CMI and Wikipedia on Collapsing Arches

My comment at CMI did eventually get published. @PDPrice even responded to it!

The response isn’t very convincing though:

Tracking down the claim that arches in Utah are collapsing at a rate of one per year leads ultimately to a now-removed anonymous isolated unreferenced Wikipedia edit from 2006. There is absolutely no reason to believe it is true, and it this article should be revised to eliminate it.

Thanks for bringing this oversight to our attention (the lack of citation was unintentional in the article on arches collapsing). You will find this has now been corrected; according to park rangers, and allowing for a small number of losses due to vandalism from tourists, we still arrive at an average collapse of one per year between 1977 and 2015. FYI, the missing citation never had anything to do with Wikipedia. :slight_smile:

That reference is one of those I cited above - a blog post not written by “park rangers” which simply repeats the now-deleted Wikipedia claim with a different date and no citation.

@PDPrice and Oard’s reaction to being warned they’ve repeated a dubious claim is not to investigate and maybe withdraw the claim, but merely to cite some-one else who has also repeated the same dubious claim. I wonder if they copied my link above, or Googled it for themselves?

I said above that “if @PDPrice has any integrity at all, he will revise his article and remove his claim that arches are collapsing at a rate of one per year, because it has no foundation whatsoever.@PDPrice’s answer demonstrates beyond doubt that he has no integrity at all.


Thank you for this investigative work. I’ve worked up a bad habit lately of not tracking down and checking creationist quotes and references to see if they’re being correctly represented. This should serve as a reminder to everyone. Check the damned sources!


Integrity? You’re the one who is now continuing to repeat an entirely false claim (that there is somehow a link between the report of collapses and a deleted Wikipedia entry).

The article Dr Batten ultimately linked to is written by a science journalist who stated his source was park rangers working at Arches National Park. I agree it would have been better for the journalist to explicitly cite where or how he got that info, but there’s no indication it came from wikipedia!

Here’s another source with the same basic info:

Arches has changed dramatically in the years since it became a national park in 1971: The roads are paved, the campground has flush toilets, and at least 43 arches have collapsed.

Notably, this source admits exactly what we’ve been saying the whole time: the arches must be young. They’re simply too fragile to last over deep time.

Entrada sandstone dates back to the time of the dinosaurs, but the arches themselves are much younger, with most existing arches likely forming within the past few thousand years.

Young, per the linked article: from a few hundred to 100,000 years. Not exactly a YEC time scale. The article also says that new arches are forming all the time.

The continued life spans of individual arches are as mysterious as their age, but longevity is likely on the order of tens of thousands of years, Geimer said. “I’d like to think Delicate Arch will stand for thousands more years, but we really can’t say for sure,” Fisk said.

In the meantime, new arches will keep eroding into existence out of the 100-meter-thick wedge of Entrada sandstone that underlies southern Utah. “If you look around the park, you see so many huge fins and alcoves that are on their way to becoming the next North Window Arch,” Geimer said.

Hey @PDPrice - I am curious as to what you make of the text above that is in bold which is from the article you linked to. Doesn’t this imply that arches are forming all the time, so even if some are “recent” I can’t see an indication that this indicates a reduction in quantity.

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All of the sources you provided including this one are just repeating the discredited Wiki article. You need to do much better than that. Your article also says arches form slowly over thousands of years and that some arches are over 100,000 years old. You just refuted your own earlier YEC claims. :slightly_smiling_face:


That’s quote-mining. Accorging to the article, some of the arches formed within the past few thousand years, and some are 100,000 years old or more. Of course that has nothing at all to do with the age of the earth or with any imagined worldwide flood. And you have confused “evolutionist” with “geologist”. There’s no “evolutionary time scale”; there’s a geological time scale.


No, that is a complete misappellation. They are of course geologists. They study the earth science of geology, and geology requires deep time with or without evolution.

Your whole argument is that arches fall down so they would have all been used up by now if the earth were old. You have failed to address that this is just the endpoint of a natural cycle that is a continuity of the same processes which form the arch to begin with. You do not engage with the geological reality that many earth processes are dynamic equilibriums, a balance which can nonetheless shifts over time. You are massively inconsistent that you do not explain how a flood eroded presumably several thousand of these arches, while disallowing that essentially similar erosive processes could be responsible for their formation over from millions of years ago to the present.

