Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The origin of fossils

In the previous post linking to an author interview on Rodger Price's Life, the Universe & a Cocktail, there is a point very early in the first segment at which show host Rodger Price says:
Well, we’ll judge the craziness later, but – you know -- I don’t see that as crazy because, I mean, we know that people have been crossing and tectonic plates have been shifting and moving for millions of years, unless you believe that dinosaurs were buried by the Devil . . . [a little over 3:00 minute mark in the first segment].
We've already seen in this previous post that there are several problems with the tectonic theory, but we shouldn't be too hard on Rodger for assuming that the tectonic theory has moved beyond theory and into the category of things that "we know" (after all, this was very early in the interview and before much of the anomalous evidence from geology and archaeology had even been discussed).

The more interesting part of the above quotation, however, is the assertion about fossils, in which the question is framed as a binary choice involving either:

a) "millions of years,"


b) "dinosaurs were buried by the Devil."

This dichotomy is actually a perfect example of a "false dilemma," since the actual best choice might in fact be something completely different than either of the above. However, this is exactly the way the choice is generally presented in the United States (and many other countries) throughout the education system, and most adults who grew up over the past hundred years or so can be forgiven for thinking that the choice boils down to just such a pair of alternatives.

The unstated assumption is that choice a) "millions of years" is the rational and scientific choice, and choice b) "dinosaurs were buried by the Devil" (or some other phrase indicating a preference for a supernatural answer rather than the accepted scientific answer involving millions of years) is the irrational and unscientific choice.

However, as with many mystery stories, the generally accepted explanation (in this case, "millions of years") has some serious difficulty with some overlooked clues, and the actual solution may be something quite different from the "only possible explanations" being offered.

As stated in the post linked above, "if the features on the earth were not created by tectonics (and there is extensive evidence that calls the tectonic explanation into question), and if they were instead created by catastrophic forces (as Dr. Brown's theory posits and as extensive evidence seems to support), then these geologic features would not necessarily have required hundreds of millions of years to form but could in fact have been shaped within the course of weeks, months, or a few years."

In that case, as Dr. Brown's book on the hydroplate theory explains, the same can be said for fossils: they would not necessarily have required hundreds of millions of years to form but could in fact have been shaped within the course of weeks, months, or a few years. In fact, the forces that would have been unleashed in the cataclysmic global flood described by the hydroplate theory would explain the formation of fossils much more effectively than does the conventional explanation involving gradual processes over long periods of time.

Fossils are actually quite difficult to explain using gradualist theories. Most dead animals and plants decompose fairly rapidly, aided by bacteria. As Dr. Brown and other observers have noted, fossilization generally requires rapid burial in thick mud that seals out air and bacteria, as well as extraordinary pressure. Soft animals such as jellyfish do not normally last long enough to create fossils today, but in the extraordinary events of the catastrophic flood, jellyfish fossils were in fact created (see image below):

The hydroplate theory posits that the massive amounts of sedimentary material eroded by the initial rupture of the waters under the earth spread out and rapidly buried many plants and animals. The forces of hydrodynamics then sorted these sediments into layers, and sorted the animals and plant matter within them as well. Dr. Brown explains that:
Fossils all over the world show evidence of rapid burial. Many fossils, such as fossilized jellyfish, show by the details of their soft, fleshly portions that they were buried rapidly, before they could decay. (Normally, dead animals and plants quickly decompose). Many other animals, buried in mass graves and in twisted and contorted positions, suggest violent and rapid burials over large areas. These observations, together with the occurrence of compressed fossils and fossils that cut across two or more layers of sedimentary rock, are strong evidence that the sediments encasing these fossils were deposited rapidly -- not over hundreds of millions of years. 9.

In other words, there are numerous pieces of evidence that the gradualist approach has a very difficult time explaining, but which fit perfectly into the framework described by Brown's hydroplate theory. It turns out that not only are we not forced to choose between a sensible explanation of "millions of years" and a less plausible "dinosaurs were buried by the Devil," but that the supposedly sensible explanation in that binary is not so sensible after all.

If Dr. Brown's theory is correct, it also provides a compelling new perspective on the question of mankind's ancient past, and the extensive evidence of an advanced civilization previous to those cultures that we are commonly told represent man's very earliest civilizations (such as Sumeria, Babylon, and dynastic Egypt).

This important possibility is completely obscured by the false dilemma that we are offered by the conventional strongholds of learning, which is basically the choice offered by Rodger Price at the beginning of our interview -- "millions of years" or "the Devil." No offense to Rodger is meant by using his quotation to frame this dilemma -- he is only articulating what society has drilled into us very effectively, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a guest on his show.

Besides, as noted before, he made that observation at the very beginning of the interview, and before the forty or so minutes of enlightened conversation that can be yours as well by simply visiting the internet archive and listening on your computer!