Flood geology

From Academic Kids

Template:Creationism2 The terms flood geology, creation geology or diluvial geology are used to describe a number of creationist ideas which claim that the events recorded in the Old Testament can be proven scientifically to be an accurate record for the geological history of the Earth. Specifically, the Great Flood is claimed to be the origin of most geological features on the planet, including sedimentary strata, fossilization, fossil fuels, submarine canyons, salt domes, and frozen mammoths.

Flood geology is a part of the broader endeavor of creation science, advocated primarily by those who profess creationist beliefs (particularly Young Earth creationism). While flood geology supporters support their views with geological field work that they believe gives strong evidence of a universal flood, they invariably profess a literal belief in the Biblical record as their baseline for research.

Mainstream science does not consider the literal biblical interpretation of a global flood and associated deluge mythology to be a valid scientific theory. Although flood geology was widely supported by early practitioners of geology and geosciences, it was contradicted by many scientific discoveries of the first half of the 19th century and it was abandoned as a serious scientific hypothesis by the middle of the century. It was revived in the early 20th century as part of the growth of the Christian fundamentalist movement in the United States.

Many scientific objections have been raised concerning the proposed mechanics of flood geology, which often require the suspension of basic laws of physics - something which mainstream science sees as being extremely improbable. A massive flood of the size suggested by creation geologists has extreme physical problems. In particular, the amount of water required to cover the Earth's entire surface is enormous and no naturalistic mechanism proposed to explain where it came from or where it went will satisfy mainstream proponents. The mechanisms proposed by creationists to account for the fossil record, lithospheric layering, and tectonic formations are balked at by the vast majority of scientists in the geologic field. In short, mainstream geologists consider it to be pseudoscience.

Contents

Origins of flood geology

The science of geology was founded in the United Kingdom in the 18th century. Its practitioners sought to understand the history and shaping of the Earth through the physical evidence laid down in rocks and minerals. As many early geologists were clergymen, they naturally sought to link the geological history of the world with that set out in the Bible. The ancient theory that fossils were the result of "plastic forces" within the Earth's crust had by this time been abandoned, with the recognition that they represented the remains of once-living creatures. This, though, raised a major problem: how did fossils of sea creatures end up on land, or on the tops of mountains?

As early as the 2nd century AD, Christian thinkers had proposed that fossils represented organisms that were killed and buried during the brief duration of the Flood. This theory became commonly held, aided by the geological peculiarity that much of northern Europe is covered by layers of loam and gravel as well as erratic boulders deposited hundreds of miles from their original sources. This was interpreted as being the result of massive flooding, though it is now believed they are the product of ice age glaciations (an unknown phenomenon at that time). Geologists proposed that the Great Flood had been a time of massive upheavals, with old continents sinking and new ones rising, thus transforming ancient seabeds into mountain tops.

By the early 19th century, however, this view had fallen into disrepute. It was already thought that the Earth's lifespan was far longer than that suggested by literal readings of the Bible (an age of 75,000 years had been suggested as early as 1779, as against the 6,000 years proposed by Archbishop James Ussher's famous chronology). Charles Lyell's promotion of James Hutton's ideas of uniformitarianism advocated the principle that geological changes that occurred in the past are understandable from present-day phenomena. The idea that all geological strata were produced by a single flood was rejected in 1837 by the Reverend William Buckland, the first professor of geology at Oxford University, who wrote:

Some have attempted to ascribe the formation of all the stratified rocks to the effects of the Mosaic Deluge; an opinion which is irreconcileable with the enormous thickness and almost infinite subdivisions of these strata, and with the numerous and regular successions which they contain of the remains of animals and vegetables, differing more and more widely from existing species, as the strata in which we find them are placed at greater depths. The fact that a large proportion of these remains belong to extinct genera, and almost all of them to extinct species, that lived and multiplied and died on or near the spots where they are now found, shows that the strata in which they occur were deposited slowly and gradually, during long periods of time, and at widely distant intervals.
(Buckland, Geology and Mineralogy Considered With Reference to Natural Theology, 1837)

Although Buckland continued for a while to insist that some geological layers related to the Great Flood, he was forced to abandon this idea as the evidence increasingly indicated multiple inundations which occurred well before humans existed. He was convinced by the Swiss geologist Louis Agassiz that much of the evidence on which he relied was in fact the product of ancient ice ages, and became one of the foremost champions of Agassiz's theory of glaciations. Mainstream science gave up on the idea of flood geology, which required major deviations from known physical processes.

