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Thread: Thinking about an online geology resource

  1. #1 Thinking about an online geology resource 
    Forum Sophomore
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    Sep 2008
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    Picture this:


    You're in your mid-20s, a college grad with a liberal arts degree who's passed a basic course or two in biology or chemistry. You want to know more about geology - what would catch your eye??

    You're nearing retirement. You've been hearing a lot about global warming and climate change, but it's been awhile since you've paid much attention to the sciences, and you don't really know what to believe. A Google search returns page upon page of conflicting information. What is it that you need?

    You were raised in a very conservative religious household, taught that the Earth was less than 6000 years old. However, you are starting to question what you were raised to believe, and want some solid, easily understandable information. What fits the bill?

    You were taught in school that science fact is, well, fact. But you are starting to realize that reality is a bit more complicated. Where can you go to learn how to properly evaluate some scientific claims? What is valid logic, and what is not?

    ----

    These are all scenarios that people face everyday. Perhaps not en masse, but enough to realize that there is a vacuum when it comes to geology. The layman wants to know about the science, but how can he or she go about learning some of the basic principles?

    I don't know if I can create such a resource, but what would it look like? It can't be too technical, but yet it must respect that the visitor is an intelligent, inquiring mind. It must be relevent, but it must contain enough backstory and framed in such a way to be credible.

    Would such a site be worth it? What would YOU include?

    I can think of several fundamental topics:

    -plate tectonics (to combat expanding Earth)
    -radiometric dating (and the limitations of C14 dating with respect to other methods)
    -mass extinctions (and why the sexy isnt always the truth)
    -global warming (and how geologists relate to 'deep time')
    -basic logical forms (and what constitutes invalid reasoning or terrible evidence)
    -the nature of scientific consensus (and why you should believe it and question it at the same time)

    ...What else?


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  3. #2  
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    Such a site would be easily searchable for those who know exactly what they are looking for. It must also be easily browsable, for those who only know vaguely what they are looking for. It should be clearly signposted along the way. It should always have its target audience in mind -- there is no way to such a website will cater for beginners and experts alike. It should be like an "encyclopedia meets an online tutor". Material should be presented in a logical progression which assumes no prior knowledge. All material should have references to top quality *open access* sources.


    Don't bother visiting my Earth Sciences forum, it died a death due to lack of love
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