Creationists: Science Proves Earth is Young

We found another example of what we call the creationists’ scientific method. You remember how it goes:

1. Select a conclusion which you already believe is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

Today’s example is from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. You can read all about it in this article at their website: Counting Earth’s Age in Lightning Strikes.

ICR posted that story in mid-November. We saw it back then, but as with most things they post, we decided that it was too stupid to bother with. New developments, however, have caused us to reconsider. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Scientists recently studied the Drakensberg Range in South Africa, discovering that lightning likely damages mountain surfaces far more often than previously thought. Lightning also generates fulgarites, and these two finds call into question old age assignments for Earth’s land features.

Whoa — that’s quite a leap! Here’s the paper they’re talking about, published in Geomorphology: Lightning as a geomorphic agent on mountain summits: Evidence from southern Africa. You can’t read it without a subscription, but there’s a news story about it from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg: New evidence on lightning strikes. It says:

Lightning strikes causing rocks to explode have for the first time been shown to play a huge role in shaping mountain landscapes in southern Africa, debunking previous assumptions that angular rock formations were necessarily caused by cold temperatures, and proving that mountains are a lot less stable than we think.


Professors Jasper Knight and Stefan Grab from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at Wits University used a compass to prove – for the first time ever – that lightning is responsible for some of the angular rock formations in the Drakensburg.


Knight and Grab mapped out the distribution of lightning strikes in the Drakensburg and discovered that lightning significantly controls the evolution of the mountain landscapes because it helps to shape the summit areas – the highest areas – with this blasting effect.


Knight and Grab are challenging centuries old assumptions about what causes mountains to change shape. “Many people have considered mountains to be pretty passive agents, just sitting there to be affected by cold climates over these long periods of time.

There’s more, of course, but we added some bold font to make it clear that this is about the summit area of mountains. We don’t see anything that might support ICR’s grandiose claim that this questions “old age assignments for Earth’s land features.” Let’s see what else ICR has to say:

How might this finding affect overall erosion rates estimated for entire continents? Geologists have studied erosion rates worldwide for decades. A 2011 meta study collated hundreds of data points, finding that land erodes on average at 40 feet every million years. At this rate, all continents reduce to sea level in only 50 million years — far too fast to accommodate the billion-year age assignments of so many exposed Earth rocks.

ICR cites a creation science article as their source for that information. They continue:

But those studies never took into account these new lightning data, a factor which would only accelerate the erosion rate, making Earth’s old age assignment even less credible.

Aaaargh!! Lightning is eroding entire continents! Here’s how their article ends:

Why are continents and high mountains still standing despite dramatic lightning damage and relatively fast erosion rates? The answers to these questions are the same — the world is only thousands, not billions, of years old.

Like your Curmudgeon, you too must be dazzled. But wait — as we previously told you, we saw that ICR item weeks ago and didn’t think it worthy of mention in our humble blog. What changed our mind? Gather ’round, dear readers. There’s more to tell.

It seems that ICR is a very influential source of information — at least for some people. Look what just appeared at the website of WorldNetDaily (WND) — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. We learned about it due to the vigilance of our Retard-o-tron™ with its sirens and flashing lights.

WND’s headline is Phenomenon throws twist into age of Earth. It’s labeled as a “WND Exclusive.” They use ICR’s article as their source and then … well, they go totally berserk. Here’s what they say:

Two South African research scientists have documented a phenomenon that indicates a particular type of soil erosion might have taken place in a split second rather than eons, as mainstream scientists have believed. The conclusion could upset widely accepted estimates for the age of the Earth.

Then they cite and quote from ICR’s “analysis”:

Brian Thomas, the science writer for the Institute for Creation Research, said the new research findings make “earth’s old age assignment even less credible.” Most scientists long have estimated the earth is more than 4 billion years old, while many who believe the Genesis account of creation took place in a literal six days believe it’s only thousands of years The finding that lightning can accomplish in a millisecond what previously was thought to take generations calls into question “old age assignments for earth’s land features,” Thomas wrote.

We’ve given you enough excerpts. You can click over to WND to see how far this craziness has gone — and it’s just getting started. It won’t be long before it becomes “common knowledge” among all creationists that science has “proved” the Earth is young.

Thanks to our Retard-o-tron™, you were there at the … ah, genesis of this item of folklore. Now go forth and spread the good news — the creationists’ scientific method has triumphed again!

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Creationists: Science Proves Earth is Young

  1. Thanks for lightning the mood.

  2. Ah, now it all makes sense. And I suppose the radio isotope dating techniques are skewed by lightning too? And the Atlantic Ocean didn’t slowly grow over millions of years, the land was split by lightning? And the White Cliffs of Dover were not created by a stedy accumulation of tiny algae creatures, they were made by lightning. And the fact that we can see galaxy’s that are billions of light years away, that’s due to lightning. And the fact that…

  3. Brian Axsmith

    This post answers Ken Ham’s question in the post below – Why won’t scientists debate creationists? Who wants to give this kind of idiocy a public forum and a veneer of respectability just by engaging with it?

  4. Ceteris Paribus

    I’m willing to accept the ICR’s argument, but only if they will bow down and acknowledge that those lightning strikes are the work of the mighty God Thor. Praise be to Thor! Hallelujah!

  5. I guess Thor must have been working quad over time creating all those lightening strikes. Just think of the number of strikes per hour there would have to be in order to erode a mountain range in a short geological time span to a level plain.

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    @ Lorne You speak of mere “strikes per hour”?

    But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with Thor one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    It’s in the ICR’s bible somewhere.

  7. Like your steps in the creationist scientific method. Spot on!

    I rarely comment on your posts, but I read your work regularly. THANK YOU for what you do, for the time and patience you put into it.

  8. Because *all* mountains were formed 4.5 billion years ago.

    Oh, except in Timanfaya National Park on the island of Lanzarote in the Canaries, where volcanos began to erupt in 1730 AD, and formed 132 mountains by 1736.

    Must have been an error. Pay no attention.

  9. Only a tad off topic, but I have only just now noticed that both Answers in Genesis AND The Discovery Mentaltute are both offering cruises from Seattle to Alaska next summer!

    AiG shindig sails from Seattle for Alaska on 29 July 2014, returning 6 July, and is conducted by featured speakers Dr. David Crandall and Steve Ham.

    The Discoveroid junket sails from Seattle to Alaska on 26 July 2014, returning 2 August, and features such luminary speakers as Dr. Stephen Meyer and Dr. John Lennox.

    What an embarras de richesses! How can I possibly choose? Pricing depends on cabin selected, with AiG offering a range from $864.00 to $1,844.00, while the clearly up-market DI offers more luxury in the price range of $1,199 to $3,749. Eenie, meenie, minnie, moe…

    Damn, we all might just have to splash out and take both cruises…

  10. Great! Now emergency rooms across the country will be flooded with concussion victims from all the head desks by geologists and anyone who made it roughly awake through high school science.

    Why, yes, nurse, I am feeling better now …

  11. I guess the mountain ranges that are currently growing higher are not being struck by lightening. The Himalayas are rising about 5mm per year, for example.

    Maybe that’s included in the “ignore all other evidence” part of the creationist model.

  12. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    This reminds me of something I read about Glen Morton. One of the things that helped push him over the edge, realizing that YEC was untenable, was the number of volcanoes and their demonstrable activity over time. It dawned on him that to compact that activity into a 10,000 year stretch would make Earth’s atmosphere entirely unlivable. I think impacts from extra-planetary objects factored in too. The attempt to condense all of the above that into that period of time is absurd.

  13. Surely, even creationists can see that lightning strikes in forested areas do not erode the soil. Trees form an ablative layer that absorbs the energy.

