Are We Being Punished for our Efforts to Use Less Gasoline?

000In California motorists pay 69 cents of state taxes for each gallon of gas they pump into their cars, more for diesel. Add to that another 18.4 cents per gallon for federal excise taxes, and it could go higher in some counties. In 2009 that generated almost $3.2 billion in revenue for the state of California, most earmarked for the construction and repair of our roads and highways. California is close to tied with New York when it comes to the highest state taxes for the purchase of gasoline.

California, especially in the south, has the unfortunate combination of high population density and concave topography that can trap particulates and create air pollution. To reduce pollution and wean people from fossil fuels, incentives were developed to get people to buy fuel saving vehicles and eventually hybrids and electric cars became popular, and may likely become ubiquitous in the next several years. One such incentive was the right to use the carpool lane with only one person driving their new Prius.

002This was not an easy transition since the economics of buying a hybrid required a lot of miles and a long period of time owning the car before you could justify the premium prices. Nevertheless, many socially conscious people stepped up and happily paid the premium to do what they considered the “right thing.” But the picture is beginning to change and new challenges are cropping up, a result of the ramifications of this sociological, environmental and technological shift.

004Electricity costs are increasing as coal-fired power plants are being phased out. Solar and other renewable energy sources cost more on the basis of producing a kilowatt of power, though the benefits are obvious, important and substantial. But those with the electric cars will be paying increasingly more to charge their vehicles. A few companies (e.g. Kingston Technology) are providing free charging stations at work, but thus far that is the exception more than the rule.

005Now another problem has come to the fore. Gasoline tax revenues have fallen rather dramatically, and the state of California is studying a “pay per mile” tax to make up for the shortfall in revenue for roads and highways. This could have the unintended effect of shifting some of the costs from cars that are gas-guzzlers to the gas-misers. Other countries have innovative ways to avoid this problem. Germany, for example, charges high-polluting trucks and cars more than cleaner ones, so fewer of those dirtier trucks are now on the road. Singapore has cut gridlock by levying a higher road charge during rush hour and on busy roads. Many different ideas can be incubated to get the right combination of revenue balanced by solving for problems such as weaning us from fossil fuels, reducing air pollution and traffic gridlock.

006The governor of California is expected to have completed the study and have recommendations by 2017, so what are some of your ideas?

Noah, Ark and Global Flood: Myth, Maybe or Most Certainly?

00That many geologists are today creating a global flood model may incense those who have already settled in their own minds that Noah and his family, the ark and a global deluge are the stuff of myth and mysticism. Yet the very same strata evolutionists point to – the fossil record — holds clues to another possibility that shows far more evidentiary support for a global flood than for evolution.

Ever wonder about what happens when organisms die? They decay, they return to the same basic elements found throughout nature: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Given enough time, entropy, the second law of thermodynamics takes a well-designed and complex living organism and devolves and deconstructs it into its constituent parts. So how is it that we have extremely widespread strata that contain the calcified remains of marine fossils? Should they not have decayed and left no trace?

0The Theory of Uniformitarianism underpins and frankly necessitates the argument for evolution to have worked. The fortuitous occurrence of accidental circumstances sequenced together over a long period of time is needed to believe that organism complexity today could have happened by chance. But has our planet existed peacefully enough to allow for evolution, or is there contradictory evidence that must be taken into consideration? Indeed the evidence is overwhelming that our planet has survived many cataclysmic interruptions that would have been of sufficient force to reset any evolutionary clock.

1Scientists write of the Permian-Triassic extinction event, when 96% of marine and 70% of the land organisms were doomed to extinction. The world’s forests were literally “wiped out.” In the model of a global deluge, the rapid flows of water would account for the marine life being virtually eliminated, and a large barge (i.e. ark) would explain how some land organisms survived.

2Throughout the world, peoples and cultures have stories of a worldwide flood; there are hundreds of such stories. Certainly these stories have been embellished and changed over the years, but the common denominator is this: worldwide flood. Here is just one example taken from the records of the Hualapai Indians of northwestern Arizona (especially fascinating since the Hualapai were a proud people, despising the ‘religions’ of the white man):

It rained for 45 days, and the whole earth was flooded. All the people were destroyed, except for one old man atop Spirit Mountain. Many days passed and a dove brought him instructions from the Creator to drive a ram’s horn into the earth. The old man obeyed and the waters were drained. He sent the dove forth, and when it returned with fresh grass in its beak, he rejoiced for the land had become dry.

