“Gotcha” Proofs by Young Earth Creationists

The following photo of the substructure of the Lincoln Memorial was posted on January 16, 2023, by an Admin on the Facebook page, Biblical Creation:

Fig. 1: The substructure of the Lincoln Memorial, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. As posted by Biblical Creation.


Here is the text they posted with it:

Anyone who has ever visited a cave has heard the evolutionist claim that stalactites and stalagmites growing in the cave take, on the average, a full century to grow only one inch and grow to be 40 feet or so only after several thousand years. Or so evolutionists once thought. For those who believe this along with millions of cave visitors each year, hundreds of thousands of years of Earth’s history begin to become a reality before their eyes. But the question is, does it really take a century to grow one inch of stalactite?

When the Lincoln Memorial was built during the 1930s, the engineers sank steel cylinders into the bedrock to anchor the monument. The base of the memorial is set high above ground, leaving a cavernous basement beneath the floor. Rainwater seeping through the marble floor has formed stalactites up to five feet long on the basement ceiling! This growth is an inch per year, not per century! The Earth is not millions of years old or even hundreds of thousands of years. We know from Biblical history and geneaologies [sic] that God created the Earth just thousands of years ago. Biblical truth always trumps man’s scientific theories. 

As an old earth creationist, I believe that Genesis 1:1 happened much earlier than 4004 BC, but that God Almighty did, literally, through His awesome and limitless power, create the universe in its entirety. But, according to these people, whether I believe in evolution or not (and I don’t!) I am an “evolutionist”.

According to the above, evolutionists evidently no longer believe that it takes thousands of years, on average, for a stalactite to form, because the Lincoln Memorial proves otherwise. But what does the picture actually show?

To begin with, most of the Memorial, including all of the structure seen here, is concrete. The statue of Lincoln and the surfaces in the chamber surrounding it are in fact marble. Marble is calcium carbonate rock, just like caves with speleothems—stalactites and stalagmites. But the caves and the speleothems are native limestone. Marble is limestone that has been modified (metamorphosed) by the temperatures and pressures caused by thick overburden sediments. Both are water soluble, but the solubility is measurable, and yes, it normally takes a long time. Fig. 2, below, is a photo that I took of a marble and limestone structure that has been standing out in the open for around 2400 years. It has been damaged by human wear and tear, by earthquakes, and even by a 17th Century Venetian bomb, but for the most part, rainwater has had minimal effect on the stone itself.

Fig. 2: The Parthenon, in Athens, Greece. ©Ron Thompson, 1970.

At any rate, seepage between quarried and assembled blocks of marble or limestone can’t in any way be compared to seepage through the pores of native limestone! I can show you buildups of calcium carbonate in the water pipes in my house, too, but that has no bearing on the age of the earth. As usual with young earth creationists, there is no actual scientific analysis presented to back up the claims associated with their photo. My assumption is that the so-called “stalactites” are leeched salt, not calcite at all!

Atheists who attempt to use theology they don’t understand to disprove the Bible are fools. Christian apologists who try to use scientific principles or findings they don’t understand to shame science are also fools, and this “gotcha” post is very foolish.

As a devout Christian engineer retired from a geological field, I have a foot in both camps. I agree that “Biblical truth” always trumps scientific theory, but when there is a real conflict between the two, one must at least consider the possibility that traditional interpretations of Scripture might be flawed. It has happened before.

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico. ©Ron Thompson

For more about my views on Creationism in general, please read https://gpront.blog/2022/08/04/the-hijacking-of-creationism/