The Best Critique of Flood Geology Written by a Flood Geologist

Young-earth creationists have been wrangling for decades over how to identify where the Flood/post-Flood boundary is to be found. I described the most popular hypotheses put forward by YECs in a recent post, Where is Noah’s Flood in the Geological Column? I have also recorded a YouTube video based on this article.

There is little reason to believe that this issue of the placement of the Flood boundary will be resolved any time soon.

While the Flood/post-Flood boundary has received much attention in the YEC literature there is another Flood boundary that deserves attention: the pre-Flood/Flood boundary. Most YECs assume that that boundary is to be found at something called the Great Unconformity which lies below the Cambrian Period rocks. Rock below this unconformity, which does include some simple fossils, is thought to have formed during the creation week or during the period between creation and the Flood. While most YECs talk as if this is an obvious point demarcating the onset of Noah’s Flood a few are not so sure.

Earlier this year, Answers Research Journal, the research journal of Answers in Genesis edited by Dr. Andrew Snelling (AiG) published what I think is one of the best critiques of Flood Geology ever published by an young-earth creationists and by a YEC journal. The article is titled: “Using Stromatolites to Rethink the Precambrian-Cambrian Pre-Flood/Flood Boundary.” It was written by Dr. Ken Coulson, a professor of science (geosciences specialty) at San Diego Christian College. Dr. Coulson received his BS in Geology at Cedarville University and PhD in geology from Loma Linda University. Cedarville has the most significant YEC-influenced geology program in the world. Dr. Coulson has published a book, Creation Unfolding which includes a challenge to his fellow creationists to rethink the bottom half of the geological column. The book is a fascinating read. Coulson identifies some serious flaws in the YEC geological paradigm. I agree very much with his assessments of where YECs need to do a rethink. His solutions, though based on a young-earth paradigm, are not likely to be accepted widely in the YEC community but his critique of standard YEC geology cannot be ignored.

In this ARJ article Dr. Coulson provides compelling evidence that the “traditional” pre-Flood/Flood boundary held by YECs needs to be rethought. He suggests that boundary be found much higher in the geological column.

I am not going to rehash his arguments against conventional Flood geology here or his solutions to the problems he raises. I am going to highly recommend that all those that are interested in understanding Flood Geology whether you be a supporter or critique need to read his article in ARJ. It is a long and detailed article but the discussion section provides a wonderful payoff for the time spent. Coulson provides one of the best overviews of the issues confronting Flood Geology. Although he is committed to the young-earth viewpoint I believe he has written one of the best critiques of Flood Geology that I have read.

You don’t have time to read a 42 page article you say? Linked below is the second part of a three-part series that is a video version of his paper. This nine minute video presents the heart of his argument for why the traditional view of the pre-Flood/Flood boundary must be wrong. I think this is very well done and in large part the same arguments he makes here could be applied to the entirety of the geological column and thus presents a significant challenge to the reigning YEC Flood geology models today.

All YECs need to watch this presentation and be challenged to incorporate Coulson’s evidence into their models. I have seen no response to Coulson’s article in ARJ or elsewhere across the YEC landscape. Usually Ken Ham and AIG will tweet/FB articles from the journal to their audience but thus far, apart from publishing the article in their journal I have not seem them bring it to anyone’s attention. The readership of the journal is very low and and article will receive almost no attention if the organization does not promote works its publishes. I will be interested to see if there are any academic YEC responses to this article in the next few years. As I said before, I believe this is an important article and should not be dismissed by YECs who wish to have their Flood geology beliefs taken seriously.

From Ken Coulson’s YouTube channel “Creation Unfolding” Go to his channel to find Parts I and III of this series.

Lastly, I would point out that I wrote as series of articles about something I called “The New Creationists” as a way of identifying a new wave of creationism. Ken Coulson was one of the people I identified as part of this new wave. He and others are more willing to challenge the YEC paradigms and do so with a greater respect for gracious dialogue and willingness to allow the evidence to lead them. Below is part I of my YouTube discussion of this New Creationism.

