Amazing Grace Saves A Wretch

What’s Natural

Guest post by Jim Steele,

Published June 30, 2020 in the Pacifica Tribune

It’s curious how we find threads of good fortune interwoven with tragedy. Over a month ago I suffered a “widow-makers” heart attack, but I was graced with good luck. Just 2 hours earlier I was hiking on San Pedro Point. If the attack happened there, they would have carried my corpse off the mountain. As it was, the doctors still doubted my survival. But fortunately, one of the best heart surgeons was operating. But after 24 hours, he called my wife offering his condolences, telling her he did the best he could. Even in my drug-induced dreams I lay dead in a dark casket. But again, I was lucky. The surgeon’s best was just good enough. The next day he called my wife to say I was suddenly making progress.

Lying in ICU for 15 days, I reviewed my life and wondered if I would ever see family again. The COVID lockdown prevented all visitors, and my electronic devices were all home. I conjured up 60 years of friends, hoping to see their faces or hear their voices one more time. Sometimes a wave of melancholy would visit, thinking my passing would ultimately make little difference in their lives. But when I came home, I found hundreds of cards, email messages and texts wishing me well and I wept with heart-felt appreciation.

I was struck by friends who said that they “knew” I couldn’t die. Some because I was such a stubborn SOB. Others repeated I had so much more to give and my earthly mission was not complete. I confess loving to hear such sentiments, but they were just kind words. How could they know what my mission was? But then again, I had been on a solemn mission for 50 years.

In the late 1960s, I dropped out of ROTC and Engineering school not wanting to contribute to the horrors of the Vietnam War. After a few years of community organizing, I knew I had to go back to college, but for what purpose? In keeping with my love for nature, I had adopted some native American spirituality, so I went on my “vision quest”. The idea was to strip myself of all attachments to better know myself. I fasted in the middle of the wilderness for 4 days with just a blanket and bottle of water, then spoke to the universe about what I wanted. Amazingly, many lofty words only echoed back pathetically, but when I said I wanted to be a liaison between nature and people, my words rang strong. So, I enrolled at San Francisco State University in ecology and began my mission.

I embraced the beliefs of a great 1800s scientist, Thomas Huxley. He became known as Darwin’s Bulldog for his avid defense of many of Darwin’s theories. Studying fossils Huxley was first to theorize birds had evolved from dinosaurs. Relevant to my mission Huxley advised, “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” Or as Einstein advised, “Never stop questioning.”

As director of SFSU’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus I expanded the environmental studies program. To know nature, we immersed students in nature. I began a 25-year study of how natural climate and landscape changes affected wildlife. When a meadow we were monitoring dried up and birds declined, many blindly blamed global warming. Avoiding Huxley’s unpardonable sin, I dug deeper. It became clear the real problem was stream flows had been disrupted over 100 years ago. By restoring the streams, the meadow became more resilient and the wildlife improved better than before. Judicious skepticism had made me a better environmental steward.

Unfortunately, researchers’ dramatic conclusions too often go unexamined. Fearful conclusions make us abandon our critical thinking and valid contrasting research gets ignored. Too often research gets designed to fit prevailing fears so that science now suffers from a “replicability crisis”. Ten years ago, Stanford epidemiologist tested over 400 research published claims and only one could be replicated and validated. The editor of Europe’s top medical journal, the Lancet, speculated half of their published research was likely false. Outside the laboratory, claims about ecology and climate are far more difficult to verify.

As science becomes more politicized, we get blinded by our beliefs. Honest points get dismissed as fake news, or the work of deniers. But more than ever “skepticism is our highest of duties”. All contradictory evidence must be examined, and respectful debate conducted. Indeed, this wretch is still on a mission to bring insights to the complexities of wildlife, wildfires, sea level, and climate. So, I want to thank Sherm Fredericks for providing the newspaper space for my columns. I also want to thank WUWT for posting my columns and analysses. I simply hope to make people think and dig deeper. I will have a long rehab, so I encourage you to email me to discuss those issues. Together we can become “improvers of natural knowledge”.

Jim Steele is director emeritus of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus, SFSU and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism.

99 thoughts on “Amazing Grace Saves A Wretch

  1. So sorry to hear of your heart attack, delighted to hear you are recovering. I bought your book several years ago – a great read, highly recommended. Hope you come back better and stronger. Keep up the good work!

    Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery,

    TS

    • TS said almost exactly what I wanted to post. You are one of the most interesting and informative contributors on WUWT. It would have been a great loss had you been in the wrong place at the wrong time when you had this attack.

      The immense breadth of your experience and knowledge is a national treasure. As is your joy and precision in communicating and sharing it. We are most fortunate that you are still here to continue educating us with facts amid the oceans of misinformation in which we ar swimming.

      I hope to seeing your valuable contributions to a real scientific debate for a long time to come.

      Sincere best wishes.

      Greg Goodman.

  2. Thank you very much for the excellent piece of thinking. And congratulations on your recovery!
    Huxley was right ofcourse.

  3. Welcome back to the living (-: Not at all what I expected from the cartoon and title.

    I was going to suggest that the cartoon had it wrong, that is to say that the complex answer is convincing the public that a warmer world with longer growing seasons etc. would be a disaster, a decades long tangled web of theories that can’t be verified and can only be supported by political means. Maybe the cartoon title should have been, “Science vs. Politics”.

  4. “Guest post by Jim Steele,

    It’s curious how we find threads of good fortune interwoven with tragedy. Over a month ago I suffered a “widow-makers” heart attack, but I was graced with good luck. Just 2 hours earlier I was hiking on San Pedro Point.”

    Like mine, it was low down in the veins. Further up, death! My stent is secure!

  5. I wish you a speedy recovery, Jim, as we need good people like yourself. I learnt a lot from your book about variations in local environments and how they are not a result of ‘global warming’ but of local changes as in the meadow case above. It also showed the lengths so-called environmentalists were prepared to go the support alarmism as opposed to truth and science.

  6. Take care of yourself, Jim. Your posts matter to WUWT.

    Stay safe and healthy, all.
    Bob

    • Steele thyself,
      Girder thine loins,
      A warrior still walks
      Among rhe lions.
      —————
      —————

  7. Jim it was 2007 I was driving my wife to Philadelphia International when I experience my LDA heart attack. A detour to University of Pennsylvania with a five day stay and stent placement resulted. That year we installed 2.4 Ghz WIFI. and I also had a disabling stroke. Thousands of studies suggest blood coagulation is caused by microwave radiation and with the advent of unproven safety of 5G and millimeter wave technology it does not bode well for human, animal and insect health—if the bees go we go. https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/
    I suggest you remove EMF exposure or you’ll be back under the surgeons knife, or worse.

    • re: “Thousands of studies suggest blood coagulation is caused by microwave radiation and with the advent of unproven safety of 5G and millimeter wave technology

      What about sunlight? Even shorter wavelengths than 5G, and at 1,000 Watts/m^2 flux density.

      And, the weasel word “suggests” was noted. C’mon, prove it, or, as the saying goes: “get off the pot.” Should be cinch simple to demo this effect with mice, or rabbits, or just a blood specimen viewed under a microscope WHILE uWave energy is applied.

      I’ll TELL YOU what does get affected by LWIR (Long Wave IR, as from a burn barrel or raging camp fire) – the lens in your EYES. I experienced very rapid worsening of cataracts in the 2017 to 2018 time period over the course of months to the pointwhere I was not only legally blind but finally functionally blind. This worsening occurred after working with (feeding) a raging fire in a ‘burn barrel’ over the course of a day in late 2017. Surgery corrected all this in June-July 2018 BUT the prognosis wasn’t good going in, and coming out the recovery was a little extended (the eyes can get pretty ‘beat up’ during the surgical process w/bad cats.) Everything is hunky-dory now PBTG (praise be to God).

      BTW, on those “Thousands of studies“, could you link to a few, a couple even? I’d like to see just what it is you’re reading. (I’ll also wager there are “thousands” more that don’t show any linkage. DO YOU KNOW what the relative field strengths are inter-molecule JUST due to atomic forces VERSUS an externally applied RF field LIKE from 5G?)

      An additional note: If your eye doc says you’ve got cataracts, PLEASE don’t wait until late in the game to get them taken care of. I should have had the issue addressed in 2015 thereabouts.

      • I was once called on to inspect a uranium plant under demolition, where a worker had suffered a mysterious ailment. One of the first things I noticed was a charcoal-fed burn barrel , where workers would gather to warm up. I called a local official and requested replacement of the burn barrel with a propane heater or other device and installation of CO detectors in the building. I’m pretty sure the worker had been suffering from monoxide poisoning as a result of too much time spent inhaling charcoal fumes instead of working.

      • Jim your comment “what about sunlight”. Jim sunlight is natural and humans and animals have adapted over millennia. Human-generated microwaves and millimeter waves are un-natural. Creates oxidative stress, DNA destruction of mitochondria, interrupts voltage-gated calcium channels and creates peroxynitrite linked to the epidemic of 36 diseases of the Digital Age.
        https;//bioinitiative.org
        https://greenwavefilters.com/podcast-with-ali-fitness/

        • re: “Jim sunlight is natural and humans and animals have adapted over millennia.”

          You cite “adaptions”, what are those adaptions? You realize, too, the ‘spectrum’ includes EM energy down into the LWIR (Longwave IR) region, NOT just visible light? Right?

          And on top of that, IT IS STILL EM (electromagnetic energy)!!! Don’t give some ‘dodge’ you can’t explain. What are the effects of EM energy? The induction of ELECTRON MOVEMENT in the target it (the EM) impinges on. So, please, tell us (me) WHAT adaptation has taken place.

        • “Carbon Bigfoot June 30, 2020 at 1:03 pm
          Jim your comment “what about sunlight”. Jim sunlight is natural and humans and animals have adapted over millennia. Human-generated microwaves and millimeter waves are un-natural.”

          You are deep in religious belief territory and far from science and “natural”.

      • Jim your comment: what about sunlight? Sunlight and its frequencies are natural and humans and animals have adapted over millennial. 2,3.4 & 5G frequencies are man-made and have never been proven safe despite what the industry & the FCC says to the extent of being taken to court by many organization the latest of which is the Environmental Health Trust. They were wrong on Climate but they have a handle on this…https://ehtrust.org/factsheet-need-know-5g-small-cells-science-policy-public-health/.

        • re: “Sunlight and its frequencies are natural and humans and animals have adapted over millennial”

          Crap answer. Thanks for playing.

          I ask for a FIRST PRINCIPLES explanation (cause and effect; what laws of physics and biology come into play here) and you give a vague hand-wave as an answer. Give us a break. You don’t KNOW this field, all you know is WHAT YOU’VE BEEN FED as propaganda.

          Have a good day.

          • Jim I know enough that you are a MORON. Take it back– an exceptional minimally talented (lacks appropriate CV) self described MORON.

          • He’s probably selling the EMI meters.
            They are calibrated in the “internationally recognized unit millivolts”! Awesome.
            The challenge is to know what it MEANS. Mostly nothing.
            EMI filters can be had at the local hardware store built into some power strips. Amateur radio operators benefit from such but I am pretty sure there’s no health hazard at millivolt levels. On the other hand, 600 volts of radio frequency is something not to touch.

    • I strongly doubt that there are thousands of studies on this subject. Heck, I’d be surprised if there are dozens.

  8. Mine was high up LAD , 100% blockage … Doctor who placed first stents thought major damage … But heart normal pumping next morning … Went back later to place remaining stent in lower region that initially thought was not worth doing …

  9. The world is a better place with you in it, Mr. Steele. Glad you are still with us and still willing to be a champion of scientific thought.

  10. A heartfelt cry if you will excuse the pun, – yet the Mad media, social and otherwise, have all the attention What are we doing wrong? Sanity it seems is not contagious? Only one western leader is onside, all the rest are following the IPCC Pied Piper

  11. Close call – but a miss is as good as a mile!

    Get well soon. I’m sure stubborn bloody-mindedness assists a complete and fast recovery.

  12. So glad you made it. We desperately need more sceptical, scientifically-trained environmentalists like you.

  13. You said the meadow suffered because of disruptions over a hundred years ago.
    Do you undo the disruptions if they were of a natural origin, beaver dams or mudslide caused by earthquakes.

    it is one of my most fundamental questions do we save a species from going extinct if it is doing so because of nature.
    do we stop habits that are preserving creatures that would go extinct without our intervention.

  14. ” I wanted to be a liaison between nature and people”

    Yuh, me too- so I’ve been a forester for 47 years- but, unfortunately, here in Massachusetts. virtually the entire population is convinced of catastrophic climate change- all government agencies at all levels, and pretty much all of academia- even most of the forestry people. When I challenge the idea- I’m accused of ranting. There is now a movement here to stop all logging and forest management “to save the climate”. They’ve even enlisted E.O. Wilson and of course Bill McKibben who is nearby in VT.

    • …”virtually the entire population is convinced of catastrophic climate change”…

      Never underestimate the power of carefully worded bullshit.

    • Many prayers for your speedy recovery, Jim.

      Like you and Joseph Z., I found my calling in caring for nature (46 years as a professional forester in Oregon).

      My epiphany moment came after 12 years of practice when it became clear to me that the forests I was tending had been similarly tended by human beings for hundreds, nay thousands, of years.

      I have now spent decades researching the topic of historical human influences on the environment both in the literature and in the field. The evidence is overwhelming, ubiquitous worldwide, and the adherents of this paradigm shift in ecology are numerous.

      It is a true paradigm shift. The old science proposed that Nature and Nature alone created forests, grasslands, savannas, and other vegetation types via plant succession and plant community development. The theories of seral to climax ecological development have held sway for more than a century.

      But those theories are wrong. They do not explain old-growth forest structures, meadows, savannas, or other vegetation types that existed at one time but have disappeared and are not arising naturally again — because Nature did not create them, people did.

      Untouched forests, indeed untouched landscapes, are a-historical. Forests did not develop absent human influences — not here, not anywhere. The removal of human tending from our landscapes has not only destroyed our shared natural heritage; it has led to unmitigated fuel accumulations and catastrophic fires — fires that are so unnecessary and could be avoided by restoring human stewardship.

      That’s my solemn mission: to restore the human/nature connection so vital to both. It’s a mountain to climb, and I will probably never get near the peak.

      I wish you, Jim, a fellow traveller, renewed health and reinvigorated spirit so that your mission can proceed as far as you can take it. And I assure you that long after we both are gone others will continue this climb, this struggle, and the summit will be reached some day.

  15. Glad to see you have recovered. Stay well.

    I have commented several times about how disappointing it is to see studies document changes in environment, species, or behavior and end up simply concluding it is due to “climate change” with no data to back up the claim.

    Data detailing scientific observed data on changes in reproduction, growth, or survival that are without a doubt temperature based is usually sorely lacking.

    I have concluded that climate change is having an adverse effect on scientific objectivity. Therefore, we (humans) must lower CO2 concentrations in order to preserve good science.

  16. You are a treasure Jim. Stick around! I first read you on the Edith Spot butterfly, which I had never heard of, after activist scientist Ms? Dr? Parmesan “showed” that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming was wiping out Edith Spot in your stamping grounds the Sierra Nevada. You did a traverse parallel, and adjacent to Parmesan’s and found Edith was doing fine!
    I’m not sure I’m right about this part, but It seems your rebuttal vitually put an end to Parmesan’s career. She packed up in the US and took quiet(?) refuge in a ‘friendly’ low impact UK university.

    I guess she wasn’t prepared for an ecologist who didn’t toe the activist line. I think she might be right about the majority in your field, though, hence the “treasure” tag for my favorite practitioner of this most beautiful of the sciences when done with an objective inquiring mind. Give your diet a makeover. You obviously were getting good exercise.

  17. All the best Jim
    As an Earth Scientist trained in the late 1970’s – early 1980’s and recently “retired” I have always related to the Huxley quote and had that pinned to my wall at several places of employment just to remind me of what science was all about

  18. I don’t usually post but I have to comment on this wonderful article by Mr Steele.
    Here is a man who has just survived a life threatening event which generally disorientates the mind for months at least.But,true to his name,he writes an erudite article of clear rational logic and thought.Quite impressive to say the least.

  19. I see this eschewing of the complex truth … It fits in with my latest observation of modern culture.

    We are seeing the end of the enlightenment … descending into an age of fear, superstition, mob rule … intellectual darkness. The new leadership–a mob of violence fostering, history erasing, anti-intellectuals.

  20. Congratulations on surviving, Jim.

    As Anthony Watts and others have said, you are a valuable member of WUWT.

    This might be of interest to you. A couple of years ago the Chief Heart Surgeon of the UK had about a dozen heart patients whose hearts were in such bad shape that they needed heart transplants.

    The doctor did not have enough hearts to supply these men, so to keep them alive until a heart was available, the doctor implanted a small artifical heart pump in each person.

    Over the course of the next six to 18 months, the heart pump allowed the hearts of these men to heal themselves to the point that the doctor was able to remove the first heart patient’s heart pump in about six months and the last heart patient in about 18 months, and all of their hearts had returned to the functionality of a healthy person of their age. They no longer needed a heart transplant and were able to resume a normal life.

    The doctor also gave these patients medication that helped the heart to heal itself, but could only be used in conjunction with a heart pump because the medicine slowed the heart rate down to the point of death otherwise.

    This UK doctor, last I heard, was trying to interest other medical facilities around the world in carrying out similar studies on heart patients. I told my heart surgeon this story in hopes of interesting him in doing something like this. I believe there are medical institutions in the United States that are looking into this. It seems like a significant advance to me.

    Good luck to you.

  21. Jim,

    Sorry to hear about your heart attack. I am very glad to know you are recovering. I enjoy your columns very much, particularly how they are written clearly, yet scientificly.

    Best of luck & God speed. I hope to he reading your columns for many years to come.

  22. While on the subject of heart-health and on the topic of the circulatory system (and congrats on your recovery, Jim Steele), WHY would one of one’s legs (near the ankle) ‘swell’ while the other is normal?

    Both legs a few months back showed some swelling, but now after being active (after a cold winter) again bicycling and walking one leg (the left) has become what I would term normal, while the other is (and feels) visibly swelled near the ankle and further up. No meds of any kind are involved, not even aspirin.

    This condition imparts no pain or any debilitating effects, the question is, what may cause this?

    Signed, puzzled but swelled.

    • I’m no doctor, but I think you need to see a cardiologist. It could well be a disruption of circulation to that leg.

      • It may come to that. My own ‘stress testing’ (hard biking) on a bicycle reveals nothing yet (I say yet, but the day is not over!) I’m going to drink more water and see if that won’t help some. As I wrote previously, the left leg seems to have come back to normal since becoming much more active the last 3 months or so.

  23. Best wishes to you, Jim Steele. I can relate as I’ve been thru some serious medical issues, tho not as serious as yours. Your posts are always interesting, important and accurate.

  24. Jim: I enjoy your input to WUWT, and I’m glad you’re going to be with us for a lot longer. Have fun!

  25. I think there’s a sort of Gresham’s Law of Science to the effect that bad science drives good science out of circulation. This applies to both climate science and psychology. Freud’s dogmatic notion of the Unconscious (a concept studied earlier by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (27 January 1775 – 20 August 1854) put a stop to further development for many years, except for Carl Jung and a few other heretics. The complexity of the Unconscious goes far beyond Freud’s ideas. (E.g., see Timothy Wilson’s Strangers to Ourselves.)

  26. For those who have some belief in evolution I would suggest the book SIX DAYS. Written by 50 prominent scientists it takes on the theory of evolution. For example one who is an authority on DNA has the professional opinion that humans to have evolved from monkeys or apes would have taken at least six billion years.
    Another took notice of the fact that volcanic matter from the eruption of a volcano in California in the 1980’s has tested as at least a million years old.
    Once the theory of evolution has been discounted only one theory remains : someone or something created all that exists in six days. There is not a third theory. I think someone showed this theory in the Bible. This theory has been around for a long time and seems more probable than Darwin’s theory. JOHN ROSA

    • I used to describe this approach as “putting God in a box” insofar as the process that was used to create all that we see; imagine that, us finite creatures putting limits on an infinite “He” (“I am who am.”) who created us.

      I would then ask: “How would the message in the Bible be any different if ultimately we humans were to discover we that we humans were simply made of ‘human’ stuff, that plants were made of ‘plant’ stuff, and likewise animals were made of ‘animal’ stuff.” The different ‘stuffs’ each being a unique plasticine ooze (much as the early Greeks thought all matter consisted simply of one of the following categories: earth, water, air, and fire).

      Instead, we find even going to the smallest elements even smaller, finer-grained ‘particles/forces exist.

      Yeah, six billion years is nothing considering “the infinite”; its not even a down payment.

    • Good point. The Global Warming explanation and the Evolution, Not God explanation share similarities.

      I can handle it if someone believes in Evolution. [BTW: by “evolution,” I mean the theory that claims to fully explain where all observable animals arose; I do NOT mean how we can breed a dog to be short or hairless. That is an entirely different matter from the matter of how did we come to have both an octopus and a platypus on our planet.]

      However, believers in Evolution have a hard time handling me, and others, who have curiously and earnestly reviewed a great range of information, and pondered these things, and have made the decision that, for us, we believe that God created them all, the platypus and the octopus.

      A similarity: the defense of Global Warming is often aimed at attacking the character or foolishness of the skeptics, rather than at hashing out theories and supporting information. Skeptics are supported by Big Oil, etc. Skeptics have personalities that predispose them to believe such things, etc. Skeptics live in an info cocoon, skeptics do not understand science, etc.

      Word for word, this goes for the criticisms of people who believe God created all of the animals we see. Skeptics are supported by preachers who are only out for their money via tithes. Skeptics have personalities that predispose them to believe such things, etc. Skeptics live in an info cocoon, skeptics do not understand science, etc.

      If God Created Them All is “so dumb,” then let’s talk about what makes it so dumb. Should not be so hard, should it? Rather than define me as having a personality problem or an ignorance problem.

      • There’s no difficulty dealing with the objections of folks like you and John Rosa, TLD.

        Look up HOX Genes and Heterochrony. They explain much of the mechanism of evolution.

        It’s not talked of much, but most of natural selection happens in utero. Favorable mutations in HOX genes or changes in developmental timing (heterochrony) can produce a new species in a single generation.

        Or, if you like, try testing your objections against the contents of Talk.origins. They won’t survive.

        Or email Francis Collins and ask him about the evolutionary origins of humans. Francis Collins is a born-again Christian and was head of the Human Genome Project. He’s therefore very conversant with both your concerns. I’ve heard him speak.

        Francis Collins is now Director of the NIH. You can probably ask him your question about evolution through the NIH contact page, here.

        • Evolution still founders on the foundational tests of mathematical probability. Genetic scientist John Sanford, inventor of the “gene gun” raises the challenging fact that harmful mutations accumulate faster then novel beneficial ones. See “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome”. https://www.amazon.com/John-C-Sanford/e/B00RLY894M/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 Microbiologist Michael Behe exposes the limits of evolution in “The Edge of Evolution” https://michaelbehe.com/books/the-edge-of-evolution/ Evolutionists still restort to handwaving arguments incapable of confronting astronomically impossible probabilities.

          • Evolutionary Theory founders on no such thing, David. Natural selection is a deterministic process, not subject to statistical analysis. Most of natural selection occurs in the uterus, during development.

            Harmful mutations result in miscarriages. Among humans, the exact fraction of conceptions that fail into miscarriage is unknown, but estimates range from 50-90%. Late periods in women hoping to conceive are almost certainly an early miscarriage.

            Under those circumstances, the one low-probability beneficial mutation is retained, while all the harmful ones are rejected at small cost.

            Michael Behe’s supposed irreducible complexity is a crock. He ignores the small adaptational changes that occur as some trait is used for a novel purpose, resulting in differential positive survival and spread through the species — like the accidentally loose lip of an early angler fish that turned out to attract prey.

            All of the creationist arguments have been thoroughly refuted by evolutionary biologists. But like climate modelers who won’t change their story no matter how well refuted, the creationists do the same.

            So, you’ll never hear Behe or Sanford admit they’re wrong. And so the people who accost them are misled.

        • Pat Frank – Correct: these new twists to “evolution” are not talked about much.
          However, they are sufficient to keep True Believers earnestly engaged in critical analysis tagging along, keeping the faith.

          How have we arrived at the point that we are now examining HOX genes and heterochrony?

          Because Evolutionary Theory is fundamentally flawed in one major way: it did not happen.
          Simple Darwinian Theory had many weaknesses. Some considered by Darwin, himself.
          Since then, we have had many iterations, many corrections, trying to shore up Evolution, and save it from the trash heap of Good-Sounding Ideas That Are Not True.

          In high school and college, decades ago, I was taught that Creationism was Dumb, was for archaic little minds, and had no merit, and that Scientists KNEW how we came to have the octopus and the platypus, and however it happened, 1. there was no God involved, and 2. I am not allowed to consider supernatural causes, or I will lose points on the test, and be laughed at and shamed.

          Lo and Behold: How could the Scientists of the 1960s, laying down what I was taught in the 1970s, be right, then why did we need to drag in “Punctuated Equilibrium?”
          Etc., Etc., and
          Now, why do we need to drag in “Heterochrony,” if we Knew it all in the 1960?
          Because “we” were wrong then. Fully confident we were smarter than those stone-age people worshiping a guy with a long beard flying in the sky.
          Hetero-Crony is right. Cronyism. Christian or not, you cannot be Director of NIH unless you pledge allegiance to Evolution. Same same as Global Warming mind-set in Academia and Science Hierarchy.

          Sure. A bunch of genes jumped form one place to another, and all of a sudden a COW could breathe underwater.

          Sure. The developmental timing of a bird shifted and all of a sudden a bird could 1. tolerate the amazing forces of pecking at a tree well enough to dig a bug out of bark, 2. have the brain protected well enough to not suffer damage so as to reproduce, 3. have his tongue wrap around his neck to give the force to peck bugs out of tree bark, and 4. Have the biological drive to perform the pecking act despite ALL biological drive forces to the contrary.

          ALL of that has to coincide to allow a wood pecker to peck so hard he can get a bug out of bark. Yes, just a shift in developmental timing. Just a op of a complete set of genes.

          just a hop of a set of genes, and a bug 1. is able to have silk spin out his azz, 2. for the bug to happen to manipulate this substance that is a tar baby death sentence to all other bugs, 3. weild it into a web effective enough to catch one of these bugs so that it confers evolutionary advantage, and 4. have the actual drive, or will, or biological drive to actually go ahead and spin webs for a living. and 5: know how to wrap the bug up a bit more after snagging him.

          I teach Scouts how to tie knots, and such. This web spinning and wrapping up a bug is a big deal. A gene hop is quite a nice HARK to save “Evolution,” lest we have to consider God.

          Frank: it is all HARK. We are not observing “evolution,” and seeing new species emerge before our eyes per your belief system.

          Frank: Creationsism says: we started out with many species, but are losing them along the way, while Evolution says we started with very few, and are gaining species steadily across time.
          Frank: which theory matches what you see? At the zoo? Elsewhere in Nature?
          Frank: New Flash: we are losing species, not gaining them.

          Frank: there are plenty of arguments beyond these that are not “explained away.”

          Frank: I could go attempt to have educated discussions at “talk.origins:” but I know what happens. Because people have 1. a cult-like devotion to their pet theory, and 2. believe they are smarter than me, and are morally superior to me, I know what I will get: 1. change the topic, and 2. name-calling.

          Along the way, I will learn a lot. The scientific concept that batting around ideas drives our intellects and makes us smarter in the long run is true. People doubting “Evolution” have driven others to keep examining flaws, limits, and weaknesses in Evolutionary Theory, and this pressure has been the driving force for people to think, and come up with “Punctuated Equilibrium,” with “Heterochrony,” etc.

          This is great. It does not really bother me that you believe in Evolution, and are pacified when a doubter comes along by whatever the saving argument of the day is. I can handle that. This keeps driving discovery.

          But across time, more people are like me: getting to a point where we can perhaps let go of dogmatism long enough to really ponder “Evolution.” To ponder a cow striving against nature to go try to breathe underwater, or a woodpecker striving against nature to ram his head into a tree, or a spider to take this death string oozing out of his azz and “make lemonade out of lemons” to trump anything George Washington Carter ever did with a peanut to take that tar-string diarrhea and spin it into a web, either Purposely (??!!) or By Accident (??!!) into a web to trap food. And, for this gene-hop to not kill him, but allow him to out-reproduce his cousin.

          The gene-hop. Yep. The Gene Hop. An olive tree cannot be fertilized unless the certain wasp lives in the fruit, and the wasp cannot live without the fruit to reproduce in. Yep, I am all in, having read all of Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories.”

    • I am sure that Darwin formulated his theory before the birth of his first child. Monkeys? Apes? What a nonsense. Pigs!

      • Here, toss this in the trash too, Curious George: Monkeys, apes, chimpanzees and humans have HOW much DNA* in common? Toss it all out! It’s phrenology, Tarot card reading or palm-reading ALL over again! NO science to it … AMIRIGHT?

        .
        .
        .
        * Humans share over 90% of their DNA with their primate cousins. Humans share about 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees based on chimp genome sequencing.

  27. The good news part of your story is a wonderful gift to all of us. I don’t usually participate in blog exchanges, but I thought you might be amused by this little episode I had with your book Patterns and Cycles years ago.

    A college friend from the 60s used to call me regularly to straighten me out and corral me into the righteous fold of carbon dioxide fearing liberalsl. He lives in Berkely. We were still good friends then, and I enjoyed the increasingly rare opportunity to actually converse with someone with whom I disagree. At one point he asked me to name one book supporting my Climate Change Skepticism that he could read. I sent him a copy of your book and, much to my surprise and delight, he read it. Much to his surprise and discomfort, he admitted that your arguments were persuasive and that he would rethink his positions on climate. Sadly, that was the high point. In our next conversation, he informed me that it was socially untenable for him to be a skeptic, and besides there were so many “well-informed” folks who ever-so-easily could dismiss all your arguments.

    My friend and I have stopped communicating. Sad, but wtf, people with whom one can’t discuss disagreements don’t make very good friends.

  28. I’m no doctor, but I think you need to see a cardiologist. It could well be a disruption of circulation to that leg.

  29. Sounds like a great recovery. For the future, research the basket of drugs you are prescribed carefully. From experience, cardiology recommendations include a mish-mash of things that robustly reduce ALL CAUSE MORTALIY and things that reduce cardiovascular deaths, but even have negative effects on all cause mortality.

    All the best, Fran

  30. At 81, born in Alberta, Canada, and raised on a mixed farm in south Alberta, my first reaction to claims of anthropogenic Climate Change was to scoff.
    The weather forecasters broadcast on CJOC AM radio, did not manage to capture the chaotic changes that resulted from 3,000 feet elevations, plus the Chinook winds fighting the winter blizzards. In summertime, going Haying on a sunny morning, forecast to be great, we took raincoats behind the truck seat, just in case Thunderstorms suddenly came hailing east over the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains.
    So the experts claimed Forecasts of Weather at 10, 50, 100 years hence?
    Using the same databases that regular Weather Forecasters depended upon?
    The claims about devastation of trees were especially risible, when compared with the changes in vegetation since the Continental Icecaps melted. Yup, from bare glacial-ice-scraped, to mosses, grasses, bushes, and trees, over about twenty thousand years. Except the Refugia on top of the Cypress Hills, in SW Saskatchewan and SE Alberta.
    I also worked outdoors as a surveyor for Geophysical Contractors, in western and northern Canada. Seeing Pothole Ponds occupying the holes left by remnant ice chunks, Glacial Erratics, and some scrapes incised into limestone, in different places, made me think of Climate(+/-) as the reality nowadays.
    Yes, when our Sun runs low on H2, begins burning lesser fuels until getting to Iron, Cold Iron, it will expand to encompass our globe, warming things up dramatically.
    Providing proof that the self-regulating thermonuclear furnace is the source of our heat. With a few minor details:
    such as imperfect regulation of solar energy production,;
    such as astronomical orbit and gyroscopic global variations;
    And such as the operation of our global heat engine, with ocean-heat-retention modifying the dihydrogenmonoxide’s dance from solid to liquid to vapour with sneaky jumps from solid to vapour, eh?
    Watching the success of tree planting by holders of Forest Management Area agreements with the Alberta Forest Service (I saw the same replanted logged-off area three times during 30 years of Seismic Surveying), there are reasons different trees prefer different soils, locations on hillsides, and ground-water amounts. Poplar is also famous for ‘suckering’ from living trees, or from the stumps of harvested trees = no tree planting needed!
    Lastly, I saw the Sahel in NE Niger in 1972, then the fast-growing trees and other vegetation in Tanzania, 50 miles south of Dar-es-Salaam in 1986: reading about cores taken by researchers into past rainfall revealed that the Sahel was wet and green about six thousand years ago.
    Climate Change computer generated graphs do not oft include such details.

  31. Best wishes for your recovery, Jim. I always look forward to reading your posts here on WUWT.

  32. Best wishes for a full recovery. I greatly appreciate your book, and have passed it on to a retired science professor. Your WUWT posts have been gems. To you, a sincere thank you.

  33. If the title is followed by the name Steele I read it — only a few authors have made my must read list in the past 20 years

    Another name is Lindzen.

    Feel good that you already gave the world a treasure chest of consistently good articles, incuding the one today.

    Let’s not hear about any more heart attacks please!

  34. I am really glad you survived your brush with death. Well done Jim. Please get well soon and continue doing what you do so well. Your articles are appreciated all over the world. I believe we are at an inflection point and the covid crisis will show people what a real crisis looks like, making the climate crisis a hard sell.

  35. Best wishes, Jim. Glad you’re on the mend.

    Your posts are always thoughtful, enlightening, critically strong, and attractively composed to keep interest.

    I, too, am an SF State alumnus. 1964-1972; BS, MS in Chemistry. We may have matriculated there simultaneously. Bio and Chem shared much of one building back then, so we may even have passed one another in a hallway. 🙂

    I remember a young woman majoring in Bio. Tall, glasses, dark hair. She used to quack at people walking in the hall. A time of rampant self-expression. 🙂 Did you ever run across her?

    Once again, best wishes, speedy recovery, and long productively happy life. 🙂

  36. Best wishes for a complete recovery Mr. Steele! I very much enjoy your words and thoughts. Take care!

  37. I’m so glad you are still with us Jim. You have been an inspiration to me and may others.

    Take lots of walks in nature and give the zone diet a try to reduce inflammation. You can check it out at drsears.com and it’s free as long as you want to stay on it. Dr Sears started researching it when his father and both uncles passed away in their 50s despite being in good shape. He’s now made it past 70 and is on his way to 80.

    You can’t control your genes but you can control how they are expressed.

  38. This is just the loveliest tale yet written by my favourite environmentalist. Thank you, Jim.

    So happy you got home after your tramping trip!

