The Science of it All, Intelligent Design

One last bit of reflection

One last bit of reflection

I was astonished when one of the biochemistry professors I was working with on a project to modify a human anatomy/physical therapy program donated by NASA, discussed the elegance of the automatic decision-makers working on the molecular scale to keep the various chemicals of life at the right levels in each cell!  It was a little off topic at the time but was certainly one of my interests.  I mentioned that they certainly seemed designed and he was quick to change his attitude and attributed these ingenious molecular decision-makers to unguided evolutionary processes.  His message was clear: however remarkable these molecular control systems may be, they are nothing more than natural accidents— just like everything else in biology.

I let it slide and nothing more said during the rest of the design project.  I knew— intuitively, anyway— that no string of biological accidents could possibly be so clever as to manufacture themselves or other biological parts.  At that time, I sensed the weight of “scientific authority” standing with his interpretation and against mine.  Notice, I used the word authority here instead of evidence.  He was the degreed individual; I was the understudy, hired to improve the software.  However, by this time, I had completed three semesters of college microbiology and sports biomechanics.  For all the claims that I had heard in lectures and read in textbooks about the inventive power of Darwin’s evolutionary process, I had not seen any convincing scientific basis for these claims.  No one had shown how the amazing cellular machines of life could be accidental inventions instead of deliberately designed ones.

The troubling contradiction between what the voice of scientific consensus was telling me and what the voice of my own intuition was telling me had to be resolved.  That is what I have set out to do, to resolve this apparent conflict within my understanding.  I am certain that this conflict exists in all of us to some degree.  To the extent we share the intuition that life cannot be an accident; understanding is what eliminates the contradiction.  Technical understanding can be overwhelming; I know I had to read some of the data more than once to understand it.  I will offer simplified details of the important technical information.  I will not turn this into a science lecture.  Instead, common science will be the thread that holds everything together.

The most peculiar aspect of Darwinism is not that it takes credit for things that seem too extraordinary to be explained but rather that the explanation offered seems too ordinary for the job.  As a software developer, I recognize the other concepts that continue on here.  Intuitions are interpreted differently (Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired)

Whether the method I describe is the one that I actually use is less important than whether it justifies my conclusions. Specifically, I want to know whether the intuition that makes us all doubt Darwin’s theory is sound.  If the answer to this is yes, as I think I can confirm, then Darwin’s theory is in trouble whether or not we ever have a fully satisfactory account of how intuitions work.

I think the intuition by which we immediately perceive certain things to be the products of purposeful intent is close to the idea that some things are too good to be true.  This expression does not mean that good things cannot happen; it means certain good things cannot just happen.  They never come out of thin air.  They only happen if someone makes them happen.  Only someone who has that knowledge can accomplish tasks that we would need the knowledge to accomplish.

Whenever we think we would be unable to achieve a particularly useful result without first learning how we judge that result unattainable by accident.  The important point is that we all reach these judgments, often unanimously, and this rule fits these judgments reasonably well.  I use the term universal design intuition— or simply design intuition— to refer to the common human faculty by which we intuit design or the necessity for learning.

If no one makes breakfast, then breakfast goes unmade.  Likewise, for cleaning up after breakfast, for making the bed, and so on.  Everyday experience consistently shows us that even simple tasks like these never accomplish themselves.  Whether we taught ourselves these skills or taught by others, the point is that knowledge had to be acquired in the form of practical know how.

According to the design intuition, neither bricks nor shoes are made unless someone makes them.  As familiar as this intuition is, it turns out to have huge implications for biological origins, because the claimed exceptions are so concentrated there. And what dramatic exceptions they are!  Bricks are not made until someone makes them (or today, until someone makes the machine that makes them), but somehow much more complex things, like dragonflies and horses, were made without anyone making them, we are told.

Sensibly, we know and understand that nothing impressive ever happens by accident.  Far beyond such simple things are the pinnacles of human technology, like robots, communications satellites, and smart phones, which we know cannot appear by accident.  At the highest reaches of the complexity scale is the true masterpieces— things like hummingbirds and dolphins— all of them alive, all of them eluding our best efforts to understand them.  Some technophiles like to think that human ingenuity will one day produce their equal, and good things will surely come from rising to that challenge-obtainable or not.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson described this utopian view as follows in the first episode of the “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” television series:

“This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules: test ideas by experiment and observation; build on those ideas that pass the test; reject the ones that fail; follow the evidence wherever it leads, and question everything. Accept these terms, and the cosmos is yours.”

