Review by Greg Neyman
© Answers In Creation
First Published 10 April 2006
Young earth creation science ministry Answers in Genesis ran an article in Creation Magazine about Giant's Causeway, a basaltic formation in Ireland. This was again publicized as a daily article on the Creation Ministries International website on 20 March 2006, and again on 25 September 2013.1 The article is by young earth creation science theorist Tas Walker.
The Giant's Causeway is "an area of 40,000 tightly packed basalt columns resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. It is located along the northeast coast of Ireland."2 The standard geologic explanation is that it was the natural consequence of lava cooling.3 The young earth author proposes that this is a result of lava cooling, but that the radiometric dates are wrong. He argues that it is a product of increased volcanic activity during Noah's Flood.
Evidence for a Young Causeway
I looked for Walker's evidence to support his theory that the Giant's Causeway was only 4,500 years old, and I could find none. He presents nothing in this article that would be considered to support his argument. The rocks in question have been dated to about 60 million years ago. To attack this, Walker makes a generalized attack upon radiometric dating. If he wishes to be taken seriously by other geologists, he would have to show evidence that the radiometric evidence for this formation is in error. He does not even attempt to attack these particular dates.
Instead, his text box to the side attacks some Hawaiian basalts, some Mount Saint Helens lava, and some lava in New Zealand. In the case of Hawaii, the data comes from a study in 1968. New potassium-argon methods are now being used which provide more reliable results.
In the Mount Saint Helens article, this has previously been shown to be poor young earth scientific work. And, in the New Zealand case, Snelling got what he was looking for. His intention in dating these rocks was to disprove radiometric dating. By looking at young volcanics, which are known to have excess argon, he knew in advance that the dates would be wrong. However, not all young volcanics provide bad dates, as not all have excess argon. This is not the first time that Snelling tried this underhanded tactic (see this article).
Walker, in writing this article, does not attack, nor show flaws, in the radiometric dating procedure for the Giant's Causeway. He merely rattles off generalized complaints about radiometric dating without providing any evidence.
God of the Gaps
In several sections, such as the one on The Organ, Walker details geologic features meant to impress the reader. What he is doing is setting himself up as an expert, thus the reader will be more likely to accept his theory. These exposé's on individual features are nothing more than "God of the Gaps" type arguments. I agree, we can worship God through His wonderful creation, but saying "That's wonderful...God must have done it" will do nothing to convince the unsaved.
Walker presents evidence that water "left telltale signs all over the lava flows." This presents no problems for the old earth interpretation. Walker "assumes" the water was the waters of Noah's Flood, but in reality, since he was not there, he cannot know this. The waters could have been any number of floods after the event 60 million years ago. Unless he can present evidence that these watery events only occurred 4,500 years ago, his words are empty claims.
After the article, there are several more sections, meant to impress the reader with Walker's credibility, and provide more God of the Gaps type arguments. The only part of concern here is the Buried Vegetation section, in which Walker claims that a young looking coal layer must be young.
Yes, this bed contains trees identified as various species, but this only proves the composition of the bed, and not the date of its formation. Walker fails to give a date for this particular coal bed.
Coal comes in various grades. In some coals, you cannot identify the plant remains, in others, you can. These are not an indication of age as Walker tries to claim. These are merely fossil tree remains. (If this were true, does that mean that anthracite coal is old, and lignite is young?)
In making this argument, Walker is essentially dating the coal based on its looks. Looks involve subjective analysis, and do not involve any data. Walker is expressing an opinion, not backed up by any scientific data.
1 Creation Magazine, Volume 27, Issue 2. Published on the web at http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/2016/. Re-posted at address http://creation.com/a-giant-cause
2 Giant's Causeway (Wikipedia)
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