Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 9, the second half of #19, limestone, coelacanths and circular reasoning

Part 2 of the entry for #19  We’re at the penultimate post for addressing all of this nonsense! 

Precambrian rabbit
Precambrian rabbit

Next are mentions of limestones, living fossils and polystrate fossils.  Oh and a quote from Dawkins, whom creationists are sure that all atheists worship.  The quote is “”Creationists are fond of saying that there are very few fossils in the Precambrian, but why would there be?” asks Dawkins. “However, if there was a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been found.”  This is a paraphrase of the Precambrian rabbit quote from Haldane.  The idea is that one out of place fossil would destroy evolutionary theory.  And as we can see in the link to the rabbit quote, it isn’t necessarily true.  It would surely show a major problem with it, the thought that the Precambrian is the era of some of the simplest creatures, but all of the current evidence for evolution wouldn’t be shown wrong.  We still have adaptation to environment still demonstrated in the fossil record and still going on. 

Despite what it might look like in your driveway or on a gravel road, limestones are very diverse and not all come from fossils. They are also not often pure calcium carbonate.  One of my early tasks as a geologist was to identify a bunch of them.  Here in central PA, we have lots of limestones and we were doing a lot of drilling into them when setting wells to monitor pollution.  The limestones could be identified by their chemical make-up and that required some of the nastiest chemicals you can buy, including some wickedly toxic mercury compounds, hydrogen cyanide, etc. By that we can know the environment where they formed. We can date them, by radiometric dating, etc.  Since they do not always have fossils, they are not always dated by fossils. Other ways to date are date the rocks above and below and the ones between are between the others in ages, which can happen with limestone, when you might get a coal layer showing up or a volcanic ash deposit that can be dated easier than the limestone. 

One other thing that limestones do to creationist claims is make them ridiculous since the time to build up foraminifera enough to make a layer is far more than their silly 6000+ year time line.  And when simply chemically precipitated out, well, we get poached Noah again.

Our Christian is very excited about “living fossils”. They are very cool indeed but to think they disprove evolution shows that he again does not understand what evolutionary theory predicts. If something doesn’t need to change, it won’t.  It is adapted to its environment very very well. However, that doesn’t mean they haven’t changed at all. We have different species of them now and there is little reason to think that we did not have them in the past. Coelacanths are much the same. We have two species of them too and plenty of fossils. As an aside, the term “species” can be one large pain in the ass, but in general it means two different species can’t interbreed usually by genetic divergence (unlike say, a dachshund and a Great Dane dogs which can’t breed because of physical limitations). The ant mentioned, the rough headed ant, isn’t known by the Google, but I’m assuming he probably means this one or maybe this one

The last about geology in this section is a repeat of our TrueChristian’s ignorance about what uniformitarianism is.  It is not “layers over long ages with no erosion in between”. Not even remotely; it’s just one more strawman. He asks about polystrate (and more here) fossils, the instances where a fossil tree, for instance, will cut across layers (note: geologists don’t bother with the term since we know what it describes is nothing special).  It seems that many creationists have never seen a gully or something similar. We can also have trees that are buried in flood events, real ones, not magical ones.  One active flood season and poof, layers and tree just sitting there if it’s strong enough not to be moved away. Swamps also seem to elude the awareness of creationists too. Indeed, inplace burials don’t fit with the crazy flood hypotheses we’ve seen earlier.  The claims about “tree that geologists found running through two coal seams (consequently coalified in two separate areas) (Cookeville, Tennesee)” appear to be completely false since no references can be found except for on creationist sites with no supporting evidence like photographs that show this fossil doing what they claim. Our Christian continues to seem to be unaware of how rocks form. As for his claims that petrified trees have roots up as much as they have roots down, I’d have to see evidence for that.  As far as I know, there is none. 

Now for the circular reasoning silliness. Our TrueChristiantm has said that when he began doubting Christianity he looked for answers in the “right place” with those “with those who made a purpose to defend it”  This means that he went looking for people who agreed with him, nothing more.  And backed by this echo chamber of ignorance, he declares that all troubles with the bible have been “soundly dealt with and I have no trouble accepting any extrabiblical *fact* I have ever seen”  So we have a TrueChristiantm who found other TrueChristians that agreed with him, and he questions none of their findings.  My, how “rare”.

Now, what he means with the following is rather mysterious: 

Remember there are two halves to every statement against something: the first seems to destroy the accosted claim if presented all by itself, and the second demonstrates that the first is unfounded and makes inaccurate points and only ever accompanies something that is true. Some folks also have to make up things to counter information that in presented (sometimes called “dancing).” 

I’ll take a stab at what I think he is saying and it appears to be nothing more than the usual circular reasoning and/or begging the question

  1. A claim that something is true
  2. Supporting statements are only found with those claims that are true
  3. This has a supporting statement
  4. Therefore the claim is true.

 Or perhaps: 

  1. claim: Cows are reptiles
  2. opposing statement indicates that this claim is false: Cows have hair and give milk and are not reptiles; they are mammals
  3. supporting statement indicates it is true: my special book here says so cows are reptiles and hair and milk don’t exist
  4. conclusion: Cows are reptiles

And of course one more attempt to claim I am lying with no evidence. He is consistent, if nothing else.

He goes on to claim that he only claims that bible is “accurate” e.g. literal in his case, because for TrueChristianstm it must be.  To him this is a “justifiable” instance of circular reasoning since TrueChristianstm believe that the bible is infallible. Yep, I’m rolling my eyes too.

Our Christian claims that he uses Psalm 12:6-7 to tell those mean ol’ Christians that don’t agree with him that they are wrong.  Alas for TrueChristiantm, repeating “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Won’t make it magically true and this god hasn’t done thing to cut off people’s lips or protect his TrueChristianstm from those that “puffeth” at them. 

Finally, there is the claim that it is he who is honest and who doesn’t hide behind a “constantly changing and developing method or idea like some people I could mention” Isn’t that little “veiled” reference cute?  Sigh.  I am guessing that he is doing his best to attack the scientific method here.  Hypocrisy raises its head again with the TrueChristiantm who benefits from this method and who has a fit if it shows his religion to be untrue.

Next time, the finale.

5 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 9, the second half of #19, limestone, coelacanths and circular reasoning

  1. “constantly changing and developing method…”

    Errr, Woody, science hasn’t changed it’s “method:” It’s called, The Scientific Method. Damn this guy is a real anti-genius, isn’t he?


  2. when i read that statement and you said you can’t make sense of it, I knew I couldn’t since you have been at it making sense of a lot of gibberish that is in the first place hard to read leave alone make sense of.
    it is interesting that when he sought to know the truth he sought that who agreed with him, what was he looking for? consensus in delusion i guess!


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