Monday, May 23, 2011

More reading in Lyell prompts a brief stock-taking

Been reading in Lyell, not just his Elements of Geology, but also the Principles of Geology which I finally found online. The internet is a gift from God.

In the Principles Lyell goes into the history of theories in this area which is quite fascinating, such as the very strange ideas about the nature of fossils which some had entertained down the centuries, and of course arguments for and against the Flood. His entire Chapter 3 is devoted to this history.

Wishing I didn't have to work so I could put more time into this. Wishing I could afford more books. Wishing I weren't so old and physically disabled for anything as strenuous as poking around in fossiliferous strata. Never had the slightest interest in geology until I began reading up on the creation-evolution disputes, and now I can appreciate why people would choose to go into this field, completely apart from the two theories at issue I mean: what the earth is made of has become interesting to me. I used to see it as nothing but "dirt," dirt of different qualities of course, such that some of it would grow a luxuriant garden while some was death to all living things, the alkali flats of the desert areas for instance, but all just varieties of dirt, rocks, dirt, rocks and more dirt. Not dirty dirt, just dirt.

Of course my overarching interest remains the evidence for the Flood. Now I see the earth as a fascinating collection of chemical and physical ingredients in various combinations and situations that have been scattered and rearranged by the Flood, from some primordial condition of perfection I can barely even guess at. Everywhere I look I see the Flood, just as everywhere they look, establishment geologists see evidence against the Flood. Including Lyell. Although it took Hutton to convince him.

Obviously they have a different sort of Flood in mind than I have.

In any case, it seems to me that arguments for the Flood would benefit from more knowledge of the history of these ideas I'm finding in Lyell.


As I continue to read, sometimes going back and forth between Lyell's Elements and his Principles, I also have to express some gratitude for these writings. They are thorough detailed simple readable descriptions of actual phenomena, something that is hardly ever found, in my experience, in the usual scientific reports having to do with geology or biology wherever they assert various evolutionary interpretations. What you get is interpretation presented as fact (a fossil creature defined by its supposed age for instance) instead of simple description of the phenomena themselves. SO happy to find in Lyell just such a simple description of where fossils are found and what kinds they are, and how their presentation LEADS to the interpretation currently in favor, as in this description from Lyell's Elements, Chapter 1:

If a stratified arrangement, and the rounded form of pebbles, are alone sufficient to lead us to the conclusion that certain rocks originated under water, this opinion is farther confirmed by the distinct and independent evidence of fossils, so abundantly included in the earth’s crust. By a fossil is meant any body, or the traces of the existence of any body, whether animal or vegetable, which has been buried in the earth by natural causes. Now the remains of animals, especially of aquatic species, are found almost everywhere imbedded in stratified rocks, and sometimes, in the case of limestone, they are in such abundance as to constitute the entire mass of the rock itself. Shells and corals are the most frequent, and with them are often associated the bones and teeth of fishes, fragments of wood, impressions of leaves, and other organic substances. Fossil shells, of forms such as now abound in the sea, are met with far inland, both near the surface, and at great depths below it. They occur at all heights above the level of the ocean, having been observed at elevations of more than 8000 feet in the Pyrenees, 10,000 in the Alps, 13,000 in the Andes, and above 18,000 feet in the Himalaya.*

These shells belong mostly to marine testacea, but in some places exclusively to forms characteristic of lakes and rivers. Hence it is concluded that some ancient strata were deposited at the bottom of the sea, and others in lakes and estuaries.
Of course the OBVIOUS interpretation that OUGHT to spring to the mind of anyone in Lyell's day since it was still being defended in respectable geological circles, is THE FLOOD. Good grief, it's SO obvious and yet even Lyell is now blinded by the mere speculative imaginations of Hutton and others.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Angular Unconformities, Part 3: Lyell on how the rocks were tilted

Continuing in Chapter 5 of Lyell's Elements of Geology here he is discussing the expectation that folded strata would be likely to break under the tension rather than simply fold:
It would be natural to expect the fracture of solid rocks to take place chiefly where the bending of the strata has been sharpest, and such rending may produce ravines giving access to running water and exposing the surface to atmospheric waste. The entire absence, however, of such cracks at points where the strain must have been greatest, as at a, Fig. 63, is often very remarkable, and not always easy of explanation. We must imagine that many strata of limestone, chert, and other rocks which are now brittle, were pliant when bent into their present position. They may have owed their flexibility in part to the fluid matter which they contained in their minute pores, as before described p. 62 and in part to the permeation of sea-water while they were yet submerged. [my emphasis]
Here I just have to comment on his assumption that the rocks must have been damp in order to bend without breaking, which makes perfect sense, just as modeling clay will bend while it's still wet, but break when it has hardened. Some years ago at EvC someone objected to my making this obvious point so I'm happy to see Lyell had the same expectation I had, that rocks must have some water in them in order to bend. Of course even damp clay will break under extreme tension so there must be a limit to the folding tension that could probably be measured.

