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Banking on knowledge

As yet another increasingly positive sign of the times, environmentalism has become the new opiate for the masses.

Karl Marx was correct at the time on that one particular point (although disastrously wrong on most others), as was all those before him who saw the inherent long-term dangers of attempting to meld mythological fears and concerns with the exponentially increasing knowledge of reality.

However, unlike cult beliefs based upon worshiping the figments of ancient people’s imaginations, those spouting environmentalism as the savior of mankind have the provable benefits of a foundation deep in science.



Science is merely the Latin word for knowledge. Science attempts to define, but not necessarily explain, what we know and how we know it based upon testing, observing, concluding and the ability to repeat each.

The “science” behind environmentalism is what drives the current worldwide pandemic most often referred to as global warming (or global cooling, or perhaps the middle of the road: climate change).



But like religion, much of the science on climate change is contradictory, so how is the planet’s general public supposed to know which camp is correct?

Merely claiming faith in one side or the other is as beneficial as labeling every SUV owner as evil or all female astronauts sexual deviants.

As Mark Twain said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” In fact, any phenomenon adequately explained by the scientific method, whether global temperature change or perceiving the face of a magical being in a piece of toast, is from that point forward removed from the mystical realm of faith.



But knowledge, hence science, is ever-evolving, thus mistakes are constantly made; answers to questions always changing with the constant input of new and improved data.

This is precisely what makes the climate-change controversy so difficult for those of us in the middle of the road to grasp.

Aristotle was perhaps the father of scientific analysis, and he was convinced the entire universe was based upon the four elements of fire, water, air, and earth. In a very simplistic way, he was correct.

Then again, he also taught spontaneous generation (such as maggots developing from a pile of elephant poop) to the likes of Alexander the Great.

Yet far from being an ignorant boob, he was one of the most intelligent men on the planet at the time, and he simply interpreted the available data.

We now know better due to science.

Jump ahead about 2,000 years and science has shown a mini-ice age occurring planet-wide centuries before the advent of pollution-pumping industry.

Our ever-increasing knowledge of geological shifts, the atmosphere and our solar system helped us understand the possible causes, but man was certainly not to blame.

In the mid-’70s, the scientifically “proven” fear of global cooling swept over the world with all but guaranteed temperature drops of 5 to 10 degrees centigrade by 2000.

This time mankind was painted as the culprit, yet by the mid-’80s science was again going in a different ” in fact, opposite ” direction.

For the last decade or so, it has slowly but surely become the scientifically “proven” fear of global warming, with everything from presidential hopefuls to Oscar nominees teetering in the balance.

But wait, just two weeks ago a Danish scientist released results from a hypothesis first announced in 1997 claiming, through use of the scientific method, that cosmic rays from outer space play a far greater role in altering the Earth’s climate than previously thought possible.

The results show the amount of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly affects the amount of global cloud cover.

More clouds mean less heat, thus causing the planet to cool; ergo fewer clouds mean more heat, thus causing the planet to warm.

Ice core samples support the theory that we are in the midst of the highest solar activity in at least the last 1,000 years. When this occurs, the sun’s magnetic field prevents fewer cosmic rays from hitting the earth, with warming results.

Long believed theories that clouds were caused by climate change are being replaced with just the opposite, and with the clouds being caused in part by our very own sun.

So what do we do now?

Well, current science has also proved, way beyond the shadow of anyone’s doubt, that mankind is at least partially responsible for current climate conditions, although to what degree is highly debatable.

While some insist it is 90 percent, others will look at the new data and conclude it is only 10 percent or less.

Which begs the question: What possible difference does it make who or what is to blame as long as we agree the problem exists and can come together to deal with it for the sake of our species survival?

The answer of course is: none.

Even if the changing climate is only 1 percent directly attributed to mankind, promoting environmentalism through science can only be a positive step forward for the masses.

There is absolutely no rational reason against it.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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