Climate Change And The Human Condition: Is It Time To Reconsider Climatic Determinism?

Guest Opinion by Dr. Tim Ball

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana (Original quote from his book The Life of Reason, much paraphrased.)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters urge action because the planet and humans are threatened by global warming. We must modify our behavior, mitigate the warming, or die by the millions. In the centuries prior to the First World War (WWI) these reactions were classified as climatic determinism, the idea that human behavior is dictated by climate. As one research group explains.

Climatic determinism has a very long and checkered history. It gave a framework for thinking about the relationship between the human and natural environments by making the climate a demiurge of social universe.

Later, they explain why they are discussing the concept.

While most of such thinking has been discredited, in recent years, the omnipresence of anthropogenic climate change has caused a resurgence of similar ideas, causing scholars and commentators to ask if these represent a revival of climatic determinism and, if so, with what consequences?

The truth is, it should not have been discredited or abandoned. Shakespeare said, “The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.” This doesn’t mean we discredit or abandon them. A complete analysis is required about why the concept was abandoned and how it was used and misused for a political agenda.

The history of the hypothesis of climatic determinism illustrates the fundamental difference between Science and Social Science. A scientific hypothesis is validated by predictive success. Social Science hypotheses invalidate themselves, because humans react to the predictions and alter the outcome. The latter failure is due to something that cannot be quantified – free will.

Failed predictions caused the IPCC to adopt the term projection as early as the second Report (1995). Their projections continue to fail because they blend invalid and inadequate science with the inherent failures of social science. The entire theme behind the Club of Rome, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Agenda 21 and the IPCC is neo-Malthusian. Populations, especially when industrialized, will outgrow all resources. They chose global warming and latterly climate change as the dangers imposed, in a modern form of climatic determinism that ignores their belief in evolution.

Climate Influence On Evolution and Human History

We commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Hopefully, we learned from that history, but, ironically, history indicates we don’t. World leaders forgot the lessons of World War I very quickly, as the Treaty of Versailles demonstrated. Treaty failures, skillfully exploited by Hitler, resulted in World War II becoming a continuation of the problems. In fact it was one war with a brief interlude.

Appropriately, we commemorate the sacrifices and losses of people. We acknowledge the positive changes that occurred because of the wars, such as the role of women in both Wars and the emancipation of colonial regions. What we rarely remember are other casualties of war, usually ideas or intellectual pursuits.

As a graduate student in the 1960s I escorted Professor Fisher, from the University of Durham, on a tour of Winnipeg, Manitoba. We passed an English style lawn bowling facility. He asked about it, given the climate of the region. I somewhat flippantly suggested it contradicted the philosophy of climatic determinism. He angrily replied, “Don’t mention that vile topic again.”

I became interested in the topic for a few reasons, but mostly because scientific studies of natural changes omitted humans as an agent. For example, variables listed as part of soil formation included, parent material (rock), weathering, organic agents and chemical activity. The “organic agents” did not include humans. It was part of the ongoing, but essentially ignored, debate about humans as animals.

At about the same time, I became aware of the work of a conference and subsequently an important book by William Thomas titled Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth. The concepts came from George Perkins Marsh, an earlier author I also knew from research for my Honors Thesis, “Some Philosophical Considerations of Humans as a Source of Change”. You can study history and geography separately, but you only have clear understanding when you put them together. I hold that history is the play and geography the stage and only by combining them understand and find appropriate solutions.

 

Products of the Earth: Climatic Determinism Misused.

Climatic determinism is a subset of environmental determinism, which was effectively resurrected as part of social Darwinism. Resurrected, because it was an idea rooted in many early philosophical works from Ancient Greece through to the present.

For example, Montesquieu, the French lawyer and philosopher wrote about it extensively. As one history commentator wrote,

In his famous book, The spirit of laws, French philosopher Montesquieu proposes the controversial theory that geography and climate can influence the nature of men and societies.

The rider, “controversial theory” is wrong. It wasn’t controversial when written, relatively new, but not controversial.

At the end of the 19th-century Darwin influenced Friedrich Ratzel’s influential book Anthropogeographie (French version). It was a book grossly misused by Adolf Hitler, but gave academic justification for what he did. Karl Haushofer, a German General in WWI, was a keen student of Ratzel’s His views were transmitted to Hitler by Haushofer’s assistant, Rudolf Hess. Anthropogeographie included the term lebensraum to describe how a more powerful state will occupy weaker states as it expanded – a natural process he called the organic state theory.

Seeking or misusing academic justification for political action is common since the emergence of universities. Global warming is just a recent example as Gore and others misused the ideas of Roger Revelle.

Ratzel’s work applied Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” to the merging nation-states. Herbert Spencer coined the phrase. Darwin liked it and as a strong supporter of Spencer’s work, put it in the sixth edition of Origin of Species. This is all part of today’s intellectual and philosophical contradiction that people, who totally agree with Darwin, are also usually advocates of socialism, the desire to make all things equal by actively offsetting natural inequalities.

 

The other misapplication of Ratzel’s work by Hitler did greater damage to climate determinism. This was the claim that people from cool and temperate climates were aggressive, industrious and superior, while people from hot climates were lazy, indolent and inferior. It became the most damaging part of what happened to climatic determinism because of the clear racial superiority implication.

Many issues, crucial to understanding human history and human evolutionary history, are not properly or fully examined. The current condemnation of humans, as the cause of environmental degradation, global warming and the goal to reduce human populations, especially developed and industrialized nations are not discussed in a complete context. A fundamental assumption is human activity is not natural, which infers humans are not natural. Also, it assumes we are not continuing to evolve, which is subtly built in to such assumptions as “business as usual”.

Ellsworth Huntington and Ellen Semple Churchill were two American supporters of Ratzel’s work at the turn of the 19th-century. Huntington contributed to the rejection of climatic determinism because he also promoted eugenics. Churchill was different. She learned German and attended lectures by Ratzel. She disconnected herself from his ideas disagreeing, particularly, with his organic state theory. She incorporated the wider idea of the relationship between history and geography in the 1903 publication of “American history and Its Geographic Conditions. The point about Churchill is she didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, as happened to climatic determinism.

