1. For an excellent review of cosmogonical theories see The Origin of the Solar System by John Whitcomb, Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., Philadelphia (1964).
2. R. M. Goldstein and R. L. Carpenter, Science, Vol. 139, p. 910 (1963).
3. Science News, Vol. 105, p. 220 (1974).
4. T. G. Barnes, Origin and Destiny of the Earth’s Magnetic Field, Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, Calif. (1973).
5. G. P. Kuiper, The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 100, p. 378 (1944).
6. L. Trafton, The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 175, p. 285 (1972).
7. D. A. Allen and T. L. Murdock, Icarus, Vol. 14, p. 1 (1971).
8. C. Sagan, Icarus, Vol. 18, p. 649 (1973).
9. P. H. Abelson, Proceedings National Academy of Science, Vol. 55, p. 1365 (1966).
10. J. S. Lewis, Icarus, Vol. 15, p. 174 (1971).
11. G. P. Kuiper, The Atmospheres of the Earth and Planets, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1952, p. 340.
* Biochemist. Dr. Duane T. Gish is widely known as one of the most effective speakers and writers in the creationist movement today. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from U.C.L.A. in 1949 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1953. He served on the research staff at Berkeley and at Cornell University and spent many years as research biochemist for The Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Creation Research Society and has written many papers on creationism, as well as two ICR books: Evolution? The Fossils Say NO! and Speculations and Experiments on the Origin of Life: A Critique. Dr. Gish is Professor of Natural Science at Christian Heritage College and Associate Director of the Institute for Creation Research.
Our Young Earth
Please realize that I haven't decided that the earth is definitely young. I think there's a great possibility, but I also think it could be old. These are Some things I found on the Creation Outreach Homepage that lead one to believe it's younger than you may think.
Primordial Polonium Radio Haloes: Tiny specks of Polonium 218, a radioactive material encased in granite bedrock, have produced small spherical discolorations. Polonium 218 has a very short "half-life" of only 3 minutes and becomes extinct in a few hours. BUT, bedrock must be solid for polonium to make these tiny haloes. Thus, trillions of tiny polonium radio haloes show that earth's bedrocks were miraculously created, probably instantly, or supernaturally cooled so quickly, these polonium radio haloes formed in the solid rock before these radioactive elements could become extinct.
Cooling Time of the Earth: A prominent geophysicist and his graduate students have computed the earth's cooling time, from a molten state, at a maximum of 44 million years. This takes into account radioactivity. Evolutionists claim, however, that dinosaurs lived 70 million years ago. But, with Earth's bed rocks SOLID to begin with, as the polonium haloes indicate, the earth's cooling time would be just thousands of years. This approximates and is consistent with the 6000 year chronology of the Bible.
Carbon-14 dating: The production rate of C-14 in the atmosphere exceeds the decay rate by about 30% When this non equilibrium data is used instead of the unwarranted evolutionary assumption of equilibrium, computed dates of all the organic materials fall within 10,000 years. If the atmosphere really were old, by now, these two rates would be in equilibrium. Thus, the disparity in the two rates confirms a young atmosphere. Oil, coal, natural gas, and other items evolutionists suppose are very old have been dated by C-14. But, this should not be possible because this dating method is no good past about 50,000 years. So, the ability to date coal, oil, etc., shows these materials are recent.
Magnetic field: Direct measurements of the earth's magnetic field over the past 140 years show a steady and rapid decline in its strength. The half-life of the Earth's magnetic field is about 1400 years. This decay pattern is consistent with the theoretical view that there is an electrical current inside the earth which produces the magnetic field. If this view is correct, then 25,000 years ago the electrical current would have been so large that the earth's structure could not have survived the heat produced. By the way, the sheer existence of the earth's magnetic field is a miracle of creation. The surprisingly rapid decline in the earth's magnetic field, when compared to the maximum possible, original, field strength, argues very strongly for a young earth. We assume, of course, that the magnetic field was created at the same time as the earth itself.
Atmospheric gases: Out atmosphere has less than 40,000 years worth of helium, based on just the production of helium from the decay of uranium and thorium. (The decay of radioactive materials is the only natural source of Helium). There is no known way for large amounts of helium to escape our atmosphere. Our atmosphere must be young.
Moon dust: If the moon were billions of years old, it should have accumulated extensive layers of space dust, possibly a mile in thickness. Before instruments were placed on the moon, NASA scientists were very concerned our astronauts would sink into a sea of dust. This did not happen; there is very little space dust on the moon. Conclusion: the moon must be young.
