On Global Warming
There is a standard in human logic that is very helpful in determining what to believe about a theory or event …
Occam’s Razor –
It asserts, “ The best answer to a complex problem is the simplest.” This could be more accurately stated as follows – “one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.”
Man has struggled for millennia to understand the natural phenomena around him. In ancient times the unknown was explained by seers and witches. Slowly, man tried to explain these things, first by logic and then, with the Enlightenment beginning about 1300 A.D., by the close observation and experimentation that has led to the Scientific Method that has made possible our modern society. Today, most of the mysteries of nature have been probed and, to a large extent understood by those who care to invest the time to understand. However, if some problem is not completely understood, mankind, who as a species has not evolved much from his superstitious forefathers from a very few hundred years ago, often intellectually backslides to their superstitions. He casts aside science and logic and embraces the unholy assertions of modern day witches and seers who reject reasoned answers for the fantastic.
Think of the travesties of justice and common logic that have taken place in the near past that we, today, all abhor. The Catholic Church coercing Galileo into recanting his great discoveries on pain of the Inquisition; or the Protestant witch trials based upon the hysterical testimony of teen aged girls in 17 th Century Salem, Massachusetts; or the WW II Nazi assertions of Arian supremacy. We tend to react to an unknown problem like the chicken Aesop’s fable. Is it possible that if something falls out of the sky and hits you on the head that it is more likely an acorn than the sky itself? It seems to me that modern society, when confronted with a new problem would much rather listen to the modern day demagogic “chicken littles” than to search for the more likely answers. It is easier to blame the ubiquitous “THEY” and “THEM” (like the automobile or oil companies), even though we personally support them in their rapaciousness, because the conclusion supports prejudices that we have gained from misinformation.
Is it possible that the hole in the ozone layer is manifestation of some mechanism other than man made chloro-flouro carbons? Is it possible that “global warming” is caused by something other than the interference of man? Certainly!!! Use your head. Remember all that studying that you did when you were taking chemistry and physics. Remember the Laws of Nature that were revealed to you for your inquisitiveness and effort. Use the understanding of the Universe that God began to reveal to us when our forefathers rejected conjecture, feelings and hearsay for the methods of the Enlightenment, the Scientific Method. Our studies of nature have made us privy to the plan of the Creator and the wisdom of the ages and that wisdom does not include witchcraft.
When studying about man’s effect on the Earth, its atmosphere and its weather, we must define the problem. First, the Earth compared to man, is infinitely large. The mass of the atmosphere is enormous. The atmosphere is 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, leaving 1% for all other gases. It is a little known fact that there is 25 times more Argon in the atmosphere than CO2. Most of the carbon on the Earth is not in the atmosphere, nor plants or animals, nor coal or oil or natural gas. 70 % of all the carbon on Earth is in rock, limestone. Most of that limestone, CaC03 was once a shell covering a living animal that got the carbon for his shell from the atmosphere. Is it possible that there was once much more carbon in the atmosphere?
It is a scientific fact that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen 10% in the last century and a half. This is only logical when we consider the amount of fossil fuels that man has used in that period of time. The amount has therefore risen from 0.03% in 1850 to 0.033% presently, indicating that the amount will rise to 0.04% in the year 2250. Now considering that the amount of this gas is many times greater in a point source like the City of Los Angeles, very unpleasant I admit, but I would point out, tolerable. Why isn’t this city uninhabitable if tiny amounts of CO2 cause massive warming?
