Creation Research at Wuda, Inner Mongolia

Scientists are reporting the finding of a 240 million-year-old forest that has been preserved by volcanic ash in Wuda, Mongolia. There are many great pictures, including this one, at Mail OnLine .Leaf it out: Cones of a small sphenopsid plant in the excavation (scale in centimetres)

Scientists are studying this rare find hoping to find information that will be helpful with climate research, among other things.

Evolution maintains that these Permian plants existed 240 million years ago, however, some at ICR, Institute for Creation Research, suggest that the fossils could not be that old:

Evolution maintains that these Permian plants existed 240 million years ago. But ironically, according to that same evolutionary timeframe, their fossils should no longer exist. The fossils and all of China should have completely eroded about 14 million years after they were deposited, assuming the evolutionary paradigm and known erosion rates.5 The study authors wrote, “Excavation was necessary to secure the stunning specimens of this flora because weathering occurs rapidly and destroys the fossils.”1 So, did China’s landscape experience no weathering for over 200 million years?

Studying a forest preserved in this manner must be a paleontologist’s dream.

ICR has many interesting publications at their site on Fossils.  Especially interesting is Fossil Whale Brain Proves Paleontologists Wrong. There are many interesting studies for those who are interested.

One article on whales set me to thinking about Jonah and how he was vomited onto land from the belly of a great fish. Today we know that whales sometimes beach themselves and no one seems to know exactly why they do this. Perhaps it was a beached whale that spat Jonah onto land, saving his life.

Creation Ministries International states the following:

Jonah prayed to God ‘out of the fish’s belly’ (Jonah 2:1). ‘Belly’ is a fairly vague term in English, let alone in ancient Hebrew, so if Jonah was swallowed by a creature such as a sperm whale, he might have been in the great laryngeal pouch…

Regardless of how it took place, Jesus validated the story of Jonah by comparing His own impending ordeal to the three days Jonah spent in the belly of a fish.

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:20

For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. Luke 11:30


About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Creation (Evidences), Our World Today and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Creation Research at Wuda, Inner Mongolia

  1. smijer says:

    So.. what is your preferred explanation, and how did you arrive at it?

    1) The study on erosion rates was fundamentally flawed
    2) The creationists didn’t quite understand how the study on erosion rates would apply, and didn’t want to find out, since knowing might interfere with the picture they wanted to paint
    3) The study on erosion rates was correct and properly applied, and the Permian fossil bed was badly misdated.

    Concerning the whale brain fossil… what is your best explanation, and how did you arrive at it?
    1) The scientist quoted as being skeptical of the fossilization of a whale brain just didn’t know much about soft tissue fossilization?
    2) The scientist so quoted did understand fossilization at least as well as you do or I do, and possibly somewhat better, but expressed himself with a touch of hyperbole
    3) The quote from the scientist should be interpreted to mean that scientists generally do not believe soft tissues can ever fossilize, and the existence of a fossilized whale brain blows a hole in the whole theory of evolution, as suggested by the web-site.


    • smijer says:

      And, by the way…

      Evolution maintains that these Permian plants existed 240 million years ago

      What the heck kind of sentence is that? Were these fossils even used in evolutionary research? Is the author practicing some sort of propaganda technique that prevents him from saying that, “standard dating techniques date these plants to 240 mya”, for instance?


  2. jlue says:

    Dear Smijer, My thoughts on the subject are included in the blog. You are welcome to comment on and/or answer any questions you have and place them in the comment section.

    The sentence should have read: “Evolutionists maintain…” rather than “Evolution maintains…”
    My apology to all who were offended.


  3. I confess I am entirely unconvinced by this creationist argument. Even as a lay person with only an amateur interest in geology, I can suggest a number of mechanisms to account for the presence of these fossils. Geological strata are laid down over time from different constituents, and harder strata can occur over (relatively) softer ones. Imagine a river slowing down; beds of larger pebbles would be overlaid with finder sediments which compress to form harder rock. Volcanic ashes can be overlaid with lava (basalt). It is not uncommon for fossil beds which have taken millions of years to re-emerge from the rock to nevertheless be fragile once they reach the surface.

    However, arguing over specific geology is moot; there is a more profound problem. ICR, CMI and AiG all state overtly that no amount of proven, empirical, peer-reviewed, irrefutable, logical evidence can trump the person who points to their Bible and says “This book is true, because it says it is!”

    Frankly, it is not possible to argue with anyone who begins from this premise. Reasoning about examples from geology or biology will go nowhere. All one can do with a person who accepts this faulty premise is stop them from harming the education of others.


