The Appearance of Age and the Origin of the Hawaiian Islands

What is the origin of the Hawaiian Islands?  The exploration of that question consumed my attention for several years.  At that time—way back in the 1990s—I was a post-doctoral researcher at Southern Illinois University sequencing chloroplast genes from holoparasitic plants. At the same time I discovered list-serve discussion groups, I was given creation science literature with assurances that my every question would be answered, and I was challenged by church leadership to be wary of the “secular” education I was receiving.

The confluence of these things initiated my long involvement in the creation/evolution/age of the earth debate.   In addition to reading all things Genesis and science I found myself drawn to the question about the origin of the Hawaiian Islands as a way of exploring different views of creation.   So I dove deep into all things Hawaii geology and biology.  The result of that research was a short manuscript using the Hawaiian Islands to examine competing Christian interpretations of origins.   Eventually that evolved into a 195-page book manuscript focused on creation science interpretations of Earth’s history.

All of this was years before I began this blog.  So what happened to that manuscript? Well, it has collected a lot of digital dust.  I’ve opened the file and dusted it off a few times to work on a few chapters but if you were an early reader of this blog—or maybe even last week!:-)—you can imagine that the manuscript is poorly written and not publishable.

With that rousing endorsement:-) I share one of the chapters of that manuscript which examines the possibility that God created the world with the appearance of age.


The following is a sample (chapter 8) from a book manuscript:  The Hawaiian Islands and the Age of the Earth: A Case Study on Creation Science by R. Joel Duff.  The entire chapter can be downloaded by clicking here: Appearance of Age and the Origin of the Hawaiian Islands-RJDuff-Draft2019

Chapter VIII:  The Appearance of Age and the Origin of the Hawaiian Islands

What is the origin of the Hawaiian Islands?  In the previous chapters we explored both conventional and young-earth Flood Geology models for the origins of these islands.    We saw that creation scientists universally prefer to account for geological features of the earth including the Hawaiian Islands by appealing to creative events during a recent global flood or post-Flood catastrophes.   I have never met a young-earth advocate well-read in creation science literature who believed the Hawaiian Islands have their origins prior to a global flood about 4500 years ago.  Why is that?

One possibility is the perceived lack of causal agents for such origins during the time between the end of the creation week and the initiation of the Flood (ie. nothing is recorded in Scriptures between the creation and Flood that would suggest dramatic changes to the earth’s structure).  But what about the creation week itself?  Couldn’t God have created the Hawaiian Island when he created the heavens and the earth?

As I said, I haven’t met anyone who is either a young-earth apologist or well-versed in creationists literature who believed the Hawaiian Islands were formed during the creation week. But I do encounter Christian non-scientists who have not explored the creationist’ or secular literature who are eager to point to events of the creation week to explain the origins of many of earth’s geological features and other features of creation such as the physical appearance of the Moon and other planets.  Their appeal to fiat creation by God in the space of six days is often a reflexive response to what they perceive as overwhelming evidence that the Hawaiian Island are very old.  We have explored some of this evidence in previous chapters.  Radiometric dating, coral reef growth rates, paleomagnetism, tectonic plate motion, erosion of volcanoes and subsidence of the islands form a strong case for an ancient history of the Hawaiian Islands.

For Christians who feel a literal reading of scriptures demands a recent creation of the Hawaiian Islands a convenient response to these evidence of an ancient age can be an appeal to creation with the appearance of age.   In a nutshell, creation with the appearance of age is the belief that God may have created physical objects during the creation week which, upon inspection, have the appearance of being much older than they actually are.  The simplest proof of concept involves an appeal to the creation of Adam who, created as an adult, would have the appearance of having had a history of growth and development that was not a real history.  The logic extension to this would be to propose that trees with growth rings, craters on the surface of the Moon and starlight endowed with information about supernovae explosions might all have been created to appear to tell a story of an ancient history but it is nothing more the appearance of age.

This is not a new idea.   An appeal to creation with the appearance of age has been a common defense of creationism in the past especially among natural theologians of the 19th century.   Appeals to apparent age creation were common at this time but have lost favor among Christian theologians and scientist in the 20th century.   As I said before, many Christian non-scientists find apparent age creation appealing and intuitive and therefore still play a large part in common discussion of creation and the age of the earth.   Its appeal is obvious. To someone not versed in science navigating the complex world of scientific evidence and sometimes complicated biblical evidence it seems far simpler to ask: why couldn’t God have created the Hawaiian Islands as we see them today?    Many Christians wonder, why not just push the origin of the Hawaiian Islands all the way into the six-day creation week rather than find what seem to be convoluted explanation for their formation by what seems to be solely natural mechanisms?

