Nice piece by Hugh Ross on the India Asia Collision.
This is a really good article.
Yes, I learned more about the Tibetan plateau. Millions of year later Denisovans inhibited and adapted to the high altitude with a gene mutation that was then give to Sapiens who arrived later. Amazing.
Ross often presents some good, interesting science. Pity he has to always spoil it by interjecting his silly “and this was all Designed on purpose just for us modern humans!”
At least in this article he did not link a biblical passage to the India/Asia collision and the Tibetan Plateau.
He just adds his God is wonderful phrase at the end which I don’t find adds to nor takes away from his fine piece.
Ross seems to put the cart before the horse. Humans evolved to fit the Earth as it is. If the Earth were different then human evolution would have adapted us to this new Earth. If there were an alternate Earth where India did not collide with Asia, they would be talking about how their world was fine tuned for them.
The second paragraph include this
Ross: " I believe this epic tectonic movement supports the idea that God designed Earth specifically for humanity.
Of course the title is
" Fine-Tuned India-Asia Collision Cools Earth for Human Habitation"
ALL SCIENCE SO FAR!
I see quite a few sweeping statements here without adequate references. For instance, what makes the India-Asia collision “by far the most dramatic collision” in Earth history? Plate tectonics have been going on for at least 1 billion years, quite possible for as long a 3 billion years. There have been many continental collisions in that time, with many large mountain ranges as a result.
What is the source for the statement that the Tibetan Plateau is “the largest and highest elevation plateau in Earth’s history”? Not saying he is wrong, but on what is this based?
To take an example of an ancient mountain chain, the Caledonian orogeny in the Lower Paleozoic extended from the Appalachians over Greenland and northern Britain into Scandinavia. These were very serious mountains as evidenced from the extent of their exposed roots and the volume of their erosional products. This paper states that “the Himalaya-Tibet and Caledonide orogens are comparable in scale and are similar in various aspects.” Another paper makes the same point and states that "The Scandinavian‐NE Greenland Caledonides and the Himalayan‐Tibetan ranges are comparable in size, and the Caledonides are often considered to have been of a height similar to the Himalaya ".
Then there is the late Paleozoic Variscan orogeny which in this paper is compared with the Himalayans in terms of size and geodynamics.
I am not convinced that the Himalayans are all that unique in Earth history.
Just translate it to: “This ultimately shaped how humans arose in fundamental ways.”
He does justify this. He claims that the Tibettan plateau is the largest and highest in all earths history. If that is true (and I don’t know), this is good evidence for his claim.
(@davidson, help us on the geology?)
Comparable does not mean Himalayan isn’t larger. Once again, I do not have expertise to tell.
That’s not what Ross says. It’s not just that the geologic changes shaped us. Ross claims the geologic changes were purposely done to produce us.
I know it is not what he says. It is how his work could be understood, if that makes it more palatable to you.
Another unsubstantiated statement is “Without the uplift of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau there would be no ice age cycle”.
There have been many glaciations in Earth history, and whilst some of them may be related to mountain building, others appear not to be. Some factors contributing to glaciations are variations in solar output and the position of continents on the globe, affecting oceanic and atmospheric circulation.
Another way to view this problem is to consider the possibility that if Earth’s history had been different that a different intelligent species could have already evolved before humans. Therefore, events could be disastrous for one potential intelligent species, but a boon for another.
It’s palatable now. I just ignore his silly “…and here God did a MIRACLE just for us!” interjections.
I am a geologist, and although I happily confess that I am no expert on the relative sizes of orogens, I know enough of the subject to have my doubts about the pertinent statements. To dig a bit deeper I did a quick Google and found the papers I referenced above, details of which cast doubt on the uniqueness of the Himalayan orogen - a claim that I had not come across before.
I am not saying that Mr. Ross has it wrong, I am simply wondering what references he has for his sweeping and at first sight perhaps rather tendentious statements.
My final gripe with the article is the claim that human civilisation required interglacials in a predominant glacial period.
why would this be the case? There have been perfectly viable biological ecosystems on Earth for hundreds of millions of years. Is there any particular reason why humans couldn’t have thrived in the climatic conditions present during the reign of the dinosaurs, for instance?
there have been similar climatic conditions a number of times before in Earh history. Again, I am doubtful of the uniqueness of the present situation, and Mr. Ross’s statements really do need adequate references before they should be accepted.
I understand the inclination to be skeptical.
But I reported on the Indian/Asia factor in global climate issues weeks ago.
This is not a “pet idea” of some Creationists… it’s “rock solid” science (pun intended!) that the Creationists have just turned to their favor.
Prior to the collision of India with Asia, the Earth generally had higher levels of CO2. And there was also a current that cut from the Atlantic to the Pacific (or vice versa?) between North and South America.
But the combination of closing the Panama outlet (forcing massive current cycles in the Atlantic that exchanged heat and cold efficiently North to South and back), and a continued “draw down” on the Earth’s CO2 levels triggered a very novel situation for some 800,000 years!:
Driven by the triple Milankovitch Cycles, the Earth experienced 8 glaciations in 800,000 years. What was striking about these glaciations was that the CO2 levels changed by a very small amount … indicating that the Earth had achieved such a low level of C02, that small swings in CO2 would push “the bubble” back and forth from Glaciation to inter-Glaciation.
CO2 levels down to 180 ppm was enough to put mile-high glaciers sitting on top of what is now Manhattan, while levels up to 280 ppm was enough to melt those same glaciers.
Here is a well known chart showing these swings (for the last 400,000 years):
Unfortunately, human-produced CO2 levels have now exceeded 400 ppm, which means the “on the bubble” swing of 180 to 280 back to 180 is now swamped out.
We are now on our way to Jurassic levels of CO2 (which presumably will melt away the 3rd pole on the plateau of the Himalays…
Perhaps if the Ga-Billionaire Koch brothers could be prevailed upon to build a second fortune on break-through technologies in Carbon-Fixing (capturing atmospheric CO2) … they could make another fortune while at the same time saving the planet …
What are the reasons to believe that the Tibetan plateau is the largest ever? A great many continental sutures have happened through earth history, most of them of far larger extent (that is, involving far larger bits of crust) than India. So why would India’s collision be expected to be unusually large?
That was not a typo: I am not convinced that the Himalayans are unique in the history of the planet.
Your reply, interesting though it is, doesn’t really allay my doubts. The article makes a number of sweeping claims that are suspect to someone who knows a bit more about similar situations earlier in the history of the planet. In brief, ice ages are not confined to the Quaternary. Large-scale continental collisions and resulting massive orogens are not limited to the India/Asia situation. Advanced forms of life existed during periods of warmer climate and higher CO2 concentrations, long before the Quaternary.
In the light of all these facts, claims about ‘uniqueness’ seem unwarranted, until Mr. Ross presents more relevant references than he does in the article.