Decay of the Speed of Light: Two Australian scientists have collected, from scientific articles, data indicating the speed of light has not been constant as most of us were taught, but has really been decreasing. This seems to be confirmed by the words of earlier scientist. The speed of light may have been ten million times faster at one time. Thus, the light from the most distant star may have arrived within seconds of when God made the star. The two men think the permeability of free space is changing and with it the speed of light. Since light is an atomic process, atomic run-rates would change and this means radiometric dates must be recalculated. A rock said to be 4 billion years old, would really be just 6-7000 years old. Also, a National Bureau of Standards' scientist has shown that atomic clocks are slowing down compared to the periods of orbiting celestial bodies.
Oil gushers: Abnormally high gas and oil well pressures within relatively permeable rock imply these fluids were formed or encased less than 10,000 years ago. Otherwise, natural leakage would have reduced their pressure to a level far below what it is today.
A great flood best explains geology: If sedimentary rock layers formed over long ages, we should find tree roots and meteorites imbedded in the layers. We don't find any! In some places many layers are bent smoothly without any cracks. This confirms that these layers were still soft when bent. Dead bodies need rapid burial to form fossils, otherwise they rot or get eaten. Furthermore, sedimentary rocks are cemented together by some cementing agent. Calcium carbonate is a common agent, the same one used in commercial cement. We all know concrete "sets up" rapidly. Thus, fossil bearing rock formations must have been formed quite rapidly. Many layers extend thousands of miles, some even covering most of North America. The great Biblical, Genesis Flood, of Noah and the Ark, best explains these features.
PLANET EARTH: PLAN OR ACCIDENT?
by Stuart E. Nevins, M.S.*
From where did the earth come? By what process was it constructed? Did an ever-seeing Intelligence plan and direct the creation of our planet? Or, did the earth evolve by unguided chance processes without an overseeing plan? A person's answers to the above questions will significantly affect his personal viewpoint regarding the origin, purpose, and destiny of both the earth and man.
Since scientists agree that the earth has not existed eternally, simple logic dictates that no middle position exists on the important issue of plan versus accident. Either a superintending Mind planned and designed our planet, or it all originated by a fortuitous accident without a plan and design! To help resolve the matter let us consider some amazing facts about the earth.
EARTH'S SURFACE TEMPERATURE
The average temperature at the earth's surface depends upon several factors, the two most important being the distance of the earth from the sun and the tilt of the rotational axis of the earth. Of secondary importance to the earth's surface temperature is the area of the continents, the amount of earth covered by light- and heat-reflecting masses of ice (glaciers), and the amount of carbon dioxide and water vapor affecting the transparency of the atmosphere to both incoming and outgoing heat.
The most important factor affecting the surface temperature of the earth is obviously the distance from the sun. If the earth were moved a few million miles closer to the sun, the surface of the earth would become warmer causing our glaciers to melt. With a decrease in the area of ice the total reflectivity of our planet's surface would thereby decrease and more of the sun's heat would be absorbed. The melting of glaciers would produce a rise of sea level, and, apart from flooding most of our modern cities, would create a larger total ocean surface area. Since seawater absorbs larger amounts of solar radiation than equal area land masses, heating of the earth would again be promoted. Furthermore, after increasing the temperature of the oceans, much of the ocean's dissolved carbon dioxide would be added to the atmosphere along with large amounts of water due to increased evaporation. The increased carbon dioxide and water vapor level of the atmosphere would again bring about a significant temperature rise. All things considered, a minor decrease in the sun's distance would have a drastic heating effect on the earth's surface.
What would happen if the earth were a few million miles farther from the sun? The reverse of the previous situation applies. We would have more of our planet covered by ice, with associated increased reflectivity of the sun's heat. The ocean would cover less of the earth's surface and the important process of absorption of heat by seawater would be decreased. Since the ocean would be colder, evaporation would be less with less heat-trapping water vapor in the atmosphere. Much of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would become dissolved in the colder ocean. Calculations show that a decrease of carbon dioxide in the air to just one-half of its present level would lower the average temperature of the earth's surface by about 7.0 degrees Fahrenheit! Thus, increasing the sun's distance would have a profound cooling effect on our planet.