Flood geology was revived in the 20th century by George McCready Price, a Seventh-day Adventist and amateur geologist who wrote The New Geology in 1923 to provide an explicitly Christian fundamentalist perspective on geology. His work was adapted and updated by Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb, Jr. in their book The Genesis Flood in 1961. Morris and Whitcomb argued that the Earth was geologically recent, that the Fall of Man had triggered the second law of thermodynamics, and that the Great Flood had laid down most of the geological strata in the space of a single year (the same model that Buckland had decisively rejected 130 years earlier). Given this history, they argued, "the last refuge of the case for evolution immediately vanishes away, and the record of the rocks becomes a tremendous witness . . . to the holiness and justice and power of the living God of Creation!"

This became the foundation of a new generation of Young Earth creationist thinkers, who organized themselves around Morris' Institute for Creation Research. Subsequent research by the Creation Research Society has observed and analyzed, and interpreted geological formations, within a flood geology framework, including the La Brea Tar Pits[1] (http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/40/40_1/LaBrea3.htm), the Tavrick formation in the Crimean peninsula[2] (http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/38/38_3/Crimean.htm), and Stone Mountain, Georgia [3] (http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/31/31_4b.html). In each case, the creationists claimed that the flood geology interpretation had superior explanatory power than the uniformitarian explanation -- a claim totally rejected by mainstream proponents.

The impact on creationism and fundamentalist Christianity of these ideas was considerable. Armed with the backing of wealthy conservative organizations and individuals, Morris' brand of flood geology was widely promoted throughout the United States and overseas, with his books being translated into Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Flood geology is still a major theme of modern creation science, though it (and creation science in general) no longer has any significant crossover into mainstream science.

Processes

From the , a transported quartzite block in Cambrian sedimentary strata, identical to quartzite found in the Precambrian layer hundreds of feet below, which flood geology supporters argue came to rest there by means of large-scale liquefaction.
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From the Grand Canyon, a transported quartzite block in Cambrian sedimentary strata, identical to quartzite found in the Precambrian layer hundreds of feet below, which flood geology supporters argue came to rest there by means of large-scale liquefaction.

If the global flood actually occurred, then it would have had a radical effect on geology, and traces of that flood would be observable today, making the idea at least somewhat falsifiable.

Eighty percent of the Earth's crust is covered by sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rocks are formed as particles of sediment settle out of air, ice, or water flows carrying the particles in suspension. As sediment deposition builds up, overburden (or lithostatic) pressure squeezes the sediment into layered solids in a process known as lithification ("rock formation") and the original connate fluids are expelled. Amongst creationists there is ongoing debate about which sediments are flood sediments, which are pre-flood sediments, and which are post-flood sediments.

Some flood geology supporters have proposed that a global flood is the most reasonable explanation for the means by which sediment came to precipitate in such depth over so much of the Earth's surface. They further argue that the liquefaction predicted by the flood can explain many geological formations they believe are left inadequately explained by mainstream geology grounded in uniformitarianism.

They do not assert that all geological phenomena are a result of the flood. Flood geology supporters acknowledge many geological formations were formed by other processes. However, they argue that there are a large number of geological formations which can only be explained with reference to massive cataclysmic action involving enormous amounts of water and sediment which rapidly precipitated from solution, liquefied, and dried.

This explanation has been met with much derision in the creation-evolution controversy where mainstream proponents point out that a large number of sedimentary formations are inconsistent with a short-timescale creation. Indeed, this problem was one of the principal reasons why early 19th century geologists such as William Buckland came to abandon the global flood as a sustainable hypothesis.

Liquefaction

Liquefaction, a phenomenon commonly seen in quicksand and earthquakes, is claimed to have played a major role during the posited flood. It is argued that the resulting periods of liquefaction due to the catastrophe would cause the sediments to layer into strata.

Other processes cause the strata to bend smoothly in places to explain bends and folds, while earthquakes would still be the major cause of radical discontinuities in others.

Flood geology proponents claim that massive liquefaction can explain phenomena such as transported blocks, sand plumes, coal and limestone deposits, and aquifers.

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A plume of sandstone, identical to a layer of sandstone several hundred feet below the surface, which flood geology supporters argue is explained by liquefaction during the flood compression event, cementing, and subsequent erosion.

Submarine canyon formation

Proponents of Flood Geology argue that such submarine canyons were formed as the floodwaters receded from the continents. Such extensions are found in the Congo, Amazon, Ganges, and Hudson rivers, they are generally understood to be geological formations which have developed when sea levels were significantly lower than today.

It is argued that uniformitarian explanations are inferior to flood explanations, because the submarine canyons are extremely long, deep, and the sides are steep and often vertical, and thus do not show evidence of the erosion predicted by long periods of time, and being much more consistent with a shorter time frame. This claim is unsupported by the planetary science description of erosion processes which allow for a wide variety of formations to occur over the (relatively) long timeframes seen in mainstream scientific descriptions of such formations.

These are explained in the mainstream model as being due to persistent water flow which creates over a period of thousands if not millions of years structural breaks in the continental shelf. These fractures are even modeled in geological simulations which show the processes occurring as described by mainstream scientists.

Fossilization

In counter to the mainstream version of fossilization, creationists claim that fossils are evidence of the flood, where the remains of many of the Earth's lifeforms were quickly buried by sediments in the short period of the flood. In support of their argument, flood geology supporters point to the fact that fossilization can only take place when the matter is buried quickly so that the matter does not decompose. They also point to a recent discovery of Tyrannosaurus rex bones in which – after demineralization – soft tissue structures were found [4] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4379577.stm) as evidence that the bones cannot be reasonably understood to have survived for millions of years without the soft tissue either decomposing or fossilizing. But the tissue is fossilized, and appears to be flexible and contain cells and vessels only after demineralization. Mainstream paleontologists simply view this specimen as excellently preserved.

Fossil dating by using index fossils is rejected, because fossils are dated with reference to uniformitarian assumptions regarding the rate at which the sediments were laid down. They argue that there is no reason that these assumptions must be held, that the evidence could just as easily be interpreted as rapid sedimentation during a recent flood, and if the sediments were laid down quickly, fossil dating methods are meaningless. This ignores the fact that fossil dating (biostratigraphy) was a stricty relative dating method until the advent of radiometric dating. Until then, there were no assumptions about deposition rate involved. Relative dating –i.e. this section is older/younger than that one – only requires the law of superposition. Mutation and evolution rates proved to be congruent with the timespans obtained from radiometric dating.

Fossil fuels

Flood geology supporters argue that the existence of large oil deposits are the result of the flood's accumulation and subsequent subsurface compression of large amounts of dead plant matter. They argue that this explains how so much organic matter came to be buried and pooled beneath enormous amounts of sediment before the organic matter decomposed, and explains how the sediments came to quickly dry into sedimentary rock atop the fossil fuels.

The mainstream theory of fossil fuel formation holds that they were formed when layers of accumulating sediment covered ancient organic debris. Most such debris is destroyed at the earth's surface by oxidation or by being digested by microorganisms, but organic material that survives to become buried under sediments, or deposited in other oxygen-poor environments, can be subjected, over millions of years, to increasing temperatures and pressures and undergo chemical transformations resulting in petroleum, natural gas, or coal. Deposits of these fossil fuels typically occur in sedimentary basins and along continental shelves. Sediments may accumulate to depths of several thousand feet and in these conditions organic material is subjected to pressures of tens of thousands of pounds per square inch and temperatures of several hundred degrees. The Carboniferous Period, during which the land was covered with swamps filled with huge trees, ferns and other large leafy plants, is the time in which most fossil fuels were formed. It occurred from about 360 to 286 million years ago. Some deposits of coal can be dated to the late Cretaceous Period, 65 million years ago.

Fossil layering

The ordering of fossil layers is often used as evidence for the mainstream explanation of geological features. Flood geology tries to explain that while dinosaurs never share the same layers as mammoths, such is not due to temporal separation of the organisms. Instead an unspecified and unmodeled "hydraulic sorting action" is claimed to be able to sort out fossils according to their shape, density, size, and the gases released from the body after death. This is claimed to account for the layering observed as reported by Walt Brown of the Center for Scientific Creation:

"In an unpublished experiment at Loma Linda University, a dead bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian were placed in an open water tank. Their buoyancy in the days following death depended on their density while living, the build-up and leakage of gases from their decaying bodies, the absorption or loss of water by their bodies, and other factors. That experiment showed that the natural order of settling following death was amphibian, reptile, mammal, and finally bird. This order of relative buoyancy correlates closely with 'the evolutionary order,' but, of course, evolution did not cause it."

