“In the end, the correct timescale [for the marine
sediment cores] was a matter of co-ordinating isotope
stratigraphy with the results from palaeomagnetism,
applying the date found in basalt layers for the
Matuyama-Brunhes boundary to cores with known
magnetic stratigraphy (as in Shackleton & Opdyke
1973). The agreement of dating by that method and by
Milankovitch tuning (urged by Shackleton et al. 1990)
is the strongest argument yet for the correctness of
Milankovitch theory [emphasis added]”
When one considers the revision to the age of the
Brunhes-Matuyama reversal boundary, Berger’s statement
is simply jaw-dropping. Recall that the Pacemaker paper
used Shackleton and Opdyke’s age estimates for prominent
features in the δ18O record to set up the timescales used in
the analysis. But these age estimates were obtained using
an assumed age of 700 ka for the B-M reversal boundary.
However, the 1990 paper by Shackleton et al. is one of the
papers that argued that the age of the B-M reversal needed
to be raised to 780 ka!
30 Berger may very well be correct
when he says that the agreement of dates obtained by the
methods in those two papers is quite good. But there is an
outrageous logical contradiction hiding beneath this apparent
agreement. The paper by Shackleton and Opdyke assumed an
age of just 700 ka for the B–M reversal boundary, while the
1990 paper by Shackleton et al. required that the age for this
same reversal be 780 ka. Moreover, uncertainties for such age
estimates of the B–M reversal tend to be 10 ka, implying
that the two different age estimates are truly discordant.
If Berger is right, and this is indeed the strongest argument
yet for Milankovitch climate forcing, then it is probably safe
to say that the theory is in serious trouble!
Fifty years of failure
Despite the many theoretical problems with the Milankovitch theory, it has been widely accepted because of the
results of time series and/or spectral analysis.
32, 33 The results
of these analyses are the only real argument in favour of
the theory. Yet, additional analyses of paleoclimate data
invariably result in contradictions to the theory.
For instance, a decade before publication of the Pacemaker paper, Cesare Emiliani published another paper in
Science that seemed to show extremely convincing evidence
for the Milankovitch theory, also obtained from seafloor
34 Emiliani concluded that δ18O ‘wiggles’ in
the sediment cores were primarily temperature indicators,
with as much as 70% of the variation in the δ18O ‘wiggles’
resulting from temperature variations. Yet this interpretation
of the δ18O data is now generally out of favour. Most
uniformitarian paleoclimatologists now believe that the
δ18O variations are mainly indicators of changes in global
ice volume, rather than temperature per se.
Emiliani’s ‘confirmation’ of the Milankovitch theory
seemed to show near-perfect correlation (a correlation
coefficient of 0.997!) between the depths of supposed
temperature minima (indicated by maximum δ18O values)
and the calculated times at which 65° N summer insolation
were a minimum. However, Emiliani’s confirmation of
Milankovitch climate forcing was heavily dependent on
data from a single sediment core.
Moreover, uniformitarian scientists later revised
Emiliani’s timescale, increasing it by about 25%, to reflect
231Pa and 230Th measurements made on Caribbean core
V12-122.36 Hence, this apparent confirmation of the
Milankovitch theory was soon abandoned and forgotten,
despite Emiliani’s apparently impressive correlation. Could
this perhaps be a lesson to Christians who are tempted to
embrace the latest claims of evolutionary scientists, due to
results that seem outwardly impressive, despite the fact that
those claims contradict Scripture?
Ironically, this timescale revision resulted in a
new age assignment of 127 ± 6 ka for the MIS 6-5 (or
Termination II) boundary, an age estimate that was then
used in the Pacemaker paper.
5, 36 As noted earlier, the 1976
Pacemaker paper was seen as providing strong evidence
for the Milankovitch theory. Yet we have already observed
that this apparent confirmation of the theory relied on
an age estimate of 700 ka for the Brunhes–Matuyama
magnetic reversal boundary, an age no longer accepted
by uniformitarian scientists. In fact, the age of the B–M
reversal boundary has slowly ‘crept upwards’ over the
years. Sometime prior to 1979, it was revised to 710 ka.
By 1979, this age had been revised still again to 730 ka,
due to a revision in the K-Ar decay constants.
31, 37 Yet, in the
1990s, uniformitarian scientist arbitrarily revised the age
of this reversal boundary to 780 ka, overruling the K-Ar
age for this boundary, in an attempt to reconcile wiggles
in other sediment cores with the theory.
7, 8 It was only
after uniformitarians ‘needed’ this higher age that it was
ostensibly ‘confirmed’ by radioisotope dating.
Of course, this revised age for the B-M reversal boundary
undermines the original Pacemaker paper results. So it
seems that history has repeated itself. Just as Emiliani’s
apparent confirmation of Milankovitch climate forcing
was overturned by a subsequent age revision, the apparent
‘Pacemaker’ confirmation of Hays, Imbrie, and Shackleton
have been overturned in a similar manner—although secular
paleoclimatologists seem unwilling to acknowledge this!
This overview reveals a pattern: uniformitarian
scientists obtain what they believe is a confirmation of the
Milankovitch theory, but contradictions with the theory
eventually emerge as new data are examined.