Re: Geology, Fossils and Genesis

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 09 Jun 1996 09:54:23

Since my first majordomo request to unsubscribe didn't work, I got Dick's
reply. I will respond because geology is being misunderstood (which is
why I need to unsubscribe. If I don't I may never stop responding.) I
have sent another so this may be my last post.

I wrote:
>I have never seen the 25 mile high continent assertion in a geology book.
>I have nearly an entire converted garage full of geology books and I
>can't find this "fact" in any of them. Do you have a reference?
Dick Replied:
>"... huge dome-like blocks of granite welled upward from the depths of
>the mantle. These intrusions were more than twenty-five miles in height
> ...," from ASAer John Wiester's book, _The Genesis Connection_, page 61.

The full quote is
"About 3.5 billion years ago, huge dome-like blocks of granite welled
upward from the depths of the mantle. These intrusions were more than
twenty-five miles in height and formed the enduring core or cratons of the
continents. The precise cause of these granitic (lighter rock) cratons
thrusting up from the mantle below is unknown, but most geologists think
that the enormous heat energy required was produced primarily by
radioactive nuclides in the upper mantle." p. 61

Wiester wrote that passage very badly and you are misunderstanding it. If
you were more familiar with geological literature you would probably
understand what Wiester was saying. Wiester is talking about intrusions,
not extrusions. An intrusion is something that is forced into another
rock. Weister should have writen that the intrusions originate 25 miles
down. The individual intrusive bodies are 25 miles in height.

Wiester is referring to the Saaman orogeny which occurred between 3.7 and
3.5 billion years ago (See Lazarus J. Salop, _Geological Evoution of the
Earth During the Precambrian, Springer-Verlag, 1982, p. 14) The absolute
bottom line here, Dick, is that the strength of earth materials will
simply NOT support mountains 25 miles high on an earth with the present
gravitational field. And the Precambrian gravitational field was not much
different than today.

I will give Wiester the benefit of the doubt here and ascribe it to bad
writing. But if Wiester is meaning what you say, then I would like to see
his original source (which he does not give as there are very few
references (67) to original sources in his book). I simply can not find
this assertion of 25 mile high continents in any geology book I have. If
some body suggested this somewhere, I would certainly like to know it. But
I have never seen any article or book refer to it either

>Plant life must have begun before animal life inasmuch as the earliest
>animals had to eat plants. Starting with plant life does not seem out
>of order. The beginnings of life began in the sea we think, and plant
>life emerged on land prior to amphibians venturing out of the water.
>So plants are also first on land. Again, no discrepancy. Notice also
>that God let the earth bring forth first plant life (Gen. 1:10), then
>animal life (Gen. 1:20). The sea creatures God created in Gen. 1:21
>need not be ex nihilo in my humble estimation.
>So the phraseology might not be what you and I would have done had we
>been tasked with writing Genesis. But I honestly don't think it's
>completely out of kilter either. I certainly wouldn't call the author
>errant on this particular issue due simply to manner of presentation.
If the author were to have written that Caesar Augustus lived after
Franklin Roosevelt, I would certainly say that he is wrong or I would look
for some guy named Caesar Augustus who was born in the 1950's baby boom.
If the document says land life came first, and land life didn't come first
then I think that either the interpretation of the document is erroneous
or the document itself is poppycock.

I wrote:

>>Sorry Dick, this is also wrong. The earliest chordate is from the
> early Cambrian. (J. Y. Chen, et al, "A Possible Early Cambrian
>>Chordate," Nature, 377, Oct. 26, 1995)
>Notice that you said the earliest chordate is from the early Cambrian
>and cite the article titled "A POSSIBLE Early Cambrian Chordate." How
>do you have a certainty that exceeds the authors?

