Re: Methodological Naturalism

Bill Payne (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 23:49:10 -0600

25 Mar 1998 20:48:58 -0500, Steven Schimmrich wrote:
> I've yet to see any coherent explanation of how, for example, a field
> geologist is supposed to do science except by utilizing MN as a fundamental
> assumption. Are we supposed to abandon MN when studying rock strata because
> our results do not support someone's interpretation of Scripture which calls
> for a global flood? Maybe I'm slow but I just have difficulty seeing how one
> can DO science without utilizing MN.

Hi Steve,

On 25 Mar 1998 15:20:24 -0500 under "Subject: Re: Walter Brown Jr.
Video", you wrote:

"Art and others have failed, however, to convince anyone else (except
those who view such reinterpretations as support for a belief in a
global flood). I still contend that the Coconino is terrestrial, not
submarine, and the trees at Yellowstone were not floated to the bottom
of a lake. Virtually all geologists agree with me."

You "contend that he Coconino is terrestrial, not submarine..."

Glen Vishner, Prof. of Geology at Univ of Tulsa in OK, has:

A. "noted that large storms, or amplified tides, produce submarine sand
dunes called 'sand waves.'...

B. Furthermore,...the average slope of the Coconino Sandstone cross beds
is about 25 degrees from the horizontal, less than the average angle of
slope of sand beds on the dwon-wind side of most modern-desert sand
dunes. Those sand beds usually slope at an angle of more than 25
degrees, with some beds inclined as much as 30 to 34 degrees - the angle
of 'rest' of dry sand... modern oceanic sand waves do not have
'avalanche' faces of sand as commonly as desert dunes do, and,
therefore, have lower average dips of cross beds.

C. Within this sandstone is a feature known as 'parting lineation,'
which is commonly formed on sand surfaces during brief erosional bursts
beneath fast-flowing water. Parting lineation is not known from any
desert sand dunes.

D. Different grain sizes of sand within any sandstone are a reflection
of the process that deposited the sand. Coconino Sandstone does *not*
compare as favorably to dune sands from modern deserts.

E. Pitting and frosting of sand grains, claimed by some to prove wind
deposition, has also been investigated further. It now has been found
that not only is the pitting *not* diagnostic of the last process to
have deposited the sand grains (pitting can...form first by wind
impacts, followed by redeposition by water), but pitting and frosting of
sand grains can form outside a desert environment. For example,
geologists have described how pitting on the surface of sand grains can
form by chemical processes during the cementation of sand." (Quoted
from _Grand Canyon, Monument to Catastrophe_, Steven A. Austin, Editor,
1994, p 32-33. Refs cited by Austin:

A. Glen S. Visher, Exploration Stratigraphy (Tulsa, OK, Penn Well
Publishing Co., 2nd ed., 1990), pp 211-213

B. John R. L. Allen, Sedimentary Structures: Their Character and
Physical Basis (NY, Elsevier Science Publishers, 2nd ed., 1984),

C. Visher, op. cit, p 213. W. E. Freeman and G. S. Visher,
"Stratigraphic Analysis of the Navajo Snadstone," Journal of Sedimentary
Petrology 45 (1975): 651-668. G. S. Visher and J. D. Howard, "Dymanic
Relationship Between Hydraulics and Sedimentation in the Altamaha
Estuary," Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 44 (1974): 502-521.

D. P. H. Kuenen and W. G. Perdok, "Experimental Abrasion - Frosting and
Defrosting of Quartz Grains," Journal of Geology 70 (1962): 648-658.

Now, Steve, Austin has listed 5 observations deduced by MN as pointing
to submarine deposition of the Coconino Sandstone. Yet you still
contend that the Coconino was deposited subaerially. On what MN basis?