Buz, that link does not at all help your case here. It is nothing but a declaration of ignorance by someone who hasn't a clue as to how geological studies are actually conducted. There is not one ounce of truth there. It wouldn't take but a few short minutes of Googling *just* USGS reports on paleontological studies to show you how asinine the link's and your conclusions are, but I don't want to waste my time. I am truly embarassed for you.So now I'm curious. What link did Buz offer that was so embarrassingly unscientific anyway?
As such, I'm with jar in that I think there is much value in providing the willfully ignorant with a stage. The audience has an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast faulty and ignorant arguments with ones that are well reasoned and well supported.
Well, here's Buz's offending post: Turns out the link is to a creationist site where evolutionist views of fossils are being criticized, from which Buz took the remarks about "index fossils" as a dating method used by evolutionists that claim the method is nothing but circular reasoning that depends upon theory, not anything that could be considered to be empirical science.
Here's that offending link he put up which so many on that thread are objecting to, from which he quoted this:
FOSSILS ARE DATED BY A THEORY—But now comes the catch: How can evolutionist geologists know what dates to apply to those index fossils? The answer to this question is a theory! Here is how they do it:On that same thread, before Rox's comment, Dr. Adequate says this about that site:
Darwinists theorize which animals came first—and when they appeared on the scene. And then they date the rocks according to their theory—not according to the wide mixture of fossil creatures in it—but by assigning dates—based on their theory—to certain "index" fossils.
—That is a gigantic, circular-reasoning hoax!
"Fossils provide the only historical, documentary evidence that life has evolved from simpler to more and more complex forms."—*Carl O. Dunbar, Historical Geology, 2nd edition (1960), p. 47.
The conclusions about which fossils came first are based on the assumptions of evolution. Rock strata are studied, a few index fossils are located (when they can be found at all), and each stratum is then given a name. Since the strata are above, below, and in-between one another, with most of the strata missing in any one location,—just how can the theorists possibly "date" each stratum? They do it by applying evolutionary speculation to what they imagine those dates should be.
This type of activity classifies as interesting fiction, but it surely should not be regarded as science. The truth is this: It was the evolutionary theory that was used to date the fossils; it was not the strata and it was not "index fossils."
"Vertebrate paleontologists have relied upon ‘stage of evolution’ as the criterion for determining the chronologic relationships of faunas. Before establishment of physical dates, evolutionary progression was the best method for dating fossiliferous strata."—*J.F. Evernden, *O.E. Savage, *G.H. Curtis, and *G.T. James, "K/A Dates and the Cenozoic Mammalian Chronology of North America," in American Journal of Science, February 1964, p. 166.
But you see this is nonsense from beginning to end; as its author could have found out by some such expedient as reading a beginners' textbook on geology and noticing what it actually said.And PaulK had this to say:
Seriously, anybody who honestly thinks that rocks are only dated by index fossils and index fossils are dated solely by evolutionary theory is scarcely any less ignorant and deluded than Buz. (And that only because index fossils are one method of relative dating).So apparently this is an egregious offense against science committed by the creationist Buz quotes and by Buz in quoting him.
HOWEVER, I WOULD POINT OUT THAT EXCEPT FOR PAUL K BUZ'S CRITICS DO NOT DISCUSS THE CONTENT OF THE ARGUMENT AT ALL, SAY NOT A WORD ABOUT WHY IT'S WRONG ABOUT INDEX FOSSILS. ALL ROX DID WAS ACCUSE BUZ OF IGNORANCE, GAVE NO CONTENT WHATEVER. Paul K at least gives the hint that the objection may be to the implication that
that rocks are ONLY dated by index fossils and index fossils are dated SOLELY by evolutionary theory.Well, is this the substance of everybody's objection or not? Why is it so hard to get anything truly SCIENTIFIC out of these people anyway? They posture and prance about how unscientific the creationist is and GIVE NO CLUE AS TO WHERE HE FAILED AT THAT.
Poor Buz has been raked over the coals for weeks now for his supposed inability to grasp what evidence is. But truly as I recall that's all anybody has had to say: Buz doesn't know what evidence is. It's a mantra, a chant. I haven't followed those discussions very far so I don't really know much of what he's been arguing with them, and I still don't know HOW Buz has failed to understand what evidence is. For some reason they leave that part of the accusation out.
But I did follow up this topic of index fossils a bit.
