Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why Oil Companies Don't Use Flood Geology

The Deluge. Gustave Doré
One of the best ways of testing young earth creationism and flood geology (the idea that most geologic structures above and below ground were created in the flood) is to ask whether they're useful in the real world. For example, do oil companies use flood geology to find oil? You can bet they would if it helped them find oil better than mainstream geology. After all, oil companies aren't known for their liberal agenda or their devotion to the scientific consensus (climate change, for example), but they are known for doing what they need to do to make money. They can't afford to use faulty science. So, do they use flood geology?

Absolutely not. But don't take my word for it. Dr. Donald Prothero is a paleontologist and geologist who has written the standard textbooks in sedimentary and historical geology as well as paleobiology. He has far more knowledge and authority in these fields than I ever will, so I'll just shut up and quote him:
The most significant implication of flood geology and its fantasy view of the earth is a practical problem. Without real geologists doing their work, none of us would have the oil, coal, gas, groundwater, uranium, and most other natural resources that we extract from the earth. There are lots of devout Christians in oil and coal companies (I know of many of them personally), but they all laugh at the idea of flood geology and would never attempt to use it to find what they’re paid to find. Instead [...] they have seen the complexity of real geology in hundreds of drill cores spanning whole continents and don’t even begin to try to interpret these rocks in a creationist mold (even though they may be devout Christians and believe much of the rest of the fundamentalist’s credo). If they tried, they’d find no oil and lose their jobs! As creationists keep trying to get their bizarre notion of flood geology inserted into classrooms and places like the Grand Canyon, we have to ask ourselves: are we willing to give up the oil, gas, coal, groundwater, and uranium that our civilization requires? That would be one of the steepest prices we would pay if we listened to the creationists.

See also:

Why I Left Young-Earth Creationism / Glenn Morton (by a geophysicist working in the oil industry)

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters / Donald Prothero. This is where the quote above comes from. I can't recommend this book highly enough.