Tag Archives: evolution

Creationist Jack Chick roasted by spoof tract

For many years Jack Chick tracts were the sickest fundamentalists could produce, with there attacks on evolution Roman Catholics etc.

They were as slick as sick and devoid of any love. I wonder about those who used them how they coped with any of Jesus’ injunction to love.

Well he popped his clogs recently and here one anti-fan produced a Chick-worthy tract on his demise.

His tracts on evolution don’t even come into the Fake News or Post truth categories and are marked by duplicity and sheer nastiness.

Gluons3

But he could shout this louder than any1

168946_477433586556_727651556_6500443_8206770_n

Enjoy!

Here it is and it was reblogged by James McGrath

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2016/12/jack-chick-goofed.html

Jack Chick Goofed

I really like this reworking of Jack Chick’s famous tract, “This Is Your Life,” in honor of Chick’s death, by Gretchen Koch.

Chick smaller

Of related interest, Randal Rauser shared that someone made a movie version of the Chick Tract “Somebody Goofed”

 

Advertisements

Is “The Imminent Demise of Evolution” still imminent?

Well we all know evolution is rubbish and the earth is only 6000 years old. As Paul points out here the expert American Troy Britain confirms this.

If anyone can refute Troy please do so.

I first heard of the imminent demise of evolution in 1971 while at L’abri studying under the founder of the Religious Right Francis Schaeffer. I can provide all the evidence for this on demand.

 

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: Is “The Imminent Demise of Evolution” still imminent?

Geology, evolution and Christianity in the 19th century

If you read many historical studies of Britain in the 19th century, you will read that a major conflict was over science. That claim is overstated. Here is a brief overview.

 

 

 Geology (Deep Time) and Evolution?

From reading many books on church history, general history or popular science, it is easy conclude  that advances in geology in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and then evolution after 1859 had gradually been undermining belief in God as Creator as well as an almost official literal reading of the early part of the book of Genesis. The actuality is rather different.

DSCF9283

Genesis 1 from a 1611 copy of the KJV

So often the work of Archbishop James Ussher is cited as the “official” view of the churches. In 1656 he published his Annales Veteris Testamenti (Annals of the Old Testament) which gave the famous date of creation as 4004BC. (Actually, it has to be worked out from his use of the Julian calendar.)

Jacobus_ussher

Ussher is often pilloried for this, with the charge that he inhibited the development of geology. That is false, even though I was taught it in geology lectures!! Ussher was in a long line of scholar historians/chronologists whose detailed studied suggested the earth was only some 6000 years old. Despite their bad reputation Ussher and others laid the foundations for a truly historical way of looking at the world both for human and earth history as Martin Rudwick argues so forcibly (Earth’s Deep History p9-30). Slowly this historical approach opened up historical understandings whether of Egypt or the strata.

Up until about 1660 there was no scientific reason to doubt that the earth was a mere few thousand years old as no one had studied what we now call geology or earth science.One of the first was Nils Steno in the 1660s – he later became a Catholic bishop. He was followed by Robert Hooke, Edward Lhwyd and Rev John Ray a few years later. All of these tentatively wondered if the earth was somewhat older! In fact by considering the vast number of boulders in Nant Peris in Snowdonia, Lhwyd reckoned the earth must be older as only two or so boulders had fallen into the valley in living memory. So he suggested a great age for the earth. His argument was wrong as these boulders were place their by ancient glaciers.

dscf9512-1

Nant Peris. Just here you can count over 20 boulders. If only one boulder fell into the valley every 50 years, then these 20 would indicate 1000 years . As there are thousands , then that would be 50,000 years and more. It is not a good argument but it shows that people were open to an old earth in 1680.

 

During the 18th century more and more studied strata or considered the implications for Christianity. These were a mixture of Christian (often clergy) indifferent or deistic.As the century progressed the idea of a massive world-wide flood (Noah’s) became totally unlikely and the concept of “Deep Time” became irresistible. After 1750 few held on to the idea that the earth was a few thousand years old and geological field work throughout Europe was building up a picture of an ancient earth, whether Hutton in Scotland, de Luc in Geneva, De Saussure in the Alps, Werner in Germany, Hamilton on Vesuvius (while his wife Emma was with Admiral Lord Nelson!), Rev J Michell and William Smith in England, Fr Soulavie, Cuvier and Buffon in France. Clergy were not absent from this group. Space forbids more detail! At no point during the 18th century was geological time used to attack Christianity as the controversy was not whether the earth was a few thousand.years old or ancient, but whether it was old (say hundreds of thousands eg Jean Andre Deluc)  or millions of years old (James Hutton).

james-hutton-caraciture200px-william_smith_geologist

James Hutton and William Smith

That is borne out by theological writers as where a young earth was accepted it was because it was the traditional view and not against geology. As the 18th century progressed, more Christians accepted an ancient earth WITHOUT it conflicting with their faith. With some early works accepted a young earth and later ones an old earth.

The early 19th century saw great progress in geology as the order of strata was largely worked out (i.e. Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian etc). It is true to say that the lion’s share was carried out in England. Many of these geologists were devout clergy  like Townsend, Buckland, Conybeare and Sedgwick. Others included Lyell a deist or Unitarian. Sedgwick and Townsend were Evangelicals. Much is often mde of a controversy between Uniformitarian and Catrastrophist in this period, but both groups were convinced of vast geological time and their geological methods were almost identical as became apparent to me when I studied some of what Buckland, Darwin and Sedgwick had done in the field in Wales from 1820 to 1850, using their field notebooks and published work. The difference was on matters of interpretation rather than anything else, and, even then, their conclusions were very similar.

bucklandhyenas300px-Adam_Sedgwick180px-charles_lyell

Buckland (in a hyena den), Sedgwick and Lyell

Most theological writers from 1800 accepted Deep Time and this is clear in commentaries. The only exceptions are the small group of Scriptural or Anti- Geologists who flowered from 1820 to the 1850s, who insisted that the earth was 6000 years old and geologists were wrong. These were comprehensively rebutted by Buckland, Sedgwick, Pye Smith and the Scot Hugh Miller.

Over these two centuries there was much ebb and flow with Noah’s Flood. Initially many thought all strata and fossils were laid down by the flood, but this was slowly rejected. Some concluded that there were a succession of floods, which resulted in the deposition of the various apparently discrete series of strata. Others, notably William Smith, Sedgwick (until 1831) and Buckland reckoned that the youngest strata (i.e recent glacial deposits) were laid down by the Flood. Buckland tied this into the Ice Age as well, but note that it was he who introduced ideas of an Ice Age to Britain. By 1850 few thought that Noah’s Flood was more than a local inundation.

