Niagara Falls and the Young
by Ian Juby
In a recent Newsletter, Ian Juby provided the following comments about Niagara Falls, and how Charles Lyell misrepresented the facts with regard to how fast the Niagara River was eroding the canyon in which it flows.
Charles Lyell was the man commonly referred to as the "Father of Geology" and was the one who promoted James Hutton's ideas of long and slow geological processes.
Lyell traveled around the world looking for evidences to support his theory, even coming to Canada. In Canada, he used the fossil cliffs of Joggins, Nova Scotia as an example of long and slow burial of trees in their growth position. I've summed up the first year of personal, first-hand research at these cliffs on my website at http://ianjuby.org/joggins2.html. The entire formation was buried rapidly and is profound evidence of a global flood! So why did Lyell interpret it as a slow accumulation?
He went on over to Niagara Falls and used the erosion rates of the Niagara gorge to conclude that the gorge had taken 35,000 years to carve. Ian Taylor did some excellent investigative work on this in his book "In The Minds of Men." To sum it up in brief, Lyell threw out the erosion rate estimations he had been given by a local geologist's son in favour of his own numbers - 1 foot per year instead of 3 feet per year.
It turns out even the geologist was underestimating as the gorge was eroding at rates varying between 5 and 8 feet per year! Suddenly the gorge could have been carved out easily within the 4,500 years or so since the flood.
So why did Lyell perhaps even twist the evidences to favour long periods of time while simultaneously ignoring the evidences that suggested these formations were produced rapidly? The answer becomes apparent when one reads his private letters, later published by his sister: "..I had conceived the idea, about five or six years ago, that if ever the Mosaic chronology could be set down without giving offense, it would be in an historical sketch …"
(K.M. Lyell, Life, Letters, and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, John Murray, London, 1881, vol. 1, p. 253)
His writings specifically stated his goals and intentions: To debunk the writings of Moses (the bible, Genesis) indirectly, that is, cause people to question the bible, rather than directly attack it. He would do this using an "historical sketch", that is, he would make up his own history.
Arguably, this has been the single most powerful weapon ever launched against the word of God. Did persecution squelch the word of God? No, it made it stronger. Did banning and burning the bible weaken it? No, it made it stronger.
However today, one of the first questions in people's minds and usually the first argument you'll hear against the bible is arguments pertaining to an old earth: Radiometric & carbon dating, Grand Canyon took millions of years to form, etc... "The earth couldn't possibly be young, therefore the bible is wrong."
It is important to understand that the "old earth" thinking had nothing to do with good science - it had _everything_ to do with religious preference.
Vance does an excellent job dealing with all of this in his video, which will be available in my on-line bookstore in the near future...
Ian's Home Page is at http://www.ianjuby.org