Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Old Earthers need to break habits of the mind in order to rightly imagine the Global Flood of Noah

So the Moose is now proposing a new thread on the Flood in which he refers to that ridiculous comparison with the Bay of Fundy he accepted so readily. He doesn't want the topic promoted yet as it's currently a work in progress but of course I'd like to think about it a bit now anyway and I'll adjust accordingly as his thread proposal takes shape.

He refers to a previous post of his own for the basic shape of the topic he's proposing, and here's that post:
I am a geologist by training, if not by occupation. I see this topic as being independent of young Earth or old Earth considerations. What I see as the essential time frame consideration is that the creationist perspective is that alleged flood event duration was about a year, and in that year vast amounts of sediment was eroded from an unknown source and redeposited as an uncertain but considerable portion of the Earth's various stratagraphies (not to mention all kinds of other geologic processes also having happened).
I think I'm starting to get a feeling for why evolutionists and old-earthists do such a miserably lousy job of grasping the proportions of the global Flood of Noah. Just the descriptions Moose is using suggest a mental set about the forms of the earth that's been part of their habits of thought for so long, that getting them to reorganize those habits would tax their imaginations to the utmost. Add to that basic difficulty their ingrained prejudice against creationism for lots of reasons, some very bad reasons but unfortunately some good reasons as well, and what we're up against here is trying to get someone to rearrange mental furniture that's bolted into a concrete floor that they've lived with since childhood and have no interest in rearranging even if they could. Or something like that.

Yes, the topic can be discussed independently of young or old Earth considerations, focusing only on what might be expected of a worldwide flood of a year's duration no matter how long ago it occurred, yes, but anti-creationists always come up with the most absurdly inadequate ideas of what such a flood would have done quite apart from when it occurred. As if they just have no ability to imagine it or simply refuse to try. (High tide in the Bay of Fundy?? You MUST be joking. Unfortunately apparently not). But recently it has begun to seem to me that this could possibly be explained partly as a result of habits associated with Old Earth thinking, that is, assumptions about time requirements built into that frame of reference that unconsciously determine their conclusions. Paradigm conflict at least. I doubt this accounts for all of this odd inability to visualize the reality of what such a flood would have done, as most of it must be a simple refusal to make the effort, but at least perhaps some part of it. And if I think of it this way I'm less inclined to lose my temper over it, so I guess that's a plus.

Moose's saying that "vast amounts of sediment" were "eroded from an unknown source" first of all made me so annoyed and impatient that epithets such as "stupid" started to come to mind, but really, Moose is simply showing his ingrained geology training that can ONLY imagine what they taught him about how the strata formed slowly over millions of years from sediments washed down from a series of mountains that just grew up and eroded down one after another over those millions of years and the like. This is some of that mental furniture I have the job of persuading him to rearrange, although he hasn't one iota of motivation to even try to do such a thing.

Also, in his mental set one year is a very tiny length of time. Although even the biggest most destructive floods in our time last no more than a few days or maybe weeks at the outside, still the idea of "one year" seems minuscule to him, because apparently in his mental set the Flood doesn't get compared with the time frame of ordinary floods but with Old Earth preconceptions about how the geologic column took millions of years to form. This is another piece of mental furniture that needs to be unbolted.

If I say that the entire land mass of planet Earth was of course the source of the sediments that built the Geologic Column on the Flood model would that be sufficient source material in his mental set? The entire land mass of the Earth, you understand.
E N T I R E l a n d m a s s . . . all those continents all over the earth . . .
All of it. Just off the cuff it seems to me there's no way MORE of a source could be supplied for that purpose but perhaps the habit of old earth thinking just keeps imagining more and more stuff coming out of nowhere to build the strata. I mean if you have new mountains forming every few million years there has to be a source of material for them to form, doesn't there?

Anyway, on the Flood model the source isn't an "unknown source" but the entire land mass of Earth. ALL OF IT would have been broken up and dissolved in a Flood that covered every high point of the land, ALL OF IT would have been subjected to the effects of gravity causing mudslides, and those mudslides would have contained the bodies of animals that had been on the high areas and everywhere else on the land. The mudslides would have been flowing down and pouring into the sea soon after the heavy rains started and combining with uncountable sea creatures already, and then the land and its uncountable land animals would also be caught up in the water as the water rose and finally reached the level where it covered everything. So this land mass would then also have been subjected to the movements of ocean water with its layers and currents and streams and tides and waves. Presumably the layering and currents and streams and other mechanical properties of the water had something to do with the sorting into groups of their own kind that is commonly found among the fossils, but the sorting would also been determined by the location of the normal pre-Flood habitat of the creatures and the propensity of "birds of a feather to flock together."

It also seems to me that this KNOWN source of the sediments accounts for not merely "an uncertain portion of the stratigraphies" as he puts it, but ALL OF THEM, but this has to do with the different ideas about which of the layers was formed in the Flood which is a problem among creationists. Seems to me they all had to be and I don't get the thinking that divides them into some from the Flood and some from other causes but that's a different subject for now.

Meanwhile the point here is that the source of the sediments was the ENTIRE PRE-FLOOD LAND MASS OF THE PLANET. Seems sufficient to me.
Studies of the various sediments and other events show evidence of a vast array of processes. The reality is that some of these would happen underwater, some would not, and some are independent of water cover considerations. All this points to a very long and complicated process, yet the creationist perspective is that it all was done by a 1 year flood event.
And here is another set of mental furniture that needs some rearranging. Evolutionists are thinking of the ORIGIN of the contents of the strata while Floodists are thinking of the TRANSPORTATION of already formed contents by the Flood to their final disposition. Evolutionists ASSUME that the contents, both sediments and fossils, occurred in situ, that is, they grew there, they lived and died there, in the places they are now found. Whole landscapes and scenarios are attributed to the layers with their fossils. So the "vast array of processes" Moose is talking about include the great variety of situations in which different sediments and living creatures originate. They are assumed to have occurred ON THE SPOT as the creatures lived and died in that place at some time in the very distant past. Some sediments were slowly deposited there under water and living creatures died and fell into them and were fossilized there; other sediments had supposedly been formed above water, such as sand dunes. Such a habit of thinking is so utterly different from Floodist thinking I can see how hard it could be to unbolt and rearrange it.

Very very few if any of the layers of sediments with their fossils seem to a Floodist to fit that picture of formation where they are found. To a Floodist, both the sediments and the fossils would have originated in a variety of different locations and conditions elsewhere, perhaps far, perhaps not so far, but not in this same place in any case, some having been formed on land, some near or in the ocean and so on. All the Flood did was sweep them up and carry them elsewhere. Even a local flood will carry everything from plants out of someone's garden to a teddy bear that was left on a porch six houses up from that garden and deposit them near each other downstream and nobody would suspect they had originally "lived" there together, and that's what the Flood did with the strata and fossils of the Geologic Column. The Flood does not discriminate -- it picks up everything in its path whatever its original location or disposition, and carries it wherever it happens to be headed, in its separate layers at different depths, in streams and currents and waves and tsunamis, apparently sorted into the various groups we actually find, and deposits them all in the stratified form we now find them.
The creationist perspective is that the flood, directly or indirectly, can do pretty much anything and can do it in an incredibly short amount of time. That doesn't make sense regardless of when said flood happened, be it 5000 years ago, 4.5 billion years ago, or at any point in between.
Had to come back to this paragraph to ponder what he means by "do pretty much anything" as I'd first read it simply to refer to a much bigger effect than the kinds of floods we encounter now. But perhaps he's got in mind the fact that creationists connect the Flood with other catastrophic occurrences that affected the whole Earth in the same time frame, such as the beginning of volcanism and tectonic plate movements. I'm not sure, this is something he'll have to clarify as he polishes his topic proposal. The only thing I'd say at this point is that it's misleading to say the Flood itself DID any of these things, the idea is that the covering of the earth by water was the main effect observable by human beings during a period of catastrophic upheavals that involved grand-scale planet-wide destructions mostly focused on disruptions of the sea floor. Those disruptions did more than contribute to the flooding of the planet in other words. (Kurt Wise describes a system in which volcanic heat triggered the intense rain the Bible describes as the beginning of the Flood. I have yet to ponder his thinking on this).

But insofar as Moose is simply saying that Floodists attribute huge effects to the Flood that he himself isn't able to visualize or believe possible, my answer to that is simply that he's underestimating THIS Flood and that's an understatement. He isn't really letting himself THINK ABOUT how water covering ALL the land mass of the earth would affect it, and covering it for an entire year yet.

Think about just a tiny little local flood that starts from a few days of very heavy rain and affects just one village somewhere. It lasts only a few days, but it creates mudslides that destroy everything in their path. Then multiply that image by mudslides at millions of locations around the world over a year, not just a few days, and visualize the mudslides as going on underwater as well. In this picture a year is a very very long time, and a depth of water that covers everything a much greater destructive force than the deepest flood from the heaviest rain in our own time.

Or think about the Japanese tsunami that carried the buildings of whole villages with it even though it was only a few feet deep. We all saw those pictures. Multiply that image by thousands of tsunamis that COVERED EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE, that kept coming over the land for an entire year, not the short period of days and weeks in which already so much destruction occurred.

Or think about the floods that so often devastate parts of the American midwest. Just the swelling of one river takes out bridges and dams and levees and drowns whole towns over a period of days, but a Flood that covered the entire world for a year seems to you like it couldn't have left much of an impact on the planet? There wouldn't be the remotest hint of a levee left after such a flood, there wouldn't even be a river course left you could trace, it would all be obliterated completely.

YOU CANNOT COMPARE THE GLOBAL FLOOD OF NOAH WITH ANYTHING YOU'VE EVER WITNESSED ON EARTH. You have to multiply the effect of all those common everyday floods and water disasters by an enormous factor and many unknowns to even begin to imagine what the Noachian Flood would have done.

The true story of the creation and the reworking of the creation can be discerned by looking at the creation. The true story is "written in the rocks". Moose
It sure is but you have to know how to read what the Flood wrote there and so far your comparison with the Bay of Fundy shows a disastrous inability to decipher the language. Maybe you aren't going to spend more time on that comparison in this thread but consider it for a moment. Take these pictures of the Bay of Fundy: and instead of comparing the global Flood with the daily quiet filling and emptying of this placid channel add fifteen or twenty feet of water to the tide that comes in so that it covers up the sides of the channel completely. If not on the first tide, certainly after a number of them have flowed into and out of this area, the water will have knocked down that wooden bulwark and all the buildings in the area and smashed the boats, and when it retreats it will drag all the broken stuff back to sea with it -- then of course eventually return and throw it all up on the land. There is no way a worldwide flood can be compared to a nice quiet little bay no matter how high its tides. That is a failure of imagination that should never have been entertained for a moment.

But back to Moose's post:
Added by edit:
Minnemooseus, above, writes:
All this points to a very long and complicated process, yet the creationist perspective is that it all was done by a 1 year flood event.

Not only not done by a 1 year flood event, not done by any single flood event regardless of its duration.
Yeah, well, apparently this is going to be just another futile exercise in inability or simple stubborn biased unwillingness to grasp the proportions of a worldwide Flood.

He continues with his new thread proposal:
2 – This presumes the “rained for 40 days and 40 nights” and “the fountains of the deep”. The source of the water and the disposal of the water are presented as unexplained miracles, and are not issues in this topic. Yes, I know that is an unrealistic presumption, but so be it.
OK he doesn't want this to become an issue but I have to register the fact that creationists don't think of these things as miracles but physical geological events based on some great differences between the pre-Flood and post-Flood worlds that can only be speculated about. Kurt Wise seems to have thought this out a great deal but since I haven't absorbed all his reasoning yet I'll have to bring that in at some later time.
The standard perspective from both the creation and evolution side is that “The Great Flood” would have some sort of significant impact on the geologic record.
From the creation side the impact was enormous, utterly transformed the planet altogether from its former condition and is now inescapably evidenced everywhere you look, at the very least in the strata which can only have been laid down by an absolutely unprecedented and unrepeatably prodigious amount of water, as well as by their fossil contents which evidence massive sudden death of uncountable living things.

At least this is the view of the creationists I agree with. And I have to say I'm not entirely sure there are any who see it quite as I do. I think Morris and company included only some of the strata in their Flood model, but I'd have to check to be sure. Kurt Wise and Steve Austin apparently think the uppermost strata were not laid down in the Flood and possibly the lowermost strata as well. I think I understand that they exclude the highest strata because the fossils in those layers are more like modern creatures than they think had developed before the Flood.

But I can't see anything different in the actual physical geological form of those strata compared to any of the rest so I can't see how they could have been created by any other process or mechanism than those considered to have been laid down in the Flood.
To mainstream geology, the vast thickness and complexity of the so called “geologic column” is much of the evidence of the Earth being far older that the young Earth creationist (YEC) perspective. The creation side in turn tends to attribute this vastness and complexity as being a product of the flood.
You got this right. Afterthought: Well... not the "complexity" so much if you have in mind that "vast array" of different conditions of the contents of the strata you mention above -- that was already formed and all the Flood did was pick it up, perhaps combine it with contents from other locations, and move it to its final resting place in one of the strata beds.
I believe that the roots of this YEC perspective is not so much the desire to use the “geologic column” to support the reality of the flood, but rather to use the flood to explain the reality of the “geologic column”.
This also sounds right.

OK, let's see where he takes this.

Note: as often happens I have gone back and added and rewritten certain parts of this since I posted it, in the hope of making it clearer.

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