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There really is no reply to someone so completely oblivious.

posted by FactorFiction on November 19, 2007 at 10:46 AM | link to this | reply

I did read your About Me, Factor…

I guess the science you studied at Rensselaer Polytechnic didn’t include a course in critical thinking, because I see no evidence of that in your response. You have listed items you call “facts,” but as I review each paragraph, all I see are generalizations coupled with a lot of opinion (which was the initiating subject of my response to your original comment).

Regarding air quality, you are confusing local effects and global effects. Of course smog is unpleasant, but almost universally across the United States, smog levels are lower now than they have been for decades. There are some exceptions, but generally, our local air is getting better all the time. This is factual. It has nothing to do with opinion or spin. It was bad. It is getting better, and the effects are only local. Second-hand smoke damage is a sky-is-falling non-issue. If you bother to review the peer reviewed research on this subject, you will immediately see that second-hand smoke does not present a problem. Again – facts, not opinion.

You talk about the waters being “…not so clean!” Then you present unsubstantiated anecdotal evidence about this or that local condition that has no bearing on the larger picture. Under certain circumstances a lake can suffer a biological bloom that may or may not be caused by human activity, but even when it is, it is local. The Great Lakes are large bodies of water, and are measurably much cleaner than they were a decade ago. Again, fact, not opinion – check it out. From time to time there is shellfish contamination. Sometimes it is natural (the so-called red tide, which is a naturally caused plankton bloom), and sometimes human factors cause the contamination. Nevertheless, such human caused contamination is (1) local, and (2) less today than a decade ago. Foam in streams probably is caused by detergents that have not been completely processed. It’s an economic decision, Factor. With time, Nature will complete the job – it goes away entirely. It is also possible for sewer processing plants to complete the job, but at a significant additional cost. Obviously, the New Jersey community where you saw this decided to let Nature do it. Garbage does wash up on our beaches from time to time. This is caused by the long-shore currents that tend to retain objects near shore, so when something does end up in the water (it shouldn’t, but it happens), it tends to come ashore eventually. Again, it’s local, and nothing to worry about in the bigger picture. Facts, Factor, not opinion – no spin.

Your paragraph on living longer contains no facts at all, just your opinion about the quality of life. You have your opinion, and that’s fine. But I suspect that if you were to ask a person whose lifespan was only 45 years if he or she would like to chance living another 40 years, even if frailty stepped in at the end, that this person would take a chance – wouldn’t you?

Regarding disease – the simple fact is that we really do have less disease today than in any time in recorded history. This is verifiable fact. Nothing you say can change this. It is true that some bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, but in the past, these same bacteria simply killed us. We are working on ways to solve this dilemma, but you have a significantly better chance for survival now than ever before should you get seriously sick.

I didn’t say one region makes so much food. I said one region “…has the ability to produce sufficient food to feed the entire world several times over.” That was to demonstrate our great abundance – something you would have picked up had you used critical thinking.

Name a place that is uninhabitable due to contamination by humans – and, no, don’t say Chernobyl. Read the pertinent section of my book, The Chicken Little Agenda, for the details, but the facts are that ground zero at Chernobyl is safe today. Regarding disposal of medicines, apparently you didn’t learn anything about waste processing at Rensselaer, even though they have a good related curriculum. The medicines you flush down the toilet are completely destroyed in at the processing center. You don’t cause damage by flushing them away – unless you have a septic system. Then you should dispose of them differently. Some medicines can survive the decomposition process of a septic system. Again, facts, not spin.

I’m not sure what you mean about endocrine disrupters, so I won’t address this.

You actually say that you are stating your opinion about our leaving our planet, but then you go on to prove that you understand nothing about the Universe with your silly comments about humans “Spreading our filth and thoughtless habits elsewhere…” Space travel, in my opinion, is the greatest boon the human race has ever had. It offers us an unlimited horizon for discovery and expansion that will keep our race young in spirit and agile in being. Sure, we can make improvements here on Earth, and we should, but there is no reason for us not to address the challenge of an infinite Universe.

I don’t see “…the mess that has been made…” by humans. Rather, I see that humans have gained an increasingly better understanding of what the Universe is, and have applied this knowledge to our daily lives in ways that our grandfathers could not even have dreamed of. Scientists actually do not have majority and minority positions analogous to politics. As facts come in, various hypotheses are fielded, until one-by-one they are eliminated until only one (hopefully) remains to become eventually the accepted theoretical explanation for the facts. Ultimately, theory explains fact.

