Re: YEC and loss of faith

From: Darryl Maddox (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 23:39:17 EST

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    A similar but slightly different story.

    Field trip to a roadcut which exposes a sand/blackshale/sand with marine
    fossils/pure white sand sequence from bottom to top. The basal sand has a
    few dinosaur bones in it within a few miles of here, the shale has lots of
    pelecypods, a few small ammonites and other stuff in it including an
    ocassional shark took. The overlying sand that alos contains marine fossils
    has a few sharks teeth in it also. This entire sequence is on the edge of a
    mesa and looking away from the high side of the road cut you look out over
    10s of miles of river valley some 300 feet below.

    The teacher said the black shale was deposited in a shallow bay in a
    re-entrant from the open sea and that the overlying sand marked a beach
    sequence etc. One student said they didn't believe there had ever been a
    bay or lagoon there much less one that opened into an open ocean. I realize
    this is the opposite view commonly expressed by those who doubt geologist
    but I think you will get the point of the story.

    The teacher then replied: "Well if you don't believe my interpretation then
    it looks to me like you re left with one of the following: Sharks lived on
    land or I came out here and buried all these fossils to fool you. Now
    unless you have yet another explanation for what we are looking at I ask:
    "which of those 2 explanations would you like to defend?

    The way I heard the story from the teacher many years later the student
    offered no alternative theory.

    I will close with a paraphrase "Nothing is as hard on a bad geological
    theory as a good outcrop". To which I will add, "or a good lab experiment".

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Jonathan Clarke" <>
    Cc: <>
    Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 2:33 PM
    Subject: Re: YEC and loss of faith

    > Without replying to anyone, just a personal experience.
    > Every year I lecture for a week at the YWAM college in Canberra as part of
    a course
    > on science, humanities, and culture. I talk about the history and
    workings of the
    > earth, environmental stewardship etc. A key part of the course has been a
    day in
    > the field looking at the Devonian sediments to the east of here at Wee
    > After some explanation about the significance of biota, sorting,
    grainsize, and
    > sedimentary structures for interpreting sedimentary environments, they
    see three
    > localities:
    > Part of a bioherm where they can see soliatry and colonial rugose corals,
    > corals, stromatoporoids, and assorted hash in a mud matrix. I as them to
    > in what sort of environment such an assemblage is likely to form.
    > A laterally equivalent succesion of bedded wackestones and packstones with
    > similar biota. I again ask them consider what sort of environment these
    might have
    > formed in and ask them to say why it might be different to the previous
    > A siltstone succession interbedded with the limestones. I ask them to
    collect the
    > fossils (brachipods, bivalves, gastropids, and crinoids) and then to
    suggest why
    > the environment is different from the two limestone localities.
    > All very standard stuff, exposing students, almost none of whom have any
    > let alone geology background, to some basic principles of stratigraphy,
    > palaeontology, sedimentology, getting them to see that rocks are not ink
    blots into
    > which we see what we will, but natural documents which can be read. They
    > should get a sense of the vastness of geological time and response with
    awe and
    > wonder at God the creator.
    > But not always. Two years ago there was one lady in tears because of the
    way in
    > which her world view had been challenged by the discovery of the reality
    deep. Her
    > faith survived, whether by denying geology or by changing her world
    picture, I do
    > not know.
    > Jon.

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