Delayed-Action Flood

Modern Plate TectonicsLacking a DpSU for today as we seem to be it’s time to return to the Acts & Facts magazine for February. Our article is John Morris’ Geologic Changes to the Very Good Earth, which is apparently another adaptation from his recent book, The Global Flood: Unlocking Earth’s Geologic History. The topic of this excerpt is plate tectonics.

The Flood cataclysm dramatically morphed the early earth into the earth we know today. Its original “very good” state was pleasant and stable (Genesis 1:31), but today things are not so quiescent. Earth’s crustal plates move relative to one another. If they collide, they either crumple up into mountains or plunge one beneath the other, producing volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

Genesis 1:31 is of course the verse where God calls His creation “very good,” but the extrapolation that this must mean that the Earth was then – geologically speaking – “pleasant and stable” would appear to be baseless. What, exactly, is “very good” to an omnipotent and omniscient deity anyway? Consider the implications if He happened to be quite fond of volcanic mudpools (they’re actually supposed to be quite good for you, so would that make their omission an imperfection?). Continue reading

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The Book that Deceived the World

The Institute for Creation Research has a weekly radio show called Science, Scripture, & Salvation. Or at least they had a radio show – certainly, I can’t find any evidence that they’re still making new episodes. The Book that Deceived the World is one of these episodes, and yes, they’re talking about The Origin of Species:

Words can be a powerful and persuasive tool for good or evil. In 1859 a book that challenged the truthfulness of God’s Word and denied Him as Creator was published and became widely received. What was this book that deceived the world? Tune in to find out and to learn why it is still so popular.

The radio show shares certain similarities with the That’s a Fact videos. Most importantly both shows contain a lot of spurious claims about how the evidence shows that evolution is false, but at the same time they never actually show this “evidence.” As such, both SSS and TaF constitute examples of how the ICR presents its case to the true believers. It’s not particularly nuanced. Continue reading

The Chattanooga Shale

ShaleFor his November geology article John Morris gave a report on the Devonian Chattanooga Shale, which he called an “evolutionary enigma.” According to Morris the “evolutionary” explanations for its formation are all wrong, and the Flood did it.

The most common sedimentary rock type is known as shale, made up of tiny silt or clay particles cemented together. Tiny particles are easily carried along by moving water. Thus, in uniformitarian thinking, shale particles take an inordinate amount of time to fall through a column of water and settle on the bottom, even when the water is completely calm.

To the extent that this is true (it probably is, but I’m no geologist), the conditions under which the sediment that becomes shale falls to the bottom of the water column will be based less on “uniformitarian thinking” so much as the laws of physics and our knowledge of fluid dynamics. Morris never does explain how shale could be laid down in the tumultuous conditions of the Flood, though he assures us they do indeed exhibit evidence of “catastrophic deposition.” Continue reading

Uniformitarianism and the Flood

Totally "uniformitarian"...What’s this strange sensation on my hand? It feels…warm. Though the power of deduction it can only be the radiation from a certain nuclear furnace, located more than 90 million kilometres away yet powerful enough to cast shadows. That can mean but one thing: spring is in the air! Oh, and September is here, and with it a new edition of Acts & Facts.

John D. Morris’ article, Observing Creation, has got little to do with this change in the seasons – not least because the challenger in the far-distant lands in which he abides is not spring but autumn (or, in the rather theologically appropriate local parlance, ‘fall’), and we all know where that leads. Instead, our monthly dose of scriptural geology concentrates on the more mundane, blending the old “historical science” canard with an attack on the concept of uniformitarianism. It’s always nice when creationists remind us how out of date their straw men really are. Continue reading

The Global Catastrophic Model

Yes, the flood is coming soon… But give them a moment to build up to it.

Basically, in order to provide basis for the occurrence of the Great Flood, the creationists are attempting to revive the old model of Catastrophism.

The history is this: in the good old days (ie before Darwin and the like) people thought that the world’s features were created by large-scale catastrophes (like really big earthquakes, floods etc). As time passed, a more Uniformitarianist view emerged in the geological community. They now thought that there was very little effect on the environment by catastrophes, and that the processes that caused all of the geological formations on earth were the same as what can be seen to be taking place at present. (A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is wonderful on this topic, btw). However, over the last few decades, it has been found that there is evidence for both Catastrophism and Uniformitarianist, and that both have a role.

The attractiveness of Catastrophism over Uniformitarianism to creationists goes without saying. With pure Catastrophism, you have no need for vast expanses of time, and you can get in the Biblical Flood via the back door (more on that in a few posts). It could come as no surprise then to hear that whoever wrote the “Earth Sciences” section is advocating that “Geologists must deliberately and unabashedly discard outdated uniformitarian thinking and adopt, without reservation, a global catastrophic model”. Rarely is it rue that science decides in favour of one two arbitrary ends of a spectrum (evolution vs creationism being an exception as far as I am aware – they don’t seem easily combinable). Science is nuanced and is never simple, especially in a case like this. The current model still requires long periods of time, punctuated by the occasional catastrophe, like the various asteroid impacts over the millennia. Floods, however, do not figure prominently here, however, and I have a feeling that we are about to see a classic bait-and-switch (they’ll reel you in with volcanoes and asteroids, and then change to the Biblical Flood), as well as the straw man we are already seeing (they’ll demolish the position of pure Uniformitarianism that nobody holds any more).

There’s nothing much here about the model itself, however, which is a pity. I also object to the statement that “History is not open to scientific testing”. You can still make predictions and falsify them, for example you can search for transitional fossils.

Next: The evidence (although ominously the URL for the page is /worldwide-flood/).