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Neil, some info on Angular Unconformities


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Ah, I'm both pleased and annoyed to see AiG finally get around to confronting angular unconformities. I guess that's been up since last December, if I'm reading it right. It pleases me to see creationists confront a long-standing piece of evidence against their worldview, but I'm annoyed that they continue to try.


I've become so bored by creationists. I've beaten them down so many times, that my shoulders sink when I see another pop right back up again. It's like playing idiot wack-a-mole. Wack-an-idiot. Wack-a-troll.


As you might guess from the time stamp on this, I'm still up from last night, and to top that off, I've got to leave for a trip today (YAY!), although I should have computer access later. That said, I only took enough time to skim their page very briefly, and I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what their point is. It looks like they're talking about Siccar Point, which is in Scotland, but breezing up and down the page, I couldn't find that they really had an over-riding point. After realizing that the article is mainly about James Hutton, I came to the temporary conclusion (until I actually get a chance to read it) that they just don't have a point as it relates to my favorite geologic feature.


They kind of speculate at the end, but somehow they have underwater hardening and eroson happening at break-neck speeds. I don't have an immediate rebuttal to that, but I hardly think that I need to explain why that's just plain silly. Maybe they thnk that some of their diagrams demonstrate how this can be done. I'll have to look at it later. Needless to say, though, I'm not too impressed.


I'll give you a quicky conundrum, though, just to throw a monkey wrench into their conclusion. Basically, I like to make the geology a compound problem for creationists, so they don't start getting ideas that they can just explain certain phenomena away with easy answers. Basically, those same layers that make up an unconformity also happen to have features within them that cannot be accounted for if they happened to have been laid in a flood. As you erode layer after later, you run into all sorts of nasty little evidences, like foot prints, rain depressions, mud cracks, etc. All of these are indicative wet seasons followed by drying followed by sedimentation.


Unfortunately, I don't have any references at my disposal, but I'll try to get you something once I'm settled in tonight if I can. Basically, what this amounts to is that even if the creationists could find a clever way around angular unconformities, although I'm fairly confident they they haven't, they've still got this second line of evidence that will almost certainly destroy any explanation they can come up with. In order to account for the foot prints found in individual rock layers, the creationists would pretty much have to abandon their whole sedimentation theory, at which point, what would they have left?


One person who might be able to help you, though (probably better than I can) would be "Durango" Bill Butler. He's got a geology site of his own specifically dedicated to the Grand Canyon and its features. The guy is probably the most available expert resource on geology currently on the internet. I suggest shooting him an email. See what he has to say about AiG's article. He probably knows as much about Siccar Point as I do, but he should be able to detect AiG's mistakes as well as provide some geological problems the article doesn't even begin to address.


Bill's site is www.durangobill.com.

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Okay, I had a little bit of time to read part of it. Let me show you the first part that jumps out at me.


"Indeed, Hutton’s ideas inspired Darwin and gave him the eons of time he needed for his theory of evolution."


Lie. To back this claim up, AiG has referenced (or actually, they didn't) a source, in which they claim Darwin was inspired by Charles Lyell's work, and thus was inspired by Hutton, which essentially "gave him the eons of time he needed for his theory of evolution".


Well, not exactly. First of all, the obvious fact of the matter is that Hutton did not in any way inspire Darwin to make his theory. Darwin got his theory by observing the adaptation of finches on various islands. Anything other than that is a lie.


Second, the only thing Hutton can really be credited for in relation to evolution was that he demonstrated that the accepted age of the Earth was wrong. He didn't really do anything else. In fact, Hutton believed that you couldn't infer the age of the Earth and that any data pertaining to the origin of the planet was forever lost. In a sense, Hutton didn't give Darwin squat.


It's nice that AiG is owning up to the fact that geology had an older Earth figured out before Darwin published his findings, but they're kind of crediting Hutton with something he really didn't do. It's a classic case of a false dichotomy. AiG is assuming that anything that doesn't support the Biblical claim must, in turn, support evolution. Hutton's work didn't do that.


Back to the references that isn't. If you take a closer look at that reference, it's reference #4, it's made to look as though they discovered something which reveals a bias on the part of Darwin. What they've actually done, though, is they've simply referenced Charles Lyell's book, and then asserted that Hutton inspired Darwin via Lyell's book.


While it's technically correct that Darwin was working off of Lyell's ideas of the age of the Earth, clearly Darwin had his own data (the finches, e.g.) that supported evolution. And AiG is oversimplifying Hutton's influence on Lyell. In many ways, Lyell corrected Hutton's work, having found a way to interpret geologic ages via rock strata.


The claim of AiG ammounts to one thing...


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So they really have nothing to say on Angular Unconformities? Do you have any sources for this, Neil? When you have time...that is.


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I really don't see how it even needs a rebuttal, now having read through it, because I don't think they get it. I mean, I can dig up some links, I suppose, as I don't have any on hand at the moment. Some of the older ones I had are gone now, particularly a really juicy one that showed foot prints appearing on angular deposits at Grand Canyon.


The short answer is that the fossil record itself refutes their argument here. What they're trying to do is show that angular deposits could have been layed quickly, followed by level deposits. It could not have possibly been that way, because of what I just mentioned. There are fossils, footprints, rain depressions, and mud cracks found underneight sedimentation on these formations. Footprints alone indicate that the angular rocks were once level and that these layers were deposited at different times. It's just ridiculous to deny that.


Again, I'm referring to the Grand Canyon when I talk about fossils and footprints. I know the article is actually about a formation in Scotland, and I don't know much about that formation, but I think the Grand Canyon trumps them anyway. As usual, AiG isn't actually letting the evidence lead to a conclusion, and thus they're trying to build a case around what they want to be true (probably goes without saying), whereas the Grand Canyon shows that the Earth simply can't be young.


That's my take on it. You might want to e-mail Durango Bill about that, since he lives out there and happens to be one of my favorite sources for all things geology.

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Mr. Neil, I'm curious if the end of the last ice age could have contributed to these formations in Scotland? Would that account for no footprints, since it would have been basically under ice? :thanks:

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I don't know. I don't know that there aren't foot prints in the Scotland formation. I really don't know much about what's there. But what I'm saying is that whether there is or isn't is irrelevent, because AiG's interpretation of angular unconformities doesn't work at the Grand Canyon. They can't swerve old world evidence by escaping to another continent.

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