Walter Brown's "Hydroplate" Flood Model Doesn't Hold Water

© 2009-2015, Glen J. Kuban (Latest rev. July 3, 2015)
Hydroplate theory diagram from Wal Brown's book

Diagram from W. Brown's website and book
showing what he calls the "Rupture Phase of the Flood"

Walter Brown, a young-earth creationist (YEC), mechanical engineer, and Director of the Center for Scientific Creation in Phoenix, Arizona, has developed a "Flood Model" which he believes accounts for virtually all geologic evidence. His central thesis is that only a few thousand years ago the earth's entire crust was suspended over a large reservoir of pressurized water, which suddenly and violently burst forth, releasing most of the water that caused the Noachian deluge. The model also purports to explain the origin of asteroids, meteorites, and comets in our solar system, suggesting that this massive eruption was sufficient to propel huge chunks of earth into outer space. Brown describes his current model in the 8th edition of his book entitled In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, although he presented early versions of the model during the 1980's (Brown, 1986). He also provides updates and chapter summaries at his "Center for Scientific Creation" website.

Brown's model is overwhelmingly rejected by conventional scientists, since it conflicts with extensive geologic evidence that the earth is over 4.5 billion years old, as well as many specific lines of geologic and astronomic evidence (Lippard, 1989a, 1989b; Morton, 2003). Some are so severe and obvious that even many other creationists have rejected or severely criticized Brown's model.

Major Problems from the Start

One serious problem is the need for the proposed water reservoir to be totally sealed under the earth's crust. This precludes any significant earthquakes, meteorite impacts, or fissures in the crust anywhere on entire earth, even though such phenomena are well evidenced throughout the geologic record. As Christopher Sharp (2005) notes, Brown gives no satisfactory explanation as to how so much water could be trapped below the upper layer of rock, and how that upper layer remained impervious until the flood. As demonstrated by Glenn Morton (a geologist and former creationist), the earth's surface would also have to be almost perfectly smooth--lacking any mountains or even hills-- or the crust would buckle in places and release the waters (Morton, 2003). Yet according to the Bible (Genesis 49:26) there were mountains before the Flood, which Brown acknowledges and shows in his diagrams.

Another major problem is the immense heat that would be generated during the proposed cataclysmic eruption (Castagnoli, 2009; Morton, 2003). The magnitude of such heat would have literally boiled the oceans and incinerated all animals and humans, including the inhabitants of Noah's ark. Appealing to supposed experiments with "supercritical" water, Brown claims the heat would be insignificant, but the calculations demonstrate that the heat would indeed be more than lethal. Sharp (2005) calculated that the energy released in ejecting just the still-existing asteroids is the equivalent to approximately twenty trillion hydrogen bombs. He remarks, "The mind completely boggles how Noah and his family, together with his menagerie of animals and plants could have possibly survived all this in a large wooden boat!" On top of this one must consider the millions of other impacts on moons and planets in our solar system (as indicated by the heavy cratering on such bodies), implying far more material ejected from earth, and thus even more lethal heat.

In his thorough review of Brown's book (8th edition) at Amazon.com, physicist Gerard Jellison did extensive calculations on Brown's claims, and like Sharp and others, found serious problems in them. For example, he calculated that the mass of particles and water vapor expelled from earth in order to explain the comets, asteroids, and meteoroids in our solar system would be over 100 times greater than the earth's mass (Jellison, 2009). He further calculated that if only 0.001% of the mass and energy of the eruptions wound up in the earth's atmosphere (an estimate very generous to Brown; realistically it would have been much greater), the atmosphere would have been raised by 3000 degrees F!

On top of these massive heat problems, if even a small portion of the superheated subterranean waters (whose temperature Brown estimates at over 1300 degrees F) mixed with the surface oceans (as would be inevitable), that alone would have raised ocean temperatures to more than lethal levels for virtually all macroscopic sea life. Moreover, based on Brown's own descriptions, the Flood related sliding, grinding, cracking, and crashing of continent-sized hydroplates (most of which he says took place in days to weeks), would have produced even more lethal heat and unimaginably large earthquakes and tsunamis around the globe -- with waves hundreds if not thousands of feet tall. Although ignored by Brown, such tsunami's would have made even the largest tsunamis look like pond ripples, and easily capsized and ripped apart any ark.

