Post Reply
Switch to Forum Live View Grand Canyon: Two Interpretations of the Evidence
9 months ago  ::  Nov 13, 2013 - 5:41PM #1
rsielin
Posts: 4,182

Came across this article from a geologist about the origins of the Grand Canyon. Jon Woolf makes a very interesting analysis that laymen should be able to understand. He does this in three steps.

First, what is the objective evidence. Both interpretations necessarily come from the same empirical evidence. Jon Wolf does an excellent clear descriptive presentation.

Second, how do creationists interpret this evidence. All of the evidence. For the creationist side, Jon references the seminal manuscript by Steven A. Austin of the Institute for Creation Research and his colleagues in the book GRAND CANYON: MONUMENT TO CATASTROPHE.

Third, how does the mainstream geology interpret the evidence. Here, Jon references GRAND CANYON GEOLOGY, a collection of journal-quality articles about the Plateau and the Canyon published in 1990. 

Here are some excerpts from Jon's introduction. Study the analysis, then you be the judge. You won't change the scientific consensus but you may have a much better appreciation for the real evidence and how convincing either interpretation really is, if and only if, you can approach this without preconceived bias.  


Geologists have a special liking for the Grand Canyon in part because it's an almost perfect natural laboratory for basic geology. … The whole Grand Canyon is an immense symbol of the depth and vastness of geologic time.


Young-Earth Creationists are drawn to the Grand Canyon by that same vastness, and by their need to deny it. A Grand Canyon that is millions of years old is a clear refutation of young-Earth Creationism. So these creationists are forced to try to explain the Canyon in terms of their "Flood" geology: that the layers of rock were laid down by the Flood, and the Canyon itself was created during the run-off phase of the Flood.


… which view of geology it supports, old Earth or young Earth. …Thus this article. Is it possible that the young-Earth Creationists are right? That the Grand Canyon really is compatible with young-Earth Creationism?


… there are actually two questions being asked:


  1. How was the Colorado Plateau formed?
  2. How was the Grand Canyon formed?


For both questions, the available evidence is the same: the rocks, fossils, and landforms of the Colorado Plateau and the Grand Canyon, and evidence derived from those sources, such as radiometric dates. Only the interpretation is different.


My goal in this article is to explore both interpretations, that of creationist Flood geology and that of conventional geology, and try to determine which one gives a better explanation for all the available evidence. 


I'm not interested in what the Bible says. If the physical evidence fails to support the theory, then no written words will change that. Humans can be fallible, humans can be deceptive, but the rocks cannot lie. Nature is often complex, but never dishonest. The geologic record shows what actually happened, and there's no way around that.

Full analysis is here: 
www.jwoolfden.com/gc_intro.html


ENJOY! 

Quick Reply
Cancel
9 months ago  ::  Nov 14, 2013 - 9:25AM #2
rsielin
Posts: 4,182

I don't think our creationist friends really have the stomach or wherewithal to go through the scientific analysis of their Grand Canyon Flood model so I'll post some interesting excerpts. These are taken from the analysis of how the Colorado Plateau was formed.


One comment that sticks in my mind is that Jon finds that all of the YEC explanations always seem plausible on the surface. However, they quickly fall apart under any detailed examination. 


But isn't that typical of our creationist? They are so naive about real science; any shallow explanation that can be construed to support their theology becomes sacrosanct and untouchable fact. Science illiterates are incapable of diving deep into the evidence and facts for any profound understanding of the science. The Grand Canyon is no exception.


My excerpts. Though done for brevity, some of you may not trust my ellipses. :)  Go to the article for a complete reading. www.jwoolfden.com/gc_rocks.html 


… problems start with … casual dismissal of the radiometric data. …This is not a small problem -- whatever the real meaning of the radiometric data, it does exist and it does have to be given a plausible explanation.


