Posted tagged ‘flood geology’

The Revolution of Creationism

November 9, 2012

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A recent article in GSA Today, titled “The Evolution of Creationism“, is just one more of a multitude of biased and deceptive articles mocking and misinterpreting what God’s word and His works say about Earth history. Claiming to be the lead “Science Article” for the November 2012 issue, this should be your first clue that author David R. Montgomery and GSA’s editors are unwisely mingling scientific things with historic things. You see, researching Earth history, including Noah’s Flood, is not a scientific endeavor, but a historic one. The study of the unobservable past is called “history”, not “science”.

Natural history research is not the same thing as scientific research

Anyone, creationist or otherwise, who attempts to interpret unobserved past events is doing history research. Montgomery’s article is no “Science Article”, as the GSA Today publication proclaims, it is a history article, and a dogmatic one at that. It is pointless to write a “science article” against creationism, which is an interpretation of the past, and then bash creationism as “unscientific”. Creationists, but even moreso university professors like Dr. Montgomery, need to better discern between natural history endeavors and scientific ones.

The abstract to Dr. Montgomery’s article claims 21st Century creationists have “abandoned faith in reason and cast off a long-standing theological tradition that rocks don’t lie.” Words cannot describe the amazing untruth of this statement. The truth however, is that the author includes a paltry list of references, and the most recent one by a creationist author is from 1961! So Dr. Montgomery is either deliberately ignoring, or is honestly ignorant of, the revolution of creationism since Whitcomb and Morris’ 1961 book, The Genesis Flood.

God’s word calls Christians to “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), so our goal is to consider both faith and reason. What many Christians have not “abandoned faith in” is Scripture as both a true and reasonable historical account, and this is evident in Christian churches, private schools, and home schools across America and around the world. Neither have we abandoned faith in man’s ability to unlock mysteries of past events. And we haven’t abandoned faith in even the most dogmatic suppressors of Truth, that they might repent and be baptized, for the promise of salvation is for as many as the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:38-39).

Everybody has an interpretive framework about the past

Earth history is always interpreted within a framework. In Dr. Montgomery’s article, he claims that it is only creationists who “evaluate facts by how well they fit their theories”. This statement does nothing to improve discernment between scientific and historic endeavors, and adds confusion regarding the word “theory”. Plate tectonics, for example, is a theory that can be tested. Is there evidence that crustal plates exist and that they are moving at observable rates? Yes. Is it reasonable to assume the present rates are about the same as rates in the past? Yes. But is it also reasonable to assume that present rates are not anywhere near the same as they were in the past? Yes! Could we also reasonably assume that something entirely different, like vertical tectonics, occurred in the past, and that the current plate movements are just a “settling in” of past movements? Yes, we can do that, too! So now we have one scientific theory, plate tectonics, but multiple interpretations regarding how it may or may not have worked in the past.

Dr. Montgomery’s article mentioned plate tectonics, but he only described one use of it (present is key to past) for interpreting the past. Why didn’t he discuss the other two, the creationist models of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics and Vertical Tectonics? Well, because these don’t fit his interpretive framework, so he ignores them and in so doing suppresses the truth about them.

The truth is, all natural historians evaluate facts by how well they fit their interpretive framework. A young-earth creationist sees a new paper on radiometric age dates proclaiming millions of years, and assumes some sort of error has been made. Likewise, someone who believes the earth is older will reject a radiometric age if it doesn’t fit well in their framework.

Creationist research journals are more open-minded

In the 21st Century, there are many creationist organizations, as well as peer-reviewed research publications, including the Creation Research Society Quarterly, Answers Research Journal, Acts and Facts, and Journal of Creation. A quick look at the references of just about any research paper in these journals will reveal a diverse mix of both creationist and non-creationist writings.

If Dr. Montgomery had bothered to practice the diversity that the GSA claims to preach, he would have known immediately the modern revolution of creationism also believes “the rocks don’t lie”. The truth is that nobody, creationist or otherwise, believes the rocks are lying. That’s absurd. Every rock has a story, but knowing with 100% certainty what the true story is is impossible. So we end up with different interpretations, because there are different frameworks with which we interpret the past.

Another false claim made by Dr. Montgomery’s article is his belief that creationists see “geology as a threat to their faith.” Of course, geology should not be a threat to anyone’s faith. The only threat is dogmatic scientists and educators like Dr. Montgomery, who ignore the evidence presented by creationists, and then act like creationists have “abandoned reason”. This is bad medicine for impressionable young Christians who go off to universities where men and women like Dr. Montgomery teach, trusting their professors’ words over God’s word and abandoning faith in Christ as savior. And that should be a warning to Christian parents to pick your children’s college carefully, and train them to be prepared to always give an answer for the hope that is in them (I Peter 3:15).

The gospel offends and threatens

Dr. Montgomery and other like-minded individuals see creationism, and more importantly, Christianity, as a threat to their own beliefs, so they suppress and ignore the truth (Romans 1:18). For them, it is not about having an open mind regarding interpreting past events. It is more about power, and having the power to control information and then deliver it to a large amount of people who trust their authority. Unfortunately, in Dr. Montgomery’s article at least, it seems GSA is abusing their power by controlling information, while stifling diversity of thought and religion.

Interestingly, dogmatic control of information reared its ugly head in the 1900’s when J. Harlan Bretz, a man who never claimed to be a creationist, published research on the Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington. He believed the scablands formed by catastrophic, post-glacial floods, yet it took 40 years for his ideas to gain wide acceptance. Why did it take so long? Well, mainly because geologists at the time feared that a catastrophic interpretation just might provide evidence for another catastrophic event, Noah’s Flood.

Today, most geologists are slightly more accepting of catastrophism than their 20th century counterparts, so the differences between creationists and others regarding Earth’s features really boils down to this: Are today’s crustal features a result of mostly high-energy, short-term events, or mostly low-energy, long-term events? There is evidence for both, but the former interpretation fits better within a biblical framework of earth history.

Creationism is not going away

There is evidence the earth is old, and evidence the earth is young. Always has been, always will be. The differences arise not because “science has proven” one over the other, but because of the nature of the problem at hand, which is that we simply cannot replicate unobservable past events. The young earth/old earth, creation/evolution controversy is not going away because ultimately, this is not a scientific debate, but a debate about how to interpret both Scripture and nature’s historic accounts. Because man is imperfect, our historic interpretations are imperfect. But this Christian, scientist, and natural historian believes that both Creation and Providence proclaim the earth is thousands, not billions of years old, and that it was created, from nothing, in 6 days.

Let’s pray that those who treat history like history will increase, and those who promote dogmatic and bigoted responses to these different interpretations will decrease, being transformed by the renewing of their minds in Christ (Romans 12:2).

Novarupta documentary coming soon!

May 24, 2012

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Scripture tells us that about 4,500 years ago, the ground split open and the “fountains of the deep” erupted (Genesis 7:11), flooding the entire globe with water. Today, about 70% of the earth’s surface is still covered by water, averaging over 2 miles deep, and giving us a watery reminder of the year-long, global cataclysm.

One of the best ways to understand more about the global cataclysm described in Genesis is to study volcanic eruptions. And the bigger the eruption, the better! This is why Novarupta is so important. Latin for “New Eruption”, Novarupta burst forth for over 60 hours on June 6-8, 1912. The 3rd-largest eruption in recorded history, Novarupta caused tops and sides of mountains to collapse, deposited up to 700 feet of finely-layered ash in places, plus much, much more.

Since 2008, I’ve been studying Novarupta and the surrounding Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. I’ve been blessed with two opportunities to explore the area with family and friends, once in 2009 and again in 2011. I’ve also published a research paper on Novarupta in the Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ 46(1), leave a comment if you would like a pdf copy).

During my explorations, I was able to collect a lot of photogeologic data, taking photos and videos of places only a handful of humans have ever visited. Wanting to share this footage with as many as possible, Providence led me to CreationWorks! The CreationWorks Media Team is made up of a group of 12 – 18 year olds whose goal is to share, “the truth of the Bible through the media, with an emphasis on Creation.”

