DEFINITIONS—(*#1/9 Introduction*) Most people know very little about any aspect of geology. Here are some of the major areas of geologic study. Of the geologic terms defined below, you will want to give special attention to those in bold italic:
Here are several of the major branches of Physical Geology: (1) Geochemistry is the study of the substances in the earth and the chemical changes they undergo. (2) Petrology is the study of rocks, in general. (3) Minerology is the study of minerals, such as iron ore and uranium. (4) Geophysics is the study of the structure, composition, and development of the earth. (5) Structural geology is the study of positions and shapes of rocks very deep within the earth.
Both physical and historical geology include three areas: (1) Geochronology is the study of geologic time. (2) Earth Processes is the study of the forces that produce changes in the earth. (3) Sedimentology is the study of sediment and the ways it is deposited.
Historical geology has at least four main fields: (1)
Paleontology is the study of fossils, and paleontologists are those who study them. (2) Stratigraphy is the study of the rock strata in which the fossils are found. (3) Paleo-geography is the study of the past geography of the earth. (4) Paleoecology is the study of the relationships between prehistoric plants and animals and their surroundings.
Fossils are the remains of living creatures, both plants and animals, or their tracks. These are found in sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock is composed of strata, which are layers of stone piled up like a layer cake. (Strata is the plural of stratum.) Sedimentary rock is fossil-bearing or fossiliferous rock.
Fossil hunters use the word taxa (taxon, singular) to describe the basic, different types of plants and animals found in the fossil record. By this they generally mean species, but sometimes genera or more composite classifications, such as families or even phyla. Taxa is thus something of a loose term; it will be found in some of the quotations in this chapter. Higher taxa would mean the larger creatures, such as vertebrates (animals with backbones).
"The part of geology that deals with the tracing of the geologic record of the past is called historic geology. Historic geology relies chiefly on paleontology, the study of fossil evolution, as preserved in the fossil record, to identify and correlate the lithic records of ancient time."— *O.D. von Engeln and *K.E. Caster, Geology (1952), p. 423.
These fossil remains may be shells, teeth, bones, or entire skeletons. A fossil may also be a footprint, bird track, or tail marks of a passing lizard. It can even include rain drops. Many fossils no longer contain their original material, but are composed of mineral deposits that have infiltrated them and taken on their shapes.
Fossils are extremely important to evolutionary theory, for they provide our only record of plants and animals in ancient times. The fossil record is of the highest importance as a proof for evolution. In these fossils, scientists should be able to find all the evidence needed to prove that one species has evolved out of another.
"Although the comparative study of living animals and plants may give very convincing circumstantial evidence, fossils provide the only historical documentary evidence that life has evolved from simpler to more complex forms."—*Carl O. Dunbar, Historical Geology (1949), p. 52.
"Fortunately there is a science which is able to observe the progress of evolution through the history of our earth. Geology traces the rocky strata of our earth, deposited one upon another in the past geological epochs through hundreds of millions of years, and finds out their order and timing and reveals organisms which lived in all these periods. Paleontology, which studies the fossil remains, is thus enabled to present organic evolution as a visible fact."—*RichardB. Goldschmidt, "AnIntroduction to a Popularized Symposium on Evolution," in Scientific Monthly, Vol. 77, October 1953, p. 184.
PALEONTOLOGISTS KNOW THE FACTS—(*#3/25 The Experts Speak*) The study of fossils and mutations ranks as the two key evidences of evolution: The fossil evidence proves or disproves whether evolution has occurred in the past; mutational facts prove or disprove whether it can occur at all.
This is probably why, of all scientists, paleontologists and geneticists are the most likely to publicly repudiate evolutionary theory in disgust (*A.H. Clark, *Richard Goldschmidt, *Steven Gould, *Steven Stanley, *Colin Patterson, etc.). They have spent their lives fruitlessly working, hands on, with one of the two main factors in the very center of evolution: the evidence (fossils) or the mechanism by which it occurs (mutations) and that part of the body within which it must occur (DNA).
THE FOSSIL HUNTERS—(*#2 The Fossil Hunters "). For over a century, thousands of men have dedicated their lives to finding, cleaning, cataloguing, and storing millions of fossils. The work they do is time-consuming, ex hausting, yet it has not provided the evidence they sought.
