The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

He’s not the real Neil

Neil Armstrong never walked on the moon.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer: One short name, one giant headache for Ohio man

July 26, 2009 Posted by | Space Exploration | Leave a comment

Earth Observatory — recent images

Some of my favorite recent images from NASA’s Earth Observatory Image of the Day:


Swirling sea ice near Baffin Island (credit: NASA/Terra/MODIS)


Apollo 11 landing site (credit: NASA/Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter). Images of other Apollo landing sites are at NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter site. The orbiter isn’t in its final orbit, and future images will have better resolution.


Apollo 11 launch pad (credit: NASA/Earth Observing-1 satellite)


Mount Tambora, Indonesia — Site of the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, 1815, which led to the 1816 “Year without a summer.” (Credit: International Space Station/Expedition 20 crew)

Grace and Peace

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Geology | , , | Leave a comment

GM bailout money used to send jobs overseas

The Stillwater Complex in south-central Montana is the only significant US source of platinum and palladium, which are used in automobile catalytic converters. The newly restructured General Motors, with the US government as a primary shareholder, has decided to cancel its platinum-group metals contract with Stillwater Mining Company, opting for cheaper ores from Russia and South Africa.

The mine employs 1300 workers, and is partially owned by Norilsk Nickel of Russia.

The Billings Gazette has had a number of articles on this:

GM rejects senators over Stillwater

GM gets OK to terminate its deal with Stillwater

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Geology, Montana | , , | 1 Comment

More atheist quotes on Dawkins and the new atheists

Perhaps Richard Dawkins and the “new atheists” are to atheism as young-Earth creationists are to Christianity. Some atheists find the new atheists to be rather embarrassing.

Here are some quotes from a Marxist—and from what I can tell, atheist—literary critic by the name of Terry Eagleton:

“Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.”

“He seems to imagine God, if not exactly with a white beard, then at least as some kind of chap.”

“We have it from the mouth of Mr Public Science himself that aside from a few local, temporary hiccups like ecological disasters, famine, ethnic wars and nuclear wastelands, History is perpetually on the up.”

“Dawkins and Hitchens are equally theologically illiterate in their view of religion as a failed attempt to explain the world.”

The quotes are from an article in New Humanist: The Magazine for Free Thinkers. My take on someone who calls them self a “free thinker” is that they are in an intellectual ghetto without knowing it. They have ideas that they cannot entertain in their worldview; they have walls constructed around themselves that they cannot even see.

As a theist, it is easy to pick on the “new atheists” with their shallow reasoning, just as Dawkins picks on easy targets. But it is also necessary, as it is the new atheists who write the best-sellers.

HT: Cranach

I’ve quoted from Eagleton before: The new atheists: “primitive opposition to faith and reason”

Grace and Peace, and keep on believing

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Apologetics | , | 12 Comments

Hail storm

Sorry I don’t have pictures, but we just had the strongest hailstorm I’ve ever seen. We had enough one-inch hail in a short amount of time to make the ground almost completely white, with some accumulations being several inches deep. I didn’t even know there was a thunderstorm, and all of the sudden it sounded like a freight train outside. Fortunately, that sound was hail instead of a tornado, but Wow! What a sight! We stood on our covered balcony and watched it come down until it stung our feet too much.

Here’s the interactive radar page a few minutes after the storm passed through our area in Lakewood, Colorado.


It was fun to watch, but I’m sure there was damage—broken windows, roof damage, and so on. I hope no one was hurt.

Grace and Peace

P.S. There were still some piles of hail around 24 hours later, despite a high temperature in the upper 70s F (about 25 C). An auto dealer about a mile from our home has a big “Hail Sale” sign up.

July 20, 2009 Posted by | Meteorology | , | Leave a comment

Apollo 11 — 40 years later


Neil Armstrong descending the ladder for the first "small step" on the moon. Credit: NASA

I was eight years old when Apollo 11 went to the moon, and was glued to the television every step along the way (with the reporting of Walter Cronkite). I watched the first step on the moon on our black and white television. When there was a break, I ran over to a friend’s house—one who had a color television—only to discover that the pictures were still black and white.

Thankfully, the astronauts had color cameras with them, and were able to bring home better shots:

Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Credit: NASA

Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Credit: NASA

Grace and Peace

July 20, 2009 Posted by | Space Exploration | | 8 Comments

Ten places to take your kids — Yahoo’s list and mine

From Yahoo Travel: 10 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up

Here they are:

  1. The Brooklyn Bridge
  2. The Pacific Coast Highway
  3. Niagara Falls
  4. New Orleans
  5. Devil’s Tower
  6. Mount Rushmore & The Crazy Horse Memorial
  7. Dinosaur Valley (Glen Rose, Texas)
  8. Gettysburg National Park
  9. National Air and Space Museum
  10. The Grand Canyon

My kids have been to Niagara Falls, Devil’s Tower (which is our camping disaster family memory), and Mount Rushmore. I’ve been to the Pacific Coast Highway (my childhood  memories include car sickness), New Orleans (a rather adult-oriented city in my mind; why is it on the kids’ list?), and the National Air and Space Museum.

