Readers’ Experiences with Creationist Education

Our preliminary foray into the world of creationist earth science education encouraged many of you to share your own stories. I want to make sure they don’t languish unread in the comments section. Real people are affected by these awful textbooks. We should never, ever lose sight of that fact. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XVIII: Wherein Volcanic Facts are Violated

There’s something about volcanoes that brings out the worst in your modern creationist. They’re willfully ignorant about plenty of things, and surely do love viewing science through a funhouse mirror, but most of them (ACE excepted) do manage to avoid mangling some of the science. Some of it even sounds downright secular in places. But they’ve got this really odd complex about volcanoes. They lose their shit to such an extent that they can’t even get basic facts straight.

A Beka’s Science of the Physical Creation suffers from this complex in spades.

They begin by hammering us with not one, but two obscure Bible quotes, proving beyond all doubt that while faith (and the Flood) may move mountains, God melts ’em. See Micah 1:4 and Nahum 1:5 for details. For some reason, they cut out the bit of Nahum 1:5 where it says that God kills everyone and everything on the planet when he makes the hills melt. Can’t imagine why…

Then it’s time for volcanoes, and of course, they start with Mount St. Helens. Creationists are absolute fools for Mount St. Helens. How does SPC screw it up? Let us count the ways: [Read more…]

A Few Scenes from the South Side of Mount St. Helens – With a Challenge!

Plans, as they say, oft gang aft agley. I had plans to visit the south side of Mount St. Helens yesterday with Suzanne and Funny Diva. Alas, Suzanne had a last minute issue and couldn’t go. So Funny Diva and I ended up going it alone.

It was a splendid day. The sun was shining, it was summer-warm with lovely fall colors, and we got to see lots I’ve never seen before. That’s mostly because I missed a turn without realizing, and we ended up halfway to Windy Ridge before I was all, “This isn’t right.” So we go to the Lahar Viewpoint much too late to have good light for photographing Mount St. Helens itself. We did, however, have some spectacular light in the valley, which had some delightful features I’ve been wanting to see, so that was a little bit of all right. We’ll see the mountain again soon.

I am beyond exhausted, and my computer is being its usual stubborn self, so I’m afraid I have only a couple of fun outtakes and a challenge to share with you today. [Read more…]

A Very Nifty Rock for You to Test Your Mad Identification Skillz On

So there I was, enjoying the sunshine and a very lazy day with the kitties (yes, both – I made Misha be sociable), and then I check my email, and there is a message from friends from out of state. Their grandmother had a rock collection. They have it now. Would I like to see?

Um. YES!! [Read more…]

Super Blood Moon Eclipse Mania! Definitely the End of the World! Woo!

I know the world is ending today, my darlings. You see, last night was a once-in-a-long-time astronomical event, in the fall, and it wasn’t cloudy or raining in Seattle. We had cloudless skies. That is a sure sign of the apocalypse right there.

S, his friend P, and I went down to Magnuson Park to view the thing. I mean, how could we not? Perfect view over Lake Washington! We got there right at dusk, and the next sign of the apocalypse happened: despite it being a hugely popular destination for super blood moon eclipse madness viewing, we found an actual parking space in the main lot.

There is an utterly lovely view of Mount Rainier from there. So of course I got you a photo! [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Pretty Sure You’re Not A Crocus, Buddy

I did a double-take when I saw these in the neighborhood! They look like gigantic crocuses to me, and it’s entirely the wrong time of year for those.

Image shows two pale purple flowers that look like very large crocuses springing from the ground by a rock. There are no leaves. They have six broad petals that taper to a rounded tip.

Mystery Flora I

I have since come to find out that there are autumn crocuses, too, but I remain skeptical. Perhaps you’ll be able to pin down the answer: are these crocuses, or a similar-appearing flower? [Read more…]

Made Small by the Mountain

Whilst I was photographing Mount St. Helens, Suzanne was photographing me photographing the mountain. She got a great shot!

Image shows Mount St. Helens, rays of sunshine striking it from low in the west and a thick white cloud over its summit. I'm standing on a grassy ridge to the right, almost invisible due to shadows and my black trench coat. I look very small in comparison to the enormous mountain many miles away.

Mount St. Helens et moi. Image courtesy Suzanne.

Perspective makes the grass look almost as tall as me – I don’t remember it being so high! Then again, I was completely entranced by the mountain, so maybe I just didn’t notice.

It’s not just perspective that makes Mount St. Helens look so huge. It is so huge! To give you an idea of how huge, even with nearly two thousand feet of its summit missing, check this out: [Read more…]

Our Mount St. Helens Epic Adventure: The End of a Quest!

Suzanne and I went up to Mount St. Helens yesterday on a rather spur-of-the-moment whim. The weather wasn’t as clear as we’d have liked, but the clouds stayed just high enough to make things interesting without obscuring the vital bits, so that was a little bit of all right. And at the end of the day, we had a most spectacular moment of success, one that brought a years-long quest to a close. Come join me for a whirlwind overview before I go pass out!

[Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: What’s the 2015 Illapel Earthquake Got to Do With Charles Darwin?

As Chile recovers from its monster 2015 Illapel Earthquake, I got to thinking about another Chilean earthquake and a rather famous geologist-turned-biologist. Charles Darwin experienced a very similar quake in Chile during his voyage with the Beagle, and left an exquisite account of it. I bring you that story, plus some useful links about the modern quake. You’ll see that Chile’s had earthquake preparedness down for centuries, and that Darwin is top-notch at earthquake reporting. Enjoy!

Image is a grayscale engraving showing the toppled walls of a cathedral. Nothing is recognizable. Rutted streets pass by it.

“Remains of the Cathedral of Concepción” by John Clements Wickham.