Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record

From: <>
Date: Tue Dec 01 2009 - 12:08:35 EST

I got your point, Terry! The only attempt at labeling something an anomaly in
this regard would be the so-called polystrate fossils. Our school may still
have a few creationist science texts around that actually use this phrase and
point to some cases where a whale or a tree is seen to be fossilized at some
vertical angle extending through millions of years of strata. It is then
pointed out how ridiculous it is to think of a rotting corpse or dying tree
remaining standing long enough for those layers to rise up and entomb it.
Christian geologists from a century or more ago had no problems explaining how
this wasn't a problem for ancient time-lines. Roots & trunks can form "in-situ"
by growing through strata not yet hardened at the time --- or in the case of the
whale, it was apparently parallel to the strata which was itself uplifted to an
angle (as recounted at

So the word "polystrate" may be peculiar to anti-evolutionist usage given that I
don't see it used much apart from that context.


Quoting "Terry M. Gray" <>:

> Hi,
> This is a funny group to interact with, I must admit. It seems that Michael
> Roberts is the only one to get the point.
> While I don't necessarily disagree with Mike and Ted in their reference to
> Kuhn and all, and I suspect that Dawkins himself wouldn't disagree, the main
> point is that there is NO ANOMALY. Not a single one. That's the main question
> I'm asking here. Are there any anomalies with respect to this particular
> issue? The closest thing to one that I can think of is the question of
> stratiographic inversions. But once the possibility of an inversion is
> allowed, it's no longer an anomaly. A far cry from Ptolemaic epicycles.
> As for John's question about common ancestry, I have to say that the sentence
> was added in order to preclude some objections that I've heard on the list
> from several folks, that many who reject Darwinian evolution are still
> comfortable with common descent. I'm taking common descent the way that Steve
> Martin did. It's possible that a "special creationist" event (e.g. injection
> of information) would be required in order to go from ancestor to
> descendent--as he points out, this is consistent with some ID advocates.
> Whether you want to call this common descent is a matter of semantics. I am
> willing to call that common descent. For example, my own view of human
> origins allows for common descent of our biological form, but I believe a
> special creative act is required for our full humanity in the image of God
> (say, in the creation of the human soul).
> The point remains. There are no exceptions in the fossil record to the
> canonical common descent sequence.
> In Chapter 4 Dawkins points out that the common YEC model, that fossils were
> laid down in the flood and their sequence reflects the organism's ability to
> flee the encroaching flood waters, would at best produce a statistical
> distribution in the fossil record rather than the exceptionless pattern that
> we find.
> TG
> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
> Computer Support Scientist
> Chemistry Department
> Colorado State University
> Fort Collins, CO 80523
> (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
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Received on Tue Dec 1 12:09:06 2009

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