The World’s Largest Rock Tumbler is an Unusual Testimony to an Ancient Earth

Evidence that some features of earth’s landscape are the product of processes acting over longer periods of time can be found everywhere we look.  Some of this evidence, such as that from the Grand Canyon, may be familiar to us but other evidence is far less familiar but tells the same story.  For example, high in the Atacama Desert of South America strange boulders strewn over a dry valley tell a powerful story of an ancient landscape.

Quade4-atacama-rocks

A scene which looks more like the moon than the earth, showing rocks strewn across the Atacama desert at the base of a mountain.  The rocks originated from a rock formation on the side of the mountain but have jiggled and jostled their way down to this point.  Other rocks have moved well out onto the flat plains of the desert valley.  All of these rocks show some abrasion patterns on their sides where they have had contact with other rocks.   Photo by Jay Quade hosted on http://www.geosociety.org

The Atacama Desert is famously one of the driest places on earth. The location where these particular boulders are found receives an average of only 3mm of rain per year! Some years this boulder field will receive no rain whatsoever.  These boulders have garnered interest by scientists who study the desert.  In particular the peculiar girdled erosion pattern on their sides.  They have smooth sides with rougher top surfaces.   At first glance you might think that someone had tipped them up and been rolling them around but some of these boulders are over 2 tons in weight.  Initial work demonstrated that these boulders were not washed into place nor were they blown to their present locations (yes, some rocks can be blown around – The Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa).  So, what could account for these strange smooth-sided boulders?

AtacamaBoulder

Look at the sides of these large boulders.  Scientists wondered what could have caused this strange pattern of erosion on these huge boulders laying strewn about on valley floor high in the Atacama Desert. Photo by Jay Quade hosted on http://www.geosociety.org

Being in the right place at the right time to discover the origin of the boulder girdles

About 10 years ago, a single providential event led researchers to the explanation for odd features and locations of these boulders.   While investigating a group of these boulders there was a magnitude 5 earthquake centered not far away.  The researchers report that the boulders suddenly started to rock back and forth and some of them started to slowly turn on the desert floor.  Most significantly there was a very loud sound of boulders bumping into each other.   Suddenly a plausible and observed mechanism to explain the features of these boulders became clear.

A press release summarizing this research (Quade et al. Geology, 2012, see reference below) included the following scenario for the history of these boulders:

“The whole story appears to be that the boulders tumbled down from the hills above — probably dislodged by earthquakes. They accumulated on the sand flat, with no place else to go. Quade compares the situation to a train station where people are crowded together closely, rubbing shoulders as they wait for a train. In this case the boulders have been stuck at the station for hundreds of millennia and the train never comes. So they just get more crowded and rub shoulders more over time.

Boulders in the Atacama desert showing clear signs of wear on their “sides” from rubbing against each other. Photo by Quade

Analyses of the boulder top surfaces suggest that they have been there one to two million years. That age, combined with the fact that seismic activity in the area generates a quake like that Quade witnessed on the average of once every four months, suggests that the average boulder has experienced 50,000 to 100,000 hours of bumping and grinding while waiting for that nonexistent train.”

We could say that what these scientists discovered is the worlds largest natural rock tumbler, albeit a rock tumbler working at slow speed over a long period of time.   From the picture above you can see that some of these boulders are many meters away from the next closest boulder. It likely takes hundreds or even thousands of years for them to move via vibration over to another rock and come into contact with each other, much less have enough contact to produce appreciable erosion to its surface.

Since this first report of earthquake-mediated erosion of the boulders more research has been done in several additional boulder fields in multiple valleys to test this hypothesis.  That research found additional support for the great age of these boulders and action of earthquakes as an important geological force that has shaped these boulders slowly over eons.  That work (Matmon et al., 2015) showed that the boulders originated from erosion of bedrock sometimes more than 350 meters (1000+ feet) up on the sides of the mountain.   The erosion of that bedrock is occurring at extremely slow rates—as low as 1/10 of a meter per million years or 100 thousandth of a centimeter per year.  Boulders created by erosion—called splaying—of the bedrock at the top of mountain hillsides slide very slowly down the sides of the hill toward the valley below.  In some locations it is estimated that the boulders requires several hundred thousand years or possible several million years to make the 1350 meter trip down the gentle slopes to the valley floor.

