by David C. Wise
Written February 1990
Originally posted in the Science & Religion Library on CompuServe
********************* > #: 23991 S15/SCIENCE & RELIGION > 08-Mar-90 22:43:51 > Sb: CREATION/EVOLUTION > Fm: Paul Ekdahl 73317,1727 > To: DAVID C. WISE 72747,3317 > ..when creationist and practicing geologist Glenn R. Morton presented > some of the vast wealth of geological evidence against Flood Geology,< > I'm interested in seeing this 'vast wealth'. BTW... Isn't the different > strata 'sedimentary rocks ' [(2. Geol. Of or pertaining to rocks formed from > sediment or from transported fragments deposited in water.) THE AMERICAN > HERITAGE DICTIONARY] > David... are 'sedimentary rocks' found around the world? > Paul Paul: Sorry for the delay, but I've been very busy and there is no end in sight. So I have to answer this one very briefly, first with a more complete recounting of Morton at the 1986 International Conference on Creationism (ICC). Since his report was on the ICC itself, Robert Schadewald did not go into great depth on this single subject. However, he did have conversations (and breakfast) with Glenn R. Morton, a practicing petroleum geologist (area geophysicist for Arco Exploration Co.) and a staunch creationist who "want[s] an earth as young as [he] can get it," but who realizes that it is much older than mere thousands of years. Morton has published numerous articles critical of Flood Geology in the _Creation Research Society Quarterly_. His paper, "Geological Challenges to a Young Earth," is a devastating rebuttal to Flood Geology. On the day before Morton's presentation, Schadewald was trying to explain some of the geological evidence against Flood Geology to a creationist physicist (who, like most conference attendees, had no understanding of the scientific ideas that he has rejecting) when he asked Morton to help out. Morton obliged with a capsule version of his presentation -- this "capsule" took an hour. Schadewald writes: "As conventional geologists know, the evidence against Flood Geology comes from everywhere. Morton cited the Green River shale, which has bird tracks in many of its millions of layers. There are too many fossils; microscopic fossils of diatoms are found in beds up to three kilometers thick. Many limestones look just like shallow-water deposits being laid down today, burrows and all. Seismic data shows ranges of mesas like we see in the west today -- buried in sedimentary rock. Using oil well drilling logs, geologists can map ancient rivers -- channeled deltas, sand crescents, and so forth -- now deeply buried in sedimentary rock. Pollen grains found in salt deposits prove they are evaporites, in clear contradiction to Henry Morris' claims. And so on, for an hour. Morton's job gives him access to a tremendous library of seismic profiles and well logs, and he used these and other graphics to illustrate his points." The entire ICR geology staff (John Morris, Steve Austin, and David McQueen) was present the next day for Morton's presentation. During the question period, Austin criticized Morton for attacking a 25-year-old publication and then implicitly repudiated _The Genesis Flood_ himself. But the fun started when John Morris identified himself as a petroleum geologist and accused Morton of sounding like an anticreationist and told him to quit raising problems and start solving them. Schadewald writes: "Morton chopped him off at the ankles. Two questions, said Morton: 'What oil company did you work for?' Well, uh, actually Morris never worked for an oil company, but he once taught petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma. Second, 'How old is the earth?' 'If the earth is more than 10,000 years old then Scripture has no meaning.' Morton then said that he had hired several graduates of Christian Heritage College, and that all of them suffered severe crises of faith. They were utterly unprepared to face the geological facts every petroleum geologist deals with on a daily basis. Morton neglected to add that ICR is much better known for ignoring or denying problems than for working on them." Notice that they suffered severe crises of FAITH, not of GEOLOGY! This should not come unexpected, considering Dr. Henry Morris' teachings about geological evidence, teachings which the ICR lives by: "No geological difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and necessary inferences of Scripture." (_Biblical Cosmology_, page 33) "The data of geology, in our view, should be interpreted in light of Scripture, rather than distorting Scripture to accommodate current geological philosophy." (_Science, Scripture, and the Young Earth_, page 6) In short, if it don't fit our theology, then either make it fit or ignore it. To that, his son and heir apparent, John Morris, has added (and many at the ICR seem to concur and actively teach): if it refutes the smallest part of our theology, then it disproves our entire theology. No wonder those students suffered so at seeing their faith crumble before them; this is one of the more distasteful and destructive consequences of the "Dark Side of the Farce." Also speaking at the 1986 ICC was Harvard paleontology graduate student Kurt Wise (no relation, I'm sure), who surveyed what is known about the speed of formation of the three major kinds of rock. While he found that many kinds of sedimentary rock can form rapidly, igneous rock is another matter. While a small chunk of granite can conceivably form in a short time, many massive bodies are known, such as huge granite batholiths, some of them 10 kilometers in diameter, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Under the most favorable conditions, such formations would take about 100,000 years to cool, instead of the 6000 to 8000 years required by Flood Geology. Metamorphic rock is worse since it must first be formed as sedimentary rock, be heated, and then cool off. During the question period, geophysicist John Baumgardner pointed out that Wise's figures had