S/O: Can Plate Tectonics Explain the World We See Today?

Why does a creationist have to have all the answers, but an old earth evolutionist does not?
To me the question is: Which theory, idea, whatever you want to call it, best explains the physical evidence we see around us. ALL evidence must be accounted for, not just the convenient evidence. As an example I find plate tectonics (fast or slow) to be woefully lacking in explaining the earth we see today. The proponents of plate tectonics do not have all the (maybe any) answers to why the earth looks and acts the way it does today today.

It isn’t that old-earthers are trying to force young-earthers to some higher standard than everybody else. They are trying to goad them toward even just meeting any standard at all. The only answers that seem forthcoming from the young-earth side is how certain understandings can conform to their expectation of how early Genesis should be read. And on the science side, instead of providing answers, young-earthism just raises even more questions and ends up falling back on “well - God just forced it to be this way”. The old earthers, while not having all the answers by a long shot (nobody does) … are at least providing some answers to some questions.

You mention plate tectonics. It gives great answers to the question of how certain mineral veins line up from one continent to another across an ocean (like S. America over into Africa). And it also provides great (and calibrated!) answers to magnetic pole reversals that are recorded in the rocks spreading out from the mid-Atlantic ridge. Those are just off the top of my head. There would be a whole lot of detailed questions that plate tectonics is quite an obvious answer for (the Hawaiian Island chain, the actual measured rates of motion of continents now…) But young-earthism on the other hand, doesn’t address any of that, and instead just invokes a miracle from the flood to a sudden division in the time of Peleg - which, instead of explaining anything about our world is instead an “explanation” of how you attempt to force fit it all into your reading of a few verses of scripture.

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VOn the other hand, plate tectonics explains a lot. I am currently sitting watching the ocean in Kauai, Hawaii, which is the oldest of the islands in the chain, and moved over a hot spot in the crust a few million years ago, forming when volcanic action built a mountain with repeated lava flows, the tip of which became this island before the movement of the crust moved it away and began building the next one. The movement of the crust can be measured, and the distance and time is consistent with the age of the rocks and with the observed erosion patterns. It continues on with the active volcano on the Big Island and even beneath the ocean.
We were able to visit the Na Pali coast yesterday (and saw whales!) and it was amazing to see the thousands of layers of individual lava flows stretching up the cliffs that rose up to 4000 feet above the ocean, and extended at least that far below our boat. We saw those layers because of erosion cutting away at the lava rock for a million years. It truly fills you with awe.
Enough bragging, but Hawaii truly does vividly illustrate plate tectonics especially if you are familiar with how different the islands look as you move from west to east.

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Strange but I read an article on a YEC site that provided plenty of evidence on the reality of plate tectonics. It is a common YEC explanation for the formation of mountains.

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The obvious problem arises in that it would push all the earthquakes, all the volcanic eruptions, all the erosion seen into the last 3000 years during and after the flood, and most of it right around the flood. Talk about climate climate change!


What do you mean “old earth evolutionist”? “Evolutionists” don’t study the age of the earth; they study biological evolution. In any case, not all old-earthers are “evolutionists.” Reasons to Believe, for example, are old-earth but they aren’t “evolutionists” by any stretch of the imagination.

How come? Plate tectonics can be measured directly using GPS. In fact, GPS devices regularly have to be updated to take it into account.

Furthermore, plate tectonics can also be measured using radiometric dating, by plotting radiometric ages against distance. The results consistently match up with the GPS readings everywhere.


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