0012 - Evolution and Creationism with the Rock Doctor
Sqeaky and Mako interview the Rock Doctor AKA Dr Sean Hodges, a Geophysicist from Oxford and ask him a few questions that any 7th grader could answer yet 4 in 10 adult Americans cannot. Learn about some basics of fossils and plate tectonics with the Rock doctor in a way you can share with your local dysevidentia sufferer. Hear Mako's and Sqeaky's take on whether malaria or mcdonalds is the greater threat to health and which exerts more evolutionary pressure on humanity and more. Read the show notes and full transcript at https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/evolution-and-creationism-with-the-rock-doctor
MAKO: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language, including grown adults failing 7th grade biology.
SQEAKY: Dysevidentia is an inability to reliably process evidence and this is a podcast all about it.
MAKO: This episode was released on July 21st, 2021, and we are discussing dysevidentia because it is clear millions of creationists are suffering from it.
SQEAKY: I am Sqeaky.
MAKO: And I am Mako.
SQEAKY: We discuss logic and evidence because there is insufficient selective pressure against creationists.
MAKO: You can support us by becoming a patron at patreon.com/dysevidentia.
SQEAKY: If you spent all of your money on an expedition to find Noah's Ark, you can still like, subscribe, and leave a review to help us out.
MAKO: If you have a paper you have written or a small business to plug let us know.
The small business of the show is 2RealVR. They are a small game developer out of Alberta, Canada. Their new game, VRAstroSmash, is on Steam with direct links in the show notes.
SQEAKY: Go to Steam and search for "VRAstroSmash" if you want to fly around in space and shoot stuff.
SOURCE [1:01]: Website - https://www.2realvr.ca/
SOURCE [1:01]: VRAstroSmash - https://store.steampowered.com/app/1675170/VRAstroSmash/
SOURCE [1:01]: 2RealVR on Steam - https://store.steampowered.com/curator/40765532
MAKO: Today we are going to discuss our interview with the rock doctor, and to debunk a little bit of creationism.
SQEAKY: But first, I'm going on a rant.
This show contains adult themes and language including "im"-
SQEAKY: Y'know, we spent all that time proofreading, we left that in there.
SQEAKY RANTING: On July 8th, I was in the hardware store. I was buying some material to make a ramp for my dog to climb into bed easier. Shasta is getting old, but still likes to lay on me and my SO's feet, even when it hurts her to jump into the bed. While we were discussing screw prices, another shopper, a kindly-looking older man in a fisherman's hat, sparked a conversation.
I don't recall exactly how. Perhaps his claims that gang violence, or, I am quoting, "Illegals driving up the prices" was the reason screws were more expensive. Nevermind that this was the store charging more than the one down the street and had knowledable employees. No, it had to be so nefarious. Some other to fear. Over the course of a brief conversation, he brought up a picture of George Soros, without prompting. He claimed Sweden was a cesspool of crime, that the US has the best healthcare. He claimed no country other than the United States had opportunity to start businesses or speak freely. Let's mostly ignore how anti-semetic conspiracies are generally baseless. And Soros is a billionaire who certainty commited real crimes, so we don't need to concoct fake ones. Let us also gloss over how we have whole episodes debunking some of his talking points. To pin that real quick, episode 5 was mostly about American gun crime. Episode 8 was about how shitty it is to be a worker in America, and that Episode 11 was about how we ranked in the 40's among developed countries for healthcare and really should be doing better. Links for these in the show notes. Let's slide pass how nearly every country has freedom of speech, and that we rank 44th in the "Reporters without Borders" freedom index. So there are at least 43 countries that do freedom of speech better than America. This person was conversant, building something, planning, aware, and able to use a smartphone effectively. Despite having access to all of this cognitive power, and instant access to information, they still insisted on the nonsense I stated previously. And, much racism I won't go into further about middle easterners. But also, this next part. They insisted American slavery wasn't bad. They insisted slaves weren't whipped or abused. They claimed Benjamin Franklin was a slave, and they claimed to have personally been a slave as well. Slavery, particularly American chattel slavery, was abominable. Even the pathologically neutral Wikipedia describes it as "generally brutal". I found no evidence Ben Franklin ever spent any time as even a servant, let alone a slave, and this person was certainly never a slave and likely confused working any job with slavery, or just lied to my face.
For whatever reason, this old, white man with money to spare at the expensive hardware store, had seen it important to put himself on the same level as chattel slaves. I doubt this person was lying about everything. But even if he was lying to me about the most extreme views, so many of what remains are common talking points that I would be hardpressed to draw the line between his lies and his mistaken beliefs. I know that many have come around to the idea of dysevidentia as a topic and real deficiency in their peers' cognitive function. But many still think that there are some magic words to convince some of these people, or that these people don't belief this stuff. This person is real, and he is one of millions of people with ideas that don't map onto reality, and is holding those ideas in spite of strong evidence that they are likely aware of. Simply by vurtue meeting this guy at large, I can never be the person to change his mind. Only a deep emotional connection will get this person to even start accepting evidence. If he has no one close, and never befriends someone closely, there may never be someone to help him. This is why we all need to learn. We all have someone close to us. We can't really change anyone elses' mind unless they want to change it. We need to have millions of conversations to help the 40% of this country that disbelieves evolution. The 15% accepting that the election was rigged because Q said so. And the scattered millions who think the earth is flat, and so on for every cognitive failing we have. The alternative is what we have been doing and letting this harmful bullshit spread.
MAKO: We had a few cases where our recording programs just crashed immediately when we hit the record button.
SQEAKY: Yeah, and then we'd turn and face each other and have a conversation and be like "Ah crap."
MAKO: Just waste twenty minutes of conversation.
SQEAKY: Today we have a special guest, Doctor Sean Hodges. He studied uh... general geology at Oxford University, uh... studied vulkanism and geochemistry for his PhD. He goes by "Rock Doctor", and he's worked in the oil company for a very long time and very qualified to answer a lot of our questions. Is there anything else you'd like me to put in there before we dive into questions, Dr. Sean?
ROCK DOCTOR: Nope, sounds very impressive, thank you.
*Mako laughs lightly*
SQEAKY: I think you have more education than me and Mako added together.
MAKO: Uh, yes.
ROCK DOCTOR: Education doesn't count for very much. What do you do with it?
MAKO: Smart things, presumably.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well Ill just knock people on their podcast.
SQEAKY: We're trying, we're trying. A lot of people are telling us this but not the people who need to be hearing it.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well you always need a geoscientist. We're the fundamental science. We sit underneath the floor of your house wherever you are.
SQEAKY: Sounds foundational.
SQEAKY: Sorry, that was terrible.
*Rock Doctor chuckles*
SQEAKY: Okay, so we brought you on to address a couple uh... common sets of talking points. In America, it turns out that about 50% of people are creationists, as in they think the earth is some thousands of years old.
MAKO: Six thousand, as I understand.
SQEAKY: Six thousand is the common one, but Jehova's Witnesses put it at fifteen thousand.
MAKO: Oh, how progressive of them?
SQEAKY: They're getting there. They've only got about another four billion to go.
SQEAKY: And then there's a whole right-wing contingent that denies that climate change is real, and the ones that have acknowleged it is real, deny that it's anthropogenic, human-made. And then of those that acknowledge it is... that human's contribute, still deny that it's a bad thing or concering at all.
ROCK DOCTOR: You've got your work cut out then.
SQEAKY: I certainly do. I'm gonna have to have a lot of conversations with a lot of smart and hopefully educated people. But starting off really simple, uh, are fossils real?
ROCK DOCTOR: You can answer that in numerous different ways. First, what is... what do you mean by real? Are you denying that the fossil is the original creature because in most cases, it isn't. It's a... like a... like a... a replicant. Uh, the original tissue is long gone and been replaced with other substances like uh... silica, quartz. It turns out that if you do it slow enough you can replicate down to a very fine detail, so we get to see really fine structures inside animals that are hundreds of millions of years old and there's no trace of them left today. As far as we can tell it has to be based on something that was real in the first place. And the older we get the worse the quality of preservation we get because the rocks have had such a long, complex history.
ROCK DOCTOR: So you get primitive creatures back in the precambrian, billions of years ago. They were just jellies. So you're lucky if they make any marking the rock at all. And then you go through dinosaurs that everybody know about. So I would say to someone, if you're faced with skeleton that you've carefully dug out of the rock and it was very different to the rock itself, so it's not... you're not just carving the skeleton out of rock, you're excavating a skeleton. And then you look at it and it resembles modern quadripeds, eh... you've got to start thinking "Surely this is real". Unless you've got a very capricious god that is trying to trick us. And that goes into another philosophical area.
SQEAKY: That is exactly where a lot of creationists go. They usually don't put God there, but I've... I've had people say this to my face. Right, physical, not anonymized over the internet. But I've had people tell me to my face "Fossils were placed there by the devil."
MAKO: Yeah, I've been told that once before as well.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah, you get into existentialism where you can't trust anything, the whole of science is based on nothing. You can't argue. You can't trust anything you've ever been told. Any physical evidence can be rejected on the basis of it's created out of nothing. You run out of ways to counteract that. But you then start digging into the philosophy of why doesn't... Why does the devil do this? An-
SQEAKY: Well, for the LOLs.
ROCK DOCTOR: Why doesn't God stop him? Yeah, for the LOLs.
ROCK DOCTOR: But, y'know, we've- our fossils go all the way through to um, completely perserved, uh, mammoths, from a few tens of thousands of years old. They are sort of dehydrated and frozen, and they dig them up and the meat is edible. This is what the Russians have known for years, is that you can actually eat-
SQEAKY: Didn't the Explorer Society find one in the 1890's? Like they found it in like the mountain tops in France?
CORRECTION SQEAKY: I wanted to doublecheck the facts here. It looks like there wasn't a time in the 1890's when the Explorer Society ate mammoth. But there was a time in the 1950's where they thought they did, but some genetic testing revealed that to be a ruse. Check the show notes for details. On the other hand, Ötzi looks quite edible, with both the texture and consistency of jerky. I still wouldn't eat him.
SOURCE [10:30]: We didn't eat a mammoth in the 1950s - https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/05/465309625/two-grad-students-use-science-to-bust-the-dinner-hoax-of-the-century
SOURCE [10:30]: Sqeaky Double checked - https://www.sciencealert.com/study-proves-the-explorers-club-didn-t-really-eat-mammoth-at-1950s-new-york-dinner
ROCK DOCTOR: They are always finding them. And we recently found uh, a fossil man. He was frozen. Uh, Ötzi, the iron man-
SOURCE [10:59]: Ötzi Frozen man in glacier - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi
SQEAKY: Probably shouldn't eat that.
ROCK DOCTOR: He was frozen into a glacier uh- you could have done that, he was basically like jerky.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well you wouldn't want to, but we've got fossils that are so, so close to the original that you can take out the DNA and if you wanted you can eat and digest.
ROCK DOCTOR: So, from that one end of the spectrum, all the way down to "We think some of the shapes of a three billion year old rock were probably caused by assemblages of single-celled organisms. And then everything in between. So we've got fabulous hard part fossilization of all of the shells, the crinnoids, the ammonites. We've got this spectrum that goes from the deepest most heavily buried rocks with the oldest dates that we know had the most primitive fossils and we presume they represent primitive organisms. And then it goes through a beautiful progression of gradual change, all the way through to fantastic preservation, and then we also get the little anomalaus ones, called lagerstätten, which is exceptional preservation at any age. So, largely in the uh, last few hundred million years. But the archaeopteryx was one of the ones-
SOURCE [11:22]: Ammonites - https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/facts/ammonites
SOURCE [11:22]: Lagerstätten - https://www.collectingfossils.org/lagerstatten.htm
ROCK DOCTOR: Where the fine-grained mud preserved feathers of a feathered dinosaur.
SQEAKY: Just a moment. We've got some terms in here. Amenonites?
ROCK DOCTOR: It's-
SQEAKY: Just the little spiral shelled ones?
ROCK DOCTOR: Oh yeah, ah ammonites.
