Gregg Easterbrook is an IDiot

A few years back Easterbrook was by far my favourite writer about the NFL. He was funny, erudite, knowledgeable, and his opinions on everything reeked of fanboy delurium. Then he went and said some really stupid things about Jewish control of Hollywood, and it cost him his gig.

Well, he's back writing for ESPN. Unfortunately, he hasn't smartened up all that much in the interim. Like the once admirable author Orson Scott Card, Easterbrook fell for the odious 'Intelligent Design' theory hook line and sinker, going so far as to write really stupid things in its defense.

Now, on the whole its much better that Easterbrook be out and proud of his intellectual backwardness when it comes to ID theory than cagey and specious about his anti-semitism, if only because its a lot easier to chart his lunacy when he isn't trying to mask it.

Here's his latest stupidity;

"Here's the rub, unmentioned in news coverage of the Mars water finding: Readings suggest liquid water last flowed on Mars 3.5 billion years ago, and has not done so since. How could this have happened? An essential aspect of Earth's geologic history is the "faint sun" problem. When the Earth formed, about 4.5 billion years ago, our star, Sol, gave off less heat and light than today. It is thought that for much of the early eons, Earth was a snowball, because the sun's heat was insufficient to melt water on our world. Gradually solar output increased as the material of our star compressed; somewhere around a billion years ago, Sol began emitting as much heat as it does today, the Earth warmed, and complex life followed. But if Earth was a snowball 3.5 billion years ago how could Mars, much farther away from the sun, have been warm enough for flowing water?"

Ok, where to start?

A. It is not an 'essential problem' of solving the Earth's geologic history that we uncover the 'faint sun' problem, since most rational people have concluded that natural processes like the 'greenhouse effect' (see: Venus) can account for the warm temperatures found on earlier Earth.

B. It is not thought that much of Earth's early history was that of a snowball, in fact, it is understood that the Earth was relatively close its current temperature for most of its history (with variations in temp that acccount for the occasional ice-ages etc.). What needs explanation is not how life developed on a snowball, but why was Earth not a snowball if the Sun's output is only 75% of what it is now.

C. Ditto for Mars. Mars gives us all the evidence of having been both warmer and wetter in its past than it is now. Again, atmospheric composition is the most likely candidate for explaining this phenomenae.

Ok, so why is Easterbrook so interested in this 'essential problem if earth's geologic history' that is neither essential nor a problem?
I think it's because he spends too much time reading these guys, and taking them way, way too seriously.

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