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ice cores, sea floors, the age of the Earth

1 July 2015

At www.icr.org/article/8130 (part one), 8181 (part two) and 8503 (part three) we are told that ice cores must be wrong as the Noachian Flood took place around 4500 years ago – and the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica must have formed within that time scale. This is a case of mental gymnastics, even more breathtaking than Gunnar Heinsohn's audacious trunscation of historical records and archaeology.

Ice cores are reputed to go back 400,000 to 800,000 years ago and while that might be debatable (as it is a projection and not observable) it is a big difference from a starting point in around 2500BC.

We are told that great periods of time are not necessary to form ice sheets thousands of feet thick. The Greenland ice sheet could freeze in situ in just 5000 years – and some arguments have been made to try and prove this is possible. We have even had articles and letters in SIS journals that have reported something similar. The Biblical world, we are told, predicts much higher snow fall rates during the post-Flood Ice Age. In other words, to produce the evidence on the ground of an Ice Age – but how quick is quickly (and it all has to be compressed within a tight chronological timetable.

However, we may note mainstream has Ice Ages spread over a period of millions of years, completely contradicting what Jake Hebert is saying. He continues by saying 'have secular scientists really identified hundreds of thousands of annual layers within the ice sheets …' and answer, o course, is yes. According to Hebert the answer is no.

So, is it worth reading Hebert any further? The answer to that is also a yes. He addresses problems associated with ice cores and sea floors that go largely unmentioned in mainstream. Why does settled science ignore problems – acting as if they do not exist. I is as if they have a programmed message for the little people, the great unwashed, and Joe Public in general. This must never be deviated from. In private, no doubt, the uniformitarians know there are a number of problems – and assume an answer to them will be forthcoming over the course of time. They are placed in the cupboard – unseen and ignored, waiting for a recall, a dusting down and some fresh air, after an explanation is found. If no explanation is forthcoming they remain there – out of sight of Joe Public. Unikformitarianism has no desire to let the cat out of the bag by informing all and sundry ther are holes in the box of tricks. On that basis, Creationists have made themselves a niche, and as such they are useful as they are prepared to give air to the anomalies stashed away. They are actively seeking flaws in mainstream science in a critical and sceptical manner – which must be a good thing. It is worth pointing out that secular catastrophists in general, as well as people of a religious persuasion, do not have to accept or pay lip service to a young earth scenario based on symbolical numbers embedded in the Biblical narrative. If Hebert had located the Flood (or a catastrophist event of some magnitude) somewhat earlier, say for example at the end of the Ice Age, he might have been able to earn some brownie points, or those silver stars young children bring home from school to show their parents the teachers are doing the job they are paid to do, but by adhering dogmatically to those symbolic numbers he is creating a cross for himself that will always be heavy to bear. In spite of that Creation research is digestible – but you have to winnow the grain from the chaff. This is somewhat like a secular catastrophist sifting through uniformitarian literature – pulling out the little gems as there is always something worth while to extract.

Hebert brings forth the fact that layering of ice cores becomes ever more indistinct the greater the depth and scientists are unable to visually examine and count the layers when a certain depth is reached. The weight of the ice cause the layers to thin at greater core depth – until they are unrecognisable as distinct layers. Hence, the ice cores are modelled – by what are called flow charts. All models are based on assumptions. The assumption in this case is that the mainstream scenario is valid and ice sheets have been in existence for long periods of time – and they have existed in a steady state of equilibrium in spite of the many interglacials and interstadials that have intervened and divided them. Most ice core data is based on these flow models and it seems Creationist scientists, Oard and Vardiman, have also constructed a flow model, based on the assumption ice sheets came into existence around 4500 years ago. Mainstream flow models are of course integrated into the Milankovitch astronomical theory (also a model) and this involves the idea ice sheets grow and diminish in small increases and decreases in high latitude summer sunlight (caused by small changes in Earth's position as it orbits the Sun). Hebert then brings forth foraminifera plankton variations per oxygen isotopes, also embedded into the Milankovitch astronomical theory. These are derived from small shells on the sea floor that are dredged up in sedimnet cores. Researchers are able to determine the value of the oxygen isotope ratios at different depths in the cores. Variations in the values suggest changes in climate – and it was taken as a given that they were able to produce global temperatures at any point in the sequence. In other words, interglacials, it was thought, are roughly spaced out at 100,000 year intervals, a warm spike of 10,000 years closely defined by oxygen isotope ratios. Hebert then sets out to demonstrate some reasons why the oxygen isotope ratios might not be s valuable as mainstream has maintained (until recently). Sea water temperature can vary for a number of reasons but he comes out with the striking point that oxygen isotope ratios are not now regarded as temperature thermometers but are supposed to to be able to just indicate global ice volume (but even that must be suspect). This explains why  a number of papers in journals in recent years have referred to them as unreliable as far as global temperature is concerned – but this switch in reliability is never spelt out for Joe Public. Anyone with a textbook on the subject of Ice Ages, from a few years back, which invariably lays emphasis on foraminifera oxygen isotope rations, will be reading something that is no longer valid (assuming they dip into the textbook on a continuing basis). One is left wondering how much of Ice Age theory requires re-assessment.

