Sean, I recognize the superiority of your geology knowledge compared to …

Comment on New NAD president: ‘I love you’ doesn’t mean we won’t deal with issues by Professor Kent.


I recognize the superiority of your geology knowledge compared to mine. I have only had one course in geology, and it was close to 40 years ago. I don’t read much, either. However, I would like to meekly offer a few suggestions that might benefit your understanding:

1. Your sources, so far as I can see, make no mention of actual erosion rates from the summit of Mt. Everest, or even specifically from Everest itself. Also, I’m not sure what you mean by the “summit,” which itself, I believe, is perenially covered with snow and would be technically very challenging to measure erosion at. So why are you making claims about erosion rates on the summit if you cannot cite a source wherein those data are produced? Range-wide erosion measured from stream sediment does not equate to homogenous erosion rates for all valleys and summits.

2. I had read about the “buzzsaw” effect of glaciers. Apparently, you did not read about the evidence that contradicts the impact of buzzsaw effect on reducing mountain height. You can start with this:

Thomson, S. N., M. T. Brandon, J. H. Tomkin, P. W. Reiners, C. Vásquez, N. J. Wilson. 2010. Glaciation as a destructive and constructive control on mountain building. Nature 467:313-317.

From their work in the Patagonia Mountains of South America, the authors wrote: “That glaciation can act to protect an active orogen from erosion opens up the intriguing possibility that, given favourable glacio-climatic, geologic and tectonic conditions, a cooling climate can act to enhance topographic relief, not in the manner originally envisaged in ref. 16 through passive isostatic response to locally enhanced erosion, but by inhibiting erosion to promote further accretionary growth in orogen height and width.” Numerical modelling and the authors’ extensive thermochronological data suggest that, under extremely cold climatic conditions–and not just in Antarctica–mountain glaciers do not slide but are frozen to the bedrock, which protects mountain peaks rather than erodes them. (Now I’m not making a claim that Everest is particularly cold; the reader can decide that for him/herself.)

3. An issue you are overlooking is that a glacier does not cover the summit of Everest. Glaciers occur downslope where avalanche falls accumulate. If I’m not mistaken, I believe the movement of a glacier is going to be less at its higher elevation, and therefore glacier-associated erosion (the “buzzsaw” effect) will be greatest at its lower-elevation margin. When you have a perennial layer of snow packed against the actual summit rock, where is all that rock disappearing to?

4. You keep speaking of the extreme slope angle, yet Everest is regarded by many mountaineers as a relatively “easy” summit because, after all, it is not as steep as many other mountains. The summit slope is relatively broad and requires comparatively little technical climbing.

5. It’s funny…you stated that erosion is, in fact, higher on the summit of Everest than at lower elevations. And then, in your later post, you wrote: “That is why the height of Mt. Everest doesn’t increase even faster – – because it is being eroded, top down, at ~3mm/year as I’ve already explained to you several times now (ala the ‘buzzsaw’ effect). Compare this rate of mountain top and side erosion to the incision rates of the river or glacial beds which can be as high as 10-15 mm/yr.” Thank you for now agreeing with me.

Professor Kent Also Commented

New NAD president: ‘I love you’ doesn’t mean we won’t deal with issues
@ Pastor Carlson

I think it is time to let grown men haggle over their scientific stuff. But some of us should gather our children around us and hold them close under the cloak of simple faith in God until the indignation is past.

Amen to this, brother!

New NAD president: ‘I love you’ doesn’t mean we won’t deal with issues
@ Sean Pitman

Beyond this, you aren’t arguing with me here. You’re arguing with the conclusions of mainstream scientists regarding the average erosion rates of the Himalayan Mountains – to include Mt. Everest. If you don’t accept these argued rates from the mainstream perspective, what more can I say?

Hmmm… This remarkable statement by you is really quite puzzling.

First, I have looked at your cited references and found more of my own. There is no question that you are the only “geologist” making claims that the erosion rate from Mt. Everest is known with certainty [not so!]; that erosion happens more rapidly at the summit than at lower elevations [not so!]; that the glaciers cannot be frozen to Everest’s rock, as documented in some very cold mountain ranges in South America and Antarctica [really?]; and that the erosion rate is so rapid that the mountain couldn’t possibly be 29,000-some feet tall if it formed some 50 million years ago [this is faith-based geology at its finest]. Sorry, Sean, but I am arguing with YOU, not other geologists (unless you happen to be…naw, I won’t go there).

