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Hydroplate theory: the strongest theory?

earth-2
Published: 22 August 2020 (GMT+10)

Charles L. from the United States writes:

I’ve read Oard’s critique of the Hydroplate Theory and found that it did have some good points but it is the strongest theory there is. All others are ridiculous.

I was considering donating to you and will in the future if you guys give the Theory more analysis in regards to finding your own answers you have proposed and accept the theory as the leading theory, which it is.

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

Dear Charles,

Thanks for writing in.

Creation Ministries International acts more as a catalyst, coach, and umpire with creation scientists. We are always keen to publish material we receive, but we have a rigorous review process to ensure that it is soundly based.

Nonetheless, Mike Oard’s Analysis of Walt Brown’s Flood model is as in-depth an analysis of Hydroplate theory (HPT) that one will find anywhere. And we remain satisfied that it explains why we don’t promote actively Hydroplate theory or regard it at present as the “leading theory”.

At any rate, even if HPT (or any other model) were the strongest Flood model around, that would not necessarily make it true, or even probable. It may only be the best explanation because it’s modestly better than a bunch of really bad explanations. That would only make it the ‘best’ by default. It may still have crippling flaws that makes it weak, either in part or in the whole. Likewise, if it were only marginally better than other models on offer, we wouldn’t be able to have much confidence in it as a genuinely probable theory on what happened during the Flood. There would be too much ambiguity.

Moreover, there is another challenge to Hydroplate theory some creation scientists have raised that Mr Oard doesn’t focus on: it currently does not fulfil its claims according to its own assumptions. Crucially, Dr Brown portrays Hydroplate theory like this:

The hydroplate theory has one major and two minor starting assumptions. All else follows from them and the laws of physics.1

In other words, once we begin with these starting assumptions, Hydroplate theory claims to explain the Flood purely by natural cause and effect. No miracles needed.

Is this viable? Analyses of HPT by two creation scientists have highlighted problems that exist with this claim. First, geophysicist Dr John Baumgardner, the main proponent of the Catastrophic Plate Tectonics model of the Flood, offered a critique of HPT on these two points in his ‘Author-to-author critique’ of HPT on pp. 520–528 of The Flood Science Review.2 Second, creation astronomer Dr Danny Faulkner offered a serious critique of the astronomical aspects of HPT in: An Analysis of Astronomical Aspects of the Hydroplate Theory, Creation Research Society Quarterly 49(3):197–210, 2013.

One of the problems that Baumgardner raised was that the elastic strain energy that can arise from Brown’s ‘flutter’ process for the granitic crust is far too low to generate radioactive elements in the Earth’s crust:

However, assuming that somehow such ‘flutter’ does occur, a severe limit on the energy available for step 2 above is the maximum amount of elastic strain energy that can arise in this 10 mile thick layer of granite rock from the ‘flutter’ as it oscillates over the 0.75 mile thick layer of water. In his treatment of this hypothesized fluttering process, Brown neglects to place any limit whatever on the amplitude of the oscillation. But there is an obvious limit, namely, the starting thickness of the water layer, that is, 0.75 miles or 1612 m [sic3]. In other words, the maximum amplitude of this up and down motion of the oscillating crustal plate relative to its unflexed state is the original thickness of the water layer, or 1612 m. As I show in Appendix A, the peak level of stored elastic energy in this flexing layer, corresponding to this maximum flexing amplitude and a wavelength of oscillation of 1000 km is only about 0.10 J/kg! Furthermore, the peak elastic stress generated by the flexing plate for this wavelength of oscillation is only 5.1 x 106 Pa or 51 bars. There is simply no way that such a low energy density and such a small amount of time-varying elastic stress could generate the extreme piezoelectric discharges Brown invokes in step 2 to fuse low-Z ions together to get elements heavier than iron, much less the super-heavy elements he mentions. The science simply is not there. Obviously, if the energy available from the ‘flutter’ mechanism is so severely limited, all the further steps in this scenario must be moot.4

A second problem raised by Faulkner points out that Brown’s supercritical water jets emerging from underneath the granitic crust at a velocity of approximately Mach 150 would most likely heat the atmosphere too much to be viable:

