Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
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24-08-2017, 09:26 AM
Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
In general, what experience (education primarily but any other relevant experiences too) does everyone have with the earth sciences? (geology, paleontology, climate science, paleoclimatology, etc). Please indicate any high school classes or college classes as well as if you're a theist, agnostic, atheist, etc

In addition to this, please answer these questions specific to earth science to the best of your ability (you can obviously look things up if you're unclear but I want to know what you believe):
1) how old is the earth?
2) do fossils provide reliable support for the theory of evolution?
3) are fossil distributions consistent with the earth being old (consistent with geology) or young (consistent with literal interpretations of the Bible by young earth creationists)?
4) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing environmental conditions in ancient sediments and/or experienced by fossilized organisms?
5) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing dietary habits of fossilized organisms?
6) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes to reconstruct climate histories and perturbations of the global carbon cycle?
7) do you believe in climate change (not affiliated with human activities)?
8) do you believe humans are contributing to climate change?
9) does the earth have a singular climate? Or is climate something specific to a limited area on earth? (How do answers to these questions relate to climate change in general?)
10) what other issues are you aware of around the globe that endanger humans and ecosystems that are associated with human activities and/or climate change?

(Note: I've posted the same questions on the "DebateAChristian" subreddit and on Christianforums.com and on atheistforums.org for anyone who may frequent any of them and experience deja vu)

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24-08-2017, 10:45 AM (This post was last modified: 24-08-2017 11:24 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
High school graduate. No classes, lots of books. Atheist.

1) 4.5 billion years
2) yes
3) very old
4) roughly
5) no
6) yes
7) yes
8) yes
9) No, the Earth's climate has changed considerably during its history -- snowball Earth, End-Ordovician, Late Devonian, End-Permian, End-Triassic, many ice ages and so on. I believe that almost all previous changes to the Earth's climate were driven largely by changes in CO2 levels in the atmosphere, though as an amplifier to orbital variations in the cases of the ice ages.
10) Invasive species, poaching, human encroachment, fragmentation of habitats, pollution including agricultural runoff, deforestation, CFCs, methane from rice fields and cattle, over-population, cement manufacture, the Republican party and so on.
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24-08-2017, 11:13 AM
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  In general, what experience (education primarily but any other relevant experiences too) does everyone have with the earth sciences? (geology, paleontology, climate science, paleoclimatology, etc). Please indicate any high school classes or college classes as well as if you're a theist, agnostic, atheist, etc

Atheist.
Only took the basic classes throughout school, but living in a very religious country, stuff contradicting the Bible was mostly avoided.

My parents however were always interested in documentaries on nature and we watched many together. We also had many educational books for kids at home on many scientific topics, including geology and paleontology. I've also visited a few relevant museums and exhibitions as I find them quite interesting.

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  1) how old is the earth?

About 4.5 billion years.

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  2) do fossils provide reliable support for the theory of evolution?

Yeap. Plenty.

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  3) are fossil distributions consistent with the earth being old (consistent with geology) or young (consistent with literal interpretations of the Bible by young earth creationists)?

Old.

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  4) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing environmental conditions in ancient sediments and/or experienced by fossilized organisms?

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  5) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing dietary habits of fossilized organisms?

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  6) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes to reconstruct climate histories and perturbations of the global carbon cycle?

Yes. I'm quite familiar with the concept although my limited knowledge of chemistry does not allow me to grasp it completely.


(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  7) do you believe in climate change (not affiliated with human activities)?

Yes.

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  8) do you believe humans are contributing to climate change?

Yes.

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  9) does the earth have a singular climate? Or is climate something specific to a limited area on earth? (How do answers to these questions relate to climate change in general?)

As far as I know, different parts of the planet have different climates. "Climate change" means all climates of all areas are changing, not that one global climate changes from one specific state (say, cold) to another (say, hot) and I think that's a common misunderstanding. Needless to say, "climate" does not only define how warm or cold a place is.

(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  10) what other issues are you aware of around the globe that endanger humans and ecosystems that are associated with human activities and/or climate change?

I know we're harming the environment by burning oil and its products, using non-biodegradable materials and filling the planet with toxic waste, wasting food and water, massive deforestation... That's all I can think of right now.

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24-08-2017, 11:54 AM
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
Were you there?

