Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earth History, A New (crazy) Approach

I have to admit, I love crazy. I don't know why I do as so often the kind of crazy I encounter is the stupid kind. Creationists, 2012ers, conspiracy nuts, they each have their own form of idiocy that gets me yelling at my computer while laughing at the same time. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but it does. Sometimes an especially egregious one will get me in a foul mood. Yet so often I am to busy laughing and wanting to share it with others for it to irritate me too much. Recently I was sent a link by Misa Akane. She is often on the look out for things that I may rant about and I owe her quite a bit for that (so check out her two blogs I have linked as a thank you).

What was found this time was A New Approach To Earth History. At first I was sure it was just another creationist website, but upon reading it, it proves itself to be a lot more...confused. More confused than your average creationist? Well yes, as this group tries to use science to back up their crazy and just fail in new and unexpected ways.

What seems to be the core of their believe is that the Earth has a natural desire to create that is inherent to it. That complexity has emerged from the Earth and life itself's desire to become more. At this point it sounds like someone's stoned musing on existence and they really don't get much better than that. Much of their argument runs like this (everything is copied and pasted so any typos within the quotes are their's):

Does the Earth have a natural origin? Does nature have a creative power of its own, capable of producing things incomparably more complex than human intelligence and technology can engineer? Can human life be reduced to the properties of lifeless atoms, contrary to our sense of being distinct from the world?

In recent decades it has become difficult to ask these questions in an open-ended way. Scientific institutions permit only one view of reality: the one that believes in self-creation.

Nonetheless ‘life’ is something different from molecules: it involves consciousness. Although bacteria and plants use the same DNA language as other organisms, they are not life in the sense that animals are. Our own experience as conscious beings tells us that there is more to reality than can be accounted for by molecules, however complex their organisation.

This is the first three paragraphs of the body from their introduction page. The second paragraph already shows that these are people who believe that science is about holding to a belief no matter what. So immediately we know we are dealing with people who found science too hard and instead of taking time to grasp it decided it was just orthodoxy (someone get these people a dictionary please).

Right after that is the idea that we somehow 'know' there is more to life than physics and chemistry. Once again showing that such people really are terribly afraid of the reductionist viewpoint. I don't know why as realizing that I'm an amalgamate of particles working together for a time, particles that were formed in the hearts or after-math of stars. To me this is poetry, this is a kind of beauty that makes me terribly sad that such people cannot and/or refuse to grasp.

When they get to evolution they showed a kind of confusion that was new even to me. They start out by stating:

The cataclysm is also the key to understanding the many examples of evolution in the fossil record. After the bombardment the planet was in constant flux. Species had to colonise sea and land afresh, diversifying as they did so into many new species. Bacteria appeared first because they were the most prolific of colonisers and were essential to the re-establishment of food chains. Other organisms gained a foothold as environments stabilised: first mosses and lichens, then fast-growing marsh plants, then trees and, about the same time, a huge diversity of land animals – millipedes, insects, mites and spiders, reptiles, and in due course dinosaurs and mammals. Viewed thus, the mystery of so many obviously unrelated organisms appearing in rapid succession begins to make sense.

The cataclysm, sounds like a bad movie Hollywood is just dying to make. Instead of having a link to explain this idea, they show an image from the journal Nature. They don't actually reference the journal or any articles within it (couldn't be because it would utterly contradict what they are stating, could it?), they just show the image as apparently they expect that to be all the evidence their readers will need. I actually recognized the cover of this particular issue as one that referenced the Giant Impact Hypothesis for the formation of Luna and Earth's axial tilt. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Giant Impact Hypothesis is the leading concept for how our moon was formed, it involves the proto-Earth's collision with another planetoid, named Theia, which, after hitting at an oblique angle (and the blow-off coming in for another impact), enough debris was tossed into orbit to coalesce into Luna.

But according to this site, it was more some sort of cleansing thing that obliterated an already developed ecosystem forcing life to 'reboot' and that is why all life is interconnected. ...Right, because that makes perfect sense and so less convoluted then our current understanding. Also apparently when this 'cataclysm' occurred, Luna was already formed and it left multiple scars on our satellite. I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about here. Is this some sort of half-assed explanation for the myriad craters on Luna's surface?

It continues on in the evolution part by describing it as having two definitions:

‘Evolution’ has two meanings – one, the well established fact that most species originate from other species, the other, the presumption that all species are related and originated aeons ago from lifeless chemicals.

It had to happen eventually. Once again, people confuse evolution with abiogenesis. Granted, the current evidence does show how 'lifeless chemicals'...whatever that is supposed to mean, can have evolutionary selective pressures. But this does not mean it is a separate form of evolution, just evolution on a different level. A wonderful example of this is selective pressure amongst RNA, especially when bits of 'parasitic' genetic material are present. The site wrongly claims that there is no evidence for such events despite us observing it.

They then give examples of evolution that are 'miracles':

* lizards evolving into snakes
* feathered birds evolving into penguins
* land-dwelling quadrupeds evolving into whales and dolphins.

These are all ‘miracles’ of evolution because they could not have happened haphazardly.

