Monday, November 20, 2006

Backwards reasoning

TOUCHSTONE SAID:

“The rationale science uses is completely different than the one you've used. They note that humans exist now, and work backwards. Since humans come from earlier humans -- their parents -- they like all living things form a chain back into history.”

No one denies that. Both YEC and OEC affirm that.

“Evolutionary theory supposes that this back chaining leads to convergence, if you go back a long ways, were humans were less evolved, and had a shared developmental path with other species - primates most recently, others in the more distant past.”

Yes, we understand that.

“Some closely-related hominids *didn't* make it. There are no more Neanderthals around any more, so they obviously didn't have what it takes to survive in some regard.”

Once again, we already understand that aspect of the theory.

“This paradigm gives a means for understanding man's history on earth. So far, the dirt evidence that we have fits nicely with the model.”

That’s a matter of interpretation.

“The only way I can see that one would suppose we got here without a biological history…”

That's a straw man argument. No one denies that we (human beings) have a biological history. Both YEC and OEC affirm that we have a biological history.

“Is a scenario in which something happens that goes against the physics, the natural processes in place for God's creation. That's where YEC ideas come into the picture.”

I don’t know what this is supposed to mean. Fiat creation doesn’t go “against” physics or natural processes.

Rather, fiat creation is what puts the cycle of natural forces and processes in place.

“In their view, man's organizational and commercial skills provided the selective advantage that pushed the Neanderthals out of the picture.”

Two problems:

i) To my knowledge, YEC (and OEC) classifies Neanderthals as a subspecies of modern man. Hence, Neanderthal would have a full complement of human faculties.

ii) According to evolutionary theory, this stage is very late in the game. The fact that Cro-Magnon man had various survival skills doesn’t explain how he survived prior to the evolution of those survival skills.

“Your argument is different, though. You are making a claim that man *could* not possibly have survived.”

No, my claim is not that strong. My claim points out major obstacles to the survival of early man, given evolution, and then demands corresponding evidence for how he overcame those obstacles.

Now the Evangelutionist plays his trump card:

***QUOTE***

The rationale science uses is completely different than the one you've used. They note that humans exist now, and work backwards.

Man *did* survive, because, well, we're here, and in large numbers. That's very strong evidence that we've had what it takes to make it thus far. If we didn't have what it takes, how did we get here?

But the basic assumption of evolutionary theory is sufficiency for survival by implication: we know we were able to survive because we did survive.

So, in a nutshell, here's the rationale from evolutionary theory, which I think is the best one available:

Man had what it takes to survive because he *did* survive.

That's the rationale you seek. It should have been obvious, it's basic evolutionary theory.

***END-QUOTE***

Thanks for clearly stating the primary argument for evolution. That helps to show how utterly vacuous the argument for evolution really is.

It’s true that the actual implies the possible. It’s also true that the present implies the past.

But that does absolutely nothing to prove a particular theory how we survived.

An atheist could use your logic to prove atheism, viz. a secular scientist observes that the universe exists as of now, and works backwards. It did arrive at this point because, well, it’s here. That’s very strong evidence that the universe had what it takes to make it this far. If it didn’t have what it takes, how did it get here?

Thus, the basic assumption of secular cosmology is sufficiency for existence by implication: we know that the universe did exist because it does exist; thus, it had whatever it needed to make it this far.

So, in a nutshell, here’s the rationale from secular cosmology: the universe had what it takes to get here because it did!

That’s the rationale you seek. It should have been obvious since it’s basic secular cosmology.

We could apply the very same reasoning to prove naturalistic evolution. Evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary ethics.

Yet the inference is completely invalid. Yes, you can infer the possible from the actual or the past from the present.

But all you can infer is the generic truth *that* whatever is actual is possible, or *that* the past is real given the reality of the present.

This in no way implicates a specific theory of *what* the past was like, or *how* the possibility of the past renders the present possible.

And, what is worse—not only is the inference invalid, but it can also be just plain wrong.

For example, we all use logic. Logic is undeniable.

But someone may propose a reductionistic ontology that ends up removing thevery truth-conditions which make logic possible—much less necessary and universal.

The necessity of logic doesn’t retroactively warrant just any ontological theory of logic.

A particular ontology may completely undercut the necessity and universality of logic—in which case the theory is self-refuting.

Same problem with eliminative materialism.

