Posts Tagged ‘geosynclinal’

This is a re-post from:


To illustrate what theories other than Darwinian evolution do when they’re worn out and ready to die, our reader John in Kansas City, MO, had this comment on Casey’s article “For Intelligent-Design Advocates, Lessons from the Debate over Continental Drift“:

I graduated with a degree in Geology in 1962. My historical geology book that had a 1960 copyright explains that there are two things all scientists agree upon, one is evolutionary theory and the other is geosynclinal theory. The latter is the idea that mountains emerge from offshore troughs that accumulate tons of sediments and then snap like a rubber band to throw up giant mountain chains. I recall visiting the Rocky Mountains on a geology summer camp in Wyoming in 1962 and observing a part of the Lewis Overthrust, which seemed quite inconsistent with that theory.Ten years later the entire paradigm changed because of the overwhelming evidence supporting plate tectonics.

Why hasn’t the same kind of evidence thrown out random mutation and natural selection? The answer is that evolution deals with a religious issue — where do we come from and what is the nature of life, while the cause of physical systems like mountains does not. It makes no religious difference whether mountains come from shifting plates or geosynclines. It does make a religious difference if life comes from mind rather than matter.

Here is the quote from the book. I still have it on my shelf:

The geosynclinal theory is one of the great unifying principles of geology. In many ways its role in geology is similar to that of evolution that serves to integrate the many branches of biological sciences. The geosynclinal theory is of fundamental importance to sedimentation, petrology, geomorphology, ore deposits, structural geology, geophysics, and practically all the minor branches of geological science. Just as the doctrine of organic evolution is universally accepted among thinking biologists, so also the geosynclinal origin of the major mountain ranges is an established principle in geology.[Thomas Clark and Colin Stearn, The Geological Evolution of North America: A Regional Approach to Historical Geology, p.43 (Ronald Press, 1960)]

Theories come, theories go. Except when, having exceeded their natural lifespan, they cling to a false life that keeps them out of the grave and moving about but still desiccated, cadaverous and weary, a kind of undead version of a scientific idea. If it were a character in horror and fantasy literature, Darwinian evolutionary theory would be called a lich.