Tag Archives: geologic column

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.
antarctic-lava-lake-670x440

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

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Radiometric Dating: The Geologic Column

geological time scale

Dear hijas,

Did you realize that the geologic column came before and preceded radiometric dating and the counting and extrapolating of parent and daughter isotopes into millions and billions of years? Radiometric dating as a science didn’t come to fore until the early 1900’s, yet the geologic column and it’s eons, era’s and periods were established in the 1800’s.

Why is this significant? It was Nicholas Steno, a Christian and creationist, who in the late 1600’s introduced the idea of superposition; that rock layers (or strata) are laid down in succession, each layer representing a ‘slice’ of time, and that any given stratum is probably older than those above it, and younger than those below. The principles were simple, applying them to real rocks wasn’t.

Steno believed that those ‘slices’ of time were a result of the universal and global judgement of God in the Flood of Noah. He believed that the sediments laid down in ‘layers’ came from and were a result of this global year-long Flood. Read Genesis 6-9 again and pay special attention to the dates given in the text. Take note of when the text says a particular year, month, and day. Add up the dates. It’s a simple exercise, and yet you’ll find the floodwaters upon the earth were not just 40 days and 40 nights.

It was others then, who came after Steno, like Hutton and Lyell, who took these ‘slices’ of time, not dealing with the Biblical text which indicated a massive and global tectonic event like Noah’s year-long Flood, and inserted the idea of millions of years into the rocks. They believed that an older layer like the Cambrian must be millions of years older than a younger layer like the Pleistocene. They used present processes observed at their time for deposition and erosion of rocks and extrapolated unwarranted into an unseen past. This might seem logical to do, but this is not science, for rates may have not been the same over this unseen period of time, and there may have been one or more events that catastrophically altered these processes that they can’t and are unable to see. One of those major events was a worldwide global flood.

From a starting point of no Flood, (a wrong starting point), men like Hutton, Lyell, and others came to wrong conclusions (millions and millions of years). An incorrect starting point that there was no act of God in judging mankind on the earth with a global and universal Flood, gave wrong conclusions that there were millions and millions of years in each of the layers of the geologic column. And remember, all this before the advent and discovery of radiometric dating.

One might ask, “But doesn’t radiometric dating prove that these men were right in their millions and millions of years assumption? Who cares if radiometric dating came afterwards? It proves today that they were right”.

Not so fast. Radiometric dating is fraught with assumptions and discordances that throw the whole effort into a tizzy with questions about its reliability. Different pair elements give different dates for the same rock. But more on that in my next post.

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad