The Collected Works of Tim Thompson
An off & on member of the Skeptics Society,
I am a committed opponent of pseudoscience. I do my part by writing about it; from
this page you can reach everything I wrote that want you to see. Primarily I have
concentrated on young-Earth creationism and Velikovskian type catastrophism, mixed
in with a little just-plain science. My active research in astronomy & physics is
featured on my research page. This is my writing for
Nothing I write is sacrosanct; I am prepared to fix mistakes, or retract anything
that turns out to be erroneous. Feel free to
contact me regarding anything
I write with suggestions for improvement, or whatever.
Military History Writings
On the gulf War
This is my first try at a military web page. The center piece of this effort
is an order of battle, a complete list of all units that deployed, and
their organization. I give a short description of the action, but probably don't
say anything you shouldn't already know. Links to online military history sources
are included. As far as I know, the order of battle that I present here is the
most detailed single source for this information that is available on the web,
and maybe anywhere.
Anti Creation-Science Writings
I write specifically in response to what I consider the recklessly pseudo-scientific
notion that the Earth is about 10,000 years old. The young-Earth creation scientists
insist that valid, bona-fide scientific argument & evidence show that the Earth really
is that young, contrary to standard science, which pinpoints the age of the Earth
at around 4,500,000,000 years. I can think of no more charitable response than to
say that it's a really stupid idea. These articles provide more detailed responses,
to specific arguments raised. All of these articles were written by me, and me alone.
But a lot of other like minded people write with the same thing in mind, and their
collected writings can be found in such venues as the
Talk.Origins Archive, and the
Internet Infidels Modern Library.
A Radiometric Dating Resource List
There are a lot of ways to derive relative ages, to tell that one thing is older
than another. There are even a lot of ways to tell when something is really old.
But there is really only one way to tell how old something is, an absolute
age in years. It's done by radiometric (or radioisotope) dating.
In simple terms, we take advantage of our knowledge of radioactive decay rates to determine
the absolute time since the radioactive clock was last reset. These methods are attacked
relentlessly by young-Earth creationists; not surprisingly, since they constitute by far
the most powerful, direct evidence for the age of the Earth. So I have collected links
to every worthwhile resource I could find. Here you will find rebuttals to claims made
by young-Earthers, as well as straight explanations of dating methods, from the simple
to the advanced level. Every web resource I could find is here, and I think it is the
most complete list of its kind anywhere.
Creation Science, the Age of the Universe, and Stellar Evolution
A criticism of Henry Morris, and others. Morris says that stellar evolution
is not even science, despite being one of the major activities in astrophysics
world wide. In this article I show that stellar evolution is science, and also
The Recession of the Moon and the Age of the Earth-Moon System
A refutation of the common creationist argument that the tidal physics of
the Earth-Moon system precludes an evolutionary age. Includes an introduction
to tides, and an examination of the history of the scientific study of the
tidal interaction between the Earth and the Moon. It is demonstrated that
there are no inconsistencies between an evolutionary age of the Earth and
the tidal interaction between the Earth and Moon.
On Creation Science and the Alleged Decay of the Earth's Magnetic Field
A criticism of the idea put forth by creation scientist Thomas G. Barnes that the
age of the Earth can be physically determined as about 10,000 years, via the exponential
decay of the Earth's dipole magnetic field. Unfortunately for Barnes, the Earth's magnetic
field isn't exponentially decaying, which pulls the rug out from under his argument. But
even if it were, his methodology is so bad that it wouldn't mean anything anyway.
Meteorite Dust and the Age of the Earth
A criticism of the common young-Earth claim that the deposition rate of meteorite dust
on the Earth is so large, that both the Earth and Moon should be deeply covered in space
dust by now, were they really 4,500,000,000 years old. But their hasty argument is based
on a mid 1960's paper that was the first quantitative effort to measure the meteorite dust
accretion rate onto the Earth. And even then they exaggerate the author's conclusions. But
since then we have measured the true dust fall rate directly, and the answer is that we
really expect about 66 centimeters of spacedust over 4 billion plus years.