Others have proposed that more advanced animals were better able to escape the rising flood waters, so that they were not overtaken until later. This idea is roundly criticized by mainstream proponents as ludicrous since there are "advanced" and "simple" animals found throughout the entire fossil record.

Critics assert that there is a considerable lack of any evidence for any of the above effects proposed by creationists.

Frozen mammoths

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A a 6–12-month-old male Mammoth, nicknamed Dima, found enclosed in a lens of ice six feet below the surface in Siberia in 1977, with grass and sand still in its mouth.

Mainstream scientists hold that the giant mammoths went extinct about 11,000 years ago, although fossil remains of dwarf mammoths found off the coast of Siberia are dated to about 2000 BC. Some proponents of Flood Geology have claimed that this extinction is evidence of catastrophism because certain mammoths have been found with grass in their mouths. Proponents of the vapor canopy flood model claim it can explain these mammoth remains. They argue mammoths were suddenly frozen solid when large quantities of water vapour in the atmosphere were desposited as ice at the poles. Mainstream scientists do not view the few instances of grass in the mouths of frozen mammoth caracasses as sufficient evidence for a global catastrophe. Moreoever, the extraordinary temperatures needed to quick-freeze a mammoth are way below any temperature ever measured on earth and the idea of a canopy itself is considered so extreme as to cause the surface of the Earth to have the conditions of a pressure boiler before the flood.

Answers in genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dont_use.asp) lists this in their section "arguments we think creationists should not use". Rather, they claim that mammoths and the surrounding circumstances are best explained by radical climate change in a supposed ice-age following the flood. Opponents counter that there is no evidence for an Ice Age before 10,000 years ago. Mainstream science, however, recognises a large number of earlier Ice Ages, with the earliest so far identified occurring 2.3 billion years ago.

Proposed models for the mechanism of the flood

For the cause of the flood, Genesis states only that God deliberately caused the flood, indicating that the cause of the flood was supernatural in origin. Beyond that, the account states that the "fountains of the great deep" broke open and the "windows of heaven" were opened, which brought the flood. It rained for 40 days, but the waters continued to rise for 110 more days, indicating that there was another water-source, probably the subterranean "fountains of the great deep." The waters then slowly began to recede amidst a "great wind," until the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (not necessarily Mount Ararat, but the mountains in that region). Beyond that scant account of the events, creationists have very little basis for determining exactly what caused the flood.

Creationists have proposed at least three separate explanations for the mechanism that caused the flood.

  • Some creationists propose that the water may have come from an ice comet that melted when it hit the Earth's atmosphere.
  • The Hydroplate model, proposed by Walt Brown of the Center for Scientific Creation, holds that the Earth was originally created with a great deal of subterranean water, and that the flood was brought on when the crust of the Earth was cracked, allowing this water to escape violently to the surface, and broke the surface into "hydroplates" which quickly divided during and after the flood.
  • The Runaway Subduction model, proposed by the Institute for Creation Research, holds that a fracture in the crust could have heated silicates to a temperature at which tectonic motion would have happened extremely quickly.
  • In addition, a vapor canopy was proposed by Henry Morris in his book The Genesis Flood in the 1960s. It holds that a canopy of water vapor existed over the atmosphere prior to the flood, and that the floodwaters were brought on when this vapor canopy collapsed. This model has been rejected by many creationists, including the Institute for Creation research, founded by Henry Morris himself, but is still accepted by some.

Others propose that the continental motion occurred about 100 years after the Flood, when the Bible records that during the lifetime of Peleg, "the Earth was divided". Still others propose that this refers to the events surrounding the Tower of Babel.

Reliability of Genesis

Flood geology starts from the viewpoint that the Biblical Book of Genesis is an accurate and impartial description of actual historical events. They point to its high level of detail (including precise dates for all the important events of the flood, and the exact dimensions and the type of wood used in the ark), its descriptive style (which they regard as "objective and historical"), and the Genealogies of Genesis, which extend from Adam to Abraham and provide a method for calculating the age of the Earth.

