Ugh. Steve Austin, creationist geologist, is coming to Roseville to debate the age of the Grand Canyon on 13 May. He’s going to be engaging a local “evolutionist” who I don’t know — Steve Johnson — who I will trust to have the facts, but still — more geologists need to show up in the audience, because Austin is an ignorant clown who will put on a show to pander to a crowd that will mostly be even more ignorant than he is.
Debates are bad idea because they tend to put ludicrous claims on an equal footing with solid science. Sometimes we have to do them, because you’ve got to bring the argument home to the enemy, but when we do, we must get a supportive crowd in attendance, too. Otherwise, they’ll lose on the evidence but play games with the perception.
Gruesome Rob says
Afghanistan? Pakistan? No, California
Johnson had better watch his six. Austin is the “slick morph” of creationist speaker. He’s very smooth.
Are you sure it’s not Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man?
No, it’s just Steve Austin, the Six Thousand Year Idiot.
We all knew it would eventually come down to this:
Steve vs. Steve.
Ernesto García says
From the link:
“See Steve Austin on You Tube at the Santa Cruz River in Argentina”
Apparently he visited my backyard too. Eww…
Fortunately, we have the bigger pool to choose from. We know that creationism is a minority view among Steves with a Ph.D. in a scientific field.
'Tis Himself says
I’ve never liked the idea of debates. If someone’s a good debater and the opponent is not, then it doesn’t really matter which side is closer to being right. Likewise, as PZ mentions, having a sympathetic audience helps one side more than the other. Then there’s all kinds of tricks a debater can use, like the Gish Gallop, quote mining, non sequiturs, distortions, logical fallacies, and outright lies.
Debates are a poor forum for imparting the complexities of science and a good forum for delivering the simplistic and often eloquent rhetoric of creationism. Having a debate implies that creationism and science are on equal terms. The question of which one is right is looked upon as an open issue that can be won or lost, and confidently decided, by a non-scientific audience in an hour or two.
There’s a geologist grounded in the ToE in Morris that you don’t know? How big is Morris?
Debates are theater. That’s why Chistopher Hitchens does so well.
The Grand Canyon is nothing more than intelligent carving.
Canyon = Canyoner
To myself @8: Well that came off really strangely. It’s as if there’s a special version of the ToE and it’s grounded only in Morris, MN.
“Sometimes we have to do them, because you’ve got to bring the argument home to the enemy”
Or maybe you do it for the money! Since when is someone with whom you have a disagreement with, your enemy? We are all sludge pond cousins, how can you hate your own family?
Not that Louis says
I want to know who’s getting that $10 admission before I take this one in.
In a debate the creationist can harness the sound-bite victory. Idiot says something catchy and simplistic, leaving the other person gasping like a fish out of water, trying to find any handle to get a grip on the idiocy. Rationalist ends up trying to explain complexity to a crowd that prefers the sound-bite.
Mike Caton says
Recently a few blogs have posted actual data on “conversion rates” of audience members watching debates.
They concluded that the minority audience viewpoint always has an advantage – so these debates are best for us if you’re speaking at a church, Liberty University, or other largely creationist environments. PZ is right – these debates, if they draw mostly evolutionists, don’t do us any favors.
This makes me so annoyed. What free speech? What Constitution? Apparently, articulating what all rational people in the world think is a violation of the separation of church and state, yet creationists can weasel their way onto school boards with their incessant bleating about “intelligent design”. Perhaps it should be renamed the United States of Saudi Arabia; I’m sure these insane fanatics would love to stone all of us heretics to death, after all. Fuck.
Observers should not be surprised at these people’s ability to cherry-pick and twist the Constitution to their own ends; most of them get plenty practise with the Bible. Just as I doubt they condemn shrimp, so they can ignore the establishment clause when it suits.
Blah-blah-blah religion poisons everything.
I’m not American, by the way. Thankfully, UK school boards seem slightly more sane. But knowing that these utter morons can get a handle on children anywhere makes me mad.
Oh noes, that idiot is affiliated with http://www.commonsensescience.org/
That idiot that wants physics to be compatible with a Judeo-Christian world-view… so electrons are spinning rings instead of point particles/waves… What a nutjob.
Not that Louis says
george.w @ 13: I don’t think debates (or anything else, for that matter) will lead to any mass conversions to rationality. I think our victories come in ones or twos. The target audience is that bright high school kid who has realized that some of this stuff in his science class is pretty cool when you think about it and worth looking at more deeply. Yeah, he’s a little confused because it doesn’t fit with what Pastor Gooberman tells him on Sunday. Well, we can help him with that part.
Cat's Staff says
Johnson has debated Austin before…I haven’t seen it, but he may be a theist who doesn’t throw any hardballs to the Creationist. I wouldn’t except much.
A debate that costs that much to attend, is better known as a fundraiser…probably for Northwestern Bible College, or the local creationist group.
Not that Louis says
Apologies to my daughter, the biology major, for making that target audience kid in #18 a boy. Change all the hes to he or she and all the hims to him or her.
Tim H says
If you’re having a with creationists in your backyard, just turn on the sprinkler. That will probably drive him away. Or spray them with Ortho Dweeb-Be-Gone.
Calling for an increase in numbers to prove a point that stands on its own merits seems awfully, dare I say it, religious and downright self-defeating, just like the ridiculousness of debating belief. But, on you go, belying your atheist protestations with religious zeal.
If only debates had anything to do with the facts, then this wouldn’t be an issue. Sadly, debates are won on style and rhetoric, which is why we don’t want to abandon our fellow rational-thinker to the wolves of seductive babble.