… explanation for the Tapeats-Bright Angel-Muav sequence looks plausible at first glance, but founders on closer examination. … explained … as a sequence laid down by the initial surge of floodwaters, with sand settling out first …, then silt …, then fine sediments and carbonates …. Unfortunately … there are sequences … where the grains get coarser, not finer, as you move upward.


Another problem: Fossils found in the … formations include the clamlike creatures called brachiopods. … how could a fixed, bottom-dwelling animal find the time and the food to grow to full size while it was under a steady stream of settling sediment? If it anchored itself at dawn, it would be under fifteen feet of sediment by nightfall.


... fails to give any adequate explanation for the eroded surfaces present between a number of Grand Canyon formations. … The Surprise Canyon Formation itself poses a problem … the presence of Redwall fragments and fossils in the lowermost Surprise Canyon rocks implies the Redwall was soft enough to be rapidly eroded to create the channels which the Surprise Canyon Formation fills, yet hard enough for chunks of Redwall rock to hold together after this occurred. This appears contradictory, to say the least.


… how the enormous crossbeds typical of the Coconino Sandstone could have formed underwater, using a concept … "sand waves." …the Flood model requires all this to be deposited in a matter of days. … how could an animal stay on the bottom and walk on the same layer of sand long enough to create the trackways which are also found in the Coconino Sandstone?


two general weaknesses that appear over and over again. … greatly oversimplifies the lithologies of the Grand Canyon rock layers, skipping over details that could cause problems for his Flood model. … did not merely simplify the information. He selectively edited it, including only information that would strengthen his case and none that might weaken it.


The second … is the enormous number of ad hoc hypotheses … In the physical sciences, it refers to a hypothesis introduced solely to explain an otherwise unexplainable datum. … Experience has shown over and over again that the more ad hoc hypotheses you need to make a theory work, the more likely it is that the whole theory is wrong.


… uses a great many ad hoc hypotheses … example is the many casual references to depth and velocity of Flood waters; these are changed as necessary to account for the features being discussed at the moment, with little apparent regard for the overall model. … No matter what your viewpoint, it is not a good sign when your 'explanations' for different features of the same rocks start contradicting each other!


… Flood model for the origins of the rocks of the Colorado Plateau is internally contradictory and inconsistent with the actual data. It doesn't deal with all the available data, and it can't even adequately explain the data it does deal with. It simply doesn't work.


In adopting the standard "the Flood did it" explanation … seems to either miss or deliberately gloss over a number of rather glaring questions that this hypothesis raises. For example:


-- Why are there no fossils of advanced organisms in the pre-Flood rocks of the Grand Canyon Supergroup?


-- How is it possible that the Redwall Limestone became so hard that it remains a rigid, nearly vertical, extremely erosion-resistant wall today, yet its top was so soft that substantial erosion could take place within hours after it formed?


-- How is it possible that "sand waves" deposited rapidly, by fast-moving and turbulent water, could preserve such delicate features as footprints?


-- What sort of animal would take the time to dig a burrow when it will be under ten feet of sediment before it finishes? ... Flood model says that the 4000 feet of rock between the Great Unconformity and the Rim were deposited in the 150 days between the onset of the Flood and its peak … This works out to almost thirty feet of sedimentary rock deposited every day. Yet all throughout the Canyon rocks, we find structures that take time to form, such as burrows.


-- Why are there no fossils of any large Mesozoic or Cenozoic animals anywhere in the Grand Canyon rocks?


On the other hand, the orthodox interpretation of the Colorado Plateau fits the facts pretty well. We've already concluded that the Colorado Plateau cannot be as young as the young-Earthers claim it is. Given that, it seems reasonable to also conclude that the Plateau is as old as conventional theory says it is.


… The orthodox explanation is also consistent with the rest of modern geology, with the Colorado Plateau rocks matching rocks from elsewhere in appearance and lithology.


The fossil record is also consistent with the rest of the geologic record, with only primitive, simple fossils in the Precambrian rocks; more advanced fossils typical of their periods in the Paleozoic upper canyon strata; faults, folds, landslides, lava flows, and other features which can readily be explained by well-understood geologic processes.



Quick Reply
Cancel
9 months ago  ::  Nov 17, 2013 - 1:50AM #3
iamachildofhis
Posts: 10,394


iama:  It seems like the evolution-presuppositioned geologists and the creation-presuppositioned geologists have similar complaints about each other. 


We only see what agrees with what we, personally, believe.


It’s time for evolutionist geologists to face the evidence

The wonder of Christmas is that the God Who dwelt among us, now, can dwell within us. - Roy Lessin
.
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
.
Justice is receiving what you deserve.
Mercy is NOT receiving what you deserve.
Grace is receiving what you DO NOT deserve.
.
Quick Reply
Cancel
9 months ago  ::  Nov 17, 2013 - 9:44AM #4
Whisper01
Posts: 2,640

Nov 17, 2013 -- 1:50AM, iamachildofhis wrote:



iama:  It seems like the evolution-presuppositioned geologists and the creation-presuppositioned geologists have similar complaints about each other. 


We only see what agrees with what we, personally, believe.


It’s time for evolutionist geologists to face the evidence




I am of the opinion that its all "interpretation". That's a threashold point in human nature, to be opinionated and to "believe" this or that. When you get right down to it the "scientific fact" is but that, interpretation. To wit: Even if you throw 1000 rocks off a cliff side and all of them fall, it is but a fact that 1000 rocks fell to the effect of gravity and the 1001 may not or that rocks in the past may have not. While on the other side of the equation many (I included) can not resist the 1000 rock test and extrapolate that all rocks, past & future have/will fall. It's all in what "you" are willing to believe. Science has a mainstream path of belief and many follow it like a "fact" when in truth it is not, it is simply looking for the truth and when one finding disputes a past one science changes - but for 100's or thousands of years science would scoff at those outside its findings, until of course it changed its tune. To wit: Quantum Mechanics makes a farce of many previous scientific thoughts. String theory discredits older theoretical thought, even a part will discredit the theory and reinvent it as a new one - but the past is thought of as defunct and when that past scientific mainstream derided the forerunners of string theory it had an "opinion" and an "interpretation" that string theory was soft - unfounded.


Its human nature to think "this way or that" and just because some "science" of today discredits that "thought" it is not a smoking gun to eliminate such thought. On the return volley to attempt to intigrate mainstream science into a YEC model does not pan out when all (almost all?) of the mainstream science is flat against it due to the imperical evidence. When someone states that "It is time for the evolutionist geologists to face the evidence" they mean "fact of mainstream science could be (is?) wrong - which of course is against the entire model science as all (all?) of the facts go against a YEC model. Stating that the future may (will?) redact current science based on future gains is one thing, but to state that the current science for the current time is wrong and needs to have its geologists face the facts is truely silly as they are, now, right now, facing the facts of the "now" with eyes wide open and seeing the world as it is and to a degree how it was.


Go figure people with agenda's on both sides of the line. IF we are to speak of the "current" and past let the geologists speak their peace. IF we are to speak of the future then let the games begin and the "opinions" fly. :-)

Quick Reply
Cancel
9 months ago  ::  Nov 17, 2013 - 12:49PM #5
Midutch
Posts: 4,112

Nov 17, 2013 -- 1:50AM, iamachildofhis wrote:



iama:  It seems like the evolution-presuppositioned geologists and the creation-presuppositioned geologists have similar complaints about each other. 


We only see what agrees with what we, personally, believe.


It’s time for evolutionist geologists to face the evidence



In criticism of the GMA newsletter cover illustration: "Surprisingly, the Ark looks of about the right dimensions. However, it’s likely the Mountains of Ararat was a site with a less a rugged topography as shown in the image and more a high, flat plateau."


