Unconformities and ad hoc explanations

TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Dec 06, 2021 8:31 pm Incidentally, I’m interested to hear your explanation why Scientific explanation of Geological features researched by thousands of experts over a century or so are ‘ad hoc’ explanations, according to you.

There are two aspects to SG – one is describing things and another is explaining origins. SG is good at the former, but poor at the latter. It can describe what is the chemical composition of rocks and what is in rock layers. But, it cannot adequately explain why the rock layers exhibit a global pattern. And to explain origin, it often has to employ ad hoc explanations. Unconformities is one such example.

I’ve asked these questions about unconformities and nobody has attempted to answer them:

otseng wrote: Mon Dec 06, 2021 12:21 pm How can one determine if an unconformity is due to lack of deposition or due to erosion?
Why or how can erosion in an unconformity result in a layer parallel to the one below it?
If erosion occurred, was the layer above sea level when it occurred?
If it was above sea level, how did it become above sea level?

In the Grand Canyon, there are 14 major unconformities and countless minor unconformities. For layers that experienced deposition, that layer must’ve been below sea level. For layers that experienced erosion, the layer must’ve been above sea level.

TRANSPONDER wrote: Tue Nov 16, 2021 8:21 am The mechanism for entire continents being raised up is (as I understand it – I am no geology expert) continental plate tectonics and subduct movement of the earth’s mantle. That is, entire land areas can raised up and it is not surprising if entire level areas are raised, still more or less level.

So, the entire area of the Grand Canyon was raised and lowered innumerable times to form all the unconformities that exist. And, all the raising and lowering was able to maintain the parallel layers without any folding or faulting or tilting. It’s like the entire Grand Canyon has been raised up and down on a giant elevator throughout its entire history. But, this is not just for the GC, but for all the sedimentary strata around the world. There does not exist anyplace on earth where there is no unconformity in the strata. So, at all these places, areas with sedimentary layers have been raised and lowered throughout its formation. Shouldn’t we expect to see massive numbers of faults, folding, tilting throughout all the stratas with such continuous geologic activity? Yet, the predominant geologic activity claimed by SG is in the missing layers at the unconformities. That is an ad hoc answer.

To demonstrate it, how can one tell visually where are the unconformities? You cannot.


The only way to identify an unconformity in this picture is by someone telling you where are the unconformities. And that person needs to know the supposed age of the layers. And if there’s an unconformity, there’s a chance it’s there by erosion. I argue this is not evidence that the strata has experienced numerous erosion in the strata. It assumes deep time is true, assumes what is the correct age of the layers, and assumes it was the result of erosion and not lack of deposition. So, from the photographic evidence itself, there is no evidence of erosion occurring in the layers, only deposition. There is only argumentation of an ad hoc nature that injects answers into what we see.

How can “thousands of experts over a century” possibly have the wrong view? It happens all the time. Science is not a static field, but theories come and goes. One of the longest lasting theories was the geocentric model of the universe. In the 4th century BC, most educated Greeks believed in the geocentric model. And it was commonly accepted to be true for over 1500 years. We can look back and scoff at them for believing it, but they actually had empirical evidence to support their view. The Greeks were among the most highly educated civilizations in human history. Even to this point, their influence still impacts us. Most of all scientific terms we use have a Greek basis. The Greek philosophers still have an impact in areas of modern science and philosophy. And their belief in the geocentric model was grounded in evidence and logic. It also had good explanatory power, but only because they added ad hoc explanations to it. And by adding ad hoc explanations, it could explain all planetary motion, including retrograde motion. Eventually heliocentrism replaced geocentrism because it did not require adding ad hoc explanations.

One reason we hold to incorrect ideas for so long is we are all prone to confirmation bias. And the fundamental problem is we cannot see our own confirmation bias, esp if we believe we do not have confirmation bias. Saying we do not have confirmation bias is itself proof we have confirmation bias. And with those that know they have confirmation bias, it is even rarer for those that would admit to it.

To objectively test if we have confirmation bias and if what we believe is wrong is the presence of cascading ad hoc answers. If ad hoc answers are repeatedly brought up, even in areas of science, then most likely confirmation bias is at play and the idea is false. The more ad hoc answers are introduced, the more the idea is likely to be false.

A great example of this is the doctrine of inerrancy. I at one point subscribed to this. And then as I started to study it, answers to objections to the doctrine seemed too ad hoc to me. And then after reading the Chicago statement (the definitive definition for the doctrine of inerrancy), the ultimate ad hoc answer was proposed in that inerrancy only applied to the original manuscripts. And since no original manuscript exists, it was an ad hoc answer.

Because of a mountain of ad hoc answers undergird a belief, it is unfalsifiable. Nothing can prove it wrong because ad hoc responses can answer it all. The person who holds the belief feels the belief is absolute truth and unassailable. But, they fail to realize it is only upheld by confirmation bias.

Deep time geology is in the same boat. The presence of ad hoc answers reveal confirmation bias is at play. Answers to questions are just made up without any empirical justification to uphold the theory. Circular arguments are made. Instead of looking at the evidence, there is questioning the credentials of anyone who attacks the theory. Ad hom comments are made. Questions are dodged. Irrelevant points are made to attempt to side track the issue. Arguing about definitions of basic terms. Making false accusations. If a belief is true, there is no need for any of these. Instead, there should be a straight-forward presentation and defense of the theory. But, the presence of these reveal confirmation bias is at play.

Skeptics like to think themselves as free-thinkers. I challenge you. Are you able to be skeptical of something you believe to be true? Or are you only skeptical of something you already believe to be false? If you cannot be skeptical of what you believe to be true, then what makes you a skeptic?

I do consider myself a skeptic. And I’m willing to be skeptical of Christian beliefs, even with the doctrine of inerrancy. Thousands of theologians who are much smarter than me defend the belief. But, the presence of ad hoc answers to uphold the theory has caused me to abandon the doctrine. Are you as a skeptic willing to do the same with what you believe, even if thousands of other highly educated people claim it is true?