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Author Topic:   Do creationists try to find and study fossils?
JonF
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


(1)
Message 124 of 182 (698304)
05-05-2013 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 113 by Faith
05-05-2013 9:02 AM


Re: Steve Austin Nautiloid Article
Well, Austin is the one who did the research on the orientation of the nautiloids so who else is he going to reference?
Umm, the purpose of a reference is to give someone a link to a source of more information. Referencing a person is done (e.g. "Fred Hemmerstein, 4 May 2013, personal communication"), but it's not encouraged. Referencing himself for the claim of orientation of the nautiloids is definitely inappropriate. If he wants to make that claim, he should present the evidence (photographs, etc.) in the paper in which he's making the claim or reference a source other than himself. If there's no source other than himself, there's no reason to make a reference, and then there's no excuse for not presenting the data in the paper.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 113 by Faith, posted 05-05-2013 9:02 AM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by Coragyps, posted 05-05-2013 11:36 AM JonF has not replied
 Message 128 by Faith, posted 05-05-2013 12:21 PM JonF has replied
 Message 129 by Faith, posted 05-05-2013 12:37 PM JonF has replied

JonF
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


(1)
Message 132 of 182 (698319)
05-05-2013 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 128 by Faith
05-05-2013 12:21 PM


Re: Steve Austin Nautiloid Article
Perhaps you are correct about the most proper form, but he referenced his own book because that's where he discussed the research he did to show the directional orientation of the nautiloids. Referencing books is standard scholarly procedure as I've always understood it. Most likely his space was limited in the article.
He didn't reference his book. It is perfectly fine to reference a book, but he didn't. As Percy first pointed out, the reference for nautiloids at Were Grand Canyon Limestones Deposited by Calm and Placid Seas? is "[13] Observation of Steven A. Austin in Nautiloid Canyon, April 1989."
Yeah, probably his space was limited. If he couldn't present the supporting information there, he should have referenced something that contains the information, or skipped the claim entirely.
At Nautiloid Mass-Kill Event he claims to have measured the orientation of 71 nautiloids. But he doesn't give any statistics; were all of them oriented in exactly the same direction, or was there some variation? He says that several things led him to conclude catastrophic deposition, but he doesn't provide any data.
At Another Visit to the Grand Canyon Prof. Steve S. Steve writes:
quote:
We evaluated a number of creationist arguments on the trip. For example, in his book, Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, Steve Austin claims that the long axes of nautiloid fossils are disproportionally oriented in the same direction, and in papers he has presented at geology conferences, he says that this is evidence for their having been the result of a catastrophic, mass kill. But when we looked at nautiloids on Seven Cave Shelf and in Nautiloid Canyon, Gish pointed out that even if there was a tendency for the fossils to be oriented the way Austin says they are, they could be that way just because the current carried them there; there is no necessity for catastrophic burial nor evidence for a mass kill. Gish pointed out that, in fact, these fossils looked like they had died normally rather than catastrophically. Their body chambers and distal ends had dropped off, leaving the central, body portion intact — which is what happens when a nautiloid dies, floats, and disintegrates over time. Had they been buried catastrophically by the Flood, they would have been smashed into bits. I think they are pretty fossils:

Too bad the picture doesn't clearly show the fossils.
Of course, that is also lacking in scientific data, but isn't a scientific paper and it does give us some reason to believe that catastrophic deposition isn't the only explanation. Austin has much more work to do if he wants to establish his claim. So far his scholarship looks pretty shoddy.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by Faith, posted 05-05-2013 12:21 PM Faith has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 134 by Faith, posted 05-05-2013 1:29 PM JonF has replied

JonF
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


(1)
Message 135 of 182 (698323)
05-05-2013 1:31 PM
Reply to: Message 129 by Faith
05-05-2013 12:37 PM


