I have some questions about the "Local Flood" of Noah

Once again, that is complete nonsense.

It’s not about “accepting the distinction.” It’s about not inventing distinctions where none exist.

“Operational science” and “historical science” have to obey the same rules. They both have to have accurate and honest weights and measures for starters. Which, by the way, is the number one area where YEC needs to clean up its act.


Hey, don’t forget, many creationists posit that we can’t really do science at all, because many of them claim the universe is actually anisotropic,

that the speed of light has varied a millionfold and hence the electric and magnetic permittivity and permeability of free space have also varied,

that radiometric decay rates and therefore fundamental forces of the universe have varied,

and that we can’t trust any science by other scientists because we are all in a grand conspiracy to deny God.


Not at all surprised by that.

I would partially consider that. The topic of age took a great deal of research (and prayer). I was uncertain about it when I set out to study it. But I learned so much. In the end, it turned out to be a very fulfilling endeavor. I really do believe it’s a better model, and enjoy sharing that with others.

On the other hand, I’ve lost interest in endless, generally fruitless debates. I’m not sure yet whether it would be worth it here. Even as I’m typing this, I see this thread has migrated to the old science-difference-denial topic. Plus I’m still new here, and should spend more time listening first.


Well, that’s because you’re taking that verse egregiously out of context. And obviously so. The verse is about not cheating people in transactions, not about historical/operational science.


No, that’s operational science. Operational science inductively looks to establish the rules by which nature works in an ongoing manner. This requires assuming to begin with that such is even possible. If nature is unpredictable, then inductive reasoning is useless.

Historical science is an entirely different kind of process. It cannot be tested or repeated. All of its theories are underdetermined by the data available. One cannot know if the data are being rightly interpreted. The same set of data can be interpreted in more than one way.


That’s not what we’re doing. We’re starting with Scripture as the highest epistemological authority, recognizing that historical science is fundamentally uncertain. We also recognize that the principle of uniformitarianism doesn’t hold throughout all time, because primarily of two massive supernatural disturbances: 1) Creation and 2) the Flood. Therefore all attempts to reconstruct history by extrapolation, while ignoring this biblical history, are bound to fail.

False. See below.

False again. Variances have been observed. However, not on the scale we would need to explain what we see. And that’s expected. After all, if we could observe these variances today, then that would just be more uniformitaranism, wouldn’t it? Creation and the Flood are not happening today. They will never happen again. You can’t reproduce their results in any lab.

We do have evidence that rates have changed in the past, however. That comes to us via the RATE research team, with helium leakage in zircons. I assume you’ve studied these results?

It’s relevant that, just as I predicted, you are displaying a severe lack of understanding in this debate, despite your being very vocal in it.

I handled this in my Journal article, which I’ve already linked to here. We do mean the same thing, but we deal with the implications more honestly.

No point in debating the lower half of somebody’s torso while the rest of them is stuck in the sand.

This video explains the physics rather clearly. I see no indication it’s made by creationists, either.

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I know of no such instance. What do you have? Historical science is, after all, observational. How other than by observation can one gather data?

There is such a thing as historical science, but what isn’t historical science doesn’t have a name that I know of, though paleontologists use the term “neontology” to refer to biology that isn’t paleontology. And there is sometimes a distinction made between experimental and observational science, and between empirical and theoretical science, but these are quite separate things too. I am not familiar with anyone proposing a difference between historical and observational science. The creationist term is “operational” anyway.


You’re at least the seventh YEC to take that line with me, and I’m sorry but it’s nonsense.

There is nothing whatsoever about that passage that indicates that it only applies to some contexts but not others. It comes from a chapter of Deuteronomy that contains a variety of different laws with no particular overarching theme other than one’s general conduct in society. Besides, even if it was intended to apply primarily to cheating people in transactions, to exclude it from other contexts is to demand the right to tell lies in those contexts. It is also, in effect, to admit that you are wrong.

In any case, those verses are especially important in science, because the sciences, both operational and historical, are all about what accurate and honest weights and measures look like in different contexts in the first place.