So here’s what’s happening. I donated my footage to CreationWorks, and they are going to use it to make a film about Novarupta! This is their first film project (they have done some radio projects in the past), which they plan to enter in the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. But they need your help! They are hoping to raise $5,500 to cover expenses of producing and distributing.

Watch the Novarupta trailer

I think the story of Novarupta is worth telling! If you do, too, then please consider making a donation to the project. Click here to watch CreationWorks’ Novarupta trailer. I think you will see that they are off to a good start! To donate to the project, click here (or go to http://www.kickstarter.com/ and enter Novarupta in the search box).  And please pray that God world be glorified through this project. Thank you!

DIVE Earth Science is here!

July 20, 2011

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Unlike our lineup of High School Science products, DIVE Earth Science is a standalone curriculum. No extra book(s) are required, although a list of optional materials is provided for those who want to go above and beyond the basic curriculum.

DIVE Earth Science will change the way you think about the Earth! God gave us the Earth to use and manage wisely (Genesis 1:26-28). DIVE Earth Science teaches students how to use Earth’s abundant resources, while avoiding the “ditches” of overuse and overprotection.

DIVE Earth Science consists of four sections: Earth Science Basics, Flood Geology, Limnology and Oceanography, and Meteorology and Astronomy. In Earth Science Basics, students are presented with foundational ideas that are developed further in the other three sections. This method is similar to John Saxon’s successful mathematics teaching format of introducing a foundational topic early on, and reviewing and building on it later.

In many Earth Science courses, students are taught misleading arguments that withhold many facts, such as “the Big Bang is the only explanation for how the Universe was created”, “fossil fuel burning is the only cause of global warming”, “fertilizer runoff from farms is causing the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico”, “all oil is formed from dead dinosaurs”, and many others. Possibly more than any other curriculum before it, DIVE Earth Science brings clarity to these arguments, and strives to tell “the rest of the story”.

In any Earth Science course, the subject of Earth history will inevitably arise. The subject has become highly politicized, mainly by the liberal left, who falsely equate the study of history with testable, repeatable science. Today, only one creation story is dogmatically taught in most government schools and universities, and it is not the story found in Scripture. DIVE Earth Science treats the study of history honestly, which means we treat it like history, not science. And that means historical documents like Scripture are helpful and necessary.

With DIVE Earth Science, students will learn to discern between unverifiable natural history research and verifiable scientific investigation. Also, students are presented with a variety of ideas about how the Earth and Universe formed, not just one “consensus” view! The goal of DIVE Earth Science is not to support a consensus view, but to teach students how to search for truth. Christian or non-Christian, “old” earth or “young” earth, I would hope that is something we would all want to help our children do!

We have a CD-ROM version for $80, and an online subscription for $50, plus $10 for each additional family member. The online version has many advantages including access anywhere you have a computer and Internet, no CD to damage and/or lose, and maybe most importantly, automated scoring and grade tracking. Click here to learn how the online version can make grading a breeze for busy homeschool parents! DIVE Online works on Windows and Mac computers, and even though it is Flash-based, it will also work on an iPad if you use the Photon browser.

Here is a sample pdf file of the laboratory manual, which includes the yearly schedule:

Sample Earth Science Workbook and Table of Contents

Here’s a pdf file containing a list of all laboratory supplies. Many items can be purchased locally, and Internet links are provided for other supplies. There is also a list of optional reading materials, both Internet links/videos, and books/DVDs to purchase:

DIVE Earth Science Lab Instructions and Supplies List

Here’s a demo of the Getting Started lesson, plus the video lectures, lab activities, computer-based homework and facts practice for Week 3:

DIVE Earth Science Demo

DIVE Earth Science will change the way science is taught. It will give your child a 21st Century Earth Science education, while strengthening their faith in the absolute truth of Scripture as a God-inspired work that is a true account of the history of Earth and the Universe.

Here is a link to our Facebook page, where I have a description of DIVE Earth Science topics covered each week. Just click on the photos, and the descriptions are attached to them.

To purchase, click here for the CD or here for the online version. Here’s a short commercial about DIVE Earth Science:

Do you have a question or comment about the new DIVE Earth Science? Post it below:

Is oil a renewable resource?

