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The Young Earth, Revised & Expanded
by John Morris

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Feedback archive → Feedback 2002, 2006

CMI presents geological ‘misinformation’?

31 March 2002; reposted and updated 23 March 2006

This negative comes from Adam Shinabarger, a Geology student at Michigan State University, who gave permission for his full name to be used. It is instructive because it commits several informal logical fallacies, so we hope readers will be alerted when they encounter the same fallacies in other anti-creationist articles. For example, there is the argument from authority, generalizing without concrete data, poisoning the well, and overlooking the role of axioms or presuppositions (unproven starting assumptions) in formulating explanations (see Evolution & creation, science & religion, facts & bias  and Presuppositionalism vs evidentialism)  We are also grateful to him for giving us an excuse to explain how there is so much evidence for the Flood of Noah’s day — providing that one starts from the right axioms instead of declaring this to be inadmissible a priori. His letter is first printed in its entirety

(indented text),
then reprinted with a point-by-point response by Drs Tas Walker and Jonathan Sarfati (non-indented text).


I’d like to inform both the magazine and whoever else this will reach of the horrible misinformation your publication is spreading. From just one issue (Feb. 2001, I believe), I found an atrocious amount of inaccuracies in your writings.

I’ll agree with your magazine that fossilization does not take a long time. However, the rocks in which the fossils are contained do take millions of years to weather, erode, get deposited, and lithify. Do a little research and look at average rates of sedimentation.

Does anyone there know ANYTHING about solution chemistry? Your magazine says the sea is not salty enough to have existed for as long as geologists think it has. Well, if they’d bother to look at the fact that salt precipitates out once the water becomes concentrated enough in salts, they wouldn’t look like such idiots. There are other sources of salt sinks in the worlds’ oceans, but I don’t want your heads to cave in from actual KNOWLEDGE.

Lastly(I’ll stop at 3 out of sympathy), your claim that erosion would have totally leveled the planet over the course of several million years is ridiculous. The rate of uplift that occurs in the various parts of the planet more than compensates for the rates of erosion around the world. There is uplift occurring now in the Himilayas and West Coast of the US, this is evident from GPS readings. Funny, I don’t see them getting eroded away.

Maybe if your publication did some actual research in scientific journals or texts instead of quoting your own, you’d see your doing the world a disservice by spreading a graet deal of misinformation.


I’d like to inform both the magazine and whoever else this will reach of the horrible misinformation your publication is spreading. From just one issue (Feb. 2001, I believe) [23(1), Dec 2000–Feb 2001], I found an atrocious amount of inaccuracies in your writings.

Thanks for writing. However, we don’t intentionally publish misinformation. Our aim is to correct the misinformation prevalent in our culture. (Incidentally, we also try to correct misinformation even by fellow creationists — see Arguments creationists should NOT use [see also later articles Maintaining Creationist Integrity (and feedback Commended for aiming for accuracy) and Unleashing the Storm (and feedback Weathering the Storm)—Ed.]) Think through our responses below and you’ll see what we mean.

I’ll agree with your magazine that fossilization does not take a long time.

Glad you agree. However, although fossilization does not require millions of years, our culture gives us a different impression. Look up text books, encyclopedias or web sites and you will see that they say it takes millions of years for fossils to form. (E.g., the hardly atypical 1997 web article, Oregon’s first fossil egg discovered—wrapped in a mystery, speaks of ‘the millions of years it takes to become a fossil’.) Our articles dispel that misinformation. In fact, fossilization points to rapid and catastrophic sedimentation, supporting the Biblical record of the Flood.

However, the rocks in which the fossils are contained do take millions of years to weather, erode, get deposited, and lithify. Do a little research and look at average rates of sedimentation.

You are getting to the key issue here. But remember, no one alive today has witnessed these millions of years. They are only obtained by extrapolating current processes into the past by assuming that the present is more-or-less the key to the past. Thus, your claim is wrong that deposition, lithifaction, erosion and weathering prove millions of years. Contrary to our cultural conditioning, under appropriate conditions, all these can happen quickly. We regularly publish articles that dispel this misinformation too, and Noah’s Flood is the key. For deposition, the article Sedimentation Experiments: Nature Finally Catches Up! contains pictures of fine laminæ in a 25-foot-thick rock layer produced by a pyroclastic flow from Mt St Helens, as well as laboratory produced lamination.

For lithifaction see the articles Petrified flour(this was on p. 17 of the issue you referred to), and Rapid Rocks — Granites … they didn’t need millions of years of cooling (from a previous issue, 21(1):37–39, December 1998–February 1999). Note that concrete is an obvious example of an artificial conglomerate, showing that lithifaction can occur rapidly under the right conditions.

Kaibab Upwarp

Large-scale, soft-sediment deformation.
Grand Canyon's Kaibab Upwarp.

