Thursday, September 27, 2007

Expanding Earth Theory

I just encountered a new (to me) theory of existence: The Earth is Expanding. Proponents make an amazing claim that "The evidence is obvious, unmistakable and irrefutable!" [1]. What the frijoles is it?

As I understand it, proponents of this theory (EET) assert that the world was once much smaller but expanded, and continues to expand, due to two phenomena: (1) external accretion by the addition of comets, meteorites, and other space dust to the mass of the Earth, and (2) internal core expansion by gravitationally induced heating [2]. Various proofs for this position include:

The fallacy of the nebular hypothesis is shown very clearly in the physiographic cross-section of the Grand Canyon cliffs in Northern Arizona and the photo shown below (not pictured in this blog). These layers were laid down (accreted) as solid matter, and none show signs of having been melted at any time. These layers are positive evidence the Earth has grown steadily over time.

The bottom layers of the Grand Canyon, ~1.6 kilometers (one mile) down, go back in time almost a billion years to the Precambrian, leaving another ~6365 kilometers to Earth's center. This suggests the Earth could be much older than the 4.5 billion years now accepted as its age from radio-carbon dating of meteorites. [3]

EET also argues that continental drift, as understood today, did not occur by tectonic plates shifting and movement but rather by the Earth expanding and moving the continents apart. Subduction (the notion that oceanic plates move into and under continental masses) is fallacious and religated to the position of sophistry:

But the possibility of an expanding Earth raised a philosophical dilemma because cosmologists, geophysicists and marine geologists had always been taught the Earth has always been the same size since it was first created ~4.5-4.6 Ga (billion years ago). Surely, the Earth could not be expanding as Professor S. Warren Carey (1956, 1976) had argued!

So, when subduction was conceived (invented) in 1967 it was immediately perceived to be the solution to their dilemma, and the "Plate Tectonics Revolution" began, with subduction as its mechanism, powered by convection cells with hot magma rising to the surface in the midocean ridges (MOR) and older seafloor along continental margins being subducted (descending) back into the mantle to be re-melted and recycled back to the surface as new magma.

Now, thirty-five years later, subduction is accepted dogma throughout the world--to the detriment, unfortunately, for scientific progress because now subduction has been shown to be totally false! [4]

Wow. My next blog will contain my thoughts on this matter.


[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tele-Evangelists: Enter The God-Sharks

Why, oh why, are tele-evangelists allowed to exist? How can any reasonable person believe that tele-evangelists are anything other than predators preying on the aged, the infirmed, and the vulnerable?

Even the Christian press is critical of tele-predators and focus on how much money tele-evangelists fleece from their flocks. For instance, Robert Tilton, after a fall from grace (so to speak), is back and scamming again - and doing well. "He's doing well financially, according to the Tulsa World. The newspaper quoted records in 2003 showing he had bought a 50-foot yacht and was building a 2-story home on oceanfront property in Miami" [1]. They are like apex predators feasting with impunity on the most vulnerable; a sort of 'God-Shark' swimming through a public ocean while gobbling up as much money as they can leaving destroyed lives in their wake.

When will this foolishness stop? At least sharks serve a purpose on the food chain; what purpose do these 'hucksters' serve?

I need some mead.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Contra A Flat Earth

I feel as a chessman must feel when the opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved. [1]

S. Kierkegaard

Debate with such an absurd position seems, to me, to be fruitless. Certainly the scientific community (by which I mean most geologists, astronomers, physicists, etc living today) supports a theory of a round earth (or globe); in fact I could find no credible scientists that holds an alternative position. In fact the Flat Earth Society (FES) rejects scientific evidence and scientists themselves as "the same old gang of witch doctors, sorcerers, tellers of tales, the 'Priest-Entertainers' for the common people. 'Science' consists of a weird, way-out occult concoction of jibberish theory-theology...unrelated to the real world of facts" [2]. Truly I feel like Kierkegaard's chessman.

Instead of entering into a debate with the FES, I will focus on attempting to explain it. The FES has constructed a complex and convoluted rationalization to explain (1) how the world really is and (2) why everyone else is mistaken (see [3]). I think that this phenomenon may be understood in light of Weber's construct of "rationalization."

Weber's Process of Rationalization [4]
1. Rationalization comprises clarification, specification, and systemization of ideas
2. Rationalization comprises normative control or sanction
3. Rationalization comprises a conception of motivational commitment

Also, once a religion is sufficiently rationalized (systemized and unified), its core ideas come to have a logic of their own [5]. The beliefs of the FES seem, in part at least, grounded in an extreme view of Creationism. In an interview with Charles K. Johnson - The President of the International Flat Earth Society - Robert Schadewald noted "Johnson's beliefs are firmly grounded in the Bible. Many verses of the Old Testament imply that the earth is flat, but there's more to it than that. According to the New Testament, Jesus ascended up into heaven" [6].

