2019-06-09 Creationist geology Part 1

Young earth creationists claim that the entire universe was created in six days, and that those days were not “days in the eyes of God” but actual real 24 hour periods of time.

Modern geology says that the oldest rocks of earth are about 4.2 billion years of age, that the oldest rocks of our solar system are about 4.5 billion years of age, and that life has existed on this planet for at least 3.5 billion years.

Young earth creationists say that’s completely wrong.

So what do young earth creationists have to say about geology? How do they counter the vast wealth of geological knowledge that has been accumulated since the time in 1799 when William Smith produced the world’s first map of geological outcrops?

Chiefly, they deny that the many measurements of the ages of the rocks of earth are accurate. This propaganda campaign has lost every assault that creationists have brought against modern geology in courts of law across this land. But that has done little to dissuade the advocates of young earth creationism from continuing to claim that modern geology is somehow flawed, or biased, or based on unsound principles.

To amend for the deficiencies of mainstream geology young earth creationists have invented their own fantasy geology. It looks like this:

Figure 1: Young Earth Creationist geology

This geology consists of two significant layers:

  • The Primordial layer, which was created by God at the time of the creation
  • The Diluvian layer, which contains the entire fossil record and was created by the flood

The rocks of the Primordial layer are presumed to be as old as the universe. In the young earth creationist view that would make the rocks of this layer about 6100 years old.

As mentioned above modern geology pegs the oldest rocks of earth at about 4.2 billion years old. That is about 70 MILLION percent longer than the 6100 years that creationists claim the universe is old. That’s an enormous percent of error.

Bear in mind that modern science is generally not satisfied with anything less than 5 sigma accuracy. That represents an accuracy of 99.97%. That level of accuracy is routinely obtained in physics. Science is the process by which humanity has learned how to build the products of modern technology– automobiles, refrigerators, computers, cell phones… The types of consumer products that all citizens of the modern world, including creationists, use and enjoy every day. And yet creationists expect us to believe that physics– which developed the tools for measuring the ages of rocks– is off by 70 MILLION percent.

The rocks of the Diluvian layer were supposedly created when the waters of the flood receded. According to this line of thinking, the waters of the flood rushed across the face of the earth and ripped up all loose dirt, clay, mud, gravel, sand, and topsoil. These materials were then dissolved in the water and held in suspension in a six mile deep stew. Then when the waters of the flood settled down the materials held in suspension settled out into nice neat layers. And when the waters of the flood finally receded those neat layers were perfectly preserved, as is seen in such layered cake formations as the Grand Canyon.

A key component of this fantasy geology concerns the ordering of the fossils in the fossil record. Everyone, even creationists, agree that the fossil record is highly ordered. Mainstream geology asserts that the layers of the fossil record were deposited chronologically, with the oldest layers at the bottom and the layers getting progressively younger as you ascend the geological column.

But creationists argue that because the entire fossil record was laid down all at once by the draining of the waters of the flood the fossils in the fossil record aren’t ordered chronologically. Instead, creationists claim, the fossils were sorted by the waters of the flood. So the ordering of fossils in the fossil record is based on the hydrological properties of the bodies of the animals and plants killed by the waters of the flood. This is what creationists call hydrological sorting.

There is no proof that this notion of hydrological sorting could explain the observed ordering of fossils. Consider bivalves. Fossils of these animals can be found throughout the fossil record. Bivalves can be found in the Ordovician strata, which mainstream geology dates to 488 to 443 million years ago; and many bivalves from that era closely resemble modern bivalves. So their hydrological properties should be strongly similar. Why would one group of bivalve fossils be found at a lower level than another if hydrological sorting were the only physical principle in operation?

Creationism isn’t a science, and although there are a million scientific objections to the creationist fantasy geology, none of them would have much impact on the thinking of a creationist who can find reason to believe that modern science is off by 70 MILLION percent. So rather than attempt to provide the scientific evidence that creationists will never accept anyway I will show that creationist geology doesn’t even comport with their own narrative.

According to the bible there were people and animals and plants that lived and died prior to the flood. Question: what would have happened to their bodies? Answer: Over time their bodies would have been covered with sediment. That sediment would have gotten compacted and compressed and would have turned to rock. And the bodies entombed therein would have been converted to fossils. That means there should be another layer of fossils below the diluvian layer that contains the fossils of the people and animals and plants that lived and died before the flood, as shown in the following diagram.

Figure 2: Creationist Geology with Pre-Diluvian Layer

Most importantly, the fossils of this layer would have been laid down chronologically and would therefore not be hydrologically sorted. That means that the boundary between the Pre-Diluvian layer and the Diluvian should be unmistakable and very easy to identify.

Furthermore, according to the bible there were people and animals and plants that lived and died after the flood. Question: What would have happened to their bodies? Answer: Over time their bodies would have been covered by sediment. That sediment would have gotten compacted and compressed and would have been turned into rock. And the bodies entombed therein would have been converted to fossils. That means there should be another layer of fossils above the Diluvian layer that contains the fossils of the people and animals and plants that lived and died after the flood, as shown in the following diagram.

Figure 3 – Creationist Geology with Pre- and Post-Diluvian Layers

This layer too would have been deposited chronologically, and therefore the boundary between this layer and that of the Diluvian layer should be clear and easy to identify.

So has this pattern ever been observed at any location anywhere in the world? No, decidedly not. And people have looked. Here are 25 locations where geologists have observed all 12 of the periods of the Phanerozoic in order:

  • The Ghadames Basin in Libya
  • The Beni Mellal Basin in Morrocco
  • The Tunisian Basin in Tunisia
  • The Oman Interior Basin in Oman
  • The Western Desert Basin in Egypt
  • The Adana Basin in Turkey
  • The Iskenderun Basin in Turkey
  • The Moesian Platform in Bulgaria
  • The Carpathian Basin in Poland
  • The Baltic Basin in the USSR
  • The Yeniseiy-Khatanga Basin in the USSR
  • The Farah Basin in Afghanistan
  • The Helmand Basin in Afghanistan
  • The Yazd-Kerman-Tabas Basin in Iran
  • The Manhai-Subei Basin in China
  • The Jiuxi Basin China
  • The Tung t’in – Yuan Shui Basin China
  • The Tarim Basin China
  • The Szechwan Basin China
  • The Yukon-Porcupine Province Alaska
  • The Williston Basin in North Dakota
  • The Tampico Embayment Mexico
  • The Bogata Basin Colombia
  • The Bonaparte Basin, Australia
  • The Beaufort Sea Basin/McKenzie River Delta

(For more details see: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/geocolumn/)

In none of the above formations has the creationist pattern ever been observed. But if creationists are correct their pattern should be observable in every geological formation around the globe.

In creating the previous diagram I have cheated somewhat. I’ve made it appear that the three layers– the Pre-Diluvian, Diluvian, and Post-Diluvian– are all of about the same thickness. But is that what the bible tells us? We will explore this question further in Part 2 of this blog.

Copyright (c) 2019 David S. Moore