To: All Feb0494 08:29:46 Subject: Flood Follies Well, gang. Here we go again. When the smo
From: Marty Leipzig
To: All Feb-04-94 08:29:46
Subject: Flood Follies
Well, gang. Here we go again. When the smoke cleared (I'm doing
my annual office-cleaning (i.e., demolition of tremendous piles
of seismic, logs, cores and scattered scientific sundries)), I
found a dusty box of diskettes. Just for a whim, before I formatted
the lot, I found this little missive.
Please be forewarned: as this collection was assembled; egos
were bruised, feelings flamed, beliefs bashed, dogma demolished,
stupidity stomped, and certain groups of peoples characters were
assassinated. So treat this tome with the respect it's due.
Problems With a Global Flood
Creationist models are often criticized for being too vague to have any
predictive value. A literal interpretation of the Flood story in
Genesis, however, does imply certain physical consequences which can be
tested against what we actually observe. Most, if not all,
observations discredit the flood hypothesis, as you can see from what
follows. Can any Creationist address even half of the points in this
Before the flood:
How did animals travel from all over the world?
* Some, like the sloths, can't travel overland very well at
* Some, like the dodo, must have lived on islands. (If they
didn't, they would have been easy prey for other animals.)
* Some, like koalas, require a special diet. How did they
bring it along?
How was the ark loaded? The Bible says all the animals were all
loaded in seven days [Gen. 7:4]. Even if there were only 9
million species to be loaded, there would have to be an average
of 30 animals per second going through the ark's one door.
How was the ark made seaworthy? The longest wooden ships in modern
seas are about 300 feet, and these require reinforcing with
iron straps and leak so badly they must be constantly pumped.
The ark was 450 feet long [Gen. 6:15].
Life on the ark:
How did all the different species fit on the ark? 10 million
species is a reasonable estimate of species presently alive
(though estimates vary widely; see May, 1992). They all would
have had to fit in about 100,000 square feet of deck space
[Gen. 6:15-16]. Since most animals are small, they probably
could have all fit, but only if you allow very little room
around them. Caged animals probably wouldn't all fit, nor
would the animals have any room to exercise. The dinosaurs,
mastodons, and other now-extinct animals would have been aboard
the ark as well [Gen. 7:15; Morris, 1993], and they would
take up a tremendous amount of room. Bracings, corridors,
bilges, etc. would have also taken up a lot of room. If you
hypothesize significantly fewer species on the ark than now
exist, you must explain evolution rates faster than any
evolutionists propose to account for all the present species.
How did Noah supply food and water for all the animals for a year?
[Gen. 6:21] Food for a year would have taken up many times the
space of the animals themselves. (I know of no animals, except
some desert amphibians, that hibernate or aestivate for anywhere
close to a year.)
How was the food kept fresh for a year?
(Aphids, e.g., can't eat wilted plants.)
What did the carnivorous animals eat, especially those which require
How did creatures needing special environments survive on the ark?
How do you explain how all host-specific parasites/diseases
made do with only one pair of hosts (and if they did OK, how
did the hosts survive?) How was the ark kept livable? Shoveling
the manure of the ungulates alone must have been a full time
job for eight people.
How well ventilated was the ark? The body heat from millions of
closely packed animals must have been intense, as was the
Where did the water come from? (It would take 4.4 billion
cubic kilometers to cover Mt. Everest.)
Where did it go?
If you accept the vapor canopy model of some Creationists, you
must answer some equally difficult questions, such as: What
kept the water up before the Flood? What happened to the heat
of condensation of all that water?
Geological effects of the flood:
How were mountains formed? Many very tall mountains are
composed of sedimentary rocks. (The summit of Everest is
composed of deep-marine limestone.) If these were laid down
during the flood, how did they reach their present height, and
when were the valleys between them eroded away? Keep in mind
that many valleys were clearly carved by glacial erosion, which
is a slow process.
How does a global flood explain angular unconformities, where one set
of layers of sediments have been extensively modified (e.g.,
tilted) and eroded before a second set of layers were deposited
on top? They thus seem to require at least two periods of
deposition (more, where there is more than one unconformity)
with long periods of time in between to account for the
deformation, erosion, and weathering observed.
When did granite batholiths form? Some of these are intruded into
older sediments and have younger sediments on their eroded top
surfaces. It takes a long time for magma to cool into granite,
nor does granite erode very quickly. [For example, see Donohoe
& Grantham, 1989, for locations of contact between the South
Mountain Batholith and the Meugma Group of sediments, as well
as some angular unconformities.]
How was the fossil record sorted in an order convenient for
evolution? Ecological zonation and hydrodynamic sorting fail
(1) the extremely good sorting observed. Why didn't at least
one dinosaur make it to the high ground with the elephants?
(2) the relative positions of plants and other non-motile
life. (Yun, 1989, describes beautifully preserved algae from
Late Precambrian sediments. Why don't any modern-looking
plants appear that low in the geological column?)
(3) why some groups of organisms, such as mollusks, are found
in many geologic strata.
(4) why organisms (such as brachiopods) which are very
similar hydrodynamically (all nearly the same size, shape, and
weight) are still perfectly sorted.
(5) why extinct animals which lived in the same niches as
present animals didn't survive as well. Why did no pterosaurs
make it to high ground?
(6) how intact coral reefs hundreds of feet thick and miles
long were preserved intact with other fossils below them.
(7) why small organisms dominate the lower strata, whereas
fluid mechanics says they would sink slower and thus end up in
How can a single flood be responsible for such extensively detailed
layering? One formation, the Castille, is six kilometers thick.
If we grant 400 days for this to settle, and ignore possible
compaction since the flood, we still have 15 meters of sediment
settling *per day*. And yet despite this, the chemical properties
of the rock are neatly layered, with great changes (e.g.) in
percent carbonate occurring within a few centimeters in the
vertical direction. How does such a neat sorting process occur
in the violent context of a universal flood dropping 15 meters
of sediment per day? How can you explain a thin layer of high
carbonate sediment being deposited over an area of ten thousand
square kilometers for some thirty minutes, followed by thirty
minutes of low carbonate deposition, followed by thirty minutes
more of .... well, I think you get the picture. [From: Kent &
How do you explain the formation of varves? The Green River
formation in Wyoming contains 20,000,000 annual layers, or
varves, identical to those being laid down today in certain
lakes. The sediments are so fine that each layer would have
required over a month to settle.
How do you explain worldwide agreement between "apparent" geological
eras and several different (independent) radiometric and
non-radiometric dating methods? [Short et. al., 1991]
Why is there no evidence of a flood in ice core series? A worldwide
flood would be expected to leave a layer of sediments,
noticeable changes in salinity and oxygen isotope ratios,
fractures from buoyancy and thermal stresses, a hiatus in
trapped air bubbles, and probably other evidence. All such
evidence is lacking in annual layers dating back 40,000 years.
How were limestone deposits formed? Limestone is made of the
skeletons of trillions of microscopic sea animals. Some
deposits are thousands of meters thick. Were all those animals
alive when the flood started? If not, how do you explain the
well-ordered sequence of fossils in the deposits?
Deep in the geologic column there are formations which could have
originated only on the surface, such as:
* rain drops;
* river channels;
* aeolian dunes [Kocurek & Dott, 1981; Clemmenson & Abrahamsen,
1983; Hubert & Mertz, 1984];
* glacial deposits [Eyles & Miall, 1984];
* in-situ trees [Cristie & McMillan, 1991];
* soils and paleosols [Reinhardt & Sigleo, 1989];
* dessication cracks;
* footprints. [Gore, 1993, has a photograph (p. 16-17) showing
dinosaur footprints in one layer with water ripples in layers
above and below it.] How could these have appeared in the
midst of a catastrophic flood?
How do you explain the relative ages of mountains? Why weren't the
Sierra Nevadas eroded as much as the Appalacians during the
How do you explain fossil re-mineralization - the replacement of the
original material with a different mineral?
* Buried skeletal remains of modern fauna are negligibly
remineralized, including some that biblical archaeology says
are quite old - a substantial fraction of the age of the
earth in this diluvian geology. For example, remains of
Egyptian commoners buried near the time of Moses aren't
* Buried skeletal remains of extinct mammalian fauna show quite
* Dinosaur remains are often extensively remineralized.
* Trilobite remains are usually remineralized - and in
different sites, fossils of the same species are composed of
How are these observations explained by a sorted deposition of
remains in a single episode of global flooding?
How could the flood deposit layers of solid salt, sometimes kilo-
meters thick, interbedded with sediments containing marine
fossils? This apparently occurs when a body of salt water has
its water intake cut off, and then evaporates. These
layers occur more or less at random times in the geological
record, and have characteristic fossils on either above and
below. Therefore, if the fossils were themselves laid down during a
catastrophic flood, there are, it seems, only two choices:
(1) the salt layers were themselves laid down at the same time,
during the heavy rains that began the flooding, or
(2) the salt is a later intrusion. I suspect that both will
prove insuperable difficulties for a theory of flood deposition
of the geologic column and its fossils. [ Jackson et al.,
How were sedimentary deposits recrystallized and plastically
deformed in the short time since the flood? The stretched
pebble conglomerate in Death Valley National Monument (Wildrose
Canyon Rd., 15 mi. south of Hwy. 190), for example, contains
streambed pebbles metamorphosed to quartzite and stretched to 3
or more times their original length. Plastically deformed
rock is also common around salt diapirs [Jackson et. al.,
How were hematite layers laid down ("Banded Iron Formations")?
Standard theory is that they were laid down before Earth's
atmosphere contained much oxygen. In an oxygen-rich regime,
they would be quite impossible to generate.
How are the polar ice caps possible? Such a mass of water as the
flood would have provided sufficient buoyancy to float the
polar caps off their beds. No way to drop them _exactly_ back
onto their original location, _or_ to regrow them. (In fact,
the Greenland ice cap would _not_ regrow under modern (last
30 ky) climatic conditions.)
A year long flood should be recognizable in sea bottom cores by (1)
an uncharacteristic amount of terrestrial detritus, (2)
different grain size distributions in the sediment, (3) a shift
in oxygen isotope ratios (rain has a different isotopic
composition from seawater), (4) a massive extinction, and (n)
other characters. Why are none of these evidenced?
When did impact craters on the earth occur? Geological evidence
indicates that they would have formed in sediments early enough
for erosion and crustal movements to partially erase them.
Creationists Whitcomb and DeYoung suggest they occurred during
the year of Noah's flood. But the heat from all those impacts
concentrated in one year would have vaporized the flood waters.
[Fezer, pp 45-46]
And before you argue that fossil evidence was dated and interpreted
to meet evolutionary assumptions, remember that the geological
column and the relative dates therein were laid out by
_creationists_ before Darwin even formulated his theory.
Biological effects of the flood:
How did _all_ the fish survive? Some require cool clear water,
some need brackish water, some need ocean water, some need
hypersaline water. A flood would have destroyed at least some
of these habitats.
How did short-lived species survive? Adult mayflies on the ark would
have died in a few days, and the larvae of many mayflies
require shallow fresh running water. Many other insects would
face similar problems.
How did all the modern plant species survive? Many plants (seeds and
all) would be killed by being submerged for a few months.
How do you explain the survival of any sensitive marine life (e.g.,
coral)? Since most coral are found in shallow water, the
turbidity created by the runoff from the land would effectively
cut them off from the sun. The silt would cover the reef after
the rains were over, and the coral would ALL DIE. By the way,
the rates at which coral deposits calcium are well known, and
some highly mature reefs (such a the great barrier) have been
around for MILLIONS of years to be deposited to their observed
Why is there no evidence of a flood from dendrochronology?
How does the flood explain the geological sorting of pollen?
Fossil pollen is one of the more important indicators of
different levels of strata. Each plant has different and
distinct pollen, and, by telling which plants produced the
fossil pollen, it is easy to see what the climate was like in
different strata. Was the pollen hydraulically sorted by the
flood water so that the climatic evidence is different for each
How could a one-year flood deposit the following: "In Yellowstone
Park there is a stratigraphic section of 2000 feet exposed
which shows 18 successive fossil forests. Each forest grew to
maturity before it was wiped out with a lava flow." [J.
Laurence Kulp, quoted in Strahler, _Science and Earth History_,
How does a flood explain the accuracy of "coral chronometers"? The
moon is slowly sapping the earth's rotational energy. The
earth should have rotated more quickly in the distant past,
meaning that a day would have been less than 24 hours, and
there would have been more days per year. Corals can be dated
by the number of "daily" growth layers per "annual" growth
layer. Devonian corals, for example, show nearly 400 days per
year. There is an exceedingly strong correlation between the
"supposed age" of a wide range of fossils (corals,
stromatolites, and a few others -- collected from geologic
formations throughout the column and from locations all over
the world) and the number of days per year that their growth
pattern shows. The agreement between these clocks, and
radiometric dating, and the theory of superposition... is a
little hard to explain away as the result of a number of
unlucky coincidences in a 300-day-long flood.
If a single flood is responsible for all fossils, where were all
those animals when they were alive? From "Six 'Flood'
Arguments Creationists Can't Answer" by Robert Schadewald,
_Creation/Evolution_ IV (Summer 1982), pp. 12-13:
"Scientific creationists interpret the fossils found in the
earth's rocks as the remains of animals that perished in the
Noachian Deluge. Ironically, they often cite the sheer number
of fossils in "fossil graveyards" as evidence for the Flood. In
particular, creationists seem enamored by the Karroo Formation
in Africa, which is estimated to contain the remains of 800
billion vertebrate animals (see Whitcomb and Morris, p. 160;
Gish, p. 61). As pseudoscientists, creationists dare not test
this major hypothesis that all of the fossilized animals died
in the Flood....
"Robert E. Sloan, a paleontologist at the University of
Minnesota, has studied the Karroo Formation. He asserts that
the animals fossilized there range from the size of a small
lizard to the size of a cow, with the average animal perhaps
the size of a fox. A minute's work with a calculator shows
that, if the 800 billion animals in the Karoo formation could
be resurrected, there would be twenty-one of them for every
acre of land on earth. Suppose we assume (conservatively, I
think) that the Karroo Formation contains 1 percent of the
vertebrate fossils on earth [terrestrial fossils only]. Then
when the Flood began, there must have been at least 2100 living
animals per acre, ranging from tiny shrews to immense
dinosaurs. To a noncreationist mind, that seems a bit crowded."
A thousand kilometers' length of arctic coastal plain,
according to experts in Leningrad [N. Newell, _Creation and
Evolution_; 1982, Columbia U. Press, p. 62], contains about
500,000 *tons* of tusks. Even assuming that the entire
population was preserved, you seem to be saying that Russia had
wall-to-wall mammoths before this "event." And even if there
was room physically for all the large animals which now
exist only as fossils, how could they have all coexisted in a
stable ecology before the flood? Montana alone would have had
to support a diversity of herbivores orders of magnitude larger
than anything now observed.
Historical effects of the flood:
Why is there no mention of the flood in the records of Egyptian or
Chinese or Paleo Indian civilizations which existed at the time?
Biblical dates (I Kings 6:1, Gal 3:17, various generation
lengths given in Genesis) place the flood 1300 years before
Solomon began the first temple. We can construct reliable
chronologies for near Eastern history, particularly for Egypt,
from many kinds of records from the literate cultures in the
near East. These records are independent of, but supported by,
dating methods such as dendrochronology and carbon-14. The
building of the first temple can be dated to 950 B.C. +/- some
small delta, placing the Flood around 2250 B.C. Unfortunately,
the Egyptians (among others) have written records dating well
back before 2250 B.C. (the Great Pyramid, for example dates to
the 26th century B.C., 300 years before the Biblical date for
the Flood). No sign in Egyptian inscriptions of this global
flood around 2250 B.C.
How did the human population rebound so fast? Even if the
population doubled every 25 years (a *very* generous estimate),
there would be only 128 people in the world when the Tower of
Babel was build 100 years later. Similarly, there would have
been very few people around to build Stonehenge and the Pyramids,
found the Sumarian and Indus Valley civilizations, populate the
Aftermath of the flood:
How did koalas get from Ararat to Australia, polar bears to the
Arctic, etc., when the kinds of environment they require to
live doesn't exist between the two points.
Why are so many marsupials limited to Australia; why are there no
wallabies in Indonesia? The same argument applies to any
number of groups of plants and animals.
How could more than a handful of species survive in a devastated
habitat? How could more than a handful of the predator species
on the ark have survived, with only two individuals of their
prey to eat? All of the predators at the top of the food
pyramid require larger numbers of food animals beneath them on
the pyramid, which in turn require large numbers of the animals
they prey on, and so on, down to the primary producers
(plants...etc.) at the bottom. And if the predators survived,
how did the other animals survive being preyed on?
How could more than a handful of species survive random influences
that affect populations? Isolated populations with fewer than
20 members are usually doomed even when extraordinary measures
are taken to protect them. [Simberloff, 1988]
How could more than a handful of species survive the inbreeding
depression that comes with establishing a population from a
single mating pair? How do you explain the genetic variation in
all populations today?
Is the flood model consistent with the Bible?
The model seems to say that large numbers of kinds of land animals
became extinct because of the flood, while Genesis repeatedly says
that Noah was ordered to take a representative sample of
all kinds of land animals on the Ark to save them from extinction,
and that Noah did as ordered. Which is right?
Genesis 6:20 and 7:14-15 say there were two of each kind of fowl and
clean beasts, yet Genesis 7:2-3,5 says they came in sevens.
How can a literal interpretation be appropriate if the text is
How could Noah have gathered male and female of each kind [Gen.
7:15-16] when some species are asexual, others are
parthenogenic and have only females, and others (such as
earthworms) are hermaphrodites? And what about social animals
like ants and termites which need the whole colony to survive?
What was used to waterproof the ark? We are told that God instructed
Noah to coat the ark with pitch inside and out with the
naturally- occurring hydrocarbon pitch, which causes a bit of a
problem since, according to Whitcomb and Morris, all oil, tar
and coal deposits were formed when organic matter was buried
DURING the flood.
If your style of Biblical interpretation makes you take the flood
literally, then shouldn't you also believe in a flat and
stationary earth? [Dan. 4:10-11, Matt. 4:8, 1 Chron. 16:30,
Psalms 93:1, ...]
Does the flood story make the whole Bible less credible? Davis Young
is a working geologist who also is an Evangelical Christian. He
has personal doubts about some aspects of evolution, but he
makes a devastating case against "Flood Geology." He writes
(_Christianity and the Age of the Earth_, p. 163):
"The maintenance of modern creationism and Flood geology not
only is useless apologetically with unbelieving scientists, it
is harmful. Although many who have no scientific training have
been swayed by creationist arguments, the unbelieving scientist
will reason that a Christianity that believes in such nonsense
must be a religion not worthy of his interest...Modern
creationism in this sense is apologetically and
evangelistically ineffective. It could even be a hindrance to
"Another possible danger is that in presenting the gospel to
the lost and in defending God's truth we ourselves will seem
to be false. It is time for Christian people to recognize that
the defense of this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology
creationism is simply not truthful. It is simply not in accord
with the facts that God has given. Creationism must be
abandoned by Christians before [more] harm is done...."
