Author Topic: did i get it wrong ?  (Read 972 times)

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Offline Babdah

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did i get it wrong ?
« on: September 24, 2011, 07:59:19 PM »
 A theory is the best explanation that involves an assumption of the existence of a quark or something like that, depending on the nature of the question. But very often it becomes historical. If it's geology, you're assuming how the Alps formed or how the seas formed or how certain geological formations got there. In no way can one go back and test one's experiment and repeat the experiment. You're doing a detective job. The same applies, of course, in much of evolutionary theory. One is making the most sense out of most of the data and inferring, like a good detective, what happened in the past. It's not all repeatable experiments as in physics and chemistry. I think with the area of faith, the data of faith involve all sorts of broader considerations and the religious experience of humanity. Again, one is inferring to the best explanation, the best way of referring to the realities which are experienced in religion, in the past and in the present. Think about this no one has ever “seen” an atom but we have faith that the sketch the physicists or scientist give is there best guess. So we take it on faith that they are right. If I am still wrong please correct me!!!
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Offline mrbiscoop

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2011, 08:23:39 PM »
Do yourself a favor and read this:http://www.notjustatheory.com/
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
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Offline Babdah

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 08:40:13 PM »
Do yourself a favor and read this:http://www.notjustatheory.com/

thanks for the. sorry im just trying to get my head around how things work i was hard core indoctrinated in to religion and breaking away is kinda hard
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Offline mrbiscoop

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 08:50:13 PM »
After a few hundred posts I still can't copy links correctly  :( but I do strongly encourage you to check out: notjustatheory.com.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 08:52:39 PM by mrbiscoop »
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Offline Irish

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2011, 02:04:46 PM »
Basically any decent theory involves three major things:
1.) The theory has to explain some set of data or observations with the most likely explanation and without creating more assumptions.[1]
2.) The theory has to be able to predict future events for the models the theory was constructed for.
3.) And the theory must be able to be falsified, changed, modified, etc.

Think about this no one has ever “seen” an atom but we have faith that the sketch the physicists or scientist give is there best guess.

Atomic theory is way more than their best guess.  The reason the atomic theory has stood the test of time against multiple efforts to invalidate it is because it explains the set of data and observations in the best possible way that we know of.  It's more than a hodge-podge guess thrown together by scientists.  Experiments have been done over centuries to discover the particles that make up atoms and each particle is backed up by experiments to validate, and to try and invalidate, it's existence.
 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2011, 03:14:50 PM »
Think about this no one has ever “seen” an atom but we have faith that the sketch the physicists or scientist give is there best guess. So we take it on faith that they are right. If I am still wrong please correct me!!!

I'm surprised that there are still so many people these days who think that "no one has ever seen an atom".  Atoms have been directly observed thru microscopy for some time now.  In fact, one laboratory even spelled out the "IBM" logo using 35 Xenon atoms.
http://nanopedia.case.edu/NWPage.php?page=in.jaz10.whatisnanotechnology
And that was a while ago, back in 1989.
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Offline violatedsmurf80

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2011, 04:18:11 PM »
First off, in order to have a "look," things have to reflect light. Since atoms are far tinier than light waves, we can't see them with light. Since atoms are too small to see with the naked eye, a special type of microscope was developed to detect and depict them. In 1981, the scanning tunneling microscope was invented. An STM is made up of instruments that collect information about specific atoms, and then relay that information to a computer that creates a rendering of the atomic pattern. The STM works by running an electrified scanner tip over the sample area. When an atom is touched, the flow of the electrons between the atom and the STM tip changes, giving the STM computer the location of that atom. As the STM tip scans the sample area, it sends all the plotting data about the atoms to the computer. The computer then uses this information to create a rendering.

If you saying that we have to have faith that the sciencetist are right about evolution, think about this every time you go to the doctor they give you a different antibiotic because the bacteria has adaptive to that med then became resistant to it.  Here is are some links that will show you otherwise. 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0014-3820.2004.tb01604.x/abstract
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
http://www.springerlink.com/content/yw6bcdc6vlxjytl1/
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Offline Irish

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2011, 04:19:51 PM »
^ In addition I found pictures of:

Pentacene: Image

Graphene: Image

DNA: Image
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Offline Omega

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2011, 10:49:23 AM »
It is all very simple:
theory is any logical model that describes some phenomena and can predict something.
It does not need to be best or even correct. Just some connection to reality is required.

