The Philosophy Underlying Secular GeoHistory’s Timescale

Dear hijas,
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I still hope you’re reading when you have time. I want to pick up in Chapter 4 of Dr. John K. Reed’s book “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geological Timescale.”

What I think we must understand in all this is that we are talking about two opposing worldviews: the Christian worldview versus the secularist worldview (naturalism). God sees men and women in either one of two camps: 1) in Adam, or 2) in Christ. We are either in Adam, unregenerate and dead in our sin and trespass, or under grace in Christ and regenerate to a new life in Him. Those are the only two options, and you can’t be half in one and half in the other. It’s an either/or proposition.

When it comes then, to secular geohistory and its billion and millions of year timescale, we must seek to understand from a philosophical viewpoint what the foundations are upon which this timescale was built. If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll remember that I’ve said that things started to change in this regard in the late 18th century with the Age of Enlightenment. The late 1700’s and early 1800’s are considered to be the start of this new field of geology and the development of its timescale. To our point then, Reed says,

…the timescale possesses a burden of bias stemming from hidden philosophical foundations…stratigraphers use science as a façade to mask philosophical commitments of the naturalistic worldview.

We must remember that naturalism presents itself, to those who can see through its scientific facade, as a religion. As a religion, there are philosophical underpinnings. So, what are the underpinnings or foundations of naturalism’s geologic timescale? Reed says “there at least three ideas closely tied to naturalism that form the foundation of the timescale”:

1) Evolution
2) Uniformitarianism
3) Deep Time

So, let’s take the first one in our list above: evolution. How is evolution an underpinning of the timescale? Reed explains,

The timescale is all about the sequential ordering of a chronology of the past. Arranging any group of objects in a specific order requires a key. This key must contain something in common with all the pieces to be able to unite them into a common group…What is the ‘key’ that allows sequential ordering of different rock layers? It’s not the kind of rock because most rock types are present in most eras. Limestone can be Proterzoic or Paleozoic. Its not the thickness of the formation or the thickness of the beds that make up the formation. In fact, it’s not any physical property. Instead, it is their age–an intangible span of time. What then is the key to assigning discrete time spans to particular formations? Consult any stratigraphic text, and you will see that it is evolution.

It is the changes in fossils, from a progression of simple to complex inherent in evolution, that date strata. “In other words”, Reed says, “the key that allows geologists to assign one layer to one age and another layer to another age is the evolutionary stage of their respective fossil contents…Evolution is the clock by which the rocks are calibrated and arranged in the timescale”.

Reed concludes,

Thus, evolution is crucial to the timescale. How we understand the nature of evolution then affects how we see the timescale.

We’ll look at the other foundations in my next post.

With love I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Assuming Rocks Are Like History Books

Dearest hijas,

We turn now to the 4th fallacy in secular geohistory’s hidden fallacies from Dr. John K. Reed’s “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale”, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA, 2013. Dr. Reed starts this section by saying:

The fourth error is the belief that a rich and detailed account of the past is available in the rocks–like a book about the Hapsburgs or Hannibal crossing the Alps. There is historical content in the rock record–the error is overestimating its quality and quantity.

The metaphors inherent with this fallacy are that sedimentary strata are like “pages of a book”, and fossils record “the march of time”. But are they, and do they now? Let’s see.

We remember that conflict over natural history is about the presuppositions each side brings to the table. The data remain static. We all have the same data, but it is in the interpretation based on a set of presuppositions that error creeps in. We’re talking about the secularist worldview versus the Biblical worldview.
So the question on the table is this: Do the rocks represent long ages (a secularist worldview) or rapid deposition in a high-energy event (a Biblical worldview: Noah’s Flood)?

The secularist denies the judgment of God in the universal and global Flood of Noah. She claims it never happened. But should a Christian deny an event taking up 4 chapters (Gen. 6-9) in God’s revelatory book about Himself and what He did? I don’t think so. But why, you might ask?

Dr. Reed explains:

If deposited by a global flood, rocks are indicators of hydraulic power, not clocks measuring endless eons.


He continues:

…Christians should see things differently. They can agree that rocks are an historical record and that forensic methods are appropriate. But at that point, their worldview must take them away from the conclusions of naturalism. Because God is the infinite Creator of the physical cosmos and man, the best way to understand nature and time is from His eyewitness perspective. His written record of the past all the way back to the beginning should shape geological inquiry. In theory, it does. It precludes prehistory, clues us in on creation, and describes the destruction of Earth’s face by a global flood. It’s a baby step of logic from there to the conclusion that a large part of the rock record is a result of that great Flood.