Many sedimentary rocks are so brittle they would break under any applied pressure, no matter how slowly applied. The fact of intense folding in some now-brittle rocks shows they were still soft when the pressure was applied. A good example is the Kaibab Upwarp in the Grand Canyon, where rock layers including the Tapeats Sandstone were uplifted by a mile, and in one place bend about 90 degrees in just over 30 m (diagram, right, after Morris). This is claimed to have been 480 million years old at the time of the warping, by which time it would have surely hardened. But if it were hard at the time of warping, we would expect to find evidence of great stress, e.g. elongated sand grains or broken crystals of cementing minerals. Yet we don’t, indicating that the material was still soft while bending, showing that it could not have been laid down over millions of years but was deformed soon after deposition, thus eliminating a half billion years from the supposed geological time scale.

Engineers Canyon at Mt St Helens

Cross-section of clastic dykes.
Sand/water mixture was still soft enough to flow through cracks.

Another important evidence that large thicknesses of layered sedimentary rock formed and hardened more-or-less simultaneously is fluidisation pipes. This is where a hot lava flow intruded horizontally and very rapidly underneath a sedimentary deposit, boiled the water touching it, which welled up to form a vertical column above the hot spot. In this column, the unconsolidated sediment transformed into a fluid suspension, destroying the layered structure, and then hardening into a noticeable ‘pipe’ structure. See Fluidisation pipes: Evidence of large-scale watery catastrophe, Journal of Creation 14(3):8–9, 2000. Clastic dykes are another line of evidence that shows that upper layers must have been deposited before the sandstone had hardened, otherwise it couldn’t have forced its way through the cracks—see diagram (above right, after Morris).

Clastic Dyke

Engineers Canyon at Mt St Helens. Eroded in one day.

For erosion, see the 100-foot-deep Engineer’s Canyon on the north fork of the Toutle River (diagram, right), like a model of Grand Canyon. It was carved very quickly by a catastrophic mud flow from a Mt St Helens eruption through earlier pyroclastic deposits. See also the article ‘Canyon Creation’, Creation 22(4):46–48, September–November 2000. Weathering processes have mostly been slower, having continued for the 4,300 years since the Flood.

It’s interesting that even secular geologists are recognising the role of catastrophic floods. E.g. the Hawkesbury Sandstone in Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, which is a huge sorted sedimentary deposit (i.e. the grains are roughly separated according to size), indicating that the sediment has been transported a long distance from where it was eroded from the parent rock. Dr Patrick Conaghan, at one time senior lecturer in the School of Earth Science at Macquarie University, and who has published numbers of papers about the Hawkesbury Sandstone, described a succession of catastrophic, massive flood waves possibly 20 m high and up to 250 km wide sweeping down from an ancient lake that stretched from Murrurundi north of Sydney to the Carnarvon Ranges in central Queensland. Dr Conaghan recognises that the volumes and velocities necessary to explain the sediment volumes must have been huge, consistent with the catastrophe of Noah’s Flood. See also Dating dilemma: fossil wood in ‘ancient’ sandstone to show how this supposedly 225–230 million-year-old formation contained fossil wood with detectable 14C activity [Ed. note: see also Radiometric dating breakthroughs which include detectable 14C activity in coal and diamonds].

Formation of crossbeds — sand waves under fast-flowing water

Thick cross-beds. Evidence of huge sand waves beneath deep, fast-flowing water.

In the Grand Canyon, the Coconino Sandstone covers half a million square km and has a sand volume of 40,000 cubic km, and the angle of crossbeds plus other features show that it was deposited as sand waves under water. The enormous thickness shows that the waves were about 18 m high, which indicates that they were deposited under water 54 m deep, with sustained unidirectional currents of 90–155 cm/sec. See diagram (right) and Grand Canyon: Startling Evidence for Noah’s Flood and Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe.

There are no floods on Earth today, or in recorded history (since the Bible of course), creating such huge deposits of sedimentary material. The present is not the ‘key to the past’, a basic principle that spurred the foundation of modern geology with its slow and gradual processes requiring millions of years to do almost anything. No, the past, as revealed in the Bible, is the key to understanding what we can see in the present—huge sedimentary formations even crossing continents (e.g. America across into Europe and Africa). Global scale catastrophe, as per the Biblical Flood, is needed to explain these features.

Diagram of features between rock layers that must have been preserved quickly

Features on surface of sediment deposits must have formed quickly and been covered quickly.

Further evidence against long ages is the existence of footprints in successive layers. There could have been no long ages between strata, otherwise they would have been eroded—how long do you think one of your footprints would last? They must have been preserved when the next macro-layer (often comprising many fine laminæ) was laid on top, especially with the cementing action of dissolved minerals. In Queensland, Australia, where we live, they have recently uncovered fossil footprints, and to illustrate our point, they very soon had to build a protective shed over them because they started eroding so quickly when exposed to the elements. See diagram (right), after Morris.

