Exploring the wonders of geology in response to young-Earth claims...

Never been here? Please read my guidelines and background posts before proceeding!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Goals, guidelines, and contact information

My goals in publishing this blog are simple and precise.

1) Use my academic experience in research and teaching to review publications from Answers in Genesis (AiG), providing a balanced critique of their methods and interpretations. In doing so, I will take their arguments seriously and give credit where it is due, while making every effort to avoid ad hominem argumentation when I am critical. My plan is to 1) take an article of interest from AiG archives, 2) familiarize myself with the entire bibliography, 3) conduct further (library) research where necessary, and 4) post my response. Though I will strive to post one article per week, I am predicting now that this will not always be practical. We'll see how it goes.

2) Expand my own knowledge of topics pertaining to Earth science, and share the experience with you. Although I will be writing on technical topics, I will make it my goal to do so in a fashion that is understandable by anyone willing to learn them. That being said, please provide feedback on whether I am successful in this regard.

I think a small set of guidelines for me (and you) would be helpful here:

1) If you are having medical problems with your stomach, you may be happy to hear from any doctor, but will ultimately want to ask a gastroenterologist. Why do I mention this? Though I am a geologist by training, my research has focused on carbonate sequence stratigraphy and chemostratigraphy. This means I need to know a lot about sedimentology, stratigraphy, and isotope and organic geochemistry; almost as much about climatology, oceanography, and paleontology; a little less about structural geology, igneous petrology, geomorphology, and geochronology; and even less about metamorphic petrology, volcanology, and economic geology (i.e. ore deposits and mining). I have studied all of these disciplines at some point in my education, but do hope that you appreciate the 'hierarchical' structure of my 'expertise'. Also, forgive me in advance for relating everything back to isotopes. I just...enjoy them.

2) I realize that many AiG articles deal with other disciplines, such as biology, astronomy, history, and theology. Though I have no intention of ignoring those arguments, I will try to remain focused on subjects where I am better qualified to comment. Thus I will not be addressing evolutionary theory, for example, except where it intersects with the Earth sciences (i.e. the fossil record, preservation of organic materials, etc.). With that in mind, please feel free to send suggestions on articles to cover!

3) I do not intend to address theological and exegetical issues in Scripture regarding Earth history (age, flood, etc.). This is not out of ignorance, but of recognition that many able and eloquent theologians have laid out the issues far better than I can. Hopefully, I will publish my own standpoint at some time, and welcome comments or questions until then if you contact me directly (see below). I would be happy to discuss the topic with you, or refer you to resources that I've found helpful.

4) While I encourage feedback and criticism, this is not meant to be a forum for debate (many sites already provide this outlet). Therefore, I ask that you keep comments concise and on topic, keeping in mind that I reserve the right to remove anything inappropriate, irrelevant, or not conducive to a better understanding of the topic. If your comments, criticisms, etc. require lengthy discussion or feedback from myself, please contact me directly (see below).

5) Do you share my concerns about YEC? Are you a scientist/student and interested in sharing your expertise here? I welcome collaboration, particularly if you may comment on topics with which I am less familiar. Please contact me directly.

Contact information

Please feel free to e-mail me at stonewall1646@gmail.com, keeping in mind that unless you expressly forbid it, I reserve the right to publish our discussion here (not including your contact information, of course) if I deem it helpful to my aforementioned goals. Please include your first name, nickname, or initials (will be published with your comments).

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Hi Jon, I looked on your blog but found nothing by way of explanation on the flood?

    Do I understand that you do believe in a world wide flood?

    As for AiG, I understand your point of view, but remember, YEC scientists are in the extreme minority and they recieve essentially no funding. If YECs were given the same opportunities as secular workers, they could produce some really sig research. You should be helping this organization not hindering it.



  2. Hi Ken,
    YEC scientists are in the extreme minority for very good reasons: because they represent a deluded fringe with a thoroughly twisted view of science. Most people receiving proper scientific training manage to avoid this pitfall. No amount of funding would help YEC scientists to produce significant research, because their approach is thoroughly flawed from the outset.
    Prometheus Wins

  3. Hello Ken,

    Before I began my first geology degree, I shared your optimism that if only YECs had the numbers and funding, they could successfully build coherent and predictive models of Earth history. The reason I have since changed my perspective is that I have seen how YECs have spent the money they do have. The RATE team, for example, received several hundred thousand dollars—enough to fund two dozen M.S. theses! Their results, however, are largely superfluous to the data already published (i.e. they added nothing new to geochronology) and their conclusions are so arbitrary that it was unnecessary to spend thousands of dollars on radiometric dates.

    I'm not saying this to pick on anybody. I write here to encourage academic honesty and accountability. Perhaps, my comments will go entirely ignored, but I cannot support a ministry like AiG when I think they are in error (of course, I try to point out where I agree whenever possible). My obligation is to the truth, so I will comment where I am qualified in the hope that others are not misled in their study of God's Earth.

    Conversely, I post my critiques publicly and allow comments so that others might return the favor.

    Thanks again for your comments, and feel free to challenge anything I have said on this blog if you think I have erred.

  4. Chemostrat1646,

    Have you read "The Lost World Of Genesis One" by John Walton and "Beyond Creation Science" by Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn?

    Great blog BTW.

  5. Micah,

    I have read Walton's book (as well as Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament). I enjoyed them both and I think he brings a lot of insight to the discussion. So far, I haven't found any viable critiques of his work, except to note that he focuses exclusively on Gen. 1 without much reference to its canonical position in the received text. But others have voiced this criticism, so perhaps we'll see his work unfold in the future.

    The other book I have not read. Recommended?

    Thanks for your feedback,


  6. JB,

    Yes, I would recommend Beyond Creation Science. I sent you a private email regarding getting you a copy. Let me know if you didn't get the email.


  7. Hello. I am just wondering why you ignored Ken's question. He even set it apart with carriage returns before and after.

    "Do I understand that you do believe in a world wide flood?"

  8. I'm not sure, that was a long time ago. :) But in any case, we spoke at length after that. I also answered the question in several blog articles.