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Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter

Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter

Chapter 9 - Fossils and Geology: Slow or Fast?

1. How are fossils formed, according to the theory of uniformitarian historical geology?

Answer: The traditional accepted view is that fossils were the result of processes pretty much like those taking place on earth today.

The term "uniformitarian" refers to the idea that geological processes such as erosion, sedimentation, and earth movements have remained pretty much the same in character and rate for most of earth history. Fossils are generally found encased in sedimentary rock, rock which was deposited by water in the form of loose sediments which were then compressed and cemented to form solid stone. Since in the traditional theory most sediments were laid down very slowly, those plants and animals which left fossils must for the most part have been covered and fossilized slowly. Also, the vast deposits of the fossil fuel, coal, supposedly were formed from forests and peat bogs which grew slowly, died, were covered with sediments slowly in the same location in which they grew, and were finally compressed to make coal.

2. Where can fossils be seen being formed today?

Answer:  Present earth conditions are not producing fossils such as are found in abundance in fossil bearing rocks.

Fossils like those found in the rocks are not today observed being formed anywhere on the earth by the gradual processes just described. When plants and animals die they are immediately attacked by scavengers, fungi, and bacteria, which destroy them before they can be buried by sediments and fossilized. Any appreciable formation of fossils apparently requires sudden entrapment and rapid burial, a catastrophic process.1

3. Do fossils generally give the appearance of having been formed by slow or by rapid processes?

Answer: A great many facts point to rapid, catastrophic burial of the plants and animals which are found as fossils today.

a. Fossil caves, fissures, mass burial sites, and sedimentary strata discovered in Europe and America were jammed with masses of mixed bones of many sorts of animals from widely separated and differing climatic zones, for example:2 (1) Cumberland Cavern in Maryland, containing remains of animals from cold northern regions, warm, damp semi-tropical regions, and from more arid environments, (2) Norfolk forest-beds in England, which contain remains of temperate zone plants, and large numbers of both northern cold-climate and tropical warm-climate animals, all mixed together, (3) rock fissures in England and France contain masses of broken bones of many kinds of animals from both cold and temperate zones.

b. The Baltic amber deposits and the Geisaltal lignite seams in Germany contain fossil insect, plant and animal remains which must have been collected by some cataclysmic process from different areas all over the earth, from near arctic to tropical zones, and transported from Africa, the East Indies, and South America to be dumped in northern Europe.3

c. Numerous fossil graveyards contain stupendous quantities of fossilized bones of many different kinds of animals thrown together in jumbled masses so as to be explainable only in terms of catastrophic water action of vast proportions. These include the Agate Spring Quarry in Nebraska, the Siwalik Hills fossil beds in India, and the fossil fish graveyard strata of Lompoc, California, the Old Red sandstone in Scotland, and many other fish graveyards in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, etc.4

d. In many locations in the world are found extensive rock strata containing sometimes billions of fossilized animals, frequently densely packed together. They often display evidence of terror and struggle. These facts seem to suggest anything but slow, calm conditions of formation.

e. The vast coal deposits of the world generally do not give evidence of having been fossilized in the same location in which the plants originally grew. Instead they appear to have been dumped into place by flood action.5 Usually there is no evidence of a soil layer in which the supposed forest once grew. There are also many examples of "polystrate fossils," fossilized tree trunks which extend through a number of layers of sedimentary rock and coal, some of them up to one hundred or more feet in length.6 These surely must have been covered up very rapidly in order to be fossilized into coal before the termites got to them. Sometimes up to one hundred layers of coal separated by rock layers have been found at one location. It is not uncommon to find marine tube worms embedded in coal, attached to the coalified wood. Also not uncommon are pairs of coal layers separated by sedimentary rock, which over a distance of some miles are found to merge into a single coal layer. Thus, the rock layer cannot represent a long period of time. These data strongly indicate that the vegetation was rafted in from other locations by great ocean currents, dumped, covered with sediments, and rapidly converted to coal by the pressure of deep overlying sediments. Finally, pressure and heat can convert wood to coal in days,7 and garbage can be changed to oil in less than an hour by a recently developed commercial process.

The entire fossil record is much more easily understood to be the result of global flood action of great rapidity and violence, rather than of the relatively slow processes mostly observed today. British paleontologist Derek V. Ager believes that most fossils were produced in short periods of catastrophic activity separated by long periods of relative quiet.8 However, as we shall see, there is much evidence that the sediments which he believes to represent slow deposition were also laid down rapidly.

4. Are sixty-five petrified forests stacked one on top of the other at Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone Park? Does this famous geological formation represent a vast span of time?