Thus, assuming that only one millionth of the jet energy is thermalized to the atmosphere and that heat is distributed uniformly, we find an atmospheric temperature increase of 34 C. This is in addition to other heating mechanisms, such as from volcanic activity and the latent heat of vaporization from rainfall. This is an unrealistically high temperature increase, and it is doubtful that the energy transfer was this minimal. With more realistic energy transfer, it ought to be obvious that trying to pass this much matter through the earth’s atmosphere at such speed is not possible.5

These and other critiques that exist in the creationist literature need to be addressed cogently for HPT to be considered viable. Otherwise, it requires miracles to save it, which conflicts with its starting assumptions. In spite of these critiques, there does not appear to be much in the way of substantive interaction with these arguments in order to support HPT.6 Thus, the HPT energy budget problem is still to be solved in order for it, by its own assumptions, to be considered viable.

Now, given a Bible-first approach to Flood modelling and historical science in general (see The Flood—a designed catastrophe? and Historical science and miracles), it’s not clear that we have to assume that all the physical traces we see that resulted from the Flood’s initial conditions had to have been caused purely by natural causes. Indeed, this is where other models, such as John Baumgardner’s Catastrophic Plate Tectonics model and Oard’s ‘Impacts/Vertical Tectonics’ model, differ from HPT. They also have heat issues, but neither of these models have ever been presented as a simple case of purely physical causes following on from a certain set of initial conditions. They have never been styled as ‘miracle-free’ explanations of the mechanics of the Flood. Indeed, both Baumgardner7 and Oard8 have concluded that it’s highly unlikely that any Flood model consistent with the physical traces we find can hope to be a miracle-free model.

Is this approach better? It’s not entirely clear. There is still plenty of room for both types of models to be developed further. Also, there’s still a lot we don’t know. But HPT does have work to do to answer the criticisms that have been leveled at it. Fortunately, there are a number of creationist in-depth science forums, including Journal of Creation, that would be happy to receive studies that address these issues facing HPT. These forums are provided precisely so that these debates can be had in a public and even-handed setting.

Kind regards,

Shaun Doyle
Creation Ministries International

References and notes

  1. See Brown, W., In the Beginning, The Hydroplate Theory: Key Assumptions, creationscience.com/onlinebook/HydroplateOverview5.html, accessed 14 May 2020. Return to text.
  2. Bardwell, J. (Ed.), The Flood Science Review, injesusnameproductions.org/flood-science-review, accessed 14 May 2020. Return to text.
  3. However, Baumgardner uses 1612 m in his calculations, rather than 1207 m, which is equal to 0.75 mi. As such, his calculations were generous to Brown’s (then) starting assumptions. Brown now indicates that the subterranean reservoir was <1 mi thick. However, this is vague and still produces far too low energy density and too small amount of time-varying elastic stress to produce the piezoelectric discharges in the granitic crust he needs for his theory of the origin of radioactive elements in the Earth’s crust to work. Return to text.
  4. Author-to-author critiques: Dr. John Baumgardner; in: Bardwell, J. (Ed.), The Flood Science Review, In Jesus’ Name Productions, pp. 520–528, 2011; injesusnameproductions.org. Return to text.
  5. Faulkner, D., An analysis of astronomical aspects of the Hydroplate Theory, Creation Research Society Quarterly 49(3):197–210, 2013. Return to text.
  6. See e.g. calvarypo.org/noahs-flood-the-bible-the-science-the-controversy-by-jane-albright-p-e-part-2-the-hydroplate-theory/—Brown deals with the issue Faulkner raises by appealing to “directed energy”, but with no analysis or detailed interaction with Faulkner’s arguments. And the specific objection I quote from Baumgardner above isn’t even mentioned (nor are several others, though Brown has altered his theory in the last few years to render moot a major problem with previous iterations of HPT—i.e. by increasing his initial condition for the granitic crust from 10 km/10 mi to 60 mi, he has rendered the problem of thickening the crust from 10 km/mi to the present ~30 km moot. Return to text.
  7. Baumgardner, J.R., Numerical simulation of the large-scale tectonic changes accompanying the Flood; in: Walsh, R.E., Brooks, C.E. and Crowell, R.S. (Eds), Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism, Vol. II, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, pp. 17–28, 1987; creationicc.org/1986_papers/ICC86V2-2.pdf. Return to text.
  8. Oard, M.J., An impact Flood submodel—dealing with issues, J. Creation 26(2):73–81, 2012. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

How Noah's Flood Shaped Our Earth
by Michael J Oard, John K Reed
US $17.00
Soft Cover
The Geologic Column
by John K Reed, Michael J Oard
US $15.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

JAMES B.
The main problem with the HPT is that it is founded on notions and ideas that are contrary to the language of the text of Scripture. HPT assumes that the "firmament" in chapter one refers to the CRUST of the Earth - and postulates the entire natural event as "water bursting forth at tremendous speeds from under the earth's crust - which resulted in terrestrial material being ejected and escaping earth's gravity" - The Bible says NOTHING in Genesis 1 - 9 about water under under the Earth's crust.