On Creationism & Plate Tectonics
On Walter Brown & Plate Tectonics
Two articles in response to the claim by creation scientist Walter Brown that plate
tectonics is false, and that plate subduction does not happen. The first article is
archived here on my webpages, and is a synopsis of posts I made to the tall.origins
newsgroup. The second article is housed in the
Internet Infidels Modern Library.
Both address the same issue, in slightly different form. Both contain references for
further reading. And either one serves to prove that Walter Brown's assertions
qualify as pseudo-science.
Is There Evidence for a Young Earth?
A direct response to a list of 10
Scientific Evidences for a Young Earth, originally
hosted by the Christian Aplolgetics & Research Ministry
(CARM). All 10 "evidences" are typical of the careless approach young-Earth creationists commonly
take to science, ranging from the outdated sources to outright falsehoods. Each of the
10 "evidences" is addressed in turn, some in more detail. There are also links to other,
outside sources that address the same issues. The list has since been removed from the
CARM board, perhaps because of me. But since the list of arguments is not unique to
CARM, but fairly common, I keep my list of refutations.
Twenty-Four Young Earth Arguments Refuted
A direct response to a list of 24 items advertised as "evidence for creation".
Similar to the page above, another list of pre-creationist arguments is refuted.
On Creation Science and "Transitional Fossils"
A response to the oft repeated claim that evolution cannot be true because
there are no transitional fossils. It is quite a falsehood, as I demonstrate here,
including links to other sources of transitional fossil evidence.
Anti Catastrophist Writings
Is the Planet Venus young?
According to Immanuel Velikovsky's 1950 book Worlds in Collision,
the planet we now call Venus was actually formed about 10,000 years ago
by ejection from Jupiter. He thought he could explain several aspects of myth
and biblical stories by postulating a peculiar history for the solar system.
His book has Venus born by ejection from Jupiter, and then features a number
of close encounters and near collisions, between the Earth, Mars and Venus
(sufficient for all 3 planets to exchange atmospheric gases). All this
went on somewhere maybe 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, and then everything just
settled into the current, fairly well behaved solar system. The argument is made
that Venus is hot, not because of a
in the atmosphere, but because the planet is still cooling down from its earlier
"incandescent" state. My article is a response to some specific claims that the
current physical state of Venus offers strong evidence of its recent birth, and
that scientists are engaged in a deliberate attempt to cover it up by falsifying
On Electric Stars
The electric universe hypothesis is the brainchild of Australian neo-Velikovskian
physicist Wallace Thornhill, by which he seeks to eliminate gravitation altogether and
explain all of nature by electromagnetism. The result is some pretty bizzare stuff,
including the electric star hypothesis. This hypothesis holds that the source
of solar (and stellar) heating is at the suface, and not in the interior. Surface heating
is caused by a heavy bombardment of relativisitic electrons accelerated towards the sun
by its extremely large excess positive electric charge. There are a lot of reasons to
be suspicious of such an argument, which I discuss in this rather long transcribed
mailing list message from 1998.
On the "Electric Sun Hypothesis
In the same vein as the previous, but more recent in vintage (January 2001, last updated September 2004). This one deals very specifically with the sun, and a webpage by one of Thornhill's fans, Don Scott. In 2007 Scott wrote a rebuttal to this page that I ignored. I have now written a rebuttal to the rebuttal from Scott, found here: Rebuttal to the Rebuttal from Don Scott, Part 1: Solar Neutrinos (28 January 2014). As the title suggests, this is the first of several parts that I will write as I get around to it.
On the Geodynamo
If stars can be electric, why not planets? Thornhill says that dynamo theory
cannot account for planetary magnetic fields. Rather, in his view, the mangetic field comes
from the fact that the planet has a large net electric charge and rotates. There are a lot
of good physical reasons for discounting this idea as well, as explained in another of my
transcribed mailing list messages. Includes an introduction to the basic concepts of
Hertzsprung Russell Diagram and Stellar Evolution
A brief introduction to stellar evolution and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
Originally intended as a tutorial for the electric universe crowd, who
think that stellar spectral types and colors are all the result of different
temperatures of "anode discharge" in an electric universe. But it functions well,
I think, as a basic introduction to stellar evolution even if the electric
universe part is of no interest.
General Science Writings