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1.0 out of 5 stars Woodmorappe's Elementary Blunders Undermine Creationism, May 4, 2001
This review is from: Studies in Flood Geology a Compilation of Research Studies Supporting Creation and the Flood (Paperback)
I've checked hundreds of Woodmorappe's references and quickly discovered that he routinely misuses and selectively ignores the literature. For example, Woodmorappe couldn't even list the proper ages of many of the "index" fossils in Table 2 (p. 28-29). Specifically, in his original 1983 article, Woodmorappe (p. 138) listed Monograptus as an "Ordovician" graptolite (#5). However, the Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology (which is considered one of the best, if not the best, sources of information on invertebrate fossils) and other references say it's Silurian. I documented this error along with about 15 pages of more serious mistakes from this one article. Several years ago, Woodmorappe received a copy of my critique through email.
Now, the "Foreword" (p. 1) claims that "no changes" were made in the original papers in this volume. However, in the 1999 edition, Monograptus has been erased from #5 in Table 2 (p. 28-29), but it is clear that NO effort has been made to correct the consequences of this mistake in Map 5 (p. 31), Table 3 (p. 42-43) and other figures that use the disinformation in Table 2. In another example, Woodmorappe lists the genus Dictyonema in Table 2 (p. 28-29) as being an "Ordovician" index fossil. In reality, without citing the species, Dictyonema is a poor index fossil, because it lived from the Cambrian to the Mississippian. Because of the widespread sloppiness and errors in Table 2, Woodmorappe's subsequent arguments are utterly flawed and untrustworthy.
The later part of his stratigraphic separation article is full of hypothetical diagrams (p. 51f) that are largely inaccurate and unrealistic. They're even contradictory. For example, Figure 8 (p. 56) says that hypothetical fossil E1 stratigraphically overlaps fossil I20, E3 overlaps I18, and E20 overlaps J14. Figure 7 (p. 54) flatly contradicts Figure 8 and shows no overlap for these pairs! If Woodmorappe can't even read his own figures, how can he properly interpret the literature?
Further flaws may be seen in his interpretations of Map 36 (p. 40), which show the locations for certain Cambrian, Silurian, Lower Carboniferous, and Jurassic fossils in Nevada-Utah and Great Britian. Not surprisingly, few of the locations overlap. Woodmorappe (p. 38) erroneously believes that this lack of overlap somehow refutes evolution. However, if well cores were used to construct this map, the probabilities of striking two of the fossils on his small list in Table 2 are slim. If the data are also based on outcrops, outside of some very deep gorges or high mountains, it's unlikely that the outcrops would have rocks from more than one geologic period. So, how many deep gorges and high mountains are there in Great Britain? What's the probability of a 6-inch drill core hitting two or more fossils from Woodmorappe's Table 2 list? Also, why did Woodmorappe avoid using fossils from two consecutive periods (such as Cambrian and Ordovician)? The geologic maps of Nevada, Utah and Great Britain and even his own maps on p. 108f indicate that consecutive periods are present. However, as indicated by Table 3 (p. 42-43), by not using consecutive periods, the chances of erosion and non-deposition increase and it's less likely that they will be overlaps. Woodmorappe's exercise does nothing to refute evolution and he and his allies fail to appropriately recognize that non-deposition and erosion entirely explain the poorly preserved geologic record.
Woodmorappe's errors are also serious and prolific elsewhere in the volume. His attack on radiometric dating contains countless misquotations and misrepresentations. For example, Woodmorappe (p.151) claims that Naumov and Mukhina (1977) (Woodmorappe's reference #80) obtained "erroneous" radiometric dates of 188-270 million years for some Russian volcanics when the fossils supposedly indicate that they should be older than 225 million years. In reality, Naumov and Mukhina obtained ACCEPTABLE dates of 172-270 million years. Because of a poor fossil record, they admit that the volcanism could have extended to 172 million years (Jurassic). Woodmorappe (p. 158) also misquotes Grasty and Leelanadam (reference #386) and claims that a K/Ar date on a "hornblende" yielded an "anomalous" date of 440 million years for a Precambrian (>600 million years old) charnockite. However, Grasty and Leelanadam dated a biotite (not a "hornblende"). Under an optical microscope, Grasty and Leelanadam note that the biotites show slightly bent cleavages and a moderate wavy extinction, which supports alteration. In other words, the biotites could easily have been deformed by a metamorphic event that caused the argon to escape, which led to a 440 million year old date. Inappropriately, Woodmorappe (p. 158) misrepresents a plausible metamorphic K/Ar date on a biotite as an "anomalous" igneous crystallization date on a "hornblende." Again, Woodmorappe fails to properly read the literature.
Sometimes Woodmorappe's figures and tables end up refuting creationism. In tables on p. 88f, Woodmorappe mostly cites small and easily mobile fossils to incorrectly claim that out-of-place geologic strata and fossils are common. In contrast, Table 2 (p. 127) shows no evidence of "out-of-place" fossils. There are no examples of the Silurian overlying the Jurassic or the Cambrian overlying the Devonian. Although some periods may be missing because of erosion and non-deposition, the Cretaceous is still stratigraphically above the Permian and the Permian is above the Cambrian. Unless creationists want to invoke unrealistic conspiracies, Table 2 actually supports the geologic time scale! Also, after deriving Figure 1 (p. 25), which demonstrates that most fossil families and genera are restricted to a few geologic periods, Woodmorappe vainly tries to belittle it's meaning. Why? Because if creationism is true, we would expect most genera and families to cross all or most of the 11 geologic periods. However, the graph shows the opposite and supports evolution.
Woodmorappe's arguments (including Table 3, p. 42-43) totally fail to explain why Cambrian trilobites and Cretaceous ammonoids from western North Dakota were not mixed during "Noah's Flood," why Tertiary turtles are stratigraphically above dinosaur fossils, and why dinosaurs are directly above Cambrian trilobites in the Williston Basin and elsewhere. Whether it deals with Z-shaped coal seams, "microevolution," or radiometric dating, "Studies in Flood Geology" is a classic pseudoscientific fantasy and an utter geologic failure.
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