Their Old Kentucky Home: Ken Ham, Al Mohler and Big Bone Lick

Ken Ham is not treated as a respected scholar by “mainstream” evangelicals. He’s viewed as a fringe character who’s mainly interested in selling a product.

Al Mohler, on the other hand, is regarded as a respected academic and scholar — a seminary president! — and someone that serious people must regard with seriousness.

The two men live and work about 100 miles apart in Kentucky, but when it comes to young-Earth creationism, there’s no space between them at all. It’s odd that science-aversion, reality-denial and wacky exegesis makes Ken Ham a comic figure, while the very same science-aversion, reality-denial and wacky exegesis is hailed as evidence of Al Mohler’s pious devotion to the “authority of the scriptures.”

Young-Earth creationism isn’t plausible anywhere, but it’s a particularly hard sell where these guys live. Kentucky isn’t just home to the Creation Museum and to the Mohlerized Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, it’s also home to places like Big Bone Lick State Park, sometimes called the birthplace of American paleontology. That where we found things like this:

This is older than 7,000 years.

Big Bone Lick — just 82 miles from Al Mohler’s office and less than 20 miles from Ken Ham’s museum — is the final resting place of an extraordinary number of well-preserved Pleistocene megafauna. These were the huge animals that lumbered across North America from about 2.5 million years ago until the last of them went extinct about 12,000 years ago. Mastodons, mammoths and giant sloths lived in Kentucky for millions of years, then died out thousands of years before young-Earth creationists say the universe was created.

Kentucky’s official state fossil — that’s a thing, apparently — is the brachiopod. Those are tiny little sea creatures whose fossil remains can be found all over Kentucky because way, way back — 550 to 250 million years ago — what’s now Kentucky was the bottom of a warm, shallow sea something like the Gulf of Mexico. That also explains why miner Jay Wright found the ferocious jawbone of a prehistoric shark in the ceiling of a Kentucky coal mine. It’s about 300 million years old. That means it was swimming around Kentucky about 300 million years prior to when Ken Ham and Al Mohler say God created the heavens and the Earth. (Well, you know, 300 million minus 6,000 years older, but once you get back to 300 million years ago, 6,000 years seems more like a rounding error.)

Kentucky is also home to things like the Kentucky River Palisades — a series of gorges and limestone cliffs lining the river for about 100 miles or so. They’re really something to see, both for their stunning natural beauty and for the way they vividly illustrate Kentucky’s very long and layered geologic history. The clearly visible layers of sedimentary rock are like a giant billboard advertising how vastly ancient the region truly is.

All of these things account for the difference in reputation between Ken Ham and Al Mohler.

Ham is seen as ridiculous because he has, very publicly, attempted to account for all of these things. The megafauna remains in Big Bone Lick, Ken Ham says, were creatures killed in Noah’s flood in 2348 B.C. And what about all those brachiopod fossils that scientists insist are hundreds of millions of years old? Those are all from Noah’s flood in 2348 too, Ham says. And the 300-million-year-old shark remains? Noah’s flood. And the sedimentary layers of the Kentucky River Palisades? Noah’s flood. 2348 B.C.

This is just goofy. Ham’s repeated appeals to the magical effects of Noah’s magical flood are part of why he’s an object of scorn and ridicule. He tries to play the martyr — claiming that his critics are just impious god-haters who don’t believe in the Bible. But the problem with this flood nonsense isn’t primarily that he believes the story of Noah is historical. The problem with Ken Ham’s flood nonsense is that floods do not work this way.

Ham’s attempts to reconcile his theory of a 6,000-year-old universe with the exuberantly ancient world that surrounds him fail utterly. When he clings to those failures, then, he comes across not just as ignorant, but as stubbornly ignorant and proud of it. That makes him a punchline.

Mohler has avoided becoming a similar punchline by expediently not attempting to reconcile his theory of a 6,000-year-old universe with the obviously ancient world that surrounds him. That seems unfair — unfair to Ken Ham, I mean.

Sure, Ham may be a spectacular failure at it, but unlike Mohler, he’s at least tried to defend their indefensible theory of a young universe. Mohler doesn’t even bother trying. He just keeps repeating his insistence that you’re in jeopardy of Hell if you don’t reject reality in favor of demonstrably false ideas.

If the Earth is only 6,000 years old, then how does Mohler explain the far older remains found 80 miles from his office at Big Bone Lick? That’s simple, Mohler says. If you don’t believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old, then you don’t really believe in the Bible or in the God of the Bible, and therefore you’re probably going to Hell. But those bones are from the Pleistocene, which ended long before 6,000 years ago — is Mohler suggesting that we just pretend those bones and all the other evidence for the Pleistocene don’t exist? No, he says. He’s simply suggesting that Heaven is far nicer than Hell, so let’s just please stop talking about those old bones. But what about the brachiopod fossils scattered all over Mohler’s home state of Kentucky? We have to choose, he says. We have to choose between learning anything about those fossils and not going to Hell. What about the ancient history written into the very rocks of the Kentucky River Palisades? The rocks are lying. Don’t listen to them or else, you know … Hell.

Where Ken Ham offers ridiculous evidence and a ridiculous argument, Mohler doesn’t bother offering any evidence or argument at all. But I’m not sure how that makes him any less ridiculous.

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  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    All our awesome people are dead, except for me and Wendell Berry. :^D

  • Raymond

    Hey! Hey! *I’m* from Kentucky and I’m awesome…er…ish…

  • Caddy Compson

    I was totally sitting here thinking, “But Wendell Berry! And bell hooks!”

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I did not know bell hooks was from Kentucky, so make that four(don’t want to leave Raymond out)

  • Amaryllis

    There’s Robert Penn Warren. Of course, he’s dead, and I don’t know if he was particularly personally awesome, but there were those Pulitzer Prizes and Poet Laureate-ships and all.

    This post reminded me of “Tell Me a Story.”

    Tell me a story.

    In this century, and moment, of mania,
    Tell me a story.

    Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.

    The name of the story will be Time,
    But you must not pronounce its name.

    Tell me a story of deep delight.

    There’s much more deep delight in Mammoth Cave or the Kentucky River Palisades, or the Uranian orbits, than in any of Ken Ham’s plastic dinosaurs. Like Fred, I’m baffled that Ham dared to place his “Creation Museum” where it is

  • Jamoche

    They do that on purpose. Texas has a Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, Texas. Just outside is a “creation evidence museum”. It was one tiny trailer back when we had our high school field trip there; they’ve grown.

    My step in-laws had another one in the Black Hills of Dakota, right in the middle of another set of very convincing stratified geology. Amongst their arguments: the order of the strata isn’t the same every time – sometimes it’s ABCD, and sometimes it’s DCBA!

