(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VIII: Two Salty Tales of Ocean Origins

My conservative Christian former best friend used to say that too much prayer rots the brain. Earth Science 4th Edition provides clear evidence of this right from the blurb at the start of the “Oceans and Seas” chapter. They begin talking about desalination by saying wow, there’s more people on Earth than ever! Yay! “God didn’t place a limit on how many people should inhabit the earth.”

I really wish the Bible had a verse placing strict limits on the total population, and ordering dominionists like the BJU believers to adhere to a strict “One child, no conversion, no evangelizing, and for My sake put a condom on that thing!” policy. Because it seems they believe that God wants as many people stuffed onto the planet as possible, limited resources be damned. They acknowledge the fact that a huge population makes things like having enough drinking water for everyone a serious issue. But they pretend that’s all fine, since we invented desalinization plants. Breed away! God placed no limits on population, so let’s have humans stacked a dozen deep over every square inch of the planet! Fuck logic and sense, yo!

Image is a photo of the Duggar family showing 18 kids surrounding Mom, who is holding a baby. Caption says, "Be fruitful and multiply. You're doing it right!"

Fools like this are why I’m one of those atheists who thinks we really need, as a species, to do away with the idea of holy books* all together. We can’t be trusted with it.

Dominion is a strong theme at the beginning of this chapter. “Oceans for Man’s Use” is the very first section. After giving us lots of facts about the oceans, like their size and how they help regulate the earth’s temperature, and how most of our oxygen “comes from photosynthetic organisms living in” them, they tell us it’s important to exercise dominion over them.

Oy. These people are massive control freaks. Instead of caring for or partnering with things, they want to exercise jackbooted thuggery over it all. In a “good and wise” manner, they hasten to assure us. Considering they think it’s a bonza idea to fill Earth with people until there’s no room for anything else, I’m not believing they’re qualified to judge what’s good or wise.

And they’re encouraging students to pursue careers in oceanography in order to exercise said dominion. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VIII: Two Salty Tales of Ocean Origins”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VIII: Two Salty Tales of Ocean Origins
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Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLIV: Wherein We’re Layered in Nonsense

All righty, then. Where were we? Ah, yes: when last we delved Earth Science 4th Edition’s pages, the authors were trying to tell us about their One Magic Ice Age Wot Explains Away the Physical Evidence and that Job Really Probably Lived Through Cuz He Mentions Snow a Few Times. Next on their agenda: they’re gonna tell us about The Diluvial Geologic Column.

Image is a meme showing three panels of My Little Ponies. There is a group of them looking towards the right. In the first panel, they are laughing and the caption says "Ha ha ha." In the second panel, they have stopped laughing, and the caption says, "Oh, wait, you're serious." The third panel shows them laughing again, and the caption says, "Let us laugh even harder!"
I’m dead before we begin. They’re just… I mean… well, look at this shit:

We know that there was at least one continent where everything lived when God created the earth. Creationary geologists think that the continent foundation or basement was probably the rock we call granite, which makes up the deepest rocks under the continents today.

Hoo nelly. So much evidence here they don’t at all understand how rocks or continents work. Folks: continents are heavy. The roots under the thickest crust run deep. What happens when rocks are under tremendous heat and pressure? Well, they don’t stay cheerfully unaltered. Granite is not the deepest rock, kids. I don’t think these folks even grok what basement rocks are.

They yammer about how they can totes see the “key geologic phases of the earth” if they just look at the strata “from a biblical viewpoint.” They think they see the vast majority of rocks either forming in or being redeposited by the Flood. They have no real idea how minerals precipitate from a solution to form masses of rock. They don’t know how consolidation happens. The things they think happened in a single Flood year don’t happen that fast and/or in those kinds of conditions (here’s one example). We’ve studied this. We’ve done experiments. We know.

Of course, they admit the Flood didn’t create the entire geologic column. There was that mythical post-Flood ice age, carving valleys and dumping glacial detritus all over the place. Never mind that we have evidence for multiple ice ages – just put on your Biblical Blinders, kids, and you’ll see there’s only one!

Gah.

Anyway, then they give us Tasman Walker’s idea of a geologic column. It’s microscopic compared to the geologic column those icky secular scientists have put together after centuries of research. It goes, from oldest rocks to youngest: Continue reading “Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLIV: Wherein We’re Layered in Nonsense”

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLIV: Wherein We’re Layered in Nonsense

Dealing With Volcanoes in 6 Easy Steps

January is Volcano Awareness Month. I haven’t had much opportunity to be aware of volcanoes, considering the raging garbage fire currently trashing the White House, but now seems like a good time to repost this article I originally published at Scientific American. Enjoy!

