How a Trip to the Petrified Forest National Park Proves the Biblical Model of the World is All Wrong

0

HOW A TRIP TO THE PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK
PROVES THE BIBLICAL MODEL OF THE WORLD IS ALL WRONG.

The Petrified Forest National Park (https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm) is located in Northeastern Arizona accessible off of Interstate 40 just east of the town of Holbrook. The Park encompasses 230 square miles of unsurpassed desert beauty along with showcasing over 200 million years of earth’s history.

There are three main features of the Park. Each, in its own way, is proof that natural history repudiates biblical ‘history’.

From the I-40 entrance, the first feature you come across is the Painted Desert.

Painted Desert

Painted Desert 3                                                                  Picture credit (above):en.wikipedia.com

The intense red soil color, locally known as the Chinle Formation, comes from sedimentary deposits that are rich in iron (hematite) and manganese (see graph below). The light gray bands were laid down by repeated episodes of volcanic activity in the region.

Colorado Plateau map

 

The entire area, known as the Colorado Plateau, which extends from the Grand Canyon to the Utah Canyonlands were created beginning about 5 million years when a massive uplift raised this area between 4,000 and 6,000 feet in elevation. Glaciers, rain and snowmelt quickly cut deep river beds in the highly erodible soil. The main drainage basin is the Colorado River.

The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest are on the southwestern edge of this uplifted area.

Picture credit: livescience.com

For you geology geeks, here is a cross-cut stratigraphy of the Petrified Forest area:

Petrified forest geology                                                                                   Picture credit:  nationalparkstraveler.org

What, you might be asking, does any of this have to do with the Bible?

The Bible would have us believe that God created the Earth roughly 6,000 years ago and the only major alteration to our planet since then was the Great Flood of Noah. *Author’s Note – the Bible doesn’t specifically state the Earth is 6,000 years old (or any age for that matter). That approximate number was calculated by numerous theologians during the Christian era, but most famously by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh (Ireland), who in 1650, used a literal translation of the Bible to estimate that Creation took place on Oct, 23, 4004 BCE. The Church has vigorously and staunchly defended this chronology for a millennia or more.

In rebuttal, I suggest the reader start by checking the dates of the rocks of the Chinle Formation in the graph above – 201 to 228 million years old. This by itself completely shatters the notion of a “Young Earth”.

I also couldn’t help but wonder why, if God created the Painted Desert, he painted this desert and not most deserts, especially those deserts that were obviously most important to God, such as the Negev (near Jerusalem) or the Arabian Desert (around Mecca). Both of these places are considered among the holiest places on Earth.

Negev Desert                                  Arabian Desert

Those deserts are boring! No color, no paint. Just sand and gravel. Yet, these deserts are near the places where God supposedly spoke to Abraham, Moses and Muhammad. Why not spiff them up too? If any desert deserved to be made special by “painting” it, it was the Negev and the Arabian. Meanwhile, at the same time, there were people living in the Painted Desert. But they did not worship the One God of the Bible, in fact, they had no idea who He was and they still got the prettiest desert.

The second major feature of the Petrified Forest National Park are the ruins of Pueblo Culture dwellings and ceremonial centers (kivas) at Puerco Pueblo. These ruins are dated to 1250-1380 CE. Archeological evidence indicates that the area at that time was much more moist and verdant with streams that ran through the valleys. Petroglyphs left by those Native Americans show symbols of shorebirds fishing for fish and frogs. Today, the Petrified Forest Park receives less than 11 inches of rain a year on average and the only running steams are when sudden downpours create temporary “gulley washes”.

Clovis points

But the Pueblo culture, also referred to as the Anasazi, dates back to at least 100 CE and is believed to be closely related to the earliest known American culture, the Clovis culture. The Clovis culture is most readily identified by the development of advanced stone tools, in particular, distinctive arrowheads known as Clovis points. Clovis points have been found in 1500 different locations around the U.S. with the oldest dated 13,500 years ago in New Mexico and Texas, then, within a few centuries, the points show up in diverse places from Florida to Pennsylvania (Smithsonian.com).

Picture credit: insider.si.edu

What’s the ‘point’ you ask? Here was a relatively advanced established culture, living half-way around the planet from the Mesopotamian Cradle of Civilization, 9,000 years before the Biblical ‘Garden of Eden’ and the supposed first humans on Earth. How do we square the Clovis people with Adam and Eve? How did they survive the Noahan Flood?

The simple answer is the Bible was not, and could not, have been written by God. The Creator of the Universe would have known better. He would have told us that He didn’t create the first man out of mud 6,000 years ago. And that the story of Adam and Eve is quaint but false. He would have told us, with much greater accuracy, how old the Earth was, and the Universe too for that matter. He would have explained that over the billions of years of Earth’s history there had been tens of millions of different species of life and that 99% of all life He created has since become extinct. (God is Pro-Death!).

No, God didn’t write or divinely interpret the Bible. Impossible. The only author capable of producing such a flawed, contradictory, factually inaccurate piece of (mostly) fiction, are humans.

The third major feature of the Petrified Forest National Park are the Petrified Forests. There are actually fossilized remains of several ‘forested’ areas, most are many miles apart: the Blue Forest, the Jasper Forest, the Crystal Forest and the Rainbow Forest. The petrified trees that now lay broken and littered all through the southern end of the park have been age-dated to 200-225 million years ago. Once again, a date way off the Biblical charts.

But that’s not all. The most common tree found in the park is Araucarioxylon arizonicum, a coniferous tree found in low lying, swampy, tropical areas of the Triassic period that grew upwards of 9’ in diameter and 200 feet tall. Yes, I said tropical. At the time these trees lived, Arizona was a tropical region, perhaps 10-12 degrees above the equator. Due to continental drift and plate tectonics, the crustal plate carrying Arizona has drifted in a general northwesterly direction (a few millimeters a year on average) over those 200 million years to its current latitude, at the Park, of 35 degrees.

Petrified forest 1 (2)

Petrified forest original condition                                                                           Illustration credit: www2.palomar.edu

The Bible says nothing of plate tectonics. It implies a static Earth, one that doesn’t move, change or rotate. With the exception of the Great Flood and an occasional earthquake or volcanic eruption, the Biblical Earth is supposed to look, more or less, exactly the way God made it 6,000 years ago. It should not be possible then for dry, deserty, high altitude (ave. 5400’ above sea level) Arizona to have ever been a low-lying, swampy tropical forest, should it? But the facts on the ground and in the soil say otherwise.

There was no way for the human authors of the Bible to know any of this. To them, and their people, the mysteries, unknowns and unexplainables of Earth and life on Earth could only have represented the work of God. There was no other explanation. And that explanation has sufficed for thousands of years and become ingrained in the human psyche.

Modern science has produced a new model of our Earth. One that completely contradicts the Ancient/Religious/Biblical model. To best understand the Scientific Model, one needs to be literate, reasonably educated and to have skills of independent thinking that allow this new model to at least be possible. Sadly, most people still lack one or more of these skills or are afflicted with apathy or sloth. For them, it’s just so much easier and requires much less brain power to simply say God did it.

To accept the Scientific Model of the World also threatens the sanctity of Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology. As Sam Harris, author/neurosurgeon/atheist, so succinctly put it in his book “Letter to a Christian Nation”: “Either the Bible is just an ordinary book, written by mortals or it isn’t. Either Christ was divine, or he was not. If the Bible is an ordinary book, and Christ an ordinary man, the basic doctrine of Christianity (and Judaism and Islam – my addition) is false. If the Bible is an ordinary book, and Christ an ordinary man, the history of Christian theology is the story of bookish men parsing a collective delusion.” “The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn’t.”

It can’t be both. I highly recommend a visit to the Petrified Forest National Park. While you’re standing amidst 200 million year old fossilized trees, archeological remains from ancient civilizations and surrounded by the awe-inspiring vistas of the Painted Desert; try to reckon with yourself, Is the Bible the word of God or isn’t it?

 

 

Advertisements

How a Trip to the Petrified Forest National Park Proves the Biblical Model of the World is All Wrong

0

HOW A TRIP TO THE PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK
PROVES THE BIBLICAL MODEL OF THE WORLD IS ALL WRONG.

The Petrified Forest National Park (https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm) is located in Northeastern Arizona accessible off of Interstate 40 just east of the town of Holbrook. The Park encompasses 230 square miles of unsurpassed desert beauty along with showcasing over 200 million years of earth’s history.

There are three main features of the Park. Each, in its own way, is proof that natural history repudiates biblical ‘history’.

From the I-40 entrance, the first feature you come across is the Painted Desert.

Painted Desert

Painted Desert 3                                                                  Picture credit (above):en.wikipedia.com

The intense red soil color, locally known as the Chinle Formation, co  mes from sedimentary deposits that are rich in iron (hematite) and manganese (see graph below). The light gray bands were laid down by repeated episodes of volcanic activity in the region.

Colorado Plateau map

 

The entire area, known as the Colorado Plateau, which extends from the Grand Canyon to the Utah Canyonlands were created beginning about 5 million years when a massive uplift raised this area between 4,000 and 6,000 feet in elevation. Glaciers, rain and snowmelt quickly cut deep river beds in the highly erodible soil. The main drainage basin is the Colorado River.

The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest are on the southwestern edge of this uplifted area.

Picture credit: livescience.com

For you geology geeks, here is a cross-cut stratigraphy of the Petrified Forest area:

Petrified forest geology                                                                                   Picture credit:  nationalparkstraveler.org

What, you might be asking, does any of this have to do with the Bible?

The Bible would have us believe that God created the Earth roughly 6,000 years ago and the only major alteration to our planet since then was the Great Flood of Noah. *Author’s Note – the Bible doesn’t specifically state the Earth is 6,000 years old (or any age for that matter). That approximate number was calculated by numerous theologians during the Christian era, but most famously by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh (Ireland), who in 1650, used a literal translation of the Bible to estimate that Creation took place on Oct, 23, 4004 BCE. The Church has vigorously and staunchly defended this chronology for a millennia or more.

In rebuttal, I suggest the reader start by checking the dates of the rocks in the Chinle Formation in the graph above – 201 to 228 million years old. This by itself completely shatters the notion of a “Young Earth”.

I also couldn’t help but wonder why, if God created the Painted Desert, he painted this desert and not most deserts, especially those deserts that were obviously most important to God, such as the Negev (near Jerusalem) or the Arabian Desert (around Mecca). Both of these places are considered among the holiest places on Earth.

