Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Misconceptions about the Geologic Column – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding the misconceptions people generally have about geology and the geologic column.
• Misconception No. 7. Sedimentary evidence proves that periods of millions of years duration were required to deposit individual strata systems.
Lamina, a thin layer, plate, or scale of sedimentary rock can be seen along this exposed coastal cliff side. Note the circular blow-up section for a closer view of the layers

    Before radiometric dating was devised—a method of dating geological or archeological specimens by determining the relative proportions of particular radioactive isotopes present in a sample—uniformitarian geologists postulated "periods" of millions of years duration to slowly deposit the strata systems. A single sedimentary lamina, or bed, was supposed by uniformitarian geologists to represent typically a year or many years duration. It was concluded, therefore, that multiplied thousands of laminae and beds superimposed required millions of years. Recently, however, geologists have discovered that laminae and beds form quickly on floodplains of rivers during floods, in shallow marine areas during storms, and in deep water by turbidity currents.
    The evidence of rapid sedimentation is now so easily recognized that geologists observing a strata system these days often ask where to insert the "missing time" of which the strata do not show sedimentary evidence. Catastrophism, quite naturally, is making a come-back. There is good reason to believe that entire strata systems, and even groups of systems, were accumulated in a hydraulic cataclysm matching the description of Noah's Flood in the Bible.
    It should also be noted that carbon-dating does not date anything older than about 100,000 years, as this is more than ten times the half-life of carbon-14. Other radiometric dating methods are not used on fossil layers, because these are sedimentary rocks. The assumptions used to calculate radiometric ages are questionable, but, in any case, the radiometric methods are carried out on igneous rocks, not sedimentary rocks.
Left: Sedimentary rock, with layers shown; Right: Igneous rock or magmatic rock (Metamorphic rock is the third type of rock on the Earth)

Although one might suppose that sedimentary rocks could be approximately dated by their proximity to igneous rocks, in practice this does not always work, because there are occasions when “older” rocks are assumed to be above “lower” rocks. In fact, the dates of the sedimentary rocks are assigned according to the so-called “index fossils” within them. There will be more on this later, but the fact is that millions of years were assigned to the geologic column before the advent of radiometric dating. Assumed timescales were suggested for the supposed evolution of certain creatures in the fossil record, and the dating assigned accordingly.
• Misconception No. 8. Radiometric dating can supply "absolute ages" in millions of years with certainty to systems of the geologic column.
    Geologists and geochronologists assert that radiometric dating verifies that individual strata systems and their strata are millions of years old. When asked to document the most reliable radiometric age dates, geologists usually point to isochron and concordia plots which employ multiple isotopic analyses, which they claim will remove the effects of original "contaminants," and display the "age" of a rock in graphical form.
    However, we find geologists often reporting isochron plots which are discordant with the accepted "ages" of strata systems. Frequently, these discordant isochron plots "date" strata systems much older than even the accepted old ages customarily assigned to the systems of the geologic column. Geologists should be asking which, if any, of the isochron plots should be accepted as "absolute ages," and if the discordances do not falsify the assumptions upon which radiometric dating is based. Geologists need to consider radiometric methods which indicate ages of thousands of years for strata systems, as well as general indicators supporting young age.
• Misconception No. 9. The environmental "pictures" assigned to certain portions of the geologic column allow us to accurately visualize what its "geologic ages" were like.
Books, films and museum displays contain illustrations asking us to visualize what earlier "geologic ages" were like. These "pictures" show supposed primitive earth conditions, specific environments with sediments being slowly deposited, inferred "transitional organisms" evolving toward familiar forms, and whole communities of organisms "at home" with other organisms absent. Perhaps the most blatant environmental picture" has been assigned to lower Precambrian strata, formed when the earth supposedly had a reducing atmosphere and an "organic soup" in which life evolved. Yet, geologists have yet to find sedimentary evidence for the reducing atmosphere and the soup. This is reminiscent of an environmental "picture," which requires much imagination from a meager supply of facts.
• Misconception No. 10. The geologic column and the positions of fossils within the geologic column provide proof of amoeba-to-man evolution.
All the animal phyla, including chordate fish, are now known as fossils in the Cambrian System. No ancestral forms can be found for the protozoans, arthropods, brachiopods, mollusks, bryozoans, coelenterates, sponges, annelids, echinoderms or chordates. These phyla appear in the fossil record fully formed and distinct, in better agreement with the concept of "multiple, abrupt beginnings" (creation) than with the notion of "descent from a common ancestor" (evolution).
    No it isn’t. Of course, are unaware of any fossil rabbit being found in Jurassic rock. That much is true. Though, if such a find were made, of a fossil out of place in the geologic column, it would not cause my worldview a problem, even though we have a legitimate explanation as to why such finds are not made.
    If the fossils are arranged in evolutionary order, then they cannot be offered as evidence for evolution, as this would be circular reasoning. If evolution and millions of years were true, then one would expect to find a progression of gradually more complex organisms as one goes up the geologic column. However, it is illogical to reverse this and say that the existence of such a progression proves evolution. The reason why the latter is illogical is because there could be a completely legitimate alternative explanation, which would also lead to this supposed gradual progression. The logical fallacy that the evolutionists use here is known as “affirmation of the consequent.”
    On the other hand, before looking at the geologic column, it is important to understand the key differences between the starting assumptions of young-earth geologists and old-earth geologists. These two different beliefs are used to interpret the evidence found in the rock record. Understanding these starting points is the key to understanding the different views of geologic time.
Young-earth creationists start with the Bible to derive the age of the earth: approximately 4,000 years passed between Creation and the coming of Christ, which is added to the 2,000 years since the time of Christ. This gives an age of the earth and universe of 6,000 years, not counting the creation period itself—another approximately seven thousand years. They accept that God created in six days, that the once “very good” creation has been marred by sin (Genesis 3), and that a global Flood inundated the earth about 4,300 years ago (God’s judgment on the sin of mankind, Genesis 6–9). They then interpret the evidence in light of these truths revealed in the eyewitness testimony of the Bible. The events of Creation Week (Genesis 1) and the Genesis Flood (Genesis 6–9) are the major shapers of the geologic record from a biblical perspective, making the Earth really somewhere around 13,000 years old to date.
    From the uniformitarian perspective, the planet has evolved gradually from a molten ball to a water-covered planet where mountains are continuously eroded and uplifted, and rocks are recycled through the earth’s crust and mantle over billions of years. The use of radiometric dating is used to establish absolute dates for the age of the earth.
Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity, is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in the past and today apply everywhere in the universe 

