Review by Greg Neyman
© 2006, Old Earth Ministries
First published 20 March 2006
One of the featured articles in the geology section of Kent Hovind's website, Creation Science Evangelism, supposedly gives evidence from the explosion of Mount Saint Helens...evidence which supports young earth creationism.1 This article is written by Bruce Malone. He starts out with a description of how geologists know what happened in the past by studying current processes. This is true. He goes on to say that "Before the 1800's, geology was dominated by an acknowledgement that a worldwide flood was the cause of these rock layers." Actually, before the 1800's, nobody cared to study rock layers. Thus, when James Hutton and Charles Lyell started studying geology, they did not "replace" the flood interpretation with an interpretation of uniformitarianism. There was nothing to replace prior to the 1800's.
Malone is only partially correct, when he says that
uniformitarianism is the belief that slow and gradual processes accounted
for the geologic feature. While it is true that slow and gradual is a
large part of uniformitarianism, the opposite, catastrophism, is also a part
of uniformitarianism. Just as we see slow and gradual processes
happening today, we also see rapid processes happening today. Malone
says that "It also assumes that there has never been a massive and rapid
accumulation of sediment caused by a world wide catastrophe." The "it"
is uniformitarianism. Yes, "it" does not provide for a world wide
"it" does allow for individual catastrophic events. Malone alludes to this, saying that geologists recognize catastrophic events, but that they still believe they have millions of years in between them. There's a good reason for this...they DO have millions of years in between them. If the worldwide flood happened as Malone proposes, then ALL rock layers would give evidence of catastrophic formation. However, most rock layers fit the slow and gradual process that we see occurring today.
Malone moves on to say that the global flood would create enormous fossil beds at locations throughout the planet. While there are numerous large fossil beds, they are the exception and not the rule. Most fossils are found as individuals.
As evidence of the possibility of rapid burial from the flood, Malone proposes the ash flows which deposited as much as 600 feet of sediment on the north face of Mount Saint Helens. Perhaps he is referring to a "lahar," a mud flow resulting from a volcano. He says this laid down a series of finely layered horizontal strata. He says these types of strata are often assumed to indicate millions of years of earth history. Not so. Ancient lahars have been identified, and they are understood to have formed catastrophically. To the untrained geologist, examining a lahar, one could easily presume that it took millions of years, but when geologists recognize this feature, they know its origin.
Malone makes a misleading statement near the end.
Many geologists are now coming to acknowledge that just as the Toutle River canyon at Mt. St. Helen's formed rapidly , the Grand Canyon was also formed over a short period of time by a massive flow of water.
Yes, geologists are doing just that, but they are all young earth creation science geologists, who cannot be trusted to examine the data free of their religious, young earth bias (see Creation Scientist? for more). Old earth creationists can rest assured that Mount Saint Helens presents no evidence for a young earth.
Malone makes one final mistake. He says of the two viewpoints (old earth (slow and gradual) and young earth (catastrophic)..."Only one viewpoint is correct. Only one viewpoint agrees with the Biblical record. Guess Which one?"
Since you can believe in an old earth, a local Flood event, and an inerrant, literal translation of the Bible, the old earth view can be just as correct Biblically as the young earth view. The difference? The scientific evidence is 100 percent in favor of the old earth view.
1 Mount Saint Helens Explosion Gives Creation Evidence, by Bruce Malone. Posted on the Creation Science Evangelism website at drdino.com/articles.php?spec=7
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