Re: YEC and interpretations (was: Re: asa-digest V1 #3214)

From: Don Winterstein (
Date: Fri Mar 28 2003 - 01:08:25 EST

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    Allen wrote:

    >3. The question is does the description of the Great Lakes region reefs compare favorably with those in Alberta? If so, why do they differ so markedly from the Pleistocene Key Largo Limestone reef? If not, do the Alberta reefs compare with the modern reefs such as in Key Largo? We could sure use some good descriptions from primary sources here.

    About the Great Lakes reefs, Hodges wrote: "………A casual inspection of the outcrops of fossil reefs of Silurian and Devonian age indicates that they are generally devoid of larger, framework-type fossils. Only small portions of some of these outcrops appear to be very fossiliferous or moderately so."
    This description does not fit what I remember of the Alberta reefs.

    Unfortunately I have no real training as a geologist and am by no means an expert on reefs, so I'm not the one to make a specialized contribution here. There are (or were) plenty of such experts in oil companies in Alberta. They presented detailed interpretations of voluminous reef data that more than convinced me that the reefs grew in place, as we find them today. I cannot conceive a reasonable scenario that has even a remote chance of explaining how these reefs could have formed within the last 50000 years. It would take much better arguments than I've so far seen from YEC scientists to convince me they are so recent.

    YEC scientists are at a severe disadvantage relative to the oil company scientists when it comes to interpreting such ancient reefs. Most if not all of the observations in the papers by Hodges and Roth are from outcrops only. Cores through the structures would be much more informative. The oil company scientists often spent many years--sometimes entire careers--looking at every aspect of their reefs in great detail. They have the best technology and support for acquiring and analyzing data. They are highly motivated to get the right answers, as their career advancement depends on it; and their hypotheses are often tested by further drilling. They have access to a staff of experts in related fields, such as paleontology. They have access to friends and colleagues who work in other companies on related problems. It seems unlikely to me that a YEC scientist who probably couldn't afford or have access to many of these advantages is going to come up with a better explanation than the true experts.

    YEC scientists would probably be able to gain access to the reef cores stored in Calgary, but they would be missing knowledge of how to integrate their core data with all the other data that the oil companies have, and the years of experience the oil company scientists have.


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