Daily Archives: November 19, 2012

Dennis Markuze, aka Dave Mabus, Arrested in Montreal

These are the tweets from the Montreal Police:

For those who don’t know, Dennis Markuze is a perennial internet-only (so far) stalker who has been sending nasty emails and tweets to anyone he sees as a key Atheist figure or anyone thusly linked, and posting rambling often offensive sometimes threatening blog comments on our blog sites, for several years now. He is a Nostradamus cultist. A while back he was arrested and put by Montreal authorities into psychiatric care, and later released under certain conditions including that he not bother people on line any more. More recently he started up again with his old habits, the community of those he harasses complained again to the authorities, and he was, as you can see, re-apprehended.

For more information on him click here.

How old is the Earth?

I can’t believe we still have to cover this. We know how old the Earth is. The science on this is pretty darn good. It is 4.54 billion years old plus or minus about 1%.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio does not know how old the earth is. Here is what he says about it:

I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Phil Plait has responded with this:

Actually, it’s not a great mystery. It used to be … a century ago. I am a scientist, and I can tell you that nowadays—thanks to science—we know the age to amazing accuracy. The age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years … plus or minus 50 million years. That’s a number known to an accuracy of 99 percent, which is pretty dang good.

Sen. Rubio’s answer, however, is so confused and error-riddled its difficult to know where to start.

And then, Phil goes ahead and addresses that, HERE.

The Maddow Blog also addresses Senator Rubio’s miscarriage of intelligence.

And, the thing is, the actual story about how we know about the age of the earth is not only well established science, but it is intrinsically interesting. Following is from a post I wrote about this a while back, slightly edited:

How old is the earth?

Short answer: 4,540,000,000 Earth-years, plus or minus 1%.

Long answer: We don’t know exactly because direct dating of the earliest material on the surface of the Earth will only tell use a minimum age; Prior to that, the Earth’s surface was probably molten, and even after that, it may be that the earliest non-molten material has been recycled into the planet’s interior by tectonic processes. Also, the earth is a big round ball of stuff that condensed into this shape from part of a large disk-shaped blob of stuff known as the Solar Nebula. When exactly, given this, did the Earth become the Earth? Since the process took millions of years, we can’t pinpoint the age of the Earth more exactly than a certain range.
Continue reading How old is the Earth?

You come from Cannibals

A man “lies crumpled on the sand … Behind him a dark trail leads back to the spot from which he has just been dragged. Looking closer, we notice something slightly odd about the figure crouching over the wounded man. His posture does not suggest a doctor attempting to staunch bleeding, or even to check heartbeat or pulse. Look a little closer still, and you may be inclined suddenly to reel back or to close your eyes. The man sprawled at such an odd angle beside the injured [man] has his face pressed against a gaping tear in [his] throat. He is drinking blood fresh from the wound…” Why? Well, to cure his epilepsy, of course. The date is 24 AD, the injured man is a gladiator, and the man drinking the blood must have bribed his way to the front of the line because he’s getting what a lot of other people in Ancient Rome routinely sought. A nice blood meal, for medicinal purposes, of course. Continue reading You come from Cannibals

Among Cannibals

I have lived among Cannibals, according to a lot of people who claim to know. The number of times that the “tribal” people of the Congo have been called cannibals is too great to be counted, most notably in great literature like The Heart of Darkness but most commonly, I suspect, from the pulpit or soap box by those raising money to spread this or that word. Most Europeans and Americans don’t know it, but many people who live in the Congo are quite convinced that the bazunga … the white foreigners … are cannibals. I’ve listened closely to these assertions, made by many individuals, and I’ve lived in both places for considerable time and I can say something about these claims.

They have a case. Continue reading Among Cannibals