Suppose that uranium consisted of a single isotope with a half life of four billion years, and it decays to lead. Now further assume that zircons when they form contain some uranium but no lead at all, because its atoms cannot fit into the crystal lattice. If we measure the uranium and lead in a zircon and find that uranium and lead levels are equal then it must have formed four billion years ago, since that is the half life and half the uranium has decayed.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (4, Informative)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191149)

Okay firstly, I won't be backing this up with links because I am generally too lazy this afternoon to bother, but here is what some of the story is.

The reason that old rocks are so important is as follows:

The earth, along with all the planets and sun in our solar system was formed from a disc of dust (same as any other sort of planetary system as anyone can tell). Our earth was initially formed WITHOUT a moon. About 4.something billion years ago, our planet hard some initial surface and crust and all that. About that time, an object around the size of Mars hit the earth. This had a number of causes:

1) It penetrated the surface of the planet (Duh!!) and caused a large amount of the core of our forming planet to get whacked out into orbit.
2) This made the moon if you needed clarification.
3) The force of the blast meant that the effective entire crust of the earth was again submerged into the insides of the earth.

The last part is the most important to this article, as there are very very few "rocks" that can survive that sort of hear/pressure without being changed beyond recognition. One of these is Zircon. So far, some of the oldest rocks to date have been dug up in Western Australia and are Zircon. The belief is that these were either formed on earth prior to the impact or came on the thing that hit us (I can't remember which).

Either way, there you have a small lesson, and also likely the longest post I have written on /.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190537)

Isn't it inaccurate to say "World's oldest rocks found"?

It does say 'oldest rocks' in quotation marks in the article's title.

Since this is not a technical article and rocks/minerals look pretty much the same to me, I was however confused to see this quote in the FTA:

The only things known to be older are mineral grains called zircons from Western Australia, which date back 4.36 billion years.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190577)

That was my immediate reaction when I saw the title of this in the Slashdot feed. Doesn't really reflect an appreciation of the Scientific Method as opposed to Scientific Religiosity, now does it? Science ain't done until the Fat Lady sings (and it ain't happened yet).

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190617)

Wrong, science is never done.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190991)

Science was done a long time ago, this has to be a hoax because God says the earth is 6000 years old! End of discussion!

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190803)

Thus the statement that they're the oldest rocks FOUND you idiot. There very well could be rocks that are older, but they haven't been FOUND yet, so knowbody knows.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (2, Funny)

ppanon (16583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190931)

You're right. It should have been: New "World's oldest rocks" found!

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191023)

Ah, yes, the subtleties of language.

"World's oldest rock found" = "Among the many rocks that we studied, this is the oldest."

The adjective "oldest" refers to the set of known rocks, not the set of all rocks.

Re:Worlds oldest found rocks found! (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191097)

Lordy, that's more grammar nazi than most members of the third reich's grammar squads!

Somewhat agree though you picky picky bastard!

4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (-1, Troll)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190353)

According to Sarah Palin, these rocks can only be 5,000 years old.

Just to think, such wisdom could very well have her hand on the Nukes.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (0, Flamebait)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190389)

mod parent redundant

First couple of posts already covered the, "conservatives suck" remarks.

You've got to hate conservatives quicker than that if you want your post to stick around...

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (1, Offtopic)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190425)

According to any religion-respecting Christian, the rocks are only 5,000 years old.

I have no problem with Christians. I have a problem with someone that wants to run the country according to their religion, though. But if she keeps religion out of her office, I'd be fine with it.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190469)

Shut the fuck up! Both candidates cling to religion for as long as it is expedient. It makes no difference, so your point is moot. Not even to mention you are feeding a probable troll on a discussion that should be about FUCKING GEOLOGY and not FUCKING BULLSHIT POLITICS!

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190533)

Shut the fuck up! Both candidates cling to religion for as long as it is expedient. It makes no difference, so your point is moot. Not even to mention you are feeding a probable troll on a discussion that should be about FUCKING GEOLOGY and not FUCKING BULLSHIT POLITICS!

+1 Flamebait. I'm sick of seeing the same damn joke on every geology/palentology/astronomy article.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (0, Offtopic)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190631)

Well, you can call me a troll but it was just a stupid attempt at a joke, too.

The good thing about the top two candidates this time around is that neither of them are fanatic about their religion and I don't believe they'd try to push their religions into policy. Unfortunately, McCain picked a nutjob, so it might still happen if he is elected. Holy fuck he better not get elected.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190945)

Yes, because a racist from a radical black church on the south side of Chicago is the far better choice.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (0, Offtopic)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191215)

Why post anonymous?

I don't believe Barak Obama is a RACIST - although he has been associated with prominent black leaders in poorer communities that spread anti-white propaganda.