From this discussion we see that the earth is just the proper distance from the sun to maintain the right surface temperature suitable for life and the many important geologic processes! To the evolutionist the distance of the earth from the sun is a strange accident, but to the creationist it is a marvelous testimony of God's planning.
EARTH'S TILT AND ROTATION
The earth's axis of rotation is tilted 231/2 degrees relative to the perpendicular of the earth's plane of orbit. This tilt causes the four seasons. During the months of May, June, and July the northern hemisphere is pointed toward the sun, causing the hemisphere to warm and bringing on the season called summer. During November, December, and January the northern hemisphere is pointed away from the sun providing colder temperatures and the season called winter. Why is this tilt 231/2 degrees? Why not some other value?
What if the earth had no tilt, and the axis of rotation remained perpendicular to the plane of orbit? We would have no seasons and the surface temperature at any point on the earth would be the same during both July and January. The equatorial region of our planet would be intolerably hot all year and the poles would remain fairly cold. Ice would accumulate at the poles. The weather patterns would be stationary with permanently positioned warm and cold air masses. Some areas would continually be very humid while other areas would be quite arid. Only the mid-latitudes would be comfortable for human habitation and suitable for cultivation. Only about one half of our presently farmable lands could grow crops.
What would be the effect if the earth had double the present tilt? Temperature extremes between seasons would be much more pronounced. Even the mid-latitudes would have unbearable heat in the summer and frigid cold in the winter. Most of Europe and North America would experience very prolonged darkness in the winter and very prolonged daylight in the summer. Life on most of the earth's surface would become intolerable.
The earth rotates once every 24 hours producing the interval of time called "day". If the earth rotated more slowly, we would have more extreme day and night temperatures. Other planets have "days" which are many times that of the earth, producing scorching daytime heat followed by freezing nighttime cold. The normal daily routine of plants and animals would be impossible if the earth day were much shorter than that of the present. The 24-hour day seems to be optimum, serving to evenly heat the earth (somewhat like a turkey turning on a barbecue spit).
Thus, we could hardly improve on the present arrangement of tilt and rotation, which seems to be planned for both comfort and economy. Our present tilt causes seasons with associated fluctuations in weather, producing a maximum amount of farmable land and pleasant seasons. The present rotation of the earth helps to uniformly heat its surface and cause winds and ocean currents.
The earth's atmosphere is composed of four important gases. The most abundant gas is nitrogen (N2) which comprises about 78% of the atmosphere. Oxygen gas (O2) is the second most common ingredient, being present at 21%. Argon gas (Ar) is third at slightly less than 1%. Fourth is carbon dioxide gas (CO2), present at 0.03%.
In our study of the atmosphere we see that its gases can be divided into two main categories ¾ inert gases and reactive gases. Argon is inert and nitrogen is relatively inactive. These enter into very few chemical reactions. It is indeed fortunate that nitrogen gas does not readily combine with oxygen, otherwise, we could have an ocean full of nitric acid!
Oxygen gas is the most common reactive gas in our atmosphere. The presence of abundant oxygen is the feature which most distinguishes our atmosphere, for oxygen in more than trace amounts has not been discovered in the atmosphere of any other planet.
Unlike nitrogen gas, oxygen gas readily enters into reactions with other gases, with organic compounds, and with rocks. The present level of oxygen seems to be optimum. If we had more oxygen, combustion would occur more energetically, rocks and metals would weather faster, and life would be adversely affected. If oxygen were less abundant, respiration would be more difficult and we would have a decreased quantity of ozone gas (O3) in the upper atmosphere which shields the earth's surface from deadly ultraviolet rays.
Carbon dioxide is also a reactive gas which forms an essential part of our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is required by plants, serves to effectively trap the sun's radiation, and mixes with water to form an acid which dissolves rocks adding an important substance called bicarbonate to the ocean. Without a continuing supply of carbon from the atmosphere, life would be impossible.
Important as carbon dioxide is to the present earth and life, it comprises only a mere 0.03% of our atmosphere! This small amount, however, seems to be at the optimum value. If we had less carbon dioxide, the total mass of terrestrial and marine plants would decrease, providing less food for animals, the ocean would contain less bicarbonate, becoming more acidic, and the climate would become colder due to the increased transparency of the atmosphere to heat. While an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would cause plants to flourish (a beneficial circumstance for the farmer), there would be some unfortunate side effects. A fivefold increase in carbon dioxide pressure (the optimum level for organic productivity) would alone cause the average world surface temperature to be a few tens of degrees Fahrenheit warmer! Also, a large increase in carbon dioxide would so accelerate the chemical weathering of the continents that an excess of bicarbonate would form in the ocean, leading to an alkali condition unfavorable for life.
The total density or pressure of our atmosphere appears to be ideal. The density is very important for it acts as an insulating blanket protecting the earth from the coldness of space. If the earth had a greater diameter, holding a more dense atmosphere, the thermal blanketing effect would be enhanced, producing a much warmer climate. If the earth were of smaller diameter, holding a less dense atmosphere, there would be a colder climate. As suggested earlier, the earth has the correct surface temperature, showing that the atmosphere has the proper density and that the earth has the proper size!
The atmosphere also serves to filter out ultraviolet light and cosmic rays. Both are harmful to life and would be much more common at the earth's surface if the atmosphere were less dense. The atmosphere also burns up meteors. Long range radio communication is possible because the atmosphere is the correct density to reflect some radio frequencies. Furthermore, the atmosphere reflects unwanted stellar noise which could interfere with radio.
This analysis shows that our atmosphere has both the correct composition and density. How, except by divine planning and design, could our atmosphere have formed?
Water is an extremely rare compound in space. A permanent reserve of liquid water, a very unlikely occurrence in space, is known to exist only on the earth. Our planet possesses an abundant supply estimated at some 340 million cubic miles of liquid water.
Water in liquid form has many unique chemical and physical properties which make it ideal as the primary component of life and the solution of the world ocean. The solvent characteristic of water, for example, makes it possible for all essential nutrients needed by life to be dissolved and assimilated. The fact that water is transparent to visible light makes it possible for marine algae to perform photosynthesis below the ocean surface and for ocean animals to be able to see through water. Water is one of only a few substances which expands when it freezes, preventing our ocean and lakes from freezing from the bottom upward.
One of the most remarkable properties of water is its high heat-capturing and heat-holding capacity. The ocean is less reflective than the land to incoming solar radiation and thereby absorbs more of the sun's energy than equal areas of land. It also takes much more heat to raise the temperature of a unit mass of seawater one degree than it does for an equal mass of the continents. Since the average temperature of the ocean is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the ocean will cool the hotter equatorial land portions of our planet and warm the colder polar regions. Furthermore, ocean currents caused by the earth's rotation serve to circulate seawater and prevent the equatorial seas from becoming too hot and the polar seas from becoming too cold and freezing completely.
The world ocean serves as a reservoir for some very important chemicals besides water. Most of our planet's carbon dioxide is dissolved in seawater, being in equilibrium with the atmosphere. The recent addition of large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels has not significantly raised the amount of that gas in the atmosphere. Most of the combustion-derived carbon dioxide has been absorbed by the ocean.
From our discussion it should be evident that the presence of an ocean on our planet is an evidence of God's planning and foresight. No other planet is known to have a permanent supply of liquid water. The chemical and physical properties of liquid water are necessary for life to survive. The world ocean regulates the earth's temperature and serves as a reservoir for many important chemicals.
The continents which cover 29% of our planet's surface have a mean elevation of about 2,750 feet above sea level. The world ocean which covers 71% of the earth's surface has an average depth of some 12,500 feet! Why do we have such lofty continents along with such deep ocean basins? We would expect, using simple probability estimates, to have an earth of nearly constant elevation.
If we were to scrape off the continents and place them in the deeper parts of the ocean to make an earth of common elevation, we would have an earth covered with approximately 8,000 feet of water! No land areas would be exposed and terrestrial life could not exist. There would be no shallow coastal seas providing ecological zones in which most marine creatures could thrive. The ocean with a constant elevation earth would be nearly void of life.
There are two main reasons why the continents remain elevated above the sea floor. First, the continents are made up of rocks which, as a whole, are less dense than the rocks of the ocean bottom. Second, the continental crust is usually over twice as thick as the oceanic crust. The difference in density and thickness between continental and oceanic crust is just the right amount to maintain the present "freeboard" of the continents above the ocean bottom! To the evolutionist this is a peculiar accident. To the creationist, however, these facts show God's design.
Study of meteorites has revealed that the elements iron and oxygen are about equal in abundance on the average. From what is known about the density and structure of the earth, geologists suggest that iron is the commonest element in the bulk earth, being slightly more abundant than oxygen. However, when the crust of the earth is considered, geologists estimate that oxygen is about eight times more abundant than iron! Furthermore, the earth's crust has unusually large amounts of silicon and aluminum.
