After all ES4’s introductory nonsense about operational vs. historical geology, it’s nearly a relief to get into a discussion of the earth’s structure. However, seeing all seismic waves defined as sound waves rather curbs any enthusiasm: they’re their own things, people, even if p waves share sound wave characteristics.
It’s also not pleasant when we discover they think seismic waves slow down at the Moho. They, in actual fact, speed up, from about 6 kilometers per second to about 8 kilometers per second. These aren’t negative numbers, BJU people. Larger is faster, just like on your speedometer. Sheesh. I’m beginning to think you know nothing of seismic waves. (Also, you’ve made the average crustal thickness too thick by about 20 kilometers, FYI.)
They do a ho-hum job explaining matters from the asthenosphere to the core, skimming details or omitting them altogether in a way that makes me suspect they have little idea what they’re talking about. Then, when we reach the core, it just gets weird. Despite the fairly firm grasp we’ve got on the properties of it, they act as if geologists just throw up their hands and exclaim, “Can’t nobody know what that’s like!” Sure, it’s hard to imagine the immense temperatures and pressures down there, but that’s what science is for. Do a search on Google Scholar, and you’ll find plenty of papers talking about it. There are lots of lines of evidence that have led to our current knowledge of what the core is like, and although there are many blanks to fill in, the outline is pretty solid. So all this “Many geologists don’t even try to guess what the core material is like” and “We cannot imagine” and “geologists believe” the outer core is liquid and the inner is solid – all that’s just the creationist way of throwing out massive chaff in hopes of confusing their students. What the students will find, if they look beyond their appalling education, is that we do try and can imagine and are, actually, pretty damned sure we know a thing or two about the earth’s core.
Wondering why creationists are so desperate to deny what we know? Me, too! The clue is in the following paragraph:
It’s possible that the outer core at least partially creates the earth’s [sic] magnetic field. Creationary physicists, though, believe that the field could also come from other portions of the earth’s interior.
Ah-hah. They dislike the dynamo. It shoots their Earth’s-young-cuz-the-magnetic-field-is-declining argument right to shit. Okay, then, sparky: what’s your model? Never given. Okay, then. Points for sneakiness, but overall science fail.
I do have to pause here and give kudos for the little info-box that advises us to “Note that the mantle’s dense, hot, plastic-like solid rock is not the same thing as the liquid molten rock spewed out by volcanoes.” Good to have that bit of truth reinforced. Things down there are a lot less simple than a lot of school kids imagine.
Next up are natural resources. They do a fine job explaining what is and isn’t one, what’s biological and what isn’t, and the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources. Astoundingly, and contra some Republican politicians, they say that fossil fuels are probably nonrenewable. Looks like a wee bit o’ reality got forced through those thick creationist skulls at some point. Of course, they say “there’s no known natural process that makes more of these resources at present,” leaving plenty of wriggle room for God and a glorious future in which the black gold flows forever.
Most of the subsequent section on resource management sounds awfully hippy-dippy for a Christianist textbook, all on about sustainable yield and recycling and controlling pollution. Aside from the God wants you to have endless babbies! babble, I can get behind most of it. It’s great to see ultra-conservatives acknowledging that we need laws to manage this stuff.
But of course, they end with more of that good Christian arrogance:
Resource management is especially important because of the other part of God’s command to Adam in Genesis 1:28 – to populate the earth. Humans are the most important part of God’s plan for the earth. Humans were created in the image of God, and they declare His glory by being like Him. Some people say the earth’s biggest problem is that there are too many people! If we highly value God, we cannot believe that. God wants our planet to be full of people to wisely enjoy what He has provided for us on this good earth.
Oh, yes. God’s spitting image, they are, and ever-so-humble about being the Big Cheese’s special favorites. And never mind that God oddly failed to create a world that could magically expand to accommodate endless humanity, or that after that Gen. 1:28 command, He got super-pissed at all those bratty little images of himself and drowned all but eight of them. Nope, even though he, posing as his own son, told everybody to leave their families and follow him, he wants y’all to breed like viruses cuz y’all are just that critical to his infinite ego.
A Life-Connection box explains how the world isn’t in perfect balance like God meant it to be because Adam and Eve ate the wrong piece of fruit. So of course animals go extinct all the time! Mostly during the Flood! And God’s like your nasty older brother who promised he wouldn’t destroy your whole room but never said anything about your Barbies. And what if that species you silly environmentalists want to save is in the way of something we want, hrrm??? Yeah, you silly evolutionists think everything’s equal cuz evolution, but ha ha, y’all totally “miss the fact that most present-day species on Earth are relative newcomers. They are simply variations of other similar creatures elsewhere. They are not the unique products of millions of years of evolution.” So why are you crying over them, huh? HUH?
They do allow that, although “extinction is one result of the Fall,” we probably shouldn’t cause “unnecessary extinctions.” And “we can look forward to a future day when God will restore perfect balance and order to His earth, with no death and no extinctions.” (Isa. 11:6-9)
I would at this point just like to remind them of one thing: the last time their holy book sez the earth was perfectly balanced, God only had two humans in his menagerie. And they fucked it all up.