Posted tagged ‘uniformitarianism’

Novarupta documentary coming soon!

May 24, 2012

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

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!

A Photogeologic Tour of Katmai Valley and Canyon

September 23, 2011

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Below is a .pdf of a presentation I gave at the Greater Houston Creation Association’s September 2011 meeting. Learn about volcanoes, the June 6-8, 1912 eruption of Novarupta and Mount Katmai, and the effects of the eruption on Katmai Valley and Canyon. My son, Ken Cole, myself and several others visited Novarupta in 2009. Ken and Ashley Cole, and I visited the “other side” of Novarupta from July 25-28, 2011 to learn more about the world’s largest volcanic eruption in over 100 years.

Novarupta is a great testimony to ONE massive, worldwide flood, followed by ONE giant Ice Age, tapering off to present day conditions. There are many interpretations of Earth history, none of which can be verified without a time machine. Which one do you think is best? Open the link below and take a look at the presentation, and leave a comment if you want to discuss it further:

The Other Side of Novarupta

Is theistic evolution a disease of learning?

March 26, 2011

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Francis Bacon, the founder of the modern scientific method, believed that if we were to truly advance learning, Christians should study what God said in His word, and study what God made in Creation. But,  he also cautioned that we should avoid unwisely mingling or confounding these learnings together. Confusion exists regarding Francis Bacon and his beliefs, but everything I have read by him leads me to conclude that he believed God’s word was the ultimate authority. According to Bacon, humans err when their pride inclines them to “leave the oracle of God’s word and to vanish in the mixture of their own inventions.”

Bacon called problems like this “diseases of learning”. In Bacon’s time, a major disease of learning was that at institutions of higher learning, students’ minds were open to the ideas of only a handful of authors who were treated more like dictators whose words must stand, rather than counselors to give advice. Four centuries later, Christians are still making the same mistakes about learning. Instead of setting God and His word as the immovable foundation that directs our learning, we constantly feel like the foundation will be stronger if we add some of man’s ideas to it or if we try to change the Bible’s story to fit the latest, greatest, goofiest idea we can come up with.

Instead of making the creativity of God the foundation and focus of a Christian education, the creativity of man is often overemphasized. Currently, I think one of the biggest hurdles to advancing learning is the idea of “theistic evolution.” Proponents of theistic evolution believe this is the proper answer to reconciling “science” and the Bible. I see two problems with this view. First, the theory of evolution is not real science. Second, science is man’s interpretation of God’s works, and we should never set man’s interpretations as equal or superior to His Word. A hierarchy exists, and Francis Bacon nails it again when he says to study “first the Scriptures, revealing the will of God, and then the creatures expressing His power.” Bacon believed in a hierarchy because he believed God’s word, and His word says in John 1:1 that “In the beginning was the Word.” His word should direct our study of His works. There is nowhere in His word that suggests we should equate the study of His word and His works, or let the study of His works direct our study of His word.

The theory of evolution is not real science. It is an idea used to explain unverifiable events from natural history. Real science follows the scientific method, where questions are asked, hypotheses made and tested, data collected and analyzed, and conclusions drawn. Then, the hypothesis may be  tested by another scientist in order to verify the claims made by the original researcher. It is unreasonable to call bacteria-to-biology teacher evolution a purely scientific endeavor. We cannot observe this process occurring, so we cannot verify any claims made about it, and that is not real science.

Another part of real science is that data is collected and models are made, which are then used to make future predictions. Of course, the accuracy of those predictions can be verified. This is impossible with claims made about past events, and this is why evolution is about researching natural history, instead of being a real scientific endeavor.

An honest evolutionist will tell you that evolution theory cannot predict how things will evolve in the future, only that they will evolve. What they may not tell you is that this would be like a weather forecaster saying “I can’t predict how the weather is going to change tomorrow. All I can tell you is that it will be different than it was today.” Or it might be like NASA saying to some astronauts “We cannot predict how you will land on the moon. All we can tell you is that you will land on the moon.” I hope you are starting to see what I mean when I say evolution is not real science, but instead is an unnecessary idea used by some Christians and others to explain natural history. Evolution is not needed to explain gravity, understand chemistry, find better cures for diseases, or manage wild salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest. If anything, it interferes with the advancement of learning about God’s creation.

