Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 27 – The Eye of the Storm, Part 1

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary:

As a powerful hurricane is headed toward Daytona Beach, the Park and Brenan families join a scientific mission to drop sensors into the eye of the storm-that’s when things go wrong, and the plane is forced to make an emergency landing right in the path of the storm. Join the two families as they fight to survive the wrath of Hurricane Ophelia! (Taken from here.)

Topics include:

  • Hurricanes vs. Tornadoes
  • Warmer Oceans in the Past
  • Hypercanes
  • Thermal Runaway Subduction
  • ICR’s Simulation of Hurricane Florence

The Study Guide for episodes 27-28 can be found here: jp_vol3_study_guide_epi27-28

Background Information

The Jonathan Park CDs are produced by Vision Forum Ministries.  Through these CDs, VF hope to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’.  [Which raises the questions, ‘What does “in harmony” mean?’ and ‘What do they do with scientific evidence that is not in harmony with the Word of God?’]

Tagline: This is our Father’s world, God created it; we can explore it, so live the adventure!

NOTE: The producers of this series neglect to reference their information in any form.  No references is ever given either on the CD or in the Study Guide for ANY information presented in the series.  Even the voice actors of the series are not given any credit anywhere.  We only know that the series is a production of Vision Forum Ministries.

Topics in this episode


Hurricanes vs. Tornadoes

The STORY: The characters talk about the differences between hurricanes and tornadoes.

The information that is spouted in the show can be found in the Study Guide so I won’t go on about it.


The FACTS: The information presented is factually correct.  Yes, this sometimes happens.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]


Warmer Oceans in the Past

The STORY: Scientists have theorised that much larger hurricanes may have happened in the past.  They have good reason to believe that ocean temperatures may have been at least 40ºF warmer in the past.


The FACTS: Undetermined. I am unable to corroborate these statements.  Since VF do not cite their sources, one has to do some serious investigative work to find out whether or not what they say is true.

I was unable to find ANY information regarding the claim that scientists believe that oceans may have been at least 40ºF warmer in the past. (Who are these scientists?  How long ago in the past?)  What I did find about past ocean temperatures was an article from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  The introductory paragraph is the most pertinent to what we are talking about:

Scientists have found evidence that tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures may have once reached 107°F (42°C)—about 25°F (14°C) higher than ocean temperatures today and warmer than a hot tub. The surprisingly high ocean temperatures, the warmest estimates to date for any place on Earth, occurred millions of year ago when carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere were also high, but researchers say they may be an indication that greenhouse gases could heat the oceans in the future much more than currently anticipated. The study suggests that climate models underestimate future warming. (emphasis mine)

These warmer ocean temperatures were in the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  These higher temperatures are (only) 25°F warmer than today’s ocean temperatures.  These higher temperatures occurred millions of years ago.

(It is worthwhile to note that the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution article was written in 2006 and Vol. 3 of Jonathan Park was produced in 2005.)


The STORY: The evidence for warmer past ocean temperatures is found in cores that scientists have drilled from the ocean floor. These cores have been found to have little marine fossils in them called Benthonic foraminifera. In their bodies these fossils have two types of oxygen called 18O and 16O. By comparing the ratios between these two oxygen types, scientists can estimate the temperature of the ocean at the time they were fossilised. Scientists have found evidence of higher temperatures in the past.

Evolutionary scientists believe that these cores represent very long periods of time. Interestingly, by placing the cores in the context of a Biblical age for the earth, the data shows that there was a large increase in temperature – possibly more than 40 degrees, just a few thousand years ago, right at the close of the Flood! These cores also show a gradual cooling of the temperatures. It appears that there was an event that  suddenly raised the temperature, and then the oceans naturally and slowly cooled down to what we have today.  This goes well with the idea of hypercanes.  Dr Park is careful to explain that all this is ‘simply a model’ but it sure fits well with what we read in the Bible.


The FACTS: The information on how scientists work out past ocean temperatures is correct.

The Study Guide defines a ‘Biblical age for the earth’ as 6,000 to 10,000 years old.  This is inconsistent with the information presented in Ep. 13: The Bone of Contention, Part 1, where Dr Park explained that by counting up the genealogies in the Bible, the earth is only about 6,000 years old.  10,000 is 67% greater than 6,000; it is a big increase!

This topic was already explored in Ep. 4: Adventure on the Aucilla River, Part 2.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]



The STORY: By raising the ocean’s temperature by 40ºF, Creation Scientists were able to produce a model which produced hurricanes with wind speeds of up to 300mph.  The term for these huge hurricanes is hypercane.

Hypercanes were first proposed by atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel in the 1990s, at MIT.

Creation scientists believe hypercanes were a result of the conditions from the worldwide flood.  They would have added rainfall to the flood and also during and possibly after Noah’s flood. (4:59-5:36)

The FACTS: The wikipedia article states that hypercanes are a hypothetical class of tropical cyclones.  They were proposed by Kerry Emanuel in 1994.  (I wonder why VF didn’t mention the specific year and settled for ‘the 1990s’? It is certainly easy enough to obtain that information!)

According to wikipedia, hypercanes could form if ocean temperatures reached around 50 °C (122 °F), which is 15 °C (27.0 °F) warmer than the warmest ocean temperature ever recorded.

Therefore, there is as yet no proof that hypercanes ever existed.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]


Thermal Runaway Subduction

The STORY: The characters speculate where the heat would have come from to heat up the water enough to create hypercanes during Noah’s flood.

Genesis 7:11 is quoted  as suggestive of underwater volcanic activity.  Waters coming into contact with the hot magma would have caused the waters to warm.  Just the volcanoes from the mid-ocean ridges would have been enough to heat up the water.

The earth’s surface is made up of plates.  If one of the plates on the ocean floor began to sink into the soft mantle of the earth, the heat from the friction as it sunk would cause it to sink even faster.  This is something that creation scientists have proposed.

Although it is ‘only a theory’ it has been accepted by many scientists and is called thermal runaway subduction.  As the plates sink, hot magma is released into the cold ocean water.  As it cools, it creates a new plate which replaces the previous one.  As hot magma comes into contact with the cold water, hot plumes would burst out of the ocean and then fall as rain.  With all the hot water, and humid conditions, it would be the perfect breeding ground for hypercanes.


The FACTS: Once again, no references cited whatsoever. After searching around, I traced the theory back to John Baumgardner (he made a personal appearance in Ep. 5). I would think that since it is a Creation Scientist that came up with this theory that they would at least mention his name! He is even affiliated with the Institute of Creation Research, which is the original creator of the Jonathan Park series!

I could not find any articles on Thermal Runaway Subduction from a mainstream science source.  Thermal Runaway, yes.  Subduction, yes.  The articles on Runaway Subduction are mostly from young-Earth Creationists websites which talk about Baumgardner’s theory and how Runaway Subduction could have caused conditions for Noah’s Flood.

Here is John Baumgardner’s article on Runaway Subduction.  It is from the Institute for Creation Research website.

For a critique of Baumgarder’s theory, here is an article by G. R. Morton, a former young-Earth Creationist.

WARNING: The above two are for the scientifically-minded!

Here is  TalkOrigin’s response to the Baumgardner’s theory that the waters for the Flood was caused by runaway subduction; it might be a bit easier to understand for ‘regular’ people.  😉

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]


ICR’s Simulation

The STORY:NASA allowed the Institute for Creation Research to run their own simulations on data obtained from Hurricane Florence (1988).  ICR changed one thing – they changed the ocean temperature to 35F degrees hotter and then ran the model.  18hrs into the simulation and Hurricane Florence was  a hypercane. (19:20-20:46)

The FACTS: This is true.  However, it is only a simulation and has nothing to do with actual events.

Here is the ICR paper on this simulation.

The STORY: Evolutionists believe that the Appalachian mountains were formed by erosion over a long period of time.  But a hypercane could have formed the same thing in a short period of time. (20:55-21:07)

The FACTS: The Appalachian Mountains were formed via several means, not just erosion.


[Click here to return to list of Topics.]



The main topic of this episode was about hypercanes, a hypothetical class of extreme tropical cyclones.  Hypercanes were used to theorise what conditions might have been like during the Flood.

The lack of references was a frustration.  There weren’t even any references from a  young-Earth perspective.

Young children will enjoy the adventure story which involves some of the characters going into a hurricane in an airplane; the family members getting physically separated; and the men stepping up as Men of their Families.  I don’t know how realistic it is for civilians (and children at that!) to be allowed to enter a hurricane in a plane; nevertheless some listeners may find it exciting.

The information on hurricanes was good.

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About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010, in Creation Scientists, Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Science, Vision Forum, Young Earth Creationism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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