So, yes, you can reason from the present to the past, or the actual to the possible. But that only satisfies a necessary condition of any existential proposition. It is hardly a sufficient condition.

The fact that we are here today, in which case it was possible for us to make it this far, does nothing whatsoever to justify the inference or assumption that it was possible for us to survive according to a set of evolutionary postulates.

To the contrary, evolution may stipulate such restrictive conditions that survival either impossible or highly unlikely. And one would need very specific evidence to overturn that presumption.

16 comments:

  1. Steve,

    You said:
    The fact that we are here today, in which case it was possible for us to make it this far, does nothing whatsoever to justify the inference or assumption that it was possible for us to survive according to a set of evolutionary postulates.

    To the contrary, evolution may stipulate such restrictive conditions that survival either impossible or highly unlikely. And one would need very specific evidence to overturn that presumption.


    OK, so I've given my rationale, "showed my math". If you want more details, there are thousands of papers and scholarly sources we can look at.

    Perhaps I misunderstood your original argument. Maybe you can verify for me whether you think man *did* have the minimum resources to survive the last million years, or whether he did not. If he *did* have the minimum resources necessary, I don't see a particular point of protest -- and I don't think your local anthropologist would either.

    My understanding from your "Adam and evolution" post was that man did *not* have the minimum assets necessary to survive the last million years (and even farther back, depending on where you draw the (proto-)human line). I'd be surprised to hear you say now that man *did* have the minimum assets, after all. But if that's the case, so be it. All the better.

    Now, assuming that you remain convinced that man *did* not have the minimum assets to survice, can I ask for your "math", your rationale? Specifically:

    + What are the minimum assets needed for man to survive?

    Thinking about it, this sounds like a complex model. For example, we have observed modern-day coelacanth, one of the oldest of all creatures, the oldest known jawed fish. I don't suppose you would say that a coelecanth is any match for a shark. If that's the case, how did these guys survive for so many millions of years?

    Looking at the coelacanth should raise all sorts of issues that are implicated in survival. Reproductive rates, ecological niches, food supplies, prevalence of predators, etc. Modern science doesn't suppose it has a robust model of all those parameters -- it's tantamount to modeling the biosphere itself. Instead, it reasons from the present to the past. We have living coelacanth specimens caught by fishermen, and we have coelacanth fossils that date back to something like 400Mya (Devonian period, for most of our coelacanth fossils, I believe). Assuming of course, that the speed of light hasn't changed by thousands of orders of magnitude, which might mess with our dating techniques.

    Humans represent a similar, and possibly more complex problem to model. I'm not aware of any scientific models that are comprehensive enough simulate the selective environments for early man or coelecanth. Researchers find fossils that support the idea that (proto-)man has been around a very long time, and has a timeline that corresponds with increased brain size, improved technology, and better organizational/communications skills as time progresses.

    Coelacanth have fossils that put them on the scene far longer than (proto-)humans have been around. By hundreds of millions of years. Remarkably, the coelacanth is little changed over 400M years. It's called a "living fossil". Yet, it's not a match for a shark, or any number of other aquatic predators with bigger size, more speed, bigger teeth, etc.

    Given that, I believe we would suppose that the coelacanth couldn't have made it, either. The little coelacanth can't even point to its emerging technology, organizational skills, or enlarging brain. It's just the humble coelacanth, surviving all these hundreds of millions of years.

    In any case, if one is to dismiss the inference of the past based on the present, there has to be a criterion in place to make the assessment of man -- or coelacanth, if you were to look at that -- as implausible.

    Evolutionary theory, like all science, is tentative. Finding a horse fossil in the Silurian period would falsify it part and parcel. Perhaps there *is* something in your model that you used to declare (proto-)humans inadequate that we should look at. That's why I think that showing your math would be entirely useful for this discussion.

    Will you do that?

    Thanks,

    -Touchstone

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  2. According to this article, coelacanth do not generally live in the same habitat as do sharks (e.g. deeper waters). And where this isn't the case, and habitats do overlap, coelacanth apparently feed on smaller sharks. In addition, the article notes coelacanth have a natural camouflage to help them better hide. Etc.

    Anyway, I thought the original debate centered on human evolution rather than how a certain species of fish? At this rate, we might as well start bringing in every known organism to bear on the debate rather than focusing on problems with the original contention or argumentation! Yikes.

