Unintelligent design

If you ever have the need to refute one of those annoying intelligent design adherents, just follow Waterblogged.info’s standard operating procedure: point to the distribution of snapshot-intelligent-carticle.jpgthe planet’s freshwater and ask–in as sardonic a fashion as possible–This is intelligent?

From Global Envision, (an organization that for some reason sees the free market as the only way to help the world’s poor and disenfranchised):

Despite the fact that 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, only one percent is fresh water that is available in easily accessible lakes and rivers. Most of the world’s fresh water sources lie beneath Antarctic glaciers and approximately one-quarter of the world’s supply is located in Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia.

Waterblogged.info’s exhaustive research on the topic suggests that Lake Baikal only contains about 20 percent of the planet’s freshwater, not 25 per cent. Another 17-18 percent fills the North American Great Lakes system. That means–if our calculations are correct–that almost 40 percent of our freshwater sloshes around in only two locations on the globe! This is a design?

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3 Responses

  1. Don’t forget about ground water. If you exclude glaciers and ice caps, the next greatest supply of fresh water, and the greatest reservoir of fresh unfrozen water, is ground (subsurface) water. That water can be extracted by wells and infiltration galleries, or harvested from springs.

    For fresh water, the approximate distribution is: glaciers and icecaps – c. 70%; ground water – c. 30%; all others (lakes, streams, atmosphere, etc.) < 1%.
    (see Table 1.1 in G. Hornberger et al., “Elements of Physical Hydrology”, 1998, JHU Press).

    Lake Baikal contains 20% of the world’s fresh unfrozen surface water, the same amount as all the US-Canada Great Lakes.

  2. A glaring omission, for sure. Thanks, Michael!

  3. You’re welcome, Jared. Sorry for the multiple comments – you can delete the first one. I submitted two because I wasn’t sure the first made it through – I got the dreaded “page not found” when I hit submit.

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