To conclude; the awareness of Deep Time caused only limited problems for some Christians, but it is fair to say that evolution was a greater, but not insuperable, issue, as though the question of time and thus the non-literal nature of Genesis was almost entirely accepted by 1859,  the unique status of human beings was implicitly challenged by evolution thuis leading many Christians to question or challenge it.

Prior to the publication of the Origin of Species  in 1859, most British scientists accepte some kind of ill-defined special creation of species, but the simple idea of special creation was crumbling because of advances in biogeography (did God creat three different species of Rhino on different islands in Indonesia), hybridization, change of living forms over times as revealed by palaeontologists and so on. There had been attempts to give an evolutionary perspective before; Erasmus Darwin, Lamarck, Geoffroy St- Hilaire, not to mention the anonymous Vestiges of 1844. Darwin began his note books in 1836 and published two evolutionary drafts in 1842 and 1844, and then took on an enormous project on barnacles. Claims that he delayed publication as he was afraid of the church establishment have no foundation. He was a slow and methodical worker suffering from bouts of illness. It is often not realized that after the age of 32 he could not walk more than 5 miles. Finally he was jolted into publication due to receiving a paper from A R Wallace in June 1858. After a joint paper he wrote a shortened version of his “big book” which was published in November 1859. The reaction was mixed. Physicists and geologists did not like it. More biologists, especially botanists, were far more accepting. A moderate number of Christians soon accepted the theory. The first person to use the Darwin/Wallace idea of natural selection in a scientific paper was Canon H.B.Tristram of Durham an evangelical.

SH16DARWIN2Man but a worm

Darwin’s statue in Shrewsbury!! and a Punch Cartoon

Many Christians opposed but virtually none from the point of a literal Genesis. Most notorious is Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, a competent naturalist, who reckoned evolution reduced humans to mere apedom and thus moral capabilities. For further details bring the discussion up to date, read; https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/evolution-and-religion-in-britain-from-1859-to-2013/  Very briefly, more and more Christians came to accept evolution in the next few years, but insisted God “intervened” for the creation of life, of sentient beings and finally, humans. So much so that The Fundamentals of 1910 included several articles arguing for evolution, which is not what all would expect.

Ultimately the so-called conflict was a reading back from the 1890s by American writers like Draper and Andrew Dickson White, who claimed WITHOUT EVIDENCE that there was a terrible conflict between science and Christianity since the time of Kepler in 1543. In the last forty years this “conflict thesis of science and religion” has been systematically refuted by a new generation of historians of science, but the false ideas have proved very persistent.

It is probably right to say evolution was more a problem for the less educated, who had probably been taught a literal view of the bible in Sunday School. As today perceptions count for much on understanding science and religion

Slowly the theory of evolution was popularised, and many people came to perceive conflict between science and religion from the 1890s, with the latter as somehow obscurantist, and standing in the way of ‘progress’. This persistent myth has coloured the ideas of many.

In the long run, the theory of evolution tended to dominate human consciousness; all kinds of human, social and intellectual developments were seen in terms of ‘evolution’ towards a) a predetermined goal; and b) ‘progress’ (as interpreted by the theoriser). In the late 19th century Social Evolution was overdone, but the allegations that evolution formed the basis of Nazi ideas is very shaky and is over-stated by some Christians to the point of inaccuracy.

P.S. I have deliberately left out the implications of deep time and evolution for Christianity. But here are what has often come up.

The Moral and Religious implications of Darwin

There are many cited and here are some ignoring  all scientific issues on whether or not evolution occurred.

Issues commonly cited

  1. Genesis says Creation in 7 days
  2. Evolution excludes Creation
  3. Adam & Eve
  4. Takes away uniqueness of humans, an animal not Image of God
  5. Suffering of animal world contrary to a loving God
  6. If we have evolved, no Fall, thus no Atonement
  7. Evolution due to Chance, thus no Design and no God
  8. Chance then no Purpose and no God
  9. Moral behaviour evolved from animals
  10. Genetic basis of behaviour?

 

 

 

 

Can we, as evolved apes have a soul?

Can we, as evolved apes have a soul?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

A reader asked the question in the Church Times on 28th October 2017 (sub-christian horror comic for Anglicans as one bishop put it);

The other day, a friend asked me if the Church believed in evolution. I said that I thought in general, it did accept it. He then asked when the soul arrived: did Homo Habilis have a soul two million years ago? Could someone comment on this………..?

To answer briefly: most in the churches accept evolution and none of us have a soul, whether homo habilis or us. Now having shocked some by saying no one has a soul, let me explain.

Sadly, the Churches only in general accept evolution. Many evangelicals have fallen for Young earth Creationism and Intelligent Design. Many Christians nod acceptance to evolution but do not grasp the implications.

As science, evolution is well-nigh irrefutable as there is no scientific evidence against it. Some Christians oppose it theologically and others of a religious bent find evolution smacks of reductionism.

But let’s consider the evidence for evolution. Until about 1660 most favoured an earth some 6000 years old as Archbishop Ussher argued for.

Jacobus_ussher

However by 1690 some like the Rev John Ray thought the earth was much older from considering rocks strewn around Snowdonia.  Move on a century and almost all scientists were convinced that the earth was  “très vieux” as the great Swiss savant and early geologist de Saussure claimed from the evidence he found in the alpine strata. In the early 19th century geologists ALL found evidence for an ancient earth and worked out the systems Cambrian, Ordovician etc. Many of those geologists were Anglican clergy, some of whom thought the earth was older than the 4.6 billion years we hold today.

300px-Adam_Sedgwickbuckland

Fossils galore were unearthed and it was soon apparent that some life  forms had gone extinct like the dinosaurs and that there was a succession of life forms. Before Darwin this was explained by God coming back and creating new forms which were slightly different from the previous ones. It was clear that God must have come down a myriad times to do this, but Darwin cut the Gordian Knot in 1859 with his theory of evolution in The Origin of Species.

SH16DARWIN2Man but a worm

Though he was first convinced of evolution by the fossil record, in that work he garnered evidence form every field of biology as well. Of course we KNOW that the church opposed Darwin at every turn and scientists simply took it on board. That facts support that ! The first to cite Darwin’s (and Wallace’s) theory in a paper was Rev H.B. Tristram, an evangelical vicar. The biblical scholar and noted mountaineer Rev F.J.A.Hort accepted it in a trice as did the Rev Charles Kingsley, who incorporated it into his Water Babies. As for the scientists most physicists rejected it. No, the churches did not reject Darwin and within a decade most accepted a form of evolution.

My spoiler for Anglicans is that from 1855 virtually no Church of England clergy thought the earth was only 6000 years old and most accepted evolution from 1870, though often with caveats. Or at least that was the case until the 1970s, when some evangelicals started to believe in Young Earth Creationism and now some 5% of vicars are young earthers, believing that old Ussher was essentially right with his date of 4004BC. The effect of this has been bad, as, in the attempt, to be inclusive, this is recognised as a valid position for Christians, whereas it is simply false and based on mis-reading the bible and mis-representing what science says.

One reason for objecting to evolution is how suffering came into the world and too many still consider it came form human sin. That goes back to Ussher’s poetic contemporary John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost; https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/why-the-apple-didnt-kill-adam-and-eve/

Beyond that, there is the problem of the soul. Why it should be a problem as we do not have a soul, but it is. Many think humans are made up of two or three bits; body, soul (and spirit), with the implicit idea that the soul is tacked onto a body rather like a bolt-on extra. This idea of two/three bits stems not from the Bible but Platonism, which was adopted by the early church, with disastrous results ever since. Once we think of the two bits we distinguish between the bodily/earthly which is bad and the spiritual/soulish which is good. As a result historically Christians have not valued creation except as a vehicle for the redemption of the soul. Some, like the Black Stocking Calvinists of the 17th century took it to the logical conclusion and reckoned that you could kick and mis-treat animals as they had no soul. Yuk!

If we are not “souls with legs on”, so what are we? From Gen 2 vs 7 we read “man became a living being” the word for “being” is nephesh which is translated into Greek as psuche, which is taken as soul. Some animals are also nephesh. This we are “living souls” or “living beings” rather than bodies which have souls, which is the bit which survives death. That means that we see ourselves as an integral part of creation and that we cannot consider ourselves separate from the rest of the natural world. This has been a problem for millennia and the fruits are seen in the industrial world, where it is implied we can, as it were, escape the natural world – whether through technology or religion. Far better is to see ourselves as part of nature as much as insects are. The Green movement has grasped this, but often in a funny way!

At death our soul does not leave the body to fly away for the resurrection if we are lucky! We cannot say what will happen, beyond that for a Christian they will look to Jesus and his resurrection, when he was not raised as soul or spirit, but as a resurrected body. At least that is the Gospel picture and is developed by Tom Wright in his big book Resurrection. So what happens to us? I simply do not know and here I can only look to Jesus Christ and trust in Him. That will not convince those who see humans as body and soul (or souls with legs on as I prefer to say) or to those who are not Christian.

Some have tried to cut the Gordian Knot on this by suggesting that the human body evolved through former living things and then God introduced a soul. This is put forward by many including Sam (R.J.) Berry and Denis Alexander (see his Creation or Evolution), both of whom I respect greatly.

51ITE3ajkpL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_

I simply do not accept their view that humans were given a soul some 10,000 years ago. To put it flippantly, they are evolutionist until 10,000 years ago and then they become Creationist at the last minute. Exactly when an earlier ape evolved into an ape we would define as homo sapiens I do not know. It goes without saying I do not accept a historical Adam.

I cannot give a nice simple answer beyond saying that we are created by God – who took a long time over it right through geological time. I prefer to say we are living souls/nephesh/psuche rather than having a soul as if that is a bolt-on extra. Without going into details this makes better sense of the biblical teaching, the nature of Jesus both as a human and in his resurrection and means we are closely tied to all of creation/natures and also to God.

 

D Alexander; Creation or Evolution

  1. Enns : The Evolution of Adam

Was there really warfare between Science and Christianity?

Was there really warfare between Science and Christianity?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP8030344.JPG

The classic TV portrayal of conflict between science and religion is the reconstruction of the Huxley-Wilberforce encounter shown in the last episode of the 1970s series the Voyage of the Beagle. Wilberforce is portrayed as a scientific ignoramus and Huxley as a cool scientific orator. In many places it is assumed that Orthodox Christianity means accepting creation in six days and any departure from that is a shift in a liberal direction. This is the stock in trade of many treatments pitting science against Christianity

 

Geology and Genesis, 1790 to 1860

To put it simplistically Geology took off as a science in the 1790s under Hutton in Scotland, Smith in England and Cuvier and Brogniart in France when conclusive evidence was found for ordering strata and showing a vast age of the earth. Hutton’s chief spokesman was the Rev John Playfair and Smith’s the Revs B.Richardson and J.Townshend. Most educated people accepted the new findings and even the church press showed little opposition. From 1810 there was much geological fieldwork and in 1815 Smith produced the first geological map of England and Wales.

 

james-hutton-caraciture200px-william_smith_geologist

Hutton and Smith

Geologists came from various backgrounds with a considerable number of clergy, often Evangelical. The 1820s was the heyday of clerical catastrophic geology of Buckland and Sedgwick, who held that strata were deposited over a long period of time (millions of years) in a succession of catastrophes or deluges, the Noachian being the last.

300px-Adam_Sedgwick180px-charles_lyell

Sedgwick and Lyell

In his Principles of Geology (1830) Lyell took over their methods and timescale and replaced catastrophism with uniformitarianism. Lyell has become a mythic figure with claims that he introduced notions of an ancient earth. That is bunk and has been discredited by such historians as Rudwick and Gould. As the vast of age of the earth was widely known in 1790 it cannot be the case as Lyell was born in 1797, unless miracles can happen!

Not all was smooth sailing and from the mid-twenties a vocal group, the Anti- or Scriptural Geologists, tried to show that geologists were mistaken and that Creation took place in 6 days. This disparate group included clergy and laity with a Dean of York, an Oxford Professor and Brande, Faraday’s colleague at the Royal Institution. Scientifically their writings were worthless by the standards of the day and were attacked by such orthodox Christians as Conybeare, Buckland, Sedgwick, Sumner and Pye Smith. Lyell mocked from the sidelines. To give an idea of numbers, during this period I can name at least six Deans of Cathedrals, a dozen Bishops and half a dozen clerical Oxbridge professors, who actively supported geology. In the period 1825-1850 the vast majority of Christians accepted geology, but a small and noisy minority did not. It is vital to get it in proportion. Andrew White in History of the warfare of science and theology claimed that the Anti-geologists were the Orthodox Party thus distorting our understanding.

