Dr. Andrew Snelling – Five Mass Extinctions or One Cataclysmic Event?

Many scientists claim the fossil record shows many mass extinctions separated by millions of years. Does the Bible give a better explanation?

Imagine relaxing at your dream vacation spot. Do you prefer a tropical forest, lush and humid, where fragrances from exotic flowers overwhelm your senses? Or a sandy coast, where the sun warms your skin and the palm trees sway? Or a secluded old-growth forest, where the only sound for miles around is a trickling brook?

Now add a triceratops splashing in the water, while a duck-billed dinosaur lazily chomps on a tasty conifer tree nearby. Overhead, a pterosaur glides toward its lair in the jagged cliffs.

What an amazing world we live in, and what an amazing world it once was! Fossils indicate that the earth has been covered with a wondrous array of environments in the past.

Then something happened. The earth’s rocks indicate that past catastrophes struck on a scale unlike anything we see today. The earth’s crust split open, belching toxic fumes into the sky and sending rivers of lava that swallowed up forests and everything else in their path.

The original continent also broke apart. The land rose and fell as the broken landmasses slid around and bashed into each other. A deluge of floodwaters battered the shallow seas and coasts, and then moved inland. Terrified animals roared and screamed, seeking safety but finding none.

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Dr. Andrew Snelling – Determination of the Decay Constants and Half-Lives of Uranium-238 (238U) and Uranium-235 (235U), and the Implications for U-Pb and Pb-Pb Radioisotope Dating Methodologies

Introduction

Radioisotope dating of rocks and meteorites is perhaps the most potent claimed proof for the supposed old age of the earth and the solar system. The absolute ages provided by the radioisotope dating methods provide an apparent aura of certainty to the claimed millions and billions of years for formation of the earth’s rocks. Many in both the scientific community and the general public around the world thus remain convinced of the earth’s claimed great antiquity.

However, accurate radioisotopic age determinations require that the decay constants of the respective parent radionuclides be accurately known and constant in time. Ideally, the uncertainty of the decay constants should be negligible compared to, or at least be commensurate with, the analytical uncertainties of the mass spectrometer measurements entering the radioisotope age calculations (Begemann et al. 2001). Clearly, based on the ongoing discussion in the conventional literature this is still not the case at present. The stunning improvements in the performance of mass spectrometers during the past four or so decades, starting with the landmark paper by Wasserburg et al. (1969), have not been accompanied by any comparable improvement in the accuracy of the decay constants (Begemann et al. 2001; Steiger and Jäger 1977), in spite of ongoing attempts (Miller 2012). The uncertainties associated with direct half-life determinations are, in most cases, still at the 1% level, which is still significantly better than any radioisotope method for determining the ages of rock formations. However, even uncertainties of only 1% in the half-lives lead to very significant discrepancies in the derived radioisotope ages. The recognition of an urgent need to improve the situation is not new (for example, Min et al. 2000; Renne, Karner, and Ludwig 1998). It continues to be mentioned, at one time or another, by every group active in geo- or cosmochronology (Schmitz 2012).

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Andrew Snelling – When Continents Collide

When geologists assume the earth changes slowly, they overlook astonishing evidence of Noah’s global Flood.

Writing in the early 1800s, lawyer-turned-geologist Charles Lyell radically changed how people look at the world. Using his legal training to build cases, he argued convincingly that the earth’s piles of rock layers were formed over millions of years by slow and gradual processes. His skill was so persuasive that geologists stopped even considering the possibility that some large sediment layers formed rapidly. Terms to describe fast deposits weren’t even coined until recent decades. Older geologic dictionaries don’t have a word for deposits made in storms (called tempestites) or for sediment layers reshaped by earthquakes (called seismites).

Even now, because of their old-earth bias, secular geologists assume a rock layer formed slowly unless conclusively demonstrated otherwise. Further, they don’t look for deposits affected by global-scale events. But creationists do.

In 1996 a rancher in Wyoming showed creation geologist Kurt Wise and me a massive sandstone bed with convoluted layering on his ranch. At the time we recognized it as important evidence of the Flood catastrophe, but we did not understand how it formed or its significance.

Then in 2011 creation geologist Arthur Chadwick reported a surprising discovery.1 While excavating thousands of duck-bill and other dinosaur fossils at the ranch for 15 years, he had traced the same six-foot-thick (2 m) sandstone bed across the entire 11-square-mile (28 km2) ranch. He also recognized it as a seismite. That was astonishing, since geologists are used to thinking of seismites in terms of inches, not feet.

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Andrew Snelling – Did Tectonic Activity Trigger the Ice Age?

plate-tectonics

In the evolutionary uniformitarian (slow-and-gradual) view of earth’s history, the earth’s climate remained on a fairly even keel for hundreds of millions of years. However, it is claimed that there were some dramatic exceptions. Around 80 million years ago, the planet’s temperature supposedly plummeted, along with carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The earth is said to have eventually recovered from that cooling event, only to swing back into the present-day Ice Age 50 million years ago.1

That’s right! You did read that correctly. Evolutionary uniformitarian geologists are saying we are still currently in an Ice Age! Perhaps you didn’t realize that when you sweated through the heat and humidity of the summer months and were told that the soaring temperatures were due to global warming or climate change!