Matmon measured boulders at the top of the hills and at intervals all the way down to the valley floor. They discovered that the majority of boulders are much smaller by the time they reach the floor of the valley.  This was consistent with them slowly sliding down the hill and being gradually eroding along the way.  Near the valley floor boulders continued to rub against each other gaining the girdled appearance.   Remarkably, Matmon found that most boulders in the valleys have been exposed for two to six million years some as much as 12 million years (see below for how these measurement were performed) making their surfaces some of the oldest continually exposed rock surfaces on earth.  The boulders at the top of the hills near the their bedrock origin were found to have surfaces that are younger though still very old.

Atacamadesrocsktransects

Figure 2 from Matmon et al. 2015.  Here you see the boulder field as it enters into a dry valley in the Atacama desert.  Boulders originate over 100 hundred meters up the side of the mountain and work they way down the sides into the valley.  The boulder in the foreground is about 1 meter in diameter. The boulders with earthquake girdles are found in Transect D where they are close together and so have more contact with each other over time.

Put simply, these boulders are witnesses of processes that have been taking place for millions of years at this location.   In contrast to this picture of an ancient earth, young earth creationists (YECs) believe these boulders could not have existed in this valley for much more than 4000 years!   How might they account for the origins of these boulders in such a restricted timeline of earth’s history?

Atacama Boulders in the Context of a Young Earth?

These earthquake-jiggled boulders have been discussed in the literature for eight years but I have not found a single young-earth creationist’ attempts to offer a young-earth explanation for these boulders.   However, based on their approach to other geological formations we can assume that their Flood geology model of earth history would require that the boulders have been formed after a global Noahic Flood and therefore must be less than 4350 years.

Why after the Noahic Flood?   Because these boulders are granodioritic rocks which is a fancy way of saying they igneous in origin.  These igneous rocks lie on top of thousands of feet of fossil-bearing sedimentary rock.   The young earth creationist believes that these sedimentary layers were laid down by a global flood followed by intrusion of ignous material. That magma had to cool and crystallize. Only after all of these actions could the mountains be eroded revealing the granodioritic rocks contained within them the flat bottom valleys between them form.

This series of sequential historical events to form the mountains and valleys should be enough to dispel the idea of a single global flood as the causative agent of these geological formations.  But the boulders on the hillsides and in the valley are an even more powerful evidence of an ancient earth.  The creationist’s timeline requires that all the boulders were formed well after a global flood and even after the valleys had formed.

As we have seen, the conventional geological explanation for these rocks is that these boulders formed via splitting off of bedrock by gradual chemical and freeze/thaw erosion.  Each large boulder then gradually moved down the side of the mountain via intermittent earthquakes and soil erosion.  These processes are very slow given the distances traveled and the lack of other forces of erosion.  The simplest explanation for the existence of boulders in the Atacama desert is that they have become scattered over the valley floors over very long periods of time.

How can a YEC compress all of the changes in these boulders into just 4000 years?  There is no evidence that water has played an important role in these valley.  Water erosion would have left characteristic signs of erosion on the rocks and the sediments they are sitting upon.  Furthermore, water would not produce the type of erosion that the boulders have on their sides. In fact water erosion should have removed the girdling pattern of rubbing erosion if there had been more water in the recent past.

Knowledge of the physics and chemistry processes of erosion informs us that it would take a tremendous amount of jostling, bumping, freezing and thawing to erode three and four-ton boulders at their origin point to one-ton boulders on the valley floor.  The distribution of boulders on the valley floor is itself evidence of great age.  Some valley floors are very flat and yet one-ton boulders are found a hundreds of meters from the edges of the valley floor.  The only way they could have gotten there is by movement caused by earthquake vibration.