You YECs insist that it’s ungracious and divisive to accuse you of lying. I’m sorry, but all I can say to that is if you don’t want to be accused of lying, don’t tell lies.


That is not possible. If you didn’t grant your senses and your intellect higher epistemological authority than Scripture you couldn’t even read it, let alone understand it.


Take, for instance, the boiling point of water. Measure it - now you have a data point, a fact if you will. For much of the public, that is the beginning and end of science. But you do not yet have a principle, any sort of fundamental understanding. There is nothing there to generalize, nor consilience with other lines of scientific investigation.

Now you find water boils at different temperatures at different locations, and eliminate alternatives until pressure remains. Returning to the lab, hundreds of data points for temperature vs pressure are analyzed and regressed to a smooth curve. Now we have a generalization - a boiling point which has never been directly tested can be predicted if on the domain of the curve. Then a 3D relationship between temperature, pressure, and density is established. But what are the limits of the domain? The critical points are found, the triple point is determined. Viscosity, surface tension, speed of sound, and heat capacity are added. A full equation of state emerges, which can be analyzed by thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. It is found that the equation of state can be violated, that water can be driven into unstable zones which then exhibit nearly explosive transitions. Shock waves propagate faster than the speed of sound. Now we have a much, much deeper understanding of the underlying principles surrounding the boiling point of water.

Then the understanding we have now gained can be generalized further, to places we could never hope to access. Equations of state which describe commonplace gas laws, follow to the extreme conditions of stellar interior plasmas to yield the containment required for fusion (remember those “missing neutrinos”, where YEC did not like the historical implications of fusion?). Without generalizations of equations of state, we could not analyze earthquake waves to determine inaccessible features of the earth’s deep interior, supernovae dynamics, or neutron star structure.

All of that is possible because science is ultimately not just about data points such as the boiling point of water, but rather understanding universal principles of nature. It is not about a static snapshot in time, it is about the unfolding process. We see the principles driving that process, happening in all all stages. The processes we observe are of a continuity, and the principles which drive them are what are constant.

To live on the earth is to live in that continuity. The geological features we see are just a point in time in the unfolding of these processes. That age is inferred is just an implication due that process happens over time. So while, in some trivial way, you can reference historical science as a category, it is derivative to, and dependent upon, an understanding of these basis principles - and these we just call science.


Great! Could you please answer a few questions from your scientific research?

  1. What is the scientifically determined age of the Earth in years +/- error range? I’m looking for a numerical value, not just “it’s young” or “it’s not that old”.

  2. What is the scientifically determined date of Noah’s Flood years +/- error range? Again I’m looking for a numerical value, not just “it happened”.

  3. What is the scientifically determined boundary layer between Noah’s Flood deposited sediment and pre-Flood bedrock? References to published geology papers appreciated.

If you feel this is the wrong thread we can start a new one just for your evidence. Thanks in advance for your answers.

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I’ve seen both in the literature but, yes, you’re right that operational is usually used when it’s just the two categories (that’s what I should’ve used). However, I’ve even seen the breakdown to origins vs. historical vs. observational vs. experimental. By “observation,” I assume the (YEC) person means observation of present-day events, as opposed to “observing” past events (not simply observing data). (And experimental would mean actually going into the lab and reproducing.) This is their way of downplaying so-called historical sciences and/or amassing more presuppositional baggage at that level.

I referenced the Haarsma and Haarsma book above. AiG has tried to distance themselves from this dichotomy being a creationist invention. And, at times, the distinction has been assumed by those responding to YEC (this article makes the point you did).

I guess I’m thinking strategically in interacting with YECs. If we just say “no, there’s no difference,” they can point to others who occasionally make the distinction. But if we say, “well, yes, there are differences in such and such, but it’s not the sharp distinction (or clash of worldviews) you’re trying to make it out to be. Both types of science are empirical, follow the scientific method, and produce reliable results.”