As always, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Secular GeoHistory’s Hidden Fallacies: Part 2

Dear hijas,

To continue in our discussion of secular geohistory’s hidden fallacies, and a review of Dr. John K. Reed’s ‘Rock’s Aren’t Clocks-A Critique of the Geologic Timescale’, we’ve already covered secular geohistory’s hidden fallacies 1 & 2 in a previous post. Remember Dr. Reed’s admonition “If Christians are to understand Earth history, they must first understand how it was taken by secular thinkers.”

The four hidden fallacies are:

1) An ignoring of the worldview conflict between Christianity and Naturalism.
2) An assumption of the reality of ‘prehistory’ and its pre-human billions and millions of years.
3) An assumption that natural history is science, and not history.
4) Seeing more ‘history’ in the rocks than is really there.

So, let’s now turn to Fallacy #3: assuming natural history is just science. This fallacy stems from naturalism’s theory of knowledge (its epistemology) which makes science the final and ultimate arbiter of truth. Scientists are convinced that their investigations of the past are by definition scientific endeavors. You’ve heard the expression, the ‘facts of science’? This fallacy and expression assumes that when science speaks, it’s speaking true truth; that its truth claims can’t be challenged because they’re proven by science. But wait a minute, how can science study unique, unobserved, unrepeatable past events of history? The answer is that it can’t. No scientist was there to record the events of the deep past, so what naturalism does to get around this inconsistency is to proffer the concept of ‘uniformitarianism’.


Uniformitarianism is remembered by its famous though imprecise statement: “the present is the key to the past.”

According to Reed, ‘uniformitarianism’ works like this:

It works like this. If events in the past were similar to those we observe in the present, then scientists can study present day events and processes, and extrapolate back in time, confident that the sameness predicated by uniformitarianism will make their extrapolations valid.

So, if we change the rules of the game, and couch unique, unobserved, and unrepeatable past events in the scientific term of ‘uniformitarianism’, we’ve effectively moved the goalposts of what used to be the realm of history alone and moved it over to the realm of science. Do you see how easily this was done? And yet this is exactly what has happened. Uniformitarianism, as a scientific term and concept, then becomes unassailable. What a neat trick. The smart Christian should know better however.

You see mis hijas, “Christianity rests upon the Bible. The Bible in turn rests upon confidence in history in general and in revealed history in particular. The fatuous cliché, ‘the Bible is not a textbook of science,’ merely distracts from the fact that it is the only reliable textbook of ancient history'” (John K. Reed, Peter Klevberg, Chris Bennett, Jerry Akridge, Carl R. Froede, Jr., and Thomas Lott, Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 3 – Dec. 2004).

So in essence, what we now have is a natural history, purportedly resting on the supposedly scientific concept of uniformitarianism, against a natural history revealed by God Himself in the pages of Scripture. The two views are diametrically opposed to one another, and can’t co-exist in the mind of the Christian. The secularist believes his version of natural history, resting upon an unwarranted conclusion that ‘the present is key to the past’, and the Christian believes the word of God Himself as revealed in Scripture concerning God’s eyewitness testimony of the events of natural history. The problem is that many of your friends, beloved pastors, and theologians are today accommodating the secularist version of natural history. It is truly a travesty. They ought instead to be reminded of Romans 3:4 (NASB):

Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,

With love, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

From whence comes thy criticism?

Dear hijas,

It is often noted that those Christians who criticize the recent creation and young earth position (the orthodox position of the Church for 1800 years), vying instead for the secular version of earth history and it’s billions and millions of years, almost never offer their criticism from Scripture. The criticism usually comes from unwarranted belief in supposed secular interpretations of astronomical age, radiometric dating, tree-ring dating, varves, ice cores, and the like, ad absurdum.

But very rarely does a criticism come from the Scriptures and from a theological rendering of the Biblical text. The reason is that you can’t find theological support from Scripture for billions and millions of years. It just isn’t there. And if one’s final authority is not in Scripture, then where is it? Obviously in something other than Scripture (man’s autonomous ideas), which for the Christian poses a big problem; a big 2nd commandment problem; a big idolatry problem.

…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…(Ex. 20:5)

Few Christians today who accept an old earth and old cosmos understand this connection. They honor and accept autonomous secular man’s ideas of how old the earth and cosmos are, never investigating and understanding where these ideas came from and the impetus behind them in the first place, and in the same instance dishonor the God they say they have placed their trust in.

They get their knowledge and base their salvation on the words of Scripture in the Gospels concerning Christ’s death and resurrection and solution for their sin problem, yet on the other hand disbelieve and discount these same Scriptures in Genesis when it comes to Creation in six days and a young earth. It’s a sad and harmful intellectual schizophrenia.

Few realize they are dishonoring the Christ they say they love, for He Himself in His work of Creation was Holy, and pure, and blameless. Attributing to Christ the deaths of millions and millions of His very own created creatures, let alone the natural evils of killer earthquakes, asteroid bombardment, mega-tsunamis, disease, decay, and massive destruction against His very own work in Creation over billions and millions of years, and all before Adam sinned, is a charge against Christ that is nothing but unadulterated blasphemy.

