Skip to comments.Permian Extinction: The Origin of Specious Geological Events
Posted on 03/09/2009 9:09:11 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
March 9, 2009 The Permian extinction one of the most dramatic events in the history of life on Earth, in which some 90% of species went extinct...is now being interpreted as a nonevent by four geologists.
Robert Gastaldo and two geology colleagues from Colby College in Maine, and geologist Johann Neveling from Pretoria, studied the Permian-Triassic boundary in the Karoo Basin of South Africa and published a paper in Geology this month,1 titled, The terrestrial Permian-Triassic boundary event bed is a nonevent.
Well, isnt this an upset. How much lag time will it take to change the textbooks and documentaries? The BBC, Nova and other evolution-drunk interpreters of science have treated the Permian extinction as solid fact. The goods were right there, in the Karoo Basin, for anyone to see. Whoops....
This announcement goes to show that rocks and layers do not interpret themselves. They are placed in a prior philosophical framework first, then the stories and animations follow. Notice how an interpretation at one site was extrapolated to the whole world. How can such sweeping generalities be justified? These geologists, bless their hearts, understate the lesson here: extrapolation of the laminated interval to other continents as the terrestrial expression of the Permian-Triassic boundary event is imprudent, they said. How about reckless? (07/02/2007).
Were still suffering from the consequences of the bad assumptions by early geologists (especially the Charlie & Charlie partners in crime, Lyell and Darwin, 07/25/2008). Science is supposed to be progressing toward better and better knowledge of nature, but when it comes to geologists and their tales of earth history, but its hard to follow the lead of a staggering Dar-wino with a hangover (01/02/2007, 05/15/2008).
(Click for entire article)
(Excerpt) Read more at creationsafaris.com ...
is this the event they think they found a possible impact crater for which is now split between antarctica and australia (connected at the time of the event?
Another example of why not to take any of these theories too seriously.
I guess this will have to be changed now, but here you go:
The PermianTriassic (PTr) extinction event, informally known as the Great Dying, was an extinction event that occurred 251.4 million years ago, forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. It was the Earth’s most severe extinction event, with up to 96 percent of all marine species and 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct; it is the only known mass extinction of insects. 57% of all families and 83% of all genera were killed off. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on earth took significantly longer than after other extinction events. This event has been described as the “mother of all mass extinctions”. The pattern of extinction is still disputed, as different studies suggest one to three different pulses. There are several proposed mechanisms for the extinctions; the earlier peak was likely due to gradualistic environmental change, while the later was probably due to a catastrophic event. Possible mechanisms for the latter include large or multiple bolide impact events, increased volcanism, or sudden release of methane hydrates from the sea floor; gradual changes include sea-level change, anoxia, increasing aridity, and a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change.
Now you've gone and done it.
As the great rabbi Ram Bam wrote... if you have faith, you do not need proof. If you do not have faith, no proof is ever enough.
The love of G-d is the beginning of wisdom...
this is the one, there was a piece a couple of years back about Ohio State researchers finding evidence of a very large impact crater under one of the antarctic glaciers which dated to ~250m years ago.
Oh the pain.
Thanks for the ping!
If your primary purpose of your post is to deny evolution I can not agree as modern scientists have recorded and thus confirmed that phenomena with the changes of several species in our recorded history. If God were not a scientist Him/itself we wouldn’t be dedicating so much technology toward killing each other WITHOUT His will intervening to thwart the destruction.
The angels are anxiously awaiting to see if we will destroy ourselves over foolishness. If we do then their argument that free will imparted on creatures barely above animals was a wasted effort is won.
I believe roughly 65% of humankind at any given era are irredeemable while the 45% with faith, love and belief deserve a rescue. Just sayin’
Which species would that be?
PS YEC Creationists believe in change over time. They just don't believe in Darwin's “Tree of Life” (creationists believe in an “Orchard of Life”) and they don't believe species can change beyond the confines of the original separately created kinds.
Skeptical geological ping.