Sorry, wrong thread....Smile
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24-08-2017, 12:58 PM
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  In general, what experience (education primarily but any other relevant experiences too) does everyone have with the earth sciences? (geology, paleontology, climate science, paleoclimatology, etc). Please indicate any high school classes or college classes as well as if you're a theist, agnostic, atheist, etc
Dad is a geologist. I've spent a lot of time chatting to him and read a few popular books. No classes. Took one course on dino fossils by correspondence. Atheist.

Quote:In addition to this, please answer these questions specific to earth science to the best of your ability (you can obviously look things up if you're unclear but I want to know what you believe):
1) how old is the earth?
4.3 billion years old IIRC. Thereabouts.

Quote:2) do fossils provide reliable support for the theory of evolution?
The fossil record is pretty much what one would expect, yes. Less advanced life in older strata. Sometimes traceable speciation as the strata become younger. It's of course an incomplete record since fossilisation is such a fantastically rare event.

Quote:3) are fossil distributions consistent with the earth being old (consistent with geology) or young (consistent with literal interpretations of the Bible by young earth creationists)?
Um. Not sure if I'm able to answer this one very well. Dating of rocks can be done independently of the fossils contained therein. Fossils are not the only evidence of an old Earth. If the dating says millions of years old, that's directly contradictory to the young earth stuff. Also older strata contain less complex life, as mentioned previously.

Quote:4) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing environmental conditions in ancient sediments and/or experienced by fossilized organisms?
I wasn't aware that you could do that level of amazing, I know you've written some papers in this field.

Quote:5) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing dietary habits of fossilized organisms?
Fuck you jokers are getting clever.

Quote:6) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes to reconstruct climate histories and perturbations of the global carbon cycle?
I'm aware that the climate has been reconstructed quite far back in time. Not of the methods.

Quote:7) do you believe in climate change (not affiliated with human activities)?
If I believe will I go to climate scientist heaven? Tongue Of course. As far as I am aware scientific consensus is that Earth has experienced major shifts in climate throughout its history.

Quote:8) do you believe humans are contributing to climate change?
Yes.

Quote:9) does the earth have a singular climate? Or is climate something specific to a limited area on earth? (How do answers to these questions relate to climate change in general?)
Well... hmm. Climate is basically referring to long-term patterns in the atmosphere, a rather unpredictable thing. I think to the extent that you can say "things are getting hotter on average" you can talk about a global climate, and to the extent that you can say "the rainy season is during winter at x location" you can talk about local climate. It's like boiling a pot of water. You can say that x location in the pot is warmer than others ('cos it's directly over the gas flame) and you can say that in general the pot is getting warmer (or cooling, if the flame gets turned off). But you can't easily look at specific information about a specific place and generalise it. You can mostly talk in very general terms, from what I can see.

Quote:10) what other issues are you aware of around the globe that endanger humans and ecosystems that are associated with human activities and/or climate change?
I think most of them relate to human over population and the impact humans have. We are wasteful, we create massive problems with pollution (plastic pollution in the oceans is apparently on an apocalyptic scale), we cause massive species extinction, we destroy habitats, we farm monocultures - we reduce biodiversity. We modify whole landscapes to suit our needs and wants. We overfish, we use unsustainable farming practices, we cut down rainforest. We know that oil is bad for us and the world but we use it anyway, because politics and lack of will to change.

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24-08-2017, 03:11 PM
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
(24-08-2017 09:26 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  In general, what experience (education primarily but any other relevant experiences too) does everyone have with the earth sciences? (geology, paleontology, climate science, paleoclimatology, etc). Please indicate any high school classes or college classes as well as if you're a theist, agnostic, atheist, etc

Professional Geologist with an MSc. Atheist since about age 12.

Quote:1) how old is the earth?

4.55 Ga

Quote:2) do fossils provide reliable support for the theory of evolution?

Yes

Quote:3) are fossil distributions consistent with the earth being old (consistent with geology) or young (consistent with literal interpretations of the Bible by young earth creationists)?

Unimaginably old as Lyell and Hutton realized over two centuries ago.

Quote:4) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing environmental conditions in ancient sediments and/or experienced by fossilized organisms?

Moderately. It isn't my speciality. I tend to use them for evaluating metamorphic P-T conditions.

Quote:5) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing dietary habits of fossilized organisms?

Same as #4 above.

Quote:6) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes to reconstruct climate histories and perturbations of the global carbon cycle?

I took a couple of gradate courses on this one.

Quote:7) do you believe in climate change (not affiliated with human activities)?

Yes, though I take issue with the word "believe". Facts don't require belief.

Quote:8) do you believe humans are contributing to climate change?

Hard for us not to seeing as we're cracking off a Toba or Yellowstone worth of CO2 every year.

Quote:9) does the earth have a singular climate? Or is climate something specific to a limited area on earth? (How do answers to these questions relate to climate change in general?)

While it's sometimes useful to discuss local climate none of us live in a bubble. Cutting down the Amazon will impact Finland.

Quote:10) what other issues are you aware of around the globe that endanger humans and ecosystems that are associated with human activities and/or climate change?

Deforestation, overhunting/overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and giving launch codes to an unstable narcissist.

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25-08-2017, 03:33 AM
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
1) how old is the earth?
4.5 Billion years, IIRC

2) do fossils provide reliable support for the theory of evolution?
YES

3) are fossil distributions consistent with the earth being old (consistent with geology) or young (consistent with literal interpretations of the Bible by young earth creationists)?
Earth being old

4) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing environmental conditions in ancient sediments and/or experienced by fossilized organisms?
Nope, not something I know that much about

5) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing dietary habits of fossilized organisms?
See #4

6) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes to reconstruct climate histories and perturbations of the global carbon cycle?
See #4

7) do you believe in climate change (not affiliated with human activities)?
Yes

8) do you believe humans are contributing to climate change?
Definitely so

9) does the earth have a singular climate? Or is climate something specific to a limited area on earth? (How do answers to these questions relate to climate change in general?)
In all honesty, I don't know enough about it to give you definite answer on the subject.

10) what other issues are you aware of around the globe that endanger humans and ecosystems that are associated with human activities and/or climate change?
WELL, issues that endanger humans and eco systmes? Does war count? that seems to be a big one, whether that's WW1 and 2 style war, or western countries fighting terrorists/civil wars and other fighting that can be done without.

Short answer: other humans haha.

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25-08-2017, 05:27 AM
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
No classes other than general science ones; lots of reading books aimed at the general public and watching sciency documentaries...

1) how old is the earth?
4-5 billion years, in a universe that is something like 15 billion years old (at least since the Big Birthday Bang).

2) do fossils provide reliable support for the theory of evolution?
Yes, they show a clear record of changing species over time

3) are fossil distributions consistent with the earth being old (consistent with geology) or young (consistent with literal interpretations of the Bible by young earth creationists)?
Old

4) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing environmental conditions in ancient sediments and/or experienced by fossilized organisms?
Only in very vague terms

5) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes for reconstructing dietary habits of fossilized organisms?
No

6) are you familiar with the use of stable isotopes to reconstruct climate histories and perturbations of the global carbon cycle?
Again, only in very vague ways

7) do you believe in climate change (not affiliated with human activities)?
Yes, the record shows general fluctuations in overall climate

8) do you believe humans are contributing to climate change?
The evidence certainly seems to support that conclusion.

9) does the earth have a singular climate? Or is climate something specific to a limited area on earth? (How do answers to these questions relate to climate change in general?)
I see the word being used at different levels. It can be used to discuss regional areas but also to refer to the overall picture. Context is important. If don't understand what the last question is asking.

10) what other issues are you aware of around the globe that endanger humans and ecosystems that are associated with human activities and/or climate change?
Deforestation, strip mining, fracking, pollution, indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilizers, overpopulation, religion

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25-08-2017, 05:46 AM (This post was last modified: 25-08-2017 05:53 AM by Silly Deity.)
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
What Paleophyte said.................except:

  1. My Masters was in Geomorphology - and I studied Geology as part of my undergraduate course. My specific field was Polar and Quaternary Glacial Geomorphology
  2. I don't use my degree in my job - which is something very obscure in IT - and therefore don't necessarily keep abreast with all the current research
  3. Climate (singular) is not applicable to the entire planet. There are types of climate that apply to a variety of rather ill-defined geographies. Neverthless all the science points to anthropgenic climatic change occurring - it's not down to belief

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25-08-2017, 05:49 AM
RE: Familiarity with the Earth Sciences
Double post

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