Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Flood Geology, the (Global?) Flood, and Uniformitarianism

By Dave Armstrong (5-25-04)

I will list a host of links to articles explaining the evidences which (I believe) form a compelling refutation of flood geology. This constitutes my response to Kevin's friendly, probing and challenging questions and criticisms.

* * * * *

Kevin was asking for reasons for why I reject flood geology. The articles I shall cite below provide many such reasons. He wrote:

I see that these questions (age of the earth and whether there was a Universal Flood) as distinct, and I see two sides of a debate being pursued in a way that indicates that everyone who is doing the research is completely blind to the distinction. Not that they have seen this as a possible apparent distinction and rejected it, but that they have never considered it for a moment. I am not impressed by that. Therefore I can't summon any confidence in the consensus of scientific and scholarly opinion concerning whether the distinction that I can plainly see has been considered reasonably and ruled out by a rational, scientific process. I see that even you, who have no apparent personal stake in this matter whatsoever, are reluctant to even re-examine the question or treat it as legitimate. Instead you are quite willing to defer to the opinions of others who have not even considered the question, who have never even done any research into it. For you, the fact that no research whatsoever has been done by those socially, politically and philosophically entrenched researchers on this question is ACTUALLY SUFFICIENT!!

That is not the same critical, questioning attitude that led you to seek and find the truth about how materialistic evolutionary science is pursued in the first place. This lack of intellectual curiosity on your part and your willingness to accept the same lack of curiosity in the scholarly and scientific community, is not consistent with that spirit of inquiry that you have demonstrated elsewhere at other times.


And later:

I was actually hoping that the reasons you had for rejecting Flood Geology and a Universal Flood in favor of uniformitarianism in the form that I find suspicious were going to be quite good, and that would resolve the issue . . . Since you are neither a materialist nor a young earther, I was hoping that your rejection of a Universal Flood and Flood Geology would be for reasons that I could find persuasive, rather than being based on that uncritical area of agreement which I find questionable.

. . . The fact that the universe, and thus very likely the earth, is older than the young-earther's say, does NOT mean that there was no Universal Flood, or that Flood Geology is wrong and uniformitarianism is right!!

Davis Young, an evangelical geologist, wrote:

The maintenance of modern creationism and Flood geology not only is useless apologetically with unbelieving scientists, it is harmful. Although many who have no scientific training have been swayed by creationist arguments, the unbelieving scientist will reason that a Christianity that believes in such nonsense must be a religion not worthy of his interest. . . . Modern creationism in this sense is apologetically and evangelistically ineffective. It could even be a hindrance to the gospel.

Another possible danger is that in presenting the gospel to the lost and in defending God's truth we ourselves will seem to be false. It is time for Christian people to recognize that the defense of this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology creationism is simply not truthful. It is simply not in accord with the facts that God has given.

(Christianity and the Age of the Earth, Thousand Oaks, CA: Artisan Sales, 1988, 163)

St. Augustine wrote:

If they [the infidel] find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

NOTE: As with most links, I don't agree with everything in these links. For example, an atheist might be entirely skeptical of the Bible and the existence of God, yet offer cogent and compelling critiques of the errors of flood geology (just as he might correctly identify such errors in anti-Catholic theological arguments). At the moment, my interest is in flood geology, not the worldview of the people making the critiques (though I freely admit -- always have -- that we all have biases which affect our reasoning).

"Dr Tasman Walker's Flood Geology Model: A Critique by Paul Blake"

"More Errors On True.Origin: J. Sarfati's Support of Flood Geology," by Kevin R. Henke

"Ancient Ice Ages AND Submarine Landslides, but NOT Noah's Flood: a review of M.J. Oard's assault on multiple glaciations," Kevin R. Henke

"'Message in a Bottle': More Distortions of Geology from Creation ex nihilo Magazine," Kevin R. Henke

"Actualism vs. Dr. Plaisted's Inadequate Uniformitarianism," Kevin R. Henke

"Not So Amusing Geological Misinterpretations," Dr. Kevin R. Henke

Collection of 40 articles critiquing Young Earth Creationism, by Kevin R. Henke

"Problems with a Global Flood," Mark Isaak

"Young-Earth Arguments: A Second Look," Glenn R. Morton (Christian with a conservative view of Scripture)

"Why the Flood is not Global," Glenn R. Morton

"The Geologic Column and Its Implications to the Flood," Glenn R. Morton

"The Mediterranean Flood," Glenn R. Morton

"The Real Poop on the Global Flood," Glenn R. Morton

"Why Geology Shows Sedimentation to Be too Slow for a Global Flood" (collection of 33 articles by Glenn R. Morton)

"The Flood Page: Articles on Noah's Flood" (collection of 12 articles by Glenn R. Morton)

"Creationist Geologic Time Scale: an attack strategy for the sciences," Donald U. Wise

"Equal Time For The Origin Of Granite - A Miracle!," Lorence G. Collins

Collins is a Methodist and committed Christian. See his article:

"Christianity and science – are they contradictory?," Lorence G. Collins


"Is There Really Scientific Evidence for a Young Earth?," Matthew S. Tiscareno (Christian)

The author writes:

It is not the purpose of this paper to discuss theology, but this author firmly believes that the Bible is the literal and inerrent Word of God, and that a literal interpretation of Genesis allows for the Old-Earth Creationist view. I say this only to emphasize that this paper is not intended to oppose any Christian beliefs, or to tear down anyone's faith. Rather, the purpose of this paper is to ensure that our Faith is based firmly on Truth, and not merely wishful thinking.

