CREATIONISM VS EVOLUTION, (CONT.)
II) SCRIPTURAL TESTIMONY & PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF A RECENT CREATION, (cont.)
B) SCRIPTURAL TESTIMONY & PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FROM EARTH WHICH TESTIFY TO A RECENT CREATION, (cont.)
6) THE POST FLOOD PERIOD
[Marvin L. Lubenow states, ('Bones of Contention', Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994, 146-149)]:
"One of the remarkable features of the biblical revelation, when it is interpreted literally, is its internal consistency in recording past events that help to explain the present world. Nowhere is this consistency seen more clearly than in the ability of the worldwide Genesis Flood to provide the only adequate explanation for a great geological mystery: the Ice Age. Few realize that the Genesis Flood and the Ice Age are intimately connected in terms of cause and effect. It was the severe disruption of the global climate by the Genesis Flood that caused the Ice Age to develop immediately afterward...
It would be natural to assume that all that is needed to produce an ice age is a series of very cold winters. Not so. In many areas of the world the winters are very cold; yet, these areas may have little snow. In contrast to our present climate, the two basic requirements for an ice age are (1) much cooler summers, and (2) much more snowfall. Probable contributing mechanisms would be warmer winters and warmer oceans. This combination is an unlikely scenario, and the scientific community, limiting itself to present processes, has hard sledding in trying to account for the cause of the Ice Age. Over sixty theories have been proposed to explain the Ice Age, all with serious defects. However, from computer simulations and from what we know of atmospheric science, the Genesis Flood was capable of producing the Ice Age.
Relatively warmer winters were probably one of the mechanisms that supplied the abundant snowfall necessary for the Ice Age. First, the northern oceans had to remain ice free to provide the moisture source for that abundant snowfall. Today, the Arctic Ocean is normally frozen, and colder winters would cause major portions of the North Atlantic to freeze as well.
Thus, cold winters cut off the moisture sources for an ice age. Furthermore, cold air carries very little moisture. Air temperatures in winter had to be warm enough to carry the massive amounts of water to be precipitated as snow. Those who live in northern areas know that very cold weather seldom brings large amounts of snow, whereas some of the heaviest and wettest snowstorms occur in spring.
No matter how heavy the snowfall might have been in winters, if the summers had been warm enough to melt all of the snow, no Ice Age would have occurred. An ice age cannot develop in one year. There must be an accumulation of snow over many years without significant summer melts. Hence, very cool summers were a basic necessity for the Ice Age.
I was raised in Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo is in the midst of some of the richest farmland on earth - the Red River Valley, which is an ancient lake bed formed by glacier melt water. East, in Minnesota, there is also much evidence of ancient glaciers. Today, however, in winter the temperature sometimes drops to forty degrees below zero. In summer, one hundred-degree weather is not uncommon. That is not an ice-age producing climate. The mystery of the Ice Age is this: in the very geographic areas where there is incontrovertible evidence of past continental glaciers, the climate today is such that it is impossible for an ice age to be produced there. Further, it stretches the imagination to create a scenario that would have allowed glaciers to be produced there in the past. Certainly, as far as the Ice Age is concerned, the present is not the key to the past. A logical inference is that since the Ice Age was caused by conditions which do not exist today, only historical records such as the Book of Genesis can give us clues as to what those past conditions were.
Oxygen isotope and other data give scientific evidence that the deep ocean was warmer for extended periods of the past. While the scientific community cannot explain this fact, warm oceans are exactly what the Genesis model would predict for the early earth. The waters above the expanse (atmosphere), created on day two of creation week (Gen. 1:6-8), would cause a relatively uniform climate worldwide, including warm oceans and warm polar regions. The oceans would have become even warmer at the time of the Flood when hot water, which was a part of the 'fountains of the deep,' mixed with them. These warm oceans served as a mechanism to supply the abundant moisture necessary for the heavy snowfall of the Ice Age.
After the Flood, the oceans, while gradually cooling, would remain warm for hundreds of years. However, the land surfaces would cool very quickly for the following reasons:
(1) The waters above the atmosphere, having contributed to the rains for the Flood, would now be gone and their insulating effect would be removed;
(2) the intense volcanism of the Flood would continue for a time after the Flood and would put high amounts of particulate matter and aerosols into the atmosphere which would reflect the sun's rays back into space;
(3) immediately after the Flood the earth would be barren and denuded, and barren land is highly reflective of the sun's rays;
(4) the heavy cloud cover produced by the warmer oceans would also be highly reflective of the sun's rays; and
(5) the rapidly building snow cover would itself have a cooling effect on the land. The result is that the land surfaces would cool very quickly after the Flood.
This formula of very cool summers and very heavy snowfall, together with the probable mechanisms of warmer winters, warmer oceans, and cold land surfaces becomes the secret for the Ice Age. It explains why the Ice Age started immediately after the Flood, why there had not been an ice age before that time (evolutionists' claims of pre-Pleistocene ice ages notwithstanding), and why there cannot be an ice age again. It also explains why the scientific community, which rejects the Genesis Flood, has never been able to adequately explain the cause of the Ice Age.
[Ref: Michael J. Oard, An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood (San Diego: Institute for Creation Research, 1990)]
...During the Ice Age, continental ice sheets covered large sections of North America, northern Europe, and northwest Asia. The ice occurred even on the high mountains of the tropics. The climate over much of the earth was cold, damp, and rainy. Thick cloud cover caused by the warm oceans together with heavy post-Flood volcanism robbed the earth of much of its sunshine. This condition would have lasted until the slowly cooling oceans gradually approached their present temperature range. It is significant that the Book of Job, with its setting after the Flood (Job 22:16) and probably before Abraham, has more references in it to snow, ice, and violent weather than any other book of the Bible.
Michael Oard estimates that the time from the end of the Flood to the time when the largest volume of ice and snow covered the land (glacial maximum) was about five hundred years, and the time for deglaciation about two hundred years. He writes: 'Thus, the total length of time for a post-Flood ice age from beginning to end, is about 700 years.'
...However, Oard cautions that these are difficult figures to come by, '...because there are too many variables that are poorly known.'
The human responses to the harsh climate of the Ice Age would have been
(1) to seek out natural shelters such as caves,
(2) to construct shelters out of whatever material was available, and
(3) to wear heavy clothing, probably animal skins, to cover much or all of the body. The lack of access to sunshine because of the heavy cloud cover, their need for shelter, and the wearing of heavy clothing would have predictable results: rickets.
Rickets is a deforming bone disease caused by a lack of vitamin D. In humans, vitamin D is produced in the deep layers of the skin through irradiation by the ultraviolet component of sunlight, the very component of sunlight most effectively filtered out by heavy, thick clouds.
The only significant dietary sources of vitamin D are fatty fish and egg yolk. The archaeological record gives no evidence that Homo erectus, archaic Homo sapiens, or the Neandertal peoples consumed these foods except sporadically. In the other hand, the Cro-Magnon people, with their very modern morphology, give evidence that fish contributed substantially and routinely to their diet. Further, by Cro-Magnon times, the Ice Age would have been in its final stages with relatively cool oceans, less cloud cover and volcanism, a dryer climate, and more sunshine."
"...The termination of the Deluge proper, occupying a period of a little more than a year (as measured between the times Noah and his family entered and left the Ark), did not by any means mark the termination of the abnormal hydrologic and geomorphic phenomena. Almost unimaginably profound changes had taken place in the entire domain of terrestrial energetics. The precipitation of the antediluvian... ...canopy instituted a new hydrologic cycle, as well as a new cycle of seasons. A larger proportion of the earth's surface was now taken up in ocean basins and water surface areas. The pre-diluvian topography was completely changed with great mountain chains and deep basins now replacing the formerly gentle and more nearly uniform topography. Removal of the protective canopy around the earth permitted development of extreme latitudinal variations of temperature, with resulting great air movements and established climatic zones. Removal of the canopy also permitted the earth's atmosphere to be penetrated by much larger amounts of radiation of various types and perhaps also by inter-planetary gas or dust. Isostatic adjustments of the rocks and water and other materials near the earth's surface were profoundly disturbed and altered.
And it is obvious that these and other geophysical changes associated with the Flood could not have been completely accomplished and stabilized for centuries."
"With the conclusion of the Flood epoch, God promised that no more such earth-shaking aqueous cataclysms would ever be visited on the earth as long as it remained...
(v. 21) "And the LORD smelled the soothing aroma; [of Noah's sacrifice, (v. 20)] and the LORD said to Himself, 'I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
(v. 22) 'While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.' "]
...In general, uniform processes of nature would henceforth prevail; thus the geological dogma of uniformity can, with certain limitations, be applied to the study of this period. However, even here, the principle must be sufficiently elastic to accommodate numerous minor disturbances recorded in Scripture and perhaps implied in ancient mythologies, as well probably as many others of which the only records are those in the geologic deposits themselves. It is likely that a large proportion even of present geological work is accomplished during brief, intense periods of earth activity, in floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and similar events."
b) RAPID WORLDWIDE DISPERSION OF MAN, ANIMALS & PLANTS WAS ONLY POSSIBLE AFTER THE FLOOD
"If the Flood was geographically universal, then all the air-breathers of the animal kingdom which were not in the Ark perished; and present-day animal distribution must be explained on the basis of migrations from the mountains of Ararat..."
1) THREE MAJOR VIEWS ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN THE PRESENT WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION OF ANIMALS
"There are three generally accepted views as to how such animal distribution came about.
First, we have the... ...advocates of a local Flood, who claim that most of these animals were probably created [by God] in the ecological niches where they are now found.
Secondly, we have the advocates of a universal Flood, who believe that these animals must have reached their present locations by waves of migration during the centuries that followed the Flood...
Another possible [variation of this] theory is that [after a universal Flood] the animals were re-created... in their present ecological niches... However, this expedient would eliminate the need of an ark to preserve the animals through the Flood, and of course is not suggested in the Biblical account...
And thirdly, we have the evolutionary school of modern science, which explains such distribution on the basis of gradual processes of migration over millions of years, together with the evolution of totally new kinds of animals in geographically isolated areas...
It is necessary to show only that a general migration of animals from the Near east since the Flood is reasonable and possible..."
2) THE UNIQUENESS OF AUSTRALIAN MARSUPIALS DOES NOT CONTRADICT A WORLDWIDE ANIMAL MIGRATION FROM THE ARK
[Critics maintain that since marsupials are only found today in Australia, then a worldwide animal migration from the ark in Mesopotamia is refuted]
"On the assumption that the animals of the present world trace their ancestry back to those within the Ark, how can we explain the facts that these marsupials and monotremes are found nowhere in the world except in Australia and that the placentals never succeeded in reaching that sub-continent?...
Since fossil marsupials have been found in Europe, as well as in Australia and the Western Hemisphere, it seems evident that they have migrated rather widely in the past...
The Old Testament informs us that Palestine was infested with lions for centuries (Judges 14:5, I Sam. 17:34, II Sam. 23:20, I Kings 13:24, 20:36, and especially II Kings 17:25...
[II Kgs 17:25]:
"And it came about at the beginning of their living there, that they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them."]
...But where is the fossil evidence for their having been in Palestine? It is a well-known fact that animals leave fossil remains only under rare and special conditions. Therefore, the lack of fossil evidence for marsupials in southern Asia cannot be used as proof that they have never been in that region of the world...
An even more familiar example is that of the American bison or buffalo. 'The buffalo carcasses strewn over the plains in uncounted millions two generations ago have left hardly a present trace. The flesh was devoured by wolves or vultures within hours or days after death, and even the skeletons have now largely disappeared, the bones dissolving and crumbling into dust under the attack of the weather....'
[Carl O. Dunbar, Historical Geology (New York, Wiley, 1949), p. 39...]
....[So] No one can prove that kangaroos and the other Australian marsupials were confined to Australia before the Flood....
....Since no fossil kangaroos have been found in Australia earlier than the [so called] Pleistocene, no one can prove that any of them are antediluvian.....
The journeys from the mountains of Ararat [where the animals disembarked from the Ark] to their present habitats were made in an intermittent fashion, each generation sending representatives a little farther from the original home. The presence of tapirs today only in South America and the Malayan islands, opposite sides of the earth, is indicative of the fact that animals migrated in more than one direction. The creationist holds that there is no reason for believing that this distribution of animals was accomplished by any other processes than those employed in distribution today... Increase in number of individuals of any one kind causes a necessity for spreading outward toward the horizon in search of food and homes... Their arrival in new areas may be a result of deliberate individual endeavor or it may be that they arrive as wave tossed survivors of some coastal accident."
3) RAPID ANIMAL DISPERSION IN RECENT HISTORY SUPPORTS WORLDWIDE ANIMAL MIGRATION FROM THE ARK
"There is some evidence
available to show that animals could have reached their present habitats
with astonishing speed, crossing vast continents and even wide stretches
of open sea on their way. In the year 1883, the island of Krakatoa in the
Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra, was almost destroyed by a volcanic
explosion that shook that entire part of the world. For twenty-five years
practically nothing lived in the remnant of that volcanic island. But
'then the colonists began to arrive - a few mammals in 1908; a number of
birds, lizards, and snakes; various mollusks, insects, and earthworms.