The idea that Genesis is literally accurate is not universally held within Christianity, being associated principally with fundamentalist Protestant sects in the United States. The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, for instance, both regard Genesis as being merely a figurative description of the Earth's creation. Indeed, the literalness of Genesis had been rejected as early as the 5th century by Saint Augustine of Hippo, who wrote in The Literal Interpretation of Genesis that

It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. [5] (http://www.catholic.com/library/Creation_and_Genesis.asp)

Mainstream science and creation science thus have fundamentally different philosophical starting points. Mainstream scientists proceed from the basis of considering only the physical evidence, discounting religious works such as the Bible. Physical evidence is held to be of superior scientific (though not moral) value to Biblical accounts. Creationists, by contrast, consider the Bible to be the literal Word of God and therefore irrefutable; if physical evidence appears to contradict the Biblical account, the physical evidence must either be wrong or misinterpreted. In addition, the Bible itself is considered to be a legitimate source of factual evidence, a view which mainstream science does not concede.

Comparison with mainstream geology

Mainstream geology relies on a number of established principles, one of the most important of which is Charles Lyell's doctrine of uniformitarianism. This predicts that the shaping of the Earth has occurred by means of mostly slow-acting forces that can be seen in operation today. By applying this principle, geologists have determined that the Earth is some 4.5 billion years old. They study the lithosphere of the Earth to gain information on the history of the planet. Geologists divide Earth history into four distinct eras characterized by well-defined breaks in the fossil record.

By contrast, creation geology relies on the Biblical account to define three key eras of history:

  • The original creation of the Earth by God, in which God separated the land from the primordial waters as recorded in Genesis 1:9. Some creationists have asserted that this original dry land corresponds to a type of Pangaea.
  • A global flood which lasted for a year and occurred between 4500-6000 years ago, and altered or destroyed many antediluvian geological formations and species.
  • The years between the end of the flood and the present day, during which geological phenomena behaved in much the same way as they do today.

In general, the geological record of Earth is divided by flood geology supporters into four main stages:

  • The lowest levels of sediments would be rocks and sediments formed during creation week, when God caused the dry land to appear. These sediments should be devoid of all fossils, as nothing existed to be fossilised.
  • Next would be sediments formed in the time between Creation week and the Flood, a period of 1700 years according to Biblical chronology. These would comprise only a tiny part of the geological record.
  • The bulk of the geological record would have been laid down during the year-long Flood, which began with violent eruptions of water. These should show evidence not of a calm flood leaving a layer of silt, but of large tectonic upheavals, massive erosion, deposition, and transport, and reworking of sediments more than once. It would also include the mass burial of many creatures.
  • Above the flood sediments would be evidence of minor post-flood catastrophes, a relatively recent ice age, and normal geological processes as we see occurring today.

Scientific creationists (or creation scientists) continue to search for evidence in the natural world that they consider to be consistent with the above description, such as evidence of rapid formation. For example, there have been claims of raindrop marks and water ripples at layer boundaries, sometimes associated with the claimed fossilized footprints of men and dinosaurs walking together. Most of this evidence has been debunked by mainstream proponents, and some have been shown to be fakes [6] (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy/wilker5.html). Creationists highlight unexplained phenomena made by mainstream scientists in order to point out what they see as inconsistencies in the mainstream view, and they often profess a general incredulity about geological mechanisms of mineral, rock, and fossil formation.

Believers in Flood Geology base their belief in a global flood on the Bible and on an interpretation of geological field work that they believe gives strong evidence of a global flood as described in the Book of Genesis. They also point out that flood stories can be found in many cultures, places and religions, not just in the Bible; this, they suggest, is evidence of an actual event in the historic past. Anthropologists generally reject this view and highlight the fact that much of the human population lives near water sources such as rivers and coasts, where unusually severe floods can be expected to occur occasionally and will be recorded in tribal mythology. Some commentators have suggested that a massive local flood in the Black Sea area, or possibly even the huge rise in sea levels at the end of the last Ice Age, may be responsible for the preponderance of the flood myths in the Near East and across the world.