You do not even attempt to demonstrate any associated evidence of massive water flow, such as is found in the scablands and entirely absent in the national park. You propose that the water run off is due to some mega uplift, but breeze past the rather obvious problem that such water force would destroy arches faster than they form, and any that survived would surely be brought down by the off the scale earthquakes which would accompany such a scenario.

Nor do you attempt to engage with the published literature detailing the contextual geology of the area, which is incompatible with your flood proposal. Because it does not serve your rhetorical or theological needs, you do not deal with the salt deposits underlying the region which a deeply buried and up to 8,000 feet thick, or the various sandstone formations and discontinuities present in the area.

For anyone who is interested, here is some further literature concerning the geology of the region from actual geologists…


Role of fracture localization in arch formation, Arches National Park, Utah

Distribution and Nature of Fault Architecture in a Layered Sandstone and Shale Sequence: An Example from the Moab Fault, Utah

The Geological Story of Arches National Park - Geological Survey Bulletin 1393


“Some” includes “most”. Your quote is incomplete, which is indeed a form of quote-mining. You tacitly admit this yourself when you doubt the basis for a claim that you failed to mention previously. Of course you are only doubting claims you don’t want to believe and are freely accepting equally unsupported claims you like. Does this strike you as at all dishonest, or at least suspect?

You have not documented any facts. Why, you doubt the claims made by one of your sources, yet here you consider it authoritative. Slipshod scholarship, at the very best.


Some is an incomplete form of most. So does that mean you were “quote mining” also?

We have two different sources quoting from park rangers who say this is the case. This is a supported claim. You are choosing to disregard it because apparently you don’t like the implications.

Sorry, I am once again reminded that this is not the place to look for any kind of intellectual honesty. Bye bye again, for now. [Also, my posts are still being selectively censored].

I have to ask whether you’re a native English speaker; if not, I will try to make allowances.

How old do the park rangers say the sandstone is? Do the park rangers attest that some of the arches are over 100,000 years old?



Who say that what is the case? If it’s the collapse of 43 arches since 1971, that claim is unattributed. There are direct quotes elsewhere in the story from park rangers, but oddly enough you don’t believe what they say.

You failed to provide a credible source for the claim while at the same time you’re extremely selective on what statements to consider authoritative, and when this is pointed out to you and you’re not let off the hook you cry uncle and run away. This is ridiculous.


On the contrary, I take the ninth commandment seriously. Honesty in science is rigor, and includes a credible contextual appraisal and synthesis of evidence, not some sort of proof texting and ad hoc working backwards from a desired conclusion. You have purported an evidence for the flood that fails to meet any geological standards.


Were you being intellectually honest when you wrote that you my claims about the horrible C&S paper are 100% false, and that I, with many publications in virology, don’t appear to understand it?

How could that be when right off the bat, you acknowledged that the relabeling of a figure in your article was incorrect, and it has since been changed (to be somewhat less misleading)?
What are the fundamentals of Genetic Entropy? - #165 by PDPrice

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You’re the last person at PS who should lecture anyone on lack of intellectual honesty.

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Yes, integrity. You have none.

You no idea what the origin of that claim was, since the journalist you are now citing didn’t themselves provided a reference - but you still confidently assert it didn’t originate from Wikipedia.

Nor is there any indication that it didn’t.

I can’t find anything actually written by the people working at Arches National Park that substantiates this claim. Nor, apparently, can you. I can’t find any trace of that claim being made before that Wikipedia edit. Nor, apparently, can you. I’ve seen articles that cite Wikipedia for that claim (directly or indirectly) and articles that cite nothing (directly or indirectly). It has no confirmable foundation, and you should not still be using it unless you can find an original source. If you had any integrity, you’d have removed it or noted its groundlessness (as AiG did), not merely added a link to another secondary source. .

It also says this:

But don’t despair—although all the famous arches will crumble and collapse within a few thousand years, replacements will continue to be sculpted out of Utah’s bedrock for a very long time to come. … Our best guess is that the smaller arches are on the order of hundreds to thousands of years old, while the largest arches may be in the range of 100,000 years old.

