AIG: Plate Tectonics and the Flood

The creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia — are giving us a geology lesson today. Their new post is titled Plate Tectonics — The Reality Behind a Theory.

It was written by Andrew Snelling, described as “Geologist, Speaker, Author, Researcher, Editor-in-chief of Answers Research Journal.” They say he’s AIG’s director of research. Very impressive! AIG’s biography page on him says his PhD is in Geology from the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Andy’s knowledge of geology is extensive, as we would expect of a young-Earth creationist. The last time we wrote about one of his essays was Earthquakes Are Caused by Sin. Here are some excerpts from Andy’s new article, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

One of the most incredible claims of modern science is that continents move. When Alfred Wegener proposed a version of this theory in 1912, fellow scientists accused him of “pseudoscience,” “delirious ravings,” and suffering from “moving crust disease.” Now that his theory is widely accepted, most schoolbooks and museums present it simply as fact, without detailed justification.

Creationists sometimes use Alfred Wegener and continental drift as justification for the life of rejection and ridicule they endure. Wegener proposed his 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. Wegener was never regarded as a kook, however. He later 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. Unfortunately, he died before his hypothesis was accepted in the 1950s, after the discovery of evidence like seafloor spreading and mid-ocean ridges.

Creationists dream that like Wegener — they too will one day be vindicated. Andy is probably one of those. He says:

Christians need to be careful of both extremes [reflexive rejection or blind acceptance], especially on a topic so central to our understanding of earth history. Just because evolutionists developed a theory doesn’t make it wrong, but scientific “consensus” doesn’t mean we should blindly accept everything they say without some fact-checking.

Andy works for ol’ Hambo, so you know he’s going to check his facts. He tells us:

No one wants to sound like Wegener’s original close-minded, shrill opponents. If we’re not careful, educated people may ignore anything we say, including what we say about the Bible’s history, Christ, and the gospel.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Creationists do sound like Wegener’s close-minded, shrill opponents — with one difference. Creationists persist in their denial even after the facts support the theory.

Most of Andy’s article is a discussion of the facts that support the theory of plate tectonics. We have no problem with that material, so we’ll skip it. But then things get interesting. Andy says:

These are only a few of the many features plate tectonics explains. Just as exciting, it gives us insights into what likely happened during the global Flood judgment of Noah’s day.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Andy continues:

Genesis 7:11 says the Flood began with the breaking up of “the fountains of the great deep.” This catastrophic bursting of hot waters and upwelling molten rock would have caused a massive rift in the seafloor (“the great deep”). Such rifting would have rapidly spread around the globe, including across the pre-Flood supercontinent, tearing it apart to make today’s continents.

Makes perfect sense. Let’s read on:

Shortly thereafter, the cold pre-Flood ocean crust would have started to sink, being subducted under the less dense continental crust, which continued to “float.” Creation scientist John Baumgardner has shown that plate movements would have been extremely fast during the Flood event, compared to what we observe today. [Hee hee!] Most of the continents were moved by seafloor spreading and runaway subduction during the Flood year. Today, we merely see residual movements of the plates, but enough to powerfully explain where all the earthquakes, active volcanoes, mid-ocean ridges, and deep-sea trenches occur on earth.

That’s the classic creationists view of things. Another excerpt:

As we share the warnings of God’s Word with a skeptical generation, we have no reason to fear we will sound pseudoscientific.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And now we come to the end:

Plate movements, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions are still occurring today and remind us that we suffer under the aftereffects of God’s global Flood judgment on human wickedness. People need to hear Jesus’ warning that, as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the day of His second coming, when He will judge the earth a second time, not by water but by fire [scripture reference].

So there you are, dear reader. According to Andy, plate tectonics are evidence of the Flood. You heard it from Hambo’s top geologist, so you know it’s true.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “AIG: Plate Tectonics and the Flood

  1. If we’re not careful, educated people may ignore anything we say, including what we say about the Bible’s history, Christ, and the gospel.
    That’s understandable of educated people, to ignore what Ham and his bible say as the myth that it is.
    Such rifting would have rapidly spread around the globe, including across the pre-Flood supercontinent, tearing it apart to make today’s continents.
    Did I miss something, where in the bible does it say there’s a pre-Flood supercontinent? Gondwanaland?