been very conservative and that much more time would be needed for rocks to form. He also offered shear forces as a source of heat and pressure for metamorphic rock, but Wise countered that many metamorphic rocks show no signs of shear. NOTE: The new president of the Bible-Science Association (BSA), Keith Hodges, is trying to clean up the integrity and image of the BSA; the quality of their science has traditionally been very lacking, to say the very least. In the process, he has replaced practically the entire BSA staff and brought in Kurt Wise and Charles Thaxton who figure prominently in the re-organization. Creationist-watchers at BSA's 1989 National Conference on Biblical Origins voiced encouragement at the quality and honesty of Wise and Thaxton's presentations and surprise at the BSA leadership's new willingness and desire to hear criticism and to try to correct the problems raised. Morton had mentioned the Green River formation, which covers tens of thousands of square miles in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. It consists in part of finely stratified shales, 600 meters thick with, in one place, about twenty million varves. Each varve is a thin layer of fine light sediment and an even thinner layer of finer dark sediment and represents a single year's deposit into a fresh-water lake (the light layers, containing pollen and spores, were apparently laid down during the summer and the dark layers, consisting of clay particles, in the winter). The extremely fine sediment that formed these layers require very still water to settle out; even slight turbulence keeps them in suspension. The same kinds of varves are presently forming in many still lakes around the world. This shale formed over millions of years. The width of the layers vary in cycles of 11-1/2 years (the sunspot cycle), 50 years (unknown), and 12,000 years (precession of the equinoxes). That the 50-year cycle cannot be explained helps to show that they were not imagined. Morris tries to explain away the Green River formation by claiming that the varves were formed by "a complex of shallow turbidity currents [flows of mud-laden water]." This means that there would have had to have been forty million such currents, perfectly alternating between light and dark, during the year-long Flood. Each and every one of these currents had to have allowed their extremely fine sediments to settle out (remember, any turbulence would prevent this). If these currents persisted throughout the entire Flood, then they needed to have perfectly formed three layers over tens of thousands of square miles every second; if they persisted over a shorter period of time, then each layer had to form that much more rapidly. And how could those birds have made all those tracks in many of the layers with all this extremely rapid layering going on? One major problem with "creation science" is the repeated need to invoke miracles. There's also the problem of desert deposits, which require both time and dry land -- neither of which the Flood provides. The Old Red Sandstone extends throughout northern Europe and has outcroppings in Greenland and North America. It looks like a collection of fossilized desert dunes from a semi-arid continent. They contain typical playas (desert salt-pan deposits complete with cubic salt crystals), fossil mud cracks, and fossil lungfish. Extensive areas in this formation contain cross-bedding and sand-blasted pebbles such as are found only in modern desert sand dunes and in no other modern sediment. Such features could not have formed in the Flood. And along the edge of this continent, the sandstones interfinger with marine sediments, showing that the shoreline had advanced and retreated several times over an extended period of time. There are many other examples of desert deposits, such as the Coconino Sandstones in the Grand Canyon, the Navajo Sandstones in Utah, the Mississippian Lodgepole Formation, and the Amsden Formation. Even the bottom of the Mediterranean shows sun-baked mud cracks, wind-blown sand dunes, desert-style alluvial fans, and evaporite deposits. Evaporite deposits present a problem for Flood Geology because a deluge would prevent dissolved salts from precipitating out of the water. The concentration of salts in sea water is so low that thousands of cubic kilometers of sea water would have to evaporate to form a typical evaporate deposit. Every model for evaporite formation requires time. Many evaporate deposits also contain varves, indicating repeated and periodic differences in the environment -- as in seasonal changes. For example, the Castilian evaporate formation in Texas contains over 260,000 pairs of varves, indicating repeated and regular alternation of the brine concentration, meaning that the formation probably took 260,000 years to form. Traditional evaporite theory has evaporates forming in shallow lagoons in arid regions, wherein the salts precipitated out of the evaporating water in the reverse order in which they dissolved (and in the order in which they are found in evaporates). Alternating rainy (diluting the lagoon water) and dry seasons (concentrating it) can account very nicely for the varves. The ICR tries to account for evaporite deposits by saying that the water was boiled away by volcanic action (based on work by Russian geophysicist Sozansky). But that does not account for the varves unless we assume 260,000 separate eruptions separated by enough time for the salt crystals to settle. All within less than a year. Also, Sozansky claims that evaporate deposits are free of organic matter, whereas the Castilian evaporates contain a lot of plankton and other organic matter. Above and below the desert deposits are sedimentary layers formed by water, indicating different periods of submersion with extended dry periods inbetween. Also, chemical analysis shows that some of the Grand Canyon's sedimentary layers were deposited by sea water and others by fresh water, indicating that the entire Flood waters had to have alternated repeatedly between being completely replaced with sea water, then with fresh water, then with sea water again. Coral reefs present a similar problem as varves do. It takes time for coral to grow; 1.0 to 2.5 cm per year under ideal conditions, but conditions are seldom ideal. It takes even longer for reefs to form, only millimeters per year, as old coral is broken up and cemented together. This means that present reefs needed tens of thousands of years to grow, not the small fraction that Flood Geology provides. For example, the Eniwetok atoll consists of over a thousand cubic kilometers of coral reef rock. The deepest core sample taken reveals coral as thick as 1380 meters. If we assume an extremely generous growth rate of 1 cm/year, then it would take AT LEAST 138,000 years of Eniwetok to have formed. Not only did it obviously take much longer, but there are very clear and obvious gaps in the coral which show that the reef had at times been raised above the water level and had been weathered (i.e. eroded) away. Scientists estimate that it took millions of years for the Eniwetok atoll to form; Flood Geology provides no more than 8,000 years. Coral requires clear, non-turbulent water to grow; the Flood provides neither, but rather would have killed off all the coral. Fossil reefs clearly look like modern reefs, not debris thrown together by a single Flood. In some places, as in the Randow lake reefs, where the reefs intertongue with sedimentary rocks, we effectively have one reef buried above another. A core sample drilled 332 meters into the ground in Pearl Harbor revealed 15 coral reefs separated by fossil soils, coal, and beach rock. Elsewhere in Hawaii, we have reef limestone covering volcanic ash covering trees buried where they were growing covering another layer of reef limestone. Ocean terraces, which look like stair steps, represent old shore lines and are found on several tropical seacoasts. They often contain dead coral reefs, many of which took thousands of years to form and each of which had to have formed at a different time. The greatest abundance of fossils are marine fossils, which contradicts the creationist claim that the seas formed as an aftermath of the flood (a very minor point, this). But instead of individual fossils jumbled together by raging flood waters, we often find entire ecosystems buried in place where they had lived. Moreover, these ecosystems are superpositioned above each other, such that each ecosystem developed on top of the burial site of the preceeding one. That means that between these numerous successive burials, there had to have been enough time for the new ecosystem to form, be buried, and have the next ecosystem grow on top of it. According to Flood Geology, this happened repeatedly, all within a single year. The Flood does not provide the needed time. Another case of superpositioned fossils is found at Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone Park, where a nearby volcano buried 27 forests one atop the other. After an eruption buried the first forest and the exposed parts of the trees rotted away, a new forest grew. Then this forest suffered the same fate and the cycle repeated. According to Flood Geology's timetable, all 27 generations of forest had to have grown within a single year. Instead, scientists estimate that this entire formation took over 20,000 years to form (the MINIMUM time required since the oldest trees of each layer were about 500 years old and it takes about 200 years for igneous rock to become soil). Flood Geology tries to claim that all these trees washed up here and were buried where they had beached. But beached trees all lie on their sides and many of these are standing upright. Also, uprooted trees have incomplete root systems and the upright trunks here all have complete root systems, indicating that they had been buried where they grew. Furthermore, the ground level of the forest floor can be determined for each layer. Flood geologist Harry Coffin has claimed that tree rings within a given fossil forest layer do not cross correlate. For one thing, this implies variance in rainfall thus refuting the creationist claim that there was no rain before the Flood (minor point). However, if all these trees had supposedly died within the same year, then they should ALL cross correlate THROUGHOUT THE FORMATION. Another major problem for Flood Geology is the sheer overabundance of fossils. Since Flood Geology says that all fossils were formed by the Flood, that means that all those plants and animals must have all lived at the same time. If that is the case, then we should be able to calculate their population density. First, we need to know the area we are working with. The total surface area of the earth is about 126,318,650,900 acres. Assuming a land area of .3 that of the total earth, we have a land area of about 37,895,595,270 acres. Even though "creation science" teaches that there were no seas before the Flood, this is contradicted by the overwhelming preponderance of marine fossils -- in short, there had to be seas for those fossil animals to have lived. In Henry Morris' _The Genesis Flood_, he mentions the existence of numerous fossil graveyards, particularly the Karroo formation in South Africa. This formation contains an estimated "eight hundred thousand million skeletons of vertebrate animals" ranging in size for that of a lizard to that of a cow (with an average size of a fox). Dividing the land area evenly among these 800 billion vertebrates yields about 21 animals per acre from this formation alone. If we make the conservative assumption that this formation accounts for one percent of all the land vertebrate fossils, then we get about 2100 animals per acre (or about 20 sq.ft. per vertebrate, from shrew to dinosaur) which is getting kind of crowded. Less conservative estimates result in even greater crowding. The crowding becomes far worse when we consider that the conditions