Uniformitarian geologists accept catastrophes on a local scale, but reject any notion of global events like the Genesis Flood. The Bible is rejected as authoritative, and the earth is calculated to be 4.55 billion years old.
    The major problem with uniformitarianism, from a scientific perspective, is that it is an unverifiable assumption—the same claim leveled against creationists and the Bible (except that creationists have a written eyewitness account). There is no absolute way to measure rates at which past events happened. Uniformitarianism is a presupposition applied to geology and the rock record, and also to biology, astronomy, physical chemistry, and many other scientific fields.
(See the next post, “Misconceptions about the Geologic Column – Part III,” for more on how people misunderstand the geologic column and geology in general and its impact on the believability of the young Earth age of 13,000 years)

1 comment:

  1. The Mormon world view, however, does not coincide with any other Bible accepting world view. Because to Joseph it was revealed that the elements (intelligences, spirit matter and physical matter) are eternal. Right?

    Other creationists not only want to say the earth is only 13,000 years old, they also want to say that God created time, space, and all things OUT OF NOTHING 13,000 years ago. A Mormon cannot be on board with that.

    I have also never seen anyone explain why Moses 3:5 is not a clear witness that the creation account in Moses 2 (basically the same as Genesis 1 and Abraham 4) is only a creation account IN HEAVEN of all SPIRITS for this earth, and NOT a creation account of our physical earth. Even the firmament, sun and moon mentioned in Moses 2 (Genesis 1) are spirit creations, and not the full physical ones we have now.

    Thus, except for the brief creation account of Adam and other life by having their spirit enter a physical body in Moses 3 (Genesis 2, Abraham 5) we do NOT have a creation account of our physical earth and universe.

    So the Bible does not reveal the age of our physical earth, sun, or anything in our universe. It just reveals that God created all things spiritually first in Heaven, taking 6 thousand years, then rested a thousand years, and then began around 6000 years ago to send those spirits to obtain physical bodies on this earth. Right?

    “And EVERY plant of the field BEFORE it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken [what was spoken in Moses 2, Genesis 1, Abraham 4], SPIRITUALLY, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created ALL the children of men [as spirits] ; and not yet a man to till the ground; FOR IN HEAVEN created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air; --Moses 3:5