May 19, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

How Secular Geology Forces Observations into an Old-Earth Narrative

On the 40th anniversary of Mt. St. Helens’ eruption, geologists ignore implications of rapid change.

Mount St. Helens at 40 (Science Magazine). In this perspective article, Jon J. Major discusses the legacy of a volcanic eruption that changed the science of volcanology.

Mt. St. Helens, Washington

Renewal at Mt. St. Helens. Photo by David Coppedge.

The eruption of Mount St. Helens … was a pivotal event for understanding volcanoes and how an eruption affects the environment. It revealed that single eruptions can involve complex cascades of volcanic events that are physically intertwined and brought the recognition that a volcano can collapse abruptly in a gigantic landslide. Such a landslide can rapidly depressurize magma and generate a hot, high-velocity, debris-and-gas–laden cloud (a pyroclastic density current, or PDC) capable of sweeping and devastating hundreds of square kilometers of rugged landscape within minutes. The eruption delivered ruin to distant communities in the form of voluminous mudflows spawned by both swift scour and melting of snow and ice by the PDC and dewatering of the massive landslide deposit. The physical and psychological impacts on people living in areas cloaked in the rain of volcanic ash carried downwind, known as tephra fall, required the health care system to confront many questions.

Hikers explore a “mini-Grand Canyon” carved through solid rock within hours by a mudflow. The fine layers were earlier deposited in a single pyroclastic flow.

Major, who works at the U.S. Geological Survey, Volcano Hazards Program in Washington, majors on the economic impact of the eruption to communities around the mountain. What he does not cover are the observations that overturned geological assumptions: the fine laminations and layers of rock laid down in minutes, the ability of mudflows to cut through solid rock, the near-instantaneous carving of Grand-Canyon-like canyons on a smaller scale, and the phenomenon of logs in Spirit Lake planting themselves upright to resemble the fossil forests of Yellowstone (see 28 Sept 2015). Those findings were made primarily by a creation geologist, Dr Steve Austin, and reinforced by other creation scientists.

Secular geologists certainly understand the power of volcanoes, many much larger than Mt. St. Helens. But they were not expecting these indications of rapid change that have implications for how analogous geological phenomena came to be on a large scale. What is the legacy of Mt. St. Helens? Is it not that phenomena right in front of geologists’ eyes can be overlooked in order to preserve the moyboy view of the world?

Human nature being what it is, no scientist wants to admit “we were wrong,” but this inability of a class of ‘experts’ to address falsifying data goes deeper. It affects what scientists see and don’t see, what questions they ask and don’t ask, and what conclusions they make or don’t make. Given the acrimony toward young-earth creation science, some geologists probably wouldn’t want to be caught dead giving aid and comfort to the ‘enemy.’

Landscape Arch (Arches Natl Park) is on its last legs. Gravity and vibrations will bring it down. Photo by DFC.

Sparse Ambient Resonance Measurements Reveal Dynamic Properties of Freestanding Rock Arches (Geophysical Research Letters). This is an interesting paper by 3 geologists about how rock arches vibrate.

Natural rock arches vibrate under ambient conditions with a unique set of frequencies controlled by geometry, host material, and interactions with nearby bedrock. Recent rockfall events at well‐known arches in Utah have highlighted the need to develop noninvasive assessment methods to better understand how these sensitive landforms evolve. To reduce site impacts, we employed limited instrumentation to measure ambient vibrations of 17 arches across Utah for identification of resonant frequencies. We combine direct observations with predictive numerical models to visualize resonant mode shapes and describe the controlling material properties and structural boundaries. In defining the first three modes of each site, we are able to characterize dynamic properties at arches encompassing several geologic formations and a range of length scales. These results establish a versatile method for structural evaluations of arches and other significant freestanding geologic features.

Other freestanding geologic features would include hoodoos, pillars, and balanced rocks. If these things are all vibrating, could they stand for millions of years? The authors acknowledge recent rockfall events. Now, finding by experimental measurements that they are vibrating, why could they not say that arches and other freestanding structures are short-lived, and could not be millions of years old?

Volunteer points to Great Unconformity. Photo by David Coppedge, June 2008.

The Great Unconformity (UC Santa Barbara). This press release by Harrison Tasoff discusses the work of Francis Macdonald, who has a new theory about this greatest-of-all break in the rock record. First, notice how they define geology as the study of what is not there:

The geologic record is exactly that: a record. The strata of rock tell scientists about past environments, much like pages in an encyclopedia. Except this reference book has more pages missing than it has remaining. So geologists are tasked not only with understanding what is there, but also with figuring out what’s not, and where it went.

One omission in particular has puzzled scientists for well over a century. First noticed by John Wesley Powell in 1869 in the layers of the Grand Canyon, the Great Unconformity, as it’s known, accounts for more than one billion years of missing rock in certain places.

Scientists have developed several hypotheses to explain how, and when, this staggering amount of material may have been eroded. Now, UC Santa Barbara geologist Francis Macdonald and his colleagues at the University of Colorado, Boulder and at Colorado College believe they may have ruled out one of the more popular of these. Their study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The lowest gap is the largest one: the Great Unconformity.

‘Believe’ is right. Geology has become the science of explaining away evidence, or making up stories for the lack of empirical data.

For creation geologists, the Great Unconformity is a Class 1 exhibit for a global flood. On creationist-led raft trips in the Grand Canyon, places where the Great Unconformity is exposed are must stops for lectures about the power of moving water. There are house-sized boulders of Tapeats sandstone (the first sedimentary layer above) embedded within the bedrock of the Great Unconformity. How that could happen is inconceivable within a slow-and-gradual moyboy worldview. This unconformity, and others above it, all the way to the rim of Grand Canyon, are flat as a pancake, with no evidence of erosional surfaces one would expect over long timescales.

Notice how evolution ties into the long age assumptions:

A leading thought is that glaciers scoured away kilometers of rock around 720 to 635 million years ago, during a time known as Snowball Earth, when the planet was completely covered by ice. This hypothesis even has the benefit of helping to explain the rapid emergence of complex organisms shortly thereafter, in the Cambrian explosion, since all this eroded material could have seeded the oceans with tremendous amounts of nutrients.

The absurdities in this paragraph are monumental. “A leading thought…” – wait a minute; to whom? Did you think that? “Snowball Earth” is one of geologists’ mythical events concocted to save billions of years (7 May 2018). If the whole Earth became covered with ice, where did the heat to evaporate all the ocean water into clouds come from? If ‘Snowball Earth’ ever happened, it probably would never have ended, because the global white coating would reflect away sunlight. Macdonald’s team replaces the single ‘Snowball Earth’ myth with a series of lesser imaginary worlds. This is good for uniformitarianism, which shies away from single, large myths: “We suggest,” the paper says, “that there are multiple, regionally diachronous Great Unconformities that are tectonic in origin.” This, he thinks, softens the impact of the Cambrian Explosion.*

Worse is the assumption that “tremendous amounts of nutrients” would have led to “the rapid emergence of complex organisms” — as if Darwin had said, “Come and get it!” and millions of animals with 20 new body plans emerged out of an ocean of microbes and lazy Ediacarans to feast at the banquet. This is ridiculous. See how ridiculous by reading Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer (with its sequel Debating Darwin’s Doubt), and watching the Illustra film Darwin’s Dilemma (available for free viewing till the end of May).

These are only a few recent examples of how secular geology has left its mission of exploring the world with an open mind. Instead, it has become the science of preserving Darwinism by giving the Bearded Buddha all the time he needs to work his miracles of luck.

Secular geologists are guilty of two crimes against humanity: (1) giving the world fake science, and (2) censoring their skeptics. In the secular journals, you won’t hear about any of the observational facts shown above that creation geologists have presented, even though the leading ones have PhD’s in geology from secular universities and have written and spoken extensively about their work. They only have access to creation journals, which the secular journals completely ignore. Don’t expect a fair world when worldview beliefs about origins are involved.

Footnote

*Notice how Macdonald and team acknowledge the Cambrian Explosion problem all the way back to Darwin, but then quickly sweep it aside. From the PNAS paper,

The Great Unconformity is an iconic geologic feature that classically marks the boundary between unfossiliferous Precambrian rocks and fossiliferous Phanerozoic strata. To Charles Darwin, the “sudden appearance” of complex macroscopic fossils in Cambrian strata necessitated a global stratigraphic omission to reconcile the fossil record with Darwinian gradualism. Although subsequent concepts of extinction and radiation eliminated the need of a global time gap to explain the fossil record [???], the notion of a Late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian global unconformity has persisted. Particularly, the Great Unconformity in North America, where the base of the Cambrian transgressive sequence commonly overlies Precambrian basement, has been globally correlated with Late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian unconformities on other continents. Recently, inferred erosion across these Great Unconformities has been associated with a variety of changes in the Earth System, including the Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth, the initiation of modern plate tectonics, oxygenation of the ocean and atmosphere, and the Cambrian Explosion. However, the timing, magnitude, and causes of erosion below the Great Unconformities, and whether their development was globally synchronous or diachronous, are unknown. Although much work has focused on Cambrian sedimentary records that locally rest on older strata or that unconformably overlie basement, precisely because the Great Unconformities mark a large gap in the rock record, the erosion history leading to their formation cannot be investigated directly by study of preserved units.

The willful blindness of this team is astonishing. They cannot investigate the facts directly. They cannot let the facts speak for themselves. They want so much to help Charlie, they will go to any length to ignore the obvious and concoct a story so that he will not be ashamed of his myths. What do they mean, “subsequent concepts of extinction and radiation eliminated the need of a global time gap to explain the fossil record”? Good grief, you cannot just sweep away the facts like that by changing the speed knob on Darwinian evolution. The problem, as Meyer explains in Darwin’s Doubt, is not so much the rapidity but the source of the genetic information to build new body plans, like trilobites, with eyes and legs, guts and muscles. That’s not going to ever happen in quintillions of years by chance!

Folks, learn to read Darwin-drenched papers with a critical eye. Don’t let their bluffing intimidate you.

The public gets indoctrinated, too. In a flood scenario, the trail of time would be hours or days, not billions of years.

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