Sure, I'm sure Barak has had to deal with some pretty lame shit, growing up as a fairly poor black man. You can't blame someone for having associations with certain people when you come from that background.

I have acquaintances that are drug dealers, and others that have done prison time. I also have friends that hold local office and are leaders in their communities. Does this make me a drug dealer too? Or does it make me a normal human being?

I guess you believe in "Guilt by association." Why are standards so high for the president that they can't have ANY marks on their past? I'd rather have someone leading the country that has experienced the good as well as the bad.

I'm no Obamaholic, but I believe in giving everyone their fair shot. Go back to the hole you came from, or don't post anonymous, you fucking coward (I mean, you don't even have the balls to post something on the Internet under your Slashdot handle? Weak dude.)

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190591)

According to any religion-respecting Christian, the rocks are only 5,000 years old.

Your claim is Wrong [answersincreation.org]. It is easy to find "religions-respecting(*) Christians" who accept old earth. It has been accepted (**) Catholic doctrine for at least fifty years.

(*) Beware of the no-true-Scotsman fallacy here.

(**) It is officially permitted but not required.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190683)

It has been accepted (**) Catholic doctrine for at least fifty years.

-- snip --

(**) It is officially permitted but not required.

Can someone PLEASE point me to some documentation on this? I've always heard it, but I want something official I can print out and show to a few family members.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (5, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190879)

I don't know about "50 years", or how deeply this counts as documentation, but there's a decent run-down here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegorical_interpretations_of_Genesis#Contemporary_Christian_considerations [wikipedia.org]

The "money quotes" are from Pope John Paul II -

The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe.

... pointing out that the Pope does not consider it to be taken literally;

Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer.

... pointing out that it was written for an audience, not an 'absolute truth';

The Sacred Book likewise wishes to tell men that the world was not created as the seat of the gods, as was taught by other cosmogonies and cosmologies, but was rather created for the service of man and the glory of God.

... pointing out that its purpose is to put forward the 'Christian'/monotheistic view, as opposed to the views of other religions, such as the contempary polytheistic religion of the Romans, and again not altogether incompatible with science.

The full discourse from the pontiff is linked on Wikipedia, but it's here for your convenience: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2COSM.HTM [ewtn.com]

HTH.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (4, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190917)

Actually, upon reading the full discourse, the following is an even-more-money-quote: (emphasis mine)

With the same clear and critical gaze with which it examines and judges the facts, it discerns and recognizes there the work of creative Omnipotence, whose strength raised up by the powerful fiat uttered billions of years ago by the creating Mind, has spread through the universe, calling into existence, in a gesture of generous love, matter teeming with energy

... which, although I personally disagree with the idea of a creator, puts beyond doubt the Pope's acceptance of an old-universe (not just old-earth) theory.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190901)

Can someone PLEASE point me to some documentation on this? I've always heard it, but I want something official I can print out and show to a few family members.

Plenty of links to documentation and Church proclamations can be found from this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Roman_Catholic_Church [wikipedia.org]

The Official Catholic Church position seems to be (more or less): "The last thing we want is to get into another fight with scientific thinking. We have already had way too many cases of scientific theories turning out to be provably correct. Instead, lets just stick to the pious mysticism and unprovable mumbo-jumbo."

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (2, Informative)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190625)

Well, I'm a Catholic (although not a practicing one) and it was never, ever taught in Church or any Church extra-curricular activities that the earth is only 5,000 years old. This is something that is only believed by the crazy Evangelical Christians that belong to "fringe" churches; not the larger more accepting churches. Unfortunately, their numbers are growing.. and fast. It's frightening.

I agree that the good thing about this country is that you can believe anything you want - but the Evangelicals always try to take it too far and push, push, PUSH their way into politics, policy, and law.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190797)

catholic's are a moderate group, it's the baptists and the like that are scary.

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (2, Interesting)

the_bard17 (626642) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190853)

Ppppphhhttt. I'm a religion-respecting Christian, and I have no problem believing the rocks are 4.28 billion years old, for the following reasons:

1. God could have created them at that age. For example, if I take my filesystem and slap it onto a CD, preserving the original timestamps... what's the true age (or timestamp) of the files on the CD?

2. If I'm going to try to explain something complex to someone who's incapable of understanding it, I generally break it down into chunks they can understand. So if God's going to explain how he built the universe, and he knows it's beyond our understanding, saying "it was a week's worth of work" might just give us a comparative idea of how much work was involved.

It's rather like the whole evolution versus creationism arguement. I fail to see why both can't be believed in... the Bible says God created man from dirt, if'n I remember correctly. He didn't go about laying all the details out, though. Take all the matter in my body, break it down to its basic molecular compounds, and you've got a pile of mud (dirt and water). Just because the Bible says God made us out of dirt doesn't mean he couldn't have used evolution to build us. Try explaining the concept of evolution to humans still banging rocks together to get fire, and see what you get. Seems to me it'd be simpler to just say "Yep, made you out of dirt."