Most creation scientists believe that the Earth prior to the global flood was significantly different from the Earth today. The fossil record is explained as a record of the pre-flood Earth, all of the fossils being formed within the forty-day catastrophe. The principles used by mainstream geology to characterize the development of the layers in the lithosphere and the fossil record over time are rejected.

Age of the Earth

Most believers in young Earth creationism – a position held by the majority of proponents of flood geology – accept the Ussher-Lightfoot Calendar which in turn is based on the Vulgate version of the Genealogies of Genesis, believe that God created the universe approximately 6000 years ago, in the space of six days. Much of creation geology is devoted to debunking the dating methods used in anthropology, geology, and planetary science that give ages in conflict with the young Earth theories. In particular, creationists dispute the reliability of radiometric dating and isochron analysis, both of which are central to mainstream geological theories of the age of the Earth. They usually dispute these methods based on uncertainties concerning initial concentrations of individually considered species and the associated measurement uncertainties caused by diffusion of the parent and daughter isotopes. However, a full critique of the entire parameter-fitting analysis, which relies on dozens of radionuclei parent and daughter pairs, has not been done by creationists hoping to cast doubt on the technique.

Radiometric dating analysis indicates that the Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old. Young Earth creationists reject these ages on the grounds of what they regard as being tenuous and untestable assumptions in the methodology. Apparently inconsistent radiometric dates are often quoted to cast doubt on the utility and accuracy of the method. Mainstream proponents who get involved in this debate point out that dating methods only rely on the assumptions that the physical laws governing radioactive decay have not been violated since the sample was formed (harking back to Lyell's doctrine of uniformitarianism). They also point out that the "problems" that creationists publicly mentioned can be shown to either not be problems at all, are issues with known contamination, or simply the result of incorrectly evaluating legitimate data.

Creationists do not claim to have a scientifically verifiable method for dating the Earth, relying instead on Biblical chronologies.

Counterpoints

Water source

If the flood were a global flood, a source of water would need to be found which could provide such a deluge. Flood geology supporters have proposed several sources at different times: (1) a vapor canopy in the upper atmosphere; (2) a comet strike; (3) the Earth's crust was much flatter, allowing less water to cover the face of the planet; and (4), subterranean water sources. [7] (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html#flood)

Vapor canopy

The proposed vapor canopy suggested a layer of water vapor in the upper atmosphere which, triggered by a meteoroid, caused a giant rain shower and so contributed to the flood. However, such a volume of water held suspended in the atmosphere would give rise to an atmospheric pressure in the order of nine atmospheres. The atmosperic temperature would also have to be extremely high to prevent the saturated atmosphere from condensing. For a more thorough discussion, see: [8] (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html#flood). The vapor canopy model has lost favour and is no longer accepted by most creationary scientists.

Comet strike

Had the Earth been struck by a comet providing enough water for a great deluge, gravitational heating would have boiled the water and nothing would have survived; any unprotected life on the surface would have been poached.

Subterranean water deposits

Water is less dense than rock; therefore, mainstream scientists claim, it would be forced to the surface long before the date of the flood. They add that at any significant depth beneath the surface of the Earth, the water would have been boiled, causing giant steam plumes which would be further heated by falling back to earth.

Crust transformation

Some flood geology supporters have proposed that the Earth's surface was much flatter in the past, thus allowing a much smaller volume of water to cover the planet. However, in order for the Earth's crust to reach its present form from such a flat stage over the past four thousand years, geologists point out, a tremendous amount of work would be required by a mechanism unstated by creationists. They point out that heating caused by the raising of the mountains and the lowering of the sea would raise oceanic temperatures on the order of 10 degrees Celsius.

Geological evidence

The ; mainstream geologists do not believe the Rockies share erosion traits consistent with a great flood - erosion would be expected equal to the Appalachian Mountains, shown at left.
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The Rocky Mountains; mainstream geologists do not believe the Rockies share erosion traits consistent with a great flood - erosion would be expected equal to the Appalachian Mountains, shown at left.
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The Appalachian Mountains show an immense level of erosion. Geologists assert that if a flood had occurred, similar erosion should be found in the Rocky Mountains, shown at right.

