What can we learn from polystratic trees with regards to the age of the earth?

Source: The Outlook, 1986. 1 pages.

Polystratic Trees

It is difficult for a person to be different from the crowd. We see this in our own lives, and particularly in the lives of our growing school children. Whether we are aware of it or not, peer pressure does affect our lives extensively. As a biologist I see that this is true among natural scientists as well. When nearly everybody holds to a particular explanation or theory it is hard for an individual not to go along with it.

Sometimes we have to choose between what the majority accepts or believes and what we see as the only acceptable or scientific way to go. Making such a decision is complicated by the fact that we all want to be accepted by our professional peers. No one likes to stand out from the group. And we do highly value and respect the opinion and judgment of fellow scien­tists. But how much is group acceptance worth?

I want to focus now particularly on the phenome­non of polystratic trees, i.e., fossil tree trunks which are found standing upright, and which are surround­ed by a number of layers of sediment. I have in my files an article* with a photograph of a miner standing in one of the European coal mines. Next to him is a tree trunk which has been preserved with bark char­acteristics clearly visible. This tree trunk is surround­ed by sedimentary layers. The report indicates that these polystratic trees are found in strata called Penn­sylvanian, which are "some thousands of meters" thick, and which evolutionists claim were laid down in about 30 million years. Assuming that these trees were surrounded by the sediment gradually, and at a fairly constant rate would mean that the average 5-10 meter long trunk would have been surrounded by sediment over a time span of around 50 to 100 thou­sand years.

It is at this point that I have to make a choice. While the majority of scientists accept such time figures regarding the earth layers, I have difficulty under­standing how a tree trunk could be surrounded by sediment gradually and not be worn down and de­composed due to the natural environmental processes which we observe today. When a tree is exposed to air, it may stay in good condition only as long as it is living. But after it dies, the tree will begin to decom­pose in a relatively short time, even if we think of hundreds of years. Then how can we get a fossilized tree trunk with clear bark characteristics showing from top to bottom, spanning a time of many thousands of years?

I am, therefore, looking for a different answer to this problem. This tree trunk could not have been exposed to the elements for many thousands of years and still be preserved so well both at the bottom and at the top of the trunk. The top, at least, should certainly show some signs of decay. Since its external features are so well preserved, it must not have been exposed to air, wind and water for very long, and therefore I sur­mise that the surrounding sediments must have been deposited over a relatively short time. I would con­sider tens of years, but certainly not many thousands of years.

I can not accept the majority opinion regarding the length of time it took to lay down the sediments around this tree. That also makes me question that majority opinion in many other, similar instances of polystratic trees. And if the 30 million years of this section in the mine can be reduced to a few years, can other earth layers and fossils then also be reduced to a short time period? It looks like it is time to develop an alternative paradigm. It is safest to go with the positive evidence.

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