By the 1850s the Anti-geologists were a spent force and even such an extreme Evangelical as J.Cumming accepted geology. Almost the only exception was Phillip Gosse in Omphalos (1857)

 

The Dawn of Evolution 1859

Charles Darwin

The Origin of Species was the seminal work of the decade and attracted great interest. The popular perception is that it was violently objected to by the Christian Church as it “questioned both the literal accuracy of the first chapters of Genesis and the argument from design for the existence of God”. The first part of this quote from Altholz is simply untrue as no educated Christians believed in 4004 BC in 1860, except a few Plymouth Brethren. Design in the strict Paleyan sense may have been killed by Darwin, but many kept to some kind of Design; Kingsley, Gray, Temple, Birks, and Hensleigh and Julia Wedgwood (Darwin’s Cousins). The main religious concern was whether our apedom would destroy our morality as Wilberforce made clear.

The responses to Darwin are fascinating and varied and no simple answer can be given. Initially some scientists were in favour – Huxley and Hooker, some not sure – Lyell, and many against, notably the leading physicists and geologists. Of Anglican and Scottish Presbyterian clergy (some of considerable scientific ability) none were literalists, and of 30 or so responses I have studied they are equally divided between being for, against or undecided. All 30 accepted geological findings and a scientific outlook. Wilberforce’s objections were largely geological, but felt our apedom would destroy Christianity. The evangelical Canon H.B. Tristram of Durham was a migratory bird and a competent ornithologist. He accepted and applied natural selection to birds in 1858, after reading Darwin’s Linnean Society paper. He went to Oxford in 1860 an evolutionist but after hearing Wilberforce and Hooker (Huxley spoke too quietly to be heard) he changed his mind. A year or so later he became an evolutionist again and used creation and evolution as synonymous.

1869_Wilberforce_A504_0011903_moreletters_f1548_1_113

Wilberforce and Huxley

Well. was there conflict? There was not CONFLICT, but there was conflict. The reviews and the meeting at Oxford show that there was controversy both religious and scientific. The only example of ecclesiastical prejudice I can find is the sacking of Prof Buchman of Cirencester Agricultural College, whose evolutionary ideas offended the Anglican management. By 1866 even the Victoria Institute were tolerating evolution, even if some members objected. Within two decades most educated Christians accepted some kind of evolution, even if, like Wallace, limited evolution to non-humans.

 

Whence Conflict between Science and Religion?

The idea that there has been a serious conflict is widely held but recent studies have challenged this,whether they focus narrowly on Huxley and Wilberforce or look more widely. The conclusion by Lindberg and Numbers, Gould, Brooke and Russell is that the conflict thesis comes from a reading back into events by some of the protagonists of the 19th century. Huxley and Hooker embellished their controversies with the church, Edmund Gosse in Father and Son made his father to be typical of Christians,  Andrew White’s massive The Warfare of Science with Theology (1896) is so flawed as to be worthless, despite its massive documentation which often cannot be followed up, Darwin’s claims that at Cambridge he did not “doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible” are not true, Leslie Stephen’s concerns with the historicity of the Ark has been shown by Sir Owen Chadwick to be the product of a lively imagination and many evangelicals had come to Colenso’s conclusions about Noah some 30 years before 1860. Most of these examples are referred to in serious works of history but a little historical research refutes them. This does raise a few questions on Altholz’s assertion that for Huxley and others “Truthfulness had replaced belief as the ultimate standard.”

The conflict thesis in its classic form needs to be consigned to the bin, BUT there is an opposite danger – the total denial of any conflict whatever and the claim that there was harmony. That is as erroneous. The other danger is to ignore popular perception as this did and still does reckon there is a conflict.

To conclude, there was some conflict, which has various causes; the wish of some scientists to break away from church involvement, the concerns of some that evolution may eliminate God. There was also conflict of re-adjustment. But it is best seen as “a storm in a Victorian tea-cup” exaggerated for polemical purposes.

Finally there was no serious battle of Genesis and Geology, but a few Christians objected to geology. By 1860 biblical literalism was virtually extinct but was revived in the USA in 1961 in the form of Creationism. Neither was there a battle royal over evolution. In 1860 hardly any educated people were still literalists. Until this is firmly grasped it is impossible to assess the relationship of Christianity and Science and to consider exactly what were – and are – the problems.

The ultimate problem is why there is suffering and evil, but I’ll leave that.

 

References;

J.H. Brooke, Science and Religion, some historical perspectives, Cambridge, 1991,

M.B.Roberts, Darwin’s Doubts about Design, Science and Christian Belief, 1997, vol9, p113-26

S.J.Gould, try historical essays in his various Penguins which are always well-argued

Brooke and Cantor, Reconstructing Nature, T&T Clark, 1998

Marston,P and Forster, G. Science, Reason and Faith, Monarch 1999

Numbers, R, Darwinism comes to America, 1998, Harvard Univ Press

Roberts, Michael Evangelicals and Science Greenwood 2008

and two useful books

287651ite3ajkpl__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa300_sh20_ou02_

for more see the websites of http://biologos.org/  www.asa3.org   http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/

 

Man but a worm

 

 

 

Why are some Christians Young Earth Creationists?

It baffles many people whether Christian or not why some Christians are Young Earth Creationist, with a belief in a 10,000 year old earth and rejection of evolution. It cannot be denied that Young Earth Creationism has caused bad relationships among Christians, influenced education and results in much mockery from some. A major reason for the friction is that YEC’s claim explicitly or implicitly that the majority of Christians who accept modern science with the vast age of the earth and evolution are at best naughty or heretical Christians.

With YEC making inroads into churches (including the Church of England) and trying to call the shots over education in all parts of the world, it is best to know what they believe and why they do as they go against all scientific teaching and what most churches actually believe.

WHAT YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM IS;

As YEC attracted so much more heat than light, it is best to start with a general summary of YEC beliefs, though YEC is not monolithic.

