ICR: Creation Science & Meteor Craters

Meteor craters are like dinosaurs — they’re not mentioned in the bible. Although creationists have lately embraced dinosaurs, claiming they were frolicking in the Garden of Eden and were passengers on Noah’s Ark, they never seem to mention meteor craters. A few years ago when we wrote The Scientific Case Against Craterism, we didn’t foresee that creationists would ever get involved. But we were wrong.

The creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — have turned their attention to the godless science of craterism, and the results are beyond our wildest imagining.

ICR’s essay is An Extraterrestrial Cause for the Flood? It’s written by John D. Morris, Ph.D., and that name requires us to consult the ICR begats in order to know who he is.

ICR was founded by Henry Morris (1918-2006), about whom we wrote Henry Morris: the Ultimate Creationist. Together with John Whitcomb, he wrote The Genesis Flood, published in 1961. Morris is regarded as the father of the modern creation science movement. Not only that, but he founded a creationist dynasty.

The founder’s eldest son, Henry Morris III, is carrying on the family business as ICR’s Chief Executive Officer. His son, Henry IV (the grandson of ICR’s founder), is “Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.” He has a degree in Business from Liberty University. Another son of ICR’s founder, John D. Morris, is now president of ICR and is “best known for leading expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark.” Our guess is that he wrote today’s article.

Okay, now we’re ready to begin. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and ICR’s scripture references omitted:

The Bible mentions the primary physical causes for the great Flood of Noah’s day in Genesis 7:11. First to break loose were “all the fountains of the great deep.” These no doubt brought to the surface enormous volumes of water and magma that had been sequestered beneath earth’s surface. Next, we are told that the “windows of heaven were opened,” pummeling the earth with excessive rainfall. Both “fountains” and “windows” remained open for 150 days [scripture reference], and then God closed them. We observe the results of these geologic processes in the vast amounts of sedimentary and volcanic rock draped over the continents.

We observe the results? Yes, and thanks to scripture, we know the cause. He continues:

Another geologic process may have been involved, although it is not mentioned in Scripture. Large surface features on earth seem to speak of horrific past events that no longer occur. Meteorite impact craters suggest earlier episodes of bombardment not witnessed by man, but recorded in rock.

But, but … those things happened in the past! Hey, Dr. Morris: Were you there? Why are you speculating about events not mentioned in scripture and not witnessed by man, but “recorded in rock”? This is an outrage! Ah well, let’s read on:

The best known crater is the Barringer Meteorite Crater in Arizona. Its sharp edges have not been significantly eroded, indicating that the meteor probably struck ground during post-Flood times.

That’s a crude but almost rational attempt at dating a geological feature. However, it’s based on godless uniformitarian principles — that we can know the past by assuming that physical processes happened then as they do now. This is very strange behavior for a creationist. We continue:

Other craters are too big to see at ground level and can only be detected from a high altitude or on a map. The biggest ones are discerned through sub-surface mapping and the discovery of meteorite fragments in drilling. The underground craters are encased in Flood sediments, leading to the conclusion that meteorites impacted earth during the Flood.

That’s quite a conclusion, and a considerable problem for Noah and his fragile cargo of dinosaurs. Here’s more:

Consider the fact that the nearby moon is literally pockmarked with meteorite craters, as are the nearby rocky planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The outer planets, consisting almost entirely of gas, would not preserve such a record of bombardment. However, their moons exhibit abundant cratering. Creation scientists have long speculated that during the Flood the solar system may have passed through a “dirty” place in space or an asteroid swarm.

We don’t understand how creation scientists can entertain such un-scriptural speculations. Moving along:

It may be that the creation week spawned such impacts, but at least the impact craters contained within Flood sediments indicate that meteorites must have hit during the Flood itself, adding to the horrors of the Flood.

Creation week or the Flood — it’s gotta be one or the other; but without scriptural guidance, the creation scientists have no way to figure it out. Another excerpt:

Perhaps bombardment was the God-caused and God-controlled trigger that initiated the Flood, breaking open the “fountains.”

Good theory! It belongs in every geology text. And now we come to the end:

Locked as we are in the present, we can hardly comprehend such a cataclysm and, certainly, cannot reconstruct it — we can only stand in awe of His great power as we study its results.

Yup, we’ll never figure it out, so all we can do is simultaneously wallow in ignorance and stand in awe. Isn’t creation science great?

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “ICR: Creation Science & Meteor Craters

  1. The best part is that Noah rode out this worldwide catastrophic meteor bombardment in a handmade wooden boat containing tens of thousands of hungry animals.

    Why isn’t there a “Book of Noah” in the bible? The destruction of the entire world takes up only a couple of paragraphs in Genesis, forcing people like Ham and Morris to improvise and invent all sorts of embellishments to improve it. If God hurled massive rocks at the earth to open the “fountains”, one would think that would merit mention.

