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Author Topic:   The Great Creationist Fossil Failure
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(10)
Message 1 of 1163 (785944)
06-13-2016 2:08 PM


Creationists are dimly aware that the fossil record exhibits order, although (as we shall see) they don't really know what this order consists of. In the creationist imagination, the fossil record has crude, primitive organisms at the bottom, and then as one works up through the sedimentary layers the organisms get progressively more sophisticated, complex, agile, intelligent, etc, culminating in the awesome wonder that is Man.

To explain this imaginary fossil record, they have produced some imaginary mechanisms.

---

The first mechanism ("differential mobility") involves creatures running uphill to escape the Flood. Those with superior speed, intelligence, stamina, etc, were able to make it higher up the antediluvian hills before perishing, thus sorting them as (creationists suppose) they are sorted.

You will note that for the sorting so produced to be consistent, the race must always be fair: that is, every animal must start the same distance from the top of the nearest hill. For clearly if some slow cumbersome brute were to cheat by starting off near or at the top of the hill, it would arrive at the summit while its more gifted competitors were drowning lower down its slopes. Or if a fast wily animal such as a cheetah started a long way from the nearest hill, then it might drown and be buried in Flood sediments while a slower but more opportunely placed Triceratops, having started on or near the lower slopes of the hill, was still determinedly plodding upwards.

How this exquisite fairness was arranged, no creationist is prepared to explain.

You will also note that the hills need to be more or less of a height. For consider: if on one hill the dinosaurs only make it halfway up, whereas the modern mammals gain the summit, then what will be the result when animals take refuge on a different hill which is only half the height? Would not the dinosaurs and the modern mammals end up in the same strata, contrary to observation?

Still, this is perhaps a minor quibble, since there is nothing to stop creationists imagining that all the antediluvian hills were in fact the same height. They have imagined much, much sillier things to plug the holes in their hypotheses.

A more serious objection is our inability to find the hills. In the creationist scenario, we would have a hill containing no fossils and presumably consisting of igneous rock, covered over with sedimentary rock (the sediments being deposited by the Flood) with the fossils distributed on the former surface of the hill. But this is not what we find.

We might also object that we do not in fact find fossil organisms sorted according to their speed and agility. For example, it is not really conceivable to suppose that a predator such as Gorgonops could have been outrun by a three-toed sloth, and absurd to think that it could have been outrun by an oak tree. Real geologists attribute its position in the strata to the fact that it lived in the Permian; "Flood geologists" have a more difficult task.

---

So creationists also drag in a second mechanism, "hydrological sorting" (which real scientists usually call "hydraulic sorting"). Objects in an agitated fluid (such as the raging waters of the flood) will tend to be sorted according to characteristics such as shape and density, and this is supposed to explain why (for example) velociraptors end up in one set of strata while gorgonopsids end up in another.

One objection that immediately occurs is that the sediment in the geological record is certainly not hydraulically sorted: if it was, all the larger particles would be at the bottom, and the geological record would grade up from conglomerate to sandstone to mudstone and limestone. This is not what we observe. We should like to hear any explanation of how the fossils got to be hydraulically sorted but not the sediments in which they lie.

We might also reason like this. If hydrological sorting gives us (let us say) a velociraptor buried in sandstone, then it must have the same hydraulic properties as sand. This sounds a little improbable, but let it pass. Now, if we also find (let us say) a gorgonopsid buried in sandstone, then it too must have the same hydraulic properties as sand.

But in that case do we not have to conclude that a velociraptor has the same hydraulic properties as a gorgonopsid? So why are they never found buried in the same strata together?

---

Some objections may be raised against both mechanisms equally. For example, we can find in the same strata a given species of dinosaur, their young, their nests, their eggs, and their footprints. Are we to suppose that the eggs ran uphill just as fast as the adult dinosaurs did? Or that it just so happened that the eggs of a given species always have just the same hydraulic properties as the adults that lay them? (Footprints, of course, cannot be transported by water at all.)

---

The third mechanism ("ecological zoning") is explained as follows by the creationist Henry Morris: "Marine invertebrates would normally be found in the bottom rocks of any local geologic column, since they live on the sea bottom. Marine vertebrates (fishes) would be found in higher rocks than the bottom-dwelling invertebrates. They live at higher elevations and also could escape burial longer. Amphibians and reptiles would tend to be found at still higher elevations, in the commingled sediments at the interface between land and water [...] Mammals and bird would be found in general at higher elevations."

