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A Statue's Arms

Posted by bonesiii on November 26, 2013 at 12:05 AM

 Simple analogy for the scientific likelihood of the Global Flood described in the Bible, illustrating the fallacy of uniformitarianism interpreted as "science", specifically in geology.

 

Evolutionary and old-earth laymen and even scientists have fallen for a somewhat understandable but fallacious misunderstanding of how science related to global geology. The general idea of modern science is observe present processes and logically extrapolate from these to understand why things happen. One of the most important strategies in science is repeatability. This is useful for testing laws of nature, across time. However, old-earthers have confused this for uniformitarianism.

 

Things happen due to causality, involving multiple factors. The more complex the design of a machine, the less "repeatable" its results will be compared to -similar- but somewhat different machines. "Machines" here can refer both to manmade technology and to physics of natural materials, biology, or anything in creation. Causal factors even extend to psychology and intelligence when a living being is involved. If you can produce the same factors in a simple situation, then similar 'machines' WILL produce the same or similar enough reseults. However, the larger the scope of an event, and the more psychology and historical society are involved, the less repeatable events become.

 

This is the essential difference between "operational science" (repeatable experimentation and the like) and "historical science" (the attempt to understand what past events actually occurred and why).

 

Now, uniformitarianists decided to only consider presently observeable processes in their attempt to explain geological events.

 

This idea by itself makes sense, but in practice they were oversimplistic; they employed a Hasty Generalization fallacy, and considered only the MOST COMMON observed events, failing to consider the many observeable local-scale catastrophic processes, and also failed to apply observed principles in other situations besides geology to extrapolate to non-repeatable global events. Both failures are fatal to any sound attempt to analyze the plausibility of the Global Flood. It is a strawman fallacy to pretend that the Bible ever portrayed this Flood as a common, repeatable event, or even repeatable twice. Quite the contrary; God is recorded as promising that it would only happen once in all of history.

 

Modern creationists largely believe that the mechanism behind the Global Flood is runaway tectonic subduction of original oceanic plate material.

 

There was originally one super-ocean and one super-continent. These pressures caused the super-continent to break up, spreading out rapidly at first and then gradually slowing down. New oceanic plate material was made on contact with mantle material with water. This led to intense evaporation, fueling rainclouds, and also a pump-action effect; the new plates were hotter at first and thus "floated" higher on the mantle, pushing ocean water up across the coasts. These processes combined with deposition during the Flood and massive erosion in the recession stage produced the Earth's surface almost as we see it today. Smaller-scale events, exponentially lessening in intensity, also occurred afterward (especially the Ice Age), as well as normal volcanic, storm-action flooding, and erosional forces, among others.

 

To a uniformitarian mind, this may seem "unscientific" because we cannot observe a Global Flood today. This is not accurate, because we CAN observe the differences between normal, everyday rates of processes and local catastrophes. We can scale up the physics by comparing smaller catastrophes to larger ones. And we can factor the known, unchanging physics of matter and energy that cause these things.

 

Uniformitarian fallacy may still cause some to stubbornly refuse to consider it simply because it cannot actually be repeated. But this is irrational, as we can also observe the principle of single-event, non-repeatable catstrophes in individual 'machines' -- and in any case, sound logic is the determiner of truth, not merely direct observation.

 

The Earth is one machine. Theoretically, if we had a second Earth set up as God created it, we might be able to observe a Global Flood on it. But this is not available to us.

 

Consider the analogy of a statue's decay over time.

 

If all you ever have is one statue, then you can only scientifically observe the principles of decay on that statue. Most ancient stone statues' arms have fallen off. It is easy for us to see why -- they are far less stable than most of the rest, and most other unstable parts will be much smaller. The effect is that a statue will at first decay normally, in little bits here and there, but the major weakness (two in this case) will develop over time, to the point where the arms will suddenly snap off. For the scale of that machine, that is a catastrophic event. We could understand this scientifically even without directly observing it, by understanding the properties of materials.

 

Uniformitarianism would assume that only the average events of decay, which are small, could be used to explain the damage to the statue. Likely they would have to believe that the arms began already off, or if the arms are not found laying on the ground next to the statue anymore, that the statue was essentially carved without any arms, because the rate of decay on the arms must be the same as the rest, and the amounts falling off per unit of time must be roughly the same over time. Clearly, if anyone proposed such a thing, we would all easily recognize the foolishness of it, but this is just what is done in geologic uniformatarianism, including the more recent limited catastrophism (which would be analogous to noticing little tufts of hair on that statue's head still falling off, so admitting that small 'catastrophes' are possible.

 

A crucial point to consider is that the tectonic stability of the Earth's crust is essential for life and the normal processes on the surface.

 

A statue's arms are not foundational to it. A catastrophe of the arms falling off (or two catastrophes... one if the statue is designed so only one arm is loose) will not affect the rest of the statue. However, if you carve a statue of a man standing on one hand, the instability IS foundational. If a gust of wind combined with slow decay prior to it to weaken the arm causes that point to break, the entire statue will fall.

 

If human and animal life on land is analogous to ants trying to hold on to the statue's surface, the shock of the fall will knock them all off. An ant would need to be off the statue (the land, analogous to the ark) and then come back on later to be sure of getting a steady grip on it after the fall. Ants will not tend to die from being shaken off (unless crushed under), but analogies can only go so far. If you suppose that a type of ant would die at any sudden shock, the analogy is closer.

 

After the statue falls, a new foundation, a much more stable and therefore permanent one, is created -- the many points on its side where it contacts the ground. It very well may break into several large pieces from the impact. And if miraculous intervention is necessary for the Flood, a person could knock over a statue before natural causes would, and never do it again. All of this works in principle.

 

Another analogy could be to a car crash. Nothing observeable in one car's normal operations could explain the end result of a crash. Logic and true science demand a catastrophic explanation. The only ways to ignore this necessity are to ignore major features of the car, or to try to come up with unobserveable ad hoc "patches" or rescuing hypotheses. Ironically, this is done at almost every point in geology (and other sciences where corrupted by evolutionism and old-eartherism), so it ends up relying on far more unobserveable things than the simple catastrophic explanation. Ockham's Razor would dictate that catastrophism is the only rational explanation.

 

This is especially true when historical observations are factored. A person may witness the statue falling. In the ant analogy, the ant that leaves the statue before the disaster and comes back (assuming human intelligence) will observe it. And Noah's family did just this.

 

Of course, the original formation of the statue by an intelligent carver, and the causes of its ability to decay (somewhat analogous to choice of medium as some are more decay-prone than others; biblically this refers to the Fall), are also forgotten in uniformitarian thinking, at least of the secularistic variety. Both are also observeable in principle, even though there was no Noah equivalent to observe the original carving of Earth's geology on Days 1-3. Even this is not a problem from an observational approach, since the carver (God) did observe what he was doing.

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