Vishnu Temple at the Grand Canyon

| 67 Comments

Photograph by Jon Woolf.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

Woolf.Vishnu_Temple_JSW.jpg

Vishnu Temple at the Grand Canyon. This feature demonstrates the size and typical features of a Grand Canyon butte and also helps destroy the YEC explanation of the Grand Canyon.

67 Comments

Gesundheit.

What kind of temple is it?

It’s beautiful.

Beautiful picture.

I had a look at the Wiki page linked that the picture text links to.

Forgive me, perhaps I am a bit slow today, what is it specifically that destroys the YEC explanation? That most of the layers are formed in shallow water? That they took along time? Something else? All of the above?

I am not a YEC, I just want to make sure I am on the ball with this one.

In truth, everything we know about geology (and physics, and chemistry) refutes YECreationism.

But here’s one of my favorites. YECreationists love to claim that the Grand Canyon was formed by the retreat of Noah’s flood waters, laying down all the sediments and then carving the canyon, as it were, leaving the rest of the rapidly consolidating sediments for us to see. How nice. How convenient. A good story for pre-K Sunday school, perhaps, but it’s absurd on the face of it.

If they understood anything about geomorphology and catastrophic flooding, they would know all sedimentary rocks on every continent would have been washed into the oceans by their ‘flood’, leaving bare cratons of metamorphic rocks, denuded of all sediments. And the oceans would be filled to the brim with one giant graded-bed (coarsest at the bottom and finest at the top, with all organic remains ground to dust) - no deep water anywhere, no ocean trenches, no fossils.

There would be no Grand Canyon had there been a worldwide deluge.

This is not what we see. We have the Grand Canyon. But a YECreationist doesn’t see clearly, can’t see reality.

Does anyone know of any Creationist Geology programs, in any Bible colleges, that grant degrees in ‘creationist’ geology? I wonder if they’ve figured out the Post-flood/Pre-flood boundary yet. Surely they’ve had enough time. How hard could it be?

There would be no Grand Canyon? I would have guessed it would be the other way around. If the flood was global, why just one?

I was just thinking there was something specific about this temple in particular that would be simple, straight forward and obvious once pointed out.

For a global flood: The Vishnu Temple should be a rounded formation, shaped like a teardrop, with the rounded end upstream and the pointy end downstream (a drumlin). There should be a big pile of loose sediment downstream of the Vishnu Temple, which got caught there in the eddy. Imagine a huge flood pouring over that thing. That’s just for starters.

Instead, the Vishnu Temple looks like it was formed by mass wasting.

There are a couple of ways that the features of the Grand Canyon destroy YEC Creationism, or any variety that requires a Global Flood. One that I looked into recently was in direct response to an Answers in Genesis claim that features like the Coconino sandstone formation were laid down in a massive flood event over just a few days. This is incredibly wrong, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

The actual Coconino sandstone represents ancient wind-swept, desert geography. It has an extremely “mature” quartz composition which doesn’t happen with marine sandstone; basically all that’s left in the grains is well-rounded quartz and some feldspar. This is characteristic of sandstone formed from sand in dry, windy conditions and contradicts a marine origin. Sandstone deposited by floods would have a lot of other minerals and sedimentary material present). Then we can see the distinctively preserved remains of sand dunes shaped by the wind, which are easily distinguished from ripple patterns made by running water over sand. Perhaps most damningly, there are the fossilized footprints and animal tracks in the sandstone itself, made by animals that lived on land. How would those have gotten into sand that was supposedly laid down quickly in the midst of a world-ending flood, and then immediately buried with even more layers of muck?

Check these sources out for yourself and compare them to the AiG description: COCONINO SANDSTONE, Geology of National Parks, Grand Canyon Fossils

All the rocks that now make the walls of the Grand Canyon would have been washed into the sea too, just like the rocks that once filled the gorge itself. Arizona would be just above sea level, flat for the most part, like north-central Canada, without any sedimentary rocks at all, and no fossils.

(Nice photo Matt, one Miner to another.)

Nice photo Matt, …

Thanks, but the photographer’s name is Jon Woolf; the photo is an Honorable Mention from several years ago, when we had too many entries to post in a timely way. I will probably run some more of those in the future.

Take a glass jar and fill it half-way up with dirt, and top it off with water. Close and secure the top. Shake it up. Wait a day for the mud and silt to settle. You will get a gradation of sediment from coarse at the bottom to fine at the top, just like prongs said. You may notice some layers in the mud. But you will not get a random set of mixed-granularity layers, as shown in this photograph.

The photo also shows vertical cliffs hundreds of feet high. Recently drained mud does not form vertical cliffs hundreds of feet high no matter what is the erosive force cutting it away. The mud slumps. Wet mud does not have the coherent strength to form high vertical cliffs, or anything like the enormity of Washer Woman Arch.

Leszek said:

There would be no Grand Canyon? I would have guessed it would be the other way around. If the flood was global, why just one?

I was just thinking there was something specific about this temple in particular that would be simple, straight forward and obvious once pointed out.

Indeed. We now understand the hydrology of the canyon. We know exactly why it formed and why it formed where and when it did. There was no magic flood involved, not one, never was. Geologic uplift over millions of years was responsible, it’s still going on. So yes, we were there and still are.

Lots of things refute both a young-earth and a world Flood. There is evidence from relative dating techniques - including stratigraphy and especially biostratigraphy. Even at the most rapid rates of deposition (which could include occasional localized catastrophic events), early nineteenth century geologists concluded it would take much more than a few thousand years for layers many kilometers thick to form. Also, these same early nineteenth century geologists that observed the incredible order of the geological column concluded this could not have resulted from a single abrupt event like a world flood. This and other evidence - such as astronomers measuring the speed of light from distant stars - convinced mainstream science to abandon a young-earth (and a world Flood) nearly two centuries ago. This video (by an ex-YEC) might be helpful.

Radiometric dating came along much later than relative dating: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html

As an independent method, radiometrics could have overturned the evidence from relative dating if the results had been different. As it turns out, relative dating and so-called absolute dating (e.g. radiometrics) well correlate with each other. Radiometric dating of rocks reconfirmed the findings of relative dating that successive rock layers are of different ages. In addition, radiometrics also found that the rocks are up to millions and billions - not thousands - of years old.

Tenncrain said:

Lots of things refute both a young-earth and a world Flood. There is evidence from relative dating techniques - including stratigraphy and especially biostratigraphy. Even at the most rapid rates of deposition (which could include occasional localized catastrophic events), early nineteenth century geologists concluded it would take much more than a few thousand years for layers many kilometers thick to form. Also, these same early nineteenth century geologists that observed the incredible order of the geological column concluded this could not have resulted from a single abrupt event like a world flood. This and other evidence - such as astronomers measuring the speed of light from distant stars - convinced mainstream science to abandon a young-earth (and a world Flood) nearly two centuries ago. This video (by an ex-YEC) might be helpful.

Radiometric dating came along much later than relative dating: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html

As an independent method, radiometrics could have overturned the evidence from relative dating if the results had been different. As it turns out, relative dating and so-called absolute dating (e.g. radiometrics) well correlate with each other. Radiometric dating of rocks reconfirmed the findings of relative dating that successive rock layers are of different ages. In addition, radiometrics also found that the rocks are up to millions and billions - not thousands - of years old.

I am not and was not a YEC. Like most Atheists who have been around the internet and even had talks with religious people and friends I know most of the arguments for an old earth and how to explain them down to a fundamental level. Actually I could do that for many things before I was an Atheist. I am not from the bible belt and the Catholic school system here is every bit as good if not better than the public system.

Geology isn’t my strong suit and I didn’t know anything about this particular formation and why it in particular refutes YEC’ism. Normally I know exactly what arguments a particular example refutes and why. (I must spend too much time reading FSTDT.com) Just not this time.

prongs said:

Does anyone know of any Creationist Geology programs, in any Bible colleges, that grant degrees in ‘creationist’ geology?

Cedarville University (a YEC school) in Ohio does.

But it’s one thing to teach “YEC geology”, quite another to have actual experience in the field. Here and here (starting at about the 8 minute mark) are often the results when more open and honest YECs get actual experience in the field.

A very few other schools like Liberty University have “YEC geology” classes but I don’t think they give geology degrees.