This is also a welcome observation because it fits with the expectation that the strata were laid down in the Flood. At the very least, since geology also affirms that horizontal strata had to have been formed in water, if the rocks are still damp this does contradict the idea of extreme slowness and the long time span that is supposed to have been needed for the formation of the folds. Lyell himself could have made this deduction from his own observations, but he was under the spell of Hutton's old-earth theory by this time and continues to insist on it despite its being contradicted by his own facts.

Next I'm quoting him on how tilted or upright strata that appear to have been broken off were originally folded, the folds then having been "denuded" -- which was his word for what we would now call "eroded."
We have already explained, Fig. 69, that stratified rocks have usually their strata bent into parallel folds forming anticlinal and synclinal axes, a group of several of these folds having often been subjected to a common movement, and having acquired a uniform strike or direction. In some disturbed regions these folds have been doubled back upon themselves in such a manner that it is often difficult for an experienced geologist to determine correctly the relative age of the beds by superposition. Thus, if we meet with the strata seen in the section, Fig. 72, we should naturally suppose that there were twelve distinct beds, or sets of beds, No. 1 being the newest, and No. 12 the oldest of the series. But this section may perhaps exhibit merely six [87]beds, which have been folded in the manner seen in Fig. 73, so that each of them is twice repeated, the position of one half being reversed, and part of No. 1, originally the uppermost, having now become the lowest of the series.

These phenomena are observable on a magnificent scale in certain regions in Switzerland, in precipices often more than 2000 feet in perpendicular height, and there are flexures not inferior in dimensions in the Pyrenees. The upper part of the curves seen in this diagram, Fig. 73, and expressed in fainter lines, has been removed by what is called denudation, to be afterwards explained.
I had also wondered about this possibility but I'd tended to think that in the case of angular unconformities the strata had been broken and forced upright in one direction, then sheared by the friction between them and the horizontal strata above which formed a sort of ceiling. Instead the strata may have been folded and the bent section sheared off in the same way.

In that case the order of the strata as Lyell describes them, those on one side of the fold reversing the order of those on the other, would be the evidence. But where the strata are identical, as in the case of Siccar Point, that might not be easy to determine. At Siccar Point, however, the formation does continue far enough to show a section where the strata were folded, as in Lyell's Fig. 78, making the evidence in that case.

Also Siccar Point demonstrates my own expectation that the layer right above the tilted section would be a different kind of rock, which it seems to me would allow for easier sliding between them when pressure is exerted against the lower strata. At Siccar Point it's red sandstone in the horizontal strata above and greywacke in the tilted strata beneath. Most of Lyell's comments and illustrations also indicate that there were once more strata above that have eroded away, which also fits the model of angular unconformities I have in mind. Here's the whole model spelled out:
  • The strata were ALL in place before the tilting occurred, the entire geologic column.

  • The rocks were still damp which explains their folding rather than breaking, so it was not long after the Flood that the tilting occurred.

  • The folding occurred in a lower section of the strata under pressure from the side or beneath, either volcanic or tectonic.

  • The force was dissipated at a point where the upper strata were resistant because of their great weight. That is, at a point where the weight of the upper strata was about equal to the force from beneath as it reached that level.

  • The immediately superior layer was of a different type of rock, most probably a harder sediment, than the immediately lower one, allowing for slippage between the sections.

  • The eroded area usually seen between the lower tilted and upper horizontal sections was produced by the abrasion between them as the lower buckled and slid beneath the upper.

  • Where only a few layers or even only one remain over the tilted part of the rock the higher layers were most likely removed by remaining waters of the Flood.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Angular Unconformities: An Alternative Interpretation Part 2: Charles Lyell Proves My Point

Now I want to go into more detail in the attempt to demonstrate that angular unconformities are created after the whole stack of layers is laid down, which contradicts the current interpretation of angular unconformities as gradually developing and requiring a very long time to form.

Since the Grand Canyon - Grand Staircase area has the advantage of showing pretty much the entire Geologic Column from "Precambrian" to "Quaternary" or "Recent" rock, it makes the best display of undisturbed horizontality of ALL the strata up through the entire stack. The whole area was clearly completely undisturbed until the canyons and cliffs were cut into the strata and the area was raised and tilted and mounded, all probably brought about by the volcanic activity in the area. Even this activity didn't disturb the strata for thousands of miles, it merely slightly tilted and cut into them.

The Great Unconformity at the base of the Grand Canyon I've already explained as most likely caused by the same volcanic force AFTER all the strata were in place. It's an educated conjecture in that case (just as the build-tilt-erode-build interpretation is conjecture), but there is another angular unconformity in the region that I think clearly shows that it had to have been created in that order. Here are some diagrams:

Click to see enlarged. This is an official government drawing showing the whole area from the Grand Canyon through the Grand Staircase.

Below is the north end of the Staircase from this same diagram showing the angular unconformity to the north of the Hurricane Fault. This unconformity was apparently created by the slipping of the fault line. The land dropped about 4000 feet and tilted the strata both against the nearly-vertical fault line and against the layer above marked “V” which remains horizontal.

Perhaps this section fell simultaneously with the raising of the main body of the strata. Probably the volcanic eruption indicated in the magma dike which exits in a lava flow at the very top of the Staircase was the cause of the whole displacement.

