I get email: Still looking for an obliging geophysicist


This guy wrote to me back in September, when he was regurgitating creationist rationalizations for the global flood, at the behest of wacky ol’ Walt Brown. He called me again this morning and sent me another missive. On the phone, he sounded a bit miffed that I didn’t immediately remember who the heck he was, but it’s all come back to me now, after reading this.

Dear Dr. Paul Myers,

Like I said, I read your Happy Atheist and regularly read Pharyngula.

RE: Your “Looking for a geophysicist” blog.

What are the facts and what are the beliefs?

1 FACT:

Estimations of the biggest and strongest Supercontinent and all the reservoirs of water under pressure below it Earth possibly had are altogether unheard of.

Its continental landmasses’ three-hundredfold greater concentration of heavy, radioactive elements than our found elsewhere in the Earth aren’t confirmed by observations with measurements to have been in it when the continents yet had all the former connectedness they had (however connected they may have been).

Dr. Bruce Buffett who earned a doctorate in geophysics from Harvard and is now Chairman of Geophysics at Berkeley, considered the no.1 at geophysics research in America).

http://211.144.68.84:9998/91keshi/Public/File/34/485-7398/pdf/485319a.pdf

He has answered my questions and can’t explain why geophysicists never consider that before our planet’s 52,000-mile globe-encircling Mid-Oceanic Range uplifted, fitting like a jigsaw puzzle with specific continental shelf edges, it may have had great reservoirs of water under pressure below a supercontinent, even only one supercontinent in Earth history.

I asked him, “Could not it have thereby had its greatest explosivities of outbursting water and eroded rocks, greatest magnitude earthquake, and super-intense volcanic and earthquake lightnings >1 million amperes whereby electrons shooting through them with >1 MeV produced magnetic pinch effects”?

I hope by the following it will be clear to you what is being proposed as a solution to the problem of Earth’s concentration of heavy, radioactive elements inconsistent with the nebular hypothesis.

Regarding Richard P. Feynman, Ph.D.(physics) Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman, (W.W. Norton: New York, NY, 1985), pp. 341, 343:
Physics Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman noted what is: “generally missing in cargo cult science. . . It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. . . put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that disagree with it . . .
. . . give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction. . .
I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity .. bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”

“Earth’s radioactivity was confined to the crust, a few tens of kilometers thick.”

(John D. Stacey, Physics of the Earth, 3rd edition (1992), p. 45)

“Uranium, thorium and potassium are the main elements contributing to natural terrestrial radioactivity.. All three of the radioactive elements are strongly partitioned into the continental crust.”

(J. A. Plant and A. D. Saunders, “The Radioactive Earth,” Radiation Protection Dosimetry, Vol. 68, 1996, p. 25)

“The molten rock oozing from midocean ridges lacks much of the uranium, thorium, and other trace elements that spew from some aboveground volcanoes.”

(Sid Perkins, “New Mantle Model Gets the Water Out,” Science News, Vol. 164, 13 September 2003, p. 174.

Theories of an unsupernatural ultimate origin and formation of Earth call for the agglomeration of its particles thrown together by cosmic winds. They segregated into the core, mantle, and crust by gravity and heat. However, the heaviest naturally occurring elements: uranium and thorium are not nearly as concentrated under the continents and oceanic floors as they would be if the Earth formed from an interstellar medium. . . . If uranium and thorium were among the nuclides that the universe assembled into the Earth, they would be more concentrated toward its deeper parts. At least, they would be expected to have been evenly distributed throughout it. Yet: “90% of uranium and thorium are concentrated in the continents”*;–Earth’s continents are only 0.35% of its mass.*

*Dan F. C. Pribnow, Ph.D.(geophysics), “Radiogenic Heat Production in the Upper Third of Continental Crust from KTB,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 24, 1 February 1997, p. 349.

* “The Earth’s continental crust occupies 41.2% of the surface area but represents only 0.35% of the total mass of our planet.” (Hugh Richard Rollinson, Ph.D.[geochemistry], Early Earth Systems [Blackwell Publishing: Malden, MA, 2007], p. 134)

“Heat production rate is well correlated to lithology; no significant variation with depth, neither strictly linear nor exponential, is observed over the entire depths of the [two German holes].”

