Re: Precambrian geology (2)

Allen Roy (
Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:48:46 -0700

Sorry for the delay. Been busy. :(

> From: Jonathan Clarke <>
> Allen Roy wrote:
> > I don't think I was saying that. What I see we have here are two
> > which interpret the evidence differently according to each paradigm. I
> > don't see this as challenging professional competence. One could be
> > as professionally competent if one changed from one paradigm to the
> > It is the basis on which the paradigms rest which make the difference
> > the apparent conflict.
> But paradigms do not exist in a vacuum. they are based (or should be) on
> evidence. Paradigms change because of evidence, not because of fashion.

I agree. I think here it would be good to go back to something I mentioned
earlier. When I am using the term paradigm I am refereing to a world view
rather than a developing hypothesis. My paradigm or world view includes
the position that the Flood was a historical event of catastrophic size (I
call the paradigm Creationary Catastrophism). That is based by faith upon
what seem to be the best interpretations of the Biblical evidence. Within
that paradigm, I develop a hypothesis (Flood Catastrophe) upon the
assumption of the Flood and interpretations of evidence found the in
Geologic Record. My Flood catastrophe hypothesis is maleable, but my
paradigm is much more set. It would take some major changes in belief to
modify the paradigm.

> But this depends on whether you how you read Genesis 1-3. If you read
> it as a scientific or historical account then you would expect it to
> historical and scientific data. Indeed, the Christian naturalists of the
17th and
> 18th century did so. However the evidence they saw forced them to revise
> this paradigm, and interpret Genesis according to various concordist
> approaches, such as the gap approach which you favour in later in your
> or the day = age approach. The scientific evidence made them reevaluate
> understanding of Genesis not the other way round.

I would hesitate to consider the Bible a scientific account, because
science is a modern invention. However, I do accept it as accurate in
history and observation.

I'd say that it was interpretations of the evidence acquired by science
that caused them to reevaluate their interpretations of Genesis. I believe
that since God authored both the Bible and Nature they should be in
agreement with each other. If there appears to be conflict then one of the
following is true.
a. We have an innaccurate or incomplete interpretation of the evidence
acquired by science.
b. We have an innaccurate or incomplete interpretation of relevant
Biblical texts, or
c. Both of the above.
I think most of the problems or conflicts are because of c.

> Incidentally the gap approach is generally credited to Thomas Chambers
> (1791) and the tablet theory to Kurtz (1857) PJ Wiseman (1949), all of
> accepted the great age of the earth and a limited role for the flood.

It is completly irrelevant what any of these men believed about the age of
the earth and the flood. We are free to accept this or that part of what
someone believed, according to what seems to be the most logical according
to our understanding and paradigm. Just because one accepts one point does
not mean that one must also carry all the rest of the baggage. The tablet
theory has alot of positive points, which makes it an attractive
explanation for how we got Genesis.

> So if you believe that PreCambrian rocks are essentially pre-flood you
> need have no problem with conventional geological explanations for
> Precambrian rocks. If you do why? They date from before your creation
> week and may, in your model, have been formed over long periods.

I would agree in general (with possible exceptions). It has been proposed
that some rocks labled PreCambrian could be sedimentary rocks associated
with the Creation Week (with the run off erosion by waters draining from
the land) and Pre-Flood era (normal erosion from rivers and such).

> Where or what is NAU? The curse of TLA's (three letter acronyms)! I
> used to be OIC of the GRL for WMC myself.

Sorry. :) NAU = Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ (I live 50
mi away in Ash Fork, pop. 2000).

> The biostratigraphic subdivisions are empirical
> relationships, established long before people had any real idea what
> they meant in terms of absolute (or if you prefer) numerical time.
> So today the validity or otherwise of neocatastrophism has nothing
> to say about how stratigraphy works, but only how we understand
> the formative processes of individual rock units.

Without, hopefully, contradicting what I said before, I see the use of
fossils (as with any other particulates held within a rock formation) for
correlations across areas up to hundreds of miles as valid. However, I am
simply skeptical about using the concept for global correlations.

> Augustine for one in the 4th century AD saw no problem with animal
> death before the fall.

Augustine has never had much of an influence over any of the beliefs which
I hold. :)