That’s pretty odd as surviving animals altered quickly and radically to adapt to changing conditions while the weaker “branches” didn’t make it. In our records the sloths (lots of skeletons) went from giants to the little creatures we know today, the whales went form land dwellers to sea (still apparent in their current skeletal structure) while most of the rodent class clings to the aggressive arrogance they deserved when they were five times the size they are now.
Since the 1500’s we humans have gained 10 inches of average growth in height.
Notable things this paper does NOT do: question the P-T extinction event itself or the absolute age of the P-T extinction event.
So what is their point? Is this just the thing where nutters throw a giant flapdoodle whenever scientists disagree over something vaguely related to the nutters' nuttery?
The writers at Creationsafaris seem to grasp at any thread, and delcare it anchor chain.
Their point is that science has adjusted in light of new data. This is a bad thing, according to creationists.
I tried to shut my brain off to try to understand how the dunderheads at creationsafari reached their conclusion, but that didn’t work.
So then I drank 3 bottles of wine in order to understand better but I still couldn’t see the facts their way.
I suppose a lobotomy would do the trick, but I’m not that dedicated.
is this the same Rambam who said if your understanding of scripture conflicts with science, neither science or scripture is wrong, just your understanding.
Not at all. But some scientists have questions about evolution. There's nothing wrong with questions, right? Science feeds off questions, yes?
Well, some folks think that "teaching the controversy" about evolution makes some sense. Note: That doesn't mean teaching the Bible in science class. And it doesn't mean teaching Creationism. It just means teaching students that some scientists question some of the assumptions of evolution.
But the idea of "teaching the controversy" can be very off-putting for some folks. There is no controversy! It's true! We know it's true1 There's consensus!
But when a huge, well-established event like the Permian Extinction can be called into question by new data, shouldn't scientists be open to the idea that some of their other ideas may also be open to question as well? Why is it so terrible to teach the controversy?
No. Not the same guy. That was Einstein.
2) Some mathematicians have identified a probablity problem with evolution. So many things would have to line up so perfectly, that while the world we see around us might possibly arise from non-directed processes, the odds of that happening within justa few billions years seem remote. A good way to discuss probablity and mathematical analysis in science with students.
3) DNA has been considered to carry a lot of "junk". But some scientists now think it's not junk at all. How much do we know about DNA? We develop theories based on things we do not fully understand -- these are necessary hypotheses, but let's make sure students understand the difference between a hypothesis created from partial information and a proof based on repetition in a lab.
4) The Cambrian Explosion is a unique event. 530 million years ago most major groups of animals suddenly appeared. Why? Does evolution help us understand this event? Such an event has not occurred since (at least on that scale). Why not? Does evolution help us understand why not? What are the limits to evolutionary thinking?
Please note: My four points above are not my attempt to "prove" that evolution is "false". I merely wish to point out that there are interesting areas that can be explored and that students can gain a better understanding of how to "do" science, and what it's limitations may be, if they explore controversies within a given scientific theory.
— probability theory (presumably in math class),
— biochemistry and genetics, and
probably won't be satisfactory.
Asteroid 'destroyed life 250m years ago'Earth's biggest mass extinction 251 million years ago was triggered by a collision with a comet or asteroid, US scientists say. They have reached this conclusion by looking at atoms from a star trapped inside molecular cages of carbon...
by Dr David Whitehouse
Friday, February 23, 2001
In rock layers laid down at the time, there is a much higher concentration of complex carbon molecules called fullerenes that have different types, or isotopes, of helium and argon trapped inside them. These molecules could only have been delivered from space, the researchers say...
The researchers believe these particular fullerenes are extraterrestrial because the gases trapped inside have an unusual ratio of isotopes that indicate they were made in the atmosphere of a star that exploded before our Sun was born...
The telltale fullerenes were extracted from sites in Japan, China and Hungary, where the sedimentary layer at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods had been exposed...
The research was made difficult because there are few 251-million-year-old rocks left on Earth. Most rocks of that age have been recycled through the planet's tectonic processes...
