Hello and welcome back to Fossils on Friday! We have been exploring many different concepts over the last several weeks, from the revolutionary idea of horizontal deposition to new terminology like ‘crossbedding’. But can you remember where we started?
If you think way back to the beginning of the Fossils on Friday reboot, we didn’t even start in the UK! We started in the USA, with some red rocks. These red rocks were cross-bedded, laid down horizontally, and deposited in a worldwide flood – we’ve discovered that as we’ve been exploring over the last few weeks. We’ve also looked at the history of geology, and where the idea of vertical deposition came from. And we’ve also seen how these ideas have drastically affect modern geological thinking.
It is important to realise exactly where the idea of millions-of-years came from, particularly its anti-god bias, and also how Lyell’s and Darwin’s ideas were intertwined. They would often discuss these ideas on field trips throughout the world.
For instance, here is a recorded field trip to the Ordovician rocks in America by Darwin and Lyell. They were looking for snail fossils and discovered there were 12 layers of them in the cliff face: 12 species of snails, one on top of the other.
Lyell pondered the situation, and asked Darwin, “How long do you think it would take for one species of snail to evolve into another?” Darwin replied, “I guess around 20 million years wouldn’t be unlikely.” 12 species of snail, 20 million years to evolve from one type into another, and all of a sudden, that cliff face is at least 220 million years old! And it literally came from dates plucked out of thin air! But what was Lyell’s motivation behind all this? To quote himself, “My only aim is to free the science from Moses.” It had nothing to do with rigorous scientific research, but everything to do with wanting to remove the Bible and God from science and people’s minds. And he has succeeded rather well!
Another big problem with the geologic column and the idea of vertical deposition is the huge amount of missing rock layers. The complete geologic column is found nowhere on earth! It has to be made up of all various locations from across the planet – not very scientific!
So be careful when learning about geology, and ask questions all the time. You never know what hidden assumptions are lurking behind the textbooks!