We are told to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt. 22:37), yet few realize what loving God with all your mind requires. It requires an evaluation of one’s intellectual thinking on any matter whatsoever and slicing and dicing it up against the words of God Himself in Scripture. Does it comport, or is there variance? If variance, what warrant is there for believing man’s ideas against the almighty and omnipotent Creator of the universe? Does the creature have warrant and justification for shaking his fist at God and saying to the Almighty he thinks he knows better; that the Almighty doesn’t really mean what He says He means? He does so to his own jeopardy and peril.

With love, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Secular GeoHistory’s Hidden Fallacies: Part 1

Dear hijas,

“If Christians are to understand Earth history, we must first understand how it was taken by secular thinkers.” So says John K. Reed in Chapter 3 of “Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geologic Timescale”, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA 2013.
Dr. Reed details the hidden fallacies underlying the secular view of Earth history, and he says there are four of them. They originate within a naturalistic and secularistic worldview, but Christians have fallen prey to believing them as well:

1) An ignoring of the worldview conflict between Christianity and Naturalism.
2) An assumption of the reality of ‘prehistory’ and its pre-human billions and millions of years.
3) An assumption that natural history is science, and not history.
4) Seeing more ‘history’ in the rocks than is really there.

Let’s take them one at a time. Within Western culture there are two broad worldviews squaring off against each other: Naturalism and Christianity. Naturalism came out of the Enlightenment (generally mid 17th century to late 18th century) and is the worldview of the secularist. “It is built on the assumption that if there is a god, he is too remote from human affairs to be known or to have had any physical effect in the world. Truth comes not from revelation, but from man’s knowledge, and the zenith of human knowledge is science,” says Reed. “Naturalism began as a minority view, but one strongly held by Enlightenment intellectuals. Its proponents offered conciliatory lip service to ‘religion’, took advantage of Christian tolerance, and talked up compromise at every turn,” he continues. It was the so-called “Age of Reason”, and as it grew in strength it influenced (sadly) the Church. Yet the winds of change are blowing, and Christians are waking up to the masquerade. They are beginning to realize that the science that gave us millions and billions of years of pre-human Earth history was a façade for a philosophical worldview, according to Reed. You see, mis hijas, more of us need to wake up and understand the worldview conflict here. Naturalism’s strength has always been hiding behind ‘science’, and it’s time we understood the philosophical assumptions behind the science.

Fallacy #2 is the assumption of the reality of “prehistory”. That prehistory is long before humans, and involves billions and millions of years of earth development along with its ensuing biological development way before humans ever showed up on the scene.
Geologic timeline
But is this prehistory really true? Not according to the Scriptures it isn’t. But that’s the point, Reed says. The Enlightenment invention of prehistory was an attempt to make Genesis irrelevant. It was an end run around the Biblical narratives of Adam and Eve and the creation of the universe and everything in it in six days, and an “insertion” of this long prehistory before Adam and Eve and a ‘wink, wink’ that the six days weren’t really six days. The stratagem worked. Theologians of the day compromised and became part of the “smart” crowd and we are where we are today: theologians still compromising, conjuring up new ways to interpret Genesis 1 to accommodate the billions and millions of years of prehistory.

“Christians cannot continue to waffle,” Reed says. He continues,

“There is either one unified history, taught by the Bible, or there are two distinct histories: human history and prehistory. Prehistory is not a given. Either it existed or it did not.”

As always, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Are Rocks Clocks? You are the Geologist

Dearest hijas,

Imagine that you are a geologist sent out to map and gather information concerning the geology of a certain newly discovered area of the earth.

You arrive at your destination hoping to identify the type of rock in the area and determine if you can’t place these rocks into a local geologic column. You spend hours in the field; mapping, studying, climbing, and taking samples of the different rock units. You come to recognize these different rock units and determine their composition and relative orientation in space. You send your samples off for laboratory analysis, but you can generally see a sandstone layer on top of a limestone layer with fossils, on top of a basalt layer. You use their relative positions to create an idealized local geologic column: a vertical sequence of sandstone-limestone-basalt. Between the sandstone and limestone layers is an unconformity: an erosional surface.

But you can’t impress your fellow geologists and move your career along by just describing the strata–you must be able to interpret their history. When were these formations deposited? How long did it take? How many years are represented by the unconformity between the sandstone and limestone layers? You have no idea, so you compare your local column to the global template of the geologic timescale:
geologic timescale
From fossils in the limestone layer and a few radiometric dates that came back from the samples you sent in for lab analysis you determine that all these formations were deposited during the Jurassic; the sandstone in the early Jurassic (about 200 million years ago), and the limestone and basalt in the late Jurassic (about 150 million years ago). Since radiometric dates from the basalt you sent in for analysis range from 150 – 170 million years ago you feel confident this interpretation is sound. You then publish your study. Eventually, it (like thousands of others) is included in the body of work by your fellow geologists around the world and cited by fellow geologists and stratigraphers as an empirical conclusion not only of your local column but of the validity of the timescale itself.