  • Launcifer

    Yeah, it probably sounds less snigger-inducing in the original Klingon, where it means “pre-historic ice lolly” or something similar. Someone just went and translated it literally instead of thematically.

  • $7768756

    I really have to say- given what we know about the humor of well, early Kentucky explorers, I’d wager good money it was deliberate. (Yes. “Bone” has meant exactly that for at least that long. Given that it’s a pretty obvious metaphor, its not surprising.)

  • Cuniraya, Antichrist

    I was just having a discussion with a friend about approaches to teaching evolution at the college level. She had someone freak out in the middle of lecture and say everyone is going to hell for mocking god. When I got to evolution, I decided to get ahead of the problem by telling the students that if they disagreed with it to treat it like a bad piece of fiction like say, Jane Eyre. I then proceeded to go on a 5 minute rant about why I hate the book. No problems after that.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I’d have walked out in the middle of your rant about Jane Eyre.

  • Cuniraya, Antichrist

    Well my big issue with the book is that Jane goes back to that asshole Rochester and nurses him back to health and he miraculously regains his sight. It’s bullshit. She should have gone off with that parson, and let Chris Brown burn in his house and live happily ever after. That’s why I like Wide Sargasso Sea so much more.

  • damanoid

    In fairness, Charlotte Bronte’s unedited first draft clearly specifies that everything in the book was false memories instilled in the characters when they were created on the last page.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Yeah, but the first draft itself only exists as a false memory implanted in all of us when the universe was created last thursday.

  • $7768756

    I would read that book. Sounds like something Italo Calvino would do.

  • tricksterson

    Hey, blame Thursday Next. She’s the one who changed the ending.

  • Amaryllis

    Wide Sargasso Sea is a very good book.

    But as for the original, even Rochester is a better bet for marriage than St.John Rivers, the human icicle. I think Jane’s right: it would be insupportable to be married to someone who regards his wife as merely a useful tool.

  • everstar

    St. John Rivers creeps me out. The pleasure he takes in discovering how far he can push Jane… brrr. Rochester is initially worth a serious side-eye himself, between chaining poor Bertha in the attic and the way he starts to treat Jane less like a person and more like a doll. All I can say is thank God Bertha dropped the house on him. I don’t think all the mansions in Whatevershire would have dented St. John, though. He would’ve martyred right on through.

  • http://music.satellitereboot.com/ Matt S

    I took an astronomy class in college, and on the first day the professor used Last Thursdayism to sidestep the age of the universe conflict, which led to this exchange between the professor and a 40-something student:

    Professor: “…and so the universe and everything in it could have been made last Thursday, and just appears older.”

    Student: “How? I remember things from years ago.”

    Professor: “Yep! You were made last Thursday with memories of your entire life already in your brain.”

    Student: “But I have pictures.”

    Professor: “…Those were also created last Thursday.”

  • http://lightningbug.blogspot.com lightning

    My answer to this is something along the lines of “God has given a great deal of effort to proving that He doesn’t exist. By pretending that God doesn’t exist, we’re just going along with His little joke.”

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Have you seen “Dude Watchin’ with the Brontes”? http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=202

    She also proposes a better ending for Jane Eyre: http://www.npr.org/assets/img/2011/09/21/harkpg89_archive.jpg

  • everstar

    Oh, God bless Kate Beaton. “Yeow.” “I know, right?” I suddenly wish Jane could have rescued Bertha and taken her to live with the Rivers sisters and they all could have been content together without their problematic menfolk.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    How about Fantasy and Science Fiction?

  • eamonknight

    I was going to say, No a lot of F&SF is worth reading. Then I realized the LB series plausibly belongs there….
    (And of course: Anne McAffrey, Piers Anthony, and not a few other execrable oeuvres….)

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Oh, I love (some) F&SF myself. But seriously, where else could you put it?

    Then again, maybe what we really need is a category for “Idiotic F&SF”, or “Books That Will Melt Your Brain” – it could hold AiG, and some of the weirder psychology books* and some of the Faux News-style political books…

    * Has anyone ever read “Modern Woman: The Lost Sex”? I stumbled across it in my college library long ago. Awesome in a very bad way.

  • Daniel

    Bad SF could be renamed Science Fishion, because I like puns and it nicely identifies works that come under Sturgeon’s Law. Mostly it’s because I like puns, though.

    Also I like Sci Fi and tend to give it a lot more leeway than other genres in regards to how bad it can be before I give up on it.

  • $7768756

    As with most classification systems, though, all the fun and fighting will come with the boundary cases.

    Where do we put Heinlein? Uh huh- what about “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”/”Number of the Beast”?

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Number of the Beast? In the trash, of course.

    I have a soft spot for Heinlein because Citizen of the Galaxy was the first science fiction I ever read. But I have to admit, when he let his politics and social notions out for a walk, he could come up with some embarrassing stuff (*cough* Farnham’s Freehold *cough*)

  • $7768756

    I have a soft spot for Number of the Beast, myself. It’s so……bad. SOOOOO BAD.

    SOOOO BAD.

    So bad it’s charming and oddly lovable. It’s like the terrible fanfic I have a soft spot for, but professionally written and edited.

    Although when they get to Lazarus Long it’s all *thhhhhhpppppttttt* from there on out.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Lazarus Long. Always thhhhppppffffftt.

  • $7768756

    Yeah. Although some parts of “Time Enough for Love” are pretty good, and I’m incredibly fond of the “Notebooks of Lazarus Long” as a source of practical moral advice.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Someone’s collected all the sayings; some are rather apt. :)

    “Cheops’ Law: Nothing ever gets done on time or within budget.”

  • $7768756

    “People who go broke in a big way never miss any meals. It is the poor jerk who is shy half a slug who must tighten his belt.”

    Some of them are a bit too libertarian for my taste, many of them have that 1960’s sexist flair to them, but compared to most other books of wisedom, they come off pretty durn well.
    http://www.angelfire.com/or/sociologyshop/lazlong.html#inter

  • stardreamer42

    Except for highway projects in Houston. Why? Because the judge who approves the contracts was a civil engineer before he took the bench, and he knows how to tell when the contractors are fudging, and what kind of penalties will get their attention.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Recurring scenario in Time Enough for Love I remember questioning even while reading: “Does Heinlein just assume that all young teenagers will automatically want to commit incest?”

  • $7768756

    ….possibly. It’s certainly a conveniently common kink.

  • smrnda

    It’s called “Author Appeal.” William S Burroughs’ books are absolutely saturated with his various kinks – about every one has some instance of a hanged man ejaculating as his neck snaps.