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  3. Patrick,

    That's the point of bringing up the coelecanth -- there's a lot more involved than simply noting that sharks have bigger teeth than the coelacanth. There may be ecosytem issues which keep sharks in different waters than coelacanth. Etc.

    Noting that gorillas have bigger teeth and stronger deltoids than humans is taking a simplistic and naive view of how the complexities of the ecosystem work. There are a good number of species that have minimal defensive capabilities, yet flourish anyway. Mosquitoes are no match for a bat or a swallow or a dragonfly. But if they can simply reproduce faster than they are eaten, on the whole, then they survive.

    Bottom line: modeling all the dynamics that come to bear in gauging the fate of a species or population is an extraordinarily complex challenge. To be able to rule out the existence of a species that existence in large populations all around us today, one would need either:

    a) an extraordinarily detailed and robust "survival model" that demonstrated the implausibility of survival.

    b) a willingness to just wave one's hands, and pontificate that it couldn't have happened because, well it just couldn't.

    Do I have a PhD in such matters? Not even. Do I claim to have such a robust "survival model" that demonstrates how man survived? Not at all. I'm simply reasoning backwards through the causal chain. Where did my parents come from? And theirs? And theirs....? On and on. At some point, there must be a cause, else we're left with man as biological eternal. Given the cosmological evidence, I don't think that's a viable option.

    So we look for theories that explain, predict and fit the evidence. Evolution, to my mind, is the clear winner among all the candidates I've seen. Is it "proven"? Hardly. Science is a tentative epistemology. Does it perform better than all the other competing models?

    Definitely.

    -Touchstone

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  4. Bottom line: modeling all the dynamics that come to bear in gauging the fate of a species or population is an extraordinarily complex challenge. To be able to rule out the existence of a species that existence in large populations all around us today, one would need either:

    a) an extraordinarily detailed and robust 'survival model' that demonstrated the implausibility of survival.

    b) a willingness to just wave one's hands, and pontificate that it couldn't have happened because, well it just couldn't.


    First off, I don't think anyone here is ruling out the "survival" and existence of a species today. We agree that coelacanth exist. We agree that apes and monkeys exist. We agree that humans exist. Where we disagree is that they necessarily evolved from a common ancestor.

    By the way you've framed the choices, you're really only suggesting (a) is tenable.

    Also, I'm still not clear about what you mean by a "survival model" here. It just sounds like you're saying "In order to prove that organism X, which exists in large numbers today, did not evolve, one would have to demonstrate that it's unlikely [implausible] they evolved."

    But why invoke evolution in the first place as the most viable explanation for the existence of a large number of organism X?

    More to the point, hasn't Steve already addressed this above?

    "So, yes, you can reason from the present to the past, or the actual to the possible. But that only satisfies a necessary condition of any existential proposition. It is hardly a sufficient condition.

    The fact that we are here today, in which case it was possible for us to make it this far, does nothing whatsoever to justify the inference or assumption that it was possible for us to survive according to a set of evolutionary postulates.

    To the contrary, evolution may stipulate such restrictive conditions that survival either impossible or highly unlikely. And one would need very specific evidence to overturn that presumption."

    Do I have a PhD in such matters? Not even.

    Sorry, but I'm not sure why you would need a PhD as far as the debate between Steve and you is concerned? It's not like Steve is asking you questions which you couldn't answer without graduate work in a particular field of science or evolutionary theory or something related.

    Do I claim to have such a robust 'survival model' that demonstrates how man survived? Not at all. I'm simply reasoning backwards through the causal chain. Where did my parents come from? And theirs? And theirs....? On and on. At some point, there must be a cause, else we're left with man as biological eternal. Given the cosmological evidence, I don't think that's a viable option.

    Young and Old Earth Creationists believe in a literal Adam and Eve who were able to give birth to human children. Such that Adam and Eve would be the cause. So I don't see how what you've said couldn't fit in with YEC or OEC. Regarding the cosmological evidence, it's not as if YEC and OEC have somehow forgotten about this. For example, there's a book by Dr. Russell Humphreys called Starlight and Time that attempts to resolve the issue of billions of year old starlight in a YEC model.

    But assuming for the moment that human evolution is true, why couldn't modern man have simultaneously arisen in separate parts of the world such as Africa, Asia, etc.? And if so, I wonder how would you square this away with the Biblical Adam and Eve -- assuming you believe in their literal existence (since you've noted you subscribe to the GHM of Biblical interpretation)?

