If a man plants green peppers in a garden and he gets a great number of jalapeno peppers instead, he would consider his results to be anomalous only if he failed to realize that he had actually planted jalapeno peppers instead! A mistaken premise leads to unexpected results.
So it is with the sedimentary layers of the Earth and the fossil record. Because Darwinists expect the mythical geologic column to be in place and that organisms have evolved over long periods of time, they expected results in the fossil record they did not get. In fact the fossil rock records have so many anomalies they seem to consist of more anomalies than expected results! So, for your reading pleasure and futherance of education, real science presents Biblical Geology models...funny how those annoying anomalies begin to disappear!
Published: 4 December 2011(GMT+10)This week, Dr Tas Walker answers a question about different opinions in the creationist community of the location of the boundaries of the Flood in the rocks, and Dr Jonathan Sarfati points out to a skeptic that the world’s most prominent flat-earther today is actually an evolutionist!
I recently read an extensive 1996 article from your Journal of Creation, which discussed the fossil record and the flood.
To me, Robinson seems to talk against many of your major claims of flood geology. As an example, he seems to say that the suggestion that the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary represents where the end of the flood, is false (p. 64), and that we have been trying to ‘reorder’ the data so it fit the creation model. Yet, it seems like CMI is still using the argument that the cretaceous/tertiary boundary represents the end of the flood. Robinson also claims that some of the leading creationists have been using argument straight from ‘Darwinian apologetics’ when they say that the lack of human fossils are the result of an incomplete fossil record, despite the fact that creationists often says that the fossil record are fairly complete.
Robinson seems to say that none of the land animal fossils are from the flood. He also seems to be sceptical many of the claims about rapid distribution of animals after the flood. What do you say about that?
CMI’s Dr Tas Walker responds:I haven’t found any papers arguing against Robinson on your homepage, and wonder if we have to change the view of where the flood/post-flood boundary is? If we are not careful, sceptics might use this debate to say that creationism is a weak and vague worldview.Thank you.N.N.
Thank you for your comment on the Flood/post-Flood boundary. This has been a contentious issue among creationists and it continues to be so. The discussion in CEN TJ 10(1) (Now Journal of Creation), all those years ago, was an effort to sort out the differences with papers on different views. Robinson’s view is quite extreme in that he put the post-Flood boundary very low in the geologic column. In fact, since that paper he has put his boundary even lower toward the bottom of the Precambrian and that creates huge problems.
There were quite a number of people in the 1990s who put the boundary in the Paleozoic, such as Garner, Tyler and Garton, Scheven, etc. Their view became known as the European model or the Recolonization model. In that view they claim the Mesozoic and Cenozoic provides a record of the recolonization of the earth since the Flood. We think that this model presents huge problems for the plausibility of Flood geology because it requires too much post-Flood catastrophe to explain the enormous volumes of sediment deposited in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. We think that this model will lead to the ‘disappearing Flood’ because this model assigns the geologic evidence for the Flood to Post-Flood period.
There are a number of articles on our site that argue for the Post-Flood boundary being late in the Cenozoic, which is what CMI scientists hold. Creationist geologists who make a good case for this are Holt, Oard, Froede and Woodmorappe. Do a search for these authors as well as “post flood boundary” on creation.com and you will find much discussion on it. Search also for “geologic column” and you will find articles (by Oard in particular, one called Is the geological column a global sequence?) that explain the late-Cenozoic boundary.
It is worth noting that Paul Garner has since changed his mind on the location of the boundary and holds to the boundary being much higher than he advocated in TJ 10(1). You can find using Google an article he wrote called “Time for an Upgrade?”
(Radar note...this article will appear farther down in this post, yes, you get two Creation Geologists for the price of one, plus some input by Dr. Sarfati!)
This is a very important issue and the range of creationist ideas promoted in the past has meant it can be confusing. You suggested that skeptics could use this against the creationist worldview. But I don’t agree with those who say debate is a bad thing and claim the creationist worldview is weak.
On the contrary, debate is a sign of progressive and energetic inquiry and research. It is a good thing for scientists to debate different models because this exposes the weakness in the poor models and helps strengthen the good models. Hold the models loosely but hold the Word of God tightly.
Back to the boundary, in our view, the late post-Flood boundary makes very good sense of the geologic data.
All the best,
(Radar - Tas Walker has a very comprehensive Biblical Geology site!)
Kevin E. from the United States writes:
My science question is the following: The beliefs posted on this site in the about us/ what we believe section state that the earth was made in “six 24 hour periods.” How is this unique only to our solar system when observational evidence from NASA and other scientific space programs shows that in all cases, extra solar planets (planets orbiting another star other than our sun) form an accretion disk and takes millions of years compared to days? Another question: Is the earth still flat?CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati replies:
It’s interesting that you ask us about the flat earth, when the leader of that movement is one of your fellow evolutionists:
“The Flat Earth Society is an active organization currently led by a Virginian man named Daniel Shenton. Though Shenton believes in evolution and global warming, he and his hundreds, if not thousands, of followers worldwide also believe that the Earth is a disc that you can fall off of.”1If he had stuck to the Bible, he wouldn’t have made that error. See articles under Does the Bible really teach a flat earth?
If you demonstrate some seriousness in your questions (or at least try more informed quips that aren’t so easily turned back on you), I’ll discuss how extrasolar planets pose a problem for nebular models of solar system formation. See for example Solar system origin: Nebular hypothesis, Planets and migrating theories, and Solar system formation by accretion has no observational evidence.
Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.
(Radar - Spike Psarris will be releasing his second Astronomy DVD soon. The Nebular Hypothesis and accretion hypotheses have failed to even begin to explain the objects found in the Universe).
Reader’s comment:Steve B., New Zealand, 3 December 2011
Thank you very much for your reply to Kevin E. It deals with the points he raised in a simple but precise manner. Excellent example for us all!
- Wolchover, N., Ingenious ‘Flat Earth’ Theory Revealed In Old Map, Live Science, 23 June 2011. Return to text.
Creationists want to reclaim the natural sciences for Christ, and that means constructing new theories in biology, geology, and astronomy that are founded on the Bible and consistent with the scientific data, and then fitting those theories together in a coherent creation model. This is no easy task. It’s much simpler to criticize evolution than to build positive alternatives that can withstand rigorous examination.
Trained in the earth sciences, I have focused my interest in developing a creationist theory of earth history. Since the advent of modern geology, John Whitcomb and Henry Morris’s 1961 book, The Genesis Flood, was pretty much the first attempt to create a creationist theory of the earth. But it was only a start. Their ideas need to be updated, improved, built upon, and integrated with new theories to produce a coherent creationist model of earth history.
The Bible gives information that can help in interpreting the clues we unearthed in geological studies, but many questions remain. For example, which are the Flood layers?
Which are the Flood Layers?Much of the earth’s geological record consists of sedimentary rock layers laid down by water, such as mudstones, limestones, and sandstones. In most cases, these layers built up sequentially, one being laid on top of another in the manner of a multi-layer sandwich. Provided that earth movements have not disturbed the sequence, the oldest layer will be at the bottom of the pile.
Early in the rise of modern geology, the portion of the geological record that includes animal fossils was divided into four main parts: the Primary (later called Paleozoic), Secondary (later called Mesozoic), Tertiary, and Quaternary (see below). Whitcomb and Morris suggested that all these layers were laid down in Noah’s Flood.
However, in the 1980s, some creationists began to suggest that only the Primary sediments were laid down during Noah’s Flood. They made this suggestion to explain otherwise puzzling features of the rock layers, in particular the existence of structures such as reefs, soils, and colonized seafloors that apparently took longer than just the year of the Flood to build up (though not millions of years).
This seemed to be an interesting avenue to explore, and in the mid 1990s I contributed to a symposium in which I argued that the Flood/post-Flood boundary must be placed somewhere near the top of the Primary layers. It’s fair to say that this proposal proved controversial and generated a great deal of discussion and debate!
Problems with My Favored TheoryOver the next few years, however, I began to find a number of problems with the theory that I’d helped develop. It became evident that many of the features that had led me to conclude that the Secondary layers were post-Flood were also present in the Primary layers. I began to wonder whether the end of the Flood should be pushed even further back in the geological record.
Problem #1If this were true, however, creation geologists would have to account for even more sedimentary layers laid down after the Flood. But my study of the biblical genealogies had persuaded me that the time between Noah and Abraham was fairly short—perhaps no more than 350 years. This didn’t seem long enough to accommodate so much erosion and earth movement, unless the post-Flood period was almost as catastrophic as the Flood itself.
Problem #2Another problem I saw concerned the breakup of the earth’s continents. The geological evidence that the continents had once been united into a single supercontinent was very strong, but how and when did they break apart?
I soon realized that, if the Flood ended much lower in the geological record as I had suggested, then much of the continents’ breakup must have taken place after—not during—the Flood. But this raised a serious problem. The known physics indicated that the earth’s plates could either move very fast (as during the Flood) or hardly at all (like today). There didn’t seem to be any way for them to move at moderate speeds, which is what the post-Flood theory required.