The concept of 'A Flat Earth' seems to come out of a tradition of Creationism and is 'rationalized' by its adherents in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus. This 'rationalization' creates its own sense of logic and solidifies (or riefies) a sense of reality through repetition and participation (in the Eliadean sense [7]) in which 'profane reality' is discarded for the construct of "mythic ontology.'

In short, good luck opening their eyes to reality.

I conclude with this thought from Weber:

Prophets and priests are the twin bearers of the systemitation and rationalization of religious ethics. But there is a third significant factor of importance in determining the evolution of religious ethics: the laity, whom prophets and priests seek to influence in an ethical direction. [8]


[1] Kierkegaard, S. (1987). Either/Or: Part I. Hong and Hong trans. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, p. 22.
[4] Weber, M. (1993). The Sociology of Religion. Talcott Parsons trans. Boston: Beacon Press, pp. xlii - xliii.
[5] Ibid. p. xiii.
[7] Eliade, M. (1991). The Myth of the Eternal Return. Princeton, NJ: The princeton University Press, pp. 34 - 48.
[8] Weber, M. (1993). The Sociology of Religion. Talcott Parsons trans. Boston: Beacon Press, p. 45.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Flat Earth - Oh My!

I was shocked to discover that there are people in this world that believe the world is flat; even the creationists do not hold this position. How can someone argue with this position? It is simply fantastic! How would someone discover if the world is indeed flat?

I am not a scientist but I have been on an airplane. The next time you fly, look at the horizon and you will notice the curvature of the earth. Look at the stars - they rotate in the sky. What about water? On a flat earth, would it not "spill off" into the ether? Here is a FES argument about water:

Water. Regardless of which train of thought you follow, it covers over seventy-five percent of our planet's surface. And the atmosphere, also a fluid, covers the entire surface. The difference is why. While flat-Earthers know that the ocean is really just a large bowl, (with great sheets of ice around the edges to hold the ocean back), and the atmosphere is contained by a large dome, the backwards "round-Earth" way of thinking would have you believe that all those trillions of gallons of water and air just "stick" to the planet's surface. [1]

Wow. I have no idea how to address this other than concepts of gravity. Here is a snippet of FES position on gravity:

Using the "round Earth" theory, setting an object on the earth would be like setting grains of sand on a beach ball. Certainly a few grains would stay - right around the top, the surface is nearly horizontal - but when you stray too far from the absolute top of the ball, the grains of sand start sliding off and falling onto the ground. The Earth, if round, should behave in exactly the same fashion. Because the top is a very localized region on a sphere, if the Earth were in fact round, there would be only a very small area of land that would be at all inhabitable. Stray to the outside fringes of the "safe zone", and you start walking at a tilt. The further out you go, the more you slant, until your very survival is determined by the tread on your boots. Reach a certain point, and you slide off the face of the planet entirely. Obviously, something is wrong. [2]

Wow. Will science be able to persuade FES with compelling evidence?

We maintain that what is called 'Science' today and 'scientists' consist of the same old gang of witch doctors, sorcerers, tellers of tales, the 'Priest-Entertainers' for the common people. 'Science' consists of a weird, way-out occult concoction of jibberish theory-theology...unrelated to the real world of facts, technology and inventions, tall buildings and fast cars, airplanes and other Real and Good things in life; technology is not in any way related to the web of idiotic scientific theory. ALL inventors have been anti-science. The Wright brothers said: "Science theory held us up for years. When we threw out all science, started from experiment and experience, then we invented the airplane." By the way, airplanes all fly level on this Plane earth. [3] emphasis mine

Perhaps I have selected a fantastic topic to first tackle in this blog. My next blog will consist of my thoughts on the matter.


Flat Earth Society Links to Pages I quoted:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Skepticism in West Texas


Why does religion, or at least Christianity, insist on intruding into the realm of science? Why does humanity revel in conspiracy theories? What ever happened to critical thinking? Why do people believe that aliens are attempting to communicate with humanity by destroying crops? Why do people insist that magic works?

These are some of the questions that I will explore and attempt to answer for my own sanity and to appease my own curiosity. Currently, I live in West Texas, which has no skeptical society that I can find, and this blog represents my own musings on the role of science in our culture. I consider myself a skeptic in the sense that I believe that scientific thought and process is being erroded by epistemological relativism in our American culture and that the scientific method is the best method for examining a natural world.

I do not know where this blog will lead; I have no idea where I will begin. I guess that I will just start at the genesis of where my curiosity began.

-Safari Bob