Al Gore notwithstanding, we really do know the driving factor for climate change: it’s the Sun. No matter how badly you want climate change to be human caused, simply stated, it’s not. You’d better get used to it. By about 2020 you will see a significant cooling trend (caused by the Sun again). Of course, the Climate alarmists will probably take credit for turning the situation around. (And now I’m getting into opinion…)

posted by arGee on November 10, 2007 at 11:41 AM | link to this | reply

I know that, my dear. Read my about me.

We HAVE made a mess of the Earth.

The facts are:

Breathing fresh air, not smog, is better for you and a hell of a lot more pleasant. Even second hand smoke shows how egocentric a human is. "I" have a right to smoke where I want, because it doesn't affect anyone else. How naive.

The waters are not so clean! I KNOW why I was not able to swim in one of the Great Lakes on a 95+ degree day.  I can't eat shellfish from certain areas because they ARE contaminated. But at least the water will support life...well, in most places. I SEE foam in our streams in NJ and I KNOW why it is there. Garbage DOES wash up on our beaches, still.

People live longer, but the quality of life is not necessarily great. Sure we can keep that body technically alive. More productive? How is productive defined? Work long hours to make more stuff,  pay for new stuff, and throw out the old to decompose in how much time?

Less disease? No way. Different diseases. We have managed to figure out cures for some. But we haved opened the doors for others that are growing more pervasive.

If one region makes so much food, what are they doing with it? Certainly not feeding everyone. So they must be throwing the rest out?

There are places that are uninhabitable due to contamination by humans. There will be others detected as we discover what previous humans have dumped haphazardly. Where do you think all of those prescription/OTC drugs are going, by the way? Oops that bottle is expired. Throw it out. Oops, that medicine did not work. Throw it out and try another. Oh, just flush them down the toilet. (And, no, having a serious illness myself I am not suggesting the problem is creating medication. I am talking disposal here.)

And don't even start me on endocrine disrupters.

Opinion: I hate to think we are moving off the earth. Spreading our filth and thoughtless habits elsewhere. I think we have room for HUGE improvements. How can you NOT see the mess that has been made? How myopic must one be? I am glad you were in the minority then, because it lends more credence to the findings, which I HAD thought were over the top.

posted by FactorFiction on November 10, 2007 at 9:54 AM | link to this | reply

As I told BarbieJ previously, Factor...

Science is NOT about opinion, it’s about facts. Opinions have no place in science. Scientists are not entitled to their opinions when it comes to science. They are limited to the facts, and how to interpret them.

While I’m not coming down on you, Factor, and I agree that humans should be good stewards of their habitat – the planet Earth, have we really “…made a major mess of things…”?

I see a world where people live longer, with more productive lives, where there is less disease than ever before, where pollution that we caused in massive amounts as we moved into the industrial revolution is now mostly under control with rivers and lakes as clean as they have ever been (for the most part), where we plant more trees than we harvest, where one region of one state of one nation (San Joaquin Valley in California) has the ability to produce sufficient food to feed the entire world several times over. We’re moving into our solar system, and humans have visited our nearest planet (the Moon), and will soon visit Mars.

From my point of view, it sounds like we’re doing pretty good.



posted by arGee on November 10, 2007 at 9:02 AM | link to this | reply

I think the conclusion here is quite obvious.

The Earth wobbles over time. Currently, the Southern pole is further from the sun, while the Northern pole is closer. Kidding.

BUT, I welcome any "scientific consensus" that urges people to make changes that reduce our polluting habits and/or that encourage "greener" habits. I do think we have made a major mess of things and that it is contributing to some of the diseases we face.

posted by FactorFiction on November 10, 2007 at 8:24 AM | link to this | reply

I’m going to come down a bit hard on you, BarbieJ…

Because you are making arrogant presumptions without, obviously, any basis.

First, the word “everyone” is singular, but “their” is plural. The grammatical rules of English do not allow the juxtaposition of these two words. You can say “Everyone is entitled to his (or her) own opinion…” or you can say “People are entitled to their opinion…”, but “everyone” and “their” cannot be used together.

Science is NOT about opinion, it’s about facts. Opinions have no place in science. Scientists are not entitled to their opinions when it comes to science. They are limited to the facts, and how to interpret them.