When I first read this, the first thing that came to mind was "wait, penguins don't have feathers?". I know that is the least glaring thing to pick out on but I think my mind was doing so to protect itself from the massive stupid. At this point it is starting to look like they are moving out of stoned hippy territory and into the Intelligent Design camp.

There is so much more I would want to explore on their site, things like "Before the Cataclysm", "The Mystery of the Cnidarians" and the strangely out of place "Genesis 6-11 and other texts". Unfortunately their site seems to need a lot of work as so many of the links don't work. Perhaps I'll be able to have a follow up if they get their crazy in order. Until then I will only be able to speculate if they incorporate traditional creationism into their beliefs or if they are going to say it is their version of creationism...thing, that is right. There was one other link that did work, and that was one to their 'updated' geological time scale.

This new time scale is shown alongside a somewhat misleading one that is closer to the actual time scale. I say it is misleading in that if one is not actually familar with the science (like this site's intended readers), the actual one would look like most of life popped out of nowhere and lived together, when in fact the only reason for that is the fact that multicellular life has only been around for about 1 billion years with the first simple animals arising approximately 600 million years ago. With an age of the Earth around 4.55 billion, this is a long time to go without 'complex' life. The site states that a new time-line is necessary because:

One of the most puzzling aspects of the fossil record is the way evolution appears to accelerate as one approaches the present. As shown in the first column, for the first 4 billion years little happens. Then in the final 250 million years species diversification increase dramatically, as exemplified by the history of the flowering plants, ferns, beetles, teleost fish, birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians (see also the two diversity graphs in this section). Part of the explanation is that radioisotope dates inflate true time. In the beginning rates of radioactive decay were much higher, decreasing exponentially towards the present day. Re-calibrated on this basis, true time might have proportions more like those shown on the right. The shortest time division, the Quaternary, would then be the longest, complex animal life would begin to appear soon after the catalysm at the base of the sequence, and man would appear about two-thirds of the way through rather than near the end.

What is with creationists of all tropes hating on radioactive decay? It seems to be a nigh-universal disdain amongst these people. Is it because it is one of the most damning bits of evidence against their views? Is it because so few actually understand it so that they can get away with telling people that physics is all wrong and they know what 'really' happened?

As I mentioned their geologic time scale is all kinds of screwy, so much so that I absolutely have to put the image of it up here. It is comedic gold and would be a terrible loss to have it potentially lost with the rest of their site. So I leave you with this last bit of crazy, enjoy!

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Infidel753 said...


Does the Earth have a natural origin? Does nature have a creative power of its own,


Scientific institutions permit only one view of reality: the one that believes in self-creation.


it was more some sort of cleansing thing that obliterated an already developed ecosystem forcing life to 'reboot' and that is why all life is interconnected


What were they smoking when they wrote this gibberish? I looked at the actual site and it's even worse than you make it sound. It's as if somebody vaguely heard of both creationism and Gaia mysticism, got them mixed up, and tried to rationalize the resulting mish-mash from scratch.

I've been reading Misa Akane for some time -- a sharp and insightful writer.

Cyc said...

Yes Infidel, the crazy is strong with this one.

In an odd way, I'm a bit glad to see a new form of insanity to taunt. Not that there really is a dirth of options, but such new options always makes my day a bit better in an odd sort of way.

As for what they were smoking, I'm not entirely sure. I'm both intrigued and a little bit afraid that it would kill me (or at least enough brain cells that this garbage would start to make sense).

You are quite right about Misa, despite her personal pessimism about her writing she is quite good and her poetry is among the best I have had the pleasure of reading.

Anonymous said...

Hun, either way you look at it, whether the Evolutionary Theory remains a theory (even after all these decades it still cannot be proven as viable yet is taught in schools across the nation as though it were) Nothing + Nothing = Everything doesn't make sense. The ingredients for the primordial soup that began the "Big Bang" had to have come from somewhere. EVERYTHING has an origin. Everything. So go ahead and speak with like minded individuals who will not challenge, only nurture your belief that there is no God. No one to answer to. But centuries of the human race would tell you that you are foolish.

P.S. Darwin never meant for his theory to be taken as is. In his book "On the Origin of Species" he states himself many flaws with his theory and intended to continue research. Certainly not to be taught in schools as it is. He would turn in his grave if he witnessed such a generation. Also, he was born and raised a "Christian". He never mean't to "debunk" an the existence of an intelligent creator, merely to better understand our origins.

Yet you atheists twisted his words for your own self centered notions.

Cyc said...


I really don't know where to start, your response is chock full of creationist jargon and falsehoods that it is making me a bit dizzy. In fact I think you have all the prime ones there:

Misconstruing the colloquial 'theory' with scientific theory.

Thinking that evolution is coming from nothing.

Thinking that evolution has not changed since Darwin suggested natural selection as its base.

Yes, Darwin was raised a Christian, and the data he did uncover did not sit with him well, but he eventually realized that he had to go with the facts. He did not say anything about using it to better understand a god, in fact by the end of his life he was Agnostic.

Now this is a new one "The ingredients for the primordial soup that began the "Big Bang" had to have come from somewhere." That is a new level of scientific literacy fail.

I know I should be working to point out exactly why you are in error, but your information is so packed with creationist rhetoric that I know it would be a waste of my time.