Dr Emil Silvestru (Creation Ministeries International) and Shofar – Noah's Flood
The fundamentalist Christian church Shofar, active on the campus of the University of Stellenbosch, recently organized a talk by Dr Emil Silvestru, Young Earth Creationist and member of Creation Ministries International. A transcript of the talk appears below. For a content analysis, see the article "Rhetorical strategy of a creation science talk: A case study".
Event: Public address by Dr Emil Silvestru (CMI-Canada)
Title: Waters of contention: Noah's flood – fact or fantasy?
Venue: Student centre, campus of University of Stellenbosch
Date: 2008 August 27
Hosted by: Shofar Christian Church
[00:00, Mr Sias le Roux, Shofar] Good afternoon everybody, goeie middag, welcome to this presentation this afternoon, thank you for coming and taking off your lunch uhm welcome to those who have never been to one of Creation Ministries International's uh talks its always great fun and its our privilege um to welcome Dr Emil today here um in Stellenbosch its his first time in Africa, in South Africa especially, he's been around for a couple of weeks he's going to Johannesburg [audience applause] so let's give him a warm welcome [applause] enjoying it here. I just want to read to you all his um credentials and all those things some of these names I cannot even pronounce but we'll stick to it. It says that he's got a Ph D in geology, he's a specialist of the geology and formation of caves, for many years he was the head scientist at the world's first speleological, that's cave type of things, institute in Romania. Emil has published over 30 scientific papers in peer-reviewed science journals and co-authored two widely-used book on the geological column and flood geology.
He also has 30 years of experience in climbing and spelunking as well as participating in mountain and cave rescue operations. So he's not a geologist only he can also rescue you if there's any problems [laughter]. Then since 1997 he's been working full time for CMI Canada as a researcher and a scientist. His popular articles often feature in the Creation Indepth journal of creation, the world renowned creation magazine with subscribers in over 140 countries and on CMI's website we'll see afterwards there are lots of books and things available if you want to know more and have more information on this we really want to welcome you and especially his wife Florrie she's here as well, would you stand up let's give her a round of applause [applause] so welcome, it's all over to you, we don't have lots of time, there will be some time for questions afterwards we'll deal that in just an orderly manner uh because uh we since you have come to listen to his presentation we're not going to allow anybody else to make their presentation but only to ask questions so if you've got questions there will be time afterwards, we'll be handling that. Thank you very much all over to you then.
[02:22, Silvestru] Well, uh, goeie dag [applause] I guess that's most of my Afrikaans stops but when it comes to the Afrikaans spirit I'm just learning and I'm enjoying what I'm learning. Now I need to thank you very much for being here, I know it's tough for some of you to do it, reasons being, many, but as I just went and washed my hands I discovered a message concerning the very essence of my message today, I discovered that hand driers in South Africa blow cold air. In North America, they blow hot air [laughter], so it's just a matter of perspective, the purpose is the same thing, to dry our hands.
[03:04] Similarly, I believe, I for one have extreme difficulties in imagining one single scientific argument that will convince an evolutionist about creation, or a creationist about evolution. Now, I'd like to be very explicit here. If I will show an evolutionist a slab of rock that contains the remains of a dinosaur and of a human mixed together, and that will be certified as the real thing, not a fake, I'm convinced that the evolutionist will tell me that that is the evidence that in the future humans will evolve so much as to build a time machine, and travel back into time, visit dinosaurs and one of them has died [laughter] . It's absolutely logical , I can't deny it.
[03:50] If a person dies and is certified as dead, 100%, buried 6 feet under and three days later will come out alive from the grave, an evolutionist will not believe that that means that the resurrection of Christ was true but rather that the multiverse theory is correct and that person from another parallel universe has crossed into this one. And if the God of the bible will come down in front of an evolutionist and say 'I am Yahweh, the god of the bible, name the miracle that you will like me to perform', and he will perform it, then that evolutionist will say, 'This is not true, this is somebody tampering with my brain, this is some sort of matrix, this can not be true.'
And I thought this morning, actually, Matrix, the movie, is the ultimate solution to any religion, or ultimate escape from any religion, deny reality in the worst of cases.
So my dear friends I don't believe this is a battle of evidence, this is a battle of paradigms.
Because you see we are misleadingly taught that evidence has been found for this the other thing, and the other thing, and that's said from both sides, evolutionists and creationists.
You never find evidence for anything, think about it. All you find is a fact or a phenomenon. But they by themselves have no meaning so you have to interpret them. According to what? According to a paradigm, your world view. Therefore they become evidence for this or the other thing.
So what I'm trying to do today is to share with you facts, and an interpretation of those facts, that you will never hear in the school. And leave it there with you.
But mind you, I tell you honestly, I cannot accuse any evolutionist of misleading or believing false things. The only thing that I accuse them of is an unwillingness to consider an alternative. Because they reject is outright as religion. So please check if what I'm telling you here is going to be only religion.
[05:55] Well you see, when you approach the past, especially in geology, you can only have two paradigms to look at the past. Namely, the way the world works today, is the way the world originated. This came to be known as uniformitarianism or naturalism.
And there's another way to look at things. Namely, the way the world works today, is not the way the world originated. This would be transformism or in geology, catastrophism.
Now we all know that for about 150 years catastrophism has been anathema to any geologist. The late Derek Ager wrote his last book, The New Catastrophism, mostly in hospital, he was dying. And he specifically said in his book, I know that creationists are going to misuse my sayings. So here's one of them and I'd like to misuse it. [laughter]
He said this, "For a century and a half, the geological world was dominated, one might even say brainwashed, by the gradualistic uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell. That's the page where he wrote that. You see, I'm not make no comment here. But catastrophism seems to return.
[07:12] Now, for the ones of you who are more let's say specialist in geology or have knowledge of geology, this is an important change in paradigm, it happened in the early 2000s. I'm not going to read all this here [refers to slide quoting Ager] , I leave it to you to do. And the second one, too. … But what technically this means is that most of the geologic time is where there's no rocks, it's in the voids between the rocks. Because rocks only accumulate in short bursts. Even on the bottom of the ocean. So please keep that in mind. It's a major change in paradigm, and it's not acknowledged as such. It's just a statement out there, but that is the consequence of it. If you look into a big pile of rocks, most of the time is between them, not inside the rocks.
I couldn't find this book after a Google search; Reading did edit a 3rd edition in 1996 (Blackwell)
[08:08] And here's now a very important, to me at least, quote, and I leave it to you to decide if it's very important or not. [quote from Reading, Harold G. (2002) Sedimentary environments.]
[08:15] I don't like quoting too much, but I have to. Richard Lewontin. Please read this, it's very important. [displays quotes from 'Billions and billions of demons', Lewontin's review of Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World, from the New York Review of Books, 44(1), 1997 January 09, p.31]
Just to set the stage for what comes next. … Can I switch? There's one more…
[08:52] And this is the best part of it…
[09:11] That is fine with me, as long as they will accept that I can also come with such presuppositions. Because that's a foundational presupposition, science means only naturalism. Fine. But accept that I can have my own presupposition and don't accuse me of being dogmatic, or using something else. Because this is never written in science. This is a decision a person takes on its own grounds.
[09:42] And now finally I'm going to jump into the flood itself. So here's the information about the biblical flood we read, and it seems to be a geological catastrophe of unprecedented dimension.
[09:58] Suffice to say that the idea of catastrophism has been buried in the early 1800s when Charles Lyell won the battle against George Cuvier. And ever since 1925 nobody dared tackle the subject. And in 1925 Harlen J Bretz, an American geologist, published a paper in the Journal of Geology in the United States in which he interpreted the Channel Scablands in Washington State as the result of a flood. Not only has he been immediately ridiculed, rejected and ostracised, he eventually gave up this area of geology and he moved into karstology .. karst geology, for our benefit, the cavers, but for 50 years he was a pariah. Today he's a national hero. He's 98 years of age, or 99. And he was proven right.
[10:46] Now here's what happened. At the end of the ice age, the North American Ice Sheet, as it was melting, its southern limit was not a linear one, but rather many lobes, many fingers, protruding south, some of them acted as dams, dams for the melt water coming from underneath the ice. So a large lake, a very very large lake, known as Lake Missoula, formed around the town of Missoula in Montana. And the ice that was a dam, actually keeping the water behind it, at some point breached. So the water gushed down. Calculations show a volume of about 500 cubic miles of water. A front of water a kilometre high. Cutting the Channel Scablands in an instant speaking, so to speak, the Columbia River Gorge and running into the Atlantic uh Pacific ocean.
[11:38] Now here's some pictures. This is from the satellites.
And I need to tell you that right after Bretz published his paper, the most renowned geomorphologist of the day went into Washington State, spent three weeks in the field, and returned concluding that there is absolutely no evidence in the field whatsoever that there was a flood there. And that's nonsense.
[11:59] Now have some look at this pictures, please. This is known as the Grand Coulee, the Burlingame Canyon, and my favourite is this one, what you see there are ripple marks. Now you've seen ripple marks on the banks of the river or by the ocean, they are yea-high. These are 10 metres high. Clear evidence of a catastrophic drainage. But the geomorphologist hasn't seen it because he was blinded by his bias. Right?
[12:25] Now, the situation has changed. Apparently there's been not only one, but maybe a dozen such floods, because the ice grew back again, then the water again, and then you had another flood. Now suddenly the catastrophists became uniformitarian.
In Canada we have a much bigger one than this. This came to be known as the Lake Agassiz flood. How'd this happen? Well, the Laurentide ice sheet, as it was melting, it was covering all of Canada actually, the melt water accumulated in the pro-glacial Lake Agassiz.
[12:58] And just for the sake of the record, Louis Agassiz, the man who actually proposed the ice age theory, was a creationist.
[13:05] Now, this water covered the surface about equal to South Africa, this whole lake. And at some point, as the ice melted and became a bit lighter, a part of this water drained underneath so we had a sub-glacial flood, that went straight into the Hudson Bay. And here's the scheme to show you how how this happened. But then there was another part, to the south, that drained catastrophically, filling in the Great Lakes, cutting the Niagara Gorge and waterfalls, and the St Lawrence River and going all the way into the Atlantic. All this thing has many evidence in the field, like these grooves there, and of course the famous Horse Shoe Falls in Canada.
But it's interesting to notice how this has been proven, or how they found that there was flood in here too. Because this is not something that suddenly there was an urge to discover.
[13:59] There's the famous climatic mystery of the Younger Dryas. In the middle of the Pleistocene, as the ice was melting, and were coming into global warming which are still today, there's a sudden cooling, known as the Younger Dryas, or the Dryas 4, ten degrees centigrade [although the graph on the slide showed Fahrenheit] that's the drop in temperature, and in places it only lasted five six hundred years. And there was no way to explain this. Until the very engine that drives climate on Earth was discovered.
[14:27] Now I'm pretty sure that you're familiar with it. It's known as the thermohaline circulation system. I oversimplified this, it's very simple, it's way way more complex than this, but basically you have a system that moves water in the ocean, about 20 times more than all the fresh water in the world, so warm equatorial water from the Atlantic, of course releases heat, therefore it evaporates, therefore becomes saltier, therefore heavier, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor, flows along the entire Atlantic ocean bottom, then the main arm joins the circum-Antarctic circulation system, the deep water from there, but an arm of it goes into the Pacific ocean, still on the bottom of the ocean, upwells over here, best fishing grounds in the world because it brings up the nutrients, and it flows on the surface, gets warmer and warmer, crosses the equator, the Sunda straits, causing the monsoon in Australia, the Indian Ocean and back into the Atlantic Ocean. A circuit like this is closed in a thousand years, and it is controlled entirely by two factors: temperature and salinity, the amount of salt.