It is the response to these questions that we will devote our discussion in this chapter. We will ask why creation scientists don’t believe that the Hawaiian Island were made by God during the creation week.  We will also examine the history of apparent age creationism and see what creation scientist and theologians have to say about it.

Were the Hawaiian Islands created on creation day three? 

……. continued here: Appearance of Age and the Origin of the Hawaiian Islands-RJDuff-Draft2019


I have also written about apparent age several times on this blog:

Apparent Age: Craters on Mars
A Young Mercury?  Apparent Age Redux
Meteorite Impact Craters and Apparent Age

 

Comments

  1. Robert Byers says:

    Modern yEC would not see, or shouldn’t see, these pacific isles as existing before the flood. First because we wold see a single lanfmass existing from creation week. Only the flood year broke it up as is now. Indeed the seas would surely of been mich more shallow. Likewise a perfect creation would never have had volcanic eruptions. nor after thye curse/fall. All volcanic isles must be post flood.
    so these isles have only existed since thye flood or some late event. I don’t know but am sure its either from the flood year or a few centuries later.
    there is no such thing as earth looking aged. the only way to know what looks aged is from presuming since it was not witnessed. anything beat up looks aged. Modern geomorphology is all about showing how megafloods can create canyons that otherwise others would say looked old and were created over long timelines.

    Like

    • thehonestskepticatgmaildotcom says:

      This is the entire point of the post, Robert. Modern YEC say, just as you suggest, that the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaiian Seamount, and Emperor Seamount all formed during or after the flood. This is the issue. AiG says that the Pacific Plate moved north and west at a rate of meters per second, not centimeters per year, and that these islands all formed during one year. An island chain of over 2500 miles in length, the radiometric ages of which correlate perfectly with the currently measured rate at which the Pacific Plate is seen to be moving (~10 cm / year.) Additionally, coral atolls such as Midway, have 900′ of coral that has built up (some morphing to limestone) over the top of the current bedrock. Salt and erosion wear down the islands. Young islands like the Big Island are very large, tall and smooth. Older islands, like Kauai, are very weathered and worn. The further on out on looks in the chain, the more worn they are, until they disappear beneath the surface. Furthermore, as you know, coral does not grow at great depths, it grows slowly in the shallows. For an island like Midway to have 900′ of coral before one reaches the bedrock means that many millions of years ago, the island surface was near the surface of the water, where coral can grow. As the rock slowly wore down, the coral slowly grew up, staying near the sunlight where it could survive and thrive. There is no YEC explanation for this.

      Like

      • Robert Byers says:

        How landscape looks is not evidence of age. There is no reason to not see landscapes as looking different just because of minor events in a short period of time. there is a presumption here that is not being recognized. if the ‘youngest” looking islands are just a instant creation and thier looks is irrelevant to age then the other isles looking more worn out makes no case for age. there might be some week long event that mildly beat some more up then others and in a row. yet its not showing age. thats just a unproven line of reasoning.
        corals can be evidence of lower water levels and thats fine. many events, even the ice age, are suggested by everryone to have lowered the water.
        I also suggest these isles were possibly only created a few hundred years after the flood. by events in the earths crust rising and falling.

        Like

        • These are all easy things to say when one doesn’t know the evidence. What you are suggesting are in direct opposition to innumerable facts. Its one thing to have an interesting idea but those ideas have to move to the point of being tested at some point.
          So you use the looks of animals to say they are related the appearance of islands has no relation to their age? You do realize that one Hawaiian Island has active volcanoes while others have worn down volcanoes. Surely that has to count for something.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Barry Passmore says:

            Appreciate this post very much. I don’t remember who said it but, “while everyone may be entitled to his own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts”. And presuppositions can be a terrible thing to overcome!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Robert Byers says:

            Joel Duff
            The appearance of landscapes would not indicate age if there is a mechanism that quickly develops them One does not know what a aged isle looks like. One only knows the isles we look at. Whatever created the most beat up one/aghed one would, by a reduction in the force of the mechanism/its power, also leave the next isle less beat up looking.
            Active volcanoes just shows its over a active place in the crust. A worn down one simply could mean a massive explosion. in fact this is more likely. They all blew up suddenly and only since a few laggards puff up now and then.
            There is no way to guess the age by looking at them. They can mimic any look by any quick event. This has been taught in modern geomorphology in regards to megafloods. there is a good youtube/possibly noav, show on a general treatment of megafloods mimicing what was historically called obvious examples opf time created canyons etc etc.

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  2. The problem is Robert, that you’re ignoring the massive, multi-faceted evidence explained by Joel and others that these Islands were not formed by recent or rapid post Flood events.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sallyhawksworth says:

    What a huge amount of painstaking effort you put into that manuscript, Joel, and still years and years later you are labouring to persuade the apostles of unreason that what they are maintaining is the history of the earth is total fantasy, as the accumulated evidence of hundreds of years of dedicated scientific work by hundreds of thousands of scientists, conclusively demonstrates to anyone not indoctrinated by biblical literalists before they learnt any science.

    And I fear it is a waste of your time. The trouble is that the basic premise of the literalists, that the first chapters of Genesis have any reliability whatsoever as a truthful account of the origins of the earth, the wider universe, or mankind, is false. They have no more truth in them than the creation myths of any other culture. They are a total fiction. And while I can see how awkward this is for Christians who are firmly committed to belief in the reliability of the New Testament, and their redemption by Christ, I’m afraid that IMO the logical corollary of the unreliability of Genesis is that the bible is NOT the Word of God. But no one likes the idea that he has built his house on shifting sand, to borrow a Biblical metaphor. Many prefer to bury their heads in it, and remain wilfully ignorant about science, like Robert. While I suspect that those learned mainstream scientists who DO preserve their Christian faith have to exercise a certain degree of doublethink.Do the doctrines of the Fall and the Atonement really chime with scientific understanding of human origins? At what point in time were humans endowed with immortal souls? Do chimps have them too?

    Like

    • Robert Byers says:

      Apostles of unreason/fantasy verses hundreds of thousands of scientists(so thats where the taxes go;paying origin scientists by the stadium load, .
      its about intelligent analysis of the evidence plus a witness from God.
      Why arte you persuaded by a few naked islands in the pacific as to great timelines.
      In fact these isles make a great case for sudden volcanic eruptions unrelated for need for time.
      The fauna/flora show a story of when they cam also.

      Like

      • sallyhawksworth says:

        Why do you imagine, Robert, that the scientists I referred to are, or were, in the case of the many who are now deceased, funded by taxes? It seems that your fantastic inventions are not limited to “scientific” hypotheses but extend to your picture of government, finance and the lives of scientists. Many scientific discoveries in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were made by people who had private means and required no outside income, but studied scientific subjects for the sheer love of learning about the world and understanding it better.. Darwin, who incidentally apart from all his other achievements was the first person to write a scientific paper explaining the formation of coral atolls, was one such. Others were academics and teachers, funded by the educational institutions they were employed by, and in the early nineteenth century quite often doing the science in their spare time, while employed to lecture in theology and philosophy. Others have earned their living in jobs unrelated to their scientific research, like Einstein, employed by the Patent Office. Others again have been employed by private businesses to use their scientific understanding to make money for the firm, or have themselves traded, in plants, animals, minerals or fossils, making use of their expert knowledge. Some have made money through their writings or media work, or their inventions. Those scientists who are employed by government agencies that are funded by taxes are not being employed to discover the origins of the planet,or of its life. They are working to improve agricultural yields, or public health, to counter future threats to the environment, and so on. Perhaps it has never dawned on you, who assumes that any wild unsupported fantasy you come up with has just as much validity as the carefully worked out, experimentally verified, theory of someone who has spent a lifetime studying and working in a particular field, that in the real world theoretical science has practical applications.

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    • Sally, I agree that most YECs won’t change their views no matter how much evidence is presented to them, because they are based on rigid interpretations of Genesis. SO most YECs won’t change their minds, no matter how much evidence is shown to them. On the other hand, I don’t think your fear that refuting them will be (at least in all cases) a “waste of time.” Some YECs are reachable, and I’m living proof of it, as is Glenn Morton and other fellow former YECs I know. In our youth, he and I tried hard to make YECism work, and even argued it to others. But we changed our views after doing more first hand research (both scientific and on Biblical issues), with the help of good YEC refutations by others. Indeed, I now resent the many misleading arguments that first led me down the YEC path, and all the YEC propaganda still being churned out by major groups, in increasingly slick form (videos, colorful magazines, etc), with a lot of it specifically aimed at children and laymen with little science background.
      Other evidence that refuting YEC claims is not always a waste of time is that in some cases, YECs will back down on specific claims in the fact of overwhelming, clearly presented evidence, as happened when I and others published thorough refutations of the Paluxy “man track” claims. Sure, most never made full or frank retractions, but the major YEC groups stopped actively promoting them, and recommended that their followers no longer cite the tracks as anti-evolutionary evidence. So progress can be made. Yeah, a small remnant of far-fringe YECs such as Carl Baugh and Ian Juby continue to promote the track claims, while many other YECs (including all the major groups) continue to promote all kinds of other unfounded claims. But that’s no reason to stop addressing them. After all, if nothing else it might help prevent many undecided people from falling for YECism. .