  39. Jim, wishing for complete recovery. Your sane and perceptive view of the warming issue and ecological matters has been an inspiration and highlight for me. Thanks so much.

  40. Jim, best wishes to you for a rapid return to beauty of the great outdoors around Pacifica! I am always reminded by your posts of my avocation as a beachcomber in my younger days before I fled the state of my birth, Commifornia! I spent many days and hours wandering the beaches south of you, around Pigeon Point and Pescadero, collecting shells; especially Olivella and Haliotis. Fishing trips out of Pillar Point were always special, too; the seafood market there had amazing smoked albacore and salmon.
    Hope to see your posts again soon, interspersed amongst the great reads available on Anthony’s thought provoking site. If you get to Pescadero please try a loaf of the artichoke herb bread if you are able, or maybe some cream of artichoke soup at the well known restaurant! My prayers for your speedy recovery!

    • Duarte’s Restaurant. I’ve been there a few times. It’s a great place. Lots of wood. Basque cuisine.

      And if you want some fun, go to the Sunday morning breakfast in the basement of the tiny Catholic church in tiny Pescadero (if they still have it). Open to all. Their graveyard has some very historical markers.

  41. Wish you a complete recovery !
    Don’t believe you ever acted as badly as John Newton ….
    😉

  42. Thanks Jim, glad you pulled through.

    My wife had rheumatic fever and that can (does) damage heart valves. In 2009 we planned for a new valve for March 2010. At Thanksgiving she had a heart attack, that was cleared with some heart muscle damage. Clean-up after the procedure included the use of Heparin. A small percentage of people react to this. She did.
    See: HIT .

    8 days fully sedated. 55 days in ICU. Valve replacement. 7 weeks in a rehab facility. {A long and amazing story}
    Now to the point:
    She thanked the surgeon (& team) for saving her life. His reply was that it was the “man up there” who had further work for her to do. She did get strong enough to play fiddle. For 10 years, she and friends entertained in elder-care and rehab facilities. Panic2020 has ended that.

    We wish your next 10 years are as great as hers has been.

  43. So thankful you are still with us – we have so much more to learn – prayers…..

  44. Is not modern medicine wonderful?
    In the future, a scientist with a tendency to question politically correct stances will NOT qualify. Sorry.
    Concerning the Vietnam War comment; LBJ, that “Loud Braying Jackass” as my father, a lifelong Democrat, named him, was responsible for most of that war’s tragedies, after JFK, a Democrat unrecognizable today, began our involvement. It was the much maligned Richard Nixon who extracted the USA from that quagmire.

  45. All the best wishes, Jim. Often as Alice and I play ball with our dog Radar on our local beach I think of your articles and I look around me and try to understand what I’m seeing. The convoluted strata of the cliffs, the scars of ancient elevated beaches, the dimpled rocks in the meadow that mirror the rocks on the shore. As we’ve traveled I’ve looked for the same; the coral mounds high above today’s sea level; beaches and driftwood in the Arctic the same. On a Lindblad/National Geographic Antarctic expedition with James Balog of “Chasing Ice” fame and Dr. Robert Bindschadler, NASA, I countered their arguments of “It’s worse than you think” with studies indicating that the calving of the Greenland Jakobshavn glacier and shrinking of Antartica’s Pine Island glacier had previously been much greater. I credit the spirit of skepticism you released in me with my questing for context in these and other events. You’ve inspired many of us to proudly wear “Skeptic” labels.

  46. Good luck and godspeed, Jim. You’ve always been one of my favorite contributors here at WUWT, because you write so clearly, communicate your ideas so well. Would that every scientist thinks and speaks as clearly and carefully as you do. Best wishes going forward.

  47. Hi Jim. Congratulations with your miraculous survival.

    Anything you write here on WUWT I read with interest and pleasure.

    The first piece of you I read was your description of the yearly food cycle of the polar bear and how less summer ice meant more biomass, therefore more fish, therefore more seals and therefore more polar bears.
    Well researched, well reasoned, a joy to read – it blew my mind: the alarmists backed up by the establishment media and many scientists were further lost in nonsense\deceitful activism than I already thought.

    Since then I have read every article of you that I found – they are part of an oasis of intelligence and intellectual integrity where I rest and find new courage amid the intellectual laziness and dishonesty one meets so much.
    Thank you.

    As a dancer, may I recommend a kind of very subtle, relaxing physical training that many dancers nowadays use to make their movements easier and smoother?: Moshe Feldenkrais’ technique.
    He too inhabits my oasis of intelligence and integrity.

    Robin Kool

  48. Hi Jim

    Glad to here your story had a happy ending. I read your book when it was first published and loved it for the clear thinking and real scientific thought. I have also read your many posts – and look out for them – which is why I have come to this one despite being late. I live in Victoria Australia and sometimes feel I am beating my head against an alarmist brickwall and a government that cares nothing for its people – other than the politics of getting re-elected. I am a member of the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association and attend their annual two day conferences where I seem to be the only one questioning the environmental speakers they put up that have more concern about preaching to you than valid science to report.
    I hope you continue on with your mission for many years yet and give us many more points of argument against the forces of darkness. Cheers – Melbourne (Kinglake) Resident

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