Of course, I'm tired, it's late at night, and I might not have explained myself well enough. If that's the case, then simply take the above as evidence that some of us Christians are still relatively sane, if a little eccentric ;o)

Re:4 Billion years old? I don't think so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25191013)

I fail to see why both can't be believed in... the Bible says God created man from dirt, if'n I remember correctly. He didn't go about laying all the details out, though. Take all the matter in my body, break it down to its basic molecular compounds, and you've got a pile of mud (dirt and water). Just because the Bible says God made us out of dirt doesn't mean he couldn't have used evolution to build us. ... Seems to me it'd be simpler to just say "Yep, made you out of dirt."

Dirt is basically pulverized rocks - mostly silicon dioxide. Mud is drit plus water. Plants and animals essentially don't have any silicon dioxide in them. Virtually no silicon at all. They are basically a collection of various carbon compounds plus water.

No, people are simply not made out of dirt or mud in any combination. If any entity pretending to be a god tried to tell me that I was made out of dirt or mud, I'd know instantly that I was being lied to.

Wow! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190355)


That's 4.2700004 billion years before God made the Earth!

Chemical signature ehh?.. (2, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190361)

'The rocks contain a very special chemical signature â" one that can only be found in rocks which are very, very old,'

So, it smells like earth.

special signature that's very old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190915)

"'The rocks contain a very special chemical signature â" one that can only be found in rocks which are very, very old,' he said."

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Mccainsig.svg/128px-Mccainsig.svg.png

almost as old as Earth (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190373)

I'm sure glad we're from an alien colonization, 'else we'd be all almost this old too =)

Impossible! (-1, Redundant)

scenestar (828656) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190383)

Everyone knows that according to the bible the world is only 6000 years old, (although some say 10 000 years.)

Please toss those pebbles back into the ditch where they were found and stop making these outrageous claims.

Exciting future prospects (5, Funny)

FoboldFKY (785255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190471)

When asked for comment on what they intended to do with the rocks now that they had them, the lead researcher responded:

"Oh well, you know. Put them on a shelf. Maybe look at them from time to time. We might, when people come around to visit, take them down and let people not touch them! It's all terribly exciting... in fact, I think I need a lie-down."

Canadians (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190501)

So we're all descendants of Canadians, eh?

McCains marbles (-1, Flamebait)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190511)

What, they shook McCain's head and collected the rocks that fell out? Of course Palin would say that they were only 6,000 years old.

McCain? (1, Interesting)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190547)

Why is a story about rocks in Canada tagged "McCain"?

Re:McCain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190581)

Agreed. Leave the politics out of this story please. It's irrelevant and unappreciated.

Re:McCain? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190773)

Isn't it obvious? Initially they thought they found the oldest rock on earth, but later found out it was McCain in his summer home up north relaxing a bit from the strenuous campaign.

Re:McCain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190839)

Because every Canadian grew up with McCain [mccain.com] fries. Just like beavers, maple syrup, and mounties; McCain fries are what make us proud to be Canadians.

captcha: disgust???

My dick is like an old rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190569)

but you don't see it on the front page of /. do you?

There is hype in the article (3, Interesting)

bornwaysouth (1138751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190603)

1. The age given is 3.8 to 4.28 billion years (why billion, not giga. Dunno.) The scientist favours the oldest possible date, at a guess because that increases funding,

2. The evidence for life was speculative at best.

As the earth is known to have had liquid water for some time before the 4.28 possible date, this is not startling news. But they are rocks, and there is the possibility of establishing a case that they needed bacteria to create their striations. That's where the interest lies. It seems a bit too soon for life to evolve by too haphazard a route in that time.

Which implies a catalytic life-shaping environment, or an extra-terrestrial source, or of course, intelligent design. I've no objection to the latter, provided it is taught in a scientific manner. I've also no objection to proposing pigs can fly provided the analysis is, if not scientific, then nicely based on engineering.

Re:There is hype in the article (5, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190717)

No. Intelligent Design cannot be taught in a scientific manner, unless it is to say "There was no Intelligent Design."

The whole "teach the controversy" is an attempt to trick people into teaching ID, and is a means of validating it.

Re:There is hype in the article (2, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190911)

Sure it can. We'd have to include a copious number of negative results. No 4 billion year old spaceships for example. Nobody's chatted with the bacteria supermind. And a fairly evolutionary chain that goes back to the dawn of life.

Re:There is hype in the article (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191179)

No way. See, the whole problem is that the whackos trying to push ID say "Well, we weren't THERE so you can't PROVE any of this!"