Somehow, with the conferring of rare honors, with the establishment of scholarship funds and the dedication of buildings that bear a person’s name, with oil portraits and marble busts and postage stamps bearing a person’s likeness, somehow the fallible aspects of humanness we most easily relate to evaporate.  This leaves us with an image of an individual that hovers midway between heaven and earth, neither divine enough to be worshiped nor human enough to be hugged.  Perhaps this tendency to idolize the legends of science is connected to a skewed view of the entire scientific enterprise.  Many of us, including myself, have bought into the idea that science, though practiced by humans, has managed to rid itself of the human flaws that leave their mark on every other human undertaking.  The purity of science is guaranteed by the rigor of “the scientific method,” we think.

if ideas could be tested with a meter, the way batteries and fuses can, then Tyson’s simple rules would work.  But if we intend to question everything, perhaps we should begin by questioning whether the human testing of human ideas can really be so simple, considering how complicated humans are.  Nowhere are these complications more evident than in the discussion of big ideas that touch the way we live, because here we find that everyone— scientists included— have a strongly held view.  Moreover, the very biggest ideas are those that offer answers to the all-important question of how we got here.

Oddly enough, I now see how the pursuit of prestige goes a long way toward explaining how science is stuck on certain wrong ideas.  In the professional world of science, prestige is bestowed in the form of praise, and not just any praise but the rare praise of those who are themselves most highly praised.  Why would anyone assume that praiseworthy science always gets the praise it deserves?

The answer, I think, is that when we fall for the utopian view of science, truth and prestige do appear to be weighted equally.  If we assume scientists are single-mindedly driven by the quest for truth and nothing else, then we expect those scientists with the keenest perception of the truth to rise to the top.  These top-notch scientists form an elite body of experts whose consensus opinion is the surest indicator of the truth there is.  Or so we believe.  Prestige and truth then seem inseparable, as though they are just two different names for the same thing.  Moreover, we need only see that it can easily become an authoritarian science.  With the truth perceived to be so reliably in the hands of the elites, we ordinary folks need not concern ourselves with the details when the elites (the knowledgeable) are challenged.  Instead, we wait patiently for them to deliver their official response, which we assume is surely correct.

My intent in showing the less flattering side of science is not to make me look good or others look bad (many of them are highly qualified individuals), and certainly not to make science look bad.  My purpose is instead to promote a realistic view of humanity and of science as a human undertaking.  We will not really love science until we learn to love real science— not a hypothetical pursuit in a utopian world but an intrinsically human pursuit in this world, however imperfect.

If you are wondering whether it is legitimate for scientists to hope for a particular result when they set their goals, it certainly is.  It is done all the time.  The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a well-known example.  SETI involves the work of many scientists who hope their search will one day prove successful.  They have no proof, but science never starts with proof.  Like every other worthwhile undertaking, science starts with ambition.

Many scientists devote themselves to finding cures for various diseases for which there is no proof that these long-sought cures will be found, but the goal and the ambition are there.  That is no small thing.  Scientific proof never comes without those key ingredients.  Harm comes to science, not by people hoping to find a particular result, but by people trying to suppress results that go against their hopes. When we consider who has the power to suppress unwelcome results, we see right away that the view most likely to create that suppression is the majority view of the scientific community.

If science is the application of reason and observation to discover objective truths about the physical world, then doing science requires accepting just a few things— none of them controversial.  First, we must accept that objective truths exist, as we all naturally do (I have a five part series on Objective Truth starting here: https://larryemarshall.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/objective-truth-part-one/ ). Then we must accept that some of these truths pertain to the physical world and that some of those that do can be discovered through human observation and reasoning.  Since we all engage in this discovery process from an early age, we all naturally accept these propositions.

There is nothing more.

Adding anything to this essential set of propositions causes two serious problems.  One: the resulting embellished definition of science excludes what should not be excluded, namely any work that adheres to the essential set without adhering to the embellishment.  For example, if a group of people were to insist that science can’t be done properly without accepting that life exists on other planets, then that group will refuse to consider any work done from a contrary perspective, even though this work may be perfectly legitimate science.  Second, the embellishments run the risk of pressuring scientists into accepting wrong answers by ruling the right answers “unscientific.”

