Re: So. Baptist Spin on BOE Vote

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Thu Jun 07 2001 - 06:45:01 EDT

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    Hi Bill

    With a certain sense of deja vu...

    Bill Payne wrote:

    > On Wed, 06 Jun 2001 09:31:34 +1000 Jonathan Clarke
    > <> writes:
    > > I think Gastaldo's statement about Austin is probably quite correct.
    > Austin probably believes (along with almost every neo-diluivialist
    > geologist I
    > have ever met) that coal formed during Noah's flood not because of
    > scientific evidence, but because their theology requires them to.
    > That may be true, but you cannot demonstrate that from his thesis:
    > "Depositional Environment of the Kentucky No. 12 Coal Bed (Middle
    > Pennsylvanian) of Western Kentucky, with Special Reference to the Origin
    > of Coal Lithotypes", The Pennsylvania State University, The Graduate
    > School, Department of Geosciences, August 1979. Why don't you order a
    > copy via interlibrary loan (if they'll send it down under)?

    I would rather he had published it more extensively...

    > > This does not mean that his ideas on coal formation are without merit,
    > they are ideas with
    > many antecedents in the scientific literature of the 19th and early 20th
    > century. However I am satisfied from reading what little he has published
    > on
    > them, that Gastaldo (whose expertise you must respect, even if you
    > personally
    > > dislike him) has refuted them.
    > I couldn't disagree with you more, but Ok, then please explain why tree
    > stumps commonly up to 2+ feet in diameter are virtually *never* found in
    > coal seams in the eastern US. If these seams were swamps inundated by
    > high water and smothered with sediment, why is there *no* evidence of the
    > trees which were supposedly growing there? Why do we only see
    > continuous,thin-bedded, horizontal structure in these banded coals? I
    > know we've hashed this over before, but like Keith with people who
    > haven't read the KS Science Stds., I get weary of people criticizing
    > these ideas who refuse to address the fundamental empirical data.

    Three things I am sure I have said before. Firstly swamps don't need to have
    trees growing on their tops. Many (thought not all) modern peat bogs are
    treeless. Why should ancient ones necessarily have been different? To expect
    coal forming bogs to have been covered in trees and claim that bog models
    have been falsified is to use a straw man argument.

    Secondly trees are reported growing from the tops of at least some coals in
    the eastern US. See T. Demko and R. A. Gastaldo "Paludal environments of the
    Mary Lee coal zone, Pottsville Formation, Alabama: stacked clastic swamps and
    mires" (International Journal of Coal Geology 20 (1992): 23-47) figure 3
    (sketch) and figure 6 (generalised diagram); R. A. Gastaldo "Implications on
    the paleoecology of autochthonous lycopods in clastic sedimentary
    environments of the Early Pennsylvanian of Alabama" (Palaeogeography,
    Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 53(1986): 191-212) figure 1 (generalised
    architecture) and figure 3 (wall map). For non-US examples (and to show
    these are not just figments of the imagination of the dreaded Gastaldo) see
    J. W. Dawson "On the coal-measures of the south Joggins, Nova Scotia"
    (Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 10 (1854): 1-41)
    figures 2, 5 and 8 (all field sketches); J. H. Calder, M. R. Gibling, C. F.
    Eble, A. C. Scott, and D. J. MacNeil "The Westphalian D fossil lepidodendrid
    forest at Table Head, Sydney Basin, Nova Scotia: sedimentology, paleoecology
    and floral response to changing edaphic conditions" (International Journal of
    Coal Geology 31(1996): 277-313) figures 2 & 3 (stratigraphic logs) figure 4
    (long section), figures 6a & 7b (photographs). What was that about being
    weary of people criticizing ideas but refusing to address the data?

    Thirdly, as you should well know, layering in coals can have many origins.
    You have to be specific. I think we have discussed here and on the ACG list
    compaction, sediment seams, formed by flooding of swamps, and ash falls.
    Unless you have something new to add I don't see much point discussing them.

    > > With respect let me say I think that your treatment, on the evidence
    > you were given, was unjustified and unjust. It goes a great deal to
    > explain you
    > anger towards Gastaldo which is very clear in your critique of him in the
    > > archives. However, make sure you don't make the same mistake that you
    > accuse Gastaldo of, judging someone on the basis of prejudice rather than
    > the
    > facts of the case.
    > I'll work on purging my heart of any residual anger towards Bob. I
    > thought with my review/critique of his 1984 paper I had objectively shown
    > it's fatal weaknesses, but you obviously disagree.

    It is hard to forgive those who have hurt us. I will not claim any success
    but will observe I am a fellow struggling sinner.

    As you will note if you go over your archives of our private correspondence
    on the matter I discussed your arguments at length and proved right

    > > Kenyon still has his job, I note. How can he a case of a professional
    > losing his job because he challenged the ruling paradigm?
    > He would have lost his job but for being rescued by his contemporaries,
    > as I understand it. He may have been tenured and therefore not firable,
    > but I remember PEJ saying Kenyon was demoted to teaching freshman
    > classes.

    Sadly I would not trust any of PJ's statements without any independent

    > > George has dealt with the Arp case. When someone has been as widely
    > > published as Arp it is hard to say he is a case of scientific
    > persecution.
    > I don't think George has read his books.

    I am sure George can ably defend himself against such accusations if so

    > > As for the unnamed high school teacher, may be this is the case, but
    > maybe not also. People can lose their jobs for all sorts of reasons. It
    > is
    > always easy to claim prejudice, but we don't have the facts on this one.
    > And because of the way the system is set up, we never will.

    So why mention it if it is not unprovable?

    > > In the end, what matters is how we cope with the injustices that are
    > done to us.
    > As a Christian I believe God uses adversity to either break or strengthen
    > us, depending upon our reaction. I attempt to live guided by principle
    > regardless of the possible consequences. I figure that God will control
    > the consequences based upon my heart attitude. It is hard to see where
    > I'm going though, with all these darned logs sticking out everywhere.
    > :-)

    I agree. Are those logs prostrate or polystrate? :-)

    > God bless,
    > Bill

    You too


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