Monday, March 30, 2009

Snow Ball Theory

No, this has nothing to do with the 8" of horrendous white slush that was dumped on us over the weekend. The Snow Ball Theory is a story- a story about the planet Earth, as told by it's rocks and a bunch of men with way too much free time and creative imaginations.

Last night my wife and I sat down to unwind while watching some TV. I would have preferred something funny, but we landed on the Science channel and some show called 'Let It Snow'. This episode was about the establishment, and acceptance of, The Snow Ball Theory.

Once upon a time, the fair, green Earth was smitten by a stranger from space. This stranger was a massive asteroid which raised a cloud of dust into the air so high, and so thick that it shuddered out the warming light of the sun for ages. The Earth grew cold, while swaddled in the dark blanket. So cold, in fact, it reached a magical tipping point where so much of the Earth's surface was encrusted in glittering white, that it reflected back into space too much of the sun's warming rays to be able to warm itself up again. So the earth grew colder still, until it was completely locked up in a ball of ice.

But as time pressed on, the Earth found within itself the means to throw off this frozen straight-jacket. Pockets of fiery fury erupted over the face of the earth, pushing through the aquatic glass and spewing tons upon tons of CO2 into the then cloudless air. After ten thousand years of these eruptions, and no outlet for the CO2, this chemical swaddled in the sun's warmth and allowed some ice to begin melting. This, in turn, allowed water vapors into the air so that new clouds could form. This allowed yet more sunlight to be absorbed and more clouds to form until, at last, rains fell upon the face of the Earth yet again!

These rains- initially acid rains- perpetuated the thawing and opened up the door for new life to evolve until our present day. Once again the Earth was garbed in emerald and azure and decided it would be best if she didn't date any more strangers from deep in space. And they lived happily ever after.

I'm so glad we have modern science to liberate us from believing foolish things such as: that at one time the earth was a giant greenhouse; that the earth was once covered with water; or that at one time the earth received no rain; or that at one time, the earth was subjected to instantaneous, cataclysmic shifts in the environment. Thanks to this painstaking research, we now know that the earth was at one time a giant greenhouse, was then covered with glaciers (made from water), didn’t receive any rain for a long period of time and suddenly, due to climatic changes, began to receive rain. Thank you, modern science, for clearing all that up!

This show made no mention of the great flood and so was not a critique. It was hilarious to us, however, how much of what they were saying lines up with the Genesis account of the antediluvian world and they seemingly had no knowledge of it. Also, their theories- based up on other theories- were yet fraught with assumption! And the entire show framed this theory as something that people were trying to prove, with “religious zeal”. The show frequently referred to “the believers” and once even referred to one of them as a “disciple”. Outstanding! Absolutely outstanding….


Gina said...

That show and those theories were cracking me up. They based the whole theory upon illogical axioms and then built theory upon theory. It sounded like the same old "Idols" that were around in Francis Bacon's day: "These I call Idols of the Theater, because in my judgment all the received systems are but so many stage plays, representing worlds of their own creation after an unreal and scenic fashion....Neither again do I mean this only of entire systems, but also of many principles and axioms in science, which by tradition, credulity, and negligence have come to be received."

Percussivity said...

It reminds me of an old SNL skit where Steve Martin played the Barber of York (A Dark Ages physician)... A patient came in with a stomach ache and so he gives her a blood letting treatment, but as she is sitting there he's talking to her mother and says [paraphrased] "Ya know 50 years ago we would have blamed this ailment on demonic possession, but in these enlightened days we in science now understand that her ailment is caused by a small toad or dwarf living inside her stomach."

Bad science will always be available for mass consumption.