    Maybe the ancient Hebrews had short attention spans, explaining the brevity of the creation account and the flood story. That hypothesis is challenged by the inordinate length spent on genealogies and the hundreds of detailed laws, however. My opinion is that the original writers didn’t think the old myths to be all that important compared to documenting their laws and the tribal relationships. They would never have imagined that someday those old stories would be taken literally and be the basis of a fundamentalist religion while the genealogies and most of the laws would fade to obscurity.

  2. This from TalkOrigins:

    “Meteorite impacts. Erosion and crustal movements have erased an unknown number of impact craters on earth, but Creationists Whitcomb and DeYoung suggest that cratering to the extent seen on the Moon and Mercury occurred on earth during the year of Noah’s Flood. The heat from just one of the largest lunar impacts released an estimated 3 x 1026 joules; the same sized object falling to earth would release even more energy. [Fezer, pp. 45-46]“

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Since it is election year, some selective quotations are in order:

    “Creation scientists have long speculated”

    Wow, the truth comes out. Kinda.

  4. Isn’t great the way Creation Science has added to our scientific knowledge with such great discoveries as… eh, somebody help me out here!

  5. Ceteris Paribus

    John D Morris, PhD says “Consider the fact that the nearby moon is literally pockmarked with meteorite craters, as are the nearby rocky planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.”

    Now this is an interesting statement, given the creationist frame that literal words found in their literal bible are to be read, um, “literally”. No such thing as “metaphorically” or “figuratively” allowed in creationist theology.

    So if these celestial orbs are “literally pockmarked”, then they must have at some time been exposed to a pox, which can only mean that the rocky planets and their moons are living beings susceptible to infectious diseases.

    So John D Morris, PhD is maybe hiding a Gaia hypothesis up the sleeve of his academic robe? Or maybe some clerk at Liberty Baptist University made a typo on John’s diploma, and he is simply trying to do the best he can with a mail order diploma for Cosmology, when what he had actually paid for was a PhD in Cosmetology.

  6. John is apparently abandoning his grandfather Henry’s view: “Morris wrote in The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth (1972) that the craters of the moon were caused by a cosmic battle between the forces of Satan and the armies of the archangel Michael.”

  7. retiredsciguy

    ICR: “Perhaps bombardment was the … trigger that initiated the Flood, breaking open the “fountains.””

    Actually, some truth to that, but not Flood or “fountains” of water, but rather flood basalt flows. The largest asteroid impacts send such strong shock waves through the globe that they open up vast fissures in the crust on the opposite side of the earth, allowing huge quantities of basalt lava to come to the surface from the mantle. The Deccan Traps of India, one such flood basalt formation, was located directly opposite the the Chixalub impact when it occurred 65 million years ago. (Nice tie-in with dinosaurs, huh?)

    We see similarly fissured crust opposite large craters on both the moon and Mercury (Mare Orientale on the moon; Caloris Basin on Mercury).

  8. David Evans

    Just one of those impacts (at Chicxulub) is believed to be a major cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs. ICR gives a nice summary of the effects:

    “Soot and dust circled the earth, darkening the sun for months or years. Global cooling may have lasted for decades. Photosynthesis ceased and food chains collapsed. Sulfur was injected into the stratosphere, forming sulfuric acid rain. The ozone layer was temporarily destroyed by atmospheric turbulence.”

    Wikipedia lists about 44 impact craters with a diameter of 20 km or more. I estimate the total impact energy as about 10 times the Chicxulub event. And we are meant to believe all those impacts (and countless smaller ones) occurred in the year of the flood? The Earth would have been a very hostile place in the months and years following.

    And another thing. Most objects that cross the Earth’s orbit in any given year don’t hit it – it’s a small target. If 44 hit in 1 year, the total number in Earth-crossing orbit must have been huge. So where are they? Why didn’t some hit us the next year, and the next, and the next…?

  9. RBH says: “Morris wrote in The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth (1972) that the craters of the moon were caused by a cosmic battle …”

    I like that much better than the Flood theory. (And I don’t know why your comment got snared by the spam-catcher.)

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    @David Evans: “Why didn’t some [earth orbit crossing asteroids, etc] hit us the next year, and the next, and the next…?”

    You would need to find a physics prof to explain this with some power point slides and hand waving, but there are only three possible trajectories for celestial bodies to interact with each other in space.

    Depending on initial conditions at the point where gravity becomes significant, the trajectory of an asteroid can be (1) parabolic, in which case it collides with the larger body; or (2) elliptical, in which case the two objects fall into orbit around their common center of mass; or (3) hyperbolic, in which case the asteroid gains sufficient velocity at the expense of the planet that the asteroid is ejected on a path that will never have a chance to intersect and collide with the planet at a later time. The parabolic trajectory trick is used to ‘slingshot’ space probes to distant destinations by first making them come close to a convenient planet.

    On the other hand, the Raeliens’ cosmology provides a simpler explanation where asteroids (or space ships) can just kind of jump from one place to another as directed by the gods. Clean and simple. No math required. Maybe just as good as Morris’ cosmic battle.

