The K/T Extinction Event and the Return to Catastrophism
Most mainstream geologists were catastrophists prior to Darwin and Lyell and the one big catastrophe that explained the upper layers of the geologic record was The Great Flood of Noah. But that all changed with Charles Lyell (a lawyer) who introduced Uniformitarianism to Geology, i.e. “The Present is the Key to the Past.” But at least two men — Immanuel Velikovsky with Worlds in Collision and Henry Morris with The Genesis Flood were writing about catastrophism again in the 1950’s and 60’s. They were ignored by many but they persisted in spite of the ridicule. Then in 1980, mainstream science finally woke up and published Alvarez’s paper on the K/T Impact. (K/T means Cretacious/Tertiary and refers to the boundary … Picture credit: Wiki “K/T Extinction”). Nature had this to say about it this week …
The science of the K/T impact (K is the customary abbreviation for Cretaceous) began in a more modest way, with attempts to get a sense of how quickly a thin layer of clays in the Italian Apennines had been deposited. No one foresaw that it would change how scientists and others see the world, and reintroduce catastrophism to the Earth sciences. Explanations that ignore the once-canonical principles of uniformitarianism — the gradualist paradigm in which the present is the key to the past — are now rife in studies of the history of Earth.
(Nature, 6 September 2007, p. 2)
In other words, “Dear Mr. Lyell … Thanks, but no thanks! Have a nice day.” Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell will ultimately go down in history as men whose theories were wrong. That’s not to say that both men didn’t contribute something. Small parts of their theories are useful, for example, the principles of uniformitarianism are roughly applicable in the post-Flood era and microevolution by natural selection does occur. But in the main, their theories were wrong and thus not very useful. In science, theories that are most useful are those which most closely approach the truth about reality … and, as it turns out the Bible is the most reliable source of truth about reality that the world has ever known … not only is it a reliable guidebook for life from the Author of Life, but it is an excellent source for scientific hypotheses as well.