Geologists claim that the flood, had it occurred, should also have produced large-scale effects spread throughout the entire world. Erosion should be evenly distributed, yet the levels of erosion in, for example, the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains differ significantly. [9] (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html#flood)

Archaeological evidence

Archaeology proves to be a potent source of evidence. Flood geology claims that the current sedimentary layers were produced by liquefaction, and that objects caught in the flood (including living creatures) were sorted by mass and location at the time when the flood engulfed them. However, archaeologists state that if this sorting actually took place, heavy, dense objects (such as human artifacts) would be expected to sink to the bottom. In actuality, man-made artifacts are very close to the top of the sedimentary layers.

Furthermore, mainstream archaeologists claim that a number of ancient civilisations (such as those of Egypt and Mesopotamia), are older that the alleged date of the Flood, and that the flood would have destroyed much of the evidence of these civilisations and deeply buried the rest. Creationists don't dispute the latter point - they reject the dates of those civilisations. Archaeologists claim that the methods of dating have been verified time and time again (see carbon dating). The carbon dating methods are also claimed to be independent of the detailed records kept by those civilizations. See Mesopotamia and History of Egypt.

Paleontological evidence

If fossilization took place extremely quickly during the Flood, then - paleontologists claim - fossilized remains should be far more numerous and widespread than is actually seen. Furthermore, it is claimed that if creatures were differentiated by body size and density, then massive dinosaurs such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus should be found near the top sediments, rather than in sediments containing all the other Jurassic dinosaurs. Furthermore, paleontologists claim that if all the fossilized animals were killed in the flood, and the flood is responsible for fossilization, then the average density of vertebrates was close to 2100 creatures per acre, judging from fossil beds found worldwide.

Grass evidence

One example of fossil distribution that is hard to explain for flood geology is the distribution of grass. Grass leaves, grass seeds and grass pollen are found only in the upper layers of the geological column. The conventional explanation is the relatively recent evolution of grasses. Since wet grass readily sinks, it is unlikely that natural sorting would lead to the observed distribution of plant fossils in the geological column. While this does not exclude supernatural influences ("God did it"), this observation is incompatible with plain flood geology unless further miracles are invoked.

Philosophical objections

Mainstream scientists object to Flood Geology, and Creationism in general, on philosophical grounds as well as scientific ones. Perhaps the most fervent objection is grounded in Occam's Razor. Occam's razor is a principle of parsimony formulated so as to "slice out" scientific theories which contain redundant assumptions: "It is vain to do with more what can be done with less." Therefore, say scientists, because mainstream science can comprehensively describe the relevant data, flood geology, which inherently draws on God, is redundant because of its underlying assumption of divine intervention. See Occam's Razor: In science for a more thorough discussion.

Mainstream scientists also object to Flood Geology on the methodological grounds: they point out that flood geology supporters approach geology with the initial purpose of finding evidence for a worldwide flood, rather than looking at the evidence and then formulating a conclusion. To cement this point, they claim that Creationist geologists had looked at the evidence for a worldwide flood in the century before Darwin, and found it lacking, dismissing it in favor of uniformitarian worldviews. [10] (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html#philosophy)

Sources

  • Henry H. Howorth, The Mammoth and the Flood (London: Samson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1887), pp. 2–4, 74–75.
  • Valentina V. Ukraintseva, Vegetation Cover and Environment of the “Mammoth Epoch” in Siberia (Hot Springs, South Dakota: The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, 1993), pp. 12–13.
  • N. A. Dubrovo et al., “Upper Quaternary Deposits and Paleogeography of the Region Inhabited by the Young Kirgilyakh Mammoth,” International Geology Review, Vol. 24, No. 6, June 1982, p. 630.
  • Charles H. Hapgood, The Path of the Pole (Philadelphia: Chilton Book Company, 1970), p. 267.
  • Numbers, R.L. 1991. The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism, Berkely: University of California Press.
  • E. W. Pfizenmayer, Siberian Man and Mammoth, translated from German by Muriel D. Simpson (London: Black & Son Limited, 1939).
  • Brown, Walt, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, 2001.
  • M. Huc, Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet [Tibet], and China, During the Years 1844, 1845, and 1846. Vol. 2 (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1852), pp. 130–131.
  • H. Neuville, “On the Extinction of the Mammoth,” Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1919.

External links

Flood geology sites

Sites critical of Flood Geology

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