It is true that the Earth has a higher population than at any time in the past, and it is also true that this is impacting local environments, but there is no consensus that global environments are being impacted. That was the point of my post.

You say we are “…raping oxygen-making forests, carbon sinks…” which – I presume means that we are raping both of these. It’s not clear from your sentence. The problem with this assumption is that while forests make oxygen during daylight hours, they produce carbon dioxide during darkness – yes, that’s right (this is why President Reagan once said (with his tongue a bit in his cheek) that trees pollute. The real source of oxygen is the huge mass of oceanic phytoplankton in the world’s oceans. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this mechanism. It is working exactly as it always has. As for carbon sinks…do you mean we are raping these, too? What do you mean? Do you really know what a carbon sink is? Help me out here, and we can discuss this.

You state that humans have “…had the core of the Earth raped and brought to the surface and spewed out…” I sense that your science education is somewhat lacking. The Earth is approximately 8,000 miles thick. The top layer, the Crust, is up to about 40 miles thick, and in some places as thin as 2 miles. The Mantle, consisting of mostly magma (lava) and rocky material is about 1,600 miles thick. The Outer Core, consisting of mostly liquid iron is about 1,500 miles thick, and the Inner Core, consisting of solid iron, is about 850 miles to the center of the Earth. Check out this link for more detailed information: http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/cyberspace/planets/earth/

We have only once managed to drill through the Earth’s crust at its thinnest point (about two miles thick) in the deep ocean. We were able to check out the Mohorovicic Discontinuity – the so-called Moho that separates the Crust from the Mantle. See this link for more information: http://geology.com/articles/mohorovicic-discontinuity.shtml

There has never been a time, and it is unlikely that there will ever be a time, when humans have had even the slightest effect on the Earth’s interior. Even the volcanoes are unaffected by human activity, even though they originate in the very upper part of the Earth’s Mantle and Crust, called the Lithosphere. Incidentally, this geologic period (the human era, if you will) has had a very small amount of volcanic activity. Imagine the time long ago, long before life as we know it, when great volcanoes spewed forth lava for hundreds or even thousands of years, uninterrupted, creating great miles-deep lava floes that form the bedrock in Colorado and Washington State today.

You just have it all wrong, BarbieJ. I discuss a lot of these things in my book The Chicken Little Agenda – Debunking Experts’ Lies which you can order from the website or from any online site, or even purchase at most book stores. The bottom line is that humans really are not the cause of anything so bad that we need to take drastic actions to overcome it. We have less disease today than ever before, less pollution since the start of the industrial age, more forests than in all of history (at least in North America).

So, BarbieJ, I urge you to get your facts straight. A bit of knowledge can be dangerous, and you have only a bit of distorted knowledge. You obviously have a big heart, and you obviously care about the world, so I recommend that you educate yourself, that you get the facts. But don’t do this at some quack site that spews forth pseudo science and BS New Age malarkey. Go to sites like the ones I have cited in this reply, and learn what is really happening all around you.

Good luck!

posted by arGee on November 10, 2007 at 8:22 AM | link to this | reply

climate scientist gives back nobel prize
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we have NEVER before had the population on Earth we have now, raping oxygen-making forests, carbon sinks, or had the core of the Earth raped and brought to the surface and spewed out for as long as we have now.  Yes, volcanoes etcetera, but they don't persist at the scale we omit on a daily basis.  Common sense shows we can't continue this way.  Human disease is being assisted  by our pollution, denuding of forests, toxicity  of water and high temperatures...it is nature's way of culling us to ease the problem.

posted by barbiej on November 10, 2007 at 12:34 AM | link to this | reply

Ditto your welcomes, Shams!

posted by arGee on November 2, 2007 at 10:01 AM | link to this | reply

And a bit amusing as well, don't you think, Kayzzaman?

posted by arGee on November 2, 2007 at 10:00 AM | link to this | reply

You're welcome, Rich!

posted by arGee on November 2, 2007 at 9:59 AM | link to this | reply

I just say ditto thanks

posted by Shams-i-Heartsong on November 2, 2007 at 9:20 AM | link to this | reply

Very informative and important too.

posted by Kayzzaman on November 1, 2007 at 11:01 AM | link to this | reply

arGee
 very enlightening. Thanks for sharing

posted by richinstore on November 1, 2007 at 8:38 AM | link to this | reply

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