ROCK DOCTOR: The mennonites-
SQEAKY: The guys in Pennsylvania...
ROCK DOCTOR: -are a religious-
SQEAKY: Yeah, sorry.
*Sqeaky laughs lightly*
ROCK DOCTOR: And the related one is the nautilus. And we have now discovered that these... uh, that one of the species still lives today. So these are fossils.
ROCK DOCTOR: So these are things where we found the fossil of a creature before we found the creatures still living today. Another one is the coelacanth, which is this incredibly primitive bony fish that was found living quietly offshore South Africa.
SOURCE [12:41]: https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/fish/coelacanth
SQEAKY: They live way down in the bottom of the ocean, and they found them in the 30's or 40's, didn't we?
ROCK DOCTOR: That's right. And we've seen fossils of them in the sea, they were long extinct. That was kind of predicted. We found the fossil of a thing we didn't know existed, and then later on we found "Oh, it still does!"
MAKO: I'm sure that helps the authenticity of fossils, being able to compare to a living organism.
ROCK DOCTOR: Anybody that doesn't have a special reason not to believe, like a... a religious person who happens to have a religon that has a sect that says they can't be real, finds them the most compelling and internally consistent set of data from which to then develop all that we know about evolution and individual lineage developments, uh including the development of modern day man. So we've got a fantastic fossil record for almost anything you want to track the evolution of going backwards in time. We've got all sorts of evidence for very recent evolution of living things. It all ties together so unbelievely well that you have to be willfully denying not to belive in it. As what it seems to be- what it appears to be is, uh, a record of once living animals now extinct and there's almost no one that doubts that.
SQEAKY: And for our listeners who didn't know, Dr. Sean Hodges can say that with confidence because he's not in America.
(Rock Doctor chuckles)
ROCK DOCTOR: We have our own small numbers of doubters but no so many... I think... I think we... The variety of Christianity that has taken deep root that has taken root in America is... is a special kind.
MAKO: I agree.
SQEAKY: It's my understanding you have different forms of dysevidentia on your side of the pond? Something-
ROCK DOCTOR: Of course-
SQEAKY: -something Brexit.
ROCK DOCTOR: Lots and lots. Yeah, that one at least has the benefit of, um, some rational arguments being made on both sides. Uh, there's all sorts of lies being told, mainly on one side, but it's a political debate. It is not so much a debate about the facts as opposed about the interpretation of the facts.
SQEAKY: I like that you can seperate political debates from factual debates and Americans can't. We're having factual debates- I'm sorry, we're having political debates about factual topics. The people are basing their votes-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes.
SQEAKY: -on whether or not they think we had a good response to COVID, or whether or not they think we shouuld wear masks. So painful.
ROCK DOCTOR: Mhm.
SQEAKY: Ah, goodness.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well, Christianity has also become inextricably tied up with politics, so you've got- Once you've chosen your red or your blue team, you are oblidged to believe a whole set of facts that... hehe, are non-negotiable. It comes with the color chosen.
SQEAKY: I don't specifically disagree. I think there is a bit of nuance in there, but yeah there's a very strong correlation. There's actually an atheist Republican group. There's dozens of them.
SOURCE [15:31]: Dozens of them! https://republicanatheists.com/
ROCK DOCTOR: Right.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well that keeps things interesting. Well, atheism is on the rise everywhere, so there's gonna be people on both sides I guess.
SQEAKY: Well it just, uh... *sigh* For the longest time these people were claiming to have millions of people in their roster, and last year they had to publish for tax reasons... They had to publish their membership list. And there were seriously three hundred of them, and they had been claiming millions of Republican atheists. So they were just off by a few orders of magnitude there.
ROCK DOCTOR: <<unintelligable>>
SQEAKY: But we're- I'm sorry?
ROCK DOCTOR: They are very small subsets.
SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah. Okay so, being in the oil industry there's a very small crossover there with fossils and... we've heard about the suncor... uh, what is it, the suncor nodosaur? Where they dug a whole big ol' fossil out of the ground. But it's our understanding that isn't always common. Did- Have you worked with any fossils you've dug out of the ground or been near teams doing that?
SOURCE [16:22]: The Suncor nodosaur https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/nodosaur-national-geographic-dinosaur-suncor-1.4113462
ROCK DOCTOR: Well, you're exactly right in that there isn't a great deal of crossover... Geologists in oil companies go on field trips because that's how we learn about the geology of the areas that we're looking at. Either we look at the ages of the basin that we're drilling into and hope it's outcropping in a useful way... that would be the best. But quite often we look for uh, an analogous basin that we can learn from and then apply to our... our inaccesable undersea basin. So on the... on the field trips we sometimes find fossils-
SQEAKY: Pardon. A term.
ROCK DOCTOR: Which term are you after?
ROCK DOCTOR: Outcropping. Well, where the rock hits the surface.
SOURCE [16:42]: Wikipedia has good pictures of this - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outcrop
SQEAKY: So like you can see the layers because they're sticking out from above the ground.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes, uh a good example would be one of the countries I worked in the in in the middle east, Oman, down there on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. And we were exploring on the big basin which was the same one that the Saudi Arabians were exploring in and finding their big fields and we got the edge with small fields, but we also um, had the edge of the basin had been lifted up and eroded due to plate tectonics from an absolute perfect area because it was hard desert. We all did field trips down there and were driving around in rocks that were at a gently tilted angle but they were all reaching the surface, and you could just walk around on the stuff that was six kilometers underground where we were exploring.
ROCK DOCTOR: So that's the likely time for an oil geologist to come across a fossil while their... while doing their business. But while you're exploring an oil basin, you shoot seismic -which is sound waves that you send down to pick up the reflections- do insanely complicated processing to turn into an image of the subsurface. But unlike uh... ultrasound, which we used to do the same technique but using different wavelengths on... on a pregnant woman's belly, you get high resolution with the ultrasound. We send down wavelengths so big that the smallest thing you could see is about thirty meters on a side, and that would be good seismic. So we don't see fossils with our imaging technique, but we also drill holes through the rocks, 'cause we want to pull the oil out of the holes. Um, the old fashion drill bits would cut the rocks into what we call cuttings -chips- and they're millimeters to maybe half a centimeter. Again, you don't see very much. If you drill through a standard hand specimen sized fossil you won't see anything in the chippings and they've now moved over to more efficient drill bits that are just diamonds -tiny specks of industrial diamond in steel- and they spin that 'round and what we get out is rock flour. So absolutely no chance of finding any fossils in that. <<Unintelligable>>-
SQEAKY: Just for the listener-
ROCK DOCTOR: Sorry?
SQEAKY: -you said a millimeter to half-a-centimeter?
ROCK DOCTOR: Oh, you need some um, American units...
SQEAKY: Freedom units. I have a ruler here. That's uh... about a 32nd of an inch out to about a quarter of an inch.
*Sqeaky laughs lightly and breathes an apology*
ROCK DOCTOR: Right, I should just use things like fingernail size. International units.
SQEAKY: It's why we measure piranhas in how many cows per second they can eat.
ROCK DOCTOR: So the best seismic resolution is about a hundred foot on the side...
ROCK DOCTOR: Which is a bit bigger than most fossils. And you wouldn't see even a tyrannosaur fossil because you would just see it as a single pixel on your image. So yes, the best chance of you've got is when you drill a core, which is done a lot less often than you might think because it's very expensive. Basically, rig time is $100,000 an hour.
ROCK DOCTOR: And drilling a core is very slow. We have to find a lot of oil and... um... uh... good resovoirs that flow very well to pay for the cost of a multi-million dollar well. But ocassionally we do demand that we- the geologists insist over the drillers' resistance that they want to cut a core. And then they have to put down a... a circular apparatus with a ring of cutters around the edge and then we drill a big cylindar and we tilt it sideways off at the base and haul it out. And in that you can occasionally find a small fossil, but it's quite anomalous. But what we do use fossils- the way in which the oil industry uses the fossils is microfossils. And there are- we've discovered lots and lots of them and some of them are fantastically useful because they evolve very rapidly. So if you've got land-based setiments or even shadow water setiments they'll have pollen grains in. The experts we've trained up can identify not just what the pollen grain came from, but the age of that pollen grain because they evolve tiny little features on their outside over relatively short timespans like a few tens of thousands of years, so, it can draw up charts that give us the... the age of the rock to some degree of precision which is very useful when you're doing fine scale excavation.
SOURCE [20:04]: Core Sample with videos of a sample and pics of the drill apparatus - https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/643-reading-rock-core-samples
SQEAKY: You mentioned when we were talking earlier or in some notes you mentioned specifically a globber... glo-biger-eena?
ROCK DOCTOR: Globigerina.
SQEAKY: Globigerina. Is that-
ROCK DOCTOR: It's... a small um... floating organism... uh, thinwalled... it's basically a little blob from the oil industry's point of view. It contains the material that can become oil. So these things live and die and then they sink down to the bottom of the water column, and if they're buried and don't get consumed, a layer of them can build up and your heat can squish that hard enough and it will turn into oil. But they're also usable as a means of dating.
SOURCE [21:06]: Globigerina Bulloides, cool pics and factiods in a navigable tree - https://eol.org/pages/489860
SQEAKY: Details like this highlight to me why dysevidentia is so prevelant. Right, we have, on the conservative side, people who absolutely deny that the world is old, but absolutely say that oil is the most important thing, and we only have oil because the world is old, and you've narrowed it down into a single organism. And it sounds like a fancy science cyanobacteria...? Is that a fair assessment?
ROCK DOCTOR: Uh, I don't know which kind it is. It's bigger than a bacteria; it's visible with the naked eye.
SQEAKY: Oh, so like an algae or something.
ROCK DOCTOR: And the glob at the beginning is a clue. It's a globble... It's a little cluster of glob- globalglobs stuck together.
SQEAKY: Ah, okay.
ROCK DOCTOR: But it's just one of many. I mean you've... you've seen pictures of the White Cliffs of Dover-
SOURCE [22:17]: Cliffs of Dover - https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-white-cliffs-of-dover
ROCK DOCTOR: That chalk is hundreds of meters thick, and it's composed of similar microorganisms called coccoliths.
SOURCE [22:22]: Coccolith, and one of our team members says Cocco is chalk from latin - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccolithophore
ROCK DOCTOR: And these little tiny carbonate- yeah, snicker.
SQEAKY: Mako is looking at me and shaking his head. He's like "Don't, don't do it Sqeaky."
MAKO: He was thinking something childish.
ROCK DOCTOR: Uh... I wish I knew the Latin or the Greek that was cocco but the lith is rock and you build these things up over a phenominally long length of time -tens of millions of years-, and these little things are raining down and they are growing in deep water and nothing else is growing so you got an exceptionally pure rock which is nearly all coccoliths, and it builds up and builds up and builds up. And at the same time the weight of it is compacting and sqeezing it down, and that single organism pretty much built the White Cliffs of Dover. Anyone can get a microscope and look at these things. There's no shortage of ability for the av- amateur to find out some of these things. You just need to borrow a microscope and have a look.
SQEAKY: That's amazing... So it's more complex than a single organism, but there's lots of a general category of this aquatic plant life that turned into most of our modern petroleum.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes.
ROCK DOCTOR: So there's... once more they know that <<unknown>> of things... like the floating bugs like I'm describing, they tended to produce the oil. And plant material... so if you were near the land and there was a river flooding regularly off the tropical rain forest bringing up tons and tons of... of a woody material, that tends to produce gas. That's what they call a gas prone source, as opposed to a more fat-rich... So little living creatures would tend to produce an oil prone source rock.
SQEAKY: Now when you say gas in this context you mean natural gas, methane.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes, methane, yes. Not in the American sense of what you pump gas into your car.
SQEAKY: I'm trying to not make the childish jokes. Those are perfect Taco Bell jokes... I'm just moving on.
MAKO: It's for the best.
ROCK DOCTOR: I should make the comment that the oil industry is short of these microfossil experts, and uh... if you can get into that field, I hear that the work is unending and the wages are good.