There is evidence for evolution though, and you can be a Christian and believe in evolution. If all life evolved from a common ancestor, we would expect all life to have some things in common, and it does. All life needs water, and all life has DNA.  However, if all life were created by the same Designer, we would also expect all life to have some things in common. In fact, we would expect more than just life to have some things in common. Take visible light for example. All visible light can be classified as electromagnetic radiation. All visible light has a magnetic field perpendicular to an electric field. Our best understanding of light tells us that all light behaves as both a wave and a particle. But red light is not blue light, yellow light is not green light, etc. All colors of light share similar physical characteristics, but there are definite differences. This does not mean that red light evolved from blue light, etc. All forms of electromagnetic radiation do seem to be designed using the same pattern. In Genesis 1:3, God said “Let there be light, and there was light.” I don’t know anyone, theistic evolutionist or otherwise, who argues against this verse. There is no “millions of years theory for the evolution of light”. So, when God says He created in 6 days, and He created different kinds of living organisms, why not just believe that, too? Everybody has the same set of evidence, the differences come in the interpretations, and some interpretations are better than others.

Theistic evolution is a compromise

We should never set man’s interpretation of God’s works on an equal footing with His word. However, this is the goal of theistic evolution. In the movie The Genesis Code, theistic evolution was promoted as the “answer” to the supposed battle between science and religion. A good critique of the movie can be found here.

Biologos, an organization whose sole purpose is to promote theistic evolution, provides many opportunities to see how this idea results in setting aside the oracle of God’s word, replacing it with “a mixture of their own inventions.” In a lecture at Westmont College, Biologos Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies, Dr. Peter Enns, presented the following slide:

This graph is wrong. God's word and man's word (science) are not on the same plane, nor do they share a common origin. "In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1)," then came man, then came man's flawed interpretation of God's works (science).

I have some real concerns about the “Biologos version” of Scripture. And I’m not the only one. Theologian John Frame said a recent book by Dr. Enns “says nothing to promote confidence in the truth of the biblical text.” Others, like Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham, believe Enns is compromising Biblical truth. Creation Ministries International says Biologos has a “low, really low view of Scripture.” The Institute for Creation Research warns parents to “beware” of Biologos and Enns’ teachings. The Westminster Theological Seminary “parted ways” with Dr. Enns back in 2008 over concerns about his writings.

I also think Dr. Enns’ (and Biologos’) understanding of Paul, Adam, and many other things has a lot to be desired. There is no man and no church that has a perfect interpretation of Scripture, but some interpretations are definitely better than others. Atheists have the worst interpretations of Scripture. I think the best way to interpret Scripture is to apply Sola Scriptura, that is, to let Scripture interpret Scripture. If we really believe II Timothy 3:16, that God inspired men to write His word, then we should believe that the words of men like Paul, Peter, John, Moses, etc., have more authority than the words of other men, even (and especially) deep thinkers like St. Augustine, St. Basil, or C.S. Lewis. Men like these should be thought of like “counselors to give advice”.

The concerns I have about the teachings of Biologos are too numerous to go into here, but I will give one example. In Dr. Enns’ lecture mentioned earlier, he showed how Paul described Adam as the first man, and if you read Romans 5:12-21, it is easy to come to the same conclusion. Paul thought Adam, like Jesus, was a historical figure. Paul even calls Adam a “type” of Christ, a head over all humanity. Dr. Enns has a different view though, and he thinks Adam was a symbolic figure who represented Israel. He also stresses that Paul was an “ancient man”, and in this Biologos video, states that he doesn’t expect Paul to have conversed with Francis Collins about the Human Genome Project and how “common descent is essentially assured scientifically.” Dr. Enns goes on to explain that in “Paul’s mind”, there may be a connection between the real man, Adam, and the real Christ, but that we don’t have to make the same connection in our minds.  He also says Paul does not determine modern scientific discoveries of humanity for us.