conducive to fossilization are very rare, so that the fossil record is estimated to contain only about one-millionth of all organisms that had ever lived. Of course, this is minor compared with the quantity of marine fossils. Some rocks (e.g. chalk & limestone) are almost 100% marine fossils. Marine fossils have been estimated to account for .01 percent of the volume of the rock. If they were all resurrected at once (after all, they all got buried at the same time) then they would cover the entire earth to a depth of at least 1.5 feet. There is not enough energy coming into the biosphere to support all that biomass and under the vapor canopy proposed by Flood Geology, there would have been even less. Then there's the sequence of the fossils. From the very beginning of geology, it has been obvious that the different strata contain different fossil remains. Furthermore, the deeper we go into the lower strata, the more unlike modern species the fossils become. Also, the deeper we go into the lower strata, the fewer fossil species still exist today. Indeed, most fossil species and genera are extinct and very few modern species are found as fossils. For example, according to data from Lyell (1854): Percentages of Tertiary species still living: Fossil Alive % of Fossil species today species still alive ------- ----- ------------------- Recent Pliocene 226 216 96% Older Pliocene 569 238 42% Miocene 1021 176 17% Eocene 1238 42 3% ICR tries to explain the fossil sequence in various ways. First they say that the organisms had all lived at different elevations -- a translation of the "Ladder of Life" onto a topographical map with groupings ranging from marine organisms at the lowest elevations up to mammals at the highest -- and that they all died at their assigned elevations and were buried there. This "victim habitat" apologetic falls apart immediately due to the many cases of marine fossils being found above land fossils. Then the ICR continues its "Ladder of Life" thinking by saying that the more advanced organisms were faster, more agile, and could see the Flood coming, so they high-tailed it for high ground. Hence the fossil sequence is determined by the upward mobility of the victims (does this make them the original yuppies?). Not only does such mammals as the giant ground sloth cast doubt on this explanation, but also plants. Flowering plants do not appear until the early Creataceous; does this mean that they had uprooted themselves and headed for the hills? (one humorous poster does depict this) And there are still the "primitive" organisms found in the more recent strata; why could they have made the trek, especially the clams? Finally, inspired perhaps by Morris' Ph.D. in Hydraulic Engineering, there is the hydrodynamic sorting apologetic, in which the order of burial is dependent upon the size and weight of the victim. This is directly contradicted by the fossil record. As Morris' own training should have told him, an object's hydrodynamic drag is directly proportional to its drag coefficient and its cross-sectional area, so objects with the same density and the same drag coefficient moving throught a fluid should be sorted according to size (this is used all the time by mining engineers to separate some ores). This means, for example, that all small trilobites should be in higher strata than the larger ones, which is not at all what we do find. Even though the ICR tries to further explain the much higher placement of the vertebrates with with the bloating of their decaying bodies, this does not explain the order in which their fossils have been found. Another minor problem that the fossil sequence offers is the distribution of human and hominid remains -- namely only in the more recent rocks, which Flood Geologists associate with the highest elevations. But human populations traditionally concentrate themselves in the lower elevations, especially along the sea coast, which Flood Geologists associate with the lower rock strata that geologists consider to be much older. Not only are human remains not found in these older strata, but neither are any human artifacts. If humans had indeed escaped the earlier Flood waters by fleeing to higher ground, then they not only had to succeed in evacuating the ENTIRE human population, but they also had to have dug up ALL their graveyards, dismantled ALL their dwellings, including the stone foundations, and carried ALL of it uphill as they fled the rapidly advancing Flood waters, leaving absolutely no trace whatsoever that they had ever been, let alone lived, in the lower elevations. This idea is clearly ridiculous, yet what alternative does Flood Geology offer us? Interestingly, this tendency for human populations to concentrate in the lowlands and along the coast could very well account the near-universal existence of flood stories probably resulting the only true single world-wide flood we know of (see the end of this file). Another problem Flood Geology has is in trying to explain the survival of certain species (along with the extinction of the vast majority of all species that have ever existed) and their geographical distribution after the Flood. We can only consider this as a minor point since the "scientific" "creation model" doesn't really deal with it, leaving that to the "biblical" "creation model." One of Wendell Bird's earlier sophistic contributions to the ICR was a pair of lists (published in _Acts & Facts_ December 1978) that delineated and "differentiated" between the two "different" "creation models": the "Scientific Creation Model" (SCM) and the "Biblical Creation Model" (BCM). Since then, the ICR has used this list to routinely dismiss and ignore their opponents' criticisms of "creation science" by saying that they are attacking the BCM only and ignoring the SCM. Fortunately, Bird had the audacity to publish both lists side-by-side, thus easily allowing the reader to compare the two lists with each other. Even the most casual reader can immediately