Uh huh. They criticize the GMA in the article for saying that YECs don't have any research or evidence for any of their claims ... and then they make a patently ridiculous statement such as the one above FOR WHICH THEY HAVE NO RESEARCH OR EVIDENCE.


How does "creation.com" KNOW that "the Mountains of Ararat was a site with a less a rugged topography" and was "more a high, flat plateau" than the one shown in the illustration (which was probably done by a YEC or xrisitian artist in the first place)?


Also, if the Mountains of Ararat were a high flat plateau, how the heck did that entire plateau get eroded to a few 11,000 foot peaks in just a few millennia (since all of the flood waters had all run off to the point where the ark could land and there have been people living around it for that entire time)?

"creationism" ... 2000+ years worth of ABYSMAL FAILURE ... and proud of it.
Quick Reply
Cancel
9 months ago  ::  Nov 17, 2013 - 1:18PM #6
Midutch
Posts: 4,112

Nov 17, 2013 -- 12:49PM, Midutch wrote:


Nov 17, 2013 -- 1:50AM, iamachildofhis wrote:



iama:  It seems like the evolution-presuppositioned geologists and the creation-presuppositioned geologists have similar complaints about each other. 


We only see what agrees with what we, personally, believe.


It’s time for evolutionist geologists to face the evidence



In criticism of the GMA newsletter cover illustration: "Surprisingly, the Ark looks of about the right dimensions. However, it’s likely the Mountains of Ararat was a site with a less a rugged topography as shown in the image and more a high, flat plateau."


Uh huh. They criticize the GMA in the article for saying that YECs don't have any research or evidence for any of their claims ... and then they make a patently ridiculous statement such as the one above FOR WHICH THEY HAVE NO RESEARCH OR EVIDENCE.


How does "creation.com" KNOW that "the Mountains of Ararat was a site with a less a rugged topography" and was "more a high, flat plateau" than the one shown in the illustration (which was probably done by a YEC or xrisitian artist in the first place)?


Also, if the Mountains of Ararat were a high flat plateau, how the heck did that entire plateau get eroded to a few 11,000 foot peaks in just a few millennia (since all of the flood waters had all run off to the point where the ark could land and there have been people living around it for that entire time)?


Addendum: if, as creation.com claims, the Mt. Ararat region was a high flat plateau when the ark landed, then the erosion rate to produce the 11000 foot peak of Mt. Ararat we see today would have required an erosion rate of 30 feet per year for 4400 years OF THE ENTIRE PLATEAU (except where the peak stands).


Do the YECs have any research or evidence that this is actually what has been happening for the past 4400 years.


You would think that anyone that has a house near Mt. Ararat would notice that the ground outside of their door has eroded way a good 30 feet every year (watch that first step out of your door, it could be a doozy).

"creationism" ... 2000+ years worth of ABYSMAL FAILURE ... and proud of it.
Quick Reply
Cancel
9 months ago  ::  Nov 18, 2013 - 5:34PM #7
rsielin
Posts: 4,182

Nov 17, 2013 -- 1:50AM, iamachildofhis wrote:

iama:  It seems like the evolution-presuppositioned geologists and the creation-presuppositioned geologists have similar complaints about each other. 


We only see what agrees with what we, personally, believe.


It’s time for evolutionist geologists to face the evidence



First, creation.com is only focused on pseudoscience. No one goes there if they're truly interested in truth.  


Second, you've changed the topic. Why? Can't credibly explain away the Grand Caynon evidence? Got caught with discrepancies with your "ad hoc" explanations? Why not address the evidence presented in the OP? 


And no, the complaints are not similar. On the one hand we have clear and consistent empirical evidence across all geologic ages. The other presents inconsistent and internally conflicting "ad hoc" stories in an attempt to wave off the inconvenient natural world truths. That's not a similar complaint at all. That's calling the creationist bluff.



Quick Reply
Cancel
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook