Our first post with this title was nine months ago: Creationism and the Fossil Record. That was about a truly incoherent article from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).
Today we present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from a far more interesting article at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Order in the Fossil Record. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Some biblical creationists believe that the fossil record, as depicted in geologic column diagrams, does not represent reality.
This assessment is usually based on the unfortunate claim that the geologic column is only theoretical, having been constructed by matching up rock layers from different areas of the world that contain similar fossils. They also believe that the layers were arranged based on an assumed evolutionary order of fossils, so they conclude that the whole concept of the geologic column and the order of rock layers must be totally rejected.
To the contrary, we can walk across various regions of the earth and observe that the rock layers and the fossils contained therein generally match what is depicted in the widely accepted geologic column diagrams.
We couldn’t believe that an AIG article would begin like that. But fear not. They eventually bring it around to their expected young-earth creationist viewpoint. The next several paragraphs discuss the geology of the Grand Canyon, and AIG insists — contrary to what many creationists claim — that the geologic column is very real. After shocking their readers with that, they shock them some more by saying:
Now that the physical reality of this local rock column has been established, we must conclude that the fossils contained in these rock layers are also a valid record of the order that creatures were progressively buried within each successive sedimentary layer.
Amazing, right? But just before they start to go off the tracks they give a list of the fossil types found in each rock layer, starting with the simplest creatures, progressing up through marine invertebrates, fish, then the land vertebrates — with the reptiles appearing before the mammals. Then they announce:
A careful examination of this list reveals the order in which creatures were buried by the Flood.
The Flood? How do they arrive at that conclusion? Let’s read on:
This is consistent with the ocean waters rising and washing across the continents during the Flood, carrying these marine creatures with the sediments in which they were buried.
Remember, this is a burial during the Flood. As the Flood waters inundated the continents, the shallow marine invertebrates were first swept from the pre-Flood ocean floors and buried on the continents in rapid succession. After the waters rose over the continents, they progressively encountered different ecological zones at different elevations, which were inundated in rapid succession.
In other words, as the Flood waters rose, they would tend to bury organisms in the order that they were encountered, so the major groups should appear in the fossil record according to where they lived, and not when they lived.
This is the “burial according to rising water” scenario. Very clever! Except that a global flood occurring in only 40 days — which also caused the continents to go flying around (see Noah’s Flood and Plate Tectonics) — would be unlikely to preserve such a tidy “rising water” pattern. Anyway, we continue:
You can also see [in the fossil record] another interesting pattern that confirms what we would expect from a global Flood. You would expect many larger animals to survive the Flood waters initially, leaving their tracks in the accumulating sediment layers as they tried to escape the rising waters. But eventually they would become exhausted, die, and get buried.
Ah yes, the “burial according to escape efforts” scenario. That’s good, but we like our own spoof of a creationist explanation better. It goes like this: Creatures died and were buried in the Flood according to their sinfulness — the simplest creatures dying first, with minimal suffering, and the more complex creatures dying last, to prolong their agony — thus their appearance higher in the geological strata. Sure, our “burial according to sinfulness” theory is crazy, but it fits in quite well with the reason for the Flood — punishment for sin. A creationist should always strive for scriptural consistency.
Anyway, here’s how AIG ends their article:
So the geologic column and the fossils’ order and patterns agree with the biblical framework of earth history. The observable evidence in God’s world totally agrees with what we read in God’s Word.
That’s the deal. Now go and sin no more.
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