Second, I think you should offer us some guidance as to when published research by geologists is believable. Obviously, the vast majority of geological publications contain assumptions and calculations that support the conclusion that life on this planet is more than a million-fold times more ancient than we know to be true. As Ellen White has declared, their science is “falsely so-called.” As Bob Ryan has described 17,328 times, it’s nothing more than “junk science.” You yourself dismiss the vast majority of it. But curiously, when you find something that you think might support or be needed by your argument, you defend it and the research it was based on tooth and nail. So how do we decide which geological studies are valid? Does it depend on whether or not they support the traditional SDA interpretation? Can we truly cherry-pick which studies are believable amongst the vast throng of “junk science” out there? Or should most of us throw up our hands because we lack your skill at science divination?

New NAD president: ‘I love you’ doesn’t mean we won’t deal with issues
Good photo, Sean. She’s a beauty from that angle! There are also a ton of Google images showing the gently-sloping, snow-encased actual summit that thousands of mountaineers have climbed over the years. Somehow, in spite of that jet stream, the summit stays covered in snow/ice–though not to protect it, as you rightly point out.

How do you really know that the highest glaciers on Everest move at rates faster than those measured by geologists on South America and Antarctica? I have not read anywhere comparisons of movement among these very cold mountain ranges (yes, I happen to think that Everest and neighboring mountains are quite cold). Do you make this stuff up?

I assumed you were on board with Paul Giem and the RATE initiative at ICR that has been questioning the stability of radioactive decay. Perhaps not. This gives more perspective as to why you are willing to assume constant rates of erosion, temperature, and rainfall in your calculations of how tall Everest should be. As an honest scientist, I can readily man-up to my mistaken assumption.

Do you still insist that erosion is happening faster on the summit of Everest than at lower elevations?

Recent Comments by Professor Kent

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.

Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The process of detecting artefacts as true artefacts is a real science based on prior experience, experimentation, and testing with the potential of future falsification. Oh, and I do happen to own a bona fide polished granite cube.

Not from Mars. Finding the cube on Mars is the basis of your cubical caricature of science, not some artefact under your roof.

Sean Pitman:
Professor Kent: If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The question is not if one will catch a fish, but if one will recognize a fish as a fish if one ever did catch a fish. That’s the scientific question here. And, yet again, the clear answer to this question is – Yes.

I think I’m going to spend the afternoon with my favorite scientist–my 8-year-old nephew. We’re going to go fishing at Lake Elsinore. He wants to know if we might catch a shark there. Brilliant scientist, that lad. He already grasps the importance of potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. I’m doubtful we’ll catch a fish, but I think he’ll recognize a fish if we do catch one.

While fishing, we’ll be scanning the skies to catch a glimpse of archaeopteryx flying by. He believes they might exist, and why not? Like the SETI scientist, he’s doing science to find the elusive evidence.

He scratched himself with a fish hook the other day and asked whether he was going to bleed. A few moments later, some blood emerged from the scratched. Talk about potentilly falsifiable data derived from a brilliant experiment. I’m telling you, the kid’s a brilliant scientist.

What’s really cool about science is that he doesn’t have to publish his observations (or lack thereof) to be doing very meaningful science. He doesn’t even need formal training or a brilliant mind. Did I mention he’s the only autistic scientist I’ve ever met?

As most everyone here knows, I have a poor understanding of science. But I’m pretty sure this nephew of mine will never lecture me or Pauluc on what constitutes science. He’s the most humble, polite, and soft-spoken scientist I’ve ever met.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: I don’t think you understand the science or rational arguments behind the detection of an artefact as a true artefact. In fact, I don’t think you understand the basis of science in general.

I’m amused by this response. I don’t think you understand the limits of a philosophical argument based on a hypothetical situation, which is all that your convoluted cube story comprises, and nothing more. Whether the artefact is an artefact is immaterial to an argument that is philosophical and does not even consider an actual, bona fide artefact.

Sean Pitman: You argue that such conclusions aren’t “scientific”. If true, you’ve just removed forensic science, anthropology, history in general, and even SETI science from the realm of true fields of scientific study and investigation.

Forensic science, anthropology, and history in general all assume that humans exist and are responsible for the phenomenon examined. Authorities in these disciplines can devise hypotheses to explain the phenomenon they observe and can test them.

SETI assumes there might be non-human life elsewhere in the universe and is nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition. If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The search for a granite cube on Mars is nothing more than an exercise in hypotheticals. Call it science if you insist; I don’t see how it is different than a child waiting breathlessly all night beside the fireplace hoping to find Santa coming down the chimney.

I guess the number of science colleagues I acknowledge needs to grow exponentially. I apologize to those I have failed to recognize before as scientists.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.

Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:

o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago

None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.

Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:

[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]

The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]

Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!

I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.

Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.