Review by Greg Neyman
In an article on the Creation,
Dinosaurs and the Flood website, young earth creation science advocate
Charlie Liebert argues that the eruption for Mount Saint Helens provides
evidence for a young earth.1
Liebert (not a geologist) mentions two processes. First, the deposition of hundreds of feet of strata in only a few days, and second, the rapid erosion of canyons.
Geologists who believe in an old earth have known for quite some time that you can form hundreds of feet of strata quickly. The problem for young earth creationists is that this strata formed as a result of a volcanic eruption. Most (well over 99 percent) of the earth's rock layers were NOT produced as a result of a volcanic eruption. If they were, then this argument would be a good one. However, most of the rock layers are not formed as a result of volcanics.
The second argument is for the quick formation of a canyon. Again, this is not something that geologists deny. Canyons can indeed form quickly. However, not all canyons, in fact, most canyons, are not formed as a remnant of a volcanic eruption. Most are formed by slow and gradual processes.
The two features Liebert mentions could be called "catastrophic" processes, and form the basis of the young earth theory that the world was formed via catastrophism. The opposite of this is uniformitarianism, or slow and gradual processes. Uniformitarianism says "the key to the past is the present." When we see geologic events happening today, then that's how they happened in the past. Today, we see slow and gradual erosion and deposition. However, we also see rapid erosion and deposition, like Mount Saint Helens. Therefore, catastrophic events are an integral part of uniformitarianism. As such, arguments like the Mount Saint Helens one are useless if you are trying to prove the earth is young.
1 Mt. St. Helens Evidence for Creation, published on the web at www.sixdaycreation.com/facts/creation/geology/aug99.html
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