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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New Mexico and the Flood

I am currently touring New Mexico with a group of junior/senior undergraduates. Aside from the spectacular scenery, we visited the Ghost Ranch museum to look at the dinosaur finds. The Triassic-aged Coelophysis dinosaur was discovered at the Ghost Ranch site in the Chinle formation. The Chinle formation is a series of red (oxidized) and green (anoxic) sedimentary rocks. The Ghost ranch fossil find contains hundreds of coelophysis and other predatory creatures that were buried in some kind of stream setting. If the Triassic encompasses part of the global flood, then this find is particularly damning for any flood model. One of the questions regarding the find is why so many animals were in this small area of the stream at the same time. Our host at the museum then showed us a recent find within the Chinle that contained pieces of burnt wood (not coal), but wood that was burned in a forest fire. The hypothesis is that the dinosaurs and other creatures were trying to escape a forest fire that was burning and were buried either by getting stuck in the mud or during a mudslide near the river. While the creationists may take issue with the sedimentary environment of the Chinle Formation, they will find it hard to explain a forest fire burning in the middle of a global flood!


Joe Meert

Saturday, May 13, 2006

mothers day request


Michelle (my wife) is one of three finalists for a Good Morning America mothers of invention contest. The link to the inventions (and the voting site) is give in the link above. Michelle?s invention is discussed on page 3 and the voting link is on page 1 of this article. If you get a chance in the next 14 hours, we would appreciate your vote. If you are really brave, you can send out the message to a couple of friends.


Joe Meert

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hatred, Religion and the Far Right

I am too young to remember the political and social undercurrents associated with the Vietnam War. I was old enough to know about the war and that many were opposed to it, but I have no recollection of whether or not the nation was truly divided. I am very aware of what is going on in the present day. Largely through the efforts of talk-radio (Rush, Savage, Hannity and Bortz) those who are left of center are labeled as lunatics. The left is no better when they refer to the far right as 'right wing wackos'. I'm as guilty as anyone for tossing about derogatory terms when it comes to dealing with people whose ideologies I may not agree with. I'm going to stop. No, I won't stop poking fun of the right (or the left when required), but I think that the division in this country is destroying it from within. My favorite topic (creationism/ID) is pretty much divided along left-right party lines. That's painting with a broad brush to be sure, but if you ask a liberal about evolution they are likely to tell you that it is sound science. If you ask someone on the far right, they are likely to launch into an argument for intelligent design.
In some cases, those on the left and right exude hatred towards each other. I'm not talking about simple animated disagreement, but real hatred. There are a couple of discussion boards that I frequent. On one, a person named Hemi (not his real name--obviously) is one of the angriest (and most passionate) haters of evolution and any issue that is to the left of the farthest right. On yet another board there is a person who goes (ironically) by the handle of 'liberal' who also simply spews hatred toward anyone not in complete agreement with his point of view. There are liberals of a similar ilk on these boards as well. It seems that very few people want to have a sensible dialogue.
We are divided as a nation along political and religious lines far more than I can ever remember. Even when Clinton was in power, there was disagreement but never to the level of pure hate that I see today. I don't know where this country is going. I don't know the solution to the problem. Lines have been established that make no logical sense. Evolution/creation is one such issue. The issue has evolved into a political issue where we typically demand that all sides be heard. As a scientist, the notion of democracy is silly. A good idea will be heard no matter the political affiliation of the scientist. So, is it hypocritical of me to demand reasonable dialogue on political issues and refuse to have them on the creation/evolution front? Perhaps it is. Perhaps this divide we've created cannot be overcome by dialogue.


Joe Meert

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

George Bush's Presidential Library

ok, ok so it's not science, antiscience or geology, but I just could not resist. Today George Bush announced that he was planning his presidential library. So I thought of 10 books that belong there.

Ok, I can't resist. Here are the top 10 (the only 10) books that will be in his library.

10. Go dog Go! (the attack on Iraq)
9. The Cat in the Hat (The 2000 election against Gore)
8. The Cat in the Hat comes back (the 2004 election against Kerry)
7. Green Eggs and Ham (welfare policy)
6. There's a wocket in my pocket (war strategy).
5. The Sneetches and other stories (Valerie Plame incident)
4. Hop on Pop (riding his fathers coattails to the White house)
3. Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose (Hurricane Katrina response)
2. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day (Supreme Court Nominations)
1. I'm not going to read any words today (his response to poll numbers)

Someone suggested I should add an 11th. SInce it is appropos and relevant to another number 11, here it is:

11. Where's Waldo (the search for Bin Laden)


Joe Meert

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