You can invent any theories to describe anything in any way.  But your theories not necessary will have any applications.

Only theories that are useful to predict something are accepted, these who are not yet tested are referred as hypothesis  and if predictions are wrong theory is also wrong.

So when you talk about theory of evolution or any other, remember that it is nothing more than currently best model with best predictive capability.
Theory of divine creation doe not have any predictive capabilities so it is absolutely useless.
If theists were not so  obsessed with ineffability of their dogmas their theory of divine creation probably would have evolved into current quantum theory.

Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 03:34:59 AM »
Science starts out with one core assumption: that a shared reality exists, and that our senses can provide a more or less direct - if imperfect - representation of it.
Then it's just a matter of observation which methods tend to get the most accurate results. Objectifiability, observation, prediction, repeatability, consistency, and so on. Science has a bunch of methods in addition to logic and mathematics. They have already been linked so I won't repost them.



One of the more difficult aspects of advanced models in physics (basically any post-Newtonian theory) is that they strive to describe things that we have no notion of. We describe electrons as if they were particles (in terms of matter) or as if they were waves (in terms of patterns). Whether they are either or both is sort of a metaphysical question. It becomes less of a question of what's actually true and more of a question of how accurately we can describe it.
But there is the nigh-certainty - remember, nothing is considered proven in science - that atoms exist. It's not an assumption, it's a conclusion drawn from available data. The theories describing atoms are demonstrably imperfect but at the same demonstrably more accurate than anything else we have. And we're not talking "about ten times better then a guesstimate".
Now, with the existence and some things about the nature of atoms already established, the theories progressed further. It's still technically possible that at some point the whole thing took a wrong turn and that a new theory emerges that ditches the entire concept of atoms and is still as accurate or more so. Considering we have been using the constantly refined atomic theory to build atomic and chemical reactors as well as creating all kinds of new compunds for our technologies, I find it hard to believe that we could have stumbled upon a model that is so very workable and yet at the same time so dead wrong.



Let's make it a bit more accessible though and take plate tectonics as an example. In simplified terms, we know that the shores of the continent match those of distant continents surprisingly well. We also find, in certain strata, that fossils are distributed in, say, the West coast strata of Africa and the East coast strata of South America, as if there weren't an ocean in between.
Now we might conclude that the continents were once connected. So we have a hypothesis. Now let's see ... we have an observed phenomenon explained, check. Our hypothesis is falsifiable (if we go out and look for evidence, it's possible we'll be proven wrong), check.
So we still need predictions and, if at all possible, a mechanism, i.e. a reason why the continents move.
Predictions are relatively easy in this case. If we're right, we should find matching fossils we have not yet seen in certain strata of continents that appear to fit together - but also be able to localize strata where the fossils no longer match because the continents drifted away from each other. It doesn't matter that this is basically what drove us to the conclusion in the first place, as long as we don't content ourselves with just the fossils we already know. While we're at it, we also compare geological formations, if the kinds of rocks match up and so forth, localize geologically active zones etc.
Another prediction would be that the continents are still moving. All kinds of stuff follows from that. For example, that rock that was once sea floor could now be a massive mountain; thus we can go look for fossils high above the shoreline. If we're lucky and technology has progressed far enough, we can even measure how fast the plates are moving today.
And if we're really lucky, physics will have provided the means to explain the basic functioning of the Earth's core, providing a mechanism (nuclear decay), maybe even a time frame.

This is simplified of course, but these are the kinds of things we'd have to do. You start with a deduction, think about what would need to be true for the deduction to be accurate, what follows from the deductions, and always, always check against reality. Thus you have an idea that binds some facts together - the idea can be arrived at any which way - which is tested a bit and becomes an ad-hoc hypothesis. Further testing will show whether it deserves to be called a hypothesis and if it's fleshed out thoroughly and isn't disproven for a while it'll be called a theory. Sometimes theories are so well-founded they are generally taken as fact (such as the heliocentric model) but if scientific conduct works as it should, their details are still refined - and more importantly, if someone comes up with a model that's even better, the old one will be ditched.



Contrast this with faith, where no checking against reality is required. Faith can be consistent i.e. non-self-contradictory, but it isn't falsifiable - and where it is, it typically contradicts scientific findings which, if not entirely true, are at least demonstrably accurate. In both thought systems, ideas can be arrived at completely arbitrarily, yet only bothers to check them against reality with any kind of rigor.
If it's faith I have in science, it's a different kind of faith than faith in a being that adds no descriptive power to our understanding of the world. An explanation with personal significance that provides sense to someone is not the same as a scientific explanation - just as my opinion that the atmosphere is made of nitrogen, oxygen, etc is not the same as my opinion that the haftargian Shmoople colored it blue. Both are opinions but they are arrived at by wildly differing systems of thought.
Even assuming that my faith in general relativity is the "same" as a belief in god(s) ... why wouldn't I go with the one that makes GPS possible rather than the one(s) that claims to have it all figured out yet can do no such thing? Why wouldn't I go with the models that can tell me exactly why and what they do better than their scientific competitors rather than the one that can't even say why it should be taken more seriously than any other religion?

Faith isn't about accuracy. It's about feeling good and arriving at personally satisfying answers. Science is all about accuracy. It cares only about what's true for everyone, regardless of what you might think of it. At least if you accept the workability of logic.



I hope that helps.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 03:42:42 AM by Noman Peopled »
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Offline jtk73

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2011, 01:38:59 PM »
Wow. Noman, brilliantly put.

Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2011, 06:21:23 PM »
Thank you.
I'm not too sure I haven't been using "ad-hoc hypothesis" entirely wrongly in the past ten years, though ...
"Deferinate" itself appears to be a new word... though I'm perfectly carmotic with it.
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Offline ungod

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2011, 01:07:15 PM »
Do yourself a favor and read this:http://www.notjustatheory.com/

http://www.notjustatheory.com/
Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

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Offline ungod

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2011, 01:14:28 PM »
A theory is the best explanation that involves an assumption of the existence of a quark or something like that, depending on the nature of the question. But very often it becomes historical. If it's geology, you're assuming how the Alps formed or how the seas formed or how certain geological formations got there. In no way can one go back and test one's experiment and repeat the experiment. You're doing a detective job. The same applies, of course, in much of evolutionary theory. One is making the most sense out of most of the data and inferring, like a good detective, what happened in the past. It's not all repeatable experiments as in physics and chemistry. I think with the area of faith, the data of faith involve all sorts of broader considerations and the religious experience of humanity. Again, one is inferring to the best explanation, the best way of referring to the realities which are experienced in religion, in the past and in the present. Think about this no one has ever “seen” an atom but we have faith that the sketch the physicists or scientist give is there best guess. So we take it on faith that they are right. If I am still wrong please correct me!!!
Riiiight! It's not as if the past has left a record that can be examined. Take, for instance, the silly notion of Tectonic Plates. When has there ever been an earthquake  that would lend credence to that crazy theory?
Or, the claim that giant animals called Dinosaurs once roamed the earth. It's  not as if any evidence of them has ev er been found. Nope, you're right - no way can one go back and test.
Duh.

 :P
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Offline Babdah

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2011, 05:44:19 PM »
Quote
Riiiight! It's not as if the past has left a record that can be examined. Take, for instance, the silly notion of Tectonic Plates. When has there ever been an earthquake  that would lend credence to that crazy theory?
Or, the claim that giant animals called Dinosaurs once roamed the earth. It's  not as if any evidence of them has ev er been found. Nope, you're right - no way can one go back and test.
Duh.

 :P

Well then, tell me about abiogenesis and wheres the proof ?
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Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2011, 10:50:28 PM »
Quote
Riiiight! It's not as if the past has left a record that can be examined. Take, for instance, the silly notion of Tectonic Plates. When has there ever been an earthquake  that would lend credence to that crazy theory?
Or, the claim that giant animals called Dinosaurs once roamed the earth. It's  not as if any evidence of them has ev er been found. Nope, you're right - no way can one go back and test.
Duh.

 :P

Well then, tell me about abiogenesis and wheres the proof ?

A.)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

B.)You're here. Typing stuff. So it worked.  :P
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Offline Cyberia

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2011, 11:41:47 PM »
Well then, tell me about abiogenesis and wheres the proof ?

There isn't any proof.  But are there solid reasons to suspect it is indeed possible.

Urey-Miller Experiment

There are about eight elements that make up all life.  If you have enough of these eight atoms, you could theoretically construct any lifeform on the planet.  These eight elements are extremely common not only on Earth but throughout the Universe.

If you take these eight elements, put them in a sealed & sterilized jar with water and heat the jar for a while, you'll get amino acids and nucleotides......the building blocks of life.

