The Sixth Extinction

extinctionThere is irrefutable scientific evidence of five global mass extinctions in the history of this planet independent of a flood, loose morals, or a mythical, Puck like god flitting through the bushes playing tricks on the gullible humans to make it seem like the earth has been around  long enough to be overdue at the cosmic library. Elizabeth Kolbert has written a very readable account of these extinctions and represented contemporary evidence that suggests a sixth extinction is in progress and may well be inevitable no matter how much profit Exxon or BP made last year.

Kolbert makes it clear that what causes an extinction can be catastrophic or gradual but the bottom line is that the existing species on the planet are in trouble when something alters the environment, even a little bit. So when you hear that Global Warming is nothing to worry about—it has happened throughout the life of the planet—it’s good to remember that compared to the dominance of most animals on this Earth, humans are little more than a speck  on the timeline. And those other dominate species are all extinct now, their deaths greatly the result of environmental changes much like Global Warming.

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Who knocks big monsters dead on their knees?

Alley OopThis came to me via The Daily Kos. Snopes rated the exhibits as “probably true” but there are a few items on these sheets that make me question their authenticity. I want to believe this is legitimate but I wonder: Would you title your quiz, “4th Grade Science Quiz”? Why would a quiz on “Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel” ask a question from the Book of Job? And doesn’t the whole quiz, even with missing questions, smack of profiling the religious right, hitting all the good progressive talking points? Even if the points are true, they still seem a little too easy. But then I stop myself and recall that this is a church school in South Carolina and conclude that rational thinking is not expected of me. It just might be valid.

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Saddle-up my Brachylophosaurus

In honor of the celebration of Charles Darwin and his most-excellent theory of evolution, I just discovered that there is a Creation Museum in Santee, California, not far from where I grew up. Now I’m wondering:  if a museum in Kentucky thinks the universe is 6000 years old and the earth was made and populated with fully mature plants and animals and at least one human in six days and then a completely separate museum in California espouses to the same beliefs, is it possible that it is all true?

When I was growing up, Santee was known for its contaminated lakes (which were actually the San Diego River bubbling above the surface) and a drive-in theater that usually wasn’t too crowded since it was next to a dairy farm which provided a strong odor and flies. Now, with the opening of the freeway to La Jolla, Santee has become a bustling town and they deserve a Creation Museum (this and the site of the original Price Club will keep Santee forever in our memory).

Although I don’t urge anyone to go the museum’s website, they do have several videos available that are interesting (unfortunately, neither God nor Jesus shows up in any of the videos so I believe we’ll have to assume the museum creators are going on faith). In one video it seems that locals are celebrating a religious event with balloon animals and snow cones. In another video an official of the museum decries the modern practice of separating science from politics from religion, etc. and he makes it clear that God hates this separation and would prefer that He would be considered and worshipped in all human endeavors (even doing tech support for Apple in Sri Lanka?). Another man tells us, practically in tears, that he could never have built the museum without help (eyes roll up) from Him.

I’m thinking this place is not too far from a good barbecue joint:  if you turn to the left, you get dinosaurs; if you turn to the right, you get smoked ribs. Good eating!