Saturday, January 1, 2011

Humans! Get Over Yourself!

By Alan Caruba

The greatest absurdity has been the belief that human beings have any influence over the planet on which they live.

The Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the fifth largest of the Solar System’s four terrestrial planets. It is the only planet that sustains life as we know it and humans came late to the party.

The Earth is dated to be 4.5 billion years old in a universe that is increasingly believed to have always existed, despite the Big Bang theory. Such evidence as exists suggests it is the only planet that has given rise to the evolution of life from self-replicating molecules, starting around 4 billion years ago.

Scientists have given names to the various periods of time of the Earth’s existence. These include the oldest, the Devonian, followed by the Silurian, Ordovician, Cambrian, Paleocene, Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Permian among others.

Robert W. Felix, in his book, “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps”, notes that “For all intents and purposes, though, life on Earth began about 580 million years ago at the beginning of the Cambrian Period, when new life suddenly exploded across the Earth.”

“A dizzying burst of shelled forms took place, and virtually all major forms of animal life.” This is known as the Cambrian explosion and Felix notes there was an “abrupt change from simple life forms to more advanced. No one knows how or why it happened. What we do know is that the pattern has always been the same—sudden—always sudden.”

What we do know is that mass extinctions have marked every period since the Earth’s beginning. Following the Cambrian explosion around 535 million years ago there have been at least five major mass extinctions, all pre-dated the existence of mankind. Indeed, mankind didn’t begin to gain traction as a species until the end of the last continental glaciation—ice age—about 10,000 years ago.

The Archaic Homo sapiens, anatomically human, date back about 500,000 years, but what we regard as modern humans did not make an appearance until 200,000 years ago and the earliest indicators of anything resembling Homo sapien sapiens, humanity, date back a mere 35,000 years ago.

Civilization is defined in a variety of ways, but is usually dated to the development of agriculture and the organization of human life around villages and cities. The Jews date their history back 3,500 years, but some date their arrival to 5,000 years ago. The last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago, so humans as we know ourselves didn’t begin until well after that event.

We are now 11,500 years since the last ice age and the next one is due any day now. The Earth has been in one of its cyclical cooling periods for a decade, the result of less solar activity, also a cyclical event.

Humans, you need to stop worrying about “controlling” carbon dioxide and stop passing laws to reduce its emissions. As far as the atmosphere  is concerned CO2 is 3.618% and man-made CO2 is even more miniscule, only 0.117%. Without CO2 we and everything else dies.

As the late Dixie Lee Ray, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, noted, “Such increases (of CO2) have occurred in the past without any help from us at all, and this time is probably no different. Most likely, the causes were and still are colossal cosmic forces quite outside human ability to control.”

The Earth’s atmosphere is composed primarily of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Water vapor is being constantly recycled from the atmosphere to the Earth and absent the atmosphere no life would exist on Earth.

The other major factor affecting our lives is the Earth’s magnetic fields. The magnetic poles drift and periodically reverse. The magnetosphere deflects particles in the solar wind. The collision between the magnetic field and the solar winds forms the Van Allen radiation belts that protect the Earth.

The most recent magnetic reversal occurred approximately 700,000 years ago and reversals appear to occur in sync with ice ages and with the procession of the equinoxes.

We just experienced a winter solstice, one of the equinoxes marking the seasons as the Earth hurtles through space, circumnavigating the Sun, completely indifferent to human beings and all other life. In the southern hemisphere, they had a summer solstice.

As the human race continues to grow in numbers; it reached 6,803,000,000 by the end of 2007 and is projected to reach seven billion by 2013, it is worth keeping in mind that only 13.3% of the Earth surface is arable; which is to say is available for growing crops that in turn feed us and the livestock we grow.

Only about one-eighth of the Earth’s surface is suitable for humans to live on. Three-quarters is covered by oceans, while half of the land area is either desert (14%), high mountains (27%) or unsuitable unless you are an Eskimo or Bedouin. Most of us live in or near cities.

The relatively short history of humans demonstrates a capacity for violence documented in myths, the Bible, and recorded documentation of wars without end.

There is little evidence that murder, individual and organized, for any reason or no reason will end. The primary change of the last century was the development of nuclear weapons to destroy humans in numbers that defy the imagination.

So, humans, get over yourself!

You do not control the biosphere of life on Earth. You do not control its natural calamities. Your attempts at governance are fought with conflict, conquest, and oppression.

After the next magnetic reversal, the survivors—if there are any—will likely learn nothing from the experience.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


joetote said...


The last sentence basically says it all. Chances are they will not in fact learn anything as has been proven now with the current population here in the states. For whatever reason, man refuses to learn from history. We just go making the same mistakes over and over. Why is that?

Another thought provoking article.
Happy New Year!

Hollowpoint1938 said...


I'm certain the warmist cult is motivated by their fundamental
desire for control of civilization by elites. The rest of us are too dumb to be allowed to live our lives according to our God-given freedoms.

LarryOldtimer said...

Close, Alan. The percentage of CO2 is 0.0385%, about 385 parts per million.

CO2 is a "trace gas", which means that there is almost none of it in our atmosphere. Even 4 times almost nothing has a value of almost nothing, and a factor in temperature change of almost nothing.

