Around the Web 9/30/2012

The best ever reply to Ken Ham — Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham wrote “Peter Enns Wants Children to Reject Genesis: (Enns is an Evangelical Old Testament scholar who advocates a figurative Adam and Eve). Peter Enns replied with “Ken Ham Clubs Baby Seals.”

I don’t agree with either of these guys in regards to their interpretation of Genesis, but I appreciate Enns’ wit on this one.

A quote from Enns:

“…any disagreement with [Ken Ham] is de facto a disagreement with the Bible and God himself. You are, therefore, “the enemy.” Gray is not a color on his rhetorical palette.”

Ken Ham has been quite gracious in his interaction with me, but others have not been quite so fortunate.

Rock bacon for sale — There may be a looming bacon shortage  (so good but so bad for you), but there is also a booming market for rocks and minerals in China, including rocks that look like bacon.

Wanted: good cow pies — I’ve written about Ham and bacon, now I want to turn to beef; or at least something to do with cows. Because of the ongoing drought across much of the United States, some locations are experiencing a shortage of Frisbee-quality cow pies: Drought causes shortage in cow chip throw.

Google makes good maps — It starts with good data: How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything. I make and/or use geospatial data every work day, and so I know how critical it is to have the data right.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t think of a way to tie geospatial data into Ham, bacon, or cows.

The YEC “salty seawater” argument — not worth a grain of salt

A common young-Earth creationist (YEC) argument for an Earth that is only 6000 or so years old is the “salty seawater” argument. The salty seawater argument, in its simplest form, states that one should be able to determine a maximum age for the oceans by measuring the rate at which various salts—such as the sodium in sodium chloride; and other metal ions—are entering the oceans and the rate at which they are being removed from the oceans, such as through sea spray, and calculating backwards to a time when there would have been no salt in the ocean.

I have pointed out some of the serious flaws with YEC reasoning on this one in my post Aluminum and the 100-year old oceans. Another Christian blog, Naturalis Historia, recently concluded a four-part series on the topic:

The third article in the series brought up an important point that has not been sufficiently highlighted by either advocates nor opponents of the YEC position, and that is the fact that there is absolutely no empirical evidence that seawater is indeed becoming saltier over time. There are seasonal and longer-term changes in ocean salinity from place to place, but these include both increases and decreases in salinity. In fact, given the current sparsity of salinity data and the three-dimensional and temporal variability of ionic concentrations in the oceans, we do not even precisely know how much of these ions, such as sodium ions, are in the oceans, nor can we tell whether their concentrations are increasing or decreasing.

If we did know the total quantities of various ions in seawater, I suspect we would discover that these values do vary over time. Some would be increasing, and some would be decreasing. For those that are increasing in concentration, it would be unwise to attempt to use them as geochronometers. The present rate of increase in the values would reflect only the current situation, which involves the present layout of the continents, climate, and human influences. There would be little reason to assume that the trends would have been identical a few hundred, a few thousand, or a few million years ago.

If the concentrations of some elements in seawater are found to be decreasing over time, it would be unwise to use these as geochronometers either. Using the same reasoning that YECs have used regarding ocean salinity, these would demonstrate that the ocean was created sometime in the future.

Over time, a number of faulty YEC arguments have drifted onto Answers in Genesis’s Arguments we don’t use page. Usually this has been the result not of careful YEC research, but of outside pressure that has forced them to admit that things like the “moon dust” and “vapor canopy” arguments do not work. The salty seawater argument does not work either, and should be added to this list.

Grace and Peace

Around the web 9/23/2012

Dr. Pepper boycott — Apparently, there are young-Earth creationists who want us to boycott the soft drink Dr. Pepper because of its recent “Evolution of flavor” ad:

At least that is what the news articles want us to believe. There have been plenty of comments on Facebook and blogs from the rank-and-file YECs, but I don’t see any calls from prominent YECs or YEC organizations for a Dr. Pepper boycott. But nothing would surprise me on this one.

Time magazine: Creationists Boycott Dr. Pepper Over “Evolution of Flavor” Facebook Ad. HT: Internet Monk.

Ig Nobel prizes — It is prestigious to win a Nobel prize. It is something different to win an Ig Nobel prize, which is awarded at a parody ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts (home of Harvard and MIT). This year’s Ig Nobel prizes include the following:

  • Medicine — awarded for researchers who have discovered ways to reduce the probability that your large intestine will explode during a colonoscopy.
  • Anatomy — awarded for research that demonstrates that chimpanzees can recognize their friend’s rear ends in photographs.
  • Neuroscience — brain researchers can see brain activity in a dead salmon, which brings into question the reliability of the methods and instruments they use in their work.
  • Psychology — for a study on how leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower look smaller.

Most of the prize winners attend the ceremony, which is not as much of an honor as winning a Nobel prize, but probably a lot more fun.

Yahoo News: Dead Fish, Exploding Bowels Win Spoof Nobel Prizes.

Warp Factor 3, Mr Sulu — If “faster than light speed” warp drives are even possible (not by traveling faster than light, but by distorting, or warping, space-time), most have believed that such travel would require an incredible amount of mass-energy to achieve. But maybe not. Maybe rather than requiring the energy equivalent of the mass of Jupiter (E=mc2) to propel a starship, it may be necessary to only use the mass equivalent of the Voyager space probes. All this by changing the shape of the ring that surrounds the starship. Or something like that.

Yahoo News: Warp Drive May Be More Feasible Than Thought, Scientists Say.

Excuses and plans

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging much lately.

Here are my basic excuses:

  • I have had a very busy summer at work.
  • The family keeps me busy.

These are both good things, but they haven’t left much time for writing. My third excuse is that I’ve had a bad case of writer’s block. I sit down to write and come up with nothing worth publishing on the blog.

I have no shortage of writing ideas, including:

  • The gospel for geoscientists.
  • A series on the pillars of young-Earth creationism, explaining why YEC is not Biblically necessary.
  • A more in-depth review of some of the recent rants written by YECs.
  • A series on Biblical environmentalism.
  • Re-writing what I view as some of my more important blog posts.
  • Geology of Montana.
  • The usual day-to-day tidbits I come across on the internet.

I am considering some changes, such as:

  • Getting my own domain.
  • Creating a greater variety of content, such as videos that could be placed both on The GeoChristian and on video sites such as YouTube.

In all of this, my goal continues to be to glorify my Creator by building up the church and pointing non-believers to the Savior.

Thanks for reading The GeoChristian, and for your prayers.

Grace and Peace