Should flood explanations rely solely upon computer models?



No.  Here's why.

Results generated from computer models depend entirely upon inputs made by the computer scientist in much the same way that bakers' ingredients determine whether they produce cookies, cakes, or pies.   Of course, programming a computer model that accurately represents how nature behaves is much more complex than baking a cake.  The "simplest" problems in nature pose tremendous challenges for the computer programmer, even when results can be checked against reproducible events in the real world, because the results depend upon so many factors (variables).   For example, we know that none of the predictions that have emanated from climate simulations in 30 years has been fulfilled.  More recently, the dire COVID-19 death toll predicted by the U.K.'s Professor Neil Ferguson's computer models in early 2020 has been falsified.  (For a brief discussion of some of the reasons why this is so, see "Pitfalls in Modeling and Simulation" by Matti Koivisto, Procedia Computer Science, Volume 119, 2017, Pages 8-15, ISSN 1877-0509,;(  

Further, the literally earth-shattering flood cataclysm of antiquity recorded in Genesis 7 was (thankfully) never to be repeated and so theoretical computer models can never be validated against physical reality.  The most well-known computer flood model, Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT), started with a model developed in industry to simulate the secular theory of Plate Tectonics (PT), a theory that is plagued with a host of problems by itself as well as a growing body of evidence that conflicts with it. 1 The modeler then tweaked the inputs to make this questionable theory happen quickly so that it "fits" into the Genesis account, hence "Catastrophic Plate Tectonics."   Unfortunately, lay people as well as many technical people are dazzled by the bells and whistles assumed to be affixed to this theory simply because it is computer-generated.  Even more unfortunate is that the theory's proponents are not transparent about the assumptions and simplifications (inputs) they use in order to make the model "work."  

As noted, the CPT (nor PT) computer simulation results can be validated by comparison with processes that we can observe in our world today.  Further, CPT posits events and processes that contradict both the biblical account and the law of physics.   For example, CPTs posits that magma emanating from the Mid-Oceanic Ridge generated steam jets lasting many days and this was the source of the 40-day-and-40-nights' rainfall.  (See Dr. John Baumgardner explaining the steam jets:; However, the pressure and mass flow rate required to sustain such a steam jet simply would not be possible when the supply must penetrate porous rock the way Dr. Baumgardner describes.

Sadly, CPT proponents continue to insist CPT is "true" because "the model says so."  Here's a sampling of some well-known creation scientists simply appealing to the computer model as the "explanation" of the science, just like anyone who invokes appeal to authority, an often-used logical fallacy.   Note that none of the people below actually explain in any detail the physical mechanisms driving CPT:

Dr. John Baumgardner

Dr. Kurt Wise

Dr. Steve Austin

Dr. John Whitmore

Dr. Tim Clarey same thing:

Quoting from the Koivisto article cited above:  

"At the end, a scientist should bear in mind that every model no matter how carefully built is simply a tool of extracting information of interest from selected data. The truth is indefinitely complex and a model as its best is just a good approximation of the truth. Or like Box and Draper has famously pointed out, 'Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.'" (Emphasis mine.)

Would that creationists would understand that this is so. 2  3

  • 1For an excellent summary of some of the many technical problems associated with Plate Tectonics, see: 20 Reasons to Question Plate Tectonics by Ellis Hughes, available at the Real Science Radio web store here or any online book selling site. 
  • 2The ICC 2023 review committee rejected a paper submitted to address some of the concerns with relying solely on computer modeling for a flood explanation.  In conversations with the author of the paper, a well-qualified computer scientist himself, he said, "I'm sure there are some valid comments, and I'm fine with the paper being rejected in its current form. However, even with some clean-up and a toning down of some of the criticism, it's clear from at least one of the reviewers that there would be little chance I'd get a fair hearing. One of the reviewers cited so-called evidence for CPT that is an 'almost irrefutable case for the reality of CPT during the Flood.' I thought my paper was on modeling, and that it should not be used as evidence for CPT. He then falsely accused me of 'intentional deception' regarding what I argued is a bogus and deceptive seismic image of a subducting plate from 1997. Another reviewer requested I change one of my sentences from 'The amount of time spent implying that TERRA and more recently MABBUL modeling provide evidence for CPT should alarm creationists' to read '...implying that TERRA and more recently MABBUL modeling provide evidence for CPT should be accepted with some caution.'   I know with certainty such modeling would not 'be accepted' as evidence for CPT by any competent engineering team, not even as a single datapoint. Both reviewers also made comments related to computer programming that reveal a complete disconnect from the engineering world."  

    The 2nd ICC reviewer's revision is analogous to this hypothetical conversation between an engineer concerned with space shuttle o-ring performance in cold temperatures:  Engineer, "A serious flaw has been found in the Shuttle's propulsion algorithms that should alarm NASA."  Geologist, "We recommend launch with some caution."

  • 3CPT proponents will protest that their theory does not rest solely upon their computer models, insisting that physical evidence supports CPT as well.   This is similar to saying "I built a factory that theoretically produces red cars, therefore, all the red cars you see today came from my factory."  In fact, there is much physical evidence that contradicts CPT.  Other theories, most notably the Hydroplate Theory, provide robust and scientifically defensible explanations for the evidence we observe in our world and cosmos today.


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