A Skeptic’s Guide to the Age of the Earth

10 December, 2017
This is a re-blog of an article which was first posted on this site in April 2012. Like most of our “Skeptics Guides” it was based on a Vic Skeptics discussion pamphlet. The full range of our discussion pamphlets can be downloaded in .pdf  form by clicking the “useful info” link here or at the top of the page.


When naturalists started examining the Earth in the 18th century for evidence of its age, they were to a large extent seeking to confirm the suggestion of the Bible that the Earth was several thousand years old; but the closer they looked, the less certain they were that this was the correct answer.

Geologists examined the rocks across Britain, and noted that the same sequence of rocks occurred in different places, suggesting that the rocks had a common source. They also noticed that different levels of rocks contained different groups of fossils, including fossils of animals different from those of today, and not mentioned in the Bible. Yet the fossils were in similar orders in different locations. Rocks were also classified according to how they were made, and by the order in which they’d been created. In the first case, rocks were classified as sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic. Sedimentary rocks are rocks created by grains of mud or sand laid down over the years on lake or sea floors, and compressed into rock by the weight of material lying above them. Igneous rocks are rocks of volcanic origin. Some are from lava which has cooled solid on the surface of the Earth (such as basalt), while others have cooled while still inside the Earth (such as granite), and emerged after they’d solidified. Metamorphic rocks are rocks (usually sedimentary) which have been altered by heat or pressure (such as limestone being converted to marble). Read the rest of this entry »

Australian Skeptics Convention 2017 – Images

22 November, 2017


Photography by Mal Vickers

The 2017 Science Talent Search

20 November, 2017

Followers of this site will be well aware that Australian Skeptics are proud long-term sponsors of the Science Teachers Association of Victoria’s annual Science Talent Search.

Here are the statistics for 2017:

2017 was the 66th year of the STS.

3,369 Victorian students entered; the largest level of participation for several years.

704 Cash bursaries were awarded.

There were 42 sponsors, ranging from multinational companies to private individuals.

The Australian Skeptics were a major sponsor: 90 students received bursaries funded by the Australian Skeptics.

Science Talent Search: Bursary Winners sponsored by The Australian Skeptics

We congratulate Janice Teng and her team of volunteers for a great event. If you are interested in STS and would like to know more, go to  http://www.sciencevictoria.com.au/sts/

Australian Skeptics Awards 2017

19 November, 2017

The Bent Spoon, the Thornett Award and the Skeptic of the Year


The Whack – a – Mole Project and the TGA.

8 November, 2017

by Ken Greatorex



Whack-a-Mole was a popular 1970s arcade game which consisted of repeatedly hitting cartoon moles on the head with a cartoon hammer. Moles nevertheless kept cropping up with undiminished energy more or less at random; so the term Whack-a-mole came to signify “a repetitious and futile task.

Problems with Regulation of Therapeutic Goods

The situation regarding the regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia is unsatisfactory. The complaints process is frustrating, exhausting and often ineffectual. Complaints to the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) must be made against one product or service at a time. Because such complaints are almost invariably made by volunteers, and there is no financial incentive to complain, only a relatively tiny number of questionable products ever get put under the microscope.

An astonishing 87 % of such complaints have historically been upheld. Yet the offending companies rarely receive more than “a slap on the wrists”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Puzzles for November 2017

31 October, 2017

November’s puzzles include:

– seven new Picture Puzzles

– twenty Mixed Bag trivia / general knowledge questions

– a Skeptical Crossword about General Skeptical Issues

– set 64 of our Logic & Maths Puzzles.

For the first time, the Mixed Bag Questions, the Crossword and the Logic & Maths Puzzles are all supplied as .pdf files for easy access

All monthly puzzles are accessible from the Puzzles Page.

Puzzles for October 2017

30 September, 2017

This months puzzles include

  • seven new Picture Puzzles
  • twenty “Mixed Bag” trivia / general knowledge questions
  • a Skeptical Crossword about Cults and Sects
  • set 63 of our Logic & Maths Puzzles.

The Crossword and the Logic & Maths Puzzles are available in both HTML and .pdf form.

All monthly puzzles are accessible from the Puzzles Page.

PUZZLES ARCHIVE 1  (August 2010 to April 2011)

PUZZLES ARCHIVE 2 (May 2011 to September 2011)

PUZZLES ARCHIVE 3 (October 2011 to November 2012)

PUZZLES ARCHIVE 4 (December 2012 to June 2013)

PUZZLES ARCHIVE 5 (July 2013 to September 2014)

PUZZLES ARCHIVE 6 (October 2014 to December 2015)