Not only is HPT contrary to science, it is also decidedly contrary to the text of Genesis.
JAMES B.
The Hydroplate Theory is founded in part on the notion that an additional source for the waters of the Flood is needed. That there is not enough water on the earth to cover the earth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since the Bible says that mountains became higher and canyons of the Ocean became deeper (Ps. 104:7-8) we can know that the terrain was more even - mountains were lower. It has been calculated that if the mountains had been no higher than 5000 feet, and if the oceans had been no deeper than 10,000 feet, that the earth could easily be covered with water at a depth of one mile. NO, there was no need for additional water.

Secondly the Hydroplate Theory has the additional presupposition that water came from under the crust of the earth - from great reservoirs of water - which they incorrectly identify with the "Fountains of the Great Deep" (KJV Gen. 7:11). This mistaken notion is based on a ludicrous understanding of Day Two of the Creation Week - in which "waters which were under the firmament" (KJV Gen. 1:7) are taken as a reference to waters that were under the Crust. They actually maintain that the Firmament [RaQia] is the _crust_ of the earth! This is a bit of a difficulty to those of us who know the meaning of the Hebrew word RaQia - and to those of us who observe that called this objective reality the sky (Heaven KJV: Gen. 1:8), and it was the place where the birds would fly on Day Five (1:20).

Another serious difficulty is that the Bible never once says anything about waters of the Flood coming from under the crust of the earth - nothing about "subterranean water." However the Bible does expressly state in three places that the Flood was primarily by Ocean standing up to cover the Earth (Gen. 7:11; 8:2; Ps. 104:6). This is the truth of CPT.
Glen M.
Shaun Doyle thank you for your reply Your comment about about Dr. Baumgardner using a mile in his calculations is correct. It is in fact defined as 1612 meters which is slightly more than 1609.344 that I found as the number of meters per mile. Perhaps you can explain to me why in his author to author on pages 520-527 of The Flood Science Review he refers to 0.75 mi 7 times? While the 1612 meters is used in his calculations as "If we take 1612 m (0.75 mi) as the peak amplitude y0 and 1000 km as the wavelength..." Why is he using 1000 km as the wavelength? If the wavelength is supposed to be the distance to the chamber that would be 96 km. I have not had a lot of use for formulas of this nature for almost 40 years so perhaps you could explain it to me.

On other matters I do not believe that it was appropriate for Dr. Baumgardner or the publisher IJN to publish material on the hydroplate theory after Dr. Brown was not available to respond due to his withdrawal from the project as a result what he felt was a breach of the agreement under which he agreed to participate.

I know you are a very strong supporter of peer review; however I would remind you that it is something that was developed in the 1940s to limit kook publications. Within a very short time it evolved into what we call "pal review" and the only acceptable material was the approved concepts within each area that the journal covered. Creationist are very familiar with this as this is why we have our own journals. The journals whether secular or Creationist based have size limitations as well as their own bias. Dr. Brown has over the years modified his book due to comments and recommendations made by scientist and others that actually read his book so he has had his peer review.
Shaun Doyle
Why did Dr Baumgardner focus on 0.75 miles for the thickness of the subterranean water reservoir? That’s what the then latest print edition of Dr Brown’s In the Beginning used. As I said, I think he simply made a conversion error in his Appendix on p. 528. But the error is useful here, since in the years since this was published Dr Brown has modified his initial condition for the subterranean water reservoir to be 1 mile thick, which 1612 m is a close enough approximation for my purposes in this article.

