Saturday, December 10, 2011

Which side is "anti-science?"

Saw a mention at EvC of the broadcast of an interview with eight Nobel prize winners --ONLY AVAILABLE FOR THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS -- so I listened to it. It was interesting in itself just hearing a bunch of science types talk about their work, until it came around to the familiar assumption that the objections of some Americans to evolution, to global warming and to stem cell research are "anti-science." This sort of "analysis" is stupid, just regurgitated bias that can never be answered. The objection to these particular "science" projects or theories is not an objection to science. There are thousands of scientific projects and achievements to which there is no objection whatever but in fact appreciation, but the bias prevails nevertheless.

The objection to evolution is two-fold: it contradicts God's word and THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR IT, it's all an edifice built out of conjecture and imagination that is circular and self-validating, that co-opts a lot of real science to it that is mistaken for validation though it just as well validates creationism instead. Evolution is a theory about past events which can never be positively proved or disproved. To call an objection to evolution "anti-science" is to betray a biased stupidity about the very nature of science, and it gets SO tiresome hearing all the lectures about what science is and does when NONE OF THEM APPLY TO THIS TOPIC. Word magic, not science.

The objection to global warming is that the science for it is extremely fuzzy and unconvincing as well as to a great extent politically motivated with dire consequences contingent on the not-so-scientific conclusions. For myself I don't know how far to accept any of it because the science just does not come across as convincing. The number of variables involved in global-scale phenomena should in itself be a caveat against coming to any glib conclusions. To justify implementing the political restraints on all kinds of human activities that believers in global warming think necessary requires a LOT MORE SCIENTIFIC CERTAINTY than is presently possible that human activity has much to do with a global warming trend if even such a trend can itself be established with certainty. There is nothing whatever that is "anti-science" about the objections, the whole issue is far more politics than science.

As for stem cell research, this is a moral issue, similar to the atomic bomb issue. Do you create life in order to kill it in order to save other lives? To call this position anti-science is to descend to an abysmal depth of barbarism and moral dementia. Ethics, not science.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Design needs a Designer despite evolutionist claims

In a discussion at EvC about logical fallacies a creationist claims it is logically valid to say that biological information must have had a designer, and an evolutionist answered that that's not valid because it leaves out evolution as a cause of anything that looks designed. [I'm paraphrasing because I don't have time to track it all down at the moment, but maybe I can later].

Of course the designer is obvious in most cases where something appears designed, whereas evolution has never ever been shown to produce something that appears designed, it's simply assumed that it must have. They merely assert it, they do not, because they can not, prove it.

Now we have a slightly different twist on the argument:
[Creationist Mike the Wiz says] I am not dogmatic, but nobody has shown me any strictly logical reasons to give up the belief in information showing a designer.
[Evolutionist Dr. A answers] * coughs *

Yes I have, namely that we often see it being produced without one. When it comes to living things, we invariably see it being produced without one. Who designed your genome? We know that it was produced by reproduction, recombination, and mutation, don't we?
"Your" genome is not "the" genome. Just because once in operation it goes on reproducing itself is no proof whatever that the whole system in which self-reproduction is part of the design was itself designed without a designer but only by blind evolution. In fact there are many machines designed by human beings that once in operation go on operating without human input but only do so because their ability to go on operating without human input is what they were originally designed by human beings to do.

Silly silly silly Dr. A.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Puny Fallen Human Mind Wins Against God?

Kirk Bertsche is a physicist, a Christian and a creationist, who posts occasionally at EvC forums. I usually appreciate his thoughtful posts, but he believes in an Old Earth and that is a contradiction with the Bible. (Buzsaw is another creationist at EvC who believes in an Old Earth. In fact I don't think there is a Young Earth Creationist at EvC any more). This is sad. It means he's allowed science to triumph over God's word.

Today he posted on a thread about the speed of light as a challenge to Young Earth Creationism. He gives three possible answers to the challenge and pretty much concludes that the fact of the speed of light does indeed defeat the Bible:
1) the simplest answer: God created light in transit. But when one considers the vast amount of information which is contained in the light from a star, this makes God seem deceptive. (The spectrum tells us elemental composition, recessional velocity, rotational velocity, etc.) Thus some YECs have said this argument should not be used.

2) another answer is that the speed of light was much faster in the past. But the main evidence for this is an imaginative analysis of historical data by Setterfield, which has been questioned even by other YECs. Again, some YECs have said that this argument should not be used.

3) Jason Lisle has recently proposed an imaginative theory, that the speed of light moves instantaneously toward an observer, and at 1/2 c away from an observer. He claims freedom to do this because he believes that we can only measure the round trip speed of light, but not the one-way speed of light. But in this he is wrong. We have good measurements of the one-way speed of light, and devices such as particle accelerators and free-electron lasers would not work if the one-way speed of light were not c.

I think the speed of light is a good issue to raise with YECs. I have a YEC friend who became an OEC ("old earth creationist") after thinking about the explosion of SN 1987A.
Why isn't it immediately apparent to a generally good head like Dr. Bertsche, who does seem to be a true Christian, that what fallen humanity is able to think cannot be made God's judge?

The only right answer to this challenge is that we don't know how God did it -- perhaps one of the current YEC theories is correct for that matter though obviously it's not easy to determine that -- but if we believe God's word it is certain that NOTHING in His universe is going to contradict His Word.

This is only "a good issue to raise with YECs" because we don't have an answer to it, so it gives us the choice of rejecting science, which is cause for endless jeering by the unbelievers, or capitulating as his friend did who became an Old Earth Creationist. So by saying that, Dr. Bertsche shows his bias in favor of science against God. We have these and only these options: Choose against science or choose against God. Why is it that so many choose against God? WAY too much trust in our current state of knowledge and in the fallen human intellect.

No, issues we do not know enough to answer in a way that supports God's word have to be left alone. We have plenty we can answer very well, and if those were taken seriously they should in themselves force an honest person to rethink such claims as converted kbertsche's friend.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Geology course at EvC update

Just want to report I've been following the Introduction to Geology thread at EvC and finding it interesting. I like the way he's organizing it. Nothing controversial for a Floodist so far, just a good presentation of the material. I'm collecting the posts but there's nothing to comment on yet.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Good overview of Biblical foundations for Young Earth by Albert Mohler

Happened to hear Albert Mohler on the radio this morning, talking at last year's Ligonier conference on the subject of "Why does the earth look old?" He did a great job spelling out from the Bible why we have to be Young Earth Creationists

I was going to post some of my notes on it but found the talk well-represented by the notes here.

I'll just post a few of the comments from that site:
Mohler then asked this: what is the urgency of this question? The answer is that there is great urgency in adequately addressing this question. There are some recent developments that indicate why this is so. The controversy concerning Bruce Waltke is just one example—Waltke said recently that unless we embrace evolution, evangelicalism will be reduced to the status of a cult. Meanwhile, we are constantly faced with supposed facts that science presents a challenge that must be embraced by the church. The current mental environment in which we live is an environment shaped by the intellectual assumption that the world is very old. To speak in confrontation to that environment comes at a significant cost. Even greater urgency is pressed upon us by the new atheism...

Mohler proceeded to argue for the theological necessity of understanding a young earth and 24-hour calendar days. He presented two great issues that arise when we allow for a day-age theory or any other old-earth understanding of creation.

The first issue concerns the integrity of Scripture. He conceded that many of those who hold to a day-age view are seeking to believe it without doing violence to the inerrancy of Scripture. And yet there are many issues that must be addressed. What is sorely lacking in the evangelical movement today is a consideration of the theological cost of such a view. This entire conversation is either missing or marginalized in the church today. The exegetical issues are real and the exegetical evidence based on a Reformation understanding of Scripture leads to a natural understanding of 24-hour days in creation. Mohler would allow that it might be possible that he is over-reading the text in this regard. For this reason we must hear the warnings of those who hold to an older view of the universe since it is possible that we may be creating an intellectual problem that is not necessary. And yet he simply finds that the exegetical cost and the theological cost is just too high.

An old-earth review raises at least two important issues. First, it raises the issue of the historicity of Adam. Paul bases his understanding of human sinfulness and Adam’s headship over the human race on a historical Adam and a historical Fall. An old earth understanding has serious complications because the old earth is not merely understood to be old but also through its age telling a story. The story it is telling is of billions of years of creation before the arrival of Adam. How then can it account for a historical Adam? An old earth understanding requires an arbitrary intervention of God in suddenly creating Adam and depositing him in the world. This presents problems both in Genesis and Romans.

The second question it raises regards the Fall. We understand from Genesis 3 and the entire narrative of Scripture that what we know in the world today as catastrophe, as natural disaster, as pain, death, violence, destruction, predation—that all of these are results of the Fall. We end up with enormous problems if we try to interpret a historical fall in an old-earth rendering. This is most clear when it comes to Adam’s sin. Was it true that, as Paul argues, when sin came, death came? Keep in mind that if the earth is old, and we determine it is old because of the scientific data, it also claims that long before the emergence of Adam there were all the effects of sin that are biblically attributed to the Fall. No Christian reading of the Scripture alone would ever come to this kind of conclusion. And once you come to such a conclusion it is very difficult to reconcile with the Bible. If the animosity between the lion and the lamb predates the Fall, what joy or purpose is there in saying that they will be reconciled in the consummation?