May 30, 2011

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Virtually all oil and natural gas reservoirs are associated with salt domes or similar “piercement structures”, such as mud volcanoes and shale diapirs (not diaper, diapir!). A salt dome occurs when unbelievably thick layers of sea salts like sodium chloride (halite) and calcium sulfate (gypsum) are rapidly smothered by unbelievably thick layers of more dense sediments. Add a little shaking from tectonic activity, and the salt finds a gap and oozes its way to the surface. Below is a U. S. Geological Survey seismic image of a mud diapir off the California coast:

Seismic image of a mud diapir. Notice how the mud has pushed through layers above it.

In 2005, deep sea researchers Martin Hovland, Ian Macdonald, and others discovered what they described as an asphalt volcano in the Gulf of Mexico:

Diagram of an asphalt volcano from martinhovland.com 1) the channel formed through the salt dome (2). 3-6 are various hydrocarbon products

Since the discovery of the Chapopte asphalt volcanoes, other asphalt volcanoes have been discovered, and while actual samples have not been collected, it sure looks like there is an asphalt volcano on Mars!

Possible asphalt volcanism on Mars. If you have Google Earth on your computer, select "Mars", then "fly to" Hebes Chasma, and you can see it.

Just like the majority of petroleum discoveries man has made, the asphalt volcanoes are associated with salt domes. But why is that? Is there a relationship between the formation of all that salt and all that oil and gas? Well, a theory being proposed by Martin Hovland suggests that both the salt and the oil are being generated next to magmatic heat engines:

Heat from the magma chamber generates warm water, which rises. Cold water rushes in through cracks in the sediments to replace this water. In the process, it reacts with hot rocks, forming petroleum products. It also turns into a supercritical fluid, which causes the sea salts to precipitate out (turn to solid).

Yes, you read the caption above correctly, water + rock + heat = oil! Actually, NOAA has studied it quite a bit at a place called Lost City in the Atlantic:

NOAA image of Lost City, where researchers found clues about serpentinization.

The reaction is usually between a rock called olivine, water, and carbon dioxide. Here is one of many complex reactions referred to as serpentinization:

one of many possible reactions

Below is a graph showing the relationship of trace metals from Brazilian crude oil compared to trace metals in serpentinized rock from the mantle. The research by Peter Szatmari and others was published in 2010 in an online textbook (click here):

Trace metals in Brazilian oil compared to their amounts in serpentinized mantle. Research by Peter Szatmari and others (see above for link to their research)

One conclusion from the graph above is that most of the crude oil in Brazil, and everywhere else (including Mars!) was formed by serpentinization that is still going on today. Oil is not a “fossil fuel”. It was probably not formed by dead dinosaurs, flamingoes, and algae dying and slowly decomposing on the ocean floor over millions of years. And even if dead plants and animals were the source, they would have to be buried rapidly, all over the world, since oil is found all over the world.

Think about what this means. If we can develop drilling techniques that can handle even more high temperature, high pressure (HTHP) situations than they do right now, we just may find more oil and gas than we could ever use! Also, notice that in the reaction shown above, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a reactant, which means that for those who believe excess carbon dioxide is heating the earth, all you need to do is find a way to pump it down to one of these undersea heat engines, and carbon dioxide will be consumed (sequestered). Researchers are already trying to figure out how to do this. And while we are on the subject of greenhouse gases, did you know that water is a much worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide? Think about that while you are thinking about how oil and gas may not be as “evil” as some people try to make them seem.

We should be VERY glad that the formation of oil-trapping piercement structures has slowed down today from a more rapid rate in the past. The tectonic activity (earthquakes) involved as lower density salts, gases, and oils pushed through sediments all over the world must have been tremendous. I would speculate that most of this was formed rapidly during the global cataclysm described in Genesis, and most of the piercement structures moved upward during this time, before sediments had a chance to do much compacting and lithifying (turning to rock). Most of these heat engines have cooled considerably, but they do still carry out the process of serpentinization, and with the right tools, it is something we could manipulate.