Negev Desert                                  Arabian Desert

Those deserts are boring! No color, no paint. Just sand and gravel. Yet, these deserts are near the places where God supposedly spoke to Abraham, Moses and Muhammad. Why not spiff them up too? If any desert deserved to be made special by “painting” it, it was the Negev and the Arabian. Meanwhile, at the same time, there were people living in the Painted Desert. But they did not worship the One God of the Bible, in fact, they had no idea who He was and they still got the prettiest desert.

The second major feature of the Petrified Forest National Park are the ruins of Pueblo Culture dwellings and ceremonial centers (kivas) at Puerco Pueblo. These ruins are dated to 1250-1380 CE. Archeological evidence indicates that the area at that time was much more moist and verdant with streams that ran through the valleys. Petroglyphs left by those Native Americans show symbols of shorebirds fishing for fish and frogs. Today, the Petrified Forest Park receives less than 11 inches of rain a year on average and the only running steams are when sudden downpours create temporary “gulley washes”.

Clovis points

But the Pueblo culture, also referred to as the Anasazi, dates back to at least 100 CE and is believed to be closely related to the earliest known American culture, the Clovis culture. The Clovis culture is most readily identified by the development of advanced stone tools, in particular, distinctive arrowheads known as Clovis points. Clovis points have been found in 1500 different locations around the U.S. with the oldest dated 13,500 years ago in New Mexico and Texas, then, within a few centuries, the points show up in diverse places from Florida to Pennsylvania (Smithsonian.com).

Picture credit: insider.si.edu

What’s the ‘point’ you ask? Here was a relatively advanced established culture, living half-way around the planet from the Mesopotamian Cradle of Civilization, 9,000 years before the Biblical ‘Garden of Eden’ and the supposed first humans on Earth. How do we square the Clovis people with Adam and Eve? How did they survive the Noahan Flood?

The simple answer is the Bible was not, and could not, have been written by God. The Creator of the Universe would have known better. He would have told us that He didn’t create the first man out of mud 6,000 years ago. And that the story of Adam and Eve is quaint but false. He would have told us, with much greater accuracy, how old the Earth was, and the Universe too for that matter. He would have explained that over the billions of years of Earth’s history there had been tens of millions of different species of life and that 99% of all life He created has since become extinct. (God is Pro-Death!).

No, God didn’t write or divinely interpret the Bible. Impossible. The only author capable of producing such a flawed, contradictory, factually inaccurate piece of (mostly) fiction, are humans.

The third major feature of the Petrified Forest National Park are the Petrified Forests. There are actually fossilized remains of several ‘forested’ areas, most are many miles apart: the Blue Forest, the Jasper Forest, the Crystal Forest and the Rainbow Forest. The petrified trees that now lay broken and littered all through the southern end of the park have been age-dated to 200-225 million years ago. Once again, a date way off the Biblical charts.

But that’s not all. The most common tree found in the park is Araucarioxylon arizonicum, a coniferous tree found in low lying, swampy, tropical areas of the Triassic period that grew upwards of 9’ in diameter and 200 feet tall. Yes, I said tropical. At the time these trees lived, Arizona was a tropical region, perhaps 10-12 degrees above the equator. Due to continental drift and plate tectonics, the crustal plate carrying Arizona has drifted in a general northwesterly direction (a few millimeters a year on average) over those 200 million years to its current latitude, at the Park, of 35 degrees.

Petrified forest 1 (2)

Petrified forest original condition                                                                           Illustration credit: www2.palomar.edu

The Bible says nothing of plate tectonics. It implies a static Earth, one that doesn’t move, change or rotate. With the exception of the Great Flood and an occasional earthquake or volcanic eruption, the Biblical Earth is supposed to look, more or less, exactly the way God made it 6,000 years ago. It should not be possible then for dry, deserty, high altitude (ave. 5400’ above sea level) Arizona to have ever been a low-lying, swampy tropical forest, should it? But the facts on the ground and in the soil say otherwise.

There was no way for the human authors of the Bible to know any of this. To them, and their people, the mysteries, unknowns and unexplainables of Earth and life on Earth could only have represented the work of God. There was no other explanation. And that explanation has sufficed for thousands of years and become ingrained in the human psyche.

Modern science has produced a new model of our Earth. One that completely contradicts the Ancient/Religious/Biblical model. To best understand the Scientific Model, one needs to be literate, reasonably educated and to have skills of independent thinking that allow this new model to at least be possible. Sadly, most people still lack one or more of these skills or are afflicted with apathy or sloth. For them, it’s just so much easier and requires much less brain power to simply say God did it.

To accept the Scientific Model of the World also threatens the sanctity of Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology. As Sam Harris, author/neurosurgeon/atheist, so succinctly put it in his book “Letter to a Christian Nation”: “Either the Bible is just an ordinary book, written by mortals or it isn’t. Either Christ was divine, or he was not. If the Bible is an ordinary book, and Christ an ordinary man, the basic doctrine of Christianity (and Judaism and Islam – my addition) is false. If the Bible is an ordinary book, and Christ an ordinary man, the history of Christian theology is the story of bookish men parsing a collective delusion.” “The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn’t.”

It can’t be both. I highly recommend a visit to the Petrified Forest National Park. While you’re standing amidst 200 million year old fossilized trees, archeological remains from ancient civilizations and surrounded by the awe-inspiring vistas of the Painted Desert; try to reckon with yourself, Is the Bible the word of God or isn’t it?

 

 

HOT BUTTON ISSUE: Climate Change

0

During the last two months the word, “UNPRECEDENTED” was used a record number of times in American media and general conversations — and none of it had to do with Trump.

Rather, it had to do with unprecedented climatic events that unfolded around country.  No sooner had ‘unprecedented’ Hurricane Harvey (Category 5)  inundated SE Texas and SW Louisiana with up to 50 inches of rain, meteorologists showed three more hurricanes or tropical storms churning in the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico.  They said it was ‘unprecedented’.

Hurricanes 9-17 Katia, Irma, JoseBoth Irma and Jose became Category 5 hurricanes — giving us three back-to-back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes — “unprecedented”.   Between Harvey and Irma the following major American cities experienced ‘unprecedented’ flooding:  Houston, Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville.

Meanwhile back in July the big weather story was in the Pacific Ocean.  The story was underreported in the U.S. because Pacific hurricanes, known as cyclones, travel west, away from the U.S. and pose the greatest threat to the Philippines, Vietnam and Southern Cyclones in Pacific - 8 at once 7-17China.  In July of this year there were 8 cyclones or tropical storms (at right, highlighted with yellow arrows) in the Pacific at one time!  Not quite ‘unprecedented’, but it was the first time such an event had occurred since 1974.

Simultaneous to these massive rain events is what is shaping up to be a record breaking year of wildfires in the western U.S.  The U.S. Forest Service has estimated over 8 million acres have burned so far this summer, compared to a recent summer average of approximately 6 million.  Below (left) is a current map of fires in the West.

Western Wildfires 2017           Wildfires in the West

Above (right) is a chart showing the ‘unprecedented’ increase in large wildfires over the last 40 years.

As a student of science I feel compelled to give the following disclaimer:  “The cause of individual weather events cannot be directly linked to climate change”.  Having said that, after what we have witnessed the past 2 months, how can anyone in their right minds continue to deny that Mother Earth is acting especially bi-polar these days?   Can we at least agree that this shit isn’t normal and we need to take this more seriously?

Climate scientists since the 1990’s have predicted, quite accurately it turns out, that the climate is changing at an abnormally fast rate; the main cause is from human activity;  it will continue for many decades or more; it will cause sea levels to rise and global temperature averages to increase;  which will result in more frequent and more intense weather events.  (Top chart from the EPA).

Global temperature chartHottest Years on record

Turns out that scientists are pretty smart.  This is exactly what’s been happening.  Not only that, but with a few days notice they are able to predict the general path, speed, wind velocity and rainfall for those hurricanes too.  Just last month they predicted with perfect precision the exact time and locations for a total solar eclipse across the U.S.  We should probably pay closer attention to what these guys are saying.

Unfortunately the U.S. leads the developed world in climate change DENIAL.   Our federal government is currently controlled by science skeptics and climate change deniers and so are a majority of states.  Our own President ran on a campaign platform of “climate change is a Chinese hoax!” and he WON.  The U.S. is quickly becoming the “climate change pariah” of the world.  How did this happen?

Climate change denial is, at it’s heart, part religious conservatism, part anti-government conservatism and part wealth-hoarding conservatism.  The religious part holds that only God has the power to change Earth’s climate.  The anti-government part claims that climate change is just a big government power grab.  And the wealth-hoarders don’t want to give up their profitable monopolies on energy, mining and distribution.

Political climate denier’s have cranked out 3 best-selling rebuttals to climate change science.  1)  “The planet’s climate is changing all the time.  There’s been both hotter and colder times in the past.  It’s part of a natural cycle, not man-made.”
2)  “I’m not a scientist and the science on this issue is far from settled.”
3)  “It’s another attempt by liberal government to expand its powers and control our lives.”

I am tired of tippy-toeing around climate skeptics.  You know the ones I mean — who continually confuse ‘weather’ with ‘climate’ and on an unusually cool day in July they say shit like:  “So much for global warming!” Or “If this is climate change, I’m all for it!”  How many deniers evacuated their homes or stocked up on supplies before Harvey or Irma hit?  Why didn’t they deny the science then?  How many science skeptics bought eclipse glasses and watched the solar eclipse on Aug. 21?  That science was spot on!  But the science behind climate change is “unsettled”??  No, that’s called denial.

First, let’s debunk their ignorant rebuttals (above).  1) is partially true — the Earth’s climate does change, all on its own.  That’s exactly why current climate change is so abnormal.  In the past when Earth temperatures have heated up to current levels or beyond, it was caused by natural (non-human) conditions.  For example, the last time it was this hot, 125,000 years ago, it was caused by a change in Earth’s orbit and axial tilt.  Or, 55-56 million years ago, one of the hottest periods on Earth since its formation (see Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum), scientists have speculated that the potential causes were natural — solar maximums, volcanic activity, melting of permafrost, changes in ocean currents due to continental drift, an intense period of mountain building, possibly a comet strike or some combination thereof.  But even then, rapid climate change happened over thousands of years, possibly more.  Our global temperatures have increased an average of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 140 years.  And the rate of  temperature change has accelerated.  So calling the changes in our climate “part of a natural cycle” is completely unsubstantiated.  There are no known natural causes at work this time. The engine behind current warming is human activity.

