Category Archives: Science

Earthquakes Are Caused by Sin

This is about a long article at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. The title is Why Do Some US Earthquakes Occur in Unexpected Places?

It was written by Andrew Snelling, described as “Geologist, Speaker, Author, Researcher, Editor-in-chief of Answers Research Journal.” They say he’s AIG’s director of research. Very impressive! AIG’s biography page on him on him says his PhD is in Geology from the University of Sydney, in Australia. We’ll give you some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

Snelling begins by describing some earthquakes that occurred in unexpected places, like Virginia, Arkansas, and Missouri, after which he asks:

Why would the Southeastern USA experience such a devastating earthquake, a region that sits snugly in the middle of a tectonic plate? The ground shaking usually happens in areas that rest on the edges of tectonic plates, such as in California.

Then he devotes several paragraphs to the explanations given by researchers, and says:

The research team created computer models indicating that former plate boundaries may stay hidden deep beneath the earth’s surface. They claim that these supposedly multi-million-year-old structures, situated at sites away from existing plate boundaries, may trigger changes in the structure and properties at the earth’s surface in the interior regions of continents.

But that’s all nonsense to Snelling. He gives us the answer from creation science:

If this super-computer modeling by the University of Toronto’s research team is technically robust and represents reality, then what they are actually advocating are the lingering after-effects of the biblical global Flood cataclysm that occurred only about 4,300 years ago. Of course, they do not recognize that. Nonetheless, the past geological events that have left their scars, which now affect continuing plate motions and thus generate earthquakes, occurred during the biblical global Flood cataclysm.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It gets even better:

[I]n the biblical framework of earth history it is likely that a supercontinent was formed by God on Day Three of the Creation Week about 6,000 years ago. We are told in Genesis 1:9–10 that God commanded the waters that globally covered the earth on Days One and Two to be gathered into one place in order to let the dry land appear. And it was so. Thus if the waters were in one place which God called seas, then the dry land was also likely in one place, that is, a supercontinent.

Are you following this? The Earth had only one continent until the Flood. Snelling continues:

Then that supercontinent and the pre-Flood ocean floor are believed to have broken apart into tectonic crustal plates at the start of the global Flood cataclysm about 4,300 years ago, when the “fountains of the great deep” were all broken up [scripture reference]. This set those plates into rapid motion (brisk walking pace) across the earth’s surface. … As the Flood ended, the plate motions decelerated rapidly.

Fascinating! Let’s read on:

So the slow motions (rate of fingernail growth) between the plates we still detect today are the residual effects of the global Flood cataclysm. Any strain that builds up within the plates will result in fault movements within these deep scars which generate devastating earthquakes [like the ones described above].

Snelling’s final paragraph is titled The Lesson? This is the lesson you’re supposed to learn:

We are still suffering from the after-effects of God’s global cataclysmic Flood judgment on a wicked mankind and an earth filled with violence. Thus when devastating earthquakes occur today, they are meant to remind us of the consequences of man’s sinful rebellion against our Holy Creator God. This should drive us to cry out to Him in repentance, seeking His grace to save us, just as God saved Noah and his Ark animal cargo when the earth was engulfed in the catastrophic upheaval of the Flood.

Now you know what causes earthquakes. It’s Adam & Eve’s fault — and yours too, wicked Darwinist that you are. Repent!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Klinghoffer: We’re Special, Really Special!

The Discovery Institute — which always claims to be a science outfit — is once again insisting that the universe was created just for us. The new post at their creationist blog is Harvard Astronomer: “We Seem to Be Cosmically Special, Perhaps Even Unique”, written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Writing in the Washington Post, Harvard astronomer Howard Smith forcefully blunts Stephen Hawking’s assertion that “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet.” Of course, it’s not only Dr. Hawking who says as much — denying human exceptionalism is close to universal orthodoxy among the socio-academic demographic he occupies. Carl Sagan put the same view a little more mildly: “We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star.”

This is Smith’s article: Humanity is cosmically special. Here’s how we know, which already has attracted 300 comments. He’s described as “a lecturer in the Harvard University Department of Astronomy and a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.” Smith’s article says:

There was a time, back when astronomy put Earth at the center of the universe, that we thought we were special. But after Copernicus kicked Earth off its pedestal, we decided we were cosmically inconsequential, partly because the universe is vast and about the same everywhere. … An objective look, however, at just two of the most dramatic discoveries of astronomy — big bang cosmology and planets around other stars (exoplanets) — suggests the opposite. We seem to be cosmically special, perhaps even unique — at least as far as we are likely to know for eons.

Smith’s “objective” conclusion seems a bit excessive, but he attempts to support it by mentioning the Anthropic principle, a controversial concept, after which he declares:

The universe, far from being a collection of random accidents, appears to be stupendously perfect and fine-tuned for life.

[*Groan*] It shouldn’t surprise us that everything we discover about the universe is consistent with our existence — were it otherwise we wouldn’t exist. But it doesn’t follow that the universe was designed for the purpose of our existence. If it were true that the universe was created to support life, then its appearance would be inevitable throughout the universe, wherever congenial conditions existed, and it would require no additional activity from an intelligent designer. Smith also mentions the discovery of thousands of extra-solar planets, and because most are apparently unsuited for life, he also spins that into an argument for our unique status:

For all intents and purposes, we could be alone in our cosmic neighborhood, and if we expand the volume of our search we will have to wait even longer to find out. Life might be common in the very distant universe — or it might not be — and we are unlikely to know. We are probably rare — and it seems likely we will be alone for eons. This is the second piece of new evidence that we are not ordinary.

Okay, that’s Smith’s opinion. Klinghoffer gleefully provides extensive quotes from Smith, after which he tells us:

Atheists aren’t having any of it. At Why Evolution Is True, biologist Jerry Coyne hits back, complaining that Smith doesn’t confess right up front that he is in fact, as Smith himself has written elsewhere, an observant Jew. Coyne frets that Smith is a “religious Jew who spends his time reconciling science with the mystical tenets of the Kaballah.”

Coyne’s reference to Smith’s religion is a small part of his article, which does a good job of dismissing Smith’s views on scientific grounds. Klinghoffer doesn’t dwell on that part of Coyne’s article, of course. Instead, his Discoveroid post says:

If Smith thought that scientific evidence confirms his religious views in all their details, he could have written that, though it would have provided an even easier excuse to dismiss him. Or perhaps, more reasonably, he agrees with ID advocates that science takes you so far and no farther, leading only to the minimal conclusion that life bears evidence of design.

Although Klinghoffer admits that it’s “unclear” whether Smith agrees with the Discoveroids to that extent, he ends his post with this:

Smith does, however, say this: “Scientists have been admirably honest about admitting ignorance, and, it seems to me, offer a lesson in humility to theologians: we do not know it all, regardless of our Scriptures … or our egos.” [Ellipsis in the original.]

So we’re left with a bit of a muddle. Smith obviously has a tendency to see supernatural implications in what astronomers have discovered; but at the same time, he acknowledges that we have a lot more to learn. Klinghoffer already knows all he needs to know, and he attempts to take Smith where he clearly doesn’t go, and adopts him as a potential Discoveroid fellow-traveler. We’ll leave it to Smith to decide if he wants to make that leap, but we suspect that, albeit a theist, he’ll decline the opportunity.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationists React to Possible Physics Discovery

There’s more weird science in the news. This time it involves the so-called EmDrive. Wikipedia has an article on the concept: RF resonant cavity thruster, which says:

This would be a type of reactionless drive, providing thrust from electricity without consuming a propellant. This appears to violate well-established laws of physics, such as the conservation of momentum; therefore most scientists believe such thrusters to be impossible. Many physicists have labeled them as “pseudoscience” Despite this, inventors try to discover such drives, because if they exist they could support long voyages in space, where propellant is a primary limiting factor. Roger Shawyer published a design with a tapered conical cavity, which he called the EmDrive.

The EmDrive has been much in the news lately. PhysOrg had an article on it a couple of weeks ago: Was physics really violated by EM drive in ‘leaked’ NASA paper? They say:

Ever since NASA announced that they had created a prototype of the controversial Radio Frequency Resonant Cavity Thruster (aka. the EM Drive), any and all reported results have been the subject of controversy. And with most of the announcements taking the form of “leaks” and rumors, all reported developments have been naturally treated with skepticism.

Is it EmDrive or EM Drive? PhysOrg uses the latter. NASA claims they actually made such a thing? Wow! PhysOrg then tells us:

Given the advantages of the EM Drive, it is understandable that people want to see it work. Theoretically, these include the ability to generate enough thrust to fly to the Moon in just four hours, to Mars in 70 days, and to Pluto in 18 months, and the ability to do it all without the need for propellant. Unfortunately, the drive system is based on principles that violate the Conservation of Momentum law.

That does seem to be a problem. PhysOrg continues:

The [NASA] report, titled Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum, was apparently leaked in early November. It’s lead author is predictably Harold White, the Advanced Propulsion Team Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate and the Principal Investigator for NASA’s Eagleworks lab.

The PhysOrg article is a long one, which you may want to read for yourself. It ends with this:

But of course, this is all assuming that the “leaked” paper is genuine. Until NASA can confirm that these results are indeed real, the EM Drive will be stuck in controversy limbo.

Much suspense. Much at stake. Meanwhile, the creationists have become interested. Look what we found at the website of Pat Robertson’s Christian News Network, which “provides up-to-date news and information affecting the body of Christ worldwide from an uncompromising Biblical worldview.” Their headline is NASA Research Findings Stun Scientists, Seemingly Defy Important Law of Physics. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

NASA has published findings that seem to defy Newton’s third law of motion, thus casting doubt on a foundational premise of modern physics and astonishing the scientific community.

Then they describe what the controversy is all about, as best they can. We’ll skip that in order to get to the good stuff. Here’s the warm-up:

NASA’s physics-defying discovery underscores the point that scientific knowledge — even well-established scientific laws such as Newton’s laws of motion — is subject to change. Even the expression “scientifically proven” is a contradiction in terms, writes physicist Carlo Rovelli. “There’s nothing that is scientifically proven. The core of science is the deep awareness that we have wrong ideas, we have prejudices. We have ingrained prejudices,” Rovelli wrote in a 2014 piece published by “New Republic.

Okay, having established that scientists are a bunch of clowns who are just wildly guessing, here comes the creationist reaction:

In response to Rovelli’s column, Elizabeth Mitchell [the creationist gynocologist] with Answers in Genesis proposed that the Bible is the only unfailingly true account of our origins — a reliable “yardstick by which to assess ideas relevant to the unobservable past.”

“If only all scientists wishing to explain our origins would allow their vision to include an understanding that the physical universe was brought into being by a Creator God, a God who has left us an eyewitness account of our origins and the early history of the earth in Genesis, a history that is consistent with the observable facts of science,” she wrote in an online article published on the Answers in Genesis website.

They provide a link to Mitchell’s AIG article, but we’ve left that out. Anyway, that’s how creationists deal with science questions. In response to what may (or may not) be an incredible breakthrough leading to a much-needed new propulsion system for spacecraft, the Christian News Network cites an article from Hambo’s website explaining how much better the bible is than ever-changing science.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Scientists Claim Anything Is Possible

We may need to create a new category for posts about weird science. Look what we found this morning: Time travellers could use parallel dimensions to visit the past, scientists claim. It appears in The Sun, a tabloid newspaper published in London. They have an active comments section. Their journalistic standards must be very high, because their website declares:

We’re always after good stories and we pay big money for them every day. Celebrity, a human interest story, scandal or anything else that you think the good people of Britain would want to read about.

Okay, you’ve got the general idea. We’ll give you some excerpts from their “news,” with bold font added by us for emphasis. But first, take a look at their sub-title:

Physicists reveal sensational findings which could allow science fiction dreams to become reality.

Wowie — sensational findings! The news story says:

There are multiple timelines playing out in parallel universes, according to a team of researchers. The sensational claim was made by a team of physicists, who believe that the parallel universes can all affect one another.

Fascinating, as Spock would say. After that they tell us:

Professor Howard Wiseman and Dr Michael Hall, from Griffith University’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics, claim that the idea of parallel universes is more than just science fiction. Fellow researcher Dr Dirk-Andre Deckert, from the University of California, helped further the researchers’ theory, which goes against almost all conventional understanding of space and time.

We looked up Howard M. Wiseman. Wikipedia says:

Howard Mark Wiseman (born 19 June 1968) is a theoretical quantum physicist notable for his work on quantum feedback control, quantum measurements, quantum information, open quantum systems, the many interacting worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, and other fundamental issues in quantum mechanics

As we’ve remarked before, too much exposure to quantum mechanics can do strange things to people. The Sun continues:

If there really are multiple, interacting universes, then it would be possible for time travellers to visit Earth, and every imaginable scenario would be played out in a parallel universe at some point.

That means there’s a universe out there, somewhere, where your Curmudgeon is a creationist kangaroo. Let’s read on:

Professor Wiseman said: “The idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics has been around since 1957. In the well-known ‘Many-Worlds Interpretation’, each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made. All possibilities are therefore realised – in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonised by the Portuguese.”

Wiseman must be anticipating some opposition, because then they quote him saying:

But critics question the reality of these other universes, since they do not influence our universe at all. On this score, our ‘Many Interacting Worlds’ approach is completely different, as its name implies.

Egad — other universes influence ours! Here’s more

According to the theory, our universe is just one of many enormous worlds, with some identical to our reality and others completely different. [Another newspaper] reports that the worlds are all real, and all on the same timeline, but interact when they essentially bump into each other.

Sounds reasonable. And now we come to the end:

Dr Hall [that’s Dr Michael Hall] believes that the group’s sensational theory fits with current scientific understanding, offering a new perspective rather than rewriting the physics rule book completely.

Okay, dear reader. We didn’t see anything about the promised “sensational findings,” nor anything that could conceivably test this astonishing “theory,” but quantum mechanics isn’t your Curmudgeon’s specialty — at least not in this universe — so we’ll keep an open mind. Let us know what you think.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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