I took a much needed break from these forums for a few months to straighten out some things in my life, but I'm back! I figured I'd continue my series of posts on geologic features which are inconsistent with the fabled Fluddle of creationists. Today's post is a little complex, and is gonna be somewhat longer than the others, so bear with me.
A little over a year ago, I wrote a short blog post on a geologic technique called Chemostratigraphy, and it's implications for creationists, over at the League of Reason forum. Needless to say, it's a bit of a thorn in the side for them. But it's gone largely unaddressed by them, and it's obvious why.
But some of you are probably wondering just what the heck Chemostratigraphy even is, I'm guessing
Well, simply put, Chemostratigraphy is the study of the chemical variations within sedimentary sequences to determine stratigraphic relationships. Chemostratigraphers can use the ratios of certain stable isotopes, such as Carbon 12 or 13, to determine the chemical make ups of rocks and use their chemical "fingerprint" for stratigraphic correlation. This is because the isotope ratios will record certain events from the time periods when the rocks were laid down, such as the carbon levels in the ocean. (1.)
What does this have to do with Young-Earth Creationism? Well, it actually allows us to scientifically test their ideas of Flood Geology, a central part of YEC.
You see, according to creationists, the vast majority of Earth's fossil bearing rocks are remnants for Noah's flood. Most now place the start of the "Flood layers" at the Cambrian, going all the way up to the Quaternary, which is "Post-Flood." This means that all the fossils between these two points originally lived at the same time. Their sorting in the rock record can only be due to physical or ecological reasons, not time. "Fossils were buried where they lived, not when," as some like to say.
Chemostratigraphy allows us to test this idea, though, rather easily in fact. How? By analysing the carbon isotope ratios in animals with calcareous shells, such as trilobites, conodonts, etc.
Under the YEC model, all of these animals originally lived in the same pre-flood ocean. That means they all made their shells from the same source of carbon. Because isotopes are spread out fairly evenly across the oceans due to currents, that means that when we analyze the carbon ratios of their shells, we should see roughly the same isotope ratio in all of them.
The problem is, we don't.
Veizer et al., 1999, (2.) tested over 2,000 shells of conodonts, brachiopods, and the like, from all continents but Antarctica, and analyzed them for their Carbon isotope ratios, among other things. The time frame they studied was from Cambrian to Cretaceous. Below is a graph showing the trend of carbon isotopes they found:
The graph shows that the carbon-isotope ratio in carbonate fossils—and therefore the ocean itself—varied substantially over the past 500 million years. This is in direct conflict with what one would expect had these fossils all been laid down by a single flood.
So there we go. Flood Geology made a simple, testable prediction. It did not pass.
Young-Earth organizations have not addressed this glaring issue, to my knowledge, despite the fact that it's been around for a few years now. However, I've taken the liberty of thinking up a few possible YEC responses, with rebuttals listed below. 1. The flood caused wild variations in isotopes, creating the observed pattern.
This hypothetical would involve calcite minerals forming continuously during the Flood (creating all kinds of whacky patterns), with the lime mud burying shelled organisms (like trilobites/brachiopods) that were already alive at the onset of the Flood. In that case, however, we should find little or no trend when analyzing only fossils, and potentially some patterns when analyzing the calcite matrix. The fact that chemostratigraphic patterns are the same between fossils and matrix concludes a very definitive test, demonstrating that these geochemical signals reflect the shifting chemistry of ancient oceans over very long periods of time.2. The pattern in fossils results from contamination during the flood.
This is an easy idea to falsify. Contamination would only create a wild, inconsistent pattern. It would not create a pattern that could be correlated globally. However, the pattern of carbon-isotope variations from Cambrian to Quaternary is roughly the same across the entire globe. Whether you’re sampling rocks from Texas or Tanzania, layers of limestone determined to be the same age according to their fossil content also exhibit the same pattern of δ13C values over time. These values are invariably high for Permian-aged carbonates and invariably low for Ordovician-aged carbonates.
Thus, contamination is ruled out. 3. The fossils lived in different basins with different isotope ratios, leading to different isotope levels.
This argument is flawed in many ways.
For one thing, this would require the pre-flood ocean have little to no circulation in the form of currents in order for these unique basins to exist. However, ocean currents are important for circulating nutrients, heat, and oxygen. Many geologists and paleontologists cite changes or slowing of currents at major causes for extinction for this reason. A complete lack of ocean circulation would be very detrimental to the survival of anything in the ocean.
Of course, YECs could cry "MIRACLE!!" to get around this, but that's not science, and isn't valid.
Even granting unique basins, however, this idea is still falsified by the observed patterns of isotopes.
If variations between one part of the ocean and another could account for trends in carbon isotopes, then we shouldn’t find the same temporal trends in different parts of the world (e.g. China vs. North America vs. Australia). On the contrary, the relative change in carbon isotopes correlates well from one site to the next. And we know the Flood could not transport these animals worldwide and deposit them by isotope ratios only! Not only does that defy common sense, but it also strips them of their "Ecological Zonation" sorting mechanism, which they desperately need.
This excuse, too, fails. 4. There are regional variations in the isotope records, thus they likely are not true global trends.
Regional variations don’t detract from the establishment of a global trend, quite simply because we know that 1) certain environments have local controls on isotopic values, which are superimposed on the global trend, 2) many isotopic excursions are associated with sea-level change, which may cause a hiatus in deposition, and 3) each region has its own burial history, and post-burial diagenesis can alter or blur the isotopic trend.
Given these potential difficulties, it’s rather impressive how well chemostratigraphy works in correlating sedimentary sections around the world. The SPICE event, for instance, is unmistakably global, despite these issues (4.). Many other events are as well, so the problem for Flood Geology still stands strong.5. The data is faked by secularists to hide the truth of Noah's flood.
Yeah, right. And NASA dumped Saturn V engines into the Atlantic just in case people went looking for proof we went to the moon.
Anyways, hope you all enjoyed! Comments and criticisms welcome!
1. http://questioninganswersingenesis.blog ... or-to.html
2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 4199000819
3.https://ageofrocks.org/2014/08/23/chemo ... d-geology/
4.https://ageofrocks.org/2014/08/27/the-s ... bon-cycle/