Sunday, June 24, 2018

What is Deep Time? Why does it matter?

The universe is ancient - 50,000 times older than our species. On a cosmic time scale, human history is as brief as the blink of an eye.
In discussing my upcoming column in the FCFP with a few people, it seems that Deep Time is still a new and challenging concept for many.  

It's something I've been contemplating on for decades, and it seem to me if one wants to defend Reality Thinking, that is defend Earth's geophysical facts against the GOP's God of ME FIRST ad hoc PR reality, an appreciating Deep Time is an indispensable tool.  For one its key to making sense of Evolution, that is Earth's four and half thousand million years of Creation unfolding one day at a time.*  And evolution is the only way we can hope to put today's radical geophysical transitions into a realistic perspective

I'll share my most fun interaction, 
"Whoa, Peter! You’re blowing my mind!  
Are you a geologist?  
DEEP TIME!?!?!  
I haven’t read through or watched all the links, but I will definitely have to come back to the one about “Deep Time!”  
I don’t, not believe it, but it does frustrate me because I want to grasp the whole picture!  
How did it all come to be & why?   
Is there a reason & will I ever know it ?????          HA! 
After this, how could I not try a little harder to find worthy YouTube video.  One that better conveys our current understanding in as humanly accessible  a way as possible.  The folks at Melodysheep have taken it one leap beyond what's been produced up to now.  Watched more than once, it gets better.

On a cosmic time scale, human history is as brief as the blink of an eye. By compressing all 13.8 billion years of time into a 10 minute scale, this video shows just how young we truly are, and just how ancient and vast our universe is. Starting with the big bang and culminating in the appearance of homo sapiens, this experience follows the unfolding of time at 22 million years per second, adhering closely to current scientific understanding. 
Narration by Brian Cox, Carl Sagan, and David Attenborough. 
Concept, music, editing, sound design, and select VFX by melodysheep. Soundtrack now on bandcamp: 
In addition to custom footage, this video samples a large library of content from many sources, including NASA, Voyage of Time, Cosmic Voyage, Wonders of the Universe, and more. Learn more about this project at
It can be difficult to fathom how long 13.8 billion years is. The more you watch this video, the more it sinks in just how stunningly old the universe is, and how magnificently tiny we humans are in the grand scheme. I hope seeing this experiment in humility makes you ponder the vast, unwitnessed ages that have passed before we came along, and the brevity of our existence in comparison.
Every event featured in this video is fascinating on its own, so I highly encourage anybody interested to dig deeper. Start with the Wikipedia page on geologic time and go from there to learn more about all the events featured within.
Peace and love,

This was what inspired my friend's opening response.

Here's the key gems in July's column:

. . .  Besides avoiding the topic of the video, the comment is such an ignorant statement on so many levels 
that most who know anything about geology and evolution would simply clamp on the head-vise and back away.

Unfortunately, decades of ignoring such belligerent ignorance about important aspects of our life and planet have led to its becoming so insidious and commonplace that our government is controlled by Republicans who disregard obvious physical realities on personal whim. 
Justified only by a hubristic conceit that they are doing “God’s duty.”  They are in fact all about pursuing their own EGO’s bidding.

I decided to engage Psalm* with a short video that rationally explains what the geologic column is all about. Then came my second shock. I was not prepared for the dozens of videos dedicated to childish denials of the "geologic column” that Google's YouTube search algorithm threw between my search topic and reliable serious information. 

The handful of videos I sampled broke 

the First Law of Constructive Debate: 
Honestly represent your opponents’ position! 
Instead they paint a deliberately misleading cartoon, 
thus fabricating an easy target for battering to death. 

Finally, my persistence brought me to a few serious videos by scientists who actually study these matters. 
The difference in tone was refreshing. 
Rather than attacking conjured-up enemies, 
they focus on explaining their own work and results, 
often discussing competing theories to give as complete a picture as possible. 

They even describe weaknesses in their own work and point out further questions needing clarification. 

Why?  Well, that’s how science is done. 

Everyone’s goal is learning, and fidelity to physical facts is the gold standard. 

Science is a world where Free Speech doesn’t mean it’s okay to lie and slander with malicious intent. 

Informed constructive skepticism is the rule. 

Dishonest bluster and bullying is a crime.

Psalm (*read Republican Religious Extremists) feels free to dismiss all that with a glib wave: …
 (working title of column: "No Geologic Column? Say What!") 
Footnotes that I've pre-posted at my blog.  The full essay won't be posted until after the first of the month.

Psalm1Tree, no Geologic Column??? Have you met James Hutton?

Psalm1Tree, no Geologic Column??? Have you met William Smith?

Psalm1Tree, no Geologic Column??? Have you met Blakey or Ranney?

Fruits of Ignoring Deliberate Deception

ps. God Is Creation!  

Why rob God of God's creation, 

by slamming our Creation Story 
Into a one-dimensional freeze-frame?

Remember what  your Holy Bible says:
God is Beyond our Petty Human Understanding.

Source, the Christian Holy Book of Job

Timeline of Earth

Memories, an appreciation of science
March 13, 2015

You, me, we don’t need a scriptural 
“God” - Knowing Evolution Is Enough ! 
 MARCH 26, 2015

Earth is more than a pretty postcard 
May 29, 2015

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