Answer: Much evidence shows that the Specimen Ridge "fossil forests" are not the remains of forests which grew one on top of the other during long periods of time. Rather, it appears that trees from distant forests were ripped up and transported by water to be dumped at Specimen Ridge. The facts strongly indicate that the standard view long held by geologists is completely wrong.

The traditional view held by geologists is that the Yellowstone petrified tree formations represent many forests which grew one after the other. Each took hundreds of years to grow before it was buried by volcanic ash and slides of volcanic breccia (sharp-edged chunks of volcanic rock cemented to form a solid rock). Then another forest grew on top of it, only to suffer a similar fate, until perhaps as many as fifty to sixty-five forests had been buried and petrified. This explanation has been accepted without question for almost a century. However, recent detailed research has brought to light much evidence that contradicts this traditional view.

Dr. Harold Coffin has conducted careful studies over a number of years on all aspects of the Specimen Ridge formations. Some of the facts that do not fit the picture of forests' being buried where they grew are as follows:9

a. Tree roots abruptly terminating or broken.

b. Almost all trees completely stripped of bark and limbs.

c. Small trees upright, unbroken (a breccia flow would push them over).

d. Ring patterns of neighboring trees do not match.

e. Both upright and prone trees lined up as if by water current.

f. No valid evidence of soil layers where trees grew.

g. Absolutely no evidence of animals found where soil layers should be; also, very few cones found.

h. Many examples of trees overlapping with roots on one located at a level part-way up the trunk of another.

i. Broad leaves found where tree trunks are only conifers.

j. Pollen scarce and not of same kind as the tree trunks.

These and other facts strongly contradict the uniformitarian view. The evidence better fits the view that trees were ripped up and transported from another location by water and dumped in place at the same time that repeated volcanic eruptions were layering the area with ash and breccia. The evidence supports the view that this happened rapidly, not slowly over periods of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of years.

5. Do the erosion and deposition of sediments seen today explain how sedimentary rock layers could have been formed in the past?

Answer: The major features of the sedimentary rock strata cannot be explained in terms of the processes seen on the earth today. Two excellent reviews of this subject have been published by Dr. Steve Austin of the Institute for Creation Research, to whom we are heavily indebted for much of what follows.10

a. Vast horizontal strata point to a global flood.

In our southwestern states, where they are well exposed by erosion, but also across the continent and everywhere in the world, thousands to hundreds of thousands of square miles of flat, horizontal strata, from a few feet to hundreds of feet thick are found. At no location on the earth may the production of similar sedimentary deposits of like extent be observed today. These formations are composed of sandstone, graywacke, shale, conglomerate, limestone and other types of rock. Some of them extend for thousands of miles, spanning whole continents. For example, the St. Peter sandstone, composed of clean quartz grains, has been traced in twenty states from California to Vermont.11 The Shinarump conglomerate in the Southwest covers some 125,000 square miles,12 and another conglomerate blanket is reported to extend from New Mexico to Saskatchewan and Alberta.13

A continental blanket of clean sandstone, before being deposited, required a steadily flowing current traversing a great distance to separate the sand from silt and gravel. A continental blanket of conglomerate required a continent-sized maelstrom of water in violent, chaotic motion to dump an ungraded mixture of material of all sizes across thousands of miles of terrain. Tremendous water action such as that which would be produced by a global flood seems to offer the only reasonable explanation for the observed facts.

b. Sedimentary rock strata have features which suggest continuous and simultaneous deposition.14

If the contact surface between two successive parallel sedimentary rock layers is smooth and regular, showing no signs of erosion, the two layers are said to be "conformable." If there is evidence of erosion of the lower surface before the upper layer was deposited, the contact is called a "disconformity." Since erosion begins as soon as a land surface is exposed, conformable contact surfaces indicate uninterrupted deposition of sediments. What is found through the greater part of the world's sedimentary rocks, conformable surfaces or disconformities? Conformable surfaces are the general rule, whereas disconformities are relatively rare.

Thus, the sedimentary rock strata appear to have been laid down rapidly, without large periods of time between them. In fact, it is not uncommon for two layers with a conforemable contact surface to grade into a single layer, without a definite contact line. Also, in some cases a disconformity at one point becomes a conformable contact some distance away. The combined effect of these facts is to do away with the vast time scale assumed for geological history. A catastrophic global flood may be the correct explanation after all.