 

Drought Patterns and Human History

Huntington, like Alexander von Humboldt, also travelled extensively visiting all continents except Antarctica and wrote from observation and experience. Despite ethnocentricity and his support for eugenics, Huntington produced some fascinating observations about climate, specifically climate change, and determinism. His important work, The Pulse of Asia published in 1907 argued that the history of Eurasia was determined by the periods of drought and desiccation of grasslands. There are vast grasslands in central Asia, particularly the Tarim Basin. (Map)

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Drought patterns cause a periodic growth and decline of the grasses that support grazing herds. Most important for the Mongolian people are the horses essential as a food source, but transport for a migrating aggressive people. Huntington argues that the pulse is created as the population waxes with wetter conditions and expand out to surrounding regions and wanes as the dry conditions set in. Location and orientation of the Great Wall of China appears to support the theory, as does the fear of Mongol hordes throughout eastern and even parts of Western Europe. That fear extends to the present. The British, using their standard technique of divide and conquer, split the Kurdish people into four new countries, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.

Modern Adaptation Of Humans To Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) drew all the attention to temperature, to CO2 and specifically warming; even most skeptics became narrowly focused. There’s no question that temperature reaches limits that force responses and adjustments. The problem is climatic determinism is mostly about changing precipitation, particularly with regard to plants and animals, including humans. Governments prepare for warming and assume it will all be business as usual. They generally don’t allow for technological advances or any other adjustments, as humans have done in the past.

Climatic determinism is interpreted to mean that people, like animals, are passive victims of change. The only adaptations are to move or die. What is overlooked in the entire discussion was the transition from humans, as passive victims, to active controllers of their destiny. It is an evolutionary transition that environmentalists oppose. Consider Ron Arnold, Executive Vice-President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, observation that,

“Environmentalism intends to transform government, economy, and society in order to liberate nature from human exploitation.”

David Graber, a research biologist with the National park Service said,

Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

That was likely the source of Prince Philips comment that, if reincarnated he would return as a deadly virus and eliminate most people. That’s fine if they start with monarchies. Richard Conniff’s comment in “Audubon” extends the idea.

“Among environmentalists sharing two or three beers, the notion is quite common that if only some calamity could wipe out the entire human race, other species might once again have a chance.”

 

Technological advances to offset the extent of climatic determinism, include, fire, clothing, irrigation and the transition from hunter-gatherer to sedentary agriculture. Why isn’t that part of evolution? It is, but it is philosophically opposite to the basis of environmentalism. Why assume that this evolution will not continue? Of course, if the environmentalists have their way we will be doomed back to absolute climatic determinism. The hockey stick rewrote history. The historic temperature record is lowered to rewrite history. Now they want to redress and halt evolution, the very theory sacrosanct to their belief in Darwin. Confused. Of course, because they haven’t learned from history, except to rewrite it for their political agenda.

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95 thoughts on “Climate Change And The Human Condition: Is It Time To Reconsider Climatic Determinism?

  1. “Social Science hypotheses invalidate themselves, because humans react to the predictions and alter the outcome.” ???

    This absurd statement shows little understanding of either social science generally or the scientific method. There may or may not be value in the rest of the article, but this is a pretty tough sentence to get past!

  2. Thank you Dr. Ball for that important and thought provoking essay. It is all too obvious that many of the alarmists truly hate humanity. I have no doubt that many on the alarmist side would like to see some catastrophe wipe out a sizable portion of humanity — if not totally exterminate the race. I even believe that some of them would like to be the vector that causes the calamity. I hope they never get hold of some dangerous super virus.

  3. It has been pointed out that, regretfully, those that DO remember history are likewise condemned to repeat it.

    Plus ca change…

  4. “The truth is, it should not have been discredited or abandoned. Shakespeare said, “The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.” This doesn’t mean we discredit or abandon them. ”

    We could abandon [and have mostly abandon] citing scripture to prove a point.
    One should read the scripture, as devil should read it. But that’s different issue.

    The climate or weather does not determine our fate, if it did we should welcome Glacial periods and vast amounts sea level rise as this preceded the beginning of human civilization. And Ice box climate we have been in was period in which human species evolved.

    What instead our destiny is controlled by, is the stars- or universe, itself.
    From Heaven their will come impactors, and if our ultimate fate is not to be dinosaurs, we have be able to control our environment beyond earth.
    And their are rocks larger than 10 km in diameter which traveling within the gravitation influence of the Sun. And just like comets come into our inner solar system from Oort cloud, there are fewer but much larger one which fall towards the sun.
    Maybe we will require a small comet to to buzz Earth, like Siding Spring will flyby Mars on Oct. 19, 2014, meaning not hit Earth, but comet’s coma engulfing Earth:
    “Although the comet’s nucleus will miss Mars, Siding Spring’s coma of dust particles might be wide enough to reach the planet.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0805/Could-comet-Siding-Spring-damage-Mars-spacecraft

    Visually it seems that it would be impressive.
    Controlling an incoming comet, is presently beyond our ability. But we could gain such capability, and if we were that sophisticated, controlling Earth climate would fairly easy.
    Or focusing on climate, is ignoring quite literally, everything.

  5. ““Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.””

    Is this not an identifiable form of mental illness ?

  6. This thread is going to get HOT.

    David Graber, a research biologist with the National park Service said,
    “Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

    TWO errors right there.

    As for Prince Phillip hoping for a virus to wipe out huge swathes of humanity, he should start with his own inbred family. He has 4 kids afterall.

  7. David Graber
    I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer.

    Human beings are a part of nature no matter what we do. Even if we destroyed the planet tomorrow with nuclear weapons, we are still part of nature. Nature made us like everything else. Nature made the natural Ebola, smallpox, malaria, puppies, baby seals, cyanide, uranium, plutonium et al. This is what nature has done and some people in West Africa (and some US healthcare workers) are paying the price right now.

    Let’s say Prince Phillip had got his mass disease wish 100,000 years ago, as humans developed “symbolic expression, art, and elaborate cultural diversity” – Prince Phillip would not be here. He would not be a parasite on the hard working British people, in fact there would be no hard working British people. Get some perspective my dear princess.

    http://humanorigins.si.edu/resources/intro-human-evolution

  8. OOOOOps. My last comment got the indenting wrong. The first paragraph should have been indented, and the second and third paragraphs are mine. Mods? Help!

  9. Human beings are part of nature. We’re nature’s way of returning to the cycle of life the carbon improvidently sequestered by other life forms.

    Let’s not frustrate nature’s purpose.

  10. We humans are almost everywhere and have adapted to all kinds of climate. Having said that some people argue that our early evolution was sculpted by climate. Then we discovered fire. Apparently there were about 15 to 20 different species of early humans, and there is no consensus as to how the inter-play among the species, and the extinctions came about. These are just some ideas.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248407001522

    http://humanorigins.si.edu/research/climate-research/effects

    http://humanorigins.si.edu/resources/intro-human-evolution

  11. Jimbo, ref above….” Nature made us like everything else. Nature made the natural Ebola, smallpox, malaria, puppies, baby seals, cyanide, uranium, plutonium et al. ”

    I’m no nuclear physicist but I’m suspect Graber may not be entirely correct with respect to plutonium…I thought it was a purely human creation?

    Apologies if I’m off-beam with that…

  12. gbaikie says: “…Maybe we will require a small comet to to buzz Earth, like Siding Spring will flyby Mars on Oct. 19, 2014, meaning not hit Earth, but comet’s coma engulfing Earth:
    ‘Although the comet’s nucleus will miss Mars, Siding Spring’s coma of dust particles might be wide enough to reach the planet.'”

    How do we know there aren’t a dozen or more of such comae circling the Sun?

  13. markstoval says:
    August 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you Dr. Ball for that important and thought provoking essay. It is all too obvious that many of the alarmists truly hate humanity. I have no doubt that many on the alarmist side would like to see some catastrophe wipe out a sizable portion of humanity — if not totally exterminate the race. I even believe that some of them would like to be the vector that causes the calamity. I hope they never get hold of some dangerous super virus.

    The EBOLA outbreak. This current outbreak has been around since the spring. It could have been stamped out if they spent less than 5% of what they do on climate ‘science’. Maybe this is what they were hoping for. Now it may come to a region near you. As someone wisely said, if we don’t fight Ebola in West Africa, we will have to fight it somewhere else, London, New York, LA, Paris, Mumbai, Indonesia or what about China?

  14. –As for Prince Phillip hoping for a virus to wipe out huge swathes of humanity, he should start with his own inbred family. He has 4 kids afterall. —

    No, better that he kill himself, and let his kids decide what to do.

  15. It is perfectly clear that a large portion of the environmentalist movement do believe that man is inherently evil and needs to be eliminated from the equation and if not at least returned to his primitive state.

    Just like Hitler, Stalin, Mao and all the other loop job lefties they are perfectly willing to eliminate as many people, no matter who it is, as it takes to achieve the desired results.

    Oh yeh of course except themselves. Why, because they are the only ones that really care about the world and they are too important to the cause to be eliminated.

    They want everyone to subvert their self to the needs of Mother Nature and the cause. Only through the sacrifice of the self can the world be saved. Just the comunist creed all over again or any other cult.

    They hate free will and self determination, because in a world where everyone has self worth they can’t feel superior and can’t excersize control over the inferior.

  16. Jimbo says:
    August 9, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    How can any biologist, even one who works for the Park Service, imagine that humans separated from the rest of life a billion years ago? Maybe he meant a million, but Homo habilis made stone tools around 2.5 million years ago. Estimates for the first human control of fire range from 200,000 to 1.7 million years ago, with 400,000 a formerly well accepted figure.

  17. –gbaikie says: “…Maybe we will require a small comet to to buzz Earth, like Siding Spring will flyby Mars on Oct. 19, 2014, meaning not hit Earth, but comet’s coma engulfing Earth:
    ‘Although the comet’s nucleus will miss Mars, Siding Spring’s coma of dust particles might be wide enough to reach the planet.’”

    How do we know there aren’t a dozen or more of such comae circling the Sun? —

    It’s estimated there millions of Siding Spring type comets, but in terms human ending comets, there are thousands of them. Or we can barely detect dwarf planets in Kuiper belt:
    “Estimates are that up to 200 dwarf planets may be found when the entire region known as the Kuiper belt is explored, and that the number may exceed 10,000 when objects scattered outside the Kuiper belt are considered.”
    “August 2011 Mike Brown published a list of 390 candidate objects, ranging from “nearly certain” to “possible” dwarf planets. Brown currently identifies eleven known objects – the five accepted by the IAU plus 2007 OR10, Quaoar, Sedna, Orcus, 2002 MS4 and Salacia – as “virtually certain”, with another dozen highly likely. Stern states that there are more than a dozen known dwarf planets.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_planet

    I was talking about beyond Kuiper belt- where Siding Spring and other comets have come from- though many comets are from Kuiper belt area or closer [or say Jupiter and beyond- or they have be spend most of time beyond solar system's frostline to be comets- and frost line is halfway between here and Jupiter].
    Of course anything the size of those dwarf planets if hit earth, would instantly end all life on Earth, but I talking about smaller bodies [and much more numerous].
    And do not have the telescopes to see them at that distance, though some of then their orbits bring them closer, and energy of sunlight as it approaches frostline create a coma and makes them more visible. So anything bigger than 500 km in diameter turns Earth into molten ball a lava, at about 100 km, maybe microbes survive. 50 km diameter probably end human life, and dinosaurs extinction was about 10 km in diameter. And Siding Spring less than 1 km- and such frozen rocks which spend a lot time in deep space can have large coma- Siding Spring’s maybe will 80,000 to 100,000 km in diameter as passes near Mars- currently it’s larger than 20,000 km:

    http://www.universetoday.com/110763/mars-bound-comet-siding-spring-sprouts-multiple-jets/

  18. mixed messages!

    9 Aug: Weather Channel: Laura Dattaro: Climate Change Now Has A Logo
    PHOTO CAPTION: Milton Glaser, who designed the famous I Love New York logo, created this logo as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the urgency of climate change.
    Climate change now has a logo: A plain green and black circle, designed by the same artist who created the wildly successful and equally simple “I [heart] NY” logo in 1977. The circle is brightest and greenest at the bottom, darkening into pure black at the top.
    The logo represents Earth, with the bright green symbolizing life and the smoky black showing the deadly effects of climate change, according to an interview with the logo’s creator, Milton Glaser, in the architecture and design magazine Dezeen. A giant poster featuring the logo has been hung outside of New York’s School of Visual Arts, where Glaser is chairman. It’s also being distributed on pins, five of which can be purchased for $5…
    An animated version of the logo appears on an accompanying web site, Itsnotwarming.com…
    Some have taken issue with the language, including environmental magazine Grist, which published a column on Saturday arguing that spreading the phrase “it’s not warming” will add confusion to the conversation and aid in the misunderstanding of climate science…

    http://www.weather.com/news/science/climate-change-now-has-logo-20140809

  19. pat says:
    August 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    The trillions squandered on Green Energy and climate change “research” would have been far better spent on anti-bolide-impactor preparedness. Indeed, just a fraction of that waste, fraud and abuse could protect earth from life-ending impacts. Maybe Prince Philip would then imagine that humans do have a role in nature, protecting other living things from sudden, fiery demise.

