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Author Topic:   Reel in the rock not all it's cracked up to be
Joe Meert
Member (Idle past 3153 days)
Posts: 913
From: Gainesville
Joined: 03-02-2002

Message 1 of 6 (198197)
04-11-2005 1:10 AM

On my trip to Tennessee, I asked Brad Harrub at apologetics press to arrange a meeting between the man owning the 'reel in the rock' and me.

Brad did not respond, but I did manage to take a look at the phyllite in which it was supposedly embedded. I was accompanied by metamorphic/structural geologist Jim Vogl and when I mentioned the reel in the rock, he had the same question about its undeformed state. I sent the following e-mail to Brad (no response yet):

Dear Brad,

I tried contacting you last week via the website e-mail system on your site but did not receive a response. This was disappointing because I happened to be on a field trip in Tennessee and the Tellico area. I was hoping to get a look at the reel in the rock that is touted on your website as evidence for a young earth and problematic for geologists. While I did not get to look at the reel, I was able to look at the rock type in which the reel appears to be embedded. I would like to demonstrate why the reel is not good evidence for a young earth and also to correct some scientific misinformation in your article. To be fair, I think most of these mistakes were simply the result of poor recollection on the part of the finder of the reel rather than deliberate attempts to mislead. Nevertheless, I think it is important to correct these errors of fact as side notes to your article. Let me start with the corrections and then explain why I think the reel is more of a curiosity than a scientific enigma.

(1) The collector stated that he recalled that they informed him that the only two places where this type of rock is found is in the Appalachians and Africa. This is incorrect. Phyllite is a common type of metamorphic rock found on every continent.
(2) Mr. Jones recalled that the geologists appeared very familiar with this type of rock, and he remembered being told that the rock came from the period when the continents divided. The rock formed as a result of continental collision according to evolutionary geology.

Now, heres the major problem with your story and I trust that you will do the right thing and withdraw the claim. Phyllite is a metamorphic rock and the minerals in the rock indicate (through non-controversial physics and chemistry) that the rock could have only formed under conditions where the temperatures were above 300 C and pressures were above 3-5 kbars (roughly 9-15 kilometers depth). These mineral reactions have been demonstrated in the laboratory and it is well known that the rock known as phyllite starts out as a mudstone and as it is progressively heated and buried it becomes a slate and then a phyllite. So if the reel had been embedded in the rock when it formed, then the reel would have been buried and heated causing it to be flattened as are many of the micaceous minerals in the rock. Imagine how the reel might look if it was run over by a dump truck full of granite. Yet the reel shows no deformation and no indication that it was part of the rock during the metamorphic cycle. Since I have not been able to study the rock in detail, I can only conclude that the reel became embedded in the rock after the metamorphism perhaps due to chemical reactions between dissolved minerals in the water as it sat there for many years. The alternative is that the reel was placed in the rock by someone as a practical joke. Again, this could only be verified through examination of the reel and the rock. However, it is clear from the simple physics and chemistry involved in the formation of the phyllite that it was not formed at the same time as the rock. Now, you may still assert that the earth is very young and that modern geology has the age of the earth all wrong, but this finding does nothing to help your case. I am a Christian who disagrees with your assertions about the age of the earth, but I think we should be honest and forthright in the evidence we present to others. At the very least, I would hope you would be willing to publish my response to the article in question.


Joe Meert

I also e-mailed Ann Holmes who is featured in the piece and has actually seen the rock, with her permission this is what she had to say:

Hello Joe,

The old guy (and a newspaper reporter) brought it in to the department;
we didn't have the heart to crush him mercilessly. I wish we had, in

The phyllite had saw marks in it where the flattish plate of the reel
had been imbedded. Sharp-edged saw marks that would have surely
weathered rounder had it been wallowed out by water around the reel.
I also suspect a drill hole to hold the one round reel support imbedded
as well.

There's more to the e-mail including an exchange amongst faculty at UTC all discussing the fact that the reel is not naturally embedded in the rock. Just got permission to use those:

My immediate reaction is one of total indifference. Like you, I
suspect, I don't take anybody seriously that takes this kind of
"journalism" seriously.