And no, the wavelength isn’t the distance to the chamber; it’s the distance between two crests of a sinusoidal wave. In other words, the distance between two crests of the sinusoidal wave of the ‘fluttering’ of the granitic crust was assumed to be 1000 km. Think, for instance, of the distance between two crests of two ocean waves—that is the wavelength Dr Baumgardner is talking about. And why did he put it at 1000 km? It has to do with a geophysically feasible wavelength. The shorter the wavelength, the more likely it will be that the crust will simply crumble under the stress.

Regarding the review and publishing process of The Flood Science Review, I won’t comment on that. However, even if you’re 100% right on the morality of the matter, the fact remains that Dr Baumgardner’s criticisms of HPT are publicly accessible, and at least some of them remain unaddressed.

And finally, I understand that peer review isn’t infallible. Still, are we so biased against HPT that we wouldn't publish anything on it? But how would HPT supporters know? We haven’t had any geological submissions supportive of HPT for at least 15 years. I know this because I see every geological submission for Journal of Creation that we receive. We can’t take all the blame for such a complete absence of pro-HPT research.

Are our paper sizes too small to explore HPT properly with? That misses the point. We're not here simply to debate HPT. We want HPT supporters to do some research. But when you have a long-term goal, a standard piece of advice is to break it down in to manageable steps, and the focus on each step at a time. If validating HPT is the long-term goal (as it should be for the pro-HPT community), how might they go about that? Break the theory down, and investigate it piece by piece. Just because it’s all connected doesn’t mean it’s impossible to limit one’s scope of investigation to a specific part of the model.

And who’s going to do this? HPT’s critics? No. They have no motivation to do so. It falls to HPT supporters. So, the pro-HPT community has a lot of work to do. But Dr Brown is the only person I’m aware of who has written anything substantive and constructive in support of HPT since he first published the first edition of In the Beginning. Why hasn’t the pro-HPT community risen up around him to research HPT? Yes, his proposal is wide in scope, and highly interconnected. And there is some depth. But not enough to validate the entirety of his model.

In reality, because of the sheer scope and complexity of the project of Flood modelling, Dr Brown’s book, as thick as it may be, at best amounts to a research proposal with a little due diligence to give the impression that the proposal is worthwhile pursuing as a research enterprise. To turn it into a truly viable Flood model, it will take an interdisciplinary cadre of researchers to validate, fill out, and revise it as necessary. If they don’t do this, HPT will likely die with Dr Brown. It’s time for HPT supporters to stop relying solely on Dr Brown’s work and start doing some research of their own. Their model’s survival depends on it.
Egil W.
Hi Shaun, just wanted to add another comment as a response to your answer to my first comment here.
According to CPT much of the sea-floor (even most of it), would have been a product of the Flood year. Heat do travel through substances. Heat also solidifies wet substances into hard ones. There would have been kms of waters above the continental crust, running out into the CPT-forming new ocean basins. According to a Smithsonian article: «Called ringwoodite, the rock is bright blue and is only formed at high temperature and pressure in the Earth's mantle. The water would have been squeezed out of the rocks, "almost as if they're sweating," Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University told The New Scientist.
This research adds to our understanding of the complexities of the water's transport throughout the sky, across the oceans, and into the ground. From the Editor's Summary of the study in Science:
"The water cycle involves more than just the water that circulates between the atmosphere, oceans, and surface waters. It extends deep into the Earth's interior as the oceanic crust subducts, or slides, under adjoining plates of crust and sinks into the mantle, carrying water with it. " So, it sounds to me these researchers connect Ringwoodite to the watercycles’ subduction via the oceanic crust. If this oceanic crust was produced in the Flood year, I don’t see a problem of it being a potential product of heat transference downwards, via kms of rapidly flowing waters carrying energy from continantal crust into the new oceans. I think as such the new ocean floor may have been a link to the mantle as heat sink. I think this should at least be studied further.
Shaun Doyle
More research is needed, and ringwoodite is one intriguing avenue worth pursuing. Bear in mind, though, that the latest work on lithospheric cooling still face serious challenges:

The challenge is to produce a model consistent with observations and a biblical time scale.

We have demonstrated that this cannot easily be done on the hypothesis of removing heat from freshly-generated lithosphere over a period of less than a year. The underlying general reason for this is that at early times there is an inevitable near-surface thermal boundary layer which gives rise to high surface heat fluxes, even in the presence of a strong heat sink. Such boundary layers might potentially be avoided if more realistic initial conditions were used and hitherto missing geophysical effects included in our models.