see that, point-for-point, both lists are virtually identical with purely cosmetic differences from superficial rewordings. I have appended a copy of these lists at the end of this file. Even though the SCM does not elaborate on how anything could have survived the Flood, from Bird's lists and from the ICR literature we see that the BCM clearly identifies Noah's Ark as the mechanism. Of course, this opens up the usual cans of worms and, of course, the ICR debaters complain that here they want to talk science and their opponents keep attacking the BCM. However, if we take a serious look at Noah's Ark, we do encounter a number of problems and discrepancies. First, since all "kinds" of organisms (i.e. the ubiquitous "basic created kinds") alive today lived before the Flood and Noah was commanded to take specimens of every "kinds" onto the ark, then the fossil record should consist mainly of present species. Instead, nearly all fossil species and genera are extinct today and very few modern species and genera are to be found as fossils. Just the logistics are incredible. Somehow, reproductive pairs of every species alive (and those that became extinct in historical time) had to be rounded up and brought on board the Ark along with enough food for all of them. Somehow, not only the Ark itself, but all plants and animals aboard, even the most delicate ones, had to survive the incredible forces of the Flood waters. Then once it beached, all these plants and animal had to be transported to their new homes on ALL the continents and islands throughout the world in very specific regions. Since a number of animals depend on mature trees for their food and life cycles, some of them on very specific trees, then those trees had to have been brought along on the Ark, greatly increasing the crowding onboard. Then after landing, Noah and his family had to cart all these trees throughout the world to replant them and other vegetation indigenous to very specific regions. There is also the problem of communicative diseases and parasites, most of which can only survive in very specific living hosts. This means that the Ark had to have been a floating pest-house. And if each pair of passengers contracted their diseases and developed immunity to them, then the diseases should have died out for lack of suseptible hosts. And as for the FATAL diseases -- well what can I say? One interesting creationist idea to alleviate overcrowding on the Ark is to point out that not every species had to be onboard, just one breeding pair from every "basic created kind" (BCK). Each BCK had an incredible amount of variation built into its genes so that it could very quickly adapt to new environments and create new species through micro-evolution. Yes, "creation scientists" do indeed advocate evolution, and more. For example, all dogs and related canine species (e.g. wolves, foxes, jackels, etc) are descended from a single breeding pair of the basic canid "kind." The formation of a new species is known as speciation and each time that happens is known as a speciation event. Even though the basic canid "kind" produced relatively few species, it still requires there to have been a speciation event every 50 to 100 years. Then those "kinds" which diversified into far more different species, which is to say most of them, must have had far more frequent speciation events. The most radical evolutionists advocating the most radically rapid rates of evolutionary change call for a speciation event every 50,000 years. This argument makes "creation scientists" advocate far more radical evolution than the most radical evolutionists! Creationism is more fun than science! As already noted, this subject is not really covered by the so-called "scientific" "creation model" and so is not entirely appropriate for a discussion of geological evidence. However, it does raise questions about the appropriateness of taking some bible stories too seriously and literally; one can always invoke as many miracles as necessary, but science does not deal in miracles. At least this part of the discussion does raise questions about the observed patterns of survival, which are valid questions. Besides the sequence of the fossil record, there is also the distribution of radioactive isotopes. Thorium (Th) 230, formed by the decay of U 238, has a half-life of 77,000 years. Since it is not soluable in sea water, it precipitates out as soon as it is formed and collects in deep ocean bottom sediments. If those sediments formed gradually over hundreds of thousands of years, then the amount of Th 230 should decrease logarithmically with depth. If they were all dumped there within a single year by the Flood, then there should be no discernable pattern. The amount of Th 230 does indeed decrease logarithmically with depth. Flood geology cannot account for this except by invoking some unknown mechanisms for sorting the Thorium out by depth -- or by invoking yet another miracle. > BTW... Isn't the different strata 'sedimentary rocks ' [(2. Geol. Of > or pertaining to rocks formed from sediment or from transported fragments > deposited in water.) THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY] > David... are 'sedimentary rocks' found around the world? Most sedimentary rock is indeed formed by sediments deposited by water, but some are also formed by volcanic action and, as the section on desert deposits showed, by wind. You are obviously trying to imply that a single year-long world-wide flood could have formed all these different strata, but such a claim is even more obviously contrary to the facts of the geological evidence. The evidence clearly indicates a series of separate localized floodings, many interspersed by long relatively dry (i.e. not under water) periods of time. Sedimentary rocks are indeed found around the world, since the entire earth's surface is geologically active. Your implication here is that all these sedimentary rocks could have been formed by the single