Here's what Wikipedia has on the subject:
Index fossils (also known as guide fossils, indicator fossils or zone fossils) are fossils used to define and identify geologic periods (or faunal stages). They work on the premise that, although different sediments may look different depending on the conditions under which they were laid down, they may include the remains of the same species of fossil. If the species concerned were short-lived (in geological terms, lasting a few hundred thousand years), then it is certain that the sediments in question were deposited within that narrow time period. The shorter the lifespan of a species, the more precisely different sediments can be correlated, and so rapidly evolving types of fossils are particularly valuable. The best index fossils are common, easy-to-identify at species level, and have a broad distribution—otherwise the likelihood of finding and recognizing one in the two sediments is minor. . .Here's this notion that to find oil, or coal, or perhaps other items known to occur in certain strata, you need to know the AGE of the rocks, and they are so used to operating this way their minds are closed up tight against any suggestion that age has nothing to do with it. The Old Earth presuppositions work for them and that's all they care about. Well, that makes sense. But a creationist knows that what they think of as age is merely depth or location of the rocks they want. It's the same thing as far as finding the right rocks goes, but the whole idea of age is eliminated. ALL the rocks were laid down in the Flood, associated with particular fossils in many cases, and it shouldn't be any less useful to think in terms of location and depth than age. But that's a side point in this context.
Geologists use both large fossils (called macrofossils) and microscopic fossils (called microfossils) for this process, known as biostratigraphy. Macrofossils have the advantage of being easy to see in the field, but they are rarer, and microfossils are very commonly used by oil prospectors and other industries interested in mineral resources when accurate knowledge of the age of the rocks being looked at is needed....
Rox suggested that Buz should check with USGS (US Geological Survey) information only so I went here and found the same chart I found at Wikipedia with this intro:
Keyed to the relative time scale are examples of index fossils, the forms of life which existed during limited periods of geologic time and thus are used as guides to the age of the rocks in which they are preserved.Also this from the USGS:
Mollusks have many of the properties of good index fossils: The hard shells of many mollusks means they are generally well-preserved, and they are often one of the few fossils found in certain environments. Sometimes they are only preserved as molds or casts in ancient limestones, but they can still be identified and used to establish the age of the rocks.Another USGS page had a broken link for index fossils so that one I couldn't follow out, but what I've noted above ought to be sufficient, it seems to me, to demonstrate that the creationist Buz linked to got his facts right.
That is: Certain fossils ARE used to date the strata. THIS IS SIMPLE FACT, confirmed by the references above, not creationist interpretation, so what on earth are all these people objecting to anyway? That it leaves out the fact that other methods are ALSO used? That's pretty lame if so. Clearly index fossils are considered to be a very useful method of dating strata no matter what other methods are also used, and the impression I get is that they are the SOLE method of dating in most circumstances.
And what the creationist said about this method is of course true: THE AGE OF THE INDEX FOSSILS IS DETERMINED COMPLETELY BY THEORY, BY THE THEORY OF THE GEOLOGIC TIMETABLE. On the geologic timetable THE AGE OF EVERYTHING IS DETERMINED STRICTLY BY THEORY because that's what the Geo Timetable IS -- a representation of the THEORY OF AGES IN WHICH THE CREATURES REPRESENTED BY THE FOSSILS SUPPOSEDLY LIVED as decided by where they are usually found located in the strata. ACCORDING TO THE THEORY CERTAIN FOSSILS, BEING FOUND PRIMARILY IN CERTAIN STRATA MORE THAN IN OTHERS, CAN BE RELIABLY DATED TO THE AGE THAT THE THEORY HAS DETERMINED FOR THAT STRATA AND CAN THEREFORE BE USED AS A DATING MARKER THEMSELVES.
There's nothing wrong with what Buz linked to, there's nothing wrong with what the creationist said.
The problem must be that the evolutionists don't know that the Geological Timetable is nothing but theory for which creationists have a perfectly legitimate completely different explanation. Evolutionists like to call their theory "fact." That has to be the problem here. Thus do the presuppositions of the evolutionists determine what can be called Science, simply precluding all creationist interpretations a priori. The creationist at that site Buz linked to is quite right: it's all circular reasoning -- enforced by aggressive ridicule and chest-beating on behalf of what they laughably call Science -- and there's no way out of it except by being COMPLETELY outside it as creationists must be.