[Worraker, W.J., and R. Ward. 2018. Modeling of Flood and post-Flood ocean floor cooling; in: Whitmore, J.H. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pp. 673–682, 2018; creationicc.org/abstract.php?pk=356.]


This is clearly not the last word on the question, but creation research still has a ways to go in explaining these sorts of heat issues.

Eric D.
There's nothing wrong with acknowledging miracles when there mentioned in the Bible, the problem comes when you have to infer miracles which is exactly what the CPT model does.
Shaun Doyle
I've argued elsewhere that the Bible plausibly implies that God was supernaturally involved in the Flood (see The Flood—a designed catastrophe? and Too much heat in the Flood?). Nor do I see any problems in letting the physical evidence suggest where and how that may have happened. Here's the real question: are we interested in accurately characterizing the cause-effect structure of the Flood regardless of supernatural activity, or are we interested in constructing the most plausible-sounding miracle-free model of the Flood?

Moreover, your comment assumes HPT has successfully shown itself to be a miracle-free model, which I and many creation researchers submit it has not done effectively to date. And if you wish to argue otherwise, then please argue otherwise with a thoroughgoing systems analysis. Submit an article to Journal of Creation, or ARJ, or CRSQ.
Alexander M.
So would the Hydroplate theory actually burn up the earth and you said supernatural actions arent necessary during the flood?
Shaun Doyle
Some of the objections to HPT (not the ones I listed here, but others that esp. Baumgardner has raised) would imply that HPT would e.g. melt or vaporize the crust. Regarding supernatural activity, I said that it may be needed during the Flood (and that I personally think it was).
Glen M.
There are a number of problems with this analysis of Dr. Brown's Hydroplate Theory. First Dr. Baumgardner states that Dr. Brown assumes a depth of 10 miles for the waters of the great deep. This is only true if you are quoting the 8th edition of “In The Beginning” published in 2008, however, The chapter on Radioactivity does not appear until the 9th edition which appears online only and this book states that the waters of the Great Deep were 60 miles down.

Dr. Baughgardner also states “0.75 mile thick layer of water” in his calculation, where Dr Brown specifically states at least 1 mile. So the two major criteria that were derived from the current Hydroplate theory were incorrect; therefore Dr. Baughgardner's calculations are incorrect! Also Dr. Baughgardner uses elastic energy to calculate the energy created, not the piezoelectric effect that is used by Dr. Brown, thus achieving a complete misunderstanding of the radioactivity chapter of the Hydroplate theory.

Dr. Faulkner's heat problem with the Hydroplate theory is faulty logic in that any vapor that is under pressure when the pressure is released cools as it expands.

Given the errors mentioned above I doubt that any of you have truly evaluated or even read the Hydroplate Theory with the exception of Dr. Oard, who's work is based on the eighth edition. This is hardly a rigorous evaluation. Jane Albright's albright-flood-series-4-controversy-20160721.pdf paragraph 4 addresses how the Hydroplate Theory is treated by creationist in general. Lastly, as a Christian organization, I would pray that we all would be open to ideas about how God “may” have caused the flood.
Shaun Doyle
The depth of the pre-Flood granitic crust isn't relevant to the two criticisms I provide from Baumgardner and Faulkner. Indeed, I avoided using criticisms that responded to Dr Brown's previous assumption of a 10 mi thick granitic crust precisely because I knew he had subsequently changed his starting assumption to a 60 mi crust. In fact, I even mentioned this in endnote 6 of this article.

Moreover, Baumgardner's calculations actually assume a mile-thick subterranean water reservoir, not one 0.75 mi thick. See endnote 3 of this article. At any rate, the problem remains because the problem isn't solved by the changes Brown has made to his model. And the point of Dr Baumgardner's argument is that this 'flutter' of the granitic crust Dr Brown posits generated the piezoelectric voltages from which he derives the origin of the Earth's radioisotopes (see e.g. the first sentence of his summary for his section on the origin of radioactivity: "As the flood began, stresses in the massive fluttering crust generated huge piezoelectric voltages") isn't enough to generate the piezoelectric voltages he needs for the origin of radioisotopes on Earth.

And the main issue HPT proponents have raised in response to Faulkner's criticism that I cite here has nothing to do with expanding fluids under pressure cooling when they expand. It has to do with the nature and amount of heat transfer that occurs between the supercritical water jets and the atmosphere. Dr Faulkner provided some rough calculations, and the only relevant response that I've heard (see kgov.com/heat-2) is qualitative handwaving, which is not particularly surprising, given the medium (an interview). If they are correct in the response to Faulkner, then they should be able to provide a thoroughgoing systems analysis that responds to Faulkner's criticisms that they then submit to e.g. CRSQ.

Finally, my point was not that HPT proponents can't answer these criticisms. My point was that they haven't answered these criticisms with the sort of detail, cogency, and accessibility required to move the debate forward. I want them to do this. But they need to write. Verbal responses simply won't cut it. Why? Have you ever tried to communicate physics equations in an interview or a talk? It's not the best format. Moreover, Dr Brown, though he seems to be aware of these criticisms, hasn't directly interacted with them on his website, to my knowledge (I've seen no references to this argument from Baumgardner, and I've seen no reference to Faulkner at all on the website). The situation would be improved even if Dr Brown simply acknowledged these criticisms and responded to them directly on his website. He has done so before, e.g. with Oard's alternatives on the origin of mammoths.
Eric D.
Engineer Bryan nickel and Pastor Bob Enyart have refuted the criticisms of Oard, Faulkner, and Baumgardner. The audio and video can be found on the web.
Shaun Doyle
Well, they've responded to some of them. The one I cite from Baumgardner in this article I'm not aware of a substantive response to. Moreover, whether their responses are more than qualitative handwaving remains to be seen. We really need a more thoroughgoing systems analysis from HPT proponents to know whether HPT really has survived these criticisms. Hence, why those like us keep asking HPT proponents to respond with research in writing in the forums most creation researchers avail themselves of; i.e. Journal of Creation, CRSQ, ARJ, etc.
Jeffrey C.
He seems to be saying I'll give you money if ..." ... I may not always agree with you all 100%, but may you remain free to call 'em as you see 'em and live by your conscience! May you never yield to a threat nor a bribe.

And what interests me far more than guesses is knowledge. As scripture advises, "take only ways that are firm" (Proverbs 4:26". Theories of fallible humans, I suppose, are best held lightly.
Terry W.
HPT broke for me when I found out they had matched up the Cretaceous layer at Dover/Calais up with the Appalachian range, meaning that it was laid down before the Atlantic Ocean spreading began, and inundatory phase water had to have crossed it before the Atlantic Ocean opened up. This ruled out hydroplate cracking as the initializing event of Noah's Flood.
Thomas R.
“...I, even I do bring a flood upon the earth...”

It obviously was not purely natural laws that caused it.

What is not known, though, is the extent to which the Lord was actively involved, above and beyond the natural laws.

Nevertheless, something curious above:

“...far too low to generate radioactive elements in the Earth’s crust...”

Why is the model trying to account for the creation of radioactive elements during the Flood?

Why aren’t they just considered to have been churned up from beneath during crustal movement?

I know that it is considered to be practically given that accelerated decay has happened in the past, but it also appears that there may be an underlying assumption behind this that all of the daughter products from every type of decay have come from this acceleration event.
If that is not the underlying assumption, then so be it.
But it seems just as plausible that a portion of the daughter elements came from acceleration, and a portion are original creation material.
Shaun Doyle
For reasons such as you cite, I agree there was some degree of supernatural activity during the Flood.

As to the origin of radioactive elements in the crust, both HPT and CPT agree that the granitic continental crust is most likely creation rocks. As such, the origin of radioactive elements within the crust must be (at least mostly) in situ, not from outside. Dr Baumgardner and most CPT proponents put the origin of most radioactive elements during Creation Week, but they also propose a pule of accelerated nuclear decay during the Flood. HPT posits it all occurring during the Flood to avoid the existence of radioactive elements in the crust before the Fall, since they would've been harmful to life.
Daniel T.
Forgive my ignorance. But

Should we trust everything that says "according to a study"?

I give you an example, suppose that a man makes an evaluation of 3 studies, and reaches a conclusion. But another man evaluates 500 studies and comes to a totally different conclusion. Now let's continue assuming that this last researcher (the one with the 500 studies), has more credentials than the first one. Herein lies my question. Should we believe yes or yes in what the last man says because he has more credentials and evaluated more studies?