SQEAKY: I would feel dubious... Like I've worked ethically dubious jobs before. The last military contract I did, I actually wrote software, and I sat in an office, and the office's title was Nuclear Mission Planning. I'm allowed to say that, but anything else is is classified. I'm not allowed to say anymore. But I really... I just have to work things where my consious is totally clear now. I know some people are swayed by the money or some people even make a difference when they're on the inside. I've run out of energy for that.
ROCK DOCTOR: Mhm. Well the oil industry is now bad. Everybody seems to be pretty clear on that, but you have to say it's bad now, but you go back fifty years, there wasn't any alternative really, we were going to have to release a lot of carbon to have enough energy to make the progess we've made.
SQEAKY: You're totally correct. Yeah no, I totally agree. It bootstrapped our ability to do research and look into these other energy sources. And we didn't even know definitively until like the 80's or 90's that it was polluting at all.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well I think we knew a lot longer ago than anybody'd like to admit, because it was just too damn convenient doing what we were. We had a big established infrastructure, the energy was cheap and nice, but it became more and more undeniable that we were harming the planet. And I'd say what's even more visible was cutting down all the rainforests and fishing out out the seas... you just couldn't... for a long you could ignore it because it was far away or it was underwater or just invisble to us, but there's so many highly competent scienstists going out there, taking images, bringing them back, and shoving them in front of our faces saying "Look what you are doing." David Attenborough being one of the finest, y'know I've, he's telling us over his long long life that everything's gone, all of the animals have been killed.
SQEAKY: That's a really good distinction to make, because you're right, we did know it was polluting, we just didn't know the scale of the harm, we could find ways to ignore the scale of the harm... Even when armed with the evidence, we had people saying it's not so bad. We had lots of people who were presumably experts ignoring large swaths of the evidence.
ROCK DOCTOR: Or not shouting loud enough to be heard, or the environment wasn't suitable to be heard. I mean we uh... we were exploring what's called West of Shetland. So, in the UK off the coast of north-west Scotland, um, near the um, outlying islands, um, we shot a load of seismic and... and part of the imaging you get is the... a picture of the seabed in quite good resolution because the high frequencies are still present in the signal, and we could see these lines all over the... all over the uh... subsurface- the seabed I should say. And it wasn't clear to us what it was. We were speculating if it was uh... glacial scars from icebergs dragging -and a few of them were- but actually it turned out to be bottom fishing dragging chained nets across the floor of the ocean, as they try and catch every bottom-dwelling creature. And they'd been across it so many times that they had what looked like scratches in every direction. These things had been scrawled north, south, east, west, up, down, left, right- there was nothing left living down there. We'd wiped out hundreds and hundreds of square miles of the seabed, just in pursuit of fish to eat. And it's hard to believe the scale of damage that we're doing, largely because if you fly over it or sail on it, you can't see any of it.
SQEAKY: Unfortunately, it is "out of sight, out of mind."
MAKO: Yeah, I dunno.
SQEAKY: Mmm... So we've talked a ton about fossils and a lot of this more creationism debunking stuff, I think this last little bit there is discussing plate tectonics. Creationists don't usually deny that plate tectonics exist, but every once in a while they do. How do we know that plate tectonics is real... Uh, you've discussed a little bit aboout outcroppings and you've mentioned it before... What we can we add on to our knowledge so we are armed if such a discussion happens near us.
ROCK DOCTOR: I suppose you could think about how the theory came about. I mean, for- ever since we've been able to make maps of the world, people have observed the close fit that you'd get if you closed up the oceans. So, as soon as people looked at maps of say North America and Europe and Africa, they noticed that you could slide them together and they'd fit, but they absolutely had no idea that there was any way you could ever move continents, not surprisingly. But, more and more there were issues in geology that could only be resolved by some kind of horizontal motion. So you had mountains. Mountains are very difficult to explain except by one lot of rocks moving towards another lot and then they all crumple up, and you see stunning folds in the Rockies and the Alps that show huge layers of rock hundreds of feet thick that have been contorted like they were just a layer of fabric that you'd slid- If you had a carpet and held one end and slid the other end towards it, you'd get a great pile of folds. And if you imagine doing that with rocks and... they don't just... if you do... If you go slow enough they don't just break, they uh, will fold, especially if they are buried under a bunch of other rocks, which will stop them doing anything other than slightly deforming, and then you erode the top off, so rivers and where the-
SOURCE [28:06]: PBS Tectonic video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI6SemRT2iY
SQEAKY: Sounds like you're describing the way the Rockies and the Himalayas formed.
ROCK DOCTOR: Absolutely. So we see what looks like rocks being squished together and piling up to make uh... folded stacks. And then the... the typical shapes of mountains are largely from erosion. So once you've pushed up a big pile, then you erode it, you get all of these sharp edges and rivers cut down to make V-shaped valleys and glaciers make U-shaped valleys... but they are all just taking away from the big pile that was pushed up by this motion. Again, this is just describing what we see, this is not saying how it happened. But... um... What we understand now is there is a heat source inside the earth, and it's pretty clear that is not just from the cooling... Cooling is a small component, but radioactive breakdown seems to be the source of most of the heat that drives the convection. So when you have the molten wax or just heated water that you can see, um... see particles in it- or when you're cooking soup and can see it moving in a sort of circular motion, it goes near the heat and then it gets lighter and less dense and it rises up to the surface and cools off and once it's cool enough it sinks back down. So this convective circulation happens inside the solid earth. We've given it a heat source, and it's complex because people don't think of the earth as being a liquid- it's a solid rock. Only the inner core is a liq- Sorry the outer core is a liquid- but the mantle, the rocky part on the... below us, but above the core, it is a solid rock, but if you wait millions of years, it behaves like a liquid. If you apply a stress to it, the individual grains of mineral... well the atoms in the crystal structure will creep past each other, so the mineral will deform over geological time and it will look like a liquid if you had the ability to speed up the video by millions of times. So we have this flow-
SOURCE [29:24]: What we know - https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/mantle/
SOURCE [29:24]: One example of how we knoow - https://news.cnrs.fr/articles/what-makes-the-earths-mantle-flow
SQEAKY: So it's like tar pitch, or maybe old soda glass. The glass that would flow very slowly like over the course of decades or like that pitch drop expirement we hear about?
ROCK DOCTOR: The pitch drop expirement is the best example- I think the glass idea has been debunked.
SQEAKY: It is? Hmm.
ROCK DOCTOR: It doesn't actually flow... people used to just mount the irregular pieces of glass with the lower- the thicker bit at the bottom, just naturally so, everybody assumed it was flowing down, but it doesn't flow at those speeds.
CORRECTION SQEAKY: So it turns out glass doesn't flow. Like at all. I was just totally wrong here. There are several reasons to think it might, but they're all wrong also. I put three sources in the show notes, including a fiber optics group and a glass museum. Glass definitely doesn't flow, and I feel silly for having believed this for so long.
SOURCE [34:44]: Does glass flow? Not according to The Fiber Optic Association - Sqeaky was wrong - https://www.thefoa.org/tech/glass.htm
SOURCE [34:44]: Does glass flow? Not according to The Corning Museum of Glass- Sqeaky was wrong - https://www.cmog.org/article/does-glass-flow
SOURCE [34:44]: Does glass flow? Not according to The Book Glass Notes, a Reference for Glass Artists - Sqeaky was wrong - https://www.glassnotes.com/WindowPanes.html
ROCK DOCTOR: But the pitch drop is briliant, because they've done that expirement and they've had it flow over decades, and rocks flow on an even slower scale. But so what we have is the oceanic plates, and again, can't remember how much people remember from their high school geology, but we have a different kind of plate under the oceans than we do under the continents. So the oceanic plates suggest the top surface of these convective cycles, and then the continental plates... the crust, that's a different composition. That's like the slag on top of a container of molten steel for example, so this stuff just floats around on the top, it never gets dragged under- down into the earth because it's too deep... too light, too low density.
SOURCE Radiolab Pitch Drop - https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/episodes/267124-speed
SQEAKY: Is that because dirt and like the continents are made of silica, and the mantle is made of like iron and nickel and stuff? Or do I have that chemistry-
ROCK DOCTOR: Pretty much.
ROCK DOCTOR: No, no, it's correct, it's the proportion. So there's more silica and aluminium in the rocks of the continents, and more magnesium and iron in the rocks of the... uh... of the oceanic plates. And they used to abbreviate that to SIAL and SINA, because silica magnesium and silica aliminium, but that's a rather old fashioned terminology. It's basically the minerals are different. And the good thing about the continents is they end up like slag, they accumulate all of the stuff that doesn't fit into the minerals of the mantle and the oceanic crust. So they... they get all of the good ones that we like, like copper and gold and platinum and steel and e- well not steel but, every element you want is concentrated in the continents. Um...
SQEAKY: Even the uranium? I would think that would sink because it's heavy.
ROCK DOCTOR: Absolutely.
SQEAKY: Oh, okay.
ROCK DOCTOR: This is where it's handy being a geochemist, because it's not about the density in most cases, it's much more about the shape of the ions. Most minerals can't take very large ions into their structure. So they end up in the liquid. Whenver you melt rock, it all ends up concentrated in the liquid. This is getting deep into geochemistry, but suffice it to say the heavier elements are often very incompatible with the minerals that are in the depths of the rock- depths of the earth. So the mantle rocks don't like taking things like gold and platinum and uranium into their mineral structure, so they all end up coming out with lava, and then just staying on the surface.
SQEAKY: Okay okay, I think I follow. So, just to make sure I'm getting this. Even though an anvil floats in liquid mercury, if you have a whole floor made of steel, or made of whatever you make an anvil out of, and you spill mercury onto it, the floor isn't gonna flow on the mercury, because it's just so tiny and insignificant it's gonna pool on the surface.
SOURCE [34:26]: Cody floats an anvil - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5U63IGmy6Q
ROCK DOCTOR: Not really. I think it's more a case of you've got a standard set of minerals that make up most rocks, so, something like a feldspar or a pyroxene and there's only so many- the sizes of molecules... not molecules... atoms that fit into the structure, that structure can only accomodate a certain size range of atoms, so certain size... certain range of elements will fit into there. But if you have something like a... gigantic atom of uranium, it doesn't fit into a peroxin- a crystal structure anyway. So when you melt rock and it has all these different elements in it, and then you start to cool it down, the things that crystalize will use up the things that fit, and the things that don't fit in any mineral just get concentrated into the liquid, more and more and more concentrated, and you end up with a uranium gold platinum rich liquid when everything else is crystalized out as standard minerals like olivine or pyroxene or feldspar.
SQEAKY: Okay, I prob-
ROCK DOCTOR: So it's uh, it's a process of concentration by atom size.
SQEAKY: Okay I'm probably going to have to listen to that in editing like fifteen times to make sure I understand it, but I think the m-
*Rock Doctor snorts*
ROCK DOCTOR: It would be easier if I could draw diagrams.
SQEAKY: The most important thing to know is: If I drink liquid gold, platinum, and uranium, will I get superpowers?
*Rock Doctor laughs*
ROCK DOCTOR: As long as there's no kryptonite in there.
SQEAKY: Oh, okay, I'll doublecheck. I will... I will ask the guys down at the university to run it through their mass spectrometer. Uhh....
ROCK DOCTOR: It's lucky for us this works, because otherwise you'd have all the useful elements we need for civilization deep down in the mantle and nothing would be available to us on the surface.
MAKO: That's quite convenieunt.
SQEAKY: Looking for a new computer? Go to abk-kustomz.com. That's "ABK-Kustomz.com". Speak to an expert to get the computer you need. I actually know one of the builders over there. They are knowledgeable and eager to please. Give them code "Evidence" for a 10% discount on your next computer.
SQEAKY: So it's been a little while. To our listeners it will seem like just a few seconds. A pair of guitar riffs is all that seperates us from our interview with the Rock Doctor, but we did it a couple of weeks ago.
MAKO: I don't think it was quite that long ago. Like one week.
SQEAKY: Any timeframe longer than like an hour feels like a couple weeks to me.
MAKO: My condolences.
SQEAKY: What did you say?
MAKO: It's not important.
SQEAKY: Oh okay. We touched on a bunch of things. Like we asked him some really basic, bordering on banal questions, but we have to because that's a lot of the problems that we're dealing with, right?
MAKO: Yeah, it's difficult to have meaningful discussion if you can't agree on the baseline facts.
SQEAKY: So, this is part one of two of our interview with him. We were- We had him for a good two hours, the questions I'm gonna include in this one were a- or in this episode were: Are fossils real? Do you ever interact with fossils? Or, the rules around fossils and fuel exploration and extracting. Grade school science tells us about tectonic drift- is it real? Sometimes rock layers flip over, are eroded, or exposed, like the Eye of the Sahara, or the layers that are visible in the Arizona desert. What can you tell us about these formations? So, a lot of those are really me getting at the worldwide flood problem. I don't know if you've been following, but I've been arguing with a lot of people on the internet about basic existence of evolution.
MAKO: Minor adendum. For a worldwide flood to be a problem, it first must exist.
SQEAKY: I meant... I meant the problem with people having dysevidentia thinking there was a worldwide flood despite an absence of evidence and a preponderance of evidence showing there wasn't one.
SQEAKY: But if that's not enough for people to believe that this is a problem. The issue with evolution being denied and creationism being accepted is so extreme that in April of this year, Arkansas passed a bill to teach creationism in schools.
SOURCE [38:16]: Bill almost allowing creationism in Arkansas schools - https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/04/arkansas-representatives-passes-a-bill-to-allow-creationism-in-schools/
MAKO: I uh... Actually did not pass a bill.
SQEAKY: Oh, did it fail?
MAKO: Uh yes. There was an update right at the top of the article: "The bill failed to advance from the Senate Education Committee on a 3-3 vote."
SQEAKY: Oh, okay. So there was a 72-21 vote-
SQEAKY: -by the main body of Senate. It went to a committee and then failed there.
SQEAKY: So a majority of our leaders but someone on the committee saved it-
SQEAKY: -just barely.
SQEAKY: Okay that's still pretty fucking problematic.
MAKO: Yes, very much so.
SQEAKY: Okay. This one's a little bit older, it's from 1993. Someone in a documentary passed off a piece of wood -an old railroad tie specifically- and fried it in teryaki sauce-
MAKO: Oh... This is amazing and I knew this would come up, so I specifically highlighted that part in the article where you describes exactly what it was.
SQEAKY: You do it, you do it!
MAKO: It was a quote, "bizarre mix of blueberry and almond wine, iodine, sweet and sour barbecue sauce, and terryaki sauce.
SOURCE [38:54]: Noah’s teriyaki flavored ark - https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1993-10-30-ca-51222-story.html
SQEAKY: Dude's faking pieces of Noah's Ark.
MAKO: He wanted it to be tasty.
SQEAKY: On the documentary he presented this as a piece of Noah's Ark. He artifically aged it on his stovetop with the ingredients Mako just listed.
MAKO: Stovetop and oven.
SQEAKY: Oh, multifunction?
MAKO: And apparently that was convincing.
SQEAKY: Uh, one thing I forgot-
SQEAKY: -was the percentage of Americans who think evolution is not real. So I'ma add one more source to our show notes, and we're just gonna get something halfway recent. Sorry for this, Mako.
MAKO: I'll get over it.
SQEAKY: Okay... Oh my goodness. Christianpost.com says that six-in-ten Americans believe that evolution is real, and they link to Pew and this is the source I'll put in there.
SOURCE [39:42]: Christian post lamenting people using logic - https://www.christianpost.com/news/six-in-10-americans-believe-in-evolution-says-pew-survey.html
SOURCE [39:42]: Pew - https://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/30/publics-views-on-human-evolution/
MAKO: Pew is good.
MAKO: Pew is good.
SQEAKY: Pew is good. I think I'll put the Christian post one in there too. And for reference, the Arizona bill was reported by Ars Technica and the Noah's Ark terriyaki sauce ddocumentary thing was from LA Times.
SQEAKY: They were the only source that I could find that goes back thirty years. 'Cause I looked for that one really hard to make sure I got it in the notes.
MAKO: Good for them.
SQEAKY: The Pew Research notes show only 27% of white evangelicals believe that evolution exists, and that if you move that over to people who are religiously unaffiliated, it's 67% of people accept evolution, but on the whole only 60% of Americans when you count everybody up because there's a lot of evangelicals in this country bringing that number way down.
MAKO: Yeah it's a little horrifying.
MAKO: Both how many evangelicals there are and the things they believe.
SQEAKY: So a full 33% of Americans just do not accept that evolution is real. They think that we- The phrasing they use is "Humans have existed in present form since beginning." So yeah, this is a real fucking problem.
SQEAKY: I should link to some of my LinkedIn conversations on this crap, shouldn't I? Have you seen my debates I have had with that guy Kazito "Mukembi"?
[Correction: The name is Kizito Muyembi, not Kazito Mukembi]
SQEAKY: He has told me to a crowd of other people who are talking about evolution... something some random person posts and we just started commenting, and he tried to tell us all at once that "evolution isn't real, trust the word of God."
MAKO: How'd that go for him?
SQEAKY: I mean he got shouted down, but now he shows up to every single link that any of us posted and he shows up and starts trolling us.
SQEAKY: I wish I could presume that he was just an internet troll. But he's so astoundingly consistent and I have no evidence that he's a bot, I have no evidence that he doesn't believe it, and he's been so impressively consistent at just dodging all attempts at presenting evidence and ignoring all issues. And he's a young earth creationist who takes like, a hard Levitical view on the bible where like, he thinks gay people are bad to the point where he said that like, those people should be punished by the laws, because all of the laws of all of the countries should be inspired by the bible.
SQEAKY: Whenever discussions come up he takes like the most extreme view. And I also- I don't think he's from America, I think he's from somewhere in Africa, because it's come up before...
SQEAKY: Ugh, gross. Do you have anything you wanna add before we move on to debunking a few of the claims?
MAKO: Uhh, not particularly.
MAKO: Let's attempt one go.
SQEAKY: The small busi- That bodes well.
SQEAKY: So we spent a lot of time talking to the rock doctor about, uh, the worldwide flood- the lack of a worldwide flood.
MAKO: Well, the presence of evidence for one and-
SQEAKY: The lack of presence of evidence for one.
SQEAKY: Yeah, we wouldn't have geological strata, we wouldn't have super old pollen -he went in depth-. I'm not sure if it'll make it into the episode, but there was the whole ancient lake he was talking about with vegetation that filled up that was responsible for uh, initiating an ice age. There was a point where the whole planet was thawed and there was a polar lake, and it just filled up with these really primitave plants that died and made coal deposits. It's like we have really good evidence of this. This guy has written papers for this. How- Moments like this I wish there was a camera on my face. I don't have words for the frustration. It's like people just declaring "I know better than this guy that studied this stuff his whole life and went to Oxford to be educated on it." Seems like he teached a little bit on it.
MAKO: It's easier when you don't know these people exist, and easier also when you believe these people simply lie.
SQEAKY: Yeah, if you're just willing to deny the evidence you can get really far in ignoring the evidence.
MAKO: Yeah, yeah.
SQEAKY: There's nothing that they can not deny.
MAKO: I heard recently that- I can't remember what the context was... But I've heard this like off and on that people are claiming things like climate change is a hoax because the scientists are just trying to line their pockets...
MAKO: ...it's like-
SQEAKY: Yeah, one of our listeners mentioned that earlier today.
MAKO: It was like okay, how do you imagine the flow of money for research works here?
SQEAKY: Yeah, what is- How do they get money... from the products all the climate change scientists are selling?
MAKO: I- yeah. I don't know. I don't get it.
SQEAKY: It is so wrong we can't research the wrongness. It's like looking for an academic paper demonstrating that 2+2 is not 3. Right? Anybody that wrong, they're not being refuted because it's so wrong no one thought we needed to refute it.
MAKO: Yeah, not only is the question wrong, the context in which it's operating is wrong and it's like okay, there's nothing constructive that can be built about that question, you just- you have to be like okay, just come over here, this is how things work.
SQEAKY: Some of the older scientists in the... in like the first generation of pop science, right? Like right after Carl Sagan started doing TV and radio, right?
MAKO: Cosmos was good.
SQEAKY: Yeah! One of those scientists, and I forget who, they came up with the... with the idea of "not even wrong". And this applies great to the Time Cube guy.
SOURCE [44:29]: Not even wrong - https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong
SOURCE [44:29]: Timecube - https://timecube.2enp.com/
SQEAKY: Ah great, I'm gonna need to link to Time Cube, aren't I? But the Time Cube guy is just obviously mentally ill. He is just definitely wrong, definitely deranged, definitely not attached to reality.
MAKO: Is the one sentence description of the Time Cube guy?
SQEAKY: That the world is a cube with four corners, and can be rotated to adjust time twelve hours for every quarter rotation and the time is controlled by "them" and is used against you and is an illusion and not an illusion because time cube is real, and time is not... Something like that? That's his core belief-
MAKO: It's... not even coherent.
SQEAKY: Yep! He put this website up and people thought it was a real joke. He made it onto like a couple talk shows, back when the internet was beginning to pick up steam...
SQEAKY: Like in that pre-smartphone post-nineties era, and they brought him on thinking he was going to be this great comedian... And no, he was deeply unwell and not attached to reality to the point where even talk show hosts felt bad about making fun of him- I mean they did, they're talk show hosts.
SQEAKY: That guy is somebody that old school scientists would say "He's not even wrong 'cause he's not coherent enough to be making a claim."
SQEAKY: And often when I'm arguing with people on the internet, that's where they're at. Like this Kazito guy I mentioned earlier. He will often say things that are just incoherent, right? He'll be like "Uh God takes the sin from the sinner and the sin is clensed of the pain, and that's how you're free." And I'm like, we weren't talking about freedom but okay, cool story bro.
SQEAKY: Thank you. At least when they're making claims- If someone is going to say "Jesus died for your sins"... Okay, that's at least a noun and a verb. We can work with that.
MAKO: Yeah. That is an actual coherent claim. One that can be like addressed and is still, y'know, pretty readily... I don't want to say disproven but like... Rendered nonsense, but it's still like a coherent like... actual thought being conveyed.
SQEAKY: Yeah, that's where we're at with these people claiming "Climate scientists are trying to line their pockets". It's like yeah, it's an actual claim but it's such nonsense. I don't know, I guess I've come up with four categories of nonsense: The "Not even wrong", the "patent nonsense", like we're talking about now, people who are "just wrong", but at least in theory their ideas could like... fit.
MAKO: Like ideas that were once actually testable reasonable questions, but we have tested and we have disproven.
SQEAKY: Yeah sure like people claiming creationism over evolution, right? At least... like I'm not saying that God is a sensible world view But at least I get it, there's a whole idea there, there's a theory, we could test it.
SQEAKY: Like, I could imagine a world that God created instead of people and animals evolved. That is... That is coherent, and it makes predictions about the world, right?
SQEAKY: Like, we wouldn't expect all of the DNA and everything to work the exact same in all of the creatures except in very corner cases where the genetic dictioniary... The list of codons is slightly different in creatures very evolutionarily removed from us. We have, in our DNA, a list of 60-something codons, that are the tiniest units DNA works in -little words of DNA-. We would expect that these would be mostly the same if we all came from the same parents, the same lineage. And that holds true until you go all the way up to some co- very common ancestor, then come back down a branch of invertebrates and there's one like... weird sponge thing thing that has two codons that humans don't. They're totally different in that regard. And all their decendants have that different thing. It's like- that's really strong evidence of evolution-
SOURCE [45:25]: Codons, the almost universal genetic dictionary - https://www.ancestry.com/lp/dna-sequencing/dna-code-codons
SOURCE [45:25]: Rare Sponge codons - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6216596/
SQEAKY: -but we wouldn't expect to see that if there were a god. It just- why would God build an illusion of history like that? He doesn't talk about it in the bible or... No religious text talks about, y'know, "I'm gonna put the appearance of age in the microscopic structure of your body."