Orbital tuning by using Milankovitch is heavily embedded in mainstream thinking. Even commenters at blogs such as WattsUpWithThat will accept the validity of the Milankovitch scheme but will argue their heads silly that the ability of co2 to influence climate temperature is nonsense.

In part 2 Hebert turns to the GISP2 ice core and claims mainstream is over estimating the age of layers as it has been observed more than one layer can occur in a single year. This is similar to criticism of tree rings – when revisionists that did not accept the mainstream chronology sought to rubbish the way tree rings are constructed (saying more than one growth ring can occur in a single year). This may be so in exceptional years – but in general is a gloss. The same is probably true of ice cores. In some years the layering may have been somewhat complicated – but is that enough to discount the process altogether. Acid signals in ice cores are often raised in the literature and Hebert claims volcanoes have only been catalogued over a period of around 300 years with only a few known eruptions from prior to that period. The arbument is that volcanic reference horizons cannot legitimately be used to confirm ice cores layering – especially in deep portions of the core. Radioisotope dating has problems, Hebert alleges, and may be it does – but hardly to the extent of reducing ice cores to a period of no more than 4500 years.

In part 3 Hebert turns to the so called 'manganese nodules' which are found on the sea floor of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans, concretions of various metals the size of potatoes and apparently distributed randomly. The nodules are thought to form as a result of an accumulation of chemicals into a nucleus, chemicals that originate in sea water or  within water trapped between the sediment grains below the sea floor. They form into metallic pellets (maganese, iron, nickel, copper etc) near the surface of the sea floor. Under water volcanoes may be one source of the metals. Mainstream believes the nodules grow at a very slow rate – but there are a scarcity of them at deep levels of the sediments on the sea floor. This is an anomaly which indicates mainstream may not have the right explanation for the existence of the nodules – and it is a matter of faith that they take a gradualist time scale to develop. Young earthers are forced to say the nodules are formed over a much shorter timescale – an extremely short timetable. The fact they are largely absent from deep ocean sediment, they say, indicates the deep sediments were laid down by the Flood (and the nodules are found on upper layers of sediment so they must be younger than 4500 years of age).

Hebert then looks for evidence of rapid formation of geological formations, a subject that secular catastrophists are actively searching out (so there is a certain amount of overlap). At www.icr.org/article/7841 … 'Was there an Ice Age?', Hebert has to crowd this into the period after 4500 years ago (a temporary situation caused by excessive snow fall in high latitudes). The Flood was accompanied by rampant tectonic activity including under water volcanoes (churning up the sediment) but there is no mention of a cosmic agent – from what I have seen so far. The snow fall was caused by an atmosphere chock with aerosols from the volcanic activity, obscuring the Sun and creating very cold weather.

At www.icr.org/article/1123 … he turns his attention to frozen mammoths – did they die in the Flood or in the Ice Age? He recognises that only a few dozen mammoths have been frozen or partially frozen. Most of the remains are of mammoth bones and tusks – and these are mostly preserved in sediments. Lots of bones are found strewn across the tundra – or what had been tundra during the Ice Age. These bones were not frozen, in the majority of cases, but bones are also found in Arctic contexts and in the permafrost – sometimes with pieces of flesh still on the bones. The situation seems to fit a scenario where the bones are preserved as a result of a shift in temperature – ending up in an area that became polar (or within the Arctic Circle). Frozen mammoths turn up in river banks  and it seems some these were actually drowned rather than killed by freezing. Now, this is coming to terms with observable evidence – but not conclusively so. The muck deposits are sediments many feet deep complete with frozen water – as well as lots of broken bones. They also fill up the valley of an Alaskan river as if driven by a tsunami like wave far inland. Hebert, rather than dwelling on the catastrophism of the mammoth demise is forced to adapt the evidence to fit a very truncated Ice Age that followed in the wake of the Flood. Hence, catastrophism could not have been responsible for washing bones and bits of mammoths, breaking them into pieces together with vegetation and broken trees and branches, as mammoths have to be descended from the animals that were taken into Noah's ark. Hebert then alleges these mammoths breeded at a very fast rate in order to have a multitude of them during his truncated Ice Age – because they could not have died in the Flood as they were still around during that Ice Age. All animals died out in the Flood – and he accepts this dogma totally.

Secular catastrophists would regard Hebert's timescale as fanciful – but so would a lot of religious people too. Compressing earth history within such a short period of time appears to be quite unnecessary. Young Earth Creationists are the extreme opposite of uniformitarians. One has too short a time scale – the other has earth events occurring at non-catastrophist time scales (whatever the age of the Earth might actually be). Check mate.

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