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Armageddon – For real this time March 17, 2010

Posted by psmc in America, Armageddon, astronomy, Comets, Enviroment, Evolution, Explosions, history, Mayan Prophecy, Mayans, Moon, Science, Sun.
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There has been a lot of Doomsday talk lately.  Actually there has ALWAYS been a lot of Doomsday talk. I’m pretty sure there were some early cavemen were convinced the Ice Age was the end of the world. However, it WAS for the end for Neanderthals, so they had a point back then. But ever since then, all the Doomsday talk has never seemed to have panned out. After all we are all still here, more or less. 

I am fairly certain, that on the date in question nothing will happen. Except that my godson Jacob will turn 21. Especially after a Mayan elder stated he was fed up with all those questions about 2012 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/12/ap/strange/main5378465.shtml . Apparently, present-day Mayans are unaware the world is to end in 2012. When questioned, most Mayans will have no idea what you are talking about. They have more concrete concerns like their crops and the rain. But then one should be suspicious since it is only Westerners, usually ones that have expensive books to sell or pricy workshops that need attending, that talk about it.

However new evidence has come to light there is an Apocalypse coming. But it has nothing to do with the Mayans or any prophet climbing out of a well.

The satellite Hipparcos recently identified that a star, Gliese 710, is on a collision, or near collision, with the Solar System. Current estimates state the closest approach it will be .15 light years away. This is extremely close in terms of stellar distances. It is as if you were standing on a road and a large truck sped past you and missed you by 6 inches.

An actual collision is extremely remote, however there will be the gravitational effects to deal with. Gliese 710 will pass through the hypothetical Oort cloud. The Oort cloud is a sphere of comets and other debris left over after the Solar System formed. It is thought to extend out to 2 light years. We could be talking about a lot of comets being disturbed. If they are there, then there could be hundreds, if not thousand, of comets sent hurtling towards the Sun, and by extension us. And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs when something similar struck the Earth.

However there is no need to get into a panic just yet. First, the Oort Cloud is only hypothetical, it may not even exist. Second, some astronomers have models that indicate that if the Oort cloud does exist the chance of impact increases by only 5%. And third, and most importantly, this won’t occur for 1.5 million years. So we have some breathing room. This should give us some time to figure what, if anything, we should do. However if our descendents are anything like us, they probably won’t do anything at all until it is too late.

Evolution on Talk Radio August 14, 2007

Posted by psmc in biology, Coast to Coast AM, Evolution, paranormal, religion, Science, Society, Uncategorized.
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Before I continue, a disclaimer. I am not a Biologist nor am I an Anthropologist. My degree is in Mathematics with extensive coursework in Physics and Computer Science. And for most of my career I have been working with computers. Needless to say, I have a firm grasp of the principles Logic and of the Scientific Method. I have taken courses in Biology and Anthropology and have been very fortunate to have good friends and a few roommates who were anthropologists and have had many discussions with them on this subject. Sometimes, the best education one can get is having a lively discussion with knowledgeable people in a field over beer and pizza. The point I am making however is that one need not be a PhD candidate in a field in order to understand concepts that are fundamental to that field.

The other night I was listening to an overnight national radio show that specializes in the Paranormal, UFOs and other things that go bump in the night. They had a small piece on new hominid fossil finds that seem to put the time lines of the emergence of certain hominid species into question. The host was interviewing an individual while a biologist, did not seem to be one that agreed with Sir Darwin. The host seemed very excited and was eager to know if this discovery signaled the final death knell for Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. To be honest, he never used those words, but the tenor of hos voice iimplied he was hoping it was so. He also wanted to know that since this discovery totally invalidates Evolution (which it doesn’t) does it mean that Intelligent Design is the only theory left that makes any sense.

Normally, I try to ignore these comments and questions. I understand that they are frequently made out of ignorance and are usually designed to generate interest amongst the listeners which leads to higher ratings (ie more money). But for some reason, this interview was, for me, the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Is it so hard for a nationally broadcast program with one of the largest listening audiences in US and Canada, if not the world, to find an accredited expert in the field of Biology to explain WHAT Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is? Especially when they like to make the claim they are trying to enlighten the minds of the listening audience. I also wished that they would interview their guests more aggressively.

This scientist they were talking to made a statement that was patently false and it went unchallenged. He claimed we have NEVER seen new species evolved. Well, where the heck are all these drug-resistant strains of bacteria coming from? How did AIDS arise? Is it just a coincidence there’s a similar virus that affects the other species of primates?

It’s clear that there are many critics and doubters of Darwin and his theory. It’s also clear that many of these people have no idea what his theory is, yet they oppose it just the same. And a lot of these people vote as well. Although I am sure that they decide ballot issues with more thought than they oppose Evolution.

I just find it particularly, well, immoral, for this radio program to do this. They claim that they want to inform and educate their listeners. (How is educating a person different than informing them?) Yet, they don’t seem to educate themselves on what they are talking about. I don’t care if they support Evolution, Intelligent Design or full blown Creationism. They can say and support any theory or no theory. All I ask is that they get reasonably informed on a subject before they attempt to trash it.