Brown's proposed hydroplate eruptions would also have launched enormous quantities of aerosols and fine sediment into the atmosphere, leaving it heavily contaminated and largely opaque--greatly reducing photosynthesis on top of already catastrophic climate changes and habitat destruction. Meanwhile, according to Brown, huge deposits of salt and calcium would have been released into the oceans and crust from subterranean deposits. Curiously, he doesn't discuss how ocean life or ark passengers could have survived these sudden and massive environmental onslaughts, especially since many plants and aquatic organisms are adapted to narrow ranges of salinity, acidity, and other conditions, although this is admittedly largely moot in view of the multiple sources of lethal heat in Brown's model (the most severe of which will be discussed under "Geologic Problems").

Astronomical Problems

Near and Far Sides of the Moon
Near site (left) and far side (right) of the moon. Credit: NASA.

Attempting to bolster his claim that comets, meteoroids, and asteroids originated from earth, he describes them all as "earth like" in composition. However, their composition is quite variable. For example, many meteorites contain large portions of iron and nickel, which does not match the proposed composition of Brown's hydroplates (mostly granite), nor the known composition of most of the earth's crust. Conversely, many rock types that are common on earth, such as limestone and marble, are not found in comets, meteorites, or asteroids.

Another line of evidence against Brown's claims about the earthly origin of asteroids is that, as Sharp (2005) notes, "We can calculate the motions of the asteroids back in time, and find no evidence at all that they originated from the earth, or the vicinity of the earth's orbit, a few thousand years ago. Indeed, their orbits correspond to them being in existence in many cases for billions of years, as determined from long term stability calculations taking account of the perturbations of the planets..." Brown's astronomical claims are also contradicted by the Baptistina asteroid family, which have similar orbits and evidently were produced by an ancient collision of two large asteroids. By tracing the orbits of the resulting asteroids back in time, augmented with data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, astrophysicists have calculated that the original collision occurred about 80 million years ago (Rationalwiki, 2012).

Brown suggests that the near side of the moon received far more and larger impacts than the far side, implying the objects that made them originated on earth. However, photos of the "far side" of the moon shows more craters than the near side. Brown acknowledges that the near side is "smoother," but attributes this to volcanism (as do conventional scientists) caused by a greater number of impacts. However, any way you slice it, the far side is heavily cratered, even though his model predicts it should be largely devoid of impacts. Brown suggests they were the result of material kicked up by the impacts on the near side, and as support he suggests most craters on the far side are small. However, the craters there exhibit size ranges similar to those on the near side, and include many large craters.

Brown also claims that the moon should have a thick layer of surface dust if it were really billions of years old--an outdated claim well refuted by both mainstream and YEC workers (Matson, 1995; Thompson, 2006; Snelling and Rush, 1993). The major YEC groups Answers in Genesis (AIG) and Creation Ministries International (CMI) list this argument among those that creationists "should not use" (CMI, 2015).

For these and other reasons, fellow YECs have strongly criticized Brown's geologic and astronomic claims. In reviewing Brown's assertions about cometary water, escape energies and heat, long period comments, comet composition, and other matters, Danby Faulkner of AIG stated that "many of these statements claims are incorrect or misleading" (Faulkner, 2013). Michael Oard of CMI noted that Brown's claims involved "questionable initial conditions, lack of in-depth analysis, the arbitrary fitting of data to his model, questionable references and analogies, the dubious significance of his predictions, and problematic comparison tables." He concluded: "I do not consider his model a viable Flood model" (Oard, 2013).

