From: Don Winterstein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Sep 11 2003 - 04:54:15 EDT
Dave wrote in part:
In the fact of invincible ignorance, how far can you get?
I gather from what you say that it's basically impossible to communicate with these YECs on scientific topics, because to defend their beliefs they'll invoke any mechanism no matter how implausible or no matter how much evidence there may be against it. It's sad, but you're probably right.
Just out of curiosity, why should they even bother coming up with a model of the antediluvian world when it (apparently) has no relevance to the postdiluvian world? Presumably their antediluvian world is now gone without a trace, and today's sedimentary rocks are the only remnants (?).
----- Original Message -----
From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.
Cc: email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 1:29 PM
Subject: Re: ICR/AIG claims
On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 04:27:33 -0700 "Don Winterstein" <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 get?
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