A striking example of missing time has recently been studied in the Grand Canyon.15 Along the North Kaibab Trail the Mississippian Redwall Limestone is seen to intertongue with the lower and supposedly much older Cambrian Muav Limestone. There is no evidence of a disconformity. It appears that the two strata were deposited almost simultaneously. Yet according to the evolutionary time scale a period of 200 million years separates these two limestone deposits.

c. Finer structure of strata is explained in terms of the flood.

The finer structure of sedimentary strata, called stratification, is also difficult to explain satisfactorily in terms of the more or less gradual processes observed in action today. The four common types of stratification seem to be more easily explained in terms of the kind of very rapid water action which a global flood would have produced. Simple lamination,16 cross lamination and cross bedding,16 ripple lamination,17 and graded bedding18 all are equally well or better explained in terms of the global flood hypothesis than they are in terms of the uniformitarian principle.

d. Many massive sedimentary rock formations contain thousands of thin, horizontal laminations. Traditional interpretation takes these to be annual layers or "varves" laid down over multiplied thousands of years in lakes and seas. Thus these laminated formations are adduced as evidence for long time spans required to accumulate the many layers. However a large body of information in the recent geological literature has undermined this view. In the excellent 1994 book, Grand Canyon -- Monument to Catastrophe, edited by Steven Austin of the Institute for Creation Research, reviews this evidence at some length.19 There are numerous examples of sediments composed of many thin lamminae that were laid down rapidly in short periods of time, even in minutes. For example, such a thinly laminated deposit was formed in a few hours during the catastrophic flows of water and volcanic ash released by the explosion in 1982 of Mount St. Helens in Washington. Similar laminated sedimentary deposits have also been produced experimentally by moving, silt laden water in a hydraulic tank. In addition, such laminae have also been deposited from stationary water in a laboratory by French scientist, Guy Berthault.20 In addition, there are finely laminated sediments up to hundreds of feet thick that are now known to have been deposited rapidly under catastrophic conditions in mere hours. An important type of evidence for geologic time has thus become highly questionable.

e. Composition of many sedimentary rock strata is to a large extent still unexplained.

Not only the structure, but also the composition of sedimentary rock formations bears witness to catastrophic deposition of most of the sedimentary rocks in the earth's crust. Limestone,21 dolostone (limestone containing much magnesium carbonate),22 cherts (flint-like stone),23 graywacke,24 and "evaporites" (such as gypsum or rock salt)25 cannot be suitably explained in terms of processes observed on the earth today. In fact, they apparently were formed by water currents and oceanic chemical reactions on a scale which is incomprehensible in terms of present earth activities. Geologists cannot agree on the explanations for these facts, and there is much mystery still. One thing is certain: a global flood seems to offer the best possibility ultimately of explaining all of the facts.

f. Vast volcanic lava outpourings.

In the states of the Pacific Northwest, in India and elsewhere, hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory were engulfed by floods of basaltic lava which must have flowed like rivers and stacked up layers thousands of feet thick. Volcanic action on this scale is unheard of in the modern world.26

g. Earth's crust violently altered.

Many other characteristics of the rock structures of the earth's crust suggest catastrophic activity on a giant scale not seen today. Large scale folding, faulting, and uplifting and sinking are examples. Great river canyons in the ocean bottoms and shallow water deposits on the sea floor indicate that the oceans may have been thousands of feet lower than at present.27 Striking evidence from archaeology indicates that the Andes and Himalaya mountain chains were pushed up thousands of feet in historic times.28

h. Mount Ararat submerged.

On Mount Ararat, a volcanic mountain complex, pillow lava is found at the 14,000 foot level.29 Pillow lava has been extruded under water and is recognized by its high glass content caused by very rapid cooling. All of the igneous rocks examined on Ararat by geologist Clifford Burdick were highly glassy. Ararat apparently was submerged in water to above the present 14,000 foot level. It probably was built up under the water during the flood. The entire world must have been inundated at the same time.

All of these evidences from geology and many more point to a violent, catastrophic past history of the earth. They imply global flood with associated volcanic and mountain building activity which changed the face of the earth.

6. Are the rock layers and their embedded fossils always found in the same order, with simple fossils on the bottom and complex ones on the top, in the same order in which evolution is said to have occurred?

Answer: There are many places on the earth where rock strata and fossils are found in the reverse order from that predicted by evolutionary theory. Many of these are very difficult for geologists to explain. If they cannot be explained, the evolutionary history gets turned around backwards, which is embarrassing for the theory ofhistorical geology.