This all seems rather straightforward, doesn’t it? It seems to validate the premise that rocks are clocks. But wait, have you analyzed the assumptions you used to conclude what you have published as empirical reality? We, properly, should ask a number of questions about your assumptions:

1) Why have you assumed there is historical content in the rocks?
2) Why have you assumed there is no other relevant source of historical information?
3) Why have you assumed that the position of the rocks in the field tells their relative ages?
4) Why have you assumed that the formations were deposited slowly over long periods of time, and provide a representative sample of all those years?
5) Why have you assumed that erosion has not removed enough evidence to impede historical reconstruction?
6) Why have assumed that your local column of sandstone-limestone-basalt fits in the geologic timescale?

None of these assumptions are proven by fieldwork–they are simply the context you absorbed in your studies. The timescale is not an empirical conclusion of your study, but only the historical template by which you shoehorned your local column into temporal interpretations. You assumed the timescale was true already, and simply plugged your data into a likely section, the Jurassic.

But wait, there’s still more assumptions you may have forgotten:

1) Why have you assumed that nature is rational and that your mind is rational as well?
2) Why have you assumed there is such a thing as “truth”?
3) Why have you assumed that history is linear, instead of cyclical like some philosophies and religions of the East?

How do you know any of these are true? They are true only on the basis of Judeo-Christian theology. Secular scientists wishing us to believe in billions and millions of years are thieving and using the assumptions that only Judeo-Christian theology can support. Their own secular system of Naturalism cannot support the very basis and foundation of their very own scientific work and conclusions. It’s truly amazing how the most confirmed atheist can be such a good Christian in her most fundamental assumptions.

(Ilustration and analogy above taken from ‘Rocks Aren’t Clocks-A Critique of the Geologic Timescale’, by John K. Reed, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA, 2013, pp.46-48, and all credit for text and conclusions are to him.)

With love, as always,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas

Are Rocks Clocks? Support for millions and billions of years? Installment V

Dear hijas,

To get to the heart of where the idea of millions and billions came from and how secular elites “found” time, we must continue in our discussions of what transpired during the Enlightenment. It was during the 1700’s and early to mid 1800’s that our world in terms of Earth science and Natural History was shaped, molded, and transformed by the views of these early naturalists. Western culture began to drift away from its Christian roots. The science of geology was beginning in earnest, but it was only part of this cultural trend; the triumph of secular philosophy over theology was seen as well.

These years were coined “the Enlightenment”, as a result of secular man and especially the savants and naturalists in Europe, thinking they were “breaking free” of the bonds of religion that had bound them in intellectual prison for so long. They were now “enlightened thinkers”, not beholden to the restraints of some old book like the Bible, and free to discover the natural world without thought or care of its Creator. They had already rejected Biblical history, so it was no stretch to begin to “see” in the rocks and other processes of earth the vast eons of time that supposedly preceded man, and as I have mentioned previously this was well before the development of the geological timescale.

To refresh: deep time rests on the geologic timescale. The timescale rests on a belief that cannot be tested by science. In other words, the timescale is not a ‘proof’ of deep time; but rather an icon of secular history. And as an alternative secular history is in direct conflict with a Biblical history, it is important to understand and see its implications.

Dr. John Reed says it this way:

Despite secular propaganda, the most important issues tied to the myth of deep time are not questions of science. On the surface, they are questions of history. When we begin to dig deeper, we find the basic questions are those of philosophy and theology. As such, they are the legitimate concern of every human being, and are the basis for understanding the truth about history.

You see, all people are philosophers whether they realize it or not. We all ask the same big questions about the meaning of life, our origin, our standards, and our happiness. We want to know such things as what the future holds, and what happens after we die. We’re finite beings, so we don’t and can’t know everything, but we all ask the same big questions. And history is a big question. So realistically, being finite, we can’t and don’t know every detail, but we do need to understand the framework. Is that framework a secular history with millions and billions of years, life from non-life kicked up out of the pond scum by an indifferent and uncaring universe, or is it the framework of a Biblical history with God as Creator and man as created in His image with purpose and love?

The secular history developed during the Enlightenment, with its geological timescale and its millions and billions of years of vast prehistory, effectively decoupled us from God. A creator 4.5 billion years away has little to do with present-day life.

As Dr. Reed further states:

Did that prehistory really exist? Those that think so point to the geologic timescale; those who do not, point to Genesis. One is upheld by a claim to be God’s eyewitness account. The other is supported by the idea that rocks are clocks. Which side has the better case?

As always, I remain,
Dear ol’ Dad
Vaya con Dios mis hijas