I don't mean to be rude. I am sorry if I seem a bit "snotty", I just don't like reading into ancient texts something that could not have been understood scientifically at the time.
You wrote -
"So the onus is on you to explain how the ancients could know about the history of the earth"
Logically speaking, could oceans, air, or life have been around before the earth formed? No.
There has to be a logical progression of events occuring for it all to make sense. Of course the bible says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Those things have to be there first before you can have night and day. You can't have night and day before you have earth. You can't have life before you have a medium in which it can thrive. Thus air and water must be created before you can have organisms existing in that particular environment. Sorry, but all the story of creation proves is that the authors of the texts were able to logically think about their environment. It states nothing about the amount of time and the types of environmental pressures the earth was under for millions of years.
Man was created on the last day. Has man been the last creature to evolve on this planet? I would suspect that as we speak new species are evolving and adapting to their respective environments. Insects are by far the most successful species on the planet, because of their quick reproductive cycle and large number of offspring (genetic diversity).
I am sorry but I can not equate the story of creation to the subtle nature of evolutionary theory. I do not think the "origin of species" is a bible nor do I believe Darwin is God, but I do have a little perspective on the situation.
Once again - I appologize if I have been rude or disrespectful of your beliefs. I get a little passionate about the issue. You are one of the few guys that has treated me with respect from day one, and I don't want to push you away.