The First Nagging Doubts

Colorado River in the Grand Canyon from Desert...

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The first doubts that led me to really question my acceptance of creationism came with a visit to the Grand Canyon. My wife and I enjoyed a wonderful two week holiday to the Eastern USA before our daughter was born.

We started and ended in Las Vegas, urgh, we didn’t like the place at all; so fake and artificial and materialistic.

From Vegas, we did a big loop that encompassed the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, London Bridge, Sedona,San Francisco, some geyser or other, some Redwoods, Yosemite andDeath Valley. We loved it, utterly loved it.

I started the holiday as a creationist and ended the holiday seriously wondering if I’d been duped all those years.

I just couldn’t stop the questions.

When it comes to all things science, my attention is easily kept, even if understanding has trouble keeping up. I like to see how things work and like to question why. As a result, I am very much a nature man, this is very likely connected to my upbringing in Zambia, where nature was always all around.

What this would mean is that every time I visited somewhere I’d look for evidence of the past, too see how and why formations would happen and then imagine the process happening in front of me. That’s part of how I appreciate nature.

Up until this point, my favourite place in the world had always been Victoria Falls on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border. I’ve visited it numerous times as a child and an adult. The noise of the water is immense and the power that is visible is jaw dropingly huge. Then I saw the Grand Canyon and I was blown away by the scale and the peace (when you can get away from your fellow tourists). Suddenly my favourite place in the world had a challenger that was a serious contender. I’d seen Niagara Falls a few years previously and that didn’t even come close, so to be so utterly taken with the ruggedness and barrenness of the Grand Canyon was unexpected.

We saw sunset and the following sunrise over the canyon and several hours either side.

Looking out over the canyon I examined the rock structures and the layers. I looked for the erosion marks on isolated outcrops. I kept looking at the features I saw and trying to fit them with my creationist beliefs and struggled. The jagged edges didn’t fit with a catastrophic flood carving it out in a short time. Something gentler was required.

I looked at the mighty Colorado River, which looked like a small stream from the vantage point we were at. I tried to imagine it as a surface river gradually carving its way down through the rock. It seems an incredible feat and would surely take so long that it would be almost impossible to imagine that period of time. If this river has carved such a huge valley, canyon even, how come others rivers haven’t? Why is it so unique? Yet as I continued to look, I could see sections that I could easily imagine where previous paths of the river.

Could it be that my firmly held beliefs could be upset by simple observation and imagination?

Well yes, as it turns out.

During the rest of the holiday I would ponder these unsettling and yet invigorating questions and look at other features in a new light. Like the petrified forests north of San Francisco, Half Dome Rock and the glacier valley in Yosemite, rock features on the drive into and out ofDeath Valley.

So the start of the end of my creationism had begun, it started as a slow process of self realisation helped along by curiosity about nature.

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9 thoughts on “The First Nagging Doubts

  1. Pingback: Noah’s Ark, Gilgamesh, or Just a Story? « Confessions Of A YEC

  2. Pingback: The Questioning Continues « Confessions Of A YEC

  3. Pingback: Science Podcasts helped my understanding « Confessions Of A YEC

  4. I am intrigued.

    The same rugged landscape really makes me doubt OEC.

    So, why would mountain after mountain looking like jig saw puzzles pulled apart in the last couple of eons make you think the earth was 12 point something billion years old?

    • Hello Wayne,

      Not so much mountain after mountain, but looking at the layers of rock at the Grand Canyon I found myself seriously questioning how they could have been laid down like that over a short period of time. It wasn’t just how clear the layers were, but also how many of them there were.

      To add to that, looking down into the canyon its possible to see several different courses that the river has taken during its erosion of the canyon.

      Looking around the canyon there are many jagged edges that show and imply gradual erosion from a meandering river. I kept testing myself and looking for something that I could interpret as being formed in a flood scenario, I failed.

      I came away convinced that the Grand Canyon was eroded by a river not a global flood and that the sediment layers therefore must have been laid down before the river came along.

      The only other option was the canyon was created as it is at the time of creation, but then there would be evidence of a global flood in the rock formations but that had already been ruled out.

      So, end result, the canyon simply can’t be thousands of years old, it must be much older.

      • OEC is a reliable interpretation of Genesis.

        Sometimes the same thing is believed by Theistic Evolutionists.

        When I drove around and looked at the mountains which have been pulled apart. And then I looked at the erosion that has taken place, I thought to myself, if this happened 10,000 or 1,000 years ago, I wouldn’t be any more surprised than if it happened 1 Mya.

  5. Hi Wayne,

    I guess it depends on what you mean by OEC. For me, OEC means acceptance of evolution with the added belief that it was guided by God. It means not having the question scientific evidence as well as adding in a dimension for which there is no scientific evidence.

    With regards to the erosion of the Grand Canyon, Its too deep and too wide to have been eroded in 10,000 years. That was the killer for me, no matter how I looked at it, and no matter how I tried to interpret it in my head, I simply could not get away from the length of period of time that was required for it to be eroded.

  6. I feel sorry that you lost your faith. The grand canyon is one of the best evidences for a global flood and young earth that I know of. Did you know that there are millions of years missing from the grand canyon? The evolutionary explanation is erosion – an ad hoc explanation that goes against the evidence – there is no sign of erosion – all of the layers are even. It has also been shown that layers form naturally when mud sand and water are mixed together in flow experiments on small scales. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v14/n3/time

    I wrote an article about the age of the earth at 101arguments.com that you can check out if you want.
    http://www.101arguments.com/2013/04/the-argument-from-faulty-dating-and-age.html

    Brendan

    • Hello Brendan,

      Thank you for the comment. I have read your articles and comparing them with articles from other geologists I just don’t find the young earth explanation convincing.

      In the second link you post there is the oft used argument that evolutionary scientists interpret the evidence as being old because they believe it is. This is false, the age we have came from measuring the evidence, that’s how the scientists have come up with the ages they do. Its not a pre picked age and then an interpretation is used to confirm it, that’s what creationists do.

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