I expect the earthquake explanation for the observed boulder distribution and erosion girdles would be compelling to YECs.  I expect they may agree that this is how the boulders were brought to and distributed on the valley floor but they could not accept the time required for this to be achieved.  Therefore I expect they would resort to proposing that earthquakes were 1000X more common after the Flood than they are now.

Is such a vastly higher earthquake rate in the past feasible? Quade et al (2012) calculated that 50,000 to 100,000 hours of shaking at the equivalent of a category 5 earthquake would be necessary to create the erosion they observed.  100,000 hours is the equivalent of 11 years of constant shaking.  But individual earthquakes only last for a few second to a few minutes and would not be expected to be continuous.  In places that experience frequent earthquakes most are very small (< category 3) and would not be able to move these boulders.  Earthquakes over category 5 are understandably rare given the tectonic stresses that must build up prior to the release such enormous energy.  Even if there were two earthquakes a year of this magnitude—which is far greater than the observed rate over the past 100 years—that would only account for 133 hours of shaking over 4000 years.

The formation of these rocks in this pattern with these girdled erosion patterns is exceptionally difficult to explain without the availability of large amounts of time as part of the equation.  YECs are fond of saying that not only is the Earth is young but the evidence actually points to a young earth.   The existence of these boulders demonstrates this just isn’t true.  No one would look at these boulders and come to the conclusion that they formed just a few thousand years ago.  Rather than pointing to a young earth they must be forced into a young-earth view.

Are there other ways to date these rocks aside from estimates of erosion from bumping into each other? 

What if you aren’t convinced that erosion of these boulders surfaces truly requires a long time by earthquake vibration.  Is there another way to date these rocks that is independent of our observations and estimates of earthquakes and wind and water erosion.  Fortunately the answers is Yes!

A lesser-known form of radionuclide dating is Cosmogenic Radionuclide Dating (See HERE for more details). Comsmogeic dating one type of what is called surface exposure dating.  The basic theory is that the boulders were at one time part of a rock wall on the mountain and not exposed to the surface (e.g. more than  meter of rock at least was covering them preventing exposure to air and radiation).   As soon as an individual boulder broke away from the rock wall its surface became exposed to cosmogenic radiation (cosmic rays and eventually neutrons).  Imagine a large boulder breaks off and lands on its side on the hillside below.  As the new top surface of the rock is bombarded by this radiation it physically alters the nuclear composition of those rocks.   The longer the surface of a rock is exposed the greater the differences in isotopic ratios of the minerals in that rock will become compared to their unexposed source rock. As a result, measurements of the differences of the original source rock that hasn’t been exposed with rocks that have been exposed can be used to estimate how long the  latter rocks have been exposed.

Matmon and his colleagues measured isotopic ratios of several elements in the surfaces of boulders in the valleys, on the sides of the hills and the source rocks themselves. What they found was that the boulders exhibited progressively greater isotopic ratio differences the further down the slopes of the mountainsides one went and that the boulders strewn far out in the valleys had the greatest differences indicative of the oldest ages.  These ratios can be used to calculate estimates or real ages.  By the time they reach the valley floor they have accumulated well over a million-years-worth of radiation exposure.

YECs must propose that the boulders are relatively the same age having been formed within a short period of time. They may also wish to explain the boulders change in size as resulting from rocks tumbling down the mountainside and shattering.  But the cosmogenic dating definitively rules these hypotheses out.  Boulders in the valley have upper surface that have been exposed for millions of year longer than their side or bottom surfaces or the boulders at the tops of the mountains.  All boulders appear to have slide to the present location with very minimal overturning. This is indicative of slow motion movements via earthquake vibration vs large floods or rolling and tumbling.

How confident can we be about the dates for the boulders?  

A young earth skeptic probably will be tempted to dismiss cosmogenic dating methods are just another form of radionuclide dating which they believe are all unreliable. They will claim that either we can’t trust the data–and implicitly the data collector–or that we can’t assume that cosmic rays and other forms of solar radiation have not been constant enough over time to use them as a clock.

These would be nothing but red herring dismissals.  Even if cosmogenic dating  has an error rate of thousands of years, the difference of 4000 vs 4 million is a massive difference in measurable isotopes.  What if this method were completely without merit as YECs are apt to claim? Maybe the Atacama desert is really young.  If this dating method were bogus then we should find that sediments in other deserts in the world should also exhibit very old ages because they should have experienced the same presumably changing rates of cosmogenic radiation.  But the ages of many other desert surfaces in other parts of the world  such as Death Valley in California are shown by the same method to be far younger.  This suggests that material has been moved around indicating the climate of that area has been different in the past.   But in the YEC timeline of earth history the Atacama and Death Valley deserts, and all other deserts for that matter, should be about the same age.

Cosmogenic dating frequently corroborates the dating of rocks by other methods and other studies that have been used to estimate how long landscapes have remained stable.   In this case we observe boulders that appear to have required a long time to have eroded to the point that we find them today. The cosmogenic dating confirms our intuition that these rocks have been lying on this desert floor exposed to the surface for a very long time.   Had all these rocks simply gotten jostled off the mountain recently by a very large earthquake, they would lack the signature erosion patterns and isotope differences compared to the rock formations in the hills above from which they originated.

The bottom line is that causal observation of the boulders and the Atacama desert region led many to intuit that this is one of the oldest environments in the world.  Closer inspection has confirmed what our eyes and intuition tell us. These boulders are far older than most boulders found on mountain sides in other environments.  The young-earth model provides no explanation for why such great differences in age are found and provides no intuitive sense for why these boulders are so —different from those in places such as Death Valley.

What about wind erosion? Could that cause some of the smooth sides of these boulders?

Many might wonder, what about wind? Can’t that cause interesting erosion patterns on rocks?  It certainly can but it would not explain the erosion patterns we observe here.  These boulders have erosion patterns that are clearly from contact with other rocks and not from sand blasting.

What would we expect from wind-born sand erosion? Look at the picture below of another rock formation in the Atacama desert.   This is one of many “tree” rocks which appear in some areas of the desert.  These are rocks that are clearly shaped by wind-born sand erosion.   In this case the sand is near the surface and so any rock that stands more than 6 feet tall will experience greater erosion near its base creating these odd formations.

Even if wind could explain the girdling pattern of erosion it would not help to explain how the boulders have moved out over the valley floor or why the upper surfaces are measured to be so ancient by cosmogenic surface dating.

A "tree" rock in the Atacama desert. This is the result of wind erosion. This rock is about almost 20 feet tall and the lower portion is exposed to wind-blown sand which has eroded the base faster than the top. I don't know what the source of this image is. I found several version none of which have a reference.

A “tree” rock in the Atacama desert. This is the result of wind erosion. This rock is about almost 20 feet tall and the lower portion is exposed to wind-blown sand which has eroded the base faster than the top. I don’t know what the source of this image is. I found several versions none of which have a reference to their source.

Final thoughts

The present-day geological features of the Atacama desert are the product of a series of historical events that have taken place over long periods of time.  Any attempt to compress all these events into a mere 4000 years must explain all of our observations not just one of them.  The lack of explanatory power of YEC flood geology theory is on full display when one considers these desert boulders.   On the other hand, earthquakes over very long periods of time in a climatically stable environment provide an intuitive and well-support hypotheses which accounts for all of the observations that have been made of these strange boulders strew about the hills and valleys of the inner Atacama desert.

References:

Placzek, CJ, A. Matmon, DE Granger, J. Quade, and S. Niedermann. 2010.  “Evidence for active landscape evolution in the hyperarid Atacama from multiple terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides.”  Earth and Planetary Science Letters.  295: 12-20.   This article provides the evidence for the age of the stones that have the funny erosion patterns.  Cosmogenic nucleotide dating is reported.

Quade, J. P. Reiners, C. Placzek, A. Matmon, M. Pepper, L. Ojha, and K. Murray.  2012.  “Seismicity and the strange rubbing boulders of the Atacama Desert, Northern Chile”  Geology 40: 851-854.