    Of course, Bill was a great writer and I don’t think this detracts, but some of his works get a bit implausible. There is a Holmes/Watson type detective pair in (I think) the Western Lands where, if they get stuck on a case, engage in some bizarre sexual ritual and make a breakthrough. That’s also been a formula for coming up with solutions for *engineering problems* in some of his books as well.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’m thinking more along the lines of Orson Scott Card’s take on homosexuality and how men need to be married (against their will, if need be!) to women so that they won’t go off and have themselves some of that infernally tempting gay sex, and how it’s actually very very common that a married man secretly yearns for other men, and how most marriages are done purely to keep him from having that mmmphOHGODIWANTIT

    Which says a lot more about the author than it does society.

  • stardreamer42

    There’s at least one mainstream romance by Anne McCaffrey that made me distinctly uncomfortable to read because it felt like I was spying on the author’s private fantasies.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Oh, the Sleeping Beauty trilogy? Yeah, um. If I had been presented that to read, I would have thought it had been written by someone half my age who had yet to have any actual sexual experience, but who had heard just enough to have some really bad misconceptions.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Anne Rice was the one who wrote The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty et al. Those I didn’t mind because Rice (whatever her other flaws as a writer) prefaced them with an announcement which said, basically, that this was pure sexual fantasy. So yeah, they take place in a strange Sexual Fantasy Land where everyone is always willing and nobody gets infections or muscle cramps or even has to use the bathroom.

    John Norman, on the other hand, is clearly writing stroke books, but he frames them as, “I r srs writer, this r srs philosophical SF”.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Facepalm* McAffrey. Different person, yes, right. I only read one of her Pern books and I was so badly rubbed that I never finished it, and then I heard about what a monster she was about copyright enforcement (among the list of actions prohibited included “playing as a main Pern protagonist during tabletop role-playing” and she was infamous for filing takedown demands for Pern fanart).

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I CAN WRITE HER NAME McCaffrey SEE THERE I DID IT

  • MarkTemporis

    How the HELL was she proposing to stop someone from playing one of her characters in a tabletop RPG? I ripped off a fairly distinctive name from one of her other books for my superspy campaign some years back so nyah.

  • $7768756

    I read parts of the claiming of sleeping beauty.

    I mean, look. Stroke books are stroke books, and willing suspension of disbelief, but she had some things in there that were just so….jarring.

    Like the prince wanted Sleeping Beauty tied up….hanging from the canopy of his bed….suspended inches over him while he slept.

    Which was just….there’s “kinky fantasy” and then there’s “completely stupid thing that no one would ever do in real life.”

    I mean- she just lies there? Staring at you from inches away all night? And then waking up….how freaky would that be?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Eh, sometimes people’s kinky fantasies are stuff they know perfectly well wouldn’t be feasible in real life. And although I’m one of the people whose brain will start listing all the reason why That Wouldn’t Work and harsh my buzz, not everybody is the same way.

    I can forgive a book quite a bit so long as it’s framed as a hot fantasy, rather than a treatise on real people’s sexual natures (Gor) or how people actually do something in real life (50 Shades of Grey).

    Speaking of which, the blogger who does the Cosmocking posts has been sporking FSoG: http://pervocracy.blogspot.ca/search/label/Fifty%20shades%20of%20grey

  • Jeff Weskamp

    The scariest thing about John Norman’s Gor series (yes, even scarier than the quality of his prose) is the fact that it has spawned an entire BDSM subculture that calls themselves the Goreans. And just as many women as men participate in that scene.

    A lady who ran a used book store said she was constantly getting requests for Gor books, and whenever she had any come through the store they sold very quickly. And I live in Northeast Colorado, not exactly a hub for kink!

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Yeah, if I were to sell those, I’d be tempted to insert a caveat somewhere to the effect of, “Look, if this is hot for you, great, but if you want to roleplay any of it, ignore the author’s gender-role bullshit and look up some SM101 stuff online first, okay?”

    On a lighter note, Houseplants of Gor! http://www.rdrop.com/~wyvern/data/houseplants.html

  • Jamoche

    Laurell K Hamilton’s later books are pretty much an open window into her id. And it gets worse when they’re not edited; she released a free e-book that seems to be pure “what I wish I’d said to my ex and his new girlfriend”.

  • dpolicar

    If that worked, working on college problem sets would have been a lot more fun.

  • stardreamer42

    And we won’t even mention John Norman…

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Yeah, let’s not.

  • Ross Thompson

    The Cat Who Can Walk Through Walls. I’m pretty sure even the trash would reject that one.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    He really wrote a lot of junk, didn’t he? But I will stand up for “The Unpleasant Profession of Johnathan Hoag” and “And He Built a Crooked House”, having recently read them again. Nothing spectacular, but entertaining.

    Maybe Heinlein was better with short fiction. Or maybe early in his career (when he wrote these two stories), he had to defer more to the social rules of the time, and that kept him from trotting out some of his more obnoxious sexual theories.

  • smrnda

    Ugh. I recall his Sixth Column, which was just a mess of anti-Asian stereotypes and racism.

    I thought Number of the Beast was his attempt at writing bad soft core porn.

  • Jamoche

    A lot of the blame for Sixth Column goes to John Campbell – from all the stories I’ve heard, Heinlein toned it down from the original outline.

  • https://pjevansgen.wordpress.com/ P J Evans

    It’s not nearly as bad as ‘Friday’. That one shouldn’t even have made it to the Hugo ballot. Like the Asimov on the ballot that year, it was people voting for the Big Name, not the work.

  • Thomas Stone

    Haha, I kind of liked Friday, for all that it’s just a walking tour through late period Heinlein tropes with nary a new idea in the book (though he does explicitly turn his back or earlier creepy ideology at one point in there.) It doesn’t stay anywhere long enough to get really offensive and it feels like a fun-bad sci fi movie done as a book. Also, Heinlein’s sexual hangups are less creepy when they’re expressed as ‘consensual sex for everyone all the time!’

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Or, maybe, Science Fission. It’ll make your head explode.

  • damanoid

    Sturgeon’s Law of Science Fishion: Ninety percent of everything is carp.

  • https://pjevansgen.wordpress.com/ P J Evans

    I think you just won an internet.
    ROFL!

  • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

    “But seriously, where else could you put it?”

    Put it under politics.

  • Loki1001

    I am reminded of the, frankly rediculous claim, that the speed of light has been slowing down.

  • GDwarf

    I thought the claim was that it was speeding up. Regardless, it’s plenty ridiculous.

  • Loki1001

    I’m reasonably certain both claims have been made, depending upon what the light is supposed to do to prove it only existed 6,000 years ago.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    One attempt suggested some kind of sine wave so it sped up then slowed down then came back to where it is today.

    How convenient.

  • Loki1001

    A quick trip to Conservapedia to sort out this problem reveals this, “…others estimate the size of the entire universe to be as narrow as only 12,000 light years across.”

