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In the beginning: A closer look at creation geoscience


“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The first book of the Bible, Genesis (1:1-31), describes the creation of the universe in six days, from out of cold nothingness, by a supernatural being to which Christianity, Judaism and Islam bid worship. As time progressed, people began to look more closely at the rocks which they trod upon, and noticed peculiarities which could not be accounted for by the Bible, and so required further explanation. Thus was born the scientific field of geology — the description of the earth’s rocks and how they came to be situated in their current locations.

Man has deduced, by adopting an objective approach, that the age of the universe is between 10 and 19 billion years old, and the earth is 4.6 billion years old (Foster, 1991). Rock formation has been explained in great detail using inductive methods and, over the course of time, has been continuously updated and improved. Fossils have been utilized to explain what life is, and how it has evolved into today’s world dominating animals and plants. Geology has allowed humans to look not only at the surface of the earth, but into the heart of the planet as well. Such techniques have also been adopted by astronomers to examine the sun and other celestial bodies.

Many different religions have, through time, told their own stories about the history of this world. None, however, have been so persistent to see the proliferation of their views as have the Christian fundamentalists. There are many sects located within fundamentalism, but one which stands out above the others is Christian Science (Scientific Creationism). The Institute for Creation Research (ICR), headed by Henry Morris, appears to be the leader in the field, refuting any and all scientific evidence pointing towards evolution and an old earth. By using unorthodox methods and abiding by a strict dogma, it has evolved into a most formidable opponent of reasonable thought. Members claim that science is the tool with which they derive their `proof’, but as this paper will show, they do no less than throw away any reason they may have learned, and warp good science so that it fits into the Creationist scheme of things. Issues supposedly proven by Creation Science are Noah’s Flood, a young earth and the refutation of evolution. The first is the backbone of the Creationist argument with the second and third following closely behind. By “proving” that there was a worldwide flood as is claimed by the Bible, the Creationist gives his explanation for the rock record and the origin of life. To discuss all the possible arguments would require volumes of material. Presented here instead is a more general focus upon the crutch of Scientific Creationism, the Noachian Deluge, as well as some background information. Most, if not all, creation arguments stem from this foundation since, from the creationist viewpoint, it is the most easily proven theory. Explained within this paper is how the creationist arguments are faulty and, if you will excuse the pun, hold no water.

A Definition of Science

Before the Creationists put forth their cases, before they attempt to research evidence which may support their position, they fail to meet the qualifications of scientific exploration. Scientific Creationism always comes back to quotations from scripture, a doctrine which is set in stone. They claim that their evidence proves that the tales told within the Bible are true. Real science, on the other hand, sets out to prove nothing, and holds no truths to be self-evident. Rather, an hypothesis is formulated from the evidence provided, changing to provide a better hypothesis as new information is made available (Hanson and Hanson, 1993).

In order to be considered scientific, a theory must be testable. Creation science is not testable. It lies outside the realm of nature due to its indispensable `acts of God’, and mankind can only use natural methods to examine a theory (Hanson and Hanson). Without the possession of this trait, a theory would be infallible, and thus no more accurate than a religious dogma. The second important characteristic of science is that a theory must, from its very conception, be able to be shown to be false. Every scientific theory has the opportunity to be argued against, for which contrary evidence may be presented. Such is not the case with Scientific Creationism, since those who practice it, will not allow contradictory evidence. Therefore, when these people accuse scientists of performing such a heresy, they themselves turn around and use it as the basis of their ideals. Such hypocrites cannot possibly qualify to be proper researchers.


A frequent cause of confusion among creationists and scientists alike is the principle of uniformity. By definition, it does no more than simply state that present geologic processes can be examined and extrapolated in order to interpret past events. Gould (1965) distinguishes between substantive and methodological uniformitarianism. The former describes the testability of geologic change while the latter is a statement of proper scientific procedure in general. It is the methodological type that Christian Scientists misquote in their refutations of proper scientific procedure. They claim that true scientists say that deposition rates, mountain building and similar events have remained constant throughout time (Heylmun, 1971). Such a statement is untrue, for very few geologists would assert that the Appalachians have always existed as they are seen today, since there is no orogenic activity occurring at the moment. Most geologists would also agree that geosynclinal processes which occurred in the Precambrian were quite unlike those which acted in the Palaeozoic (Valentine, 1966). Methodological uniformitarianism was a useful tool when it was first introduced to oppose the presence of the supernatural in science, but it is now only a burden to the field (Gould, 1965).

Flood Mechanism

It is written in Genesis 7:17-20: And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

Morris (1974) puts forth his interpretation of the deluge in his book. The waters would come from the sky as rain, and would well up from within the earth into the oceans. This poses a problem for the Creationist: a great amount of water would have been required to cover the tallest mountains. They claim that there was a vapour canopy which encompassed the earth that would provide the torrential rainfall as God commanded it so. However, such a flood would need a downpour which had a pressure great enough to shatter Noah’s Ark. How did this canopy remain aloft? Such a volume of water would have blocked out the sunlight, inhibiting the survival of all organisms by cutting off the base of the food chain.

