Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Alley Oop Candidate

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

What Palin actually said was "Yes, I have seen images of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them!", a statement consistent with her attempts to put 'creationists' on school boards. By definition, a 'creationist' believes God created the universe in just seven days some 6,000 years ago, a figure that is, we are told, derived by adding up the "begats" in the Old Testament. "Creationism" is consistently said to be the belief that human beings lived contemporary with dinosaurs.
The first piece of evidence that Sarah Palin thinks man and dinosaur walked the earth together has finally emerged.

I don't know "valley activist" Philip Munger," but I do know Salon's David Talbot, so I'm inclined to belief at the very least that the reporting is accurate when Talbot quotes Mr. Munger as follows:
Another valley activist, Philip Munger, says that Palin also helped push the evangelical drive to take over the Mat-Su Borough school board. "She wanted to get people who believed in creationism on the board," said Munger, a music composer and teacher. "I bumped into her once after my band played at a graduation ceremony at the Assembly of God. I said, 'Sarah, how can you believe in creationism --your father's a science teacher." And she said, "We don't have to agree on everything."
"I pushed her on the earth's creation, whether it was really less than 7,000 years old and whether dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. And she said yes, she'd seen images somewhere of dinosaur fossils with human footprints in them." Sometimes you just wish God, assuming He does exist, would come down and say: "You people are crazy. The idea that a nation of humans is considering electing you to high office frightens and insults Me."
          Micahel Tomaskys's Blog, Guardian UK

Palin has long espoused creationism, a belief that Genesis is a literal history. Creationists believe that human beings lived contemporary with dinosaurs because creation took place over a period of seven days just 6,000 years ago.  The creationist believes that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. And not just in Jurassic park or Alley Oop comic strips.
Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth that had been created just 6,000 years ago --about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct.
After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.
Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.
--Pam's House Blend
The footprints that were said to be human were not. That determination was made in 1989. Claims that human tracks had been fossilized in pre-Tertiary rocks from other localities are not considered credible by ... "mainstream scientists" nor by "major creationist groups". [See: The Paluxy Dinosaur/'Man Track' Controversy, Glen J, Kuban]

Getting at the Truth by Way of Science and Astronomy

Astronomers have recently discovered the most distant object in the universe --the galaxy MACS0647-JD; it is some 13.7 billion light-years distant from us. The light that is now seen from MACS0647-JD most certainly departed that "object" some 13.7 billion years ago. What is significant is that light from this galaxy has been traveling toward Earth for "almost the whole history of space/time".

Now --let's clear up what Matt Damon said about Palin.
I need to know if she really thinks that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes.
--Matt Damon, Huffington Post

Matt Damon Slams Palin

It is fairly easy to dismiss the notion that the earth is but 6,000 years old. With nothing more elaborate than a sextant and the geometry known to Eratosthenes, it is possible to calculate the distance to stars much further than 6,000 light years from earth. [See: Goddard Spaceflight Center: Finding Distances to Stars]


Our solar system is located on one of the spiral arms of a galaxy known to us as the Milky Way. In 1923 Edwin Hubble, for whom the space telescope is named, proved that the spectacular Andromeda galaxy was, in fact, the nearest galaxy to Earth at some 2.51 ± 0.13 million light years distant. The Magellanic Clouds, irregular "dwarf galaxies", are closer to Earth --165,000 light years and 195,000 light years respectively.

While Andromeda is our nearest galactic neighbor it is also the most distant object that can still be seen without binoculars or an astronomical telescope. Because it is our nearest galactic neighbor, Andromeda had gotten a lot of attention over the last 100 years. That Andromeda can be seen disproves the creationist belief that the universe (the "firmament", as it is sometimes call) and the Earth within it were all created within a period of seven days about 6,000 years ago.

Light reaching us from Andromeda has been proven to have begun its journey Earthward over 2 million years ago (2.5 million light-years; 2.4×1019 km). Six thousand years is astronomically insignificant. Even 2 million years is a short journey for a universe whose age and size are linked inextricably in an Einsteinian way --the space-time continuum! When we look up into the night sky and see Andromeda, we see it as it was over two million years ago.

Andromeda Galaxy, named for the mythological princess Andromeda, is the nearest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is the largest galaxy in what is called the "local group" which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 30 other smaller galaxies. We see the Magellanic Clouds as they were some 195 thousand years ago. If the Earth were but six thousand years old, the number of stars visible to Earth could be counted on our fingers. It comes down to this: if we can look up at the sky at night and see Andromeda, "creationists" are wrong! We can SEE Andromeda.The Andromeda Galaxy is, as I recall, the most distant "object" that can be seen with the naked eye; merely seeing it disproves Palin, indeed, the entire "creationist" movement!

A reflecting telescope of the type favored by amateur astronomers will reveal even more objects at greater distances. A large earth based observatory reveals many more objects more distant yet. Images from our orbiting cameras are stunning --a vast star field in which almost every object is a galaxy and all of them are much, much more distant than Andromeda. Any one of them disproves Palin and her anti-science, pro-ignorant, pro-stupid sponsors.

Recently MACS0647-JD was discovered. It may be the farthest known galaxy from Earth at some 13.7 billion light-years distant! Scientists believe that this is the very inception of our universe. That we can see it proves that the light seen has --at last --arrived at the end of its voyage begun some 13.7 billion years ago. Ergo: the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. That is considerably older than a mere 6,000 years. There is no "room" in Palin's young (and tiny) universe for time/distance so vast, so ancient, so awe-inspiring.


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