Re: ICR/AIG claims

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (
Date: Wed Sep 10 2003 - 16:29:32 EDT

  • Next message: Rich Blinne: "Re: ICR/AIG claims"

    On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 04:27:33 -0700 "Don Winterstein"
    <> writes:
    Others have pointed out that YEC protagonists are often very slick and
    polished, with ready answers to lots of questions, and you confront them
    publicly before a general audience at your peril.

    Given that, I'd nevertheless be tempted to pose a question--along the
    lines of Dick Fischer's (below)--that I think would stump any YECer and
    at the same time would be simple enough to be comprehended by most
    attentive nonscientists. The question is: Where did the observed huge
    volumes of sedimentary rock come from? We know from oil wells and
    seismic reflection data worldwide that large geologic basins such as
    those covering most of Texas, much of Alberta and Saskatchewan and much
    of Colorado, Wyoming and California--among many other states--often have
    sedimentary rock down to two miles or more below the surface. Add it all
    up and it easily comes to millions of cubic miles of sedimentary rock
    worldwide. (One could do a quick and dirty calculation for North America
    from published geologic sections.) Almost all of this rock is
    fine-grained--shales, carbonates, sandstones and evaporites (salt &
    anhydrite), and much of it is fossiliferous.

    I've read a fair amount of YEC literature, and the only point that would
    give them pause is the halite and anhydrite. They cannot be deposited
    from flowing water, but require evaporation. As to sedimentary rocks,
    most are persuaded that the flood tore up everything so thoroughly that
    nothing remains of the antediluvian world which, by the way, consisted of
    low highlands with gentle slopes. Even where finer materials precipitated
    on coarser, they will hold that there was a temporary eddy that allowed
    fine stuff to settle for a brief period before a stronger current brought
    in coarser material. The rebuttal based on the time required for very
    fine material to settle is probably too technical for them to grasp in a
    quick presentation.

    There are some YEC who realize that the "standard" explanation has
    problems. One claimed that the "waters under the earth" broke through the
    mid-ocean ridges, collapsing the ancient continents into the hole left.
    Another claimed that asteroid impacts threw the material onto the dry
    land. But the expectation is that the answers given will depend on what
    kind of challenge is offered. There is no requirement for consistency, so
    mutually exclusive "answers" will be presented.

    The only explanation I've heard from YEC people is that it was deposited
    very rapidly in Noah's flood. But how could a single flood possibly
    deposit this much fine-grained material? Where would the flood waters
    have obtained it? If Noah's flood had been truly catastrophic so that it
    rapidly wore down what would have had to have been phenomenally high and
    extensive mountain ranges, it would have left large, rough chunks of more
    than likely crystalline rock, not the thick, smooth layers of
    fine-grained carbonates and shales that we actually see; and the
    sediments would have had very few embedded fossils. To get fine-grained
    sedimentary rocks from pre-flood mountains would require some kind of
    gigantic pulverizer in addition to lots of moving water. And then you'd
    need a fossil generator.

    A related problem would be to explain how so much of this rock wound up
    below sea level. Presumably the pre-flood world topographically speaking
    would have had to have had almost nothing but deep oceans and very
    extensive and high mountain ranges. A further question then surfaces:
    why did almost all the sedimentary rock go to what are now continental
    land masses and not to what are now oceans? What kind of flood could
    have distributed deposition in such fashion?

    Asteroid impacts? But the YEC position often claims that there was
    extreme orogeny in the time immediately following the flood. That this
    would have produced such extreme earthquakes that everything would have
    been knocked to pieces doesn't matter. You've got the preflood topography
    wrong, according to their claims.

    An additional related problem would be to explain how the sedimentary
    material in such a violent system got segregated the way it did, so that
    first you have a thick layer of limestone, for example, and then a thick
    layer of shale. An even bigger challenge would be to explain how you
    could get a thick layer of salt or anhydrite or coal between, say, two
    shale layers in a presumably very turbulent and watery environment.

    Someone on this list several months ago was saying that only rocks below
    the Devonian were laid by Noah's flood. This would not solve the
    problem, because in many areas you'd still have to deposit sedimentary
    rock several miles thick in just a few thousand years. Where does the
    Bible say these further catastrophes occurred? Were there lots of later
    catastrophic floods in historic times, and if so, where did they get
    their sediments?

    The YECer thus seems to need lots of totally implausible ad hoc
    mechanisms. The accepted geologic explanations, on the other hand, while
    not without their difficulties, are generally rational and believable to
    people with moderately open minds.


    If I have an audience on my side ready to believe anything I say in
    defense of what they believe anyway, and I provide answers that sound
    plausible until analyzed, how can you best me? I was in the audience when
    Dr. Gish was asked, "What evidence could convince you that you were
    wrong?" His answer: "There is none." I have heard from others that this
    answer has been given repeatedly. When God finally tells him, "I took a
    lot more time to produce the universe that you allowed," he'll probably
    say, "You're lying." In the fact of invincible ignorance, how far can you

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Wed Sep 10 2003 - 16:36:39 EDT