9 thoughts on “The Best Critique of Flood Geology Written by a Flood Geologist

  1. Thanks for the heads us; however, I wish you had made the point (which you have stated or at least implied in previous posts) that the overarching problem YECs have on this issue is that no matter where they try to put the PreFlood of PostFlood boundaries severe problems arise. In short, they simply have no plausible place to put the Flood. This is true whether one examines microfossils, macrofossils, or trace fossils. As you know (but some readers may not) I wrote an extensive article showing that in terms of trace fossils alone (fossil tracks, burrows, nests, etc) no matter where they try to put the Flood, their efforts fail miserably.
    In the more than 15 years since I posted the article, YECs have made virtually no response (publicly or privately), and the few comments they have made on the issue ignores or contradicts mountains of evidence.
    This is not even getting into radiometric dating, which even the ICR YECs who authored the RATE project admitted can’t be explained in a YEC viewpoint without invoking multiple ad-hoc miracles (though they used euphemisms like “providence” to avoid using that term).
    Frankly, there is so much scientific evidence against a recent global Flood that all of these articles discussing where it occurred strike me as examples of extreme cognitive dissonance, and little different than arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. As I think you pointed out in one of your articles, the irony of all these YEC articles attacking each other’s Flood placements are in a sense all correct (when it comes to showing the flaws in other views), but all wrong (when trying to defend their own arguments).
    So I for one will continue to encourage them all to please consider that perhaps they have all these problems because they have unnecessarily committed themselves to a rigid and flawed interpretation of Genesis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your trace fossil work deserves to be more widely known, keep adding that link! I agree, it is one of the clearest, most intuitive (common sense) arguments against a global flood. I watch these debates about the age of the earth and so much time is spent debating radiometric dating but that stuff goes right over the head of the average person. Rain drops, borrows, dinosaur eggs etc. provide much better images and yes, YECs try to ignore these topics and provide at most cursory hand-wavy responses. I’ve written so many articles on specific fossils or trace fossils for this reason. Dinosaur nests with a snake and evidences of wasp cocoons if one spends a few minutes thinking about makes no sense in the middle of a global flood.


      1. Thanks Joel. I also appreciate your articles on trace fossils and how they challenge YEC views. It’s pretty plain that YECs have no plausible explanations when they suggest things as ludicrous as the idea that dinosaur nests may have been made under water (Barnhard), or that many dino tracks may be misidentified fish traces (Woodmorappe), or that almost all dino trails are straight (Oard, Biddle, and others) even though they curve as often as any modern trackways, often go in many different directions even on the same site, and usually indicate normal walking gaits, all of which conflict with his contention that they were trying to escape on rushing flood waters. They also cannot begin to explain why millions of dinosaurs on thousands of sites would survive to make billions of tracks in Mesozoic rocks, but no humans or other large modern mammals. Invertebrate traces compound their problems many fold, since they are abundant throughout the fossil record, and often indicate anything but violent flood conditions. In desperation to account for this Woodmorappe suggested that unambiguous traces of definite biologic origin are rare, which is nonsense, since countless millions are known from thousands of horizons. Oard even asked the silly question of how a track exposure in Australia could have withstood erosion for millions of years, as if he did not know that it was buried for most of those years (as many 10 year old children could tell him).
        The upshot again is that they simply have no place in the geologic record to place the flood that does not starkly contradict the observable evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joel, you mentioned that you have not seen a YEC response to Coulson’s analysis. Actually John MacKay has done so here:

    MacKay pans Coulson’s views, and suggests they are not Biblical or YEC, and that Coulson is essentially an evolutionist attempting to subjugate the Bible to secular science. I have not seen Coulson’s Part III video yet, or read his book, to judge whether he is more of a YEC or mainstream scientist, but I find many of MacKay’s remarks ironic, as he seems to often place a lot of weight on “scientific evidence” himself while promoting YECism, but often misunderstand or neglect much of the relevant evidence.


    1. Glen, thanks so much for the link. I had not see that. Coulson’s part III was just released last night or this morning on YouTube. I skimmed through it and wow, it is pretty much an appearance of age argument though some sort of super-speed processes in the past.


  3. One small clarification. You mentioned that Coulson has a BS in Geology from Cedarville US. To be fair, in the Intro to his book at Amazon Coulson also lists a PhD in Earth Science from Loma Linda University in California. Of course, Loma Linda like Cedarville is a YEC school.


  4. Coulson part II is 8 minutes long not 28. It is refreshingly clear and to the point. Unlike parts I and III which are fact-free and long winded, particularly III


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