By Greg Neyman
© 2009, Old Earth Ministries
First Published 2 Sep 09
I reported on an Institute for Creation Research (ICR) article a couple days ago about a new pterosaur landing trackway.1 In a follow-up article, ICR is again making the claim that this trackway is great evidence for the global flood of Noah.2
The new article by the same author of the original (Brian Thomas), explains that the tracks are extremely rare, and would require extraordinary circumstances in order to be preserved. He goes on to explain his reasoning in more detail. I agree that it would indeed require special circumstances. His explanation of the rarity of the find, and the circumstances of how they could be preserved, is not in question.
Thomas summarizes that "A widespread, catastrophic event must have deposited the huge layers of “mortar” that subsequently cemented these markings in place." He goes on to say these and other trace fossils "are consistent with the worldwide Flood of Noah as described in Genesis."
Thomas is using a common claim that is found throughout young earth creation science. Features that are thought to have only been possible because of a catastrophic flood are automatically categorized as being caused by Noah's Flood. However, as I've pointed out numerous times on this website, this represents a basic misunderstanding of catastrophism and uniformitarianism.
Uniformitarianism states that slow and gradual processes are responsible for building the rock layers that are in the geologic column, over a period of billions of years. However, a basic tenet of uniformitarianism is that processes that we observe today can be inferred to be responsible for what we find in the rock record. What do we observe today? We do indeed observe slow and gradual processes, but we also observe rapid deposition by catastrophic events such as floods, hurricanes, and volcanoes. Since the present is the key to the past, as we are fond of saying in geology, then there must have been catastrophic events in the past, in addition to the slow and gradual processes that we observe. Therefore, catastrophism is a basic part of uniformitarianism.
Finding a feature such as the pterosaur trackway, does indicate there must have been a rapid burial of the impressions. It does not, however, mean that it was Noah's Flood. Since nobody was there to see the pterosaur make the tracks, nobody can assume to know which flood caused the tracks to be preserved. From an old earth perspective, a flood event about 150 million years ago preserved the trackway.
It is interesting to note that scientists believe these tracks are very rare. If we did have a worldwide flood, as young earth creationists believe, it would make sense that these tracks would be much more common. The rarity of such tracks is evidence itself against a young earth.
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1 Pterosaur Landing Trackway, by Greg Neyman. Click here to read.
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