One obvious objection is that these ecological zones would necessarily differ not just in altitude but also in location: they cannot be stacked one on top of another like different floors in an apartment complex, with the mammals living over the reptiles, and the reptiles above the fish. But in the fossil record we do find land animals and other clear indications of a terrestrial habitat directly above marine fossils and sediments.

What is more, we find the reverse, in locations which have undergone multiple transgressions and regressions of the sea. So for example in the rocks of the Grand Canyon not only do we have terrestrial formations with terrestrial fossils sitting directly on top of the marine Redwall Limestone, but also we have the marine Kaibab Limestone sitting directly above these terrestrial formations.

---

This leads us on to the fundamental creationist blunder which we mentioned at the start of this discussion: they have not the faintest idea what the fossil record looks like, and so are contriving their explanations for something that isn't actually there.

It is not hard to discover the roots of their confusion. They have grasped one fact about the fossil record: that it upholds the theory of evolution, and that they need to explain this away. Given this premise, they have deduced what the fossil record must look like (rather than actually looking at it, which would involve work). And since they do not know what the theory of evolution is, or what data would support it, their deductions are entirely at odds with what the fossil record looks like.

For what they seem to expect is that the fossil record should be a recapitulation of the medieval concept of the Great Chain of Being: invertebrates on the bottom, then the fish, then the amphibians, the reptiles, and finally the mammals in all their glory. To quote Morris again: "These higher animals (land vertebrates) would tend to be found segregated vertically in the column in order of size and complexity [...] The general order from simple to complex in the fossil record, considered by evolutionists to be the main proof of evolution [yes, Morris actually wrote that!] is thus likewise predicted by the rival theory ..."

But evolution is not in fact the story of the Great Chain of Being, but of the branching of the Tree of Life; and five seconds' thought would have told the creationists what the theory of evolution does actually predict. For, obviously, we expect any group of organisms to persist in the fossil record until it actually goes extinct. And invertebrates, fish, amphibians, and reptiles have not gone extinct. So we would expect to find (for example) lizards in the most recent sedimentary rocks, because they are still with us: whereas apparently Morris would expect them to be absent because they are small, simple, primitive, lower down the Great Chain of Being; we would expect to find small invertebrates alongside large mammals, not in the least "segregated in order of size and complexity"; we would expect to find fish in the most modern sedimentary rocks, so long as the sediments are marine; since tortoises are still alive, we expect to find them in more recent strata than animals which are larger, faster, and extinct; and so on and so forth. And this is what we do find.

We have, therefore, the creationists' own assurance that their model of the formation of the fossil record predicts and explains features of the fossil record which it flagrantly, blatantly, does not exhibit. And this in itself is sufficient to destroy their model.

We should not anticipate that any creationist will ever explain the actual features of the fossil record in terms of the Flood. It is unlikely at this late date that any of them is going to find out what the fossil record looks like, an activity which would both contradict their prejudices and involve doing some actual work. But I invite any creationist who wants to to give it a try.

And of course anyone else is free to point out problems with the creationist model as it stands. I can think of several more, but this post has gone on long enough ... and the horse is dead.


Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 6 of 1163 (785958)
06-13-2016 5:27 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by PaulK
06-13-2016 4:30 PM


I would make a minor correction. Simpler organisms do not disappear from the record.

That's what I said.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 11 of 1163 (785974)
06-14-2016 2:35 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Faith
06-14-2016 2:25 AM


Faith ... the stuff you've made up about the geological record isn't true, remember? We showed you photographs.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 13 of 1163 (785979)
06-14-2016 5:42 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Faith
06-14-2016 4:25 AM


You "show" a lot of false stuff.

Yeah the photographs are lying. I bet they're in league with the rocks. Reality is all one big conspiracy to make you look bad.

It's working.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(4)
Message 19 of 1163 (785994)
06-14-2016 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Faith
06-14-2016 10:05 AM


If you're going to drool out halfwitted lies and stupid nonsense, could you at least contrive to make it on-topic? Thank you.

There are, after all, other threads where you can lie about these subjects: I suggest you avail yourself of them.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 28 of 1163 (786096)
06-16-2016 12:42 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Faith
06-15-2016 12:25 PM


OFFS
Well, I'll post the cross section, which certainly fits exactly what I described. Layers all laid down before they were tectonically upended. No other way to interpret it. No sign of such a disturbance between the Paleozoic and the Mesozoic. You'd think the splitting up of a continent would have some effect on the layers supposedly already laid down, but Nope, even after the split according to that ridiculous scenario they just keep stacking up as usual, but in reality there was no tectonic disturbance until all were in place, which pushed the entire stack as a unit into its semi-upright position.

