J Harland Bretz had a different timeframe than most people of his day for the cutting of this canyon. It was in the early 1920s that J Harland Bretz began examining all the canyons of eastern and central Washington’s scablands trying to understand the geological forces that created such a scarred landscape. He came to the conclusion that the canyons like the one above (Palouse Canyon) were formed rapidly by a monstrous flood. He presented his views to the Geological Society of America only to be flatly rejected. He was instructed to go back and check his data. After all, modern geology knows that it takes millions of years to cut these canyons. The reason his peers rejected his theories can be summed up in their response to him, “What you are proposing sounds too much like a biblical flood.”
It wasn’t until the 1960s and the completion of aerial photography that Bretz’ theory was authenticated. Apologies were made but Bretz was bitter. He’d put up with rejection and ridicule by his peers for 40 years. He had performed solid geological surveys and presented strong evidence only to be rejected over and over again.
Today, people in Missoula can regularly see evidence of Bretz’ flood. After a light snow viewers may look up upon Mount Sentinel and observe horizontal erosion lines from Lake Missoula lapping against the mountainside. Each year, the spring runoff would raise the level of the lake. The winds of the summer and fall created waves that cut into the mountain and left a horizontal erosion line that is visible to this day.
Thanks to the hard work of J Harland Bretz, we now understand that the canyons of eastern and central Washington and Oregon were formed rapidly by the Lake Missoula flood. During the Ice Age a 20 mile wide finger of glacier blocked off the Clark Fork River near Sandpoint Idaho. The water backed up creating a huge lake that filled Clark Fork Valley to almost 1000 feet above our present location. Over time the water pressure began working through the 20 miles of ice and eventually caused a cataclysmic failure of the glacial dam. A 900 foot wall of water surged across Central Washington scouring out the canyons like the one above in a matter of 3 to 5 days. If you answered the question above with anything more than a week you have been taught incorrectly. I hope that bothers you.
This leaves us with a peculiar question:
Why is it that Bretz’ peers rejected his theory outright in spite of the evidence?
Why did his peers site “a biblical flood” in their rebuke of his conclusions?
The answer is rather alarming:
There existed a clear prejudice against any theories that would authenticate a biblical flood and give credence to a young earth.
It is no different today. If you answered the question above with millions of years rather than a week you have been taught the same paradigm. That paradigm proved wrong in explaining the data, the origin of the Washington scablands.
The issue between a creationist and an evolutionist is not the data; it is the paradigm used to interpret the data. The geologists of Bretz’ day would not allow a paradigm that would evoke rapid processes because that would give credence to the creationists. In the fields of medicine and biology this is even more extreme. The evidence of biochemistry overwhelmingly demands an intelligent creator. The information in the DNA molecule of every one of your cells literally contains thousands of volumes of information that has been nano – recorded in a manner that is way beyond anything that our modern technology has produced. Yet, our textbooks unashamedly proclaim it happened by time and chance. The same textbooks are unable to give us any reasonable explanation as to how all of this remarkable information, that is required to make you, made itself.
In the case of J. Harland Bretz and the Lake Missoula Flood, the scientific establishment would not allow conclusions that match the data because it was against strongly held prodigious toward evolution and millions of years. The same goes with the origin of life. More on that another day!