Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 6 – Geology and the burden of proof

Problems not only geology but animals.  Happy Lent!

Problems not only geology but animals. Happy Lent!

In 14 (of the original post here), our Christian reveals that river floods aren’t worldwide. Great shock to all of you, I know.  After finding this bit of the glaringly obvious, he then declares that while ancient people knew this kind of flood, they certainly wouldn’t mistake it for a global flood “even after the compounded interpolation of the centuries”.  I will guess that he is trying to say that the people wouldn’t have claimed a local flood to be a global one even after time has passed and the event becomes badly remembered.  

He asks for two instances where an event was exaggerated out of proportion and became a myth.  Along with floods, tidal waves are caused by the Midgard Serpent and will cover the world in water during Ragnarok (hey, a flood myth that’s also a end times myth!).  Winter is invoked as a apocalyptic force that covers the earth killing all humans in a Fimbulvetr. A great wind was the culprit in Aztec world destruction, not suprising since hurricanes are common in the Yucatan area; fire was also another cause of the world/human kind being destroyed in Aztec mythology since they postulate various incarnations of the world. What is highly amusing is that he excepts his Bible from this for this reason: *I* (me, Vel) don’t believe in it.  Well, I don’t believe in the other myths either, Suprise!  He also uses his own word “fraudulated”.

We still have the same baseless claims that the bible is literally to believed and he now asks for: “list two events in the Bible which have evidence that actually proves them not to have happened not just raising vague doubts like you tried to do this time” Back again to our Christian trying his best to shift the burden of proof, how cute. Of course, we do still have the biblical flood, the supposedly vanishing of Tyre from history and the events of Exodus. No vague doubts here, direct positive evidence that these did not happen.  

To explain burden of proof a bit further, we have our Christian insisting that I show that something doesn’t exist.  He wishes to declare that the absence of evidence isn’t the evidence of absence, aka “”You cannot prove that God does not exist, so He does.”  Alas, he forgets, again, that positive evidence that precludes a claimed event or item is all the evidence you need to demonstrate that something doesn’t exist. The claim of a catastrophic physical event can be shown to be untrue if physical laws do not allow for it and our Christian said much the same himself. Since he is claiming extraordinary events have happened, he has essentially claimed that he has evidence for said events and is beholden to produce it.   

We do get to some geology in 15. Our Christian is again aghast that if something he doesn’t like is true, the Bible is wrong! That is a problem but only for him. There is repetition of prior arguments here. 

In geology, geologists depend on the law of superposition to work, that layers above are younger than layers below.  Geologists know that sometimes there are instances where older layers are found on top of younger ones: thrust faults, folds, localized fill-in (caves, the dreaded “polystrate fossils” that our Christian will mention later.). But lacking those, the more recent deposits are above the older ones. That’s how physical laws work. Our Christian is right that one would be looking for any evidence of the flood in sediments deposited in the years that Christians claim the biblical flood happened.  Assuming the description of the bible is accurate, we should be seeing a huge deposit of sediments, sorted from coarse (bottom) to fine (top) and every plant and animal ever should be sorted together by their hydrodynamic features: adult humans with dinos of the same size, trilobites (the larger ones) with chickens, smaller trilobites with goldfish, etc. We don’t.  Even if you wish to say that a lot of it was weathered away as many layers are in certain areas (unconformities), we still should see a lot of it. If not, it’s just invoking magic. 

The depth under our feet for the layer around 4400 years ago will vary depending on deposition and erosion.  For example, here in central PA on a wide river flood plain, the 18th century is maybe 2 feet down with some places more and some not nearly that deep, those up on higher elevations.  Sediments also build up differently if humans are around, disturbing things. For an example of how sediment can build up, the colonial site at Williamsburg, Virginia has a rate of 1 foot for every hundred years. When I worked on an archaeological site for early Native Americans in western PA, we moved about 18 inches of plowed farm field on a flood plain to reach the subsoil (where human activity is absent) where we found lots of postholes penetrating it and leaving casts of the topsoil in them. A good acre of soil moved by hand and all we got were postholes.  Oh well, not everyone can find artifacts. Just across the creek, there was a burial site where the skull was clipped by a plow point. In western Pennsylvania, there are also places where a meter of soil means 10,000 years. (my one former professor, Dr. Vento, is cited on this site) 

We also won’t likely have rock forming in 4400 years, only sediment in various states of compaction. Rocks form from pressure, heat and moisture content.  We don’t have much of any of these thing in Bronze Age soils. What we do have is carbon 14. Plenty of it from charcoal and organic artifacts.  Now, our Christian is sure that C-14 dating doesn’t work but unfortunately for him, it does.  And as I have noted before, Christians accept it when it shows them something they like but oh have such problems when it doesn’t.  

And suprise! still no evidence for the flood in sediments from around 4400 years ago.  

Our Christian is astonished by the change of dates over history for what the earth’s age is.  He attempts to create an impression that the age of the earth is still being wildly disparate from various sources and that it’s randomly getting longer as “evolutionists” decide they need more time for things to happen. What he intentionally neglects to mention is that the variation has shrunk to only fractions of percentage points thanks to better equipment and data.  The age of the earth is based on radioactive decay.  Now, as far as we know, and as far as data has shown, radioactive decay is a constant, if it weren’t we’d have problems like bursts of deadly radiation occurring randomly and nuclear power wouldn’t work (creationists often find themselves making claims about how radioactive decay doesn’t work like it does. Another example is the supposed polonium halos).  A glance at history shows why our ancestors thought they did what they did and why we now know them to have been mistaken (handy list of dates and how they changed over time in that link). He is right that the ideas of a young earth creationist are incompatible with the facts.  And yes, if the facts are right then his god goes “Pffft.”   I don’t know what “evolutionary time charts of billions of years” exactly are, but I don’t need to look in them.  I just need to look at the soil and rocks under my feet and know that our Christian is wrong. He ends with making the claim “This is a duce of a logical fallacy.”  Unfortunately there is none to be found.  It’s just our Christian repeating words that he thinks are scary without quite understanding what they actually mean and he’s just doing his best to try to scare others with them.      

Of course, not all Christians have a problem with an old earth. As this song says, “Humans wrote the bible, God wrote the rocks”.  It’s a catchy little tune and though I don’t believe what it says, it does demonstrate the problems some Christians have when they believe such ridiculous things like a 6000 year old earth.  They don’t even agree with each other.


6 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 6 – Geology and the burden of proof

  1. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 10 – and I’m done …. for now | Club Schadenfreude

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