The Christianist authors of Earth Science 4th Edition, after achieving a crescendo of crackpottery, manage to dial it back down to nearly knowledgeable as they explain Short-Term Climate Change. They describe things like ENSO and La Niña in terms befitting a science text. But you can see them slipping when they devote a section to volcanism. All that ash! It cools the world!
Um. Actually. Ash is just a part of what causes cooling due to volcanic eruptions. But BJU writers can’t be bothered with little things like sulfur dioxide. They also claim forest fires and “large regional dust storms” can cool the climate like volcanoes. Forest fires in Northern latitudes may cool it a bit, but not because of ash – it’s because all those lovely dark green conifers are gone, which means snow’s free to reflect the sun’s heat, and it’s not like that’s going to reverse the upward trend in warming. If an area hasn’t got snow, even that bit of cooling is unlikely. And, of course, burning trees releases bunches o’ carbon, which ultimately leads to more warming. As for dust storms, sure, those dust clouds can reduce temps – but that’s neglecting the winds that, in some regions, bring warm air right back in. And if increased dust starts landing on snow, you get an increase in solar radiation absorption, and you’ve warmed stuff right up again. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-E: Wherein there is a Climate of Jeer”
Fucking magnets, how do creationists think they work? We’re about to find out! Join me as we embark upon Science of the Physical Creation’s Chapter 15: Electrostatics and Magnetism. Hoo-boy!
They begin with a quote about
Job 37:3: He directeth… his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
In context, the meaning is rather different. It’s not just lightning that God is directing: it’s his voice. This is Elihu telling Job how awesome and powerful God is, after God has completely fucked up Job’s life over a bet with Satan. For shame, SPC authors, muddying the clear meaning of God’s Word!
The SPC writers introduce the chapter’s subject matter by talking a bit about electrostatic phenomena like lightning and St. Elmo’s Fire. As always, I about choke myself to death laughing when creationists bring up superstition: it’s pretty rich to hear them spout off about how other people are just sooo superstitious, and immediately follow up with something like this: Continue reading “(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXXIX: Wherein We’re Zapped by Creationist Crap”
If you’re one of those wacky people who thinks the opinion of 97% of scientists counts for something, you may want to grab a stick, wrap it in leather or a leather equivalent, and place it between your teeth. One of those mouth guards for people who grind their teeth in their sleep would also work. A stress ball would help avoid damage caused by clenching hands. If you’re prone to pounding surfaces when frustrated to the point of apoplexy, please acquire a pillow or punching bag before continuing. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-d: Wherein there is a Climate of Sneer”
Having made a complete hash of telling us the old-earth geologist’s story, the Earth Science Fourth Edition authors now proceed to tell us what the young-earth story is. It’s a very good thing I’m not in a classroom reading this book right now, because I’d be falling out of my chair laughing. Watching adults somberly relate the details of an ancient myth as Totally Tru Science Facts™ is too hilarious.
I mean, they even have this timeline of these old Bible men. They have actually printed this thing in all seriousness in a science textbook. I am dying.
They talk about how “The Bible documents” God creating the earth and then it was so good, but then humans sinned, and God got so mad that he fucked everyone and everything’s shit up, including animals and “also the physical earth.” Then all the good times were gone, and it was “a struggle to simply survive in a world of weeds, thorns, and probably increasingly dangerous animals.” Continue reading “(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXXVIII: Wherein We Are Deluged with Nonsense”
The Science of the Physical Creation folks, having given us a rainbow of God nonsense, now buckle down to tackle relativity. Are you excited? I’m excited.
They do just fine explaining the basics. It’s not easy to unpack the oddness of relativity in a few short pages, but they do their best, including a helpful (and rather cute) cartoon:
I was really hoping they’d tackle the speed of light in a young universe problem. See, in a young universe, we shouldn’t be seeing objects beyond around 10,000 light years (give or take a few millennia because God couldn’t be arsed to write down the actual date of creation). But we can spot galaxies and quasars and such that are billions of years old. Some of them we’ve even seen out to thirteen billion years and beyond. Everything we’ve found in the cosmos points to a very old universe indeed.
Young earth creationists have to explain that science away. Some of them claim the speed of light is slowing (c-decay). Unfortunately for them, the length of the year hasn’t changed since ancient times, as it would have if the speed of light was slowing. Even worse, if the speed of light was really that much faster in the past, “the earth would have melted during the creation week as a result of the extremely rapid radioactive decay.”