    Also I notice the ICR “theorists” never explain how fulgarities (melted and resolidified soil resulting from lightning strikes on bare ground) promote continental leveling. These formations are interesting, but they do not level high spots in any significant way. If anything, they resist erosion, being harder than the soil around them.

  14. I guess they didn’t get the memo about plate tectonics.

  15. You are spot on the creationists scientific method! It works wonders. You get any result you want on any topic. God must be really annoyed with his followers

  16. Charles Deetz ;)

    Interesting to see a comment from Brian Thomas on the WND discussion, which includes this comment:

    “However, the article above MISQUOTES me twice, and embeds a wrong link. Ultimately, this damages both of our reputations, as well as the impact of the message. Any chance we can correct these issues?”

    No response shown. Proof of the quality of WND.

  17. Eye on ICR has a more technical rebuttal of ICR’s lightning argument:

  18. Ceteris Paribus

    Ed says [bold font added]: “The Himalayas are rising about 5mm per year, for example.”

    The ICR will have to modify their lightning/erosion model to account for that uplift. Likely they will soon prove that the rising crust is direct scientific evidence of the great many souls now being consigned to the Eternal Lake of Fire down in Hell, and jumping up and down on each other trying to get back out. And we can challenge the ICR by asking “but were you there?”

  19. @Ed: That just means that the world must be less than 1.8 million years old, silly.

  20. I know that I’m one of those rare people who actually prefers teaching to giving assignments. But if I wrote a title like “Creationists: Science Proves Earth is Young” I could not resist adding the subtitle: “Some creationists, that is. Most do not, because they know it’s nonsense. But they’ll almost never volunteer that. It’s a ‘big tent’ thing.”

  21. Also in the point three department:

    Quite a few hits. Now if the Earth were 6 000 years old I would have expected some during my lifetime. Now why I can’t remember any?

    “Interesting to see a comment from Brian Thomas on the WND discussion”
    Aaaahhh, the thrilling spectacle of unrest in crealand. Shouldn’t this be a separate category for this website? I had a thread on a now defunct Dutch forum about it which was visited by some creacrappers as well.

  22. Megalonyx: “… Answers in Genesis AND The Discovery Mentaltute are both offering cruises from Seattle to Alaska next summer!
    AiG shindig sails from Seattle for Alaska on 29 July 2014, returning 6 July…”

    Wow! This is big news! It appears as though Ken Ham has figured out how to travel back in time! Now he can truly say he WAS there!
    (Sorry, Megs, I just couldn’t resist.)

    As for the absurd assertion of ICR that lightning strikes have eroded the mountains down to level plains, well… yeah, it’s just absurd. As many have already pointed out, mountains are being formed continually on Earth by plate tectonics and volcanism. Moreover, anyone who has done any hiking in the mountains with open eyes has seen solid rock that has been disintegrated by the actions of weathering.

  23. Oops – perhaps I should have gone through the above comments first.

  24. Never mind – it doesn’t hurt to know there are more sensible people around.

  25. The “evolution” of creationism, circa 1980:

    1. Select a conclusion which you already believe is true.

    Face it, young earth, and old-earth with independent origin of “kinds” are not true, and even if one was, advocates of the other would never concede. So why not just make the “true conclusion” merely be that evolution is false, then let the audience fill in whatever they want. Yeah, we know evolution is not false, so we can just concoct a caricature and call it “Darwinism.” Even most critics won’t notice the bait-and-switch, let alone nonscientists.

    2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.

    One piece? Hah! We got millions. Whenever those “Darwinists” find something it gives us one more opportunity to take it of context to peddle unreasonable doubt to nonscientists. Whenever a “gap” gets filled will just say “now there are 2 gaps.” The scientists will be so busy with complicated refutations that most audience will not notice that we have no alternate testable “theory.”

    3. Ignore all other evidence.

    Just as we did before. But now it’s even easier.

    4. That’s it.

    But this time it’ll fool more people, and distract more critics.