(Christoph Clauser, et al., “The Thermal Regime of the Crystalline Continental Crust: Implications from the KTB, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 102, No. B8, 10 August 1997, p. 18,418)

Germany’s Deep Drilling Project discovered variations in heat-exuding radioactivity related to the rock types, not to depths.

Are there higher concentrations of heavy radionuclei in Earth’s continental crust beneath its fossil-bearing rock layers where the one Supercontinent in its history had comparatively greater intensities of lightnings lightening it via having been more violently quaked or comprised of stronger rock types that generated more frictional electrifications and charge condensations?

“Surface rocks show traces of radioactive materials, and while the quantities thus found are very minute, the aggregate amount is sufficient, if scattered with this density throughout the earth, to suppy, many times over, the present yearly loss of heat. In fact, so much heat could be developed in this way that it has been practically necessary to make the assumption that the radioactive materials are limited in occurence to a surface shell only a few kilometers in thickness” (Leonard R. Ingersoll, et al., Heat Conduction : With Engineering, Geological and Other Applications, revised edition [University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, WI, 1954], p. 102)

You wrote on blog saying: “There was no global flood.” I’m not altogether certain of that.

Perhaps almost all of Earth’s fossil-bearing rock layers and all their heavy, radioactive elements bound to lighter elements evidence that it had extraordinary lightnings in enormous sub-Supercontinental water and in a Supercontinent erupting it whereby the seven continents it divided into were entirely and totally overflowed with tsunamies.

Thank You, Rick Keane

Too long? Shorter Rick Keane: Why haven’t geophysicists considered that there was a giant ocean of water beneath the continent(s) that exploded outward with a lot of lightning?

I don’t know. Why haven’t geophysicists consider my theory, that the earth is a giant eukaryotic cell, that continents are rafts of cell surface molecules, and that volcanoes are examples of exocytosis? Huh? Why? They’ll all be so surprised when the planet undergoes mitosis, I tell you what.

I also have a theory that the KT event was actually a sperm fusion event. Ask me more, maybe I’ll spin out a few thousand words with lots of quotes.

It also explains why someone would write to me asking about geophysics.

Comments

  1. Sili says

    It’s not worth the effort, but if anyone is bored, would they mind translating that into English?

  2. blf says

    Why haven’t geophysicists considered that there was a giant ocean of water beneath the continent(s) that exploded outward with a lot of lightning?

    Planets don’t fart.

    why someone would write to me asking about geophysics.

    But biologists know all about farts!

  3. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Wow….my brain shut down about a third of the way through that. Wally “Wonderpants” Brown has had his idea bandied about in several forms through the years. For my money, one of the funniest was when one Dave Hawkins spent the better part of several months getting his ass handed to him on the old IIDB forums. It involved radiometric dating, aeolian (sp?) deposits, astronomy (you know asteroids were blasted out there from the fountains of the deep, right?), and a lot of physics that Dave didn’t understand.

    I would link, but the archives were locked away from searching last time I tried. Too bad, that was some good fun, but a really long read.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s not worth the effort, but if anyone is bored, would they mind translating that into English?

    Cue the expected theme music,

  5. blf says

    …translating that into English?

    Here’s the Bad Translator translation of the first two paragraphs into English:

    Original text:

    Estimations of the biggest and strongest Supercontinent and all the reservoirs of water under pressure below it Earth possibly had are altogether unheard of.
    Its continental landmasses’ three-hundredfold greater concentration of heavy, radioactive elements than our found elsewhere in the Earth aren’t confirmed by observations with measurements to have been in it when the continents yet had all the former connectedness they had (however connected they may have been).

    8 translations later…:

    On the continent before strong ground which can be assessed and the size of the deposit under the pressure of the water, completely unknown.
    Terramar 300 of his most concentrated radioactive than found in Europe and other measures in place on the ground could not be created the Mainland is still all connections (because they have been).

  6. says

    There is no evidence for a planet-spanning flood on the surface, and geophysical knowledge of the subsurface supplies no reason to suppose that there should have or could have been. Furthermore, Jimmy Page is responsible for many “stronger rock types that generated more frictional electrifications”, and no hint of a flood has followed.

  7. Kevin Kehres says

    Um…Rick…

    You seem to be using a lot of research about the age of the Earth and the movement of the supercontinents apparently to support an argument that there was a worldwide flood 4000 years ago when humans saved all the animal species (except 99% of all species that ever lived) by building a big boat.

    Thing is, there were a lot of people around the planet 4000 years ago. And this wasn’t just your nomadic goat-herders. These were city builders in India, China, Egypt, and Babylonia. Each and every one of them records a history that extends far back prior to 4000 years ago. None of them seems to have been bothered in the slightest by a global flood claimed by the nomadic goat-herders. Certainly none of those civilizations records being wiped from the face of the earth, with all of their livestock and unborn children.

    Instead, they’re recording their local activities as if this monumental thing never happened.

    I wonder why that is? Could it be, perhaps, that the events recounted in the bible never happened? We know from archaeology and history that the “exodus” never happened. Nor the wandering of the Jews in the desert for 40 years (they would have left poop behind; and garbage, and bones, and a shit-ton of other stuff). And 40 years to make a trip that you can do yourself pretty comfortable on foot in a couple of weeks? Seriously, that’s messed up.

    Nor, as it turns out, 99% of the other so-called “historical events” of the Old Testament.

    Pro tip, Rick. When your book has been scientifically disproved 10 words in, you’re off to a bad start.

  8. zenlike says

    Seconding the need for translation: forget about finding a geophysicist, what about first finding a translator to translate this barely-literate nonsense into something resembling English?

  9. says

    Hey Rick, try this experiment. Get a bucket of water and put a rock in it. Does it float? No? Continents are like rocks but bigger.
    Could be there’s something wrong with your theory.

  10. gussnarp says

    I didn’t get very far. Judging from the name I assume this person is a native English speaker, so no excuse for being unintelligible on the basic English before you even get into any attempt at technical jargon.

  11. graham says

    This guy is seriously keen to prove that Noah’s Flood really happened? That his god so massively f*cked up that the only way forward he could think of was to commit the biggest mass genocide imaginable- wipe the slate clean in a fit of righteous narcissistic anger and start all over again at the expense of virtually every woman, man, child and animal on the planet? And this is something to be proud of somehow?

  12. Al Dente says

    graham @11

    And this is something to be proud of somehow?

    There’s a Christian apologist named William Lane Craig that claims the flood is not only something to be proud of but morally good. Craig claims that an action which, if done by anyone else, would be considered depraved, corrupt and immoral is automatically righteous, ethical and moral if done by Yahweh.

  13. John Small Berries says

    Dr. Bruce Buffett […] has answered my questions and can’t explain why geophysicists never consider that before our planet’s 52,000-mile globe-encircling Mid-Oceanic Range uplifted, fitting like a jigsaw puzzle with specific continental shelf edges, it may have had great reservoirs of water under pressure below a supercontinent, even only one supercontinent in Earth history.

    Geophysicists never consider it because there’s no evidence to support such a hypothesis, perhaps?

    I asked him, “Could not it have thereby had its greatest explosivities of outbursting water and eroded rocks, greatest magnitude earthquake, and super-intense volcanic and earthquake lightnings >1 million amperes whereby electrons shooting through them with >1 MeV produced magnetic pinch effects”?

    Okay, fine, but what was the response? (Since he’s not boasting that Dr. Buffett said it was possible, I’m going to guess it was something along the lines of, “No, it couldn’t.”)

  14. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    My favourite problem with the hydroplate nonsense is the fact that the water would have come out at a high enough temperature to boil Noah and every living thing on the planet. Excluding, of course, the tardigrades.