    • jlue says:

      Are you a person who believes it is harmful to allow children to be told what others believe and why? Knowledge shouldn’t harm anyone’s education and when science is questioned, it can stand on its own merit when it is accurate. Children can be told those same processes that convince you without having to have a creationist’s explanation censored or banned.Education broadens horizons, rather than limiting them. Every child and every person should be respected and heard.

      Your premise isn’t really right about why people believe the Bible. People believe the Bible when they encounter the Author and the truths found there.

      I did not post this to prove Creation. I think the find and the pictures are very intriguing.


  4. smijer says:

    Geologists. Yes, they probably know about evolution and don’t hate it and wish it would go away. But, their job description is “geologist”, and they are studying ancient ecosystems, not evolution.

    But, no offense was taken at all. I was not offended. I was just pointing out the Orwell-speak, and musing about why actual job descriptions are so scary that they have to be tabooed.

    Anyhow… I see the thoughts that you wanted to express on the subject, which you posted in the blog post. I’m sorry you are reticent to answer my questions about your preferred explanation and how you arrived at it. I do appreciate the invitation to comment on the questions I asked you, and to answer them for myself, and I will avail myself of it it.

    I am going to leave off the whale brain. But I am going to hazard a guess as to the answers to the questions I posed on the Permian forest.

    My guess is that your preferred explanation is 3.) – the Permian fossil bed was badly mis-dated.

    The reason I guess this about your preference is that I know you prefer to think of the world as too young for evolution to have occurred, and that people are sometimes more likely to explain a thing based on their own preferences than on a careful reading of the evidence.

    Specifically, I know that people are more likely to choose a preference-based explanation, when they are uninterested in the specific facts at hand. So, knowing that you’ve never made a study of Permian forests, or anything of the sort, I suspect that you don’t care much about them, and that therefore you are more likely to choose according to your preferences.

    So, my guessed answer is 3) and that you arrived at it because it reflected your preferences as to how the world should be.

    Was I correct?

    Just to show it can be done, I guess I should reveal my preferred answer, and how I arrived at it.

    I should note that I will be relying on my background knowledge of the subjects to a certain degree.

    Could my background knowledge be wrong?

    Yes, it could. But neither you nor I should just presume that it is wrong – and I am not going to re-invent the wheel with you by showing why it is most likely right in the face of unthoughtful or spurious objections.

    If you believe that it is wrong, you are welcome to express that belief. But, I’m not going to re-argue everything in my background knowledge as you attempt to poke holes in it using arguments from your religious web-sites.

    If and only if you have a well-reasoned and factual presentation that shows some element of my background knowledge definitively wrong, then present I will accept it, admit it publicly, and then apply the correction to my reasoning below, showing how it changes my preferred outcome.

    If all you have is innuendo and links to creationist web-sites, then I’ll just posit that my background knowledge is correct despite the innuendo and links. The reason I have background knowledge to refer to is that the natural sciences are interesting to me, and I was willing to study the relevant subjects with some of my time.

    I feel that the creationist web-sites do readers a disservice when they divorce articles of this sort from the context of the natural sciences, since (they know) most of their readers will not likely have the background knowledge necessary to draw reasonable conclusions from their article, and will likely therefore be deceived and draw unjustified (often “preferred”) conclusions from its presentation.

    That said… my preferred explanation, and how I arrived at them:

    Possible explanation# 1 – the Beryllium study is fundamentally flawed.

    It is not very unsual for a single study to be fundamentally flawed in some way. Many articles are published every year which must be later corrected – sometimes in fundamental ways. Some articles even have to be retracted. So the prior probability that the study is flawed is approximately equal to the frequency of such fundamentally flawed articles in geological literature. Not very large, but not microscopic either.

    I do not have any evidence with which to modify the low prior probability that the study is flawed. I have no knowledge of follow-up studies, or criticism of the paper’s methods.

    However, this is probably enough information about the probability of a fundamental flaw in the paper in order to proceed. In order for a flaw in the paper to be the explanation for the conflict, it is necessary that the paper does indeed create a conflict. However, there is evidence that the paper does not create the particular conflict that the creationists suggest. So, whether or not there is a fundamental flaw with the paper, it is unlikely based on other evidence that any such flaw lies behind the conflict. It is this:

    Those who published this paper – the researchers and their assistants, the reviewers, and the editors, would almost certainly have noticed the conflict. Had they noticed it, they almost certainly would have wanted to account for it. The paper is available on line. I have seen it, and there is no mention of the conflict in it. Bear in mind that the authors of this study were geologists. As part of the education for their career, they are immersed in details about the age of the earth and the age of numerous formations – both surface and subsurface – that they would have studied in depth. It is to difficult to do any type of rate studies without at least glancing at terminal points, which would make the question of the age of formations come to mind enough to notice that straightforward multiplication yielded inconcistencies, as the creatinonists suggest – not just with the age of one particular Permian formation, but with any formation over 14 million years old, including the entire continent of Asia. An incosistency of this scope coul not escape the notice of those who published the paper.

