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Some assertions are hard to prove

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webmaster | 06/18/14

I heard an interesting statistic the other day: Since the beginning of time (which would be about midnight on Jan. 1 of the year 2 or 3 million BCE) about 100 billion people have died. That is one of those statistics that you can’t possibly argue against, because how would you?

First, who counted all those people? Even if you could find them all, try counting to 100 billion. You would find that once you got to about 2 or 3 billion, you would be among those you were counting. And what if your spouse said something to you while you were counting, and you lost count and had to start over? Imagine the arguments that would start.

Another assertion I have a hard time with is that all the land on the planet today used to be two continents, called Laurasia and Gondwanaland. Together, they became Pangea, which later became what we have today, continent-wise.

Geologists say the continents we have today are the way they are because of continental drift. They also say the continents are drifting back together again.

If that is true, it will be a surprise when people on the East Coast of the United States look out their windows one morning and see that they are about to run into Africa. “Good grief, look what climate change is doing now!” an environmentalist might exclaim.

Geologists say they can prove all this has happened, and is going to happen, and they are quietly buying up real estate in key locales as a hedge.

I admire them for their confidence, but I don’t see much continental drifting going on. It takes a long time for continents to drift, so you could claim just about anything about it you wanted to.

“Canada will collide with Eurasia,” you could say. And who could say you were wrong, except another geologist who just felt like arguing.

You also, for example, could say soccer is the world’s greatest game. Plenty of people do say that. But I’m not one of them. I think I’d rather watch a continent drift than watch an hour of the World Cup. But each to his own, I always say.


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