INVESTIGATING GENESIS SERIES
©2002 by Gerard Wakefield http://www.creationism.org/wakefield/
(This article may be copied for educational purposes only.)
"Evolutionary Assumptions Negated by Mount St. Helens"
One of the bedrock assumptions of the theory of evolution is that Earth’s history entails an extremely slow development over long periods of time. Evolutionists believe that, once the earliest life forms appeared on the planet, it took eons of time for the entire world to be populated by animals. It is this assumption that forms one of the most frequent arguments critics make against the Genesis flood story: if a great flood had completely destroyed life on earth and left the surface of the planet devastated, it would have taken many thousands of years for the animals that emerged from the ark to spread out, multiply, and repopulate the desolate planet.
Scientists studying the aftermath of the Mt. St. Helens eruption have found that this assumption is fundamentally incorrect. In the twenty years since the volcano in Washington state erupted, Creation scientists have used the blast area as a test case for the veracity of the Genesis account of the flood, discovering that our planet’s various geological formations could easily have been formed as a result of rapid, catastrophic flooding rather than from millennia-long, gradual processes, as evolutionists claim. Now, old-earth evolutionists have finally begun to catch up to Bible-believing scientists and are discovering that their basic belief in long-term, gradual processes of nature is wrong.
The May 2000 issue of National Geographic featured an article on this change of heart, referring to the Mt. St. Helens aftermath as "a crucible of creation" (Findley 112). The article, entitled "Nature on Fast Forward," noted that the rapid recovery of plant and animal life in the blast area "is a miniature fast-forward version of what happened over vast time frames of our planet’s infancy, from primordial soup to the first wind-borne seeds" (Ibid.). Despite the blatant old-earth bias exhibited in that statement, the article continued to report how surprised scientists were at the rapid recovery of the blast area:
The New York Times also took a candid look at how the Mt. St. Helens blast has shattered old-earth evolutionary assumptions. The article noted that the eruption has
In 1980, researchers say it was dogma among ecologists that nature creates and recreates ecosystems in an orderly fashion with predictable parades of species rolling in: the early pioneering species first, which alter the environment, making possible the arrival of the second wave of species and so on, until the final array of plants and animals is in place.
By providing the perfect laboratory to test such ideas — more than 200 square miles of newly devastated terrain — Mount St. Helens has turned that theory upside down. Biologists have discovered instead the unpredictability of recolonization and the pivotal importance of chance in the rebuilding of biological communities.
‘We knew very clearly what was going to happen afterward,’ said Dr. Jerry F. Franklin, a forest ecologist at the University of Washington, ‘and we were very clearly wrong’ (Yoon D5).
Instead, what created the new landscape was not this set of rules but the organisms that were lucky enough to survive the blast (Ibid.).
Findley, Rowe, "Mt. St. Helens: Nature on Fast Forward," National Geographic 197, no. 5 (2000).
Yoon, Carol Kaesuk, "As Mt. St. Helens Recovers, Old Wisdom Crumbles," New York Times, 16 May 2000.
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