 

United States volcanoes sure have been busy grabbing our attention this spring! Both Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood have experienced earthquake swarms (which, darn it, is completely normal activity and not a sign of imminent eruptions). Kilauea had some exciting new lava breakouts recently. And Mauna Loa just got bumped from normal to advisory status due to an increase in seismic activity (although it’s not quite signalling an eruption – yet).

These volcanoes are quite different from each other, but they share two things in common: they’re pretty popular, and their eruptions can have some pretty serious effects on urban areas.

You may have these or other volcanoes as neighbors. It pays to be aware of what they’re up to and what they’re capable of. You’ll definitely want a plan for coping with any of their shenanigans!  So here are six easy steps all of us living near active or potentially-active volcanoes can follow to keep safe and happy. Continue reading “Dealing With Volcanoes in 6 Easy Steps”

Dealing With Volcanoes in 6 Easy Steps

Hidden Figures: Yes, Go See It Right Now

Here’s how to deal with the fact that a great orange buffoon is getting sworn into our highest office: go see Hidden Figures. Just go. Go see black women fighting misogyny and racism and Jim Crow while doing badass math. You need to see that right now.

*This review is mostly spoiler-free*

Take your children to go see it. Yes, even the young ones. Yes, even the teens. Look: I was in a theater full of little kids and teenagers, and they were sitting there beside unrelated adults up to the age of probably-watched-John-Glenn-orbit-live-on-teevee-with-their-own-kids, and apparently they were all riveted. I have never been to a movie that full of young folk who were so extraordinarily quiet. I’ve never been in an auditorium packed with nearly 400 people of all ages and had such an uninterrupted experience. The kids will do fine, and they need to see this.

Hollywood put out a movie about black women doing math, and it was spellbinding. I never thought they’d try. And since they tried, I never thought they’d do it with so much math and so few explosions. They had exploding rockets, but seemed almost embarrassed to mention them. There was a love story, but only because one of the real women this movie is based on actually got married in the middle of our race to space. It wasn’t shoved in just to hook our emotions, and you get the feeling they’d rather be doing more math. The movie stayed remarkably true to actual, historical events.

You’ll get to meet three of the most extraordinary women in our country’s scientific history: Katherine Goble (later Johnson), Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. You will get to see them be math nerds. You will get to see them have interests other than marriage and children. Hell, you’ll even get to see one of them fix a car. In a dress. Did you know women could fix cars while wearing dresses? Well, now you do.

You’ll get to see three black women star in their own story, as heroes, not as sidekicks and inspirations to white people. This wasn’t a story about white people learning how not to be racist gits (although several white people learned this, the movie isn’t about them). This wasn’t a story about three career women trying to also balance their roles as wives and mothers (although they were). This wasn’t a story about men learning how to deal with career women, women smarter than them, and figuring out how not to be sexist gits (although this all happens).

No. Continue reading “Hidden Figures: Yes, Go See It Right Now”

Hidden Figures: Yes, Go See It Right Now

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VII: Awash in Creationist Nonsense

Take your seasickness prevention pills and weigh anchor, my darlings. We are embarking on a long voyage, and I’m afraid it isn’t the lovely salt sea, but an ocean of creationist bilge we be sailin’. BJU has got a lot to say about oceanography. A good portion of it is utter bunkum. And there’s three bloody chapters of this shite.

Here. This meme may help us survive.

Image shows a cat in a cardboard pirate ship. Caption says, "I comes to plunder yer living room."

The wrong starts out strong with Dr. Emil Silvestru, a creationist speleologist from Romania. He started his career as a secular scientist, then jumped into Christianity with both feet and became a young earth creationist. The quality of his “reasoning” can be assessed by the following explanation: Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VII: Awash in Creationist Nonsense”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VII: Awash in Creationist Nonsense

Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLIII: Wherein A Beka Outsmarts Insane Clown Posse

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(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VI: Oceans O’ Creationism

After a long interlude with ACE, we’re now ready to jump in the deep end of our other creationist textbooks. Make sure you’ve got your scuba gear!

Science of the Physical Creation’s on about the oceans now. They begin their section on oceanography with Psalm 104: 24-25, because it has got the word “sea” in it, and sez God made it, therefore “God did it” is Science Fact. I suspect they’re doing this because there are only so many ways to work God into a discussion of seawater. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VI: Oceans O’ Creationism”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VI: Oceans O’ Creationism

Protected: Adventures in ACE XXIX: Gusty With a 100% Chance of Drivel

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(Repost) Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

It’s about time we finish with the risible ACE PACE 1086, and the subject matter segues nicely into the chapters on oceans we have coming up in our other “science” textbooks. Besides, after last week’s installment, I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats wondering if the Loyaltons are about to go splat against a mountain. So let us continue our flyover with them, and see where we end up. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water”

(Repost) Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XLII: Wherein Creationism Leaves Us Cold

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