If there is really a whole lot more oil and gas than we are led to believe by major media outlets and many government leaders, this also means that gasoline prices should drop once we learn how to get to more of this oil. It also means that America’s current desires to make ethanol from corn could be a waste of time. If you are a person who thinks we should halt all oil drilling to “save the planet”, I encourage you to think again. Think instead about encouraging better and safer technology to extract oil and gas from deeper, hotter sections of salt domes in places like the Gulf of Mexico. We don’t need to “save the planet”, we need to manage the planet wisely, and we all need to think harder about how to do that.

Reforming the story of Palo Duro Canyon

January 7, 2011

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How do giant canyons form? With water. Lots of it, coming from both above AND below the surface. How do I know this? Well, I don’t know for sure, because I’ve never witnessed the formation of a giant canyon like Palo Duro Canyon or Grand Canyon. However, there sure is a lot of evidence that makes it look like a high energy, short duration megaflood formed Palo Duro Canyon, contrary to ALL the other low energy, million-plus year ideas I have read about. For example the Texas Parks and Wildlife page on Palo Duro Canyon State Park says the canyon was “formed primarily by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, which began to carve the canyon less than one million years ago”.

Other places describe the canyon as even older, but none describe the possibility of it forming rapidly, but why? Is it because there is no evidence for rapid formation, or is it because many of today’s geologists are reluctant to interpret the evidence around them in a way that does not promote long ages? Well, take a look at this picture of Palo Duro Canyon:

Picture of a small section of Palo Duro Canyon. Copyright 2010, David E. Shormann.

You may not have known this, but Palo Duro Canyon is about 120 miles long, up to 20 miles wide, and averages 800 feet deep. That is HUGE! In the United States, it is second in size only to the most incredible canyon of them all, the Grand Canyon:

About 10 Palo Duro Canyons could fit inside the Grand Canyon! Copyright 2010, David E. Shormann, PhD

Walt Brown, Steve Austin, Tom Vail and Mike Oard are just a few of several researchers who have written extensively on the possibility of the Grand Canyon forming rapidly either immediately after the global flood described in Genesis, or hundreds of years later when the dams on ancient lakes burst. However, there is no current literature suggesting that Palo Duro Canyon formed rapidly. In order to form a canyon rapidly, a large amount of water is usually necessary. The Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River flows through the length of Palo Duro Canyon, and some believe it carved the canyon. Take a look at this video clip of the river:

That’s right, I just jumped across the river that supposedly formed a 120-mile long by 20-mile wide by 800-foot deep canyon! I have a very hard time believing that river carved Palo Duro Canyon, and I hope you do, too. Uniformitarian ideas almost always assume low-energy, long-time processes created the geologic formations we see around us. Fortunately, the idea is becoming less popular, even among secular fundamentalists. Major exceptions to uniformitarian dogma are the Missoula Floods from ancient Lake Missoula and Lake Columbia, whose catastrophic flows formed canyons, scablands and other features over a considerable portion of the Northwest United States:

Yellow is ancient Lake Missoula and Lake Columbia, orange is extent of flood damage.

Now, it is interesting that geologic maps of Texas clearly show outlines of two large, ancient lakes, sitting at the headwaters of Palo Duro Canyon:

Google Earth image with a Texas Geologic Map overlay, clearly showing the outline of two ancient lakes. An elevation profile between the lakes reveals some uplift, suggesting that the two lakes may have been one large lake.

The two lakes could have also been one large lake, with a surface area of about 200,000 acres. It is also interesting that Palo Duro Canyon is carved into one of the world’s largest sources of subsurface water, the Ogallala Aquifer. Consider a scenario such as heavy rains, or maybe tectonic activity, or both, causing the dam(s) on the ancient lake(s) to burst, initiating the carving of Palo Duro Canyon. As the floodwaters cut deeper, water from the Ogallala Aquifer began spilling out as well, adding even more momentum to the already high-energy flow coming from the breached dam. Is such a scenario possible? It is impossible to know for sure what caused this amazing event in Earth’s history, but I hope to find more evidence supporting a rapid formation hypothesis, and reform the story of Palo Duro Canyon.

How do you think Palo Duro Canyon formed?  If you have a question or comment, post it and let’s discuss.