The avoidance of this question about the age of the universe will come at the cost of our own credibility. But disaster ensues when the book of natural revelation is used to trump the book of special revelation. We would not be having this discussion today if these questions were not being posed to us by those who assume that general revelation is providing to us compelling evidence that forces us to reconstruct our understanding of the biblical text, that the assured results of science are forcing us to rethink what the Bible seems to say. Great caution is in order when we begin to cede to science. The assured results of science—what do they tell us about a virgin birth? About a resurrection? About sexual orientation? Are we going to submit special revelation to what science says in all of these areas? The end of this process is theological disaster.

When it comes to the confrontation of evolutionary theory and the gospel we have a head-on collision. It is our responsibility to give an answer to this question of why the universe looks old, but the most natural understanding comes to this: the universe looks old because the Creator made it whole. When he made Adam, Adam was not a fetus but a man. By our understanding this would have required time. But for God it did not. He put Adam in the garden, which was not merely seeds, but a fertile, mature garden. God creates and makes things whole. And secondly, it looks old because it bears the effects of sin, the flood, catastrophe. Creation is groaning and in its groaning it looks old and worn, giving us empirical evidence of the reality of sin.

In the end the conclusive answer to this question is known only to God. This is where we are left; and it is a safe place to be.
Biblically this is where we must stand.

But it would also help if we could demonstrate some solid scientific proofs. Trouble is I think we've demonstrated many already but the kind of theory we're dealing with is nothing but a complex convoluted self-validating myth that can morph into anything they need it to be to answer us.

AND of course, face it, too many creationists do come up with some untenable stuff.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More garbled nonsense on the Flood at EvC

[dr a]Is mass fossilization the usual sequel in the locale of a localized non-magical flood? Please provide evidence that this is the case.

If not, then I would have no such expectation.
[Portillo]Thats exactly what happens when a flood occurs. Have you ever wondered why we dont find fossils of animals today, only the past? Thats because to be fossilised, an animal has to be laid down by water and buried quickly.
Well, Portillo has things backwards here. It appears that he just didn't stop to think things through. When he points out that we don't see fossils today but only in the past, clearly he is not thinking of everyday local floods but THE Flood, but what he actually SAYS refers only to local floods, and he's certainly wrong about them. Why is it that the evolutionists on the thread don't notice this discrepancy but just carry on as if he meant to say that local floods create fossils when clearly he didn't.

Portillo's sloppy post is one of the problems at EvC that makes the discussion there a torture to read, but the answers to him just compound the torture.

By the time we get to Pressie the topic is already a torturous mess, but he manages to make it even more torturous.
[portillo]Thats exactly what happens when a flood occurs. Have you ever wondered why we dont find fossils of animals today, only the past?
We actually find fossils, all over the world, today. Someone is finding a fossil, somewhere in the world, as you sleep. Do you think that a finding remains of a mammoth counts as a fossil or not? It didn’t just happen in the past.
SURELY Pressie could have figured out that Portillo isn't saying what he means. CLEARLY Portillo doesn't mean we don't FIND fossils today, he means they aren't FORMING today. Portillo should probably be put on probation until he can learn to say what he means, or be ejected from the debate for causing such confusion, but then the others by taking his confused message straight make things worse, and Pressie the worst of all.
[Portillo]Thats because to be fossilised, an animal has to be laid down by water and buried quickly.
This isn't true, Portillo, it's just one major way that fossils occur and the Flood provided this condition for billions of them to be fossilized. With that condition no longer occurring we DON'T see many fossils forming today. You aren't thinking before you write. But Pressie just takes him straight because he's not thinking either:
Not true. Even Wiki can tell you that this is false.
[Wiki I assume] Fossilization is an exceptionally rare occurrence, because most components of formerly living things tend to decompose relatively quickly following death. In order for an organism to be fossilized, the remains normally need to be covered by sediment as soon as possible. However there are exceptions to this, such as if an organism becomes frozen, desiccated, or comes to rest in an anoxic (oxygen-free) environment. There are several different types of fossils and fossilization processes.
Actually Wiki agrees with what Portillo apparently MEANT to say. Obviously the exceptions are rare, and otherwise "for an organism to be fossilized, the remains NORMALLY need to be covered by sedimehnt as soon as possible."
Then you want to have a rational conversation with specialists on the subject and also tell them all that they all are wrong? There’s a very good phsycological word for this, you know?
How about a word for what YOU are doing here? Something like "So consumed by taking offense he doesn't even know what he's taking offense at."
[Portillo]If not, then I would have no such expectation.
Ever thought of Amber, for example. No flood involved. You shouldn’t have any expectation. You know too little
. In this case Pressie didn't even notice that it was not Portillo who said this, but Dr. Adequate, whom Portillo was quoting. That's what happens when you let your rage get the better of you. Also, while amber and freezing and the other "rare" forms of fossilization do occur, they aren't particularly relevant to the Flood. The preservation of mammoths MAY be related to the Flood but for this discussion it's of little importance. What is of relevance here is the fossils IN THE STRATA which were obviously laid down along with wet sediments quite rapidly and they are the VAST MAJORITY of fossils as well.
[Portillo]Thats exactly what happens when a flood occurs. Have you ever wondered why we dont find fossils of animals today, only the past?
No, you should wonder about this. Ever heard what is required for mineralization to occur? Not just a flood. It happens lots of ways. A flood could be the first step, not in all circumstances. Pyroclastic deposits for example. It happens often.
Like Pompei I suppose. A whole different kind of fossil not all that common either by comparison with the fossils in the strata which exist in the billions. Why can't a creationist make the simple point that all those fossils in those strata look like they were laid down by a catastrophic Flood? It's a very simple point. True, Portillo garbled his post and perhaps doesn't sufficiently understand even what he was trying to say, but it's nuts for the evolutionists not to recognize what the creationist argument IS.
However, there’s no evidence for a global flood to have occurred in the last 10 000 years. So, I guess, your “argument” doesn’t even exist.
Well, the argument is that the fossils in the strata could only have been created by a worldwide Flood event. Nothing Pressie said even remotely touched on this standard creationist claim. He's more concerned to get all the t's cross and the i's dotted on behalf of his profession, even against a guy who couldn't get his argument stated clearly.
[Portillo] Thats because to be fossilised, an animal has to be laid down by water and buried quickly.
Yeah, tell that to all those hundreds of thousands of specialists on the subject, who actually know what they are doing. Tell that to the guys who study amber, for example.

Portillo, we all know that, it doesn't matter how many times you are shown to be incorrect, you'll never believe it. Other people can be distinguish fiction from facts, you know?
My last few posts ought to demonstrate that Geology itself hasn't a clue what the difference is between fiction and fact. And Pressie, WE all know that you are not going to address the subject in any way that enhances the discussion but just have a tantrum every time a creationist dares to suggest geologists aren't God, however miserably inadequate his argument is.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More "Fatal Flaws of Flood Geology" -- under construction

In Yellowstone Park at Specimen Ridge, a nearby volcano buried 27 forests one atop the other in rocky debris in Eocene times. After a forest grew on top of some old volcanic debris, the volcano would shower fresh debris through the air on top of it and mudslides consisting of volcanic debris would flow through it. The trunks and branches left sticking above the volcanic debris rotted away. Then a new forest would grow on top all this new debris, repeating the cycle.
Wish to point out that this is the kind of scenario-spinning that I've been complaining about, nothing but interpretation and no description of fact. Yet this is supposed to refute the Flood, this pure invention out of who knows what.
Animal fossils are scarce because the animals living in the forests fled the area as soon as the volcanic dust made the air hard to breathe. However, the falling debris, which broke the branches off the trunks, preserved many fossil leaves and twigs (conifers, deciduous trees, and ferns). As the rock erodes today, the petrified trees (which erode more slowly) stand upright and project above the ground. Complete root systems have been found in many of these trees. This entire deposit took over 20,000 years to form, double the maximum age of the earth allowed by ICR, and 20,000 times too long to fit into the Flood of Noah.
But since it's all spun out of mental cobwebs it could only refute an equally imaginary Flood of Noah, and since the Flood was a reality it refutes nothing.
Erling Dorf (1964) has calculated all this. He noted that the oldest trees in each layer were about 500 years old when they were buried. Igneous rock requires 200 years to decay into a reasonable soil. Add these two figures, and we get the age per layer; multiply by 27 layers, and we get about 20,000 years, the minimum time in which a formation like this can arise.
I can't get a clear enough picture of this situation to have a definite opinion about it. Obviously the answer from the Flood perspective would be that the trees were uprooted and transported to their current situation, but there isn't enough information to decide this. There are creationist arguments such as this one that make this claim of course. One claim is that the trees do not have complete root systems which shows that they had been uprooted. One discussion concerns what happened as a result of the Mt. St. Helens eruption which apparently destroyed a forest, and some of the dead trees ended up planted upright at the bottom of Spirit Lake in progressively higher layers, in much the same kind of formation as is seen at Specimen Ridge. Sounds plausible to me, but as I said I haven't studied this enough yet.
Flood geologists, on the other hand, insist that Noah's Flood washed in heaps of uprooted trees between eruptions; they say the trees stand upright because dirt which became entangled in the roots weighted down the bottoms enough to hold the trunks upright. Nevertheless, uprooted trees today that wash onto a beach lie on their sides.
Yeah, but these trees got themselves rooted in water if the Flood was involved, and the fact that some 10% of the trees killed by the St. Helens eruption ended up in the upright position at the bottom of Spirit Lake is the apt comparison.
F. H. Knowlton (1914), referring to a 12-foot-tall 26'/2-foot-around fossil redwood, says, "The roots, which are as large as the roots of ordinary trees, are now embedded in solid rock."
Well, but that WOULD happen if the tree was uprooted and then "planted" in an upright position under water as sediment accumulated around it, later to solidify into rock.
William B. Sanborn (1951) says concerning two nearby pines, "Each stands about 15 feet, and shows a complete root system."
He says complete, the creationists say not, how do we find out for sure? I'm not totally convinced a tree couldn't have been uprooted WITH pretty much its entire root system intact anyway. The ground would have been thoroughly soaked by the Flood after all, making it pretty loose and giving little resistance, so that the tree wouldn't have had to be violently yanked to be pulled out. Trees topple over from waterlogged ground around their roots in ordinary storms. Millions must have toppled right into the arms of the Flood and just floated along to wherever it carried them, some getting weighted down in the root area and getting "planted" in the upright position under the water as did those in Spirit Lake.
Charles H. Brown (1961) says that one of the methods of finding exact forest levels was to find "the expansion of the base of an upright tree trunk immediately above the root system." One would expect the trees to be stripped of most of their roots and buried on their sides if they had been uprooted and buried in Noah's Flood.
What old-earthers expect of the Flood is hardly to be taken as the last word.
In an article in some obscure religious journal cited in Robert Kofahl's Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter, flood geologist Harry Coffin maintains that the tree rings within a given fossil forest layer do not cross correlate. Let's look into this.