Matmon, A., J. Quade, C. Placzek, D. Fink, M. Arnold, G. Aumaitre, D. Bourlès, K. Keddadouche, A. Copeland, and J. W. Neilson. “Seismic origin of the Atacama Desert boulder fields.” Geomorphology 231 (2015): 28-39.

Comments

  1. As you suggest, Answers in Genesis seem to place the formation of this desert around the time of the flood/subsequent ice age. They also claim this ice age created land bridges, allowing people to migrate from Babel to South America. Since there’s no evidence of super-common earthquakes during human habitation of the continent, this means that the accelerated rate of earthquakes to produce these rocks must have stabilised by the end of the ice age, which they place at around 2,000 BC.

    So the rocks must have been shaken to their current state in the 350-year interval between the flood and the end of the ice age (which is being super generous to them, as humans may well have arrived in South America much earlier in the ice age, further reducing the length of the interval). Using the figures you provide for the formation of the rocks, this would suggest there earthquakes must have been happening 33-50% of the time to get them to their current state.

    3-second earthquake, 3 seconds of normal, 3-second earthquake, and so forth. For 350 years. Absurd.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much. I’ve made the changes.

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  3. Perhaps, as wind blows dirt away from the flats, and the highlands cover a smaller area, rocks out on the flats didn’t have to move so far to end up farther away from the slopes. But the perfect argument remains: evidence for long ages longer than Bible History. I’ve recently admired the White Sands of New Mexico, and the story of their origin from clear selenite crystal – “white” only because of the saltation pits on the grains. I could tell the ranger there that an unchanging God who hides himself (as Isaiah says) could create a Virtual History of “change through time.” P.S. The May 2018 Master Books “Noah – Man of God” (Chaffey & Adams of AiG) is just out, not worth the paper its printed on, ending when the rain starts. GLL

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  4. James – Nothing is “false” if God does it. He says that his thoughts aren’t ours. If I have to THINK (because I save “belief” for what the Bible says) that all dinosaur remains were Created As Such, and IF that was God’s thought, then God “owns” it, and it is not my thought. But if human thought says that “What looks old must be old” – actual day-to-day history – and if that isn’t God’s thought (action, the same thing), then it is only yours. Discussion here hits a roadblock with the easy answer: “God is not a Deceiver.” Put the truth of God hiding himself (for us to know him today only by faith) together with his will that we should “have dominion,” then you can see how coal and oil, Created As Such, would be part of his providential thinking-ahead for our modern age (when radio or the Internet, for instance, reach multitudes with the Gospel). If evenly scattered in all rock, we would have no industrial use of gold — but mined from fossil stream beds (showing “age”) “dominion” is possible. I’m trying to establish middle ground between the impossible superstition of self-created life and everything else, and the egregious “stumbling block” of ICR & AiG “science” – their ReCreationism of everything IN NO TIME AT ALL (Earth’s continents, 60+ cat species – half of them soon again extinct – diversifying (their word) from “Proailurus” leaving the Ark, etc. etc. This doesn’t just “offend” the “little ones” in America today. If most people today don’t know the first thing about what the Bible says, then how can they ever see that what Ken Ham & Co. sell has nothing much at all to say about Genesis? GLL

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    • James Gibbs says:

      I’m glad you see the absurdity of most YEC “science.” But I don’t think your “omphalos” position is viable.

      I don’t agree with your statement, “Nothing is ‘false’ if God does it.” If God created Adam in the traditional Bible-story manner, and also gave him memories of a childhood he had never lived, along with a wallet full of photographs of parents he never had, that would indeed be false. Perhaps a better thing to say would be, “God is truthful.”

      I understand why an “omphalos” creation would include mature trees laden with fruit (so Adam and Eve wouldn’t go hungry). I don’t understand why God would include CMB radiation from a Big Bang that never happened, fossils from creatures that never lived, light from interstellar events that never happened, or even (to use your example) gold deposits in beds where streams never actually flowed. (Why not just create stacks of bullion?).