Despite that attitude, it still gets under my skin. ...and what
frustrates me is that features of the rock adjacent to the reel
clearly, indisputably, demonstrate that the reel was not present when the rock formed. Instead, the reel was mechanically introduced to the rock more recently, well after the rock formed. This is indicated by the open channelways formed by protrusions from the reel as it penetrated the rock. Had the rock formed around the reel, such channelways due to penetration would not exist. Hence, this occurrence of a reel in a rock does not bring into question the age of the rock. It is totally irrelevant. No one with an inkling of logic can dispute that line of reasoning. JWM

and AEH (Ann again) comments:

We were being polite and respectful to an old man who wanted his "find" to be important. We try not to trample people's feelings when they bring in "dinosaur bones" (concretions), fossilized bird nests (cave deposits), and all the strange pseudofossils that linger in family collections. None of us saw any evidence that the rock was formed around the reel. In fact, quite the opposite.

Dr. Ann Holmes


Joe Meert

This message has been edited by Joe Meert, 04-08-2005 05:08 PM

This message has been edited by Joe Meert, 04-08-2005 05:12 PM

{Originally proposed on 4/8/05. Message 1 promoted as the new topic on 4/11/05. - Adminnemooseus}

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Matt P, posted 04-11-2005 2:26 PM Joe Meert has not yet responded
 Message 4 by arachnophilia, posted 04-12-2005 6:04 PM Joe Meert has responded

Matt P
Member (Idle past 2248 days)
Posts: 106
From: Tampa FL
Joined: 03-18-2005

Message 2 of 6 (198330)
04-11-2005 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Joe Meert
04-11-2005 1:10 AM

A statue
I find this to be fairly amusing. There was similar incident when I went on a structural geology field trip- we were analyzing an outcrop, when this old man pulls up behind us in a car. He engages the teacher for about 20 minutes, then leaves in a huff. It seems as though he had found a rock in a stream that he was just certain was a fossilized foot (of one of the people who didn't survive the flood). My professor had to break it to the poor guy that it was just a smoothed, rounded chunk of sandstone, and he didn't like hearing that after he'd been saving on to it for 30+ years.

Now I'm in meteorite science, and righteous indignation is extremely common amongst people who "know" they have a meteorite, only to be told by us "so-called experts" that it's just a piece of magnetite.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Joe Meert, posted 04-11-2005 1:10 AM Joe Meert has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Eta_Carinae, posted 04-12-2005 1:45 PM Matt P has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 1848 days)
Posts: 547
From: US
Joined: 11-15-2003

Message 3 of 6 (198651)
04-12-2005 1:45 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Matt P
04-11-2005 2:26 PM

They believe what they want to believe...
and expect professional validation. When they don't get it then we are accused of 'not hinking outside the box' or of being in the great evil atheist conspiracy.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Matt P, posted 04-11-2005 2:26 PM Matt P has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 206 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004

Message 4 of 6 (198781)
04-12-2005 6:04 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Joe Meert
04-11-2005 1:10 AM

i found this quite entertaining. not much to debate, really...
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Joe Meert, posted 04-11-2005 1:10 AM Joe Meert has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Joe Meert, posted 07-20-2005 5:32 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

Joe Meert
Member (Idle past 3153 days)
Posts: 913
From: Gainesville
Joined: 03-02-2002

Message 5 of 6 (224968)
07-20-2005 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by arachnophilia
04-12-2005 6:04 PM

interesting thing
The reel in the rock article is no more. It has been removed from the page. Although I have very little good to say about apologetics press, this was at least the honest thing to do. Now, if we can just do the same for all the other articles.


Joe Meert

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by arachnophilia, posted 04-12-2005 6:04 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by PurpleYouko, posted 07-20-2005 6:52 PM Joe Meert has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 92 days)
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004

Message 6 of 6 (224987)
07-20-2005 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Joe Meert
07-20-2005 5:32 PM

Re: interesting thing

I'm still waiting to hear back about the Cretaceous hammer. About 6 months now.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Joe Meert, posted 07-20-2005 5:32 PM Joe Meert has not yet responded

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