2)  This excuse is pure ignorance.  You’ve heard this stat before and it’s true:  97% of all published, pier-reviewed scientific work has confirmed that A) Climate change is a real phenomenon and global temperatures are increasing and B) the cause of these changes are directly attributable to human activities, especially the burning of carbon-based fuels and increased emissions of methane and CO2.  If you think that 97% agreement still gives you the right to say “the science isn’t settled” then, as Neil DeGrasse Tyson has said, “Anyone who thinks scientists like agreeing with one another has never attended a scientific conference.”  To get 97% agreement on anything is remarkable and  it means the issue must then be very cut and dry.  It is our job as humans to use the best science available to make decisions about our future.  We ignore the best science at our own peril.

If a politician says “I’m not a scientist…” thereby implying they can’t make a judgment call on science, then please ask them how they can pass health care legislation without being a doctor, nurse or health care professional.?  Or how can they pass military appropriations with being in the military?  Or how can they weigh in on public education funding if they’re uneducated?  My god, this is the biggest wussy-assed cop-out I’ve ever heard.  That politician is absolutely worthless and should resign.

3)  There are certain challenges that face us which have national and global implications.  Some challenges need a common directive and purpose that can only come from the federal government.  In less acrimonious times,  our federal government led the way to building the greatest military in the world; an interstate highway system that was second to none; a space program that was (and is) the envy of the world; a system of Social Security and Medicare that has benefitted generations of citizens.

Climate change is that kind of challenge.  Private industry (especially in the Age of Trump) has made great contributions.  But I believe that America’s future greatness will hinge on how we work together to solve the problems that climate change will create.  To accomplish this we need a fully engaged federal government committed to protecting its citizens and infrastructure.  The federal government can provide funding, grants, research, tax breaks and credits, resources, manpower and a common direction.  Without full government engagement, I fear that the U.S. will lag behind innovators and visionaries in Europe, China, Japan, Korea and India just to name a few.  American efforts will be second-rate and ultimately we’ll be paying or dependent upon foreign governments and corporations for the privilege of using their technologies.  At worst, we will become both an energy and climate change pariah.

Yes, this means we will have to make major changes in how we live, consume, produce food, produce and distribute energy, transport ourselves and so much more.  Sure, it’s quite scary and it means that government will have to enforce these changes to some degree.  It is up to us to remain vigilant and informed about our elected officials and hold them accountable for their deeds in office.  It would be most helpful if we had more than 50% of the voting population participate in elections.

There were times in decades past when America rose to the challenge of making the world a better place.  Now is one of those times.  It has been a long time since the U.S. government has lead the way with a long-term vision (that didn’t involve war) and actually saw it through.  We must lead or we will falter.  We shouldn’t view this as party politics or an ideological divide.  This is an OPPORTUNITY to create a better, cleaner, more livable world.  New industries will arise from the coal ashes.  New technologies will replace internal combustion.  There will be new jobs to build the new infrastructures and energy grids of tomorrow.  But we must start now.

Solar Energy panels   OR THIS     ocean-pollution-tire-on-ocean-floor

In the spirit of bi-partisanship, let us suppose for a moment that climate change is not man-made and therefore there is little or nothing we can do to stop it.  We still live on an increasingly toxic planet.  How do we provide adequate food, fresh water, energy (any kind), medical supplies and care, and shelter from harsh weather to 7+ billion people without raping and destroying our habitat?  What price do we pay once our rain forests have been logged and developed?  Can we continue to extract carbon-based fuels from our soils and oceans without polluting them beyond recovery?  What happens when our oceans cease to yield sustaining quantities of fish and seafood?  What happens when our precious aquifers no longer provide fresh water?  All of these things can and will happen, maybe within the next century,  whether or not we lift a finger to change the climate.

We are facing a crisis of our human habitat.  It is here, it is real and it is now.   If you insist on denying climate change, can we at least agree that we cannot continue to live in our present manner without creating profound repercussions that will effect the lives of hundreds of millions, conceivably a billion or more people?

I present our choice in simple terms:  We can join, encourage and lead a global effort to fundamentally change the way we live that will open new opportunities, industries and technologies and is our best chance to sustain a reasonable quality of life for our children, grandchildren and generations to come OR we can shove our heads up our bums, go on selfishly and ignorantly living amongst waste, pollution, toxicity and frivolity until the balance of Nature culls potentially billions from the human herd without care, pity or remorse.  What’s our best move?  Bold, dynamic and visionary or head up your ass?

And by the way, just in case the upcoming showdown with Mother Nature sounds like the oft-forecast biblical End of Days, listen again.  It won’t be a divine Apocalypse.  It will not matter if you’re Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Atheist.  There will be no rapture, no Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.  Nor will it matter (for most) whether you are rich or poor, dark or light-skinned, American or Malaysian.  Because Nature doesn’t give a fuck.