  2. I suspect there’s been a translation error that’s been promulgated for too long. It seems that “fountains of the deep” in reality refers to the “fountains of the derp.”

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    WOW! This educated person is stunned at the amount of additional questions he has before he even tries to believe a word of this theory. In the meantime, I’ll continue to think creationists are absolutely idiots for putting this together.

    In casually looking at creationist clap-trap, I guess I’ve missed such craziness. WOW!

  4. Ross Cameron

    Snelling is the ultimate hypocrite. He writes articles for scientific journals confirming radioactive dating and writes other articles for AIG denying radioactive dating. What goes on in that man`s head?

  5. Derek Freyberg

    “Since scientists weren’t present to study the original lavas when they flowed out of mid-oceanic ridges, how do they know the lavas came from the boundary between two plates and then pushed the plates in opposite directions? Scientists found the lavas had formed a unique pattern when they cooled, known as magnetic “stripes” (Figure 2).”
    But that’s historical science, not observational science – it’s just the type of reasoning that AiG rejects when it comes to evolution.
    It’s not just that Snelling is a hypocrite, the whole crew are.

  6. It’s surprising that Ham accepts plate tectonics since plate tectonics relies on a time scale of hundreds of millions of years. Any force strong enough to move the pieces of the broken up supercontinent into their current positions in less time than that would have blasted the Earth completely apart, forming another asteroid belt.

  7. I keep thinking of the forces required to fracture the continents and move them to their present positions and then stop them (well, just almost stop them, gotta leave a little extra momentum for some unknown reason.) That’s a lot of energy. I’m no scientist, but I’m guessing the planet would be pretty warm.

    The problem with trying to explain a biblical miracle in scientific terms is that it always raises more questions than it answers. Snelling and Ham should just proclaim that a miracle occurred and move on. The god that created the universe could, presumably, create enough water to flood the earth and be done with it. He could make the water disappear. Why would God be constrained to using some sort of natural process? He certainly didn’t use any known natural process when he poofed the earth into existence, why is he so constrained later?

  8. MR Snelling. The rock record and everything we know about the history of basins and tectonics WORLDWIDE, directly contradicts your ridiculous blather. Shame.

  9. @Ed
    “Why should not the Deity have given to the animal the faculty of vision at once? … Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power.” (William Paley, Natural Theology – BTW: Paley thought that he had an answer)

  10. Ah, yes, Dr Snelling.
    He of, “Will the Real Dr Snelling Please Stand Up?” (refer No Answers in Genesis) .

    Snelling is the genuine article; he practised as a geologist in Australia for some years. But more than this, he has a very rate talent – he has demonstrated the ability to write reports and scientific articles consistent with an old earth and, at the exact same time, write for a creationist audience supporting a young earth. He is a bit of a lad though because though Kenny Ham reckons the earth is 6,000-ish years old, Snelling goes with something a little older – maybe @10,000 years. But these days Snelling is on Kenny’s payroll, so I guess he’s careful not to overstep the mark. Keep the material simple, cover the basics, no controversy – under no circumstances, Dr Snelling, may you ever dive down in the details.

    FWIW, if your interest/curiosity lies in geology, Central Washington University has a great series of YouTube videos on geology. This one in particular is called “Flood Basalts of the Pacific Northwest”. Let’s see if Dr Snelling can explain how 300 separate lava flows fits into a young earth scenario.

  11. Dave Luckett

    I forget where, but I have seen calculations of the energy required for continental reformation on that scale within a few years.

    The heat of friction would boil away the oceans, melt the crust, and strip away most of the atmosphere.

  12. “we suffer under the aftereffects”
    So there were no plate movements, vulcanos and earthquakes until say 5500 years ago? Because Goddiddid? You totally sound like pseudoscience, Andy.

