Young earth creationists have built a large following over the years in part by incorporating pieces of scientific information into their teachings, allowing them to claim that their beliefs have basis not just in religion but also in science. One of the most important things to bear in mind when encountering young earth creationist arguments that claim to be based in science is that young earth creationists pick and choose. They grab onto scientific findings that they’re able to incorporate into their beliefs, and ignore the ones they can’t.
Have a look at this, for instance:
Most creation geologists believe that the opening of “the fountains of the great deep” refers to the breakup of the earth’s crust into plates. The subsequent rapid, catastrophic movement of these plates would have released huge quantities of hot subterranean waters and molten rock into the ocean. As the hot water gushed through the fractured seafloor, the water flashed into superheated steam and shot high into the atmosphere as supersonic steam jets, carrying sea water that eventually fell as rain.
But what catastrophe might God have used to cause the earth’s crust—many miles thick—to crack? Some have suggested a meteorite or asteroid impact of unprecedented size and scope. Do we find any evidence? Geologists have discovered some gargantuous remnant craters and piles of debris leftover from massive impacts that easily fit the bill.
Just what happened here? Young earth creationists noticed that scientists have long studied large numbers of meteor craters on the earth’s surface. They fit this into their framework by concluding that God unleashed a meteor storm on the earth to break up the continents and begin the massive, worldwide flood of Noah’s Ark fame, even though the Bible doesn’t mention any such thing—and you’d think that would be worth mentioning.
Creation scientists know that there are meteor craters all over the earth. They also know that many of them are so big, their strikes must have created large-scale catastrophes. They have to fit this into the Bible somehow, so they look around and—voila! They just glom all the catastrophes onto the one large-scale catastrophe the Bible does mention, Noah’s flood.
You want another example of this? Because I can give you one: volcanos. Earth’s geology shows evidence of large-scale volcanic activity at periods in the earth’s past—the kind that doesn’t fit with life as we know it. Creation scientists glom all the volcanos onto the flood. Problem solved! Once again—the Bible does not mention volcanos.
But even as they glom some things onto their preconceived framework, creation scientists ignore other things entirely. They ignore the fact that geologists think the earth sustained its heaviest bombardment by astroids before life existed on earth. They ignore the fact that the earth’s rock layers don’t look like they were formed during a global flood (scientists know what flood layers look like). They ignore the fact that their model, with the continents zooming away from each other at breakneck speed, is scientifically impossible (the heat it would generate would sear the earth).
I mean, how does this meteor theory even work? According to creation scientists, during the flood the entire earth was flooded. An impact takes place differently under water, even when it isn’t in the middle of a global flood complete with intense vulcanism and steam jets. Sure, creation scientists could argue that these craters were the result of meteor impacts on land that was only subsequently flooded. But in that case, I’m going to point out that we know what flood layers look like, and that if these meteor craters were all followed by flood layers, that would be pretty hard to miss.
The meteor that killed the dinosaurs struck the Yucatan Peninsula just under 66 million years ago. If you look under this crater’s impact level, you’ll find fossils from the age of the dinosaurs and, far enough down, trilobites. It can’t have struck before the flood—all those fish layers creation scientists argue were laid down by the flood are under it. It can’t have struck after the flood—the impact was so severe it would have been noticed outside of one existing catastrophe (and even inside of one!). So when did it hit? In the middle of the flood? Again—wouldn’t this be obvious, based on rock layers?
When it comes to science, creation scientists pick the pieces they like and glom them onto the story they’ve created. Meanwhile, creation scientists ignore all the pieces they don’t like—the reasons scientists believe various rock layers are millions of years old, knowledge about how rock layers are formed, and even what sorts of rock layers surround events like meteor craters. The things that are inconvenient or raise questions, they ignore, or leave out.
Creation scientists frequently accuse progressive Christians of “picking and choosing” when they read the Bible, taking what they like and ignoring what they don’t. Regardless of the validity of this allegation, “picking and choosing” is exactly what creation scientists do when they look at science. Pot, meet kettle.
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