Now geologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claim to have identified the likely cause of both the cooling event at 80 million years ago, and the onset of the Ice Age around 50 million years ago, as well as a natural mechanism for carbon sequestration.2 Evidently, just prior to both periods, massive tectonic collisions took place near the earth’s equator—a tropical zone where rocks undergo heavy weathering due to frequent rain and other environmental conditions. This weathering involves chemical reactions that absorb a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The dramatic drawdown of carbon dioxide cooled the atmosphere, they suggest, and set the planet up for the cooling event at 80 million years ago and the Ice Age beginning 50 million years ago, in the late Cretaceous and the Eocene, respectively.

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Andrew Snelling – Sifting Through Layers of Meaning

layers-of-meaning

According to science textbooks, a series of rock layers covers the earth, representing many eras over “millions of years.” Do these charts have any connection with reality?

Most Christians who grew up in church heard Sunday school lessons about Adam in the Garden of Eden and Noah on the Ark, surrounded by bunny rabbits and dairy cows munching happily on grass. As they grew up, however, images of the “earth shaker” Seismosaurus or sea monsters like Mosasaurus shattered these simplistic scenes of life on earth before the Flood.

Meanwhile, science class and natural history museums presented a different picture. Colorful scientific charts depicted a thick stack of rock layers full of dinosaurs and other creatures that supposedly lived millions of years ago — the geologic column. Given this conflict, churchgoers had a choice to make. At one extreme, some denied that dinosaurs existed altogether, and they called the geologic column a lie. On another extreme, some abandoned the Bible, choosing what appeared to be science over God’s Word.

But there’s a third option. We can—and should—embrace both the Bible and the science, including fossils and the sequence of rock layers portrayed in the geologic column. Scientists have made many exciting discoveries about rocks that are observable and repeatable. We can use these to help us reconstruct the past without accepting the labels for “millions of years,” which are based on faulty assumptions.

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Andrew Snelling – Chalk It Up to a Global Flood: Science in Perspective

chalk-it-up

At today’s rate of ocean-floor buildup, chalk layers would take millions of years to form. How do creationists explain them?

SC-RA-A-A-TCH! Skeep. Skri-i-itch.

Those sounds filled the classrooms when I was growing up in Australia, as teachers wrote with sticks of chalk on the chalkboards that lined the front of every classroom. It’s been a long time since teachers have regularly used those tools, but chalk has made a big comeback among craft-lovers, thanks to the spray paint that can turn any surface into a chalkboard.

When I was a boy, cringing at the occasional chalk squeak, I never realized these small white sticks actually came from a thick layer of rock made up of microscopic fossils.

That’s what chalk is: a soft, pure, fine-textured limestone that has a marine origin and is usually white. It consists primarily (90–99%) of the mineral calcite, formed mainly by the shells of floating microorganisms, set in a very fine matrix.

I learned that fact years later in my university geology class, where I was also taught about the famous White Cliffs of Dover along the coast of southern England. These cliffs are actually beds of chalk 350 feet (110 m) high. What a thrill it was when I later stood on the seashore looking up at these tall white cliffs!

The thrill was marred by one thought: university geology classes teach that these beds of chalk required millions of years to be deposited, as very tiny shells slowly sank and settled on the seafloor and mixed with lime to form an ooze.

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Dr. Andrew Snelling – Did Meteors Trigger Noah’s Flood?

Have you ever wondered what triggered the Genesis Flood? Genesis 7:11 tells us that a unique geologic event took place at the same moment as the Flood began: “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”

Most creation geologists believe that the opening of “the fountains of the great deep” refers to the breakup of the earth’s crust into plates. The subsequent rapid, catastrophic movement of these plates would have released huge quantities of hot subterranean waters and molten rock into the ocean. As the hot water gushed through the fractured seafloor, the water flashed into superheated steam and shot high into the atmosphere as supersonic steam jets, carrying sea water that eventually fell as rain.

But what catastrophe might God have used to cause the earth’s crust—many miles thick—to crack? Some have suggested a meteorite or asteroid impact of unprecedented size and scope. Do we find any evidence? Geologists have discovered some gargantuous remnant craters and piles of debris, leftover from massive impacts that easily fit the bill.
A Smoking Gun in Australia?

One example of an impact powerful enough to trigger the Flood is the 56-milewide (90 km) Acraman impact crater in South Australia. It apparently resulted from a 2.5-mile-wide (4 km) asteroid that slammed into the Outback at almost 16 miles per second (26 km/s) (Figure 1). The explosion would have been equivalent to the detonation of 50,000–100,000 hydrogen bombs all at once! The impact blasted some of the pulverised pre-Flood crystalline basement rocks to sites 280 miles (450 km) away, and the debris accumulated in a layer 16 inches (40 cm) thick within some of the earliest Flood deposits.

An asteroid impact—or several simultaneous impacts—that triggered the Flood may also have been part of an ongoing, solar-system-wide catastrophe that lasted for months or years. If so, we would expect to find evidence of many other meteorites that subsequently hit the earth during God’s judgment on the planet. Two lines of evidence can be used to support this inference: (1) the rapid rate of past cratering during the Flood, and (2) the fields of meteorites left by this bombardment.

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