  13. I’m going to make a wild comparison. There is the Cuvier-Geoffrey debate of 1830 in which G. was soundly defeated by C.
    Please bear with me as I over-simplify and ignore some facts. I’m trying to make a case for the creationists, where science consensus agreed on something being not worthy of consideration, only to have it vindicated.
    G. said that the insect anatomy what essentially vertebrate anatomy turned upside down. It was dismissed as ridiculous for about 150 years. And then there was the discoveries of evo-devo which showed the essentially the same genetics for the development of the segments of insects and vertebrates.
    What do you folks think of this as being a better case than plate tectonics?

    Myself, I would continue to point out that the creationists don’t take up the essential first step of formulating an alternative. They don’t have a theory that they are defending. Unlike Geoffrey.

  14. Christine Janis

    That’s a great example Tom

  15. Even without being able to do the exact math, I figured out that America would have moved away from Africa by some 6000 km in 360 days, or 16 km per day, if the process took place over the whole course of the Flood. That is 700 meter per hour! I can’t begin to imagine how much energy must have been released from friction alone. I hope poor Noah had airco.

    As to why the cretinists don’t just appeal to miracles, I suppose that even the thickest of them have realised by now that they can’t completely deny the accomplishments of science, so they feel compelled to embrace it, in a most uncomfortable smothering sort of way.

  16. The audience for the professional creationists are in the market for talk which sounds as if it were legitimate. If there is a market, there is going to be suppliers who will satisfy the demand. No questions asked. It will have to involve as little mathematics as possible, for example.

  17. “they feel compelled to embrace it”
    Also because they want to use the credibility of science to their propagandastic advantage.
    @TomS: if it suits them creacrappers abuse math just as easily.

    https://david.dw-perspective.org.uk/da/index.php/writings/creation-and-mathematics/

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/borelfaq.html

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11191-015-9801-7

  18. “Creation scientist John Baumgardner has shown that plate movements would have been extremely fast during the Flood event, compared to what we observe today. Most of the continents were moved by seafloor spreading and runaway subduction during the Flood year. Today, we merely see residual movements of the plates, but enough to powerfully explain where all the earthquakes, active volcanoes, mid-ocean ridges, and deep-sea trenches occur on earth.

    As we share the warnings of God’s Word with a skeptical generation, we have no reason to fear we will sound pseudoscientific.”

    Yes he REALLY did say all that.

  19. “Did I miss something, where in the bible does it say there’s a pre-Flood supercontinent? Gondwanaland?” Genesis 1:9 – “And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.” If all the water was gathered to one ocean in one place then maybe there was just one supercontinental landmass originally too. Simple. (Though I rather suspect it’s not what the church has ‘always’ and ‘invariably’ believed from reading this verse before scientists like Wegener came along.)

  20. Michael Fugate

    since when does “just making it up”, sound pseudoscientific?

  21. I assume (unless you are a ‘biblical creationist’) you are being ironic.

  22. A strong, forthright theologian needs to stand up to all the Ken Ham-style Young Earth Creationists, telling them their insistence that would-be “True Christians” need to swallow the inerrant, literal Bible nonsense whole is driving away anyone with an IQ above 100.

    Of course, that doesn’t bother Ken Ham. He can make plenty of money off the half of humanity below that threshold.

  23. Someone has demonstrated that it is not possible to take the Bible literally when it comes to the story of a wooden floating refuge for a great diversity of animals.

  24. @Ashley haworth-roberts Thanks. Your comment sparks a thought.

    “Creation scientist John Baumgardner has shown that plate movements would have been extremely fast during the Flood event, compared to what we observe today”

    Hmm. Is that even literally correct?
    Wouldn’t it be more correct to say that “[] Baumgardner has advanced a theory explaining how plate movements would have been extremely fast during the Flood event, compared to what we observe today.”

    This is one of the unappetizing consistencies of YEC writing – a tendency to slip-slide over seemingly little things (such as grammar, in this case) which have the side-effect of implying “undisputed truth” when in fact Baumgardner’s views are a matter of (what is the right form of words here?), “scientific conjecture”?