Researchers estimate the comet or asteroid was six to 12 km (3.7 - 7.4 miles) across, or about the size of the asteroid believed responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs 67 million years ago...
The mass extinction of 251 million years ago was the greatest on record.Meteor May Have Started Dinosaur EraIn the layer of rock corresponding to the extinction, the scientists found elevated amounts of the rare element iridium. A precious metal belonging to the platinum group of elements, iridium is more abundant in meteorites than in rocks on Earth. A similar spike of iridium in 65 million-year-old rocks gave rise in the 1970's to the theory that a meteor caused the demise of the dinosaurs... The levels are only about one-tenth as high as those found at the later extinction. That could mean that the meteor was smaller or contained less iridium... In the same rock layer, Dr. Olsen and his colleagues found a high concentration of fern spores -- considered an indicator of a major disruption in the environment. Because spores carried by the wind can travel long distances, ferns are often the first plants to return to a devastated landscape. The scientists found more evidence of rapid extinction in a database of 10,000 muddy footprints turned to rock in former lake basins from Virginia to Nova Scotia... Because the sediment piles up quickly in lake basins, the researchers were able to assign a date to each footprint, based on the layer of rock where it was found. They determined that the mix of animals walking across what is now the East Coast of North America changed suddenly about 200 million years ago. The tracks of several major reptile groups continue almost up to the layer of rock marking the end of the Triassic geologic period 202 million years ago, then vanish in younger layers from the Jurassic period...
by Kenneth Chang
May 17, 2002Permian-Triassic ImpactAn asteroid impact may have caused the mass extinction that occurred at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods 250 million years ago, said Michael Rampino of NYU at the AGU meeting. He asserted that he has found evidence---in the form of gravity anomalies and certain rock deposits---for such an impact in the South Atlantic, in an area where, many scientists believe, South America, Africa, and other land masses fit together in the primordial supercontinent called Gondwanaland. Rampino claims that the gradual breakup of Gondwanaland into present-day continents may have been initiated by the catastrophic impact. Another scientist at the meeting, Verne Oberbeck of NASA/Ames also believes an impact may have sundered Gondwanaland and that, in general, impacts should be given more credit for shaping earlier Earth geology. In particular, he believes that the small rock sediments called tillites, usually thought to result from the grinding and plowing action of glaciers, may in part be debris from impacts. Consequently, Oberbeck suggested, there might have been fewer glacial periods than is usually believed. Rampino went so far as to say that all tillites are of impact origin. Unlike the theory that describes the KT (Cretaceous-Tertiary) catastrophe 65 million years ago (when the dinosaurs became extinct) in terms of an asteroid impact, the notion that the PT catastrophe was caused by an impact or that tillites result from impacts is anything but a majority opinion; indeed, many scientists at the meeting were skeptical about Rampino's and Oberbeck's ideas. Thomas Crowley of the Applied Research Corp., a paleo-climatologist, said that his reaction to the proposed impact origin of tillites was one of "considerable disbelief, bordering on incredulity." For one thing, he said, tillite deposits are too extensive over time and physical extent to have been caused by an impact.
by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein
Physics News Update
Number 106 (Story #2), December 14, 1992
The Permian extinction -- one of the most dramatic events in the history of life on Earth, in which some 90% of species went extinct...is now being interpreted as a "nonevent" by four geologists.They do this not because of geology, but because the only viable culprits for the ecocide are catastrophic, specifically, impacts from space. IOW, these four geologists are full of global warming / anthropogenic climate change / demagoguery, and/or have some other agenda, perhaps enhancing their careers.
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So help me get this Crystal clear. These 4 geologists-Amber, Jade, Ruby, and Opal-who probably who don’t know Schist from shinola, are saying the Permian extinction is a nonevent. This has Lead me to believe this is just a reminiscence of their senior prom, another nonevent. Probably not a one of them could Rock my world. Granite, it is probably no Fault of their own, being perpetually Stoned may make you Boulder. And this may be a Vein attempt for geologists to Iron out their differences. But I should be Gneiss, and Mine my own bizniss. Surely there is one Jewel in the pile. Hey, it’s been a Beryl full of laughs, but I’m off to find bigger Quarry...
