What is a Polystrate Tree?

Talk Origins responds to this article. Click here to read their rebuttal.

Polystrate trees are trees that are found in multiple layers of strata. Creationists observe these trees as evidence for a global catastrophe such as the biblical global flood. We believe these trees are consistent with what should be expected from silt and sediment as it settled after the flood. When you observe residue in water, it settles in layers consistent with the geological column found throughout the world. As this residue settled around the tree and hardened, these trees fossilized. This poses a problem to the evolution model. A rapid deposit is not consistent with evolution because fossils are throughout the layers and supposedly represent millions of years. How can a tree stand erect for millions or even hundreds of millions of years without decay in order to be embedded in these layers? Evolution, on the other hand, claims that these trees do not hinder evolution and attempt to explain away what is observed by science.

It is important for Christians to recognize the method of debate most evolutionists and atheist use. It is also important to recognize that they are not going to win the debate in the eyes of an atheist. Because atheism is a religion of pride – or self worship, to admit defeat is to deny self-identity. An atheist is not on a quest for truth, but on a quest for intellectual identity. They draw self-identity and self-worth from their claims of intellectualism. That is why evidence against evolution is always called religious. If they classify it as non-science, then they can justify in not answering the evidence.

When debating, you will recognize a few key methods almost all evolutionists use. They begin by intimidating critics; avoiding hard questions by machinegun fire questions to smoke screen the issue they are attempting to avoid; and establishing themselves as authoritative by declaring their position to be evolutionary. Once they have declared themselves to be ‘inside the box’ of evolution, they can then use their own quotes as facts. The reasoning is if evolution is the only authoritative position and they stand inside that box, others can then assume their opinions are fact because of that authority.

We often see the claims of evidence without having to provide the evidence. While an evolutionist requires irrefutable proof, they avoid having to prove evolution by bombarding critics with accusations and attempting to create rabbit trails for others to chase. We a creationist calls a bluff, they are either ignored or accused of misquoted evolutionists. To avoid answering opposition or explaining how evolutions leaders contradict themselves and the facts, they accuse others of dishonesty and ignorance.

I was recently given a link to an article as ‘proof’ that polystrate trees have been debunked by evolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/polystrate/trees.html . This article on talkorigins.org uses the typical evasive tactics found in almost every defense evolution attempts to establish. The prized tactic of evolution is to put critics on the defensive so that they will not bring the issues to light. Instead of cowering or being manipulated into chasing rabbits, Christians need to recognize these tactics and force the focus to remain on the issue at hand. Rabbit trails can be explored once the primary issue has been addressed. This article uses intimidation and evasion to avoid answering the objections that they fear. They also confirm creation claims and then try to twist them into evolutionary evidence.

The article begins with the typical insult to (hopefully) put creationists on the defensive. If I feel intimidated by my position, I will be less likely to challenge the facts or lack thereof.

The reason I am using Dawson (1868) rather than a more recent reference is to emphasize that many supposed “problems” with conventional geology were solved more than 100 years ago using very basic principles. The people suggesting these “problems” exist are so out of date that even 19th-century literature refutes their presentations.

Also in the 1800s evolutionist didn’t have a problem with spontaneous generation. They believed fruit flies evolved in closed jars. Right off the bat, the intended impression is that if you don’t believe in evolution, you are not even as intellectual as they were in the 1800s. Perhaps the reason he used an argument from the 1800s is because evolution still can’t come up with a reasonable explanation. However, the intent of the comment was to intimidate critics into compliance.

The most common criticism I get from atheists is that I take the quotes that show evolutionists in a bad light. I am frequently called a liar, but I provide references that are completely verifiable. Obviously, I will not quote the whole article, but at the risk of being called dishonest, I will only quote the points relevant to the argument. Anyone who wishes can read the article for themselves to verify my quotes. Dawson goes on to explain that polystrate trees begin by a rapid deposit of sediment (from a flood) and continue to build up over thousands of years. The article analyses the argument this way:

…he is simply interpolating the average depositional rates for an entire formation down to the scale of meters. This is not the correct way to do it, because individual beds can be deposited rapidly (say, sands and mud during a levee breach), and then little deposition can occur for a long time (e.g., a soil horizon),

This argument craftily avoids the issues while claiming to explain them. The issues in question are:

  • How did the tree survive during multiple catastrophes without rotting or being knocked down?
  • How can anyone reasonably believe that a tree could stand for the length of time it takes to build up the additional layers?
  • How can a tree representing a short life span (on evolution’s geological time scale) stand erect through geological layers representing millions and often hundreds of millions of years?

This is not a problem for evolution? Regardless of how you slice it, the tree had to stand erect without rotting, falling or being knocked down for millions of years. The layers of strata have fossils representing different time periods according to the evolution model. It DOES pose a huge problem for evolution. If the tree was buried rapidly as Dawson hints toward and as creationists have said all along, evolution is out the window. If all layers were deposited together, then there is no such thing as millions of years. That would mean that all fossils were laid at the same time.

If the trees were not covered rapidly, then there is no explanation as to how a tree could have embedded itself into layers of strata that accumulated over millions of years. The article does not attempt to answer any of these questions. Yet it claims (as all evolutionists do) to have the answers.

Instead of answers, the claim to intellectual thinking is made while carefully avoiding the real issues. To avoid critical thinking, the article ends by insulting those who may question the facts. This article is nothing more than manipulation through human psychology. If you put people on the defensive, they won’t think critically and the evolutionist can avoid critical analysis against his or her argument. The article claims that we see examples of polystrate trees today. Indeed we do, but they debunk evolution. Mount Saint Helens created a lake full of sediment, which created many polystrate trees. Evolutionists don’t point to this observance but creationists do. To avoid this argument, the article says:

This argument is completely fallacious, because most “fossil forests” do not occur in volcanic deposits

Who said the flood was dependent of volcanic deposits? That is a straw man. The article ends the way it began – by attempting to intimidate critics and make people who would think critically feel ignorant for not siding with evolution. The article concludes: 

…many “young Earth global flood creationists”, have no idea that even data from the 19th century, presented by a creationist geologist is enough to demolish the “polystrate fossil trees” part of their presentation. “Polystrate fossil trees” are probably one of the weakest pieces of evidence YEGF creationists can offer for their interpretation. I wish they would stop using it.

Of course he wishes we would stop using it. They cannot defend against it. The only friend to evolution is the people who blindly accept the propaganda. Critical thinking is not welcomed. While evolution clings to the 1800s, modern science continues to confirm the Bible and evolution must tap-dance around observable science.

Eddie Snipes

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