Since we see the same stack of strata on both sides of the Hurricane Fault, in the same order, but one side is tilted except for the horizontal Clarion layer “V” and the other is continuous, all parallel, this ought to suggest that the unconformity was created in one event. This should bring into question Hutton’s interpretation of angular unconformities as requiring a great deal of time for tilting and erosion before the laying down of new horizontal strata. In this case the horizontal layer was almost certainly already there as it is continuous with the one to the right above, and the whole structure appears to have been formed in one event.

I've been trying for some time to come up with a good model for how I think this happens -- that is, how lower strata could be folded or tilted beneath higher strata without disturbing the higher strata -- and although I can describe it I can't think of practical examples that demonstrate it.

The example comes to mind of the trick of pulling a tablecloth out from under a full table setting of dishes and cups and so on without disturbing them and that does demonstrate that force can be applied to an object beneath other objects without disturbing them. The conditions required for this to work would be heavier solid upper objects and more flexible lower objects, which is exactly what I have in mind, but of course this example doesn't exactly DO what an angular unconformity does. There must be many other examples but I keep drawing a blank.

I've also imagined an experiment with modeling-clay strata but that's really beyond my means to set up and it would be much too hard to recreate anything like the circumstances of the actual strata on such a small scale. But then I found a description of exactly that sort of experiment having already been done, in Chapter 5 of Elements of Geology by Charles Lyell, friend of Darwin and popularizer of Hutton's theory of a very old earth and the principle of uniformitarianism. He was trying to explain how folded strata form, such as in this sketch on the same page:

Folding by Lateral Movement.—An experiment was made by Sir James Hall, with a view of illustrating the manner in which such strata, assuming them to have been originally horizontal, may have been forced into their present position. A set of layers of clay were placed under a weight, and their opposite ends pressed towards each other with such force as to cause them to approach more nearly together. On the removal of the weight, the layers of clay were found to be curved and folded, so as to bear a miniature resemblance to the strata in the cliffs. Chap 5, p. 76
I've been looking for a way to illustrate the upright tilting of strata but this experiment demonstrated how they are folded or buckled. It's very important for my purposes that he placed the clay layers under a weight before applying lateral pressure. Lyell doesn't explain this but it seems intuitively necessary to do this. What I've been claiming is that the weight of strata above is a necessary resistance to the tilting of the strata beneath in the creation of angular unconformities; that is, the strata above would have to have already been in place before the tilting occurred, as opposed to the accepted theory which puts the tilting first, then erosion, then the laying down of strata above. The heavy and horizontal weight overhead would force the tilting or folding strata to form a horizontal upper surface, probably the result of violent erosion from friction between them and the upper layer as the force was applied.

On the present theory it's hard to see how tilted strata without a weight overhead could be anything but very irregular and jagged. And this is also where I question the idea that erosion at this point would level such a formation. I also question the idea of a hiatus or time gap during which the strata are no longer forming. What could cause that cessation? And if the strata did keep on forming after such a tilting of strata the new sediments would be forced to settle in the crevises between the jagged or folded uprights, they wouldn't just neatly arrange themselves in a new horizontal layer lying flat across the top of them.

Lyell even explains the absence of upper horizontal strata in some such formations this way:

the ... upper portion, being supposed to have been carried away by denudation, or that action of water which will be explained in the next chapter.
He next discusses an experiment which comes even closer to what I've been envisioning:

We may still more easily illustrate the effects which a lateral thrust might produce on flexible strata, by placing several pieces of differently coloured cloths upon a table, and when they are spread out horizontally, cover them with a book. Then apply other books to each end, and force them towards each other. The folding of the cloths (see Fig. 58) will imitate those of the bent strata; the incumbent book being slightly lifted up, and no longer touching the two volumes on which it rested before, because it is supported by the tops of the anticlinal ridges formed by the curved cloths. In like manner there can be no doubt that the squeezed strata, although laterally condensed and more closely packed, are yet elongated and made to rise upward, in a direction perpendicular to the pressure.
I would never have thought of using CLOTH, but it makes the point beautifully. Again a weight is placed above and the "strata" are shown to buckle just as real strata do under the weight with pressure applied from the side.

Lyell has accepted Hutton's view of an old earth and his principle of uniformitarianism, so throughout this book he assumes extremely slow processes for all the formations, but what's interesting is that he pictures a weight over the folding and tilting strata as essential to the explanation, and that contradicts Hutton's idea that the strata were FIRST tilted and THEN the upper strata were laid down over them. In fact that was essential to Hutton's idea of an old earth and now Lyell has shown that it's not necessary at all, apparently without grasping the implication that an old earth is not needed to explain these formations.

As you read on in this chapter of his book you find him showing how upright strata were probably originally folded, giving some good examples, including one of Siccar Point as part of a larger formation that includes such folded strata. He then describes the unconformity at Siccar Point in Hutton's terms: is evident that a period had elapsed between the production of the two sets of strata, and that, during this interval, the older series had been tilted and disturbed. Afterwards the upper series was thrown down in horizontal strata upon it.
The model of the cloth strata between the books shows that this is most likely not the real order of events, that the weight of already-existing upper horizontal strata would have been necessary to the formation of the tilted strata.