Re: Steve Austin Nautiloid Article
Surely Austin described his conclusions from the nautiloid orientations in the article and if they demonstrate what he claims for them why not address that
See my message above. In this particular case, I didn't engage his arguments because there isn't enough data available. Perhaps it's available in his book, but I don't have it and (at least in several articles) he didn't reference it.
It's not ad-hominem to point out sloppy scholarship. And sloppy scholarship is a reason to question (not disprove) unfounded claims.
Ar Bibliolatry Revisited: Review: Grand Canyon (to which Percy linked previously, we find a good example of specific detail:
quote:
...Austin has devoted considerable effort in recent years to the study of a decidedly non-random fossil occurrence in the Grand Canyon, the nautiloids near the top of the Whitmore Wash Member, the lowest unit of the Mississippian Redwall Limestone.
These nautiloids were free-floating, chambered cephalopods, similar to the modern nautilus, but they were straight (orthocone) instead of coiled, and averaged about 45 cm long. They occur in an approximately 2 m thick horizon, overlain by a chert-rich zone of the Thundersprings Member of the Redwall Limestone (Beus and Morales 2003: 115). Austin (GCDV, p 52) writes, ... this fossil bed occupies an area of at least 5700 square miles and contains an average of one fossilized nautiloid per square yard. He interprets this as having been caused by a catastrophic event of regional extent, resulting in a mass-kill of an entire population of nautiloids, an event caused by a massive sandy debris flow. In oral presentations (Austin and Wise 1995; Austin and others 1999), Austin described this debris flow as a hyperconcentrated flow that he likened to a pyroclastic density current or ignimbrite, moving over a very gentle gradient, and he also stressed the common association of the nautiloids with vertical structures he calls water-escape pipes. All this he takes as a manifestation of Noah’s Flood (GCDV, p 53).
It would take a great deal of space to discuss fully Austin’s ideas about this interesting occurrence. Such a discussion would have to consider the following issues: (i) Is the number of nautiloids exaggerated and is extrapolation to such a large area justified? (ii) Is the interpretation of a mass-kill event warranted? (iii) Why are such fossil concentrations usually attributed to accumulation over long intervals during which sedimentation was restricted? (iv) Is the mechanism of a high velocity hyperconcentrated flow that moved enormous distances over a low gradient probable, and is it required by the structural and textural nature of the deposit? Austin knows these occurrences better than anyone and should answer these questions.
I have examined these nautiloids in only a few localities within the Grand Canyon National Park, to which he was kind enough to direct me, where I noted that a nautiloid fossil occurred about once every 4 or 5 square meters. From this I infer that either Austin has collected most of the samples from these localities or the abundance of nautiloids claimed is exaggerated. However, unlike Austin, I hesitate to extrapolate from observations at a few isolated localities to a huge area. Furthermore, most of the nautiloid fossils I saw, and that Austin illustrates, were intact. Could they have survived the turbulence that must occur in a fast moving, subaqueous, debris flow? In nature, mass-kill events certainly occur by red tides, volcanic eruptions, and storm-induced processes flows, for example. However, in order to recognize a mass-kill, we need to understand the population structure of the animals concerned, and to consider factors such as episodic spawning, variable growth rates, the complex diurnal behavior of cephalopods, and so on.
Evidence bearing on the question Did this nautiloid assemblage accumulate instantaneously or over many generations? should be present in the deposit itself. Do the dolomitization and the prominent chert horizon overlying the nautiloid bed represent diagenesis during a hiatus in deposition? Similarly, are Austin’s water escape tubes actually poorly preserved animal burrows (Skolithos)? High concentrations of fossil nautiloids occur elsewhere, for example, in Morocco and in the Czech Republic. Ferretti and Krz (1995) describe several such examples in the Silurian of the Prague Basin and attribute them to the effects of surface currents or re-deposition in shallower environments by storm events during broad scale fluctuations in sea level. Why not the same in the Grand Canyon?
None of this disproves Austin's claim, but there certainly a lot of questions that are answered only in his book, if at all, The fact that he didn't reference his book makes it seem as if there's no place that the data and answers to these pretty obvious questions aren't there.
But I'll find out. I'll have the book on Wednesday (used from Amazon, so I'm not supporting the ICR). We'll see.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 129 by Faith, posted 05-05-2013 12:37 PM Faith has not replied

JonF
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


(1)
Message 138 of 182 (698327)
05-05-2013 1:40 PM
Reply to: Message 134 by Faith
05-05-2013 1:29 PM


Re: Steve Austin Nautiloid Article
The fact that every size and age of nautiloid is represented is another piece of evidence
Please tell us what statistics Austin or Garner applied to establish this.
Also the huge number of them, in a limestone layer spread over thousands of square miles in the canyon and out to Nevada and California
Please supply some details of how the extent and density were established, given that the vast majority of this deposit is buried.
No evidence for catastrophic burial or a mass kill? He must be joking.
That's what he reported. It should be included in any evaluation, especially given the paucity of data.
I'll be glad to engage on the merits of the claim when and if there's some data available. Austin's claim is no better supported than Prof. Steve's. The review from which I posted a large excerpt gives some specifics but not enough.
I haven't seen the video you posted, and I'm not going to spend the time until you can establish (e.g. by answering my questions above) that it contains data and tables and calculations and direct observations good enough to see and evaluate the evidence in the ground.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by Faith, posted 05-05-2013 1:29 PM Faith has not replied

JonF
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 153 of 182 (698370)
05-06-2013 9:37 AM


To be fair, Faith is being honest. All she knows is what's presented in the article and the video. She can't point to the data that's needed to evaluate the investigation as scientific research.
I guess the takeaway is that creation scientists do investigate fossils but they do so in an amateurish and unrepeatable way.

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