Dick you really should look at the original material before asking
questions like this. In that same issue of Nature, Stephen J. Gould
states that he is convinced it is a chordate. Thus, I have the confidence
based upon what Gould says. Gould writes:

"Chen and colleagues discovery and description of a
beautifully preserved and unabiguously identified chordate from
the still earlier Chengjiang fauna now seals the fate of this
misguided effort in asserting specialness for our ancestry.
Chordates arose in the Cambrian Explosion. The only post-
Cambrian appearance for a phylum belongs to the Ectoprocta, a
group of marine colonial organisms prominent in the Palaeozoic
fossil record, relatively inconspicuous today, and utterly
unknown to the world at large (however beloved by all
palaeontologists). Ectoprocts appear in the Ordovician period,
and I will take refuge in Darwin's argument to predict that we
just haven't found the Cambrian representatives yet.
"The new Chengjiang chordate, Yunnanozoon lividum, described
by a wonderfully international team of five authors from four
maximally diverse and distant nations (invertebrate palaeontology
has always been a remarkably ecumenical and cooperative
enterprise), is so well preserved that its affinity within the
Chordata can also be specified."~Stephen Jay Gould, "Of it, not
above it", Nature, 377, Oct 26, 1995, p. 681.

I wrote:
>Do you really think the Bible is making this type of biological

Dick replied

>I don't think Moses wrote the Pentateuch with this kind of microscopic
>scrutiny foremost in mind. The kind of exactness you are looking for
>isn't available in the Hebrew language. You have to wait until NT
>Greek before you are going to have a precision language form that will
>allow this kind of examination.
>In Psalm 22:14, David laments that "... all my bones are out of
>joint ..." Do I think for a minute that 206 bones could be out
>of joint? Does that mean Bible error? Please, cut the Bible a little

Wait a minute. Re-read what you wrote. You were the one doing the mental
contortions trying to defend an indefensible order in Genesis 1. I was
the one who asked you if you thought the Bible was really making the kind
of distinction you were making. You were trying to say that Genesis 1 was
making a distinction between seed-bearing and spore-bearing plants, I
certainly was not making that distinction. And now you act as if it was me
demanding that type of exactness. And I don't look for poetry in Psalms to
give me exactness.

>>Conifers were not among the first land-based vegetation. The psilopsoda
>>appears in the fossil record in the Silurian circa 420 million years
>>ago. Conifers do not appear until 360 million years ago. If sixty
>>million years is "among the first" then we live in the age of the
>>dinosaurs!(see McAlester, The history of life, p. 86)
>Point well taken (even if picky, picky, picky).

I don't find exactitude in science to be picky. Christian apologists have
too long been allowed to say what they want and get away with it. Phillip
Johnson believes that evolutionists advocate that a rodent gave rise to
the whale. This is wrong and when I told Johnson that, he thought I was
being picky. To a paleontologist, Johnson looks like an...

(see Darwin on Trial 2nd ed. 1993, p 87 he asks of the loss of feet, "
what stage in the transformation from rodent to seamonster did this
occur?" In point of fact it was not a rodent but a wolf-like creature
called a mesonychid which is believed to be the whale's ancestor.)

Dick Wrote:
>>Some Bible scholars have put a strain on these passages, maintaining
>>that the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day. This is
>>unwarranted. The emphasis in this verse is on the purpose for the
>>heavenly bodies not their coming into existence.

I replied:

>>Those pesky Bible scholars! They are probably straining other
>>passages, maintaining that land plants were created on the third day or
>>that mankind was created on the sixth day. They should be ashamed of
>>themselves for such straining. It is clear that these verses are
>>emphasising the purpose of the landplants and the purpose of mankind not
>>their coming into existence. STOP THAT YOU PESKY BIBLE SCHOLARS!!!!
Dick responded:
>And be sure you include the flat earth, the geocentric universe, the
>24-hour days of creation, no death in the animal kingdom before Original
>Sin, the vapor canopy, the global flood, the commencing of all languages
>at Babel. Actually, pesky Bible scholars have made such a hash of it,
>it's a wonder to me how Christianity has survived it. Perhaps errant
>interpretation leaves the ignorant unaffected.