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Timothy, I don’t mean this rudely, but this will be my last reply to you. Although I am a person who actively seeks out and engages with challenges to my beliefs (I’m determined to not “live in a silo”), and one who thrives on criticism (it makes me a better person), I’m also not one who has a need to defend myself. And more importantly I don’t see you as an individual worth dialoging with. It didn’t take me very long here a PS to come to that conclusion. BTW part of that was your list of three questions you feel I’m required to answer.

I’m sure you’ll find plenty of others to dialog with here.

You seem pretty committed in your fight against us pesky “ID-Creationists”. I wish you the best of luck with those endeavors!

No worries. I didn’t expect you to provide any answers. Creationists like you have been dodging questions about your blustering claims for decades. You’re just the latest to make empty boasts and run. I’ll just keep posting scientific rebuttals every time you post more vacuous YEC nonsense same as I do to PDPrice. Your silence and refusal to engage the science will send everyone reading the message of how scientifically worthless your YEC claims are loud and clear! :slightly_smiling_face:

Any other YEC out there want to take a shot at answering these questions? Despite being asked politely jeffb has admitted he can’t.

  1. What is the scientifically determined age of the Earth in years +/- error range? I’m looking for a numerical value, not just “it’s young” or “it’s not that old”.

  2. What is the scientifically determined date of Noah’s Flood years +/- error range? Again I’m looking for a numerical value, not just “it happened”.

  3. What is the scientifically determined boundary layer between Noah’s Flood deposited sediment and pre-Flood bedrock? References to published geology papers appreciated.

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That article makes the point, with an actual reference to the originator, that a creationist did indeed invent the historical/operational distinction.


No one is asking you to defend yourself, just your claims. If you claim there was a global flood, or the creation of the earth was recent, then you must support these claims with good evidence. Its that simple.

We haven’t seen you defend your YEC claims here, but Tim offers science-based rebuttals to YEC claims on PS on a regular basis. Its you that we have to decide if its worth dialoging with, since you are yet to fully engage with other parties on topics here.

There is nothing wrong in being committed to refuting pseudoscientific claims.


This YEC model uses the Friedmann metric and leaves the tau value of time a free parameter which could easily be a value of 6000 years and we still get to witness a vast universe just like the one we see. The only constraint is the beginning temperature of the system as tau values change. Other competing YEC models do basically the same thing as this one, so take your pick.

I like what Tas Walker posted today where standlines in Gilazi Valley, Azerbaijan might very possibly place an upper date on the global Flood at 9600 years ago.

That is an ongoing investigation and a YEC matter of debate, but that is how science works. I like a lot of what Oard has to say below. But we also know that Cretaceous limestone shows that half the globe was covered in water simultaneously in the past (BTW, another strong evidence of global flooding). I am still undecided about the boundary but all the serious YEC discussions about it are very scientific, make no mistake.

Well I do have to admit, you have a valid point here Michael. Plus I really wasn’t trying to be rude. (although it might have sounded that way, and for that I do apologize).

But I do believe it’s worth being selective with who one dialogs with. I’m over 50 now, and have wasted far too much time in the past on dialogs that were completely unfruitful.

As for me not fully engaging with others; Like I mentioned, I’m still pretty new here and may limit my engagement for a bit…

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That gibberish has nothing to do with any scientifically determined age of the Earth. Try again.

That’s evidence of a local flood in area of Mesopotamia and the Caspian sea. Try again.

You guys have had 200 years and you still can’t decide where the Flood boundary supposedly is. So much for the scientific approach.

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@jeffb, discussions here are in many ways more like bulletin board conversations than dialogues: while there might be 5 active participants in a thread, there are likely 10x as many ‘lurkers’ interestedly reading the discussion. I guess another image is a public debate, but it’s much less structured than that. I find that ‘writing for the lurkers’ rather than attempting dialogue with a couple of specific interlocutors can make it easier to stay focused on evidence rather than on personalities.


7 posts were split to a new topic: History of the historical vs. origin science distinction