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Geologic column is based on the assumption of evolution (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Geologic column is based on the assumption of evolution (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CD103:

The entire geologic column is based on the assumption of evolution.


Huse, Scott, M., 1983. The Collapse of Evolution. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, p. 14.

CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The geologic column was outlined by creationist geologists. For example, Adam Sedgwick, who described and named the Cambrian era, referred to the theory of evolution as "no better than a phrensied dream" [Ritland 1982]. The geologic column is based on the observation of faunal succession, the fact that organisms vary across strata, and that they do so in a consistent order from place to place. William "Strata" Smith (1769-1839) recognized faunal succession years before Darwin published his ideas on biological evolution.

First of all the founders of the geologic column were not biblical creationists, they were basically early progressive creationists. Secondly, their view of creation was limited to the biological world, and as such their views were evolutionistic with regards to geology. They used these views as a basis for their assumption that fossils of the same type were time-equivalent on a global scale. The geologic column is based on this idea of the time equivalence of fossils.

This early form of progressive creation led to evolution and today it is evolution that provides the basis for the time-equivalence of fossils. So since the time equivalence of fossils is the basis of the geologic column it can be accurately said that evolution is the basis for the geologic column.

2. The geologic column is validated in great detail by radiometric dating, which is based on principles of physics, not evolution. Furthermore, different dating techniques are consistent, and they are consistent with the order established by the early pioneers of stratigraphy.

It is amazing how consistent two thing can be when one is calibrated by the other. To put it another way, if A is used to calibrate B then B will always be consistent with A.

Take ten cars and calibrate their odometers to 1 mile = 1 foot and then have them driven around an average size city with odometer readings being made at every stop. The results from all ten cars would produce surprisingly consistent and detailed data showing various locations around the city to be tens of thousands of miles apart, when they are in reality at most only a few miles apart.

It turns out that radiometric dating is calibrated to radiometric dating. As shown by Talk.Origins' response to claim CD020, geologists experiment with different methods to determine which are valid within the geological context of their samples. What Talk.Origins does not say is that under uniformitarian geology a rock or fossil's location in the geologic column is the most important part of a sample's geological context.

The result is that the geologic column effectively serves as a filter for dates, such that acceptable dates agree with the geologic column, whereas those that do not are considered contaminated samples and the results are seldom published. So as a result all radiometric dating methods are calibrated to the geologic column. Therefore it can not be considered an independent check of the geologic column.