When the old man died, the Creator made “a younger brother and an older brother.” In obedience to a dream, the two scraped, cleaned, and laid out canes. Before the next dawn the canes turned into a great population, and older-brother’s rule over them was good. When he died, younger-brother commanded Cousin Coyote to fetch fire for the funeral pyre from faraway Fire-starter. But Coyote was disobedient and looked back, only to see that the fire had started without him. Dashing back to the pyre, he reached into the blaze, snatched older-brother’s heart, and fled with it in his clenched teeth. (To this day, coyotes bear the mark of rebellion in their upturned, disfigured mouths.)

The land became irrevocably “not good” by this act, and younger-brother led the people “across the water” to a new land in the east. Overcrowding soon ensued, and younger-brother chief dispersed the people into three major people groups (Navajo, Mojave, and Hualapai).

There are many more “flood traditions,” stories recorded and repeated around the globe. Science too confirms many supporting theories for a flood, though their discoveries were likely not intended to do so at the time. Here are just a ten among hundreds:

  1. The genealogical records of many of the European kings can be traced back to Japheth, son of Noah.
  2. An analysis of population growth statistics confirms that there was zero population at the estimated time of the end of the flood. This indicates the global demise of humans by Noah’s flood.
  3. Human paleontological evidence exists even in the earliest geologic ‘ages’ (e.g. human footprints in Cambrian, Carboniferous, and Cretaceous rocks). If the layers of rock were laid down by a global flood and then interpreted as evolutionary long-ages, human remains and artifacts would appear to be in such positions.
  4. The most ancient human artifacts date to the post-flood era. This indicates that the earlier hardware could have been buried beyond reach by a huge flood.
  5. Calculations have shown that there is nearly the same amount of organic material present today, worldwide, as there would have been if all the fossils were still alive. This indicates the demise of all living things in a single global event.
  6. Studies show that much of the world’s folded beds of sediment have no compression fractures, indicating that they were contorted while they were still wet and soft. For this to occur on a global scale, and on sediment thousands of meters thick, it would have required a catastrophic global flood.
  7. The uplift of the major mountain ranges are relatively young, based on evolutionary chronology. If the long-age evolutionary time scale is ignored, these processes would have occurred in the very recent past – i.e. as a result of the flood cataclysm.
  8. Marine fossils can be found on the crests of mountains. Apart from mountain uplifting, this can also be explained as the marine animals being washed there and then buried. A global flood could do this.
  9. Meteorites are basically absent from the geologic column. With the large number of meteorites hitting the earth each year, they should be very plentiful throughout the sedimentary rocks – unless much of the world’s sedimentary rocks were laid down in one year.
  10. Hydrologic evidence points to the rapid deposition of sedimentary rock layers. Therefore, the thousand’s of meters of sediment must have been deposited by a catastrophic global flood.

That scientists dismiss the possibility of a worldwide flood is consistent with their dismissal of problems with their Theory of Uniformitarianism. When extraneous evidence contradicts a worldview, it is dismissed, discredited or disavowed, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Thoughtful people who are not intimidated by the scholarship of others are encouraged to investigate these things and draw their own conclusions. The debate is ongoing, but when I see the cavalier dismissal of all of this evidence I can only conclude that some people are simply too frightened to even imagine the possibility wherein God exists, He has spoken to us, and His Words are true and reliable.

r_mann

References

New ancient fungus finding suggests world’s forests were wiped out in global catastrophe. Imperial College London press release, October 1, 2009.

Jin, Y. G. et al. 2000. Pattern of Marine Mass Extinction Near the Permian–Triassic Boundary in South China. Science. 289 (5478): 432–436.

Sephton, M. A., et al. 2009. Chemical constitution of a Permian-Triassic disaster species. Geology. 37 (10): 875-878.

Renne, P. R., and A. R. Basu. 1991. Rapid Eruption of the Siberian Traps Flood Basalts at the Permo-Triassic Boundary. Science. 253 (5016): 176-179.

Thomas, B. Dinosaur Soft Tissue Issue Is Here to Stay. Acts & Facts. 38(9): 18. Genesis 7:11.