Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XIV: Wherein We Row Our Creationist Boat Gently Down the Streams

At last we leave the vasty deep behind and sail upon the streams and lakes of the world. Alas, we’re still stuck on the S.S. Earth Sciences 4th Edition. A Beka’s Science of the Physical Creation only talks about freshwater features in the context of weathering and erosion. I’ve peeked ahead at that chapter, and I can assure you we’re in for some serious creationist fuckery there. The open question is: can it out-Christianist the Christianist experts at ES4? Stay tuned to find out!

As we begin our survey of lakes and rivers, the ES4 authors do that thing where they sound less like godbots and more like reasonable adults. They list some of the good and bad things about China’s Three Gorges Dam, and ask students a good question: “So, is it worth it?” That’s excellent. We should be thinking critically about choices like this.

They keep up the responsible use of resources theme as they talk about hydropower. The fallen world and dominion crap I could do without, but at least they’re telling students that “Part of exercising good and wise dominion is predicting harmful consequences of dominion and minimizing their effects.” At least it’s not the fuck-the-world-we-do-what-we-want attitude some Christian dominionists *cough*SPC*hack*ACE*ptooey have. This bunch may possibly avoid leaving a toxic hellscape behind them.

They do fine describing streams in general until we run smack into the creationist wall in regards to age. They can’t stand the idea that rivers will erode down to base level, given enough time. They do that thing where they preface everything with “Old-earth geologists believe” this and “Some geologists even say” that while they present the settled science, then piously proclaim that “in a young-earth view of geology, no stream can be more than about 5500 years old.” Full stop. They don’t give counter-evidence supporting their contention. Nor do they tell us why current stream profiles support the idea of a young, not old, earth. They can’t. All they can do is say nuh-uh cuz the Bible sez! and scamper away while we’re spluttering at the magnitude of their anti-science nonsense.

A cross-box asks students why streams can’t be more than 5500 years old. Betcha a dollar the answer is “cuz the Bible says so, pfft.” If someone has the teacher’s edition, please end our suspense.

Drainage patterns are handled without undue nonsense. They do a lousy job defining rapids, saying they’re “stretches where large rocks create turbulence” without explaining why the large rocks are there (differential erosion and debris flows, for a start). Otherwise, aside from a brief reprise of the dominion theme, it’s pretty standard stuff. What, no babble about the rivers out of Eden?

Image is a very grumpy-looking otter. Caption says, "I am dissapoint."

I do notice they avoided the whole topic of incised meanders here. A quick glance at the index suggests they aren’t addressed anywhere in the book. Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that incised meanders are a problem for Flood geology, could it?

I was hoping we’d get through lakes without silliness, but after a bland section describing what lakes are, we get to Origin of Lakes. Pro-tip: whenever creationists mention the origin of anything, they’re about to wax nonsensical. They present the secular, old-earth view first, then counter with creationist crap:

A young-earth geologist will make the claim that no tectonic lake is older than about 5500 years because of the Flood. Recall that this event reshaped the surface of the whole earth through widespread tectonic action. It is highly unlikely that any lake in existence today still occupies its pre-Flood basin.

Prove it. If that’s true, Flood geologists, then surely the evidence is in your favor! Show me the studies disproving the age of the Earth’s oldest lakes. Bring me the evidence that all tectonic lakes, such as rift and caldera lakes, formed in a recent global catastrophe. Don’t wave that fucking holy book in my face – that’s not evidence, it’s mythology.

Actually, do. Show me chapter and verse where Noah says, “Holy me, there sure are a lot of earthquakes and volcanoes going on!” Read me the parts where he marvels at all these brand-new oceans and lakes and rivers, and wonders how the koalas and kangaroos are supposed to get home. Show me where the Bible says all the rivers and lakes of the pre-deluge world are gone. Cite the verses that mention the Ice Age that followed the Flood, and created those glacial lakes you swear can’t be older than 5,000 years. Bring me all the converging lines of geological evidence and the proof texts that back them up.

Can’t show me the peer-reviewed papers from legit science journals? Then you haven’t got science. Can’t cite me the Bible verses that specifically mention this stuff? Then you haven’t even got a valid interpretation of the Bible. Bloody pathetic is what you are.

Folks, the ES4 authors present no evidence whatsoever for their claims. Not one iota, not one chapter, not one verse. They just declare it must be their way and skip on, believing the fact that “most lakes formed in the recent geological past” is enough, combined with their mistaking allegory for fact, to support their “science.”

Image is a very skeptical looking koala. Caption says, "Nope."

In discussing unusual lakes, the ES4 authors go on about how volcanoes erupt sooo much water. Methinks they are grasping for credibility on their whole volcanoes-contributed-lotsa-Flood-water claim, and hoping that repetition=truth.

I’m pleasantly astonished that this chapter’s Life Connections box hasn’t got a bunch of paeans to God’s amazing creative powers and references to Bible verses. One would think the temptation would be overwhelming, considering they’re talking about Carolina bays (science can’t explain ’em!) and carnivorous plants (look at the design, man!). Somehow, they resisted. They do light-heartedly mention the alien origin of the bays theory at the end. It’s all… oddly secular.

The chapter concludes with an incomplete definition of seiche waves that completely ignores the possibility of tectonic origins for them. We’re then given a watered-down dominionist message that doesn’t actually mention dominion or God.

They’ll be on about groundwater in the next chapter. Get ready to see how creationists can be 140 trillion times wrong.

No, I’m not exaggerating.

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Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XIV: Wherein We Row Our Creationist Boat Gently Down the Streams

4 thoughts on “Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XIV: Wherein We Row Our Creationist Boat Gently Down the Streams

  1. 1

    And as we say farewell to the aforementioned vasty deep, I am minded of that old Scottish song:

    My bonny lies over the ocean,
    My bonny lies over the sea.
    He can’t be trusted oceanographically.
    The whatsit al-ways lies to me!

  2. 2

    OP: “Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that incised meanders are a problem for Flood geology, could it?”

    I don’t see how anything is a problem for YECs. God can do anything and he works in mysterious ways. “It’s a miracle!” solves every problem.
    There’s no way we can ever poke a hole in “God did it”, not for the YECs anyway, but it is interesting to see the kinds of things they are trying to teach their kids. Please keep posting these evaluations, I’m learning a lot of geology by following your links.

  3. 3

    … no tectonic lake is older than about 5500 years …

    Do these guys use the fundie-standard ~6K-y-o Earth model?

    Because adding up the ages & begats of Genesis leads to putting the Big Flood at well over 1,000 years after planetary creation – e.g., Methuselah, described as living to 969, reportedly died in the year of (if not directly due to) the 40 Days’ Rain. This would mean, to anyone trying to read the story literally and accept that 5.5 kiloyear number, that ol’ Methie existed >400 years before even the first day of Light, which must’ve gotten awfully boring.

  4. 4

    I like how the creationists are so obsessed with the flood. It only takes a few pages in the earlier parts of the Bible, and barely gets a mention anywhere else. It doesn’t even make sense internally, and it rather contradicts John 3:16. It explains nothing about the world, and it doesn’t make sense in the modern world. If they’d just shrug it off as an allegory, they’d do better.

    One of my recreations is poling my canoe upstream. It is a good way to learn about rivers and flows. So is this post. The creationist crap, not at all.

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