Re: Precambrian geology (2)

Allen Roy (
Thu, 15 Apr 1999 22:58:06 -0700

> From: Jonathan Clarke <>
> You still use this term "uniformitarians". It is not helpful to do so.
> geologists are decidedly not uniformitarian in the sense that was
understood in
> the 19th century by Lyell and others. Therefore it would be better not
to use
> it. What matters in modern geology is the actual processes that formed a
> particular feature, not "uniformitarianism". In the same way your use of
> "catastrophism" is likely to be misunderstood. Catastrophism has as many
> nuances as uniformitarianism, and so should be avoided if possible.
> processes may be catstrophic of course, and because they can be observed
> may be uniformitarian at the same time.

I think that Ager had a good word for what you are describing --
Neo-Catastrophism. This is to be contrasted with Creationary
Catastrophism. Neo-Catastrophism could be summed up with the quip, "Long
ages of boredom accented by instances of shear terror." (Didn't Gould say
something like that?)

> > Probably
> > the best thing to do is to take the model of each early catastrophist
> > with the evidence which appeared to invalidate it and compare it with
> > curent catastrophism. This would be alot of work, but likely quite
> > productive in the long run.
> This is something that should have been done a long time ago.

I have read some Creationary Catastophe article and books where some
comparisons have been done, but I don't remember off-hand who wrote them.
I am willing to do so on-line here. I'll take a look at the list of early
castrophists you give earlier and see what I can find.

> What are these basic differences? How has modern flood geology
addressed the
> issues that led 17th-18th century diluvialism to be abandoned? These
> the problem of multiple unconformities and conglomerates, the fossil
> succession, and the lithological succession. What about all that has
> learned on formation processes of rocks since then? Especially things
> point to long multiple subaerial time breaks between successive strata
such as
> buried paleosols horizons, buried karst surfaces. Also the high
> between a wide range of modern depositional and volcanic rocks and many
> ones. And these are just a few of the problems.

Perhaps, as we go through the list of people, we can deal with each of

> > It has nothing to do with professional competence nor spiritual
> > but it is due the strength of the reigning paradigm.
> If [you] say that people are unable to challenge the reigning paradigm if
> evidence demands it then you are challenging their professional
competence. Of
> course it might be that the reigning paradigm is supported by an immense
> of evidence......

I don't think I was saying that. What I see we have here are two paradims
which interpret the evidence differently according to each paradigm. I
don't see this as challenging professional competence. One could be just
as professionally competent if one changed from one paradigm to the other.
It is the basis on which the paradigms rest which make the difference and
the apparent conflict.

> Can you name one person who believes that the earth is young or that the
> geological record is the result of the flood purely because of the
evidence and
> not because their hermetic of Genesis requires them to?

No I cannot, nor would I expect that to happen. I would expect the
paradigm to change because one changes position on the witness evidence of

> In that case, please be specific. You said on the 28th of March that the
> church fathers "taught the idea that the earth had not changed since the
> Creation week. Is this a Biblical teaching? No. This is an interpretation
> the texts which, like many of the other teachings of the Church, was
> from Greek paganism and 'Christianized.' " Can you justify this
statement? Why
> were they wrong to do this?

You are right, we need to be specific. I suggest we start some new
threads, perhaps one for each early catastrophist, and analyze the
differences between then and now. About all I have to start with at home
here is an encyclopaedia, so hopefully someone can find more detailed
accounts of their positions which we can work with.

> > The Universe (including galaxies, stars and planets) was created at
> > point "In the Beginning" long ages ago.
> What evidence makes you think that the universe is very old, rather than
> 6,000 years? Why do you accept this evidence and not geological

I may have dealt with this before, but quickly:
a. The apparent vast distances (and thus ages) of the universe as measured
by light-years.
b. The literary structure of Genesis.
c. The history of the fall of Lucifer and introduction of Sin to the
universe and then planet earth.

I believe that the geologic evidence can be interpreted within the Flood
catastrophe paradigm and thus is not evidence for an old earth.

> > That some 6000 earth-years ago, the Creation week occurred during which
> > earth was modified to house and support life (as we know it) and then
> > life was created during 7 rotations of the planet.
> What about the earth and sun? Was the earth created on the 1st revolution
> the sun on the 4th, or were they created at some stage in the distant

The literary structure of Genesis would indicate that Gen 1:1, 2 are events
which predate the Creation Week. This 'Beginning' would have been the
creation ex-nihilo of the Universe (perhaps by something like a Big Bang: m
= E / c^2 w/God's Omnipotence providing E ) including our solar system
(but perhaps without the sun being alite).

The entire Creation Week story is told from the perpective of being ON
planet earth (an evening/morning, one rotation day has no meaning except ON
a rotating planet). Day one could represent the lighting of the Sun as
seen from the earth through the thick, cloudy atmosphere described in
Psalms (the swadling clouds). On day four, the clouded atmosphere is
cleared up and the sun and moon and stars become visible (made to be seen
in the expanse) to someone on earth.

> Gosse's "geological knot" (his phrase) was that the geological evidence
to him
> pointed clearly to an old earth and not to a young one or to formation in
> flood. He summarises this in some detail in his book.

I"ve not heard of Gosse, nor (obviously) read his book. The problem, IMO,
is that the geologic evidence as interpreted within the Neo-Catastrophist
paradigm will only point to an old earth. A young earth can be interpreted
from the same evidence but within the Creationary Catastrophist paradigm.
You cannot expect to accept the interpretations according to the reigning
paradigm and find them pointing to anything but an old earth.

I was just reading in a current (at least here at NAU) text book called
"Petrology" (A facinating book!!! but I can't remember off the top of my
head the authors) about classifying stratigraphic rocks. They pointed out
that there are about three basic classification systems which range from
the purely descriptive to the very interpretive. I would have no trouble
with purely descriptive classification systems, but big problems with
interpretive classifications, because the interpretive classification
system is inherently Neo-catastrophist. I think that those who use or were
trained using the interpretive classification system, would have a very
hard time understanding how Creationary Catastrophists can look at the
evidence differently. And, they may have a hard time recognizing the
inherent Neo-catastrophism built into the classification system.

> What are the metaphysical problems of an old earth?

I supposed the primary one is the need to explain death prior to the fall
of man.