The late Jurassic, for instance, was not laid down everywhere; where land existed no sediment was being added, except in lakes, dune accumulations, and in certain other situations. Another possibility is erosion. Given enough time, erosion will strip away exposed strata. Large parts of Canada have been, with the help of glaciers, stripped all the way down to the Precambrian rock! Talk about missing layers!
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Again, missing strata present no problem for geologists. The geologic column has no missing strata because it is a catalog of all known strata; it is not a physical locality but a chronological compilation of all localities, an ideal reference frame. Anyone who has studied a decent geology text, a result of numerous years of careful work by thousands of trained geologists who made numerous field trips to assorted mountains and valleys in order to chip away at the earth's old rind, will appreciate just how messy things can get.
Nevertheless, except in the very worst cases of mangled rock, there is almost always a pattern to it which holds the key to its history. Common sense suggests that the strata have been folded, and careful mapping bears that out. Footprints, mudcracks, ripple marks, cross laminations, and various other clues found on the surfaces of bedding planes often confirm beyond any shadow of a doubt that a given sequence of strata have been overturned. A strata sequence of B-C-A-B-C, to give another example, suggests that the strata A-B-C had been shoved upon itself after breaking along a front, and that stratum A- had eroded away.
A geologist studying the site would look for evidence of an overthrust at the boundary of C-A. To hear creationists complain, you'd think the strata were shuffled like a deck of cards without a clue as to which way is up! A careful mapping of an area is usually enough to unravel the mystery or at least point to a likely solution. Strahler , Chapter 40 provides an excellent discussion on the nature of overturned strata, including a thorough discussion of the Lewis Overthrust. When geologists look at areas which haven't been seriously disturbed for great ages, such as the Grand Canyon, they always find the strata in the right order.
Some strata may be missing, but the order will be correct. Such studies soon made it abundantly clear to the early geologists that the earth's strata has a very specific order. Thus arose the concept of the geologic column. Let me also add that radiometric dating supports only one order for the geologic column, the same order found in undisturbed areas. Radiometric dating, where applicable, also clearly identifies reversed strata and other anomalies. Such anomalies, as already noted, can often be identified by extended mapping of an area. More evidence illustrating the correct order of the geologic column may be had by mapping the bottom sediments of the Atlantic Ocean according to their geologic ages.
If we move away from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, either towards the United States or North Africa, we move successively from the recent sediments of the Quaternary period to the Pliocene, Miocene, Oligocene, Eocene, and Paleocene epochs, which make up the Tertiary period, to the late, middle, and early Cretaceous periods, and finally into the late Jurassic period just beyond the continental shelves of either coast McGeary and Plummer, , p.
The fact that these sediments are in perfect textbook order is hardly surprising since the Atlantic sea floor has been continually spreading apart since the late Jurassic. As new sea floor emerges and spreads outward it picks up the most recent sediment, which means that the farther away we look from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge the older the sediment is in the bottom layer.
We should, therefore, find the whole textbook sequence as far as it goes in its proper order as the sea floor is a perfect place for the continuous deposition of sediment, and that is exactly what we do find! A similar story holds for the East Pacific Ridge, which runs roughly south of central Mexico. If we move northwest towards the Marianas Islands south of Japan we cross the same order of geologic epochs and periods as we did in the Atlantic! Again, this is not surprising since the Pacific sea floor is spreading out from that ridge, meaning that it would also record the true order of sediment deposition.
Naturally, it will agree with the order found in the Atlantic. There is really no question whatsoever as to the proper order of the world's major strata. It is a sign of sheer desperation that today's creationists would even try to challenge such a solidly established fact as the geologic column. The creationist claim of misplaced fossils, i. The one, shining exception, the supposed man-tracks along the Paluxy River in Texas, which had enough "substance" to be the subject of a creationist movie, has proved to be an embarrassing bust.
It is an embarrassment to all but the most die-hard, head-in-the-sand creationists.
A thorough discussion of all the claims for "misplaced" fossils and manufactured items would fill an entire book. We can only scratch the surface. This hammer was supposedly dug out of Ordovician strata. In fact, it is a 19th century miner's hammer of recent American historical style. Carl Baugh is something of an embarrassment even to creationists in that he is continually finding things in the Paluxy River area which just ain't so!
Perhaps you've heard of "Glen Rose Man" which was created from a fish's tooth! That was one of Baugh's productions. As for the hammer, which was actually found by others near London, Texas in the s, supposedly in an Ordovician stone concretion, it merely came into Baugh's possession. The stone concretion is real, and it looks impressive to someone unfamiliar with geological processes.
