Durham’s ‘Grand Canyon’: Well Mr Dawkins ‘pick the bones out of that one’

The following intriguing article appeared in the Mail Online of Wednesday 22nd July 2009 and can be viewed on – 


The article was headed –

The Durham Grand Canyon: Flooding after heavy rain carves vast trench in farm land.

This is part of what was reported –

‘On Friday night (17th July), it was a perfectly ordinary, perfectly flat, cornfield.  By Saturday morning, it was riven in two by a vast trench up to 100ft across, 15ft deep and 200 yards long.  The enormous gully  –  so big that locals have called it ‘the Grand Canyon of Durham’  –  is believed to have been formed in a matter of minutes when millions of gallons of floodwater from surrounding farmland suddenly tore through the soil towards the River Wear. Simultaneously, the high waters of the Wear had broken the banks at exactly the same point  –  and in an instant, a new tributary to the river was formed. Luckily, no buildings were near enough to be affected.  Now the floodwater has drained away and the river has returned to its normal level, an almost empty canyon remains, with just a trickle of water at the bottom.  It is an extraordinary illustration of the power of nature  –  and shows that enough water, flowing with enough force, doesn’t need decades to carve a path through the earth. There was speculation that the flood had exposed the original course of the Wear, which was altered by monks in the 15th or 16th century. But Durham University geomorphologist Jeff Warburton, 47  –  who lives a couple of hundred yards from the new canyon  –  said it was not the ancient river bed, simply a new gully formed by a vast amount of water’.

The rest of the report also includeds several  stunning photos of the trench carved as well as a helpful location map.

Answers in Genesis have posted a short article in the wake of this event and it can be accessed on


I partiicularly like the closing portion of this article that reads –

‘Ken Ham has related standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon with an evolutionist who said, “A lot of time and a little bit of water caused this.” He replied, “A little bit of time and a great deal of water caused it.” Having seen the power of running water in County Durham, it should not be a problem for anyone to believe that the worldwide global Flood sent by God can explain so many of the geological features that we see’.

In the book ‘in six days: why 50 scientists choose to believe in creation’

we read this on page 295 –

‘There is impressive evidence that the fossil deposits and rock strata were formed catastrophically. There are also many indications that there were not millions of years, or even thousands, between various rock units. The rock sequence in the Grand Canyon is a case in point. Not only can it be shown that each of the rock units exposed in the walls of the canyon must have formed very rapidly under catastrophic watery conditions, but there are not significant time gaps between the various rock layers. Thus, the total time involved to put in place some 4,000 feet (1,200 metres) thickness of rock strata is well within the time constraints the Bible stipulates for the flood event’.

This particular article was written by Dr Andrew Snelling who holds a B.S. (hons) with first class honours in geology from the University of New South wales and a Ph.D in geology from the University of Sydney. He is the author of a number of technical papers dealing with origins issues and, in particular, radioactive dating problems.

In conclusion, perhaps you are a bit puzzled by the title of this article where I have written ‘Well Mr Dawkins “pick the bones out of that one”’. This actually takes me back to my unregenerate sporting days that I mention in my personal testimony as found on


I mention there how a great deal of my life in those days was taken up with sporting pursuits and one of the games mentioned is field hockey.

I initially played for the team on the right wing but ‘with maturity’ moved to play centre forward and, though I say it myself, I was a goal-scorer/striker of some modest distinction. My ‘career’ probably spanned just over 25 years and over that time I made many very sporting friendly-rivalries – particularly with the goalkeepers of opposing teams. On occasions when I scored what might perhaps have been termed a somewhat ‘spectacular’ goal, if I was on friendly-rivalry terms with the keeper I’d just scored against I might have jokingly said to him as he picked the ball out of the net –‘pick the bones out of that one’.

The August 2009 Evangelical Times, on page 2, and under a heading of

Athesist Camps’ reported as follows –

‘The Daily Telegraph reports that Richard Dawkins [Author of ‘The God Delusion’] has helped set up an atheist summer camp where children will be taught rational scepticism and sing John Lennon’s Imagine… The camp is for children aged 8-17 and will rival traditional faith-based breaks run by Scouts and church groups. The children will be given lessons in… evolutionary biology… All 24 places at the camp, which runs from 27-31 July have been taken’.

With sovereign and impeccable timing, it’s as if the Holy God of Creation is saying to Mr Dawkins, ‘With recent events in Durham I have just scored a spectacular goal against your foolish, atheistic thinking on origins – now – pick the bones out of that one’. How true are  the words of 1st Corinthians 1:20 “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”.

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 25th July 2009