Last week, Pensacola experienced more than 26” of rain overnight. During and after the storm I captured video footage of the damage that was taking place. I even interviewed many people who were directly affected by the flooding and posted a quick video online to show some of the destruction. The video made a simple point: Lots of water can cause lots of erosion. The video has received more than 12,000 views in the four days that it has been on Youtube and thousands more through our media player for CreationToday.org.
While we had thousands of people love the point of the video, not all were happy about it, and I think I know why!
Because I used the erosion in Pensacola to reference the massive erosion features of the Grand Canyon, atheists and evolutionists were concerned that people might see how the facts around the world add up to a global flood. This is very damaging to their religious belief that the world is billions of years old and therefore they felt the need to respond.
I received the below email from the “Friendly Atheist” over the weekend concerning my video. Because the “Friendly Atheist” posted his email to me on a public blog, this will be my public reply to his letter. Enjoy.
Creationist Says Pensacola Flooding is Proof of Grand Canyon Being Carved Out in Days; Geologists Say Otherwise
First, I never said Pensacola flooding proved Grand Canyon was carved out in DAYS. Now, I do believe that the Grand Canyon was formed in a short amount of time compared to the millions-of-years theory which you embrace, but I never claimed it was formed in “Days.” While this may sound trivial, your headline misrepresents what was said. That makes one wonder about the rest of your content.
The main point of the video is that lots of water can be very destructive over a short period of time.
Your headline continues, “Geologists Say Otherwise”.
Which geologists say otherwise? Oh, you went to geologists who make the same assumptions you make and have the same starting point of “millions of years” that you have. What about all the creation geologists who believe that the Grand Canyon is the result of massive amounts of water over a short period of time, rather than the Colorado River carving it over millions of years? Why didn’t you talk to any of them? Just FYI: While there remain many, here are a few you could have contacted:
- Dr. John Morris
- Dr. Steve Austin
- Dr. Tim Clarey
- Dr. John Baumgardner
- Dr. Andrew Snelling
It is also interesting that your geologists did not disagree with the one simple point I made in the video – lots of moving water can cause lots of erosion very quickly.
There’s been some nasty flooding in Pensacola, Florida over the past few days and Creationist Eric Hovind used the tragedy to his advantage.
Used a tragedy for my own advantage? Let’s define that phrase. Typically, this means that one is using the misfortune of another to aid his own personal wealth or power.
I volunteered my time nearly all night digging ditches, shop vacuuming muddy water, mopping floors, and standing on a metal roof cleaning out gutters to prevent further flooding during a storm that had more than 70,000 lightning strikes for my own personal benefit? Is that why we cooked food to feed families? No, I did not use this sad event for my own gain.
However, if by the phrase, “used the tragedy” you mean I used an event to teach others what I have learned by firsthand experience, then I plead guilty as charged. Yes, I made a video in order for others to see the massive destructive power that LOTS of moving water causes in a short period of time. On a small scale, this parallels the destructive force displayed by a global flood as recorded in God’s Word, which eventually resulted in the creation of the Grand Canyon.
Why does it matter whether it was a global flood or millions of years that formed Grand Canyon? Because one view confirms God’s Word and the other denies it. If one cannot believe Genesis 6–9 where the great flood is recorded, they will probably not believe John 3:16 either where God tells the world just how much He loves them.
Have you accused CNN, ABC, NBC, and all the other news outlets who came down to cover the story of using this event for their own advantage? I’m pretty sure that most of them have one thing on their minds: RATINGS. Better ratings means more money. That is the news media’s job. They simply did their jobs. Even with this motive, there is no reason to accuse them of “using the tragedy to their advantage.”
I made a simple four-minute video and put it out to help inform people of the truth. Lots of water can cause lots of erosion in a short period of time. Then I made a parallel to the formation of the Grand Canyon. That’s it. What it does for me is to help fulfill my passion to tell everyone on the planet that God’s Word remains true and accurate. That is my duty as a Christian and as an apologist.
In a video he uploaded yesterday, Hovind is seen interviewing people whose streets have been ruined and property damaged by the erosion. Why is he talking to them? To convince viewers that if destruction like that can happen in a short time span due to the rain, then the Grand Canyon could also have been created in a matter of days due to the mythical flood in Genesis.
Do you realize that when you call the flood “mythical,” you actually fulfill prophecy and help prove the Bible? Second Peter 3:5 tells us that in the last days, people will be willingly ignorant of three things:
- How God created the world.
- How God destroyed the world with a global flood.
- How God will judge the world again.
You are willingly ignorant of the creation of the world and the worldwide Flood, and therefore you give even more evidence for God’s Word being true. Seeing that you have already been a part of proving the Bible by fulfilling prophecy, you should really think about that third one.
Where does he go wrong?
Last night, I asked a couple of geologists who read this site what problems they saw in the video and their explanations were incredibly helpful.
I would love to know what YOUR thoughts were before asking others. Out of curiosity, were you aware of any problems with the information I presented before asking others? Or was this triggered by the fact that I made reference to the Grand Canyon not being millions of years old and you knew something had to be wrong because that goes against evolutionary thinking.
Claire Stout, who has a degree in Environmental Science, explained it this way:
This video clearly depicts that the water washed away topsoil, not the bedrock. It is also a very sandy topsoil. Sandy soil is one of the most unstable soils available. This is not erosion; it is a washout.
Um, since when is water runoff resulting in a washout not considered erosion? A washout is the result of water erosion.
