Creation Science

Creation Science Rebuttals

Institute for Creation Research

Dr. John's Q&A #156, December 2001

How Long Does it Take for a Canyon to Form?


By Greg Neyman

© Old Earth Ministries


    Most young earth creation science advocates point to the Grand Canyon as a product of Noah's Flood.  As you also know, geologists have long contended that the canyon formed over millions of years.  Young-earth creationists have made at least one attempt to deceive people into believing it is possible by using modern day examples.

     Consider the How Long Does It Take For A Canyon To Form? article on the Institute of Creation Research website (also known as Dr. John's Q&A, Number 156).  In this article, Dr. Dr. John Morris introduces us to the Burlingame Canyon near Walla Walla, Washington.  The claim here is that this canyon formed in six days, so the assumption that Dr. Morris makes is that it is possible to form a large canyon in a short amount of time.   For reference, the canyon in question is 1,500 feet long, 120 feet deep and 120 feet wide.

     The volume of rock displaced by the Burlingame Canyon is nearly five million cubic feet, and the Grand Canyon volume of rock displaced is roughly 448 trillion cubic feet1, or 89,702,431 times the volume of the Burlingame Canyon (in case you didn't get it, that's a ratio of 89 million to 1).   I fail to see the relation between these two canyons.  Because you can create a tiny canyon in six days doesn't prove anything, unless you can repeat it on the scale of the Grand Canyon.  And, if the Grand Canyon eroded at the same rate as Burlingame, you would still need 1.5 million years for the Grand Canyon to form.2

     This is a perfect example of a trick the young earth creation scientist uses to convince the uninformed person.  The argument is that if you can demonstrate something on a small scale, then all you have to do is increase the scale to create a larger effect.  It sounds logical but proves nothing.

     Another trick evident in this article, from the first paragraph, is the statement that in recent years, scientists had disproved the idea of slow canyon formation, and instead were leaning now on a large volume of water rushing through the canyon at a high rate of speed.  Scientists have NOT disproved this idea of slow canyon formation...only "creation scientists" have, which represent less than 1/10th of 1 percent of scientists.  The "scientist" claim is quite misleading.  For a statement to be considered "disproved," it must be examined by other scientists and found to be untrue, which is not the case at all concerning the Grand Canyon.  I can assure you that scientists still believe in a millions of years old canyon.


1  The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, over 1 mile deep, and ranges from 4 to 18 miles wide.  Calculations made by taking average of the width (4+18=22/2=11 miles.  Thus 277x5280 (for length) multiplied by 1x5280 (for depth) multiplied by 11x5280 (for width) = volume.


2  Calculation by Rob G., in an email sent to Answers In Creation 



     If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth.  Click here for more.


    Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism?  Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life?  If you are a young-earth creationism believer, click here.



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