      Liked by 2 people

      • sallyhawksworth says:

        You’re right, of course, Glen. And I just hope that a goodly number of “undecideds”, or persuadable young YECs, are interested enough to find their way to sites like this. The contrast between the posts of you and Joel and Christine and all the rest who present detailed, coherent scientific evidence and arguments on the one hand, and Robert’s posts, which seem to get ever more incoherent, and even when his meaning can be puzzled out consist of nothing but bald, unsupported, and usually completely untrue assertions, must be apparent to any reader, surely. And while Peer’s posts present a somewhat more scientific, as well as more literate, appearance, he does seem to go “missing in action” when someone asks him an awkward question, or points out the flaw in some line of argument he was advancing, which suggests, at best, a possibly unconscious unwillingness to engage with arguments or evidence that contradict his pet hypotheses, and at worst a deliberate policy of using seemingly scientific ID discourse while concealing the Creationist foundation behind his ideas. (Though I mustn’t leap to conclusions. he might just be on holiday, or be snowed under with other stuff, or have a family that demands he pays THEM a bit of attention. :) )

        Like

        • sallyhawksworth says:

          I just realised that my remarks about Peer’s posts may puzzle anyone not a regular reader of Joel’s blogs, since he hasn’t posted at all in this thread. My apologies. I’d just been looking at new comments after Joel’s earlier blog entitled “Stranger things….”, where Peer HAD been posting, (as he has done on various other threads here) but had then failed to respond there to questions asked by me and another poster, so he was in my mind as the only other person who regularly comes to this site to dispute the mainstream evolutionary narrative.

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  4. David C. says:

    Additionally, shallow reef-building coral (there are deepwater corals, but they are quite distinctive and aren’t the ones that make up the fossil reefs on the Hawaiian Islands) require warm temperatures to survive. Kure and Midway are close to the northern limit; beyond that, the reefs have not kept up with the sinking rate, and the former islands are underwater. But that pattern reflects having a generally similar distribution of water temperatures over time, so that the old islands are reaching the edge of reef building possibility and disappearing under the waves. In other words, this needs to be a long, steady process, not something violently different like during a catastrophic global flood where plates moving at around 40 mph creates so much heat that the earth melts and Noah is incinerated, which is what current flood models imply.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robert Byers says:

      I see no problem for yEC with shallow coral reefs building. In fact the glory of creation would be in a warmer, more shallow, post flood world. Why should this show a constant temp or why would that matter?

      Like

      • sallyhawksworth says:

        One problem for YEC of shallow coral reefs building is that it takes a very very long time for the reefs to build up the thickness of coral that they demonstrably possess. You do know how coral is formed, don’t you, Robert?

        Like

        • Robert Byers says:

          It was never finished from start to finished. its speculation. many options. first there was more corals after the flood. A rich sea. then they probably lived longer like people and i suspect creatures. everything was healthier. sometoimes a head start from some disasrter or some reason they accumulated together suddenlt and died. they could possibly be showing past dramatic events and only after was there a slower growth.

          Like

          • Robert, So, everything was “healthier” after a violent global Flood, which would have decimated all original habitats and left muddy wastelands, both terrestrial and aquatic? Really? Did you even bother to read the articles I linked to, or the evidence in other posts here? If so, then again, please try to address that evidence, rather than just making more vague and shallow speculations.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Robert, coral reefs are indeed a huge problem for YECs because of the time it takes for large reefs to grow, which is far outside the YEC time frame. A number of reefs (modern and fossil) had to have grown for at least tens of thousands of years, even under the fastest growing conditions. YECs of course claim it could have been far faster after the Flood, when the fact is, the opposite would have been more likely–that the major temperature, chemistry, turbidity, and other changes during the Flood, would have wiped most corals out, and left conditions after the Flood hostile to coral grown and even survival.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Robert, for just a taste of how many serious problems coral reefs pose for YECs, here’s an excerpt from an ASA web page at https://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/agelogic-cr.htm#d
    AIG claims there is no problem if corals grew faster in the past, but they’d have to have grown orders of magnitude faster under hostile-post Flood conditions to boot. There is no evidence for such growth even aside from the other lines of evidence outlined below.

