Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Bad logic and even worse “science”

noahRecently, I’ve seen the usual flood myth claims on one more theist blog. This has been done to death but I do love the subject since I’m a geologist. 

The initial blog post was the usual claim by a theist that atheists don’t have enough proof for their position and at best they “really” should be agnostics. This is the usual tactic to cling to their god by implicitly claiming “But you can’t prove my god doesn’t exist, so I can still make believe he does.”  Alas for the theist who make this claim, they forget that their god has very defined characteristics and those characteristics can be analyzed and be tested by the evidence supporting or contradicting them.  The theist in question has insisted that he doesn’t need to define this god, and it’s simply “logic” that argues that agnosticism is the right position.  He invokes the argument from ignorance: 

1.There is no evidence against p.
2. Therefore, p.
3.There is no evidence for p.
4.Therefore, not-p. 

and has accused me of that, but again forgets that there is not this overwhelming ignorance he would hope for; we have plenty of positive evidence against the claims of his religion and his bible.  If there is no evidence for a magical flood, then there is no reason to think that there was one. If there is no evidence for a God, or Santa Clause, then there is no reason to think there is one.  Could there be a probability of something undefined hiding under a rock on Alpha Centauri and that be the Christian god?  No, not if the Christian god is as claimed by the bible and Christians. Logic is a powerful tool but it isn’t perfect. Unfortunately, many Christians find it’s their last hope in finding a gap for their god but don’t understand that. 

There is evidence for geology showing that this flood did not occur ever and could not have.  One has to invoke magic to somehow evaporate all of the evidence that this god did anything ever.  That’s worth a chuckle but that’s all.  One may as well invoke “Last Thursdayism” where we only *think* we remember our lives and some god made us up last Thursday.

(This Christian is also sure that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.  He claims he needs no “evidence” but has “good reasons” to be sure about this.  Of course, I have yet to see the “good reasons”.  It’s just more special pleading.)  

Another Christian has claimed that SCIENCE supports his religion and makes some very typical and very willfully ignorant claims.  He claims that genetics “proves” that there was a population bottleneck and his flood is the source.  First, it is always a treat to see a theist who wants to invoke science and the scientific method when they think that it supports their religious claims.  They demonstrate their hypocrisy when they decide that some science is just peachy but when a bit of that science shows their religion’s claims to be wrong, they will do their best to ignore it.  Quite a bit of trying to have their cake and eat it too goes on in creationist nonsense.  They depend on willful ignorance, outright lies, attacking strawmen created from superseded ideas, etc.  It’s really quite a shame.  AT this point, I cannot accept Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.  In this age of information, it takes real effort to be this ignorant.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Bad logic and even worse “science””

What the Boss Likes – More Geology Pron

I’m mildly addicted to watching geology shows on cable tv. My husband calls it my geology pron and the poor dear has been subjected to more of it than any one should be who doesn’t share an unnatural love of rocks.  

If you share that malady, here are some very nice websites/blogs:

Photovolcanica  it has penguins too! 

Highly Allochthonous

The Accretionary Wedge

Marli Miller Photography – Geology photos



What the Boss Likes – Pennsylvania Geology

Finally some geology.  I had been wanted to do a bit about the spectacular geology in Pennsylvania for a while now and finally got around to taking my camera long to take shots of a very nice road cut.  Of course, after scrambling up a embankment to get some photos, I find that Google Maps street view has better ones, in large part, than I was able to take with my cheap digital camera. Sigh.   This is along US 322 on the westbound side, just west of the Arch Rock Road exit. (photos were taken from the eastbound side) This was created a few years back when the bottle neck along the Juniata (note, not “Juanita” like the folks on the Weather Channel like to call it) River was opened up with a big road replacement project.  Thank you PennDOT, you took a 1/2 hour off my trip time when I go visit my folks.

Central PA is along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, and this particular bit is in the Ridge and Valley province of the mountains.  At one point, these mountains were as high as the Rockies, formed during various orogenies (aka mountain building events), the latest one being the Alleghenian/Applachian orogeny.  But since physics keeps on working and they were formed a very long time ago, they have eroded down, filling their valleys with sediment.  Much of this sediment is interlayered with coal and has natural gas/petroleum (including that Marcellus gas that’s often in the news) thanks to the burying of swamps from ancient river deltas. What you can see here are their roots, the evidence that plate tectonics exists, and the evidence that no ridiculous stories about a magical flood are true.  I could do a whole post on what’s wrong with the creationist claims but it’s been done better by others, especially potholer54’s videos:  Noah’s Flood Debunked Part 1 and Noah’s Flood Debunked Part 2 .  However, if anyone wants their particular questions answered by me, please ask and I’ll do my best.     

Also, if you can and haven’t already, give money to the Wikipedia Foundation to keep it going. I donate and I link to it a lot.

In the images, there are folds, syncline and anticline, as well as ductile folding (folding without breakage) and brittle folding (where it does break).  Those aren’t as clear as they could be but very striking if you are right there (or have a better camera than mine…).  

Looking westbound. US 322
A longer shot

Here’s the Google Maps street level images.  Make sure to look up and down the exposure to see it all.,-77.439065&spn=0.000008,0.004801&t=m&z=18&layer=c&cbll=40.609171,-77.439165&panoid=TxbVvLok_BF2fZZ8OBA3HQ&cbp=12,30.53,,0,0