I mean, do we have to accept everything that says "according to a study" as true? I'm not saying that all studies lie. I'm just saying, is there a possibility that a study is wrong?
Shaun Doyle
No, we shouldn't trust everything that says "according to a study". That's part of why the references are given; it gives the reader to check out the studies themselves and see if they think their arguments are cogent. But, this cuts both ways; either side could be wrong, despite them both drawing on expert opinions. We can't play favourites on this score.

At the end of the day, all any of us can do is evaluate the arguments and evidence to the best of our ability. Of course, those that have spent years studying the relevant disciplines will generally be better at evaluating the arguments here than those who haven't. And that's why peer-review uses people with relevant expertise to help us judge whether articles are publishable. It's not an infallible system, but no system is. And this one does at least have the benefit of following biblical wisdom (cf. Proverbs 15:22).

Egil W.
Hi, interesting stuff.
Good to see ongoing debate and research.


I actually wonder if there indeed was much, much more water on Earths surface before and during the Flood-year, than it is in the oceans today. Even though I believe (I don’t know, but believe), there were enormous areas of shallow seas in the Pre-Flood oceans, enormous areas of coral reefs, etc, that doesn’t exclude there to be other parts of the pre-Flood oceans of enormous areas which may have been as deep as the Mariana trench today (10km+ deep), holding enormous amounts of water. I wonder if some the energy-budget problems, can be explained by much of this pre-Flood water being turned into Ringwoodite before (!) being transported into the deep Earth through subducting tectonic plates. I think at least it could be something to consider.

What would be the energy-budget of turning 2 or 3 times the amount of water in the worlds oceans into a mineral?
Shaun Doyle
For more on ringwoodite, please see Water inside fire, Oceans of water deep inside the earth and How may the presence of mantle water be interpreted? It would seem that most Flood researchers think that there was more likely the Flood caused a net loss of ringwoodite from the mantle. For instance, with respect to Catastrophic Plate Tectonics, I'm not sure if great quantities of ringwoodite are associated with the 'cold slabs' in the mantle that have been interpreted as pre-Flood oceanic lithosphere (Empirical data support seafloor spreading and catastrophic plate tectonics). At any rate, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done to understand it's place in the Flood.

On heat budget issues more generally, please see Too much heat in Noah’s Flood?.

However, when we're looking at the main heat issue; i.e. accelerated nuclear decay during the Flood; the problem isn't likely to be solved by appealing to the Earth's interior as a heat sink. Why? Much granitic continental crust is most likely creation rock. See these exchanges between Dr John Baumgardner and Don Stenberg: Could most of the earth’s U, Th, and K have been in the mantle prior to the Flood? and Do radioisotope methods yield trustworthy relative ages for the earth’s rocks? I think Baumgardner points out some good reasons to think that the continental crust is Creation Week rock, and did not form during the Flood. But if that is the case, then the mantle can't serve as a sink for the heat of accelerated decay, since the decay relevant to the heating issue would be confined to the crust.
Vern S.
Miracle Required(Past to Future)
Just a Few:
PAST:
In the Beginning-Gen 1:Heb 11:3
Red Sea(Deep, not ankle height)-Exodus 14
Sun stopping in the Sky-Josh 10
Axe head floating-2 Kings 6
Water to Wine-John 2
Jesus' Resurrection-Gospels
Phillip Translated-Acts 8
FUTURE:
New Heaven and Earth-2 Pet 3;Rev 21
James H.
Charles' comment was a bit surprising in that he tried to bribe CMI into supporting his favorite theory.
John C.
"We are always keen to publish material we receive, but we have a rigorous review process to ensure that it is soundly based"

Spoken like true darwinian 'peer-review' committees, who have 'reviewed' creation-leaning evidence and ideas right out of science journals and science departments of universities all over the planet. Good one, guys. So, YOU are the arbiters of truth, and YOURS are the only TRUE ideas worth publishing. For heaven's sake, DARWINISM is more accurately portrayed, and more forthrightly answered in your articles than Walt Brown's theory.