Accompanying the rainfall would be magmatic extrusions from the mantle, gigantic earth movements, landslides, tsunamis and explosions (Morris, 1974). Most, but not all, marine organisms would perish, as would all the land animals. Soils would be carried away as floating mats of vegetation. Eventually, even the tallest mountains would be destroyed by erosion and cause great landslides on land, and turbidity currents within the sea. Clastic fragments of boulders and gravel would be produced when the rocks cracked and bounced. The waters would undergo rapid temperature and salinity changed and large amounts of chemicals would dissolve into the water, spreading throughout the globe. Land sediments would ultimately unite with those of the ocean and, as the waters calmed down, would settle out and cement into rock while chemicals would precipitate out as allowed by temperature and salinity.

Post Depositional Modification

If water flow were to cease during an interruption in deposition of the flood (assuming that deposition is continuous underwater), then subaerial exposure would occur (Morris, 1974). Uplift and tilting of the strata would take place, truncating the beds by erosion producing an unconformity which can be used to separate geological ages. As Morris (1974) points out, only fossils can be used to indicate the end of one geological age, and the beginning of another. But he says that two of the most important boundaries, the Permian-Triassic boundary and the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, grade imperceptibly from one age into the next.

The problem with this argument is that the described boundaries are arbitrary, being based on a certain faunal succession, and the finer one examines the boundary, the less defined it appears. When viewed from a distance, however, it is well defined and useable. Biostratigraphy is not absolutely perfect due to an incomplete fossil record, but it is accurate to a degree which is of use to all the appropriate scientists.

And so the Creationist standpoint is that the entire geologic column is continuous, produced by rapid formation of sediment deposition from the floodwaters, and that there is rarely a clear physical boundary between formations.

Problems With Flood Geology

Many questions arise if one considers the flood as an alternate to the modern paradigm. How did mountains form? Surely sedimentation from a global flood didn’t accumulate in isolated areas producing such high peaks. Morris already claimed that all the pre-existing mountains were eroded away, just as is stated in the Bible. If these sediments were distributed worldwide, then sediment deposition would occur roughly at a uniform rate. One formation which is six kilometers thick would have had to have been deposited at 15 m/day in the year of the flood. Despite this, the chemical properties of the rock are neatly layered.

Chalk is another important problem. It is composed of planktonic organisms between 700 and 1000 angstroms in diameter and these settle out of the water at a rate of 1.54e-5 mm/second. In the span of one year, they would have settled but only 0.5 m, not anywhere near enough to account for the vast chalk deposits such as are seen in the White Cliffs of Dover, England.

Deep within the column, when the top of one stratum is examined, rain drops, dunes, desiccation cracks, footprints, and other features can be seen. These can only be produced while exposed above water, indicating that the strata were repeatedly flooded and exposed in order to deposit sedimentary rock on top.

Most of the fossils found have been wholly mineralized. That is, the original bone or shell has been degraded and replaced by a mineral deposit. This occurs over a long time as seen by the fact that Egyptian commoners, buried during the time of Moses, are not extensively mineralized. Therefore, if animals were buried during the flood, they should not be as mineralized as they actually are, instead, a great deal of bone or shell should remain.

Another major problem is that of banded iron formation. When the earth was young (some 2 Ga), the banded iron formation was produced by chemical precipitation in the oceans with oxygen (Foster, 1991). The importance is that, had there been oxygen in the atmosphere, the iron would have been oxidized on land into red beds, and never make it to the oceans by erosion. But since the banded iron formation is found during a certain time frame, one can deduce that there was no atmospheric oxygen to oxidize it, appearing much later as organisms produced it through photosynthesis (Foster, 1991). It is assumed that Noah and all those who proceeded him breathed oxygen just as all land animals are known to do.

Polystrate Fossils

A favourite weapon of scientific creationism is the appearance of polystrate fossils. While not a technical scientific term, polystrate refers to an anomaly which crosses many consecutive rock layers. Such an example is that of Joggins, Nova Scotia, a one kilometer thick fossil forest of Carboniferous age (Dawson, 1868). The forest contains many specimens of Calamites, Sigillaria and Stigmaria roots. The Calamites and Sigillaria stems are found to grow upright through succeeding strata. An underclay is found at the lower boundary of the forest, and is extensively penetrated by the Stigmaria roots and rootlets. These structures, like modern root systems, were extremely delicate yet are found to extend through all planes of the underclay, indicating that they grew in situ. They were not, as the Creationists claim, swept by waters and deposited into place by a single event.