It is interesting to reflect that all life on Earth, both plant and animal, depends upon this minute amount of the atmosphere. Plants depend upon CO2 for photosynthesis – it is what they breathe, as we all learned in grade school. All animals are parasites of plants, ultimately depending on them for their food. Both plants and animals are carbon-based organisms. Animals exhale CO2 because they metabolize the sugars gleaned from their food, from plants or plant eaters. The oxidizing of the hydrocarbons of their plant food diet generates the energy necessary for life. Any farmer can attest that after a plant crop is harvested that the residue, stubble, stalks or the like, must be addressed. If the farmer wants to accelerate the process, he simply burns the residue. The fire turns the residue into CO2 and H2O, sending water vapor and the CO2 back into the atmosphere … a natural cycle. However, the residue, in the form of hay or grain can be eaten by animals, where part of the carbon is exhaled and the balance turned into manure. The manure being a hydrocarbon is further decomposed by bacteria, which turn it into … you guessed it … into CO2 and H2O. If the stubble is left in the field, bacteria, again, do their duty, just as they do to a tree fallen in the forest. Any plant or animal process is part of the CO2 – biological process, in perfect balance in nature. There is no pollution from live animals or ingested or decaying plants. They and what they eat came from the atmosphere and there they will return.
Many environmentalists rail about de-forestation. When tropical forests are cut down, it is not to a desert, but to grassland. Is it possible that the grass is responsible for more photosynthesis than the cut trees? It is extremely possibly so! No one will defend deforestation, but it does not follow that doing so is responsible for global warming. Again, this problem is spatial in scope. The amount of deforestation of the Amazon, for instance, although a large number of acres, is infinitesimally small compared to size of the forest. It took 9 years for a jet airplane flying at near sonic speed to map the Amazon basin.
It is true that there is global warming. It is a matter of proven geological fact that a continental ice sheet covered all of North America clear to the outskirts of Chicago, through the Great Lakes, all of Canada, all of Northern Europe and Asia, as recently as 10,000 B.C. One of your great grandparents probably saw it in Europe. The ice likewise affected the Southern hemisphere. Since then the ice has been retreating toward the North and South Poles. Remnants at high altitude in the mountains although isolated, are also inexorably disappearing. Sea levels are rising at a rate less than a foot per century, but rising nevertheless. Any competent geologist will tell you that this is happening and will tell that this has happened many times in the past, about once every 100,000 years for the last 1,000,000 years. Probably for a much longer time than that. If he is over 50, he will tell you that he was taught that the ice will be coming back soon, and all things being equal, it is. The true climatological story is that the ice is deepening in interior Greenland and Antarctica. In the view of many, a little warming would be quite beneficial to the survival of the human race. Much of the Earth’s land surface is desert. Maybe with the rains coincident with global warming the deserts would green up making them more like the Earth was before the ice ages began to kill off much of the forest and many of the millions of now dead species. There was a time in Earth’s history when large animals roamed from northern Canada and Alaska to near the South Pole and the forests were dense enough to form enormous coalfields. There is a country in Europe, Holland, where about a third of the country has been reclaimed from the ocean. Would the people of the US be able to cope with a sea level rise of a foot or two per century? If not, could they relocate? Would there still be a lot of land left for them to live on? How would our country handle an ice age? The answer is that global warming is less to be feared than global cooling. The facts are that no one really knows what the long-term weather patterns will be. The facts are that mankind will meet the challenge as it is forced to, as it always has.
Going back to Occam’s Razor, is it more likely that global warming, a phenomenon going on for 10,000 years, is due to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere rising 0.003% in 150 years or from the Sun putting out more energy cyclically every 100, 000 years? There could be other answers, but the answer is not to stop human progress because … “the sky is falling.”
It is ludicrous and unbelievably arrogant for man to presume that he is powerful enough to affect the weather in any meaningful way. Consider the enormity of the Earth and Atmosphere, where all life depends upon 0.033% of that atmosphere. Mankind is a species that is a miniscule part of the animal kingdom. The mass of the lowly ant on the planet far exceeds the mass of mankind. It is reliably estimated that there are 10 million ants for every human; the total biomass of ants could be as much as ¼ of all the living matter on Earth.
It is also logically reprehensible to subscribe to the unproved thesis that man’s burning of fossil carbon is responsible for the changing of the planet’s climate when global warming has been going on for at least a million years. Is it possible that the leaders of the environmental movement who promote the idea of mankind’s culpability have an agenda of fright to sustain themselves in their well-paid positions? Do we have the will, education and intelligence to consider the real cause of our plight or will we let the “big bad wolf” of anti-intellectual, anti-scientific witchcraft stifle human progress?