MAKO: Maybe God just likes to organize things just like we do.
SQEAKY: But, if he wanted to organize things just like we do, why would we have things like the recumbent laryngeal nerve? We have a link to SciShow in the uh, show notes.
SOURCE [48:27]: SciShow 5 times evolution should have planned ahead, including the development of the reccurent laryngeal nerve - https://youtu.be/5KNlsJP95BQ?t=316
SQEAKY: If God wanted things organized and clean, why wouldn't he copy paste everything to have the exact same DNA structure, the same codons, or why wouldn't he just create things fresh each time? He's God, he can make anything at any arbitrial context he wanted. He wouldn't need to create the illusion of us having a lineage. And he never touches on these lineages in any of the holy books. Right, and I mean I've only read-
SQEAKY: -the Quran, the Book of Mormon, a couple Scientology books, and the bible -two different versions-. So I haven't read all of the holy books, but I would expect one of the holy books to mention DNA. Okay, the scientologists do mention DNA but that's really different, and they didn't predict this.
SQEAKY: And if we're gonna go there, we have to start giving Xenu credit.
MAKO: We can do a whole episode later on Scientology, it's fine.
SQEAKY: Yeah, for our sanity, it's probably best we justsmile and nod.
SQEAKY: I got way off track. What were we talking about?
MAKO: Uh, we started that whole thread talking about worldwide flood.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah yeah, the rock doctor covered that, we're good.
MAKO: Oh my god. Okay, well...
SQEAKY: Are we not?
MAKO: Like most topics, we probably could do a whole episode on worldwide flood debunking, but, for the purposes of this specific episode we're trying to just go over a high level overview of-
SQEAKY: A few of the myths.
MAKO: A few of the myths of creationism, yeah.
MAKO: And I think that's good enough for now. I think we can move onto the next overall idea.
SQEAKY: Okay, well surely the creationists are right about something. They constantly tell us that errors keep accruing in our DNA, and we're going to have horrible genetic catastrophe later on, right?
MAKO: Well, the term for this that they like to use -that they have branded as some people say- is genetic entropy. And yes, there are mistakes in the cellular divison process that occur. We do have mechanisms that correct these errors, but sometimes on occasion errors persist. And creationists believe that this is a mechanism that prevents any creature from adapting too far from it's core self.
SQEAKY: Oh, you didn't bring this part up but lots of creationists I have talked with and debated with talk about micro versus macro evolution.
SQEAKY: And some have evencsited things like this as a dividing line, and there's absolutely no scientific evidence for that.
SQEAKY: So that's another thing I don't know how to go about intelligently refuting, other than to say that no biologist subscribes to that...
SQEAKY: Ugh, I need to caveat that. I'm sure we can go find somebody with a biology degree who subscribes to some Answers In Genesis version of nonsense. The preponderance of scientists do not agree with that nonsense.
MAKO: Yeah. Individuals can be flawed, but scientific consensus is important to mitigate the flaws of any individual scientist. And that is true for all fields of science. For any given field of science, you probably can find one person that's going to agree with the wrong thing and generally that's not a bad thing. We do want to have rigor for our claims, but then sometimes it gets to the point where it's just downright irresponsible.
SQEAKY: There's a podcast called The Body of Evidence, and they have a really good creed and I'm trying to remember what it is, because they say things like "Scientific studies are likes movies: some of them are just bad." "A study can be wrong, but a whole field of science generally can't be." And they have a few little quippy sayings like this into one thing, and their podcast is just really good. They focus primarily on medical misinformation so we don't cite them every episode-
SOURCE [51:30]: The body of evidence podcast - https://bodyofevidence.ca/
SQEAKY: -but they generally just have a really good handle on the notion of the body of evidence. Because I can find you one piece of evidence that Noah's Ark exists, but then we later learn it was boiled in blueberry sauce and teriyaki.
MAKO: And iodine, and sweet and source barbecue sauce.
SQEAKY: You said it was tasty! Iodine is bitter as hell.
MAKO: Um, he didn't specify the quanities of each.
SQEAKY: Oh okay, so a tasty amount of iodine.
MAKO: I'd like to think so.
SQEAKY: Okay. Uh, do we have any sources or anything we want to dicuss on that?
MAKO: We can provide a little bit more context on genetic entropy. The general idea is that at some point if an organism adapts or mutates or evolves, take your pick of terminology, to a certain degree, it will encounter problems in cellular divison. These problems will keep on adding up, and eventually it will cause enough negative mutations in the organism that it is no longer able to reproduce, and then the organism dies. And on the face of it this is kind of obviously wrong for a few reasons. The single biggest reason is just the general notion of a distinction between a mutation in an individual and a mutation that actually has the opportunity to spread through an entire population.
SQEAKY: Yeah. It sounds really difficult to spread a mutation through an entire population that prevents spreading of the genes.
MAKO: Yeah. If your mutation keeps you from reproducing, you literally can not spread it to the rest of the population.
SQEAKY: So, let me make sure I understand this. Imagine I were born with a genetic mutation such that my dick fell off.
SOURCE [53:17]: Detachable Penis - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQBPgJQhQHc
MAKO: Uhuh, yep.
SQEAKY: Okay, and then I go to try and spread my genes into the human gene pool, I'd have a hard time because my dick fell off.
MAKO: If we were to presume in the absence of modern medical science that this were to happen, then yes, you would be unable to reproduce. You would not be able to create any offspring and the genes that caused your dick to fall off would not be passed on to anything else in the species. And so it would just be self-correcting defect.
SQEAKY: I am now going to mark off on my bingo card. 'Get Mako to say "dick fell off"'.
MAKO: Good job. Dick fell off.
SQEAKY: Sorry I'm- <<unintelligble>>...
MAKO: But, in the presence of modern medical science, we can do all sorts of amazing things. Including presumably, maybe... I mean... If assuming that it was only your dick that fell off and not anything that produces your semen, then semen could be extracted and then artifically inseminated. Yay modern medical science.
MAKO: We're getting off in the weeds here. If something were to start steering in the direction of genetic entropy, it would immediately stop being a problem because whatever mutation it was that caused it would simply go away.
SQEAKY: Yeah if my dick fell off, then genes for dicks falling off would just go away.
SQEAKY: That's... sounds super simple, but from what I've read, like in this Reddit discussion-
SOURCE [54:25]: Reddit on Genetic Entropy - https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateEvolution/comments/9b6207/genetic_entropy_is_bs_a_summary/
SQEAKY: The principle that even some of these authors are putting forward -like Sanford-, is saying the whole population gets it and then the whole population dies. Which just can't happen.
MAKO: There is no real mechanism for why or how that would happen, uh, and, what was the specific term... the uh... Error catastrophe- Sorry, you were saying?
SQEAKY: I can explain what some people are thinking when they try to work that through logically to get to that conclusion-
SQEAKY: Some people are thinking that the concept of species is something in the DNA. So they think that collectively somehow all members of a species have related DNA somehow, and there's some mechanism keeping that going. When really what we have is many individuals all have DNA that happen to be similar. So if there were something that everytime you got near another human you exchanged DNA, right, if that happened, there would be a concept of species spread between us. But there isn't anything like that.
MAKO: Minor thought: Getting near another human and spreading DNA... is that not...
SQEAKY: That put me on several lists. Yeah so most people don't do that. And if you don't want to be on a list, you shouldn't do it either.
MAKO: Mhm. So error catastrophe is the specific term that they are using to try and be like, y'know... When they say genetic entropy that actually mean error catastrophe and there has been an accusation that error catastrophe has been observed, specifically in H1N1, and that is obviously and demonstrably false. It's just-
SQEAKY: We've never even observed it-.
MAKO: Anywhere. Yeah, it's not been observed anywhere. It- error catastrophe is just not happened near as we can tell, ever.
SQEAKY: Yeah and that actually was a legitimate scientific theory people put forward once upon a time, but our inability to duplicate it in expirements caused scientists to drop it. Like-
SQEAKY: -happens. One thing that can hypothetically explain how areas get fixed in our cells... There was a hypothesized mechanism for fixing DNA, called Muller's ratchet. And there's just a really great XKCD that analogizes this.
SQEAKY: So I encourage people to just go search out XKCD 2464, there... there'll be a link in the show notes, but you can just go to the website and punch the number in, like all XKCDs. It's pretty funny, and way too on point with the science.
SOURCE [56:07]: Muller’s Ratchet - https://xkcd.com/2464/
MAKO: Yep. Then I have another source, uh... from Nature- Nature the publication, mind you.
SOURCE [56:30]: Nature - https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dna-replication-and-causes-of-mutation-409/
SQEAKY: Yeah we just found it in the woods.
MAKO: Oh yeah, totally.
MAKO: Just like right there in the backyard, it's fine.
*Sqeaky and Mako laugh*
MAKO: But no. So they talk about like the mechanisms for DNA replication and error rates and how these mechanisms work, how they produce errors, and the attempts to repair or correct the errors that do occur, and they go on to explain that often when an error even remains after the repair mechanism is done, that usually just becomes a mutation... like it doesn't disprove evolution, it actually is one of the many mechanisms for evolution.
SQEAKY: Yeah! And if a mutation is beneficial, an organism has a better chance of reproducing more often.
SQEAKY: Doesn't always happen. Plenty of beneficial mutations are lost to happenstance.
SQEAKY: If the mutation is through DNA that isn't often used or doesn't significantly effect the organism, it spread somewhat randomly this new mutation. And if the mutation is... I believe the term scientists use is "deleterious".
SOURCE [57:24]: Define Deleterious - https://biologywise.com/what-does-deleterious-mutation-mean
SQEAKY: If the mutation causes the organisms' dick to fall off-
SOURCE [57:37]: Detachable Penis, AGAIN! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQBPgJQhQHc
MAKO: Oh my god.
SQEAKY: Well, that's pretty deleterious!
MAKO: Moving on.
SQEAKY: If the mutation prevents the organism from reproducing in a significant way-
SQEAKY: Then the organism doesn't, it dies off. Or it reproduces at a lower rate and eventually it dies off. It is outcompeted by ones that don't have this deleterious mutation.
MAKO: But either way, it is like any other mutation.
SQEAKY: Yeah, just part of evolution.
SQEAKY: And evolution doesn't care if something is the best, it just cares if it's sufficient.
MAKO: Pretty much.
SQEAKY: Moving on to another myth that people commonly put forward to say that evolution is always false. People love to claim that the eye couldn't have evolved.
MAKO: And it is a sign of intelligent design.
MAKO: It is too intricate and complex to possibly have just been stumbled upon by happenstance.
SQEAKY: So this is a uh... a specific kind of logical fallacy and when you get to the bad attempts at scholarly papers from creationists, the term they use is "irreducible complexity". They say that because you couldn't reduce this structure, it couldn't evolve. Which is patent bullshit. And the two things that keep getting brought up is the eyes of the creatures- 'cause it's way too complex, couldn't have happened, ignoring how complex everything else in the body is...
SQEAKY: An individual red blood cell is phenominally complex. But the other example they often bring up is flagella. Little hairs on single-celled organisms. I suppose they could exist on multicellular organisms, but we don't see them there.
MAKO: I have hair.
SQEAKY: It's a single cell, yeah I can see it.
SQEAKY: Yeah, so, for single-celled organisms on Mako's head, if flagella is a collection of a small number of proteins that the cells can use to waggle about. Was that too much Mako?
SOURCE [59:06]: What is a Flagella - https://byjus.com/biology/flagella/
MAKO: Looking for something to throw at you.
SQEAKY: Okay, I can handle that. Uh, more of the reasons why we're podcasters and not YouTubers.
SQEAKY: Sorry. These hairs let single-celled organisms move and flail about. And they are constructed of a very small number of proteins. But like our eyes, even if these things couldn't have evolved, in a piecewise assembly fashion -which they could have- you could still get two structures in organisms that are irreducibly complex. Because it could have evolved more than what's there, and then some of that could have been wasteful, could have cost the organism energy, could have provided extra structure that wasn't needed anymore for some reason, and then those things could have evolved away. And we see this. Like, there's no good way for a whale to have evolved that little bone that's clearly a leg bone floating around inside of it's hindquarters.
SQEAKY: Right? How that evolved was the other whale bones shrunk and went away over time because they weren't needed.
MAKO: I believe the term for that is "vestigial."
SQEAKY: Yeah, and you can get vestigial things that evolve, or in these flagella, you can get an assembly of proteins that one at a time is useful and then eventually when you get to a big full hair that let's the cell swim around, uh it could evolve to drop off some of the proteins that aren't needed anymore.
MAKO: I should go swimming.
SQEAKY: Be careful man, we have those brain-eating amoebas around here.
MAKO: Oh, damn.
SQEAKY: They didn't evolve to eat hair.
SQEAKY: Naegleria fowleri. Just Google around until you see the clown-faced looking amoeba. They photoshopped the colors but it is an amoeba that will eat human brain cells. Don't swim in the Missiouri river. It's full of this ameoba and hexavalent chromium, both of which are delicious but both of which will kill you.
SOURCE [1:00:30]: Naegleria Fowleri - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naegleria_fowleri
SOURCE [1:00:30]: Hexavalent Chromium - http://www.awwaneb.org/articles/2010%20news/chromium.w.h.12.23.html
MAKO: Does that explain why both Nebraska and Iowa are red states?
SQEAKY: The brain cells being eaten? Ooh, I don't have any evidence for it but that sounds compelling.
MAKO: I have a hypothesis.
SQEAKY: I will test this... We'll make an episode about this later.
SQEAKY: But, the evolution of the eye.
SQEAKY: Yeah. I went off on a little rant there. The eye can be evolved stepwise. And we have several sources for it, right? I link to Wikipedia "The Evolution of the Eye". It's just a great resource, they tons of sources, going back to Darwin. And SciShow. I link to a YouTube video they have about seven minutes in, and there's a timestamp in the link. They talk about vertebrate eye evolution- and this is great because our retinas are backwards. And there's other flaws with them, so not intelligently designed.
SOURCE [1:00:58]: Wikipedia on the evolution of the Eye - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye
SOURCE [1:00:58]: SciShow 5 times evolution should have planned ahead, including the development of the eye - https://youtu.be/5KNlsJP95BQ?t=424
SQEAKY: But the evolution of eyes came in a couple steps. Uh, euglena. They are these tiny single-celled organisms, interestingly enough have an eye spot and flagella. And this eye spot is just a little glob of pigment that can detect light. So the euglena can detect if it's in sunlight or not because they have chloroplasts, so they can photosynthesis. So if they're not in sunlight they move to get to sunlight. Some euglena can orient themselves so they can tell roughly what direction sunlight is in, but not all of them. But that's useful; being able to detect the presence or absence of light. That is enough to keep a thing from evolving, or from reproducing, if it can't do that. Right, if you photosynthesis and try to do it in the dark, you're going to have a bad time.
MAKO: A very bad time.
SQEAKY: Would you rather that or the... the dick falling off?
MAKO: Tough call.
SQEAKY: Yeah. More advanced... advanced, that's a total catch on wordplay there. Evolution doesn't care about what we as humans think is more advanced or not.
SQEAKY: Right. But things that humans think of as more advanced tend to have more cells, more structure, more organization that we can recognize- it's not what nature cares about. It just cares about if it can reproduce. Like there's some amoebas out there that do amazing things with proteins and DNA that's 100x larger than human DNA, so they might be more advanced.
MAKO: Well, there is something to be said about things that flow back to being able to reproduce more effectively. Like sharks are incredibly effective hunters because it enables them to secure food better which enables to survive more which enables them to reproduce more.
MAKO: So it does come all back to reproduction but it feels just a little bit reductionist to only acknowledge reproduction.
SQEAKY: Yeah, and I'm not trying to do that. I'm just trying to avoid declaring one organism more advanced because it has what we would conceive of as a better eye.
SQEAKY: But I was gonna point out: Snails and worms, they have a better eye than a euglena. A euglena again being single-celled it's got a little blob of pigment. But snales and worms and a lot of other creatures that we would think of as simple, they have little spots that can not only give them the presence or absence of light, but some of them can get color and most can get direction. Also, hagfish have this. They don't have eyes, they just have like... discolored spots on the top of their head, and if they point that light they know there is light there. So they just use that to run away from light so they can get to the dark. It's all they need. It's pretty useful.
MAKO: Mhm, simple needs, simple d- I was about to say design.
SQEAKY: Yeah, I know what you're saying. Evolution does feel like a design stuff. And that's why it's really easy to fall in this trap that four in ten Americans have; fallen into this trap-.
SQEAKY: Um, a step up from that. If you're not familiar with it you might want to research pinhole cameras, because they are actually really cool. You can make a pinhole camera with just a cardboard box and a pen. But, it's a really simple way to get an image from a very bright light. Basic idea is if you have a hollow thing with a hole on one end, light coming in will produce an image on the other side. As long as your hole is small enough.
SOURCE [1:03:53]: Pixar Pinhole Camera - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhBC39xZVnw
SQEAKY: But there's a tradeoff: you get a better image the smaller your hole, and you get more light the bigger the hole. But you lose focus the bigger the hole. But organisms with this -with pinhole eyes-... I have some simple ones listed I- I have just the nautilus listed, but there's several in nature.
SQEAKY: But having a pinhole eye... Let's... These organisms better protect their light sensitive cells. They can actually make out images in the right color so you can see a predator, for example. And you can't see a predator with eyespots or just color sensitive pigments, right?
SQEAKY: Being able to see a predator some of the time, or see food some of the time, is way better than seeing it none of the time. So that's another partially evolved eye that's better than we just listed. Uh, the next step up is what we have. We have actual retinas and lenses. And having lenses in our eyes means that our... I forgot what the part is but colored part of your eye can change size and let in more or less light, and then the lens in our eye can focus it, so that decouples us from needing a lot of light to get a good image.
SOURCE [1:04:54]: American Academy of Opthamologist Parts of the Eye - https://www.aao.org/eye-health/anatomy/parts-of-eye
MAKO: I believe the colored part is the iris.
SQEAKY: That sounds plausible.
MAKO: Oh my- Okay.
SQEAKY: We'll put a source in there.
SQEAKY: I'm trying to make this approachable for people and not get too technical. I'm only gonna throw out terms like uh... all the terms I already threw out.
SQEAKY: It happened five minutes ago I can't remember.
MAKO: I know Sqeaky, I know.
SQEAKY: Ohhhh. I forgot.
MAKO: Maybe you'll forget about this too.
SQEAKY: Yeah so lenses and retinas-
SQEAKY: -uh, because of them we can see even when it's dark. It takes our eyes a moment to adjust, right?
MAKO: Of course.
SQEAKY: And we still need some light, but then we can look at other eyes which are even better than ours. 'Cause our eyes... if you're gonna say God designed us and built us in his image, that's...
MAKO: Yeah like why does any other species do things better than us if we are the golden child?
SQEAKY: Yeah, but like cephalopods, they have their retinas in the right way. Like, our retinas are wired backwards. Our optic nerve comes in the back of our eye, then reaches out over in front of all of our rods and cones -the sensitive cells in our eyes that actually pick up the light- and they pass in front of those, making our eyes a little bit blurrier, and then they touch each cell to pick up the data. That's... that's a terrible design! And you know who doesn't have that? Invertebrates. No invertebrate has that nonsense. That's a purely vertebrate and mostly a mammal problem.
SQEAKY: Uhh... And birds don't have it. Birds have their retinas on the right away around. So eagles don't have this problem, right? And eagles just have much better image sharpening. I believe cats do have this problem, but cats also have an extra layer of reflective cells so they can capture more light, so they can see way better in the dark. So any of these creationists saying that we have a complete eye, a divinely inspired eye... Really gotta ask them why a house cat has better eyes.
SQEAKY: And now some creationist is going to yell at us: "But housecats can't see a can fifteen inches in front of their face." Fine, whatever. You'd think God could make a lens that focuses.
MAKO: Uh, the common animal... uh... example for better eyes that I always heard in my childhood was owls.
SOURCE [1:06:50]: Owl eyes - https://www.owlpages.com/owls/articles.php?a=5
SOURCE [1:06:50]: Owl Nictitating membrane - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiJGS-3Z2OQ
SQEAKY: Oh yeah. Well, owl eyes are ridiculous. They are like long tubes. Most owls can't spin their eyes, they have to turn their whole head.
SQEAKY: But owls do have really good eyes compared to us. They can see much better than us. They can see much further, they have better visual accuity. You don't want me to blather on a long time about the evolution of the eye...
MAKO: Uh yes.
SQEAKY: I kinda went through the historical case for it... Is there any other views or angles we should take on this?
MAKO: On the eye specifically... I don't think so. There's a whole lot of reading that can be done about the evolution of the eye... the different kinds of eye... the complexities...
SQEAKY: On reading-
SQEAKY: I put three links in our show notes... they are Richard Dawkins books.
SPONSOR/SOURCE [1:07:27]: Sqeaky got this book for his grandmother she actually read it and changed her mind: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution - https://amzn.to/3egz1wX
SPONSOR/SOURCE [1:07:27]: An older book, but a good one. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design - https://amzn.to/3B6mlmc
SPONSOR/SOURCE [1:07:27]: Sqeaky went so far as to buy “dawkinsdilemma.com” and write software to simulate some the experiments in this book (but dropped it, because dawkins deserves attention for his books and little else): The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition - https://amzn.to/2VJhffD
SQEAKY: Now he's kind of an asshole and a bigot...
SQEAKY: Just recently on Twitter he keeps being a fucking dipshit, but on the topic of evolution and the contents of his books, they are really good. So I've linked to three that I've read. And if you click on those you'll help the show, so, please do. And his books are good, he deserves credit and money for his books, but let's not give him any attention on Twitter... or anything else.
MAKO: Sadly, yeah.
SQEAKY: You were saying reading in sources.
MAKO: Uh yeah, I... There's more that can be covered but I think for our purposes we've covered quite a bit there. Uh, one... One thing that I kept on thinking when I was doing this research is just remembering... Like I don't really talk to creationists at all that much. I did when I was younger but not so much lately.
SQEAKY: I envy you so much.
*Mako is pleased*
MAKO: Yes, I know. But... again, like as I said when I was younger I did. It was... it was pretty easy to point out changes in organisms and be like okay, well organisms aren't static, you can plainly see this. And they are like "Okay you're right, it's not static, but that's adaptation and not evolution". And I just... I kept on thinking of that and it was just this nagging thing that bothers me. Because, to try and say that adaptation exists but evolution does not. If you do believe in evolution, you know that they are the same thing, the only difference is timescales. But to try to say that they're... they're not the same thing... Like if you have one organism that adapts in some way to something then... I mean that is the... the adapated organism is the new baseline. And presumably it can adapt again, and again, and again, and do that over a long enough period of time and it will meaningfully change as an organism. But to try and say that it can not meaningfully change means that there is some upper limit to the amount that it can adapt, and there is for lack of a better term there is some sort of adaptation wall or an adaptation tether that exists and... genetic entropy is the first thing that I can think of that I've heard anywhere that can even remotely be described as a mechanism for this, and genetic entropy is obvious bullshit. So like what even is this mechanism? Like what are people even like... I know the answer, this is a rhetorical question, Sqeaky.
MAKO: What are these people thinking when they admit that adaptation exists but evolution does not?
SQEAKY: I know it's a rhetorical question, but these people are just dyesvidentia sufferers.
SQEAKY: These people aren't thinking it through all the way. And if they didn't have some preconcieved reason to believe this... if these people weren't externally motivated to believe this... if they didn't need to believe it to satisfy their emotions... they probably wouldn't. But if you were raised from a young age you, were indoctrinated that God is good and right, you have to accept God's teachings to get in heaven, that God is the end all be all everything, and Jesus died for your sins... THere's a lot of emotional baggage and then when someone hooks a scientific hypothesis -even when it's totally wrong- onto your deeply seated emotional needs... yeah, it's hard. And for anyone that is having a conversation out there with someone who is denying evidence, who is denying evolution? You have to look at it from the perspective of: they have a reason for it. And religion is the most common in this country, but there's other reasons. And they are often just deep-seated and emotional. And unfortunately, so many of these anti-evolution people, let that creep into the rest of their thinking. Because if you don't accept evolution, all of the sudden vaccines don't seem nearly so useful and that's really problematic during a pandemic.
MAKO: I don't... I think for a lot of people that are ignorant... the concept between evolution and vaccines are sufficiently seperated they don't necessarily need to be tied in motivation.
SQEAKY: I'm sure it's distinct for many people. I'm pretty sure it's attached for many people as well. I don't have good numbers on this.
MAKO: Well, they're... they're attached in that 'Dems say these things are good' but-
MAKO: But beyond that...
SQEAKY: Stupid liberal cuck, I didn't evolve to be a Republican. Well, maybe you didn't evolve...
MAKO: No, you devolved to be a Re- sorry.
*Sqeaky laughs and sighs*
SQEAKY: I'm also cutting out lots of shade that I'd be throwing here, I promise.
MAKO: It's a little unnerving how seemless it was.
SQEAKY: So how about instead of us shooting shots at creationists, why don't wee actually present some positive evidence of evolution. I mean, not that we didn't already.
MAKO: Well, so proving evolution is a little bit tricky, 'cause again you have the constant claim of adaptation versus evolution, and evolution is something that takes place over really really large timescales. So from start to finish, demonstrating evolution is a little bit tricky. And it gets easier when you're talking about organisms with short lifespans... like viruses, it's pretty easy. But then people are going to argue like "Oh, is that even arguably a life form?"
SQEAKY: I have had face-to-face arguments with people about whether or not evolution in E. Coli could be abstracted and applied to multicellular life.
SQEAKY: People tried to tell me that "Oh it's still E. Coli therefore it didn't evolve." And I'm like... it learned how to eat a new thing. Right... it like... it's eating metal now. Right, it can eat... it can eat your jewelry... it couldn't before. It ate sugar yesterday it eats nickel-plated whatever today. How is that not a different organism to you?
MAKO: If we could one day eventually maybe probably not... but maybe invent like flawless time travel just like in Star Trek in all those time travel future episodes-
SQEAKY: And have Superman fly around the earth holding a creationist.
MAKO: And then-
MAKO: -show a timelapse of the evolution of dinosaurs, for example.
SQEAKY: That would be amazing.
MAKO: Then we could positively first-hand prove that yes, evolution is a thing. But we don't have that luxury, unfortunately.
SQEAKY: I really want to know why the stegosaurus had it's plates. And a timelapse of stegosaurus evolution might give us something. That'd be really cool.
MAKO: I certainly hope it would give us something.
SQEAKY: Yeah, we get- We get thousands of pictures of stegosaurus and all the scientists throw it out. They're like "What the fuck is this".
SQEAKY: Like imagine we do that and discover that like stegosaurs create webs or something ridiculous and we just have no clue, it didn't fossilize.
MAKO: Maybe there's a relevant XKCD for that.
SOURCE [1:13:29]: Spider web fossilization - https://xkcd.com/1747/
SQEAKY: Oh, goodness. Yeah there is.
SQEAKY: Because somebody from the future talking about how cool spiders are...
MAKO: Like "Oh my god it has a web?!"
SQEAKY: Yeah and they just didn't know because the web didn't fossilize.
SQEAKY: I'll put it in the shownotes.
MAKO: Okay. Ahh.... So, it is a difficult thing... Like we can create like mathmatical models but then people will argue "Well it's not something that can- Can you demonstrate it in biology?"
SQEAKY: I have literally written that piece of software.
SQEAKY: Yeah. I did it to learn about evolutionary algorithms, of all things. And I did this back in college like twenty years ago. Wasn't fresh then.
MAKO: Okay so... and then like you point to fossil records and they fall back on, y'know, "Err, Satan put them in the ground." So it's- There's this constant pushing out of things... moving the goalposts for what is sufficient evidence. But for most reasonable people, just a combination of like understanding the logic, understanding the mechanisms, understanding enough about cellular divison to get the mechanisms, and looking at the fossil record is a pretty complete picture for evolution. But that's... I think something that is interesting to think about that might appeal to more people is the motion that evolution is still ongoing in a lot of organisms in particular, including humans.
SQEAKY: I think that's a great place to start. If we only had some clean, natural expirement where there were some group of people that developed some trait that were useful and demonstrate evolution continued...
SQEAKY: There can't be anything like that.
MAKO: Tbere's actually quite a few different things like that-
MAKO: -as you well know. And I have a few different sources that talk about this. Uh, I started with the Wikipedia article titled "Recent Human Evolution", which is pretty fantastic. And I-
SOURCE [1:15:11]: Recent Human Evolution - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_human_evolution
SQEAKY: A little on the nose.
MAKO: And I focused on just the more... like especially recent, because when they say recent they're talking about like recent on civilization timescales. We're talking about going back like a thousand years. But I was focusing more specifically on things that are in the last two hundred years, which are kind of difficult because more obvious evolution tends to begin after about a hundred generations, roughly. I mean it depends on the change and it depends on the pressures, and it happen much more quickly. And there are a few examples of us seeing changes in human biology in as few as three generations.
MAKO: Yeah and that one specifically was... having a lower baseline blood pressure in westerners because of our high salt diets. Salt raises blood pressure.
SQEAKY: So we gained genetic changes in the past three generations to accomodate that?
SQEAKY: Huh. That may explain why when I play games with people they're really salty about losing.
*Mako snorts and sighs*
MAKO: But yeah. So there's a number of different examples like this. So I wrote down a bunch of these examples that I found particularly interesting. And like the Wikipedia article has a lot more examples than what I'm going to cover, but I picked the things that seemed obvious and relatable and can sufficiently be condensed. So humans used to have larger jaws, but modern diets and our ability to use tools to reduce the size of food that we intake... We don't really need really large jaws, so our jaws have been shrinking. And this is the reason that wisdom teeth need to be pulled in a lot of people. We just- We don't have the jaw space to accomodate all of the teeth that we once had the space for.
SQEAKY: So, it costs a lot of energy to have large jaws, and our jaws slowly got smaller to cost us less energy.
SQEAKY: That makes sense.
SQEAKY: So spend that extra energy on brains-
SQEAKY: -and then don't use it and have dysevidentia.
SQEAKY: And be modern Americans.
MAKO: Menopause is occuring later in women, so the reproductive window for women is increasing.
SQEAKY: So I still have a chance?
SQEAKY: I'll go find my dick, 'cause it fell off.
MAKO: Good luck.
SQEAKY: Thank you.
MAKO: Uh... so head sizes have been increasing ever since cesarean sections started becoming more common. 'Cause there was this tug of war... like- childbirth was this very dangerous thing for both child and mother for the longest time, like until modern medicine really came about, and then we were really able to push down-
MAKO: -infant mortality.
SQEAKY: If... if somebody were pregnant with a baby with a head that was too large, they wouldn't be able to give birth and probably both wouold die.
SQEAKY: And if a child was born with too small of a head, they are going to take more time to develop or amy be cognitively less able than someone with more brains.
MAKO: But now that cesarean sections are becoming more commonplace and becoming safer as we understand how to do these things and more technologies and procedures are becoming available, the pressure to keep head sizes down because of the mother and child dying like you described, that pressure is going away. So those were some interesting ones I pulled from some of the specific sources that were covered on the article. And there was another case -and I believe this is what you were referencing when we started this section- where malaria resistance developed faster than expected in an island population. Uh, there were some... I did not write down where exactly where this happened...
SOURCE [1:18:28]: Science Daily, rapid evolution of malaria resistance - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210128134710.htm
SQEAKY: You said it was off the coast of Africa but that really doesn't narrow it down.
*pages still turning*
MAKO: It really really doesn't. Uh... let's pull this up real quick.
SQEAKY: It can be in any of the four hemispheres.
MAKO: So it's on an island that's in an archipelago- fancy. Uh, some othree hundred eighty-five miles offshore from Senegal, Cabo Verde.
SQEAKY: Oh so that's West Africa.
MAKO: Uh, it was colonized by Portuguese sailors, they brought African slaves with them, and the African slaves had a resistance to malaria. TheEuropeans settlers did not. And the region is known for having malaria. A-
SQEAKY: It's Africa, yeah.
MAKO: Yeah, yeah.
SQEAKY: Anything close to it has malaria. Like Florida had it, until we fixed it. To think Florida was worse at one point...
MAKO: That's unthinkable. So there was some intermingling between the European settlers and their slaves, of course. But the selective pressure was so larg- 'Cause like just because you produce offspring doesn't necessarily mean that the traits are going to be passed on. Or imperfections in this process. And so you would expect this kind of trait to become commonplace after a certain number of generations. They didn't provide a specific number for the amount of generations that they expected it to occur, but they did say that the resistance developed pretty much completely throughout the entire population after twenty generations and they expected it to be much larger. And they even used the words "This is one of the most rapid cases of change to the human genome measured".
SQEAKY: That's kind of amazing. That also shows how dangerous malaria is.
MAKO: Yes, malaria is very pressuring for changes.
SQEAKY: And I wish that this didn't so directly relate to our current issues, but there are some people I've talked to who are saying that we will just evolve our way out of COVID. Let all of the people die and it's like... They don't realize that they are talking about generations of suffering.
SQEAKY: Malaria has a much higher lethality rate than COVID, and that's not to downplay COVID... The last number I saw showed that 1.8% of people who get it die, which is insurmountable amounts of death- it's incredible.
SQEAKY: But malaria has like some double-digit percentage, so yeah that'll kill ya. If you have a 1-in-5 chance of dying... Let's say it's 20%, right. Then the first generation, 20% of people who will die to it, die. So the next round of people are going to be way more resistance. Then I'm sure that the next round, it's gonna be more like 15-18% and then each generation it gets less and less until you eventually have a population of people where 1% of people die from it. And you have a measurable scientific thing we can read about on Wikipedia now.
MAKO: Yep, and then we have another source that goes on and describes a few more examples. I already touched on the western diet salt thing. This next source is where they talked about that. But the two other examples that I pulled from this article: People who live on the Tibetan Plateau are able to just breathe better in low oxygen environments.
SOURCE [1:21:09]: Tibetan oxygen, Bajua Spleens, and Westerners saltiness: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-15/humans-are-still-evolving-what-will-future-hold/11100284
SQEAKY: 'Cause of the high altitude.
MAKO: They have to. And, they just are better at it. There is also a... I'm probably going to prenounce this wrong, uh... Baw-joo... Baw-ju... Baw-jee?
SQEAKY: B-a-j-a-u for the people who are listening. And if you have a correction for how that is pronounced, please contact us at email@example.com or reach out to us on r/dysevidentia on Reddit.
MAKO: Yeah I... I'm an uncultured American, I'm going to butcher a lot of these things, I apologize. So, that is a community in Indoneasia, and they have larger-than-typical spleens, because they do a lot of uh... uh... holding breath diving. And the spleen when it compresses it releases red blood cells, and those carry oxygen, so the larger that your spleen is, the longer you can hold your breathe, and they have that compared to a lot of the rest of the population around the world.
SQEAKY: In your last note in this section, you point out that westerners have lower baseline cholesteral levels and blood pressures due to a high salt western diet.
MAKO: I have addressed that twice now, yes.
SQEAKY: But reading it again makes me realize that McDonalds is applying selective pressure on evolutionary timelines.
MAKO: Yes, yes it is.
SQEAKY: So am I right to infer that McDonald's is as much of an evolutionary pressure as malaria?
MAKO: Probably not. It is an evolutionary pressure and it's measurable but I don't think it's quite the same amount of pressure.
SQEAKY: That is a brilliant tagline for McDonald's: Not as unhealthy as malaria.
MAKO: And it's accurate! ...Near as we can tell.
SQEAKY: Oh god...
*Sqeaky laughs more*
SQEAKY: We're gonna get sued by McDonald's.
MAKO: What? We're just stating facts.
MAKO: It's not slander.
SQEAKY: Alright, so when the McDonald's lawyer reaches out to us with a cease-and-desist letter, I'll be sure to say "Hey, we said you're not as bad as malaria."
MAKO: Why, you want to refute that? You sure you wanna go that direction, McDonald's?
SQEAKY: That'll play well. That'll play great in front of a judge.
SQEAKY: There's no way that'll go bad for us. Ahh, well that's a really thorough discussion on modern human evolution.
SQEAKY: So, it provides... I don't want to say hard explanations, but it provides a really strong scientific framework to think about problems that we have. Like wisdom teeth, birth, and uh... how our brain size relates to how we reproduce as a species. Disease is in an ever-present selective force on us because there is no other macroscopic organism that's a threat, right?
SQEAKY: We were cave people when we eradicated the saber-toothed tiger. There just aren't any threats in terms of like lions and tigers and bears, oh my. We shot them with a gun, we win.
SQEAKY: And then we see these environments that we're pushing to the extreme 'cause we've spread everywhere so people go in every environment. We've got people living on top of mountains and near the ocean and eating unhealthy food and adapting to all of it.
SQEAKY: Wait, so I'm highly evolved?!
MAKO: You're evolved, let's just leave it at that.
SQEAKY: I'll take it.
MAKO: Yeah you would.
SQEAKY: Alright, any other points in human evolution?
MAKO: I'm sure there are plenty, but again, trying to keep things high level, so.
SQEAKY: Okay. Then I'ma drop one more source in there. Check out talkorigins.org. They have an index of creationist claims that is hundreds of items long, and they sort them and arrange them and provide several sources for refuting each. Uh, we didn't actually use that this episode but I have used it in previous episodes, and it was a big deal for me when I was first coming around to accept that evolution was a plausible way to explain the vast and amazing diversity of life. So it's really good reading if you have somebody in your life who's really bugging you. I wouldn't suggest dumping it on them, but try to read and learn for yourself, come to your own conclusions based on actual reasearch, dig into scientific papers and hopefully between our shownotes and the Talk Origins index of creationist claims, you can be educated enough to have a hard conversation with people around you.
SOURCE [1:24:18]: The alpha and omega of creationist bullshit debunked - http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/
SQEAKY: Never claimed to be good at this.
SQEAKY: Like I think I've made it clear that part of why I went into podcasting is because I have a face for it.
MAKO: You've made that abundantly clear in multiple times and multiple places.
SQEAKY: I have a YouTube definciency: my face.
SQEAKY: I have good ideas. The stuff behind the face is good... Like my skull.
MAKO: It is a very robust skull.
SQEAKY: I feel like you've hit me several times that I don't recall.
MAKO: Not to your knowledge.
*Sqeaky keeps laughing*
SQEAKY: That's how that works!
MAKO: Thanks again to our sponsor, ABK Kustomz. Go to ABK Kustomz, that is abk-kustomz.com and give them discount code "Evidence" to get a 10% discount on having an expert build your next custom computer.
SQEAKY: Thanks to all of our Patreon supporters at the Evidence Investigator level or higher. Jarrod, DuktTape, Qeldaar, and Lezore78.
MAKO: Thanks for listening, and don't forget to like, subscribe, leave a review, or tell a friend.
SQEAKY: Copyright 2021, BlackTopp Studios Inc.
MAKO: Intro music was Slow by PitX. Used with permission.
SQEAKY: Sorry, it's good to just take a breather on this.
ROCK DOCTOR: You definitely need to edit out all these smothered bits.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah, taking out the silences and stuff will be easy, but hearing smart people's opinions on complex things... we'll leave a bunch of that in there 'cause I don't disagree and we'll fact check everything before we publish.
ROCK DOCTOR: It's a real shame that we can't sit in an English pub with a pint each and just record it in a noisy uh... city bar. Much more fun.
SQEAKY: When the pandemic is good and over, maybe.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yep, when you're a multi-millionaire from your podcast and you can fly anywhere you need to.
SQEAKY: That's right, I'm an American, I'm not poor. I'm a temporarily disenfranchised millionaire.
MAKO: Or so we're told.
ROCK DOCTOR: That's an actual millionaire... If you believe what the house prices are worth.
SQEAKY: Uh, tha-
ROCK DOCTOR: It's crazy. Y'know, I live in a very small humble house by American standards, but it has a crazy price tag attached to it. It would be nice if I ever get to turn it into cash, but then I wouldn't have anywhere to live.
SQEAKY: Can't you buy a... a little farm plot out in the middle of nowhere?
ROCK DOCTOR: No, no, I bought a... what do they call it in America- A rowhouse.
SQEAKY: Oh so it's like a-
ROCK DOCTOR: Is that what they call them?
SQEAKY: It's like one of many-
ROCK DOCTOR: Townhouse?
SQEAKY: -like a duplex or something.
ROCK DOCTOR: I've got neighbors that I share a wall with on both sides.
SQEAKY: I see. So it's hard to sell.
ROCK DOCTOR: And I've got an enourmous garden that's a hundred foot long and thirty foot wide, which is huge by London standards.
MAKO: I think that's huge by most standards.
SQEAKY: Well, that's like upper middle-class American suburb sized. That's like, a little bigger than ours.
ROCK DOCTOR: I mean you don't... Surely you put on your cowboy hat and you saddle up and you ride all day to the edge of your land?
SQEAKY: That's... a state south. That's Oklahoma and Texas. This is Nebraska...
ROCK DOCTOR: Okay.
SQEAKY: ...we put on our boots and wade through the corn.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes, that's true.
SQEAKY: I don't know, I'm trying to be funny. Mako is giving me this look...
ROCK DOCTOR: What was it... what was that film...? Interstellar? Was that filmed in Nebraska?
SQEAKY: I think Iowa.
MAKO: Yeah Iowa, pretty sure.
SQEAKY: So thirty feet east.
ROCK DOCTOR: It was this great image of this endless seas of corn...
ROCK DOCTOR: Well it had some hills. Yeah, there were some hills.
MAKO: We have some hills like that, yeah.
SQEAKY: The hills were CG. People don't believe it's this flat.
*The Rock Doctor finds this humorous. Sqeaky sighs*.
SQEAKY: Alright, we have you presumably-
ROCK DOCTOR: I need to see Nebraska one day.
SQEAKY: I'm sorry?
ROCK DOCTOR: I need to see Nebraska one day.
*Sqeaky finds this humorous, only because he knows what Nebraska is really like.*
MAKO: You really don't.
SQEAKY: There are like-
ROCK DOCTOR: Maybe- Maybe from an airplane.
MAKO: That seems fair.
SQEAKY: They already call us fly-over states.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes, I heard... that's far.
SQEAKY: We do have a couple of good things to see her. If you like zoos, the Henry Doorly Zoo is the second largest and second best-funded zoo in the country. It is a phenominal zoo, and uh-
ROCK DOCTOR: That sounds good.
SQEAKY: Yeah, we have this giant desert dome, we have trees, but we put them inside because it's Nebraska. Can't have them outside.
ROCK DOCTOR: I saw the... what was it... The Nebraska National Forest. And I was like "That's not a forest."
SQEAKY: Well, you're talking-
ROCK DOCTOR: It's a valley- There's a little valley that has some trees at the bottom.
*Sqeaky is tickled at the mention*
SQEAKY: Yeah, you're talking about the Fontenelle Forest... We have to drive past it to get to Iowa. It's... what is it... it's fourteen hundred acres?
MAKO: I don't know, something like that. When you're inside it it looks convincingly like a forest but if yuo're anywhere else, it's like oh.
SQEAKY: They built houses right up to the edge of it and there's this one hill, it's like the one hill that isn't CGI, and you can look out and you can see too in across the river from it. I mean it's... it's not big.
ROCK DOCTOR: No.
ROCK DOCTOR: Sorry I've... On but on the other hand, America has proper forests in some places. Y'know, we don't have any forests where you could get lost and die, whereas, y'know, that's a normal thing that you're worried about when you go to an American forest. These big scale...
SQEAKY: Yeah, I used to live in Spokane, it's uh... it's still in the Rockies. Spokane Mountain Valley, is like, I'm pretty sure you can the whole of the British Isles, and put it on top of the Spokane Mountain Valley, and not really have to touch any of the snowcaps and, it is phenominally-
ROCK DOCTOR: Hmm.
SQEAKY: -large. It's not Alaska large, but ugh. And then Montana. All of western Montana is just... trees, deer, and snow. Like a thousand miles of it.
ROCK DOCTOR: That's... That's kind of fasinating, uh... and fear-inducing... The idea that you could not- In a British forest, you can just pick a direction and walk in that direction and you'll come across a road. Up in Scotland maybe, you might have to walk for half a day, but really nothing bigger than that and there's usually always a road that cuts through the middle 'cause it's in the way.
SQEAKY: Yeah, the world is certainly becoming more tame.
ROCK DOCTOR: I mean even, Oman- I went to Oman and -'cause I'm a geologist- I went up all the mountains and explored everywhere I could get to, and I've heard from people years later that "Yeah they've built a road up there and they've now got a hotel up there" and it's sort of sad to me to think that this was bloody wilderness and it was very difficult to get to in fifty degree heat, and we walked all day and carried all of our water and now you just get in a four-wheel drive and boom, up to a hotel.
SQEAKY: Mako, looks like you've got a question?
MAKO: No, not a question, just thinking about an anecdote where uh... Not specifically in the United States but in Canada, I once literally almost got lost in a wooded area in the mountains, right as it was becoming nightfall. It was a pretty scary experience.
ROCK DOCTOR: I've done something similar, I was- I'd been collecting rocks in France on my own, and I decided to get back to the car because it was getting late, and uh... they'd been felling trees and not clearing them, so I started. I got into the middle of this small patch of wood, maybe I don't know, a few tens of acres, and I had to climb over a big log, and I had to climb over another big log, and I'm carrying about twenty kilos or fourty pound of rock on my back and it was quite hard, and then I came to an area where trees were criss-crossed on top of each other and it was getting to be really hard to go across each one, and I was going down to the ground level in between and then climbing up two or three trees to get over the next one, and then the sun started to go down and I couldn't see very clearly and I thought this would be the saddest and most pathetic way to die.
*Sqeaky and Mako think this is funny*
ROCK DOCTOR: I got out in the end but I was covered in sweat and part of that was fear.
SQEAKY: I had a very different emotional experience outside. Not fearful- I'm glad you survived. Um-
ROCK DOCTOR: Me too.
SQEAKY: -mine... mine was more seeing the-
SQEAKY: Sorry... I'm terrible at segweys. Mine was the opposite: it was the awe and splendor of nature. I was on another one of these cross-country trips. I was in the middle of nowhere Colorado, I think Wyota [Correction: The county is Kiowa] County, if anyone wants to look that up on the map. And uh, it was like 2 AM, and I just had to catch some sleep. I was almost where I needed to be and I decided to take a little map, I just pulled over to the side of the road. I took a couple hours of nap?... uh... and still before the sun came up... uh... I went to start my car and it just wouldn't start. So I just got out and waited for someone to come by and I stared up at the stars. And it was a perfectly clear night, there wasn't a light for miles, and I could see all of the stars you can't see when you're in a city. I could see the Milky Way more vibrantly than I've ever seen it. I saw all little sorts of swirls and amazing things in the night sky, and eventually uh... a Wyota [Kiowa] County Sheriff came along and gave me a jump start and I got on my way. But yeah, I was never really in danger like you were or Mako were, I hope.
ROCK DOCTOR: It was awesome to see a really really clear night sky.
ROCK DOCTOR: I saw it for the first time- I saw the Milky Way for the first time in Oman where in the desert, the only thing that spoils it there is the oil industry who have giant gas flairs on the horizon.