Re: Where is Geology 401?

Norm Smith (
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 10:20:56 -0400

Thanks again to Glenn, Steve and Greg for
responding to my questions about "Geology
401". Your responses have been of help even
though there is still something here that I am
not able to come to grips with.

It might be helpful here to relate that I don't
think of myself as either a "young earth
creationist" or an "old earth creationist" or
some other category, in the sense of having
a belief to which I feel a sense of loyalty.
I have made a leap of faith in my life to
become a "loyal" Christian believer. I do
not see the necessity of making other such
belief "leaps". When I come to origins, I am
simply one trying to explore what the widest
range of possible explanations can be.

Please pardon a faulty analogy, but it is the
best I can think of at the moment. Suppose an
auditor came to a moderate size company to
examine the accounting records. When he
asks to see the financial statement he is told that
this company doesn't keep one. When he asks to
see the general ledger he is told that they don't
use one of those either. However, they do keep
an accurate journal in which every transaction
the company makes is recorded. The company
regrets the inconvenience but they are sure that
if and when the auditor has spent as much time
as the score of folk in the accounting department
have in becoming intimately familiar with the
contents of this journal, then he will be able to
see that it is an accurate record. They will be
happy to give him access to the warehouse
where all these journals are stored. And by the
way, if the auditor has a problem understanding
accounting, they will help him find several good
texts in accounting principles. This is essentially
the problem I have with geology. I can not find
an accessible audit trail. There is, of course, a
glaring difference between the situation of this
auditor and the situation in geology. A company
has certain commitments to maintaining auditable
financial records. Geologists are not under such
an obligation. Most geologists, I can realize, are
just trying to get their job done and who cares
whether some skeptic can follow their trail. I
can't help wishing, however, that some of the
more "academic" geologists (meaning those
employed by universities) would have taken
the trouble to document an "audit trail".

Glenn wrote:
>Given this invariable order, why
>can't we use mathematics to correlate?
>Because the thickness of each strata
>varies from South Texas to Louisiana.

>come up with an algorithm that can
>automatically decide on thickening and
>thinning between various parts of the
>stratigraphy and can recognize
>missing section and you will make
>a fortune.

I am not asking for a complex algorithm or
the like. I am a statistician but at work I
always tell people that the best "statistics"
is done by a human eye looking at a good
graph. I find it hard to believe that one could
not come up with some way to provide a
graphical and numerical hierarchy of summaries
of "naked" geologic data that observers could
"spot check" for accuracy, in a way that would
not need to assume or utilize any particular
theory of the origins of the rocks.

At any rate, I believe I understand what you
folk are telling me. There is no such audit trail.
I am increasingly becoming resigned to the idea
that I will have to be satisfied with the meager
verifications that I can afford to do individually
by trying to follow formations in the field.
The idea that a field geologist might not be so
put off by my skepticism that he would be willing
to be of some help, is an attractive one. Steve Smith
suggested that I stop by - I think I will accept his offer.

Glenn wrote:
>Come on into geology. Get a degree and
>go to work with us. We are on the
>verge of an oil boom and there will
>be lots of money and employment.
>However, I would warn you that
>when you go back to much of the Christian
>community to tell them that what they
>teach doesn't match what you see, no
>one will believe you.

I did try something like that once. In 1983 I was in
Dallas working for Texas Instruments and tried to get
transferred to their geologic exploration division and I
also applied to ARCO there north of Dallas. As for
going back for a degree, I am 55 and it would probably
be economically prohibitive.

Norm Smith