NO EVOLUTION TODAY—Evolution (one type of animal changing into another) never occurs today.
"No biologist has actually seen the origin by evolution of a major group of organisms."—*G. Ledyard Stebbins, Process of Organic Evolution, p. 1. [Stebbins is a geneticist.]
EVERYTHING HINGES ON FOSSILS—Clearly, then, because no evolution is occurring now, all that the evolutionists have to prove their theory is fossil evidence of life-forms which lived in the past. If evolution is the cause of life on earth, then there ought to be thousands of various partly evolved fossil life-forms. For evolution to occur, this had to occur in great abundance. The fossils should reveal large numbers of transmuted species—creatures which are half fish-half animal, etc.
Throughout these studies, we shall refer to the basic types or kinds of plants and animals as "species." However, as discussed in chapter 11, Animal and Plant Species, biologists frequently classify plants and animals as "species," which are subspecies.
UNIFORMITARIANISM—(*#4/29 Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism *) A basic postulate of evolution is the concept of uniformitarianism. According to this theory, the way everything is occurring today is the way it has always occurred on our planet. This point has strong bearing on the rock strata. Since no more than an inch or so of sediment is presently being laid down each year in most non-alluvial areas, therefore no more than this amount could have been deposited yearly in those places in the past. Since there are thick sections of rock containing fossils, therefore those rocks and their contents must have required millions of years to be laid down. That is how the theory goes.
The opposite viewpoint is known as catastrophism, and teaches that there has been a great catastrophe in the past—the Flood—which within a few months laid down all the sedimentary rock strata, entombing the animals contained within them, which became fossils.
THE THEORY THAT STARTED IT—Naturalists, working in Paris a few years before *Charles Lyell was born, discovered fossil-bearing rock strata. *Lyell used this information in his important book, Principles of Geology, and divided the strata into three divisions. He dated one as youngest, another as older, and the third as very ancient.
*Lyell and others worked out those strata dates in the early 19th century, before very much was known about the rock strata and their fossils! Some strata in England, Scotland, and France were the primary ones studied. * Lyell based his age-theory on the number of still-living species represented by fossils in each stratum. If a given stratum had few fossils represented by species alive today, then *Lyell dated it more anciently.
It has since been established that *Lyell's theory does not agree with reality; the percentage of still-living species is very, very high throughout all the strata, and varies from place to place for each stratum in different localities. Nevertheless, after quarreling over details, Lyell's followers extended his scheme; and, though they changed his initial major strata names, they held on to his mistake and elaborated on it. Although some of the strata names changed later in the 19th century, scientists in the 20th century have been stuck with this relic of early 19th-century error. It is what they are taught in the colleges and universities.
THE ERAS—The fossil-bearing rock strata are said to fall into three major divisions, called "eras."
At the top are the Cenozoic Era rocks. Below that comes theMesozoic Era levels. Next comes the Paleozoic Era strata. At the bottom we find the Cambrian, which contains the lowest fossil-bearing rocks. Beneath that is the Precambrian. (Cenozoic means "recent life," mesozoic means "middle life," and paleozoic means "ancient life.")
DATES WHEN GEOLOGICAL TIME SCALES ORIGINATED—This fossil/strata theory is genuinely archaic. The basics of the theory were devised when very little was known about strata or fossils. But geology and paleontology have been saddled with it ever since. Here are the dates when the various geological time scales were first developed:
Quaternary - 1829 Tertiary - 1759 Cretaceous - 1822 Jurassic - 1795 Triassic - 1834 Permian - 1841 Carboniferous - 1822 Devonian - 1837 Silurian - 1835 Ordovician - 1879 Cambrian - 1835
THE ERAS: Cenozoic - 1841 Mesozoic - 1841 Paleozoic - 1838
Perhaps the most ridiculous part of this is that radio-dating of rocks, which did not exist when the 19th-century theories were devised, is forced to fit those 19th-century strata dates! It is done by using only a few test samples which fit the 19th century dates. The rest are discarded. (See chapter 6, Inaccurate Dating Methods, for more on this.)
EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION—If evolution was a fact, we should find in present events and past records abundant evidence of one species changing into another species. But, throughout all past history and in present observations, no one has ever seen this happen. Prior to written history, we only have fossil evidence. Scientists all
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