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Monday, April 15, 2013

Fossils and Fosssil Rocks KILL OFF Evolution - Dinosaurs and Coal and...Termites?

Here we are now almost done with the ten-part Fossils series, based on the work of Sean Pittman.   One more in the series after this and then, along with occasional spotlights on other issues, there will be a series teaching what Creation Science is and isn't.  The typical Darwinist commenter doesn't know what Creationists teach and frequently don't even know what the foundational teachings of Darwinism are, either.   To illustrate the differences and distance between the two sides is a job worth doing.  It is actually what teachers in schools around the world should be doing, presenting the evidence and arguments for competing ideas concerning Origins and foundations of genetics and biology and many other disciplines.

Coal itself is a problem.  According to modern science, coal forms from peat bogs.  Over a great many years, the peat becomes thicker and thicker.  After being covered by a sedimentary layer, the immense pressure and heat combined with water, changes the organic material chemically into coal.  It is thought to take about 6 feet of organic material to make one foot of coal.  However, this theory has trouble explaining a few interesting facts.  Coal seams, such as those found in the Powder River Basin of Gillette, Wyoming, ranging upwards of 150 to 200 feet in thickness, point to a rapid depositional and coalification process. Note the following comments published in a 1993 article in Earth Magazine, "Powder River Coal: Geologic enigma, environmental dilemma":
Powder River coal seams run remarkably thick and unsullied by other material.  Usually, unwanted sediment such as clay washes over a deposit before coal seams can get very thick. But Power River coal is packed in immense strips, some more than 200 feet thick. These seams stretch vast distances up and down the basin. "They're hundreds of miles long. They're fifty miles wide." says James McClurg, a geologist at the University of Wyoming.  "They're not little pods of an acre or two. They're immense things."  McClurg, who has studied the basin for more than a decade, says "No other place in the world has as many seams 50 feet or more thick.  But, the Powder River basin is not only an economic resource.  To geologists, it's also an intriguing scientific enigma.   Geologists have been studying the basin for more than a century, largely to answer a baffling question: How did the seams get so massive? Or more precisely, why weren't the seams diluted by influxes of clay and other impurities before they thickened?"  He adds, "It would be like blindfolding yourself, spinning around, and hitting the center of a dartboard one-hundred times in a row."5 (Click on Video Below)

This is quite a mystery considering the fact that a seam of coal 200 feet thick would have taken a layer of organic material over 1,200 feet thick to create it.  That is a lot of peat to be in just one area.  But, what makes this even more unbelievable is that the Powder River Basin covers an area of over 10,000 square miles.  This problem could be solved with the idea of a massive flood deposition of huge quantities of organic material in a very rapid timeframe.  Similar deposits of huge amounts of plant material occurred during the Mt. St. Helen's eruption and flooding by Spirit Lake. 

Dinosaur Tracks In Coal

        Dinosaur tracks in coal beds also pose another interesting problem.  Deep in the coalmines of southeastern Utah, literally thousands of perfectly preserved Dinosaur footprints, of many different types, have been found.  The imprint at the right is made through a clay layer and into the coal.  
        The current prevailing theory is that these dinosaurs walked around in a swamp and their footprints left impressions in the peat.  These prints were then filled in by sand and clay and preserved.  It does not seem likely that soft surface peat would hold a print long enough to get filled up.  Even so, if this is actually what happened, then should not the print look more like a solid cast than an imprint?  In other words, if a print were filled in with sand or clay and thus preserved, should there not then be a solid form of that mold?  It seems rather like the clay layer was formed first and then the prints were made as the animals walked over it.  
        Also, the tracks do not seem to be all throughout the peat as it might be expected if the popular theory were correct, but only in those layers where the vegetation appears to have been covered rapidly by repeated  waves of inorganic sediments.  The tracks were then made through this layer of sediment and pressed into peat itself to be preserved as coal.4 Consider also that the coal itself is very pure throughout.  There simply are not enough impurities in the coal to support the notion that the layers of vegetation were formed slowly over a long period of time.  Again, this is interesting in the light that the footprints are only preserved in those layers of coal that have a thin overlying layer of clay (Click on Video Below).


Starving Dinosaurs

A further point of interest is that in some layers, on occasion, a large species of dinosaur will be found in a particular layer with almost nothing else in the same layer for these massive beasts to eat.1   What on earth did these dinosaurs live on for millions of years? 
Consider, for example, the Morrison Formation (Late Jurassic) in the western United States. This formation has an average thickness of 100m (300 ft) and extends well over 1,000,000 square km (about 700,000 square miles), being found from Canada to Texas, the Dakotas to Idaho and Arizona to Oklahoma.  It is known as one of the world's richest sources of dinosaur fossils, but also contains fossil fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards, crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaur eggs, and shrew- to rat-sized mammals.  The dinosaur bones occur in the middle green siltstone beds and in the lower sandstones of the Morrison Formation, often in graveyards composed of densely packed bones.  It is commonly said that this vast formation was created by sediments carried by streams and rivers from some ancient highlands into swampy lowland environments.  But how did gentle streams and small intermittent floods pack together so many dinosaur fossils as well as a wide variety of other fossils, without preserving very many plant fossils as well?  It seems like the Morrison Formation is, "practically barren of plant fossils throughout most of its sequence." Some have admitted that the, "absence of evidence for abundant plant life in the form of coal beds and organic rich clays in much of the Morrison is puzzling." 102 
The Morrison is thought to have been a rather barren place with only occasional oases in an overall vast scrubby or Savannah-like region. Yet, this region preserved the remains of millions of very large plant-eating dinosaurs as well as very large meat-eating dinosaurs.  For example, the dinosaur Apatosaurus is thought to have consumed about 3 or 4 tons of vegetation on a daily basis.  The relative lack of preserved vegetation makes one wonder how such massive beasts, millions of them, survived in this environment?  (Link)
Another interesting feature of the Morrison Formation, especially in locations such as Dinosaur National Monument (DNM), are a group of fresh-water clams of the genus Unio.  Some of these clams are found in the articulated form with the two matching shells closed and intact.  This feature indicates that the cause of death for these clams was rapid burial and represent a "transported death assemblage".103  The same sedimentary layers found in other locations, like Grand Junction, Colorado, display a large number of these unionids, all articulated, and generally recognized as having been "buried alive during an episode of rapid sedimentation".104   
The remains of whole dinosaurs, unionid clams, snails, logs, and wood fragments from the Quarry sandstone, many with stream orientation, all testify to some degree of watery transport. The more easily transported bones like ribs and phalanges are under-represented in DNM compared to less-easily transported items like femurs, which suggests the winnowing action of water.    
Also, at the DNM quarry, the bones are found in three distinct intervals within the 50-foot-thick, channel-shaped Quarry sandstone. The three sandstone "channels" scour into the surfaces beneath, and experts have struggled to imagine the kind of "rivers" that each of the channels represent. The notion taught for decades at the Quarry Visitor Center by DNM rangers, that dinosaurs were washed up on a point bar along the bank of a meandering river, is now discredited.105  Bones are especially concentrated in the bottoms, not the sides, of the scour channels. The sand grains and pebbles in the sandstone are dominantly composed not of quartz, the typical river sediment, but of altered tuff and chert fragments of probable volcanic origin. The lowest of the three levels, where dinosaur bones are most abundant, contains isolated larger pebbles dispersed in a sandy matrix, a texture unlike that of normal rivers. The texture and composition of the lower interval suggests deposition from a muddy suspension, not normal bedload transport in a river. Mudflows associated with catastrophic floods during the recent eruptions at Mount St. Helens volcano produced fluidized sediment slurries in wide river valleys and deposited similar textures.106 The upper two intervals of the Quarry sandstone, where dinosaur bones are less abundant, have noteworthy scour surfaces with cross beds of sand and pebbles indicating eastward transport of muddy and sandy sediment over large dune structures by very fast water currents. We can imagine dinosaur carcasses suspended buoyantly in a denser-than-water flow. How far they floated is unknown, but the process of suspension may have not been very abrasive. Clams, snails and logs were also moved with the volcanic pebbles and carcasses within the slurry. As deposition of sediment and carcasses occurred, the remaining flow became enriched in water going from a muddy, slurry suspension current to a less-muddy traction current. The deposit itself gives the impression of catastrophic watery deposition events - i.e., a massive flood.107
Also, fossils within this region show general current orientation (Confirmed by work of Arthur Chadwick, Ph.D.).  It seems like such massive and concentrated burial grounds as are found in the Morrison Formation that show current orientation with little associated vegetation are best explained by very large catastrophic flooding events with massive sorting and transport of large dinosaur bones and other fossil assemblages.34,35 

Termite Nests
 Within the Jurassic Morrison Formation, thought to be some 40 million years old, are interesting formation that have been interpreted by mainstream scientists, like Steven Hasiotis, as "termite nests" (link).  Concerning the formations illustrated in the photo above, Hasiotis writes, "Enormous pillars are interpreted as subterranean termite nests in alluvial and eolian deposits. . . [These nests are] composed of thousands of simple and compound galleries, 0.15 to 0.5 cm in diameter to pan-sized chambers, preferentially preserved because of the organics used in construction."100  Some of these "nests" are truly enormous - - up to 40 meters in vertical size.  But, are they really termite nests?        

     The photo above is a close up photo of the wall of a real termite next.  Notice how the termites used small globs of mud mixed with fragments of rock as well as fragments of vegetable matter, saliva, and feces (even termite body fragments) to build their nests.  These globs of mud are then lined up with each other to form little hills and furrows in the walls of the rooms and passage ways in the termite nest.  As it turns out, the formations claimed by those like Hasiotis to be termite nests do not have these particular features they do not have evidence for termite walls made out of little globs of mud in linear rows nor do they have the fossilized remains of any sticks, twigs, leaves, fungi, or any other organic building material.  Rather, these fossil formations are comprised of purified quartz crystals which is very similar in chemical composition to the surrounding "country rock" - as per the work of Ariel Roth. 101 Under microscopic analysis, to include scanning electron microscopic analysis, the crystals in the "tubes" in the formations appear to gradually "merge" with the surrounding rock - rock which also shows vague linear outlines with the same basic structure of the "tubes" in the fossil "nests".    

Surrounding Country Rock

Calcium Carbonate Concretions

     Additionally, in the same region as the formations in question, are the above pictured formations made out of calcium carbonate.  These inorganic calcium carbonate concretions also have very similar morphologic features to the most striking features of the supposed termite nests which were interpreted as tunnels and passage ways.  See the following close up pictures of these calcium carbonate concretions below to see if you can tell the difference between them and the supposed "termite nests" found nearby.

     Taken together, these interesting concretions found in the Jurassic Morrison Formation seem more consistent with a non-organic process of formation than with termite nests or any other process of organic formation or true trace fossils of any living thing.   


One one more post to give you a basis for understanding the fossil record and THEN we discuss the way we take the evidence and analyze it.   Richard Dawkins and Jonathan Sarfati do not have evidence the other cannot discover.   They differ greatly in the interpretation stage.

On Earth Day 2009, we are reminded of the ecological importance of recycling. As a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago, Jerry A. Coyne must be keen on recycling: He even recycles worn-out arguments for Darwinism.
If "evolution" meant simply that existing species can undergo minor changes over time, or that many species alive today did not exist in the past, then evolution would undeniably be true. But "evolution" for Coyne means Darwinism -- the theory that all living things are descendants of a common ancestor, modified by unguided natural processes such as DNA mutations and natural selection.
Coyne discusses the fossil record, embryos, vestigial structures, the geographic distribution of species, artificial and natural selection, and the origin of species. In the process, (1) he ignores the Cambrian explosion -- which Darwin considered a "serious" problem -- and he rearranges the fossil record to fit Darwin's theory; (2) he defends Ernst Haeckel -- who faked some drawings of vertebrate embryos to provide support for Darwinism -- and he dredges up the doctrine that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny; (3) he claims that much human DNA is useless junk -- despite abundant recent evidence that this is not true -- and he relies on theological arguments that have no legitimate place in natural science; (4) he invokes "the well-known process called convergent evolution" to explain many cases of the geographic distribution of species -- even though the "well-known process" is merely speculation -- and he again falls back on theology to justify a supposedly scientific theory; and (5) he describes examples of natural and artificial selection -- none of which show anything more than minor changes within existing species -- and he misrepresents experimental evidence to make it sound as though the origin of species by natural selection has been directly observed.
Why Evolution Is True reads like a recycled old biology textbook that shamelessly exaggerates the meager evidence for Darwinism, blatantly ignores the mounting evidence against it, and lamely falls back on theological arguments to make its case. Students with access to the evidence and freedom to think critically might nevertheless find Coyne's book useful -- as an example of how not to do science.
In the next few days I will post a series here at ENV detailing the problems with Coyne's book.
Part two
Part three
Part 4 here, Part 5 here, and Part 6 here.
I think your time would be well spent reviewing the series :-)

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