Octavo Dia

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Retraction

It turns out that the dinosaur hemoglobin mentioned in a previous post is not accurate. It was actually heme, an iron isotope, with a few detached globin amino acids. Heme, however, is supposed to last for approximately 10,000 years according to laboratory observation, still a long ways from the 65 million needed. The author of the study, however, argues that this does not demonstrate that the bones are not of such great age, but that under rare conditions, in which this bone was assumed to be based on the fact that they were preserved, it does last longer.

Noah's Heatstroke

In an article critiquing catastrophic plate tectonics, Answers in Creation argues that the amount of carbon released by ocean floor volcanism would have roasted Noah due to global warming. The study which they cite is unfortunately a 404, so I couldn't read it, but it would seem to me that, since there are currently proposals to sequester carbon at the bottom of the ocean, carbon released on the ocean floor would primarily stay there. I don't know if the missing article addresses carbon emissions from underwater volcanoes.

The carbon that reached the surface, however, would act as a heat-stabilizer. The newly warmed oceans would create enormous hurricanes, termed hypercanes, and the resulting cloud cover would increase the earth's albedo tremendously (from approximately 30% to as much as 90%). If the albedo increased to its maximum level, the earth would be absorbing one-seventh as much heat, so the greenhouse effect of the extra carbon would be vital for survival.

So where did the extra carbon go? Much of the pre-flood carbon is currently locked up in coal beds, natural gas, and oil. The new carbon was absorbed by new plant life after the flood. Once the weather started to normalize, the plants would begin absorbing carbon on a massive scale. Furthermore, the proposed post-Flood ice age would provide a longer-term source of increased albedo for the decades while the forests were reaching their maximum carbon levels.

Bioterrorism

If bio-terrorists really wanted to destroy the West, they wouldn't waste their time with new pathogens that kill lots of people, because odds are that any disease which would kill lots of heathen Americans would kill even more devout Muslims, mainly because of differentials in health care.

If they really wanted to bring America to its knees, they would genetically engineer a bacterium that could digest plastics. The world economy would grind to a halt as everything from the plastic components of computers to beverage bottles to the plastic bags at the grocery store would be eaten away. Even the hospitals that would keep us alive in the face of a regular pathogen would fall apart. The disposable syringes would disintegrate, as would bed pans, the chairs in the waiting room, the sterile covers for instrument probes, etc.

Like a ship without a rudder

The Old Earth Creation group Answers in Creation, has an interesting critique of the recent AiG article about the construction of Noah's Ark. The main thrust is that the ocean would have developed strong currents (strong enough to force the ark to circumnavigate the globe several times), and that these currents, due to continental deflection, would force the ark into the gyres, thereby making it impossible to land in the mountains, because it would have been deflected to the middle of the ocean.

I believe he also ignores one critical area. The ark would not only catch the waves, but also a significant volume of wind flowing in the same direction as the primary current. If the ark did have a wind sail as proposed in the AiG article, it would have prevented it from turning with the current, and the wind caught by the bulk of the ark itself could have been sufficient to force it over the continental deflections.

The article cited in the paper also theorizes that areas of land would have been left dry by the piling effect of the continental deflections. This concern can be reduced by the sinking of the continents during a period of catastrophic plate tectonics, which would also reduce the total deflection of the continents.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Foreign Legion II

Back in the beginning of '06, I advocated recruiting abroad to create a military of sufficient size. Apparently, such legislation is unnecessary, as our rapidly privatizing military is doing such recruiting on a massive scale. According to the article, the military contractors, our private military, is only approximately 20% American.

Monday, August 20, 2007

God is evil



Yesterday's Opus, as printed above, has a character claim that everyone goes to heaven. If everyone goes to heaven, however, then existence on earth is pointless. It is not a form of works righteousness, or a test to pass, or letting us experience a glimpse of life without God. It is entirely pointless. Whether or not you sin, or believe, or achieve nirvana, or whatever, you'll go to heaven. Therefore, the suffering associated with life on earth is gratuitous. A god who creates a world of meaningless suffering is for that reason evil. It is a counter-intuitive point, but God cannot be good without the existence of hell.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Artificial enhancements

I read an article in Wired about blade runner, a double amputee whose hi-tech artificial legs are supposedly giving him an unfair advantage in Olympic running events. If you're willing to cut off your legs to gain an artificial advantage, go for it. If it's not worth cutting them off, then stop complaining.

On a similar note, I think that chemical enhancements such as steroids have a place in professional sports. Their purpose is to increase the level of competition for the truly great. Players who have no chance of being champions should be drugged while the truly talented remain clean. It would be like having Mohammad Ali as a sparring partner--you would learn for the greatest, even if the greatest was just enhanced mediocrity.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sun Worship

If Christianity is just warmed-over sun worship (an idea that I've run across a few times), why does Genesis depict God both creating the sun? Wouldn't a sun-worship religion have the sun creating everything? Even if that were not the case, why was the sun left until the fourth day? Light, the earth, sky and ocean, and plants were all created prior to the sun. If you're modifying a helio-centric religion, this is an awfully odd way of doing it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Creationism

A few weeks ago, when the Creation Museum was in the news, one of my coworkers took offense at the Scriptural phrase "willfully ignorant" to describe evolutionists. Today, he mocked the idea that humans and dinosaurs could have coexisted. I mentioned the discovery of a T-Rex bone with hemoglobin still intact inside, which should have degraded hundreds of times over by this point. His response, "Well then it must not be a dinosaur bone." That seemed like willful ignorance to me.

Anyway, has anyone else noticed how the creationism debate has become much more strident and insulting? Most anti-creationist literature has been at best belittling for a long time, so I had been tuning it out for a long time. What brought my attention back to it was a post on the Dilbert Blog a while back (it's fallen out of the available archives, so no link), in which Scott Adams said that there was something about evolution that made his B.S. meter plink. He was absolutely ridiculed in his comments. Every since then, I've been keeping a closer eye on such things, and now I see the "at best belittling" commentary everywhere.

I wonder what's causing it? The theory that initially pops to my mind is the radicalization that ideologies undergo when they're threatened deeply (by the creationist movement, mayhap). Any better ideas?