Ninety percent of Krakatoa's new inhabitants, Dutch scientists found, were
forms that could have arrived by air.'
[Rachel L. Carson, The Sea Around Us (New Your: Oxford University Press, 1951), pp. 91-92].
Professor Paul A. Moody of the University of Vermont tells how large land animals have been able to cross oceans on natural rafts and 'floating islands':
'In times of flood large masses of earth and entwining vegetation, including trees, may be torn loose from the banks of rivers and swept out to sea. Sometimes such masses are encountered floating in the ocean out of sight of land, still lush and green, with palms twenty to thirty feet tall. It is entirely probable that land animals may be transported long distances in this manner. Mayr records that many tropical ocean currents have a speed of at least two knots; this would amount to fifty miles in a day, 1000 miles in three weeks.'
Professor Shull makes the interesting observation that 'the fauna of Madagascar is most similar, not to that of its continental neighbor Africa, but to that of Asia, the gap being bridged over by the Seychelles Islands whose animals are similar to those of Madagascar.' But when we look at the map of the Indian Ocean, our astonishment increases, for the Seychelles Islands are 700 miles north of Madagascar, and the Asiatic mainland is another 1500 miles beyond the Seychelles! The monkey-like lemur is practically the only mammal found on Madagascar, so it would seem that lemurs found their way across 2,200 miles of the Indian Ocean in order to reach the island which is now their home.'
[Paul Almasy, 'Madagascar: Mystery Island,' The National Geographic Magazine, LCCCI (June, 1942), pp. 798, 902]
While it is true that even the open sea has proven to be no final barrier to the onrushing migrations of animals, we must look to the land bridges as the principal means of animal distribution around the world...
...One glance at a world map will show that, with the exception of the narrow break at the Bering Strait, a dry-land path leads from Armenia to all lands of the globe except Australia. In the case of the latter the East Indies even today form a fairly continuous bridge of stepping-stones to that southern continent. As regards the Bering Strait, there is no doubt that a land connection once existed between Asia and North America."
c) EVIDENCE OF ICE AGE POINTS TO A RECENT CATASTROPHIC WORLDWIDE FLOOD
1) ONSET OF THE ICE AGE
"The lowering of the temperature of the polar latitudes as the vapor [ice] canopy... ...precipitated would have had immediate and important climatologic reactions. However, the initially warm temperature of the water in the polar seas, together with its continuing turbulent state, sufficed to prevent its freezing for a period of unknown, but substantial, duration. Undoubtedly the first water actually to freeze would have been that mixed in with the sediments being deposited in these regions, cut off, as it were, from the warmer temperatures and the turbulent agitation of the free water in the open seas. Thus must have been formed, at some intermediate or late stage in the Deluge period, those vast stretches of permanently frozen soils in the Arctic and sub-Arctic known as 'permafrost.'
Embedded in these frozen mucks of the Arctic are large numbers of fossil mammals, apparently trapped and in some cases partially frozen before the soft parts had decayed.
'The extensive silty alluvium, now frozen, in central Alaska contains... ...numerous mammal fauna... Freezing has preserved the skin and tissue of some of the mammals. The faunal list includes two bears, dire wolf, wolf, fox, badger, wolverine, saber-tooth cat, jaguar, lynx, woolly mammoth, mastodon, two horses, camel, saiga antelope, four bisons, caribou, moose, stag-moose, elk, two sheep, musk-ox and yak types, ground sloth, and several rodents. The number of individuals is so great that the assemblage as a whole must represent a rather long time...'
[R. F. Flint: Glacial and Pleistocene Geology (New York, Wiley, 1957), p. 471]
...That these mammals and the freezing of the alluvium now containing them represents a rather sharp change of climate is quite obvious:
'The time of inception of permafrost remains, nevertheless, unknown. The fossil record... [according to this evolutionist supposedly] ...implies that in earlier Cenozoic time there could have been no permafrost in the Arctic region... the areas of former ice sheet bears no evident relation to the distribution of permafrost.'
[Ibid., p. 204]
...J. K. Charlesworth says: 'Vast herds of mammoth and other animals (the New Siberian Islands in the far north of Asia have yielded mammoth, wooly rhinoceros, musk ox, saiga antelope, reindeer, tiger, arctic fox, glutton, bear and horse among the 66 animal species) required forests, meadows and steppes for their sustenance... and could not have lived in a climate like the present, with its icy winds, snowy winters, frozen ground and tundra moss the year round.'
[The Quaternary Era, Vol. II, London, Edward Arnold Co., 1957, p. 650]
[Larry Vardiman states in his article entitled 'COOLING OF THE OCEAN AFTER THE FLOOD' in Impact brochure #277, dated July 1996, published by the Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, Ca]:
If '''...all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered'''' by the Flood and '''...all flesh died that moved upon the earth...''' as described in Genesis 7:19, 21, then it is likely that massive global upheavals of the crust and oceans were involved. If the geologic column is a record of catastrophic events of the Flood over a period of about a year some 5,000 years ago, then large quantities of heat would have been released from frictional forces of erosion, and from crustal motions such as continental breakup, plate subduction, and earthquakes. Because the oceans would have been in direct contact with many of the sources of heat, the water would have been warmed and remained so for some time following the Flood.1
Record of Heat in the Sediments
Layers of sediment averaging over 1000 feet thick cover the sea floor all over the earth. Samples of these sediments have been extracted by deep sea drilling techniques which have led to a better understanding of earth history. Seafloor sediments not only contain sand and mud eroded from the continents, but also shells of microorganisms which lived and died in the ocean. Some of these microorganisms called foraminifera incorporate varying quantities of oxygen isotopes in their shells as the temperature changes allowing them to be used as a paleothermometer - an instrument for estimating temperature in the past.
Kennett et al 2 have analyzed the concentration of oxygen isotopes in forasminifera which live on the sea floor near the Antarctic. Using a conventional time scale which assumes that the sea-floor sediments have accumulated over millions of years at a rate similar to that observed today, they found a slow decrease in temperature of about 20 degrees C since the end of the Cretaceous Period when the dinosaurs lived was so warm.
However, if these same data are interpreted from a young-earth catastrophic Flood perspective, an entirely different result is found. Using a Biblical time scale which assumes that the sea-floor sediments have accumulated mostly over a few thousand years during and following the Genesis Flood, initially at a very high rate and decreasing exponentially to that observed today, Vardiman3 found a rapid decrease in temperature immediately after the Flood followed by a slower decrease with time.... Most of this cooling to have only taken about 2000 years to reach temperatures commonly observed today.