That is in direct opposition to your claims “giving a maximum of 2,000 years before the entire supply is depleted” and “no mechanism on an old earth could account for their original formation” and contradicts your YEC timeline too.

By selectively quoting that article as if it supports your position when it actually disagrees with it, you are again demonstrating your complete lack of integrity.


Let’s also consider the possibility that neither arch formation nor arch collapse happens at a constant rate over time and that rates of formation and collapse may not be closely correlated. This is another example of creationists assuming a very strict uniformitarianism (even if the claimed data snippet is correct). It’s also another assumption that the process is one-way: collapse but no new formation.

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Excellent question - I’d have expected that to be referenced, but it isn’t. Nor is it in the article by Oard that @PDPrice relied on.*

Looking elsewhere finds this:

However, it has been noted that 43 of these arches have collapsed during a 45 year period (1970-2015), a rate of about one collapse per year. (2)

which leads to this:

They’re right to suggest that if you want to see Arches National Park’s ‘celebrity rocks’, you’d better hurry, as just since 1970 at least 43 of its arches have collapsed.

which leads to this:

43 arches have collapsed since 1970, yet still the beauty of nature here will leave you in awe. … I have recently read that since 1970 43 arches or land bridges have crashed to the ground in Arches National Park.

which doesn’t reference any source other than an NPS website that hasn’t been completed.

Following a different rabbit trail starting here leads to this which doesn’t mention anything relevant.

This site gives the data as 1977, not 1970, but no reference.

Michael Conrad committed the claim to print in 2017, again with no reference.

The claim is also given here, which leads nowhere, and here which leads to a since-removed comment on Wikipedia that was added in March 2006 by an anonymous user going by “rocky mountain np” who made only that one edit anywhere on Wikipedia, and didn’t reference it.

So basically, all these references (and several others I haven’t included here) to 43 arches collapsing since 1970 have their roots in a single unreferenced removed Wikipedia comment. There is no way to verify it, no way to know who made it, and no reason to believe it. If some-one wanted to inject a falsehood into Wikipedia to see how far it spread, it would look exactly like this. Even AiG, who are known for their credulity,** are skeptical of it. This entire exercise reduces to a moral tale about relying on Wikipedia rather than using Wikipedia as a route to original sources, and if @PDPrice has any integrity at all, he will revise his article and remove his claim that arches are collapsing at a rate of one per year, because it has no foundation whatsoever.

I’ve noted this in a comment on CMI’s page too.

I found another interesting detail. Oard refers to the natural bridges in Australia as arches - which skewers @PDPrice’s attempt to claim they’re bridges, not arches.

*While checking this I found two apparent errors in Oard’s article. Oard says:

In 1991, an arch off Point Campbell, western Victoria, Australia, collapsed.

But it was actually an arch in Port Campbell that apparently collapsed in 1990. These errors could originate in Oard’s source rather than with Oard, but they’re trivially checkable so he has no excuse.

**cf baboon dogs and the living French pterodactyl.

Added: More digging finds many similar references to 43 arches having collapsed since 1977, but all of them are still more recent than the Wikipedia edit (including this one about a 1992 expedition, but written after 2008). Most attribute the claim to “rangers at Arches National Park”, but I’ve found none that cite a source. One refers to this paper, but checking the text finds it lists only four collapses, and not just in Arches National Park, . There’s a list of collapses here, but if merely refers to the Wikipedia page; since it gives 1977 but cites Wikipedia it may be the origin of the changed year.

All routes back from this claim are either dead ends or lead to Wikipedia - and, as one writer admitted:

Since its inception in 2001, Wikipedia has been a controversial website, plagued with problems, the greatest of which is the serious concern of biased and inaccurate content.

There is one obvious omission from the above links. The claim about 43 arches collapsing since 1970 or 1977 is not found in the one place where it would, if true, be expected to be found: the National Park website.


Sure, these people are evolutionists. They’ll throw out big numbers like that. But the fact is, both sides agree these arches are young-- the quote said “within the past few thousand years”. That certainly is within a YEC timeframe.

Yes, the old earthers do assert that new arches are forming all the time. I’m not at all convinced that’s true. But by the numbers they give us, they would need to be forming at around one per year just to keep up!