  15. moarscienceplz says

    Dear Rick Keane:
    1) Please watch last night’s episode of Cosmos where Claire Patterson spent DECADES collecting evidence that lead in our bodies was due to tetra-ethyl lead additives in gasoline, including mounting an expedition to Antarctica where he dug a deep ice tunnel to collect important samples.
    2) Please do that much work to collect some actual evidence to support your hypothesis.
    3) Please STFU until you are finished with this task.
    Thank you, that is all.

  16. mikeyb says

    Are you sure his name isn’t Immanuel Velikovsky? Or perhaps the conspiracy theory is quite that well thought out yet.

  17. Randomfactor says

    52,000-mile globe-encircling Mid-Oceanic Range

    It goes more than twice around?

  18. frankb says

    “strongest supercontinent”?

    I didn’t know that strength was an attribute of supercontinents. Learn something new every day.

  19. Kevin Kehres says

    @21: Supercontinents have superpowers. And are defeated by Kryptonite.

    Or water. Whatever.

  20. johnharshman says

    Don’t anyone tell Rick that there were earlier supercontinents before Pangea.

  21. Sastra says

    Why shouldn’t he write a biology professor with a question in geophysics? Why, it doesn’t take much more than a book or two and some good common sense to figure out problems nobody thought of AND answers nobody thought of, too. That probably goes for all the sciences. A biology professor is as good as any of them: he has a degree — IN SCIENCE!

    The good Mr. Keane is not afraid to think outside the box. If disgruntled geologists grumble that this is not so much “thinking outside the box” but “displaying a deep ignorance of even the basic standards of the field” then that is jealousy.

  22. Kevin Kehres says

    From geologist “WildwoodClaire1″ on YouTube, on Walt Brown’s notion that all of the limestone sediments occurred as a result of “Da Flood”:

    Are you aware that the major constituent of limestone is calcium carbonate (CaCO3)? When CaCO3 forms, energy is given off, 11,290 joules/gram
    to be precise. It’s estimated that there is approximately 5 x 10 to the 23rd power grams of limestone on the planet (that’s a 5 followed by 23 zeroes.) If one assumes that limestone, on average is approximately 90% CaCo3, that means that about 5,080,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules of energy were released when the CaCO3 precipitated. Converting to calories, that works out to about 1,214,268,642,447,420,000,000,000,000 calories released. It’s also estimated that the mass of the oceans equals about 1,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 grams. It takes one calorie to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. So, precipitating all of that CaCo3 in midst of or in the immediate aftermath of the flood would raise the temperature of the oceans to about 867 degrees Celsius, or between 1,700-1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

    In other words, Noah and the ark would have been boiled in superhot steam.

    Claire is one of my favorite YouTubers.

  23. Robert B. says

    @19: Yup, I remember that comment. Good times.

    I think this guy is trying to describe a geyser or volcano that ejects matter at sufficient speed to ionize the air. And not just to ionize it, but to eject the electrons at 1 MeV. This is not so much a geyser as a relativistic particle cannon. It could certainly have cut rock, or even steel, which raises the question of how rock was holding this water down in the first place.

    And, like before, this is a massive amount of energy. In the short term, “forty days of rain” does not begin to describe the weather effects of putting that much energy into the atmosphere. We’re talking something like terawatts per square meter of beam (that is, geyser) cross-section pumped into the air. And I think he’s trying to imply that the mid-Atlantic ridge is the beam aperture, which is enormous even if you use its correct length. The “rain” in this case would have been a deluge of white-hot radioactive rock shards falling (or, as NASA calls it, re-entering) through a global steam hurricane. To reuse a phrase from the last thread, your elven leather helm godly wooden boat will not protect you.

    In the long term there would be an overall cooling effect, for the same reason that a can of compressed air gets cold when you use it. Since this guy didn’t specify a ridiculous mass for the ejected water like the last one did, though, the cooling effect isn’t as funny. Any vaguely reasonable water mass makes for a survivable temperature drop – firing off enough water to fill today’s oceans would have cooled the earth by only about ten percent of its current thermal energy, which is work-around-able if you assume that Noah finished his boat trip much closer to the equator than he started.

  24. permanentwiltingpoint says

    I remember the last time he visited, and already back then, I thought: Earth’s interior is hot. Even right beneath the plates, we’re talking of some 1000 °C, at least. No under-surface ocean for you, Sir.

