I’d like to demonstrate how human evolutionary theorists use false circular reasoning with regard to the geologic column.
Here is an example from page 351 of Prentice Hall’s Biology: Exploring Life 2006 high school textbook. After addressing how radiometric dating can show the age of rocks without addressing any of its flaws (the set-up), it shows this diagram:
Notice the questions, this one in particular:
If radiometric dating identifies the rock in layer C as 425 million years old, what can you infer about the age of the fossils in layer C? In layers B and D? Explain.
The student answers, “Well, that’s easy! It’s 425 million years old.” Now, what do you think this student’s answer will be after being shown a fossil and asked how old the rock is in which the fossil was found? The date of the rock will be assumed because of the fossil that was found in it. The student then goes home to spread this news to his younger brothers and sisters when they drag out their dinosaur action-figure playset later that evening. This is misleading circular reasoning based upon the definition of what is called an Index Fossil which in turn is based upon Charles Lyell’s theory of uniformitarianism.
Index Fossil – any animal or plant preserved in the rock record of the Earth that is characteristic of a particular span of geologic time or environment. A useful index fossil must be distinctive or easily recognizable, abundant, and have a wide geographic distribution and a short range through time. Index fossils are the basis for defining boundaries in the geologic time scale and for the correlation of strata.
Pay careful attention to the conclusion of the definition:
Index fossils are the basis for defining boundaries in the geologic time scale and for the correlation of strata.
Do you see the problem? The problem with using the geologic column and index fossils for dating is that the fossils are dated by the rock layers they are in and the rock layers are dated by the fossils that are in them. This is a classic case of false circular reasoning.
Uniformitarianism – a geological doctrine. It states that current geologic processes, occurring at the same rates observed today, in the same manner, account for all of Earth’s geological features. Thus, it assumes that geological processes are essentially unchanged today from those of the unobservable past, and that there have been no cataclysmic events in earth’s history. As present processes are thought to explain all past events, the Uniformitarian slogan is, “the present is the key to the past.”
If uniformitarianism lays the foundation and leads to this kind of false circular reasoning, there must be an honest admission of question concerning the doctrine and it must be re-examined honestly by the doctrine’s proponents. I’m putting it mildly.