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Author Topic:   Uniformitarianism and Geology
Zubbbra25
Junior Member (Idle past 3341 days)
Posts: 22
Joined: 10-11-2010


Message 1 of 56 (591967)
11-17-2010 7:06 PM


Hey everyone!

I was having a rather heated debate with a local YEC today and the topic of dating came up. He kept reiterating the point that we (the scientist) do not know the original condition of the earth when it formed and so forth. So how do we know that radioactive decay, speed of light and all other physical laws and natural laws have always been as they are now?

As much as I tried to explain scientific methods used and so on he kept harking on about how we just don't know what conditions were like.

He then went on to talk about the Mt St Helens eruptions and the forming of strata and canyons quickly, arguments I had heard before of course, but still I let him finish. He then argued that because it has been shown that canyons can form quickly, whats to say that they haven't formed quickly in the past.

To quote a section from Ken Hams 'The New Answers Book 3' he states:

But notice something about the assumptions of naturalism and uniformitarianism: they are anti-biblical assumptions. The bible indicated that the universe was created supernaturally by God (Genesis 1:1) and that present rates are not always indicitive of past rates.

Now my question is two fold,

1) If uniformitarianism and naturalism are anti-biblical assumptions as ways to explain things in the past, how can he use the fact that a canyon formed 30 years ago as an argument for his position?

2) Or is it that a YEC can pick and choose what to include as being fit for their arguments?

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Increased text size of some of the text.


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Adminnemooseus
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Posts: 3958
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Member Rating: 5.2


Message 2 of 56 (592002)
11-17-2010 10:57 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Uniformitarianism and Geology thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 1341 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(1)
Message 3 of 56 (592005)
11-17-2010 11:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Zubbbra25
11-17-2010 7:06 PM


YEC and other delusions
I was having a rather heated debate with a local YEC today and the topic of dating came up. He kept reiterating the point that we (the scientist) do not know the original condition of the earth when it formed and so forth. So how do we know that radioactive decay, speed of light and all other physical laws and natural laws have always been as they are now?

All the evidence points to uniformity of radioactive decay, speed of light and all other physical laws and natural laws. There is no good evidence to suggest this is incorrect. In the face of so much contrary evidence, YECs have to believe anything which gives them some hope that their religious beliefs in these areas are correct. It doesn't have to be logical, supported by evidence, or even consistent with other beliefs as long as it lets them delude themselves that their beliefs are supported by science.

As much as I tried to explain scientific methods used and so on he kept harking on about how we just don't know what conditions were like.

It is a waste of time even trying with one whose mind is so closed to the evidence of the real world.

He then went on to talk about the Mt St Helens eruptions and the forming of strata and canyons quickly, arguments I had heard before of course, but still I let him finish. He then argued that because it has been shown that canyons can form quickly, whats to say that they haven't formed quickly in the past.

Canyons can form very quickly in soils, such as those laid down and rearranged by St. Helens. Canyons do not form nearly so quickly in hard rock.

To quote a section from Ken Hams 'The New Answers Book 3' he states:

But notice something about the assumptions of naturalism and uniformitarianism: they are anti-biblical assumptions. The bible indicated that the universe was created supernaturally by God (Genesis 1:1) and that present rates are not always indicitive of past rates.

Which one stands up to a test against real world evidence?

Now my question is two fold,

1) If uniformitarianism and naturalism are anti-biblical assumptions as ways to explain things in the past, how can he use the fact that a canyon formed 30 years ago as an argument for his position?


First, the bible has nothing to do with science. Many of the religious beliefs credited to the bible are in fact anti-science and anti-rational.

And he is using the 30-year old canyon as evidence because he has nothing else. And that, as noted above, is entirely wrong. Newly deposited soils will behave much differently than old hard geological rocks. They might both form canyons but to suggest that because one does so quickly in soils that the other must have done so quickly in rock (and as such being part of their evidence for a global flood) is silly.

2) Or is it that a YEC can pick and choose what to include as being fit for their arguments?

Bingo! We have a winner!


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
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Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3879
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 4 of 56 (592013)
11-18-2010 12:04 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Coyote
11-17-2010 11:22 PM


POTMed it
POTM message.

Main quibble: The use of the term "soils". Better term: Unconsolidated clastic material.

Message 1 writes:

1) If uniformitarianism and naturalism are anti-biblical assumptions as ways to explain things in the past, how can he use the fact that a canyon formed 30 years ago as an argument for his position?

Mt. Saint Helens is a (so called) catastrophic event, and catastrophic events are part of the uniformitarianism concept. Relatively unusual things do happen - Indeed, in deep geologic time they are not even really unusual. But equating the Mt. Saint Helens related processes to the Grand Canyon related processes is without validity.