Problem #3Another concern was that placing the end of the Flood so low in the geological record completely “decoupled” the Ice Age from the Flood. Creationist modelling in the 1990s had successfully shown how widespread ice sheets could have developed after the Flood, as moisture from the warm oceans fell as heavy snow on the cold continents. However, if the Flood were pushed further down in the geological record, the Ice Age would have begun long after the Flood. This bothered me because it left me without any explanation for the Ice Age.
Problem #4One final factor was the realization that I had failed to take account of the bigger picture. When dealing with very specific geological problems, it’s easy to “miss the forest for the trees.” A broader context adds a fresh perspective. This broader context is the thick and uniform sediments extending across continents in the Primary and Secondary layers. In the Tertiary and Quaternary layers these continent-scale patterns are largely absent, with most sediments restricted to more local areas or basins. With this in mind, the most obvious place to locate the end of the Flood was near the top of the Secondary layers, at the point where continent-scale processes gave way to regional-scale processes. My favored model was inconsistent with this big picture.
Putting the Pieces TogetherAfter years of grappling with the combined weight of these considerations, I felt I had to change my view. But whatever I did accept needed to put all the pieces together.
For example, I wanted to explain the evidence that the continents were breaking up at the same time that the Primary and Secondary sediments were being laid. What mechanism could break up the continents so quickly? In 1994, a team of creationist researchers had proposed just such a theory, called catastrophic plate tectonics (CPT).
It turns out that the CPT theory is able to explain much more than the breakup of continents. For instance, it explains everything that conventional plate tectonics explains and more (see “The Missing Piece,” p. 61).
THE MISSING PIECE—A Creationist PerspectiveContinents plowing through the ocean floor? How geologists came to accept this radical idea is one of the most interesting stories in modern science. But the evidence became overwhelming with the development of new instruments to study the ocean floor.
Recent discoveries have left geologists with new puzzles. For example, deep in the earth’s mantle are pieces of cold plates that apparently came from the earth’s surface. How could these cold plates sink slowly through the hot mantle (up to 7232°F), over millions of years, without “melting”? In their search for answers, conventional geologists are hindered by a belief that the earth’s plates have been moving at current, slow rates (1–2 inches per year) for millions of years.
Creationists, on the other hand, know from the data of Scripture that the earth has only been around a few thousand years. Using the Bible’s history as their starting point, these scientists were ready to take the theory of continental movement to the next level. They worked out a theory, called catastrophic plate tectonics. CPT included the best parts of the earlier theories but added speed. Recent studies of granite have shown that silicate rock, under stress, can weaken by a factor of a billion or more. This means that, under the right conditions, the continental plates could move a billion times faster than today. The Flood provided the necessary conditions.
CPT explains many problems that are a puzzle in conventional plate tectonics. For example, how did plates ever have enough energy to drive their way down through the mantle layers, which currently prevent plates from moving any lower? Also, how could cold crust material sink to the earth’s core without melting? The answer is to speed things up in a catastrophic, global Flood!
Of course, that isn’t to say that CPT has all the answers or has solved every problem. Outstanding questions remain, such as how to explain the removal of the heat that would have been generated by the rapid breakup of the continents. However, I’ve come to think that the issues facing CPT are not insoluble and, in fact, they suggest some interesting avenues for further research. To me, the CPT model has the greatest potential to bring together information from a variety of scientific fields, including geology, geophysics, paleontology, and climatology, in a full-fledged model of the global Flood.
Holding Our Models LooselyOne of the important lessons I’ve learned from this process is the need for Christians to exercise humility in our search for the truth. We don’t have all the answers, and our scientific hypotheses may be wrong. So we ought to be ready to concede our models as the evidence demands.
We must continually seek a better understanding of the Bible and the scientific data, even if it means revising or rejecting our cherished ideas. Scientific theories—even creationist ones—are tentative, and we should learn to hold onto them loosely. Of course, the other side of this is that it’s always important to glean as many truths from a successful model as possible. Scientists don’t abandon theories just because they haven’t explained all the data. All theories are incomplete, but we should seek to embrace the best and see how far we can get with them.
Is catastrophic plate tectonics the “final word” in creationist geology? Will it withstand further scientific and scriptural scrutiny? Only time will tell. If experience has taught me anything, it’s that our scientific models will look very different in, say, ten years’ time. Some will have been confirmed, others will have fallen by the wayside, and new ones will have been developed. But that’s not something that should unduly concern us. In fact, it’s one of the things that makes science so exciting.
All that and I did not even bring in Dr.Walt Brown! There are many creation geologists doing real science trying to identify remnants of the Flood properly, understand how it sculpted the face of Earth and also what was left behind by the Post-Flood Ice Age. Once you realize that the sedimentary layers came from the Flood, it all begins to fall into place.
Hold onto your scientific hypotheses loosely because new information can change them or tune them up. Very sage advice. Hold on loosely!