This article is from
Creation 13(2):48–49, March 1991

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Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles below.

Willingly ignorant about worms?

A tiny seaworm gives evidence for Noah’s Flood.

by , M.B., B.S.

There are two theories for the formation of coal. One is that it formed by the slow, gradual accumulation of dead matter in a swamp or peat bog; the other is that it is the product of transported vegetation that was rapidly buried in flood conditions.

Naturally, the second theory, supporting as it does the biblical model of creation and a worldwide Flood, sits too uncomfortably with the majority who prefer to believe that all things have gone on slowly and gradually.

This article describes only one of the many items of evidence that contradict this uniformitarian/evolutionary belief about the origin of coal. Its main purpose, however, is to show how such contrary evidence is handled, in the hope that it will give food for thought to those who tend naively to accept popular interpretations of evidence in this whole area of origins.

Enter the tubeworm

A common fossil found in so-called ‘Carboniferous’ coal seams is the tubeworm, of the genus Spirorbis. This worm makes a hard tube to protect its body, and is widespread in modern oceans, where it may attach to corals, shells or floating clumps of seaweed. Most of us have probably seen its little tubes, usually less than two millimetres in diameter.

Now what have evolutionists done with the fact that coal seams have vast numbers of the fossil tubes of these marine creatures in them? It fits with the Flood model for coal formation, in which floating mats of vegetation have tubeworms attached to them before their final burial by sediment. But how can the evolutionary swamp theory cope with this evidence? (Remember that most of the peat swamps of the type proposed in evolutionary models are freshwater, not marine.)

Before we answer this, let’s look at the evidence that Spirorbis is in fact a marine creature.

  • Today, not only do we find no Spirorbis living in freshwater, but no member of the entire family Surpulidae, to which Spirorbis belongs. (The surface regions of the Black Sea, which have a 1.8 percent salt content as compared with around 3.5 percent for oceans, are the nearest approach to freshwater in which one finds these worms.)

  • A tiny seaworm gives evidence for Noah’s Flood, ‘trochophore’, as do some other marine invertebrates. There are simply no examples of any freshwater creatures with trochophore larvae.

  • Spirorbis fossils are also found outside of coal; in fact they are abundant throughout all the geological layers from the so-called ‘Ordovician’ period onwards. When they are found in these layers, they are very often associated with marine fossils.

In spite of evidence

How, then, is Spirorbis interpreted in the fossil record? Not surprisingly, as a marine tubeworm—just as it is without exception today … except when found in coal, when the same fossil has long been classified as a freshwater tubeworm. This is in spite of all the evidence above. It seems there is no reason for this change except to support existing theories of slow and gradual coal formation.

The Apostle Peter (2 Peter 3) describes those who will in the ‘last days’ willingly (or wilfully) deny (or ignore) not only miraculous creation but the fact of God’s judgment by the Flood in the days of Noah. Based upon their uniformitarian observations that ‘all things’ continue on their naturalistic way, they will scoff at the idea of Christ’s return in Judgment.

The wilful misinterpretation of Spirorbis fossil tubes in coal seams is yet another example of the futility of trusting evolutionist interpretations rather than the Word of God.

Further reading

  • H.G. Coffin, ‘A Paleoecological Misinterpretation’, in Scientific Studies in Special Creation, Ed. W. Lammerts, Baker Book House, 1973. The author is indebted to Dr Coffin for the technical information from which the above layman’s article has been adapted.
  • G.E. Condra and M.K. Elias, ‘Carboniferous and Permian Ctenostomatous Bryozoa’, Geological Society of America Bulletin 55:517–566, 1944.
  • J.M. Weller, ‘Paleoecology of the Pennsylvanian Period in Illinois and Adjacent States’; in: Harry S. Ladd (Ed.), Treatise on Marine Ecology and Paleoecology, Vol. 2 Paleoecology, Geological Society of America 67:333, 1957.

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