  • The earth and universe are no more than 10,000 years old and this is supported by the best modern science.
  • Most of the fossiliferous strata from the Cambrian (550m.y.) to the Pleistocene (10,000yrs) were laid down in the Noachian Deluge. (There is some variation on this.) Below is flippant mocking of this
  • 10389436_10203030956276827_2185931412440811414_n
  • Dinosaurs lived alongside humans. The first is an exhibit at Ken Ham’s Creation Museum and the other two from creationist books
  • edendinos51gBlHMEfwL__SS500_dinopica
  • Evolution from the primordial sludge (goo) to humans (you) did not happen and is contradicted by true science.
  • During the Creation Week, God originally created “kinds”, e.g., horse kind, which has evolved through “micro-evolution” into related species.
  • Standard “evolutionary-uniformitarian” geology, biological evolution and cosmology are flawed and based on false assumptions. Evolutionary ideas are pre-conceived assumptions rather than conclusions from the scientific data, which to a YEC point to a young earth.
  • “Evolution” and “evolutionary geology” are based on atheistic assumptions stemming from the Enlightenment, including an insistence on randomness and chance, which excludes the possibility of a Creator God. Geology, with its long ages, is based on the assumption of evolution.
  • When the Bible is read correctly, without atheistic and Enlightenment presuppositions, the Book of Genesis only makes sense when read literally with a Creation in six solar days, a Fall resulting in the introduction of pain and death to the animal world, and that there was a world-wide deluge lasting a year during the lifetime of Noah. Only Noah, his family and two of every “kind” survived the flood. (This is alleged to be the traditional view of Christians.)
  • There are many minor tenets. A few YECs are also geocentrists, for example Bouw and Bowden.
  • And lastly Evolution is ONLY a theory
  • 168946_477433586556_727651556_6500443_8206770_n

I could refute each one in turn, but a simple list makes the beliefs stand out starkly. (I have dealt with many in other blogs.) However those who defend the sincerity of YECs may be shocked at what they actually beleive and that it is nonsense.

You can even play Creationist Bingo as the same sorry arguments appear often

creationist binjgo

THE APPEAL OF YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM

When I first heard about Creationism when I read a review of The Genesis Flood while working as an exploration geologist in the Namib desert, I simply burst out laughing and wondered how anyone could even suggest it. I soon found it was not that simple.

Creationism cannot be understood without grasping the deeply–felt reasons for believing what many scientists think nonsense. YEC provides the “scientific” capping to a “biblical Worldview”. This Worldview provides an all-embracing outlook on life and integrates every aspect of their lives. It also enables one to oppose non-Christian Worldviews and to be confident in the “Culture Wars. Here are most of the various reasons;

  1. The most important reason for accepting YEC is not a literal Genesis, but a concern for salvation through Christ. The heart of evangelical faith is redemption through the death of Christ, expressed as Substitutionary Atonement in that Jesus’ death forgives sin and takes away the penalty of death. To some this is dependant on their being no death before the Fall. It is supported by citing Genesis 3 and Romans 8.19ff
  2. There can be no death before the Fall. e.physical death came in at the Fall (Gen 3) and before that no animal died or suffered. If T. Rex had actually attacked and killed herbivores 100 million years ago, then the whole Christian Faith will collapse like dominoes, hence the geological timescale MUST be false. Q.E.D.! This is at the heart of YEC arguments.
  3. The Bible says so,. Applied to Genesis, that means Creation in Six days and a worldwide flood. A Young Earth model supports this scientifically, so YEC is the ONLY valid interpretation
  4. The Sabbath and that is dependent on a six-day creation and thus “billions” of years is wrong.
  5. .Hence as these four arguments are seen as essential to evangelical belief then a Christian must be YEC.
  6. Moral concerns In his book The Genesis Solution Ham argues that evolution leads to a decrease in marriage, an increase of suicides, euthanasia, pornography, abortions, promiscuity, sexual abuse, homosexuality, theft, violence, racism etc. Hence evolution is contrary to family values.
  7. Anti-reductionism or Nothing-buttery as Donald Mackay called it. I. e. everything is nothing but physics and chemistry and there is nothing distinct about humans. Reductionism often stems from a scientific materialist philosophy. Opposition to reductionism is widespread. Arthur Peacocke, biochemist and clergyman has opposed reductionism from a liberal theological position and founded the Society of Ordained Scientists in 1986 to facilitate this. The same with John Polkinghorne and Donald Mackay, and many members of the CIS and ASA, who reject YEC. However YEC is extreme anti-reductionism.

An excellent book which deals with all these issues and focussing on the Grand Canyon is;

Featured Image -- 5288

And more historically ;

41cWtwXrboL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)

Not to mention many of my blogs

THE ORIGIN OF DARWIN AS A NATURALIST 1809-1831

2307230823112312232423262328234423572360HE ORIGIN OF DARWIN AS A NATURALIST

 

Darwin concluded The Origin of Species with this magnificent paragraph;

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

 

This makes me think of the narrow country roads in Shropshire, which were sunken by cart traffic over hundreds of years leaving high banks on either side. These banks became entangled with plants (hawthorn, brambles, hazel, campanula, primroses, snowdrops etc.) and colonised by various animals (insects, butterflies, lizards, rabbits, polecats etc) and host to birds.

The entangled bank was an integrated ecological web.

As Darwin rode round these lanes on his horse Dobbin, whether en route to his girlfriend, Fanny, or to shoot, he would have passed many entangled banks and observed the wildlife. From so small a beginning of a teenage horse rider and amateur naturalist came the most profound of scientific theories.

The Skills Darwin learnt before sailing on the Beagle

Outdoor skills from hunting and shooting and exploring.

Navigation, use of maps

Travelling through rough country, which still can be dangerous.

A wide range of naturalists skills, observation of plants and animals, habitats, specimen collection and preservation.

A good basic geology.

tools_beach

This is why when he boarded the Beagle in December 1831 he was one of the most proficient young naturalists of his day.

 

The influences on Darwin. (1809-1882)

He was born at The Mount on 12 th February 1809

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and went to Shrewsbury School under Dr Butlet but was taught little but Greek and Latin and no science

DSCF6929

His father was a doctor with a good knowledge of science (and less on dietetics) and his grandfather, Erasmus, even more so. So from home he learnt much.

447

His older brother, Erasmus, built a very good chemistry lab in a shed

 

He collected eggs etc from an early age.

He was keen on hunting thus observed the behaviour of foxes and birds.

From his late teens he collected beetles by the thousand!

beetles

1825-27. He studied at Edinburgh for medicine and also learnt some geology and also marine invertebrates from Robert Grant

1827-1831. He studied theology and philosophy at Christ’s College, Cambridge and intended to get ordained. There was no official science teaching but John Henslow gave unofficial classes and field trips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA180px-John_Stevens_Henslow

 

1824-30 He did much naturalising around Shropshire and visited North Wales most years either to Snowdonia itself or to Barmouth. He climbed most of the mountains

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSCF6991He went on great hikes and observed all he saw on the wildlife and a little on the rocks. His favourites were beetles, but also fungi and birds (which he shot to collect specimens)

089

His favourite mountain was Cadair Idris and he shot birds for specimens at Bird Rock

cadairbird rock

He explored the rugged Rhinogau with epic hikes and explored the Mawddach estuary

a1a2

He stayed at Barmouth supposedly being tutored in the binomial theorem but preferred other things!

a20

He left Cambridge in June 1831 and as he was planning an expedition to Tenerife he did geology around Shrewsbury and in July 1831 tried to make a geological map and visited the limestone hill of Llanymynech.