world-wide Flood, but that is not supported by the evidence. The Baron Georges de Cuvier (1769 - 1832), the "Father of Paleontology", was one of the pioneers of modern geology, a developer of the geologic column, founder of the practice of reconstructing an organism from fragmentary remains, a creationist, and a very vocal ANTI-evolutionist (i.e. anti-Lamarckian evolution, since he pre-dated Darwinian evolution). The geological evidence around Paris clearly showed him that there had been a series of floodings. Also, each stratum contained different fossil remains with the fossils becoming more unlike modern species as they go deeper into the lower strata. From this evidence, he hypothesized a series of extinctions due to a series of massive floodings, each one followed by a new act of creation -- the last flood being Noah's. It is noteworthy that Cuvier was very religious and that geology was in its infancy, so any preconceptions on Cuvier's part should have strongly favored the single Noachian Flood. Yet the evidence was strong enough even then to show that there had been multiple floodings. And finally, something that you have repeatedly presented as problem for modern geology is actually a serious problem for Flood Geology: the geologic column and the simple fact that it is not known to physically exist intact anywhere on earth. To quote you from your "23 Points" and my response thereto (POINTS.23): > 20. Practically nowhere on the earth can one find the so-called > "geologic column." In fact, on the continents, over half of the > "geologic periods" are missing, and 15-20% of the earth's land surface > has less than one-third of these periods appearing in the "correct" > order. Even within the Grand Canyon, over 200 million years of this > imaginary column are missing. Using the assumed geologic column to date > fossils and rocks is fallacious. > > Response: > This is another creationist strawman. The geologic column is a > compilation of many geological surveys from around the world. It > is an artificial construct which was never expected to be found in > nature (it would have to have been underwater during all of the > earth's geological history -- even now). This does not diminish > its validity. Geologists have no trouble with it; only creationists > do. Very early in the development of geology (in the early 19th century), geologists noticed not only that many strata extended over large areas, but also that certain strata were always above certain other strata. Even as far back as 1669, this principle of superposition (i.e. that upper sedimentary layers form on top of the lower sedimentary layers that had already formed and so are older) was known and used to work out the geological histories of various locales. Even Leonardo da Vinci got into the act and suggested that the fossils observed in the strata were the remains of buried plants and animals. In about 1800, William "Fossil" Smith observed and more formally worked out the geological history of large areas of England and others followed suit elsewhere. When the stratigraphies of different regions were compared, certain of the same strata were found, while others were missing or still others were included. Applying the principle of superposition and the Sandwich Theorem of calculus, a composite stratigraphy was worked out something like this: Locale 1 : A C G H I Locale 2 : G L M N Locale 3 : B C D F H Locale 4 : D E F G Locale 5 : A B Would yield a composite sequence of : A B C D E F G H I L M N Even though that composite sequence was not found in nature, it still shows the relative ages of the strata (i.e. which ones formed before which other ones); it makes the overall pattern clear. There is absolutely no reason to expect the composite sequence to exist in nature. There are basically two reasons to expect strata to be missing from various locales. First, there is the case wherein no depositation even occurred. As you yourself said, "Isn't the different strata 'sedimentary rocks ' [(2. Geol. Of or pertaining to rocks formed from sediment or from transported fragments deposited in water." Well what if that area was dry land? Barring any desert deposits or occasional flooding from a river overflowing its banks, there would be no depositation and that stratum would not have even formed there. However, in another locale that was under water, depositation could proceed and form the stratum there. Now consider the second case, in which the stratum had indeed formed and then eroded away. During the periods when that region was dry land, the upper rocks would be exposed to the elements; exposed rock gets weathered and weathered rock erodes. Indeed, that's where most of the material for sedimentation comes from and many places where strata are missing do show signs of erosion. So your "missing rock problem" is no problem at all, but rather describes what we should expect. However, it does present difficulties for Flood Geology; as you yourself said, "David... are 'sedimentary rocks' found around the world?" My answer was that they indeed are, but not ALL sedimentary rocks are found everywhere, mainly for the two reasons just given. Both of the above reasons call for the area in question to rise above the surface of the water for periods of time in order to not only forego depositation, but also to undergo erosion. The only way that the ENTIRE geological column could occur in nature would be if that area were to have remained under water for the entire geological history of the earth (whether it be billions or thousands of years or a single year). Modern geology does not expect that to have happened, but in a single world-wide Flood that had formed almost all the sedimentary strata, we WOULD expect to find the ENTIRE geological column, if not most everywhere we looked, then at least in a few places. But we have not found it at all -- even creationists loudly proclaim that we have not found it (I selectively choose to accept this claim of theirs on face value). After all, the lowlands should have remained under water during most of that massive laying down of sediments that occurred within a single year, so the presence of the ENTIRE geological column should be the rule. Yet it isn't. How can Flood Geology explain this missing rock? A very simple explanation comes to mind. No, not another miracle -- I'm talking about another less simple [-minded] explanation. Flood geologists have tried to include massive and extremely rapid seismic activity into their "model." It could simply be that no place on the surface of the earth had remained under water throughout the Flood, but was frequently and repeatedly thrust up above the surface to become dry land, where it both missed out on the sedimentation going on at that moment and suffered from weathering and erosion before it got dunked again. Of course, except for the time frame involved, this is identical to geology's explanation for the "missing rock." If Flood geologists advance this explanation, then they must abandon their own "missing rock" straw-man against geology. But even if they do advance it, their time frame requires this seismic activity to proceed at a rate that borders on the burlesque. And there would still be all the problems discussed throughout this file of the need for processes (e.g. the growth of an mature forest) which could not take place in the mere hours or days that the Flood "model" can allot it. In _Science Held Hostage: What's Wrong with Creation Science AND Evolutionism_, creationist Davis A. Young evaluates "scientific-creationist" geology and presents four conclusions about it (pp 116-124): 1. Major distinctive scientific-creationist claims about geology betray a glaring lack of familiarity with relevant professional literature. 2. The flood model entails a lack of external consistency with relevant bodies of knowledge. 3. The flood model lacks internal coherence. 4. The flood model lacks predictive accuracy. Another thing to remember is that Flood Geologists are not catastrophists. Catastrophism was prevalent in the early 19th century as an opposing view to uniformitarianism. Both camps agreed that the earth is very old and that the strata were laid down over a very long time. Where they did disagree was over the role of violent events in the earth's history; the catastrophists maintained that only extremely violent events could account for the folding and tilting of the earth's strata while the uniformitarianists maintained that gradual sustained processes would have sufficed. Both groups avoided mixing science and religion and would argue for "day-age" or gap theories if pressed to reconcile geology with Genesis. A third group, the Scriptural Geologists, or "diluvialists", was not so reluctant. This group got their start from the 1820's work of William Buckland and Adam Sedgwick in which they argued that river valleys and certain other sedimentary deposits were the results of a recent worldwide flood. In a few years, however, Buckland's own field work started undermining diluvialism and then, with the publication of Lyell's _Principles of Geology_, both Buckland and Sedgwick abandoned diluvialism. But the Scriptural Geologists continued writing their views, which were hardly distinguishable from modern Flood Geologists, from the 1820's into the late 19th century. They were highly critical of catastrophists, uniformitarians, and the very founders of diluvialism alike, and Buckland and Sedgwick returned the favor with devastating rebuttals. Then in the 1920's and 1930's, George McCready Price revived Scriptural Geology and called it "catastrophism" even though he knew better: "The theory of 'catastrophism' as held a hundred years ago, had no resemblance to the theory here discussed, except in name." (_The Geological Ages Hoax_, George McCready Price, 1931, Fleming H. Revell Co., pg 101) Later in 1960, Henry Morris again popularized Scriptural Geology with _The Genesis Flood_, for which he had apparently drawn most of his ideas from Price. The main question now is whether Morris does not know that his stuff is not catastrophism and that the true catastrophists of the 19th century had rejected it, or whether he does know better but finds it politically expedient to avoid admitting that his Flood Geology is traditionally known as Scriptural Geology. Paul, your objections to geology make it all too obvious that you need to learn something about it, especially if you want to refute it. Creationist literature is just about the worst place from which to learn geology, or just about any other subject. Read geology textbooks or take a class in geology. Ask geologists, NOT creationists. Or at the very least, do your own research by VERIFYing creationist claims. One book I recommend very highly is Arthur Strahler's _Science and Earth History -- The Evolution/Creation Controversy_ (Prometheus Books, 1987). Its 530 8-1/2 x 11 in. pages cover almost every aspect of creation/evolution comprehensively and it contains the most conscientious attempts I have seen to fully and honestly present the claims and views of "creation science." Since Strahler is a geologist, the sections on geology are particularly rich. READ THIS BOOK! Even if you disagree with what Strahler says (as I am sure you will) you will at least learn what some of the evidence really is and some of the reasons why scientists object to "creation science." In case you should think that criticism of "creation science" amounts to attacks against Christianity, then also read _Science Held Hostage: What's Wrong with Creation Science AND Evolutionism_ by Howard J. van Till, Davis A. Young, and Clarence Menninga, three Christian professors at Calvin College, a private college in Grand Rapids, Mich., owned and controlled by the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). The three readily call themselves creationists. This book is the result of a Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship (of which they