Monday, November 05, 2007

Creation Geology

One of my spiritual gifts is skimming. The other day I skimmed through 'Theory of Earth' by James Hutton (the founder of uniformitarian geology). Geology is probably my favorite branch of science, but I've never found uniformitarianism convincing. I don't believe that the present processes are the best explanation for what we see. If the choice before us is either 'a lot of time' (uniformitarianism) or 'a lot of water' (catastrophism), I'll take water every day. And so did most/all scientists until Hutton came along. Below I will provide some quotes from Mr. Hutton with my commentary following:

We live in a world where order every where prevails... A living world is evidently an object in the design of things, by whatever Being those things had been designed... (but in our study of geology...) Not only are no powers to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted of except those of which we know the principle, and no extraordinary events to be alleged in order to explain a common appearance...
Here we see Hutton's deistic brand of religion. He believes the earth was designed intelligently, but he doesn't believe that Intelligence would remain involved in His creation. God can't be active in His creation. He can't do extra-odrinary things. My question is, why not?

The general amount of our reasoning is this, that nine-tenths, perhaps, or ninety-nine hundredths of this earth, so far as we see, have been formed by natural operations of the globe, in collecting loose materials, and depositing them at the bottom of the sea;
So he's claiming that 90-99% of geology is explained by slow and gradual processes (like erosion). I'd assume, then, that he's leaving 1-10% open to a catastrophic interpretation. I imagine just about the exact opposite. I think 90-99% of geology is due to catastrophe(s) while 1-10% is due to current processes.

It is only in science that any question concerning the origin and end of things is formed; and it is in science only that the resolution of those questions is to be attained. The natural operations of this globe, by which the size and shape of our land are changed, are so slow as to be altogether imperceptible to men who are employed in pursuing the various occupations of life
I can't help but interpret some arrogance from this quote. Only science touches on origins? Only science can account for origins? The regular citizen has no access to answers about existence?

On the other hand, it is quite possible that none of my readers are very interested in discussing uniformitarianism!

4 comments:

Aaron Perry said...

spiritual gift of skimming...awesome.

regan said...

I've been very interested in the geologic creationism/uniformitarianism debate. It is in geology that evolutionists feel they have their strongest arguments. (They date the remains that they find based on the earth surrounding it.) As a scientist and a believer, I want to pursue the truth in every area of life. I not only want to know what the evolutionary scientists believe, but I also want to know, what is that based on? Is it reliable? I can't be an expert in every field, but I can understand the basic concepts that underlie the theories that are out there.

Lindy said...

Sense you are reading more than me- how do you account for the moving of the tectonic plates? Deny it ever happened? Did the flood cause them to move really fast?

If God created the continents in their present locations, why did He create tectonic plates? I look at something like that and assume that there is some movement planned at some time. If it hasn't happened yet, does that mean that the earth is intended to me around for another million years or so? I think that might be even more unpopular to evangelicals than old earth stuff.

matthew said...

Hey Lindy. In the history of science, it was the uniformitarianists that denied the tectonic plate theory when it first came out. The catastrophists felt it enhanced their theories right away (many YEC's believe there was once 1 large land mass ala Genesis 1:9-10).

Since plate tectonics is now accepted across the board, the uniformitarianists say it is another evidence for 100's of millions of years (at least 100 necessary to create the current oceans and current rates). Catastrophists (Noah's flood brand) believe in catastrophic plate tectonics, as proposed by Dr. John Baumgardner.

So, in short, yes, YEC's believe the flood caused catastrophic movements among the plates