Oops. Continue reading “(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXXVII: Wherein It’s All Relativity”
Onward, Christianist weather! We’re warming up with some global warming talk today. While SPC was content to devote a mere text box to climate change, basically blowing raspberries at anyone who gives a shit about it and waving off dramatic increases in greenhouse gas emissions by proclaiming hey, plants love carbon dioxide!, BJU’s Earth Science 4th Edition isn’t satisfied with blurting a few facts and moving on. No, there’s a whole chapter on the subject. And, people, they are the totes reasonable ones. They’re right in the middle. Look: they sneer at both sides!
They begin with a very telling couplet of sentences: Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IVc: Wherein the Climate Heats Up”
After the desert of Science of the Physical Creation, I’m hoping Earth Science Fourth Edition doesn’t let me down. When I read Christianist textbooks, I expect them to incorporate a bit more God into the instruction, but it seems like no one wants to admit that they think God controls the weather. Sad.
And the beginning of ES4’s chapter on Weather is positively crunchy. It’s all about wind as an alternative to fossil fuels. The authors insist we come up with better, cleaner solutions to humanity’s energy needs. Even the cross-box doesn’t gabble about God – it just wants us to consider the benefits and drawbacks of wind power. That’s… positively sensible.
Oy. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Creationist Earth Science Education IVb: Wherein I Forecast a Crisis of Faith”
We’ve just heard Earth Science 4th Edition’s rather inaccurate ideas about what they think we old earthers think about geologic history. Now they’re going to tell us what they think is wrong with our models. Buckle in, kids. It’s going to be rough.
Their intro explains the problem they have with getting their heads around this stuff.
The secular, deep-time story of Earth’s history up to this point can be summed up as being in disorder and lacking direction. The random events and motions of planetesimal collisions, drifting tectonic plates, and the ebb and flow of glaciers are natural and necessary to make their model fit the evidence.
See, they just can’t stand the idea of things just happening. Without a supreme head honcho telling everything what to do, all they can see is a frenetic jumble of events all happening willy-nilly. They don’t see the magnificent, undirected story unfolding. They don’t see the stately order of things progressing according to natural laws, everything happening according to the nature of the universe. On the scale of deep time, I see the universe and solar system and our beautiful planet following a self-choreographed routine.
And we know the broad reasons why stars and planets form and how they evolve. The motions the ES4 writers are talking about when it comes to moving plates and ebbing and flowing glaciers aren’t quite as random as they think. Shit doesn’t happen haphazardly. There’s a certain order to the chaos, patterns to the randomness, and we’re learning more about the laws driving those motions all the time.
I don’t even know how to address their other points. They try to debunk the lines of evidence we have for plate tectonics, such as paleomagnetism, fossils, and matching strata, but they’re so very terribly wrong that it would take pages to debunk every paragraph. And they’re just blurting creationist talking points that have already been debunked a thousand times. So no, I’m not going to reinvent the damn wheel. I’ll make a list of their claims and mostly just link you to where other folks have already handily disproved them. Continue reading “(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXXVI: Wherein Literally Everything is Wrong”
Have I told you lately that A Beka’s Science of the Physical Creation’s graphics are a touch tacky? They are. At the start of the “Earth’s Weather” chapter, there’s a grainy picture of a hurricane from space, and across the bottom are three photos that rather clash. There’s an iceberg inside a snowflake shape, a wispy waterfall surrounded by verdant green inside a raindrop shape, and something like a very red-orange Monument Valley inside a sunburst shape. This is the kind of stuff people with stunted imaginations do when they get their hands on a graphic design program.
At least they didn’t have Jesus up there making all that weather stuff happen. Small mercies, amirite?
Aside from a questionable definition of climate (which implies the climate of a place doesn’t change), the first bits aren’t bad. At least there’s no god-talk. We have to wait until they’ve finished with evaporation before we get any of that. Then we learn how “God designed our bodies” to use evaporation to keep ourselves at the right temperature. What, you didn’t think evilution did that, did you? Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IVa: Wherein We Enjoy Nearly-Godless Weather”
Can anything in Science of the Physical Creation’s unit on physics top their claim that our perception of color is a function of our souls? We can only hope.
(Content note: mentions of abuse and abusive behavior)
Unfortunately for connoisseurs of fine creationist crock, there are no shenanigans in the early bit of the next section, where they talk about the way light behaves. They do a really fine job explaining reflection. And we learn that paper doesn’t act like a mirror even though it reflects most of the light striking it because its roughness scatters the rays. Pretty neato! As I’ve said before, they’re super good at explaining science when they’re not indulging in creationist nonsense.
When it comes to refraction, they try a bit too hard to simplify: they say that “refracted light waves always bend toward the medium that slows them down.” But it’s more accurate to describe light as bending toward or away from the normal. Otherwise, they do a reasonable job explaining refraction, although with an inordinate focus on rainbows. We find out why when we reach the end: Continue reading “(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXXV: Wherein We Taste the Rainbow of Inanity”