Monday, September 19, 2011

Geology course at EvC

Somebody got the message about how science (in this case Geology) SHOULD be presented but I wonder if he'll do what's needed with it.

Dr. Adequate has acknowldged the problem I've objected to over and over here about how all we're ever given is the CONCLUSIONS Geology (or Evolutionary Biology) has arrived at without the thinking that led to them.

He even acknowledged that the textbooks we creationists are always told to read don't address these questions but just try to cram what they consider to be established dogma into the reader.

On second and third thoughts and pondering his list of topics I'm less than thrilled with the course design, as noted below. It's nice to have the familiar problem acknowledged that he's outlined above but I'm now doubting that he's really going to address it where it counts. Wait and see I guess.

Course objectives

The objective of this course is to show how it is possible to reconstruct the past history of the Earth from our present observation of the rocks.

It will differ from other textbooks in that it will place a strong emphasis on asking and answering the question: "How do we know?" Most textbooks report certain aspects of geological knowledge simply as things that are known: for example, that granite is an igneous rock, or that sandstone with certain properties is aeolian; or that the Earth's core is iron; but without addressing, or at least without systematically addressing, the question of how these things are known in such a way as to satisfy the doubts of the skeptical or the inquisitiveness of the curious.

As a result, the average geology textbook does fairly poor service to the skeptical, or to those who wish to debate and convince the skeptical. It also, in my view, does a disservice to the science of geology itself: for the story of geology is in effect the world's longest-running detective story, and it is more interesting if geology is presented as such than as a collection of facts handed down from on high.

Course outline

Finding the right order in which to structure a course in geology is perhaps the most perplexing decision facing its author. No solution is ideal, because (with the exception of the definition of basic terms, which clearly should come first) it would be best if every topic could be discussed last, so that the reader can come to it with the rest of the course as context. As this is impossible, some sort of compromise has to be made.

The contents of the course will be as follows:

(1) Rocks and minerals: in which I explain what is a mineral, what is a rock, what are sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.
Very basic stuff which I believe I know quite well from various trips around the internet as needed.
(2) Weathering and erosion: a look at mechanical weathering, chemical weathering, and erosion.
Not sure this discussion would add anything to my store of knowledge either.
(3) Sedimentology: a systematic look at all the different types of sediment and their corresponding sedimentary rocks --- peat and coal; glacial till and tillite; deserts and aeolian sandstone; coccoliths and chalk; etc, etc, etc.
I also believe I'm up on all these categories just as phenomena. But perhaps he'll touch on some area that is controversial for a Floodist. We'll see.
(4) Plate tectonics: in which we describe how it is known that plates move, what is know of the mechanisms, and what effects this has in terms of faulting, folding, orogeny, ophiolites, terranes, etc.
I believe I'm up on these things too with the exception of ophiolites, which a quick glance at Wikipedia takes care of anyway.

Second thought, terrane is a complicated subject that would be interesting to see discussed but I have no reason to think it poses any particular difficulties for a Floodist
(5) Stratigraphy: a discussion of actualism, of Steno's principles, of way-up marks, of cross-cutting relationships, of the geological column, of index fossils, and so forth. This may also be a good place to discuss paleoclimatology.
I guess it depends on what he does with this stuff whether it's going to be of any use to a Floodist or not.
(6) Absolute dating: those dating methods other than the relative methods of stratigraphy. This will include a look at some of the methods of more doubtful value, such as fluoride dating and racemization.
I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get much out of this discussion because I'm familiar with how it goes with evolutionists. But again, we'll see.
At that point I shall have done what I set out to do, in that the reader will then have a grasp of the principles of historical geology. However, it may be that the readership will have further questions. In particular, the reader may want to see some historical geology actually done, or in other words to see some case studies. It may be possible to continue the discussion along these lines.
Awfully awfully basic as presented here.
Note on sources

It will not be necessary to give references for notions which are the common property of geologists, such as the definition of a mineral or the fact that granite is felsic. However, I shall provide references to the more abstruse or particular facts to which I allude.


Thanks are due to Pressie for volunteering to review the material. Any remaining errors are, of course, my fault.
If nothing else, probably I'll be able to conclude that I didn't need the geology course after all that the evolutionists keep telling us we need. I didn't think I did because I've picked up so much off the internet over the years, but it would be nice to have it confirmed that a course isn't really going to offer anything different.

The question How do they know? isn't crucial for such things as how rocks form but for how they arrive at conclusions such as the claim that a particular rock layer was formed in air while another was formed in water, and mostly all the claims about ancient landscapes -- how they identify ancient deserts or bodies of water and how long they supposedly persisted. It's the unwitnessed past abaout which they make such flat-out assertions of knowingness that really needs the answers to How do they know this or that, not so much the factual stuff like what rocks are made of.

And although I know there is no sensible answer, there are also the questions of how they got themselves convinced that the fossils represent creatures that lived and died on that spot, how they think a series of flat slabs of rock could represent a time period at all, how they think loose sediments deposited in some cases over a hundred thousand miles of area could become such flat horizontal rock without enormous pressure from above, how they think that a bit of loose gravel at the interface between two flat slabs of rock constitutes the sort of erosion that occurs on exposed surface of land.

No comments:

Post a Comment

PLEASE just register somewhere, there seem to be many options. A Google account is easy. And give SOME kind of pseudonym at least. THANKS!