Truth doesn’t change

Certainly, Paul was writing to first century Christians, and no, he didn’t have a conversation with Francis Collins. However, here is the big mistake I think Dr. Enns and other theistic evolutionists make. Paul’s words in Romans were not his alone, they were inspired by God. When Paul writes about the man, Adam, he is writing God’s words, not his own. He is writing Truth, and Truth doesn’t change. When we read books penned by Paul’s hand, we should be more concerned about “why did God have him write that?” than “what was Paul thinking?” The story of Adam and Paul promoted by Dr. Enns is twisted because God’s authority and inspiration is at the very least, minimized, and at worst, removed from the conversation. Instead, it is replaced by a mixture of Dr. Enns’ own invention.

So why would theistic evolutionists be so interested in tearing down what God says about Adam in the book of Romans? The main reason is because evolution is supposed to work on populations, not individuals, and evolution is a philosophy of death. Through the deaths of billions of animals over long periods of time, a population of humans finally came into being. If Adam wasn’t a real man, but instead a symbolic population of people known as Israel, then evolution is compatible with Scripture. But that’s not what God’s word said happened, and it’s not what His works say happened, either.

Theistic evolution is a disease of learning

So is theistic evolution a disease of learning? I would say yes. I would also say anyone who believes it is deceived. Colossians 2:8 says “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (NKJV).” In Genesis, God said He made everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th. This is confirmed in Exodus 20:11. In Genesis, God said he created different kinds of living organisms. Charles Darwin thought God was lying about this, and set out to develop a theory that claimed all life descended from a common ancestor. Darwin knew this would take a really long time, so he used Charles Lyell’s idea of uniformitarianism to justify the long ages. Charles Lyell also thought God was lying about Noah’s flood, and that there was no such thing as a global cataclysm.

Without putting much thought to it, many scientists jumped on the bandwagon of evolutionism and its crutch, uniformitarianism. These speculative beliefs about the past reached their peaks in the 2oth century. However, we are in a new century now, and some of this century’s scientists are showing us how these two ideas, based on the premise that God was lying, are becoming less accepted. 21st century science is showing us time and again how genetic mutations, the supposed “engines that drive evolution,” mostly result in death or cancer! It is obvious that animals adapt to their environment and change some with time, otherwise we would all be clones. But this is not evolution. For evolution to be true, new information must be created, and this has never been observed in the wild or in the laboratory. And there are no longer any real uniformitarians, because the obviousness of catastrophism is accepted by virtually all scientists. Most still reject the historical account of a worldwide global cataclysm that killed all the land animals, even though dead animals are buried under tens, hundreds, and thousands of feet of sedimentary rock all over the world, and the Earth is still mostly covered with water. I think it is very interesting that evolutionism and its crutch, uniformitarianism, both ideas based on the premise that God’s word is wrong, have caused so many setbacks in the advancement of learning.

If you are a Christian and you want to believe in theistic evolution, you are certainly free to do so, but I think you are being deceived and you are letting manmade speculations direct your reading of some Scriptures instead of letting Scripture help you interpret the scientific and historic claims made by fallible men. And because evolution is not real science, there is no reason to believe any sort of “tension” exists between science and Christianity. Science and Christianity are not at odds, but evolutionism and Christianity are. If you are ready to get on a road that will lead you to rejecting the damaging theology of theistic evolution, get out your Bible, click here and start researching. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to continue the conversation.

Reforming the story of Palo Duro Canyon

January 7, 2011

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

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.

Novarupta and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

August 14, 2009

In July I visited Katmai National Park and hiked through The Valley of 10,000 Smokes. If you want to go somewhere that is vastly different than pretty much anywhere else on earth, then this is the place to be! Here is a YouTube video I made about the trip, that includes a discussion of a young Earth, and me getting zapped by a bear fence.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine