What Holy Document Describes Earth
as a Cosmic Shooting Target for ...
(Top Posts - Science - 013105)

(Original post made February 22, 2001,
updated January 31, 2005,
with reports on
the "great dying" in which some new evidence
suggests that long-time volcanism caused the
massive life loss about 250 million years ago.
Also recently added, a report in which an
"asteroids action plan" has been urged by
the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.)

... asteroids and comets resulting in
devastating global destruction of vast
numbers of living creatures occurring
repeatedly during the hundreds of
millions of years prior to the advent
of any semblance of a creature close
to a modern human?


What Holy document describes super-
volcano explosions, many likely caused
by the afore-mentioned asteroid and
comet impacts, with the last one likely
leading to the near extinction of modern
humans circa 74 thousand years ago?


Don't these facts alone, constantly being
refined and expanded upon via the method
of scientific inquiry, place the already
enormous odds against there being anything
remotely resembling the christian god, or
human-centric designer deities, into the
realm of all-but infinitesimally zero, with
the same likelihood of falsity as exist in all
of the fanciful myths of ancient cultures,
mythical fabrications of humans without
a clue about the workings/whys/wherefores
of their natural world?

Yep. Details follow ...

Asteroid 'destroyed life 250m years ago'
(February 22, 2001)
Excerpt: "Atoms from a star trapped inside
molecular cages of carbon prove that Earth's
biggest mass extinction - an event 251 million
years ago - was triggered by a collision with
a comet or asteroid.

This conclusion was reached by researchers
in the United States, reporting in the journal
Science. ...

The impact of a body of this size releases
an amount of energy that is about one million
times the largest earthquake recorded during
the last century. ..."

- - -

Asteroids Struck Twice
Evidence Suggests a Major Asteroid Disaster Long Before Dinosaurs
(February 22, 2001)
Excerpt: "Asteroids crashing into the Earth
have virtually wiped out life not once but at
least twice, scientists reported today.

An asteroid or comet roughly the same size
as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65
million years ago did even worse damage 250
million years ago, experts found in a report
published in Friday's issue of the journal

The evidence comes from space gases trapped
in little carbon spheres called Buckyballs in
ancient layers of sediment.

They show the Permian extinction event, during
which most species on the planet disappeared,
started with a cosmic collision. ..."

- - - - - -

New information added in January, 2005:

January 21, 2005

Volcanic activity eyed in "Great Dying"
250 million years ago


The cause of the cataclysm is a matter of great
dispute among paleontologists, but research
released yesterday offers new evidence that
global warming caused by massive and pro-
longed volcanic activity may have been the
chief culprit.

Huge amounts of carbon dioxide were released
into the air from open volcanic fissures known
to geologists as the "Siberian Traps," researchers
said, triggering a greenhouse effect that warmed
the Earth and depleted oxygen from the atmos-
phere, causing environmental deterioration and,
finally, collapse.

A second set of findings suggested that the
warming also crippled the oceans' ability to re-
fresh their oxygen supply, causing the seas to
go sterile, destroying marine life and allowing
anaerobic bacteria (which do not require oxy-
gen) to release poisonous hydrogen sulfide into
the air.

... University of Rochester scientist Robert
Poreda, a proponent of the impact theory,
noted that the "absence of evidence" at Karoo
Basin "does not constitute evidence of absence."

"We propose there was pre-existing volcanism"
that became much worse because of the seismic
energy released by the asteroid or comet impact,
he said.

- - -

January 13, 2005

"Asteroid impact plan" urged


... "The successful launch of the Deep Impact
space probe marks a milestone in our under-
standing of comets and what they're made of.
But it's also vital information to those seeking
ways to protect us from a catastrophic impact
from a large object from space. ... To put it in
perspective, if a comet smashed into an ocean
basin, it could generate a tsunami 1,000 metres
high together with untold devastation from fire
and molten lava ... It could kill hundreds of
millions of people, but unless we know what
these things are made of, we won't be able to
plan a way to divert them."


- - - - - -

Asteroids 'threaten' Earth
(September 16, 2000)
Excerpt: "Experts are to tell the UK Govern-
ment that more must be done to defend the
Earth from the threat of rocks crashing onto
the planet from outer space. ..."

- - -

New clues about the 'Great Dying'
traced in Science - What led to mass
extinction 250 million years ago?
(July 20, 2000)
Excerpt: "Mysterious killer struck suddenly,
journal reports - Scientists call it the 'Great
Dying,' a period of unrivaled carnage in our
planet’s history.

About 251 million years ago, Earth’s greatest
mass extinction event wiped out more than 90
percent of all marine plants and animals and up
to 70 percent of all land species.

The extinction marked the end of an era, closing
the book on the first great pulse of life on Earth
and ushering in the age of reptiles. But the Great
Dying is also a great mystery, maybe the greatest
murder mystery ever, because the “murderer” is
still at large. ..."

- - -

(February 3, 2000)
Excerpt: "... The last supervolcano to erupt
was Toba 74,000 years ago in Sumatra. Ten
thousands times bigger than Mt St Helens, it
created a global catastrophe dramatically
affecting life on Earth.

Scientists know that another one is due - they
just don't know when or where.

- - -

We Dodged Extinction
(May 26, 1999) [link no longer available]
Excerpt: "‘Pruned’ Family Tree Leaves Little
Genetic Variety - A worldwide research pro-
gram has come up with astonishing evidence
that humans have come so close to extinction
in the past that it’s surprising we’re here at all. ...

'The evidence would suggest that we came
within a cigarette paper’s thickness of becoming
extinct,' Wood says. ..."

- - -

Humans came close to extinction
(September 8, 1998)
Excerpt: "... A new hypothesis about recent
human evolution suggests that humans came
close to extinction because of a 'volcanic winter'
that occurred 71,000 years ago.

Some scientists estimate that there may have
been as few as 15,000 humans alive at one time.

The 'volcanic winter' lasted about six years. It
was followed by 1,000 years of the coldest Ice
Age on record.

It brought widespread famine and death to
human populations around the world. It also
affected subsequent human evolution.

This was because of the 'bottleneck' effect.

The rapid decrease, in our ancestors' popula-
tions, in turn, brought about the rapid 'differ-
entiation' - or genetic divergence - of the sur-
viving populations.

The idea is being advocated by Professor
Stanley Ambrose of the University of Illinois.
He believes that the eruption of Mount Toba
in Sumatra caused the bottleneck. ..."

- - -