The shape of the cooling curve... is similar to that expected by a body starting at a high temperature and cooling by heat transfer to a cooler reservoir. The rate of cooling is rapid initially but slows with time, approaching the final temperature asymptotically [i.e., in a relatively straight line]. During the steep portion of the cooling curve, the climate of the earth would be expected to change dramatically as the oceans cooled by some 20 degrees C. Today, when the ocean surface averages only one or two degrees warmer during an El Nino event, major changes occur in circulation and precipitation pattern over the Pacific Ocean leading to major storms and flooding on the west coasts of north and south America. How much more dramatic would climate changes be for a 20 degrees C cooling?
Implications of a Cooling Ocean
If the model of sea-floor sediment accumulation described above is correct, the implications are dramatic. Most of the sediments found on the sea floor were deposited rapidly just a few thousand years ago. The rate of accumulation would have been very rapid during and immediately following the Flood. Not only erosion of sands and muds from the continents would have been involved, but also the accumulation of microscopic plant and animal organisms from the ocean itself. This would indicate that the tiny organisms in the ocean probably 'bloomed' following the Flood due to all the nutrients added by the Flood and the greater warmth, as well as fewer large predators allowing a continued, rapid doubling of biomass.
The warm ocean would have produced at least four significant atmospheric effects. Much greater evaporation of water vapor from the ocean to the atmosphere would have led to greater storminess and precipitation, particularly in the polar regions. Large temperature contrasts between the oceans and continents would have produced strong winds and heavy precipitation parallel to coast lines. The blooming of ocean life following the Flood would likely have absorbed large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere causing radiational cooling. Warm oceans and radiational cooling aloft would create more convection in the atmosphere leading to more precipitation.
The atmospheric effects appear to be an adequate explanation for the 'Ice Age' which produced more extensive glaciers than today and massive sheets of ice over large areas of the polar regions and mid-latitudes.4 The 'Ice Age' in the Biblical time frame probably lasted from shortly after the Flood to about the time of Abraham. The 'Ice Age' probably affected the peoples of the Bible with a cooler, wetter climate and more grasslands in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, Palestine, and North Africa. These regions are known for their desert climate today but evidence points to more vegetation in the past.
Once the oceans cooled to the equilibrium temperatures of today, the climate reached a stable condition with only relatively minor variations. Generally, the world's climate would be expected to be drier as less moisture was transported into the atmosphere from a cooler ocean, winds along continental boundaries weakened, less carbon dioxide was removed from the atmosphere leading to warming atmospheric temperatures, and convection decreased. Variations in climate would be primarily produced by seasonal changes rather than highly energetic storms and cooling of the ocean.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Rapid accumulation of sea-floor sediments during and following the Flood imply that the ocean cooled rapidly over the past few thousand years. This rapid cooling explains the cause of the "Ice Age' and other climate changes. Rather than being a puzzle for young-earth creationists, thick layers of sediment on the sea floor and massive sheets of ice on the continents appear to be a consequence of the catastrophic events of the Genesis Flood. Once again Biblical accounts of earth history are being confirmed, lending credibility to God's Word.
It is recommended that the young-earth model of sea-floor sediment accumulation proposed here be improved by analyzing the oxygen and carbon isotopes from many additional cores. The identification of the Flood/Post-Flood boundary needs to have high priority. An analysis of the productivity of sediments containing shells of living organisms in a post-Flood ocean should be made and compared with the mass of sediments observed. The accumulation of hundreds of feet of sediment, on the average, and miles of sediment in some locations, such as the Arctic Ocean, require very high productivity following the Flood. Although the potential for high productivity has been suggested by some, can the oceans supply enough nutrients in some 4,500 years to explain the observed sediments?
FOOTNOTES INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH
[Also answers in genesis.org]
1Oard, M.J. 1990. An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood. Institute for Creation Research Monograph. San Diego, CA. 243 pp.
2Kennett, J.P., R.E. Houtz, P.B. Andrews, A.R. Edwards, V.A. Gostin, M. Hajos, M. Hampton, D.G. Jenkins, S.W. Margolis, A.T. Ovenshine, K. Perch-Nielsen. 1977 Descriptions of Procedures and Data for Sites 277, 279, 281 by the Shipboard Party. In Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project. 29:45-58, 191-202, and 271-285. GPO: Washington, D.C.
3Vardiman, L. 1996. Sea-Flood Sediment and the Age of the Earth. Institute for Creation Research Monograph. San Diego, CA. 94 pp.
4Vardiman, L. 1996. Ice Cores and the Age of the Earth. Institute for Creation Research Monograph. San Diego, CA. 86 pp.
"The richness of the Siberian mammoth deposits in the permafrost defies description. Although uniformitarian writers consistently understate the extent and abundance of these beds, even their admissions are significant:
'In this connection the extinction of the wooly mammoth in northern Eurasia should be mentioned. In Siberia alone some 50,000 mammoth tusks have been collected and sold to the ivory trade, and there are rare occurrences of whole animals preserved in frozen ground. These finds have fostered many tales of great catastrophes, for which there is no factual support.'
[R. F. Flint: Glacial and Pleistocene Geology (New York, Wiley, 1957), p. 470]
...Perhaps a little less retrained estimation of the character of these deposits may be gleaned from the following:
'A certain amount (of ivory) is furnished by the vast stores of remains of prehistoric animals still existing throughout Russia, principally in Siberia in the neighborhood of the Lena and other rivers discharging into the Arctic Ocean. The mammoth and mastodon seem at one time to have been common over the whole surface of the globe. In England tusks have been dug up - for instance at Dungeness - as long as 12 feet and weighing 200 pounds. The Siberian deposits have been worked now for nearly two centuries. The store appears to be as inexhaustible as a coalfield. Some think that a day may come when the spread of civilization may cause the utter disappearance of the elephant in Africa, and that it will be to these deposits that we may have to turn as the only source of animal ivory.'
[Article, "Ivory," in Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 12, 1956, p. 834]
...And the Arctic Islands north of Siberia have been described as even more densely packed with the remains of elephants and other mammals, as well as dense tangles of fossil trees and other plants, so much that the entire islands seem to be composed of organic debris. No wonder these things have 'fostered tales of great catastrophes'; the wonder is that uniformitarians could possibly offer any other explanation in any seriousness! There is most certainly no modern parallel entombment of elephants or any other kind of mammal taking place anywhere in the modern world. It may not be quite clear as yet whether these deposits were made directly during the Deluge period or soon after, or both, but it seems fairly evident that the extermination of such immense hordes of animals and their interment in what has ever since been frozen soil must somehow be explained in terms of the events accompanying just such a universal aqueous catastrophe as the Bible describes...
...It has occasionally been suggested that the ocean waters would have remained warm for too long a period to allow for the preservation of the soft parts of the animals, the inference being that they must have perished in some other catastrophe centuries later. However, it is doubtful that post-diluvian Siberian climates could ever have supported such vast hordes of animals.
The animals that perished in
the Flood did not, of course, have to float around on the Arctic Ocean for
months, but were quickly buried in the depositional silts of the flood
waters [right where they lived in the milder preFlood climate]. The
entrapped waters in these sediments, cut off from the warm waters of the
open ocean, froze rapidly, forming the 'permafrost,' the permanently
frozen soils and subsoils of the Arctic lands, and it was in these that
the mammals and other animals of the region were buried. As Charlesworth
says: 'The frozen mammoths are found on the timbered banks of rivers and
in a soil that nearly always contains fragments of trees. Bacterial decay
was hindered by the cold climate and by quick interment in fine silts'
[Charlesworth, The Quaternary Era, Vol. II, London, Edward Arnold Co., 1957, p. 649]
...On the other hand, most of the animals [which were drowned in the Flood worldwide] did suffer decay and thus may have been exposed for some time prior to burial.
'...Putrefaction however seems to have started immediately after the animal's death and before burial despite the small precipitation of the time.' [Ibid]
Also, many mammoths and mastodons certainly lived during the first centuries after the Flood as well, before finally becoming extinct or modified to their present forms [via genetic variation within the species].
A remarkable recent study of these Arctic phenomena attributes them to violent catastrophes associated with the shifting of the earth's crust. The convulsions postulated by Ivan Sanderson in his theory make our visualization of the Deluge seem quite uniformitarian by comparison.
'A sudden mass extrusion of dust and gases would cause the formation of monstrous amounts of rain and snow, and it might even be so heavy as to cut out sunlight altogether for days, weeks, months or even years if the crustal movements continued. Winds beyond anything known today would be whipped up, and cold fronts of vast lengths would build up with violent extremes of temperature on either side. There would be forty days and nights of snow in one place, continent-wide floods in another, and roaring hurricanes, seaquakes and earthquakes bringing on landslides and tidal waves in others, and many other disturbances.
[Ivan T. Sanderson: 'Riddle of the Frozen Giants,' Saturday Evening Post, January 16, 1960, p. 83]
...Sanderson attributes the quick-freezing of those mammoths that have been preserved whole to the descent of great 'blobs' of chilled volcanic gases, first shot up towards the stratosphere, then rapidly falling and expelling the ground air violently outward radially. Others were overcome by the intense winds and floods, their bones commingled with hosts of other animals as now found in Alaska and other places.
'This is exactly the state of affairs we find in Alaska, where the mammoths and other animals, with one or two significant exceptions, were all literally torn to pieces while still fresh. Young and old alike were cast about, mangled and then frozen. There are also, however, other areas where the animals are mangled, but had time to decompose before being frozen; and still others where they decomposed down to bones and were then either frozen or not. Beyond these again, there are similar vast masses of animals, including whole families or herds, all piled together into gulleys and riverbeds and other holes, but where only bones remain.'
[Loc. cit. Sanderson is a field zoologist and author of numerous volumes on wild life]
...It is interesting that the same author thirteen years previously had written on the same subject, and at that time had followed the usual uniformitarian viewpoint that the mammoths had fallen into holes and gulches or had drowned in river floods, and that the reason for their extinction was a low birth rate! Further study, however, has convinced him that such explanations were wholly inadequate, and he has been driven to the geologically heretical concept of catastrophism as the necessary answer. Rather than return to Biblical catastrophism, however...
(he had previously written: '''The Biblical theory that the Deluge was the agency by which these animals were killed was in due course demolished by simple logic and modern rationalization''')... [Ivan T. Sanderson: 'the Riddle of the Mammoth,' Saturday Evening Post, December 7, 1946]
...he has sought a naturalistic explanation in terms of Hapgood's recent shifting-crust theory, previously referred to.
At any rate, it is transparently obvious that catastrophism of a very high order is alone sufficient to account for such things as these.
'The greatest riddle, however, is when, why and how did all these assorted creatures, and in such absolutely countless numbers, get killed, mashed up and frozen into this horrific indecency?' [Sanderson, op. cit. (1960), p. 82]
We submit that the answer to the riddle must be found in terms of the Genesis Flood."
"And now begins another aftermath of the Deluge, of tremendous significance. As the modern cycle of evaporation, atmospheric turbulence and vapor transportation, and condensation and precipitation became established, snow began to fall, quite possibly for the first time in earth's history. As we have already seen, there is strong evidence that the climate of the entire world prior to the Flood was uniformly mild and pleasant. This snow, falling primarily in the arctic and antarctic regions, was of course derived via the hydrologic cycle from the waters which only recently were covering the earth. Great amounts of snow also accumulated in the mountains which had just been uplifted.
In this way, large amounts of water were removed from the oceans and stored in the polar regions in the form of great ice caps, which in some instances are believed by glacial geologists to have attained the immense size of continental ice sheets thousands of feet thick and thousands of square miles in area. This agency thus combined with the agency of orogeny [mountain range forming] to cause the retreat of the globe-encircling waters off the continents...
...Glacial geologists have never answered the cogent criticisms of Sir Henry Howorth, President of the Archaeological Institute of Great Britain near the close of the nineteenth century, who amassed a tremendous amount of evidence that most of the supposed ice-sheet deposits may have been formed by a great flood sweeping down from the north. See especially his works, The Glacial Nightmare and the Flood, Vols. I and II, 1895, and Ice or Water, Vols. I and II, 1905, both published in London by Sampson Low, Marston Searle, and Risington, but now out of print.
Howorth was not defending Genesis, in which he was not a believer, but only was concerned to show the scientific inadequacy of the glacial theory. It is perhaps illuminating to record the experience of one of the authors several years ago in the library of the University of Minnesota's outstanding Department of Geology. Howorth's massive work Ice or Water was found on the shelves and was borrowed for study... the first time in the forty-odd years of its residence there that it had ever been checked out or (judging from the numerous page-pairs still not cut apart from each other) even opened!...
As evidence that the Ice Age constitutes a catastrophe that is utterly inexplicable in terms of present processes, one need only recall again the fact that there are dozens of hypotheses that have been advanced attempting to explain its cause and mechanism; all have had grave defects and none has yet been generally accepted...
The Biblical Deluge [on the other hand]... ...offers an eminently satisfactory explanation. The combined effect of the uplift of the continents and mountain-chains and the removal of the protective... [canopy] ...around the earth could hardly have failed to induce great snow and ice accumulations in the mountains and on the land areas near the poles. And these glaciers and ice caps must have continued to accumulate and spread until they reached latitudes and altitudes at which the marginal temperatures caused melting rates in the summers adequate to offset accumulation rates in the winters.
