Chapter 16: The Failure of Uniformitarianism

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Chapter 16 of Evolution, the Big Bang, and Other Fables, by A N Mack MD

Uniformitarianism.

It sounds like it might be the title of a new Stephen King book. “The Uniformitarians”. Pretty scary stuff, right?

Or maybe it might be a new religion. “Don’t listen to those Uniformitarians, they are a cult!” (This is too close to the truth for comfort.)

But in reality it is another facade adapted by the secular scientific community. Geologists and cosmologists tell us they can apply the rules of the universe as we now see them, and predict the past (supposedly some 14 billion years) based on current laws of physics and current rates of physical processes. They will tell you that based on the Doctrine of Uniformity, the earth “must” be 5 billion years old, and the universe “must” be 14 billion years old.  Uniformitarianism states that the changes in the past can be measured and understood because they involve “continuous and uniform processes”. That all sounds great, perhaps even scientific, but can they really be measured and predicted?  And do they really involve continuous and uniform processes?  Has this been proven? Do we have any proof or evidence supporting uniformitarianism, or do secular scientists just use this as a talking point, and then change the rules whenever it suits them?

As defined in the dictionary (originating in Geology but used in cosmology as well):

u·ni·form·i·tar·i·an·ism  noun the theory that changes in the earth’s crust during geological history have resulted from the action of continuous and uniform processes.

According to Wikipedia, it is “an unprovable postulate that cannot be verified using the scientific method… Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity, refers to the invariance in the principles underpinning science, such as the constancy of causality, or causation, throughout time, but it has also been used to describe invariance of physical laws through time and space. Though an unprovable postulate that cannot be verified using the scientific method, uniformitarianism has been a key first principle of virtually all fields of science.”(1) It is important to note that the Doctrine of Uniformity and the principle of Uniformitarianism are unprovable(Especially when so many secular scientist claim they KNOW the age of the Earth and the age of the Universe.)

But there is another consideration that is perhaps even more important in practice and in principle. Not only is the Doctrine of Uniformity unprovable, but the principle of uniformitarianism also has never truly been applied, because in every setting of science, whether astronomy, cosmology, evolutionary biology, or geology, there are glaring problems that require major adaptions or exceptions for the principle to be even loosely applied. As stated by Roger Patterson, “The ideas presented in the textbooks are based on uniformitarian assumptions and have many problems that are not discussed, despite the presence of phrases like “we know” and “scientists have shown”. (2) For example:

  • Secular scientists apply the rules of modern physics to the formation of the universe under the Nebular Hypothesis. But according to the rules of physics, the particles that might or might not form after such an explosion would not stick together (coalesce) or undergo accretion, and thus could not form planets, or stars, or galaxies.
  • Further, they would of necessity have had to travel at speeds far greater than the speed of light, an obvious and absurd exception to the principles of physics and a glaring exception to the application of uniformitarian principles.
  • Or for another example, in the study of biology, there is a well known and accepted “Law of Abiogenesis”. It is, simply stated, “life cannot come from non-life”, or in other words non-living matter cannot spontaneously come to life. Everyone knows this is true. Everyone accepts this, except if you believe in Evolution. In order to believe in evolution, you must first accept that life magically created itself out of a bunch of random chemicals, and then reproduced itself. Each step is impossible, but yet this is what our institutes of “higher learning” expect students to accept.
  • Let me give one more example. The Moon rocks collected from the Moon were dated at 4.5 billion years of age using secular “uniformitarian” assumptions. But using the lunar recession models (based on current rates, or even “adjusted” rates) the Moon would have been quite literally touching the earth just a billion years or so in the past. So the scientists make exceptions, or disallow the evidence, or ignore the findings, but they cannot uniformly apply them.

Geology offers many other examples, in which current processes could not have created the earth as we find it. Fossil layers, rates of mountain erosion, seafloor sediment deposition, and polystrate fossils could not have occurred as described by the Old Age Earth textbooks. The rate of uplift of the Himalayas is far too great to be accounted for by Uniformitarian assumptions. In many cases, the Biblical Flood offers a much more sensible model than uniformitarianism.  As an example, did you know that one single mine in Canada’s tar sands can move thirty billion tons of sediment a year? That is double the amount moved by all the rivers in the world combined. If that is true, then imagine the amounts which might be moved or shifted during Ice ages, meteor impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, or a Global Flood! It is so astronomical that it boggles the mind… and completely discounts any possibility of geographic “uniformitarian” assumptions. Nevertheless, even though Old Age estimates violate their own premises of “uniform and continuous processes”, the geology texts insist on Old Age estimates for the Earth.

And in yet another strong refutation, Uniformitarian assumptions on evolution should show that somewhere in the world, species are evolving as we speak. In order for the billions upon billions of evolutionary changes necessary to have occurred in just a few hundred millions of years, we should see evolution regularly as species advance along the evolutionary scale. Yet in the entire recorded history of the world, thousands of years, we have no record of a single example of evolution.

So whenever a biology or geology prof tells you something is billions of years old, you can be sure there is more than sufficient evidence to dispute that statement. Do your research, and the Uniformitarian assumptions of Old Earth and Old Universe will fall apart. Uniformitarian assumptions are unproven, unscientific, and insufficient for determining history, and they are certainly inadequate by any definition for evaluating or proving anything about origins. Uniformitarianism gets an F in History.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniformitarianism

(2) Patterson, R., Evolution Exposed, Answers in Genesis, 2008, P. 68.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. — Romans 1:20 NLT

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evolutioncreation1

Emergency Room Physician. Student of science and student of scripture. Defending truth in a post-truth society. I believe that Truth exists, and I believe it is our duty and privilege to seek it out, amidst ignorance, frivolity, and misconceptions.

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