Monday, December 3, 2007

Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism

Hello Everyone!

In Answers in Genesis' 'News to Note' they have an article about a recent geological discovery: A landslide was responsible for dumping 225 billion metric tons in a matter of just a few days. This took place about 60,000 years ago. (See BBC Story here).

Here is an excerpt from AiG's article:

Young-earth groups such as Answers in Genesis frequently point to catastrophic geological processes like this landslide that fly—or flow, perhaps—in the face of long-age, uniformitarian geological doctrine. Secular scientists repeat the dogma of “millions of years” and generally point to slow, day-to-day erosion as the major factor in shaping the surface of the earth. Yet geologists, time and time again, stumble over large-scale, fast-occurring geological catastrophes that they identify as having shaped particular features of the earth (such as the Channel Scablands in Montana).

Given all this and acknowledging the geological upheaval a worldwide flood would have brought, where are the scientific objections to geological catastrophism? The reality is, even secular geologists accept some catastrophic explanations (as mentioned above), but by balking at a global flood, they ignore the greatest geological catastrophe there ever was!

Alright, so they are proposing that the geologic column is at least mostly a product of an enormous flood, and not the result of millions of years worth of sedimentation. This is something that we can test! Okay, I want all the evolutionists at home to think, or just be open to, the possibility of the geologic column being deposited by a Global Flood. Now, to all the Creationists, I want you to be open to the idea of the geologic column possibly being the product of slow processes and some catastrophic ones (this is what modern uniformitarianism is, it accounts for catastrophe). Okay, are we ready? Good! Let's look for clues as to whether the geologic column was produced by one flood, or many floods and slow sedimentation.

If the geologic column was deposited by a Catastrophic Flood, I would never expect to find any fragile items in the fossil record. A catastrophic flood would probably destroy fragile things, since it would have had to be violent enough to produce certain geological anomalies. But we have many examples of fragile things, such as the body prints of an amphibian, footprints of dinosaurs, and fossilized rain drop imprints. It is easy to imagine sediment gradually covering a print left in the mud by an amphibian, but hard to imagine rushing torrents doing this without destroying it. And remember, these things were found in the middle of the geologic column, and according to flood geologists, the middle of this epidemic flood. Flood Geology fails this test.

Radiometric Dating

It has been established via experiment that radiometric decay is constant, and therefore a reliable indicator of age. Creationists pose other objections to it, but I won't go into those since they are discussed in "Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective" and "Isochron Dating". (For an easier to digest summary, see this article).

The point is, since we know radiometric dating to be reliable, we should be able to use this to date the strata. If Flood Geology is correct, all strata should date to the same age. If Uniformitarianism (Slow Processes) is correct, then the strata should date to different ages. I would also add that if radiometric dating gave dates that were all over the map and not consistent, we could call this inconclusive. Of course, we know that Radiometric Dating does give consistent results, and it is frequently found that the oldest strata are lower than the youngest strata. See the links above for examples of this. Flood Geology again fails the test.

Fossil Sorting

Let's apply one more test. If the flood really happened, then we would expect to see chaos in the fossil record. Man with dinosaurs, all forms of life mixed together, side by side. Yet this outstandingly NOT SO. If the fossil record was laid down over a long period of time, we would expect to see changes in the life forms from strata to strata (since we observe changes today). This would be true even if you only accepted micro-evolution. For instance, see these seashells and how they are found in different strata. Again, Flood Geology fails and Uniformitarianism rains supreme in the scientific arena.

It is important to add as a side note that creationists have proposed ways of explaining the fossil record, although they have been proven false. For instance, see this Talk Origin page or this article written by legendary Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.


Berlzebub said...

It is important to add as a side note that creationists have proposed ways of explaining the fossil record, although they have been proven fossil.

I don't believe it was intentional, but this is hilarious if you think about it this way.

Main Entry: 2fossil
Function: noun
Date: 1736
1: a remnant, impression, or trace of an organism of past geologic ages that has been preserved in the earth's crust — compare living fossil
2 a: a person whose views are outmoded : fogy b: something (as a theory) that has become rigidly fixed
3: an old word or word element preserved only by idiom (as fro in to and fro)

The italicized emphasis is mine, and explains what I mean. They are stuck in time, 2,000 years ago, and the rest of the world is taking off and leaving them.

AIGBusted said...

I can't believe I made such a dumb mistake! Thanks! I'm correcting it now!!

Anonymous said...

I'd say the most compelling evidence against the idea that all sedimentary rocks were due to a single global flood event is the following.

You can look at the sedimentary record in many places and see massive salt layers. This could not have occurred in a fresh water flooding event. There is also plenty of evidence of very dry environments (evaporites like anhydrite) underlain and overlain by normal marine sedimentary sequences (like carbonate reefs).

Similarly, a paleontologist can recognize water depths inhabited by various fossilized organisms. It is clear that sea levels have risen and fallen by different rates (depending on local factors) all over the world. This is supported by a mountain of evidence, and paleo water depths, for example, are predictable by a petroleum geologist when he drills a well.

Anonymous said...

If radiometric dating is reliable, then why did the KBS Tuff give so many different date.

AIGBusted said...

Canela, when in doubt, consult Talk Origins:

Cheryl Pitt said...

I don't understand why one would find it surprising to find fragile items. Modern floods, landslides and avalanches show that fragile items can be effectively moved and preserved by "riding" the source then settling-either on top or sinking during the sedimentation. Just my 2cents. Interesting arguement either way.

AIGBusted said...

Hey Cheryl,

But would really expect for the body print of an animal to ride the source and then settle somewhere in the middle of the sediment that was laid down.

Unknown said...

Good article, I just read an article at aig regarding "uniformity ". I was amazed to learn that they are claiming it is an exclusively Christian knowledge from God now and without it science is impossible! I'm researching a theory I have about the potent form of psychological manipulation Christian philosophy appears to have developed. It goes something like "you only think I am contradicting myself because you're wrong. God cannot contradict himself and I base my truth on the bible the inerrant word of God."
Assuming this as unquestionably logical because it is also claimed that logic comes from God and to use it is clear proof that you not only believe in a god, but the Christian God yeeesh!
Aig follow on to make it clear that they use circular reasoning with great confidence and when they employ it regarding gods existence it is "ultimate reasoning " . When they accuse a nonbeliever of using it however, it's quite a joke how obviously invalidated their entire platform becomes. This is not contradictory though. It is a Christian world view and God cannot contradict himself. See where this is going?
I am finding instances of it everywhere and I am starting to suspect it is one of the most effective tools in the box of Christian manipulation techniques. It seems so blatant and constant that I wondered if I must have misread or forgotten or lost my mind. I am now of the opinion that it is a rather ingenious mind control technique that has been honed for centuries.
It is using a pretty basic common approach used by most unscrupulous conmen and charlatans.
1 state your claim to absolute authority
2 attack your opponent, victims, customers integrity character self worth morality etc
3 sell your product
I see Christianity has built on this model to incorporate polemical contradiction as a method of confusing the opposition. I admit it was working on me, it is hard for any honest person to accept that someone could be so deeply conflicted and so utterly convicted in conjunction . A reasonable and humble person might first assess if they might be mistaken or even wrong. It's difficult on many levels to comprehend that a human would be capable of such self deception, if that is what it is.
I have a long way to go trying to unravel this "mystery ". I have found it to be a pervasive and fascinating characteristic of Christian apologetics, admittedly most evident in fundamentalism.
Is my opinion echoing an established one or do you disagree?