Examining a creationist argument on the fossil record

This is a followup to an earlier posting that examined the first part of this posting by somebody who calls himself Sirius Knott.  Creationists tend to make bold claims that attempt to rubbish the consensus of biologists, geologists and paleontologists, reveal their ignorance of the field, and wonder why nobody takes them seriously.  Sirius seems to follow the same pattern.

Sirius titles his next section “The Fossil Record Itself Shows That Rapid Burial and Preservation are Key Factors in Fossilization.”  Of course he’s right, this is why fossils are pretty rare.

We have fish that died in the act of eating another fish…We have animals which died in the middle of giving birth…We have large animals [which is a “sizeable” argument for rapid burial in and of itself!] which died seemingly in the midst of struggle…We have huge, mass graves where dinosaur fossils are jumbled together like so much flotsam after a flood — and little wonder if the Biblical account is true! We even have soft-bodied animals and delicate structures such as dragonfly wings which were buried quickly enough to imprint themselves in mud before the decay made that impossible.

Woe there.  Those statements are mostly correct, but where did this flood thing come from?

This suggestion is basically CH561.2. Fossils are sorted hydrologically or possibly CH561.3. Fossils are sorted by the ability to escape. Maybe even CH561.4. Fossils are sorted by a combination of these factors.

Moreover fossilization in amber does pose a problem for the Young Earth view.  See CC361. Fossils can form quickly.  Amber can take millions of years to form.

And on animals apparently involved in struggle, see a caution at CC361.3. Contorted positions of fossil animals indicate rapid burial.

Sirius then asks:

We even have trilobite tracks preseved in stone. How did that escape erasure if stone takes millions of years to form out of mud?

See CC363. Fossilization requires sudden burial.

And so to polystrates:

Add to this the puzzle [for darwinists] of polystratic fossils, tree fossils which run vertically through several strata of rock.

See CC331. Polystrate fossils indicate massive sudden deposition.

On an empirical level, the Mount Saint Helens eruption gave us a tangible example of how polystratic fossils might form.

Certainly this is the case.  No problem for uniformitarian geology there.  Catastrophic events do occur, but catastrophism cannot account for all of the geological record.

These are anamolies [mass burials all over the Earth, evidence of sudden burial of living creatures and polystrate fossils] created by the Old Earth uniformitarian assumptions, but which are easily accounted for by the Young Earth Biblical Catastrophic model.

Unfortunately for the catastrophist model, whilst uniformitarianism can easily accommodate catastrophic formations, catastrophism without uniform deposition cannot account for the geological column (which is why Sirius tries to argue that the column doesn’t exist ealier in his posting).

In fact, the debate is not that flooding and rapid burial are critical elements in fossilization; the debate is now whether there were hundreds [or thousands] of small, local flood events or a single global flood such as the Bible records.

Like all creationists, Sirius either believes or wants others to believe that there is a serious debate going on here.  There is not.  There are scientists, and there are religious people.  The scientists cannot lose because the religious people are wedded to dogma and have to force a large amount of evidence through the tiny constraints of the biblical models.  They have had no scientific credibility for well over a century.

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9 Responses

  1. TalkOrigins’ index is always impressive; I’ve been debunking Creationists BS for several years now, and they still list many that I’ve never heard of.

    (Also, I just realised that the automatically generated ‘Possibly related post’ is my own, which attempts to debunk the same post by Knott. Whee!)

  2. Sirius says he won’t accept my “arguments from authority” though all his own arguments were obtained from the same old creationist sources they all use. :)

  3. This guy is hilarious. I happened upon that page a week or so ago, and was just dumbfounded at the idea that the claims he makes might be convincing to some people. O_o

    Almost everything he says is either flat wrong or subtly dishonest (e.g., in his implications that science is somehow oblivious to or is outright covering up geological unconformities).

    I took shots at most of his points, and in his reply to me, he said:
    “Before I respond, compassion compells me to inquire whether you’re quite serious and whether you would not prefer in any way to ammend your response to something more cogent and indicative of sapience and with rather less uninspired drivel and ad hominem?

    Sweetly,
    Sirius Knott”

    When I challenged him to find one example of ad hominem, he responded, “You’ll note that my accusation of ad hominem was only one part of my protest of your awful screed.”

    Cuz you know, “[not] cogent”, “[not] indicitive of sapience”, and “[full of] uninspired drivel” were valuable, specific counterpoints that were totally worth responding to. :P

  4. Actually my innocent intention had been to illustrate the paucity of creationist apologetics, but it soon became apparent that I had picked a poor example.

    Sirius Knott isn’t just a creationist, he is probably the kind of person from whose irrational behavior anyone would cringe, so if one debunks his arguments it doesn’t count for much because nobody would take him seriously.

  5. Tony [and you are still unworthy of that name, btw]:

    You seem to have side-stepped something.

    So how did you explain polystrates again? Are you admitting that occasionally catastrophic events occur which form multiple thick layers which are erroneously interpreted as representing several long ages but we know they weren’t because the polystrates stick through them vertically? Doesn’t that cast doubt on the basic assumption of rock layers as long ages?

    Forknowledge:

    You’re still a lovable hack. Everyone has their niche.

    Eyedunno:

    Answered your bilge over on my site. Didn’t want to interrupt your gloating and preening session, but I thought you should know.

    -Sirius Knott

    PS You guys warm the cockles of my heart. And… you make it easy.

  6. Sirius seems to live on the glow of our contempt.

  7. It’s called irony, Tony.

    ;] but I suspect you knew that

    -Sirius

  8. To Sirius:

    Have you considered that if there was a real “judgment day” by divine fiat, the contempt with which you treat those who differ with you might weigh far more heavily against you than any dogma you may be correct about?

    Anyone who insults and derides his detractors is not fighting for any cause greater than his own ego.

    But if the one you think you’re fighting for has any validity, you’re not helping it.

  9. Bob,

    With due respect to your comments, I suggest that you take a moment to read both Elijah’s comments to the prophets on Mount Carmel and Jesus Christ’s comments concerning the scribes and Pharisees. Perhaps you are judging me by a false standard handed down by stained-glassed traditions of men rather than by the example of the Bible.

    I’ve explored this topic more fully here: http://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/are-christians-too-nice/

    Regards

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