Buckle in, kiddos. Earth Science 4th Edition’s unit on geology is roughly the size of the entirety of Science of the Physical Creation. And you know it’s going to be a rough ride, because it starts with a blurb from Andrew Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “I’m Happy to do Conventional Geology with Billions of Years and No Goddidit so I Can Get Published in Legitimate Journals, Then Use Those Creds to Shit All Over Geology” Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “Lying About Radiometric Dating for Jesus” Snelling. When you quote a lying fraud right up front as a legit scientist, I tend to suspect that the rest of what you’ve got may not, in fact, be legitimate science.
Let’s find out.
Snelling sez, “Creationist scientists have found overwhelming evidences of a recent, global, cataclysmic, biblical Flood.” Um. No. In fact, what’s happened is that, far from presenting an “increasingly irrefutable” case for Young Earth Creationism, what the “Flood geologists” have managed to do is refute their own claims (pdf).
Go read that PDF I linked. You’ll need it. You’ll love it. It provides the warm and fuzzy schadenfreude that will help the rest of this series go down easier. There. Isn’t it lovely to see their “scientific theory” disproved by their own research? Of course it is.
Now make sure you have an empty stomach, because the “Geology – the Earth Speaks” chapter is about to make you toss your cookies.
They begin inducing nausea by crowing about how the Apollo 8 astronauts decided to quote Genesis “in a spirit of unity and human achievement.” Yes, because a few smug white dudes blurting a verse from the dudes’ Christian holy book proves… stuff and things? Rather than prove they were a product of their culture, and Bob Jones University people think shitting Christianity all over the world is totes unifying? M’kay.
They also think that the astronauts’ quoting of poetry from an old book relentlessly pounded into them since childhood proves that scientists are just silly-willies for thinking centuries of astronomy have shown Earth is just one planet among many, orbiting an average star in an average galaxy in the immensity of space. So, I suppose, if they had quoted this (in my opinion, far more apt) verse:
In my glory, I have passed beyond the sky and the great earth…
then we should assume the Hindus were right all along, then?
From this, we’re moved into a section on the “Evidences for Design.” Ready for some new and irrefutable proof that God totes made the world just for lil ol’ us? Keep waiting. It’s all the usual stuff that amounts to a puddle marveling that the hole it’s in fits it exactly.
If you’re interested anyway, here is all their convincing proof:
1. “Earth’s mass and structure.” They talk about how our gravity is just right. They babble about how astronauts have to exercise to prevent weightlessness from weakening their bones and muscles, and how we’d get tired real quick if Earth’s gravity was higher. This is proof of design! Or, y’know, that we evolved to cope with this planet’s particular gravitational pull.
What’s really precious is this: their bullshit about the plates being separate “has influenced the rise of diverse human cultures and has resulted in the development of a vast variety of living things from the original created kinds.” Dude, just give up. That’s evolution. And you forgot the babble about Babel.
2. Earth’s Moon is Ever So Unique. So you claim, creationists, but moons like ours are probably actually really common. And yeah, it causes tides,which we think may be somewhat necessary for complex life, but there are other ways tides can happen. And tides could be a very bad deal for any life around low-mass stars, so maybe not so great for some ETs, eh? As for that gush that the lunar calendar is only possible cuz God: people, please. You’d still be marveling just as hard at the solar calendar, or calendars based on particular extrasolar stars, or anything else that happened to be regular enough to base a useful calendar on. It’s like being amazed that people can use sticks to keep count, and thinking that if there weren’t any sticks, we wouldn’t be able to count things – while ignoring the billion-and-one other ways we’ve got handy to keep track of numbers.
3. “Earth’s Tilt and Rotation.” Again, life can evolve in a variety of environments. We’ve got it good, bu worlds with complex life and very odd axial tilts can be imagined. Not to mention, that tilt and rotation we’ve got? Imparted by the celestial body that created our Moon when it whacked into us. We’ve already established the Moon and its formation are far from unique. The Cosmic Lottery’s doubtless thrown up a few other winners.
4. “Earth’s Liquid Water.” Oh, yes, the ES4 authors are on about water, and they’re sweatily constructing straw-scientists: “Some scientists believe that if a planet has water, then life is possible, but frozen water can’t support life.”
