# 1. How could a canopy of water sufficient to cause the flood be held aloft (unless they ha

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> 1. How could a canopy of water sufficient to cause the flood be
> held aloft (unless they had invented AntiGrav devices)
> The physics behind this is quite simple.  Temperature gradients
> produce gaseous flux.  If the temperature gradient is large
> enough, great quantities of vapor can be kept in the atmosphere.
> Scientists at the Institute for Creation Research have used the
> same computer codes used to simulate the behavior of the
> atmosphere by meteorolical researchers and have shown that a
> canopy that contains more than enough water to cover the earth
> can stay suspended in the atmosphere.

This is fascinating.  Has it been published in a peer-reviewed
journal?  I'd love to read the paper.

about the claim that the ICR researchers have obtained the result
they want from the computer codes; I know from experience how
easy it is to get garbage out of these codes.  What one usually
does to check the validity of results is to see whether they make
sense.

Now, let's assume that enough water to cover the Earth to a
depth of, say, 2000 feet were suspended in the atmosphere.  This
is far less than required for the Flood, but I'm feeling generous
tonight.

The total weight of the air above the Earth results in the
pressure at the Earth's surface, which is about 15 psi; thus, for
each square inch, there is approximately 15 pounds of air between
the surface of the Earth and space.  (The gravitational gradient
has some effect, but it is a relatively small correction).

The weight of a 2000-foot column of water one square inch in
cross-section is about 865 pounds.  Thus, if this entire volume
of water were suspended in the atmosphere, the pressure at the
Earth's surface would be approximately 880 psi!

If this isn't ridiculous enough, one can calculate the
composition of the atmosphere pretty easily.  The molecular
weight of water is 18, while that of air is about 27 or 28.  This
means that the atmosphere would be more than 99% water vapor,
with nitrogen and oxygen only trace gases.  Kinda hard to breathe,
don't you think?

Now, let's do the problem the other way, and ask how much
water the atmosphere reasonably (or even unreasonably) _could_
hold.

If we assume that the weight of water the atmosphere can
support is equal to the weight of the atmosphere, then you could
get 15 psi of water, which translates to a column of water about
32 feet high.  Are you seriously claiming that 32 feet of water
would be enough to cover the Earth?
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>If the temperature gradient is large enough, great quantities
>of vapor can be kept in the atmosphere.  Scientists at the Institute for
>Creation Research have used the same computer codes used to simulate the
>behavior of the atmosphere by meteorolical researchers and have shown that
>a canopy that contains more than enough water to cover the earth can stay
>suspended in the atmosphere.

Some original work was done on this in the late 1970s by John C. Dillow,
whose Ph.D. thesis later appeared as _The Waters Above_, Moody Press,
1981.  Dillow assumed that his canopy contained enough water to flood
the earth to 40 feet, which would have a bit more than doubled
atmospheric pressure.  Dillow's key finding was that this canopy was
*unstable*.  If by some miracle of initial creation God had put this
canopy in place, Dillow concluded that it could last only a few
thousand years.  I suspect that it would last only a few days.  This
has been the downfall of the more recent ICR attempts at modelling a
vapor canopy -- the instability is fatal.  This is why even they have
not published anything even they consider definitive.

To show how little these people know of physics, Henry Morris
suggested, in _The Genesis Flood_, that the reason a vapor canopy
could be supported is that the temperature of the atmosphere at 80
miles is about 3,000 F.  He forgot that the reason the air is so hot
is that it's the absorbing region for ultraviolet.  It's also
extremely tenuous.  Morris here was either extremely dense, or
deliberately dishonest -- take your pick.

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E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank