Billions of Dead Things, Buried in Ignorance

I tend to giggle uncontrollably whenever I hear a creationist claim that the fossil record supports their belief in a young earth and a global flood. There are only two types of people who would say this: those who are abysmally ignorant of geology and those who lie through their teeth. Jessa Duggar is, I presume, in the first category:

On her Instagram account, Duggar also said she visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky. She claimed that the fossil record proved that the biblical story of the great flood was true.

“If there really was a worldwide flood (as the Bible speaks of), what would the evidence be? Billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth,” she wrote. “And that’s exactly what we find. Billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth. An Evolutionist and a Creationist will look at the same thing, but come to different conclusions because of their different starting points.”

This is what happens when you’re homeschooled by ignorant parents who know nothing about geology, you say incredibly dumb things like this. First of all, only some of those rock layers (they’re called strata) were laid down by water. Lots of them could not possibly have formed underwater. And even most of the ones that were formed underwater could not have been deposited during a global flood. We know that because they contain features that could only have formed in the absence of flood conditions — nesting sites, meteor craters, mud cracks, burrows, and so forth.

If the earth really is billions of years old with every square foot of the planet having been under entirely different environmental conditions at different points over a vast amount of time, what would the evidence be? Billions of dead things buried in a succession of geologic strata that require completely different depositional environments. And that’s exactly what we find. Creationists only reach a different conclusion because they have an a priori commitment to a nonsensical religious creation myth and because they ignore and distort the true nature of that evidence.

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  • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    If the worldwide flood did happen, we’d find an awful lot more fossils than we do.

  • Doug Little

    Kevin brings up a great point fossils are exceedingly rare which is another nail in the coffin of their flood myth.

  • alanb

    “An Evolutionist and a Creationist will look at the same thing, but come to different conclusions because of their different starting points.”

    This is true. The starting point for a creationist is a desire to justify and rationalize their preconceptions. The starting point for an “evolutionist” is a desire to understand reality.

  • eric

    “If there really was a worldwide flood (as the Bible speaks of), what would the evidence be?

    Dinosaur and human fossils in the same layer.

    Burrowing animals like rabbits fossilized in layers lower than roaming animals like T-rex.

    Human genetics indicating a recent, very small genetic bottleneck.

    That same genetic bottleneck detected in all the animals supposedly on the ark.

    Oh, and trees like Old Tjikko wouldn’t exist (its root system is dated to 9,000 years old).

  • psweet

    “If the worldwide flood did happen, we’d find an awful lot more fossils than we do.”

    “Kevin brings up a great point fossils are exceedingly rare which is another nail in the coffin of their flood myth.”

    Large fossils are quite rare — small ones (small invertebrates and protistans, mostly) are extremely common. The White Cliffs at Dover, for instance, are entirely made of protistan fossils, while limestone deposits are primarily made of fossils. In many areas of the ocean, the bottom sediments are composed of millions of years of fossil foraminiferans and diatoms. In fact, there are enough marine fossils to have pretty much filled the oceans if they had all lived in the same 6,000 years.

    Which doesn’t help AIG’s version of things one bit.

    Jessa Duggar’s words, by the way, are exactly the same as I’ve heard Ken Ham state on camera before.

  • John Pieret

    But, but … the reason different species are found in different layers is because the faster creatures raced toward the tops of mountains to escape the flood.

    It just so happened that grass was faster than Velociraptors.

  • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @psweet:

    I’m mostly referring to the large fossils. I know chalk and limestone are all made of tiny fossils (which is really awesome), but if there were a large number of big animals (billions, probably) all buried in the same event, they’d all be subject to the same relative pressures and environments. If one was buried, they’d all be buried.

  • Pingback: On Creationists: A brains problem, or a character problem | Civil Commotion()

  • Doug Little

    Kevin & psweet.

    Yeah, to make the point even a little more delicious they use the rareness of large fossils as an argument against evolution as we haven’t unearthed enough transitional forms to satisfy their ignorance. Yes, yes I know that every fossil is a transitional form but the creationists are always expecting chimeras.

  • birgerjohansson

    A fellow netizen who is aware of Old Tjikko!

    Freethoughtblogs is great!

    PS Small mammals are mainly represented in the fossil record by their teeth. So we have teeth evolving into different teeth through the mesozoic, with a few exceptions where other parts of the skeleton survived.

  • jpf

    For those unaware, the phrase “billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth” is something Ken Ham came up with as a kind of mantra for children to chant in lieu of learning about science. And by chant, I mean literally – they produced an ear-wormy sing-a-long with it as the chorus.

  • sinned34

    An Evolutionist and a Creationist will look at the same thing, but come to different conclusions because of their different starting points.

    Wait a minute, don’t creationists usually accuse atheists of being relativists, and isn’t that supposed to be a bad thing?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com tommykey

    If YEC and the Noah story were true, we would expect to see fossil and genetic evidence pointing towards all life forms radiating outward from the Middle East into Europe, Asia, Africa, etc. But we don’t see that at all. With humans in particular, the oldest genetic haplotypes are found in southern Africa.

  • Sastra

    sinned34 #11 wrote:

    Wait a minute, don’t creationists usually accuse atheists of being relativists, and isn’t that supposed to be a bad thing?

    The creationists rescue this statement from being relativist by smuggling moral virtues and absolute truths into what they mean by their own “starting point.” So instead of “no right, no wrong; just different” they start out relying on God (Who is Right) and evolutionists start out by trying to find ways to deny God (which is wrong) and so what sounds like an endorsement of truth being subjective translates as its opposite.

    Problem is, of course, that the denial of the possibility of objective inquiry on any level does indeed place them into relativism. They think they can borrow infallibility from God and leapfrog over process: even if it existed, they still couldn’t.

  • moarscienceplz

    if we really lived in a geocentric universe, what would the evidence be? The sun rising over one horizon and setting over the opposite horizon.

  • John Pieret

    fossil and genetic evidence pointing towards all life forms radiating outward from the Middle East into Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.

    The koalas would have had a tough trip.

  • Chiroptera

    I still say that if the story of Noah were literally true, then the earth would be a flat disk and the sky would be a solid dome.

  • http://tierra-de-antilopes.blogspot.com.ar/ tierra de antilopes

    PZ also addressed that same claim, with a brief explanation of why is such an absurd one, here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/09/30/lets-learn-science-from-the-duggars/

  • Kevin Kehres

    Now Jessa, you know your little lady branz are too small to understand important man-things like science. Better let your father or husband talk about such things in the future.

    I’m sure they’ll let you stand beside them and nod while they’re explaining it.

  • freehand

    The flood was pretty good at sorting creatures out. Not only did the slower ones get buried first (velociraptors, ichthyosaurs, pteronodons, ferns) and the faster ones later (clams, birds, dolphins, grass), but God also sent various kinds of creatures to specific continents (e.g. jaguars to South America, leopards to Africa). The scientific debate is still on for how they got there – did koalas swim thousands of miles to Oz, or did the continents sail like racing yachts through the crust after the flood to their present locations? Scientificalistic Christians are still arguing over the evidence.