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NASA and the asteroid threat … and Mankind in Amnesia

20 October 2013
Climate change

Okay, it is likely that most Near Earth Objects are in resonant orbit with the Earth, and have been for untold numbers of years, and are probably no danger to humans. Even the Taurid streams, or what remains of them, have probably long ago established resonance, but while that reduces risk does it eliminate it? The Russian meteor in February indicates that a rogue space rock, even one in a resonant orbit, is always potentially a hazard – and has always presented a hazard, from the year dot. Space rocks are part of Earth history – but have not been given their true due. The mother asteroid was in resonance and went sailing past but the small bits in resonance with the asteroid were out of sync with the Earth – and hey presto. This has not been established as fact but is a possible scenario (going by the Tall Bloke debate that rumbled on for several months earlier in the year). George Howard provides a link to an American TV show which had two NASA chaps trying to be grown up about the issue, and spent most of the time deflecting doomsaying fears involving cosmic objects of one sort or the other. Nothing wrong with that you might say – there are some weird web sites out there, and anything to bring a bit of clarity must be a good thing, even if they were glibly over confident. The NASA chaps smirked at the idea of a space rock impacting with Earth and causing widespread destruction. George wonders why they should take cosmic billiards so lightly when NASA has been involved in the doomsaying hype surrounding CAGW. After all, James Hansen was a NASA employee, and his description of coal trains was beyond reasonableness. George added, Velikovsky had it laid in Mankind in Amnesia – our collective minds can't hack the subject – go to http://cosmictusk.com/tick-tock-goes-the-clock-anderson-cooper-nails-nas…

The comments nail the problem even better than Velikovsky. Collective amnesia is a debateable concept. Steve Garcia on the other hand is in top form. He begins by laying the CAGW bogeyman to bed and then lays into the PNAS article, 'Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal expansion' (which I think I mentioned in passing last week). The article claims there was a massive and instantaneous change in global climate – and of course, co2 is fingered as the culprit. Catastrophism of any kind is excluded from the article, whether that might involve pole shift (to get a warming polar region) or a sudden release of energy into the earth system that heated the earth system up (creating the carbon release, if you like). Why this might be so is succinctly explained by Steve Garcia – and it involves uniformitarian theory. The co2 theory provides a gradualist solution to a problem that circumvents the need of introducing a role for catastrophism in their favoured model. This was of course breached with the K/T boundary event, and by the idea of punctuated evolution, but the main thrust of uniformitarianism remains in an unblemished condition – central to a variety of science disciplines. The continuing debate around the K/T boundary event, for example, hinges on uniformitarian assumptions regarding how quickly sediments were laid down at the end of the Cretaceous. Opponents of the Yucatan asteroid theory insist they can reliably date those sediments using the geochronological time scale – and the dinosaurs could not have become extinct as a result of the collision. Other factors must be involved and it is claimed the dinosaurs actually disappeared many thousands of years afterwards, if not the odd million of years. As a result of this the asteroid collision people are still being forced into a corner (or those that are still in the land of the living) and the damaging impact of the asteroid is misrepresented. A similar kind of thing has happened in the Younger Dryas Boundary event debate with opponents actually claiming they have C14 dating evidence to show nano diamond layers occurred 200 years after the actual boundary and therefore were not laid down by a cosmic event of some kind. Quite why C14 dating should be regarded as reliable during an earth shaking event is unclear – but the idea is to keep the uniformitarian model on track. A recent catastrophe, within the age of humanity, would be a setback to uniformitarianism. A catastrophe in the remote past can be contained to a degree, and undermined over time as alternative scenarios are dreamt up, but a recent catastrophe opens a big window on all things uniformitarian – as the Mount St Helens eruption should have done some years ago.

So, we now have a reason why science in general, and some of its bigwigs, are so keen to keep the CAGW shindig on track. The basics of global warming have been blown out of the water but no matter how often this happens the many headed hydra appears to re-emerge with renewed vigour. Mainstream just won't let go of the bogeyman trace gas – because it is a useful theory, not just for climate science but for uniformitarian science as a whole. They need co2 to explain various inconsistencies in geochronology and the  fact that modern research is turning up anomalies by the bucket load. If they had another explanation for them they would ditch the co2 hype – it is glaringly poppycock as water dominates the Earth system. Mainstream is glued to the mantra.

So, we have another reason why CAGW is still in full flow – in spite of the fact global temperatures have been flat for 15 years. Firstly, we have people who have staked their career on the hypothesis – because that is what it is, just a hypothesis. A bit of scientific guesswork. Secondly, we have a lot of politicos with egg on their faces if they are seen to have been telling fibs by saying we are on the brink of a disaster involving the burning of fossil fuels – eager to use it all as an excuse to raise taxes. They don't want it to be wrong – it is too useful to them. Thirdly we have the enviros and the Green movement, the water melons according to some critics. Not worth repeating their agenda or the calendar of their dysfunctional policies. All we need to bear in mind is that the enviros are largely toffs and come from a well to do background – and most ordinary people have seen through the scam from day one. In addition, global warming is not seen as a problem in any part of the world other than the West – which is playing the conscience and self righteous card to the extreme. Fourthly, we have the landowners, hedge fund managers, chancers and criminals, and the general greedy or selfish type of person that are all screwing money out of the less well off in order to copiously fill their pockets with as much loot as possible, a case of the age old story of the rich stealing from the poor – it never changes. What is surprising in this instance is that so many champagne socialists are supportive – thereby damning themselves as socialist in name only, and troughers in the main. How can you have a socialist millionaire – and sleep easy in your bed. The other side of the political spectrum are of course unmitigated scavengers – without naming the names. Even more disturbing is that the politicos and champagne sipping wannabees are currently thrashing around over energy prices – none of them addressing the hikes in the pipeline a few years down the line. Now it seems we have a fifth cuckoo in the nest – a blood sucking beast that remains resilient because it is able to maintain it has knowledge nobody else quite understands (we are clever people and our brains are big in comparison with others). Academic solidarity has been one of the striking features of the CAGW hype – surely there are some scientists out there that can see it is all a load of cobblers. All the science journals are on board – and PNAS and the Royal Society. They even employ PR merchants to trot out reams of meaningless hype – and blast any sceptic that might deign to raise their head above the parapet. What's this all about we might wonder? The academic world is joining hands and circling the beast. The beast is not CAGW – it is uniformitarianism. It must be defended at all costs.

Actually, we should perhaps be quite happy they have taken a defensive position in order to protect such a weak hypothesis as co2 induced global warming. It might bring down the whole house of cards. CAGW looks increasingly suspect simply because Mother Nature is not co-operating and it may be that when it does eventually collapse it will not just be a few unnamed climate scientists in green shirts that will sink or swim, the role of the NGOs will be forced into the spotlight – and their cohorts in the shady parts of the financial world. Hopefully, it might open the door to neo-catastrophism as opposed to uniformitarianism – a fresh look at consensus theories in science as a whole. We might be on the brink of big things.

On the other hand the people with their hands on the levers of power and the knowledge base used to educate are not going to roll over. The great and the good will simply regroup and come back with another load of codswallop. That is the nature of things. Perhaps hopes for neo-catastrophism have a better chance in Asia – with the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Indonesians – as well as India. They aren't carrying on their backs the baggage of the West – the 18th and 19th centuries clash between religious doctrine and the emerging young pretender, science. One has the impression uniformitarianism was adopted mainly because it neutered a religious role in the history of the Earth. It seems that Noah and his flood loomed too big in the frame and needed taking down a peg or two.

We may reason it will occur to the Chinese, and the thousands of up coming scientists they have on what is almost a production line, that uniformitarian theory cannot explain the fossil record, punctuated evolution, and the various geological boundaries that involve extinctions and changes in life form – such as the Palaeocene-Eocene event. The preservation of flora and fauna within sedimentary deposits must be saying something to a neutral mind – we might hope. Why is it assumed they will follow meekly on the heels of Western science? Won't they want to put the boot in? They also have their own space programme and they will interpret the solar system through Chinese eyes. Yes, climate science may possibly bring down the dominance of Western science – just as the policy of not engaging in manufacturing industry has brought on the West unexpected economic problems, and undreamed economic benefits to other parts of the world. The green fantasy is that this policy should not come to an end – but must be accelerated. Isn't it strange how the well to do are at the forefront of this agenda. I came across a huge house the other day, Savoy Farm, as big as a medieval palace. It is on the route of HS2, and old buildings and potential archaeology are being catalogued in order to make sure they are taken into account once the construction work starts in a few years time. It turns out this house belonged to a prominent pre-war socialist, Oswald Mosley. He fell out of the reckoning when WWII erupted – but it does make you wonder. Why does somebody with untold riches favour a political system opposed to their wealth and influence? This is what is so strange about CAGW too – it has countless doe eyed celebrities in tow, and successful business people only too willing to donate huge sums of money to dodgy NGOs and other more furtive and little known organisations (usually with unspecified aims). What's it all about? Beats me. Human reasoning is at times such an odd thing.


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