November 14, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

What Do Geologists Know About the Early Earth?

There’s not much data, and there’s a lot of doubt and debate.  That’s what a geologist admits about theories of early earth history.

In The Conversation, Craig O’Neill says “Keep a lid on it.”  On what?  “The controversy over Earth’s oldest rocks.”  It’s not that O’Neill, a lecturer in geodynamics at Macquarie University disbelieves in the standard picture of a slowly evolving earth billions of years ago.  It’s just that he’s painfully aware of the difficulty of teasing out a picture from the meager and often contradictory evidence from which they draw their conclusions.

The “lid” is a reference to one controversy – whether the early earth had a stable crust instead of plate tectonics from the beginning.  That particular debate masks a more general issue: how do geologists know what they claim to know?  Consider O’Neill’s admissions:

  • No consensus.  He thinks data has increased dramatically, but “a consensus on the geological processes operating at that time remains elusive.”
  • No known origins.  Of the two major kinds of rocks, “The origin of both suites of rocks is contested.
  • No uniformity.  “The contrasting view is that these rocks are the result of a fundamentally different regime unlike anything observed today.”
  • Sparse evidence.  “Part of the problem is the frustratingly small portion of the Earth’s crust preserved from this period of time – only one small outcrop exists in Canada for the first half a billion years of Earth’s history.”
  • Unexpected Genesis-like evidence.  “The story that the zircon’s oxygen told was completely unexpected. Despite the giant impacts and widespread volcanism prevalent at this time, there was liquid water on the surface of the early Earth.”
  • Unwarranted extrapolation.  “This extrapolation sat tenuously, particularly with the ‘stagnant-lid’ camp. And a careful re-examination of the zircon record, by Wilde and his colleagues, painted a different picture.”
  • Other worldliness.  “The best-preserved zircons, which were least affected by later geological events, suggest a very different planet.
  • Impossibilities.  “Earth’s crust should be barren of platinum, yet it is there and we mine it.”
  • Ad hoc scenarios.  “This might be because of a late addition of platinum and palladium to Earth by meteorites….”
  • Contradictions.  “This is hard to reconcile with early plate tectonics….”
  • Ignorance.  “The debate is far from over, and ambiguities of Earth’s earliest record [are] far from resolved.

There wasn’t much else in O’Neill’s article that provided confidence secular geologists know anything about the early earth.

This shows that ignorance is rife not only in the Darwin camp.  The whole secular origin industry thrives on ignorance.  It may be sophisticated ignorance, but it’s still ignorance.  From the origin of the universe, to the origin of matter, to the origin of stars and galaxies, to the origin of planets, to the origin of earth’s crust and atmosphere, the entire prelude to life is a sorry tale of all the things they don’t know but love to speculate about.  And that’s just the beginning of their woes.  The origin of life is so profoundly rooted in ignorance and impossibilities, it is a show-stopper to top all show stoppers (how many show stoppers does it take to stop a show?).  Everything beyond the origin of life – the origin of the genetic code, the origin of multicellularity, sex, body plans, sensation, every function from swimming to flight, the origin of sentience, behavior, the origin of humans, of consciousness, of the brain, of altruism, of music, of morality – there is not one of these areas where evolutionists know more than the geology described above.  Secular evolution is an exercise in willful ignorance.  It could be quickly cured by recognition of the necessity of intelligent design to even get to square one.


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  • seeko says:

    Great summary of the problems with current secular theories. An a priori assumption of naturalism is so very hard to change. Maybe the battle is more than flesh and blood?

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