    But, they will say: Maybe it came out as vapor, which condensed and precipitated, neatly explaining the forty days of rain. Oh wait: That even might have happened, only more like 4.54-4.4 billion years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_water_on_Earth

  25. permanentwiltingpoint says

    Ops, I forgot to account for pressure – so, maybe an under-surface ocean. Or some funny super critical stuff. Would’ve turned vapor near the surface, however.
    Plus, water faciliates rock melting. There would have been an awful lot of lava, too. Like, I don’t know, a continent of it, certainly enough to still see it today.

  26. hexidecima says

    as far as I can tell, no geophysicist needs to waste their time. It’s easily enough shown by earthquake waves and the utter lack of any collapsed cavities. Water filled cavities would have certain minerals that would be distinctive and no such nonsense has been shown.

  27. woozy says

    My favourite problem with the hydroplate nonsense is the fact that the water would have come out at a high enough temperature to boil Noah and every living thing on the planet. Excluding, of course, the tardigrades.

    Well, according to some Jewish Folklore the flood, which sprung from the earth as well as the sky, was boiling hot.

    But their plea was in vain; even while Noah was engaged in building the ark the wicked made sport of him and his work, saying: “If the Flood should come, it could not harm us. We are too tall; and, moreover, we could close up with our feet [which were of monstrous size] the springs from below.” (Being descendants of the “sons of God,” they were of immense stature; see Fall of Angels; Giants). In fact, they resorted to these tactics; but God heated the water, and their feet and the flesh of their bodies were scalded (Pirḳe R. El. xxii, end).

    Here’s a “cute” story about Og, the giant and his pet unicorn who survived the flood by swimming along beside the Ark and the creation of wine all sorts of weird stuff (although to be fair, this story is *supposed* to be a fairy tale…. I think).

  28. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Put a little basketball hoop over your trash can to make it more fun tossing this shit after wasting the time to open the envelope and read the first paragraph (or first 300 words – whichever comes first).

    Why bother telling us, unless someone has requested it? We know it now as well as you do, and most of us care even less.

  29. Christoph Burschka says

    Dear Dr. Paul Myers,

    I’m kind of impressed by the correct spelling. :P

  30. waldteufel says

    I wouldn’t waste one minute of my time with a clown like Ricky .. and I’m a geophysicist.

    Meh.

  31. DataSnake says

    Another fun fact about the flood: given the volume of water needed to cover the earth to a height 15 cubits (about 6.8 meters) and the terminal velocity of a raindrop, that much precipitation over 40 days and nights would have caused enough friction that it would be equivalent to every square kilometer of earth being hit with a hiroshima-size nuke every three minutes. That’s not really the kind of thing that can be survived just by hiding in a wooden boat, even if we ignore that it’s too hot for water to remain liquid.

  32. george gonzalez says

    Water under the continents? It don’t take much of a geophysicist, just someone that has seen the pictures in the Time-Life book about the earth. Specifically the picture of those gold miners in South Africa, just a couple of miles down, pouring sweat. It gets hot down there. You’re going to have, if anything, steam, not water. No charge.

  33. davidchapman says

    12
    Al Dente

    There’s a Christian apologist named William Lane Craig that claims the flood is not only something to be proud of but morally good. Craig claims that an action which, if done by anyone else, would be considered depraved, corrupt and immoral is automatically righteous, ethical and moral if done by Yahweh.

    Thank the Lord for giving us men like William Lane Craig!! :)

  34. krubozumo says

    forest devil- I sympathize, I am a petrologist. Not very applicable to this ‘subject’ except to say that the solid earth contains a lot or water of hydroxyl chemically bound up in a number of common minerals. If you look at the relative volumes it is evident that there is a lot more ‘water’ in the earth than on the earth.

    We don’t of course know much of what the precise composition of the earth is below depths of around 450 km but we can infer a good deal from both geophysics (seismic data mainly) and a small amount of ultra high pressure experiments using such clever devices such as the diamond anvil cell. We have a long way to go.

