Help with a creationist claim - flat gaps in geology

It seems that YEC are claiming that the existence of “flat gaps” severely undermine the “long-age uniformitarian paradigm”. See the article below for more details. I don’t know anything about geology, to be honest. Would really appreciate some insights from people who know more about the subject. Thanks :slight_smile:

Let’s start at the beginning!

In the beginning, YEC shall arbitrarily choose unsolvable problems in science. The less certainty, the greater the chance of writing an article. Now of course they have no models of their own that are actually testable and make predictions but the general philosophy is ‘if we can disprove modern science, then our YEC model must be correct.’ That is a logical fallacy in that just because x is false, doesn’t mean y is true.

Next I look for any clues as to what real scientific phenomena they have a problem with. It is the idea of ‘paraconformity.’ I first wonder first, have they misunderstood this idea (often the case) and cherry picked a few cases (also often the case) despite the field of Stratigraphy working quite well (also often the case). Given that all YEC reject the entire field of Stratigraphy, a logical conclusion is that it is likely the author is misunderstanding something and jumping from point A to B unnecessarily.

So what is a Paraconfirmity? Just type it into Google - the first real website that comes up (ignoring Conservapedia) is wikipedia’s article Unconformity - Wikipedia. There is not much written about it there! So next, we can turn to journal articles that mention the word ‘paraconformity.’ I went with a Google Scholar search. You can search the first four of five papers and I wouldn’t recommend reading too much more than the abstract. As an example, let’s do some together…

  1. The Marshall Paraconformity - a 1996 paper which explores a 2-4 million year gap in the rock layers. What is their conclusion? Oh dear, we can’t figure this out and this must have been caused by a Global flood 4,000 years ago? Since YEC don’t believe in radiometric dating, they can’t even critique such papers because guess what, if radiometric dating is incorrect, there wouldn’t even be a gap and the argument about gaps would be completely debunked. Anyways, they propose ‘lowering of base sea level, coupled with cooling and enhancement of current activity.’ Sounds pretty complex to someone outside of geology (as it does myself), but they have enough proof to support their hypothesis for it to make it into this journal.
  2. Paraconformity in Ohio - A 1971 paper which you can read their abstract. Turns out they got a bonus and found the oldest vascular plant remains in North America (bonus result: it’s older than 4,000 years old).
  3. Let’s go a bit newer - One in the Gurpi Formation (in Iran) - They weren’t focused on explaining the reason for the paraconformity, but rather what we learn from the field of biostratigraphy (which dare I saw is one of many achilles’ heel of the YEC model - that is what organisms are contained in different strata).

Anyways the point of all this is that once again, YEC don’t really understand something in science, don’t bother to try, and choose areas that are obscure and often complex. This is not surprising since they must arrive at a predetermined conclusion and thus cannot do any real science. In conclusion, the pattern I’ve noticed in virtually all YEC articles on science:

  • Find one area that’s not well researched or has some uncertainty or is so obscure that you’d need to be an expert to understand their article
  • Use this to prove a point that the entire field of (insert blank - here would be stratigraphy) is bogus
  • Claim that because x is false, then Noah’s Global Flood 4,000 years ago is true (a logical fallacy)
  • Collect millions of dollars from your flock because of your scientific defense of the Bible

What @pevaquark said. I am not qualified to answer the geologic question (all I know is what I read when googled), but enjoy geology, and find it interesting how the YEC crowd finds one poorly understood thing and then claims the other 99% is thus invalid, and flood geology must be right. However, they never address how it explains everything else, and in reading this paper, they really do not explain how it would even be compatible with “flat gaps.” By the way, from what I read, flat gaps (para-conformity) can be explained easily with no major problems in geology, as they are times of low or no disposition. I remember when I was visiting my daughter in the Sahara desert , you could stand and see nothing but flat hard sand as far as the eye could see. Small rocks and artifacts litter the surface where wind takes away the loose sand (a few of the indigenous people even make some money finding meteorites that are found on the hard surface as atypical rocks.) I could see that if that area again subsides, it would then become a para-conformity millions of years from now.


I think BioLogos folks sometimes take the long way around some of these geological findings:

  1. A stratigraphied analysis of fossils show that dinosaurs and large mammals died quite separately, with no co-mingling.

  2. For those YECs who think fossils represent 5000 years of life/death, it still shows large mammals (horses, elephants, giraffes, rhino’s, hippo’s etc) living and dying in the recent years with no indication of how they could have existed at all while dinosaurs existed.

  3. The same dramatic oddities are seen when comparing marine dinosaurs to marine mammals.

  4. And the same dramatic oddities are seen when comparing marsupials in Australia to the placental mammals everywhere else.

These stratigraphied sets of evidence irrefutably resist any explanation a Creationist can offer (with or without a global flood or a sequence of regional floods).

Something that bothers me is the fact that while those of us who are not geologists find papers like this credible, a trained geologist would not. As the author claims geologic credentials, he should know better. If he does know better, this makes such claims intentional misrepresentation.


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