The reason adherents to this version hold science to be the only legitimate source of truth are that they also hold to materialism.  This preconceived set of beliefs commits them to the idea that there is not anything that exists that is not physical stuff.  Because science is the only way to know the truth about physical stuff, this leads them to conclude that science is the only source of truth.  The materialist commitment itself is completely unnecessary to science and therefore a harmful embellishment.

According to this now-familiar view, people of faith who challenge Darwinism are really pushing religion, even if their challenge has a scientific look to it.  The real problem for science, however, is not people having agendas (as they always do) but rather the institutionalization of agendas.  This is the embellishment problem we discussed above.  Once an embellished view of science becomes established, active suppression of dissent becomes inevitable, with predictable consequences.  Everything that opposes the institutionalized agenda is labeled “anti-science” by those working to protect the agenda.

Therefore, with this background, we will begin to study rocks (not the ones in my head).  Instead, the ones that make up the world around us and which have been misdated and misanalyzed for many, many years now.

 

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Intelligent Design

Evolution= Upside Down Science

Evolution= Upside Down Science

As I have struggled to determine my thesis for my degree in Philosophy of Science, I went and reread 28 books that I had already finished and made copious notes in them.  I put Camel, Blue Cheer, Tangerine Dream and Chris De Burgh on my mp3 player and sat outside with two Yorkies (Yorkshire Terriers), and six Leghorns on an overcast day.  After about two hours of watching the clouds float by, I had my thesis: “How Abnormalities in the Long-age Geologic Column Infer a Short-age Hypothesis”.  I believe that the evidence for a short-age earth is convincing and will supplant the long established 4.5 billion years currently established.  Bear with me as I lay out the ensuing evidence in a series of articles.

I feel like I am repeating the same things that many others have, but that seems to be the process.  Nobody will deny that today’s science relies on empirical analysis— in other words, verification through repeated measurement and testing.  The “scientific method” is the basis for the common steps that biologist’s and other scientists use to gather information to solve problems.  These steps include observation, hypothesis (prediction), data collection, experimentation to test the hypothesis under controlled conditions, and conclusions.

A good question to ask, though, is what does empirical science have to do with the past and origin of life and the earth?  Empirical analysis is verification through repeated measurement and testing.  Testing conducted under controlled conditions to validate a hypothesis or perhaps even to verify a specific law of science is common.    Empirical analysis is a wonderful testing tool but its application is limited to the present— the way things are and the way they work in the present.

Science that puts men on the moon, which provides us with Wi-Fi across the nation and ever more expensive new telephones/devices, is based on scientific principles that can be tested and repeated in the present.  Theories about the origin of man, the earth, and the universe that happened in the past cannot be tested.  Therefore, they cannot rely directly on “empirical analysis.”  Howsoever, observation and empirical analysis are often used to indirectly evaluate the ‘slow and gradual’ old age assumptions of evolutionary doctrine.  It is most important to realize that secular scientists assume evolution and old age as their foundation or basis for reconstruction or interpretation— they assume that evolution and an old earth are true.

An individual geologic fact is accepted or rejected as valid only if it fits the old earth, evolutionary model.  This is a very important concept to understand.  The presumption of evolution “as fact” exists in many sciences including biology, geology, astronomy, paleontology, and anthropology.  The primary difference between Intelligent Design, scientific creation, creationism, and evolution is not about the data but rather, the “interpretation” of data— for example, interpretation of observed geological landforms, the fossil record, and radioisotopes.  The question I will examine in this series of articles is, “Is evolution true or is it a great deception?”

The whole process of dating the earth (specifically its’ rocks) begins with the presumption of evolution and an old earth.  Scientists analyze the data, retain, and incorporate it consistent with evolution— and all contrary evidence and data are rejected or ignored.  At this point, certain individuals would say “There is no evidence that is contrary,” How wrong they are- the vast amount of data is ignored and brushed aside in this “scientific process”.  Contrary evidence to evolution is viewed as an anomaly or simply wrong.  An individual fact is accepted or rejected as valid only if it fits the evolutionary model.