Dr. Walter Lammerts has compiled references in the scientific literature to hundreds of such reversals of evolutionary geology.30 Sometimes a reversal can be shown to be caused by the overturning of a fold in intensely deformed sediments. But in other cases folding cannot explain it. The stock explanation in such cases is that a "thrust fault" allowed older strata containing simple fossils to be slid out on top of younger rocks contain complex fossils.

The most famous example of a so-called thrust fault is the Lewis Overthrust, covering some 13,000 square miles of mountain ranges in Montana and British Columbia. However, the physical evidence that an entire system of mountain ranges slid thirty to sixty miles out on top of underlying strata is absent. A thick layer of ground-up mixed rock from the two layers should be found between the upper and lower members of the supposed overthrust structure. It is nowhere to be found, not at any of the known exposures of the contact surface. The rock layers appear to have been conformably deposited one on the other in the normal manner. If the simple algae fossils in the upper layers (rocks classified as Precambrian dolomite) were not supposedly a billion years older than the complex marine fossils in the lower layers (classified as Cretaceous shale), the idea of a thrust fault in that area would never have occurred to geologists. but the theory of evolution must be saved at any cost, so heroic feats of geological imagination are performed to explain away the obvious facts.31

Another related type of evidence which is embarrassing to the defenders of the traditional geological claims is the discovery of many different kinds of pollen in Precambrian rocks.32 This information would have flowering plants appearing on the earth up to a half billion years too early to fit in the theory of evolution. Perhaps the evolution and the years are really imagination.

7. What is the biblical picture of earth history?

Answer: While the Bible does not give a detailed picture of earth history, it does provide a framework for interpreting the fossils and rock strata. The opening verses of the Bible indicate that in its original form the earth was surrounded by water, perhaps in violent activity. Thus the earliest sedimentary rocks formed would be devoid of fossils, for life had not yet been created. This was on the first day of creation, ten thousand or so years ago. On the third day of creation God lifted the original continental mass from beneath the waters. Probably until the Flood, thousands of years later, the level of the dry land was generally lower and more even than today, the mountains much lower than today's mountain ranges. Sea level was considerably lower and the land surface therefore greater than at present. When God judged the sinful human race with the Flood of Noah, rain fell and perhaps additional water was brought to earth by special divine provision, and juvenile waters poured out through fissures in the crust of the earth in tremendous volume. In addition, the ocean bottoms and the land surface may have changed their relative levels, the former rising and the latter sinking.

The effect was to cover the land surface totally and subject the entire earth to the action of global water currents and wave action of cataclysmic violence. The land surface was deeply eroded and every living thing swept away. The sediments with the dead plants and animals were deposited to form the strata observed today with their content of fossils. Great earth upheavals, volcanic activity, vast lava outpourings, and rapid mountain building accompanied the latter part of the Flood and continued for centuries afterwards on a diminishing scale. Perhaps in the centuries after the Flood the original land mass began to separate into the present continents. Genesis 10:25 may refer to a crucial stage in this separation, as well as to the division of the nations at Babel. In the post-flood period glaciers advanced and retreated. Gradually the conditions on the earth stabilized, the land and seas were filled again with living creatures, and the descendants of Noah spread around the world.

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Gregory, Herbert E., U.S. Geological Survey Prof. Paper 188, 1938, p. 49.

...The physiographic conditions under which the Shinarump[conglomerate blanket, ed.] was deposited are difficult to visualize. What conditions could be so persistent and so uniform as to permit the deposition of a thin sheet of material essentially alike over thousands of square miles in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada?

Dunbar, C.O. and Rogers, John, Principles of Stratigraphy (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1957), p. 245.

...Chert has been the subject of as much controversy as dolostone, and for about the same reasons: neither is known to be forming anywhere today, and the chemistry of formation of each presents difficult problems.

Nilsson, Heribert, Synthetische Artbildung (Gleerup, Lund, Sweden, 1954, reprint by Evolution Protest Movement of N. America, Victoria, B.C., 1973), pp. 1194-1195.

Let us study...the formation of amber. The largest deposits...in East Prussia...estimated...at 5 milliard (5x109 kilos). ...In the pieces of amber...insects are of modern types. ...It is then quite astounding to find that they belong to all regions of the earth, not only to the Palaearctic region. ...Typically tropical species occur, from the Old World as well as from the New. The same is the case with the plant fragments. Leaves of tropical trees from East India, Borneo, Australia and South America are mixed with those from...homely shrubs. ...The genus Pinus...needles...are Japanese or North American. ...The geological and paleobiological facts concerning the layers of amber are impossible to understand unless the explanation is accepted that they are the final result of an allochtonous process, including the whole earth. ...Exactly the same picture as the one just given is offered by the well-known studies of certain fossil-carrying strata of the lignite in Geiseltal (Germany).


