Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doh! Christian's Desperate Attempt to Argue that the world is just a few thousand years old [and therefore God exists]

If humanity has evolved over a period of 1.6 million years, we should be tripping over skeletons, exposing them every time we dig wells, mines, foundations for buildings or grade roads.
We have to use a constant growth rate, not a fluctuating rate, because this is unobserved science and using imagination would be science fiction.

SHOOT: McChlery makes a few laughable statements here. He believes we should be tripping over skeletons because there is a constant growth rate of human beings. He seems to forget that for the last few thousand years human beings bury or incinerate their dead, and that plenty of skeletons are biodegradable, only a handful are fortuitous enough to be preserved in the sort of geological process conducive to fossil making. Of course this 'Prpoganda' motive takes the cake for Reality Avoidance Syndrome.

McChlery makes a few ridiculous claims in his letter, which seem a desperate attempt to 'prove' an age for the Earth that is more comprehensible and thus, according to this psychology, God must exist.
McChlery says, for example: "We have to use a constant growth rate, not a fluctuating rate, because this is unobserved science and using imagination would be science fiction...If humanity has evolved over a period of 1.6 million years, we should be tripping over skeletons..."

The constant growth rate idea is absurd.  In the last two hundred years we've seen our human population numbers rocket.  Prior to this period the numbers of human beings remained, for a limited period, fairly constant. But it has to be said, also, that our species has in the past, faced numerous crisis that has threatened our survival, and we have, in fact, come perilously close to extinction.  As recently as 70 000 years ago it is believed only 2000 human beings were around.  These were in an isolated group in Africa who had to cope were severe drought conditions.  We know this group today as the Bushman of southern Africa.  We know this based on new research carried out at Stanford University [published in the American Journal of Human Genetics]. If you doubt that modern man could have evolved from such a small group, consider how quickly domestic dogs have evolved through human selection from the wolf in their myriad modern forms.

Imagination is actually quite a useful tool.  As Richard Dawkin's has said, a scientist, when dealing with evolution and geological processes that are beyond our direct human experience, is something like a detective arriving at a crime scene after the crime has been committed. We may not have seen something happen directly, but we can use tools to get a clear and accurate idea of what probably happened. We now possess forensic tools [science and scientific technology] that can provide a very clear picture for when the crime happened, who committed it, and how it happened. The analogy for 'crime' here is any mysterious occurence in the fossil record.  Imagination is useful in taking the first step to fitting reality together.  The theory then needs to be bolstered by evidence and the story solidified by the science.

In this case, it helps to imagine how fossils are formed.  Fossilisation is really a very rare process where bodies are preserved thanks to somewhat unusual infusions of geological materials, which act to preserve the original cadaver. More often bodies and skeletons are recycled in nature, so corpses become trees or rocks, someone's toenails may eventually become part of keratin in the quills of a porcupine. We also know that even living bodies recycle organic and inorganic matter, so that over a number of years our entire bodies are effectively replaced through our assimilations with nature.  In death most bodies, given enough time, entirely disappear, even teeth and bones are eroded down to the merest mineral powders.

Meanwhile, rare as fossil processes are, hundreds of thousands of fossils are available, and provide an extensive record for a spectrum of life from the giant lizards, to plants, frogs and fish, to simple molluscs. Tens of thousands of fossils are on display in museums around the world.  Many are in forms very distinct from those we know today.  In the museum in Bloemfontein you can see the precursors to modern Buffalo [with giant hornspans] and Giraffe. It seems that in earlier ages the world was warmer and wetter, allowing for creatures that were often much larger than modern creatures.  The current age seems to be a dry age, which does not seem to support excessively large animal forms.  Australia, the world's driest continent, demonstrates the impact of dryness on life - their largest creature, the Kangaroo, or any other marsupial, are feeble matches Africa's big five and the rest of our antelope.  Australia's predators [like the dingo] are even more modest than Africa's. 

The fossil record demonstrates a world once replete with giant flowers and insects, bat-like birds with giant wingspans, eggs that must have belonged to monsters.  We've found fangs and talons of creatures like sabretooth tigers and Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Recently a T-Rex skeleton was found in Australia for the first time, lending credence to our knowledge that the continents were once fused and then drifted apart.

While the theory is popularly known as Continental Drift, what actually occurred  was a shift in the continents from a single landmass in a process known [and recognised in a scientific consensus] as Plate Tectonics.  The movement of continents has been measured, and compared to the rate our fingernails grow.  Any cursory look at a map, particularly the outline of Eastern South America and the West African coastline shows a curious fit.  Anyone who'd like to suggest the movement of these continents took a few thousand years or worse, were 'created' to coincide with a process, obviously lack much more than an imagination, but a failure to think.  I suppose when you 'want' the world to be younger than it is, you'll use logic in fits and starts, anything to support a cockamamy belief system.
clipped from
I HAVE two nagging suspicions concerning the presentation of our new fossil find at the Cradle of Mankind (“Academic’s son, 9, finds new hominid species”, The Herald, April 9). The first is the revelation of the find was made some 60 days before we host the 19th soccer World Cup, by our deputy president, who is a politician, not a scientist.
If this is a staged propaganda promotion to give our country a tourism boost before the big event, then it is a very unprofessional approach by our paleontologists. To maintain scientific credibility, they have a duty to distance themselves from the commercial world.
Now, if we start with our original three transitional ancestors and double their population 390 times, we end up with a present day human population greater than the number of atoms in the known universe. This is impossible.
We have to use a constant growth rate, not a fluctuating rate, because this is unobserved science and using imagination would be science fiction.
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1 comment:

Debs said...

Nice artilce Nick. Great job!!