So you see, that's the hard part, getting atoms to assembly into life generating matter, and that part happens spontaneously.  It's more of a stretch to think that mere atoms will do this than to think that the building blocks of life, if stirred and cooked long enough, will just happen to combine in a manner that can self-replicate.

The "miracle" is basic chemistry, not that a soup of nucleic acids will eventually stumble upon a self-replicating pattern.  Then the horse is out of the barn.

The Earth is though to be 4.54 billion years old, and the oldest rocks on Earth can be very reliably dated to 4.404 billion years old.  These types of rocks can ONLY form in water, so the oceans must have already formed, or been forming, by this time.  Furthermore, the freshly formed Earth certainly had an abundance of geothermal heat.

So water, heat, and all of the necessary elements were present on early Earth.  Today we can observe that these ingredients spontaneously self-assemble into the building blocks of life. 

Then the fossil record goes blank for half-a-billion years until...

The first fossils of life (so far) can be dated to 3.5 billion years old, and those are already cyanobacteria.  There are a few suspicious carbon-incursion fossil formations dating back to 3.9 billion years old.  So it's not a stretch to put the puzzle pieces we do happen to have so far into a rough picture of what must have occurred back then.

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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2011, 11:43:05 PM »
Abiogenesis does a great job of explaining how life could have began. But I still think it's a leap of faith to accept that it accurately explains how life actually did begin. But I guess its close enough for government work  :P
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Offline ungod

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2011, 06:19:58 AM »
Quote
Riiiight! It's not as if the past has left a record that can be examined. Take, for instance, the silly notion of Tectonic Plates. When has there ever been an earthquake  that would lend credence to that crazy theory?
Or, the claim that giant animals called Dinosaurs once roamed the earth. It's  not as if any evidence of them has ev er been found. Nope, you're right - no way can one go back and test.
Duh.

 :P

Well then, tell me about abiogenesis and wheres the proof ?
As oft said, proof is for liquor and mathematics.
It is so clever of you to find an area of science where knowledge and theory is incomplete. Sigh. The tired old theologue tactic. This gap, of course, is supposed to
convince us of the complete invalidity of all science, leaving creationism by an invisible non-physical but male entity as obvious "truth"by default. 
And we are supposed to scurry off, desperately seeking some "proof" for abiogenesis, thoroughly distracted from the fact that the proponents of creationism and the supernatural have not a single fact or bit of evidence in support of their grand deception. Absolutely hilarious - but tiresome.

 &)
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Offline Historicity

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2011, 10:05:49 AM »
Years ago I participated in a skeptics forum which had a number of Microsoft employees in it.  Bill Gates is an atheist and maybe the makes him back off on personnel policies.  That is, the forum participant had to work from time to time with a fundie there who loudly preached. 

He once tried to come to an understanding saying, "If I accept the fact that you have beliefs, will you accept the fact that I have doubts."  "No", said the fundie.

One of the fundie's favorite loud catch phrases was "Life can't form out of chance any more than shaking watch parts in a box will make a watch."  (Loudly)

So the guy begged for a neat rejoinder.  I was the only one who offered one:

    Watch parts don't stick together, organic molecules do.

I never got feed back if it worked.



Offline relativetruth

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2011, 11:42:52 AM »
Well then, tell me about abiogenesis and wheres the proof ?

There isn't any proof.  But are there solid reasons to suspect it is indeed possible.

Urey-Miller Experiment

The Earth is thought to be 4.54 billion years old, and the oldest rocks on Earth can be very reliably dated to 4.404 billion years old.  These types of rocks can ONLY form in water, so the oceans must have already formed, or been forming, by this time.  Furthermore, the freshly formed Earth certainly had an abundance of geothermal heat.


I don't mean to be difficult but can you explain in layperson terms how you can reliably date a 4.4 billion year old rock? And say it can ONLY form in water? I have a rudimentary understanding of how isotopes decay with various elements and that dating relies on statistically determining the 'half life'. I understand that Zircon is ZrSiO4 a mixture of Zirconium Silicon and Oxygen and that sometimes Uranium can get mixed up in the crystal instead of Zirconium. As I understand, the dating of Zircon comes from the Ur which decays to Lead (Pb).