I was being facetious Dick and you took me seriously, I think. The
interpretational framework for any given day in Genesis 1 should be what
is used for all the days. You were asking special considerations for Day
4. I think those pesky bible scholars were being consistent from Day to
Day and you weren't.

Of my version of the Days of Proclamation theory, Dick writes:

>Very convenient. Makes it much simpler that way. Had my book come out
>a year ago, I would have stated the age of the universe at
> approximately 15 billion years. After new data from the Hubble Space
Telescope, I used a figure of approximately 12 billion years. Isn't it
amazing that the entire universe got 3 billion years younger in just one
year? Science, the fossil record, and dating is an ongoing process.

Your analogy is irrelevant. My view is "convenient" because I don't have
to try to defend the Genesis 1 order against what observational science is
saying. Nor do I have to go to the extreme that you are going to to try
to tell us that seed-bearing rather than spore bearing plants are what is
meant in Genesis 1. I don't have to try to find a linguistic reason why
Day 4 should be treated specially in its interpretation. Nor do I have to
argue for constant cloud cover over all the earth for the first 4 billion
years of the planet's existence and that the sun and moon were exposed for
the first time 400 million years ago. (For physics reasons I will not go
into, your suggestion that there was a global cloud cover is impossible
absolutely unequivocally impossible.)

Darn tootin' my view is convenient. I don't have to publically argue for
the things you are having to argue for. :-)

And within my view, so what if the age of the universe changes by 3
billion years? Big deal. My view is absolutely unaffected by this but
your view might be affected by future scientific discovery. I think I
have a more defensible position.

>As an apologetic device, if God commanded in one order and the events
>transpired in another order, that would cover almost any discrepancies
>you could name. My position would be that once obvious corrections are
>applied, any possible discrepancies that still exist would be minor in
>nature and could be explained by either Hebrew mannerisms and grammar,
>scribal errors, mistakes in translation and interpretation; or by a
>fossil record that is continually revised as new evidence surfaces.

You are correct. My view can absolutely fit with any future scientific
discovery and I can have the Genesis 1 account be an actual historical (or
pre-universe) event. What is wrong with being able to fit a Biblical
interpretation within the confines not only of present science but also
within the confines of almost any future science? Are you against that?

The corrections you have tried to make work only if you don't look at the
details (here I go again being picky, picky, picky). When you look at the
details, nothing makes sense. You desperately need to study the original
source material in geology and paleontology and not get your info from
books like Wiester's or other apologetical works like Wilcox's June 1996
article. Those types of books can not and do not go into the type of
detail needed to really solve the problem.

>If I had to retreat from that position, due to more difficulties than I
>have seen raised thus far, a fall back position is the overlapping days
>method, which I think fully eliminates any difficulties. God creates
>heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1) which has to include the surrounding
> universe, galaxy and solar system. He commissions the heavenly bodies
>for the sighted creatures that appear after plant life appears. Day
>three, five and six could overlap.

The overlapping day methodology makes no sense either because the 4th day
must be second. If they we sequentially overlapping that would be one
thing but they are not.

Sequential overlap

day 1 ------------------
day 2 ----------------
day 3 -----------------
day 4 ----------------

Acatual overlap required to match data

Day 1 ------------- light
Day 2 ------------- expanse
Day 3 --------------land life
Day 4 ----Sun and moon
Day 5 -------Marine life
Day 6 --------------- wild animals, man

Did the ancient hebrew scribes shuffle the scroll?

>My opinion is that the order of events in Genesis 1 is too good to give
>up on it altogether, which is how I would view your approach. It's the
> same way I feel about progressive creation. If God used progressive
> creation, why does it look like evolution?
I prefer to think of it as finding a solution which is unassailable but is

You will get the last shot at this because hopefully my majordomo request
will work this time and I won't even receive a copy of this post.

your friend,

Foundation,Fall and Flood