  20. The Kurds were already split between the Ottoman Empire and Persia. The British and French didn’t create Iran. Its borders were set by fighting between the Turks and Persians.

    The Sykes-Picot and Versailles Treaties left the issue of Kurdistan for a later plebiscite, which didn’t happen. The resurgent Turks under Ataturk expelled the Greeks and wouldn’t let Kurds and Armenians have their own homelands on formerly Ottoman territory. Under the Allied agreement, Russia was also supposed to hold sway in northern Kurdistan and Armenia, but the Revolution scotched that deal.

  21. David Graber’s comment [as reported by Tim Ball above] …..

    “Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer “…………….is utterly ridiculous even allowing for hyperbole.

    The most complicated forms of life one billion years ago were algal mats in shallow water and along shore lines. The genus Homo first appeared around 2.3 million years ago. Homo habilis was the first [so far identified] user of worked stone tools.

    So Graber suggests we became a cancer when we were all slime mats ?

  22. OT – but this “Like” thing is OK with me, even though I frankly find I slightly annoying, but I understand other people like the feature. What I do NOT like is that I get an email from wordpress every time someone “likes” one of my comments. Really? An email each and every time? My inbox doesn’t have enough junk in it already?

  23. sturgishooper says:
    August 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm
    Jimbo says:
    August 9, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    How can any biologist, even one who works for the Park Service, imagine that humans separated from the rest of life a billion years ago? Maybe he meant a million, but Homo habilis made stone tools around 2.5 million years ago. Estimates for the first human control of fire range from 200,000 to 1.7 million years ago, with 400,000 a formerly well accepted figure.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————–

    Ferchrissakes; he’s employed by the gubmint. Of course he’ll be way off on his numbers. Sorta like “The center of the Earth is very hot; millions of degrees.”

    When they don’t get punched in the mouth for the BS, it continues to flow.

  24. While I desist alarmism, I appreciate their intention. Think about it, just in terms of our own household. We can create wealth, we can be rich. We are part of our own wealth. Our physical and mental health is a resource. But we also have the capacity to destroy our own wealth. So that’s why it’s important to stay healthy, and obviously to not spend excessively. There’s a fine line between skepticism and denialism.

  25. Al says:
    August 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    While I desist alarmism, I appreciate their intention. Think about it, just in terms of our own household. We can create wealth, we can be rich. We are part of our own wealth. Our physical and mental health is a resource. But we also have the capacity to destroy our own wealth. So that’s why it’s important to stay healthy, and obviously to not spend excessively. There’s a fine line between skepticism and denialism.

    What a load of new age claptrap.

    “While I desist alarmism” WTF?

  26. @clips, chill dude. If you can’t swallow what I said, go gargle your mouth with salt water or something.

    [No more. Both of you. Stop it. .mod]

  27. Al

    You can appreciate the stated intentions but any observer can see that the true intentions is to gain control over people’s lives so they can order them as they see fit. Every step they take is to diminish personal freedom. I ask you when in history has totalitarian rule helped the environment.

    China now? Russia?

    Why do you think that at every turn the governing bodies try to quelch the debate over AGW theory. We are told the science is settled and that anyone who disagrees is a denier. Because the cause is not the environment it scaring people in to giving up control of their lives.

    AGW if it exists at all is no threat to anyone, but the loss of freedom is a really threat. The three greatest disasters in world history came from people yield freedom to supposed leaders of the people. Hitler, Stalin and Mao all claimed that free will was the enemy of safety and happiness. All three of brutally killed tens of millions of people.

  28. I cannot comprehend how anyone could consider a world without humans a “better” place.

    A world without Shakespeare, Richard Feynman, Louis Armstrong.

    A universe without sentience to contemplate it, to wonder at it and be inspired by it, would be a meaningless place.

  29. Sorry Al , I missed it.
    What do you imagine the intention, of the alarmists to be?
    All I see is hysteria, self delusion and a deep seated anti-humanism.
    Hostile intent as I see it.

  30. Al says:
    August 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    @clips, chill dude. If you can’t swallow what I said, go gargle your mouth with salt water or something.

    clips? What you said is still claptrap and you don’t know the meaning of the word “desist”. I refuse to swallow what you’re peddling.

    [No more. Both of you. Stop it. .mod]

  31. Humans may indeed be a cancer on this Earth, but it certainly won’t be from adding more plant fertilizer to the atmosphere and extending the growing seasons.

  32. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was a British statesman and philosopher who stated, ‘‘Those who don’’t know history are destined to repeat it.’’ Others have reminded the world of this from time to time, yet sadly, politicians and others just cannot seem to understand the lesson. As for the eco-bullies, well… they don’t give a damn either way. And there lies the problem.

  33. “””””…..Ed says:

    August 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    “Social Science hypotheses invalidate themselves, because humans react to the predictions and alter the outcome.” ???

    This absurd statement shows little understanding of either social science generally or the scientific method. ……”””””

    Well IMHO the very term “social science” shows very little understanding of the word “science.”

    And it leads to all of the other gobbledegook terms of the Liberal meddlers.

  34. “””””…..Eustace Cranch says:

    August 9, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I cannot comprehend how anyone could consider a world without humans a “better” place.

    A world without Shakespeare, Richard Feynman, Louis Armstrong.

    A universe without sentience to contemplate it, to wonder at it and be inspired by it, would be a meaningless place. ……”””””

    According to the very best research, the vast majority of this universe, is completely lacking in any of those things you deem essential.

    What does “better” actually mean in a world without humans ??

  35. Climate determinism was as politically sensitive in the early post-war period as AGW today and , yes, this because of the eugenics-nazi connection. Two interesting treatments of this link in the context of AGW are : James fleming’s scathing and entirely distracted chapter on Huntington; and Mike Hulme also trashing determinism in ‘Why we dissagree… ‘ Note, Hulme makes the common confusion of racial and cultural determinism. There are very good and uncontroversial reasons why sherpas look different from ethopians. But anyway, on the social side, the need to store Grain through a long winter is important. Bookishness makes sense where siesta does not. Hubert Lamb bemoaned the way the study of the impacts of climate change was taken from the interdisciplinary field he had created to become instead a full social science in the partitions of the field during the AGW boom of 1980s. Some see another link with eugenics — as a precedent for the corruption of science with many parallels with the corruption by AGW (see Lindzen). There is lots to consider in this regard and so thanks to Tim for raising it here.
    More on Fleming’s treatment of Huntington here: http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/civilisation-and-climate/

  36. george e. smith;
    What does “better” actually mean in a world without humans ??
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    LOL. The modern corollary of “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it fall, does it still make a sound?” arises….

  37. @John, correct and so is denialism. Both are extremists. But in each, regardless how foolish they are, there lies a good intention. Both sides want to see a better world. It is those stuck in the middle that need to educate, not spread more hate. Yes, educate those ppl who r wasteful, like children wasting their parents money. No conspiracy, taking over the world kind of thing, although a subset may have such evil intentions.

  38. george e. smith says:
    August 9, 2014 at 8:13 pm
    __________________________________________

    I said nothing about “essential.” There’s a huge difference between quantity and quality.

    I’ll put William Shakespeare and Louis Armstrong up against the vast unpopulated remainder of the Universe anytime.

  39. Roper: Global warming is driving migrants north
    L. David Roper Roper is professor emeritus of physics at Virginia Tech. He lives in Blacksburg.

    Why has U.S. media not mentioned the root cause of south to north migration being global warming caused by burning fossil fuels in the U.S.?
    Probably within a few decades extreme weather events in the U.S. and consequent decay in living conditions here, especially in the south, will cause our citizens to migrate into northern states and into Canada.

    http://www.roanoke.com/opinion/roper-global-warming-is-driving-migrants-north/article_d949747a-53fc-5c95-9b20-846a68fa9763.html

    Opinion pieces like this from a retired physics professor sort of make overt satire redundant :: ))

  40. The Doctors Meadows, et al, in “Limits to Growth”, were quite clear that they were NOT predicting anything – merely projecting or forecasting possible outcomes. However, the Club of Rome, in its summary, tended to miss that distinction. This predated the IPCC by many years. However, the behavior carried over.
    In addition, the doctors and their fellow researchers also made it quite clear that they considered their models to be very simple and begged the readers to provide them with any models that were more complete. Would that this intellectual honesty and integrity were visible today.
    Lastly, there was a second volume that contained documentation of their analyses. Yet another feature missing today.

  41. The Warmists know they only need to persists in spite of the obvious failure of the hypothesis. Once the world is obviously cooling they will claim the laws that destroy civilization and freedom are working tamper with the data again and double down. The entire matter is about wealth, control and ideology.

  42. I have a simplistic view how determinism relates to CAGW. It has two aspects: one is venal, selfish, profligate, polluting mankind, who is fated to destroy Mother Earth and needs must realize the magnitude of his sins against Her; and the other is the angry visage of God-of-Science, who in his omniscience sees far into the future, who must shepherd his errant Children to an understanding of their transgression… and subsequently milk them for all they are worth.

    Hollywood, ironically, got the cynicism of this old story quite right in the 1976 movie, Network. Change only the identities of the corporations to the climate scientists jiggling the strings of our present government for all seasons, and you could have a reasonably accurate portrayal of the Greens’ deterministic world-view.

    “You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beal!”

    Ned Beaty to Peter Finch in “Network”:

  43. The natural world is ‘red in tooth and claw’.

    It is intrinsically murderous and desperate.

    The natural world is slowly, with many reverses and with a constant risk of catastrophic errors, being re-ordered by humans into something far more civilised.

    Human fertility declines wherever general wealth increases amd more effort is then spent on maintaining the environment.

    There will be a peak in human populaton during the 21st century provided environmentalists do not get their way.

    After that there can be a slow population decline with an increasingly sustainable accommodation with the natural world.

    The only thing in our way is the ignorant nonsense of environmentalism and their aggressive propogation of counterproductive ‘solutions’.

  44. Tim Ball is missing the boat in his concluding statement: “Technological advances to offset the extent of climatic determinism (…) Why isn’t that part of evolution? It is”.

    But it isn’t part of what is called evolutionary biology or any scientific theory attached to that. And that is what it means when people talk about any “evolution theory”. Cultural evolution and adaptive human behavior works on different timescales, involves different forces and needs different types of analysis. Many social theories and anthropological studies abound but please don’t call it “part of evolution”. People who write like that are scientifically illiterate no matter which other valid critique on environmentalism they might have stumbled upon.

  45. If earth happens and there are no humans does it really exist?
    Or will trees be the witnesses of the forests?
    If I were an environmentalist and the he only human left on earth would I be celebrating?
    If I were the last person earth who would I complain to about humans?
    I hate parades.
    If nature hates humans why do our pets love us so?
    Is my lush lawn a sin?
    Was Noah green?

  46. “george e. smith;
    What does “better” actually mean in a world without humans ??
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>”

    I have a theory. When observing nature at my cabin I get satisfaction and inner peace. Why? Could it be instincts and needs from gatherer and hunting sivilisation era? I mean It’s because I am sitting in a food table and I am alone? Subcounciuos Experienced as a good chance of survival? When competition comes in it triggers the survival instinct because this threath has the potential to decrease your chance of survival.

    Now imagine some people, due variation, could have much stronger of these instincts/needs? Life would be like hell because they are everywhere to be found?

    I think they mean to rid the world of humans so they could have it alone?

  47. In other words to keep nature untouched, their subcounciuos experience of a food table needed for survival, and no competition, also subcounciuos experienced as increasing ones chances of survival.

    Agenda 21 finally makes sense. It’s to satisfy small Men with Big Egos?

  48. If you consider humans to be part of nature and not outside it then ‘everything is as it should be’ as the Buddhists say.

    If you don’t consider that humans are part of nature I wonder what the criteria is and when we separated ourselves.

    Radical thought I know.

  49. pat says:
    August 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm
    “…PHOTO CAPTION: Milton Glaser, who designed the famous I Love New York logo, created this logo as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the urgency of climate change.
    Climate change now has a logo: A plain green and black circle, designed by the same artist who created the wildly successful and equally simple “I [heart] NY” logo in 1977. The circle is brightest and greenest at the bottom, darkening into pure black at the top.
    The logo represents Earth, with the bright green symbolizing life and the smoky black showing the deadly effects of climate change.”

    I suggest a better logo. A large male bovine sitting on a toilet, reaching for the toilet paper. The words global warming, climate change and climate disruption are all crossed out inside the animal’s thought bubble. Below the caption reads, “if I could just find a more accurate description.”