      “Omphalos” is basically an admission that all the evidence is on the old-earth side. It’s also a version of what atheists call “Goddidit”–an all-purpose explanation which explains nothing.

      “His thoughts aren’t ours”–true, but the context of that (Isaiah 55) makes it pretty clear that that means God is more merciful than we, not that he creates evidence of an ancient cosmos and then “hides himself.”

      And, what exactly Isaiah meant by God “hiding himself” is really, really unclear–there are a lot of proposed interpretations of that verse, including that this was simply an opinion of the prophet, similar to Jeremiah’s accusing God of deceiving the people (4:10).

      “Self-created life”–I, personally, don’t care if abiogenesis happened, or is possible. Maybe God really does have to create the first cell ex nihilo. If abiogenesis really did happen all those billions of years ago, then it happened because of natural laws set up and guided by God. Either way, God is still the Creator.

      Instead of saying of all the (overwhelming) evidence of the antiquity of the universe, “Well, God must have a good reason for making it look like that,” why not simply say, “Gee, God pretty clearly made the universe a long, long time ago?”

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    • God is not a deceiver?

      Have you ever read the Bible?

      IIChronicles 18:
      [19] And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
      [20] Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?
      [21] And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.
      [22] Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.

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      • James Gibbs says:

        Actually, 2 Chronicles 18 doesn’t prove “God is a deceiver,” since the context makes it clear that Micaiah, the true prophet of God, tells Ahab to his face that the other (false) prophets are are lying to him. How was God deceiving Ahab if He told Ahab, “These prophets are lying to you?”

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        • Think about it. What does god ask the lying spirit to do? Micah spoils god’s plan.

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          • James Gibbs says:

            First of all, please begin “God” with a capital letter. Not doing so (when referring to the God of the Bible) is unnecessarily offensive to many Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

            Second of all, notice in the passage that God gives Ahab a phony message through the false prophets and the truth through Micaiah (not “Micah”). He is openly telling Ahab that, if he foolishly goes to war at Ramoth Gilead, he is choosing to believe a lie. God gave Ahab one last chance to believe God’s Word and avoid a painful death–Ahab chose to treat God’s Word with contempt. Judgment followed.

            God’s “plan” was to either (a) save Ahab by moving him to repentance and faith, or (b) judge him for his continued disregard of the Word. How did Micaiah “spoil” that?

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    • “the impossible superstition of self-created life”

      Can you explain who it is that believes this? If you think its scientists, then you just don’t understand the first thing about biology; its just gibberish. it would probably take two hours just to get through to you what the word superstition means (used in no recognizable sense here) before starting on the science. On second thought, I take that back; you’re using it in a very widespread sense to mean, “my opponents are deluded fools!” Its just not one used by honest people.

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      • James Gibbs says:

        Please stop the insults. “It would probably take two hours just to get through to you” and “…you’re using [the word superstition] in a very widespread sense…not…used by honest people”–calling someone stupid and dishonest convinces no one, and makes you look bad.

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  5. Looking for help from anybody, here are some things that keep me thinking.

    Why do galaxies hit other galaxies edge on, going in different directions, if everything started from a point source, either in a secular Big Bang, or Long Age? I’d rather think that an infinite God did the point source in 26 or 27 dimensions, to fill the universe with “lumps” of mass wherever he wanted to jump the energy down to today’s dimensions, so that on Day Four he could “order” every ray or photon to its appropriate star. There could be light from a Sun mass for three days, if oxygen/hydrogen combination was making water, common in space.

    Why do some Grand Canyon layers sit flat on others over such wide areas, when this is impossible in ANY scenario of Delugian or Long Age deposition? By “impossible,” I mean that I don’t see any such happening so perfectly anywhere today. If “Goddidit” is last man standing, fine by me. You do want your ReCreationist friends to know that at Grand Canyon, strata can be marine toward the west, dry land toward the east.