 

The last of the four photos is from Nesscliff where he studied a Permo-Trias outcrop. The view is of the volcanic Breidden Hills and to the left is Long Mountain which is capped by Old red Sandstone. Darwin and Sedgwick got within a mile of an exposure but turned back, thus making Sedgwick miss a vital exposure.

DSCF7179DSCF7193DSCF7197037

The Sedgwick–Darwin Tour 3 to 20 August 1831

To the West of Shrewsbury 3-4 August

Shrewsbury to Denbigh, 5 to 7 August

Alone to Conwy, 8 to 9 August

Conwy to Bethesda, 10 to 11 August

To Anglesey and Dublin? 12 to 20 August

Separate Ways, 20 August

Caernarvon to Barmouth via Cwm Idwal 20-24th August

This map shows the route

a3

They both had a copy of Greenhough’s map. They new that the Orange rock in the south was Old Red sandstone (later Devonian) and it was younger than the older strata (later Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian) which he wanted to study. The aim was to find the ORS and then older rocks below it. Murchison who went to South Wales was guided to the contact by Rev Thomas Lewis and sorted it all out. Sedgwick’s aim was to follow the arc of ORS (orange rocks) along the North Wales coast and Llangollen and then find the older rocks below. That determined Sedgwick’s route  and his pupil Darwin just tagged along. as it turned out Sedgwick just missed ORS at Long mountain while at Shrewsbury  and then discovered there was no ORS in North Wales so he lost his stratigraphic marker! So when he started on 21st August 1831 on his own, he bagan in Llanberis which was not the best place to start, but that is another story.

a4

They travelled by gig with a driver. this picture is of one of Dr Robert Darwin’s patients -Mad Jack Mytton who though affluent died in a debtors jail.

a5

 

In August 1831 Adam Sedgwick (geology professor at Cambridge) came to Shrewsbury after looking at strata in DudleyBRESSAN_2013_Geologizing_-Darwin_Map1

 

and after a few days of geologising near the town they travelled to North Wales by gig (2 –wheeled carriage pulled by a horse) trying to work out what strata there were below the Devonian.Their first stop was up Castell Dinas Bran (silurian) and then to the Carboniferous Limestone of the Eglwsyeg cliffs. There is a fault between the two hills and no Devonian.

001DSCF7023

DSCF7015

This was for a HBS documentary which was edited out, showing young Darwin and old Sedgwick on the Eglwsyeg

016019

Next day they drove to Ruthin and looked first at Silurian strata by Vallee Crucis abbey, which shows the difference between bedding and cleavage.

DSCF7168DSCF7166

On to the top of the Horseshoe pass (my first big hill on a cycle) looking over to the grey limestone cliffs. The road was built in the 1810s to service the slate quarry

DSCF7160DSCF7157

Glancing over to Snowdonia behind the sheep they descended to Dafarn Dowarch, then made out of turf. Sedgwick stayed here in the 1840s.

DSCF7156DSCF7152

Past some limestone then descended to the complex Clywd basin of the Vale of Clwyd going past more Transition/silurian slate. This windy road is Nant y Garth, which I once cycled up in a thunderstorm doing field work for this.

DSCF7151DSCF7149

Darwin walked the last 6 miles to Ruthin where they stayed at the Castle Hotel. At Lanfwrog to the west Darwin found some red sandstone lying topographically  below Carboniferous Limestone 50 yards away. In fact, it was New Red Sandstone, not Old Red/Devonian which had been downthrown to the east. Alas there was no basin analysis to help them!!

DSCF7148DSCF7145

And then down some lovely lanes which would have been muddy! they visited the Ogof caves and found some rhino fossils – teeth.

DSCF7142DSCF7141

a6

They took the road west of St Asaph and near Glascoed Darwin was dropped off to do a 20 mile traverse and Sedgwick carried straight on to Conwy.

Darwin’s brief was to find ORS below the Carboniferous and above the Silurian/Transition. The second photo is taken a few miles west looking north towards Abergele. The hills are Carb limestone and and the foreground is Silurian. Darwin must have been miffed not to find any ORS.

IMG_1573IMG_1572

He stayed at Abergelle and the next day walked to the Ormes and Llandudno chasing the non-existent ORS

IMG_1549IMG_1550

He left the Great Orme behind and crossed the brand-new bridge to Conwy and met Sedgwick near the castle.

100_0615100_0616100_0609

The next day, after Darwinstopped Sedgwick arguing with a waiter, they went up the Conwy valley to Cannovium and over the 2100ft Tal y Fan and dropped down to Aber for the night. They visited Aber Falls the next day and then went to the Bethesda Slate Quarries

IMG_1554IMG_1566

a7a8

a9

Here is the major problem I encountered in this study. Darwin’s notes on Cwm Idwal – 5 miles from the quarries – follw straight on from his notes on Bethesda. further in his Autobiography Darwn states he went round Cwm Idwal with Sedgwick. HE DID NOT. This is countered by the letters between D and S in September 1831 when Darwin told Sedgwick what he saw on his own and then Sedgwick corrected him after visiting Cwm Idwal a fortnight later.

Instead the went across Anglesey, as Sedgwick had Henslow’s wonderful 1822 geological map to guide him, but the ORS was still elusive and this supposed outcrop of ORS later turned out to be Ordovician. Later at Cape Verde Darwin described some recent conglomerates by the shore as hard as this. I can assure that the rock is very painful to hit with a hammer.

 

henslow

And so the crossed the Menai Straits and shot down the newish London-Holyhead road, which had just been replaced by a dual carriageway when I visited there.

a10a11

a12

From Holyhead they took a steam-packet to Dublin for the weekend as Sedgwick wished to meet some geologists. On their return they went to look at the precambrian rocks at north Stack and then went across Anglesey with Henslow to guide them.

363366

They found what Henslow’s incredibly hard ORS on which I nearly broke my arm. And so to the old Copper Mine at Parys Mountain. It dates back to the Bronze Age and I think it is still being mined

347parysmlountain

And so they arrived at Caernarfon, when Darwin wanted to go home for the start of the shooting season. Sedgwick went to Llanberis and started in ernest and found it hard.

On his own from Caernarfon to Barmouth 20th to 24th August

Darwin left Sedgwick at Caernarfon and then visited Cwm Idwal on his own. He reckoned that the Devil’s Kitchen was a volcanic plug, but Sedgwick put him right a little later, explaining it was a syncline.

