@Sean Pitman: I could respond in detail to each of …

Comment on Revisiting “Desert Dunes” in the Fossil Record by Robert T. Johnston.

@Sean Pitman:
I could respond in detail to each of these points, and we could split this conversation into dozens, each one many pages in length. By doing so, we’d exhaust ourselves and our readers! And, 1000 pages later, you’d probably still be accusing me of only studying the trees (or even grove) and not the forest if I didn’t address every objection/argument you raised. You could probably make the same argument against me. So, rather than an endless game of whack-a-mole, let’s wrap this up (for now, at least). As I said at the outset of my report, and repeat here, I’m not an expert in this field, just an eager learner with a career background in science. I encourage everyone interested in this subject to investigate for themselves. I don’t think it is possible to do this for all topics, and so yes, a certain degree of trust in the work of others is involved, but I’m OK with that, provided especially that I can review their data and interpretations and think if they seem reasonable or not. Science is not an evil, demonic enterprise, out to deceive the world.

If we were to continue the discussion, we could explore how your precipitation scheme can explain carbonate mounds being localized to springs (which I did not say were required in interdunes, simply that there is evidence for springs with associated carbonate mounds in some interdunes) rather than homogeneously deposited; how trees under your scheme are directionally oriented on one dune yet directionally oriented in a different direction in a nearby dune; how fast you think a tree can become waterlogged and sink upright (since you propose this happened before subsequent deposits of thousands of feet of sediment above upright trees); how animals survived multiple wet/dry cycles (leaving tracks) in what you now say were “hot” Flood waters (even in the ark—did they have an air conditioner?); what happened to the massive quantities of cyclically evaporated water (by your scheme); how some regions could be more saturated if the drying process was Flood run-off rather than evaporation; your flip-flopping on syneresis cracks vs. mudcracks (dehydration); how you get water heavily saturated with carbonates in a worldwide flood to the point of heavy precipitation while the flood is ongoing (if the carbonates were from dissolution of rock, explain how supersaturation was achieved; if by dissolution of CO2, do you think atmospheric CO2 suddenly increased or Henry’s Constant was not constant, or ionic strength or pH changed, or what?); how moqui marbles were exposed by erosion maybe hundreds of years after the Flood even though creationists argue that the Flood created the canyons in which the marbles lie exposed; how many tidal pinstripe laminations you think the Flood would have produced (2/day, or something else?), and how that compares to the number of laminations observed in the Navajo and other formations; how you can have trackways produced on “wet or damp sand” at a time when those dunes are undergoing rapid foreset growth via an underwater process under intense current flows (and no, your quotation didn’t address this issue, since flow rates required for dune formation are different than flow rates required for the rate of dune migration implied by the rapid foreset deposition argument); why you dispute Loope’s paper (not poster; and I don’t think McLarty was familiar with this work, nor were the trackways we observed at Moccasin Mountain, for example, believed to be formed under dry conditions); why you insist on introducing less well understood genetic and biological arguments rather than sticking with the geological focus of this discussion (and why you are using a uniformitarian assumption, “detrimental mutation rate”, in your argument!).

Or, we could explore theological issues, such as your troubling conclusion that if (your interpretation of) the Bible is incorrect, then the Bible is a lie and Jesus is a liar. We could explore what evidence we have of the Spirit’s presence today, including spiritual gifts (a family member briefly received the gift of tongues so that she could participate in a foreign-language communion service and understand and sing in a language she didn’t know; I have no reason to dismiss her account. You may read many other accounts involving spiritual gifts; EGW wrote about healings after prayer/anointing, for example. Do these experiences not count for anything if life existed on Earth for millions of years?). Or, we could explore how the “problem of evil” or God’s apparent non-intervention is not a problem unique to an evolutionary view, nor adequately resolved by blaming it all on Satan. (Did you volunteer for your role in the “theatre of the universe”? I didn’t think so. Neither did I). We could also explore the ecclesiastical questions, but anyone who has studied church history in-depth will see that Adventists have changed important doctrines repeatedly, often through a gradual change process. If the mission is proclaiming truth, then there can be unity in mission (and organization) even when specific interpretations are not agreed upon. It is messier, but so are democracies vs. totalitarian regimes. (I have never been a denominational employee, btw, but having spent a career in a Fortune 500 company I can assure you that there can be numerous conflicting points of view and even competing products and business units, yet the organization needn’t “dissolve into irrelevant nothingness” but can thrive and grow. In fact, companies that insist on uniformity and discourage internal competition are the ones that are most likely to become irrelevant, succumbing to EXTERNAL competitors instead of allowing healthy internal competition to encourage innovation and product replacement cycles).

I promised to let you have the last word, if you chose to respond to my last statement, and here I’ve already written 3 paragraphs in response. I apologize for slipping up (just a bit! LOL) here. I do need to get on to other things, so will leave it here. I think we have both presented enough information on both sides that readers who want to dig into this further have background information, including key references and a summary of the issues in dispute, to enable them to investigate further for themselves. Perhaps I can explore another of these issues/questions in detail in a future paper, but that will need to wait for other projects I’m committed to presently.

Meantime, I can appreciate the limitations on travel imposed by small children. On the other hand, if your children are an appropriate age and as inquisitive and intelligent as I suspect they are (genetics being what it is), I suspect they might rather enjoy the Talking Rocks trip. In 2017 we had 2 young children with us (I’m not sure of ages, maybe 8 and 10?) and they were great to have along and seemed to enjoy themselves and participated in discussions with some interesting questions and observations.

All the best,

Robert

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