Home Church Community

Statement of Beliefs

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Bible Study Resource



Printer Friendly Version

Basic Worldview:
103 Science, the Bible,
and Creation



Origins - Section Four:
The Geologic Column


Origins - Section One: Introduction and the Basics
Origins - Section Two: Premature Dismissals
Origins - Section Two: Application of the Basics
Origins - Section Three: Creation
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Life
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 1
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 2
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Another Planet
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Species
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Factors
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Rates
Origins - Section Four: Time and Age, Redshift
Origins - Section Four: Philosophical Preference
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 1
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 2
Origins - Section Four: Dating Methods, Perceptions, Basics
Origins - Section Four: Global Flood Evidence
Origins - Section Four: Relative Dating
Origins - Section Four: Dating and Circular Reasoning
Origins - Section Four: The Geologic Column
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Dating Basics
Origins - Section Four: General Radiometric Problems
Origins - Section Four: Carbon-14 Problems
Origins - Section Four: Remaining Methods and Decay Rates
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Conclusions, Other Methods
Origins - Section Five: Overall Conclusions, Closing Editorial
Origins - Section Five: List of Evidences Table
Origins Debate Figures and Illustrations


Focus on Critical Evidence: Age and the Geologic Column

In an earlier segment, we examined the evidence for the evolutionary origin of species and established that the evolutionary timescale lacks transitional or intermediate forms. And in the last segment, we repeatedly established that evolution’s timescale is based solely upon hypothetical ages asserted through relative dating methods, such as stratigraphy and the principle of faunal succession, which is a synonym for evolution itself. We also saw how relative dating methods are purely speculative due to the fact that, by their very nature, they cannot indicate any actual age or actual length of time. Consequently, we also saw that radioactive dates are constructed simply to give the otherwise baseless relative timescale a superficial appearance of finality by providing adjusted ages in years that were tailor-made to fit the relative timescale. As such, the previous segment simply discussed the problems facing the evolutionary timescale due to its basis in circular reasoning.

However, since our focus at this point is on the evidence for the age of the earth and evolution’s timescale is often either presented or perceived as evidence concerning the earth’s age, we need to spend some time understanding the timescale itself. As such, this segment will explore what the evolutionary timescale is and how it is constructed in more detail.

The first question in this section is what is the evolutionary timescale? The evolutionary timescale is known as the geologic column, as we have mentioned previously. It usually looks something like the following example, provided by Microsoft Encarta.


“[PHOTO CAPTION] © Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.” – "Geologic Time Scale," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

From this point forward, our discussion of the geologic column will be divided into 2 main portions. First, we will explore how the geologic column is created, exactly where the geologic does and does not come from. And second, we will take a closer look at the severely-limited information that is being used to construct the geologic column, at which point we will understand why one quote below asserts that the geologic column is based upon some pretty “clever detective work.”

As we turn our attention to the issue of how the geologic column is created, there are several items are worth noting from geologic column chart above. First, we notice that, starting on the left, it divides all of geologic history into 3 large durations of time. Then, moving toward the right column by column, it further subdivides each larger duration into smaller durations of time. Second, at the far right, we notice that each of the divisions of time is associated with the arrival of new and distinct organisms. Here it is important to recognize that the geologic column is the conclusion that results from evolutionary theory and its timescale assumptions. And as we can see, this conclusion is defined by its arrangement of distinct collections of organisms in different time periods. Yet, this is also the very definition of “the principle of faunal succession,” which states that “each interval of geologic history had a unique fauna” associated with it.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniquesTo this day, fossils are useful as correlation tools to geologists specializing in stratigraphy. In dating the past, the primary value of fossils lies within the principle of faunal succession: each interval of geologic history had a unique fauna that associates a given fossiliferous rock with that particular interval. The basic conceptual tool for correlation by fossils is the index, or guide, fossil…Almost without exception, the relative order of strata defined by fossils has been confirmed by radiometric ages.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As we examine the quotes throughout this portion, which describe how the geologic column is formed, it will be important to keep in mind this definition of faunal succession and the fact that faunal succession is merely a synonym for evolution. Since the principle of faunal succession is one of the principles of geology that is used to construct the geologic column, we can see that the evolutionary idea that species have evolved into distinct forms in different time periods is actually assumed as part of the premises used to prove the very same idea as the conclusion, a conclusion that is manifest as the geologic column. So, once again, we see the circular reasoning inherent to the arguments for evolution.

Third, we also notice that just to the right of center, the geologic column chart above has years assigned to each division of time. In particular, notice that the years are large, round numbers. As we saw in the previous section, when a sample is collected from a particular site in the field, its specific relative age in this geologic column is noted and sent to the radiometric dating lab, information which the dating lab then uses to render an absolute age that fits within these large, round numbers on the geologic column that have already been identified for them.

As we further consider the contents of the geologic column, we take note of its divisions of time. Specifically, the largest divisions of time are called “eons.” There are 3 eons: the Archean, the Proterozoic, and the Phanerozoic.

“Geologic Time, II DIVISION OF TIME – The eons of the earth are the Archean, the Proterozoic, and the Phanerozoic. The Archean, the earliest eon, is defined as 4.6 billion to 2.5 billion years before present. Its beginning is marked by the formation of the earth, but no event or specific formation marks the division between the Archean and the Proterozoic Eons.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Next, we notice that each eon is further subdivided into eras, the second largest duration of time. Of all the eras, we should take special note of the eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. As stated by the quote below, the earliest era of the Phanerozoic Eon is the Paleozoic Era.

“Geologic Time, II DIVISION OF TIME – The Phanerozoic Eon is divided into the Paleozoic (570 million to 245 million years before present), Mesozoic (245 million to 65 million years before present), and Cenozoic (65 million years before present to present) Eras.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The reason that we are focusing on the Phanerozoic Eon centers on the next largest division of time, which are known as “periods.” The first period of the Paleozoic Era, and in fact the first period of the entire Phanerozoic Eon, is the Cambrian Period.

“Geologic Time, II DIVISION OF TIME – The Paleozoic Era is divided into six periods. From oldest to youngest they are the Cambrian (570 million to 500 million years before present), Ordovician (500 million to 435 million years before present), Silurian (435 million to 410 million years before present), Devonian (410 million to 380 million years before present), Carboniferous (380 million to 290 million years before present), and Permian (290 million to 240 million years before present). The Paleozoic began with the appearance of many different life-forms, which are preserved as abundant fossils in rock sequences all over the world. It ended with the extinction of over 90 percent of all living organisms at the end of the Permian Period. The cause of this event is currently unknown.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As we can see from the quotes above, the Cambrian Period, The Paleozoic Era, and the Phanerozoic Eon all begin approximately 570 million years ago. The reason for our focus on this particular set of time durations is that the start of the Cambrian Period at 570 million years ago constitutes an important dividing line for geologic time, as we will see later on throughout this section.

The next point is extremely significant to understanding the geologic column as a potential piece of evidence. This point deals with the perception that the geologic column is an actual observation or physical structure that can be found and seen somewhere on earth. The fact is that the geologic column is not an actual physical object. It does not exist anywhere. Instead it is the end product of relative dating methods (which are hypothetically constructed from evolution theory.) As Britannica states, the geologic column is a “mental abstraction,” not an actual find in a single location or any handful of locations.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Geologic column and its associated time scaleThe end product of correlation is a mental abstraction called the geologic column. It is the result of integrating all the world's individual rock sequences into a single sequence.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As we continue to examine just what the geologic column is, we should note from the quote above that the geologic column is “the result of integrating all the world’s individual rock sequences into a single sequence.” In other words, this sequence doesn’t exist anywhere in the real world, but is a mere mental assembly of how those individual rock sequences might look if they were all arranged into a single picture. And the primary problem is the process for how those individual sequences are integrated into a single sequence.

It should be noted that physical features of the rocks themselves cannot be used to discover the order of rock layers beyond each individual, local site.

“Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniques – Correlation based on the physical features of the rock record also has been used with some success, but it is restricted to small areas that generally extend no more than several hundred kilometres.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Because the features of the rocks themselves cannot be used to integrate individual rock sites into a single sequence, what is used to accomplish this task? The answer, as we have seen before, is “fossils.” Fossils are the primary tool in process of integrating or correlating all of the world’s individual, local rock sequences into a single sequence.

The first quote below specifically states that because of the inherent properties of sedimentary rock, “the fossil record from many localities has to be integrated before a complete picture” of the geologic column “can be assembled.” We also note that according to the quote, fossils were not available in enough quantity to do this until around 600 million years ago, which as we mentioned before is around the start of the Cambrian Period. Lastly, notice that the quote below specifically states that integrating the world’s individual rock sequences into one sequence is no easy, straightforward, obvious, or simple procedure but instead involves “complex sequenes” that are only possible through “clever detective work” regarding fossils. In the next portion of this segment, we will see why “clever detective work” is required when we take a closer look at the severely limited information that is being used to construct the geologic column.

Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled…Although with clever detective work many complex time sequences or relative ages can be deduced, the ability to show that objects at two separated sites were formed at the same time requires additional information…In addition, because sediment deposition is not continuous and much rock material has been removed by erosion, the fossil record from many localities has to be integrated before a complete picture of the evolution of life on Earth can be assembled. Using this established record, geologists have been able to piece together events over the past 600 million years, or about one-eighth of Earth history, during which time useful fossils have been abundant.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The next 2 quotes also affirm that “the principle of faunal correlation” is the means by which individual, local rock sequences are integrated into a larger sequence. Notice that the quotes refer to this principle as a principle of biostratigraphy. As noted in the previous segment, “biostratigraphy” merely a synonym for faunal succession which itself is merely a synonym for evolution. As such, if we remove the use of synonyms, what clearly emerges is that evolution is the essential principle that is used to integrate all of the world’s individual rock sequences into the single sequence called the geologic column.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, C Correlation Using correlation to determine which rocks are of equal age is important for reconstructing snapshots in geologic historyFossils are the most useful tools for correlation. Since the work of Smith and Cuvier, biostratigraphers have noted that "like fossils are of like age." This is the principle of fossil correlation.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geology, V Fields of Geology, B Historical Geology, B1 StratigraphyStratigraphy may be subdivided into a number of fields. Biostratigraphy is the use of fossils for age determination and correlation of rock layers…” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The quote below, which we have already seen above, even more specifically describes how the actual units of time in the geologic column, such as “periods,” are constructed according to “significant changes in fossil forms.” The division of time into distinct periods based upon fossil forms is the very definition of faunal succession, as we established above.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Geologic column and its associated time scaleThe end product of correlation is a mental abstraction called the geologic column. It is the result of integrating all the world's individual rock sequences into a single sequence. In order to communicate the fine structure of this so-called column, it has been subdivided into smaller units. Lines are drawn on the basis of either significant changes in fossil forms or discontinuities in the rock record (i.e., unconformities, or large gaps in the sedimentary sequence); the basic subdivisions of rock are called systems, and the corresponding time intervals are termed periods.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Furthermore, according to the quote below, not only are “periods” created based upon the principle of faunal succession, but all of the divisions of time in the geologic column were created around this interpretive view regarding fossils.

Dating Methods, II DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE METHODSThe relative scale was devised mainly by application of the principles of stratigraphy. An example of these is the law of superposition, which simply states that in an undisturbed succession of strata, the youngest beds are on top and the oldest on bottom (or, the higher beds are younger than the lower). Based on the fossils they contain, strata in one area were correlated with those in other areas. As more and more such correlations were made, geologists began to make broad groupings of strata, which became the basis for dividing geologic time into vast blocks. Thus, the history of the earth was divided into four broad eras-Pre-cambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic; the eras were in turn divided into a number of periods (see Geology).” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

So, as we have stated, faunal succession, a synonym for evolution itself, is a required principle for creating the geologic column, just as the following quote summarizes.

Stratigraphy, II PRINCIPLES OF STRATIGRAPHYStratigraphy relies on four simple principles to unveil geologic historyThe principle of faunal and floral succession states that because animals and plants evolve into new species, sedimentary rocks of different ages will contain fossils of different species. Knowing the age of a fossil helps to date the rock in which it is found…These four principles of stratigraphy can be used to unravel the geologic history of a given area.” – "Stratigraphy," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

At this point, we have completed the first main portion of this segment. As we have established above, the individual rock sequences of the world can only be integrated (or correlated) into a single rock sequence known as the geologic column by using evolution itself as a guiding principle for the integration. In the next portion, we will take a closer look at the severely-limited information that is being used to construct the geologic column, and consequently, why constructing the geologic column requires “clever detective work.”

Statements about the informative nature of fossils, particularly their role as indicators of the geologic column, often create impressions, such as those included in the quotes below.

Fossil – It is often apparent that each layer in such a sequence contains fossils that are distinct from those of the layers that are above and below it. In such sequences of layers in different geographic locations, the same, or similar, fossil floras or faunas occur in the identical order. By comparing overlapping sequences, it is possible to build up a continuous record of faunas and floras that have progressively more in common with present-day life forms as the top of the sequence is approached.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Index Fossil, IV USE OF INDEX FOSSILS – British geologist William Smith was the first person known to employ the concept of index fossils. He noted that rock layers could not be reliably identified from rock type alone. By using both rock type and the unique group of fossils present in each layer, he was successful in recognizing individual rock layers across broad geographic areas. Smith also noted that the sequence of fossils always appeared in the same order.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Here, we note that both of the exerpts above assert that all around the world fossils are found “in identical order” or “always in the same order.” Moreover, other statements further assert that this “identical order” is from “more primitive” to “more complex.”

Fossil, How fossils reveal the past – In undisturbed strata, fossils in the lower-and thus older-layers are more primitive than those in the younger strata found nearer the surface.” – Contributor: Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.

Stating that fossils are always found in the same order is directly linked to the role of the geologic column as an integration of fossil sites into a single sequence. After all, if fossil sequences all around the world are always in the same order, then really there is only one sequence of fossils to begin with and the work of constructing the geologic column is largely already finished because that single, recurring sequence of fossils is apparent everywhere. Or, at least that is the impression often created by such statements.

However, these types of statements, as well the impressions that potentially result from them, suffer from 2 problems. The first is a problem in which the evidence and the interpretation are being confused. The second is a problem of oversimplification. As we will see, a more detailed description of the actual fossil evidence creates an altogether different impression, one in which the fossil evidence is not so clear or helpful when it comes to constructing a single, overall sequence (the geologic column).

Concerning the first problem, even if we were to take the oversimplified impression at face value, it is still necessary to distinguish between the actual evidence and the interpretation of that evidence. More specifically, even if every fossil site around the world always had the exact same fossils in the exact same order, the only information this would provide is the order itself. It would not indicate how the fossils came to be in that order or how long it took the worldwide fossil record to form. That is the difference between the evidence, which is the order itself, and the interpretation, which is an explanation of how or why that order came about.

On this note, there are really 2 interpretations for the order of fossils in which simpler organisms appear farther down and more complex organisms appear higher up. The first interpretation is the evolutionary notion of faunal succession. In short, organisms evolved over time from simple to complex. The simple organisms were around earlier and, therefore, simple organisms are found deeper, in the older layers of the fossil record while the more complex organisms that evolved more recently are found in the higher, younger layers of rock. Essentially, the fossil order is explained as a preservation of the order of death and burial. And even more essentially, evolution is the mechanism causing the order to go from more simple to more complex.

However, the creationist theory asserts that the mechanism for the order is the global or near global flood. Furthermore, several factors or a combination of them are identified as causing simpler organisms to be buried lower than more complex organisms. The first organisms likely to be buried by flood sediments are those organisms that are already located in the ground or at the surface of the ground, that are less intelligent, that are less able to avoid drowning, and less bouyant or more dense. These factors are likely to contribute to a general pattern in which simpler organisms which are less mobile and already located at ground level will be the first to be buried in the lowest sedimentary rock layers while more complex, more mobile animals are able to swim or avoid drowning for longer amounts of time and will be buried in higher sedimentary layers.

Consequently, both the evolutionary interpretation and the creationist interpretation describe the fossil order as an order of death and burial. The only difference is the rate at which the death and burial occurred. Was it over millions and millions and billions of years or was it relatively quick, within a period of months?

But most importantly, even without taking issue with the oversimplification that fossils are always found in the identical order with simpler organisms lower and more complex organisms higher, this order in and of itself does not prove either evolution or creationism. Both theories have an adequate explanation for why this order exists. To confuse the order itself with the interpretation for why that order came about is simply an error in critical thinking. To do so would be a classic case of confusing the evidence with the interpretation.

This brings us to the second problem inherent to statements about the “identical order” in which fossils are found around the world. That second problem is the oversimplification itself. As stated before, the oversimplified statement that fossils are found an “identical order” at every site all around the world creates the impression that correlating or integrating all the fossil sites into a single sequence is already complete in the natural world itself. After all, if fossils “always appear in the same order” even “across broad geographic areas” as stated in the quotes above, then the single sequence of fossils is not a mere “mental abstraction” as Britannica described it, but a reality in each of the physical, observable rock layers of the world.

However, when a closer look is taken at the actual content of the fossil record, this oversimplification dissolves. And instead of the impression that the the physical, real-world fossil record already reveals the single sequence of fossils, we are left with the fact that as it exists in the real world the fossil record faces several insurmountable problems that prevent it from providing any real indications of a single fossil sequence, let alone the entire geologic column of earth’s history.