  50. If climate determinism is at work it is based on a mirage created by the IPCC and their models. Nothing has actually changed in the real climate to force changes in behaviour.

  51. The shorter version is how Totalitarianists justify their control over all aspects of life in the Western governments post-Enlightment, Republic world.

    The earliest reference (I’ve found) regarding government is in the Hebrew Bible 1 Samual 8. It predates all the Greek philosophers (e.g., Plator) and even predates Zoroaster. The philosophers/writers of the Enlightment (e.g. Locke through Hegal) restated the selection of kings to be democratic (i.e., “republican” – see early Roman history). Nietzsche used “master” for “king” and “slaves” for “the people” with the people simply called the herd (mentality). The Founding Fathers, more versed than most today, recognized the totalitarianists (“tyranny”) and crafted their limited government Constituion

    The modern totalitarianist (the “Greens”, “Social Democrats”, etc.) rely exclusively on simple Aristotlian syllogisms by first confounding the herd then submitting their syllogism. Along the lines of (a) given climate determinism, (b) we have climate therefore (c) we must control all life on Earth.

    Nothing really new, just the details of the process.

  52. Watched the second film of the Hunger Games series last night. As allways when watching such films i was conscious of the fact that this might be our future at some point. Some of the warmistas have even, directly or indirectly, stated as much. And looking at our current lords and masters, i still feel that they are mostly people who read Orwell and thought not “this is awfull, and we must never let it happen” but “this is awesome, how can we make such a perfect society”

    If we fail to prevent it, lets hope for a person like the Katness character in our future.

  53. Time is the medium through which all action occurs. All of the activity – consisting of various processes and complex factors and forces (including those that are external to the planet in origin) – at work on our small world is interactive. The interactivity is at base a flowing complexity of actions and consequences (like a massive river of change in time) which trigger further actions and consequences and so on in a determined (mechanistic) fashion, including climate. Until the appearance of man?

    Weave the influence of humanity into that flowing complex and what happens?

    Essentially the actions of humanity initially become a part of that flowing complex of action with various ongoing impacts – reclamation of land from the sea, digging large holes in the ground, breeding animals etc. The river of change flows on in the same mechanistic fashion as before but with an added element in the interactive process: our impact . . . Until, out of that flowing complex of action we abstract what we’ve classified as climate and begin to make conscious policy choices and implement them.

    Choice is the key. When we burned only what we could find we weren’t making choices, but when we leave certain products in the ground and opt for others then we are adding a whole new factor to the river of change: change that’s determined by us, even if we don’t foresee all of the consequences . ..

    Of course, before we know what specific difference we can make, we need to establish what we know (and in the field of climate change that seems to be very little). Once we’ve pulled that one off, the relevant climatic consequences will be determined by us and not determined in the pre human mechanistic sense . . . . Even if we make the wrong choices. . . . Climate determinism in the old sense may be over, to a variable and unspecifiable degree in the meantime. . .

  54. brent says:
    August 9, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Roper: Global warming is driving migrants north

    L. David Roper Roper is professor emeritus of physics at Virginia Tech. He lives in Blacksburg.

    Why has U.S. media not mentioned the root cause of south to north migration being global warming caused by burning fossil fuels in the U.S.?

    But the temp of CONUS has declined 0.4 degrees in the past ten years.

  55. Wilde says

    Man you didn’t see Bambi did you don’t know anything about nature.

    Al says

    Who is going to educate the people in the middle? This the whole point they control the media and dismiss and demonize the other side. Every waking moment they try to remove people from the responsibility of their own lives and work to get the mass to surrender their freedoms.

    The “extremists” on the other side are trying to educate the people a preserve their freedom from the total non sense be constantly fed them.

    No one on the skeptic side is asking for the governments of the world to take over large chunks of society or control the behavior of the masses. We are not telling the world that the debate is over and the science is settled. No one except for maybe a very small group even deny that there is a chance that AGW theory is partially correct. What we DENY is that a theory that the evidence and the environment itself refutes should not be used as a reason to hand over our liberty. You are right are two extremes one is a group of elitists who want to control the world the other is a group of people who believe that the individual has the ability to understand and control their own lives. Two extremes for sure and the same battle that this country has fought before.

    Stop being a fool.

  56. Thanks, Dr. Ball, for an interesting essay that adds some perspective to the current struggle.
    We humans evolve, even “green” humans. Global warming transmogrified into climate change, never mind climate has always changed, since the very beginning of this planet.

  57. davidmhoffer says:
    August 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    OT – but this “Like” thing is OK with me, even though I frankly find I slightly annoying, but I understand other people like the feature. What I do NOT like is that I get an email from wordpress every time someone “likes” one of my comments. Really? An email each and every time? My inbox doesn’t have enough junk in it already?

    Those e-mails have a “settings” link at the top. I presume that you can turn off the e-mails by clicking it and changing the default settings.

  58. “Social Science hypotheses invalidate themselves, because humans react to the predictions and alter the outcome.”

    Agree, but that is only one of the problems. In the end, whatever you do to try to develop the “social sciences” into a science like the physical sciences, you end up with some form of political activism. And that is exactly what you see happening.

    There is nothing wrong with politics, unless you try to put your politics beyond doubt as a “science”. That is the big problem with the “social sciences”. You cannot give a priori validity and normative responsibility to a research project you don’t know the outcome of yet. That would be very unscientific. But this is exactly what you have to do a priory towards other fellow human beings. So in this sense to approach the social science as “pure science” is unethical to begin with. That is the big caveat.

    So my attitude towards a “social scientist” would be: be honest and admit in the end it is politics and I might listen to what you have to say as a socially or politically engaged person. And yes in that sense there is a lot to learn from a lot of writers or so-called “social scientists” and historians, journalists or whatever.

  59. Look at how many new names have surfaced to fuzzy up the topic. The clear philosophical and poignant tones of the good Doctor’s word must have Google warning all those ‘climate’ determinants’, wallowers of some impending criticism of their innate and self-destroying believe and it must be stamped out.

  60. Ah Prince Phillip, He will make a great king. With ears like the FA cup. Someone the Brits can revere.
    The elite in Europe mostly avoided the plague by isolating themselves away from the cities. Phillip plans to do the same.
    Warning to the Brits: don’t accept any free blankets from elitists/royals.
    (Think Hernando De Soto in the New World.)

  61. And so one is left to wonder:
    All other things being equal and climate doing it’s usual thing.
    If we would not have created a carbon based energy industry but kept it with wind and solar from the start, what would have been identified as the cause of climate change?