Mr. Woolf suggests “a link to [his] full essay on the Grand Canyon and creationism, which answers the question someone asked about how the Vishnu Temple helps demolish YEC.” I have not read the material yet.

Leszek said:

Geology isn’t my strong suit and I didn’t know anything about this particular formation and why it in particular refutes YEC’ism. Normally I know exactly what arguments a particular example refutes and why. (I must spend too much time reading FSTDT.com) Just not this time.

That’s all right. A person can’t be schooled in every subject.

Carl Drew made the observation that the Vishnu Temple should be a rounded, tear-drop feature showing the direction of water flow. Geomorphologists and hydrologists know this, but YECreationists do not. Instead the Temple shows the effects of mass wasting, as we would expect if the Canyon were, perhaps, a million years old.

But I contend that Carl isn’t thinking BIG enough. A super-flood might make a drumlin out of Vishnu Temple, but a global flood of Biblical proportions should erode ALL the rocks on the sides of the Canyon, stripping all of Arizona down to basement rock.

We’re hypothesizing about a global flood that never happened. I assert that there wouldn’t be a Grand Canyon if the YEC flood were true. It’s up to the YECs to prove me wrong, that their flood wasn’t really all that destructive. I contend that what we see in the Grand Canyon is perfectly consistent with an Old Earth, and not at all consistent with a 6,000-year-old Earth.

As Carl pointed out in his second post, recently deposited sediments won’t make cliffs hundred of feet high. There is no way those sediments could have consolidated before all that water drained from the continent. And those sediments should have been deposited in one giant graded bed, not interspersed marine and terrestrial sediments with land animal fossils in the later and sea life in the former, as ksplawn pointed out.

Honest and serious people know this. YECreationists, with their pre-K understanding of the world, do not.

I think AiG leads a creationist Grand Canyon tour every year. I don’t know how they do it with a straight face (it’s the money, I guess).

One thing I do have to thank the YECs for is providing me with a convenient excuse to learn more about geology. And biology, for that matter.

It was fortuitous reading this post on the same day that NASA’s rover web said: “Before NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars, the strata exposed in Mount Sharp were compared to those in the Grand Canyon of the western United States, shown here. Now that the rover has arrived, scientists are surprised by just how close the similarities between the two terrains are. “

Curiosity sent back a striking picture of strata on Mars: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/images[…]MAGE-br2.jpg It doesn’t look all that much like the Grand Canyon to me, but it makes me wonder what happens to Great Flood explanations when similar features are found on other planets.

prongs said:

In truth, everything we know about geology (and physics, and chemistry) refutes YECreationism.

But here’s one of my favorites. YECreationists love to claim that the Grand Canyon was formed by the retreat of Noah’s flood waters, laying down all the sediments and then carving the canyon, as it were, leaving the rest of the rapidly consolidating sediments for us to see. How nice. How convenient. A good story for pre-K Sunday school, perhaps, but it’s absurd on the face of it.

If they understood anything about geomorphology and catastrophic flooding, they would know all sedimentary rocks on every continent would have been washed into the oceans by their ‘flood’, leaving bare cratons of metamorphic rocks, denuded of all sediments. And the oceans would be filled to the brim with one giant graded-bed (coarsest at the bottom and finest at the top, with all organic remains ground to dust) - no deep water anywhere, no ocean trenches, no fossils.

There would be no Grand Canyon had there been a worldwide deluge.

This is not what we see. We have the Grand Canyon. But a YECreationist doesn’t see clearly, can’t see reality.

Does anyone know of any Creationist Geology programs, in any Bible colleges, that grant degrees in ‘creationist’ geology? I wonder if they’ve figured out the Post-flood/Pre-flood boundary yet. Surely they’ve had enough time. How hard could it be?

The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

http://www.icr.org/article/grand-staircase/

http://www.icr.org/article/red-rock[…]ville-flood/

http://www.icr.org/article/megafloo[…]ish-channel/

Henry said:

The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

http://www.icr.org/article/grand-staircase/

http://www.icr.org/article/red-rock[…]ville-flood/

http://www.icr.org/article/megafloo[…]ish-channel/

Sorry Henry, that’s just plain wrong. The grand canyon has existed for millions of years. It has experienced dozens of volcanic eruptions that have sometimes created dams blocking the canyon and producing large lakes. The canyon was already there before the eruptions. Real geologists know all of this. Why don’t you?