If we had larger amounts of iron and magnesium in the crust, oxygen from the atmosphere would be consumed to weather these elements and an oxygen-rich atmosphere would be impossible. Our present crust, unlike other planets and meteorites, is already highly oxidized and therefore permits an oxidizing atmosphere. Thus, the composition of the crust shows God’s wisdom.
Two different conclusions can be drawn from the data which have been presented. The data indicate either that an omniscient Mind planned and designed our amazing planet, or that it originated by a fortuitous accident without plan or design. There is no middle ground! One must decide either God or chance!
The person who is a consistent evolutionist will attribute the many wonders of our planet (the earth's surface temperature, tilt and rotation, atmosphere, ocean, and crust) to the unguided chance. This conclusion, though not impossible, takes a great deal of faith in extremely improbable events. It is akin to supposing that the Mona Lisa came into existence from globs of paint hurled at a canvas.
The creationist, on the other hand, will recognize that the only rational deduction from the data is that the marvels of the earth owe their origin to the intelligence and handiwork of God. It was the psalmist who said:
"In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Oh, come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker" Psalm 95:4-6.
* Stuart E. Nevins has B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology and is Assistant Professor of Geology at Christian Heritage College.
The Sky Has Fallen
by Larry Vardiman, Ph.D.*
The world-wide flood recounted in Genesis has no parallel in today's world. Yet, few serious attempts have been made in the past to explore the meteorology of the flood and the atmosphere of the antediluvian world. Several advances have recently been made in developing atmospheric models and comparing model predictions with observations. These attempts to understand what the atmosphere (firmament) was like before and during the flood help us to realize that, indeed, "The Sky has Fallen."
One method used to explore geophysical events is to construct a model of the event and then correlate observations with predicted effects of the model. For example, Fultz1 has built a physical model of the earth's global circulation in a so-called dishpan experiment, and was able to simulate motions we observe in today's atmosphere. Whitcomb and Morris2 have developed an elementary conceptual model of the vapor canopy theory which Dillow3 has recently expanded significantly. Dillow4 has made other important strides forward by attempting to quantify many of the results. He has developed mathematical models of portions of the vapor canopy theory and compared the results with related observations in the geological record.
The conceptual vapor canopy model developed by Dillow specifies that the earth was surrounded by a vapor canopy before the flood of Noah. This pre-flood atmosphere contained the equivalent of about 40 feet of water in the form of a canopy resting on top of the current atmosphere. The canopy condensed suddenly during the 40-day period of Noah's flood causing the universal deluge. Given such a conceptual model, at least three predictions can be compared with appropriate observations to help confirm or refute the model.
1. An extensive greenhouse effect would have occurred prior to the flood. 2. Physical processes would have been different and plant and animal life would have been affected by the increased atmospheric pressure under the vapor canopy. 3. Temperatures in the polar regions would have decreased suddenly and permanently.
The greenhouse effect gets its name from the observation that the air inside a greenhouse is warmer than the air outside because heat is trapped by the glass windows. Shortwave radiation from the sun travels relatively unimpeded through the glass but longwave radiation returning from the plants and earth inside the greenhouse cannot easily be transmitted back through the glass. Consequently, the heat is trapped and the temperature in the greenhouse rises. A similar effect occurs in our atmosphere today. If it were not for this effect the surface of the earth would be like the moon which gets extremely hot during the day and extremely cold at night.
Prior to the Flood the greenhouse effect would have been amplified greatly. An amplified greenhouse effect would have not only caused the atmosphere to be warmer but would have tended to create a uniform temperature distribution from equator to poles. In addition, it is likely that the temperature in the canopy would have been greater than that near the surface of the earth. In the pre-flood atmosphere, if one were to have gone to the mountains to cool off, assuming there were any mountains prior to the flood, he would have found that the temperature increased rather than decreased as he got higher. Such a condition is called an inversion. We know that such conditions lead to pollution episodes around large cities today because under an inversion the air is very stable and the winds are very light to non-existent. In the pre-flood atmosphere the inversion would have been very strong and the pole-to-equator temperature difference would have been very small resulting in light winds, no storms, and no rain! The entire earth, including the poles would have been much warmer than it is today.
