This example of creationist babbling is quite ridiculous, but then — aren’t they all? At the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom, we found this: Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History.
A “Global Flood Model”? Oh, goodie! It appears to be in the form of a scientific paper, attributed to these people: Steven Austin, ICR, John Baumgardner, Los Alamos National Laboratory, D. Russell Humphreys, Sandia National Laboratories; Andrew Snelling, Answers in Genesis (USA); Larry Vardiman, ICR; Kurt Wise, Truett-McConnell.
We recognize some old-time creationists in that collection of worthies. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
In 1859 Antonio Snider proposed that rapid, horizontal divergence of crustal plates occurred during Noah’s Flood. Modern plate tectonics theory is now conflated with assumptions of uniformity of rate and ideas of continental “drift.” Catastrophic plate tectonics theories, such as Snider proposed more than a century ago, appear capable of explaining a wide variety of data — including biblical and geologic data which the slow tectonics theories are incapable of explaining.
Antonio Snider? In 1859? Hey — that’s the same year Darwin published Origin of Species. Why haven’t we heard about Snider?
We’ve long known about Alfred Wegener, who proposed a theory of continental drift in 1912. Alas, he had no supporting evidence — other than the easily observable fact that the continents seem to fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. He also provided evidence of similar geological structures and fossils on opposite oceanic coastlines, which supported his hypothesis that the land masses has once been joined; but he needed a mechanism that could cause the continents to move around, and without that his idea didn’t go anywhere. Wegener was never regarded as a kook, however. Unfortunately, he died before his hypothesis was accepted in the 1950s, after the discovery of evidence like seafloor spreading and mid-ocean ridges.
But what about this Snider chap? Why doesn’t he get some credit? So we Googled around and found this at Wikipedia: Antonio Snider-Pellegrini. They say:
Antonio Snider-Pellegrini (1802-1885) was a French geographer and scientist who theorized about the possibility of continental drift, anticipating Wegener’s theories concerning Pangaea by several decades. … He proposed that all of the continents were once connected together during the Pennsylvanian Period. He based this theory on the fact that he had found plant fossils in both Europe and the United States that were identical. He found matching fossils on all of the continents.
Well, darn! That sounds pretty good. Why has this man been overlooked? Oh, wait — Wikipedia then says:
He also attributed the cause of the fragmentation of the supercontinent to the Great Flood of the Bible.
Aha! The man had good data, but he offered a supernatural explanation. Not very scientific. Although he was undoubtedly a keen observer, he thought like a creationist. Let’s get back to AIG’s article and see what they say:
Snider may have been the first to propose some of the main elements of modern plate tectonics theory. Snider also proposed that the horizontal divergence had been rapid and had occurred during Noah’s Flood. It appears, then, that the first elaboration of plate tectonics theory was presented in the context of catastrophic flood geology.
How wonderful — he was a pioneer. What else does AIG’s paper say?
Because of the enormous explanatory and predictive success of the plate tectonics model … we feel that at least some portion of plate tectonics theory should be incorporated into the creation model. It appears that taking the conventional plate tectonics model and increasing the rate of plate motion neither deprives plate tectonics theory of its explanatory and predictive success, nor does it seem to contradict any passages of Scripture. Therefore, following the example of Antonio Snider we would like to propose a model of geology which is centered about the idea of rapid, horizontal divergence of rigid crustal plates (that is, rapid plate tectonics) during Noah’s Flood. We feel that this model is not only capable of the explanatory and predictive success of conventional plate tectonics, but is also capable of clarifying a number of scriptural claims and explaining some physical data unexplained by conventional plate tectonics theory.
Good grief! They’re trying to revive the creationist’s model. The paper is very long, and it’s filled with geology-talk. If Flood geology is an interest of yours, by all means you should click over to AIG and read it.
Did we find anything else in that paper worth quoting? Not really. At the end they say:
This paper was originally published in the Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism, pp. 609–612 (1994) and is reproduced here with the permission of the Creation Science Fellowship of Pittsburgh
It’s nice to know that the creationists have a place to publish their work. Have we learned anything? Yes, now we know why we never heard of AIG’s pioneering Flood geologist.
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