by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 31 January 2003
The article "The Fossil Record: Becoming More Random All the Time" by young earth creation science advocate John Woodmorappe, has some very good points to it.1 Read it if you like, (its a long one), but you don't have to much farther than the abstract to see problems. Actually, some are problems, and some are deceptions.
The abstract states that "The reality of the geologic column is predicated on the belief that fossils have restricted ranges in rock strata." Of course it is...this has been the "reality" all along. His wording makes it sound as if the geologist has been up to some deceit...but this is not the case. He goes on to claim, "as more and more fossils are found, the ranges of fossils keep increasing." This is nothing new, and is one of the greatest features of scientific research. As new discoveries are made, the timelines that we thought species were living is extended. So what! He states that stratigraphic-range extension is not the exception but the rule. OF course it is, by its very nature it HAS to be. You are not going to "shorten" ranges...the only way to go is to extend them. It has always been this way, and always will be this way. It in no way makes dating through the use of fossils invalid.
Does it make "it easier for the Genesis Flood to explain an increasingly-random fossil record" as the author claims? Yes, if it were "increasingly random," but it is not. Because you increase the range of an organism's lifespan on earth does not prove more "randomization." He states further down, when expressing questions from evolutionists, "why a layer of rock containing trilobites is never found to contain dinosaurs," and vice-versa. Great point...if we are to suddenly find a trilobite in a dinosaur layer...great, they lived longer than expected. If we find a trilobite with a human fossil, then great. It has no implications for young or old earth creationism.
The author is trying to establish credible proof for a completely random fossil record. A completely random fossil record should have been created from the Flood, if you follow the model proposed by young-earth scientists. What is meant by "random?" If the fossil record was random, we should have humans, and dinosaurs, and trilobites all together...but we don't. In fact, look at the Grand Canyon...you would expect many fossils in the rocks at the bottom, but starting from the bottom, you have to go thousands of feet up the rock strata before you even get to any vertebrate fossils. Why are they not lower down? By the flood model, while these thousands of feet of strata were laid down, all the vertebrates were busy "treading water" for months, until they finally died and sank? Not only is this not possible, it is not supported in the fossil record. The fossil record shows increasingly complex organisms, as you go upward (or, younger) in the geologic column, which is exactly what you would expect in an old earth.
Many points on the geologic time scale were made with the use of boundary fossils. This is a means of dating a rock, albeit not precisely, by using the range that an organism existed as a boundary. In other words, for instance, the Cretaceous period ended 65 million years ago. You could use a dinosaur fossil in a rock layer, and state with certainty that the rock is older than 65 million years.
Yes, boundary fossils are used to create imaginary timelines, so that earth history can be better understood. Does finding a boundary fossil outside their previously-believed range invalidate the timeline...no, it just increases that organism's life range. So what if new timelines are made. That's just science reacting to a change of the "evidence" in the rock record. Is it a perfect system? No. Is it a reliable method that considers all the evidence fairly, and reaches a logical, reliable conclusion? Yes.
What's So Hard to Understand?
That's what we call science...something familiar to a scientist, but for some unknown reason it is a hard concept to grasp for someone who practices "young earth creation science." When new discoveries are made, theories change, textbooks re-written, research articles published. It is a great process.
Why do young earth scientists like to disavow scientific methods? Mud-slinging, mis-statements, and controversies over ages which are taken out of context are all the weapons that a young earth scientist has left, because they can't prove a young earth from science.
The author claims, "Creationists, including myself, have provided a variety of alternative explanations for fossil succession." Have they been accepted by the scientific community...NO, because there are no facts to back them up from the geologic record. They are only accepted within the small community of young-earth scientists, and their devoted followers. They say the world scoffs at them, because the Bible says they will be persecuted for holding to their faith...no, that's not true. The world scoffs because they hold to an unprovable, unbelievable theory based on an inaccurate interpretation of the Bible and science.
The God of the Bible is real, and yes, the earth is old. God's creation testifies to this. The Bible says, "speak to the earth, and it will teach thee" (Job 12:8). Let’s all listen to what the earth has to say.
The author assumes that the fossil record is becoming more random, and will eventually prove the flood. Unfortunately for him, this is far from the truth. Randomness will never be proved. In fact, the rock record has already disproved it.
1 TJ, Volume 14, Issue 1. Published on the web at http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/2766
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