Faith. What are we going to do with you?

Smith's cross-sections, like all geological cross-sections with a large baseline, employs massive exaggeration of the vertical scale --- and when I say massive, I mean exaggeration by factors of 50 or 70. Because this is the only way you can actually see what would otherwise be an imperceptible dip of layers which, given the horizontal size of the picture, would be imperceptibly thin if vertical and horizontal distances were to the same scale. To illustrate the necessity, here is the map you posted rescaled so as to employ the same vertical and horizontal scale.

I can't help thinking that you'd know this if you'd ever taken the slightest interest in geology in general, the geology of the British Isles in particular, or the work of William Smith --- or if you possessed the merest vestige of common sense, which would have told you that the height of Mount Snowdon is not going to be over one quarter of the distance from London to northwest Wales. There are no mountains over fifty miles high, Faith.

---

Now, how about you try being wrong about fossils instead? At least that would be on topic.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 30 of 1163 (786101)
06-16-2016 1:43 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Faith
06-16-2016 1:26 PM


Re: OFFS
And in answer to your point, such as it is, common sense, a rudimentary knowledge of geology, or direct observation would tell you that the disturbance caused by rifting consists of the formation of a graben.

Here is a picture of the Great Rift Valley.

Here's a look at another bit:

The tectonic disturbance is the rift, Faith. Again, this is something you would know if you'd taken the slightest interest in the subject.

---

Now, would you like to try being wrong about fossils? Thank you.


This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 34 of 1163 (786106)
06-16-2016 2:55 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Faith
06-16-2016 2:08 PM


Re: OFFS
The rift that separated the Americas from Europe and Africa divided them down to the ocean floor and includes the Atlantic RIDGE between them that continuously burps up magma and continues to push them apart. This supposedly occurred during the Permian period. I would expect some disturbance of strata , and so should you.

Yes, the rifting of the Atlantic caused and is still causing the production of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Do you know where, Faith? In the middle of the Atlantic. Hence the name, Faith. This is why it isn't called the Mid-British Ridge. See, the tectonic activity takes place where the tectonic activity takes place, and not somewhere else.

The rifting began in the Jurassic, not the Permian, so you're out by about a hundred million years. Don't you ever look anything up?

---

Now, would you like to try being wrong about fossils You remember fossils, Faith? Mineralized organic remains that are the subject of this freakin' thread.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 36 of 1163 (786108)
06-16-2016 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Faith
06-16-2016 3:11 PM


Re: there was no Atlantic ridge when the rift formed
There is evidence of disturbance. It's called the Atlantic Ocean. It's quite big.

Now, would you please try to be wrong about fossils?


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 38 of 1163 (786110)
06-16-2016 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Faith
06-16-2016 3:20 PM


Re: there was no Atlantic ridge when the rift formed
There is nothing to say about the fossil order, why do you keep nagging about it?

It's the topic.

The disturbance in question should have occurred to the layers associated with the supposed time the rift occurred.

And the rift did indeed tear right through the sedimentary rocks already laid down and then went on into the igneous basement rock.

Now try being wrong about fossils.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 41 of 1163 (786113)
06-16-2016 5:44 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by edge
06-16-2016 4:26 PM


Passive Margin
And Faith, note edge's use of the word is. The Atlantic is still --- measurably --- rifting. It does so at the Mid-Atlantic Rift. That's where all the tectonic fireworks are, the earthquakes, the volcanoes, the black smokers, the lava flows, and Iceland. The passive margins are passive, in accordance with the expectations of geologists and of people generally who aren't you.

Now say something about fossils.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(5)
Message 46 of 1163 (786127)
06-17-2016 2:48 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by AdminAsgara
06-16-2016 7:53 PM


Re: TOPIC
Actually, let's talk about fossils and the opening of the Atlantic.

First there was the supercontinent Pangea, and dinosaurs could walk dryshod from South America to Africa. Then after the rifting there were only two ways to get from South America to Africa or vice versa: small animals could raft, or a species could go via the isthmus of Panama (after it had formed), through North America, across the Bering land bridge (when available), through Asia and then into Africa via the Sinai Peninsula. Which is hardly practical, since there's a lot of different ecosystems en route.

So given the timing of the formation and rifting of Pangea, we expect South America and Africa to have similar reptilian fauna from the Permian to the end of the age of dinosaurs (as dated by the usual methods) but different mammalian megafauna.

Guess what. They do. They have the same sorts of theropods: Abelisauridea, Spinosauridae, Carcharodontosauridae; the same sorts of sauropods: Rebbachisauridae, Titanosauria Dicraeosauridae; the same sorts of Cretaceous turtles: Araripemyidae, Pelomedusidae; the same sorts of Cretaceous crocodiles e.g. the Araripesuchidae ...

Sarchosuchus, an African and South American crocodile from the Cretaceous

But on the other hand we are at a loss to find any South American hippos or rhinos or giraffids, living or in the fossil record; similarly we can find no African xenarthrans: no giant sloths or marine sloths or sloths of any sort, no glyptodons, no anteaters, no armadillos, no Pampatheriidae; likewise in Africa we find none of South America's extinct metatherian carnivores, or its "terror birds" (phorusrhacids).

So, this all makes perfect sense in the light of geology. But not in the light of "flood geology". Because of course to a "flood geologist" everything in the fossil record lived at the same time and subject to the same arrangement of continents: the glyptodons lived alongside the abelisaurids, and the terror birds rubbed shoulders with Sarchosuchus ...

... and yet somehow some unknown mechanism arranged it that South America and Africa should have megafauna in common only if those Evil Godless Scientists date them prior to the Cretaceous. The dates, of course, being false, and the dating methods being fallacious, and the Cretaceous Period being imaginary. Which makes it kinda surprising that there's an inexplicable connection between these imaginary dates and the realities of paleobiogeography.

Well, it's a puzzle. Unless you abandon "flood geology" and use real geology instead. Then it's obvious.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 54 of 1163 (786146)
06-17-2016 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Faith
06-17-2016 10:02 AM


Re: TOPIC
I'm not sure I'm following you, and given your strange mental glitches on former subjects (such as where the Atlantic Ridge would have been in relation to the UK at the moment when the continents broke apart), I have to wonder if there's anything logical to follow...

You have been asked to stop talking crap about that.

But insofar as I think I get what you are saying it's the usual straw man version of Flood arguments. The Flood idea is that all the fossilized creatures would have been living at the same TIME, but there is no claim they were all living in the same PLACE, meaning as we understand the timing of the continental break-up, the same place on the supercontinent of Pangaea. Where they were buried is often explained in terms of their location of origin. Creatures living now have their own habitats, live in their own ecological environments, there's no reason that would have been different just before the FLood.

But surely it is your contention --- stop me if I'm wrong --- that if we find fossils of species on the same continent, then they lived on the same continent before the flood? If, in South American, we find fossils of glyptodons, abelisaurids, terror birds, Sarchosuchus, etc, then is that not a sign that they cohabited in (what is now) South America before the Flood?

Or do you suppose that the African and South American fossil mammal faunas were identical before the Flood and then geographically sorted by the flood so that (e.g.) all the glyptodons ended up on the west side and all the giraffids ended up in the east?

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 55 of 1163 (786149)
06-17-2016 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Faith
06-17-2016 10:02 AM


Re: TOPIC
I'm not sure I'm following you ...

Let's try to make it clearer There is a sharp distinction between the Cenozoic fossil faunas of Africa and South America; there is a marked similarity between the Mesozoic fossil faunas of Africa and South America. I find the explanation obvious: the Atlantic was present in the Cenozoic but absent in the Mesozoic. But to you there was no such thing as Cenozoic and Mesozoic faunas, all the fossils are simply of antediluvian fauna that was all buried at the same time, in the Flood.

So what's your explanation for the distribution of fossils? And why should it have any relationship at all to the false, delusional dating methods invented by Evil Atheist Scientists Who Hate God And Are Blind To The Truth?

and given your strange mental glitches on former subjects (such as where the Atlantic Ridge would have been in relation to the UK at the moment when the continents broke apart ...

I can't resist pointing out that the present continents were, when they were regions of Pangea, joined together at what are now the continental margins, not at their present coastlines. What are now the British Isles were therefore quite a ways away from the rift.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 60 of 1163 (786206)
06-18-2016 9:01 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Faith
06-18-2016 8:23 PM


Re: TOPIC
That's close enough. That would have jostled things at the coastlines too.

Show your working.


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