Here are a couple of odds and ends on this Thursday afternoon.
For those following the recent debate about species fixity on this blog, Todd Wood has added his own assessment of the situation. I meant to link to his comments earlier, but got waylaid with various other things. Basically Todd thinks WebMonk has a point in that the wider creationist movement has promoted fixity, but agrees with me that it’s unfair to associate young-age creationism exclusively with that position as though the two were synonymous. He concludes:
On the other hand, as Paul Garner, his other commenters, and I have documented, speciation has a long tradition in creationism stretching back even before Darwin. I also think Paul’s critique of Denis Alexander is right on the mark. For Alexander to equate young earth creationism with species fixity is preposterous and irresponsible. It’s a classic straw man argument. It would be nice if our critics actually criticized the things we really believe. Species fixity has not been a part of real creationism for decades. Get with the program.
Also somewhat belatedly, I thought John Woodmorappe’s paper on hardgrounds in the summer edition of the Creation Research Society Quarterly was worthy of an honourable mention (Woodmorappe 2009). Hardgrounds are synsedimentarily lithified carbonate sea-floors, often associated with well preserved faunas of encrusting and boring organisms, and they’re found throughout the Phanerozoic rock record. They pose something of a challenge to Flood geology because of the time thought to be required for their development. Woodmorappe has written on hardgrounds previously (Woodmorappe 2006; Woodmorappe and Whitmore 2004) and in this latest paper he suggests some alternative hypotheses for hardground formation during the Flood. Most of his proposals are highly speculative and obviously need to be tested in specific cases against field and experimental data, but, fair dues to Woodmorappe, he’s actually attempting to make sense of problematic geological data that creationists have tended to neglect over the years. Here’s his abstract:
Transport processes can potentially account for in situ hardgrounds in the sedimentary record. Steadily accumulating evidence undermines the certitude of life-position inferences of at least certain fossils. Some turbidity currents and debris flows allow for the contemplation of large-scale transport, imbrication, and coplanar deposition of large, flat slabs of antediluvian hardground origin. Modern volcanoes demonstrate that released gas can cause the flotation of large rock slabs. Finally, many in situ hardgrounds show evidences at least suggestive of a composite, allochthonous origin. A hardground-conduit hypothesis posits that hardgrounds formed in pseudokarstic-submarine (underwater cavelike) structures. This solves the apparent problems of time and stratigraphically superposed hardgrounds. The hardiness of hardground organisms is just one factor consistent with this hypothesis.
Woodmorappe J. 2006. Hardgrounds and the Flood: the need for a re-evaluation. Journal of Creation 20(3):104-110.
Woodmorappe J. 2009. The universal deluge: alternative hypotheses for hardground origins. Creation Research Society Quarterly 46(1):7-14.
Woodmorappe J. and Whitmore J. 2004. Field study of purported hardgrounds of the Cincinnatian (Ohio, USA). TJ (now Journal of Creation) 18(3):82-92.