Includes a section on "Claims of 'Flood Geology'"

"Evidences for a Young World?" (links page)

"Bibliolatry Revisited: A Review of Grand Canyon: a Different View", Wilfred A. Elders

"Grand Canyon: Some Links to Accurate Science" [14 links], John Stear

"Can Noah's Flood Account For The Geologic and Fossil Record?," Lenny Flank


"A Criticism of the ICR's Grand Canyon Dating Project," Chris Stassen

"Creationist 'Flood Geology' Versus Common Sense: Or Reasons why 'Flood Geology' was abandoned in the mid-1800s by Christian men of science," Edward T. Babinski (atheist and Internet acquaintance)

"Can Creationists Fit the Flood in a Geologic Framework?," Joe Meert

"'Polystrate' Tree Fossils," Andrew MacRae

"A Whale of a Tale," Darby South

"Coal Beds, Creationism, and Mount St. Helens," Keith Littleton

"Is the Devonian Chattanooga Shale Really a Volcanic Ash-Fall Deposit?" (A Review of a Creation Research Society Quarterly Paper), James L. Moore

"Evolution, Scientific Creation, Uniformitarian Geology, and Flood Geology," Clifford A. Cuffey

"Some Relatively Non-Technical Problems With Flood Geology," DAVID F. SIEMENS, JR. (Christian)

"Noah’s Flood: A Bird’s-Eye View," Steve Sarigianis (Christian) [about halfway down the web page]

"The Waters of the Flood," Hugh Ross (Christian astronomer)

"Biblical Geology?," David Mathews (Church of Christ)

Creation Science and Earth History (links page including flood geology stuff)

"Scripture in the Hands of Geologists (Part One)," Davis A. Young (evangelical Christian geologist)

"Scripture in the Hands of Geologists (Part Two)," Davis A. Young

"Scripture and Geologists," John Byl (Christian)

"Scripture and Geologists: A Reply to John Byl," Davis A. Young


For an overview of the position I am seriously considering and may adopt after further study, see:

"Basil and Augustine Revisited: The Survival of Functional Integrity," Howard J. Van Till (evangelical physicist)

See also an interesting discussion:

"God and Evolution: An Exchange" (Howard J. Van Till vs. Phillip E. Johnson)

And here are some further papers and websites from a Christian perspective on science:

The American Scientific Affiliation: Science in Christian Perspective: Creation/Evolution Page

Bible and Science Page (also from ASA):

Studies in the History of Science and Christianity (from ASA)

Affiliation of Christian Geologists

Science and Faith (excellent, comprehensive Catholic Links Page)

A New Look at an Old Earth: Resolving the Conflict Between the Bible & Science (online book), Don Stoner (Christian)

Reasons to Believe (website of Christian astronomer Hugh Ross)

And an interesting collection of links by two skeptics of all forms of creationism:

Greene's Creationism Truth Filter

Creation Science and Earth History

Links Page for the above site

Lastly, I did run across at least one person (a non-scientist, alas) who accepts the old earth but also flood geology (in some fashion) and a global flood:

"A Bible Student’s View of the Genesis Flood," Tom Couchman

Couchman states:

I am an OEC [old earth creationist], but one who has considerable sympathy for the YEC [young earth creationist] position. I insist that it is possible in principle to account for many geological phenomena in terms of the Flood and of other, unrecorded, catastrophic events. In other words, as an OEC who believes the Bible story of the Flood, I am open to non-uniformitarian interpretations of nature.

"Floods, Science and Religion, Kinds, Evening and Morning -- Sustained," Hill Roberts (Church of Christ)

Roberts rejects a flood geology based on scientific observation, but accepts a global flood and the old earth. He writes:

I believe in a worldwide flood. I believe it was global. However, for physical reasons, I do not expect to find any global deposits in evidence of the global flood of Noah.

. . . I do not know of any physical evidence for the flood of Noah. From principles of physical geology, I do not expect a flood of a few months to leave discernable physical evidence thousands of years later . . . There is no indication that the post-flood world viewed by Noah was any different at all from what he had last seen. Flood geology is NOT a scriptural view, it is an extrapolation beyond scripture. That's doesn't necessarily mean its wrong, but it is not scripture. Likewise for an ancient age view. If either view is to be proved correct it will have to come from physical evidence. As [another] has noted, the proponents of flood geology have presented a particularly incomplete evidence trail for the paradigm. I believe the worldwide flood of Noah occurred based on the only Divine evidence of it currently available to me, the written revelation. I have absolutely no question about that. Keep looking, maybe compelling physical evidence will turn up some day, but the geological strata are not it.

See Roberts' web page, "Age of Creation"

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