[See also Young, 1988]
If God is omnipotent, why not kill what He wanted killed directly?
And the whole idea was to rid the wicked people from the world.
Did it work?
Clemmenson, L.B. and Abrahamsen, K., 1983. Aeolian stratification in
desert sediments, Arran basin (Permian), Scotland.
Sedimentology, v.30, p.311-339.
Cristie, R.L., and McMillan, N.J. (eds.), 1991. Tertiary fossil
forests of the Geodetic Hills, Axel Heiberg Island, Arctic
Archipelago, Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 403., 227pp.
Donohoe, H.V. Jr. and Grantham, R.G. (eds.), 1989. Geological
Highway Map of Nova Scotia, 2nd edition. Atlantic Geoscience
Society, Halifax, Nova Scotia. AGS Special Publication no. 1,
Eyles, N. and Miall, A.D., 1984, Glacial Facies IN: Walker, R.G.,
Facies Models, Second Edition. Geoscience Canada, Reprint
Series 1, p.15-38.
Fezer, Karl D., 1993. "Creationism: Please Don't Call It Science"
Creation/Evolution, 13:1 (Summer 1993), 45-49.
Various authors, The Bible, Genesis 6:9-8:22. Motel 6, desk drawer,
Tucumcari, New Mexico.
Gore, Rick, 1993. "Dinosaurs" National Geographic, 183:1 (Jan.
Hubert, J.F., and Mertz, K.A., Jr., 1984. Eolian sandstones in Upper
Triassic-Lower Jurassic red beds of the Fundy Basin, Nova
Scotia. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v.54, p.798-810.
Jackson, M.P.A., et al., 1990. Salt diapirs of the Great Kavir,
Central Iran. Geological Society of America, Memoir 177,
Kent and Olsen, 1992 (Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Geological
Observatory) Discover, Jan. 1992
Kocurek, G., and Dott, R.H., 1981. Distinctions and uses of
stratification types in the interpretation of eolian sand.
Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v.51, no.2, p.579-595.
May, Robert M., 1992. "How Many Species Inhabit the Earth?"
Scientific American, 267:4 (Oct. 1992), 42-49.
Moore, Robert A., 1983. "The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark"
Creation/Evolution, #11 (Winter 1983), 1-43. The entire issue
is about the ark. Moore lists over one hundred references.
Morris, John D., 1993. "Did dinosaurs survive the flood?" Back to
Genesis, #53 (May 1993), d.
Reinhardt, J., and Sigleo, W.R. (eds.), 1989. Paleosols and
weathering through geologic time: principles and applications.
Geological Society of America Special Paper 216, 181pp.
Short, D. A., J. G. Mengel, T. J. Crowley, W. T. Hyde and G. R. North
1991: Filtering of Milankovitch Cycles by Earth's Geography.
Quaternary Research. 35, 157-173. (Re an independent method of
dating the Green River formation)
Simberloff, David, 1988. "The Contribution of Population and
Community Biology to Conservation Science" Annual Review of
Ecology and Systematics, #19, 473-511.
Tarnocai, C. and Smith, C.A.S., 1991. Paleosols of the Fossil Forest
area, Axel Heiberg Island. IN: Cristie & McMillan [see above],
p.171-187. Young, Davis. _Christianity and the Age of the
Earth_, 1988. Artisan Sales, POB 2497, Thousand Oaks CA 91360.
Single copies (at last report) were $8.50 postpaid, and in lots
of 10 or more, $4.50/copy.
Yun, Zhang, 1989. "Multicellular thallophytes with differentiated
tissues from Late Proterozoic phosphate rocks of South China"
Lethaia, #22, 113-132.
Thus endeth the lesson.
... "Creationist nonsense" is redundant.
--- Blue Wave/Max v2.12
* Origin: A Little Corner in Time BBS (1:106/113.0)
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank