A Geological Feud Over the Meghalayan? Or Just More Rubbish Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science of America?

Alternate Title: Yes, We Have No Anthropocene, We Have No Anthropocene Today! (Sung to the tune of Yes, We Have No Bananas)

Guest commentary by David Middleton

SCIENCE

Geologists Are Feuding About the Collapse of Civilization

The year’s most acrimonious scientific fight is a mega-drama over a mega-drought.

ROBINSON MEYER
SEP 20, 2018

This summer, the decree went out: We are living in a new geological chapter in the planet’s 4.5-billion-year history.

For a certain corner of the world, this was big news. You have probably heard of the Jurassic period (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) or the Cambrian explosion (when complex animal life arose). Now we had a new name for our own neighborhood in time: We modern humans—you, me, and Jesus of Nazareth—were all born in the Meghalayan ageAccording to the global governing body of geologists, this new era began 4,200 years ago, when a global mega-drought sent ancient societies around the world into starvation and collapse.

How interesting!, you may think. I love science! And perhaps in an earlier era, that’s all you would have had to think. The dawn of the Meghalayan would have earned some wide-eyed headlines, made life slightly easier for a few researchers, and promptly been relegated to a second-round Jeopardy!question.

Instead, the Meghalayan kicked off one of the cattiest, most intransigent fights among earth scientists that I can remember…

[…]

The Atlantic

The Meghalayan kicked off one of the cattiest, most intransigent fights among earth scientists that I can remember…

Robinson Meyer is a twenty-something year old staff writer for The Atlantic with a 2013 B.A. in music.  The “fight among earth scientists” about the Meghalayan Epoch is probably the only “fight among earth scientists” that he has ever heard of… His grandparents probably weren’t even born when the geosynclines vs plate tectonics fight began… And that fight lasted nearly 50 years.

Furthermore, he doesn’t even seem to understand what earth scientists are.

This week, the fight spilled into the pages ofone of the country’s most prestigious journals, as a critic raised a new concern with the embattled age. A short article published Thursday in Science contends that the Meghalayan is premised on faulty archaeology. There is scant evidence, it says, that the worldwide mega-drought around 2200 b.c., which started the Meghalayan, brought ancient society to its knees.

“There was no sudden, universal civilizational collapse,” writes Guy Middleton, a visiting archaeologist at Newcastle University, in the piece. “Overall, the archaeological and historical evidence suggests that 2200 b.c.was not a threshold date.”

Middleton’s point is larger than just the Meghalayan: He is siding with a group of scholars, mostly at European universities, that argues that climate change has almost never led to war or total ruin in the past. He writes as much in his piece: “Climate change never inevitably results in societal collapse, though it can pose serious challenges, as it does today.”

Guy Middleton is not a relative of mine, as far as I know… Nor is he an earth scientist.  Dr. Middleton is a Visting Fellow, School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University, with no earth science background at all.

Sidebar. Earth Scientists or earth scientists?  I normally capitalize the ‘e’ in Earth.  Earth science is the study of the Earth.  When referring to academic departments and degrees, I usually write “Earth Science,” because my B.S. was from the Earth Science Department. While the study of earth (as in dirt) is certainly part of Earth science… To me “earth science” would be soil science.  Since the article uses “earth scientists,” I am using that form in this post.

The “architects” of the Meghalayan, naturally, disagree with Dr. Middleton:

“This is a totally misleading piece of writing, which displays a lamentable grasp of the facts,” said Mike Walker, a professor at the University of Wales and the leader of the team that proposed the Meghalayan.

“I do not see a single accurate claim,” agreed Harvey Weiss, a professor of archaeology at Yale who, also helped write the Meghalayan proposal.

In a series of emails, Weiss lambasted his critic’s credentials. “Middleton, a pop-archeology writer, failed archaeology Ph.D., and English-as-a-second-language instructor in Japan, now claims archeo-expertise in matters about which he knows nothing, and gets great audience in Science—of all journals!” he wrote.

“For me, the most intriguing question is, ‘Why does Science publish this rubbish?’” he said in another message, sent several hours later under the subject line “and Weiss added … ”

  • Dr. Michael Walker is an Emeritus Professor of Quaternary Science at the University of Wales.  He is an actual earth scientist.  He’s probably one of the foremost experts in the world as it pertains to Quaternary stratigraphy.
  • Dr. Harvey Weiss is a Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Anthropology and Forestry & Environmental Studies (that’s a mouthful) at Yale University.  While he is primarily an archaeologist, his specialty is human adaptation to climate change during the Holocene.

I share Dr. Weiss’ sentiments: “Why does Science publish this rubbish?”  Dr. Middleton lists this as one of his references in the Science article:

The International Commission on Stratigraphy, “Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale”; stratigraphy.org.

This doesn’t appear to exist on the ICS website.  The title, “Collapse of Civilizations Worldwide Defines Youngest Unit of the Geologic Time Scale,” appears to be from a  Long Beach State University press release.   A press release from Durham University also has a similar title: Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale.

Further furthermore, why does The Atlantic publish rubbish about the rubbish published in Science?  A twenty-something year old “journalist” with a degree in music, characterizing a one-sided argument involving one earth scientist and two archaeologists as “one of the cattiest, most intransigent fights among earth scientists that [he] can remember,” is as rubbish as it gets… Unless it gets rubbish-ier…  Which it did.  The music major spent most of the rest of the article listing Middleton’s (the other Middleton) archaeological arguments against the Meghalayan epoch.  However, to the music major’s credit, he closed the article with this:

Walker, the professor who led the Meghalayan team, told me that “the archaeological record has no relevance whatsoever” in helping to set the new age. The mega-drought that set in 4,200 years ago is the important boundary in time, he said, adding: “I cannot understand why Science, which is supposed to be a flagship journal for global science, would publish such a poorly researched article as this.”

The formal announcement from the ICS never even mentions the archaeological record or collapsing civilizations.

The archaeological record, though coincident with the stratigraphic record, “has no relevance whatsoever” in defining the boundaries of the Meghalayan Epoch.   This is from Walker’s 2012 discussion paper on subdividing the Holocene:

The Middle–Late Holocene Boundary

We propose that the Middle–Late Holocene Boundary should be placed at 4.2 ka BP as defined by a mid/low-latitude aridification event (hereafter, the 4.2 event). This was a widespread climatic phenomenon that is reflected in proxy records from North America, through the Middle East to China; and from Africa, parts of South America, and Antarctica (Mayewski et al., 2004; Staubwasser & Weiss, 2006).

The forcing mechanisms behind the 4.2 event are less obvious than is the case with that at 8.2 ka BP, however. There is, for example, no evidence for massive freshwater releases into the North Atlantic or for significant northern hemisphere ice growth; likewise, there are no systematic concentrations of volcanic aerosols or increases in atmospheric CO2. Mayewski et al. (2004) suggest that southward migration of the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) might account for the low-latitude aridity (which is the hallmark of the event), and would be consistent with the increase in strength of the westerlies over the North Atlantic, increased precipitation, and consequent glacier advance in western North America (see below). The onset of aridification also coincides with a 1–2 8C cooling of North Atlantic surface waters (Bond et al., 1997), while in the Pacific, tropical ‘deep’ waters may also have cooled sufficiently to allow a switch-on of the modern El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) regime (Sun, 2000), which became more pronounced in the mid-latitude regions after c. 4.0 ka BP (Barron & Anderson, 2010). More active El Niño events inhibit and weaken the Asian monsoon, and the interval from around 4.0 ka BP onwards registers in many Pacific and Asian proxy records as one of weak or failed Asian monsoons with resulting widespread drought conditions (Fisher et al., 2008, and references therein). Irrespective of cause, however, the fact that the 4.2 event is manifest in a range of geomorphological, stratigraphical and archaeological records from many parts of the world (Weiss, 2012; Fig. 4) means that it constitutes an appropriate temporal marker for the Middle–Late Holocene.

[…]

The Anthropocene

It has been suggested that the effects of humans on the global environment, particularly since the Industrial Revolution, have resulted in marked changes to the Earth’s surface, and that these may be reflected in the recent stratigraphic record (Zalasiewicz et al., 2008). The term ‘Anthropocene’ (Crutzen, 2002) has been employed informally to denote the contemporary global environment that is dominated by human activity (Andersson et al., 2005; Crossland, 2005; Zalasiewicz et al., 2010), and discussions are presently ongoing to determine whether the stratigraphic signature of the Anthropocene is sufficiently clearly defined as to warrant its formal definition as a new period of geological time (Zalasiewicz et al., 2011a,b). This is currently being considered by a separate Working Group of the SQS led by Dr Jan Zalasiewicz and, in order to avoid any possible conflict, the INTIMATE/SQS Working Group on the Holocene is of the view that this matter should not come under its present remit. Nevertheless, we do acknowledge that although there is a clear distinction between these two initiatives, the Holocene subdivision being based on natural climatic/environmental events whereas the concept of the Anthropocene centres on human impact on the environment, there may indeed be areas of overlap, for example in terms of potential human impact on atmospheric trace gas concentrations not only during the industrial era, but also perhaps during the Middle and Early Holocene (Ruddiman, 2003, 2005; Ruddiman et al., 2011). However, it is the opinion of the present Working Group that the possible definition of the Anthropocene would benefit from the prior establishment of a formal framework for the natural environmental context of the Holocene upon which these, and also other human impacts, may have been superimposed.

Walker et al., 2012

There was no discussion of the collapses of civilizations as a basis for the Meghalayan Epoch.  To the extent archaeological evidence was relevant, it was relevant to the 4.2 ka event.  Furthermore, they went on to note that the Holocene subdivisions were based on “natural climatic/environmental events” rather than human impacts and that anthropogenic “fingerprints” appear to be present throughout the Holocene.

And this leads us to the reason that the Anthropocene will never be recognized as formal geologic time period.

The utility of the Anthropocene requires careful consideration by its various potential users. Its concept is fundamentally different from the chronostratigraphic units that are established by ICS in that the documentation and study of the human impact on the Earth system are based more on direct human observation than on a stratigraphic record. The drive to officially recognize the Anthropocene may, in fact, be political rather than scientific.

Finney & Edwards, 2016

Dr. Stanley Finney is the Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), which would have to ratify any formal changes to the geologic time scale.

The geologic time scale is based on the stratigraphic record, not on human history.  Personally, I think the Holocene Epoch shouldn’t even be an epoch.  It should be an interglacial stage within the Upper Pleistocene, rather than an epoch of equal stature to the Pleistocene.

The subdivision of the Holocene was based on a formal recommendation from a Working Group and was approved by >60% votes of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy and the ICS Bureau, followed by ratification by the IUGS Executive Committee.

Figure 4 from Finney & Edwards.  “Workflow for approval and ratification of a Global Standard Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) proposal. Extensive discussion and evaluation occurs at the level of the working group, subcommission, and International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) Bureau. If approved at these successive levels, a proposal is forwarded to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for ratification. This process is also followed for other ICS decisions on standardization, such as approval of names of formal units, of revisions to the units, and to revision or replacement of GSSPs.”

The Anthropocene Working Group has been around since 2009 and has yet to put forward a formal recommendation.

Reference

Finney, Stanley C. & Lucy E. Edwards. The “Anthropocene” epoch: Scientific decision or political statement? GSA Today, 2016; 26 (3): 4 DOI: 10.1130/GSATG270A.1

Walker, M. J., Berkelhammer, M. , Björck, S. , Cwynar, L. C., Fisher, D. A., Long, A. J., Lowe, J. J., Newnham, R. M., Rasmussen, S. O. and Weiss, H. (2012), Formal subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch: a Discussion Paper by a Working Group of INTIMATE (Integration of ice‐core, marine and terrestrial records) and the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (International Commission on Stratigraphy). J. Quaternary Sci., 27: 649-659. doi:10.1002/jqs.2565

H/T to Javier being the first to cover the subdivision of the Holocene here on WUWT.

If I’ve misspelled Meghalayan anywhere in this post, it’s because it’s a clumsy word with too many a’s in it.

What’s rubbish-ier than an Anthropocene Epoch?  An Anthropocene Era. 

‘Habitus’ (2013 – ongoing) is an art installation by Robyn Woolston (robynwoolston.com), commissioned by Edge Hill University, which announces the Anthropocene epoch, Vegas-style. AAPG Explorer.

The Anthropocene Era really would have been fabulous… for its brevity.

  • Paleozoic Era: 541 to 252 million years ago, 289 million years.
  • Mesozoic Era: 252 to 66 million years ago, 186 million years.
  • Cenozoic Era:  66 million to 73 years ago, 65.999927 million years.
  • Anthropocene Era: 1945-2018, 0.000073 million years.
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58 thoughts on “A Geological Feud Over the Meghalayan? Or Just More Rubbish Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science of America?

  1. It’s absurd to grant the Holocene three ages or stages in any case, just as it shouldn’t even be an epoch.

    At best, the Holocene should be an age or stage of the Pleistocene Epoch. The Holocene is an ordinary interglacial, just like dozens before it in the glacial Pleistocene Epoch.

    Ages should last millions of years, not thousands. Even the ages recognized for the Pleistocene are too short, compared to previous epochs and eras. The Campanian Age or Stage of the Late Cretaceous Epoch lasted about 11.5 million years. Its epoch (Late/Upper Cretaceous) was 34.5 million years long.

    • It’s to be expected that more recent geologic time periods would be more finely subdivided than older periods due to differences in resolution… But, yeah… The Holocene doesn’t rate epoch status or geologic subdivisions.

      • I’m OK with more recent intervals getting shorter, but the Holocene and its “ages” are ridiculous.

        Three “ages” averaging less than thousand years each is a 4000-fold difference in duration with the Campanian, ie technically four orders of magnitude, but by any reckoning three orders.

        A ten-fold difference might be defensible.

        • I suppose there’s some utility in the subdivisions. However, we just call it the Upper and Lower Pleistocene and Upper, Middle and Lower Pliocene and use the “bug” names.

  2. I’m gonna go with more rubbish by the American Association of Americans for the American Advancement of American Science of American America.

  3. Squabbling?

    Science guys squabbling amongst themselves?

    Never heard of such a thing – oh, wait! Sorry, I thought I was on a different planet again. 🙂

  4. I’m so old I can remember my historical geology professor’s lecture on the Pleistocene when he explained we were still in it and what a joke the Holocene was. I guess he would have had trouble today finding a job in a university expressing himself like that. Sad to see the invasion of science by political correctness. I think it was H.L. Mencken who once said that the urge to save the world is nothing more than the urge to rule. The people pushing the AGW crap all want to tell us how to live our lives to save the world.

    • Are you kidding me? They can’t even pick up after themselves, you know.

      Gee, I wish I could live in some sort of dream world in which no one has to work, but money flows freely out of the icebox, and the sky is full of clouds made of popcorn and your dirty clothes are simply recycled while new clothes magically appear in your bureau.

      I think I was 7 when I wondered what the world would be like in 60 years – something like that. Never imagined any of this… ever. The irony of the perpetual childhood that these people live in is odd.

    • “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

      H. L. Mencken

      • Another great Mencken quote. He was a great cynic but it seems like everything today is proof you can’t be too cynical.

        • Form my experience, if a quote is high in common sense and low in respect for our self declared political masters, it probably came from H L Mencken.

          ~¿~

    • I remember sitting through half-a-semester of our historical geology professor drawing cross-sections of the Appalachian orogeny on the chalkboard based on geosynclinal processes… in 1979.

      • My experience was a little backward. We had a lot of the early plate tectonic guys Bird, Dewey and Burke at SUNY Albany in the early 70’s. Sad that they don’t even offer a geology degree anymore. I had to go to grad school to get exposed to the geosynclinal theory. I got dirty looks from the prof when I would ask why we would call something a leptozeugogeosyncline when we could just say subduction zone.

        • My current fluency in geosyncline-eze is pretty well limited to eugeosyncline and miogeosyncline. But I do have a copy of this 1974 classic…

          20180924_113931

          [The mods wonder if that was the long version of his textbook, or the short version. .mod]

  5. A good one, David, and thank you.

    I already explained in a comment in the past article at WUWT about the Meghalayan, why it makes sense that the Holocene is cut in three, although it makes no stratigraphic sense. A great majority of paleoclimate researchers are already using a Early, Middle, and Late Holocene classification in their papers, and they use climate proxies, some of them of sedimentary nature. The rocks obviously don’t show anything of that, as to them the Holocene looks all the same.

    And once the decision is taken on a three period division, the only logical choice around 4000 Ka BP is the 4.2 Ka event. It is a rational decision. Not very consistent with the rest of the stratigraphy, but useful nevertheless.

    “Personally, I think the Holocene Epoch shouldn’t even be an epoch. It should be an interglacial stage within the Upper Pleistocene, rather than an epoch of equal stature to the Pleistocene.”

    I would go even further. The Upper Pleistocene doesn’t make sense either, as it is just the last glacial period of many. The Pleistocene should be divided in two. The Early (Lower) Pleistocene during the 41 Ka world up to the Mid-Pleistocene transition, and the Late (Upper) Pleistocene with the 100 Ka glacial cycle of the last million years.

    The Anthropocene is just Anthropocentrism.

    • Javier,

      Recognizing three or four subdivisions of the Holocene makes sense, but they shouldn’t be called ages or stages. The Holocene doesn’t even rate that level of geologic classification, yet it’s an “epoch”, thus comparable to the 11.5 million year-long Late Cretaceous.

      The Cretaceous ought to have three epochs, like the shorter Triassic and Jurassic, as well. The mid-Cretaceous was notably warmer than the first ages of its Early epoch and latter ages of its Late epoch. So a Middle Cretaceous Epoch would cover the interval during which North America’s Western Interior Seaway was at its height, including the Albian, Cenomanian and Turonian Ages, plus possibly the preceding Aptian.

      Or maybe exclude the Turonian:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2idYNKWGm4

      The (apparent) extinction of terrestrial spinosaurs and marine ichthyosaurs, pliosaurs, etc. marks a pretty clear boundary, with lost marine reptiles soon to be replaced by mosasaurs.

          • David Middleton September 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm

            Yup. And italicized.

            But apparently we now don’ need no stinkin’ GSSPs, since the so-called “Meghalayan Age” is based upon a drought and collapse of civilizations in historical time.

          • The Meghalayan and other two Holoocene ages do have GSSP’s. For the Meghalayan, it’s a speleothem in India.

            That cave will become India’s version of Carlsbad Cavern… Millions of tourists will flock there to see the GSSP plaque.

            If there’s any doubt about where this comment became sarcastic, I’ve lost my touch for sarcasm… 😎

        • That is one of the coolest charts ever! I have a poster-sized plot of a similar compilation. It really demonstrates how complicated it is to globally define chronostratigraphic boundaries.

          The “Standard Stages” column shows the four age/stages subdivisions as they are locally defined in the Italian Marine Stages / Mediterranean Sea. The upper two stages are called Ionian and Tarantian. I don’t think these stages have been officially accepted yet.

  6. I got as far as the following before my mind questioned the knowledge and research of the journalist: “You have probably heard of the Jurassic period (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) or the Cambrian explosion (when complex animal life arose)”. Perhaps someone should point him toward the Ediacaran Era.
    As an aside, this weekend I spent quite a number of generally very enjoyable hours at the “New Scientist Live” exhibition in London. I got the general feeling that “climate change” had less emphasis than in previous years and it will be interesting to see if this is apparent next year as well. One biologist gave a fascinating speech where he trashed any concept that humans are causing some form of mass extinction event, pointing out that we are aiding the spread of species which, in turn, are creating new hybrids leading to new species and so on. Apparently, this species-creating process over-rides our species destruction by a considerable margin. For the avoidance of doubt, he wasn’t suggesting that our destruction of passenger pigeons or Chinese river dolphins was in any way desirable, just that there is plenty of good news to get enthusiastic about too.

    • David,

      Thanks for saving me the trouble of pointing that out.

      Animals on balance got larger in the Cambrian, and more mineralized, so that they fossilized better. Most Ediacaran “fossils” are impressions of soft body parts.

      Protosponges are known from early in the Ediacaran, but whether they technically belong to the modern phylum Porifera is a debatable taxonomic topic. A few other phyla have been suggested for Ediacaran forms, such as Mollusca.

      The higher clade Bilateria definitely existed then, however. It includes animals with bilateral symmetry, at least ancestrally, as opposed to radial symmetry or no symmetry, like amorphous sponges.

      Some Ediacaran species also already had rudimentary mineralization, like sponge spicules.

  7. The International Commission on Stratigraphy,

    “Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geologic Time Scale”;

    stratigraphy.org.

    Widespread belief in CAGW means that scientific age has collapsed. Inductive has supplanted deductive. Karl Popper has been betrayed.

    So the Philosophocene has ended. It has been succeeded by the Billnighyocene.

  8. ‘Meghalaya’ is ‘Megha’ meaning cloud + ‘alaya’ meaning abode or home.

    Like Himalaya, where ‘hima’ is snow and ice.

    Excellent roast. Why does Science do this?

    Remember, Nature published MBH ’98 on Earth Day.

      • David,

        Calabria, the toe of the Italian boot, is a wonderful region of Italy, with beach and mountain, forest and field. Yet, sadly its economy and society suffer from the incubus and succubus of organized crime.

        It enjoys huge tourism and resort potential, yet remains one of the least developed regions in Italy. Its economy is hamstrung by corruption, tax evasion and criminal activities of the local Maria syndicate ‘Ndrangheta, which naturally owns many local authorities. After all, it lies just across the Strait of Messina from Mafia homeland Sicily, separated from mainland Europe by six-headed monster (rock shoal) Scylla and whirlpool Charybdis.

  9. I’m surprised this didn’t occur to more–that even though the Meghalayan Age comes under question, the Megalyin’ Age is established and strong.