Every year, a tree grows a new ring. If the rainfall varies from year to year where this tree grows, then all the rings in its wood will vary in diameter; the narrow rings grew during the dry years, and the wide ones during wet years. Dendrochronologists (tree-ring daters) correlate tree rings from different trees by comparing ring variation patterns in one tree with those in another to see whether they match.

Since Coffin says the petrified trees of Specimen Ridge have rings that vary enough in diameter to be worth trying to correlate, he implies that before the Flood, rainfall varied from year to year. In this, he contradicts the flood geology model without knowing it (if he assumes with Morris that no rain fell in pre Flood times). Also, since the trees all supposedly died within the same year in the Flood, the flood geology theory implies that if their rings vary in diameter at all, then all the trees everywhere in the formation should cross-correlate. Thus Coffin's claims do not stand up under analysis.
I don't think I understand enough of this to comment at all. I get the basic idea of trying to correlate rings from tree to tree by matching their width patterns but I don't get how that is being applied here. Yes, it does contradict what is usually considered to be the Biblical position that there was no rainfall before the Flood, just a mist, and I don't know if there were seasons then either, which could have been recorded in the rings apart from rainfall. All in all this is too garbled a subject to get into as stated here.
Flood geologists claim that the ocean basins and the continents consist of essentially the same sort of crust; the main difference is that the ocean basins were lowered and continents raised along vertical faults. Their theory creates two problems.

Firstly, if the Flood washed over entire continents, then most of the sediments and sedimentary rocks of the world would be found in the ocean basins.
Why? Don't ocean waves throw up sediments over the land? Besides, how would the underwater sediments solidify into rock? Sediments, sure, but rock? They have to be compressed and they have to dry, don't they?
The eastern Washington Scablands show (on a small scale) what the continents should look like if flood geology is true (Shelton, 1966).
Yes, again, this is the commonsense view that doesn't take into account the layering and directionality of currents and streams within ocean water. The Scablands are what happened when a lake drained AFTER the Flood.
During the last ice age ...
Must note that there was only one ice age, the others exist only in Geologic Fantasyland.
...a glacier dammed up a lake called Lake Missoula.
What's the evidence for the glacier as the cause of the damming up? Not that it affects the YEC position, I would just like to know. It makes sense that there were standing lakes after the Flood, dammed by whatever. And it makes sense that there would have been an ice age caused by the Flood too, though I haven't yet digested all the thinking about this.
When that dam melted, 2,000 cubic kilometers of lake water catastrophically denuded thousands of square kilometers of eastern Washington.
Yes, this was a huge catastrophic but nevertheless limited local flood.
However, similar denuded igneous rocks are seldom found outside of Washington State.
Sure, it was a local flood peculiar to the circumstances in that place.
On the contrary, the continents and continental shelves are covered as much as 12,000 meters deep with sediments and sedimentary rock, whereas ocean basins always bear less (usually far less) than a kilometer of sediment except where they abut a continental shelf. The continental shelves gather most of the sediments dumped by rivers. Few sediments ever get to the deep ocean basins beyond. The continental drift theory leads us to expect exactly this result, as any good encyclopedia will show. However, it is exactly the reverse of what flood geology predicts.
How so? I'm not following this at all. The sediments redistributed by the Flood were picked up from the LANDMASS, why should they have been taken far out to sea and not deposited again over that same landmass? Why do the oceans carry sand and dump it on the beaches on the margins of the land areas instead of dumping it into the deep ocean basins? How much of the sand ends up with the sediments on or near the continental shelves?
Secondly, the continents are mostly slabs of granite about 30 to 60 kilometers thick. The granitic continental crust stands higher above the ocean basins while having roots more deeply sunk than those of the ocean basins because granite is lighter than basalt, and hence "floats" more buoyantly upon the viscous mantle of the earth. These facts about sediments and buoyancy, well known to any freshman geology student, cause grave difficulties for flood geology.
How so? I'm realizing there's something wrong with this article. He's not really making his points clear enough for an unindoctrinated reader to follow.

Huge coral atolls and reefs require many thousands of years to form because the individual corals that constitute them grow so slowly. Under ideal conditions, corals grow as fast as 1.0 to 2.5 centimeters per year, but conditions are seldom ideal, and reefs as a whole grow much more slowly than the individual corals that make them up. The surf pounds broken coral branches into sand, and the red and green calcareous algae cement this sand together into a form far more compact than the original corals, so a reef complex consisting largely of cemented coral sand actually grows much more slowly than the original corals, only millimeters per year. Such slow growth rates imply that coral atolls and barrier reefs (both fossil and modern) needed tens of thousands of years to grow into their present form; the flood geology model supplies only a fraction of the needed time. The modern Eniwetok atoll, the fossil Rainbow Lake reefs, and the complex geology of Hawaii are good examples to illustrate this.
As usual it seems completely addlebrained to think the Flood itself would have FORMED coral reefs. Who ever claimed such a thing? All the Flood would have done is dislodge them and move them elsewhere. If the claim is that there was not enough time in the PRE-FLOOD world to form them he's not saying that, but the answer I'd give is that conditions were apparently different enough in that world that we can't apply the knowledge of how corals grow under our current conditions. The pre-Flood world was apparently extraordinarily fecund, and conducive to every kind of growth to a degree we can barely imagine now. Much speedier coral growth should be expected of that first 1500 years or so.
H. S. Ladd (1960) has drilled deep holes on Eniwetok atoll to take samples of coral and coral derived rock. These core samples reveal a huge cap of coral that took millions of years to form.
Well here comes the fantasy, I'm starting to nod off.
Over a thousand cubic kilometers of coral reef rock cover a sunken basalt volcano cone. Millions of years ago, this cone formed a volcanic island; the parts above sea level were worn flat by erosion. As it slowly sank, the coral reefs that had been growing on its rim grew upwards fast enough to keep at the surface of the ocean, forming a huge coral cap. The cores taken from the drilling show that the deepest corals are so old that they have become chemically altered from aragonite to dolomite. Occasionally in geological history, the volcano temporarily ceased to sink, and lifted the coral cap many feet above sea level (the modern Tonga islands are also former atolls heaved many feet above sea level); the core samples clearly show gaps in the coral where the coral was being weathered above sea level. The deepest core sample of all revealed coral as thick as 1380 meters. Assuming that Ladd is accurate, let us grant ICR two generous assumptions: (1) the reef as a whole grows a centimeter per year, and (2) we ignore the time represented by erosional gaps. Given these assumptions, the atoll must be no less than 138,000 years old.
This is one of those frustrating presentations that include some of the actual facts but mostly a lot of interpretive scenario-building as if it were all the same thing. All the time calculations are done on the basis of standard assumptions but YEC assumptions would give a completely different time frame. Among other things to be pondered about this example, volcanoes are thought not to have existed until the time of the Flood. In any case we have to suppose the Flood merely moved all those corals to their present location. But as usual there isn't enough information here to make any clear determination.
The flood geology theory allows no more than about 8,000 years for all modern reefs to form, only 5% of the time that Eniwetok needed to grow to its present state. If flood geology is true, then the modern reefs started growing only after Noah's Flood was over with. After all, the Flood itself would have killed off all corals by kicking up a slurry of clay particles in all the ocean waters. These particles would have taken years to settle out. Corals require clear water and cannot stand any turbidity. Even though modern creationists allow gaps in the Biblical genealogies, standard ICR works like Scientific Creationism (General Edition) allow no more than several thousand years between Noah's Flood and today. To fit Eniwetok into their time constraints, the ICR creationists are forced to ignore the findings of Ladd.
The Flood didn't kill everything in the oceans, obviously many fish survived, although of course it killed a great deal. Again there isn't enough information in this description to come up with an independent thought and again, much of the discussion is the usual presentation of an interpretive scenario rather than the simple facts, that tendency to mystification and obscurantism I've noted before. If I find more information on these corals I'll post it.

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The fossil Rainbow Lake reefs formed in Devonian times where Alberta, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories meet. As Hriskevich (1970), Langton (1968), and others show, these reefs trap important oil reserves. Since they are buried in and intertongue with other sedimentary rocks, they must have formed in the Flood of Noah, if flood geology is true. Nevertheless, they form solid winding barrier reefs consisting of intergrown dolomitized coral and coral-derived debris glued together by calcareous algae. In other words, they look just like modern barrier reefs, not like piles of loose coral that the tidal waves of Noah's Flood threw together by chance. One reef is over 240 meters thick. Unless petroleum geologists have grossly erred somehow, we calculate, using the generous growth rate of a centimeter per year, that this reef required 24,000 years of clear tranquil tropical surf to form, not a one year succession of muddy tidal waves.

If Harold T. Stearns' Geology of the State of Hawaii (1966) is correct, then the many coral reefs and other complex geological features of Hawaii form grave difficulties for flood geology. For instance, a strata sequence exposed at sea level near Pearl Harbor (illustrated on page 84 of Steams' work) took many years to form, far too long for the Flood. This sequence contains reef limestone above sea level, which covers volcanic ash that had buried trees growing in place, which in turn covers another layer of reef limestone. Also, on page 21, Steams describes a core sample taken from a hole drilled 332 meters into the ground somewhere else in Pearl Harbor. This sample revealed 15 coral reefs separated by fossil soils, lignite (brown coal), and beach rock. Steams' example of ocean terraces will require some explanation.

Stacked above and below each other, ocean terraces look like steps in a staircase leading out of the sea. Each terrace represents an old shore line above or below current sea level; as the land and sea rise and fall, the surf cuts terraces at the different sea levels. Elevated and submerged terraces in Hawaii, New Guinea, Jamaica, and other tropical seacoasts often bear dead coral reefs (Goreau, 1979). Since many of these reefs took thousands of years to form, and since different terraces formed at different times, the stack as a whole took at least several times as long to form. Recorded history (which begins only a couple thousand years after the alleged Flood) knows no sea level changes amounting to hundreds of feet, so these terraces do not seem to fit very well into the postFlood period. These terraces look exactly like the kinds of reefs and beaches forming today, not like debris thrown together in some catastrophe like the Flood of Noah.

Stearns, reporting about the coral-bearing terraces of Hawaii in some detail, points out that many terraces contain fossil-bearing marine conglomerates. To the orthodox geologist, this is no surprise; river floods, land slides, storm waves, and turbidity flows are only a few of the processes known to bury and preserve animals and plants before they rot away so they can become fossils. However, the ICR creationists insist that no processes except for catastrophes the size of Noah's Flood can bury dead animals fast enough to fossilize. If this theory is correct, and if these conglomerates were formed in the Flood, then the ICR creationists need to explain why these terraces look for all the world like the kinds of reefs and beaches forming by slow processes today.

Several lines of evidence show that fine-grained evenly-layered shales and evaporites require many thousands -if years to form. Extremely fine sediment particles suspended in water settle to the bottom painfully slowly, and even slight turbulence keeps them in suspension. If you shake a jar full of dirt and water, the water will remain cloudy with clay particles long after the sand has settled out. Not only that, but the concentration of gypsum, calcite, and other dissolved salts in sea water is so low that thousands of cubic kilometers of sea water would have to evaporate to precipitate these salts as a typical evaporite deposit. These processes of sedimentation and evaporation are so slow that thick shale and evaporite deposits could scarcely have formed overnight. Since the flood geology model requires that all sedimentary rocks be deposited within one year during the Flood of Noah, the ICR creationists must somehow explain these facts away.

One way they might try would be to suggest that shale-forming clay would settle rapidly out of the flood waters if those waters were supersaturated with clay. ICR has already proposed (quoting Soviet geologist V. I. Sozansky) that evaporites formed rapidly from supersaturated volcanic waters. However, if either of these two theories are true, then thin even laminations extending over many square kilometers are an insoluble problem. The clays and evaporites would have almost certainly settled out in huge globs to form amorphous strata-free rock. The ICR theory that the laminations were caused by a rapid succession of turbidity flows does not satisfactorily explain how the fine stratification of the Green River shales or the Castilian evaporites could form in a one-year-long catastrophic flood. Let us discuss these two formations in more detail.

The finely stratified Green River shales of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah are 600 meters thick. They accumulated at the bottom of a 30-meter-deep lake in Eocene times over a period of 5 to 8 million years (Bradley, 1929). Several lines of evidence show that each distinctly visible layer is a yearly deposit or "varve." The sedimentary deposits varied so much with the seasons that each varve clearly stands out. The average varve in this formation consists of a layer of clean microscopic clay particles alternating with a layer of hydrocarbons in the form of waxy pollen and spore particles (Clark and Steam, 1958). Apparently, the spring wind and rivers wafted spores and pollen to the middle of the lake, but during the rest of the year, the currents were too weak to carry anything but the finest clay to the center of the lake. In the varves of some of the near-shore limey sandstones in the formation, the sediment particles gradually decrease in size from 0.02 mm at the bottom of the varve to 0.006 mm at the top (Bradley, 1929). The width of the Green River varves varies in cycles of 11 1/2 years, 50 years, and 12,000 years, all superimposed on one another. The 11 1/2 – year cycle corresponds to the sunspot cycle, the 12,000-year cycle to the precession of the equinoxes. Both these processes affected the yearly rainfall, and hence affected the width of each varve. Bradley's concession that he cannot explain the 50-year cycle shows that he was not imagining these cycles. The same kinds of varves are forming today in Sakski Lake (Crimea), Lake Zurich (Switzerland), and Lake McKay (Ottawa, Canada). Only slow processes happening over many years can account for varve formation. Even if an occasional storm did stir up the sediments on the bottom, the sediments could not have settl, ed out so evenly unless the tranquil time intervals between storms were very very long and convective currents were largely absent.

Creationists (like Whitcomb and Morris, 1961) have argued against the varve interpretation of the Green River shales by citing the beautiful fish fossils it contains. Supposedly, about 200 years' worth of sediment would have to accumulate to, bury one dead fish, and by that time the fish would have long rotted away. However, the precipitates found in this formation show that the lake bottom was unusually alkaline (Press and Siever, 1974). Some shallow lakes in Florida today contain algal oozes that do not decay as long as no oxygen gets into them (Bradley, 1929). Under such circumstances, fossilization would be no surprise.

Since there are no huge evaporite deposits forming today, geologists have debated the precise mechanism by which they formed in the geological past. This gives many creationists the excuse not only to reject the traditional lagoon model of evaporite formation, but also to cite the authority of Soviet geologist V. I. Sozansky as long as his theories seem to support flood geology. Actually, Sozansky's article implicitly contradicts the flood geology model in a couple of particulars — and other geologists have come up with models that explain the observed evidence more easily than the traditional theory, Sozansky's theory, or the ICR theory.

The traditional evaporite theory states that evaporites formed in shallow lagoons in arid areas connected with the open ocean by only a narrow strait. As the water in the lagoon evaporated, precipitating salts in the process, water from the open ocean coming through the strait replaced it. But as the lagoon became more restricted and briney, first calcium carbonate (CaCO3) would precipitate out as aragonite or calcite (limestone), and then calcium sulfate (CaSO4) would precipitate out as gypsum or anhydrite, and finally, rock salt (NaCI) would precipitate out. If rain diluted the brines of the lagoon every rainy season, then a varve of carbonate (rainy season) and anhydrite (dry season) might form every year. This model accounts well for small evaporite deposits forming today, but not for the big ones that formed in the geological past.

Sloss (1969) modifies the traditional lagoon theory. He argues from the results of his experiments that evaporites formed from layers of water of different concentrations (ordinary sea water at the surface, highly concentrated brines on the bottom) that existed in a huge lagoon all at the same time. Schmaltz (1969) argues that huge evaporite deposits like the Castilian evaporites of Texas (450 meters thick and 20,000 square kilometers in area) and the Zechstein evaporites of Germany (600 meters thick) formed in deep basins like the Mediterranean Sea or Red Sea. If the straits connecting these modem seas with the open ocean were much shallower and narrower, then they would start depositing evaporites just like these ancient evaporites. His complex theoretical model explains in detail how several cycles of evaporite deposits separated by deep-ocean mud formed in the Zechstein evaporites of Schleswig-Holstein. It also explains the 1000 meters of evaporites now buried under deep-sea sediments at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. At the end of the Cretaceous when it first formed, the deep Gulf of Mexico basin was joined to the open ocean only by a narrow strait. Schmaltz's model predicts that the evaporites will be reasonably pure and free of other sediments because the river-deposited sediments would be deposited close to shore. These more recent theories explain all the evidence well using everyday laws of physics and chemistry.

The varves of the Castilian evaporites of Permian times in Texas (just like the Zechstein evaporites) are the strongest evidence that these evaporites took hundreds of thousands of years to form. These varves consist of calcite alternating with anhydrite (Anderson, 1972). In both examples, the calcite contains a lot of plankton and organic matter: fusulinids, possibly some algae, and possibly some shells. Even though mobile living things would swim away from the inhospitable brines, at least some plankton got pickled to death and fossilized. Many of the varves in this formation extend as far as 110 kilometers. Although Anderson insists that the yearly varve interpretation is not proved beyond all doubt, he adds that no one has yet suggested a better interpretation. The concentration of the brines never could have fluctuated many thousands of times during the one-year Flood to precipitate such fine yet extensive alternating layers of calcite and anhydrite. So many cubic miles of such microscopic crystals never could have settled out of the water in such even layers, all within a year's time. Since this formation contains over 260,000 couplets of thin calcite/anhydrite layers, the entire formation probably took 260,000 years to form.

ICR creationists who cite Sozansky's article to buttress flood geology have failed to account for his factual errors or for his statements that implicitly contradict their theory. In essence, Sozansky believes that the great evaporite deposits of the earth formed from volcanically heated brines erupting out of the ocean floor. He feels that the traditional lagoon model works fine for small modern deposits, but not for evaporites like the huge Castilian deposits. He argues that evaporites from such lagoons would contain fossils and other organic matter. He cites as an example the evaporites forming today in the Gulf of KaraBogaz in the Caspian Sea. The salt concentration kills, pickles, and preserves fish long enough for them to become fossilized in the evaporite deposits. Since the huge ancient deposits are allegedly free of organic matter, plankton, and so forth, Sozansky concludes that they formed by some totally different process.

Of course, the creationists would like to prove that the evaporites were catastrophically deposited by volcanic brines during the one-year flood. It is no surprise, then, that Scientific Creationism insists that "the studies of the Russian geophysicist Sozansky" have "shown almost conclusively" that orthodox geology is in error. However, Sozansky is a doubtful ally. For one thing, even if his theory is true, the creationists must still explain away the varve evidence. Sozansky never explicitly accounts for the varves. He would have to assume that each varve came from one big eruption, and that the eruptions were separated by enough time to let the salt crystals settle. Also, as we have seen, the Castile evaporites do contain a lot of plankton and organic matter. Schmalz's deepbasin theory shows why it does not contain fossil fish graveyards like those of the Gulf of Kara-Bogaz. Even so, Anderson's discoveries of plankton in the Castilian deposits contradict Sozansky's assertions that the great evaporite deposits are free of organic matter. Finally, the ICR creationists have insisted that "The very existence of fossils, especially in large numbers, is evidence of catastrophism at least on a small scale." (Scientific Creationism, p. 100.) They insist that fossils are not forming today because only a violent catastrophe can bury plants and animals in mud before they rot away. The work just cited quotes Sozansky whenever his thesis seems to support ICR creationism, yet never ever even mentions Sozansky's fossil fish graveyard, much less refute it.

According to the flood geology theory, all "kinds" of plants and animals alive today (not to mention dinosaurs and mammoths and other animals now extinct) lived on the earth before the flood. The Bible says Noah was to take specimens of every type of living air-breathing land animal aboard the Ark (Gen. 6:19-21; 7:2, 3, 8, 9, 15). Thus flood geology predicts that the fossil record should consist mostly of animal and plant species alive today. The extinct fossil species should be mostly delicate types sensitive to environment, because the Flood and the rugged conditions inside the Ark would have killed such creatures off. These predictions fit poorly with the available evidence.

George Gaylord Simpson (1967), world famous paleontologist, says that nearly all fossil species and genera are extinct today. Very few modem species or genera are found as fossils at all. Even so called "living fossils' like the crossopterygian (lobe finned) fish are no exception. The fossil Paleozoic eusthenopteron and the modem latimeria are both lobe-finned fish. However, the latimera resembles the eusthenopteron no more than I resemble a gorilla. The creationists have yet to answer this objection.

Many delicate species of animal survive today in spite of the predictions of the flood geology model. Creationists have not been able to explain the technology by which Noah kept delicate koala bears and marmosets alive on the Ark. Pupfish survived a divine cataclysm only to be threatened with extinction by man-made reservoirs. We already saw how the muddy flood waters would wipe out corals (not to mention many other forms of sea life). The creationists have to postulate so many miracles to keep these creatures alive through the Flood that it would be much simpler and easier for God to create them all from scratch again after the Flood, and just forget the floating zoo.

So far, we have covered a small sample of the many types of geological evidence that flood geology cannot easily explain. Personally, it persuades me that flood geology is totally erroneous. Nevertheless, ICR creationists are bound to argue, "So what if you evolutionists can come up with a few difficulties? There is no theory anywhere that is totally free of them. Besides, the problems with orthodox geology are far more serious than any of the real or imagined difficulties you can dream up against Biblical catastrophism. Can you explain how an even layer of sandstone, the Saint Peter Sandstone. which covers much of the United States, was formed? Can you explain how the fossils in the so-called `Lewis Overthrust' got into the wrong order for evolution? The evolutionist. excuse that the `older' rocks were shoved on top of the younger ones is lame because Genesis Flood and other creationist writings have conclusively proved that there is no trace of evidence that any sliding took place. Until you can answer these grave difficulties, how can I take your evolution theory seriously?"

Actually orthodox geology has no such difficulties. Creationists misunderstand the nature of sedimentary facies, and there is plenty of physical evidence having nothing to do with fossils that the Lewis Overthrust is genuine. Creationists often quote their sources badly out of context, sources that prove thrust faulting is very real.

But, it will have to be the task of a future article to investigate these and other alleged difficulties in detail. For now, it is sufficient to say there are fatal flaws in the creationist flood geology model, flaws that render it inadequate to scientifically support the Flood or tell us anything about the age of the earth.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More ponderings on attempts to debunk the Flood

Another attempt to discredt Flood Theology, from Bible and
Impossible Flood Geology!

There are many reasons why Noah's flood can not account for all the geology we have. The Bible says all life on earth was destroyed by the 40 days and nights of rain. There were no survivors! Genesis 7:21-23 says, "All flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life-and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." If everything died how can there be millions of dinosaur tracks in different layers when 22 feet of water covered the earth. How can there be dinosaur nests with eggs, and young dinosaurs running around in the middle of the flood. According to the Bible all life was destroyed by the flood, yet there are many animal tracks, nests, ripple marks, and erosion between layers.
First, the Bible does not say "all life on earth was destroyed by the 40 days and nights of rain" which was just the very first stage, but by the Flood waters after they had risen to their maximum height (7:19-21). The tracks show that they hadn't died YET, that's all. They are in a layer that was covered over by others, right? The next one simply hadn't yet flowed in, but it would have to have been along fairly shortly and then the next above that and so on.

As for ripples and tracks impressed into a layer and the erosion of its surface, we have to assume there was some time lapse between the deposition of the strata and that the impressions were preserved before the full depth of the water was reached. But what is seen there wouldn't be life as usual but reflect desperation as the water rose.

However I do have to ask about nests between layers? Never heard that one before. The tracks and ripples and erosion simply represent some time lapse, if only of hours or days. But nests may need some other explanation. BETWEEN layers? What do these look like?

It took months for the waters to fully abate. It seems that there were two and a half months from the time the ark rested on Ararat (17th day of the 7th month of Noah's 600th year, Genesis 8:4) to the emergence to view of the tops of the mountains (1st day of the 10th month, v. 5). Forty days after that the earth was still covered with water and the dove found no place to land. From the emergence of the mountain tops it was four months and twenty-seven days until the ground was dry enough for them to leave the ark.

No time period is given for the rising of the waters to their maximum, just that they "prevailed upon the earth" 150 days, which would include the rising stages. It seems the receding took about seven months while the rising took something less than five, as it was exactly five months from their entering the ark to the point that the waters had receded enough for the ark to rest on Ararat. So it rose faster than it receded but still it could have taken four months or more to rise, maybe three before all the land was submerged (I'm making the most conservative guesses from very rough calculations based on the text), and during three months many people and animals would have died but still some that found high places and some kind of shelter could have continued living until there was no more land to cling to.

The first phase would have to have been the dissolving of the land from the heavy rain, which would have made mudslides and filled the rising water with sediments. And dead things. Layers of these sediments could have been accumulating from the early stages starting with the lowest areas as the rising waters brought them over the land. If they were brought in on tides they would have left the sediments in place until the next tide brought more to deposit over them. Animals could have run across them between tides. Or perhaps some other time factor is involved so that it took days between layers. And perhaps some were still being laid down even after the water had completely submerged the land, probably in that case by precipitation out of the water.

This is to answer the claim that the tracks and ripples would have been formed when the Flood waters had already covered everything.
The flood does not account for the thousands of annual layers of varies, thousands of layers of ice, coral reef growth, evaporates, and many layers of coal deposits (Wonderly 1987).
Nobody ever claimed that such things FORMED in the Flood, NOTHING formed in the Flood except the strata, things were moved around BY the Flood and living things DIED in the FLood. That's it. The many layers of varves and so on is something else. Coral reefs didn't grow in the Flood, they were already grown and were then uprooted and moved by the Flood. Coal, however, probably was formed AS A RESULT OF THE LAYERING which was formed by the Flood, as the water deposited prodigious amounts of the green things that were compressed into coal under the massive weight of the strata.
One of the greatest misunderstandings is that dinosaurs and humans lived together, and therefore Noah must have brought dinosaurs on the ark. There were no dinosaurs on the ark. Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
Gotta rethink that time frame if you're going to think of the ark at all. If the Biblical Flood story is true so is the Creation as decribed in Genesis true, which appears to be about 6000 years ago, and there were no living things before that. Of COURSE dinosaurs and human beings inhabited the planet at the same time. There are no other possibilities if you believe the Bible. You can't mix the time frame of Geology and the time frame of the Bible, it's one or the other.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Fatal Flaws of Flood Geology:" Old Red Sandstone -- the sheer madness of fantasy over fact

I found this article by a Chris Weber at a site called the National Center for Science Education, written in 1980 but I assume still relevant. He has collected some of what he considers to be the most unanswerable scientific claims that contradict the Flood. I want to put my mind to these as I get the time.

Flood Geology

Flood Geology believes that most of the layers of rocks we see are a result of Noah's flood.

The Fatal Flaws of Flood Geology.

Flood Geology is impossible because of:

Desert Deposits
Fossil Forests
Earth's Crust
Coral Reefs
Evaporites & Shales
Fossil Species (not mixed)
He starts with fossil desert deposits:
Desert Deposits

You don't need a Ph.D. in geology to know that desert dunes and other desert deposits do not form under roaring flood waters. These require not only time, but also dry land. The Flood of Noah supplies neither.
Uh huh, but nobody SAYS anything "formed" under the Flood except the deposition of the sediments that were dissolved by the flood waters and redeposited, along with a plethora of living things that the Flood was intended to destroy. If you're going to refute the Flood it would be nice if you'd get a reasonable idea of what such a flood would have done. It could MOVE things of course, including all the sand from dunes and other desert deposits.
The Old Red Sandstone, which looks for all the world like a collection of fossilized desert dunes, was formed in Devonian times. It has outcrops extending from the British Isles to Poland and Russia's White Sea, and from Germany to Norway (Gilluly, Waters, and Woodford, 1968). Outcrops have even been found in Greenland and North America. In Devonian times, before North America and Europe drifted apart, these dunes covered an entire semi-arid continent.
Must object here that the Old Red Sandstone does not in the slightest "look for all the world like a collection of fossilized sand dunes." This is geojargontalk of some sort. Go look at pictures of the Old Red Sandstone. No dunes there. It's a huge expanse of red ROCK for pete's sake. He has certainly NOT seen "an entire semi-arid continent." That is the conventional geological INTERPRETATION. As usual we're being fed an interpretation and not the evidence itself, not facts from which we could draw our own conclusions.

I can only suppose that he means that the sand of which the sandstone is composed shows characteristics of sand normally found in "desert dunes and other desert deposits" but this is what they should SAY. Their fanciful landscapes are just that: fanciful. The Flood most likely simply transported a lot of sand with the characteristics he attributes to desert dunes and dumped it in this place. Perhaps it DID pick up sand from desert dunes somewhere. But landscapes on the surface of this earth do NOT simply get covered over with one kind of sediment full of dead things that turns to rock, nice straight horizontal rock too. Doesn't happen. This is ridiculous.

He goes on:
Several lines of evidence derived from this great geologic formation create difficulties for the flood geology model. For instance, the interfingering of these sandstones with marine sediments shows that the shoreline of this continent advanced and retreated several times. Thus the desert rocks are entangled with rocks that the flood geology model says were formed within the one-year-long flood.
Again, the problem with this sort of presentation is that we are given no way of picturing what he is talking about. As above where he says the red sandstone "looks for all the world like fossilized desert dunes" we have to say "Huh?" We have to surmise he's NOT talking about its "looking" a certain way to the naked eye but only about the interpretation that comes to mind for the educated investigator of the contents of the rock. But this becomes mystification for the non-geologist reading this stuff.

What does this interfingering look like? It doesn't sound to me like something that would pose a problem for a Flood interpretation because one would expect that different sediments would be "interfingered" at various places if I understand what he means by this. He quite blandly states that this interfingering "shows that the shoreline of this continent advanced and retreated several times," apparently unaware that this is nothing but the interpretive party line and begs the question. A Floodist needs to know more about the actual phenomena, not merely how geologists interpret it.
Also, redbeds, consisting partly of rust formed above sea level, are also found in this formation. These would not have been formed in any catastrophic flood.
Um, how about after the Flood laid it all down? As I've pointed out before, the idea that anything "formed" in the Flood is a little misleading. Sure, the claim is that the strata were formed by the Flood as it carried the sediments and deposited them with their cargo of dead things, but all the Flood DID was move things around.
The Old Red Sandstones also contain typical playas, complete with their characteristic cubic salt crystal deposits.
Oh please. This is a huge slab of red ROCK you are seeing these "playas" in. Get real. Describe for us exactly what on earth you mean by such a statement because just as you are not seeing desert dunes in that red rock you are also not seeing playas. You must be seeing something when you dig into the rock that is normally associated with playas and this is what you must describe if you really want to communicate anything useful.
These are desert salt-pan deposits formed after the rainy-season lakes evaporate. Today, in the Mojave Desert, playas can become lakes for a couple of weeks, only to dry out again, leaving a crust of salt deposits like those found in the Red Sandstone.
Aargh just more mystification. So what ARE you seeing? You've found some salt in the rock? In what form? How much of it? Show it to us. Explain how you get from whatever bits and pieces you've dug out of that rock to a "desert salt-pan deposit." Also, if the ingredients are specifically indicative of such an environment, what's wrong with the likely explanation that the contents of this red rock were transported from a site with such characteristics and dumped all together in the strata where it lithified under pressure from similarly transported sediments above?
Although a few freshwater ponds did exist on this ancient semi-arid continent, they dried up from time to time.
This is what is laughably called "science," a fantastic scenario they've built from something they found in this rock that he doesn't bother to describe. All we get is the scenario, we don't get the facts from which to draw our own conclusions. And he calls this exercise in imaginative cobweb-spinning FATAL FLAWS OF FLOOD GEOLOGY????
So, we find fossil mud cracks in the shales that came from the dried-up pond bottoms, and we find fossil lungfish, a type of fish that can survive drought by building a mud cocoon in the pond bottom and breathing air. Hundreds of square miles of fossil sand dunes in these deposits contain cross-bedding and sand-blasted pebbles (ventifacts) of the sort found in modern desert sand dunes, and in no other kind of modern sediment. These different independent lines of evidence converge to show that the Old Red Sandstones almost certainly formed over thousands of years in a dry climate, not in any kind of flood catastrophe.
Oh balderdash! So some sand from an area of already-formed dunes was transported by the Flood. If you aren't going to give us the facts how am I to know what you mean by any of this? I have to guess. My guess is probably right but it's still a guess and I shouldn't have to guess. Your fanciful notion about the supposed previous landscape on this very spot does not convince me. Landscapes do not turn into slabs of rock over time. Except in the imagination of geologists for some reason.

This is just going on and on of course and my answers are just going on and on in the same way. But right now I'm pausing this post, intending to come back to it later, and of course get to his other supposed "fatal flaws," oh groan.
The Grand Canyon contains fossil desert dunes and other sediments that to all appearances were deposited on dry land.
The Grand Canyon does not and cannot possibly "contain" fossil desert dunes. When you say "sediments that ... were deposited on dry land" no problem. I would assume that MOST of the sediments that ended up in the strata were ORIGINALLY part of the pre-Flood DRY land mass.
The Permian Coconino Sandstones in the upper walls of the Grand Canyon have the frosted well-sorted wellrounded sand grains found only in land-deposited sand dunes (Shelton, 1966).
Fine, now you have stopped that idiotic talk about sand dunes being seen or contained in rock and are referring to GRAINS. Fine. That permits me to opine that the grains were TRANSPORTED BY THE FLOOD rather than being formed in place. Which is really really an idiotic idea when you try to think about those flat horizontal slabs of rock as if they were once landscapes on the surface of the earth exactly where they sit. As if sand dunes just somehow get their hilly character flattened down and compressed into rock over time? How could that happen? Any sediment being deposited on top of them would have to come from a higher elevation than the highest part of the dunes. But dunes are usually the highest point in the area. And if some sediment did somehow get deposited on or over them they'd conform to the hilly shape of the dunes, they wouldn't just lie flat. What are you people thinking anyway? Are you thinking at all? This landscape idea is so absurd it's hard to believe anyone ever entertained it for a second.
Furthermore, many of the laminae of the cross-bedding contain fossil footprints that could only have come from reptiles or other quadrupeds climbing up the face of a slightly damp sand dune in the open air. (Those climbing down the slopes left no tracks because they simply slid.) ICR geologist Dr. Steve Austin has taught the theory that amphibians resting between underwater dunes made the tracks. His theory is very interesting, but rather implausible since the Flood must have been violently dumping several meters' worth of sediment per day.
Wouldn't have to be violent, just soon enough after the footprints were made to fill them in to preserve them. And it does suggest that there was some time lapse between the deposition of one layer of sediments and another during the Flood, in order for animals to run across them. But WHY DUNES AT ALL? There is no need to imagine anything shaped like dunes DURING OR AFTER THE FLOOD having anything to do with the formation of the strata. Whatever dunes had existed before the Flood would have long since been saturated and carried away.
The Canyon's Supai and Hermit Shales, found today beneath the Coconino Sandstones, look exactly like river deltas that formed above sea level (Shelton, 1966).
Well here's another one of those mystifications, an interpretation instead of fact, that can only perplex somebody looking at the walls of the Grand Canyon and seeing nothing but layers of stone, no river deltas. Exactly where and exactly how do these rocks look like river deltas? Puhleeze, show us so we can see them too.
Back in Permian times,
QUESTION BEGGING!! Give us the phenomena, the simple facts, not the interpretation. You mean ON THE SURFACE OF A PARTICULAR ROCK LAYER? What exactly do you mean?
many quadrupeds (probably reptiles) left their footprints in the soft delta mud. As the mud baked hard in the sun, it formed cracks. The hardness of the baked mud preserved the footprints and mudcracks until the flooded rivers of the rainy season buried them in fresh mud. These fossil prints and mudcracks are found today, as well as iron oxides that form in the open air, showing that these shales formed above sea level.
Why is it we get these fanciful SCENARIOS instead of a simple description of the bald facts at the site in question?? It is possible that the cracks in the mud occurred even after all the strata were laid down as the rocks dried. Possible, I say. WHERE is this iron oxide? SHOW it to us. How do you know it wasn't either carried there on the flood or formed there as the rocks dried?
The pure quarz Navajo Sandstones of Triassic and Jurassic times
Quartz Sandstones will do just fine descriptively, Triassic and Jurassic are meaningless impositions of interpretation over the facts, sheer mystification.
in Zion National Park, Utah, also look exactly like desert sand dunes (Gilluly, Waters, and Woodford, 1968).
No they do not look exactly like dunes. They look like ROCKS.
They contain extensive cross bedding of the type found in sand dunes, and the frosted sand grains and sand-blasted pebbles found only in dunes formed on the land.
See all my reasoning above. This is absurd.
Certain formations in western Wyoming look exactly like deserts that bordered a fitfully receding sea in Carboniferous times (Houlik, 1973).
"Look exactly like??" Geology destroys language and plays with minds, that's all I can say. No, they look like ROCKS and you are imposing your interpretation on them based on some characteristics of their contents. ANY SCIENCE THAT IS REALLY A SCIENCE SHOULD STRICTLY GIVE FACTS.

In particular, the Mississippian Lodgepole Formation contains the type of carbonate deposits and evaporites found forming in tidal flats today. The Amsden formation consists of sabkhas and desert dunes. Sabkhas are a kind of hardpan that forms in deserts after hard water seeps up through the ground by capillary action and evaporates leaving nodules of calcite, andhydrite, and other salts. They are seen forming extensively in Saudi Arabia today. Unless Houlik has grossly erred, these sabkhas, casts of evaporite crystals, and fossil dunes show that these Carboniferous deposits formed in a desert, not a flood.
Again, it's hard to know what is being talked about here because precious little actual fact, in fact NONE, is given about how this formation "contains" these carbonate deposits and evaporites, that is, what this looks like in the rock itself. What does a carbonite deposit look like IN THE ROCK? Is it encased solidly within the rock, is it scattered throughout the rock, is it in any relation to other parts of the rock that cause it to imitate this assumed former landscape? Does it occur on the surfaces or is there space within the rock where it occurs?

Knowing these things and no doubt many other facts that I'm unable to think of could tell me whether the substances in question could have been transported with the other sediments in the Flood, or perhaps developed in the rock or on the rock after it was deposited and so on and so forth.

If all I'm given is this fanciful SCENARIO that ASSUMES their having been developed on the spot I am deprived of any means of thinking about the phenomena themselves. Sometimes it seems this is the objective of such descriptions, but probably it's just that the interpreters are so enamored of and so believing of their interpretation it doesn't occur to them that it IS an interpretation and that the actual facts or phenomena are required of them. Some science!
Several times at the end of the Miocene epoch (six to eight million years ago), the Mediterranean Sea dried up, leaving extensive desert deposits on the sea bottom (Hsu, 1972).
See now, this too is just an interpretation, but an interpretation of what facts is withheld from us. What are the characteristics of the rock that stands for "the Miocene epoch" that led to the interpretation of "several times" of drying up of the Mediterranean, and how do they determine the "sea bottom" from this rock and how "desert deposits" were left on it many times, from just looking at the rock, which is apparently all they are doing! This is mystification or obscurantism to the max, this is not science!
The Straits of Gibraltar opened and closed, causing these complex changes, as the Glomar Challenger discovered in 1970 by using echo soundings and deep-sea core samples. Each time the Mediterranean slowly dried up, first calcite precipitated around the rim of the basin of the Balearic abyssal plain, then anhydrites and gypsum further in, and finally rock salt in the center at the deepest point. This is just the order that these salts would precipitate if you set out a large saucer of sea water to dry. Successive dryings of the Mediterranean produced hundreds of meters of evaporites. Not only did evaporites form, but also land deposits like sun-baked mud cracks, wind-blown sand, and sabkha anhydrite nodules. Since algae can only grow where sunlight reaches, the stromatolites (a common algae deposit) found in deep sea core samples show that the Mediterranean sea floor, now two miles deep, was once dry land. The Rhone and Nile rivers cut their canyons thousands of feet below current sea level to feed the desiccated Mediterranean basin. Desert-style alluvial fans accumulated from debris washed by cloudbursts down the slopes of Sardinia; now these deposits lie far under the water. After the Mediterranean refilled with water for the last time, at the beginning of the Pliocene, sediments began to accumulate over the evaporites; the weight of these sediments forced evaporites up through weak spots in the sediments to form salt domes. Some of these salt domes are a few miles across, and hundreds to thousands of feet high. Even though such structures may not be forming today, a dried-up Mediterranean could have easily formed them, whereas flood geology is hard pressed to account for such things.
Zowie wowie, this is one long paragraph of nothing but mental castle-building without a SINGLE FACT for a person reading it to hold onto. WHERE ARE YOU GETTING ALL THIS STUFF? WHAT IS YOUR EVIDENCE FOR THIS? ARE YOU LOOKING AT ROCKS? WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN THE ROCKS? I'm supposed to take this fantastic imaginative scenario as refutation of the Flood? You must be joking! WHAT PLANET DO YOU GUYS LIVE ON ANYWAY?

This kind of "science" justifies the title of my blog perfectly, it is all fantasy being presented as if it were science, speaking of their fantasy of the past as if it were known fact! Biological evolutionism does this and so does geological old-earthism. These guys should get out of the field and write for Hollywood.

Some of the vagaries concerning Flood definition and timing

On the thread Evidence for a Recent Flood, Coyote answered by Kbertsche:
[Coyote]But the flood had to occur at some time in the past. And that time had to include humans.

This would seem to eliminate the Cambrian and the K-T boundary, two time periods favored by posters here but millions of years before humans walked the earth.
Unfortunately there are so many non-YEC creationists who have capitulated to the geologic time table Coyote can make this point quite fairly. Perhaps his reply should be regarded as the definitive answer to them that should shake them off their ridiculous capitulation. He's right, if one accepts ANYTHING about the geo time table, such as the notion of the "Cambrian" or the "K-T boundary" then you have to accept the whole thing, which includes the idea that there were no human beings around at that time. It's really quite a good point and it ought to wake up some of these so-called creationists.
What it comes down to is that flood has to be at some specific time--it can't always be "not here, over there!" -- which is what we get from many creationists.

That's the old shell game.

So at some point creationists should figure out when the flood occurred and let us all look for the evidence at that time.

Otherwise one might begin to think that it's all a myth.
Quite true. The problem IS that creationists disagree about the timing, and that's a BIG problem.

Since I'm convinced the Flood accounts for the entire column of strata and its fossils, and that it occurred when the Bible says it occurred, which I understand to be about 4500 years ago, I wish all Biblical creationists would see the logic of this and agree about it. THEN we could maybe proceed to a real discussion about it.

There is of course a problem with Coyote's idea that "creationists should figure out when the flood occurred and let us all look for the evidence at that time" because of course he's committed to the timing notions of conventional geology and he has a very limited idea of what sort of evidence the Flood would have left as well. A layer deep in some archaeological dig perhaps. Won't do. The evidence for the Flood is all over the earth and quite visible for the most part.
[kbertsche]Yes, I agree. As you probably know, many evangelical scholars think that the biblical account is describing a local or regional flood, not a worldwide flood. Some (e.g. Dick Fischer) would put this recently, in the last 10,000 years. Others (e.g. Glenn Morton) would associate it with the infilling of the Mediterranean, and push it back much further. Still others (e.g. Paul Seely) would make it semi-mythical but based on a real, local flood.
These creationists are a sad bunch. The language of the Bible couldn't be clearer. This Flood covered the entire earth and anything else is playing fast and loose with God's word. Also I have no idea where they get their 10,000 years. No matter how you cut it the time comes down to about 6000 total. The Jewish calendar gets it close.
But again, these various interpretations are the purview of Bible study, not science. You are right to restrict this science thread to a single, popular interpretation.
However, nobody really discussed that interpretation that I've seen and the disagreements among the creationists make it impossible anyway.
Where are all of the YEC Flood Geology advocates? Why aren't they here defending their views? I would have expected them to try to present some sort of evidence for their position (e.g. Sir Leonard Wooley's flood layers at Ur).
Yeah, those "flood layers at Ur" show the usual inability to envision what a worldwide flood would have done, as if it would have left barely discernible traces that have to be sought deep in an archaeological dig.

Then Pressie responds to kbertsche:
Hi Dr Bertsche
Yes, I would love to talk to them, too. The problem here is that not even one of the YEC's here have any geology training at all.

I would love to see one of the handful YEC's with geological training in the world (maybe ten?), to come and defend their positions. My only guess is that they don't want to try it on forums like this, because they know they will get slaughtered. They just want to preach to novices!
"Getting slaughtered" really just means getting ganged up on to such an extent that your voice doesn't get a hearing, it doesn't mean the evidence has defeated you.
I do know that Dr. John Baumgardner tried to do it once on a similar forum. The problem with him is that he has no geological training, but is an Engineer with a Ph.D. in Geophysics. Boy, did he get slaughtered! In the end he tried outright untruths (like referring to a real expert on dating methods as a "self-styled specialist"). Then he mentioned something about "no respect for the Word of God" (or something to that effect) and then he disappeared from the forum.

I guess we won't get anything better than that. That's all they have.
Would very much like to hear more about the Baumgardner event, some quotes, or a link.

But as long as they are insisting on their dating methods we probably can't get anything said. My angle is to try to make the case for the Flood well enough that they will have to rethink their dating methods in the end to accommodate the other overwhelming evidence for the Flood. I think I've already collected quite a bit of killer evidence for it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why are underground rivers supposed to be a problem for YECs? Ancient surface landscapes? Ha!

I ran across this argument on another site earlier and it reminded me I've seen it before. I've been aware of underground rivers for years and they never seemed to me to be a problem for my creationist views. I lived in a town that had many underground creeks.

If, as I can only suspect, they have the idea that it's somehow proof of ancient landscapes that were once on the surface I can only groan with disbelief. They're underground, they've always been underground, the water seeks existing space between upper and lower formations and it just runs along like any river where it has that space. It runs like a river, acts like a river, leaves sediments and other evidence just as any river does, right where it is.

If they are talking about dried-up former rivers where only their bed remains deep underground they are either underground rivers that dried up underground or they are the evidence of water running across the surface of a layer before the next layer was deposited during the Flood.

There's no way new sediments could have been laid over an existing landscape and the landscape been preserved. Sometimes I wonder what planet these scientists live on anyway.

Just a collection of anti-creationist sentiment

The time has some for Summaries on the thread, My huge problem with creationist thinking, a thread that I've generally ignored as it doesn't interest me at all. The summaries are somewhat interesting, however, so I went and read the opening post plus a few that followed it. The OP is about how there are many different creationisms and it's unfair to impose one over another, even racist to do so. On such a topic you can be sure that the First Amendment was invoked many times to claim that America is a secular nation and not a Christian nation and that no one religion should be allowed to dominate.

Here's a summation by Omnivorous in Message 327
My main problem with creationism is the compulsion that creationists both suffer and seek to impose: that their story of origins is literally correct and must be taught to children in public schools.
Well, there was a time in America, in the UK, in Europe in general, when the Bible was the foundation of all education, of children and in the universities. How far we've come since then. It was also the foundation when the First Amendment was written, and it remained the foundation for many years afterward because the First Amendment was meant to PROTECT religion, specifically the Christian religion, not abolish it. But alas, a secular revisionist mindset now aggressively misuses it and hardly anyone knows how to object.
I don't really care about it otherwise. I don't care about the difficulties presented by debate with creationists because there is no debate with creationists.

Whatever line of approach a reasoning person takes, the reply remains essentially the same--God showed me the way and told me to spread the word by any means necessary. Creationists are the jihadists of discourse, and I just don't care.
From a fine long history of Christian tlhought in the development of civilization to ... this. Not that today's creationism is that great a representation of our illustrious history, I need to add.
The creationist approach to debate is repetition. Creationists reject science, and reason won't persuade them to do otherwise: the irony of rejecting science's methodology while enjoying its benisons is matched only by possessing an evolved brain that they refuse to use for anything other than superstition.

But I don't care about that, either. My problem is not with creationist thought, but creationist action.
A big fat lie. Western science owes everything to Christian thought, and creationists do not reject science, only the fake science that supports evolution.

Then Dr. A in message 326, first complaining about a particular poster:
He soon reverted to form, though, with mere whining about evolution and statements such as: "For me it does not matter which creation model is correct, as long as none of my ancestors were apes."
It matters a LOT which creation model is correct, sad that there are creationists who think otherwise. As for having an ape type for an ancestor that never bothered me before I was a Christian, but what DID bother me was the fact that it became an excuse to treat human beings as mere animals, and it seems to me that attitude has had far-reaching negative consequences on human society.
I suppose credit should be given to IamJoseph, who produced the foolowing staggering monstrous falsehood as a reason for his partiality to Genesis: "Genesis, unlike other ancient writings, includes names, places, dates, numbers, rivers, mountains, geneologies ..." OK, it's a load of cobblers, nor would it be a convincing argument even if it was true, but it is a reason. Credit where credit is due.
I don't want to get into this as it's not an argument I would pursue myself, but while IamJoseph usually has little to say I can agree with in this case I think he's right. He just didn't go far enough explaining what he means. Genesis has historically accurate information in other words while other creation myths really are myths. I'm sure Dr A would dispute the claim of historical accuracy even with evidentiary support, of course, but he'd be wrong.
The difficulty of answering the question stems directly from the nature of creationist apologetics. 99% of creationism is not, nor ever has been, an attempt to validate creationism. No-one's out there trying to find evidence that snakes could once talk, or that fish were created four days after light.
These things do not impinge on the scientific questions. The Bible contains many things that pertain only to God and not to the playing out of His natural laws on this planet.
Creationism goes: "Evolution is wrong because [insert common creationist error here]. Therefore ... magic!" And even if this line of reasoning was correct, there would be no reason to infer any particular brand of magic, nor even that the magician should be of the order of being that we would classify as a god.
he doesn't care to be accurate apparently. Much of Creationism DOES address science and attempts to stick to scientific issues and leave the Bible out of it, which is a perfectly valid approach even though Kurt Wise considers it to be devious. It isn't at all, most scientific principles can be discussed without reference to the Bible. Perhaps they shouldn't be, it's something imposed on creationists by establishment science, and there was a time when nobody had a problem referring to the Bible when discussing science. They may not have been right in their understanding, but whenever they understood some phenomenon to be an effect of the Flood they had no problem saying so -- because western civilization used to be Christian.
This explains why some people have given up on creationism in general and advocated ID. ID might be defined as that subset of creationism which consists only of saying: "Evolution is wrong because [insert common creationist error here]. Therefore ... magic! Oh, or maybe space aliens if a judge is listening." (Making ID the only idea in the history of ever which has tried to gain intellectual respectability by invoking space aliens.)
I'm almost surprised at Dr. A that he would descend to such a comment. ID spends most of its time trying to demonstrate that complex biological systems had to be created by an intelligent agency.
Even so, ID is still partial in a way that would be unwarranted by the IDists own (overt) premises: for example, when did you ever see an IDist use the phrase "designer or designers"? Arguably, then, their rhetoric still discriminates without scientific basis in favor of monotheists over polytheists.
So far have we degenerated from our Christian past we aren't allowed to favor the Christian God in anything. This is of course why the west is deteriorating and will go on deteriorating, but those who don't see the handwriting on the wall will of course explain it some other way -- probably make it the fault of Christians.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dr. A's course in geology: some questions

This is from his post, Igneous Rocks.
We should perhaps add a note on the presence of komatiite (extrusive ultramafic rock) in our diagram, as some textbooks omit it entirely from such diagrams. Komatiite is never observed forming today: as ultramafic magma rises from the hot interior of the Earth to its cool surface, it will fall below its melting point before it gets near to the surface, forming peridotite, komatiite's intrusive counterpart. Consequently komatiite is found only in rocks dated to over 2.5 billion years ago, consistent with geologists' belief that the Earth was hotter at that time.
What I'd like to know is where I might see some of this komatite, or how would I recognize a rock "dated to over 2.5 billion years ago." I suppose they're pretty deep rocks of course.
In the diagram, we have shown the layers of rock lying flat, except around the lacolith (item (6) on the diagram) and so we have shown the sills as horizontal structures. However, layers of rock can be folded by tectonic activity. When a sill intrudes into rocks like this, it intrudes between the layers of rock (this is the definition of a sill) and so will itself be contorted.
Are you thinking of magma intruding between the layers after the distortion? How would you know if that happened or if it had intruded before the distortion and was folded along with the sedimentary rocks?

[That bulge of sedimentary rock over the laccolith is interesting because it's similar to the much larger bulge of the strata into which the Grand Canyon is cut, shown in cross sections of the area, which is clearly (according to me) the result of the intrusive magma beneath the base of the canyon. The volcanic event that produced that magma bubble clearly displaced the rocks that make up the "Great Unconformity" and is evidenced by the granite in the form of magma fingers that also always appears on such diagrams at the base of the canyon. The point? 1) The unconformity was created while all the strata were in place, not, as is commonly believed, before. 2) The sedimentary rocks follow the curve of the magma intrusion in both cases, showing they were already in place when it erupted, which nobody is doubting in the case of the laccolith, and that they were still damp because they conform to the shape.]

He goes on to answer the question "How do we know" about the igneous nature of granite among other things. That's all good of course, as there must have been such questions about its origin or nature early on in the study of rocks, but I'd be more interested in knowing how they think they know that "the Earth was hotter 2.5 billion years ago."

Then in the following discussion Pressie raises questions that suggest he doesn't know what Dr. A. means by his wanting to emphasize the history of the rocks. But the constant refrain appears that we know how such and such a rock was formed because we see it forming before our eyes. Now THIS is going to require a lot more description than he may be planning to give. Exactly WHAT is "forming before their eyes" anyway? Exactly WHAT are they seeing? Has anyone actually seen a rock form? Has anyone seen a STRATUM of rock form?

In message 49 Dr. A says:
What I meant was, geologists don't merely collect and classify. They have a theory. This theory has predictive and explanatory power.
Take aeolian sandstone as an example.

Theory: such-and-such sedimentary structures are aeolian.

Prediction: when we find fresh sediment having these structures, it will be on dry land; when we watch it forming in real time we shall see the wind forming the structures.

Observation: consistent with the prediction.

Explanatory inference: when we find these structures in sandstone, we should infer that it was formed in the same way.

Another prediction: hence if we find sandstone with these structures, then if we find fossils in it they should be terrestrial and not marine.

Observation: We do, hurrah!

Explanatory inference: but if we find no fossils, we should come to the same conclusion, since the theory works every time we can test its predictions.

It may be bleedin' obvious, but it is still an example of a scientific theory which we establish as true by testing its predictions and from which we can then make inferences which rest on the theory rather than on direct observation.

Now it is precisely this aspect of geology which I wish to emphasize.
Theory, fine, let's see what it actually means in reality.

What I really really want explained is such things as where all the sediments came from to build the enormous depth and breadth of strata in, say, the Grand Canyon/Grand Staircase area, what sort of processes could have made it possible for an aeolian (air or wind-formed) layer to sit atop or between some water-originated layers and look for all the world like they were all created by exactly the same processes, and how an aeolian layer could ever have come to be conformed to the flat hard horizontality of a water-made layer, and how any of the layers could ever have turned into rock unless there were LOTS of layers above them compressing them soon after they were laid down, and so on and so forth.