“If evolution was merely a scientific theory that was open to evaluation based on the evidence, then its evidentiary failings would be freely acknowledged and additional theories could be considered as they are warranted. But far from being a free marketplace of ideas where scientists consider themselves at liberty to pursue the evidence where it leads, the modern scientific establishment has bound itself to a single system of interpretation, with myriad variations but one bottom line: evolution is a fact, and alternatives must be rejected out of hand.”  “Evolution’s evangelists” (May 2008). Acts & Facts, 37 (5), Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 10. Copyright © 2008

Secular scientists maintain that evolution is a ‘science’ and creation is a ‘religion’.  Evolution is not testable using empirical analysis and, therefore, does not meet the definition of ‘science.’, Besides that, evolution does not meet the definition of theory, as in “evolutionary theory.” A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations based on hypotheses and verified by independent researchers— but the fact is, evolution (genuine gain in genetic information or net increase in complexity) has never been observed in fossils or living populations.  In fact, evolution is not even worthy of the term hypothesis which is an educated guess based upon observation.  At best, evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis.

The bottom line is that evolution has never been observed or proven by empirical science— it is just assumed true.  I emphasize that evolution is not science… it is a philosophical worldview, nothing more.  Therefore, what motivates scientists to maintain a tight grip on “supernatural” or the concept of God or creation is considered to be outside the realm of real science.

Theories of how the universe, the earth, and man originated may come and go, but the belief that it happened by chance is an “unshakeable faith” for many today. Evolution has never been observed within fossils or living populations, there are no transitional types, and there are no known biological processes for evolution. Evolution has never been observed within fossils or living populations, there are no transitional types, and there are no known biological processes for evolution. Divine Creation is inconceivable to many scientists because the science community is largely atheistic.

Evolutionists claim that evolution is a scientific fact, but they almost always lose scientific debates with creationist scientists.  Accordingly, most evolutionists now decline opportunities for scientific debates, preferring instead to make unilateral attacks on creationists.  The fact is that evolutionists believe in evolution because they want to.  It is their desire at all costs to explain the origin of everything without a Creator.  Evolutionism is thus intrinsically an atheistic religion.  Some may prefer to call it humanism, and “new age” evolutionists place it in the context of some form of pantheism, but they all amount to the same thing.  Whether atheism or humanism (or even pantheism), the purpose is to eliminate a personal God from any active role in the origin of the universe and all its components, including man.

Life is here on earth, so secular scientists feel they must explain life “naturalistically”— consequently, they believe that evolutionary doctrine and ignoring data contrary to evolution is legitimate.  To avoid having to recognize God, “professing to be wise, they became fools.”  (Romans 1: 22, NAS)  But there is an even more ominous reason for belief in evolutionary doctrine.  It is tied to the ancient (spiritual) rebellion of men against their Creator as foretold in Genesis 11: 4 and found throughout biblical history.  It refers to the fact that humanity, ever since the rebellion of the first man, Adam, has had an inherited tendency to oppose the Creator’s rule or sovereignty over their lives (Romans 1: 18-32).

While neither the creation model nor the evolutionary model can be proven or disproven, these two views can be compared to see which one fits the data better.  When compared, the young earth model (creation and a worldwide flood) fits the data perfectly while the old earth model (evolution with ‘slow and gradual’ geologic events) has continual flaws— it is essentially upside down science.

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Intelligent Design, The Science of it All

Disrupting Long Held Beliefs

Disrupting Long Held Beliefs

You have been taught that the earth is 4-5 billion years old and the universe about 13.5 billion years old for how many years?  If you are a Christian, it has to have caused some difficulties for you in your journey when the Bible teaches that the earth is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old.  Reconciling the differences has been a problem and has split religious individuals in half with some believing the Bible is inerrant and others trying to make the Bible fit into a MYA (Million Years Age) philosophy.

First, I need to do a brief introduction to the science of geology for my readers so we can at least talk about the subject on a similar level.  I will describe conventional geology theory, with essentially modern geological processes functioning for hundreds of millions of years, and short-age geology, with geological processes functioning for only thousands of years. One might say two very different points of views.

The geological processes to be described will include types of rocks and how they form, the depositional environments in which sedimentary rocks accumulate and how to recognize these environments, how mountains and landscape develop, and erosion processes that shape the land.  Glaciation, the stratigraphic sequence of rock layers, and the fossils they contain and how they were preserved will also be discussed.

This is not the best comparison chart I could have found.  It will do for now, I hope to find a better one later, Even if I have to make it myself.  The important thing is to remember that thee millions of years on the life are condensed in thousands of years during and after the flood on the right side.  We will refer to the names of various periods on the left.