The total amount of water locked up in these great glaciers during their greatest extent is not known as yet, but it may have been very great. The main evidence of this fact is in the greatly lowered sea levels of the Ice Age. In the past decade a large amount of evidence has been amassed to show that ocean levels were at least 400 feet lower than at present...
[Richard J. Russell: 'Instability of Sea Level,' American Scientist, Vol. 45, Dec., 1957, pp. 414-430]
..possibly much more, as shown by such features as the continental shelves, sea-mounts, submerged canyons and terraces, etc...
..It has been argued that, once an ice sheet got started, it would probably grow rapidly and extensively.
[C. E. P. Brooks, Climate Through the Ages, (2nd Ed., McGraw-Hill, 1949), pp. 31-45]
...This would perhaps be possible in the years immediately following the Deluge. An abundant supply of moisture, strong polar winds, lowered polar temperatures due both to removal of the thermal... ...blanket and probable dense accumulation of volcanic dust particles in the atmosphere, newly uplifted mountains, essentially barren topography of the denuded lands: all these and possible other factors could have contributed to the rapid accumulation and growth of ice sheets. These factors are all legitimately deduced from the record of the Flood and would be quite sufficient to explain the Ice Age. The catastrophic nature thereof, however, will of course be unacceptable to many geologists.
[Evolutionist W. L. Stokes cannot seem to accept the truth about the catastrophic Flood even when the evidence overwhelmingly supports it]:
'Although extraordinary or even catastrophic events may have caused the ice ages and their oscillations, it is nevertheless true that the ideal theory ought [sic] to fit within the framework of uniformitarian principles.'
[W. L. Stokes: 'Another Look at the Ice Age,' Science, Vol. 122, October 28, 1955. p. 815]
...Nevertheless the Flood theory satisfactorily meets the requirements for a Glacial Age mechanism.
'The ideal theory must be prepared to explain simultaneous glaciations over the entire earth... Last but not least, the theory must explain the greatest paradox of all - the evidence of cold and ice existing and increasing simultaneously with conditions that favored accelerated evaporation and precipitation.
[Ibid., p. 815]
...In general, the various aspects of glacial and Pleistocene geology as commonly held by geologists are quite in harmony with our deductions from the Biblical accounts. [Except with respect to the time/age element] Some of the larger and more indurated [physically hardened] formations attributed to the [so called] Pleistocene [period] in the non-glaciated areas are perhaps best grouped with the later [so called] Tertiary deposits, as formed during the last stages of the Flood, with the effects of uplift involved. But most of the so-called Pleistocene deposits can be accepted as post-Deluge, associated with the continental glaciers or with the equivalent events in unglaciated regions, and can be accepted substantially as interpreted by glacial geologists."
1) ONSET OF ICE AGE, (cont)
b) EVIDENCE FOR ONLY ONE ICE AGE, ONE GLACIATION
It may be objected that a Flood-induced glaciation does not account for the four glacial stages which are quite generally accepted as composing the entire [supposed] Pleistocene Glacial Epoch. Glacial geologists believe that each of the four [supposed] stages was separated by a warm period comparable to that of the present, or perhaps even warmer. A glaciation such as we have envisioned as brought on by the Deluge would more likely be one event, not four separate events. In fact, it is uncertain what could have terminated the Ice Age at all, once it got started...
..As a matter of fact, the reason that it is so difficult to account theoretically for the [evolutionists' hypothesis of] four glacial stages may be simply that they never existed. It should not be thought that the evidence for the three earlier stages is the same as that for the last....
..The [supposed] earlier stages [of glacial periods] ...are evidenced [according to evolutionists] mainly by a deposit of 'gumbotil,' supposedly a very mature and weathered clay soil containing small stones. It is explained that these gumbotils are the weathered remnants of former till deposits (a till is an unstratified deposit of gravel, sand and clay which is considered evidence of glacial origin). The apparent depth of leaching of carbonates in these soils has been used as the chief basis of estimating their age of formation.
Not only are the earlier tills usually devoid of any of the typical glacial formations characterizing the last one, but also the latter shows no evidence of gumbotil formation as in the earlier ones...
[In addition to the lack of extensive evidence over large areas...]
..all these factors [which provide limited local support for several glacial periods] can be explained on other grounds than large-scale glacial fluctuations. [in the climate]...
..The picture that is beginning to emerge, then, is of one great glaciation brought on by the events associated with the Great Flood. The spreading ice sheets fanned out over areas which, recently emerged from the flood waters, had probably as yet little vegetation, and so were easily subject to tremendous erosion. Great quantities of newly-hardened rock materials were plucked up and carried along by the ice, eventually being deposited in some sort of moraine, [accumulation of earth and stones carried and finally deposited by a glacier] then probably reworked by marginal streams in many cases. The glacier undoubtedly waxed and waned a number of times, permitting a great variety of deposits to be formed along its margins, but there is no real justification for inferring long inter-glacial periods.
Except relatively near the ice edges, the climate was not materially affected, so that floral and faunal populations of considerable variety could exist reasonably near. It was only as the ice sheet finally began its permanent retreat that the kinds of organisms now adapted best to cold climates began to separate from those more fitted for temperate climates. In the temperate and especially in the sub-tropical latitudes (where most of Biblical and other early peoples enacted their histories) very little influence of the glaciers would have been felt, with the probable exception of higher average precipitation than now occurs, and of the relatively lower sea level.
This intimation of only one great glaciation has received very recently support from intensive studies made during the International Geophysical Year.
'A paper to be presented at the December meeting of AAAS in Washington, E. C., will include a proposal for a wholly new concept... of ice age history....
...Deposits formerly attributed to four or five separate Pleistocene glaciations, both in America and Europe, are deposits of a single glaciation.
Normal retreat of the borders of the icecap permitted the Leverett Sea to expand into the valleys of southern New England and the lower Hudson Valley, and in the Mississippi basin, over the whole area of the so-called Nebraskan, Kansan, and Illinoian glaciations, so that an immense ice-marginal body of water was formed, extending from Ohio to Montana and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Wisconsin driftless area. Iceberg-rafted erratic stones and boulders became grounded on the submerged topography of northern Kentucky, southwestern Missouri, and eastern Iowa (the so-called 'Iowan' stage). Gumbo clays, until recently interpreted to be weathered tills, were deposited within the expanse of the sea-level waters, along with driftwood and other organic material heretofore interpreted to be 'interglacial' deposits. Immense kames [mounds of stratified drift deposited by glacial meltwater] and eskers [mounds of sand, gravel or boulders deposited by a stream flowing on, within or beneath a stagnant glacier] were built by sub-glacial rivers emerging from beneath the ice-border under water... Reduction of the ice age to 'unity' shortens geologic history and nullifies the present meaning of the terms Nebraskan, Kansan, Illinoian, Wisconsin, and the several 'inter-glacials.' Ice age history appears to have been influenced or regulated far less by climatic changes and moraine building than by the intermittent character of the great land movements which continue to the present. There is urgent need in America and Europe for a tectonic chronology of the ice age, based on transatlantic correlation of marine stages and simultaneous timing of the continental uplifts.'