  62. RobRoy:

    At August 10, 2014 at 10:12 am you assert

    Ah Prince Phillip, He will make a great king.

    Really? Where would that be? He is very distant in line to the British or the Greek thrones.

    Richard

  63. The only thing that makes a sunset beautiful is man. Without man it is just a sunset.

    The same is true for the natural world.

  64. Clovis Marcus says:
    August 10, 2014 at 2:13 am

    If you consider humans to be part of nature and not outside it then ‘everything is as it should be’ as the Buddhists say.

    If you don’t consider that humans are part of nature I wonder what the criteria is and when we separated ourselves.

    There are “parts” and then there are “parts”. I like to stop and watch the bees in the park. But then I drive home – maybe take the long way sometimes. I don’t think thtat should bother anybody except my wife.

  65. @Joe Born at 4:30 pm
    Human beings are part of nature. We’re nature’s way of returning to the cycle of life the carbon improvidently sequestered by other life forms.

    Let’s not frustrate nature’s purpose.

    I’m with you, Joe. Carbon is the element of life, yet much of life has been sequestering it into limestones, dolomites, coal and peat beds, high total Organic Carbon shales for a billion years.

    From a comment discussing paleoatmospheres in We Must Get Rid of the Carboniferous Warm Period WUWT, Oct. 6, 2013

    How much carbon is accounted for in CO2 in the atmosphere compared to other places: (See Wiki: Carbon Cycle) in gigatons
    Atmosphere: 720 GT
    Fossil Fuels: 4,130 GT (90% coal and peat)
    Terrestrial biosphere: 2,000 GT (living and dead)
    Ocean organic: 1,000 GT
    Ocean inorganic: 37,400 GT
    Lithosphere Kerogens: 15,000,000 GT
    Lithosphere Carbonates: more than 60,000,000 GT

    There is 100,000 times more carbon locked in terrestrial Kerogen and carbonates than is in the current atmosphere.

    I submit a limiting factor of 2,000 GT of Carbon in the terrestrial biosphere is the paltry 720 GT in the atmosphere. Most forms of life on this planet make it their business to sequester carbon into calcium carbonate, into bone, into carapace, into cellulose. Some of this carbon is returned to the atmosphere via volcanos, weathering, and termites. But it is not a steady state condition. For the past 650 million years, since life learned to make hard body parts, shells, and reefs, life itself has been sequestering carbon, the very element that makes life possible. 99.99% of all carbon that used to be in the biosphere is now locked up in stone or buried underground.

    What species has made it’s business the recycling of sequestered carbon? Homosapian.
    We humans are far from being a scourge, a curse, a virus on this planet. Instead, we are an essential link in the “circle of life”. By our penchant, our talent, our skill at unlocking the treasure of buried and sequestered carbon from kerogen shales, fossil fuels, and even limestone, we return carbon back into the biosphere. We coal-burning, gasoline-pumping, shale-fracking, cement-kilning humans are returning life-giving carbon to the atmosphere. Do you think the trees object?

  66. Bob Boder says:
    August 10, 2014 at 8:26 am
    “…What we DENY is that a theory that the evidence and the environment itself refutes should not be used as a reason to hand over our liberty.”

    Indeed, freedom that was so costly is just ceded back to tyrants without even a whimper.

    Better a hot free man than a cold slave.

    In the US the Legislature makes laws. supposedly.
    IMO regulatory agencies that make regulations with an economic impact are unconstitutional.
    Unfortunately, the Supreme Court disagrees.
    Progressives hate progress (and humanity).

  67. From the brief forays into the subject I have made it seems climate was a cornerstone to the evolution of some if not many religions. It would be nice if someone with the inclination and time could do a good job researching the evolution of the new religion of climatisim just to see how many times it has evolved before and whether or not it formed the basis of any still practiced religions.

  68. Dr. Ball’s thesis is against environmentalism. Evolution, it argues, should be allowed to proceed apace with man and his technology included in the natural forces. The essay suggests that when IPCC determined, “We must modify our behavior, mitigate the warming, or die by the millions”, that was environmentalism. The essay ambiguously links that IPCC-type modification to “climatic determinism”, which “should not have been discredited or abandoned.”

    Determinism has two opposing meanings, and the essay uses both interchangeably. Determinism 1 is the notion that behavior is causally determined by external factors. It is the left’s doctrine today of victimization. It is countermanded in religion and Western law by the concept of free will by which to hold individuals accountable for their acts. It is social science. Determinism 2 is the state of being determined, as in the hypothesis that an asteroid impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. It is the conjecture of the climate with AGW the agent. It fits in science.

    In Determinism 1, the external world affects man, and in Determinism 2, man, for example, effects changes in the external world. Between the two, the arrow of causation is reversed.

    The essay refers to “climatic determinism, the idea that human behavior is dictated by climate.” That is Determinism 1. But when it asks whether “making the climate a demiurge of social universe”, coupled with “the omnipresence of anthropogenic climate change”, constitutes a “revival of climatic determinism”, it is talking about Determinism 2.

    The essay says,

    >>The history of the hypothesis of climatic determinism illustrates the fundamental difference between Science and Social Science. A scientific hypothesis is validated by predictive success. Social Science hypotheses invalidate themselves, because humans react to the predictions and alter the outcome. The latter failure is due to something that cannot be quantified – free will.

    The observation about predictive success in science is correct. And to the extent that a social science can predict anything, it is a science. However, social sciences fail because social concepts, whether individual or collective, almost universally resist reduction to facts (observations reduced to measurements and compared to standards). Intelligence and antisocial behavior are examples of such unmeasurable concepts. The presumption of free will is an argument against Determinism 1. The failure of the AGW conjecture and the GCMs to validate AGW is an argument against Determinism 2.

    The appeal to free will says nothing about the existence of AGW. Free will is an argument with religious overtones. So, too, are the several references to belief in evolution. The essay refers to “[the Club of Rome, UNEP, and the IPCC] belief in evolution”. It refers to “advocates of socialism” “who totally agree with Darwin”. And it refers to “the theory sacrosanct to [environmentalists] belief in Darwin.” By these remarks, the writer sets himself apart from the theory of evolution, an observer rather than a participant. The result smacks of an appeal to the notion that belief in evolution is a pejorative, and an inconsistency to hang on environmentalists who would halt some concept of evolution.