    One hardly knows whether to laugh or weep.After decades of working on esoteric problems, to almost no avail, I am glad I am not easily brought to tears. Dehydration would have been a serious concern.

    There is one point of coincidence between this incoherent babble and a tiny corner of significant science. That is the question of how a magma originating as a partial melt, erupt to the surface traversing 450 km of solid overburden in a short enough time to preserve included diamond? Diamond
    becomes unstable at depths of roughly 150 km. At low pressures and high temperatures it also will
    oxidize readily if the fO2 is high enough.

    To those who do not actually do science, it might seem as though such a question could be easily answered. But it is not so. No questions in science are easily answered anymore. We know so much
    that increasing what we know is an increasingly burdensome task.

    Citing a few papers within a house of cards bafflegab is not research.

    In fact one is tempted to wonder if it is even ‘thinking’ and not just obsessive ideation.

    I have spent a lot more than a minute here because the only constraining factor is how much sleep I
    require to function each day and I have not yet hit my limit. It is not even midnight, yet.

    Ciao,

  35. anteprepro says

    Perhaps almost all of Earth’s fossil-bearing rock layers and all their heavy, radioactive elements bound to lighter elements evidence that it had extraordinary lightnings in enormous sub-Supercontinental water and in a Supercontinent erupting it whereby the seven continents it divided into were entirely and totally overflowed with tsunamies.

    Okay, so water under the continents were hit by Super Lightning, causing a volcano to explode pangaea, and the lava spewing forth fossils to fall into their current rock layers and causing uranium to jump up from the mantle and core of the earth into the crust. And also super tsunamis.

    That doesn’t sound like science. That doesn’t sound like even science fiction. It doesn’t even sound like Bible apologetics. It sounds like an 8 year old writing the premise for a disaster porn movie. Or a Hollywood executive writing the premise for a disaster porn movie.

  36. robro says

    Not only do you have the problem of coming up with enough water to cover the entire Earth up to the highest mountain, but where did all that water go to after the flood? Back into the ground? In less than a year? Assuming this guy’s scenario, whatever processes that had caused the water to erupt in the first place would have to reverse somehow so that all the water could go back into the ground…because where else would it go? I’m confident that there’s an equally improbable and convoluted explanation for this conundrum.

  37. says

    Just a slight point here: Radioactive elements, like most other metals, do not occur naturally in a reduced state, and in large chunks. They form minerals. A lot of those minerals are less dense than basalt, or the rest of the mantle, and more like the average silicaceous continental crust. Guess what that means? Yet still, stuff like, say, gold is also in the crust. It is quite dense. And mostly not in the form of a radioisotope. It, too, can find its way upstairs.

    Plus, I still don’t know how water, in any form, shooting out a hole, and regardless as to the proposed super-powerful lightning ionizing the crap out of things and spewing relativistic electrons everywhere causes deposits of radioactive materials.

    Seriously, at this point, one would have to ask these guys to explain why all of Earth’s iron (and elements with a similar density) are not a well-defined layer cake starting at the core.Does Crazy Lightning account for this? In fact, why the hell isn’t all the oxygen in the world in the atmosphere? Why are people and everything else made of chemical compounds? Fucking magnets, how do they work?

  38. vireyda54 says

    I’m sure I could come to an agreement with this gentleman so long as I get to stipulate that the global flood was really a magma ocean. Also that 4000 years is code for back in the Hadean…

    I really don’t think I understand the question though. How would lightning do what huh?

  39. cejones says

    A geochemist could easily tell these guy why the radioactive elements are not in the core: They are geochemically incompatible. When the core formed, it sucked up Fe, Ni, platinum-group elements, etc., but not U, Th, and K. These were left in the mantle. However, they are not particularly compatible with minerals that are stable in the mantle, so when the mantle partially melts, the U, Th, and K jump into the melt, rise to the surface, and erupt. Thus, then ended up concentrated in the continents. They are depleted in magmas rising to the mid-ocean ridges because the upper mantle was long ago depleted in U, Th, and K.