I've also been imagining a tilting following a breaking of lower strata, but Lyell brings up the very likely possibility that the lower strata were originally folded and the bent or folded section was lost. He discusses only the case of their being lost through water denudation, but in the examples I have in mind they'd have been sheared off in the process of being forced under a resistant horizontal weight of strata above them. After the shearing what is left is simply tilted strata without evidence of the prior folding. I still think it possible that in some cases there was first a breaking and then a tilting and shearing off without folding. In fact I think that's most likely what happened in the angular unconformity illustrated above at the far north of the Grand Staircase. Maybe Lyell even considers that somewhere. His book is quite a tome but I expect to keep reading it.

So, the explanation for the unconformity at Siccar point is that there was originally a great depth of horizontal strata there just as there was everywhere else around the world after the Flood of Noah. Then tectonic or volcanic forces tilted or folded a block of the LOWER strata, which were sheared off at the top under the weight of higher strata that remained horizontal though they may have been raised by the force. Then it was probably the rush of receding Flood waters that scoured off the layers above those that remain. And the same thing occurred in the formation of the Great Unconformity at the base of the Grand Canyon except that a huge depth of strata remained in place above it, as only the very highest strata, those above the Kaibab layer that continue in the Grand Staircase to the north, were scoured off by the receding Flood waters.

I really think we could put QED to this here. Lyell himself in the very act of supporting Hutton's idea of extremely slow geological formation ignores Hutton's own inciting example in favor of an example that demonstrates that lower strata can be deformed under strata that remain horizontal, which does not require millions of years, but could easily have occurred in the time frame of the Flood of Noah and subsequent tectonic and volcanic pressures afterward.

***Blog Post Powered by Prayer***

This one was definitely powered by prayer more than others I've done as I was struggling to find the best models for what I've been envisioning and the Lord answered prayer for those models by leading me to Lyell's book, the most striking example being the cloth strata, but I credit the Lord for all the other ideas as well. I couldn't think a useful thought without his guidance. Of course, all errors are my own.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Angular Unconformities: an Alternative Interpretation Part 1: Siccar Point

Geologist James Hutton's [1726 - 1797] drawing of Siccar Point (actually James Hall's, who was with Hutton), and a recent photograph:

Siccar Point, Scotland, is where James Hutton decided that the Earth had to be very old and set the ball rolling for that to become the standard assumption of geology, overturning all previous assumptions of a young earth. His conclusion was that the more-or-less horizontal rocks on top of the vertical rocks had to have been laid down long after the vertical ones were in place, as it would take a huge amount of time for the lower to have been laid down, then tilted upright, then eroded before the upper were deposited on them. This kind of formation is known as an angular unconformity and it is considered to be lethal for Young Earth Creationism.

According to Wikipedia:
Siccar Point is a rocky promontory in the county of Berwickshire on the east coast of Scotland. It is famous in the history of geology for Hutton's Unconformity found in 1788, which James Hutton regarded as conclusive proof of his uniformitarian theory of geological development.
And according to a University of Wisconsin article:
One day in 1788, he and some friends rented a boat and sailed along the coast, discovering the rocks here at Siccar Point. The younger sandstones are resting atop vertical beds of older rock. The older rocks must have been deposited horizontally, tilted, eroded, then buried by the younger rocks.
As I recall from a biography of Hutton he was familiar with the formation already but he and his friends went out looking for it to verify the theory he was concocting in his head about it.

As the theory has it, "the older rocks must have been deposited horizontally, tilted, eroded, then buried by the younger rocks."
The vertical rocks are now known to be about 425 million years old and were deposited during the Silurian Period. They were tilted during a mountain-building event caused by the collision of North America and Europe. In North America the collision created the northern Appalachians. In Europe it is called the Caledonian Orogeny (Caledonia is the old Latin name for Scotland.)The mountains were eroded flat and the younger rocks were deposited during the Devonian Period about 345 million years ago, about 80 million years later.
I accept the explanation that it was tectonic movement that caused the tilting of the lower layers, the same movement that built the Appalachians, but I believe it was the jerky breaking apart and pulling away of North America from Europe that did it, as well as the volcanic eruptions that brought about the split, not a collision. There is plenty of evidence of ancient volcanoes in Britain and western Europe as well as along the east coast of North America.

And the theory is reiterated: "The mountains were eroded flat" and new horizontal strata were laid over them some 80 million years later.
...The contact at Siccar Point is called an angular unconformity, a place where an interval of geologic time is not preserved, and where the lower rocks have been tilted so they form a sharp angle with the overlying rocks. Hutton's Unconformity at Siccar Point is one of the most spectacular examples in the world as well as being of great importance in the history of geology.
Here's a diagram of The Grand Canyon showing the angular unconformity at its base.

Here's a page showing a few of the famous angular unconformities. The theory is affirmed in the description of the Entrada formation:
This unconformity (a buried erosional feature) formed when folded rocks of the lower formation (Entrada) had been eroded to a relatively flat surface before the sandy basal conglomerate of the Morrison formation were deposited on and buried this erosion surface.
"A buried erosional feature."