Geologic Problems

Brown argues that most sedimentary rocks were derived from the eroded walls of the supposed 10-mile thick layer of granite above the water reservoir. Thus, we should expect most of the earth's sedimentary strata would be largely uniform and made largely of granite or eroded granite. Indeed, Brown states that the sedimentary strata of the Earth are "typically parallel, thin, uniform in thickness, vast in area.... " and asks, "Why are strata so uniform in hardness?" Actually, rock strata are far from uniform in hardness, thickness, or geographic extent. Even in one outcrop they can vary from very soft and friable layers to incredibly hard beds. Strata also very greatly in grain size, type, and distribution, inclination, and many other features, precisely because they were deposited in many different environments and in many different ways. They also are often altered or deformed long afterward. Not only does his model not account for the wide variety of rock types and their distribution, but if his model were true, we should readily find extensive remains of the 10-mile thick granite "hydroplates". We find no evidence of this, and instead the evidence indicates that continental and oceanic plates (composed of a variety of other minerals and sediments besides granite) range from 20 to 60 miles thick. Moreover, major features in them such as the mid-Atlantic ridge and deep ocean trenches, have been shown to be due to tectonic plate movements and subductions, not a recent global Flood and "hydroplate" eruptions.

Brown disputes conventional plate tectonics, especially the concept of "subduction" (where one continental plate moves under another), yet elsewhere in his book (p. 135) he argues that the reason the oceanic ridge appears to disappear under western North America is because the "The North American plate probably overrode that segment of the ridge...", which implies subduction. Moreover, three is compelling physical evidence that subduction has occurred and is still occurring, and Brown's calculations that purportedly demonstrating that it is impossible have been shown to involve serious errors (Thompson, 1997).

Like most creationist Flood models, Brown's is vague on where the Flood occurs in the geologic column the Flood, but implies many if not most sedimentary layers were produced by it. However, no matter where he places it, major problems arise, since every geologic period from Precambrian onward exhibits evidence for multiple episodes of slow deposition and non-deposition. Besides the many tracks and burrows mentioned above, these also include many other trace fossils such as nests, dens, and hives, which cannot form during a violent flood (Kuban, 2006a).
White Cliffs of Dover
White Cliffs of Dover, England
Microfossils in Cretaceous limestone
Ammonite from White Cliffs of Dover
Archaeopteryx (Berlin specimen)
showing feathered wings, but also claws on
the forelimbs, teeth, and a long, bony tail
Sphecomyrma freyi in Cretaceous
amber, showing features intermediate
between wasps and ants

Brown's model also does not account for the worldwide pattern of radiometric dates from rocks throughout the world. All but the stratigraphically highest beds yield dates orders of magnitude older than his model allows, and show a consistent, sloping pattern from stratigraphically lower to higher strata. His proposal that radioactive decay rates may have been dramatically higher at the time of the Flood is lacking in any credible evidence, and contradicted by rigorous studies (Isaac, 2004). Even if such acceleration occurred, it would not yield the sloping pattern of dates mentioned above, since in his model most rocks are essentially the same age (geologically speaking)--only a few thousand years old. Accelerated decay rates would also greatly exacerbate the already horrendous heat problems inherent in Brown's model. As demonstrated by Meert (2002), "Radioactive decay at a rate fast enough to permit a young earth would have produced enough heat to melt the earth."

Ozark track site, Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas
Sauropod and theropod dinosaur tracks, in Cretaceous
Limestone, Glen Rose, Texas. Many additional layers of
fossiliferous or track-bearing limestone occur above and
below the picture bed. These and many other limestones
were clearly not deposited in the way Brown suggests.
© 2006, Glen J. Kuban