  • themunck

    For perspective, our galaxy is 100,000 light years, side to side. It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light years thick, but out by us it’s just 3000 lightyears wide. We’re 35,000 light years from galatic central point, we go around every 200 million years. And our galaxy is only one millions of billions in this amazing and expanding universe.
    …yes, after the first line I started singing the Monty Python song and just couldn’t stop.

  • Loki1001

    Yeah. I was stunned when I read that. I’ve read a lot of crazy in my life, but I did not think they actually would try to claim the universe was that small…

  • http://batman-news.com Jim Roberts

    Munck, I was halfway through your post before I realized that I was singing it in my head as well.

  • Albanaeon

    Well… yeah. Anybody want to live with 12000 ly of a quasar? How about all of them? How about galactic blackholes? Supernovas? Pulsars? Neutron stars? Heck how about the effects of have a universes’ with all the gravity/spacetime effects/etc. Basically in your backyard?

    Still, I’m not sure that its less ridiculous than the “we are linked to the rest of the universe by wormholes so everything is only 6000 ly away.” Yep, let’s turn the entire universe into a trillion trillion guns blasting away at us constantly. That’ll be wonderful…

  • PorlockJunior

    No thank you, but I do not want to live within even 12,000 light years of a quasar. Much less, of a supernova. Speaking of which, http://what-if.xkcd.com/73/

  • http://batman-news.com Jim Roberts

    The light is doing whatever it needs to do to prove that God Did It. See, Ken Ham doesn’t worship YHWH, he actually worships Loki. I mean, not, like, out loud or anything, but he’s clearly following a trickster deity.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    We really need a way to give you extra likes. Lots and lots of extra likes. Meanwhile, scuse me, I have to go and giggle for an hour or two.

  • Daniel

    I think we’ve finally pinned down what the Curse of Ham actually is. It’s apparently to serve everyone as a total figure of ridicule.

  • MarkTemporis

    You know, it would be a trickster god move to tell a particular group that they were his chosen people and proceed to totally fuck them over throughout history, wouldn’t it?

  • http://batman-news.com Jim Roberts

    And disguise himself as a sky god to get their attention.

    Oh, man, this is so going into the next Pathfinder campaign.

  • https://pjevansgen.wordpress.com/ P J Evans

    I thought that c had been redefined as a constant to avoid stuff like that.

  • Loki1001

    C has always been constant. If c wasn’t constant, from my (admittedly limited) knowledge of physics the entire universe would poof into nothingness.

    But if c is constant, than the universe is billions of years old. And, since the universe can only by 6,000 years old, c much not be constant.

  • $7768756

    Not to mention that if you try saying that they just go “Oh, well that’s a cop out.” and when you start talking about Maxwell’s laws and inertial reference frames, all they hear is “blah blah atheist god-hate blah”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s kind of ironic how they blithely accept that Maxwell’s Equations govern radio and optical communications and yet throw a strop when told the field equations wouldn’t work the way they do if c was varying.

  • $7768756

    Well, honestly, you do really have to get into it a bit.

    Also, if you can explain it well and quickly, the way that Maxwell’s equations tie into General relativity CAN be an effective way to point out these issues.

    If you want a good rundown that is worth getting through-Susskind gives an excellent and highly watchable lecture.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbmf0bB38h0

  • https://pjevansgen.wordpress.com/ P J Evans

    I remember in college when we got there: Ooh wow, Maxwell’s equations have relativity built in!

    (For non-science types: there are two constants that are multiplied together, and the product is equal to 1/c^2. Really.)

    Sometimes I wonder what he could have done with another 20 years.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The thing that’s nice about the Lorentz transformations is that they can be used for non-electromagnetic phenomena as well, since they reduce in the low-velocity limit to the simpler Galilean transformations. :)

  • spinetingler

    I initially read that as Gallifreyan transformations.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    It’s more complex than that. c is a dimensional constant, which means it can be any value you like (theoretical physicists almost always choose the value 1, for convenience), it’s just a matter of units of measurement.

    For the value of c to change in a way that would have an actual effect on the universe, rather than just changing the size of the units by which we choose to measure the universe, one of the dimensionless constants (specifically the fine-structure constant) would have to change. Fortunately, we can measure this: in the lab (which tells us that it isn’t changing now, to very high accuracies); by observation of terrestrial events such as the fossil nuclear reactor at Oklo, active 2 billion years ago, which tells us that the value then was the same as now, to within measurement accuracy; and we can measure it in the spectra of distant galaxies (which suggests that it may have been slightly different 13 billion years ago – but the results are not conclusive).

  • LoneWolf343

    Well, it wouldn’t poof into nothingness. It would poof into…something.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    They don’t even consider ontological inertia when they posit this silly shit.

    Modifying c doesn’t change the distance of the stars, it only changes the speed their light gets to us. Even if Baby Jesus modified the speed of light for, say, 500 years, making 10,000x the current rate, the light from stars 1,000,000,000 light years away would still take over 1,000,000 years to get to us. Because we can see and measure, we know that it’s still taken that light 1,000,000 light years to get us

    You can play with the numbers all you want to. You’re never going to get it to fit into a span of time worth 10,000 years. The universe is 13.4 billion light years (actually, it’s a couple trillion now) across. If you scale c to a billion times the current rate, it’d be going too fast for early people in the Bible to see. There’d be no stars. If you scaled it to only a million times, it’d still be going to fast to identify the closer stars, and it’ll still take over 10,000 years for the light from the most furthest objects (13.4 billion light years to date) to reach us.

    What’s more, when you drop the speed back down to the present value, all those stars are still million so light years away. Those stars, those galaxies, would simply blink out of existence for another billion or so years, when their light finally reaches us at the current rate. So that galaxy that we see that’s 13.4 billion light years out? We shouldn’t be able to see that; after about 600 years that would’ve blinked out of existence if that’s how long the speed of light was modified for.

    Obviously neither of those happened. Ergo, the speed of light has been constant and their claims that c has been modified is born of the same ignorance that lets science fiction writers fly across the galaxy in FTL craft at the speed of plot, but in the later case, it’s not an malicious attempt to deny reality (figure if you have something that cruses at, say 10x the speed of light, it’ll still take a decade to reach a star 100 light years away, and several millennium to reach one of the galaxy; people just do not understand how HUGE space is).

  • $7768756

    Oh, the best was their justification for the changing speed of light.

    Because, you see, over the past 400 years, observations of the speed of light have changed!

    Never mind that that Newton’s best estimate for the speed of sound was ‘faster than sound’ (later refined by Lavousier to the ever so much more elegant- ‘like, really fucking fast, dude.”)

