Why Some Creationists Believe in Flood Geology

This is a post I wanted to write for some time, but somehow it slipped off my mind in the general confusion of everyday life.  About a month ago, I ran into a YEC blog called “Sirius Knotts” via my valued co-blogger, For Knowledge!
His recent post is also what prompted me to write this post. When I first read Sirius’ post, I was intrigued by the possibility of a biblical paradigm for geology. Sure, I was aware of the need for any “biblical geology” to firmly account for the coherence and consistency of modern geology, with its old earth and the multiple lines of evidence pointing to this old earth.

But still, intrigued I was, nonetheless. Especially since even though flood geologists are relatively (as far as I know) rare as compared to mainstream geologists, they’re still trained geologists, and probably know their way around a pickaxe (horrible metaphor, I know).

I was quite perplexed, of course, when I approached Sirius in this post which he wrote about the fossil record and how it shows evidence of a young earth. (To be fair, he did say he didn’t mean to really show evidence for a young earth in his post, but just to show that the evidence does not show an old one)

See, since I don’t know much about flood geology, or geology in general, I thought of asking a straightforward question: considering the fact that the fossil record, according to Sirius, exhibited evidence for a young earth (or a “not old one”), the most obviously pertinent question would be: “how do you date geological samples on planet earth and does such dating confirm independently that the earth is a few thousand years’ old?”

Allow me to reproduce just the first correspondence between Sirius and myself:

Me:

“Sirius, I have a question: Is there anything in flood geology that provides accurate, consistent dating of fossil fauna all dating apx. during a bible-inspired flood date that’s been corroborated by other date sources?”

(yada yada yada, verbose me)…

Sirius:

“[Sirius comments: I’m not sure how to answer your question, so I’m emailing the guys at BiblicalGeology.net for their advice. I’ll get back to you, provided, of course, that they get back to me.]”

O-kay. At this point I was getting confused and a bit suspicious: this guy waxes poetic about the earth being young and gives numerous data to ostensibly establish this argument, and yet doesn’t know how to support his version of the date of the planet? (“I’m not sure how to answer your question” is definitely not how I could describe why I believe the earth is billions of years old!)

But okay, a little humility. I’m no geologist and even though I’ve dabbled a bit in geochronology for fun reading, I’m continents away from being an expert in the field (all the primers in biology included a chapter or two about dating methods).

So, after some back-and-forth Q&A’s, I reached this particular gem:

“My reasons for embracing the Young earth Creation position stem from the fact that I believe their is reasonable evidence to believe that a personal, transcendent God exists, that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead and that I can believe the Bible in regards to what it says about the human condition, history and prophecy”

Boy, oh boy. That said, I just had to ask why bother throwing scientific data to disprove evolutionary biology or more pertinently, mainstream geology,  if all it takes to believe in a young earth is absolute biblical literalism.  It stinks of dishonesty and preying upon the gullible to give the air of scientific credibility to a belief that rests solely upon religious texts. Sure, scientific data can be shoehorned into biblical literalism, but if biblical literalism is completely a priori to any discussion of the age of the earth or the meaning of geological data, then invoking scientific evidence to “prove” a young earth is not only dishonest, it’s also pointless. If flood geologists merely assume the bible to be true and accordingly use data they collect to point out to biblical literalism, then saying that the “evidence points to a worldwide flood” is not only dishonest, it’s also sacrilegious: demanding or even endorsing physical data to espouse belief in the bible is abandoning, so it seems, the blind faith that it demands.

Sirius provided me with two links, one was to a blog written down by a flood geologist and another was a creationist web-page. After tediously going over the web-sites, I was again and again in awe at the fact that whenever addressing the age of the earth, time and again the real, physical evidence for the young earth is  nothing but the bible, and the mere assumption of the validity of biblical text. The data are all there, they just happen to rest completely on presupposing the bible to be true and thus, by definition, can only lead to verifying the bible. I must say that this pointless dissonance was so bizarre that I physically felt dizzy while reading it.

