Has anybody noticed that this is the 8th anniversary of the Y2K doomsday scare meltdown?
I hope this new year brings more honesty to other doomsday scenarios. Take the global warming debate. Right now it is all one-sided, with the mass media whipping the public into a kind of hysteria that global warming is real, that it is man-made, and that it spells doom for the future of the planet unless it is stopped. Global warming may be real, but the debate has been grossly distorted and manipulated by dishonest people, both in and out of the media. An example:
The other day I watched a TV interview of some supposed scientist working in Greenland who is trying to determine how fast the glaciers there are melting. The expert said he’d been working in Greenland for 17 years, and during the last few years “is the fastest I’ve ever seen the ice melt.” He said he believed it had to be caused by made-made global warming. The thrust of the entire program was to quote several so-called experts like this while showing video of glaciers melting and collapsing. Obviously, man-made global warming was behind this looming disaster for humanity.
I just shook my head. A scientist has been working in Greenland for 17 years and he comes up with some grandiose assumption about what’s happening to the planet. If he were honest, he’d say that Greenland’s ice sheets were indeed melting during the 17 years he’s been there, but earth’s climate has been changing from warm to cold and back again for at least 780,000 years, so we have no idea whether or not this particular 17-year warming trend is out of the ordinary.
Where did I get the 780,000-year figure? It’s a common scientific fact that the earth’s magnetic poles switched 780,000 years ago, for reasons scientists have yet to figure out, and ever since earth’s climate has been shifting from warm to cold and back again. Most scientists are aware of this.
I take a lot of college courses in various subjects because I enjoy discovering real facts. The courses are sold by The Teaching Company. My current course is titled, Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations by Brian M. Fagan, a Professor of Anthropology for 40 plus years at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Fagan’s course has nothing to do with global warming; he doesn’t even touch on the subject. He simply tries to explain the origins of humans and their progression through prehistory (defined as before the advent of written records) in light of known scientific evidence. Here are a few interesting quotes from his fourth lecture:
“About 780,000 years ago, the earth’s magnetic field switched abruptly, for reasons unknown. Abrupt climate change now gripped the earth and has continued ever since.”
“For over 75 percent of the past 780,000 years, the world’s climate has been in transition from warm to cold and back again.”
“…constant climate shifts after 780,000 years ago played a major role in human cultural and biological evolution.”
He also explains that very dry places, like the Sahara Desert, were relatively wet in prehistoric times. For example:
“Sometime about 1.8 million years ago — the date is still uncertain — Homo erectus migrated out of tropical Africa, across a then better-watered Sahara or up the Nile Valley into Asia. The Sahara was like a pump, sucking people in during wetter periods, pushing them out when it became drier. Thousands of Acheulian hand axes have been found in the depths of the Sahara, many of them next to long since dried-up lakes.”
In other words, for nearly two million years, and especially since the magnetic poles switched 780,000 years ago, the earth’s climate has varied dramatically. And it is still changing. It’s only been 14,000 years since our last Ice Age, when glaciers covered nearly half of the United States. So 17 years of observing ice melt in Greenland isn’t going to reveal much about what has happened in the planet’s past or what is likely to happen in its future.
Why isn’t this Greenland-based scientist being honest and saying he’s basing his assumptions on a mere 17 years of experience compared to the nearly 2 million years of evidence that shows the earth’s climate has been varying dramatically long before man could possibly have had any effect on it?
I’ve asked John Silveira, my mathematically-degreed senior editor and a history buff like me, to write a major article on global warming and put things in perspective in light of ALL the available evidence. I’m not sure it will be ready by next issue, but I’ll push him on it.
These are the types of articles that need to be written. They are not being written by most magazines today because the current fad, and the current politically correct doctrine, is to support the notion that man-made global warming is imperiling the earth. I think the global warming doomsday scenario is just a grander version of the Y2K hysteria that gripped humanity eight years ago. Only global warming is more politically driven, while Y2K was driven by sheer ignorance and profiteering by fear mongers.
I hope everyone has a pleasant, prosperous, and enlightening new year.