    So we look for theories that explain, predict and fit the evidence. Evolution, to my mind, is the clear winner among all the candidates I've seen. Is it "proven"? Hardly. Science is a tentative epistemology. Does it perform better than all the other competing models?

    Definitely.


    If that's the case, and I ask this sincerely, I don't understand why you've yet to address the problems that Steve has pointed out in your argumentation regarding the theory of evolution? Shouldn't you take into consideration the points he's raised? Personally speaking, I know I'd be interested in an honest, straightforward response from you regarding the arguments Steve has presented.

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  5. TOUCHSTONE SAID:

    “Noting that gorillas have bigger teeth and stronger deltoids than humans is taking a simplistic and naive view of how the complexities of the ecosystem work. There are a good number of species that have minimal defensive capabilities, yet flourish anyway.”

    A lovely non-sequitur. Other species survive without the equipment of a gorilla, therefore the equipment of a gorilla is not a survival mechanism.

    Talk about simplistic!

    “Mosquitoes are no match for a bat or a swallow or a dragonfly. But if they can simply reproduce faster than they are eaten, on the whole, then they survive.”

    Which means they have an alternative survival mechanism.

    And these are points I made in my original post.

    But human beings don’t have the equipment of gorillas. And they don’t have the reproductive rate of mosquitoes.

    The Evangelutionist is the one who’s waving his hands furiously at this point.

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  6. Folks...just listen to Steve.

    It was Dirt. Breath. A Rib. Some fig leaves. A talking snake.

    Boo yeah!

    take that evil materialistic science!

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  7. Folks...just listen to Anonymous.

    It was Dirt. Chance. A million years. Some finches. A boat named Beagle.

    Boo yeah!

    take that evil theists!

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  8. Patrick, you're the first honest person on here.

    None of us knows what happened.

    A person can choose to try and figure it out, or they can point to an old book written by dirt munching morons.

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  9. hostus twinkius11/20/2006 10:10 PM

    Or you could just remain a simplistic, clueless sack of meat wandering around without purpose or meaning. Life is a black void, a chance in the chaos. Yes, that is what truly intelligent people embrace. We just can't really KNOW anything.....thanks

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  10. Or hokus, you could subscribe to a "worldview" full of sophisticated mumbo jumbo that lets you "know" everything, makes you a superior being made in the image of a supernatural being, and turns you into an immortal minor god that lives forever in bliss once you die, while your enemies and others that don't think like you get tortured for eternity.


    Wait...this is the calvanist blog...

    Nevermind.

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  11. Hi Patrick,

    You said:
    First off, I don't think anyone here is ruling out the "survival" and existence of a species today. We agree that coelacanth exist. We agree that apes and monkeys exist. We agree that humans exist. Where we disagree is that they necessarily evolved from a common ancestor.

    By the way you've framed the choices, you're really only suggesting (a) is tenable.

    I didn't see any complaints, or even mention of common ancestry in Steve's original post ("Adam and Evolution"). In fact, common ancestors would put man and gorilla together. He clearly believes Gorillas have the minimum resources for survival -- they are offered as the example of what man is *not*. If we superimpose common ancestry on the picture, then Steve's point becomes hopelessly confused: you have a man-ape creature to assess for survivability. Was the man-ape ancestor a viable species? How do we know? Steve is keeping his magic formula to himself, so we can't say on our own.

    You said:

    Also, I'm still not clear about what you mean by a "survival model" here. It just sounds like you're saying "In order to prove that organism X, which exists in large numbers today, did not evolve, one would have to demonstrate that it's unlikely [implausible] they evolved."

    But why invoke evolution in the first place as the most viable explanation for the existence of a large number of organism X?


    I'm invoking evolution as the leading theory that accounts for how man (and other creatures) got to where we/they are. But I'm happy to just assume man as he is now, if that's what Steve is intent on arguing about. Does man, as he exists today, have adequate assets to survive as a species? It appears so.

    I think Steve must be supposing some model that has early man "unprotected" as part of his evolutionary past, and thus man can't be here? I admit, I responded to that post simply because it seems inchoate on the face of it. It the present implies the past, and we believe there is a causal chain at work, then it seems one would need a pretty strong rationale to tell us that what we see in front of -- lots of humans surviving to the present day -- didn't really happen.

    More to the point, hasn't Steve already addressed this above?
    No, I still have no idea what he considers *enough* in terms of survivability. And I don't think he has any idea either, as he doesn't think he *needs* one. Evolution didn't happen according to his particular interpretation of Genesis, and that's all the rigor he needs.

    That's just passing off theological interpretations dressed up in quasi-scientific language. There's no need for that -- just call a spade a spade.

    You said:
    Sorry, but I'm not sure why you would need a PhD as far as the debate between Steve and you is concerned? It's not like Steve is asking you questions which you couldn't answer without graduate work in a particular field of science or evolutionary theory or something related.
    He absolute is asking those questions. In fact, he's offering some knowledge that surpasses the accumulated knowledge of all the PhDs in anthropology out there.

    To make anything but silly guesses about the survival dynamics of a particular species half a billion years ago, one would need an *enormous* evidential base, and some sort of calibrated model for running the numbers.

    Did (proto-)humans reproduce fast enough to compensate for all the predator attrition?

    We don't know. No PhD I've read could say with any certainty what the reproductive rates were a million years ago. If you can find some scientific evidence for that number, I'd be glad to know that -- it would be useful to the question at hand.

    Does Steve have this number? He better! How else could he determine that the predator attrition rate was sufficient to make man non-viable?

    Don't hold your breath waiting for those numbers from him, though.

    Without a model to point to and say: Yes, present implies past, but it can't have happened and here's why... saying what Steve is just indulging himself in ipse dixit.

    You said:

    Young and Old Earth Creationists believe in a literal Adam and Eve who were able to give birth to human children. Such that Adam and Eve would be the cause. So I don't see how what you've said couldn't fit in with YEC or OEC. Regarding the cosmological evidence, it's not as if YEC and OEC have somehow forgotten about this. For example, there's a book by Dr. Russell Humphreys called Starlight and Time that attempts to resolve the issue of billions of year old starlight in a YEC model.

    I like Hugh Ross a lot. An honorable, brilliant and devout Christian, from what I've seen. Gracious and generous to boot! I don't agree with Hugh on evolution, obviously, but as I read him, he is taking a good faith view of scripture and God's creation.

    I have Starlight and Time sitting next to me here right now. I use this book often to refer to in discussions about day-age and "yom" (I'm looking at Chapter 5, pgs 45-52 here).

    Chapter 6 -- the *theological* case for long days is good too, but a little more complicated for me.

    In Chapter 9, where he takes on YEC responses to old earth claims (p96), Ross really shines. He's very gracious, but it cuts YEC protestations into little pieces.

    SO yeah, I'm highly friendly with Ross's position. I respect OECs as honest and faithful in their "platform", if a little bit afraid to look squarely at the question of evolution. YEC assertions when it comes to science are completely incoherent. They shouldn't even pretend, and just stick with the "God 'poofed' everything into place so that it looked and behaved old" approach and be done with it.

    But assuming for the moment that human evolution is true, why couldn't modern man have simultaneously arisen in separate parts of the world such as Africa, Asia, etc.? And if so, I wonder how would you square this away with the Biblical Adam and Eve -- assuming you believe in their literal existence (since you've noted you subscribe to the GHM of Biblical interpretation)?

    Secular science has entertained just that idea, it's called the multiregional hypothesis. It's fallen out of favor in the past couple years due to new evidence and information from the genetics side of the story that strongly support the "Out of Africa" hypothesis.

    I've never been able to get comfortable with mult-regionalism, just because it presents such significant problems for me in reading Genesis. My understanding of Genesis strongly favors the "out of Africa" idea -- a single location for Adam & Eve to begin as the first humans -- humans endowed by God with souls and the imago dei

    Like Hugh Ross -- or at least his pal Fuz Rana whose mp3s I've been listening to this week -- the "out of Africa" understanding of our history fits nicely in with my reading of Genesis, and doesn't flip the middle finger at the evidence.

    Thanks for your comments. I hope I answered them satisfactorily.

    -Touchstone

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  12. Patrick,

    Sorry, I forgot your last paragraph.

    You said:
    If that's the case, and I ask this sincerely, I don't understand why you've yet to address the problems that Steve has pointed out in your argumentation regarding the theory of evolution? Shouldn't you take into consideration the points he's raised? Personally speaking, I know I'd be interested in an honest, straightforward response from you regarding the arguments Steve has presented.

    What problems has he pointed out with evolution? That we don't know precisely when man's ancestors descended from the trees? What?

