A Likely Lass

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Archive for the tag “science”

Luray Caverns: 6/20/09

Last summer, I also took a trip to Luray Caverns in Virginia. From Wikipedia:

Luray Caverns, originally called Luray Cave, is a large, celebrated commercial cave just west of Luray, Virginia, USA, which has drawn many visitors since its discovery in 1878. The underground cavern system is generously adorned with speleothems (columns, mud flows, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, mirrored pools, etc). The caverns are perhaps best known for the Great Stalacpipe Organ, a lithophone made from solenoid fired strikers[citation needed] that tap stalactites of various sizes to produce tones similar to those of xylophones, tuning forks, or bells.

The gist of it: it’s a really cool (literally) cave with lots of hangy-stuff. It’s also huge.

“Dream Lake” – this part of the cave is towards the
beginning of the self-guided tour. When you see it
in person, it’s deceptive – the water is very shallow,
but you can’t see into it.

If you look, in the very bottom left-hand corner, you
can see the railing. What you can’t see is that the
walkway winds around and descends 15 feet below that.

I’d really like to know if their lighting professional
will come and light up my house like this.

Sadly, I didn’t get any good photos of the draperies (er,
stone-draperies). We were hustled through by a group of
schoolchildren. No photos of the organ, either, but I can
attest to it’s highly eerie sound. It echoes all through-
out the caves, whether you are in the area or not.

Highly popular “fried eggs” formation. I checked. It
is rock.

“Wishing Well” From Wikipedia: The Wishing Well is a
green pond with coins three feet deep at the bottom.
Like Dream Lake, the well also gives an illusion,
however it is reversed. The pond looks 3-4 feet deep
but at its deepest point it is actually 6-7 feet deep.


Evolution, Creation

I always wonder what makes people believe in Creation instead of evolution. I read things likeĀ this and it really makes me wonder about the amount of logic some people possess.

First of all, the absence of transitional forms… Possessing logic, one might think that the earth’s crust is about ~75 km deep, at the highest. You may also think that the earth has a total surface area of about 145-150,000,000 km. You may want to get a calculator and type in something like 7 (I’d guess, the average depth of crust that holds presentable “life” fossils or other evidence) * 145,000,000. You get maybe somewhere around 1,015,000,000. That would be about how much earth you’d have to sift through to get a complete idea of the fossil record. The average archeological dig is what, a few acres, if that?

So we end up with a very fraction of a percent of probable data out there, and someone has the nerve to complain about the ‘lack of transitional forms’ and point to a book written by men millions of years after the first recognizable australopithecine died as proof of “creation”. Generally, in any other culture, we would relegate the writing of that book to myth and fiction. We would paste a shiny colorful cover on the front and sell it for 5.99 at Chapters as an ‘informational look on the myths of an ancient culture’. That word right there, myth. Yet here, we try to discredit evidence provided by a provable scientific method as “wrong” and hold up a book as our only truth.

I guess I wouldn’t be so offended if it was, maybe, a collection of books supported by viewable evidence. Like the story of Noah and the Ark – if people could physically view the ark, it may lend credibility. Or the Garden of Eden, the Bible’s version of the transitional form – if there was some evidence of that, maybe it would be easier to believe.

But Creationism, much as Christianity, depends on the nay-saying of other ideas to promote and ‘prove’ its own. It’s centered around belief of the unseen and fear of postexistance consequences, revolving around a book whose shady history doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

As such, we end up with people who ‘believe’ and say things like, “It should be noted that today anthropologists agree that the different human races have a common origin – a Biblical doctrine,” a phrase which could easily be made true by modifying it slightly to read, “It should be noted that today anthropologists agree that the concept of human ‘races’ is defunct and absurd, and that there is currently only one human ‘species’ undivided by such societal constructs as ‘race’.” It should be noted that evolution has been a constantly changing idea – from Darwin’s first book to now, people have not believed consistantly the same thing. They have relied upon facts and observable evidence to form and modify the theory, instead of hanging on to a myth of a long-dead population. The difference between Creation and evolution, simply put, is just that.

Of course, there is value in hanging on to old things. Certainly, I love antiques and would fill my house with them. However, hanging on to an old idea that has long been disproved and attempting to force it upon others (such as school children) is extreme and disturbing. We saw what forceful application of ideas could accomplish in World War II – why would we try, albeit in a less invasive way, to do it again? Why are we forcing children to learn about a belief system, a religion, as science?

And before I hear the cries of “Well, it’s only fair,” let me say this: it is not fair. Science is ever-evolving, as new ideas, theories, and evidence comes to light. Science has saved mortal bodies, it has given us bridges and cars and controlled combustion, it has given us knowledge of our earth and understanding of ourselves. It’s help cure and sometimes, to hurt. But it is a wholly human thing, credited absolutely by human thought and ingenuity. There is no invisible god in science who forces people to accept a myth as their truth, no smothering weight of belief to stifle human curiousity. Creation may be force-fed as a truth, but as of yet it is only science that encourages the search for the truth.

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