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Soft-bodied Fossils, Deep Time, and a Poet’s Wisdom

A Jellyfish fossil found in Germany
Jellyfish fossil from Solnhofen formation, Germany. Photo copyright Sara J. Bruegel, February 2016

[Originally published as Catastrophism, China and Cowper’s (“Cooper”) CAT
Editor’s note: This article is quite short, but following the “In China” link just below will provide a lot more fascinating information (along with many ads).]

In China, tons of soft-bodied organisms similar to the Burgess Shale fossils have been found. Jellyfish, sea anemones, comb jellies, arthropods, and mud dragons were discovered. These are known as the Qingjiang biota and are dated to the Cambrian Period (518 MOYA).

To preserve soft tissue you must have rapid burial, which points to a fast catastrophic event. If most of the rocks formed rapidly and the alleged time-gaps between the layers are not real (as paraconformities seem to show), then the geological timescale must be revamped.

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According to sci-news.com,

The paleontologists were working in the mountains and came down to the banks of the Danshui River, located in Hubei Province, when they noticed some rocks had an odd pin-striped pattern – a telltale sign of layers of mud deposited rapidly by ancient storms …

But where did the millions and billions of years come from anyway?

Book Cover of The Discovery of TimeStephen Toulmin and June Goodfield wrote a significant history of deep time in 1965 called The Discovery of Time.

Titus Lucretius Carus (d. ~55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher and tackled the age-of-the-earth controversy. Toulmin & Goodfield epically fail to reveal that Lucretius acclaimed a youthful world in their discussion of him. They also suppose that fossils and ancient volcanoes pose a problem for young earth supporters. On the contrary, Lagerstätte—extremely well-preserved fossils such as the Qingjiang biota—and massive volcanism are in line with catastrophism.

Near the beginning of their book, Toulmin & Goodfield rightfully quote hymn writer William Cowper (d. 1800) who wrote:

Some write a narrative of wars, and feats
Of heroes little known ; and call the rant
A history …
Some drill and bore
The solid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn.
That he who made it and reveal’d its date
To Moses, was mistaken in its age,
Some, more acute, and more industrious still,
Contrive creation; travel nature up …
Great contest follows, and much learned dust
Involves the combatants; each claiming truth,
And truth disclaiming both.

One of my fave Cowper gems is “The Retired Cat”:Black cat sleeping on a blanket, photo credit: Circe Denyer

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A poet’s cat, sedate and grave
As poet well could wish to have,
Was much addicted to inquire
For nooks to which she might retire,
And where, secure as mouse in chink,
She might repose, or sit and think …
Forth skipp’d the cat, not now replete
As erst with airy self-conceit,
Nor in her own fond apprehension
A theme for all the world’s attention …
Beware of too sublime a sense
Of your own worth and consequence.
The man who dreams himself so great,
And his importance of such weight,
That all around in all that’s done
Must move and act for him alone,
Will learn in school of tribulation
The folly of his expectation.

Jay Hall

Written by Jay Hall

Jay Hall has been an origins activist since the 1970’s. Hall is Assistant Mathematics Professor at Howard College in Big Spring, Texas. He has an M.S. in Mathematics and has 53 credit hours of Science courses in various disciplines. He has written Calculus is Easy and his new book YES – Young Earth Science defends a young earth from History, Geology, Biology and Philosophy. Search yes jay hall on Google or Amazon to find the book.

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