  • Loki1001

    My favorite bit from that section was about how Uranus’s unique axis and lack of internal heat were not fascinating mysteries to be solved, but rather God Did It, The End.

  • Launcifer

    You’d think that even God Did It would prompt the question why, wouldn’t you?

    Well, assuming the answer was more interesting than “because”, obviously.

  • Baby_Raptor

    “God did it, kthxbai” is their weapon to keep curiosity from destroying the mental walls they hide behind.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Uranus has a unique axis?

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Yup. It rolls along on its side (that is, its axis is tilted ninety degrees compared to the other planets in the system. And poor little Pluto too, I think.) (Edit…sorry, nerdiness alert omitted.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus

    The Uranian system has a unique configuration among those of the planets because its axis of rotation is tilted sideways, nearly into the plane of its revolution about the
    Sun. Its north and south poles therefore lie where most other planets have their equators.

    And the REALLY fun part! :D is that Uranus’s satellites ALSO have funny orbits because they orbit with respect to Uranus’s equator.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Astronomy is fun! And sometimes silly.

  • Ross Thompson
  • esmerelda_ogg

    Yeah, well, I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but there’s also a hexagon on the north pole of Saturn. Weird place. ;-)

  • Guest

    Plus, of course, there’s Mimas, AKA “That’s no moon”:

  • Ross Thompson

    Then, of course, there’s Mimas, AKA “That’s no moon…”:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Mimas_Cassini.jpg

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Yes – and of course, movieless, there’s Hyperion. Whatever it’s made of.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hyperion_true.jpg

  • https://pjevansgen.wordpress.com/ P J Evans

    And no one knows why it’s sideways to all the others. (ISTR it’s actually tilted 98 degrees, so it’s really out of plane.)

  • Ross Thompson

    And Venus is flipped over completely, so that its north pole points almost exactly south!

  • $7768756

    …..how do you tell it’s the north pole, then?

    Is that one of those times where science labeled something one time, and now we’re too stubborn to change it?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What’s been found is that Venus’s direction of rotation is opposite Earth’s; thus, we define its axial tilt as 177 degrees, rather than three degrees.

    EDIT: I accidentally a number.

  • P J Evans

    I tend to go with the right-hand rule: if your fingers point in the direction of the planet’s rotation, your thumb is the geographic north pole.

  • tricksterson

    Pluto doesn’t matter because it’s not a planet.

    (Gets into a bunker because i know how some people feel about that issue)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Yes. And it brings all the boys to the yard.

  • Loki1001

    And they’re like, this planet’s better than your’s.

  • Loki1001

    It is tilted 90 degrees. It’s north and south poles are where our equator is. So the southern hemisphere, basically, gets a half year of total daylight, followed by a half year of total darkness.

  • Hawker40

    And given the length of the planet’s year, that’s pretty harsh.

  • RidgewayGirl

    Winter is coming…

  • arcseconds

    Isn’t that the problem with all appeals to the divine, at least when the question is a scientific one?

    ‘God did it’ simply isn’t an explanation.

    (at least, not on its own.)

  • Loki1001

    Well…. if you wanted to play God’s psychologist, then “God did it” would be an acceptable response… but then you’d have to follow it up with trying to understand why “God did it….”

  • arcseconds

    Yes, it could be the start of an explanation, if we had a theory of why God wanted things one way and not another.

    Actually, a lot of theological explanation does attempt in some way, shape or form to do this, albeit often not very well — often it’s both ad hoc and post hoc.

    But I seldom see the ‘science can’t explain this! therefore God did it!’ crowd even make the attempt.

    (this includes the ID crowd)

  • Loki1001

    Yes. Like why would God want for our eyes to work so we see everything inverted, but our brains fix the image…while squid just see everything exactly as it exists?

  • Persia

    Having said that, the climate qualified as ‘hellish’ to my pathetic Northern bones.

  • $7768756

    It’s all right- we yankees get our revenge in the winter, when it’s 50 degrees and we’re wearing t-shirts and they’re wearing parkas.

    (Sneering about how no wonder the Confederacy lost if they can’t even take a little air conditioning is declasse- so of course I do it all the time.

  • Baby_Raptor

    My first winter here in Arkansas, it snowed on Christmas Day. This being my first ever snow, I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on aside from pretty white stuff everywhere.

    I went outside in jeans and a shirt. Because I’m used to winters where “cold” is 50 degrees.

    Yeah, I got sick. People laughed at me. >.>

  • https://pjevansgen.wordpress.com/ P J Evans

    I run around in flipflops all the time, unless it’s raining (because slippery omg!). Have to admit that snow is a little too cold for that kind of thing, outside of running out to grab the newspaper or the mail.

  • Yawny

    I went out to feed the horses one winter day in Central Texas, looked up, and said “Hey, there’s white stuff falling from the sky. What is that?”

    It was snow.

    Yeah, the cat totally looked at me like I was an idiot. And then demanded to go in so he could steal my chair by the fire.

  • Baby_Raptor

    And of course you let him, because cat.

  • FearlessSon

    My first contract at Microsoft was managing a test lab in a department that worked closely with third-party companies to ensure upcoming Windows Update patches were completely compatible with their software before the patch was actually pushed out. The company in question was based in India, and sent several of their engineers out here to Washington for a few months at a time, then rotated them back home.

    I shared my office with several different engineers over my time there, including two ladies from southern India. It was the winter when they arrived, they asked if it snowed the prior week. I told them that it did, but it was light and did not stick around and we were unlikely to see any more snow this year. They were disappointed. Until, some weeks later, it started to snow late in the afternoon; pretty hard by Seattle standards. They came back in brushing snow off their sweaters with big grins on their faces.

    When I left the office that day, I saw a lot of the other people from the southern India company there, laughing and cheering and discovering snowballs for the first time. It was quite pleasant to see. There is a certain magic in a person’s eyes the first time they see snow, and you mostly see that on children, but this was one of those rare occasions you can see it in adults.

  • stardreamer42

    It’s because they don’t know how to dress for the weather. Seriously, I see people at the grocery store in shorts, T-shirts, and sandals when it’s in the mid-40s, complaining bitterly about how cold it is. Mid-40s is indeed pretty chilly, but with jeans, a turtleneck and jacket, and shoes and socks, it’s not bad at all.

  • P J Evans

    Heck, I see people in Los Angeles, bundled up like they’re going skiing, when it’s 65 degrees outside.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Heh. I used to joke with some Americans that I could wear shorts in their “winter”. :P

  • P J Evans

    I remember, one time when I was working contract, going up to the office to collect a paycheck, during a cold spell (meaning it was hitting about 35F in the sun, for ten days). Wearing flipflops.one of my co-workers was there, and asked me if my feet got cold. No, it’s my hands; the feet are busy moving and staying warm.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I have to have at least a five day streak of below 40s weather before I will EVEN CONSIDER putting on SHOES and SOCKS!

