Monday, March 31, 2014

Asteroid craters and evolutionist confusion of interpretation with fact

The problem with leaving EvC, which I finally did recently, is that inevitably somebody posts something I'd like to talk about.  And I've been tempted a couple times recently to go back and join a thread.  What keeps me from it is the very reason I left:  the attitude there is hard to take, and it's a waste of time.  The dragged-out frustrating struggle just to get a simple point across, which often ends in failure anyway, is not worth it any more, and the expressions of hatred against creationists and Christians seem to have escalated and I don't want to be guilty of provoking more of it, let alone my own breakdowns of patience.

But I suppose there may continue to be issues raised I'll want to follow.  This one about asteroid craters I think I'd be foolish to debate anyway -- the mere thought of how it would play out is exhausting -- but I have a few thoughts about it so I'll write them here and leave it at that.   
YECs and Asteroids
...A recent topic on the subject of impact craters on the Moon got me thinking about the impact craters on Earth. On another forum, I posed this question to the creationists in attendance

Something I’ve been pondering, recently.Most people know about the meteor impact that ‘killed’ the dinosaurs. What they often don’t know is that many, many other things died out around this time, too - fish, plants, even certain mammals and birds - it was a worldwide extinction event ...
One of the main things a YEC has to say, and keep saying, to this sort of presentation, is that this idea of a great extinction event rests purely on the evolutionist interpretation of the fossil record. As usual it is presented as fact although the evidence for it is nothing but the absence of those supposedly extinct life forms from some of the sedimentary layers. That's all. Dinosaur fossils don't appear in a certain layer where they are expected according to the theory of the strata as representing long ages of time. They aren't in that sedimentary rock, therefore they didn't live in the era of time the theory assigns to that rock, therefore they must have all died out. Now we're informed that "many, many other things died out around this time, too -- fish, plants, even certain mammals and birds -- it was a worldwide extinction event..." Which means ONLY that these other creatures ALSO aren't present in sedimentary layers where evolutionist theory expects them to be.
... and it left its mark in the Yucatan. [Here he posts a map of the Yucatan peninsula and an aerial shot of the outlines of a crater at that location.]
So this supposed extinction event -- again, merely an interpretation of the absence of some fossils in some sedimentary layers though treated as unquestionable fact as usual -- is interpreted to have been the result of an asteroid or meteor impact on the Yucatan peninsula. Millions upon millions of years ago of course, as the theory goes.

So now we get some information about the evidence for such impacts. Yes, this is REAL evidence. There WERE such impacts on the earth, lots of craters to prove it. I wouldn't take anything they say about WHEN they occurred very seriously of course.

One bit of evidence for such impacts is the presence of a fine layer of iridium on the surface of one of the sedimentary layers, above which dinosaurs do not occur, iridium being known to result from meteoric impacts. This is probably real evidence of meteoric impact but not necessarily of any supposed extinction event as a result of it, which, again, is evidenced ONLY by the LACK of certain fossils in the layer above.
That’s about 170 km wide - quite an impressive impact, and it would have had effects all over the earth, both immediate and longer-term.
This assertion also rests on an assumption that is not necessarily true, which I'll get to.
I’m absolutely not the person to tell you about them...I suck at math. But, fortunately, Purdue University developed this really cool website that actually lets you calculate such things. So we can see what effects such an impact would have, here.Impact: Earth!

What can happen to you would depend on your proximity to the object - for instance, I put in 1,000 km away, and it informed me of all sorts of pleasant things, like my clothes igniting, a fiery hellstorm raining death upon from the skies, and being drowned and/or crushed by the resultant tsunami. Really, really unpleasant stuff. But the thing is, that’s not the first time this happened - most people also don’t know that the KT impact isn’t the only big impact the Earth’s taken, nor is it the biggest.

There are two craters which are even bigger than the one in the Yucatan - the one in Sudbury is about 250 km, and the one in Vredefort is a whopping 300 km.List of impact craters on Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaAnd keep in mind - these are just confirmed craters. There unconfirmed ones that we haven’t found yet, that could drawf even that, but for the sake of argument we’ll just stick to what’s been confirmed. So, you’ll notice that there’s quite a few big impacts that would have done huge damage to the earth - not all as drastic as the top five, but still quite noticeable. Forest fire, tsunamis, tremors, et cetera. This would have been quite noticeable to anyone alive at the time.

Now, with an old-earth model, I don’t see it a major problem. When the big first two hit, life on Earth wasn’t [sic] still microbial, and wouldn’t have been affected by it too much, I don’t think. These impacts are few and far between - there are a lot of them, but that’s about what you’d expect if the planet’s been around billions of years. You can only dodge the bullet so many times.

I’m not sure how this works with a young-earth model, though, and I’m curious if any of the reside YECs could proffer an explanation. Obviously, these meteors haven’t hit since the flood - if they’d all struck within a relatively short amount of time, they would have utterly annihilated life on this planet.

Just one big one, like the one in the Yucatan, is enough to cause mass extinctions worldwides. Two, within 4,000 years, would be utterly devastating. The top five largest craters are quite close to or exceeding the Yucatan’s in size, and there are dozens of smaller, but still significant craters around the globe. Clearly, they haven’t hit in recorded history, so what does that leave us? Before the Flood?

If they’d happened before the flood, there wouldn’t even need to be a Flood - everything would be dead, not to mention that it’s not given note anywhere in the Bible. I think I recall someone saying that the Flood could have caused the meteor impacts in the first place, but I don’t see how that make even a little sense, not to mention that the acid rain, massive fish extinctions, and fireballs raining all over the place are something that Noah would have made notice off.

So I’m curious what the YEC ‘interpretation’ is for these impacts. I really didn't get much of a response - one of them talked about angels holding battles inside of protective barriers, but it wasn't very serious, and none of the creationists seemed interested in providing any real feedback, which is odd since they're usually a chatty bunch on that forum. So in interest of refining the argument, I thought I might bring it here to see how well it stacks up and what possible objections there might be.
All I can do is guess from a Floodist perspective of course.  If these meteors hit during the Flood they'd have hit land that was under water, and the lower the land the deeper the water above it, which could have mitigated the drastic effects predicted above.  I checked all the craters referred to and they are all a few thousand miles away from where Noah would have been (even assuming the continents had not yet split).  I didn't check the altitude of the areas where they hit but obviously a few of them hit in lower altitudes.  So these hits might have rocked the water enough to make Noah and family seasick but most likely they wouldn't have produced flame or even as much heat as supposed here. 

If they all occurred during the Flood event, especially if some occurred during the first phase of the forty days and night of constant rain, the result might have been surprisingly minimal. Perhaps a lot of steam rose, which turned into rain in its turn. (The timing would have to take into account when the strata were laid down, and I don't know how to calculate any of that.)

Since I think the strata were all produced by the Flood I also think the iridium layer was deposited during the Flood. What got deposited in any given layer of course is simply a matter of what the Flood happened to deposit there, and nothing to do with great aeons of time.

There's my guess.  SO glad I don't have to "debate" it with all the usual misreadings and angry denunciations and weird denials of the obvious. 

The main point here I think is the way the interpretation of the absence of fossils in a certain layer is treated as undeniable proof that there was a huge extinction event in the distant past. Typical presentation not of FACT, not of simple PHENOMENA, but always of interpretation, of theory, masquerading as fact.

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