Evidence of an Old Earth, Part III

Because these articles float in cyberspace independently, I must state my purpose with each one. Bear with the redundancy and feel welcome to skip to the next titled section if you have read previous articles in this series.

The Problem

One third of Americans believe that the earth is just six thousand years old, despite no evidence to support that view. These people are being told by certain religious people that to be a real Christian, or even a good person, they must believe God created the earth six thousand years ago, and Noah’s flood was worldwide and happened four thousand years ago. They say this is the “Biblical” position, although the Bible says nothing about the age of the earth. This idea of a young earth comes from church tradition based on an interpretation of genealogies, which were never intended to be used to date the earth. It was the same in the middle ages when the church demanded that true believers believe the earth was the center of the solar system.

Because there is overwhelming evidence that the earth is very old, and no evidence for a young earth, the young earth creationists (YECs) create narratives where earth scientists are either stupid, or worse, corrupt. They promote the idea that the scientists are in a conspiracy, working for the devil, to discredit religion, and that’s their only purpose. To support their own positions, they use deceptive ideas, which I will deconstruct in future articles. This leads to two bad outcomes.

  1. The first bad outcome is a wholesale disrespect for experts, scientists, and even science itself among this group. This translates to situations where these same people did not believe the COVID vaccine was safe and effective, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and that resulted in three hundred and fifty thousand people dying in America who didn’t have to. These people who distrust science now, no longer trust their doctors and medical science or when scientists speak about other issues such as climate change. Even in the area of politics, they no longer trust mainstream media or government agencies that disperse information.
  2. The other area of concern, and what concerns me the most, is that when children are raised in families and churches who tell them that the earth is six thousand years old, and later learn that they have been lied to, they will leave Christianity altogether, seeing it as a farce.

Please understand, I do not write these articles to argue with YECs. This is not a debate. But I do write for those who believe that they have no choice. If they want to be a Christian they think they must believe in a young earth. I am saying there is a choice, especially if they what to honestly seek truth.

I will add, there are people far more qualified than me to write these articles, but they haven’t, so I will. They (for example, PhD geologists) have better things to do than to write articles trying the prove the earth is not just six thousand years old … or the earth is not flat.

The Layers of Time

Last time I looked at the evidence of an old earth by looking at rock layers. Now, I want to look at the evidence that is locked up in the layers of time or periods of the earth’s history. While there is an overlap between rock layers and the layers of earth’s periods, they are not synonymous. The layers of time is a figurative construct where each great period of time covered the entire earth. Each period had its own unique characteristics, including climatological, geological, and biological. Because time is layered, the oldest appears first and subsequent periods are literally on top of the previous. The rocks formed during each time period captures what was happening at that time. It is like a snapshot from a camera of that period, capturing those prevailing climatological, geological, and biological features.

As I mentioned last time, there are at least one hundred and seven independent rock layers on the earth but they all do not form in all places. Rock layers are formed when certain conditions exist; take for example, while one part of the earth was a hot swamp, another part was a desert. Volcanic rock, while it can be dated (which I will write about in a future article) does not carry fossil evidence of the life that was around when the volcano erupted.

The layers of time periods follow a simple principle that when layers of rocks are laid down and continue in horizontal layers, the oldest rocks are the deepest. While all rocks are laid down in horizontal layers, some do not remain in such layers due to changes in tectonics and other forces that tilt them or even turn them to vertical presentations.

There are around nineteen major periods of earth’s history (see the cartoon below). These can be broken down into more complex divisions of epochs and eras (see the diagram). The cartoon is a good reference because it also illustrates the rock layers on the left. These periods are defined by the life forms found in them, along with radioisotopic dating. Since I will be writing about radioisotopic dating in a future article, I will focus on identifying life forms.

Cartoon of Times Periods of Earth

Details of Time Periods of Earth

In summary, the layers of time of the earth start with simple lifeforms at the bottom (because, as said, the oldest times are at the bottom) and move into more complex forms over time and as you come up the layers. The YECs claim that all life forms or “kinds” were created during one week and co-existed, dinosaurs and humans for example. Then came Noah’s worldwide flood, which killed all but one pair of each land life-form and Noah’s family. According to that idea, the drowned animals swam in Noah’s flood, with the simplest forms dying at the bottom and the more advanced ones swimming to the surface. Superficially, this might sound plausible, but not when you really think about it. Then it gets really complicated.

Rock Medium for the Fossils

First, you must remember that the fossils are not just the remains of the dead creatures, but the imprint of those dead creatures in rock or, fossilized remains imbedded in the rock formations. Sedimentary rocks, as mentioned before, are formed from things like calcium carbonate (limestones), clays (shale), sandstone (sand) and others. So, we have to deal with how these rocks were formed in Noah’s flood before we get to the critters in them.

These materials (clay, sand, dirt, rocks) that made up the rock layers, in which the fossils were suspended and captured. Just to name a few. Limestone is more dense than shale, shale is denser than sand. But in the Grand Canyon, this does not line up that way. Look at this illustration.

Cross Section of the Grand Canyon

In normal bodies of water, the material, soil, sand, organics, are suspended and as soon as the water stops moving, if the density of the suspended material is higher than water, they start to sink, the denser material sinking first and farther down. So the layers at the bottom of Noah’s flood should be deposited by the denser material. But when you have a jumbled formation, as the reality of the Grand Canyon, it is a far more complex and long story. Millions of years of shallow seas, followed by swamps, followed by deserts and the like. One layer being created at a time, not all at once as the YECs claim.

The Layering of Creatures

Since ten million species have existed on earth, when you count the nine million that are now extinct, imagine that all of them were dispersed in Noah’s worldwide flood. Since there were hundreds of thousands or millions of each species, you need to imagine hundreds of millions of animals swimming, including humans. Now, try to imagine that after months, that flood dried up and deposited the most advanced animals at the top of the rocks, and the simplists ones at the bottom. Here is the real kicker. In this world wide disaster, a huge flood and months of evaporation, all these hundreds of millions of animals lined up in perfect order … without a single exception anywhere in the world. None. If YECs finds one, show us and win a Vetlesen Prize (like the Nobel Prize in geology).

What I’m saying, in all this chaos, the humans swam to the exact level of the flood (world wide), as did the mouse, but the mouses ancestors, to an exactly different level without exception, same fro the lizards’ ancestors and etc. But this YEC viewpoint assumes that the more advanced creatures could swim the best.

Trilobites, one of the most additive creatures, thrived for over five hundred million years, spanning six major periods of time. In the Grand Canyon they are found in the bottom three layers, abruptly ending at the top of the Muav Limestone. Same, throughout the whole world, abruptly ending at the top of the layer represented by the rock of that same age. Not a single trilobite, worldwide, out of tens or hundreds of millions, swam one more centimeter into the next layer. Does that make any sense?

I could give nine million examples, like the humble trilobite, since there nine million extinct species. But for convenience’s sake, let me pick one, one that you know well. That would be the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

The YECs are now claiming that all “kinds,” which they define as a species that can only breed with its own kind, were represented on Noah’s ark (not including water dwelling creatures) including “a pair of juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rexs.” Imagine that for a moment; five hundred thousand wild animals being taken care by eight people. Ask to someone at a zoo who feeds, waters, and cares for animals if that even starts to make sense. But I digress. Therefore T Rex, like all other creatures, which didn’t make the ark, drown.

Unlike the trilobites, T Rex is found in only one geological layer, the Late Cretaceous. In many parts of the world, the Late Cretaceous time period is represented by rock formations that could not capture a T Rex, such as deep sea limestones or volcanic rock. However, the Hell Creek formation of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, captures big dinosaurs like T Rex very well. This formation is a mixture of shales and sandstones, representing the conditions in which they were formed. This band of time is represented in those rocks as a five hundred and seventy-five foot layer. The T Rex does not appear before this layer and abruptly ends at the top just below what is known as the K-Pg band. This band is likely the remains of the asteroid that hit the Yucatan and caused the mass extinction of large dinosaurs, but this another story.

There wasn’t even one toe of a T Rex dangling below that level or a snout sticking up past the K-Pg band to try and grasp air. Not one in the whole damn world.

J. Michael Jones

However in the YEC model, the T Rexs, thousands of them, all swam in Noah’s flood to the exact five hundred and seventy-five foot band, or less, world wide, without a single exception … and without GPS. There wasn’t even one toe of a T Rex dangling below that level or a snout sticking up past the K-Pg band to try and grasp air. Not one in the whole damn world.

This is getting long and I’ve only touched the surface. Now imagine all the creatures that were much better swimmers than humans, that are only found in layers far below humans. The Spinosaurus dinosaur, a great swimmer, who is only found in the same layer as the T Rex. The Spinosaurus is a far better swimmer than humans. But you could look at numbers in the millions of creatures better equipped to handle a worldwide flood, but are found only in layers much lower than the top. You know the term, a “drown rat,” well, the rats are at the same top layer as humans. Their ancestors below that level. Many fish only found at the very bottom. I guess a rat could swim better than fish in those days.

Spinosaurus Dinosaur

When I started this quest, I wanted to present the evidence of an old earth in an exhaustive way. But the sheer volume of the evidence would make this impossible. So, I am only scratching the surface.

But if you are someone who feels that you have no choice but to believe in a six thousand year old earth, meditate on these things I’m sharing. Do your own research. If you feel overwhelmed with the evidence for an very old earth your choice isn’t between Christianity and atheism, as the YECs like to present it. If you listen to their lectures, as I have, they quickly make it a choice between good people and bad. It is not. I do not think they are bad people. They believe what they say. I have no doubt they are true Christians, as if were any of my business to decide. But this choice is between reality and a very odd and particular interpretation of the Bible that’s inconsistent with reality. It is being a lover of science and the pursuit of truth, or paranoid about all the information that is around you, much of it good information.

I will do two more articles. The next one will be about the “new sciences” that Ken Ham seems to have invented, “Observational Science and Historical Science.” I will try to deconstruct that. Then, I will finish with the dating techniques and the claims by the YECs that they are misleading or faulty.

Again, I typed this fast, as I had other things I should be doing, without proofing, please give my typos grace. Thanks so much for dropping by.

Mike

Published by J. Michael Jones

J. Michael Jones is married to Denise and is the father of five successful adult children, scattered around Washington state and Minnesota. He had a 38-year career as a physician associate, until he was forced into retirement by multiple myeloma in 2019. During his career, he waw a headache specialist at Mayo Clinic, and in the pacific northwest, and worked as a generalist in a variety of locations overseas, including Abu Dhabi, Oman, Cyprus, Egypt, Pakistan twice, Nepal, and Afghanistan's Khyber Pass. He has always loved to think and write, publishing seven books and countless journal articles. After retirement he has focused on his fiction writing including his coming book, The Stones of Yemen.

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