Of course, if only debates had anything to do with the facts, creationists wouldn’t try to hold them. You know that this debate wasn’t the geologist’s idea.
Just how does evolution relate to the formation of the Grand Canyon?
Mike Haubrich, FCD says
Evolutionism is the idea that the earth is older than 6,000 years, so any plain evidence that the earth is older than 6,000 years supports evolutionism at the expense of creationism and therefor has to be false. Has to be. So, in order to support creationism, one must goof on geology as much as it does on biology. So, the Grand Canyon had to be made in the runoff from Ye Floode.
And FYI, evolutionism is automatically atheist.
The Ridger says
@SplendidMondkey: First, to creationists, the TOE is supposed to explain everything. They’ve said it’s false for not knowing what existed before the Big Bang or how the moons of Saturn work.
Second, and more relevant, the TOE requires time – Deep Time. Oodles of time. If you can prove the Grand Canyon was carved by Noah’s Flood a few thousand years ago, you are attacking a pillar of evolution’s support.
Yodood #22 wrote:
The theory of evolution stands on its own merits, but debates are also about effective rhetoric — and in any case it would probably make Professor Johnson feel more comfortable and relaxed if he had some pro-science folks in the audience, and it’s not all a bunch of people bussed in from churches or something sitting there glaring at him with their arms crossed.
By the way, why is it ridiculous to debate “belief?” What kind of belief?
Most creationists would say that their belief is primarily based on reason and evidence, with just the little oomph of faith coming in at the end, only necessary to keep someone from throwing out or ignoring the overwhelmingly obvious. In which case, fair game debate-wise.
Mike Haubrich, FCD #25 wrote:
No, it’s not ‘automatically’ atheist. It’s a secular theory, in that it deals with evidence in this world — and it can be accepted by someone who is religious, as well as those who aren’t.
The claim that evolution does, however, support naturalism — if you follow it all the way down to its implications and apply it to religious claims — is an additional argument that has to be made. I think it’s a very good argument, but it’s not part of the theory of biological evolution.
Not That Louis: “I don’t think debates (or anything else, for that matter) will lead to any mass conversions to rationality.”
Yeah, I’m a little depressed about it right now. I’ve tried reasoning with religionists, and I’ve tried mockery, and dog help me as a last resort I’ve even tried being nice to them and nothing works. It we could make flack jackets out of stupid, our soldiers would be a hell of a lot safer.
I do hope for the bright kid in high school, though. Demographics are looking good for the next generation.
Yes, but geological features are formed on separate timescales from evolution of species. He obviously should be debating someone who knows the prevailing theory of Grand Canyon formation. Regardless of whether the Canyon formed quickly or slowly it’s obvious that the layers of rock it exposes and the fossils therein are millions of years old. There are profound geological features that were formed very quickly (like the Scablands) and others that form over eons. It’s got nothing to do with evolution (and he knows it).
I think that what we need is MORE debates.
We have a large enough community with enough commmunication to build a database of all the
underhandedlies that creationists use. Very few debaters are good enough to have all the facts right at hand, but with a little help and technolgy, that can be remedied.
All it would take is a laptop with the database to catch and respond whenever the “debater” reuses them:
“Excuse me, but are you aware of the ten pages that follow that quote lay out the evidence answering the question? Are you uninformed or purposefully lying?”
The second time:
“At your May second debate with John Smith, he informed you of the context of the quote you just used. I can only conclude that you are being purposefully dishonest and bearing false witness. Do you believe that lying is an acceptable tactic to win?”
Given that, I would LOVE to debate them.
Rey Fox says
“No, it’s not ‘automatically’ atheist. It’s a secular theory, in that it deals with evidence in this world — and it can be accepted by someone who is religious, as well as those who aren’t.”
Exactly. One can pile any fairy story one wants on top of evolution. It doesn’t make one right, but apparently it helps some people sleep.
The only way to deal with this sort is silly debate is to use a rebuttal prepared by another (sensible) Christian who accepts evolution, millions of years etc.
There’s a rebuttal of his whole silly book on the Grand Canyon here: http://www.answersincreation.org/print/gcbookreview.pdf
Mal Adapted says
Johnson better hope it’s not Stone Cold Steve Austin, or he’s asking for a smackdown 8^).
Tom Coward says
Austin has a video up at Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3darzVqzV2o) taking d
Darwin to task for allegedly misinterpreting the geology of a river valley in Argentina. The comments on the video are interesting in that Austin has been jousting with several ‘real’ geologists about the age of the Grand Canyon, the depth of post-eruption valleys around Mount St. Helens, and other topics. Despite the fairly heavy editing (read: ‘censorship’) of the comment thread carried out by Austin’s admin, he has been caught with his pants down several times by people who actually know stuff about these topics. If you are interested in geology, it might make a good read.
Hit ‘im with the varves! Varves are pairs of thin sediment layers laid down winter and summer, so that one varve is produced each year. In some places a color difference makes them really easy to count. The Green River Shale in Wyoming represents 3,000,000 continuous years of deposition. Ask Steve Austin to explain how one continuous flood can make six million changes of current flow in forty days. See Collateral lines of evidence such as pollen from flowers in different seasons, indicate that these really are annual layers. The varves also show variations that indicate El Nino/La Nina, the sunspot cycle, and various other cycles up to and including the precession of the equinoxes every 20,000 or so years.
Also, as I recall there is evidence of glacial dams forming and breaking up to 50 times somewhere near the Grand Canyon.
James F says
We’ve got one, TalkOrigins. Have at it!