There is abundant evidence that the polar regions were much warmer at one time. A fallen 90-foot fruit tree with ripe fruit and green leaves still on its branches has been found in the frozen ground of the New Siberian islands. The only tree vegetation that grows there now is the one-inch high willow. Palm tree fossils have been found in early tertiary strata in Alaska. Large fossil leaves of tropical plants have been found in Permian sandstone 250 miles from the South Pole. Crocodiles were once prolific in New Jersey and England. It is estimated that the mean sea-level air temperatures at the poles was 45 degrees Farenheit during the Cretaceous period. Today, the temperature is -4 degrees Farenheit. The evidence of warm polar regions is so extensive that the theory of continental drift was developed by evolutionary geologists to help explain how tropical fossil rnaterial can be accounted for at the poles. The vapor canopy theory on the other hand, explicitly predicts tropical vegetation at the poles without the need for refinements to the theory.
Increased Atmospheric Pressure
Pressure is the weight pressing on a surface per unit area. Pressure increases the lower one goes in the atmosphere because there is more mass of vapor stacked above. Prior to the flood when the vapor canopy was resting on top of the ancient atmosphere, its additional weight would have approximately doubled the surface pressure we experience today.
There are several features in the geologic record which might be explained by greater atmospheric pressure at some time in the past. One of the puzzles of natural history is the gigantic flying reptiles called the pteranodon. This flying reptile had wingspans of up to 20 feet. Many authors have questioned how such an animal could launch itself into the air from flat ground. The minimum speed for the pteranodon has been computed to be more than 15 mph in today's atmosphere. Since the pteranodon could not run, this meant that a wind of more than 15 mph would have had to occur before the reptile could become airborne. Pilots know, however, that it is easier to take off at lower altitudes where the pressure is greater. If the atmospheric pressure were twice what it is today prior to the flood, it would have been much easier and required much lighter winds for the pteranodon to take off. Calculations show that it would have required a wind of just over 10 mph for the pteranodon to get airborne in the pre-flood atmosphere.
Even more intriguing is the recent discovery of the pterosaur, a variation of the pteranodon. The Texas pterosaur is estimated to have had a wingspan of over 50 feet. The minimum flight speed in today's atmosphere would have been just over 15 mph. If these reptiles flapped their wings to initiate and maintain flight, the power requirements likely would have exceeded the ability of the birds to maintain flight for a long time in today's atmosphere. In the pre-flood atmosphere with its greater pressure, however, it is likely the pteranodon and pterosaur would have had an easier time. In either environment, however, the biomechanics of these reptiles is near the margin of their ability to fly. This may explain why they are extinct today. After the canopy collapsed, the atmospheric conditions were no longer suitable for this type of creature.
Another illustration of the possible effects of greater atmospheric pressure before the flood is the presence of gigantism in the fossil record. Giant dinosaurs weighing over 40 tons, insects with 25-inch wingspans, and giant shell creatures, spiders, and other invertebrates once lived on the earth, but not today. Is it possible that the greater pressure in the pre-flood atmosphere was able to help supply more oxygen to the biomass of these animals allowing them to live longer, healthier lives and grow larger?
Evidences that higher oxygen pressures are beneficial to biological systems was recently discovered in the aquanaut program. One of the aquanauts reported that a severe cut on his hand healed completely within 24 hours while submerged in a diving bell at a pressure of 10 atmospheres. It was theorized that the higher pressure forced more oxygen into the tissue surrounding the wound and healed it at a greater rate. Based on this observation experiments in hyperbaric surgery were started with excellent results. Higher atmosphere pressure has been found to result in relief from some effects of aging and the cure of some other diseases. It is not hard to believe that such an effect could be related in some way to gigantism and the longevity of life evident before the flood.
Polar Temperature Decrease
With the condensation and collapse of the vapor canopy, the warm climate it produced likely disappeared suddenly over the 40-day period of the flood. The radiation balance at the poles is such that without a canopy the temperature would rapidly drop below freezing. Animals caught in the flood, cold, and wind would be frozen rapidly along with the sediment from the flood.
The bones of thousands of animals have, in fact, been found frozen in the tundra of Siberia. Hippopotamuses, sabertooth tigers, mammoths, and other animals normally associated with the tropics have been found frozen, some in relatively fresh condition in the frozen Siberian muck. This muck is full of plant and animal remains to depths of several thousand feet.