    That concept is tested in the final paragraph, where the essay completes the finesse of evolution from Darwin’s model for the species into a dubious evolution of the environment, including life and climate. The latter evolution, the essay urges, is what the environmentalists would halt, given the power to do so. That cessation would be Determinism 2, stopping man from effecting change in the environment. By arguing irrelevantly against Determinism 1, the essay urges Determinism 2 should be reconsidered and preserved.

    The thesis would thus allow humans to continue to change the environment as the greater, natural good. The essay concedes that AGW exists, it’s just not so bad. This is the same concession used by others. Bjorn Lomberg comes to mind. It is a concession that fuels environmentalism, and it is counterproductive because it is unobservable and not a fact.

    Science is a mapping of facts onto facts. The effect of humans on climate is too small to be measured. Thus it is not fact, notwithstanding the Greenhouse Effect and CO2 emission models. AGW is not deterministic of climate. It is not a fact, and as a scientific proposition, AGW does not exist.

  69. As I stated earlier regarding these religious climate deterministic fanciers. Out about in droves as the sample above demonstrates. Others commented that the good doctor should not be quoting from of the good book. Are these the same people that fail to condemn the terrorists and anything that happens in and by palestinians by any chance?

  70. @ Stephen Rasey & Jeff Glassman.
    My compliments. You both produced essays more edifying than that of Dr Ball.

  71. The author’s historical accountings are so dismal that I have no confidence in the remainder of his article, or, indeed, his work in general.

  72. @Bob Boder, I said those in the middle should educate those extremists. Not the other way around. Before calling others a fool, one should first look in the mirror.

  73. David Graber

    “Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer.”

    Assuming you meant a Million years, you are still wrong because there were no homo sapiens sapiens a.k.a. modern humans a million years ago. Therefore it is uncertain at that time if we will evolve at all, much less dominate the world. Note the Neanderthals became extinct despite similarities with us.

    “Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

    I’m not aware that humans divorced nature in the first place. We still eat plants and animals. Are they not part of nature? We still use minerals, metals, woods and fossil fuels. All from nature. Environmentalists need not hope for the right virus to come along. Man is the only animal species known to commit mass suicide. You can save nature.

  74. For all we know, intelligent technologically endowed civilizations may be extremely rare in the universe. Maybe we are unique. Contemplate a universe where the only intelligent species is eliminated. Who would want that?

  75. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer.

    A billion years ago? I always wondered what National Park Service employees did in their spare time, out there in the forest. Apparently it is harvesting and consuming hallucinogens, as one would expect an educated NPS employee to have a clue about the evolution of the human species, especially the timescales involved. A billion years ago there wasn’t much in the way of organized animal life at all, and recognizably human life is at least 3 or 4 orders of magnitude more recent than that, the last million years if not the last hundred thousand (depending on where one draws various lines). Human civilizations only seem to have occurred well within the Holocene, that is to say the last 10,000 years, and the ruins of the oldest recorded urban centers are even younger than that, perhaps 6000 years old.

    Humans are a “cancer” in the same sense that any successful species is a cancer.

    It is just sad that employees of the US Government would openly state that they hope for a world-spanning plague to occur that wipes out most of humanity. But if they are serious, can I — in equal seriousness — suggest that they not wait? They cannot ethically kill anyone else, but they are at all times welcome to reduce the human population and its drain upon world resources by one — themselves.

    But then again, this is just another example of the Gore hypocrisy. Wishing for Ebola to depopulate the world — but not themselves or or their own family or friends, to them “the world” are other people that they don’t know. Calling upon all the people of the world to sacrifice things like cheap electricity and food and convenient transportation to avoid a future disaster while living in huge houses, driving large cars, and flying all over the planet. Sacrifice (to the nameless “green” nature gods they appear to believe in) is always something for somebody else to perform, imposed on them by force and sanction, not a self-accepted obligation.

    Personally, I agree that growing world population is putting the hurt on many species and ecologies, and even agree that this is generally an undesirable thing. The solution, however, is to create more wealth for everybody, not less for most people and the same or more for the select few. Wealthy people tend to reproduce much more slowly than poor people (worldwide). A secondary solution is to implement sane public policies and international projects to protect the commons without starving the people that live around it or condemning them and their children to a life in perpetual poverty. One of the greatest tragedies of the IPCC and the climate fiasco is that it has successfully distracted the human race from seeking things like: World Peace, an economically fair world, an end to global poverty, an end to the de-facto slaughter of children, lost to starvation and disease that could have been prevented with more, cheaper, energy.

    rgb

  76. While the David M Graber comment is quoted in full in many places, there appears to be original source. Maybe, just maybe, the “billion” was a transcription, or even typographer’s error.

  77. Such a delight to see a retrospective about the University of Durham in the memories of Professor Clarke:

    https://www.dur.ac.uk/geography/alumni/50year/

    I was a “junior year abroad” student at Durham in 1962-63, in PPE (government & economics), in University College. At the time, we wore academic gowns to dinner and there were no female studies in the male colleges and vice versa. Recently, I visited the campus and could not believe the number of female students resident in Durham Castle. Some bishops and professors must be turning in their graves.

    That winter was the coldest and snowiest throughout the British Isles in several decades, or more. This was just before the global cooling scare took hold. Apparently the superstitious among us are afflicted with such superstitions from decade to decade. And apparently the superstitious are ever more prevalent, despite the valiant efforts of sane men such as Professor Fisher

  78. Walton Francis says:
    That winter (62/63) was the coldest and snowiest throughout the British Isles in several decades, or more.
    You obviously were not around in the Winter of 1947 which was far worse. I experienced both – as a 7 yr old trying to walk to primary school in Yorkshire and as a 22 yr old cycling to Nottingham University every day. In 1947 the entire country was frozen up for three solid (!!) months – Jan, Feb & March. Nothing like that in ’63.
    BJ in UK.

  79. Al says:
    August 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm
    “@Bob Boder, I said those in the middle should educate those extremists. Not the other way around. Before calling others a fool, one should first look in the mirror.”

    the ones in the middle need to educate them selves. one of the “extremes has it right”

    I apologize for the fool comment that is not like me.

    You do need to stop assume that just because there are two “extremes” that that means there are two sides with an agenda. As I said one “extreme” in this argument has an agenda that has nothing to do with the argument. the other “extreme” in this argument wants to preserve Liberty.
    two extremes yes, both educated, one is evil and the other is not. the middle unfortunately at this point doesn’t really care what is going on. One side wants to keep it that way.

    There where two “extremes” or more during WWII. that doesn’t mean both were wrong.

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