Does anyone there know ANYTHING about solution chemistry?

Well, yes, one does cover such things in a chemistry Ph.D as one of us (JS) has earned — probably a lot more than the average geology undergrad, even ….

Your magazine says the sea is not salty enough to have existed for as long as geologists think it has [referring to Salty seas: Evidence for a young earth]

Of course, by ‘geologists’ you mean ‘evolutionary’ or ‘uniformitarian’ geologists. You see, creationist geologists (such as TW) think the sea is salty enough to have existed for as long as they ‘think it has’.

Well, if they’d bother to look at the fact that salt precipitates out once the water becomes concentrated enough in salts, they wouldn’t look like such idiots.
Salt influx and outflow in ocean

Salt fills the sea too fast. Upper limit using evolutionary assumptions is 62 million years. Salt content is consistent with biblical assumptions.

Well, you need to provide quantitative data instead of asserting that this or that process occurs, and imply that we’d never heard of it, otherwise someone else might end up ‘looking like an idiot ;)’. That’s the problem, getting the solution concentrated enough. Seawater is highly undersaturated (by a factor of 20!) in both Na+ and Cl ions, so it actually tends to dissolve rather than precipitate salt (halite, NaCl). Most salt is deposited today from concentrated continental river water.

As indicated, the article above was mainly a summary of a detailed study, The sea’s missing salt: a dilemma for evolutionists, with only a minor update, which strengthens the case. This article points out that halite deposition is not the major source of removal from the oceans despite popular impressions, but is actually minor compared with salt spray and ion exchange (given in the popular-level article), and trivial compared to river input.

This article also addresses albite formation, pointing out that it would remove only a negligible amount of sodium, despite some atheistic articles circulating in the darker hovels of the internet claiming that creationists have overlooked this possibility of reconciling billions of years with the hard evidence.

There are other sources of salt sinks in the worlds’ oceans, …

All of which are accounted for quantitatively in that paper.

… but I don’t want your heads to cave in from actual KNOWLEDGE.

No, can’t have that, if ‘knowledge’ is stipulatively defined as ‘materialistic theories’ instead of hard data as documented in the above paper.

Lastly (I’ll stop at 3 out of sympathy), …

As amply shown by our response, your patronizing language really doesn’t become you.

… your claim that erosion would have totally leveled the planet over the course of several million years is ridiculous. The rate of uplift that occurs in the various parts of the planet more than compensates for the rates of erosion around the world. There is uplift occurring now in the Himilayas [sic] and West Coast of the US, this is evident from GPS readings. Funny, I don’t see them getting eroded away.

You may not have noticed the erosion, but land erosion is taken very seriously by government conservation organisations. The estimated average rates are slow—generally less than a millimetre per year. So, the claim is not ridiculous but is seriously discussed in the geologic literature. The literature also discusses ways to avoid the problem this presents for the billion year timescale. Your idea of uplift is discussed in an earlier article on this issue (Eroding ages, Creation 22(2):18–21,2000).

Uplift does not solve the problem because sediments of all ages are found in mountainous regions. If significant uplift and erosion had occurred, then only old sediments would be present.

Maybe if your publication did some actual research in scientific journals or texts instead of quoting your own, …

Check our Journal of Creation [Previously TJ], which is scientific by any definition (apart from an anti-creationist one that rules out a designer a priori as Richard Lewontin and Scott Todd do). Journal of Creation regularly reports ‘actual research’ and many of the authors also publish in secular scientific journals.

… you’d see your [sic] doing the world a disservice by spreading a graet [sic] deal of misinformation.

We hope our responses will encourage you to do some digging for yourself on these issues. Examine the presuppositions behind what you are being taught, and behind your own belief systems. [In another email, Mr Shinabarger asserted, without proof of course, that the Bible is mythology, ignoring the type of literature and the vast supporting evidence for its historicity—see Q&A: Bible. He also said: ‘What an arrogant assumption to think that humans are anymore important than a colony of bacteria.’ We wonder whether he would be arrogant enough ever to protect himself by using antiseptics or antibiotics to poison whole colonies of bacteria …]

Modern geology is based on the decision to deny Noah’s Flood and the assumption that past geologic processes happened slowly over millions of years—see this revealing pronouncement from James Hutton, the ‘Father of Uniformitarianism’. If you are alert when you examine geologic outcrops in the field, you will not find evidence for the slow-and-gradual ideas you are being taught but will find abundant evidence for catastrophe, exactly as expected from Noah’s Flood. We recommend that you subscribe to Journal of Creation, especially for the insights you will receive from the geology articles. Let us know how you go in your course.

Regards

(Drs) Tas Walker and Jonathan Sarfati


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