Oo, yes! Hit him with the varves!
(I just love that word.)
The ooids, the marl, the tufa! And a greywacke to the chin.
WHOM I don’t know — Steve Johnson — WHOM I will…
Direct Object, plz.
Evolving Squid says
The volume of rock removed from the grand canyon is approximately 10^13 cubic metres. ( http://www.ehow.com/about_4619905_what-volume-grand-canyon.html )
To form in 6000 years, 1.7 billion cubic metres of material would have to be removed each year. Since we don’t see this happening within recorded history, and people are known to have been there for at least 400 years, we can assume that there have been no more than 5600 years, so 1.8 billion cubic metres of material removed per year. That is approximately 3 or 4 Mt. St. Helens (1980) eruptions every two years for 5600 years in that spot. Or 4 or more Toba explosions ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Toba ) over that time.
You’d think that volume of earth movement, by whatever mechanism, would leave more evidence than just a hole in the ground.
This is easy enough to calculate from publicly available information… forget dating the rocks etc. It’s a simple matter of “where did all the rocks and dirt go?” unless they’re also implying that Jebus has some kind of weird landfill on another plane of existence to which he took it.
40 days of rain simply cannot move that amount of dirt, and even if it could, it would have to go somewhere… How do these fast-grand-canyon people manage to explain away all this?
The Pale Scot says
Um….? Didn’t this geologist get the memo on how to respond to these idiots?
Also – I really REALLY hope the first point Johnson brings up in rebuttal is: “What has evolution got to do with the formation of geological landforms?” Cut down that major pillar to show up the idiocy, if he MUST go ahead and debate this cretin.
That you have not heard of Steve Johnson might also mean he’s never heard of you, and possibly that he’s been targeted and doesn’t really know what he’s gotten himself into.
I’m just curious – how come Creationists have not yet debated Intelligent Design proponents, since they claim to have “opposing” views? Keep the clowns in the circus, where they can duel it out for the entertainment of all others, I reckon.
The Pale Scot says
the mod is Ian Punnett
As of August 2007, Punnett hosts a morning show on WFMP-FM in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and is the regular Saturday night host of the widely-syndicated paranormal-themed Coast to Coast AM, created by Art Bell.
Evolving Squid @#40: Yep, that much material being moved would created one helluva delta at the mouth of the Colorado. Where is it?
You’re absolutely kidding, right?
You might also do a Google Scholar search on “Colorado River Delta.”
I smell a total setup, here. Anyone else?
The “radio host” is in training for the ministry.
The “geologist” has conspicuously less training than the “creationist”. I am wondering if the geologist is a plant.
I’ll second the idea that this is a fundraiser and nothing more.
There is no such thing as a creationist geologist. A Geologist studies the history of the Earth. This guy does not do that. He makes shit up.
Josh @#45: Great pics, and info too. Thanks for the links.
I totally screwed up my post about the delta. I didn’t really mean delta. I meant to say that moving that much material in the short time postulated by believers in Noah’s Ark and The Flood would have left very different evidence — something like a mountain, or maybe the mother of all glacial moraines, with water channels trying to cut around it?
The Creationist version of the Grand Canyon sounds almost like mining to me. Where is the tailing pile?
That’s not 100% accurate. The situation is actually much worse than that. Steven Austin does do geology, he just spends far more time making shit up…
I’ve heard him speak several times. He doesn’t do a lot of geology, and I don’t think his work is particularly good, but he does do some. For example:
Austin SA, Wise KP. 1999. Gigantic megaclasts within the Kingston Peak Formation (Upper Precambrian, Pahrump Group), Southeastern California: evidence for basin margin collapse. Geological Society of America Abstracts With Programs 31(7):A455.
He’s more problematic than a normal creationist, because he actually has some publications to point to that lend him street cred…
I have published things, too. Lots more than that moron. They actually have been in print and cited by other geologists in their research. I have also presented at the GSA meet ups twice. Anyone can really, just sign up. I have also know huge potheads, charletons and complete idiots that have published and presented. Anyone can do it.
Lynna, indeed. In fact, I think your other comment was fine…it just maybe needed more emphasis on the one helluva. But you hit it with tailings pile. There would be massive subsurface sediment deposits, probably for many miles out into the Pacific. Where all the material went is absolutely something else these buggers have to explain.
Geology is so much fun. Don’t know why anyone would want to mess it up with theology.
It’s he that has the problem, not us.
Pull up his own paper, frex, and ask him to interpret it as having been part of a global flud 6000 years ago.
Will he have an answer? Will he just blather on about “dissenting from uniformitarian ASSUMPTIONS”, “disagreeing about timelines”, etc? Who knows?
I find myself suspecting that “Steve Johnson” may be a plant; a talking head whose role is to bluster a bit at the creationist, then give up. “Golly, your wise words about differing ASSUMPTIONS really makes me want to rethink my uniformitarian ideology. Creationism makes just as much sense!!!!”
But perhaps I am too paranoid.
I got an email about this “debate”. They are charging for entry. No word on who benefits from the money. $10 adult, $5 student, $25 family.
I’m a geology student at UM-TC. I guess they decided to spam all the grad students in my department. If it weren’t for the $, I’d have considered going.
Austin spanking Darwin:
Greg Sneakel says
KKMS AM980 radio interview May 6th at 5:00 pm CT for 60 minutes. Both Steve Austin & Steve Johnson.
This is a Christian Talk radio channel and have a streaming on their web-site (http://www.kkms.com/ )
Just listening to this should tell which way this is going to go and if Johnson is a plant or a phoney.
