Fossils show flawed climate assumptions, according to articles in ScienceDaily 24 April 2011, Science, 2011; vol. 332 p455 DOI: 10.1126/science.1201182 and Science vol. 332 p 430 DOI: 10.1126/science.1205253. Mark Clementz of University of Wyoming, and colleagues have studied oxygen isotopes in the tooth enamel of fossil sea cows to find out more about climate during the Eocene period (usually dated as 56 to 34 million years ago). Isotopes are variations of elements that have different atomic weights. Most oxygen has a weight of 16, but there is an isotope with weight of 18. The proportion of oxygen 18 in water varies with temperature of the water, and the amounts of oxygen 18 in fossils of sea creatures has been used as an indicator of ancient climate. Scientists have assumed that that oxygen isotope composition of seawater in the past was similar to that of today, with high values at low latitudes and low values at high latitudes.

However, the researchers found the oxygen 18 content in the sea cow fossils were lower than they expected for animals that live in low latitudes, indicating the climate was much wetter in these regions in the past. Clementz commented: “This created a very different distribution in the oxygen isotopic composition of seawater for this time interval, which would, in turn, significantly impact estimates of paleoclimate and paleotemperature in the distant past. Scientists have used this assumption of the oxygen isotopic values of seawater to constrain temperature estimates for the past”. ScienceDaily says this a bit more clearly: “In their paper, Clementz and Sewall show that the assumption may be flawed, which could mean that previous estimates of water temperature are incorrect”.

Science also adds “Although the global physiography of the Eocene was broadly similar to that of the modern Earth, the climate was vastly different. Polar Regions lacked major ice sheets and were home to cold-intolerant plants and animals, and tropical oceans steamed away at temperatures approaching 40°C. These differences were driven at least in part by atmospheric CO2 concentrations about five times the preindustrial value”.


Editorial Comment: Here is another failure of the thinking which is widely held among researchers, i.e. the assumption that whatever is happening in the present also happened in the past in the same way (uniformitarianism). This assumption is considered to be a scientific approach to looking at the world, but it is not. The scientific method can only directly observe the present. Much of the current climate “science” involves assumptions about the past – a field which is humiliatingly beyond the limitations of science. What happened in the past may leave evidence that can be examined in the present, but to really know what, how or why it happened in the past requires additional information from observers who were there and here’s the humbling crunch for most scientists. There was only one observer who has been there since the beginning – the Creator, God. However, uniformitarian assumptions allow people to ignore the Creator’s testimony, as recorded by Moses in Genesis, and substitute their own ideas.

Charles Lyell, the man responsible for bringing uniformitarian thinking into mainstream science, made it clear that his purpose was to “free the science (of geology) from Moses”, and therefore remove the Creator’s authority over scientists. One of the scientists most influenced by Lyell, by his own admission, was Charles Darwin. Read about the influence of Lyell on Darwin and his theory in the Creation Research article The Descent of a Man. Download PDF here.

Evidence News 5 May 2011