There are a number of people, and I am one, who would like to see these questions openly debated, rather than shoved summarily into the dung-heap of your disfavor. After all, isn't this what you chafe against in the modern bias all the time? Are you afraid that a 'fair airing' of Dr. Brown's ideas might convince some people that they're true? Like the Supreme Court's fear of the Ten Commandments in public schools (paraphrased): Some children might see these, read them and even start obeying them.'
Shaun Doyle
We're of course not stopping anyone from examining the claims Hydroplate theory. I provided the urls to to pro-HPT articles in my reference list. Anyone can examine them.

But with respect to the peer-reviewed forums for creationist research and debate, if there is to be a debate both sides have to engage. In Journal of Creation, we've had a few letters to the editor from supporters of HPT, but I cannot recall any research done within a HPT framework that has been submitted to Journal of Creation since I joined the editorial team back in 2005.

Moreover, if we thought we were the sole arbiters of truth in creation research, then I couldn't have said this in my last paragraph of my reply:

"Fortunately, there are a number of creationist in-depth science forums, including Journal of Creation, that would be happy to receive studies that address these issues facing HPT. These forums are provided precisely so that these debates can be had in a public and even-handed setting."


If we thought we had the only true ideas worth publishing, then I wouldn't appeal to other peer-reviewed creationist journals, over which we have no control. Plus, even within the pages of Journal of Creation we publish many ideas the editors don't necessarily agree with.

And of course even our rigorous review processes don't guarantee that everything we publish is error free. But such a review process is grounded in biblical wisdom: "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22). That's what happens in peer review: we try to check the cogency of an argument through a review process involving people with the appropriate expertise. Of course, there are numerous challenges and limitations in peer review: Creationism, Science and Peer Review. But as even that article points out, peer review still has advantages.
Joshua M.
I will say, I don't think it's quite fair to hold the HPT to the heat budget problem when CPT has it too, yes you mentioned it which I admire, but it still doesn't seem quite fair. That being said I have been doing some non-scientist brainstorming regarding the heat budget problem of the CPT. Do you know if CPT advocates have tried putting glacial area(s) into the pre-flood world, to counteract the heat? I know certain people have a problem with this idea, but whereas we can gleam from Genesis that Eden wasn't a glacier; though I'd expect winter to still arrive in Eden, it doesn't mean outside of Eden was bereft of them. They do have a beauty to them, and some creatures seem pretty well suited to the cold.

Another idea I have, this one is a long shot, if earthquakes in Japan can cause a change in rotational speed of the earth, could the much more powerful happenings of the flood cause a slight tilt away from the sun, providing cooling?

Just some thoughts, I know this isn't supposed to be a Q&A but it was mentioned, and these don't seem enough for an email lol Thank you

Sincerely,
Joshua M.
Shaun Doyle
Concerning the heat budget issues, I did mention that CPT has heat budget issues, too. However, there is a key difference between HPT and CPT in this regard: CPT has never been a 'miracle free' model, whereas HPT is. As such, a heat budget issue is a much bigger problem for HPT than it is for CPT according to their own respective assumptions. But, the specific geophysical heat budget issue I mention from Dr Baumgardner is actually one where the posited mechanism for HPT doesn't produce enough energy to achieve one of its intended outcomes. Other issues of excess heat arise assuming this and other problems can be solved, but the problems seem to go both ways for HPT; i.e. some mechanisms don't do enough work, and some do so much that they would sterilize the planet many times over.

For more in heat budget issues in relation to CPT, please see Too much heat in the Flood?
Alexander M.
For the Hydroplate theory, famous athiest Youtuber AronRa said in his meteorology video that there was a written paper by creationist saying that if the Hydroplate theory existed during the time of the flood that it will boiled our planet and the ark of course. One of the Creation scientists who wrote this paper was Andrew Snelling.
Shaun Doyle
I checked the video, and there doesn't seem to be any mention of a paper by Andrew Snelling. Nor am I aware of any paper by Snelling that addresses Hydroplate theory (I have checked the Answers in Genesis website and a few creation article databases for such an article, but nothing came up in my searches). The video does mention a paper published in 1983 in the Journal of Geological Education which discusses a few basic models for Noah's Flood, and says that they would've required miracles to have occurred. But as I pointed out in my reply, there are creation researchers who believe supernatural action is a necessary part of our understanding of the Flood. But such a view is defensible in a biblical framework, so the point of video or the paper it relies on is moot.
Amanda M.
Woo! Way to stand up to heavy handed strong-arming! Never accept a theory for money- That's a thing that tarnishes mainstream science!

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