Moose


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 1341 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 5 of 56 (592018)
11-18-2010 12:37 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Minnemooseus
11-18-2010 12:04 AM


Re: POTMed it
Thank you!

Edited by Coyote, : spelling


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Zubbbra25
Junior Member (Idle past 3341 days)
Posts: 22
Joined: 10-11-2010


Message 6 of 56 (592055)
11-18-2010 2:37 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Coyote
11-18-2010 12:37 AM


Re: POTMed it
Well I thank you for an extremely concise and well thought out response to my original post Coyote.

Truly I just couldn't quite grasp how a YEC can seem to take these two concepts and equate them and then use that as evidence to strengthen their position! You summed everything up perfectly


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Zubbbra25
Junior Member (Idle past 3341 days)
Posts: 22
Joined: 10-11-2010


Message 7 of 56 (592086)
11-18-2010 3:41 PM


A little more expansion...
I was wondering if someone could enlighten me.

While at work today I had this constant nagging in the back of my mind about these two important concepts to geology and science in general. Namely uniformitarianism and naturlism.

So, if, as Ken Ham put it, that uniformitarianism and naturalism are anti-biblical assumptions, how can a YEC use ANY model, ANY method, ANY data, ANY evidence being collected now, or in the past to accurately model anything that has previously occured?

For example.

One quote from AiG about chalk formation:

How then does chalk form? Most geologists believe that ‘the present is the key to the past’ and so look to see where such microorganisms live today, and how and where their remains accumulate.

And then they go on to say:

Quite clearly, under cataclysmic Flood conditions, including torrential rain, sea turbulence, decaying fish and other organic matter, and the violent volcanic eruptions associated with the ‘fountains of the deep’, explosive blooms on a large and repetitive scale in the oceans are realistically conceivable, so that the production of the necessary quantities of calcareous ooze to produce the chalk beds in the geological record in a short space of time at the close of the Flood is also realistically conceivable.

They then go on to say:

Violent volcanic eruptions would have produced copious quantities of dust and steam, and the possible different mix of gases than in the present atmosphere could have reduced ultraviolet radiation levels. However, in the closing stages of the Flood the clearing and settling of this debris would have allowed increasing levels of sunlight to penetrate to the oceans.

So the thing that has been nagging at me all day is this, how can the fludologist use volcanic eruptions, decaying organic matter, sea turbulence or anything for that matter as evidence for their position if they themselves don't atest to naturlism and uniformitarianism? Whose to say volcanos in the past didn't puke up marshmallows which released clouds of sugar-dust or that sea turbulence was in actuality caused by gigantic sea-turtles and their relative mating habits?


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NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 56 (592090)
11-18-2010 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Zubbbra25
11-17-2010 7:06 PM


1) If uniformitarianism and naturalism are anti-biblical assumptions as ways to explain things in the past, how can he use the fact that a canyon formed 30 years ago as an argument for his position?

What I read Ken Ham to be saying is a tautology we'd all agree with. Science is anti-biblical to the extent that it contradicts the Bible. Of course Ken does not even entertain the idea that either the Bible or his interpretation of the Bible could be wrong.

I'd also submit that the Saint Helen's explanation does not have to be true for the argument to have some merit. The only point is only that canyon formation does not take millions or billions of years even using natural processes and not that God necessarily used a volcano to create the Grand Canyon.

It should be pretty clear that the idea that the Grand Canyon was formed by the Flood or that humans partied with Stegosauri is no more Biblical than anything Ken Ham decries.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8519
Joined: 03-06-2009


Message 9 of 56 (592335)
11-19-2010 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Zubbbra25
11-18-2010 3:41 PM


Re: A little more expansion...
So the thing that has been nagging at me all day is this, how can the fludologist use volcanic eruptions, decaying organic matter, sea turbulence or anything for that matter as evidence for their position if they themselves don't atest to naturlism and uniformitarianism?

Or more importantly, how can they walk out the front door every morning? How do they brush their teeth if they truly think that the toxicity of sodium fluoride could suddenly change at the drop of a hat? How do they trust their brake pedals in their cars knowing that the tensile strength of steel could change to that of spaghetti and the drop of a hat? If decay rates can just change willy nilly then what must also think that nuclear reactors and hydrogen bombs are just ticking time bombs that could suddenly and catastrophically blow up when the decay rate changes suddenly.

But like most things YEC they use things when they support their claims and reject those very same things when they don't.


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jar
Member
Posts: 33893
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 10 of 56 (592340)
11-19-2010 5:13 PM


other than uniformitarianism, what is there?
Basically, uniformitarianism only says that the processes we see happening today happened in the past. The observations for that position are the evidence left behind from past events when compared to evidence left by contemporary events.

It says that if we find an ancient site that shows the same evidence we see in a contemporary site, then it's likely that the processes were the same.

BUT WAIT ... there is more ...

there are some things that do stand out, for example uranium halos. For uranium halos to exist then the processes that created it must have continued for at least the time needed to create that one example.

BUT WAIT ... there is more ...

there is also supposition, things placed in some order. If one item is found under some other item there has to be some mechanism that explains jess how that came to be.

I still await the explanations other than Uniformitarianism.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

  
Iblis
Member (Idle past 3131 days)
Posts: 663
Joined: 11-17-2005


Message 11 of 56 (592341)
11-19-2010 5:35 PM


Uniform Results
The main question I have for anyone pursuing this line of argument is, why do the various unrelated dating methods agree so well. Fine, the speed of light was different, and/or radioactive decay was different. Whatever!

How about varves, and tree rings, and strata, and genetic testing, and most importantly stratification ?!? And strata! And layers and layers of fossils! In the strata!

What, in the world, could possibly, make all these things, confirm one another, in such a way, as to defy the simpleton's interpretation of the ancient poetry, if the ancient poetry, were really intended, to be treated, as a science book !?!

Edited by Iblis, : stratification!


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8519
Joined: 03-06-2009


Message 12 of 56 (592342)
11-19-2010 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Iblis
11-19-2010 5:35 PM


Re: Uniform Results
What, in the world, could possibly, make all these things, confirm one another, in such a way, as to defy the simpleton's interpretation of the ancient poetry, if the ancient poetry, were really intended, to be treated, as a science book !?!

When your mechanism of choice is MAGIC anything is possible.

A good example is the RATE "too much helium in zircons" study. They did mental gymnastics to show that the only explanation for the excess helium was an increase in the decay rate only to sweep away the massive amount of increased heat through magical evaporation.

But really, the only thing you need to point out is that in order for YEC to be true every universal law that we are aware of has to be wrong. Not just a little wrong either, but really, really wrong. For YEC to be true it would have to occur in a universe that would be unrecognizable to us in the here and now. The admission that the speed of light, E=mc^2, and just about every known constant had to be different in the past for YEC to be true is a very, very damning admission. We should do a better job of pointing that out.


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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 56 (592343)
11-19-2010 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Zubbbra25
11-17-2010 7:06 PM


Zubbbra25 writes:

1) If uniformitarianism and naturalism are anti-biblical assumptions as ways to explain things in the past, how can he use the fact that a canyon formed 30 years ago as an argument for his position?

He can't. Not only does the example of 30 years ago not relate at all to the Grand Canyon, but it can't relate to *anything* past or future if uniformitarianism isn't assumed. Without such an assumption inference is impossible and he commits intellectual suicide.

For example, he wouldn't be able to assume that the words he uses mean the same thing they did the last time he used them. He couldn't even assume that the next time he eats will sate his hunger, or the next time he breaths it will perform the same function of respiration. He couldn't be sure that people 2000 years ago needed to breath or eat. Its a ridiculous position to take without sufficient reason to conclude things operated differently in the past, and that evidence simply isn't present.

Zubbbra25 writes:

2) Or is it that a YEC can pick and choose what to include as being fit for their arguments?

The YEC position absolutely requires the rejection of mainstream evidence in preference to favored conclusions. I don't see how this is in any manner debatable.


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Iblis
Member (Idle past 3131 days)
Posts: 663
Joined: 11-17-2005


Message 14 of 56 (592352)
11-19-2010 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Taq
11-19-2010 5:51 PM


Re: Uniform Results
But really, the only thing you need to point out is that in order for YEC to be true every universal law that we are aware of has to be wrong. Not just a little wrong either, but really, really wrong. For YEC to be true it would have to occur in a universe that would be unrecognizable to us in the here and now. The admission that the speed of light, E=mc^2, and just about every known constant had to be different in the past for YEC to be true is a very, very damning admission. We should do a better job of pointing that out.

Jar had a thread, a long time since, called How big is our Galaxy. He got to this point around message 37.

Jar writes:

That's a bunch of stars.

Let me ask you a question.

What would night look like if the Biblical Creationists happen to be right and all those stars are in a sphere that's 6000 light years in radius based on the earth?.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Off-topic banner.


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jar
Member
Posts: 33893
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 15 of 56 (592356)
11-19-2010 8:53 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Iblis
11-19-2010 8:35 PM


Re: Uniform Results
Never got a response there either.

Or in the Grand Canyon thread...

or Oetzi...

or the Salt thread...

or the How to make sand thread...

or ...

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Off-topic banner.


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