Thursday, November 8, 2012

BBC video attempt to undermine creationist faith, Part 1, HOW THE FLOOD CREATED THE GRAND CANYON

There's a thread up at EvC to discuss a BBC-produced video, Creationism Road Trip, about an attempt to present five British creationists with scientific evidence for evolution, by taking them on a bus trip to various locations in western America where scientists present their case for evolution and against creationism.  The creationists are five "fundamentalists," made up of four Christians and one Muslim. 

The poster found the video to be "both entertaining and enlightening."  I watched it and found it to be a maddeningly misbegotten project. 

The first leg of the trip is from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and is titled
Theory One:  The Grand Canyon Was Made By Noah's Flood, in which creationist Phil is to be confronted about his belief that the canyon was formed by the Flood of Noah something over 4000 years ago.  Phil has made it clear that he believes the Bible is THE authority on all things.

At the rim of the Canyon the five creationists and the producer are met by geologist Don Prothero who starts out by rather defensively informing them that he's a scientist and that scientists "deal only with natural forces and things that we can observe and test in nature."

He goes on to say
You can see the layers of the Earth piled up one on top of another in a place like this better than just about anywhere else.  Immense amounts of time are required to deposit that, cement it into hard sandstone and shale, tilt it, erode it.  Your miniman estimate is hundreds of millions of years.
What's wrong with this is something I've covered many times and I'm still astonished that people think it makes sense that thousands of square miles of flat horizontal sediments could have been built up over long periods of time and not show any sign of disturbance of their relatively neat straight horizontality.  Oh except the teeny bit of "erosion" between the layers that almost requires a microscope to see it, which is really laughable when you think about what REAL erosion does to land in even only one year.  One rain will make gullies in a flat field.  There are no gullies in these slabs of rock.  They'd be visible to the naked eye.  The sediment above would have settled into them.  No, the joints between the layers are straight and flat.  So they say well they were deposited under water.  Well, yes they were, all at once, one on top of another over at the maximum a few months during the Flood.  Not over hundreds of millions of years.

Phil the creationist then remarks that the scientist holds the assumptions of naturalism and uniformitarianism and Prothero answers that all scientists share those assumptions and that creationists aren't scientists, so Phil doesn't pursue that line further.

The producer then says that as he understands it, creationists believe the Canyon was created by the Flood of Noah.  They all agree and Maxwell paraphrases Prothero's answer:
If the Biblical Flood really did create the Grand Canyon, it would need to have carved out curved valleys, like here at Horseshoe Bend.  Don thinks this is impossible because flood water cuts along straight lines.

Horseshoe Bend is a typical "meander," a sharp curve in a river that I read about some time ago, that is created by differing pressures in the running water due to small obtacles and whatever debris it is carrying, such that it cuts into the shore on one side and deposits the debris on the other, and this action forms the curve.  There is nothing about draining flood water that would prevent this typical formation from occurring. 

But Prothero thinks he's being very scientific when he says:

If your flood waters drain off they're going to drain off and form a sharp straight canyon, that's simple physics.
Doesn't it depend on the surface it's draining off, how much water there is and how much time it takes to drain off, what sort of obstacles the water meets along its path and what sorts of debris it picks up as it moves? 

He gets Phil to pour a bucket of water on a downsloping piece of ground and claims that is sufficient to demonstrate what a worldwide flood would do in the draining phase. 

This is a scientist?

Here's a satellite picture from Wikipedia showing that water running on a FLAT SURFACE doesn't just flow flat and straight:

For any kind of test, what is needed at the very least, and this would hardly be sufficient to represent the draining of a worldwide flood, is a continuous stream of water over a fairly long period of time, LOTS of water, not a mere bucket full that is rapidly exhausted.  If you don't have a way to produce a sheet of water, at least get a hose and let it run down that little slope for a while.  Even a sheet of water would encounter some obstacles that affect how it flows, and as soon as it carves any kind of shape in the surface the water will begin to follow that shape and that will change its speed and pressure at various places that will further shape the surface.  But use a hose at least and see if possibly it creates some meanders, which, according to what I've read on this subject, it could well do even on a flat surface.  Here's a You Tube video about how Meandering Rivers are created.   

Meanders such as created Horseshoe Bend are VERY likely to have occurred as the Flood waters drained. 

But I think what's needed to explain how the draining Flood waters carved the Grand Canyon is my very own observation that first a crack -- or more probably many cracks -- was opened in the upper strata, caused by the volcanic eruption beneath that area after the strata were laid down to at least a mile higher than the current rim of the canyon.  The volcanic eruption could have been brought about by tectonic movement but in any case the land, the stack of sediments recently laid down in the Flood, was upraised by the force.  The upraised land is shown on all diagrams of the area I've seen.  There is a sort of mound over the area and the canyon slices right into it.  Also shown on diagrams is the displacement of the lowest layers as the volcanic force pushes them up under the whole stack, and the intrusion of magma into them, showing the effect of the underground volcano. 

As I put it together, the upraising of the land would have cracked the uppermost layers and the still-standing Flood waters would then have poured into the cracks, widening them and washing down huge quantities of the sediments from the upper layers that had been in place until the volcanic disruption.  The first rush of that enormous quantity of water must have carved out a very wide area, and as the water slowed to a mere cataract flowing in from all sides of the gap it would have begun shaping the formations such as Horseshoe Bend, moving rapidly around the various islands of still-standing strata and carving them to their present shape and so on.

No comments:

Post a Comment

PLEASE just register somewhere, there seem to be many options. A Google account is easy. And give SOME kind of pseudonym at least. THANKS!