    As for the water, well, yes it requires a genus geophysicist to explain why holding oceans of water under a brittle layer of dense rock is untenable for any amount of time. No one else could possibly understand.

  40. woozy says

    Assuming this guy’s scenario, whatever processes that had caused the water to erupt in the first place would have to reverse somehow so that all the water could go back into the ground…because where else would it go? I’m confident that there’s an equally improbable and convoluted explanation for this conundrum.

    I think they may claim that that the water didn’t go back but now form the oceans that weren’t on the surface before and that the waters didn’t recede but new landforms, including Mount Everest, formed and rose from the breaking plates of the new continents.

  41. says

    Two things I don’t get about the whole “flood geology” mindset.

    1) Many creationists argue that the fossil record is a direct result of the biblical flood. Creationists also argue that the pre-flood human population was similar to (or even greater than) the current population — in the billions. Consequently, it would have probably been a highly industrialised civilisation, to sustain such a population.

    If both of these propositions were true, where is the fossil or geological evidence for this massive pre-flood civilisation? There should be enormous ancient deposits of human remains all across the earth!

    (Here’s one pretty piss-weak effort to explain this issue. The author initially concedes the lack of human fossils as a problem, then offers a few handwavey excuses why the fossils might be absent — ignoring the fact that these excuses would apply equally to all other fossils as well, and so fails to explain the disparity.)

    2) Why does there even need to be any geological justification for the flood itself? God can do whatever he likes! Just say he magically created enough water to cover the earth, then magically dismissed it afterward. The rains could just be a signal — “Here comes da flood!” — and the so-called “fountains of the deep” were added to blast those pesky deep-sea creatures so they didn’t miss out (never mind that they were not rescued but somehow still survived just shut up okay).

    The flood was God’s magic. Bam! Done, no further justification needed.

    God turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. (Side note: why salt, of all things?) It’s not like people try to find a scientifically-acceptable justification for that, is it?

    Google autocomplete: [lots wife scientific explanation]
    (Okay. So someone tried. But the point still stands!)

  42. woozy says

    If both of these propositions were true, where is the fossil or geological evidence for this massive pre-flood civilisation? There should be enormous ancient deposits of human remains all across the earth!

    I always got the impression they were claiming that the flood wiped *everything* out and there is no pre-flood fossil or geological evidence of *anything* ’cause the flood wiped it all away. Maybe they’re claiming something else. I dunno.

  43. slatham says

    Thanks F and cejones (#43 and #45) — I found your answers helpful. I was wondering how to understand radiometric dating of the earth by reference to meteorite (metallic and stoney), and realized that I didn’t know this stuff about why Uranium etc is in the crust rather than the core. Still working on understanding radiometric dating, but at least I feel better about this aspect of the topic.

  44. says

    (Side note: why salt, of all things?)

    Probably a combination of the symbolic use of salt to purify, the symbolism of salted land being barren, and the fact that there is actually a vaguely human-shaped pillar of salt near Mount Sodom, and just-so stories explaining that kind of thing have always been popular.

  45. says

    I always got the impression they were claiming that the flood wiped *everything* out and there is no pre-flood fossil or geological evidence of *anything* ’cause the flood wiped it all away. Maybe they’re claiming something else. I dunno.

    Nah. If that was the case, they wouldn’t need bullshit excuses like hydrological sorting as an explanation for the fossil sequence.

  46. blf says

    Creationists also argue that the pre-flood human population was similar to (or even greater than) the current population

    Some do, but I have the (vague) impression that is not a widespread belief amongst creationistas. (I could easily be mistaken.)

    Other pre-flud beliefs that some have include that some humans were giants; some humans lived hundreds of years; and, for all I know, that some humans had three heads and a unicorn-style horn (Why not? It’s as silly as the rest of those beliefs.). Oh, and I vaguely recall some actually believing there were unicorns!

  47. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    “Could not it have thereby had its greatest explosivities of outbursting water and eroded rocks, greatest magnitude earthquake, and super-intense volcanic and earthquake lightnings >1 million amperes whereby electrons shooting through them with >1 MeV produced magnetic pinch effects”?

    This is word salad. The Argument from Gibberish. What the fuck are volcanic and earthquake lightnings?

  48. blf says

    What the fuck are volcanic and earthquake lightnings?

    No idea what the eejit meant, but lightning is associated with some volcanic eruptions. This is genuine lightning, broadly, a static discharge albeit on a massive scale.

    “Earthquake lightning” — or more accurately, a “luminous aerial phenomenon” — is apparently a (rare) event associated with some earthquakes (and apparently, sometimes, volcanoes?). Not much, including the cause, about this second phenomenon is currently known. (Its existence was confirmed only comparatively recently.)

  49. dsmwiener says

    No wonder he called you on the phone. He’s is functionally illterate; verbal communication is most likely the only way he can actually impart meaningful information to another human being.

  50. pHred says

    I am not clear on what PZ wants an obliging geophysicist to do? Delete the email with extreme prejudice (kill -9) ? Help him hang up the phone ? That gibberish causes more than first year composition level pain. I am really at a loss – there isn’t anything cogent there to even address.

    U, Th are lithophile elements that form oxide compounds – thus the resultant compounds are “light” and partition to the crust – so? It is like someone repeatedly pointing out that the sky is blue but can be gray, so please address the fact that you haven’t considered the sky can be neon orange with glitter sparkles and expecting you to do something about it.

    Oh well – I am not an obliging geoscientist at this point in the semester anyhow. I am evil incarnate because their projects are due now – no not next week – now.

  51. blf says

    It is like someone repeatedly pointing out that the sky is blue but can be gray, so please address the fact that you haven’t considered the sky can be neon orange with glitter sparkles and expecting you to do something about it.

    The least you could do is call a taxi to take him safely home where he could sleep it off…

  52. says

    I think this guy is trying to describe a geyser or volcano that ejects matter at sufficient speed to ionize the air. And not just to ionize it, but to eject the electrons at 1 MeV. This is not so much a geyser as a relativistic particle cannon. It could certainly have cut rock, or even steel, which raises the question of how rock was holding this water down in the first place.

    Having a little geek moment. I’ve been playing Xenonauts, and after developing laser and plasma weapons, the ultimate soldier weapons go back around to slugthrowers in the form of magnetic acceleration. The research screen mentioned something to the effect that bullet velocity is no longer constrained by technology, but by our atmosphere. Apparently, firing a bullet any faster has the issue of igniting the air in its wake, killing the user.

    And then I remember XKCD’s What If? article on “what if I threw a baseball at the speed of light?” Much hypothetical destruction follows.

  53. pHred says

    @58 blf

    Well – I suppose I could do that. Never let it be said that I won’t do the least I can ! Especially when it comes to mind numbing blathering.

    Or something like that. Only 2 out of 6 projects have been turned in at this point and my evil incarnate horns are growing.

  54. Azuma Hazuki says

    Speaking of, some creationist nut is deluging (har!) me with some things I’m not able to answer as my forte was mineralogy and soil science, not geophysics…can anyone here comment on these things he linked me?

    http://www.grisda.org/origins/19044.htm
    http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/HydroplateOverview4.html#wp18833058
    http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/Liquefaction7.html#wp5466284

    Yes, I know every single one of these is from Creationist sites, and I think the Hydroplate has been well-shattered just here in this very thread, but I don’t know what to say about the first and last ones in here. This is frustrating, as my degree is in geosciences.

    Still, though, none of this explains the paleomagnetic striping on either side of the mid-Atlantic ridge! That ought, by all rights, to shut these people up…

    So, any fellow and much-better-educated geosciences people, please help me out here :)

  55. kaleberg says

    That’s hilarious.

    Still, the idea must have had some merit. There was a talk on this theory given at MIT on 22 January 1974 – “The Firebrick – Waterball Theory of Swimming Continents”, at least according to the hack Independent Activities Guide published that year. (See http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v468/n7320/full/nature09450.html) Professor Rota, in case you are wondering, was the professor who taught us probability and statistics, and he had a marvelous sense of humor. Did I mention that this was a hack IAP guide? Hack as in MIT practical joke?