Category Archives: Science and learning

Creationism : Crushed by the burden of proof

This is a piece I put together to demonstrate the mountain of evidence creationists, and by that term I mean young Earth creationists in this article, must climb to be credible.

Why are people so dismissive of creationists? It’s for much the same reason people are dismissive of alien abductee claimants, or Illuminati conspiracy theorists; there is absolutely no supporting evidence for it, and absolutely mountains of evidence that blow it out of the water.

I’ve posted this segment several times and have yet to receive one single response to explain any facet of it, when creationism has to explain every last piece to be credible:

If you believe the Genesis account of creation is true, I have bad news for you. It isn’t. I could cite how Lord Kelvin calculated that the Earth had to cool for 20 – 40 million years minimum before it could sustain life, and how Edwin Hubble’s demonstration of the distance of the Andromeda galaxy at around 2 million light years means the Universe is at least that old (since calculated at 13.7 billion years due to the cosmic background microwave radiation) which create problems for the first ‘days’ of creation, light separating from dark etc.

And it doesn’t stop there – we know from geology not only that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, with the first traces of life appearing at 3.5 billion years, and the first complex life around 500 million years, but that the early Earth atmosphere was anoxic (had no free oxygen) and even when chemosynthetic life appeared (using hydrogen sulphide or similar instead of light as an energy source as plants would), producing oxygen as a waste product, free iron immediately bound to it, ensuring that it took eons for free oxygen, and thus ozone, to reach levels in the atmosphere that could support large aerobes like our selves – if we had appeared on the 6th day, we would have died of asphyxiation before the unfiltered UV light killed us.

There is no evidence in the geological record for a global flood, or a recent (i.e. during the time of the human species) mass extinction not attributable to an ice age, but there is lots of evidence for hominid ancestors of increasing similarity to ourselves evolving in Africa and radiating out across the planet in waves – we’ve even discovered archaeic human remains and DNA of non-Homo sapiens sapiens such as Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo floresiensis and the Red Deer people, many of which walked the earth at the same time we did, and may have interbred with our species (in reality, they were different sub-species).

So in short, even if you can explain away evolution, the antiquity of all sorts of ancient life, notably dinosaurs, and radiometric dating, you’ve still got the laws of physics, including those of thermodynamics and the speed of light, to explain.

At some point you have to ask yourself – “Gosh, we have to perform all sorts of mental gymnastics to make our views fit the facts” – and realise that your position is untenable.

Note I have made no arguments against God – that is beyond the remit of science, being untestable, only the Biblical account of creation.

P.S. I forgot about magnetic pole reversal, paleobiology (diatoms and pollen etc), the rain forest they discovered under the ice in Antarctic, cratering on the Moon tied to it being the same age as the Earth, plate tectonics and marine fossils in the Himalayas…..

Better late than never – my second stab at academia

“Astronomy? Is that where you do horoscopes?”

This was one reaction to my announcement that I was going back to school with the Open University.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I did that, becoming a university student for the fourth time, in a bid to start afresh in a new field of science from the one I hold two degrees in, biology, in the hope I end up nestled deep in the bosom of academia where, to be frank, I belong.

Why astronomy? As a child, it was one of the first sciences to capture my imagination. As an adult, I know more than most about it, a level I think of as “Enough to thoroughly ruin most of the sci-fi I watch” – where do these shows get their science advisers from?! It’s certainly a last frontier of science, and that’s a big draw for me.

I’ve tried plenty of ‘real’ jobs. Some people can genuinely do a job they don’t care about because it brings home the bacon. I am not one of them. I’ve been there, done that, and instead of returning with said bacon, ended up only with the T-shirt.

What could I do? Retail? Like the anti-malarial drug chloroquine, there are adverse effects from taking it for too long. And I do mean ‘taking’. Or to put it another way, if I ever again have to sell something, as part of my job, to Joe Public, I am very, very likely to call him a ‘fucking moron’ to his face.

Management? As I once told a manager of mine, the day that company promoted me to manager would be he day they slid into administration. In a recent interview for what would eventually be a managerial position, I was asked for 10 qualities of a good manager. When I finally managed to come up with the list, I was asked how many applied to me. At the point were I said “About three”, we both realised we were wasting our time.

Administration? I can organise most things, provided they are not pieces of paper, sums of money, dates or people; it’s also why I’ve not set up as an Ebay trader. Photography? All the arguments against administration apply here too, with the addition that it’s a saturated market. As a fellow photographer friend of mine once said, “It’s dead mens’ shoes”. I.T.? For me, it makes more sense but like retail, you have a shelf-life. Besides, my knowledge is a bit dated and there are a lot of kids to compete with in that market. Any jaded I.T. tech will know what I mean by the phrase “My system would be perfect but for all these damned users”. Thus, it’s entirely possible the ‘fucking moron’ outburst could happen there too…

What about the other degrees? Well, I was younger and stupider back then, didn’t know what I wanted, and so underperformed. To get a PhD, you need a good class undergraduate degree, and a masters doesn’t necessarily help if you don’t have one. I’ve more than once stated that many people are not ready for university before the age of 30 – I was certainly one. Starting afresh is also more likely to hold my interest than going back over well-trodden ground.

And so, academia, and a fresh start. It requires a good brain and sound reasoning skills, a love of knowledge and learning because it sure doesn’t pay well, and in all likelihood, I’ll get to live in different places. Sounds like a plan, eh? Well, it will take 4 years to complete a second undergraduate degree, via distance and part-time, and then the hunt is on for a PhD – I am assured that doing a PhD is one of the most demanding things you can imagine, 3 years of total commitment. I couldn’t imagine doing it 5 years ago, when last the option presented itself. That I can now is partly down to my keener state of mind, and partly down to a lack of options. It should be noted that, to an indecisive procrastinator like myself, a lack of options is not necessarily a bad thing.