Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XI: Wherein We’re Told Salty Fish Stories

Oh, hey, now that we’re out of that horrible imaginary undersea contraption, Earth Science Fourth Edition is talking about seawater composition! Aren’t you excited? Surely, they can’t muck that up too badly, right?

Wrongo. Folks, it sez right in our Section Objectives that we’re so very, very screwed. We are to “evaluate different Flood theories that could account for the saltiness of the oceans.” And the creationist crap spews thick, chunky, and stinky from the beginning. There is so, so very much wrong that we are neck-deep and sinking from the start. We may need that robot thingy to escape this crap.

Image is a painting of a red-orange machine that looks sort of like an old diving helmet on robot legs. It has fat rings sticking out horizontally from its top, like ears. Its legs bend backwards at the knees. It looks like it's drunkenly dancing in the surf on a deserted tropical island. It is frightening.
Figure 13-5 from BJU’s ES4. Run away!!!!

As we begin investigating why oceans are filled with salty deliciousness, the ES4 authors tell us somberly that “everything about our planet is the product of a supernatural creation and a global flood.” My gosh, that’s a sweeping statement wot has got absolutely no science in it. They go on to say that God forgot to mention how salty he made the oceans on Creation Day 3 (or Day 1, according to Genesis 2:4-5). But that’s no problem! Behold the quality of their SCIENCE!

We can use the Flood model to predict that the great amount of erosion during and following the Flood could have added lots of minerals to seawater. This could have made the oceans very salty, at least in some places. [emphasis in original]

Much precision! So science! I’d love to see them try to crunch those numbers. Actually, I’d just love to see some numbers.

If you value your skull and do not wish to dent it upon your desk, you may wish to avoid their confused babbling about marine and freshwater organisms not being able to survive in fresh and salt water respectively, but hey presto, the kinds had to survive the flood waters, cuz that’s just logic. How they leap from “most freshwater organisms cannot live if transferred to salt water” to they “had to survive” to “it seems reasonable that the original oceans must have been somewhat salty” is a marvel to behold. Does this mean the original oceans were also sediment choked, boiling acid baths? Cuz they kinda woulda had to have been if you’re trying to argue the original kinds were adapted enough to those conditions to survive the Flood.

A text box in the sidebar assures us that many critters can survive salt water if salinity is increased gradually enough. It’s a bullshit argument, but I don’t even care, because none of their kinds could have survived the rest of the problems with their model. Salt is the least of their worries when you factor in the sediment and the volcanoes. It’s rather like dropping a living creature into a vat of lava and fretting about how to prevent it from starving to death.

The introduction to ocean salinity ends with them claiming that the oceans could’ve gotten as salty as they currently are in just a few thousand years, but if the earth were old, “the oceans would probably be far saltier.” Nope. We know why the oceans stay the way they are. We don’t need a young earth to explain why they’re not more saline. All we need are natural processes doing their thing.

Next, we’re on about ocean chemistry more generally. The ES4 authors manage to discuss the minerals and gasses dissolved in seawater without deviating much from settled mainstream science, but they can’t help but go back to salt, claiming boldly that because the oceans today are getting saltier, they’re totes not billions of years old! Or, actually maybe it’s because global warming is causing ocean water to evaporate more rapidly… oops. They fail to mention that fluctuations in salinity are no big deal to old earthers, as enormous evaporated deposits show that yes, levels can vary in different times and places. They also omit the fact that seawater at the poles is getting fresher near the poles as climate change causes all that non-salty ice to melt. I wonder why?

Ways that salinity can vary are briefly discussed, and then they talk about desalination. They admit that certain fuels used to heat water, such as wood or coal, can cause pollution. But electricity is apparently a magic substance that is never produced by burning coal, as desalination by reverse osmosis is done in plants that “require only electricity, which avoids the air pollution of coal – or wood-fired evaporators.”

Image shows Gandalf with Theodin, who has his face in his hand. Caption says, "Can you believe this bullshit?"

These folks really don’t grok how the real world works, do they?

They go in to the physical properties of seawater, such as temperature and pressure, next. They find fewer places here when they feel the need to piss creation nonsense all over solid science, so we get mostly practical explanations of the stuff, with a rather pathetic lifting of the creationist leg on the speed of sound on water. Because, you see, said speed’s important cuz God created animals who echolocate in water and stuff. Yeah. ‘Tis a thin and watery stream indeed.

In the next section, we’re on to ocean environments, where they tell us, “Earth is the well-designed home to all the known life in the universe.” Really? Ya’ll have just been telling me how chaotic and destructive and unimaginably violent the Flood which supposedly remodeled our happy home was. Now you want me to ignore all that and burble over how awesome God is at designing living spaces?

Image shows a little girl in a yellow raincoat running full-speed. Caption says, "NOPE."

Especially since you go on to tell me how brutal the intertidal zone is immediately after that silly statement. ES4 authors, do you ever read what you write?

Remarkably, they don’t babble on about God outside of that cursory opening remark: the rest of this section is suitable for secular textbooks.

A cursory look at carbon and nitrogen cycles concludes the scientific part of the chapter; the authors then hit the enter key a few times and plunge us into a church sermon.

The oceans are a vast part of our world that we are only now beginning to understand. As we continue to study them, we learn again and again that our God is amazingly great. He alone has the power and wisdom to control the mighty deep. As the psalmist said long ago, such a God deserves our praise.

They then quote Palm 104:24-29 in its entirety. It sounds like it was written by someone who’d never seen an ocean before, and is bullshitting at full speed hoping no one will notice how ignorant he really is. Sounds a lot like the authors of ES4, actually.

And with that, we have at last finished the first third of our ES4 ocean triathlon. Let us hope we can complete phase two, which is Ocean Motions, before the next new year. They can’t have done too much creationist crap to this subject, can they?

Please?

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Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XI: Wherein We’re Told Salty Fish Stories

7 thoughts on “Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XI: Wherein We’re Told Salty Fish Stories

  1. 1

    Ways that salinity can vary are briefly discussed, and then they talk about desalination. They admit that certain fuels used to heat water, such as wood or coal, can cause pollution. But electricity is apparently a magic substance that is never produced by burning coal, as desalination by reverse osmosis is done in plants that “require only electricity, which avoids the air pollution of coal – or wood-fired evaporators.”

    I know you aren’t joking about this but I really wish you were. That is the answer a 6 year old would give if you’d ask them where the meat they are eating comes from (hint: tell them gently that it doesn’t magically appear in the shop).

  2. 2

    Here I am, safely and calmly reading your series on creationist science education, protected by my long years debating creationism. Yep, yep, standard creationist drivel, yep.

    Then I hit the line about desalinization plants avoiding air pollution because they only use electricity. I haven’t needed that pillow I installed on my desk for creationist nonsense in years. I’ve mostly been using it for political discourse lately. Good to know the Creationists can still astonish me with their utter ignorance.

  3. 6

    . Let us hope we can complete phase two, which is Ocean Motions, before the next new year. They can’t have done too much creationist crap to this subject, can they?

    Given its called Ocean Motions I wouldn’t be too optimistic about that ..

  4. 7

    They swap parts? You get a real magnetic attraction and electricity happening? ;-)

    (Yeah, yeah, I’ll see myself out ..)

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