The Grand Canyon is the product of the Colorado River. It is not a great flood washaway. These are wide in proportion to length and get wider, fan-shaped in plan, and are straight-sided and direct. The course of the Colorado winds sinuously, with many bends approaching or surpassing 120 degrees, and it is v-shaped and narrow in proportion to its length. It can only be the result of a relatively small flow of water over a long time, not a large flow over a short one.

Henry said:

prongs said:

In truth, everything we know about geology (and physics, and chemistry) refutes YECreationism.

But here’s one of my favorites. YECreationists love to claim that the Grand Canyon was formed by the retreat of Noah’s flood waters, laying down all the sediments and then carving the canyon, as it were, leaving the rest of the rapidly consolidating sediments for us to see. How nice. How convenient. A good story for pre-K Sunday school, perhaps, but it’s absurd on the face of it.

If they understood anything about geomorphology and catastrophic flooding, they would know all sedimentary rocks on every continent would have been washed into the oceans by their ‘flood’, leaving bare cratons of metamorphic rocks, denuded of all sediments. And the oceans would be filled to the brim with one giant graded-bed (coarsest at the bottom and finest at the top, with all organic remains ground to dust) - no deep water anywhere, no ocean trenches, no fossils.

There would be no Grand Canyon had there been a worldwide deluge.

This is not what we see. We have the Grand Canyon. But a YECreationist doesn’t see clearly, can’t see reality.

Does anyone know of any Creationist Geology programs, in any Bible colleges, that grant degrees in ‘creationist’ geology? I wonder if they’ve figured out the Post-flood/Pre-flood boundary yet. Surely they’ve had enough time. How hard could it be?

The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

How were the sedimentary layers were cemented together during 40 days and 40 nights of flooding? How come the Grand Canyon does not have any of the characteristics of a canyon formed from a wash-out of a dam breaking?

Because you said the ICR said Jesus said so?

Dave Luckett said:

The Grand Canyon is the product of the Colorado River. It is not a great flood washaway. These are wide in proportion to length and get wider, fan-shaped in plan, and are straight-sided and direct. The course of the Colorado winds sinuously, with many bends approaching or surpassing 120 degrees, and it is v-shaped and narrow in proportion to its length. It can only be the result of a relatively small flow of water over a long time, not a large flow over a short one.

That does not matter a single iota to Henry.

We’re wrong and he’s right because he said the ICR said Jesus said so. Evidence be literally damned.

Henry, has the ICR ever said, written, or published on the internet anything at all that that you now know to be just plain wrong? Have they ever retracted anything, or made any statements disappear (tacit admission of error)?

Henry said: The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

Um… When exactly did all this happen Henry?

After all, by definition, ice ages take quite some time. Ages, in fact

Noah got off the Big Boat with his heard in 2348BCE.

At about this point, the Egyptians were, one assumes, scraping the mud off the pyramids and setting up for the second half of the Old Kingdom. The Minoans were flourishing on Crete, Greece was in its Cyladic phase, and and Early Babylonia was starting to exert its power.

These were, to belabor the point, all civilizations that had ports. On the Ocean.

Although they might not have seen the glaciers, they might, just perhaps, have the thousand-foot drop in sea level.

Egypt and Babylonia would also have been keenly aware of the of the odd behavior of the Nile and Euphrates rivers because, well, their entire existence depended on them.

These civilizations had language. They wrote shit down when things went weird, Henry.

This is how we know the old Kingdom collapsed in 2150 in no small part because some drought years on the Nile made it hard to feed everyone.

Yet somehow none of these civilizations ever made a ledger entry “Odd day. very chilly - Oh, and the sea receded 100 miles last night. All doomed.”

Rainbow Bridge would have gotten knocked over within 5 seconds by a great flood. But there it is, intact and still standing over the meandering watercourse that formed the bridge over millions of years.

Flood Geology is not Biblical. Henry Morris made that up.

