Why did Bill McKibben, who has made a career of presenting natural events as unnatural environmental disasters, take a 2004 story and put it on his Twitter? There are two choices when lies are exposed, admit the error or defend the indefensible. McKibben chose the latter. On his Twitter he referenced a National Geographic headline,
“Things that normally happen in geologic time are happening during the span of a human lifetime”.
Different cultures have different views of the world that change with time. Most are unaware or even think about them and live quite happily. For 2000 years western Europeans were happy with the Ptolemaic view of the solar system with the Sun going round the Earth. It was replaced by the Copernican view, which troubled the church but not the people. As long as the Sun rose and set it didn’t matter. It wasn’t proved scientifically until 1837 by the astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel.
Now the religion is environmentalism. Most, especially the believers, don’t know it’s based on the philosophy of uniformitarianism. This evolved with Darwin and underpins the Earth Sciences. It assumes change is gradual over long periods of time. It replaced Neptunism, the biblical view that divides history into of pre and post Flood – the phrase antediluvian (before the Flood) applies, but has become as entrenched. Exploitation of uniformitarianism allowed promotion of the idea that any change was unnatural and due to human activity.
Chaos theory appeared in the 1970s introducing the so-called butterfly effect. This theorizes a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan results in a storm on the west coast of North America. This was part of a debate in climate that pitted the West, who accepted the idea of Chaos, and the East (especially Russia and China) who believed everything was cyclical. It was perceived as a political divide because of the Cold War, but was a very real intellectual division. I’ve worked with Russian and Chinese climatologists and know their knowledge and understanding is superior to western European and North American.
Stephen Jay Gould sought an interim position with punctuated equilibrium – the idea that change was gradual with periodic catastrophic events that sent things in a different direction until a new equilibrium was reached. His most interesting book from my perspective was It’s a Wonderful Life, about the significance of the Burgess Shales. They’re a unique 540 million year old deposit of rarely preserved soft bodied creatures. Estimates are you need 15 million of a species for one to survive in the fossil record and only if they have bone and teeth. Gould’s proposal was a subtle, in light of academic dogmatism, challenge to Darwin’s view of increasing speciation and extinction being resisted to a different progression for evolution and extinction. It is not coincidence that extinction is also a big issue among the alarmists. The main theme of Gould’s book, was that instead of increasing speciation like a tree with diverging branches and rare extinctions there was an explosion of life followed by decreasing speciation as many became extinct.
People are learning climate changes – it’s a major unheralded victory of the skeptics. Mckibben and others are moving the goalposts again. He resurrected the 2004 story to claim that change is more rapid than ever before. It’s completely false mostly based on the temperature increase Phil Jones claimed in the 2001 IPCC Report of 0.6°C in 130 years. The error was ±0.2 or 33 percent and it can’t be checked because Jones lost the raw data. Look at any historic record and similar or more rapid changes exist.
People have stopped reacting to constantly changing scare claims, so McKibben and others are moving the goalposts again. Now they claim change is unnaturally fast, but that’s false. They won’t abandon the claim because people don’t know it’s false and they have a back up claim that plants and animals cannot adapt to the unnatural rate of change. That is also false as I have discussed. Proof that scientific thinking reflects uniformitarianism was exposed by how they were completely surprised by the recovery rate following the eruption of Mount St Helens.
We are victims of dogmatic science exploited for a political agenda by people like McKibben. It’s a dogma perpetuated in today’s education that is actually indoctrination.