[15:26] Now try to imagine what happens if you suddenly drop drain or drop a huge amount of fresh water into this salt control system? Coming from lake Agassiz, through Hudson Bay, and through St Lawrence River? Well you're going to disrupt the mechanism. And that explains the Younger Dryas.
[15:43] Subglacial floods have been now discovered in many other places because suddenly there's a new explanation to mysterious forms. Like for example the labyrinth in Antarctica, the dry valleys, the driest spot on earth, right? These are hard igneous rocks and in them you see that weird landscape which was formed because of a subglacial flood. Water draining at high pressure between the bottom of the ice sheet and the basement, the bedrock, and because of that pressure and the amount of water it creates all this channels. And I find it quite symbolic that finally the catastrophe has reached the land of Mr Lyell.
[16:25] Last year the results of several years of investigations referring to the geometry and of the bottom of the English Channel have been published, and the conclusion is that the English Channel is the result of such a catastrophic drainage. Actually there was a huge melt water lake up here north, where the North Sea is today, which was dammed by the so-called Weald-Artois Anticline, which was a land bridge connecting France to England. And when the pressure of the water was too high it cut catastrophically through this and it created the English Channel. And you can see here some images of the paleo-valleys that exist on the bottom of the English Channel.
[17:07] … I've never done this before, but I will make a prediction to you now. The difference between North America and Europe is the fact that in North America the mountains run north-south, so it's no big deal to stop ice coming down south. But in Europe the mountains run east-west, and this accumulation of melt water was essentially due to the fact that the ice was stopping around the Alps, so it went west, and my suggestion is that there was an eastern part, and that drainage went to the Black Sea, so the so-called Black Sea flood, which is much discussed today, is not because somehow the Mediterranean ran into the Black Sea, but it went the other way around. This fresh water went into the Black Sea, cut the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, and joined with the Mediterranean, then pushing the Mediterranean and connecting it through the Gibraltar. This is just a presupposition but we'll see in the years to come if I am wrong or not.
[18:06] Now of course we go into the meat of things. And since I talk about meat, how about a bit of mythology. If there is talk about a global flood, you would expect that the memory of this flood should be preserved with all existing civilizations. Right? OK, now let's look into the situation here. As you can see here, this is myths and legends about the flood on various continents. Antarctica is the only one that doesn't have them because it doesn't have population there [laughter]. The grand total is 240. And let me tell you there are four common themes in all 240, all, without an exception.
There was a moral cause to the floods, the flood was caused because of punishment essentially. One man is warned about the flood. All life was destroyed except the ones saved by the person warned by God. And finally, an animal, usually a bird, announces the retreat of the flood waters, or the emergence of land.
All 240, on all continents.
[19:08] And it doesn't stop there. Let's have a look at some flood-related mythological characters. For example, for the Sumerians, Noah is known as Ziusudra. Even more fascinating is the Akkado-Babylonian's Utnapishtim, who builds the square big boat, in which he saves all the animals, and you know later on the famous Gilgamesh goes to him to ask him the secret of the flower that gives you immortal life.
Sources I could find say only that Kane descended from a rainbow.
Now what do you think the name of Noah would be for the Hawaiians? And I'm talking about Hawaiians way before Europeans ever made it there. Nu'u [laughter]. And even more interesting, at the end of the flood, the god Kane, who saved Nu'u, puts the rainbow into the sky as a symbol of his pardon. Quite interesting, I think.
To me the favourite are the Miao people in south-western China. This is territory surrounded by huge rugged mountains and has been isolated for most of their history. Now they have a patriarch they name Patriarch Dirt, made of the dirt, Adam was made of dirt of course. And his offsprings are Se-teh, and Lusu, the names in the brackets are from the Bible. And then they even have a patriarch Nuah, and his descendents are Lo Han, Lo Shem, Jah-hu, the ancestor of the Miao people, Who-Sa, and Eh-Lan [laughter]. Now unless some proto-Mosaic rabbis have travelled to the place to teach them all this, I can't see how this could have happened, unless they inherited from a common source.
[20:41] And since we are in China, how about jumping over the great China's wall, and just read the writing on the wall. Actually a very ancient writing, 45 hundred years ago. See, the Chinese used pictograms, not letters. So they symbolize an item and then they build the words from there. So the one on top is a composed pictogram of three sub pictograms, and means ship, a large boat. It's made of boat, eight, and people (or mouth). It's just coincidentally there were eight people on the ark.
[21:12] And now finally, let's get serious. If you are to talk about a flood, you need to prove where the did water come from, and where did it go. Creationists have tried to find solutions to this. And the very first one scientifically built was known as the water or vapour canopy. The idea was that the pre-flood atmosphere was extremely rich in vapour, maybe some rings of ice outside like Jupiter has, excuse me, Saturn has, and that came down during the flood. Well, if you analyze this idea, tempting as it might sound, it has two big problems. The first one, we have clue how you can keep this much vapour in the atmosphere. But if you did, you know, unlike what politicians tell us, the number one gas to produce green house effect is water vapours, 75% of all of it comes from water vapours. So if you had this much vapour in the atmosphere it would have caused a global warming, a greenhouse effect, so severe that the temperature of the Earth on the ground would be 450 degrees Centigrade. So this model can not be .. held.
[22:23] Another suggestion was that actually the water was not in the atmosphere but rather a continuous layer of water, inside the Earth's crust, about 15km down, about a kilometre thick. And then the crust cracked, the water emerged through the fountains of the great deep as the bible describes them, and that caused the flood.
Well this creates very serious geophysical problems. You see, the Earth is made of concentrical spheres, of various densities, and they spin at various speeds. So if you add a layer, a continuous layer of water into the Earth's crust, it's like you put a layer of ball bearings, it's gonna literally pulverize the crust. So this doesn't work either.
[23:03] So what do we do now? Let's try to think Occam's Razor. You're familiar with Occam's Razor principle? Today we call it 'keep it simple stupid'. Well Occam of Razor [sic] was a member of the so-called Scholastic period in the 1200s in England. And he said, if there's more than one explanations for the same set of facts, the simplest explanation is the good one. So it takes the razor and scrapes the surplus. So if I told you that an Occam's Razor kind of an answer to this two questions: where did the water come from? and where did it go? would be the following: the water was here, and the water is still here – is it simple enough? [laugher] Now it means I have to redistribute the existing water to cause a global flood.
I could find no reference to this in New Scientist after an exhaustive search.
Update 2008-09-01: Reader De Villiers suggests (in the comments below) that this article, Lone voices in science – from 2006 – may be what Dr Silvestru was referring to.
[23:45] And this is where it comes into play a new concept, which is purely scientific, has nothing to do with the bible. It comes from Dr John Baumgardner, arguably the best informed geophysicist alive. He was listed by the New Scientist this year amongst the 10 unusual scientists of the world. And you know what it means when an Englishman tells you you're an unusual person [laughter] but he is in New Scientist.
Now he is the only one who has ever created the complete computer model for plate tectonics. And he worked for 27 years at Los Alamos National Laboratories in the United States. He also designed a very interesting research programme, one of the most expensive financed by the United States government, it is known as TERRA. It actually monitors the movements of the Earth's crust, three dimensionally, world-wide, in real time. In order to do that he had to have access to military satellites, and he always used two interconnected Cray supercomputers, because no other computers could have run all that data. His interest was to find out how did plate tectonics start. Period. Nothing else.
[24:59] Now for the ones of you who have might have forgotten all this things, and I'm begging the pardon of the ones so familiar with this, plate tectonics is the result of the internal structure of the Earth. You know it has a core and a mantle, these are the important parts, but the most important part actually is the uppermost layer in the mantle, known as the asthenosphere, which literally in Greek means the 'weak sphere'. It is weak because it is a mixture of molten silicates and water which makes it extremely unstable. And on top of that we have the ocean floor, or ocean crust, which is made of essentially basalt, and on top of that the continental crust. And you know, the two edges to a plate, is where the plate is generated, and the other end is where it is consumed. Where it is consumed we call it subduction, so the plate plunges underneath the continents and it slowly moves, about centimetres per year, until it melts, and it's homogenised with the rest. And at the other end, the accretion zone, is where the hot material comes from the asthenosphere, reaches the bottom of the ocean, cools, it solidifies, then there's a new one coming, pushes the other one sideways, a new one coming, pushing the other one sideways, so you have this symmetrical move on two sides of the mid-ocean regions.
[26:06] What Dr Baumgardner started with was to divide planet Earth into 32 concentrical layers, from the centre to the surface, and in each and every layer into cells. So he produced 1.3 million little cells. This is a two-dimensional model because a three dimensional model can still not be handled by the most powerful computers.
[26:25] And what he discovered, based not only on his computer model, but on decades of experimental data from labs, concerning molten silicates, especially the behaviour of olivine, which is one of the main constituents of basalt, and what he discovered is that when the plates started moving, they were not moving centimetres per year as they move now, but rather metres per second [gasps]. There was a runaway subduction, that's how it all started. And then it slowed down, and now what we see is a dying-off of that particular mechanism.
Here's Dr Baumgardner's computer model. He is a dear friend and he allowed me to use it. So, what you see there in blue is the bottom of the ocean when the mechanism starts. All this is the Earth's mantle, 29 hundred kilometres thick. Of course red means hot, yellow a little bit less than that, and of course blue is cold. Down here is what happens to viscosity, it's a little more technical. Time there means six days, and speed there means 2.6 metres per second. [the slide actually shows 2.6E-01, or 0.26 metres per second] And now please have a look, I'm going to animate, this is going to happen a little bit faster on Mac, like just about everything else [laughter]
[27:41] So what we essentially have here is suddenly as the bottom of the ocean, the sea floor, starts sinking into the mantle, because of the behaviour of viscosity, it starts accelerating, and then slows down, and then accelerates again, and you can see it reached speeds of up to 7 metres per second, right.
Essentially, the entire floor of the ocean was consumed, recycled, inside the Earth's mantle. And because you are sinking material into a fluid, of course that would dislocate some fluid from below, displace it, and move it to replace it. So a new ocean floor was generated by this recycling. Now is there evidence for such a global catastrophe? Let's put it in very simple terms. If you have a crucible in a lab, in which you have melted lead, you have molten lead in it, and then take a piece of cold lead and you put it in, what's going to happen? Its going to get hotter and hotter until it melts, and then the convection currents are going to mix the whole thing, so finally you have no more trace that there used to be a piece of cold lead, right. Using thermodynamics you can calculate very precisely how long it takes for all this to happen.
[28:53] Similarly, if you believe that this is the case here, then you can calculate for how long traces of such an event would be preserved in the Earth's mantle. Or reversely, if in the recent past this has happened, you should still see it down there.
Well, here it is. This is seismic tomography. Or if you wish, a CAT scan of the Earth only instead of X-rays, seismic or shock waves have been used. The grey stuff there is actually the Earth's core, the blue is colder, much colder than normal rock, and red is normal temperature rock, hot rock. And those sinuous bright green lights are the subduction zones of today. So what we see here that's right underneath the subduction zones, inside the Earth's mantle, almost on top of the Earth's core, 29 hundred kilometres down, we have huge chunks of rock, much colder than it should be, it's a thermal contrast effect, the size of continents. And the calculations show that this could not have happened more than 5000 years ago. Because if it was more than that, it would be already melted and the convection currents would have mixed it up with the rest and there's no trace.
[30:01] So, let's call this what it is. The flood looks to have been, actually, a tectonic event. And interestingly enough, there's evidence that some other planets have suffered the same process, that is, resurfacing. The NASA Magellan probes have shown that Venus has a brand new surface which comes from inside. It's known as the [word unclear, sounds like 'Grivit'] plains, and this is a radar image of it. As you can see that's all basalt, fresh basalt, which came from inside the planet and resurfaced the entire planet.