served as Fellows) project studying the practice of science, the relationship of science to the Christian faith, and the so-called creation/evolution controversy. In the book, they try to define the boundary between science and religion and then criticize writers of "folk science" (e.g. Sagan, Asimov, and Aikens) for crossing the line by using science to speak "as if their particular religious or ideological perspective were derivable solely from the established results of scientific investigation" "creation scientists" for "how a commitment to the 'scientific creationist' picture of cosmic history has functioned to diminish the demand for both craft competence and professional integrity and to disable the generally accepted epistemic value system." They go on to say (in the preface to Part II, "Science Held Hostage by Creationism"), "When natural science is held hostage to support preconceived answers, it can no longer serve in the open-minded search for knowledge." The three have long been very critical of the ICR's "creation science"; indeed, Henry Morris' _Science, Scripture, and the Young Earth_, recently republished, was written as a rebuttal to Young's criticisms of Flood Geology. The ICR has even tried to get back at them. In April 1987, Gish gave a lecture at Calvin College; the _Acts & Facts_ report of that lecture denounced the three professors as "evolutionists," which is clearly untrue. Then each clergyman of the CRC received a defamatory letter from Gish denouncing the three. The Reformed Fellowship, the conservative faction that had sponsored Gish's speech, then published its own strongly negative criticism of van Till's work. In response to all this, the Board of Trustees appointed a committee to investigate the professors for heterodoxy (which is just one step short of heresy). After the committee had interviewed them and had read their writings, it not only acquitted them but also praised their work (with the exception of mild criticism for some "ambiguous and incomplete statements" by van Till). Rumblings from conservative elements, from one individual in particular, continued at least into the summer of '88, but in general Calvin College has stood behind its professors. Even the June 1988 CRC synod, where this was a very hot issue, voted 101 to 60 to defeat a proposal to restrict the professors. Still, the synod felt that "some of van Till's statement are open to serious misinterpretation" and "stated its 'distress' that public charges leveled at the professors and the college have been 'schismatic...grossly offensive...defiant...and undermining denominational trust." Finally, the synod set up a study focusing on the relationship between the creation story in Genesis and evolutionary theory. That study is due in 1991. In the meantime, Paul, look up the scientific literature quoted by creationists and VERIFY, VERIFY, VERIFY! As promised earlier: Question: "Is there any evidence of a single world-wide flood?" Answer: "YES, and it is still going on!" During the ice ages, the sea level would subside due to the amount of water that would be trapped in the ice caps rather than being in the oceans. During the last great ice age, the Wisconsinan, the sea level was about 200 feet lower than it is now. This means that ocean bottom shallower than 200 feet was dry land and a number of land bridges, such as the one across the Bering Strait were open. Judging from my atlas, most of the Persian Gulf should have been dry land. Then about 11,000 to 17,000 years ago, the Wisconsinan Ice Age ended, the ice melted, and the sea level rose, flooding the lowlands. Since human populations tend to concentrate along the shorelines and in the lowlands, this catastrophic flooding could not have gone unnoticed. Indeed, it would be very surprising NOT to encounter flood stories world-wide. So not only do we have here an example of a single world-wide flood produced entirely by natural causes, but it is still going on; the flood waters have not subsided! Indeed, if the world climate warms up as we fear it will, then we would be faced with still worse flooding as the sea level rises another 150 feet (if the entire Antarctic ice cap were to melt). ********************* THE TWO CREATION MODELS OF WENDELL R. BIRD As Taken From the December 1978 Issue of _Acts & Facts_ Scientific Creation Model: Biblical Creation Model: I. Special creation of the I. Divine creation of the heaven, universe and earth (by a stars, and earth by God, on the Creator), on the basis of basis of Genesis. scientific evidence. II. Application of the entropy II. Application of the curse, law to produce deterioration pronounced by God after Adam's in the earth and life, on the fall, to produce deterioration in basis of scientific evidence. the earth and life, on the basis of Genesis. III. Special creation of life (by III. Divine creation of plant and a Creator), on the basis of animal life, Adam the first man, scientific evidence. and Eve from Adam's side by God, on the basis of Genesis. IV. Fixity of original plant and IV. Fixity of original plant and animal kinds, on the basis of animal kinds, determined by God, scientific evidence. on the basis of Genesis. V. Distinct ancestry of man and V. Distinct ancestry of Adam and apes, on the basis of apes, on the basis of Genesis. scientific evidence. VI. Explanation of much of the VI. Explanation of the earth's earth's geology by a worldwide geology by a world-wide flood in deluge, on the basis of which only Noah, his family, and scientific evidence. animal pairs were preserved in an ark, on the basis of Genesis. VII. Relatively recent origin of VII. Approximately six thousand year the earth and living kinds (in time span since creation of the comparison with several billion earth, life, and Adam, on the years), on the basis of basis of Genesis. scientific evidence. *********************
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First uploaded on 1997 July 02.
Last updated on 2011 August 02.