The presence of fresh tropical plants and flowers in the stomachs of certain frozen Siberian mammoths indicates the temperature drop in some locations occurred suddenly. The fact that some of the mammoths were frozen in the muck and were found relatively fresh, indicates that the temperature drop was extreme and permanent. Such a scenario matches the predictions of the vapor canopy model very well.
Such a controversial model is bound to create discussion and criticism. At the same time, however, it will increase the interest and enthusiasm of specialists in the atmospheric sciences and the canopy theory. More quantification of such mathematical models is desirable and will result in further improvements of our understanding of the flood and the antecedent atmosphere. The final result will produce even greater confidence in the Word of God.
Many of the thoughts and issues presented in this article were developed in discussions and leffers with Joseph Dillow. More detail on these topics and many others may be found in his book, The Waters Above.
1. D. Fultz, A Preliminary report on experiments with thermally produced lateral mixing in a rotating hemispherical shell of liquid. Journal of Meteorology, Vol.6, 1949, pp. 17-33.
2. J.C. Whitcomb, and H.M. Morris, The Genesis Flood, Presbyterian & Reformed Publ. Co., 1970, pp.250-258.
3 J.C. Dillow, The Waters Above, Moody Press, 1981, 479 pp.
4. J.C. Dillow, "The Vertical temperature structure of the pre-flood vapor canopy." Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol.20, 1983, pp.7-14.
* The Author, Dr. Vardiman, is Associate Professor of Meteorology in the ICR Graduate School, as well as Chairman of the Physical Sciences Department at Christian Heritage College. His Ph.D., from Colorado State University, is in the field of atmospheric science.
How Long Does It Take For Wood To Petrify? By John D. Morris, Ph.D.
Folklore has it, as reinforced in classrooms and national parks, that petrified wood takes "millions and millions" of years to form. I've listened as many people have protested the Biblical doctrine of the young earth. "It takes too long to petrify wood. The earth must be old."
Imagine their surprise when they realize that wood can petrify quickly, and that no informed geologist would say it takes an excessively long time, certainly less time than it takes for wood to decay in a given environment.
Wood can be petrified by two basic processes, both of which usually involve burial in volcanic ash. This ash decomposes in the presence of water, enriching the groundwater with silica.
In the first type of petrification, the wood decays in a hot, silica-rich environment. As each molecule of wood decomposes and is carried away, it is replaced by a molecule of silica. Eventually the replacement is complete, with the mineral impurities in the silica being responsible for an array of beautiful colors in the final product. This type of petrified wood can be polished, and often becomes an object of incredible beauty. Once silicification is complete, there is no organic material remaining, but since on occasion the light and dark portions of the tree's growth rings may decay at different rates, hints of the tree rings may be preserved if the minerals present change over time. Many of the petrified trees found in the Petrified "Forest" of Arizona are of this type.
The other type of petrification involves the total infiltration of the porous wood by silica-rich water. The silica (or in a few cases calcite, or a combination of both) plugs up the pores, preventing complete decay. This allows individual cells to be remarkably well preserved, and in many cases the tree ring pattern can easily be seen. The petrified trees in Yellowstone Park are of this type, with tree rings readily visible.
As is now well known, wood can petrify rapidly. Several laboratory experiments have devised ways in which this can be done, mirroring natural settings. (See Sigleo, 1978 "Organic Geochemistry of Silicified Wood," Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol. 42, pp. 1397-1405, and Leo and Barghoorn, 1976, "Silicification of Wood," Botanical Museum Leaflets, vol. 25, no. 1, Harvard University, 47 pp.)
Wood can also be petrified in field settings. During one field experiment, researchers dangled a block of wood down inside an alkaline spring in Yellowstone Park to see what effect this hot, silica-rich environment would have. In just one year, substantial petrification had occurred. I recently read an advertisement in a magazine for real "hardwood floors." The company was petrifying wood commercially. The point is, it does not take long ages to petrify wood, it just takes the right conditions.
These conditions, with abundant hot waters (i.e., "fountains of the great deep"--Genesis 7:11) and rampant volcanism, would be met during the flood of Noah's day and the centuries following.
*Dr. Morris serves as president of the Institute for Creation Research. by Duane T. Gish, Ph.D.*
Institute for Creation Research, PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021
Voice: (619) 448-0900 FAX: (619) 448-3469
"Vital Articles on Science/Creation" June 1974