The first problem that prevents the fossil record from revealing any single, overarching fossil or geologic history is the fact that the vast majority, some 87 percent, of the biological history of the earth is not recorded in the fossil record. Consequently, the sequence in the rock layers starts with almost the first nine-tenths of the record missing. Specifically, notice that fossils do not become prevalent enough to reconstruct any type of history until 570 million years ago, which marks the start of the Cambrian Period (the first timeframe of the Phanerozoic Eon), as we stated near the beginning of this segment. The rest of evolutionary geologic time is known collectively as “Precambrian time” and is in part defined by its lack of fossils.

In contrast to the bold assertion above that “the sequence of fossils always appeared in the same order” even “across broad geographic areas,” notice that the last quote below regards the possibility for identifying a single sequence as an “optimistic hope” that will not likely ever be achieved.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, B BiostratigraphyBiostratigraphy is most useful for determining geologic time during the Phanerozoic Eon (Greek phaneros, "evident"; zoic, "life"), the time of visible and abundant fossil life that has lasted for about the past 570 million years.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geologic Time, I INTRODUCTIONMost boundaries in recent geologic time coincide with periodic extinctions and appearances of new species…II DIVISION OF TIME – An explosion of invertebrate life marks the end of the Proterozoic and the beginning of the Phanerozoic. The Phanerozoic Eon started 570 million years before present and continues into the present…The Phanerozoic Eon is divided into the Paleozoic (570 million to 245 million years before present), Mesozoic (245 million to 65 million years before present), and Cenozoic (65 million years before present to present) Eras…The Paleozoic began with the appearance of many different life-forms, which are preserved as abundant fossils in rock sequences all over the world.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniquesCorrelation is, as mentioned earlier, the technique of piecing together the informational content of separated outcrops. When information derived from two outcrops is integrated, the time interval they represent is probably greater than that of each alone. Presumably if all the world's outcrops were integrated, sediments representing all of geologic time would be available for examination. This optimistic hope, however, must be tempered by the realization that much of the Precambrian record—older than 570 million years—is missing.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

And while the quote above is somewhat vague, stating simply that “much of” the fossil record from the Precambrian timeframe “is missing,” the quote below is much more explicit, stating in fact that the Precambrian “is nearly devoid of characteristic fossil remains” that are necessary for integrating the world’s rock sequences into a single sequence.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their application – Approximately the first 87 percent of Earth history occurred before the evolutionary development of shell-bearing organisms. The result of this mineralogic control on the preservability of organic remains in the rock record is that the geologic time scale—essentially a measure of biologic changes through time—takes in only the last 13 percent of Earth history. Although the span of time preceding the Cambrian period—the Precambrian—is nearly devoid of characteristic fossil remains and coincides with some of the primary rocks of certain early workers, it must, nevertheless, be evaluated in its temporal context.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Notice that the quote above also stipulates that this is the case for the first 87 percent of earth history. And the reason for the absence of fossils in the first 87 percent of earth history is attributed to absence of hard body parts, such as shells. The quote below explains further that prior to “about 650 million years ago” life-forms were comprised mostly of “soft parts, such as jellyfish and worms” which lacked the hard parts necessary for preservation in the fossil record.

Earth, geologic history of, Development of the atmosphere and oceans, Formation of the secondary atmosphere – The first microscopic eukaryotes appeared about 1.4 billion years ago. Life-forms with soft parts, such as jellyfish and worms, developed in profusion, albeit locally, toward the end of the Precambrian about 650 million years ago, and it is estimated that this corresponds to an oxygen level of 0.1 PAL.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In fact, the trilobite is a primary example of this trend. As the following quote describes, the trilobite, one of the earliest organisms in the fossil record, had an “external skeleton,” which were readily preserved in the fossil record because of their hard composition.

Trilobite – any member of a group of extinct fossil arthropods easily recognized by their distinctive three-lobed, three-segmented form. Trilobites, exclusively marine animals, first appeared at the beginning of the Cambrian Period, about 540 million years ago, when they dominated the seas. Although they became less abundant in succeeding geologic periods, a few forms persisted into the Permian Period, which ended about 245 million years ago. Because trilobites appear fully developed in the Cambrian Period, it appears likely that the ancestral trilobites originated during the Precambrian (3.96 billion to 540 millionyears ago)…Trilobites are frequently used for stratigraphic correlationsTrilobites, like other arthropods, had an external skeleton, called exoskeleton, composed of chitinous material. For the animal to grow, the exoskeleton had to be shed, and shed trilobite exoskeletons, or portions of them, are fossils that are relatively common.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The next quote below limits the sufficient quantity of fossils to only 500 million years ago, rather than the 570 million years asserted above, effectively reducing the time by one-sixth or 16 percent.

Geology, V FIELDS OF GEOLOGY, B Historical, B4 Paleontology and Paleobiology – The oldest fossils are older than 3 billion years, although fossils do not become abundant and diverse until about 500 million years ago.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Furthermore, although generously asserting a timeframe of 600 million years instead of merely 500 million years, the following 2 quotes affirm that arranging an integrated picture of life on earth prior to 600 million years ago is simply not possible from the fossil record.

Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – In addition, because sediment deposition is not continuous and much rock material has been removed by erosion, the fossil record from many localities has to be integrated before a complete picture of the evolution of life on Earth can be assembled. Using this established record, geologists have been able to piece together events over the past 600 million years, or about one-eighth of Earth history, during which time useful fossils have been abundant.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Life, The origin of life, The antiquity of life – The fossil record, in any complete sense, goes back only about 600,000,000 years.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

And finally, the quote below asserts that “Fossils became abundant” only about 544 to 505 million years ago, so that the first sixth of the 600 million year “datable” timeframe is based upon “only a few kinds of organisms.”

Earth [planet], History of Earth – The known history of Earth is divided into four long stretches of time called eons. Starting with the earliest, the eons are Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic. The first three eons, which together lasted nearly 4 billion years, are grouped into a unit called the Precambrian. The Phanerozoic Eon, when life became abundant, is divided into three erasThe Paleozoic Era – Fossils become abundant in Cambrian rocks that are about 544 million to 505 million years old. This apparently sudden expansion in the number of life forms in the fossil record is called the Cambrian Explosion, and it marks the beginning of the Paleozoic Era. The Cambrian Explosion actually occurred over tens of millions of years, but it appears sudden in the fossil record. The earliest abundant fossils consist of only a few kinds of organisms. Over the course of hundreds of millions of years, the number of species increases gradually in the fossil record.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven I. Dutch, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

So, as we can see, the first obstacle to constructing a single, sequence of geologic history of life on earth from the fossil record stems from the fact that the fossil record could not date nearly the first 90 percent of earth’s history.

The second problem that prevents the fossil record from revealing any single, overarching fossil or geologic history is the fact that even the fossil record we do have for a little more than one-tenth of evolutionary time itself contains “significant changes or discontinuities” which are breaks, “unconformities, or large gaps in the sedimentary sequence” even in the strata of local sites. Consequently, not only is nearly 90 percent of earth’s history not recorded in the fossil record, but even the tail end of the sequence is missing huge chunks and periods of biological history. The following quotes all attest to the fact that the existing fossil record is plagued with significant gaps and discontinuities between one local site and another.

(For an illustration of the following quotes see Gaps in the Fossil Record Figure 1.)

Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled…In addition, because sediment deposition is not continuous and much rock material has been removed by erosion, the fossil record from many localities has to be integrated before a complete picture of the evolution of life on Earth can be assembled. Using this established record, geologists have been able to piece together events over the past 600 million years, or about one-eighth of Earth history, during which time useful fossils have been abundant.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Geologic column and its associated time scaleThe end product of correlation is a mental abstraction called the geologic column. It is the result of integrating all the world's individual rock sequences into a single sequence. In order to communicate the fine structure of this so-called column, it has been subdivided into smaller units. Lines are drawn on the basis of either significant changes in fossil forms or discontinuities in the rock record (i.e., unconformities, or large gaps in the sedimentary sequence); the basic subdivisions of rock are called systems, and the corresponding time intervals are termed periods.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The next quote further states that the gaps even in the existing fossil record are severe enough that it is “virtually impossible” to construct a measure of the earth’s history using the fossil record.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their application, Early attempts at calculating the age of the Earth – Equally novel but similarly flawed was the assumption that, if a cumulative measure of all rock successions were compiled and known rates of sediment accumulation were considered, the amount of time elapsed could be calculated. While representing a reasonable approach to the problem, this procedure did not or could not take into account different accumulation rates associated with different environments or the fact that there are many breaks in the stratigraphic record. Even observations made on faunal succession proved that gaps in the record do occur. How long were these gaps? Do they represent periods of nondeposition or periods of deposition followed by periods of erosion? Clearly sufficient variability in a given stratigraphic record exists such that it may be virtually impossible to even come to an approximate estimate of the Earth's age based on this technique. Nevertheless, many attempts using this approach were made.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In addition, it’s important to make a clarification regarding the word “sequence.” The term “sequence” can merely denote an order, whether that order is a smooth, developmental progression or merely the rough stacking order of unrelated items. However, often the term “sequence” can be perceived as indicating that the fossils themselves are “sequential” in nature. Here “sequential” conveys the idea of a smooth, developmental progression in the fossil forms themselves. And although there is certainly an order of fossils at any given site, it is simply a matter of geologic fact that the fossils and the fossil record do not exhibit a smooth, “sequential,” developmental transition. Instead, as the following quotes establish, the fossils in the in the fossil record “exhibit little morphological” change for as long as they appear in the record and “new species” appear suddenly with no transitional forms.