At this moment in time the best science we have says that climate change is real and man-made.  It also shows that we are destroying our habitat (and habitat of millions of other species) at alarming rates.  The ‘Sixth Extinction” (read The Sixth Extinction — An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert) some experts call it.  If your legislator, governor or candidate for President denies climate science and/or disbelieves the dangers of continued reliance on carbon-based energy; or deregulating the pollution of our air, soil and water; then that politician does not have your best interests, your children’s best interests or the country’s best interests at heart.  If instead they offer some version of the those pathetic excuses discussed above then they are either living delusively in the past or they are protecting the best interests of wealthy donors.  In either case, they do not belong in a leadership position.  They do not deserve your vote.  November 6, 2018:  VOTE THEM OUT.  Or sooner it the opportunity arises.

 

 

Follow this blog for related upcoming articles on the Climate Deniers in our Government and Climate Change is just a Symptom, the real problem is Overpopulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Under A Republican Regime

1
  • Now that Republicans control all the major branches of government as well as a majority of statehouses, their governing priorities are becoming clear.  Here’s what we know so far:

CORPORATIONS AND BUSINESS INTERESTS TAKE PRIORITY OVER THE ENVIRONMENT AND PROTECTION OF OUR HUMAN HABITAT.  One of the very first pieces of legislation passed by the Republican Congress abolishes the Office of Surface Mining Streams Protection Rule — reversing an Obama era regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste.  Republicans are in favor of more toxic coal ash in our streams!  Brilliant!  Profits are now more important than pollution.  Republicans are willing to sacrifice the quality of our water, air and soil in order to supposedly “create jobs” which, if it happens at all, will likely be temporary.  Corporations may see a short term increase in profits, but again, for how long?  And at what long term cost to all of us?

Coal Mining Pollution

 

This is a coal waste pond.  I’d like to fill the water coolers at the House of Representatives and the White House with this sludge.  Would they reverse their decision then?

 

MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN/MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN.  Unlimited money pouring into political campaigns and their surrogate organizations have made elections infinitely more divisive and given them a nastier and uglier tone.  This alone spells danger for American greatness.  But the U.S. has never seen an election like this last one.  The Republican candidate for President ran a campaign of open and naked contempt for people of color, women, minority religions, the poor, the disabled, our judicial system, our free press, and voices of dissent in general.  As disgusting and embarrassing as that was, he also tragically won.  Trump’s first executive order was a poorly thought out, completely unconstitutional ban on people coming to the U.S. based solely on their religious affiliation.  He has since ordered mass deportations of Latino/Hispanic immigrants, many whose only crime is being here without full documentation — even children brought here by their parents.  Trump is an admitted sexual predator who views women purely as objects for his manipulation and pleasure.  As President he has moved to block reproductive health care for American women who need it the most.  He has signed an executive order making it easier for businesses and “Christians” (my choice of word) to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.  His Attorney General, a previously avowed racist, wants to bring back the failed “law and order” tactics of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton era, such as abandoning consent decrees already in place with numerous metropolitan police forces who have a long, sordid history of abusing, intimidating and persecuting citizens, especially citizens of color.  And the Republican party has largely supported and encouraged these barbaric and primitive practices.  They have spawned a new level of hate in this country unseen since the Civil Rights victories in the 60’s and 70’s.  Hate crimes, hate speech, intolerance, discrimination, politically motivated violence are rising to the highest levels in decades.   This is life under the Republican Regime.

White Supremacists overwhelmingly endorse Republican candidates.  But never before have they endorsed a candidate so openly, so loudly and with such vigor as they have Trump.  Steve Bannon is Trump’s Chief Strategist.  Vote Republican and help enable the extreme right wing agenda.

THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF THE WEALTHIEST, MOST FORTUNATE AMERICANS VASTLY EXCEEDS THOSE OF THE REST OF US AND REPUBLICANS ARE INTENT TO SEE THOSE ADVANTAGES EXPAND.  On the political front Republicans have pushed an aggressive campaign of voter suppression targeting people who typically vote Democratic  (minorities, college students, elderly).  They have supported unlimited campaign donations and worse, dark (anonymous) contributions to Political Action Committees (PAC’s) and “527” groups (the tax code ID) enabling rich Americans to have an oversized and unequal voice in elections.  Republicans have quickly moved to roll back citizen protections against Corporate market manipulation, production of unsafe or dangerous products, predatory lending and sales practices, high-risk security trading, and capping monetary compensation for corporate malfeasance.  See my post The Successful Republican Election Strategy…..Divide and Conquer! Part 2: Voter Suppression.  for the full indictment.

The recent Trump tax code proposal spells out the Republican priorities in black and white — a “Trickle Down” tax cut where billionaires like Trump (if he actually is one) will save $10’s of millions on their taxes while the other 90% of us get a pittance.  Read my recent post,  The American Pluto-Kleptocracy  (dated 4/17) for an in-depth report.  Republican tax cuts have been the greatest driving force in creating income inequality in this country.  Mad about stagnating wages?  Pissed off that CEO’s and Financial company VIP’s make more money in a day that you make in a year?  Feel like you can’t get ahead?  Keep voting Republican and you are insuring it will get worse.

Income Inequality Cartoon

The only problem with this cartoon is that the “90%” don’t disappear, they just get angry and desperate.   That leads to civil unrest and possibly revolt.  If our path to a comfortable life is blocked or unattainable then one day, we’ll rise and overthrow the wealth hoarders.   Not a good thing if you want a stable society.

 

CAN’T AFFORD HEALTH CARE?  HAVE PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS?  WORRIED ABOUT A LIFETIME CAP ON BENEFITS?  REPUBLICANS DON’T GIVE A SHIT.  They proved it this week by passing what could only be described as the cruelest, most draconian, and worst health care bill that the House of Representatives has ever dreamed up.  They passed this nightmare bill so quickly, most of the Republicans that voted for it NEVER READ IT AND HAVE NO CLUE what the real consequences are.  They purposely chose not to allow time for an in-depth review or to wait until the Congressional Budget Office “scored” the bill (the non-partisan CBO evaluates a projected cost and effect of each major piece of legislation).  The previous Republican failed attempt at a health care bill was “scored” by the CBO to increase deficits by $337 billion and 24 million people would lose health care by 2026.  This recent bill will, by most estimates, be WORSE.  Are these legislators human?  Do they have any compassion or empathy for people?  Didn’t Candidate Trump promise “Everybody’s going to be covered….and it’s going to be GREAT!”  Well that’s more Trump bullshit.  Fewer people will be covered, more people will go bankrupt, Americans will be sicker and it’s going to cost us all more money.   That’s not great.  That plain sucks.  How do these people get elected?

My, my, aren’t all of those states above RED states??

ANTI-SCIENCE, ANTI-INTELLECTUAL, ANTI-FACT, ANTI-EDUCATION IS THE WAY TO AMERICAN GREATNESS.  Republicans scoff at book-learning, science and intelligent people.  They call them “Elites” who are not to be trusted.  If you don’t read books, you couldn’t know that this is EXACTLY the strategy used when Fascists take over a government.  Authoritarians perceive that educated, critical-thinking people are their biggest threat.  Same with a free press.  It starts with the press being vilified and labeled as enemies of the state because they are criticizing the government.  That’s where we are now.  Only selected and sympathetic media outlets are given full access to the White House.  Republicans are slashing higher education funding in many red states.  They are proposing school voucher programs that will defund public schools in favor of private, less regulated and often for-profit schools.  They are breaking up teacher’s unions and freezing teacher’s pay.  Republicans know they will perform better if the electorate is less educated, more ideological and fearful.  They deny the very real, measurable, observable facts about Climate Change .  Trump has called Climate Change a “Chinese hoax” and threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement ratified by 197 countries in a rare moment of global unity.  Instead, he wants to ramp up production of coal and oil.  This could lead to the U.S. becoming the “Energy Pariah” of the world, not unlike N. Korea is the “Nuclear Pariah”.  Trump has filled his lower Cabinet positions with completely unqualified appointees:  Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (for which he has zero qualifications);  Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy (he had no idea what the Energy Department did); Scott Pruitt as Director of the EPA (because as OK Attorney General he literally tried to sue the EPA out of existence).  Scott, like his boss, is a Climate Change denier.  Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education — despite the fact that she had never stepped foot in a public school in her life and she and her husband donated large sums of money to the Trump campaign.  And most dangerously, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General – an evil and bigoted little elf who is a throwback to the “Stop & Frisk” days of the 80’s and who has chosen as one of his first law & order campaigns to prosecute, intimidate, harass and threaten states that allow legal recreational and medical marijuana.  What about States Rights you fucking hypocrites!  29 states currently have legal medical marijuana,  8 states have legal recreational marijuana.  These programs are heavily regulated and taxed by the State and as such become a rare win-win opportunity:  increasing tax revenues (Colorado generated $200 million in tax dollars in ’16 on $1 billion in sales) and reducing law enforcement, judicial and incarceration expenses at the same time.  Hard to see the rationale here — could it be that marijuana is legal in mostly blue states that didn’t vote for Trump?  Trump promised that he would hire the best and the brightest.  If this is the best the Republicans have, we’re all in deep shit.  And these bozos shouldn’t be governing this country.

Ignorance

 

If that is so, then nothing is more dangerous than Donald Trump and the Republican agenda.

 

 

Let’s recap, these are the principles of our new Republican Regime:

Corporations over Individuals.

Profits over Habitat.

Hate, Fear, Bigotry and Divisiveness over Unity, Compassion and Tolerance.

Wealthy Privilege and Income Inequality over Middle Class Opportunity.

Sickness and Suffering over Health and Vitality

Ignorance and Ideology over Education, Critical Thinking and Innovation.

Over 90% of Americans should be disgusted and embarrassed by these unfair, discriminatory, suppressive practices.  So why is Trump’s approval rating still around 40%?  (Historically one of the lowest ratings for a new President after 100 days, but still 30% too high!).  Wake up Republican voters — You’re Being Conned and Manipulated!

I can’t see how any of these policies keep America great.  Not a one.  In fact, the longer Republicans control our government and pursue this ideology, the more damage they will do.  Divisive, ignorant, fearful and delusional is not a path to greatness.

*** UNITE *** ACTIVATE *** PROTEST ***

*** COMMUNICATE *** ORGANIZE ***

  JOIN LA RESISTANCE AMERICAN!

Follow this blog on WordPress.  Like us.  Post your comments.

LET US HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT PREPARE FOR THE WORST.

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

Why I Marched For Science — 4/22/17

0

March for Science1

My sign was apparently a little too edgy.  It said:

WITHOUT SCIENCE

there would only be

IGNORANCE

& RELIGION

I think the “religion” part was the cause of the sideways glances I got.  But many people responded affirmatively anyway.  It may be a little harsh, but it is true.

I haven’t written much about religion yet on this blog, but it’s one of my favorite subjects so, stay tuned, I promise I will.

This was my favorite sign — but it has nothing to do with science:

March for Science2

I marched for SCIENCE last Saturday because Science is hard work.  Being simple-minded, superstitious and ignorant is EASY — any one can join that club.   Understanding science, science history and the application and consequences of science involves a true dedication and hunger for knowledge.  Being a critical, profound thinker, with a healthy skepticism and real facts to defend your position is MUCH HARDER.

More importantly in today’s times, science is NON-PARTISAN.  Science doesn’t care about your political or religious affiliation.  The facts and evidence are revealed — they may confirm your affiliations and beliefs or they may prove something entirely different.  I saw several signs Saturday that read a version of:  “Facts are real, whether you believe them or not”.

The March For Science is necessary because in the last several election cycles it has become apparent that roughly half of American voters are willing to reject science that conflicts with a particular ideology (mostly Conservative and Religious).  One political party has shown a strong preference for simple-minded ideologues over experienced and more intelligent candidates.  Republicans elected W. Bush (whose own father called his brother Jeb, “the smart one”) over Al Gore.  Those same voters were less enthusiastic about John McCain (much smarter and more experienced than Bush) and Mitt Romney (ditto) and now have elected Donald Trump.

What is most disturbing (and ironic) is that science deniers, anti-intellectualists and simpletons use and depend on science every single day — heating and cooling their home, much of the food they eat, their car, bus, plane or train, their computer, their cellphone, all other electronics, their hospital visit, their bank account…and the list goes on and on.  So they really don’t deny all of science, only the science which conflicts with or threatens their personal belief system.  That’s where the hypocrisy comes in.

Not all science is correct, not all science is “good”.  We need that healthy skepticism that is often forged through good education and parenting.  The beautiful thing about science is that, over time, it is self-correcting (or maybe I should say “self-improving”).  Somewhere back in grade school and again in high school or college most of us were taught about the Scientific Method — how scientific evidence is generated, analyzed and how hypotheses are transformed into useable, provable and reliable science.

The Method works like this:

  1. Make an observation.
  2. Ask questions about that observation.
  3. Look for evidence that supports or refutes that observation.
  4. Generate a hypothesis from that information and develop testable predictions.
  5. Test the hypothesis and predictions.
  6. If hypothesis appears correct, the data is often published for peer-review.
  7. If those reviewers and further testing demonstrate the hypothesis is accurate and consistent, a general theory is developed which can withstand any scrutiny.
  8. If not, the hypothesis is altered, reanalyzed, retested or rejected.

There are no short-cuts.  Knee-jerk, unsubstantiated claims or observations are quickly dismissed.  Deliberate fraud will eventually be exposed and rejected.  Ideology has no place in the equation.  This is precisely why Religion cannot be taught as science — it simply doesn’t hold up to these standards.  Use of the Scientific Method has propelled humanity to unprecedented achievement and wisdom.  If we as a species have a salvation, it is in science.  We reject sound, proven science at our peril.

This leads me to ask this question in all sincerity:  “Why do a majority of Republican voters seem to prefer less intelligent, simple-minded, ideologically driven candidates?”  Or this one:  “Why has the Republican party fostered and encouraged anti-intellectualism (which they call “elitism”), or promoted science denial, or defunding public education?  Admittedly, simple sounding solutions such as, “Build The Wall”, “Drill Baby Drill”, “Make America Great Again” are catchy and easy for people to digest.

As a result we now have a conspiracy theorist President, a climate change denier, an anti-intellectual who eschews books and is proud of his 4th grade vocabulary.  The Director of the Environmental Protection Agency is also a climate change denier, a promoter of fossil fuel use and development and a deregulator of corporate pollution.  Our Secretary of the Interior, a complete boob, once campaigned to get rid of the EPA, the Department of Education and the very department he now heads!  And let’s not forget our Secretary of Education, who until she took office, had never stepped foot in a public school and had been a leading voice to defund public education in favor of voucher programs for private and religious schools.  Make America Great Again my ass!

Science Education by country

This chart says it all.  Our academic performance is pathetic.

In this complex world in which we live, the easy, black vs. white, us vs. them, good vs. evil mentality will NEVER serve to keep America great.  The most effective solutions to the world’s problems require an intelligent, nuanced approach using the best information we have available and dynamic, innovative thinking.  That is our best hope.  To accomplish this we need a public and private education system that is second to none which produces smart people:  scientists, engineers, medical professionals, mathematicians, visionaries as well as both public and private sources of funding to make it work.  We should be striving to make America the world’s leader in these fields — that is how America remains great.

This is why I and tens of thousands of people marched for SCIENCE this weekend.  Please join us next time and fight with us for a better America for generations to come.

*** UNITE *** ACTIVATE *** PROTEST ***

*** COMMUNICATE *** ORGANIZE ***

  JOIN LA RESISTANCE AMERICAN!

Follow this blog on WordPress.  Like us.  Post your comments.

LET US HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT PREPARE FOR THE WORST.

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!