For almost 200 years geologists have accepted that the Earth has had all its water since nearly its beginning. This paradigm finds its origin in the early decades of the 1800s when European geologists began the process of determining whether or not the whole of the Earth suffered a deluge. The early geologists set about various landscapes seeking a common deposit layer, but they could not find it. Instead, it became apparent that diluvial gravels belonged to multiple, distinct events. Therefore, because there was not a common event in the observational record, the early geologists concluded that there was never a worldwide flood.
In his 1831 president’s address to the Geological Society of London, Adam Sedgwick renounced his belief in a worldwide flood. He stated, in part:
The vast masses of diluvial gravel … do not belong to one violent and transitory period. It was indeed a most unwarranted conclusion when we assumed the contemporaneity of all the superficial gravel on the earth…. Having been myself a believer [in a worldwide flood], and, to the best of my power, a propagator of what I now regard as a philosophic heresy, … I think it right … thus publicly to read my recantation. (Sedgwick, A. 1831. Address to the Geological Society of London, on retiring from the President’s Chair, February 18.)
It was a celebrated pronouncement, for Sedgwick was not only the Society’s president, but he was also a Cambridge University professor as well as a clergyman in the Church of England. Sedgwick’s recantation had lasting effect: to this day, all of science accepts that there was never a worldwide flood.
Interestingly, today’s lettered geologists staffing the science’s premier journals do not know the source of their fundamental “no flood, ever” tenet. They simply accept it as an article of their faith, and they immediately discount anyone thinking otherwise. I know this because I have dealt with them. Many of them. I have found that the very few aware of the history are wholly uncritical of the conclusion relative to its supporting evidence.
Uncritical? Indeed: the early geologists’ “no flood, ever” conclusion is indisputably wrong. From the evidence, Sedgwick and his peers instead should have concluded: presently exposed landscapes were never submerged by a common flood. Whereas it is undeniably true that where we are now was never flooded by a common event, that is not equivalent to the claim that there was never a worldwide flood. Sedgwick and the other early geologists mistakenly passed judgment on vast, submerged landscapes that they could not observe; they assumed that all of Earth’s waters have been with us since the beginning. The error precluded the possibility that now-submerged landscapes were inundated by some event, something that Google Maps data clearly convey (examples shown on Figure 1).
Figure 1. Submerged drainages now discernible in Google Earth include (clockwise from upper left): coastal California, the Gulf of Alaska, the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, and the Celtic Sea to the southwest of Ireland.
Geology’s incorrect finding has persisted for two reasons: (1) there was little contradictory evidence on presently exposed landscapes that would call into question the prevailing theory, and (2) we could not see into the bathymetry to observe submerged landscapes until only recently. Today, however, the new maps allow us to observe the topography of ocean floors where we find former rivers. The new maps unequivocally reveal well-preserved drainages under more than three kilometers (km) of water, and they are ubiquitous. Their existence implies that there must have been a worldwide flood.
Please note that we are applying the scientific method: new data (maps) caused us to review theory. And what we find immediately is that geology’s ‘no flood, ever’ paradigm is erroneous. The new data should evoke new thinking, which in our case would result in the restoration of the belief that the Earth suffered a devastating flood. That geologists have failed to review their fundamental belief in the presence of this new data is powerful testament to the constraining effect that ‘no flood, ever’ holds over science, related disciplines, and rational thought.
The drainages in Fig. 1 imply that the Earth had much less water than the present. As such, it is interesting to consider pre-flood Earth, a model for which is shown on Figure 2. It was created in ArcGIS by removing an estimated average depth of 3 km from the present sea level, thereby exposing the former river systems.
Figure 2. With more than 3 km of water graphically removed, a model of land and sea distributions in pre-flood Earth shows previously exposed but now-submerged landscapes (tan), presently exposed landscapes (beige), and former oceans and seas (blue).
With the removal of so much water, the atmosphere would have covered the former abyss. Thus, the dark tan areas on Fig. 2 experienced increased atmospheric pressure, which would have led to higher temperatures. Humans evolved in these regions, and we are furless as a consequence. We find evidence of pre-flood human activity nearly exclusively in tropical latitudes because, at more than 3 kilometers (two miles) above the former sea level, most of the yellow regions on Fig. 2 were too cold for human habitation. In the context that there was a worldwide flood, humanity’s relationship with its planet might be better understood this way: our environmental abuse is a consequence of a maladapted, sentient species endeavoring to survive. We would be extinct were it not for our brains.
What is now coastal California would have been more than 3 km above the former sea level, and winds uplifted by the nearly vertical continental shelf condensed to create persistent rainfall that eroded and rounded the hills. The Salinas Valley was once an inland lake, and it drained to the northwest and then down the nearly vertical slope where its waters acquired sufficient kinetic energy to carve what we now call Monterey Canyon (upper left, Fig. 1).
We will leave for another day the identification of the water’s source, though we can state with certainty that it must be cosmic, for such a volume could not be stored at the poles. Until then, let us all recognize that geology’s “no flood, ever” tenet is an immense mistake: two branches of science, geology and anthropology, are fundamentally incorrect. This renders Google Earth as the historic equivalent to Galileo’s telescope – each ‘device’ revealed data that led to overturning incorrect scientific paradigms. [Update (Jan 2021): in reading through this essay, it dawned on me that it was written prior to the publication of my paper, The Flooding of the Mediterranean Basin at the Younger-Dryas Boundary. In it I identify the source of the Flood’s waters, a cosmic impact in what is now the Southern Ocean.]
The task remains: how do we get geologists to recognize their error? Should we treat them with derision? Do we mock them for adhering to an incorrect tenet as if it were religious dogma? I am not sure, but this much is certain – they must recognize their error. They must be asked: Why do you believe there was never a flood? and Do you not recognize the logical error committed by your predecessors? We must make them reform. We must carry out the task of correcting the most profound error in the history of science.
PS – I submitted this essay in Nov 2017 to the National Association of Scholars who declined to publish it because it “did not fit within our current editorial plans for Academic Questions.”