Fossil Evidence

While trying to account for limestones in his hydroplate model, Brown shows a picture of the famous "White Cliffs of Dover" in England--a massive limestone outcrop. He suggests the strata were formed from precipitated calcium during originating in the sub-crustal waters, and that "a simple, visual examination of limestone grains shows that few are ground-up seashells or corals, as some believe." However, Brown's statements are misleading at best, since no paleontologist claims the Dover Cliffs or most other limestone deposits are made of "ground up" macrofossils. What they do maintain, based on abundant evidence, is that most are composed of the accumulated remains of numerous micro-fossils such as foraminifera, coccoliths, and calcareous algae, as microscopic examinations of the rocks readily reveals. The Dover limestones and many others also contain a large number and variety of intact macrofossils that can be easily seen with the naked eye, including ammonites (extinct squid-like creatures with coiled shells), mollusks, echinoids (urchins), brachiopods, sponges, corals, crinoids, and shark teeth (Shepherd, 2012)--all incompatible with his assertion that the formation represents chemically precipitated calcium carbonate.

Brown also cannot explain how many such limestones (and other geologic formations supposedly deposited during the Flood) contain thousands of vertebrate trackways, and in many cases, extensive invertebrate burrows (sometimes millions on one surface), as well as numerous surfaces with mud cracks. All of these phenomena are indicators of relatively calm, low-energy, shallow water or dry environments which dramatically contradict Brown's violent Flood scenario (Kuban, 2006a). Even more problematic are vast dinosaur nesting sites, which obviously could not form during a violent global Flood (Carpenter, 1999).

Brown proposes that soon after the eruption phase of his model, freezing rain caused many mammoths to become flash-frozen, supposedly explaining why some still have food preserved in their stomachs. However, only a handful of frozen mammoth carcasses have been found (compared to many thousands of bones lacking flesh). Moreover, stomach contents have been found in mammoths and mastodons from areas clearly not flash frozen--showing signs of scavenging and decay. Brown's model does not account for these observations, or explain why many other large animals were not "flash frozen" along with the mammoths, since presumably the freezing rain would covered a wide swath of the earth. He also fails to explain why mammoths and other Pleistocene animals are consistently found at stratigraphically high (recent) geologic horizons, whereas they should be buried in stratigraphically deep strata according to his model. For these and other reasons even other YECs have strongly criticized Brown's claims about mammoth fossils (Oard, 2013).

Intermediate Forms

Brown disputes that any valid intermediate fossils exist, but often neglects or misrepresents the evidence for them. For example, he suggests that the famous fossil Archaeopteryx (an apparent dinosaur-bird intermediate), is a likely forgery --supposedly a small theropod dinosaur with feather impressions artificially added with glue. This notion has been thoroughly debunked by paleontologists, and rejected even by most creationists (who accept the reality of the fossil, but reject it as a transitional form). Ironically, most YECs argue that Archaeopteryx is 100% bird, whereas Brown argues that it is 100% dinosaur. In reality, it shows a combination of reptile and avian features.

Brown asks how the leap from land animals to whales could have been made, but does not discuss any of the many fossils that shed considerable light on this transition (Babinski, 2015; Perrin et al, 2009; Thewissen, 1998).

Brown implies no intermediates are known between fish and amphibians, ignoring a number of classic examples, including Tiktaalik, which shows a variety of features about midway between these two groups (Daeschler et al, 2006).

Brown insists no transitional forms have been found in amber (fossilized tree resin). Ironically, however, one of the most impressive impressive intermediate fossils was an insect found in amber from NJ in 1966. Assigned to the genus Sphecomyrma, it showed intermediate features between wasps and ants. Since then other specimens of Sphecomyrma have been found, two of which have been assigned to new species, and also show intermediate fatures (Simmons, 1997).