What is not clear to me is how 'oceans' of water could have formed in an environment with the heat generated from constant bombardment and 'the abundance of geothermal heat'? 
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 11:48:14 AM by relativetruth »
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Offline Cyberia

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2011, 02:33:13 PM »
I don't mean to be difficult but can you explain in layperson terms how you can reliably date a 4.4 billion year old rock? And say it can ONLY form in water? I have a rudimentary understanding of how isotopes decay with various elements and that dating relies on statistically determining the 'half life'. I understand that Zircon is ZrSiO4 a mixture of Zirconium Silicon and Oxygen and that sometimes Uranium can get mixed up in the crystal instead of Zirconium. As I understand, the dating of Zircon comes from the Ur which decays to Lead (Pb).

You're not being difficult, those are good questions.

When using radiometric dating you want to employ as many different techniques as possible to make sure there is agreement and to reduce errors.  Ur-Pb dating is especially nice because Ur has a very long half-life, making it suitable for very old ages.  It also breaks down into two different daughter-isotope chains (essentially two clocks in one) which can be independently tested and cross-referenced.

Zircons are highly crystalline and extremely durable.  As you note, these crystals can substitute Uranium and also Thorium for Zirconium within the crystal lattice.   So we can also use Thorium to radiometric date zircons.  Finally, we can use a totally different technique known as Fission-Tracking.  Basically, when Uranium and Thorium spontaneously decompose (fission), some of those by-products shoot off through the surrounding material.  Since Zircon entirely crystalline, these by-products leave tracks behind as they damage the crystal lattice.  Simply counting the number of fission tracks can give yet another dating method.

So for Zircons, there are at least 4 different clocks that can be compared, and in these cases all give consistent dates.

Here are three short Wiki entries on the subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zircon#Radiometric_dating
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_rock#Recent_research
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-lead_dating#Mineralogy


What is not clear to me is how 'oceans' of water could have formed in an environment with the heat generated from constant bombardment and 'the abundance of geothermal heat'?

It's not clear to anyone!  Earth formed, presumable it was a magma-ball, then cooled enough to form a crust, then it impacted a Mars-size object and spun off our Moon, and at least partially re-formed a magma-ocean, then re-cooled and apparently almost immediately began forming oceans, shortly followed by life.  On top of that, during the ocean-forming and early-life phase, Earth was subject to the Late-Heavy Bombardment which means Major impacts every 100 years or so....

Here's another great Wiki link on the subject: The Origin of Water on Earth

Here's an interesting paragraph from the Late-Heavy Bombardment link:
More recently, a similar study of Jack Hills rocks shows traces of the same sort of potential organic indicators. Thorsten Geisler of the Institute for Mineralogy at the University of Münster studied traces of carbon trapped in small pieces of diamond and graphite within zircons dating to 4250 Ma. The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 was unusually high, normally a sign of "processing" by life.[12]
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Offline relativetruth

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2011, 03:17:22 PM »
Cyberia,

Thanks for your detailed explanation.  I will be following your links shortly.

But I still don't see the answer to my main question.

How do we know that these 4.4 billion year zircons must have been formed submerged in, or in the presence of, water?

Quote from: Cyberia
These types of rocks can ONLY form in water, so the oceans must have already formed, or been forming, by this time.  Furthermore, the freshly formed Earth certainly had an abundance of geothermal heat.
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Offline Cyberia

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2011, 03:57:46 PM »
The links discuss this somewhat, but apparently the temperature at which the zircons formed can be deduced from their composition, and these old ones formed between 600-800 degrees.  Water is stable at this temperature (H2O breaks down ~3500 degrees) and can actually be liquid at high enough atmospheric pressure, which is expected for an early, out-gassing planet.

Furthermore, the zircons contain oxygen signatures indicative of liquid water, although there is some debate on this apparently. (Personally, I don't completely understand the oxygen isotope significance, but people more versed than me do)

Evidence from detrital zircons for the existence of continental crust and oceans on the Earth 4.4 Gyr ago
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Offline relativetruth

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Re: did i get it wrong ?
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2011, 04:50:05 PM »
Thanks Cyberia,

Your last two posts highlight why science works. You explained your understanding in detail and then backed it up with links for further reading.

If I had asked similar detailed questions to a theist regarding their beliefs I doubt I would have got answers in two relatively short posts.

This is just one small example of how scientists back-up their conclusions in different ways and provide independent methods with completely different datasets which still produce the same results.

Theists on the other hand rely on multiple re-interpretations of the same old set of data, their old books.
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