084403

A sketch to show what Darwin thought about Cwm Idwal and how Sedgwick corrected him.

a13

a14

He found the geology difficult as I did when I tried to do my undergraduate mapping there. (I gave up and mapped a layered intrusion in Northern Canada instead!!). He was oblivious of any glacial features.  He must have found some predators – sundew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA174

Two views of Cwm Idwal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA073

From Cwm Idwal it was 6 miles to Plas y Brenin, the coach inn at Capel Curig, where he spent two nights. The next day he climbed Moel Siabod and made more notes . After that he walked to Dolwyddelan and over the moors to Ffestiniog for the night. The next day he cross the Rhinogau by the the Bwlch Drws Ardudwy

DSCF6998180

An early morning view from Plas Y Brenin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In his autobiography Darwin claimed to follow a compass bearing to Barmouth. I do not believe him! First, the route would be an utter killerwading through boulders and 3 foot heather. Secondly his geological notes describe the localities visited and I mark these on the sketchmap.

a15

Moel Siabod and the moorland south of Dolwyddelan

a16a17

My key outcrop to determine his route was Carreg y Fran, which I located. Darwin said the rocks at the base of the cliff were conglomerate. They were in fact agglomerate.

a18a19

From there he cross the remote and rugged Rhinogau and made his way to Barmouth.

drws

After a few days at Barmouth Darwin returned home for the shooting season. Instead he accepted an invitation to travel on the Beagle

Here is Topper (1992-1994) my faithful field assistant, navigator and mountain climber.

a21

He took a stagecoach back to Shrewsbury and found a letter inviting him to join the Beagle!

In the summers of 1837 and 1838 he spent a few weeks while staying with his father in Shrewsbury looking at glacial deposits (c18000 years old around the town and by the field centre)

At this time he was very ill and only walked short distances.

In June 1842 he felt better and wrote the first half of a draft on evolution and went to Snowdonia and went home to finish it. It as not published.

Darwin spent two weeks in Snowdonia, staying at Plas y Brennin and other inns.

He looked for evidence of glaciation especially in Cwm Idwal and was convinced that Snowdonia used to have glaciers. He could only walk five kilometres.

But this will be my next installment

***************************************************************

CHARLES DARWIN AND THE HISTORY OF GEOLOGY, 1831 AND 1842 

 Along with many earlier visits to Snowdonia, the mountainous region of North Wales, in the 1820s to study natural history and to “climb every mountain”,

Darwin made two important visits to study the geology. In 1831 he spent nearly four weeks studying the geology of Shropshire and North Wales, mostly under the tutelage of Adam Sedgwick of Cambridge and then in 1842 to see whether there had been “former glaciations2 in Snowdonia. In 1831 he was a “learner” and made no contribution to geology[1], but his work on glaciations was highly significant[2].

My purpose here is to put Darwin’s two visits into the whole context of geology as a developing science. I give it in note form as a developing historical theme.

  1. 1660-1700. Earliest geology beginning with Nils Steno in Italy. Little grasp of an ancient earth
  2. 1690s E Lhwyd (born near Oswestry – 20 miles from Shrewsbury) and John Ray (the English Linnaeus) noted the boulders in Nant Peris a valley below Snowdon. As there were lots of boulders and only one or two fell down in a lifetime, they suggested that the earth must be much older that the biblical 6000 years. These were in fact glacial erratic transported there by glaciers.
  3. 1700- 1800 more evidence for an ancient earth and beginnings of working out the order of strata
  4. 1788 Rev John Michell, prof of geology at Cambridge worked out an order of strata;

Chalk                                                         Upper Cretaceous                                           120ft

Golt                                                            (Gault   Lower Cretaceous                              50ft

Sand of Bedford                                        Lower Greensand  – lwr Cret                          10-20ft

Northamptan andPortland lime                      (Jurassic)                                                        100ft

Lyas strata                                                       (Lias –Lower Jurassic)                                   100ft

Sand of Newark                                              (Triassic)                                                          30ft

Sherwood Forest pebbles and gravel              Permo-triassic sandstones                               50ft

Very fine white sand                                      uncertain

Roche Abbey and Brotherton Lime               (Permian Magnesium lst)                                100ft

Coal Strata of Yorkshire                                 Upper Carboniferous

This gives a good summary of strata from Upper Carboniferous to Upper Cretaceous

  • Smith developed this with use of fossils and then Geology map of England and Wales 1815.
  • untitled

6 Cuvier worked on Cretaceous strata around Paris

  1. By 1820s strata reasonably well-known down to Old Red Sandstone/ Devonian. What lay below was totally unknown and refered to Killas. This was classically put in The Outline of the Geology of England and Wales by Conybeare and Phillips (1822)

Below are a series of geological columns and the final development for today is the right hand column. What is crystal clear is that the order has not changed since Michell made his preliminary one in 1788. After the publication in 1822 there was an immense amount of geological fieldwork all over Europe but only the British work concern us.

SELECTED CLASSIFICATIONS OF ROCK STRATA

WERNER

1790’s

WILLIAM SMITH

1799, 1812, 1815

CONYBEARE and PHILLIPS
1821-1822
DE LA BECHE

1833

LYELL

1841

HITCHCOCK

1860 US

 

1981

ALLUVIAL
VolcanicSTRATIFIED
(FLÖTZ)TRANSITIONPRIMITIVE
London Clay

Chalk

Greensand
Brick-Earth

Purbeck, Portland
Coral Rag, Cornbr.
Upper Oolite
Under Oolite
Red-ground

Magnesian Ls

Coal Measures

Mountain Ls

Red and Dunstone

Killas and Slate

Granite, Sien
Gneiss

SUPERIOR ORDER or TERTIARY
Alluvial
Diluvial
Upper Marine(Freshwater: London Clay, Plastic Clay)SUPERMEDIAL ORDER
Chalk
Chalk Marle
Green Sand
Weald
Iron Sand
Oolitic Series
Purbeck, Portland
Coral Rag, Oxford
Inferior Oolite-
Lias
New Red SandstoneMagnesian Limestone
MEDIAL ORDER
(Carboniferous)
Coal Measures
Millstone-Grit
Carboniferous or
Mountain Limestone
Old Red SandstoneSUBMEDIAL ORDERTransition LimestoneSerpentine
Sienite
Greywacke
Clay SlateINFERIOR ORDER
Granite
STRATIFIED

Modern Group

Erratic Block Gr.
Supracretaceous
Group

Cretaceous Group

Oolitic Group

Red Sandst. Gr.
Red Marl
Muschelkalk
Red Sandstone
Zechstein

Carboniferous Gr.
Coal Measures

Carboniferous Ls

Old Red Sandst

Grauwacke Group

(Inferior Strati.
Nonfossilif.)
UNSTRATIFIED
Serpentine, Trap
Granite, Volcan.

POST-PLIOCENE
RecentPost-Pliocene
TERTIARY
Newer Pliocene
Older Pliocene
Miocene
EoceneSECONDARY
CretaceousWealdonOolite or JuraLias
Trias or New Red
SandstoneMagnesian LsCarboniferous
Coal Measures
Millstone Grit
Mountain Ls

Old Red Standst.
or Devonian

PRIMARY
FOSSILIFEROUS
Silurian

Cambrian

CENOZOIC
AlluviumRecent
Pleistocene
Tertiary
PlioceneMiocene
EoceneMESOZOIC
Cretaceous
Chalk
Gault
GreensandJurassic
Wealdon
OoliticLias
Triassic
PALEOZOICPermianCarboniferous
Coal Meas.
Millstone Grit
Mountain Ls

Devonian
Upper
Middle
Lower

Upper Silurain
(9 units)

Lower Silurian
(4 units)
Cambrian

AZOIC

CENOZOIC
QuaternaryRecent
Pleistocene
Tertiary
Pliocene
Miocene
Oligocene
Eocene
Paleocene
MESOZOIC
CretaceousJurassicTriassic
PALEOZOICPermianCarboniferous
PennsylvanianMississippianDevonian

Silurian

Ordovician

Cambrian

PRECAMBRIAN

1830s. After the publication in 1822 there was an immense amount of geological fieldwork all over Europe but only the British work concern us. By 1830 British geologists had felt clear on the geology from the Old Red Sandstone to the top of the Cretaceous, but what lay above and below was still to be discovered. Lyell was instrumental in bringing order to the Tertiary, but in 1830 Sedgwick and Murchison decided to tackle what lay below the ORS in Wales, in preparation for a second volume continuing Coneybeare and Phillip’s work. They had described what lay below the ORS as SUBMEDIAL ORDER; Transition Limestone, Serpentine, Sienite,  Greywacke and  Clay Slate, indicating that it was scarcely elucidated. All this later came to be termed Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian, but in 1830 it was simply unknown strata.
(Shrewsbury is just north of the Long Mynd on the map, and Cwm Idwal is slighty above the letter “N” of Snowdonia)

The map above is a sketch map fo the geology of North Wales marking all strata older than the Devonian, i.e. all the shaded area on the map. In 1830 the weather was so bad that neither geologist went to Wales, but both went in the Summer of 1831. Murchison went to Southern Wales about 25 miles southwest of the Longmynd and was guided to an excellent downward succession from ORS to what was to be called Silurian by the Rev Thomas Lewis. Sedgwick went to Northern Wales and his aim was to find the ORS (marked on geological maps as lying below Carboniferous Limestone from Llangollen to Conway. When he found the ORS he hoped to find it going down conformably into Killas/grauwacke (now Silurian). This did not happen and he and Darwin concluded that there was no ORS from Llangollen to Conway, thus frustrating his intentions. Ironically at over 300 metres on top of the Long Mountain between Welshpool and Shrewsbury , there is a capping of ORS/Devonian strata but Sedgwick and Darwin did not go up the steep hill in their gig, thus missing the solution to the puzzle by two miles!

In early August Sedgwick and Darwin left Shrewsbury for North Wales to  look at the base of the Carboniferous Limestone hoping to find first ORS and then “Silurian” below it. They failed as there was no ORS. After that they went round Anglesea and found that no more helpful, though they found some ORS identified by Henslow in 1822, though some of that was mis-identified and turned out to be far older.  On 20th August Darwin left Sedgwick to go home via Cwm Idwal and Barmouth.  Sedgwick started working on strata by Llanberis, but had no stratigraphic markers or fossils to guide him. After a few years he managed to make sense of the geology.  Sedgwick called all these Cambrian and Murchison called southern Wales strata Silurian. It took another 50 years to sort them out properly into Cambrian Ordovician and Silurian.

 

After leaving Sedgwick at Caernarfon, he took a coach to Cwm Idwal, not knowing anything about the geology, except that it was older than the ORS. He had no geological guides to help him, so simply made notes. Cwm Idwal is a glacial cirque carved out of Ordovician Volcanics. Darwin gave brief descriptions regarding most as “altered slate” with some resembling basalt.

He also note volcanic rocks at Devil’s Kitchen which he considered  the Volcanic rocks at Devils Kitchen to be  “Basalt protruded out of the slate” as an “inverted cone”. In fact, they were laid flat  and then gently folded into a syncline, as Sedgwick pointed out to Darwin in a later letter after .

1842 Glacier visit

In 1842 Darwin returned to Snowdonia, having travelled round the world in the Beagle. His purpose was to see whether the Glacial Theories of Agassiz and Buckland were correct. In 1838 he had been to Glen Roy and in 1838 and 1839 had looked at the gravels around Shrewsbury and concluded that “glaciers” has some influence. Initially he was wary of Agassiz’s ideas of a continental ice age and after Buckland visited Snowdonia in October 1842, when he demonstrated glaciations, Darwin went to Snowdonia for 10days in June 1842. (In fact he had half written his first manuscript[1842] on Natural Selection before he went and finished it on return.)

He confirmed the terrestrial glaciations in Snowdonia and confirmed Buckland’s identification of glacial troughs. The highlight was his visit to Cwm Idwal where he identified the remains of an icefall by Ogwen cottage, ice-scoured rocks and moraines. Most interesting are two boulders he described, now known as Darwin’s boulders. After visiting Moel Tryfan, which he realised was sea-ice he returned to Nant Peris near Llanberis and made more observations.

Darwin had confirmed that these deep valleys were not formed by rivers………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

References.

Darwin at Llanymynech; British Journal for the History of Science, 1996, Vol 29, pp469-78

Darwin’s Dog-leg ; Archives of the History of Natural History, 1998, Vol 25, p59-73

I   coloured a map ; Archives of the History of Natural History, 2000, Vol 27,p69-79

Charles Darwin’s 1831 notes of Shropshire,Archives of the History of Natural History 2002,Vol 29 , p 27-9; co-authored  with Prof.S.Herbert (University of Maryland)

Darwin’s Welsh Geology, 1831,  Endeavour  Spring 2001, 25, p33-37

Darwin, Buckland and the Welsh Ice Age, 1837 – 1842, accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Geological Association 2012

Sandra Herbert; Charles Darwin;geologist 2005

DSCF7006

A stormy sunset from Plas y Brenin looking to Snowdon – Crib goch peeping through the clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1]

[2]