Here are some animations of the current theory about how angular unconformities are formed:

Exploring Earth Visualization.

There are two series of animations on this page that include the formation of a nonconformity as well as an angular unconformity.

And here's another animation of the angular unconformity

The sequence is identical in all cases. You see the buildup of horizontal strata, then the tilting of the strata, then the erosion of the surface to a relatively flat plane on which new horizontal strata are built.

This online book Telling Geologic Time, is nicely done and gives some clear illustrations of the current theory. The following diagram comes from this book and includes the same steps as in the above-noted animations of how angular unconformities develop.

This diagram shows the theoretical erosion part of the process, the erosion of the buckled strata more or less flat. Again, the process as current geology visualizes it it involves the laying down of flat horizontal strata, followed by a buckling of the strata, followed by an erosion of the surface that more or less levels it, followed by the laying down of more flat horizontal strata.

MAIN OBJECTION TO THIS THEORY: COGNITIVE DISSONANCE HERE: SINCE WHEN DOES EROSION EVER RESULT IN A FLAT PLANE SURFACE? Even a "relatively" flat plane surface? Since when would erosion reduce a mountain or a buckled block of strata to a plain?

The diagrams based on the theory all show a leveling of the elevated parts of the buckled strata. The idea seems to be that even mountains are ultimately eroded utterly flat, like a plain, so buckled or tilted strata with all their protuberances are expected to have been eroded down to flatness.

In what universe?

ON THE CONTRARY, erosion follows gravity, making paths down hills from summits, carving stream beds and gullies, transporting rocks and other debris and depositing them hither and thither, even in this way transforming plains into pocked and pitted and lumpy bumpy terrain, the OPPOSITE of what is claimed by these diagrams. Erosion also has an easier job of it with soft rocks and not so easy with hard ones -- and strata contain both soft and hard rocks. No way normal erosion is going to neatly scour away a stratified mountain to a flat plain.

Funny how they assume that erosion would level the buckled strata and yet at the same time they believe an ordinary river carved the Grand Canyon. This is really quite funny.

The only time erosive processes would ever produce a plain would be in such a massive event as the Flood of Noah, when huge areas of the higher strata would break up under tectonic or volcanic disturbance and be scoured off the surface of a particularly hard lower layer by the receding Flood waters. This is what appears to have been the case with the formation of the Kaibab Plateau that extends from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the base of the Grand Staircase, and other parts of the Southwest where some remnants of the upper strata remain in the form of buttes and odd "monuments" and hoodoos and the like, while the surrounding terrain is flat.

But normal-sized rivers, even little streams, just cut gullies and deposit rocks and other debris that disturb flatness. Just happened to find this photo of erosion of the cliffs of Dover on Wikipedia: I think it makes the point.

One absurd idea that comes from this absurd theory is that the Appalachian Mountains are "older" than the Rockies or the Himalayas, even that the Appalachians were "once higher than today's Himalaya mountain range."

No, they are different kinds of mountains. Both formed by tectonic forces no doubt, but the Appalachians are rather gently buckled compared to the Rockies, which appear to have been abruptly thrust up toward the sky in one massive movement that often preserved the strata's straight parallels if not their horizontality. The Himalayas also show such a cataclysmic origin, though I can't even find strata in pictures of them. The Appalachians never had jagged peaks that supposedly eroded away. Their strata are often gently buckled into anticlines and synclines. No amount of erosion would turn the Rockies or the Himalayas into Appalachian type mountains, and no amount of erosion could reduce the Appalachians to a flat plain either.

But that's of course a side trip.

Another question that occurs to me is why they so consistently assume that after the buckling of the strata there MUST be a period of erosion? Why? Why doesn't the laying down of sediments continue as usual? What magic wand was waved to stop that process? If the erosive period continues for as long as 80 million years, as apparently it's supposed to have done in the case of Siccar Point, before new strata are formed over the old, why aren't strata being formed during that 80 million years as well? What is it that would suddenly trigger erosive processes to the extent of being able to wipe out mountains in place of the usual processes of strata building? If strata just simply continued to be formed after the buckling of the previous strata then the new sediments would fill in the spaces in the buckled strata first. I'm not even sure there is such a formation anywhere to be found on the planet.

As there shouldn't be according to Flood theory, which shows that all the strata were put down at one time and buckling and other distortions occurred afterward.

Just another way the current theory makes no sense.

[Realized later that they assume the strata were laid down under water, tilted under pressure, then the land was lifted above the water and that's when the erosion began and the deposition of strata stopped. This raises its own questions but I realize it's at least necessary to acknowledge this much.]


1) All the strata had been built by the Flood.

2) A tectonic force from the side or a volcanic force from beneath (in the case of the Grand Canyon) tilted or buckled a block of the lower strata WITHOUT DISTURBING THE STRATA ABOVE THEM. Slippage between layers of different kinds of rock would facilitate such a movement, softer rock buckling under harder rock for instance. In the case of the Grand Canyon the volcanic force raised the whole area so that the higher strata follow the shape of the mounded elevation into which the canyon was cut, but even higher strata that were once there were cracked and broken by the force and washed away in the flood waters, leaving the Kaibab Plateau as the uppermost layer, a hard layer of limestone. Underneath, the volcano displaced the lowest strata which were met by the counterpressure of the heavy upper layers and simply tilted beneath them, creating erosion by the friction between them and the layer they are sliding under.

Same thing certainly happened at Siccar Point and other angular unconformities. One thing to notice about Siccar Point is that although a difference of 80 million years is assumed between the lower vertical and the upper horizontal layers, they look identically weathered and eroded. Speaking of what erosion is supposedly capable of, according to current theory, you'd think the entire block of vertical strata would have been reduced to the supposed flat plain well within the 80 million years allotted to it before the upper strata were deposited. At the very least they should look a lot more spindly and splintery than the upper strata in such a time frame.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Scientific Uses of Evolutionary Theory (Really, they're Zero): Medicine

Just saw this and am sleepy so I'm going to put up a post on it impulsively, maybe correct some things tomorrow.


At EvC Dr. A is answering the question what impact evolutionary theory has on medicine:
So what are these fields of science it does impact? Does it have any effect on medical sciences? Are there any other practical uses for evolution other than showing how life diversifies?
Yes, it has medical uses; for example, it would be hard to study and circumvent the evolution of bacterial resistance to medicine without knowing about evolution.
Another medical application, in preventative medicine, would be the Ames test. This tests to see how mutagenic (and therefore how carcinogenic) a substance is by quantifying the amount of beneficial evolution it causes. (Remember that mutation is random, so the harmful somatic mutations the substance produces will be proportional to the beneficial germ-line mutations.)
This will take some pondering later.
A third medical application is in epidemiology: finding the molecular phylogeny of a disease helps epidemiologists to reconstruct its history.
I'm tired so I'll have to come back and ponder this one later too but here's a website on Molecular Phylogeny. My guess is that basically what you are talking about is genetic similarities, no need for any evolutionistic hooha in that case, in fact it would probably just complicate what would be simpler without it.
A fourth medical application is the creation of live vaccines. A virus or bacterium which has evolved to adapt to one environment is less fit for another: so, for example, a strain of polio which has been cultured in monkey kidney cells will no longer be any good at preying on human nerve cells but will still trigger an immune response. This is how the oral polio vaccine works.
There are a number of other practical applications both within and outside medicine, but I hope that this is enough to be going on with.
Oh I doubt it seriously. All the sciences have certainly absorbed the fantasy of evolution into their systems but it does nothing useful for them.

The K-T Boundary Fairy Tale

Starting at Post #37 this thread at EvC brings up some familiar debate issues concerning the evolutionist interpretation of the death of the dinosaurs.

The poster of message 37 is a creationist who says:
Its been a great gain for YEC creationism to have the impact thing arive to explain the great fauna/flora change in the world suddenly.
this creationist sees the k-t line as the flood line.
so what did for us is to demonstrate a instant die off and a dramatic and different recovery in a point in history.
We simply say this was the biblical flood.
A great die off and different recovery in fauna/flora.
The impact is simply misunderstood as to when it happened.
The layer designated by geologists as the K-T line or the line between the Cretaceous and the Tertiary time periods this creationist calls the "flood line." This is a popular choice for creationists who locate Noah's Flood not in all the strata but in some particular one.

If a creationist accepts any specific layer of the worldwide strata as the demarcation of the Flood he accepts the evolutionist belief that the strata represent time periods, that the geological column represents the history of the planet. But this is the very position a creationist should be opposing. The geological column is a museum of life forms that lived before the Flood. The strata could not have been formed except in such a cataclysmic event as a worldwide flood.

Evolutionists look at a particular layer of sedimentary rock which contains many dinosaur fossils and call it the Cretaceous period, and a block of layers above it which contains no dinosaur fossils at all, as the Tertiary. Floodists simply see disparate sediments with disparate fossil contents deposited by water in one cataclysmic event.

Here's a typical discussion of the K-T "event" at Wikipedia.
The Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, which occurred approximately 65.5 million years ago (Ma) at the end of the Maastrichtian, was a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. Widely known as the K–T extinction event, it is associated with a geological signature known as the K–T boundary, usually a thin band of sedimentation found in various parts of the world.
See how they describe something as a fact, a known reality, which is nothing but their own imaginative conjecture? This conjecture is based on a thin layer of iridium-rich clay between the sedimentary rock that usually contains dinosaur fossils and the rock above. They don't even bother to say something like "Scientists have conjectured that the iridium layer might indicate a mass extinction ..." The only clue they have to the possibility of an extinction event in the first place is the fact that dinosaurs don't occur above this line. In other words the whole thing is dictated by their theory that the strata represent time periods.
Non-avian dinosaur fossils are found only below the K–T boundary, indicating that non-avian dinosaurs became extinct during the boundary event.[3]
Yup, it's only the non-presence of dinosaur fossils above this line that leads to the extinction theory -- which, again, is described as a fact.