Homo habilis skull KNM-ER-1813
Brown dismisses the evidence for human evolution by oversimplifying and misrepresenting various aspects of it. For instance, he mentions two early finds of Homo erectus ("Java Man" and "Peking Man"), implying that early workers believed they were just apes, and that the latter lost during World War II--as if they were the only evidence known for this species, and dubious evidence at that. Actually, casts of Peking man (Homo erectus pekinensis) were made and are still available, and many subsequent specimens of H. erectus have been documented. All show features intermediate between humans and earlier hominids (in skull shape, brain capacity, etc), as throoughly documented by more recent workers (Foley, 2002). Moreover, even the early author Brown cites (DuBois, 1937) did not say they were just apes, but possibly "allied" (related) to gibbons. The early workers discussing Peking Man actually drew the opposite conclusion Brown implies, stating "...these are creatures with physical characteristics intermediate between the group of anthropoid apes and the group of Hominians." (Boule and Vallois, 1957). Brown cites a paper suggesting that Homo habilis should never have been classified in the genus Homo. He thus implies that this hominid was also merely an ape, even though its remains are often associated with stone tools, and a number of other YECs argue that it probably "human." In fact, like H. erectus and other hominids, it exhibits intermediate features, as the same author acknowledges, whatever the taxonomic and nomenclature issues. This explains why YECs can't seem to agree on which to pigeon hole as "all ape" vs "all human." True to form, Brown implies that all species of the genus Australopithecus (including A. afarensis, the famous "Lucy") were merely apes, citing an author suggesting that some Australopithecines could swing from trees. However, Brown did not clarify that the same author concluded (as have many others) that Lucy and most other Australopithecines could also walk bipedally, even if not as efficiently as modern humans (as would be expected for an intermediate form). In a thorough review of Brown's hominid claims Jim Foley (2002) showed that virtually every statement by Brown on the subject or human origins was erroneous or misleading. He noted that despite Brown's professed eagerness to debate evolutionists, Brown ignored his initiations to respond to his critiques.

Fossil Succession

Although not clearly explained by Brown, fossils in each geologic period show a characteristic assemblage of organisms, which are differ from those in preceding and succeeding periods, and conform to expected evolutionary patterns--a widely recognized phenomenon known as "fossil succession." For example, the previously discussed White Cliffs of Dover contain fossils typical of the Cretaceous period (certain corals, gastropods, ammonites, etc.), which differ from the fossils in periods above and below, and which change even within the period. Likewise, vascular plants first appear in the late Paleozoic, but many others do not arise until the early Mesozoic, and flowering plants not until the early Cretaceous. Many other examples could be cited. Instead of frankly acknowledging and dealing with such patterns, Brown just ambiguously suggests that "liquefaction" during the Flood explains "fossil layering" (whatever that means). In fact, liquefaction (a term that -in geologic usage- normally refers to damp, sandy rock or soil becoming fluid-like during earthquakes) is not even the way most fossil bearing beds form, and even if it were, it would not account for fossil succession.

It is not even clear what rocks Brown believes were "liquefied" during the Flood, since he maintains that most sediments created by erosion of hydroplate edges during the "eruption phase". Such sediments would already be water laden and soft as they were eroded, and thus not involve "liquefaction". The eruptions would also not be close to land plants and animals, and thus have nothing to do with fossil succession for such creatures. Even for sea creatures, those buried in a global Flood would tend to entomb many modern and ancient forms together (such as ancient armored fish and trilobites with modern bony fish), which is not found in the fossil record. Even bottom dwelling bony fish are not found in early Paleozoic rocks, further undermining Brown's fuzzy comments about "fossil layering" and liquefaction.

In another attempt to discredit mainstream geology, Brown states that the geologic column is "almost nowhere visible." This is very misleading, since 1. One would not expect continuous deposition in any one spot for all of geologic history; 2. There are tens of thousands of outcrops around the world with multiple periods exposed--all showing each period and associated fossils in the expected mainstream orders; and 3. At least 25 sites around the world have been documented where every period of the fossil record from Cambrian onward is exposed, with each period in the expected mainstream order-- containing fossils typical of that period (Morton, 2001).

These facts comprise a serious problem for Brown and other YECs, since according to their view, all organisms were living at the same time before the Flood, and therefore many should have been buried and preserved together, or at least at the same stratigraphic horizons. Indeed, literally trillions of fossils have been found in expected mainstream orders. Meanwhile, no verified out-of-place (OOP) specimens have been documented that would conflict with major evolutionary patterns, such as any large modern mammal (whale, human, horse, rhino, hippo, camel, bear, deer, etc.) anywhere in the Mesozoic or Paleozoic eras. Not only does Brown's vague "liquefaction" explanation not solve this problem, but other YEC explanations about "hydrologic sorting", differential escape abilities, and ecological zonation fare no better, and in some cases only make the matter worse (Strahler, 1999). For example, any hydrologic sorting would tend to sort dinosaurs (many of which were horse sized or smaller) and large mammals together, yet this is never found. Indeed, if YECism were true, there should be countless thousands of well documented "out of place" (OOP) fossils. Brown claims fossils are "frequently" not found in the expected order. Unfortunately, all he can offer are a handful of highly dubious cases, none of which are supported by convincing evidence, or endorsed by any major creationist groups.

Alleged Out of Place Fossils and Artifacts

Brown states that human-like and dinosaur tracks have been found in Arizona, and a supposed "shoe print" with trilobites in Utah. However, the Arizona markings are lacking in any distinct human features, and appear to be merely inorganic structures, or in some cases, severely eroded dinosaur tracks (Kuban, 2007). They are even less convincing than the supposed Paluxy "man tracks" which most YECs abandoned in the 1980's after rigorous refutations were published (Kuban, 1986a, 1986b; Hastings, 1988). The alleged "shoe print" from Utah, sometimes called the Mesister print or a "sandal print," has also been well refuted, and rejected even by most creationists. Upon close inspection appears to be merely an iron concretion which happened to spall in a manner creating an oblong shape. The "heel" is part of a crack, and the alleged print was not part of a bedding plane, nor in any striding sequence (Kuban, 2011). Brown mentions that similar putative tracks have been found in the area, without clarifying that they too show no convincing evidence of being real human footprints.

Brown claims that 86 consecutive "horse" prints were found in dinosaur age rocks in Uzbekistan, citing the Moscow Pravda (hardly a reliable scientific publication), without any photographic evidence or corroborating scientific reports.

Brown asserts that a Science News article reported that dinosaur tracks and "hoofprints [sic] of some other animal" were found in Virginia. Brown seems to imply that the latter are out-of-place mammal prints. However, the popular-level article, which discussed a large Triassic tracksite near Culpeper VA with hundreds of dinosaur and reptile tracks, used the term "hoof-shaped" only loosely to refer to some indistinct quadruped reptile prints. When better preserved tracks of the same type were later documented at the site, they were more precisely identified as likely aetosaur tracks - made by a Triassic reptile that resembled a heavily armored crocodile (Weems, 1993; Weishample and Young, 1996; Lucas and Heckert, 2011). I personally worked on the site with USGS geologist Robert Weems, and can testify that no anomalous "hoof" prints occurred at there (as can many others who worked or visited there). Gerard Jellison, who thoroughly reviewed Brown's book (8th edition) at Amazon.com, related similar points and wrote: "I confirmed all of this through correspondence with Dr. Weems, and by reading his published articles. I also informed Brown of this issue on several occasions. He has refused to respond to me, and by keeping this false information in his book he is knowingly and unethically misrepresenting the work of a reputable scientist (Jellison, 2009).

Brown suggests that "human-like footprints" have been found with dinosaur tracks in Turkmenistan, but no tracks even closely resembling human tracks have been documented at the site. Even if some human-like prints occurred there, it would mean little unless they showed distinct human features, since it is known that elongate, metatarsal dinosaur tracks can sometimes resemble human tracks when their digits are infilled or poorly preserved (Kuban, 1989). The only tracks reported by scientists who worked at the site, and the thousands of tourists who also visited it, are dinosaur tracks. Some are elongate, but show indications of dinosaurian digits, and do not closely resemble human footprints (Lockley, 2006; Lockley et al, 1996; Kuban, 2008).

Brown asserts that "humanlike" tracks also occur in ancient rocks in Kentucky, Missouri, and "possibly Pennsylvania" without mentioning that these often show shapes that are very unnatural and stylized in shape (some with four or six toes), are typically not in striding trails, and occur in areas where Indiana petroglyphs are common (Kuban, 2005). Brown suggests that only evolutionary bias would lead one to question any of these supposed human footprints, which is dispelled by the fact that none show clear and natural human features, and none are endorsed by any major creationist groups. Brown also doesn't explain how humans, horses, and dinosaurs were walking around in the midst of a violent global deluge.

Brown states that phosphate beds in South Carolina were reported to contain a mixture "Dinosaur, whale, elephant, horse, and other fossils." He cites two articles from the 1870s and a personal communication. However, it is not clear from these antiquated reports if the "dinosaur" fossils were supposed to be in the very same beds, or stratigraphically lower beds in the region, or even if the "dinosaur" fossils were correctly identified. The Cenozoic phosphate beds in SC and NC contain a variety of vertebrates and invertebrates, but no verified dinosaur fossils. These beds have been well studied by many geologists and paleontologists for many decades, as well as visited by thousand of fossils collectors. If OOP fossils occurred in them, they would have been readily confirmed and rigorously documented in the last 140 years, but none have been, even in the creationist press. Nor do any major YEC groups support Brown's claims about these beds.

Brown claims that pollen and plant fossils have been found "out of order", including supposed angiosperm (flowering plant) pollen in the Cambrian and pre-Cambrian. However, only a few such cases have even been alleged, and are disputed by other workers (Jellison, 2009). As usual, what Brown doesn't say is often more telling than what he does say. Brown neglects the important fact that countless millions of angiosperm plant fossils and fossilized pollen grains from thousands of different sites, and thousands of different angiosperm species, are found in Cenozoic and late Mesozoic rocks throughout the world (since pollen readily fossilizes and travels widely through air and water). Thus, if YECism were true, angiosperm pollen should be just as common, diverse, and well-documented in Paleozoic and pre-Cambrian rocks as well. Yet not a signle indisputable angiosperm fossil or pollen grain has been verified in any pre-Mesozoic rocks. Neither Brown nor any other YEC has a good explanation for this.

Brown also claims a number of out-of-place artifacts have been found in coal or other "deeply buried rocks", including "gold chains," an "iron pot", a "screw," and "strange coin." However, like his alleged OOP fossils, none of the cases are convincing, nor supported even by major YEC groups. In regards to the "gold chain", AIG authors Batten et al (2006) state "we see no evidence that the chain was actually in coal, just the claim that it was." In fact, AIG acknowledges that no convincing human remains or implements have been found in any Flood or pre-Flood sediments (Batten et al, 2005; Snelling, 1991). Typically the objects in these cases were not documented in situ, and may well have been intrusive even if the finders were sincere in their reports (Kuban, 2006b). Brown ends his list of supposedly anomalous specimens by commenting that because "evolutionists" do not accept them, "something is wrong." Indeed it is -with his tendency to promote sensational claims without convincing evidence, and neglect contrary evidence and views, even from other YECs.

Evolution Misrepresented

Brown describes many complex biological structures and systems, and repeatedly asks how the "chance" or "random processes" of evolution can explain them. This is misleading. Although evolution acts on largely random mutations, the main mechanism of evolution is natural selection, which is not random but (as the term implies) a selective process. Brown suggests that structures like an eye would be of any use until in its final, perfected state. However, a primitive eye or even collection of light sensitive cells would be better than no eye at all, and any intermediates between those and more advanced eyes would confer additional advantages (in finding mates or food, avoiding predators, etc). They thus would improve survival chances and the likelihood the trait would be passed on to offspring--the very crux of natural selection. Likewise, Brown suggests that a partial wing would be a disadvantage, whereas it actually could allow improved gliding or leaping, and thus better predator evasion. Rather than explaining these things, Brown seems to do everything possible to obscure how natural selection operates, and depict evolution as totally "random" and "impossible."

In several places Brown argues that there is no evidence for "speciation" (the origin of new species), even though there is strong empirical evidence for it in both the fossil record and population studies (Darwin Was Right, 2015; Understanding Evolution, 2008). Brown's denial of speciation also seems to conflict with other statements in his own book. For example, when discussing the capacity of the ark, he suggests that every species of land animal need not be taken aboard, since the Genesis "kinds" could represent broader taxonomic categories such as genera or families. He argues that these could rapidly diversify after the Flood into the species we see today--tacitly admitting that speciation must have taken place (as if he wants it both ways). Like many creationists, Brown insists that any changes in organisms never involve "new information," but merely reshuffling of existing genes. However, this is demonstrably false, since there are far more genetic alleles (variations of a gene) for many traits among humans today than could have existed in the few individuals aboard the ark. A similar argument can be made for many plants and animals as well (Kuban, 2015). Clearly the development of new alleles (through gene duplication, cross-overs, etc, combined with natural selection) constitutes new genetic information by any reasonable definition.

Other Problems and Inconsistencies

Many other inconsistencies and errors abound Brown's book, as detailed in reviews by Gerald Jellison (2009), Lippard (1989a, 1989b), Bahcall (2004), Van Till, 2986), and others. In the wake of such refutations, Brown removed a few unfounded claims from his website and his book (such as those about a "shrinking sun", "missing neutrinos, and a "Japanese plesiosaur"), but continues to promote those mentioned above, as well as others.

Despite Brown's young earth views apparently stemming from a literal reading of Genesis, parts of his model appear to conflict even with that. For example, he suggests that the proposed water reservoir under the hydroplates became increasingly pressurized, then finally erupted due to "centuries of tidal pumping" from the moon. This implies that the Flood was a natural and inevitable event (a "ticking time bomb" as some have put it), rather than initiated by God in response to humanity's rampant wickedness (Genesis 6: 5-7). Ironically, Brown suggests that problems should not be solved by "appeals to miracles". Yet a literal reading of Genesis implies that not only was the Flood started supernaturally, but that other miracles were involved as well. For example, how else would two of every land animal on earth know that they needed to migrate to the ark, and exactly where and when to do so (the poor tortoises, sloths, and land snails would have had to have a big head start). Moreover, although Brown does not seem to realize it, his model would also require miracles for the ark to have survived the mountain-sized tsunamis mentioned earlier, and even more so, the multiple sources of lethal heat (summarized in the Table at right), any one of which would have destroyed all macroscopic life on earth.
SOURCES OF LETHAL HEAT in BROWN's MODEL
Energy from the release of the pressurized water eruption
Friction of quickly "sliding" and "crashing" hydroplates
Mixing of oceans with sub-crustal water (over 1200 F)
Return of jettisoned sub-crustal water to earth as rain
Dramatically accelerated nuclear decay rates

Brown implies that one is either a YEC or atheistic evolutionist, which unfairly neglects and slights millions of theists who accept evolution. Brown also attributes virtually every societal ill (hedonism, murder, sexual immorality, etc.) to belief in evolution. This seems overstated at best, since not only do many believers and decent people accept evolution, but obviously such woes have been around a lot longer than Darwin.

Brown has issued a challenge to evolutionists to debate him, but has stipulated a number of questionable and one-sided conditions, and repeatedly evaded attempts by mainstream scientists to accept his offer (Foley, 2004; Isaac, 2004; Meert, 2006; Castagnoli, 2009; Jellison, 2009). In any case, scientific issues are not settled in public debates, but through careful scientific work published in rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific papers, which Brown has not done. Brown complains of evolutionist bias in mainstream publications, but this does not explain why he has not published his work even in YEC journals. According to AIG, when he was invited to submit a manuscript to their Technical Journal, he declined.

Conclusions

Walter Brown's hydroplate Flood model is an imaginative but woefully deficient model of earth history, flying in the face of many lines of evidence from geology, paleontology, cosmology, and physics. It has not been properly published in scientific journals, and is not supported by any conventional scientists, or even most young-earth creationists with backgrounds in relevant fields.

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