Examining a creationist case against modern geology

I encountered this posting by Sirius Knott and asked him to read some textbooks.  After a bit he got bored with my patient requests that he educate himself, and even grew tired of taunting me.  Fair enough.  Time for me to deal in detail with his errors–because there are a lot of people who have ideas like this and they probably, deep down, are seeking some kind of response from the scientific point of view.  I’ll present my response by links to standard answers, for the most part, because these objections have been raised by creationists many times in the past, and they have no scientific credibility.  There is absolutely nothing new about creationism or intelligent design.  The same arguments have been raised again and again down the decades, but not one of them has convinced the scientific community.

Sirius starts by showing a standard geological chart, the kind of thing you’ll see in a high school classroom that shows what we find in the fossil record.  But Sirius claims it’s false.  Why?

These geological strata don’t always play ball with the claims of the Church of Darwin. Quite often the early strata are flip-flopped with later ages, so that allegedly younger fossils are found below older fossils.

See Claim CD102: The geological column is sometimes out of order

He continues:

Evolutionists do explain these anomolies away when they can and chalk up the rest to “We don’t know yet, but we KNOW it WASN’T the result of a catastrophic global flood!” But you should be aware that their neatly laid out strata-age chart exists in full form nowhere in nature! It’s not observable. It’s inferred from their evolutionary presuppositions.

He’s obviously wrong in the first sentence, about the hand-waving–we know that the out-of-order strata, where they occur, are always caused by folds and faults.  The kind of activity that is causing those earthquakes in California, Turkey and so on, rips the earth’s crust up and moves strata around in a way that can be predicted and is easily recognized when we find it..

But in his second part, he says that the geologic column exists nowhere, in its full form, in nature.  See CD101. Entire geological column does not exist and CD103. The geological column is based on the assumption of evolution.

The facts are that creationist geologists preceding Darwin constructed the geological column.  Moreover there are several places around the world where strata from all geological eras do exist at a single spot.  Inference of the whole does not require any unjustifiable assumptions, nor does it depend on evolutionary assumptions.

Sirius then says:

All of the missing links are missing. The dots are only connected in their minds, not in the fossil record…They can speculate, but their speculations presume Darwinism; they don’t spring forth naturally from the evidence. The fossil record simply shows, as Ken Ham has famously put it, “billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the Earth.”

This appears to be a variant of CA202. Evolution has not been proved.

Sirius’s next argument is the Cambrian Explosion.

The Cambrian Explosion makes a shipwreck of their nice neat chart. Rather than seeing simple life forms such as worms and jellyfish appear to be folowed by trilobites and fish and the like, we instead see representations of all major phyla appearing AT THE SAME TIME! This obvious slap in darwin’s face has caused not a few Darwinists to famously modify the theory. Punctuated equilibrium, or “punk eek,” suggests that life exists with only minor adaptations within established kinds [observable microevolution, which no one disputes], but then goes rapid changes in short spurts which leave behind no transitional forms! This is just another example of how the speculative [and imaginative!] nature of Darwinism makes it unfalsifiable.

CC300. The Cambrian explosion shows all kinds of life appearing suddenly and CC301. Cambrian explosion contradicts evolutionary “tree” pattern.  See also CC201.1.  Punctuated equilibrium was ad hoc to justify gaps and CA211. Evolution cannot be falsified.

Then Sirius makes a bid for an alternative explanation of the evidence:

They don’t tell you that there are other alternatives [such as the one illustrated in the Walker chart below] to the Old Earth uniformitarian view assumed by Darwinists and Progessive Creationists [Compromisers would be a more appropo term] which not only address the same set of facts that Old Earthers have [we all ahve the same facts to interpret, but start with different assumptions] but also address the “anamolies” that Old Earth explanations create.

The alternative chart is as follows:

Biblical geological rock scale

Biblical geological rock scale

Tasman “Tas” Walker’s scale (above) fails at the first post because it contradicts known radiometric data  that places the formation of the earth some billions of years ago, not thousands.  Walker’s theories have no traction in the scientific community and have received little serious attention, much less passed any serious peer review.  A professional geologist working for the Geological Survey of Queensland, Paul Blake, examines Walker’s rock scale concept at this link, where it is easy to see why Walker isn’t taken seriously.  Tas Walker’s qualifications are listed on the “Answers in Genesis” website, here.  His highest relevant qualification is listed as “Bachelor of Science majoring in Earth Science, followed by First Class Honours in 1998 (U of Qld).”  Answers in Genesis quite correctly describes itself as a religious ministry, and in producing work for that website Walker adheres to its Statement of Faith, which says “No apparent, perceived, or claimed interpretation of evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.”  Nobody can produce science under such a brief, because it means that evidence that appears to contradict scripture must be discarded.

Sirius then goes on to make some claims about the process of fossilization, and I’ll address those in a later posting.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Punk Eek, Sirius Knott, Stephen Jay Gould, Transitional Forms, Trilobites This is a followup to an earlier posting that examined the first part of this posting by somebody who calls himself Sirius Knott.  […]

  2. Seriously, man, you’ll never get anywhere until you learn to think for yourself. Your argument is a call to authority and the abominal ad populum cry of “everybody knows.” What the hell is the “scientific community,” anyway? Sounds like another religious patriarchy.

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