[30:33] So let us call this mechanism responsible for the flood Catastrophic Plate Tectonics. Of course, at this point you're still wondering, how does this explain the flood, right? Let's look a little bit into that and see the main consequences.
[30:49] Here's an oversimplified sketch showing us what happens actually at that moment. You have the old sea floor sinking quickly and being replaced by a new one. Now this one being very hot it causes the water to boil creating steam jets which have been projected through the entire ocean, emerging into the atmosphere about 7000 km/h, that's hypersonic. So they will go into the higher atmosphere, and maybe even into outer space, cool down, and return as rain or ultra-cold ice, right? So this is huge conveyor belt that dissipates the heat which is inputted from inside the Earth via the ocean. And by the way, for the Hebrew, the fountains of the great deep, the great deep, as the bible says, doesn't mean the Earth, but the ocean. Its like the ocean has expelled that water. So here's the case. It falls and it returns as rain.
[31:45] What happens at the edges of the plates now, sediment is scraped, buckled into mountains, and also salt, from the evaporation of water because of boiling accumulates so you have the [word unclear] of salt that purged through this.
But the most important thing that happens is this: Not only do you have a new ocean floor but underneath it there's a huge amount of hot rock from the bottom of the mantle, which pushes the whole thing upwards, diminishing the bottom of the ocean. Today, this process is known as underplating, it is believed to be the one responsible for the very quick uplift of the Andes. And still happening now, you can see terraces moving out there.
[32:27] Now let's go back to this model. You see here the new ocean floor is higher than the old one because of what I told you. But according to the computer model, that difference there is a whole mile. So in other words you have suddenly diminished the depths of the ocean globally with one mile. What do you think is going to happen to the waters? It's going to be forced over the land. And that's the first stage of what we call the Catastrophic Plate Tectonic model of the flood, the Inundation. You push the bottom of the ocean up and its going to cover the land with water.
[33:04] Now is there evidence for this? Of course there is, if you look for it with this in mind. And the best place is this one, the Grand Canyon. You see, you go to that place over there, along the Bright Angel Trail, and this is what you see. The place where the Coconino Sandstone rests on top of the Hermit Shale. And if you look at it, the boundary between the two is extremely smooth. Well nevertheless according to the standard model, there's a gap of 10 million years in there. So after the Hermit Shale was stopped laying down, until the Coconino was laid on top of it, there's 10 million years of erosion. Now the funny thing is that you would expect to see grooves on that surface then, which is exposed for 10 million years, right?
[33:49] But there's another interesting thing. The Hermit shale represents a silt originally, a very fine deposit. Now if you claim that this was laid down during the flood you go against the teaching in schools today, because fine sediment is believed to form in quiet waters. Not any more. And, I find this fascinating. And I'm really upset, because I've seen this, and you've seen this happening so many times, and never thought about it. Here's what happens, these are the experiments. So it turns out that fast moving water does lay down silt and mud. And we have both seen this. Have you not seen a big rain, running over the sidewalk, and after the fast moving water goes, you have fine silt in there. Well according to the model that we learnt in school, and I had to teach in school, you need soft, calm, water, you know, for those fine sediments to settle.
[34:50] So in the Grand Canyon all that succession, does represent actually the displacement of huge amounts of water mixed with sediments fine, medium, coarse, moving fast. And that since the Grand Canyon now is believed to be cut in less than a million years, you wonder how come if there's 10 million years missing between those layers, you don't have another Grand Canyon there. And basically on each and every one of those horizontal layers. Well that's the only explanation because they have been laid down too quickly, no time for erosion like that.
[35:24] What is the next step now? What happens to the waters? Evidence for that comes from another canyon, the world's biggest canyon, that is longest, widest, and deepest. Only this one is not on land. It's on the bottom of the sea. It's known as the Monterey Canyon, off the shores of the Bay of Monterey in California. This is 2.7 km deep and it's cut in igneous rocks, not in sedimentary rocks, much harder than the Grand Canyon. It shouldn't even be called a canyon, a gorge, a canyon cuts through horizontal and sedimentary layers. Try to imagine what mechanism could cut such a canyon on the bottom of the ocean … according to standard models.
[36:07] Well, if you go back to our model here, after the entire pre-flood ocean floor was consumed inside the Earth's mantle, the movements slows down because there is no more dragging of plates, there's just a slow movement, and now you have the mid-ocean ridges which generate the slow the displacement displacement we see today. So the bottom of the ocean starts cooling because of the convection mechanism there. Well if it is cooling its also shrinking, its going to go back down.
[36:41] In addition to that, now that we have plate tectonics, we have another feature that didn't exist before plate tectonics: deep ocean trenches. So the depth of the ocean is vastly increased. What's going to happen to the waters from the land? It's going to run back into the ocean. Lower the bottom, the waters run back. And try to imagine a sheet of water two or three kilometres thick, running down from the land, right on the edge of what's is now the edge of the continent is going to turn into a channel ice flow. And the amount of erosion right in those channels is phenomenal. Well that's exactly where you'll find those canyons like the Monterey. And here's a fairly good explanation.
[37:23] Of course some would say, look at Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, 4810 metres. Was that covered with water as the bible says? How about Mount Everest, twice this high? At 85 hundred metres on Mount Everest we have the famous yellow band, which is a layer of limestone, containing fossils, sea fossils. And the answer is so obvious. Neither the Himalayas, nor the Mariana trench for that matter, existed before the flood. They are the result of it. As the plate tectonics start, that's when you have the high mountain ranges. The collision of India with Asia causes the Himalayas, right. And if you run the numbers, if it moves slowly, India doesn't have enough mass behind her to buckle the Himalayas, it had to move very fast to do that kind of work. So these features didn't exist. And that's how the land was covered with water.
[38:14] Several very interesting, and not often taught in school, features concerning the flood. Or kind of proving this.
Have you ever heard about the whale-back anticline, in the Shamokin county in Pennsylvania? This is in the middle of a famous coal mining area [slide; Kettle coal mines, Cooksville, TN] . And this is how it looks. It looks exactly like a whale back. An anticline is where you bend the rocks like this. Now, on one of the sides, it has this, where the hammer is, its an upright standing fossilised tree. I did a sketch here to explain it better. So this is what we have here. Now think about it, if you have a hard rock in which you have a fossilised tree, and then you bend the hard rock with the fossilised tree, would the fossilized tree cut through the hard rock like a jack knife through cheese? Seems impossible to me. It should have been either like this, or broken into pieces. The funny thing is, the explanation on the spot says, notice how the stress and strain have worked together, actually they say conspired, to keep the tree upright. But think physics here. Its so much easier to to explain it this way. You have a wood, a piece of wood, a trunk, buried in soft sediments. The soft sediments are compressed, so that you produce a fault, an anticline, and the hard wood cuts through the soft rock and remains upright. And then solutions would come and fossilize the tree and bind together the fine grains which make up the sedimentary rock I mean the unbound rock and create the sand stone and mud stone and whatever else. Its fairly logical.
[39:53] Here's an interesting case, that to me buries the whole idea of the marsh origin of coal. You have a tree, it's called the polystrate fossil, it runs through several layers. It starts in a layer of coal, runs through a layer of limestone, and ends in another layer of coal.
[40:11] Now the only existing theory of coal formation is that coal forms slowly, in marshes. Because of the wood falls into very acidic waters, so it doesn't rot, and in time is buried and slowly turn into coal.
But here you have an upright tree doing that, so it had to be like that for many many years according to model, and then be buried in a sediment which is the limestone, and then another layer of coal.
[40:35] It is so much more logical to believe that this is a sudden event which buries the tree like that, and then various layers inside this huge pile of sediments, through other chemical processes, has been turned into coal or have been turned into coal.
[40:51] Now where do you get all those solutions? Think about it, we learn in school that 35% no the vast excuse me first, the vast majority of sedimentary rocks, the vast majority, are terrigenous, that is they form by breaking up of sediments on land and ending up in the sea and being bound together. If you analyze those sedimentary rock on the average 35% of it is void, which is filled by the cement that turns the sand into sandstone and mud into mudstone and so on and so forth. But 35% of all this terrigenous rocks is cement! Where does it come? And it's a huge amount of chemicals to do that work. Well, here's a solution.
[41:31] If the plates were moving metres per second, and they went all the way down to the bottom of the mantle on top of the Earth's core, they would drag down drag down with them huge amounts of water from the ocean, and also sediments, water-laden sediments, right? And if you send those things very quickly into the Earth's mantle, you get all sorts of weird chemicals. We call them today volatiles. So they will ascend from down inside the mantle, laden with minerals, and as they meet this huge pile of soft sediment and start binding together the grains, and where there's any organic matter it's going to replace the organic matter with minerals, turning the items into fossils. A plain and fairly simple mechanism.
[42:19] And here's more evidence for this. Last year this important news was published. It was very important for certain geologists that's why most didn't want to look at it properly. Its known as the Beijing Anomaly [slide: Eric Chou]. So underneath the city of Beijing, but underneath actually the entire Asia, at 600 miles down, into the Earth's mantle, there's so much water that's the equivalent of the Arctic ocean.
[42:45] Water inside the mantle! Can you imagine any other mechanism than the one that I shared with you, those plates running like crazy going down and dragging down with them water and all sorts of fluids?
[42:58] And by the way, we have experiments today, published, that show that if you submit calcite, calcium carbonate, in the presence of ore of iron, there's plenty of it, to the pressure and temperature inside the mantle, what you get is methane gas. Out of calcite. Think about that incredible chemical plant down there. Just supply it with water, it's going to do all sorts of interesting things.
[43:23] I'd like to touch on another iconic thing. You know, this is the famous geologic timetable, and each and every fossil has of course its place in there. Now according to it, the evolution of flowering plants started in the Jurassic period, and this is very first recorded flowering plant, discovered in China, Archaefructus sinensis. As you know, many things come from there today [laughter]. Now, its interesting that this, this pollen coming from some such plants, has also been discovered in the Precambrian. Well you know, according to the model in the Precambrian there was no plants at all, let alone flowering plants.
[44:03] Here's the place where this has happened. Famous Mount Roraima. Now this is not such an iconic thing for you guys, because you have it in your background, it's a lovely thing to have a Table Mountain there. But this is a table top mountain, known as "tepui" in the country of Venezuela, the eastern parts, and it goes on into Guyana, too. Those walls are a thousand metres high. And the rock is very similar to the Table Mountain Group, essentially is quartzite, sand quartz or quartz sandstone, it's almost a quartzite. Inside it, in cracks and folds, a diabase, an igneous rock, has been injected, and that has been dated to 1.8 billion years, which makes the sandstone even older than that. Now inside the sand stone, by the way, the world's highest waterfall, Angel, comes down from Auyan-tepui, [word unclear] pollen has been found. And this is not a case of contamination.
[44:58] The results have been published in Nature magazine, that's the ultimate scientific journal. And notice what the author says: [slide quoting from Stainforth, R.M. (1966) Occurrence of Pollen and Spores in the Roraima Formation of Venezuela and British Guiana. Nature, 210, 292-294.]
"we offer no solution to the paradox and this presents a highly intriguing geological problem." [laughter]
[45:11] I find it interesting that since 1966 when Stainforth has done this research, nobody has gone back to check and prove there is a mistake. They know, because he had to provide the proof. When he did palynology, palynology was in its booming years then, and everybody was taking big care with with contamination. So there's no evidence for contamination there, therefore there is pollen in there. Just better forget about it, keep a low profile.
[45:37] Let's now get more serious. If you take Noah's flood seriously, you have to believe this, of course [slide] . Well, you see, if you read the scripture, this is the real dimension, the real size, of the ark.
[45:56] I had friends, naval engineers who told me Emil, it is impossible to build such a wooden boat, that size, a keel-less boat like that, make it float, and even carry so much. That's nonsense. And since I'm not a naval engineer I had to accept it. They know better than I do. And to my surprise it was National Geographic who saved me [laughter]. They published an article a few years ago about the famous Chinese expedition from China to Mozambique.
Actually, it was the July 2005 issue.
[slide: National Geographic, July 2002.]
It was early 1400s under the command of admiral Zheng He, a typical Chinese at 7 foot 4 [laughter]. Now he had 150,000 people under his command, and some of them were onboard 40 boa-chans, which are known as the Ming Treasure Ships. And this is the size of a Ming Treasure Ship. 400 feet long. The entire fleet of Vasco da Gama would have fitted on the deck of one of those [laughter]. And Zheng He had 40 of those.
[47:00] Now the mere fact that today naval engineers couldn't build such a boat doesn't mean they couldn't do it in the past [laughter].
[47:09] Finally, I need to tell you this. If somebody is a consistent Christian let's be consistent with the logic. And many Christians today, because science does reject a global flood, tend to believe that Noah's flood was a local or a regional flood. Therefore they have to believe this [slide, laughter] .
[47:32] Well, if you're a Christian and also think a little bit, you've got serious problems here. First one would be logical problems, and then there's a theological problem. If Noah's flood was regional, why build an ark? Noah had a long time to move away from the area, since he was informed it was going to come [laughter]. The animals, which according to the bible had been programmed to come to the ark, they could easily have migrated. And birds could have flown away the moment it started, because we have birds today flying non-stop 6000km, no problem for them. So its totally illogical to believe in a regional flood.
[48:12] But then there's a theological problem for the believer here. Because in the bible we read that God has promised Noah that he will never ever destroy the world with another flood. But that was a regional flood. Millions have died in regional floods ever since. Which proves that God has not kept his promise to Noah, who was according to the bible the only righteous man on Earth. So got very serious theological problem in there.
[48:35] Therefore a Christian has to believe that Noah's flood was a global flood. And that's what he does. And now he has a little bit more meat to work with. But there's a fundamental consequence to this, and I know it's a shocker for you guys, but just bear with me.
[48:53] If that was a global flood, it is not impossible to believe that it could have produced the vast majority of fossils and rocks, in a catastrophic event. So the need of deep time disappears with this one. I know it's a shocker, but think logically.
And I find it, if not ironical, at least interesting that the deepest, the thickest sediments that we know of today, 26km of them, are to be found between the Tigris and the Euphrates, in the Middle East.
[49:33] So that being said, I'll stop here, and I'll just suggest to you that you can go and visit our website and try to see what we say there. Try to see how we deal with all this issues. That we're not recurring to the scriptures to explain science, we try to do science, and explain things. Try to see that there is an alternative. You may reject it, but why not respect it?
[50:03] I have been involved in my native country of Romania in debates concerning education. And it's very interesting in Romania after the collapse of Communism there's never been a problem with creationism per se. And I keep telling them, why don't you teach creationism in schools, side by side evolution? Because if it is such a nonsense, you will have five days a week for a whole year to dismantle it. [laughter]
[50:26] But generally think about this, if you educate students from very young to very old, in two different paradigms all the time, giving them a chance to weigh things using their own brains, rather than moulding their brains into a way of thinking, then you'll eventually produce better citizens. Because they will be out there with the idea that the choice is mine more concrete and more valuable and they have the training of judging and thinking.
[51:00] So, I'm stopping here, if you've got questions please I'll try to answer them as good as I can. But if there's any comment, think about it, we organized this meeting. If you organize a meeting we can't come and listen to your comments. But please, just questions. And if we can stay afterwards one-on-one and have some..
[51:21, Le Roux] Thank you very much, if there's any questions [applause] let's just give him a hand. [applause ends]
[51:32] Some of you must rush, any questions, could you just come to the front here to the microphone please, those who must go to class, if you could just leave quietly, any questions…
[00:00, Anon.] "… What event would trigger this .. catastrophic plate movement?"
[00:07, Silvestru] A: "So what triggered plate tectonics? In his totally secular model, Dr Baumgardner was looking to see what may have triggered this, without inferring any divine causes, came to the conclusion that one of the possibilities would be the intrinsic instability of the asthenosphere. If you imagine planet Earth like a huge chemical compound, with things as they happen, certain changes in phase and density, in percentage of certain things, change, you might reach a critical point at which something happens, like for example, a change in the asthenosphere, which causes the initial sinking in the plates, just one area, and then the whole thing goes as a snowball effect. We can also infer obviously a meteorite impact, for example, which would have just disrupted the balance the very very fragile balance and then triggered the mechanism."
[01:10, Le Roux] "Any other questions. Jy kan in Afrikaans ook vra, ek sal dit probeer vertaal, maar dit gaan nie goed uitkom nie" [laughter] "Anybody else?"
[01:25, Anon] "Other than the two canyons you find, the great canyon and the erosion plain under the water, what other evidence do you have?"
[01:35, Silvestru] "As I said, a suggestion as to what happened after the waters covered the land comes from that canyon. There are many similar canyons. This in an emerging domain of research today. Unfortunately most of the research in the in the Monterey canyon goes into biology because they have an ROV there at the at the aquarium and there's hardly one sortie of that without photographing new creatures. Because in addition to all that the bottom of the canyon also has massive release of methane gas, so there's all sorts of weird bio biotopes in there, so there's not much geological research done in there.
Loyola and uh I think Woods Hole also have started the mappings the detailed surveying of such canyons, and there are many of them, they're always located close to the edge of main land masses.
[02:29] Other evidence than that, one is the massive erosion, you see, a statistic study of the vast majority of rivers on Earth shows that they are what we call the valleys in which they flow are underfit. The [word unclear] valley is way too big for the size of the river. And often times you don't find any terraces or anything else meandering, there's just a deep valley cut in a different way.