Thanks for the ping(s).
I never metamorphic I didn’t like.
So YEC’s don’t believe in evolution - but they do believe in superduper 3000x evolution?
That really doesn’t make a lick of sense.
YECs believe in genetic degeneration from the original (separately created) ancestral kinds, not goo-to-you, information increasing, random mutation-driven evolution. There is a much greater genetic distance to travel from goo to you than the degeneration from the original created kinds to life in its present form. In short, Creation/ID is far more plausible, no matter which way you look at.
There, all fixed up.
SoYECs dont believe in upwards evolution - but they do believe in superduper 3000xhorizontal variation and downward devolution ?!
"1) Darwin's book is "The Origin of Species" but there is something called "the species problem" which discusses the fact that even today, 150 years after Darwin, we aren't completely clear on what a species really is. I think it's a good topic for discussion to help student sunderstand that naming and categorization in science is often difficult. The way we think about things often grows from how we identify the things -- and we don't always get that part right."
This is a completely valid and important subject for biology classes. Are you claiming that this subject is being hidden or suppressed? My college bio classes covered it in detail; my high school class did not, because I went to a crappy government-run high school. I would fully support an effort to teach more modern biological systematics in high school. Also, I would like to note that just saying 'we don't always get that part right' is pretty vague and useless.
"2) Some mathematicians have identified a probablity problem with evolution. So many things would have to line up so perfectly, that while the world we see around us might possibly arise from non-directed processes, the odds of that happening within justa few billions years seem remote. A good way to discuss probablity and mathematical analysis in science with students."
NO. NO. 'Some mathematicians' have created a grotesque caricature of evolution (rarely) or abiogenesis (usually), modeled it with painfully simple mathematics, ignored any input from actual chemical or biological properties, and proceeded to slay their own strawmannic creation. Teaching this to students does nothing but set them up for a lifetime of falling for probabilistic fallacies. Your other points concern valid interesting science, but this one is creationist talking-point pablum, and I pray that you speedily rid yourself of it.
"3) DNA has been considered to carry a lot of "junk". But some scientists now think it's not junk at all. How much do we know about DNA? We develop theories based on things we do not fully understand -- these are necessary hypotheses, but let's make sure students understand the difference between a hypothesis created from partial information and a proof based on repetition in a lab."
'Junk' DNA is a fascinating topic, and should be discussed in biology classes. Again, I fail to understand your point: do you feel that it is not being discussed? And again, if it isn't covered in public high schools, the blame is much more likely to lie with the under-qualified edu-crats running our schools than with scientists. Any campaign to make high school biology instruction more modern and responsive to the current state of the field has my whole-hearted support. Here's an idea: how about we chop Black History Month down to Black History Week, and devote the extra time/money to science classes?
I feel the need to address the second part of your statement. 'Proof' is not based on 'repetition' in a lab. A proof is the application of a sequence of logical techniques to a collection of axioms intended to produce a (usually mathematical) statement. It is much more appropriate to speak of 'proofs' in the context of mathematics than the context of science. Scientific theories are always created from 'partial information', and almost by definition concern 'things we do not fully understand'. All of this applies as much to physics and chemistry as to biology, and while some mention of these concepts may be made in biology class, the main focus should be studying biology and not the philosophy of science.
"4) The Cambrian Explosion is a unique event. 530 million years ago most major groups of animals suddenly appeared. Why? Does evolution help us understand this event? Such an event has not occurred since (at least on that scale). Why not? Does evolution help us understand why not? What are the limits to evolutionary thinking?"
Same question as before: do you think this isn't covered in bio classes? I'm pretty sure my high school bio covered the Cambrian Explosion, although due to time and IQ constraints the level of detail was frugal.
