Irony, thy name is ammonite

I normally don't post religious stuff here because, like sexual hangups, religiosity is a learned behavior that is deeply personal, often embarrassing and occasionally criminal. However, sometimes reality cockpunches you so unexpectedly, that you just have to wipe the bile off the corner of your lips and acknowledge it.

Attention: This is reality speaking...

Today's virtual cockpunch comes from the "Damned if God Exists" atheist blog, and arrives via the Antequera Cathedral in Spain. If you look below in the marble flooring of the Cathedral, you find what looks to be a swirl-pattern there.

Hmmmm...My geology classes didn't teach me this...

That regular formation is not natural to the marble, but neither is it inexplicable. In fact, that beautiful nautilus shape is a very common formation: It is the fossilized imprint of an ancient marine creature called the Ammonite. Ammonites were sexually dimorphic ancestors to the modern chambered shellfish (cuttlefish, nautilus, squid etc) that existed at least 415 million years ago CE. No less than three times did they face extinction, over periods of hundreds of millions of years:

The first event occurred during the Permian (250 million years ago), where only 10% survived. These surviving species went on to flourish throughout the Triassic, however at the end of this period (206 million years ago) they faced near extinction, when all but one species survived. This event marked the end of the Triassic and the beginning of the Jurassic, during which time the number of ammonite species grew once more. The final catastrophe occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period when all species were annihilated and the ammonites became extinct. This event apparently coincided with the death of the dinosaurs.

If you think there is a divine plan, then you've gotta' admit it was around 415 million years ago.

For this little critter to appear in an ancient Catholic church tells me a lot. The first is --what most sane people know-- that ammonites are a helluva' lot older than 6,000 years.* The second is that their little fossilized remains take a decent polish.

The last thing is that God has one helluva' sense of humor!

*I'm pretty harsh to religion, but even I have to give credit to the Catholic Church, which has officially recognized the scientific fact of evolution. Their slightly mushy-headed Protestant cousins? Not so much...

Let's hear it for God's pull-my-finger to the "new earth creationists"!

1 comment:

  1. Can't figure out this damned trackback...so, I'll just paste the URL and see if that works :)