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The Creation Explanation

Creation Explanation The Primeval World -- Fossils, Geology & Earth History

The Tectonically Associated Biologic Provinces Flood Model

The most thorough analysis and synthesis of the fossil and geological data from a biblical flood perspective is that of John Woodmorrappe, published from 1978 to 1986 in a series of seven papers totaling 185 pages.94 He began his detailed examination of the fossil and geological data based on the assumption that all of the data are significant. For example, he accepted as real and significant the following facts: (1) The successively deeper sedimentary strata contain increasingly fewer fossils of living species, and (2) Fossils of mammals, birds and humans are not found in the deeper strata. In addition Woodmorrappe rejected the prime and controlling secular assumption that the fossil data principally reflect a very long history of evolutionary development. At the same time, he espoused the biblical record of the Genesis flood. His objective was to find for the observed facts a broadly applicable explanation which fits his set of assumptions. He determined to take into account and accomodate all of the factors which may have influenced the order in which the fossils are found in the geologic record: These are (1) pure chance, (2) preservation bias, (3) ecological/biogeographgical, (4) tectonic factors, (5) hydrodynamic sorting, and (6) differential escape factors. The principle which he finally developed is called Tectonically Associated Biologic Provinces (TAB).

Secular paleontologists use selected "index fossils" as their main evidence for assigning relative ages to different fossil-bearing strata throughout the world. An index fossil is one which is found in a particular set of geological strata but in no others. Once a fossil type was accepted as an index fossil, the evolutionary theory of gradual development of life forms was applied to give the index fossil a time significance. Any sedimentary rock stratum containing the index fossil was automatically assigned a relative age corresponding to the stage and time of evolutionary history which the fossil species was assumed to represent. Thus index fossils form the basis for the geologic column and therefore for the entire evolutionary scenario for earth history.

Woodmorrappe's early papers included critiques of problems in geology which reveal the failure of uniformitarian geology to explain the observed facts. He showed that cyclothems(sequences of sedimentary strata associated with many coal deposits) cannot be explained by traditional uniformitarian theory, but that they give strong evidence for rapid, catastrophic deposition of coal deposits. He also discovered many examples of index fossils which are found in the "wrong" strata and which are duly ignored or assigned different species names when found where they supposedly do not belong.

Woodmorrappe also demonstrated that the selected index fossils and their supposed time significance in the geologic column have their foundation in the philosophical principles of atheistic materialism and uniformitarianism. At the same time he frankly grounded his own analysis and synthesis of the fossil and geological data firmly on a biblical creation philosophical ground. And he repeatedly asserted the freedom in science for Christian investigators to construct their scientific theories guided by the philosophical framework of biblical theism, just as the secularists have the freedom to work guided by their secular philosophy.

Early in his work Woodmorrappe made a very detailled study of an important class of index fossils, the ammonoids. The ammonoids were cephalopods, the only living example of which is the beautiful and mysterious nautilus, which lives a submarine existence floating submerged in the oceans. Many species of fossil ammonoids have been designated as index fossils by which the sedimentary strata in which they are found are given "ages" in the geologic column. Woodmorrappe found that the various species of ammonoids lived at different levels in the oceans, from near the surface in shallow waters down to great depths in the open seas and along the sea bottom. He showed that the ammonoid index species would have been trapped by the Genesis flood sediments and buried at depths generally corresponding to the positions and levels of their ecological zones in the ocean. This is roughly the order in which their fossils are found in the sedimentary strata today.

In subsequent papers Woodmorrappe developed his principle of Tectonically Associated Biological Provinces and applied it to explain the general phenomenon of index fossils. This principle provides for the so-called geological column a scientific explanation that is in accord with the biblical record of the Genesis flood. The placement of the fossils in the sediments is the result of the interaction of tectonic motions of TABs together with pure chance, preservation bias, ecological/biogeographgical, hydrodynamic sorting, and differential escape factors.

The TAB analysis of John Woodmorrappe has been in print for almost a decade(as of 1994), but it has received only limited attention in creation-science circles. Possibly this is due to the very complex character of the required analysis and synthesis of the huge body of pertinent fossil and geological data. In 1993 A.W. Mehlert published a two-part evaluation of the TAB paradigm.95 He closed his evaluation with these words: "I hope that a full range of good quality discussion on the TAB model will ensue--it deserves far better than the general neglect it has so far received."

The arduous labors of John Woodmorrappe, if complemented with similar hard work by other competent Christian investigators may help to dislodge the imperial reign of anti-Bible materialism over geology. We must always build on what God has told us about His creation, but then we can apply the scientific method better to understand the world. This can help us better to counter the imposing structure of earth history without God which evolutionary science has fashioned.



94. Woodmorrappe, John, Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 14, March 1978, pp;. 189-208; ibid., Vol. 15, Sept. 1978, pp. 94-112; ibid., Vol. 16, Sept. 1979, pp. 102-129; ibid.,Vol. 16, March 1980, pp. 209-219; ibid., Vol. 18, June 1981, pp.46-71; ibid., Vol. 18, March 1982, pp. 201-223, 239; ibid., Vol. 20, Dec. 1983, pp. 133-185; First International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, 1982, Vol. 2, pp. 205-218.

95. Mehlert, A.W., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 30, Sept. 1993, pp. 77-86; ibid., Vol. 30, Dec. 1993, 149-159.

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