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Applying the Scientific Method to Prehistory

What could be more scientific than the scientific method?  A scientist observes an unexplained phenomenon.  He or she gathers data, analyzes it, proposes a hypothesis to explain it, and tests it.  The results are published in a peer-reviewed journal.  Mission accomplished, right?  Here are two papers on very different phenomena – one dealing with the […]

Poison Planet Was Life’s Training Ground

Navy Seals go through “Hell Week” in their training to become warriors.  The radical hardships they endure help prepare them for missions that will call on their deepest resources of courage and determination.  These men of the elite special forces also become experts in dealing with explosives.  Can molecules do the same, with a little […]

Solar System Surprises

In the last few days and weeks, more amazing discoveries were made about bodies in the solar system. Mercury:  Results from the second flyby of Mercury on Oct. 6 by MESSENGER were announced Oct 29.  This pass covered more “hidden” territory that had never been seen before, bringing the coverage to 95%.  According to Space.com […]

The Life and Death of Oxygen

The oxygen in our atmosphere has the energy equivalent of 20 thousand billion billion hydrogen bombs.  To maintain the oxygen level in our atmosphere, that amount of energy would have to be spent in manufacturing molecular oxygen every 4 million years (a thousandth the assumed age of the earth).     Now that we have […]

Looking for Laws to Make Darwinism Scientific

Science needs natural laws.  Darwinian laws that have been put forward by evolutionists contain so many exceptions and complexities, they seem to have a bad case of physics envy. Coping with Cope’s Rule:  Evolution tends to make animals larger over time – except when it makes them smaller.  In Science,1 Kaustuv Roy lamented the perils […]

Modeling Just-So Stories for Earth History

Models are only simulations of reality.  In science, they have a long history of simplifying complex physical phenomena in an attempt to understand them.  Many times, empirical evidence can correct a model.  The model then becomes a more accurate simulation, and can even provide additional insights and make predictions.  Can modeling work for the unobservable, […]

How Much Is Known About Climate History?

Scientific papers on earth history can seem very erudite and confident, filled with jargon and named periods that appear carved in stone.  Every once in awhile, though, a surprise discovery raises questions about how sound their timelines and models really are.  Get a load of this opening to a review by Jacqueline Flückiger,1 an environmental […]

Wet Cave with Fossils Found in Dry Desert

The Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the driest places on earth – it gets about 1mm of rainfall per year, if that – but scientists just discovered a wet cave there.  Robert Roy Britt reported for Live Science that these desert caves can contain water, and at least one is loaded with fossils […]

Did Lyell Lie a Little?

Science is supposed to be a collective process involving presentation of arguments by many people making reference to observational data.  Ideally, no one person’s world view should dominate what other scientists think.  Yet in the history of geology, the figure of Charles Lyell has loomed large as a guiding influence.  With rare exceptions, his principle […]

First Mercury Research Papers in from MESSENGER

Science published a suite of papers analyzing data from the first MESSENGER spacecraft flyby of Mercury.1  The flyby last January was the first since Mariner 10 visited in the 1970s.  Mariner 10 had left many questions that are now being revisited.  Among the dozen papers and articles, here are three that discuss the most significant […]

The Andes: Pop-Up Mountains

The majestic Andes of South America did not rise smoothly and gradually, a team of geologists reported in Science.1  Instead, long periods of stasis for tens of millions of years were punctuated by rapid periods of uplift.  It sounds as if punctuated equilibria theory has been stolen from evolutionary biology and applied to geology.  They […]

Geology: Another Catastrophic Rethink

Amphitheater-shaped canyons are common throughout the West – and even on Mars.  Geologists had them pretty well figured out.  Water seeps out the bottom of a wall, weakening the face of a cliff.  Gradually, material collapses and leaves a large alcove that continues to recede headward.  That idea is now questioned by a new theory […]

Earth’s Core Values Questioned

Geologists have long assumed that iron attracted certain elements toward the earth’s core during its formation.  The amounts of them we find today were added by meteorites and comets as a veneer on the surface later.  A press release from Florida State University is questioning those core values.  New research “calls into question three decades […]

Grand Canyon Age Estimates Fluctuate Wildly

Just when the park rangers were getting familiar telling the public the Grand Canyon was carved about 5 million years ago, some geologists announced the shocking news that it might be less than a million (05/31/2002, 07/22/2002).  The age was plummeting as recently as November (11/30/2007).  But then last month, another revision came: it’s 17 […]

March Moon Madness

Moons of our planetary system are supposed to behave themselves.  They were expected to just quietly orbit their host planets like nice, cold, frozen, inactive chunks of rock and ice.  It seems like whenever we get a close look at them, they are madly at work destroying theories – just like their planets have been […]
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