A few answers to your questions:
"Please note: My four points above are not my attempt to "prove" that evolution is "false". I merely wish to point out that there are interesting areas that can be explored and that students can gain a better understanding of how to "do" science, and what it's limitations may be, if they explore controversies within a given scientific theory."
There's nothing here I really disagree with, but I'd like to point out a few practical concerns. For some reason creationists have decided to target high school biology curriculums in particular, as though high school classrooms are the appropriate setting for scientific debates. They manifestly are not: even at the best schools, teenagers are simply not intellectually equipped to decide major scientific questions. Biology is a gargantuan subject, and high school biology (any high school science class really) is a introduction to an outline of a sketch of a brief summary. Given this reality, any controversy smaller than a full-scale revolution in the subject will get short shrift. The correct setting for 'questioning' evolution is the scientific literature, where fully informed experts can devote as much time as necessary to the judgment.
So what is the precise definition of 'genetic degeneration' again, and what is the evidence that it has exclusively taken place?
How about an operational definition of 'ancestral kinds', and maybe you could throw in a reasonable-length list of the 'ancestral kinds'? Creationist websites seem curiously shy about this stuff.
'Information-increasing': remind me, what is information, and how does one increase it? Why is evolution supposed to increase information, and what is the evidence that it cannot?
I am very forgetful, so please explain once more the definition of and algorithm for computing 'genetic distance', and why the greater genetic distance between goo* and me as opposed to my ancestral kind and me makes evolution less plausible than special creation.
*Goo? Does goo even have a genetic code? How do you compute the 'genetic distance' from something that doesn't have a genetic code?
Thank you for your civil reply.
The above is really the heart of the matter, isn't it? I think biology is currently taught to young people with a heavy emphasis on evolution as a stone cold fact. Obviously, some folks can't see it any other way.
As a doubter of evolution, I find it depressing that evolution is taught to very young kids as a matter of course. It's touched on in 4th grade science. Fifth grade? Yup. Sixth grade? Yup. Covered in 7th grade? Of course. Eighth grade? You know it! And on and on.
There is a persistent effort to teach this, starting as young as possible, and to hammer it home year after year. We're shaping young minds here, aren't we? Well, people who doubt evolution actually want to get involved in the discussion too -- although you profess surprise that some opponents want to engage in "debate" in high school biology classes. How long should we leave the theory of evolution unchallenged?
As to my other points, you mention that classes typically do talk about the Cambrian Explosion, or junk DNA, etc. I imagine they do -- but I'm quite sure they do not do so in any clear attempt to "teach the controversy" or to bring into question any serious tenets of evolution. Evolution is presented as a fact. The idea that there may be "problems" in the theory is not discussed: evolution is the only game in town, and while it may be "tweaked" it is never seriously challenged.
I believe good scientists demonstrate a willingness to question assumptions. Evolution is assumed to be true. I don't think it is.
Good questions and response. I was going to respond very similarly as the oldman, but he beat me to it. Your points 1, 3, and 4 are valid concerns, but as has been pointed out, they are universally addressed in college level courses, and often in high school.
The thing is, though, that creationists have much different “concerns” with evolution. If this is all they were, we’d not have any issue at all with discussion or conversation on the matter. I’m somewhat surprised none of them attempted to flay you for your reasoned concerns.
They weren’t wild enough.
You are correct that the teaching of subjects like the Cambrian Explosion does not reflect any serious challenge to the 'tenets of evolution'. This is because virtually no reputable biologists believes that these subjects pose a serious challenge to evolutionary tenets. Debates are covered from the perspective of the scientific community, as is proper in science classes. A good example is Gould and Eldridge's punctuated equilibrium hypothesis. Note that this followed the correct pattern for scientific ideas: data (Burgess Shale etc) ---> articles in scientific literature ---> tumult, debate, bitchy academic backstabbing --> more data, less heated debate and analysis ---> respectability ---> inclusion in school textbooks.