1 Whitcomb, John C., Jr. and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., Philadelphia, 1961), pp. 84, 128-130, 155-157.

2 Ibid., pp. 154-161; Velikovsky, Immanuel, Earth in Upheaval (Dell Pub. Co., Inc., New York, 1955), pp. 50-60.

3 Nilsson, Heribert, ref. 31 of Chapter 7, pp. 1194-1196.

4 Velikovsky, Immanuel, ref. 2, pp. 18-22, 64-69, 78-81.

5 Nilsson, Heribert, ref. 31 of Chapter 7, pp. 1196-1198; Morris, Henry M., Editor, Scientific Creationism (Creation-Life Pub., San Diego, 1974), pp. 107-109.

6 Rupke, N.A., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, 3, May 1966, pp. 16-37.

7 Whitcomb, John C., Jr. and Henry M. Morris, ref. 1, pp. 278-279.

8 Ager, Derek V., The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record (John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1973).

9 Coffin, Harold, A Challenge to Education II-B, Walter Lang, Editor (Bible-Science Association, Caldwell, Idaho, 1974), pp. 36-43.

10 Nevins, Stuart E. (Steven A. Austin), A Symposium on Creation III, Donald W. Patten, Ed. (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1971), pp. 33-68.

11 Wheeler, Harry E., Bull. of the Amer. Assoc. of Petroleum Geologists, 47, p. 1507.

12 Stokes, W.L., Bull. of the Geological Soc. of Amer., 61, 1950, p. 91.

13 Nevins, Stuart E., ref. 10, pp. 59-60.

14 Morris, Henry M. and Gary E. Parker, What Is Creation Science? (Creation-Life Pub., Inc., San Diego, 1982), pp. 213-218.

15 Waisgerber, William, George F. Howe, and Emmett L. Williams, Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, 23, March 1987, pp. 160-167.

16 Jopling, Alan V., Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 36, 1966, p. 883.

17 McKee Edwin D., Primary Sedimentary Structures and Their Hydrodynamic Interpretation, Gerald V. Middleton, Ed. (Soc. of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, Okla., 1965), p. 83.

18 Kuenen, Ph.H. and C.I. Migliorini, Journal of Geology, 58, 1950, pp. 91-127.

19 Austin, Steven A, editor, Grand Canyon*Monument to Catastrophe (Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA, 1995, pp. 37-39.

20 Berthault, Guy, Compt Rendue Academie des Sciences, Paris, Vol. 303, 1986, pp. 1569-1574.

21 Morris, Henry H., Editor, ref. 5, p. 104.

22 Dunbar, C.O. and John Rogers, Principles of Stratigraphy (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1957), p. 237.

23 Ibid.., p. 245.

24 Pettijohn, F.G., Sedimentary Rocks, 2nd edition (Harper and Row, New York, 1957), p. 313.

25 Ibid., 2nd edition, p. 483.

26 Baker, C.L. Journal of Geology, 31, 1923, pp. 66-79; Wadia, D.N., Geology of India, 3rd Edition (MacMillian & Co., London, 1953), pp. 292-292.

27 Daly, Reginald, Earth's Most Challenging Mysteries (Craig Press, Nutley, N.J., 1972), pp. 242-243; Whitcomb, John C., Jr. and Henry M. Morris, ref. 1, pp. 125-126, 324-325.

28 Velikovsky, Immanuel, ref. 2, pp. 81-87, 151.

29 Read, John G., The Mountains of Ararat, filmstrip by Creation-Science Research Center, San Diego, 1973).

30 Lammerts, Walter E., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly: Vol. 21, 1984-1985, pp. 88, 150, 200; Vol. 22, 1985-1986, pp. 127, 188; Vol. 23, 1986-1987, pp. 38, 133; Vol. 24, 1987, p. 46.

31 Burdick, Clifford L., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, 6, Sept. 1969, pp. 96-106; ibid., 11, June 1974, pp. 56-60; Slusher, Harold S., ibid., 3, May 1966, pp. 59-60; Read, John G. and Clifford L. Burdick, Fossils, Strata, and Evolution, a photographic essay book and a filmstrip of same title (Scientific-Technical Presentations, Culver City, CA, 1979).

32 Stainforth, R.M., Nature, 210, 16 April 1966, pp. 292-294; Burdick, Clifford L., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, 9, June 1972, p. 25; Lammerts, Walter E. and George F. Howe, ibid., 23, March 1987, pp. 151-153.

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