One fossil in particular seemed to cause excitement upon its discovery. The fossilized skeleton of a whale aged 10— 12 Ma was found in a diatomaceous earth quarry in Lompoc, California (Reese, 1976). Initial reports had it standing on its tail, progression through many layers of strata. This would, of course, indicate deposition under catastrophic conditions strengthening the creationist stance. However, as more information was made available, it was realized that instead, the whale was not vertical but instead at about 50 to the horizontal and parallel to the strata in which it lay, that had been folded to its current attitude. The strata do not exhibit catastrophic deposition, but rather have laminations present which are characteristic of slow accumulation on an anoxic bay bottom. Moreover, diatomaceous earths are built up over millions of years as diatoms settle out of the water, not from an instantaneous deposition.

Many claims are made that fossils are not seen forming today, therefore, countering uniformitarianism. Besides the blatant misuse of the term as has been previously dealt with, the statement is outright false. A deep sea dive by oceanographers on November 10, 1987 spotted a 20 m long whale skeleton, half buried in ocean bottom sediments (Smith and Kukert, 1989). This was found in the Santa Catalina basin at a depth of 1240 m, and is an excellent example of a modern fossil in the earliest stages of its formation.

Meteor Impacts

A hard-hitting question often posed to Creationists is: When did meteors impact the earth? There is factual evidence worldwide that the earth, moon and other celestial bodies, were bombarded by meteors long ago. Genesis 1:26,27 states that man and woman were created on the sixth day, and thus inhabited the earth with all the animals God had created. When did this bombardment occur then? Don de Young of ICR says that the impact craters were formed during the time of the flood. The magnitude of such a bombardment within the span of one year would vapourize the waters which encompassed the earth.

Francis Graham of Kent State University has calculated that if one meteor the same size of that which formed the Imbrium Basin on the moon, had hit the earth which was covered by waters 5 kilometers deep, it would have released more than 3 x 1026 joules of energy, which is about twenty times the energy needed to evaporate the entire flood (Fezer, 1993). Needless to say, if such an impact occurred while life was flourishing upon the planet, it would entirely be destroyed.


The plight of science has always been to seek the truth. The best of science has no hopes of finding a certain conclusion to research, and is called inductive science. Poorly conducted science has a conclusion before it has conducted any research. Such is the case for Creation Science. Determined that the doctrine of God is correct in its entirety, such fundamentalists go forth and criticize good science because it does not conform to the Bible. It is truly sad when people who can put their talents to good use, cannot, for they are blinded by their faith, and so are a hindrance to proper scientific research.

By refuting the geologic column, that has been investigated and accurately displayed for centuries, Scientific Creationism digs itself a hole from which it cannot escape. It calls on the invalidity of the principle of uniformity and claims that those who use it, use it wrongly, when in fact the movement does not even understand the proper meaning of the term. Those who call themselves Creationists in the name of “science”, accuse the scientific world of building a paradigm from a house of cards, and as they pick at the cards, the house falls to the ground. Some aspects, not all, may in fact be built like such a house, but by looking at the evidence they provide, we see Scientific Creationists don’t even have a deck of cards.

Figure 1. An erect tree at Joggins, Nova Scotia. Within the hollow tree trunk was found the remains of a small reptile which had fallen in and become fossilized as well. (from Dawson, 1868. p. 192)


Figure 2. Section showing polystrate Calamites within a bed of sandstone. The dark layer laying above the tree is 1 foot of shaley coal, the dark band on which the tree stands is a 1 inch thick coal seam. The many lines which cross through the strata are Stigmaria roots. (from Dawson, 1868. p. 200)


Fezer, K.D. 1993. “Creationism: please don’t call it science.” Creation/Evolution. v. 13, no. 1, p. 45-49.

Foster, R.J. 1991. Historical geology. Prentice Hall, New Jersey. 374p.

Genesis 1:1-31, 7:17-20

Gould, S.J. 1966. “Is uniformitarianism necessary?” American Journal of Science. v. 263, p. 223-228.

Hanson, J.R. and Hanson J.E. 1993. “Creation science and creation myths: an ethnological perspective.” Creation/Evolution. v. 13, no. 1, p. 20-31.

Heylmun, E.B. 1971. “Should we teach uniformitarianism?” Journal of Geological Education. v. 19, p. 35-37.

Morris, H.M. 1974. Scientific creationism. Creation-Life Publishers, San Diego. 277p.

Reese, K.M. 1976. “Workers find whale in diatomaceous earth quarry.” Chemical & Engineering News. v. 54, no. 42, p. 40.

Smith, C.R. and Kukert, H. 1989. “Vent fauna on whale remains.” Nature. v. 341, p. 27-28.

Valentine, J.W. 1966. “The present is the key to the present.” Journal of Geological Education. v. 14, p. 59-60.

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