But the next sentence is also very interesting:
A very small number of dinosaur fossils have been found above the K–T boundary, but they have been explained as reworked, that is, fossils that have been eroded from their original locations then preserved in later sedimentary layers.[4][5][6]
See how easy it is for evolutionists to reinterpret something that doesn't fit their theory. If they found a rabbit fossil in pre-cambrian rock they'd come up with something similar.
Mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and many species of plants and invertebrates also became extinct.
Meaning they too aren't found in the layer above.
Mammalian clades passed through the boundary with few extinctions, and evolutionary radiation from those Maastrichtian clades occurred well past the boundary. Rates of extinction and radiation varied across different clades of organisms.
All of which is describing only the presence or absence or rarity or abundance of fossils found in either location.

Here's another discussion of theK-T "event" as if it were a known fact:
One of the foremost problems that any successful theory of dinosaur extinction must explain is the fact that not just dinosaurs were affected. In fact, dinosaurs represent but a small portion of the species that became extinct at or near the end of the Cretaceous Period. The extinction event that brought the Cretaceous Period to a close (called the K/T extinction, where K stands for Cretaceous, and T for the Tertiary Era -- the Age of Mammals) was truly a "mass extinction," in that a wide variety of taxonomic groups from many different habitats were wiped out essentially at the same time.
It always helps to take any description of evolutionist fantasy and strip it of all the fantasy accretions down to the bare facts. In this case, ALL THIS MEANS IN TERMS OF ACTUAL KNOWN FACTS is that fossil creatures represented in this particular sedimentary rock that is called the Cretaceous Period do not appear in any rock above it. Their not appearing in any particular layer of sediments means NOTHING. Creatures were simply buried by the Flood in certain sediments and fossilized as the sediments hardened. In the case of dinosaurs, as with all land animals, a pair of them would have been on the ark. They may have survived for a while after the Flood and may have been the source of the various dragon stories across the world, but have since become extinct.
Life in the Ocean
Many of the groups of organisms that were hit hardest by the K/T extinction lived in the ocean. Ammonites and belemnites, shelled cephalopod mollusks related to the octopus and squid, were abundant in the seas of the Cretaceous Period, but had disappeared entirely by its end.
Again, all this means in terms of known fact is that there is an abundance of fossils of these creatures in the sedimentary rock misidentified as the time period "Cretaceous" that don't show up either in the rock above it or in the world today.
Another squid relative, the nautiloids, were also severely affected; only two species, the Chambered Nautilus and the King Nautilus, have survived to the present.
Do they show up in the strata above the Cretaceous or not? This ought to be the subject here, not merely whether they exist now.
Plesiosaurs, long necked, fish-eating marine reptiles, and mosasaurs, ferocious giant sea-going lizards, also vanished from the seas at this time... although their smaller land-dwelling reptilian cousins survived mostly unscathed.
FACT: fossils found in "Cretaceous" rock not found in strata above or living now either, except for the "smaller land-dwelling reptilian cousins."

Some creatures are found in fossilized form in specific layers and not at all in higher layers, but if they live today there's of course no reason to think of them as having gone extinct. But that's an interesting puzzle in itself -- if they exist only in some layers and not higher layers but do exist today, their not existing in layers they must have lived through -- according to the theory that those layers represent huge periods of time -- needs an explanation. But apparently this question only arises in creationists' minds as it calls the whole time period system into doubt; evolutionist geologists seem to be content to recognize fossils in only a specific layer even though none of them may appear in higher layers. Odd but true. Just one of the many ways science is blind to important questions that should falsify their theory.

Of course if the fossils were simply washed into their current beds by the great Flood all this is clearly nothing but fantasy, but worse than that it's fantasy forced on the public as fact, as the whole theory of evolution is

Here is a nicely simplified but typical example of an illustration of the Geological time scale showing the creatures whose fossils are found at each level of the strata, mislabelled of course as time periods.

So what does the layer of iridium suggest? Probably that the asteroid or comet which is supposed to be its source hit during the Flood and spread its iridium over the flood waters, which carried it along with some clay sediments to its current place between the dinosaur-fossil-carrying rocks and the higher mammal-fossil-carrying rocks. Perhaps it occurred in a late stage of the Flood since it is evidenced in the higher layers of the strata. OR, perhaps iridium from the Earth itself, although a rarity, was stirred up by the Flood and carried there. The Flood would have stirred up just about everything on the planet after all.

There is no need for any more proof of the way evolutionism reifies its theory, that is, treats its conjectures and fantasies as actual fact, but it's hard to resist another example:
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals that were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years,
"Dominant" because there are so many of them in that one layer of rock that has been fantasized into a 160-million year time period. Sigh
from the late Triassic period (about 230 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous (about 65 million years ago).
Translation: Dinosaur fossils are found in great abundance in rocks given these names and misidentified as time periods.
The extinction of most dinosaur species occurred during the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.
Translation / Fact: Dinosaur fossils don't occur in rock above the iridium layer (except as noted above sometimes they do and that fact is rationalized away but oh well).
The fossil record indicates that birds evolved within theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic period.
Translation: Bird fossils are found in this rock with the dinosaurs.
Some of them survived the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, including the ancestors of all modern birds.
Fact: Do they show up in higher rock or not -- it is not said, but since birds exist now perhaps it is simply assumed they also lived during that fictional time period even if perhaps there are no fossils to show it.
Consequently, in modern classification systems, birds are considered a type of dinosaur—the only group of which that has survived to the present day.[1][2]

Allow me to reiterate the absurdity of ascribing a time period to a particular depth of sediment in any case, particularly the neatly horizontal layers of sediments in the worldwide strata. May I point out that while the surface of the earth NOW is quite irregular -- rippled and buckled and carved out and folded and raised up and lumpy and hilly etc etc etc -- the strata are FLAT except where they have been distorted after they were all in place -- originally they were ALL flat. For great distances. All over the world. Where they are buckled and distorted this clearly occurred to many layers at once, obviously after they were all in place and at least somewhat hardened.

Here's a perfectly pedestrian example of the bumpy earth we live on today that also shows the straight horizontal strata that are so laughably supposed to have been laid down in enormously long time periods -- without a bit of bumpiness to show for all that time they hung out on the surface of the planet, just nice clean flat horizontality.

Somewhere in this picture is the K-T boundary by the way. I'm not sure which line is supposed to be that boundary though.

What does this mean? It means at least that logically, according to the geologic timetable, all the earlier periods of time until the recent were undisturbed by normal processes of erosion, earthquakes, tectonic uplift, tectonic buckling, etc. etc. etc. All this occurred to the strata only AFTER THEY WERE ALL IN PLACE. I've put up many pictures on this blog that demonstrate this fact.

Therefore the standard evolutionist / geo timetable theory gives a picture of a remarkably placid planet unlike anything we know in historical time. (Yes I know they are rightly assumed to have been laid down in water, but were they under water ALL that time and only emerged to the surface at the point the canyon was cut?)

So, following the standard theory that explains those neat flat layers as time periods of millions of years each, nothing at all happened in the Grand Canyon - Grand Staircase area in the way of normal surface disturbance for all those millions of years, until after all the strata / time periods were neatly built up. THEN came the volcano beneath that uplifted the land, THEN came the cracking and breaking off of the layers that caused the canyons and the cliffs, THEN came the cataract of water that carved the canyon, and the canyons and cliffs of the Grand Staircase to the north as well. NO canyon was cut until all the strata were in place, no river ran through them until then. For millions upon millions of years.

This simple logical observation OUGHT to wake some up out of the Evolutionist Daydream. It really ought.

Overview of Grand Canyon / Grand Staircase Area explaining the extensive Kaibab plateau between them

The Kaibab Plateau is the uppermost layer of the Grand Canyon that follows the rounded slope from the canyon downward to the north, the great plateau exposed between A and B, becoming a deep layer under the Grand Staircase. As I've described in other posts, the entire column of layers that now exists only in the Grand Staircase area once covered the Grand Canyon area as well. The rounded uplift into which the Grand Canyon was cut was likely caused by volcanic force beneath it (illustrated on many diagrams by magma intrusions) in the last stages of the Flood but before all the Flood waters had drained away. All the strata had been built and then the volcanic eruption pushed up the land and caused cracks in the upper layers. It caused the crack that became the canyon and allowed a cataclysmic draining of the flood waters that carved it out to such a prodigious width and depth, scouring off all the layers above the Kaibab in the process. The same force also created the cracks in the Grand Staircase area that became canyons and cliffs as the draining waters in that area scoured off the various terraces and slopes that became the "stairs."

I started this post wanting to get an idea of what the layer was above the Kaibab to better understand why the Kaibab was so neatly scoured and left bare for such a great distance. The layer above was the Moenkapi layer, known as the Chocolate Cliffs in the Grand Staircase, which is made up of siltstones and sandstones, and siltstones at least are softer than the limestone of the Kaibab, which seems to explain it.

Another couple of good diagrams of the area. The first one shows all the layers from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of the Grand Staircase, spanning the entire "Geologic Time Table," the second shows the Grand Staircase only. You have to click twice to enlarge the first one enough to appreciate it:

The above diagrams are from this geology blog.

These show the Chocolate Cliffs as the next layer up from the Kaibab -- made up of siltstones and sandstones according to the Utah Geological Survey website:

Kaibab Plateau: the southern and lowermost tread forms the north rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and extends northward into Utah. Kaibab Formation limestones.

Chocolate Cliffs: the first major riser is made of chocolate brown-colored siltstones and sandstones of the Moenkopi Formation. Forms a slope below the more resistant cap of light gray conglomerates and sandstones of the Shinarump Member of the Chinle Formation.

...The alternating configuration of cliffs, terraces, and slopes is due to the varied erosion rates of different rock types. Harder rocks, such as sandstone and limestone, erode slowly and make up the cliffs and terraces. Softer rocks, such as shale and siltstone, erode faster and make up the slopes.
So the limestone Kaibab is harder and the softer siltstone-sandstone Moenkopi / Chocolate Cliffs formation just above it got scoured off completely wherever the Kaibab is exposed, which is all over the area from the Grand Canyon up to the Grand Staircase.