Henry said: The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

How does that explain the fossil animal tracks in the Coconino Sandstone formation, as I pointed out above?

stevaroni said:

Henry said: The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

Um… When exactly did all this happen Henry?

After all, by definition, ice ages take quite some time. Ages, in fact

Noah got off the Big Boat with his heard in 2348BCE.

At about this point, the Egyptians were, one assumes, scraping the mud off the pyramids and setting up for the second half of the Old Kingdom. The Minoans were flourishing on Crete, Greece was in its Cyladic phase, and and Early Babylonia was starting to exert its power.

These were, to belabor the point, all civilizations that had ports. On the Ocean.

Although they might not have seen the glaciers, they might, just perhaps, have the thousand-foot drop in sea level.

Egypt and Babylonia would also have been keenly aware of the of the odd behavior of the Nile and Euphrates rivers because, well, their entire existence depended on them.

These civilizations had language. They wrote shit down when things went weird, Henry.

This is how we know the old Kingdom collapsed in 2150 in no small part because some drought years on the Nile made it hard to feed everyone.

Yet somehow none of these civilizations ever made a ledger entry “Odd day. very chilly - Oh, and the sea receded 100 miles last night. All doomed.”

You would think that the inhabitants city of Ur, or the archaeologists who excavated it would have taken enough note of the resulting water damage a year-long, world-destroying flood would have done to the city to comment on it, given as how it had been continuously occupied for 9000 years.

Yet…

ksplawn said:

Henry said: The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

How does that explain the fossil animal tracks in the Coconino Sandstone formation, as I pointed out above?

JESUSDIDIT, of course.

apokryltaros said: You would think that the inhabitants city of Ur, or the archaeologists who excavated it would have taken enough note of the resulting water damage a year-long, world-destroying flood would have done …

… to a city made of mud brick.

Henry said: The sedimentary layers were laid down during the Flood, but the Canyon was carved out by a post Ice Age break of a dam.

Question for the resident geologists: are there any examples of a glacier carving out a canyon or valley where it leaves something like the Visnu Temple butte smack dab in the middle?

At first I thought ‘no.’ But then it occurred to me that some sufficiently hard granite outcropping might survive a glacier. Is there anything like that? Not that this would save henry’s point, it just peaked my curiousity.

Where did ya get to Henry? Haven’t you read that paper yet? Man at this rate you are going to have five more papers that you need to read before you get through the first one. See Henry, that’s only one of about a thousand papers that disprove the Adam and Eve “hypothesis”. And of course, everything that has ever been published in geology disproves the magic flood myth. Oh well, at least you tried. I guess.

Any time now Henry.

Done waitin Henry. Get back to me on the bathroom wall if you ever learn how to read. Until then, the evidence stands. There was no magic apple. There was no magic flood. deal with it.

For anyone who is actually interested, the evidence includes far more than just SNPs, mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome data. It also includes polymorphism for MHC loci, microsatellite diversity, ALU insertions and divergence, etc. Of course I can provide references, but creationists seem incapable of reading then. The point is that modern genomics has given us a wealth of information which allows us to trace human history form our primate ancestors out of Africa and across the face of the earth. We are now able to reconstruct this history in great detail. In order to cling to outdated myths you have to deny all of this evidence. That has important consequences for the study of human diversity, disease, screening and treatment programs, etc. Creationist must become o=more and more insulated from reality in order to maintain their delusions. Hence the approach of covering the eyes and ears and screaming at the top of their lungs. You can choose to go back to the dark ages intellectually whenever you want to, just remember the average life span at that time and the reason why.

Guess Henry found out that he was mistaken. All of the evidence shows that there was no magic apple and there was no magic flood. Think he will change his tune? Or will he just come back here pretending that he never found out the truth?

DS said:

Guess Henry found out that he was mistaken. All of the evidence shows that there was no magic apple and there was no magic flood. Think he will change his tune? Or will he just come back here pretending that he never found out the truth?

No. Henry will turn up on some other thread with some other inanity, or the same inanity, and will act as though the above comments never happened. If referred to them again, he will ignore that, rinse and repeat.

For creationists, repeated assertion is evidence, only better. And the pity of it is that when it comes to the blogosphere, they’re pretty much right.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on August 27, 2012 12:00 PM.

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