[Richard J. Lougee: 'Ice-Age History,' Science, Vol. 128, November 21, 1958, p. 1290.
...J. K. Charlesworth, though he favors the multi-glacial hypothesis, gives an extensive discussion of the arguments advanced in the past for a single glaciation, including a quite lengthy bibliography of writings of mono-glacial geologists, especially in Europe (The Quaternary Era, Vol. II, London, Edward Arnold Co. 1957, pp. 911-914). Lougee's suggestion, therefore, is not merely a current aberration. Lougee is Professor of Geomorphology in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University and is also Secretary of the Commission on Terrace Studies Around the Atlantic for the International Geographical Union. He is currently writing a book on his proposed tectonic chronology of the glacial period...
If this concept is accepted, and it certainly seems to be supported by much evidence, there must be a revolution in geological thought. One may anticipate therefore a great deal of resistance to it! Nevertheless, the evidence is there, and it obviously correlates with the concept of post-Deluge effects which we have been advocating...
...It appears in general that the concept of one great ice advance (which can be legitimately inferred from the Deluge events) is supported by many independent lines of evidence, not only from the glacial deposits but also from former lowered sea levels, former lower ocean temperatures...
[Cesare Emiliani:: 'Ancient Temperatures,' Scientific American, Vol. 198, February 1958, pp. 54-63]
..and other evidences of cold climates at low latitudes...
..The evidence for more than one glaciation... ...is utterly inadequate... ...Evidences for multiple... ...glaciations are now being seriously reconsidered by even the orthodox geologists...
..Further study is necessary to delineate the extent and character of deposits formed since the Ice Age, particularly in the non-glaciated regions. As a general rule, it seems likely that most of the deposits which have been popularly designated as Tertiary deposits can be attributed to the waning action of the Deluge and subsequent uplifts; those commonly designated as Pleistocene usually can be attributed to the Ice Age or shortly before or after the Ice Age; and, finally, those designated as Recent can actually be accepted as having been formed after the Ice Age; and, finally, those designated as Recent can actually be accepted as having been formed after the retreat of the Ice..."
c) EVIDENCE OF CONTINENTAL ICE SHEETS CANNOT BE EXPLAINED BY UNIFORMITARIANISM
"And what about the phenomenon of continental glaciation, about which so much has been written and so many theories developed? There are many present-day glaciers, of course, and even two great ice-caps, in Greenland and Antarctica; but nothing occurring in the present is at all comparable to the great ice sheets of the past, which have supposedly molded so much of the earth's present surface geology...
Without attempting for the present to discuss the validity of the evidence for these ice ages... .....let it merely be noted that... ...the principle of uniformity is once again woefully inadequate to account for them..."
Dr. John D. Morris states, (Impact Periodical #56, August 1993, published by the Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, Ca, in article entitled 'WAS THERE REALLY AN ICE AGE?'):
"The Ice Age has always been a problem for science. While abundant evidence has been found for continental glaciation, the cause has remained enigmatic. Scores of scenarios have been proposed: global cooling, decrease in the sun's intensity, rampant volcanic activity, etc., but none are truly able to bring about such profound changes - none except the creation proposal, that is.
First, let's talk about the nature of the Ice Age and clear up various misconceptions. To start with, the Ice Age was a time when great sheets of ice built up on land. As snow accumulated in extreme northern (and southern) latitudes, its own weight packed it into ice. And then, because ice is less than rigid, it can flow out from heavy snow accumulation areas into lower latitudes.
The glaciers never covered more than a minor portion of the globe. In North America, ice covered much of central Canada and as far south as Kansas. Weather in the rest of the world was affected, but the areas were not under ice. Some propose that there were several ice ages - from four to sixty such ages - each lasting for long periods and separated by vast ages, but the evidence for multiple glaciers is poor.
The obvious requirements for ice build-up are more snowfall and less snow melt. But how does this happen? No scheme, shackled by the constraints of uniformitarianism...
[uniformitarianism = the false notion in this context that geological happenings which have been observed in recent history can be used to explain events in the unobserved past]
...No scheme, shackled by the constraints of uniformitarianism can alter earth's conditions to that extent. And besides, if things get too cold, the air can't contain much moisture and it doesn't snow much. And so the puzzle remains.
A key to more snowfall is more evaporation, and the best way to achieve that is to have warmer oceans. We would also need somewhat warmer winters in polar latitudes to allow for more snowfall, and intense weather patterns to transport the evaporated moisture from the ocean to the continents. And then we need colder summers to allow the snow to accumulate over the years. Everyone agrees that these conditions would cause an ice age, but uniformitarian ideas can't allow the earth's systems to change that much. Many creationists think the Flood of Noah's day provides the key.
As the Flood ended, the oceans probably were warmer than today. The pre-Flood world had been uniformly warmer, and during the Flood, the 'fountains of the great deep' (Genesis 7:11) would have added much heat, as would the tectonic readjustments later in the Flood and following it.
[tectonic adjustments = deformations such as folding and faulting in the earth's crust]
This warmth would be a continual pump of warm moisture into the atmosphere - thus warm, wet winters.
Furthermore, the land surface at the end of the Flood was little more than a mud slick, and would have reflected solar radiation without absorbing much heat. The large temperature difference between ocean and land and coupled with strong polar cooling, would cause intense and prolonged storms.
Finally, the late and early post-Flood times witnessed extensive volcanism, as the earth struggled to regain crustal equilibrium. This would cloud the atmosphere, bouncing incoming solar radiation back into space - thus, colder summers.
More evaporation, warmer winters, more intense storms, colder summers: The result? An 'ice age' which would last until the oceans gave up their excess heat, the volcanism lessened, and vegetation was re-established. This likely would take less than one thousand years following the Biblical Flood."
Larry Vardiman states, (Impact periodical, Mar 1995 issue #261, published by Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, Ca, in article entitled 'A FAULTY CLIMATE TRIGGER'):
In the 1980's and 90's, considerable emphasis has been placed upon climate and environmental issues in the United States. Much air pollution legislation has been put into force. Long-range climate trends have been observed and predicted. Dire scenarios of dramatic warming with attendant droughts and coastal flooding have been predicted. At the same time, devastating displacements of population centers and agricultural consequences due to a possible new 'Ice Age' have been presented to the public by other experts.