One doesn’t have to Texas to see great dinosaur footprints. We live just a couple miles from Dinosaur Ridge, which is west of Denver.

My thumbs up to taking the kids to Niagara Falls, Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Grand Canyon (I’ve never been there).

For what its worth, here is my list of ten great places I’ve taken my kids to, in no particular order:

  1. Yellowstone National Park — How in the world did this not make the Yahoo list?
  2. The Eiffel Tower, Paris — I’m sure it beats the Brooklyn Bridge hands down.
  3. Bucharest, Romania — Doesn’t make most people’s list of top spots, but my children have tons of wonderful memories of spending over five years of their childhoods in Romania.
  4. Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Utah — A wonderful family vacation.
  5. Mountain biking near Red Lodge, Montana, and Reutte, Austria — I wish I could do this with the family a whole lot more often.
  6. Great nature museums — The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
  7. Great art museums — The Louvre and Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, and the St. Louis Art Museum.
  8. St. Louis, Missouri — Free zoo, free art museum, Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Cardinals baseball games.
  9. Beartooth Highway, Montana and Wyoming — The most amazing and scenic highway in America.
  10. Whitewater rafting, Arkansas River, Colorado — I did this with two of my kids this summer, plus rappelling.

Places we haven’t been that I’d like to take my kids to:

  1. The Grand Canyon — my dream trip.
  2. Glacier National Park, Montana — I’ve been there, but the kids haven’t.
  3. Ekalaka and Miles City, Montana — I had to go there as a kid, why shouldn’t they? And the museum in Ekalaka has a two-headed calf!

Grace and Peace

P.S. The entire family says, “No, not Miles City and Ekalaka!”

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Misc | , , , | 4 Comments

CRC periodic table, 1924

One more periodic table: from the 1924 CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, which one of my ancestors picked up somewhere.


This periodic table has 79 elements, as opposed to the 117 on the current periodic table, 90 of which are naturally-occurring.

The familiar modern layout of the periodic table (as on my previous post) was developed by Glenn Seaborg in the 1940s as the trans-uranium elements were being created.

Grace and Peace

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry | | 1 Comment

PDF periodic table

Here is a PDF of the periodic table I used when I taught chemistry at Bucharest Christian Academy, updated to include copernicium (element 112, Cp). Feel free to copy and distribute this table.

The GeoChristian Periodic Table of the Elements

Here’s what it looks like:


July 19, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry, Science Education | , | Leave a comment

Element 112 — Copernicium


Copernicium (Cp) is found beneath mercury (Hg) on the periodic table

Element 112, a few atoms of which were created in Germany in 1996, finally has an official name. The new name is copernicium (symbol Cp), in honor of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). “Copernicium” replaces the temporary name ununbium (un=one, un=one, bi=two for 112, symbol Uub) that element 112 has had since it was created.

It is appropriate to refer to such elements as being created rather than discovered, as they do not exist in nature. The copernicium atoms where created by smashing zinc and lead nuclei together at high speeds. The copernicium-227 atoms created by this reaction decayed by alpha decay with a half life of about 240 microseconds.

I can see chemistry students confusing the symbols for Cu (copper) and Cp (copernicium).

Grace and Peace

WebElements — The most popular periodic table on the internet.

Wikipedia Ununbium

BBC News — New element named ‘copernicium’

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry | , | Leave a comment

Republicans for Environmental Protection — 10 critical issues

GreenElephantJim DiPeso of Republicans for Environmental Protection gives 10 Environmental Issues Republicans Should Champion.

  1. Climate change
  2. Energy security
  3. Clean energy
  4. Clean air
  5. Clean water
  6. Mountaintop removal coal mining
  7. Land and water conservation fund
  8. Wilderness
  9. Public lands
  10. Ocean stewardship

A few thoughts:

  • Some of these should be no-brainers, such as clean air, clean water, and ocean stewardship.
  • Several of these involve diversification of our energy portfolio to include more low-carbon energy sources. This diversification will be good for the economy, good for the environment, and good for our national security.
  • Even if you aren’t sure about climate change, you should acknowledge that it makes sense for us to move away from our current use-it-as-if-it-will-last-forever carbon energy economy. Better to plan now and ease into times of decreasing oil supplies than to have a “wait and see” attitude.
  • Some Republicans have a vision for stewardship of the environment, but a good number do not. Sadly, it is often the conservative Christians—heirs of the mandate to tend the garden—who are loudest in their opposition to environmental legislation.

HT: The Evangelical Ecologist

Grace and Peace

July 16, 2009 Posted by | Environment | , | Leave a comment

Updates: job search, Best of The GeoChristian, Dr. Dino

I’m still looking for a job in the Earth sciences or GIS. I have a very strong possibility for an excellent position, but until it’s a sure thing I’ll keep on looking. Click here for a brief resume, or go to Ten reasons why you should hire me.

I’m working on compiling a list of what I think are my best posts, sorted by topic. Click on “Best of the GeoChristian” at the top of this page.

My January post Dr. Dino still in prison is still generating comments; up to 88 right now. (WorldNetDaily—the Christian source for conspiracy theories—reports that Dr. Dino is a victim of government persecution. I don’t think so.)

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Employment, Origins, Young-Earth creationism | , , | 4 Comments

Anak Krakatau

krakFrom today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day: Erupting Volcano Anak Krakatau. You will have to go to APOD to see it in all its glory.

Grace and Peace

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Geology | , , | Leave a comment

J. Gresham Machen on the age of the Earth

John Gresham Machen was a professor at Princeton Seminary in the early 1900s, and was founder of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is best known as a defender of Christian orthodoxy in the face of rising theological liberalism in the churches of his day. Perhaps his most famous book was Christianity and Liberalism, in which he made the case that theological liberalism, with its de-emphasis on human sin and denials of the power of God, is not just a different form of Christianity, but is actually a rival of Christianity.

And he was another fundamentalist who had no problem with an old Earth. Here’s a quote from Machen’s The Christian View of Man:

The meaning of “day” in Gen 1 has been debated in the church at least since the days of Augustine. The literary form of the passage in its relation to other scriptures is important for its interpretation. Responsible Reformed theologians have differed as to whether Gen 1 teaches a young earth or allows for an old earth. While one of these interpretations must be mistaken, we believe that either position can be held by faithful Reformed people.

Grace and Peace

Quote from Todd S. Bordow: The Debate Over The Days of Creation

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Creation in the Bible, Geology, Old-Earth creationism, Origins, Young-Earth creationism | , | 5 Comments

The Lord Will Provide

Unemployment isn’t easy, but as a Christian I have to trust that God is my provider. I have work to do to find a job, but even then it is God who is in ultimate control. I have been comforted and encouraged lately by the song “The Lord Will Provide” by Matthew Smith, which is on his “All I Owe” CD.

Though troubles assail and dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail and foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide,
The scripture assures us, the Lord will provide

The birds without barn or storehouse are fed,
From them let us learn to trust for our bread:
His saints, what is fitting, shall ne’er be denied,
So long as it’s written, the Lord will provide

We may, like the ships, by tempest be tossed
On perilous deeps, but cannot be lost.
Though Satan enrages the wind and the tide,
The promise engages, the Lord will provide.

His call we obey, like Abram of old,
Not knowing our way, but faith makes us bold;
For though we are strangers we have a good Guide,
And trust in all dangers, the Lord will provide

When Satan appears to stop up our path,
And fill us with fears, we triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us, though oft he has tried,
This heart-cheering promise, the Lord will provide

He tells us we’re weak, our hope is in vain,
The good that we seek we ne’er shall obtain,
But when such suggestions our spirits have plied,
This answers all questions, the Lord will provide

No strength of our own, or goodness we claim,
Yet since we have known the Savior’s great name;
In this our strong tower for safety we hide,
The Lord is our power, the Lord will provide

When life sinks apace and death is in view,
This word of his grace shall comfort us through:
No fearing or doubting with Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting the Lord will provide.

I’ve been looking for work for a year, but there is food on the table and the bills are all paid for now.

Grace and Peace

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Christianity | , | 2 Comments

Atheist summer camp

From Albert Mohler: Richard Dawkins Jumps The Shark.

News out of Great Britain indicates that Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world’s most famous living atheist, is setting up a summer camp intended to help children and teenagers adopt atheism. As The Times [London] reports: “Give Richard Dawkins a child for a week’s summer camp and he will try to give you an atheist for life.”

The camp, based upon an American precursor, is to be financially subsidized by Dawkins. According to media reports, all 24 places at the camp have been taken.

As Lois Rogers of The Times reports:

Budding atheists will be given lessons to arm themselves in the ways of rational scepticism. There will be sessions in moral philosophy and evolutionary biology along with more conventional pursuits such as trekking and tug-of-war. There will also be a £10 prize for the child who can disprove the existence of the mythical unicorn.

The last sentence betrays the shallowness of Dawkinsism. The arguments for the existence of God are fundamentally different than the arguments one would use to prove the existence of unicorns. Some would say that Dawkins doesn’t know enough philosophy to see the difference.

Grace and Peace

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Apologetics | , | 1 Comment

Paleontologists visit the Answers in Genesis museum

The Answers in Genesis Creation Museum in Kentucky apparently has a nest of dinosaur eggs on display (here and here).

If you are a regular reader of The GeoChristian, you know that

  1. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God.
  2. I don’t believe much of what Answers in Genesis has to say about Earth history.

These dinosaur eggs are another reason why I don’t think Answers in Genesis has the answers. Think about it, depending on which young-Earth creationist one listens to, these dinosaur nests were deposited either in the middle or towards the end of the flood. This is what would have had to have happened:

  • The flood covers the entire Earth, eroding vast amounts the planet’s crust.
  • These sediments then start to deposit: Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, etc… (not all geologic periods in all places, but always in the same order).
  • When it is time for the Cretaceous sediments to be deposited, there are still a bunch of (pregnant) dinosaurs swimming around.
  • The dinosaurs find places on dry ground to make nests, and there is time for the embryos to develop within the nests, and even to hatch.
  • Then there is time for more dinosaurs to make nests and their babies to hatch, because there are a number of localities where the dinosaur nests occur in multiple layers, sometimes separated by soil horizons.
  • Then there was more flooding and deposition to form the rest of the Cretaceous rocks, and perhaps Cenozoic rocks as well (again, depending on which young-Earth creationist you talk to).

Young-Earth alternatives are:

  1. The dinosaurs laid their eggs underwater.
  2. The nests were somehow transported all together by the flood, and then deposited.
  3. The nests were formed after the flood.

I don’t think any of these alternatives work any better.

Another alternative is that the Bible isn’t attempting to describe geologic history in Genesis 6-8. The Bible doesn’t say anything about dinosaurs (let’s save discussions about behemoth and leviathan for another time), and it doesn’t say that the sedimentary rock record was deposited in the flood.

So what are professional paleontologists to think of Christianity and the Bible when they tour the Creation Museum? Will they be drawn to Christ?

Seventy attendees of last week’s North American Paleontological Convention toured the Creation Museum last week. These professionals can see all the problems with the dinosaur egg display, and a host of other problem exhibits. The intention of the Creation Museum is to defend the truthfulness of the Bible and to point people to Christ. I suspect that many of these paleontologists were more likely to walk out of the museum with their minds hardened against Christianity, thinking that they would have to turn off their brains to become Christians. Will it be because of their atheistic, anti-Christian world views (not all paleontologists are atheists, nor are they all hostile to Christianity), or because the museum presents something that just isn’t true (not required by the Bible, not scientifically accurate) as apologetics?

New York Times: Paleontology and Creationism Meet but Don’t Mesh

With a love for the body of Christ, and for scientists who are turned away from Jesus Christ by bad apologetics.

Grace and Peace

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Apologetics, Biology, Geology, Origins, Young-Earth creationism | , , , | 8 Comments

K-T iridium layer, Raton NM

The first concrete evidence that an asteroid impact ended the Cretaceous Period was the discovery of an iridium-rich layer marking the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary by a team led by Luis Alvarez in the early 1980s. Iridium is very rare in Earth’s crust, but is considerably more abundant in asteroids, leading geologists to conclude that the layer originated from an asteroid impact. One area where this layer is exposed is in several places near Raton, New Mexico. After our trip to Great Sand Dunes National park last week, we took a little side trip so I could see the K-T iridium layer, conveniently marked by a sign west of Raton.

Me with my fingers on the K-T iridium layer

Me with my fingers on the K-T iridium layer

Google map showing the location of the iridium layer exposure:

Grace and Peace

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Geology | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Another fundamentalist for an old Earth

A commenter on this blog recently implied that I am just a “so called Christian” because I accept an old Earth and evolution.

On a young-Earth blog that I have been commenting on, those who accept an old age for the Earth (including myself) have been accused of “listening to the serpent.”

I try to counter with Biblical arguments for an old Earth, and by pointing to conservative Biblical scholars and Christian leaders who either advocate an old Earth, or who at least acknowledge that the concept of an old Earth is at least Biblically possible.

Another Christian leader I’d like to add to the list is R.A. Torrey, the editor of The Fundamentals, the series published from 1910-1915 that gave us the term “fundamentalist.” Torrey stated that it was possible

“to believe thoroughly in the infallibility of the Bible and still be an evolutionist of a certain type.”

Maybe Torrey wasn’t really a Christian. Or perhaps he was just listening to the serpent.

Or maybe the Bible doesn’t really say that the Earth is only 6000 years old or that there are limits on how much species can change.

Grace and Peace

Quote from Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, p. 262.

July 1, 2009 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Biology, Creation in the Bible, Geology, Old-Earth creationism, Origins, Theistic evolution, Young-Earth creationism | , | 10 Comments