From: Paul Greaves (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Sep 13 2003 - 17:59:35 EDT
I am mostly in agreement with you, but I would put a somewhat different slant on this particular issue... You present evidence that the amount of coal found in the earth is inconsistent with a young earth / global flood model. A counterargument is put forth pointing out a couple details that might be inconsistent with the conventional "swamp model" of coal formation. Why not continue by saying that maybe there are some cases where the swamp model might not be the complete story, but that doesn't alter the basic issue of the flood model being inadequate? For example, maybe some coal beds were formed by a "normal" (but very large) flood-caused vegitation mat decomposing and sinking... so what if that was the case? Or maybe some pre-existing coal seams were eroded into and reworked to create pebbles of coal deposited in a mostly sandstone layer. It doesn't really threaten the old earth model. What the YEC community needs to find is evidence that *only* makes sense in a global flood context, and then create a consistent proposal that explains all the evidence within that model. Also, for example, the YEC model would have to explain how the organic matter could have been compressed into coal very quickly, and then re-worked into the pebbles found in sandstone.
I've found this pattern in YEC literature many times... find a detail of evidence that doesn't fit in to the "standard" geologic model, that could make some sense in a flood model, and then focus hard on that detail to try to discredit the whole idea of an old earth while ignoring the rest of the evidence completely. I think that is why they have as much success as they do with this approach... if you didn't know about the rest of the evidence, it would seem like a good argument. And it takes a certain amount of understanding and thought to sit back and realize "hey, this is really an argument about the specific process of rock formation... and just being consistent with water or flood deposition doesn't mean it had to be done recently, or even by a global flood at all. In the old earth scenario, there is plenty of room for floods, even some very big ones. So evidence like that is really kind of irrelavant."
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