The thing I found striking the most is that part of “creationontheweb” that spoke of absolute dating by radioisotopes being a subjective presupposition and that the only difference between mainstream geologists and flood geologist is their subjective presuppositions. Apparently, biblical geology professes that it’s okay to presume your conclusion, and assuming the bible is literally true is somehow better than not. No mention of what assumptions absolute radiometric dating uses. There are quite a few, and scientists have masochistically tried to refute them for centuries and have mind-bogglingly corroborated data in endless research. Considering the last sentence, I find it pressing to ask: “how sure do you need to get before you buy into this thing?”.

I wonder if “non-expert creationists” as opposed to “non-expert evolutionists” like me become frightened or disturbed when they try to do the opposite to what I did, that is, look for evidence for an old earth. I can’t help but feeling that being afraid to learn something new is the worst affliction a mind can have.

Oh, and P.S – even the flood geologist that Sirius linked to admitted that there’s no analytical approach that consistently points to nothing but young dates for rocks. Flood geologists either use the same dating methods as mainstream geologists or, most often, they simply assume the bible is true and don’t bother dating rocks at all, since the “biblical geological column” is based on analyzing the bible, not the earth.

6 Comments »

  1. Sirius Said:

    Yeah….. That’s quite the reductionist view and fairly typical I might add. You’ve painted me and other YEC Creationists as superstitious and frightened of data that might conflict with the Bible, while uniformitarian scientists are heroicly charging into the night of ignorance with absolutely no presuppositional biases [oh, except their uniformitarian bias].

    Ironically, I’ve addressed the whole science versus faith canard in the past in a post called The Faith of Richard Dawkins. As a point of further irony, I’m not commenting here to argue with you. In fact, I can’t say as I’ll really be checking back up with this blog at all.

    There’s no nice way to put this. You came to my blog looking for reasons not to believe in a young earth. I don’t care whether you admit it to me or not, but you may as well admit it to yourself. You can cover your, well, shallow examination of the issue with weasel words and statements which beg the question, but I think you merely wanted to justify the money you’ve spent on your uniformitarian education.

    In this case, I fear I have cast my pearls before swine. And you have rightly gored me for my lack of vigilance. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and took the time to research your question. You IMMEDIATELY castigated me for the sin of not knowing every nuance of what I believe, even though you admit to the same sort of ignorance [hypocrite]. You were ready to end your investigation there. You had reached your conclusion based on the fact that I did not know the answer to your specific question. When the answer came back, you committed an ad logicum. You assumed that since our position is not supported by one line of argument that there are no lines of argument by which it may be supported. You did this because you wanted an excuse not to believe, not because you were honestly sifting the evidence.

    Tell me you sifted through the material on the links I provided with an open mind rather than a mind critically tuned to find mistakes and errors you just KNEW had to be there and I’ll be justified in calling you a liar. You’re at least lying to yourself. [Why do these guys always pretend as if THEY have no presuppositional biases, but only those who didagree with them??]

    Let me give you an example: ” I can’t help but feeling that being afraid to learn something new is the worst affliction a mind can have.” This presumes as much of your post states explicitly that we cower in the comforting darkness of our ignorance; however, even our opponents have admitted that YECs actually know both sides of the issue better than the average evolutionist. We know what you believe and we know it well – we reject it! On the other hand, my experience actually demonstrates that most of those who decry YEC actually only attack a caricature of it. Their ignorance of what we actually believe is willful.

    You prove my point quite nicely: “It stinks of dishonesty and preying upon the gullible to give the air of scientific credibility to a belief that rests solely upon religious texts.” YEC is not a belief that rests solely upon a religious text. We believe that the Bible as the divine infallible Word of God is superior to the science of fallible men of finite knowledge, so we believe that if the Bible and science seem to be contradictory, it’s the result of bad science.

    And again: “If flood geologists merely assume the bible to be true and accordingly use data they collect to point out to biblical literalism, then saying that the “evidence points to a worldwide flood” is not only dishonest, it’s also sacrilegious: demanding or even endorsing physical data to espouse belief in the bible is abandoning, so it seems, the blind faith that it demands.” [I’ll ignore the fact that evolutionists presume that macro-evolution, naturalism, uniformitarianism and spontaneous generation to be true and then use the data they collect to point out that mac-evo, uniformitarianism, naturalism and spontaneous generation are true.] Do you HONESTLY think that the Bible requires BLIND FAITH? Are you really willing to put forth that the Bible states this, when it constantly challenges us to test these things to see whether they be true? Do you realize that you have made a caricature , a straw man of what we believe and then rejected that?

    And to correct your last sentence, biblical geologists note that radiometric dating methods are flawed [if you calibrate them using igneous rock that we KNOW was formed only 10 or 49 years ago, we find their reliability range to be ludicrous!]; therefore the biblical geological column is based on the unerring Word AND observable geology. Really your reductionism goes rather too far!

    But keep beating the stuffing out of your straw men- and don’t be afraid to thatch together new ones when you’re done with those!

    –Sirius Knott

  2. forknowledge Said:

    Thanks for the link!

    I’m actually not sure that flood geology is overburdened with trained geologists. I’ve heard of a few, but not a huge amount. Something to look into, perhaps!

  3. forknowledge Said:

    Sorry, double commenting:

    Bias is not a problem for Creationists, as evidenced by the ‘Yes, my views are unscientific and stem completely from my Biblical presuppositions, but you’re just as bad!’ argument that seems to be all the rage these days. In one sense I admire their honesty, but it leaves them looking like idiots.

  4. freidenker85 Said:

    Hi for. Actually, I never found evidence of flood geologists not working with a major creationist organization (which is annoying, since it means you can’t divorce the biblical geology from biblical biology, i.e, creation) – this is why I never found anything about flood geology that wasn’t part of a greater creationist schema.

    That said, I AM curious to know if .biblical geologists actually use science to date and succeed in dating rocks/varves/sediments etc. in a consistently “young-earth” fashion. I was simply confounded by Sirius’ reply, as both sources openly admitted that the only reason the young earth is assumed to be young is the age and testimony of ancient manuscripts. I was surprised at someone being so candidly oblivious to the neglect of his own answer, as I specifically addressed these deficits in biblical geology in my original question.

    I have approved Sirius comment. I thought about it and decided that even though this comment is trollish by definition, it’d probably do more to my cause than to Sirius’ if I published it. I still refuse to read further than “I’m not commenting here to argue with you. In fact, I can’t say as I’ll really be checking back up with this blog at all.” – since this is merely an exercise in public mental wanking if this is true.

    I will be happy to debate Sirius on any topic he desires if he apologizes for this obnoxious, trollish declaration and agrees to seriously address my claims and cut this whole “injured soul” crap. Really, it’s pathetic.

  5. forknowledge Said:

    I’ve commented before on the odd game Creationists like to play with inferrence. They castigate scientists for ‘making assumptions’ or for inferring an old Earth (and universe) from various sources, implying that such indirect methods are invalid, while simultaneously using the exact same evidence and methods to (poorly) back up their own claims about the age of the Earth. What gives? As you point out, their entire position is based on Biblical presuppositions, so why do they pretend to use scientific evidence and why do they contradict themselves when it comes to the validity of the interpretation of that evidence?

    Personally, I think it’s because they know how persuasive scientific evidence is and they know that nobody (including, perhaps, themselves) will take a position like theirs seriously if it appears to be based on nothing but the Bible.

    I’m not surprised that Sirius has said he might not come back to to reply to you or even to read your reply to him. He likes to debate on his own blog, where he can strictly control what goes on, but is extremely reluctant to debate anywhere else. This is fairly common of Creationists as a whole…

  6. freidenker85 Said:

    Forknowledge,

    though I agree that a sensible skeptic would probably not buy into arguments that are solely based on the biblical assumptions, this still doesn’t answer the question of why is it that Sirius or any other flood geologist or for that matter, any YEC, needs anything other than the bible to confirm their beliefs? I don’t see the point in such mental masturbation if the conclusion is assumed to be true due to the premise.

    This idea doesn’t seem like some devious ploy to recruit more believers, because true believers are either ignorant or indifferent to the science or data present – what’s so amazing about the “biblical science” is that it’s basically either counter-productive or even anti-biblical (since doubt and endorsement in “non-faith arguments” is discouraged by the bible)


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