“Evolution, The process of evolution, Patterns and rates of species evolution, Reconstruction of evolutionary history, Gradual and punctuational evolution – New species, characterized by small but discontinuous morphological changes, typically appear at the boundaries between strata, whereas the fossils within a stratum exhibit little morphological variation. That is not to say that the transition from one stratum to another always involves sudden changes in morphology; on the contrary, fossil forms often persist virtually unchanged through several geologic strata, each representing millions of years.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, VIII CURRENT EVOLUTIONARY DEBATE – Because understanding of the actual evolutionary events that took place over earth's long history depends largely on interpretations of an incomplete fossil record, much latitude remains for differences in such interpretations. One of the issues that is currently being debated among theorists derives from a notable fact observed in the fossil record. That is, when a new species appears in the record it usually does so abruptly and then apparently remains stable for as long as the record of that species lasts. The fossils do not seem to exhibit the slow and gradual changes that might be expected according to the modern synthesis. For this reason, in part, a number of evolutionists-most notably Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University and Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History-have proposed a variant concept of ‘punctuated equilibria’ for species evolution. According to this concept, species do in fact tend to remain stable for long periods of time and then to change relatively abruptly-or rather, to be replaced suddenly by newer and more successful forms. These sudden changes are the ‘punctuations’ in the state of equilibrium that give this concept its name.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Gould, Stephen Jay – He taught at Harvard University from 1967. Gould (with Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History) originated the "punctuated equilibrium" theory of evolution, a theory based on the fact that very few transitional forms are found in the fossil record.” – "Gould, Stephen Jay," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Eldredge, NilesIn 1972 Eldredge collaborated with Gould to publish the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which attempts to reconcile the discontinuities between the fossil record and the Darwinian theory of evolution. In his theory of punctuated equilibrium, Eldredge postulates that species remain unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years, only to be abruptly replaced by newer and more successful forms-sporadic changes that appear as "punctuation" in the fossil record.” – "Eldredge, Niles," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In fact, the entire geologic column is divided into time periods when there is suddenly an “explosion” of new species.

Earth, geologic history of, Time scales – As was explained earlier, at specific stratigraphic boundaries certain types of fossils either appear or disappear or both in some cases. Such biostratigraphic boundaries separate larger or smaller units of time that are defined as eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geologic Time, I INTRODUCTIONMost boundaries in recent geologic time coincide with periodic extinctions and appearances of new species…II DIVISION OF TIME – An explosion of invertebrate life marks the end of the Proterozoic and the beginning of the Phanerozoic. The Phanerozoic Eon started 570 million years before present and continues into the present…The Phanerozoic Eon is divided into the Paleozoic (570 million to 245 million years before present), Mesozoic (245 million to 65 million years before present), and Cenozoic (65 million years before present to present) Eras. The Paleozoic Era is divided into six periods. From oldest to youngest they are the Cambrian (570 million to 500 million years before present), Ordovician (500 million to 435 million years before present), Silurian (435 million to 410 million years before present), Devonian (410 million to 380 million years before present), Carboniferous (380 million to 290 million years before present), and Permian (290 million to 240 million years before present). The Paleozoic began with the appearance of many different life-forms, which are preserved as abundant fossils in rock sequences all over the world. It ended with the extinction of over 90 percent of all living organisms at the end of the Permian Period. The cause of this event is currently unknown…The Mesozoic began with the appearance of many new kinds of animals, including the dinosaurs and the ammonites, or extinct relatives of modern squid. The Mesozoic ended with another major extinction in which about 80 percent of all living organisms died. This extinction may have been the result of a large asteroid that crashed into the earth on the present-day northern Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The fact that the fossil record is a record of distinct, fully-formed, species that are not transitioning into one another is a huge obstacle to the geologic column. As we have already established, one of the central principles used to construct the geologic column from the fossil record is faunal succession. Faunal succession is defined by the idea that existing species evolve or transition into new species so that the kinds of species existing are unique in each geologic timeperiod, which in turn allows for rock layers to be dated by the collection of fossil species they contain.

Stratigraphy, II PRINCIPLES OF STRATIGRAPHYStratigraphy relies on four simple principles to unveil geologic historyThe principle of faunal and floral succession states that because animals and plants evolve into new species, sedimentary rocks of different ages will contain fossils of different species. Knowing the age of a fossil helps to date the rock in which it is found…These four principles of stratigraphy can be used to unravel the geologic history of a given area.” – "Stratigraphy," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

But the rock layers as a whole contain no transitional species, which in turn undermines the fundamental premise that existing species transition into new species and, therefore, that the succession of one species to another can be used to date rocks to construct an overall geologic history. In short, the discontinuity of the fossil record and the fact that new fossil species appear suddenly with no transitional forms demonstrates that faunal succession, which is necessary to produce the geologic column, is not a real or observed phenomenon.

Consequently, not only is the fossil record missing the first 87 percent of earth’s history and missing huge sections in the remaining 13 percent even on local levels, but the sequence of fossils in the fossil record is not smooth, developmental, or “sequential” at all. Instead, the sequence of fossils in the fossil record is a broken, discontinuous record of the sudden emergence of wholly new species with no transitional forms. Effectively, the fossil record is simply a bunch of different species preserved in different layers, with microscopic and heavy, shelled or exoskeleton-covered marine species at the bottom. And no matter how often this type of order is found all around the world, it is simply not a sequence of organisms that necessarily or even favorably points to an evolutionary development of life. 

The third problem that prevents the fossil record from revealing any single, overarching fossil or geologic history is the fact that 80 to 85 percent of the earth’s land surface does not contain more than 2 geologic periods in the “correct” evolutionary order.

Eighty to eighty-five percent of Earth’s land surface does not have even 3 geologic periods appearing in ‘correct’ consecutive order. It becomes an overall exercise of gargantuan special pleading and imagination for the evolutionary-uniformitarian paradigm to maintain that there ever were geologic periods.” – Dr. John Woodmorappe, geologist “The Essential Non-Existence of the Evolutionary Uniformitarian Geologic Column” CRSQ Vol. 18 No. 1 June 1981, pp. 46-71 (Cited in “Lies in the Textbooks,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 33 minutes, 45 seconds)

While the quote above is provided by a creationist source, it can be corroborated from the information in secular and evolutionary sources. For instance, the same creationist source also cites a secular textbook, which states that “If the geologic column existed in one location it would be 100 miles thick.”

If the geologic column existed in one location it would be 100 miles thick! Biology, p. 385, A Boka Books (Cited in “Lies in the Textbooks,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 20 minutes)

Britannica makes a similar comment to the one from this secular textbook. Britannica asserts that, if compiled, just the fossil-bearing portion of the geologic column would be only 122,000 meters thick, which is about 76 miles.

Geochronology, Nonradiometric dating, Geologic processes as absolute chronometers, Accumulational processes – The fossiliferous part of the geologic column includes perhaps 122,000 metres of sedimentary rock if maximum thicknesses are selected from throughout the world.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The fact that the fossil-bearing geologic column would be 76 miles thick if it existed as a real, physical entity corroborates the fact that no more than 2 periods of the geologic column can be found in 80 to 85 percent of the world. First, it is important to note that the earth’s crust, particularly the earth’s continental crust where fossil sites are found, is on average only about 10 miles thick.

How thick is the earth’s crust?, A Continental Crust – The earth's solid surface is about 40 percent continental crust. Continental crust is much older, thicker and less dense than oceanic crust. Generally, the continental crust between plates that are moving apart is very thin, about 20 km (about 10 mi) thick. In other places, such as mountain ranges, the crust ranges from 30 to 70 km (from 20 to 40 mi) thick.” – "Plate Tectonics," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This means that the 76-mile-high fossil-bearing portion of the geologic column is somewhere between 7 to 8 times thicker than the continental crust itself. But an even more striking realization occurs when we consider the thickness of sedimentary rock in the earth’s crust. As mentioned previously, fossils are only found in sedimentary rock.

Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – Unlike ages derived from fossils, which occur only in sedimentary rocks, absolute ages are obtained from minerals that grow as liquid rock bodies cool at or below the surface.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Sedimentary, rock – Most fossils are found in sedimentary rock. The fossils formed when sediments covered dead plants and animals. As the sediments changed to rock, either the remains or the outlines of the plants and animals were preserved. Some limestone is made entirely of fossil shells.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Maria Luisa Crawford, Ph.D., Professor of Geology, Bryn Mawr College.

Since fossils are only found in sedimentary rock, the fossil-bearing geologic column has to come from sedimentary rock. And even though the continental crust itself is usually around 10 miles thick, sedimentary rock only occurs as a “thin veneer” covering the top portion at the top of the vast majority of earth’s crust, as indicated by the quotes below.

Sedimentary, rockSedimentary rock covers about three-fourths of Earth's land area and most of the ocean floor.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Maria Luisa Crawford, Ph.D., Professor of Geology, Bryn Mawr College.

Igneous rock – The Earth is composed predominantly of a large mass of igneous rock with a very thin veneer of weathered material—namely, sedimentary rock.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

"Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequence – Most methods for determining relative geologic ages are well illustrated in sedimentary rocks. These rocks cover roughly 75 percent of the surface area of the continents, and unconsolidated sediments blanket most of the ocean floor." – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Sedimentary rock – rock formed at or near the Earth's surface by the accumulation and lithification of sediment (detrital rock) or by the precipitation from solution at normal surface temperatures (chemical rock). Sedimentary rocks are the most common rocks exposed on the Earth's surface but are only a minor constituent of the entire crust, which is dominated by igneous and metamorphic rocks…Sediments and sedimentary rocks are confined to the Earth's crust, which is the thin, light outer solid skin of the Earth ranging in thickness from 40–100 kilometres (25 to 62 miles) in the continental blocks to 4–10 kilometres in the ocean basins. Igneous and metamorphic rocks constitute the bulk of the crust. The total volume of sediment and sedimentary rocks can be either directly measured using exposed rock sequences, drill-hole data, and seismic profiles or indirectly estimated by comparing the chemistry of major sedimentary rock types to the overall chemistry of the crust from which they are weathered. Both methods indicate that the Earth's sediment-sedimentary rock shell forms only about 5 percent by volume of the terrestrial crust, which in turn accounts for less than 1 percent of the Earth's total volume. On the other hand, the area of outcrop and exposure of sediment and sedimentary rock comprises 75 percent of the land surface and well over 90 percent of the ocean basins and continental margins. In other words, 80–90 percent of the surface area of the Earth is mantled with sediment or sedimentary rocks rather than with igneous or metamorphic varieties. The sediment-sedimentary rock shell forms only a thin superficial layer. The mean shell thickness in continental areas is 1.8 kilometres; the sediment shell in the ocean basins is roughly 0.3 kilometre. Rearranging this shell as a globally encircling layer (and depending on the raw estimates incorporated into the model), the shell thickness would be roughly 1–3 kilometres. Despite the relatively insignificant volume of the sedimentary rock shell, not only are most rocks exposed at the terrestrial surface of the sedimentary variety, but many of the significant events in Earth history are most accurately dated and documented by analyzing and interpreting the sedimentary rock record instead of the more voluminous igneous and metamorphic rock record.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Most significantly, notice that on the continental crust, sedimentary rock forms a “superficial” shell that is only 1.8 kilometers thick, which is only about 1.1 miles. This brings up an important question. Since the entire fossil-bearing geologic column would be 76 miles thick and sedimentary rock is only 1.1 miles thick, exactly how much of the fossil-bearing geologic record, how many layers, could possibly be visible at any particular site?

Britannica Encyclopedia provides a chart outlining the different eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages of the geologic column. (See Britannica Geologic Column Figure 1.) The chart identifies 80 different ages, which is the smallest division of time on the chart. And, if we only count from the Cambrian Period forward, when fossils become abundant enough to use for integrating a single rock sequence, the chart identifies only 11 periods. With 80 ages in a 76-mile-high geologic column, each age would be just under 1 mile thick. And with 11 periods in a 76-mile-high geologic column, each period would be almost 7 miles thick. So, again, with sedimentary rock only being an average of 1.1 miles thick how many periods of fossils could be present at any one particular site? With not only periods but even the smaller unit of ages being so thick, it is easy to see why 80 to 85 percent of the earth’s surface does not contain even 3 periods of geologic time, particulary in the “correct” evolutionary order, just as we saw earlier in the following quote.

Eighty to eighty-five percent of Earth’s land surface does not have even 3 geologic periods appearing in ‘correct’ consecutive order. It becomes an overall exercise of gargantuan special pleading and imagination for the evolutionary-uniformitarian paradigm to maintain that there ever were geologic periods.” – Dr. John Woodmorappe, geologist “The Essential Non-Existence of the Evolutionary Uniformitarian Geologic Column” CRSQ Vol. 18 No. 1 June 1981, pp. 46-71 (Cited in “Lies in the Textbooks,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 33 minutes, 45 seconds)

Consequently, we can see that the fossil record is missing the first 87 percent of earth’s history, is missing huge sections in the remaining 13 percent even on local levels, is comprised of an order that is not a smooth, developmental “sequential” at all, and each individual fossil site around the world contains less than 3 geologic periods and a slice that is only about one-eightieth of the thickness of the whole geologic column. These mounting problems provide further and further demonstrations that the actual, physical fossil evidence simply does not provide any single, uniform sequence of fossil or geologic history.

But, before we turn to the next problem that prevents the fossil record from revealing any single, overarching fossil or geologic history, there are a few more items worth noting about the 76-mile-high fossil-bearing portion of the geologic column. First, to emphasize the dramatic height of a 76-mile geologic column, we should consider the fact that the ozone layer is only 30 miles above the surface of the earth and that satellites start orbiting at 100 miles up.

Earth [planet], The atmosphere – Air surrounds Earth and becomes progressively thinner farther from the surface. Most people find it difficult to breathe more than 2 miles (3 kilometers) above sea level. About 100 miles (160 kilometers) above the surface, the air is so thin that satellites can travel without much resistance…High above the troposphere, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) above Earth's surface, is a layer of still air called the stratosphere. The stratosphere contains a layer where ultraviolet light from the sun strikes oxygen molecules to create a gas called ozone.” – Contributor: Steven I. Dutch, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

Second, as we noted above, the earth is covered with only about 1 mile’s worth of sedimentary rock when a height of 76 miles is required for just the fossil-bearing portion of the geologic column. Moreover, although a height of 76 miles is required, the surface of the earth is covered, at a maximum, by only 1-mile-thick slivers of fossils. With these contrasts in view, it seems vastly more plausible that the 1 mile of sediment and wholly-formed, non-transitioning, discontinuous fossil sites all around the world are the result of a massive, global flood that buried and preserved the simple, surface-living and marine life forms with hard parts such as exoskeletons at the bottom while more complex life forms survived longer and were buried later on in higher layers. The alternative is that a quantity of sedimentary rock that represents 76 miles times the area of the earth’s spherical surface has worn away and then resettled into only 1.1 miles of surviving sedimentary rock which despite this unimaginably massive amount of erosion still somehow managed to preserve intact selected samples from each past age in a discernable evolutionary order while also somehow managing to leave out all of the transitional forms where evolution occurs. In this light, the precarious string of improbabilities inherent to the evolutionary view becomes apparent. Isn’t a single layer of 1.1 mile thick sedimentary rock burying and preserving different varieties of organisms in different layers as a result of a global flood much more reasonable and plausible, particularly in light of the historical and geologic evidence for a global flood?

(For an illustration of the height of the geologic column please see Dating Proceedures Figure 3 and Dating Proceedures Figure 5.)

The fourth problem that prevents the fossil record from revealing any single, overarching fossil or geologic history is the fact that most fossil species are not found all over the world. Fossils in general are found all around the world, as the following quote states.

Fossil, III WHERE FOSSILS FORM – Fossils are found in all parts of the world, from Greenland to Antarctica. They can be found in cores drilled in and retrieved from the ocean floor, and on top of the highest mountains. Their wide geographical distribution is a result of the way the earth's surface has changed throughout its history.” – "Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

However, specific fossil types are not widely distributed geographically, as both of the following 2 quotes indicate. In particular, the first quote states that only floating or swimming marine creatures have wide geographic distribution. The second quote similarly asserts that the widely distributed fossils are limited to unicellular marine or land organisms, such as spores or foraminiferan, that “could move with the currents” of water or wind. (It is also worth pointing out the second quote’s assertion that graptolites, another marine organism, are fossilized “on continents” is an interesting piece of evidence that further corroborates that the world was once covered by a massive flood, creating marine fossils far inland. But that is not the current focus.)