It seems that the scientific establishment and news media have reached a level of hyperactivity, or even paranoia. Why has this recent flurry of concern developed in the environmental sciences? This article will attempt to show that one underlying reason has been the interpretation of climate history by uniformitarian processes over millions of years, rather than by catastrophic processes over thousands of years. [uniformitarian = geological doctrine that existing processes acting in the same manner as at present are sufficient to account for all geological changes, thus denying the possiblity of creationism, the Flood, etc., i.e., things have always been the same] An explanation of climatic phenomena by uniformitarian processes requires inherent instabilities in the earth/atmosphere system which are thought to be triggered by small, initial impulses. Fear of triggering such an instability has led to an unreasonable regulation of possible pollutants.
THE ASTRONOMICAL THEORY
The current most popular explanation for the 'Ice Ages'... ...suggests that the slight changes in orientation and distance from the sun, which the earth experiences in its orbit, result in small variations in heating of the earth's atmosphere. When the heating is reduced, an 'Ice Age' occurs, and when it is increased, the excess ice melts and an 'interglacial period' results...
...Everyone is familiar with the dramatic changes in heating by the sun as the earth rotates daily on its axis, causing daytime heating and night-time cooling. Not quite as well understood by many is the annual change in seasons as the earth revolves around the sun. Because the earth's axis of rotation is tilted by 23.5 degrees from the normal to the plane of its path around the sun, the northern hemisphere is inclined toward the sun during its summer and away from the sun during its winter. This causes greater heating and warmer temperatures in summer than winter. The southern hemisphere experiences the same effect but is six months out of phase with the northern hemisphere. The period of the earth's rotation on its axis is approximately 24 hours, and the period of Earth's revolution around the sun is approximately one year.
Other harmonic variations occur in the orbit of the earth around the sun which are familiar to only a few specialists. The earth experiences a slight wobble as it rotates on its axis. This wobble, caused by the gravitational attraction between a slightly non-spherical Earth and the sun, moon, and planets, has a period of about 20,000 years. By this it is meant that the small, episodic changes measurable today imply a cycle of 20,000 years from maximum to maximum. In addition, the precession of the equinoxes (the migration of the positions of the axes of the elliptic path of the earth around the sun) also has a period of about 20,000 years. The angle of the earth's axial tilt varies between 22 and 24 degrees with a period of about 40,000 years. Another fluctuation is a 100,000 year periodic change in the eccentricity of the annual orbit from circular to elliptic and back again. Each of these small periodic changes, if allowed to experience a full cycle, would cause a small change in heating of the earth's atmosphere.
When the periods of these orbital parameters were compared to the fluctuations in ice sheets and sea-floor sediment, thought to have been deposited over millions of years, a correlation was found. Spectral analysis of about a dozen sea-floor sediment cores in the equatorial Pacific Ocean found peaks at 19,000, 23,000, 41,000, and 100,000 years. The first three peaks matched the periods for wobble, precession, and tilt which most strongly affect solar heating. However, the strongest cycle in the sediment record occurred at 100,000 years which corresponds to the period of the eccentricity, the weakest influence on solar heating. Because of this correlation, many paleoclimatologists believe the Astronomical Theory has been proven. Nevertheless, several major weaknesses in the theory remain.
PROBLEMS WITH THE ASTRONOMICAL THEORY
The long-period elements of the earth's orbit - wobble, precission, tilt, and eccentricity - influence the solar radiation received, particularly in its geographical distribution. However, the total heating due to solar radiation, integrated over the entire globe annually, only varies significantly with eccentricity. Since the total heating due to eccentricity varies by less than 0.2%, a major task therefore has been to show that this small change in heating (in fact, the smallest periodic fluctuation in solar heating) could lead to cyclic glaciation of the earth on the order of 100,000 years.
The climate state of the earth is not a simple function of total solar heating. It also appears to be dependent on the distribution by latitude. The earth modulates solar heating by reflection, retention, and redistribution of received energy. A complete theory for the interaction of these effects has not been developed.
Because confidence is so high in the statistical basis of the Astronomical Theory as an explanation for the 'Ice Ages,' the problems of a small amount of heating due to changes in eccentricity and an lack of a complete physical explanation for climate change has not led to abandonment of the theory. Instead, an assumed secondary feedback mechanism of some type has been hypothesized for 'Ice Age' initiation. In other words, a small cooling pulse due to a periodic decrease in solar heating from changes in the orbital parameters triggers some unknown physical mechanism in the earth-atmosphere system which leads to an 'Ice Age.'
The implication of this approach is that the earth-atmosphere system is inherently unstable, and a small perturbation can create massive changes in the climate. Investigators have attempted to show evidence for past climate instabilities using recent ice core results from the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP), but later data from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP) invalidated this interpretation. Extreme temperature fluctuations before the last 'Ice Age' found in the GRIP ice core were not present in the GISP ice core. Evidence for climate instability continues to elude researchers.
THE EXISTENCE OF A CLIMATE TRIGGER
The connection between climate and fluctuations in solar heating due to orbital variations is an assumption, not a proven mechanism and has led to the wild speculations seen frequently in both technical and popular literature. If a trigger for 'Ice Ages' truly exists in our earth-atmosphere system, then we should obviously be very careful not to do anything which could release the trigger. An inadvertent release of such a trigger could lead to possible chaotic weather conditions, flooding, and drought. Under such conditions we should obviously restrict the release of pollutants into the atmosphere like smokes and particulates which are known to produce cooling. However, the assumption of a trigger does not necessarily mean that one exists. In fact, much evidence suggests that the atmosphere is a very stable system, and catastrophic events are required to cause climatic changes as massive as an 'Ice Age.'
I believe the assumption of a trigger is the result of unjustified confidence in the Astronomical Theory which, in turn, is based on uniformitarian processes over millions of years. The current research which is being conducted at ICR is beginning to demonstrate that the events of the Genesis Flood would naturally produce an 'Ice Age.' The residual heat remaining in the oceans after the Flood would release tremendous quantities of moisture and fall as snow in the polar regions and on mountains for several hundred years after the Flood. If ice sheets and layers of sea-floor sediments were not laid down slowly over long periods of time, but rapidly over the last few thousand years following the global Flood described in Genesis, then the Astronomical Theory is completely wrong. If the Astronomical Theory is wrong, there is no need for a trigger, and the concern for a fragile, unstable atmosphere which can suddenly revert to a new 'Ice Age' is unjustified..."