[02:57] I had the incredible opportunity to visit Santa Cruz River, this spring, in March, this is a river which Darwin has followed two-thirds up in Patagonia. And it's a shocking river because the river, discharging on the average 700 cubic metres per second, but from its source, which is a lake, all the way to the ocean, has no tributary at all. And although the dislevelment is only 190 metres from the lake to the ocean, it flows on the average 25 km/h. It's a massive discharge of water.
Look on Google Earth if you go there, it's so obvious, there's a huge lake, much larger than [sounds like "Largor Cantino" = "Lake Argentino"?] which is now supplying it, and you can see the edges of it, and that thing has catastrophically drained at the end, when the Patagonian ice ice field uh ice was was actually melting and it cut all this river in one huge push.
[03:51] "You know, you go into the Pampas. Perfectly flat, and suddenly you drop into a valley, 35km wide, no sign of a river. You go further, about 15km further into it, there's another step, and then finally, you have the flood plains today in which this river flows. Now, but the whole valley could not have been cut by that river. Much bigger drainage. Now that we know is connected to the to the Ice Age. But if you look globally and analyze the water, I mean, the hydrographic networks, they're all the same, it looks like they started by the huge drainage of water from the land creating the the basics of it, so now the rivers today use it. I mean that's, of course, is circumstantial evidence, but it's fairly well in tune with the rest, and there's more to it of course.
[04:39] You need to understand that, once you've started look into things with a different perspective, and it's just a few of you, and you have hardly any access to the basic information, you have to struggle for it, it's very difficult to do research."
[04:55, Le Roux] "Can we maybe ask a last question? Anybody else? .. Let's ask.."
[05:05, Anon] "When was the Ice Age you speak of?"
[05:08, Silvestru] "Well, ahm, that's a good question."
[05:10, Le Roux] "When was the Ice Age he asked."
[05:11, Silvestru] "If you read certain French glaciologists' works, like [sounds like "Almer Biere"] , she claims that during the Quaternary there've been forty ice ages. At the opposite pole, there's one view that says, there's quite a number of scientists today, that there was only one Ice Age in the Quaternary. I believe there was only one. And I actually believe there was only one Ice Age anyway, you know, but that's a discussion that gets very technical.
Now, how did the Ice Age begin, in the context of the flood? Am I anticipating your question here or not?" ["Yes"]
[05:49, Silvestru] "Thank you. Well, you see, if you analyze dinosaur fossils you notice there's almost identical dinosaurs in Alaska and Antarctica. And since they were exclusively land animals, they had to walk on land, so you would postulate fairly secure that the pre-flood world was a super-continent, not Pangaea, that has to do with the Wilson cycle, and we go to a different destination there.
[06:12] So it's a big chunk of land, right? Now logically the best solution would be to be a strip of land going north-south, because if you have another distribution the rotation of the planet would be a little bit more complicated. Well if that was the case, you would also postulate that the best solution would be a straight axis … to keep the momentum.
[06:37] Now when plate tectonics started, as the ocean plates that carried on top of them this continents started sinking here and there, they created a tremendous drag, which broke this continent into pieces, and they were moving at up to 7 metres per second, to their new locations. Now if you look well, there's more continental mass in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere, right? Now if you move more mass on the surface of a rotating sphere towards the north, obviously the axis is going to tend to tilt northwards and that's exactly how we see it, with rotation a bit wobbly.
[07:11] What do you have now, if you tilted the axis? Suddenly you start having climate zones, which you didn't have with a straight axis, right?
[07:22] Given the incredible amount of heat dissipated there, the precipitations at the end of the flood, and throughout the flood, and the evaporation following it, and then new precipitation, was tremendous. Using existing climatic models, you can estimate an average of 2000 mm per square metre, almost everywhere on Earth. This is a tremendous amount of precipitation. Only that now, in the northern high latitudes, because you have a tilted axis, that will come down as snow. If you cover say 30% of the northern hemisphere with a layer of white snow, 2 metres per year, several years in a row, what do you do? You suddenly increase the albedo of the planet, the whiteness of the planet seen from space, which means that you reflect a lot of solar energy back into space and that's going to cause a catastrophic global cooling, which ends up, within 500 years, once again using existing climate models, into an Ice Age. So all that sediment, all that snow, turns into ice. So within 500 years after that event you can have maximal Ice Age, which went to a peak, and then started melting, and it still melts today." [laughter]
[08:33, Le Roux] "Sjoe, thank you very much. [applause] well let's give him a hand.."
At 14:00 the presentation ended. During the one-on-one discussion following, Dr Silvestru was asked two questions. The first was about dating methods, and the take-home message of his reply was that they were unreliable.
The second question was: ".. I just wanted to know, how old, just a personal question, if I may, how old do you think the world is then, but as I say it's a bit of a personal question." His reply was: "Well of course, here's my answer, no, it's OK, of course, I'm what people call a young earth creationist. If I accept the flood as a real event, a geological event, and I have all my reasons to do, I do not see how deep time can exist, you know ... So, therefore I can operate with 10,000 years or even less, you know, but of course that's a major shift in paradigm, .. and I am perfectly aware of the fact that we're far from having answers to all questions. But it is an unfair, let's not call it fight, although it is a fight .. I mean, you try to reinterpretate basically a good chunk of geology, not all of it, but you do not have access to primary data, even more so, that access is denied to you. So all you have is published stuff, you know, but we all know, that the vast majority of scientists, as they publish, they already put their bias into it. Because that's how we work, we are just human beings, we all do that. So it is ideal if you want to change a paradigm so deeply for you to go and see the real thing in the field and then start from there. If you can't, you're always exposed, I mean, the data you put into the system is the data that comes out uh controls the quality of the data coming out.. so, that's basically it."
The one-on-one discussion ended at 14:24.
Rhetorical strategy of a creation science talk: A case study An analysis of this talk.
Transcript of Dr Batten's talk on the Matie campus (2008 March 05) Transcript of an earlier creationism talk given on the campus of the University of Stellenbosch.
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