Index Fossil, III CHARACTERISTICS OF INDEX FOSSILSIndex fossils that are widely distributed allow geologists to correlate the rocks at one location with those far away. The best index fossils for this purpose have a wide geographical distribution, have a speedy dispersal, and occur independent of rock type. Organisms with the widest geographic distribution are generally marine creatures that are pelagic (floating) or nectonic (swimming) for at least part of their life cycles. These organisms easily can be distributed across entire ocean basins and some achieve near worldwide distribution. Dispersal refers to the spreading of a group of organisms from one area to another.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Fossil, III WHERE FOSSILS FORM – Some fossils are restricted to small areas and some are distributed globally. The most widespread fossils are the remains of organisms that lived in oceans and could move with the currents, such as foraminifera, and those that lived on land and were spread by wind, such as spores. Fossils of graptolites (marine invertebrates that lived in colonies) in rocks of marine origin and of ferns on land are now found on all continents. Certain species of shallow-water trilobites, and dinosaurs that were restricted to land, are found only at particular localities.” – "Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The second quote above goes on to contrast the widely-distributed fossils of marine organisms to land animals such as dinosaurs, which are not widely distributed geographically but “are found only at particular localities.” Consequently, the fact that most types of organisms are not floating or swimming marine organisms and, therefore, are found “only at particular localities” demonstrates the difficulty of “correlating the rocks at one location with those far away.” In fact, as the first quote indicates this limited distribution of different fossil types requires special fossils called “index fossils” to be used in order to correlate the distinct collections of fossil types found at different locations. Index fossils themselves provide further indications of how individual fossil species are not widely distributed geographically. So, we will return to the issue of index fossils momentarily. But for now, we’ll return instead to the point at hand.

As stated by the last quote above, land animals, such as dinosaurs are not widely distributed geographically but “are found only at particular localities.” The quote below states that “similar kinds of fossil dinosaurs” are found “on all of the modern continents.” However, in light of the quote above, we can firmly conclude that similar dinosaur fossils are only found at a limited number of sites on each continent. But more importantly, in contrast to fossil dinosaurs, which the previous quote already established as occurring “at particular localities,” the quote below plainly states that mammal fossils have an even more limited distribution than dinosaurs.

Fossil, How fossils reveal the past, Recording changes in the earth – Fossils also provide evidence supporting the theory of continental drift-the idea that the positions of the continents have changed over hundreds of millions of years. Paleontologists have found similar kinds of fossil dinosaurs on all of the modern continents. It is unlikely that similar species could have evolved on separate continents. As a result, most earth scientists believe that when the dinosaurs first appeared-about 230 million years ago-nearly all the earth's land mass was united as a single supercontinent. In contrast, fossils of mammals show complex differences from continent to continent. This indicates that after about 200 million years ago, when mammals were beginning to develop and spread, the supercontinent was breaking apart.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.

While fossils of similar dinosaurs are found in only a few locations on each continent, mammal fossils are different from continent to continent.

In addition, the next quote provides even further evidence that different sites contain different fossils rather than “fossils always appearing in the same order” even “across broad geographic areas.” As the quote states, old fossils from a long time ago are found on certain continents while young fossils from more recently are found on other continents.

Fossil, III WHERE FOSSILS FORM Different types of fossils are found in different geological formations, depending on the prehistoric environment represented and the age of the rock. Older rocks are found on low, eroded continents near the edges of large oceans. Younger rocks are found more commonly where there is active mountain building and volcanic activity. Old fossils are most commonly found where an old mountain range has eroded, such as in eastern North America and northern Europe, or where two old continents have collided, such as in Russia. Younger fossils are found at the ocean side of young mountains where an ocean plate is colliding with a continental plate, such as in western North and South America and in New Zealand.” – "Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In fact, scientists know that, in general, different types of fossils are found in vastly different areas. That is why scientists look for certain types of fossils only in certain regions, as stated in the quote below.

Fossil, Studying fossilsPaleontologists search in specific areas for particular types of fossils. In North America, for example, most fossil mammals are found west of the Mississippi River. Paleontologists hunt for fossil ancestors of human beings in eastern and southern Africa. Canada and Australia have deposits of well-preserved ancient marine invertebrates.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.

For the next proof that fossil sites contain different combinations of fossils rather than the same fossils in the same order at every location, we return to the geologic column provided by Microsoft Encarta.

“[PHOTO CAPTION] © Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.” – "Geologic Time Scale," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

From the chart we notice that the terms “Cenozoic,” “Mesozoic” and “Paleozoic” designate different eras, which are the second largest division of evolutionary geologic time. We also need to recall from earlier that fossils are only found in sedimentary rock, that sedimentary rock is only 1.1 miles thick on continental crust, and that the entire fossil-bearing portion of the geologic column is 76 miles thick. The following quote asserts that “distinctive combinations of fossils” are found in “rocks of certain ages.” The quote then provides 3 examples in which the ages it has in view are Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. Moreover, the examples demonstrate that rocks of these ages have “distinct combinations of fossils.” Paleozoic rocks contain “trilobites and graptolites.” Mesozoic rocks contain “dinosaurs” and “ammonites,” which are an extinct form of squid. And Cenozoic rocks contain “flowering plants” and “mammals.”

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODS – The third principle, that of fossil succession, deals with fossils in sedimentary rock. Careful mapping around the world has revealed that rock of certain ages contains distinctive combinations of fossils-Paleozoic rocks contain trilobite and graptolite fossils, Mesozoic rocks contain dinosaur remains and ammonite fossils, Cenozoic rocks contain remnants of flowering plants and abundant mammal remains. By matching the fossil content of rock sequences, even across widespread geographic regions, paleontologists believe that certain sequences are probably about the same age.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Here we must keep in mind that Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic are the second largest divisions of evolutionary time. Each one of these eras contains roughly a third of the 600-million-year-long fossil-bearing portion geologic column, which is 76 miles thick. In contrast, individual fossil sites can only contain 1.1 miles’ worth of fossils. Consequently, since no individual site could contain even one of these eras, when Encarta denotes that rocks of certain eras “contain distinctive combinations of fossils,” it is really denoting that rock layers at different locations “contain distinctive combinations of fossils.” Once again, here we see that the same fossils are not found in the same order everywhere, but in reality, each site contains a different combination of fossils. And this is corroborated even in the quote above which begins by noting that the collection of fossils at each site is so diverse that “careful mapping” of which fossils are at which sites must be performed for the entire world. Clearly, different fossils are found at different sites, not the same fossils in the same order over and over again.

As mentioned previously, index fossils provide additional proof that different fossil sites contain different fossils rather than the same fossils in the same order. Since most fossils are not found around the world, those fossils that are dispersed more widely geographically play a key role. Such widely distributed fossils are called “index fossils.” All of the quotes below assert that wide geographic distribution is one of the traits that makes an index fossil and index fossil.

Index fossil – any animal or plant preserved in the rock record of the Earth that is characteristic of a particular span of geologic time or environment. A useful index fossil must be distinctive or easily recognizable, abundant, and have a widegeographic distribution and a short range through time. Index fossils are the basis for defining boundaries in the geologic time scale and for the correlation of strata.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Fossil, VI DATING AND CLASSIFYING FOSSILSSome organisms lived for only a short period of geological time, and paleontologists use the fossils of these organisms as indicators to establish the age of fossils found in association with them. If similar fossils have been found over a wide geographic range, the fossils may be used to correlate the dates of formations in different localities.” – "Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniques The basic conceptual tool for correlation by fossils is the index, or guide, fossil…On the practical side, an index fossil should be distinctive in appearance so as to prevent misidentification, and it should be cosmopolitan both as to geography and as to rock type. In addition, its fossilized population should be sufficiently abundant for discovery to be highly probable. Such an array of attributes represents an ideal, and much stratigraphic geology is rendered difficult because of departure of the natural fossil assemblage from this ideal.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Index Fossil, I INTRODUCTION – Index fossils are also used to compare, or correlate, rocks exposed in separate locations…II INFORMATION GATHERED FROM INDEX FOSSILS – Index fossils are also used to show the relationship between rocks layers in distant locations. For example, layers of limestone exposed in different areas may appear identical. To determine whether they are part of the same rock layer or represent distinct and unrelated rock layers, geologists study the fossils in the limestone. Generally, each rock layer contains distinctive groups of fossils, called the index fossils for that layer. If both limestones contain the same index fossils, they are likely part of the same rock layer and thus from the same time period…III CHARACTERISTICS OF INDEX FOSSILSThe ideal index fossils are those that are abundant, easy to identify, short-lived, widely distributed, and occur in many types of rocks…Index fossils that are widely distributed allow geologists to correlate the rocks at one location with those far away. The best index fossils for this purpose have a wide geographical distribution, have a speedy dispersal, and occur independent of rock type…Most fossil groups only possess a few of these ideal attributes. Groups that were widespread and abundant generally were very successful and usually existed for long periods of geologic time.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The very need to identify special fossils that are widely distributed enough to aid in integrating a single geologic sequence demonstrates conversely the extent to which most fossils “are found only at particular localities.” On a related note, as indicated midway through the last quote above, it is assumed that an index fossil in one location has the same age as that same fossil found at another location. Thus, since index fossils have the same age, they can be used to correlate the ages of rock layers at different locations.

However, this is merely an assumption. There’s no way to know if the species was short-lived and therefore all fossil forms of it represent the same short timespan or if the species was long-lived and fossil forms of it come from vastly different times. But more importantly, even if we make the assumption that like fossils are of like age, that assumption alone does not in anyway prove that all the fossils in the layers above and below it have vastly different ages. The conclusion that other fossils have different ages than the index fossils requires the additional assumption that the distance between one fossil layer and the next equates to millions of years, an assumption that is completely unaffected one way or the other by using index fossils and the assumption that “like fossils are of like age.” In the creationist model, all fossils have roughly the same age since the majority of fossils are viewed as the result of a flood. Consequently, even if index fossils or other like fossils are assumed to have the same age, that alone would not in any way lead to the conclusion that rock layers and fossils formed over hundreds of millions of years. To the contrary, the idea that like fossils are of like age fits perfectly well into the theory that all fossils are roughly the same age. So, while index fossils are a necessary tool for correlating the geologic column, even with certain assumptions about index fossils, there is no way to form the geologic column unless one first assumes evolution’s long ages of time and the evolution of species itself.

The fifth problem that prevents the fossil record from revealing any single, overarching fossil or geologic history is the fact that sometimes fossils are found entirely in the wrong order. When this happens and the fossils are in the opposite order that evolution expects or predicts, the entire rock formation is deemed to be upside down so that the fossils can still be in the “correct” evolutionary order.

“Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequence On occasion, however, deformation may have caused the rocks of the crust to tilt, perhaps to the point of overturning them. Moreover, if erosion has blurred the record by removing substantial portions of the deformed sedimentary rock, it may not be at all clear which edge of a given layer is the original top and which is the original bottom. Identifying top and bottom is clearly important in sequence determination, so important in fact that a considerable literature has been devoted to this question alone. Many of the criteria of top–bottom determination are based on asymmetry in depositional features. Oscillation ripple marks, for example, are produced in sediments by water sloshing back and forth. When such marks are preserved in sedimentary rocks, they define the original top and bottom by their asymmetric pattern. Certain fossils also accumulate in a distinctive pattern or position that serves to define the top side.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As we noted earlier, critics of the geologic column point out that 80-85 percent of the earth’s land surface does not have even 3 geologic periods in “correct” geologic order.

Eighty to eighty-five percent of Earth’s land surface does not have even 3 geologic periods appearing in ‘correct’ consecutive order.” – Dr. John Woodmorappe, geologist “The Essential Non-Existence of the Evolutionary Uniformitarian Geologic Column” CRSQ Vol. 18 No. 1 June 1981, pp. 46-71 (Cited in “Lies in the Textbooks,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 33 minutes, 45 seconds)

Because fossils are sometimes found out of the expected evolutionary order, requiring that the rock layers be viewed as “upside down” or “tilted,” Encarta gives the following qualification that lower layers are older “in most cases” but not always.

[PHOTO CAPTION] Stratigraphy – Archaeologists determine the age of artifacts and other remains in relation to each other and to the present through a technique called stratigraphy. This illustration depicts a cross-section into the ground in which many layers of soil, rock, and other materials can be seen. In most cases, objects buried in lower layers, such as the stonework, are older than those in higher layers, such as the skull. © Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.” – "Stratigraphy," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

However, if we don’t assume that an entire series of rock layers were flipped upside down, the fact that some fossils are found out of evolutionary order would indicate that these organisms did not evolve and live at different periods of time separated by long intervals. Moreover, the fact that fossils are found in orders that contradict evolution demonstrates once again that the same fossils are not found in the same order all around the world. Furthermore, the admission that fossil sequences can be and sometimes are flipped over and in the reverse order adds a considerable difficulty for constructing a single, worldwide geologic column. The problem is that unless we assume the evolutionary order of species we cannot determine which fossil sites are turned over and which are normal. How do we know if the sites evolutionists think are “normal” have actually become “flipped” or vice versa? How do we know if some sites where fossils are in the evolutionary order have not also been flipped over as a result of whatever geological processes can cause such a phenomenon? Put simply, the criterion that is being used to designate some sites as “flipped over” and other sites as “normal” is whether or not the fossils appear in an order consistent with evolution.

The sixth problem that prevents the fossil record from revealing any single, overarching fossil or geologic history is the fact that fossils of the same species are found at different layers within rock formations, layers that are thought to represent “widely different times,” which are “millions of years” apart.

Index Fossil, III CHARACTERISTICS OF INDEX FOSSILS – The ideal index fossils are those that are abundant, easy to identify, short-lived, widely distributed, and occur in many types of rocks…Most fossil groups only possess a few of these ideal attributes…Those that were more local or regional tended to migrate over time and their presence in different areas may have occurred at widely different times. One occurrence may be from just after the group evolved and the other from millions of years later, just before the group became extinct.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As we have seen, the standard rule is that “like fossils are of like age.”

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, C Correlation – Fossils are the most useful tools for correlation. Since the work of Smith and Cuvier, biostratigraphers have noted that ‘like fossils are of like age.’ This is the principle of fossil correlation.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Either this is a sound principle or it isn’t. Either we are safe to assume that like fossils are the same age or we are not. Consequently, if this standard rule is sound then when similar fossils are found in rock layers at different stratigraphic levels, the “like fossils” should indicate that those rock layers are the same age. However, when similar looking fossils are found in rock layers that are thought to be separated by millions of years, evolutionists discard or ignore their fundamental principle that “like fossils are of like age” and instead assume that the “lower” fossil is an earlier evolutionary form of the slightly different “higher-layer” fossil. The quote below uses separate species of “conodonts” as an example.

Index Fossil, III CHARACTERISTICS OF INDEX FOSSILS – In general, for an index fossil to be most useful, it must be identified to the species level. For example, conodonts as a group occur in rocks from the Cambrian Period to the Triassic Period (570 million to 208 million years ago), but the conodont species Siphonodella sulcata is present only at the beginning of the Carboniferous Period (360 million to 355 million years ago) and is an index fossil for this narrow time period.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The problem is that while the principle that “like fossils are of like age” is an essential tool for constructing the geologic column, there is simply no objective basis for suggesting that similar fossils are two different species. The next quote provides an example in which paleontologists try to distinguish between different species of saber-toothed cats. As the quote indicates, the basis for classifying one fossil as a different species than another is the shape and size of the “hard parts, such as shells, teeth, and skeletons, because these are the features that are preserved.”

Fossil, Studying fossils, Classifying fossils – Like living plants and animals, fossil species are classified according to how closely related they are to one another. In general, scientists determine how closely related various species are by comparing their many biological features (see CLASSIFICATION, SCIENTIFIC). For fossil groups, these features are primarily the shapes of hard parts, such as shells, teeth, and skeletons, because these are the features that are preserved. For example, paleontologists may look at skull shape and tooth size when determining the different species of saber-toothed cat.” – Contributor: Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.

But variations in size or shape of teeth and skeletons or even shells are not valid criteria for classifying fossils into separate species. First, even in the modern human population, there is a great deal of variety in skull shape and skeletal size, including teeth. Yet all of these variations exist within the same species. They are just variations in one species based upon the particular genetic sample in each individual. Consequently, such size or shape varieties are simply not sufficient objective evidence for classifying two fossils as different species or for violating the evolutionary “like fossils are of like age” principle.

Second, as we discussed in a previous segment, the inability to interbreed is the line of demarcation for distinguishing separate species. This is noted in both of the quotes below. However, as both of the quotes below also indicate, “fossils cannot provide evidence of the development of reproductive isolation.”

“Evolution, The process of evolution, Patterns and rates of species evolution, Reconstruction of evolutionary history, Gradual and punctuational evolution – Species are groups of interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively isolated from any other such groups. Speciation involves, therefore, the development of reproductive isolation between populations previously able to interbreed. Paleontologists recognize species by their different morphologies as preserved in the fossil record, but fossils cannot provide evidence of the development of reproductive isolation because new species that are reproductively isolated from their ancestors are often morphologically indistinguishable from them.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Evolution, The process of evolution, Species and speciation, The concept of species – It is, then, clear that although species are usually identified by appearance, there is something basic, of great biological significance, behind similarity of appearance; individuals of a species are able to interbreed with one another but not with members of other speciesAlthough the criterion for deciding whether individuals belong to the same species is clear, there may be ambiguity in practice for two reasons. One is lack of knowledge; it may not be known for certain whether individuals living in different sites belong to the same species, because it is not known whether they can naturally interbreed.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As indicated by the first quote above, the problem is even non-interbreeding groups often look too similar to one another morphologically. Simply put, because even non-interbreeding groups often look similar, we cannot tell merely from their preserved hard parts whether or not two fossils could or could not interbreed. This problem becomes even more insurmountable when we realize that “the small changes that would make up gradual evolutionary development” are not “of a nature that would be apparent in the fossil history of a species” because fossils “primarily show gross morphological changes.”

