Monday, June 08, 2009

Hell, high water and Burger King

by Capt. Fogg

I've been watching the history Channel's Life After People series, which graphically illustrates the natural processes that would eventually turn every piece of evidence that the human species ever existed into geological strata of rust, dust and ashes. I find myself, after reading various newspaper editorials, blog comments and other sources, wishing it would all happen soon. While humans abound, we paint and rebuild and fix up and maintain our artifacts, but unlike other species, we also deliberately assure our demise. Have we reached the limit where our ability to ruin everything can't be controlled by our inadequate intelligence or sanity? I don't know, but I'm past caring whether we're too stupid to know that we are insane or too insane to know we're stupid. All I can do is laugh and rest assured that someday it will be a different world, inherited by different, better adapted kinds of life.

What can I do but laugh at the Memphis Burger King franchise owner in Memphis, Tennessee who is putting up ads all over town advertising that "global warming is baloney" as the evidence mounts that the situation is getting worse than the most radical advocates were warning about not long ago.

Truly, disbelief of the obvious now rivals belief in the non-existent for Americans, and just as everyone is now an economist, automotive engineer, biochemist, historian, geneticist and philosopher by virtue of some web-site or by acclaim from others equally as uninformed and dishonest; he's also a paleo-climatologist. In fact the only paleo-climatologists who do not now think that human activity has become the predominant factor in heating the planet are those with no background in it -- and of course the petroleum geologists. Of course they all could be wrong. Strong scientific consensuses have been overturned before, but then they have always been overturned by new technology, producing new data and not by giggling disbelief based on politics, total unawareness of the evidence or indeed, the arrogance peculiar to Americans that convinces them that the more they ignore the data, the more sensible they are.

Sure, it's possible that there's nothing we can do about the great warming. Given the political nature of Man, it may be likely, even if it does stem from or depend heavily upon human consumption, but the level of the evidence certainly doesn't argue that we should ignore the situation, attack the evidence, smear and libel the scientists and put up posters all over Memphis -- unless, of course you're like me and just can't wait for hell and high water to cleanse the Earth of the disease that is us.

Cross posted from Human Voices


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  • Almost as important as radioactive dating is dating by means of geological strata and leading fossils. This method is based on the fact that the history of the Earth has been divided into a group of long geological periods (Precambrian, Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devon, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Perm, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Tertiary, Quaternary), and that we should find the corresponding strata in the same order from nature. The length of the periods can vary from millions of years up to hundreds of millions of years. The following three issues are the basic presuppositions of this method:

    1. Firstly, slowly and over the course of millions of years, strata have formed and accumulated on top of each other. The lowest of these strata can be up to tens or hundreds of millions of years older than the more recent top strata.

    2. Secondly, there are special fossils or leading fossils that, at their time, were very rife. A geological time scale or a so-called geological column has also been compiled of these leading fossils, and this column should show us when they have existed.

    If a normal layperson was to find a trilobite in any given place, according to this principle, the fossil must be at least 200 million years old, because the trilobite is thought to have become extinct back then.

    When dinosaur bones are found from a stratum, both the bones and the stratum should always be at least 65-120 million years old, as the general idea is that dinosaurs lived during that period of time.

    Correspondingly, according to the same principle, if a stratum includes human fossils, it cannot be more than a few million years old, because it is assumed that people have lived on Earth for this period of time.

    3. Thirdly, when fossils are found in strata, they should always be in the order of the more primitive and older organisms further down. This is believed to indicate how life has evolved from the primitive forms to the current forms.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:10 AM  

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