    No one is suggesting that evolution has fossil evidence or some other kind of forensic proof for every part of every species' history. It's frankly remarkable that we have as much fossil evidence as we have, and what we have leaves long periods of time wide open.

    That said, I guess you will have to tell me what problems he's pointed out with evolutionary theory that need to be addressed. Saying you need an intact fossil skeleton for every 20 year period (generation) back for a million years is completely unreasonable, if that's what you (or he) is demanding. We wouldn't expect to find that kind of evidence whether evolution was true or not.

    If you asking about trying to pair off Gorilla fangs with hominid spears, or something like that, that's a fool's errand. It's foolish to even offer an argument like that without a working "survival model" behind it. We have no way to establish if what we are talking about is even *remotely* attached to what really happened.

    I'm happy to hear you state the problems you'd like addressed, in any case.

    -Touchstone

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  13. Steve, I am a christian and also a cave diver. What I have seen has led me far away from a YEC.

    Specifically, lets talk about fossilized bones, over 100 feet deep in a water filled cavern, fozziled into the ceiling of the cave. The animal these bones have been identified with is a Dugong, which has never historically existed in Florida.

    http://www.mejeme.com/dive/index.html

    ALso in Florida underground caves, as deep as 300 feet, are fozziled remains of other animals such as Mastadons that otherwise aren't known to exist in florida.

    How do you explain this in a YEC world? Is this god, playing tricks, or did those bones get there in some other manner other than pressure on Sediment over many many years causing rock formation?

    I think you know the answer but you fight against the evidence.

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  14. nchrist said...
    Steve, I am a christian and also a cave diver. What I have seen has led me far away from a YEC.__Specifically, lets talk about fossilized bones, over 100 feet deep in a water filled cavern, fozziled into the ceiling of the cave. The animal these bones have been identified with is a Dugong, which has never historically existed in Florida.__http://www.mejeme.com/dive/index.html__ALso in Florida underground caves, as deep as 300 feet, are fozziled remains of other animals such as Mastadons that otherwise aren't known to exist in florida.__How do you explain this in a YEC world? Is this god, playing tricks, or did those bones get there in some other manner other than pressure on Sediment over many many years causing rock formation?__I think you know the answer but you fight against the evidence.

    1.I regard the Bible as evidence as well. Indeed, the Bible is the best available evidence.

    2.Archeological evidence is theory-laden.

    3.It isn’t clear what your own position stands in contrast to. Are you suggesting that YEC is incompatible with animal death? Animal extinction? Sedimentation? The rate of sedimentation and petrifaction?

    Are you assuming that if YEC is true, then modern biogeography is identical with prediluvian biogeography?

    Are you assuming that sedimentation always occurs at a uniform rate? That a catastrophic event cannot accelerate sedimentation?

    I’m a native of Washington State. I lived through the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. That event produced an extraordinary amount of sedimentation.

    4.The creation/evolution debate is highly interdisciplinary. No one, even with scientific training, has the expertise to assess every aspect of the debate.

    This would be a good question for someone like Kurt Wise or Walt Brown.

    5.The thread I began is not on the pros and cons of YEC. It is quite unnecessary to turn this thread into a general debate over the merits, of lack thereof, of YEC in relation to the merits, or lack thereof, of all the competing positions, viz. OEC, theistic evolution, naturalistic evolution, panspermia, &c.

    The fact that so many commenters want to change the subject shows their discomfort with having to address the narrower question as that was originally framed in my inaugural post at the outset.

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  15. No, the fact that you cannot answer, and then go to extreme measures to be diversionary, bring up rapid volcanic sedimentation that has no fossilation, which is a strawman, and end the post with an ad hominem just show you are a

    HACK.

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  16. Anonymous said:
    No, the fact that you cannot answer, and then go to extreme measures to be diversionary, bring up rapid volcanic sedimentation that has no fossilation, which is a strawman, and end the post with an ad hominem just show you are a

    HACK.

    ****************

    And now a word from another opponent of YEC:

    It is much commoner for these fossils to be buried by volcanic ash, or by a debris flow caused by an eruption. As Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Pinatubo showed, a single eruption is all that's needed, and even an intense pyroclastic flow does not flatten all of the trees. The Tertiary Period fossil forests in Yellowstone National Park, USA are of the volcanically-buried type.

    http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/polystrate.html

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