Evolution, VIII CURRENT EVOLUTIONARY DEBATEFossils primarily show gross morphological changes, whereas changes taking place in genetic makeup could be extensive even though overall body structures do not reveal these shifts in populations of species.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, VIII CURRENT EVOLUTIONARY DEBATE – In addition, the small changes that would make up gradual evolutionary development according to the modern synthesis are themselves not necessarily of a nature that would be apparent in the fossil history of a species, however complete it might be over a given stretch of time.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As such, the fossil record simply does not provide the kind of information that would be required to identify two similar fossils as different species. Therefore, with no evidentiary basis for qualifying two like-fossils as different species, there is simply no valid, objective reason for evolutionists to discard their fundamental relative dating principle that “like fossils are of like age.” Consequently, layers that are thought to represent “widely different times,” which are “millions of years” apart should really be considered the same age if they contain similar fossils. Thus, evolution’s own fundamental principle for constructing the geologic column demands that widely separated layers containing similar fossils should be consolidated into a single contemporary time. This would result in the loss of the millions of years represented by each of the involved layers and all the layers in between them. Furthermore, any “evolution” of other species that is occurring in those layers would now be negated as all the species in those layers are interpreted as contemporaries in light of the presence of like fossils in a layer below them and a layer above them. But most importantly, the presence of like fossils in rock layers of different levels demonstrates that the fossil record around the world simply does not present an evolutionary sequence.

Alternatively, if evolutionists do not want to forfeit the ages created by assigning different ages to rock layers that have like fossils, they must forfeit the principle that “like fossils are of like age.”  If this principle is forfeited then like fossils from rock layers at different locations around the world cannot be assigned the same age and used as index fossils to correlate the ages of fossils from different sites into a single, geologic chronology or evolutionary order. Either way, the geologic column is impossible to construct.

In light of these six facts demonstrating that the fossil record does not reveal any single, overarching evolutionary sequence of fossils, what are we to make of the oversimplified statements in the quotes below that “in different geographic locations, the same, or similar, fossils” are found “in identical order” or that “the sequence of fossils always appear in the same order” even “across broad geographic areas”?

Fossil – It is often apparent that each layer in such a sequence contains fossils that are distinct from those of the layers that are above and below it. In such sequences of layers in different geographic locations, the same, or similar, fossil floras or faunas occur in the identical order. By comparing overlapping sequences, it is possible to build up a continuous record of faunas and floras that have progressively more in common with present-day life forms as the top of the sequence is approached.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Index Fossil, IV USE OF INDEX FOSSILS – British geologist William Smith was the first person known to employ the concept of index fossils. He noted that rock layers could not be reliably identified from rock type alone. By using both rock type and the unique group of fossils present in each layer, he was successful in recognizing individual rock layers across broad geographic areas. Smith also noted that the sequence of fossils always appeared in the same order.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In light of the above facts, we find that the same fossils are not found in the same order all around the world. Instead of fossils everywhere revealing a single sequence of geology and evolution, we have found that the fossil record begins with the first 87 percent of earth’s history missing, the remaining 13 percent is riddled with significant missing portions and no transitional forms but only static morphologies, “eighty to eighty-five percent of Earth’s land surface does not have even 3 geologic periods” particularly in the correct evolutionary order, individual fossil types are generally not found all over the world but “only at particular localities” requiring the use of particular “index fossils” to create correlations between different sites, sometimes fossils are found in the opposite order of evolution, and rock layers designated as millions of years apart are really contemporary because they contain “like fossils” and “like fossils indicate like age.”

Consequently, the only possible valid meaning for the oversimplified statements that “fossils are found in the same order all around the world” is that simpler organisms are generally at the bottom and more complex organisms are usually higher up in the fossil record all around the world. Yet as we established early on in this segment, that order alone does not particularly weigh in favor of either evolution or creation theory since creation theory also explains why the general order of primitive to complex exists. Moreover, as also previously stated, both evolution theory and creation theory really have the same explanation for this order. Both theories assert that the order of fossils is really an order of burial, which organisms were buried first. In evolutionary theory, this burial happens very slowly over millions of years and the slow process of evolution is what causes only some organisms to be present in the lower layers. In creation theory, this burial happens very quickly (in perhaps a matter of months) and the global flood is mechanism responsible for sorting the organisms. The evidence is agreed upon and accommodated by both theories and each theory explains the evidence in terms of its own mechanisms. Consequently, the question is which mechanism is better attested to, the mechanisms of new species evolving over time or the mechanism of a global flood. The information provided in previous segments shows that the mechanism of evolution has no evidence and simply does not work, whereas the flood is greatly evidenced in both the history and geologic record.

Finally, the difficulty created by the problems outlined above is demonstrated by the fact that after 200 years of evolution and adjustment, the geologic column continues to evolve and be adjusted to this very day. Moreover, the fact that the geologic column continues to be adjusted further demonstrates that it is not an objective structure existing in reality but a mental image that can be altered as necessary in order to keep evolution reconciled with the ever-challenging and complex discontinuity of the fossil record.

Earth, geologic history of, Time scales – During recent years, various chronostratigraphic and chronometric time scales with relatively small differences have been proposed. The 1983 scale prepared for the Decade of North American Geology (DNAG) takes into account many of the variations of other scales. As can be seen from the Table, the DNAG geologic time scale gives the major chronostratigraphic boundaries and their assigned chronometric ages, as well as the time scale of magnetic polarity reversals.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geologic Time, I INTRODUCTIONGeologic Time, time scale that covers the earth's entire geologic history from its origin to the present. Before the growth of a geologic time scale in the 19th century natural historians recognized that the earth has a lengthy history, but the scale used today developed over the last 200 years and continues to evolve.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALEGeologists have created a geologic time scale to provide a common vocabulary for talking about past events. The practice of determining when past geologic events occurred is called geochronology. This practice began in the 1700s and has sometimes involved some personal and international disputes that led to differences in terminology. Today the geologic time scale is generally agreed upon and used by scientists around the world, dividing time into eons, eras, periods, and epochs. Every few years, the numerical time scale is refined based on new evidence, and geologists publish an update.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In conclusion to this segment, we have seen that the geologic column simply cannot be perceived as evidence for evolution. First, it is based upon circular reasoning in which evolution (in the form of the principle of faunal succession) is itself a premise in the construction of the geologic column. Since evolution is a premise in the proof, the proof simply cannot lead to evolution as a conclusion. Second, the geologic column is not an actual, physical object or observable reality. It is a mental picture that results from correlating or integrating “all of the world’s individual rock sequences.” However, this integration process requires “clever detective work” because, as we have seen from secular and evolutionary sources, the actual fossil evidence is characterized by obstacles that make constructing a single sequence very complicated and implausible. And third, the fact that the fossil record is not an objective reality is demonstrated by the fact that after 200 years of evolution and adjustment, it continues to be adjusted and corrected to this day. Conversely, it must also be stated that the ever-challenging and complex discontinuity of the fossil record, which exhibits only stable, unchanging species and is lacking in transitional forms, provides remarkable positive evidence that organisms do not evolve but exist in static lineages.

At this point we have demonstrated the following. First, we have demonstrated that relative dating itself does not provide any support for evolution’s long time spans. Second, we have demonstrated that relative dating, evolution, and radiometric (absolute) dating are collectively based upon circular reasoning with each other and, therefore, provide not support for evolution’s long time spans. And third, we have demonstrated that the geologic column does not provide any support for evolution’s long time spans because it is also based upon circular reasoning with the evolution and dating methods and because it faces obstacles in the fossil record itself. With these geologic evidences concerning the age of the earth now addressed and the astrophysical evidence for the age of the universe already addressed in prior segments, the only area where further investigation is needed is the area of absolute dating methods themselves. For a focus on absolute dating methods, we move forward to our next segment.


Related Images



Gene Pool
(Figures 1-6)




Defining the
Boundaries of Kinds



Gaps in the
Fossil Record




Britannica
Geologic Column



Misperceptions of
Dating Methods
(Figures 1-8)




Dating Facts



Dating Procedures
(Figures 1-13)




Isotope Dating Chart



Cosmology
Figure 1



Cosmology
Figure 2 (a-d)



Cosmology
Figure 3 (a-f)