Science that proves evolution is considered Theory for this very reason. A scientific mind MUST concede that point. Obviously, there's so much evidence behind evolution, so much correlation between other sciences; but we cannot actually demonstrate evolution in a lab environment. So, it will remain the "Evolutionary Theory."

So, that's where the ID proponents weasel their way in. They say "Well, Intelligent Design is a Theory too!!" It works against the weaker mind and the impressionable mind; kids in school. It must not be given the time of day in any school.

It would be like explaining the "Theory" of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (http://www.venganza.org/)

Re:There is hype in the article (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190929)

A true scientist would not say "God does not exist," but rather "there is no evidence that God exists," or even "there is no reason to believe that God exists."

It is a small point, yet crucial to the distinction of belief and truth.

Re:There is hype in the article (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190969)

although, certain atheists would say, there is sufficient evidence that God is a cruel hoax perpetrated by mankind in order to make itself feel better. There's even an evolutionary argument for religion (promotes social cohesion).

Re:There is hype in the article (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191195)

That much seems pretty obvious to me. I cannot imagine someone TRULY believing in a supreme being.. It makes people feel better about themselves, and is also an effective means of controlling the population.

Well, that depends (5, Interesting)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191209)

On how they "teach the controversy".

The way it was handled in my high school science class was simple: a discussion of what "science" meant. Science, after all, is more of a method of discovery by certain rules than a true monolith (such as "science says"). This was then distinguished from spiritual approaches by focusing on physical evidence, falsifiability, etc.

Essentially, the teacher better defined science and distinguished it from religion. She then stated that, as we were in science class, we would learn the scientific take. We were free to believe as we wished - as is the fundamental right of every man, enshrined in the First Amendment and various case law interpreting it - but, regardless of what we believed, we would learn the scientific take in a science class - it only meant sense.

That, to me, is the appropriate way to handle the situation. I particularly liked the way it reminded us more of the scientific method and of the epistemological differences between the hard sciences and other subjects. This planet and its people would benefit a great deal by learning the ability to approach matters in different ways and to even learn to hold two, conflicting ideas in their heads for a moment's time, if not but for the purpose of comparison. We need to trust people to think about things for themselves. Teaching epistemological approaches and focusing on process rather than product is vital to this.

Re:There is hype in the article (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190793)

Which implies a catalytic life-shaping environment, or an extra-terrestrial source, or of course, intelligent design.

Why can't it be all three? extra-terrestrials engineered the environment and seeded life from off-world sources. The seedy underbelly of ID theory that Christians would rather not talk about (if they insist that the possibility of God creating the earth be taught, they must also acknowledge the possibility of extra-terrestrial ID, as well).

Re:There is hype in the article (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190961)

Pigs can fly. It derives from the "given sufficient thrust, anything can fly" postulate.

In the case of pigs, the trick will be designing the sabot to keep the pig from exiting the shell prior to firing while still releasing the pig after leaving the barrel.

As for budget and schedule, I'd say one farm-year (say ten man-months plus scrap) from concept to delivery.

Re:There is hype in the article (2, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25191151)

It is impossible to teach Intelligent Design in a scientific manner, because Intelligent Design has /absolutely nothing whatsoever/ to do with science, in any way, shape or form.

Intelligent Design is 100% pure religious doctrine and dogma.

Signs of the oldest lifeforms huh? (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190645)

Must be God playing games with us. /creationist nonsense

Wow! Rocks? REALLY? (0, Troll)

xristoph (1169159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190703)

I am soo... *yawn* ummm... excited or sth. I am thrilled waiting for the next news on the Ancient Rocks Channel: "Even older rocks found!" Rocks. Wow. Just - Wow.

Discovery of world's oldest rocks challenged (link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190769)

Not everyone agrees.

This was covered a few days ago on New Scientist...

http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn14818-discovery-of-worlds-oldest-rocks-challenged-.html [newscientist.com]

Re:Discovery of world's oldest rocks challenged (l (5, Informative)

rockhopjohn (1374347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25190947)

As is stated in the New Scientist article, the technique used might actually date the protolith (the material from which this rock formed) and not the actual rock itself. From a geochronologist's stand point, this rock is actually 3.8 billion years old, based on the U-Pb zircon age given in the Science article. The age determination for the reigning oldest rocks discovered was found through U-Pb zircon work. The authors are very clear to point out that this 4.28 Ga date is not a definitely age for the rock. Gotta love the media jumping head long in front of the science.

1 O'Clock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190851)

2 O'Clock, 3 O'Clock, Rock...

So *that* is what Bill Haley was singing about.

Surely they meant to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25190867)

...4.28 thousand years.

Did McCain recognize them? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25191103)

He may know of older, you should ask.

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