    I did appreciate that someone had a prof who mentioned that the Pleistocene has not yet ended; having spent two summers ‘in my youth’ mapping the metamorphic rocks on Canadian side of the Juneau Icefields, and one as a GSC summer student on the St. Elias Project, I and my well-worn crampons can vouch for that. Melted back a fair bit from the peak, but it’s not all gone yet; still melting.

    • Michael,

      Farming goes back possibly as far as 13,000 years ago in South China and SE Asia, and still long before civilization in the Ancient Near East of the Fertile Crescent and Egypt. Much of the Earth did still belong to Neolithic or Chalcolithic (copper-using, pottery-making) hunter-gatherers 4200 years ago however.

      And yes, there already were various civilizations then, with the prerequisites thereof, such as writing, the wheel, bronze and the eponymous cities.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egypt

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Valley_Civilisation

      East Asian civilizations might not yet have had full blown writing by 4200 years ago, but were otherwise civilized.

      • And most of them, from Egypt to China did collapse during the 4.2 KA event, whatever AAAS’ tame “archaeologists” might claim.

        • Tty,

          There were collapses during the 4.2 Ka event, to be sure. But using the climatic event to mark a geologic age just seems unwarranted to me, especially in an “epoch” which itself doesn’t even merit “age” status.

    • Michael,

      Yet again, my more detailed comment has failed to post. It’s probably permanently lost in cyberspace, so please just let me say that, yes, there were not only agricultural villages, but full-blown civilizations 4200 years ago. Elsewhere in the world, however, Neolithic and Chalcolithic hunter-gatherers cultures still ruled, some with a bit of shifting cultivation.

  10. I am glad to see people looking at the education credentials of the people who are writing the junk science that is nothing but propaganda and newspeak.

    A BA in Music writer should be debating Beethoven vs Bach or some such related issues. Not science topics.
    Sadly, poor Mr. Robinson Meyer would likely be taking orders at StarBucks for $9/hr if he depended purely on his music degree to pay his bills.

    But that is how the climate religion lives today. The climate priests like Mann demands that no one but a certified, PhD weilding climate scientist challenges their authority. But anyone else can just parrot the climate propo and become an authority.

  11. “Sidebar. Earth Scientists or earth scientists? I normally capitalize the ‘e’ in Earth. ”

    The Chicago Manual of Style, a sort of trade bible for editors, states: “The names earth, sun, and moon, ordinarily lowercased, are often capitalized when used in connection with the names of other bodies of the Solar System.”

  12. As I’ve mentioned: only climate “science” is considered so sacrosanct that it somehow has missed the current wave of issues considering the replication of data, not to mention the retractions of papers, etc.

    Its also the only “science” where once the Sacred and Almighty 98% Consensus is met, there are no scientists fighting, only deniers sniping from the sidelines.

  13. How clinate science and the post normal age was made. I’ve argued that Lord Kelvin was close to correct when he stated in the late 19th Century that little remained to discover in hard sciences but details. Scientists balked at this characterization and rattled off ….a number of, well, details. An indolent science now numbering millions in its membership after a few dozen forbearers in three centuries discovered everything. Desperately wafting to and fro in white lab coats and horn-rimmed glasses (they shucked the acrid pipes, probably to welcome women into the halls of learning), looking for something to do … well they predictably came up with such as String Theory, Dark Matter and puting down Einstein, demoting Pluto and stuff and they horn in on engineers who are on a high with space, electronics etc and they go into “performance” science. Like music with all the great masterworks written, composers are a shrinking guild angrily exploring annoying cacophanous sckreeks and skrills of electronic complaints – most musicians gaving moved into performance. At least, they had only 12 notes and a few octaves.

    Geology (a venerable and beautiful science) was renamed Earth Science as a first step in the purloining and corrupting of this standout discipline (it had invented geophysics, geochemistry, owned paleontology these were tools of early geologists). It too, after a couple of centuries of work reached the performance stage and lumpen disciplines self anointed with the new banner. Gee, how come we dont get to name any geological ages. Bingo, Meghalayan epoch and all gravel quarriers using the type locality for construction out of business. Hey it even curtsies to diversity! Now all 5he type licalities arent in Europe or North America.

    The fosterchild climatology was where it was at though for cash and fame doled out by rhe marxbrothers to buy a Global тотаliтагуаи Fiefdom.

  14. DISCLAIMER: The American Association for the Advancement of Science in America receives funding from the Department of Redundancy Department.

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