There are more than a couple of significant probabilities which humans should be worried about, and preparing to deal with, and you have named one of the most important . . . a reversion back to at least a little ice age, which itself was warmer than most of the history of Earth. If another little ice age occurs, a huge number of humans will certainly perish from the Earth.

Thanks again for writing such informative articles, and focusing on what is really of significance.

As George Bernard Shaw said, "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." It seems that some things are very resistant to positive change.

Laurence M. Sheehan, PE

Ronbo said...

@Alan: I think the Kingston Trio performed your article in a song:

They're rioting in Africa. They're starving in
Spain. There's hurricanes in Florida and Texas
needs rain. The whole world is festering with
unhappy souls. The French hate the Germans. The
Germans hate the Poles. Italians hate Yugoslavs.
South Africans hate the Dutch and I don't like
anybody very much! But we can be tranquil and
thankful and proud for man's been endowed with a
mushroom shaped cloud. And we know for certain
that some lovely day someone will set the spark
off and we will all be blown away. They're rioting
in Africa. There's strife in Iran. What nature
doesn't do to us will be done by our fellow man.

LarryOldtimer said...

Alan, the concentration of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere is about 385 parts per million.

385/1,000,000 X 25,000 = 9.625.

CO2 concentration of atmospheric CO2 equivalent is less than 10 gallons of water in a 25,000 gallon swimming pool.

A physical experiment is in order.

Find a swimming pool of 25,000 gallons capacity, quite common, temperature of about 60 degrees F. Pour in 10 gallons of boiling water. Mix well (running the filter for a bit will do), and shout out, "Guys and gals, I just warmed up the swimming pool, jump right in!" See the results for yourself. Best find a place to hide for a bit.

Pouring in 10 gallons of boiling water each day won't make a noticable change in the temperature of that swimming pool.

Engineer's analysis of the situation. Clear cut, and understandable, terms most anyone could understand.

I can hear the motormouth warmists: "But, but, but, but, but . . . "

Laurence M. Sheehan, PE

Unknown said...

Ah, yes. The Eocene, the dawn. The Oligocene came later, and then the more modern Miocene. Now we have the recent, or Obscene.

joetote said...

Just one other thought here. As you said, another ice age is due be it a big one or a mini-ice age (which, by all studies I've seen is overdue). With this being the coldest December on record in Great Britain and if I'm remembering some of the stuff I've seen correctly, weren't the first signs of the last mini-ice age first felt in Great Britain and Europe? Again, more possible proof that the Earth is just in it's normal cooling/heating cycle as it has always been.

glendamay said...

Does it seem increasingly like, it's Now...or Never...? Thank you! Mr. Caruba for your -as always- erudite thinking and writing.

Alan Caruba said...

@Joetote: Sorry, but I lack the knowledge to say whether a mini ice age started in Europe or not. Most certainly it affectd both Europe and the US. Napoleon's war on Russia was curtailed by it and soldiers at Valley Forge felt the brunt of it too.

Alan Caruba said...

@glendamay: Since human life is short at best, one could say we're all doomed. So, party hardy! :-)

Anonymous said...

I just love all the mind boggling numbers thrown around regarding trying to date the earth and human beings. Boy, the evolutions sure have lots of people confused. Just curious as to where all the millions and millions of transition fossil forms are, given the billions of years for evolution??? We know that human communication originated around 6000+ years ago....why did it take us so long?

Robert Birch said...

A blogpost like this needs a video like this...courtesy of George Carlin.

Alan Caruba said...

@midcenturyman: There may not be "transition fossils" due to the swiftness of transitions following magnetic reversals. Recommend you read Robert Felix's book on the subject. Frankly, I am just guessing because such matters are outside of any expertise I have on the subject.

Alan Caruba said...

@Robert Birch. That is one of my favorite YouTube memories of George Carlin. I keep it on my computer to visit every so often. Everybody should check it out!

Will Harmon said...

If someone dumped 10 gallons of urine in a 25,000 gallon pool everyday, would anyone want to get in it nevermind getting a mouthful? It's not an insignificant amount.

Alan Caruba said...

@Will. Apparently you are unaware that in American we have systems in place to clean the water people use to drink, wash, and cook with.

Your analogy doesn't hold up.

Rich Kozlovich said...

Larry Old Timer,

I enjoyed your analysis regarding the volume of CO2 and what it all means in the real world. I will be using that information in my weekly newsletter this week and in my blog, Paradigms and Demographics, in some future article. I hope this is acceptable to you. Good job!

Rich Kozlovich

Alan Caruba said...

@Larry: You can link over to Rich's blog, Paradigns and Demographics, direct from this blog. It is on my list of favorite sites.

Will Harmon said...

Alan, think what you will. I did not bring up the swimming pool analagy, Mr. Sheehan did. His point was that adding 10 gallons of heated water into 25,000 gallons was insignificant; I simply took a view from another perspective to point out that 10 gallons in 25,000 is significant depending on the pollutant being poured in. I respectfully submit that the analgy does hold up. Fossil fuels add more to the atmosphere than just CO2. Nuclear is the way to go but I don't hear much talk in DC or anywhere else about that. Anyways, I enjoy your blog and read it daily. Your essays are factual, well thought out, and well written. I'm with you on the global warming farce and on most everything else you opine.