    Even if they could not explain the inconsistency, they would want to note it (so as to avoid being called sloppy by their peers). The fact that the authors did not notice an inconsistency is at least weak evidence that there is no inconsistency. Modifying our low priors about a flaw in the study with this weak evidence, leaves us a very low likelihood that a flaw in the Beryllium study is behind the issue.

    Possible explanation# 2 – the creationists have misinterpreted or misapplied a correct result from the Beryllium study.

    It is not unusual for a creationist to misinterpret or misapply a correct result from a scientific study. The prior probability of this explanation, then, is moderately high.

    As noted before, we have weak evidence that there is no actual inconsistency between the study and the age of any geological formation over 14my, as the Beryllium paper’s publishers show evidence of not having seen such an inconsistency… one which would have been obvious to them.

    Another piece of evidence is the interpretation itself. The article’s intepretatation assumes that the formation in question must have been exposed and available for erosion continuously for the duration of its existence (as otherwise a simple multiplication of the rate of erosion times 14 million years would not require it to disappear).

    It is not especially likely that any given formation was exposed to erosion for the entirety of its existence. The creationists’ failure to give evidence that this was the case, in the face of the fact that they base their conclusions on this assumption is evidence that they did not skillfully interpret the Beryllium study.

    The creationist interpretation also assumes that this formation would erode at the mean rate for outcrop erosion, despite a large difference between the mean rate and the median rate, which implies a very large variability in erosion rates between different outcrops.

    This is more evidence that the creationist’s application of the Beryllium study is flawed.

    So, based on the weak evidence from #1, and the rather stronger evidence concerning the intepretation itself, we must modify our moderately high prior probability of creationist ineptitude correspondingly. This is a very strong candidate.

    Possible explanation # 3 – the beryllium study is not flawed, the creationist interpretation is correct, and the age of the Permian bed (and, concommitantly, every continent) is younger than 14 my.

    If the creationist account is correct, then the there could be no land left on the continents past 14 my (if we take into account raising of the continents by seismic forces, then the age of the continents could be older, but still not old enough that the point I will make changes).

    However, the age of the earth is well established by numerous different methods of measuring it. The prior probability of this explanation is, then, extremely low.

    The creationist article, unfortunately, does not add any evidence, apart from assertion, that this is the correct explanation. The only evidence against this explanation is that we have strong evidence for the mutually exclusive explanation number 2. Modifying this explanation down accordingly, its probability approaches zero.

    So, my preferred explanation is number 2: creationist misinterpretation and/or misapplication of the Beryllium study. While the Beryllium study might be flawed – not an unlikely case, necessarily – the flaw is not likely one that would imply a young Permian if let stand. If, indeed, the creationists are right and there is a conflict between the Beryllium study and the standard age of the continents/China/Earth, then the likelihood greatest likelihood lies with a flaw in the study, since it is rare that a single, unsubstantiated study will return the correct answer while numerous, independent lines of evidence all produce an incorrect result. So, I can rank my preferred explanations:

    2 is very likely
    1 is very unlikely
    3 is virtually impossible

    And you have my reasoning.

    That’s what it looks like when you even care a little bit about the correct answer.

    The article itself, with its bald assertion that the least likely choice is the true one, and no systematic reasoning or evidence is what it looks like when you don’t care about the correct answer – when you only care about your hobby horse.

    Now, you heard my guess about your preferred explanation and how you arrived at it. Will you tell me if I am right or wrong? If I’m wrong, will you tell me what your real preferred explanation is, and how you arrived at it?


    • jlue says:

      Thank you for your long explanations, but to whom are you addressing this answer? My post doesn’t even attempt to explain the Permian Forest. Did the “preferred answers” come from ICR and did you think I was attempting to explain the petrified forest? I really don’t think I am qualified to do that. I think it is a great find, but I did not even begin to attempt to give answers. Learning all the details will take scientists a great deal of time and study to discover. At best, I would have to take second-hand information and give myself time to discover all the details of the find. I do like to read what others, who have put in the time and work, conclude.


Comments are closed.