Bye, Bye, Galveston!

Basket of Figs, June, 2005

Bud Powell



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By century's end, much of southern Louisiana may sink into the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas coastline, including Galveston, could soon follow.


That's the sobering — and controversial — conclusion of a new report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that finds the northern Gulf of Mexico is sinking much faster than geologists thought.


The report centers on the humble benchmark, a small metal disk bolted to the ground, that provides a standard elevation above sea level for land surveying and mapping as well as determining flood-prone areas.


But there's one problem with benchmarks: They don't give reliable elevation readings if they're sinking along with everything else.  –Houston Chronicle, June 5, 2005


Question:  Why would anyone who pretends to be a scientist not recognize that a stake driven into the ground could not serve to establish elevation, unless you assume that the ground is stable?  But please, oh please. Don't ask us to examine our presuppositions.  We might lose some government funding.  We are scientists from the government.  Any other questions?  But don't grovel.  We are just like you, only much better paid.


You have heard this argument before.  Greatly oversimplified, it goes something like this:  "We know that these fossils are x many years old because they are in rocks that are x many years old.  We know that the rocks are x many years old because of the fossils."  Really not that simple, of course.  It takes more than a little dust to fool the people.  Unless, of course, they have a stake in being deceived.   Just a few "benchmark" assumptions proved wrong and the whole monstrous structure sinks into oblivion.  Except it doesn't really.  Someone comes along, dredges it up, pumps the water out, renames it, and sells it as brand new stuff.  And so the carousel continues to spin.  It seems like a good ride, as we continue to measure ourselves by elastic rulers.


Do you know how many other moving benchmarks there are?  Freud’s work on hysteria; Margaret Mead’s work on Samoa; Master’s and Johnson’s, Kant, Hume, to mention just a few.  Should we mention Washington Irving’s fiction of the flat earth?  “But he wasn’t a scientist,” you say.  But where would science be if there were no fiction writers?  We need fiction writers to discredit the history of the Bible.  “The world is getting warmer.  We know, we know, we told you last year that an ice age was coming…  But let us talk about success.”  [For the flat earth fraud, see]


It’s an old story:  “Watch the pretty ring dance before your eyes.  You are feeling very sleepy….”


2Co 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.


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