No Minister

Politics as Geology

A fascinating little map of the US state of Alabama that starts with the geology of ancient beds of sediment from the Cretaceous epoch to voting in 2020.

It brings to mind the quote from economist John Maynard Keynes:

“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

Are ideas generated by humans as long-lasting in their effects on us as geology? The answer to that question may have to wait until millions of years have passed, assuming humans can stick around that long. After all, the Cretaceous period was ended by an asteroid strike, killing off the dinosaurs who had survived for tens of millions of years by that point, dwarfing our existence of perhaps two million years?

Written by Tom Hunter

June 21, 2021 at 12:20 pm

6 Responses

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  1. You have sort of lost me on this topic


    June 21, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    • Sorry to hear that. You mean the map or my comparison of human ideas with geology?

      Tom Hunter

      June 21, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    • I’m no geologist, but looking at those maps simply tells me that the most fertile area’s were setup with cotton farms, etc which needed labour,. After slavery ended, the ex slave population simply stayed in the area.
      Those area’s are also likely to be densely populated these days, because that’s where the work and industry is.


      June 21, 2021 at 4:04 pm

  2. Well yes, and the map goes even further back in time as to why those areas were the most fertile. It’s not intended to be a definitive, let alone causative connection, more like the old Connections TV series, where what you ended up getting could be based on some pretty wild inputs from sources seemingly unconnected – an interdisciplinary approach if you will.

    That’s why I raised the possibility of such a thing as geology having more effect on humans than human ideas, which I guess gets into the whole deal of freewill vs determinism.

    Tom Hunter

    June 21, 2021 at 5:16 pm

  3. Gee Whizz – those maps do not even have legends that would help with interpretation

    However the blue areas do encompass the cities of Birmingham and Montgomery. Big cities which tend to vote blue…


    June 21, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    • Yeah, I wondered about putting in the legends – the farm one especially bugged me because I don’t know if more fertile soils means larger or smaller farms – but I figure that since the links are merely fun it’s not a deal-breaker.

      Tom Hunter

      June 21, 2021 at 6:29 pm

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