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Author Topic:   The Geological Timescale is Fiction whose only reality is stacks of rock
vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 9 of 1257 (787874)
07-23-2016 12:27 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Faith
07-21-2016 6:53 PM


Hi Faith.

Just looking at your second cartoon (the one with the unhappy looking dinosaur, under various layers, which I'm a bit too lazy to work out how to copy), I wonder if this will help you to follow the process.

Over here in England, we had the Romans come across, around a couple of thousand years ago. As well as beating the crap out of the natives, they built a bunch of villas and other buildings. They lived and worked in them, and led perfectly happy lives on what was then the surface of the British landscape.

Over time, the Romans passed on, and a lot of their buildings got abandoned and are now being discovered and investigated by teams of delighted archaeologists, (a number of them on TV, on the magnificently kitsch Time Team).

The point is that a large number of the villas and buildings which are being discovered are buried under a few feet of earth - the current surface of the earth, that is being farmed and existed on quite happily by Brits, a couple of thousand years after the buried buildings got built.

The way the process will work, according to the science, is that if these buildings were to stay in situ for a few million years, then there's a good chance that some of them would end up in layers of deposited material, which over time would become lithified, rendering the buildings fossils. (Not fossils of creatures, but of buildings).

The point is that layers don't suddenly descend on an environment, crushing the animals below, like your charmingly inaccurate cartoon. They accrete - gradually, imperceptibly over time, whilst life gets on with living on top of the accreted landscape. This is an undeniable conclusion of the evidence from unearthing Roman villas buried under a few feet of Earth in Britain. It's a wonderful example of how the process is working now, in relatively recent geological time.

Can we therefore abandon the premise of your cartoon that layers descend, per-formed, from the sky, crushing life below them ? That is not what the science is saying, and you are mocking a straw man.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Faith, posted 07-21-2016 6:53 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Faith, posted 07-23-2016 2:50 AM vimesey has responded

    
vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 16 of 1257 (787888)
07-23-2016 6:30 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Faith
07-23-2016 2:50 AM


Re: Second cartoon from OP removed
I'm going to remove that cartoon because it isn't conveying what it was meant to convey

Ok, fair enough.

a dinosaur peering out from his own layer/time period to see that the whole stack is just as barren and unlivable as his layer is.

I'm not sure where you get the idea that each geological age, (which archaeologists have ascribed to the history of the earth as a matter of nomenclature, for ease of understanding and discussion), sort of wipes the surface of the earth clean before starting again on the next age. That is not what science says is happening here.

The earth is a complex system geologically. In simplistic terms, at different times, different parts of it will be being eroded, sometimes down to the plains Edge referred to - (and that erosion could be aeolian, tidal, river-based, oceanic) - others will be undergoing accretion, others will be being deformed and maybe raised up by tectonic plate movement, others will be being created by volcanic activity, etc.

Where accretion is occurring, the layers of dirt/sand/dust/sod which are being layered onto the existing surface will sometimes end up being compressed and lithified over the course of millions of years. Geologists can then dig up those lithification layers, and can work out which geological age the layers in question came from. (Remember that the geological ages are nomenclature only - the process is a continuum). If dead animals got trapped in any of the layers and became fossilised, then we know that the particular species lived in the geological age identified.

But the key thing to know is that the process is a continuum. The dinosaur is no more peering out of a discrete section of time/geology at more recent times, than the Romans are peering at us from 2,000 years ago. All that happened is that a dinosaur died millions of years ago, and got covered by something, which later turned into rock, along with its remains. In the meantime, the earth quietly got on with eroding, accreting, folding and adding to with lava, an ever-changing but generally un-barren surface. And life got on with living on that surface, notwithstanding that certain living creatures died and got buried in the process.

Edited by vimesey, : No reason given.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Faith, posted 07-23-2016 2:50 AM Faith has responded

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vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


(3)
Message 51 of 1257 (787943)
07-24-2016 3:34 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by Faith
07-24-2016 2:42 AM


Re: How we get from rock to landscape to rock, that's the question
how a landscape forms ON TOP OF A STRATUM

A landscape doesn't generally form on top of a stratum of rock - that is not how the science works. Instead, layers of soil, earth, dust, ash, peat, whatever, get layered on top of other layers of soil, earth, dust, ash, peat, whatever, and on the surface of this evolving landscape, life continues. Like my example of Romania Britain to modern day Britain.

THEN, over millions of years, as the layers of soil, earth, dust, ash, peat, whatever get buried deeper, sometimes the conditions (pressure, heat) are such that they lithify and turn into strata of rock.

That's the sequence you need to get - first it's strata of living landscape, some of which, millions of years later, then lithify into rock.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by Faith, posted 07-24-2016 2:42 AM Faith has not yet responded

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vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


(4)
Message 106 of 1257 (788036)
07-25-2016 2:16 AM
Reply to: Message 103 by Faith
07-25-2016 1:41 AM


Re: How we get from rock to landscape to rock, that's the question
The soil is completely fictional. There is no evidence for it. The actual evidence is the flat straight contact lines between strata as seen in photo after photo after photo.

It's has been said several times in several ways by people on this thread. I'm trying to work out how to put this as simply as I can, to see if I can get you to address the actual science, instead of your notion that rock strata form on top of rock strata.

What happens is this - soil strata form on top of soil strata. (Just like the soil on top of the soil that the Roman villas are found in here). All of those strata get buried over time, and then, when the conditions are right, the strata get compressed and turned from soil into rock strata, all together, one on top of each other. Does that make it clearer ? The soil is there, on top of other layers of soil, and they all get turned into rock together, one on top of the other.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by Faith, posted 07-25-2016 1:41 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 111 by Faith, posted 07-25-2016 4:20 AM vimesey has responded

    
vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


(1)
Message 112 of 1257 (788042)
07-25-2016 4:38 AM
Reply to: Message 111 by Faith
07-25-2016 4:20 AM


Re: How we get from rock to landscape to rock, that's the question
Shouldn't you call it "sediment" rather than "soil?"

Absolutely - but I was replying to a quotation in which you referred to soil, and I was trying to keep things straightforward. You use "soil" in the quotation I'm going to address next, however, so I'll stick with it, for ease of progressing the discussion. It doesn't make much difference for the purposes of the point I'm making.

But the strata often have tight contacts between them and no loose soil at all between the layers, just to repeat that.

And to repeat, the strata themselves were the loose soil. They rested, one on top of the other, as layers of soil. (Or sediment, if you prefer). There was no loose layer of soil in between - they were layers of soil on top of each other. They then got lithified into layers of rock on top of each other. Layers of rock are what layers of lithified soil look like.

Edited by vimesey, : No reason given.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by Faith, posted 07-25-2016 4:20 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 208 by Faith, posted 07-28-2016 7:02 PM vimesey has responded

    
vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


(5)
Message 214 of 1257 (788302)
07-29-2016 1:41 AM
Reply to: Message 208 by Faith
07-28-2016 7:02 PM


Re: How we get from rock to landscape to rock, that's the question
So I’m trying to make sense of this, vinesey. I can’t.

Soil on top of soil? No landscape? What?

Ok, this is where my original example of Roman ruins in Britain is so useful.

So the Roman buildings in question were (obviously enough) built on top of the the British landscape as it was 2000 odd years ago. They get abandoned, and over time, they end up getting buried under more and more soil and assorted other sediments. (We know that this is the case, because we have to dig down, under a couple of feet of soil, to unearth them).

So we have a picture of a landscape, where more and more soil is being deposited, certainly on parts of it, over 2000 years. It remains a landscape - it retains a surface, which gets forested, or farmed, or built on or whatever - but parts of it are having more and more soil accreted on top of them.

And as they do, stuff (Roman villas, dead animals) gets buried in the accreted soil.

Eventually, in certain areas of the planet, accretion, tectonic and volcanic activity, and other geological activity, will mean that the accreted soil will get pushed far enough down below the surface, that it will be subjected to such pressure and temperature, that it gets lithified. And if the conditions are also such that the buried stuff (Roman villas, dead animals) didn't rot away in the meantime, they'll get lithified too, and turned into fossils.

Now, the only piece to add to this picture, is why the layers of lithified soil (ie layers of rock) look different - in other words, they look such obvious layers. And this is because, over time, conditions on the accreting surface of the landscape, which is gradually building up this eventually-to-be-lithified pile of soil, change. And whereas in one century or millennium, it might be good arable soil which is being deposited, in another, it might become sand or clay or ash (because of an encroaching shoreline, or a meandering river, or a volcano, or whatever). The sediment which then starts accreting looks different from the previous sediment, and when the whole lot gets lithified, the rock that it lithifies into looks different too - which is why you get layers of different looking rock, one on top,of the other.

The key thing to grasp, is that every grain of that sedimentary rock, at one time formed part of the surface of some of the landscape on the planet.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 208 by Faith, posted 07-28-2016 7:02 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 216 by mike the wiz, posted 07-29-2016 7:03 AM vimesey has not yet responded
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vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


(1)
Message 219 of 1257 (788307)
07-29-2016 7:18 AM
Reply to: Message 208 by Faith
07-28-2016 7:02 PM


Re: How we get from rock to landscape to rock, that's the question
Clearly the strata that represent separate time periods had to have lithified long before the next layer did, or possibly even got deposited – because of the many millions of years between the time periods you know.

One more thing, which may assist - when we say (possibly a little loosely) that there are millions of years between sedimentary rock layers, we generally don't mean "in between" the layers - ie separating them. We mean that the layers represent a continuous aggregation, which between them account for millions of years' worth of deposition. Kind of like saying some sportsmen or women have got 200 international appearances between them. We're not specifying anything about a gap in between them - rather referring to a shared period of time. (With the top layers being deposited at the end of that period and the bottom ones at the start of it).

And references to geological ages are just shorthand for saying "the period between x and y million years ago". They're not references to specific rock layers. (We do refer to rock layers as being Cambrian etc, but this is just a convenient way of saying that the layers in question were formed in the period between x and y million years ago).


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 208 by Faith, posted 07-28-2016 7:02 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 251 by Faith, posted 07-31-2016 10:55 AM vimesey has not yet responded

    
vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 1236 of 1257 (792003)
09-30-2016 8:30 AM
Reply to: Message 1235 by Pressie
09-30-2016 8:23 AM


Didn't we already refer to this as "the industrial age" ?

Mind you, you need a bit of ancient Greek to make it more sciencey :-)


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1235 by Pressie, posted 09-30-2016 8:23 AM Pressie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 1237 by Taq, posted 09-30-2016 10:24 AM vimesey has not yet responded
 Message 1238 by Pressie, posted 10-03-2016 5:01 AM vimesey has responded

    
vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


Message 1239 of 1257 (792093)
10-03-2016 11:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1238 by Pressie
10-03-2016 5:01 AM


Very true :-)

I will admit to being a little irked by this sort of thing though. If scientists say that the industrial age has seen some unusual impacts on various eco and environmental systems, I can draw some inferences from that, and as an intelligent non-scientist, ask questions about pollution, deforestation etc.

If scientists say that about the Anthropocene, however, I need to go look it up, before I can engage with the science. I'm not being completely excluded from the conversation, I grant you - but barriers to understanding are being erected (and that's fertile territory for the snake oil salesmen you refer to).

Science isn't going to win many hearts and minds, if it behaves like a closed shop.

Edited by vimesey, : Typo


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1238 by Pressie, posted 10-03-2016 5:01 AM Pressie has responded

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 Message 1242 by Pressie, posted 10-04-2016 8:40 AM vimesey has not yet responded
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vimesey
Member
Posts: 967
From: Birmingham, England
Joined: 09-21-2011
Member Rating: 6.6


(3)
Message 1248 of 1257 (792135)
10-05-2016 7:05 AM
Reply to: Message 1247 by Pressie
10-05-2016 5:26 AM


I agree that we have very firmly entered the Age of Stupid - our media, our engagement and public debate, our reading have been near universally dumbed down, to cater to the lowest common denominator, in the drive for exposure and profit. On the Internet, the opinions of the most extreme, most bigoted moron can appear just as valid as those of a wise, well educated and thoughtful commentator. We have Brexit votes by large numbers of people who swallowed whole a raft of obvious lies; we have a Presidential candidate who thinks it's positive to avoid paying taxes; we even have Boris Bloody Johnson as foreign secretary for crying out loud.

But I think that serious people retain a duty to tread into this arena of vacuity. If not, then we cede the ground to the morons, the thugs, the deluded and the bigots. And they all vote.

So I don't think scientists can entirely afford the luxury of handing over to educators the responsibility for promoting science. I think that communication about science to the teeming, swirling, but above all voting masses of non-scientists is going to be increasingly important to the future of science.

I am not saying (and didn't say above either) that science itself should become less precise - of course it shouldn't. But wherever possible, it should seek to avoid barriers to understanding (eg creating yet another new ancient Greek label, when something descriptive and in modern English would have done the job just as well scientifically, but would have aided as well the understanding of non-scientists), and science will need to come to terms with the reality that it will need to reach out to the public, if it doesn't want the public to vote for a majority of pre-enlightenment thinkers, who might think it would be a good idea for schools to teach fairy tales as science, for example.


Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1247 by Pressie, posted 10-05-2016 5:26 AM Pressie has not yet responded

    
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