Oops, looks like Tom Coward #35 beat me to it on Austin’s “Where Darwin Went Wrong” video.
Reading the comments on the video it looks like Austin has taken on all-comers and is still standing. Noone seems to have found a geological flaw in his video.
Actually, the eroded material from the Grand Canyon is a problem for slow and gradual erosion also … where has all that material been deposited?
You don’t read enough.
Case in point: Comment #45 above points to the enormous Colorado River Delta. It’s there. It’s real. It’s consistent with erosion over millions of years. It’s not a problem.
Steve Austin is a man bearing a lie.
Why exactly is it a problem?
There are these things called ocean currents, you see…
If it was free, or if I knew the proceeds were going to CASH I’d go for sure.
I’ve seen the handout posters for this “debate”. The “evolutionist biologist” is definitely a pawn in the christian army- his photo on the poster appears to be lifted right out of the church bulletin.
Can someone give a breakdown on where the proceeds are going?
I take that back… reading Steve Johnson’s bio- it probably was from a school yearbook. Guess I’m biasing my evidence. When seen side by side with Austin’s cheesy pic… I just inferred it had to be from a church bulletin. Always good to look at available information first…
Wait–Johnson has a BS in forestry and physical geography? Oh this should go smashingly fucking well.
just john says
One of the best counter-arguments when young-Earthers hold up the Grand Canyon is to reply with the Snake River Canyon. It’s very deep, too. But it’s twisty!
Re just john@63: yes, the Snake River Canyon — good example. And here’s some more canyon info to consider: Hells Canyon, cut by the Snake River, is the deepest gorge in North America, deeper than Grand Canyon. Hells Canyon is incised more than a mile below Oregon’s west rim, and 8,000 feet below Idaho’s Seven Devils Mountain range. The middle and main forks of the Salmon River flow through canyons almost 7,000 feet deep in some spots, also deeper than the Grand Canyon. The Bruneau River flows through the deepest gorge for its width in North America (very narrow for its depth). The Bruneau River is located in southwestern Idaho. Part of the new wilderness bill that Obama signed for the Owyhee Canyonlands includes the Bruneau River.
See a picture of Hells Canyon at http://www.wildernessbooks.com/lee/lee/hellscanyon.html
There’s twisty spots in the Grand Canyon as well, such as:
So, how does one get a meander during this alleged global flood digging out the canyon?
Steve Austin is a sick, million-do-liar man.
Owlmirror @#65: good question about the meander. What about the goosenecks of the San Juan River?
@64 and 65–I love it when you guys write stuff like this. Does my cold robot heart good.
The Goosenecks of the San Juan are great. If the deluionists want to make the sediments flood deposits, then they have to explain:
A., how the receding flood waters deposited the geology we see in those deposits.
B., how the entire package of sediment has been lithified since the flood waters have receded.
C., how the San Juan has cut the meanders into the rocks.
…in ~4000 years…
What about slot canyons? http://www.wildernessbooks.com/lee/lee/paria.html
And of course with the rocks shown in #68, the delusionists need to explain how receding flood waters can produce high angle cross-beds that exactly mimic the kind of structures that are produced by wind deposition today…
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
If anyone’s been to Zion, how about the slots (mentioned above) and the actual canyon cut by the Virgin river?
I’ve spent many a night hanging from those walls and I feel I’m somewhat intimately knowledgeable about them. I wonder how they can explain that in 4k years which has slowed so much in the last 100 to 200 that it isn’t noticeable. The formation of the canyons is considered to have formed pretty fast in geologic terms but still nothing like 4k years.
Yep–it’s the same basic story. The delusionists need to explain what I said in #69, and how the deposit was lithified within ~4000 years, and how the Virgin River both cut the canyon within ~4000 years, and, as Rev. so well noted in #70, why the rates of weathering have slowed down just about the time we started paying attention.
Not only are there slot canyons in Zion, there are natural bridges. Not as big as the natural bridges in Natural Bridges National Monument, but still indicative of no-global-flood-here.
Longest slot canyon (AFAIK) is Buckskin Gulch (16 miles) in southern Utah (tributary of Paria Canyon). It’s dry most of the time except for a few mud holes. It’s deep, cold as a refrigerator even in the heat of summer, and one can see examples of cross-bedding all along it.
I’m not sure about this (may be too much of a generalization) but AFAIK some of the colors we see in slot canyons differ depending on the direction the wind was blowing when ancient sand dunes were formed.
The Virgin River Gorge is part of the “Grand Staircase.” The layer cake of geological strata that gives its name to the staircase of tilted terraces goes roughly from young to old, across about two hundred million years of geological history. At the top of the cake, the youngest layer is the pink icing of silt deposited by a freshwater lake that later became the eroded spires of Cedar Breaks National Monument (that’s just north of and higher than the Kolob section of Zion N.P.) and Bryce Canyon National Park. At the bottom are the deep red sandstones and badlands of the Vermilion Cliffs in the Paria Canyon-–Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness (this is where Buckskin Gulch is located).
Josh @71: Things start slowing down as soon as we observe them. I’m sure that’s how it works. Deepak Chopra could explain it in terms of quantum mechanics. Since Zion N.P. gets more than 3 million visitors annually, all of them observing to beat the band, the down-cutting of the canyons has really slowed down.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Ah ha!! Science!
I do hope somebody asks him what his old pal Stuart Nevins is up to…
Brilliant. That make my head hurt. Now I’m like Rev.
Rev @#74: Yes, I have it all figured out. I’m going to ask the Discovery Institute for funding. I need a month off to write up my paper…or maybe a day, but I tell them it’ll take a year and that I need to fund an expedition into the Zion Narrows? You can come along as the official “Observer” and I will clock the time you spend observing and match that data to down-cutting.
Nerd of Redhead, OM says
Then why hasn’t Venice stopped sinking in the the sea?
The severity of your headache correlates directly to the amount of Crazy in my Creationist Proposal to the Discovery Institute.
Oh come on, Nerd. You know that the sinking of Venice is a liberal lie invented by Al Gore.
The inhabitants of Venice are well-known to be immoral. Immoral observers do not have the same effect as moral observers. (See Ray Comfort, who has a big effect on history, especially the history of bananas, ‘cuz he’s super moral.)
uh-oh. I just discovered a flaw in the design of my experiment. The Rev can’t be The Observer. He might not be morally appropriate…and there’s all that bacon.
Oh well, plenty of Mormons nearby, even some FLDS and those dudes are old-school moral.
Quite right, quite right. Moral turpitude is the key insight. Venice is sinking because Venetians are morally blind; they cannot be properly moral observers.
Venitians have sex with lots of women outside of the bonds of holy matrimony.
FLDS have sex with lots of women inside of the bonds of holy matrimony.
It’s completely different!!!!
I nominate Owlmirror as coauthor for my proposed Discovery Institute research paper. Owlmirror has the basic concept down cold.
Well then why the fuck is Bangladesh being inundated? Same reason?
Or Florida? Why is Florida being inundated?
Bangladesh…wrong god, obviously. Therefore immoral.
Florida’s residents are being punished by God. They worship the right god (again, this is sooo obvious), but they have slipped up recently. How many of them backed Obama? How many of them were not thrifty and therefore ended up on the wrong side of the mortage-backed-securities debacle. And how about those senior citizens? Amazingly high rates of STDs. ‘Nuff said.
Zion is pure (if we keep Rev out), hence it is an ideal place for the research we propose.
BTW, must hand it to Owlmirror for elucidating the “morally blind” concept.
This was fun for a little while. But working outside the framework of reality quickly gets boring. I don’t know how the Discovery Institute “scientists” do it.
Oh, Josh. How quickly you challenge the truthiness of our sciencey (is not theology the queen of the scienceys?) theorizing. We’ll be sure to thank you in the final paper.
It’s simple: IF they are being inundated, THEN they must have behaved terribly immorally OR there is a Larger Plan at Work. As noted by the good Rev. BigDumbChimp (who will be cited in the paper as well), on April 6, 2009 9:03 PM,
in the journalon the thread “I have no idea what this thread is about anymore”,
See how simplitastic it can all be?
Lynna, that was great.
Wrong God = check.
Punished for Obama = check.
Owl, I again bow to your masterful command of truthiness.
I swear, Lynna had not yet commented when I began composing my comment. Clearly, we are tuned in on the exact same wavelength — a wavelength broadcast by the Intelligent Broadcaster. There Are No Coincidences.
<*clasps hands; looks pious*>
I like your way of thinking and I want to subscribe to your newsletter.
Does Owlmirror have a newsletter. Do I have a newsletter? Do Owl and I appear, clean and happy, in our Church of Geology bulletin?
Owlmirror, I could see your eyes rolling when you clasped your hands. You’ll have to do better than that we present our proposal to the Discovery Institute.
Josh is a skeptic, with the heart of a robot. We can bring him around. We just need to love bomb him with clichés. Yeah, that is already working. Josh has bowed to Owlmirror’s masterful command of truthiness. He’s headed down the slippery slope (wet mancos shale or perhaps Chinle formation).
Yes. That is why they are called Venetian blinds.
My question is, why hasn’t my home state of Massachusetts yet turned into a roiling miasma of tsunamis, tornadoes, mutating viruses and geysering lava?
Sven DiMilo says
Perhaps the traffic on 128 is regarded as punishment enough.
Cumulative, preemptive punishment for legally allowing men to marry other men? The next thing you know, men will be marrying their television remotes!
Oh, you mean the fleshlight.
No, that was a sudden gastrointestinal distress. Or possibly momentary demonic possession. Those demons; so tricksy.
I set ’em up; you knock ’em down…
(… way, way down. And then stomp on them. With combat boots. And unleash the flamethrower on ’em.)
Perhaps Massachusetts managed to successfully appeal for mercy. “Don’t smite me, bro!”
Mysterious are the ways of the all-smitey.
Clearly, there is much research to be done on the intersection between local morality and local geology.
Re smiting Massachusetts: God can be fooled. Look how Satan tricked Him/Her/It into torturing Job. Satan is fond of Massachusetts, so he’s been diverting God’s attention all this time. “Just a bunch of good folks who love you, Oh Mighty Might, and they’re always at Mass. No kidding.”
As an aside, one lesson to be learned from the whole Job drama is that any ten children are interchangeable with any other ten children. God kills ten of your offspring, but he gives you ten later to replace ’em. No sweat. Job doesn’t miss a beat. “Oh yeah, got my kids back. Not the same kids, but close enough.”
A guy that gambles with Satan can’t really be trusted to set up a complete fossil record.
Steve P. says
Uh, Mike. Darwinism (magic in a labcoat) is automatically atheistic.
Evolution is properly theistic. How so? Evolution means a rolling out, an unfolding. This connotes pre-existing information, something Darwinism rejects. Therefore, Darwinism is by all accounts not evolution; it has its own room to play in.
Jeez, I though rationality was Darwinian territory. What happened? More favorable mutations, please?
Ken Cope says
Evolution is properly theistic. How so? Evolution means a rolling out, an unfolding. This connotes pre-existing information, something Darwinism rejects.
Are you attempting to retcon evolution into something equivalent to teleology by merely using word games that can appeal only to the pig-ignorant? Gosh, let us know if that strategy works with people even vaguely familiar with the topic, kthxbye.
*grumble grumble sip of coffee grumble grumble*
*Formal units, kids. Capitalized.
She’ll be here all week, folks.
I can’t explain the lack of lava,* viruses, or tsunmais (I think Sven’s “traffic on 128” is a plausible explanation–if not, perhaps we could offer up the mere existence of Lowell as another), but two of the three tornadoes I’ve seen firsthand were actually in Massachusetts.
Beyond 128, I suspect that the annoyed deity might well figure that “spring” in New England (a big lie characterized mostly by rain and clouds of black flies) serves as a fitting punishment for the sins of Massachusetts.
*I’ll probably get spanked for adding a serious note to a funny comment, but oh well, today is going to be a serious day. You can find old hard lava in the Connecticut River Valley (for example, the ridge that Poet’s Seat glares down from in Greenfield, and the entire Holyoke Range south of Amherst (http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/hksp.htm)).
I call Poe on Steve P. at #100. That comment was simply too foolish to possibly have been typed with a straight face.
Josh, old lava doesn’t count. I need geysering lava as proof of the All-Smitey. (Ten points to Owlmirror for that one. Thanks, also, to Lynna for the enlightening comments.)
On the other hand, there’s fresh lava down there in Hawaii and up there in Alaska, both of which are clearly part of Massachusetts… as viewed from Pluto, I mean.
Eric the Half-Bee says
I hope someone present will ask Steve Austin how he manages to use the same subsample in two different isochron measurements that yield different dates. I always thought blatant fraud was the most likely explanation but I’d be happy to see Steve’s answer.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Where the hell did you get that definition?
Josh @102: Apologies for offending your Geological Highness with inappropriate lower case. Slippery slope should have been made of bentonite anyway?
As for Lowell being part of the scourge God has inflicted on Massachusetts…Lowell did renounce Catholicism in his later years so maybe he got tired of scourging. He also showed up in Mailer’s “Armies of the Night” as one of the players in the anti-war demonstrations outside the Pentagon in 1967. He is, however, blamed for confessional poetry, a minor hell on earth.
First scare quotes I ever saw around “a young Republican” were in Lowell’s “Memories of West Street and Lepke” and one can quote mine for lines like “These are the tranquilized Fifties” and “O Bible chopped and crucified…”
Like the question for Steve Austin in #105. Inquiring minds want to know.
Wish I’d known about the old lava Josh mentioned in #103. Should have made a side trip to the Holyhoke Range when I was last in Amherst. Black flies, eh? Never been there in the spring. Spring is Idaho is fabulous, if brief.
“Venetian Blinds” … that was good, so good it was the first conscious thought when I woke up this morning. Start the day laughing as one rolls out of bed.
Amherst still has men with ponytails, that could be proof of the All-Smitey torturing Massachusetts (#104).
I always think that the theory of gravity trumps the “flood carving the Grand Canyon” thinking. If the Earth is covered with water; then, how can the water carve anything since it has no place to go.
I’d like to ask this question just to hear the stupidity in Austin’s response.
Sven DiMilo says
That’s an etymology/translation, not a definition.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Ok, but from where? How does he get to that?
Ah, the great flud. Proof positive that catastrophically bad morality leads to catastrophic geology.
Feh, I can’t keep it up.
After watching AlanC and RogerS do YECspew for weeks and weeks (far more than forty days and forty nights) without stopping,* I think I can speculate as to what the answer might be.
Creos love any hint of real geological catastrophe and earth changes. They then try and appropriate the catastrophe for the “flud”
theory hypothesis hunchwhacked-out fever-dream delugion.
The geological catastrophes that they probably love the most are genuine massive floods, such as the Missoula floods that created the Channeled Scablands. They are just all over that. “See? Catastrophic water damage, just like that from the global flud!!! Of course, we disagree about the timeline blah blah blah…”
Alan Clarke mentioned them first, and perhaps more tellingly, RogerS linked to an actual ICR article by Steve Austin: “Red Rock Pass: Spillway of the Bonneville Flood”.
So I suspect that Steve Austin will wave his hands and point to genuine catastrophic floods, and claim that the Grand Canyon was carved by something similar, as the waters of the noachian flood drained off of the rising mountains into the sinking ocean basins (This no doubt occurred during the Plasticine era, because that’s how they conceive of how flexible the Earth’s surface is when God’s mighty fingers mold it)(Hey! Maybe craters are God’s finger- and thumbprints! I smell a grant from the ICR for more research…).
*: My “vege-mat” of rationality managed to float a tree of knowledge to the peak of the cliffs of utter insanity.
</incoherent and tortured (indeed, waterboarded) analogy>
Ouch. Pained. Pained I tell you.
Indeed it should have been. Try driving on that shit when it’s wet.
1641, “to unfold, open out, expand,” from Latin evolvere “unroll,” from ex- “out” + volvere “to roll”
He can do that, and then we can ask him where the fucking sediments came from in the first place. Because he either needs to explain the canyon stratigraphy, or he has to fit it all* into ~4000 years.
*A., how the receding flood waters deposited the geology we see in the canyon.
B., how the entire package of sediment has been lithified since the flood waters have receded.
C., how the Colorado has cut the canyon at the resistivities we observe in the rocks.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
I see. Thanks
He gets to that by going from “here” to “there”, where “here” is rational and intellectually honest argumentation, and “there” is that place that creationists go to when they feel the need to “refute” evolution. In that place, he has found a “definition” that has nothing whatsoever to do with the meaning of the word as used in the context of any discussion of biological evolution. Steve P. needs to realize that a scientific argument must not rely on arbitrary definitions. Or maybe he does realize that, and charges ahead anyway. I don’t know.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Yeah I knew that but I was just curious if he was just making up that derived explanation of it there was some basis to it.
Those who suggest Steve Johnson is a plant maybe right and wrong. If he is a plant, he might be an old earth creationist and there are some of these as I’ve heard them on Christian radio. I don’t know if I want to waste the $10 to verify this even though I live just soth of Roseville.
It would be cool to have someone on the ground to report back. Get me an address to mail it to and I’ll waste the $10 for you.
Before you throw away your money, note that comment #56 points to a radio interview that will be broadcast this Wednesday which will feature the both of them.
Hey, it would be cool if you (and other geologists, and geology sympathizers) called in and (politely) gave them geological hell. Heh.
@120–Oh, that could be fun…
Josh @112, re driving on bentonite. Been there, done that. Didn’t die, but holy mother of grease, that is some wicked stuff.
Worst experience so far was just south of Goblin State Park in one of the Wilderness Study Areas (Muddy Creek, I think) in the San Rafael Swell. Luckily, my brother Leland was driving. It was touch and go getting out of there. We packed up our camp in a light snow storm at dawn. The snow turned to rain. Just before the deluge got going we made it back to pavement.
Owyhee Canyonlands back roads can be impassable, a mud-sucking hell, if it has recently rained. If it is raining, or is thinking about raining, don’t go there.
Sounds like we’ve played in some of the same mud…
Josh – I can afford it; so, maybe I will go and be a pharyngula witness to the stupidty.
I have found creationism interesting ever since my born-again ex-lesbian sister told me the earth is only 6,000 years old. I didn’t know what to say then and doubt that saying anything now would change her mind, but maybe I should try?
The last bombshell from her mouth was when I told her that I thought the earth was over populated. She responded by saying that the state of Iowa could feed the earth! I can only imagine that someone gave a sermon or wrote a book with an anti-abortion theme and it had this little factoid in it.
Josh @#123: Mud can be saturated in color too. Another good “mud” spot is in Oregon.
Patricia, OM says
Leave Oregon out of it.
Roger. Here’s to hoping you decide to go.
Did you ask her why it wasn’t happening then?
Patricia @#126: why do we have leave Oregon out of it? Don’t the Oregonians like mud?
Whereas it’s on my list, this is a place that, sadly, I haven’t gotten to yet.
Josh: Yeah, I know. So much ancient mud, so little time.
No kidding. And modern mud too! I’m very slowly coming to grips with the fact that I’m not going to live long enough to see and learn all of the cool shit that I want to.
I want 250 years. Is that too much to ask? I estimate that’s about what I need to learn enough to appreciate what I want to see, and to arrange expeditions to observe/enjoy. One might need some replacement body parts along the way.
There’s some nice mud near the northern end of Capital Reef National Park in Utah. One can camp in the foothills of the Henry Mountains (ponderosa pines, spring water, great views) and day-trip to the Blue Hills section of the Mount Ellen/Blue Hills Wilderness Study Area. Nearest town is Hanksville. Scenic pluses include the resident herds of wild bison. An article in a Hanksville newspaper about the bison in the Henry Mountains described the herd as previously “reduced almost to distinction [sic] by indiscriminate hunting.” The real distinction of the Henry Mountains bison is that they are now the largest herd of free-roaming buffalo in the nation. In 1941 three bulls and 15 heifers were shipped from Yellowstone National Park to the San Rafael Desert. In the early 1960s the herd moved to the Henrys and stayed there. The herd now numbers about 425-450 after calving season.
The blue clay badlands of the Blue Hills portion are a desert of shale, alkali flats and incised erosional patterns.
The area is not far from the San Rafael Swell.
Here are some hiking/camping/driving tips in case you want to go to the Blue Hills:
About 9.2 miles west of Hanksville, on Highway 24, watch for an unmarked dirt track leading south between mileposts 106 and 105. Park where the short track ends. Follow a faint trail south to the river. Wade the Fremont River and explore about a mile into the Upper Blue Hills. There are no official trails and no potable water sources. The landscape of Mancos shale looks bluish in the right light. Occasional, selenium-tolerant plants offer the only other spots of color in the highly-eroded hills. Fossilized shark teeth abound. This hike is not possible in wet weather because the clay will quickly build up a pound of goop on your shoes.
From your Upper Blue Hills exploration, return to Highway 24. About 24 miles west of Hanksville, at the eastern border of Capitol Reef National Park, turn south on Notam Road. The road is paved to the old townsite of Notam, formerly a Uranium mining boom town. At mile 4.7 from Highway 24 continue south across Notam Bench on a gravel road, ignoring all side roads and jeep tracks. The Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef National Park will be on your right.
At mile 12.8 from Highway 24, at Sandy Ranch junction, turn left, east, to climb into the foothills of Mt. Ellen and access McMillan Springs campground. About two miles east of Sandy Ranch Junction, the road is rougher where it descends to cross Blind Trail Wash (not signed). 4WD and high-clearance are recommended. Keep left at a major road junction to continue to McMillan Springs. From the campground the views westward toward Capitol Reef are spectacular. The meadows around McMillan Springs are often frequented by bison.
So, I listened to the radio program.
This is an expansion of my very rough notes. I may have misheard. The archive file should be made available in the next few days.
No-one called in except one individual who wanted to know about Indians riding dinosaurs, possibly as a way of baiting Steve Austin. He sounded sarcastic, to my ears. I sure hope he was playing Poe. Austin merely responded that they weren’t in the same layers. He sounded very noncommittal when he first started talking, waiting until the end to spew the most egregious nonsense.
Austin opened by saying that sure, he originally bought the traditional millions-of-years explanation, but became “uncomfortable” after noting that some boulders in the river hadn’t changed over a century or so, apparently going by some old photographs.
As I suspected above @#111, Steve Austin’s theory of the Grand Canyon formation involves a huge lake that had some sort of natural dam that failed catastrophically, spilling over and carving out the river rapidly.
I’m pretty sure I heard him say that this purported lake was “the size of Lake Michigan”, which was a huge WTF moment, looking at a map of North America. Where is a lake of that size supposed to fit in the Rocky Mountain range, such that a spillover would drain to the southwest? Or did he mean Lake Bonneville itself? Either way, I don’t see how the topography of the area surrounding the canyon supports that.
Steve Austin mentioned having lots of problems with the radiometric dating of the canyon strata. He spoke of knowing radioisotopes of canyon as well as any geologist, and spending a quarter-million dollars on doing the radioisotope dating. He said they are not concordant with each other; different methods give different results, and got 30%-50% deviation(!) by certain methods — some giving thousands of years(!!).
Austin also complained about lava flows in the canyon: they should give one age; minerals in the lava flows are “polluted” with Ar that make it look older than it is. He argued that the radioisotope dating methods have been “junked”.
Steve Austin also talked about the ASSUMPTIONS of radioisotope dating, and limestone accumulation, and river formation, and with being “uncomfortable” with a millions-year-old dating of the Canyon and “comfortable” with a thousands-year-old dating. There was also something about millions of years destroying the foundations of the Gospel. Oh, and he said that he lived in California, and didn’t see enough sediment from the Colorado River. This seemed wrong to me, because I’m pretty sure that the river delta is in Mexico, far south of the California border.
He closed with saying something that sounded like he had found evidence of a colossal flood forming the strata; and asserting that there were no ancestral forms of the trilobites, sponges, crinoids, etc found in the strata. There had been no evolution; only fixed forms and stasis, etc.
A typical Flud of Creationist garbage science, in other words.
Steve Johnson sounded reasonable, but I disliked hearing him open by saying that gee, he agrees with Austin that “Nobody can say exactly how and when Grand Canyon formed”. Feh.
Johnson tried pointing out that some radiometric dating methods had been deprecated in favor of more accurate and reliable ones (I think he said K-Ar and Rb-Sr were less favored than Ar-Ar), and generally tried to point to the way science works.
But I suspect that he was baffled by the flud of bullshit from Austin.
I am not a geologist, but I sorta wish I had called and asked Austin a few obvious questions: He mentioned the channeled scablands from the Missoula flood, and the Bonneville flood. Do the geological remnants of either of those look anything like a canyon? If the Grand Canyon had been carved by a single massive flood, wouldn’t it have been in a broad, rectangular plane like the scablands rather than a straight line? If it had (somehow?) been a straight line then there should have been no meanders, and hence, nothing like the Horseshoe Bend, or any of the other curves and bends in the Colorado River, right?
(btw, it looks like the money for the debate will go to the “Twin Cities Creation Science Association” — URL: tccsa.tc (unsurprisingly, they are also AGW deniers))
Sorry for any inaccuracies, misattributions, and omissions that may be in these notes. It’s hard to take notes when people spontaneously talk, sometimes over each other.
And the mp3 archive of the show is up. I think. The blog archive page is kind of messed up, and I don’t have time to download it right this moment.
The info about the interview, which I should have posted before, is as follows:
Owl, thanks for doing this. I’m buried in some research stuff right now, but when I pop my head back above the data I’ll give it a good long listen.
Tim Helble says
Just listened to the show on the KKMS archive. S. Austin doesn’t introduce anything new… he just repeats the standard YEC bylines – e.g., “a lot of water in a little time.” S. Johnson kind of blows it by failing to talk about C. Hill et. al’s recently published research on the age of the Grand Canyon. Also, he’s a little weak on radiometric dating.
Does anyone know how I can get a hold of this Steve Johnson? On the radio show, he says he’s a retired NPS naturalist, so he won’t have an NPS email address. I used to work for the NPS at Grand Canyon, and I have developed some PowerPoint animations he could use to annihilate Steve Austin at next week’s “debate.”
Before I first saw a debate between creationists and real scientists, I did not see how the creationists could stand a chance in the debate – the facts are on our side.
But then I saw Kent Hovind debate 3 Phd’s and another debate with Michael Shermer and I changed my mind. Hovind has a room full of sheep at these debates that bleat on command, applauding at his brilliant insights and laughing at the right places. He loses big time on the facts, but comes out of it with the audience on his side; that’s because the audience is on his side from the start since they tend to be predominantly YEC’s.
If Hovind were not in prison and was going to debate someone with more knowledge than him (like a randomly chosen third-grade kid, for example), I would recommend that his opponent not debate evolution, but debate Kent Hovind.
By that I mean the opponent should put up clips of Hovind misrepresenting science and show how he is an idiot. They should put up his “there are 6 types of evolution” slide and show why it is false before he gets up to speak. Cut the moron’s legs out from under him and keep facts of evolution to a minimum and you’d have a chance to embarrass him even in front of his half-wit followers.