For example: Say you had a rock and a pile of sand sitting next to each other. If you dumped a bucket of water on them, what would the sand do? It would wash away because the individual granules of sand are not coalesced, and there is enough force in the water to lift them and carry them a certain distance. But what happens to the rock? Nothing, because it didn’t erode from one bucket of water. It just gets wet.
The Grand Canyon is not made of soil. It is made of mainly limestone, shale, schist, granite, and sandstone.
This is not a good analogy for what would have taken place at the Grand Canyon.
Many canyon formations have been observed to happen rapidly, showing us that given enough water, even the bedrock will erode away.
Example: In the summer of 2002, a record-setting week’s worth of rain was causing some serious concerns for the Canyon Lake Dam in central Texas. The water was just 2 feet away from cresting the dam. Over a 3 day period, in a remarkable demonstration of the power of raging waters, the flood excavated a 2.2-kilometer-long, 7-meter-deep canyon in the bedrock. The canyon formed in just three days. In the journal Nature Geoscience they said, “Our traditional view of deep river canyons, such as the Grand Canyon, is that they are carved slowly, as the regular flow and occasionally moderate rushing of rivers erodes rock over periods of millions of years. Such is not always the case.”
This might be a better example to look to when discussing the Biblical flood event. Pouring a bucket of water over a rock and a sand pile is not exactly the analogy that fits.
The bedrock beneath the sandy topsoil in the video was, on our time scale, unaffected. Along the geologic timescale (hundreds of millions of years), if this happens hundreds to thousands of more times in the exact same place, we might see small visual differences in the bedrock, but that happens over millions of years. The Grand Canyon has 4,000 to 8,000 feet of sedimentary layers with lots of erosion-resistant rock. Again, not comparable to a few feet of sandy topsoil.
This is simply not true. If we were to have a flood of Biblical proportions, you would once again see that erosion take place very quickly, not over long periods of time. This is the simple point I was making in the video. You don’t need millions of years to create massive erosion features. They really can happen quickly — even in solid bedrock!!!!
Something else you need to consider: The Grand Canyon is a small erosional feature when you compare it to all the other missing strata in the area. Russ Miller from Creation, Evolution and Science Ministries put together a great one minute teaching on the missing strata. A group of us will be seeing this exact formation in just a few weeks on our Grand Canyon trip, but for those of you not going on our trip this year, you can enjoy it here in this video.
What about the pavement breaking? Over time, pavement develops cracks in it due to temperature fluctuation. These points of weakness were most likely affected by the water force and broken apart at the seams. The water was not only on top of the pavement, it flowed through the granules of sandy topsoil beneath it. As the water increased during the storm, more and more of it tried to flow in-between the spaces of the sand, forcing the pieces of sand apart and causing lift in the ground.
Here’s a little bit of science that you need to understand. The amount and speed of water determines how much debris can be carried by the water. This debris carried by the water is called the load. The more load, the faster the erosion takes place. It’s because debris in the water turns it into something like liquid sandpaper. Water traveling at a significant speed with a large load can cause massive erosion features even in solid rock.
Once a piece of pavement was lifted up enough, the force of the water washed it “downstream.” You can see large pieces in the video — how they were not eroded into smaller pieces but just broken apart. Even the pavement, less dense than the weak sandstone, shale, and limestone layers of the Grand Canyon, was not eroded but just broken apart.
Chris Peterson, a research associate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, told me that Hovind was really comparing apples and oranges because the geologic environments were so different:
The erosion shown in this video resulted from several feet of sediment being washed away. Pensacola lies on the Citronelle Formation which consists of unconsolidated gravel and sand… In other words, there’s no rock.
The Grand Canyon is not unconsolidated. All the different layers we see along its sides are solid rock. The softest are sandstones, which are still much more difficult to erode than sand or clay, and there are also very hard layers, granites and schists, which even with a volume of water like that in the Colorado require thousands of years to produce significant erosion.
Chris is the one making an apples and oranges comparison. The entire point of the video was to show that “lots of moving water” over sediment can causes serious erosion, it does not take lots of time. Chris is looking at the Grand Canyon with the wrong assumption. He assumes the Colorado River’s volume today is what it has always been. The river’s normal flow pales in comparison to a worldwide flood. Chris is trying to compare a Needle to the Eiffel Tower. He has not dealt with the fact that the WORLDWIDE FLOOD had much more water than the Colorado River.
I’ve reached out to Eric Hovind last night with this information to get his response. He hasn’t written back yet. In any case, I hope he’s safe. And I hope he’s ready to apologize for spreading this misinformation.
Thank you for your concern. Our family is safe. We went to help a friend whose house was flooded. There are entire neighborhoods where people’s lives are now sitting in their front yard. (More on that later)
This is my attempt to reach out to the Friendly Atheist and try to get him and others to understand the simple point of the video: Massive erosion can take place very quickly with the power of lots of moving water, not lots of time.
Your misrepresentation of what I said convinces me that you don’t care about the facts; but rather, have a pre-drawn conclusion, for which you now need to find evidence.
Your pre-drawn conclusion that the universe came from nothing; that order came from chaos; and that life came from non-life is the real misinformation. I hope you are ready to apologize for all this misinformation you have spread!
Now for my apology. Where did I go wrong in this video? I should try not to get caught in a rainstorm without a comb or a hat! My hair was a mess. I am sorry for that.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. We look forward to serving and equipping you to defend your faith.
*The word Apology comes from a Greek word in the mid 16th century: denoting a formal defense against an accusation. Today we use the word to mean acknowledgement of an offense.