    I’ve collected a Keokuk Geode from 25 miles SSW of Keokuk out of a high shale bank. It is 85 gnarled pounds of solid flint/chalcedony (when I hang a smaller one in a fire, and let it crack in water). So it’s worthless as a show piece. But it tells ReCreationists that this wasn’t Flood-deposited at the Morris rate (1976) of a foot an hour for seven months. Other left-behind geodes across the river from Keokuk are solid quartz or calcite crystals to the very center – the material having to arrow toward supersaturation. But basic science says that the arrow always goes the other way. Thus only an instant creation.

    I’ve seen no equations for how, across a virtually flat Midwest, ice sheets could, in fact, deposit the splendid ridges of the Des Moines lobe that I cross so often, switching new Toyotas from Cedar Rapids to Des Moines, Omaha, Kansas City etc. Yes, the Ice Age EVIDENCE is everywhere, and ReCreationists want it all to happen over several centuries, which is unreal. But if there are no equations (for how warm ice shouldn’t melt rather than move rock in its way) then God had to “do it” in accord with Earth’s created orientation (the cycles) resulting in colder climates.

    Why would God want to sit for a billion years admiring a Slime Earth? Or waiting for stars (bigger than our Sun) to cook up heavier elements? It would be nice for Long Earth apologists — if they might want heavier elements on hand sooner rather than later (which I haven’t seen) — to tell us that in this case it would be OK for God to have CREATED the “apparent age” of the heavier elements. Go with God. GLL

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    • James Gibbs says:

      I am not a scientist. I’m just a layman with an interest in the origins debate. I have no answer for the examples you cite which supposedly clash with mainstream science. If these things really are “impossible” to reconcile with accepted theory, why not publish a scientific paper? Isn’t it possible that the examples you cite have been explained by mainstream science, but you haven’t read the right paper, website, or book? Isn’t it also true that scientists don’t throw out well-supported theories based on only one datum? A reasonable explanation of Example X in harmony with accepted theory may be published in the near future.

      I just know that (a) 99% of scientists who study geology, astronomy, etc. are convinced that “deep time” is real, (b) the 1% who don’t always do so because of how they interpret religious texts, and (c) from what I have read, the conventional scientific view of the cosmos is a far, far better explanation of the world than any creationist one I have seen.

      Two scientific facts which convince me the earth/universe are ancient are (a) the starlight problem, and (b) the principle of faunal/floral succession. It seems to me pretty obvious that we wouldn’t be able to see galaxies billions of light-years away if the universe were of relatively recent origin. It also seems pretty obvious that the very different forms of life we see in different rock layers prove that life on earth has changed tremendously over long ages, and in an “evolutionary” direction. Just as scientists have been concluding for a long, long time.

      As to why God would want to wait eons for things to happen, who knows? As you yourself said, his ways are not ours. Maybe the universe isn’t all about us! Why did God wait so long to give Abram and Sarai a son? Why did God wait so long to send the Christ? He has his own timetable, obviously.

      As to “Go with God,” I assume you mean, “Go with God as the explanation for things.” I think OEC and EC Christians already do so. We just think conventional scientific theories don’t clash with believing in God as the Creator.

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  6. Haw can you still be so naive. Once Ham’s lickspittles read this it’ll be: “Hmm… 11 years of continuous earthquakes? AH! Now we know how long it took the continents to drift around into their present configuration after the flood!” When you make up anything you want, there is nothing you can’t explain.

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    • James Gibbs says:

      “…so naive” and “lickspittles”–please make your point without insulting people!

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      • Since when is naive an insult? Have you ever seen how they act on Ham’s little tv show?

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        • James Gibbs says:

          You wouldn’t want to be called “naive,” would you?

          I don’t know what TV show you mean.

          I feel pretty sure that most Christians who admire Ken Ham do so because they already believe the Bible rules out deep time and macroevolution, so they are sincerely trying to stay faithful to the Word of God as they understand it. I think it is better to simply explain how what Ken Ham teaches is not plausible (and is not demanded by Scripture) than it is to attack his followers as “naive.”

          Btw, I’m glad you seem to agree with me that “lickspittles” is unnecessary.

          Like

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