    Coral Reefs (growth rates and astronomical cycles)
    When scientists measure the height of coral reefs and the average growth rate of corals — and consider the upper limits set by metabolic biochemistry, calcium solubility, and subsidence velocity (this is important because reef-foundations must sink slowly so the growing corals can remain underwater but not too far under the surface) — and then calculate “height/rate (= distance/speed) = time”, they conclude that some reefs are very old. For example, estimates for three reefs (Eniwetok, Great Bahama, and Great Barrier) are 200 thousand, 800 thousand, and 18 million years.
    Also, the combination of coral-and-earth has interesting details. The earth’s rate of rotation is slowing down, due to the friction caused by tides that are produced by the moon’s gravity, so each day (the time required for one rotation) is getting longer, with fewer days per solar year (the time required for earth to orbit the sun). In astronomy, physics-based math calculations predict that in the Cambrian period each year had 412 days, in the Devonian it was 400, and now it’s 365 days per year. For similar reasons, our lunar month (time required for moon to orbit earth) has decreased from 30.5 days in the Devonian to 29.5 days now. / When corals grow they have cycles (each day, lunar month, and solar year) that produce bands we can observe, like the cyclic annual growth rings of a tree. When we examine the growth bands in fossil corals, the relative timings of their growth-cycles (the ratios of days per lunar month, and days per solar year) match the change in timings of the earth’s rotation; the lower we look in the geological column, in any part of the world, the more days we see in each lunar month and solar year, with the observed time increases matching those predicted by the physics-and-math of astronomy.
    And there is a match between these astronomical ages (found by counting the days in lunar months and solar years at different depths in the geological column) and the ages determined by geological observations and by radiometric dating. Perry Phillips says, regarding the coral ages determined by radiometric dating, growth rates, and rotational slowdown, “the three processes upon which the dates depend — radioactivity, biological growth, and tidal friction — are independent processes, yet all three combine [with Multiple Independent Confirmations] to form a coherent, natural picture of what is happening.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robert Byers says:

      i wrote about options to Sallys post. remember fossil or modern big ones were never witnessed. so its after the fact speculation with no imagination for options. As usual.
      As the demise of uniformtarionism has shown. The present only shows mechanisms of today but not of yesterday. Especially sudden dramatic events.

      Like

      • As a matter of fact, they have been witnessed. Rates of coral growth in many places, involving many species different species, have been measured, and they are orders of magnitude slower than YECIsm needs. Moreover, there are ways to gauge fossil coral growth rates and conditions, as explained in the articles I linked to, which apparently you have not bothered to read. If you claim that corals can or would have grown at massively accelerates rates under conditions likely to have existed after the Flood, then present some evidence. You seem to confuse evidence with blowing smoke.

        Liked by 1 person

        • sallyhawksworth says:

          Robert present any evidence, Glen? Good luck waiting for that. Sooner will pigs fly….which come to think of it he is no doubt quite happy to assert they did in those fabulous days after the equally fabulous Flood, when anything was possible, and therefore probable, and therefore happened, because the laws of Nature were totally different then, or temporarily put on hold. And after all, if ancestral pigs, and kangaroos and penguins and sloths and emus evolved fully functional wings in the space of a year or two, flew to whatever parts of the world they currently inhabit, and then promptly devolved into flightless creatures again it would certainly explain how they managed to get there so quickly after disembarking on Ararat. Or perhaps they were just made temporarily weightless, and favourable winds blew them there.
          That the writers of the Bible account of the Flood and its aftermath utterly fail to mention that conditions on the earth (or the animals that emerged from the Ark) were any different immediately after the Flood from those in their own present day, save (presumably) for there being fewer people around, does not seem to inhibit Robert in the slightest from asserting that anything he chances to dream up must have happened at that time. He is just as unperturbed by the complete absence of any evidence, biblical as well as scientific, for his contentions as he is at the mountains of evidence for the scientific narrative of the history of the earth and its life forms.

          Like

          • Sally, I agree with all you say. Part of the reason I even bother engaging Robert (which I probably do too often) and explain or link to evidence against his claims, is for others who may follow these posts or stop by here without participating. Also, maybe in the back of my mind there’s a tiny ray of hope Robert will start to become a little more scientific in his approach, but as you say, there’s probably more chance that pigs will fly..

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  6. Robert, here’s another ASA article, explaining in more detail why coral reefs are incompatible with YECism. https://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/coralreefs.htm
    Can you address the specific evidence presented, rather than just doing more hand-waving and generalizing?

    Liked by 1 person

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