How could a modern artifact be stuck in Ordovician rock? The answer is that the concretion itself is not Ordovician. Minerals in solution can harden around an intrusive object dropped in a crack or simply left on the ground if the source rock in this case, reportedly Ordovician is chemically soluble.
This is analogous to stalactites incorporating recent objects in their paths as they grow. The rapidity with which concretions and similar types of stone can form is evident in soil caliche development. For years creationists claimed that human footprints could be found side by side with dinosaur prints at this site near Glen Rose, Texas. The complete story of creationist doings in and around the Paluxy River is, with one or two notable exceptions, a classic study of wishful thinking gone awry. Few studies shed more light on the creationist mentality than does the history of the Paluxy River "mantracks.
There was even a seductive creationist movie, Footprints in Stone , which "documented" the "mantracks" found along the Paluxy River. Laurie Godfrey showed that the film was pseudoscientific. The "man prints" in the film had been darkened, with either shellac or oil, making them look far more human than they would have otherwise Godfrey, , p. In some cases the "man print" was a portion of a larger footprint which was probably made by a dinosaur.
One of Godfrey's students wrote to Eden Films to ask whether or not duplicates of their casts could be purchased for firsthand examination. Their answer was "no, not yet," leaving Laurie Godfrey wondering " Why not yet? Coombs, a vertebrate paleontologist who has studied dinosaur tracks, and Dr. Gomberg, an expert on the anatomy of the primate foot, both watched the film and concluded that they saw no genuine human tracks except those made during a modern demonstration.
They concluded that some of the prints shown were genuine in the sense that some kind of animal made them, but the details from the film were too poor to draw any conclusions. It is fortunate that some Texas paleontologists have examined firsthand the Glen Rose tracks. Langston also noted that one of the most widely reproduced footprint photos of Paluxy man shows a portion of a poor print of a tridactyl dinosaur; this may be clear, however, only to someone who, having studied the anatomy of the dinosaur foot, knows what to look for.
Is There Circular Logic in Fossil Dating?
Milne [ ] makes the same point using photographs of in situ "man prints" taken directly from creationist literature. These "man prints" are nothing more than dinosaur toe impressions, selectively highlighted, with sand obscuring places where the rest of the dinosaur's foot might show. The existence of claw marks on some of the best series of "giant man prints" is now acknowledged by creationist John D. This includes the McFall track, which is shown in Footprints in Stone. After commenting on the film's unbalanced testimonials from supposed "experts," a group of commentators that did not include a single vertebrate paleontologist or paleoichnologist an expert on the tracks of extinct critters , Laurie Godfrey concluded: Before long others had visited the site.
A study of stride length added additional support to the obvious.
Circular reasoning??? | The Rational Response Squad
Nor has previous paleontological studies of the area offered any hope for creationists. Fossils typical of the Cretaceous were found in the Cretaceous strata. Mammoth remains were found above that strata in recent deposits, but never embedded in the Cretaceous. The Ryals Trail, the McFall site, Taylor's Trail, and other items were examined and discounted as human trackways or footprints.
The details of these studies are too numerous to repeat here. In September of Glen Kuban and Ronnie Hastings noticed that coloration patterns, due to secondary infilling of the original depressions, patterns previously noticed on only some of the Taylor site tracks, now appeared on tracks of all four alleged human trails. The coloration clearly brought out the dinosaurian nature of the "human" footprints! A few creationists became so hysterical that they actually hinted that evolutionists might have painted in these markings! Taylor was so impressed with Kuban's guided tour of these problems that he withdrew the film Footprints in Stone from public circulation!
Schadewald, , p. In the March Acts and Facts , an anonymous author presumably Henry Morris defends John Morris' half-hearted retraction in an unapologetic apologetic. Regarding John Morris' hints about fraudulent colorations, the anonymous author of "Following Up on the Paluxy Mystery" notes that "no evidence of fraud has been found, and some hints of these dinosaur toe stains have now possibly been discerned on photos taken when the prints in question were originally discovered.
Indeed, the original creationist interpretation of the trackways is characterized as "not only a valid interpretation but arguably the best interpretation of the data available at that time. Another creationist organization with a heavy stake in the Paluxy River footprints is the Bible-Science Association. About a month later, the BSA finally broke its silence. The statement made no mention of Kuban's work or of the contribution that the "Raiders of the Lost Tracks" had made.
Schadewald referred to it as "whitewash as usual from the Bible-Science Association," but he held out hope that they would yet come clean. Meanwhile, as if nature intended to add insult to injury, the colorations were becoming more and more distinct as the years rolled by! The "human" footprints were turning into dinosaur footprints!
Glen Kuban , pp. The colorations provide strong confirmation that all the trackways on the Taylor site are dinosaurian. Even before these colorations became more prominent, the tracks did not merit a human interpretation.