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Canterbury Swarm

13 December 2020

An interesting piece at https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/the-canterbury-swarm-and-the-… … which is a resurrection of an older story, the idea that monks at Canterbury witnessed an impact on the moon. The more tenuous part of this theory is that it was responsible for a huge crater. That is guesswork. The monks obviously saw something and that could have been a meteor striking the moon – but did it create the crater that has never been checked out. The post mostly consists of a video from a variety of scientists and personalities. Well worth watching but keep a critical set of mind when doing so. However, having said that the video represents an excellent explanation of the concept of the Canterbury meteor swarm and its proposed link to the Taurid meteor shower. These sometimes produce impacts on the moon we are told, but presumably mostly airbursts in the atmosphere of the earth. However, as the event does not seem to have been witnessed by the Chinese or the Koreans who were closely keeping an eye on the heavens for peculiar events, one has to  ask why monks in England would have seen it and nobody else. All to do with the trajectory we are told.

Tall Bloke suggests readers should also go to a previous discussion from 2011 on the Taurids which is worth a visit, if only for the comments – https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/comet-storm-a-hypothesis-expl…

Another conjectural idea appears at https://phys.org/news/2020-12-mass-extinctions-land-dwelling-animals-mil… … this might be just another artifact of computers, prone to create cycles of numbers. Mass extinction events of land animals [amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, mammals, birds etc.], are said to follow a cycle of around 27 million years, we are told, coinciding with previously reported mass extinctions in marine environments, according to a new analysis published in Historical Biology journal – see https://doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2020.1849178

The same story was posted at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/12/12/finding-mass-extinctions-of-land-… … and going by the comments, it was not well received. One of them says this sort of thing has been done before, by Raup and Sepkoski, in the 1980s. A lot of Watts Up With That posters and commentators are extremely anti-catastrophist theories so one may be a little bit sceptical of what they have to say about this paper. Having said that most so called astronomical cycles may seem to fit over a certain amount of time but rarely seem to hold water over long periods of time, and this one might be in that bracket. The problem for anyone seeking to find a cycle is that they have to rely on uniformitarian time scales, whether it is the Ice Ages or extinction events. I've nothing against the idea of long periods of time as far as geology and the historical record are concerned but that does not mean the uniformitarian calculations are reliable as they rely on hypothesis and projection. It is as assumed record of time and therefore there is no reason why cycles should be treated as anything more than guesswork. By concentrating on a  specific figure of time, in this instance, 27 million years, they have shackled their ideas and lame ideas will get no traction.

The lead author is Michael Rampino who has always been prepared to think outside the box. What they have done is link the extinctions to cosmic events as cycles are assumed to have a cosmic dimension – especially if they occur over long periods of time. The idea is to associate mass die offs, and not just mass extinctions, to known craters on the surface of the earth, a novel kind of calculation that seems to provide some interesting outcomes. Some of the critics simply point out that not every mass extinction has a link with a known crater and many craters are dated to insignificant or lesser extinction events. This is a common form of argument by the side that is resisting information that contradicts their points of view, by mainstream as well as non-mainstream people. It was an honest endeavour but it looks like it is about to be dismissed out of hand without any in-depth examination. The idea of catastrophism is simply anathema to mainstream. They are still living in a bubble going back to the 19th century and their main antagonists at that time, Biblicists. Chinese scientists don't of course have the same hang up, or have a different kind of hang up. May be we will have to wait for them.

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