  11. Ed, the pseudopigrapha has you covered:
    And it’s weirder than you think.

  12. @ Curmudgeon:

    I have a complaint about your calling Henry Morris “the ultimate creationist.” He is certainly the key person in the “evolution” of creationism from an honest, if misguided belief to full-blown pseudoscience. But to today’s anti-evolution movement he is a net liability. For the simple reasons that his quaint creationism makes testable claims that can be, and have been, refuted by other creationists. To earn the title of “ultimate creationist” one must have total commitment to the big tent, discourage all public challenging of anyone else in the big tent, and make no testable statement that can be refuted. Rather, one much focus exclusively on promoting unreasonable doubt, and more importantly, paranoia, of evolution. Or more accurately a “Darwinism” caricature. If anyone has truly earned that title, it is David Klinghoffer.

  13. @ Anonymous – thanks for the link…. great stuff.

  14. This is from Henry Morris’ “Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth”, p. 78.

    On pages 61-2 he asserts that God created the starlight in transit on its way to Earth, possibly on day one of Creation week, three days before the stars were created on Day Four. The fake starlight (and neutrinos etc.) resolves the problem of light getting here from distant stars in 6,000 years.

    p. 63: Definitely no extraterrestrial intelligences on other stars, except for angels, good and evil, which are associated with stars.

    p. 64: Post-Resurrection, Born Again Christians will have bodies that can violate the laws of physics and travel faster than light, and it will be their responsibility to explore and “develop” other galaxies. Factories and condominiums on Andromeda?

    p. 65-7 is about how craters, fissures etc. on the planets and the moon are due to ongoing cosmic Star Wars between Michael and his good angels and Satan and his evil angels.

    Morris: “At the end of the six days of creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good”… The planets, however, as well as asteroids and meteorites, give evidence of having experienced an abundance of violent volcanic and seismic activity since they were created, and the occasional appearance of novas and supernovas among the stars indicates that these also are subject to destructive forces.

    …There is also, of course, the possibility that the sin of Satan, who evidently once had dominion over the stars of heaven, led to a curse on his dominion just as Adam’s sin led to the Curse on the earth. …But he [Satan] had said: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:13). Furthermore, he had led with him in his rebellion “the third part of the stars of heaven” (Revelation 12:4).

    God, therefore, said “I will cast thee to the earth” (Ezekiel 28:17), and ultimately “down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:15).
    Satan thenceforth became “the prince of the power of the air”…

    God’s holy angels, on the other hand, have continued faithful to God… It is clear, therefore, that there is a continuing cosmic warfare between “Michael and his angels” and “the dragon and his angels” (Revelation 12:7). Aspects of this conflict are glimpsed occasionally in Scripture [refs]

    The physical stars, which are somehow associated with the spiritual host of heaven, may thus be also involved in this heavenly warfare. The “stars” associated with the solar system, such as the planets and asteroids (and it should be remembered that the term “star” in Biblical usage applies to any heavenly body other than the sun and moon) would be particularly likely to be involved, in view of the heavy concentration of angels, both good and evil, around the planet Earth.
    There are a number of Biblical references indicating that in some way the stars may actually participate in human battles
    (Numbers 24:17; Judges 5:20; Revelation 6:13; 8:10; etc.). Such passages may all be simply figurative, but then again they may not. …the possibility is at least open that the fractures and scars on the moon and Mars, the shattered remnants of an erstwhile planet that became the asteroids, the peculiar rings of Saturn, the meteorite swarms, and other such features …may have been acquired later [than Creation Week]. Perhaps they reflect some kind of heavenly catastrophe associated either with Satan’s primeval rebellion or his continuing battle against Michael and his angels.” [Henry Morris, "Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth" (1978), p.65-7]

    On page 67 he cites Immanuel Velikovsky. He also asserts there is truth to astrology:

    “The long fascination of men of all nations with pagan astrology can only be understood if it is recognized that there is some substratum of truth in the otherwise strange notion that objects billions of miles away could have any influence on earthly events. Certainly the physical stars as such can have no effect on the earth, but the evil spirits connected with them are not so limited.” [Ibid., p. 67]

    In the same paragraph he embraces UFO’s and associates them with occult phenomena, a popular theme with creationists, most famously reconstructionist fascist Gary North.

    Furthermore, the well-documented association of certain “U.F.O.” sightings with occultic influences and tendencies suggests that the “rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12) are increasingly imaginative in their battles for the minds of men.
    [Ibid., p. 67]

    This is why we fight.

  15. I’d temporarily forgotten about Henry’s notion that light from stars was created en route. IIRC, he accounted for the observations of distant novas and supernovas in historical times by positing that the original stars never actually existed, and that God created “blobs” (Henry’s word, IIRC) of light en route. So when we see distant stars that suddenly go supernova (like SN 1987a, 168.000 light years away) it’s just an illusion: that star never actually existed.

  16. RBH says: ” it’s just an illusion: that star never actually existed.”

    Why didn’t he make the same argument for fossils? The principle is the same.

  17. Wonder what kind of battle two sets of immortal beings can have?

  18. That does it – I’m going to look for some used copies of Morris’s books and quote it to Creationist. I look forward to quoting it back to Creationists. ;-)