I will introduce two differing theories that attempt to account for the origin of the Cambrian explosion to the recent geological column and its fossils.  Conventional geology estimated to be 541 million years of time and short-age geology is just a few thousand years.  Both of theories must account for a number of geological features and processes.  These are the formation of rocks and minerals, accumulation of sedimentary deposits in various ancient environments, formation of mountains, and erosion of the sediments to form our modern landforms, glaciations on mountains and over continents, and the origin of the fossils in the fossil record.

In evaluating data and interpretations in geology/ paleontology, it will often be difficult to apply the concept of inference-to-the-best-explanation because we are dealing with events that happened long times ago and not directly observed.  If we do not have adequate modern analogues for comparison with the rocks (and we have never observed a global geological catastrophe), we will be somewhat hampered in reaching a confident interpretation of the data.

The most direct source of evidence of the history of ancient life comes from the fossil record.  It poses difficulties for both interventionism and macroevolution.  The vertical stratigraphic sequence of fossils from one-celled prokaryotic (cells with no nucleus) organisms in the Precambrian to eukaryotes (cells with a nucleus), invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, and, finally, humans and the associated questions of geologic time with its support from radiometric dating are the real challenges that face interventionists who accept a literal biblical creation.  The following material introduces the basic concepts of geology with both conventional and short-age interpretations of the concepts.

Geological processes, generally like those observable today, operating over a time period of several billion years produced earth’s geological features.

LOOKING NORTH ACROSS THE CANYON AT THE NORTH RIM, GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK.

“Life” (cells that are alive,t hey have movement, take in nourishment, excrete by-products) have been on the earth during much of Earth’s history according to F. M. Gradstein and others in their book  “The Geologic Time Scale” (Boston: Elsevier, 2012).  The Phanerozoic (Cambrian to recent) rocks formed during the last 541 million years, and the fossil record is a record of the evolution and extinction of life forms through this time period.  The modern field of geology traces its roots back primarily to Charles Lyell, who developed the theory of uniformitarian geology[i].  This theory directly contrasted the theories of catastrophism and supernatural occurrences. Uniformitarianism is the idea that by using observations of current natural processes, we can predict how processes occurred in the past. In order to do this, we must accept that changes in nature occurring millions of years ago are similar to the changes that occur today.

Modern geological theory is a modification of Lyell’s uniformitarian views and recognizes that Lyell was partly wrong.  The term “uniformitarianism,” as used by Lyell, actually includes four different concepts.  These four aspects of uniformitarianism with an evaluation of each summarized in the following table:

Table 1. There are four separate concepts in Lyell’s uniformitarianism[ii]

  • Uniformity of law: This is a part of science in general, and not unique to geology. It is still accepted that natural law is indeed uniform. Water never flowed uphill in the past.  (Interpreted as the Creator making a uniform and consistent world of scientific laws if you are a Christian).
  • Uniformity of geological processes: The present is the key to the past. The application of this means we do not invent unique processes if modern processes can explain the observations.  However, this is only partly valid; it is now known if the geological past was very somewhat different from what we observe today.
  • Uniformity of rates of processes: Geological processes have always been slow and gradual. There have not been any catastrophic geological events. This is known to be false but is still figured in their calculations.
  • Uniformity of conditions: Conditions on earth have always been the same, cycling endlessly with no direction. This is not true and hard to support. Conditions in the Cambrian, for example, were quite different from conditions today.  For example, our existing continents were largely covered with shallow seas during the Cambrian.  In addition, the fossils in different parts of the geological column are significantly different.

The four points in the above table is the basic concept that any theory of geology must satisfy.  So also, should the concept of short-age geology. It’s basic tenets are as follows.  The Phanerozoic (denoting the eon covering the whole of time since the beginning of the Cambrian period, and comprising the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras) record consisted of just a few thousand years.  The major taxonomic (the science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics) groups of animals and plants arose at the beginning of that time through independent origins, by creation in other words.  Much of the fossil record consists of remains of these organisms that ended up buried in a sequence resulting from the order of events before, during, and after a worldwide geological catastrophe rather than from an evolutionary sequence.

After the catastrophe, geological processes gradually slowed to the rates observable today and significant fossil deposits formed because of the progressively less catastrophic events during this time.  A significant part of the Cenozoic fossil record, probably formed after the global catastrophe, which would include evolutionary sequences of organisms within the individual created groups.

 

Whether the basic structure of the earth and the lower portions of the geological column (e.g., the Precambrian) had a recent origin or formed over billions of years is a separate question beyond the scope of our discussion.  Other authors have covered it very well.  We will discuss short-age geology as it pertains only to the Phanerozoic part of the geological column.

The short-age geologist proposes that, at some time in the past, a disturbance in the earth’s crust temporarily disrupted the normal relationships between land and water bodies, initiating a period of rapid geologic activity on a global scale.  This period of rapid erosion and sedimentation produced a significant but unknown portion of the geological column.  The geological and geophysical processes that occurred during that event have determined the characteristics of the rocks formed at that time and the distribution of various fossils in the rocks.  They influenced the distribution and character of radioactive elements in the minerals used in radiometric dating.

A short-age geology theory expressed in this form is a simple descriptive statement.  It says nothing about the un-testable question of whether God was involved in initiating this geologic event.  No supernatural powers, no magic or mythical events.  It will satisfy the four requirements in Table 1.  It does not attempt to explain any process or event that may have operated outside the known laws of geology, chemistry, or physics.  This particular descriptive theory can be used as a basis for defining specific hypotheses concerning the sedimentary processes and the amount of time involved in depositing individual formations or in shaping the earth’s landforms.

These hypotheses can be tested in the same way that any geologist tests hypotheses.  Two geologists could be doing research on the same rock formation. One geologist might believe that the formation took a long time— thousands or millions of years— to be deposited.  The other geologist would believe the formation was deposited considerably quicker.  They will probably ask different questions, but they both look for the same general types of data as they study the rocks.  Each must analyze their own data, as well as other published data, and interpret the meaning of all the data. When they disagree, each geologist analyzes the other’s work and reevaluates their own work and tries to determine what additional data would be needed to clarify the issue.  If each is doing good work, the findings will be published in a scientific journal so others can benefit from it.

In time, as more data accumulates it will point to rapid deposition, very slow deposition, or something in between.  If we evaluate the data fairly, eventually it should imply which theory is truer, unless our inability to go back in time and directly observe what happened, limits the data too much.  All geologists will use the same observational and experimental procedures in their research.  One primary difference in the research approach of short-age geologists and other geologists is what they predict the eventual outcome will be: The short-age geologist is confident that when “the data is all in,” they will indicate that much of the geologic column was deposited in a short time.  A conventional geologist is more likely to have confidence that the data eventually will indicate that the entire geologic column was deposited very slowly or in rapid spurts with long periods of time between.

Many would say the data already is conclusive and has disproved the short-age theory.  However, the short-age geologist notes with interest the definite trend toward catastrophism in geology that began a few decades ago.  Some of the pertinent articles are listed below:

  • V. Ager, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record, 2nd ed. (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1981)
  • A. Berggren and J. A. Van Couvering, eds., Catastrophes and Earth History: The New Uniformitarianism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984)
  • Albritton, Catastrophic Episodes in Earth History (New York: Chapman & Hall, 1989); R. J. Huggett, Catastrophism: Systems of Earth History (New York: Edward Arnold, 1990)
  • Koeberl and K. G. MacLeod, Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond (Boulder, CO: Geological Society of America, 2002).

Nevertheless, a number of lines of evidence challenge the short-age theory. Discrepancies between a theory and the available data can arise in at least two different ways: either (1) the theory is wrong or (2) important discoveries are waiting for diligent researchers who use their theory to guide their research. Interventionists/ short-age geologists recognize that if their theory is true, significant phenomena have yet to be discovered.  Does interventionism stifle research, as some have suggested? If interventionism is understood correctly and if its predictions of new phenomena waiting to be discovered are taken seriously, it can be a stimulus for vigorous new approaches to research.  I will now review the basic concepts of physical and historical geology and make initial comparisons of how these two theories deal with this evidence.

First up: Rock Types and Processes for Their Formation and Weathering

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[i] C. Lyell and G. P. Deshayes, Principles of Geology: Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth’s Surface, by Reference to Causes Now in Operation, 3 vols. (London: John Murray, 1830– 1833).

[ii] S. J. Gould, “Toward the Vindication of Punctuational Change,” in Catastrophes and Earth History: The New Uniformitarianism, ed. W. A. Berggren and J. A. Van Couvering (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 9– 34.