  • stardreamer42

    I grew up on the outskirts of Detroit. The climate of Houston is indeed a fairly good approximation of Hell. Thousands of people have made the erroneous assumption that Hell’s heat is dry. No, it’s humid.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Thinking it? I’m not ruling out time travel because I’m pretty sure this is just the sort of thing I’d do if I ever got access to the TARDIS.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Okay, I think I took that wrong…

  • Vermic

    I offer this without comment, but Wikipedia says that Big Bone Lick is “located between the communities of Beaverlick and Rabbit Hash”.

  • Random_Lurker

    Coould be worse. You could be Texan, and constantly have to read “With apologies to the handful of sane Texans out there…”

  • Matri

    You’re never gonna let me live that down, are you? :p

  • Baby_Raptor

    Having been born in Texas, stationed there, and ultimately living about 22 years there total…Texas has some awesome places. I’d be willing to say that it’s mostly just the people.

    Beaches don’t vote to refuse women bodily autonomy and deny people healthcare.

  • http://www.to-hither.com/ PepperjackCandy

    Beaches don’t vote to refuse women bodily autonomy and deny people healthcare.

    Neither do the Mexican free-tailed bats. Awesome, awesome bats.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Lunar Bukkake Theory. Just gotta bring that up every time someone mentions the Flood.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lunar_bukkake_hypothesis

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    But I can’t hear Lunar Bukkake without thinking of the scene in Final Fantasy 8 where a liquid-like mass sprays from the moon to splatter on the planet’s surface. :p

  • Baby_Raptor

    You lost me at FF8.

  • LoneWolf343

    I’ll say. There’s never been a Final Fantasy past 7. Next he’ll be saying the Matrix or Highlander had sequels.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I think I’m the only person who just rolls their eyes at VII. Then again, I thought VI was pretty bad too. And V. In fact, I can tear apart IV, which is my favorite, for having the same problems as the rest of the games. :p

  • Rhubarbarian82

    You lost me at not liking VI.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Pfft, please. Terra/Tina was so… vapid. Most of the characters were cardboard cutouts of personalities with a storyline that would be lucky to be fleshed out in a single sentence, and you know it’s bad when a character’s storyline requires you to find an easter egg for even the slightest details.

  • aklab

    So… you’re saying you don’t really like Final Fantasy games? :P

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I think they’re overrated. Lackluster storylines, flimsy characters with little to no character development or depth, buggy engines, and a tendency to break things in the process of trying to make them unique — to say nothing for the ridiculous and unnecessary minigames.

  • aklab

    They’re certainly guilty of rehashing the same old tropes and character archetypes time and again, that’s for sure.
    I’m curious; what games’ storylines and character development would you say are better?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Of the Final Fantasy series, I come closest to liking IV because it has visible character development — Cecil begins as a soldier simply following orders and is driven by guilt to rebel and then to seek amends with people, eventually becoming a paladin. Kain begins much the same and seems to be set up for a similar path, but it is revealed that at least a portion of the control exerted over him was due to his own bitter envy of Cecil’s relationship with Rosa. Rydia begins as a child with abandonment issues (understandably) and grows into a young woman clearly affected by her lack of a stable home, who (if you count the bonus dungeon material as canon) is just as afraid of losing the eidolons as she is her family. Pretty much all the characters have some measure of depth which gets further expanded upon by post-game content and TAY material.

    (The DS version, however… mentioning it triggers a hatred-fueled rant, so yeah.)

    Outside of Final Fantasy, I’m fond of Breath of Fire III and IV, although the silent protagonists leaves something to be desired. Chrono Trigger has a special place in my heart just for being able to jerk the heartstrings so easily, and I liked a lot of elements in Chrono Cross and especially of Radical Dreamers (if you count that as an RPG). I think The Last Story also has something going for it, but I haven’t gotten very far into it yet, only seen it played by a friend, so my knowledge of the story is less complete.
    Counting action-RPGs: A soft spot for Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow. They have the anime staple doofus of a protagonist, but win points for an extremely good use of a component of his character. The recent Batman games also win their accolades quite soundly.

    Outside of RPGs, I’m very fond of the Legacy of Kain series, which constantly comes back to the question of personal motivation. Why characters want to do something, or not do something, as opposed to setting up circumstances which “obviously” requires people to be a hero (mild spoiler: the protagonist in the first game condemns the planet to slow destruction. Why he chose to do so is the focus of every game afterward). The Metal Gear Solid games, while possessing a storyline that’s so convoluted that the authors have obviously forgotten what the heck they were doing at times, has a lot of things going for it that could have been a near masterpiece in the hands of better editing.

    There are probably others I can’t recall…

  • aklab

    I’ve never played any Legacy of Kain games but that sounds fascinating. I’ll check it out!

    I share your appreciation of FFIV (and the Chrono games)! Maybe I’m reading too much into them, but I think the mid-period Final Fantasies have a lot of meta-narrative that doesn’t get enough attention. In VI, the characters are explicitly presented as characters playing a role — down to the little sentence summaries at the naming screen. It’s especially clear with Setzer, someone who takes on a certain role to accomplish a goal and then becomes the person he’s pretending to be. And in VI, even if each character’s individual arc is less dramatic than it is in IV, there’s a lot more to be gained in the interactions between the characters. Seeing how Cyan changes when he’s paired with Gau, how Celes reacts to Locke and Setzer, how everyone reacts to Terra, etc.

    Of course, there’s plenty of FFVI apologia already on the internet so I won’t go on! FFVII takes a stock leader character type and turns it on its head mid-game; FFIX begins with your characters forming a theater troupe in order to stage a real kidnapping (of someone who it turns out wants to be kidnapped), but reference to this opening play, famous in the game-world, is made throughout the game by the characters, who see parallels in their current situation with the selves they pretended to be earlier in the game. On the surface it’s just another story about finding the elemental crystals or whatever, but it’s also about the stories people tell themselves in order to be the people they think they need to be.

    Oh, and I should add that if you’re concerned about lackluster storylines or flimsy character development… Final Fantasy Tactics. Despite a clumsy first translation and some unbalanced combat, it’s very well-written and the characters change and grow realistically.

    I won’t trigger your FFIV DS-remake rant, except to say, the art in that game (and V and VI) is pretty much perfect and I don’t see why they had to go and ruin it with a generic bundle-o’-polygons look.

    I hope I articulated all that decently.. I’m afraid my Nyquil took effect about 10 minutes ago!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The thing with VI is that I have the exact opposite reaction to the “playing a role” aspect of characterization. It’s like they wrote that single sentence for each character, put pixels in order to resemble something like that sentence, then left it at that. I like a little depth to my characters, something to explore their motivation and give you a real reason to care about them individually.