And which scientists, pray tell, are saying ice cubes exclusively will do? Or did you get so hung up on surface water that you forgot about water under ice? Who says complex life is impossible without water, anyway – I mean, aside from you Christianist types? Life without water is totally possible. Here’s an article with a handy table of solvents life could use. Water’s great, yeah, but only people who envision a tiny, human-centric universe thing it’s the only possibility for life.
5. “Earth’s Atmosphere.” Sigh. At this point, I’m getting blue in the face repeating myself. We evolved to breathe a certain atmosphere. Other smart species on this very planet evolved to breathe water. Smart species on other worlds will have evolved to breathe theirs. We rely ultimately on energy from the sun. Life elsewhere will have evolved to rely on their sun, or if their atmosphere is opaque, on other energy sources. Christ, you people have no imagination.
Also, newsflash: even our atmosphere contains poisonous gasses. This “all other atmospheres contain poisonous gasses” crap is just speciest. And incredibly ignorant – there are species right here on earth that find our atmosphere toxic. Speaking of ignorant, so is your little cross-box about how “without nitrogen compounds, the earth could not feed the amount of life that it has.” Life on other planets might find that shit poisonous because they’ve evolved to eat stuff that relies on a completely different type of fertilizer. It’s like people thinking we can’t sweeten shit without high fructose corn syrup, ignoring all the other possible sweeteners around, including the fact that some folks don’t like sweet stuff at all.
6. “Earth’s Magnetic Field.” You destroyed your argument the moment you admitted that “Most of the planets and even some of the moons in the solar system also have strong magnetic fields.” Not unique. Next.
7. “Earth’s Sun.” Oh, hey, looky here! “Stars like the sun make up roughly 10% of all stars.” Not even close to unique. Moving on, then.
8. “Earth’s Place in the Solar System.” At a rough and perhaps low estimate, there are perhaps “a billion trillion Earth-like planets in the Universe.” And you lot think this is the only one that hit the sweet-spot-in-the-solar-system jackpot? Puh-leez. We know gas giants are common as muck, and we have a good idea how solar systems form, and the process is so thoroughly ordinary that I will eat my beloved cat alive if we turn out to be unique in our position. And y’all know I love this homicidal felid fiercely.
9. “Earth’s place in the Milky Way.” Oh, you mean in that one of four spiral arms? Not unique. Not even to this galaxy. And there are abundant spiral galaxies. Everywhere we look, we see spirals. Jesus has really got you blinkered, hasn’t he?
All right, so we’ve seen their proofs, my darlings, but we haven’t heard the clincher yet, so withhold judgement a mo’, m’kay? Here’s their checkmate:
Oh, well, then. Wow. I assume all those goatherders who couldn’t see what Hubble sees were total atheists, then. Wait, they weren’t? Guess I’ll just stand my king back up now, and actually, I’m afraid my pawns have pwned you…
Also, the next time I get called arrogant by a fundie, I’m reading this bit to them:
But as we look at the earth and the heavens from the perspective of Scripture, we see that we play an important, central role. God has made us in His image…. God has also called us to have dominion over the earth. The earth wasn’t just created for life; the earth was created for us – intelligent, spiritual, human life. As we study the earth and wisely use its systems to improve our lives, we are not selfishly abusing it if we intend to declare God’s glory through good and wise dominion. We are fulfilling our God-given calling.
Then they quote Psalm 8 after a bit of pseudo-humble aw-shucksing.
Dear Christianists: you are not allowed to ever call an atheist arrogant again.
This section of the chapter ends with a little light theistic evolution bashing. One of their questions is pretty revealing: “If theistic evolution were true, then where did sin come from and why do we need a Redeemer?” Nice appeal to consequences fallacy, there. And right after saying it’s the theistic evolutionists who have “a real logical dilemma,” too. Jolly good show.
After having read an entire section of gotcha arguments any two-bit science fiction author has already found a zillion ways around, I am no closer to believing in God. I’m also no closer to believing that this textbook has anything to do with science, outside of a few stray facts crammed in. But I am much closer to praying that none of the ES4 authors ever tries their hand at sci-fi writing.
Here’s a bit o’ a bibliography that murders every single argument they made in this section: