Musings from the Bunker 3/21/21
This past month saw a couple of science related stories.
News Item #1. It seems it finally has been concluded that the asteroid impact on the Yucatan peninsula was the cause of the end of the Age of Dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The dinosaurs had a pretty good run, with the age of dinosaurs beginning some 210 million years ago (after the the Triassic/Jurassic extinction) until the party ended abruptly with the rude impact of a meteor. For those who are counting, the prior extinction was the Permian extinction of 252 million years ago. https://www.sciencealert.com/remains-of-the-asteroid-that-ended-dinosaur-reign-closes-case-on-impact-theory?fbclid=IwAR2l18Gy_abUJBepSFGrCRP7UsK-PnTnHFiwi1p9ujYCJP0NsCj4HXAc06Q
News item #2. We still have political leaders who don’t believe in the theory of evolution (I kid you not). In the brouhaha about Joe Biden calling the “Neanderthal thinking” of those who actually are thinking like Neanderthals, there was push-back from those who sought to portray these humanoids as sensitive hunter-gatherers. Fair enough, but let’s just remember this was a rhetorical flourish and not an actual pronouncement about the Neanderthals’ intellect. That said, the best part is that one of the protagonists in this debate is publicly on record that she does not believe in the theory of evolution: https://storiesofchange.ac.uk/node/175
While this article about evolution science coming “from the pits of hell” is dated, it reminds us of who sits in Congress these days: https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-xpm-2012-oct-07-la-na-nn-paul-broun-evolution-hell-20121007-story.html
SCIENCE VERSUS ALTERNATIVE RELIGIOUS SCIENCE
A couple of years ago we were on a guided hike Southern Utah and we got to talking with the guide about the striated cliffs that show layers and layers of uplift and sediment laid down over the Earth’s long history. The science of plate tectonics, the rising and falling of the seas, and the evolution of species interrupted by global extinctions, offer a fascinating and scientifically provable explanation for the world around us.
We discussed how wondrous are the landscapes of the West, and how mysterious is the fossil record. For a real treat, check out Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, with an exposed example of dinosaur bones in situ and Fossil Butte National Monument, where beautifully preserved palm frond fossils can be found, left from when Wyoming was in the tropics. https://www.nps.gov/fobu/index.htm And, yes, the Sonnenbergs have visited both…!
There really is a unified, understandable scientific theory. How could anyone disagree? How could anyone really believe that the earth is less than 6,000 years old?
Our guide laughed and related a week-long trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He took an evangelical group. There was no such discussion of evolution or the “deep time” of the Earth’s remarkable physical history. He said he and his fellow guide struggled to remain tight-lipped as they sat and listened by the campfire to the “scientists” the religious group brought with them. These people engaged in the most elaborate of crazy explanations for “G-d’s mysterious ways” and countering every scientifically accepted theory with a complex rationalization that fits neatly into the story in Genesis.
IN THE YEAR 2525
In one of my nostalgic spiritual journeys, I was listening to 60s and 70s favorites. Then along came the song, “In the Year 2525,” by Zager and Evans (whom I think are “one hit wonders...”). It hit a nerve. The song is a teen angst contemplation of the end of times, which in those days seemed to focus on war. These days, while China, Iran, North Korea and others pose serious danger of world war—perhaps of the nuclear kind, climate change is the most immediate and potentially devastating threat we face.
Some of the lyrics of this song’s sever choruses seem prescient:
“Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
Your legs got nothing to do
Some machine’s doing that for you.”
“In the year 7510
If God’s a-coming he ought to make it by then
Maybe he’ll look around himself and say
‘Guess it’s time for the judgment day!”
“In the year 9595
I’m kinda wonderin’, if man is gonna be alive
He’s taken everything this old Earth can give
And he ain’t put back nothing…”
Have a great day,