    My biggest problem with the DS version was what they did to the gameplay. They tried to make it more strategic and succeeded mainly in making it much harder, added some absolutely pointless minigames, added a New Game+, changed the skill system so that you had to do some extremely unintuitive things to get all the skills… and then capped the New Game+ function to only three games per save file, meaning you could never get all the skills on all the characters. Then they added a bit of unique game material which hasn’t been in any of the other versions.

  • GDwarf

    I’m just playing VI for the first time right now. I have to agree that so far the love the characters and plot get confuses me. Literally every plot development gets, at most, 1 line of explanation. Now, I understand the technical limitations, and they do amazing things despite them, but amazing storytelling this is not.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    Don’t worry, I’m not a huge fan, either.

    In fact, I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game (unless you include the table top RPG, but that may not count since my friend who ran it was drawing inspiration from other places).

    The only JRPG I’ve ever played is Legend of Mana, and if you haven’t played you need to. That’s a simply gorgeous game.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I liked Legend of Mana, though I hate the way it’s so hard to see everything because it all depends on when and where you place it on the map. Have had the game for so many years and I still think there are quests I’ve never seen…

  • aklab

    I’m more or less with you on 8, 10, and beyond, but 9 deserves a chance. It’s a stone cold classic, up there with 4-6.

  • everstar

    I concur. 9 is genuinely charming.

  • GDwarf

    IX was pretty fun, XIII was good in a hilariously melodramatic way, too. VIII was abysmal, X and XII had potential but misused it, and X-2 was just “urgh”.

  • themunck

    VII remains my big love, I liked X at the time and hated X-2, although I’ve come to accept it for what it is these days.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I loved the world, designs, and music for IX. I also liked maybe half of the characters, but unfortunately IX was incredibly uneven in its character development (sorry, Freya, you get nothing). I hated most of the main characters, the outdated combat, the high random encounter rate, and the plot. I struggled all the way through it, then gave up on the optional bosses and the series as a whole.

    It doesn’t help that the series since IX can’t decide if it wants to be fantasy or sci-fi. You can have knights on chocobo, or jet fighters with machineguns, but you can’t have both in the same battle. The technology in earlier Square games was always a bit more steampunk and blended in better with the surrounding aesthetic.

    I still think the best Final Fantasy is Tactics. It’s unfortunate that the best version of the game – the one on the PSP, with the updated translation and the gorgeous cutscenes – is crippled by a terrible port job.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    X-2 had the innovation of allowing you to change class during battle, it can NEVER be “just urgh”.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I liked the battle engine, although I rarely found myself using more than two classes even in boss battles, so using the super classes or special magics was always a matter of deliberate intent (and given that switching classes was so easy, Itchy and those abilities might as well have been intrinsic to having the grid equipped).

    On the other hand, pretty much everything else about the game irritated the crap out of me. Aside from the catchy pop songs, the music was so bad!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Agreed on everything else, but I LOVED that battle engine. How it went from THAT to that CRAP they tried in XIII, I can’t imagine.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    They seem intent on reinventing the wheel more than telling a story.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    I dunno. 13 seems like it took the tack of “Fuck all this ‘gameplay’ jazz; we’re telling a story here. I mean, it’s a crap story, but by god you are going to walk in a straight line and listen to us tell it.”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Which one was 13? The MMO or the one with Lightning?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    That’s the one with Lightning. Or as I call it, Final Fantasy: Look At This Lovely Railroad We Made, LOOK AT IT!!!!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’m afraid to poke into that one too much. None of the characters looked appealing and I’m not sure about the battle engine either.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It’s ok, but a major letdown to X and XII. The whole party is hardly “together” for 60% of the game, you HAVE to use the members it gives you for most of the game.

    The engine itself isn’t too bad, it’s an expansion of what they were trying in X-2, where you can change class midcombat, and similarly to Bioware games, you can assign moves to the non player party members based on their contexts in combat.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I still haven’t played XII, but what I saw of someone else playing it was very far from impressive. -_- FFX I swear was a Wonder Years script that just happens to fit and play in a DVD media device.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Yeah. The end of X made Yuna’s carreer change necessary of course, but there is something almost painfully Anime about the fact that she’s decided to make a career change from “Demon-Summoning High Priestess” to “Pop singer”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    The whole “If you don’t do this unclued thing at this unclued time, you won’t get 100% completion and are locked out of the best ending” thing ruined it for me, but I will say that giving you the ability to jump on the overworld map is just about one of the cleverest tricks in all of gaming.

    (The Final Fantasy series is notorious for presenting worlds full of insurmountable waist-high barriers. X and X2 share an overworld, but in X2, you can jump on the overworld map. WHich means that there are entire subcontinents that didn’t appear in X which you can reach in X2 by jumping over tiny little embankments at the edges of things

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Remember to whistle so you can get the perfect ending, which is rather less satisfying than the 90% completion ending!

  • The_L1985

    That’s horrifyingly out-there.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Aw come on. Do you really think there’s any way the Angry Old White Dood party will let that happen? If they have to personally disenfranchise every single one of you, they aren’t going to let a piddly thing like “a majority of texans” kick them out of power.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    “The folks who run the playground hide the fake dinosaur bones for you to find as a test of your skill, the same way God hid fake dinosaur bones out in the world to test our faith.”

  • Magic_Cracker

    Yeah, I think we can all take a wild stab at why Al Mohler doesn’t like to talk about Bone Lick, if you get the thrust of my comment…

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Our thrust is to prick holes in the stiff front erected by Mohler’s theology–

  • Daniel

    Just when I thought I was out, you pull me back in.
    (This is not related to the proctology comments earlier.)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I’m not trapped in here with you. You’re trapped in here with me.

  • Daniel

    Watchmen quote? Does that make you a Juvenal deliquent?

    And you know, there’s much worse places to be.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The original quote was going to be “There is no escaping the development,” but I’m like one of two people who’d get that reference and I think the creator of that movie has probably forgotten by now.

  • $7768756

    “Just when I thought I was out, you pull me back in.”

    Kegels, baby.

  • http://www.gayellowpages.com/ hagsrus

    ROFLMFAO!!!

  • aklab

    Well, you know he hates having all that paleontology rammed down his throat…

  • tricksterson

    Blame my inner 10 year old but I can’t read the headline with a straight face.

  • smrnda

    There is also the People’s Republic of Austin. There are very few cities with that title – among them the People’s Republic of Berkeley, so at least some parts of Texas tilt a bit left.

  • Hawker40

    I first heard the term “People’s Republic of Santa Monica” in the 1970’s, after “None of the Above” won every seat on the city council and the office of the mayor.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    How ironic that the Probability Broach has a “None of the Above” President get the largest number of votes in Libertopia-world. :P

  • SororAyin

    The place is called “Big Bone Lick.” I’ll refrain from making the obvious dirty joke…

  • tricksterson

    That’s okay, I sort of already did it for you.

  • Jenny Islander

    Earlier commenters made much of the settlers’ dirty sense of humor, but really, the place is a lick (a place with a lot of salt in the dirt) where big bones were easily found.

    Rabbit Hash . . . I dunno.

  • Elizabeth Coleman

    One thing I wonder: If all these mammoths and megalodons and such all died at the same time, why don’t we find the fossilized remains of modern animals like cows and sheep and whatnot. Does he think that in these past few thousand years, we’ve managed to breed/microevolve aurochs into cows?

  • tricksterson

    Or why the, dinos aren’t mixed in with the megamammals?

  • P J Evans

    You’d think he’d have heard of the tar pits, where there are no dinos, but lots of dire-wolves, plus the saber-toothed cats (I’ve seen a fossil fang from one: it’s very impressive) and mammoths, and lots of little stuff like bird and rodents.

  • Derrick

    I kid you not, I once heard a YEC-type sincerely pin this on Noah’s Flood. The dinosaurs were heavier and slower than these mammals, he said, and thus they got caught in the flood waters at an earlier time and a lower level.

  • Thanksgiving Loki

    I had to sit and listen to someone deliver this exact argument in an expository prose class.

  • Anathema

    In order for that argument to work, flowering plants (which don’t show up in the fossil record until the Cretaceous) would need to be able to move more quickly than all of the dinosaurs that are found in rock layers older than the Cretaceous.

    Whenever I come across someone making this argument, I ask them if they really think that a rosebush could outrun an Allosaurus.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The Flood is the YEC’s Applied Phlebotinum. It accomplishes everything from putting craters on the moon to completely rearranging the fossil record.

    The irony is that if the Flood had happened, it would have had unimaginable effects on the world. It’s just that those effects would probably make all land-bound species extinct forever.

  • aklab

    As a South Carolinian it’s nice when Kentucky (or Texas or Arizona or, most frequently, Florida) takes the heat once in a while. :)

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the nice things about the (now closed, sadly) indie bookstore I worked at was that the boss let us have some leeway about where we shelved particular books. The Amityville Horror, for instance, went into Fiction. And when we somehow got a copy of a Glenn Beck book, we shelved it in Humour.

  • Thanksgiving Loki

    There are two real questions I have: When are we going to clone a Woolly Mammoth? and When are we going to shrink those Woolly Mammoth clones really small so I can have one as a pet?

  • themunck

    As soon as my ninjas return from kidnapping a few scientists.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat
  • MaryKaye

    Well, we have a fairly good woolly mammoth genome sequence, courtesy of Penn State. Now all we need is a technique for going from genome sequence to animal. Merely a technical obstacle! (A really, really hard technical obstacle, admittedly.) Since elephants are still around you could use female elephants to incubate the results. Have fun getting them in; elephants are tricky to sedate and DO NOT care for gynecological exams. But that too is merely a technical obstacle.

    As for dwarfing, the common dwarfing allele in people and domestic animals is well known and could surely be added to the synthetic genome at no extra charge. This would produce a mammoth proportioned like a wiener dog: normal size body, short legs. Cute in its own way! But normally proportioned dwarfs should be doable too.

    In all seriousness, it’s the genome->zygote stage that stops us. A genome sequence in the computer is a long way from anything you could poke into a cell–we can do it in bacteria, but eukaryotes have a lot more packaging of the DNA as well as a lot more DNA. Mammoths probably had about 4 billion bp, rather more than we do, presumably arranged into 28 chromosome pairs like modern elephants.

    Just as a fun example of the scale of modern genetic data, I had to download the human Chromosome 1 file from the Thousand Genomes Project yesterday, across my University’s fast connection, and compressed; it took 25 minutes. I’m writing Python to work with the compressed file, because I don’t dare uncompress it! (It’s essentially a compact form of 2000 copies of the largest human chromosome, represented as differences from the reference sequence; a snapshot of human diversity.)

  • Loki1001

    How adorable would a little weiner dog mammoth be? Actually, I do not know why people are so obsessed with resurrecting dinosaurs, they’d basically just look like a bunch of really ugly birds. But the Pleistocene megafauna? Those creatures were amazing. How wonderful would it be to have Woolly Rhinos and giant wombats running around?

  • Jenny Islander

    The extinct mammoths of Crete were naturally about three and a half feet tall. Of course, it’s difficult to tell how much of this was the effect of diet. If you take two Shetland ponies raised on the Shetland Islands, living on the ancestral diet of local vegetation and seaweed, and move them to the mainland, I am told that their offspring will be a hand or so taller than you might predict by looking at the parents, simply because of the improved diet. Still, even a four-foot mammoth would be only 12 hands at the shoulder; if you can keep a pony or a Jersey cow, you could have one of these little guys.

    But I would definitely have those tusks filed off and capped. Ouch.

  • arcseconds

    So, I still don’t understand why Ham is considered a fringe figure and Mohler a respectable one by evangelicals.

    Can it really be as simple as it’s respectable to be a young earth creationist, so long as you don’t actually ever try to make it work?

    Doesn’t anyone notice this?

  • Loki1001

    If you try to make it work, you can’t help but come off as sounding crazy/stupid.

    Like Kent Hovind claiming that there was a giant ice shield sitting on Earth’s electromagnetic field, which is where all the water came from.

  • P J Evans

    oyyyy. That one – my head hurts trying to figure out what the heck he thought he was saying.

  • arcseconds

    He claimed that? that’s kinda awesome!

    I have a newfound respect for YECers and their crazy-arse ideas.

    If only they weren’t so damned holier-than-thou and up themselves, and kind of insulting…

  • Loki1001

    They would make interesting Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Probably because Ham goes around insisting that he can make the science work to people who’ve been raised to fear and distrust science, while Mohler just shouts “RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH” to people who’ve been raised to kowtow to authoritarians.

  • FearlessSon

    The problem with Ken Ham’s flood nonsense is that floods do not work this way.

    Obligatory meming:

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    FUCKING WATER HOW DOES IT WORK

    :-P (in the spirit of continuing the meming)

  • Matthew Steele

    I say it makes him more ridiculous. Ken Ham is an idiot. Al Mohler is a hypocrite.

  • Alex Harman

    Mohler’s argument is an unusually literal example of the fallacy of proof by intimidation. Ham is simply demonstrating the truth of the most famous couplet from Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion:
    “O, what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practise to deceive.”